A word on happiness, the year 2015

Oversimplified, I know, given the country’s complex history. But these thoughts on 2015 and this cultural moment … they sadly apply to much of both the right and the left.

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Serve your community as Christ’s representative—do all to the Glory of God—even though you may feel as Jeremiah in Jer. 9:1-6.

Oh, that I had in the wilderness
A lodging place for travelers;
That I might leave my people,
And go from them!
For they are all adulterers,
An assembly of treacherous men.        (vs 2)

But Jeremiah’s journey as his nation willfully imploded is a lesson in faith, Truth, and faithfulness. Read it sometime. Perhaps it’ll be part of a future post.

 ~AndrewABranch

A word to would-be ‘updated’ Christians

God loves and accepts us just the way we are. He doesn’t turn anyone away as he seeks to renew and redeem a People to His Image. 

But he gets to define what it means to be human. Not us. We’re his creation. To believe what He says about us is a basic tenet the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of salvation/justification by faith. We must believe it all. To say otherwise is a false gospel. 

My feelings don’t define me or give me a right to dishonor my body. God defines me, allowing me to properly interpret my feelings—and govern my actions. 

“Here I stand. I can do no other.” ~Martin Luther

Sincerely,
Andrew Branch

#PCUSA
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2 Corinthians 5

The love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died. And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. (i.e., in Christ God was reconciling  the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.) Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

God on problem of evil: ‘You would not believe if told’

A thought for today: It’s 2015, and we’re by no means the first generation to ask God why he allows what he does, to ask what the world is coming to. 

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?
Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 2.11.58 PM
Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?

Destruction and violence are before me. Strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous—so justice goes forth perverted.

“Look among the nations, and see. Wonder and be astounded—for I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.”  

  ~Habakkuk 1 


Brother of Coptic Christian martyrs thanks God that ISIS left the video unedited, showing his brothers calling on Jesus’ name even as they died. “ISIS helped us strengthen our faith.”


I hear, and my body trembles. My lips quiver at the sound. Rottenness enters into my bones. My legs tremble beneath me.  Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail  and the fields yield no food,  the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength. He makes my feet like the deer’s. He makes me tread on my high places.

~Habakkuk 3

WORLD | Guilty as Charged

“The jury took only three hours on Jan. 27 to convict former Vanderbilt football players Cory Batey and Brandon Vandenburg of rape. Each faces at least 15 years in prison for their June 23, 2013, crimes. Yet one player’s failed defense leveled a whole new kind of indictment on the “rape culture” on college campuses.”

College campuses are the epicenter of a Fifty Shades of Grey generation in which rape and physical and sexual abuse are now sexy—provided she doesn’t object. Yet, at the same time, as the NFL tackled domestic violence, an incensed nation stood puzzled at battered women who don’t perceive abuse, or who don’t want to leave.

The cultural contradictions are growing ever more stark in a generation that wants to fight injustice, yet act it out for kicks. The owner of the china shop wants a pet bull, and Jesus has words for those who make others stumble. How long will it take the jury only three hours?


Guilty as ChargedVanderbilt-Star-V9

A horrible campus culture doesn’t get football players off the hook for rape

Read at WORLD Magazine

WORLD | Heisman Trophy winner: ‘Football doesn’t define me’

On this, the day of the first NCAA College Football Playoff championship, let’s look at what makes Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota tick.


Heisman Trophy winner: ‘Football doesn’t define me’ 

“When things start to get rough, you find comfort in your faith,” Mariota told FCA earlier this year. “Knowing that no matter what, you can dust yourself off and be OK. And you know you do it for [God’s] glory.”

Read at WORLD Magazine.

After the World Series: “Raytown Redemption”

Take a break from election news, groans, and/or shouts of joy.

We’re one week removed from the climactic ending to the World Series. But two miles south of Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City, the games have a deeper meaning. Stories like this are why I write. I grow far more spiritually from the examples of the people I’ve interviewed for WORLD’s sports page than I can ever express in an article. 


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A Kansas City church’s sports leagues bring salt and light to a struggling community

Read at WORLD Magazine.

Last day to vote for WORLD’s 2014 Hope Award

From WORLD’s Facebook

Time to vote for the finalists for the 2014 Hope Award is quickly winding down, and four incredibly worthy ministries, with much at stake, need your vote.

What we need from you:
Take 15 seconds each to read the first couple sentences of these
four indispensable ministries http://wng.org/compassion

Take 10 seconds to vote for the ministry you deem most worthy,
knowing the winner will receive a $25,000 award
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2014_Hope_Award

Feel satisfaction in knowing your vote will make a difference in the
lives of untold thousands who derive eternal benefit from these
worthwhile ministries

Jubilee Leadership Academy

Friends Ministry 

Compassion International, Nicaragua 
(Parts 2 and 3 here)

Maury United Ministries 

Seeds of Hope