Driving Notes

The Official Blog of WNZR's Afternoon Drive



The Importance of Matthew 1

The New Testament begins in Matthew 1 with what’s called “the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah.”  Have you ever wondered why?

Matthew’s Gospel doesn’t begin with the nativity itself…the star, the shepherds and the manger. Instead, it begins with a long list of ancestry. And let’s be honest- how many times have we skipped through this?

In his book, Hidden Christmas, Pastor Timothy Keller gives us perspective on why Matthew started the story of Jesus this way. He reminds us that Christmas is not just about a birth, it is about a coming.

The birth of the Son of God into the world is a gospel, a good news, an announcement that says, you don’t save yourself – God has come to save you. Of course, Christmas is just the beginning of the story of how God came to save us. Jesus will have to go to the cross. But you begin with Christ by believing this report about what has happened in history. Matthew tells us here that this story is no fairy tale – Jesus is real!

Matthew doesn’t start his book with “Once Upon a Time.” That is the way fairy tales or legendary fantasy stories begin.  Matthew is grounding who Jesus Christ is and what he does in history with the genealogy.  Keller reminds us that in Matthew 1, we learn that Jesus is not a metaphor – he is real. This all happened!

In this genealogy at the beginning of the New Testament, what else is Matthew saying?  Pastor Keller writes that the list of Jesus’ genealogy is also a type of resume.  In those times, your family, pedigree and clan made up your resume. Therefore, this list is really saying, “this is who Jesus is.”

Matthew’s genealogy is shockingly different from the other ones of his time. First, there are five women in the list. Three of them, Tamar, Rahab and Ruth, are Gentiles. The Jews would have considered them unclean. In fact, Tamar was a prostitute. He also refers to “Uriah’s wife,” who you may know is Bathsheba. These names recall some of the most difficult stories in the Old Testament. Yet, they are in Jesus’ genealogy. Why?

But wait, in verse 6 we have the name King David.  We might think, “now there is somebody we want in our genealogy!” David, after all, was the boy who killed Goliath, favored by Saul, anointed as King, and the man who conquers Jerusalem. But David also was a flawed man, who arranged the killing of his friend Uriah and whose son Solomon was the result of his affair with Bathsheba.  Yet out of that deeply flawed man, the Messiah came. These people are all acknowledged in Matthew 1 as the ancestors of Jesus.

So what does that mean?  Tim Keller asks us to think about it this way:

It means that people who are excluded by culture, society and even by the law of God can be brought into Jesus’ family.  If you repent and believe in Him, the grace of Jesus covers your sin and unites you with Him.

Moreover, with King David, it means even the powerful and great are still in need of the grace of Christ.  It is not what you have done; it is what Christ has done for you!

God is not ashamed of us.  We are all in His family!

Congratulations to Tracy from Bellville and Jessica from Mount Vernon, winners today in the WNZR Christmas Gift Exchange!

Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Dylan

Christmas Motivations

Today Joe shared a classic 1914 Christmas story in a devotional from James Banks called, “When Peace Breaks Out.” Read this inspiring story from Our Daily Bread by clicking here.

Dylan shared “God’s Sure Pursuit,” from John Blase. Read more by clicking here.

Name an item you’d need to dress up as Santa Claus!
1- Santa Hat (40 votes)
2- Beard (24)
3- Big Belly (9)
4- Red Pants/Belt (5)
5- Suspenders/Black Boots (2)

Congratulations to Rebecca from Butler, who guessed correctly and wins the Veggie Tales DVD, “The Star of Christmas.”

Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Dylan

What inspired these classics?

Today we shared a couple of ‘who knews?’ about the origins of a couple of Christmas song classics:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s ‘Christmas Eve Sarajevo’ is consistently among the top songs in music surveys. TSO’s Paul O’Neill told the story behind the rock/orchestra song in an interview with Christianity Today:

We heard about this cello player born in Sarajevo many years ago who left when he was fairly young to go on to become a well-respected musician, playing with various symphonies throughout Europe. Many decades later, he returned to Sarajevo as an elderly man—at the height of the Bosnian War, only to find his city in complete ruins.

I think what most broke this man’s heart was that the destruction was not done by some outside invader or natural disaster—it was done by his own people. At that time, Serbs were shelling Sarajevo every night. Rather than head for the bomb shelters like his family and neighbors, this man went to the town square, climbed onto a pile of rubble that had once been the fountain, took out his cello, and played Mozart and Beethoven as the city was bombed.

He came every night and began playing Christmas Carols from that same spot. It was just such a powerful image—a white-haired man silhouetted against the cannon fire, playing timeless melodies to both sides of the conflict amid the rubble and devastation of the city he loves. Some time later, a reporter traced him down to ask why he did this insanely stupid thing. The old man said that it was his way of proving that despite all evidence to the contrary, the spirit of humanity was still alive in that place.

The song basically wrapped itself around him. We used some of the oldest Christmas melodies we could find, like “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Carol of the Bells” part of the medley (which is from Ukraine, near that region). The orchestra represents one side, the rock band the other, and single cello represents that single individual, that spark of hope.”

Here’s the story behind the book…and the song…‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer:’

As the holiday season of 1938 came to Chicago, Bob May wasn’t feeling much comfort or joy. A 34-year-old ad writer for Montgomery Ward, May was exhausted and nearly broke. His wife, Evelyn, was bedridden, on the losing end of a two-year battle with cancer. This left Bob to look after their four-year old-daughter, Barbara.

One night, Barbara asked her father, “Why isn’t my mommy like everybody else’s mommy?” As he struggled to answer his daughter’s question, Bob remembered the pain of his own childhood. A small, sickly boy, he was constantly picked on and called names. But he wanted to give his daughter hope, and show her that being different was nothing to be ashamed of. More than that, he wanted her to know that he loved her and would always take care of her.

So he began to spin a tale about a reindeer with a bright red nose who found a special place on Santa’s team. Barbara loved the story so much that she made her father tell it every night before bedtime. As he did, it grew more elaborate. Because he couldn’t afford to buy his daughter a gift for Christmas, Bob decided to turn the story into a homemade picture book.

In early December, Bob’s wife died. Though he was heartbroken, he kept working on the book for his daughter. A few days before Christmas, he reluctantly attended a company party at Montgomery Ward. His co-workers encouraged him to share the story he’d written. After he read it, there was a standing ovation. Everyone wanted copies of their own. Montgomery Ward bought the rights to the book from their debt-ridden employee.

Over the next six years, at Christmas, they gave away six million copies of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to shoppers. Every major publishing house in the country was making offers to obtain the book. In an incredible display of good will, the head of the department store returned all rights to Bob May. Four years later, Rudolph had made him into a millionaire.

Now remarried with a growing family, May felt blessed by his good fortune. But there was more to come. His brother-in-law, a successful songwriter named Johnny Marks, set the uplifting story to music. The song was pitched to artists from Bing Crosby on down. They all passed. Finally, Marks approached Gene Autry. The cowboy star had scored a holiday hit with “Here Comes Santa Claus” a few years before.

Like the others, Autry wasn’t impressed with the song about the misfit reindeer. Marks begged him to give it a second listen. Autry played it for his wife, Ina. She was so touched by the line “They wouldn’t let poor Rudolph play in any reindeer games” that she insisted her husband record the tune.

Within a few years, it had become the second best-selling Christmas song ever, right behind “White Christmas.” Since then, Rudolph has come to life in TV specials, cartoons, movies, toys, games, coloring books, greeting cards and even a Ringling Bros. circus act. The little red-nosed reindeer dreamed up by Bob May and immortalized in song by Johnny Marks and Gene Autry has come to hold a special place in children’s hearts all over the world!

–          We were born 35 minutes apart on December 22, 1949 in Douglas on the Isle of Man
–          Our dad was a drummer so we caught the music bug
–          We performed for the first time with our older brother, Barry, in 1957 at a local theater
–          Our family moved to Australia in 1958 and continued singing
–          Our band name was a spelled out acronym
–          We are best known for songs like “Staying Alive” and “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?”

We are Maurice and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees! Congratulations to Amanda of Mount Vernon, who guessed correctly and wins the $5 gift card to Everlasting Cup.

Lisa from Mount Vernon and Renee from Howard

Here’s the article and recipe about the holiday yule log that Dylan shared…

Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Dylan

Emmanuel – God WITH us!

Today we’re sharing Monday Motivation from Pastor Tim Keller…

The word Immanuel means, as we learn in Matthew 1:23, “God with us.”  The coming of the Christ child fulfilled what Isaiah wrote in chapter 7, verse 14: “the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

In his book Hidden Christmas, Pastor Timothy Keller shares that for centuries, the Jewish religious leaders and scholars had known that prophecy, but did not think that it should be taken literally. They thought it was simply predicting the coming or arrival of some great leader through whose work, God would be present with his people.

However, Matthew writes that this promise is greater than anyone imagined!  It did not come true figuratively, but literally. Jesus Christ is “God with us” because the human life in Mary’s womb was a miracle performed by God himself.  Then Jesus, with his life, his claims and his resurrection, convinced his closest followers that he was not just a prophet telling them how to find God, but God himself coming to find us.

Keller writes that this claim, that Jesus is God, gives us the greatest possible hope.  Why?  Because it means this world is not all that there is…it means that there is life and love after death and it means that evil and suffering will one day end.

And it is not just hope for the world, but hope for you and me personally. A God who was only holy would have not come to us in Jesus.  He would have just demanded that we pull ourselves together and be moral and holy enough to be worthy of relationship with him. But our God is fully holy and fully human – so he doesn’t send someone else – he comes himself!  Jesus is one of us – and that should give us all hope!

The word Immanuel means, as we learn in Matthew 1:23, “God with us.”  The coming of the Christ child fulfilled what Isaiah wrote in chapter 7, verse 14: “the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

So what is the purpose of “God with us?” What does “with him” mean? Pastor Timothy Keller, in his book Hidden Christmas, writes that the purpose of the incarnation is that we would have relationship with him. In Jesus, the unapproachable God of the Old Testament becomes a human being who can be known and loved. Through faith, we can know this love.

This is a complete shift from the Old Testament. Think about this: anytime anyone drew near to God in the Old Testament, it was terrifying! God appears to Abraham as a smoking furnace; to Israel as a pillar of fire; to Job as a hurricane or tornado. When Moses asks to see the face of God in Exodus 33, he was told what?  That it would kill him…that he could only get close to God’s back.  When Moses came down off the mountain in Exodus 34, his face was SO BRIGHT with radiance that the people could not look at him!

So Pastor Keller asks this: can you imagine if Moses were alive today and heard the message of Christmas? What would he say?  How would he react? What if Moses heard John 1:14 “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us – we have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son?”

Keller thinks Moses would say, “Do you know what this means? This is the very thing I was denied! Through Jesus, you can meet God. You can know him personally and without terror.  Do you realize what’s going on? Where’s your joy?  Where’s your amazement? This should be the driving force of your life!”

And why did God show up this time in the form of a baby instead of fire? Because this time He has come not to bring judgment but to bear it; to take away the barrier between humanity and God. Jesus is God with us!

Congratulations to: Lyle from Howard and Paul from Mount Vernon!
Name two gifts that are difficult to wrap:

1- Basketball (34 votes)
2- Football (19)
3- Stuffed animals (14)
4- a pet (7)
5- a bike (4)

Congratulations to Brenda from Fredericktown, who guessed correctly and wins a $5 gift card to Everlasting Cup!

Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Jonathon

Christmas NZ Top 10 for 12/17/21

Today we’re playing the top 10 Christmas songs from our holiday music survey – these are the songs YOU told us are your favorites!

10. Frank Sinatra – Let It Snow!
9. Danny Gokey – Mary, Did You Know?
8. Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops – Sleigh Ride
7. Bing Crosby – White Christmas
6. Burl Ives – Holly Jolly Christmas
5. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Canon
4. Bing Crosby – It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
3. Vince Guaraldi Trio – Linus and Lucy
2. David Foster – Carol of the Bells
1. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Eve, Sarajevo

Peter from Howard and Debbie from Mount Vernon!

Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Zoe

Christmas inspiration from Isaiah…

Today we shared more Christmas praises!

Joe shared one of his favorites from 2019:

One of the first indications of the Christmas season is LIGHT.  The appearance of lights seemingly everywhere – on trees, with candles, above streets; there is radiance all around us.

Lights are not just for decoration of course, they are symbolic.

In his book, Hidden Christmas, Pastor Timothy Keller says one of the most important spiritual truths at Christmas is this: the world is a dark place, and we will never find our way or see reality unless Jesus IS our light.

Keller writes that the word ‘darkness’ in the Bible refers to evil and ignorance. The world has evil and untold suffering. The world also has no one who can cure the evil and suffering. We look towards the earth and our human resources to try to fix the world.  We think we can end darkness with intellect and innovation.  That’s the ignorance.

So the message of Christmas is NOT, “we will be able to put together a world of unity and peace.”  The message, instead, is a humble one: “Things really are this bad and we can’t heal or save ourselves. Nevertheless, THERE IS HOPE.”

Notice the verse in Isaiah doesn’t say the light comes from the world…it says that upon the world a light has dawned.  It has come from the outside, and Jesus has brought that light to save us!  Because, as John 8:12 says, He IS that light!

Dylan shared a Christmas thought from Amy Boucher Pye in ‘Our Daily Bread’…

When John’s cold turned into pneumonia, he ended up in the hospital. At the same time, his mother was being treated for cancer a few floors above him, and he felt overwhelmed with worries about her and about his own health. Then on Christmas Eve, when the radio played the carol “O Holy Night,” John was flooded with a deep sense of God’s peace. He listened to the words about it being the night of the dear Savior’s birth: “A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!” In that moment, his worries about himself and his mother vanished.

This “dear Savior” born to us, Jesus, is the “Prince of Peace,” as Isaiah prophesied (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus fulfilled this prophecy when He came to earth as a baby, bringing light and salvation to “those living in the land of the shadow of death” (Matthew 4:16; see Isaiah 9:2). He embodies and gives peace to those He loves, even when they face hardship and death.

There in the hospital, John experienced the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) as he pondered the birth of Jesus. This encounter with God strengthened his faith and sense of gratitude as he lay in that sterile room away from his family at Christmas. May we too receive God’s gift of peace and hope.

Q: Of the four gospels, only one does not mention Christ’s birth or beginning. Which gospel is that?

A: Mark

Congratulations to Rebecca from Butler, who guessed correctly and wins the $5 gift card to Everlasting Cup!

Pat from Mount Vernon and Pam from Fredericktown!

Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Dylan

Christmas NZ Top 10 for 12/3/21

This week we are bringing you (in no particular order) 10 of the top NEW Christmas songs for 2021! Click the songs for links to lyric videos and audio.

10. We The Kingdom – Still Can’t Sleep on Christmas Eve
9. Anne Wilson – I Still Believe in Christmas
8. Zach Williams – I Don’t Want Christmas to End
7. Cade Thompson – Angels We Have Heard on High
6. Cochren and Co. – Christmas (What the World Needs)
5. Newsboys – The Christmas Song
4. Ryan Stevenson – Heart and Soul of Christmas
3. Jordan Feliz – Feliz Navidad
2. Jordan St. Cyr – Rejoice
1. Tasha Layton – Giving Christmas Away

for NEW MUSIC FRIDAY, we added to the list!

Mac Powell – Jesus Christ is Born

Love and the Outcome – Christmas Lights

For King and Country – Heavenly Hosts

Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Zoe

Gobble Gobble, Drummer Boy, It’s Artist Newsday Game Time Tuesday!

This week on Artist Newsday, we talk about some silly songs and some drive-in tours!

Matthew West shares a Thanksgiving tune and music video featuring his family that you do not want to miss this holiday season! Read the full story HERE! And make sure you watch the brand new music video to his song Gobble Gobble!

for KING & COUNTRY is embarking on A Drummer Boy Drive-In: The Christmas Tour! Read all about it right HERE.

This is for the second chance

This is for the new romance

Sing it for the loved in vain

Overcame, it’s not too late

Song: Together

Artist: For King & Country with Tori Kelly and Kirk Franklin.

Congratulations to Sherissa for guessing correctly and winning a five dollar gift certificate to Everlasting Cup!

Thank you so much for tuning in to The Afternoon Drive! -Lexie

Joseph’s example

Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV)

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[b] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Matthew 2:13-15 (NIV)

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

In both of these passages, we learn about Joseph’s character, specifically his obedience. Upon receiving a command from God concerning taking Mary as his wife… and then later taking the child out of danger…he obeyed.

These short passages communicate a lot about Joseph. He receives a command and he obeys. No debating. No delaying. Just immediate and complete obedience. Would Joseph’s obedience bring hardship? Probably. And danger? No doubt. But still, he obeyed. And so must we when we commit to listening to God and following his commands.

Joseph was obedient, but he was also a loyal man. When he made his decision to wed Mary, he knew he would face public ridicule. After all, how could he explain the situation? And who would believe the story anyway? But Joseph was willing to face the critics. If people condemned Mary, they would have to condemn him as well.

Think about this, too: Joseph was also careful to take Mary with him when he went to Bethlehem to register and pay his taxes. He could have gone alone. Her presence wasn’t required. But, Joseph knew that if he left her behind, he would not be able to protect her from further ridicule.

Obedience and loyalty was a way of life for Joseph. So, what can we learn from these passages?  We can start by asking ourselves some questions:

Am I caring and sensitive? Do I only look out for myself, or do I have concern about the needs of others?

Am I obedient? Do I seek after the things of God?

Am I loyal? Do I stick by my family and friends during the tough times? Even maybe to suffer ridicule for their sake?

Do I look out for those who are weaker than I am?  Do I have a positive moral code?

Learning to do these things will take work.  But Joseph gives us a great example. We can only do this through asking God every day for wisdom and for strength.

Thanks for listening!
– Joe and Todd

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