Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Son House - Death Letter Blues

"I know that my Redeemer lives" - Job

James Boice was mentor to Philip Ryken and Richard Phillips, both reformation21 bloggers. Continuing in his book, "The Christ of the Empty Tomb," Dr. Boice writes of Job's statement "I know that my Redeemer lives":

"If Job, who lived at the dawn of recorded history, centuries before the time of the Lord Jesus Christ - if Job knew these things, how much more should we know them, we who are aware of Christ's resurrection and have witnessed His power in our lives. Job lived in a dark and misty time, before the dawning of the Lord Jesus Christ, that sun of righteousness. Job lived in an age Before Jesus brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. If he had failed to understand about the resurrection and had failed to believe in it, who could blame him? Nobody. Yet he believed. How much more then should we?

Can you say with Job, "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God"? If so, then live in that assurance. Do not fear death. During the next twelve months death will certainly come for some, but there will also be a resurrection. Besides, Jesus is also coming and if that should happen soon, He will receive us all.

I add one more thought. We believe these truths, yes. But let us not only believe them; let us pass them on so that others may share in this resurrection faith also. What was job's desire after all? It was that his works might be preserved and that his faith in the resurrection might be saved for coming generations. The resurrection hope has come down to us through many centuries of church history. Lit pass to our children and to our children's children until the living Lord Jesus Christ returns in His Glory. Jesus Christ Lives. Hi Lives! Then let us tell others, and let us shout with Job, "I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the he will stand up on the earth"."

It's Sunday school on Tuesday night for 'Lost' devotees

In past seasons, Lost drove fans to dust off their old college philosophy texbooks to learn about concepts like tabula rasa. In its final season, the ABC mystery (tonight, 9 ET) has found religion, and viewers are searching for answers in the Old and New Testaments. USA TODAY engages in Bible study with Chris Seay, author of The Gospel According to Lost (Thomas Nelson).

Question Biblical reference Seay says
Are Jacob and the Man in Black Jacob and Esau, or God and the Devil?

Genesis, Chapters 25-27. Esau was the firstborn son of Abraham's son, Isaac, and his wife, Rebecca. Esau sold his birthright to his twin brother, Jacob, for a bowl of lentil soup. Later, Rebecca helped Jacob, her favorite, pose as Esau to win his dying father's blessing.

"I'm leaning toward Jacob and Esau, especially after 'UnLocke' alluded to his crazy mother. That would be Rebecca, and she showed favoritism toward Jacob. ... And when the Man in Black tells Richard that Jacob stole his body and humanity, he's equating to what (Esau) was naturally entitled to in that culture with his very nature. It's clear that Jacob has an authority over the island that the Man in Black doesn't have. It's a similar kind of tension."

Are the castaways in purgatory or hell?

Matthew 16:13-20. Jesus has a private conversation with Simon Peter and tells the apostle, "You are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." He also warns Peter not to tell anyone else that he is the Christ.

"I'm in the not-purgatory camp. Protestants don't believe in purgatory. You're either forgiven or you're not. Jacob seems to be saying, 'I'm not the Christ figure, but someone is coming to cover it for you.' I think there is a Messiah coming, and it's not Jacob. I connect him more with Peter, to whom Jesus essentially said, 'I'll build my Church on you and my kingdom will prevail all the way to the gates of hell.' I think the cork (in last week's wine bottle) is the gates of hell, quite literally holding hell back."

What passage was Richard Alpert reading in jail, and why is it important?

Luke 4:1-37. Jesus is tempted by the devil during 40 days of prayer and fasting in the desert and returns to Galilee, where he casts a demon out of a man.

"4:37 is prominent in the Sayid possession story line -- can he be liberated? But I think Richard was reading the first part of that passage, where Jesus goes into the desert and spends 40 days fasting and Satan comes to him and tempts him. It also goes back to the garden of good and evil. And the Man in Black and Richard spoke in a garden-like setting."
Could Richard be a stand-in for Joseph?

Genesis, Chapters 37-50. Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob, is sold into slavery by his brothers and sent to Egypt, where his ability to interpret the Pharaoh's dreams propels him to a powerful position as an adviser. While he is in Egypt, his youngest brother, Benjamin, helps take care of the family's affairs.

"Richard was said to be wearing eyeliner, which was common for the cabinet members of the Pharaoh. There was also an obvious obsession with youth. I think Richard's never aging has something to do with this Egyptian story."

Speaking of Egypt, is the island's giant statue Sobek or Taweret?

No biblical citation.

"I think it's Taweret (the Egyptian goddess of fertility and childbirth). Taweret meant fertility to the Egyptians, but to Hebrews, it was eating their children. Fertility issues have been so important on Lost. The statue resembles Taweret more than Sobek (the Egyptian crocodile god, who was said to be her consort). It's also part of what makes Aaron (one of the rare island births) unique."

What is the biblical significance behind Aaron's name?

Exodus, 4:27 through Numbers 20:22-29. Aaron helps his brother Moses bring about the plagues, serves as the first high priest of the Israelites and works as an intermediary between them and the Pharaoh. But both brothers become impatient in their last year in the desert and are forbidden from entering Canaan.

"Lost's Aaron seems to come to the story much like Moses -- the one child, uniquely saved in a tragic situation, and thus is prepared to be the one to help liberate God's people. If I were guessing on what the finale is going to center on, I would be guessing on a very Aaron-centric episode."

Top 20 AFI Film Quotes

1 Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. GONE WITH THE WIND 1939
2 I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse. THE GODFATHER,  1972
3 You don't understand! I coulda had class. I
coulda been a contender. I could've been
somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I
4 Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas
anymore.  WIZARD OF OZ, THE 1939
5 Here's looking at you, kid.   CASABLANCA 1942
6 Go ahead, make my day.   SUDDEN IMPACT 1983
7 All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup. SUNSET BLVD. 1950
8 May the Force be with you.   STAR WARS 1977
9 Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy
night.  ALL ABOUT EVE 1950
10 You talking to me?   TAXI DRIVER 1976
11 What we've got here is failure to
communicate.  COOL HAND LUKE 1967
12 I love the smell of napalm in the morning. APOCALYPSE NOW 1979
13 Love means never having to say you're sorry. LOVE STORY 1970
14 The stuff that dreams are made of. MALTESE FALCON, THE 1941
15 E.T. phone home.  E.T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL 1982
16 They call me Mister Tibbs!  IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT 1967
17 Rosebud. CITIZEN KANE 1941
18 Made it, Ma! Top of the world! WHITE HEAT 1949
19 I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take
this anymore! NETWORK 1976
20 Louis, I think this is the beginning of a
beautiful friendship. CASABLANCA 1942
For the entire list AFI'S 10 Top 10

Great Quotes In History

LOST, God, and the Justice/Grace Problem

Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 12:42 PM
While it’s still unclear how LOST will ultimately end up, some recent developments seem to provide a good illustration of one way people have chosen to resolve the problem that has plagued humanity throughout history: Deep down, we know we deserve justice from God, but we want grace. How can we who know we are guilty get mercy from a perfectly good and just God?
Justice and grace seem to be irreconcilable. We want God to be good. But if we deserve punishment, then for God to be truly good and just, He must punish. We long for grace. But for God to show us grace it would seem He must violate perfect justice, and therefore He would not be truly good.
One way to resolve this is to split God into two and reject one half.
We love a god of mercy, but fear a god of justice. Therefore, deny His justice and suddenly God loves us no matter what, and it doesn’t matter what we do. There is no justice to face. But is this a good god? Is a god who doesn’t right wrongs, who ignores evil and sweeps it under the rug, who tells you, “Hey, just learn to make your own kind of music–it’s all good,” is that a god worthy of our respect? Justice is real and good, so a god who allows evil and injustice to remain is less than good.
Then there are those who grasp the idea of God’s perfect holiness and the goodness of destroying evil, and so they despair of mercy and live in fear. These people hang on to God’s righteousness and reject the possibility of grace.
God’s answer to this problem is beyond brilliant:
But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
God did not lay aside His good and perfect desire to completely wipe out all evil, and yet neither did He lay aside His grace–He became both just and justifier, righteous judge and gracious redeemer. He satisfied His perfect justice and upheld His righteousness by demonstrating His wrath against evil on the cross. Now grace is freely given because it’s no longer in conflict with justice. Rather, it’s because of the justice fulfilled through Jesus’ willing sacrifice that the full beauty and power of grace is revealed, for we see the real price of it.
This is the true, complete God. The true story is not one where justice and grace are forever at war with each other, but one of redemption through a justice-satisfying, grace-enabling, costly sacrifice by a good judge who has the right and authority to convict.
This is the Gospel, yet I’ve found that many people who hear the Christian story are only able to hear the part about the perfect judge who they know will destroy them when all wrongs are punished in the end. They can’t see past God’s righteous wrath to the cross. And people who recognize their own guilt and know nothing of the cross will either acknowledge God’s unbending justice and hate Him, or deny His justice and live with a morally weak god.
This is what seems to be playing out on LOST (spoilers ahead). The writers would like to embrace grace, as they did so powerfully in the episode “Dr. Linus,” but at the same time deny the goodness of justice by associating judgment with the apparently devilish Man in Black. They can’t see that by denying the value of judgment they remove all power from grace, making it weak and meaningless. For if “God” wants us to make our own way morally, and does not stop evil, then there is no guilt to be released from, no grace needed. It’s just to be expected that someone would say, “Eh, your lying, manipulation, and murder is no big deal. Let’s just move on.” That is neither good nor powerful.
The creators of LOST can’t see a way for righteousness and justice to be truly good and desirable at the same time that grace is possible, so they jettison judgment in favor of grace (or so it seems for now). Without a cross by which justice can be done and grace given, they must split God into two, putting His grace into Jacob and His condemnation of evil into the manipulative Man in Black. And so it becomes Jacob vs. Man in Black, grace vs. judgment, “Jesus” vs. scary “Old Testament God.” And in this way, they lose both justice and grace.
First Things

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Don't Be Quick To Judge

I will not judge a person to be spiritually dead whom I have judged formerly to have had spiritual life, though I see him at present in a swoon (faint)as to all evidences of the spiritual life. And the reason why I will not judge him so is this -- because if you judge a person dead, you neglect him, you leave him; but if you judge him in a swoon,(faint) though never so dangerous, you use all means for the retrieving of his life.

John Owen
Buy this book  - Overcoming Sin and Temptation

AIN'T NO GRAVE (Can Hold My Body Down) Johnny Cash

                                   American VI: Ain't No Grave

God loves me anyway

 The great redemptive act that freed them from their sins (Rev 1:5) and established their right to reign as priest and kings (Rev. 5:9) is also what gives them authority over Satan and enables them to overcome Satan and all of his accusations (Rev. 12:11). Satan accuses Christians day and night. It is not just that he will work on our conscience to make us feel as dirty, guilty, defeated, destroyed, weak, and ugly as he possibly can; it is something worse: his entire ploy in the past is to accuse us before God day and night, bringing charges against us that we know we can never answer before the majesty of God’s holiness. What can we say in response? Will our defense be, ‘Oh, I’m not that bad!’? You will never beat Satan that way. Never. What you must say is, ‘Satan, I’m even worse than you think, but God loves me anyway. He has accepted me because of the blood of the Lamb.’ —D.A. Carson (Scandalous, pp. 98-99)
Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (RE: Lit)

Health premiums could rise 17 pct for young adults

CHICAGO — Under the health care overhaul, young adults who buy their own insurance will carry a heavier burden of the medical costs of older Americans — a shift expected to raise insurance premiums for young people when the plan takes full effect.
Beginning in 2014, most Americans will be required to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. That's when premiums for young adults seeking coverage on the individual market would likely climb by 17 percent on average, or roughly $42 a month, according to an analysis of the plan conducted for The Associated Press. The analysis did not factor in tax credits to help offset the increase.
The higher costs will pinch many people in their 20s and early 30s who are struggling to start or advance their careers with the highest unemployment rate in 26 years.
Associated Press
More proof that morons run the country

Get Your Toyota Healed!

Wisdom, Complexity, and Chilling the Heck Out

Those who are wise understand that when it comes to moral exhortation, one size doesn’t always fit all. The same piece of advice can be good or bad depending on the person and the situation.
Think, for example, how best to respond to belligerent nonsense. On the one hand, you should ignore fools full of such folly. If you try to answer them you’ll just end up looking foolish too (Proverbs 26:4). But on the other hand, go ahead and answer a fool. Otherwise he’ll continue in his smug stupidity (Proverbs 26:5). Sometimes fools should be ignored. Other times they should be answered. The wise man can discern which response fits each situation.
Similarly, the same exhortation can be wisdom for some people and foolishness for others. For example, Jesus instructs any who would be his disciple to “hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life” (Luke 14:26). Is this good advice or bad advice? Well, Jesus said it so we can’t say it’s bad advice. But it some situation it certainly could be. If you counsel a rebellious teen or a self-mutilating young woman with Luke 14:26 you’re probably giving bad advice. This is not because Jesus’ words are untrue. It’s just not what they need to hear at the moment. But on the other hand, if you are part of the gawking crowd, more interested in being entertained by Jesus than following him, then Luke 14:26 is precisely the word for you.
Which brings me to Jared Wilson’s comments from January which created quite the buzz on Justin Taylor’s blog over the weekend.
Yes, people watch too much TV and play too many video games and spend too much time on the Internet and what-have-you. But the proper response to our media over-saturation is not a rigorous attention to the explicitly “spiritual” in every margin of life. Be a Christian, not an ascetic. Don’t be lazy, but realize that Jesus Christ did not die and rise for you so that you would stress out about whether you’re being spiritual enough. So take a nap. Watch some television. The gospel frees you to chill the heck out.
Seven score and ten comments later, what’s left to say about this simple paragraph? Not much, except to remind folks that what Jared says is surely good advice for many people and bad advice for many others. Of course, the slacker Christian addicted to the Gilmore Girls and Halo 3 (this is a remarkably diverse slacker) will not do well to receive Jared’s advice. But given Jared’s larger body of work, not to mention Justin’s obvious appreciation for John Piper, it’s safe to assume neither of these guys are encouraging a mindless binge of media saturation. In fact, not only is it safe to assume this, considering the source, the caveats and the context, it’s uncharitable to assume otherwise.
The fact is some Christians do need to chill the heck out. There is such a thing as pathological seriousness. It is possible to be too intense. Young Christians, especially when they are getting meaty theology and God-centeredness for the first time, can be prone to manic bouts of self-flagellation, spurts of judgmentalism, and unhealthy hyper-watchfulness. I know because there have been times in my life when I’ve been prone to all three.
Of course,young Christians are prone to laziness too. And I suppose they might go off the deep end after reading Jared’s post. But if that paragraph ruins their spiritual lives, they were probably eager to be ruined anyway. Likewise, any teenagers in the crowd listening to Luke 14:26 who took Jesus to mean “Be a jerk to you mom” were no doubt jerks all on their own already.
I’m not arguing for careless exhortations, nor do I espouse moral relativism of any kind. But discernment is not the same as selling out. If you don’t need to chill the heck out, don’t. But some people do. And if you don’t think any Christians are wound too tight or introspective in unhealthy ways, then I’m concerned for you. Just like I’d be concerned if you thought the gospel was essentially about taking it easy.
It feels safer at times and more heroic to be unrelentingly consistent in every situation with every individual. But in reality, maintaining gospel consistency means we understand that the same piece of advice is sometimes wise and sometimes foolish. The hard sayings, C.S. Lewis observed, are beneficial only to those who find them hard. So if chilling the heck out feels like more of the same for you, go read Don’t Waste Your Life (a book I highly recommend). But if some down time feels a bit naughty, you may need to go on a long walk, play Settlers of Catan, or even watch the Final Four.
And by the way, if you do the latter, be sure to root for the Spartans.
Kevin DeYoung

Monday, March 29, 2010

Loose Lips Biden

Stevie Ray Vaughan - "The Sky is Crying" - Live in Iowa 1987

Some Things Don't Change

Thinking With Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Another apologetic based on the human predicament may be found in the magnificent novels of the great Russian writer of the last century Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-81). (May I add that I think the obsession of contemporary evangelicals with the writings of authors like C. S. Lewis to the neglect of writers like Dostoyevsky is a great shame? Dostoyevsky is a far, far grander writer.) The problem that tortured Dostoyevsky was the problem of evil: How can a good and loving God exist when the world is filled with so much suffering and evil? Dostoyevsky presented this problem in his works so persuasively, so poignantly, that certain passages of his, notably “The Grand Inquisitor” section from his Brothers Karamazov, are often reprinted in anthologies as classic statements of the problem of evil. As a result, some people are under the impression that Dostoyevsky was himself an atheist and that the viewpoint of the Grand Inquisitor is his own.
Actually, he sought to carry through a two-pronged defense of theism in the face of the problem of evil. Positively, he argued that innocent suffering may perfect character and bring one into a closer relation with God. Negatively, he tried to show that if the existence of God is denied, then one is landed in complete moral relativism, so that no act, regardless of how dreadful or heinous, can be condemned by the atheist. To live consistently with such a view of life is unthinkable and impossible. Hence, atheism is destructive of life and ends logically in suicide.
Dostoyevsky recognizes that this constitutes no positive proof of Christianity. Indeed, he rejects that there could be such. Men demand of Christ that he furnish them “bread and circuses,” but he refuses to do so. The decision to follow Christ must be made in loneliness and anxiety. Each person must face for himself the anguish of a world without God and in the solitude of his own heart give himself to God in faith.

Calvinism in the Christian Science Monitor

Josh Burek from the Christian Science Monitor has written a lengthy, even-handed article on the comeback of Calvinism. The article’s subtitle gives the gist: “In America’s Christian faith, a surprising comeback of rock-ribbed Calvinism is challenging the Jesus-is-your-buddy gospel of modern evangelism.”
Like many previous exposes on the Reformed resurgence, this one is part history, part human interest story, and part theological analysis. This particular article looks in detail at Mark Dever and Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C.
As morning light filters into a fourth-floor room on a Sunday, students huddle on tiered seats, listening to a lecture on substitutionary atonement. The teacher poses a tough question, but a hand shoots into the air, eager to answer with a recitation of the week’s memory verse from I Peter 3:18: “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”
Scholars and seminarians call this systematic theology. Kindergartners at CHBC just call it Sunday school.
Their parents are downstairs, absorbing seminars, prayers, and a Scripture-saturated sermon that add up to five hours of worship over the day. Just before noon, the adults jot notes as they listen to an hour-long sermon on II Samuel 5-9. These chapters cover King David’s glorious reign over Israel, but Dever doesn’t skip the tough verses, such as when God strikes Uzzah dead for trying to steady the ark of the covenant.
“Friends, have we sinned like Uzzah?” he asks.
Such statements are meant to prick the hearts of his listeners. Yet he often follows up the hard questions with reassuring comments like: “You and I should not draw a breath today, without living for the praise of God’s glory.”
Don’t read the article to feel important (isn’t that the opposite of the theological message we proclaim?!). But read it to hear how others describe the New Calvinism and, more importantly, to learn more about a very good church.
Kevin DeYoung


". . . we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel."
-- 1 Thessalonians 2:4

While most self-esteem is idolatry, I think many Christians are walking around joyless and timid because they don't realize the wonder of the gospel confidence in knowing that God approves of them in Christ. In Jesus, sin is forgiven, past is forgotten, religion is fulfilled, and eternity is secure.

If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he has been raised from the dead, God looks upon you with the approval he has for that Son. Do you know how fantastic that is? I almost didn't write it because it sounds so heretical! Jesus became your sin so that you could become his righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). There is no more astounding fact in the history of mankind than that.

God may swipe the card of any of his children at any time, be they happy or sad, victorious or defeated, confident or depressed, and no matter how many charges we have made on it, no matter how many times we have tested debt with it, the report will return every time without fail: APPROVED.

“Christ’s righteousness is so imputed to believers that their justification is not merely the act of a sovereign dispensing with law but the act of a judge declaring the law to be satisfied.”
-- Charles Hodge
Gospel Driven Church

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Muddy Waters - Caldonia - Live at the Rockpalast 1978

What wonder

"Such are we in the sight of God the Father as is the very Son of God himself. Let it be counted as folly or frenzy or furry whatsoever, this is our comfort, this is our wisdom we care for no knowledge in the world but this. That we have sinned and God has suffered, that God has made himself the sin of man that men were made the righteousness of God. What wonder what mystery in this appointment shine. My breaches of the law are his and his obedience is mine."
Richard Hooker

Think You Know Evangelism?

Palm Sunday

Jesus, at the Mount of Olives, sends two disciples to secure a donkey and a colt; makes his “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem; weeps over Jerusalem

Matthew 21:1-11
Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!”
And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Muddy Waters - All Aboard - From Fathers and Sons

Fathers and Sons

The Jericho road and health care

Eric Clapton: Groaning The Blues

Eric gives us a fine version of this Otis Rush classic from an abandoned documentary 'Nothin' But The Blues' by Martin Scorsese. Blues for a Saturday

All good things secured by Christ on The Cross

“Everything that we know and appreciate and praise God for in all Christian experience both in this life and in the life to come springs from this bloody cross.
Do we have the gift of the Spirit? Secured by Christ on the cross.
Do we enjoy the fellowship of saints? Secured by Christ on the cross.
Does he give us comfort in life and death? Secured by Christ on the cross.
Does he watch over us faithfully, providentially, graciously, and covenantally? Secured by Christ on the cross.
Do we have hope of a heaven to come? Secured by Christ on the cross.
Do we anticipate resurrection bodies on the last day? Secured by Christ on the cross.
Is there a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness? Secured by Christ on the cross.
Do we now enjoy new identities, so that we are no longer to see ourselves as nothing but failures, moral pariahs, disappointments to our parents—but deeply loved, blood-bought, human beings, redeemed by Christ, declared just by God himself, owing to the fact that God himself presented his Son Jesus as the propitiation for our sins? All this is secured by Christ on the cross and granted to those who have faith in him.”
—D.A. Carson, Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (RE: Lit)

Seeing What Jesus Has Done

“How can we break our heart’s fixation on doing ’some great thing’ in order to heal ourselves of our sense of inadequacy, in order to give our lives meaning? Only when we see what Jesus, our great Suffering Servant, has done for us will we finally understand why God’s salvation does not require us to do ’some great thing.’ We don’t have to do it, because Jesus has. . . . Jesus did it all for us, and he loves us — that is how we know our existence is justified. When we believe in what he accomplished for us with our minds, and when we are moved by what he did for us in our hearts, it begins to kill off the addiction, the need for success at all costs.”
- Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods (New York, NY: Dutton, 2009), 93-94.
Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters

Friday, March 26, 2010

John Mayall With Eric Clapton - Blues Breakers - All Your Love

Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton

The Only Hope For LOST People by Nancy Guthrie

Though my husband and I are still hanging on to see where the television show LOST eventually takes us, we make no claims to understand what is happening week to week. But clearly as the series is coming to and end, there is a struggle between good and evil, life and death, and questions about who controls history.
In this week’s episode, a character who accidentally killed a man bowed before a priest before being put to death. But the priest refused to absolve him of his sin.
“There must be some way to earn forgiveness,” he said.
This scene captures the desperate cry of all those who have done wrong. “There must be something I can do! There must be some way I can earn the pardon of God not only for what I’ve done, but for who I am!”
Perhaps the answer in the gospel might seem, at first, as harsh as that of the priest in the drama who says there is not enough time to do penance. Because the gospel says, “No, there is no way you can earn forgiveness. Your debt is impossible to pay.” But into this hopeless situation Jesus steps in and says, “I will pay. I will earn your forgiveness by my own sinless life and through my own sacrificial death. I will provide for you the forgiveness you do not deserve and cannot earn.”
I don’t know if the writers of LOST have any sense of what it means to truly be lost, or if the people on the island will get to go home. But I know that the gospel speaks directly to all of us who find that our sin has taken us far away from God. Our hope is not in finding our own way back. Left on our own, we not only cannot find our way back, we have no desire to come back. Left on our own we would sink deeper and deeper into our sin and be lost forever. Our only hope is that the Good Shepherd comes to find us, plucks us out of danger, and carries us on his shoulders into the safety of his fold.
This is exactly what Jesus came to do. He came “to seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10). He came on a seeking and saving mission, to bring back to God all of those living in rebellion and unbelief—people going their own way. And when he finds one of his lost sheep, he places that sheep on his strong shoulders and carries it home (Luke 15:4-7).
Gospel Coalition

Wrestling with an Angel - Lessons in the life of a father learned through the struggles of his disabled son.

One busy Saturday afternoon I was patrolling the local mall parking lot in my police cruiser. It was warm, so I had my windows down enjoying the fall air. As I drove though the lot I heard a loud piercing cry echoing like a sound bite from a horror movie.
At first I thought it was someone just playing around, and then I heard it again, and again. I began looking around the parking lot for someone being disemboweled because that was the sound I imagined would come with being ripped apart. Not knowing where it was coming from or what was happening; I called 911 on my radio and reported a “disturbance” in the parking lot.

As I rounded the next corner I found the source of the commotion. There in the middle of the parking lot sat a full grown man with his socks and shoes off hitting himself in the face and screaming uncontrollably. Hovering over him was an elderly gentleman trying his best to collect the socks and shoes and get him on his feet again.
Read the rest its well worth it at .sheepdogger  blog

What The New Health Care Bill Really Gives You

God is satisfied

“Christ’s righteousness is so imputed to believers that their justification is not merely the act of a sovereign dispensing with law but the act of a judge declaring the law to be satisfied.”
Charles Hodge, quoted in James Buchanan, The Doctrine of Justification (Edinburgh, 1984), page 410.
Ray Ortlund

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Simplicity of God

“We all believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths,” says the Belgic Confession (1561), “that there is a single and simple spiritual being, whom we call God” (Article 1).
God is simple.
This is an important truth few Christians have thought about. By “simple” I don’t mean God is dim-witted. Nor do I mean that God is easy to understand. Simple, as a divine attribute, is the opposite of composite. The simplicity of God means God is not made up of goodness, mercy, justice, and power. He is goodness, mercy, justice, and power. Every attribute of God is identical with his essence.
So you cannot say love is more central to God than sovereignty, or vice-versa. Christians make this mistake all the time. You’ll hear people say, “God may have justice or wrath, but he is love.” The implication: love is more central to the nature of God. But God is a simple being, not a composite being. So he is righteousness in the same way he is love.
Herman Bavinck explains:
The simplicity is of great importance, nevertheless, for our understanding of God. It is not only taught in Scripture (where God is called “light,” “life,” and “love”) but also automatically follows from the idea of God and is necessarily implied in other attributes. Simplicity here is the antonym of “compounded.” If God is composed of parts, like a body, or composed of genus (class) and differentiae (attributes of different species belonging to the same genus), substance and accidents, matter and form, potentiality and actuality, essence and existence, then his perfection, oneness, independence, and immutability cannot be maintained. Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 2, 176.
In other words, the simplicity of God not only prevents us from ranking certain attributes higher than others, it allows God to have “a distinct and infinite life of his own within himself” (177). He is not an abstract Absolute Idea who happens to have love, wisdom, and holiness, as if we first conceive of a being called God and then relate qualities to him. Rather, God in his very essence, within himself and by himself, is love, wisdom, and holiness. God is whatever he has, for he has nothing that he is not.
So remember, “God is simple.” His attributes do not stick to him; he is what they are.
Kevin DeYoung

Smokestack Lightning - The Yardbirds with Eric Clapton

Live! Blueswailing July '64

ECONOMICS IN ONE LESSON by Henry Hazlitt Chapter II, "The Broken Window"

A young hoodlum, say, heaves a brick through the window of a baker’s shop.  The shopkeeper runs out furious, but the boy is gone.  A crowd gathers, and begins to stare with quiet satisfaction at the gaping hole in the window and the shattered glass over the bread and pies.  After a while the crowd feels the need for philosophic reflection.  And several of its members are almost certain to remind each other or the baker that, after all, the misfortune has its bright side.  It will make business for some glazier.  As they begin to think of this they elaborate upon it.  How much does a new plate glass window cost?  Two hundred and fifty dollars?  That will be quite a sun.  After all, if windows were never broken, what would happen to the glass business?  Then, of course, the thing is endless.  The glazier will have $250 more to spend with other merchants, and these in turn will have $250 more to spend with still other merchants, and so ad infinitum.  The smashed window will go on providing money and employment in ever-widening circles.  The logical conclusion from all this would be, if the crowd drew it, that the little hoodlum who threw the brick, far from being a public menace, was a public benefactor. 
   Now let us take another look.   The crowd is at least right in its first conclusion.  This little act of vandalism will in the first instance mean more business for some glazier.  The glazier will be no more unhappy to learn of the incident than an undertaker to learn of a death.  But the shopkeeper will be out $250 that he was planning to spend for a new suit.  Because he has had to replace the window, he will have to go without the suit (or some equivalent need or luxury).  Instead of having a window and $250 he now has merely a window.  Or, as he was planning to buy the suit that very afternoon, instead of having both a window and a suit he must be content with the window and no suit.  If we think of him as part of the community, the community has lost a new suit that might otherwise have come into being, and is just that much poorer. 
   The glazier’s gain of business, in short, is merely the tailor’s loss of business.  No new “employment” has been added.  The people in the crowd were thinking only of two parties to the transaction, the baker and the glazier.  They had forgotten the potential third party involved, the tailor.  They forgot him precisely because he will not now enter the scene.  They will see the new window in the next day or two.  They will never see the extra suit, precisely because it will never be made.  They see only what is immediately visible to the eye.*

-- excerpted from Chapter II of Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics

Another Gospel

Ultimately, the emergent "gospel" is not about the grace of Jesus Christ who delivers people from the wrath of God and puts them into the kingdom of light, but rather about becoming a 'Jesus follower', about walking as Jesus walked and trying to live the life he exemplified. Apart from the fact that, according to Scripture, this is an impossible goal when drawing from our native resources, but it misses the whole point for which Jesus came. The gospels showed Jesus setting his face like flint toward Jerusalem for a reason. He did not come primarily to be a moral example for us, but to become a Savior who does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. The emergent ideology, in other words, is appealing to the fallen will without the merciful act that God has done for us in Jesus. Since we woefully fall short of God's call to us to live this way, it offers no hope.
Reformation Theology

Its Amazing

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rep. Dingell: It's taken a long time to 'control the people'

If you live in Michigan it shouldn't surprise you that Rep. Dingell would make such a comment unless you one of the morons who has been voting for him all these years.
by Peter Barry Chowka

Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the Dean of the House of Representatives for being the longest serving member of the body (he was first elected in 1955, succeeding his father, Rep.  John Dingell, Sr.), made an amazing admission during a live telephone interview with Detroit WJR News/Talk 760 radio talk show host Paul W. Smith on Smith's show Monday morning, March 22, 2010. The night before, Dingell had been a featured speaker at the Democrat Congressional leadership victory press conference after Obamacare passed the House.

In response to a question posed by Smith, Dingell said:

Let me remind you this [Americans allegedly dying because of lack of universal health care] has been going on for years. We are bringing it to a halt. The harsh fact of the matter is when you're going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.

The comment by Dingell begins 6 minutes 23 seconds into the twelve minute-long podcast of his interview on Smith's radio show.  The podcast is titled "Congressman John Dingell tells Paul W. Smith he is thrilled with the passage of the health care bill." It can be streamed or downloaded as an mp3 audio file from this page at WJR's Web site.
American Thinker

Eric Clapton Reconsider Baby Live TV Recording

From the Cradle

Loser Pays

To Image God by Suffering Well

When the clouds of trial, pain, loss, hardship, hurt, and tears roll in, we must never forget that our Lord Jesus Christ imaged God well even when suffering. When Jesus was hurting the most, as he hung on the cross for our sins, he reflected the mercy and justice of God perfectly. Jesus invites us to not waste the worst moments and seasons of our life but rather consider them treasures to be invested purposefully in glorifying God by imaging the character of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is Jesus’ point when he says, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’ Thankfully, unlike so many half-true theologies that speak only of the victories of Christian life and how to image God when we are winning, Jesus shows us that if our aim is to image God, then when we win and lose and as we live and die, every moment is a sacred opportunity to be captured for his glory, our joy, and others’ good.

Considering the Empty Promises of Sin

Excerpt modified from You Can Change by Tim Chester
While God invites us to find satisfaction in him, sin entices us with its lies to seek satisfaction elsewhere. What sin promises, it cannot and does not deliver. And the price is high—broken lives, broken relationships, broken hopes.
Consider when sin made one of the following promises in your experience—what did it actually deliver? When sin entices you today with empty promises, consider its precedent:
  • Sin promises fun and excitement, but it delivers pain and tragedy.
  • Sin promises freedom, but it delivers slavery and addiction.
  • Sin promises life and fulfillment, but it delivers emptiness, frustration, and death.
  • Sin promises gain, but it delivers loss.
  • Sin promises that we can get away with it, but the fact is, we don’t.
Ultimately the wages of sin is death. God offers us a feast that satisfies. He offers delight for our souls. The motivation for change and holiness is this: God’s feast is so much better and there is no cost!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Repenting of our Good Works by Tim Keller

What must we do, then, to be saved? To find God we must repent of the things we have done wrong, but if that is all you do, you may remain just an elder brother. To truly become a Christian we must also repent of the reasons we ever did anything right. Pharisees only repent of their sins, but Christians repent for the very roots of their righteousness, too. We must learn how to repent of the sin under all our other sins and under all our righteousness – the sin of seeking to be our own Savior and Lord. We must admit that we’ve put our ultimate hope in both our wrongdoing and right doing we have been seeking to get around God or get control of God in order to get hold of those things.
It is only when you see the desire to be your own Savior and Lord—lying beneath both your sins and your moral goodness—that you are on the verge of becoming a Christian indeed. When you realize that the antidote to being bad is not just being good, you are on the brink. If you follow through, it will change everything—how you relate to God, self, others, the world, your work, you sins, your virtue. It’s called the new birth because its so radical”
– Timothy Keller The Prodigal God (Dutton Books 2008) pp 77-78
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith

Bob Dylan - Slow Train (Album Version)

"Sometimes I feel so low-down and disgusted, Can't help but wonder what's happening to my companions, Are they lost or are they found, have they counted the cost it'll take to bring down, All their earthly principles they're gonna have to abandon?"

Got Health Care?

If it looks like a pig, walks like a pig, smells like a pig, eats like a pig, and even if you put lipstick on it, its still a pig.

Christian Fear and Health Care

A timely word from Russell Moore, who asks:
Is it a problem that some of us who are tranquil as still water about biblical doctrine and ecclesial mission are red-faced about Nancy Pelosi and the talking heads on MSNBC?
Is it a problem that some who haven’t shared the gospel with their neighbors in months or years are motivated to vent to strangers on the street about how scary national health care will be?
If we were half as outraged by our own sin and self-deception as we are by the follies of our political opponents, what would be the result?
If we rejoiced as much that our names are written in heaven as we do about such trivialities as basketball brackets, what would be the result?
So if what you’re afraid of is a politician or a policy or a culture or the future of Western civilization, don’t give up the conviction but give up the fear.
Work for justice.
Oppose evil.
But do it so that your opponents will see not fear but trust, optimism, and affection.
Read the whole thing, and pass it along.

A Final FAQ on Healthcare and Abortion

Over the past 72 hours, I’ve been engaged in various debates about the contents of our newly minted-health care system and the effects of the executive order that was issued to appease Bart Stupak and his ilk.
The central question in the debate is whether the bill will–does–fund abortions, and whether the Executive Order that Obama has promised to sign is enough to prevent that from happening.
It’s my suspicion that significant confusion remains on the issue. So here’s my attempt to shed light on the question of abortion in the Senate bill.
But let’s do this Q&A style.  Because that’ll be more fun.
Did the Senate health care bill, which was the bill under consideration, cover abortions initially?
Well, yes.  The bill establishes some $9-11 billion in funding for “Community Health Centers.” Robert Destro, a professor at Catholic University, writes:

CHCs and other federally funded primary health care providers such as migrant, tribal, rural, and public housing health centers are required by law to provide “comprehensive” primary care services. The statutory term “comprehensive health care services” is broad enough to include reproductive health services, family planning services, and gynecology services. And the courts are unanimous in holding that – in the absence of the Hyde Amendment – this statutory term necessarily includes federal funding for elective abortions.
The Court decision to note here is Beal v. Doe. While these CHC’s don’t currently perform abortions, that’s largely because their money has come from appropriations bills subject to the Hyde amendment, which prohibits abortion funding. But $9 billion is quite a bit of money, and it’s slated to go into a new “Community Health Center Fund,” not be intermingled with all the other monies.
But isn’t this bill covered by the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding for abortions?
If it was, what is all the wrangling about? You could be assured that Stupak wouldn’t have held out for months for redundant language in the bill. But as John McCormack (an invaluable source) points out:
But the Hyde amendment does not say that “none of the funds channeled through HHS” may pay for elective abortions; it says “none of the funds appropriated by this act” may pay for elective abortions. A Hyde-like amendment needs to be included in each different act authorizing public health programs, or the programs will end up paying for abortions, just as Indian Health Services did long after the Hyde amendment was on the books.
In other words, no. The bill isn’t subject to the Hyde amendment.
So Stupak solved this with the Executive Order, right?
If you want to think that, you go ahead. But you’ll be lonely. No one, Left or Right, agrees with you. Including Bart Stupak.
But if you’re still not convinced, there are three problems with it:
1)  It’s not clear that the language actually adds anything to the bill itself. Ezra Klein (a lefty commentator) thinks that it essentially promises to enforce the bill…as it’s written. Which is a pretty plausible reading of it.
2)  While executive orders may have the force of law, they cannot alter the laws on the books.
3)  Again, given Beal v. Doe, the federal government is 0bligated to provide abortions as a part of comprehensive health services in the absence of laws prohibiting it. Given that the Executive Order is not in fact the law, a court challenge will have to nullify the Executive Order in favor of the bill as its written.  And if you don’t expect that court challenge to come quickly after the appropriations are received, you’re dreaming.
Why did Stupak cave, then?
Apparently, it was the plan all along.
Did Stupak get anything for it?
Nope. Except a nationalized race in November. At time of writing, his opponent has some 17,000 facebook fans. It had 100 yesterday morning.
At least Sir Richard got Wales.
And pro-lifers?
They didn’t get much either. As I’ve argued, the bill as it is funds abortions.
Which is why it’s so disappointing to hear facile Christian endorsements of this bill without a single acknowledgement that we have increased abortion funding significantly, overnight. Endorsing the bill without repudiating not what might be pragmatically or economically inefficient, but what is morally wrong, is simply to turn a blind eye to the substance and effect of the legislation.
First Things

Monday, March 22, 2010

JAMES BROWN Out Of Sight & Night Train

Why Christians struggle With Sanctificartion

The problem everybody has with the gospel is this – every person’s problem with sanctification is really just a problem with justification. Sanctification is the process of becoming more and more holy and good, more and more free, more like Jesus Christ. Justification is you are completely accepted because of who Jesus Christ is.
The reason why you have any problems with sanctification is that you don’t believe or understand your justification, you’re not living out of your justification, and you’re not living through it.


Physician, heal thyself

“When I go to bed, the devil is always waiting for me.  When he begins to plague me, I give him this answer: ‘Devil, I must sleep.  That’s God’s command — work by day, sleep by night.  So go away.’  If that doesn’t work and he brings out a catalog of sins, I say, ‘Yes, old fellow, I know all about it.  And I know some more you have overlooked.  Here are a few extra.  Put them down.’  If he still won’t quit and presses me hard and accuses me as a sinner, I scorn him and say, ‘St. Satan, pray for me.  Of course, you have never done anything wrong in your life.  You alone are holy.  Go to God and get grace for yourself.  If you want to get me all straightened out, I say, Physician, heal thyself.’”
Martin Luther, quoted in Roland Bainton, Here I Stand (New York, 1950), page 362.

The Stupak Mystery

Why did he hold out for a meaningless executive order? By Timothy Noah
A lot of people are scratching their heads about the executive order Rep. Bart Stupak extracted from President Obama as a condition of supporting health care reform. "It's not clear the executive order changes anything," writes the New Republic's Jon Cohn. I'd have to agree. So why did Stupak hold out for it?
Here's my best guess: Stupak was holding out not for language that merely reaffirmed what the Senate bill already says, but for language that delinked the fate of health reform's abortion ban from the fate of the Hyde Amendment. As I've explained before, the Hyde Amendment is not a permanent ban on government (actually, just Health and Human Services) funding of abortions. It's a ban that gets attached to appropriations bills and therefore must be renewed year after year. In the Senate bill, the ban on government funding of abortions through the new health insurance exchanges is dependent on the Hyde Amendment's renewal. The word "abortion" is defined "based on the law [governing HHS appropriations] as in effect as of the date that is six months before the beginning of the plan year involved." (This is on Page 119.) If Congress fails to renew the Hyde Amendment in any given year, the abortion ban in the health care reform bill will vanish.
Earlier today, Kathryn Jean Lopez reported on National Review Online that she'd been leaked a draft of the executive order as of last night. She scorned it as "meaningless," but it contained some important language that didn't make it into the final version. The draft said: "The Executive Order directs that the Hyde language [italics mine] found in sections 507 and 508 of the Labor HHH Appropriations Bill shall apply to the HR 3590." The final version said: "The Act maintains current Hyde Amendment restrictions [italics mine] governing abortion policy and extends those restrictions to the newly-created health insurance exchanges." What's the difference between language and current restrictions? Language denotes the wording as distinct from the conditions under which that wording is applied. Current restrictions, on the other hand, refers to the conditions. The first renders the Hyde Amendment immortal (at least until a followup executive order undoes it.) The second leaves it conditioned on renewal in the HHS appropriation. Once the Hyde Amendment restrictions were no longer current, the insurance exchanges would be free to use federal funds to pay for abortions.
Here's what I suspect. As of yesterday, the White House was willing to promise Stupak an open-ended ban on abortion funding in the exchanges. But today, either because of blowback from pro-choicers* in Congress or because Stupak lost some leverage as the health reform bill acquired more votes, it was not. So a basically meaningless executive order was issued to help Stupak save face.
Just a guess, but I bet I'm right.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Beat this into your head continually

“The law is divine and holy. Let the law have his glory, but yet no law, be it never so divine and holy, ought to teach me that I am justified, and shall live through it. I grant it may teach me that I ought to love God and my neighbor; also to live in chastity, soberness, patience, etc., but it ought not to show me, how I should be delivered from sin, the devil, death, and hell.
Here I must take counsel of the gospel. I must hearken to the gospel, which teacheth me, not what I ought to do, (for that is the proper office of the law,) but what Jesus Christ the Son of God hath done for me : to wit, that He suffered and died to deliver me from sin and death. The gospel willeth me to receive this, and to believe it. And this is the truth of the gospel. It is also the principal article of all Christian doctrine, wherein the knowledge of all godliness consisteth.
Most necessary it is, therefore, that we should know this article well, teach it unto others, and beat it into their heads continually.”

–Martin Luther, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (Philadelphia: Smith, English & Co., 1860), 206.