A Hanoverian countess was known for her disbelief in God and her conviction that no one could call life from a tomb.  Before her death, she ensured that her tomb would be a mockery to belief in the resurrection.  It was sealed with a slab of granite.  Blocks of stone were placed around her tomb.  Heavy iron clamps fastened the blocks together and to the granite slab.  The inscription read: This burial place, purchased to all eternity, must never be opened. However, a small birch tree had other plans.  Over the years it forced its way until the iron clamps … Listen Now

Standing in a cemetery,  Jesus issued a command, “Move the stone.” There was no singing at the funeral Jesus attended.  Mourning.  Weeping.  Wailing.  People shuffled about aimlessly, their eyes full of fear.  The foreboding news reminded them of their own fate.  Another prisoner had been marched from death row to the gallows.  Lazarus was dead. And Jesus wept—not for the dead but for the living.  He wept not for the one in the cave of death but for those in the cave of fear.  He wept for those who, though alive, were dead.  He wept for those who, though free, were … Listen Now

The fifth chapter of Mark tells the story of a synagogue leader who reached the point where desperation exceeded dignity.  He begged Jesus to heal his dying daughter.  And Jesus did, with a look on his face that said, Come here. I’ve got a secret. I’ve seen that sparkle of eternity in the eyes of a cancer patient who said, “I’m ready to go.”  I saw it at a funeral.  The widower didn’t weep like the others.  “Don’t worry about me,” he said.  “I know where she is.”  Peace where there should be pain.  Hope defying despair.  That’s what that … Listen Now

Jesus and his disciples stop as the funeral procession passes by.  The widow at the back of the procession is burying her only son.  Tonight she will make dinner for one and conversation with none. When Jesus sees the mother, his heart begins to break, and he tells her, “Don’t cry.”  The pallbearers stop marching, and Jesus turns his attention to the dead boy and calmly says, “Young man, come back to life again.”  Gray-pale cheeks blush.  The dead man sits up. Luke’s description of what happens next is captivating.  “Jesus gave him back to his mother.”  Jesus must have … Listen Now

Death is the bully on the block of life.  “Your time is coming,” he taunts.  Oh, we try to prove him wrong.  We jog.  We diet.  But we know that we will only, at best, postpone it.  That is why you should never face him alone.  That is why you need a big brother. Take heart from these words,  “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by … Listen Now

“We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done one thing wrong.”  These words were spoken on Skull’s hill by a thief.  After a life of crime, he’s reached the bottom—a crossbeam and three spikes.  He begins to wonder who Jesus might be, and he hears the whisper, “Father, forgive them.” When the other criminal hurls an accusation at Jesus, this thief defends him.  His statement includes facts that anyone needs to recognize to come to Jesus.  We are guilty and he is innocent.  He is not on that cross for his sins.  He is there … Listen Now

What do you do when your failures suck the sandy foundation of your future out from under you?  Well, you can blame the world.  Failure invites finger pointing and buck passing.  You are the victim, and the world is your enemy.  A second option is to continue playing the games.  We are masters of the masquerade.  And, well with time, the real self is forgotten. Or you can do what the prodigal son did.  You can come home.  When Jesus told this parable of the loving father, I wonder, did he use his hands?  Later he stretched his hands as … Listen Now

For some, Jesus is the Rabbit’s Foot Redeemer—a good luck charm used to get you out of a jam.  For many he’s an Aladdin’s Lamp Redeemer— Your wish is his command.  For others, Jesus is a Game Show Redeemer— Let’s make a deal! Few demands; no challenges; and no need for sacrifice or commitment. That’s not the Redeemer described in the New Testament.  And that’s not the Redeemer seen by the frightened woman who was caught in the act of adultery.  The leaders were going to stone her, but Jesus intervened.  If we could somehow transport her to Calvary she would recognize … Listen Now

Nothing drags more stubbornly than a sack of failures.  Could you do it all over again, you’d do it differently.  But you can’t.  And as many times as you tell yourself, What’s done is done, what you did can’t be undone.  That’s part of what Paul meant when he said, “The wages of sin is death.” Can anything be done?  What do you do with the stones from life’s stumbles? Don’t we all long for a father who cares for us in spite of our failures?  We do have that type of father.  A father who is at his best when we are … Listen Now

If we’re not teaching people how to be saved, perhaps it’s because we have forgotten the tragedy of being lost!  If we’re not teaching the message of forgiveness, it may be because we don’t remember what it’s like to be guilty. When times get hard, when death looms, when anger singes, when shame weighs heavily, remember Jesus.  Remember this descendant of David who beat down death. You know a person is never the same after simultaneously seeing his or her utter despair and Christ’s unbending grace.  To see the despair without the grace is suicidal.  To see the grace without … Listen Now