024 | The Toxicity of the Law

We’re back!!! In this episode of The Grace Cafe, you’ll hear about what’s kept us away – our house flood of 2018. Our podcast room has been packed away while house repairs were underway, keeping us from podcasting and a lot of other things we like to do. But that’s behind us now and we’re back at it.

Join our conversation as we talk about the 10 Commandments, the Old Covenant Law of Moses, and the toxic byproducts of thinking we have to keep that law. When we hear about the Law, our minds usually race to the 10 Commandments, but the Law is much bigger than those 10 words. The Law encompasses 613 commands and the 10 Commandments are merely a summary statement and representation of the Law on its entirety.

Are the 10 Commandments binding on the conscience of a believer today? Are we to be pursuing obedience to the 10 Commandments or is the Holy Spirit doing something different in our lives today? The book of Exodus in the Old Testament calls the 10 Commandments the words of the Covenant, meaning the 10 Commandments belong to the Old Covenant, not the New Covenant. They are not a stand-alone document for every age. Let’s talk about it. This episode is the first of several dealing with this subject.

Enjoy!

023 | Forgiven!

Welcome to the Grace Cafe Podcast. We begin this episode by interacting with a letter we received from a long-time listener who shared with us her struggles with reading Scripture. These struggles stem from viewing the Bible through the legalistic lens she was taught to use years ago, prior to her own grace awakening. She mentions, “I’m thinking that taking a break from reading the Bible might be needed to give myself time for God to replace my old mindset with the freedom I have in Christ.”

As we interact with her letter, we talk about our own struggles in that area, which seem to be commonplace to varying degrees with those of us who’ve transitioned from some form of legalism into a gospel-centered life. A necessary part of that transition can be to lay aside our Bible reading for a season while our hearts are re-tooled by the Holy Spirit to see God as the kind Father he really is instead of the harsh task master of legalism. God doesn’t panic or think less of us during those seasons. Legalists will use false guilt tactics as we experience more and more freedom in Jesus to be who we really are. One writer called the church God’s gymnasium for spiritual fitness via “spiritual disciplines”, meaning we need Jesus less and less. But Jesus said we would know the truth and the truth would set us free. If the version of truth that we’re hearing from those reciting Scripture to us, isn’t setting us free, it isn’t Jesus.

We also talk about forgiveness in this episode. Did you know that while the New Testament does encourage us to forgive one another, asking for forgiveness is nowhere in the New Testament? One problem with asking for forgiveness is that it puts the burden of forgiving on the one who was hurt. Even if the one asking seems insincere and simply going through the motions, the one who was hurt may be pressured by a false sense of obligation to immediately forgive and is viewed as insincere themselves if they are not yet in a place to do that. Let’s talk about it.

What about trials and suffering? Is God trying to teach me something when I go through a trial or suffer loss? Is it up to me to find out what he’s trying to teach me in my suffering? We don’t think so. We think that that is a horribly wrong view of God that we get from our theological traditions. Was God trying to teach Paul something as he was being beheaded? Was he trying to get through to Peter as he was being crucified upside down? Was God trying to teach Jesus something as he was dying on the cross? We don’t think so. Let’s talk about it.

-Enjoy!

022 | On The Road

Welcome to episode 22 of The Grace Cafe! We recorded this episode from Spokane Washington USA as we were preparing for the final leg of a cross-country road trip that took us through 20 states in 29 days, logging over 7,000 miles. This episode is a look back at our trip and a recap of some of the conversations we had along the way. Some of the topics we covered include:

  • Does God still visit a father’s sins on subsequent generations or have our sins been done away with once for all?
  • The importance of disconnecting the Old Covenant from the New in how we understand Scripture.
  • Does the Holy Spirit treat us like convicts or does He remind us of who we are in Jesus?
  • Some implications of the Holy Spirit living in you.
  • Loving well flourishes where Jesus plus nothing is a reality.
  • Christ’s church is expressed in so many valid ways. It’s diverse and so much bigger than we think it is. The goal isn’t sameness.
  • How “always reforming” has led us out of Reformed thinking.
  • The simple faith of Mister Rogers.
  • The gift of our true selves and giving yourself permission to be authentic.
  • The noisy distractions of life.
  • Two introverts with a podcast. Hey wait, that’s us!
  • The negative experiences of a crash and burn.

-Enjoy!

021 | Unforced Rhythms of Grace

Welcome to episode 21 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. This is the second of two episodes we recorded during our recent stay in Chattanooga Tennessee. Our friends, Chris Stapleton and Josh Scott from The Simple Gospel Podcast joined us again for this conversation, recorded in our Chattanooga loft. We were also thrilled to be joined by Chris’ parents, Rick and Sharon Stapleton. We’ve been wanting to get them on our podcast for quite some time and it finally came together.

In The Message Bible, Matthew 11:28-30 reads,

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Our conversation was centered around our own experiences with those “unforced rhythms of grace” as we shared life stories and  experiences. For Susan and me, our 7-day stay in Chattanooga was a warm example of unforced rhythms of grace as the common bond we shared was both instant and unforced. We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did.

-Mike

020 | How Religion Strips Away Our Humanity

Welcome to episode 20 of The Grace Cafe Podcast! We were podcasting from Chattanooga Tennessee in the presence of greatness for this episode. This is the first of two episodes with our friends Chris Stapleton (not the country singer), Josh Scott, and Dan Hampton of the Simple Gospel Podcast, who joined Susan and me in a conversation about how religion strips away our humanity.

Religion demands we not be real; that we not be ourselves. It requires us to wear masks to cover up who we really are and to project a false version of ourselves to those around us. It even strips away Jesus’ humanity and doesn’t allow the human side of him to be really human. In short, religion is crippling and the only remedy is a return to grace. Grace frees us to be who we really are with no shame or fear attached. Grace is the enemy of religion and in the same way video killed the radio star, grace kills religion.

Grab your favorite beverage, get comfortable, and listen in as the five of us talk it through.

-Enjoy!

019 | Bonus Episode: Runaway Radical

Welcome to episode 19 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. This episode is one of the favorites we pulled from the archives of our old Chief Sinner Podcast. It’s an interview we did with Amy and Jonathan Hollingsworth in 2015 about their experiences while Jonathan was on the mission field in Africa and after his return home. As relevant as this episode was when we initially aired it in 2015, we feel it is just as relevant now, if not more so. Coinciding with the recent #ChurchToo movement and other stories of abuse in religious institutions, theirs is a story of spiritual abuse and being bullied and shamed into silence by their abusers.

Amy and Jonathan co-authored the book, Runaway Radical: A Young Man’s Reckless Journey to Save the World and Amy is the author of The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers: Spiritual Insights from the World’s Most Beloved Neighbor. This episode is built around Runaway Radical and both books are talked about during the course of our conversation. Links to both books are below. We highly recommend them.

-Enjoy!

018 | The Church’s Fear of Mental Illness

Welcome to episode 18 of the Grace Cafe Podcast. In this episode we had a conversation with our friend Sarah Knaub about the subject of mental illness. Sarah knows a thing or two about mental illness first hand as it was an uninvited guest that found its way into her home at a young age and robbed her of a healthy relationship with one of her siblings. Sarah shared that story in a blog post she wrote entitled, Who Are You and What Have You Done With My Sister? You will find that article at:

https://www.p82homes.org/blog/2017/9/18/who-are-you-and-what-have-you-done-with-my-sister.

We interacted with that post in episode 6 of this podcast and now we’ve had the privilege of talking with Sarah face-to-face about this often misunderstood and feared topic.

Pull up a chair and your favorite beverage and join our conversation. We think you’ll be challenged and encouraged as Sarah tells her story and shares the insights she’s gained along the way.

Enjoy!

017 | #ChurchToo

If it leaves a trail of abused victims, it isn’t Jesus. In this episode of The Grace Cafe Podcast, we had an informal conversation about the different types of abuse in the church and the impact the #ChurchToo movement is having on exposing abuse. Victims of abuse are finding their voice and speaking up about abuse that has been going on for years, which the church has been working hard to spin, cover up, and keep quiet. It is our opinion that the top-down authority structures found in most institutional church settings is a huge part of the problem that feeds attempted cover-ups of abuse within its walls while silencing its victims through shame, threats, and intimidation.

Join our conversation as we talk through #ChurchToo.

-Enjoy!