Joni Eareckson Tada Interview: Icons of Faith Series


– How many people that you could say they’re a living legend? I like to say I’m a living legend but, I’m not. So, it doesn’t apply to
me but, there are people that really are living
legends and you’re gonna meet one of them in just
a moment and you know who she is already, Joni Eareckson Tada. She’s really a national treasure and her life and her ministry. (applause) Her life and her ministry has brought hope and encouragement to millions
of people around the world. Joni is the CEO and founder
of Joni and Friends, an organization that
accelerates Christian outreach in the disability community. She’s married to her
wonderful husband, Ken, who’s here tonight. I don’t know where you are right now Ken, but, there’s Ken right there with Joni. So, we’re thankful for him as well. So, come on out. Let’s welcome Joni Eareckson Tada. (cheering)
(applause) – Wow! God bless you guys! And I am certain that
a lot of that applause was for my husband of 35 years. Applaud him, greet him, welcome him. Yeah! – I’m gonna come down
a little bit closer to, this thing, I think it,
yeah that’s a little better. Well, Joni, thanks for coming back. You know, you were here
last Christmas, remember? – Yeah, I cannot believe
where the year has gone. – I know. – So fast. – And you look great,
you haven’t aged at all. – Thank you. – I had a full head of
hair last Christmas, you remember that? That was a hairpiece I was wearing, so I stopped wearing it. No, I’m kidding. But I remember that message
you gave and it just impacted me, in fact, what we did, you gave a message to the
ladies and we took your message and I showed it on a
Thursday night to everybody because they said everyone
needs to hear this message and so, I thought it brought
such a great perspective on Christmas but, Joni,
if you wouldn’t mind, ya know, not everyone knows your story. It’s hard to believe. Many do, of course, but
there are some who are meeting you here for the first time and of course, your life changed in 1967. You were a young girl
and like any young girl, you loved to hike and
ride horses and swim– – And dive. – Yeah, and dive. And so, you were a very active young lady and then an event happened that
of course, changed your life and that brings you to
today where you’ve spent almost 50 years in a wheelchair. – 50 years. Ya know, I’d mentioned I liked to dive and I guess I was a little bit cocky sitting on the edge of
that raft in the water and I took a very reckless
dive into what ended up being extremely shallow water. I hit the sandbar and
snapped my head back, crunched my vertebrae,
severed my spinal cord and left me without use
of my hands or my legs. Now, when they took me
to the hospital, I was so depressed, so despairing. The one bright spot was
going to occupational therapy because in occupational
therapy, they let me put a pen between my teeth
and I think we’ve got a photo of that, I’m not sure, up there. It’s my occupational therapist and me. – Let’s put that image up on the screen of Joni with her pen? – Is it there? – [Man] Not yet. I’ll let you know when it’s up there. There it is. – Okay, that’s me and my
occupational therapist and I must confess, at
first, I did not like having to put a pencil between my teeth. I kept spitting it out. And my occupational therapist
kept taking it off the floor and wiping it off with
Lysol and sticking it back in my mouth. – Wow. – When I finally got proficient in drawing ’cause I was an artist before my accident, this is the first image I drew. Take a look at this.
– Go back to that image. – [Man] Wow. – When I drew this, Greg, my thought was, “Oh God, “this is now my life? “This is it?” And I tried to convey all
the horror and the despair, the depression. My goodness, I would wrench
my had back and forth on the hospital pillow every night hoping to break my neck
up at a higher level and thereby end my life. But that picture is, to me, a precious memory of
what God can take us from when we embrace his son, Jesus. – [Greg] Yes. – And I have a second
image I want to put up. May I? – [Greg] Please. – Real quick. Now I did not draw this one. This is a friend of mine who drew this, but as you can see, it’s a puzzle drawing and sometimes, when
tragedy strikes, it’s like God has come and he’s
upset the puzzle table and all the puzzles go flying and we, logical, rational people that we are go scrambling desperately
hoping to find all the puzzle pieces so we can
quickly put them back together and make our life make sense. We want everything to fit. We want everything to be tidy and orderly. But wisdom, I learned, is not being able to put all the
puzzle pieces together. Wisdom is trusting God
even when most of the puzzle pieces go missing. Ain’t gonna find those
pieces until the other side of eternity. But wisdom is trusting God even when life doesn’t make sense. – That reminds me of a story
that Corrie ten Boom told. You remember Corrie ten Boom. – Oh yes. She said to me the last time I saw her when she was alive. I saw her at her funeral but– – She was alive in Heaven. – She was alive in Heaven. She said, “Oh Joni,
one day, we’re going to “dance together in Heaven.” She had that thick Dutch accent. – Yes, well the reason I brought her up is that reminded me of a
story she used to tell. ‘Course she went through
all of her suffering and the constant chasing camp Ravensbruck and with her sister and
lost her sister and father and was released. But remember she would talk about that, a stitching, on one side, it would be I think a scripture perhaps,
but on the other side, it was all tattered threads
with no rhyme or reason but, it’s sort of a picture from
our side, it looks like tattered threads or a puzzle scattered, but from God’s side, there’s a logic to it because there’s something
that you believe in that we all believe in
or should believe in and it’s called the sovereignty of God. Tell us what the, we hear that phrase, what is the sovereignty
of God and what does that mean to you in what you face every day? – Well, at first, when I
heard about the sovereignty of God, that is that the God of the Bible is a God who’s overarching decrees govern everything that happens. At first, I was frightened by that idea. It was scary. – Yeah. – Because if that was
the God that allowed this to happen, then how could
he possibly be good? What is his idea of good? But, God allows all sorts
of things he does not approve of. He doesn’t approve of spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis. He doesn’t approve of stroke. He does not approve of
down syndrome or autism or Alzheimer’s, but a
Christian friend shared with me 10 little words when I was first injured that changed my life. God permits what he
hates to accomplish that which he loves. The way he explained it
Greg, was that he pointed to Jesus at the cross. Look what God permitted. Treason, injustice, murder, torture. How can any of that be the Father’s will? Yet, we’re told Acts
chapter four, verse 28 that he permitted, it says in Acts 4:28, God, I’ve got this right
on the tip of my tongue, I really do. Actually look it up Greg, Acts 4:28. You can probably recite
it better than I can. – I should have it memorized but. I think I know where
you’re going, but I wanna make sure I get it right. – Get it right because
it’s very important. – Is that in the old or new testament? I’m kidding.
– Oh, come on. (laughter) – The writer of the book
of Acts is talking about the evil men who instigated
the cross of Christ and this is what he said about these men. Do you need your glasses?
– Ya know, it’s not in– – I found the verse, for me,
it’s like reading through a contact lens in the small print Bible. – I can do it. Okay, I can do it. (laughter) 4:20, oh my goodness, we
both need our glasses. – The print’s too small. – Impossible. – Can you read it? – Yeah. – This is sad. – I knew this verse by heart. – These men did what God’s power and will had decided beforehand should happen. – Yeah, “Do whatever
your hen and your purpose “determine before to be done.” – So, there you go. I mean, treason, injustice,
murder, and then torture. So right there, God
permitted something he hated, the crucifixion, the
gruesome, the carnage, the terrible crucifixion
of his own precious son. He permitted what he hated
to accomplish something that he loved. What could he possibly
love more than his own son? What would he prize above
his son’s own crucifixion? Our salvation. – [Greg] That’s it. – Our salvation and so, although the devil may have instigated, the events that led up to the crucifixion, ya know, treason,
injustice, murder, torture, God won’t have anything
to do with those things in terms of his wanting or
delighting in them happening but God aborted those devilish schemes to serve his own ends and
accomplish his own purposes. I like the way Dorothy
Sayers once said it. God reaches down into
what otherwise looks like terrible evil and he hi-ya, he wrenches out of it positive good for us and glory for himself. So, the world’s worst murder becomes the world’s only salvation. And my friend who shared
those 10 little words with me, God permits what he hates to
accomplish that which he loves, said, “Joni, the same
is true in your life.” God permitted what he hated,
the spinal cord injury, to accomplish something that he loves, more than the hardship you
are gonna have to go through for the rest of your life
and that is Christ in me, the hope of glory. Oh my goodness Greg, I’ve
given up trying to untangle the matted threads
underneath that broidery that you spoke about. I’ve given it up because the whole point behind my quadriplegia is that I get to know Jesus in
such a tender, warm, poignant, personal, powerful way. I mean, my goodness, every
single morning when I wake up, I think I shared this with the women when I was here the last time, literally, I wake up in the morning
and my girlfriends are running water for coffee,
they’re gonna come into my bedroom, they’re
gonna have a cheery, happy hello and there I
am almost 98% of the time lying there with my eyes closed thinking, “God, I hate quadriplegia. “I am so tired of this. “I have no strength for this day. “I have no resources, no power, no energy. “I cannot do quadriplegia today, “but Jesus, you can. “So you can, I can do
all things through you. “So, would you please be
the good quadriplegic today “because I cannot do it.” And it is the perfect
example of dying to self so that God’s power can live through me, which make the smile
that I have on my face when I wheel out of the
front door in the morning, ain’t made of Colgate, this is a real smile hard
fought for and hard won every single morning and Greg, that’s the Christian way to wake up. – Yeah it is. – That’s the best way, that’s
the Biblical way to wake up, needing Jesus desperately. – Amen. – And I really need him, I really do. – We all do. (applause)
– I really do. – Can’t do it without him. – So from the worst injustice
and travesty of all time, the murder and crucifixion
of the very son of God, came the greatest good of all time. So when we apply the
sovereignty of God to our life, what it is saying is,
you may be going through something now that makes no sense, but ultimately, you’re gonna
see God’s plan and purpose. Maybe part of it this side
of Heaven, but certainly all of it on the other side. But for now, it’s not
so much an issue of why, because you can ask that
forever and people in the Bible ask why, even Jesus on the cross said, “My God, my God, why
have you forsaken me?” I think there has to come
a point where we ask what, as in well, what do I do? And you’ve taken your very
difficult pain and you’ve used it as a tool for God’s glory. You’ve used it as a
weapon against the forces of darkness and you continue to do so. And we thank you for that. Here’s something you wrote. You’re a very good writer, by the way. – Am I? – Yes, I have to tell you that. – Thank you. – You know, when you talk
with Joni, it’s like, whatever you ask her, when she speaks, it’s like, “Was that just pre-written “Does that actually just
come out that way from your “very well organized brain or what?” You’re just so articulate,
but you wrote this quote. I knew in a vague sort of way that answers are my questions and about my paralysis were probably hidden
somewhere between the pages of the Bible, but I had no idea where. So, there are certain passages
and you already took us to one that I could
obviously not read very well. – Me neither. – But I think of another one that I’m sure is meaningful to you and
I’m sure you could add to this list, and please do,
but one that comes to mind is an off-quoted verse, maybe
not always understood, Romans 8:28. Is that a verse that has
brought comfort to you? Is it a verse that initially
was hard to deal with and later brought comfort
or was it always a verse that was like, “Yeah, I get that.” – Well, Romans 8:28, and
okay, you’re asking me to quote this one too, right? – Well, all things work together for good. – All things work together
for good to them who love God and are called according
to his purpose and then, the next verse in Romans 8:29 says that all these things are fitting
together into a pattern for good to conform you to
the image of Jesus Christ. And so, I see that, I don’t
know, I don’t wanna second guess God, Greg, but I do think
that God has permitted this accident to make me more like Jesus. He prizes in my life patience, endurance, self-control, compassion, kindness, all of these things are far
more important than walking. They are far more important
than walking and having use of your hands. So, one of the qualities
of Jesus is compassion. Well, I’m gonna back up. One of the qualities of
Jesus is a hatred of sin. When we say we wanna be like Jesus, we normally think of all
those qualities I just listed, but if we really wanna get
bare knuckles about it, the quality that is most
like Jesus is his hatred of anxiety, fear, worship,
prejudice, snobbery, I mean self-righteousness,
these are the things that he hates and so, suffering
is like the textbook that’ll teach ya about who you really are and I often liken my disability to a lemon that God squeezes in the morning and out comes the cranky crabbiness, the sour disposition, the peevish attitude and when I see that about
myself, oh my goodness, I say, “Jesus, I don’t
wanna be that person. “That was Joni from yesterday. “Please, I wanna be a
different Joni today. “Would you make me more like Jesus “and help me get rid of this sin, “this ickiness in my life
that is so offensive to you “and unpleasant to other people.” The second quality I
think for me at least, a hatred of sin and secondly, compassion. I talk to a lot of
people with disabilities who are as disabled as I
am and I’m pretty disabled. Can’t do my own toileting routines, can’t make my own dinner,
can’t cut my food, can’t hold a bottle of coke. But I talk to a lot of people like me who are disabled less
than I am, some who are disabled more than I am
and they’re depressed. It’s totally humanly
understandable why they would be depressed. Oh my goodness, I was
depressed for years, it took, three years for me to dig up
out of that miry pit of despair but what I will often tell
people with disabilities is, “Get up tomorrow morning “and get dressed. “Wheel out the front door if you’re able “and go find somebody in your community “who’s hurting worse than you are.” Who’s hurting worst than you are. And I think that that is a
sure remedy for depression. To look for other people who
are hurting more than you are and help them, that’s the
second Corinthians, chapter one. Kind of and we’ve been comforted for the benefit of others
and it’s one reason why I started Joni and
Friends, a ministry that distributes wheelchairs around the world and Bibles and we hold retreats
for special needs families and both here in America
and in international developing nations and yada, yada, yada. But I’ve been so blessed. Man I wanna squeeze every
ounce of ministry effort that I possibly can out
of this quadriplegic body to pass on the blessing to others. I’ve been given so much,
you’ve been given so much. We’ve been given so much. Find somebody else who’s
hurting worse than you are and make a difference for
Christ in their lives. – [Greg] Amen. Yeah, that’s right.
(applause) – Really, yeah.
(applause) – I read there’s a 10
step cure to depression. Step number one, find someone
that is worse off than you and help them. Step number two, repeat step
number one nine more times, ya know, so. – [Joni] I like that. – Ya know, but depression
can be bigger than, I mean that’s a great piece of advice. It’s something we all
should do, but I mean, you’ve dealt with severe depression and ya know, in the holidays,
a lot of people are depressed and maybe it’s because
they expect Christmas to deliver what it can’t. They expect Christmas to be the end all or maybe getting together
with family, but ya know, people have broken families
and they have problems and false expectations and
a list of other things but, they might be dealing with depression, but there might be someone here listening or watching later that you
know, has lost a loved one and now, this is a marker
of time that my loved one was with me last year and
they’re not here this year or maybe they’ve had an event, a tragedy since last Christmas and now,
here they are in this place. What would you say, like if
someone is depressed right now, they’re like, they’re in
the pit and they don’t know how to get out of the pit. You’ve given us a great
piece of advice, find someone that is ya know, hurting more than you. How did you, not how did you, how do you–
– How do I? – How do you continue to climb out and be the better Joni, if you
will and face each day? – Well, I’ve got two
friends here, Jen and Reny sittin’ over there. They were the ones who
got me up this morning and got me dressed and
did my toileting routines and put on the lipstick. They do good lipstick and hair. – Yes they do, you look great. – They really do.
– Yes. – Yeah, they really do.
(applause) But they will tell you that because of my daily battle with chronic
pain, which incidentally makes my quadriplegia look
like a walk in the park, they will tell you that
there are times when I’m so depressed when I come to work and I quick rush by the receptionist desk and I wheel upstairs fast
and I close the office door and I grab them and I say, “Girls, “please pray for me. “I need help. “I need your prayers,” don’t I girls? I need prayer. And I think if anyone is
depressed and I will council people with disabilities in the same way, try ever so hard not to be depressed alone because God never intended
for us to suffer in isolation. That’s why he created spiritual community. It’s why he created part of
his Christian fellowship. Find somebody who will pray for you because we wrestle, not
against spinal cord injury or chronic pain or stroke or autism or Alzheimer’s or bankruptcy or an unexpected divorce. We wrestle not against the flesh and blood of these things, we wrestle against powers and principalities
who would love nothing more than to keep us steeped in depression. They would love to convince
you that you’re never gonna get rid of that cloud
of despair over your head. Well, you know what, that’s a lie. So, find people who will pray for you. Earnest prayer warriors
who will buckle down, hit their knees, press
their hands together and plead to Heaven on your behalf. And I know that there is a
fabulous prayer team here at Harvest, in fact, before the service, that’s what I wanted to do. Send me out to be where the prayer is. I wanna be where the prayer is. And I think that’s what
people who are struggling with depression need to do or at least their loved ones need to do that for them. Contact some good
Christian friends who will earnestly, specifically, committedly pray for that individual. – Amen. – Yes, amen. (applause) – Tell me a little bit
about how you met Ken and tell us a little bit about your very wonderful marriage that
God has blessed you with. ♫ Oh, the man, I love him so ♫ He’ll never know ♫ When he takes me in his arms Anyway. – That’s good, I like that. Yeah, Joni. – Okay, quick quiz. Who sung that in what movie? – Well, I don’t know that song. – Oh come on. Sorry? – She said Judy Garland, is that right? – No, not Judy Garland. Oh come on. – Barbara Streisand? – Barbara Streisand in what movie? What movie? Funny girl, exactly. She sings, it’s the last song. – [Greg] Wow. – And I love it, every time
I see my husband dressed in his Brooks Brothers
shirt, headin’ out to church in the morning Sundays,
sometimes he’ll open the front door and before I pass him by, ♫ Oh my man, I love him so
(laughter) My husband and I were both in our 30’s. I liked being single. I was in my early 30’s. He was single as well and we were at, both attending John MacArthur’s Church. He was away one Sunday
and so there was some visiting pastor who was
preaching and it wasn’t you. The sermon was boring. (laughter) So we know it wasn’t you Greg. Excuse me, the sermon was
and ya know, it’s Sunday. You don’t wanna be
sittin’ there being bored in the Lord’s house. So, I asked the Holy Spirit, okay, so then, you haven’t
heard some boring sermons, huh? (laughter) – They have. – Yeah right, anyway,
the Holy Spirit nudged me and I thought, ya know,
I gotta do something that honors God during this hour and so, my eyes fell on
the back of this man’s head who was sitting about five
or six pews in front of me. Didn’t know his name,
didn’t see if he ya know, was wearing a wedding ring or ya know, but I just felt compelled to pray for him, which I did for the
balance of that sermon. I prayed that oh my goodness,
if he had conflicts at work, they’d be resolved. If there were problems with his family, they would be resolved. I prayed that he would
remain morally pure. I prayed that if he did not
know Jesus, there might be something in the sermon
that this guy was saying that might rescue him out of his sin. (laughter) And by the time the benediction was over, I almost wheeled up to
this man to tell him, “Ya know, guess what I did for you.” But I thought that would
look awfully pushy. So, we happened to be introduced
through mutual friends about two or three months
later and literally, the first thing I said to Ken Tada, where are you Ken Tada? Is he over there? – [Greg] He’s right there. – First thing I said, stand up Ken, ’cause I want them to see you, the first thing I said to that man was, “Turn around, let me see the–” (applause) First thing I said was,
“Turn around and let me see “the back of your head. “I know you,” I said and
then I proceeded to tell him what I had done, I prayed for him and we ended up marrying
about a year and half later. – [Greg] Wow. – Yeah. – How long have you been married now? – 35 years now. – 35 years, wow. (applause)
Fantastic. Well, of course Christmas is here. We know ’cause of the poinsettias. Is that how you pronounce it? Poinsettias? And all around, it’s the
signs and when you were here last time, you did such
a great job sharing so many important things
and I thought you did a fantastic job explaining, ya know, what Christmas should be
and I think we sort of so romanticized this story. I’m talking now about the
nativity story itself. That maybe we miss the real
raw, profound meaning of it, ya know, because we
see the Mary and Joseph bathed in blue light and
the animals are bowing reverently and ya know,
the stars in the distance and the wise men are
there and they probably weren’t even there, they came later, but ya know, we have
this romanticized image and I think we’ve missed
what really happened when God came to this earth
and you said this last time ’cause ultimately, of
course, Christ came to go to the cross, you said, “The cross is God’s
taking on flesh and blood “and saying me too, I understand, “I identify, I am God with you. “After all, I am Emmanuel, God with you.” So, share a little bit
about how you see Christmas and what we might be
missing in this season. – Well, think about it. I mean, when Mary and Joseph
took that 60-mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem,
it was no girl scout hike. I mean, this was a rocky,
rugged road, three-day journey. Mary, nine months pregnant
jostling and jogging on a donkey and ya know,
having to turn by the dirt road to let other caravans go
past and then in the dust, which they’re eating, they
continue on their journey. They get to Bethlehem,
there’s no room at the end except that they are told,
there is room in a stable and so, the son of God does
not enter human history with trumpets blasting
and red carpets rolling. He doesn’t enter with
pomp and circumstance, he gets himself born in
a stinky stable on straw in a splintered wood manger. From the very onset of his
life, he was identifying with our weakness. You don’t think God understands? He does. He gets it. He resonates with your weakness. He owns it and I think
that sometimes, we forget that when Jesus was born,
this was the one man born to die. This was God’s way of
saying, “The war is over.” The war is over, there’s no longer enmity. You’d be better explaining
what that word means than I would. Enmity, how would you say enmity is? – Well, opposition to God, even hating God, opposing God. – Yep, the enmity is over. There’s no enmity no
longer between God and man and Jesus, when he was on the cross, he bore all of the
father’s white hot wrath against your sin and mine. He absorbed it. The apple of God’s eye turned brown with the rot of our sin. He was steeped, he was soaked in our sin and the stench that must have arisen to the Father’s nostrils,
no wonder God the father turned his back on his own son, which means that God the
father has no more anger left for you and me, no more white hot wrath, no more enmity, no more judgement. It was all taken care of
at the cross, which Greg, makes me love Jesus so much. Oh, if I don’t love him enough, (applause)
yes, if you find that your
soul is dry and cracked and you find that your spirit
is not warm with devotion to your savior, you think
about those things that Greg and I just talked about,
about how Jesus absorbed the wrath of the father so
that all he has left for us is forgiveness, mercy, love,
tender loving kindness, compassion, what a savior. What a savior.
– Yeah, amen. – Hallelujah.
(applause) In fact, you know, that is
such an exclamation point, I don’t know about you,
when my heart is just filled overflowing just thinking about that. We’ve got to, as a corporate group, praise God for it, so sing with me. ♫ Joy to the world, the Lord is come ♫ Let Earth receive her King ♫ Let every heart prepare him room ♫ And Heaven and nature sing ♫ And Heaven and nature sing ♫ And Heaven and Heaven and nature sing – I love that. Yes.
(applause) You know– – We should do a record together. – Oh no, no, no. No, no, no.
– I’ve got the title. – I’ve got the title,
Beauty and the Beast. What do you think?
(laughter) – You know, my favorite
verse in that wonderful carol is the third one. No more let sin or sorrow
grow, nor thorns infest the ground, he’s come to
make his blessings known, for as the curse is found. Isn’t that good news, wow. – There’s some great theology
in those old Christmas songs. A lot of people miss it. Veiled in flesh, the godhead see, hail th’incarnate deity. Ya know, please this
man with man that dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel. Those words are, they’re Biblical. – [Joni] Absolutely. – I’m gonna just sort of shift gears now. Talk about a subject
you’ve written a book on and I wrote a book on it. My book isn’t as good as
your book on the topic, but we both love the subject. Heaven. – Oh my goodness. – In your book called
Heaven, Your Real Home, you write this, I love this. “Just 30 seconds in Heaven
will atone for all the “heartache and hardship you went through. “Probably just a second
or two, you’ll look out “in your rearview mirror
and you’ll see Earth “like a half forgotten dream and suddenly, “you will be home.” I love that. Earth, a half forgotten
dream and suddenly, you will be home. You know, Joni, when you get to Heaven, you believe your
questions will be answered and what do you think it
will be like and I’m sure you’ve thought about this,
the moment you enter Heaven and see Heaven for the first time. Have you ever just, ya
know, you have such a vivid imagination, you’re an artist, you speak so eloquently and write. Just what do you think it will be like when you first enter Heaven? – Okay, do you know the movie Castaways? Have y’all seen that movie
Castaways, Tom Hanks? The theme music, when I
hear the theme music play to the Castaways, this
is gonna sound silly, I can see the pearly gates slowly open, I can see my dead form rise. I can feel the strength
of resurrected legs holding up my glorified
body and I take gentle steps into Heaven. You gotta go find the
theme music to Castaway and listen to it.
(laughter) Because it is awesome
and that’s what I sense. It’s like this marvelous sense of wonder and Greg, just earlier
today, I was reading Philippians 3:20. We are citizens of that
place, citizens of Heaven and we eagerly expect a savior from them, not just expect a savior. We eagerly, I love that adverb. Eagerly expect a savior from there. The Lord Jesus Christ
who will bring everything under, who has brought
everything under his control, will transform our lowly
bodies to be like his glorious body. But please don’t be thinking
Greg, that I am most looking forward to the body that works. I looking forward to the glorified heart. I want a heart that no longer
tries to twist the truth. I want a heart that
doesn’t hog the spotlight. I want a heart that
doesn’t always wanna try to get it’s way. I want a heart that is quick
to give credit to others. I want a heart that is
not anxious or fearful about the future. I want a heart that trust God and is instant in obedience
and absolute in it’s trust. That’s what I want, I
want a glorified heart. So, every single morning,
as I like to say, I get actively engaged
in my own sanctification. Oh God, like I said
earlier, I don’t wanna be the Joni I was yesterday. – Tell em what sanctification means. – You’re the theologian. – Well I’m asking you, I like the way you say it better than I do. – [Joni] Oh gee. – If you say it, it’ll be eloquent. If I say it, they’ll fall asleep. – Well okay. Well, when we come to Christ,
we’re justified, right? – [Greg] Yes. – We’re justified, it’s
a once, one time event. The gavel is banged and
your name is written in the lamb’s book of life. But it’s a little like Congress
passing the clean water act. (laughter) Because the next day, you can’t go out to the Los Angeles river and
drink clean water, right? – [Greg] That’s right. – It’s gonna take a long time for that clean water act to kick into gear and make the Los Angeles
river flow sweetly so that you can drink from it, right? Well not santification,
as colloquially as I can explain it. It’s then taking that justification, we’re justified before
God, thank you Jesus. And then, we work it out. Work out your salvation
with fear and trembling, the Holy Spirit tells us. Make your calling and election sure. Do you have doubts about your salvation? Start obeying God. And if you don’t know
where to start obeying God, how about Philippians
chapter two, verse 14, which says do everything
without complaining. There you go, that’s a good
place to obey, that’s a start. You can start living the will of God tomorrow morning by purposing
to go through the day, in fact the rest of your
life without complaining. And as you do, you will have obeyed and God will transform
your life, you’ll change. You won’t be the same Mary or
Joe or Bob you were yesterday. You’ll be a different person. ‘Cause that’s what it means
to behold the glory of God and be changed from
glory to glory to glory and to become like him. That’s a wonderful thing, sanctification, and if you don’t know much about it, I’m sure Greg’s written about it, so y’all could read about it. – I love the way you put it. You know, you quoted the
verse, work out your own salvation with fear and
trembling, then it goes on to say for it is God that works
in, you both the will and do if he is good pleasure,
and the phrase worked out, it’s interesting ’cause
it’s a phrase that was used to describe going into a mine
and getting the gold out. So it’s like the gold is
there, like your analogy, the clean water act, it’s been passed, but now, we have to apply
it and so, it’s like, work it out which means
carry it to the gold, not work for your own salvation, it’s a gift from God, but work it out. – And it relates to Heaven. – [Greg] Yes. – Because as Jonathan
Edward once said, this is my favorite all-time quote
from Jonathan Edwards who is America’s premiere theologian
in the 17th centuries, he’s one of America’s,
actually one of America’s greatest thinkers and
this is what he said. Every day, I’m making
this in the vernacular, ya know I can’t speak
17th century English. But what he was saying was, every day, you and I have an opportunity
to stretch our soul’s capacity for Heaven because
everything we do down here on earth has a direct
bearing on our capacity for joy and worship
and service and Heaven. I don’t wanna be quote, leased
in the kingdom of Heaven. The Bible talks about
people who will be quote, leased in the kingdom of Heaven. – [Greg] True. – I don’t wanna be there. And I do not wanna
diminish my eternal estate. I wanna build toward it,
lay out treasures in Heaven about it because I want to experience the fullest that I possibly can, a joy and worship and service in Heaven, but it all is linked. It all depends to the degree
that we trust and obey God down here on Earth and
Jonathan Edwards went further. He talked about these
various degrees in Heaven. Some of us will have joy
the size of a thimble. Others like Billy Graham might have joy the size of a super tanker. Others might have joy
the size of a bathtub. But we’re not gonna be envious
of each other in Heaven because all of our
capacities will be absolutely filled to overflowing and
we will be so delighted to enjoy each other and our savior. So, don’t jeopardize your eternal estate. We only got once to go
around in life, only once. Don’t jeopardize it. Heaven’s gonna be a long time and as CS Lewis said, this
is merely the title page of the real story that’s about to begin on the other side of your
tombstone, so don’t risk it, don’t jeopardize it. Trust and obey and in so
doing, increase your capacity for joy and worship and service in Heaven, which in turns means you can cast more crowns at Jesus’ feet. Hallelujah. – You know, we talk about the afterlife, I mean, maybe we should
call this life here the before life, it’s so
brief compared to eternity that lasts forever and
in Colossians three, Paul tells us to ya know,
set your mind on things that are above and it’s
interesting ’cause it could translate out. Think very careful about these
things or very simplified translation, think Heaven,
but then the objection is, well, they’re so heavenly
minded, they’re no earthly good and my response is well, some
people are so earthly minded, they’re no heavenly good. Ya know, what do you
think and you’ve already touched on it but, so
when we hear we should seek the things that are
above or think Heaven, ya know, how can thinking about Heaven and contemplating what
scripture teaches about Heaven affect us in life on Earth? How does that work out practically? – Well, I think a good rule of thumb is before you make a
choice, before you let those biting words slip your
mouth, before you complain or gossip, before you
choose an immoral path, stop and think. Would you want the movie reel of that to be shown in Heaven? – [Greg] Wow. – Would you want that
to be shown in Heaven about you? I don’t. I wanna present to God as much of myself that is his as is
possible, in the sense of my sanctification, in
the sense of Jesus in me. I wanna see more of Jesus in me and so, just think twice before
you choose an immoral path, a snarky path, I love that word, snarky. Snarky, that’s how I am in
the morning when I wake up. Snarky. And I hate that. Learn to hate those things about yourself and if you think you don’t
have those things in your life, ask your husband or wife. I’m serious. – They’ll tell you. – Ken will tell you that I have told him, “Sweetheart, would you
please point out in my life “things that you think I need to change? “There’s areas in my life
that I’m sure I’m blind to. “Would you point out to me
things I need to change?” And keep short lists with the friends and neighbors and
co-workers that you have. If you offend them, make it right. I have told Reny, I think,
on a couple of occasions, “Reny, that was the
wrong thing of me to say, “I am so sorry, I regret it. “It was thoughtless of me
and not only thoughtless, “it was rude, would
you please forgive me?” And the result of that is that Reny and I are better friends. We’re better friends. So, those are just some practical ways I think that you can get ready for Heaven. – Amen, I love that Joni. You know, Joni’s written a new book called A Spectacle of Glory,
God’s Light Shining Through Me Every Day, and ya know,
when you listen to her, just the profound insights are incredible and this book is filled with them and so, tell us a little bit about this book that had just come out and
this is sort of a devotional. You would read a page or two every day, two and a half pages or so. – It’s a 365-page devotional. I wrote it for my friends in 2017. You can either I think maybe get it here at the bookstore or you can order it at joniandfriends.org. Can I tell you about the title? – [Greg] Please. – The title is A Spectacle of Glory. When John Owen, oh excuse me, John Owen, was it John Owen or John
Newton, it was John Newton. Okay, now I need a theologian
to tell me which one it was. Probably John Newton. He wrote about how Moses,
in Exodus Chapter three, when he was shepherding the
flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, in the dessert, he turned aside and he saw a bush that was a flaming bush. It was the presence of the
great I am and he noticed that the bush was burning and
yet it was unconsumed. In Exodus chapter three,
it records Moses saying, “Let me turn aside to
see this strange sight. “Christians who suffer,
yet suffer graciously, “who have a Godly response
to their suffering, “who limit the complaining.” We are like burning bushes unconsumed. The chronic pain, the quadriplegia, the inability to walk or
run, can’t hold things with your hands. I want people to look at me and say, “Why is that burning bush not consumed? “Why are you not consumed
by your trials, Mrs. Tada?” And it’s a strange sight, but like Moses, I think it sparks curiosity
in not only other Christians but among a cynical and skeptical world. People see Christians not
complaining all of their suffering so greatly. Let me find out what this is all about. That girl’s God must be amazing to inspire that kind of loyalty. That’s what I want people to think. When they see my smile
in an elevator, ya know, I can’t do a lot in an elevator. I can sit in my wheelchair
and sing Amazing Grace or from it and there are
people and I’m singing, ya know, humming Amazing Grace, but they can connect the dots. So everywhere at all times,
ya know, we’re on display. People watching and we can
either dishonor the playwright and adlib our lines
and do something stupid that stains his reputation
and makes them look really bad or we can live obediently, trustfully, kindly, compassionately and it’ll make your
neighbors, your co-workers look at you and think
okay, why is this person not complaining? His wife just suffered a massive stroke. He just got the diagnosis of cancer. Her husband just walked out on her. Why is she smiling? I wanna know about that. So that inspired the title,
A Spectacle of Glory. We are all spectacles of God’s glory as we obey him and trust him. – Ya know, when Paul and
Silas are thrown in prison, the Bible says at midnight,
they began to sing praises to God and it
says the other prisoners listened, it’s interesting
in the original language, it’s they’d listen with pleasure. They probably never heard a concert in that prison before and then of course, they were treated cruelly
by the jailer but then, an earthquake came and the
jailer being a Roman guard knew the ya know, the
penalty was he would be put to death for losing his prisoners. Paul said don’t do yourself any harm. We’re here and then the jailer said, “Sir, what must I do to be saved?” It’s Paul and Silas
effectively earned the right that they’re suffering to reach that man and he was moved deeply. He was a hard man and
ya know, when you take your pain and you use it for God’s glory and we all take whatever
pain we have in life and we have different kinds of pain. Some absolutely more than
others, but every one of us is gonna face pain, we’re
gonna lose loved ones, we’re gonna have setbacks,
we’re gonna have things happen that we had not planned
for, but we have to just take that platform and use
it as you say in your book, as a spectacle of glory, right? – [Joni] Absolutely. – You have a Bible project
you’ve worked on as well that is out, tell us about that ’cause that sounds
really interesting to me. – Well you know, you’ve been
hearing me quote a lot of theology. I’m no theologian, I
don’t have masters degrees behind my name. – [Greg] You’re a theologian alright. – Well you’re sweet to say that but, when I was first injured, I
had a lot of questions for God and I did not know the answers. So, my Christian friends
who were counseling me were in over their heads
and so, they connected me with a young man named Steve Estis. I have co-authored several books with him. He was only 17 years old,
but he knew the Bible like the back of his hand. And I peppered him with so many questions and every Thursday night for a full year, he counseled me through God’s word and before you know it,
before the year was out, there were like 50, 60 other young people coming to my living room
wanting to listen to what this young man had to say. By the way, he’s a
father of eight children, a grandfather of I don’t
know how many grandkids and pastors a thriving,
booming church in Pennsylvania. – [Greg] Wow. – So he’s a remarkable man. But anyway, I always hoped
that I might be able to work with a Bible publisher
to craft a special edition of the word of God, which
would be people’s Steve Estis. Now, I wanted a Bible that
would be the same kind of companion that I had
to show where the hope is, where the encouragement
is, where the insights are about God’s sovereignty
and what about depression and what about miraculous
healing and what about chronic pain. How can God be good, but
allow so much suffering on the world. Come on, who sets the world’s agenda? Is it the devil or is it God? What’s the relationship there? Tough questions. So, this Bible answers them. And there are answers. Yes, suffering is a mystery. We can’t understand all the answers. But there are enough clues in the Bible to help make clear God’s
intentions, God’s heart. So the Bible is called
The Beyond Suffering Bible and there’s a graphic of it up there published by Ten Dale and
we at Joni and Friends, worked six years on
this particular edition of the word of God. It is for people who suffer. It’s especially for
people with disabilities, mothers and fathers of
kids with special needs and their caregivers. It’s a great Bible for caregivers. So if you’re lookin’ to
give a Bible to someone whose gone through a recent
bad medical diagnosis, a botched surgery, whatever,
this would be a good Bible to give. – Sounds great Joni. Ya know, let me do kind
of a lightning round. This little bit from the
sublime to the ridiculous now, these are just real simple questions like, Joni Eareckson Tada, what
is your favorite color? – Really? – [Greg] Do you have a favorite color? – I love blue. – [Greg] That’s my favorite color! – Really? – Yes. ♫ Blue on blue ♫ Heartache on heart Okay, every question you’re gonna ask me is gonna have a song attached to it. – Yeah I have songs too, yeah. I have songs too. ♫ She wore blue velvet ♫ Blue moon ♫ You saw me standing alone – Yeah that’s a good song, I like that. Okay, favorite food. We talked about food in the backroom. What is your, ya know,
like Mexican, Italian? Do you like sushi?
– Oh no. – [Greg] What do you like? – Well, I love sushi. – [Greg] Do ya? – Love sushi, yeah. I love sashimi because I’m from Maryland and so, ya know, I like oyster
stew and all that good stuff. I love my mother’s crab cakes. – [Greg] Oh yeah, crab cakes are good. – I love em. – My wife loves crab cakes too. – Yeah and we even order the $36 a can jumbo lump crab from Crisfield, Maryland. Like takes a mortgage
payment to pay for it in my opinion, but you
know when I really wanna taste my mother’s crab cakes, I order bigtime from Gilson’s. – Yeah good. So what makes you laugh? – My husband. – [Audience] Awww. (applause) – The girls would get
me up in the morning. They’re all nodding
their heads over there. I mean, he comes into the,
sometimes he’s wearing the minion eyes, ya know? (laughter) Sometimes he does this
very silly impression of Doctor Yamaguchi and we won’t go there
’cause it’s kind of ethnic and racial,
(laughter) but ya know, he’s Asian,
so he can get away with it. But my husband really makes me laugh. He’s got a great sense of humor. – So what makes you sad? – A wasted life. – [Greg] Yes. – I know some people who, who are wasting their lives and they have so much. So much to be thankful for,
so many material blessings, but they either turned away from God and are not believers,
not followers of Jesus, or they are followers of
Jesus but they’ve chosen a carnal path and ya know,
I’m of the persuasion of Hebrews chapter 12. I’ll tell ya Greg, when
I was in high school, I named Christ as my savior. I accepted Jesus at a
young life weekend retreat and I was involved in a Bible
study and doing great things, but on Friday night, in the backseat of my boyfriend’s car, it was another story. So, I felt terribly guilty,
oh God, I’m so sorry. But then what do ya
know, I confessed my sins on Sunday morning and next Friday night, it would be a repeat of the same old thing until I had dug myself into
slavery and it was impossible to break free of sexual
sin, couldn’t do it. So, in April of 1967, after a
sorted date with my boyfriend, I came home one Friday
night, threw myself into bed, sobbed into my pillow, “Oh God, “I’m gonna go away to college
in just a couple of weeks “and I know, I just know
what I’m gonna do there “’cause my boyfriend’s
going to the same college. “We’re just gonna sleep
together and not take “birth control pills and I’m
gonna make a mess of stuff. “I’m such a hypocrite, I
don’t want to be though. “Please Jesus, do something
in my life to turn it around.” And then I broke my
neck three months later. Was God dealing harshly with me? I thought so in the beginning. I mean, I was outraged that God could take a prayer so seriously. Why did you take that prayer so seriously? And ya know, I spat
things out at him like, “Okay, that’s the way you wanna be, “I’m never gonna trust
you with another one “of my prayers again, that’s it.” But I realized what I was
doing is digging myself into another cycle of slavery. Bitterness and there’s nothing
worse than a bitter spirit. So, I can look back and
see that my diving accident and you may disagree
with me, you may think it makes God look harsh,
but I believe it was an example of Hebrews chapter 12, a father loves the child
that he disciplines. If the child is not disciplined, if a wayward, rebellious
child who names his father as his father is being
disobedient and unruly and rebellious and
stiff-necked and stubborn, a loving father will reproof
and correct that child and bring about discipline. That doesn’t mean that
God is punishing us. It’s not retribution,
like, “Throw her in jail “and see how that feels, there. “Slam the door, throw away the keys.” No, but it is punishment,
quote punishment in the sense of discipline and
restoration, not retribution but restoration. God restored me through this
accident that oh my goodness, I often, at least about
three or four times a week, I’ll be sittin’ at work
or I’ll be in my house and Ken’ll be just so ya
know, wonderfully supportive and I’m sittin’ there saying to myself, actually I’m praying, “Jesus, oh Jesus, thank you for “allowing my broken neck. “Man, you were such a wise God. “I didn’t like it at the
time, but you were so good “and so wise. “Look what you have done. “You’ve brought such peace into my heart “and set me free of sin. “Bless you.” And it’s just a constant
wellspring of praise to my savior because of
what he’s done in my life and I think it’s discipline. You might disagree, others might disagree, and you’re free to disagree
because who really understands, ya know, God’s purposes and intent. He had perhaps, maybe other
things on his mind, maybe? When I read Hebrews 12, I think no. I think that it’s discipline. – Yeah, I mean, we’ll know
when we get to Heaven. You know, my son, Christopher, died in that automobile accident, ya know, eight years ago, and he had a conversation with his brother Jonathan
that Jonathan was struggling with drugs and Christopher
had come through that and had recommitted his life to Christ and he was talking to
his brother and he said, “Ya know, what’s it gonna take Jonathan “for you to kinda come to your senses?” And the next day,
Christopher was in Heaven. That’s what it took to bring Jonathan back to Christ, so I don’t
look at that and say, “Okay, God took Christopher
to bring Jonathan “to a place of recommitment.” I look at it more like,
God took Christopher in his sovereignty, in his
will, I don’t know why. I know God’s in control,
I know God loves me, I know I’ll see my son again,
but despite this tragedy, just like what happened
to you, that was tragic, but despite the tragedy,
God has brought honor and brought Jonathan to
himself and touched so many other lives and though we
miss our son so deeply, we see that he can, well as you say here, it can be a spectacle of glory. And you know, I think another thing Joni, I think that God looked
at you, a young woman, yes, you were going the wrong direction, but he saw a vessel that he could trust with his glory that would have integrity and would walk with
him and would honor him and he said I’m gonna put her in a place. You’ve heard the expression,
if you see a turtle on a fence post, you know he
didn’t get there by himself. (laughter)
Right? – [Joni] Right. – Ya know, people would
listen to your testimony if you stood before us as a healthy lady, but because you’re in the place you’re in, you’ve been able to
bring honor to the Lord in an amazing way and
so, we thank you for that in not wasting your pain
and being a blessing to so many, including me. I talk about you all the time. – Do you really? – They know that. They know I talk about you. – I’m honored. – [Greg] You’re one of
my heroes of the faith. You are, no question.
– Wow, wow. – Well, when you get to Heaven Joni, what would you like to
hear the Lord say to you? – My husband, gee I’ve
never talked about this or said this anywhere, but, he has a favorite name for me. G, Gigi, it’s because my sister, when I was a little girl called me Jonathan Grundy, born on
Monday, Christ on Tuesday, blah blah blah and so,
ya know Jonathan Grundy, he heard my sister recite that little poem and he kinda picked up the Jonathan Grundy and it’s JG and then it became GG. I’ve often told my friends
that when I get to Heaven, I want to see Jesus and have
him walk up to me tenderly and put both hands on the
side of my cheek and say, “Welcome home G. “Welcome home GG.” Oh my goodness, I get tears in my eyes even thinking about it. But then I hope he says, (clearing throat) Ken you’re gonna have to
help me here, I’m so sorry. I have quadriplegic lungs and
they don’t work real well. But I hope that, don’t be alarmed, don’t call 9-1-1. (laughter) (clears throat) Okay, now ya gotta set me up sweetheart. Okay, there ya go. That’s it. Thank you hon. I’m my best audio-visual aid. (laughter) Gee whiz. Then I wanna hear Jesus say, “Well done. “Well done, Joni. “You were trustworthy in a few things. “Now I’m gonna put you
in charge of 10 cities.” No thank you. (laughter) I’ll just take a little,
my little mansion. But I wanna hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” – In your book, Heaven, Your New Home, you write this about our new bodies. “No more bulging muscles or balding tops,” I’m happy about that, “no vericose veins or
crows feet,” remember this? “No more cellulite or support hose, “forget those thunder
thighs and highway hips.” – That was my nickname in high school. – What was your nickname? – Thunder thighs. – That’s mean. – Because I was so good on lacrosse team and the hockey team. – So no more thunder
thighs and highway hips, just a quick leapfrog over the tombstone and it’s the body you’ve
always dreamed of, fit and trim, smooth and sleek. Well written and that’s our hope and let me just close with this question. Joni, someone’s listening to you right now and ya know, maybe they’re
disabled, maybe they’re facing a tragedy, maybe
everything’s kind of going well relatively in life but
the biggest problem of all is that sin that separates us from God. They see you talking
about your faith in Jesus and how he gives you the
strength for each day and the hope that you have of heaven, the hope that we all have. So, someone that’s
listening to you right now wonders, “How can I have that faith? “How can I have Jesus in my heart “in a way, have a relationship
with God like Joni has?” What would you say to that person? – Well, if you’ve come tonight
dragged here by your elbow, by your Christian friend,
and you weren’t sure you wanted to come but,
you’ve been sittin’ there and the things that Greg and
I have been saying have warmed your heart, you
know there’s something that has the ring of
truth in what we’re saying and your heart is being warmed. It ain’t me and it’s not Greg talkin’. It’s the Holy Spirit. – [Greg] That’s right. – God is bending over
backward to bring you home and there’s no better time to come home than at Christmas. So I would just encourage you to certainly celebrate the advent of
Jesus, a baby in a manger, but remember that the cradle
always leads to the cross. Look at the cross of
Calvary and see a savior who has rescued you
already from your sins. All you need to do is trust him in it and believe him for it and invite his Holy Spirit
to sit on the throne of your heart as you
confess your sin and say, “Jesus, I don’t wanna follow
my old way of doing things. “I don’t wanna be the
stiff neck stubborn person “that my husband knows I am. “Not for me, I want to change. “I want you to change me. “Give me new life in you “and then give me the power
to wake up tomorrow morning “trusting you in a fresh new way.” And you’ll be on your way home. – [Greg] Amen. – When you put your hand
in the hand of Christ. For those of you who are Christians, perhaps God is calling you to rise to some new fresh level of confidence in Christ. You are tired of a
mediocre Christian walk. You wanna rise to a new
level of trust and confidence in him, get in the practice
of getting actively engaged in your own sanctification
every single morning. Be intentional about the
way you live tomorrow. Think about the choices you’re making. Think about the words before
they come off your tongue. Die to the sins that he died for on his cross for you. That’s what it means to
become like him in his death. Daily pick up your cross and die to the sins that he died for on his cross for you. And my goodness, your soul will be able, your soul will be so much better bonded to the heart of your savior. Your heart’s gonna get
beating in rhythm with his and before you know it,
his joy because he shares his joy on his terms,
and his terms call for us to in some measure, suffer
as his own son suffered when he walked on earth. So, get your heart
beating in rhythm with his and before you know it,
his joy is gonna spill over heavens walls, splash up in your heart, ever fest out to others in
an ecstatic encouragement, a river of encouragement and then rise up back to the Lord in a fountain of praise. Don’t you wanna live that way? – [Greg] Amen. – Don’t you wanna live that way? (applause) Oh my goodness. The world would be turned upside down. Hallelujah.
– Amen. – Amen, let’s thank Joni Eareckson Tada for being here tonight. God bless you Joni. – Thank you, thank you.
(applause) – Take your time. Wow. Just incredible, wasn’t that amazing? I’m just so blessed to
be able to sit there and talk with her and I
thought we would close with a prayer and I
would like to extend that invitation for you to believe in Jesus, ya know, there are some of
you have never made that commitment to Christ. I thought it was very
interesting and very candid what Joni shared about
when she was a young girl. I’ve never heard her
tell that story before and the struggles she was
having with promiscuity and immorality and ya know, just yeah, that’s the story of some
young kid here tonight, a young man, a young woman
and then there’s somebody else that is dealing with
other problems in life and whatever it is, the answer is Jesus. I was thinking when she
was talking about that, I thought of that song,
I’ll Be Home For Christmas, ya know, but home with the
Lord, home in a relationship with God and then one day,
we’ll be home in Heaven and that is the hope
only the Christian has. So, if you’re not sure if
Christ is in your heart right now. If you don’t have the
confidence that you’ll go to Heaven when you die, if
you want this relationship with the lord like Joni has
and people around you have, I’m gonna lead you in a prayer right now where you can ask Christ to
forgive you of all of your sin. No matter what you’ve
done, he’ll forgive you. But you have to be sorry for that sin. You have to turn from that sin and you need to ask him
to come into your life and he’ll do it because Jesus says, “I stand at the door and I knock “and if you’ll hear my
voice and open the door, “I will come in.” So he’ll come in, live inside of you. That’s the message of Christmas, Emmanuel, God is with us, that’s
what the word means. And he can be with you and
he can be in you tonight. He’s just a prayer away. So we’re gonna close in
prayer and let me invite you to believe or for some of you maybe, to make a recommitment to
Christ if you need to tonight. Let’s all bow our heads. Father, thank you for this night and thank you for sending
your son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us. Lord Jesus, thank you for coming. You were born in the manger and you lived a perfect life and then
you died that perfect death and you absorbed the wrath
of the father in our place and then you rose again from the dead and you stand ready to
come into any human heart and I pray for those that don’t know you, that they will come to you now. Now while our heads are bowed
and our eyes are closed, and we’re praying, if you
would like Jesus Christ to come into your life, if you would like him to forgive you of your sin, if you would like to know with certainty that you will go to Heaven when you die, wherever you are, would
you lift your hand up? Let me pray for you. You want Christ to come into your life. You want to believe in him. You want your sin forgiven,
raise your hand up, wherever you are, and
I’ll pray for you tonight. Wherever you are, just slip your hand up. Let me pray for you. Just raise your hand, if you want Christ to forgive you, God
bless you, you want this relationship with God,
you wanna go to Heaven, raise your hand up, let me pray for you. You’ve done things you’re
ashamed of and sorry for and you need God to forgive
you of those things. Raise your hand up, let me pray for you. God bless you, God bless you as well. God bless you, each one of you. God bless. Anybody else, raise your hand. God bless you, God bless you too. While our heads are still
bowed, some of you would say, “Ya know what, I’ve been
living in two worlds “trying to walk with Christ,
but also doing things “I know I shouldn’t be doing “and I don’t wanna live that way anymore. “I wanna make a recommitment
to really follow Christ, that God has spoken to me tonight. If that’s your desire, why
don’t you raise your hand up? Let me pray for you tonight. God bless you. Anybody else? I think there might be a
few more that wanna so this. You know you need to make
this deeper commitment to Christ, raise your hand up, let me pray for you. God bless you, God bless you, anybody else. Just raise your hand up, I’ll pray for ya. Not gonna as you to come forward tonight, but I’m gonna pray for ya
and I want you to take that little step of faith
and raise your hand up, kinda like if you’re out
drowning and you need help and you want the lifeguard to notice you, you hold your hand up, you call out. Anybody else, last moment,
raise your hand up, let me pray for you. God bless you, God bless you. God bless each one. Now, all of you that
have raised your hand, I want ya to pray this
prayer right where you are. In fact, pray it out loud after me. Just pray this prayer and even
if you didn’t raise your hand but you wanna make this commitment, a re-commitment to
Christ, pray this out loud right where you stand. Pray this, Lord Jesus, I know I have sinned against you and I am sorry for my sin
and I turn from my sin and I choose to follow you as savior and as Lord. As friend and as God. From this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer. Thank you for forgiving me now. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen, God bless each one of you that prayed that prayer.
(applause) God bless you.

15 thoughts on “Joni Eareckson Tada Interview: Icons of Faith Series

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  • You are awesome Joni God bless you extremely your testimony bless me and punch me in the stomach at the same time a year ago I was in a accident no were near your accident but long story short I lost the function of my right hand that I use to draw with I've been saved for 3years and God's been so good to me in those lonely nights I wonder what can I do and Jesus says you could do anything if you let me thank you sister Dios te bendiga mucho tú hermano en Cristo from Puerto Rico

  • Pastor Greg. I am in desperate need of help. I was never a drinker or substance abuse person. My Precious Dad died of cirrhosis of the liver. I miss him so much. After my bypass surgery I drink 2 to 3 bottles of wine a day. This happened after 3 years post-op. I need prayers. I hate this addiction. Please pray for me

  • Joni is a Righteous Woman who tells stories of Faith. LOVE, JOY, PEACE, TRUTH. Hear her speak the truth. LOVE to ALL and GRACE from Jesus and GOD to ALL. take Communion ALL and tell GOD U are Sorry for All Sins. HE hears Every Prayer. His love is so Awesome. Amen

  • I'm here listening to two people, who back in the mid 1960's we're living very different lives, who would have never crossed or ever would have had anything common . But here is what only God does he brings these two ordinary people who which only he( God) can do.

  • Philippians 2:14
    Something to practice all day everyday.. a dicipline so contrary to our incessant groaning society, attaching negativity & stress to otherwise neutral activities. Let's seek to be heavenly minded & acknowledge Him.. continually!!

    Be with me Father, direct my paths. Renew my mind, renew my heart. Do not forget me.

  • I was blessed to have had the opportunity to meet and hear this beautiful lady speak and sing. She is a very genuine human being. Love you Joni.

  • Why is this woman blaming God for the position she is in, would she not have blamed her own ignorance, that she did not look before she leaped, perhaps ego, Pride, perhaps showing off to those who were around her, these are sinful states of the heart, she tells you that she possesses these sinful states, so if your heart is in Pride, then it's not in faith with God, the spiritual position of your heart is sin, and this is leading you to do ignorant sinful things,

    she wants to tell me that she's learning a lesson because God did this to her or did she do this to herself, and she's trying to find God to get out of it, time and time and time again I see people in this position, and they all say the same thing, externally, outwardly they tried to say all the right words, but inwardly their souls are still corrupted, because of the sinful nature,

    Christ said to the paralytic which he healed at the pool, stop sinning or something worse may happen to you,

    it all sounds lovely but the whole thing is a deception, it takes you away from the Christ and the power of God it is misleading and no one finds Faith In The End because they cannot actually accept the truth,

    if Preacher Man actually found faith she would be healed, and there isn't anything else, all you do is justify so that you can sleep at night.

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