Saturday, January 30, 2010


The Father imposed His wrath due unto, and the Son underwent punishment for, either:
  1. All the sins of all men.
  2. All the sins of some men, or
  3. Some of the sins of all men.
In which case it may be said:
  1. That if the last be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so, none are saved.
  2. That if the second be true, then Christ, in their stead suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the whole world, and this is the truth.
  3. But if the first be the case, why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins?
You answer, "Because of unbelief."
I ask, Is this unbelief a sin, or is it not? If it be, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not. If He did, why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which He died? If He did not, He did not die for all their sins!"

Furry Lewis - When I lay my burden down

He's Good For Something

More full of grace than I of sin

“Only by seeing our sin do we come to see the need for and wonder of grace. But exposing sin is not the same thing as unveiling and applying grace. We must be familiar with and exponents of its multifaceted power, and know how to apply it to a variety of spiritual conditions. Truth to tell, exposing sin is easier than applying grace; for, alas, we are more intimate with the former than we sometimes are with the latter. Therein lies our weakness.”
- Sinclair Ferguson, as quoted in an interview with CJ Mahaney
Of First Importance

Friday, January 29, 2010

Johnny Cash - The Man Comes Around

The Biblical Game Of Self Righteousness

The Pope's Self-Flagellation

The late Pope John Paul II, who has been put on the fast track to sainthood by the Vatican, regularly whipped himself as an act of penance to feel closer to God, and signed a secret document saying that he would step down as pontiff if he became incurably ill, according to a new book.
"Why a Saint?" by Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the Vatican "postulator" in charge of the canonization process, says the Polish-born Pope performed self flagellation as a bishop in Krakow and continued to do so in the Vatican after being elected Pope in 1978.
"In his wardrobe, among his vestments, there hung on a clothes hanger a special belt for trousers which he used as a whip," Monsignor Oder says. He said self flagellation was "an instrument of Christian perfection" emulating the sufferings of Jesus Christ.
He added that in Poland the former Bishop Karol Wojtyla often slept on the bare floor to practice self-denial and asceticism, often disturbing his bed in the morning to pretend he had slept in it and so avoid drawing attention to his act of penitence.
I'm so thankful that Jesus bore my punishment for me and in my place! 
Oh, and please note, the proper term is "flagellate," not "flatulate."  I've actually heard several folks confuse the terms when telling me that the Pope "self-flatulated."  They were a bit perplexed when I said in reply "don't we all do that?"

Love is the Motive, Glory the Goal

“The God of the Bible is the righteous God of holy love. The trouble is, however, that we have become paradoxically the glory and garbage of the universe. Our great need is peace with God, and not just with God but also with one another.
There is no shalom, however, without sacrifice. Peace is made through the blood of the cross. The atoning life, death and vindication of the faithful Son bring shalom by addressing the problem of sin, death the devil and wrath definitively. Eschatologically speaking, the realization of the triune God’s reconciling project will see God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule living God’s way enjoying shalom in God’s holy and loving presence to God’s glory.
The broad notion should humble us at the thought of a righteous God of holy loving purpose who, in love, has never abandoned his wayward creatures but in a plan of rescue has begun to reclaim the created order and will in the end restore creation to himself and to his glory. Love is the motive, glory the goal. The narrow one brings us to Christ and his cross. He is the linchpin of the plan. We are brought to a real Christ, to a real cross, to a real cost.”
—Graham A. Cole, God the Peacemaker: How Atonement Brings Shalom (Downers Grove, Ill: IVP, 2009), 229-230
(HT: Tony Reinke)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why We Need Earthquakes

Without them, the planet couldn't support creatures like us.

A fresh way of looking at the problem of natural evil and suffering comes from Rare Earth, a 2003 book by Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee that traces the myriad conditions required for life to exist on any planet. In a sense, the authors—an eminent paleontologist and an astronomer at the University of Washington in Seattle—are discussing the "anthropic principle," which specifies the degree to which our planet appears fine-tuned for complex life. The concept is often used in Christian apologetics to show that our intelligently designed universe seems to point to an intelligent designer.
Ward and Brownlee ask: Why do natural disasters such as earthquakes, seaquakes, and tsunamis occur? All three are the consequence of plate tectonics, the giant plates that move under the surface of the earth and the ocean floor. Apparently our planet is unique in having plate tectonics. Ward and Brownlee show that without this geological feature, there would be no large mountain ranges or continents.
While natural disasters occasionally wreak havoc, our planet needs plate tectonics to produce the biodiversity that enables complex life to flourish on earth. Without plate tectonics, earth's land would be submerged to a depth of several thousand feet. Fish might survive in such an environment, but not humans.
Plate tectonics also help regulate the earth's climate, preventing the onset of scorching or freezing temperatures that would make mammalian life impossible. In sum, plate tectonics are a necessary prerequisite to human survival on the only planet known to sustain life.
Ehrman and others may not find this convincing. They might ask, "Why didn't God devise a world that didn't require plate tectonics and consequently one that wouldn't have to put up with earthquakes?" In other words, surely God could have made a universe that operated according to a different set of laws.
Ward and Brownlee's answer to this is as simple as it is devastating. Such a world could have produced life, but it surely could not have produced creatures like us. Science tells us that our world has all the necessary conditions for species like Homo sapiens to survive and endure.
Our planet requires oxygen and a warming sun and water in order for us to live here, and we appreciate this, even though we recognize that people can get sunstroke and drown in the ocean. So, too, it seems that plate tectonics are, as Ward and Brownlee put it, a "central requirement for life" as we know it.

Johnny Cash - One From the album: American III

Independents are upset

Politics As Idolatry: Keller Is Correct

"When love of one's people becomes an absolute, it turns into racism.  When love of equality turns into a supreme thing, it can result in hatred and violence toward anyone who has a privileged life.  It is the settled tendency of human societies to turn good political causes into counterfeit gods."
~ Pastor and Author, Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods
"We can look upon our political leaders as "messiahs," our political policies as saving doctrine, and turn our political activism into a kind of religion."
~ Pastor and Author, Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods

"In my estimation, the key to understanding this phenomenon, and by extension, this race, is recognizing the fact that voters, in the aggregate, are irrational."
~ Blogger Tom Girsch, Lean Left
"While the honor is mine, this Senate seat belongs to no one person, no one political party. This is the people's seat"
~ U.S. Senator Scott Brown, Senator From Massachusetts, in his victory speech to the chants of "People's seat!" 
How do you know when political power has become a counterfeit god?
Tim Keller says to look out for two things.  One, fear becomes one of the chief characteristics of life.  One party wins, and those in the other party start to talk about leaving the country because it is going down the tubes.  Hopelessness.  Powerlessness.  Fear.  Two, "political opponents are not considered to be merely mistaken, but to be evil."  Politics becomes about demonizing the other side.
I don't think it takes a PHD in political science to see that both of those red flags are waving.
Tgirsch calls it irrational.  I agree, but for probably a different reason.  I think it is irrational for anyone to view politics as a cure to solving our problems.  I think voters electing a President whose main issue was "change" and "yes we can" was irrational too.  Change to what?  Yes we can what?  Now, we have "people's seat".  Have we become a nation of chanters?
The key to understanding this phenomenon is not that people are irrational insofar as it goes, but to understanding that politics has become a counterfeit god.  We seek salvation from political leaders and political parties and political doctrines.
This misidentifies the human problem.  The problem is not powerlessness.  The problem is rebellion in the human heart.  The problem is arrogance.  The problem is self-worship and self-focus. The problem is an addiction to self, not powerlessness.  Misidentified problem.  Misidentified solution.
Obama cannot save us.  Scott Brown cannot save us.  Democrats cannot save us.  Republicans cannot save us.
Those are counterfeit gods.  They will only disappoint.
There is only one true God.  Salvation comes from Him alone.
Dawn Treader

“Father” is the Christian name for God

“If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all.
For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. “Father” is the Christian name for God. Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption.”
—J.I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: 1993), 201-202

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Johnny Cash- I Won't Back Down

The Doctrine of Inspiration and Authority of Scripture

B.B.Warfield says:
“The Biblical books are called inspired as the Divinely determined products of inspired men; the Biblical writers are called inspired as breathed into by the Holy Spirit, so that the product of their activities transcends human powers and becomes Divinely authoritative. Inspiration is, therefore, usually defined as a supernatural influence exerted on the sacred writers by the Holy Spirit, by virtue of which their writings are given divine truthfulness, and constitute an infallible and sufficient rule of faith and practice.” The biblical term is specifically “theopneustos” (2 Tim 3:16). It does not have the sense “inspire,” but “spire” that is, God-breathed. “What it says of Scripture is, not that it is „breathed into by God,‟ or is the product of the Divine „inbreathing‟ into its human authors, but that it is breathed out by God, „God-breathed,‟ the product of the creative breath of God. In a word, what is declared by this fundamental passage is simply that the Scripture are a Divine product, without any indication of how God has operated in producing them. No term could have been chosen, however, which would have more emphatically asserted the Divine production of Scripture than that which is here employed.”

The Pro Life Generation

The pro-abortionists are worried. Journalist Robert McCartney, one of their number, explains why:
I went to the March for Life rally Friday on the Mall expecting to write about its irrelevance. Isn’t it quaint, I thought, that these abortion protesters show up each year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, even though the decision still stands after 37 years. What’s more, with a Democrat in the White House likely to appoint justices who support abortion rights, surely the Supreme Court isn’t going to overturn Roe in the foreseeable future.

How wrong I was. The antiabortion movement feels it’s gaining strength, even if it’s not yet ready to predict ultimate triumph, and Roe supporters (including me) are justifiably nervous.

As always, we in Washington enjoy an up-close view of the health of various causes because of the city’s role as the nation’s most important setting for political demonstrations. In this case, I was especially struck by the large number of young people among the tens of thousands at the march. It suggests that the battle over abortion will endure for a long time to come.

“We are the pro-life generation,” said signs carried by the crowd, about half its members appearing to be younger than 30. . . .

Activists who support abortion rights conceded that there’s less energy among young people on their side of the debate.

“Unfortunately, I feel my generation is a little complacent,” said Amanda Pelletier, 20, co-director of the abortion rights group at American University. “It just doesn’t seem to be a very hip issue.”
by Dr. Gene Edward Veith
Vitamin Z

Run Over

How to fight the accuser

“When the devil accuses us and says, ‘You are a sinner and therefore damned,’ we should answer, ‘Because you say I am a sinner, I will be righteous and saved.’  ‘No,’ says the devil, ‘you will be damned.’  And I reply, ‘No, for I fly to Christ, who gave himself for my sins.  Satan, you will not prevail against me when you try to terrify me by setting forth the greatness of my sins and try to bring me into heaviness, distrust, despair, hated, contempt and blasphemy against God.  On the contrary, when you say I am a sinner, you give me armor and weapons against yourself, so that with your own sword I may cut your throat and tread you under my feet, for Christ died for sinners. . . . As often as you object that I am a sinner, so often you remind me of the benefit of Christ my Redeemer, on whose shoulders, and not on mine, lie all my sins.  So when you say I am a sinner, you do not terrify me but comfort me immeasurably.’”
Martin Luther, commenting on Galatians 1:4, “. . . the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins.”
Ray Ortlund

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Justification By Faith Defined

The doctrine of justification deals with the question of how God, who is absolutely holy (Ex. 15:11; Lev. 11:44; Ps. 22:3; Isa. 6:3; 1 Pet. 1:15; Rev. 4:8) and who demands ethical perfection in His creatures, can allow men who are guilty of breaking His law into His presence and fellowship. Two problems must be resolved before men who are guilty can have eternal life with God. First, the penalty due for sin must be paid in full. God’s nature and law requires satisfaction for all disobedience. Second, God requires of all men a perfect obedience. Shedd writes: “Whoever justifies the ungodly must lay a ground both for his delivery from hell, and his entrance into heaven. In order to place a transgressor in a situation in which he is dikaios, or right in every respect before the law, it is necessary to fulfill the law for him, both as penalty and precept. Hence the justification of the sinner comprises not only pardon, but a title to the reward of the righteous. The former is specially related to Christ’s passive righteousness, the latter to his active. Christ’s expiatory suffering delivers the believing sinner from the punishment which the law threatens, and Christ’s perfect obedience establishes for him a right to the reward which the law promises.”1 When a person believes in Jesus Christ, God the Father in the heavenly court declares that that person is righteous solely on the basis of Christ’s full satisfaction for sin and perfect obedience to the law.      Justification is not something that occurs in man, nor is it a process. It refers to the legal, judicial and forensic declaration of God. “It is to declare forensically that the demands of the law as a condition of life are fully satisfied with regard to a person, Acts 13:39; Rom. 5:1, 9; 8:30-33; I Cor. 6:11; Gal. 2:16; 3:11.”2 The ground of justification is Christ’s sacrificial death and perfect obedience to the law (i.e., “the righteousness of God,” Rom. 3:21). When a man by faith lays hold of Jesus Christ and His merits, God imputes that person’s guilt for sins past, present and future upon Christ on the cross. God also imputes Christ’s perfect righteousness to that sinner. The Father then declares that man righteous or just in the heavenly court. Because Christ has removed the guilt of that man’s sins past, present, and future legally before God, it is as though that man never committed sin. He is white as snow (Isa. 1:18). His record is perfect. Judicially, he is just as righteous and perfect as Jesus Christ. Since Christ’s perfect obedience is imputed to him, he has eternal life because Christ merited it for him.

Eric Clapton - Blues Rehearsals - "Someday After a While"

The New Standard?

Eugenics by Abortion Is an Abomination to God

This week's sermon: "Born Blind for the Glory God: Eugenics by Abortion Is an Abomination to God"
Haiti happens every day in the world's abortion clinics, where 130,000 human lives are destroyed. In the United States 3,000 die daily, crushed in the earthquake of abortion (more than the 2,976 who died in the 9/11 attacks).
With the advent of widespread prenatal testing availability, a kind of "eugenics by abortion" is growing, as parents kill their disabled offspring at a horrific rate. As Wesley Smith writes, "Americans may heartily cheer participants in the Special Olympics, but we abort some 90 percent of all gestating infants diagnosed with genetic disabilities such as Down Syndrome, dwarfism, and spina bifida."
The Christian Bible has a message to speak: There is both forgiveness for those guilty of abortion and a whole new way of thinking about disability. God is the one who knits together humanity in the womb, and God has his good and perfect designs in every disability.
Jesus shows us that the man born blind in John 9 was disabled for the glory of God, for his own good, and for the good of countless others. Not only did Jesus physically heal him, but then he pursued him, to perform the ultimate healing: opening his spiritual eyes to see the glory of the Son of God.
In every disability and death, Jesus is at work, for his Father's glory and for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
Desiring God

Monday, January 25, 2010

How To Wreck Your Church In Three Weeks

How to wreck your church in three weeks:

Week One:  Walk into church today and think about how long you’ve been a member, how much you’ve sacrificed, how under-appreciated you are.  Take note of every way you’re dissatisfied with your church now.  Take note of every person who displeases you.

Meet for coffee this week with another member and “share your heart.”  Discuss how your church is changing, how you are being left out.  Ask your friend who else in the church has “concerns.”  Agree together that you must “pray about it.”

Week Two:  Send an email to a few other “concerned” members.  Inform them that a groundswell of grievance is surfacing in your church.  Problems have gone unaddressed for too long.  Ask them to keep the matter to themselves “for the sake of the body.”

As complaints come in, form them into a petition to demand an accounting from the leaders of the church.  Circulate the petition quietly.  Gathering support will be easy.  Even happy members can be used if you appeal to their sense of fairness – that your side deserves a hearing.  Be sure to proceed in a way that conforms to your church constitution, so that your petition is procedurally correct.

Week Three:  When the growing moral fervor, ill-defined but powerful, reaches critical mass, confront the elders with your demands.  Inform them of all the woundedness in the church, which leaves you with no choice but to put your petition forward.  Inform them that, for the sake of reconciliation, the concerns of the body must be satisfied.

Whatever happens from this point on, you have won.  You have changed the subject in your church from gospel advance to your own grievances.  To some degree, you will get your way.  Your church will need three or four years for recovery.  But at any future time, you can do it all again.  It only takes three weeks.
Just one question.  Even if you are being wronged, “Why not rather suffer wrong?” (1 Corinthians 6:7).
by Ray Ortlund

Eric Clapton - Blues Rehearsals - "Born Under a Bad Sign"

Pants On The Ground

An Old Kind of Unbelief

How should Christians view God’s storyline of redemption revealed in Scripture? How does our life fit in that plot? What sort of authority does it have over our thinking, decisions, or experiences? Below are two answers to questions like these that could not be more different:
To be a Christian – in the West, at least, since the fifth or sixth century or so – has required one to believe that the Bible presents one very specific story line, a story line by which we assess all of history, all of human experience, all of our own experience. Most of us know the story line implicitly, subconsciously, even though it has never been made explicit for us. We begin our quest for a new kind of Christian faith by questioning this story line.
-Brian McLaren, A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith (forthcoming February 9, 2010)
Does our worship focus on the historical drama of the Triune God? Are we being constantly directed outside of our inner experience and our own felt needs to the real newsmaker in history? Is our corporate or private worship centered on “human will or exertion” or “on God, who has mercy” (Romans 9:16)? Is the main point trying to see how God fits into our existing plotline or to hear God tell us how we fit into his unfolding drama of redemption? Like the Old Testament feasts, the great events celebrated by Christians have to do with God’s mighty acts: the Son becoming flesh (Christmas), the crucifixion (Good Friday) and resurrection (Easter), Christ’s exaltation to the right of the Father (Ascension Day), and the sending of the Spirit (Pentecost). There is no room in the Christian calendar for celebrating our own works.
-Michael Horton, The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World
I’m thankful for  faithful Christian leaders who point to God’s authority in Scripture. To begin by questioning this storyline is not a new kind of Christian faith, but an old kind of unbelief where “everyone does what is right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25).
Gospel Coalition

Needs or masters?

“People do not have needs.  We have masters, lords, gods, be they oneself, other people, valued objects, Satan.  The metaphor of an idolatrous heart and society capture the fact that human motivation bears an automatic relationship to God: Who, other than the true God, is my god?”
David Powlison, “Idols of the Heart and ‘Vanity Fair,’” The Journal of Biblical Counseling 13 (1995): 39.  Italics his.
Ray Ortlund

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Can a nation be saved - Matt Redman

The Way I See It (I Could Be Wrong)

Colts Over Jets (I hope they crush the Jets)
Saints over Vikings (I would't mind the Vikes winning)
Saints over Colts in Superbowl

I would root for either the Saints or the Vikings to win the Super Bowl (crush the AFC)

God’s self-exaltation

“Here is the end of the matter: God is the one being in the universe for whom self-exaltation is not the act of a needy ego, but an act of infinite giving. The reason God seeks our praise is not because he won’t be fully God until he gets it, but that we won’t be happy until we give it.
This is not arrogance. This is grace.
This is not egomania. This is love.”
- John Piper, Is Jesus an Egomaniac?

The Meaning of Brown by Charles Krauthammer

WASHINGTON -- On Jan. 14, five days before the Massachusetts special election, President Obama was in full bring-it-on mode as he rallied House Democrats behind his health care reform. "If Republicans want to campaign against what we've done by standing up for the status quo and for insurance companies over American families and businesses, that is a fight I want to have."
The bravado lasted three days. When Obama campaigned in Boston on Jan. 17 for Obamacare supporter Martha Coakley, not once did he mention the health care bill. When your candidate is sinking, you don't throw her a millstone.
After Coakley's defeat, Obama pretended that the real cause was a generalized anger and frustration "not just because of what's happened in the last year or two years, but what's happened over the last eight years."
Let's get this straight: The antipathy to George W. Bush is so enduring and powerful that ... it just elected a Republican senator in Massachusetts? Why, the man is omnipotent.
And the Democrats are delusional: Scott Brown won by running against Obama not Bush. He won by brilliantly nationalizing the race, running hard against the Obama agenda, most notably Obamacare. Killing it was his No. 1 campaign promise.
Bull's-eye. An astonishing 56 percent of Massachusetts voters, according to Rasmussen, called health care their top issue. In a Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates poll, 78 percent of Brown voters said their vote was intended to stop Obamacare. Only a quarter of all voters in the Rasmussen poll cited the economy as their top issue, nicely refuting the Democratic view that Massachusetts was just the usual anti-incumbent resentment you expect in bad economic times.
Brown ran on a very specific, very clear agenda. Stop health care. Don't Mirandize terrorists. Don't raise taxes; cut them. And no more secret backroom deals with special interests.
To Read The Rest @  Townhall

Don't Feel Sorry for Conan and His $33 Million

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Junior Wells - Hoodoo Man Blues

The Life and Faith of 'Chuck' Star Zac Levi

The star of the hit show gives us a fascinating glimpse into being a Christian in Hollywood.
Step into the house of Zac Levi on any ordinary day and you’re likely to find more than you expected. Peek into the living room and you’ll see three or four people sitting around, tapping away on laptops. In the office, there’s an author writing a script. Walk upstairs and you’ll find an editing facility with a commercial editor hard at work.
Read the rest at Revelant

Forgiveness must go before Sanctification

“A sense of having our sins forgiven is the mainspring and life-blood of love to Christ. The only way to make men holy is to teach and preach free and full forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  The secret of being holy ourselves is to know and feel that Christ has pardoned our sins.  Peace with God is the only root that will bear the fruit of holiness.  Forgiveness must go before sanctification.”
—J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, on Luke 7:36-50.
Of First Importance

Cheer Up: It’s Almost Sunday and God is Sovereign

John Newton in a letter to Rev. Thomas Jones (October 20, 1767): “As to myself, if I were not a Calvinist, I think I should have no more hope of success in preaching to men, than to horses or cows.”

That's the truth. If I thought it all depended on me I would not last, but crash and burn in despair.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Eric Clapton - Blues Rehearsals - "Ain't Nobodys Business"

Sinking Fast

The Way

I conducted  a funeral service today and had an opportunity to proclaim the gospel to a number of people. Jesus told his disciples that he was going to his Father's house to prepare a place for them so they could be with him where he was. And that one day he would come back for them. Thomas struggled to believe and said: "We don't know where you are going and we don't know the way." Jesus answered him: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Jesus is the way. The way is a path from one point to another. Jesus is the way from man's total ruin in sin to the Father. Many people live in confusion of what happens after you die, some don't believe there is an afterlife. But if you believe in Jesus and trust in him you will know the way to the Father's house. There is great peace when you know where you're going after you die. Heaven is a real place as real as any place you know, when someone dies who has trusted in Christ to save them from their sins you know exactly where they are because you know where they went. There are many roads presented as a way to God. The problem with all these roads is that they will never take you to the Father's house. There is only one way and that way is the person of Jesus Christ.

Like An Electric Current

  “Mugged by Ultrasound: Why So Many Abortion Workers Have Turned Pro-Life”    by David Daleiden and Jon Shields, is a gut-wrenching, disturbing, graphic account of the emotional trauma abortion wrecks on those who perform them. For example, in 2008, Dr. Lisa Harris explained what happened while she, 18-weeks pregnant at the time, performed an abortion on an 18-week-old fetus. She felt her own baby kick at the same time she ripped off a fetal leg with her forceps. This prompted a visceral response.
Instantly, tears were streaming from my eyes—without me—meaning my conscious brain—even being aware of what was going on. I felt as if my response had come entirely from my body, bypassing my usual cognitive processing completely. A message seemed to travel from my hand and my uterus to my tear ducts. It was an overwhelming feeling—a brutally visceral response—heartfelt and unmediated by my training or my feminist pro-choice politics. It was one of the more raw moments in my life.
Tragically, Dr. Harris is still in the abortion business.
Paul Jarret is not. He quit after 23 abortions. “As I brought out the rib cage, I looked and saw a tiny, beating heart,” he would recall, reflecting on aborting a 14-week-old fetus. “And when I found the head of the baby, I looked squarely in the face of another human being—a human being that I just killed.” Judith Fetrow and Kathy Spark, both former abortion workers, converted to the pro-life cause after seeing the disposal of fetal remains as medical waste. Daleiden and Shields explain:
Handling fetal remains can be especially difficult in late-term clinics. Until George Tiller was assassinated by a pro-life radical last summer, his clinic in Wichita specialized in third-trimester abortions. To handle the large volume of biological waste Tiller had a crematorium on the premises. One day when hauling a heavy container of fetal waste, Tiller asked his secretary, Luhra Tivis, to assist him. She found the experience devastating. The “most horrible thing,” Tivis later recounted, was that she “could smell those babies burning.” Tivis, a former NOW activist, soon left her secretarial position at the clinic to volunteer for Operation Rescue, a radical pro-life organization.
Many abortion providers have been converted by ultrasound technology. The most famous example is Bernard Nathanson, cofounder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, the original NARAL. By his own reckoning Nathanson performed more than 60,000 abortions, including one on his own child. But over time he began to fear he was involved in a great evil. Ultrasound images pushed him over the edge. “When he finally left his profession for pro-life activism, he produced The Silent Scream (1984), a documentary of an ultrasound abortion that showed the fetus scrambling vainly to escape dismemberment.”
Sadly, countless abortion workers keep on perpetuating the great evil, even if it means suppressing the truth they literally feel in their bones.
Pro-choice advocates like to point out that abortion has existed in all times and places. Yet that observation tends to obscure the radicalism of the present abortion regime in the United States. Until very recently, no one in the history of the world has had the routine job of killing well-developed fetuses quite so up close and personal. It is an experiment that was bound to stir pro-life sentiments even in the hearts of those staunchly devoted to abortion rights.  Ultrasound and D&E [dilation and evacuation] bring workers closer to the beings they destroy. Hern and Corrigan concluded their study by noting that D&E leaves “no possibility of denying an act of destruction.” As they wrote, “It is before one’s eyes. The sensations of dismemberment run through the forceps like an electric current.”
Read the whole thing and pray for abortion workers.
Kevin DeYoung

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Eric Clapton - Blues Rehearsals - "44"

They Still Don't Get The Message

Real Spiritual Joy

The great Dutch Puritan, Wilhelmus a Brakel, defined this spiritual joy as follows:
"This spiritual joy consists in a delightful motion of the soul, generated by the Holy  Spirit in the heart of believers, whereby He convinces them of the felicity (happiness) of their  state, causes them to enjoy the benefits of the covenant of grace, and assures  them of their future felicity (happiness)."
 Note that Brakel's definition directly links this joy to the "benefits of the covenant of grace."  Exposure to God's covenant Word and covenant deeds should yield joy in God's people. 

Two Mistakes in Thinking about the Redeemed Life

Cornelis Plantinga Jr., Beyond Doubt (p. 89):
People tend to make two mistakes when they think about the redeemed life.
The first is to underestimate the sin that remains in us; it’s still there and it can still hurt us.
The second is to underestimate the strength of God’s grace; God is determined to make us new.
As a result, all Christians need to say two things.
We admit that we are redeemed sinners.
But we also say boldly and joyously that we are redeemed sinners.
HT: Tullian

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Put an End To This Health Care Joke Of A Bill

Jesus is the Truth

"Jesus is the Truth. We believe in Him, —not merely in His words. He Himself is Doctor and Doctrine, Revealer and Revelation, the Illuminator and the Light of Men. He is exalted in every word of truth, because He is its sum and substance. He sits above the gospel, like a prince on His own throne. Doctrine is most precious when we see it distilling from His lips and embodied in His person. Sermons [and songs] are valuable in proportion as they speak of Him and point to Him. A Christ-less gospel is no gospel and a Christ-less discourse is the cause of merriment to devils." -C.H. Spurgeon

Eric Clapton - Blues Rehearsals - "Sinner's Prayer"


That precious jewel Christ Jesus

“Faith, if it is to be sure and steadfast, must lay hold upon nothing else but Christ alone, and in the conflict and terrors of conscience it has nothing else to lean on but this precious pearl Christ Jesus. So, he who apprehends Christ by faith, although he be terrified with the law and oppressed with the weight of his sins, yet he may be bold to glory that he is righteous. How? Even by that precious jewel Christ Jesus, whom he possesses by faith.”
—Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians, 99

Pleading God’s promises

“God’s promises were never meant to be thrown aside as waste paper; he intended that they should be used. God’s gold is not miser’s money, but is minted to be traded with. Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see his promises put in circulation; he loves to see his children bring them up to him, and say, Lord, do as thou hast said. We glorify God when we plead his promises.”
- Charles Spurgeon, Morning & Evening, January 15

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Eric Clapton - Blues Rehearsals - "Someday After a While"

The Inability To Face Facts

When Its All Said And Done - A Review of George Carlin's Last Words

I love to read a biography in which an old man, in the waning days of his life, reflects on the lessons he has learned in the seven or eight decades given to him. There is something inspiring about hearing a man reminisce about the past and pass along the wisdom of the years. I hate to read a biography in which an old man, in the waning days of his life, describes a life given over only to his own pleasure. Unfortunately, Last Words, George Carlin’s posthumously-published autobiography, falls squarely into the latter category.
Carlin was, of course, a stand-up comedian, for decades one of the most famous comics and one who is regarded as among the America’s greatest. He filled concert halls, was a regular guest on the most popular television shows, recorded bestselling albums and taped live performances that continue to air today. His name was known around the world and he made himself a wealthy man. By some standards this made him a singularly successful individual.
Yet this is a story of an utterly wasted life. Carlin shows himself to be utterly self-focused, self-centered, self-obsessed. Shaped by his Irish Roman Catholic heritage, he turned quickly against the faith of his childhood and gave himself up to whatever pleasures the world could offer. The decades, the years of his greatest successes, were full of hard living that included a crushing drug addiction, alcoholism and the inevitable physical effects of both. Even when he fell in love he lived life for no higher power or purpose than himself and his own success. He was away from home so much that his wife filled the emptiness with alcohol, and still he did not lessen his workload; he and his wife did drugs and fought viciously in front of their young daughter who soon got into drugs as well, even sharing with her parents; even when his wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he stayed on the road, ending up far away when she slipped into unconsciousness and died.
Not surprisingly, by the end of his life Carlin had succumbed to despair. “I no longer identify with my species. I haven’t for a long time. I identify more with carbon atoms. I don’t feel comfortable or safe on this planet. From the standpoint of my work and peace of mind, the safest thing, the thing that gives me most comfort, is to identify with the atoms and the stars and simply contemplate the folly of my fellow species members. I can divorce myself from the pain of it all. Once, if I identified with individuals I felt pain; if I identified with groups I saw people who repelled me. So now I identify with no one. I have no passion anymore for any of them, victims or perpetrators, Right or Left, women or men.”
In the end, Carlin did not live long enough to finish his memoirs. Someone had to piece together his notes, fill in the relevant details, and send them out to the publisher. He died in 2008 at the age of 71. He went to stand before the God he denied, the God he despised (funny, isn’t it, how you can so despise someone you insist does not exist), the God he made a career out of mocking and belittling.
Some memoirs are written for fans only while others transcend only the most loyal audience. Last Words is definitely for fans only. Profane, loud, over-the-top, this book is an apt reflection of the man himself. A man who was driven by the desire to shock others, this book gives him the last laugh, one last chance to make his audience gasp at his own profanity, his own baseness. But somehow, when read in the context of his life, the jokes no longer seem so funny. By Tim Challies
Verdict: Skip It
10 Million Words

“Get back to your burdens”

“Get back to your burdens” (Exodus 5:4).  That’s what the Pharaoh said to God’s people as they groaned under slavery.  It is the devil’s command.  It is the whip he uses to keep his slaves on the plantation.  It is the kingdom of oppression he is working overtime to build.  It is what we used to accept.  Now we fight.
Christian: “Jesus told me, ‘It is finished.’”  Devil: “You believe that because you’re lazy.  Get back to your burdens.”
Christian: “Jesus told me, it was for freedom that he set me free.”  Devil: “That ‘freedom’ is morally unserious.  Get back to your burdens.”
Christian: “Jesus told me he sympathizes with my weaknesses.”  Devil: “True Christians are always victorious.  Get back to your burdens.”
Christian: “Devil, you don’t sound to me like Jesus.  I’m going to free my mind of every burden you impose, to the glory of my Savior.  Get back to your kennel, devil.”
Ray Ortlund

Monday, January 18, 2010

Blues Before Sunrise - Eric Clapton

Hypocrisy In Action

“First Take the Log Out of Your Own Eye” by John Piper

One other saying of Jesus confirms how he designs mercy as a way of governing our experience of anger. One of the ways that anger expresses itself is in judging others. Jesus gave us a demand in this
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye." (Matt. 7:1-5)
The command not to judge sounds as absolute as the command not to be angry. “Judge not, that you be not judged.” But what follows the command shows us that there is a kind of judging that is bad and a kind of judging that is necessary and good—just like there is good and bad anger. When Jesus says, First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye,” he shows that it is necessary to make judgments about the speck in a brother’s eye. What turns this kind, caring,healing judgment into the judgmentalism that Jesus forbids is the failure to see the log in our own eye. It is the same as the unforgiving servant failing to live in the awareness of the “log-debt” that he had been forgiven (ten thousand talents), so that he could gladly forgive the “speck-debt” of his brother (one hundred denarii). Jesus assumes that when we see the log in our own eye, we know how to remove it—that is, we know how to find forgiveness and help from Jesus. otherwise the delicate procedure of removing the speck from the eye of our brother would not be possible. You can’t do delicate, loving eye surgery with a log hanging out of your eye.
So the point of Jesus’ words about judging are to show us how the anger of judgmentalism can be broken. It is broken by a broken heart. We live in the consciousness of our own great sinfulness and in the awareness that only the mercy of Jesus can take the log out of our eye with forgiveness and healing. This awareness turns angry judgment into patient and loving forbearance and delicate correction. Legitimate anger may remain because we are displeased that eye-specks bedevil people we love. But that anger is not the anger of judgmentalism. Good anger is governed by the experience of mercy.
Excerpt from What Jesus Demands from the World by John Piper
Reformation Theology

The Meaning of All Misery

“The meaning of all misery in the world is that sin is horrific. All natural evil is a statement about the horror of moral evil. If you see a suffering in the world that is unspeakably horrible, let it make you shudder at how unspeakably horrible sin is against an infinitely holy God. The meaning of futility and the meaning of corruption and the meaning of our groaning is that sin — falling short of the glory of God — is ghastly, hideous, repulsive beyond imagination.
Unless you have some sense of the infinite holiness of God and the unspeakable outrage of sin against this God, you will inevitably see the futility and suffering of the universe as an overreaction. But in fact the point of our miseries, our futility, our corruption, our groaning is to teach us the horror of sin. And the preciousness of redemption and hope.”
- John Piper, “Subjected to Futility in Hope, Part 1” (sermon preached at Bethlehem Baptist Church on April 22, 2002)
Of First Importance

Sunday, January 17, 2010


What Were They Thinking

From the “Rules and Precepts Observed at Harvard College”, dated September 26, 1642:

“Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of him (Proverbs 2, 3).”

The Particular Business of Jesus

“Making God know is the particular business of Jesus: making the coming God of Old Testament promise the present God, showing up close and personal (in the flesh!) the character and ways of the Creator. In Jesus of Nazareth, God is brought near, made close, personal, available to his people. In the incarnation God enters a young girl’s womb and comes into our world to begin the long and blood-covered path to rescue and regenerate, to reclaim again all creation, and to fulfill the covenant promise: I will be your God, and you will be my people.”
- Michael D. Williams, Far As the Curse is Found (Phillipsburg, NJ; P & R Publishing, 2005), 10.
Of First Importance

Saturday, January 16, 2010

God Knows - Bob Dylan - Woodstock 1994

Young Adam

He slew the monster in his own castle

“Let us muse upon the fact that Jesus was conducted outside the gates of the city. It was the common place of death. That little rising ground, which perhaps was called Golgotha, the place of a skull, from its somewhat resembling the crown of a man’s skull, was the common place of execution. It was one of Death’s castles; here he stored his gloomiest trophies; he was the grim lord of that stronghold.
Our great hero, the destroyer of Death, bearded the lion in his den, slew the monster in his own castle, and dragged the dragon captive from his own den. Methinks Death thought it a splendid triumph when he saw the Master impaled and bleeding in the dominions of destruction; little did he know that the grave was to be rifled, and himself destroyed, by that crucified Son of man.”
—Charles Spurgeon, “The Procession of Sorrow” (sermon on John 19:16; preached on March 1, 1863)

Enjoy Those 11 Minutes This Weekend

An NFL game is 60 minutes by the rulebook. It takes at least 3 hours on the air. How much of this time involves actual play on the field? A recent study says about 11 minutes.
According to a Wall Street Journal study of four recent broadcasts, and similar estimates by researchers, the average amount of time the ball is in play on the field during an NFL game is about 11 minutes.
In other words, if you tally up everything that happens between the time the ball is snapped and the play is whistled dead by the officials, there’s barely enough time to prepare a hard-boiled egg. In fact, the average telecast devotes 56% more time to showing replays.
So what do the networks do with the other 174 minutes in a typical broadcast? Not surprisingly, commercials take up about an hour. As many as 75 minutes, or about 60% of the total air time, excluding commercials, is spent on shots of players huddling, standing at the line of scrimmage or just generally milling about between snaps. In the four broadcasts The Journal studied, injured players got six more seconds of camera time than celebrating players. While the network announcers showed up on screen for just 30 seconds, shots of the head coaches and referees took up about 7% of the average show.
Americans love football. But there is actually very little of it during a game.
Football—at least the American version—is the rare sport where it’s common for the clock to run for long periods of time while nothing is happening. After a routine play is whistled dead, the clock will continue to run, even as the players are peeling themselves off the turf and limping back to their huddles. The team on offense has a maximum of 40 seconds after one play ends to snap the ball again. A regulation NFL game consists of four quarters of 15 minutes each, but because the typical play only lasts about four seconds, the ratio of inaction to action is approximately 10 to 1.
So enjoy those 660 seconds, that 1/6 of an hour, that 1 moment of action for 10 moments of inaction. But while you are on the couch this weekend try to do something productive during the commercials.
HT: Joe Carter

A Thousand 9/11s in One Day

Charles Krauthammer on the impossibility of rebuilding Haiti:
Haiti is the Job of the New World. It’s not only that it’s the poorest of all the countries in the Americas, but the most ill-governed and the most miserable, literally.
And the extent of the tragedy is almost unimaginable. We heard that the presidential palace is gone, parliament is gone, the U.N. headquarters are gone, and these are presumably the best built structures on the island. . . . So you can imagine what has happened in the slums and shantytowns and the devastation there.
We have heard the estimates. If one of the middling estimates of 100,000 dead is true, that would translate on a per capita basis — it would have the societal effect — in the U.S. [as] the loss, the death, of 3 million Americans — in one day! … That is a thousand 9/11s in one day.
And what that does, it compounds individual tragedy, because it means society — the fabric of society — is ripped: Its institutions — its infrastructure is so destroyed ([together] with the people) that the long range of rebuilding becomes almost impossible, especially in a country that has so little infrastructure and is so dysfunctional normally like Haiti.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Help Hatti

Everything Is Broken - Bob Dylan

The Seven A’s of Confession

From Peacemakers Ministries:
As God opens your eyes to see how you have sinned against others, he simultaneously offers you a way to find freedom from your past wrongs. It is called confession. Many people have never experienced this freedom because they have never learned how to confess their wrongs honestly and unconditionally. Instead, they use words like these: “I’m sorry if I hurt you.” “Let’s just forget the past.” “I suppose I could have done a better job.” “I guess it’s not all your fault.” These token statements rarely trigger genuine forgiveness and reconciliation. If you really want to make peace, ask God to help you breathe grace by humbly and thoroughly admitting your wrongs. One way to do this is to use the Seven A’s.
1. Address everyone involved (All those whom you affected)
2. Avoid if, but, and maybe (Do not try to excuse your wrongs)
3. Admit specifically (Both attitudes and actions)
4. Acknowledge the hurt (Express sorrow for hurting someone)
5. Accept the consequences (Such as making restitution)
6. Alter your behavior (Change your attitudes and actions)
7. Ask for forgiveness
See Matthew 7:3-5; 1 John 1:8-9; Proverbs 28:13.

Christ is Everything

“When you put your trust in Christ, the overpowering attraction of the world is broken. You are a corpse to the world, and the world is a corpse to you. Or to put it positively, you are a ‘new creation’ (Galatians 6:15). The old you is dead. A new you is alive — the you of faith in Christ. And what marks this faith is that it treasures Christ above everything in the world. The power of the world to woo your love away is dead.
Being dead to the world means that every legitimate pleasure in the world becomes a blood-bought evidence of Christ’s love and an occasion of boasting in the cross. When our hearts run back along the beam of blessing to the source in the cross, then the worldliness of the blessing is dead, and Christ crucified is everything.”
- John Piper, The Passion of Jesus Christ (Wheaton, Ill.; Crossway Books, 2004), 85.
Of First Importance

Help For Hatti - Buddy Walker

 I have made many trips to Hatti over the last 30 years and have worked with Pastor Luc and many others. It was Bobby Walker that got me going to Hatti on a regular basis. the following is fron his son Buddy who heads up Missions without Borders. This relief will get into the hands of local Pastors and churches that will distribute it. This is from Buddy:

As many of you are aware, my Father and Mother began working in Haiti almost 30 years ago. Many of your have heard the stories of how Dad would give everything he had, even the shoes on his feet to help the poor in Haiti. When he went home to be with the Lord, I felt a burden to continue the work he had begun with the Haitian leaders. During the last 5 years we have formed partnerships with diverse organizations for the purpose of training leaders, ministering to the poor and building momentum for evangelism and church plantng.
As you listen to the news reports, you will realize how much confusion, disorder and chaos hinders international relief efforts. The best intentions to help the people can create a public riot resulting in even more injury and death.
Together we did a major food relief initiative after the hurricanes of 2008 and all of the distribution was done through local churches. There was no media coverage and no community publicity, just local ministries being provided resources to minister to their communities. This approach provides a double blessing by meeting the physical needs of the people in an orderly way and empowering the church to share The Good News within their communities.
We have begun to make contact with the Haitian pastors and are getting information concerning their families, homes, congregations and buildings. We are coordinating a trip for a small advance team to organize our relief and team efforts.
Ted Lyke, VP of Missins Without Borders and Missions Pastor at Christian Life Fellowship sent this message out earlier today:
By now you know about the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on Tues. Jan 12th. The center of the quake hit very close to Peition-ville, a sub city in Port au Prince, the capital.

We have done much work in that area. We have trained more than 100 leaders through Dynamic Church Planting Int. and last year we did a large Crusade Festival with On the Go Ministries and the Luis Palau Association in Peition-ville. Leaders from Master Builders have done numerous leadership training conferences over the years and Christian Life Fellowship in Cape Coral, FL has organized major food relief and other team efforts. We are connected with a couple of networks of over 100 pastors with churches in Port Au Prince that are in crisis and can use our help.

In the next 1-10 weeks, the most urgent need will be for clean drinking water, food, medical supplies and temporary shelter. This may be our best response. In Nov of 2008, with the help of several other churches and ministries, we were able to pack a 40' shipping container with 285,000 meals and then shipped it to Haiti to distribute to those who where devastated by 4 hurricanes. We would like to ask for your help to do the same thing right now ASAP. The container will weigh 40,000 lbs and it will cost about $1.00 per pound to buy the food, pack it and ship it. When cooked each pound of food will become 3 pounds. A gift of $10-100.00 will really help here.
We also have a resource for water purifiers that can be used to produce several gallons of clean drinking water per day for up to 2 years. The cost for each unit is about $65.00 plus shipping or delivery, so net about $80.00 each. This will keep 100 people alive with water for 1 year. We have a resource for medical supplies, a gift of $300.00 will buy $10,000.00 of key emergency medical supplies pre packaged and ready to take as a checked bag on a plane.
So here is the request. If your heart is moved and you would like to help, the first and fastest way is to donate money. If you would like to do this, you can send it to:

Missions Without Borders
16411 Whistling Pines Rd.
Umatilla, FL 32784

Write "Haiti Relief" in the memo field to dedicate the funds to this specific need. Please pray about what you can give and then respond. The gift will be tax deductible.
Thank you in advance for anything you can do and please keep praying for the people of Haiti.
Missions Without Borders is a 501C-3 not for profit organization. 100% of designated funds are used for the purpose for which they are given and donors receive a tax deductible receipt.
We will keep you informed of opportunities to participate with team relief efforts.
I want to thank you with all my heart for your compassion, giving and willingness to serve.
Follow this link to MWOB

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti in Photos

A collection showing the devastation.
Some reports are suggesting up to half a million may be dead.
Please pray, donate, remember, this is going to take a long time to get help to all who need it
and to see the lives of all affected helped and changed.

Gossip vs. Flattery

R. Kent Hughes:
Gossip involves saying behind a person’s back what you would never say to his or her face.
Flattery means saying to a person’s face what you would never say behind his or her back.
Disciplines of a Godly Man, p. 139
HT: Tony Reinke via James Grant

Jeff Beck at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club 2007 - A Day In The Life

What The Dems Are Struggling With

All things for good

“We know that all things work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
“All the afflictions, and all the temptations, and all the oppressions, and all the oppositions, and all the persecutions which befall a godly man, shall work for his good. Every cross, and every loss, and every disease which befall the holy man, shall work for his good. Every device, every snare, every deceit, every stratagem, and every enterprise of Satan against the holy man, shall work for his good. Every prosperity and every adversity; every storm and every calm; every bitter and every sweet; every cross and every comfort—shall work for the holy man’s good.
When God gives a mercy—that shall work for his good. When God takes away a mercy—that shall work for his good.
O Christian! What though friends and relations frown upon you, what though enemies are plotting and conspiring against you, what though needs, like armed men, are breaking in upon you, what though men rage, and devils roar against you, what though sickness is devastating your family, what though death stands every day at your elbow—yet there is no reason for you to fear nor faint, because all these things shall work for your good!”
—Thomas Brooks, “The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, Holiness, the Only Way to Happiness
Of First Importance

Doug Groothuis Reviews Robert Gelinas Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith

Jazz displays many creative, ennobling, and beautiful elements. Gelinas emphasizes its roots in the blues, syncopation, improvisation, ensemble cooperation, and creative tension—all modes of being that should be applied to the Christian life.

The blues are rooted in the pain of living in a fallen world, but refuse to wallow there. The old slave songs and spirituals lamented a life lived in chains, but transcended the bondage through song itself, and hoped for those chains to unbound one day. The blues roots of jazz give it a gritty sense of hope for a fallen world crying out for redemption. We, too, should see life for what it is, lament the losses, but press on with vision for better things through the power of God today and tomorrow and in the End.

Syncopation is what makes jazz swing. The jazz rhythm emphasizes the off beat, and, as Duke Ellington put it in a song title, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.” To transpose this to the Christian life, syncopating means emphasizing the off-beat, finding novelty, and having “en eye and ear for that which goes unnoticed and unheard in life,” as Gelinas puts it. Jesus syncopated when he saw what others missed and reached out to the socially invisible or ostracized. A jazz-shaped faith does the same thing: it learns how to swing.

Improvisation is also constitutive of jazz. “Improvisation is what allows jazz to exist in a continual state of renewal,” Gelinas notes. A player improvises within the theme of a piece of music, but brings something new and distinctively his or her own to the old. Louis Armstrong went so far as to say, “Jazz is music that’s never played the same way once.” Every jazz solo is an adventure of self-expression that must, nevertheless, harmonize with the self-expression of the other musicians. This collaborative aspect of jazz is what Gelinas calls “life in concert.” Each musician contributes something unique himself or herself, but never in isolation from the larger group. The metaphor from jazz is rich for Christian existence. We must find out own voice (or calling), but never merely for our own sake, but for the sake of the group (the Body of Christ) and before the audience (the listening world of unbelievers).
Robert Gelinas, Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009. 218 pages. $14.99.
Read the whole review at Jazz Notes

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Little Walter - Key to the Highway

Marion Walter Jacobs punches you in the face with his harmonica. Recorded November 1958 Otis Spann- piano Muddy Waters, Luther Tucker- guitars Willie Dixon- bass George Hunter.

No more “. . . or else.”

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.”  Galatians 3:13
What is the curse of the law?  It is the or-else-ness of the law: “Do this, or else.”  Christ took the or-else-ness of the law onto himself at the cross, so that there is no more or-else for anyone in Christ, as God looks upon us now.  Or-else is gone forever from your relationship with God.
“We, being delivered from these everlasting terrors and anguish through Christ, shall enjoy an everlasting and inestimable peace and happiness.”
Martin Luther, commentary on Galatians 3:13.
Ray Ortlund

The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind By Carl Trueman

The day is coming when the cultural intellectual elites of evangelicalism—the institutions and the individuals—will face a tough decision. I see the crisis coming on two separate but intimately connected fronts. The day is coming, and perhaps has already come, when, first, to believe that the Bible is the Word of God, inspired, authoritative, and utterly truthful, will be seen as a sign at best of intellectual suicide, at worst of mental illness; and, second, to articulate any form of opposition to homosexual practice will be seen as the moral equivalent of advocating white supremacy or child abuse. In such times, the choice will be clear, those who hold the Christian line will be obvious, and those who have spent their lives trying to serve both orthodoxy and the academy will find that no amount of intellectual contortionism will save them. Being associated with B. B. Warfield will be the least of their worries.
To read the entire article 9 Marks

So Much For The Most Transparent Administration

The Naked Majesty of the Gospel

“Many good people think that they ought to guard the Gospel, but it is never so safe as when it stands out in its own naked majesty. It needs no covering from us.
When we protect it with provisos, guard it with exceptions and qualify it with observations, it is like David in Saul’s armor—it is hampered and hindered and you may even hear it cry, ‘I cannot go with these.’
Let the Gospel alone and it will save! Qualify it and the salt has lost its savor.”
—Charles Spurgeon, “The Dying Thief in a New Light” (sermon on Luke 23:40-42, preached on August 23, 1885)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Joy In The Lord

"I refuse to be completely serious. I refuse to be so rigorous that I become a pain to the people closest to me. That cannot be the will of God. If I am not under law but under grace, as the Bible says, then I can relax and enjoy life without a single thought that somehow that will jeopardize my standing with God. It is God himself who gave me this life and who explicitly authorizes me to receive it from his hand as a good gift — not an ultimate gift but a good gift — and who settles the question of my acceptability to himself through Christ my Substitute who was perfect for me."

an excuse for procrastination

As G.K. Chesterton once famously said, “If something is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” In other words, the point of absolute perfection never comes. Too often, this is just an excuse for procrastination.

Oscar Peterson - Night Train

Canada's own Oscar Peterson, with Ray Brown on bass and Ed Thigpen on the drums. I have been listening to the CD Night Train and wanted to share this song. Oscar Peterson is one of my favorite Piano players I never get tired of listening to him play.

Faith And the World

The world is artful to entrap,
approaches in fascinating guise,
extends many a gilded bait,
presents many a charming face.
Let my faith scan every painted bauble,
and escape every bewitching snare
in a victory that overcomes all things.
In my duties give me firmness, energy, zeal,
devotion to thy cause,
courage in thy name,
love as a working grace,
and all commensurate with my trust.
Let faith stride forth in giant power,
and love respond with energy in every act.
I often mourn the absence of my beloved Lord
whose smile makes earth a paradise,
whose voice is sweetest music,
whose presence gives all graces strength.
But by unbelief I often keep him outside my door.
Let faith give entrance that he may abide with me forever.
Thy Word is full of promises,
flowers of sweetest fragrance,
fruit of refreshing flavour when culled by faith.
May I be made rich in its riches,
be strong in its power,
be happy in its joy,
abide in its sweetness,
feast on its preciousness,
draw vigour from its manna.
Lord, increase my faith.

-From Valley Of Vision-

One Who is Life Itself

“To the Greeks the ‘logos’ was the purpose or meaning of existence. To the Jews the ‘logos’ was God’s Word — the truth or moral absolutes at the foundation of all reality. In the beginning of his gospel John addresses both world-views when he speaks of a divine ‘Word’ that was the source and foundation of all creation. But then he says something that floods the banks and bursts the boundaries of all human categories. He tells Jews that the truth and self-expression of God has become human. He tells Greeks that the meaning of life and all existence has become human. Therefore, only if you know this human being will you find what you hoped to find in philosophy or even in the God of the Bible. The difference [between any other great figure and Jesus] is the difference between an example of living and one who is the life itself.”
– Charles Williams, quoted by Timothy Keller in Gospel Christianity, Course 1 (Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2003), 49-50.

1-800-wheres Dodd?

No such thing as performance-based Christianity

“From start to finish, the whole Christian life is by grace through faith. A new life in Christ commences with faith, continues by faith, and will be completed through faith. To put this another way, the Gospel is for Christians just as much as it is for non-Christians.
We never advance beyond the good news of the cross and the empty tomb… Therefore, the Christian always looks back to the Gospel and never to the law as the basis for his righteousness before God… There is no such thing as performance-based Christianity… Justification is a doctrine for the whole Christian life from start to finish. It is not simply a doctrine for coming to Christ in the first place… Justification is a doctrine to live by each and every moment.”
- Philip Ryken, Commentary on Galatians, p90-92