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Election Year Exiles

When we read the New Testament in present day America, it is always with a degree of imaginative removal, like watching a period piece on PBS. We cock our head: you don’t say! There always seem to be sandals and dusty robes, grapes and flatbread, lots of sheep…bleating.  Peter and Paul and all those Marys — they look dirty, but somehow pristine; wisdom makes them seem to glow. They look like Morgan Freeman, or Gandalf, and when they say curious things, it’s hard to separate what’s cultural from what’s timeless. It’s easy to relegate Biblical themes to a Roman Empire movie set — for example, assuming that idolatry was an ancient problem, or that modesty is now outdated. Likewise, the idea that we are all aliens and strangers is hard to grasp in our patriotic “Christian country.”  After all, the early Christians (and for that matter, the Jews) lived in enemy-occupied territory;...

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Welcome to October!

Why should we care about politics? What good could possibly come from an election cycle such as this? Don't politicians just create more problems for us than anything else? If you are honest with yourself, perhaps as you sit down to read this article you have a very similar reaction to politics as Charlie Brown in the cartoon below: Why would a ministry such as God Centered Life devote an entire month to the topic pre-election politics? Actually, the reason is in order to not discuss politics at all! Instead, we all need to be reminded that as followers of Jesus, politics and the election cycle must be understood in light of who God is and the kingdom of heaven. We cannot rightly live in our world as Christians without understanding that the rulers of this world are ultimately ruled by the great Ruler and King of the entire universe. Sometimes it appears...

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Thought Crimes and the Silencing of Dissent: Part 2

This article is the second in a two-part series. Find Part 1 here. Many of these issues are also explored in the author's book entitled A Wilderness of Mirrors: Trusting again in a cynical world (Zondervan 2015).   The Tyranny of Political Correctness Some people have to step up to the plate. No complex society can function without organizing principles and leadership. Even if one is (rightly) sickened by historical abuses of power, the only way of preventing their repetition is for the principled and virtuous to do their best with responsibility. There is always a risk. For as Abraham Lincoln noted, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” So who should exert it? The last millennium of European history could be seen as a parade of different factions getting their moment in the limelight. In crude generalization it went from: • Chieftains and warlords in...

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The Priority of Life

Have you ever found yourself overbooked with just too many things to do? There have been such times in my life when I really felt “stretched.” It was during one of those times when there were many moving parts in the business I was leading that I sought advice from my friend Peter Drucker. In giving his advice, Peter reminded me in a very forceful way that the issues before me in the business were not about determining priorities but instead about determining the priority and doing it. He then gave me a history lesson on the use of the word "priority." It came into the English language in the fourteenth century, but it wasn’t until the twentieth century that it was pluralized. Later that evening as I was reading in the book of Matthew, I came to the words in chapter 6:33, “… seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and...

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“The Authority of the Bible” Panel, September 25, 6:00 p.m.

Is Scripture authoritative? Can we trust Scripture as the very words of God Almighty? These are questions that God’s people have wrestled with from the beginning, and are questions that are extremely relevant in today’s skeptical Western culture. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 declares, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Scripture itself makes the declaration that it is authored ultimately by God himself and that as a result, it is useful for all areas of life in order that the follower of Christ might be completely prepared to serve God. However, there are many skeptics both in the church and outside the church today that would argue that certain parts of Scripture should not be in the canon, that there are authorial integrity issues in certain books...

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Thought Crimes and the Silencing of Dissent: Part 1

abThe Justice Behind Political Correctness Human experience has always shaped human language—how can it be otherwise? We experience something for the first time and so root around for the best words to articulate it. That way we can share something of it with others. But if that experience is genuinely groundbreaking, we must invent new words. With the last century’s rate of change showing no sign of decelerating in ours, it is no surprise that neologisms must to be forged almost on a daily basis.  "Internet cafe," "biometric," and "vlogger" would have been meaningless to our grandparents and many of our parents! But the opposite is also true. Life and society get shaped by our language and stories. Or as Oscar Wilde put it, “Life imitates art.” It’s harder (though not impossible) to conceive of something if we lack the vocabulary to describe it. Our stories mold the expectations in our lives....

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Truth Matters

We live in an age when truth has become increasingly subjective and perspectival. What is truth for me may not be truth for you. As a result, the whole notion of absolute truth has died, and, in terms of the conventional definition, there is no more truth; all that is left is varying points of view. Not that this is entirely new. Over a generation ago, apologist Francis Schaeffer lamented the very same phenomenon he perceived already in his day and felt compelled to coin the term “true truth” (as if there were false truth!) to affirm emphatically that truth still existed. That truth, Schaeffer maintained, is grounded in the one God who “is there and is not silent,” having revealed himself in the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins and came back to life again. The Christian gospel thus gives meaning to our lives...

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Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

What does the Bible say about divine sovereignty and human responsibility? Much high end research has been done on this challenging topic. This paper is a mere summary of the work done by many scholars, but it may be helpful for some because a) it is brief, b) it uses simple straightforward language, and c) it addresses a matter of theological importance. D.A. Carson, How Long, O Lord? (IVP, 1990) J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (IVP, 1986) Summary: People sometimes feel that a belief in the all-powerful God of the Bible necessitates a kind of philosophical fatalism. For instance, people ask, “If God is all powerful and all loving, why do people suffer?” Or, again, people ask, “If God is all powerful, why pray?” These questions are at root confusions about the relationship between the sovereignty of God and human responsibility. According to the Bible, the sovereignty of God and human responsibility are both...

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Sermon Video: How Faith in Jesus Can Give You New Life

Below, on March 27, 2016, Josh Moody preached an Easter message on “How Faith in Jesus Can Give You New Life” in the sermon series “Four Steps to New Life.” Taken from John 20:24-31, this message’s aim is to get you to doubt your doubts and only put faith in what is really true and can give you life to the full—the Risen Christ. The sermon looks first at Thomas and then at us. Discussion questions about this sermon can be found here. ...

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