Author

Brian Phillips

Dr. Brian Phillips is the Director of CiRCE Consulting & the Headmaster of the CiRCE Academy.  He also serves as a pastor in Concord, NC, where he lives with his wife and their four children.

Brian Phillips Feb 17, 2021

For those of us on the “Western” calendar, the Lenten season begins today. Many will solemnly observe Ash Wednesday, gathering for a service of contrition and repentance, including the “imposition of ashes” – the application of ashes in the sign of the cross on the forehead. The Scriptures frequently refer to ashes as a sign of repentance for sin or mourning (Esther 4:3, Job 42:5-6, Jonah 3:4-6, Ezekiel 9:4, etc.), and while the Lenten ashes are ashes of mourning over sin, they are also “hopeful ashes,” made in the sign of the Christ’s cross, our only hope.  

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Brian Phillips Feb 11, 2021

Christian history is a beautiful tapestry, interwoven with legends and stories, some made bigger or different with time. Stories of some of the early martyrs, for example, handed down orally, were likely embellished and romanticized, but not without reason or benefit. Such is the story of St. Valentine - a priest in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. According to tradition, Valentine, having been imprisoned and beaten, was beheaded on February 14, about 270, along the Flaminian Way.

Romantic, huh?

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Brian Phillips Feb 2, 2021

“I am in a season of my life right now where I feel bone tired almost all of the time. Ragged, how-am-I-going-to-make-it-to-the-end-of-the-day, eyes burning exhausted … I have three boys ages 5 and under. I’m not complaining about that. Well, maybe I am a little bit. But I know that there are people who would give anything for a house full of laughter & chaos.”

Steve Wiens, in his article “To Parents of Small Children”

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Brian Phillips Jan 27, 2021

In many ways, life is circular. As Solomon says, a man works and toils, only to give place to another generation who will work and toil; “One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever.” The sun rises and sets, only to rise and set again. The wind whirls about, only to do it all over again. The rivers flow to the sea, only to be picked up and returned to do it again. “All things are full of labor…” and in that many people despair. 

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Brian Phillips Jan 13, 2021

Constantine is a controversial figure in Church history. He won the power struggle that came after the death of Diocletian and, by 324, he ruled control the whole Roman Empire. He strengthened the absolute power of the emperor and stripped the senate of its authority. Additionally, Constantine built the military to 500,000 troops, and undertook huge building projects (palaces, amphitheaters), even though it put great financial strain on the empire.

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Brian Phillips Jan 13, 2021

When he was about 10 years old (around 306 A.D.), Athanasius was playing with a group of his friends on the beach, pretending to baptize one another, taking turns playing the part of the minister. When Athanasius took his turn, he so accurately recited sections of the baptismal service, bishop Alexander - who was walking along the beach at the time - approached Athanasius to talk about his faith.

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Brian Phillips Jan 11, 2021

It is believed that the tradition of the New Year's Resolutions may go back as far as 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of Rome was placed at the head of the calendar, his two faces directed to the left and right – one looking back on past events, the other gazing forward to the future. King Janus eventually became the symbol for resolutions. Some Romans looked for forgiveness from their enemies, exchanged gifts, and made commitments to better themselves as the New Year began.

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Brian Phillips Dec 5, 2020

December 6th is the feast of St. Nicholas!

Santa Claus stands as a centerpiece of the Christmas season and though the feast of Saint Nicholas lasts but one day (December 6th), the Santa frenzy will continue through the holidays.  Children around the world will find it hard to sleep, anxiously waiting for him to swoop down the chimney, leaving presents under the tree.  But, where did the idea of gifts from jolly ole Saint Nick come from?  The tradition stems from an event that vividly displays the “gentler side” of Saint Nicholas.

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Brian Phillips Jul 23, 2020

As a young man, Benedict left his hometown of Nursia, journeying to Rome to continue his education. His time in Rome left him deeply troubled, the city apparently overcome by paganism and depravity. Eventually, Benedict simply tired of people. Seeking solitude and quite, he moved to a cave near Subiaco (about 30 miles east of Rome).

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Brian Phillips Jun 29, 2020

The verse we are using for this month’s assurance of pardon is a familiar one – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1st John 1:9). The word “confess” is a compound Greek word that literally means “to say the same thing.” In other words, when we confess our sins, we are saying the same thing about our thoughts, words, and deeds, that God would say about them. If we do that – if we own up to our sins, then God is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us.

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