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December 25 - Christmas I’m Witcha Babe
John 1: 1-5
It could be that the best way to grasp the
incarnation of God – that decision that Jesus would be born inside the
skin of a human being – is to practice wrapping ourselves inside of
other peoples’ lives. Chaplain Jeanne Olsen knows the importance of
ministry that is all wrapped up in a care for others. She doesn’t lead
an abstract ministry, precisely because her Lord is not an abstract
- December 18 - Advent Hope
One of the most important things to figure
out in life is what we hope for. True hope is not grounded in our
circumstances. It isn’t even based on some positive expectations we
feel about the future. No, Christian hope is grounded in the
faithfulness of God, who happens to demonstrate incredible
faithfulness to us in Jesus Christ. (Part 4 of 4)
- December 11, 2005 - Advent Preparation
Sometimes engaging the simplest little
ritual, or undertaking the silliest little routine, can make our
hearts more ready for something we were not prepared to accept.
There’s no time like the weeks before Christmas to get our act
together so that we don’t just “talk a good Christian game” when it
comes to Christmas, but we actually live it! (Part 3 of 4)
- December 4, 2005 - Advent Waiting
James 5: 7-10
None of us are particularly good at waiting.
Many days we find it a waste of time. But what if the act of waiting
actually had the potential to reshape our character? What if the
excitement of the anticipation itself made us different creatures than
they would otherwise be without the wait? (Part 2 of 4)
November 27, 2005 - Advent Focus
The Season of Advent exposes the great big
gulf between the way that our lives are and the way we wish they were.
With a focused eye and heart, though, we can enter every relationship,
every moment, and every conversation saying, “This could be it. The
Lord is at hand.” (The first of a four-part series)
- November 20, 2005 - House of Bread
When we think of Bethlehem, we think of
everything from a jam-packed inn to straw in a feed trough. But the
word Bethlehem actually means “house of bread.” Meet
Mary Fuller who
makes crčches out of bread.
- November 13, 2005 - You Can’t Buy Happiness
There are all kinds of beliefs we have about
what makes for abundant living. Material wealth usually tops the list.
Joe Holt, a business consultant and teacher of ethics and faith in the
workplace, has a different idea. Listen in for fresh insights on
abundance and abundant life.
- November 6, 2005 - Saints Who Go Out in
There’s no one way to die. But to be ushered
into the kingdom with someone at your bedside playing beautiful music
is hard to beat.
Karin Gunderson is a harpist with a heavenly touch.
Her concert stage is the nearest hospice center. Explore God’s grace
in her as she helps others die well.
October 30, 2005 - A Conversation with God
1 Thessalonians 5:12-18
The prayer life of the reformer Martin
Luther did more than shape his thinking and teaching. As it turns out,
his prayer life has proven to be a highly workable model for our own
day. Church historian Bill Russell walks us through the ritual and
value in Luther’s daily prayer routine.
- October 23, 2005 - The No-Nonsense Prayer
If the Lord's Prayer feels boring when you
pray, or nothing more than a dull habit you continue out of a sense of
obligation, it’s time for a fresh look at this gift from Jesus.
Simon, founder of Bread for the World, reflects on Jesus’ prayer in
light of his own struggle to pray it meaningfully and honestly.
- October 16, 2005 - When I Don’t Feel Like
Genesis 50: 15-21
Sometimes the last thing in the world we
want to do is forgive that person who wronged us. Our feelings tell
us, "No way!" Yet there is an important aspect of faith that
encourages us to "act as if" we feel in certain way, even when the
feeling isn’t quite there. Join
Wyvetta Bullock for a look at this
gift to be given away, whether we always feel like it or not –
- October 9, 2005 - Fire of Grace
Reconciliation doesn’t happen except when
there is a large-hearted effort to repair the breach. Hear the story
of one pastor,
who went after the arsonist who burned his Lutheran church to the
ground. The meeting between the victim and the guilty one in prison,
and the relationship that ensued, is one of unforgettable love.
- October 2, 2005 - Mountain Moving Faith
1 Chronicles 22:14-17
It's not everyday that you get to meet a
little woman who is flourishing in the rough and tumble world of a
male dominated industry like mining. But along comes Sue Gundy, a
heavy equipment operator in the taconite mines of Northeastern
Minnesota, who makes plenty of time for faith and family beside her
September 25, 2005 - Blindsided by Grace
Bob Molsberry has a nightmare to tell that
turns out to be real. Hit by an errant truck while bike riding one
fine spring day, his life has never been the same since entering a
wheelchair. But don’t expect a tale of endless bitterness from this
man. Be prepared to discover extraordinary grace hidden in an ordinary
man doing his ordinary best to live with circumstances he never asked
- September 18, 2005 - Enlarging a Cramped
Music has great therapeutic value for broken
lives. It has also been known to have tremendous spiritual value for
is committed to aiding people in their recovery and healing from
devastating experiences. Through his incredible gift of music, he can
send the most broken human moments straight into the lap of God.
September 11, 2005 - 9/11 Kids – Finding New
Mark 10: 13-16
We’re well aware of the social and political
after-effects of the 9/11 tragedy. But what about the children of New
York City who live in fear from the events they encountered that day?
Pastor Ann Tiemeyer and the people of Koinonia NYC have a lot to offer
kids now forced to grow up in a world stamped with the reality of
- September 4, 2005 - The Rhythm of the Word
2 Timothy 1: 11-14
Take a run-down city neighborhood infested
with crime and drugs, and you have a recipe of disaster for young
boys. That is, UNLESS someone like
comes along. Meet this man of enormous faith who reaches inner city
Chicago youth through spell-binding poetry, creative group time, and
his own supply of God’s overflowing grace.
August 28, 2005 - A Pastor Fighting Fires
Acts 18: 1-4
Contrary to popular opinion, the Apostle
Paul didn’t just spend his time speaking holy words to holy people. He
was a tentmaker who rubbed shoulders with people who could care less
Mark Moller-Gunderson does more than occupy a pulpit on
Sunday mornings; he doubles as a fire department captain and a member
of his town’s rescue squad. Fascinating guy.
- 08/21/05 - Heroin Addicts on a Dairy
loves people -- all kinds of people. It’s a good thing he does,
because the recovering drug and alcohol addicts who reside at the farm
where he works need someone to really believe in them. Don’t miss this
story of creative grace where people get a new chance at
life tilling gardens and milking cows.
- 08/14/05 - God, We Need to Talk
Luke 13: 1-5
The next disaster to strike may be a
powerful hurricane on the Florida coast or your doctor’s sober
announcement to you of a wicked disease found in your body.
Gary Harbaugh helps us make sense of how God’s will goes to work in these
times of devastation when we’re – frankly – overwhelmed.
- 08/07/05 - A Duct Tape Bible
Sometimes we get all confused over who owns
the Bible. Is the Bible somehow “mine” because I purchased it at a
store? Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,
brings all kind of clarity to the matter as he steeps his own ministry
and leadership in a Word that possesses us.
07/31/05 - Gluing Broken Plates and Cups
Some of the most creative ministries in
America arise when city churches take stock of the neighborhoods they
exist in, and respond with ingenuity.
M. Alexandra George
leads one such effort in Minneapolis, where families and individuals
with limited opportunities make something beautiful out of broken
07/24/05 – Nutritious Writing
The right diet has all of the essential
vitamins and minerals to make for a healthy person. But what if the
mind and spirit hunger for nutrition as well?
Maxwell walks us into the world of
New York City’s homeless where some individuals have two kinds of
hunger – one satisfied with food and the other with a ballpoint pen.
- 07/17/05 – Life With a Three-Speed Bike
Luke 10: 25-37
The average American bicycle only covers 75 miles of use in its
lifetime before it collects dust and gets shipped to the scrap yard or
dump. Mike Fiasco has a winning idea for what to do with that bike of
yours that never gets used. If he would have his way, it would land in
a container and be shipped across the ocean.
07/10/05 – Beyond the Aroma of Coffee
Isaiah 65: 21-22
Most coffee drinkers don’t spend much time wondering or worrying where
their coffee comes from. All they want to know is if it’s hot enough
and free of a bitter taste. But some peasant farmer picked the beans
that make for your next cup.
Brenda Meier will give you a lot of
reason to consider who that farmer might be, and why you should care
about his circumstances.
- 07/03/05 – Bring Out the Candles
Serving in elected office presents all kinds
of demands on the life of a public servant. But when one’s concept of
service is rooted in the Biblical tradition of responsibility to our
neighbor, beautiful things happen.
a village president in suburban Chicago, discusses the privilege of
serving his community.
– Stories that
Fly Off the Page
Storytelling is an elaborate art. And when it's biblical storytelling,
it's an art form that carries powerful truths.
Dennis Dewey is a
biblical storyteller that will have you appreciating the stories of
the Old and New Testaments in some amazing ways you've never thought
– Putting Your
Ear to the Ground
Imagine a job in the middle of the woods that has you teaching city
kids about feather, fur, scales, and slime.
Susan Macdonald Bray does
just that in her work as a naturalist for a city park. Listen in on a
conversation about the preciousness of creation, and a reminding word
of our role in caring for it.
– From Orange
Jumpsuit to New Life
The day a convict gets released from prison
is hardly a blissful story of instant freedom. Countless obstacles
make the return to society a high stakes game of win or lose. Most
ex-offenders lose. Fortunately, there are some individuals and
and the ministry of Project COPE, that are turning otherwise sad
stories into invigorating tales of hope and a new life.
Blessing Upon Blessing
When we think of blessings, we usually make
note of our good fortune, or take stock of our material possessions.
But what if blessings had mostly to do with relationships?
Mary Ylvisaker Nilsen talks about 75 practical blessings that she and her
family have created to help strengthen the bonds between family and
American Christians have more to offer the
developing world than just aid and assistance. Encountering brothers
and sisters across the globe can create new friendships and new
perspective for our own lives.
Pastor Dwayne Westermann shares the
blessings gained through his numerous “insight trips” to Tanzania.
If it is “a gift to be simple,” as the old
Shaker song has it, many people have decided that that gift is simply
not for them. Attached to all sorts of wonderful possessions, they
shrug off any challenge to an existing way of life. But for
Gerry Iverson, simple living has
more to do with abundance than deprivation.
Forsaken city neighborhoods are not every
pastor’s dream location for starting a church. But when you believe,
Pastor Wayne Gordon does, that God
loves to reclaim forgotten people and worn-down neighborhoods, you’ve
got all the inspiration you need.
Adopting a child requires all kinds of
determination and love. Adopting five children, all on the same day,
requires amazing grace.
is full of such grace. She joins us to describe the privilege she
enjoys in being the mother of five adopted kids from inner city Los
The best meals do more than satisfy hunger
or quench thirst. They communicate love and form relationships. What
Shannon Jung calls “a spirituality of eating” is our topic for
the day. Tune in while you’re micro-waving some snappy frozen food, or
preparing a sumptuous feast for some of your favorite people.
Few people cherish the precious quality of
wood quite like violinmakers.
is one such craftsman who turns trees into exquisite instruments.
Listen to how his faith and vocation intersect.
Approaching the storms in our lives with a
resurrection faith is the best way to go. Just ask retired pastor,
Bob Herhold, who helps us find our way through adversity with humility and
The spectacular and the sensational are not
Joan Chittister’s mind, they’re nothing compared with
the beauty of doing ordinary tasks extraordinarily well. She’ll be on
hand to remind us to live creatively well in the midst of routine.
In a world that loves to grasp for
certainty, it is most refreshing to listen in on someone who cherishes
mystery. Sister Joan Chittister is our guest. She walks us into a
spirituality that is anything but hocus pocus.
03/27/05 - Putting All My Money on Jesus - Easter Sunday
1 Corinthians 15:13-14
Without the resurrection of Christ, we are
stuck with two unwelcome options: living in some kind of utopian
illusion or some sort of dreadful despair. I’ll put my money on Jesus
before bowing to illusion or despair. Join me for Easter joy and the
sounds of triumphant music.
03/20/05 - Pleading for Reconciliation - Palm/Passion Sunday
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
When Jesus of Nazareth entered
Jerusalem on a donkey one day, he was met with loud and enthusiastic
acclamation from the surrounding crowds. But Jesus was going to meet
his executioners. He was committed to putting the broken parts of
the world back together again, in one great divine gesture of
The search for meaning in life is as old as
Adam and Eve. Before wasting more time hungering after the wrong
things, listen for a word from Jesus that has as much to do with
making a life as making a living.
03/06/05 - Avoidance and Suffering Do Not Mix – Suffering Part 2
Suffering may be many things, but one
thing it is NOT is avoidable. Confronting life’s most painful
challenges means deciding between two kinds of faith expressions. A
biblical insight will help you dismiss one variety, for the sake of
living the hope-filled other.
The experience of suffering can mutilate our
best plans and chop up our happiest dreams. I’ll share the stories of
two individuals who, by all right and reason could shake their fist at
God, but who choose to grow their character through their personal
Instead of putting all of their energy into
some eventual destination, faithful Christians delight in the journey
along the way. I’ll introduce what we will share in the seasons ahead.
There is nothing in the Christian life
that compares with grace. It matters completely. Listen in on the
story of a Middle Eastern hostage whose little battery powered radio
was “the grace note” of an otherwise unbearable ordeal.