Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eric Clapton Motherless Child 2008 Unplugged Live TV Recording

What Are You Asking God For?

"How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Luke 11:13

In a sermon preached in 1740, Jonathan Edwards pointed out that we ask God for basically two kinds of things. We ask him for temporal blessings like health and jobs and family needs. We also ask him for spiritual blessings. But Edwards noted how much more frequently and fervently we ask for temporal blessings:

"They don't need any preaching to stir them up to take thorough care to obtain those outward things. . . . And if they begin to suffer for want of those things, how much do they make of their sufferings! . . . Had God nothing better to bestow upon you, when he had made you his children, than a little money or land, that you seem so much to behave yourselves as if you thought this was your chief good? . . . I am bold to say that God is now offering the blessing of his Holy Spirit to this town, and I am bold to say we may have it only for the asking."

Full Pardon

The Lord knows all our sins. There is not a sin that has ever escaped his eye. Those committed in the secret chamber, in the darkness of the night, those which never struggled into action—sins of the heart and imagination, those which have never been whispered into any human ear, God has known. What doth he not see?

And this is a blessed thing for us, because it causes the pardon to cover fully the whole extent of the sin. A priest once said that if we did not recollect all our sins, and confess them, they would never be forgiven. Well, then, certainly they never will be forgiven, for no man can ever recollect one thousandth part of his transgressions; but blessed be God, the pardon does not rest with our knowledge of the sin, but with God's knowledge of the sin; and, therefore, that pardon is complete which comes from the all-seeing God.

"I, even I, am he,"—the Omniscient who am everywhere present, who saw thee in the darkness, and heard thy heart in all its evil speeches against the Most High—I, the all-knowing one, "I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions."

Oh, this unrivalled pardon, how full of consolation it is! Every attribute of God adds to its splendor; every beam of the divine glory heightens its grandeur.
C. H. Spurgeon

The Watch Dog Press

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Bunch Of Nuts

Eric Clapton John Mayer Sheryl Crow Crossroads 2008 Live TV Recording

Michael Moore, Mammon, and Me

While in Detroit this past Saturday, I saw an advertisement for the new Michael Moore movie denouncing capitalism and the free market system. It irritated me, and then, the more I thought about it, it irritated me more, in ways I didn’t expect.
Moore is, first of all, no relation, and, second, not new to iconoclastic filmmaking. His previous cinematic offerings have taken on everything from corporate greed in the car industry to gun control and school shootings to 9/11 conspiracy theories.
What amazes me is not that Michael Moore doesn’t like capitalism. It’s that he’s trying to make money off of his denunciation of capitalism, and using advertising to try to do so. It’s almost as though the filmmaker is winking at us, kind of like the Borat character, bilking us for our cash and laughing at our gullibility for giving it to him.
My first reaction to the new Moore movie was a little bit of personal outrage. Still, Moore fits the image of the cash-hungry counter-culturalist Merle Haggard sang about in the ’60s as one who “loves our milk and honey” while he “preaches about another way of living.” At first I wanted to say, like Haggard, “love it or leave it,” and I hope you’re able to make a killing selling this movie in Cuba.
My second reaction was to wonder how addled the American public is that no one seems to be recognizing this kind of hypocrisy. Why doesn’t the American left have the gumption to say, “This guy is a clown, and he’s working at cross purposes with us.”
But the more I think about it, Michael Moore isn’t all that different from me, and most of the Christians I know.
Michael Moore believes (I’ll take him and face value) that the market system is destructive and evil, and should be replaced with something else. He just doesn’t want to live in the “something else.”
I believe the market system is often destructive and evil, and everything it could be replaced with is even more dehumanizing, until it’s replaced with the kingdom of Christ. I don’t mind a limited, bounded market system (one that is people-centered, treats workers right, respects the creation, maintains local traditions and the social order).
But I also know what I’ve received from the prophets and apostles of Jesus. The issue, ultimately, isn’t the economic system itself (although that’s important). It’s the rebellion of money-worship and greed.
I know as a follower of Christ Jesus that one of the most dangerous forces in this age is the passion for money or, more often, the passion for things. I know what Jesus has taught us that Mammon is a god, and a jealous one at that.
And yet, I’m able to know this, believe this, think this, while having too many of my decisions made by “care for tomorrow,” even though I’m able to repeat back from memory what Jesus said about this.
Yes, Michael Moore is a hypocrite. But aren’t we all. And shouldn’t his hypocrisy remind us to take up the plank in our own eye, and start giving away some money, some stuff, from our homes and, more importantly, from our affections.
This is, as the Scriptures repeatedly emphasize, not a simple thing to do. And the Bible nowhere calls us to a kind of mechanistic legalism to put a hedge around the temptation of Mammonism. But it’s awfully hard to see our captivity to wealth when the poorest among us is richer, by world standards, than the rich young ruler would have been, richer than Nebuchadnezzar in all his glory.
American Christians are starting to awaken somewhat to what our fat affluence has done to our supposedly counter-cultural gospel. One can only imagine that, as we speak, some evangelical trinket-maker is designing wall decorations that say “Money is the root of all kinds of evil” to sell to us, as “reminders.”
I hope I’m able to see a love of Mammon more and more clearly in my own life, and not just in the other Moore’s situation. The issue isn’t capitalism vs. socialism, and it certainly isn’t Michael Moore’s hypocritical antics.
After all, a “serve two masters” hypocrisy is much worse when one of those masters is supposed to be Jesus
By Russell D. Moore

Only One Hero

There is only one hero in the gospel story. His name is the Son of God.

One implication: While you and I should live wholeheartedly for him, we should not set for ourselves standards and routines that are unsustainable long-term. The truth is, we are weak. We must, and we may, factor into our lives the rejuvenation that weakness requires. Let's believe the gospel so much that, along the way, we goof off and have fun and even sleep in now and then. We'll be more useful to the Lord for the long haul.

Kevin DeYoung wisely writes:

"No doubt some Christians need to be shaken out of their lethargy. I try to do that every Sunday morning and evening. But there are also a whole bunch of Christians who need to be set free from their performance-minded, law-keeping, world-changing, participate-with-God-in-recreating-the-cosmos shackles. I promise you, some of the best people in your churches are getting tired. They don’t need another rah-rah pep talk. They don’t need to hear more statistics and more stories Sunday after Sunday about how bad everything is in the world. They need to hear about Christ’s death and resurrection. They need to hear how we are justified by faith apart from works of the law. They need to hear the old, old story once more. Because the secret of the gospel is that we actually do more when we hear less about all we need to do for God and hear more about all that God has already done for us."

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Circus Is In Town

Good Tidings

The gospel of Christ in general is this:
It is the good tidings that God has revealed concerning Christ.
More largely it is this:
As all mankind was lost in Adam and became the children of wrath, put under the sentence of death, God, though He left His fallen angels and has reserved them in the chains of eternal darkness, yet He has thought upon the children of men and has provided a way of atonement to reconcile them to Himself again…Namely, the second person of the Trinity takes man’s nature upon Himself, and becomes the Head of a second covenant, standing charged with sin. He answers for it by suffering what the law and divine justice required, and by making satisfaction by keeping the law perfectly, which satisfaction and righteousness He tenders up to the Father as a sweet savor of rest for the souls that are given to Him…And now this mediation of Christ is, by the appointment of the Father, preached to the children of men, of whatever nation or rank, freely offering this atonement unto sinners for atonement, requiring them to believe in Him and, upon believing, promising not only a discharge of all their former sins, but that they shall not enter into condemnation, that none of their sins or unworthiness shall ever hinder the peace of God with them, but that they shall through Him be received into the number of those who shall have the image of God again to be renewed unto them, and they they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
- Jeremiah Burroughs

Eric Clapton - Before You Accuse Me

The Praying Life

Bob Thune reviews Paul Miller’s The Praying Life and includes a number of excellent quotes from the book
  • Learning to pray doesn’t offer us a less busy life; it offers us a less busy heart.
  • If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money, and talent are all you need in life.
  • Less mature Christians have little need to pray… there is no complexity to their worlds because the answers are simple.
  • Cynicism is the air we breathe, and it is suffocating our hearts. Our only hope is to follow Jesus as he leads us out of cynicism.
  • The persistent widow and the friend at midnight get access, not because they are strong but because they are desperate. Learned desperation is at the heart of a praying life.
  • I do not understand prayer. Prayer is deeply personal and deeply mysterious. Adults try to figure out causation. Little children don’t. They just ask.
  • Everything you do is connected to who you are as a person and, in turn, creates the person you are becoming. Everything you do affects those you love. All of life is covenant.
  • We think spiritual things – if done right – should just ‘flow.’ But if you have a disability, nothing flows, especially in the beginning.
  • There is a tendency among Christians to get excited about ‘listening to God’ as if they are discovering a hidden way of communicating with God that will revolutionize their prayer lives… This subtly elevates an experience with God instead of God himself. Without realizing it, we can look at the windshield instead of through it.
    How would you love someone without prayer? People are far too complicated; the world is far too evil; and my own heart is too off center to be able to love adequately without praying.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The God Of The Desperate

"And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became captain over them." 1 Samuel 22:2

David attracted desperate men, men who were passionate for change, men who longed for a better future. The empowered and the privileged did not gather to him. They had too much to lose. But the distressed, the debtors and the fed-up rallied to him. And under his leadership, this rabble launched a new era in the history of God's people.

If your heart is at rest with the state of the world, the state of the church, you have little incentive for all-out commitment to Jesus. You will probably just get in the way. But if you are in distress, if you are in debt, if you are bitter in soul, there is a mighty Captain who is not ashamed to have you in his army. He turns no one away, no one who is desperate for change on his terms.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Eric Clapton Drifting Blues 2008 Unplugged Live TV Recording


Manson-cult murderer dies, but found redemption

Susan Atkins, the follower of Charles Manson and the murderer of the pregnant Sharon Tate, is dead. The news account of her death tells quite a story, going from unimaginable depravity to the Cross:
One night in August 1969, Manson dispatched Atkins and others to a wealthy residential section of Los Angeles, telling them, as they recalled, to “do something witchy.”
They went to the home of Tate and her husband. He was not home, but Tate, who was 8{ months pregnant, and four others were killed. “Pigs” was scrawled on a door in blood.
The next night, a wealthy grocer and his wife were found stabbed to death in their home across town. “Helter Skelter” was written in blood on the refrigerator.
“I was stoned, man, stoned on acid,” Atkins testified during the trial’s penalty phase.
“I don’t know how many times I stabbed (Tate) and I don’t know why I stabbed her,” she said. “She kept begging and pleading and begging and pleading and I got sick of listening to it, so I stabbed her.”
She said she felt “no guilt for what I’ve done. It was right then and I still believe it was right.” Asked how it could be right to kill, she replied in a dreamy voice, “How can it not be right when it’s done with love?”
The matronly, gray-haired Atkins who appeared before a parole board in 2000 cut a far different figure than that of the cocky young defendant some 30 years earlier.
“I don’t have to just make amends to the victims and families,” she said softly. “I have to make amends to society. I sinned against God and everything this country stands for.” She said she had found redemption in Christianity.
The last words she spoke in public at the September hearing were to say in unison with her husband: “My God is an amazing God.”
Indeed. Does this bother you in any way? Do you see that Jesus bore in His body, along with everything else the world has done, the sins of the Manson cult? Do you see this woman as your dear sister in Christ?

How Could God Command Genocide in the Old Testament?

The following is an answer to that question that I wrote at the request of the New Attitude folks (now called Next). I thought it might be helpful to post here. By Justin Taylor
This is a good, hard question. The way we answer it will both reflect and inform our understanding of justice and mercy.
The question is about what happens in the book of Joshua when God commands Israel to slaughter the Canaanites in order to occupy the Promised Land. It was a bloody war of total destruction where God used his people to execute his moral judgment against his wicked enemies. In moving toward an answer it will be helpful to think carefully about the building blocks of a Christian worldview related to God’s justice and mercy.
1. As the maker of all things and the ruler of all people, God has absolute rights of ownership over all people and places.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1) “and the sea and all that is in them” (Act 14:15). This means that “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Ps. 24:1). As God says, “All the earth is mine” (Ex. 19:5) and “every beast of the forest is mine” (Ps. 50:10). God’s ownership of all means that he is also free to do as he wishes over all things. “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Ps. 115:3). Within this free sovereignty God “determined allotted periods and the boundaries of [each nation’s] dwelling place” (Acts 17:26). God has Creator rights, and no one can say to him, “What are you doing?” (Job 9:12).
2. God is not only the ultimate maker, ruler, and owner, but he is just and righteous in all that he does.
Abraham asks God the same question that we are asking, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” (Gen. 18:25). The implied answer is, “By all means!” This is the flip side of Paul’s question in Romans 9:14: “Is there injustice on God’s part?” Paul’s answer: “By no means!” Moses will later proclaim, “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he” (Deut. 32:4).
It is commonplace in our culture to ask whether this or that was fair or just for God to do. But if you stop to think about it, the question itself is actually illegitimate. Merely asking it presupposes that we are the judge; we will put “God in the dock” and examine him; God must conform to our sense of fairness and rightness and justice—if God passes the test, well and good, but if he doesn’t, we’ll be upset and become the accuser. Perish the thought. As Deut. 32:4 says, “all God’s ways are justice”—by definition. If God does it, it is just. To think otherwise is the ultimate act of arrogance, putting your own mind and opinions and conceptions as the ultimate standard of the universe.
This does not, however, preclude humble questioning and seeking in order to gain greater understanding. While it is ultimately illegitimate to ask if God’s ways are just in securing the Promised Land, it is perfectly appropriate and edifying to seek understanding on how God’s ways are just—whether in commissioning the destruction of the Canaanites or in any other action. This is the task of theology—seeing how various aspects of God’s truth and revelation cohere.
3. All of us deserve God’s justice; none of us deserve God’s mercy.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Watch The Tigers At Your Own Risk

This is so true. Just last night the Tigers are leading the Indians 6 - 3 in the ninth inning. Should be easy, right? Reliever Rodney gives up a two run home run, and then a base hit all with two outs. The final out is a great catch by a diving Inge at 3rd base to end the game. This is the Pep-to Biz-mo team.

Blind Willie Johnson Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning

Caution God At Work

In Knowing God (p. 97) J. I. Packer writes about how to understand the “unexpected and upsetting and discouraging things” that happen to us. What do they mean?
Simply that God in his wisdom means to make something of us which we have not attained yet, and he is dealing with us accordingly.
(Suggestion: resist the skimming temptation and read that line over again.)
Then Packer ponders the possible purposes God might have in mind for you:
Perhaps he means to strengthen us in patience, good humor, compassion, humility, or meekness, by giving us some extra practice in exercising these graces under especially difficult conditions.
Perhaps he has new lessons in self-denial and self-distrust to teach us.
Perhaps he wishes to break us of complacency, or unreality, or undetected forms of pride and conceit.
Perhaps his purpose is simply to draw us closer to himself in conscious communion with him; for it is often the case, as all the saints know, that fellowship with the Father and the Son is most vivid and sweet, and Christian joy is greatest, when the cross is heaviest. . . .
Or perhaps God is preparing us for forms of service of which at present we have no inkling.
He goes on:
We may be frankly bewildered at things that happen to us, but God knows exactly what he is doing, and what he is after, in his handling of our affairs. Always, and in everything, he is wise: we shall see that hereafter, even where we never saw it here. . . . Meanwhile, we ought not to hesitate to trust his wisdom, even when he leaves us in the dark.
But how should we respond to baffling and trying situations when cannot now see God’s purpose in them?
First, by taking them as from God, and asking ourselves what reactions to them, and in them, the gospel of God requires of us;
second, by seeking God’s face specifically about them.
“If we do these two things,” Packer writes, “we shall never find ourselves wholly in the dark as to God’s purpose in our troubles.”

So What Is The Gospel?

“So what is the gospel? According to the Synoptic Gospels, the good news of Jesus Christ is primarily that Jesus has come to inaugurate the kingdom of God, to establish God’s good reign over all of creation. In the same way that Aslan drew near and brought springtime into the bitter winter of Narnia, Jesus has drawn near to bring the springtime of his redemption into the bitter winter of our fallen world. He died to pay the price for our rebellion and to free creation from Satan’s dominion. He will return one day to bring it all to completion and fully establish the kingdom of God. This is good news. This is the gospel!”
- Allen Mitsuo Wakabayashi, Kingdom Come

Wasting Money At The Circus

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Postmodern Twister

Eric Clapton/JJ Cale-Call Me The Breeze

All he is saying

There is much that is objectionable, offensive and off-base in President Obama's speech to the United Nations General Assembly yesterday. The United States was a pretty sorry place before he became president nine months ago, but he is delivering a remarkable messianic redemption. He is redeeming the United States and he has come to redeem the world. Like Jesus, he is conscious of his divinity and aware of his mission.
All he is saying, with his peculiar animus and ignorance, is give peace a chance. That much I understand. What I don't understand is this:
Democracy cannot be imposed on any nation from the outside. Each society must search for its own path, and no path is perfect. Each country will pursue a path rooted in the culture of its people, and - in the past - America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy. But that does not weaken our commitment, it only reinforces it. There are basic principles that are universal; there are certain truths which are self evident - and the United States of America will never waver in our efforts to stand up for the right of people everywhere to determine their own destiny.
While these statements can be explained away in some sense, like other axioms of Obama's foreign policy, they are demonstrably untrue. In the past century the United States imposed democracy "from the outside," at great expense of American life and treasure, on countries including the Federal Republic of Germany and Japan. Why does Obama deny the role of American arms in imposing democracy on America's former enemies?
Even in this otherwise mysterious paragraph, Obama is clear on one point. He doesn't think very highly of the United States Before Obama: "America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy." Here President Obama reveals the time warp (identified here by Michael Barone) in which he is caught. He is a victim of the reigning leftist academic cliches reigning on campus in the years he spent at college and in law school.
To the extent the United States tolerated and supported dictatorships during the Cold War -- the let-wing critique to which Obama seems to be alluding -- it did so to advance the interests of the United States in opposing the Soviet Union. Obama's betrayal of democratic forces in Honduras, Iran and elsewhere is ongoing, and taken with a hand far freer than those wielded by America's Cold War presidents.
We know that American history was a paltry thing in the era Before Obama, but President Obama also appears to feel free blatantly to misrepresent it, or not to be very familiar with it.
From Powerline

The McDonaldization of America

Stephen Von Worley recently set out “to determine the farthest point from a Micky Dee’s – in the lower 48 states, at least.” Among the 13,000 McDonalds, he found his answer in northwestern South Dakota:
There, in a patch of rolling grassland, loosely hemmed in by Bismarck, Dickinson, Pierre, and the greater Rapid City-Spearfish-Sturgis metropolitan area, we find our answer.
Between the tiny Dakotan hamlets of Meadow and Glad Valley lies the McFarthest Spot: 107 miles distant from the nearest McDonald’s, as the crow flies, and 145 miles by car!
As Stephen says, “Suffer a Big Mac Attack out there, and you’re hurtin’ for certain!”
You can see a poster-sized version of his map here.
HT: Joe Carter

Simeon and Wesley: Conversation on Calvinism and Commonality

From Handley Carr Glyn Moule’s 1892 biography, Charles Simeon, p. 79f.:
Sir, I understand that you are called an Arminian; and I have been sometimes called a Calvinist; and therefore I suppose we are to draw daggers.  But before I consent to begin the combat, with your permission I will ask you a few questions.  Pray, Sir, do you feel yourself a depraved creature, so depraved that you would never have thought of turning to God, if God had not first put it into your heart?
Yes, I do indeed.
And do you utterly despair of recommending yourself to God by anything you can do; and look for salvation solely through the blood and righteousness of Christ?
Yes, solely through Christ.
But, Sir, supposing you were at first saved by Christ, are you not somehow or other to save yourself afterwards by your own works?
No, I must be saved by Christ from first to last.
Allowing, then, that you were first turned by the grace of God, are you not in some way or other to keep yourself by your own power?
What then, are you to be upheld every hour and every moment by God, as much as an infant in its mother’s arms?
Yes, altogether.
And is all your hope in the grace and mercy of God to preserve you unto His heavenly kingdom?
Yes, I have no hope but in Him.
Then, Sir, with your leave I will put up my dagger again; for this is all my Calvinism; this is my election my justification by faith, my final perseverance: it is in substance all that I hold, and as I hold it; and therefore, if you please, instead of searching out terms and phrases to be a ground of contention between us, we will cordially unite in those things where in we agree.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Denomination Votes to Allow Drunken Clergy

Hot on the heels of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s decision to allow the appointment of non-celibate gays to the clergy, another prominent Christian denomination has decided this week to allow practicing drunkards in the pulpit.
Meeting in Las Vegas, leaders of the Evangelical Lukewarm Christians in Apostasy (ELCA-Not the Lutherans) voted in favor of giving their local congregations the authority to choose ministers or lay leaders who may be in “lifelong, monogamous relationships with alcohol.”
Said the denomination’s president, Ben Halifax, “Since the Lutheran ELCA has courageously decided to ignore the condemnation of homosexuals in 1st Corinthians 6:9-10, we figured it was time for our own denomination to ignore the verses’ reference to drunkards and immediately loosen our outdated and unloving restrictions on boozehounds.”
A motion to also include the acceptance of clerical fornicators, adulterers, idolators, thieves, revilers, and swindlers was tabled until next year’s meeting.
The surprise decision to liberalize the church’s drunkard policy came at the perfect time for the denomination’s small branch in Torrance, California, where popular pastor, Glen Morehouse, had been barred from ministry last year due to his open and committed relationship with Johnnie Walker. With the historic vote, Morehouse can now officially stagger back to the pulpit and still maintain his alternative lifestyle.
His eyes reddened by tears of joy and 80 proof Scotch, Pastor Morehouse commended the ELCA (Not the Lutherans) leadership for allowing him to continue in his Kingdom work. “I jes wanna shay, it was sush a prooouu moam comin’ ta shee thish inna histacle vent… Ya no whaa um sayin’? Uh-oh… I thin’ um gonna thro up…”
Martha Wackenhut, Torrance church member and designated driver, also commended the decision, but was much more articulate. “We’re thrilled that the national leadership has finally recognized Pastor Glen’s value as a non-sober man of God,” she said on behalf of the congregation. “Whenever we’ve needed his pastoral advice and leadership, he’s always been there for us on his favorite barstool down at O’Malley’s. Quite frankly, if this vote hadn’t gone through, we’re pretty sure we would’ve lost Pastor Glen to the Presbyterians.”
Advocates of change in the ELCA (Not the Lutherans) rejoiced after the vote and were later found at the Hard Rock Cafe celebrating their victory with mojitos and Jagermeister shots. “We’re toasting to greater fairness tonight,” explained Pete Lutowski, executive director of Bottoms Up, a drunk rights advocacy group within the church. “Drunken clergy are now free to be who they are and enjoy the love and companionship of their alcoholic buzz.”
“Bottom line, this is a heart issue,” added Lutowski. “Okay, it’s a liver issue, too, but it’s mostly a heart issue. It’s time to quit acting like pharisaical tee-totalers who are hung up on judgmental prooftexts and start showing some Christian love to our drunken brethren who want nothing more than to give out sloppy back slaps and shout, ‘I love you, man!’ to an unsaved stranger. If getting sloshed is so wrong, how come Jesus changed water into wine and jump-started the first Christian drinking party two thousand years ago?”
“A-mehn, bruther!” shouted Pastor Morehouse from the floor.

The Real Health Care Reform

Christ Finds the Informant

In a new dark comedy film, The Informant!, Matt Damon plays Mark Whitacre, an employee of ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) who was a whisteblower on their price fixing while at the same time embezzling funds to the tune of $9 million.

What the movie doesn’t recount is that in prison Whitacre found Christ, or rather was found by him. Marvin Olasky recently interviewed Whitacre to hear the story behind the movie and the story of God’s grace breaking into his life.

CT Movies reviews the film here, as does World Magazine.

The trailer for the film (rated R for language) is below. (RSS readers may need to click through to view.)

This Is Good News

“Here is what I understand the good news to be: the good news is that the one and only God, who is holy, made us in his image to know him. But we sinned and cut ourselves off from him. In his great love, God became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law himself and taking on himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever turn and trust in him. He rose again from the dead, showing that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us had been exhausted. He now calls us to repent of our sins and to trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness. If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God. Now that is good news.”
from The Gospel and Personal Evangelism

Only One Saving Message

“Only one saving message is attested by the NT. The “gospel to the circumcision” preached by Peter and his colleagues did not differ in content from the “gospel to the uncircumcised” entrusted to Paul (Gal. 2:7), though the form of presentation might vary according to the audience. Paul’s testimony is, “Whether therefore it was I or they [Peter and his colleagues], so we preach, and so you believed” (1 Cor. 15:11).
The basic elements in the message were these:
1. the prophecies have been fulfilled and the new age inaugurated by the coming of Christ;
2. he was born into the family of David;
3. he died according to the Scriptures, to deliver his people from this evil age;
4. he was buried, and raised again the third day, according to the Scriptures;
5. he is exalted at God’s right hand as Son of God, Lord of living and dead;
6. he will come again, to judge the world and consummate his saving work.”
- F.F. Bruce

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Robben Ford - Rumba Blues

You Are My Health

Great are You, O God, and greatly to be praised;
great is Your power, and Your wisdom infinite.
We who are but a particle of Your creation, praise You.
You awaken us to delight in Your praise;
for You made us for Yourself,
and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.
What are You then, my God?
Most high, most good, most omnipotent;
most merciful, yet most just;
most hidden, yet most present;
most beautiful, yet most strong;
stable, yet incomprehensible;
unchangeable, yet all-changing;
ever old, ever new;
supporting, filling, and overspreading;
creating, flourishing, and maturing;
seeking, yet having all things.
You, O God, are my life, my joy, my health.
- Augustine

The Gospel is Good News

The gospel is integrally tied to the Bible’s story-line. Indeed, it is incomprehensible without understanding that story-line.
God is the sovereign, transcendent and personal God who has made the universe, including us, his image-bearers.
Our misery lies in our rebellion, our alienation from God, which, despite his forbearance, attracts his implacable wrath.
But God, precisely because love is of the very essence of his character, takes the initiative and prepared for the coming of his own Son by raising up a people who, by covenantal stipulations, temple worship, systems of sacrifice and of priesthood, by kings and by prophets, are taught something of what God is planning and what he expects.
In the fullness of time his Son comes and takes on human nature. He comes not, in the first instance, to judge but to save: he dies the death of his people, rises from the grave and, in returning to his heavenly Father, bequeaths the Holy Spirit as the down payment and guarantee of the ultimate gift he has secured for them—an eternity of bliss in the presence of God himself, in a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
The only alternative is to be shut out from the presence of this God forever, in the torments of hell. What men and women must do, before it is too late, is repent and trust Christ; the alternative is to disobey the gospel.
- D.A. Carson

Good News

The ‘gospel’ is the good news that through Christ the power of God’s kingdom has entered history to renew the whole world. When we believe and rely on Jesus’ work and record (rather than ours) for our relationship to God, that kingdom power comes upon us and begins to work through us.”
- Tim Keller

Packer on the Five Themes Embraced by the Gospel

J. I. Packer:
I formulate the Gospel this way:
it is information issuing in invitation;
it is proclamation issuing in persuasion.
It is an admonitory message embracing five themes.
First, God: the God whom Paul proclaimed to the Athenians in Acts 17, the God of Christian theism.
Second, humankind: made in God’s image but now totally unable to respond to God or do anything right by reason of sin in their moral and spiritual system.
Third, the person and work of Christ: God incarnate, who by dying wrought atonement and who now lives to impart the blessing that flows form his work of atonement.
Fourth, repentance, that is, turning from sin to God, from self-will to Jesus Christ.
And fifthly, new community: a new family, a new pattern of human togetherness which results from the unity of the Lord’s people in the Lord, henceforth to function under the one Father as a family and a fellowship.
J. I. Packer, “The Gospel and the Lord’s Supper,” in Serving the People of God: Collected Shorter Writings of J.I. Packer, 4 vols.  (Carlisle, UK: Paternoster, 1998), 2:44 (emphasis and spacing mine).

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!

I’m sure most of us have heard and sang the song “It is Well with My Soul.”  The third verse always stands out to me, and for some reason was in my head all day after we sang it during Church on Sunday. In case you don’t recall it specifically, here’s the third verse:
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
Regardless of our circumstance, this thought should certainly bring us much joy. What else in our world could matter more to us than that every awful wretched sin we’ve committed is no longer our burden? How could we not praise God for His great grace in swapping our sin with Christ’s righteousness?
What always strikes me about this verse is how the author, Horatio Spafford, was so caught in the bliss of this thought that he could not simply say his sin is nailed to the cross. It’s like when you’re trying to tell a friend about something great that happened to you and your words are racing through all sorts of details before you finally spill it out. Horatio Spafford’s level of excitement and joy over this thought so caused his words to overflow - he could not contain it. He starts to say something about his sin, but must pause to let us know how excited he is about this. He starts again, but must pause to clarify the scope and magnitude of what he’s describing.
What’s even more remarkable is the context in which this was written. Having already lost his only son in 1871 and had his livelihood destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire, Spafford planned to take his wife and four daughters to Europe. A business matter came up and he had to send his family ahead of him while he took care of it. The ship carrying them, the S.S. Ville du Havre, collided with a sailing ship and sank rapidly. All of his daughters died, and his wife sent him a telegram that simply said, “Saved alone.” Spafford was soon after able to follow his wife and meet up with her, but penned “It is Well with My Soul” as his shipped passed near where his daughters died. It’s worth noting that Spafford and his wife eventually moved to Jerusalem where they raised two more children and founded a mission for the poor.
The death of a single child can break a parent and has stressed some marriages to the point of divorce. Men often fall into the deepest of depressions when it seems all that they’ve worked for in a career has been wiped away to nothing. How does a man survive those events, in addition to the deaths of four more children, and pen a song that hold such excited bliss?
Brothers and sisters, only the rapturous love of God demonstrated so lavishly upon us by His grace through the atonement of our sins can produce in a man such steadfast and resilient joy. Only meditation on Christ’s shed blood for our souls can make even the deepest of sorrows caused by this world grow strangely dim.
By Roger Overton

Woman pushed off cliff by monkey sues

A MONKEY has pushed a woman off a cliff.
The woman, 60-year-old Zhou Juchang, made the claim after winding up at the bottom of a seven-metre rockface, fracturing her hip and breaking three ribs.
Now she’s suing her travel agent, who organised her trip into China’s Chengdu Wildlife Park.
The monkey allegedly flew into a rage when the woman refused to hand over the bag of monkey food which her tour guide recommended she buy.
A spokesman for the park said the woman’s mistake was showing fear.
“If you show fear a monkey will bully you,” he told London’s Metro.

Larry Carlton - The B.P. Blues (live from Last Nite album)

Larry Carlton, Terry Trotter, Abraham Laboriel, Alex Acuna. Live at Baked Potatoes (CA), 1986. Nice solo, tasty licks


God Rejoicing

Zephaniah 3:14-17:
“14 Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15 The LORD has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. 16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: ‘Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. 17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing’” (ESV).
On this incredible text, C.H. Spurgeon said:
“I can understand a minister rejoicing over a soul that he has brought to Christ; I can also understand believers rejoicing to see others saved from sin and hell; but what shall I say of the infinitely happy and eternally-blessed God finding, as it were, a new joy in souls redeemed? This is another of those great wonders that cluster around the work of divine grace! … The Lord takes pleasure in them that fear him, imperfect though they be. He sees them as they are to be, and so he rejoices over them, even when they cannot rejoice in themselves. When your face is blurred with tears, your eyes red with weeping, and your heart heavy with sorrow for sin, the great Father is rejoicing over you. The prodigal son wept in his Father’s bosom, but the Father rejoiced over his son. We are questioning, doubting, sorrowing, trembling; and all the while he who sees the end from the beginning knows what will come out of the present disquietude, and therefore rejoices. Let us rise in faith to share the joy of God.” (sermons from 1837, #1990)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Don't Quench The Spirit

The Countess of Huntingdon recalled the funeral service of Rev. Howell Harris in 1773:

"On the day Mr. Harris was interred we had some special seasons of Divine influence both upon converted and unconverted. It was a day never to be forgotten, but I think ought to be remembered with holy wonder and gratitude by all who were present. . . . Though we had enjoyed much of the gracious presence of God in our assemblies before, yet I think I never saw so much at any time as on that day; especially when the Lord's Supper was administered, God poured out his Spirit in a wonderful manner. Many old Christians told me they had never seen so much of the glory of the Lord and the riches of his grace, nor felt so much of the gospel before."

Who wrote that? Hardly a nut. She was upper-class British, 18th-century, Jane Austen's world. A highly structured culture. Everything just so. And in that culture, in a Bible-believing, standard-brand, non-eccentric theological setting, both the converted and the unconverted were receiving an unforgettable outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones asks, "Does our doctrine of the Holy Spirit and his work leave any room for revival either in the individual or in the church, or is it a doctrine which says that we have all received everything we can have of the Spirit at regeneration [being 'born again'], and all we need is to surrender to what we have already? Does our doctrine allow for an outpouring of the Spirit, the 'gale' of the Spirit coming down upon us individually and collectively? . . . Is not the greatest sin among Evangelical people today that of quenching the Spirit?"

The longer I live, the more intensely I long for the end of quenching and the return of outpouring.

Quotes from D. M. Lloyd-Jones, The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors, pages 301-302.

The Sacred Head Of Jesus

"In Passion Week, as I was reading Bishop Wilson on the Lord's Supper, I met with an expression to this effect -- 'that the Jews knew what they did, when they transferred their sin to the head of their offering.' The thought came into my mind, 'What, may I transfer all my guilt to another? Has God provided an Offering for me, that I may lay my sins on His head? Then, God willing, I will not bear them on my own soul one moment longer. Accordingly, I sought to lay my sins upon the sacred head of Jesus."

Charles Simeon, describing his conversion, in H. C. G. Moule, Charles Simeon, pages 25-26.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Whatever the Affliction

Let us pray that we would submit willingly and gladly to whatever condition God sees fit to bring about in our lives. Pray that WHATEVER the affliction, may we be at peace, no, more, that we would have the God who gives peace ... for difficult times will come. It is not a question of if, but of when affliction will come, so let us be ready by looking carefully into Scripture, having a right view that does not manufacture a god of our own choosing. Let us, rather, face reality by drinking the down the full revelation of God.
Remember that God always has a purpose in affliction. We may be shaken in our affliction but God promises that we will be the better for it. To this suffering Christ calls us, that we may follow Him by taking up our cross daily. He will turn our affliction into glory and will bring us from darkness to light. God uses the evil in our lives to bring about good (Rom 8:25-30). All our afflictions are sanctified in Jesus. If we suffer poverty, did not Jesus suffer the same? If we are afflicted, disgraced, cursed, did not Jesus also endure these things? Like Job we pray, "the Lord has given and the Lord has taken away: blessed be His name". If you lack, remember that Jesus takes from us that He might be all in all. We can have no certainty in this world except in the covenant which God has made with us in Christ.

Larry Carlton & Lee Ritenour - Larry's blues

What I Believe

Homer, Plato, Virgil, and the Cross

“What then shall we say if we would restore the medieval bridge from Homer, Plato and Virgil to Christ, the Bible and the church? Shall we say that Christianity is not the only truth? Certainly not! But let us also not say that Christianity is the only truth. Let us say instead that Christianity is the only complete truth. The distinction here is vital. By saying that Christianity is the only complete truth, we leave open the possibility that other philosophies, religions and cultures have hit on certain aspects of the truth. The Christian need not reject the poetry of Homer, the teachings of Plato, or the myths of the pagans as one hundred percent false, as an amalgamation of darkness and lies (as Luther strongly suggests), but may affirm those moments when Plato and Homer leap past their human limitations and catch a glimpse of the true glory of the triune God.
I reject the all-or-nothing, darkness-or-light dualism that Luther at times embraced. But I also reject the modern relativist position that truth is like a hill and there are many ways around it. Yes, truth is like a hill, but the truth that stands atop that hill is Christ and him crucified. To arrive at the truth of Christ, the people of the world have pursued many, many different routes. Some have only scaled the bottom rim of the hill; others have made it halfway. But many have reached the top and experienced the unspeakable joy that comes only when the truth they have sought all their lives is revealed to them. …
If we are to accept these verses [Romans 2:14-15] in a manner that is in any way literal, we must confess that unregenerate pagans have an inborn capacity for grasping light and truth that was not totally depraved by the Fall. Indeed, though the pagan poets and philosophers of Greece and Rome did not have all the answers (they couldn’t, as they lacked the special revelation found only in Jesus), they knew how to ask the right questions—questions that build within the readers of their works a desire to know the higher truths about themselves and their Creator.”
—Louis Markos, From Achilles to Christ: Why Christians Should Read the Pagan Classics (IVP Academic 2007), pp. 13-14

Friday, September 18, 2009

Legalism, have you been there?

Junior Wells - Snatch It Back and Hold It

How Extinction Happens


Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree." Galatians 3:13

"Our most merciful Father, seeing us to be oppressed and overwhelmed with the curse of the law . . . sent his only Son into the world and laid upon him all the sins of all men, saying, 'You be Peter that denier, Paul that persecutor, blasphemer and cruel oppressor, David that adulterer, that sinner who ate the apple in Paradise, that thief who hung upon the cross, and briefly, you be the person who has committed the sins of all men. See therefore that you pay and satisfy for them.'"

Martin Luther, commenting on Galatians 3:13.

Guilt Gone

"Forgiveness transcends finite human reason. The mere thought that one's entire sin account can be utterly eradicated is staggering. Yet it is quite clear that the forgiveness of sins strikes at the very core of human need and experience. It speaks of guilt gone, remorse removed, depression disappearing and emptiness of life eradicated. What power there is in forgiveness! And it all comes abundantly from the gracious hand of God."

Lewis A. Drummond, in The Voice from the Cross, page 18.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

American Vice: Mapping the 7 Deadly Sins

We're gluttons for infographics, and a team at Kansas State just served up a feast: maps of sin created by plotting per-capita stats on things like theft (envy) and STDs (lust). Christian clergy, likely noting the Bible Belt's status as Wrath Central, question the "science." Valid point—or maybe it's just the pride talking.

Average income compared with number of people living below the poverty line.

Total thefts (robbery, burglary, larceny, and grand theft auto) per capita.

Number of violent crimes (murder, assault, and rape) per capita.

Expenditures on art, entertainment, and recreation compared with employment.

Number of fast-food restaurants per capita.

Number of STD cases reported per capita.

Aggregate of the other six offenses—because pride is the root of all sin.

Kansas State University Geography/USACE
Wired Magazine

When Relationships Are Built Around the Truths of the Gospel

Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dennis Johnson, in Counsel from the Cross: Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ (pp. 86-87):
When relationships are built around the truths of the gospel—the truth that we are walking in light even though we are still sinners in need of cleansing by his blood—we can be free from feelings of inferiority and the demanding spirit that is born of pride. We can pursue relationships without fear of being discovered as the sinners we are. This kind of open relationship rests solely on the realities of the gospel. We are more sinful and flawed than we ever dared believe, and so is everyone we know. Because of this, we won’t be surprised by other’s sins. They won’t expect us to be sinless either, so we don’t have to give in to self-condemnation and fear when they see us as we really are. We don’t have to hide or pretend anymore.
The gospel also tells us that we are loved and welcomed without any merit on our part, so we can love and welcome others whose merits we can’t see. We can remember the circumstances under which we have been forgiven, and we can forgive in the same way. We don’t deserve relationship with the Trinity, but it has been given to us. We can seek our relationships with others because we know that we have been sought out by him and that he is carrying us all on his shoulders. (Yes, he is that strong!)
HT: Buzzard Blog

It Is'nt Dead Till I Say So

Blind Willie Johnson - Motherless Children Have A Hard Time

Gallup Poll of Interest: Reasons Americans Support & Oppose Healthcare Reform

Recent polls of interest from the Gallup Organization:
Reasons Americans Support & Oppose Healthcare Reform: Americans who would advise their member of Congress to vote for a healthcare bill are most likely to say it is because people lack health insurance, and those who would advise their member of Congress to vote against a healthcare bill are most likely to cite concerns about government involvement.
The progressives have a point. See what a great job government has done with:
  • US Postal Service
  • Social Security
  • Fannie Mae
  • “War on Poverty”
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Freddie Mac
  • Cash for Clunkers
Yes, the government has a 100% failure rate for running anything in the black.
And now they tell us they can run the entire US Health Care system in the black?

Do those look like the hands of a God who doesn’t care?

“When we lock our eyes on our cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, or disability, self-pity and bitterness can creep in. When we spend our days rehearsing the tragic death of a loved one, we will interpret all life through the darkness of our suffering. How much better when we focus upon Jesus!
‘Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…who for the joy set before him endured the cross.’ The following verse commands us, ‘Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart’ (Hebrews 12:2—3).
However great our suffering, his was far greater. If you feel angry at God, what price would you have him pay for his failure to do more for people facing suffering and evil? Would you inflict capital punishment on him? You’re too late. No matter how bitter we feel toward God, could any of us come up with a punishment worse than what God chose to inflict upon himself?…
If you know Jesus, then the hand holding yours bears the calluses of a carpenter who worked with wood and carried a cross for you. When he opens his hand, you see the gnarled flesh of the nail scars on his wrists. And when you think he doesn’t understand your pain, realize that you don’t understand the extent of his pain. Love him or not, he has proven he loves you.
If you hate suffering, does it make sense to choose eternal suffering when God has already suffered so much to deliver you from it?
In your most troubled moments, when you cry out to God, ‘Why have you let this happen?’ picture the outstretched hands of Christ, forever scarred…for you.
Do those look like the hands of a God who does not care?”
—Randy Alcorn, If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil (Multnomah, 2009), pp. 218—219.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

NFL Players Mentor Troubled Detroit Lions

NFL Players Mentor Troubled Detroit Lions

The Freer Gospels

This is the Codex Washingtonensis known as the Freer Manuscript of the Gospels. Purchased by Charles Lang Freer in Egypt in 1906. This is the third oldest Greek parchment manuscript of the Gospels in the world.

Who Deserves A Congressional Rebuke?


That's Why

"Over half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: 'Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.'

Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: 'Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.'"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 1983

Whose Worthiness?

"In truth our doctrine is no other than that which we have learned at the feet of Christ, namely, that God doth justify the believing man, yet not for the worthiness of his belief but for His worthiness who is believed."

Richard Hooker, "A Learned Discourse of Justification," section 33.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Here's Whats Coming!

Big Mama Thornton with Buddy Guy - You Aint Nothing But A Hound Dog

The Last Enemy

The good news in all of this is that "the last enemy is death." This means that Jesus accomplished everything in his mission on earth for our complete redemption and glorification. "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law." That is the bad news. "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 15:56). Triumph at last outruns, outspends, outstrips tragedy. But it does so at a painful cost.
Death is not a portal to life. Death is not a benign friend, but a dreaded foe. It is not a natural part of life, but the most unnatural part of life you could imagine. But in his death and Resurrection, Jesus crushed the serpent's head, vanquishing the "last enemy" of every believer. This last enemy will one day be overcome for believers in the final resurrection of the dead, but that is because it has already objectively been vanquished in the Resurrection of our Living Head. Look at him and see what the whole harvest will be like in the end! In Christ, the end has already begun. The Head will not live without his body. The shape of the future is already present.
Lazarus was raised, but he died. His body thus raised for a time continued where it left off in its surrender to decay and death. One day, mourners would gather again at Lazarus' tomb, but this time with no expectation of resurrection until the last day. And yet, precisely because of that confidence, precisely because Lazarus' next funeral occurred this side of Easter, they would not mourn that day as those with no hope. After all, word would have reached them by then-perhaps some of them had even been witnesses-of the greater Resurrection of Jesus himself, which would take a stand against death on its own territory, so that those united to him by faith will not remain dead. Their bodies will be raised to worship in God's renewed sanctuary.
Death is still an enemy, not a friend, but it is "the last enemy," and it is already defeated so that now death is not God's judgment upon us for our sin but the temporal effects of our participation in Adam's guilt. And because the guilt and judgment are removed, we can both cry out with our Lord in troubled anger at death and yet also sing with the Apostle, "Where O death is your sting? Where O hell is your victory?" (1 Cor. 15:54-55). What we need again is a church that can sing the blue note in a way that faces the real world honestly and truthfully, recognizing the tragic aspect of life as even more tragic than any nihilist could imagine, while knowing that the one who raised Lazarus is now raised to the right hand of his Father, until all enemies-including death, lie in the rubble beneath his feet.
by Michael Horton

Christ Our Justification

“In the meantime I tell you, we are by the death of Christ freed from all sufferings as they are purely penal, and the effects of the curse, though they spring out of the root; only, sir, you and I know well that we are not freed from pains, afflictions and death itself – which had never been, had they not proceeded from the curse of the law. And so, sir, by the obedience of Christ we are freed from obedience to the law as to justification by the works thereof. We are no more obligated to obey the law in order to justification than we are obligated to undergo the penalties of the law to answer its curse” (Thomson, 145).
By John Owen

Monday, September 14, 2009

Government Economic Help

If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day - Eric Clapton

Who installed that pentatonic scale in me? World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale

Common Grace

“…common grace precedes all that is good and true that we still see in fallen man. The light still shines in the darkness. The Spirit of God lives and works in everything that has been created. Therefore there still remain in man certain traces of the image of God. There is still intellect and reason; all kinds of natural gifts are still present in him. Man still has a feeling and an impression of divinity, a seed of religion. Reason is a priceless gift. Philosophy is an admirable gift from God. Music is also a gift of God. Arts and sciences are good, profitable, and of high value. … Through the doctrine of common grace the Reformed have, on the one hand, maintained the specific and absolute character of the Christian religion, but on the other hand they have been second to none in their appreciation for whatever of the good and beautiful is still being given by God to sinful human beings.”
—Herman Bavinck, De Algemeene Genade (Eerdmans, 1922), p. 17.

A Pall of Acrid Smoke

"The world’s idea that everyone, from childhood up, should be able at all times to succeed in measurable ways, and that it is a great disgrace not to, hangs over the Christian community like a pall of acrid smoke.”

--J.I. Packer, A Passion for Faithfulness: Wisdom From the Book of Nehemiah, p. 206.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Son House - Death Letter Blues

Disingenous Moron

Emergent Village Tries to Reboot

You probably saw the announcement: Emergent Village 2.0 (code name: Village Green: "a generative environment where missional friendships are nourished") is now open for bidness.

Evidently there are still many in the Emergent[ing] movement who hold out the hope that a phoenix will arise from the pyre of that movement's massive failure. The jargon hasn't changed. The priorities are as convoluted as ever. Notice, for example, how the "special letter" includes big categories for "Arts" and "Justice," with no mention whatsoever of Christ, Scripture, or sound doctrine. (I'm prepared to argue that Emergent types generally have no better grasp of—and no more genuine appreciation for—art and justice than they have of sound doctrine, but that's another post.)

It seems all that has really changed is the cast. Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, and Brian McLaren apparently became too volatile to be the movement's main spokespeople and mascots. Their names are conspicuously absent from the "Special Letter About the Future." Don't be fooled by this. The new steering committee is no more sound, no less radical, and (judging from these new announcements) no less skilled in the jargon of pomospeak than their colorful and controversial former "National Coordinator" was.

It's hard to see anything in the "new" direction that is really distinct or significantly different from what Emergent has said and done in the past, but they do a good job of making it sound like the movement really has something huge and revolutionary to look forward to, don't they?
by Phil Johnson

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Health Insurance Salesman

Bob Dylan - It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry

Christ Perfectly Satisfied Divine Justice

"The doctrine for which we contend is that Christ hath so perfectly satisfied divine justice for all our sins, by one offering of himself, and not only for our guilt but also for both temporal and eternal punishment, that henceforth there are no more propitiatory offerings to be made for sin, and that though, for the promotion of their penitence and sanctification, God often chastises his people, yet no satisfaction is to be made by them either in this or a future state of existence."

Francis Turretin, The Atonement of Christ, page 68.

The Heart Of Jesus

"I am gentle and lowly in heart." Matthew 11:29

"Now it is very remarkable that the only passage in the whole New Testament in which the heart of Jesus is distinctly mentioned is the one before us. . . .

The words employed here include, first, a readiness on the part of Christ to pardon all past offenses. 'Come to me,' he says, 'for however much you may have offended in the past, I am meek and easily to be entreated. I am ready to forgive, to forget and cast behind my back all your provocations. I do not say this to cajole you; my very heart says it, for my heart is full of tenderness and compassion for you.'

The words also include a willingness to endure yet further offenses. 'Not only do I forget the past but I am ready to bear with you still, though you should still offend me. I will endure it all. Come to me, although you cannot hope that your future character will be perfect. I will help you to struggle into holiness and be patient with your failures. As frequently as you shall grieve me, so frequently will I forgive you. I am meek in heart, ready to forgive the past and willing to bear with you in the present and in the future.'

Beloved brethren, what a heart Jesus has to receive sinners in this divine manner!"

C. H. Spurgeon, Treasury of the New Testament, I:177-179.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Here Comes The Sun - George Harrison

It Still Is One

The Assurance Of Salvation

The assurance of salvation is not something which is added to the life of faith from without, but something, rather, which blossoms up out of that life of faith itself. Hence, the assurance differs according to the measure of the faith… But all this does not take away from the fact that the saving faith, such as Scripture describes it and the Reformation restored it, is not in its inner nature certainty, and that this certainty becomes stronger in proportion to the extent that the faith becomes stronger. Such faith is not opposed to knowledge, but it is opposed to all doubt whatsoever. Doubt does not come up out of the new man but out of the old; it does not come up out of the Spirit but out of the flesh. The faith says yea and amen to all the promises of God, embraces those promises, and leans upon them. As it does this, and in proportion to the extent that it does so, the refugee confidence of the faith becomes sure confidence, and it gives the believer the freedom to apply all of those promises of God to himself and to appropriate them; the growing confidence becomes a sure confidence that not to others only but to me also the forgiveness of sins, eternal righteousness and salvation have been given of God, out of pure grace, and solely for the merits of Christ.”
Our Reasonable Faith (Eerdmans, 1956). By Herman Bavinck, Page 510-511

Heaven Is A World Of Love

"There, in heaven, this infinite fountain of love -- this eternal Three in One -- is set open without any obstacle to hinder access to it, as it flows forever. There this glorious God is manifested and shines forth in full glory, in beams of love. And there this glorious fountain forever flows forth in streams, yea, in rivers of love and delight, and these rivers swell, as it were, to an ocean of love, in which the souls of the ransomed may bathe with the sweetest enjoyment, and their hearts, as it were, be deluged with love!"

Jonathan Edwards, "Heaven is a world of love," Charity and its Fruits, pages 327-328.

The Presence Of His Majesty

"Mr. Hall, Kinchin, Ingham, Whitefield, Hutchins and my brother Charles were present at our love-feast in Fetter Lane, with about sixty of our brethren. About three in the morning, as we were continuing instant in prayer, the power of God came mightily upon us, insomuch that many cried out for exceeding joy, and many fell to the ground. As soon as we were recovered a little from that awe and amazement at the presence of his Majesty, we broke out with one voice, 'We praise thee, O God, we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.'"

John Wesley, Journal, January 1, 1739

I wonder, How much of God do we really want? How much do I really want?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Religious Souls Need Living Water Too

On John 7:37 [“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink’”], Bonar writes:
“Who are they who need this living water? Not heathens; not profane and irreligious; but Jews; religious Jews; engaged in the worship of God, at one of their most joyful feasts. This is remarkable.
In the fourth chapter it is to the Samaritan that he presents the cup of living water. In the book of the Revelation, it is offered indiscriminately to all, Jew and Gentile. So also in the fifty-fifth of Isaiah. But here it is to the Jew, the religious Jew. He is the thirsty one, he needs living water.
His rites, and feasts, and sacrifices cannot fill him, nor quench his thirst. He has still a deep void within,—an intense thirst, which calls for something more spiritual and divine. It is not then to the idolatrous pagan that the Lord speaks; not merely to the lover of pleasure or lust; the heedless sinner. It is to the men who frequent the sanctuary,—who pray and praise outwardly; who go to the Lord’s table. It is to them He speaks. Perhaps the thirstiest of our race are to be found among our so-called religious men,—and I do not mean the hypocrite or Pharisee,—but those who, with devout conscientiousness, attend to what are called religious duties in all their parts.
They go through the whole round and routine of service, but they are not happy. They are still thirsty and weary. This external religiousness helps to pacify conscience, but it does not make them happy. Sabbath comes after Sabbath, and finds them in their place in the sanctuary, but they are not happy. It is a form or a performance; an empty vessel. They are just where they were. There are multitudes of such in our day; in our churches; at our communion tables, To them Jesus speaks, ‘If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink.’ Duties, ceremonies, and performances cannot make you happy. They are a weariness. They leave you often more thirsty than before. But deal with Jesus, as God’s gift, as the dispenser of God’s gift,—you will find in Him the fountain of living water.”
—Horatius Bonar, Light and Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes (Dust & Ashes, 2002), 2:250—251.