Lisa Harper's Back Porch Theology

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Back Porch Theology is sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

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!


Episode Date
The Unlikely Ambassadors of Advent
00:42:47

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to explore a colorful passage at the beginning of Matthew’s gospel account to help prepare our hearts for the miracle of Christmas during this, the first week of Advent. Because despite what retailers would like us to think, the Advent has nothing whatsoever to do with shopping! The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means arrival or coming. In the 4th and 5th Centuries, Advent marked the season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany. During that ancient season of preparation, Christ-followers spent 40 days in penance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for the baptisms of new believers at Epiphany. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages, that Advent was solely connected with Christmas. And while joy is certainly one facet of Advent, there is a necessary sobriety to this season as Deitrich Bonhoeffer explained in his observation: "The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come." Bonhoeffer’s assertion that only those cognizant of their own flaws can actually celebrate Christ’s coming aptly describes the biblical characters we’ll be hanging out with today because their true stories sound like they’ve been ripped from the tabloids! They’re pretty unusual – if not very unlikely - ambassadors of Advent but they provide glorious proof that perfection is not a prerequisite to be adopted into the family of God! So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or feeding a giant Tupperware of cranberry sauce into the garbage disposal, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us!

Back Porch Theology is sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/Lisa Harper.

Nov 28, 2022
The Thanksgiving Stretch
01:03:21

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to use a uniquely American holiday that involves consuming copious amounts of dead bird and marshmallow-slathered root vegetables as a springboard to talk about the global spiritual fruit of gratitude. Our hope is that this conversation will be beneficial to all Backporchers - whether you live in Nashville, Nairobi, New York or New Zealand! And the passage we’re going to dive into is non-traditional as well. More often than not Christians turn to the New Testament when the topic is eucharisteo – that’s the original Greek word the English word “thanksgiving” is translated from – but we’re going Old Testament today to talk about how unlike the Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate here in America the last Thursday in November, gratitude is supposed to be an on-going, everyday expression of faith for Christ-followers. One of my theological heroes – Sir G.K. Chesterton – who wrote the classic book, “Orthodoxy” – said it well in this keen observation: “When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or have your hands in the nether-regions of a frozen Turkey, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us!

Back Porch Theology is sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/Lisa Harper.

Nov 21, 2022
Cup Your Ears and You’ll Hear The Cheers
00:48:17

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to get real and raw about those seasons in life when we seriously consider throwing in the towel. Or at least whacking an adversary with a wet one! In John 10:10 our Redeemer, King Jesus, promises us abundant life – but He never promised that it would be easy. As a matter of fact, in John 16 Jesus confided that in this life, we’ll actually have some trouble. So how do we keep running the race so as to win the prize as Paul admonishes? How do we keep on keeping on when life knocks the wind out of both our sails and our lungs? Well, there’s a couple of divine diamonds at the tail end of Hebrews we’re going to excavate today that we believe will help those of us who feel like we're running on fumes to get refueled in every sense of the term, so please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or knitting Christmas prayer shawls, of course – and come hang out on the porch with Alli, Dr. Howard and me.

Back Porch Theology is sponsored in part by Operation Christmas Child. Pack a shoebox! Learn more by clicking here.

Nov 14, 2022
Editing The Scary Out Of Eschatology
00:42:24

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to talk about an eschatalogical passage toward the end of Mark’s gospel that at first glance comes across as alarming. Remember eschatology is just a fancy, multi-syllabic, theological term that refers to the doctrine of end times or last things. And regardless of what your personal or your denomination’s doctrinal view of eschatology is - whether you’re pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib, amillenial or just confused about all the trib-talk because your only association with that term is from the Hunger Games - far too many believers associate the end times only with ominous and apocalyptic and stockpiling lentils from Costco. However, there’s a revelatory nugget in Mark’s gospel that promises the return of Christ will be infinitely more glorious than gloom and doom. Mind you, we’re not advocating for Christians to quit stockpiling lentils, we just hope you’re doing so because you’re throwing an awesome Fall party for all your neighbors wherein everybody’s bellies will get full from the wonderful soup you make with those ancient grains and their hearts turn toward Jesus because of the stories you’re compelled to share about how Jesus has redeemed your life as we occupy well until He comes back for His bride by loving the image-bearers around us! So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or milking the family cow, of course – and come hang out on the porch with Alli, Dr. Howard and me.

Back Porch Theology is sponsored in part by Operation Christmas Child. Pack a shoebox! Learn more by clicking here.

Nov 07, 2022
Recovering Discarded Dreams
00:46:17

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to talk about a heart-warming story in Mark’s Gospel narrative that involves a man named Bart, who much like the little engine that could of children’s literature, persevered through significant adversity and by doing so, experienced both the miracle of physical and emotional healing. We’re also going to talk about a Greek word that’s used in the original telling of Bart’s story – epitimao – which means, “to command with the implication of a threat” and how some of us have laid down God-authored dreams because of the cold water others have poured on our proverbial fires. Our deep hope is that the Holy Spirit will use today’s conversation to spur some of you to pick up a divine dream you prematurely discarded and that much like Caleb, you’d begin to realize your latter years will be even better than your former and that our compassionate Creator Redeemer is not through writing the redemptive chapters in your story! Today might just be the day that real hope barges back into your battered heart, so please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or getting a head start on hanging Christmas lights, of course – and come hang out on the porch with Alli, Dr. Howard and me!

Back Porch Theology is sponsored in part by Operation Christmas Child. Pack a shoebox! Learn more by clicking here.

Oct 31, 2022
God’s Habit Of Picking The Last, First
00:52:02

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to explore the miraculously cohesive band of brothers Jesus chose to be His disciples, and how they modeled unity not uniformity. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a group of men in the Ancient Near East who were more diametrically opposed with regards to cultural views and societal norms. The Hatfields and McCoys might’ve had more things in common than the original twelve! And in light of Jesus intentionally choosing exactly a dozen raggamuffins to follow Him – which many scholars say is a nod to the orginal twelve tribes – we’re heading back to the Old Testament today too to highlight a hapax legomenon (which means a word or expression that’s only used once in a linguistic context or entire text) that pretty much proves the adage, “God doesn’t always call those who are equipped, but He always equips those He calls!” So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or hollowing out a decorative gourd, of course – and come hang out on the porch with Alli, Dr. Howard and me!

Back Porch Theology is sponsored in part by Operation Christmas Child. Pack a shoebox! Learn more by clicking here.

Oct 24, 2022
Clouds, Fire, Angels, and a Fantastic Fourth Man
00:53:10

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to tackle all things theophany – which is a form of divine revelation where God’s miraculous presence is made visible and recognizable to mere humans. Some of the most familiar theophanies in Holy Writ are the flaming topiary through which God affirmed and called a stuttering Moses to lead Israel out of captivity, as well as the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night that accompanied the Israelites through the wilderness wanderings. However, we’re going to focus on some really cool, less familiar theophanies today because there’s loads of theological significance regarding the nature of our trinitarian God to glean from biblical theophanies and Christophanies – which are theophanies that have a human form – but they also have the capacity to spur our faith and fertilize some old-school awe over the fact that our Creator Redeemer loves us so much that He condescends to make Himself unmistakable to us. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or French-braiding your show horse’s tail, of course – and come hang out on the porch with Alli, Dr. Howard and me.

Back Porch Theology is sponsored in part by Operation Christmas Child. Pack a shoebox! Learn more by clicking here.

Oct 17, 2022
Beggars At God’s Banquet Table
00:43:52

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to continue exploring the Old Testament historical narratives, as well as the biblical significance of both banquets and barren places. We’re going to talk about what it really means to be adopted into God’s family and assured a seat at His family table. And Dr. Howard’s going to give us a much more hopeful and holistic understanding of the theological term soteriology because putting your hope in Jesus Christ is so much better than a one and done moment at youth camp or a single step on some ethereal ladder of religiousity! The supernatural atonement Jesus made available to us through His suffering and subsequent death on a cross, followed by His bodily resurrection is a 360-degree experience of divine grace – He really is making all things new, y’all! So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or participating in a hotly contested thumb war, of course – and come hang out on the porch with Alli, Dr Howard and me.

Back Porch Theology is sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/Lisa Harper.  

Back Porch Theology Goes Home-Christian Tour to Israel-March 21-31, 2023 

Oct 10, 2022
Pride Always Goes Before An Epic Fail/Fall!
00:46:49

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, we’re going to dive into a crazy Old Testament family drama more colorful than an episode of Yellowstone and in so doing we’re going to highlight what Dr. A.W. Tozer said many years ago: It takes humility to worship God acceptably. There’s a lovely little Hebrew word in the Old Testament pronounced kah-vode that can mean two things: “glory” as in God’s glory, and “weight” as in the waistline of someone who’s been indulging in too many Krispy Kremes. And this one little word packs quite a punch in our convo today because it leads us to the conclusion that human shoulders aren’t nearly broad enough to carry the weight of God’s glory – spiritual leadership and Christian celebrity are not remotely synonymous. As my friend Christine Caine wisely and soberly says, “If the light on you in brighter than the light of Christ in you, it has the potential to kill you.” So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or in the final stages of putting together a Lego replica of the Millennium Falcon, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology is sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/Lisa Harper.    

Learn more about the Tov for Women Event at Northern Seminary. Log onto CWLNorthern.com/events for more information.  

Back Porch Theology Goes Home-Christian Tour to Israel-March 21-31 

Oct 03, 2022
Is Happiness The Absence of Sadness?
00:51:34

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, we’re going to wrestle with the question: “Is true happiness actually the absence of sadness” and in so doing we’re to delve into the theological territory of “theodicy.” We’re also going to talk openly and honestly about the false assumption that when you put your hope in Jesus, He’ll make life easier – possibly even painless. The Biblical text and compelling true story we’re diving into is found in the Old Testament Historical book of First Samuel. And since it goes without saying that Alli & I are rabid Dr. Tim Keller fans, we’ve chosen this quote from Dr. Keller as the tantalizing intro for today’s convo on the porch: “While other worldviews lead us to sit in the midst of life’s joys, foreseeing the coming sorrows, Christianity empowers its people to sit in the midst of this world’s sorrows, tasting the coming joy.” So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or practicing math on an abacus, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porth Theology is sponsored in part by the Tov for Women Event at Northern Seminary. Log onto CWLNorthern.com/events for more information.

Sep 26, 2022
The Beautiful Fruit Within Biblical Boundaries
00:52:40

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to delve into a very colorful Old Testament story that illustrates the symbiotic relationship between blessing and boundaries. History proves over and over again that without the life-giving promises AND parameters of Scripture, we lose our bearings – ultimately our identity and our dignity. Now speaking of boundaries, because the historical context of the Biblical narrative we’re going to peruse in this episode is spicy – it reads more like HBO than the Hallmark Channel - I want to encourage y’all to make sure there aren’t any little ears listening along with you. Please make sure your kids, grandkids, neighbor’s kids or pre-teen passersby are out of earshot, then grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or arranging a charcuterie board, of course – and come hang out on the porch with Ally and me.

Back Porth Theology is sponsored in part by the Tov for Women Event at Northern Seminary. Log onto CWLNorthern.com/events for more information.

Sep 19, 2022
When God’s People Lose Their Groove
00:53:10

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to lean into another Psalm, which if you listened to last week’s episode, you know entails listening intently to one of the tunes on God’s proverbial Spotify list since all of the Psalms were originally penned as song lyrics. The particular Psalm we’re focusing on today is Psalm 42, which is a bluesy kind of tune and technically classified as a Psalm of Lament. It’s also essentially an engraved invitation to mature into a more honest relationship with our Creator Redeemer. To trust Him enough to confess our disappointment, grief, and despair as a raw and unfiltered act of worship. Because from our emotional ashes, God can build a pathway to more secure hope, deeper joy and steadfast peace. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible, unless you’re driving or sheering sheep of course, and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porth Theology is sponsored in part by the Tov for Women Event at Northern Seminary. Log onto CWLNorthern.com/events for more information.

Sep 12, 2022
The Lyrics of Our Lives
00:44:36

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to exhale into a green Scriptural pasture that church father and ancient theologian, John Calvin, described as “an anatomy of all parts of the soul.” The Psalms. Every emotion in the human continuum is expressed somewhere in these 150 Psalms that were all originally composed as songs. These biblical lyrics record both the dancing and the weeping of God’s people. As a matter of fact, they contain more bluesy kind of tunes than anything else, proving that our Savior doesn’t require us to sanitize our emotions or cull out the dark ones before we approach Him. God’s love for us is immutable…it doesn’t change regardless of what kind of emotional season we’re in. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible, unless you’re driving or docking a boat of course, and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology is sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/Lisa Harper.      

Learn more about the Tov for Women Event at Northern Seminay. Log onto CWLNorthern.com/events for more information.

Sep 05, 2022
The Great Name Exchange
00:55:29

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to apply John’s observation in Revelation 12:11 where he tells us that satan - that lying lizard whose sole purpose is to rob, steal, kill and try to destroy humanity – is defeated by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. In other words, when we talk about how God compassionately pulled us out of pits we dug ourselves and how He’s currently revealing His grace and faithfulness, we effectively twist the sword in that nasty dragon’s chest. The enemy of our souls simply can’t stand it when we talk about how good our Creator Redeemer is, y’all – our God stories are his kryptonite! And today’s testimony-teller is none other than my five foot twelve sister from another mister, the Shirley to my Laverne, the Laurel to my Hardy, the Oats to my Hall – well, you get the picture. Today’s all about Alli! So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible, unless you’re driving or pumicing your heels of course, and come hang out on the porch with us. 

Back Porch Theology is sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/Lisa Harper.

Aug 29, 2022
Boxing With God
00:59:04

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to dive into the twelfth book of the Minor Prophets & the very last book ~ in canonical order ~ of the Old Testament, Malachi. Or as one of my Italian friends teasingly transliterates: Malachee! This post-exhilic book is unique in its format, which scholars describe as rhetorical disputation ~ which basically means a literary debate. In other words, this OT narrative depicts the Israelites ~ our spiritual ancestors ~ with their fists raised in the air fussing with the Creator of the Universe. Yet, despite their flagrant disobedience, Malachi also underscores God’s immutable ~ which is a fifty-dollar word that simply means unchanging ~ compassion. If you’re anything like me and struggle with trust ~ maybe because you’ve been abandoned or deeply wounded in the past, I think today’s conversation might help you lower your guard with God. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible, unless you’re driving or doing origami of course, and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at Dwellapp.io/LisaHarper

Aug 22, 2022
Personal Not Perfunctory
00:49:11

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to explore the second half of Hosea’s prophetic story, which reveals the difference between the often emotive charade of counterfeit repentance – which may look and sound like someone who’s contrite yet whose behavior remains sinful and self-indulgent - and the posture of a believer who’s truly turning from spiritual rebellion back toward a right and reconciled relationship with God. The biblical model of repentance has never been primarily about assuaging our guilt, much less about getting attention or sympathy y’all; instead, it’s about the honest awareness of how our sin separates us from our Savior, followed by a humble appeal for God’s mercy. Which is surely the only thing powerful enough to repair the chasm we create between us and our Creator Redeemer when we choose to give anyone or anything other than God the lion’s share of our attention and affection. The takeaway from today’s pitstop in the Minor Prophets might include a smidge of conviction, but mostly we’re going to marinate in the miracle of God’s kindness, which Apostle Paul tells us facilitates repentance. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible, unless you’re driving or juggling cacti of course, and come hang out on the porch with Ally, Dr. Howard and me.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at Dwellapp.io/LisaHarper

Aug 15, 2022
Majoring on the Minors
01:03:14

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to begin exploring a 12-book section at the tail end of the Old Testament called The Minor Prophets. I used to think they were called “minor” prophets because the men who wrote them were diminutive, Paleo-eating kind of men but the real reason these twelve books are referred to as the “minor” prophets is simply that they’re not as long-winded as prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah! Yet in spite of their brevity – most are no more than a few chapters in length – the Minor Prophets are full of passion, intrigue and unforgettable images of God. And my favorite image of God is presented in the very first book of the twelve Minor Prophets – a shocking love story that serves as a biblical harbinger of the Gospel about a good guy named Hosea – whose name literally means “Yaweh has rescued” or “salvation” - and a bad girl named Gomer. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible, unless you’re driving or shaping a bonzai tree of course, and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at Dwellapp.io/LisaHarper

Aug 08, 2022
The Reign of Grace
00:52:06

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, I have the HUGE privilege of introducing you to one of my living heroes of faith – the man who introduced me to grace. I’ve been attending church since I was in utero and have been reading the Bible – or having it read to me - from my earliest memories but the concept of grace – of God’s unmerited favor - was always like wet soap to me – it was hard to hang on to. Until I moved to Nashville at the age of 21 and began attending a church led by a Birkenstock wearing pastor named Scotty Smith. It’s not hyperbolic to say that the Holy Spirit used Scotty to create a seismic shift in my heart toward Jesus – the long season I enjoyed as a member of his church, and ultimately as one of the students he mentored at Covenant Theological Seminary is what built the spiritual scaffolding that supports my belief system, as well as the intimacy I now have with Jesus. I love and respect this man so much that if I had a son, I’d probably name him Scotty – of course, that implies getting married and having this old jar of clay restored back to its pre-menopausal vitality, so I digress! The bottom line is, I’m beyond happy to have Pastor and Professor Scotty Smith here today so please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible, unless you’re driving or shelling peas of course, and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at Dwellapp.io/LisaHarper

Aug 01, 2022
How Jesus Amens What God Says About Women
00:39:31

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, we’re continuing our “Sizzling Summer” series with more hang time on the porch with biblical culturalist, Professor Kristi McLelland. Her first visit to BPT was so revelatory and resonate that we begged her to come back so that we could keep swimming in life-giving passages like Genesis 2 and Luke 8 and Romans 16 that prove the significant – not subjugated - role women play in biblical narrative, in Jesus’ incarnate life and ministry, as well as Apostle Paul’s and the early churches’ mission to share the Living Hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. Now since this is a part-two kind of message and this episode compliments the one before like queso does chips – they’re much better in tandem! Therefore, if possible, please listen to last week’s episode “What God Says About Women” first and then grab a ginormous cup of coffee, a notebook, your favorite pen, your widest grin and your Bible – unless you’re driving or tying macrame knots for a plant hanger of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at Dwellapp.io/LisaHarper

Jul 25, 2022
What God Says About Women
01:03:38

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, we’re kicking off our “Sizzling Summer” series by getting up close and personal with an awesome chick whose job title is: biblical culturalist. Her training at Dallas Theological Seminary, coupled with her extensive boots-on-the-ground training in multiple Middle Eastern countries with world-renowned archeologists, historians and rabbis have honed her incredible gift of helping others better understand the historical, cultural and linguistic context of Scripture. Every single time I have the privilege of hanging out with this particular professor, I not only learn something new about God and His Word, I find myself falling even more in love with Jesus! Much like Miracle Gro accelerates the growth of tomatoes in my garden, I guarantee Kristi McLelland will accelerate your hunger for Holy Writ! So please grab a big cup of coffee, a notebook, your favorite pen and your Bible – unless you’re driving or tweezing your brows, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at Dwellapp.io/LisaHarper

Jul 18, 2022
A Tale of Two Rooms
01:00:34

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology we’re going to talk about the massive shift that took place in that motley crew of disciples in the 50 days between Passover and Pentecost. And in so doing we’re going to talk about the difference between performance and devotion. How spiritual disciplines like reading the Bible or engaging in worship can either be dutiful smokescreens that hide the broken, numb and even angry places in our hearts and minds or they can actually be the genuine overflow of a believer who remains cognizant of the cross and therefore finds themself gobsmacked with gratitude by what Jesus has already done for us through His sacrificial death on the cross and glorious resurrection. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or eating freshly steamed crab-legs, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at Dwellapp.io/LisaHarper

Jul 11, 2022
The Supernatural Security That Comes With So
00:54:40

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology we’re going to talk about the genesis of relational evangelism and how Jesus modeled relational intimacy. Our Savior wasn’t some aloof, pensive carpenter apprentice who always wore a contemplative expression and spoke in hushed tones, He was a supernatural ROCKSTAR when it came to relating with people from wildly diverse backgrounds. We’re also going to talk about the deep comfort and transformational security we can draw from a tiny little adverb in John’s Gospel account that’s all too often overlooked. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or peeling some string cheese, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper

Jul 04, 2022
The Sophomore Class of the Hall of Faith
00:52:14

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology we’re going to honestly discuss seasons when you feel like you’ve just flat run out of faith. I so appreciate late great church father and theologian Charles Spurgeon, who admitted there were seasons in his life when he felt like he was in a dungeon underneath a castle of despair. Perky is not a spiritual fruit, y’all but God’s Word does have a lot to say about perseverance. I think this episode is going to be especially encouraging for those of you who’re feeling like you’re in a season when the hope has all but been pummeled out of you and you’re down to the very fumes of faith. We’re going to explore the stories of several stumbling saints like Gideon and Samson whose real-life struggles give us some deeply assuring takeaways about how our Creator Redeemer responds when His sons and daughters on their last legs. So please grab a cup of coffee with an extra spoonful of sugar and your Bible – unless you’re driving or chatting with a neighbor via Morse code, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper

Jun 27, 2022
The Trinity Isn’t Like the Beatles, Huh Mom?
00:56:14

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology, we’re going to basically do happy dances in the studio recounting some of the amazing things God did at our Kerygma Summit a few weeks ago. And then after a few minutes of old-school testifying about the GREAT things He has done we’re going to dive into the tricky waters of trinitarian theology. St. Augustine himself admitted the Trinity was a mystery, difficult for the finite human mind to grasp and yet rather than being some obscure doctrinal issue we can secretly scootch to the edge of our belief system, is the foundational wall of our Christian belief system, the very heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, it matters today every bit as much as it mattered in the 4th century when it was the focus of the Nicene Council and the Council of Chalcedon when ancient church leaders were first grappling with each other and the Holy Spirit to figure out what were the bedrock imperatives and standards of biblical orthodoxy! So please grab a big cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or eating bugles of your fingers, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us. 

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at Dwellapp.io/LisaHarper

Jun 20, 2022
A Compassionate Compulsion
00:52:30

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology we’re going to debunk the idea that faith should be a private matter displayed and discussed only among like-minded individuals toting quilted Bible covers and clad in pastel sweater sets. We’re also going to explore two evangelistic accounts in the Book of Acts that clarify the difference between contextualizing the Gospel out of sincere respect for the culture of the people we get to share the Living Hope of Jesus Christ with and capitulating to culture, which all too often equates Christian evangelism with self-righteous or mean-spirited proselytizing. Dr. D.T. Niles – a gifted and humble ecumenical leader and evangelist from Sri Lanka who passed away in 1970 - taught that compassion must be the catalyst for sharing how we came to find ourselves in God’s embrace and his simple definition is my all-time favorite, “Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread." So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or practicing the yo-yo, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Jun 13, 2022
Uphill Glory
00:41:23

During today’s episode on Backporch Theology we’re going to discuss how choosing not to pay the high price of discipleship will ultimately cost us the abundant life Jesus promises in John 10:10. Christianity isn’t a spectator sport, y’all, it’s participatory and actionable and sometimes even downright dangerous, leaving believers with bloodied expectations and bruised hearts. Our Savior wasn’t being hyperbolic when He said, “In this world you will have trouble.” But Dietrich Bonhoeffer – who is perhaps the most prolific of leaders when it came to preaching and modeling the willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of Christ – exemplified the, “But take heart because I have overcome the world” part of Jesus’ proclamation when he preached these words right before he was hanged in 1945 as a result of his faith in God and passionate opposition to the Nazi regime: “This is the end - for me, the beginning of life.” Today’s conversation might just be both convicting and compelling so please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or making balloon animals, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Jun 06, 2022
An Ode to Essential Oils
00:52:09

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology we’re going to peruse parabolic symbolism, as well as Jesus’ admonition to stay faithful and alert during a seemingly delayed Parousia, which is a fifty-dollar seminary word with a super simple definition! And we’ll do so by exploring part of the Olivet Discourse toward the end of Matthew’s Gospel, which underscores how every single step of our lives – even the especially long and arduous ones – will reveal themselves to be inherently valuable when viewed through the lens of a perfectly consummated relationship with our Creator Redeemer. In other words, even when it’s hard to stand firm in the messy middle of our walk of faith, it will all be worth it in the end. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or working as a mime, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us. 

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

May 30, 2022
Miracles Happen on Empty
00:42:28

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology we’re going to explore the theological concept of God’s self-sufficiency, which means He possesses within Himself every quality, ability and divine attribute endlessly. In other words, God wants for nothing and lacks nothing; He is complete in and of Himself. Yet when we pair His self-sufficiency with our lack thereof, a miraculous amalgamation occurs allowing us to dance upon the very waves we thought might drown us! Speaking of waves, we’re also going to wade into the wild waters of pneumatology, which is the branch of theology concerned with the Holy Spirit. So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or thumb-wrestling, of course – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

May 23, 2022
Who’s Trending In Heaven
00:45:41

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, we’re going to explore the juxtaposition between choosing to live a relatively anonymous life so as to make Jesus the Hero of our stories and the reality of living in an age where the proliferation of social media seems to reduce individual image-bearers to their selfie angles, number of followers, or how rhythmic they are on Tic Toc. Please know we aren’t going on any anti-social media rants today, but we are going to get really rowdy about the spiritual value of humility! And we’re going to do so by examining the rich lives of some women who are somewhat obscure in biblical history but are surely famous in Heaven, starting with a dynamic duo in Exodus that I don’t think has gotten nearly enough press through the ages, which might be a result of their oh so unfortunate names: Shiphrah and Puah! So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or baiting a fishhook, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us. 

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

May 16, 2022
The Underrated Beauty of a Basement
00:47:26

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology we’re going to talk about how trusting God in the dark is imperative if we want to walk in the light. In Luke chapter 12, we find the verse: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” That term “little flock” in verse thirty-two is so unique, this is the only place it can be found in the entire Bible. It comes from a double diminutive word coupling in Greek and can literally be translated: little, little flock. Most commentaries skip right over that tender phraseology but from where I’m standing it’s what really drives the point of why we don’t have to be ruled or rocked by fear home. Little, little flock. Only a Shepherd who absolutely adores His sheep would use that term. And that’s the Shepherd I’ve finally learned to run to when I’m scared. If you’ve ever struggled with fear or anxiety, I really hope you’ll grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or parasailing of course – and come hang out on the porch with us!

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

May 09, 2022
Long Words, Leaky Minds and the Unconditional Love of God
00:55:21

During today’s episode of Backporch Theology, Allison gleefully traps me into a proverbial corner and attempts to squeeze out every drop of the good stuff I can possibly remember from my doctoral program at Denver Seminary! Mind you, I’m 58 years old now, so every part of my body leaks including my brain but we’re going to start with the parameters of biblical orthodoxy, delve into lots of theos – theology, theocracy, theophanies, theocentrism – and we’ll spend some time exploring the difference between the Greek word gnosis – that can loosely be defined as “head knowledge” – and epignosis – a term Paul uses often in the New Testament, that can loosely be defined as heart knowledge or knowledge with understanding. This is going to be one of those really fun, really fast, drinking from a firehose kind of conversations so please grab a double espresso and your Bible – unless you’re driving or hand-jiving of course – and come hang out on the porch with us!


Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

May 02, 2022
Steady As The Rock of Ages
00:49:37

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology we’re going to talk about the immutable – which is a fifty-dollar word that simply means “unchanging” – love of Jesus Christ. How He really is the friend who sticks closer than a brother. And not only is His devotion to us immutable – it doesn’t wax and wane like the moon or ebb and flow like ocean waves or shrink and swell like my feet on a long flight - it’s not based on our deservedness, either. Thankfully, Karma and divine compassion aren’t remotely related! My platonic theological crush, C.S. Lewis says it best, “God loves us: not because we are loveable but because He is love, not because He needs to receive but because He delights to give.” So please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or practicing for the handbell choir of course – and come hang out on the porch with us!


Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Apr 25, 2022
The Galvanizing Grace of Gratitude
00:42:23

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology, we’re going to wade into the refreshing waters of eucharisteo – which is a Greek word sprinkled throughout the New Testament that means “to give thanks.” There have been numerous scientific and psychological studies that back up the Bible’s encouragement to develop our gratitude muscle – it’s actually been proven that people with higher gratitude levels show more activity in the hypothalamus, which leads to improved rest, less physical discomfort, and lower stress and anxiety, y’all. That means the conversation we’re about to have might just lead to the best night’s sleep you’ve had in a long time, baby! So grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or doing Pilates of course – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Apr 18, 2022
Ripped Hearts and Raised Hands
00:47:53

Theology, we’re going to explore the theological concept of theodicy, which is defined as: the vindication of divine goodness and providence in view of the existence of evil. In other words, our Creator Redeemer is good and does good even when our lives are anything but. I once had a surgeon tell me I was a bad patient because I tried to gut it out instead of being honest about the. pain I was experiencing. He said my stubborn refusal to admit how much I hurt reflected my lack of trust in his competence as a healer. Here I was thinking it was heroic of me to hang tough when all I’d done was put distance between myself and the kind doctor whose main goal was to mitigate my pain! What would it look like to actually admit our ache, trust in God’s goodness, and lean into His presence even when it feels like our heart’s in pieces? We’re about to dive deep into that question, so please grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or deboning fish, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Apr 11, 2022
A Little Girl, A Big Wall and God’s Extravagant Grace
00:50:12

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to dive deep into the pool of desire and talk about how to get our emotional needs met by Jesus. Brennan Manning wrote: The deepest desire of our hearts is for union with God. From the first moment of our existence our most powerful yearning is to fulfill the original purpose of our lives – “to see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly. We are made for God, and nothing less will satisfy us.” We’re also going to have a blast digging into two Greek words – homoousios and hypostasis – which are the building blocks of the foundational walls of Biblical orthodoxy. If you don’t have a firm grip on these two concepts, your theological scaffolding is going to come crashing down faster than a bowling ball help up by Twizzlers! So grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving, or cleaning fish of course! – and please come hang out on the porch with us! 

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Apr 04, 2022
Exposing the Myth of a Milquetoast Messiah
00:37:01

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology we’re kicking off the conversation with a profound observation from my imaginary theological boyfriend, the late great A.W. Tozer who said, “Left to ourselves we tend immediately to reduce God to manageable terms.” About 15 years ago I came to the sad realization that I’d unwittingly sanitized and emasculated Jesus into a mild-mannered, passive, kinda guy not unlike the Biblical iteration of Clark Kent, which left me less than compelled to worship Him! Today we’re embarking on a journey to reimagine the REAL Jesus – He’s the Prince of Peace AND He comes with a sword to cut away everything that threatens our intimacy with Him; He embraces lepers and flips tables. He is infinitely more compelling, interesting, mysterious, and provocative than our flannel graph boards of old have allowed us to depict Him. So grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or rock-climbing of course – and please come hang out on the porch with us!

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Mar 28, 2022
What’s Wasabi Got to Do With It?
00:46:50

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology, we’re going to consider the gentle command found at the top of Hebrews chapter 3: Consider Jesus. In other words, think about our Savior. Focus your attention on our Redeemer. Concentrate on the King of all kings. This simple command to meditate on our Messiah is the answer to every tangled relational web we’ve ever been caught in, every steep circumstantial hill we have to climb up, and every deep valley of depression that has left us gasping for hope. Plus, Jesus’ not so gentle attributes of majesty, power and authority extend well beyond our finite human comprehension so we hope to jumpstart some good, old-fashioned awe and wonder on today’s podcast too! So grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or practicing with your roller derby team of course! – and please come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Mar 21, 2022
How a Benedict Arnold in His Birthday Suit Became a Biblical Hero
00:50:13

During today’s conversation on Backporch Theology, we’re going to explore how God’s supernatural sovereignty reconciles with our human understanding of the time and space continuum and we’re also going to explore a story in Mark’s Gospel account that proves Romans 8:28 – all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose – is not hyberbolic but 100% true! We really can trust that God’s providence will never take us to a place where His grace will not be sufficient for us even in those dark seasons when we can’t see around the corner of our circumstances, y’all. So grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving or enjoying a manicure – and please come join us out here on the porch with us. 

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Mar 14, 2022
A Different Kind of Love Story
00:47:34

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to talk about the difference between simply being delivered from our sins and God truly delighting in us. There’s a memorable scene in the movie Notting Hill when Julia Roberts says to Hugh Grant: Don’t forget, I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her. The only time I’ve ever identified with Julia Roberts is when I watched her character, Anna Scott, speak those words of unrequited love to a man who’d essentially just explained that she wasn’t worth the trouble of pursuing. I know what that feels like. But that’s so not the Gospel, y’all. In fact, according to the Bible, our divine bridegroom King Jesus is utterly mad about us and might even get a little weak in the knees when He sees us!

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Mar 07, 2022
Loving More People, More
00:56:30

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to dive into some divine drama in the book of Acts and talk about risky faith, radical love and the willingness to kick comfort to the curb for the sake of the Gospel. Dr. Martin Luther King once lamented how the church used to be a thermostat that had the power to change the temperature of culture, but how it was losing its urgency and efficacy and was becoming a thermometer that simply measured the climate of culture. I think it’s time for Christ-followers to turn off our passivity, turn up our spiritual passion and get to work fanning the flames of revival in this great, big beautiful and broken world, don’t you?

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Feb 28, 2022
Minding the Gap Between Faithfulness and Faking It
00:47:39

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re talking about the necessary synergy between orthodoxy – that is what we believe to be true of God – and orthopraxy – that is how we live in light of what we believe to be true of God. Obviously, we’re all sinners and nobody’s faith walk is flawless this side of glory but the gap between what we profess and how we live is a seedbed of hypocrisy that has the power to shred communities and families, as well as empower those who insist Christianity isn’t credible because its practitioners are a bunch of liars and fakes. And frankly, y’all, our detractors have some valid points. If what we believe to be true of God is simply printed on a mission statement and hung on a wall but isn’t lived out with conviction, authenticity and love, then our faith isn’t legitimate.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Feb 21, 2022
Who's Got Your Back
00:37:11

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re talking about how God’s redemptive plan for humanity is set in the context of community. Our Creator Redeemer is a trinitarian God – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit - and since we were made in His image, we are divinely hard-wired for relationship. Plus, the huge majority of biblical imperatives are about “we” instead of “me.” The bottom line is we’re much better together and Western Culture’s tendency to over-privatize Christianity inevitably leads to loneliness and faith-fatigue.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Feb 14, 2022
You Have to Peel Off Your Spiritual Spanx If You Want to Be Held By Jesus
00:31:43

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re going to explore the cultural context of a familiar story in John’s Gospel account, which includes one of my favorite Greek words in the entire New Testament cannon…this is one of two passages that taught me how to linger in God’s embrace.

We’ll also be chatting with one of my favorite seminary professors, Dr. Jim Howard, about the concept of imago Dei, and how every single human being, regardless of ethnicity, gender, culture or creed is made in God’s image and therefore inherently valuable and worthy of respect. It’s going to be great, galvanizing conversation, so grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us!

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Feb 07, 2022
We Will See God Blurry Until We Get Better At Saying “I’m Sorry"
00:47:17

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology we’re peeling off our emotional Spanx and diving deep into a couple of Psalms to talk about the necessary sacrament of confession. Of saying, “I’m sorry.” In his book, A Sacred Sorrow, Artist and theologian Michael Card explains it this way, “There can be no worshipful joy of salvation until we have realized the lamentable wilderness of what we were saved from.” So grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us!

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Jan 31, 2022
Having a High View of Scripture and a Low View of Yourself Is Biblically Indefensible
00:33:52

During today’s conversation on Back Porch Theology, we’re going to explore an encounter in Luke’s Gospel account that illustrates how the heart of God is moved by the wounds of humanity…how our ache accelerates His compassion. We’re also going to have an awesome encounter of our own with one of my favorite seminary professors, Dr. Jim Howard, who will explains how human dignity is a uniquely Judeo-Christian concept. So grab a cup of coffee and your Bible – unless you’re driving, of course! – and come hang out on the porch with us.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Jan 24, 2022
God’s Unmerited Favor Often Tilts Toward The Unlikely and Unqualified
00:51:14

Before we begin our very first conversation, I want you to know that it’s a bit of an anomaly – kind of like me eating kale or pausing between sentences – because normally we’ll be doing deep dives into biblical narrative and chewy theology but since this is our first podcast date, I thought it’d behoove us to get to know each other before we start really tangoing with sacred text. In other words, this is kind of like the handshake before the hug. So please grab a cup of coffee – unless you’re driving, of course! – and come hang out with us on the porch.

Back Porch Theology sponsored in part by Dwell Bible App. Save 30% off Dwell for Life at DwellApp.io/LisaHarper.

Jan 17, 2022
Introduction to Lisa Harper's Back Porch Theology
00:04:19

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 good 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 make sure to subscribe so you can join us on the back porch every week, the fun starts Monday, Jan 17! 

Jan 07, 2022