The Nicene Creed

The small group I co-lead is studying the basic beliefs and practices of the Christian life, and we’re currently looking at the doctirne of the Trinity. I’ve heard it argued that the Trinity is THE central doctrine of Christianity, setting us apart from all other religions and cults. I believe this is true, because as I look at all the other doctrines I’ve studied in various theology classes, I see that they basically elaborate on this foundational truth, telling us more about this one God in three Persons and our relationship with Him.

Of the two historic creeds most widely used throughout Christendom, the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed, the one with the clearest declaration of belief in the Trinity is the Nicene. I think that’s why it’s my preference of the two creeds, and I love it’s fuller, richer description of the deity of Christ and the person and work of the Holy Spirit. The following is a contemporary translation used in many denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church.

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.*
With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic** and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

* Eastern Orthodox churches omit “and the Son”
** i.e., universal

Be Thou My Vision

In honor of St. Patrick, here is another of my favorite hymns. When this post originally went out on Friday, I unintentionally plagiarized, because I neglected to include the source of the following description! The Cyber Hymnal is a searchable online database of thousands of hymns, with lyrics, MIDI files, scores, pictures, history and more. I loved the story of Patrick at Slane Hill found on that website, so here (with correct attribution, this time!) is the entry for Be Thou My Vison from The Cyber Hymnal.

Words: Attributed to Dallan Forgaill, 8th Century (Rob tu mo bhoile, a Comdi cride); translated from ancient Irish to English by Mary E. Byrne, in Eri, Journal of the School of Irish Learning, 1905, and versed by Eleanor H. Hull, 1912, alt.

Music: Slane, of Irish folk origin. Slane Hill is about ten miles from Tara in County Meath. It was on Slane Hill around 433 AD that St. Patrick defied a royal edict by lighting candles on Easter Eve. High King Logaire of Tara had decreed that no one could light a fire before Logaire began the pagan spring festival by lighting a fire on Tara Hill. Logaire was so impressed by Patricks devotion that, despite his defiance (or perhaps because of it), he let him continue his missionary work. The rest is history.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

More from blue sky nine in Egypt

bsn.jpgblue sky nine’s 2nd and 3rd shows were in a former palace in Alexandria, which is now a center for the arts. The band’s drummer, Ryan Menzer, emailed the following about them:

The first crowd was college students and the second was open to the community. We achieve a primary objective in helping [our hosts] here to establish good relationships with the owners of the center for future events. Christian students attended and mingled with nonbelievers.

The band next played on a riverboat on the Nile! Everyone in the audience was given a book by Josh McDowell, and the band’s hosts will do follow up with them.

Here’s another excerpt from Ryan’s email:

Our next show was for the youth group of a church for foreigners working here. Most were American students and all of them spoke English. It was refreshing and fun to see many of them sing along with some of our songs! It was nice to have a full conversation with them, encouraging them and the youth group staff. All the students were totally jazzed about the concert and their leader was absolutely thrilled about not only Scott’s message but even our music and how it encouraged the many aspiring musicians in his group…

More From the Giants of Silence Mexico Tour

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Giants of Silence guitarist Sam Leo wrote of their February 20 concert,

“…we partnered with Teen Challenge – a Christian ministry/drug rehab center for teens. … A lot of the teenagers, and their family members, who were at the concert were either not Christians, or had recently become Christians as a result of the rehab program….On the comment cards, 12 people said they wanted to talk to someone about spiritual things, 13 said they wanted to get involved in a Bible study, and 3 made decisions for Christ!!”

From drummer Lindsay Boccardo:

On Thursday we played at UNAM-Fes Zaragoza. It was outdoors and there were over 300 students listening to our concert and message. We didn’t share the whole gospel because the campus is very sensitive about religious matters. In fact, professors have been fired for sharing the Gospel! Needless to say, God still worked and there were 31 students who wanted to talk further about spiritual things and 12 who wanted to be involved in a Bible study.

Here’s Lindsay’s take on the band’s final concert:

Our last concert was on Friday at El Hospital…a bar. Ironic, huh?
We played two concerts at 2 pm and 6 pm and the bar was packed both times! We told the students that we were there to be a spiritual help for them, along with the campus ministry there. The students in charge of the event got into over 50 spiritual conversations with the students…one girl even began to cry. After the concert, two girls approached our hosts and said they wanted to be involved with the group on campus…they weren’t sure what they believed spiritually and wanted to take the journey with these people! How cool is that? There is a LOT of follow up that will be happening as a result of that event.

Brazil Update

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It’s been a little over a year since I went to Brazil to help Janiê Sucupira train the 10 students on her 2007 music summer project. Janiê recently emailed me an update on the students we taught.  Klecia (vocalist) joined full-time staff with Brazil Music + Mission in January 2008, Henrique (drummer) and Irene (vocalist) will join staff when they graduate in 2009, and Andre (vocalist) and “VHS” (guitarist and vocalist) will become interns in 2009! A graphic designer from the 2006 project also joined Janiê’s ministry in January, and a bass player plans to join next year, so Janiê will have a complete band!

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