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I know how I would feel if Steve came back to me — or how Chris would feel if her son came back — how so many of you would feel to have one you so loved and lost walk through the door…

I even dreamed it would happen — before each daughter’s wedding. But for me it was the fruit of denial, for I will not see Steve until that great day — but I will see him, because as Jesus said, “I AM the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) And I love that He also said, “If it were not so, I would have told you…” (John 14:2)

I think my favorite account in the whole Bible is in Luke 24 where the two disciples are in tremendous grief and Jesus walks up alongside them. They do not recognize him until later when He breaks bread — but they listen to this “stranger” explain the Scriptures to them — how every prophet, every priest, every slain lamb, every suffering servant…all pointed to Jesus. Christ had to suffer He explained. But later, when they recognized Him — OH!

Tim Keller said, “The disciples weren’t thinking: I cannot tell anyone because this might not be in line with their beliefs and might offend them…THEY SIMPLY COULD NOT HOLD BACK THIS EXPLOSION OF JOY!!!

How I pray you are singing today — you serve a risen Savior! Death could not hold its prey! He lives! He lives! Hallelujah — what a Savior!

I’ll keep the homework light this week because I know many of you are away or with family — but let us rejoice together, let us talk about the One who said, “I AM the resurrection and the life!” If you read this today, I have some discussion questions for your Easter dinner — but they could be asked anytime this glorious week of celebration.


1. Do you have any comment on the above?

2. Christianity overturned the world. Never has there been a movement like this. And the only people who have claimed to be God, other than Jesus, had a small band of followers who ended up killing themselves. Christianity, J. B. Phillips said, “Has the ring of truth.” Can you come up with an answer to some of the following objections to the account of the resurrection?

A. This is a story that was made up so that the disciples could start a movement.

B. This is a beautiful fable — but it is not true. (Experts say that a fable would not have embarrassing details that would make the lead characters unheroic — nor would it have unnecessary details similar to nonfiction.) Can you find an example of a detail that is not congruent with the nature of a fable? (Marcus Borg, who has influenced people I love, is one who says this is a fable. Keller quotes him and refutes him beautifully. There are false shepherds out there who do not love the sheep — and we need to be ready to show the intellectual reasons for the resurrection.)

3. There are many reasons that the resurrection was an explosion of joy for the early disciples — but is it for you? If so, explain why.

One of my husband’s partners was Mark Pinkerton, who now practices in Olethe, Kansas. Two years after Steve died, Mark and Tess’s teenage son was killed in a motorcyle accident. Last week I drove down to Olethe to see them. We loved each other before, but now we share a bond of grief. We know what it is like to lose one to whom you are knit. We talked about how we both read Randy Alcorn’s book on Heaven and Joni Eareckson’s book on Heaven the week after the funerals…  (We talked about the books on heaven we didn’t like too!) We talked about how thankful we are that Jesus is The Resurrection and the Life — that heaven is real — that we will see the ones we love again.

Mark and Tess also decided to adopt after their son’s death. Three wonderful boys from Haiti! Oh — such fine sons — and I can only imagine what God is going to do with their lives. Here I am with Mark and with Zee — who is such a fine young fifteen-year-old!

Mark, Dee, and Zee


How do we go on after the darkest night?

Only by speaking the truth to our souls.

How did Martha of Bethany go on after Lazarus died?

Only by the truth that Jesus spoke to her.

Bible Study: Monday – Wednesday

Though the sisters sent word to Jesus, saying “The one you love is sick,” He intentionally stayed where He was. He can be such a mystery. Now He arrives.

4. Read John 11:17-27

A. How long had Lazarus been dead, and who is the first to confront Him. From what you know about her, how is this consistent with her character?

B. What is the first thing Jesus promises Martha in verse 23? What does this mean to you?

C. Martha sees this as happening in the future, but look carefully at what Jesus says in verses 25 and 26 and find evidence for resurrection life happening the moment a person believes.

D. How does Martha respond in verse 27?

5. Reflecting:

A. This was a huge claim — and yet He made it to a woman. Women were not considered reliable witnesses. So why — do you think, Jesus spoke this first to Martha?

B. Do you think it was hard for Martha to respond as she did in verse 27? Why or why not?

C. In the next passage, Mary says the same words to Jesus — but Jesus responds to her very differently than He did to Martha. Why, do you think?



This sermon is a free sermon preached the week of 9/11 to grieving New Yorkers. This link will look like you have to buy it, but if you choose the MP-3 you will see the cost as 00.00

I also recommend this sermon for 2.50 if you like: Link

6. Share your notes and what you learned.

Before we leave The Great I AM’s, I’d like to have you contemplate, next week, how they relate to helping you overcome the idols of your heart. I’ll also show you the book cover to this book we’ve been studying on and working together on forever. I am so pleased with it and am eager to show it to you — but don’t want to distract from this great day — the best of the year.

You’ve been a wonderful group to journey with through Lent of 2012!

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  1. Just wanted to thank those of you who were praying for Ron…he’s out of the hospital as of last night and is recuperating in Singapore! The doctor said he’s never seen such a rapid recovery. Praise God! I know God used all the prayers powerfully. Ron is so grateful for all the prayer, I know it brought him to tears. (And his wife).

    1. Anne this is wonderful news about Ron! Thanks so much for keeping us updated.

    2. oh what a PRAISE–he and his wife have so pulled on my heart–will continue to pray healing–what a praise, thank you for allowing us to join in so we could see His mighty work!

    3. Anne Meredith,

      Yeah!! Praise God! This is really good news!

    4. This is great news!

    5. Praise God!!

  2. 5B. Do you think it was hard for Martha to respond as she did in verse 27? Why or why not?

    It’s so hard to know, but I think she was overcome with love and awe for Him, after he declared He was the resurrection and the life. So I don’t think it was hard for her.

    C. In the next passage, Mary says the same words to Jesus — but Jesus responds to her very differently than He did to Martha. Why, do you think?

    He is overcome with emotion and compassion, as He sees Mary and the Jews with her weeping. He feels their grief. And her complete faith in him, stating “If you had been here, he wouldn’t have died.”

  3. I have not gotten to the sermon yet, and my brain feels so distracted lately–I hate to share what feels like just my own random thoughts… but when I picture the scene–going to Martha, I just picture that Jesus knew her inner struggle. I relate to her, at least a lot of the old me does. I think he went to her first b/c she represents women in general, as daughters of Eve, caught in a fury of wanting to control/fix..the striving, the worry. But He goes to her, knowing she is at her breaking point–knowing her world has been crushed, and she is ready for Him, she is ready to be rescued–and she doesn’t even know it until He speaks the words to her, and I think it is her light-bulb moment–her heart becoming soft–I think He wanted to show us all that example, and that freeing her from the real pain she was in, the spiritual jail, that was of utmost importance to Him. Once He saw her begin to get it, melt, and be freed–He went to Mary–already broken and fully His. He mourned because He knew they hurt, and He hates death, hates for us to have such pain. And He knew His time was soon coming when He would have to offer Himself and be separated from His Father–I think it all culminated.
    Sorry for this un-edited hodge podge, but just wanted to try to stay connected here–love this group!

    1. Elizabeth, This is not hodge-podge at all. It was great. The part about “But He goes to her, knowing she is at her breaking point–knowing her world has been crushed, and she is ready for Him, she is ready to be rescued–and she doesn’t even know it until He speaks the words to her, and I think it is her light-bulb moment–her heart becoming soft…” really struck home with me. Thanks

      1. Dawn–you always seem to make some sense of my muddy thoughts–you encourage me, thank you! I’ve been thinking of you–how are you doing–emotions and all?

        Chris S-wondering about you too and praying~

        1. Elizabeth, I have been doing better, more good days than bad (I don’t have the desire to run my car into a tree anymore). Things seem to be getting back to “normal”. Thanks for asking, you are so kind and thoughtful.

  4. Today I stumbled upon the April 4 Utmost devotion I had missed, it really spoke to me, goes so well with the Stonecutter studies to me: http://utmost.org/the-way-to-permanent-faith/
    Here’s the last paragraph: “Have we been scattered and have we left Jesus alone by not seeing His providential care for us? Do we not see God at work in our circumstances? Dark times are allowed and come to us through the sovereignty of God. Are we prepared to let God do what He wants with us? Are we prepared to be separated from the outward, evident blessings of God? Until Jesus Christ is truly our Lord, we each have goals of our own which we serve. Our faith is real, but it is not yet permanent. And God is never in a hurry. If we are willing to wait, we will see God pointing out that we have been interested only in His blessings, instead of in God Himself. The sense of God’s blessings is fundamental. “. . . be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Unyielding spiritual fortitude is what we need.

    1. “like!” Thanks Elizabeth. What encouragement — and a reminder not to try to run ahead of Him.

  5. Elizabeth, Thanks for these words. “If we are willing to wait, we will see God pointing out that we have been interested only in His blessings, instead of in God Himself.” It really helps to know that, though I may not feel like God is blessing me and my family, He really really loves me and has the long view for what is best for me. His tender love I still know, without any doubt, even though the dark clouds are weighing heavy. I don’t know how the future will look but I know He does and it will be good.
    Jeremiah 29:11(ESV)”For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

    1. Diane–any update on your daughter & the kids, and YOU?

    2. sorry Diane–When I saw your name in my email, I stopped reading and jumped on here to ask about your daughter–I just finished what you wrote here and it sounds like it’s of course still hard and unknown–love and prayers to you~

  6. Lesson I’ve learned recently: If you’re going to be in a whole bunch of meetings with people who all have the same primary idol, don’t pick the group whose members have CONTROL for an idol! NOt only is it not enjoyable, but my idol wanted to come out and play with the others. Comfort might have been more enjoyable 🙂 Hmm… next time, I may look for meetings where people are recognizing/getting rid of their idols.

  7. 6. Share your notes and what you learned.

    “Jesus offers Martha not a consolation but a resurrection. Jesus doesn’t say, if you trust in me some day I will take you away from all this. Jesus says I am giving you resurrection-I have come not to just take you out of Earth into heaven but to make a new heaven and new Earth-the power of my future-the power of the new heavens and new Earth-the wholeness will be wiped out and the power of that will make everything better.”

    “Keller’s bad dream about his wife-He had a dream she died then woke up and was relieved it was a dream. Jesus is saying I am going to make everything that happened this week be a bad dream. I am not just going to give you consolation, I am going to make it come untrue-it is going to be taken up into the glory that comes.”

    “Everything sad is going to become untrue. The resurrection won’t just console us, it will take all the horrible things that happened and will become untrue-do you believe this? If you believe the Gospel, you have to believe that.”

    Loved this sermon-wow. For the past two or so years since I have been doing Dee’s studies, she has weaved this throughout but I didn’t always look at my circumstances like with my son, and remember that in the future his Autism will be untrue, or with my brother knowing in the future his burn scars on his body will be untrue. I believed it and knew it but have never sat under anyone who has really delved deeper into it..It is usually brushed over quickly. (I hope I am making sense. Hard to type it!) But Oh to let this truth burn into my heart. Such joy!

    1. Love how you are embracing the joy of these hard things and letting the truth burn into your heart. Dee talked about having a burning for the Lord in our hearts when she spoke to the Sonrise women on Monday – so good. This stood out to me b/c she has been so instrumental here in stoking the flames of my heart for Him.

    2. “Everything sad is going to become untrue. The resurrection won’t just console us, it will take all the horrible things that happened and will become untrue-do you believe this? If you believe the Gospel, you have to believe that.” Wow, Rebecca. This makes me want to cry! Can this really be true? Part of me believes and part of me cannot see how it can be true. Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!

      My daughter seems to be doing a bit better. Her mother in law is at her place helping out and I am going for a few days next week. She also had a good visit with her counsellor this week and has a doctor’s appointment to discuss medication next Tuesday. Thanks for your prayers. I know this is a long haul issue.

      I am going to listen to the sermon now.

      1. Diane, you and your daughter and all of your family are in my prayers.

  8. Diane,
    Praying for you and your daughter; I’m so sorry.

  9. So sorry I have not been in this week. Speaking at a online homeschool conference at 3pm today! Would love your prayers. God is doing so much in my heart through this! I am thankful! I am speaking on Homeschooling through the Hard Times. I hope to bring encouragement in Christ to others so that He is supremely glorified and gazed upon. That is the only way to get through the hard, amen!? And what we have been learning for a long time here. 🙂

    Love to you all and I think of you often and praise God for you.

    1. Praying now, Angela….You will do great!

      1. Angela, when Kendra was 16, I pulled her out of school, because she was in a special needs room with 9 big boys and she was the only girl. They boys would grab her (breasts) and push her down, (once outside at gym and her knees were all bloody) and she was scard to death to go to school. She would scream with fear when I would take her there. And the teacher told me to get her shots to stop her periods, so she didn’t have to be bothered by that.

        Well, I gave my 2 weeks notice at work (the clinic where Dee’s husband worked),after 9 yrs. and started a daycare so I could be home with Kendra. The homeschooling was easy for her as all she needed was daily living skills because of her being mentally challenged. After awhile, Kendra bloosmed at home…she started saying so many new words and putting sentances together and laughing and having fun with the little kids. It was such a blessing!

        I truly believe in home schooling because of the love they recieve at home and not going through the bullying (like Jason is) and all the bad looks a disabled child recieves. Even a normal child will do better because there isn’t the pressure of fitting in and not having a friend. So I just want to say how proud I am of you and Cyndi!

        1. aww thanks! It is hard some days! But I am seeing our little guy really growing so much through it! And the girls, we are able to process things together as they happen which makes me happy! Life is so hard for us but God is good to keep us close so we can navigate it together trusting His sovereign will for us all! So sorry Kendra had that experience and so proud of you for taking charge in that situation.

        2. Angela,
          How did your speaking go today? I just got on hear today — so I prayed retroactively 🙂 and am praying that God will continue to use what you said to His Glory in people’s lives.

    2. Praying Angela.

    3. Praying for quickening of the Holy Spirit while you speak.

      1. Thank you all! It is done and I am relieved! 🙂

  10. I LOVE this sermon. I won’t post much—just my favorite parts–
    Everything that happened this week can be a bad dream—incorporating everything to bring glory—suffering healed and made up for—comfort for all resentments, atonement for all crimes. Not just consolation—all the bad becomes untrue. WOW. Really? Last time I heard this sermon I didn’t let it sink in —I thought he meant, it will feel untrue, but really, like it never happened?

    I think this was my favorite part. He knows he the why and the purpose of what happened (truth); He has the power to do something; we think ‘if I had that truth and power…’—why? Why does He weep?
    1)Because He is Perfect Love—He weeps because there is nothing wrong with weeping and falling apart in suffering and grief, it is Christ-like. 2) We think we need to FIX it. But in Jesus we see that He doesn’t believe that the ministry of truth (telling people how they should believe and turn to God) or fixing things is enough. “He also is a proponent of the ministry of tears.” Weep with those who weep, ENTER IN. It’s the sitting shiva Dee taught us–entering in, letting the heart show.

    1. LOVE your post Elizabeth. I listened to the sermon a long time ago but only remember that I was comforted by it. I downloaded both sermons last night, but haven’t listened yet.

    2. Elizabeth, This is what I see in you-the ‘entering in’ with others-His love-yes.. 🙂

  11. Doing a little better ladies thanks for praying!

  12. So dear ladies, I am trying to stay connected by doing most of the Bible study and listening to keller. I am in the home stretch of my masters with just 1-2 weeks left of my two classes and then an extremely difficult comprehensive final exam on may 14. I am not sure how I will pass that test; only with Gods help. I truly need prayers for a clear, focused mind over the next month or so.

    Meanwhile, God is working in my daughter, sarah’s, life. Although the friend we had living here has now moved on (unfortunately it ended badly) sarah just got a job 🙂 I’m am nervous because the place is near the drug apartment in our town and I don’t want her wandering over there again where she could get back into all of that. She once again is totally friendless and as we speak is sleeping in my bed 🙁 my husband wants her to prove to us she can keep a job and save money before next fall. This is because she wants to go to cosmetology school and it costs 18,000 dollars for 11 months.

    Unfortunately, we have also been to the dr for for her hair loss. Over the past couple of years she has had thinning of the hair on top of her head. She just had blood work done yesterday and a biopsy 2 weeks ago. I am praying for it just being a hormonal thing, for her sake. I know it is just a cosmetic thing, but how devastating for a 19 year old who wants a career in cosmotology 🙁 if it isn’t hormonal then it is female patterned baldness. I don’t understand why one person has to be so afflicted; no brain power (but enough to know what is happening), weight troubles, hair troubles, etc. Will she ever be successful with anything in her life? Will she eventually get depressed because of everything? Will anyone ever love her besides me? I know these are all earthly things, and that in reality they don’t really matter. However, although she believes in God she doesn’t go to church or read the Bible or anything like that. I am trusting that the Lord has made her perfectly; as He wants her. One huge thing is that she absolutely LOVES animals and they love her. However I can’t seem to get her to realize how that would be a great career for her. Another plus, she is generally a happy person (for now).

    Oh how we pine for our children……they teach us to love others for sure. I suppose the love in my heart for Sarah mimics the love in God’s heart for me. He is also sad when I choose a wrong path.

    Sorry for the saga; I just wanted/needed prayers for the two of us.

    1. Oh Laura-dancer, I can relate with your feelings although my son is only eleven-I am sure when he is 19 I will be right where you are wondering if anyone will love him-whether he will keep a job or not and if he will need to live with us as an adult-he struggles with over eating due to his sensory issues, so it is extreme. Enough about us, I will be faithful to pray for you all and also for you with this upcoming test-congrats in going for your Masters!! How exciting laura! We are here for you!

    2. Laura-dancer, as I read through this I was so struck by your love for Sarah–despite all the struggles you’ve shared, you have such a deep, unconditional love for her-oh what support that must give her. I will pray about the hair loss, that it will be reversible–and nothing serious, and for God to clearly guide her on the path He has for her. And for your test on May 14th-wow! It’s a lot right at once for you–know you will be prayed for.

      1. Yes, I am struck by your love as well and praying for her, Laura-dancer.

    3. Oh Laura I can identify with you about” Will anyone ever love her besides me?” How I’ve prayed that for Kendra, so I could be assured she will be taken cared of after we are gone. I will be praying for Sarah and for you…for your test. We just have to trust that God has a plan for our children, especially for our special needs kids. Dee is right, God loves them so much more than we can even imagine.

  13. My takeaway is to remember what lies ahead-Jesus is going to take the horrible things in life and make them un-true, so when something happens instead of clinging to an idol or fear, or worry, I want to remember the truth and cling to Him. I have been remembering this these past two days and wow it has made a difference. Yesterday was a hectic day for me, and in the past my comfort idol would cry out-resist Him! resist loving others! curl up around your circumstances and go back into the cleft! Yet, what happened was truly of the Lord..My self talk was, “this is his assignment for me today, this is loving my family, loving others, and this is today-another blessing-and in the future all the things that went wrong today will be undone, so you are free- love your family, give all of yourself as Christ gave himself for you.”

    Believe me, it was tempting to run into the arms of my comfort idol-it really was. I even felt myself starting to go there because really it was a life long habit, but He spoke truth to my soul and empowered me to turn. (If I told you everything that happened yesterday afternoon-one thing after another-you would KNOW it was the power of Christ and not me!)

  14. can my take-away be someone else’s take-away? Honestly, what I just read of Rebecca’s so struck me: “…in the past my comfort idol (or for me, control) would cry out-resist Him! resist loving others! curl up around your circumstances and go back into the cleft!” But instead to say “this is his assignment for me today, this is loving my family, loving others, and this is today-another blessing-and in the future all the things that went wrong today will be undone, so you are free- love your family, give all of yourself as Christ gave himself for you.”

    The way Rebecca applied the whole “become untrue” idea to the present, not just in the future, but let it change NOW–oh, it changes EVERYTHING. Oh Lord, let this sink into my heart and change me.

  15. 6. Share your notes and what you learned. I listened to the free one
    About 9/11 and I learned that there are so many scriptures on hope and God rescuing us Psalm 27,Is 61 psalm 11 and psalm 46 . I also learned that only in Christ is there hope.

    Grief depends on what you put into it. It can make you weaker or far more wise .

    I was thinking about people who don’t know Jesus and Grieve with out hope but I have hope in Jesus Christ he is the great I AM!

    This morning I have an overwhelming sense of joy and hope! I spent the night at my friends house cause she didn’t want me to be alone and when I got up this morning I found a note that said


    You are a great friend please stay around for a long while. I love you! It made me cry! It also made me think that someone does care about me! But I know that even if no one cared about me that Jesus loves me with an everlasting love and even if I was the only person in the world that he still would have died for me!!

  16. I listened to the Keller sermon given after 9/11. I loved the Scriptures. Such comfort. I am pondering what Keller means when he talks about the difference between Jesus being the resurrection and being only a consolation. I looked up the definitions. Consolation Definition: “someone or something that provides comfort in a time of distress or disappointment. Synonyms: alleviation, comfort, solace, relief, sympathy, condolence” (http://vocabulary-vocabulary.com/dictionary). One of the definitions for resurrection is “a rising again, as from decay, disuse, etc.; revival.”

    Keller seems to be saying that when Jesus says he is the Resurrection He means so much more than simply that He will rise from the dead or that He is able to resurrect other people from the dead. It means that all sad things caused because of the Fall will become untrue. Keller is saying that there will be more than merely comfort and relief from our pain, but that all evil will be reversed. Is this true? Will all things resurrect because Jesus is the Resurrection? I can see how Keller might get to where he would believe that, but I don’t know if that is what Scripture says. If this is true, the implications are HUGE, HUGE. I know that earth has suffered the effects of the Fall and that there will be a new heaven and new earth.

    Does Keller further explain this thought any place else? Does anyone know any further information on this theological perspective? This is a new thought to me. I am not sure why, but I just really need to be sure of this before I embrace this thought.

  17. I have been down sick for a few days but hope to listen to the sermon soon. Dr. says it’s sinusitis again. My d i l says to hum. I guess I will give that a try. 🙂

    1. praying dear Kim!

    2. Thank you for the prayers, I am much improved. Oh, and I got a great report from the doctor on my weight loss from the past two months! Yippeeee

  18. True story from my today: This morning I accidentally deleted EVERYTHING on my husband’s (work) blackberry; I grabbed a baking pan from the oven with my bare fingers; thinking I would defrost a metal bowl of frozen hash-browns, I left a plastic spatuala in the bowl…(imagine, and yes); and in an effort to cool off my son’s pizza slices, I stuck the plate in the freezer, which as I tilted in, half the slices fell on the floor, the other half in the ice maker! And then, THEN, I said OUTLOUD, “like Rebecca, I will flee from my idol of control that wants to blame somebody else for all this…and try (really hard) to laugh at this!

    1. Oh my goodness, Rebecca. See how you are growing?!

      1. Oops, I was hurrying…Elizabeth. Sorry!

  19. I have been away at a Moms in Touch retreat for NC and surprised by joy. Sometimes God opens doors and when I recognize Him I always try to follow. But I forgot how He will sometimes open the windows of heaven. It never happens when I am looking for it. He catches me by surprise and He did so this weekend. God brought 2 precious women that I have never met but we had the bond of the Spirit. We prayed, and prayed and prayed some more for our children. I met area coordinators from NC. We were led by our State coordinator. The weather was beautiful. The place was beautiful. Even the food was a special blessing. This is the one calling I have discerned from the Lord right now and am following. I will lead a group at Joey’s school. I want to do it well. I pray that I will not loose steam but stay strong because I am willing to do more than that.

    There is a woman in the group that God called to lead a group in prison last year and she is seeing many incarcerated women coming to pray for their children.

    One of the women that God placed me with is the national leader for cultural diversity. With Joey’s heart for diversity I thought that was singular.

    Now to catch up and finish the post.

    1. Anne, this WHOLE post just made me SMILE. Love how He met you, love how you saw Him in it all, love how you love Joey

    2. Anne, I get excited when you mention Joey’s heart for diversity. SO THANKFUL there are young people who think that way.

      1. Renee,
        I don’t have any gift for working with teens but I do see this wonderful sense of justice and seeking after truth that is awesome about them. I really want to cultivate that in Joey before he becomes cynical for I have seen that happen.

        1. Anne your a wonderful mom! And that was so funny, Elizabeth! I wondered if maybe your nerve’s have numbed your hands alittle and loosing your grip. Hope not!
          Praying for you all.

          I’m trying to catch up with the sermons! So good!!

      2. Like 🙂