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Lisa Harper's Back Porch Theology

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Talk Radio, Christianity, Religion & Spirituality

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Overview

You're invited to hang out on Lisa Harper's back porch and enjoy conversations about all things Jesus, theological anthropology, biblical orthodoxy, Spanx, the merits of Tex-Mex and more!

We believe this podcast will help you dive deeper into God's word, understand that the gospel is great news for everyday life, not just when viewed in the light of eternity, and that God is for us, that He's always been in the process of redeeming our inherent value as imago Dei and restoring us into a vibrant, intimate relationship with Him.

And rest assured, this won't be a one-sided conversation because, throughout the podcast, Lisa will be inviting friends, including some brilliant theologians and academics to join her in substantive but decidedly unstuffy segments. So come on, y'all grab some coffee or sweet tea and join us on the back porch!

126 Episodes

A Wise Woman Once Said – Live from Kerygma ‘24

Today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology took place very recently at The Kerygma Summit here in Franklin, TN and this particular conversation was kind of the “chips and queso” moment of the whole weekend for me because I had the undeserved privilege of sitting down with some of my favorite female Christian leaders from around the country and gleaning from their collective wisdom. I framed the question that I posed to all of them like this: At sixty I know much less about God than what I thought I knew about Him at forty and what I pretended to know about Him at twenty. But what I now know to be true of God – namely His unconditional love and immutable faithfulness – I know in the very marrow of my bones. Then I asked each of them – many of whom are leading large ministries – what they now know to be true of God in the marrow of their bones. Their answers were gut-level honest, deeply encouraging, appropriately convicting at times, and always God and others honoring. This conversation was a living example of Psalm 68:11 - the Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng. Plus, since these saints came from various streams of the church, it was also a master class in unity and it reminded me of Jesus’s response to John’s question in Mark 9: “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Christian unity is not the same thing as uniformity, y’all. We don’t have to agree on every, single jot and tittle of what is theologically nuanced, but if we can agree on the fact that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way sinners like us can be reconciled with God, as well as the authority of God’s Word, we’re family. Remember the Bible also reveals that a divisive spirit is one of the six things that God hates (Proverbs 9) and whenever possible He calls us to be at peace and harmony with each other (Romans 12). Today’s conversation is going to be like spiritual Gorilla Glue, it’s going to fasten us tighter to our Creator Redeemer and tighter to the community of faith so please grab a cup of coffee or a glass of sparkling water with a wedge of lime or a thimbleful of wheatgrass juice and your Bible – unless you’re trimming your roses, of course; mine have sprouted out with more enthusiasm than Einstein’s eyebrows during the past few weeks of warm weather – and come hang out on the porch with us. Sponsored by BetterHelp. Save 10% at BetterHelp.com/LisaHarper Buy The Overcomers at HarperChristianResources.com\overcomers Do It Anyway is available wherever you buy books.

Transcribed - Published: 13 May 2024

Embodied Theology – Live from Kerygma ‘24

Today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology is a really special one and it’s especially rowdy too because it took place just a little over a week ago at The Kerygma Summit here in Franklin, TN where almost 1,500 women from across the country – as well as some other countries, I got to meet a lovely backporcher from Tanzania – gathered together to learn more about God and His Word. The teaching team at Kerygma this year was a veritable Who’s Who of Bible scholars, seminary professors and theologians including some of the engaging and enlightening friends we’ve previously connected with on the porch like Dr. Craig Keener and Dr. Scot McKnight. Brooke Ligertwood led worship all weekend, and y’all I can’t wrap words around what happened when she ushered us toward the throne room of Jesus on Friday night, except to say it felt almost transcendent. God’s Spirit revealed Himself to us in a way that left a redemptive mark on my heart, which I hope never fades. You know those moments in time when God effectively wipes the blurred glass that Apostle Paul says exists between us and Glory in a way that allows us to see Him more clearly? He made His presence so accessible this weekend, I’m still in kind of a discombobulated fog of wonder and gratitude. In retrospect, I should have taken off my shoes because it was just that holy. Well anyway, this conversation took place during the course of Kerygma, so I need to warn you that there’s a lot more ambient sound than usual because we were smack dab in the middle of a giant family of faith instead of a controlled studio environment. And I also want you to know that we delved into sensitive subject matter because I explained in detail about how God used a community of believers to save my life when I wasn’t sure I could keep living it. Which means some of the moments we’ll share today are too mature for little ears, therefore I encourage you to wait until after you’ve dropped the kids off at school to join us. That being said, please bring your Bible and a big cup of coffee – unless you’re up to your elbows in suds because that darling Doodle tangled with a skunk again - and come hang out on the porch with us! Save 10% at BetterHelp.com/LisaHarper The Joy of the Trinity is available wherever you buy books. Every girl deserves a faith-filled adventure click here for the NIV Kingdom Girls Bible Save 10% at BetterHelp.com/LisaHarper

Transcribed - Published: 6 May 2024

The Thrill of Orthodoxy with Dr. Trevin Wax

During today’s episode of Back Porch Theology, we’re sitting down with an engaging joyful scholar - which may sound like a juxtaposition but shouldn’t be - Dr. Trevin Wax. Trevin’s an old friend who’s got a long list of accomplishments including serving as a missionary in Romania, after which he went on to serve as the vice president of research and resource development at the North American Mission Board. He’s taught courses at Wheaton College and Cedarville University and has lectured at the prestigious Oxford University in the UK. He’s also the founding editor of The Gospel Project, published the Christian Standard Bible – which is one of my favorite translations - and has written a nightstand full of books. But what I appreciate most about Trevin is that he embodies the fact that being serious about matters of faith doesn’t equate to being overly serious about oneself. As Christ followers, of course, we’re called to marinate in God’s Word like those ancient Berean Christians, but arrogance and academic elitism are not spiritual gifts! That being said, Dr. Wax is known for dropping wisdom bombs everywhere he goes, so you’ll probably want to bring a notebook or journal along with your Bible to the porch today, plus something yummy and caffeinated like a non-fat mocha with whipped cream – I’ve never used thrill and orthodoxy in the same sentence but when I order a non-fat mocha with whipped cream I feel like those two juxtaposed terms enhance each other to the point of making my coffee almost Keto! We’re going to have a great conversation today, y’all – thanks so much for choosing to hang out with us. Save 10% at BetterHelp.com/LisaHarper Save 25% on Dwell at DwellBible.com/Lisa The Joy of the Trinity is available wherever you buy books. Every girl deserves a faith-filled adventure click here for the NIV Kingdom Girls Bible Penguin Random House 'Do it Anyway'

Transcribed - Published: 29 April 2024

The Thrill of Orthodoxy with Dr. Trevin Wax, Part 1

During today’s episode of Back Porch Theology, we’re sitting down with an engaging joyful scholar - which may sound like a juxtaposition but shouldn’t be - Dr. Trevin Wax. Trevin’s an old friend who’s got a long list of accomplishments including serving as a missionary in Romania, after which he went on to serve as the vice president of research and resource development at the North American Mission Board. He’s taught courses at Wheaton College and Cedarville University and has lectured at the prestigious Oxford University in the UK. He’s also the founding editor of The Gospel Project, published the Christian Standard Bible – which is one of my favorite translations - and has written a nightstand full of books. But what I appreciate most about Trevin is that he embodies the fact that being serious about matters of faith doesn’t equate to being overly serious about oneself. As Christ followers, of course, we’re called to marinate in God’s Word like those ancient Berean Christians, but arrogance and academic elitism are not spiritual gifts! That being said, Dr. Wax is known for dropping wisdom bombs everywhere he goes, so you’ll probably want to bring a notebook or journal along with your Bible to the porch today, plus something yummy and caffeinated like a non-fat mocha with whipped cream – I’ve never used thrill and orthodoxy in the same sentence but when I order a non-fat mocha with whipped cream I feel like those two juxtaposed terms enhance each other to the point of making my coffee almost Keto! We’re going to have a great conversation today, y’all – thanks so much for choosing to hang out with us. Save 25% on Dwell at DwellBible.com/Lisa The Joy of the Trinity is available wherever you buy books. Every girl deserves a faith-filled adventure click here for the NIV Kingdom Girls Bible Penguin Random House 'Do it Anyway'

Transcribed - Published: 29 April 2024

Don’t Look Back with Christine Caine, Part 2

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, we’re continuing our spiritual adventure with the always feisty and biblically faithful Australian, my dear friend Christine Caine. Chris and her husband Nick helped me navigate the arduous process of adopting Missy, so it didn’t surprise me when my daughter began to speak English that she proclaimed Chris to be her favorite Aunt! Mind you Missy’s got several favorite aunts and my actual sister Theresa is appropriately at the very top of her list, but I love the fact that the Caine family and Harper girls are so interwoven, Missy assumed she and Chris were related when she was little! And I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll feel like she’s part of your family of faith after hanging out with us on the porch today too, because spending time with Chris inevitably means feeling closer to Jesus, as well as being inspired to share the glorious good news of His unconditional love in the hopes of welcoming more image bearers into our stumbling toward grace community! I often paraphrase church father and theologian Lesslie Newbiggin who referred to the congregation as the most effective hermeneutic of the Gospel - in other words, we can see and understand who our Savior is and who He’s called us to be as His ambassadors more clearly through the lens of genuine relationship with other Christ followers. Remember 90-plus percent of the biblical imperatives – that is those instructions and parameters scattered throughout Scripture explaining how we should live as people who’ve been redeemed and perfectly loved by God – are set in the context of community. But before we dive into this Gospel elucidating, community-building conversation with Chris, I need to make a qualification. If you haven’t yet had the privilege of meeting this feisty Bible teacher, best-selling author, and global anti-human trafficking leader, not only does she have an Australian accent, she talks fast so listening to her is like drinking from a firehose! Therefore, you might want to grab a double expresso or an extra-large glass of something caffeinated and your Bible – oh and if you’re driving or on the Peloton, please pull over or hop off the bike for the next little while because trying to do anything thing else while listening to Chris is like trying to play Twister while ice skating – it’s just not a good idea. Please bring your undivided attention to the porch today because we’re about to have some church up in here, y’all! Save 25% on Dwell at DwellBible.com/Lisa

Transcribed - Published: 22 April 2024

Don’t Look Back with Christine Caine, Part 1

Since we’re right around the corner from The Kerygma Summit ’24 where 1,500 ministry leaders and Bible-loving chicks from three different countries are gathering here in Franklin, TN for a 3-Day spiritual boot camp, I thought it’d be fitting to spend today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology with one of the most gifted Bible expositors and evangelists I’ve ever met, who just so happens to be one of my best friends, Christine Caine. And I can’t wait for y’all to lean into this episode because Chris is going to wrap historical context and practical theology around one single verse in the Gospel according to Luke that can have a resurrective kind of impact on our future. In Luke 17:32, Jesus spoke three interesting words: "Remember Lot's wife." We don’t know her name, history, or all the details of her story. All we know is that when she was fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah with her husband Lot and their two daughters, she intentionally disobeyed God’s clear command to not look back and was consequently zapped into a pillar of salt, making her the first Scary Spice several millennia before the girl band borrowed that moniker. Mrs. Lot is one of the more infamous women in biblical narrative and out of the 170 women referred to in Holy Writ, she's the only one Jesus told us to remember. If you’re feeling stuck this season – mired in all-too-familiar feelings of shame, discouragement, resentment, unforgiveness, apathy or just wishing the reality of your life bore more resemblance to the life of your dreams, I believe today’s conversation could be the catalyst Holy Spirit uses to lift you out of the spiritual doldrums and back into the hope-filled future God promises for all of us through the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah. So please grab a cup of your favorite beverage and your Bible – unless you’re weaving through a herd of anxious cows on a scooter of course – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Transcribed - Published: 15 April 2024

God’s Word Is The Antithesis of Hate Speech with Dr. Craig Keener: Part 2

Today’s episode of Back Porch Theology is a continuation of the hope-fertilizing conversation Alli and I got to have with Dr. Craig Keener – a world-renowned New Testament scholar, and commentarian, who currently serves as a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary. Dr. Keener is one of our heroes of faith, who by the way has graciously agreed to be on the teaching team at Kerygma ’24 at the end of April so we’re over the moon about that! He’s widely respected for his scholarship – he’s got a Ph.D. from Duke – but even more so for his gentle compassion. And it’s in that spirit of kind humility that Dr. Keener dismantles the vitriolic yet increasingly popular claims that the Bible and those who order their lives by the promises and parameters prescribed in it are racist, misogynistic, and imperialistic. Mind you, people claiming to know God have often behaved despicably and His Word has been used to promote all kinds of horror throughout history. However, when people use God’s Word to promote the mistreatment, marginalization, and murder of others, they’ve twisted and distorted it into something God Himself never intended because evil is not divinely causative. So grab a cup of coffee and your Bible and come hang out on the porch with us.

Transcribed - Published: 8 April 2024

Embodied Devotion with Dr. Craig Keener: Part 1

Today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology took place in Wilmore, KY, on the campus of Asbury Theological Seminary, because Alli and I had the phenomenal privilege of spending time with one of our favorite – and I mean one of the most favorite of all our favorites – Bible scholars, Dr. Craig Keener. I quote or cite Dr. Keener all the time because his book on hermeneutics, his commentaries on the New Testament, and his classic Bible Background Commentary are some of the sturdiest scaffolding I’ve built my Christocentric belief system on. He’s the one I paraphrase every time I say, “If you get out of the Bible what you were expecting to get out of the Bible, you need to raise your expectations!” because Dr. Keener is among the wise saints who’ve taught me that the redemptive truisms in this divine love letter we call the Bible are always bigger and better than our finite human minds can comprehend! His life’s work proves that Scripture isn’t a flat text to memorize or a proposition to study, but it provides a way for us to engage with the only true God who sees us and loves us, and is always in pursuit of our hearts. For Alli and I, getting to spend the day with Dr. Keener felt like being junior high kids who love singing in the choir but aren’t particularly melodic, yet we got invited to harmonize with Pavarotti! And the best part about this conversation wasn’t even the wisdom bombs he humbly dropped, y’all - it was how his heart is surely bigger than his extraordinary brain because even though Dr. Keener is a world-renowned New Testament scholar, almost every time he talked about the love Jesus has lavished him with, his eyes welled up with tears. I’m telling you, this man walks with God and just being in his presence helped us lean more fully into our Savior’s embrace. So please grab a cup of coffee (or one of those fancy electrolyte-enhanced waters) and your Bible – unless you’re picking dog hairs off your black jeans, of course – and come spend some time on the porch with us.

Transcribed - Published: 1 April 2024

Scratch and Dent Sacrifices

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, we’re going to take a ride in the caboose of the Old Testament book of Malachi so as to get up close and personal with the spirit of entitlement. In this post-exilic era, God’s people were so discouraged and bitter, and prideful that they were down to the last dredges of their faith. As a result, they brazenly questioned God’s goodness and began putting scratch and dent sacrifices in His offering plate. And while their rotten behavior is certainly a fly in the ointment of redemptive history, I’m grateful their story and God’s merciful response was recorded because if we’re honest, I think most of us have been guilty of giving God secondhand stuff we don’t want anymore and pretending it’s a sacrifice, too. The temptation to keep the best for ourselves and give God leftovers didn’t die with the ancient Israelites...the spirit of entitlement is still alive and kicking hard in modern Christendom. Sir C.S. Lewis wisely wrote in his classic book The Screwtape Letters, “Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury.” Goodness gracious, that dog will hunt, won’t it? How often have we perceived that we haven’t been treated the way we deserve to be treated? How often have we secretly resented giving more than we received? How often have our hearts poked out their bottom lip over a relational return that was paltry compared to our emotional investment? And how has that kind of entitled, egocentric thinking exhausted our peace, gratitude, and intimacy with Jesus? Today’s episode is going to be a liberating sort of spiritual heart bypass for some of us, y’all so grab an extra-large cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re practicing for your part-time job as a mime, of course – and come hang out on the porch with Alli, Dr. Howard and me. Log onto Angel.com/Cabrini for showtimes

Transcribed - Published: 25 March 2024

Dr. Howard in the Hot Seat, Part 2

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology Alli and I are back at Belle’s house with a gaggle of friends because we had such an engaging, provocative, and revelatory time last week when we got to ask Dr. Howard hard questions about God, that we unanimously agreed we wanted an encore! I mean it’s not every day you get to honestly process what sometimes feels like a gaping hole in your faith with someone who has five earned degrees and a PhD from Dallas Theological Seminary. Another one of my theological heroes, Helmut Thielicke, who I won’t get to meet until Glory because he passed away in 1986, said this: “Unless a theology works at the margins of life, it’s not worth anything even if it makes sense at the easy center.” I’m sixty years old now and in my experience, life can be a whole lot of things – it can be breathtakingly beautiful, excruciatingly hard, messy, wonderful, devastating, delightful, surprising – but I’ve rarely found life to be easy. At least not for long. And thankfully our Creator Redeemer doesn’t expect us to pretend like it is. Our Heavenly Father invites us to bring everything to Him – including our questions – nowhere in His Word will you find the command to curate your emotions and only present the optimistic, compliant parts to Him. God created us to be His image bearers, not soulless automatons. Those of you saints who still have questions about things like the nature of the Trinity, or the historical reliability of Scripture, or the sole sufficiency of faith in Jesus for the atonement of sins, or whether there’s a literal heaven, you’re very welcome to join our motley crew of Christ followers. So please grab a cup of your favorite caffeinated beverage and a Bible – if you have one - and come hang out on the porch with us. Log onto Angel.com/Cabrini for showtimes Save 25% on Dwell at DwellBible.com/Lisa

Transcribed - Published: 18 March 2024

Dr. Howard in the Hot Seat, Part 1

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology Alli and I are hanging out with a gang of girlfriends in Belle’s living room - if you’re new to the porch, Belle’s like everybody’s favorite aunt, and we’ve had a neighborhood Bible study at her house every week for almost 15 years in a row so I’m pretty much a piece of the furniture there now. The theme of this taped-with-a-lively-group episode is hurling some spicy, dicey, I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable asking this in church theological questions at Dr. Howard so he can help us process conundrums like: Since God is sovereign and has already laid out the boundary lines of our lives, why do we pray? What’s the difference between that and fatalism? How do you describe the trinitarian nature of our Creator Redeemer to a new believer or non-Christian? Why does God allow suffering and how can I hang onto hope in the ensuing silence? If you’ve ever wished you knew a brilliant, accessible, kind biblical scholar who would help you untangle some complicated issues about God, today’s conversation is curated especially for you! So please grab a cup of coffee – or if you’re like me, a splash of coffee with your cream! - and your Bible – unless you’re hiding in the pantry of an Airbnb because you desperately needed a break during what’s become an especially loud and messy Spring Break – and come put your feet up on the porch with us! Log onto Angel.com/Cabrini for showtimes Save 25% on Dwell at DwellBible.com/Lisa

Transcribed - Published: 11 March 2024

Giving Away The Fear of Not Fitting In

Fund conversations that matter: donate.accessmore.com During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, we’re taking a road trip to the First Christian Church of Colossae, which was started by an unlikely pastor named Epaphras who got saved while tagging along with a friend who had an extra ticket to an Apostle Paul Crusade at the Ephesus Arena! This church started out with a bang but then came perilously close to veering off course and getting stuck in the high weeds of religious syncretism. That is until their spiritual uncle Paul wrote them a gentle but firm course correction letter. And the affectionate tone of his communication to the Colossians becomes even more poignant when you remember that great apostle was writing from a prison cell where he was unjustly held captive as a result of his unwavering Christian faith. Speaking of that world-changing apostle who had a blinding encounter with Jesus after which he dedicated the rest of his life to sharing the Gospel and ultimately wrote half of the books in our New Testament canon – Pastor Levi and Jennie Lusko, worship-leading power couple, Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes, and I would like to cordially invite you to join us on an immersive Bible study and worship experience through Italy, Turkey, and Greece where we’ll be tracing some of Paul’s most significant missionary journeys as we dive deeply into several of his New Testament epistles this summer. It’s called The Incomparable Cruise based on another letter he penned from prison called Ephesians where Paul proclaims: I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Can you imagine how mind-blowing and heart-expanding it’s going to be to explore the book of Ephesians in Ephesus, the book of Romans in Rome, and visit the very spot in Athens where he preached the epic sermon that’s recorded in Acts 17? Goodness gracious, I’m so excited about this trip that I can hardly sit still here in the studio! If you’re interested in joining Levi, Jennie, Kari, Cody, and me for this floating revival on the Mediterranean Sea July 13th-20th, 2024, please check out the link in my Instagram, the link in today’s show notes or go to inspirationtravel.com and search The Incomparable Cruise. But first, how about grabbing a cup of coffee and your Bible - unless you’ve got both sweaty hands on the bars of your Peloton for an uphill climb, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us!

Transcribed - Published: 4 March 2024

Intellectual Humility: Giving Away the Need to Always Have the Right Answer

Fund conversations that matter: donate.accessmore.com During today’s episode on Back Porch Theology, we’re talking about intellectual humility, which could be loosely described as giving away the need to always have the right answer. I spent way too many years afraid that someone would look under the hood of my life and discover everything I was ashamed of. During those years that I was consumed with shame, I used what modest intellect I have as a deflector shield. And posing behind my need to be perceived as always having the right answer robbed so much of my peace as a young Bible teacher. I was scared that making a public mistake regarding the WORD OF GOD would brand me as a fraudulent heretic forever. Here’s the deal y’all, as Christ-followers of course it behooves us to imitate those ancient Bereans from the book of Acts, who received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. However, it also behooves us to remember that when you filter the divinely inspired and inscripturated Word of God through the finite minds of men and women, it’s bound to be distorted at some level. Now please hear me, I’m not at all saying we have a license to be irresponsible – anything but – however, as a sixty-year-old, mistake-prone Bible teacher I’ve learned that intellect without humility equals insufferable arrogance, which is the antithesis of Christoformity – of having a Jesus-shaped life! Speaking of Jesus-shaped living and intellectual humility, if you haven’t already please check out our upcoming Kerygma Summit April 25-27, here in Franklin, TN. It’s a curated, 3-day intensive – basically a Bible study boot camp saturated with belly laughs – where a whole bunch of us from all over gather together and learn from a dream team of seminary professors, theologians, and ministry leaders so that we can better understand, emulate and communicate God’s Word. I don’t have time to tell you everyone who’s on the teaching team for this third Kerygma Summit but y’all it is a veritable Who’s-Who of modern-day theological heroes and heroines, among them they’ve published something like 300 books, Bible studies, and commentaries. Several of them have even served on translation teams – which means they’ve translated the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic into English - for specific versions of the Bible, including the NIV and ESV, isn’t that cool? But the coolest thing about these brilliant saints is that they love putting theological cookies on the lower shelf for people like us so that we can lean more fully into Jesus as a result. Getting to hang out with them, meet new friends from all over the world who are passionate about God and His Word, and be led in worship by Brooke Ligertwood – yep, Brooke’s coming back this year and will be leading worship throughout the event - is going to be like drinking from a firehose of wisdom and grace! Space is limited and over half-full already, so again please check out the details at KerygmaSummit.com and don’t dawdle if you’re thinking about coming because we don’t want it to fill up without you. In the meantime, go ahead and grab a caffeinated beverage and your Bible – unless you’re practicing the hand jive, of course – and come hang out on the porch with Alli, Dr. Howard, and me. Join Team BPT at Convoy.org/BackPorch

Transcribed - Published: 26 February 2024

The Epilogue Effect

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, we’re going to be swimming in the cleansing waters of divine restoration and double portions. Isaiah 61:7 says: Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. And that extravagant promise permeates biblical narrative: liars with infertility problems ultimately become fathers of theocracies; wimpy young men trembling in wine barrels become mighty warriors who lead successful military campaigns, and Benedict Arnolds get forgiven and picked to preach sermons where thousands get saved. God’s generous grace is miraculously, exponentially restorative! If you’ve got mistakes in your backstory, today’s episode is going to supercharge your hope. If you don’t have any mistakes in your backstory, please do not pass “Go” or collect $200 before calling a Christian counselor or a physician because honey, you are either delusional or have amnesia. Thankfully, there’s a third option, how about grabbing a cup of coffee and your Bible and hanging out with us instead? Welcome to Back Porch Theology, y’all. Join Team BPT at Convoy.org/BackPorch

Transcribed - Published: 19 February 2024

Theological Anthropology of Generosity

The title of today’s episode is The Theological Anthropology of Generosity, and while that’s admittedly a lofty mouthful (which underscores the fact that Alli and I are both certified logophiles), the main point of today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology is that God is the genesis of generosity. Quite frankly, as created beings, it’s almost impossible to understand, much less extend, authentic compassion – to effectively give yourself away, which is the overarching thematic umbrella this year here at BPT – until we recognize that our Creator Redeemer is the original author and perfect model of generosity. The book of Genesis reveals that immediately upon breathing life into Adam and Eve, at the dawn of humanity, He gave them everything they needed. Unfortunately, soon afterward in that same Edenic paradise, a slithery intruder - who is the enemy of our soul also known as satan - planted an insidious seed of doubt in Eve that God was holding out on her and Adam. And humanity has been predisposed to doubt our Creator Redeemer’s beneficence – the fact that He will provide everything we need for life and godliness – ever since. If your foundational security has ever been bullied by feelings of scarcity – if your peace has ever been compromised by the fear that you or those you love won’t have enough of what you need, whether that be finances, food, attention, or affection – then today’s conversation is bound to add some spiritual rebar to your emotional scaffolding. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you tried on one of those pythonish, body-slimming bathing suits and sprained your thumb trying to pull that puppy off, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us. Join Team BPT at Convoy.org/BackPorch

Transcribed - Published: 12 February 2024

Generosity Under Fire

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology Alli and I are talking about generosity under fire – in other words, how we can keep giving sacrificially giving even when we feel like a tube of toothpaste that’s been rolled so many times, there’s nothing left in the tube. Should our physical and financial resources be the final arbitrator of our generosity or should we maintain a “what’s mine is yours for the glory of God” posture when like the widow of Zaraphath, we’re down to our last bag of flour and bottle of oil. John Wesley, a renowned church father, and theologian, once preached: “When the Possessor of heaven and earth brought you into being and placed you in this world, he placed you here not as a proprietor, but as a steward.” In other words, if you’ve given your heart to Jesus, you’re supposed to give Him everything else too. No matter what name is listed on the title of your car or registered under your Apple ID, our stuff, our time, and even the ever-changing emotions that flow through our hearts and minds, they’re on loan to us to use for God’s kingdom purposes. Everything we have can be used as an asset in the preeminent business of loving God and loving people. Conversely, anything we’re hanging onto tighter than we’re holding onto Jesus can become an idol. Today’s going to be like a teaspoon of wasabi, y’all – it’ll probably go down spicy and might just make your eyes water. So please grab a tumbler of iced coffee and your Bible – unless you’re holding onto a bouquet of helium balloons for a clown friend, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us! Join Team BPT at Convoy.org/BackPorch Find Allison's new video Bible study at ChurchSource.com/Hidden

Transcribed - Published: 5 February 2024

Hermeneutics and Holy Fire

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, Dr. Howard, Alli and I are happily diving into the seemingly heady subject matter of hermeneutics. Hermeneutics comes from the Greek word hermeneutic, which means “to translate” or “to interpret.” And in the context of Judeo-Christianity, hermeneutics refers to the science of interpreting the Bible and is the branch of theology that deals with the principles of exegesis. In the same vein, the term exegesis is etymologically related to the Greek word meaning “to guide” or to “lead out.” Therefore, the basic definition of exegesis is to draw knowledge out of something and in the Judeo-Christian context refers to how Christ's followers can understand and apply the holy Scriptures. Now before you hurl one of your earbuds against the wall in frustration because this is all starting to sound as confusing as the garbled voiceover from an old Godzilla movie, hang with me a minute longer and listen to what Peter said about Paul’s New Testament writing: His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16). Even more startling is a verse in John’s Gospel account where surely the Pharisees’ faces got beet red when Jesus admonished them for being clueless Bible bangers with His observation in John 5:39: You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and yet they testify about me. In other words, those First Century religious elitists had pretty much “mastered” the text of Torah but they’d missed THE MESSIAH in the process! Unfortunately, modern Bible readers can get way off course and still miss Jesus in the text if we dive into Scripture without first praying for discernment, considering the author’s original audience, the socio-historical context, the literary format, and several other factors of sound biblical interpretation. It’s entirely possible to diligently study God’s Word – even memorize portions of it – and misappropriate or distort His promises. So while it’s not necessary to remember the academic definition of terms like hermeneutics or exegesis, much less how to spell them, it is important for us to learn how to wipe the fog off our proverbial lenses before we read this awesome, authoritative, supernatural love story called the Bible. I think today’s episode is going to invigorate our desire to engage with God through His Word. So please grab a mug of your favorite caffeinated beverage and your Bible - unless you’re chopping a slippery onion for homemade chili with a sharp knife, of course – and come hang out on the porch with Ally, Dr. Howard, and me! Join Team BPT at Convoy.org/BackPorch Find Allison's new video Bible study at ChurchSource.com/Hidden

Transcribed - Published: 29 January 2024

God Never Gives Up On You with Max Lucado: Part 2

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, we get to continue our conversation with Max Lucado about giving away our agenda so that we can lean more fully into God’s redemptive plans for our future. And as scary as it may sound to loosen your grip on your agenda – maybe because you’ve had to take care of yourself for so long it’s hard to fully trust in God’s faithfulness – Max will help all of us believe bigger in God’s providence and protection by venturing into the deep weeds of a colorful Old Testament narrative about a scoundrel named Jacob. If you feel like much of your life has been an uphill struggle and you’ve had to fight for anything good – and maybe, as a result, you’re just flat worn out and don’t have much more “get up and go” left in your bedraggled heart - this episode is tailor-made for you because as Max poetically writes: Our God is the God of those who struggle and scrape, sometimes barely making it, hanging on for dear life. We don’t have to be strong to be saved. We don’t have to be perfect to be redeemed. We simply need to trust the God of Jacob, believing in a God who sticks with the unworthy and underachievers until we are safely home. He is the God of second chances and new beginnings. You can take a deep breath and relax your shoulders y’all, because you’re able to be rinsed with genuine encouragement. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re live-streaming a makeup tutorial, of course – and come relax on the porch with Max and me. Find Allison's new video Bible study at ChurchSource.com/Hidden Join Team BPT at Convoy.org/BackPorch

Transcribed - Published: 22 January 2024

God Never Gives Up On You with Max Lucado: Part 1

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, we get to hang out with one of my all-time favorite pastors and spiritual mentors, Max Lucado. Several years ago, Time magazine declared him to be “America’s Pastor” for good reason. Even though he’s sold 92 MILLION books and they’ve been translated into 54 languages worldwide, he’s one of those incredibly kind and humble shepherds who still smells like sheep! And today he’s going to bless us with some brilliant Old Testament exegesis wrapped in gentle humor. Remember, our overarching theme here on BPT for 2024 is “The Year of Giving Yourself Away” and I don’t think there’s anyone I trust more when it comes to teaching us how to give away our own agendas so that we can lean more fully into God’s redemptive plans for our futures than Max. So please grab a cup of your favorite caffeine and your Bible, unless you’re already cutting out homemade Valentines for your kid’s school because your brain was momentarily hijacked last August when you volunteered to be their homeroom parent for an entire year! – and come hang out on the porch with Max and me. Find Allison's new video Bible study at ChurchSource.com/Hidden Join Team BPT at Convoy.org/BackPorch

Transcribed - Published: 15 January 2024

Can Self-Care and Selfless Coexist?

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, we’re going to run further and faster in the thematic lane of giving ourselves away and talk about the healthy tension between self-care and selfless. One of my favorite pretend theological boyfriends, St. Augustine, said “Charity is a virtue which, when our affections are perfectly ordered, unites us to God. For by it, we love Him.” In other words, generosity for the sake of Christ actually accelerates our awareness of His unconditional love. Therefore, giving yourself away in a healthy, biblical context comes with the penultimate payoff of increased intimacy with God. It’s what can never honestly be said about the stock market – choosing to live a generous, God and others-oriented lifestyle also means our investment comes with a perfectly secure dividend. Which is the theme of Jesus’s message in Luke chapter 6: Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Speaking of pouring, how about pouring yourself a big cup of coffee and grabbing your Bible - unless you’re still trying to figure out how to fit those newfangled LED Christmas lights back into the box they came in so you can finally cram all of the holiday trimmings back into the attic until next November, of course – and come hang out on the porch with Alli, Dr. Howard and me! Find Allison's new video Bible study at ChurchSource.com/Hidden. Join Team BPT at Convoy.org/BackPorch

Transcribed - Published: 8 January 2024

An Open-Handed and Open-Hearted Life

I’m so stinkin’ excited about today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology because it’s going to be a banner year here at BPT and the banner over all 53 episodes of BPT in 2024 is: “The Year of Giving Yourself Away”! We’re going to delve deeply into what it means to live Christoformic lives – how to be shaped like Jesus in everything we do. We’re going to explore the theology of generosity. We’re going to get real and raw about what we need to loosen our grip on in order to be more merciful and less miserly when it comes to giving away our time and our own agendas and our forgiveness. How can we emulate Jesus’s proclamation in Mark’s Gospel account right before His compassionate, healing encounter with blind Bartimaeus when our Savior said, I didn’t come to be served, but to serve. To give my life away as a ransom for many. Scripture makes it clear that as Christ-followers we’re called to care for widows and orphans – the poor and the powerless – yet sometimes our own orphan spirits and scarcity mindsets rob us of the transformative blessings God promises to those who live open-handedly and open-heartedly. Which means we’re going to be really purposeful this year about pursuing a more intimate relationship with God through the revelation of His Word and Holy Spirit, which will lead to a lifestyle riddled with generosity. And we’ve got a surprise for you toward the end of ’24 because we’re going to take a great, big heart-expanding and belly-laugh-inducing BPT field trip to practice generosity with some precious image bearers who are in desperate need of some intentional care and kindness. Now besides grabbing a cup of coffee and your Bible as we begin this episode, we also need you to turn up the volume a tad because Alli and I recorded this New Year’s episode in the Dominican Republic and there’s a pretty rowdy gang of roosters and chickens in the background, welcome back to the porch, y’all. Find Allison's new video Bible study at ChurchSource.com/Hidden. Join Team BPT at Convoy.org/BackPorch

Transcribed - Published: 1 January 2024

Christmas 365

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, the whole gang – Alli, Dr. Howard, Belle, and I - have gathered together to celebrate Christmas! We’re talking all things Yule with y’all – okay, I know that was so cheesy but eggnog and fruitcake tend to activate my dorky sentimental side! And while we are going to take a stroll down memory lane today, we’re also going to talk about how the miracle of the Incarnation should inform and permeate the other 364 days of our calendar. J.I. Packer explained the magnitude of Christmas like this: It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the profoundest and most unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. ‘The Word became flesh.’ God became a man; the divine Son became a Jew; the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. And there was no illusion or deception in this: the babyhood of the Son of God was a reality. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the Incarnation. I’ve thought about Dr. Packer’s observation often these past few weeks of Advent – about how our holy, transcendent Creator Redeemer condescended to earth in a suit of skin to be born in a Bethlehem barn. Australian theologian John Nolland actually refers to the Incarnation as the divine condescension. I can’t quite wrap my mind around a love so vast that it compelled the King of all kings to lay down His ruling scepter in glory and lower Himself not only to human form but ultimately to be nailed to a cross. King Jesus became like us in order to rescue and redeem us. Goodness gracious, Christmas is SO MUCH BIGGER than December 25th y’all! So please grab a spiced apple cider, a peppermint mocha, a tumbler of eggnog, or some other Yuletide beverage concoction and your Bible – unless you’ve got both hands on an electric knife and are making a mess out of what was a beautiful holiday ham mere moments ago, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us! Save 25% on Dwell at DwellBible.com/Lisa

Transcribed - Published: 25 December 2023

How The Light of Christmas Eclipses Gloom Forever

Looking for Christmas podcasts? We curated some of our favorite episodes just for you here! During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re exploring a messianic prophecy in the Old Testament to excavate a treasure worth more than all the gold in Ft. Knox, all the pearls in Japan, all the cheese in Wisconsin, and all the turkey legs at Dollywood! Isaiah chapter 9 is one of the most memorable of all the Old Testament prophecies and it’s especially familiar during the Christmas season. However, like the old adage says, unfortunately sometimes familiarity breeds contempt. Most of us have heard the “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given” part of Isaiah’s promise recited so many times that we’re prone to miss the breathtaking miracle at the beginning of the passage which proclaims: But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. Despite all the perky taglines of commercials this time of year and the endless photos on social media depicting perfectly matched, professionally lit, smiling families with Labradoodles, ‘tis also the season of anguish for many because sometimes the public celebration serves as a poignant reminder of private grief – of the stocking that’s missing from their mantle or the chair that’s going to be empty at this year’s Christmas dinner table. Isaiah’s Advent announcement isn’t pithy positive thinking or sloppy sentimentality – instead, he acknowledges the gloom, the inherent darkness that came with the Fall – but he juxtaposes our human pain against the backdrop of divine hope, just listen to verse 2 of chapter 9: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. I believe today’s conversation is going to breathe fresh hope into someone’s flagging sails, so please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible– unless you’re currently driving one of those itty-bitty cars in a holiday parade down Main Street, of course – and come spend some quality Christmas-is-right-around-the-corner time on the porch with Alli, Dr. Howard and me. If you are looking for suicide prevention resources or help, please call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. Save 25% on Dwell at DwellBible.com/Lisa See the Miracle of Christmas only on Sight and Sound TV.

Transcribed - Published: 18 December 2023

Color Us Gobsmacked and Grateful

Looking for Christmas podcasts? We curated some of our favorite episodes just for you here! During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’ve got the whole gang in the studio – Alli, Dr. Howard, Belle – from Ring My Belle – and me – and we’re going to spend some time gawking at God’s faithfulness and how He’s gotten us to our 100th episode – which is today, December 11th! We’re two years into this podcast adventure and we’re still pinching ourselves that we get to do this and get to do it together. One of my favorite, long-dead church fathers – those ancient spiritual leaders that I like to refer to as my pretend theological boyfriends – Bernard of Clairvaux – said this: “I preached myself, and the scholars came and praised me. I preached Christ, and the sinners came and thanked me.” We’ve certainly made some mistakes and shared lots of shenanigans in the studio while recording the first 99 episodes of BPT, but it’s been a profound privilege to attempt to make Jesus the Hero of every podcast leading up to this centennial celebration. And we’re beyond grateful that y’all consistently carve the time out of your days to lean into His unconditional love for us on the porch. Honestly, when Alli and I started, we thought our listeners would be comprised of her husband Jonathan, and my mom, Patti. Thank you for enlarging our dreams and better yet, our community. Now most of y’all know the drill - please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’ve gotten all Pinteresty this season and need both hands to finish those dadgum handmade ornaments before Christmas is over, of course – and come hang out on the porch for this super special praise party with us.

Transcribed - Published: 11 December 2023

Why Bread and Boaz are Key Characters in the Christmas Story

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, Alli and I are still neck-deep in all things Advent but the itinerary we’re taking to the Christmas creche is much more scenic than Waze would route you. We’re going all the way back through the family tree of Jesus to a little boy named Obed, who was also born in a little town called Bethlehem, in the Old Testament. The New Testament gives us two accounts of the genealogy of Jesus – Matthew starts with Abraham and works forward, while Luke works backward from Jesus to Adam. But neither of these Gospel writers gives us as many redemptive details as the Book of Ruth. She and Esther are the only two women who have an entire book of the Bible dedicated to them and Ruth’s story reads like a colorful prelude to the miracle of Christmas, complete with a baby born in Bethlehem, the House of Bread. Surely, you’ve sung about this little town and how still we see it lie, but today you’re going to find out why a tiny village in the Middle East means that you don’t have to spend Christmas alone, ever. So grab a cup-a-joe and your Bible – unless you’ve got both hands full of popcorn and fresh cranberries because you’ve watched too many episodes of Little House on the Prairie or have spent way too much time on Pinterest! – and come prop your feet up on the porch with Alli, Dr. Howard, and me!

Transcribed - Published: 4 December 2023

Misfits, Miracles and A Manger

Fund conversations that matter: donate.accessmore.com During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology Alli and I are happily diving into all things Advent! And we’re focusing on a few ancient outliers in biblical antiquity who would naturally have been invited to clean out stalls in some First Century barn but would never have been invited to anyone’s party. Well, anyone except the Creator of the Universe! What does it mean for us today that 2,000 years ago God chose a group of outliers with a reputation for petty thievery, who were nomadic, illiterate, maligned in rabbinic literature, and scorned by most everybody else to be the very first humans – besides Joe and Mary, of course - to witness the Incarnation? Why is it so significant that God chose the least of us to greet the One who came to rescue and redeem all of us? We’re making a life-giving visit back in time to that original nativity scene in Bethlehem and our proverbial tour bus comes complete with a spoiler alert because Dr. Howard is also going to exegete a passage in Revelation that rivals Dr. Luke’s birth narrative but that’s not until the end of this episode so you’re going to have to hang out with us the whole time! Which means you’d better grab a mega mug of coffee and your Bible –unless you’re hot-gluing a rope headband on a bathrobe for some precious punkin’ in your life who’s been chosen for the super-important - albeit non-speaking – role of a shepherd in the church Christmas play, of course - and come sit for a spell on the porch with us!

Transcribed - Published: 27 November 2023

The Praxis Of A Well-Place Thank You

Fund conversations that matter: donate.accessmore.com During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology Alli and I are diving into one of my favorite passages about thanksgiving found in the synoptic gospels. One of our theological heroes, the late, great Dr. Tim Keller, said: “It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.” In other words, thanksgiving is not simply the warm fuzzy feeling that bubbles up in Americans when we gather around a table laden with Turkey, sweet potato casserole, and cornbread stuffing in late November – mind you there is something truly glorious about a heap of hot, mashed sweet potatoes topped with brown sugar and melted marshmallows – but rather for Christ-followers the world over, thanksgiving is about developing the joyful discipline of celebrating the beneficence and compassion of our Creator Redeemer. And deliberate, actionable gratitude is a double blessing, y’all because it’s not just fruit of the Spirit, it’s fuel from the Spirit because the praxis and posture of giving thanks supernaturally propels us into deeper intimacy with God. Today’s conversation has the potential to transform your emotional trajectory so please grab a cup of coffee with a generous splash of Hazelnut creamer, and your Bible – unless you’re currently shelling pecans for homemade pie, of course – and come hang out on the porch with Ally, Dr. Howard and me.

Transcribed - Published: 20 November 2023

What’s Your I.Q. (Interruptibility Quotient)?

Today on Back Porch Theology, Ally and I are continuing the conversation about sanctification – the ongoing process of becoming less like who we were before we fell in love with Jesus and more like Him. One of my pretend theological boyfriends, ancient theologian and church father Thomas Chalmers, uses the phraseology of the expulsive power of the new affection to describe spiritual maturity. He reasoned that the further we fall in love with Jesus, the less room there is for ungodly affections and entanglements in our hearts. He wrote, “We know of no other way by which to keep the love of the world out of our hearts than to keep in our hearts the love of God.” Much like the theme last week, Chalmers emphasized how sanctification is less about remediating our behavior and more about recognizing our belovedness. Checking off every item on some spiritual to-do list doesn’t have the power to transform our hearts and minds into the shape of Jesus, y’all! However, leaning into His unconditionally loving embrace will absolutely fertilize personal holiness and fuel our desire to obey the imperatives of God’s Word. Speaking of the symbiotic relationship between love and sanctification, in John’s Gospel account Jesus declared that people will recognize we’re His disciples by how well we love each other, which means we’re going to connect the dots between sanctification and community today too, baby! So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re rinsing your bougie yet clogged espresso machine out with stinky vinegar, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us! Save 25% on Dwell National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child is November 13-20. Click HERE to learn more.

Transcribed - Published: 13 November 2023

What Does It Mean to Be Shaped Like Jesus?

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology Alli and I are dipping our toes into the transformative waters of sanctification. Sanctification initially presents in the Old Testament as a thing/object that is “set apart as sacred” – such as the Sabbath Day or utensils used for worship ceremonies in the Temple. However, in the New Testament, the concept of sanctification reflects the idea of how ragamuffins like us - who’ve put our hope in Jesus - are being progressively conformed into His image. In his book “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” from the iconic Narnia series, C.S. Lewis explains sanctification through a stinker of an adolescent named Eustace: It would be nice and fairly nearly true, to say that 'from that time forth, Eustace was a different boy. To be strictly accurate, he began to be a different boy. He had relapses. There were still many days when he could be very tiresome. But most of those I shall not notice. The cure had begun. The “cure” C.S. Lewis wrote about wasn’t transactional, it was relational. I will surely step on some prim and proper toes with this assertion but sanctification is not primarily the embodiment of biblical ethics, nor is it accelerated by checking off more items on some proverbial religious “to-do” list. Spiritual maturity is less about our remediating our behavior and more about recognizing our belovedness. So please take a deep breath and relax – you’re not about to get a sanctimonious smackdown or lectured about how unholy you are! Now grab a steaming cup of coffee or apple cider or pumpkin spiced something and your Bible – unless you’re up to your elbows in alpaca wool because you thought handknit Christmas stockings would be a breeze, of course – and come hang out on the porch with Ally, Dr. Howard and me. National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child is November 13-20. Click HERE to learn more. Journey to Bethlehem Movie in Theaters.

Transcribed - Published: 6 November 2023

Alert and Anxious Are NOT Emotional Cousins – Continuing Our Candid Conversation About Current Events

Today on Back Porch Theology Alli, Dr Howard and I are continuing our candid discussion about the current conflict in Israel and how to best respond as concerned Christ-followers. In doing so, we’re going to peruse a relevant passage in Mark’s Gospel account that had First Century folks every bit as concerned about the conflict brewing in their culture as we are today. The overarching takeaway from this colorful chapter in Mark - which includes the same type of apocalyptic imagery that we’re seeing on newsreels right now – is that we need to be alert and prayerful, but we don’t have to be afraid. What’s currently going on in Israel has lots of armchair quarterbacks predicting eschatological consequences and we know that can be both confusing and disconcerting. But we want to encourage you to hang on to hope because while Jesus Himself said He didn’t know the exact hour of His return, the second advent, He did tell us that He’ll be coming back with God the Father and they’ll bring the conclusive end to the war between good and evil. When they come back for us, they’ll usher in the reign of perfect peace that all of humanity longs for and His peace will reign forever. There will be no more wars or rumors of wars. No more horrific abuse or human trafficking. No more dying or crying. But in the meantime - in this messy middle, the already but not yet time - as in we're already saved but not yet glorified - we have to stay alert, don’t let satan’s scaly dragon tail catch you off guard and cause a big bruise. Be ready to jump to the aid of others who are in danger of getting whacked by him too. We don’t have to live as victims, y’all because Jesus has already ensured the victory! So grab a cup of coffee, or an oat milk chai, or some fancy green juice and your Bible – unless you’re walking around the same circle in an increasingly claustrophobic corn maze - and come hang out on the porch with us. National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child is November 13-20. Click HERE to learn more. Journey to Bethlehem Movie in Theaters.

Transcribed - Published: 30 October 2023

Why Did God “Choose” Israel? – A Candid Conversation about Current Events

Today on Back Porch Theology Alli, Dr Howard and I are having a candid conversation about the current, seemingly eschalating war in Israel and the Gaza area. We’ll be leaning on Dr. Howard’s academic expertise to explain the significance of how early in biblical history God established Israel as a theocracy – that is a people group He singled out for His favor and so as to represent the kind of convenant relationship He wants with all of humanity. Then we’re going to delve into why Israel’s favored status in biblical narrative still matters in our modern era. Please know we’re not going to tell you what to think – goodness gracious, there so many differing eschatalogical viewpoints and prophecies regarding how conflict in the Middle East may or may not usher in the end times, I don’t think anybody needs another incindiary op-ed. What we do need to be reminded of, however, is that when the disciples were alarmed about wars and rumors of wars during His incarnate ministry, Jesus encouraged them to be alert. In Mark 13, He actually counsels His follwers to be alert 5 separate times…what He does not encourage them to feel is fear. There’s a big difference between being alert and being anxious, between staying informed and staying amped up by 24 hour news reels. Regardless of what’s going on in the world, if you’ve put your faith in Jesus Christ, the New Testament describes us as His ambassadors, agents of reconciliation, and people of actionable prayer - and to that end we’re not simply to be consumers of hope, we’re supposed to be carriers of hope too, y’all. Handwringing is not an option for Christfollowers, no matter how messy life gets. So grab a cup of coffee, or hot chocolate, or some fancy vitamin B infused water and your Bible – unless you’re raking up a ginormous pile of Fall leaves for the neighborhood kids to hurl their little sticky, precious selves into - and come lean into safe community on the porch with us. National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child is November 13-20. Click HERE to learn more.

Transcribed - Published: 23 October 2023

A Special Prayer For Israel

In this special bonus episode, Lisa shares a guided prayer as we prayer for Israel and what's happening in Gaza. Join us as we lift of those in the Middle East.

Transcribed - Published: 20 October 2023

Awake My Soul and Sing with Brooke Ligertwood, Part 2

During today’s Back Porch Theology session, I’ll be the one alternately laughing and crying because we have the pure joy of continuing a soul-stirring conversation about the heart of worship with none other than my dear friend, Brooke Ligertwood. Romans 12:1-2 says: Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. And those verses Paul penned are a great description of worship because it's not simply the songs of faith we sing in church or in the car or listen to while we’re gutting out a few more minutes on the elliptical at the gym – instead the act of worship should encompass the entirety of our lives when we’re living in obedience to God! I’ve learned so much about the wholistic – 24/7 - nature of biblical worship through Brooke. She’s one of the preeminent worship leaders of our modern era, she leads tens of thousands of people toward the throne of Jesus in stadiums all over the world, and she’s written or co-written some of the most God-honoring, faith-galvanizing, biblically rooted worship songs that are sung in almost every stream of the Christian faith including What a Beautiful Name, King of kings, Awake My Soul, Who You Say I Am, and A Thousand Hallelujahs. Christ-followers across the globe are familiar with her music, but what some people don’t know about Brooke is that she’s a passionately devoted student of God’s Word, a voracious reader of theology – we’re rabid fans of some of the same long dead church fathers like Saint Augustine, Brother Lawrence and Blasé Pascal - and in fact, Brooke is so serious about biblical fidelity that runs all of her lyrics by theological scholars before recording them. Every single time I have the pure joy of hanging out with Brooke, I walk away more in love with Jesus and today is no exception so please grab a great big mug of coffee or hot chocolate or green juice, and your Bible – unless you’re trying to get ahead of the Christmas curve and stuck in the attic untangling last year’s tangled strands of lights, of course – and come relax on the porch with us. Save 25% on Dwell at DwellBible.com/Lisa. God is Able is available anywhere books are sold.

Transcribed - Published: 16 October 2023

Awake My Soul and Sing, Part 1

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to wade into the refreshing, invigorating, cleansing and sometimes even healing waters of worship. According to theological scholars – in the context of our Judeo-Christian belief system - worship is the reverential response of creation to the all-encompassing magnificence of God. In biblical narrative, worship includes activities like bringing an offering or sacrifice to God, bowing down in deference and obeisance, and of course proclaiming His transcendent holiness, omnipotent power, and compassionate faithfulness through song. It’s what Moses models in Exodus 15:11 when he asks in awed wonder: Who is like you, O Lord? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? When it comes to worship leaders, it’s probably not too much of a stretch to call King David the perennial favorite because he wrote almost half of the 150 Psalms, all of which were originally written as songs – s-o-n-g-s. That means Dave’s tunes were all over some kind of ancient Spotify! And when it comes to modern-day worship leaders, our guest on BPT today is a perennial favorite, as well. She’s written and co-written some of the most God-honoring, faith-galvanizing, biblically rooted worship songs of this era that are consistently belted out in communities of faith all over the world including What a Beautiful Name, King of kings, Awake My Soul, Who You Say I Am, and A Thousand Hallelujahs. But what I love and respect most about my dear friend Brooke Ligertwood isn’t her Grammy-award winning musical genius or her gorgeous voice, it’s her humility-soaked heart. All it takes is a few minutes in her company and you can tell this woman spends a lot of time at the feet of Jesus. I think you’ll find yourself leaning more fully into His presence after hanging out with her today, too. So please grab a cup of coffee on this glorious Fall day, and your Bible – unless you’re learning the the ancient art of henna and practicing on a brave friend with indelible ink, of course! – and come prop your feet up on the porch with us. God is Able is available anywhere books are sold.

Transcribed - Published: 9 October 2023

Awake My Soul and Sing with Brooke Ligertwood, Part 1

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to wade into the refreshing, invigorating, cleansing and sometimes even healing waters of worship. According to theological scholars – in the context of our Judeo-Christian belief system - worship is the reverential response of creation to the all-encompassing magnificence of God. In biblical narrative, worship includes activities like bringing an offering or sacrifice to God, bowing down in deference and obeisance, and of course proclaiming His transcendent holiness, omnipotent power, and compassionate faithfulness through song. It’s what Moses models in Exodus 15:11 when he asks in awed wonder: Who is like you, O Lord? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? When it comes to worship leaders, it’s probably not too much of a stretch to call King David the perennial favorite because he wrote almost half of the 150 Psalms, all of which were originally written as songs – s-o-n-g-s. That means Dave’s tunes were all over some kind of ancient Spotify! And when it comes to modern-day worship leaders, our guest on BPT today is a perennial favorite, as well. She’s written and co-written some of the most God-honoring, faith-galvanizing, biblically rooted worship songs of this era that are consistently belted out in communities of faith all over the world including What a Beautiful Name, King of kings, Awake My Soul, Who You Say I Am, and A Thousand Hallelujahs. But what I love and respect most about my dear friend Brooke Ligertwood isn’t her Grammy-award winning musical genius or her gorgeous voice, it’s her humility-soaked heart. All it takes is a few minutes in her company and you can tell this woman spends a lot of time at the feet of Jesus. I think you’ll find yourself leaning more fully into His presence after hanging out with her today, too. So please grab a cup of coffee on this glorious Fall day, and your Bible – unless you’re learning the the ancient art of henna and practicing on a brave friend with indelible ink, of course! – and come prop your feet up on the porch with us. God is Able is available anywhere books are sold.

Transcribed - Published: 9 October 2023

Suffering and the Formation of Hope

Fund conversations that matter: donate.accessmore.com During today’s episode of Back Porch Theology, Alli and I are continuing a joy-saturated conversation with Dr. Curt Thompson, who’s a board-certified, practicing psychiatrist who loves God and His Word and His people. Dr. Thompson’s expertise in connecting neurobiology with biblically sound theology has been a game changer for me and his latest work – which connects suffering and the formation of hope – has helped me lean further into God’s restorative, healing compassion with regards to some of my oldest and deepest wounds. Just listen to this excerpt from his latest book, The Deepest Place: The creation of beauty and goodness out of carnage – the resurrected Jesus in the wake of crucifixion – opens the door to the most durable formation of hope. Hope that is sustainable because it has emerged from crucifixion, from suffering. Contrary to what some of us were taught in church, we don’t have check our emotions at the door of biblical fidelity – God wants us to bring everything – all of our disappointment and loneliness and shame and the fear that if someone actually looks under the hood of our life, they’ll leave - to His throne of mercy - pretending you’re okay is actually not a fruit of the Spirit, y’all! This episode is packed with potential freedom so please grab a cup of coffee or a tumbler of your favorite, albeit exorbitantly priced but oh so yummy - cold-pressed juice, and your Bible and come prop your feet up on the porch with us!

Transcribed - Published: 2 October 2023

Emotional Wholeness and Spiritual Maturity

Fund conversations that matter: donate.accessmore.com During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology Alli and I are diving in deep with Dr. Curt Thompson, who’s a board-certified, practicing psychiatrist who loves God and His Word and His people. I first met Dr. Thompson about ten years ago through a mutual friend who gave me one of his books called Anatomy of the Soul. I was immediately intrigued by the title because that’s my favorite description of the Psalms, written by ancient church father, John Calvin, and I was also intrigued by how Curt connects his medical expertise in neurobiology with Christocentric theology. Dr. Walter Brueggemann, who’s a world-renowned Bible scholar, describes him as having remarkable agility between neuroscience and theological verities. In other words, God has given this incredibly kind man a gift to help the rest of us better understand what Paul was talking about in Romans when he encourages Christ-followers to renew our minds. This conversation blew redemptive gales of fresh wind in the sails of my heart and I really think it’s going to do the same for y’all. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible –unless you’re hollowing out a huge gourd for a Fall centerpiece, of course - and come allow your great, big, beautiful – albeit possibly weary - heart to exhale on the on the porch with us! Check out the Pour Over Podcast!

Transcribed - Published: 25 September 2023

Lessons In The Lunchroom

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to explore one of my favorite pastimes, which is gathering around a table with a group of dear friends, sharing a great meal, and talking until the cows come home or someone starts flicking the lights! All too often meals in our post-post-modern culture are harried affairs that involve more staring at phone screens than looking at and listening to each other. Or else we’re gobbling fast food in the car while juggling a business call on Bluetooth. But gathering and eating and talking around the table was highly valued during the incarnate ministry of Jesus Christ. Table fellowship was the centerpiece of first century culture and community in the Ancient Near East. In his book, Tell It Slant, author and theologian, the late great Dr. Eugene Peterson, puts it like this: Jesus taught in the synagogues and preached in the temple, but settings of hospitality seemed to be Jesus’ venue of choice for dealing with kingdom matters. Case in point, one of the most beloved stories in the gospels – the feeding of the five thousand – revolves around a massive fish and chips miracle; the jaw-dropping salvation of a wee little man named Zacchaeus took place when Jesus invited Himself to Zach’s house for lunch; and the poignant scene where a profoundly grateful woman washed His feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and anointed them with oil from her alabaster box took place during a dinner party. Gathering around a table is often a harbinger for healing in the four gospel accounts. If you enjoy sharing a great meal with great friends – today’s episode is going to fit you like a glove. More importantly, if you ache to be welcomed to a meal with a group of folk who treat you like a friend, we pray Holy Spirit uses the next forty-five minutes or so to remind you that you always have a seat at God’s table. And His invitation isn’t simply to share a meal, y’all - it’s to move in and find your home in His unconditional love. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re picking burrs out of your naughty Goldendoodle puppy’s fur, of course – and come hang out on the porch with Ally, Dr. Howard, Belle and me. Sight & Sound TV on demand at Sight-Sound.TV Or Download the App! Save 25% on Dwell at DwellBible.com/Lisa

Transcribed - Published: 18 September 2023

Prioritizing Play

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to have an absolute – albeit perhaps convicting for the busy beavers among us – blast because we’re going to be exploring the biblical imperative of play. Dr. Brian Edgar, a professor at Asbury Seminary, explains it this way: Just as in everyday life work without play makes one dull, in the Christian life service without a playful relationship with God leads to spiritual dullness. Could it be that in the theological framework of school, our Creator Redeemer places as much value on recess as He does on reading, writing and arithmetic? Is it possible that enjoying something God created so much that we burst into belly laughter could foster as much intimacy with Him as Bible study? What would it look like to truly take our faith seriously but ourselves not so much? Today’s convo is riddled with giggles and doesn’t contain quite as many multi-syllabic theological terms as usual, but it’s a seriously important issue to consider how we can better embody the authentic joy that Jesus died to give us access to. Quite frankly, I think our lack of genuine, demonstrative joy is one of the biggest blemishes on the bride of Christ today and unfortunately is one of the reasons our witness doesn’t resonate with the watching world. So please grab of cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re dusting that super gross top side of your ceiling fans, of course – and come hang out on the porch with Ally, Dr. Howard and me. Don’t Look Back is available at ChurchSource.com/Christine. Sight & Sound TV on demand at Sight-Sound.TV Or Download the App! Save 25% on God’s Big Promises Bible at TheGoodBook.com/GodsBigPromises. Use code Lisa at Checkout.

Transcribed - Published: 11 September 2023

The Rebar of Spiritual Maturity

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to excavate what could loosely be called one of the crown jewels of the Hebrew Scriptures because out of all the passages of the Old Testament that are referenced in the New Testament, Psalm 110 is the one that’s repeated the most often. Jesus uses it in Matthew’s Gospel account to confuse a crew of condescending Pharisees; Peter uses it as one of his main points when he preached the very first post Easter sermon from the Southern Steps of the Temple during the festival of Pentecost after which thousands of people put their hope and faith in Jesus Christ as the resurrected Messiah; and the author of Hebrews devotes almost an entire chapter to this petite Psalm that was a perennial favorite of early Christians. However, it can be perplexing if you don’t understand the prophetic nature of David’s ancient lyrics. Which is why Ally, Dr. Howard and I are going to do our very best to wipe the fog off this biblical windshield because it’s one of the keys to having a solid theological scaffolding and it’s foundational to maintaining our hope about the future. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re biting your fingernails because you just watched your sixteen-year-old pull out of the driveway and head toward school without you for the first time, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us. Don’t Look Back is available at ChurchSource.com/Christine. Sight & Sound TV on demand at Sight-Sound.TV Or Download the App! Save 25% on God’s Big Promises Bible at TheGoodBook.com/GodsBigPromises.com. Use code Lisa at Checkout.

Transcribed - Published: 4 September 2023

How Do We Know When God Says Go

We’ve titled today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology – How Do We Know When God Says Go – because we’re using the seasonal theme of “Back to School” to talk honestly about transition. Whether it’s graduating from one grade to the next, leaving home to strike out on our own, changing careers, saying goodbye to a relationship or a loved one, moving from one neighborhood to another, one city to another, one state to another or even from one country to another, we’re all going to come face to face with change on a regular basis whether we’re comfortable with it or not! So what does this divine love letter called the Bible reveal about when to leave and when to stay? Why are there 74 Selahs – or sacred pauses – in biblical narrative and when are we supposed to put our own proverbial cars in neutral instead of racing ahead? How can we learn to lean into the curves of this wild ride called life, especially when we can’t see around the corner of our circumstances? Speaking of wild rides, Ally and Dr. Howard are back in the BPT house today after taking their own summer breaks, which means this convo is going to be both rowdy and rooted in a deep love for each other, as well as for God and His Word. So please grab a cup of coffee – I’m still drinking mine iced because even though we’re cruising toward Fall, it’s still hot and humid in Nashville - and grab your Bible – unless your hands are sticky from braising brisket for a late summer barbeque, of course, and come kick up your feet on the porch with us! Check out the P O U R Over podcast each Monday, Wednesday and Friday wherever you listen to podcasts.

Transcribed - Published: 28 August 2023

If God Is Perfectly Good Then Why Did ________ Happen? E.J. Gaines, Part 2.

Today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology is the final episode, – the compelling caboose, if you will - of our sizzling summer series called If God Is Perfectly Good Then Why Did ______ Happen? The brilliant spiritual diamond we’ve been examining from all kinds of angles is theodicy – which means the vindication of our Redeemer’s absolute goodness and providence in view of the existence of physical and moral evil. And the facet we’re going to gaze at today reflects our responsibility as Christ-followers to pursue unity in this wildly diverse community called humanity. Despite lots of Christian’s comfort zone, homogeny is not a characteristic of the New Covenant. In fact, the “every tribe and tongue” part of John’s glorious vision in Revelation negates our natural tendency toward tribalism. Following Christ’s ascension in the New Testament, it becomes increasingly clear that avoiding our own version of Samaria is no longer an option, nor is keeping our head in the proverbial sand. As Elie Wiesel (pronounced El-ee Wee-zell) soberly observed in his classic book “Night,” which recounts his experience in Auschwitz during the Holocaust, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Since Alli’s still unpacking boxes after she and Jonathan moved to a new house, my brilliant spiritual brother E.J. Gaines graciously agreed to guest host another episode. And quite frankly, there’s not too many people I respect more when it comes to dealing with difficult topics like theodicy and reconciliation with wisdom and grace. So please grab a cup of iced coffee and your Bible – unless you’re anxiously attempting to park a chunky, rental RV into a skinny parking space on what you thought would be an epic family road trip, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us! Follow Us On Instagram! @BackPorchTheologyPodcast @LisaDHarper @AllisonAllen @Jim.Howard.Co Check out the P O U R Over podcast each Monday, Wednesday and Friday wherever you listen to podcasts

Transcribed - Published: 21 August 2023

If God is Perfectly Good Then Why Did ________ Happen? E.J. Gaines, Part 1.

Today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology is the second to last episode of our sizzling summer series called If God Is Perfectly Good Then Why Did ______ Happen? The weighty and wonderful biblical truism we’ve been exploring is theodicy – which means the vindication of our Redeemer’s absolute goodness and providence in view of the existence of physical and moral evil. Frankly y’all the fact that the infinite, all-powerful Creator of the Universe allows us to question His character when we can’t see around the corner of our finite human circumstances underscores the immutability – the changelessness – of His compassion. A God who was anything less than perfectly good would surely fry fussy, fickle followers like us into grease spots of oblivion! Now since Alli - my five-foot-twelve spiritual wing-woman – is still up to her ears in bubble wrap, we’ve got another great guest host this week and I can pretty much guarantee you’re going to love the brilliant baritone of my spiritual brother E.J. Gaines! So please grab a cup of iced coffee and your Bible – unless you’ve got a white-knuckled grip on a shopping cart and are currently fending off other crazed parents in your quest to fill your child’s school supply list, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us! Follow Us On Instagram! @BackPorchTheologyPodcast @LisaDHarper @AllisonAllen @Jim.Howard.Co Check out the P O U R Over podcast each Monday, Wednesday and Friday wherever you listen to podcasts

Transcribed - Published: 14 August 2023

If God is Perfectly Good Then Why Did ________ Happen? Hillary Scott, Part 2.

Fund conversations that matter: donate.accessmore.com Today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology is the fourth episode of our sizzling summer series called If God Is Perfectly Good Then Why Did ______ Happen? We’re continuing our trek deep into the wild and wooly territory of theodicy – which is the vindication of our Redeemer’s absolute goodness and providence in view of the existence of physical and moral evil. Hillary Scott is back as our guest co-host because Alli’s playing hooky for a few more weeks – okay, okay, she’s not really playing hooky, she’s on a mission to unpack the last of what seemed like a mountain of moving boxes so as to get her family settled into a new house, and get their youngest son settled into a new school. And speaking of mission that’s the direction we’re headed today under the canopy of theodicy. In other words, what does it look like to lean into God’s kingdom purposes and live missionally when we feel like we’re languishing in a hot mess? How can we maintain momentum and keep moving forward into our own redemptive history and not get permanently stuck in disappointment or sorrow? So please grab a cup of iced coffee and your Bible - unless your hands are still clasped over your eyes after watching too much Shark Week, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us! Follow Us On Instagram! @BackPorchTheologyPodcast @LisaDHarper @AllisonAllen @Jim.Howard.Co

Transcribed - Published: 7 August 2023

If God is Perfectly Good Then Why Did ________ Happen? Hillary Scott, Part 1.

Fund conversations that matter: donate.accessmore.com Today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology is the third episode of our sizzling summer series called If God Is Perfectly Good Then Why Did ______ Happen? The spiritual rink we’ve been skating in for a few weeks is theodicy – a fancy word which simply means the vindication of our Redeemer’s absolute goodness and providence in view of the existence of physical and moral evil. In other words, how do we hang onto the fact that God is for us when everything in our life seems to be falling apart? If today’s episode was a song lyric, it could aptly be titled A Broken Hallelujah. Or if country music’s your thing, Jesus Take The Wheel. Speaking of country music, since Alli’s still in the midst of moving to a new house, we’ve recruited some really spectacular guest hosts to ride shotgun for the next few weeks and today’s is none other than my dear friend and the sweetest member of the 9-time Grammy-award winning trio, Lady A, Hillary Scott! So please grab a cup of iced coffee and your Bible - unless you’re in the backyard catching lightening bugs with your favorite kiddos, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us! Follow Us On Instagram! @BackPorchTheologyPodcast @LisaDHarper @AllisonAllen @Jim.Howard.Co

Transcribed - Published: 31 July 2023

If God is Perfectly Good Then Why Did ________ Happen? Kyle Hebert, Part 2.

Fund conversations that matter: donate.accessmore.com Today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology is the second episode of our sizzling summer series called If God is Perfectly Good Then Why Did ______ Happen? The refreshing spiritual topic we’ve been swimming in is theodicy – a multi-syllabic theological term that means the vindication of our Redeemer’s absolute goodness and providence in view of the existence of physical and moral evil. And in this episode of our series, we’re going to focus on the freedom that accompanies trusting more fully in God’s immutable – unchanging – compassion. I don’t know about you, but true freedom didn’t come quickly or easily for me. Even though I put my faith in Jesus as my Savior when I was a little girl, it took me a very long time to trust Him as my Liberator. Even as an adult with a seminary education, I spent years bound by chains of shame. I deeply resonated with what Pastor Steve Brown wrote in his book: A Scandalous Freedom, “The similarity between real freedom and the freedom experienced by many Christians is the difference between the taxidermist and the veterinarian; while you do get your dog back, one collects dust while the other jumps, slobbers and barks.” Our sincere hope and fervent prayer is that God uses this conversation to help at least one precious saint finally shake loose from the formaldehyde of religiosity, shame, or paralyzing guilt. Alli is in the middle of her move and will be back with bells on soon, but Kyle Hebert – whose contagious joy captivated so many of you last week – has graciously agreed to guest host again. So please grab a cup of iced coffee and your Bible, unless you’re frantically clinging to a giant, inflatable couch-looking thingie while some sadistic boat-driver slings you mercilessly across a lake, of course, and come hang out on the porch with us. Follow Us On Instagram! @BackPorchTheologyPodcast @LisaDHarper @AllisonAllen @Jim.Howard.Co SAVE 20% by using code Lisa20 at ElevatedFaith.com

Transcribed - Published: 24 July 2023

If God is Perfectly Good Then Why Did ________ Happen? Kyle Hebert, Part 1.

Fund conversations that matter: donate.accessmore.com Today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology is the first episode of our sizzling summer series called If God Is Perfectly Good Then Why Did ______ Happen? We’re going to dive deeply into the biblical truism of theodicy – which is the vindication of our Redeemer’s absolute goodness and providence in view of the existence of physical and moral evil. The term theodicy was coined by a brainiac German dude named Gottfried Leibniz almost 300 years ago when he combined two Greek words theos – which refers to God – and dee-kay – which is the name of the Greek goddess of justice and therefore represents a sense of moral order. So the etymological scaffolding of theodicy is the framework through which we justify our Heavenly Father’s divine mercy in a human milieu that includes horrific immorality and cruelty. And since Alli - my five-foot-twelve spiritual wing-woman – is in the middle of moving to a new house, we’ve recruited some really spectacular guest hosts to ride shotgun because hers are big shoes to fill! And today’s guest host – my friend Chaplain Kyle Herbert – is uniquely equipped to testify how to hang onto hope during an especially long and dark night of the soul because he did 31 years of hard time – 22 of those at Angola, the infamous maximum-security prison in Louisiana. My spiritual brother Kyle’s joyful story of restoration - of learning to lean fully into God’s absolute goodness despite being incarcerated for over three decades - will leave you gob-smacked by divine grace. If your heart isn’t rejoicing by the end of this episode, you need to get an EKG, baby! So please grab a cup of iced coffee and your Bible – unless you’re picking a banjo at a summer bluegrass festival, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us! Follow Us On Instagram! @BackPorchTheologyPodcast @LisaDHarper @AllisonAllen @Jim.Howard.Co SAVE 20% by using code Lisa20 at ElevatedFaith.com

Transcribed - Published: 17 July 2023

Controversies, Conundrums, and Redemptive Biblical Constructs

Fund conversations that matter: donate.accessmore.com Today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology is sort of like a great big, super friendly food-fight because Dr. Howard let Ally and I hurl any question we have about biblical conundrums and controversies at him without any advanced notice! If you’re new to this motley crew of a podcast – where we’re serious about our faith but not so much about ourselves – Dr. Howard is one of my professors and spiritual mentors in the doctoral program at Denver Seminary where I have the distinction of being one of their oldest and slowest-to-finish-my-thesis students. Furthermore, Doc H has five earned degrees, including a PhD from Dallas Theological Seminary, so he’s a brilliant academic who’s well versed in both Old and New Testaments, but he’s also a pastor and he loves to put exegetical cookies on the lower shelf so that everyone can enjoy them. The bottom line is: while today’s episode includes a few multi-syllabic theological terms, it’s more about leaning further into the unconditional love of Jesus than it is about accumulating cognitive information about God. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible - unless you’re pitting avocados for homemade guac, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us! Follow Us On Instagram! @BackPorchTheologyPodcast @LisaDHarper @AllisonAllen @Jim.Howard.Co SAVE 20% by using code Lisa20 at ElevatedFaith.com

Transcribed - Published: 10 July 2023

The Spiritual Oxymoron of Rest and Rebellion

Fund conversations that matter: donate.accessmore.com During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to mosey into a subject matter that is most definitely not my strong suit, and that is the theology of rest. Now if you’re like me and haven’t quite figured out that busyness isn’t a spiritual gift, don’t press delete yet because I promise we’re not taking you on a guilt trip today! Instead, we’re going to consider the wonderful and wide continuum of biblical rest, because it’s not a one-size-fits-all concept. And frankly, even if you’re convinced that slowing down isn’t programmed into your personality type, there are lots of ways besides a complete cessation of physical activity for us to enjoy the divine gift of restoration and replenishment. Don’t forget, the first time the word rest appears in biblical narrative is early in Genesis 2 - before original sin crept into the Garden resulting in the fall of creation. That means rest is not an accommodation for human weakness and is instead part of God’s perfect plan for our blessing, protection, perseverance, and enjoyment. If you’ve been defined as a Type-A, an over-achiever, rest-challenged, or an Enneagram 1 or 8, just breathe and unclench, we’re in this together baby and I promise this conversation isn’t going to taste like medicine! So please grab a cup of coffee (and feel free to make that a double espresso!) and your Bible – unless you’re bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan, of course – and come hang out on the porch with Alli, Dr. Howard and me. Follow Us On Instagram! @BackPorchTheologyPodcast @LisaDHarper @AllisonAllen @Jim.Howard.Co Learn more about Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment program at Convoy.org/LisaHarper. SAVE 20% by using code Lisa20 at ElevatedFaith.com

Transcribed - Published: 3 July 2023

Infinitely Better Than All the Rest

Fund conversations that matter: donate.accessmore.com During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re continuing our trek through the lush theological landscape of Hebrews, that awesome New Testament treatise that highlights the glorious juxtaposition of the supremacy and accessibility of King Jesus! If you listened to last week’s episode, you probably remember that Hebrews was likely preached as a sermon before it was recorded as a book. And the original audience was a group of beleaguered Jewish Christians who were getting pummeled literally and figuratively in their ancient polytheistic culture. Which led them to consider apostacy – which means, they were seriously considering jettisoning the “Jesus” aspect of their belief system and just going back to the “Jehovah” part to try to stem the tide of abuse that was being afflicted on them. Which is why their pastor patiently explains what a massive mistake turning their back on the Messiah would be, how once you’ve experienced the unconditional love of Jesus, nothing – no spiritual leader, religious icon, or church tradition – can satisfy your soul. He uses contrast, and seven specific affirmations describing Jesus’s purpose and personhood, to prove that He is infinitely better than all the rest! Today is jam-packed with practical encouragement y’all, so please grab a cup of coffee, a yummy snack, and that divine love story we call the Bible – unless you’re shelling peas with your mama, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us. Follow Us On Instagram! @BackPorchTheologyPodcast @LisaDHarper @AllisonAllen @Jim.Howard.Co Learn more about Convoy of Hope’s Women’s Empowerment program at Convoy.org/LisaHarper. SAVE 20% by using code Lisa20 at ElevatedFaith.com

Transcribed - Published: 26 June 2023

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