050 | Finding Freedom Apart From Religion: A Conversation With Nora Shaw

Welcome to episode 50 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. This episode captures Susan’s conversation with her friend Nora Shaw. Nora talks of her journey into the freedom of the gospel and some of the ways organized religion inhibits that freedom. Religion forces us to fit in while never really belonging because we can’t be our true selves there. The freedom Jesus and the New Testament writers talk about is a freedom apart from performance, religious or otherwise. Breaking away from what binds us, while sometimes painful and difficult to do, is the first step to finding the freedom to be truly free. The freedom to be yourself that comes only through Jesus, apart from religion.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:35–36)


Photo by Kristina V on Unsplash

043 | Clash of the Covenants: A Conversation with Mike Kapler

Welcome to episode 43 of the Grace Cafe Podcast. This episode is a conversation with Michael C. Kapler about his book, Clash Of The Covenants: Escaping Religious Bondage Through The Grace Guarantee. If you’ve been around Christianity for more than a week, you’ve probably noticed the confusion that exists concerning grace and law; Old Testament and New Testament. What in the Bible applies to us this side of the cross of Christ and what does not? We see God in the Old Testament doling out 613 commands to ancient Israel with the requirement that all 613 must be obeyed perfectly all the time. In the New Testament we read things like “the Law was weak and useless” and “no one will be justified by the works of the Law.”

Add to that, the Ten Commandments and the confusion goes up exponentially. Are the Ten Commandments the “unchanging moral law” of God as at least one theological tradition would have us believe? Or maybe only eight or nine of the ten are for us today. What did Paul mean when he said, “Christ is the end of the Law for all who believe”? Are we supposed to ditch the Law in favor of something new, different, or better? If so, what becomes of the Law and what is our relationship to it? Is the Law of Moses divided into sections of civil, ceremonial, and moral and only the moral law (i.e. the Ten Commandments) applies today? If so, why did James say if we break any one of the 613 commands, we are guilty of breaking them all? Is God policing us to make sure we obey the Law? How does grace fit into this?

In my opinion, Mike’s book, Clash of the Covenants, is required reading to begin sorting out these and many, many other questions. It’s in an easy-to-read format that will draw you into the discussion. Listen in to our conversation as we talk about The Sermon on the Mount, the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Old and New Covenants, and the Law of Moses, to name a few.

Since 2005, Mike Kapler, along with Joel Brueseke, have been hosting the weekly podcast, Growing in Grace. If you’re not familiar with it, do yourself a huge favor and subscribe. It is one of our favorites!


Photo by Frida Bredesen on Unsplash

036 | Losing Our Identity Only To Find It Again: A Conversation With Greg McInturff

Welcome to the Grace Cafe! This episode is a conversation between Mike and our good friend Greg McInturff. It’s a longer episode than what we usually post. I considered making it into two separate episodes but decided to leave it as one to preserve the continuity of our discussion. We’ve known Greg and his wife Kim for 20+ years. We lost touch with them years ago and were recently reunited only to find out we had been on the same grace journey. Our conversations are always energizing and we invite you to eaves drop on this one and be encouraged.

We talked about so many topics in this episode it’s hard to catalog them all. But here’s a few:

  • Spiritual burnout
  • Institutional Christianity
  • Our true identity
  • Experiencing Jesus
  • What it means to be righteous
  • Religious tradition and obligation
  • Fixing your eyes on Jesus
  • Confessing sin
  • Our expectations of ourselves
  • The Holy Spirit in you
  • And a lot more…


Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

034 | The Cross Worked: A Conversation with Zach Maldonado

Welcome to episode 34 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. This episode is a conversation between Mike and Zach Maldonado, centered around Zach’s book, The Cross Worked: Why You Can Have Confidence On The Day Of Judgment. Zach is the Communication’s Pastor at Church Without Religion in Lubbock Texas and is on staff at Andrew Farley Ministries.

Are you ready to hear the good news of the gospel afresh? Are you ready to be reminded that God isn’t disappointed in you? Are you ready to hear all over again that the Father has the same opinion of you that he has of Jesus? Are you ready to be reminded that Jesus plus nothing is all you need?Are you ready to be reminded that Jesus plus nothing is all you need? Are you ready to be reminded that there’s nothing wrong with you and you are righteous in Christ? Grab your favorite beverage, strap in and hold on.

Zach’s book is available everywhere but here’s a link to it on Amazon for your convenience:

You can reach out to Zach here:


Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

029 | Momma Tried

Welcome to The Grace Cafe Podcast. This episode is one of our favorites from our old Chief Sinner Podcast. It originally aired in June, 2016 and is a conversation between Susan and her friend Val. Their important conversation is centered around the exhausting and unending obligations placed on us by most organized religions. They talk about everything from personal encounters with abusive top-down leadership to endless attempts at pleasing others. There’s no room in religious obligation for “it is finished.” The reality within religion is that it is never finished and there is always more to do. There is no rest in man-made religion.

We apologize for the crackling audio that starts about 5 minutes into the conversation. I got rid of most of it during editing but was unable to remove it all. I hope it’s not too distracting.


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.


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.


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:


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.