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Simply Stories Podcast

Feb 17, 2023

On the podcast today, I have the absolutely amazing Sara Billups. Our show’s format is very conversational and I love it that way. Truthfully I was so impressed, curious and moved by Sara’s book Orphaned Believers: How a Generation of Christian Exiles Can Find the Way Home that this episode is a little more like a conversations with friends over dinner. It ebbs and weaves and then starts one way and moves another with the feverent pace of “oh man, you too?!” and also, “holy smokes I’ve never thought about that before.” Sara shares pieces of her story of growing up in the environment of end times prophecies being commonplace over her plate of macaroni and cheese as a child, or a booth at a milkshake shop with a friend. She unpacks huge terms like premillenial dispensationalism, how heavily focused rapture narratives held her family captive from engaging life on this side of heaven, and asking big questions like how does tradition become theology in the middle of a genuine love for Jesus and then how do things get lost in fear or just being human?


Sara would define an orphaned believer as someone who looks around the American church or just general broad strokes Christian culture and doesn’t know where they belong. Or they are people like myself and Sara who sometimes struggle with what they’re experiencing with many beloved brothers and sisters in Christ who are not acting like the Jesus we have experienced or of the Gospel. In that tension, how do put our eyes back on who God has always been and who He always will be? How do we pursue and embrace what role or gifts God has for us in this journey of healing? How do we allow God to use suffering, doubt, and confusion to draw us closer to Him no matter how much we desire to escape the pain? Its a lot, but its SO good. 


Even though I was a bit of a poor conversation steward today, (my over excitement can get the best of me sometimes!) I hope and pray somewhere along the way you found a space for you in this conversation. You get to bring all of you and your questions and your broken experiences to the Jesus who knows people better than we know ourselves. He’s aware of what comes against His church, distracts His people and distorts His name. But He’s not finished. There is so much more hope to be found here on earth, and together with Him in Heaven, no matter when we get to see Him, He is coming back for us. BUT He has SO MUCH for us before He comes. That’s just one of the many gifts of the Gospel is the promise, and assurance that He will be with us no matter what happens next. You are so loved, friend. You matter, and your story matters. 


PS: Guess what y’all, the podcast book club is actually going to be reading this book together, AND Sara is (hopefully!) going to come talk with us about it as well because there’s just so much more to unpack. So be sure and check out how to join us for the book club in our show notes, website or link in social media bios!

Connecting with Sara:

Book: Orphaned Believers: How a Generation of Christian Exiles Can Find Their Way Home


The Bitter Scroll Substack



Episode Sponsor: Tony Crabtree of Crabtree Homes with Exit Realty



Tik Tok 





The Late Great Planet Earth- Hal Lindsey

“The Late Great Planet Earth” movie 

The rapture

Pre-millienial dispensationalism 

The Cold War 


Mars Hill Church

John Mark Comer

This Cultural Moment podcast 

Rise and Fall of Mars Hill story (via podcast)

Mark Driscoll (Proceed with caution on this website…)

Real time article of Mars Hill Church disbanding 

TO Fuller State Park in Memphis 

Schools of thought on when the rapture will take place 

John Nelson Darby

Social Gospel Period

Left Behind Series- authors Tim LaHaye, and Jerry Jenkins

L. Ron Hubbard books

Scientology beliefs (-- proceed with caution on any Scientology websites, y’all. My personal favorite resources for learning about Scientology are either “Going Clear” or “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath”)

The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis

“All My Favorite People” - Over the Rhine 

Christian Nationalism 

“Wedding Dress”- Derek Webb 

Caedmon’s Call 

Redeeming Love -Francine Rivers 

Lectio Divina 

Religious Icons

Taylor University 

Jay Kesler 

“As Good As It Gets” (the tuna salad scene)


Black eschatology

Black Coffee with White Friends

Dr. Amy-Jill Levine and our episode 

Jacob from the Insurrection and his response later in retrospect 


Scripture References:

Daniel 7:9-10-, Matthew 24:36-44, Acts 2:37-39, 2 Peter 3:3-4, 2 Timothy 3:1-5 The End Times” -These are taken straight from scripture. The end of days is spoken about a ton in various locations in scripture, but they need A LOT of context. Here is a continued list, but I encourage you to proceed with Holy Spirit-led discernment. There is much to be studied, but the general point is: Jesus is coming back, we don’t know when, we’re called to live for Him like every day is our last, but to walk with trust and hope in the abundant life Jesus came, died and rose again to give us, and it’ll get real messy, but God is a purely holy, good God and righteous Judge. The Ancient of Days is trustworthy with our futures. - xo, Em

Revelation 13:15-18- The mark of the beast 

Revelation 6:1-16:21- The 7 year tribulation

Ezekiel 38-39- The battle of Gog and Magog

The book of Revelation- A brief teaching on it part 1 and part 2 from the Bible Project

John 14:18-”I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.”

1 John 1:8-9, Hebrews 13:8- Jesus’ mercy never runs out 

Matthew 28:19- Jesus left us with the church 

The book of Hosea

Romans 8:15, Ephesians 1:6, 1 John 3:1-I am beloved because the Lord says so 

Lamentations 3:22-23- God’s mercies are new every morning 

Ephesians 5:22-23, Revelation 18-22- The church is called the Bride of Christ 

Matthew 16:17-19- The gates of hell cannot stand against it 

Matthew 5-7- Sermon on the Mount 

Genesis 3:8-24- When Adam and Eve left the garden 

Psalm 23

Luke 4:14-21, John 3:16- Jesus came for all people 

Revelation 21:4- Every tear dried 

Acts 15, see also Galatians 5:2-6- The book of Acts and whether or not you had to be Jewish 

Luke 15- The Lost Sheep 

John 1:5- The Light of the world has come and darkness has not overcome it

Psalm 107:2-The redeemed of the Lord tell their story 

Acts 6:1–1- (and John 14:18) Jesus is coming back for us


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Connecting with Emily and Simply Stories Podcast:
Instagram (Em life // Podcast Life)

*Intro and Outro music is from