Catch up on any ‘Living the Life…. For Real!‘ programs you may have missed here.
‘Living the Life…. For Real!‘
Wandering from the Truth
Message #16 in the Series
Airing Week of 5/18/2020
This Week – Have you ever known someone to cease being a faithful follower of Christ, only to seemingly slip away from the Lord and His church? Maybe it was a friend or family member. James calls it “wandering from the truth”. If “truth” in Christianity is what we claim it to be, to wander from the truth is to wander from the Lord Himself. Jesus made the boldest statement of all when He said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life!” He claimed to be truth itself!
Monday (5/18) – Sometimes the last thoughts of a letter just may be the most important part of the letter or email. Have you ever noticed that? I personally find it interesting that the last thoughts of James in his letter to Jewish believers; he talks about those who have “wandered away from the Lord”. He talks also to those who could help “retrieve” those who do. Could the passage be speaking to you and your family perhaps?
Tuesday (5/19) – We talk about a professor of mine in college who said that he had a problem with the parable of the prodigal son Jesus taught. His problem was that the story never tells us the grief that the Father in the story went through due to the wandering away of the youngest son. I have never heard someone say that about the parable. What the professor said speaks to this passage in James.
Wednesday (5/20) – We talk about three two word phrases that speak to the issue of people wandering away from the Lord or wandering from the truth. First we “act humbly”. When someone wanders away from the Lord, pride should not be our response! We act in the humility that we are sinners too! Secondly, we are to “pray specifically”. Do we pray at all for people?
Thursday (5/21) – Thirdly, we are to “love intentionally”. That means we can actually love the unlovable in our lives! It’s not our job to punish people; it’s our job to love. What a concept! What would happen if you and I would decide to love someone that normally we might even hate! Only God can enable that process; He gives the capacity to love the unlovable.
Friday (5/22) – I close by retelling a story I have told before by memory. Today I read part of the actual account written by a minister telling about a vile man who was near death in a hospital. He heard the doctor tell his wife that he had minutes to live. The man in his semi-conscious state reached out to the Lord in prayer. What happened will deeply impact you today. Don’t miss this segment!
A Second Look at Patience
Message #14 in the Series
Airing Week of 5/4/2020
This Week – Have you ever prayed for “patience” in a personal situation, a family matter, or a work or school difficulty? Maybe you have, perhaps it never occurred to you to do so! The book of James talks about patience in suffering. The early church did suffer persecution and intimidation for practicing their faith. Do you need patience for anything going on in your life right now?
Monday (5/4) – We begin with a true story of a woman who lived with blindness for 74 years! At age 80, she had a procedure that gave her sight. She saw the face of her husband for the first time in her life! (One woman told me that could be pretty traumatic for most women! No comments, please!) We introduce the passage where James exhorts his readers to be patient in their suffering.
Tuesday (5/5) – We look at the last verse first, where James says “Let your yes be yes, and your no be no”. In other words don’t bring God’s name into the conversation as proof of your truthfulness. We all know folks who routinely say, “I swear to God I’m telling you the truth”. That can be a form of taking the name of God in vain! We then talk about the phrase in verse 7 about the “Lord’s coming”. It may mean more than we think it does!
Wednesday (5/6) – Patience can mean to “not lose heart”. Keep on keeping on! Secondly, it can mean to persevere in misfortune and trouble. Thirdly it can mean to be “slow to anger and slow to seek revenge”. We talk about all three in your life and mine. James says to “stand firm in the belief in the Lord’s return!” The coming of the Lord may just involve more than His return in the sweet by and by!
Thursday (5/7) – One of the most dramatic moments I’ve ever experienced in the ministry was at a cemetery. The widow of the deceased man pointed to her husband’s casket and dramatically told me, “That man made my life miserable every day of my life!” I was speechless; all I could say was that I was sorry! Hopefully, no one will ever say that about you or me. We talk about James admonition to not “grumble against one another”. My guess was the deceased was a grumbler, or worse.
Friday (5/8) – We close with the story from California from what was called the “Oakland Fire”. A woman and two firefighters survived by jumping into a back yard pool, covering themselves with a tarpaulin. What the woman said later about her non-existent relationship with the living God will speak to you about the God we can believe in. James says “He is full of compassion and mercy!”
Three Money Myths
Message #13 in the Series
Airing Week of 4/27/2020
This Week – A myth is defined as an opinion or belief that is unproven. We discuss three “money myths”, using the passage in James 5:1-6 this week. Money is the most sensitive issue in people’s lives! If you don’t believe it, start a “discussion” that involves money. Watch the sparks begin to fly! That’s especially true if it happens in a family conversation.
Three Money Myths
Monday (4/27) – We deal with the last verse first, because of the dramatic verbiage. Verse 6 says that James’ audience was guilty of “murdering innocent men”. We explain that this is probably a reference to the “day laborer” practice; the worker was paid at the end of day for a day’s work. Why? If they weren’t paid, the man’s family wouldn’t eat! Christians were withholding the pay of those day laborers.
Three Money Myths
Tuesday (4/28) – We identify the first myth about money: “that it doesn’t matter what I do with my money”. Some people believe that we are therefore not accountable for what I do with my money. After all, it’s mine! Psalm 24:1 says that “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” If that’s true, that includes everything that you and I think we possess!
Three Money Myths
Wednesday (4/29) – The second myth is: “everything we own is permanent”. That’s a big myth in your life and mine. Nothing we own, nothing we earn, nothing that we inherit is permanent! The third myth is this: “money doesn’t affect relationships!” We all have had relationships impacted by money given, borrowed, or inherited. Money changes the tone of a relationship. You know that from personal experience, if you are honest!
Three Money Myths
Thursday (4/30) – We tell two stories that just may cause an argument between you and your spouse or you and a friend or family member. You may want to listen to today’s program alone! The stories will touch a responsive chord in people that are close to you. They both provoked some strong response when I gave it originally. They really did!
Three Money Myths
Friday (5/1) – We end this message with actually a “4th” myth today. It’s not about money; it’s a myth about your life in general. It’s the myth that says “as long as I live a good life etc., I’ll make it into heaven.” At many funerals I conduct, people give me the “list” of their loved one’s accomplishments, organizations, and their resume. But then privately I ask this question, “If we can make it on our own, then what was the cross of Christ for?” It’s all about the cross!
Three Money Myths
Message #12 in the Series
Airing Week of 4/20/2020
This Week – If there ever was a passage of the book of James that was more current or timely to study, this has to be one of them! It’s about people who are what we are calling “tomorrow thinkers”. We live, work, and socialize with people who are always talking about what they’re going to do tomorrow. Does that describe you or me? James talks about “tomorrow thinkers” and how tenuous that can be physically and spiritually. If the current crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we need to heed these words from the Word of God!
Monday (4/20) – We talk about short-range planning, long term planning, and strategic planning. James comes along, not condemning planning, but reminding us that we might not even be alive tomorrow! We can plan as if there were no God; we can plan as if it is all up to us! Sound familiar in your circle of influence? How about in your life and mine?
Tuesday (4/21) – I’m not one to use poetry in my messages, but the poem we quote of Edgar Guest will speak to you in a mighty way about the danger of being a ”tomorrow thinker”. We tell a powerful story about parents praying for their graduating seniors in a huddle. Many of them were quietly weeping. I speculate as to why. Maybe there were things that they were going to do tomorrow, but never happened.
Wednesday (4/22) – The story I tell today is one I might not have believed if I heard it given by anyone else. But it’s a story my brother told me personally about a conversation he had with someone, days before they lost their life in a tragic accident. It turned out to be a chilling conversation. What was said will perhaps speak to us about our lives and our “tomorrow thinking” spiritually.
Thursday (4/23) – Life doesn’t always go according to “our plans”. Have you noticed that? Do you assume that because you’re healthy now, you always will be? Do you assume that because things are good financially, they always will be? If life has taught us anything in the last month or two is that nothing in life ultimately follows “our plan”. Life changes; God is in control!
Friday (4/24) – It’s not wrong to plan; it’s wrong to plan as if there is no God! Have you and I learned that lesson yet? We live ultimately in God’s will for our lives! The French have a phrase that means “my reason for being”. Have you ever thought about what your reason for being is? Hopefully, it involves in recognizing the will of God for your life and mine. Decide today, maybe for the first time!
A Second Look at Slander
Message #11 in the Series
Airing Week of 4/13/2020
James 4:10 -12
This Week – Most people think of the word “slander” as a legal term. That’s because it is! It means to defame someone verbally or orally. (Libel is defamation in writing.) But Biblically, slander is “speech that injures”. James deals with the issue in chapter four. It evidently was a problem in the early church, just as fighting and arguing were as well! Does it play any part in your life?
A Second Look at Slander
Monday (4/13) – We begin with a humorous test to indicate self-centeredness. One of the marks of self-centeredness is when a person doesn’t hesitate to slander or speak ill of others. We introduce the concept of slander being “speech that injures”. James says pointblank, “brothers, don’t slander one another.” He then explains how we are sitting in judgement of the Law of God by speaking slander!
A Second Look at Slander
Tuesday (4/14) –Most people think of slander as just the “spreading of lies”. Did you know that Biblically, slander can also be the “spreading of the truth”! Sometimes, we do not speak the truth in love as the Bible teaches. We often speak the truth in hatred or hostility! Has anyone ever done that to you? Have you ever spoken the truth to someone for revenge?
A Second Look at Slander
Wednesday (4/15) – James says that when we routinely judge other people, we are actually “standing in judgment of the Law”. It means to place ourselves, in a sense, above the law in our authority and position. He uses the phrase, “we are not keeping the law, but rather “sitting in judgment” on it! However you interpret that, it is no small thing!
A Second Look at Slander
Thursday (4/16) – You may have seen the famous prayer of Francis of Assisi. You may have it on a plaque on a wall of your home. If you follow it, it can change your life, your marriage, and your relationships. Proverbs 18:21 says “the tongue has the power of life and death!” Words can kill a relationship! You may have killed a relationship with words. Perhaps someone killed a relationship with you with words!
A Second Look at Slander
Friday (4/17) – We conclude with a famous parable that illustrates how our words can harm and even “kill”. It illustrates the scripture that says that once we release the bow, we can’t retrieve the arrow! So it is with our words; we can’t retrieve words that have been spoken, no matter how much we wish otherwise. We have all spoken words we wish we could pull back; we can’t!
A Second Look at Slander
Children of the Resurrection?
Airing Week of 4/6/2020
This Week – Several years ago, my mother died on the Tuesday before Easter. On that following Sunday, I decided that I “needed” to preach that Easter Sunday to remind myself of the hope that we have in the Risen Christ. This week we air that message from Luke 20, where Jesus talks about the people who are the “children of the Resurrection”. That is an exclusive title that applies to believers in the One who conquered death and walked out of the grave alive!
Children of the Resurrection?
Monday (4/6) – For many people, their view of heaven is that heaven is just an extension of the “good life” down here on earth. If they’re golfers, heaven is the finest golf course one could ever imagine! (Several funeral directors have told me that they have been asked to include a husband’s favorite golf club in the casket!) No joke! You and I may have notions of what heaven may be like. The expert authority on heaven is Jesus Himself!
Children of the Resurrection?
Tuesday (4/7) – Jesus was confronted by members of a sect known as the Sadducees. They did not believe in life after death. They came to Jesus with a hypothetical situation, thinking they would entrap Jesus. A woman was married to 7 brothers sequentially. Each one died and left no children. Then the woman died. In heaven whose wife would she be? Jesus answer stunned them! It may surprise you!
Children of the Resurrection?
Wednesday (4/8) – We have trouble with describing heaven because we actually have no point of reference on this earth. We give two dramatic illustrations of that. They both will get your attention in a moving way! The main point of Wednesday’s message is this: death doesn’t change your relationship with the Lord! You need to know that and so do I.
Children of the Resurrection?
Thursday (4/9) – We conclude an illustration from a 1998 movie with actress, Drew Barrymore. It’s a story of her being rescued from captivity by an evil character. What she told someone who thought he was coming to rescue her speaks to our life and death on this earth! We all will experience rescue through our resurrection from the dead.
Children of the Resurrection?
Friday (4/10) – We close with a story I’ve used before. It’s about a place in Stuttgart, Germany where a hill was created out of the ruble from the 53 bombing missions over the city during World War Two. On top of the 1675 foot hill is a 40 foot cross that towers over the city and hill. Its message rings loud and clear! The empty cross means He is alive forever more. Because He lives, we shall live also!
Children of the Resurrection?
“LIVING THE LIFE…. FOR REAL!”
Wisdom or Intelligence?
Message #9 in the Series
Airing Week of 3/23/2020
This Week – For some reason, this passage of scripture was difficult for me to preach. Why? Perhaps we have trouble comprehending the difference between worldly intelligence and Godly wisdom. Intelligence is measured by tests and exams; Godly wisdom is measured by a life that is lived. God gives wisdom; that means He has something to do with the way we live!
Monday (3/23) – We refer to the book “The Seven Types of Intelligence” by Dr. Howard Gardner. Since we didn’t have time to include the list in the message, we include it here. They are 1) Body/ Kinesthetic (Sports) 2) Linguistic 3) Logical /Mathematical 4) Spatial (Having to do with how things are placed) 5) Interpersonal 6) Intrapersonal, and 7) Musical. We can possess all 7 and still not have Godly wisdom! We share the text from James that explains why.
Tuesday (3/24) – Wisdom is seeing life from God’s point of view. What’s your point of view? James begins by talking about “bitter envy” and “selfish ambition”. We not only define both terms, we illustrate them in families. Chances are, if there is strife in your family or extended family, you will find bitter envy and selfish ambition in one or more people! Maybe you’ll find it in many! We talk about something dramatic: Satan being involved in our lives.
Wednesday (3/25) – James says that where you find envy and selfish ambition, you will find disorder and all kinds of evil in people’s lives! You and I can research our own families and our personal history and verify that idea. We tell the first half of a story of two women in a church who hated one another. (This is actually more common than you may think!) It’s an introduction into a story about “peace making”, not peace keeping!
Thursday (3/26) – Lloyd Ogilvie was told by leaders of a church he newly arrived at, that there were two women who couldn’t have anything to do with the other. He thanked them for the “heads up” advice. But the Lord led him to be a “peace maker”, not just a peace keeper. What happened became one of the most dramatic moments in his ministry! Have you ever felt led to be a peace maker? What did you do?
Friday (3/27) – Veteran pastor, Ray Ortlund advised another minister: “you need to decide where you want to give blood as a minister”! What did he mean by that remark? We answer that question. We talk about people who are “peace makers”. We then we talk about the opposite: “strife making”. Some people are dedicated strife makers! They need to “flip” and become dedicated peace makers.
Power of the Tongue
Message #8 in the Series
Airing Week of 3/16/2020
This Week – The most powerful “part” of the body is the tongue! In the same way that a ship’s rudder is small, yet it directs the movement of a massive ship. The bit of in a horse’s mouth is small, yet it boasts great power in controlling the whole animal. The tongue directs your body and mine! We can all give evidence of the power of someone’s speech in our lives. With our capacity to speak comes the power to bless and the power to curse!
Monday (3/16) – After telling a humorous story of someone saying the wrong thing and recovering from that, we begin with the “folksy” statement: “What’s in the well of your life, comes up in the bucket!” The bucket is your speech! We read the text from James about your words that just maybe the most convicting passage of scripture having to do with our words.
Tuesday (3/17) – Your tongue or speech directs what happens in our lives, it really does. We begin with a true story about Karen Carpenter of the “Carpenters” of the 1970’s. She died in her 30’s of heart failure partially blamed on anorexia. We quote and article that possibly explains what led to that condition in her life. It may surprise you!
Wednesday (3/18) – We quote an article by a man by the name of Steve Stephens. He gathered a group of friends together to share the words that they thought negatively impacted marriages. What he pulled from that discussion will convict you and me! Why? We said these words this past week, month, or year to the person we’re married to. We really have! It will speak to you and perhaps convict you.
Thursday (3/19) – Jack Hayford tells of riding with a 19-year old person from the airport of the city where he was speaking to the church. They encountered a drunk driver on the highway, swerving across the four lanes of the business highway they were on. What transpired just may speak to you and me about our speech. Our speech in a crisis situation reveals much more than we may know.
Friday (3/20) – We close with a story of a minister who lost a younger brother, years earlier in a bicycle accident. Thirty minutes before his brother was killed, his sister had an argument with the brother that lost his life. She told him, “Mark, I wish you were dead!” A half hour later, he was. We talk about the fallout of words that she wished many times she could take back. Have you ever said something you wish you could take back? We all have!
Talker or Doer?
Message #7 in the Series
Airing Week of 3/9/2020
This Week – Did you know that in church history there were some who didn’t think the book of James should be included in what is called the “Canon of the New Testament”? Some thought that James perhaps contradicted the writings of the Apostle Paul when he said that “faith without works is dead”. Paul taught that we are saved by grace through faith! James took the matter a step further. What does your faith enable you and I to do?
Monday (3/9) – We begin with an imaginary story that is similar to the illustration that James uses about talking about our faith, and yet not doing anything that suggests that our faith is real! The operative phrase in the book of James is this: “Faith without works is dead!” The Greek word for “dead” is the medical term, “necrosis” or necrotic. Necrotic skin or flesh is dead!
Tuesday (3/10) – There is nothing more final than death. And yet that is the term James uses to describe a faith without obvious works is the word for dead. James says that even the demons believe there is a real God, and they shudder in fear! Just acknowledging the existence of God is not enough! We use an illustration by a contemporary comedian that bears this out!
Wednesday (3/11) – We use a story about the “running of the bulls” in Spain. An author, who wrote a book telling people how to do it, was gored by a bull in the event in recent years. His comment after the injury was this: “I probably need to update the book!” That was an understatement! Things that happen in our lives may require an update in our book, perhaps!
Thursday (3/12) – We tell a story by a former sociology professor by the name of Tony Campolo. He tells of a congregation that is made up of ducks. That’s correct, not a typo! It will bring a smile to your face and a conviction to your spirit! We then tell the first half of a story that is honestly one of the most powerful stories I have ever told on CrossHope. It’s about a missionary in India who contracts tuberculosis. You will be deeply moved by this story.
Friday (3/13) – This story is very unpleasant on the face of it. And yet if you can listen to it, it will illustrate James 2:14-26 better than anything I could say or suggest! The first time I heard it, tears came to my eyes just as I read it. What have you and I ever done in our lives that actually motivated someone to ask about our faith? That’s an important question for you and me both in 2020!
Law Breaker or Law Keeper?
Message #6 in the Series
Airing Week of 3/2/2020
This Week – I doubt if there are many people reading this that would think of themselves as a “law breaker”. If we’re believers, we’re all “law keepers”, right? Don’t be too quick to answer that question. This message contains one of the most powerful illustrations I’ve ever used. It’s not a “tear jerker” type of story, it’s simply a story that illustrates the text better than any other story I could use.
Monday (3/2) – We begin with a story of two men who died on the same day, December 8, 2016, less than four years ago. This story will powerfully illustrate what James says about our guilt of sin in our lives in 2020. Told by a Huntsville, Alabama minister, this story will touch your life. It really will!
Tuesday (3/3) – The most important point of this message comes out today. We talk about a wedding in Indianapolis, Indiana that never happened! The bride’s family spent $30,000.00 on this wedding that was canceled one week before the “day”. What the bride did was unbelievable in our world today. It was an act of grace and mercy. Listen to this story!
Wednesday (3/4) – James says “mercy triumphs over judgment.” Our understanding or lack of understanding of that verse may have a profound impact on your life. We share about a man who thought he had figured out the “system” of God’s judgment in your life and mine. He ignored the above phrase in James. Don’t you ignore it or avoid even hearing it! It is one of the most important thoughts from the Word of God!
Thursday (3/5) – I share about the most favorite thing I do at this point in my life. That may be a little provocative, and it may surprise you when you hear it. We use it to introduce the most favorite time for the Lord God almighty. I may be wrong, but I really don’t think so. Listen and make up your own mind, based on this passage in the book of James.
Friday (3/6) – The closing story is a “confessional “story told by a nationally known minister. I don’t have the courage to admit to what he acknowledges. I really don’t. This story speaks to all of us about showing mercy and grace in the lives of our families, co-workers, neighbors, and even church family. Have you ever put God’s grace on someone? Why not?
God’s Least Favorite Thing
Message #5 in the Series
Airing Week of 2/24/2020
This Week – The word is “favoritism”. What does that word mean to you? Maybe it brings up memories from childhood about a brother or sister, or even a classmate. Did you know that in the early church, favoritism was a problem? People showed favoritism toward people with money and fine clothes. James tells his audience plainly, it is a sin! Like any other sin, it requires the forgiveness of Christ!
Monday (2/24) – We begin with a fictional story about rich people pulling up to a local church in a limousine. We describe in detail the people of that church “fawning” over them and putting them in the front row of the church service. Likewise, they tell people of lower net worth to move to the back to accommodate the “rich folks”. James says, “Don’t show favoritism!” That tells me that it happened in the early church!
Tuesday (2/25) – The first verse we discuss in James 2 uses the term “believers” to describe Christians. It’s a great functional term to use, it really is. Believer means you believe everything that Jesus claims for Himself. You do believe He is the way, the truth, and the life. You do believe He is the resurrection and the life. We tell the story of a wealthy man who told me he was treated differently as a “poor man” and then later as a “rich man”. Money does impact how people are treated!
Wednesday (2/26) – James tells an imaginary true story of people discriminating in the early church because of money, one way or the other. Did you know in this day people could actually “rent” jewelry to wear to a public gathering? For instance, a man or woman could rent a gold ring or bracelet to wear. Why? They would do it to impress others! That’s true today in 2020!
Thursday (2/27) – Dr. Robert Coles was a psychiatrist who taught at Harvard University years ago. He tells of an experience and conversation with a poor woman who lived in the mountains around Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Her observations about the rich and poor will humble you and me! It’s a powerful illustration for this passage in James.
Friday (2/28) – We close the message with a prayer that was found on the body of a confederate soldier during the Civil War. It is the most powerful prayer I’ve ever read in my life! It really is. It will speak to you about what’s important in your life and to the subject of favoritism. It’s a moving way to close the study of James 2:1-9!
Message #4 in the Series
Airing Week of 2/17/2020
James 1:22-27; Matthew 12:33-37
This Week – This is the second half of a 2-part message on the subject of anger. According to an author by the name of Clarence McCartney of years gone by, “Anger negatively impacts friendships, destroys peace and concord in the home, and generally wreaks havoc in groups of any size!” What has anger done in your life and circle? More than you know!
Monday (2/17) – We begin with a story about “hidden or repressed” anger. Not all anger is obvious in your life or mine! Some people hide their anger for years from their closest family members and friends. We set up the text in James today by talking about the “spiritual dimension” of anger in your life. There is a spiritual dimension to everything in our lives! Married, single, parent, or child, it doesn’t matter.
Tuesday (2/18) – We connect anger with the tongue. Why? Because the primary vehicle for our anger is our words! You still remember angry things that have been said to you, even decades ago. And yet we can have amnesia when it comes to remembering our angry words. Does that resonate with you at all? My guess is that it does. What we do with our tongues matters to the Lord!
Wednesday (2/19) – The strongest words ever spoken about our tongues is from Jesus in Matthew 12. He said that we will “give an account” for every idle or “throw away” word we utter. When I heard rock star justify the vile lyrics of his music, I thought of what Jesus said! We share a confessional story told by a minister about his outburst with a teenage son. It will speak to you and your family!
Thursday (2/20) – Anger usually creates more anger. Haven’t you found that to be true? We relate how an author describes the physiological l response in your body to anger. He says what happens may be helpful when we are in hand to hand combat or being attacked by a bear. It’s not so good when we are in a conversation with a spouse or family member! What do you think?
Friday (2/21) – Mike Minnix is a minister from the Carolina’s who describes what happened in service when he spoke on anger. What happened in the service was not only unexpected, but extremely moving. I close by talking about a family doctor who told me that many of his patients needed “deliverance” more than they needed medication. One of the things that they needed deliverance from was and is anger!
Message #3 in the Series
Airing Week of 2/10/2020
This Week – I am beginning to believe that anger just maybe one of the most sensitive issues in people’s lives. When I preached about anger from this passage in James years ago, more people requested copies of the message more than any message I’ve given over 37 years on the radio! That speaks volumes to me. We are all the victims of someone else’s anger; we are also victim makers! We’re both!
Monday (2/10) – We begin with an illustration from the old television series, “Little House on the Prairie”. It’s a great example of anger in a person’s life that was over 30 years old! How long have you been angry at someone in your life? Anger can destroy a friendship or a marriage. Anger is responsible for some of the depression in your life. We begin a study of James that speaks to us all about anger’s power in our lives!
Tuesday (2/11) – The key verse is verse 20 that says, “Man’s anger does not produce the righteous life that God desires”. If the positive is true, I believe the negative is also true. If man’s anger does not produce the righteous life that God desires, what does it produce? Is it possible that anger produces the life that Satan desires? Surely not! What do you think?
Wednesday (2/12) – Anger agitates, anger alienates, and anger humiliates. That’s just for starters! We talk about all three of these verbs in your life and mine. You have been angered by someone else’s anger; you have made others angry by your anger. Anger alienates us from other people! Anger not only humiliates that person on the receiving end; it can humiliate the dispenser of the anger.
Thursday (2/13) – We quote a Christian psychologist from Atlanta who explains why so many people requested this message given in earlier years. He said it without a moment’s hesitation, which was powerful to me! It may speak to you about anger in your own life, marriage, family, and work! We set up a story we complete tomorrow which just maybe the most dramatic story I’ve ever told to date on CrossHope!
Friday (2/14) – The story we conclude with is about a man whose life was nearly ruined by anger! What destructive things has anger done in your life, your marriage, or your family? This man tells an unbelievable story about his coming to Christ in a maximum security prison in London. You may need to do what he did to deal with the anger in his life. You really may need to do this!
Test of Maturity
Message #2 in the Series
Airing Week of 2/3/2020
This Week – Do you remember the moment when one of your children showed some maturity in a situation, never shown before? It can be a “Kodak” moment in their life and yours. One of the signs of maturity in a Christian’s life is when they understand and apply the verses in James that we study today. James says that “God does tempt anyone to do evil”. He then tells us from where temptation actually comes. It may surprise some people!
Monday (2/3) – We use an illustration from the world of professional dancing. Martha Graham was a “world class” dancer, the first to ever perform in the White House. She danced and taught dancing for 70 years! She believed that it takes 10 years to become a mature or professional dancer. We pose the question, “What does it take to become a mature Christian?” The answer is in this text.
Tuesday (2/4) – We read the text where James tells us the source of temptation in your life and mine. He tells us that we are tempted when we are “dragged away and enticed” by our own evil desires! Did you ever realize that in your life? God is not tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone to do evil! When you and I realize that, maturity soon follows in our spiritual lives.
Wednesday (2/5) – We are under tremendous pressure in our world in 2020 to do evil. We really are! We all know what it is that is the enticement that works in our lives. It takes honesty to admit it and face it. It takes boldness to identify it. Have you identified the temptations that are specific to you? It’s a sign of spiritual maturity in your life when you can do that! (We share the first two of the works of Satan.)
Thursday (2/6) – We complete the sharing of the “5 works of Satan”. Some of you have heard these before, many have not. It’s an important list in your life to know. Why? James says that sinful desire in your life and mine gives birth to sin. And then he says that when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death! Sin ultimately equals death! Did you know that? How has sin led to “death” in the people you know and love?
Friday (2/7) – Occasionally I receive a letter from someone in prison who listens to our radio program. I share a letter from a woman that I think was in the women’s reformatory in Marysville, Ohio. It is one of the most powerful statements of a person’s struggle with evil and their victory over sin through Christ. You and I both need to heed what she says. Maturity doesn’t take “years”; it takes “yielding” to the power of God!
Count It as Joy
Message #1 in the Series
Airing Week of 1/27/2020
This Week – The book of James quite possibly was a sermon given by James. It was then written down and the manuscript or book was sent to Jewish believers all over the known world. It’s a book that deals with practical Christianity; Christianity lived out in everyday life. James exhorted his listeners and readers to manifest or demonstrate a “real” faith, acting like a Christian! Not bad advice for us in 2020!
Monday (1/27) – We introduce the text with a story about Joni Erickson Tada, the radio speaker and author who is a quadriplegic, living in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She models for me the first 8 verses of the book of James. As you hear part one, see if you don’t agree. She models a person who lives her life for Christ in real life, her real life of paralysis and handicap.
Tuesday (1/28) – We read this famous text that says to consider it joy when we face trials of “many kinds”. It may not make sense to you at this point in your life; it will in terms of your overall life and eternity! What is going on in your life right now that might not make sense, but God can and is using it in our lives to accomplish something that can’t be accomplished in any other way.
Wednesday (1/29) – I share the 10 common problems that I have seen in the lives of people I have ministered to over the years. See if you can relate to those things! We talk about Lloyd Ogilvie who talks about this passage in terms of his life. Hopefully you are able to do the same thing. He found peace in spite of the difficulties of life. Why? Because of the peace giver, Jesus Christ!
Thursday (1/30) – I rarely quote Dr. Charles Stanley, but perhaps I should more often. He believes that many of the trials in our lives are self-inflicted! Are you honest enough to admit that? He also gives some other reasons that may actually surprise you. We share some of those today as a part of the program. It’s powerful stuff that will speak to you.
Friday (1/31) – We close with the story by a woman named Crystal who tells an embarrassing observation of her early life. It’s about her family’s extreme poverty. There was often no food, no electricity, and even no water. The one word she uses to describe her childhood: neglect! And yet Crystal’s testimony will bless you, it really will! Please listen to today’s CrossHope.
Successful, In Whose Eyes?
Message 14 in the series Successful, In Whose Eyes?
Airing Week of 1/13/2020
This Week – Tolerance is an important word in our culture today in 2020. It’s become a political “doctrine” to be upheld! And yet Joshua, in one of his final messages to the people of Israel commands them not to tolerate the pagan gods and idols of the people of Canaan. Why did he say that? Because some of the people were actually invoking the names of the pagan deities and praying to them!
Monday (1/13) – What do you tolerate morally and spiritually in your own life? If we would be totally honest, we might be surprised at others tolerance levels. We might even be shocked at our own! We introduce this message given by Joshua when he was over 100 years old, perhaps approaching 110! He challenges the people about their tolerance of pagan religion in their lives. What would the Lord say to you or me regarding those things in us?
Tuesday (1/14) – The passage begins with this phrase: “be very strong!” It takes strength to be a believer in 2020, it really does! Joshua tells the people not to “turn to the right or left” in their belief system. We retell a story we told around Christmas that T.D. Jakes of Dallas, Texas tells about his father. His dad (from West Virginia) refused to look at a map or ask for directions on family trips. You can guess the rest from there!
Wednesday (1/15) – We invoke the names of what we call “cultural gods” in our nation today. We really do! We quote a famous story converted into a country song called, “Don’t Blink!” We quote the famous passage in the book of James about how fleeting our life is. In the King James Version of the Bible, the word “vapor” is used instead of “mist”. Ironically, the word vapor is more evocative today in 2020!
Thursday (1/16) – I quote a minister from Washington State who is quite blunt about people today. He says something I have never said in a message. It’s about the “farewell messages” that we all give to our families before death comes. They’re said in casual every day conversations. It’s a very sobering quote, don’t miss it!
Friday (1/17) – We close with a quote from a famous musician and author from Australia about young people as musicians. (If you are a parent of a child into music, you need to hear this!) What he says about music applies to life, death, and even eternity! Listen to it and let his quote speak to you about your spiritual life in Christ! We then wrap us this message on tolerance in your life and mine!
Mission Statement: 3 Words
Message 13 in the series Successful, In Whose Eyes?
Airing Week of 1/6/2020
This Week – You may work for a company that has a “mission statement”. Most companies and organizations do. Some are quite serious, others are humorous. Most are quite creative. Do you have a personal mission statement? Is there a statement that sums up your life and purpose as a believer in Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God? We talk about one this week from the book of Joshua. It may surprise you; it will possibly change your life if you adopt it!
Monday (1/6) – We begin with a humorous story regarding a piece of chicken and the governor of Massachusetts. It sets up our reading the text where Joshua tells the people of God how to live and how to follow the God of their lives. It may just be one of the most important messages of this series. It’s about the gut issue of your life and mine: obedience. Hopefully it’s part of your mission statement!
Tuesday (1/7) – The three words of your mission statement and mine begin with the word “love”. Everything in our lives falls out of the love that’s in our lives or isn’t. That’s true in a marriage, a family, and the church! When you and I love someone, we are drawn “out of ourselves”. Joshua tells the people to “love the Lord your God”. It wasn’t a suggestion; it was a command!
Wednesday (1/8) – We re-share a story told by an author by the name of Frederick Buechner that I shared six months ago. He was facing the death of his grown daughter from anorexia nervosa. She ate absolutely nothing. Death was approaching. There was nothing he knew to say or do. What he did is simply remarkable. You need to hear his “gesture of desperation” before the Lord. It could be life changing!
Thursday (1/9) – Joshua tells the people to “walk in ALL His ways”. What does that mean? We talk about that admonition. It starts with loving God, and then we move on into “walking in all His ways”. We then move on to the third word of our mission statement: “obey His commands”. We love God, we walk in His ways, and then we obey His commands! What part of this do you and I not understand?
Friday (1/10) – I talk about a funeral I would be conducting that upcoming week. We talk about Proverbs 10:7, where the writer says the “memory of the righteous will be a blessing”. Hopefully, your life will be blessing after you are gone, even by people simply “remembering your life”. When people recall your life, will they recall the words, “love, walking in His ways, and obeying His commands”? Or will they recall something less, a lot less?
Putting Off, Putting On
Special Message 20
Airing Week of 12/30/2019
This Week – As we end 2019 and begin 2020, we share a message about what the Apostle Paul says we are to “put off” in our lives; then he says what we are to “put on”. He uses a clothing analogy to illustrate the message. We all can relate. What would you think needs to come out of your life? What is it you know intuitively needs to be “put on” in your life like a new garment?
Monday (12/30) – We tell the story of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. An official called the “mistress of robes” takes some of the things off of Princess Elizabeth that represented her role as princess. Then, that official puts on Elizabeth that which represents her Queenly role! In a very real sense, she “put off the old” and “put on the new”. We do something similar when we come to Christ!
Tuesday (12/31) – Coming to Christ is not a subtle change or tweaking of our personality. It’s much more profound than that! Paul says that we were created to be like God, not in power, but in character. Paul says first to put off lying. What would that do in your life today? What could happen in your marriage or family? How would that impact where you work or go to school?
Wednesday (1/1) – Paul identifies anger as the next thing we need to rid from our lives, families, and marriage! Most of the anger in our lives is egocentric. Did you know that? Anger yields spiritual territory to Satan! We share that anger destroys friendships, peace and concord in the home, incites crime and violence, and it turns love and affection into hatred! What a statement!
Thursday (1/2) – Paul deals with stealing next. He has a simple admonition to you and me about stealing. Stop it! That’s it? Yes, that’s it. Stop stealing and work, doing something useful to have something to share with others in need. We talk about the uncleanness of the soul. Do you know what that is? It is bitterness. Bitterness does to the soul, what immorality does to the body.
Friday (1/3) – Slander must come out of our lives, it means speech that injures. Paul says get rid of “malice” out of our lives. Malice is ill will toward others. We have been on both ends of malice! Paul ends with three terms: kindness, compassionate, and forgiving. Those might be the last words you would use to describe people close to you. Would those people use them to describe you?
Favorite Christmas Stories
Special Message 19
Airing Week of 12/23/2019
This Week – All this week on CrossHope, we air five favorite Christmas stories that come from various messages on our program over the last 8 years. Each story stands on its own to convey truth and power for the season. We hope you will not only enjoy them, but share them with others.
Monday (10/23) – Jean Gietzen lived in North Dakota during World War Two. Her story of Christmas of 1943 may just move you to tears in a quiet and yet powerful way. It really will! Listen to her recalling a memory of blessing a family in deep need at Christmas.Some may call what happened an accidental encounter; don’t tell Jean Gietzen that! She saw it as the hand of God!
Tuesday (10/24) – This is the only Christmas story I know involving the game of chess. And yet it has a much needed message for Christmas of 2019. We live in a culture today that “sees no Jesus, hears no Jesus, and speaks no Jesus. “ You’ve seen that at Christmas in our community, in our media, and even in families. Unfortunately, we need the “King” at Christmas as well as the rest of the year.
Wednesday (10/25) – This is my absolute favorite Christmas story! It’s told by Lillian Smith of Georgia. You won’t believe what her father did one Christmas, when he invited a group of state prisoners in what used to be called a “chain gang” over for Christmas dinner! And you are worried about having your relatives over! It truly is a scene out of a movie, yet it really happened one Christmas in her life!
Thursday (10/26) – This just may be the most important message of the week. Why? It’s about forgiveness. Christmas is about forgiveness for one simple reason: Christ is about forgiveness! This is a story of a man who didn’t speak to his father all during his teen years and beyond. What he did at his father’s grave will impact you in a mighty way!
Friday (10/27) – We close the week with a story about the father of Dallas preacher, T.D. Jakes. It describes the direction this country is going this Christmas of 2019. It just might describe the direction your marriage, your family, or even your circle of friends is going this Christmas. It’s not just the “wrong” direction; it’s going in the ‘opposite’ direction!
Not One Promise Failed!
Message 12 in the Series Successful, In Whose Eyes?
Airing Week of 12/16/2019
This Week – We’ve all been impacted by “promise keepers”. We’ve all been impacted by “promise breakers”. But to be honest, we have all been keepers and breakers in the area of life. It may be too painful for you to discuss either end of the spectrum, but this week we do looking at the promises of God. According to Joshua, not one of God’s promises to Israel failed! We talk about that and the power of promise keeping in your life.
Monday (10/16) – We begin by talking about the men’s movement, 3 decades ago known as “Promise Keepers”. Our lives have been greatly influenced by those who have kept promises in our lives. We all have been influenced by those who have broken promises to us. For some, it’s too hurtful to talk about! What promises have you kept; what promises have you broken?
Tuesday (10/17) – First, we talk about what people “sing” about all the time. We all sing about grievances against us, wrongs that have been done to us. You know the drill. The Psalm writer says “I will sing of the Lord’s great love for us!” It’s an introduction to eh promises of God that were given without fail to Israel. Joshua says not one of His promises failed! Can you and I say that?
Wednesday (10/18) – When God gives you something, you need to receive it and utilize it! What are you doing with the gifts, promises, and skills God has given to you? Joshua not only says that God promised physical things; He promised “rest” to God’s people. That’s no small thing. It has to do with His presence and peace! We share a great story about God rescuing a group of orphans in a life and death situation.
Thursday (10/19) – We discuss a promise made to us today from Isaiah 42. It’s where God promises to lead the blind. Who are the blind people? Us! How is it that we are blind? We are blind to the future! Do you know what will happen in your life tomorrow, next week, or next month? Of course not, we are blind to the future. We need His promise to “shine” the light upon our way!
Friday (10/20) – A promise that we claim at the death of a loved one, or when we face our death is from second Corinthians about life and death. It says “to be absent from this body (death), is to be present with the Lord!” That’s a promise you not only need in your life, you need the hope that promise gives. It’s like every promise in scripture; it’s connected to Christ! Don’t ever forget that!
Message 11 in the Series Successful, In Whose Eyes?
Airing Week of 12/9/2019
Joshua 18: 1-3
This Week – The universal sin in the minds of many is procrastination. We put off doing the necessary in relationships, in finances, in physical labor, and in the spiritual. Where have you procrastinated in just the last week or month? Seven tribes in the book of Joshua had procrastinated in the possessing of the land they had conquered. Joshua asked the question, “How long are you going to take to do what God has asked you to do?” Anyone relate to that? That’s what we study all this week on CrossHope!
Monday (10/9) – We begin with a humorous story about a young man procrastinating in a farming situation. It’s funny to everyone but one person. Listen to the program to find out who that is. It’s our introduction to the text from Joshua about the subject of procrastination. How has your life been affected by the procrastination of others, as well as your own?
Tuesday (10/10) – We share the top 5 things people procrastinate in according to one newspaper. We mention the procrastination of many fathers with the “tomorrow” syndrome. You and I both know the drill. We then share a powerful true story about procrastination in regards to the issue of baptism. It just may bring a tear to your eye and tug at your heart! It’s that powerful!
Wednesday (10/11) – Some people procrastinate out of fear of failure, out of the fear of success, or just simply out of laziness! Why do you and I procrastinate? Perhaps you know the reason for you. We can joke about procrastination, but there are people in your life have been impacted by your procrastination. You can recall how your life has been negatively impacted by the procrastination of a parent, spouse, or child!
Thursday (10/12) – We share a real life example that you perhaps have witnessed in your life time. Picture an elderly man or woman on their “death bed” with the family gathered around him or her. A minister or priest stands nearby. People are praying, hoping for the person to perhaps repent and turn to the Lord before they die. Sometimes they do; sometimes they don’t. Many times a deathbed conversion is really a deathbed confession.
Friday (10/13) – We will share something about procrastination that I believe you have never heard! It’s a quote from a rap singer named Trip Lee. It’s actually one of the most profound statements about procrastination in your life and mine. It cuts to the chase and gets to the heart of procrastination in your life and mine. It may just prompt you to do something today or this week that you have been putting off for a long time.
Message 10 in the Series Successful, In Whose Eyes?
Airing Week of 12/2/2019
Joshua 14: 6-14
This Week – When the Lord looks at our “history” and current life, what does He see? Hopefully, one word hopefully would be the word, “faithful”. All this week on CrossHope, we study a man named Caleb who was described as faithful for 45 years, waiting on a promise of God made to him. The last book of the Bible, Revelation, written by the Apostle John says, “Be faithful, even unto death!”
Monday (10/2) – We begin with a story about the difference between “involvement” and “commitment”. We can be involved with an organization or cause; but truth be known, we’re really not committed. We introduce a man named Caleb whose life from age 40 to 85 is described as being faithful. What about us? What’s your level of commitment to the Lord God Almighty?
Tuesday (10/3) – We read Caleb’s story where he appeals to Joshua for the fulfillment of a promise made to him 45 years earlier! He was claiming land that was committed to him when he was 40 years old. That’s a long time to wait on a promise to be fulfilled. Yet, the emphasis was on Caleb’s faithfulness to the Lord. What does that say to you and me?
Wednesday (10/4) – We are told that Caleb followed the Lord “wholeheartedly”. What do you do wholeheartedly? You may have a hobby, sport, or skill that you utilize wholeheartedly. But what about our relationship with the God who made us, redeemed us, and sustains us? Would the real description be “half-hearted” or even less?
Thursday (10/5) – Caleb said that he believed God kept him alive for 45 years. Have you ever wondered if God has kept you alive for a specific reason? What would that reason be? We talk about the host for Good Morning America, Robin Roberts being made to look like an 85 year old woman by Hollywood make-up artists. Can you picture yourself as an 85 year old man or woman? Can you picture your faithfulness, or something less?
Friday (10/6) – I often quote a minister (even in 2019) that I haven’t seen since the early 80’s! And yet I appreciate his writing so much. I quote him today talking about what someone said to him at his ordination into the ministry. What his mentor and friend said to him, speaks to both us today in December of 2019. What’s it about? One word: faithfulness!
Compassion and Capacity
Special Message 19, Airing Week of 11/25/2019
This Week – Perhaps you have felt compassion from someone who cared about your situation in life. But truth be known, they didn’t have the capacity to do anything about your problem. Likewise, we’ve all known people who have had little or no compassion, but did have the capacity to help. The Lord God Almighty has both in your life and mine! We pull away from the Joshua series for Thanksgiving week to look at what is called, “the feeding of 4,000” in Matthew.
Monday (11/25) – God is a God of compassion, but also a God of provision and capacity. It’s demonstrated by the miracle of Jesus in Matthew in feeding a crowd of over 4,000 people. We share the story of a woman who not only lost her husband; she was stressed greatly in providing for her family without him. She acknowledges the power of God in her life to provide what she needs. Do you?
Tuesday (11/26) – We read the text from Matthew 15 the account of Jesus meeting the needs of people who had not eaten for 3 days! Jesus feeds them miraculously. Many have trouble believing this miracle. Many believe that God can do nothing about their needs in 2019! What do you believe about that? We talk about the people that look to you to meet needs!
Wednesday (11/27) – We talk about people “flocking around” Jesus. How do you relate to your “flock”. If you are a parent, a neighbor, a coworker, you have people flocking around you. How do you relate to them? Do you look at them as a nuisance? Many people do! Or do you have compassion for them? Did it ever occur to you that God may bring people into your life for a reason?
Thursday (11/28) – One of the titles for God in the Old Testament is a Hebrew term that means, “God is my provider.” Do we actually believe that? On this Thanksgiving Day, it may be a good idea to thank the Lord for that fact. We talk about praying before a meal. Many people do, most do not! How about today?
Friday (11/29) – We close with the story of a woman with 50 years of regret about an earthly father who didn’t provide what she needed the most from a father. Maybe you can relate? If this miracle of Jesus from Matthew 15 teaches us anything it says that God is both a God of compassion and provision. He is a God who has the capacity for both! Do you know Him?
Message 9 in the Series, Airing Week of 11/18/2019
This Week – No one likes to be the victim of deception. And yet we all have been the victim of someone else’s scam or deception. It may have involved money, romance, or business; but the bottom line was a lie. We study the story of the Israelites being deceived by group of people known as the Gibeonites in the book of Joshua. It’s a plot right out of a movie; yet there are lessons for us all in 2019!
Monday (11/18) – We begin with a simple story of deception in a family among children. The writer of this story finds out that a cousin deceived him many years earlier in regards to a “dead fish”! We’ve all been deceived in more serious ways in life. Satan is behind ultimately all deception; Jesus called him the “father of all lies.” God’s people were deceived in a major way in Joshua 9. We find out how and why!
Tuesday (11/19) – We read the text of the ruse perpetrated on the Israelites. It was actually a creative scheme by a group of people known as the Gibeonites. They deceived Joshua and the people of God into believing that they were from a “far country”, when they were actually from a town 6 miles northwest of Jerusalem! God had forbidden the Israelites from making a treaty from any people in the land of Canaan or the Promised Land.
Wednesday (11/20) – The Gibeonites used flattery to deceive the Israelites. Has anyone used flattery to attempt deception with you? As the father of all lies, Satan entices us to believe falsehood rather than the truth of God’s word. We share the story of my being “taken” by a con-artist in my high school job. It was a great lesson for me the rest of my life!
Thursday (11/21) – The most important verse is verse 14 that says the Israelites didn’t seek the Lord’s guidance or counsel in making a decision. We share a thought about this process that I have never, never shared before in any message! You really need to hear this! We also share a bold quote about being willing to say “no” until you seek the Lord in the matter!
Friday (11/22) – We share how that the Lord can even work in our failures, not just our successes! God can not only work in our mistakes, He can overrule anything He chooses in our lives. We close with a powerful story that we’ve used before on CrossHope about a woman who stayed married to a man who went to prison for decades. Her story will not only speak to you, but perhaps speak to God working in the mistakes of your life and mine.
Guilt and Fear
Special Message 18, Airing Week of 11/11/2019
This Week – Guilt and fear usually travel together in our lives. Show me a guilty man or woman, and I can probably can show you a fearful man or woman. Show me a fearful person; you probably are looking at a “guilty” person. The writer of Psalm 102 is David. He’s an afflicted man! He’s afflicted with both guilt and fear. On this Veteran’s Day week, we share a message given on a Veteran’s Day weekend.
Monday (11/11) – We introduce this text with a story told by the brother of Gary Sinise, Hollywood actor and the one who portrayed “Lt. Dan” in the movie Forest Gump. Coincidentally, this is an appropriate story for Veteran’s Day, 2019. Psalm 102 speaks to the guilt in King David’s life for the sin of adultery and murder, but also to his fear! It will speak to you and me!
Tuesday (11/12) – There is power of the mind in affecting us physically! So it is with guilt. What has guilt done in your life physiologically? David describes the power of guilt and fear in our physical bodies. And he didn’t know Christ and the cross. You and I do. Listen to his description of what guilt and fear did to him.
Wednesday (11/13) – Guilt has more to do with your health than you may know. He describes being in a “fog”. Sound familiar? When he says “his bones burn like glowing embers”, he is describing arthritis or inflammation perhaps? When he said his heart is blighted, could he be experience what we call rapid heartbeat etc.? What he referred to in “agricultural terms” just might have significance to a cardiologist!
Thursday (11/14) – When David said he was eating ashes, he was! We explain that in terms of what David would have done in his repentance. When he talks about his heart “withering like grass”, we translate that into the physical power of guilt in our lives. Guilt and fear have power in your life and mine! They have more power than we know!
Friday (11/15) – Brennan Manning was a former Catholic priest who counseled Christian singer, Rich Mullins. While he was a tremendous help to Rich; he will be a tremendous help to you and me with our guilt and fear. He says things about guilt that I have never heard anyone say, ever! We close with the details of the bombing of the city of Stuttgart, Germany during World War II. It will speak to the power of the cross of Christ in your life and mine.
Renewing the Covenant
Message 8 in the Series, Airing Week of 11/4/2019
Joshua 8: 30-35
This Week – I’ve never wept at any wedding I’ve attended or officiated. But I have choked up with emotion at a “wedding vow renewal” more than once. Why? There is something moving about people renewing their marriage covenant after years of marriage. This week on CrossHope we look at the passage in Joshua where the people of God renew their covenant with the Lord God almighty!
Monday (11/4) – The Israelites were victorious over the city of Jericho. Their second battle was at a place called Ai. They lost the battle, soldiers were killed, and they ran away from the fight in fear! The Lord reveals to Joshua that a man named Achan had stolen things that were forbidden to be had. The whole nation suffered from one man’s disobedience! That’s not fair, right?
Tuesday (11/5) – Perhaps you and I need to renew our covenant or commitment to the Lord today! The people of God did not recommit to morality, or being nice, or even being more religious. They committed to the Word of God! That’s it? That’s it; but it’s so powerful! What would happen if you recommitted your life to reading and following the Word of God! Our lives would be impacted in a most powerful way!
Wednesday (11/6) – Author Sam Storms from Oklahoma City says that people do four things with the Word of God. Some people trivialize the Word of God. Some people trifle with the Word of God. Some people tamper with the Word of God. Lastly, some people tremble at the Word of God. We define each term and then ask the question, “Which one describes us?”
Thursday (11/7) – You and I have got to come to a decision about what the Bible or Word of God really is in our lives. We don’t “break” the word of God or break the laws of God, they actually “break” us! We explain the scripture that says God’s word is a “light and lamp” to our lives. That means we see everything in life through the lens of the word of God!
Friday (11/8) – We close with a powerful story by a doctor who is confined to a wheelchair. Her confinement to a wheelchair impacts how she treats patients. Your relationships in life will be impacted by the word of God and your covenant to Him. Your family, your marriage, your career, your health everything is seen through the light of God’s covenant with you! Start reading the word and you’ll discover that!
The God of Promises
Message 7 in the Series, Airing Week of 10/28/2019
This Week – Promises are important in our lives, more than we know. We’ve all been on the receiving end of a “kept” promise; we’ve been on the receiving end of a “broken” promise. We’ve been on the other end of those equations with people close to us. This week we continue the story of Rahab in the book of Joshua. She was promised protection when her city of Jericho was destroyed by the Israelites. That promise was fulfilled by Joshua and people of God!
Monday (10/28) – We begin with a story by Dr. John Buchanan who tells of the “unlikely” people that would show up in his church in downtown Chicago, years ago. That was and is the nature of being in a downtown location in a major city. We reintroduce the woman Rahab who was an unlikely follower of the living God. She was given a promise; it was fulfilled in chapter six this week on CrossHope.
Tuesday (10/29) – After the walls “came tumbling down” at the city of Jericho by the hand of God, Joshua tells his soldiers to bring out the family of Rahab (the prostitute from chapter 2) safe and sound. She had hidden two spies on the roof of her house. She could have betrayed them and turned them in, but she didn’t because of her faith in the living God! They promised her protection; in chapter 6 the promise is fulfilled!
Wednesday (10/30) – We share the story of a librarian from Martinsburg, West Virginia. After 25 years of marriage, she was homeless owning a truck, some clothing, and $56.00. She lived in an abandoned house for four years, paying $50.00 per month rent. Her story of recovery from that and her “ministry” to homeless people is tied in to the story of Rahab!
Thursday (10/31) – We tell the rest of the story of Rahab today. She was told by the spies that if she put out of her window a scarlet cord or rope, she and her family would be spared by the 40,000 Israeli soldiers that invaded her city. Talk about a promise that might be hard to believe! She believed it and she claimed it! What promises of God do you believe today?
Friday (11/1) – We close with another story of Dr. John Buchanan telling of a man named Glen in a Hospice Care facility in Munster, Indiana. What encouraged this man near death, was hearing about the promises of God from John’s messages. (He had 100 of his messages on cassette tape!) Listening to John lifted his spirit and encouraged him in a dying world. What could the promises of God do in your life? More important than the promises is the One who made them!
Taking Down Strongholds
Message 6 in the Series, Airing Week of 10/21/2019
This Week – It’s the most famous of all the stories out of the book of Joshua. Even people who have little or no familiarity with the Bible may know something about “the walls of Jericho come tumbling down”. Are there any “strongholds” in your life that need to come down in the name of Christ? Let’s about that this week on CrossHope!
Monday (10/21) – When the people of Israel crossed the Jordan River (from east to west), they encountered what has been termed a “fortress or garrison city” known as Jericho. It was built for combat, perhaps double walled. It was designed to repel attacks from invaders. This is the city of scripture and song that was taken down by the power of God!
Tuesday (10/22) – We do initially recognize some strongholds in your life and mine. There is the stronghold of unconfessed sin. Is that in your life today in 2019? Unconfessed sin becomes a stronghold if we don’t deal with it. We talk about the stronghold of a bitter spirit. Bitterness rarely starts out as sin; it always ends up that way! We talk about the stronghold of pride in your life and mine! We talk about the angelic being who confronts Joshua.
Wednesday (10/23) – We share a story that I hesitated to use! But I did. It’s a story about a minister’s criticism of a former congregation. You may cringe a little hearing it a first; you may thank God for what he says at the end of it!This is an anonymous story that actually is one of the most powerful I have ever used! Please listen today!
Thursday (10/24) – Rosalind Moss was a chaplain at a women’s prison in Lancaster, California in the 1980’s. She tells of a confrontation with a crusty sergeant guard at the prison. The sergeant suffered from the stronghold of pride in his life. Many people do! Many church people do! Do you need to “march around the city of pride” in your life and take it down in the name of Christ?
Friday (10/25) – We close with the story of Barry Black, a man who grew up in the inner city of Baltimore, Maryland. His family owned a record player and only one record! You read that correctly. His story of God working in his life demonstrates the power that can “take down a stronghold” in your life and mine. God loves to demonstrate His strength in our weakness!
The Price of Disobedience
Message 5 in the Series, Airing Week of 10/14/2019
Joshua 5:6 and Psalm 106:32-39
This Week – Have you ever used the phrase, “He or she paid a big price for that choice or decision”? We know what that means. A big price is often paid by people for their choices in life. God’s people, the Israelites paid a big price for their disobedience to the Lord God Almighty! They made willful decisions not to follow the Lord’s commands. Have you?
Monday (10/14) – Disobedience to the Lord can be costly. The book of Joshua tells us that Israel had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years because of their not obeying the Lord! That’s an incredible statement from just one verse, Joshua 5:6. It is, but true. What has disobedience to the Lord cost you or me? More than we may realize. We talk about that all this week on CrossHope.
Tuesday (10/15) – We read a companion passage in the book of Psalms that illuminates exactly what the people of God had done to disobey the Lord’s will for their nation. It’s not a pretty picture. In fact, it’s an unbelievable passage that describes the vile behavior of His people. You may need to be aware of the nature of this passage if children are present!
Wednesday (10/16) – We explain in depth the “horror” of this passage in Psalms. God’s people “rebelled” against the Spirit of God. They rebelled against His very essence. Today in 2019 we would say, “They rebelled against the Holy Spirit of God”. We tell the story of a man from Texas who perhaps did that very thing, by his own admission. It’s a powerful story that perhaps you can relate to!
Thursday (10/17) – This country singer we discuss said he came to the place where he realized that he either had to change or die! That is a desperate situation, and yet someone reading this may relate! The Israelites were actually sacrificing their children to demons. We share 7 or 8 things that Dr. Charles Stanley says we experience when we rebel against the Lord.
Friday (10/18) – This story by John Fountain, a former professor of journalism brought tears to the eyes of people who heard this story. It may just provoke a reaction like that in your heart. John’s story illustrates what the disobedience of a father can do to the heart of his son. What has your disobedience done in the lives of the people you lead and love?
Stones of Memory
Message 4 in the Series, Airing Week of 10/7/2019
Joshua 4:1-9, 24
This Week – Do you have something in your life that is a reminder of a place, a person, or an event? Sure, we all do! This week’s message is about what the book of Joshua refers to as “stones of memory”. They were 12 stones that were taken out of the Jordan River to remind the Israelites that God had miraculously made it possible for the whole nation to cross the river! What reminds you of something the Lord has done in your life?
Monday (10/7) – We begin with a humorous story told by Alistair Begg of Cleveland about a golfer with great eyesight, but a lousy memory. Forgetfulness causes a great deal of grief in our lives and the lives of those around us. To forget spiritually is not just to “cease to remember”; it means to “cease to care”! Does that resonate with you and me? I believe it does with all of us!
Tuesday (10/8) – We have been “called” by God to remember. In both the Old and New Testaments, we are admonished to remember what God has done, what He has said, and what He has prompted us to do. That’s why he had the people erect a memorial to the crossing of the river. It was intended to prompt even children to ask, “What do these stones mean?” What spiritual questions has a child asked you?
Wednesday (10/9) – We have memorials in our lives, even in what we call “church”. We journal, we collect photos, and we have souvenirs as tokens of memory of a trip or vacation. You do know that communion and baptism are memorials with symbolic meaning in our lives, don’t you? Edith Shaffer says that as adults and parents, we provide a “museum of memories” in our homes! What kind of museum have you helped to create?
Thursday (10/10) – Are you prepared to give spiritual answers to spiritual questions? Many Christian adults would tell a child to ask someone else! We tell an interesting story about a 10,000 meter race where 123 out of 128 runners ran the wrong way, and laughed at those who went the right way! What a parable for spiritual life and choices in 2019.
Friday (10/11) – The last verse of this text says this: “God did this so that all people might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and that you might always fear the Lord your God!” God doesn’t want us to cringe like a frightened child, but to have respect and reverence for almighty God! He’s God and we’re not! Forgetting God is one of the most devastating things we do spiritually! You know that, don’t you?
Message 3 in the Series, Airing Week of 9/30/2019
This Week – Most people have an “uncrossable” river in their lives. It’s something from our past that seemingly cannot be dealt with, moved, or transversed. It could be a past failure or sin. It could be an embarrassing situation never faced. It could be the inability to change. Perhaps you know what that is in your life. This week we study the river Jordan and the crossing of 500,000 to 1,000,000 people of Israel. It’s a remarkable story and a lesson for your life and mine!
Monday (9/30) – We begin with 3 examples of problems that are seemingly unsolvable. What is in your life right now that is unsolvable or a river that can’t be crossed? You know what it is! The Lord is in the business with helping people to cross uncrossable rivers! We know it because of the Jordan River crossed by the people of God after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. It’s really a great message for your life and mine!
Tuesday (10/1) – After reviewing the first two messages from this series in the book of Joshua, we share the text for this week. The people are told to “consecrate themselves” for the next event in their journey. We’ll talk about this word tomorrow in detail. They’re told to follow the Ark of the Covenant across the river. They weren’t told to “worship” it; they were told to “follow” it. We all follow something in life in 2019. What is it for you?
Wednesday (10/2) – “Consecrate or sanctify” yourselves was the command of Joshua to the people. You may be surprised about what we suggest to you to follow this command. We talk about a group of drug addicts in a worship service who were told to “lay down their drugs” at the altar. Many of them did exactly that! What do you and I need to “lay at the altar” before the Lord today in 2019? You may already know!
Thursday (10/3) – The Lord tells Joshua that HE will exalt him in the eyes of the people. We all know self-appointed and self-exalted people in our lives. The greatest leadership quality for Joshua was this: God was with him! We then talk about God driving out the nations of the Land so that Israel could take the possession of the region. We actually share some graphic things about this activity, which parents may need to note!
Friday (10/4) – We close with a powerful illustration from World War 2 about a group of pilots called the “Pathfinders”. We talk about the Lord being the “pathfinder” in your life and mine. He will direct the man or woman who seeks His guidance. He will deliver people from that which need to be removed from your life and mine! What does He need to do in your life in 2019? What does He want you to decide to do in order cooperate with that process?
A Woman with a Past and a Promise
Message 2 in the Series, Airing Week of 9/23/2019
This Week – Have you ever known anyone with a “past”? We all know what that means, but the surprise comes when we realize we all come to the Lord with a past. You do and so do I! This week we study a woman named Rahab. I doubt seriously that you have ever met a woman with that name. She was a prostitute, a liar, and perhaps a con artist. She went terribly wrong in life; she also believed in the One God of heaven and earth! What a lesson for us all!
Monday (9/23) – You may have though that all of the people of the Bible were people who walked around with folded hands and wearing robes. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Most people in the Bible were broken people, lives who were made new by the power of God! We introduce a woman named Rahab in this second message from the book of Joshua. Her life just may inspire you!
Tuesday (9/24) – Rahab runs a “business” in the city of Jericho. She hides and protects two Israeli spies up on her roof. The local authorities were looking for them, probably to kill them! She acknowledges to the spies that she knows that “their God IS the God of heaven above and the earth below!” That was no small deal, to acknowledge that the God of Israel is the one and true God! Do we believe that?
Wednesday (9/25) – We quote John MacArthur who described Rahab with a wicked past and history. And yet her present and future life was dramatically impacted by the One she believed in! Tell me whom you truly believe in and I think I can tell something of who you are! MacArthur says that God could see through the “debris” of her life and could see her faith in the living God! He can do the same with us.
Thursday (9/26) – We share a powerful story from the life of C.S. Lewis, who lied to a group of hunters chasing a fox. God is a God of forgiveness, grace, and mercy, even when you and I are not! The spies told Rahab to hang a scarlet cord from the window when the city was attacked by the Israelites. Her life and the lives of her family members would be speared because of her help. The cord is a “pre-type” for the blood of Christ!
Friday (9/27) – We talk about a man who described his life as a man who was “born with a rusty spoon in his mouth”. That play on a familiar phrase may describe your life! That may capture what’s happened or is happening in your life now. And yet the God you and I believe in can change what’s going on in our lives now, because of His grace, mercy, and forgiveness! The God who forgave Rahab can forgive you and me through what Christ did on the cross. Believe that today!
Successful, In Whose Eyes?
Message 1 in the Series, Airing Week of 9/16/2019
This Week – We begin a new series on CrossHope from the book of Joshua. It is the sixth book of the Old Testament, right after the five books of the “Law”, Genesis through Deuteronomy. Joshua covers about 25 years of Israel’s history under Joshua, Moses’ assistant and successor. It is relevant to our lives today in the way it speaks of God’s presence and faithfulness to His people. But it speaks of our need to be rightly related to Him and to His word!
Monday (9/16) – We begin by talking about an out of print magazine called, “Success Unlimited”. I was a faithful reader of the publication for years until I realized in moment that success is having the presence of the Lord in one’s life. Any success in our lives must be determined by the one whose eyes are always watching us: The Lord God almighty! Are you successful in His eye?
Tuesday (9/17) – We read the first nine verses of the book of Joshua. The definition of success is not only different than ours in 2019; the One who observes our “success” is also different than most people have today. Moses is dead; he is referred to as “God’s servant”. That’s no small thing. The highest office in the kingdom of God (and the church) is servant! What a concept!