Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Dannah Gresh: Most of us don’t like thinking about dying, but John Avant says it all boils down to a matter of what we really believe.

John Avant: There is supernatural power through the Holy Spirit available to us to love and trust God no matter what, because Jesus took all of our anxiety, our fear, our death. Jesus took it all, and I don’t have to cower in that fear.

Dannah: This is the Revive Our Hearts podcast, with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of You Can Trust God to Write Your Story, for May 18, 2021. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Well, we sure do hear a lot of statistics these days about death rates, but the sobering fact is that the overall death rate is in fact, 100 percent! Isn’t that right, Nancy?

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: It is, Dannah. I’ve thought a lot about that over this past year or so, as there has been so much talk about death. I’ve just been thinking that we need to think about death. I don’t know when I’ll die, but I know that I will die, and it’s the same for every listener.

The sweet news of the gospel, though, is found in Hebrews 2:14–15 where Scripture says that Jesus came to “destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

I know a lot of people feel enslaved by the fear of death. But as we’ll hear from our guests today, if you’re a child of God you have nothing to fear! John and Donna Avant are good friends of mine. John is the President of Life Action, the branch of our ministry that includes our traveling road teams and the Life Action Camp.

John served for many years as the pastor of a church in Knoxville, Tennessee. His wife Donna serves alongside of him; they’ve been married for over forty years. They have three children and six grandchildren . . . and I might add, those grandkids give them a lot of illustrations!

Recently, John and Donna were guests on our live weekly videocast, Grounded, and what they shared was so powerful that I said, “Could you come back and share this with our Revive Our Hearts audience as well?”

So they graciously agreed to sit down with Erin Davis—who is the Content Director for Revive Our Hearts—about this relevant subject of death, but one that is often difficult to talk about. Today we’re going to listen to Part One of this conversation that Erin Davis had with John and Donna Avant.

Erin Davis: I want to start with a topic that maybe we’re all tired of talking about, which is the pandemic—that we have lived through, that we are living through. I want to use it like a magnifying glass to ask this question: What has the pandemic exposed about what we really believe about death?

Donna Avant: I think one of the things that is exposed is that we don’t have a good theology of death. That word “theology” just means what we really believe and how we act it out. I think the pandemic has exposed a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety. It’s something that, as a follower of Jesus, we want to say, “Oh, I know what I believe.”

But when you begin to act in fear and your life becomes consumed with anxiety, then you really don’t have a good theology of death. I think it kind of takes over. I think it has exposed a very tender place.

Most of the time we get our theology from going to Bible studies. We get our theology from going to church and listening to great sermons. The sad thing is, the truth is, most of us have gotten our theology of death from just going to funerals. So we need to look very hard at what we really say our theology of death is. 

Erin: Yes, there’s not much that we agree on these days, but what everybody seems to agree on is that anxiety is through the roof. And do you know what that is? That’s not the problem; that’s the symptom of the problem. 

Like, when my sons get a fever, the fever isn’t the problem. The fever is telling me, “Something’s wrong with your boys.” Skyrocketing anxiety points to that. No one has ever asked me my theology of death, no one—not my pastor, not my women’s Bible study group, not my mentors.

Why do think that is? Why do you think even that concept of having a theology of death is in some ways novel to us? John?

John: I think it’s something we’d prefer not to think about, and we often hide from the things that we know are real, but they’re not pleasant. We try to cover them up with the busyness of our lives and the pursuit of things that help us forget that we’re mortal.

My spiritual coach and mentor is a guy named Gary Witherall. His first wife was murdered by Al-Qaeda on the mission field in Lebanon. We were walking, talking, just the other day, and we’ve talked throughout the pandemic. 

I’ve asked him, “Why do you think the church has responded, in my opinion, somewhat anemically to all of this?” And he said, “Well, we have no gracious theology of death. We don’t look at death in any way as a grace or as an opportunity, and so we never really dig into the depth of theology there.”

So now we’re in this time where death is much more imminent and personal. It’s all around us. As we’re recording this, there has been another shooting in Tennessee. It almost doesn’t matter when the program airs; there will have been something that day. There’s violence, and of course COVID.

I think we often don’t even address the question right. I think the question, “Are we prepared to die?” is important and comes to our salvation and our experience with Jesus. Are we ready personally for eternity? But that’s not the same question as, “Are we prepared for death?” 

Death we face all around us every day, and a theology of death and dying that’s biblically grounded has never mattered more, because it can empower our lives in an era like this and empower our mission. It is actually important not just for me personally to be ready to die, but there’s meat to this in the way I actually live. And I think we’ll cover some of that today.

Erin: Yes, as you’re talking, it’s occurring to me that death should be among the topics we talk about most often. There are so few things all of us will experience. We won’t all get married, we won’t all have children, we won’t all have a certain kind of job . . . but we will all die.

And yet, we are averse to the topic. We tend to operate from fear or denial. Why is that? Why is it something that we all face, but can’t seem to face?

John: Yes. My first experience with death makes me look back and realize, I never really thought about it until I was seventeen years old. I was a new believer. I was singing in a Christian band. We were having great opportunities. 

One day someone came to my door and said, “Cowboy is dead!” 

And I said, “What!?”

Keith Robinson—we called him “Cowboy”—was the only person I knew in the mountains of Carolina who wore a cowboy hat. He had drowned that day. I sang beside him in the band we were in, and now, he’s gone.

We were asked to sing at his funeral, and we did. At the end of the funeral we all walked by the casket. I was terrified! I mean, I didn’t even know how to think about it. His mother and father were at the end of his casket. I had to walk by the casket and say something to them. I was completely terrified!

I kind of glanced at Cowboy. I got to them, and I’m trembling. They grabbed me, and they embraced me. They said, “It’s going to be alright. He’s with the Lord! What we believe is real. We’re brokenhearted, but this will be healed.”

Erin: That theology isn’t formed on the day your boy drowns.

John: No. I think that’s the point of that, too. As we walk through the adversity of living in the midst of death, which is all around us all the time, there’s opportunity for God to shape that and form that.

If on the other hand we try our best to avoid it and deny it, it’s actually going to limit our discipleship and our ability to grow in our depth and relationship with the Lord.

Erin: What do you say to the woman listening (it’s primarily women listening here to Revive Our Hearts), and she is a follower of Jesus, and she is terrified of death. She doesn’t even want to listen to this episode. She wants to turn it off; there’s just visceral fear in her about this topic.

Donna, what would you say to that Christian woman who’s afraid of death . . . and probably knows she shouldn’t be?

Donna: Well, first of all, it isn’t a sin to be afraid of death, but we have to go to the Word and look and see, “What does Jesus say about death? What does God’s Word say about death?” I know for me, looking at passages like Psalm 116:15, where it says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints,” that it’s a precious thing.

When you think about something precious, you think about something you hold in your hand like your newborn baby! That’s what I think of when I think about precious. 

Erin: Talk about counter-cultural!

Donna: Yes, it is totally counter-cultural. Some of the other passages that I think about, Hebrews 11:16, where it talks about we go to, “a better country.” That’s hard to think about. We live in the United States of America, where everything is supposed to be wonderful and good. It’s hard to think about a better country than this. 

And yet, God says that when we meet Him face to face, it’s a better place. I would say to that woman, first of all, I would just hug her. I would love on her, and then I would say, “Let’s go to the Word and let it transform your mind with what God says about death!” 

Erin: I love that.

Donna: I love the passage, Romans 12:2, where it says to renew our minds. Anytime there is something that is consuming me, a thought pattern, an anxiety, if I’ll pinpoint it, I then go to God’s Word and say, “Okay, Lord, I need You to renew my mind, I need to have a mind change.”

And basically, that word “renew” in the Greek means “to renovate.” I have to tear off all the stuff that I’ve always thought (which there is some bad stuff I’ve thought about death and bad pictures of death), and I need to replace it with realizing that the death of the saints is precious, according to Psalm 116, that Hebrews 11, I have a better country to go to.

So I would say to that woman, “You know, it’s okay . . . but let’s renew our mind. Let’s go to God’s Word and see,” and develop that theology of that.

Erin: Yes. As you’re talking, I’m remembering a young woman I know who’s in her mid-twenties, and the pandemic so terrified her that she just went to bed in depression and fear, anxiety. She had kept death at the fringes of her mind and heart, and suddenly it was invading her.

She got so sick that she had to be hospitalized in the ICU—not because of COVID, but because the fear of death so crippled her. I want her to have that hope that you’re talking about. It’s available to her!

This isn’t just some theory to you. You’ve walked through the valley of the shadow of death, you’ve had some diagnoses where you were maybe facing imminent death. You’ve faced the loss of your parents. Share some about those things and how God did renew your mind.

Yes, we can go to God’s Word—we must go to God’s Word—but when you were actually walking through it, how did God minister to you? 

Donna: Well, I did face a scary diagnosis, just actually right before COVID. I had surgery for a possible ovarian tumor. It wasn’t ovarian cancer, which I was very thankful for, but during that period of time, I can actually say that there wasn’t a fear of death for me, but it was what the effects would be on my family.

You know, what would my husband do? What would happen with my grandchildren and my children? I think many times when we think about death, sometimes we’re more afraid of not just the death itself, but what will happen after that.

I think, for me, just laying my family at the feet of Jesus every day, just practicing that. I think a lot of women are more afraid about their children, like with these shootings we’ve had all around the nation with children involved, with young people involved. Parents get very clingy with their kids.

I’ve seen mothers yell at their children, “Do not go touch that person! Stay away from that person!” How do you tell a six-year-old not to hug somebody? I’ve seen that happen; that’s out of fear. I think, again, it comes back to, “What do you really believe about the purpose of having that child? What do you really believe about what you’re raising your children to accomplish?”

I think we have to go back and examine all those things, and what we truly believe is what we truly live.

Erin: Yes, the three of us recently had this conversation on Grounded, and one woman wrote to us and said, “I’m not afraid of death. I’m terrified of my children dying!” And I thought, She’s putting her finger on something that I think a lot of us feel: “I can stand before the Lord, I’m ready, but don’t take my husband, don’t take my children, don’t take my parents.

I have a friend, she and her husband both had COVID. She said to him, “If Jesus comes for me, I’m going! If Jesus comes for you, you tell Him you’re staying!” I think a lot of us feel that way about it. What does Scripture say to our fear of death happening to others?

John: Well, Donna mentioned a moment ago that it’s not a sin to fear death. We have a natural human fear of enemies, and the Bible says death is “the last enemy (see 1 Cor. 15:26).” We know it’s going to be defeated, but it’s still here in a very real way. We still face it. But we’re not meant to be overcome by it, either in our own life or the lives of others.

I think the woman’s question is a question we’ve dealt with for years in the pastorate, before we were at Life Action. We were in churches for thirty-plus years, and one of the things we would always come back to was, “This has to do with our love relationship and our trust relationship with Jesus. Do we really believe that Jesus loves our children more than we do?”

Do we really believe that even if the very most unthinkable thing happened, the worst thing we could imagine, if our children were not with us here, do we really believe that there would be no ultimate harm to our children because of what we believe about not just death, but also because of what we believe about heaven and life? 

As I mentioned my mentor Gary Witherall, his story I think speaks to that, not with his children, but certainly with his wife.

When he found out that his wife had been shot, he ran to the clinic—sprinted to the clinic—where she was a nurse to save her. Instead, he found her in a pool of her blood and knew that there was no chance that he would see her again on this earth.

Gary told me something astonishing. He said as he stood there in stunned shock and grief, he sensed a very strong direct word from the Lord that this was a moment of spiritual decision for him . . . of what was his love relationship really like with the Lord?

Gary sensed, “If I don’t worship now, I might never worship again. If I don’t forgive now, I might never forgive.” So he laid on his face and he stretched out his hands into the blood of his own wife, and he sang and he worshipped. 

When he stood up, literally, he never wanted to do harm to the man who hurt his wife. He actually wanted to share the gospel with him, and was brokenhearted when they caught the man and when he later died.

I’ve thought about that for years now, and about this powerful truth that there is supernatural power, through the Holy Spirit, available to us to love and trust God no matter what, because Jesus took all of our anxiety, our fear, our death! 

Our children are going to die; I don’t know if I’ll live to see it, but they are going to die. I know this already. Jesus took it all, and I don’t have to cower in that fear.

Donna: I think one of the hardest things as a mom is truly living this out. On the heels of John telling this story about Gary in Lebanon, a few years later our daughter Amy went over to serve as a missionary in that very area. While she was over there, a bomb exploded.

I can remember very vividly, I was in a grocery store and there was a TV on and breaking news, “Bomb exploding in Beirut.” And my daughter was there! At that moment I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “Do you believe? Do you really trust me with Amy? Do you believe?” That is your theology being worked out.

That is going, “Okay, I am going to choose to trust the Lord.” I think during the pandemic, one of the Scriptures that God has just laid on my heart—really for the last three years—is found in Romans 15:13. It says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace” as you trust in Him.

You can’t have joy and peace in those situations—Gary didn’t have joy and peace in that situation—until he trusted.

Erin: Right, that’s the source. 

Donna: Every time I begin to get scared for one of my children or worry about one of my grandchildren, the Lord says, “Are you going to trust Me?” I have to step back and say, “You know, heavenly Father, I will choose to trust You,” because even if it leads to death, they’re in a better place.

Erin: Yes. So, mother to mother, I’m empathizing with that grocery store moment. I have four boys. I don’t tell the Lord anything, but when I’m praying to the Lord and talking to the Lord, I’ll say things like, “You’ve given me these instincts, Lord, this desire to protect my cubs at all costs . . . and then asked me to surrender them.”

I can’t do that apart from the Spirit’s empowerment! I’ll swing to one extreme or the other, or constantly be double-minded in both. He is faithful to help us with that, and I’m not surprised He helped you in that grocery store. Your knees didn’t buckle, and you didn’t lay down in the middle of the canned goods aisle, or whatever, because the Lord was with you. He was empowering you, and that’s such a sweet reminder.

Donna: I will follow up on that and say that that night when we heard from Amy, I said, “Amy, don’t you want to come home?”

She said, “Why?!” 

It was at that point I realized that my daughter had a stronger theology of life and death than I did, because she was like, “Mom, God has called me here; I haven’t finished my job!” There was no fear. It was trust.

John: Even though she was very, very close, we found out, to the bombing . . . In fact, panic was breaking out all around her. Suddenly, an unknown Lebanese soldier takes her by the shoulders and says, “Come with me,” and leads her to safety . . . and is gone. We wonder sometimes about that man.

Erin: I wonder with you. Well, let’s do it. What is a theology of death? Of course, we can’t cover it all, but let’s hit some high points. We’ll dig down into some verses in a moment. But without the verses, without the references, what are some of the core principles the Bible teaches about death?

John: Well, death is an enemy, but it’s the last enemy. Death is scary, but it is not to be feared in an overwhelming sense. Also, death is a part of God’s sovereignty and so it is not chaos. We sometimes view death as chaos, and that’s not a biblical principle. 

Death is not out of God’s control. This is all under His control. The death of Jesus is the greatest example of that in the history of the world. What looks like complete, utter horror, and chaotic meaninglessness rescues the world! 

And if we live in the midst of that sense of the sovereign care of God—even in the midst of death—then we’ll be able to deal much better with the theology of life.

Erin: Here’s what might feel like a rabbit trail: I am not afraid of death; I am afraid of dying, the process. I don’t know how it’s going to come. I don’t know when it’s going to come. I’m just now realizing as my parents are aging that you don’t get to choose that, anymore than you get to choose any other part of your life. 

It can be excruciating. It can go on for a long time. It can involve you living somewhere you don’t want to live. What about that piece of it? Just give us some biblical handles to hold onto. I believe everything you’re saying about death, but it’s that dying part . . . the actual process. Does Scripture give us hope for that? Of course it does!

John: Oh, yeah. I’ll take us to some wonderful Scripture. But it just also led me to remember a story that might be helpful to that question. I come back to Gary a lot because I think we have a real lack of spiritual coaching in our lives and especially even those of us in ministry. We’re always doing the coaching. We need the coaches.

Gary and I were in a city that I won’t name. We went there on a little scouting visit to see if we could bring a Life Action team—which we later did—to that general region. We were walking through a city where there were no Christians, there were no Westerners, there were no missionaries, no gospel witness. As far as we knew, no one there had heard the gospel.

People were looking at us with not very accepting looks. I was afraid, and I told Gary, “Man, I’m nervous! You’ve already lost a wife. Our wives don’t need to lose us!” 

And he said, “John, look around you. Everyone here is going to hell, every single person you see. And God has placed us here uniquely. We are ‘Paul and Silas’ right now like we’ve never been in our life!” 

And he grabbed my arm and he said, “And also, we are immortal until the moment God is done with us! So why don't we just go have an adventure? Let’s start with that guy.” And that’s what we did.

Now, that did not end in our death, but had it ended in our death, what would it have been like? It might have been painful, it might have been slow, it might have created great, great grief for my family. But it would not have changed the truth of everything he said. 

Not just my death, but the way that I will die, is a part of God’s sovereign wonderful plan. And when that occurs, I can trust Him that I will have the grace I need then. I don’t need it now. So, in a way again, it’s not sinful to go, “Whew, I hope my death is not painful. I hope it’s not slow. I hope it’s not this or I hope it’s not that.”

But when it comes down to it, every one of us that has the Spirit of God in us will have everything we need to face that moment, and we are immortal and a part of His incredible sovereign plan until that moment comes. And then it gets better!

Erin: Yes, that’s the word that I need to wrestle with—“sovereign.” Do I believe God is sovereign over life? Do I believe He’s sovereign over death? Do I believe He’s sovereign over dying? All of those things. Well, let’s look at a couple of those passages. Take us to Psalm 116.

John: Alright. I want to take you here in a way that might be a little different. We know that Jesus sang at the Lord’s Supper. The Bible tells us that in Matthew. But we also know—not from the Bible, but from history—what He sang. That’s something that I didn’t realize until I studied this myself very recently.

The Jewish rabbi at the Passover meal would sing Psalm 114 through Psalm 118. So included in that was Psalm 116. But the way that he would do it is very significant, and I think it could be helpful to our listeners in facing death and dying.

Jesus would say—would sing—a section, and then the disciples would respond back.

“Hallelujah.” And then He would sing again and the disciples would again sing, “Hallelujah.” Now they didn’t get it, I’m sure, when He sang words like this . . . “The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish” (Psalm 16:3). But they did sing, “Hallelujah!”

 Then Jesus would be singing, “Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!’” (v. 4) Then the disciples: “Hallelujah!”

“You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling” (v. 8). This was the one who was about to stumble beneath the cross! Disciples: “Hallelujah!” 

Then, “I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living” (v. 9). The theology of death became the theology of the resurrection . . . and they sang, “Hallelujah!”

And maybe as we approach death and dying, a good way to do it is to read passages like this, and to read them now knowing the gospel and to stop and literally sing, “Hallelujah! Whether I live or whether I die, hallelujah! Praise the Lord!” And that may be the best way we face death and dying.

Erin: I love that! We are declaring something about death in the way that we live, and I want to be declaring the right things. Alright, take us to Zephaniah 3:17, a passage I don’t know that I’ve ever heard preached at a funeral, but one that is full of hope!

John: Yes, it’s not a passage we would think about when thinking about death usually, but it’s written prophetically to those who had just seen the death of their friends, their temple, their nation, their city. It tells us what God thinks about us in moments of judgment. Perhaps we’re in judgment now, and I tend to think we are. 

We would think this would be a passage of the anger and wrath of God, but here is what He says: “The Lord your God is in your midst [literally “in the middle of what you’re facing”], a mighty one who will save [you].” The word “save” in Hebrew is the verb form for the Hebrew name of “Jesus.”

He’s literally, prophetically saying, “When you are in this place of death and destruction, there’s a mighty one who will ‘Jesus’ you!” [Verse 17 continues:] “. . . he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love;” and then, I love this, “he will exult over you with loud singing.” 

The words used there are Jewish party words, they’re dance words; they’re wedding song words. The King of the universe, when He speaks to His people in a time of death, destruction, judgment, all the worst things that we see today. 

He says, “I also see the end. I know what’s coming. I know and I see the end of death, and so I sing and so I dance.” I think that’s a great passage for us to remember in days like this.

Erin: I think so, too. And none of this is theoretical for you; it doesn’t stay theoretical for any of us for long. Talk to us about your own mother’s death.

John: Everyone has a COVID story, a COVID grief, a COVID anger, a COVID sadness. These are gospel opportunities, but we often don’t see that initially. In October my mother was dying alone in a COVID ward nursing home. She did not have COVID. She had had it six weeks before with no symptoms. She was dying of something else.

But for us it was horrific, our godly mother dying alone. There was nothing we could do about it. After she reached the point of coma, hours from death, they allowed my sister to go in for fifteen minutes, and that was it.

My sister leads worship. She decided all she would do was sing over my mother, and she chose the song being played when I was saved, when she made her profession of faith, my mom’s favorite hymn that changed generations of our family: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.

As she began to sing, my mother opened her eyes and woke up and looked at my sister, her daughter, and smiled and whispered, “More.” And for fifteen minutes, she just sang over and over and over. 

My mother was not able to speak; she had not enough breath to push past her vocal cords, but she did! Her last word, as my sister sang Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, my mother said, “Jesus!” with her. She closed her eyes, and a few hours later went to be with Him.

The Lord has whispered to us many times in these months, “Everything you need is in that song!” And if I might remind us of this, for all of you there, think about this a moment. [John sings:] “Turn your eyes upon Jesus”—wherever you are, whatever you’re facing; not upon politics and the problems of our day and the violence and death. 

[singing] “Look full in His wonderful face.” His face! Nobody else, nothing else. “And the things of earth . . .” Think about that line . . . everything we’re facing! “. . .will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” His glory, His grace, that’s the ultimate theology of death and life!

Dannah: Wow! I don’t know about you, but I think it would be wonderful if the last word on my lips before I leave this life was, “Jesus!” We’ve been listening to an encouraging conversation between John and Donna Avant along with the Content Director of Revive Our Hearts, Erin Davis.

Nancy: I want to remind you that the hope we’ve been hearing about is available to anyone who turns from her or his sin and places their trust in Jesus. Our audience each day numbers in the hundreds of thousands, so I know there are some listening today who don’t yet have a personal relationship with Christ.

If you’re one of those listeners, know this: it’s no accident that the Lord has you listening today. Perhaps you have a fear of death, or you haven’t even really thought about it much. This would be a good time to stop whatever you’re doing and just lift your heart to the Lord in prayer.

Admit to God that you could never, ever be good enough to satisfy His holy standards. Confess to Him that you’re a sinner and thank Him for the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. He died to take away your sin! Tell the Lord that you are trusting Christ and His death for you, that you want to receive eternal life from Him.

If God is speaking to your heart about your eternal salvation, then I want to encourage you to contact us and let us know. We’d like to send you a small book that will go into greater detail. It’s called How You Can Be Sure That You Will Spend Eternity with God. Be sure to ask for that when you visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959.

Dannah: Tomorrow Erin, John, and Donna will be back to help us with more practical advice on how we can counsel our own hearts and live in hope rather than fear. Please be back, and we’ll ask the Lord once again to revive our hearts! 

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you develop your theology of death. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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About the Teacher

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

About the Guest

John and Donna Avant

John and Donna Avant

John earned his undergraduate degree from Baylor University and earned his M.Div. and Ph.D. at Southwestern Seminary. It was while he was earning his Ph.D. at Southwestern that he learned about spiritual awakening and revival. He has a deep love and compassion for people and believes that the only hope for our nation is to experience a mighty movement of God. John is committed to communicating God’s Word so that others may experience how to live real life in Christ in today’s culture. His heart is to equip the church to lead and impact every sphere of influence. Currently, John serves as the president of the Life Action Division of Life Action Ministries.

John and Donna met at Baylor University and were married in 1980. They have three adult children and five grandchildren. They currently live in Knoxville, TN. On his day off, you might find John hiking the mountains with Donna, scuba diving, or playing golf. At night, you will always find him with a book in his hand.