Ed Towne was a minister I knew of in the Chicago area when I was growing up. He was truly one of the best speakers that I had heard as a teenager. What made him unique as a speaker was that he was profoundly deaf. His pronunciation of words would give away his hearing loss, yet he spoke with power and authority. Three weeks before he died in a tragic automobile accident he wrote an article for his congregation. It was a prayer where he committed everything about himself physically to everything he knew about the Lord. Yes, he even committed his ears to the Lord, asking the Lord to help him hear the cries of the weak and less fortunate. You will be deeply moved by what Ed Towne prayed, shortly before his death. Let his prayer speak to you as you listen to it!
Put Off the Old… Put On the New
I don’t know if you’ve ever known anyone whose life was dramatically and completely changed by the power of God. Helen Gonzalez was a woman who would tell you that’s exactly happened to her. Living in Los Angeles, her husband introduced her to hard core drugs. She happened to come across a business card for a Christian drug treatment center in the LA area. Hearing the gospel of Christ for the very first time, she said that “A glimmer of home beamed into her heart”. It turned out to be her deliverance and salvation! What could the gospel do in your life?
On Being Wrong
Admitting one is wrong is not only difficult, it is nearly impossible for some. Years ago, a man told me he would prefer a “proverbial beating” to admitting he was wrong about anything. His pride was such a dominating force in his life, admitting he was wrong was simply unthinkable. This story is about a man who came to the point of admitting he was wrong about some people in his life. For years he claimed the people at the church his wife and children attended were phonies and hypocrites. “All they want is my money”, he would say. Cancer changed all that, especially when he started receiving cards and letters from those hypocrites. Their wishes of love and blessing broke through his pride as he faced the end of his life. Perhaps this visual story will speak to this issue in your life!
Dr. Paul Pearsall was a neuro-psychologist who died in 2007. He wrote about the psychological changes that have happened to people who’ve had heart transplants. His book is not without controversy, but he powerfully describes what has happened to people’s lives emotionally and spiritually. They are not the same, once they’ve been given a new heart. Jesus Christ has been in the “heart transplant” business long before Paul Pearsall wrote about it! He gives men and women of all ages a new reason to live and hope in today’s world. Listen to what Dr. Pearsall told about an actual transplant recipient. It will move you deeply, especially when you recognize the heart changing abilities of the Lord, God Almighty to recreate your heart and mine!
Brokenness (From Chuck Swindoll)
Years ago, my favorite preacher, Ben Haden from Chattanooga, Tennessee told me what he felt was the most important quality that a minister should possess. It wasn’t what I expected at all. In one word he said, “Brokenness”. Until a minister has been broken, he really has nothing to offer the Lord. That was a strong statement to a young minister who thought he “knew everything”. Ben Haden was right, brokenness is really all we do have to offer the Lord, brokenness over our sin and failure. It’s the true offering we offer the Lord. Listen to this Visual Story that tells the story told by Chuck Swindoll years ago about a young man coming to the end of his rope emotionally, physically, and spiritually in an empty church in San Diego. Perhaps his story is and could be your story. We come to the end of ourselves, and become new in Christ Jesus! Could today be the day you admit your brokenness?
This story, originally shared by Max Lucado of Texas, has spoken to hearts of many, many people. It’s one of those “unexplainable” moments in life that happen from time to time in people’s lives. It’s about a man’s mother in the last moments of her life, actually experiencing something “other worldly”. All that the son heard was his mother’s side of the conversation, experience, or revelation. It doesn’t prove anything, necessarily. Unless you happen to be someone who believes that there is something beyond this life. Then it may open your eyes to something you’ve never thought of, or even dreamed of in your history on this earth. This woman “crossed over” from this life to the next. What do you think she experienced? The Apostle Paul put it this way: “To be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord!” We all will “crossover” someday!
You may have never been in a jail or lock up, but you know what bondage means. Bondage can take different forms in our lives. Bondage doesn’t have to be physical to be real. The writer of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament said that people can be in bondage to the “fear of death” all their lives. Fear is the great “slave taker” of many lives! Not just fear of death, but the fear of life! Jesus came to take away the fear of death, and any other fear that binds us! He is the Deliverer; His deliverance deals with the fear that haunts you and maybe that binds you!
Oswald Chambers write this in “My Utmost for His Highest”, updated edition. “The things that Jesus did were of the most menial of everyday tasks, and this is the indication that it takes all of God’s power in me to accomplish even the most common of tasks in His way. Can I use a towel as He did? The ordinary things in our lives reveal what we made of more quickly than anything else!” Here is a story of ordinary people doing ordinary things that God used in a miraculous way to bless others in a powerful way! Can God use us to do the same?
Our Real Need
When we talk about needs in our lives, most people think “physical”. We live in a physical world, we work in a physical world, and we live and die in a physical world. But not all of our needs are simply physical; we do have “spiritual needs” in our lives. We may not acknowledge those needs, but the time comes when we have to face those needs. This is the powerful story of a missionary in Peru who came to the realization that all needs are not simply physical. There is a spiritual dimension to life that we have to come to terms with. A young naïve new Christian introduced this professional Bible translator to the spiritual warfare around them. He dealt with the demonic in the only way he observed: from the Word of God! Let it speak to you!
One of the earliest verses I remember my parents quoting from the Bible was Genesis 22:14, “The Lord will provide”. It must have been important to them, giving up a position as a sales manager of a company in Chicago in order to enter a Bible College to prepare for ministry! They had two children to raise as well. This visual story is to me the epitome of someone trusting the Lord to provide. She was known by all as “Mother Teresa”, the person in charge of a ministry in Calcutta, India. They fed 20,000 people every day, 365 days a year! One day she was told, there is no food to give the people. Listen to how the Lord responded to that need. The word provision says it all!
One of the most spiritual moments in a man or woman’s life is when he or she comes to the point of acknowledging that God is their source for everything! Don’t most Christians do that? I really don’t think so. Truth be known, what do you really look at as your source? When we look to the Lord as our source, everything in life takes on a different shape or color. When we come to the realization that even our next breath is a “gift” from God, the nature of life will take on a whole new meaning. Don’t outsource your life; your source is the living Lord!
I’ll be the first to tell you that this story may be “canned”. Meaning someone composed or wrote this story in England where the story originates. But I will also be the first that the question posed by this story may be the most important someone has asked you in years! “Do you love Jesus?” is a question far more important than it may seem. Jesus said that the most important commandment in scripture out of 613 laws was this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind!” Loving Christ, is loving God the Father! What’s your answer to that little girl’s question?
Two of the most evocative words in the English language are these: “coming home”. For some they evoke sad memories; for others they bring out great emotion and joy. Which is it for you? Dr. David Redding, a minister I knew years ago tells of his coming home after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. His description of his dog Teddy welcoming him home after being gone for several years will grab your heart! It really will! Becoming a Christian in a very real sense is “coming home”. You and I come home to the Father through the Son. We really do! Have you come home yet?
Sun or Son?
Life is a series of choices. When you got up this morning, you decided not only to eat or not to eat; you decided what to eat. You may have opted for protein or carbohydrates, caffeine or a non-caffeine beverage. We all know the drill! If you work, you chose a route to your place of work. You may opt for a different mode of transportation, depending upon what’s available to you. I think you get the point. In a sense, the spiritual choice in life is either in the “sun” and what that term represents to you. Or it’s in the “Son”, meaning Jesus and the Kingdom of God. Is it really that simple? The Bible says we ultimately choose life and death; with life being in the Son of God! What choice have you made? What choice could you make, today?
Have you ever “stood firm” on the price of a car or house? Most people have. We know what it’s like to deal with someone else who has done that with us. We serve a creator God who has stands firm on His word and promises. One of the Old Testament titles of God is “God of the Oath”. If there ever was a time in history to stand firm on anything, it is now! Stand firm in His promises and His hope; He stands with you and for you! You can trust the “God of the Oath”! The One who said He would rise again, did! He said He was coming back to claim His own. He will!
Have you ever referred to someone you know as a “monster”? Probably, you have. We all have at one time or another. And yet as hard as it may be to believe, we all can be “monster” like, meaning we can do something, say something, or think something we never thought we would do, say, or think. That’s what Kay Warren, wife of Rick Warren discovered in a trip to Rwanda, Africa. What she said about her experience there will actually convict you and me in a profound way. We may not commit genocide, but we are all capable of doing things that we condemn in others. See what you think after listening and watching this Visual Story on CrossHope!
The Shepherd’s Staff
There is a reason that Psalm 23 is the most well-known Psalm in the Bible and certainly may be the most well known in the Bible in general as well. Supposedly, it is quoted by more people on their death beds than any other scripture. I have no reason to doubt this! Why does it reach the hearts of so many people, including yours? Listen to this visual story and I think you’ll discover why! Psalm 23 goes to the deepest need in your life and mine. We all need a shepherd. You may have never believed that, until today!
Of all of the “Visual Stories” that are on the CrossHope website, this one is truly one of my favorites! For some reason, it speaks to me. I’m not a fan of science fiction movies at all, and have never seen the movie, “Avatar”. Yet, that is the basis of this story and illustration about the eternal. What is the yearning in your heart for the future? Not tomorrow or next year, or even a decade from now. As you read and watch this Visual Story, let it speak to your heart that the Bible says has been implanted with a desire for the eternal! Eternal is forever!
When a man or woman tells me that they are “looking for God”, I often wonder if it means God is “looking for them already!” Is the Lord already working in their circumstances to try to reach them? This story is about a man who humbled himself in brokenness before his earthly father. Something happened in that experience; his heavenly Father found him! Does the Lord need to work in your brokenness as well? When you come to the Lord in brokenness, He comes to us in power!
There are few movies I have seen in my life where I remember one scene in particular. Such is the case with a British movie that came out in 2008 called “Slumdog Millionaire”. (I left on a mission trip to India after seeing the film. The experience definitely impacted my life!) It’s about orphans in the city of Mumbai, India. If you didn’t see it, I want you to watch and listen to the “Visual Story” that describes that scene in detail. It’s a scene that is a parable for the cross of Christ! It really and truly is. Watch and listen to this message today, and you will perhaps be moved in your heart and spirit, in an unexpected way!
The Deceitful Heart
It’s a horrible feeling when you realize you have been deceived or conned by someone else. Isn’t it amazing that were not that necessarily disturbed when we are the victim of our own deception? We tolerate “self-deception” seemingly more than when someone else does it. Listen and watch this Visual Story about the deceptiveness of our own heart. You may be surprised how vulnerable we are to fooling ourselves about moral issues and Biblical matters!
One of the saddest words in the English language is the word, “abandoned”. When you think of the phrase to “abandon ship” or an “abandoned house”, all kinds of emotions come into play. And yet the David speaking of the Lord in Psalm 16:10 says, “You will not abandon me to the grave.” The God, who will not abandon you in death, will not abandon you in life. That’s the theme of this visual story that will speak to your soul today as you watch and listen!
A Vision of Hope
As a “habitual” story teller, I notice how stories impact listeners. This is a story that had an impact on those I was speaking in a particular message about hope. You and I cannot live without hope! Someone has said that “hope is the parent of faith”. If that is true, that is especially true for the Christian. Jesus is called “the Hope of Glory” for a reason. You and I need the source of hope in this life!
The Right Word
There are actually two stories to this Visual Story. One is the obvious point about people facing death together on an airline flight where something went terribly wrong. People literally were reaching out to one another, thinking death might be seconds or minutes away. But the other point is the idea the importance of someone simply “saying something” at the right time to the right person. Has that ever happened to you or “from” you? Listen to “The Right Word” from CrossHope Ministries today!
It’s not often that I can describe a funeral simply by quoting one sentence spoken at the service. Yet I can, by sharing what was said by a grown son at his father’s funeral in Dallas, Texas. To me, it is the most powerful statement made by a family member at any memorial service. Listen and watch this Visual Story to hear just one sentence! What one sentence could be shared at your funeral service? Think about it!