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What’s the Hype about Easter? Bob Lepine

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
March 18, 2024 5:15 am

What’s the Hype about Easter? Bob Lepine

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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March 18, 2024 5:15 am

Easter! Is there more than candy and egg hunts? Bob Lepine breaks it down in his book "Twelve Things You Probably Didn't Know about Easter," revealing the real deal behind this holiday. Let's dive in to find out what makes Easter more than just a day of celebration.

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Connect with Bob Lepine and catch more of their thoughts at, and on Instagram and Facebook.

And grab Bob Lepine's book, "12 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Easter" in our shop. This week, for a donation of any size, we'll send you it as our way of saying a huge "Thank you!" for partnering with us toward stronger families around the world.

Resurrection Eggs for Kids: Make Easter memorable! Enjoy a fun egg hunt tradition with storybook, symbols, stickers, and Jesus Film Project videos.

Intrigued by today's episode? Think deeper about Easter.

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Love Worth Finding
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Hey, Shelby Abbott here. Before we get started with today's program, I want you to pause and imagine yourself with your spouse sitting on two deck chairs in a very warm and beautiful environment on a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean. After you're done hanging out with your spouse and relaxing, getting some sun, you head over and have a romantic dinner together, and then you go and hear an amazing message that helps to encourage you in loving your spouse and walking with God.

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So if that sounds interesting to you, it's a great time to save up to $400 per stateroom. Head over to, or you could check out the link in today's show notes. The Easter story is not good advice, it's good news.

We can share good advice, but what they really need to hear is good news, and the good news is that the tomb is empty and Jesus is alive. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson.

You can find us at This is Family Life Today. All right, I've got a question for you. Childhood Easter memories.

I didn't tell you I was going to ask this, so I don't even know what you're going to say. I think the first one, if you live in the north, you know this is a memory of trying to find Easter eggs outside in the spring when it's freezing cold and you're in your pajamas. That's one of the worst ones. But I will say, we had an Easter recently with one of our older sons who's married with four kids, and it was Easter breakfast. And I remember he pulled out the resurrection eggs. Most people know what that is, especially if you've been around Family Life for a while, but he went through the entire gospel with the eggs.

And his kids at the time, I think they were seven, five, three, and one, and the older ones were riveted, asking question after question. I remember tears coming down my eyes thinking, I never knew the story of Easter. Yeah, that's good stuff. And you can still get those resurrection eggs at

But you know what? We've got sort of our own resurrection egg. I don't know how I came up with that. Back from the dead, ladies and gentlemen. He is back from the dead. I have a smile on my face. I'm so happy. Bob, you're like one of our best friends, and you're with us today.

Welcome back, Bob Lapine, a cracked egg. Great to be with you guys and to be back in the studio and doing this again. So thank you for having me on today. I am guessing our listeners are loving hearing your voice. Yeah, I like hearing it. It's a lot better than my voice, I tell you that much. It's got that radio voice.

Yeah. So Bob, tell us, you know, we haven't talked in a while. Fill us in and fill our listeners in on what's going on in your life. We're going to talk about resurrection and eggs here in a minute.

And your new book. We are, but life has been busy over the last couple of years. Our church, Redeemer Community Church, the church that I help plant and pastor in Little Rock, has been growing and thriving. And we're grateful to God for the work that we're seeing him do in our midst. I continue to have opportunities to be engaged with ministries like Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss-Wolgamuth and Truth for Life with Alistair Begg. I've been working with a radio network called Family Radio that plays hymns that I love. I get a chance to help out in their morning show. And I'm a part of a church planting organization called the Great Commission Collective.

We're planting churches in the U.S. and all around the world. So Mary Ann said to me the other day, first she said, when is your day off? And I said, what exactly is a day off? And then she said, and when does retirement kick in? And I said, when we stop breathing, retirement kicks in.

Do you have a philosophy on retirement? You know, I think we have to be aware of the fact that our bodies slow down, our minds slow down. We have to recalibrate the expectations and what we're able to do in life. And I think there can be extended time for rest needed as we get older.

But I think there's never a time when you go off mission, there's never a time when your kingdom agenda gets set aside. And you can say, well, now I buy the mobile home and it's just all about me and my fun. So I think there are transitions that need to happen as we get into our later years. It's one of the reasons why I stepped away from being a part of family life today a couple of years ago. Because I just recognized a handoff needed to come to a younger generation, to you guys.

And I needed to recalibrate and reset for the next stage of life. And I like being called a younger generation. That feels pretty good. I don't know how I know it's like I'm teary listening to his voice.

Isn't that crazy? You are teary. I know. It's just like, oh man, Bob, we love you. We love all that you've done and what you continue to do. You're inspiring because you keep chasing Jesus. And even like some of the stuff you've been writing lately. We had you on, we talked about your Christmas book. Are you becoming a creaster? We wrote a Christmas book and now an Easter book.

That's right. CEO, that's what they call it. Christmas and Easter only, the CEO Christian.

You guys know this story. I was approached a couple of years ago by a publisher who said, we want to create a small book, about 60, 70 pages, that has unchurched people in mind. A book that is about Christmas that could be given to them as a Christmas gift to introduce them to the message of Christmas. And so I wrote a book called The Four Emotions of Christmas and it was very well received. Close to 100,000 copies of that book that were distributed that first year and it sold well again this past Christmas. So they came back and said, what about The Four Emotions of Easter?

And I said, well, I'm not sure that there are four emotions or that it fits the same framework. But we talked and I sat down and wrote a book called 12 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Easter, designed again to be a gospel giveaway, a tool you can put in the hand of a friend, a relative, somebody who doesn't go to church and say, I just want to get you a copy of this book. It's inexpensive to get. It's like buying a greeting card to give to somebody. And my thought is you give them a copy of the book and say, you know, we would love to have you join us at our Easter service at our church.

I don't know if you go to church somewhere, but we'd love to have you be a part of that. And so that's what this book, 12 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Easter, that's the goal. I hope that Family Life Today listeners who get it will read it and find it helpful and learn some things. But I hope they won't hang on to it. I hope that when they're done reading it, they will pray and ask God, God, who can I hand this book off to? In fact, it's one of the reasons we're talking about Easter, even though it's still a couple of weeks away here. We want to talk about it today so people can be thinking evangelistically about the holiday.

Yeah, like you said, it's a great tool. And you have 12 things. I didn't know any of these 12. I think you might have known a couple. You knew this stuff about Jesus and about his crucifixion.

But I was like, gee whiz, Bob did all kinds of study. Because these are some unique facts that, especially for a person that's not really a church-going person, you find pretty interesting. And I'm guessing as you talk about some of these peripheral things, they lead you sort of to the center of Easter being the resurrection.

So you can pick out any one of these you want, but give us a couple. Well, I'll start off by saying that as I thought about the Easter holiday, I didn't know a lot of this as well. I started thinking, so what do we think about when we think about Easter? We think about jelly beans and we think about bunnies and we think about Easter lilies. And there are all of these traditions or trappings related to Easter.

But I thought, where did that come from? Why is there a bunny connected to Easter? Yeah, where's the Easter egg come from and the Easter bunny?

So I started digging in to try to get all of that. One of the things I found that I thought was really interesting was a survey that was done about a decade ago in Britain, where they asked school children, what is Easter all about? And it turned out that about half of the kids in Britain had no idea that Easter was a religious holiday. They thought that Easter, about a third of them said, Easter celebrates the birth of the Easter bunny. And yes, 25% of them thought Easter was connected with the invention of the chocolate egg. And so these are kids growing up in Britain who don't connect Easter with Jesus at all, but they do have a sense of Easter.

They know about eggs and bunnies, which is what got me digging into where all of this came from. And so candy, for example, one of the things that was really interesting here was when I think of Easter, I think of Peeps. There's a raging controversy about whether Peeps are legitimate. You have Peep lovers and Peep haters.

I haven't met people who are moderate on Peeps. And you're saying you are for Peeps? I'm a Peep guy, yeah. Are you, Dave? Nope, I'm not a Peep guy.

I'm not either. You don't like the marshmallow? Would you put it in your hot chocolate? You would not put a Peep in a hot chocolate.

I might do that. I might put it here or there, but would you put it anywhere? I knew you were going to do that. At Christmas, they had candy cane Peeps, and those were pretty good.

See, you need to expand your Peep game here a little bit. But what I realized was that before there were Peeps in England, there was the Cadbury egg. Oh, yeah. Have you had the Cadbury egg?

Yes, I love those. So here's the thing that I didn't know is the ones that you can buy in Great Britain are different than the ones they make in the United States, a different formula. And the Cadbury purists will tell you the American Cadbury egg does not hold a candle to the original British Cadbury egg.

So if you want the real thing, you either have to go across the pond or get somebody who lives there to ship them to you. So I dug into where the origin of the Cadbury egg and how this was a part of revitalizing a candy business that was starting to decline. Peeps was another thing that used to be handcrafted around Easter before it became something that a company bought and turned into mass production. But the whole idea about candy, the connection between candy and Easter, it's really more about capitalism.

They saw an opportunity, said, let's put some candy in here, and consumers voted with their wallet. But the fact that it was an egg and a bunny goes back to the idea that eggs are a symbol of new life, life breaking through. Bunnies are a springtime animal, and bunnies reproduce rapidly. And so these animals, the eggs, these are just pictures, illustrations, metaphors that people have found over the years where they have said Jesus coming out of the tomb is like a chicken coming out of an egg. And so the egg becomes kind of a symbol, same way a youth pastor would use an illustration like this to help the kids lock it in. OK, Bob, did you share those stories with your kids when they were younger? Like if they asked like, Dad, what's the deal with the Easter bunny or the candy?

Did you have anything that you said that was profound? There was no Google back then, so I had no idea where this stuff came from. Like I said, I had to dig this out in order to learn it for myself. I mean, I think I had a vague understanding that bunnies, new life, spring, it's all about renewal. So I had some sense of that. And I think we did talk with the kids as they were growing up about where some of this came from. And we had a candy basket for them on Easter morning when they got up. We wanted to set the day apart and say, this is special. And I think we probably also included in that candy basket something that had some spiritual significance, whether it was a track that we gave them or some icon, something that would remind them of Jesus.

We at least had the chocolate cross. Well, here's what Mary Ann, and this isn't in the book, but Mary Ann would make a tomb cake. Have you ever made or heard of the tomb cake?

No, I've heard of it though. Yeah, so this is where you make, I don't know if it's a sheet cake or some kind of layer cake, but you cut the middle out of the first layer and you find a way to set it on top of that first, the outer layer, so that it forms an inner hollow period. So when you serve the cake, you can point to the fact that inside the cake, it's empty.

There's nothing there. It's like the empty tomb. And we used resurrection eggs. I'm going to be using the resurrection eggs at our church coming up here in a week and a half, two weeks. As we get the kids together for an Easter egg hunt, we will all come into the auditorium afterwards to the worship center, and I'll go one by one through the resurrection eggs. Because here's the point, we've got an opportunity at this season that we ought to take full advantage of to talk with people about Jesus, whether it's your kids or your neighbors, whoever it is.

Every year on the calendar, this pops up. And there are people who don't know the story, but there are people who are open to hearing about it because it's a holiday, it's on the calendar, and we ought to take advantage of that. Give them a copy of this book.

Do whatever you can do, but invite them to your church service on Sunday morning. Let them hear the greatest story ever told. Because here's the point, the Easter story is not good advice, it's good news. And that's what the gospel is. We can share good advice, but what they really need to hear is good news.

And the good news is that the tomb is empty and Jesus is alive. I know that when I was pastoring, I saw a stat that said eight out of ten people, if invited to a holiday church service, primarily Christmas or Easter, will come. Because it is a holiday, they've heard about it, some of them aren't exactly sure what it is. So if somebody has the guts, and it could just be walking across the yard to your neighbor and say, hey, by the way, we're having a church service on Easter, we'd love to have you come.

You know, it's crazy to think a lot of them will come, we don't even invite. So when they get there, Bob, I know you're going to do the resurrection eggs with the kids. What do you want people to understand about Easter? These are 12 little things we didn't know, but as you think about this being the centerpiece of Christianity, what do you think is important for people to understand?

Well, I think we can lock in on the basics. First of all, you can't understand the glory of Easter until you understand the tragedy of Good Friday. You have to understand the shame, the suffering, the crucifixion of Jesus, and the implications of that, the necessity of that, in order for sin to be atoned, in order for there to be an atoning sacrifice for us. And so, if we're really going to talk about Easter, and by the way, on Easter morning, I think you should talk about an empty tomb, as opposed to talking about the cross.

It's a day of victory and celebration, and we should do that. But the impact of Sunday morning is magnified when we have taken time before that to meditate on the tragedy, the passion of the Christ, and to recognize this is something he did willingly. It was an unjust trial that he was exposed to, he was beaten and bruised and tortured, and as he says, at any point in this process, he could have called on a legion of angels, and the whole thing could have been done. But he willingly went to the cross for us to pay the price that we owe for our sin, so that we could be reconciled to God. And it wasn't just the paying of the price on the cross, but it was the triumph of the resurrection.

That's what folks need to understand. Jesus gained victory over sin and death and hell on Sunday morning, when he stepped out of that tomb. He became the book of Revelation, we were just in this in our church. He became the firstborn from the dead, Hebrews calls him that as well. And that means that he's the first person in all of human history who died once and came to life and never died again. There were other people, like Lazarus, who died once, was brought back to life, and then died again later. But Jesus died once, came back to life, and is still alive.

And those who follow him, he has said, you will die once, come back to life, and you will never die again. And you will be with me in paradise, that's the victory that's been won. And that's the message, that's the good news that we need to trumpet loudly on Easter Sunday. You guys do a Good Friday service, because we started doing that. And one of the hardest things, I don't know if you've had this, for me was, we decided, and we've been doing it for decades, to end Good Friday with him on, you know, he's dead, he's in the tomb.

And so, you know, my personality is sort of like, we gotta wrap this thing with at least some joy. We don't always send people out in the dark, but we literally turn the lights off and everybody walks out quietly, depressed. Because you wanted to feel what it felt like, and what the disciples probably felt like, hopeless, so that when they walk back in on Saturday or Sunday, the tomb is empty and it's a whole different thing.

Is that what you do? That's exactly what we do. We spend about an hour singing hymns, meditating on the cross, hearing the scriptures read again, and then thinking together about the willingness of Jesus to go to the cross for us, and trying to clear up some of the confusion that there is around the death of Christ, some of the things that people, they have misconceptions about his death. We just want to make sure they're thinking biblically about that. But just like you, Dave, we want to end it that night with silence and darkness. And we send everybody, we tell folks, if you want to visit with people who are here, wait till you're out in the parking lot.

But just be silent until you leave, and then you can get in the parking lot and talk. But we leave it with a very sober, sounder. We want the weight of the event to be felt by all of us. Bob, talk to families now that still have kids in their homes. What could that look like on Good Friday? Because I know that we wanted our kids to understand Easter, and that includes Good Friday. What could a parent say and talk about at their home, even like that Good Friday evening? The kids might say, why is it Good Friday?

Yeah. First of all, I think you don't wait till Friday. I think you start talking about it all through Holy Week.

I think the week provides you with lots of opportunities. So you start on the Sunday before Resurrection Sunday, and you talk about the triumphal entry and the children who were out there waving palm branches and laying them down as Jesus came into Jerusalem. And you talk about what he experienced during the week and the conflict in the temple courtyard with the money changers that took place and the questions that were being asked of him and the people who were out to murder him. I think of a nine-year-old boy who's hearing the story about a man who's just come to town, and there are people out to get him, and they want to get him and they want to put him to death.

A nine-year-old boy or girl is going to be right in the middle of that. So what happened and how did he hide and where did he go and what did he do? Even that you talked about the 18 laws that were broken to condemn Jesus to death on Good Friday.

I thought that was fascinating. It's really clear if you look at how from one o'clock in the morning on Good Friday until nine o'clock in the morning when Jesus was crucified, there were three, actually six trials that took place during that time. And these Pharisees who were sticklers for the law were violating the law right and left because it wasn't about the law, it wasn't about God, they wanted done what they wanted done.

So there was a trial before Caiaphas and then there was a trial before Annas. There was the trial before the Sanhedrin and then there was Pilate and then King Herod and then back to Pilate. And the thing, Pilate didn't want Jesus killed. He was looking for every way to end this whole skirmish without having to put Jesus to death. But the crowd insisted and demanded that Jesus be put to death. Even when Pilate came forward and said, okay, here's a guy who's a really bad guy, he's a robber and a thief, his name's Parabus, here's Jesus. I have a tradition, we can let one of these two guys go, who do you want? And he thought for sure, they would say, don't turn the robber back out into the streets.

Don't put crime back in. And they said, give us Parabus, crucify Jesus. And all of the drama that's in there is powerful and profound. And I think we can tell these stories to our kids, but I would use the whole week. I would take time each day during Holy Week so that when you get to Friday, they understand that Jesus went willingly to the cross. He was not against his will. He could have stopped this, but he chose to go. And the reason he chose to go was because he loves us, because he wanted to reconnect us to God.

And the only way we could be reconnected to God was by his payment of the debt we owed. You know, one of the things I like how you end the book with chapter 12, Jesus welcomes doubters. And I was thinking, you know, as parents teaching this story to our kids, toddlers, middle schoolers, high schoolers, we're going to have some doubters. And maybe they have the courage to say, Dad or Mom, I don't know if I buy this. So talk to us a little bit about what you wrote about there, that Jesus welcomes that with Thomas and therefore.

Exactly. One of his disciples got the nickname Doubting Thomas, because in spite of the testimony of faithful witnesses, in spite of those who said we've seen him, Thomas says, no, this is just beyond belief. I don't know what you guys are thinking.

I don't know what you were drinking. I don't know what's going on here. But he says, unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails and place my finger in the mark of the nails, place my hand in his side, I will never believe. So he puts up a wall that says, I must have evidence.

And here's the thing. Jesus is OK with that. Jesus, when he comes to Thomas, says, OK, I'll meet you where you are. I'll answer your doubts. I'll deal with your doubts. Of course, he does then say, you have believed because you've seen. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet still believe.

So I think there is something to the idea. I don't think we should celebrate doubt. The Bible, there's no place in the Bible where the Bible says that's a good thing. No, the Bible says faith is a good thing.

But I think we should be courageous enough to welcome. Jesus welcomes doubters and says, bring your doubts to me and we'll deal with those. And the message of Easter, in fact, the message of the entire Bible is that God came to live among us, as one of us, lived a perfect life, full obedience to the Father, died a brutal death on the cross. Three days later, his heart started beating again. He rose from death. We need to acknowledge there's some unbelievable things I've just said. And we should not expect that everybody will hear that and go, oh, OK, that makes perfect sense to me, that God came and came as a baby and then he died on the cross and then he walked out of the tomb again.

Yeah, I believe. No, it's right to pressure test that and go, wait, are you sure? Why did that happen? But Jesus invites. C.S. Lewis was a doubter. He was a skeptic. He was an atheist for years. He said this can't possibly be true. But God kept pursuing him.

And C.S. Lewis came to the point where he recognized that the weight of evidence was heavier than the weight of his doubts. And that didn't mean that his doubts all went away. It just meant when he sat down and examined the evidence, he said there's more evidence to support the resurrection of Christ and his lordship than there is to deny it.

So I will, by faith, respond to that. You know, we had three sons and, you know, some were more inclined to doubt than others. And I know as a parent, when they would question, I would feel like I better know my stuff. I better know, you know, and part of me is like, this is a great book for us as parents to know the Easter story so that when our kids have questions, you know, we can help answer that. Let me ask you this. As you were doing this study, was there something that jumped out to you that was surprising?

I mean, you've got 12, maybe any one of those, but is there anything else that just like was the highlight of all of them? So this is going to sound really terrible because we've been talking about the crucifixion and the resurrection, but the history of the hot cross bun is what stuck out to me. That hit me too.

That's so funny. I've never heard this before. Yeah, so maybe it's because I like baked goods, you know, I like a good cinnamon roll. But the hot cross bun is an interesting, this goes back to Britain. This is when bakers, it was once a criminal offense to bake these buns, but it was a monastery, St. Albans Abbey in Hertfordshire, England. And they started making these buns in spring, flour, eggs, yeast, currants. They mixed them all together. It was called the Alban bun because it came out of that monastery, and they would put a cross on the top of the unbaked dough, and they would use those buns to feed the poor on Good Friday.

So they would make those. Well, I guess some people who weren't poor ate them and went, wait, how come the poor are the only ones getting these great buns? And so during the late Middle Ages, the popularity of these buns coming out of that monastery just swelled. People started to believe that the buns could cure diseases, that it was good luck to hang the buns in your house all year long. And as these superstitions grew, the Queen of England said these are illegal because she wanted to try to stop the superstition.

But people kept smuggling buns, even when she called them illegal, and they eventually came back on the market. And the association with the crucifixion of yeast rising and that which was dead coming alive is kind of a superficial one. But again, I think we have metaphors all around us that we can grab onto and say, when a flower opens, we can say, you know, that's like someone opening their heart to Jesus.

We have so many ways we can take what's going on in the world around us and point ourselves and our kids toward what the gospel teaches. And Bob, I just want to say, like, thank you. I feel like I watch you and Mary Ann, your family, your kids, your grandkids, and you are running after Jesus still, after all these years, because the resurrection, the resurrection of Jesus, we have all given our lives to him to want to follow him, to bring others to him because he's given us life. So thanks for all you're doing. Thanks for inspiring Dave and I. We're always a fan.

You're our hero. And our Jesus is our ultimate hero, Bob. But you're you're under Jesus.

Pretty close. As Ann said that, Bob, I thought, well, I've seen Bob run, and I don't think he's running. I don't think I'm running anymore either, literally. Our hearts are running, though. I know what you meant.

We're running after Jesus spiritually, emotionally. And let me add this. You know, this is a great tool. Like you said at the very beginning, this isn't just a book for you. This is something you hope people get and then hand out, hand out to their neighbors and others.

And some of you know this and some of you don't. We at Family Life need you as partners with us. This doesn't happen without you praying for us and then being a financial partner. And a partner means you can give annually, but we really love it when we get partners to give monthly.

And so here's the thing. If you decide, I want to become a Family Life partner and jump in and not just be a spectator with this ministry, but be an active participant, I want to be a partner, we're going to send you two of Bob's books on this Easter topic. So you'll get two of those, one for yourself, one to give out, and that'll be our gift to you for giving a gift to us. And Bob, let me just say, it's always a joy. Anytime you're in Orlando, you walk in here, we will talk about something.

And even if you're not, you call us, we will have you on your show that we are now hosting. Love you guys, cheering you on, and God bless the work that Family Life today is doing. May it increase and swell beyond anything that we've ever been associated with. Praying for you guys. Thanks. Thank you.

I'm Shelby Abbott, and you've been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with our very own beloved Bob Lapine on Family Life today. As Dave mentioned, as a thank you gift for becoming a partner with us here at Family Life, we want to send you two copies of Bob's book on Easter. One for you to keep, and then one to give to a friend or family member.

So you might be like, well, how do I do that? Well, you can get your copy with any donation by going online to and clicking on the donate now button at the top of the page. Or you could give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329. Again, that number is 800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. And you can feel free to drop us a donation in the mail if you'd like to.

Our mailing address is Family Life, 100 Lakehart Drive, Orlando, Florida, 32832. You know, you heard Bob mention earlier the resurrection eggs, and we've ordered one for our family. This is just a great resource to help your kids understand the story of Easter in a profound and also really fun, tactile way. You get to like touch things and read things. It's really quite beautiful. So if you want to order this resource, you can go online again to So here's an important question. Can seasons of darkness actually help us see more clearly than ever?

Seems kind of opposite thinking. But tomorrow, singer and author Andrew Peterson is going to describe his path through depression to resurrection. That's tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of Dave and Anne Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-18 07:42:02 / 2024-03-18 07:55:42 / 14

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