new nobts logo
7/20/2006 11:47:00 PM
Now that the steeple is gone, I think we should adopt this as a new logo...

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i see love
7/20/2006 05:22:00 PM
This song was performed by Bart Millard (MercyMe), Mac Powell (Third Day) and Steven Curtis Chapman on the Passion of the Christ soundtrack.
Some see a teacher
Standing on a hill
Speaking words of wisdom
Some see a healer
Reaching out his hand
To give sight to a blind man
Some see a dreamer
Wasting his life
On what can never be
Some see a fool
Dying for his dreams

But I see love (I see love)
I see love (I see love)
Light of heaven breaking through
Well I see grace (I see grace)
I see God's face (I See Gods face)
Shining pure and perfect love
When I see you
I see love

Some see a prisoner
Alone before his judge
With no one to defend him
Some see a victim
Beaten and abused
With all the world against him
Some see a martyr
Carrying his cross
For what he believes
Some see a hero
Who set his people free

But I see love (I see love)
I see love (I see love)
Light of heaven breaking through
Well I see grace (I see grace)
I see God's face (I See Gods face)
Shining pure and perfect love
When I see you

With your last breath
I see love
Through your death
I see love
I see peace in the eyes of the king
I see hope in your suffering (I see love)
I see a calm in the center of the storm
I see a Saviour

I see love
I see love
Light of heaven breaking through (heaven breaking through)
I see grace
I see God's face
Shining pure and perfect love
When I see you
I see love
When I see you
I see heaven breaking through
See Gods face
Shining pure and perfect love
When I see you
When I see you
When I see you
I see love
I see love
When I see

Some see Him walking from an empty grave
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love 1: the mystery of love
7/19/2006 02:09:00 AM
I wrote a few days ago on the parable of the Good Samaritan, and have since that time been thinking on the subject of love. Love is such an elementary truth, and it is something that I come back to time and time again. I guess the reason why is the fact is so elementary. To me, love is the foundational doctrine on which all other Christian doctrines hang. Jesus says that the Law and the Prophets, the bible of the day, hang as something tied to a rope hangs. The image of everything being suspended on those commands is compelling, and the reason I would teach love as a doctrine right up there with Christology and other doctrines we hold near and dear.

The line from the song I posted, "He was showing his love, and that's how he jurt his hands." has been resonating in my mind for the last couple of days. Simply stated, love hurts. When I thought about love in these terms, John 15:13 came to mind, so I went to the passage and looked at it. It is very familiar, yet every time I read it, it seems fresh. I noticed something this time I hadn't noticed before: this verse is part of a larger set of verses seemingly 12-17.
(12) My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

(13)Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (14)You are my friends if you do what I command. (15)I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. (16)You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

(17) This is my command: Love each other
These verses form what Bible expositors like to call an inclusio. An inclusio is a literary device used to block off a section in a larger text, usually by relating the beginning of the section with the end of the section. Here, verse 12 and 17 repeat one another, thus relating them to one another. What is between then is forming some kind of thought

The command Jesus gives is a rehash of chapter 13 where Jesus gives them a new command. In verse 12 he says as he has shown them how to love. Jesus demonstrated in his life, exemplified in washing their feet just a few chapters earlier. The idea of self-sacrifice and service to people is what Jesus is getting at.

Verses 13 as I've mentioned was the verse that came to mind when I think of love hurting. Love cost Jesus his life, and this is undoubtedly the greatest example of love in all of human history. John points to Christ?s death as the standard of love in 1 John 13:16. Although love seems so simple, it really defies logic. If I was a banker and I had to invest in something, it wouldn't be love. First it is expensive. Love costs the most valuable thing of all, and that is life. Second, there is no return on the investment. If love costs my life, then how can I get a return? But for some reason, God chose to love us. John tells us that our love is a reaction to his love in 1 John 4:19, but not the other way around. Restated, Why would anyone do something that hurts, costs a lot, and has no return? This to me is a mystery. God does things sometimes that cook my brain.
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the hand song by nickel creek
7/15/2006 11:43:00 PM
This is a song by Nickel Creek off their self titled album. I thought is was relevant to my last post on "love thy neighbor". I particularly like the last line. Read it and enjoy...

The boy only wanting to give mother something,
And all of her roses had bloomed.
Looking at him as he came rushing in,
without knowing her roses were doomed.
All she could see were some thorns buried deep,
And tears that he cried as she tended his wounds.
And she knew it was love, it was what she could understand.
He was showing his love and that's how he hurt his hands.

He still remembers that night as a child, on his mothers knee.
She held him close and she opened her Bible, and quietly started to read.
Then seeing a picture of Jesus, he cried out:
"Mama he's got some scars like me!"
And he knew it was love, it was what he could understand.
He was showing his love, and that's how he hurt his hands.

Now the boy is grown and moved out on his own.
When Uncle Sam comes along.
A foreign affair, but our young men are there.
And luck had his number drawn.
It wasn't that long till our hero was gone,
he gave to a friend what he learned from the cross.
But they knew it was love, it one they could understand.
He was showing his love, and that's how he hurt his hands.
It was one they could understand.
He was showing his love, and that's how he hurt his hands.
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why we should rebuild new orleans
7/14/2006 12:08:00 AM
For once I am not writing about SBC stuff or fundamentalism, but rather about something that is more along the lines of what the stated purpose of this blog is: theology and missions. So hopefully this will be a breath of fresh air. :)

Unless you live in a cave, you are probably well aware of what has been going on in New Orleans over the last few months since Katrina. Katrina as we all know wreaked havoc on the city. In an unprecedented effort, churches stepped to reach out to the victims of Katrina, and they did. The SBC alone was the third largest relief organization in the ravished Gulf Coast, and this isn't counting the countless of non-SBC churches that participated in helping out the victims. It was amazing to see independent fundamentalist Baptists join with semi-charismatic to give relief to so many first hand. This response was awesome, and the church needs to be commended for it.

Now that the initial response is over, there are a number of questions swirling about what we should do with New Orleans. So many are opposed to rebuilding New Orleans for a number of reasons. Some are pragmatic and say that it is pointless to rebuild because it will happen again. Some say it costs way to much to rebuild, and ask who is going to pay for it. Some say Katrina was God's wrath on the city and he wiped it out to purge it from its sin, and we shouldn't rebuild a city that is known for its decadence.

There are a number of other reason not to rebuild New Orleans and they may all have merit, but the primary reason to rebuild New Orleans I feel outweighs any objections we might have, and this is found in the simple command Jesus gave: Love thy neighbor.

In Luke 10, Jesus is having a dialog with an expert in the law who ask him what they must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus answers giving the two Great Commandments, and the expert wanting to justify himself asks, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus answered with this story:

A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
He then asks, "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" and the expert naturally referenced the Samaritan. Out of this passage I think there are some things we can glean.

First, note that we don't know the nationality of the man who was attacked. This may seem like an insignificant point, but I think it has some significance, because we do know the nationalities of the other three characters. We know the priest and the Levite were both Jews, and the nationality of the Samaritan is given, but not of the victim. The priest, Levite, and Samaritan did not know the man's nationality. This nationality obviously didn't matter to the Samaritan, but probably would have to the priest and Levite who would have shunned the Samaritan and obviously the victim too. It would seem that the priest and Levite would only help their kinsmen or those they knew, unlike the Samaritan who had no regard for nationality or knowledge of the mans background. In pertaining to New Orleans, we really shouldn't worry about whom we are rebuilding for or what we are rebuilding. The Samaritan didn't care, but he saw the man's needs and he met them regardless of the man's background. Such is how the body of Christ should work.

Second, the Samaritan did not help the man out of compulsion, but out of a sense of compassion. The priests and the Levites avoided the man, because by touching the man, they would have made themselves ceremonially unclean and would have not been able to fulfill there temple duties, which was something that was a prestigious honor in the days of the New Testament. Had they not been at the temple, then others may have questions them or they may have not received the honor that comes from working at the temple. The Samaritan was motivated by a since of compassion, while the priest and Levite avoid him because it would have been politically inconvenient. Pertaining to New Orleans, we shouldn't rebuild or avoid rebuilding as due to political motivation, but should be motivated by a compassion to help people who need help.

Third, note what the Samaritan did. First he treated the man's wounds with oil, wine, and bandages, and then took the man to an inn to care for him. The story doesn't stop there, but the Samaritan paid for lodging for the wounded man until he was completely healed. The Samaritan met both the immediate need and the long-term need of the wounded man. The church did an excellent job of meeting the immediate needs of Katrina victims, but few have done anything to provide long-term solutions to the needs of Katrina victims. Churches should be commended for doing what they did in the months and days immediately following the storm, but the job isn't over, and there are a lot of people who still need help putting there lives back together again and the Church can play an integral part in helping people rebuild their lives physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Fourth, in the same passage we note that the Samaritan used his own supplies and resources to care for the man. He did so at expense to himself, and was willing to go the extra mile to see to it that the wounded man recovered to a state were he was lively. Anytime Christians reach out to others, it costs something, and may come at a great personal expense. I know some churches and individuals gave above and beyond the call of duty in terms of time, talents, and treasure to help others. I thank God for them, and I pray that they inspire others to do so.

The realities of natural disasters are real. We've seen in just the last two years numbers of natural disasters happen all over the world. There was a major earthquake in Pakistan killing thousands and leaving millions homeless. There was the tsunami in Indonesia that did likewise. Nipping its heals was another major earthquake. There really is no place on earth at is immune to disasters whether man-made or natural. There are wars, famines, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, droughts, hurricanes, typhoons, floods, avalanches, mudslides and countless other catastrophes that happen everyday all over the world. What happened in New Orleans can happen anywhere in one shape, form, or fashion and it could happen to you. If I were a person victimized by such things, I would want the Samaritan, not the Levite and priest, to help me out. The Samaritan was the neighbor who gave of himself out of compassion and no regard for personal gain or loss to help those in need.
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son of man on the moon
7/07/2006 11:17:00 PM
Sometimes I wonder where American Christianity is going. It seems at times that Christians do some pretty ridiculous things. First, there was This originally had the tagline, "It's not my space, it's His space." Okay, a Christian alternative to MySpace. That's not that bad I guess, but it seems to be creating a subculture rather than engaging the one we already have. That's another issue. Read some of my previous rants if you want to hear about that. Second there was 10 Commandments Day. I stumbled across the site and couldn't beleive my eyes when I started to read the stuff they had posted there. It was a political advocacy group for the Ten Commandments. I thought that was pretty ridiculous, but it gets better. A church in Memphis built a 72 foot tall replica of the Statue of Liberty (calling it the "Statue of Liberation") and replaced the torch with a cross and the book in the other had with the Ten Commandments. The pastor says people can't drive by the church without thinking of their relationship with God.

If American Christianity is going to continue in this course, I think I'd like to make a modest proposal of a project that is sure to get the attention of the world: We could carve the face of Jesus into the moon large enough so that anyone with a naked eye could see it. From then on people will not be able to look at the moon without thinking of their relationship with God. I even have a name for this project: Son of Man on the Moon. It is sure to cost billions of dollars, so we will need everyone to contribute.

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things that go bump in the night
7/05/2006 10:38:00 PM

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flood street -- n.o. la.
7/01/2006 01:24:00 AM

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