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Would You Believe a Healing Miracle Caught on Tape?

Lee StrobelBy Lee Strobel

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:1-5

Duane Miller’s greatest enjoyment came from preaching at his small church and singing songs of worship. It wasn’t just his livelihood to lead a Baptist congregation in Brenham, Texas; it was his passion, his calling, and his source of joy and satisfaction.

When he awoke with the flu one Sunday morning, his throat was like sandpaper and his voice would “catch” on words. Each syllable was painful to speak. The flu soon disappeared, but his windpipe remained ablaze and his voice reduced to a raspy whisper. His throat felt constricted, as if someone were choking him.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Do Miracles Happen?: An Interview with Lee Strobel]

For all practical purposes, Miller’s voice was gone. No longer able to preach, he resigned from his pastorate. He eventually landed a government job researching records—a position he then lost because his inability to speak meant he couldn’t testify in court about his findings. Insurance stopped covering his treatments, and he faced thousands of dollars in medical bills.

“For the first time in my life, I felt utterly useless. My income, my future, my health, my sense of well-being, all were suddenly beyond my control. It was a terrifying and humbling experience,” he said.

Over three years, he was examined by 63 physicians. His case was even scrutinized by a Swiss symposium of the world’s leading throat specialists. The diagnosis: the flu virus destroyed the nerves of his vocal cords, rendering them limp. When Miller asked about his prognosis for recovery, a doctor told him, “Zero.”

Despite Miller’s protestations, his former Sunday school class at First Baptist Church of Houston prevailed on him to speak. A special microphone was used to amplify Miller’s soft, hoarse, croaky voice—and the class agreed to endure the grating sound because of their love for him and his teaching.

Ironically, his text was Psalm 103, where the third verse reads, God “heals all your diseases.” Miller said later, “With my tongue, I was saying, ‘I still believe that God heals,’ but in my heart, I was screaming, ‘But why not me, Lord?’”

He went on to the next verse, which says the Lord “redeems your life from the pit.” He told the class, “I have had, and you have had, in times past, pit experiences.”

As soon as he said the word pit, the choking sensation disappeared. “Now, for the first time in three years, I could breathe freely,” he recalled. “I heard a gasp from the crowd, and that’s when I, too, realized my voice had come back. I could hear myself!”

His stunned audience began to clap and cheer, shout and laugh; his wife, Joylene, broke down in tears. “I don’t understand this right now,” Miller stammered—with a fresh, new voice.

The dramatic moment of Miller’s recovery had been captured on audiotape, which went viral. Subsequent doctor examinations showed his throat looks like it never had any problems; in fact, against all odds, even the scar tissue has disappeared.

Said one physician, “Even if I could explain how you got your voice back by coincidence—which I can’t—I could never explain what happened to the scar tissue.”

Today, Miller is pastor of Pinnacle Church, serving the Cedar Creek Lake area of Texas. Ironically, he also hosts a daily program on a Dallas radio station—yes, using his voice to tell others about the God who he is convinced still performs miracles.

“You see, God didn’t just restore my life,” he said. “He amplified it.”

At his website, you can listen to the tape of when his voice came back. Then ask, “Is this a supernatural act of God? Or is it better explained as some sort of spontaneous remission that only coincidentally occurred while he was quoting the Bible on healing?”

It’s clear where Miller stands. He is as perplexed as anyone why he was selected for such dramatic supernatural action. “I can’t give you ‘ten principles to prepare for God’s healing,’” he said. “It wasn’t my faith, it wasn’t my response, it wasn’t my obedience, I didn’t earn a thing. I just received His unearned favor.”

And he is not alone when it comes to believing in miracles, according to a 2004 survey, which showed that 55 percent of US physicians have seen results in their patients that they would consider miraculous. Furthermore, three-quarters of the 1,100 doctors surveyed are convinced that miracles can occur today—a percentage that’s actually higher than that of the US population in general. So maybe it’s not surprising that six out of ten physicians said they pray for their patients individually.

The big issue, however, is whether belief in supernatural occurrences is based on mistake, misunderstanding, fraud, legend, rumor, wishful thinking, confirmation bias, the placebo effect—or reality.

In other words, does a miracle-performing God actually exist, and has he left his fingerprints all over supernatural events throughout history down to the present age? Is he even available to intervene in your life today?

That’s what I set out to determine in writing The Case for Miracles. I’ve done the investigation; I’ve made the case; I’ve rendered my verdict. Now’s your opportunity to explore the evidence and render yours.

________

The Case for MiraclesAdapted from The Case for Miracles: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural by Lee Strobel. Click here to learn more about this title.

In The Case for Miracles, New York Times bestselling author Lee Strobel trains his investigative sights on the hot-button issue of whether it’s credible to believe God intervenes supernaturally in people’s lives today.

The book starts with a provocative interview in which America’s foremost skeptic builds a seemingly persuasive case against the miraculous. But then Strobel travels the country to quiz scholars to see whether they can offer solid answers to atheist objections. Along the way, he encounters astounding accounts of healings and other phenomena that simply cannot be explained away by naturalistic causes. The book features the results of exclusive new scientific polling that shows miracle accounts are much more common than people think.

What’s more, Strobel delves into the most controversial question of all: what about miracles that don’t happen? If God can intervene in the world, why doesn’t he do it more often to relieve suffering? Many American Christians are embarrassed by the supernatural, not wanting to look odd or extreme to their neighbors. Yet, The Case for Miracles shows not only that the miraculous is possible, but that God still does intervene in our world in awe-inspiring ways. Here’s a unique book that examines all sides of this issue and comes away with a passionate defense for God’s divine action in lives today. Learn more about this book at CaseForMiracles.com.

Lee Strobel was the award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune and is the bestselling author of The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, The Case for a Creator, and The Case for Grace. With a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale, Lee has won four Gold Medallions for publishing excellence and coauthored the Christian Book of the Year. He serves as Professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University. For more information, visit LeeStrobel.com.

How to Have Courage: An Interview with Michael Anthony

Michael AnthonyHow can a person have courage in a world that is increasingly hostile to Christian beliefs and values? How can you best overcome being fearful, apathetic, and detached? What is courageous humility?

Bible Gateway interviewed Michael Anthony (@CourageMatters) about his book, A Call for Courage: Living with Power, Truth, and Love in an Age of Intolerance and Fear (Thomas Nelson, 2018).

Buy your copy of A Call for Courage in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

What do you mean when you write, “When you live for God in secret, he can make great moves through you in public”?

Michael Anthony: Integrity is being the same person in public that we are in private. While God can use anyone and anything to accomplish his purpose (he spoke through Balaam’s donkey, as recorded in Numbers 22), godly character is a vital ingredient if we want to be used by God consistently. 2 Timothy 2:20-21 (NIV) says, “In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”

The Bible teaches that our public influence for God is maximized and most consistent when our private devotion to him is genuine; where no one else may see it.

Why do you believe many Christians have only the most basic understanding of the Bible and why is that a problem?

Michael Anthony: One reason is that a good number of churches do a great job at evangelism – but few have a well thought-out process for taking people deeper in Christ once they’re saved. The Great Commission is not just about evangelism. It’s about discipleship. Jesus said, “go and make disciples . . . teaching them to obey everything I commanded” (Matthew 28:20, italics mine, for emphasis).

A disciple is someone who is constantly looking to go deeper in Christ—but pastors and church leaders need to see depth as the bulls-eye for which they’re aiming, or they’ll unintentionally miss the mark of Jesus, which is growth, depth of character, and Christ-likeness.

If Christ-like character is presented as a mist in the pulpit, it’ll be a fog in the pew. Shepherds need to lead their sheep to depth in Christ, teach the Bible, and apply it to the 21st century.

How do you see Christians misapplying 2 Chronicles 7:13-14?

Michael Anthony: 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 isn’t a call for intercession, but for repentance. The verses don’t address the people of the world, but God’s people. They applied to the nation of Israel, yet the principle is timeless for us, today. When God wants to change the world, his people need to walk humbly with him.

Humility and repentance are inseparable. The great need today is a real movement of repentant humility to radiate from the church; a revolution of what I call in the book, “courageous humility.” Real change needs to begin in God’s house. We shouldn’t wait for it to come through the White House, or from the people in the world. Whenever God wants to do a mighty work, a thorough house cleaning is in order.

Who are heroes of the Bible to whom you point in the book as those who should be emulated by Christians today?

Michael Anthony: In chapter 3, “Heroes and Underdogs,” I go through this in detail—with the purpose of helping the reader understand that God has only and always had imperfect people to work with. Every character in the Bible we see God using powerfully is an example we can look up to and learn from today.

Studying the lives of people in the Bible is a great way to learn lessons from their successes. It’s also a great way to learn from their failures, so we don’t repeat them. In modern times, I think Billy Graham is one of the greatest examples of courageous humility we can all learn from. He’s one of my heroes, and his life and ministry still impacts me to this day, and will until I die.

In your book, you explore the relationship between courage and humility. Can you explain what the relationship is and what led you to explore it?

Michael Anthony: Godly courage is the byproduct of humility. That’s what I found in my times wrestling with—examining my own failures and immersing myself in—the Bible. Courage and humility are not at odds with each other, but two sides of the very same coin.

A number of years ago I began studying the lives of biblical characters, looking for traits they had, while examining deficiencies in my own life. I was struck by the presence of godly courage whenever there was real humility. I’m still struck by this reality, and I find it deeply motivating.

Whenever I’m fearful before people, it’s usually a sign that I’m no longer pursuing humility before God. My courage ebbs and flows in proportion to my submission to Jesus. This is universally true—for everyone—and it’s why I wanted to write about it in A Call for Courage.

Is the Bible primarily a book of exceptions or examples?

Michael Anthony: Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out what I think! But more importantly, this is a question everyone needs to answer once and for all—because the answer determines how you’ll live, or not live, for God. I’ll give you a hint, though, and say that I think many people think the examples of how God used other people in the Bible are exceptions, and that’s one reason why we don’t attempt or accomplish otherwise incredible things for God.

Many of us talk about having faith and doing great things for God—but then we exclude ourselves from the process. Yes, there are exceptions in the Bible, and plenty of them. But if someone believes the Bible is primarily a book of exceptions, they miss one of the main points of why God gave us the Bible in the first place.

What is the practical outworking of “speaking the truth in love” in a post-modern culture that doesn’t believe absolute truth (distinct right and wrong) exists?

Michael Anthony: The practical outworking of “speaking the truth in love” in a post-modern culture is that while people may not agree with the idea of truth, or our understanding of the truth, when they experience our genuine concern, compassion, and love, they cannot ignore the truth. Ephesians 4 says we’re to speak the truth in love. It’s not one or the other; it’s both.

Love is what opens the door to having an audience for the truth. Truth is a difficult thing to continually dismiss if love is relentless. And love is the ingredient that needs to be revived in much of our attempts to deliver the truth. God doesn’t call us to merely win arguments, but to win souls. Souls are won over when the truth is delivered, consistently, with genuine love. People can sense love even if and when they reject our truth.

Jesus was known as a friend of tax collectors and sinners. He delivered truth with a clear reputation for loving those who needed to embrace it. When we embrace Jesus’ approach, we too will be known as friends of the same kinds of people. In fact, unless we are, I’m not sure we’re embracing truth and love. It may be a sign that we’re missing the ingredient that made Jesus’ delivery of the truth so magnetic among the lost: love.

What are practical steps you lay out in the book for people to achieve “humble courage”?

Michael Anthony: When I wrote A Call for Courage, I wrote it as a book designed to spark a personal revival in the life of the reader, and in his or her family and church. It’s a book designed to spark and sustain a movement of courageous humility throughout America, beginning in the church. Humble courage is not about a technique, but about an entirely new way of life based upon the teachings of Jesus.

A Call for Courage is a manifesto of how to develop humble courage. This is why there are pull quotes emblazoned in every chapter, so the key points are unmistakable, and it’s why every chapter ends with a brief summary and specific action steps the reader can take to apply what they just read. Humble courage is not about applying a few new techniques. It’s about (re)discovering biblical Christianity in all its power.

What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?

Michael Anthony: My favorite Bible passages are John 4:23-24:
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

And Romans 12:1-2: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

The reason I love these verses is because God used them powerfully in my life during real revivals I experienced in the Solomon Islands. They shaped the entire focus of my life and ministry, and helped me understand that true worship requires a surrendered life. Without surrender, there is no worship.

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App?

Michael Anthony: I love Bible Gateway and your app because you’re a great source for people to go deeper with God through the Bible. In today’s world, depth with God is more important than ever, and Bible Gateway helps people go deeper with God by getting them into his word.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Michael Anthony: Most of the lessons I’ve learned in life, I’ve learned through failure. If anyone is reading this and feels like they’re a failure, or they don’t measure up, I’d encourage him or her to learn from their mistakes and share them with others to spare them hardships. Failure is only failure when we’re not willing to learn and grow.

Thank you so very much for the honor of being your guest here on Bible Gateway!


A Call for Courage is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.


Bio: Michael Anthony is the author of A Call for Courage: Living with Power, Truth, and Love in an Age of Intolerance and Fear. He is a popular speaker and blogger (The Courage Matters™ app, @CourageMatters, and CourageMatters.com), founder of the National Week of Repentance™, and lead pastor of Grace Fellowship in York, Pennsylvania (GraceYork.com). He and his work have been featured in major publications and news outlets, such as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Fox, CNN, ABC News, CBS News, Townhall.com, American Family Radio, The Christian Post, Charisma News, Beliefnet.com, WND.com, and Patheos.com. He lives with his family in York, Pennsylvania.

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Passion Week Timeline: Monday and Tuesday

Do you know the biblical day-by-day chronology of events of Passion Week, also known as Holy Week? Here’s a close-up view of what transpired in the days leading to the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday. For the Infographic detailing the entire week, see our Holy Week Timeline, which we encourage you to download, print, and share with your church or community.

Browse resources for Easter in the Bible Gateway Store.

Here’s the close-up look for Holy Monday and Tuesday along with the associated Scripture portions: What Happened on Monday and Tuesday of Holy Week?

Event timeline of Holy Monday and Tuesday

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What Does It Mean to Walk by Faith?

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The following article by Dr. Jerry Vines is taken from The Vines Expository Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2018).

The Journey of Faith | Genesis 12:1-8

All of us are on the journey of life. We can make the journey in one of two ways. We can make the journey on the basis of what our eyes can see—that’s walking by sight. Or we can make the journey on the basis of what we cannot see—that’s walking by faith.

The Bible says we walk not by sight but by faith (2 Cor. 5:7). God wants each person’s life’s journey to be a journey of faith. Through the life of Abraham, we learn what walking the journey of life by faith really means.

I. The Call of Faith (12:1-3)

Genesis 12:1 says, “Now the LORD had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country.’” Notice that the Bible says that in the life of faith, God always takes the initiative. Somebody said, “I sought the Lord until I finally found Him.” In reality, if you ever sought the Lord, it’s because the Lord had previously searched for you. Jesus said, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). God always takes the first step and makes the first move. God reached out to Abram.

A cost is also involved. God told Abram he had to leave his country, Ur of the Chaldeans, and his father’s house.

Sometimes when God sends us, He doesn’t tell us the whole story. But notice that God made seven promises to Abram in Genesis 12:2-3:

  1. “I will make you a great nation”
  2. “I will bless you”—God did indeed bless Abraham
  3. I will “make your name great”—Abram’s name (Abraham as he is referred to later) is revered in the three major religions of the world: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity
  4. “You shall be a blessing”—indeed, Abram has been a blessing
  5. “I will bless those who bless you”—historically, those who have blessed the Jewish people, God has blessed
  6. “I will curse him who curses you”
  7. “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed”—through the line of Abram, this great man who was willing to obey the call of God to faith, ultimately came the Savior. You and I have a Savior whose name is Jesus because of God’s promise to Abraham.

Isn’t this amazing? One act of obedience! God basically says, “Abraham, you follow Me; and if you will, I will bless you seven ways.”

II. The Compliance of Faith (12:4–6)

Here was Abram, settled down, prosperous business, everything going well. God spoke to Abram, telling him to follow His instructions and become a blessing to the world. The Bible says that Abraham obeyed and departed.

Faith is based on God’s Word, and faith is demonstrated by obedience. Total obedience means giving all your time, talent, and treasure. It means giving your totality to Christ. Believers should never be satisfied to be “halfway” Christians. We should go the whole route with the Lord Jesus Christ, giving Him everything we have.

III. The Confession of Faith (12:7-8)

In two symbolic ways, Abram would confess his faith in the Lord. Look at Genesis 12:7: “The LORD appeared to Abram.” When Abram arrived where God had sent him, the Lord was there to greet him. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” This means that the same Jesus who called you to follow Him by faith will meet you where He sends you.

Notice in Genesis 12:8 that Abram did two things: he pitched a tent, and he built an altar. I circled tent and altar in my Bible. Those two symbolic actions demonstrate Abram’s confession of faith in the Lord.

Abram pitched a tent. Back in Haran, he had probably been dwelling in a very nice, luxurious home. From this point on, he began to live in a tent. Why? God had made it clear to Abram that he was to live in a tent as a confession that he understood this world was his temporary dwelling, and that he was going to a city whose builder and maker is God (see Heb. 11:10).

Please don’t get too attached to this old world. Don’t drive your stakes down too deep. If you have responded to God by faith, if you are on the journey of faith, God has promised you a better world. Remember—you are a stranger and a pilgrim.

Abram also built an altar. The Bible says that he called on the name of the Lord. The altar reminded him of his devotion to the Lord—that his all was to be on the altar. We face the same lesson in Romans 12:1 where we’re told to present our bodies as “a living sacrifice.” Have you laid your all on that altar for Jesus Christ? Is Jesus absolutely number one in your life?

Genesis 12:8 also says that Ai was on the east and Bethel on the west. Ai means heap of ruins; Bethel means house of God. Abram’s altar was between his daily choices of direction for his life. Would he move his life toward the heap of ruins, or would he move his life toward the house of God?

Every day in this journey of faith, that’s the decision we must make. We have to decide if we will live toward that heap of ruins, the things of this world, or if we will we live toward Bethel, the house of God.

When you make that decision by faith, when you say goodbye to this old world and hello to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, then you are on the journey of faith.

The above article is taken from The Vines Expository Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Jerry Vines. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com. All rights reserved.

Dr. Jerry Vines

Bio: Dr. Jerry Vines Dr. Jerry Vines (@jerryvines) is a native of Carrollton, Georgia and was educated at Mercer University (BA), New Orleans Theological Seminary (BD), and Luther Rice Seminary, (ThD). He has spent over 60 years as a Baptist pastor/preacher and was elected President of several Pastors’ Conferences throughout his ministry career. Dr. Vines spent 24 years serving as the Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida, retiring in 2006 to focus on mentoring and leading a new generation of pastors through his seminars and teaching materials. He and his wife, Janet have four children and seven grandchildren.

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Bible News Roundup – Week of March 25, 2018

Read this week’s Bible Gateway Weekly Brief newsletter
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Infographic: What Happened During Holy Week Day-By-Day
Bible Gateway Blog post
See the Lent and Easter resource sections in the Bible Gateway Store

Bill Could Allow Bible as an Option in Alabama Public Schools
The News Courier

Two Bibles Only Items to Survive North Carolina House Fire
Spectrum News

Rare 16th Century Geneva Bible Discovered in Basement at Derby UK’s Central Library
Derby Telegraph
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The 1599 Geneva Bible: History’s First Study Bible

Lenya Heitzig: I Was a Committed Atheist and Then This Incredible Thing Happened to Me
FOX News
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Overview of the Bible from 30,000 Feet: An Interview with Skip Heitzig

Cuba Experiencing Revival, Needs Bibles
Mission Network News

Zimbabwe: First-Ever Shona Study Bible to Launch in 2019
ZimEye
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Bible Translated Into 49 Languages in 2017

DOOR International to Hold Sign Language Scripture Celebration in Kenya
MissionsBox

UK Has Among the Fewest Christian Young Adults in Europe, Study Finds
Premier

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Infographic: What Happened During Holy Week Day-By-Day

Buy your copy of To the Cross in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day“Holy Week” in the Christian church calendar commemorates the chronology of Jesus’ triumphal entry, last supper, betrayal, arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Proclaiming the Gospel from the Upper Room to the Cross: An Interview with Christopher J. H. Wright]

As Holy Week plays out, the story’s breadth and depth makes it somewhat complex. To help you understand the events, places, and people of Holy Week day-by-day, Bible Gateway has prepared this Infographic that visualizes each of the different facets of the Easter story as they lead to Resurrection Sunday.

[Browse the Lenten Resources section and the Easter Resources section in the Bible Gateway Store]

Bible Gateway's Infographic Holy Week Day-by-Day
(Click the image above for a full-size version. It’s also available in PDF.)

Each line in the chart represents a different person or faction that played a major role in the Easter story. Follow the lines to see how these individuals and groups interacted with each other during the events of Holy Week; read the Bible passages associated with each major event to learn about them. See this post for more information about how to read this timeline and what it does and doesn’t show. (This chart is an interpretation, drawn from the different Gospel accounts. There’s room for some interpretation in the timing of some of these events.)

We encourage you to project the above infographic during your church services and to print copies of the above PDF version to distribute them to people at your church. Please include the following information: Copyright ©2013 Bible Gateway, part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. Released under a Creative Commons-Attribution-Noncommercial license. Visit www.BibleGateway.com to freely search, read, hear, and share the Bible.

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Billy Graham’s Wrestle with the Bible

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The following article is excerpted from Just As I Am by Billy Graham with permission from HarperOne/HarperCollins, copyright 2007.

By Billy Graham

One of God’s hidden stratagems to prepare me for Los Angeles was an engagement I had made for late summer that I was not enthusiastic about keeping. At the end of August, the annual College Briefing Conference met at Forest Home, a retreat center east of Los Angeles. In my role as the then-youngest college president in America, I had agreed to speak, but after Altoona I did not feel I had much to say.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Billy Graham: 1918 — 2018]

Head of the conference was Miss Henrietta Mears, director of religious education at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. From a wealthy background, she was always dressed in the latest fashion, and she wore tasteful makeup and fine jewelry. Always positive, she had a great love for down-and-outs. She was a former high school chemistry teacher in Minneapolis and had been a key worker in the Sunday school at Dr. Riley’s First Baptist Church. Some twenty years before, she accepted an invitation to serve at the Hollywood church. Within three years of her arrival, she had built a dynamic Christian education program, with the Sunday school enrollment rising from a fairly respectable Presbyterian 450 to an absolutely awesome 4,500; it was the talk of the West Coast. In the class she herself taught for college students, weekly attendance ran to 500 men and women who were devoted to “Teacher,” as she was called. Her enthusiasm for the Lord Jesus Christ was contagious.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Bible Verses Read at the Funeral of Billy Graham]

Other speakers included her own pastor at Hollywood Presbyterian, Dr. Louis Evans; my good friend and fellow seeker Chuck Templeton, who had just finished his first year at Princeton seminary; and evangelist-scholar J. Edwin Orr, who had received his PhD from Oxford University and was an authority on religious revivals. As always, I felt intimidated by so many bright and gifted leaders, which just added to my generally low spirits at the time. I would just as soon have been at Forest Lawn, the famous Los Angeles cemetery, as at Forest Home.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, A Billy Graham Crusade Snapshot]

During the week, I had times of prayer and private discussion with Miss Mears at her cottage. Rarely had I witnessed such Christian love and compassion as she had for those students. She had faith in the integrity of the Scriptures, and an understanding of Bible truth as well as modern scholarship. I was desperate for every insight she could give me.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, How to Live The Bible — “The Bible Says…” – Billy Graham]

By contrast, Chuck Templeton had a passion for intellectualism that had been stimulated by his studies. He made no attempt to hide his feelings about me. “Billy, you’re fifty years out of date. People no longer accept the Bible as being inspired the way you do. Your faith is too simple. Your language is out of date. You’re going to have to learn the new jargon if you’re going to be successful in your ministry.” My friend Bob Evans, who had been at Wheaton with me, was also at Forest Home. He overheard Chuck say, “Poor Billy, I feel sorry for him. He and I are taking two different roads.”

This cut me to the quick; the friendship and fellowship we had enjoyed meant a great deal to me. Ironically, the Christian Business Men’s Committee of Greater Los Angeles (which was taking a great step of faith in having an unknown evangelist like me) had invited Chuck to speak in July at a “booster dinner” for the Campaign.

I ached as if I were on the rack, with Miss Mears stretching me one way and Chuck Templeton stretching me the other. Alone in my room one evening, I read every verse of Scripture I could think of that had to do with “thus saith the Lord.” I recalled hearing someone say that the prophets had used the phrase “the Word of the Lord said” (or similar wording) more than two thousand times. I had no doubts concerning the deity of Jesus Christ or the validity of the Gospel, but was the Bible completely true? If I was not exactly doubtful, I was certainly disturbed.

I pondered the attitude of Christ toward the Scriptures. He loved those sacred writings and quoted from them constantly. Never once did He intimate that they could be wrong. In fact, He verified some of the stories in the Old Testament that were the hardest to believe, such as those concerning Noah and Jonah. With the Psalmist, He delighted in the law of the Lord, the Scriptures.

As that night wore on, my heart became heavily burdened. Could I trust the Bible? With the Los Angeles Campaign galloping toward me, I had to have an answer. If I could not trust the Bible, I could not go on. I would have to quit the school presidency. I would have to leave pulpit evangelism. I was only thirty years of age. It was not too late to become a dairy farmer. But that night I believed with all my heart that the God who had saved my soul would never let go of me.

I got up and took a walk. The moon was out. The shadows were long in the San Bernardino Mountains surrounding the retreat center. Dropping to my knees there in the woods, I opened the Bible at random on a tree stump in front of me. I could not read it in the shadowy moonlight, so I had no idea what text lay before me. Back at Florida Bible Institute, that kind of woodsy setting had given me a natural pulpit for proclamation. Now it was an altar where I could only stutter into prayer.

The exact wording of my prayer is beyond recall, but it must have echoed my thoughts: “O God! There are many things in this book I do not understand. There are many problems with it for which I have no solution. There are many seeming contradictions. There are some areas in it that do not seem to correlate with modern science. I can’t answer some of the philosophical and psychological questions Chuck and others are raising.”

I was trying to be on the level with God, but something remained unspoken. At last the Holy Spirit freed me to say it. “Father, I am going to accept this as Thy Word—by faith! I’m going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts, and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word.”

When I got up from my knees at Forest Home that August night, my eyes stung with tears. I sensed the presence and power of God as I had not sensed it in months. Not all my questions were answered, but a major bridge had been crossed. In my heart and mind, I knew a spiritual battle in my soul had been fought and won.

Despite all the negotiations and arrangements we had already entered into with the Christian Business Men’s Committee of Greater Los Angeles, I still had a frightening lack of assurance that the Lord really was leading us to Los Angeles.

I had been away from home so much that year that I hated to be leaving again, even though Ruth was going to attempt to join me later. The first week in September, she and I took a short vacation drive up in the northwoods of Minnesota.

We returned to Minneapolis in time for a weekend faculty retreat at Northwestern Schools, where the fall semester was about to begin. I knew that the faculty and students had a right to expect me on campus. I also knew, though, that T.W., Dean Ed Hartill, and Mrs. Riley could capably handle everything for at least a while.

Some of my negative praying would have made even God gloomy, I guessed, if He had not known ahead what He was going to do for the glory of His name.

Excerpted from Just As I Am by Billy Graham with permission from HarperOne/HarperCollins, copyright 2007.


Just As I Am is published by HarperOne/HarperCollins, of which HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway, is associated.


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Do Miracles Happen?: An Interview with Lee Strobel

Lee StrobelHow should miracles be defined? What’s the difference between a miracle, answered prayer, and a coincidence? How many adults believe in miracles and say they’ve experienced them? Can miracles be proven? What could be considered the greatest miracle of all?

In this Q&A, investigative journalist and bestselling author Lee Strobel (@LeeStrobel) talks about his book, The Case for Miracles: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural (Zondervan, 2018).

Buy your copy of The Case for Miracles: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

[Sign up to receive Lee Strobel’s free email newsletter, Investigating Faith]

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Easter is On April Fool’s Day But the Resurrection is No Joke]

You’ve investigated a variety of spiritual topics over the last two decades. What led you to the topic of miracles?

Lee Strobel: After investigating the data of science and the historical underpinnings of Christianity, I concluded that there’s a supernatural Creator and that Jesus rose from the dead. But my skeptical nature didn’t entirely dissipate. While I was convinced that miracles occurred as the Gospels reported, that left open the question of whether God still is available to intervene in human lives today.

My curiosity prompted me to commission a national scientific survey, which was conducted by Barna Research. I wanted to discover where Americans stand on the topic of miracles. And I wanted to know how many people have had an experience that they can only explain as being a miracle of God.

The big issue, however, is whether belief in supernatural occurrences is based on mistake,
misunderstanding, fraud, legend, rumor, wishful thinking, confirmation bias, the placebo effect—or reality.

In other words, does a miracle-performing God actually exist, and has he left his fingerprints all over supernatural events throughout history down to the present age? I was truly interested in testing the strength of the case for miracles.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, The Case for Christ: An Interview with Lee Strobel]

How would you define a miracle as opposed to answered prayer or a coincidence?

Lee Strobel: I’m partial to the definition offered by the late Richard L. Purtill, professor emeritus of philosophy at Western Washington University: “A miracle is an event brought about by the power of God that is a temporary exception to the ordinary course of nature, for the purpose of showing that God has acted in history.”

Some of what we casually classify as “miracles” really seem closer to fortunate “coincidences,” or God at work through routine processes. How can we tell them apart? For me, when I see something extraordinary that has spiritual overtones and is validated by an independent source or event, that’s when the “miracle” bell goes off in my mind.

In other words, a dream about a nebulous figure writing chemistry problems on a blackboard isn’t
miraculous in itself. But if those equations are the very same problems that present themselves on an independently prepared examination the next day, that does seem miraculous—especially when the incident occurs after a prayer pleading for God’s help.

Spontaneous remissions do happen sometimes in serious illnesses, but they usually take place over a period of time and often do not endure. If a serious illness is instantly and permanently eradicated at the exact moment a prayer for healing is being offered—well, that tends to push the needle over into the “miracle” category for me.

What did your scientific survey reveal about American beliefs in miracles?

Lee Strobel: Detailed results of this national scientific survey are reported for the first time in the pages of The Case for Miracles. In general, half of US adults (51%) said they believe the miracles of the Bible happened as they are described. Asked whether miracles are possible today, two out of three Americans (67%) said yes, with only 15% saying no.

Nearly two out of five US adults (38%) said they’re convinced that God has performed at least one miracle for them personally. This is an eye-popping 94,792,000 Americans who are convinced that God has performed at least one miracle for them personally. That’s an astonishing number! Even weeding out instances that were actually “coincidences”—as many of those undoubtedly would be—that still leaves a surprising number of seemingly supernatural events.

Tell about the experts you consulted during research for the book.

Lee Strobel: While I’m a committed Christian whose convictions are widely known, I was truly interested in testing the strength of the case for miracles by speaking with a skeptic. So I sought out the most famous doubter in America, Dr. Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic magazine and a former proselytizer for Jesus who is now an apologist for disbelief.

The first three chapters of The Case for Miracles recount my meeting with Dr. Shermer and his “skeptic’s” case against miracles. His detailed objections to the miraculous helped shape the questions I would ask additional experts throughout my research.

To present the case for miracles, I interviewed Dr. Craig S. Keener, who’s one of the foremost scholars on the miraculous. Dr. Michael Strauss unraveled the astonishing miracle of creation, while Detective J. Warner Wallace explored the miracle of the resurrection.

Among the other experts I spoke with are Dr. Roger Olson, who maintains that many Christian churches are embarrassed by the supernatural, and Dr. Candy Gunther Brown of Indiana University, who has studied the impact of intercessory prayer on healing. I also interviewed Tom Doyle, a missionary who reports on how Jesus is miraculously appearing in the dreams of Muslims in countries closed to the Gospel.

To bring my research full circle, I wrote a chapter called, “When Miracles Don’t Happen.” Often, people pray for supernatural healings that never occur the way they want them to. I interviewed Dr. Douglas Groothuis, a Christian philosopher whose wife is suffering from debilitating dementia at a young age. Despite their fervent prayers, God has not chosen to heal her at this point. This may be the most powerful chapter of any book I’ve ever written, as Dr. Groothuis speaks from his heart as well as from his vast reservoir of philosophical experience.

Can anyone “prove” a miracle has happened? What is the role of science in investigating
supernatural claims?

Lee Strobel: Corroborated eyewitness testimony—especially when coming from multiple, independent observers known for integrity—can go a long way in establishing whether a miracle claim is credible. And while it’s true that a miracle can’t be analyzed in a test tube, there are ways that science and medicine can contribute to the investigation of the supernatural. For one thing, medical records can be compared before and after prayer. In fact, we have peer-reviewed studies published in secular medical journals that point toward the effectiveness of prayer in healing.

Why do you call original creation the “granddaddy” of miracles?

Lee Strobel: If Genesis 1:1 is correct when it reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” then lesser miracles become more credible. In other words, if God can command an entire universe and even time itself to leap into existence, then walking on water would be like a stroll in the park and resurrection would be as simple as a snap of the fingers. If God created the laws of nature when he spoke the universe into existence, then it would be easy for him to occasionally intervene in order to perform miracles of all sorts.

Another major miracle described in the Bible is the resurrection of Jesus. What did your research uncover?

Lee Strobel: I spoke with a decorated homicide investigator, J. Warner Wallace, who subjected the Gospels to months of painstaking analysis through various investigative techniques, including what detectives call forensic statement analysis. Wallace says the evidence for the resurrection is supported by the eyewitness accounts recorded in the Gospels. We find substantial agreement to show each narrator was an independent witness of the same great transaction, although they employed differing literary spotlights in their narratives.

In addition to debunking common arguments against the resurrection such as eyewitness hallucinations, that Jesus really didn’t die on the cross, or that no one was ever buried in the tomb, Wallace discusses the second miracle of the cross: Salvation. The resurrection miracle begets personal miracles of forgiveness, redemption, and new life.

Why are there more stories of modern-day miracles occurring within developing nations than in the United States?

Lee Strobel: In America, we have a lot of sophisticated medical technology, which is God’s gift to us. That’s the way he typically brings healing. But in many other places around the world, that’s not available, and perhaps God’s intervention is the only hope. As Christian author Tim Stafford has observed, there are four characteristics that are often shared by outbreaks of the supernatural:

  1. There’s illiteracy. Miracles show God’s power without language.
  2. People don’t have a framework in their culture for theological concepts such as sin and salvation.
  3. There’s limited medical care, making miracles the only resource for the afflicted.
  4. The spirit world is very real to people. Miracles are demonstrations of God’s power.

Speaking of other nations, have you heard reports of God moving miraculously in the Muslim world?

Lee Strobel: We’ve been seeing countless Muslims who’ve experienced supernatural visions or dreams—many of them corroborated by outside events—that have brought them out of Islam and into Christianity. In fact, more Muslims have become Christians in the last couple of decades than in the previous 1,400 years, and it’s estimated that a quarter to a third of them experienced a dream or vision of Jesus before their salvation experience.

Why would God use dreams and visions to manifest himself to Muslims?

Lee Strobel: It’s estimated that 50% of Muslims around the world can’t read and 86% of Muslims don’t know a Christian who can share the gospel with them. Most don’t have access to a Bible. It seems these dreams plow the hard soil of Muslim hearts. The dreams motivate them to seek the real Jesus and to find the truth in Scripture.

What happens when, instead of a miracle, a person prays but doesn’t experience a miracle?

Lee Strobel: As I was researching this question, I realized that any credible book on miracles must deal with the ones that never happen. Many people have implored God to meet an urgent need in their lives—with no miracle forthcoming. There are biblical reasons that we shouldn’t be surprised when everyone isn’t healed in each and every instance. Even Jesus didn’t heal automatically. Nevertheless, the emotional punch of this issue still stings.

My own wife struggles with fibromyalgia. Every day she’s in pain. We pray continually for relief and beseech God often and fervently for her healing. While researching this book, I came across inspiring examples of how God miraculously restored others—and wrote after each story: “Why no miracle for Leslie?”

By definition, miracles are outside the normal course of events. They’re a supernatural exception to the way the world usually works. Though they’re more common than we may think, they’re still relatively rare—which means that for most people, a sudden and complete healing isn’t going to happen. But that doesn’t mean God is absent. We’re not cast adrift to suffer on our own. Scripture promises that God will eventually heal everyone. He’ll cause good to emerge from the difficulties of life. Hope is refined through tribulation.

How did your investigation impact you personally?

Lee Strobel: After nearly two years of research, I came to my own verdict about miracles: they’re often credible and convincing, and they contribute powerfully to the cumulative case for Christ. The time I invested in studying the evidence for this particular book was well spent. In the end, my confidence in a miracle-working God has been deepened and strengthened.


The Case for Miracles is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.


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How to Live The Bible — Like Christ, In His Death

howtostudythebible

This is the twentieth lesson in author and pastor Mel Lawrenz’ How to Live the Bible series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, they can get more info and sign up to receive these essays via email here.

Just released: A Book of Prayers for Kids by Mel Lawrenz (a perfect Easter gift for the kids you know and love).


[For the Easter season: Knowing Him: Devotional Readings About the Cross and Resurrection by Mel Lawrenz]

In his poignant letter to the Philippians, written from desperate moments in prison when Paul thought that his life may be poured out in sacrifice at any time, he contemplated the form of death and the form of resurrection that was his hope.

How To Live the Bible Blurred People illustration

What more complete proof do we need of the transforming Christ, than to see a man face his own demise seeing it in the shape of the death of his Lord, and having an unshakable hope and belief that in resurrection he would be formed according to the morphe of Christ?

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him [summorphoo] in his death….

And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform [metamphoo] our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Phil. 3:10, 21).

In every respect, then, the Christian is committed to an unequivocal, unambiguous program: to be shaped according to the image of Christ who is perfect God (thus leading us back to god-likeness), and perfect man (thus showing us the shape of human life the way it was meant to be). This program involves contemplation and imitation of the life of Jesus, but also, of his death and resurrection.

What did Paul actually think “having the same form” of the death of Christ meant? It is not the means of death particularly that Paul wanted to imitate, but the sacrificial character of Christ’s death. In Paul’s mind, his own suffering in prison (and the whole preceding ordeal of opposition, arrest, trial, and everything else he had to go through as an apostle) had a certain shape. It was not meaningless, random suffering, but sacrifice for a divine cause. Paul knew that in such fashion he was the witness (in Greek, martys) of the saving death of Christ, and would be in line with all the other martyrs from biblical times and beyond. This is the core meaning and the power of the martyrs’ death: sharing the form of Christ’s death. The connection with our daily life is in Jesus’ words:

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it (Luke 9:23-24).

This distinctive “form” of life is possible only through metamorphosis, because the sacrificial life cuts against so many fundamental human instincts: self-preservation, self-determinism, self-absorption, and self-aggrandizement. Becoming like Christ in his death (both in death itself and in daily life), taking one’s own cross, (which is self-sacrifice, not random suffering) is the most radical thing a human soul can do. A caterpillar’s metamorphosis begins not when the chrysalis opens, but when the chrysalis is formed. This “death” and entombment allows the transforming process to begin. And so, for the Christian, “becoming like Christ in his death,” taking up one’s cross, is the moment and the method for metamorphosis. Is there another way? Jesus couldn’t have made it clearer: “anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Mt. 10:38).

This cross that we take and follow Christ is not specifically the suffering in our lives, but the sacrifice of our lives in obedience to Christ.

On the other side of this most radical notion of discipleship through self-sacrifice is the equally radical promise of personal metamorphosis represented in the final resurrection: “Christ… will transform our lowly bodies.” The form of Christ’s death is countered by the form of his resurrection. The extremity of these two realities—pulled into death to self, then pulled out into resurrection life—is itself the utter reshaping of a life. Such a process can only be described as transformation.

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Available now, the Easter devotional, Knowing Him: Devotional Readings About the Cross and Resurrection by Mel Lawrenz. Get it now.

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[If you believe this series will be helpful, this is the perfect time to forward this to a friend, a group, or a congregation, and tell them they too may sign up for the weekly emails here]


Mel Lawrenz (@MelLawrenz) trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook’s minister at large. He has a PhD in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel is the author of 18 books, including How to Understand the Bible—A Simple Guide and Spiritual Influence: the Hidden Power Behind Leadership (Zondervan, 2012). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.

How Reading Aloud Can Change the World

Sarah Mackenzie(Or, at Least, How It’s Changing Mine)

By Sarah Mackenzie

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. ~Proverbs 22:6

It was just an ordinary Tuesday, really, but it turned out to be so much more than that.

I was 20 years old; it had been a long, rainy spring; and the 450-square-foot apartment my husband and I shared was feeling even more cramped than usual. I packed up our one-year-old daughter, an overstuffed diaper bag, and a cantaloupe in danger of turning too soft, and headed out the door.

When we arrived at my friend’s house 25 minutes later, Christina opened the front door, threw her arm around my neck, and ushered us into her large, cheery home. I breathed a small sigh of relief and dropped the diaper bag by the stairs—another boring afternoon in our tiny apartment had been successfully averted.

Audrey, my daughter, immediately set off, eager to find the toy box. I trailed her, unzipping her coat as she toddled away. Christina’s own toddler, not too keen on me yet, returned my smile with a scowl.

Christina went into the kitchen to dig through the fridge, and I followed her. We had bonded months earlier over birth stories and coffee at a local playgroup, and I was grateful that even though there was at least a decade between my age and Christina’s, we could swap fears and feelings as first-time moms.

“Wanna keep an eye on the little ones?” she asked. “I’ll just whip up a little something for our lunch.”

I wandered to the family room, keeping watch as the toddlers ransacked the toy bins. Just as I was about to drop onto the deep leather sofa, I saw it—a book resting precariously on the edge of the fireplace mantle, Post-its jutting out every which way from the pages. I snatched it up and noted the title: The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.

If this had been happening in a movie, I’m certain there would have been music. In fact, it would have been the tension-building part of the soundtrack. The part that helps the movie-watcher realize that something of great importance is happening, that the rest of the story hinges on this seemingly insignificant moment.

At the time, however, all I heard was the babbling of toddlers and the sizzling of the bratwurst Christina was sautéing for lunch. I flipped through the book, noting how many pages were dog-eared, how many were marked up with penciled comments.

“What do you think of this book?” I asked Christina over my shoulder.

She turned from the stove and leaned forward, squinting slightly, to see what I was holding, “Oh, that one? It’s great!”

Turning back to her task, she added, “You can borrow it, if you like.”

(This is your cue to raise the volume on the soundtrack.)

Some years after that day at Christina’s, I stood on a stool in my kitchen wearing yoga pants, earbuds inserted, scrub brush in hand. Determined to clean out all the kitchen cupboards, I shooed the three kids out to the yard to play with friends while I tackled the silverware drawers and pantry shelves.

I was listening to Andrew Pudewa, president of the Institute for Excellence in Writing, give a talk called “Nurturing Competent Communicators.” A friend who heard Pudewa speak at a homeschooling conference was inspired, motivated, and filled with fresh enthusiasm and confidence. I had barely begun my own homeschooling journey, but I was already feeling overwhelmed and in over my head. I thought I could certainly use some of that fresh enthusiasm.

I listened and scrubbed as Pudewa told a crowd of homeschooling parents that the best way to help children grow to be good communicators was to read aloud to them as much as possible and to have them memorize poetry. I wiped crumbs into my hand and remembered The Read-Aloud Handbook, inhaled all those years ago. Maybe Pudewa was on to something.

I already read aloud bedtime stories and school books to my kids—especially to my youngest two, who couldn’t yet read anything by themselves. But something about Pudewa’s talk that day sparked an ember that had lain dormant, buried deep within me. I got to the end of the lecture and started it all over again, vacuuming out corners of drawers and scrubbing honey splatters as I listened once more.

This, I thought to myself. There’s something about this.

Have you ever seen a campfire that has burned down but not been completely tamped out? It looks like nothing is happening, but all you have to do is add a small bit of the right fuel—a scrap of paper, a dry piece of kindling, a tiny blast of oxygen—and that fire roars right back to life.

That’s exactly what happened when I listened to Andrew Pudewa. I began to read aloud to my three children (then ages eight, six, and four) more than ever. So startling were the results—so completely transformative were the changes in our family—that five years and three more babies later, I could barely keep myself from bubbling over with the thrill of it.

I had an active blog and had begun to play with the idea of starting a podcast. I loved listening to podcasts myself and thought it might be fun to launch one. In a moment of pure impulse in March of 2014, I shot an email off to the Institute for Excellence in Writing: Would Mr. Pudewa like to come talk with me on a podcast about the importance of reading aloud?

Within hours I had received a response from his marketing director—yes, Mr. Pudewa would be delighted to be featured on my podcast.

Hmm, I thought, eyeing my nine-month-old twins as they scooted themselves across the floor, I guess I’d better figure out how to start a podcast.

It turns out that “how to start a podcast” is, in fact, a valid Google search. I ordered a microphone and headset, created a Skype account, and watched an online tutorial about how to edit voice recordings. I marked the day of the scheduled interview with Andrew Pudewa in bright yellow highlighter on my wall calendar, but as the day drew closer, I became more and more uneasy.

On the day of the interview, my stomach churned. I fired a text to my friend, Pam: What was I thinking when I asked ANDREW PUDEWA to be on my show? I don’t even have a show! I’m going to be sick. This is a bad idea. It was ALWAYS a bad idea. Whose idea was this anyway? See, this is where my rash and impulsive enthusiasm gets me. In too deep.

Pam responded with just three words: You’ll be fine.

(She’s heartless. Or I suppose she’s used to receiving such texts from me. I’ll let you decide for yourself.)

The interview went better than I could have hoped (so I guess, in the end, Pam was right), and Mr. Pudewa was a delightful and talkative guest. To this day, I doubt he realizes how terrified I was.

A week later, in between diaper changes and never-ending loads of laundry, I released the Read-Aloud Revival podcast. I was certain the internet radio show would last for only a few episodes and provide a very small circle of my blog readers with some encouragement to read more with their kids

I could never have imagined in those first days of the podcast that the show would grow to become what it is today—never dreamed it would see millions of downloads in the first few years and be heard by tens of thousands of families all over the world. As the podcast grew and responses from listeners rolled in, I realized something beautiful: I wasn’t alone. Other families had taken to heart this idea that reading aloud could transform their homes, and they had amazing stories to tell about it. Finding other families who were prioritizing books and read-aloud sessions in the way my own family was made my heart sing.

Emails began to fill my inbox. Listeners wrote in to tell me that they were reading aloud with their kids, and that it had become everyone’s favorite time of day. They would say that ever since they started listening to the podcast, they had begun reading together before bed, or at lunchtime, or by listening to audiobooks in the car. Their families suddenly had their own inside jokes, their own shared experiences. It was knitting them together in new ways. They told of their nonreading kids who were begging for “one more chapter,” of an energy and enthusiasm in their homes the likes of which they had never seen before. Something big was happening in homes all over the world. A revival was taking shape.

In all the conversations I’ve had on the Read-Aloud Revival podcast with experts, authors, moms, dads, and reading enthusiasts, I’ve come to understand something that both delights and relieves me: reading aloud with our kids is indeed the best use of our time and energy as parents. It’s more important than just about anything else we can do.

Reading aloud may seem too simple to make that big of an impact. But the stories I’ve heard over the years from families all over the world, the data collected by experts, and the personal experience I’ve had sharing stories with my own six kids has convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt.

________

The Read-Aloud FamilyAdapted from The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids by Sarah Mackenzie. Learn more about this title.

Connecting deeply with our kids can be difficult in our busy, technology-driven lives. Reading aloud offers us a chance to be fully present with our children. It also increases our kids’ academic success, inspires compassion, and fortifies them with the inner strength they need to face life’s challenges. As Sarah Mackenzie has found with her own six children, reading aloud long after kids are able to read to themselves can deepen relationships in a powerful way.

Founder of the immensely popular Read-Aloud Revival podcast, Sarah knows first-hand how reading can change a child’s life. In The Read-Aloud Family, she offers the inspiration and age-appropriate book lists you need to start a read-aloud movement in your own home. From a toddler’s wonder to a teenager’s resistance, Sarah details practical strategies to make reading aloud a meaningful family ritual. Reading aloud not only has the power to change a family—it has the power to change the world.

Sarah Mackenzie is an author, speaker, and podcast host. She created the Read-Aloud Revival podcast in 2014. That fateful decision resulted in a highly rated show with millions of downloads. Sarah helps families all over the world fall in love with books. She lives in the Northwest with her husband, Andrew. She homeschools their six kids and considers it her high calling to make sure they are well-stocked in the best books she can find.