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In Luke's Gospel (8:26-39), Jesus makes his first incursion into gentile territory in the land of the Gerasenes. Immediately upon stepping ashore, he met a man so disfigured by his evil that the man was barely recognizable as human. Yet an encounter with Jesus transformed him into his right mind, his proper self, and a witness to God's love. What d…
 
Today, we broadcast from Pella, IA, from the Reformed Church in America's General Synod. So today, we talked a bit about the General Synod about Pella (a beautiful Iowan City) and the question that the General Synod asked of itself and the RCA: What would God have us do? How do we discern, as individuals, the path God is calling us to travel. That …
 
What does it mean to be "human," and how do we best care for the human person that we are? Our bodies are temples of God's spirit, and that temple must be honored by tending to our mental acuity: by reading, thinking, reflecting, and exploring. In a world of spin, we need to "think for ourselves." Our spiritual health also needs care, which we acco…
 
In this episode we discuss the importance and solemnity of Memorial Day, a day when we remember those who "gave their last full measure of devotion" in the service of their country. We must never forget their sacrifice, nor the precious life that each of those heroes gave to preserve and protect our nation. But we must also be cautions of those who…
 
In the early church, the Ascension was an important day, a reminder that Jesus' mission was only complete when he returned to the Father and brought our humanity into the eternal presence of the Father. It is a reminder that the absent one is present to God and has sent us the gift of the Spirit, which IS the power of God within us. The message of …
 
What does it mean to be a person of faith in the world? A faith-filled worldview sees God as the Creator and sustainer of all life. He is the author of truth; we are not. He establishes an immutable moral law that we must follow or break to our detriment. Learn more in this episode of Faith Unscripted.…
 
Jesus promised that he would not leave us orphans. He promised to send "another paraclete" to teach us all things, remind us of everything Jesus taught, and give us the peace that only God can provide. What does this gift mean for us? How do we listen to the "other paraclete?" which is the one like Jesus who will be with us while Jesus is absent? T…
 
Recently, there has been terrible violence in the U.S., much of it racially or politically motivated. What can we do to counteract this hateful trend? First, we must recognize that God created all the people in his image. Then, we can reject the voices of division and acknowledge that we are all one: brothers and sisters of the God Jesus called Fat…
 
Jesus gives his disciples more than just a new commandment in John 13; he gives them an example of how love in practice looks. He loves His own, loves them to the end, and loves them no matter what. He loves them by serving; he loves them by feeding; he loves them by preparing them for life when he has been "Glorified" and is no longer with them. T…
 
In John 2:22-30, Jesus is in the Temple during the Dedication celebration (we know it as Hanukkah). Those who surround Jeusu ask him to tell them plainly whether he is the Messiah. He responds by telling them that he has ALREADY been quite clear about who he is, but they haven't believed him because those around him are "not of My sheep." What does…
 
This episode discusses Mothers' Day and the importance of our mothers. Then we discuss the possibility that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade and its significance. Finally, the show considers how important it is for Christians to be engaged in the community's life, politically and otherwise.…
 
At the end of John's Gospel, Jesus again shows himself to his disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. At first, those disciples had difficulty recognizing him - they were fishing, and he was about a hundred yards away on shore, cooking. When they came ashore, they were afraid to ask him who he was; they KNEW it was the Lord but somehow neede…
 
A reflection on John 20: 19-29. On the evening of the first day of the week after Jesus' death, his disciples, such of them who hadn't gotten out of town yet, were huddled in a locked upper room, hiding for fear that the ones who killed Jesus would come after them next. Suddenly he is in their midst: not the broken body of a resuscitated corpse, bu…
 
Today we discuss healing prayer, the love of God as manifest in our pets, and the second half of the program discusses the Holocaust as we prepare to celebrate Holocaust Remembrance Day. Where was God? And what can we learn as we look back and remember? And remember we must, lest history repeats itself!…
 
What is the meaning of Holy Week for us today? As we celebrate the last week of Jesus' life, the Church invites us to reflect on the Passion of the Christ. Our salvation comes at an enormous price! What can we learn from the story of the Lord's suffering and death? We may want to avert our eyes, but the story of Christ's passion is at the heart of …
 
In John's Gospel, the week before Jesus' death, we hear about a dinner held in his honor at the home of His friends Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. At the dinner, Mary took a pound of aromatic nard perfume worth a year's wages (in today's dollars, it was worth more than $100,000) and poured it over Jesus' feet, anointing him and drying his feet with her…
 
There is a clash between two worldviews: one rooted in faith in the creator God who gives us every good gift and who has made us in his image, brothers and sisters to each other; the second rooted in fear in which man, not God, is the master of the world. This second view leads to what Thomas Hobbs called the "war of all against all." Pastor Rich d…
 
Repent or perish! Jesus tells his disciples that suffering and death are not punishments for sin, but they can come suddenly and catch us unaware. Violence and natural disasters will be with us, but should they touch our lives, will we be prepared. In this reflection on Luke 13:1-9, Pastor Rich reflects on Jesus' urgent call to repentance and the h…
 
Even though danger lurked in Jerusalem, even though some Pharisees warned him that Herod was plotting to kill him, even though he could have saved himself, Jesus wouldn't abandon his God-given mission. His work was to go to Jerusalem and conquer death on the cross. We, like our Lord, have a divine mission, and we must accomplish it, no matter what,…
 
Our Christianity doesn't mean we should escape from the world and its cares. On the contrary, as followers of Christ, we must be lovingly engaged. Pastor Rich reflects on the importance of being involved in the education of our children.
 
At his Baptism the Spirit descended on Jesus in the Jordan and the Father spoke: "This is my son, my beloved, in whom I am well pleased." Jesus then led into the wilderness knowing who he was and what he must be about. He was the beloved, the Son of God. Nevertheless, while Jesus fasted 40 days, the Satan tempted him. What does this time of temptat…
 
In this reflection, on Ash Wednesday and Lent, Pastor Rich considers the paradox that "you are but dust and ashes," insignificant as we stand before the creator God, but "for you, the world was made." Lent celebrates both realities: we stand humbly before the God who loves us with eternal love and who gives His only Son so that we might live eterna…
 
Recorded on "Fat Tuesday" or Mardi Gras, the show discusses the importance of Lent as a time of preparation, repentance, and return to faithfulness and God. The word Lent comes from an old English word meaning "springtime." If we make a good lent, we can experience a new springtime in our spiritual life.…
 
On a mountain, Jesus was "transfigured." His face was shining, his clothes sparkling white, and Moses and Elijah appeared with Him to discuss his "departure," which was to take place in Jerusalem. However, a cloud overshadowed them, and the voice of the father spoke, "This is my beloved Son, my Chosen One, LISTEN TO HIM." What was Jesus saying to h…
 
How can we be a blessing to everyone we meet? Well, we can pray for them, and we can speak a word of blessing into their lives. That can be as simple as saying "God bless you" to a waitress or a colleague at work. Christians must be active and involved in our world as servants of the Crucified Christ. He saves through his self-giving love. He gave …
 
According to Joseph Campbell, Jesus' teaching that we should love our enemies is the high point of ethical teaching in world history. Love here is not a warm feeling of affection; it is the hard choice to act in the best interest of those who do not have our best interest at heart. When we love, in this sense, we forgive, and we do what is compassi…
 
Jesus often tells us what we don't want to hear but what we need to know. For example, in the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6), Jesus tells his disciples that the poor, hungry, grieving, and derided are blessed. Why? Perhaps because in our moments of emptiness, we realize what is always true: we need God every second of every hour of every day of our l…
 
Exhausted after a night of fishing and coming up empty, Peter and his partners were ashore, cleaning their nets and looking forward to a good night's sleep. After preaching to a crowd by the lakeshore, Jesus told Peter to sail to deep waters and put out those newly cleaned nets. Against his better judgment, since he and his companions had fished al…
 
Pastor Rich, with help from Rabbi Paul Kurland, reflects on the call of Isaiah. What does God mean when he tells Isaiah that he is going to a people who "hear but do not understand and see but do not perceive?" Does God harden our hearts, or does our hardness of heart deafen us to God's word? Learn about that and more in this episode of Fatih Unscr…
 
Jesus' sermon in Nazareth enraged the congregation. How could he possibly suggest that God cared about outsiders when the Jews were God's chosen people? Jesus challenges his disciples, then and now, let go of all preconceptions and prejudices and to follow God's love to whatever surprising places it might lead us,…
 
Pastor Rich reflects on the importance of being present in the moment. Now is the only time in which we live. The past is a memory; the future is a possibility. Now is the moment of life; it is "grace-filled time." Therefore, it's crucial to live aware of its beauty and its potential.
 
Jesus' opens the scroll of Isaiah and reads "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me for he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor ..." Jesus' mission is filled with the spirit, anointed with the spirit. led by the spirit, and it is a mission to lift up the downcast, and to proclaim God's favor. Jesus continues this mission through the church,…
 
The Sabbath is a day spent in heaven, or so our Jewish brothers and sisters believe. Pastor Rich's guest today, Rabbi BenZion Klatzko, shares the Orthodox Jewish traditions of Sabbath-keeping and shows us all a way to deepen our relationship with God, with our families, and with others.
 
When Jesus and his mother attended a wedding in Cana of Galilee (John 2), Mary spotted a problem: the bride and groom ran out of wine during the celebration - an embarrassing faux pas. So Mary went to Jesus and said: "they have no wine." She didn't tell him what to do, but she trusted that he would address the problem somehow. Here we see Mary as a…
 
Luke's Gospel tells us that John the Baptist, the great prophetic voice preparing the way for the Lord, yet he was just the preliminary act of God's great revelatory moment when the Word who became flesh would walk among us. John knows who he is - the one who prepares the way for one mightier than himself. Yet when Jesus comes, he comes humbly, as …
 
God's cherished gifts to us: the incarnation, revelation in the Old and New Testaments, the three theological virtues (Faith, Hope, and Charity), the four Gospels, The five books of the Torah, the six days of creation - each could be a meditation in itself. Today's program further explores the gifts of God to believers. All that and listener phone …
 
In the Prologue (John 1:1-18), the evangelist gives us his version of Jesus' origins. Matthew and Luke tell of his infancy; John speaks of Jesus as the Eternal Word with God "in the beginning." To know who WE are, we must first know who Jesus is. He shows us the potential of our humanity and invites us to be what we were created to be: image-bearer…
 
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