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About (old)


I love lists, so here is a list about me:


  • I am wife & mom, writer, speaker, pastor and world-class procrastinator.
  • I love words when they’re woven into stories and people when they let their stories shine.
  • Think of your most unorganized friend.  I am that.  Times eleven.
  • My favorite place in the world is home.  My second favorite place is Westside Church, where I have been on staff for 10 years.  My third favorite place is Positano, Italy.
  • I am passionate about helping find a cure for ALS, a disease my husband has been fighting since 2011 (I’m not actually helping find a cure, rather I’m helping find money to help find a cure…I’m not allowed to go near science.)
  • My first book was released this year.  It’s called Beautiful Battlefields and my dearest dream is that it makes you laugh, cry and believe that you can become your best self in the middle of the hardest fight.
  • I believe that Jesus is worth pursuing and that grace changes everything.
  • I can be reached at


The end.

October 10, 2008 - 7:31 pm

Keri Donnigan - Bo,
Remember me? I was the worship leader for the ladies retreat for Hope Foursquare in Leavenworth on your birthday. I can’t tell you what an impact you made on my life. God did something big that week-end. I so relate to you and your speaking style. I wish we could have heard you speak more. Also, I am now getting up early and having quiet time every morning since the retreat. I am not a morning person either. This is a miracle in itself. I just wanted to let you know that you are truly being used of God in so many ways. I bless your compassion, kindness and realness. Thanks again! Keri

October 10, 2008 - 10:37 pm

bolovesjoe - Keri, Of course I remember you! I enjoyed my time with you and the Hope women so much! Thanks so much for your encouraging words. I hope your mornings are changing your life – it’s the biggest change that has ever happened in mine. -Bo

September 28, 2009 - 5:06 pm

Kathleen Doane - Bo-
I just attended the Selah seminar at George Fox Last Saturday, Not only did I start my walking this morning I also had a hour in the bible, prayer and journaling. This made a significant change in my day and I feel like I have been close to God ever since Saturday. I know this was good because yesterday I was on a spiritual high and this morning started out rough but after the hour I spend I was back at the Plate and I dont mean china.
I know you had a impact on me because it always sounds like a good Idea but usually never happens(hour with God).

Heres the thing, I bought 3 student joy project books(for me my mom and a gal who is going through a rough time) and went to study this morning and realized I should have got the CD as well. Could I buy one? Where? how?

P.S you are so funny

October 5, 2009 - 12:37 pm

Annette Swor - Hi Bo,

I met you at the Selah Conference just a week or so ago. We just had our Women’s Conference this week-end at Macleay Christian Retreat Center in South Salem and I’m already looking forward to next falls conference. (By the way I LOVE fall too!) Anyway, would you please consider being our conference speaker next October 1,2 & 3rd . We are Canby Foursquare Church in Canby, OR and this years conference speaker was Tammy Donahoo our Interim General Supervisor of Foursquare.

Thank you and I’ll look forward to hearing from you,
Annette Swor

October 6, 2009 - 9:19 pm

bolovesjoe - Kathleen – thanks for your comment! The DVD’s can be ordered through my web site They’re backordered right now, but will be available in about a week or so I believe. Bless your walking and seeking…He will be found by you!

Annette – I emailed you! 🙂

November 18, 2009 - 11:05 am

Debby - I am earnestly studying the Word like never before…but have never really used a Greek/Hebrew dictionary, study help. What do you recommend? Any other study helps…you could recommend would be greatly appreciated!

November 18, 2009 - 11:08 am

Debby - whoops…somehow I deleted my subscription…will try again

November 18, 2009 - 7:41 pm

bolovesjoe - Hi Debby,

I love E-Sword software. You can download it online for free (at, I believe) and it has a Strong’s Concordance and a lot of add-on study tools that make life really easy and wonderful for me. I got the KJV and ESV versions of the Bible for free and purchased the NLT, Nave’s and Matthew Henry Commentaries to round it out. If you aren’t computer saavy, you can do a lot with just a basic Strong’s (you can get them used at and they’re very reasonable) and I also really LOVE the Zondervan Bible Handbook or the Hayford Bible Handbook. Any of those resources will be a good starting point…if I only had to choose one, I would pick the Zondervan. For the price and information, it’s a treasure.

Bless you as you pursue the rich and incomparable Word of God!


February 25, 2010 - 12:05 am

Gary Arctic - You need to write more often you do a good job

April 19, 2010 - 2:14 am

Karen McWilliams - Just wanted to thank you for coming to Lincoln City Church and saying so many meaningful things to us. I trust the Lord stored the comments tailor made for me in my head so I can visit them again this week. My 22yr. old son was back from college this weekend and he was in Sunday morning’s service. I mentioned we had a speaker and at the end the service he looked directly at me and gave me a thumbs up. That’s huge! I’m so pleased he got to hear you.

He attends a Lutheran college ( a strange journey the Lord’s taking him on, since we’re not Lutheran), but some of the classes he’s taking are more like Bible Trivia Pursuit. In his New Testament Studies class his test ask questions like: Which of these cities did not have a synagogue? What was the name of the hill that…? It seems to me that a class over the New Testament ought to at least be about Christ and his character, lead you to falling in love with Jesus, or stir up a hunger and thirst for God. I was so excited when I heard his course titles, and then deeply saddened when I found out the content. I believe the Lord can use any situation to draw us to Him, but I struggled to see how this was going to work. I guess I don’t have to know everything, maybe Christ wouldn’t drop the class, but his mind would definitely be wandering.

Thanks again for shining the light of God’s word directly on our hearts this weekend, and allowing it to be what it’s intended, up close and personal. How else can we see ourselves clearly?

We get that here each Sunday, Praise the Lord, and I’m glad that my son got a special dose of your spirit led perspective!

April 21, 2010 - 8:16 pm

bolovesjoe - Karen – thanks so much for your encouraging words. I’m always so excited to hear good reports! And you know, I will TAKE the thumbs-up from your boy and cherish it in my little heart! I will be praying for him as he continues his education. I’ve been studying Martin Luther and I often wonder what he would think of the colleges that bear his name.

Be blessed as you pursue Him…you are dear!


May 10, 2010 - 7:24 pm

Melissa Campbell - Bo,

I went to your website in search of your Joy Project workbook. I heard you talk about it at the Selah 2009 conference. It looks like the links on your website are broken.

I am wanting to purchase a workbook.


Melissa Campbell

May 10, 2010 - 9:19 pm

bolovesjoe - Hi Melissa,

Sorry about the broken link…I’m not very techno-saavy. Just email me and I’ll send you what you need!

Bless you!


June 8, 2010 - 10:10 am

brittany dolyniuk - IAM searching for an old sermon of yours about the love of god that i want my mom to hear and i cant find it 8( and i NEEEEED IT! lol if you have it i would love tooo listen to it again and so i can have my mom hear it

August 6, 2010 - 2:47 pm

Annette Swor - Hi Bo,

We’re really looking forward to you speaking at our Fall Conference Oct. 1-3. I want to let you know that if you have a guest you want to bring they can register at Call me if you have any questions.

Annette Swor

November 16, 2010 - 7:09 am

Melissa Dodge - Hi Bo,
A very close family friend of mine recommended your blog to me, and recommended it again when I said I hadn’t read it yet. I wanted to share this with you as she passed away in September and I have been thinking about letting you know. Her name was Connie Stych and she was in a bible study with you a long time ago (she may have even led the study?)…I am thinking it was in Pittsburgh. She was like a mother to me and helped raised me and saw your blog as being a thing that would inspire me. She really enjoyed your blog and thought you are down to earth and have a lot of good things to say. She loved your thoughts about marriage and just your take on life. So thank you for being an inspiration and a connection that I shared with Connie. It is a hard loss and a very sudden one as she got sick, went to the hospital where we found she had cancer and she died 5 days later. If you remember her and want to see more about it, you can still visit her caring bridge site under conniestych.

November 16, 2010 - 6:56 pm

bolovesjoe - Melissa – thank you so much for that note! I enjoyed Connie so much while I lived in Lincoln. She was a woman of faith and fun and I believe we studied the book of Mark in a Bible Study that she led. My brother-in-law had sent me word of her death, but I went to the Caring Bridge site and read all the entries as well. I’m certain she is LOVING her new home, but has left quite a void in your heart…so I will be rejoicing for her and praying for comfort and joy for you.

Bless you,

January 24, 2011 - 7:18 pm

Mark Neuman - Thanks Bo. You and Steve are in our prayers!

March 1, 2011 - 7:35 am


March 19, 2011 - 10:10 pm

Tia Morrow :) - Hi Bo-

Well, we just returned from Cannon Beach and I have to tell you that this was my favorite retreat of all retreats! I have many to thank but I wanted to start with you.

Just keeping it real- I didn’t have the money to go but was desperately petitioning to the Lord to somehow make a way-where there seemed no way, and he did! I wanted to go so badly because I know that when someone gives out of sacrifice, it is as if the Word comes straight from the throne of God! I want to thank you for demonstrating 2 Samuel 24:24 when David says, “I will not present burnt offerings to the LORD my God that have cost me nothing.”

It was incredibly rich and I have been changed in the presence of a Holy God!

Abundant BLESSINGS upon your family!!!
Tia Morrow <3<3

March 21, 2011 - 11:11 am

bo - Thank you so much, Tia. It was such a joy to meet you and to hear about what God is doing in your life. I have no doubt that He has prepared something for you that will exceed your dearest dreams. That’s just the kind of good He is.

Many blessings,


May 6, 2011 - 9:58 am

Deb Teeken - Bo,

Although you don’t know me personally, I am part of the large Westside family. As I was reading my daughter’s blog this morning (they are planting a Covenant church in Summerlin..Las Vegas) (
she writes about “shade,” and God, my thoughts drifted to you and your family. The word “light” came to me, as you continue to shine light on all of us with your gift of words and truth. God bless you and your family!

May 6, 2011 - 11:12 am

bo - Thank you, Deb – I read your daughter’s blog and loved it! Such a blessing to me this morning. Please come introduce yourself sometime at church – I’d love to meet you!

May 8, 2011 - 7:24 pm

Buck Makinson - Bo, my wife and I met you at church this morning, I’m the one that went to school with DeDe. Here are the dates for the ALS meeting at Thump Coffee. Wed June 8th 9:30am
Didn’t know if any other way to send you a message, hope this is ok.

Hope to have the chance to get to know you and steve more

Buck & Kelley

May 17, 2011 - 2:33 pm

Paul Smith - Wanted to share this article posted on / Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) can be Treated Naturally

Learn more:

My family and I will be praying for Steve and your family. Our hearts are saddened by this news and will be trusting in the Lord to use Steve is a mighty way and heal his ALS.

June 14, 2011 - 3:16 pm

Jane Doty - Hi Bo – just found your blog and am interested in the Joy Project. I see the reading list on the website but wondering if you have more information or a booklet.

June 15, 2011 - 8:27 am

bo - Hi Jane,

Yes – there is a six-session DVD/notebook available. The notebook has listening guides and directed devotions for five days of each week. Shoot me an email if you’d like to order it at Blessings!


June 25, 2011 - 7:47 am

Amy Wood - Bo
My name is Amy Wood I’m one of the worship leaders at New Life Foursquare in Canby. We met at our womens retreat last October, evidently our family tree’s share the name, Hostetler, at some point(your sister and my mother discovered this at retreat) Anyway I’m at the airport in Minneapolis (returning home from a worship conference.) I can’t check my bags for another hour so I read through your most recent blogs(I save them up to read when my kids and home aren’t demanding my attention).I have to say I am sort of a crier but not a blubbering one. And your blog makes me laugh out loud and cry too.I love your thought process and your sub thoughts and the sub sub thoughts. Your ability to make everyone feel as if they are reading a letter from a close friend, makes me feel at home in an airport that should have it’s own zipcode. You know it probably does. Anyway I was thinking about retreat again and how much I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts and sub/sub sub thoughts. Thanks for entertaining me in an airport that probably has it’s own zipcode. Amy Wood

June 25, 2011 - 8:17 am

bo - Aw, Amy, I really aspire to be a crier-but-not-a-blubbering-one…but I might have a ways to go. 🙂 Thanks so much for your encouraging comments…I’m glad to keep you company in airports.

September 8, 2011 - 11:57 am

Nikki Weiner - Hi Bo,
I am interested in doing your bible study the joy project at my church in Salem, OR, but I can’t find any info on it, could you please let me know how I order books? Thanks!!

September 15, 2011 - 11:21 am

Dodie - Bo:
Sometimes when I read you blog, it brings me to tears, and others, I jump for joy. You have such a wonderful way with words. I just love everything you write. I was so blessed to be a part of the ALS walk. We had great fun and enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you for who you are and for the wonderful wife you are to Steve. luv u

November 8, 2011 - 6:31 am

Karla (Ratter) Jeltema - Bo – Though we’ve never met, I feel as if I know you. You are the wife of my wonderful cousin, Steve. Steve and I go way back 😉 I’ve heard about your life together through Aunt Eleanor all these years and always wished that I could meet you. I know you’ve been a blessing to our family and especially to Steve. I pray for him (and you) many times a day, every day. I pray for his healing, if it be God’s will, or at the very least, for the progression of this horrible disease to stop. Steve has so much to offer this world and especially his family. I am thankful that he has such a wonderful partner in life to stand by his side in this difficult time. As Steve’s older, protective cousin I just want to thank you for loving him, caring for him and being such a Godly wife. You are appreciated and know you are prayed for, as well. Karla

November 8, 2011 - 9:20 am

bo - Hi Karla – and thank you so much for your prayers and encouraging words. Steve is really easy to love and I am so blessed to be grafted in to the Ratter/Stern clan! Maybe we’ll meet someday soon.

November 13, 2011 - 5:50 pm

Tim Reynolds - Bo,
My conversation with Steve was cut short after last weeks service. I’d love to finish it up with him in a venue and at a time that is best for him. Can you help us connect if he is up to it?
Thanks, Tim

November 13, 2011 - 8:54 pm

bo - HI Tim – I sent you an email with his contact information – he’ll be so glad to hear from you! Let me know if for some reason that email doesn’t show up.



December 7, 2011 - 5:51 pm

tonia booker - Hey there, my friend Emily suggested I look at your blog. She also warned me as she said your husband is battling ALS. My mother died of ALS three years ago.
Sister, I feel your pain and love your writing. You write with voice, like you are sitting across from me with a cup of coffee.
I wish I had something profound to say, but you already know where profound lives…
much love and blessings to you…tonia booker

December 8, 2011 - 6:36 am

bo - Tonia –

Wow, thank you. And I’m so sorry about your dear mom – but I love that you have experienced the fallout from ALS, but still have a beautiful smile on your face. It gives me great hope. Please know that along with prayer, I would WELCOME any tips from the trenches – anything you think I should know about this road we’re on (mixed metaphors? Yes. It’s early).

Bless you – so glad Emily sent you this way.


December 13, 2011 - 12:49 pm

Lyn Farris - Especially appreciated Dec. 4 “For those who grieve at Christmas.” Thank you and God bless!

January 11, 2012 - 1:39 pm

Cynthia (Davis) Fox - Hi Bonnie,
I hope you remember me from the Sweet Home Christian School in Sweet Home, Oregon. I’ve been looking for you for a while and found out about your blog from the Swigarts. Please email me at I would like to talk with you personally.
In Christ’s love,

January 11, 2012 - 2:17 pm

bo - Cindy! SO excited to talk with you – I just sent you an email!

April 20, 2012 - 12:02 pm

Arlena - Dear Bo,
I’m saddened to hear about Steve. I met you both at westside years ago when I attended. I was going through a really yucky divorce and you ministered to my boys in 180. They are grown now and I have 4 younger boys still at home. I came across your blog and know in my soul in was not by accident. Your writing is like a breath of fresh air. It has given me such encouragement. When I read your words I hear your voice and feel like you are a bright beacon of light in my sometimes dark world. All that you have been through and are dealing with and yet I hear you smile so often. Thank you!

May 12, 2012 - 2:32 pm

Kym Brown - Thank you Bo
I had the beautiful gift to attend the conference in Lincoln this weekend. I was guest of your sis-in-law Susan. I wanted to tell you how beautiful it was to hear Gods gift to me through you! I am a wife, mother, grandmother and human being in the midst of multiple battles. Health, Marriage, Adult children, and felt overwhelmed in the past year or so. Today I felt hope. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Gods blessings to you and your beautiful family. ♥

November 4, 2012 - 8:18 pm

Debbie - Dear Sweet Bo,
Thank you so much for blessing the friends and women of B4S. We will keep you & your family in prayer. I got the distinct impression that you stand for the Biblical principals of marriage, that it is 1 man/1woman. Please go to and read what Starbucks supports. It is REALLY important that they no longer are put in any place of importance, especially the pulpit. I’ll gladly send you a special monogrammed red cup if you’ll just read the page and then tell your friends. Too many people remain in the dark and need to know so they too can stand up for Biblical principals. Blessings to you, Debbie

November 9, 2012 - 9:25 pm

JoAnne Bernt - Thank you for your insight as published in The Voice, ALS newsletter. I appreciate your challenge to embrace and support the world the person with ALS lives within. You are an eloquent writer!
JoAnne Bernt

March 6, 2013 - 9:12 pm

Victoria parker - Thank you, for writing the book beautiful battlefields. I felt like the book was wrote for me. I cried and had joy reading the book!
God bless

March 7, 2013 - 5:58 am

bo - Victoria – you’re welcome, sister! Be blessed in every battle you face.

March 22, 2013 - 10:33 am

Cyndie - Thank you for book, Bo. It is just what I need right now, in the midst of several battlefields in our ministry in France. I’ll be praying for you in yours. You are such a blessing to me – thank you for opening your heart.

April 26, 2013 - 3:45 am

Beauty in the battle | Faith Radio - […] How does God show Himself to be strong in our weakness? Listen as Susie talks with author Bo Stern. She’s walking through a deep valley and will help us unpack a theology of doing battle in the […]

May 7, 2013 - 9:07 am

dane burnworth - I pray God continues to cover you with His love I know and I share in the journey these days of awareness of ALS . AsI live i don’t understand the amazing way God can use anything to draw us closer. We were made for so much more than all of this. Dont blame yourself any longer. I believe He would tell us that. God Bless

May 16, 2013 - 2:11 pm

Jan Elser - Hi Bo,

I met you last month at Beaverton Foursquare Church. You will never know how much it meant to me to meet you and talk personally about ALS and our faith. I first read your book, when my caretaker told me about the book and the speaking engagement that you would be doing at her church. I believe that God directed me to you. When you first started speaking that night you said you had a message for someone for the Lord; unless someone else has claimed it, I think it was directly to/for me. You have shown us a different way to look at our toughest battlefields. I was so impressed that I got a copy of you speech from that night, then I invited a group of my friends to come over one evening to listen to CD. Everyone present was impressed and thought it was awesome. My daughter is now listening to the CD too.
Even though I had already read your book (I had bought the kindle version), I really appreciated getting the signed copy from you.
I think of you and your family every day. There are so many questions about your husbands illness; like does he need a care giver 24/7? Your speaking engagements amaze me, while you are in the midst of your battlefield.

I would love to talk more through email about our shared battlefield. Right now it is one day at a time for me.

Hugs to you,
Jan Elser

July 26, 2013 - 10:25 am

Living in beautiful battlefields - Faith Radio - […] How does God show Himself to be strong in our weakness? Listen as Susie talks with author Bo Stern. She’s walking through a deep valley and will help us unpack a theology of doing battle in the […]

October 27, 2013 - 4:16 pm

He goes before me | Sharing My Heart - […] in fact I heard these words directly from the Author’s mouth not many years ago.  I remember Bo Stern preaching up a storm about this topic and I remember it being a fairly new concept at the time. […]

June 17, 2014 - 8:35 am

Chrissy - Hi Bo! You spoke at Eugene Faith Center on Sunday. I bought your book, Beautiful Battlefields. I began reading it and had to force myself to put it down and reflect on your questions. And btw, I was crying just reading all the names you credited. A beautiful stranger approached me on my battlefield the day you spoke. Can you believe that? She saw that I was in full battle from a devestating broken heart. It lead to three of us praying after the service. I ended up finding your book and know all of this was in the plan. I’ve been telling people throughout these last months that God is not only showing up, but he is valiantly kicking doors down. I am praying for you and talking about you and will support you in all ways that God shows me. Thank you

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