Saturday, July 31, 2010

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Tightrope

Something Stinks

The strange individualizing power of faith

“Acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ, as He is offered to us in the gospel of His redeeming work, is saving faith. Despairing of any salvation to be obtained by our own efforts, we simply trust in Him to save us; we say no longer, as we contemplate the Cross, merely ‘He saved others’ or ‘He saved the world’ or ‘He saved the Church’; but we say, every one of us, by the strange individualizing power of faith, ‘He loved me and gave Himself for me.’
When a man once says that, in his heart and not merely with his lips, then no matter what his guilt may be, no matter how far he is beyond any human pale, not matter how little opportunity he has for making good the evil that he has done, he is a ransomed soul, a child of God forever.”
—J. Gresham Machen, What Is Faith? (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1991), 154
Of First Importance

Friday, July 30, 2010

I Done Got Over It - Johnny Winter & James Cotton

The Greatest Person Ever Born

Christ’s incarnation was a greater and more wonderful thing than ever had yet come to pass. The creation of the world was a very great thing, but not so great as the incarnation of Christ. It was a great thing for God to make the creature, but not so great as for the Creator himself to become a creature. We have spoken of many great things that were accomplished between the fall of man and the incarnation of Christ: but God becoming man was greater than all. Then the greatest person was born that ever was or ever will be.
A History of the Work of Redemption, Jonathan Edwards

Muddy Waters - Trouble No More

More Bad News is On the Way

C.S. Lewis: Atheism is Too Simple

Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist - in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless - I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality - namely my idea of justice - was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning; just as if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pg. 39

All Things Are Yours (1 Cor 3:21)

The whole universe, bodies and spirits, earth and heaven, angels, men and devils, sun, moon and stars, land and sea, fish and fowls, all the silver and gold, kings and potentates as well as mean men--are as much the Christian's as the money in his pocket, the clothes he wears, the house he dwells in, or the victuals he eats; yea . . . properly his, advantageously his . . . by virtue of the union with Christ; because Christ, who certainly does possess all things, is entirely his: so that he possesses it all, more than a wife the share of the best and dearest husband, more than the hand possesses what the head does; it is all his. . . .

Every atom in the universe is managed by Christ so as to be most to the advantage of the Christian, every particle of air or every ray of the sun; so that he in the other world, when he comes to see it, shall sit and enjoy all this vast inheritance with surprising, amazing joy.
--Jonathan Edwards, miscellany ff, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Yale ed.), 13:183
Dane Ortlund

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cyndi Lauper & Jonny Lang - Crossroads

From Cyndi's new CD Memphis Blues. Jonny Lang on Guitar and Vocals, nice version of this classic blues song.

Far Nearer to Hell

Finally, though I have had to speak at some length about sex, I want to make it as clear as I possibly can that the center of Christian morality is not here. If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchasity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronizing and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be a far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But of course, it is better to be neither.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book 3 Chapter 5 Sexual Morality, pg 102-103

Unethical

The Five Dimensions of a Great Story (like The Lord of the Rings)

From Peter Kreeft’s The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind The Lord of the Rings:
Every story, long or short, has five dimensions.
They are usually called its
(1) plot,
(2) characters,
(3) setting,
(4) style, and
(5) theme.
We could call them, respectively, the story’s
(1) work,
(2) workers,
(3) world,
(4) words, and
(5) wisdom.
Professor Kreeft asks which dimension has made The Lord of the Rings such a great story. His answer:
All five. To be great, a work of art must be great in not just one dimension but all, just as a healthy body needs to be healthy in all its organs, a healthy soul in all its powers (mind, will, and emotions), and a morally good act in all its dimensions (the deed, the motive, and the circumstances).
Kreeft’s book is about the fifth dimension, wisdom—or philosophy.
Philosophy and literature belong together. They can work like the two lenses of a pair of binoculars. Philosophy argues abstractly. Literature argues too—it persuades, it changes the reader—but concretely. Philosophy says truth, literature shows truth.
For those who might be interested in hearing Professor Kreeft lecture on some themes from the book, see:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Stevie Ray Vaughan lives on with Legacy

As band mates and best friends, Tommy Shannon and Stevie Ray Vaughan went on the road, roomed together and kicked drugs together, all while reinventing Texas blues as two-thirds of the group Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble.
Nearly 20 years after Vaughan's death in a helicopter crash on Aug. 27, 1990, he is being celebrated with today's release of the band's remastered and expanded second album, Couldn't Stand the Weather: Legacy Edition (Epic/Legacy).
Shannon, the band's bassist, recalled the genius of the legendary blues guitarist.
"The music took us, as much as us taking the music forward," he said from his Austin home. "It came natural."
Double Trouble, which included drummer Chris Layton, was an incredibly tight trio.
"We were really passionate about the music," Shannon said. "We were kind of like family."
The band played an aggressive, rocked-out vision of the blues. Shannon, now 63, called it a "no excuses" style of making music.
The two-CD Legacy Edition includes a photo booklet, liner notes and an unreleased live concert from August 1984, recorded at the Spectrum in Montreal.
In life, Vaughan was a quiet, humble man. In death, the blues prodigy (Vaughan created buzz as a teenager with Paul Ray & the Cobras) became one of the most imitated of rock gods.
He'd be honored by all the attention, Shannon said. But he'd also have a message for young guitarists: "He'd probably tell the guitar players to develop their own style."
Shannon first played with Vaughan, then 15, in the bands Blackbird and Krackerjack.
Years later, while on the road, they listened to old blues and George Jones. "Stevie and I loved George Jones," he recalled. "Sometimes, after a show, we'd get on the bus and put on George Jones and just listen. We were open to other kinds of music."
Shannon recounted Vaughan's obsession with Jimi Hendrix. Couldn't Stand the Weather includes studio and live versions of Hendrix's Voodoo Child (Slight Return) and Little Wing.
"Hendrix is still the best rock-blues guitar player that ever lived," Shannon says. "It's almost like he came from outer space. Stevie was really drawn to his music, and he learned a lot from Hendrix. Hendrix was light-years ahead of everybody."
Vaughan nailed him.
"People that can't play Hendrix shouldn't try it. It's almost like a sacred thing. If you're going to do a Hendrix song and do it bad, you shouldn't be playing it."
The band struggled on the bar scene for a long time. "A lot of labels wouldn't sign us because they didn't think blues would sell. It was (producer) John Hammond (who believed)."
Originally issued in May 1984, Couldn't Stand the Weather was the group's first album to be certified gold and the first to go platinum.
Despite their success, Shannon and Vaughan eventually "hit rock bottom real hard." Both were addicted to cocaine and booze for years.
"We both got clean and sober on the same day: Oct. 13, 1986," he says. "It was just a choice, did we want to live or die? If we'd gone on another six months, we would have died."
Shannon speaks with pride about helping to create the sound that is the rockin' Texas blues.
"We just approached blues like we did rock 'n' roll, and it became power blues. We came out with Texas Flood just blarin,' aggressive, just tearin' people's heads off. Had Stevie lived, I can't imagine how much better we would have gotten," said Shannon, who considers In Step (1989), the band's best album.
"We were clean and sober then."
Stevie Ray Vaughan would have turned 56 this October.
Their last conversation (after that final gig with Eric Clapton and Robert Cray at Alpine Valley in East Roy, Wis.) was a trifle.
Vaughan was in the dressing room sewing a commemorative patch onto a jacket.
"I said, 'I'll see you back at the room.' He said, 'OK, I'll call you.' And that was it."                                     By HECTOR SALDAƑA MUSIC WRITER

The Propaganda War

The Negation of Christianity

Parents, feeling that their children lack any spiritual axis to their lives, try to impose upon them what is left of the old external morality, so that they are torn between their desire for liberty and the formalism from which they are unable to escape. That is why there are so many neurotics in strict families, among the children of pastors, and where social conformity rates high. This must be clearly and frankly recognized. The majority of our 'cases of nerves' reveal the pathogenic role played by a formalistic upbringing. In liberating such people we are hard put to destroy the conventionalism with which they are still so strongly imbued despite all their rebellion against it.

But formalism is not Christianity. One might even say that it is essentially the negation of it. It was what crucified Christ.
--Paul Tournier, The Healing of Persons, 42
Dane Ortlund

Cyndi Lauper - Just Your Fool (feat. Charlie Musselwhite) (Live) HQ

Cyndi Lauper perfoming her new single "I'm Just Your Fool" live on The Celebrity Apprentice. From the album Memphis Blues to be released on June 22, 2010. I was plesantly surprised by this CD.It features Charlie Musselwhite, Allen Toussaint, B.B.King, and Jonny Lang. The music is great and who would have guessed Cyndi Lauper could sing the blues.

The First Things First Principle

C.S. Lewis:
The woman who makes a dog the centre of her life loses, in the end, not only her human usefulness and dignity but even the proper pleasure of dog-keeping.
The man who makes alcohol his chief good loses not only his job but his palate and all power of enjoying the earlier (and only pleasurable) levels of intoxication.
It is a glorious thing to feel for a moment or two that the whole meaning of the universe is summed up in one woman—glorious so long as other duties and pleasures keep tearing you away from her. But clear the decks and so arrange your life (it is sometimes feasible) that you will have nothing to do but contemplate her, and what happens?
Of course this law has been discovered before, but it will stand re-discovery. It may be stated as follows: every preference of a small good to a great, or partial good to a total good, involves the loss of the small or partial good for which the sacrifice is made.
. . . You can’t get second things by putting them first. You get second things only by putting first things first.
—C.S. Lewis, “First and Second Things,” in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (Eerdmans, 1994), p. 280.
{HT: Joel Willitts}
This, of course, is reminiscent of Lewis’s comment in a letter to Dom Bede Griffiths (April 23, 1951):
“Put first things first and we get second things thrown in: put second things first and we lose both first and second things. We never get, say, even the sensual pleasure of food at its best when we are being greedy.”

What Grace Will Do to You

Paul Tripp has a good post here on the “nowism” of the gospel.
Jason could explain to you what it meant to say that he had been “saved by grace,” and he knew that he was going to spend eternity with his Savior. His problem was in the here and now. Day after day, in situation after situation and relationship after relationship, Jason didn’t carry with him a vibrant and practical sense of the nowism of the grace of Jesus Christ. Yes, Jason believed in life after death, but he desperately needed to understand life before death; the kind of radical life you will live when you understand what Christ has given you for the life he has called you to right here, right now.
He explains four aspects of the “nowism” of the gospel and what grace will do to you:
  1. Grace will decimate what you think of you, while it gives you a security of identity you’ve never had.
  2. Grace will expose your deepest sins of heart, while it covers every failure with the blood of Jesus.
  3. Grace will make you face how weak you are, while it blesses you with power beyond you ability to calculate.
  4. Grace will take control out of your hands, while it blesses you with the care of One who plan is unshakable and perfect in every way.
Read the whole post to see these unpacked.
Justin Taylor

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Interview -The 'Low'-Down on Robert Duvall


The veteran actor discusses his new film Get Low, a folk tale about an eccentric recluse—and gets a little feisty about The Apostle. In the interview Duvall was asked, "Why do you think Hollywood has a tendency to mock Christians and preachers?" Duvall said, "Well its not just Christians. I mean, I'm a Christian. But they mock the interior of the United States of America, the heartland. they don't go out of their way to understand what's really there."
He also explains what his new movie is about and it sounds like a good movie. To read the interview go here:
Christianity Today

Christ is Our Holiness

From Herman Bavinck‘s Reformed Dogmatics (4:248),
To understand the benefit of sanctification correctly, we must proceed from the idea that Christ is our holiness in the same sense in which he is our righteousness. He is a complete and all-sufficient Savior. He does not accomplish his work halfway but saves us really and completely. He does not rest until, after pronouncing his acquittal in our conscience, he has also imparted full holiness and glory to us. By his righteousness, accordingly, he does not just restore us to the state of the just who will go scot-free in the judgment of God, in order then to leave us to ourselves to reform ourselves after God’s image and to merit eternal life. But Christ has accomplished everything. He bore for us the guilt and punishment of sin, placed himself under the law to secure eternal life for us, and then arose from the grave to communicate himself to us in all his fullness for both our righteousness and sanctification (1 Cor. 1:30). The holiness that must completely become ours therefore fully awaits us in Christ.
Miscellanies

Empty Promises

When Should You Confront Someone About Their Sin? by John Piper

When you see sin or damaging behavior in someone else's life, how do you know when to keep quiet and when to speak with them?
The first principle that Paul lays down for us is, "Who are we to judge those who are outside? It is those in the church that we are to judge." So the first answer is, I'm watching sinful destructive behavior all day in the world. Television, movies, YouTube, on the street, in advertising, people are destroying themselves all day long—neighbors and people all around us.
You don't go to everybody. You are not called to spend 18 hours a day walking up to people saying, "Don't smoke!" or, "Don't drink!" or, "Don't swear!" or, "Don't hit your wife!" or, "Don't fail to discipline your children!"
That's not our job. We preach the gospel to the world, and as occasion arises we might link some destructive behavior to the gospel as a way out.
In the church the question becomes more urgent. In the church, the answer to the question is going to hang on criteria like, how serious is the sin? If it is really serious, immediately urgent, and you know that the person is a part of the church—even if you don't know them personally—you might go and do Galatians 6:2. "If you find a brother taken in a fault, restore such a one in a spirit of meekness lest you too be tempted."
So the mindset is, I've got a log hanging out of my eye. Now compared to a log, this person's behavior is a speck. Or even if it is a log, I've got my own log. I can't go to him with a log hanging out of my eye because the log will hit him on the head and do more damage than if I took my log out first.
So my first job is to take out my own log. Then I see clearly, Jesus says, to take the speck out of my brother's eye. So I've become a successful eye surgeon of the sin speck in my brother's eye by getting the log out of my own eye.
So the criteria is, how serious is the sin, and am I spiritually equipped. And you go in there and try to speak in a way that wouldn't feel condemning—at least at first. You may have to get tough later, but at first you want to win them. You want to create a bubble of grace in which they feel some hope that even though this is sin, they are loved and accepted.
Another criterion would be, how close is your relationship? Are there other people in this person's life? If I saw somebody in your small group doing something, and you are the leader of that little group, I might ask you, "Are you concerned about this kind of thing? You might watch out for it in your group." Because I would rather have someone they know pursue them this way than somebody that has less of a relationship with them.
My final answer would be, have spiritual discernment and spiritual wisdom for the moment about whether this is an auspicious helpful time to talk, or whether another angle would be better.
To see video desiring God blog

Mark Knopfler & Eric Clapton - Same Old Blues (Music for Montserrat -97)

Real Forgiveness

Clive Staples on one way we can learn to forgive others and shed the inveterate self-justifications that flood our hearts when we ourselves fail and need forgiveness--
[One must] really and truly believe in the forgiveness of sins. A great deal of our anxiety to make excuses comes from not really believing in it, from thinking that God will not take us to Himself again unless He is satisfied that some sort of case can me made out in our favor. But that would not be forgiveness at all.

Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness, and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it. That, and only that, is forgiveness, and that we can always have from God if we ask for it.
--C. S. Lewis, 'Forgiveness,' in The Weight of Glory, 134-35
Dane Ortlund

Monday, July 26, 2010

We The Serfs by John Lilly

The Constitution of the United States of America under President Barak Obama is being transformed from a nation of "We the People" to "We the Serfs." If we look at the flow of rights from a historical perspective, it would look something like a pyramid, with the king at the top and the serfs at the bottom.


 All of the rights came from God. God delivered all of the rights and property into the hands of the king.  The king was the owner of all of the land in his realm. Based on their loyalty and prowess in battle, the nobility would earn from the king titles and lands. The serfs worked the land for the nobility, and the nobility let the serfs keep a portion of what they produced for themselves. The remainder was paid to the nobility in tribute. The nobility then passed part of the production of the serfs back to the king. Rights flowed from the king to the nobility and then down to the serfs, who have virtually no rights and certainly no property.
The founding fathers knew that rights flowed from God to individuals, not the king. These are natural rights. The founders inverted the pyramid to look like the following.



The founding fathers looked to the writings of John Locke and others. Locke's Second Treatise of Government, Concerning the True Original Extent and End of Civil Government, states:
The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions: for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent, and infinitely wise maker[.]
This foreshadows the most famous line in the Declaration of Independence.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.


To secure these rights, individuals formed larger groups to protect these rights. The collection of individuals became towns, then states, and ultimately a nation. The founding fathers designed a Constitution in which the individual is supreme. 


Modern-day progressives, now known as liberals, have come to dominate the current Democratic Party. President Obama seeks to flip the pyramid back to the historical perspective.


Under this administration, we have seen government takeover of large companies, the implementation of a pay czar to determine compensation in private companies, a health care insurance mandate where you will be forced to purchase insurance or have the IRS withholding your refund or garnishing your wages, cap-and-trade legislation, and the EPA regulation of carbon, which will determine where we can set our thermostats in our own homes. The Obama administration has managed to move us back in time to the medieval days, where the king reigned supreme, and the fruits of the serfs' (taxpayers, producers in society, the middle class, entrepreneurs, etc.) labor belong to the government, who determine how much we shall keep.


Frederick Bastiat wrote The Law in 1850 at the time of the French Revolution. His deductions are as relevant today as they were at that time. Our life -- physical, intellectual, and moral life -- is a gift from God. Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor. Every day I work, a day of my life is used up, never to return. The compensation that I am paid in exchange for that day's labor is equivalent to that piece of my life that is now gone. If I have a right to life, then I have a right to that compensation which I have exchanged for a portion of my life. This process is the origin of property. But man may also live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the product of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder. Since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain, it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. 


The proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this tendency to plunder instead of work. The law should protect property and punish plunder. The law, whether made by one man or one group of men, operates with the sanction and support of a dominating force, and this force must be entrusted to those who make the laws. Legal plunder occurs when the law takes from one person and gives to another. The law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. If such a law is not abolished, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system. 


As Frederick Bastiat noted in The Law,
But it is upon the law that socialism itself relies. Socialists desire to practice legal plunder, not illegal plunder. Socialists, like all other monopolists, desire to make the law their own weapon. And when once the law is on the side of socialism, how can it be used against socialism? For when plunder is abetted by the law, it does not fear your courts, your gendarmes, and your prisons. Rather, it may call upon them for help.


When law and force keep a person within the bounds of justice, they impose nothing but a mere negation. They oblige him only to abstain from harming others. They do not violate his life, his liberty, or his property. They safeguard all of these. They are defensive; they defend equally the rights of all. The Constitution lists negative rights.


But when the law imposes upon men a requirement to work, then the law is no longer negative; it acts positively upon people. It substitutes the will of the legislator for the individual's own will. When this happens, the people lose their life, their liberty, and their property.


The government does not get any money for the benefit of one group unless another group has been forced to give it to the government. The law can be an instrument of equalization only as it takes from some persons and gives to other persons. When the law does this, it is an instrument of plunder. With this in mind, consider the protective tariffs, subsidies, guaranteed profits, guaranteed jobs, relief and welfare schemes, public education, progressive taxation, free credit, and public works. You will find that they are always based on legal plunder, organized injustice. This is what President Obama calls positive rights that he finds in the Constitution.
It seems that Frederick Bastiat had the modern-day liberals pegged 160 years ago.
John Lilly, MBA, D.O. is a family physician and president of The Y.O.U.N.G. Conservatives of America and can be reached at drjohnlilly.com or tycoa.com. Contribution by Colin McCord.

Howlin Wolf - Dust My Broom

Going Nowhere Fast

I Can Only Be Healed From Above

The more I reflect on the elder son in me, the more I realize how deeply rooted this form of lostness really is and how hard it is to return home from there. Returning home from a lustful escapade seems so much easier than returning home from a cold anger that has rooted itself in the deepest corners of my being. My resentment is not something that can be easily distinguished and dealt with rationally.

It is far more pernicious: something that has attached itself to the underside of my virtue. Isn't it good to be obedient, dutiful, law-abiding, hardworking, and self-sacrificing? And still it seems that my resentments and complaints are mysteriously tied to such praiseworthy attitudes. . . . Just when I do my utmost to accomplish a task well, I find myself questioning why others do not give themselves as I do. Just when I think I am capable of overcoming my temptations, I feel envy toward those who gave in to theirs. It seems that wherever my virtuous self is, there is the resentful complainer.

Here, I am faced with my own true poverty. I am totally unable to root out my resentments. They are so deeply anchored in the soil of my inner self that pulling them out seems like self-destruction. How to weed out these resentments without uprooting the virtues as well?

. . . I can only be healed from above.
--Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming (Doubleday 1994), 75-76
Dane Ortlund

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Otis Spann - Jangleboogie

Jerry Bridges: "God doesn’t just call us to freedom, he actually exhorts us to stand firm in our freedom."

“Paul’s call to stand firm in our freedom in Christ and not let ourselves be burdened by a yoke of slavery is just as valid today with our rules as it was in the Galatians’ day with the Mosaic law… God gave us our spiritual Magna Charta.  Through Paul, He called us to be free: “You, my brothers, were called to be free.” In fact, God doesn’t just call us to freedom, he actually exhorts us to stand firm in our freedom – to resist all efforts to abridge or destroy it.
“Despite God’s call to be free and His earnest admonition to resist all efforts to curtail it, there is very little emphasis in Christian circles today on the importance of Christian freedom. Just the opposite seems to be true. Instead of promoting freedom, we stress our rules of conformity. Instead of preaching living by grace, we preach living by performance. Instead of encouraging new believers to be conformed to Christ, we subtly insist that they be conformed to our particular style of Christian culture. Yet, that’s the bottom line effect of most of our emphases in Christian circles today.
“For example, many people would react negatively to my quoting only part of Galatians 5:12, “You, my brothers, were called to be free.” Despite the fact that this statement is a complete sentence, they would say, “But that’s not all of the verse. Go on to quote the remainder: ‘But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.’”…
“The person who reacts this way has made my point. We are much more concerned about someone abusing his freedom than we are about his guarding it. We are more afraid of indulging the sinful nature than we are of falling into legalism. Yet legalism does indulge the sinful nature because it fosters self-righteousness and religious pride. It also diverts us from the real issues of the Christian life by focusing on external and sometimes trivial rules.” – Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace, pp. 121-122

The secret of gospel change

“The secret of gospel change is being convinced that Jesus is the good life and the fountain of all joy. Any alternative we might choose would be the letdown.”
- Tim Chester, You Can Change (Wheaton, Ill.; Crossway, 2010), 15.
Of First Importance

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Interview: Blues singer Jonny Lang queues up for Que Fest by Andy Odom

— Every decade has its wunderkind pop stars. For some reason, consumers cannot resist giving money over to children who sing and dance in public, and the entertainment industry can’t resist from taking that money. They’re usually short-lived fads, burning out long before they fade away (Billy Gilman), but occasionally they actually have talent (Little Stevie Wonder).
In the 1990s, two things happened that helped this phenomenon: Stevie Ray Vaughn died, leaving a vacancy for a young blues guitar-slinger; and Kurt Cobain died, making it OK for the record industry exploit people again. Out of this came Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jonny Lang, two incredibly young blues personalities that arrived at the same time, like two awkwardly similar Hollywood blockbusters that are released during the same summer. Both youngsters were known for their electrifying guitar work, but Lang was especially noted for his voice that was not just beyond his years, but beyond his century – deep throated, forceful, knowing, and only 16 at the time.
Many artists reach a point in their careers where they want to try something new; to break free from a label that’s been placed on them and explore their artistry on a larger scale. Given Lang's early start, one couldn’t blame him for wanting to branch out.
Jonny Lang and his band
jonnylang.com
Jonny Lang and his band
“It’s a journey,” Lang told me recently. “I’m still trying to find my style.” This is understandable for someone who says his influences are as varied as James Taylor and, appropriately enough, Stevie Wonder. Lang's journey has seen his style slightly shift over five albums, from soulful blues to a gritty gospel sound. His most recent studio album, Turn Around, won the Grammy for Best Gospel Album in 2006, an honor that Lang did not expect. “It was a surprise to me because I wasn’t going for that,” Lang confessed. “I just considered it to be my next album, and it just happened to be where I was in my life at that moment.”
Lang’s current tour is in support of his recent Live at the Ryman album, a concert he calls “intimidating” – mainly for having to hold court in “Music City U.S.A.” in front of any number of possible luminaries in attendance. The tour should be less stressful, as it puts the audience in charge of creating Lang’s set-list every night. “My booking agent ... came up with the idea to have people write into the website and request what they want to hear,” Lang said. “It’s been really cool. It’s something different for the fans to be able to do.” And does it keep things from getting stale? “Yeah, definitely. We try to mix it up on our own sometimes too, but this helps,” he said.
In the meantime, Lang continues his musical journey as he works on a new album, which is still in its early stages. “I’m still trying to figure out which way this one’s going to go, you know?” he said.
The pitfalls of an open-ended musical quest aren’t lost on Lang. He knows the old adage about being a “Jack of all trades but master of none” is a double-edged sword – and exploration invites distractions. But enrichment comes through, and the journey itself can be more important than ever arriving.
So how will Lang know when he has arrived? “Maybe I never will.”
Pegasusnews

Cold Feeling Blues - Otis Spann and Muddy Waters Band

Congress- Morons in Controll

Why Talk about the “Heart” When the Bible Says It’s Unknowable?

Question 8 of 15 from the Q&A in David Powlison’s essay, “I Am Motivated When I Feel Desire,” Seeing With New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture.
8. Is it even right to talk about the heart, since the Bible teaches that the heart is unknowable to anyone but God? (1 Sam. 16:7; Jer. 17:9)
No one but God can see, explain, control, or change another person’s heart and its choices. There is no underlying reason why a person serves a particular lust rather than God; sin is irrational and insane. And there is no therapeutic technique that can change hearts. But the Bible teaches us that we can describe what rules the heart and speak the truth that convicts and liberates. Effective biblical ministry probes and addresses why people do things, as well as what they do. Jesus’ ministry continually exposed and challenged what people lived for, offering himself as the only worthy ruler of the heart.
For example, 1 Samuel 16:7 says that man judges by externals while God judges the heart. Yet a few verses earlier, we are told that Saul visibly disobeyed God for a reason: he feared the people and listened to their voice, instead of fearing God and listening to him (see 1 Sam. 15:24). His motives are describable, even if inexplicable. There is no deeper cause for sin than sin. Jeremiah 17:9 says that the human heart is deceitful and incomprehensible to any but God, but the same passage describes how behavior reveals that people trust in idols, themselves, and others, instead of trusting in God (see Jer. 17:1-8). Scripture is frank to tell us the causes of behavior: interpersonal conflicts, for example, arise because of lusts (see James 4:1-2). If anger and conflict come from a lust, the next and obvious question is, “What do you want that now rules you?”
To search out motives demands no subtle psychotherapeutic technique. People can tell us what they want. The Israelites grumbled—a capital crime—when they had to subsist on boring food. Why? They craved flavor: fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic (see Num. 11:5). Later they grumbled when they got thirsty and no oasis appeared. Why? They craved juicy foods, or foods that demanded irrigation: grain, figs, vines, pomegranates, and water (see Num. 20:5). In each case the craving reflected their apostasy from God and expressed itself in visible, audible sins. When we see the God-substitutes that claim our affections, then we see how good and necessary the grace of Jesus is in subduing hijackers and retaking the controls.

Why Justification Is Not a Legal Fiction

“[God] reckons righteousness to them, not because he accounts them to have kept his law personally (which would be a false judgment), but because he accounts them to be united to one who kept it representatively (and that is a true judgment)”
—J. I. Packer, “Justification,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter A. Elwell [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1984], p. 596.
Justin Taylor

Friday, July 23, 2010

Luther Johnson and the Muddy Waters Blues Band Chicken Shack



Luther "Snake Boy" Johnson:Guitar, Muddy Waters:Guitar, Sammy Lawhorn:Guitar
George "Mojo" Buford:Harmonica, Otis Spann:Piano, Francis Clay:Drums
Recorded at Impact Sound Studio New York City, N.Y. September, 1967
Originally issued on the 1969 album "Luther Johnson & Muddy Waters Blues Band:Chicken Shack" (Douglas 701) (LP)

How Do I Know If a Desire Is Inordinate Rather than Natural?

Question 7 of 15 from the Q&A in David Powlison’s essay, “I Am Motivated When I Feel Desire,” Seeing With New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture.

7. How can you tell if a desire is inordinate rather than natural?

By their fruits you know them. Human motivation is not a theoretical mystery; there is no need to engage in introspective archaeological digs. Evil desires produce bad fruits that can be seen, heard, and felt (James 1:15; 3:16). For example, a father who wants his child to grow up to become a Christian reveals the status of that desire by whether he is a good father or a manipulative, fearful, angry, suspicious father. In a good father, the desire is subordinate to God’s will that he love his child. In a sinful father, the desire rules and produces moral and emotional chaos. Similarly, a wife who wants to be loved reveals the status of that desire by whether or not she loves and respects her husband. Visibile fruit reveals whether God rules or lust rules.

It is a serious mistake to engage in introspective “idol hunts,” attempting to dig out and weigh every kink in the human soul. The Bible calls for a more straightforward form of self-examination: an outburst of anger invites reflection on what craving ruled the heart that our repentance might be intelligent. The Bible’s purposes are “extrospective,” not introspective: to move toward God in repentant faith (James 4:6-10) and then to move toward the one wronged by anger, making peace in repentance, humility, and love.
Justin Taylor

Johnny Littlejohn - What In The World You Goin' To Do



John Littlejohn Funchess was born on April 16, 1931 in either Lake or Learned, MS. depending on the source. He learned how to play guitar from a man by the name of Henry Martin, a friend of his father. Littlejohn left home at the age of fifteen in 1946. He traveled far and wide playing in Jackson, MS., Arkansas, Rochester, NY. and Gary, IN. where he finally settled in 1951 so he could play in Chicago. Littlejohn didn't record until 1968. He cut a handful of 45 RPM's released on small Chicago labels such as Margaret, Terrell, T-D-S, and Weis. His first full length album was released on Arhoolie, in late 1968. Four sides for Chess the following year were not issued at the time but have sinced been issued on a double-LP compilation on that label. (title unknown). He wouldn't record another album until 1985 when "So-Called Friends" was released on Rooster Blues. John Littlejohn fell into bad health soon after recording this album, and passed away in Chicago, IL. on February 2, 1994. In 1995 the Denmark-based Storyville Records label released "Dream" that was recorded in 1976, in a live club performace.

Never Dealing With the Real Problem

Two Seats For Men

For the Scriptures teach me that God established two seats for men, a judgment seat for those who are still secure and proud and will neither acknowledge nor confess their sin, and a mercy seat for those whose conscience is poor and needy, who feel and confess their sin, dread his judgment, and yearn for his grace.

And this mercy seat is Christ himself.
--Martin Luther, Luther's Works, 51:278
Dane Ortlund

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rev. Gary Davis - Glory, Hallelu



LYRICS:

Oh, when I was out in the world of sin
I had no one to be my friend
Jesus came and he taken me in
Glory, hallelu
And he taken my feet out the miry clay
He placed them up on a rock to stay
I thank God that I can say
Glory, hallelu

Oh, Glory how happy I am
Oh, Glory how happy I am
My soul is washed in the blood of the lamb
Glory, hallelu

I was out in darkness and I could not see
Jesus came and he rescued me
He claimed me and gave me a victory
Glory, hallelu
And one day while Jesus was passing by
He set my sinful soul on fire
He made me laugh and he made me cry
Glory, hallelu

Oh, Glory how happy I am
Oh, Glory how happy I am
My soul is washed in the blood of the lamb
Glory, hallelu

When I could not understand
Jesus, he give me a lending hand
Led me away to the promised land
Glory, hallelu
Oh, well he give me a horn and he told me to blow
Go in peace and sin no more
He led me away to the upright shore
Glory, hallelu

Oh, Glory how happy I am
Oh, Glory how happy I am
My soul is washed in the blood of the lamb
Glory, hallelu

I know something that's mighty swell
A sweet little story I love to tell
Jesus saved my soul from Hell
Glory, hallelu
Oh, stand back Satan, get out of my way
I don't want to hear not a word you say
I'm on my way to the King's highway
Glory, hallelu
Well thank God I got over at last
Thank God I got over at last
My feet is planted in the narrow path
Glory, hallelu

Oh, Glory how happy I am
Oh, Glory how happy I am
My soul is washed in the blood of the lamb
Glory, hallelu

When I had no home to claim
I begin to call on Jesus' name
He saved me from old Satan's chains
Glory, hallelu
Now I'm fire-baptized and holy ghost-filled
I'm out here to do my master's will
I must keep going, I must keep
Glory, hallelu

Oh, Glory how happy I am
Oh, Glory how happy I am
My soul is washed in the blood of the lamb
Glory, hallelu

"Oh Glory, How Happy I Am"
Words and Music by Rev. Gary Davis
Rainbow Quest with Pete Seeger (Episode 23)

Bad News Good News

Does Each Person Have One “Root Sin”?

Question 6 of 15 from the Q&A in David Powlison’s essay, “I Am Motivated When I Feel Desire,” Seeing With New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture.
6. Does each person have one “root sin”?

With good reason, the Bible usually refers to the “lusts” (plural) of the flesh. The human heart can generate a lust tailored to any situation. Again John Calvin powerfully described how cravings “boil up” within us, how the mind of man is a “factory of idols” [Calvin, Institutes, ed. Battles, 65, 108]. We are infested with lusts. Listen closely to any person given to complaining, and you will observe the creativity of our cravings. Certainly one particular craving may so frequently appear that it seems to be a “root sin”: love of mammon, fear of man and craving for approval, love of preeminence or control, desire for pleasure, and so forth, can dictate much of life. But all people have all the typical cravings.
Realizing the diversity in human lusts gives great flexibility and penetration to counseling. For example, one lust can generate very diverse sins, as 1 Timothy 6:10 states: “The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil.” Every one of the Ten Commandments—and more—can be broken by someone who loves and serves money. The craving for money and material possessions is an organizing theme for symptomatic sins as diverse as anxiety, theft, compulsive shopping, murder, jealousy, marital discord, a sense of inferiority or of superiority compared to others, sexual immorality that trades sex for material advantage, and so forth.
On the flip side, a single behavioral sin can emerge from very different lusts. For example, sexual immorality might occur for many different reasons: erotic pleasure, financial advantage, revenge on a spouse or parent, fear of saying no to an authority, pursuit of approval, enjoyment of power over another’s sexual response, the quest for social status or career advancement, pity for someone and playing the savior, fear of losing a potential marriage partner, escape from boredom, peer pressure, and so forth. Wise biblical counselors dig for specifics. They don’t assume all people have the same characteristic flesh, or that a person always does a certain thing for the same reasons. The flesh is creative in iniquity.
Justin Taylor

Is “Lusts of the Flesh” Terminology Practical?

Question 5 of 15 from the Q&A in David Powlison’s essay, “I Am Motivated When I Feel Desire,” Seeing With New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture.

5. Is the phrase “lusts of the flesh” useful in practical life and counseling?

Apply the term to twenty-first-century experience, redeeming the evasive language people substitute. People frequently talk about what they want, expect, wish for, desire, demand, need, long for. Pop psychologies typically validate these needs and longings as neutral givens. Little do people realize that much of the time they are actually describing sinful usurpers of God’s rule over their lives: inordinate desires, lusts of the flesh, cravings. They just aren’t interpreting their experience rightly.
For example, listen to children talk when they are angry, disappointed, demanding, contrary: “But I want. . . . But I don’t want to. . . .” In our family we began teaching our children about the “I-wantsies” before they were two years old. We wanted them to grasp that sin was more than behavior. For example, analyze any argument or outburst of anger and you will find ruling expectation and desires that are being frustrated (James 4:1-2).
The language people typically use day to day gets you into the details of a person’s life, but it usually comes with a distorted interpretation attached. Wise counseling must reinterpret that experience into biblical categories, taking the more pointed reality of “lusts, cravings, pleasures,” and mapping it into the the “felt needs” that underlie much sin and misery. The very unfamiliarity of the phrase is an advantage, if you explain it carefully and show its relevance and applicability. Behavorial sins demand a horizontal resolution—as well as vertical repentance. But motivational sins have first and foremost to do with God, and repentance quickens the awareness of relationship with the God of grace.
Justin Taylor

2010 ESPY's: "The Darkside" Trailer ("The Blindside" Parody) with Peyton Manning

Bob Dylan, Hop Farm Festival, Kent, review

At 69, Bob Dylan sounds more comfortable performing songs from later in his career. 

By Tom Gockelen-Kozlowski
 Bob Dylan concerts should come with a public warning: if you attend expecting to hear the young man of Blonde on Blonde or Bringing it All Back Home, his powers undiminished by cigarettes and time, then you will leave disappointed. If, on the other hand, you come to see Dylan at 69, in the middle of a late flourish of creativity, then he will still have the power to transfix you.
Though opening with a collection of Sixties tracks (including Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, Just Like a Woman and Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright), Dylan refashioned them as if they were taken from a more recent album. Simple Twist of Fate – from 1975’s Blood on the Tracks – now sees his broken voice exposed as the band hushes, providing the most affecting moment of the evening. With a delivery somewhere between crooning and storytelling, he adds a moving sense of world-weariness to its heartbreaking end-of-marriage narrative.
Dylan sounds most comfortable performing songs from later in his career, and a quietly anthemic Working Man’s Blues and pacy Thunder on the Mountain show just how creative the past 13 years have been for him. Here we get to listen to the songs as Dylan intended them to sound and, although the lyrics may not be hard-wired into fans’ memories, the passion of his performance made them unlikely highlights of the evening.
It was the slower, harmonica-fuelled Ballad of a Thin Man that was the evening’s stand-out moment, however. As he repeated the refrain ''…do you Mr Jones’’ with bitter clarity, it was impossible not to feel that the protest singer from Minnesota still has a hunger to attack the establishment and its hypocrisies.
The encore – the almost inevitable Like a Rolling Stone – was the one song where Dylan’s discipline slipped and he strained to sing like his younger self. The song is a crowd-pleaser, and both old and young fans were happy to assist as his voice was left horribly exposed by the rousing melody. It was ironic that the final song was Forever Young – Dylan seems to be at his weakest when he tries to keep up with his youth.
Having first seen Dylan in concert in 2003, I’ve witnessed how a lack of intonation and a lazy stage presence can make him a disappointing live performer. Here in the Kentish sun, though, he proved that he’s still more than capable of holding thousands of fans in thrall and – unlike many his age – restlessly refuses to imitate his younger self badly.
Telegraph U.K.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Just how high would taxes need to go?

To reiterate, higher taxes are not the answer to deficit problem (via the Tax Foundation):
So for fun, we’ve been putting pencil to back of envelope to see how else lawmakers could raise revenues to erase the deficit using tax increases alone. The results (and these are very much back of the envelope) are truly frightening.
To erase this year’s estimated $1.5 trillion deficit, we would need either to:
  • Enact a 25% VAT (Greece is still a mess with a 19% VAT);
or,
  • Take 130% of the taxable profits earned by U.S. companies this year (that’s what you call net operating losses);
or,
  • Raise the top three tax brackets (28%, 33%, and 35%) to 100%. Actually, this would still not raise enough money to erase the deficit – of course, assuming all the wealthy taxpayers didn’t flee to Switzerland.
or,
  • Take 100% of the business income earned by individual taxpayers in 2008.
In other words, new taxes are not the solution to Washington’s deficit problem. That is, unless we want to wreck our economy for decades to come.
James Pethokoukis

God Will Sanctify You

The following comes from Grace, God’s Unmerited Favor by Spurgeon:
God will conquer your sin; God will sanctify you; God will save you; God will keep you; God will bring you to Himself.  Rest in the covenant.  Then, moved by intense gratitude, go forward to serve your Lord with all your heart and soul and strength.  Being saved, live to praise Him.  Do not work so that you may be saved, but serve him because you are saved, for the covenant has secured your safety.  Delivered from the servile fear that an Ishmael might have known, live the joyous life of an Isaac.  Moved by the love of the Father, spend and be spent for His sake.  If the selfish hope of winning heaven by works has moved some men to great sacrifice, so much more should the godly motive of gratitude to Him, who has done all this for us, move us to the noblest service and make us feel that it is not a sacrifice at all.
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; [15] and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
(2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV)
Its A Beautiful Gospel

Big Walter Horton - Rockin' My Boogie

Billy Boy Arnold - Catfish

More Fake Government Help

Why Do Our Desires Deceive Us?

Question 4 of 15 from the Q&A in David Powlison’s essay, “I Am Motivated When I Feel Desire,” Seeing With New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture.
4. Why don’t people see this as the problem?
Consider a second adjective that Scripture attaches to the phrase “lusts of the flesh”: deceitful lusts. Our desires deceive us because they present themselves as so plausible. Natural affections become warped and monstrous, and so blind us. Who wouldn’t want good health, financial comfort, a loving spouse, good kids, success on the job, kind parents, tasty food, a life without traffic jams, control over circumstances? Yet cravings for these things lead to every sort of evil. The things people desire are delightful as blessings received from God, but terrible as rulers. They make good goods but bad gods. They beguile, promising blessing, but delivering sin and death.
Some sins are high-handed, done with full awareness of choice (Ps. 19:13). Other sins reflect the blind, dark, habitual, compulsive, hardened, ignorant, confused, instinctive insanity of sin. One of the joys of biblical ministry comes when you are able to turn on the lights in another person’s dark room. People usually don’t see their desires as lusts. Souls are cured as the ignorant and self-deceived are disturbed by the light of God’s analytic gaze and then comforted by the love that shed substitutionary blood to purchase the inexpressible gift.
I have yet to meet a couple locked in hostility (and the accompanying fear, self-pity, hurt, self-righteousness) who really understood and reckoned with their motives. James 4:1-3 teaches that cravings underlie conflicts. Why do you fight? It’s not “because my wife/husband . . .”—it’s because of something about you. Couples who see what rules them–cravings for affections, attention, power, vindication, control, comfort, a hassle-free life—can repent and find God’s grace made real to them, and then learn how to make peace.
Justin Taylor

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Funny Joke from Jay Leno

   ● Dick Cheney is recovering from heart surgery in the hospital. I understand Fox News sent flowers, and MSNBC sent a large pepperoni pizza with extra cheese.

The Sweet Constraints of Infinite Love

The following comes from Grace, God’s Unmerited Favor by Spurgeon:
Ezekiel 36:27 – And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
When God deals with a man through His grace, He not only calls him to holiness, but He gives him holiness;  He not only bids him walk in His way, but He makes him walk in His way.  He does so, not by compulsion, not by any kind of physical force, but by the sweet constraints of infinite love.
 Its a Beautiful Gospel

Are You Dead Yet?

Luther: 'He who does not perish really perishes.' (LW 51:25)

Kierkegaard: 'I should have perished, had I not perished.' (Journals of Soren Kierkegaard, 245)

C. S. Lewis: 'Die before you die. There is no chance after.' (Till We Have Faces, 279)

The Lord Jesus: 'Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies . . .' (John 12:24f)

The problem we face is that we want to live so badly,  dying is as far away from our thinking as it can be.We know everybody dies, everybody! It can't be avoided no matter how hard you try. The key is to die before you die, that's what Luther, Kierkegaard, Lewis and Jesus were saying.  When a person believes in the death, burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and trusts him alone to be saved from sin and death and eternal damnation, he is united with Christ in his death and his resurrection. The Apostle Paul said: "We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus."   Romans 6:9-11

Are you dead yet?

Eric Clapton - Early in the Morning - Live

Dodd and Frank Couldn't be more Incompetent

What’s Wrong with Wanting Good Things?

Question 3 of 15 from the Q&A in David Powlison’s essay, “I Am Motivated When I Feel Desire,” Seeing With New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture.
3. But what’s wrong with wanting things that seem good?
What makes our desires wrong? The question becomes particularly perplexing to people when the object of their desires is a good thing. Notice some of the adjectives that get appended to our cravings: evil, polluted lusts (Col. 3:5; 2 Pet. 2:10). Sometimes the object of desire itself is evil: to kill someone, to steal, to control the cocaine trade on the Eastern seaboard. But often the object of desire is good, and the evil lies in the lordship of the desire. Our will replaces God’s as that which determines how we live.
John Calvin put it this way: “We teach that all human desires are evil, and charge them with sin—not in that they are natural, but because they are inordinate” (Institutes, ed. Battles, p. 604). In other words, the evil in our desires often lies not in what we want but in the fact that we want it too much. Natural affections (for any good thing) become inordinate, ruling cravings. We are meant to be ruled by godly passions and desires (see Question 15). Natural desires for good things are meant to exist subordinate to our desire to please the Giver of gifts. Grasping that the evil lies in the ruling status of the desire, not the object, is frequently a turning point in self-understanding, in seeing the need for Christ’s mercies, and in changing.
Consider this example. A woman commits adultery, and repents. She and her husband rebuild the marriage, patiently, painstakingly. Eight months later the man finds himself plagued with subtle suspiciousness and irritability. The wife senses it, and feels a bit like she lives under FBI surveillance. The husband is grieved by his suspiciousness because he has no objective reasons for it. “I’ve forgive her; we’ve rebuilt our marriage; we’ve never communicated better; why do I hold on to this mistrust?” It emerges that he is willing to forgive the past, but he attempts to control the future. His craving could be stated this way: “I want to guarantee that betrayal never, ever happens again.”
The object of his desire is good; its ruling status poisons his ability to love. The lust to ensure her fidelity places him in the stance of continually evaluating and judging his wife, rather than loving her. What he wants cannot be guaranteed this side of heaven. He sees the point, sees his inordinate desire to ensure his marital future. But he bursts out, “What’s wrong with wanting my wife to love me? What’s wrong with wanting her to remain faithful to our marriage?” Here is where this truth is so sweet. There is nothing wrong with the object of desire; there is everything wrong when it rules his life. The process of restoring that marriage took a long step forward as he took this to heart.
Are preferences, wishes, desires, longings, hopes, and expectations always sinful then? Of course not. What theologians used to call “natural affections” are part of our humanity. They are part of what makes humans different from stones, able to tell the difference between blessing and curse, pleasure and pain. It is right that we don’t want the pains of rejection, death, poverty, and illness, and we do want the joys of friendship, life, money, and health. Jesus was no masochist; of course he cried out, “Let this cup pass from me!”
The moral issue always turns on whether this desire takes on a ruling status. If it does, it will produce visible sins: anger, grumbling, immorality, despair, what James so vividly termed “disorder and every evil thing” (James 3:16).
Jesus was no idolater; he entrusted himself to his Father and obeyed. “Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.” If natural affections remain submitted to God, such faith will produce visible love. If you wish your son to grow up to be a Christian, and he strays, it may break your heart, but it will not make your sin against either God or your son.
Justin Taylor

Monday, July 19, 2010

Eric Clapton Tell the Truth 2008 Live TV Recording

Brilliantly played Tell the Truth by a 63 year old Clapton at the Hard Rock Calling Festival on 28th June 2008 in Hyde Park, London. With nice contributions of Doyle Bramhall II

Who Knew Saint Peter was a Boston Fan?

Luther: The True Gain

I know none, neither men nor angels, who can help me except this child whom you, O Mary, hold in your arms. If a man could put out of his mind all that he is and has except this child, and if for him everything--money, goods, power, or honor--fades into darkness and he despises everything on earth compared with this child, so that heaven with its stars and earth with all its power and all its treasures becomes as nothing to him, that man would have the true gain.
--Martin Luther, preaching on Luke 2:1-14 on Christmas Day 1530, in Luther's Works, 51:214
Dane Ortlund

Steve Carell and Paul Rudd spoof Lebron James -The Decision during ESPYs

Why Do People Do Specific Ungodly Things?

Question 2 of 15 from the Q&A in David Powlison’s essay, “I Am Motivated When I Feel Desire,” Seeing With New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture.
2. Why do people do specific ungodly things?
Lusts of the flesh is meant to answer the Why question at the heart of any system that explains human behavior. Specific ruling desires—lusts, cravings, or pleasures—create bad fruit. Inordinate desires explain and organize diverse bad fruit: words, deeds, emotions, thoughts, plans, attitudes, brooding memories, fantasies. James 1:13-16 establishes this intimate and pervasive connection between motive and fruit this way:
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.” (See also Gal. 5:6-6:10; James 3:14-4:12.)
In modern language such sinful cravings often masquerade as expectations, goals, felt needs, wishes, demands, longings, drives, and so forth. People talk about their motives in ways that anesthetize themselves and others to the true significance of what they are describing.
Justin Taylor

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Carey Bell - Blues with a Feeling

The Thinking Of Our Current Leaders

Preaching that rejects the gospel enforces legalism and lusts after self-help.

A very important excerpt from Graeme Goldsworthy on the kind of preaching that rejects the gospel:
” . . . we are all legalists at heart.  We all love to be able to say that we have fulfilled all kinds of conditions, be they tarrying, surrendering fully, or getting rid of every known sin, so that God might truly bless us.  It is a constant temptation to want to take our spiritual pulse and to apply the sanctification barometer. . . . The preacher can aid and abet this legalistic tendency that is at the heart of the sin within us all.  All we have to do is emphasize our humanity: our obedience, our faithfulness, our surrender to God, and so on.  The trouble is that these things are all valid biblical truths, but if we get them out of perspective and ignore their relationship to the gospel of grace, they replace grace with law.
If we constantly tell people what they should do in order to get their lives in order, we place a terrible legalistic burden on them.  Of course they should obey God; of course we should love him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.  The Bible tells us so.  But if we ever give the impression that it is possible to do this on our own, not only do we make the gospel irrelevant, but we suggest that the law is in fact a lot weaker in its demands than it really is.  Legalism demeans the law by reducing its standards to the level of our competence.
[ . . .] In practical terms, if we as preachers lay down the marks of the spiritual Christian, or the mature church, or the godly parent, or the obedient child, or the caring pastor, or the responsible elder, or the wise church leader, and if we do this in a way that implies that conformity is simply a matter of understanding and being obedient, then we are being legalists and we risk undoing the very thing we want to build up.  We may achieve the outward semblance of conformity to biblical pattern, but we do it at the expense of the gospel of grace that alone can produce the reality of these desirable goals. To say what we should be or do and not link it with a clear exposition of what God has done about our failure to be or do perfectly as he wills is to reject the grace of God and to lead people to lust after self-help and self-improvement in a way that, to call a spade a spade, is godless.”
– Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 118-19, emphasis mine.
Provocations & Pantings