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Your weekly installment of what we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web.

Articles of the Week

In Defense of the Religious Right, Ross Douthat, New York Times. The Religious Right has taken a bit of beating in recent days. They have been portrayed as hypocritical hacks in the pocket of the Republican Party. For many, it seems that the Religious Right is dying, and quite a few folks are prepared to dance on the grave. Douthat, however, warns us not to press the issue too much. The United States, he argues, needs a religious right. Without it, the political right would be even more cruel than we’ve seen thus far.

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Yesterday was the end of our Centered & Sent Conference. The conference was designed to help the church navigate the tension between being culturally relevant and radically distinct—a combination that will only become more important as our society grows increasingly post-Christian.

If you were at the conference, you know it was phenomenal. If you missed it, you’ll want to check back and download the videos as soon as they are available. Our guest speakers—Tim Keller, Bryan Loritts, Ed Stetzer, and Joby Martin—brought incredible passion and insight. I’m thankful to each one of them for the wisdom they offer the church.

The full lectures will be available soon, but in the meantime, here are some of the highlights from their talks:

Tim Keller


“Evangelicalism is breaking up. But why? Because culture has changed, and evangelicals are divided on how to respond to it.”

“We are the first culture that says the meaning of life is to free yourself from the sacred order and become a person who can choose all things yourself. Our culture is the first one in history that thinks the essence of character is not self-control, but self-assertion.””

“There’s a great hunger for a new kind of Christianity that lets people feel that they are connected to God—but a Christianity that is completely re-engineered in light of culture, where you still get to decide what is right or wrong for you.”

“Most Christians have never had to do evangelism in a culture like this, a culture in which we are the villains. Well, we had better learn.”

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It’s a question that we all ask at some point in our lives. For many people, it’s the driving force of their entire lives: “How can I be happy?”

We’re all looking for happiness. The world tells us to be happy by getting what we want. But most of us know that doesn’t actually work. As one of the prophets of our generation has said, “Mo money, mo problems.”

No, happiness isn’t found by getting what we want. According to Jesus, happiness is more about how we respond to the gospel and what God has done for us through Christ.

He answered this question of how to be happy at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. He lists eight “Blessed are …” statements that actually describe a saved person’s heart, a heart blessed and filled by God. In short, a happy heart. And these eight statements teach us two important truths about happiness:

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