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2009 Grace Matters' Podcast

2008 Grace Matters' Podcast

• 2007 Grace Matters' Podcast

• 2006 Grace Matters' Podcast

• 2005 Grace Matters' Podcast

Grace Matters Program podcast will be updated with
a variety of previously aired programs from 2005 to 2009.

Grace Matters, 2005

Listen to Grace Matters Programs from:  2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

  • December 25 - Christmas I’m Witcha Babe
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    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 Lord.

  • December 18 - Advent Hope
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    Romans 8:22-25

    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
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    Matthew 25:1-13

    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
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    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
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    Romans 13:11-14

    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
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    Luke 2:1-7

    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
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    John 15:11

    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 Style
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    Psalm 34:1-9

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
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    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
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    Luke 11:1-4

    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. Art 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 Forgiving
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    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 – FORGIVENESS.

  • October 9, 2005 - Fire of Grace
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    Isaiah 43:1-2

    Reconciliation doesn’t happen except when there is a large-hearted effort to repair the breach. Hear the story of one pastor, Rick Rouse, 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
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    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 12-hour shifts.


  • September 25, 2005 - Blindsided by Grace
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    Genesis 1:31

    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 for.

  • September 18, 2005 - Enlarging a Cramped Soul
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    Luke 1:46

    Music has great therapeutic value for broken lives. It has also been known to have tremendous spiritual value for crushed souls. Steve Siler 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 Ground
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    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 terrorism.

  • September 4, 2005 - The Rhythm of the Word
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    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 Leslie Hunter 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
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    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 about God. 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 Farm
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    Jonah 1:11-12

    Gene Hay 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
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    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
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    Colossians 4:2-3

    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, Mark Hanson, 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
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    Isaiah 61:1-2

    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 dreams.

  • 07/24/05 – Nutritious Writing
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    Ezekiel 3:1-3

    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? Elizabeth 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
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    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
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    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
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    Genesis 1:26

    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. David Pope, a village president in suburban Chicago, discusses the privilege of serving his community.


  • 06/26/05 Stories that Fly Off the Page
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    Ezekiel 36:26

    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 of before.

  • 06/19/05 Putting Your Ear to the Ground
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    Psalm 50:10-11

    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.

  • 06/12/05 From Orange Jumpsuit to New Life
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    Luke 4:16-18

    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 programs, like Linda Schroeder and the ministry of Project COPE, that are turning otherwise sad stories into invigorating tales of hope and a new life.

  • 06/05/05 Blessing Upon Blessing
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    Genesis 27:1-4

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 friends.


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, like 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. Lynn Pauley 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 Angeles.

The best meals do more than satisfy hunger or quench thirst. They communicate love and form relationships. What author 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. Ken Beckmann 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 grace.

The spectacular and the sensational are not everything.
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
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    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
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    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 reconciliation.

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
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    Romans 5:1-5

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 suffering.

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.

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