For the 100th episode, my brothers in law (Joel and Adam) decided to turn the tables and interview me. I'd say I was nervous, but that would be lying. I had a blast and I couldn't wait to do it. We talked curiosity, God, writing, my next book, creativity, and so many other things. 100 episodes????? Whaaaaaat????

Music on today's episode is by Joel Hanson (Song: Keep On Singing).


So, let's talk about God. What is God? Where is God? Who is God? And how does God inhabit our stories, our hopes, our fears and our dreams? Where is God taking all of this, if God is taking all of this anywhere at all? 

In this series - and I have no idea how many episodes it will take - I'm going to do what I do: I'm going to share my own journey of understanding God, I'm going to talk about some odd, poignant and interesting stories in the Scriptures, and I'm going to invite you to show up with your story as well. 

In the second episode of this series, I talked about the universal temptation to label and judge everything in comparison to something else, and to decide that one is good, and one is bad. We learn this as children, and it's very helpful. But if we don't learn to hold the tension of two seemingly opposing thoughts, we'll always choose sides, we'll only seek out the facts that support our side, and we'll dehumanize the other side (the enemy). There's a better way. Enjoy! 

Music on today's episode was by Grayshot (Song: You Know the Way). 


Zach Hoag is one of many people who are noticing declining church attendance in the United States. Unlike many people who see it as a collapse, a loss, or even a death, Zach sees a surprising resurrection happening just below the surface. He calls this post-Christian reality an "apocalypse" in the truest sense of the word: a revealing is happening, and it just might be the best thing to happen to the church. 

"Could it be," Hoag writes in his brand new book, The Light is Winning: Why Religion Just might Bring us Back to Life, "that what this apocalypse is revealing is our need not merely to be spiritual or merely to cling to religious ritual but to embrace a spiritually resurrected religion? To inhabit the rooted religious practices that can sustain us over the long haul and bring life to the world?" 

I loved my conversation with Zach. He's humble, funny, brilliant, and I sincerely believe he's on to something really rich here. The Light is Winning is a story of death, resurrection, and a brilliant new beginning. It's the story of how the church will resurrect, revive, root down and find true flourishing. 

It's the story of letting there be light. You can purchase Zach's insightful new book here.


Music on today's episode is by Matt Moberg (song: Pirate Song)


So, let's talk about God. What is God? Where is God? Who is God? And how does God inhabit our stories, our hopes, our fears and our dreams? Where is God taking all of this, if God is taking all of this anywhere at all? 

In this series - and I have no idea how many episodes it will take - I'm going to do what I do: I'm going to share my own journey of understanding God, I'm going to talk about some odd, poignant and interesting stories in the Scriptures, and I'm going to invite you to show up with your story as well. 

In this first episode, I talked about the three reasons I'm doing this series: (1) I am part of a larger phenomenon that I believe is happening globally - we are in the middle of a massive shift in how we understand God, each other, and the world; (2) The most common question I get is why I have such a love affair with the Hebrew language and the Hebrew Scriptures - and so I want to take that further into how it helps me understand God outside of my own categories and my unconscious narrative; and (3) I want to give you a third way of understanding God apart from the tired progressive/conservative binary.  

This is meant to be a conversation starter. So let's converse! 

Music on today's episoe was by Matt Moberg (song: Minnesota Man). 

Please check out my Patreon Page for lots of new content that you can only find there. 


Born just over 36 hours apart, Justin & Patrick are life-long friends with a rich, deep relationship that spans beyond 40 years. They travel together, live life together through its ups and downs, and most importantly, will do anything for each other.

I had such an amazing, inspiring time talking to Justin and Patrick on this week's podcast. I can't wait for you to get to know them and their remarkable story.

Over the past 20+ years, a progressive neuromuscular disease has slowly taken away Justin’s ability to use his arms and legs. From each morning until night, Justin requires daily assistance in every aspect of life such as eating, getting dressed, bathing and even using the restroom.

In the spring of 2012, Justin learned about the Camino de Santiago while watching Rick Steves on Public Access TV. Soon after, Justin asked his lifelong friend, Patrick, what he thought about tackling the ancient pilgrimage. Patrick's response was simple and direct. He said, “I’ll push you.”

Two years later, they started their journey and had absolutely no idea how they would make the 500 miles from the southwest of France to the Cathedral in Santiago; over several mountain ranges like the Pyrenees, through rivers, and across the vast “desert of Spain" called the Meseta… they just knew they had to get there.

Justin and Patrick had to rely on the help and strength of friends, acquaintances and even complete strangers in order to navigate the many challenges they faced on their 35-day journey.

Since returning from Spain, they have used their heartfelt storytelling to share the comical details of their journey… the joys, the struggles, the beautiful relationships, and the lessons they learned in faith, hope, love and friendship.

Go to I'll Push You to find out all the details about the book and the film, book Justin and Patrick to speak at your church, business, or school, and purchase their book, I'll Push You.

Enjoy the podcast!

My work:

I host a weekly podcast. I wrote a book. I have a website. I am the pastor at a great little church. I am sometimes available to travel to hang with your tribe to help you all become more you. And yes, I do Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Oh, and if you’d like to stay up to date with my writing and events and such, you can subscribe to my email list. There. We’re all caught up.


Leroy Barber has dedicated more than 25 years to eradicating poverty, confronting homelessness, restoring local neighborhoods, healing racism, and living what Dr. King called “the beloved community.”

In 1989, burdened by the plight of Philadelphia’s homeless population, he and his wife Donna founded Restoration Ministries, a non-profit created to serve homeless families and children living on the streets. In 1994 he became Director of the Internship Program at Cornerstone Christian Academy. Licensed and ordained at Mt Zion Baptist Church, he served as Youth Director with Donna, and as the Associate Minister of Evangelism. In 1997, he joined FCS Urban Ministries in Atlanta, GA and worked with the Atlanta Youth Project as the founding Executive Director of Atlanta Youth Academies, a private elementary school providing quality Christian education for low-income families in the inner city. He went on to plant and pastor Community Life Church, a missional congregation in southeast Atlanta, and served as the Atlanta City Director for Mission Year, a national year-long urban ministry program focused on service and discipleship. In 2007 Leroy became President of Mission Year and led the organization until 2013. He also served as Co-Executive Director of FCS Urban Ministries from 2009 to 2013 and as Global Executive Director of Word Made Flesh from 2013 to 2015.

Leroy is currently the Executive Director of The Voices Project and Holla Mentors, organizations committed to supporting and developing leaders of color. He serves on the boards of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), The Simple Way and EEN, the Evangelical Environmental Network. He is the author of Embrace: God's Radical Shalom for a Divided World, Everyday Missions: How Ordinary People Can Change the World (IVP), Red, Brown, Yellow, Black, White: Who’s More Precious in God’s Sight?(Jericho). He was also a contributor to Tending to Eden, and the groundbreaking book UnChristian: What a New Generation Thinks about Christianity and Why It Matters.

Leroy has been married to Donna for the past 31 years and together they have five children – Jessica, Joshua, Joel, Asha Joy and Jonathan.

Please consider contributing to HopeMob!

Enjoy the podcast.

Music on today's episode was by Matt Moberg (Bravery Songs)


Lee Wolfe Blum is the honest, vulnerable, and hopeful author of Brave is the New Beautiful: Finding the Courage to Be the Real You.  Lee's first book, Table in the Darkness: A Healing Journey Through an Eating Disorder, chronicles her journey with an eating disorder and exercise addition that landed her in the hospital with clinical depression. 

Lee offers stories from everyday women who have found true beauty in the process of discovering how to become who they really are. In Brave Is the New Beautiful, Blum weaves reflections from her own journey with inspirational stories from everyday women who chose to take off their masks and live authentically. 

This is a gorgeous book, and Lee's heart and passion comes through so clearly in this conversation. You can follow Lee's writing on her website, and you can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook

Music on today's episode is by Ellie Holcomb (song: The Valley). 


Peeps! I mistakenly released the wrong mp3 file for the Shawn Smucker conversation earlier today. This is the right one! Sorry about that! 

I first heard of Shawn Smucker when one of my friends came home from the Festival of Faith and Writing and said, "Steve. I got to meet SHAWN SMUCKER." And then he went on to gush. And the guy that was gushing is a phenomenal writer himself. I honestly hadn't heard of Shawn, but that changed quickly. Shawn is a gorgeous writer, who has written quite a few books, including Building a Life Out of Words, which tells the story of when he quit his job and started writing full time. He's currently writing a novel (I am terrified of writing fiction), and he talks about it on the podcast. If you are a writer, or want to be a writer, or simply love words, you're going to love this conversation. Music on today's episode is from Sara Groves (song: My Dream). 


Lola Wright, in her own words, is "here to be a fierce and loving invitation for the transformation of humanity." Come on now! She works with the Bodhi Spiritual Center in Chicago, where she's a leader, coach, guide, minister, speaker, and teacher. I met her on Twitter, and our conversation went from zero to ninety in about fourteen seconds. Her love for God, for people, and for the restoration of all things comes through passionately and articulately. She's funny, irreverent, wise, and hopeful. She's on Facebook Live every day, and you can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Music today is by my friend Stefan Van Voorst (I'm With the Drunks). 


Whaaaaat? Rob Bell is on the podcast today. I've been looking forward to this one for a very long time. Rob Bell has written a bunch of books, including Velvet Elvis, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, and Love Wins. His most recent book is called What is the Bible? How An Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything.  I'm finding it really delicious, satisfying, and enjoyable. Order it now! I'd also encourage you to listen to the RobCast, Rob's weekly podcast. Sooooooooo good. The music on today's episode is from my friend Stefan Van Voorst. The song is called Hope Take Hold


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