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 79 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. Let’s talk about suffering. Our view of God will determine our view of suffering. Is God trying to teach me a lesson through suffering? If so, am I responsible to figure out what God is trying to teach me in my suffering? Am I suffering for Jesus enough? How does our theology impact our view of, and our response to, suffering?
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 75 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. The New Covenant, which we enjoy living under, was first spoken to Abraham by way of promise and then confirmed to him by way of an oath (Hebrews 6:13-20). The writer of the letter to the Hebrews calls this promise and this oath, two unchangeable things. What makes them unchangeable is that God cannot lie and because God cannot lie, we have this sure hope as an anchor for the soul.
We also interact with a letter from a listener who had a question about 2 Peter 1:3-15. This passage is a gospel reminder of the same precious promises of the New Covenant and the fruit of the Spirit that comes from a relationship with Jesus. 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.
Welcome to episode 68 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. Let’s take five and talk about Jesus. We hear messages of moral improvement, behavior modification, and moral progress all around us all the time. The message of progress has replaced the message of the gospel. We’re told that God himself is measuring our progress and the more progress we make in doing the right things, the more pleased he is with us.
But that’s a lie. Here’s the truth: God requires perfection, not progress, so he gave us a Substitute, not a goal. Christian, you are complete in Him already, apart from what you do or don’t do. Pull up a chair. Let’s take five and talk about it.