Notes from the Trail

Review: Beautiful Outlaw

Read it anyway. That’s my recommendation. The first part of the book is so good, so beautiful and so descriptive of Jesus as a real person that it will provoke much thought and, I believe, lead you to deeper affection of and obedience. It’s the last part, where John tries to show a person how to relate to Jesus, that needs to be read with discernment. There are some real nuggets here as well, but you’ll need a shovel to dig them out at times.

Videos: Easter Sunday Testimonies

If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting! Feel free to leave comments. Your participation enriches the site!These two videos were shown at Northstar Church of Blacksburg, Virginia on Easter Sunday. I’m grateful for these two who shared their faith stories and hearts with us.

Provoke wonder this Easter

IF you invite people to consider Jesus, they won’t be disappointed. Confused? Perhaps. Doubtful? Often. But not disappointed. He’s too amazing for that. A vast majority of people will respond to your invitation to attend church with you on Easter. They’re willing to consider and experience this “religious holiday.” They expect you and your church…

Let It Goat

And this is just what we all needed… HT: Vanessa

The road from Ironto

A side road back to Blacksburg is just what I needed to gather my thoughts, be reminded of my need for trust above clarity.

Review: Deep & Wide, Part 2

Part 2 of the review of Andy Stanley’s book “Deep & Wide..” We must learn to think deeply again. We’ve become like the “Modern Family” sitcom in our ecclesiology – adrift and in reaction mode to what’s happening around us. We have no strategy and act like we have no mission. We’re simply in our church living rooms spouting off one-liners and have become the slapstick of society. Our youth and college students struggle to apply (or even know) scriptural principles to living and decisions.

Jesus, humble? How?

The humility Jesus demonstrated is stunning and instructive.

Jesus, a shrewd Messiah

From John Eldredge in Beautiful Outlaw: “Oh how hard it is to rescue the human heart, to dislodge it from it’s chosen means of survival without toppling it into resignation, despair or defensiveness. Jesus won’t take the shortcut of a power play. He doesn’t force anyone to follow Him.” The chapter called Cunning is a…

Nuff said: Noah and Tim Tebow, Repenters, Driscoll’s apology, Let it go-please, abortion speech, Urkaine, and help for those who don’t want to raise their hands in worship

In this “nuff said” entry, read about: Noah and Tim Tebow, Repenters, Driscoll’s apology, Let it go-please, abortion speech, Urkaine, and help for those who don’t want to raise their hands in worship.

Preview: Jesus is a Beautiful Outlaw

A quick look at John Eldredge’s book “Beautiful Outlaw..” Eldredge helps us rediscover Jesus as a very real person. Yes, He is fully God, and yes, He is fully man, but as a mysterious both, God the Creator did not cast off His infinite personality to become a flannel board, neutered get-well card of a deity.

Rabbit coats

It all started last week when my cousin created a Facebook event page for his mom’s (my aunt Imie) 80th birthday celebration. The big shindig happened this past Sunday in Hamburg, Arkansas, at the Ashley County Museum. It was one of those special moments that stirred great memories. Here’s what I wrote in the Facebook…

Review: Deep & Wide, Part 1

Deep & Wide by Andy Stanley was one of the books I began 2014 reading with Dave Farris, our campus pastor in Pulaski, Virginia. Andy is the pastor of North Point Church near Atlanta, and his book Visioneering is on my short list of great books about vision. (review here) At the outset, let me…


Watch the March 2, 2014 baptism service at Northstar Church, Blacksburg, Virginia.

Picking on pastors

It’s “our human proclivity for leader-worship” that is setting these leaders up for surreal success, and historically, Christians have never handled power and success well. A healthy path for us all when our celebrity pastors stumble is to pray rather than prey.

Nuff said: Majestic Hotel, smartphones and sleep, church signs, church history, imperialist Christian missionaries

The Majestic Hotel burned Over the weekend, the renowned Majestic Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas burned. It had been closed, shuttered up, since 2006, in desperate need of renovation and repairs. No one stepped up to do so, and in a tragedy of landmark significance, the resulting fire will dramatically alter historic downtown Hot Springs.…

No rules…

In much the same way that I read Matt Chandler’s book Explicit Gospel (see post here), I invite you to read with me Chip Ingram’s True Spirituality (previously published and titled Living on the Edge). I’m reading it in advance of using it as a resource for our small groups at church this fall. God’s…

Review: Explicit Gospel

I experienced sadness while reading this book. When I completed it, I distinctly remember shaking my head, thinking how I wish I’d had this resource in hand when I began serving in ministry as a 19 year-old. Chandler’s message is one for the American church that has allowed growth, family life centers, good works and…

Snowpocalypse Reports

We got hit with a major winter storm February 12-13, and here’s some live, on-the-scene reporting from the front porch and back deck of the Noble household.

Video Blog: January 2014

I’m not like you

For years, I’ve followed a recommendation by Donald Whitney about a plan for meditating on scripture when I’m not following a specific Bible reading plan or doing a structured discipleship study. It was in a May conference for Arkansas campus ministers where I first heard him recommend reading Psalms and Proverbs in this way: Whatever…

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