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  WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JULY 13, 2020 Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Isaiah 55:10-12, where the LORD says, 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.   12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
  WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JULY 6, 2020 Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Matthew 11:28-30, where Jesus says, 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Religion waxes and wanes in a culture and throughout history.  It can fade away, but it can also suddenly come back again.

That is one of  the takeaways from the American Enterprise study by Lyman Stone that we’ve been discussing this week:  Promise and peril: The history of American religiosity and its recent decline.


In addition to giving us something of a three-dimensional profile of the extent of religion in the United States and Western Europe, the study gives data about why religions decline but also what brings religions back.

As we reported from that study, the lowest level of church membership and church attendance in the history of the United States was in the 1780s, when only a third of Americans belonged to any church body and only a fifth of the population was in church on any given Sunday.  That’s far worse than today’s supposedly “declining” numbers, of 62% membership and 35% attending.

But after that religious low point at the very outset of our nation came the Second Great Awakening, which began in the 1790s and soon made our forebears the strong Christians we have always assumed them to be.

Click here to read more from Dr. Gene Edward Veith about reversing religious decline.

Be Informed

Hosted by LCMS Urban & Inner-City Mission, the Rev. Dr. Greg Seltz, executive director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty, will presents a free webinar on “Religious Freedom in our PC Culture” from 1:00-2:00 p.m. Central time Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. Seltz will provide insights and strategies to winsomely witness to our world as the Christian faith becomes less “PC.” Learn more here!

Be Equipped

Rev. Christopher Thomas discusses when Christians must disobey government’s restrictions on gathering in a recent Issues, Etc. interview.

Be Encouraged

“What does it say to our neighbor when in our own families we care for our elderly, become foster parents, adopt children, care for the handicapped, or carry through with an unplanned pregnancy? What does it say to our community when in our churches we care and pray for each other, offer families respite care, visit nursing homes, or provide for the needs of pregnant women? It says that we are truly For Life because we are living it.” --Diane E. Schroeder, former president of Lutherans For Life

 

 

In the middle of March 2020, all life seemingly came to a grinding halt. Sports leagues postponed their seasons. Restaurants and stores were shuttered, throwing millions out of work. Weddings were postponed or limited to just the minister, bride, groom, and two witnesses. Congested freeways suddenly became wide-open expressways. And churches were forced to halt their worship services. All of this was done in the name of public health – to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus that had cut a deadly swath through Asia and Europe before reaching our shores.


First, churches were told gatherings of more than 50 people were out. Then the number was reduced to 10. All of this was done for physical distancing to keep the virus from spreading. Churches complied with all of this, understanding the critical need to do their part for the physical welfare of others.

But unfortunately, there were some who have exploited the COVID-19 pandemic and used it as an opportunity to keep churches closed while other public places, such as restaurants, stores, and casinos were gradually allowed to open. This is not to even to say about the throngs of individuals who marched through the streets – and not engaging in physical distancing at all – to protest the tragic death of George Floyd, encouraged by many of the same officials who advocated denying ordinary Americans the opportunity to gather together and worship. It seemed like only churches were being targeted for closure. In doing so, these officials denied Americans of one of their most cherished fundamental freedoms: religious liberty.

This exploitation comes at a time when there is an increasing clampdown on personal freedom and calls for greater government control in all aspects of our lives – particularly our faith lives.

For instance, in Nevada, the governor has allowed casinos to open, while keeping the churches shut. In Mississippi, congregants who were practicing physical distancing by keeping in their cars and attending drive-in services were issued $500 fines. In Oregon, pastors faced fines of $1,250 and up to 30 days in jail if more than 25 people showed up at their church for services, even though the church practiced physical distancing and observed all safety protocols. Yet the same group could go out for Sunday brunch at a local restaurant without fear of government officials shutting their doors and dragging their pastor off to jail.

The result is what Attorney General William Barr recently warned us about in his speech on religious freedom at the University of Notre Dame, when he said, “If you rely upon the coercive power of government to impose restraints [on faith], this will inevitably lead to a government that is too controlling, and you end up with no liberty, just tyranny.”

Thankfully, organizations such as Alliance Defending Freedom have been challenging these unconstitutional actions by state and local officials, and thus far, have been successful in every instance.

But these skirmishes ultimately come down to a battle of two sides, which my co-author Craig Osten and I write about in our book, American Restoration: How Faith, Family, and Personal Sacrifice Can Heal Our Nation. One side believes that people have a fundamental right protected by the First Amendment to practice their faith freely and openly in society. The second believe religious freedom is not a fundamental right and any public expression should be discouraged. It is this second view that we are seeing played out in the public square, as money-making businesses are perceived as more “vital” to society than churches. COVID-19 has just brought into the open what has been going on behind the scenes for years as churches face more and more obstacles to simply exist.

These obstacles have included onerous zoning ordinances and building codes to keep churches out of business districts or expanding their facilities, attempts to make churches comply with sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) laws that violate their core biblical beliefs about human sexuality if they allow community groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or the Scouts to use their facilities, and so forth.

While we all understand that personal and corporate sacrifice is needed in time of emergency, it has also been during these times that houses of worship have brought people together in unity. Think of the overflowing churches and synagogues on D-Day after President Roosevelt called the nation to pray for the brave soldiers storming the beaches of Normandy or how people turned back to faith after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Could much for the division we face in our nation, and particularly during these especially turbulent times, be tied to the fact that people are discouraged from getting together with others to pray, worship, and development community than encouraged? Most definitely so.

Leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and those who founded our nation, knew the important role faith played in standing up to and defeating tyranny. While they may not have been perfect men, they knew what our nation’s guiding star must be. That is why we cannot stand by and let those who want to take advantage of this pandemic to continue locking the sanctuary doors. We cannot let a short-term public health crisis become a long-term health crisis for the human soul. It is time for churches to once again be allowed to allow people to practice their faith, while making sure that none are at risk. Religious freedom and physical distancing can co-exist, and everyone’s freedoms and health can be protected.

Tim Goeglein is vice-president of External Relations for Focus on the Family.

  

Be Informed

“When the abortion giant Planned Parenthood tried to halt laws geared toward helping women discover their options, Choices stepped up.” Learn more about an Arizona crisis pregnancy center that is taking on Planned Parenthood.

Be Equipped

“Walt Heyer lived as a woman for eight years as a woman.” Now he’s speaking out about the dangers of gender dysphoria. A recent video, in which Heyer explains that, “Putting children with gender dysphoria on the path to hormones, puberty blockers, and even life-altering surgery is dangerous,” has now been taken down by YouTube, claiming that it’s nothing more than hate speech. Click here to learn more about the censorship Heyer is currently experiencing.

Be Encouraged

“Strengthen Your Church, O Lord, that she may be a beacon of joyous unity in the Gospel and a light of blessed forgiveness and grace, calling all to repentance and to trust in Jesus as the only Savior from sin (Acts 2:38–41). Amen.”

Independence. Freedom. Autonomy. Self-determination. We salute these values as we wish our country another “happy birthday.” And we don’t just celebrate these priorities on a national level; they’re personal, too. Our culture insists that we should strike out on our own, find ourselves, and define who we are. But what if all of this isn’t as great as it sounds?

 


The flip side of independence is isolation. The flip side of freedom is friendlessness. The flip side of autonomy is every-man-for-himself.

So while we blow out the candles on dear USA’s cake, we may revel in the fact that we are freer, more independent, and more autonomous than ever, but we should listen past the sparkling crackle of the fireworks to hear the booming truths of our time. We are more medicated for things like depression and anxiety than ever before. Illicit drug use and suicide rates continue to increase. We rack up debt not only as a nation but also as individuals. Our modern muskets are aimed, but the pursuit of happiness continues to feel like a hunt without a kill.

God did not create us for independence or autonomy. He created us to be His people, and this defines us. The freedom He grants is not the same as the world’s “freedom.”

In fact, our God is a triune God, and thus there is a community in the Godhead itself: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And we are created in God’s image. When God created Adam, He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen. 2:18). God created Eve for Adam. He blessed mankind saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen. 1:28). The first great commission is the opposite of independence — it is to create dependents. It also creates dependence, as family members are designed to rely upon one another.

Reading further, we see that the first humans to make a mad dash for autonomy weren’t actually Americans. They were Adam and Eve, and it didn’t go well for them. The deceiver tempted Eve to crave the wrong kind of freedom, to desire what God had forbidden. Adam sealed the self-defining deal and brought sin into the world. Freshly-fallen Adam and Eve were clothed in fur skins and sent off as colonists to a new world they wouldn’t enjoy much on account of the cursed ground, thorns and thistles, pain and sweat.

Adam and Eve’s attempt at “self-determination” did not live up to their expectations. But God was merciful. The cure that God provided for Adam and Eve and their children was not “self-determination,” but rather His own “re-determination” of them — and us — through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus.

This is the freedom found in Christ: restoration to the divine community. The Holy Spirit is sent to guide us through the Son back to the Father. When we are baptized into God’s name (“Father, Son and Holy Spirit”) we are adopted into the heavenly family, along with all of the other saints. No longer independent. No longer self-determining or autonomous. Because of grace, we were then, and remain now, under God. That’s worth celebrating!

Deaconess Rosie Adle is an online instructor for the distance deaconess program of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind. This article was first published on, and is used here with the permission of, The Lutheran Witness blog.

 

Be Informed

Learn more about “the U.S. Supreme Court’s reasoning regarding the word ‘sex’ in the 1964 Civil Rights Act” with Dr. Robert Gagnon on Issues, Etc.

  

Be Equipped

“New York Gov. Cuomo and NYC Major de Blasio encouraged mass protests while restricting religious gatherings, and a federal judge has called foul.” Click here for more on the double standard.

  

Be Encouraged

“O Lord, grant justice in Your left-hand kingdom, especially in the governments of this nation and of all the earth. Correct wrong. Punish and thwart evil . . . Grant peace that Your Gospel may flow all the more freely, especially to those most blinded by evil. Remind us, O Lord, of Your own prayer for those who crucified You, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:24). Let us not be overcome with anger, but overcome hatred with love. Amen.”

Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, has addressed the church regarding the changing situations as states and communities face reopening.

 


“We are now seeing a different phase in government, and that is resulting in a different response from the church,” Harrison said.

The LCMS is working with Alliance Defending Freedom, First Liberty and the Becket Fund to defend religious liberty where needed. Please go below to find links to letters, press releases, and the latest news from The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod on religious liberty with regard to congregations’ ability to worship.

 

 

Be Informed

Author J. K. Rowling made an unexpected stand for the difference between male and female. Learn more here.

 

Be Equipped

A Christian professor in Ohio got the message from his employer loud and clear: “You must endorse the university’s favored ideology or be punished. There is no room for dissent.” See how he’s fighting back.

 

Be Encouraged

“Lifting each other up, as we share our faith in Christ Who came to make all things new, is the only hope we have. Let us not waste this life God has given us, but let us move forward in faith, together, knowing that ultimately the gates of hell will not prevail against those who love God.” --Abbott Tryphon, Vashon Island, Wash.

This Saturday the country will celebrate the Fourth of July, a time when Americans still publicly cherish and celebrate the freedoms that they’ve been privileged to possess. It’s a time when we honor the things that make America special and, in fact, unique in this world. It’s a time when we come together, in spite of our country’s failures and our many differences, and honor what makes our country different. And what would that be exactly? Many today are trying to sell the notion that nothing about our country makes us “unique” or honorable. But is that true? Of course it isn’t! In fact, I’d like you to take the time right now to be thankful for a country that did some incredible things for you. No matter what your station in life at the moment, things like these have rarely, if ever, been done before.

 


Those who founded this country did the following:

(1) They organized a country based on the self-evident truth that people, as creatures of God, all “are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (Declaration of Independence). Such rights were to be virtuously engaged and constantly striven for “freely” without need of coercion. To be sure, not living up to those principles has caused our country tremendous turmoil, but the fundamental truth remains and still calls all freedom-seeking people to itself.  

(2) They not only realized the inherent dignity of all people, but also recognized the depth of the depravity of all humanity, themselves included. Who wins a revolution, writes a constitution, and claims a victory by limiting one’s own power? People who know that liberty for all is more important than personal power for some, that’s who. This truth makes America as a country unique to this day.

(3) Finally, they realized that the American experiment rises and falls on the idea with which the Constitution begins, “We the People.” This statement envisions free citizens in charge of our lives as capable, competent, self-disciplined, religiously-motivated people living freely for others just because it’s the right thing to do. In the biblical dichotomy of “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, give to God what is God’s” (Matt. 22:21), America was the first and only country that limited government types. It even gave the ultimate “Caesar-ship” to individual citizens with a Bill of Rights to keep power-hunger politicians in their place.

All of this was pretty special then, and, in the midst of the turmoil of the last several months, it remains even more special today . . . if we can keep it. Reverend Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the United States Senate for a short time in the 1940s, said this about America’s freedom in action: “May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.”[1] Wise words.

So, while July Fourth is rightly called “Independence Day,” I want you to remember that exercising our freedoms is not libertinism, a “do as I please” attitude subject to no moral code or no civil concern above oneself as the final arbiter. On this Fourth of July, let’s prayerfully and thankfully celebrate those who sacrificed so much so that we can have the freedoms that we have today. And let’s realize that for such freedoms to endure, we must understand that our healthy “independence” is rooted and empowered by these three things: (1) our dependence on God in all things, (2) our interdependence with each other in community (e.g., family, church, neighborhood, city, and country), and (3) our humble, steely-eyed willingness to be independent and even “go it alone” for ourselves and for others when God’s fundamental, moral truths are one the line.

While the resurrection freedom of Good Friday and Easter Sunday is the only enduring, eternal freedom in the world, it is a precious thing to have the temporal freedoms of America as well. Such temporal, constitutional freedoms free us to be faithful to God on His terms and to others without coercion or fear. That freedom was worth fighting for then, it is worth celebrating now, and it is worth exercising in the future. A blessed 244th Independence Day then to you all and may there be many more to come!

The Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz is executive director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty.

Be Informed

A new survey “finds widespread support for letting Church, not State, control internal religious direction.” Learn more here.  

 

Be Equipped

Discover more about a dangerous agenda for America’s institutions with Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto. Click here to listen to a recent interview.

 

Be Inspired

“O Merciful Father in heaven, from You comes all rule and authority over the nations of the world for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. Graciously regard Your servants, those who make, administer and judge the laws of this nation, and look in mercy upon all the rulers of the earth. Grant that all who receive the sword as Your servants may bear it according to Your command. Enlighten and defend them, and grant them wisdom and understanding, that under their peaceable governance Your people may be guarded and directed in righteousness, quietness and unity. Protect and prolong their lives that we with them may show forth the praise of Your name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

  

[1] https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/33254.Peter_Marshall

Religion waxes and wanes in a culture and throughout history.  It can fade away, but it can also suddenly come back again.

The American Enterprise Institute has released an important study of American religion entitled Promise and peril: The history of American religiosity and its recent decline.

 


It is a meta-analysis--that is, a study of studies–bringing together a wide range of disparate research and analyzing the data in terms of each other to arrive at more rigorous conclusions.

You may have noticed, for example, that there have been many studies of American religion and its possible decline that come up with different statistics.  The problem is that different researchers study different aspects of the question.  You can focus on how many Americans claim to have a religious affiliation.  Or you can focus on how many Americans actually go to church.  Or you can focus on what Americans say that they believe.

Those are three completely different questions.  Many members of a church don’t attend much, or don’t believe what their church teaches.  Many Americans profess Christian beliefs but don’t belong to a church.  Furthermore, each of those questions rely on what individuals tell survey takers.  Another line of research is digging out objective data about American religion, such as church records and evidence of cultural markers, such as “religious” baby names.  Then again, church records are not always accurate and some congregations don’t even have memberships.  So the whole questions of “how religious are Americans?” and “is Christianity declining in the United States?” are more complicated to answer than it might appear.

Read more from Dr. Veith here.

Be Informed

Life begins at conception. Click here to see a timeline of fetal development . . . and to learn how a child’s heart starts beating at only 21 days old!

Be Equipped

“Many people are looking to a higher power for comfort these days. In March, the number of Google searches for prayer skyrocketed, according to a not-yet-published analysis of search results for 95 countries by an economist at the University of Copenhagen.” Learn more from the Wall Street Journal.

Be Encouraged

Dear Father, you sent your Son, who left His powerful position in heaven to be born in a lowly stable, to live life in our place, to die a death that is the recompense for this world’s sin, and to give us eternal life as a gift now and forever. May that motivate our prayers and our service to our friends and our enemies, to our brothers and sisters in the faith and our neighbors in the community, and all who are in authority to lead and to serve. Give us strength to be a people constantly in prayer, available for service, and bold in our witness of the God who is at work in the world to save. In the Name of Jesus, we pray. Amen!

Religion waxes and wanes in a culture and throughout history.  It can fade away, but it can also suddenly come back again.

That is one of  the takeaways from the American Enterprise study by Lyman Stone that we’ve been discussing this week:  Promise and peril: The history of American religiosity and its recent decline.

 


In addition to giving us something of a three-dimensional profile of the extent of religion in the United States and Western Europe, the study gives data about why religions decline but also what brings religions back.

As we reported from that study, the lowest level of church membership and church attendance in the history of the United States was in the 1780s, when only a third of Americans belonged to any church body and only a fifth of the population was in church on any given Sunday.  That’s far worse than today’s supposedly “declining” numbers, of 62% membership and 35% attending.

But after that religious low point at the very outset of our nation came the Second Great Awakening, which began in the 1790s and soon made our forebears the strong Christians we have always assumed them to be.

What changed?  Researchers have cited sociological factors.  For example, as we blogged about, the American Enterprise study says that the heavy-handed, politically powerful colonial churches created a backlash against faith, whereas their disestablishment and America’s new religious liberties created a climate for faith to flourish again.

Click here to read more from Dr. Gene Edward Veith.

Be Informed

Hosted by LCMS Urban & Inner-City Mission, the Rev. Dr. Greg Seltz, executive director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty, will presents a free webinar on “Religious Freedom in our PC Culture” from 1:00-2:00 p.m. Central time Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. Seltz will provide insights and strategies to winsomely witness to our world as the Christian faith becomes less “PC.” Learn more here!

Be Equipped

Rev. Christopher Thomas discusses when Christians must disobey government’s restrictions on gathering in a recent Issues, Etc. interview.

Be Encouraged

Dear Father, you sent your Son, who left His powerful position in heaven to be born in a lowly stable, to live life in our place, to die a death that is the recompense for this world’s sin, and to give us eternal life as a gift now and forever. May that motivate our prayers and our service to our friends and our enemies, to our brothers and sisters in the faith and our neighbors in the community, and all who are in authority to lead and to serve. Give us strength to be a people constantly in prayer, available for service, and bold in our witness of the God who is at work in the world to save. In the Name of Jesus, we pray. Amen!

 

When John Kennedy was murdered in November, 1963, the Washington Star columnist Mary McGrory famously said, “We shall never laugh again,” to which  Daniel Patrick Moynihan, later to become a famous senator, replied, “Mary, we’ll laugh again, but we’ll never be young again.”

 


That Cold War tete-a-tete is surely to be repeated, at another level and for a new era, when official Washington begins slowly and incrementally to awaken to the reality of the Covid-19 chapter of American history.  The only thing that will have changed in our nation’s capital is everything, which is to say, the way in which the city has historically done business and navigated itself has been inalterably shifted and reimagined.

            In its 231-year history – through Civil War, two world wars, the Great Depression, major recessions, Watergate, Vietnam, the three wars of the last 30 years, etc. – there has never been a time when the United States Congress has not met in person and voted in person. To do otherwise, even up to two weeks ago, would have thought unthinkable.

But as a direct result of America’s current domestic war –- the attack of an invisible, lethal pathogen – remote voting will be installed in the House whereby Members of Congress will be given the option of remaining in their home districts and merely appointing a proxy on the House floor to vote in their behalf. This is genuinely a radical change.

            The United States Senate, perhaps the most tradition-bound institution in America with only one exception, refuses to move toward proxy voting; but it is inevitable, if there is, God-forbid, a second round of Covid spikes, that even that legislative upper house may need to find a contemporary manner in which to do its daily business.  The current muddle of discontinued subcommittee and committee hearings has become, for some members, intolerable.

            Most people who watch, track, and work with Congress most closely have been told that, in the post-Quarantine era, the House and Senate will revert to in-person voting, in-person hearings, and in-person modes of doing daily and weekly business.  Having worked on or near Capitol Hill for three decades, I feel confident that will not be the case.  Some changes are so dramatic, you can never go back again, at least completely. 

            Some of the current “temporarily-remote” ways of doing business in the House and Senate will likely be concretized into permanence and will thus fundamentally change how the House does much of its work.  With likely airline snafus and other related transportation hurdles on the cusp, there will be every incentive to reform the old decorum and to favor less centrality on the Hill and in the city.

            Thousands of people who work on the Hill, in the federal bureaucracy and in the institutions most associated with the work of the legislative an executive branches have now had a two-month sense of how working remotely can be made to work, and there will be inclinations toward keeping more people away from the capitol core of the city.

            Similarly, there has not been a time in White House history where there were so many daily hurdles to even getting inside the complex, much less near-to or inside the West Wing where the president, vice president, and their most senior staffs work.  To what was an already highly-restricted working space before Covid will be added layers of keeping more people away.  The risk is simply too high for infection; in fact, even with the most stringent barriers in Washington, senior White House aides still were infected and necessarily quarantined.

            Perhaps the biggest immediate change of Washington, D.C., in the post-quarantine era will be its impact on the United States Supreme Court.  Two members of that august body are in their 80s; four of the members, including the Chief Justice, are in their 60s or above; and for the first time in the court’s contemporary history, the justices heard 10 major cases, met in conference, and had discussions by teleconference, allowing the public for the first time to listen to cases as they were actually being argued. Lawyers making the cases were doing so from their living rooms via telephonic connection.

            There has been a longtime push to allow the public to listen to real-time audio from the court cases as they are being argued; others have pushed for TV coverage, much like C-SPAN.  The justices say such coverage would impede the way the cases are both argued and decided.  It seems unlikely at this juncture that real-time TV and radio are in the offing, but it is does not seem unlikely that, with the viral threat ongoing, new procedures and protocols will be adopted to modify how the Court adjusts to the new normal, and that may include a modified version of real-time audio.

            The Irish-Anglo statesman Edmund Burke famously observed that the best definition of a healthy conservatism is that which allows worthy institutions to be reformed in order to be preserved.  It seems to me Burke’s definition accords with right reason in the public square of a post-Quarantine, twenty-first century Washington, D.C.

            The Constitution has a fixed meaning and purpose; its original vision remains more vital today than ever; the way contemporary Washington adapts and reforms will be the largest historical question going-forward, and will be fascinating to watch and help impact.

Timothy S. Goeglein is the vice president for External and Government Relations for Focus on the Family.

 

Be Informed

“How Minnesota Catholics and Lutherans Teamed Up to Open Their Churches:” the title of the article says it all! Read it here.

Be Equipped

Every child deserves a mom and dad, but for those absent fathers, one man is stepping up to help. Check out “Dad, How Do I?” for more.  

 

Be Encouraged

In a nation that grants its citizens liberty and freedom, in a nation that seeks to limit the powerful and set the religious, disciplined, self-governing citizen free, we, as believers, pray that we might rise to that challenge as your people, to proclaim your ultimate work of redemption for all. Amen.

 

  WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JUNE 29, 2020 Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Matthew 10:34-39, where Jesus says, Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Matthew 10:28-33, where Jesus says, 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.  
  WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JUNE 15, 2020 Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Exodus 19:3b-6, where the Bible says, The Lord called to [Moses] out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
  WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JUNE 08, 2020 Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are Genesis 1:1 and 26-31, where the Bible says,  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” ….  30….And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
 

WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JUNE 01, 2020

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verse is John 7:37 which says,

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.”