Monday, August 31, 2009

Stormy Monday Blues - Jimmy Ponder, Seefelder, Soloff, Katz, Goldstein

Goverment Health Care

Sheer Grace

“A central message of the Bible is that we can only have a relationship with God by sheer grace. Our moral efforts are too feeble and falsely motivated to ever merit salvation. Jesus, through his death and resurrection, has provided salvation for us, which we receive as a gift. All churches believe this in one form or another. Growth in character and change in behavior occur in a gradual process after a person becomes a Christian. The mistaken belief that a person must ‘clean up’ his or her own life in order to merit God’s presence is not Christianity. This means, though, that the church will be filled with immature and broken people who still have a long way to go emotionally, morally, and spiritually. As the saying has it: ‘The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.’

… Now imagine that someone with a very broken past becomes a Christian and her character improves significantly over what is was. Nevertheless, she still may be less secure and self-disciplined than someone who is so well adjusted that she feels no particular need for religious affiliation at all. Suppose you meet both of these women the same week. Unless you know the starting points and life journeys of each woman, you could easily conclude that Christianity isn’t worth much, and that Christians are inconsistent with their own high standards. It is often the case that people whose lives have been harder and who are ‘lower on the character scale’ are more likely to recognize their need for God and turn to Christianity. So we should expect that many Christians’ lives would not compare well to those of the nonreligious (just as the health of people in the hospital is comparatively worse than people visiting museums).”

-Timothy Keller, The Reason For God (Dutton: 2008), pp. 53-54.

Eternal Rewards

What then is the significance of eternal rewards? A summary by J. van Genderen:

“Reward” in the New Testament means: God fulfills what he promises. It is not senseless to devote oneself to God’s cause. Those who devote their best efforts to it will also share in the victory and the glory. On the negative side, the concept of reward implies that a believer cannot and may not live as a citizen of the realm of darkness. On the positive side it says that he who lives and fights in the service of this kingdom does not do so in vain. He will reap its fruit.

One day everyone will say: My faith and my struggle, my love and my prayers have not been in vain. The LORD fulfills his promise. This has been the goal of my faith and life.

The concept of a reward underscores the necessity and the seriousness with which we are called to live holy lives. The reward itself is part of salvation… The biblical concept of reward is an encouragement from God to persevere. It is a means along the way to consummation. It is entirely a reward of grace. God sustains his own work. He crowns it. Sola gratia. [Concise Reformed Dogmatics (P&R 2008) p. 667.]

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bob Dylan - Man In The Long Black Coat

Nothing Else But Christ Alone

"Faith, if it is to be sure and steadfast, must lay hold upon nothing else but Christ alone, and in the conflict and terrors of conscience it has nothing else to lean on but this precious pearl Christ Jesus. So, he who apprehends Christ by faith, although he be terrified with the law and oppressed with the weight of his sins, yet he may be bold to glory that he is righteous. How? Even by that precious jewel Christ Jesus, whom he possesses by faith."

Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians, page 99.

"An Ever Increasing Craving for an Ever Diminishing Pleasure Is the Formula"

From C. S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters (p. 44)--remember that it's told from a devil's point of view, so "the Enemy" is God and "Our Father" is Satan.
Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. . . . An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula. . . . To get a man's soul and give him nothing in return--that's what really gladdens Our Father's heart.

Grace Has Saved Me and Will Keep Me

Grace is the guarantee of the preservation of the saints. If the plan of salvation is certain of accomplishment, then the Christian's future is assured. I am, and will be, "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation" (1 Peter 1:5 KJV). I will not torment myself with the fear that my faith may fail; as grace has led me to faith in the first place, so grace will keep me believing to the end. Faith, both in its origin and continuance, is a gift of grace.
J.I. Packer, Knowing God

Friday, August 28, 2009

Geez Louise by Douglas Wilson

So, a friend informs me, Brian McLaren is observing Ramadan this year. I was minding my own business, see, and my friend sent me this link. Check it out your own self here. He sent me the link, I am convinced, to see if I would go off like a bottle rocket, all the while trying to stay out of sin.

No, I do not go off like a bottle rocket. I sit here, solemn and thoughtful, stroking my beard. Hmmm, I muse to myself, thinking down the same lines that Cicero did when he o temporaed o moraed about ancient Roman monkeyshines. What shall the harvest be? I then turn to go back to whatever it was I was doing.

But then I ask myself, am I being selfish? Do I not have peculiar gifts in the arena of fisking? Was I not born for just such occasions? With a sigh, I put aside my casual evening, and go out to my shop to find the nine-pound sledge.

It is not as though McLaren just announced this, leaving us to figure out why. He 'splains it himself.

"Ramadan is the Muslim holy month of fasting for spiritual renewal and purification. It commemorates the month during which Muslims believe Mohammed received the Quran through divine revelation, and it calls Muslims to self-control, sacrificial generosity and solidarity with the poor, diligent reading of the Quran, and intensified prayer."

And all God's people say ohhhh, their voices trailing off at the end. Then their faces bunch up that funny way that faces have. And then a cluster of hands go up, and the looks on some faces indicate that this might turn into a town hall meeting or something.

"This year, I, along with a few Christian friends . . . will be joining Muslim friends in the fast which begins August 21. We are not doing so in order to become Muslims: we are deeply committed Christians. But as Christians, we want to come close to our Muslim neighbors and to share this important part of life with them."

That is, deeply committed Christians who believe that what matters is the deeply committed part, and not the object of the commitment. For, as we have just learned, being deeply committed to a diligent reading of false Scriptures, and intensified prayer to a false god, and sacrificial generosity as a means of ginning up some works righteousness around here, is something that deeply committed Christians can "come close" in order to "share." Sharing, that is, in the experience of getting all the fundamentals wrong. It is as though deeply committed adherents of the notion that the square of the hypotenuse was equal to the sum of the square of the other two sides decided to "come close" to those who thought that it wasn't even close to the sum of the square of the other two sides. But what the heck. What matters is being deeply committed to drawing what you think are triangles on a piece of paper. Is that not what really matters? We have pencils and papers in common. Come on, people. Don't you want to end wars?

To read the rest

Freddie Hubbard - First Light #2 - 1971 - Live

The Woodstock Generation 40 Years Latter Part 2

‘Over my dead body’: Spurgeon on tweaking the Atonement

“Little, however, did I think I should live to see this kind of stuff taught in the pulpit; I had no idea that there would arise teaching which would bring down God’s moral government from the solemn aspect in which Scripture reveals it, to a namby-pamby sentimentalism, which adores a deity destitute of every masculine virtue. But we never know today what may occur tomorrow.

We have lived to see a certain sort of men, — thank God, they are not Baptists! — (though I am sorry to say there are a great many Baptists who are beginning to follow in their trail) who seek to teach, nowadays, that God is a universal Father, and that our ideas of His dealing with the impenitent as a Judge, and not as a Father, are remnants of antiquated error. Sin, according to these men, is a disorder rather than an offence, an error rather than a crime. Love is the only attribute they can discern, and the full-orbed Deity they have not known. Some of these men push their way very far into the bogs and mire of falsehood, until they inform us that eternal punishment is ridiculed as a dream.

In fact, books now appear which teach us that there is no such thing as the vicarious sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. They use the word atonement, it is true; but, in regard to its meaning, they have removed the ancient landmark. They acknowledge that the Father has shown His great love to poor sinful man by sending His Son; but not that God was inflexibly just in the exhibition of His mercy, nor that He punished Christ on the behalf of His people, nor that, indeed, God ever will punish anybody in His wrath, or that there is such a thing as justice apart from discipline.

Even sin and hell are but old words employed henceforth in a new and altered sense. Those are old-fashioned notions, and we poor souls, who go on talking about election and imputed righteousness, are behind our time.

Aye, and the gentlemen who bring out books on this subject applaud Mr. Maurice, and Professor Scott, and the like, but are too cowardly to follow them, and boldly propound these sentiments. These are the new men whom God has sent down from Heaven, to tell us that the apostle Paul was all wrong, that our faith is vain, that we have been quite mistaken, that there was no need for propitiating blood to wash away our sins; that the fact was, our sins needed discipline, but penal vengeance and righteous wrath are quite out of the question!

Well, brethren, I am happy to say that sort of stuff has not gained entrance into this pulpit.

I dare say the worms will eat the wood before there will be anything of that sort sounded in this place; and may these bones be picked by vultures, and this flesh be rent in sunder by lions, and may every nerve in this body suffer pangs and tortures, ere these lips shall give utterance to any such doctrines or sentiments!

We are content to remain among the vulgar souls who believe the old doctrines of grace. We are willing still to be behind in the great march of intellect, and stand by that unmoving cross, which, like the pole star, never advances, because it never stirs, but always abides in its place, the guide of the soul to Heaven, the one foundation other than which no man can lay, and without building upon which no man shall ever see the face of God and live.”

- C.H. Spurgeon, sermon #310, “Christ – Our Substitute” (4/15/1860). Quoted from his Autobiography (2-volume; Banner of Truth) 1:487-488.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Compare The lyrics from Mission Accomplished To The Quote From John Owen

The Father imposed His wrath due unto, and the Son underwent punishment for, either:
1. All the sins of all men;
2. All the sins of some men, or;
3. Some of the sins of all men.

In which case it may be said:
1. That if the last be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so, none are saved;
2. That if the second be true, then Christ, in their stead suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the whole world, and this is the truth;
3. But if the first be the case, why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins?

You answer, "Because of unbelief."
I ask, Is this unbelief a sin, or is it not? If it be, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not. If He did, why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which He died? If He did not, He did not die for all their sins!"

John Owen - from the Death of Death in the Death of Christ

Mission Accomplished by Shai Linne

Verse 1

Here’s a controversial subject that tends to divide
For years it’s had Christians lining up on both sides
By God’s grace, I’ll address this without pride
The question concerns those for whom Christ died
Was He trying to save everybody worldwide?
Was He trying to make the entire world His Bride?
Does man’s unbelief keep the Savior’s hands tied?
Biblically, each of these must be denied
It’s true, Jesus gave up His life for His Bride
But His Bride is the elect, to whom His death is applied
If on judgment day, you see that you can’t hide
And because of your sin, God’s wrath on you abides
And hell is the place you eternally reside
That means your wrath from God hasn’t been satisfied
But we believe His mission was accomplished when He died
But how the cross relates to those in hell?
Well, they be saying:

God knows He tried (8x)

Verse 2

Father, Son and Spirit: three and yet one
Working as a unit to get things done
Our salvation began in eternity past
God certainly has to bring all His purpose to pass
A triune, eternal bond no one could ever sever
When it comes to the church, peep how they work together
The Father foreknew first, the Son came to earth
To die- the Holy Spirit gives the new birth
The Father elects them, the Son pays their debt and protects them
The Spirit is the One who resurrects them
The Father chooses them, the Son gets bruised for them
The Spirit renews them and produces fruit in them
Everybody’s not elect, the Father decides
And it’s only the elect in whom the Spirit resides
The Father and the Spirit- completely unified
But when it comes to Christ and those in hell?
Well, they be saying:

God knows He tried (8x)

Verse 3

My third and final verse- here’s the situation
Just a couple more things for your consideration
If saving everybody was why Christ came in history
With so many in hell, we’d have to say He failed miserably
So many think He only came to make it possible
Let’s follow this solution to a conclusion that’s logical
What about those who were already in the grave?
The Old Testament wicked- condemned as depraved
Did He die for them? C’mon, behave
But worst of all, you’re saying the cross by itself doesn’t save
That we must do something to give the cross its power
That means, at the end of the day, the glory’s ours
That man-centered thinking is not recommended
The cross will save all for whom it was intended
Because for the elect, God’s wrath was satisfied
But still, when it comes to those in hell
Well, they be saying:

God knows He tried (8x)

From The CD The Atonement by Shai Linne

Sky Dive - Freddie Hubbard

Great tune featuring Ron Carter on bass, Billy Cobham on drums, George Benson on guitar, Keith Jarrett on Piano, Hubert Laws on flute, and Freddie Hubbard on Trumpet

Death Counseling

Amazing Grace Amazes Few

“Although we all sing the hymn ‘Amazing Grace,’ it amazes few. Why? Because grace cannot amaze until we feel the judgment we deserve… This grace amazed John Newton [1725-1807]. This is why he wrote the hymn ‘Amazing Grace.’ Newton became a Christian in his late twenties. Prior to his conversion, he had been a slave trader in West Africa and was a godless, ruthless man.

For example, he kept a black slave as a mistress. When he caught her in a sexual relationship with a black man, he beat the man to death with his shovel only to find out later that he was her husband.

On the long voyages across the Atlantic, he and his mates raped the women being transported to their North American masters. Though many arrived pregnant with his seed, he was hard and indifferent to the fate of these women and their children.

This is why, after his conversion, Newton looked at the cross with amazement. There he saw grace – Christ suffering the agony of God’s wrath in his place, so that God could reward him with eternal life. The grace of God stunned him, and he never got over it.

Our sins may be different from those of John Newton, but God’s grace works the same way for us. When a Christian choral group changed the words in Newton’s hymn from ‘saved a wretch like me’ to ‘saved a person like me’ I knew that grace had sprouted wings and flown away. Grace appears most perfectly in the knowledge of our sin revealed at the cross. Only cross-centered Christians find grace amazing.”

- Wm. P. Farley, Outrageous Mercy: Rediscover the Radical Nature of Christianity (Baker: Grand Rapids, MI) 2004. Page 52.

Do We Have Free Will?

This is well worth reading or listening to. If you have questions about free will you need to read this. Regardless of your doctrinal position you will benefit from this.

Andy Naselli recently gave a talk at his church answering the question, “Do We Have a Free Will?”
  1. MP3 (1 hour and 45 minutes including Q&A)
  2. Handout (7-page PDF)
  3. Condensed Essay (4-page PDF, which Reformation 21 reprinted today)
See the handout for a detailed outline, but here's an overview:
Introduction
  1. What is “free will”?
  2. What have noteworthy theologians thought about “free will”?
  3. What are biblical and theological reasons for compatibilism and against incompatibilism?
  4. How does “free will” relate to the origin of both sin and conversion?
  5. Concluding Applications on the Free-Will Debate
Recommended Reading

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Obama's Summer of Discontent

The politics of charisma is so Third World. Americans were never going to buy into it for long.
By FOUAD AJAMI

So we are to have a French health-care system without a French tradition of political protest. It is odd that American liberalism, in a veritable state of insurrection during the Bush presidency, now seeks political quiescence. These "townhallers" who have come forth to challenge ObamaCare have been labeled "evil-mongers" (Harry Reid), "un-American" (Nancy Pelosi), agitators and rowdies and worse.

A political class, and a media elite, that glamorized the protest against the Iraq war, that branded the Bush presidency as a reign of usurpation, now wishes to be done with the tumult of political debate. President Barack Obama himself, the community organizer par excellence, is full of lament that the "loudest voices" are running away with the national debate. Liberalism in righteous opposition, liberalism in power: The rules have changed.

It was true to script, and to necessity, that Mr. Obama would try to push through his sweeping program—the change in the health-care system, a huge budget deficit, the stimulus package, the takeover of the automotive industry—in record time. He and his handlers must have feared that the spell would soon be broken, that the coalition that carried Mr. Obama to power was destined to come apart, that a country anxious and frightened in the fall of 2008 could recover its poise and self-confidence. Historically, this republic, unlike the Old World and the command economies of the Third World, had trusted the society rather than the state. In a perilous moment, that balance had shifted, and Mr. Obama was the beneficiary of that shift.

So our new president wanted a fundamental overhaul of the health-care system—17% of our GDP—without a serious debate, and without "loud voices." It is akin to government by emergency decrees. How dare those townhallers (the voters) heckle Arlen Specter! Americans eager to rein in this runaway populism were now guilty of lèse-majestĂ© by talking back to the political class.

Read the rest here

The Woodstock Generation 40 Years Latter

Bob Dylan - Everything Is Broken

A Disciple's Renewal

O My Saviour, help me.
I am so slow to learn, so prone to forget, so weak to climb; I am in the foothills when I should be in the heights;
I am pained by my graceless heart,
my prayerless days,
my poverty of love,
my sloth in the heavenly race,
my sullied conscience,
my wasted hours,
my unspent opportunities.
I am blind while light shines around me:
take the scales from my eyes,
grind to dust the evil heart of unbelief.
Make it my chiefest joy to study thee,
meditate on thee,
gaze on thee,
sit like Mary at thy feet,
lean like John on thy breast,
appeal like Peter to thy love,
count like Paul all things dung.
Give me increase and progress in grace so that there may be;
more decision in my character,
more vigor in my purposes,
more elevation in my life,
more fervor in my devotion,
more constancy in my zeal.
As I have a position in the world,
keep me from making the world my position;
May I never seek in the creature what can be found only in the creator;
Let not faith cease from seeking thee until it vanishes into sight.
Ride forth in me, thou King of kings and Lord of lords,
that I may live victoriously, and in victory attain my end.

From Valley Of Vision

Spend Tax and Borrow

Sobering stats: this year the federal government will:
  • spend $30,958 per household
  • tax $17,576 per household
  • borrow $13,392 per household
Federal spending, in particular, will
  • be increased by 22%
  • account for 26% of the gross domestic product (GDP)
By 2019, we'll be spending almost $800 billion just to pay net interest on our debt.

And none of these estimates include the cost of health-care reform!

How To Avoid The Offense Of The Cross

Some things don't change. This quote comes from 1870 but is relevant today. There are still people who are trying to avoid the offense of the cross and preach a Christianity without an atonement.

“The design of this work is mainly to demonstrate, in the only way in which this is to be done, the pure biblical doctrine of the atonement. But polemical references are by no means withheld; that is, applications, necessarily brief, of ascertained truth to germinant errors, especially to those subtle forms of error which, in an evangelical guise, and not seldom with exegetical appliances, tend wholly to subvert the elements of substitution and penal visitation, which constitute the very essence of the atonement. It is a remarkable fact that since the Reformation no article has been so much impugned in every variety of form. Till recently this was uniformly done by a class of men who had forfeited all claim to be regarded as either evangelical in sentiment or biblical in doctrine. Within recent memory, however, a new phenomenon has presented itself to the attention of Christendom — a sort of spiritual religion or mystic piety, whose watchword is, spiritual life, divine love, and moral redemption, by a great teacher and ideal man, and absolute forgiveness, as contrasted with everything forensic. It is a Christianity without an atonement; avoiding, whether consciously or unconsciously, the offence of the cross, and bearing plain marks of the Rationalistic soil from which it sprung; and it has found a wide response in every Protestant land.”

- George Smeaton, The Apostles’ Doctrine of the Atonement (Banner of Truth: 1870/1991), vi.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Obama To Renominate Bernanke To Lead Fed

Jeff Beck - Going Down - 1983

The Arms' concert@MSG December 9th 1983. Jeff Beck/guitar Ron Wood/guitar Jan Hammer/keyboards Fernand Sanders/bass Simon Phillips/drums Kenny Jones/keyboards

He Is Willing

"Unbelief says, 'Some other time, but not now; some other place, but not here; some other people, but not us.' Faith says, 'Anything He did anywhere else He will do here; anything He did any other time He is willing to do now; anything He ever did for other people He is willing to do for us!' With our feet on the ground, and our head cool, but with our heart ablaze with the love of God, we walk out in this fullness of the Spirit, if we will yield and obey. God wants to work through you!"

A. W. Tozer, The Counselor, page 116.

The Secret Of A Heavenly Walk

“I feel when I have sinned an immediate reluctance to go to Christ. I am ashamed to go. I feel as if it would not do to go, as if it were making Christ the minister of sin, to go straight from the swine-trough to the best robe, and a thousand other excuses. But I am persuaded they are all lies direct from hell. John argues the opposite way—‘If any man sins, we have an advocate with the Father;’ … The holy sensitiveness of the soul that shrinks from the touch of sin, the acute susceptibility of the conscience at the slightest shade of guilt, will of necessity draw the spiritual mind frequently to the blood of Jesus. And herein lies the secret of a heavenly walk. Acquaint yourself with it, my reader, as the most precious secret of your life. He who lives in the habit of a prompt and minute acknowledgement of sin, with his eye reposing calmly, believingly, upon the crucified Redeemer, soars in spirit where the eagle’s pinion [wings] range not.”

Octavius Winslow, No Condemnation in Christ Jesus (Banner of Truth 1853/1991), pp. 79—80.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Got My Mojo Working- Muddy Waters- full version Newport Jazz

This is from the Newport Jazz Festival. The great Otis Spann is on piano and the great James Cotton is on harmonica. This is the extended version of the song where you see Muddy dancing.

The Fear Of Death


By popular request

Risking Your Life For The Gospel

“… we need to realize that the Reformers saw nothing less than the gospel at stake. We sometimes forget what Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and others risked in taking a stand for the gospel. They risked their very lives. Regarding the Reformers’ work as nothing more than sowing seeds of unfortunate division shows both little knowledge of and little respect for what they did. They were human, and they had their faults and shortcomings. They sinned, sometimes greatly. But they also, like the imperfect characters of the Bible, were used greatly by God. In other words, the church should be grateful for the Reformation. And in this age of religious pluralism, theological laxity, and biblical illiteracy, perhaps the Reformation is needed more than ever before.”

- Stephen J. Nichols, The Reformation: How a monk and a mallet changed the world (Crossway: 2007) p. 21

I just finished reading this book and I highly recomend it especially for anyone not well versed in the Reformation. There is alot of misinformation and ignorance in the Church concerning the Reformation. I run into people all the time who have so little knowledge of and appreication for what the Reformers did. This is a book well worth reading. -the Bluesman

Show Me Your Faith By Your Joy

“Live by faith; again I say, always live by it. Always rejoice through faith in the Lord! It is neglecting this exercise that allows your own low moods and Satan to interrupt your happiness and spiritual cheerfulness and to hold you in the dumps and in gloominess.

What if you have a natural inclination to melancholy? Cannot faith correct nature? Does it not have power to clear the mind of all cares, fears and griefs? Can it not exhilarate the whole man? But what good is this faith if it is not used? It is like a soldier, with a sword at his side, not drawing his weapon when he is attacked. If a discouragement overtakes, cannot your faith say to your soul, ‘Why are you disturbed? Know and consider in whom you believe.’ Would not the master rebuke the winds and the storms and bring calm to your mind again? Do not most men have something they use to counteract their discouragements, like David with his harp? Some seek refreshment in company, or wine, or tobacco. They would not go far without a supply of these! But would not the least taste of faith be far better?

Should not the wise Christian rather take in the sweet air from the precious promises of God? Keep your faith, and it will keep your joy. It will keep it in an even, ever-flowing current, without ebb and flow, clouds or eclipses, turning ever upon the hinges of heavenly and solid joy. How can it be otherwise?

Do not Christians consider how unsuitable it is for them to go about drooping and hanging the head? Is it not becoming for the righteous to rejoice? What is a Christian but one who is joyful? Does not the kingdom of heaven consist in joy? Does not heaviness drive people away while joy draws and wins? Men wonder to see a rich man, who has all his heart’s desire, in a fit of heaviness. But I wonder a thousand times more to see one that has Christ as his friend, and God as his shepherd, and knows that all must work for the best, to be any time out of tune or out of sorts. For a Nabal to be as dead as a stone is no surprise to me, but if Nehemiah’s countenance is changed, there must be some extraordinary cause.

Can you be sad when you have all possible treasures laid up in heavenly places, where moth and rust and thieves may not come? Our treasures are out of the devil’s reach, and not only for a number of years, but for ever and ever!

O vain man! Show me your faith by your joy. If you say you have faith and live a life of sadness, I will not believe you. Use your faith, and have joy; increase your faith and increase your joy.

—Samuel Ward, Living Faith (Banner of Truth, 2008) pp. 25-30.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Delbert McClinton - Lonestar Blues

A little country twang with your blues on a Saturday morning

The Mark Of The Wounds

From the end of a letter written by Jonathan Edwards to Deborah Hatheway (June 3, 1741):

“Don’t talk of things
of religion
and matters of experience
with an air of lightness and laughter,
which is too much the manner in many places.
In all your course,
walk with God
and follow Christ
as a little,
poor,
helpless child,
taking hold of Christ’s hand,
keeping your eye
on the mark of the wounds
on his hands
and side,
whence came the blood
that cleanses you from sin
and hides
your nakedness
under the skirt of the white shining robe
of his righteousness.”

Christianity Is Vile to Atheists

In John Loftus’s book, Why I Became an Atheist, he quotes “exbeliever,” one of his fellow bloggers, who gives the clearest, most accurate illustration I’ve seen to describe the mindset of outspoken atheists toward God and Christianity. I’m going to quote it here because I think this is the most important thing to keep in mind about atheists when discussing God with them, but I do forewarn you that it’s quite disturbing to hear our great God spoken of in this way:

For a long time, I was an ardent admirer of Dr. John Piper. I remember a sermon of Dr. Piper’s in which he described God as a flowing fountain of delight…. But what about those of us who have left the fountain with a horrible taste in our mouths? We came to the fountain and drank as deeply as we could and, for a while, could not get enough of it…. But, then, something happened. The fountain became foul to us…. We opened the Bible and, instead of finding wisdom, we found violence and the justification of immoral acts. We found anti-intellectualism and backward thinking. We found oppression….

We tried to hold on to the fountain, but something had changed. It wasn’t the fountain; it was our taste for it. We realized that the fountain wasn’t a being; it was a religion. It was just dogma. It is like we had been drinking from it with our eyes closed and noses plugged. Somehow, though, we opened our eyes and unplugged our noses and discovered that we had been enjoying filth. The fountain was a fountain of blood and other foul things. We realized that we had spent most of our lives consuming a vile concoction…. We wanted to help [other Christians] open their eyes and see what we saw…. We described the filth to them, but even when they accepted that the fountain contained blood and other “foul” things, they insisted that those things were really “good” [emphasis mine].

I have a very difficult time understanding how someone who has known and interacted with God as a Person could later deny His existence, and I can comprehend even less how anyone could go from loving to hating Him. But that aside, exbeliever has insightfully pinpointed something very important–at the core, the difference between us is a matter of the way God tastes to us, not the intellectual question of His existence. I’ve found this to be the case over and over as I’ve read and listened to the outspoken atheists of our time (Hitchens, Harris, etc.). The conversation turns inevitably and repeatedly to the horrific nature of the Christian God. In debates, intellectual questions about existence consistently take a backseat to this objection, and every aspect of the debate absorbs its flavor.

What does this mean for us as we speak to these atheists? In the end, no person’s taste for God or the Gospel will change unless the Holy Spirit changes his ability to taste. But the Holy Spirit moves people when we explain and glorify the beauty of God and the Gospel, so we need to make a more concerted effort to, first, in the midst of every topic of our apologetics, keep the arguments close to the idea that we’re ultimately conversing about a Person–a real Person whom we love, Who is distinct from us, and Who has a will and purposes; and second, we need to focus on understanding, explaining, and honoring His character and actions. I’ve come to believe that this is where we need to begin, even before arguments for His existence. This is where we need to concentrate our speaking and writing.

Further, within this core issue of God’s character, I believe there is a truth even more deeply central to the divide between Christians and atheists–God’s surpassing holiness. I’m convinced that the atheists’ inability to comprehend God’s holiness is the particular turning point from which they have gone completely wrong. If the Holy Spirit were to reveal a glimpse of the majestic righteousness and holiness of God (and, by comparison, our sinfulness) to these atheists, the answers to 90% of their questions would fall swiftly into place. Since the Holy Spirit often uses our words as the means by which He reveals such things, we need to be prepared to speak on this subject.

To that end, if you haven’t read The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, I recommend you begin there. Next, you must read the Bible all the way through. Over and over. And over. You must know God from every angle that He has revealed to us, and you need to wrestle with what you find there until the perfect pieces fit together clearly enough for you to help others put their own pieces together. If you don’t feel the goodness and beauty of God in your very bones, now is the time to seek it out.

From The A-Team Blog

Friday, August 21, 2009

Christian Pharisees

It took me an embarrassingly long time for grace to really start to "click" with me as a Christian. I languished for many years in functional (but not doctrinal) semi-Pelagianism: I trusted Jesus to save me back then, sure, when I accepted the Lord at 13, but today, right now, what keeps Christianity going inside me is me praying and really wanting the right things and repenting well and feeling the right feelings. It was only as God graciously allowed me to get to the end of my rope and despair of this approach that I actually started to throw myself onto grace, started to learn how not to focus on how well I was receiving grace and believing in it (which is another form of self-worship), but to look outward to the one giving it to me, who was faithful, who would not fail me.

I say this to show that I'm not at all intending to point the finger and condemn those people "over there." (Whenever I do that, I'm trying to distract attention from myself!) But it has been my observation--and I sure wish I had seen it earlier--that there are some very nice people who genuinely are Christians but who remain deeply unhealed, and who are functional Pharisees.

I spoke with a friend who helped me understand this phenomenon greatly. This friend explained that there are some Christians who really are Christians, but who feel so little of the grace and love of God for sinners, of his friendship and pursuit of and faithfulness to them, that they live constantly in an atmosphere of wrongness and anxiety and condemnation. (That describes way too many years of my Christian life too!) And the way they relieve that awful sense of condemnation is by off-loading it onto others: by putting others in the wrong, they can feel OK about themselves.

I had never taken Jesus' warning about the leaven of the Pharisees as seriously as I needed to: just a tiny bit of leaven warps and embitters a beautiful thing called Christianity into something ugly. And I had never taken as seriously as I should the warning about throwing pearls before swine. The sorts of condemnations which Christian Pharisees make are often so weird, and often made in total ignorance of their own sins, that it is extremely tempting to get into an argument and "rebut" the accusation. Of course there is a time to speak up for other Christians being attacked and to correct incorrect information. But if I start arguing with a Pharisee, I've already lost, because I'm already in their feverish world of accusation-and-acquital. And since Christian Pharisees see and hear potential accusations in everything, even very well meaning confrontation can spark even more furious attack from the other person. They can turn on you without even meaning to.

I share all this because it's been a bit of a revelation for me, and may be helpful for you.

From Scatterings

Sitting On Top of the World - Cream (2005 Reunion)

The Folly Of Worshiping Ronald McDonald


After offering up french fries to Ronald McDonald these worshipers left disillusioned that their prayers were not heard and their sacrifices were rejected. They have now put their faith in the Burger King.

Preaching Christ

“Faith is not built by preaching introspectively (constantly challenging people to question whether they have faith); faith is not built by preaching moralistically (which has exactly the opposite effect of focusing attention on the self rather than on Christ, in whom our faith is placed); faith is not built by joining the culture wars and taking potshots at what is wrong with our culture. Faith is built by careful, thorough exposition of the person, character, and work of Christ….

We feed on Christ himself, and we do so not by some physical eating of his body, but through faith in the Christ proclaimed in Word and sacrament. These four alternatives [moralism, how-to, introspection, and social gospel] have left much of the evangelical and Reformed church malnourished. People know what they ought to do, but they are dispirited and lethargic, without the vision, drive, or impetus to live with and for Christ. And the reason for this dispirited condition is that the pulpit is largely silent about Christ. He is mentioned only as an afterthought or appendage to a sermon; in many churches, he is never proclaimed as the central point of a sermon, and surely not on a regular, weekly basis.”

—T. David Gordon, Why Johnny Can’t Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers (P&R 2009) pp. 75—76, 88—89.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It Aint Over Yet!

Calvin On The Cross

John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers - With Eric Clapton -Little Girl

Justified By Faith

“If our churches are going to be renewed and become what God has called them to be, then individual members of the church must be taught to build their lives on the foundation of the truth that they are justified before God by faith, not on the basis of their own performance, but by claiming the righteousness of Christ as the only ground for acceptance. That means that they must see clearly the holiness of God, the depth of their sin, and the sufficiency of the atoning sacrifice of Christ. It is this doctrine of justification by faith through grace which must be embraced, not just at the beginning of the Christian life, but every day we live.”

- J. Stafford Carson in Justified in Christ: God’s Plan for us in Justification, edited by K. Scott Oliphint (Christian Focus: 2007), p. 191.

The Government Health Care Plan Would Make It Non-Optional for You to Give Money to Cover Elective Abortions

President Obama said on a conference call yesterday that it was "untrue," a "fabrication," that legislation backed by the White House would result in "government funding of abortion."

Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), responds:Emboldened by the recently demonstrated superficiality of some organs of the news media, President Obama today brazenly misrepresented the abortion-related component of the health care legislation that his congressional allies and staff have crafted. As amended by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 30 (the Capps-Waxman Amendment), the bill backed by the White House (H.R. 3200) explicitly authorizes the government plan to cover all elective abortions. Obama apparently seeks to hide behind a technical distinction between tax funds and government-collected premiums. But these are merely two types of public funds, collected and spent by government agencies. The Obama-backed legislation makes it explicitly clear that no citizen would be allowed to enroll in the government plan unless he or she is willing to give the federal agency an extra amount calculated to cover the cost of all elective abortions — this would not be optional. The abortionists would bill the federal government and would be paid by the federal government. These are public funds, and this is government funding of abortion.

In 2007 Obama explicitly pledged to Planned Parenthood that the public plan will cover abortions (see the video clip here). Some journalists have reported that Obama "backed off" of this commitment in an interview with Katie Couric of CBS News, broadcast July 21, but Obama actually carefully avoided stating his intentions — instead, he simply made an artful observation that "we also have a tradition of, in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government funded health care."

It is true that there is such a tradition — which Obama has always opposed, and which the Obama-backed bill would shatter.

On August 13, NRLC released a detailed memo explaining the provisions of the pending bills that would affect abortion policy, with citations to primary sources. Many of the "factcheck" articles that have appeared in the news media in recent weeks reflect, at best, unsophisticated understandings of the provisions they purport to be explaining, and also give evidence of a weak understanding of Obama's history on the policy issues involved.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Les Paul - Chasing Sound!

The Wizard of Waukesha that’s what they called Les Paul in Wisconsin, the man who invented the solid body electric guitar and multi-track recording. He died August 13th at 94. The man who made rock ‘n’ roll and much of today’s popular music possible could also play. Les Paul-Chasing Sound! is a feature-length documentary on an American legend. For more info check out www.lespaulfilm.com.


Booker T & the MG's - Green Onions - Live

Nike Theology

Francis Schaeffer on Purpose

"Man, made in the image of God, has a purpose - to be in relationship to God, who is there. Man forgets his purpose and thus he forgets who he is and what life means."

- Francis Schaeffer

Jesus Is Love, Is Loving, And Loves You

Octavius Winslow writes, “Are you wounded? Does your heart bleed? Is your soul cast down within you? Is your spirit within you desolate? Still Jesus is love, is loving, and loves you. He has suffered and died for you; and, were it necessary, He would suffer and die for you yet again. Whatever blessing He sees good to take from you, Himself He will never take. Whatever stream of creature love He sees fit to dry, His own love will never fail. Oh, can that love fail — can it cease to yearn, and sympathize, and soothe, and support, which brought Jesus from heaven to earth to endure and suffer all this for us? Be still, then, lie passive and low — drink the cup, and let the surrender of your sin, your obedience, and yourself to Him be as willing and as entire as was the surrender of Himself for you. Then shall you, in a blessed degree, be ‘able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, filled with all the fullness of God’” (Daily Walking with God).

The Marvel of the Cross

“…How amazing that God in Christ should do all this; that the Most High, the Most Holy should be the All Loving too; that the ineffable Majesty should stoop to take upon himself our flesh, subject to hunger and cold, death and desperation. We see him lying in the feedbox of a donkey, laboring in a carpenter’s shop, dying a derelict under the sins of the world. The gospel is not so much a miracle as a marvel, and every line is suffused with wonder.”

—Roland Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (Plume 1995), 63.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pastor Birthday Roast


Bob “Shecky” Gundersen, deacon at First Baptist Church, was the surprise hit of the Pastor Ted Franklin Birthday Roast.

So What - Miles Davis from His Classic Album Kind Of Blue

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue 50th Anniversary

The 50th Anniversary of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue is a very historic event. Legacy Recordings is releasing a Collector's Edition Box set on September 30 to celebrate this very important release. ...


Jonathan Edwards on Humility

If on the proposal of the question [Are you humble?], you answer, “No, it seems to me, none are so bad as I.” Don't let the matter pass off so; but examine again, whether or no you don't think yourself better than others on this very account, because you imagine you think so meanly of yourself. Haven't you a high opinion of this humility? And if you answer again, “No; I have not a high opinion of my humility; it seems to me I am as proud as the devil”; yet examine again, whether self-conceit don't rise up under this cover; whether on this very account, that you think yourself as proud as the devil, you don't think yourself to be very humble. (quoted from the online works of Jonathan Edwards)

C.S. Lewis on Self Love

Here is C.S. Lewis writing to his friend Arthur, amazingly within a year after his conversion:

During my afternoon “meditations,”—which I at least attempt quite regularly now—I have found out ludicrous and terrible things about my own character. Sitting by, watching the rising thoughts to break their necks as they pop up, one learns to know the sort of thoughts that do come.

And, will you believe it, one out of every three is the thought of self-admiration: when everything else fails, having had its neck broken, up comes the thought “what an admirable fellow I am to have broken their necks!” I catch myself posturing before the mirror, so to speak, all day long. I pretend I am carefully thinking out what to say to the next pupil (for his good, of course) and then suddenly realize I am really thinking how frightfully clever I'm going to be and how he will admire me...

And then when you force yourself to stop it, you admire yourself for doing that. It is like fighting the hydra... There seems to be no end to it. Depth under depths of self-love and self-admiration. (quoted in The Narnian by Alan Jacobs, 133)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tears of the Saints - Powerful Video on Missions

The Real Clunker

Eric Clapton: Groaning The Blues

Grace Or Moralism

Except that's not the right title for this. It's not this one or that one. It's grace or nothing; grace or death. What I mean is, I was thinking about a great video I saw recently which talked about how important young men are for churches, and how feckless and wandering most young men are--and it's true for me too. All too often I am self-absorbed and just interested in my own tiny circle of interests (even religious ones), easily self-pitying, passive, not going and tackling and making war on the challenges of the day. And the interviewer was rightly condemning this very pervasive tendency in American young men, and I was right there with him as I listened, condemning myself and all the other young male cowards with him.

But then I thought, What if I were a pastor and I had a 20-something male who was into video games and porn and not much else, and I started to pound him and tell him to get his act together, and become a noble and valorous warrior? (I say that last phrase without any irony whatsoever.) If I were to morally exhort him that way, two results are possible: (1) He would fail to change and improve. (2) He would succeed to change and improve. Both options lead to death.

If #1 happens, shame would be added to sin, and he probably would be inclined to hide from further contact with the church.

If #2 happens, he would turn into a Pharisee. Moral exhortation made outside of the larger controlling context of grace and the gospel, if heeded and acted upon by its audience, produces Pharisees. When that now-improved young man saw others struggling, he would have no compassion on them--he'd just say, 'Pull yourself up by your bootstraps like I did!' And if somehow he did succeed in changing outside of grace, it would involve some kind of self-violence in which he cut off some part of himself or did some kind of damage to himself. I've known some fundamentalists who were moral in a sense, but sort of inhuman, toward themselves and others.

Moral exhortation outside of the context of the gospel has very dangerous results, whether it succeeds or fails.

From Scatterings

Avoid Legalism by Believing that Only the Perfectly Righteous Get into Heaven

Lee Irons gets to the heart of the biblical way to combat legalism:
The way to avoid legalism is to believe that, as the Law teaches, only the perfectly righteous may be admitted into heaven. This counterintuitive premise accomplishes two things in a single blow: it crushes legalism and clarifies the meaning of grace.

First, it crushes legalism because legalism cannot get off the ground unless the standard has first been lowered. But if the Law requires perfect righteousness, clearly the half-baked, imperfect obedience promoted by legalism will not do.

Second, it clarifies the meaning of grace. Grace is that God provides and accepts the imputed righteousness of Christ, in place of our own inherent righteousness demanded by the Law, as the righteousness by which the unrighteous can attain heaven. Now that’s grace! The true Gospel, then, presupposes the Law as its antithetical counterpart. Otherwise grace is no longer grace."
From his paper, Countering Ten Arguments Against the Law-Gospel Paradigm.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Today is my 59th Birthday


A picture from today's birthday celebration. My oldest son Jeremy is on the left, my daughter Jessica and my youngest son Jeffrey on the right. We had a lot of fun today and ate some great food.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Eric Clapton - "Malted Milk" Fillmore West 1994

Which Program Should Be Cancelled?

Packer on Justification

“Martin Luther described the doctrine of justification by faith as articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesiae — the article of faith that decides whether the church is standing or falling. By this he meant that when this doctrine is understood, believed, and preached, as it was in New Testament times, the church stands in the grace of God and is alive; but where it is neglected, overlaid, or denied, as it was in medieval Catholicism, the church falls from grace and its life drains away, leaving it in a state of darkness and death. The reason why the Reformation happened, and Protestant churches came into being, was that Luther and his fellow Reformers believed that Papal Rome had apostatized from the gospel so completely in this respect that no faithful Christian could with a good conscience continue within her ranks.

Bread Without Flour

The motto of all true servants of God must be, “We preach Christ; and him crucified.” A sermon without Christ in it is like a loaf of bread without any flour in it. No Christ in your sermon, sir? Then go home, and never preach again until you have something worth preaching. [Exposition of Acts 13:13-49 published in 1904] C.H. Spurgeon

Maxine Waters (D) Slip of the Tongue Reveals True Intentions (Socialism for America)

The issue today is not just about health care, its about government control of the private sector. The Federal Government is the most inept incompetent corrupt out of control wasteful organization going. Why anyone would think that a government take over of anything is a good idea only shows the stupidity of the American public.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bonuses Break the Bank

In October last year, nine banks received a grand total of $125 billion in taxpayer money as part of the much publicised Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The aim of the payout being to aid in the banks' survival as they tried to ride out the pressures of the economic crisis.

Look At The Chart but watch yourself this could make you very mad.

Eric Clapton Someday After a While Live TV Recording

Your Just Beating The Air If You Leave Out Christ

Sooner by far would I go to a bare table, and eat from a wooden porringer something that would appease my appetite, than I would go to a well-spread table on which there was nothing to eat. Yes, it is Christ, Christ, Christ whom we have to preach; and if we leave him out, we leave out the very soul of the gospel. Christless sermons make merriment for hell. Christless preachers, Christless Sunday school teachers, Christless class leaders, Christless tract distributors—what are all these doing? They are simply setting the mill to grind without putting any grist into the hopper, all their labor is in vain. If you leave Jesus Christ out, you are simply beating the air, or going to war without any weapon with which you can smite the foe. [sermon: “Why the Gospel is Hidden” (2/11/1866)] C.H. Spurgeon

The New Mini Jobs Burger

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hubert Laws - Cymbaline

From his 1970 LP "Crying Song" the flautist Hubert Laws with "Cymbaline"

The Value Of Quickly Confessing Sin

“I feel when I have sinned an immediate reluctance to go to Christ. I am ashamed to go. I feel as if it would not do to go, as if it were making Christ the minister of sin, to go straight from the swine-trough to the best robe, and a thousand other excuses. But I am persuaded they are all lies direct from hell. John argues the opposite way—‘If any man sins, we have an advocate with the Father;’ … The holy sensitiveness of the soul that shrinks from the touch of sin, the acute susceptibility of the conscience at the slightest shade of guilt, will of necessity draw the spiritual mind frequently to the blood of Jesus. And herein lies the secret of a heavenly walk. Acquaint yourself with it, my reader, as the most precious secret of your life. He who lives in the habit of a prompt and minute acknowledgement of sin, with his eye reposing calmly, believingly, upon the crucified Redeemer, soars in spirit where the eagle’s pinion [wings] range not.”

Octavius Winslow, No Condemnation in Christ Jesus (Banner of Truth 1853/1991), pp. 79—80.

Spurgeon On Christless Preaching

I know one who said I was always on the old string, and he would come and hear me no more; but if I preached a sermon without Christ in it, he would come. Ah, he will never come while this tongue moves, for a sermon without Christ in it—a Christless sermon! A brook without water; a cloud without rain; a well which mocks the traveler; a tree twice dead, plucked up by the root; a sky without a sun; a night without a star. It were a realm of death—a place of mourning for angels and laughter for devils. O Christian, we must have Christ! Do see to it that every day when you wake you give a fresh savor of Christ upon you by contemplating his person. Live all the day, trying as much as lieth in you, to season your hearts with him, and then at night, lie down with him upon your tongue. [sermon: “A Bundle of Myrrh” (3/6/1864)]

More Winning Ideas

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kenny Burrell - Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You

Hating Sin

“Work in your hearts a hatred of sin… If a man had killed your friend, or father, or mother, how would you hate him! You would not endure the sight of him, but follow the law upon him. Send out the avenger of blood with a hue and cry after thy sin; bring it afore God’s judgment seat, arraign it, accuse it, spit on it, condemn it and thyself for it, have it to the cross, nail it there, if it cry I thirst, give it vinegar, stretch the body of sins upon his cross, stretch every vein of it, make the heart strings crack; and then when it hangs there, triumph over the dying of it, show it no pity, laugh at its destruction, say, Thou hast been a bloody sin to me and my husband, hang there and rot. And when thou art tempted to it [sin], and art very thirsty after the pleasure of it, say of that opportunity to enjoy it, It is the price of Christ’s blood, and pour it upon the ground. … Shall I live upon that which was Christ’s death? Shall I please myself in that which was his pain? Shall I be so dishonest, so unkind, as to enjoy the pleasure for which he endured the smart?”

—Thomas Goodwin (1600—1679), Christ the Mediator in The Works of Thomas Goodwin (RHB), 5:294.

The Fat Lady Sings

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Gospel Hammer

To a group of pastors in London, Tim Keller explained the inner workings of an old Coke machine in his Manhattan apartment building. After inserting the proper coinage, Keller explained, you must pound the side of the machine with your fist. After a couple of smacks the coins can be heard trickling down into the heart of the machine. A Coke falls into the bottom tray. Without beating the side of the machine, the coins don’t settle and the Coke will not fall.

Keller takes this metaphor into the pulpit. While preaching, he thinks of his audience as an assembly of Coke machines. His audience needs a little pound on the side of the head to get the truth of the gospel to sink into the heart and to produce spiritual fruit. He laughs when he says this, but the point is true.

Luther knew this centuries ago. He wrote,

“Here I must take counsel of the gospel. I must hearken to the gospel, which teacheth me, not what I ought to do, (for that is the proper office of the law), but what Jesus Christ the Son of God hath done for me: to wit, that He suffered and died to deliver me from sin and death. The gospel willeth me to receive this, and to believe it. And this is the truth of the gospel. It is also the principal article of all Christian doctrine, wherein the knowledge of all godliness consisteth. Most necessary it is, therefore, that we should know this article well, teach it unto others, and beat it into their heads continually.” *

I am thankful to God that I am surrounded by pastors, friends, and a wife who are skilled at swinging the gospel hammer. I’m always in need of it.

So who swings the gospel hammer in your life?

Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery - OGD (aka Road Song)

The Foolishness of the Cross and Church-Planting Strategies

At the moment, books are pouring off the presses telling us how to plan for success, how "vision" consists in clearly articulated "ministry goals," how the knowledge of detailed profiles of our communities constitutes the key to successful outreach. I am not for a moment suggesting that there is nothing to be learned from such studies. But after a while one may perhaps be excused for marveling how many churches were planted by Paul and Whitefield and Wesley and Stanway and Judson without enjoying these advantages. Of course all of us need to understand the people to whom we minister, and all of us can benefit from small doses of such literature. But massive doses sooner or later dilute the gospel. Ever so subtly, we start to think that success more critically depends on thoughtful sociological analysis than on the gospel; Barna becomes more important than the Bible. We depend on plans, programs, vision statements--but somewhere along the way we have succumbed to the temptation to displace the foolishness of the cross with the wisdom of strategic planning. Again, I insist, my position is not a thinly veiled plea for obscurantism, for seat-of-the-pants ministry that plans nothing. Rather, I fear that the cross, without ever being disowned, is constantly in danger of being dismissed from the central place it must enjoy, by relatively peripheral insights that take on far too much weight. Whenever the periphery is in danger of displacing the center, we are not far removed from idolatry. (p. 26)

From "The Cross And Christian Ministry" by D.A. Carson

Government Health Care A Real Clunker

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kenny Burrell - Saturday Night Blues

Chrysostom: Nothing You Can Do to Harm Me

When John Chrysostom (ca. 347-407) was brought before the empress Eudoxia, she threatened him with banishment if he insisted on his Christian independence as a preacher.

"You cannot banish me, for this world is my Father's house."

"But I will kill you," said the empress.

"No, you cannot, for my life is hid with Christ in God," said John.

"I will take away your treasures."

"No, you cannot, for my treasure is in heaven and my heart is there."

"But I will drive you away from your friends and you will have no one left."

"No, you cannot, for I have a Friend in heaven from whom you cannot separate me.

I defy you, for there is nothing you can do to harm me."

Vast Empty Space

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Willie Dixon - I'm Nervous

Cash For Clunkers Obama Care Edition

Kerygma

[kehr-ig’-muh]

(Greek kerygma, “that which is preached or proclaimed”)

A theological term used to describe the essential teaching or preaching of the New Testament writings, Apostles, and evangelists. C. H. Dodd believed that there were six essential components to the kerygma of the early church as evidenced in the book of Acts: 1) We are in the latter days of fulfillment. 2) This is evidenced by the life, ministry, and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 3) Jesus, the Messiah, has been raised and exalted at the right hand of God. 4) The Holy Spirit has been given to the church and is the representative of Christ’s present power and glory. 5) This age will consume itself when Christ returns as Judge and Savior. 6) Man must repent and receive forgiveness, the Holy Spirit, and salvation.

A Physician's View Of Health Care

This link points us to a physician's view of the government intrusion and our consequent loss of freedom under the health care takeover plan being considered. (Warning: gratuitous cat animation with rude gesture at end, sorry.)

Can Barbara Boxer Really Be This Stupid? Yes She Can!

Barbara Boxer Objects To Health Care Protesters' "Attire". What did she think was happening during 8 years of Bush bashing? Not only is she stupid but Chris Matthews is pathetic.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Health-Care Reform: A Better Plan by Charles Krauthammer

In 1986, Ronald Reagan and Bill Bradley created a legislative miracle. They fashioned a tax reform that stripped loopholes, political favors, payoffs, patronage and other corruptions out of the tax system. With the resulting savings, they lowered tax rates across the board. Those reductions, combined with the elimination of the enormous inefficiencies and perverse incentives that go into tax sheltering, helped propel a 20-year economic boom.

In overhauling any segment of our economy, the 1986 tax reform should be the model. Yet today's ruling Democrats propose to fix our extremely high-quality (but inefficient and therefore expensive) health-care system with 1,000 pages of additional curlicued complexity -- employer mandates, individual mandates, insurance company mandates, allocation formulas, political payoffs and myriad other conjured regulations and interventions -- with the promise that this massive concoction will lower costs.

This is all quite mad. It creates a Rube Goldberg system that simply multiplies the current inefficiencies and arbitrariness, thus producing staggering deficits with less choice and lower-quality care. That's why the administration can't sell Obamacare.

Read The rest

Pat Metheny - Don't Know Why

Bob Dylan The Bootleg Series 1-3 - Walkin' Down the Line

This is a demo Dylan made for his publishing company M. Witmark & Sons. Dylan's manager Albert Grossman first pushed him as a song writer of songs for other people to sing. This song was covered Jackie De Shannon, Glen Campbell, Odetta, and Ricky Nelson.


It's Justice Sotomayor Now

Friday, August 7, 2009

Great Error

"One of the greatest errors to be dreaded and watched and prayed against is that of excessive caution, under the guise of prudence, in anxiety to avoid giving offense to worldly people who never can be reconciled, by all you can do, to anything in the shape of a revival of religion."

William C. Burns (1815-1868), Scottish minister, missionary to China, writing in The Revival of Religion, page 350.

That Crazy Kim Part 2

Muddy Waters - Long Distance Call - Blues For A Friday

The great Muddy Waters performing his song "Long Distance Call". I think this was Muddy Waters last great band. This was around 1976/77 in Dortmund, Germany for television.

Calvin's Death-Bed Charge to Older and Younger Men

In Douglas Bond's The Betrayal: A Novel on John Calvin (P&R, 2009) he tells how John Calvin wisely charged older and younger men just one month prior to his death (p. 369):
April 27, 1564, Calvin called members of the City Council to his side. Extending an emaciated hand in blessing, his body a living cadaver, he blessed and exhorted them. I render here only a portion thereof. "You older ones be not jealous of the gifts which the younger generation has received, but be glad and praise the Lord who has given them.

"And you younger men, be humble and seek not to achieve greater things than you can do; for youth is seldom void of ambition and tends to despise the opinions of others."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Little Walter-Blues with a Feeling

The Greater Wealth

If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? Luke 16:11

"The 'true riches' obviously have nothing to do with money. To have spiritual power to overcome the awfulness of the post-Christian world -- that is true riches. The church is constantly saying, 'Where's our power? Where's our power?' Jesus' statement here gives us at least part of the answer. We must use money with a view to what counts in eternity. If a child cannot take his father's money, go to the store, purchase what is requested and return home with the change, it does not make sense for the father to increase his allowance. So since . . . the money we handle is not our own, if we do not bring it under the lordship of Christ, we will not be given the greater wealth of spiritual power."

Francis A. Schaeffer, "Ash heap lives," in No Little People, page 266.

That Crazy Kim

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

From The Weak Minded John Conyers

"I love these members, they get up and say, 'Read the bill.' What good is reading the bill if it's a thousand pages and you don't have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?"

U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., on expectations that lawmakers would read bills before voting on them.

All Your Love --- John Mayall's Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton

Creflo Dollar

How George Whitefield Studied The Bible

"There he is at five in the morning . . . . on his knees with his English Bible, his Greek New Testament and Henry's Commentary spread out before him. He reads a portion in the English, gains a fuller insight into it as he studies words and tenses in the Greek and then considers Matthew Henry's explanation of it all. Finally, there comes the unique practice that he has developed: that of 'praying over every line and word' of both the English and the Greek till the passage, in its essential message, has veritably become part of his own soul."

Arnold Dallimore, George Whitefield, I:82-83.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

House Oversight Committee warns White House to stop using intimidation tactics against members of Congress: "This isn't Chicago"

From the House Oversight Committee:

Following reports that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has been orchestrating an effort to intimidate members of Congress and Governors who raise legitimate concerns regarding the effectiveness of the stimulus, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a letter to Emanuel saying “While this type of scare tactic may work In Chicago, it will not work to intimidate me or other Members of the United States Congress.”

“I and others have dared to bring these facts to the attention of President Obama, the Congress and the American people,” Issa wrote. “You’ve unfortunately reacted by once again resorting to the playbook of the Chicago political machine.”

Last month, Politico reported that Emanuel had “launched a coordinated effort to jam” Senator Kyl and other Administration critics… “Angelfter seeing Kyl and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) again paint the legislation as a failure on Sunday talk shows, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel directed that the letters from the Cabinet secretaries be sent to [Governor] Brewer, according to two administration officials.”

Issa noted, “The fact that the letters were coordinated by you to maximize the level of intimidation is supported by the timing, structure, and content of each letter. Not only were the four letters all sent the day following Senator Kyl’s remarks, but they were also remarkably similar in tone and sentence structure.”

Letter from Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation:

On Sunday, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl publicly questioned whether the stimulus is working and stated that he wants to cancel projects that aren’t presently underway. I believe the stimulus has been very effective in creating job opportunities throughout the country. However, if you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to your state, as Senator Kyl suggests, please let me know [emphasis added].

Letter from Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior:

Some key Republican leaders in Congress have publicly questioned whether the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is working and suggested cancelling all projects that are not currently in progress. I believe they are wrong. The stimulus funds provided through the Recovery Act are a very effective way to create job opportunities throughout the Country. However, if you prefer to forfeit the money we are making available to Arizona, please let me know [emphasis added].

“At what point do you believe your practice of Chicago-style politics violates a public official’s right to speak out in favor of alternative policies,” Issa asks. “The American people have a right to know what role you played in developing the threatening letters to Governor Brewer and whether you intend to continue to engage in these tactics in the future.”

In order to assist the Committee with its investigation of this issue, please provide the following information by close of business on Tuesday, August 11, 2009:

  1. Your response to Politico’s report that “White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel directed that the letters from the Cabinet secretaries be sent to [Governor] Brewer, according to two administration officials.”
  2. A full and complete explanation of the development of the four July 13 letters from the cabinet secretaries to Governor Brewer, including but not limited to the role you or any other White House official played in writing the letters or encouraging the writing of the letters.
  3. All records and communications between you and Secretary LaHood, Secretary Salazar, Secretary Donovan, and Secretary Vilsack referring or relating to the decision to send the July 13 letters to Governor Brewer.
  4. A full and complete explanation of the role of the Democratic National Committee and the White House Office of Political Affairs in authoring, encouraging, facilitating, or directing the four July 13 letters from the cabinet secretaries to Governor Brewer.


You can view a copy of the full letter to Emanuel by clicking here.