Archive for the 'Relating To God' Category

Jesus doesn’t settle for spiritual shortcuts—He has a total solution in mind for your problems. Yet when you come up with your own plans for “helping” Jesus, you’re guaranteed to find…

Discover the many ways Jesus is your Champion as you dig into God’s Word with teacher Joe Stowell. There are moments in life when you feel flat out overwhelmed, and you…

Is Jesus the ruler of every detail of your life? Putting the principles of heaven into practice doesn’t always come naturally! Joe Stowell draws on his own personal experience of learning…

Discover five habits of a heart that converges with God’s eternal plan. In his ongoing series on Ruth: Love Unshaken, Joe Stowell turns to Ruth 2 and continues looking at the…

Discover how to get into the habit of looking for God’s hidden hand in your life as Joe Stowell continues his series on Ruth: Love Unshaken. As we move forward in…

Discover the five habits of effective listeners to the voice of God. Last week, Joe Stowell explained the importance of hearing God’s warnings to us in the face of danger. Today…

When was the last time you heard the voice of God? Most of us spend so much time talking to God, we don’t take the time to listen! This week Joe…

Discover two privileges you enjoy because you are found “in Christ” in this continuing message on 2 Corinthians 5:17. Last week you heard Joe Stowell define being “in Christ” as having…

We’ve all found ourselves using phrases like “in Christ.” But have you ever stopped to consider what those words really mean? Join Joe Stowell for this week’s message as you explore…

Discover what it means to live “inside out” in this continuing message on “The New Covenant.” As Joe Stowell explains, it’s easy—and dangerous—to slip into the habit of basing your faith…

“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts,” the Lord declared in Jeremiah 31:33. With that powerful Old Testament promise, God laid the foundation for…

Why do you follow God’s law? Is it out of a sense of duty—or devotion to your Savior? Join Joe Stowell in exploring this fundamental question in your relationship with God…

The reality TV show Fear Factor featured people who are willing to face their worst fears for notoriety and financial gain. I need to tell you that I rarely watched more…

My wife, Martie, and I had the privilege of traveling to England. While we were there, we visited Hampton Court—the home of King Henry VIII. The first thing we noticed was…

Daddy, can I help you?” It was my four-year-old son, Matt, who was watching me carry cartons of empty pop bottles to the car. We could return them for a dime…

Above the joyful sounds of Christmas morning, as children open their presents in attack mode, you can usually hear someone older and wiser saying, “Don’t rip the paper. Save it for…

Interruptions are inevitable. It’s just the way life works. But, I keep asking myself, why is it that they come at such inopportune times? After listening to a zillion options in…

One of the joys of being with kids is holding their hands. We do it to keep them safe while crossing the street, or to keep them from getting lost in…

Engaged couples often spend hours poring over travel brochures and vacation Web sites looking for just the right honeymoon spot. They can hardly wait for their romantic getaway. But it’s not…

Victor Krutko came to Moody Bible Institute from Minsk, a town in Belarus. This gifted, passionate pastor and I have become good friends. I’ll never forget an episode with him as…

Do you ever pay much attention to bumper stickers? I find them fascinating! You can be driving along and in one minute see a sticker that says, “My child is an…

Have you ever made a piece of toast, slathered it with butter and strawberry jam, and just as you’re about to take the first delicious bite, you drop it on the…

A short clip on the evening news recently featured a suburban high school’s attempt to address the spiraling epidemic of teenage drinking. The reporter attended a parents’ forum at the school…

When was the last time you looked into a kaleidoscope? Remember those long tubes, usually made of cardboard with hundreds of little colored beads at one end? Inside, a series of…

I remember a time when I talked to a woman about prayer. With a starry look in her eyes, she asked if I had ever prayed with a Mormon. I said,…

When I was a boy, my dad observed my spendthrift ways and often said that money burned a hole in my pocket. I suppose it’s not unlike the way those 30…

I’ll never forget my frustrating experience when I went to Chicago’s Union Station early one morning to pick up an elderly relative who was arriving by train. When I got there,…

The great cathedrals of Europe are not only breathtaking but intriguing in their architecture. Because their massive ceilings were too heavy for the walls to support, flying buttresses, or external extensions,…

In my opinion, intimacy is a really attractive word. Deep down inside, all of us long for meaningful connections that satisfy our souls and chase away the shadows of aloneness. But…

There are few things that bring greater energy and strength to our souls than the exercise of lifting praise and thanksgiving from our hearts to God’s. Gratitude has a uniquely wonderful…

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving—by far and away my favorite holiday. I’m not sure why, except that it has always seemed so uncluttered. Fortunately it has escaped the commercialization of Halloween and Christmas….

I’ll never forget the time I was asked to bring my family to a banquet where I was to be the speaker. After dinner, my son Matt came up to me…

Very few advertisements tout the benefits of growing old. In fact, an outsider studying our culture would surmise (perhaps accurately) that we are deathly afraid of growing old or, even worse,…

Some people are obsessed with physical fitness—daily workouts, vitamins, organic food—in spite of the fact that our bodies keep ticking away in inevitable decline. In our twenties and thirties we think…

As a kid, I used to devour 3-D comic books, the kind that came with that special set of cardboard glasses. Without the glasses, the pages were blurry. But with the…

One of my favorite missionary stories is of a couple who, after decades of faithful service overseas, was returning back to the States. Their heart’s desire was to stay on the…

I’ve always been intrigued by the nursery rhyme about Little Jack Horner. At first blush it seems rather cute and innocent. But on further reflection, there is something seriously wrong. The…

Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that children’s nursery rhymes are a little bizarre? Take, for instance, the depressing tale of Humpty Dumpty. Humpty Dumpty sat on a…

In the apostle Paul’s day, Corinth was a major trading center, located just a few miles from two major seaports. As the largest city in ancient Greece, the city bustled with…

Don’t forget to vote! We have all heard that call to good citizenship. But beyond being a good citizen, being a good follower of Jesus means that we don’t forget to…

I grew up in a home with lots of wall plaques. One had a quotation by poet Claude Mermet that stands out in my mind: “Friends are like melons; let me…

Normally, my favorite way to drive a speedboat is full-tilt, skipping across the water with the wind in my face. But this time my usual penchant for speed was tempered by…

The little airfield affectionately referred to as “Kokomo International” is hardly the bustling hub of a major metropolis. But it was my best option for getting to Grand Rapids, where I…

If Jesus were to walk into your town today, I wonder what kind of people He would attract. If you were like the rest of us, you’d probably expect all the…

There we were, sitting in the middle of a statewide meeting for ministry leaders when the pastor of a large church leaned over and said to me, “You know, Joe, your…

I was seated next to Billy Graham at a dinner in North Carolina. I don’t know how you would have felt, but, given the circumstances, I wanted to be sure to…

If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, you know that his heroes always have a serious character flaw. I guess it’s what makes for a good story—and teaches some important lessons too….

For some guys, the annual fishing trip is the highlight of their calendar. They stay in cozy cabins and spend long days fishing just for the fun of it. You can…

On my way home one night, I noticed a glow of flashing lights about a half mile up the road. As I got closer, I saw several emergency vehicles on the…

A royal dignitary was greeting residents at a nursing home, when he was surprised by the unresponsiveness of one woman who just sat there and stared at him. Finally, the dignitary…

The movie The Aviator portrays the fascinating life of Howard Hughes. In the 1930s and 40s, he wowed the public with his brilliant advances in aviation technology and became the wealthiest…

I hate being lost. I’ve always had a good sense of direction and can usually find my way around without much trouble. But on the rare occasions when I lose my…

Have you ever felt that if God were to show up today as often as He did in the lives of the people in Bible times, you too could be a…

I have a lot of friends who work in bad neighborhoods. One of these city warriors transplanted his family to the inner city. One day as he was walking down the…

The news from our mechanic threatened to scuttle our plans. A suspicious rattling noise prompted me to take our clunker of a car to the shop a day before we were…

It was a cold December morning. Dressed in a white execution gown, he was led to the wall of the prison courtyard with the others. Blindfolded, he waited for the last…

What got you out of bed this morning (besides the lure of a hot cup of coffee)? If you’re like me, you finally pulled yourself out of bed because you’ve got…

I’m not much for jigsaw puzzles, but I know that you need all the pieces to enjoy a satisfying outcome. In many ways, life is like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. We…

Recently, while out for Chinese food with friends, I noticed a man walking his dog past the restaurant. Normally I wouldn’t have looked twice. But the dog’s owner had taken the…

Several years ago, as I passed the fifty mark on the calendar of my life, I discovered a new and distinct desire to go deeper and pursue God more intentionally than…

Let’s face it, if you are a follower in a world that celebrates leaders, you don’t feel all that good about yourself. Walk into any bookstore, and you will note that…

In the off-season of baseball, managers and coaches concentrate on trading players to set themselves up for a winning season the next year. But if you are a Chicago Cubs fan…

I am the third in an extended line of Joe Stowells. As a young boy, I realized that my name often brought quick recognition and statements like, “Oh, you’re Joe Stowell’s…

Several years ago my wife Martie and I had the unique experience of going on a camel safari in the desert of the United Arab Emirates. We rocked back and forth…

If you had a chance to meet her, you would agree that the name we have affectionately given her really fits. She has a fantastic command of the world around her…

My dad was a pastor, so I got stuck with the label known to every pastor’s kid: PK. But, much to the congregation’s disappointment, the title didn’t stop me from being…

Most of us can blow through three dollars without even thinking twice. It’ll get you a cup of Starbucks, a few snacks for a road trip, or a squeak toy for…

Do you remember how old-time TV shows used to have an applause meter to gauge audience reactions? A big arrow would spin around the dial to show how enthusiastic the crowd…

Three men were stranded on a desert island. A genie appeared and promised to grant each of them just one wish. So the first guy says, “I want to go back…

While flying from Europe back to the US, I found myself sitting next to a little girl who never stopped talking from the moment she sat down. She told me the…

Modern counseling and psychology focus a lot of attention on obsessive behaviors—whether it’s an obsession with food, tobacco, alcohol, pornography, drugs, or even work. But perhaps one of the most overlooked…

In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell observes that struggling businesses are often turned around by one key decision. Many once-foundering companies are now thriving and successful because of a…

In one of my favorite children’s books Oh, the Places You’ll Go! the great philosopher Dr. Seuss writes about the ups and downs of life. Sometimes, he says, “Hang-ups can happen…

Each year over 3.5 million people visit Yellowstone National Park. The park is loaded with signs that read, “Don’t feed the bears,” but visitors are constantly doing just that. As a…

I’ll never forget the time I bought a new stereo system. I brought the boxes home and carefully unwrapped each piece of equipment. I spread everything out on the floor. There…

Right now it’s summer! When I’m wearing flip-flops to the grocery store and running the air conditioner in my car it’s hard to remember the frigid days of January, and still…

I can still remember what it was like to take our family on vacation, only to have the kids in the backseat mar the joy of it all by their bickering…

Veruca Salt, one of the not-so-sweet characters in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was notorious for demanding whatever she wanted. Her indulgent parents didn’t know what to do, especially…

For most people I know, fishing is a hobby. Some approach it casually, picking up a pole and dipping a few worms in the lake for fun while they’re at a…

Auguste Bartholdi traveled from France to Egypt in 1856. His artistic mind was stimulated by the grandeur of the pyramids, the magnitude of the mighty Nile, and the beauty of the…

The old Porgy and Bess tune that declares, “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy”no doubt was written when life was so much different than what it is now. If you’re like…

A pastor friend of mine was telling another pastor about the long-awaited vacation that he and his family were preparing for. The other pastor immediately replied, “Vacation? I never take a…

Any Star Wars fans out there? Remember the opening scenes of Episode IV? After a laser battle between a little spaceship (the good guys) and the ominous Imperial Star Destroyer (the bad guys),…

Over the past several years we’ve seen hurricanes wreak mind-boggling destruction. When a hurricane hits, countless homes and lives are washed into the sea, and the things people count on the…

If we’re not careful, we may become like the man who prided himself on being an expert archer. The secret to his success was that after he shot his arrow at…

It may not always seem like it, but children really do want to please their parents. Just picture the little boy who beams with pleasure when his mom proudly puts the crayon-scribbled…

The setting was England’s House of Commons in early June of 1940. Another World War had broken out and the prospects for Britain were uncertain at best. In the face of…

For Americans, the Fourth of July is usually a day of picnics, parties, and parades. Putting aside partisan differences and political perspectives, the people of the nation gather to celebrate Independence…

People love to collect things—from baseball cards to stamps to coins. And while collecting can be a fun hobby, it is sobering to think that once we leave this earth, everything…

I love Wrigley Field in Chicago. But like most old ballparks, it has the necessary but aggravating problem of support posts that obscure the view of the game. Unfortunately, I got stuck…

Did you ever try to figure out whether or not someone you loved, loved you in return? Who knows when, but a long time ago some romantic had the idea that…

With e-mail and text messages, the joy of letter writing—and, better yet, receiving letters—is almost a lost commodity. I love getting mail, especially from someone I deeply admire and appreciate. My dad used…

Ever had a one-way friendship? You know the drill—people who always need a favor but never give anything in return. Every time they come close, you can almost hear that sucking sound…

Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis has a beautiful, stately auditorium. I’ll never forget the time I preached there. I was taken with the beauty of it all—the chimes of the carillon,…

I’ll never forget my conversation with Erin, who is an accomplished violinist. As we were talking about violins, I asked her whether or not the coveted violins made by Stradivarius were…

Have you ever taken an “open-book” test? At first blush they seem like a piece of cake. You can actually have the book open during the test! No late-night cramming. No last-minute…

An oft-quoted movie line comes from Napoleon Dynamite. The line closes the film, after Napoleon’s brother, Kip, gets married and rides off on horseback with his new bride. If you’re a closet…

There I was, minding my own business, shopping for an anniversary card for Martie when something on another shelf caught my eye. It was a box with a tantalizing picture of…

The month of June brings many sure signs of summer: the sweet smell of cut grass, soft breezes, picnics, fireflies, thunderstorms—and runners. This unique breed of humanity, forced to run circles in…

All of us who have kids have been guilty of ending an argument about why they should or shouldn’t do something with the conversation stopper: “Because I said so.” The reply…