Set Free by Faith
From our staff:
“At a conference we met a missionary to Wales who shared this incredible story of how our ministry is making a difference in unlikely ways:
“A prostitute in Wales had been given a copy of Josh’s book, More Than a Carpenter. She read it, was convicted of her life-choices and gave her heart to Christ. She began reaching out to other prostitutes, giving them copies of the book and sharing about Christ.
“To date, this former prostitute has led 26 other prostitutes to Christ after reading More Than a Carpenter.
“Now, each day when the Welsh coal miners come out of the mines, these former prostitutes are giving them copies of this life-changing book. What a testimony of God’s incredible love!”
From our staff:
“Once, Josh and I were in Vancouver, B.C. for a conference. Almost 2,500 Canadians came from all over the area (some drove 24 hours) to attend this conference titled “Hidden in Plain Sight.” Josh spoke at the opening and closing sessions, presented at a workshop, and spoke at a local church on Sunday. He also shared his life story at a lunch for 450 businessmen and women.
As you may know, during several years of Josh’s childhood, he was sexually abused by a hired farmhand.
At the business lunch he shared how he had held onto that bitterness, hurt, and anger for years. Keeping that inside him had influenced how he treated people and responded to situations.
He told the audience, “Thirty-five percent of you know exactly what I’m talking about, because you have been sexually abused in your past.” He shared how he was freed from that anger and bitterness after coming to Christ when he was able to forgive the man who had abused him.
Afterwards, the man who hosted the luncheon and ministers to many of the people in attendance asked Josh, “Is that really true? 34% have been sexually abused? That’s hard to believe.” Josh replied, “Just stand next to me for the next few minutes.”
In 15 minutes six people (five men, one woman) got close to Josh and confided, “I know exactly what you’re talking about. It happened to me.” One sharp-dressed businessman shared, “I was abused as a child. You are the first person I have ever told.”
Can you imagine dealing with this by yourself for years?
Our host was dumbstruck. He told Josh several times, “I never would have believed this. I never would have known these people have been wounded by this for years.”
This eye-opening experience will enable him to minister more deeply to the people he works with and provide them with hope found in Christ.
Books for the Batboy
From our staff:
Recently, we held an Apologetics Seminar at a church in California. One of the people helping me for the weekend was Dan, the Missions Pastor at the church. He shared his story with me of how our ministry influenced his life:
“I grew up in a religiously diverse family. My two sisters were Jehovah’s Witnesses. Mom and my other sister were Christians, and my dad was into New Age. Needless to say there were a lot of arguments on religion in our house. So, I decided to put that area aside to figure out when I was older.
As a teenager, I was a bat boy for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Occasionally, people would bring free stuff for the players in the clubhouse. Once the players took what they wanted, it was open for the bat boys to take.
One time, the chaplain for the Dodgers brought in copies of Josh’s books, More Than a Carpenter and Evidence That Demands a Verdict. After the players took what the wanted, I got myself copies of each book. Both books, especially More Than a Carpenter, were instrumental in bringing me to Christ.”
Now, years later because of God working through our books, Dan is the Missions Pastor at a growing, vibrant church in California, equipping his people to reach out to others with the hope found in Christ.
Answers within Reach
I wanted to write and tell you what an amazing impact your book, “More Than a Carpenter” has had on me and my youth ministry. It is a great resource for high school and college youth pastors and youth leaders. I am a youth leader at my local church and lead a small group. About a year ago we were having a discussion and my freshman boys were asking me a lot of deep spiritual questions that made me realize they were searching for real answers, not just doubting or being argumentative. Questions like, “How do you know that Jesus is really the Son of God and the Messiah”, “Did Jesus really raise from the dead?” and “Of all the world religions, I don’t see how Christianity could be the only way?”
I provided several answers to their questions that evening and various scripture references that I knew, however I also felt inadequate in thoroughly answering them. Having read your book three or four years earlier I realized that you had answered all of these questions and so many more and were also able to back them up with scripture.
I purchased several copies of “More Than a Carpenter” and gave them to the group. Chapters 3, 10 and 12 answered 80% of their questions in a very direct way and I felt that the entire book should be mandatory reading for all of them.
A few months later I bought a box of your books and gave one to each of the youth group’s graduating seniors. I felt that anyone entering college or the work force should solidify their faith in Christ by reading “More Than a Carpenter.” I have recently decided to give a copy to every co-worker in my workplace, because it is also an excellent tool for reaching the lost.
Thank you for writing such a relevant book that should be required reading for all Christians.
“Carpenter” in France
“More than a Carpenter” has been given away on campus, at special Christmas and Easter events, at doctor’s appointments, and in various other situations, and we are so excited to see the interest people have shown, especially because it is definitely not the expected typical French response.
“We gave about 50 copies of the book to those who came to the special Christmas event we organized for the students. One of them, Thibaud, told us that thanks to reading the book he became convinced of the divinity of Jesus Christ. Another young man, Stéphane, who is an atheist and not ready to read the Bible yet, read the book from cover to cover. About a week later we had a debate resulting in a number of interesting conversations which Stéphane found really stimulating.”
(A. from Toulouse)
“Three years ago a former student did the Alpha course. When I first met her, she told me that she did not see how she could possibly believe that what the Bible said about Jesus and the resurrection was true. So, at the time, I gave her a copy of Josh Mc Dowell’s book: “Evidence that demands a verdict” (a big fat book in French!) that she literally devoured. Since then she has come to fully embrace Jesus as the son of God and the reality of his resurrection. She moved away after her studies and recently came to visit me accompanied by a friend. In the course of our conversation, the issue of faith and spirituality came up, so I offered the book to her friend, and he willingly accepted it!”
(L. from Lyon)
“Our team approached students with a special Easter questionnaire. We asked students how they celebrate Easter, what it means to them, whether they believe in God and who Jesus is. After discussing these things we offered them a copy of “More than a Carpenter.” About twenty students accepted the book, showing genuine interst in examining who Jesus is. We also gave them an email address or phone number if they wanted to ask questions or talk about what they’ve read.”
(D. from Rennes)
“Marélie is a freshman studying journalism in Montpellier. When I met her in December, she told me that she did not believe in God and did not see a need for him. Later that month, she came to a Christmas outreach. At the end of the outreach, I gave her “More than a Carpenter”. She was skeptical at first, but after winter break, she told me that she had read the entire book. And she really liked it!
“This is what Marélie said: “I am making steps towards Jesus. My parents don’t recognize me anymore! I talk now like god exists.”
“It was evident that God had used the book to move her out of atheism.
“One Bible verse quoted in the book spoke to her so much that she copied it down and carried it in her pocket. Her atheist father, noticing a difference in Marélie has begun to ask questions and would like to read the book too!”
(J. from Montpellier)
“I took the book with me to the doctor’s to read in the waiting room, but also with the idea that maybe I could give it to him if the opportunity presented itself. At the end of the consultation, the doctor noticed the book on the chair next to me and asked: “What’s that you’re reading?” I said that it was about spirituality and the Christian faith. I told him that in it the author shows that you don’t need to throw your brain out the window in order to believe. Seeing his interest, I said he could have the book. The doctor seemed both surprised and grateful and told me he thought his wife too would be interested in reading it.
“It was so encouraging to me to see the Holy Spirit was at work, first by nudging me to take the book to the doctor’s appointment but even more by him expressing an interest in the book without me saying anything to draw his attention to it!
“I also gave “More than a Carpenter” to a former atheist with a strong scientific background who still has some struggles with the intellectual basis of her faith. I felt that the book, with its strong logical argumentation, would be really good for her. She has recently begun reading it and I’m looking forward to being able to talk about it with her.”
(L. from Lyon)
Finally, Joy and her husband, a couple who have a ministry among members of the military in Toulon, said that the book was made available to them at a perfect time for them to be able to give copies of it as a Christmas gift to 30 military and also to 25 students in their English classes. Joy said “it has been a tremendous blessing to us”!
This morning, as we were finishing this letter, a man walked into the office asking for directions and we had a lengthy conversation during which the Holy Spirit led us to give him the book. He assured us he would read it.
We are thrilled by what God is doing in people’s hearts as they read “More than a Carpenter”. We want to thank you for all you have done to help us make this book available to people hungry for God in France and pray that the testimonies in this letter might by of great encouragement to you all.
Warmest wishes in Jesus – The French team
I have a great story to tell, and will try to give you the very abbreviated version here.
Around 2006 a business acquaintance, John, and I got acquainted on a more personal level, and went on a few dates. About a week into this ‘dating’ phase, I learned that John did not share my faith in Christ, and did not believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the Life, so I told John that I did not want to continue a dating relationship.
John got pretty upset with me, and asked me if I knew how “Intolerant” my viewpoint is. 🙂 I said “yes, actually I do know that some people consider my belief intolerant,” but reminded him that I was not asking him to change his views….I just was not willing to compromise mine. Then I told him that my relationship with Jesus is the most important relationship in my life, and if God ever decides to bless me with another husband, He will share my faith and be my spiritual leader.
So after this conversation, John called our mutual friend Shawn and relayed this conversation, anticipating that Shawn would agree with his assessment that I am a religious fanatic with intolerant views, but Shawn told him he SHARES my beliefs!
Shawn recommended YOUR BOOKS to John, and John went out that afternoon and purchased two of them (I believe they were More than a Carpenter, and Evidence That Demands a Verdict) and began reading immediately.
I had already invited John to attend church with me before this ‘break off’ so I called him to see if he still wanted to go. He said he did, and so we went, and he seemed to enjoy it. He was certainly intrigued by my commitment to my God and beliefs. I asked him if he would be willing to read The Purpose Driven Life with me and he agreed.
So, over the next 40 days we read, and discussed, and he came to church with me. I watched him transform before my very eyes. It was so incredible. Throughout this process, I prayed every day for God to protect my heart. I did not want to fall for John if he was not sincere and genuine in his seeking, or if this was not God’s plan. If my role in this relationship was just to be a witness and lead him toward a relationship with Christ, I sure did not want to step beyond that role.
But as you have already figured out, it was much more than that.
Our courtship grew out of this 40 days, and very quickly, John expressed his desire to marry me and become my spiritual leader!!
John was like a sponge, soaking up the Word of God, feeling like he had so much to ‘catch up on’…and experiencing such rapid growth.
We were married on January 5, 2007, and I have never been so happy before. It all came to an end on February 24, 2008…John had a heart attack while playing soccer and was gone instantly. It was such a shock and the bottom literally dropped out of my world. We only had a short 13.5 months together as husband and wife, but I am so thankful for that time.
Although John’s death was a huge shock to all of us, it was no shock to the Lord. He knew that John’s time was short, and I am so thankful that God used ME to reach John! What an honor that is…and I am proud to be his wife and know that I WILL see him again in heaven!!
Over the past couple of years, I have come to see how God used Shawn too! Let’s say that John and I had connected without Shawn and the three of us had not forged such a friendship…I don’t believe that John had another Christian friend that he would have called that day! But God connected all 3 of us, so that Shawn was the one John called, and Shawn was there to point him to your books!!
Today I was hoping for the chance to tell you our story, and let you know that you played a part in it too. Thank you for writing these books. God is using these books to change hearts, minds, and save souls. Thank you for listening to this story.
May God richly bless you and yours.
The first book I read by Josh McDowell was in May 2016. It was The Witness. Right after, I devoured Josh’s biography Undaunted. This book completely inspired me! Christians also need inspiration from time to time!
I made a firm decision that I will use the book Undaunted to the maximum as a helpful tool for evangelism. This book encourages. It has various examples of a hard life, of attempts to disprove Christianity, but in the end, the conclusion is the Truth of Christ!
I also use Josh’s books during evangelism in order to prove the reliability of the Scripture, truth of the Resurrection, etc. It is incredible when I see that some of the opponents who argue that the Bible is just an instrument to manipulate people are stumbled by some of Josh’s arguments and conclusions that I share with them. These same people promise to rethink their objections.
I like the easy to understand style of the books, the way Josh relates his ideas. After the first time reading, I could remember his arguments which are so helpful for me to dialog with people who think that they are atheists.
Personally, I am excited and short of words to express my emotions. In addition to these books, I have read 3 other Josh books. I like the way he does apologetics.
And because of Josh, I began to love the Bible even more! Josh’s books influence people and I am an example of this!
From one of our staff:
Once we were in Lafayette, LA, where Josh spoke at a conference. While there I had several people share how our ministry has impacted their life and the life of their families.
One woman told me that her sons were heavily influenced by Josh (and the ministry). Every time they’d hear of Josh being in Houston, their youth group would load up and head out. In the mid-1990’s they were at our Counter the Culture / Right From Wrong youth event held at the Astrodome with Newsboys and Rebecca St. James. The Astrodome was packed out that night … 60,000 people in attendance.
Her sons were raised on Josh’s materials. Today, one son is a worship leader, and the other one just got his Masters of Divinity.
Another guy was buying some books for his kids and grand kids. Told me that Josh brought him to Christ years ago at Northern Illinois University back when Josh did his three night speaking series. This guy was a teenager at the time and was invited by some college students to hear Josh. He went with them, and what he heard made sense. He gave his life to Christ one of those nights.
Prime example of our inter-generational ministry . . . this guy came to Christ through our ministry, and now he was buying resources to help his kids and grand kids. Both people were grateful for what we do.
See our free resources for families HERE!
Answers on Youtube
I would just like to thank you for posting videos of Mr. McDowell on YouTube. My 7-year-old son loves to hear the Bible and asks wonderful questions. Recently he asked how we can know that the copy of Matthew we read is what Matthew wrote down.
It was wonderful to be able to find a video–on YouTube of all places!–that quickly and clearly explained an answer he could understand. Thank you for your generosity and service in sharing such valuable knowledge!
Want to know more? Watch this video on the work of a Jewish scribe:
Check out our library of videos for youth and families HERE!
Have you or someone you know ever wondered whether we can really trust the Bible? Start your search for answers HERE!
Just wanted to say, I was a student of yours for years, and an intern for a summer.
Ten years later you remembered who I was. Just thought I’d say thank you for remembering, and not being afraid to teach teenagers heavy apologetics on a level they could understand.
I don’t know if you can receive messages or not, but I just wanted to say thank you for all that you’ve done in your life. My youth pastor shared your story and your book about apologetics and your life has really inspired me.
I’m glad you were able to stay strong in your hardships and that you’re able to pursue God. Keep writing books!
Hello Mr. McDowell,
I just wanted to tell you that I was never a solid Christian. My mom passed away when I was four and I had begun to doubt whether God really existed or cared about me. But through your books, my faith in God became stronger and today I’m a teenager who is not afraid to defend his faith and that is only because of men of God like you.
Thank you so much for the inspiration you have been.
Want resources to help the teens in your life? Are you a teen looking for answers on tough topics? Go to our Answers for Teens page!
I just finished reading your book, Undaunted.
Our lives have been inter-twined for a number of decades. I went to Talbot shortly after you did and we had the same typist for our thesis. I did mine on the same subject—so much so that it looked like I had plagiarized your book. The truth is I never read your book until you gave me a free copy shortly after yours was published.
I just had no idea how difficult your life was while you were growing up.
It was such an encouragement to read your life story. I lived my life as a counselor and just recently retired. Your life story was such an inspiration to me.
Even though I am now retired, I hope to continue helping people and want to use your life story as one means to help.
No matter how difficult the life, there is always hope! Thanks!
Appreciation for Decades of Ministry
Turning 65 this year, I’m trying to make sure some of my heroes know how much they have impacted me.
Since 1973, when one of my students at a Christian high school gave me a copy of More Than a Carpenter, I have undoubtedly invoked your name, shared your testimony, and given away unknown quantities of that book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, and more. You were there when I didn’t have answers for unbelievers or fence-leaners.
I spent most of my life in ministry as a television producer and ghostwriter, and I can’t tell you how often I’ve reached for your books, returning to familiar, dog-eared passages that would help illuminate a paragraph or program.
During a stint writing for several top corporate consultants, your books were always my go-to resources for well-known speakers and business people who came to me with spiritual questions.
Along the way, I’ve spoken your name in conjunction with C. S. Lewis so many times, and I want you to know that I hold you in similar high esteem.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know how much I have been blessed by you and your writings through the years. You have always been rock-solid, and I deeply appreciate the influence you’ve been to me, my family, and people with whom I’ve shared your books.
A Much-Needed Wake Up Call
Dear Mr. McDowell,
Well done Sir!!!!!!
I have been sounding the trumpet on this topic [pornography] for the past 10 years. We hit it hard in our confirmation program [at our church] (6th through 9th grade.).
However, in recent years, I have been convicted that our efforts are coming too late.
Despite the fact that all of our boys and at least half of our middle school girls report having seen porn, and I mean significantly disgusting porn, the parents are slow to appreciate the dangers.
Parents look at me as though I have lobsters coming out of my ears when I call this the decisive battle of the century. (I have been a pastor for 27 years. I am used to that.)
Your address has vindicated our efforts and we will pick up the challenge with greater clarity and zeal. I am sure that you will take heat for this address.
God bless you! I also appreciate that you lifted up the relationship you have with your wife! Thank you, thank you, thank you.
May God continue to nourish and sustain you!
Excerpts from Josh’s 2015 Moody Founders Week address on the problem of pornography:
Want to learn more about the problem–and more importantly the solution? Visit the Set Free Summit website.
Download Josh McDowell’s pornography presentation and research from the Set Free Summit here.
- A Call to Arms (Presentation)
- A Call to Arms (Notes)
- Facts & Stats About Pornography (Vol 1)
- Facts & Stats About Pornography (Vol 2)
- What Josh is saying…about internet pornography
- What others are saying…about internet pornography
- Recommended Resources to Help with Overcoming Pornography
Coaching Basketball and the Word
Coleen knew she was taking a risk.
Sharing her faith in the closed country in Central Asia where she was serving as a teacher and coach could get her thrown out of the country — or even arrested. In this region of the world, there is one dominant religion. Other religions, like Christianity, are forbidden.
But one day, Mara, a student at the university where Coleen was teaching and coaching basketball, approached her. “What makes your life so different?” Mara asked. She had observed Coleen all semester and was intrigued by her confidence and peace.
Coleen knew God was opening a door for her to start a spiritual conversation with Mara. Coleen was officially in the country to teach, but she is also a Christian missionary and staff member. She knew she had to be careful. Trying to convert someone away from the official religion carried grave consequences. She did not want to found out by government authorities or tricked.
So she gave Mara a copy of More Than a Carpenter, translated into her own language.
“Read this, and then we’ll talk,” Coleen told Mara. Sharing a book involved less risk than talking about spiritual things right then.
Mara went home that night and read More Than a Carpenter from start to finish. As she read, God opened her eyes to the truth of the gospel and of His love and forgiveness.
After reading everything, she knew she wanted the Lord to be part of her life. “So I asked him in my heart,” Mara shared.
Mara came back the next day and told her coach what she’d done.
For the next four years, Coleen coached Mara not only in basketball but also in the Word. After she graduated, Mara took a leap of faith and courageously became the first local to become a staff member in her country. Today, Mara is reaching others in her closed country with the truth about Jesus.
What an impact just one person, equipped with biblical resources, can make!
This year we have received requests for 105,000 copies of More Than a Carpenter that will be used in places like Europe, Ethiopia and Central Asia. Our staff tell us that just one book can reach up to 10 people with the truth — with one copy often being passed among families and friends.
Will you join us in providing More Than a Carpenter around the world so that we can reach even more people with the truth about Jesus?
I was once scheduled to do a program for a seniors group.
Upon arriving, it was apparent that the church was very old and in desperate need of maintenance. This seniors group met in what appeared to be a very old gymnasium. As I walked in, all I could hear was the overpowering drone of an old air conditioner that sounded like a jet engine that was not operating properly.
I saw the pastor waving to me from about twenty feet away and saw his lips were moving, but I could not hear a word over the incessant noise. A feeling of desperation ran through my mind as I wondered, if I can barely hear the pastor as he shouted his greeting to me, how in the world would senior citizens be able to hear the program? The pastor then directed me to a platform made up of unfinished plywood and two by fours that was leaning so far to one side that my table kept rolling off the edge. When I stepped on the platform it felt very unstable and I began to wonder how my time there could possibly be effective.
As I began setting up my props the group began to filter in to the room. One after another, determined individuals slowly and carefully made their way into the room using walkers and wheelchairs. An overwhelming number of this group also rolled in their oxygen tanks.
My heart sank as I could see the need and at the same time felt trapped in a situation that to me appeared to have no chance of being effective.
I prayed, but I am ashamed to admit I felt little or no hope. After seeing the Lord come through over and over again, you would think that my faith would be stronger.
During the first parts of the program the group appeared to be having fun, but I am really not sure how much they heard. When it came time for the illustrations from More Than A Carpenter it was as if God reached out and put His hand on that air conditioner. To this day I am really not sure if the machine was actually muffled or our sense of hearing was adjusted to the Lords voice. Either way the Holy Spirit moved. Fourteen precious souls prayed to receive Christ on that day.
God continues to show me it is not the location, or the conditions, or anything that I do, but it is all Him. Even when my faith is weak His power reassures me He cares and is more than sufficient in every situation.
My two sons were both fortunate to graduate from a good Christian School. Their Bible teacher purchases Josh’s book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, for every junior and uses it in his curriculum. I was the administrative assistant at the high school for 12 1/2 years and every year I was there, he purchased and used this book.
He once told me that he wanted to make sure that his students left high school knowing what they believe and why they believe it. That’s why he uses Josh’s book and I believe he still does.
Thank you, Josh, from a mother of two boys who were taught apologetics through this wonderful tool. I wish I could say they are both perfect and haven’t slipped in their walk, but they have a foundation that they return to when they do hit those rocky roads.
Both boys kept their book from 11th grade Bible class. They didn’t keep many others, but they still have this one!
You Never Know Where a Book Might Go
You never know where a book you give might travel — or who it might impact with the message of Jesus Christ.
Every summer, thousands of people from North Africa and the Middle East cross the Mediterranean Sea by ferry to vacation in Europe. When it’s time to return home, they wait in long ferry lines at European ports, often sitting for hours in their car.
In this time of freedom from their home countries, our teams approach tens of thousands of people with a FREE gift: a packet containing a New Testament, a special two-language “flip book” version of More Than a Carpenter (French/Arabic or Spanish/Arabic) and other Christian resources.
When one of our teams serving in a port city of Spain met a group of travelers who wanted to talk about faith, they sat down and started a conversation. As they shared the gospel, the topic of eternal life came up. One man, who had reluctantly taken a packet, reached inside and pulled out the More Than a Carpenter. Because the book was translated into his language, he opened it up and began reading a random page. That page just so happened to address the question of eternal life —the very topic the group had been discussing just moments before!
Suddenly, the man was no longer hesitant to take the entire packet home with him. He realized that the book inside was important and could answer his questions about faith.
This is just one example of how God can use a book to guide someone to the truth. Every time you give to projects like Port Cities, you are helping men and women around the world learn about Jesus in their own language.
Share the gospel through More Than a Carpenter and other Christ-centered resources!
33rd Street Prison
We went on a ministry trip to the 33rd Street prison in Orlando Florida.
Some others who had gone to minister in this prison before informed us that nothing could be brought into the prison with us. Even our car keys and drivers licenses had to be left with the guards in the check in facility. They said they had tried to bring Gospel tracts in before, and were firmly told absolutely nothing could be brought in, and especially nothing could be left with the inmates. Since the ministry God has given to me uses magic props as tools it appeared that this would present challenges or even complete road blocks. However, God doesn’t ask us to do the impossible. He asks us to be obedient and through faith leave the rest to Him. That being said, we prayed, brought the magic, and also brought some More Than a Carpenter books.
In the parking lot outside, we gathered with the others who had come to minister at this prison before and the prison Chaplin. We prayed that God would be with us and would be glorified that day.
When we arrived at the check in facility, they took our car keys and our driver’s licenses as expected. I pointed to a small case I was carrying and a cardboard box and explained that if allowed, I had some magic props to do a show for those inmates interested and had some Biblical books in the box. After what seemed like a very long period of the time—with guards looking at each other in silence—they had me bring the case and box over to an x-ray machine. The case and the box were sent through a scanner much like airport security. After they went through the scanner two other guards carefully went through every item in the case and box. You should have seen the look of absolute astonishment on the faces of the others who had ministered at this prison before when the guards said OK and gestured for us to proceed. God is good. We will call this that day’s miracle number one.
We then went through several layers of sealed isolation chambers, where huge, heavy, barred doors would slide shut with a loud, massive thud and solidly latch behind us. Only then would the next immense door unlatch in front of us and slide open allowing us to pass.
In each of these chambers there were windows with guards behind bullet proof glass, observing our every move. I must admit it was a frightening feeling and I was in constant prayer that God would use this in a way that would be pleasing to him. When we finally were inside we were brought into a common, but currently unoccupied room. We were told that they would bring in any inmates that wanted to attend in a few minutes. I should mention here, that this was the men’s juvenile area of the prison we were scheduled to visit. In a few moments, 21 young men in prison overalls entered the room accompanied by 4 guards and the prison Chaplin. Some of them seemed like just boys, but all of them seem hardened well beyond their years. The expressions on their faces appeared untrusting and cynical. I am sure some came as a diversion just for something to pass the time and others were curious.
The guards gave the signal for me to go ahead, so with one last prayer I began the program.
At first there was a strong sense of the attitude that could probably best be described as, “OK, why should I listen to anything you have to say?” After engaging several of the young men as volunteers, the atmosphere lightened up. Soon they were laughing and able to almost forget where they were and have some fun. God is so good. Let’s call this miracle number two.
Next I moved into the illusions that illustrated the truth of Jesus Christ being the messiah and the legitimacy of the resurrection.
Even the guards could sense something amazing was happening here. A hush covered the room as all attention was focused on the gift given through Jesus’ sacrifice. That day the Holy Spirit moved 10 of those 21 young men to pray to receive Christ as their savior. Praise the Lord! Miracle number three.
As our time was ending and I had already seen multiple miracles happen that day, I decided to ask for one more.
From the front of the room, I respectfully asked the guards if it would be permissible for us to give each young man a copy of the More Than A Carpenter book that presented more details about the material I had just presented in the program. The guards hesitantly looked at each other. Once again God moved, as one guard looked at a copy of the book I handed him and said He thought it would be all right. Once again the others who had ministered here before, and realized magnitude of what was happening had looks of sheer astonishment on their faces, as we saw God bring about miracle number four. God is so good!
As each young man came up to receive their book, one guy picked up two books and asked if he could bring one back for his friend that had not come to the program today. Two of the guards, quickly, firmly and loudly replied, NO!
They said that there would not have been enough for the entire juvenile division, so only those who attend the program could have one. I respectfully asked the guard how many there were in the juvenile division of the prison. I felt goose bumps begin to rise up on my arms as I heard the guard say “eighty.” You see, God for some reason had told me to put two boxes of books in the car that day, and it brought the total number of books to exactly 80. I was allowed to get the other box from the car and every young man in the juvenile division of that prison received a More Than A Carpenter book that day. This was the fifth miracle that we witnessed that day.
Every one of these wonders was absolutely impossible in the eyes of man and yet I am convinced more than ever that God wants us to be obedient and completely dependent on Him, and He will demonstrate his power in signs and wonders that bring us and others closer to Him.
Books on the Subway
Over 20 years ago in Russia, Stas and I, along with the Josh McDowell Ministry and hundreds of American volunteers, had the honor of planting seeds throughout the former Soviet Union.
The doors of Russia had just opened. For the first time the Soviet people were free to hear the Gospel and learn about God. In the day, we would stand by a Russian subway station, and open a box of Josh’s book More Than a Carpenter. We were swarmed with people wanting to know more about Christianity.
It was estimated that each book was read by at least 10 people.
The book shared the basics of the Christian faith, Josh’s testimony, the Gospel and contact information for the local Russian church. The Russian churches swelled.
A Timely Message
I’ve always felt as if I’ve known renowned Christian apologist Josh McDowell through his many excellent books, but I finally got to meet him in the flesh, and what a blessing it was.
As I mention in my latest book, “Jesus on Trial,” I read his book “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” many years ago as I was seeking God and was impressed by his comprehensive treatment of so many issues that trouble skeptics.
He is nothing if not thorough; he leaves no stones unturned in his exhaustive presentation of numerous topics concerning the authenticity of Christianity’s truth claims.
Josh was the keynote speaker Saturday night for an event sponsored by Ratio Christi, a group that organizes student clubs on college campuses across the nation to present the Gospel and evidence for the Christian faith to other students. It’s an amazing organization that is doing great work in combating the monolithic secular message emanating from so many of our universities and our culture.
I didn’t know what Josh would be discussing, but I assumed it would be some distilled form of his works on Christian apologetics, and I was looking forward to it. But he surprised me.
He presented material that I hadn’t read much about before, at least not in the way he framed it. He talked about three cultural changes that have created a “perfect storm” that threatens the church and the Christian worldview in our society: an epistemological shift that is undermining the very concept of truth, especially biblical truth, in our culture; an explosion of information via the Internet that is competing for everyone’s attention, particularly our children’s; and rampant pornography, which is frighteningly accessible to everyone over the Internet, including kids at a younger and younger age.
The epistemological shift is readily apparent to anyone keeping tabs on the culture and academia – and, sadly, for anyone who engages in conversations with people who have been affected by it. I discuss this in my book in a section on postmodernism, which challenges the very idea of absolute or objective truth.
With a straight face, a person will say: “Who are you to say what truth is? What is true for you may not be true for me.”
Is that statement true, by the way?
But on a more serious note, you can see how such a confused mindset would undermine evangelism. The Bible teaches that Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” and that there is no way to the Father except through Jesus Christ. Be very careful to note that it doesn’t say that this proposition is true for some people and not for others or that it is only true for those who want to believe it. That statement is either absolutely true in reality or not, but its truth does not depend on whether we believe it or we don’t believe it.
But there can be no question that this kind of fuzzy thinking presents enormous hurdles for the evangelist who is seeking to spread the good news.
If he is approaching someone who doesn’t even accept the idea of truth, it is obviously going to be more difficult to convince that person of the gravity of the matters under discussion. In short, this type of postmodern thinking has led to intellectual and moral chaos that has undermined our society and our efforts to communicate the Gospel’s message.
Josh next presented his research on the overwhelming volume of data people are exposed to each day – 34 gigabytes of information a day – information that is in competition with all other information available to people. With so much accessible information, much of which contradicts the message of the church, it is increasingly difficult to reach people with the Gospel. Pastors and evangelists need to adapt to meet these changes.
The biggest single problem facing our young people, which the Internet is exacerbating exponentially, is pornography.
Children are exposed to it at alarmingly young ages, and the facility of their young minds causes an astonishingly rapid absorption of the images they are encountering, which can forever change their lives.
Josh warns us against believing we can completely shield our children from seeing these things. What parents need to do is to be open with their children about things and teach them that the biological differences between girls and boys are natural and wonderful. He encourages parents to have a close enough relationship with their children that they will feel comfortable enough to talk to them about any issue or problem.
It was an eye-opening lecture and one that every parent should hear.
God bless Josh McDowell for alerting people to these potentially life-changing challenges facing us all and for offering constructive suggestions on how to navigate through them.
Passing on the Calling
My name is Bran. I went to Belarus and Russia with Operation Carelift (and later GAiN) many times over. The Lord used those trips in so many ways in my life. He planted a love for the Russian people—especially her orphans—in my heart, as well as a love for missions. And used that time in my life to call me into full time ministry. I have been a pastor since 2005 and see how the Lord used what he originally called Mr. McDowell to in 1991, to call me.
Josh facilitated some truly amazing ministry that I saw not only change the hearts of many Russians for eternity, but the hearts of many Americans as well.
No One is Immune
YouTube comment from Moody Founder’s week 2015 talk:
Excellent! Everyone needs to hear this and I’m so thankful that he’s addressed this issue [pornography] so openly.
I practiced as a marriage and family therapist for 12 years and the number ONE issue was this issue and we’re talking Christians. I counseled at Hope International University, a Christian college and every client I saw this issue was a part of it, from female worship leaders to couples I saw.
When I attended Vanguard University for my Masters, there was a joke on campus about how they had all the dorms throw out all their porn during a specified week—from the guys hiding it under their beds to it being all over the sports complex. It’s a HUGE issue and it’s the church. I even had a woman in her 60’s come to me at a church I attended and she confessed her and her husband engaged in porn and they were in leadership… no one is immune.
God bless you Josh for telling the truth!
I came from a point of total disbelief that the Word of God was actual truth.
But nearly thirty years ago a minister shared tapes with me from a conference you gave in Idaho. I listened intently as you went over evidence in your quest. Hours of tape and I went over and over and finally saw God’s truth. I will always be grateful for your testimony and how significantly my life was impacted as a result.
God Bless You my Brother.
A Couple Changes
Thank you Josh for being used by God!
Forty-one years ago you spoke in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania on the topic…Roaming through Romans. It was a Campus Crusade fall conference. I was invited by a student from the University of Pennsylvania. That weekend after hearing you share how a person can become a Christian, I trusted Jesus as my Savior.
A month later my girlfriend and I attended your Maximum Sex talk at Villanova. We were so convicted by the Holy Spirit that we left the field house, went straight to our car and began praying to God. We asked him to forgive us for being intimate before we were married and then we handed our sex life over to Him.
Judy and I began to learn how to love one another with Jesus as our focus rather than the sexual relationship we had for three years.
A year after my conversion and Judy’s recommitment to the Lord, we were married. We headed off to Seminary, and during my first year on campus I ran into you at the seminary library. I briefly told you my story—I will never forget your kindness and interest.
After graduation my wife and I served with the Coalition for Christian Outreach ministry in Pittsburgh and then I became ordained. For over thirty years I have worked for renewal in my crumbling denomination. Now in my sixties I am helping the church I am pastoring in Florida leave for another denomination.
Every time I read about you or see your picture in a magazine, I smile. God used you in a mighty way in my young adult life. Thank you for allowing the Lord to work through you for so many years. I praise God for you and your ministry.
Based on 50 years of interacting with young people, Josh McDowell believes nothing is sabotaging the spiritual growth of college, high school and even middle school young people more than sexual experimentation. It’s imperative our kids have a positive, biblical worldview about God’s design for sex.
The Bare Facts: The Truth about Sex, Love & Relationships delivers frank and entertaining answers to top questions students ask about love, sex, and relationships. No question is off limits. Knowledge, not ignorance, is the key to youthful purity and a fulfilling marriage.
This indispensable three-disc library and companion book builds on that approach with timeless teaching, relevant statistics, entertaining anecdotes and enlightening interviews with youth and medical experts.
Not For a Lie
A gal I am working with—her name’s Jen—her husband Dave received Christ two months ago. Wayne and I gave him More Than a Carpenter.
When he got to the part where the disciples went to their death—he said “they would not do that for a lie.”
God is doing Miracles in this family! Thought you should know.
Last Minute Testimony
greetings in Christ!
I was honored to attend your teaching Saturday night at Calvary Chapel Oceanside.
I am so glad that the Lord had you change your message at the last minute. Because of the testimony of your life and what the Lord has done in it, my sixteen year old daughter, and her friend that she is dating, accepted Christ.
Thank you so much! My daughter has grown up knowing the truth and knowing the apologetics, but she needed to hear from the heart and the Lord knew that.
Be blessed in your ministry!
A Concert in Cincinnati
On October 7, 1995, I was 14 years old, a freshman in high school.
I was, for the most part, a good kid, but I also knew I wasn’t always good. I came from a family that attended church, but faith was not a big part of our lives.
A friend from school invited me to the Newsboys concert, downtown, at the Cincinnati Coliseum. I didn’t know Josh was going to preach at intermission. I don’t think I knew who the Newsboys were either. I went because I was invited.
I don’t remember many details. That night was a blur, and it has remained blurry to this day. But I remember hearing a message that broke me. I walked down the aisle and look back on that night as the beginning of my faith.
Two decades later, I’ve been married 11 years, have 4 kids (2 adopted), lead worship at church, and am active in my community.
Please pass thanks on to Josh for sharing the gospel that night. It dramatically altered the course of my life.
Truth Never Void
For much of his life, Jallel knew little about Jesus.
In fact, he considered himself an atheist.
But at age 50, that began to change.
In North Africa where he lives, Christ-centered resources like these are rare, restricted and sometimes even illegal.
So it’s no surprise that he had never encountered Jesus.
While traveling, he received a copy of the New Testament and More Than a Carpenter during an outreach event.
As Jallel flipped through the New Testament, he thought to himself, “This might be from God.” He then opened up More Than a Carpenter and read it. He’d never seen such a book — clear, simple answers to questions about faith.
And all in his own language!
After Jallel finished reading, he trusted in Jesus. And he wasted no time sharing his new faith.
When his work took him to Mecca a few weeks later, he packed up his Bible and copy of More Than a Carpenter. While there, he pulled out his Bible and began reading. People questioned him about the Scripture, and he was able to tell them about Christ and defend God’s Word. Before returning home, he left his Bible and his copy of More Than a Carpenter behind in his hotel for people to find and read.
Just think of where that book might be now? God wants to use ordinary people like Jallel — and like us — to share His truth with others. And it won’t return void! We never know how the Lord might use a word, book or other simple act to point people to Christ.
Today you can help provide More Than a Carpenter to people around the world who don’t know Jesus — just like Jallel. This little book, translated into the heart language of those receiving it, will be used to share the gospel and make disciples worldwide. Will you help?
Give More Than a Carpenter
You can help people who are searching for truth learn about Jesus!
YOUR GIFT TODAY will go directly to providing Josh McDowell’s life-changing book, in places where Christian resources are rare, restricted and sometimes even illegal.
More Than a Carpenter
Give now before the September 1 deadline!
We have until September 1 to raise the funds to fulfill thousands of requests for the book from our hardworking ministry partners in North Africa, Central Asia and Europe. There’s an enormous need for gospel-centered resources in these regions, where people yearn to know and understand truth – truth that will bring meaning to their lives!
In North Africa, where Jallel lives, Christ-centered books like More Than a Carpenter are rare, restricted and sometimes even illegal.
So it’s no surprise that at 5O years of age, Jallel had never encountered Jesus. As a matter of fact, he knew very little about Jesus and considered himself an atheist.
Until he read More Than a Carpenter.
He’d never seen such a book – clear, simple answers to questions he’d had his whole life. And all in his own language!
After Jallel finished reading More Than a Carpenter, he put his trust in Jesus Christ!
So please GIVE NOW to provide More Than a Carpenter, so that others will know the truth: that Jesus was more than a carpenter and really does transform lives!
Please give today!
To send your gifts by mail, you can click here to print a Response Card and mail it to:
Plano, TX 75075
To make a gift by phone:
- Josh McDowell Ministry Development Office
Call toll free: 1-855-833-6897, 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. CT
- Cru Donation Services Office
Call toll free: 1-888-278-7233 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. ET
A Generation of Believers
We just had the honor of hosting Sergei and Sveta Shashin, director of Russian Jesus Film, a ministry of Campus Crusade. They are a result of the seeds/books that were planted throughout Russia in the early 90s. At different times and places, both Sergei and Sveta received a copy of Josh’s More Than a Carpenter book. The book changed their lives, led them to the local church and eventually led them to be the one of the directors of Russian Jesus Film ministry.
Sergei shared, “All of the current leaders of the church in Russia were raised in their faith by Josh McDowell books. In the day, these books were the ONLY Christian books available in Russian language.
“Through More Than A Carpenter, we began a personal relationship with Jesus and discovered the local church. Deceivers book helped us decipher all of the cults that were also popping up in Russia. Secret of Loving and Why Wait? helped us learn the importance of sexual purity and marriage. How to Be a Hero to Your Kids enabled us to become better parents.”
An entire generation of Russian Christians have been influenced by Josh, and now these people, like Sergei and Sveta, are sharing the Gospel with the next generation.
Mask, Manuscript, Scroll
Email from Josh – March 3, 2014
First time to use manuscripts, mask, and scroll in presentation. In fifty years in ministry [this is the] most incredible response by all ages. It was so so much fun for me.
It was all topped off by a lady about forty-five years old , one sharp dresser. She came to me and said, “I must talk to you.”
Tears came to her eyes and she began,”I was born into a wonderful Christian home, accepted Christ at thirteen. I have always attended this church. After your presentation today, for the first time in my life, I have a burning desire to study and know the Bible. Thank you so much. It has changed my view of my faith.”
The biggest response was from the junior high group that all came to the meeting—they flocked to the table full of questions.
Read about the manuscript fragments found at Josh’s Discover the Evidence Event.
A Stark Contrast
by Steve Blow for the Dallas Morning News
Imagine that we could transport ourselves back for one night to the Starck Club, in all its epic ’80s success and excess.
If it were a Saturday night, 1,500 people might be packed inside — far beyond code capacity. Hundreds more would be lined up outside.
Now let’s conduct a poll among all those people, asking them to predict the future of Starck Club owner, creator and partymeister Blake Woodall.
The most common answers would surely be variations on “fame and fortune.” Next would probably come darker guesses along the lines of “drugs and death.”
But I’m betting not a single prediction would hit the true keys of his life today: “Christianity and kitchen appliances.”
Then as now, Woodall talks 90 miles an hour and laughs easily. “A guy said to me recently, ‘You know, you used to be a really cool guy.’” He laughed again. “I get it. ‘You’re not now.’ And I’m OK with that. Let’s just say my water runs a little deeper now.”
Thirty years after its opening, the Starck Club is a hot topic again. A documentary recently premiered. And that has led to plans for a reality-based movie or television series.
Woodall, 62, liked the documentary well enough. He had some say in it. But a movie or series? “No, absolutely not!” he said, laughing nervously this time. “It does scare me that the portrayal will be something I’m not proud of.”
His feelings about the Starck Club are now profoundly mixed. “On the one hand, I’m really proud that we did what we set out to do — create one of the premier nightclubs in the world,” he said.
“On the other hand, wow, that was a real path to destruction I was on.”
The club boomed from 1984 to 1988. Its name became synonymous with high-tone debauchery. “We just did whatever we wanted to do,” Woodall said.
Drugs eventually became a big part of that. Not for everyone in the club, but for too many. Hassles with drug agents became common. That’s what finally prompted Woodall to close the club.
“Instead of being a young entrepreneur, I was a nightclub owner of a drug haven. I didn’t want that,” he said.
He launched a new venture as an international music promoter — particularly of Russian rock bands, believe it or not. But that never amounted to much.
Along the way, he began to explore the spiritual. And he wasn’t choosy. “You know the people in robes handing out books at the airport? I think I’m the only person in America who actually read one of those books,” he said.
But the book that eventually changed his life was Josh McDowell’s More Than a Carpenter. “I sat back and went, ‘Oh, my. I’m a Christian!’ It’s true. It’s all true. Jesus is who he said he was.
“The next thing I knew, the things I had valued started changing,” he said.
Among the changes was that the family business he had haughtily rejected in his 20s seemed dear to him as a man in his 40s. That business is Vent-a-Hood Inc., the Richardson-based enterprise his father had pioneered from the 1930s.
“I humbly came back and began to earn my way up the ladder,” he said. Today, he and his four brothers all work in the business, which has flourished as part of the trend toward high-end kitchen appliances.
Other changes followed. “I married for the first time at 48. Imagine that,” he said. “And I had a daughter at 50.”
Woodall said part of the success of the Starck Club was that no one was too different, too outside the norm to be welcomed. And he’d like to see the church become just as wildly welcoming.
“God really, really, really likes us. Really, really,” he said. “There should be great peace in that.
“The moralists have it all wrong. There’s no finger-pointing. There’s no ‘I’m good and you’re bad.’ The Bible says we’re all sinners. We’re all in it together,” he said.
Now, even with discomfort about what a movie or TV series might show, Woodall has embraced his past.
“Maybe there’s a ministry in it,” he said. “I’m grateful that God gave me a story — and a remarkable story.”
Far from Everywhere
Rukshona was born in a remote mountainous village.
She had never left her village and grew up in a very conservative culture and strict religious environment. The conditions for life were very difficult. They had no running water, no bathrooms. One day a mudslide came down on the village. Most of the houses were damaged. Survivors were moved by the government to another place. She did not know what to do and where to turn for help.
She always wondered if there was a better life, if there was a way out of hopelessness.
Our team came to the place and did an outreach there. She was one of the invited people. She heard that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, that he came to give hope and salvation for people. She was taught all her life that only her religion is true and that she should not turn to any other worship. But for some reason she decided to ask Jesus to help her in her heart.
The situation started to change. At first she thought that it was an accident. But eventually she understood that it is Jesus who helps. She started to read New Testament, but it was too difficult to understand. She asked for more explanations, then we gave her the More than a Carpenter book. She shared that at first she thought that she could keep her old religion and also believe in Jesus. But through reading the More Than a Carpenter she understood that Jesus is the only way to God, and why He had to pay with His life for our sins.
Now she continues to grow in her faith as a secret believer even in a such difficult and hostile environment in her village.
Iskandar is a scientist and philosopher in the Middle East. He was comparing different religions and trying to find the only true religion.
When he visited one of our staff, he received the More Than a Carpenter book. He studied it for a long time and he was surprised by the facts in the book that led to the conclusion that Christ is the only Savior. He realized that the true way to salvation is through Jesus. Now he has a group of eight people that he studies about Christ with, through the More Than a Carpenter book. He wants to meet Josh McDowell in person and thank him for the work he has done to help others to come to know the truth.
Hungry for the Word
I went to Almeria, Spain to hand out Bibles and Christian literature; one of the books being More Than a Carpenter. I don’t know how many people told me they had waited a whole year to get one again because their books were thrown away at Customs or by the Imams in the boat. They’d come to us in secrecy, asking for the books.
Some came to us with tears in their eyes saying: “I got a packet last year—it changed my life and I will see you in heaven.”
A Mother’s Devotions
Hi, my name is Holly.
I have two teenage sons. They are great boys but they are going through the typical stuff that teenagers have to face.
My son asked me one day, “Mom how often do you read your Bible?”
I said, “Son, I may not pick up my Bible daily but I read scripture daily in the devotionals I subscribe to.”
This conversation led me to Google and through a search for teenage devotionals, I was led to this site. I read your devotionals every morning and take the time to send the ones that I feel like would impact my sons’ lives to them.
I know that probably sounds like a lot of work but I’ve learned as a parent of teenagers you have to go above and beyond in this battle. I shared your site with my Facebook friends and I also started following you on Instagram. I’m only sharing because it’s amazing how one Google search led me to this.
Thank you for your ministry and I will continue to share.
Sign Up for Free Daily Devotions:
When Forgiveness Seems too Hard
He shifted from one Converse clad foot to the other and waited patiently for the other students to clear out from the classroom.
I stood at my desk shuffling papers when I noticed that he remained.
“Hi James. What’s up?” I asked.
“Mrs. Lia, I just wanted to tell you that the testimony you read about Josh McDowell’s life made a big impact on me.” He spoke, softly.
I sat down in my swivel chair to listen.
“My dad left home a long time ago and he struggles with addictions too. But I want you to know that Mr. McDowell’s example of forgiving his father showed me that I needed to forgive my dad too. I reached out to him and we have started over again.” He explained.
My heart swelled.
As a high school English literature teacher, my goal reached far beyond explaining the motives of classic authors or the rigors of rhetorical strategy. I read Josh McDowell’s mind-bowing testimony to my students with the hope that his incredible ability to demonstrate love and forgiveness to the unlovely and unforgiving would inspire my students.
And apparently it had. Rightly so. I thanked James for confiding in me and I praised God for His relentless capacity for reconciling fragmented people.
And James? Well, his father would die suddenly and unexpectedly not long after they had repaired their relationship.
It wasn’t too late for them to find hope when all seemed lost.
Forgiveness doesn’t merely heal the people directly involved in a conflict. It is a salve for those who stand in the wings waiting for the courage to do the same.
I want to share Josh McDowell’s story of how he turned from passionate atheism and a goal to murder his own father and abuser, to becoming a radical Christ-follower. You can hear it from his own mouth:
“If you need healing, this is for you.
If you are doubting, this is for you.
If you have someone to forgive, this is for you.
If you need courage, this is for you.
If you grew up with an alcoholic, or are one yourself, this is for you.
If you have been abused, this is for you.
If you are angry with God, this is for you.
If you are in a season of peace and gratitude, this is for you.
If you are overflowing with joy in the Lord, this is for you.
It’s a timeless message that I hope you will set aside the time to watch.”
And may you, like James, take it to heart.
This award-winning DVD is a story of hope, forgiveness and abundant grace.This is Josh’s story — growing up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic and violent father, and a sexually abusive caregiver — that left him with a lifetime of scars, until God’s overwhelming love touched him and he came to face a life-changing Truth.
* The study guide is to be used with the Undaunted book published by Tyndale House Publishers.
Hi, I just watched the movie Undaunted…the story of Josh McDowell.
I had no idea what he had been through as a child. He had a drunken father that constantly beat his mother, a sister who committed suicide and a male helper at the farm house they had who sexually abused him for about 7 years. He was so angry. Long story short, he came came to know Christ while trying to disprove Christianity and then led his Dad to the Lord whom died 14 months after receiving Christ.
I believe God wanted me to watch this movie today.
I have felt a sort of depression come over me and that scares me. This always happens when I start recovery. One thing he said in the movie was that he felt like he had nothing to offer God other than a string of failures. I feel that way 90% of the time. But then he said that he learned that there is a power in weakness and that is also my hope.
He said in the movie that he stopped crying as a boy because it did no good to cry. I totally understand that and think that is a huge reason why it is so hard to connect with my feelings.
When he set out to disprove Christianity, he said that he learned that rejection of the Bible was based more on emotions than intellect.
As I was watching the movie, after Josh went to let the man who had sexual abused him know that he had forgiven him, I caught myself immediately picking at my skin. The numbing is so embedded in me that I sometimes don’t even realize what I am doing.
He said that he had a hard time believing in a loving God because while growing up, he only knew hurt from a father and abuse at the hands of another man. Just like me!
And at the end of the movie, he said that no matter how many times we have failed, it is never to late to have a relationship with Jesus.
And that gave me hope.
Ask Him Anything
I would like to share a story that goes back 30 years to 1985 when you visited our city to spend a week of teaching and ministry in Newcastle England.
I was a student then and my memories of that week are still clear in my mind. The teaching you gave us is still with me too, and I wanted to get in touch to say thank you for impacting my life in such a profound way and to share with you just a couple of the many things I learnt from you back then.
On the Sunday morning you taught on Phil 4: 6-7 —which are verses that have been permanently imprinted in my memory ever since.
You taught on how we can talk to God about absolutely anything.When we bring to Him what is on our hearts, we allow Him access to our desires which means that He gets to either take them away and replace them with something better, or to empower them by changing our motivation to glorify Him.
I can’t describe just how life-changing that simple teaching has been for me since. I still use it regularly and it’s provided such freedom in being able to approach God with whatever is on my heart, no matter what it is.
One example I’d like to share was in a Bible study once. I gave an example of how I prayed for something that I wanted even though it seemed like a strange thing to pray about and then discovered a few weeks later I didn’t want it anymore.
A woman at that meeting told me later that it had spoke to her and previously she’d been afraid to pray for things in case it wasn’t God’s will. This helped set her free in her prayers.
The other major area of teaching that has stayed with me was the very challenging area of interpersonal relationships—how to get along with each other. I have found that the church has many people who don’t know how to handle conflict. It is sad that there is such a great need among Christians to learn to handle differences without hurting each other. However, I believe that God plans to use me to bring people together who are at odds and your teaching provides me with the material with which to do that.
In closing, I can’t overstate how much your teaching impacted me, even though it was just one week thirty years ago.
This tells me that there was a strong anointing on what I heard and it was God speaking through you to me. May God continue to use you in the lives of people so that your words are still bearing fruit in another thirty years time.
A Gift that Changed a Life
I read More Than a Carpenter in the 80’s and it became my favorite book. I have bought many and given them away and I am still doing so. My mother was a public school teacher and I told her about the book. One year in the 80’s she wrapped the book and gave it to her teacher’s aides who were high school students.
My mother is now 89 and she saw one of her former aides in the post office. He greeted her and asked if she remembered him.
“Of course!” she said.
He told her that her Christmas gift all those years ago had changed his life and he had accepted Christ and was called to be a pastor. All because mother had given him the book, More Than a Carpenter.“
I cried because I was able to share in that joy, because I had recommended it. I wanted you to share in that joy, also.
I will continuing sharing the book and thank The Lord that He used you to write it.
Christ and Chemistry
I work as an administrator at a science museum in Russia.
The purpose of our center is to communicate in a very simple way through games that science—specifically physics and chemistry—could be interesting. There are nine guides working with me. All of them are young people, mostly university students. This job is a source of extra income for them.
From the very first day, the Lord allowed me to share with these guides about God. Because they have a specific work schedule, I have a chance to talk to everyone of them individually. I also meet with them as a group. We discuss various topics.
It all started when, at my first day at work, I saw how a chemistry guide was showing an experiment by the name of “Pharaoh’s Serpent”.
He told the story of Moses, Pharaoh and the 10 plagues. I decided to find out how much of this story he actually knew. It turned out that he did not know anything. I had a chance to share with the guides about the Old Testament Passover. Then I shared about Christian Easter, Jesus Christ and the core of the Gospel. Since then, every shift, we talk about God. Many topics. Many questions. Not every question has an answer. But it is a great opportunity for me to develop myself and try to answer questions.
Another interesting story, one of the guides invited his girlfriend to attend a chemistry show that he was teaching. We agreed that I will let his girlfriend attend, if he learns the Lord’s Prayer. Both of us did what we promised.
During our discussions, I always refer to the Bible as the Word of God.
I always say that for me and for Christians, this is an authority. I presented as a gift to everyone of the guides a New Testament, a Jesus Film and the book More Than a Carpenter. Out of 9 people, 8 agreed to receive them. I have had a chance to talk more with 7 of them. I am praying for the Lord to bless them and to give them a desire to start reading His Word so that they can receive the most important gift in their lives – salvation.
Not every one is in the full time ministry, but I am convinced that everyone can turn his job into a ministry. The one who is not willing is looking for reasons. The one who is willing is looking for opportunities.
Out of Darkness
How can we thank you for your faithful service to our Lord Jesus? Your little paperback book, More than a Carpenter was instrumental in bringing my dear brother back to Christ after he wandered into the New Age movement and Occult.
After he watched the movie Jesus provided by Campus Crusade, the Holy Spirit showed my brother the truth of who Jesus was. Next he read your book, More than a Carpenter. When he got to the end of the book, he said the sinner’s prayer asking Jesus to be his Lord and Savior. We burned all his occult books.
He got into a discipleship program and read God’s word with a passion. My brother Tim’s life was transformed by Christ. His life showered over with God’s forgiveness, mercy and love. Tim produced music for the Glory of God, by playing the harp, guitar, violin, flute, and synthesizer.
Tim passed suddenly of a massive heart attack while on a hike 5 years ago. He passed on to heaven with a smile on his face. We miss dear Tim so much (he was 11 months older than me and we seemed more like twins) but we know we will see him again one day in our heavenly home with our Heavenly Father.
Dearest Josh, he will be one of thousands waiting in the greeting line for you in Heaven – Thank you, thank you, thank you!
We love you and pray for you and all the many souls who read your books, hear [your talks] or hear you speak, so that the Good News would pierce their souls and minds and they would believe in Christ’s redemptive work on the Cross.
Thank you for speaking tonight to us here at this fundraiser for the Mission. You see, I was homeless once living in my VW bus, so I know hopelessness—homelessness. Listening to Billy Graham and reading your books turned my life around as I asked Jesus Christ to be by Lord and Savior. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Love you as any brother in Christ. The Word has healed me also, I was a survivor of sex abuse at age 5 years old.
May the Lord use our suffering for His Glory.
Holding on to the Truth
I remember meeting you in a parking garage in Orlando during the 2012 YPS conference. I was on staff at Global Youth Ministry at the time and you walked up to the group I was in—you looked familiar to me but I didn’t know why. You began questioning me and the others about our faith, and you asked one simple question: what made our faith different from the rest of the world’s religions? What proof in the bible did we have that made what we believe different?
My friend Josh and I looked at you and said “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” and in the Gospel of John it said The Word, (Jesus) was with him. You pointed at me and him in approval and said “that’s it.”
I remember sitting with Jay Strack in the sound booth and talking with him about various things in ministry and my hopes of a lifelong future in ministry.
Flash forward through 4 years of hell after that. Losing over half of my immediate family, having to drop out of bible college and go to therapy for clinical depression.
I left ministry, and began partying again, aggressively abusing alcohol and various other things to feel numb to the pain I felt—that my life was a mistake. I had wasted my youth for a Faith that did nothing but use and abuse me and felt that Jesus himself lied to me. Had abandoned me in my depression, anxiety, suicidal condition and substance abuse to die.
A 21 year old bible college student who just wanted to serve the lord and know his purpose. I sit here two years from the day I walked away from ministry, and I am a stronger man because of it.
I picked up a copy of “More Than a Carpenter,” it’s been in my back seat for two months, and I was drawn to it. I opened it up and I felt a connection take place in my soul when I read these words. “…Christianity is not a myth, not the fantasy of wishful dreamers or a hoax played on the simpleminded. It is a rock solid truth. And I guarantee that when you come to terms with that truth, you will be on the threshold of finding the answer to those three questions: Who am I? What is my purpose? What is my Destiny?”
I felt like I hit this spot a month ago, the day before my 23 birthday.
Through all the darkness I went through that was the one thing I held onto, and your word reaffirmed that.
Thank you sir.
Several years ago, we heard Josh speak at the National Apologetics Conference.
He told the story about when his (at the time) teenage son expressed doubts about God and Josh reacted with, “Great! Let’s talk about it!” That story helped us to effectively minister to our own son.
One night, as a senior at a Christian school who was having his ear beaten by an atheist student (Yes, there was an atheist student attending the Christian high school.), he seemed bothered. When I asked what was wrong, he told me he was really struggling with his faith. Remembering what Josh said, I responded with, “Great! Tell me what you’re thinking.” My husband joined the conversation and we didn’t correct him, but we encouraged him to seek answers, talk to us, and pray. We told him that God was interested in relationship with Him and was not put off by his questions but welcomes them as it offers Him a chance to reveal Himself to him. We encouraged him that this was a good, healthy, and necessary process for Christians to go through so their faith becomes their own.
I am so thankful for Josh sharing that story as it has not only guided us in helping our children navigate their doubts, but I’ve used that dynamic to encourage other parents to welcome their teens’ questions and encourage them as they build themselves up in their own faith.
We are currently housing a Muslim college student and our son not only took him to church last night, but told me that he and his friends were talking to him about God. My heart is full!
Please share my thanks and appreciation to Josh for sharing his wisdom!
New Faith and Old Tapes
I came to the Lord in November, 1971 at the University of Kansas.
Just afterward I got a letter from a previous girlfriend, who shared how horrible her life was going. I wrote back saying. “We need to get together at Christmas” (when we would both be back in Des Moines from college).
Well, someone gave me three tapes on prophecy/end-times events given by one Josh McDowell. The tapes were cassettes recorded at the seminars by non-professionals and were of poor quality, probably having been recorded through several generations of recording. But those tapes spoke life to me and gave me confidence in the scriptures.
When Christmas came, my former girlfriend and I got together, and I told her how I had come into faith in Jesus. I had no training in evangelism and really did not have a clear understanding of the gospel. However, I had three cassette tapes on prophecy! So I played a couple of them to my friend and ended the session with “Jesus is real.” My friend started crying. Not having any idea how to lead her to the Lord, I just took her home.
I was wise enough to get in touch with some Christians at her college, Iowa State University, and they were able to lead her into a commitment to Christ.
Share the Love of Jesus Anywhere! (Apps & Tools)
Cru has smartphone apps to help you connect the people you care about to God. Each app is unique so no matter the person or situation, one of these apps will help you share the love of Jesus anywhere you have your phone!
The God Tools app provides a clear, concise and easy way to present the gospel and offers the opportunity to receive Christ in over 45 languages.
Jesus Film Media
The Jesus Film Media app allows you to share a films such as “JESUS,” “Magdalena,” “The Story of Jesus for Children” in full length and segments, in over 1,300 languages.
The Pink Backpack
My name is AnnaLisa and this is a story about something that Josh did 30 years ago that changed my life.
By the time I was in my second semester as a freshman at UCLA, Satan had convinced me of 2 things:
- My life was worthless. I had entered college a drama major with dreams of becoming an actress and soon found I was not as talented as I thought I was among so many other talented young men and women. I also had gotten Rubella—German Measles—and was unable to go to many of my classes. As a result, I was on academic probation and the fear of failure was overwhelming. I no longer felt like I had a future and I thought I was a great disappointment.
- I was utterly alone. I had been in a relationship with a boyfriend during which I neglected my friends, and when we broke up, I felt I had no one. To compound that, my mother had moved out to go back to school to get her law degree and had completely abandoned us kids. Satan made me think no one cared whether I lived or died.
So, one night I walked up to the 7th floor in my dorm and out onto the patio.
I was feeling so sad and worthless and alone and my intention was to jump over the railing and end my life. I gripped the railing and tried leaning over, but I couldn’t do it because I realized that I was afraid of heights. So I knew I needed to come up with another plan. This time, I decided to throw one of my legs over the railing and straddle it and just tip over at the count of three. This way I wouldn’t have to look down. I began counting: 1. . .2. . .then I heard someone behind me say “Wait.”
I was surprised because I hadn’t noticed anyone else on the balcony with me, so I spun around and looked, but there was no one there. I began shaking. Even though I wasn’t religious, I asked, “God, is that you?” I didn’t hear an answer. So I got down from the railing and made God a deal.
“Okay God, if that’s you, I’ll give you 24 hours to intervene in my life, and if nothing miraculous happens, I’m going to come back up here and finish the job.”
The next morning I was walking back to my dorm in a fog when I saw a large group of about 300 students gathered around a man preaching on our campus (it turns out it was Josh McDowell). I had to get past them and I was at the back of the crowd making my way around. I wasn’t really listening to him, he was saying something about Jesus, when all of a sudden he stopped talking for a few seconds.
Then he said in a loud voice, “Hey you!”
I kept walking (of course he wasn’t talking to me).
Then he said again, “Hey you, you with the pink backpack!”
I thought, “That’s funny, I have a pink backpack.”
So I looked over at him and he was pointing at me. Everyone was looking at me.
Then he said, “God’s been talking to you, hasn’t He?”
I started to say “No,” but then I remembered the Voice that had said ”Wait” the night before and I nodded my head. He then told me that God had just given him a message for me and that if I would wait a few minutes with his assistant (he pointed to a lady standing near him), when he was done, he would tell me what that message was. Of course, I was curious so I agreed.
When he finished speaking, he came over to me and said, “I don’t know what this means, but God told me to tell you that He loves you and He has a wonderful plan for your life.”
I started crying. Then Josh asked me if I knew Jesus. I said I knew that He was Joseph and Mary’s son and the Son of God. I was raised Catholic and was very confused. Then he asked if Jesus was my Lord and Savior.
I said irritably, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
He said, “Do you have a few minutes to talk? I’d like to tell you about how you can have a new life with Christ.”
Well, that sounded pretty good to me—I didn’t think my current life was any good so I spent about an hour with him and his assistant that day. The next day I met with his assistant in the cafeteria and she answered my questions. Finally I told her I wanted to become a Christian and she asked if she could pray for me. I thought she meant she would go home and pray for me, but she put her hand on my head and asked me to repeat after her.
At first, I was embarrassed, but when I realized what I was doing, I was so excited that I didn’t care what people thought. I confessed that I was a sinner and thanked Jesus for dying on the cross so that I could have eternal life and I invited Him into my heart to be my Lord and Savior. The day I accepted Christ, I was walking back to my dorm and it suddenly struck me that God wanted me to become a teacher. After that, she connected me to a Christian group (Campus Crusade for Christ) on campus that helped me grow in my faith.
Here’s the weird twist to the story:
4 years ago Josh McDowell was invited to come and speak to the parents at our school. I thought it would be great if I could somehow get an opportunity to briefly speak to him and simply tell him that he had had a big impact on my life and to thank him (I’d let him think I’d read his books or heard him speak). He knew nothing about my suicide attempt, etc. Well, I found out there would be an intermission so I came to our theater early and sat in the front row so I could make a beeline for him as soon as intermission came. (I had also heard he was leaving abruptly after the show).
Sure enough, as soon as intermission came, I ran for his podium and quickly stammered, “I know you won’t remember me, but . . .” and he interrupted me, by pointing at me and saying, “The girl with the pink backpack.”
I was shocked and immediately choked up (I still can’t recall this without getting teary).
“How did you remember me after 30 years?” I asked.
He told me that the message God had given him for me was so powerful that he had never forgotten it. I let him know that it had saved my life. That I had been planning on committing suicide that night and that message stopped me. I added that as a result, I had also become a teacher and that I was a teacher there at the school and for over 26 years had impacted hundreds of lives. I asked him if I could give him a hug and he allowed me to give him a little sideways hug. Everyone else standing there listening was awed by the encounter.
Irrepressible in India
I just want to say that your book Undaunted really helped me to move on in my life.
I had an exact life that you had, though I’m still working on forgiving my abuser. It’s really not easy to do so. I already forgave my parents for what they did to me.
I’m 17 years old and I’m trying to move on from my depression, though your book really helped me to do so.
You’re my ideal, Mr. Josh McDowell, I really look up to you.
You really saved my life (indirectly) so thank you so much!!!
Undaunted: The Early Life of Josh McDowell is a story of hope, forgiveness and abundant grace. This is Josh’s story — growing up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic and violent father, and a sexually abusive caregiver — that left him with a lifetime of scars, until God’s overwhelming love touched him and he came to face a life-changing Truth. BUY NOW
Your gift will help put God’s truth into the hands of seekers!
We are passionate about equipping others to multiply disciples until the whole world knows that the Christian faith is reliable, relational and relevant to their lives.
The Ministry serves students, parents, leaders, churches, and virtual movements through the production of innovative events and cutting-edge ministry resources in the heart languages of people everywhere.
Your gift today will be put to use right away to meet our most urgent needs:
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2001 West Plano Parkway, Suite 2400
Plano, TX 75075
To make a gift by phone:
- Josh McDowell Ministry Development Office
Call toll free: 1-855-833-6897, 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. CT
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You know the importance of saying the words “I love you” but building a lifelong love can be so much more. Find resources to help with strengthening your relationships as well as the confidence to guide your kids into a healthy understanding of God’s gift of sex.
Fortune 500 Faith
I have been wanting to thank Josh personally for years for his part in helping me receive Jesus.
I started my journey with Jesus when I was born again in May 1986. I was just finishing up college and worked in a pizza parlor to help pay for my expenses.
A recent convert to Christ witnessed about Jesus to me — wearing a black biker jacket with a drawing of the Lion of the tribe of Judah on the back. God had has a sense of humor since I was just the opposite kind of person.
This young man was really on fire for Jesus and answered all my questions and the questions he could not answer he gave me a book by Josh McDowell called Evidence That Demands a Verdict.
After months of wrestling with God I finally kneeled at the foot of my bed and gave my life to Jesus.
Recently I sent out [a] newsletter to members of our [company’s] Christian Fellowship encouraging them to share their faith at work.
God bless and thanks Josh. I would love to meet you for lunch one day.
~ Workplace Minister of Fortune 500 Company
You’re invited . . .
JOIN Truth Builders TODAY!
Your commitment to support Josh McDowell Ministry monthly will help ensure that people worldwide know Truth, live Truth,defend Truth and share Truth
Truth Builders are the Ministry’s most committed supporters.
When you join Josh as a Truth Builder, your monthly gifts will help provide steady support where most needed to share Christ, explain His message and equip people to live out their faith.
What’s more, as the power of your gifts is multiplied, you’ll help raise up followers of Christ who know that the Christian faith is reliable, relational and relevant to their lives.
Who are Truth Builders?
Truth Builders are key partners with Josh McDowell Ministry who faithfully support the Ministry with a regular gift. They help ensure that as many people as possible hear the truth about Jesus, as well as reliable answers to the most challenging questions about life, faith and the Bible.
What exclusive benefits can I expect?
As a Truth Builder, you’ll receive:
- An Appreciation Package and a special thank-you gift
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As a Truth Builder, you have two easy giving options:
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Your credit card will be charged automatically each month.
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Either of these automatic giving options will save you time and money — and help us be better stewards of ministry dollars.
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No problem. Just call us at 1-855-833-6897.
“The principal from the High School asked our help with the students from their dormitory.
One night, two of them, went out (without permission) and broke the law. The police caught them and they ended having a criminal record.
To prevent such things in the future, the principal asked us to help shape the students’ character and their decision making process.
We did not expect what was going to happen. We started to meet every Thursday night for two hours. We began by watching movies based on true stories, followed by similar live testimonies.
One particular night excited me the most. The audience was 100% non-Christian.
We watched Undaunted: The Early Life of Josh McDowell.
At the end of the movie, there is a portion where Josh leads the audience in prayer to receive salvation through Jesus Christ. Afterwards, he gives the viewers an encouragement to start reading the Bible.
The movie was followed by Lucian’s testimony. His life has been rehabilitated by God after he grew up in a family with a violent, alcoholic father. Students were speechless. At the end of our time, I offered to students a couple of Josh McDowell books as well New Testaments. Almost all of them wanted a NTs. I gave all the books and also ran out of NT.
One of the students had to come with me in the parking lot to get a couple of NT from the car. The pedagogue assigned to watch the students, shared with us that she comes from a Christian family but she is the only one in the family who hasn’t followed God. We had a great discussion and I handed her a New Testament.“
~ Leader in Romania
Provide Undaunted resource bundles that introduce broken people to Jesus Christ
Bring healing — and the hope of the gospel — to hurting hearts
Undaunted: The Early Life of Josh McDowell is a movie that shares some of the heart-wrenching details from Josh’s early life, including growing up with an alcoholic father and experiencing severe sexual abuse at the hands of a man hired to help on the family farm. These are details that Josh has only recently shared, because the Lord convinced him that his story could help others who have experienced similar hurts.
Ministry leaders around the world have shared that this movie has helped bring these hidden topics out in the open.
“In sharing my story through Undaunted, my prayer is that God will use it to bring millions of people to faith in Christ,” Josh says.
Will you help tell even more people around the world about Jesus Christ by helping put this life-changing movie into the hands of those who desperately need it?
Every $9.85 you give will provide one Undaunted resource bundle, which includes:
- a DVD of the movie Undaunted translated into the heart language of those who will receive it
- an Undaunted study guide or other follow-up resource specifically tailored to the culture
- other resources like More Than a Carpenter that will help new believers grow in their faith
Your gift TODAY will help distribute Undaunted DVDs and other resources into the heart languages of people who need hope and healing. And you’ll help tell more men, women and young people all around the world about Jesus Christ.
To send your gifts by mail, you can click here to print a Response Card and mail it to:
Josh McDowell Ministry
2001 West Plano Parkway, Suite 2400
Plano, TX 75075
To make a gift by phone:
- Josh McDowell Ministry Development Office
Call toll free: 1-855-833-6897, 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. CT
- Cru Donation Services Office
Call toll free: 1-888-278-7233 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. ET