Monthly Archives: May 2015

A Dramatic Detour in Jesus’ Road to Destiny

pleading_womanWelcome to one of the strangest stories — many would call this a troubling tale — in Jesus’ entire life and ministry.

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, what happens here in Mark 7, and its parallel passage in Matthew 15, seems highly uncharacteristic of Jesus; uncharitable to a tragically needy-yet-remarkable mommy; and unnecessarily cold and calloused as far as a Jesus is concerned.

A Jesus, I will humbly remind you, who defined Himself as “gentle” in Matthew 11, and who described His mission as one “to seek and to save the lost in Luke 19.

As you read this story, at first blush anyway, Jesus was Anything.But.Gentle in the way He spoke to this panic-stricken mother who was understandably distraught over the condition of her daughter.

Tell you what: If His mission was to seek and to save the lost, you couldn’t find anyone more lost than this woman.

As we read this story together (it’s only 8 verses in Matthew’s account), you tell me if you find this encounter between Jesus and this mom at all unsettling or unnerving. Put yourself in the mom’s sandals for a second and imagine that Jesus is talking to you about your little girl.

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

A happy ending to be sure.

But what an insensitive, ungracious, uncaring way to get to that happy ending..

You talk about showing a little kindness (as we did last week), there was no kindness shown to this woman; no kindness of any kind was shown to her at all. Until the very end.

Jesus (apparently) ignored her (“Jesus did not answer a word.”), then (apparently) refused and rebuffed her (“I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”), then (apparently) belittled her (“It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”).

Curiously enough, that’s it as far as Jesus’ road trip up North into what is today Lebanon, what was then Phoenicia, was concerned.

This one strange story.

And as always, my friend, we have much to talk about.

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 richly as you listen.

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Piling On

sad-quotesI’ll keep this short but ever so sweet. In this PODCAST, you are about to see a side of Jesus that you’ve likely never seen before.

Get ready! Your love for Jesus is about to grow exponentially. And rightly so.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take as much as 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play. God bless you as you listen.

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A Shadow Cast Across the Cradle (A Throwback Thursday Podcast)

The-Three-MagiHow much thought do you put into the gifts that you give at Christmas?

I have no doubt that the Wise Men put a considerable amount of thought into theirs.

The three gifts that these mysterious visitors from the East presented to Jesus — Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh — tell a remarkably riveting story. Indeed, the single most compelling story that has ever been told.

This story that was so beautifully symbolized and so clearly communicated in a curious combination of three unusual-yet-fascinating gifts.

Spoiler Alert: After hearing this message, you may never look upon a manger scene the same way again.

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

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A Scandal in the Making

348With this PODCAST, we break the seal on the last year of Jesus’ life here on earth.

And admittedly, His last year begins on a rather ominous note.

Immediately following this story, Jesus will leave the country. That is no exaggeration. For the first time in His storied 3½ year ministry, Jesus now has to get out of Dodge, fast!

As we have seen in past podcasts, Jesus was run out of His adopted hometown of Capernaum. He was then run out of Nazareth, His boyhood hometown. On top of that, Herod Antipas was hunting Jesus in order to kill Him (this in the wake of Herod’s senseless execution of John the Baptizer). 

And NOW we read this in Mark 7:24:

Then Jesus left Galilee and went North to the region of Tyre (in modern-day Lebanon).

Yes, indeed. Jesus was literally run out of Galilee and run out of the country. Something significant happened in this story, here in Mark 7, that forced Jesus to go North and out of the country, rather than South to the familiar environs of His beloved Jerusalem. 

What in the world happened?

What did Jesus do?

Or more accurately, what did Jesus fail to do?

A failure that caused a cataclysmic religious scandal. A scandal so serious that Jesus fled to the North. Which, by the way, is the exact same word that Matthew used in his telling of this story: “scandal.”

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.

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A Man Sent From God (A Throwback Thursday Podcast)

001-john-baptistHis eyes blazed with the fire of conviction.

His voice thundered as he peered out from behind his uncut hair and unkempt beard.

He wore a camel’s-hair garment bound with a leather belt.

He ate a strangely strict diet of honey and grasshoppers, of all things.

Yet when he spoke, the people trembled. Why?

Who was this strange specter that haunted the barren sands of the Judean desert? Where did he come from?
What was it about him that caused Jesus to pay him the highest of all possible compliments:

Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptizer? (Matthew 11:11)

You are about to meet one of the most remarkable people ever to walk across the biblical stage in this epic drama we call “Jesus in HD.”

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

God bless you as you listen.

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“Even Though He was One of the Twelve”

20130327-110202No matter how you cut it, this man was an enigma.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, this man — handpicked by Jesus and elevated to the rarified air of the apostles — repaid Jesus’ generosity by betraying Him to His executioners.

Is there any human emotion more painful than that of betrayal? 

Ever felt it? Betrayal?

That midnight darkness of the soul that enshrouds us like an impenetrable fog when we have dared to trust someone — with our deepest feelings, our most hidden secrets, as if we have just entrusted to the person our very hearts, perhaps our very lives — only to have him or her shatter our hearts and break our trust by their soul-crushing betrayal.

Jesus sure felt it. The pangs of betrayal. Boy, did He ever!

That moment frozen in time when for the first time you see with crystal-clarity that you have been played.

Well, for 3½ years Jesus had been played.

Where did this man — Judas Iscariot — come from? What causes a man to make the fateful plunge from believer to betrayer? What do we really know about him?

You are about to find out.

But even more importantly, you are about to see the heart of Jesus in action as He responds in real time to this real threat posed by this very real con-man, the Apostle Judas Iscariot.

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.

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Gems from the Genealogy (A Throwback Thursday Podcast)

matthew

Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers (Matthew 1:2).

This seemingly boring and benign statement shockingly reveals in stunning detail the sizable heart of Jesus towards you and towards me.

How can that be true? Over the years, I have discovered — much to my delight — that many of the Bible’s most stunning insights, some of its most tantalizingly life-transforming truths, can be found in the most unlikely of places.

Case in point: Jesus’ genealogy.

There are buried within its laundry list of strange-sounding names jewels to be harvested, gems to be excavated, rare and precious stones to uncover. In just about 45 minutes or so, you might just discover — to your own delight — that your view of God will never be the same.

AND at no extra charge, you’ll also discover God’s view of you. (Here’s a hint: It’s pretty cool!) All of this — if you can believe it — from Jesus’ genealogy.

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

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THE Most Powerful and Poignant Miracle Jesus Ever Performed

Sea-of-GalileeA bit of Bible trivia for you. A little factoid that is anything but trivial.

There is one miracle, and only one miracle, that Jesus performed that is recorded in all four Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry. Only one such miracle. And you are going to hear all about it here, it this PODCAST.

If you didn’t know anything about Jesus, if this discussion was the first time you ever heard of Jesus, the first thing you ever heard about Jesus, you would walk away from this podcast with a heart filled with love for Him, overflowing with an irresistible desire to get to know Him better.

That is how powerful this story is.

Which may well explain why of every miracle Jesus ever performed, every mighty deed that Jesus ever did, the miracle embedded within this story is the only one that is included in all four Gospels.

Which is quite a statement, really, when you consider the fact that the Apostle John concludes his Gospel account with this observation:

The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book… If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.

An observation which begs the question: So why in the world did each Gospel writer choose to include this miracle?

Obviously, the biblical writers — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — and the Holy Spirit who inspired them — wanted you and wanted me to make a special note of this story.

And so we shall. Right now. In this podcast.

Welcome to The Feeding of the Five Thousand, The Miraculous Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes.

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 thank you for “Sharing” a link to this podcast with your family and friends.

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