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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, 2006

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

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

  • December 31 - An Imperishable Inheritance
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    1 Peter 1: 3-5

    Not every treasure can be stored in a box. Not everything of value can be itemized in a legal document. Pastor, educator, and author Herbert Brokering outlines how he intends to distribute his lifelong wealth to those whom he loves. His list of “wealth” will surprise even experts who spend their life coaching others on how to leave a legacy of true worth.
  • December 24 - Silent Night
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    Luke 2: 1-14

    In the cold rain and snow on Christmas night 1914, the unimaginable happened in the trenches of World War I. Young German, French, British, and Belgian soldiers spontaneously threw down their arms and came together across the front lines to exchange gifts, sing carols, eat, drink, and even play soccer. Renowned historian Stanley Weintraub shares a vivid picture of how this forgotten moment in military history proved to be one of the most beautiful Christmas stories of all times.
  • December 17 Advent 3: Four Directives for Peace with God
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    Philippians 4: 4-7

    In the final segment of his special Advent series, host Peter Marty takes a fresh look at one of the most striking passages ever written from a prison cell. Join him to capture what the apostle Paul must have had in mind when he asked his fellow Christians to rejoice, be gentle, not worry, and express thanks.
  • December 10- Advent 2: The God Who Waits  
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    Malachi 3:1-4

    In this second of a three-part series leading up to Christmas, host Peter Marty explores what is meant by “the patience of God.” When our passions are short-lived, our behaviors uneven, and our sins offensive, few individuals speak with as much clarity to our lives as the Old Testament prophets. Malachi is one who gives us a clue for getting a fresh start on meeting the challenge of reshaping our distorted lives. His insight begins with the patience of God.
  • December 3 - Advent 1: Abounding in Love
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    1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

    In the first of a three-part Advent series featuring in depth biblical reflections and music of the season, host Peter Marty contemplates a powerful prayer of the apostle Paul. It’s a prayer from the oldest book in the New Testament, 1 Thessalonians, that lifts up the quest for togetherness, holiness, and love that Christian people are hungry for in Christian community.


  • November 26 - The Man Who Didn’t Notice the Poor
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    Luke 16:10-31

    Mary Nelson knows a whole lot about community organizing and neighborhood revitalizing. For most of her adult life, she has led the powerful Bethel New Life ministry on Chicago’s west side. Through her work, she has seen the deadly nature of the gap between rich and poor wreak havoc. Jesus tells a story about this gap one day. It’s a story that includes all of our names.

  • November 19 - Thankful Beyond Understanding
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    Luke 17: 11-19

    Author and pastor Ted Loder cares a great deal about how we fashion our prayer lives. He has written several books on prayer that are as poetic as they are prayerful. This program’s reflection speaks to the joy contained in one of Loder’s prayers of thanksgiving, in a week when Americans are remembering what it means to live thankfully.

  • November 12 - The Jungle of Life: Part 2 – Choosing to Forgive
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    Matthew 5:44

    In this second of a two-part series, featuring conversation with missionary and ex-hostage Gracia Burnham, the subject of forgiveness takes center stage. How do you forgive an enemy who has done unspeakable things? Gracia Burnham is author of several books that address her enslavement in a Philippine jungle, including her latest, To Fly Again: Surviving the Tailspins of Life.

  • November 5 - The Jungle of Life: Part 1 – Overflowing Hope
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    Matthew 17:1-8

    In the first of a two-part series, missionary Gracia Burnham describes the horror of being a hostage of the Abu Sayyaf in the Philippine jungle for more than a year. But more importantly, she details the Christian hope that kept her going, even after her husband was killed. Gracia Burnham is author of the New York Times bestseller: In the Presence of My Enemies.


  • October 29 - The Gift of Spiritual Direction
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    Matthew 17:1-8

    If we knew how to approach God, love God, and serve God all by ourselves, there would be no need for companionship on our spiritual journey. But finding our way is a holy enterprise that deserves greater perspective than just our own. The Rev. David Miller, Dean of the Chapel at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and Director of Spiritual Formation, is in the business of guiding others toward rich spiritual journeys.
  • October 22 - A Theological ABC
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    Isaiah 55:11

    Retired Chaplain of Yale University and Lutheran pastor John Vannorsdall has spent his life shaping sentences into rich meaning. His goal has always been to work the power of God into peoples’ lives. Today we learn Rev. Vannorsdall’s definitions of some key words in the Christian vocabulary.
  • October 15 - Building Schools at Very High Altitude
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    Psalm 99:9

    American Greg Mortenson isn’t afraid of anything. For 13 years now, this husband and young father has spent half of every year living with Islamic mullahs, village chieftains, and Shiite clerics, in remote Pakistan and Afghanistan. What’s he doing in the mountains where the Taliban dwell? He’s building a better future for children living there, one school at a time.
  • October 8 - A Crayon Labeled Flesh
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    Acts 10:34

    The Rev. Heidi Neumark, author of Breathing Space: A Spiritual Journey in the South Bronx, has many more wild experiences in her 19-year ministry in the South Bronx than can fit between the two covers of a book. Her joy in the Lord, and her deep love of people will breathe new life into all who hear her story.

  • October 1 - The Goliath of Racism
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    1 Samuel 17

    Urban poverty and crime are frustrating enough. But when racism figures into the mix, it’s really frustrating. Racism has its own monstrous way of dividing people unnecessarily. Minneapolis city councilman Don Samuels knows that biblically, politically, and humanely, racism is no way to live. Don will share his own unique way of responding to the crises of division and hatred.


  • September 24 - A Spirituality You Can Savor
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    1 Corinthians 2: 12-13

    Whatever believers cultivate by way of a relationship with Christ, the nature of that relationship must add up to more than just an inward, privatized journey that leaves them pretending to be in control of God. Mary Ann Brussat, journalist and author of a number of books, including the work titled: Spiritual Literacy, understands this danger. That’s why she is determined to keep the practical and the spiritual aspects of our lives as parts of the same whole.
  • September 17 - Unholy Hatred in a Holy Land
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    Psalm 122: 6-9

    It’s hard to believe that a little slice of land, roughly the size of the state of New Jersey, could contain so much bloodshed. Yet this is precisely the continuing legacy of the Holy Land. So much of the killing is carried out in the name of God. Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land, knows the pain of this as much as anyone. But he also has an eye and a heart bent on peace.

  • September 10 - Flight 93 – The Famous Phone Call
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    Isaiah 6:8

    The whole world over seems to know the name Todd Beamer, and his now famous words “Let’s Roll.” He spoke these words during an extended phone conversation on 9/11, the day Flight 93 went down. Few people know the person who answered that call. Lisa Jefferson is her name. Her life stands as a testimony of great faith and true responsibility in a time of crisis.

  • September 3 - An Undocumented Immigrant Named Jesus
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    Matthew 2: 12-14

Immigration feels like an academic issue, or a “Washington problem,” until one starts to meet immigrants and those who assist them. Then, the whole matter becomes infinitely more complex and real. Father Arturo Bañuelas, a Catholic priest serving in the border town of El Paso, Texas, joins us for a conversation about the human dimensions of immigration and the plight of those who suffer most.


  • August 27 - 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.

  • August 20 - The Rhythm of the Word 2
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    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 13 - My Forever Mom
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    Luke 13:34

    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.

  • August 6 - A Life vs. a Lifestyle
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    John 6:35-37

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.


  • July 30 - God, We Need to Talk (Encore presentation)
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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.

  • July 23 - Unanswered Prayer
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    Luke 18: 9-14

    What do we do when God does not seem to answer our prayers, and our Christian faith doesn’t seem to “work?” Where is God when the cry of our hearts hears little more than silence? Gerald Sittser, professor of religion at Whitworth College, brings incredible hope and insight to these questions. His responses carry enormous weight, born as they are out of great personal suffering.

  • July 16 - The Sweetness of Grace
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    Ezekiel 3:1-3

    Honey entrepreneur Curt Riess is this week’s guest on Grace Matters. His extensive knowledge of the honey industry, his initiative in fostering fair trade practices in South America, and his strong Christian faith all combine to offer a perfect opportunity for re-examining the sweetness of grace, as we know it from the Bible.

  • July 9 - The Main Thing
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    Hebrews 13: 20-21

    Keeping “the main thing the main thing in life” is a challenge for all of us. How we focus our internal life, centered in God as it deserves to be, and our external life, centered in service to others as it should be, says a lot about whether or not we have life together. Guest Kathy Holmgren, wife of Seattle Seahawks football coach Mike Holmgren, understands these internal and external dimensions of life extraordinarily well.

  • July 2 - Christian Improvisation
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    Amos 6:5

Living the Christian life well requires a lot of creativity. Following Jesus asks for more than dull imitation. Significantly, some of the very features that make for creative Christian discipleship also make for excellent jazz improvisation. Program guest Andy Tecson, a composer and jazz saxophonist, describes his special love for bringing jazz worship into the life of the church.


  • June 25 - A Canopy of Grace
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    Corinthians 1:10 13

    To belong to a “Big Tent Church” is to be a member of a community of Christians that prizes unity over uniformity. In a conversation with The Lutheran Magazine editor Dan Lehmann, and in a follow up reflection, Peter Marty explores six features of churches that delight in living under a large canopy of grace and common purpose.

  • June 18 - The Perfect Silent Crime
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    Exodus 23:10

    According to Senator George McGovern, the crisis of chronic global hunger is inexcusable, given the massive food wealth of so many countries. One of every seven citizens in the world struggles with severe malnutrition and hunger. McGovern shares his dream for ending this sorry state of affairs.

  • June 11 - Twisting Your Life Inside Out
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    Luke 14:16 24

    The parables of Jesus are short and sweet. Or, are they so sweet when they twist your life inside out? Biblical scholar Mark Hoffman explores ways to experience these little stories of Jesus, and what they can do to our lives when we read them as something other than ancient tales.

  • June 4 - The End of the World is Near ... Or is it?
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    Mark 13: 32 37

Amazingly confident speculation occupies the minds of many end times thinkers. Yet Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t half as confident or specific of the details as are most of these prediction gurus. Biblical scholar Barbara Rossing explores the subject of her work on rapture, and some of the dangers that accompany popular books that merge fiction with questionable biblical interpretation.


  • May 28 - What Do You Want on Your Tombstone?
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    1 Corinthians 12:7

    What would happen if we spent less energy setting goals, and more energy living up to the commitments that are basic to our lives? It’s a question of interest to Joe Holt, Director of Executive Ethics at Notre Dame University. Join him, and host Peter Marty, for an inside look at becoming the moral and ethical characters we all want to be.

  • May 21 - Living With God in an Arranged Marriage
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    Matthew 20:28

    Special guest this week is Esther Prabhakar, a woman full of grace and faith who has an extraordinary prayer life and ministry, organized around a beautiful concept of prayer journaling. She also knows something about arranged marriages. Esther’s own experience prompts the question, “What would it be like to live in an arranged marriage with God, where something other than mutual attraction was the driving force?”

  • May 14 - Dry Clean Christianity
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    Deuteronomy 6:4-6

Dick Hardel is an absolute “pro” when it comes to underscoring the importance of living with a passionate faith. If every parent could hear his message, churches and homes across America would completely revise their operation. His words are full of grace and responsibility in a time when parents and grandparents need to think deeply about what they’re passing along to the next generation.

What happens when you dress yourself in love can make the difference between a hopeful day and a woeful day. For nationally acclaimed coach Joe Ehrmann, love lived in the right way is exactly what young adolescent males need more than anything else. Meet this ex-NFL great who has a definition of success like you’ve never heard before.


  • April 30 - Dear God, We Need More Food
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    Luke 9:10-17

    Sometimes feeding the hungry requires no sophisticated effort at all—no committees, no agency, no special grant money—just commitment. Kay Fennell has such commitment. Listen in on a conversation with this woman who, with her husband, feeds hungry people on Chicago’s Lower Wacker Drive.

  • April 23 - The Thrill of Singing
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    Psalm 150:6

    Few things compare with the exhilaration of human voices singing in tune with one another to the glory of God. Dr. Weston Noble, nationally acclaimed conductor emeritus at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, is our guest. He explores the joy of leading a college choir for nearly six decades.

  • April 16 - Quit Marinating in Fear Easter Sunday
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    Matthew 28:5-6

    The proclamation of Easter morning, “Do not be afraid; He is risen,” forms the backbone of Christianity. It also indicates how we’re supposed to live creatively and fruitfully. In a broadcast that includes special Easter music, join Peter Marty for an Easter sermon that’s guaranteed to have you rethinking your own life in Christ.

  • April 9 - Lent 6: The Via Dolorosa – The Final Walk Palm Sunday
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    Matthew 27: 27-31

    It’s one of the most famous streets in the world. The Via Dolorosa is where Jesus took his final steps, weathering the mockery of those who could not comprehend his way of love. Experience your own walk on this narrow street, and recall the commitment of Jesus to your health and salvation.


  • April 2 - Lent 5: Mount of Olives – The Hillside of Prayer
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    Luke 19: 41-44

As Jesus approaches the city of Jerusalem for the final time, he weeps. In crying, he reveals his sadness for a city and for a people who cannot “get it together.” We all know that tears can say great things. In the case of Jesus, they speak a sorrow over the way things are, instead of the way they’re supposed to be.


  • March 26 - Lent 4: Sea of Galilee - the Lake for Discipleship
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    Matthew 14:22-33

    There is no greater time to be scared than at night. And night out on the sea is especially bewildering. But storm-tossed waves proved to be the perfect “pulpit” for Jesus to speak about the shortcomings of fear. What are your greatest fears? And what do you to alleviate them from such a crippling role in your life? Tune in to a special broadcast from the Sea of Galilee.

  • March 19 - Lent 3: Capernaum—the Preaching City
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    Mark 1:21-28

    The marble columns of the Capernaum synagogue, still standing, reverberate with the words of Jesus as he preached before a packed house one day. The authority with which he spoke was dramatically different than the way the scribes and others spoke. Find out why, in a close-up look at some differences between power and authority.


  • March 12 - Lent 2: Nazareth—the Forsaken City
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    John 1: 43-51

    People made fun of Nazareth in the time of Jesus. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathaniel said to Philip one day. Well, a whole lot of good came out of Nazareth, as we know from the person of Jesus. But traveling to Nazareth today is a reminder that sometimes we need to look beneath external appearances to find the treasure hidden within.

  • March 5 - Lent 1: Jerusalem--the Holy City
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    Luke 13: 31-35

There is no city like Jerusalem, golden with age and color, yet blackened by centuries of hatred and killing. Jesus knew this city well, not only because of his many travels to the temple there, but also for his high hopes for the people of Jerusalem. Listen in on the joy and sadness of walking through Jerusalem today.


  • February 26 - Faith Made of Steel!
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    Habakkuk 2:18-20

    Phil Thompson isn’t into crafting idols. But he does know how to take a piece of raw stainless steel and make the scriptures come alive through it. Listen to this metal sculptor articulate the importance of faith, and the joy of his work with metal.

  • February 19 - Money. Money. Money.
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    Matthew 6:19-21, 24

    Money is a worry, a blessing, and a necessity. But it can also become a god. This may be why the scriptures record one sixth of Jesus’ words as related to money or wealth. Popular radio talk show host and author Dave Ramsey spends his every day thinking about our use and misuse of money. We’ll tap into his wisdom.

  • February 12 - Jesus on the High Seas
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    Matthew 8:18-27

    One could argue that the opposite of faith in the Bible is not sin or unbelief; it is the refusal to move. Faithful living calls for people to be willing to budge from their fixed vantage points and stuck-in-the-mud habits. Andy Krey ministers in coastal ports to seafarers from around the world, people who spend most of their life “on the go.”

  • February 5 - The Noun of Being Christian
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    Acts 11:26

The word “Christian” is too big and exceptional to be used as an adjective. It’s a noun. And when it comes to remembering exactly who you are, Christian ought to be the core identity that shapes everything else. Listen to Peter Mayer, a talented musician who plays lead guitar for the Jimmy Buffett band, and who understands the noun of being Christian.


  • January 29 - Looking for Missing Sheep
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    Luke 15:3-6

    The Bethlehem Lutheran congregation in New Orleans is one of many churches practically wiped out by Hurricane Katrina and the broken levee system. But through the tenacity of its Pastor Patrick Keen, the faithfulness of its remaining members, and the power of the Holy Spirit, this congregation will rise again. For now, it’s a search for members who are missing.

  • January 22 - Watch Your Feet!
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    Matthew 10:37-39

    No Christian in the 20th century made quite the imprint that German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer did from his opposition to the Nazi regime and his faithfulness to Christ. In preparation for what would be Bonhoeffer’s 100th birthday on February 4, 2006, we visit with Bonhoeffer film producer, Martin Doblmeier, on the greatness of this extraordinary saint, and the PBS release of the film Bonhoeffer.

  • January 15 - Mixing God and Country
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    Joshua 24:15

    For anyone who loves their Lord and their country, the distinction between the two loyalties seems obvious. Yet, there always lurks the danger of confusing the two. Professor Bob Erickson knows this all too well from his three decades of studying the behavior of the German Church in Nazi Germany.

  • January 8 - Our Home is Your Home
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    Luke 10:25-37

    When most people come home from the hospital, recuperation is anything but complete. Imagine being a homeless person released from hospital surgery or an emergency room visit. Where do you recuperate? Tom Holmes saw an urgent need and left a thriving career to help homeless people thrive in a home filled with love.

  • January 1 - Religion in the News
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    Romans 14:1-4, 10

What were the big religious news stories in 2005? What can we expect to develop in 2006? Religion news writer David Briggs has a keen eye on such things, and a concern as well for how religious people of different perspectives sometimes interact with one another.

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