Monday, April 29, 2013

An Eternity in Hell? Really?

The traditional doctrine of hell seems terrible to our modern ears because it is out of step with our modern intuitions about how God should behave. But our intuitions about these matters are hardly a reliable guide, given what Scripture says about the noetic effects of sin. To put it another way, the fact that an infinite punishment for sin seems an appalling, even disproportionate, punishment to contemporary human beings does not necessarily mean it is an appalling, disproportionate punishment. It may be that this is simply testimony to our failure to take with sufficient seriousness the idea of sinning against a being of infinite beauty and value. 
--Oliver Crisp, defending Edwards' understanding of hell, in "Karl Barth and Jonathan Edwards on Reprobation," in Engaging with Barth: Contemporary Evangelical Critiques (T&T Clark 2008), 316-17

Translation: The fact that an eternal hell seems disproportionately cruel as a punishment for sinners--that very sense of disproportion--is itself one manifestation of the sin that deserves eternal punishment.
Dane Ortlund

Albert King - Funky London - 06 - Sweet Fingers

Albert King - Blues At Sunrise

Live Wire Blues Power - recorded live at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco on June 8th, 1968. Also at this show were Jimi Hendrix and John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers.

Albert King-Get Out Of My Life Woman

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee - White Boy Lost in the Blues

What Is Grace?

What is grace? Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable. It is being loved when you are the opposite of loveable.
Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts” (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualification the receiver may personally hold.
Grace is one-way love.

Paul Zahl

Lyle Lovett -- "White Freightliner Blues" 2 27 Letterman

Lyle Lovett - White Boy Lost In The Blues (Bing Lounge)

C. S. Lewis: Why He Matters Today

The documentary you are about to see seeks to answer the question of why C. S. Lewis—an Oxford scholar who specialized in Renaissance literature—still matters today. Lewis's importance is heard through a renowned group of Christian pastors, artists, producers, writers and scholars. These include Tim and Kathy Keller, Chuck Colson, Doug Gresham, Eric Metaxas, Devin Brown, Micheal Flaherty, Mike Peterson, Phil Cooke, Mark Joseph, Craig Detweiler and Joseph Pearce. I cannot think of much else that would be as important to you than watching this documentary, it will inspire you, challenge you and hopefully move you to begin reading C.S. Lewis books.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

"You Know, You Know" Jeff Beck Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 - April 13, 2013

Layla and The Same Old Blues - Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Phil Collins Jools Holland - Live

Grace From The Very Top

1993 is, I’m sure, notable for many things.  But for some, it was most notable as the year of the second straight “Fab Five” appearance in the NCAA National Championship game.  The year before, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson, and Chris Webber had become famous for being an all-freshman starting five at the University of Michigan, introducing what has been referred to as “a hip-hop element” into the game, and getting all the way to the championship game before losing to Duke. The next year, as sophomores, the Fab Five was even better. Again, they went all the way to the championship, this time against North Carolina.
And then, the timeout happened.
Very late in a close game, Chris Webber (the team’s best player and the man who would be drafted first overall in the upcoming NBA draft) called a timeout when his team didn’t have one. Such a mistake results in a technical foul, giving the opposing team two free throws and the ball. Michigan couldn’t recover, and lost. Webber was ruthlessly mocked, both at the time and for years to come. A perennial All-Star, “Chris Webber timeout” is still the first Google suggestion when you type in his name.
A few days after that fateful game, though, Chris Webber got a letter:
I have been thinking of you a lot since I sat glued to the TV during the championship game. I know that there may be nothing I or anyone else can say to ease the pain and disappointment of what happened. Still, for whatever it’s worth, you, and your team, were terrific. And part of playing for high stakes under great pressure is the constant risk of mental error. I know. I have lost two political races and made countless mistakes over the last twenty years. What matters is the intensity, integrity, and courage you bring to the effort. That is certainly what you have done. You can always regret what occurred but don’t let it get you down or take away the satisfaction of what you have accomplished. You have a great future. Hang in there.
Sincerely, Bill Clinton
Chris Webber did have a great future, and though I suspect he’s never totally gotten over that moment in 1993, this letter must have been, and likely continues to be, an incredible balm for the wound. Such is the inevitable operation of grace in the face of the world’s judgment.


Friday, April 19, 2013

One-Way Love

The message of God’s one-way love for sinners naturally meets resistance from law-locked hearts. It produces objections in those who are wired for earning and deserving, which is all of us. Sometimes these objections are rationalized forms of the emotional offense taken by creatures addicted to their own sense of control. When our sense of pride is attacked, it defends. Sometimes these objections are projections of fear about what “might” happen if people actually believed the message. Sometimes the objections to grace are simply honest rejoinders to a word that can be very hard to swallow. Two of the most frequent objections I encounter—and I encounter them a lot—are that grace makes people lazy, and grace gives people license to indulge their self-absorption, rather than serve their neighbor. If it is true that Jesus paid it all, that “it is finished”, that my value, worth, security, freedom, justification, and so on is forever fixed, then why do anything? Doesn’t grace undercut ambition? Doesn’t the gospel weaken effort? If we are truly let off the hook, what is to stop us from ending up like George Costanza in the “Summer of George” episode of the sitcom Seinfeld, who receives an unexpected severance package and vows to take full advantage of his freedom only to sit around in sweatpants, watching TV, reading comic books, and eating “a big hunk of cheese like it’s an apple”? Or, as Billy Corgan (lead singer of Smashing Pumpkins) once said, “If practice makes perfect and no one’s perfect, then why practice?” Understandable question. (Tullian Tchividjian)

Cream Playing Badge at their 2005 Reunion

Five Blind Boys Of Mississippi - Take your burdens to Jesus (Archie Brownlee lead)

Buddy Guy - My Time After A While

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Ain't gone 'n' give up on love

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Secret Reason behind Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy theories have an aesthetic appeal: they make us feel more important in the grand scheme of things than we are. If someone is going to all this trouble to con us into believing in something, then we have to be worth conning; and the impotence we all feel in the face of massive impersonal bureaucracies and economies driven not by democratic institutions so much as multinational corporations is not really the result of our intrinsic smallness and insignificance so much of our potential power which needs to be smothered. Such views play to our vanity; and, to be brutally frank, the kind of virtual solitary vice which so much solipsistic internet activity represents.
Conspiracy theories don’t hold up, though. Nobody is that competent and powerful to pull them off. Even giant bureaucracies are made up of lots of small, incompetent units fighting petty turf wars, a fragmentation which undermine the possibility of the kind of co-ordinated efforts required to pull off, say, the fabrication of the Holocaust. History, humanly speaking, is a tale of incompetence and thoughtlessness, not of elaborate and sophisticated cabals. Evil, catastrophic evil, is not exceptional and brilliant; it is humdrum and banal; it does not involve thinking too much; it involves thinking too little.
For more, see Carl Trueman’s excellent book, Histories and Fallacies: Problems Faced in the Writing of History, especially his chapter on Holocaust denial.

Bill Evans Trio - Autumn Leaves

"Autumn Leaves" performed by Bill Evans and his trio. Taken from the 1959 "Portrait in Jazz" album. Composed by Joseph Kosma and Jacques Prévert. Musicians: Bill Evans: Piano Scott LaFaro: Bass Paul Motian: Drums

Miles Davis: Someday My Prince Will Come

Video with the album cover of Miles Davis' "Someday My Prince Will Come" with the title song. Wynton Kelly on piano, John Coltrane on sax, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums.

Miles Davis - So What - Taken from the legendary 1959 "Kind Of Blue" album. Composed by Miles Davis.

Musicians: * Miles Davis: Trumpet and band leader * Julian "Cannonball" Adderley: Alto saxophone * Paul Chambers: Double bass * Jimmy Cobb: Drums * John Coltrane: Tenor saxophone * Bill Evans: Piano

John Coltrane "Stardust" (1958)

Recorded July 11, 1958 in Hackensack, NJ. John Coltrane — tenor saxophone Wilbur Harden — trumpet/flugelhorn Red Garland — piano Paul Chambers — bass Jimmy Cobb — drums

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Grateful Dead & Bob Dylan - Slow Train

God’s One-Way Love For Sinners

Continued from yesterday - Sooner or later we are confronted with the painful truth of our inadequacy and insufficiency. Our security is shattered and our bootstraps are cut. Once the fervor has passed, weakness and infidelity appear. We discover our inability to add even a single inch to our spiritual stature. Life takes on a joyless, empty quality. We begin to resemble the leading character in Eugene O’Neill’s play The Great God Brown: “Why am I afraid to dance, I who love music and rhythm and grace and song and laughter? Why am I afraid to live, I who love life and the beauty of flesh and the living colors of the earth and sky and sea? Why am I afraid to love, I who love love?” Something is radically wrong. Our huffing and puffing to impress God, our scrambling for brownie points, our thrashing about trying to fix ourselves while hiding our pettiness and wallowing in guilt are nauseating to God and are a flat out denial of the gospel of grace. (Brennan Manning)
It is high time for the church to honor its Founder by embracing sola gratia anew, to reignite the beacon of hope for the hopeless and point all of us bedraggled performancists back to the freedom and rest of the Cross. To leave our “if’s” “and’s” or “but’s” behind and get back to proclaiming the only message that matters—and the only message we have—the Word about God’s one-way love for sinners. It is time for us to abandon once and for all our play-it-safe religion, and, as Robert Farrar Capon so memorably put it, to get drunk on grace. Two hundred-proof, unflinching grace. The radicality of grace is shocking and scary, unnatural and undomesticated…but it is also the only thing that can set us free and light the church, and the world, on fire.

B.B. King - Mr. Pawnbroker

BOB DYLAN - Gotta Serve Somebody ( "Saturday Night Live" October 20th, 1979)

Listen to This Weak Man’s Testimony - J. I. Packer

Please listen carefully to this weak man—J. I. Packer—who displays the strength of God: His book Weakness Is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength (Crossway) releases in a few weeks.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Jonathan Winters Improvising with a pen and pencil set

Cream - Stormy Monday (Royal Albert Hall 2005)

Cream - Crossroads (Royal Albert Hall 2005)

Are You Living In A House Of Fear?

Put bluntly, the American church today accepts grace in theory but denies it in practice. We say we believe that the fundamental structure of reality is grace, not works–but our lives refute our faith. By and large, the gospel of grace is neither proclaimed, understood, nor lived. Too many Christians are living in a house of fear and not in the house of love. Our culture has made the word grace impossible to understand. We resonate with slogans such as: “There’s no free lunch.” “You get what you deserve.” “You want love? Earn it.” “You want mercy? Show that you deserve it. Though the Scriptures insist on God’s initiative in the work of salvation–that by grace we are saved, that the Tremendous Lover has taken to the chase–our spirituality often starts with self, not God…We sweat through various spiritual exercises as if they were designed to produce a Christian Charles Atlas. Though lip service is paid to the gospel of grace, many Christians live as if only personal discipline and self-denial will mold the perfect me. The emphasis is on what I do rather than on what God is doing. In this curious process God is a benign old spectator in the bleachers who cheers when I show up for morning quiet time. Our eyes are not on God. At heart we are practicing Pelagians. We believe that we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps–indeed, we can do it ourselves. (Brennan Manning)

Most Christians I talk to tell me yes they understand grace they believe in grace. The only problem is that it never shows up in their life. They are generally unhappy, miserable, critical, fearful, filled with anxiety and they are not going to change because they refuse to admit they are bankrupt when it comes to grace. Grace is not amazing to these people at all, and it won't be until they come to the end of themselves, repent and ask God for help.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Repentance vs. Defensiveness Part 2

The gospel alone can free us for honesty, ownership, and admission, because the gospel alone destroys the sting and judgment associated with criticism. The gospel takes away the fear that drives defensiveness and frees us to openly admit our shortcomings. The gospel says, “in the place of your deepest failure and shame you are loved most tenderly.” The gospel says, “your deepest fears were already born by Christ.” The gospel says, “your sins were exposed and dealt with at the cross. The battle is already over.”

It makes me think of a man who is standing on trial before a large audience. A long list of (accurate) charges is read. Everyone is watching. And the man responds, “the charges against me are 100% true and fair. I am responsible. No one else is to blame. There is no excuse. And it is a big deal.” A man who is free to be that non-defensive is the happiest and most indestructible man in the world.  He has died to himself; his identity comes from something or someone else. He is fearless.

This is what the gospel does for us. In the court of God, which matters infinitely more than any human court, we have already been tried, and through Christ we have already been acquitted. Thank you, Jesus. Help us to be so secure in your love that we are fearless to repent.

Gavin Ortlund


Stevie Ray Vaughan - Soul to soul 17/7/88

Kuusrock festival; Oulu 1988 Raw footage version

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Don`t lose your cool 17/7/88

Kuusrock festival; Oulu 1988 Raw footage version

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Badge ERIC CLAPTON LIVE Pittsburgh Pa Consol Energy Center 4-6-2013

The Weight THE WALLFLOWERS AND ERIC CLAPTON Pittsburgh Pa Consol Energy Center 4-6-2013

Stones in My Passway - Eric Clapton Nashville 2013

Ride's Blues - Dion - Tribute to Robert Johnson

Repentance versus Defensiveness

It seems to me that we tend to respond to accurate criticism in one of two ways: repentance or defensiveness. These two reactions are as different as heaven and hell. A defensive heart says, “but look at what I did right!” (diversion). A repentant heart says, “here specifically is what I did wrong” (honesty). A defensive heart says, “but look at what was done to me!” (distraction). A repentant heart says, “here is how I contributed to the conflict” (ownership). A defensive heart says, “it wasn’t that bad” (downplaying). A repentant heart says, “it was a big deal” (admission).
Our default mode – in and out of the church – seems to be defensiveness. I know mine is. Nothing is more natural when we feel threatened by a criticism than to divert, distract, and downplay. Its as instinctive as flinching when a punch is coming. In my experience, a heart of repentance is something I have to work at. I have to say things like, “wait a minute. Think this through. Why does this criticism hurt you the way it does? Remember your identity is in Christ. Remember you’re identity is not at stake. Relax! Is there something you can learn here?” Its a counter-intuitive feeling, like learning to use a muscle we didn’t know we had for the first time. Or better: learning to relax a muscle for the first time that we’ve always kept tight. Its a kind of paradox: an effort at relaxing, a striving to cease striving, a struggle to give up.

Gavin Ortlund

Monday, April 8, 2013

Shai Linne talks about his song "Fal$e Teacher$"

On shai's most recent album, "Lyrical Theology Part 1: Theology" he has a song devoted to False Teachers. This video gives a little background into why he felt it was important to address such a topic.

C.S. Lewis on Christian Marriage

We must go back to our Bibles. The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. He is to love her as Christ loved the church–read on–and gave his life for her (Ephesians 5:25).

This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion; whose wife receives most and gives least, is most unworthy of him, is–in her own mere nature–least lovable. For the Church has no beauty but what the Bridegroom gives her; he does not find, but makes her lovely. The chrism of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man’s marriage but in its sorrows, in the sickness and sufferings of a good wife or the faults of a bad one, in his unwearying (never paraded) care or his inexhaustible forgiveness: forgiveness, not acquiescence.

As Christ sees in the flawed, proud, fanatical or lukewarm Church on earth that Bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle, and labors to produce the latter, so the husband whose headship is Christ-like (and he is allowed no other) never despairs.
--C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, p. 105

Cream White Room (Royal Albert Hall May, '05)

Cream Reunion Tour - May 2005 - Royal Albert Hall Eric Clapton was sick with the flu when they recorded this, but when snaps into that solo, it's amazing.

Mark Knopfler - What It Is [Edison Music Awards -03]

Aborting Pro-Life Stories Since Roe V. Wade

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Eric Clapton - Five Long Years (Live In Hyde Park 1996)

Stevie Ray Vaughan Live at UIC: Life Without You (10.28.89)

This is a recording of "Life Without You" from Stevie's final tour. On this night he is playing the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavillion

Martin Luther on How to Say Amen

. . . you must always speak the Amen firmly.
Never doubt that God in his mercy will surely hear you and say “yes” to your prayers.
Never think that you are kneeling or standing alone, rather think that the whole of Christendom, all devout Christians, are standing there beside you and you are standing among them in a common, united petition which God cannot disdain.
Do not leave your prayer without having said or thought, “Very well. God has heard my prayer; this I know as a certainty and a truth.” That is what Amen means.
—Martin Luther, “A Practical Way to Pray” (1535), in Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, 2d ed., ed. Timothy Lull (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012), 35.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

We Are All legalists

Graeme Goldsworthy on the kind of preaching that rejects the gospel, from “Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture”, says “. . . we are all legalists at heart. We all love to be able to say that we have fulfilled all kinds of conditions, be they tarrying, surrendering fully, or getting rid of every known sin, so that God might truly bless us. It is a constant temptation to want to take our spiritual pulse and to apply the sanctification barometer . . . The preacher can aid and abet this legalistic tendency that is at the heart of the sin within us all. All we have to do is emphasize our humanity: our obedience, our faithfulness, our surrender to God, and so on. The trouble is that these things are all valid biblical truths, but if we get them out of perspective and ignore their relationship to the gospel of grace, they replace grace with law.”
I can only pray that the revelation of this will break into the heart and mind of everyone who reads this.

Bye Bye Baby Goodby Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Otis Spann, Sonny Terry, James Cotton, Bronnie Magee, Sunnyland Slim, Mable Hillery,Canadian TV Blues Jam . 1966.

Otis Spann's South Side Piano -- S. P. Blues

The Sky Is Crying- Stevie Ray Vaughan

Monday, April 1, 2013

What Easter Brings

This same Jesus stands before us today in all the power of His resurrection life and speaks peace to us. We can’t mistake Him because His scars are self-evident and we cannot escape Him because we need our guilt canceled and our fears calmed and our doubts cleared. Thank God we can know the reality of this transforming experience because of the scars of the Savior. We can have “peace with God” — the peace of salvation, justification. We can have “the peace of God” — the peace of sanctification, the peace that comes to yielded lives, following Jesus.

The Allman Brothers Band "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" with Special Guests 7/27/2011

The Allman Brothers Band "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" with Graham Nash, David Crosby, Danny Louis, Natalie Cole, Billy Gibbons and Phil Lesh 7/27/2011@ The Beacon Theater in NY

Allman Brothers, "Into The Mystic," 12/3/2011

The Allman Brothers Band performs Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" on 12/3/2011 at the Orpheum Theater, Boston, MA.