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Resurrection Stories

Sharing stories of hope, purpose, transformation and service

Resurrection Stories is a podcast about hope, purpose, transformation and service. Each week, Pastor Robert Johnson interviews a guest who is connected with Resurrection, A United Methodist Church. Our weekly guests open up to share their powerful stories of faith and how they are living that out on a daily basis. God is using people like us to close the gap between where the world is and where the world could be, and this podcast will leave you inspired, encouraged, and equipped to consider how you might join God to live out your own Resurrection Story.

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Welcome to another episode of Resurrection Stories” a podcast that brings you stories of hope, purpose, transformation, and service from the heart of the Church of the Resurrection. Hosted by Robert Johnson, the Leawood location pastor, and Angie McCarty, a dedicated pastor at the church, each episode is a journey into the lives of individuals who are living out their faith in extraordinary ways.

In This Episode:

A Pastor’s Journey of Grace: Hear the moving story of Dennis Apple, a pastor at the Church of the Resurrection, who shares his journey through the devastating loss of his son and how it profoundly shaped his faith and ministry.

Faith Through Adversity: Discover how Dennis navigated the darkest moments of his life, grappling with doubt and grief, yet ultimately finding a deeper understanding of God’s grace and presence.

Inspiration for Your Faith Journey: Be inspired by Dennis’s resilience and the way he has used his experiences to support others in their times of grief, embodying the church’s mission of transformation and service.

A Message of Hope: This episode is a testament to the power of faith to carry us through life’s toughest challenges and a reminder that we are never alone in our struggles.

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Isaac Cates, member of the Recording Academy, artist, composer and Director of Music Outreach at Resurrection, shares his inspiring story of faith, music, and how God’s love transformed his life.

A Life Dedicated to Music
Isaac grew up in Kansas City surrounded by music. His family encouraged his talents in both music and other passions. With both formal music education and a gift for improvisation, his career evolved through composing, film scoring, and even dissertation research subjects. Despite his global reach, Isaac shares how he maintains humility, always prioritizing service to God over worldly success.

The Power of God’s Love
Isaac describes a turning point in his faith at age 13, when he felt a deep, personal connection to God’s boundless love for him. This revelation launched a lifelong journey with God, and this same love remains the focus of his music ministry today.

Isaac’s Work at Resurrection
At Resurrection, Isaac leads worship and directs projects like the Affirmations Concert, bringing together amazing talents from across Kansas City. He finds great joy in serving his community and sharing the gospel message through music.

The Legacy of Love
Isaac’s personal testimony of faith is a reminder of the transformative power of God’s love. Despite challenges like losing both parents, he finds comfort knowing they are with God. This love remains evident through Isaac’s musical ministry and his dedication to serving his community.

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Emily Stirewalt is a pastor at Resurrection who leads Silver Link, a unique ministry dedicated to caring for older adults. Her journey to this position has been one of faith, transformation, and discovering the true meaning of family.

Caring for Those Others Might Forget
Emily leads the Silver Link Ministry, reaching out to older adults who are homebound or living in care facilities. They provide worship services and loving companionship to this sometimes overlooked population.

Called to This Work
Emily has always felt a connection to older adults. Growing up in a close-knit church community shaped her faith and planted a seed of compassion within her. A woman serving as a campus minister later inspired her to answer her own calling within the church.

Overcoming Challenges, Finding Her Path
Emily faced setbacks in her early career, but God’s love and guidance led her back into ministry. It was through chaplaincy work that she confirmed her desire to adopt and foster children, feeling a profound connection to those who may feel orphaned or alone.

Building a Beautiful Family
Emily and her husband Randall both wanted to foster and adopt. Their beautiful family has grown through amazing circumstances. They adopted their oldest daughter, and then welcomed a biological child only eight days later! Emily shares their incredible journey as testament to how God makes a way.

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Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work at a large, vibrant church like Church of the Resurrection? Today, we introduce you to Becca Anderson, an experienced pastor who now uses her ministry gifts in the IT department. Learn how technology can amplify God’s work!

Becca’s Journey: From Pastor to IT Professional
Becca shares her remarkable faith journey: growing up in a ministry family, the life-changing influence of her grandmother, and eventually discovering her passion for tech and finding new ways to support God’s mission.

Doing Ministry at Work
As Becca helps guide staff members through tech processes, she infuses her work with grace and understanding. It’s all about building Christian community – both inside the church walls and out!

Married Life and Working Together
Becca offers a fun glimpse into her life beyond work. For over 30 years, she and her husband David have thrived while working together on various church teams. It’s beautiful to see how shared experiences cultivate both a strong marriage and a shared work ethic.

Faith Through Knitting
One of Becca’s favorite hobbies is knitting – but for her, it’s much more than just yarn and needles. Discover how the craft is her special spiritual practice, helping her connect with God even during stressful times.

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Welcome to Resurrection Stories, a podcast where we connect with people who call Resurrection Church their home. In this episode, we meet Carol, the Missions Director, who shares her inspiring journey of faith and her passion for serving others.

Carol’s journey begins with a search for a church that feels welcoming and inclusive. After experiencing disappointment in previous churches, she finds a home at Resurrection, where she is warmly welcomed and feels a connection to the community. This leads her to explore her spiritual gifts and embark on a fulfilling career in ministry.

One of the defining moments in Carol’s faith journey is the realization of her own need for grace. This understanding makes her approach to ministry more compassionate and inclusive, recognizing that everyone makes mistakes and deserves forgiveness.

Carol’s passion lies in connecting people with mission opportunities, both locally and globally. Whether it’s volunteering on a Saturday morning or embarking on a life-changing mission trip, she encourages everyone to get involved and experience the transformative power of serving others.

The episode concludes with Carol inviting listeners to explore the various mission opportunities available at Resurrection Church. You can learn more by visiting the church website, connecting with Carol directly, or listening to their podcast, “Bridging Cultures.”

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This episode of Resurrection Stories welcomes Jonathan Foster, a seasoned church planter, author, and grief expert, to share his journey of faith and loss. Here’s what awaits you:

A story of resilience: Hear Jonathan’s personal experience navigating the profound grief of losing his daughter. He speaks with openness and honesty, acknowledging the raw pain and questioning that arise in the face of such loss.

Finding meaning in tragedy: Witness Jonathan’s theological transformation as he wrestles with unanswered questions. He dives into René Girard’s mimetic theory, uncovering a different perspective on Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s love.

Solidarity over solutions: Jonathan emphasizes the power of simply being present with those in grief. He challenges the “fix-it” mentality, advocating for creating safe spaces where vulnerability and authenticity are embraced.

A reminder of humanity: Jonathan’s journey reflects the depth and complexity of human experience. He encourages us to embrace our full selves, including our brokenness and imperfections, as part of God’s beautiful creation.

Hope amidst the shadows: While acknowledging the ongoing struggle with grief, Jonathan also points to the light of grace and love that shines through. He emphasizes the importance of finding communities that allow us to be truly ourselves, even in our darkest moments.

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This episode of Resurrection Stories features Dr. Rebecca Chow, the Clinical Director of Counseling Services at Resurrection.

Dr. Chow shares her personal journey, influenced by her parents who were both ordained ministers. She initially considered becoming a pastor but felt drawn to helping people through mental health.

She discusses the impact of the pandemic on our collective mental health, highlighting the concept of “traumatic pandemic trauma” and its effect on our tolerance for stress and disagreement.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • We are all experiencing “traumatic pandemic trauma” which has affected our brain chemistry and shortened our tolerance for stress.
  • Compassion and self-awareness are crucial for navigating this state.
  • Setting boundaries and seeking professional help are essential for individual and community well-being.
  • Resurrection offers free mental health services to the community, including play therapy, individual therapy, and couples therapy.


Dr. Chow’s story is a powerful reminder of the importance of mental health and the resources available to support us.

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Welcome back to Resurrection Stories! We’re thrilled to have Lydia on the show, a pastor with a captivating story of faith and service. Her journey is one of transformation, questioning, and ultimately finding her true calling within the walls of Resurrection.

Growing Up in Faith: Lydia grew up in a unique household, raised by parents from different cultural and religious backgrounds. While church was a constant presence, it wasn’t until after experiencing significant loss in high school that her faith was truly challenged. Witnessing the pain and suffering, Lydia questioned the traditional narratives she’d been told, ultimately finding solace in the United Methodist Church with its inclusive message of grace and love.

A Calling Ignored: Lydia’s heart for caring shone through early on, even before pastoral ministry. Working in child protective services in Los Angeles, she faced immense struggles while supporting those in need. Though drawn to pastoral care, she initially held back due to limitations within her previous church.

Discovering her Path: Finding the United Methodist Church opened new doors for Lydia. Witnessing women in leadership roles ignited a spark, propelling her to pursue her calling. Seminary became the next step, and in 2016, Lydia returned to Kansas City, ready to serve as a pastor at Resurrection.

Life as a Connection and Care Pastor: Today, Lydia thrives in her role, offering support and guidance to those facing life’s challenges. Her empathy and genuine nature make her a beacon of hope, drawing people in and creating a safe space for open conversation and prayer.

Beyond the Pulpit: But Lydia’s impact extends far beyond Sunday services. She emphasizes the importance of self-care, reminding us that “without being healthy spiritually, mentally, and physically, then what we bring to the table is not our best self.” Her dedication to creating boundaries shows us that even pastors need rest and rejuvenation to truly serve others.

A Message for Everyone: Lydia’s story is one of strength, resilience, and unwavering faith. It’s a testament to the power of finding your voice within a supportive community, and the transformative impact of genuine human connection. Her journey proves that anyone, regardless of age or background, can find their purpose and make a difference in the world.

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This episode of Resurrection Stories introduces Angie McCarthy, a woman whose story is one of resilience, faith, and finding strength after facing life’s challenges. Here are the key takeaways:

A life transformed: Angie’s life took a sudden turn after 14 years of marriage when her husband had an affair. This devastating experience led her to question everything she knew, but it also ignited a journey of personal growth and self-discovery.

Finding strength in faith: Despite the pain, Angie turned to her faith and found solace in the community around her. She experienced a defining moment at a concentration camp in Germany, where she felt God’s call to release her anger and begin to heal.

Embracing transparency: Angie is a champion of transparency. She believes that sharing our struggles and vulnerabilities is crucial for healing and connecting with others. She encourages listeners to be open and honest about their own experiences, especially in the often-silent realm of marital struggles.

Hope for the future: Through therapy, support from her community, and her own determination, Angie has emerged from her dark place. She is now married to a supportive partner and uses her experiences to help others facing similar challenges. She offers words of hope, reminding listeners that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, even in the darkest moments.

Connecting with Resurrection: Angie’s story resonates with the spirit of Resurrection, a church community that embraces transparency, support, and open dialogue. She is excited to join as co-host and use her platform to share inspiring stories and offer hope to those seeking guidance and connection.

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This episode of Resurrection Stories features Denise Mersmann, the Care Coordination Director at Resurrection. Her story is one of transformation, resilience, and unwavering dedication to serving others.

Early Life and Loss: Denise grew up in a small town church where everyone felt like family. When she joined Resurrection with her young family, tragedy struck as her infant daughter, Caroline, passed away from leukemia. This immense loss could have shattered her faith, but instead, it became a turning point.

Finding Strength in Community: The outpouring of love and support from the Resurrection community during this difficult time helped Denise see the true meaning of Christian family. She received 400 sympathy cards, many from people she didn’t even know, each a testament to the church’s care and compassion. This experience deepened her faith and ignited a passion for serving others.

Sharing the Gift of Love: Denise’s role at Resurrection as Director of Connection and Care Ministry perfectly embodies her calling. She leads a team of volunteers, providing emotional and practical support to members in need. Whether it’s organizing meals, offering rides to appointments, or simply listening with a compassionate heart, Denise and her team make a tangible difference in people’s lives.

Witnessing Faith in Action: Denise’s story is not just about personal strength and resilience; it’s a testament to the transformative power of faith and community. She has seen firsthand how acts of kindness, big and small, can uplift spirits and offer hope in times of darkness. Witnessing the impact of her work and the dedication of her fellow volunteers fuels her passion and inspires her to continue serving.

A Message of Hope: Denise’s story is an invitation for all of us to embrace our own journeys of faith and service. She reminds us that even in the face of hardship, there is always a reason to hope. By opening our hearts and extending compassion to others, we can make a difference and contribute to building a stronger, more loving community.

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Welcome to another inspirational episode of Resurrection Stories! Today, we have the privilege of hearing from Pastor Hyemi Lee Jones, a beacon of love and care at Resurrection Church. Join us as she shares her inspiring journey of faith, her passion for serving others, and how she found her true identity as a daughter of God.

Hyemi’s story is one of constant evolution and deep purpose. Growing up in Korea, she grappled with self-acceptance and struggled to find her place in the world. A pivotal moment came when she heard God’s calling, leading her to study theology in America. Despite having a comfortable life back home, Hyemi followed her faith, embarking on a path of exploration and discovery.

At Yale Divinity School, Hyemi encountered patients during her CPE internship. It was in their stories, their vulnerability, and their resilience that she found her calling. Witnessing the presence of God in others helped Hyemi see His presence in her own life, finally embracing her identity as a child of God.

This revelation became her guiding light. Instead of pursuing the traditional path towards pastoral ministry, Hyemi found her calling in service. She became a chaplain, listening to the wounded and carrying their burdens, a role that perfectly echoed her desire to alleviate suffering and share God’s love.

Today, at Resurrection, Hyemi serves as the Director of Connection and Care Ministry. Leading a team of passionate staff and volunteers, she provides support and comfort to those in need, offering hope and guidance during difficult times. Hyemi’s dedication to this mission is evident in her every word, her warm smile, and her genuine desire to serve.

When asked about her legacy, Hyemi humbly emphasizes the importance of simply doing the work God has called her to do. She believes in planting seeds of faith and leaving the harvest to God’s timing. This perspective serves as a reminder that every act of service, no matter how small, can have a profound impact.

This episode of Resurrection Stories is more than just an interview; it’s an invitation. Hyemi’s story invites us to embrace our own journeys, to discover our unique gifts, and to use them to make the world a more loving and compassionate place.

If you enjoyed this episode, share it with your friends and family, and consider visiting Resurrection to experience the impact, community, and transformation that God has in store for you. Remember, at Resurrection, there’s a place for everyone, and you might just find your own path to transformation and deeper faith.

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Welcome to Resurrection Stories! Today, we’re thrilled to have Pastor Cheryl Jefferson Bell, a beacon of love and justice at Resurrection. Get ready for an inspiring conversation about her faith journey, her passionate work in community justice, and the amazing spirit of Resurrection.

Cheryl’s story is one of deep faith and unwavering conviction. Growing up in a Methodist family, the church became her safe haven and a place of acceptance. A pivotal moment came during her confirmation, where she felt God’s spirit fill her. This experience ignited a fire for social justice that continues to guide her path.

As Resurrection’s Pastor of Community Justice, Cheryl leads the charge in closing the “justice and kindness gap.” She spearheads initiatives like Allies for Racial Justice, the LGBTQ+ Ministry, and EarthCOR, demonstrating Resurrection’s commitment to living its faith in the world.

But what truly shines through is Cheryl’s genuine love for the people of Resurrection. She speaks of their “caring, generous, loving” spirit, and it’s clear that this community is her home.

When asked about her legacy, Cheryl hopes to be remembered as someone who made people feel loved and accepted. This simple yet powerful aspiration speaks volumes about her character and the impact she has on everyone around her.

This episode is more than just Cheryl’s story; it’s an invitation to join Resurrection’s journey. If you’re searching for a welcoming community that lives its faith in action, come visit Resurrection! Be inspired by Cheryl’s story, experience the warmth of the congregation, and discover your own path to deepening your faith.

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This episode features Darryl Burton, a Connection and Care Pastor at Resurrection and the founder of the organization Miracle of Innocence. Darryl shares his incredible journey from being wrongly incarcerated for 25 years to finding faith and dedicating his life to becoming a messenger of grace.

Key points from Darryl’s story:

  • He spent 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
  • He initially rejected faith but found hope, transformation, and purpose in the teachings of Jesus.
  • He started Miracle of Innocence to help other wrongly incarcerated individuals.
  • The Church of the Resurrection has been a great supporter of Darryl and his mission.
  • His message is one of hope and forgiveness.


This episode offers a heartwarming and inspiring message about overcoming adversity and finding hope through faith and community.

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