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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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How Can I Be Happy?

Posted by Pastor J.D. on October 19, 2016

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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Have you ever started to post something on Facebook that you just really needed to get off your chest but then stopped right before you published it? Like me, you probably wish you had an anonymous account where you could post whatever you wanted without people knowing who you are. (I see you, @fakejdgreear.)

That never felt more true than during the presidential debates a few weeks ago. So many times during the debates I typed something out on Twitter and then thought, “I can’t say that. I’m a pastor!”

Anonymity sometimes has its perks. It certainly releases you from a lot of accountability. But for Christians, remaining anonymous isn’t an option. Jesus doesn’t want us to stay in the shadows. Instead, he calls us to boldly confess who he is and follow him without shame.

Jesus gave his disciples an opportunity to do just that in Matthew 16, when he asked them who they thought he was. Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ (Matthew 16:16-18 ESV).

In these verses, Jesus shows us one of the most important results of publicly professing what we believe, just like Peter did:

If we confess faithfully, we are unstoppable.

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