Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Word Became Flesh (A Throwback Thursday Podcast)

John 1-1-webIt’s one of the most important verses in all of the Bible. One of the most profound pronouncements ever recorded about who Jesus truly is.

And yet for so many of us, these individually simple words, when strung together as John did, become so difficult to understand. Just try to explain them to someone, and you will see what I mean. Which is too bad, really, because the truths contained in this one verse are in every sense of the word PRICELESS.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

As you will hear in this PODCAST, these three amazing phrases form the foundation upon which our faith, and therefore our lives, rests.

That being said, truth be told, whenever we read them, no bugles start blaring, no angelic choirs start singing, no lightning bolts start flashing, nor rolling thunder start booming.

When I read them publicly, they never seem to elicit from anyone any audible ooohs or aaahs, even though they are surely deserving of such wonder and amazement.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).

As someone said to me just recently,

My mind has always just sort of glazed over that verse.

I can see why.

Yet, as you are about to hear, their meaning is profound-yet-practical; their message so staggering-yet-simple.

Once you hear them explained as John originally intended them to be understood, you will no doubt agree that it would be impossible for us — impossible for us — to overstate the importance of this opening verse that introduces us to the Gospel According to John.

For this reason alone, I am thrilled that you are here to listen and to learn. May your faith be strengthened exponentially as you consider the awe-inspiring, life-altering truth that…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).

PLEASE remember that depending upon your connection speed and web browser, it may take up to 60 seconds before the podcast will begin to play.

God bless you as you listen.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Jesus Who “Gets It”; A Jesus Who “Gets” You!

a-lonely-place-to-prayThis may sound strange to you, as you will hear on this PODCAST.

But if I kicked a bottle and a genie popped out, offering to grant me but one wish, any idea what I’d wish for? I’d wish for the ability to point my finger at anyone, anywhere, at any time, and become that person for 10 minutes.

On the surface of things, an odd request, I know. But if you think about it, for me it makes perfect sense.

When people share with me their stories, invariably I feel an acute longing to become that person — for 10 minutes — so that I can truly understand what it’s really like to be them.

Just imagine if we each possessed that power. If we did, and become that person for just 10 minutes, we would completely understand. We would understand why they do the things they do; why they say the things they say; why they make the choices that they make; why they act the way they act. All would become so crystal clear.

And in knowing the whys behind people’s words, actions, and attitudes, just think of how revolutionizing such knowledge would be. We would be so much more understanding, so much more forgiving, so much more compassionate, so much more loving.

We would “get it.” And others would “get” us.

I mean, if you could just be me for 10 minutes, you would finally understand why I am certifiably neurotic.

Well, Jesus didn’t have a bottle; He didn’t need one. Jesus never met a genie; there are no magical genies to meet. Jesus wasn’t granted one wish. Wishes were irrelevant to Him. But Jesus did exactly what I would wish I could do. And He did so for much, much longer than 10 minutes.

As a baby, laying in a manger, in beautiful downtown Bethlehem, Jesus became one of us.

Jesus experienced every human emotion, felt every human need, faced every human temptation, and lived every possible kind of human suffering.

He understands exactly what it is like to be you, and what it is like to be me.

This picture of an understanding Jesus is painted ever so clearly in this story. After hearing it, you will never view Jesus the same way again:

A Jesus who “gets it.”

A Jesus who “gets” you.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Written Record That You Can Trust! (A Throwback Thursday Podcast)

5236450-holy-bible-open-to-the-gospel-according-to-saint-luke-against-a-white-background-Stock-PhotoWelcome to the 2nd installment of Jesus in High Definition.

In this PODCAST, we go back in the archives, almost to the very beginning of this study. Here you will learn some amazing facts about the Bible, how we got it, and why we can trust it.

While on its surface, Luke 1:1-4 may not seem like a remarkable introduction to this “greatest story ever told,” I can assure you that Luke’s little lead-in contains several nuggets of pure gold. You are in for some surprises as we formally kick-off our chronological study of the life of Jesus.

I am DELIGHTED that you are making this journey of discovery with the rest of us. I can tell you that now that we are well-over two years into it, the picture of Jesus that emerges each week is nothing short of REVOLUTIONARY.

PLEASE NOTE: With some browsers, it may take up to 60 seconds before the podcast will begin to play.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Cup of Cold (Refreshing, Thirst-Quenching, Life-Giving) Water

platesThis is going to be So.Much.Fun for me. (And for you, I hope!) So indulge me here, because I LOVE this stuff.

Look carefully and you might see my bemused smile on my face! It is just so comical to me how easily we take what Jesus made so simple, only to make it so insufferably complicated.

And to be perfectly honest with you, I am awestruck. That’s the tone with which I want to teach this PODCAST’s passage.

I am awestruck at Jesus’ ability to say so much in so little, so many thoughts communicated in so few words. All of which so practical, helpful, relevant, refreshing, and inspiring to us today.

Let me set it up like this: You know the guy in the circus with the hundred plates spinning on a hundred poles? OK. So here’s my question: What does that picture of a hundred plates spinning high atop a hundred poles have to do with this portrait that Jesus paints here in Matthew 10?

The simple, uncomplicated picture of giving someone who is thirsty a cup of cold water? A picture, BTW, that forms the conclusion to Jesus’ training manual for ministry. The ministry manual that we have been studying for lo these eleven weeks or so. The Ministry Manual that Jesus gave to His apostles to prepare them for their very first missions trip.

What do spinning plates have to do with a cup of cold water? As you are about to hear, Everything. Everything.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beginning at the Beginning (A Throwback Thursday Podcast)

cropped-untitled-2-sign-2.jpegWelcome to this introductory lesson that launched the series: Jesus in High Definition.

Two and a half years ago, my faith was in a free-fall. I needed to get back to the basics. Wipe the slate completely clean. Forget about everything I thought I knew and believed about who Jesus was. Forget everything I had ever been taught about who Jesus was. Forget everything I myself had ever taught about who Jesus was.

Back to the beginning I went. With no preconceived ideas about this man, Jesus, I started with His birth and began moving slowly and deliberately throughout His life and ministry. 

At Safe Haven, 116 podcasts later, we are at about the halfway mark. It would be the height of understatement for me to suggest that this study has been for me absolutely REVOLUTIONARY. A picture of Jesus is emerging each and every week that is paradigm-shifting in the extreme.

This little blog post is my way of inviting you to come along for the ride. Depending upon your responses, each Thursday I’ll post the next podcast in the series. That way, you won’t have to jump in at #116. You can hear it as we gave it — every week — over the last many months.

I sure hope that you enjoy it!

By harmonizing the four Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — we will study the life of Christ in chronological order, from the first utterances of the angels heralding His birth, to His crucifixion and resurrection. It is our sincere hope and expectation that as we immerse ourselves in Jesus’ life and ministry, we will fall more deeply in love with Him (I certainly have!), and become more and more like Him (I certainly hope that I am).

In this first lesson, we will provide you with an overview of the entire Bible — think of it as looking at the boxtop of a puzzle — so that we will understand exactly where the individual “pieces” of the Gospels fall within the grand sweep of the biblical drama.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy our study of Jesus in HD.

PLEASE NOTE: With some browsers, it may take up to 60 seconds before the podcast will begin to play.

God bless you as you listen. And please, invite others to join us on this journey.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

This Daddy’s Lament

cost-of-discipleshipYou might call this discussion “One Daddy’s Lament.” Or to put an even finer point on it, “This Daddy’s Lament.” The “This Daddy” in this title referring to your humble servant, me.

All if which I will explain in mere moments as you listen to this PODCAST.

But for now, consider this: I don’t have to tell you that Jesus was a radical in every sense of that word.

Jesus did things things that were totally unexpected, unpredictable, unconventional. More to the point of this discussion, Jesus said things that were totally unexpected, unpredictable, unconventional.

I have no doubt that if we had been alive and well back then, privileged to watch Jesus in action, honored to hang on His every word, there would have been situations weekly if not daily where we would have done a total double-take. We would have cocked our heads, blinked our eyes, pulled on our ears, and said to ourselves,

Jesus did what?

Jesus said what?

You talk about a guy marching to His own drumbeat, that was Jesus. And that is certainly true here.

As Jesus came to the conclusion of His training session, as He prepared His men for their very first missions trip, Jesus — Are you ready? — basically put the whole of the Christian life into its proper perspective. Read that sentence one more time:

Jesus basically put the whole of the Christian life into its proper perspective.

What does it mean to be a committed Christ-follower? Jesus answers that question here.

What does it cost to follow Jesus? Jesus answers that question here.

All of this in what is arguably the single most radical statement that Jesus ever made.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

Thank you for listening.

May God bless you richly as you listen.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Crash and Burn to Rise and Shine (An Epic Tale of Gracious-Filled Redemption)

roosterIt was without a doubt the absolute worst day of Peter’s long and storied and challenging life. As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, we’re talking about one particular Saturday — the day after the crucifixion.

The day after Peter had denied Jesus three times before Jesus’ accusers. The Saturday before the very first Easter Sunday.

And since for the precious and beloved people at Safe Haven, I happened to give this message on the Saturday before Easter Sunday. Thus, we would do well to consider exactly what was going on and why during that singularly fateful day.

A very dark day in otherwise dazzling life of Peter.

You talk about an epic fail, a spectacular fall from grace, a stunningly unpredictable turn of events, and crash and burn of mind-numbing proportions… Here’s a quick thumbnail of how Peter’s not-so-Good-Friday developed, leading up to his Horribly-Bad-Saturday before Easter.

A day Peter no doubt spent cowering in a corner…

  • Disgusted by the arrest of his rabbi;
  • Devastated by execution of his hero, mentor, friend;
  • Demoralized by the death of his dream of freedom from the oppressions of Romans;

A man whose faith was now in a free-fall. If there was any faith left in the man to fall.

The week leading up to Peter’s Not-So-Good-Friday and Horribly-Bad-Saturday began the Sunday before, Palm Sunday, with the event we commonly call the Triumphal Entry.

Jerusalem swelled to overflowing by the multiplied thousands upon thousands of pilgrims streaming into the Holy City in preparation for Passover. Every person in the place was there in commemoration of the Israelites’ deliverance from four hundred grueling years of oppression by the Egyptians, AND in feverish anticipation of what they hoped and prayed was their imminent deliverance from the brutal, barbaric, and oh.so.bloody occupation by the Romans.

Messianic fervor was always at its highest in the week leading up to Passover. You can understand why. Freedom was in the air.

But in this podcast, I don’t want you merely to understand why. I want you to feel why.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen.

And PLEASE “Share” a link to this podcast with a loved one or friend.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.