The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Being a Man of God in the Modern World


The definition of what it means to be a man has changed immensely in our society over the years, especially as of late. Depending on who you ask, this answer can include a lot of different expectations and opinions. Dave Willis, relationship coach, author of Raising Boys Who Respect Girls and television host for MarriageToday, dives deep into the struggles men are encountering today and how to combat the tendency of our society to minimize the importance of this conversation.

What do you connote with masculinity and manhood? Dave Willis discusses what it means to follow God with one’s heart and mind in what can be a confusing culture for males.

He describes how boys are very often exposed to explicit images and messages early. Parents, and particularly, fathers, must be prepared to have “the talk” in an ongoing fashion as children are faced with situations and questions to work through.

“When those moments come, we have to be ready to walk through it and do it in a way that shows grace. If we’ll stay close and stay engaged with what they’re going through and carve out time each day with each of them, over time, the cumulative effect of those conversations makes you a safe place for them to share. Don’t let your first response be shock or horror – listen in a grace-filled way.”

Jeremiah emphasizes the importance of parents living out what children should emulate. The training for godliness is found in Romans 12:1-2: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Boys need to understand that innate masculinity is valuable and needed, Dave says.

“I think our boys are growing up without a clear vision of what it means to be a man. Their God-given masculinity is a gift to them and to the world. If we will let God’s Word be the lens by which we look at ourselves and by which we judge right and wrong, then we have the answers already.”

God created mankind in His image, and He has equipped men with specific strengths to be used for His glory.

Dave Willis is a pastor and author, known for his expertise in issues related to marriage and family. His latest book is “Raising Boys Who Respect Girls: Upending Locker Room Mentality, Blind Spots, and Unintended Sexism.”

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Discovering Saint Nick


During this Christmas season, some may ponder the thought “Where did the term Santa Claus come from?” Then some may even try to draw a correlation from the process of giving gifts, to Christianity. Dr. Adam English, Professor of Christian Theology and Philosophy at Campbell University, shares how his research has revealed to many who the real Saint Nicholas was.

What comes to mind when you think of Saint Nick? Do you picture a jolly Santa Claus or a faithful man of antiquity? Dr. Adam English shares how his research has revealed to many who the real Saint Nicholas was.

The Santa Claus we know today is a modern take on the man who was known for his generosity. In the fourth century, Nicholas was said to have given anonymously to others in dire situations. He was even recorded as intervening in a wrongful execution.

While some Christians can view the modern conception of Saint Nick as someone who competes with the story of Jesus’ birth, that doesn’t have to be the case, Adam says.

“I was always conflicted by Christmas in some ways, and how, on the one hand, it’s this high and holy and solemn day, and then on the other hand, it’s a day of family celebrations and gift giving and carol singing – and even this commercial event of movies and yard ornaments and shopping. I think a lot of Christians feel conflicted. We’ve had these cultural wars – is it ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Merry Christmas’?”

Yet, the idea of joyfully giving gifts is central to Christianity and the Gospel itself, since Christ was God’s gift to mankind. And Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). With that example, believers can look to Saint Nicholas as an standard of the lives we should live, Adam says.

“I encourage Christians to think of saints as family members who’ve done incredible things – wouldn’t we want to know about that? We’re not alone. We’re surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. It’s been a huge blessing in my own life to learn about saints of old. Saint Nicholas is an inspiration – we don’t have to close the door on this person. In fact, we need to recover the original Saint Nick.”

How will you bless others’ lives through a generous heart this season?

Dr. Adam English is chair of the Department of Christian Studies and professor of Christian Theology and Philosophy at Campbell University. His books include, “The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of Nicholas and Myra,” and “Christmas: Theological Anticipations.”

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Trusting God’s Promises in All Circumstances


There are times when we find ourselves questioning God’s plan for our lives when we can’t seem to make sense of what is happening to us. His plan for our lives will often not unfold how we originally imagined or wished for it to, so we must trust in His divine providence even when the road becomes difficult. Dr. Michael Youseff (author of Counting Stars in an Empty Sky, the senior pastor of the Church of the Apostles, and the executive president of Leading the Way) unpacks these truths and shares from his own experiences of trusting God in a place outside of his comfort zone.

Biblical fathers and mothers of the faith present us with examples to follow, but can modern Christians really be the kind of believers they were? Dr. Michael Youssef, known for his worldwide ministry, “Leading The Way,” puts wisdom from his life and study in his latest book, “Counting Stars in an Empty Sky: Trusting God’s Promises for Your Impossibilities.” He says the Bible gives us stories of people who sometimes have less than model behavior.

“The reason I do this is I want to show believers in the 21st century that these heroes of the faith have not been washed and cleansed and sent to the laundromat and ironed and straightened and wrapped in cellophane and put on a pedestal. But we see their warts and all, and that s me to rely on the grace of Jesus.”

As a native of Egypt, Youssef has unique insight into the region of the world in which the Bible is set. He combines scholarship, cultural knowledge, personal experience, and a desire to others.

“I wanted to make a contribution and show if you fail, it’s not the end of the way. Abraham failed; you can turn just like he did.”

The main key for Abraham, as for modern believers, is trusting and obeying. In response to God’s promises, Abraham put feet to his faith, and ultimately, his descendants became more numerous than the stars as God had foretold.

Just as God revealed Himself in a personal way to Abraham, He is doing so with countless Muslims, using dreams and visions to reveal Jesus Christ. Anywhere the Gospel goes, God uses it to unlock hearts and open minds to the truth of the Messiah.

As Abraham chose to follow God, we, too, can choose to follow Him. When your obedience meets God’s promises, there’s not limit to what God can do.

Dr. Michael Youssef is the founder and president of “Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef,” a worldwide ministry that leads the way for people living in spiritual darkness to discover the light of Christ through the creative use of media and on-the-ground ministry teams. He is also the founding pastor of The Church of The Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Jeremiah Johnston Show

The Importance of the Pro-Life Movement


The discussion surrounding abortion is as alive as it’s ever been. The time is now for Christians to step up and unapologetically stand behind the pro-life movement. Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List, address the importance of getting into the thick of this conversation and together with Jeremiah looks at what the Bible says when it comes to the sanctity of life.

While it can be easy to shy away from debates that are politically charged, Christians should take a stand for cultural issues that matter, including the issue of abortion, says Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.

It was the work of the Holy Spirit and the influence of Christians around her that changed Marjorie’s views from pro-choice to pro-life, she says.

“I got to the point that I thought maybe there’s another human being with equal moral standing to women who is involved in this conversation, and if that’s true, then this is a completely different story. If I was right, this was the greatest human rights cause of our time.”

Marjorie took the view that unborn life is sacred, and has furthered the cause through her work. She believes the pro-life movement is in its most hopeful moment since the landmark abortion case, Roe vs. Wade. In the event of Roe vs. Wade overturning, voters will likely decide the matter at the state level, Marjorie says.

“In our country and others, when there were great human rights violations, it was Christian people who stood in the breach even when it was wildly unpopular and not politically and economically beneficial to them. The pro-life movement is on the ascendancy; God is allowing this to happen. It could be the opening of the door where light can come in and conversions can occur.”

Jeremiah encourages listeners to be conversant in their faith, knowing that God has given each person value inherent in their personhood. The Bible affirms the worth of life even from its formation in a mother’s womb, Jeremiah says.

“The Bible is so clear that we are to value the sanctity of life. It all comes back to valuing the dignity of every single person.”

God has a unique design and intention for your life.

Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the Susan B. Anthony List. The organization’s mission is to end abortion by electing national leaders and advocating for laws that save lives, with a special calling to promote pro-life women leaders.