Sunday, July 25, 2010

U2 from the Rose Bowl...

I have seen U2 on three tours. This show was incredible. I was able to see them on this tour in Raleigh and Atlanta. I have purchased the DVD of the Rose Bowl show. The following clip from that show is an example of why U2 is the BEST concert you will ever see.... Enjoy.

Drinking Scotch and reading good news...

Staying up late to do a bit of reading while the family sleeps. Decided to partake in some Aberflour... very good Scotch. I was reading through Paul's letter to the Ephesians, and thought I would share some good news with anyone who cares to read this... so here goes...

[2 :1] And you were dead in the trespasses and sins [2 ] in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— [3 ] among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. [4 ] But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, [5 ] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— [6 ] and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, [7 ] so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. [8 ] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, [9 ] not a result of works, so that no one may boast. [10 ] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
(Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV)

We were dead in our trespasses and our sins. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

"God helps those who help themselves." That is complete rubbish. God raises the dead. We live because of Christ's death and resurrection. There is no better news... and this news goes well with a glass of Aberflour.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Undercover Jewel Karaoke

Thanks to my friend, Adam... He posted this at his blog.

Jewel is even cooler than before... Wonderful singer/ songwriter... seems to be a really cool person...

Law and Gospel

The following is a quote from C.F.W. Walther from his 14th Thesis in 'The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel':
Believing the Gospel would be, in truth, an immeasurably great and difficult task for us if God were not to accomplish it in us. But suppose it were not so exceedingly great and difficult; even if it were an easy condition that God had proposed to us for our salvation, our salvation would not be a gift; God would not have given us His Son, but merely offered Him to us with a certain stipulation. That has not been God’s way. The Apostle Paul says: “Being justified freely (δωρεάν) by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 3, 24. We are justified δωρεάν, that is gratuitously, without anything, even the least thing, being required of us. Accordingly, we poor sinners praise God for the place of refuge He has prepared for us, where we can flee even when we have to come to Him as utterly lost, insolvent beggars, who have not the least ability to offer to God something that they have achieved. All that we can offer Him is our sins, nothing else. But for that very reason Jesus regards us as His proper clients. We honor Him as our faithful Savior by making His Gospel our refuge; but we deny Him if we come to Him offering Him something for what He gives us. In view of the statement of Peter: “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4, 12, you must regard it as an awful perversion of the Gospel to treat the command to believe as a condition of man’s justification and salvation.

All that we can offer God is our sins. Anything, especially our good works, are an affront to the cross of Jesus. THIS is the good news. No spiritual discipline, no good work, not even the act of believing, is required for the free gift of salvation that Jesus gave to us from His work on the cross. Again... I repeat... THIS is the good news.

Luther was once asked what our part in salvation is. He replied, 'Sin and resistance!'

Thank you God for your free and unmerited gift of Your love and salvation!

Love Football - Hate FIFA!

Thanks to my friend, Brian, I am a convert to soccer. Or as the vast majority of this planet calls it: Football. Just behind the NFL, it is the most glorious game to behold. While on the surface, it can appear to be slow-paced, and low-scoring, the game is team-oriented, much more than most sports and, thus makes the game quite complex. A lot of rhythm between team mates and lots of precision, both on offense and in defense. This is my second World Cup that I have followed closely, among other tournaments in between. And I enjoy the game immensely.

The one thing I find almost impossible to get over is the issue with the referees. I normally hate when people lambast officials in any sport. Human error is a part of sports. That includes players and officials. 99% of the time in most sports, if an official makes a bad call, it doesn't have an impact on the game and/ or tournament. This seems to be very different in this World Cup.

FIFA, the ruling organization for football throughout the world is completely horrific, with no apparent credible accountability.

Martin Rogers of Yahoo Sports states in this article:
Human error is part of sports and with FIFA having taken the decision to steer clear of video replay, it is inevitable. But this is the World Cup, the best of the best. Except for the men in charge.

The 9 yellow cards given out by the ref in the Germany-Serbia match influenced the outcome of the game. Not the play on the field. The goal disallowed in the USA - Slovenia match was a complete disgrace. And now today. The French referee of the Brazil - Ivory Coast match. Fabiano scored a goal in which he handed the ball TWICE. And then he handed a 2nd yellow card to Kaka for knocking down a player from the Ivory Coast. Which was a player with very poor acting lessons, apparently. Replay shows that he slightly elbowed in the chest, but his hands went directly to his face.

The point is: Humans make errors. Especially sports officials. That should require some sort of accountability. They do not have to even explain what call they are making on the pitch. Utter insanity. It appears that at this point, FIFA is not too concerned about this and will not be correcting any of these issues. And that, in my opinion, is what makes FIFA a complete farce.

Romans Five Eight

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (KJV)

I am really appreciating the book, 'Between Noon and Three' by Robert Capon. In telling a parable of sorts, he reflects on this verse. A statement from him:
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, on the condition that after a reasonable length of time we would be the kind of people no one would ever have had to die for in the first place. Otherwise, the whole deal is off.

God's grace is COMPLETELY scandolous.

You hear the gospel for an indeterminate period of time. But. Yes, there is a but. All of a sudden, you need to do something. You need to give more. More money. More time. More. Programs need to be sustained. If this does not happen, then much will not have been made of Jesus. Jesus is apparently relying on our deeds and programs for His kingdom to be advanced.

We must hold on to the Gospel. The Good News. We are loved. That is the thing. We are simply loved. We were completely dead. We have been made completely new. His love compels us. We do not compel His love. That is the new good news. His grace is scandalous.

No Tit for Tate with Grace

I have recently discovered a book recommended by Michael Spencer, aka the Internment Monk. The book is 'Between Noon and Three,' by Robert Farrar Capon. He hits the nail on the head when it comes to talking about grace. Grace isn't just a bystander. It is the very thing that we need to utterly depend upon.

From the book:
Confession is not the first step on the road to recovery; it is the last step in the displaying of a corpse... words like reform and rehabilitation should be ruled out of order. The only proper word here is resurrection. Grace does not do things tit-for-tat; it acts finally and fully from the start.

We love tit-for-tat. Rules are so much easier and convenient. It makes everything nice and clean. No mess. Grace is messy. Very messy. We are dead. Dead people cannot clean themselves up. They can be reformed. Only resurrected. Made completely new again.

Confession is necessary. Not to clean a guilty conscious, mind you. But it is the place where we realize our guilt. And we confess that we cannot fix ourselves. Only then can we place ourselves in the hands of our Father, be resurrected, made new, and live completely under His grace.