Posts Tagged With: spiritual

God’s Bountiful Banquet Table (Kosher, of course!)

This was a big deal.

This IS a big deal.

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, this is a Very.Big.Deal, even today. Even for us.

Be encouraged!!!

Thank you for listening, and for sharing this message!!!

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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Culture Shock!

I LOVE this man.

After hearing his story in this PODCAST, trust me. You will love him too.

“Real people, who lived in real places, who had real experiences (Boy, did he ever!), all of which point to a real God.”

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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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gymnasium

Gratefully used with permission from my friend, Udi Merioz

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, our bountiful banquet table of Truth is overflowing.

A spiritual smorgasbord guaranteed to challenge your thinking and rock your worldview.

Get ready for this delectable culinary delight, courtesy of Messers Paul, Barnabas, and Mark.

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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Abuse

I’ll make this brief and to the point.

If you, or anyone whom you know, has and/or is being abused by another, you/they need to hear this PODCAST.

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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Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine (and ALWAYS will be!)

Get yourself ready for a massive dose of encouragement.

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, it’s amazing to me how a couple of significant storylines are coming full circle with Jesus’ words John 15.

Specifically, last week we saw how Jesus’ assertion, “I am the vine,” is final of Jesus’ seven “I Am” statements recorded in the Gospel of John.

Now, for this discussion, here’s a Bible Trivia Question for you:

What was the very first parable that Jesus taught as recorded in the Gospels?

I’ll give you a couple of hints:

1. It’s found in Mark 2.

2. It’s a parable about a new day coming, the Messianic Age dawning, a day that began in Bethlehem, a day filled with bright hopes and blazing anticipation.

A part of that first parable goes like this: Jesus said,

“No one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”

New wine, symbolic of a new day, a great day, a beautiful day, a day of God’s bountiful blessing. A day of God’s abundant blessings of which you, and all of God’s people, are now the recipients.

How appropriate then that Jesus’ teaching ministry was bookended by two parables, both of which centering upon that singular Scriptural image: the fruit of the vine.

That first parable coming, in Mark 2, at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry. This final parable, here in John 15, that Jesus began with the word,

“I am the vine, you are the branches.”

As you are about to hear, that metaphor, the fruit of the vine, was not chosen arbitrarily. It is loaded with copious amounts of Scriptural significance that speaks directly to your life today.

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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When “THIS Mountain” Moves

To be perfectly honest with you, the passage here in Matthew 21 is coming — for me,at least — at just the right time. And perhaps for you as well.

Given the current political climate in our beloved country, and the increasing despair that I have felt as the presidential primary season has now concluded, I so desperately need to hear my own message, courtesy of Jesus.

Jesus assured His disciples,

“Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

As you will hear in this PODCAST, the irony of what Jesus said is so thick that you could cut it with the proverbial knife.

The irony being this: Jesus said those words to the disciples on the eve of His crucifixion in order to strengthen, to fortify their fragile faith. And frankly, to strengthen and to fortify ours.

Jesus knew that the events in their lives were about to spin seemingly out of control. The hopes they harbored in their hearts were about to be crushed into the ash heap of history. The Jesus movement in which they played a central role was about to careen into a wall and to explode into a thousand broken pieces.

The wave they had been riding had peaked on Sunday during the Triumphal Entry, and then again on Monday during the Cleansing of the Temple. But Jesus knew only too well on that Tuesday AM that by Thursday PM that same storm surge would dash them into the jagged rocks of reality.

So to bolster their soon-to-be faltering faith (and ours), Jesus made them (and us) this glorious promise:

“Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

The only problem with that promise? As many of us have come to experience during own crises of faith, It.Doesn’t.Always.Work.

If it did, none of our loved ones would ever die. (Who of us hasn’t prayed for God, in faith believing — to invoke Jesus’ formula — to heal someone near/dear to us, only to watch them whither away to nothing?)

Our kids would never disappoint us, if that promise worked. (What parent hasn’t prayed diligently for their children, in faith believing, Amen, only to stand by and watch helplessly and at times hopelessly as one or more of our kids go sideways?)

If that promise did indeed work, we would always get the jobs we want, have the perfect marriages for which we pray, have enough money at end of each month.

Fact is, myriads of books been written and purchased and read about that promise. Countless sermons been preached and listened to and heeded. All to affirm the fact that if we pray in faith believing and do not doubt, we will receive whatever things we ask. We CAN move mountains by our prayers, we are told. The mountain of sickness, the mountain of debt, the mountain of broken relationships, the mountain of wayward children.

Over the years, I’ve heard it all, read it all, a thousand times. To the point where I’m sick of hearing it. Because it just doesn’t work… Or does it?

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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Lightning Strike

You and I are embroiled in a cosmic collision of good and evil, a spiritual war that is taking place in real time, in the present tense, on a scale of epic proportions.

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, there can be no doubt in any thinking person’s mind that this war is real, and that it has a profound affect upon our world and our lives.

Even an atheist who denounces the existence of God as a delusion, the reality of Satan as a myth, and the authority of Scripture as a collection of fairy tales, cannot deny that operating in our world today is a force for righteousness and a force for unrighteousness, and the daily-if-not-hourly collision of the two.

This is how the Apostle Paul described this to the Christ-followers in Ephesus:

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.”

Words that are downright sobering, if not outright chilling. But words that are equally revealing and encouraging.

Sobering and chilling because who are we to stand firm against an unseen enemy like that? Specifically, the Devil and his many demons?

Revealing because this does indeed describe exactly what we are witnessing in our world on a daily basis.

Encouraging because as Paul made clear in Ephesians 6, as Jesus made equally clear and His 70 messengers indeed experienced here in Luke 10, this war is eminently winnable.

Indeed, as you will soon hear, this war has Already.Been.Won.

We are less than 6 months from the crucifixion. Jesus will spend these final days visiting every town and village in the South of the Land: Judea and Perea. In anticipation of His visits, Jesus sent out 70 emissaries to prepare the way.

He sent them out as gentle lambs in the midst of ferocious wolves, an unmistakable allusion to the hostile spiritual climate they were about to enter. This was but the latest skirmish in an ongoing spiritual war.

The battle lines were drawn. The harvest was ready. Even as they stood on the cusp of the Crucifixion, there was a godly remnant primed and ready to hear and receive their message:

God’s peace could be theirs.

So off they went, on a several-weeks’ excursion into enemy territory, all to bring God’s message of peace to the tormented souls just trying to survive day-by-day.

Back to Jesus they finally returned, in order to give Him their reports and to debrief their experiences. Which is where we join the narrative here in Luke 10:17…

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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A Man Born Blind (A 1st-Person Rendition)

Humanly speaking, he didn’t have a chance on this earth.

Until Jesus came along…

In this PODCAST, you will meet a man whose deck was decidedly stacked against him.

Until Jesus came along…

PLEASE do not be tempted to think that because you (thank God!) were not born blind, this story has nothing to say to you today. Truth be told, I cannot think of a more appropriate passage for us to consider together, especially in light of recent events, than this one.

Jesus, the master-artist, painted for His hearers (and for US!) a picture worth far more than the proverbial “thousand words.”

Welcome to an encounter with God’s Son that you will never ever forget.

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 Surprise Visit from a Dear Old Friend (A First-Person Rendition)

While I am away speaking at a Middle School Camp on the East Coast, I have left you in wonderfully capable hands. Those of our old and dear friend, John the Baptizer.

John the Baptizer is, by his own admission, a walking contradiction. As you will hear in this PODCAST, he had a remarkable beginning, and yet a dismal crash and burn.

In a word, his faith in Jesus COLLAPSED, completely.

His is quite the story to tell. But as you will hear me say, it is John’s story to tell, not mine.

So, if you can employ a little sanctified imagination, I will do my best to be true to John’s story, and respectful of John’s memory, as I sort of try to “become” (if I can put it that way) John the Baptizer.

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

God bless you as you listen.

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We are ALL in the Same Boat Together

Ever feel spiritually inferior? Like you don’t measure up? Like you can’t measure up?

Then you are in the right place. This message is for YOU!

In this PODCAST, we bid a fond farewell to the parables.

I cannot put into words how much I have enjoyed our study of each of them. The seven parables of Matthew 13 speak so clearly to us, revealing to us exactly what Jesus said the spiritual climate in the world in which we are now living would be like. With pinpoint accuracy, He said it would be so. And it is.

So somewhat sadly, we turn the page and move immediately into the next phase of Jesus’ ministry.

I do say “immediately” because we read this in Mark 4 (as we harmonize the four Gospels and present Jesus’ life and ministry in chronological order)…

… And I’ve got to tell you, I cannot help but to chuckle when I read this:

“Jesus taught them using parables; privately to His disciples He explained everything. On that same day when evening had come, He said to them, Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.”

#Oh.My.Friends, you have NO IDEA — and there #Is.No.Way that I can adequately convey to you the idea — of JUST how terrified AND terrorized disciples were to hear this.

But I will try.

Now, before I get into all of that, a couple of thoughts… Thoughts that you will hear in this podcast.

Trust me, you are in for a treat. This is one hoot of a story.

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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