Super 8 Debut - Top 8 Debut Albums

Today, I am participating in another nice little blogging challenge.  It is the Super 8 Debut.  The challenge is to list the top 8 debut albums ever.  Of course this would be easy if you were to go purely based on sales, but I couldn't in good conscience - or in any form of sanity - list anything by Britney Spears or the Backstreet Boys.  So, these then are my personal selections for top 8 debut albums ever....

Number 8 - The Eagles ~ Eagles
The Eagles talent should be obvious to any and all who have ever listened.  Take It Easy has to be one of the most recognizable songs to ever come out of America.  Plain and simple - this band has talent!

Number 7 - Guns N Roses ~ Appetite For Destruction
You knew it had to be on the list!  Seriously, if you lived in the 'burbs back in the day this one was mailed to you.  It is safe to say that almost everyone knows or has heard at least one track of this classic.  I remember being in Steve's Music Store in Ottawa and the guy working went completely insane when someone picked up a guitar and started playing the riff for "Sweet Child of Mine", because that was what everyone played when they picked up an axe...too funny...the guy seriously went bonkers...and you have the riff in your head RIGHT NOW, don't you?  LOL!

Number 6 - Pearl Jam ~ Ten
Classic!  This is the one that really rocketed the Seattle grunge scene or "Alternative" music to the forefront.  For all the Nirvana fans out there - this is the one that drove Cobain nuts to the point of calling Vedder a "sell-out".  Personally, I never liked Nirvana so, that makes me laugh.  Seriously though, this one was a beauty!

Number 5 - Marillion ~ Script For A Jester's Tear
All the album's from the "Fish" era were nothing short of musical genius.  Those first three albums - this one - along with Misplaced Childhood and Clutching At Straws are brilliant.  If you consider yourself any kind of music - as an art form - lover, you need to check those out!

Number 4 - Marillion ~ Season's End
The "debut" of Steve Hogarth proved to be a massive success for Marillion.  I kind of cheated - I know - but this is a debut of sorts and as a die hard "Marillionaire" (fan), this was a new beautiful beginning for this band.

Number 3 - U2 ~ Boy
Seriously, I don't need to defend this selection do I?  This really should be on every list.
Number 2 - Rush ~ Rush
If you know anything about me at all, you know that I love this band.  They are quite simply the best at what they do.  Start to finish, this is money - Finding My Way to open and Working Man to finish up - come on!  Classic deluxe factor 10!

Number 1 - Boston ~ Boston
You knew this was going to be number one.  Even more than "Boy" this one really needs to be on every list.  If not, I seriously question your ability to do just about anything requiring logic or rational thinking.  Seriously though, forget about debuts, this is one of the best albums of all time - period!

And now for a couple of honourable mentions...

Garth Brooks self-titled debut is argued - by many - to be his best.  I'm not the biggest fan of country music but this guy is country's answer to The Boss - he can put on a show!  He is great live and with close to 130 million albums sold, he has some serious clout and influence.

Alanis Morissette "debut", Jagged Little Pill was a great album, and it stands as the second best-selling debut ever behind Boston.  But above and beyond sales, this is just a well written album, with great songs that defined a generation.  And it cleaned up at the Grammys - not a litmus test I know, but still. Plus I knew her so there!

Technically this shouldn't be included as a debut album because as a young teen Alanis released something that I hesitate to call an album. Yes, it was that bad.

And a couple of "where are they now" selections...

Just did a post on this guy a couple days ago.  Talk about drop and disappear!  Great music none-the-less, and another Grammy sweep!

What's he up to now? can almost hear the crickets.

Remy Shand, The Way I Feel is the one that maybe nobody has heard of.  It did garner 4 Grammy nominations - no wins.  That said, this guy has some serious talent and not just musically.  He did everything on this album, and by everything, I mean everything.  All instruments, mixing, production and whatever else there was to do.  Good Canadian boy from the 'Peg...but...WHERE ARE YOU NOW!

30 Years Ago Today

30 years ago today, back when the Grammy Awards were almost worth watching, Christopher Cross cleaned up with this classic.  Cross won 4 Grammy Awards that night including record of the year - sailing; album of the year - Christopher Cross (self-titled); song of the year - sailing; and best new artist.  Sailing remains as one the best soft rock songs ever, IMHO.  Enjoy...

Signs You're Growing In Grace

A very helpful list here from Scotty Smith:

A sign you’re growing in grace is less bombast about not being a legalist & more humility because you “get” the gospel.

A sign you’re growing in grace is less theological arrogance & greater appreciation for diversity in the Body of Christ.

A sign you’re growing in grace is you work much harder at remembering names and forgetting slights.

A sign you’re growing in grace is that everybody notices it but you.

A sign you’re growing in grace is movement from destructive cynicism towards redemptive engagement. Anybody can spew.

A sign you’re growing in grace is that you’re less like a drive-by-shooting with criticisms & more of a healing presence.

A sign you’re growing in grace is evident when you receive feedback non-defensively and give it clearly & lovingly.

A sign you’re growing in grace is evident when people don’t feel like they have to walk on egg shells around you as much.

A sign you’re growing in grace is when you say, “I’ll be prayin’ for ya”, and you follow through on at least 50%.

A sign you’re growing in grace is committing fewer homicides in your heart of slow drivers.

A sign you’re growing in grace is praying for our government rather than simply being cynical about our government.

A sign you are growing in grace is that you are more disgusted with your critical spirit than offended by others’ sins.

Love in the Truth.

Radical Together

David Platt's new book, Radical Together; Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God, is set to release April 19.  It goes without saying, that I am excited to read this one.  The publisher has made the first chapter available for preview = bonus!  Let's check it out:

Radical Together by David Platt (Chapter 1)                                                                                                                            

Love in the Truth.

The Insatiable Appetite To Be Right Is Wrong

I need to be reminded of this everyday, because of my insatiable appetite to be right.  Sadly, I often climb aboard the "perpetual outrage machine."  Russell Moore has some great points of wisdom here.  
He writes:
"Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying we shouldn’t confront culture. Jesus did, as did the prophets before him and the apostles after him. If we are, as Jesus said, “fishers of men” then we’ll understand that the eco-system in which the fish live matters. But we defend the gospel; not ourselves. We confront culture willing to be, as Paul said, “wronged” and “defrauded” (1 Cor. 6:7).
We know our ultimate vindication comes later. We need not then respond back to unbelievers with sarcastic barbs and slickly packaged campaigns. We have the right to religious liberty, and we ought to protect it. But we don’t have, and we shouldn’t want, the right to be free from ridicule.
My outrage at the Darwin fish in front of me often has little to do with persuading the Darwinist that there’s a more excellent way. Instead, sadly, my zeal is motivated by the very same factors that cause me to bristle when someone bashes the New Orleans Saints or tells a Mississippi joke. I consider it to be an attack on me. When that is my response to revulsion at the gospel, that becomes satanic.
We ought to be willing to be ridiculed and scoffed at because our audience isn’t this present band of spectators. We can listen to our “opponents,” love them, and bear their objections with patience precisely because we are convinced the gospel is true."
Love in the Truth.

In Christ

As I was thinking and reflecting on the believer's security in Christ yesterday, my thoughts turned to Ephesians chapter 1.  Honestly, if you call yourself a Christian and you can read this chapter and not be moved in thankfulness to worship "to the praise of His glory", you may need to either examine yourself spiritually and/or physically - in both cases you may be dead!  
Today Justin Taylor shows what I mean; he writes:
It’s well known that Ephesians 1:3-14 is one long sentence in Greek. The following is from the ESV but I’ve made some of the pronouns more explicit to highlight the way in which Paul sees the Christian life—from before the foundation of the world to eternity—as bound up with the idea of union with Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
In love God predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
In Christ we have redemption through Christ’s blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth.
In Christ we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
In Christ you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Christ, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Are there two more beautiful words to know, hear, speak, and feel than "In Christ"?  For the believer, there is not.  Christ is our hope, and in Christ we are secure.

"Prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.  Here's my heart Lord take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above."
Love in the Truth.

Am I Secure in Christ?

Jared Wilson:

When I reflect on God's promise of eternal security for those in Christ, I go to these common Scriptures and posit these questions of conviction.

John 6:39
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 

1. How perfect is the Father's will?
2. How good is Jesus at his job?
3. Does the word "nothing" mean nothing, or does it mean "some"?

John 6:40
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

4. What does "eternal" mean?
5. What does Jesus' promise about the last day mean for "everyone who believes"?

Romans 8:28-30 
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

6. How does "predestined" jibe with insecurity?
7. If God commits to glorify those he justifies, why do we think he won't?
8. Is justification really justification? Does it mean what it says?

1 Corinthians 1:8-9 
He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. 

9. How long does God commit to keep us blameless?
10. Is security dependent on our faithfulness or God's? And how faithful is God?

Hebrews 7:25 
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

11. Does "completely" mean "partly" or "temporarily"?

Hebrews 13:5
[H[e has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

John 10:28 
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 

12. Does "never" mean "never"?
13. Does "no one" mean "no one"?

Hebrews 10:10
And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

14. How long does Christ's sacrifice last?
15. How much does Christ's sacrifice cover?

Titus 1:2
. . . in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began

16. What kind of life did God promise?
17. When did he promise it?
18. Are God's promises reliable?
19. Wouldn't denying his promise of eternal life be tantamount to calling him a liar?

20. Is your sin more powerful than Christ's blood? Is your weakness more powerful than God's might? Are you the nut he can't crack?
If our religion be of our own getting or making, it will perish; and the sooner it goes, the better; but if our religion is a matter of God's giving, we know that He shall never take back what He gives, and that, if He has commenced to work in us by His grace, He will never leave it unfinished.

-- Charles Spurgeon
Love in the Truth.

"Born This Way"

Denny Burk on Lady Gaga’s new song which has already been played over 9 million times, in its first four days, on her YouTube page:
“Born This Way” is making a theological point. It contends that sexual orientation is an innate and immutable quality of the human condition—a trait that we are “born” with. Whether you are gay, straight, or whatever, God made you this way, and for that reason you should embrace it. Or as Gaga herself puts it, “I’m beautiful in my way ’cause God makes no mistakes. I’m on the right track baby. I was born this way.”
The message of the song drinks deeply of the “is-ought” fallacy—the idea that we can determine what ought to be by observing what is. The song’s message also flies in the face of the Bible’s depiction of a fallen creation. It is true that God created human beings in His own image and that as a result every single human has intrinsic value and worth (Genesis 1:26-27). It is not true, however, that God endorses every thought and intention of the human heart. We live in a Genesis 3 world in which humanity and the cosmos are fallen and compromised by sin. That means that some of our desires are misdirected—even some of the ones that we are born with. That we desire sin from birth is not a cause for celebratory anthems but an indication of just how desperate the human condition really is (Psalm 51:5;58:3Jeremiah 17:9).
Love in the Truth.

HT  / JT

While the World Watched; A Review

“Not many young people can pinpoint the exact date, time, and place they grew up and became an adult. I can. It was September 15, 1963, 10:22 a.m., at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.”
While the World Watched by Carolyn Maull McKinstry (with Denise George) is a moving memoir of horror and forgiveness.  What struck me almost every page is that this happened less than 50 years ago.  The title kept being played in my head with the question, “How could the world simply let this happen?”
The book details the accounts of the murders of Addie Mae Collins, Carol Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley who died when Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was bombed.  More than that though, it details the struggles of of the civil rights movement through the eyes of the author.  It is simply an amazing account of two wars.  One, the fight for equality for Black America, and two, the fight for meaning in the heart of a young girl who was forever changed in a moment.
I have to admit that I did not think I would enjoy this book.  I assumed it would be of the “all whites are evil” variety.  It was nothing of the sort.  There was horror, but there was also hope.  There was tragedy, but there was also triumph.  There was hatred, but it was not ultimately returned - there was forgiveness. 
As I finished, the same question continues to haunt me, “How could this happen?”  And yet tragedy continues to flourish and the world still remains silent. But that, is for another post.  I will be attempting to contact the author in hopes of doing an interview for the blog. I would love to dive deeper into this story.  We'll see what happens. 
A couple of theological issues aside, my children will be reading this book; they will not forget, and they will never simply “watch”.
Love in the Truth.
Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.


I had the privilege of speaking at a youth retreat this past weekend at Galilean Bible Camp.  It really was an amazing time together with both the teens and the leaders.  My main theme for the weekend was "Don't Waste Your Life."  At the end of the weekend, it was apparent that the Spirit of God had moved in a mighty way amongst us!  For that, I am so thankful. 

So what's with the "Lifesavers"?  As I was leaving, one of the campers, timid and shy, handed me a pack of Lifesavers candy.  

"I wanted you to have these" she said.  

"That's great, thanks.  I love these things", I replied.  

"I wanted you to have them, because that's what you did this weekend; you saved lives", she said.  

"Give thanks to God", I replied, "He does the saving."  

"Yeah, but you helped Him save mine."

God is good.  Not that I needed a reminder, but I've got a pack of Lifesavers on my desk to remind me that He is good, and He is "mighty to save".  So yes I will boast.  I will boast in the power of the cross and the gospel of my God.  May Christ receive all the glory; He is THE life saver!

Love in the Truth.

Fetal Surgery & Abortion

A moral schizophrenia afflicts our culture on the issue of abortion. There are inconsistencies both in our nation’s laws and in people’s attitudes about the moral status of the unborn. Nevertheless, too many people still seem unable to see the contradictions. A case in point appears in today’s New York Times.
Pam Belluck reports on a new study appearing in the The New England Journal of Medicine. A rigorous clinical trial has shown that fetal surgery can help babies with spina bifida to walk and experience fewer neurological problems if operated on before being born rather than afterward. Here’s a summary of the study’s findings:
“In the study, about 80 babies were randomly selected for surgery after birth; another 80 had the spinal opening surgically closed in utero, between 19 and 26 weeks of pregnancy. Two in each group died. Before surgery, babies in the prenatal group had more severe spinal lesions than the postnatal group, but more in the prenatal group had better results.”
The success of this procedure is truly amazing. Equally amazing is the fact that the unborn can be treated medically just as the mother can. Moreover the unborn can have spinal surgery just as their born counterparts can and with greater success.
How does it make any moral or legal sense, therefore, to take heroic measures to do surgery on a 19 week old fetus while at the same time allowing the abortion of a perfectly normal 19 week old fetus? The only difference between the one and the other is that one has a mother that wants him and the other doesn’t. This inconsistency doesn’t even bear the lightest scrutiny, yet it is one that is plain to anyone who has eyes to see.
Love in the Truth.

Staggering Irony

The New York Times reports on the recent Planned Parenthood under cover videos:

Reacting to the release of videotapes in which its staff members advise an apparent sex trafficker, Planned Parenthood said Monday that it would retrain thousands of staff members across the country on its rules for reporting possible dangers to minors, and would automatically fire anyone who violated them. 
All employees who have contact with the public will attend special training sessions, tailored to local laws, in coming weeks, said Stuart Schear, vice president for communications of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
This line:

"...on its rules for reporting possible dangers to minors, and would automatically fire anyone who violated them."

Dangers to minors?  If anyone is a "minor" it is the unborn.  Are not the unborn the "minors" in danger here as well?  Seems that all PP employees should be fired if they really understood what was going on in their clinics.

Love in the Truth.

HT / Z

Behold The Glass Jaw

This is just for fun, but be warned; you may end up watching it again and again.  I am surprised that DiPietro didn't simply shatter on impact given his ability to get injured from a dirty look!  Anyway enjoy.  I certainly did...

Love in the Truth.

The Thing About Grief

Grief is a puzzling guest.

Its strokes are broad, from numb to panic, with a million shades of deep sadness in between.

Sometimes it is honest, teeming with memories and moments that were sacred and must remain forever etched in the core of our family.

Sometimes it is a liar, shouting things like, "You can't do this without him. How is one day different from another? Why even try, when everything leads to panic and exhaustion?"

Sometimes it is even more confusing and confounding, when it whispers those words instead. Lies are further misleading when they are merely whispers.

Sometimes grief is warm, welcoming, and patient, washing me with cleansing tears.

Sometimes grief is angry and mean, burning a hole in me, with no tears left in my dry well.

It tempts me to claim it as my strength. It invites me to claim this purple heart, this badge of courage: Look What Was Taken From Me. Look how I am allowed to feel, for as long as I want, without any reprimand. I am learning that there is a quiet power in holding on to hurt, and a blanket of comfort can swiftly become a security or an identity, without my even noticing.

But sometimes, grief brings joy. They are not mutually exclusive. I can laugh with my friends, tickle my boys, enjoy a good meal, and play my music loud... and still grieve that he is not here to do that with me. To hear about it all.

Joy is a knowing.

I've known joy that takes over my whole being, keeps me from standing still, spills and splashes, and makes my heart sing. For this season, grief is here, settled in, making its home, and showing me its every shade. We are becoming deeply acquainted.

But joy is a knowing. And the joy of the Lord is my strength.

I'll feel that way again.

Love in the Truth.

HT / Teaching Tuck and Ty  (Tricia's gift of writing is amazing - her transparency in suffering is inspiring - her hope and faith...go and read for yourself!)