Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bob Dylan - Shelter From the Storm (Alternate Version)

The Heidelberg Catechism on Justification

This comes from question 60 of the Heidelberg Catechism. Gold.

Q. How are you right with God?

A. Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. 
Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously 
sinned against all God's commandments
and of never having kept any of them,
and even though I am still inclined toward all evil,
without my deserving it at all,
out of sheer grace,
God grants and credits to me
the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ,
as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner,
as if I had been as perfectly obedient
as Christ was obedient for me.
All I need to do
is to accept this gift of God with a believing heart. 

Praise God! This is the best news ever! What a gracious father! Without deserving it at all, God, out of sheer grace, grants and credits to Christians the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ. Understanding this truth is imperative to understanding the Gospel, and I pray  God continues to enliven my heart to the glorious riches of Christ's saving work.

Saved - Bob Dylan - Live 1981

Bob Dylan- Gotta serve somebody

Bob Dylan - Scarlet Town (HD)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Freddie King - Five Long Years

C. S. Lewis, 'On Forgiveness'--

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single person great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life--to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son--how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say our prayers each night 'forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.' We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse is to refuse God's mercy for ourselves.

"Going Down" - Freddie King

From his 1971 record, "Getting Ready," which was largely written and produced by Leon Russell and features Duck Dunn on bass. Russell wrote "Going Down," as part of an attempt to introduce Freddie to more of a "rock audience" through this record.

John Hiatt - Have A Little Faith

Lyle Lovett and his Large Band - Church

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vince Gill - Threaten Me With Heaven (Live on Today 10-26-2011)

Vince Gill - How Great Thou Art instrumental

Brad Paisley Folsom Prison blues

Vince Gill ~Brad Paisley ~ Working Man Blues

The Cast of “The Princess Bride” — Then and Now

 In celebration of the 25th anniversary of The Princess Bride‘s release date, here are the main characters as they appeared in the movie and as they are now (with a classic quote from each thrown in just for fun)…

Cary Elwes as Westley

“As you wish.”

Robin Wright as Buttercup

“You can’t hurt me. Westley and I are joined by the bonds of love, and you cannot track that — not with a thousand bloodhounds. And you cannot break it — not with a thousand swords.”

Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya

“Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya! You killed my father! Prepare to die!”

Christopher Guest as Count Tyrone Rugen

“What did this do to you? Tell me. And remember, this is for posterity, so…be honest. How do you feel?”

Chris Sarandon as Prince Humperdinck

“Please consider me as an alternative to suicide.”

Billy Crystal as Miracle Max

“Sonny, true love is the greatest thing, in the world-except for a nice MLT – mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe. They’re so perky, I love that.”

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Alison Krauss - Lay My Burden Down - On Late Night

The Transfiguration of Robert Zimmerman, or Just a Closer Walk with Dylan

The interview with Bob Dylan in the new issue of Rolling Stone is, without a doubt, the most fascinating thing I’ve read all year. It’s contentious, sure, but a lot of Dylan interviews are contentious–you know, where you get the sense he’s almost enjoying confounding the interviewer. Or at least not willing to put up with an ounce of nonsense or non-wisdom, especially when it comes to his work and person. For example, reading how Dylan responds when the interviewer, Mikal Gilmore, tries to lure him onto the partisan bandwagon-of-the-month is worth the price of admission alone. In fact, we watch as Dylan’s worldview, if it can be called such, completely collides with Gilmore’s on pretty much every subject. One can’t help but notice that as much as Bob might talk about his 50s roots and love for the American music tradition, he stands almost prophetically outside of time and circumstance. The man thinks in eternal terms. Which makes sense, especially if you take his claim about being transfigured at face value (which I do!). The interview is not available online, so you may have to fork over some cash for the hard copy… But here are some of the juicier exchanges:
Do you ever worry that people interpreted your work in misguided ways? For example, some people still see “Rainy Day Women” as coded about getting high.
It doesn’t surprise me that some people would see it that way. But these are people that aren’t familiar with the Book of Acts…
People thought your music spoke to and reflected the 1960s. Do you feel that’s also the case with your music since 1997?
Sure, my music is always speaking to times that are recent. But let’s not forget human nature isn’t bound to any specific time in history. And it always starts with that. My songs are personal music; they’re not communal. I wouldn’t want people singing along with me. It would sound funny. I’m not playing campfire meetings. I don’t remember anyone singing along with Elvis, or Carl Perkins, or Little Richard. The thing you have to do is make people feel their own emotions. A performer, if he’s doing what he’s supposed to do, doesn’t feel any emotion at all. It’s a certain kind of alchemy that a performer has..
[When you talk about] transfiguration, you mean it in the sense of being transformed? Or do you mean transmigration, when a soul passes into a different body?
Transmigration is not what we are talking about. This is something else. I had a motorcycle accident in 1966… Now, you can put this together any way you want. You can work on it any way you want. Transfiguration: You can go learn about it from the Catholic Church, you can learn about it in some old mystical books, but it’s a real concept. It’s happened throughout the ages. Nobody knows who it’s happened to, or why. But you get real proof of it here and there. It’s not like something you can dream up and think. It’s not like conjuring up a reality or like incarnation–or like when you might think you’re somebody from the past but have no proof. It’s not anything to do with the past or the future.
So when you ask some of your questions, you’re asking them to a person who’s long dead. You’re asking them to a person that doesn’t exist. But people make that mistake about me all the time…
So live performance is a purpose you find fulfilling?
If you’re not fulfilled in other ways, performing can never make you happy. Performing is something you have to learn how to do. You do it, you get better at it and you keep going. And if you don’t get better at it, you have to give it up. Is it a fulfilling way of life? Well, what kind of way of life is fulfilling? No kind of life is fulfilling if your soul hasn’t been redeemed…
You said that you originally wanted to make a more religious album this time–can you tell me more about that?
The songs on Tempest were worked out in rehearsals on stages during soundchecks before live shows. The religious songs maybe I felt were too similar to each other to release as an album. Someplace along the line, I had to go with one or the other, and Tempest is what I went with. I’m still not sure if it was the right decision.
When you say religious songs…
Newly written songs, but one that are traditionally motivated.
More like “Slow Train Coming”?
No. No. Not at all. They’re more like “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.”…
Has your sense of faith changed?
Certainly it has, o ye of little faith. Who’s to say that I even have any faith or what kind? I see God’s hand in everything. Every person, place and thing, every situation…
Clearly, the language of the Bible still provides imagery in your songs.
Of course, what else could there be? I believe in the Book of Revelation. I believe in disclosure, you know?

Are you saying that you can’t really be known?
Nobody knows nothing. Who knows who’s been transfigured and who has not? Who knows? Maybe Aristotle? Maybe he was transfigured? I can’t say. Maybe Julius Caesar was transfigured. I have no idea. Maybe Shakespeare. Maybe Dante. Maybe Napoleon. Maybe Churchill. You just never know, because it doesn’t figure into the history books. That’s all I’m saying.
Sometimes we can deepen ourselves or give aid to other people by trying to know them.
If we’re responsible to ourselves, then we can be responsible for other people, too. But we have to know ourselves first. People listen to my songs and they must think I’m a certain type of way, and maybe I am. But there’s more to it than that. I think they can listen to my songs and figure out who they are, too.
When you say that those who conjecture about you don’t really know what they’re talking about, does that mean you feel misunderstood?
It doesn’t mean that at all! [Laughs] I mean, what’s there, like, to understand? I mean — no, no. Just the opposite. Who’s supposed to understand? My in-laws? Am I supposed to be some misunderstood artist living in an attic? You tell me. What’s there to understand? Please, can we stop now?

Before we end the conversation, I want to ask about the controversy over your quotations in your songs from the works of other writers, such as Japanese author Junichi Saga’s “Confessions of a Yakuza,” and the Civil War poetry of Henry Timrod. Some critics say that you didn’t cite your sources clearly. Yet in folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition. What’s your response to those kinds of charges?
Oh, yeah, in folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition. That certainly is true. It’s true for everybody, but me. I mean, everyone else can do it but not me. There are different rules for me. And as far as Henry Timrod is concerned, have you even heard of him? Who’s been reading him lately? And who’s pushed him to the forefront? What’s been making you read him? And ask his descendent what they think of the hoopla. And if you think it’s so easy to quote him, and it can help your work, do it yourself and see how far you can get… It’s an old thing–it’s part of the tradition. It goes way back. These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history! If you think you’ve been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? For playing an electric guitar? As if that is in some kind of way equitable to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified…

Mississippi Fred McDowell - When I Lay My Burden Down

Mississippi Fred McDowell - Goin Down to the River

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Miguel Cabrera's Triple Crown chase

Not to suggest it's been a while since anybody won a Triple Crown, but the last time it happened (1967) a gallon of gas cost 33 cents … the average salary of a big league baseball player was $10,000 … and the Internet was so slow, it was almost like it didn't even exist. Heh-heh. Almost.
But now along comes Miguel Cabrera to threaten to force people to learn how to spell Yastrzemski again. And that's a beautiful thing. But as this edition of the September History Watch is about to report, there's all kinds of history out there for Cabrera to make, even if he doesn't win the Triple Crown:

First off, let's give you a clear picture of how special this is, to find a man making this serious run at the Triple Crown with a mere two weeks left in the season.
Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera hit home runs No. 39 and 40 Tuesday night against Oakland.
Cabera leads the league in batting average. And leads the league in RBIs. And is second in his league in home runs (40), just two back of Josh Hamilton. Well, friends, that's more astonishing than you might think.
This is Year 45 A.Y. (After Yastrzemski). And according to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the first time in any of those seasons that any player has reached the final two weeks of the season, and was leading his league in batting and RBIs, and within two of the lead in homers.
Think of all the great hitters who have roamed the baseball earth in all those years: George Brett, Johnny Bench, Albert PujolsBarry Bonds, Mike Schmidt,. Kenneth Griffey Jr. and many more. None of them ever made this kind of run at a Triple Crown. But now Miguel Cabrera has. So he's already on historic turf.
• And now another tidbit that astounded us September History Watchers. Suppose Cabrera wins two-thirds of the Triple Crown but winds up second in home runs. That would seem like a disappointment, but maybe not after you hear this:
Would you believe that we're closing in on nearly a half-century since anyone won a Triple Crown, and nobody has had a season since in which he won two legs of this trifecta and finished second in the third category? That word, again, was "nobody." In fact, we've only had two third-place finishes by players who led in the other two:

    Jim Rice 1978 (led in HRs and RBIs, third in batting race)
    Matt Kemp 2011 (led in HRs and RBIs, third in batting race)
• And now another incredible feat on Cabrera's plate: He leads the league in batting and RBIs. Plus, he has already hit 40 homers. Would you believe that, in the history of baseball, only two men have ever done that without winning a Triple Crown? Here they are:

    Jimmie Foxx 1938 (hit 50 HRs, eight behind Hank Greenberg)
    Todd Helton 2000 (hit 42 HRs, eight behind Sammy Sosa)

• Speaking of Foxx, he's had his own unique Double Crown all to himself for more than 70 years, only to find himself in danger of having Cabrera crash his party. Amazingly, in the live ball era, Foxx is the only man ever to lead the American League in batting and RBIs but not win a Triple Crown. So even if Cabrera can't catch Hamilton in the home run race, if he leads the league in the other two categories, he'll still have done something cool and historic.
• Over in the NL, for some reason, that particular Double Crown (batting and RBI titles) hasn't been quite as rare. But it's still been done just six times in the past 85 years:
    Stan Musial 1948
    Tommy Davis 1962
    Joe Torre 1971
    Al Oliver 1982
    Helton 2000
    Matt Holliday 2007

Of that group, only one man had a real shot at a Triple Crown in the last two weeks of the season. And that was the great Stan Musial, in 1948.
Ralph Kiner and Johnny Mize tied for the league lead in homers that year, with 40. Musial was sitting on 38 home runs with nine games left in the season but hit only one more and finished one behind them.
• Hold on. It gets better. Other than Musial, only one other player in the live ball era managed to lead his league in batting and RBIs and wind up as close to the league lead in home runs as Cabrera is now (two or closer). This man:

The immortal Rogers Hornsby in 1921 -- hit 21 homers and finished second in the league, two behind the eloquently nicknamed George (High Pockets) Kelly.
• Triple Crowns aside, Cabrera has a shot at a few other feats that got the September History Watch's attention. For one thing, he's on the verge of becoming a back-to-back batting champ.
The only other active player who can make that claim: Joe Mauer (2008-09).
The only other Tiger who has ever done that: Some dude named Ty Cobb, whoever he is (did it eight times).
• Back-to-back or not, just being a two-time batting champ is a rarity here in the post-Gwynn-and-Boggs era. The only two active players who have won a batting title more than once at any point: Mauer and Ichiro Suzuki (2001, 2004).

• Finally, even if Cabrera doesn't win the Triple Crown, he's already one of only three active players who have led their league in all three Triple Crown categories at some point in their careers -- just not in the same year. The others:
    Albert Pujols (batting title '03, HR title '09-10, RBI title '10)
    Alex Rodriguez (batting title '96, HR title '01-03, '05, '07, RBI title '02, '07)

By the way, if Josh Hamilton leads the league in homers, he'd also join this list. But enough about him. This is supposed to be a Miguel Cabrera edition of the September History Watch. And as you've noticed, there's more than enough historic stuff on his agenda to keep us History Watchers busy without dragging anyone else into this opus.

R.L. Burnside - Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down

The Media's Victim Mentality

Everything Is Broken (R. L. Burnside) Dylan Cover

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Freddie Hubbard Trio - Here's That Rainy Day

Freddie Hubbard Trio - Here's That Rainy Day (1970) Personnel: Freddie Hubbard (flugel horn), George Benson (guitar), Ron Carter (bass)

George Benson & McCoy Tyner Trio - Stella by Starlight

From a 1989 performance, McCoy Tyner-piano, George Benson-guitar, Avery Sharpe-bass, Aaron Scott-drums

John Coltrane - I'm Old Fashioned

Where He Leads

Do I not say truly, Gandalf,' said Aragorn at last, 'that you could go whithersoever you wished quicker than I? And this I also say: you are our captain and our banner. The Dark Lord has nine. But we have One, mightier than they; the White Rider. He has passed through the fire and the abyss, and they shall fear him. We will go where he leads.' --J. R. R. Tolkien, The Two Towers, p. 490

Tolkien captures here almost exactly what the writer to the Hebrews means by the difficult-to-translate Greek word archegos (pioneer, author, leader), referring to Jesus, in Heb 2:10 and 12:2.

Dane Ortlund

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Gospel in a Phrase

"Here’s the gospel in a phrase. Because Christ died for us, those who trust in him may know that their guilt has been pardoned once and for all. What will we have to say before the bar of God’s judgment? Only one thing. Christ died in my place. That’s the gospel." (Alistair Begg) 

I have nothing but Christ, I trust no one but Christ, he didn't need my help in dealing with my sins and he doesn't need my help in securing my passage into his eternal kingdom, he has saved me to the uttermost!

Eric Clapton - "Goin' Down Slow" [Live Video Version-One More Car]

Steve Winwood -Higher Love (Original)1986

Eric Clapton - Bell Bottom Blues (Live Video Version)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Luther Allison - Little Red Roster

Reasons For Ending A Game Of Monopoly

Substitution: the Breakthrough to Heart-Freedom

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’”  Galatians 3:13
“Our most merciful Father, seeing us to be oppressed and overwhelmed with the curse of the law . . . sent his only Son into the world and laid upon him all the sins of all men, saying, ‘You be Peter that denier, Paul that persecutor, blasphemer and cruel oppressor, David that adulterer, that sinner who ate the apple in Paradise, that thief who hung upon the cross, and briefly, you be the person who has committed the sins of all men.  See therefore that you pay and satisfy for them.’”
Martin Luther, commenting on Galatians 3:13.

Ray Ortlund

The Avett Brothers "I and Love and You" Late Show with David Letterman

The Avett Brothers - Murder in the City

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Junior Wells - Messin' with the Kid - Montreux Jazz Festival 1974

Junior Wells - Snatch It Back and Hold It

Why Are You Addicted?

 Mike Wilkerson:
Slaves usually don’t free themselves. Addictions are powerful. . . . There’s a difference between a belief in a higher power as I define it (subjective), and an actual power that’s actually higher and breaks me free from slavery (objective).

True freedom, not only from addictive behavior, but from the underlying sin problem at its root, is only possible through the latter: the resurrected Christ by his Spirit, working powerfully in the hearts and bodies of those he is redeeming from slavery of all kinds, as we respond in believe.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How To Insult God

" But when it is freely, freely, freely, men turn away. "What! am I to have it for nothing at all, without doing anything?" Yes, Sir, you are to have it for nothing, or else not at all; it is "freely." "But may I not go to Christ, lay some claim to his mercy, and say, Lord, justify me because I am not so bad as others?" It will not do, Sir, because it is "by his grace." "But may I not indulge a hope, because I go to church twice a day?" No, Sir; it is "by his grace." "But may I not offer this plea, I mean to be better?" No, sir; it is "by his grace." You insult God by bringing your counterfeit coin to pay for his treasures." C.H. Spurgeon                                           

This is so hard for people to accept. There is something in every human being that wants to earn something from God or to pay for something that God gives for free."We are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Romans 3:24 NIV

Dion Tank Full of Blues Two Train

Dion Tank Full of Blues Tank Full of Blues

Blues Harmonica - Dennis Gruenling - "Jump Time"

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats LRBC 2011 "Big and Fat"

Depending on Dependency

The theme that most seemed to rouse the enthusiasm of delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte was that we are all responsible for one another -- and that Republicans don't want to help the poor, the sick and the helpless.
All of us should be on guard against beliefs that flatter ourselves. At the very least, we should check such beliefs against facts.
Yet the notion that people who prefer economic decisions to be made by individuals in the market are not as compassionate as people who prefer those decisions to be made collectively by politicians is seldom even thought of as a belief that should be checked against facts.
Nor is this notion confined to Democrats in America today. Belief in the superior compassion of the political left is a worldwide phenomenon that goes back at least as far as the 18th century. But in all that time, and in all those places, there has been little, if any, effort on the left to check this crucial assumption against facts.
When an empirical study of the actual behavior of American conservatives and liberals was published in 2006, it turned out that conservatives donated a larger amount of money, and a higher percentage of their incomes (which were slightly lower than liberal incomes) to philanthropic activities.
Conservatives also donated more of their time to philanthropic activities and donated far more blood than liberals. What is most remarkable about this study are not just its results. What is even more remarkable is how long it took before anyone even bothered to ask the questions. It was just assumed, for centuries, that the left was more compassionate.
Ronald Reagan donated a higher percentage of his income to charitable activities than did either Franklin D. Roosevelt or Ted Kennedy. Being willing to donate the taxpayers' money is not the same as being willing to put your own money where your mouth is.
Milton Friedman pointed out that the heyday of free market capitalism in the 19th century was a period of an unprecedented rise in philanthropic activity. Going even further back in time, in the 18th century Adam Smith, the patron saint of free market economics, was discovered from records examined after his death to have privately made large charitable donations, far beyond what might have been expected from someone of his income level.
Helping those who have been struck by unforeseeable misfortunes is fundamentally different from making dependency a way of life.
Although the big word on the left is "compassion," the big agenda on the left is dependency. The more people who are dependent on government handouts, the more votes the left can depend on for an ever-expanding welfare state.
Optimistic Republicans who say that widespread unemployment and record numbers of people on food stamps hurt President Obama's reelection chances are overlooking the fact that people who are dependent on government are more likely to vote for politicians who are giving them handouts.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt understood that, back during the Great Depression of the 1930s. He was reelected in a landslide after his first term, during which unemployment was in double digits every single month, and in some months was over 20 percent.
The time is long overdue for optimistic Republicans to understand what FDR understood long ago, and what Barack Obama clearly understands today. Dependency pays off in votes -- unless somebody alerts the taxpayers who get stuck with the bill.
The Obama administration is shamelessly advertising in the media -- whether on billboards or on television -- for people to get on food stamps. Welfare state bureaucrats have been sent into supermarkets to tell shoppers that food stamps are available.
The intelligentsia have for decades been promoting the idea that there should be no stigma to accepting government handouts. Living off the taxpayers is portrayed as a "right" or -- more ponderously -- as part of a "social contract."
You may not recall signing any such contract, but it sounds poetic and high-toned. Moreover, it wins votes among the gullible, and that is the bottom line for welfare state politicians.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Michael Burks - Feel Like Going Home

Muddy Waters & Johnny Winter / Trouble No More

Muddy Waters & Johnny Winter / Cross Eyed Cat

Reflections from the 73rd Floor - Remembering 9/11

We were all affected by the tragedy of September 11, 2001 in some way, regardless of where we were living at the time. As you might suspect, a number of us at Mockingbird were living in Manhattan; some of us even experienced the tragedy through our concern for individuals and/or loved ones who were working in the World Trade Center that day. One such individual had gone to work at his office on the 73rd floor of the south tower that morning. Mockingbird is extremely fortunate that the man in question, who wishes to remain anonymous, has been willing to share a reflection with us of what happened, and how he has, by God’s grace, been able to piece it all together over the past ten years.
First let me say that I am rather uncomfortable doing this. I am uncomfortable discussing my experience. I generally do not speak about living through September 11. My current co-workers do not know that I was in the building or anything that happened, and generally my newer friends find out from my older friends who were with me during that time. I was encouraged to take this anniversary as a time to reflect, so I reluctantly agreed to speak a little to you all.
I worked on the 73rd floor of the south tower and had just arrived at my desk when the north tower exploded into flames. We saw this out of our windows facing west. It seemed surreal to me, and I was stunned. I watched the manager dash out the exit before anyone else reacted, and was soon grabbed by a friend, and we went to the stairwell to leave the building. The stairs were small, each step about wide enough for two people standing side by side, and were already packed full of people. Another co-worker was trying to push through people in a mad panic, not realizing that all of the steps were occupied, and there was no place to go. I relate this because the event was terrifying, and people were reacting to the fear that suddenly invaded in different ways. I do not mean to denigrate them, as my own reaction of shocked disbelief could easily have been seen as a casual indifference. We discussed how this was no accident and dryly mocked the loudspeaker telling us to return to seats. We were leaving. The initial panic subsided mildly and a steady New York pace ensued down the stairwell.
I was around the thirtieth floor when the plane hit our building. The whole stairwell wobbled like a rope, and everyone fell onto each other backwards with the violent motion. I felt certain that the building north of us had collapsed into the south tower and ours was about to go down as well.

This is when the fear of the event took hold of everyone, myself included. I remember feeling mentally at peace, thinking that I had had a pretty good life. A co-worker a flight above me spoke up loudly, telling everyone that everything was okay, we had to get up and keep moving, and the crowd slowly rose to their feet. My knees told a different story than my brain, shaking so badly that I could barely stand on them. The brisk New York walk down stairs full of chatter and speculation was replaced by a dead silent crawl by all of us.
At the 15th floor I ended up behind an older woman who was being helped by two large men. She was having real difficulty with the stairs. I was right behind them and was confused about what to do. The distance between them and the people below them was growing to almost two flights of stairs, and the line in back of me stretched as far as I could see. Part of me wanted to help them help her, part wanted to yell at them to get out of the way. I started to become nervous as did the people in back of me. Before I could do anything, the woman said to the man to step in front of her, so she could hold his shoulders and the bottleneck was released.
Upon getting to the ground floor the scene was horrific. Leaving out the details — we could not exit onto the street. There was a security guard standing at the south exit telling everyone to go north, where there was another security guard blocking us from the plaza exit and directing us down an escalator to the east exit towards Broadway and into the subway tunnel. I watched as the firemen were rushing in and swarming the building, preparing to go up the very stairs I had just come down.
I spoke [at my parents' church] one year later, recounting this story and my gratitude for life and hope for the future. Upon reflection the only thing I want to say today regards the people I talked about. When something so terrifying and horrific happens, it is hard to imagine what your reaction will be. I have no anger toward those that panicked. It is a completely understandable reaction. I think it is the natural reaction.
Looking back however, the people who deserve my respect and honor, are the people who walked through that fear and remembered what is really important.
The man who shook us out of our shock to continue moving. The men who helped that woman on the 15th floor. I do not know if those men made it out of the building or not. They could have walked out like the rest us. Instead they helped someone not as healthy as themselves. The firemen, while trained for disaster and rushing into danger, had certainly never experienced anything like this on the job before. Even the security guards; These were not high paying positions of public trust. These were the men who swiped our badges going into the building. No one would have faulted them for leaving that scene. But they stayed and help strangers get to safety.
When I think about the heroes of September 11th I think about the people who, when faced with unthinkable terror, were able to act in in this manner. They risked their lives for acts of charity. It is hard to imagine a better portrait of the love that we Christians speak of.
When I think about myself and my life, and my community and my country, I ask myself: Are we able to take the moral path, the path of love and charity? It is an easy thing to go down an easier path, driven by fear, justified by self preservation, forgetting or dismissing as quaint and irrelevant the morals and values that we know to be true.
These people, faced with imminent death, took the path of charity and service to others. I hope and pray that we can learn from their courage.

The Road Far Less Traveled

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Gospel in Seven Words

D. L. Moody once said, “I can write the gospel on a dime.” Many of us were raised with the primary question of personal evangelism: “If you had less than a minute in the elevator with someone, how would you share the gospel?”
So how would you summarize the gospel—the very heart of the Christian message—in seven words?
A recent cover story (Aug 23, 2012) of The Christian Century, the magazine of mainline Protestantism, put that question to several leading pastors and theologians. The writer, David Heim, begins,
In his autobiography Brother to a Dragonfly, Will Campbell recalls how his friend P. D. East had badgered him for a succinct definition of Christianity. East did not want a long or fancy explanation. ‘I’m not too bright,’ he told Campbell. ‘Keep it simple. In ten words or less, what’s the Christian message?’ Campbell obliged his friend: ‘We’re all bastards but God loves us anyway,’ he said. To which East replied, ‘If you want to try again, you have two words left.’ Campbell and East eventually had an extended conversation provoked by Campbell’s summary. It had stuck in East’s mind. He wasn’t sure he bought it, but it gave him something to think about.

Cream - Badge (Royal Albert Hall 2005)

John Mayall And The Blues Breakers - One Life To Live

John Mayall's Blursbreakers featuring Walter Trout and Coco Montoya.The album is entitled Life In The Jungle.

Eric Clapton & Friends - White Room

Two Things Jesus Knew

"Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisee's fast, but your disciples do not fast?" And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day." Mark 2:18-20

Some people like to think that Jesus was just a good moral teacher; a really nice guy who was a great leader. This passage reveals a couple things that Jesus thought about himself. He knew who he was, and that he was going to die. 

Figuratively, Jesus knew he was the bridegroom. He was the Son of God and the awaited Savior. He also knew the reason why he came. He came to die. The culmination of his mission was to defeat death by dying a substitutionary death for his people. When you read the gospel's this way, listening to what Jesus thought and knew about himself, the stories make much more sense. His whole life,  his eyes must have been fixed on his mission. He wasn't aimlessly living life trying to help people when he could. He was on a mission; he had a purpose. He was much more than a moral teacher. He was and is the Savior of the world. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood - Forever Man (Live At Madison Square Garden)

Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood - Presence of the Lord

Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton - Can't Find My Way Home

The Surprising Message of the Bible

“If it is I who determine where God is to be found, then I shall always find a God who corresponds to me in some way, who is obliging, who is connected with my own nature.  But if God determines where he is to be found, then it will be in a place which is not at all congenial to me.  This place is the Cross of Christ.  And whoever would find him must go to the foot of the Cross, as the Sermon on the Mount commands.  This is not according to our nature at all, it is entirely contrary to it.  But this is the message of the Bible, not only in the New but also in the Old Testament . . . .”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, quoted in Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer (Nashville, 2010), page 137.

Ray Ortlund

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wayne Shorter - Footprints

Freddie Hubbard - Mr. Clean (original 1970 version)

Freddie Hubbard - Here's That Rainy Day

Practicing the Presence of the Holy Spirit

This failure to recognize the Holy Spirit as personally present in our lives is widespread in the churches today. . . . Even where Christians know about the Holy Spirit doctrinally, they have not necessarily made a deliberate point of getting to know him personally. They may have occasional experiences of his reality on a hit-and-run basis, but the fact that the pronoun “it” is so frequently used to refer to him is not accidental. It reflects the fact that he is perceived impersonally as an expression of God’s power and not experienced continually as a personal Guide and Counselor.
A normal relationship with the Holy Spirit should at least approximate the Old Testament experience described in Psalm 139: a profound awareness that we are always face to face with God; that as we move through life the presence of his Spirit is the most real and powerful factor in our daily environment; that underneath the momentary static of events, conflicts, problems and even excursions into sin, he is always there like the continuously sounding note in a basso ostinato.
Lovelace provides a metaphor for what sadly seems often to be the case:
The typical relationship between believers and the Holy Spirit in today’s church is too often like that between the husband and wife in a bad marriage. They live under the same roof, and the husband makes constant use of the wife’s services, but he fails to communicate with her, recognize her presence and celebrate their relationship with her.
Lovelace asks, “What should be done to reverse this situation?” Here is his answer:
We should make a deliberate effort at the outset of every day to recognize the person of the Holy Spirit, to move into the light concerning his presence in our consciousness and to open our minds and to share all our thoughts and plans as we gaze by faith into the face of God.
We should continue to walk throughout the day in a relationship of communication and communion with the Spirit mediated through our knowledge of the Word, relying upon every office of the Holy Spirit’s role as counselor mentioned in Scripture.
We should acknowledge him as the illuminator of truth and of the glory of Christ.
We should look to him as teacher, guide, sanctifier, giver of assurance concerning our sonship and standing before God, helper in prayer, and as one who directs and empowers our witness.
We should particularly recognize that growth in holiness is not simply a matter of the lonely individual making claims of faith on the basis of Romans 6:1-14. It involves moving about in all areas of our life in dependent fellowship with a person: “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16 NASB).
When this practice of the presence of God is maintained over a period of time, our experience of the Holy Spirit becomes less subjective and more clearly identifiable, as gradually we learn to distinguish the strivings of the Spirit from the motions of our flesh. (pp. 130-131)
 Richard Lovelace’s The Dynamics of Spiritual Life: An Evangelical Theology of Renewal (IVP, 1979).

Justin Taylor

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I Believe I'm in Love With You. Kim Wilson & Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Raitt & Kim Wilson - Coming Home

Kim Wilson - Blues Leave Me Alone

Ordinary Heroism

A good word from my friend Geoff Ziegler on Hollywood's latest unwitting depiction of the consummated eschatology that every fallen-but-God-imaging-and-thus-Eden-remembering human longs for.

As the film progresses we discover that the only hope for the city is found in people who devote their lives to making it better. “You don’t owe these people anymore. You’ve given them everything,” someone says to Bruce Wayne. His response reveals the heart of the film: “Not everything, not yet.” The fate of Gotham will be determined by just how much he and others are willing to give.
At the risk of being over-dramatic, it strikes me that each of us are called by God to just this sort of heroism. Though tempted to remain content in our own prosperity, or to complain against the mistakes of others, or to simply try to “wait things out,” we are summoned by God to lay down our lives in service to the world around us. “A new commandment I give you: love one another as I have loved you.” We have been loved completely by one who gave everything for us, and that very love compels us to do likewise. And unlike the superheroes of our age who must only rely on themselves, we can give ourselves without fear, for our lives are hidden in Christ, securely kept for us.
I am left with two simple questions: what does it mean for me to give my life to the family and community God has placed me in? And will I be willing to do it?
The more blockbusters I see the more clear it becomes that every one of them is a shadow of which Jesus is the substance.