Monday, January 31, 2011

The Government Is the Problem

A Very Simple Way To Shame A Bully Into Backing Off

22 words

Eric Clapton & B.B. King- Three O'Clock Blues

Gollum Meets Gaborey Sidibe

What Is A Christian?

"What is a Christian? The question can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God as Father…you sum up the whole of New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father. 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"
J.I. Packer, Knowing God, p. 201

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Eric Clapton & B.B. King- Worried Life Blues

Eric Clapton & BB King - Hold on I'm coming

Don't you ever be sad Lean on me in times of bad
When the day comes and you're in doubt
In a river of trouble about to drown
Hold On, hold on I'm coming, I'm coming

Great song the first verse sounds like its sung by the Lord

Rejecting The Grace Of God

“I ask you what can be more wicked or a more horrible sin than to nullify the grace of God and to refuse to be justified by faith in Christ? It is bad enough, and more than bad enough, that we are wicked and are transgressors against all the Commandments of God. Yet over and above this we add the sin of sins when we smugly reject the grace of God and the forgiveness of sins being offered to us through Christ. Believe me, this blasphemy is greater and more horrible than anyone can express. Paul and the other apostles did not dwell on and denounce any sin more vehemently than the contempt of grace and the denial of Christ. Yet we commit this sin so very easily."
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, vol. 26, pp. 179-180

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Louvin Brothers- I like the Christian Life

Enough Of Winter

Five Principles of Providence

Our faith should be strengthened as we consider God’s providence—how our loving father carefully governs our lives. As you study providence, there are five principles that you should keep in mind:
  1. The doctrine of providence reminds us that God is the sovereign Lord of history. It is important to remember that God is the creator and judge of the world, moving it toward an ultimate goal that we cannot fully grasp. For this reason we must remember not to align our faith with any particular political movement or institution.
  2. We often see the pattern of providence only in retrospect. We are often so overcome by grief or anger about our circumstances that we struggle to see how these experiences fit into God’s plan for us. Remember the story of Joseph? Surely Joseph wondered about the goodness of a God who allowed all of those things to happen to him. And yet through those trials, God raised up Joseph and saved the entire nation of Israel.
  3. God uses suffering and tragedy as occasions to display his glory. It is easy to doubt God’s love during times of tragedy. But behind the suffering, we are able to experience the love of a wise father who has promised never to leave or forsake us.
  4. God’s grace is sufficient when the answer is no. When we are denied requests or experience afflictions, like Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, we come to know more deeply the sufficiency of God’s grace.
  5. The cross is the place where grace and providence embrace. No other place can confirm the truth of Romans 8:28 like the cross of Jesus. Tortured and abandoned, Jesus experienced the ultimate betrayal and sacrifice. Yet we look back on the event as a triumph, for God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ that day. We can be sure that he will also take the broken pieces of our lives and piece them together into a beautiful, whole mosaic.

Modified content from Amazing Grace by Timothy George.

What Christians Should Learn from the Osteen Interview

John Starke:

Evangelicals have responded to the interview by saying, “We’re going to be asked this question more and more, let’s hope we do better than Osteen.” Maybe we can be more winsome or less nervous than Osteen. We should certainly explain that homosexuals, like anyone else, should put their hope in the finished work of the gospel. But the first and last word on why homosexuality is sinful is with the Bible. And Osteen didn’t budge from that. We can come up with all kinds of reasons and studies as to why homosexuality is harmful to society, but nothing is so authoritative as God’s Word on why it’s wrong. Only Scripture is definitive enough to cause us—indeed, every created being—to put our hands over our mouths.

In our discussions with skeptics, when we don’t have all the answers, Christians should be humble enough to say, “I don’t know, but I believe the Bible.” That is a good Christian response. We base our knowledge upon the wisdom of God, not on man. We can always reproduce the arguments of others or register sociological data, but we can never do better than God’s Word.
Read the rest.

I think it is also important to be able to give good reasons why we believe the Bible to be trustworthy.  Since our faith stands or falls on the historicity of the accounts, it would follow that the reliability of the Bible is an issue that has to be central in our witness.  Here is a great place to start for learning some good answers for why the Bible is trustworthy.

In my previous post, I found this to be a helpful contribution from a commenter:
At 3:50 Piers asks, “What would you say to a homosexual watching this? How do they change, what do they have to change to be better people?”

I would have loved to have heard something like this as a response:

“It’s not about being a better person, Piers. What I’m talking about is realizing that I personally fall short of the absolute holiness that God demands. And that even so, by the free grace of God, I can be declared righteous because of what Jesus Christ did for me. He lived a perfect life. He died for my sins. And even though I absolutely don’t deserve it, His righteousness is applied to my account. Will this have an effect on how I live my life? Absolutely. If this is really true, I will change to be a better person. But to focus primarily on that aspect is to get the caboose out in front of the engine…”
Vitamin Z

Charlie Louvin dies; country singer inspired Johnny Cash, Elvis Costello

By Terence McArdle
Charlie Louvin, 83, the country singer and Grand Old Opry performer who, as half of the duo The Louvin Brothers, influenced such later performers as the Everly Brothers died at his home in Warface, Tenn. from complications of pancreatic cancer.
The Louvin Brothers songs were later covered by such diverse performers as Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello and the Byrds,
The brothers were renown for both gospel songs and so-called heart songs and tearjerkers such as "If I Could Only Win Your Love," later recorded by Emmylou Harris.
They also updated many traditional -- and very morbid -- folk songs such as "In The Pines" and "Knoxville Girl" which were both included on their 1956 early concept album for Capitol, "The Tragic Songs of Life."
The Louvin Brothers' style evolved from the popular close harmony brother duos of the 1930s such as the Delmore Brothers, the Monroe Brothers and the Blue Sky Boys (Jim and Earl Bolick).
While the duo preserved the singing style of the earlier groups, they made it popular for 1950s audiences by adding electric guitar solos, many by a young Chet Atkins, and a driving beat from an upright bass. Ira Louvin's mandolin work also gave the duo a connection to the then evolving bluegrass genre.
After the duo disbanded in 1963, Mr. Louvin continued to record as a soloist and was a regular on the Grand Ole Opry into the next decade including a number one hit in 1966, "See The Big Man Cry. " Mr. Louvin's brother Ira had a much shorter solo career. He died in a car accident while touring in 1965.
As interest in the early Louvin Brothers material increased, Mr. Louvin had a recent resurgence in activity with performances at rock clubs and bluegrass festivals.
He continued to record and perform after his cancer diagnosis. His most recent album, "The Battle Rages On," was released in November.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Fifty Fruits of Pride: A Self-Diagnostic

1. Want to be Well Known or Important (Isaiah 14:13-15; James 3:13-16; Romans 12:6)
  • “I am selfishly ambitious. I really want to get ahead and make a name for myself. I want to be someone important in life. I like having a position or title. I far prefer leading to following.”
2. Sinfully Competitive
  • “I am overly competitive. I always want to win or come out on top and it bothers me when I don‟t.”
3. Want to Impress People (Luke 10:38-42)
  • “I want people to be impressed with me. I like to make my accomplishments known.”
a. Clothes or jewelry you wear.
b. Vehicle you drive.
c. Furniture you own.
d. House you live in.
e. Place you live.
f. Company you work for.
g. Amount of money you earn.
h. Food you eat.
i. How spiritual you are.
j. What you look like (physical appearance).
k. What you have accomplished.
l. What you know.
m. Where you went to school.
n. Who you know.
o. What your background is.

4. Draw Attention to Myself (Proverbs 27:2)
  • “I like to be the center of attention and will say or do things to draw attention to myself.”
5. Like to Talk About Myself
  • “I like to talk, especially about myself or persons or things I am involved with. I want people to know what I am doing or thinking. I would rather speak than listen. I have a hard time being succinct.”
Here is the first five, if you want to take the whole self-diagnostic click here:
The Fifty Fruits of Pride: A Self-Diagnostic

Eric Clapton & B.B. King- Riding With The King

Ultimate Collection

ALBERT KING - Oh Pretty Woman

The Money Is Gone


Has the word propitiation any place in your Christianity? In the faith of the New Testament it is central. The love of God (1 Jn. 4:8-10), the taking of human form by the Son (Heb. 2:17), the meaning of the Cross (Rom. 3:21-26), Christ's heavenly intercession (1 Jn. 2:1-2), the way of salvation- all are to be explained in terms of it, as the passages quoted show, and any explanation from which the thought of propitiation is missing will be incomplete, and indeed actually misleading, by New Testament standards."
J.I. Packer, Knowing God, p. 181

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cream -Tales Of Brave Ulysses

Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Superstition

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Superstition - Live In New Orleans in 1987

Even A Child Can Understand This

Run To Christ - His Righteousness is Yours, Your Sin Is His

“We…teach and comfort an afflicted sinner this way: ‘Brother, it is impossible for you to become so righteous in this life that your body is as clear and spotless as the sun. You still have spots and wrinkles (Eph. 5:27), and yet you are holy.’ But you say: ‘How can I be holy when I have sin and am aware of it?’ ‘That you feel and acknowledge sin- this is good. Thank God, and do not despair. It is one step toward health when a sick man admits and confesses his disease.’ ‘But how will I be liberated from sin?’ ‘Run to Christ, the Physician, who heals the contrite of heart and saves sinners. Believe in Him. If you believe, you are righteous…And the sin that still remains in you is not imputed but is forgiven for the sake of Christ, in whom you believe and who is perfectly righteous…His righteousness is yours; your sin is His,’” (Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, vol. 26, p. 233).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Robert Cray - New Blood

live radio broadcast at the Redux Club in Dallas, TX. January 21st, 1987.

Snake vs Mongooses - New Reality TV Show

Always Depending On The Righteousness Of Jesus

“…when the devil comes and says, ‘You have no standing, you are condemned, you are finished’, you must say, ‘No! my position did not depend upon what I was doing, or not doing; it is always dependant upon the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.’ Turn to the devil and tell him, ‘My relationship to God is not a variable one. The case is not that I am a child of God, and then again not a child of God. That is not the basis of my standing, that is not the position. When God had mercy upon me, He made me His child, and I remain his child. A very sinful, and a very unworthy one, perhaps, but still his child!
And now, when I fall into sin, I have not sinned against the law, I have sinned against love. Like the prodigal, I will go back to my Father and I will tell Him, “Father, I am not worthy to be called your son.” But He will embrace me, and He will say, “Do not talk nonsense, you are My child,” and He will shower his love upon me! That is the meaning of putting on the breastplate of righteousness! Never allow the devil to get you into a state of condemnation. Never allow a particular sin to call into question your standing before God. That question has been settled.”
Martyn Lloyd Jones, The Christian Soldier, p. 255

Most Christians don't talk back to the devil and live as if there is no such thing as spiritual warfare. There are two important truths Lloyd-Jones asserts here:
    1. Never and I mean never let the devil put you into a state of condemnation. Because "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."  Romans 8:1
    2. Never allow a particular sin to call into question your standing before God. That question has been settled. You are in Christ, his standing before God is your standing, his righteousness is your righteousness. Christ took care of all your sin on the cross.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ROBERT PLANT / BAND of JOY - "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down"

Leon Russell / A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

Where Our Money Is Headed

Music Runs In My Veins

What The Gospel Is Not

D.A. Carson helps us understand what the gospel isnt:

“By contrast, the first two greatest commands—to love God with heart and soul and mind and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves—do not constitute the gospel, or any part of it. We may well argue that when the gospel is faithfully declared and rightly received, it will result in human beings more closely aligned to these two commands. But they are not the gospel. Similarly, the gospel is not receiving Christ or believing in him, or being converted, or joining a church; it is not the practice of discipleship. Once again, the gospel faithfully declared and rightly received will result in people receiving Christ, believing in Christ, being converted, and joining a local church; but such steps are not the gospel.
The Bible can exhort those who trust the living God to be concerned with issues of social justice (Isa 2; Amos); it can tell new covenant believers to do good to all human beings, especially to those of the household of faith (Gal 6); it exhorts us to remember the poor and to ask, not “Who is my neighbor?” but “Whom am I serving as neighbor?” We may even argue that some such list of moral commitments is a necessary consequence of the gospel. But it is not the gospel. We may preach through the list, reminding people that the Bible is concerned to tell us not only what to believe but how to live. But we may not preach through that list and claim it encapsulates the gospel…
Failure to distinguish between the gospel and all the effects of the gospel tends, on the long haul, is to replace the good news as to what God has done with a moralism that is finally without the power and the glory of Christ crucified, resurrected, ascended, and reigning, (Themelios, 34.1, April 2009).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Booker T and the M.G.s - "Gotta Serve Somebody"

Booker T and the M.G's perform "Gotta Serve Somebody" at the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Celebration at Madison Square Garden. Steve Cropper on guitar and Jim Keltner on drums.

Guns Shoot Themselves

Jesus Saves Sinners - I Am A Sinner

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” 1 Timothy 1:15.
He came into the world to save sinners- and He will save you. His compassion inclines Him to save sinners- His power enables Him to save sinners- His promise binds Him to save sinners. And, oh, how easy is it to be saved when the Holy Spirit draws the heart to Christ! It is not great faith, nor deep experience, nor extensive knowledge that are required. The dimmest eye that ever looked to Christ- the feeblest hand that ever took hold of Christ- the most trembling step that ever traveled to Christ, has in it present salvation- has in it life eternal. The smallest measure of real faith will take the soul to heaven. Yes! there is hope for the trembling penitent. Jesus suffered to the uttermost, therefore He is able to “save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him.”
Octavius Winslow

In Christ Alone Live

We sang this yesterday in Church, one of my favorites. Written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, Kristyn Getty, soloist arranged by Dave Cleveland

Sunday, January 23, 2011

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

Theres just no one like Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the way he attacks the guitar

Who's on First.. Old Bit Still Funny

Johnny Cash Impersonates Elvis, 1959

22 words

Clarifying The Key Issue When Discussing Abortion

Scott Klusendorf:
Clarify the one question that really matters. Pro-life advocates contend that elective abortion unjustly takes the life of a defenseless human being. This simplifies the abortion controversy by focusing public attention on just one question: Is the unborn one of us? If so, killing him or her to benefit others is a serious moral wrong. Conversely, if the unborn are not human, elective abortion requires no more justification than having a tooth pulled. This is not a debate between those who are pro-choice and those who are anti-choice. Every pro-life advocate that I know is vigorously “pro-choice” when it comes to women choosing a number of moral goods. They support a woman’s right to choose her own doctor, her own school, her own husband, and her own career—to name just a few. But some choices are wrong, like killing innocent human beings simply because they are in the way and cannot defend themselves. We shouldn’t be pro-choice about that.
Read the rest.  
Take Your Vitamin Z

Saturday, January 22, 2011

King Of The Road - Hayes Carll

Hayes Carll - KMAG YOYO

If You Believe Anything This Guy Says, I've got Some Property In Detroit For Sale

Failure to believe in Justification by Faith is Idolatry

All those who do not at all times trust God and do not in all their works or sufferings, life and death, trust in His favor, grace and good-will, but seek His favor in other things or in themselves, do not keep this [First] Commandment, and practice real idolatry, even if they were to do the works of all the other Commandments, and in addition had all the prayers, obedience, patience, and chastity of all the saints combined. For the chief work is not present, without which all the others are nothing but mere sham, show and pretense, with nothing back of them... If we doubt or do not believe that God is gracious to us and is pleased with us, or if we presumptuously expect to please Him only through and after our works, then it is all pure deception, outwardly honoring God, but inwardly setting up self as a false [savior].... (Part X. XI) Excerpts from Martin Luther, Treatise Concerning Good Works (1520).

Here Luther says that failure to believe that God accepts us fully in Christ—and to look to something else for our salvation—is a failure to keep the first commandment; namely, having no other gods before him. To try to earn your own salvation through works righteousness is breaking the first commandment. Then he says that we cannot truly keep any of the other laws unless we keep the first law—against idolatry and works righteousness. Thus beneath any particular sin is this sin of rejecting Christ-salvation
and indulging in self-salvation.
by Tim Keller, Talking about Idolatry in a Post Modern Age

Friday, January 21, 2011

Eric Clapton - Layla - 2008 High Quality Live TV Recording

Turn this up and enjoy. Get your Friday off to a rocking start. Hard Rock Calling Festival on 28th June 2008 in Hyde Park, London.

Eric Clapton -Tell the Truth - 2008 Live TV Recording

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

The Strange Phenomenon of White Middle-Aged Pastors Listening to Rap Music

There’s a strange phenomenon in the Christian world right now: middle-aged white pastors are talking about rap music and, even more strangely, actually listening to it and recommending it. Suddenly 65-year-old pastors who wear plaid jackets are interviewing dudes who wear their hats all funny and say things in their songs like, “They got ya head bobbin til ya lose ya necklace.” This may not be a long-lived phenomenon, but while it lasts, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on what exactly is going on here.
Why are all these middle-aged white guys suddenly all excited about Christian rap music? Why is it that I am going to pastor’s conferences and hearing these guys talk about Flame and Trip Lee and Lecrae and Shai Linne?
Here are five factors I came up with.

The Copycat Factor

Not too many white middle-aged pastors were listening to any of this rap music before some of the prominent Reformed personalities began to endorse it. Then these rappers began to perform during worship services at big churches, they began to appear at the Reformed conferences, they were invited to sell their wares at the major events. There is definitely a bit of a copycat factor at play in which people are responding to a guy like John Piper and thinking, “If Piper likes him, he must be good.” Not that this copycat factor is in any way unusual when we observe a new phenomenon. When the leaders begin to endorse it, the rest of us tend to follow.

The Novelty Factor

For a lot of people there is a level of surprise and delight in discovering that there is such a thing as good Christian rap music. We’ve come a long way from D.C. Talk and “I love rap music / I always have and I always will / There ain’t no other kinda music in the world / That makes me feel quite as chill.” Today we are seeing a lot of artists who are releasing rap music that is theologically-rich, easily as much so as any other form of music, and that is also enjoyable to listen to. And so a lot of these white middle-aged guys are enjoying the surprise and the fun of exploring rap music, of listening to different kinds, of trying to figure out what it’s all about. For most of them, this is an entirely new genre—a whole new world ready to be explored.

The Cool Factor

Let’s face it—middle-aged white guys don’t know a whole lot about being cool. White middle-aged culture is not very hip (or hip-hop, for that). But rap music and the people who make that music, well, they are definitely cool. That’s the gimmick at the heart of this way-popular commerical from Toyota:

So I think some of these guys are enjoying something that they consider cool, something that is hip and fun and otherwise validating. I’m not cool at all; Lecrae is ridiculously cool; listening to his music allows some of that coolness to transfer to me.

The Only Thing Planned Parenthood Plans is The Death Of The Unborn

The Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade, and Abortion Law

Tomorrow is the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
To understand the ruling and subsequent decisions in detail, there is probably no better resource than Francis Beckwith’s article, “The Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade, and Abortion Law,” Liberty University Law Review 1.1 (2006): 37-72, available online.
Here is the introduction:
It is no exaggeration to say that no U.S. Supreme Court opinion has been more misunderstood and has had its arguments more misrepresented in the public square than Roe v. Wade (1973). There seems to be a widespread perception that Roe was a moderate opinion that does not support abortion on demand, i.e., unrestricted abortion for all nine months for virtually any reason. Even a philosopher of such erudity as Mortimer Adler did not seem to fully understand the legal implications of Roe: “Mr. Justice Blackmun’s decision in the case of Roe v. Wade invokes the right of privacy, which is nothing but the freedom of an adult woman to do as she pleases with her own body in the first trimester of pregnancy.”
In order to fully grasp the reasoning of Roe, its paucity as a piece of constitutional jurisprudence, and the current state of abortion law, this article looks at three different but interrelated topics: (1) what the Court actually concluded in Roe; (2) the Court’s reasoning in Roe; and (3) how subsequent Court opinions, including Casey v. Planned Parenthood, have shaped the jurisprudence of abortion law.
And here is the conclusion:
The Supreme Court currently affirms a woman’s right to abortion with virtually no restrictions prior to fetal viability. After viability, it only allows states to make restrictions prior to viability that do not entail an undue burden. However, given the wideness of the Supreme Court’s “health exception,” a state’s ability to restrict post-viability abortions is questionable, especially given the Court’s Stenberg opinion and Roe’s pre-Casey progeny. Thus, according to the current legal regime in the United States, the unborn is not protected by the U.S. Constitution from death-by-abortion at any stage in her nine-month gestation.
Justin Taylor

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jim Gaffigan - King Baby - Camping

Eric Clapton "Rambling on My Mind"

Documentary: Rambling on My Mind (includes Eric Clapton at soundcheck performing "Rambling on My Mind")

Getting The Gospel Right

 From several quotes:

“But when our wickedness had reached its height, and it had been clearly shown that its reward, punishment and death, was impending over us; and when the time had come which God had before appointed for manifesting His own kindness and power, how the one love of God, through exceeding regard for men, did not regard us with hatred, nor thrust us away, nor remember our iniquity against us, but showed great long-suffering, and bore with us, He Himself took on Him the burden of our iniquities, He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal. For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other one was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only Son of God? O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! that the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors!”
The quote is from The Epistle to Diognetus 9, translated by Roberts-Donaldson. This text dates from early to mid 2nd century AD. It is an early indication that the doctrines of substitutionary atonement and double imputation were not first the product of the Protestant Reformation, but were held dear by the earliest generations of Christians. The author is unknown – he refers to himself simply as a mathetes “disciple”.
“No Christian can avoid theology. Every Christian has a theology. The issue, then, is not, do we want to have a theology? That’s a given. The real issue is, do we have a sound theology? Do we embrace true or false doctrine?” – Dr. R. C. Sproul
“The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be.” – John Stott
“Legalism says God will love us if we change. The gospel says God will change us because He loves us.” – Tullian Tchividjian
“That tiny hill in that tiny land is the centre of all history, not only of this world, but of all the countless galaxies and island universes of outer space from eternity to eternity.” – Paul Billheimer
“I made a pile of my good works and a heap of my bad works; and I fled them both to Christ.” – David Dixon
“Many Christians are either woefully deficient in their knowledge of Scripture or noticeably devoid of any experience of God’s power. The Lord never intended this for His people. We have all seen firsthand the joyless intellectual arrogance the absence of spiritual power can produce, as well as the fanatical emotional excess that comes from the lack of theological integrity.” – Dr. Sam Storms
Read more…
Effectual Grace

The Theory Of 'DUH'

Abortion/Infanticide Doctor Charged with Multiple Counts of Murder

God, help us.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A doctor who provided abortions for minorities, immigrants and poor women in a “house of horrors” clinic has been charged with eight counts of murder in the deaths of a patient and seven babies who were born alive and then killed with scissors, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 69, made millions of dollars over 30 years, performing as many illegal, late-term abortions as he could, prosecutors said. State regulators ignored complaints about him and failed to inspect his clinic since 1993, but no charges were warranted against them given time limits and existing law, District Attorney Seth Williams said. Nine of Gosnell’s employees also were charged.
Gosnell “induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord,” Williams said.
Patients were subjected to squalid and barbaric conditions at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society, where Gosnell performed dozens of abortions a day, prosecutors said. He mostly worked overnight hours after his untrained staff administered drugs to induce labor during the day, they said.
Early last year, authorities went to investigate drug-related complaints at the clinic and stumbled on what Williams called a “house of horrors.”
Bags and bottles holding aborted fetuses “were scattered throughout the building,” Williams said. “There were jars, lining shelves, with severed feet that he kept for no medical purpose.”   More....  
Justin Taylor

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stairway to Heaven live (Rodrigo y Gabriela)

Bagpipes in Jazz? - Gunhild Carling - Watch It All, Amazing!

If you think you have heard it all, then there is more. Master trumpeter/trombonist Gunhild Carling from Sweden, not naturally the land of bagpipes, is featured during a concert by playing Amazing Grace on the bagpipes.
I don't know much about the bagpipe playing techniques, I heard a Scottish jazz band once featuring the pipes as well, but what I notice in this clip is that Gunhild not only displays a fantastic fingertechnique, but she actually plays in a jazzy manner, flattening notes to get the desired jazz effect. Quite amazing and also done with a great sense of humour.

You Can Sleep When You're Dead

Simul iustus et peccator

B. B. Warfield (Works, 7:130):
Sin and Christ; ill desert and no condemnation; we are sinners and saints all at once! That is the paradox of evangelicalism. The Antinomian and the Perfectionist would abolish the paradox—the one drowning the saint in the sinner, the other concealing the sinner in the saint. We must…out of evangelical consciousness, ever see both members of the paradox clearly and see them whole.
HT: Zaspel, p. 488.  HT:Miscellanies

How Christ Executes His mighty Acts of Grace

“Mighty to save.” Isaiah 63:1.
Let us glance at the authoritative manner with which He executes His mighty acts of grace. Mark His deportment. Was there anything that betrayed the consciousness of an inferior, the submission of a dependant, the weakness of a mortal, or the imperfection of a sinner? Did not the God shine through the man with majestic awe, when to the leper He said, “I will, be clean;”- to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch forth your hand;”- to the blind man, “Receive your sight;”- to the dead man, “I say unto you, Arise;”- and to the tumultuous waves, “Peace, he still”? Dear reader, are you an experimental believer in Jesus? Then this omnipotent Christ is wedded to your best interests. He is omnipotent to save- omnipotent to protect- omnipotent to deliver- omnipotent to subdue all your iniquities, to make you humble, holy, and obedient. All power resides in Him. “It pleased the Father that in Him”- in Him as the Mediator of His Church- “all fullness should dwell.” Not a corruption, but He is omnipotent to subdue it: not a temptation, but He is omnipotent to overcome it: not a foe, but He is omnipotent to conquer it: not a fear, but He is omnipotent to quell it. “All power,” is His own consoling language, “all power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.”
Octavius Winslow Archive

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Red Green - How To Do Everything - Build Your Own Airplane - Advice from Canadian comedian Red Green.

Eric Clapton - Cryin

Beautiful Song, it just rolls over you.

The Amazing Dim-Witted National Media

Profumo, Haggard, and Real Shame - (This is Worth Thinking About)

Perhaps only a few American readers will know the name of John Profumo.  He was a British conservative MP, and married the actress, Valerie Hobson (Dennis Price's love interest in Kind Hearts and Coronets).  In 1963, as Minister of War, he was caught in a scandal involving a prostitute who had connections to a KGB officer.  It finished his political career and contributed to the collapse of the government of Harold Macmillan.  Sadly, that is how he is remembered -- the Tory who slept with a prostitute, lied to the House, and destroyed a government.  Few now recall that he was also a war hero, landing on the Normandy beaches on D-Day itself; nor the fact that, when he died in 2006, he was the last surviving Member of the 1940 Parliament and had been in the House of Commons on that fateful day in 1940 and voted against his own party whip in the Narvik debate, thus helping to destroy the premiership of Neville Chamberlain and bring Winston Churchill to power.   Even fewer perhaps know that, after his fall from grace in 1963, this 5th Baron Profumo hid himself from public life, volunteered as a toilet cleaner for a charity in London's East End, and spent the rest of his days in this way, making humble amends for what he had done. 

I do not know if Profumo had any Christian faith; but I always think of him whenever I see the `rehabilitation' of some American evangelical celebrity, hear their tear-laden confessions on a prime time chat show, or spot their confessional memoirs on the book table at Barnes and Noble. The latest, as brought to my attention yesterday by Todd Pruitt, is Ted Haggard who, it appears, is to appear in his own reality TV show.

It is, of course, great that Ted Haggard's family seems to have survived intact, despite all that  he inflicted on his wife and children.  But I am left wondering if there is any shame or sense of basic decency left in this world; and are there no limits to the American `If you've got lemons, make lemonade' mentality?   Are forgiveness and redemption really appropriate contexts for the marketing of oneself?  Does everything in America have to be celebrified in a manner that would even make Liberace's PJs look tasteful?

As I said above, I do not know if Profumo had any faith at all; but I do know that he understood the nature of shame, decorum, public service and, above all, the seriousness of what he had done.  He wrote no self-justifying memoir; he made no TV show; he gained no money or personal capital from his crime; he did not do the rounds of the chat shows; and even in 1989, in the wake of a movie on the scandal, he maintained a stoic public silence.  Indeed, knowing that he had flushed his career down the toilet, it is perhaps appropriate that he devoted his life to cleaning the same, not airing his dirty laundry in public.   He was ashamed of what he had done, how he had let others, most of all his wife, down, and he devoted his life quietly to serving others from then on, in the humblest of ways.  Presumably, he knew he had inflicted enough pain and shame on his family without adding to it by making his fall the central act of a profitable traveling freak show.  

A man who betrays his wife can be forgiven; but I am not sure he can be forgiven for making it an opportunity to further his career.  When Haggard talks of acceptance and does it on a TV show, and others cover their sleaze with blog talk of `sins of relational mobility', is it any wonder that the world looks on with utter contempt? 

When you hang your head in shame, the last thing you should be thinking about is whether the camera has caught your good side.
By Carl Trueman

Monday, January 17, 2011

We cannot ask too much!

Octavius Winslow nailed me hard October 12 in his Morning Thoughts.  He does this often, but given that this was the day I was coming back from Haiti, it came with particular force.  God has opened many doors and done many amazing things over the past six months.  It is as if he is giving far more than we are asking, and this to our shame.
Insert Winslow, commenting on Psalm 36:9 . . .
What stinted views, unjust conceptions, and wrong interpretations have we cherished of Him, simply because we overlook His character as the Fountain of living waters! We “limit the Holy One of Israel.” We judge of Him by our poor, narrow conception of things. We think that He is such a one as we ourselves are. We forget, in our approaches, that we are coming to an Infinite Fountain. That the heavier the demand we make upon God, the more we shall receive, and that the oftener we come, the more are we welcome. That we cannot ask too much. That our sin and His dishonor are, that we ask so little. We forget that He is glorified in giving; and that the more grace He metes out to His people, the richer the revenue of praise which He receives in return. How worthy of such an infinite Fountain of love and grace is His “unspeakable gift.” It came from a large heart; and the heart that gave Jesus will withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly.
Father, forgive me for dishonoring you because of my unbelief. Enlarge my heart to believe your promises and fetch from your omnipotent hand the good that you are so readily desirous to impart.  Had I longed for your glory as I should, I would have asked for what only you can do.  But I have beckoned so seldom and have asked so little, and this to my shame.  Turn me into the kind of beggar who is familiar with riches flowing from your abundance, and never let me believe that you withhold any good thing because you have given me your Son.
Timmy Brister

Eric Clapton - Floating Bridge

Are You Feeling The Global Warming yet?

Racial Justice and the Godness of God

Russel Moore:
On a wall in my study hangs one of my favorite pictures. It’s a photograph of a line of civil rights workers—in the heat of the Jim Crow era. They’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder, all of them bearing a sandwich-board-type sign. The sign reads, simply: “I Am a Man.”
I love that picture because it sums up precisely the issue at that time, and at every time. The struggle for civil rights for African-Americans in this country wasn’t simply a “political” question. It wasn’t merely the question of, as Martin Luther King Jr. put it from before the Lincoln Memorial, the unfulfilled promises of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution (although it was nothing less than that). At its root, Jim Crow (and the spirit of Jim Crow, still alive and sinister) is about theology. It’s about the question of the “Godness” of God and the humanness of humanity.
White supremacy was, like all iniquity from the Garden insurrection on, cruelly cunning. Those with power were able to keep certain questions from being asked by keeping poor and working-class white people sure that they were superior to someone: to the descendants of the slaves around them. The idea of the special dignity of the white “race” gave something of a feeling of aristocracy to those who were otherwise far from privilege, while fueling the fallen human passions of wrath, jealousy, and pride.
In so doing, Jim Crow repeated the old strategies of the reptilian powers of the air: to convince human beings simultaneously and paradoxically that they are gods and animals. In the Garden, after all, the snake approached God’s image-bearer, directing her as though he had dominion over her (when it was, in fact, the other way around). He treated her as an animal, and she didn’t even see it. At the same time, the old dragon appealed to her to transcend the limits of her dignity. If she would reach for the forbidden, she would be “like God, knowing good and evil.” He suggested that she was more than a human; she was a goddess.
That’s why the words “I Am a Man” were more than a political slogan. They were a theological manifesto. Those bravely wearing those signs were declaring that they’d decided not to believe the rhetoric used against them. They refused to believe the propaganda that they were a “lesser race,” or even just a different race. They refused to believe the propaganda (sometimes propped up by twisted Bible verses) that they and their ancestors were bestial, animal-like, unworthy of person-hood.
The words affirmed the thing that frightened the racist establishment more than anything. Those behind the signs were indeed persons. They bore a dignity that could not be extinguished by custom or legislation. I am a man.
The words also implied a fiery rebuke. The white supremacists believed they could deny human dignity to those they deemed lesser. They had no right to do so. They believed themselves to be gods and not creatures, able to decree whatever they willed with no thought to natural rights, or to nature’s God. The signs pointed out what that those who made unjust laws, and who unleashed the water-hoses and pit-bull dogs, were only human, and, as such, would face judgment.
The civil rights movement succeeded not simply because the arc of history bends toward justice but because, embedded in our common humanity, we know that Someone is bending it toward a Judgment Seat.
“I Am a Man,” the sign said, with all the dignity that truth carries with it. And, the sign implied, “You Are Just a Man.” If that’s so, then, as Odetta would sing, “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” The truth there is deeper than the struggles of the last couple of centuries. It gets to the root problem of fallen human existence, and it’s the reason white supremacy was of the spirit of Antichrist.
Behind the horror of Jim Crow is the horror of satanized humanity, always kicking against its own creatureliness, always challenging the right of God to be God. However often this spirit emerges, with all its pride and brutality, the Word of God still stands: “You are but a man, and no god” (Ezek. 28:2).
The gospel that reconciles the sons of slaveholders with the sons of slaves is the same gospel that reconciled the sons of Amalek with the sons of Abraham. It is a gospel that reclaims the dignity of humanity and the lordship of God. It is a gospel that presents us with a brother who puts the lie to any claim to racial superiority as he takes on the glory and limits of our common humanity in Adam. Jim Crow is put to flight ultimately because Jesus Christ steps forward out of history and announces, with us, “I Am a Man.”

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Jimmy Reed - Ain't That Lovin' You

Huge star in the early days of electric Chicago blues. Best known now for much covered hits like Bright Lights, Big City and Baby, What You Want Me to do?

Eric Clapton - Ain't That Loving You

Eric Clapton, Song: Ain't That Loving You, Album: The Blues
Year: 1999, Original: Jimmy Reed

Wondering If You Should Forward That EMAIL?

Jim Rome on the losers who have never missed a Super Bowl

I was going to write something about these four losers who never missed a super bowl game but Jim Rome beat me to it on his radio show. These 4 men are misguided individuals for are living for a worthless dream. Your children, wife , family could care less if you make every super bowl, what they want is you, your presence. This is both funny and sad but worth a listen

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lyle Lovett - "Church"

Lowell Summer Music Series 8-13-10 Boarding House Park
"Church" on Friday the 13th. The Large Band joined by Kat Edmonson with rhythm section of Russ Kunkel and Leland Sklar

The Speaking Clock Revue - Gregg Allman - Floating Bridge

A Day In The Life Of A Liberal

Christianity is Way More Than Good Advice

It is important to remember that the whole of our Christian faith is based on publicly testified witness of historical experience, not on religious speculation or theorizing, however spiritual. The gospel is good news about something that has happened; it is not a good idea or good advice.Further on...

When we talk, then, about part of the mission of God’s people being to share what they know about God, it is not some kind of esoteric or speculative opinion about God, or the results of some prolonged spiritual pilgrimage, or the fruit of eons of religious reflection. Whatever we know, we know on the basis of things that have happened and the understanding of them that is given to us in Scripture.
The gospel we share is good news about real events. There is a “having-hap- pened-ness” at the core of the gospel. There is a story to tell, about real people, and above all about the real person, Jesus of Nazareth.
This is one reason why confidence in the Bible is also so important. For that is where we have the recorded testimony of those who experienced these events first- hand. Peter and John could speak about “what we have seen and heard”, because they were there. We can’t speak in exactly the same way. So we depend on their testimony, and that testimony is in the Bible–and indeed that was the very reason why John says he wrote his gospel (John 20:30 – 31; 21:24).
- Dr. Christopher Wright, The Mission of God's People: A Biblical Theology of the Church's Mission, 154 and 15
 Vitamin Z

What Hath Balloon Boy to Do With Abortion?

Below are the opening paragraphs of my chapter, “Abortion: Why Silence and Inaction Are Not Options for Evangelicals,” in Don’t Call It a Comeback: The Old Faith for a New Day, edited by Kevin DeYoung (Crossway, 2010), pp. 179-180:

Do you remember “Balloon Boy”? By the time you read this, the stunt may only be a little-known question in Trivial Pursuit. Here’s the short version: a publicity-hungry amateur-scientist father of three pulled off a hoax that captured the attention of America. On October 15, 2009, Richard Heene released a large gray helium balloon that looked like a UFO from a 1950s movie, then called the authorities to report that his nine-year-old son, Falcon, was trapped inside. As the balloon floated some fifty miles across the Colorado sky, newsrooms across America sprang into action. People prayed. Emergency medical teams stood by. Police squads were mobilized. Denver International Airport was shut down. Several National Guard helicopters were in hot pursuit.
As the helium began to leak, the balloon eventually crashed in a field. Rescuers made a mad dash to lessen the blow, then to save the boy’s life—if he was still alive. As it turned out, there was no one inside the balloon! A manhunt was quickly organized, thinking that perhaps Falcon had fallen out earlier. But then came word that Falcon was safe and sound at home. He had been hiding—per his father’s instructions—in the family attic. He got sleepy, had fallen asleep, and awoke a few hours later to a media frenzy.
He went to sleep as Falcon and awoke as Balloon Boy.
This is not a chapter about balloons, hoaxes, and men who use their children as pawns to pitch a reality TV show. It’s a chapter about abortion—one of the most painful and politicized issues in our public discourse. So what exactly does the killing of a baby in the womb have to do with the boy in the balloon? I bring it up for one reason. It helps to focus our attention on a crucial question: what’s in there? If we believe that there is a human being within that balloon, we will stop at nothing to protect and to preserve that life. No amount of money or energy or equipment is too big: we must do everything we can to protect and preserve the life of a fellow human being in distress. Likewise, if we believe that what’s growing inside of a woman’s womb is a living human being, should we not think the same? If the balloon is merely filled with air, or if the womb is merely occupied with a clump of cells, then no action is needed. Knowing what’s inside makes all the difference in the world.
Justin Taylor

Friday, January 14, 2011

Gregg Allman - Just Another Rider- 1-13-11 Letterman

Gregg Allman on the Late Show promoting his new CD "Low Country Blues"

I Feel Better When Congress Stays Home

Thoughts On The Gospel

A while back I emailed my dear brother Scotty Smith (Pastor at Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee) and asked him to provide me his thoughts on the gospel. What he sent me was by no  means exhaustive, but was pure gospel gold nonetheless.
  • The gospel is God the Father’s irrepressible commitment to redeem his pan-national, trans-generational family, and restore his broken creation through the person and work of Jesus and the power and presence of his Holy Spirit
  • The gospel is the glory-story of how God the Father is redeeming a people from every single race, tribe, tongue and people group for a life of worship service in the new heaven and new earth. All of this is being accomplished through the person and work of his Son, Jesus, and the power and presence of God the Holy Spirit.
  • The gospel is the doxological drama in which Jesus, the second Adam, servant-Savior and loving Lord, is redeeming his pan-national Bride and making all things new, to the glory of God
  • The gospel is the unfolding story of God’s contra-conditional love for an ill-deserving people, and for his beloved and broken creation-a story which has Jesus as its hero, the nations as its characters, the world as its storyboard, and the new heaven and new earth as its goal.
  • The gospel is like a great song: It has a lyric to be known (theology), a music to be loved (doxology) and a dance to be learned (mission). Indeed, the gospel calls for informed minds, en-flamed hearts and engaged feet.
  • The gospel is God’s passionate, joyful, covenant commitment to make all things new through the person and work of his Son, Jesus, and by the power and presence of His Holy Spirit. “All things” include both a people and a place-the Bride of Christ, and the new heaven and new earth. We dare not emphasize one of these to the exception of the other.
For more of Scotty’s gospel-soaked insights, you can read his daily prayers here.
Tullian Tchividjian

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mississippi Fred McDowell - When I Lay My Burden Down

Keb' Mo' - It Hurts Me Too

A Media Guide For The Journalistically Challenged

A Vital Principle

On Losing My Joy - A Battle with Depression

“Rejoice always.” 1 Thes. 5:16
Some of you remember that back in April, I went through a serious fall emotionally. It is what some people call “depression.” I wrote about it while fractured. In short, my mind broke. I don’t know how else to put it.  There was a black hole that suddenly showed up in my brain that sucked all hope, purpose, and sanity out of me. One minute I was fine, the next minute I crashed.
This experience has come to define my life as much as any other thing I can think of. My daily emotional well-being now has a referent point, a bar if you will. “At least I am not ‘there,’” I often tell myself. Now, things could always be worse.
The other day, I took my son, Will, to his basketball game. I watched his game and enjoyed it as every father does. After we got home, we sat on the couch together and talked. It was one of those conversations about nothing. But something happened during this conversation that made me to further realize that I was not as “recovered” as I thought I was. While I talked with Will I was suddenly filled with a sense of happiness that I had forgotten about. I don’t know how to describe it. It was like I could suddenly, just for a brief moment, smell again. I don’t know what it is like to be without a sense of smell, but I can imagine. I have a friend in California who suffered a blow to the head last September. Since then, he has not been able to smell. With this, he has lost his ability to taste and enjoy food. He may soon forget, in an experientially way, what it is like to enjoy life in such a way. But in this moment with Will, an aroma passed by my nose and I remembered how joyful life could be. I also realized the residue of depression.
It took six weeks for me to “come out” of the black hole last Spring. Once the “cloud” departed, I proclaimed victory. I even wrote about this victory. I celebrated. I waxed eloquent on the perils of depression. I gave council to those who were depressed. I was still alive! However, I did not realize the lingering effects of the injury for many moons.
Four Stages of Emotional Wellness
Please note, that I am not a professional. I am neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist. I don’t think I even qualify to be called a Christian counselor, though I have taken the required courses at seminary (which gives me just enough information to be dangerous!). These stages are representative of my “journey” through depression. So take it for what it is worth.
There seems to be four stages that one can find themselves in emotionally:
1. Happiness/Joy
Find joy in just about everything. Able to enjoy life with little effort. Many hopeful plans for the future with contentment in the present.
You are yourself here.
2. Stable
Content with life and find joy in some things. Takes more effort to enjoy life. Plans for the future are present, but not so hopeful.
You are potentially yourself.
3. Sadness/Depression
Frustrated with life. Very hard to find joy. Downcast and pessimistic. Plans for the future may be present, but tainted by sadness and hopelessness.
You are losing yourself.
4. Despair
No hope or joy in anything. Despair for the present and future. Fear of living and fear of dying. Unable to access reality.
You are no longer yourself.
You all know how much I like charts, so here is one to boot.

Please understand: I don’t want to minimize the line between the ”Sad/Depressed” stage and the “Despair” stage. It is night and day. I think we can stay in the “Sad/Depressed” stage for a time. But the utter hopelessness and hell of the despair stage cannot last for it will eventually take one’s life one way or another. I think most people visit each of these other stages from time to time, but there is something completely different when you pass into the darkness of despair.
For six weeks, on and off, I was in this despair stage. That is why when I came above the line of despair, I felt like the depression was over. I felt back to “normal.” However my definition of normal was tainted do to the exposure to the “dark side.” Anything was more normal than what I was experiencing there. Therefore, I felt “normal.”
But here is where I think I have gone over the years:

I think many factors led to my emotional fall. Maybe overconfidence. Maybe wrong decisions. I don’t know. But I also believe very much that God wanted me to go through this. I still have not worked out theologically how I say that it was God’s will for me to lose my joy and enter into despair, but I do think that I am a better person because of it. I could not have lasted long in that despair stage. I don’t know if I would have ever killed myself, but the anti-reality matrix would have taken my life one way or another.
However, recounting that terrible time is not my purpose here. My purpose is to chronicle my journey and come to terms with my “recovery.” The sense of emotional smell I encountered the other day demonstrated that I was not fully recovered. I am not sad or depressed in most situations. I can go there, but it is situational and I can get myself out. However, my desire is to reclaim joy, optimism, and hope. I want that to once again be my default composure. I want to be able to smell all the time.
All of this to say that I realize that while I am in remission from depression and despair, I have yet to recover. It lingers. “Rejoice always” is a command in the Scripture that I cannot find the ability to obey. I am only at the place where I can ”rejoice sometimes and in accommodating situations.”
By C Michael Patton

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cream - Born Under A Bad Sign

This is from The Wheels of Fire album 1968, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, nice version

Albert King-Born Under A Bad Sign (1967)

The original and best version.

How Is Your Moral Compass Working?

The Triumph of the Therapeutic

Philip Rieff’s book, The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith After Freud, was published in 1967 and proved to be prophetic:
In the emergent culture, a wider range of people will have “spiritual” concerns and engage in “spiritual” pursuits.
There will be more singing and more listening.
People will continue to genuflect and read the Bible, which has long achieved the status of great literature; but no prophet will denounce the rich attire or stop the dancing.
There will be more theatre, not less, and no Puritan will denounce the stage and draw its curtains.
On the contrary, I expect that modern society will mount psychodramas far more frequently than its ancestors mounted miracle plays, with patient-analysts acting out their inner lives, after which they could extemporize the final act as interpretation. . . .
L. Gregory Jones (in his book, Embodying Forgiveness) comments:
But according to Rieff the effect of this psychodramatic interest in spirituality will not be a return to classical Judaism or Christianity, in which human life is shaped and transformed in relation to sound doctrines and teachings; it will consist, rather, in a consumerist desire to pick and choose one’s own spirituality through broad experimentation.
Rieff writes:
The wisdom of the next social order, as I imagine it, would not reside in right doctrine, administered by the right men, who must be found, bur rather in doctrines amounting to permission for each man to live an experimental life.
For more on Rieff, see this helpful review profile by James Poulos.
Justin Taylor

The Gospel Is Good News For Losers

The gospel is good news for losers, that in fact we are all losers if we measure ourselves by God’s interpretation of reality rather than our own. The demand for glory, power, comfort, autonomy, health, and wealth creates a vicious cycle of craving and disillusionment. It even creates its own industry of therapists and exercise, style, and self-esteem gurus—and churches—to massage the egos wounded by this hedonism. When crisis hits, the soul is too effete to respond appropriately. We become prisoners of our own felt needs, which were inculcated in us in the first place by the very marketplace that promises a “fix.” We become victims of our own shallow hopes. We are too easily disappointed because we are too easily persuaded that the marketplace always has something that can make us happy (26).
Michael Horton, A Place for Weakness: Preparing Yourself for Suffering (Zondervan)
TGC Reviews

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Boom Boom - The Yardbirds (with Eric Clapton)

Lucky Strike - Protects Your throat, Controls Cough, Helps you Lose weight

Elect Exiles

We are aliens to this world. Our unsatisfied yearnings, festering idols, and distraught anxieties embody our alienation. Spiritual depression, and more broadly, sadness due to practical, functional unbelief result. What is the reason for our downcast souls? Where is our hope?

C.S. Lewis famously encapsulated this emptiness through this quote

"Most people, if they have really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy. I am not now speaking of what would be ordinarily called unsuccessful marriages, or holidays, or learned careers. I am speaking of the best possible ones. There was something we have grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality. I think everyone knows what i mean. The wife may be a good wife, and the hotels and scenery may have been excellent, and chemistry may be a very interesting job: but something has evaded us."
Just as our basic hunger points to the existence of food, so does this spiritual vacancy point to an eternally satisfying occupant.

Our answer is found in 1 Peter. Immediately addressed to the "elect exiles," Peter wastes no time in comprehensively addressing our exile. A few things:

  1. Our exile is rooted in and guided by the Holy Trinity - 1:1-2 "To those who are elect exiles, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for the obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood."
  2. A continual return to the cross - 1:3-4  "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
  3. Sovereign, glorious grace - It is by His sovereignty that we are met with spiritual depression, and for the sake of His glory, the process is sufficiently founded by endless, abundant grace resulting from Christ crucified. 1:13  "set your hope full on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Therefore in the midst of trial, depression, idolatry, unbelief, hopelessness, etc, We have something far greater operating outside our ridiculous hearts and minds, continually redeeming our wayward tendencies. We have an endless reservoir of grace--living hope. Our hope, the eternal satisfaction that our souls truly long for, is provided through the glory and grace of Jesus.
Glimpses Of Grace