Welcome to episode 83 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. Fear and doubt. These are two emotions we can all relate to and we all experience to varying levels and at different times. In performance-based, top-down religious environments, fear and doubt are common byproducts because the spotlight is on our own failed performance. At the same time, fear and doubt are not allowed to be expressed in that environment because they’re counterproductive to it. In performance-based Christianity, fear and doubt require us to wear masks and pretend we’re something we’re not, increasing our level of fear and doubt. The goal is to clean it up and get back to pretending.
Welcome to episode 82 of the Grace Cafe Podcast. In this edition of Take Five, Mike talks about taking up our cross and following Jesus. When Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24) was he referring to a spiritual discipline that involves denying my own needs and bearing up under trials? That’s a common interpretation of this passage. We’re told that when trials come, we all “have our cross to bear” and my ability to hold up well under trials becomes the litmus test for revealing how strong or weak my faith is, based on my ability or inability to deny myself and bear my cross.
But is that what Jesus meant? A more intentional look at the context reveals something completely different. This is not a spiritual discipline, but an invitation to believe. Here’s a link to the blog post I quoted from in last week’s edition of Take Five as well as this week’s:
Welcome to episode 81 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. Joel Brueseke joins us on this episode as we talk about what it means to be rooted and grounded in grace. Joel is co-host, along with Mike Kapler, of The Growing in Grace podcast and Joel also has a solo podcast and blog called Grace Roots. Our conversation took us into the many things that so easily distract us and lure us away from what it means to be rooted and grounded in grace alone, apart from performance. You can find Joel on line at:
Welcome to episode 80 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. In this edition of Take Five, let’s talk about what is often referred to as spiritual disciplines. Specifically, the assumed discipline of dying daily. Paul told the Corinthians he died daily. I believe we have incorrectly inserted ourselves into that passage in an attempt to make dying daily a spiritual discipline that we’re to be actively doing. But is that what Paul had in mind? Let’s talk about it.
Welcome to episode 78 of the Grace Cafe Podcast and this edition of Take Five. Let’s talk about how to have a Jesus-lite theology of the New Covenant and the dark side of making the New Covenant more about our performance than Jesus’ shed blood. This episode is based on a blog post I wrote by the same title. For your convenience, here’s a link to that blog that serves as a loose transcript for this episode.
Welcome to episode 77 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. This episode is a recent conversation we had with Pooja Chilukuri. Pooja was born and raised in India and now resides in the U.S. She reached out to us several weeks ago and told us a little bit of her story and pointed us to her book, And Then There Was Jesus, which chronicles her journey out of Hinduism, into Christianity, and then to Jesus. And Then There Was Jesus is divided into 3 parts that help the reader know in advance where the story is going:
There was Hinduism
There Was Christianity
And Then There Was Jesus
This conversation with Pooja is one of our favorites! As worded on her website, it’s her journey from India to the USA, from Hinduism to Christianity, her struggles with both religions, and a subsequent chance encounter with Jesus. She talks openly and honestly about her experiences in Hinduism and performance-based Christianity and how religious systems prevent us from knowing what God is really like. In the book’s introduction, she writes:
“If you believe that God is displeased with you at the slightest deviation from what your church or pastor preaches, and you have never been consumed by the overwhelming love of God, this book is for you.”
Our conversation with Pooja merely scratches the surface of the full story outlined in her book. Here are some helpful links to her book and for getting in touch with Pooja:
Welcome to episode 74 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. Let’s talk about performance-based Christianity in this edition of Take Five. Nothing will cripple you faster than a view of God that sees him as never satisfied and always demanding more. But that’s how performance-based Christianity views him whether we admit it or not. In performance based Christianity, how I think I’m performing at any given moment is the barometer for what God thinks of me and my identity in Jesus gets lost in the shame and guilt. Let’s talk about it….
Welcome to episode 69 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. Let’s talk about law-based Christianity and its affects. What happens when we become duty-focused and rules-based in our relationship with God? Some of the results are shame, self-loathing, and self-righteousness, where many eventually give up. We become judges of ourselves and others based on individual performance.
But in the gospel, apart from law, our righteousness and acceptance is by grace alone, apart from any work, and that never changes. Jesus came to set the captives free, not to give them a to-do list. Let’s talk about it.
We also interact with an email we received from a listener concerning duty-laden churches that exhaust its members.