Monthly Archives: March 2013

3.30.13 Insight from Dan Entwistle

Dan Entwistle is Resurrection’s Managing Executive Director for Programs and Ministries.

Today doesn’t get much attention. It is a troubling day, a moment stuck between one reality and another. On one side we have Good Friday. Not “good” in the way we typically use the word, but in a deeper way—a pained, brutal and literally excruciating day when we enter into the agony of the cross.

The song Were You There When They Crucified My Lord places us right at the foot of the cross on Friday, gazing up toward the death of our Lord. In his death, we taste the loss his contemporary followers would have felt. We have seemingly lost direction and hope. We’ve experienced this reality in John’s gospel as we’ve been taken to the foot of cross. And with the hymn writer, sometimes it does cause me to tremble. That’s Friday and it is very real.

But we can also hear the call of Easter rising before us. He is risen. He is RISEN INDEED! Tomorrow we will be bold in triumph, victory, hope, and yes, life! Tomorrow we’ll have a foretaste of life that begins here and now and will reach its climax in heaven. Tomorrow we’ll sing Christ the Lord is Risen Today! And we’ll know that it is the greatest, truest reality of our lives.

But this is Saturday. No, it isn’t Friday, but it isn’t quite Easter either. Jesus rests in the grave today. The time for victory and exuberance is unseen, around another corner. And today we are meant to develop a longing for it.

We live here on Saturday sometimes, don’t we? Maybe we feel it for a day. But for some, Holy Saturday may seem to settle in for a season or even a year. Some of us, on some days, may not feel certain when, or if, we will once again turn the corner toward the evidence of the hope. Easter feels more than a day away.

So with Jesus’ first followers, today we taste just how dark this world can be. We feel the tension and we cling tightly, with anticipation, knowing that this can’t possibly be the death of hope. Jesus will rise from the grave, and with him we will have life. Easter is just around the corner.

If you know someone who has been living in Saturday, it isn’t too late to offer an invitation to turn the corner and catch a glimpse of Easter hope. If they live in Kansas City, you can find information at If not, invite them to worship with our online community at 11am or 5pm Central tomorrow at www.rezonline.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

3.29.13 Insight from Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe helps facilitate Journey 101 “Loving God” classes, guides a 6th-grade Sunday school class, is a member of a small group & a men’s group, and serves on the Curriculum team.

For Spring Break our family visited some of the Revolutionary War sites in the Boston & Philadelphia area.

We enjoyed tracing the steps of the story of Paul Revere from his home in Boston, to the Old North Church, to the location of his capture between Lexington & Concord.

We marveled at the serene scene of The Old North Bridge where the “shot heard round the world” was fired by the Minutemen as they sought to protect their communities from the encroaching British soldiers.

(Imagine, a group of eager young volunteers ready to answer the call in a moment’s notice!  Of course our home has its own version of minutemen: “Boys, do you want to help me shovel the drive?  In a minute, Dad.”  S-i-g-h.)

One of our favorite sites was Independence Hall in downtown Philadelphia.  To be in the same hall where our Declaration of Independence and, 11 years later, the U.S. Constitution were discussed & debated was inspiring.

A little Junior Ranger trivia: Where was the Declaration of Independence actually signed? Where? At the bottom! (Which is slightly humorous the first 3 times you hear it.)

As we toured these sites, we slowly began to appreciate the great risks these patriots made on our behalf.  It’s very tempting, 200 years hence, to downplay their bravery since we know how it all ended.

But when Paul Revere, a wealthy craftsman, volunteered to join the Sons of Liberty, he didn’t know he would later be revered as a hero.

When John Buttrick ordered the militia to return fire at the Old North Bridge, he was committing treason against the King – a capital offense.

When the signers of the Declaration of Independence placed their pen to paper, they were providing all the evidence needed to confiscate their property, imprison their families, & execute their own death warrants.

As we consider today’s passage from the original Good Friday (Finally! – Editor), it is easy to downplay the poignancy & passion of this scene with the perspective of Easter Sunday.

But as the scene plays out, we must avoid the temptation to gloss over it.  For Mary and the other trio of the faithful, they had to be in a state of bewildered belief – still believing, but not quite sure of the details: how, when, why, where.

To see Jesus suffering on the cross had to be numbing.  To see the soldiers holding a raffle for his garment had to be infuriating.  To hear Jesus charge John with care of His mother had to be heart breaking.  To see Jesus take His last breath & His head fall to His chest had to be emptying.

Our friends had to be in a state of shock.  It had to hurt to breathe, to move, or to even think.  The greatest human being to ever live was put to death by his fellow man.  The one single chance for humanity to be saved was gone.  The Son sent by a loving God to save His children had been brutally returned to God with the message, “We don’t want Him.”

This.  This is Good Friday.  This is a time to realize just how empty our lives would be if we had a life with no joy, with no hope, with no love.

The 4th of July would have very little significance, without the defeat at Fort Ticonderoga, the struggles of Valley Forge, the deaths of an estimated 26,000 Americans.

Similarly, the celebration of Easter has no meaning without Good Friday.  Let us ponder today’s passage on our hearts & minds as we prepare for Easter Sunday.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

3.28.13 Insight from Rev. Glen Shoup

Rev. Glen Shoup is the Executive Pastor of Worship and Congregational Care pastor for those who have last names beginning with J – L.

Today’s reading bothers me; perhaps more than any other passage in the Bible, the section we are looking at today really bothers me.  While the injustice of seeing an innocent man scapegoated is tragic, that’s actually not what I find most bothersome.  While the drama of coming face-to-face with the fact that Jesus is going willingly to the cross…for me…is piercing, that’s not what I find most disturbing.  While the glaring picture of so many who were so willing to cheer for the death of one whom they didn’t even know is chilling, that’s not what I find most troubling. 

The reason why this passage of scripture bothers me so severely is because…quite frankly…I can so easily see myself in so many places!

No, I wasn’t the pastor/high priest on duty who was so angered by Jesus’ challenging of the status quo that I was willing to hand him over to the Pilate’s Kangaroo Court in hopes that he’d be eliminated…but I sure tend to be pretty content with the status quo.  I sure tend to be skeptical and occasionally even angry, when someone disturbs that status quo—especially if it’s involving an accurate understanding of theological truth (and by accurate understanding I, of course, mean my understanding).

No, I wasn’t the Roman governor on duty who was far more interested in impressing the powers that be (the Caesar) so that I’d get a better gig and simultaneously making the crowds like me so that they’d be supportive of me rather than being interested in seeking justice for an innocent man whom society would just as soon ignore…but…I sure am good at going along to get along.  I sure am good at trying to make everybody like me and please others for the sake of my own advancement and I sure do find it easy to ignore plenty of folks that society seeks to overlook.

And no, I wasn’t in the crowd yelling “crucify him” even though I didn’t really even…know him; I wasn’t caught up in the frenzy and fever pitch of calling for Jesus’ head because of what everybody was telling me that…they say…about him.  But I sure do find it easy to give a listening ear to what “they say” about him or her and then form my impressions, opinions—and certainties about them based upon it.  I certainly find it easy to let what I think I know determine my attitude, responses and disposition towards others and I’m extremely gifted at sizing up somebody and letting what I think I know color my outlook of them.

So you see, I’m keenly aware on this Maundy Thursday that I wasn’t directly responsible for the expedient way Jesus was railroaded to Good Friday’s cross. But I’m also keenly aware that…I sure could have been.  And perhaps what is most bothersome to me is the awareness that–had I been there–I almost certainly would have been!  For you see, the same seduction towards holding on to what’s mine, the same seduction towards being liked and advanced, and the same seduction towards going along with the crowd that led the cheers of “crucify him”…well each of these are seductions that I (and perhaps you)  find particular  susceptibility towards…and that’s why I see myself nearly everywhere in this passage. 

This passage really bothers me because I see so much of myself in it.

Lord, forgive me for all the times and places when I have been part of this passage of scripture.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

3.27.13 Insight from Rev. Steven Blair

Rev. Steven Blair is the Congregational Care pastor of Celebrate Recovery and Live Well Emotional Wellness Ministry.

March Madness and Passover Madness

WEDNESDAY 3.27.13   John 18:28-19:7
(With apologies to K-State and Mizzou fans) March means basketball.   With March Madness, Passover, and Holy Week happening at the same time, I have been thinking about this scene from the movie Hoosiers between the new basketball coach and the old one.

Coach Norman Dale: First of all, let’s be real friendly here, okay? My name is Norm. Secondly, your coaching days are over.
George: Look, mister, there’s… two kinds of dumb, uh… guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and, uh, guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don’t matter, the second one you’re kinda forced to deal with.

Here’s why:

Jesus is standing before Pilate, just a few days after both men processed into Jerusalem.  Pilate processed into Jerusalem from the West, likely originating in Caesarea along the Mediterranean Sea.  His procession of tens of thousands of Roman soldiers was timed with the Jewish Festival of Passover, a time when the Jewish people reminisced about God’s history of liberating them from oppressive empires.  Pilate’s mere presence in Jerusalem was to squelch any possible rebellion with as much force as he thought was needed.  Jesus, in contrast, enters Jerusalem from the east coming from Jericho.  Jesus’ procession into Jerusalem and all its chants was possibly the first ever non-violent protest of people claiming the arrival of a new king.

Pilate would not have been gun-shy, or cross-shy.  Pilate had reasons to be on high alert with a million Jews talking about how great it would be if they didn’t have to obey Roman rules or suffer Roman abuse any more.  Pilate heard Jesus’ remark “My kingdom is not of this world” correctly as a threat to the status quo.  To put it another way, when Jesus entered Jerusalem to the shouts of ‘Hosanna,’ threw out the money changers in the Temple, and claimed to be a king in front of Pilate, Jesus moved from the “first kind of dumb” to the second kind.  Virtually in Pilate’s living room, Jesus presents himself as a king whose authority does not come from Rome, but from heaven itself.  Pilate has to deal with him or bow to him.

The question for us today is; “What are we going to do with Jesus?” 

When Jesus was healing in Galilee and teaching about the Empire of God being at hand, the Romans could brush him off.  When Jesus stood within Passover madness and said the same message, Rome had to make a choice.  They decided to kill Jesus and later protect his tomb so the people who follow Jesus would be deterred and the Jesus movement would end.

When Jesus is a historical figure or a great teacher, we can be entertained by him.  We can even be enlightened by him.  But when Jesus steps into our living room, we are faced with the decision to hail him as king or dismiss him. 

This week.  This Holy Week.

May we look at the Jesus who stands before us and have the courage to call him King even if it means taking the crown off our own heads.


Grace and Peace,
Steven Blair
Pastor of Celebrate Recovery and Live Well Ministry

I wanted to include a few other extra pieces for those of you who like to devour Bible information.

1) What follows in the Gospel of John is a set of events and chants that are more negative to Jewish people than the other Gospels’ rendition.  (See the generic “crowd” chanting ‘Crucify him’ in Matthew 27:22 now described in John as “the Jews” John 19:4, 7).  This is largely because the Gospel of John was the last Gospel written around 100 AD.  At that time the difference between Judaism and Christianity was more distinct, and at times hostile

2) The clothing of Jesus with a purple robe and calling him “King” is in line with archeological findings.  Found on the tiles near the location Jesus was condemned were the markings of what is known as “The King’s Game.”  (Google search for “King’s Game Jesus”)

3) The criminal who was released was Barabbas, which means “Son of the Father.”  The irony is that Barabbas was released while the real son of the Heavenly Father was released.)

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

3.26.13 Insight from Rev. Molly Simpson

Rev. Molly Simpson is the campus pastor at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection West.

This statue is at the church built upon the traditional site of Caiaphas’s house in Jerusalem–Peter denying that he was a disciple of Jesus.  It is called, “Non Novi Illum,” meaning “I do not know him.”  The rooster stands on top of the pillar, poised to crow upon Peter’s third denial.  It makes me think, with a bit of trepidation, I wonder what kind of statue someone could create to immortalize one of my less-than-finest moments.  (Just think about that for a minute, it is mildly horrifying…)

In John 13:37, Peter claims that he would lay down his life for Jesus.  He has seen Jesus walk on water, heal a man born blind, feed 5000 people with two fish and five loaves of bread, and raise Lazarus from the dead. He has witnessed all of this and more.  In John 6:68, Peter says, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”  Peter was there learning from Jesus, God’s only Son in the flesh, and yet…

What about us?  Most of us aren’t simple fishermen who find ourselves intimidated in the face of power.  No, sometimes, we find that we are the ones in the powerful seat, and yet it’s just as easy to deny Jesus from this vantage point.  Often I find it’s not outright denial, rather I can go through a whole day, wanting for little, self-sufficient enough to forget about Jesus.  We’re not weak, we’re strong.  We can do whatever we commit ourselves to.  We aren’t drowning, so why do we need a Savior?  Molly’s denial of Jesus looks very different from that of Peter.  What about you?

We are nearing the end of Lent–this season in the church that has been set aside for reflection, spiritual growth, confession, repentance, and taking hold of the new life offered to us by Jesus Christ.  Let’s do those things today.  Look at your life–are there ways that you are denying Jesus?  Name them.  Confess and ask for God’s forgiveness.  If you don’t know if there are things in your life that you need to turn from (repentance), ask God to show you and to help you do it.

Hurry now… before someone builds a statue.


Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

3.25.13 Insight from Jeanna Repass

Jeanna Repass serves as the Kansas City Missions Program Director at Resurrection.

This is going to be one of those weeks! It’s Holy Week – which I love – but is always an emotionally draining week as we walk with Jesus to His death. My husband is working an arduous schedule this week – which means: the household falls to me. My third grader is the “Camper of the Week” for his class – which means: he’ll present himself to his class with something special about himself each day of the week (think pictures, pets, and family stories everyday – where’s Martha Stuart when you need her?). My sixteen year old will be turning in all of her varsity cheer “stuff” (uniforms, pom poms et al) – which means: we had better be able to locate all of it… and oh yes – my college student is leaving first thing in the morning after being home for Spring break – which means: my third grader who thinks his big brother hung the moon will be a handful as he grieves the separation from his “big bro”. *I cry my eyes out as my oldest son drives away as well… I’ve been told by senior members in our church that this phenomenon of feeling pain in your heart when your child drives away never leaves you – no matter how old you and your child get.*

Which all means: it’s going to be one of those weeks where feelings like sadness and feeling overwhelmed can creep in and can easily derail me (yes – Super Mom has some weaknesses…) – so I will be praying – a lot. I will be praying earnestly for my son Adam who will be driving 5 hours by himself back to Nebraska to finish his semester and to complete Spring football (which I know takes a toll on him). I will be praying for my other two children and my husband. I will be praying for our Pastors and other church leaders this week. I will be praying for all those who will come to church – maybe for the first time this coming weekend. I will be praying prayers of thanksgiving for the sacrifice and the love of God expressed through Jesus’ passion this week. And I will be praying for the people who I know will be praying for me – standing in the gap for me – thank you small group!

As I was reading and studying the GPS scripture for today, I kept being drawn back to portions of verses 8 – 17  because this is one of the places where I really see and know that of all those whom are praying for me – Jesus has too. John 17: 8 – 17 “… and they … know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am asking on their behalf… Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them13 But now I am coming to you… 15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”

Jesus is praying the same words that I pray for my children as they leave the house – whether they are going to school a few miles away or in a different State. These are words that I pray for my most cherished loved ones – Kyle, Adam, Ariel, Christian. These are words that I pray for my Mother and Brothers on the West Coast; for my niece; for my extended family and for anyone whom I treasure and for whom I want God’s protection. And Jesus prayed this for me in the midst of the kind of week He was about to have. I am precious to Him. You are precious to Him. As He faced His own death, Jesus  prayed for us.  Amen.  

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

Saturday 3.23.13 Insight from Randy Meyer

Randy Meyer is the Executive Director of Education for The Church of the Resurrection.

This week, when reading through John 16, two verses in particular stood out to me.  The first was verse 12, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can bear.”  I wonder if part of what Jesus is saying here is that on this side of heaven there are certain things we are not capable of understanding.  I find it to be a great comfort and a releasing thought that I’m not meant to understand everything there is to know about God while I’m here on earth.   It gives me permission to throw my hands up at times and say, “I don’t know the answer to that and that’s OK!”

I liken that to the indescribable feeling I get sometimes when something extraordinary happens and I try to explain it to someone but just can’t adequately put it into words.  For example, the feeling you get when you observe a beautiful sunset, or the first time you hold your newborn baby, or when you look into the star-lit sky and wonder at the complexity and vastness of the universe.  All of these things are very hard to explain in tangible ways to others and we usually end up saying something like, “you just had to be there!”  Here, it could be that Jesus is saying, “I could tell you these things but you won’t be able to fully comprehend them until I have been revealed to you in heaven.  You really have to be there!”

The second verse that stood out to me in this passage was the final verse in Chapter 16. Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  Jesus telling me He has overcome the world gives me great comfort!  Even though I may not understand everything this side of heaven, I have faith that He will sort it all out for me in the end.  That, one day, I will be at His side with the sure knowledge that He has overcome everything in this world.

When I turn on a light switch in my home, I have a limited understanding of exactly how electricity works.  Yet, I have great confidence that each time I flip on a light switch, the lights will come on. It’s ok that I don’t know how it works completely, only that I am sure the lights will come on.  And so it is with my faith in Christ.  I may not have a complete understanding of what exactly Jesus is teaching me at all times, but I do have faith that He has overcome the world and by putting my trust and faith in Him, His glory will be revealed to me at the proper time and I will then have a complete understanding of God and His kingdom.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

Friday 3.22.13 Insight from Madeline Crawford

Madeline Crawford is the Website Communications Director, and has been a member of The Church of the Resurrection since 1994.

Jesus often speaks in hyperbole and metaphors throughout the New Testament, but in John 15:13 he went literal on us. When he said, “No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends,” he laid down the gauntlet with a demonstration on the cross and a commandment that we love our neighbors in the same sacrificial manner in which he loved us.

As a 20-something product of suburbia America, it’s difficult to imagine a situation in which I would be called to sacrifice myself for a friend in a grand gesture reflective of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Though I struggle to imagine myself having the capacity to love so sacrificially, I know I’m capable of strengthening and expanding that capacity by practicing small doses of sacrificial love in my daily life.

For me, practicing a small act of sacrificial love is answering the phone when a friend calls to lament about a rough day at 7:58 pm on a Thursday, exactly two minutes before the premiere of a new episode of The Office. Selfishly, I would rather watch my stories live and uninterrupted, instead of waiting for the episode to be uploaded to Hulu the following day. But instead, I consciously make the decision to put my friend’s needs before my own comforts and desires.

So I wonder, what might a small dose of sacrificial love look like for you? Maybe it’s giving up a weekend to help a friend move, or sacrificing sleep to drive a spouse to the airport at 4:30 am, or splitting the last piece of gum in the pack with a sibling.

As I think about today’s GPS passage, I can’t help but reflect upon rockstar Meat Loaf’s lyrics, “I would do anything for love… but I won’t do that.” And though I realize that we all have things we’d rather not sacrifice in the name of love, I encourage you to focus on what comforts you are willing to give up in order to share God’s love with your neighbors, and then stretch yourself to expand upon that list and love even more sacrificially.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

Thursday 3.21.13 Insight from Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as a Human Resources Specialist.

I’ve never wanted kids. I’ve never had grand ambitions of being a mom. I’ve heard talk from my friends about their biological clocks ticking while I’m pretty confident that mine is stuck blinking “12:00.” I don’t gravitate towards kids. I don’t want to be around them. I just don’t have the mom gene (or mom jeans… thankfully).

So you can imagine my surprise when a few years ago, I feel a nudge from the Holy Spirit telling me that my husband and I should adopt an older child. Wait?!!  What?!! Assuming that this message had been sent to me in error, I stamped it with “Return to sender” and went on with my life.

Yet months later I heard Him again – we were to adopt an older child, that our lives would be richer because of it. Ugh. I pulled out my kit of justifications this time – we were happy, we traveled, we had fun, we entertained, we were involved in the church. All was well. Nothing was missing, but thank you for the offer.

Another year went by and again I heard the Spirit telling me that our lives would be better if we would adopt. The voice wasn’t constant, but it was certainly consistent. Again and again I heard it, most noticeably in the midst of worship. And I’ll be honest, at some point I just grew tired of ignoring it. “Fine, God! I’ll give you this much – I’ll check into it.”

So we took the ten-week foster and adoption class – you know, for information’s sake. We even connected with an agency and got licensed. But there was always an out. We never had to say yes if they called with a kid. We could even just meet the kid and decide that it wasn’t a fit. And I knew that once we had a kid, if adoption was to even become an option it was most likely going to be a two-year process anyway. With a tight grip, I held on to all of the time and opportunities I had to change my mind.

Then a year ago this week, just a couple of months after being licensed, I heard from our agency. There was a ten year-old boy whose parental rights had already been terminated. His current foster family was leaving the foster system altogether, and the agency was hoping to find an adoptive home for him in the next few weeks.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!! I’m sorry…  you need what?? By when??

Reluctantly, we decided to meet the kid. It was a Saturday night, and we had agreed to “baby-sit” him for a few hours. The doorbell rang, and there stood a ten-year old boy wearing glasses and a Star Wars t-shirt. I will never forget the moment I first laid eyes on him. You know when you meet someone for the first time and you feel that instant connection? Like you’ve known each other your whole lives and somehow you know that you are meant to be in each other’s lives? That feeling of an unexplainable, immediate bond? Yeah, well I didn’t have it.

But over the next few hours, I realized that I wasn’t repelled by him, which was a big step for me. In fact, he seemed… okay – perhaps even a little likable. This was a little disappointing as things would’ve been much easier had I just hated him, but no such luck. And this began the toughest three weeks of our lives. Let me just tell you that it’s extremely nerve-wracking to barely know someone and make a decision as to whether or not you will spend the rest of your life with them.

Yet though I barely knew the boy, I did know the Holy Spirit. He had been there to comfort me in my hurt and pain. He had encouraged me when I was worn down. And I knew that He, Jesus, and God the Father were one in the same, and that He really did have the best in store for me. At least I knew this in theory. The time came for me to test whether I believed this to be true. After nights of talking, crying, and debating about what to do, we said yes to God and yes to the agency. We would be the boy’s parents.

Sitting here a year later I can’t imagine my life without my son. It is beautiful and hard and wonderful and crazy and most certainly richer and fuller than it’s ever been. And this richness isn’t just from some satisfaction of “doing good.” He isn’t our charity project. He’s our son. We are all good for each other in a way that only God could know, and I’m thankful for the patient nudge, the persistent reminder, the consistent encouragement that reassured me that something great was in store. Holy Spirit is God, and He has come as One who gives life and gives it richly, fully, abundantly. He doesn’t ask us all to be adoptive parents, but wants the best for each of us individually. In both the biggest decisions and smallest actions, it’s our challenge as to whether or not we have the faith to accept His gift.

Click here to find out more about the Foster and Adoption ministries of Church of the Resurrection. Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

Wednesday 3.20.13 Insight from Angela LaVallie

Angela LaVallie is the Member Connection Program Director at The Church of the Resurrection. She provides oversight to our member connection efforts through the New Member Welcome Team,  the Reconnection Team, and our Spiritual Gifts Placement Team.

One way we are able to gauge whether we are growing spiritually is to measure if we embody and produce the fruits of the spirit more as time goes by. Am I more loving now than I was this time last year? Am I more joyful now than I was five years ago? Am I more patient now than I’ve been in the past?

Growing isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s often painful. I have a degree in writing, and one of the main points I learned in a fiction writing class was that a hero or main character had to change and grow or she wasn’t an interesting and believable character.

Jesus knew there would be resurrection following his dark death. He knew there would be joy for his followers beyond their mourning. He knew Peter would be the rock on which his church was built after Peter denied him. Getting through the storms isn’t just about surviving; it’s about coming through them more loving or more peace-filled or more self-controlled or more (insert your favorite fruit of the spirit here) than before.

Blessedly, we have so many great heroes of the faith to follow as examples of growing through grace to become more Christ-like. Of course Jesus is the ultimate example, but there are countless others both in the Old and New Testaments, throughout history, and those in our personal lives. When we grow closer to Christ and grow to look more like him through our relationship with him and by following Christian role models, may we become examples to others of how to become a character worthy of the Christian story.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.