7 Weeks – 4/7/2014 to 5/23/2014

Overview – One of my college courses spent an entire semester (four hours a week) just studying the final week in the earthly life of Christ.  Starting with what is called the “Triumphal Entry” of Christ into the city of Jerusalem, and ending with the resurrection of Christ from the dead, it was a detailed study.

We are sharing seven messages taken from those events. Knowing what Christ said and did during those days can have an impact on your life and mine in 2014.  Everything that is recorded in the Gospels is for our benefit, that we might know that Jesus is truly who He claimed to be.  He was not a hero, a philosopher, a martyr, or the champion of a cause.  He claimed to be God!  In one of these messages, He said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.   No one comes to the Father, except through me.”

That’s the One we look at over this 7-week series.  It can change your life because of Him!  God bless you as you listen to these messages. 



Week 7 – 05/19/2014

The First Day

This week is the last message from the final week of Christ’s earthly life.  We focus on the most important event of history, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.   As one professor has noted, “Christianity really doesn’t make sense without the resurrection of Christ from the dead”.  He’s right.  More than that, Christianity is a hoax without the bodily resurrection of Jesus.  Our text is Matthew 27:62 through 28:10.


Monday – Part One – We begin with a quote from a physics professor who wrote about the beginning of the universe, and how it started with what is referred to as the “big bang”.  His book ends with a most depressing thought, “The more the universe seems comprehendible, the more it also seems pointless!”  What is really pointless is to go through life and face death, not knowing the One who said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”  Now that is pointless!


Tuesday – Part Two – Christianity doesn’t stand or fall on whether or not Jesus walked on water.  It doesn’t stand or fall on whether or not He fed the 5,000 with a few loaves and fishes.  It doesn’t stand or fall on whether or not He healed the blind and the lame.  Christianity stands or falls on one event and one event only: the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  Because one grave is empty, we have hope!


Wednesday – Part three – Before we can really appreciate Easter, we need to have an appreciation for what happened on Good Friday.  We need to understand that Jesus didn’t die as a martyr.  He didn’t die for a philosophy.  He didn’t die for a good cause.  He died for your sins and mine.  Grasping that changes how you look at Easter!  It really does.  Do you and I get that?


Thursday – Part Four – We talk about verse 9 of chapter 28.  I have never in my life heard anyone talk about that verse that says, “Suddenly, Jesus met them.”  At the risk of sounding melodramatic, we’re all going to have the moment when suddenly, Jesus will meet us.  The Apostle Paul says that to be absent from this body (death), is to be present with the Lord.  He then says we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  That’s a meeting that is already on the schedule for your life and mine!


Friday – Part Five – I close with a story I’ve never shared before anywhere.  It’s from a Presbyterian minister in Texas who tells of the deaths of two of her aunts.  I could hardly tell this story in the first two services that morning, without getting choked up.  When you hear it, you’ll understand why.   You will also realize the importance of Christ’s resurrection to your resurrection.



Week 6 – 05/12/2014

Forgetting to Remember?

Some refer to it as communion, others call it the Lord’s Supper, and still others call it the Eucharist. The night before Jesus died on the cross, He met with His disciples to observe the Passover meal, traditionally done with families. Jesus took bread and a cup of wine, passed it to his disciples and said, “This is my body and blood; every time you partake of these from this day forward you proclaim my death until I come again.”  It’s a memorial to the Lord that we share in 2,000 years after the fact.  We are forgetful people who need to be reminded to remember!


Monday – Part One – We begin with a quote from a Dr. Richard Smith, a professor of toxicology and pharmacology who wrote a book about communion, “Our Meal with the Master”. He speaks of the cleansing power of the blood in our bodies.  The blood not only brings nourishment to our cells, it provides for the cleansing of impurities in our bodies.  He makes spiritual application of the “cleansing power of the blood of Christ” in our lives.”  Hebrews 9:22 says, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.”


Tuesday – Part Two – We begin today’s program with one simple verse from I John 1:7 that says, “The blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin!”  The biblical word for forgetting can mean two things: to cease to remember and to cease to care.  We live in a culture that not only has ceased to remember what Christ has done for us, people have ceased to care. We read the text for the message: I Corinthians 11:23-29.


Wednesday – Part three – We share three words that capture the essence of what communion is all about.  We share the words deliverance, forgiveness, and life.  We don’t use the word “deliverance” much in our culture today.  But most of us need to be delivered from something!  Deliverance presupposes bondage, slavery, and entrapment.  Anything in your life ever held you in bondage? Then you need deliverance, and so do I!


Thursday – Part Four – We conclude a story from yesterday where a man describes his childhood, “I was raised in hell, chaos felt normal, it felt like home.”  Forgiveness is the greatest need in your life and mine.  God doesn’t forgive us because we are ‘good” people, He forgives us because of what Christ accomplished on the cross.  We don’t bring our resume to the communion service; we put ourselves spiritually at the foot of the cross, and ask for His forgiveness!


Friday – Part Five – The third word that captures the essence of communion: life.  There is a life giving power to the communion service that we may not appreciate or even understand.  We conclude with the story of a successful businessman (and personal friend), facing stage four cancer who discovered the life that ultimately comes from Christ alone.  He found deliverance, forgiveness, and life from the source of life itself.



Week 5 – 05/05/2014

A Real Place?

Where would go to for information about heaven?  Some would seek out books about heaven, others would perhaps check out a movie that tells someone’s story regarding heaven.  If Jesus is who He claimed to be, “the way, the truth, and the life”, doesn’t’ it make sense that He has the final word on heaven.  This week we study John 14:1-6 which tells us more about heaven than any other passage of scripture.


Monday – Part One – Some people actually think that believing in heaven is all you need to get there.  Does believing in the moon get a person to the moon?  Hardly.  According to Jesus, He is the One that is our “ticket” to heaven.  If He is the way, the truth, and the life” as He said in our text, we need Him for everything!


Tuesday – Part Two – We quote a person who says his opinion of heaven is this: Heaven is the state of Michigan! Many people have created their own concept of what heaven is or is not.  Some people believe that heaven or hell is what we create on this earth.  If I do that, that means I am the expert on the subject.  Really?  Let’s look to what Jesus says about heaven.


Wednesday – Part Three – Jesus begins this passage by saying, “Let not your hearts be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me.  The ultimate answer to angst or anxiety is to trust in Jesus!  That’s incredible!  It really is, especially if it’s true.  Jesus says that He is going to prepare a “place” for us.  The word in the Greek is topos; we get the word topographical from it.  Heaven is a place!


Thursday – Part Four – What does it mean, that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life?  Everything!  It really does.  It’s not just a claim to deity; it’s a claim that He is the source of everything in life, death, and eternity.  It’s a statement that is ludicrous if not true; life changing if it is!


Friday – Part Five – We close with a statement of a person who believes heaven and hell are what we make of it on this earth.  He tells of his 8 year old daughter asking him if he believed in heaven.   His answer may surprise you.  How would you answer that question?



Week 4 – 04/28/2014

Extravagant Love

The dictionary defines “extravagant” is this way: “going beyond what is deserved or justifiable; excessively generous, much more than necessary”.  This week in message four from our current series, we read of a woman who was extravagant in what she did for Jesus on the Tuesday before His crucifixion on Friday.  Some criticized her for her extravagance; Jesus defends her.  You and I have been recipients of the extravagance of God’s love as manifested by the cross!


Monday – Part One – We read from Matthew 26 where an unnamed woman pours an alabaster jar of expensive perfume over the head of Jesus. (Mark’s gospel says the jar would have cost a year’s wages!)  The disciples are indignant; what a waste of money!  The jar could have been sold with the proceeds going to the poor.  What Jesus says in response to their criticism may surprise you!


Tuesday – Part Two – Jesus is in the home of a man identified as “Simon the Leper”.  Bible scholars believe he was someone who had been healed of leprosy, yet still lived with the label.  It’s in this man’s home that this woman pours expensive perfume on the head of Jesus. The gospel of John tells us that the disciple who complained about the extravagance was Judas, the one who would betray Christ. John also tells us that as treasurer of the disciples, he was embezzling their funds.  Interesting, right?


Wednesday – Part Three – Jesus response to the criticism of the woman pouring perfume on his head was to say that what she done was prepare Him for burial.  Jesus probably shocked his hearers when he said, “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me!”  We always give to that which we love and value.  We will even give extravagantly to that we love extravagantly.


Thursday – Part Four – Jesus says that what this woman did for Him will be spoken about every time this Gospel is shared, in memory of her!  What a compliment! What will be said of us after we’re gone?  There are things that we do that have generational implications on future lives.  Think how you have been impacted by what a parent, a grandparent, or even a great grandparent did, generations ago!


Friday – Part Five – I close with a letter received from a CrossHope listener, and it is with permission that I share her story.  It’s a touching story of people sharing “extravagant love” with a dying family member who felt that he didn’t deserve such love.  We all are undeserving of the grace and mercy of the God who loves us more than we love ourselves.  We did nothing to deserve forgiveness, mercy, and grace.  We simply receive it from the hand of God through His Son, Jesus Christ!



Week 3 – 04/21/2014

The Great Pretender

This week the third message in the series about the last week in the earthly life of Christ. Jesus uses a parable (an earthly story with a heavenly meaning) to convey a great truth about our lives.  He tells the story of a father with two sons.  The father asks both sons to work in his vineyard.  The one son says he will not, but later repents and does go to work for his father.  The other son says that he definitely will work in the vineyard, but never really does.  What Jesus then says in this passage from Matthew 21 may surprise you.  It certainly surprised His listeners when it was spoken.


Monday – Part One – We begin with a recap of last week’s message and the comments that message produced.  People asked for more clarification of the idea that God deals with “spiritual lameness” in our lives. Spiritual lameness has to do with being immobilized by the past or the future, unable to move forward spiritually and emotionally. Maybe you have been unable to get past something that has happened in your life and now experience “lameness”.  God deals with that issue in your life and mine!


Tuesday – Part Two – National Public Radio named the song, “The Great Pretender” as one of the top 100 songs of the 20th Century. Maybe you’re familiar with the lyrics. It tells the story of a man who has gone all his life pretending that all is well, when in fact it wasn’t.  Spiritually, people can pretend to be righteous or spiritual when in fact we are anything but!  We read the text of this parable in Matthew 21:28-32.


Wednesday – Part Three – You will never change your life until you change your mind.  Repentance doesn’t mean “I’m sorry”; repentance means changing you mind first, then changing behavior follows suit.  Repentance involves more than feeling bad or guilty, it means changing what is going on in our lives.  Any changes needed in your life?


Thursday – Part Four – Spiritual stubbornness may not be a big deal in your life or mine, but it matters to the Lord.  We quote a verse from the Old Testament that says “stubbornness is as the sin of witchcraft” with the Lord.  We complement people because of their stubbornness in life; yet in spiritual matters it is deadly!


Friday – Part Five – We close with a true story of a man from our congregation who was estranged from his father for three years. On the Sunday he decided to reconnect with his father, he came home to find a message on his phone from his father, asking him to call! Everything in our relationship with the Lord has to do with coming home to the Father through the Son!



Week 2 – 04/14/2014

Holy Makeover!

This week is special in that Friday’s broadcast is the 1,000th program of “CrossHope” on Sirius/XM channel 131, the Family Talk Channel.  The message is based on an incident in the final week of Christ’s life on this earth where He cleansed the temple in Matthew 21.  People had turned some of the temple courtyard areas into a commercial enterprise, selling animals to be used in sacrifices and exchanging monies for such use.  The Apostle Paul said that our bodies are the “temple of the Holy Spirit”.  Would the Lord likewise want to cleanse the temple that is you or me?  Let’s talk about that all this week.


Monday – Part One – The word “makeover” is an overused term in our culture today.  And yet the same Lord who cleansed the earthly temple in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago wants to cleanse us of that which corrupts, mars, or makes us spiritually unclean.  He alone has the power to do that! Why not let Him do it!


Tuesday – Part Two – The first thing the Lord did in this incident was to drive out the merchants and moneychangers out of the temple area.  He said that they had turned the temple from a house of prayer into a den of thieves!  What have you turned your temple (your body) into by what you do, what you watch, and where you go?


Wednesday – Part three – By taking authority over the temple area, Jesus was making an indirect claim to deity.  Only God could make such a statement and drive out people from the temple area.  The phrase “drove out” actually means to eject. What would the Lord want to eject out of your life and mine? When the Lord makes changes in your life, it impacts the people around you!


Thursday – Part Four – After Jesus cleansed the temple area, Matthew says that the “blind and the lame were still there and Jesus healed them.”  Blindness and lameness were the two most common physical handicaps of the day.  He wants to heal us of spiritual blindness and spiritual lameness.  Blindness has to do with not seeing the sin in our own lives; lameness has to do with spiritual paralysis.   We talk about both!


Friday – Part Five – Today on the 1,000th broadcast of “CrossHope”, we talk about Matthew’s comments about children praising Jesus in the temple area.  When Jesus is challenged about this, He quotes Psalm 8 that says that God has “ordained praise from the lips of children and infants”.  Sometimes, God will use the children in your life to convict, to encourage, and to bless our lives with their words.  He really will, just watch!



Week 1 – 04/07/14

Part of the Crowd?

We begin a seven-week series about the last week of Christ on this earth.  We look at those events that are mentioned in the Gospels.  This week we look at what’s commonly referred to as the Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem.  The irony of ironies is this: people who were shouting, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” on that Sunday were shouting something quite different on the following Friday.  Our text is Matthew 21: 1-11.


Monday – Part One – Just because you’re in a crowd, doesn’t necessarily mean that you are for or against whatever the crowd is promoting.  On the Sunday before the death of Christ, Jesus came riding into Jerusalem on a colt.  The crowds cheered him as a King or conquering general.  Days later, on what we call “Good Friday”, the crowds were shouting, “Crucify Him!”  Crowds can be fickle, so can we.


Tuesday – Part Two – Jesus never looked for a crowd of people to follow Him.  He’s always looked for men, women, and young people to follow Him as disciples, one at a time.   We discuss how people today reject Christ as a “crowd”; they don’t want to have anything to do with Him.


Wednesday – Part Three – In our culture today we have so much data in our lives, we’re too busy to be bothered by Jesus or too busy to care.  According to one commentator, as long as we have the internet, Facebook, and Net Flicks, we really have no need for the spiritual.  We are overwhelmed with information, yet starved for spiritual wisdom.


Thursday – Part Four – What do you feel the Lord would want you to do?  Most people intuitively know the answer to that question.  Does He want you to forgive or seek forgiveness?  Does He want you to deal with something in your life that shouldn’t be there?  Just as the Lord “stirred” the city with His presence, so the Lord may stir you to act in some way.


Friday – Part Five – We close with a story of a man from Seattle who grew up in the sixties with drugs, sex, and rock and roll as the defining terms of his life.  All those things “collapsed” when the twin towers in New York City did on 9/11/2001.  Now as a believer, what mark his life are grace, mercy, forgiveness, and redemption. Are those the defining terms of your life and mine?


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