This River has been a Terror to many, yea the thoughts of it also have often frightened me. But now methinks I stand easy, my Foot is fixed upon that, upon which the Feet of the Priests that bare the Ark of the Covenant stood while Israel went over this Jordan. The Waters indeed are to the Palate bitter, and to the Stomach cold; yet the thoughts of what I am going to, and of the Conduct that waits for me on the other side, doth lie as a glowing Coal at my heart.I see myself now at the end of my Journey, my toilsome Days are ended. I am going now to see that Head that was Crowned with Thorns and that Face that was spit upon, for me.I have formerly lived by Hearsay, and Faith, but now I go where I shall live by sight, and shall be with him, in whose Company I delight myself...
Dear Jacob,Thank you for contacting me with your opinions on Legislative Bill 345 to change the Nebraska State Song. I introduced this legislation to provide a forum for the opponents and proponents to express their wishes on the subject.Please never hesitate to contact me with your opinions and concerns in the future.Senator Carroll BurlingThat might be the least committed statement a human being could possibly make.Seriously, though, from my time working as a page in the Legislature, I do know that they take very seriously these sorts of e-mails, phone calls, and letters. He was being very honest when he urged me contact him whenever I have opinions. In my experience, most of Nebraska's legislators similarly want to hear from their constituents.As cynical as we might be about politics in general, I have a lot of respect for how the Legislature works.
17And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, 18"See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death 19and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day." (Matt. 20:17-19)I think Matthew included this statement at this place for a purpose--the resolution to the tension between the vineyard laborers and the Sons of Zebudee is found in this aspect of Jesus' life. He alone obeyed his Father's will perfectly for his entire life (i.e., he worked the entire day in the vineyard), and he did so by making himself the slave of all, for "the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:28). So, it should come as no surprise to us that:
9Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)If we would be first in the kingdom, we must become a slave (like Jesus did) with humility that seeks servanthood in order to deny self and glorify God in all things (like Jesus' humility). If we would be first, we must become more like Jesus both in our actions and in our attitudes.
Hon. Senator Burling--I understand that you have introduced LB 345, which would change our state song from "Beautiful Nebraska" to a newer song called "I Love Nebraska." I appreciate your efforts to update our state song to something more contemporary, but, having heard the song and seen the music video (available on the internet), I must state my strong opinion that this particular song is NOT the right song to replace the old one. I stand in OPPOSITION to this bill.From an artistic point of view, there are poorly written lyrics and forced rhymes. From an aesthetic point of view, there are many Nebraskans (including myself) who genuinely dislike country music as a genre, but I don't even think that this is particularly good country music.Finally, I have a hard time imagining children learning this new song in schools. I myself learned "Beautiful Nebraska" while I was growing up in Nebraska public schools, and it was a song that is capable of being sung by choirs and even children. "I Love Nebraska," however, is a performance-oriented song, and its nature wouldn't really allow any but country music soloists to sing it. That hardly seems fitting for a state song.So, I would request that you request to withdraw the bill or move that it be postponed indefinitely. Please do NOT continue to support this bill.Thank you for all the hard work you are doing as my senator!Jacob Gerber
In the central portion of the great North American Continent there lies an arid and repulsive desert, which for many a long year served as a barrier against the advance of civilization. From the Sierra Nevada to Nebraska, and from the Yellowstone River in the north to the Colorado upon the south, is a region of desolation and silence....there are enormous plains, which in winter are white with snow, and in summer are gray with the saline alkali dust. They all preserve, however, the common characteristics of barrenness, inhospitality, and misery. (p. 55, my emphasis)Doyle might be a good writer, but he knows nothing of Nebraska.
Jesus brooks no rivals. There have been, there are, many religious leaders. In an age of postmodern sensibilities and a deep cultural commitment to philosophical pluralism, it is desperately easy to relativize Jesus in countless ways. But there is only one Person of whom it can be said that he made us, and then became one of us; that he is the Lord of glory, and a human being; that he died in ignominy and shame on the odious cross, yet is now seated on the right hand of the Majesty on high, having returned to the glory he shared with the Father before the world began.--From D. A. Carson's meditation on Matt. 17 in For the Love of God, Vol. I
Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again!
Alleluia! Christ our Passover Lamb is sacrificed for us!
Therefore let us keep the feast!
"I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." (Matt. 3:11, my emphasis)Notice that John the Baptist draws a distinction between how he baptizes with water and how Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit. From this, I think it seems reasonable to speak of a difference between the physical baptism of water and the spiritual baptism of the Holy Spirit, just as the Bible makes a distinction between physical circumcision and spiritual circumcision.
But, when the Scriptures speak of spiritual (i.e., "heart") circumcision, no one assumes that those writers are speaking of all physical circumcision, as though physical circumcision automatically equates with heart circumcision. In fact, Paul goes out of his way to emphasize the difference between physical and spiritual circumcision: "For we are the real circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh" (Phil. 3:3). Of course, the physical and the spiritual circumcisions are linked, but my point is simply that they are not exactly the same thing.
Here is what I am trying to say: when we read texts where baptism is spoken of spiritually, we should not therefore automatically equate that spiritual baptism with water baptism. As with the two types of circumcision, I think there is a connection between water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism, but I am simply arguing that not all who have received water baptism have necessarily received Holy Spirit baptism, just as not all who received physical circumcision were heart circumcised. Consider the following texts:
12"And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good? 14Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. 15Yet the LORD set his heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. 16Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. (Deut 10:12-16)Also:
4Circumcise yourselves to the LORD;The Old Testament speaks of circumcision as more than simply an ethnic, physical ritual--it was a physical act that was intended to speak to a spiritual reality (i.e., physical circumcision pointed to heart circumcision), yet it had always been applied to infants! Therefore, the New Testament passages about baptism--where the physical act of baptism is generally linked to spiritual regeneration--are not proof of a prerequisite of spiritual regeneration in order to be baptized. If the first (Jewish) readers had been accustomed to thinking of their physical act of circumcision as having spiritual overtones, why would they suddenly consider the spiritual meaning of baptism to demand the exclusion of their infants?All this said, I do not quite consider the definition of "outward sign, inward reality" to suffice for baptism. This post has been more of an apology to baptists for paedobaptism than an attempt to force my new wine into my old wineskins. Any definition of baptism must fully explore its meaning as a sacrament and its being a "sign and a seal" of our new covenant in Christ Jesus, so that the baptist definition is incomplete, but not completely wrong. What I believe to be the fuller definition of baptism, however, is another post for another day.
remove the foreskin of your hearts,
O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem;
lest my wrath go forth like fire,
and burn with none to quench it,
because of the evil of your deeds." (Jer 4:4)