Category: Christian Living

Prioritizing Our Distractions

The phrase “being on the right side of history” has become increasingly popular today. Often it is used as a tactic for persuading people to align with a popular opinion on controversial topics. Western civilization as a whole seems increasingly consumed by this idea of ensuring history judges them rightly, so they are willing to adopt an ideology of acceptance for nearly any type of behavior, idea or decision with the only condition being it does not cause harm to anyone. In essence, no harm, no problem. Given this, it often seems as though this age will be known as the Age of Acceptance, but in reality, it will probably be best know as the Age of Distraction. 

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Marriage is Not a Sidecar

How do you define marriage? In a world surrounded by so many different voices telling you what to believe, it wouldn’t be a surprise if that question generated fifty different answers, even among Christians. Is it just two people living together and having children or does it involve something more profound? Let’s be honest, even if you did have a good answer to that question, is that how you are living out your own marriage anyway?

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The Church Who Forgot Why it Was

We are living in a time when confusion about the church is greater than it has ever been. New models of church ministry seem to form every week with people intent on staying in step with every new fad which comes along within the culture. There is nothing wrong with integrating cultural forms into church practice, in fact this is a necessity for missionaries bringing the gospel to new people groups around the world. What matters is not the model, but the biblical foundation on which the model is built. What a local church believes about what the church is (and is not) will determine what the church looks like. It will drive what the church prioritizes and how it structures itself.

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Don’t Forget These People on Sept 12th

It is right that we should memorialize September 11th because it will forever be remembered as perhaps the greatest tragedy in our lifetime. On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people died in less than 120 minutes as part of a single, yet complex act of terrorism. The memories of that fateful day are still burned into our minds. Jumbo jet airliners crashing into two icons of the New York skyline, the Pentagon in flames from a third airliner impact and a smoldering crater in Pennsylvania instead of a building because of the brave actions of Americans onboard. A day which witnessed people jumping from the World Trade Center towers to escape the flames, first responders rushing in to save lives with no thought of their own and the eventual disappearance of two massive towers which once overshadowed the NYC skyline. Memories which will not and should not be forgotten. Memories which tell a story of how morally depraved mankind really is when such evil is even possible.

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When the Church is the First Man

A flurry of debate has surrounded the recent announcement by actor Ryan Gosling that a new movie portraying the Apollo 11 lunar landing would not feature the planting of the American flag on the moon. The reaction to this decision by an American filmmaker set many Americans into a righteous fit of indignation; declaring the decision as yet another example of Hollywood’s attempt to sway the culture away from the idea of American exceptionalism. In removing such an important part of one of the most historic events in modern history, “The First Man,” is now being considered persona non grata by many Americans, who perceive this as an attack on what has always been viewed as an American achievement. Adding insult to injury, Gosling stated “I think this [lunar landing] was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that’s how we chose to view it.” Such a statement has never accurately represented the public’s perception of the event and even as news of this achievement spread across the world in 1969, it was nearly always associated with the word America.

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The Problem Is Reading

The vast attention this week on Senator John McCain is a reminder that despite one’s political views, his death marks the passing of a political giant. McCain served America as a high decorated naval aviator, an uncompromising prisoner of war during captivity in Vietnam and most notably as a U.S. Senator. James Baker recently wrote that John McCain was one who “understood the importance of compromise” in politics, especially in a nation more intent on “wagging political battles than finding ways to advance the common good.” He rightly points to the fact that our social media frenzy culture is partially to blame because of the continuous attempts to use these platforms as a means by which to hold national debates on political issues which are deeply rooted in sometimes complex philosophical issues. Considering the cultural context of the statement, it is a strange dynamic to perceive of a society which places such a high value on education, but yet simultaneously considers it possible to debate such complex issues through 280 character tweets and Facebook emojis. This is really the point of James Baker, Americans are largely more interested in the battle than in discussing the ideas which determine the battle lines.

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When Voting Isn’t a Compromise

Elections in the U.S. are never about voting for a person who believes entirely the same way we do and will focus on accomplishing everything we consider to be urgent or important. If this were the case we would be voting for ourselves. Instead, upon entering the voting booth we are handed a list of names from which to choose. Unless we are voting for an office in local government, we rarely have a personal relationship with the individual for which we are handing power to conduct government affairs on our behalf. Despite this scenarios even if we agree with the individual on most issues, rarely will we agree with all their decisions.

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One Thing: Press Forward

One of the benefits of documenting and reading history is the ability to learn from the mistakes of the past with the goal of achieving a better future. Avoiding the failures of the past encourages us to create a world which is more enjoyable, less painful and more satisfying than the past. Not only is this true at the macro level, when we view the entire history of the world, but even at the micro level of our individual lives.

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Certainty in Uncertain Times

Read the newspaper, turn on the news, open the news app on your phone or scroll through your Twitter feed and you will find a world capable of filling us with anxiety, worry and uncertainty. From church shootings to tax code changes to military tensions with North Korea, we are reminded daily of what life is like in a post-Genesis 3 world where everything is tainted by sin. In that kind of a world, we can be absolutely certain there will be uncertainty. This is why we have news alerts on our phone and 24-hour news networks, to inform us of all the uncertainties that occurred in our country and around the world throughout the day. Likewise, our individual lives are filled with a list of uncertainties that we take with us to bed and are guaranteed to stare us in the face when we wake up in the morning.

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Growing Through the Motions

One of the most common phrases heard in our modern culture is “going through the motions.” We are either tired of, feeling like or warned against “going through the motions;” either at work, school, church, ministry, in our marriages, in our Christian walk or just life in general. There is hardly a need to explain the definition of this phrase, since we have all experienced the frustration of becoming stuck in a repetitive routine of lather, rinse, repeat. It happens anytime we allow certain parts of our life to function without much thought, in the same way pilots use autopilot. Almost always this phrase refers to a negative reality, but we can also grow through what can sometimes be perceived as merely “going through the motions” of the Christian life.

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