Friday, September 30, 2011

Charles Finney's Pelagianism

Modern Evangelicalism almost uniformly and universally teaches that in order for a person to be born again, he must first exercise faith. You have to choose to be born again. Isn’t that what you hear? In a George Barna poll, more than seventy percent of “professing evangelical Christians” in America expressed the belief that man is basically good. And more than eighty percent articulated the view that God helps those who help themselves. These positions — or let me say it negatively — neither of these positions is semi-Pelagian. They’re both Pelagian. To say that we’re basically good is the Pelagian view. I would be willing to assume that in at least thirty percent of the people who are reading this issue, and probably more, if we really examine their thinking in depth, we would find hearts that are beating Pelagianism. We’re overwhelmed with it. We’re surrounded by it. We’re immersed in it. We hear it every day. We hear it every day in the secular culture. And not only do we hear it every day in the secular culture, we hear it every day on Christian television and on Christian radio.
In the nineteenth century, there was a preacher who became very popular in America, who wrote a book on theology, coming out of his own training in law, in which he made no bones about his Pelagianism. He rejected not only Augustinianism, but he also rejected semi-Pelagianism and stood clearly on the subject of unvarnished Pelagianism, saying in no uncertain terms, without any ambiguity, that there was no Fall and that there is no such thing as original sin. This man went on to attack viciously the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement of Christ, and in addition to that, to repudiate as clearly and as loudly as he could the doctrine of justification by faith alone by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. This man’s basic thesis was, we don’t need the imputation of the righteousness of Christ because we have the capacity in and of ourselves to become righteous. His name: Charles Finney, one of America’s most revered evangelists. Now, if Luther was correct in saying that sola fide is the article upon which the Church stands or falls, if what the reformers were saying is that justification by faith alone is an essential truth of Christianity, who also argued that the substitutionary atonement is an essential truth of Christianity; if they’re correct in their assessment that those doctrines are essential truths of Christianity, the only conclusion we can come to is that Charles Finney was not a Christian. I read his writings and I say, “I don’t see how any Christian person could write this.” And yet, he is in the Hall of Fame of Evangelical Christianity in America. He is the patron saint of twentieth-century Evangelicalism. And he is not semi-Pelagian; he is unvarnished in his Pelagianism.

The Pelagian Captivity of the Church, R.C. Sproul

Bob Dylan - Buckets of Rain

Go Tigers!

The old English "D" says it all! Go Tigers!

...said the Powder Keg to the Dynamite

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What Is the Gospel?

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the Gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the Gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the Gospel.
The Gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness – or lack of it – or the righteousness of another. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.
The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the Gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith – and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him – and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.
R.C. Sproul

Rick's Place

Bob Dylan - I shall be released


Among the seven deadly sins of medieval lore was sloth--a state of hard-bitten, joyless apathy of spirit. There is a lot of it around today in Christian circles; the symptoms are personal spiritual inertia combined with critical cynicism about the churches and supercilious resentment of other Christians' initiative and enterprise. Behind this morbid and deadening condition often lies the wounded pride of one who thought he knew all about the ways of God in providence and then was made to learn by bitter and bewildering experience that he didn't.
--J. I. Packer, Knowing God, 95-96
Dane Ortlund

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Another Bailout

What The Gospel Is

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

Imported From Detroit / The Juliets - "Loon" Music Video

Check out the Detroit-based band The Juliets' music video for "Loon" from their upcoming L.P. "Perfect Season" out on Nov 5th. My son Jeremy is playing guitar and singing, he also wrote the song.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nice People

We must not suppose that if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world.
C.S. Lewis

Someone has described the church services of American Christianity as a nice man standing in front of nice people, telling them that God calls them to be nicer. But if the Christian faith is about being nicer, it becomes moralism; and in that case, Buddhism will probably be of more help than biblical Christianity.
Steve Brown, A Scandalous Freedom, pg. 83

When niceness is the goal the Church has lost the gospel, and is no different that any self help group. There are plenty of lost people sitting in Churches but doggone it at least there nice!

Bob Dylan - Desolation Row

Luther’s Advice for Proud Preachers and Teachers

Martin Luther:
If, however, you feel and are inclined to think you have made it, flattering yourself with your own little books, teaching, or writing, because you have done it beautifully and preached excellently; if you are highly pleased when someone praises you in the presence of others; if you perhaps look for praise, and would sulk or quit what you are doing if you did not get it—if you are of that stripe, dear friend, then take yourself by the ears, and if you do this in the right way you will find a beautiful pair of big, long, shaggy donkey ears.
Then do not spare any expense! Decorate them with golden bells, so that people will be able to hear you wherever you go, point their fingers at you, and say, “See, see! There goes that clever beast, who can write such exquisite books and preach so remarkably well.” That very moment you will be blessed and blessed beyond measure in the kingdom of heaven. Yes, in that heaven where hellfire is ready for the devil and his angels.
—Martin Luther, LW 34:287-288.
HT: Timothy George, Reading Scripture with the Reformers, p. 164.
Justin Talor

Out Of Control

Monday, September 26, 2011

Howlin' Wolf / Worried About My Baby

Mercy Always Comes Running

A friend of mine recently told a silly story about a man standing at the gates of heaven waiting to be admitted. To the man’s utter shock, Peter said, “You have to have earned a thousands points to be admitted to heaven. What have you done to earn your points?”
“I’ve never heard that before: but I think I’ll do alright. I was raised in a Christian home and have always been a part of the church. I have Sunday school attendance pins that go down the floor. I went to a Christian college and graduate school and have probably led hundreds of people to Christ. I’m now an elder in my church and am quite supportive of what the people of God do. I have three children, two boys and a girl. My oldest boy is a pastor and the younger is a staff person with a ministry to the poor. My daughter and her husband are missionaries. I have always tithed and am now giving well over 30% of my income to God’s work. I’m a bank executive and work with the poor in our city trying to get low income mortgages.”
“How am I doing so far”, he asked Peter.
“That’s one point,” Peter said. “What else have you done?”
“Good Lord…have mercy!” the man said in frustration.
“That’s it!” Peter said. “Welcome home.”
My friend who used this silly illustration ended it by saying, “Teach the law. The Psalmist called it perfect. Teach it until people recognize their inability to keep it and cry out for mercy…Mercy always comes running.”
In his commentary on Galatians, Martin Luther describes the Law as a divinely sent Hercules to attack and kill the monster of self-righteousness and to show us everyday just how desperately we need God’s grace:
“To curb and crush this monster and raging beast [that is, the presumption of their own righteousness], God is obliged, on Mt. Sinai, to give a new Law with such pomp and with such an awesome spectacle that the entire people is crushed with fear. For since the reason becomes haughty with his human presumption of righteousness and imagines that on account of this it is pleasing to God, therefore God has to send some Hercules, namely, the Law, to attack, subdue, and destroy this monster with full force. Therefore the Law is intent on this beast, not on any other.”
Regardless of how well I think I’m doing in the sanctification project or how much progress I think I’ve made since I first became a Christian, like Paul in Romans 7, when God’s perfect law becomes the standard and not “how much I’ve improved over the years”, I realize that I’m a lot worse than I fancy myself to be. Whatever I think my greatest vice is, God’s law shows me that my situation is much graver: if I think it’s anger, the law shows me that it’s actually murder; if I think it’s lust, the law shows me that it’s actually adultery; if I think it’s impatience, the law shows me that it’s actually idolatry (read Matthew 5:17-48). The law shows us that our best is never good enough. For, as J.C. Ryle said, “Even the best things we do have something in them to be pardoned.” The law smashes our “rose-colored glasses” view of ourselves. No matter how decent I think I’m becoming, when I’m graciously confronted by God’s law, I can’t help but cry out, “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death” (Romans 7:24). The law alone shows us how desperate we are for outside help.
After the law does its crushing work, however, we are then able (with Paul) to break out into the song of freedom–the laughter of the redeemed: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord…There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 7:25-8:1). It’s only when we come to the end of ourselves that we come to the beginning of God’s grace–which yields bona fide freedom! We will always be suspicious of grace until we realize our desperate need for it (“Wretched man that I am!”). Desperate people love grace. Deceived people (i.e., those who think they’re basically “making it”) fear it. Those who know (and I mean really know!) just how much they’ve been forgiven, love much (Luke 7:47).
The reason Paul breaks out into loud praise is because he knows that the determining factor in his relationship with God is not his obedience (the law showed him how bad he was at this) but Christ’s obedience for him. He finds great doxological freedom knowing that his standing with God is not based on his struggle for Jesus (he fought the law and the law won), but Jesus’ struggle for him–that God doesn’t relate to us based on our feats for Jesus but Jesus’ feats for us.
The law reveals how quick we are to run from God; the gospel reveals how quick God is to run after us.
So, “Cheer up; you’re a lot worse off than you think you are, but in Jesus you’re far more loved than you could have ever imagined.”
Tullian Tchividjian

Hungadunga, Hungadunga, Hungadunga, Hungadunga & McCormick

Excerpt from the movie Animal Crackers (1930) by the Marx Brothers. Groucho dictates a letter to the law firm of Hungadunga, Hungadunga, Hungadunga, Hungadunga & McCormick while Zeppo writes it down. This is one of my favorite movies, it makes me laugh every time I watch it.

The Kimyals of West Papua, Indonesia, receiving the New Testament in their own language for the first time.

The Kimyal Tribe of Papua, Indonesia celebrate the arrival of the New Testament Bible in the Kimyal language. Worth watching.

Attack Watch

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Groucho Marx - Animal Crackers - This is a very funny scene, one of my favorites

Howling Wolf Riding In The Moonlight

Lean Upon Christ Wholly

The foundation of your trust before God, must be either your own righteousness out and out, or the righteousness of Christ out and out. . . If you are to lean upon your own merit, lean upon it wholly — if you are to lean upon Christ, lean upon him wholly. The two will not amalgamate together, and it is the attempt to do so, which keeps many a weary and heavy-laden inquirer at a distance from rest, and at a distance from the truth of the gospel. Maintain a clear and consistent posture. Stand not before God with one foot upon a rock and the other upon a treacherous quicksand…We call upon you not to lean so much as the weight of one grain or scruple of your confidence upon your own doings — to leave this ground entirely, and to come over entirely to the ground of a Redeemer’s blood and a Redeemer’s righteousness.
~Thomas Chalmers~
The Old Guys

What Goes Up....

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Howlin' Wolf - The Sun Is Rising

Howlin' Wolf - Tell Me What I've Done

Who's On First?

The Heart of Substitution

The concept of substitution may be said to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation. For 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. Man claims prerogatives that belong to God alone; God accepts penalties that belong to man alone. 
If the essence of the atonement is substitution, at least two important inferences follow, the first theological and the second personal. The theological inference is that it is impossible to hold the historic doctrine of the cross without holding the historic doctrine of Jesus Christ as the one and only God-man and Mediator. Neither Christ alone as man nor the Father alone as God could be our substitute. Only God in Christ, God the Father’s own and only Son made man, could take our place. At the root of every caricature of the cross there lies a distorted Christology. The person and work of Christ belong together. If he was not who the apostles say he was, then he could not have done what they said he did. The incarnation is indispensable to the atonement. In particular, it is essential to affirm that the love, the holiness and the will of the Father are identical to the love, the holiness and the will of the Son. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.
- John Stott, The Cross of Christ
Vitamin Z

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Grandfather, Charles Freer

From his Vaudeville days here in Detroit MI

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Taxman & Honey Bee

Upside-Down Comfort

If you feel that you are empty, if you feel you are nothing, if you feel you are poor and wretched and blind, if you hate your inclination to sin and have any suspicion of a feeling of self-loathing and hatred, you can take it from me that you have eternal life, for no one ever experiences such things until the life of God comes into his or her soul.
--Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Life in God: Studies in 1 John (Crossway 1995), 109; quoted in Tony Sargent, Gems from Martyn Lloyd-Jones: An Anthology of Quotations from 'the Doctor' (Paternoster 2007), 113
Dane Ortlund

Tony Bennett with Faith Hill - The Way You Look Tonight

What Would It Look Like to Orbit the Earth?

A time-lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, El Salvador, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Lake Titicaca, and the Amazon. Colonel Jeff Williams—a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod—has seen this first hand. He has orbited the earth over 2,800 times, more than any person in history. He has also captured more photographs of earth than any person in history. You can view his 2006 photos and biblical reflections and commentary in the book The Work of His Hands: A View of God’s Creation from Space. He says, “Spaceflight definitely gave me a new perspective on the world around us and provided a transcendent view of things above and beyond the immediate elements of life . . . viewing the earth from space brought a new significance to the truth of many familiar biblical texts.”

Many Have Ignored The Warnings

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tony Bennett ft. Lady Gaga - The Lady Is A Tramp (Full Song)

Happy Birthday Bill Murray - A Man who has Made me Laugh Many Many Times

Bill Murray speaks French in the movie Groundhog Day. Some of my favorite Bill Murray movies are, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Groundhog day, The Life Aquatic With Steve Sissou, Quick Change, Rushmore, the recent Get Low and of course What About Bob? A really funny movie. Bill turns 61 today which is about a month after I turned 61. I appreciate the common grace I see in Bill Murray and pray that he experience the saving grace of God as well. This man makes me laugh.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ Leads to a Perfect Delirium of Joy!

Charles Spurgeon wrote: 

Some years ago, I was deeply depressed. I knew whom I had believed, but I could not get comfort from the truth I preached. I even began to wonder if I was really saved.
While on vacation, I went to a Wesleyan chapel. The sermon was full of the gospel and tears flowed from my eyes. I was in a perfect delirium of joy. I said, “Oh yes, there is spiritual life within me; the gospel can still touch my heart and stir my soul.”
When I thanked the good man for his sermon, he looked at me and could hardly believe his eyes. He said, “Are you not Mr. Spurgeon?”
I replied, “Yes.”
“Dear, dear,” said he, “that was your sermon I preached this morning.”
I knew it was, and that was one reason why I was so comforted. I realized that I could take my own medicine. I asked the preacher to my inn for dinner. We rejoiced that he was led to give the people one of my sermons that day, that I could be fed from my own kitchen.
I do know this. Whatever I may be, there is nothing that moves me like the gospel of Christ.
“For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Tim. 1:12).
Do you feel this way?
It's A Beautiful Gospel

Johnny Shines -- Black Spider Blues (Big Walter Horton on Harp)

Billy Boy Arnold - You've Got Me Wrong

Snails Pace Recovery

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Gospel is Distinct from Our Response to It

The following comes from Graeme Goldsworthy’s According to Plan (p. 81-83).  I found these quotes to be particularly helpful as it reminds us that the gospel is not our response to the gospel.  I think that we often confuse the gospel (what Christ did for us and who he is for us) with a proper response to the gospel (belief, faith, confession, etc.).  May we lift up Christ repeatedly, showing to one another and the world his beauty.  As we increasingly see him, we will fall more and more in love with him and act accordingly.
The main message of the Bible about Jesus Christ can easily become mixed with all sorts of things that are related to it.  We see this in the way people define the gospel or preach it.  But it is important to keep the gospel itself clearly distinct from our response to it or from the results of it in our lives and in the world.  If our proper response to the gospel message is faith, then we should not make faith part of the gospel itself.  It would be absurd to call people to have faith in faith!  While the new birth bears a close relationship to faith in Christ, it is a mistake to speak of the new birth as if it were itself the gospel.  Faith in the new birth as such will not save us…
Related to the gospel event are other important aspects of God’s work which are not themselves the gospel.  If we believe the gospel we will probably also believe these, but they are not the focus of our trust the way that the saving work of Jesus is.  We do not preach them as the heart of our message to unbelievers….
We note that what you or I do in response to the gospel is not itself the gospel.  You cannot say that repentance and faith are the gospel.  They are what the Holy Spirit enables us to do about the gospel.  If you tell unbelievers that they should trust Christ, believe the good news, or confess their sin, these things are undoubtedly true, but they are not the gospel.  We must tell them what it is about Christ that they should trust, what the good news is so that they can believe it and why sins should be confessed.
It's A Beautiful Gospel

It's My Own Fault - Johnny Winter

What Can and Cannot Change in Our Relationship with God

I found this helpful, from Bryan Chapell's Holiness by Grace, beautifully reprinted this month from Crossway--

In a chart entitled 'Our Relationship with God,' Dr. Chapell lists what can change and what cannot change. Clarifying.

What Can Change
  • our fellowship
  • our experience of his blessing
  • our assurance of his love
  • his delight in our actions
  • his discipline
  • our sense of guilt

What Cannot Change
  • our sonship
  • his desire for our welfare
  • his actual affection for us
  • his love for us
  • our destiny
  • our security

--Bryan Chapell, Holiness by Grace: Delighting in the Joy That Is Our Strength (Crossway, 2001), 196
Dane Ortlund

Social Security Government Scam

Monday, September 19, 2011

Honest I Do by Jimmy Reed

Life After Death

Our New And Exalted Identity

When most of us stop long enough to consider what establishes our identity, what really makes us who we are, many of us act as if the answer to this consideration is “our performance.” In Who Will Deliver Us, Paul Zahl expands on this:
If I can do enough of the right things, I will have established my worth. Identity is the sum of my achievements. Hence, if I can satisfy the boss, meet the needs of my spouse and children, and still do justice to my inner aspirations, then I will have proven my worth. There are infinite ways to prove our worth along these lines. The basic equation is this: I am what I do. It is a religious position in life because it tries to answer in practical terms the question, Who am I and what is my niche in the universe? On this reading, my niche is in proportion to my deeds. In Christian theology, such a position is called justification by works. It assumes that my worth is measured by my performance. Conversely, it conceals, thinly, a dark and ghastly fear: If I do not perform, I will be judged unworthy. To myself I will cease to exist.
The gospel frees us from this obsessive pressure to perform, this slavish demand to “become.” The gospel liberatingly declares that in Christ “we already are.” While the world, the flesh, and the Devil constantly tempt us to locate our identity in something or someone smaller than Jesus, the gospel liberates us by revealing that our true identity is locked in Christ. Our connection in and with Christ is the truest definition of who we are.
If you’re a Christian, here’s the good news: Who you really are has nothing to do with you—how much you can accomplish, who you can become, your behavior (good or bad), your strengths, your weaknesses, your sordid past, your family background, your education, your looks, and so on. Your identity is firmly anchored in Christ’s accomplishment, not yours; his strength, not yours; his performance, not yours; his victory, not yours. Your identity is steadfastly established in his substitution, not your sin. As my friend Justin Buzzard recently wrote, “The gospel doesn’t just free you from what other people think about you, it frees you from what you think about yourself.”
You’re free!
As I said in my previous post, now you can spend your life giving up your place for others instead of guarding it from others—because your identity is in Christ, not your place.
Now you can spend your life going to the back instead of getting to the front—because your identity is in Christ, not your position.
Now you can spend your life giving, not taking—because your identity is in Christ, not your possessions.
Paul speaks of our “having been buried with him [with Christ] in baptism,” in which we “were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12). Our old identity—the things that previously “made us”—has been put to death. Our new identity is “in Christ.” We’ve been raised with Christ to walk “in newness of life”—no longer needing to depend on the “old things” to make us who we are.
All this is our new identity—all because of Christ’s finished work declared to us in the gospel.
When we truly see and understand all these aspects of what we’ve become in Jesus Christ, what more could we possibly ever want or need when it comes to our self-identity? Here in Christ we have worth and purpose and security and significance that makes utterly laughable all the transient things of this world that we’re so frequently tempted to identify ourselves by.
Excerpted from my forthcoming book Jesus + Nothing = Everything
Tullian Tchividjian

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Zombies - She's Not There

Blast from the past

Otis Rush - I Got The Blues

James Cotton - Honest I Do

Don’t Let the Big Gospel Story Distract You from Personal Gospel Salvation

J.I. Packer:
In recent years, great strides in biblical theology and contemporary canonical exegesis have brought new precision to our grasp of the Bible’s overall story of how God’s plan to bless Israel, and through Israel the world, came to its climax in and through Christ. But I do not see how it can be denied that each New Testament book, whatever other job it may be doing, has in view, one way or another, Luther’s primary question: how may a weak, perverse, and guilty sinner find a gracious God? Nor can it be denied that real Christianity only really starts when that discovery is made. And to the extent that modern developments, by filling our horizon with the great metanarrative, distract us from pursuing Luther’s question in personal terms, they hinder as well as help in our appreciation of the gospel. (In My Place Condemned He Stood, 26-27)
Kevin DeYoung

People Suffer Nothing Gets Done

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The James Cotton Band - "How Long Can A Fool Go Wrong"

Dealing With The Devil - James Cotton

Bill Lumbergh, the boss from Office Space, will now take over your brain

22 words

Slandering Oyster's

Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students:
I heard one say the other day that a certain preacher had no more gifts for the ministry than an oyster, and in my own judgment this was a slander on the oyster, for that worthy bivalve shows great discretion in his openings, and knows when to close. If some men were sentenced to hear their own sermons, it would be a righteous judgment upon them, and they would soon cry out with Cain, 'My punishment is greater than I can bear.' Let us not fall under the same condemnation.
Dane Ortlund

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play The Blues - Live from Jazz at Lincoln Center - Kidman Blues

The Sweet Smell of Success

It is now some sixteen years since the disaster that was `The Nine O'Clock Service.'  This was the name given to an Anglican church in Sheffield which had started as a signs and wonders gig, gone Anglican, morphed into an odd fusion of Anglo-Catholicism and ecological mysticism and finally gone bust amidst allegations that the vicar, Chris Brain, had been having sexual relations with women in the church.  In the process, the church grew from 10 to over 600 mainly young people.  Its sacramental life centered on the memorably entitled and utterly mad `Planetary Mass' which Brain celebrated wearing the actual robe Robert DeNiro used in the film The Mission.  He also formed a personal bodyguard of young, attractive women.  You could instantly recognize them: they were the ones wearing the black catsuits.  They were also the ones he was sexually enjoying on a regular basis.

What was so stunning when it all went horribly wrong was how so many people in positions of power and responsibility had watched the whole thing develop and had uttered not a syllable of concern.  Not when Brain started talking gibberish about the Planetary Mass; not when he bought the DeNiro robe; and not when he recruited the catsuited stunners to meet his every need.  And when it all blew up, all these people of influence - from the bishop down - shuffled away muttering `Nothing to do with me, guvnor' to anybody who asked why they had allowed this to happen.

There is a lesson there: fill the church, especially with hip youngsters and young professionals, and you can get away with anything, even dressing like DeNiro and having an all-female catsuit bodyguard.  Well, you can for a while, at least.

This all takes me back to a question I have raised before: in a world where success is the ultimate sacrament of absolution, who is there with the credibility to call the successful to account?  Not the man in the small church.  Suspicion that he is motivated by envy will always undermine his authority in such a context.  And, if we are honest, envy will likely always be a part of the motivation for such criticism. I preach total depravity, after all, and it is also the one example where I can honestly say I consistently practice what I preach.  What pastor of a church of fifty does not want to be pastor of a church of five hundred?  The church I serve has ca. 90 on a Sunday.  Yes, I would love a few hundred more.  If we ever got to four hundred, I hope we would plant a church, as long as I did not have to drink zinfandel and grow a soul patch.  But yes, I would be lying if I said I did not have a twinge of envy at those whose ministries are - well, you know, successful.  I guess that is the word.

What about the pundit?  Can he find a hearing? If reactions to my comments about the impact of celebrity culture on American reformed evangelicalism are a safe guide, then probably not.  That American reformed evangelicalism is increasingly shaped by such celebrity culture seems to me a point so self-evident that I am still amazed that anybody thinks it worth disputing.  Clearly, the critics of the celebrity aesthetic are as implausible to those enamoured of the big, the bold and the beautiful as is the man in the small church.  Not because of their envy but, apparently, because of their hypocrisy. The logic of `I have never met Trueman but I have heard of him, therefore he must be a celebrity; thus he is a hypocrite in criticizing celebrity culture and can simply be ignored' is both silly, in its conflation of "being known" and "being a celebrity", and illogical in rejecting an argument simply on the grounds of the alleged moral failing of the one articulating it.   He may be a hypocrite; but if the man tells you that two plus two equals four, then you might want to listen to him.

So what about the successful?  Will they point out the problematic excesses of the self-promotional culture which seems to pervade much of the modern conservative evangelical church?  One can only hope so; but history gives little cause for optimism on that score.  Nobody wants to bash the successful, for our culture assumes that that would be to identify with failure and mediocrity.  

The psychology of success is fascinating: those who are successful often start as well-intentioned people; but increasing success almost always seems to bring in its wake an increasingly relaxed attitude to the rules, a fuzzier conception of right and wrong and an odd sense of entitlement whereby the successful come to think that, for them, the normal criteria of behaviour do not apply.  This incremental exceptionalism is reinforced by the failure of those who should check them from actually doing so.  It is almost as if, for all of us, success (and in church we typically mean numerical size and growth) is the ultimate criterion of truth and that therefore as long as it seems to be working, as long as it is popular, it must be true.  You can ape the Hollywood aesthetic; you can be increasingly vague on the hard teachings; but as long as the machine keeps working as it should, everybody is happy -- or at least comfortable in their silence.

The Nine O'Clock Service debacle seems to indicate that as long as you pull in the punters, especially the young ones, as long as your name on the conference flier helps to sell tickets, and as long as your preaching is popular with the rising generation, those with the standing to state the obvious and do something about the excesses will generally not do so for fear of spoiling something which seems to be working as it should.  Indeed, you will enjoy the benefits of a powerful and heady perfume which gives the successful a high and hides the hollow reality from outsiders: the sweet smell of success.  You just can't beat it.

And when it all blows up, you can be confident it will be nothing to do with anyone.  "Seriously, guv, I never even knew the man....."
 Carl Trueman

Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton Play The Blues - Live from Jazz at Lincoln Center - Ice Cream

Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton - Layla

This is fantastic! The first few minutes of Clapton's personal sharing are very interesting. I just received my copy of the CD "Marsalis & Clapton play the blues"

Down Goes The Post Office

He Loves Life into Us

One of my favorite passages from Owen's Communion with God, enjoyed with some dear brothers around a Wheaton College cafeteria table last night.
The love of Christ, being the love of God, is effectual and fruitful in producing all the good things which he wills to his beloved. He loves life, grace, and holiness into us; he loves us also into covenant, loves us into heaven. . . .

How many millions of sins, in every one of the elect, every one of which were enough to condemn them all, has this love overcome! What mountains of unbelief does it remove! Look upon the conversation of any one saint, consider the frame of his heart, see the many stains and spots, the defilements and infirmities, wherewith his life is contaminated, and tell me whether the love that bears with all this be not to be admired. And is it not the same towards thousands every day? What streams of grace, purging, pardoning, quickening, assisting, do flow from it every day! This is our Beloved . . .
--John Owen, Communion with God (Christian Focus, 2007), 113 (for those considering buying the book, this is the edition to get)
Dane Ortlund

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse - Body And Soul

Her final music video released on her birthday 9/14

Eric Clapton & Wynton Marsalis - Joe Turner's Blues

Bob Dylan's Paintings

Some of Bob Dylan's recent paintings will be displayed at a NYC art gallery.

Does the Doctrine of Election Trouble You?

The doctrine of election really troubled me when I first began to wrestle with it.

It seemed unfair. It seemed like those who weren’t chosen were doomed from the start. That they never really had a chance. This illustration changed my whole view of the doctrine.

“After giving a brief survey of these doctrines of sovereign grace, I asked for questions from the class. One lady, in particular, was quite troubled. She said, ‘This is the most awful thing I ever heard! You make it sound as if God is intentionally turning away men and women who would be saved, receiving only the elect’ I answered her in this vein: ‘You misunderstand the situation. You’re visualizing that God is standing at the door of heaven, and men are thronging to get in the door, and God is saying to various ones, ‘Yes, you may come, but not you, and you, but you, etc.’ The situation is hardly this. Rather, God stands at the door of heaven with His arms outstretched, inviting all to come. Yet all men without exception are running in the opposite direction toward hell as hard as they can go. So God, in election, graciously reaches out and stops this one, and that one, and this one over here, and that one over there, and effectually draws them to Himself by changing their hearts, making them willing to come. Election keeps no one out of heaven who would otherwise have been there, but it keeps a whole multitude of sinners out of hell who otherwise would have been there. Were it not for election, heaven would be an empty place, and hell would be bursting at the seams. That kind of response, grounded as I believe that it is in Scriptural truth, does put a different complexion on things, doesn’t it? If you perish in hell, blame yourself, as it is entirely your fault. But if you should make it to heaven, credit God, for that is entirely His work! To Him alone belong all praise and glory, for salvation is all of grace, from start to finish.” –Mark Webb

Election keeps no one out of heaven, but guarantees that those God has chosen will be there. Election is meant to be a comfort and encouragement to believers. Never are unbelievers encouraged to try do discover if they are elect. The message for unbelievers is you are all are invited. Come one, come all. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!

If you know Jesus, praise him for rescuing you from your headlong rush toward hell. If you don’t know him, turn to him today. He awaits you with open arms.
Vitamin Z

Swallowed Up

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Eric Clapton "Kind Hearted Woman"

Junior Wells - Bout The Break Of Day

The Grace of Forgiveness by Paul Tripp

Perhaps it will take an eternity for us to understand the extent of the grace we have been given, and the significance of the forgiveness that flows from that grace. But this much is certain, no other force in this life compares to forgiveness in its power to change the way you live. There is a wonderful moment in the life of Christ that powerfully exhibits this. Jesus is having dinner at the house of a Pharisee:
Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is — that she is a sinner.”
Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven — for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." (Luke 7:36–47)
Why did this woman do this expensive and humbling thing? Why the ointment of her tears? Why her many kisses? There is only one plausible answer, the answer set forth in the passage: forgiveness. When you grasp how much you need it, and when, by God’s grace, you reach out and receive it, it changes you forever

God's Redemptive Story

Forgiveness is the goal of God’s redemptive story. It is the plan that God began implementing from the moment Adam and Eve disobeyed. In doing this, God used his creative power to harness the elements of nature. He used his sovereign authority to order the events of human history. He controlled it all so that at the perfect moment the Lord Jesus Christ would come to earth, be born in a town in Palestine, face with perfect sinlessness the realities of life in a broken and sinful world, be betrayed by one of his followers, be convicted by a corrupt court, be sentenced to capital punishment by a self-interested politician, die a criminal’s execution, but as the perfect Lamb of God exit his borrowed tomb as victor over both sin and death.
Why did he do all this? Because you and I were born as sinners and our sin has left us guilty before God. Forgiveness, Christ’s gift to us, means that we can stand before God in all of our neediness, weakness, and moral failure and yet be utterly unafraid. Sinful people can stand before a Holy God because Jesus took the penalty for our sin on himself and satisfied the Father’s anger. Sin leaves me guilty, but forgiveness relieves my guilt.

Fully and Completely Forgiven

It is amazing to think that all my sins of the past, all my sins of the present, and all my sins of the future have been fully and completely covered by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. I do not have to work to excuse what I have done. I do not have to mollify my conscience with rationalizations. I do not have to ease my guilt with arguments for my own righteousness. I do not have to try to make myself feel better about what I have done by blaming someone else. No, I can stand before God just as I am, without fear, because in Jesus Christ I am fully and completely forgiven.
Anytime I work to erect some system of self-justification I have committed an act of gospel irrationality. It makes no sense to try to justify my sin, because each sinful act—past, present, and future—has already been forgiven by the grace of God.
But forgiveness doesn’t just call you out of the hiding of self-righteousness and self-justification. It mobilizes you. The minute you begin to grasp the magnitude of the forgiveness you have been given, you want others to experience it. You want the people around you to know the personal rest and hope that only forgiveness provides. What really brings you joy is the people around you coming to know the One who has offered you such amazing forgiveness. And forgiveness does something else, too. It makes you want to obey. Forgiveness draws your heart in love and thankfulness to God, and in your love for him you desire to think, do, and say things that are pleasing to him.
Desiring God

The Government Lies Again

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Gateway Gospel vs. the Pathway Gospel

When Jesus told his disciples that he himself was 'the way' (John 14:6), he meant not just 'direction' in some general sense (though not less than that). By using this word, and judging from the context, Jesus seems to have meant something more--that he is the pathway, the road, the trail along which we journey through life. The same word is used earlier in John, for example, in John the Baptist's cry to 'Make straight the way of the Lord' (1:23).

Reflecting on Jesus' words 'I am the way,' Martin Luther wrote:
Christ is not only the way on which we must begin our journey, but He is also the right and the safe way we must walk to the end. We dare not be deflected from this. Here Christ wants to say: 'When you have apprehended Me in faith, you are on the right way, which is reliable. But only see that you remain and continue on it.' Christ wants to tear and turn our hearts from all trust in anything else and pin them to Himself alone.
For Luther, and for Luther’s Lord, the gospel of grace—that startling announcement of legal perfection, because of the work of Another, that defies all our intuitions about what God is like—is not the gateway into the Christian life but the pathway of the Christian life.

What’s the difference?

Galatians helps us.
The Gateway Gospel results in the sharp word from our church leaders—'I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ are are turning to a different gospel' (Gal 1:6). The Pathway Gospel is the ever-sustaining lifeblood of Christian living, calling us to never desert the grace of Christ.

The Gateway Gospel tells us to graduate on from the gospel. The Pathway Gospel tells us to 'walk in step with [orthopodeo—'straight-foot'] the truth of the gospel' (Gal 2:14).

The Gateway Gospel is to begin with the Spirit and then grow in the flesh. The Pathway Gospel is to begin in the Spirit and then grow in the Spirit (Gal 3:2–3).

The Gateway Gospel leaves behind slavery momentarily. The Pathway Gospel leaves behind slavery permanently (Gal 4:8–9).

The Gateway Gospel frees us today and then sends us back to 'a yoke of slavery' tomorrow. The Pathway Gospel frees us today and then invites us to 'stand firm' in that freedom (Gal 5:1).
Stepping away from the explicit language of Galatians, perhaps we could say:
The Gateway Gospel forgives our past sins and sets us on a new road of doing more and more for Jesus. The Pathway Gospel forgives our past, present, and future sins and sets us on a new road of enjoying more and more what Jesus has done for us--igniting real doing on our part.

The Gateway Gospel gains our doctrinal allegiance yesterday. The Pathway Gospel feeds our hungry heart today.

The Gateway Gospel gives us a burst of energy for a season. The Pathway Gospel gives us a dear friend for the whole journey.

The Gateway Gospel leaves us exhausted, frustrated, and bitter. The Pathway Gospel leaves us relaxed, liberated, and gentle.

The Gateway Gospel saves us from our sins. The Pathway Gospel saves us not only from our sins but also from all our other saviors.

The Gateway Gospel draws us to the idea of forgiveness. The Pathway Gospel draws us to the person of Jesus.

The Gateway Gospel is Jesus in black-and-white. The Pathway Gospel is Jesus in 3-D.

The Gateway Gospel tells us to march. The Pathway Gospel invites us to dance.

The Gateway Gospel is, ultimately, a lecture. The Pathway Gospel is a song.
'As for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them . . .' --Galatians 6:16
Dane Ortlund

Wes Montgomery - Born to Be Blue

The First Econmist

The Cross Is Not a Joke

. . . if justification were through law, then Christ died in vain. -Galatians 2:21

Luther comments:
Are we to allow this horrible blasphemy that the divine Majesty, not sparing his own dear Son, but giving him up to death for us all, should not do all these things seriously but as a sort of joke? I would rather see all the saints and holy angels thrown into hell with the devil. My eyes will see only this inestimable price, my Lord and Savior Christ. He ought to be such a treasure to me that everything else is as rubbish in comparison. He ought to be such a light to me that when I have apprehended him by faith I should not know whether there is any law, any sin, any righteousness, or any unrighteousness in the world. For what are all things that are in heaven and earth compared with the Son of God, Christ Jesus my Lord and Savior, who loved me and gave himself for me?
--Martin Luther, Galatians (Crossway, 1998), 114
Dane Ortlund

Monday, September 12, 2011

Paul Butterfield blues band...In My Own Dream

Wes Montgomery - Work Song

Nat Adderley: cornet, Wes Montgomery: guitar, Bobby Timmons: piano, Sam Jones: cello/bass, Percy Heath: bass, Louis Hayes: drums

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

The gospel liberates us to be okay with not being okay. We know we’re not okay—though we try very hard to convince ourselves and other people that we’re basically fine. But the gospel tells us, “Relax, it is finished. The pressure’s off.”
Because of the gospel, we have nothing to prove or protect. We can stop pretending. We can take off our masks and be real. The gospel frees us from trying to impress people, appease people, measure up for people, or prove ourselves to people. The gospel frees us  from the burden of trying to control what other people think about us. It frees us from the miserable, unquenchable pursuit to make something of ourselves by using others.
The gospel frees us from what one writer calls “the law of capability”—the law, he says, “that judges us wanting if we are not capable, if we cannot handle it all, if we are not competent to balance our diverse commitments without a slip.” The gospel grants us the strength to admit we’re weak and needy and restless—knowing that Christ’s finished work has proven to be all the strength and fulfillment and peace we could ever want, and more. Since Jesus is our strength, our weaknesses don’t threaten our sense of worth and value. Now we’re free to admit our wrongs and weaknesses without feeling as if our flesh is being ripped off our bones.
The gospel frees us from the urge to self-gain, to push ourselves forward for our own purposes and agenda and self-esteem. When you understand that your significance, security, and identity are all anchored in Christ, you don’t have to win—you’re free to lose. And nothing in this broken world can beat a person who isn’t afraid to lose! You’ll be free to say crazy, risky, counterintuitive stuff like, “To live is Christ and to die is gain”!
Now you can spend your life giving up your place for others instead of guarding it from others—because your identity is in Christ, not your place.
Now you can spend your life going to the back instead of getting to the front—because your identity is in Christ, not your position.
Now you can spend your life giving, not taking—because your identity is in Christ, not your possessions.
Real, pure, unadulterated freedom happens when the resources of the gospel smash any sense of need to secure for myself anything beyond what Christ has already secured for me.
Excerpted from my forthcoming book Jesus + Nothing = Everything.
Tullian Tchividjian

That's My King!

That's My King! from Albert Martin on Vimeo.

Post 9-11 Checklist Not Finished

Friday, September 9, 2011

Work Song - The Butterfield Blues Band

Past, Present, and Future

“As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”—Psalm 103:12
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”—Hebrews 13:8
Charles Spurgeon on the parable of the prodigal son:
This poor young man, in his hungry, faint, and wretched state, having come a very long way, had not much heart in him. His hunger had taken all energy out of him, and he was so conscious of his guilt that he had hardly the courage to face his father; so his father gives him a kiss, as much as to say, “Come, boy, do not be cast down; I love you.”
“Oh, the past, the past, my father!” he might moan, as he thought of his wasted years; but he had no sooner said that than he received another kiss, as if his father said, “Never mind the past; I have forgotten all about that.” This is the Lord’s way with His saved ones. Their past lies hidden under the blood of atonement. The Lord saith by His servant Jeremiah, “The iniquity if Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.”
But then, perhaps, the young man looked down on his foul garments, and said, “The present, my father, the present, what a dreadful state I am in!” And with another kiss would come the answer, “Never mind the present, my boy. I am content to have thee as thou art. I love thee.” This, too, is God’s word to those who are “accepted in the Beloved.” In spite of all their vileness, they are pure and spotless in Christ, and God says of each one of them, “Since thou wast precious in My sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee. Therefore, though in thyself thou art unworthy, through My dear Son thou art welcome to My home.”
“Oh, but,” the boy might have said, “the future, my father, the future! What would you think if I should ever go astray again?” Then would come another holy kiss, and his father would say, “I will see to the future, my boy; I will make home so bright for you that you will never want to go away again.” But God does more than that for us when we return to Him. He not only surrounds us with tokens of His love, but He says concerning us, “They shall be My people, and I will be their God: and I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear Me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” Furthermore, He says to each returning one, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.”
Justin Taylor

Bob Dylan - I want you - original version

A Job I Would Never Do

Fixing an antenna on top of the Empire State Building


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Your gonna need somebody on your bond - Taj Mahal

It's Hard To Be A Step Ladder

22 words

How Can Christ's Work Atone for More than One Person?

After all, if Jesus was a single person, and only died and rose again once, shouldn't his saving work only be vicariously transferable to one other single person, if justice is to be maintained?

No, says Herman Bavinck--
When the Socinians say that . . . Christ could make satisfaction only for one person and not for many, inasmuch as he only bore the punishment of sin once, this reasoning is based on the same quantitative calculation as the 'acceptation' of Duns Scotus and the 'superabundance' of Aquinas.

For though the sin that entered the world through Adam manifests itself in an incalculable series of sinful thoughts, words, and deeds, and though the wrath of God is felt individually by every guilty member of the human race, it is and remains the one indivisible law that has been violated, the one indivisible wrath of God that has been ignited against the sin of the whole human race, the one indivisible righteousness of God that has been offended by sin, the one unchangeable eternal God who has been affronted by sin.

The punishment of Christ, therefore, is also one: one that balances in intensity and quality the sin and guilt of the whole human race. . . . That punishment, after all, was laid on him who was not an individual on a level with other individuals but the second Adam head of the human race, both Son of Man and Son of God.
--Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, 3:402
Dane Ortlund

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bob Dylan - Maggie's Farm (Original Studio Version)

Down The Drain

It seems such a little thing to mix the Law and the Gospel

It seems such a little thing to mix the law and the Gospel, faith and works; but this does more mischief than human reason can conceive, for it not only blemishes and obscures the knowledge of grace, but it also takes away Christ, with all his benefits, and utterly overshadows the Gospel. . . . The cause of this great evil is our flesh, which, being immersed in sins, sees no way of getting out except by works and therefore wants to live in the righteousness of the law and rely on its own actions. Therefore, it is utterly ignorant of the doctrine of faith and grace, without which it is impossible for the conscience to find rest and quietness.
--Martin Luther, Galatians (Crossway, 1998), 52
Dane Ortlund

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Beach Boys - God Only Knows (Pet Sounds)

Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions - People Get Ready

Spurgeon on a Stupid Way to Read the Scriptures

From Charles Spurgeon’s 1867 sermon “A Song at the Well-head”:
You are retired for your private devotions; you have opened the Bible, and you begin to read.
Now, do not be satisfied with merely reading through a chapter. Some people thoughtlessly read through two or three chapters—stupid people for doing such a thing!
It is always better to read a little and digest it, than it is to read much and then think you have done a good thing by merely reading the letter of the word.
For you might as well read the alphabet backwards and forwards, as read a chapter of Scripture, unless you meditate upon it, and seek to comprehend its meaning.
Merely to read words is nothing: the letter kills.
The business of the believer with his Bible open is to pray, “Lord, give me the meaning and spirit of your word, while it lies open before me; apply your word with power to my soul, threatening or promise, doctrine or precept, whatever it may be; lead me into the soul and marrow of your word.”
Also, it is not the form of prayer, but the spirit of prayer that shall truly benefit your souls.
That prayer has not benefited you, which is not the prayer of the soul.
You have need to say, “Lord, give me the spirit of prayer; now help me to feel my need deeply, to perceive your promises clearly, and to exercise faith upon them.”
In your private devotions, strive after vital godliness, real soul-work, the life-giving operation of the Spirit of God in your hearts.
Justin Taylor

DOJ invades Gibson Guitars for Using Illegal Wood - Really?

AG Holder Sends government thugs to raid Gibson Guitars. You can't make this stuff up. They said Gibson was using illegal wood. Martin Guitars use the same wood but weren't raided. Why? They are big givers to Democrats. DOJ also threatens musicians that have classic old guitars, they could be taken if you try to take them out of the country because they contain illegal wood. Yes our government doesn't have anything better to do, amazing incompetence. Why do so many musicians support Democrats? Just stupid I guess.

Monday, September 5, 2011

'Blues In G' LONNIE JOHNSON (1928) Guitar Hero Legend Of Blues

The Lie Of Green Jobs

Do We Really Use and Know the Bible Like We Should?

Bishop J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) exhorts us on the importance of “Bible Reading“:
You live in a world where your soul is in constant danger. Enemies are round you on every side. Your own heart is deceitful. Bad examples are numerous. Satan is always laboring to lead you astray. Above all false doctrine and false teachers of every kind abound. This is your great danger.
To be safe you must be well armed. You must provide yourself with the weapons which God has given you for your help. You must store your mind with Holy Scripture. This is to be well armed.
Arm yourself with a thorough knowledge of the written word of God. Read your Bible regularly. Become familiar with your Bible. . . . Neglect your Bible and nothing that I know of can prevent you from error if a plausible advocate of false teaching shall happen to meet you. Make it a rule to believe nothing except it can be proved from Scripture. The Bible alone is infallible. . . . Do you really use your Bible as much as you ought?
There are many today, who believe the Bible, yet read it very little. Does your conscience tell you that you are one of these persons?
If so, you are the man that is likely to get little help from the Bible in time of need. Trial is a sifting experience. . . . Your store of Bible consolations may one day run very low.
If so, you are the man that is unlikely to become established in the truth. I shall not be surprised to hear that you are troubled with doubts and questions about assurance, grace, faith, perseverance, etc. The devil is an old and cunning enemy. He can quote Scripture readily enough when he pleases. Now you are not sufficiently ready with your weapons to fight a good fight with him. . . . Your sword is held loosely in your hand.
If so, you are the man that is likely to make mistakes in life. I shall not wonder if I am told that you have problems in your marriage, problems with your children, problems about the conduct of your family and about the company you keep. The world you steer through is full of rocks, shoals and sandbanks. You are not sufficiently familiar either with lighthouses or charts.
If so, you are the man who is likely to be carried away by some false teacher for a time. It will not surprise me if I hear that one of these clever eloquent men who can make a convincing presentation is leading you into error. You are in need of ballast (truth); no wonder if you are tossed to and fro like a cork on the waves.
All these are uncomfortable situations. I want you to escape them all. Take the advice I offer you today. Do not merely read your Bible a little—but read it a great deal. . . . Remember your many enemies. Be armed!
HT: J. I. Packer, 18 Words: The Most Important Words You Will Ever Know, pp. 40-41.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Eric Clapton & The Powerhouse - I Want To Know

Powerhouse was formed with full intention of being a short-lived studio project. In 1965 and 1966, American record producer Joe Boyd was in the process of opening a London office for Elektra Records and was looking for some British talent to feature on the first release from the label's local division, a sampler compilation album. Manfred Mann's singer Paul Jones suggested putting together an all-star band to mark the occasion. The band starred Eric Clapton (guitar), and featured Paul Jones (harmonica) and Jack Bruce (bass) from Manfred Mann, Steve Winwood aka "Steve Anglo"(vocals) and Pete York (drums) from the Spencer Davis Group, and Ben Palmer (piano) who had previously played with Clapton. Originally, Ginger Baker was intended to fill the drummer's position, but he was unavailable at the time. I Want to Know is a cut from the "Whats Shaken' " LP on Elektra Records...Re-released on, collectors' choice Records.

Darth Cheney

The Term Is Over - The dream is ended: this is the morning.

The last page of The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis--
'You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be,' said Aslan.

Lucy said, 'We’re do afraid of being sent away, Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often.'

'No fear of that,' said Aslan. 'Have you not guessed?'

Their hearts leaped and a wild hope rose within them.

'There was a real railway accident,' said Aslan softly. 'Your father and mother and all of you are—as you used to call it in the Shadowlands—dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.'

And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at least they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
Dane Ortlund