People Who Inspire Joni: Steve Estes

  • By: Joni Eareckson Tada
  • Jan. 12, 2018

Steve Estes

I can honestly say, I don't know where I would be were it not for this gentle, good man, Steve Estes. I met him when I was fresh out of the hospital, just 19 years old, struggling against depression and searching for answers in God's Word. Steve was only a teenager at the time, but he loved Jesus Christ and possessed a remarkable depth of knowledge about the Bible. Every Thursday night, until Steve went away to college, this young man pored over the Scriptures with me, helping me to grasp the comfort behind the doctrine of God's sovereignty.

Many years later, Steve would marry, have children and grandchildren, and would become a well-respected pastor and Bible teacher. He also earned two master's degrees, one in theology, and the other, divinity studies. Twenty years ago, Steve and I co-authored a book called When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty – it's not an easy read, but it gives a clear presentation how our sufferings are intimately connected with the suffering of Christ (and vice versa :-). If you're looking for a deep, thorough read on the sovereignty of God, When God Weeps is for you!


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As I was searching your website for information on volunteering, I came across "People Who Inspire Joni" page. As I read, it stirred thoughts of "who are people who inspire me and who's life am I pouring my life out to?" I thought of my parents. My step father is a pastor. He just turned 89 years young and my mom just had her 80th birthday a few weeks ago. They have not always lived their lives for Christ. They struggled through some very difficult years after they walked away from God and ministry, but oh the precious grace of God restored them and they returned to ministry. 2 years ago, they sensed God was calling them to move from their home, church family and life of 44 years to a small community in Northern California. They obeyed the call. Within a few months, they started a small church that meets in a barn. They began serving the homeless, driving around and delivering food, clean socks, sleeping bags, toiletry items and volunteering to serve a meal once a week during the bitter cold winter nights where the community provides over night shelter to the homeless. They have taken local grammar school children to an assisted living facility to minister through singing and fellowship. "Pop," as we call him, drives an hour, one way, down to a very poor community and picks up some of the grammar school children, brings them to the facility and plays the guitar and sings with the kids as they sing and spend time with the people who live there. The church they pastor "adopted" these children at Christmas and blessed them with gifts chosen specifically for them. "Pop" drives around and picks up members of his congregation who cannot get to "the barn" unless they walk several miles. Some of them have disabilities. They spend time visiting drug addicts or recovering addicts who won't go to a local church because they do not feel welcome. He takes them fishing or to ball games; just simply spends time with them. They offer their services through meals and music ministry to the local Indian community And on it goes... I have seen many lives changed and people who have given their hearts and lives to Jesus through my parents love. One of my non-christian friends said to me one day about them "that is not just talk; that is the real deal." They inspire me to be "the real deal." What an example of a life living for God.
  • July 20, 2018
  • 8:30 a.m.
  • Nancy Culp
I so love this book! I have read it many times and reread it at least once a year. It gives me a touch of insight into the awesome greatness of God and how he so loves us and orders our lives. I always come away with a new perspective on suffering. I have had very small amount of suffering compared to others, but before I leave this world I'm sure I will be more acquainted. Aside from my Bible, this is my favorite book.
  • April 17, 2018
  • 6:51 a.m.
  • Kim