Search:
test

The Greatest Story Ever Told

“O holy night, the stars are brightly shining…” Sometimes a moment is so powerful that a hush falls over the crowd. Sometimes a whole throng of people turns, as one body, to stare slack-jawed at the sky. Christmas is such a moment. It’s a simple story, quickly sketched in just 3 chapters of Matthew and Luke—147 verses in all. And yet, 2,000 years later, we still catch our breath to hear it told. Embedded in the little tale is enough to ponder annually for millennia. Here are a few takeaways from the greatest story ever told. See Eternally. Christmas is a mystery play. Like the medieval acting troupes who traveled town to town and performed stories from the back of a rickety wagon, all of the characters in the drama are humble folk—their costumes tattered, their astonishment not eloquent, but too stunned for words. It’s not sophisticated, it’s hardly Shakespeare. Christmas is like...

Continue Reading

Thanksgiving: Comparison or Cruciform?

I’ve noticed something about Christians and their approach to Thanksgiving. They embrace this very biblical practice in a very pragmatic way. They seek to count their many blessings, naming them one by one, to create a mound of thanks that outweighs the mound of disappointment and regret that every one of us faces every day. It goes something like this, “I’m depressed and struggling with finances but really grateful that I have my physical health!” I imagine myself finding someone who is sick and asking them what they are thankful for. The sick person says, “I’m sick, but at least I don’t have cancer.” Then I find someone who has cancer, and they say, “I have cancer, but at least it’s not pancreatic or at least I have health care," or, or, or.  This bizarre game of comparison could go on forever. I’ve even heard some Christians use this to counsel...

Continue Reading

Ora et labora. Pray and Work.

Ora et Labora. Latin for pray and work. A young man sits scribbling on a manuscript lit by candlelight. Above him are the cool walls of his monastery, the only home he has known since he was seven. He will die here. Outside the walls, men and women walk in uncertainty regarding their government, their livelihood, and even their national identity. Everything has changed seemingly overnight. Fear quickly leads to anger and then despair. But inside the priest keeps writing. Doesn’t he get it? Doesn’t he care about the people’s needs? Yes, yes he does. He’s changing their world one word at a time. He is changing the shape of history itself. The man is Bede and the book, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, is his record of how the gospel of Jesus Christ went forth from Rome and came to the shores of England, Ireland, and Scotland—ultimately reshaping...

Continue Reading

Ministry Spotlight: Scarlet Hope

Today, God Centered Life Ministries is excited to spotlight the work of Rachelle Starr and the ministry of Scarlet Hope. Their mission is to share the hope of Jesus with every woman in the adult entertainment industry. Visit www.scarlethope.org to find out more about the ministry and to get involved.   In my early twenties I felt God calling me to share the hope and love of Jesus Christ with women in the adult entertainment industry.  I grew up a pastor’s kid and had never stepped inside a strip club before, and I didn’t know exactly how I was going to do this.  But I knew I couldn’t just sit inside the four walls of a church building, waiting for women working in the adult entertainment industry to come to me.  I knew God was calling me to go, to meet the women where they were and to share the gospel with them.  If I wasn’t willing to...

Continue Reading

The Journey Continues   

The month of October at God Centered Life was filled with great discussion and work on our response as Christians to the current cultural challenges we are facing. In a day and age where it seems like everyone is trying to discuss and debate highly in-depth, challenging, complex situations and issues in order to fulfill the self-centered dream and destroy other people, we as followers of Christ must think about how we keep God at the center rather than ourselves and our own interests. Rather than giving in to the temptation of focusing on the issues in our world as primary, we must hold fast to our ultimate identity as people of a kingdom that is eternal and not of this world. In this election season, we are so easily driven to pessimism, when instead we should be drawn to reliance upon the sovereign, majestic rule of God over all things...

Continue Reading

Kill the Comments!

  How is it that otherwise ordinary, well-adjusted people seem to lose their minds, not to mention their dignity, on social media? Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), the Danish philosopher, once wrote a little confession entitled, "Kill the Commentators!”  It was a bit of satire, essentially stating that commentators and commentaries often look for ways to soften the sharp edges of Scripture and allow us loopholes in the ways that we interpret the Bible so that we don't have to deal with the plain meaning of the text and the high calling of obedience.  In his own words: The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging...

Continue Reading

Eternal Souls Living in a Temporary World

  If you have ever explored the founding of the United States in any depth, you catch a glimpse into what exactly these brave, early American souls had long been seeking.  More or less, the John Adams and Thomas Jeffersons amongst them thought to themselves, “The world has become a place torn apart by power-hungry rulers, rigid prescriptions, and indifference towards the realities of human depravity. But now, here in this new land, we have a good shot at actually getting things right.” One would be terribly remiss to skip a key part of this nation’s founding—that it has Christian principles in its foundation.  I have found myself inspired and encouraged as I have read and learned of this facet of America’s heritage. However, I’ve also seen how an understanding of the virtue in our nation’s founding can deteriorate into wishful idealism or a misguided and naïve obsession with a non-existent utopia. All...

Continue Reading

Your Kingdom Come

I’ll never forget the first time I stood in the Rotunda of the Capitol building in Washington D.C., and realized the extent of similarities between the pagan Roman Empire and the United States of America.  Laws were being argued and passed in the House and Senate below me and above me was Constantino Brumidi’s gorgeous fresco The Apotheosis of Washington, finished in 1865, after the Civil War ended. The fresco depicts President George Washington raised to the heavens and declared a god by the goddesses Victory and Liberty.  Surrounding him are scenes with six other Roman gods: Bellona (war), Minerva (science), Neptune (marine), Mercury (commerce), Vulcan (mechanics), and Ceres (agriculture).  I remember coming to the conclusion that here are the altars to the gods of America’s true religion.  After all, how can a nation modelled after the Roman Empire ever be truly Christ-like? The abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison thought the U.S....

Continue Reading

Speak Up

In our present culture and political season, one of my biggest challenges as a Christian is knowing how and when to use my voice, if at all. Speak Up? Psalm 39:2: “I was mute and silent, I refrained even from good, and my sorrow grew worse.” We’ve probably all heard that there are some things we just shouldn’t talk about in polite company, including religion and politics. We’ve all been around (or maybe have even been) people who are rash, argumentative, and offensive with their viewpoints. So keeping to this rule of etiquette keeps conversations polite and respectful of varying thoughts and opinions. Particularly now in our world of social media, it’s very easy for people to “tweet” their minds; everyone can have a voice. We witness people disagreeing in sometimes ugly, even slanderous ways. It makes me wonder if in our society we are losing the ability to thoughtfully and logically discuss ideas, hear...

Continue Reading

Our Hope Is Built on Nothing Less

It’s election season. This used to be only a few months long, but this election has been dragging on for nearly a year. I’m usually a political junky who loves to keep up with all the twists and turns of the campaign, but even I am sick of it. It’s no news that most of the country is without a candidate they can get behind. This seems true even in my college town which is a very political place. Our bumper sticker to bumper ratio is way above the national average, but for the first time since I’ve lived here (going on 18 years) I rarely see a sticker for either candidate. This vacancy is times a hundred among those of you who make up the millennial generation. This year my son Cooper (age 19) will be voting for the first time.  It’s a big moment, or at least it should be. I remember when I voted in...

Continue Reading