Category Archives: The Cross

Saturday Soup for the Soul


sould foodFor Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I Cor. 5:7b-8

9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:9-11

20 Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. I Cor. 15:20-22

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Were You There? I Was


Question mark peopleI came across this sermon back in the early 90’s.  Each month, Preaching Today send me a tape of an exceptional sermon.  When I put this one in the old tape deck and started listening, I was immediately drawn into the story of Jesus on the way to the cross and Simon of Cyrene.  By the end of the message, I had been reduced to a weeping young pastor marveling at the scene of The Cross.
 
Not many people know about this moving sermon preached in 1944.   We are letting you all in on it.   I can’t think of a better audio to listen to on this Good Friday.   Hope you enjoy, from all of us over here at NotForItchingEars.com.
 

Were You There?

With emotional brush strokes of dramatic narrative, Dr. Marshall’s gripping account of Simon of Cyrene meeting Jesus on His way to the Crucifixion puts the listener at the very foot of the Cross. After experiencing this message, there is no longer any doubt about the answer to that famous question: We were all there. (Preached on March 9, 1944)

Whatever Happened To This Message of The Cross


In honor of Good Friday, we are re-posting the very first article published at Not For Itching Ears…

The sign said, “Now serving Starbucks coffee!”

It was the late 90’s and the premium coffee craze was taking the country by storm. Everyone who liked coffee LOVED Starbucks or soon would. So it wasn’t surprising that some business would be utilizing the brand name to promote what they were doing. It made pretty good sense. It would not have fazed me a single bit if any other company was doing it. However, this massive sign was hung in front of a local evangelical Christian church. The message was crystal clear: “Come to our service on Sunday, we have free Starbucks coffee!”

With the arrival of the church growth movement and the seeker-sensitive ministry focus it birthed.. Read the rest of this entry

Holy Week Prayer: Good Friday


Lamb of GodGood Friday Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Holy Week Prayers: Maudy Thursday


lastsupper“Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

Daily Prayers For Holy Week


cropped-cross-with-nail-2.jpgDaily Prayers for Holy Week

[EDITOR’S NOTE: These prayers are taken from the contemporary wording of the Book of Common Prayer. The U.S. online version can be found HERE.]

Monday in Holy Week Almighty God, whose dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other that the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday in Holy Week O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday in Holy Week Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Maundy Thursday Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Good Friday Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Holy Saturday O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on his holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Originally posted over at Glenn Packiams Blog: http://glennpackiam.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/04/daily-prayers-for-holy-week.html

Check out Glenn’s  Fantastic Book, which we HIGHLY recommend:  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0781410436/gpackiamc-20

Looking for a Cross-centered, Gospel drenched Song for Corporate Communion? Try this…


Looking for a cross-centered, gospel rich song to be used during communion?

Consider using a song I discovered a few years ago. It is called “The Gospel Song”, written by Drew Jones and Bob Kauflin of Sovereign Grace Ministries. It is one of the simplest, most concise wording of the gospel in song form that I know of. Let us know if you like it by taking the poll or leaving a comment.

 

 

The Gospel Song

Holy God, in love became
Perfect man to bear my blame
On the cross He took my sin
By His death I live again


The Gospel Song

You can find a free guitar chord chart by following this link to Sovereign Grace Ministries.

The Year That Changed My Life


Adjustment. Refinement. Correction. Modification. Reversal.  Say it anyway you like and it means the same thing: Change.   We’re told it is good for us. But few truly enjoy it.   Most people are willing to change, not because they see the light, but because the feel the heat! I’m no different. This year, I’ve been going through a lot of adjustments and refinements. I quit my band, picked up my Colorado roots and moved the whole family to the retiree state.  I closed a thriving business and started it up again in Florida.  (Thriving is not the word I would use to describe the new business.)  We also learned Read the rest of this entry

Looking for Cross-Centered Christmas Song ideas for Worship? Check this out


Break out the peppermint lattes and your Bing Crosby CD’s.  It is that time of year again:  Christmas!  As a worship leader, you know what I am talking about.  While everyone else was busy getting ready for Halloween (or whatever you call it) you were thinking about worship music for the upcoming Christmas season.  Or at least you should have been.  Waiting till Thanksgiving to start planning, is a little too late!

As one who has been responsible for leading corporate singing for years, I can attest to how hard it can be to plan for Christmas worship. Four weeks of December singing!   At Christmas time, I always want to have a song that wraps the message of the Cross around the Christmas message.  I like to have one new song that people aren’t familiar with so they have to think about the words as they sing.  I think this is helpful for believers as well as all those people who only come on Christmas and Easter.    Here’s a song that I have liked.  It is called “The Son of God Came Down.”   It is a slow, meditative song that mixes the Christmas story with Easter.    Listen to it below.   You will find it and many other “Christmas songs” on the album Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man

Words and music by Doug Plank
As recorded on Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man

THE SON OF GOD CAME DOWN
The Son of God came down and laid aside His crown
Born without great renown, this Sovereign One
All holiness and might, all glory shining bright
Have come to earth this night in Mary’s son
O come, let us adore

O Christ the Lord, our hope and Savior
Son of God yet made like us
O Christ the Lord, our King adored
Born a child, our Lord Jesus

Messiah born so small, asleep in cattle stall
Come to redeem our fall, nailed to a tree
This tiny, helpless child through death would reconcile
The holy God and vile, His grace so free
O come, let us adore

© 2004 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).

Follow this link for the official free Guitar Chart:  The Son of God Came Down Chord Chart

Follow this link for the official free LEAD CHART:  The Son of God Came Down Lead Chart

Looking for Cross-Centered Christmas Song ideas for Worship? Check this out


As one who has been responsible for leading corporate singing for years, I can attest to how frustrating it has become to find songs that are worth singing!   At Christmas time, I always want to have a song that wraps the message of the Cross around the Christmas message.  I like to have one new song that people aren’t familiar with so they have to think about the words as they sing.  I think this is helpful for believers as well as all those people who only come on Christmas and Easter.   It is harder to find these types of songs, and if you are thinking ahead, the Christmas season is upon you and you are unprepared!  Here’s a song that I have liked.  It is called “Christ the Lord Is Born Today.”   It is an exuberant song, calling us to celebrate the incarnation and pointing us towards the cross.   Listen to it below.   You will find it and many other “Christmas songs” on the album Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man

Words and music by Mark Altrogge
As recorded on Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man

Christ the Lord is Born Today

How my happy heart rejoices
I can hear the angel voices
“Christ is born” they all are singing
From the sky this good news bringing
Let the earth rejoice
O come and lift your voices

Christ the Lord is born today
He came from heaven’s throne
God is born a man today
To bring His children home
To bring His children home

Death and darkness surely tremble
Light has come to all the people
The Lion comes to crush the serpent
He comes a Lamb, a lowly servant
Let the earth rejoice
O come and lift your voices

God has sent His greatest treasure
Shown His love in greatest measure
Sending Christ to bleed and suffer
Purchasing our joy forever
Let the earth rejoice
O come and lift your voices

© 2006 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).

Follow this link for the official free Guitar Chart:  Christ the Lord is Born Today

Follow this link for the official free LEAD CHART:  Christ the Lord is Born Todaleadsheet

Cross-Centered Worship Songs: “You Are the Way”


This column, “Cross-Centered Worship Songs”, was started as a way to serve the church at large.  I wanted  to introduce  some of the lesser known songs out there so that the corporate singing of the church might be enriched.    I have been posting songs from different genres:  hymns, a capella, contemporary rock, etc.   I try to post a chord chart when possible. I hope you find it helpful.  If you do, please let us know!  Today’s song is called “You Are the Way” written by Pat Sczebel.  It is a simple, easy to sing, gospel proclamation. Read the rest of this entry

The Apostle Paul on the Contemporary Church: “Don’t Abandon The Gospel!”


Not for itching ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the serious issues that face the evangelical church.  The main issue, as we see it, is that the church has grown perilously close to abandoning the Gospel. All around us we see churches relaxing their grip on it, in danger of fumbling it. In a recent message I delivered titled “Don’t Abandon the Gospel”, I took a look at what the Apostle Paul challenged the church of his day with.  Based on 2 Timothy 4:1-8, it provides a clear remedy:  Read the rest of this entry

Our Top 5 Most Read, Most Interesting and Most Debated Posts of the Year


It is hard to believe that August is fast approaching, and that 2011 is more than half in the tank already.   We have had some very interesting debates and discussions here at Not For Itching Ears.  In case you missed them (how is that even possible) I have posted their links here.

Our Top 5 Most Read, Most Interesting and Most Debated Posts of the Year…. Read the rest of this entry

Whatever Happened to the Message of Christianity?


The sign said, “Now serving Starbucks coffee!”

It was the late 90’s and the premium coffee craze was taking the country by storm. Everyone who liked coffee LOVED Starbucks or soon would. So it wasn’t surprising that some business would be utilizing the brand name to promote what they were doing. It made pretty good sense. It would not have fazed me a single bit if any other company was doing it. However, this massive sign was hung in front of a local evangelical Christian church. The message was crystal clear: “Come to our service on Sunday, we have free Starbucks coffee!”

With the arrival of the church growth movement and the seeker-sensitive ministry focus it birthed.. Read the rest of this entry

Christ-Centered Worship Songs: “Perfect Lamb of God”


We have noticed a disturbing trend in the corporate worship songs of the church. Perhaps you have too? It seems that we sing very little about the main point of Christianity. This is due, in large part, to church leaderships desire to be more “sensitive” to those who attend the service but are not Christians.

The research tells us (we are told), that non-Christians don’t really want to hear about sin and guilt and being accountable to a holy God.  Hearing about a Savior dying on a bloody cross for their sins is not high on their priority list. To reach them,  we must eliminate these topics from our sermons and our songs. Sadly, much of the Evangelical church has mistakenly signed on to this approach. We could not disagree more strongly!

The message of a crucified and risen Savior and the reconciliation that this can bring is the only message the church has! It is the one and only message the church has been entrusted with and that the lost so desperately needs to hear.

As one who has been responsible for leading corporate singing for years,…
I can attest to how frustrating it has become to find songs that are worth singing! There are many out there, but it takes time to find them. Because of this, we have started a new feature at Not For Itching Ears. Each week, we will post one worthy (at least in our opinion) worship song for you to listen to. We will post the lyrics as well as the Mp3 along with a chord chart when possible. This weeks selection is “Perfect lamb of God”, by Adam Sacks.  We hope you enjoy it.  Caution:  The first time I heard this song I hit the skip button.  It has a Jewish flavor to it, and the intro to the song made me falsely assume that I would not like it.  I was wrong!  Read the lyrics first and then Read the rest of this entry

John Piper: “Don’t Waste Your Life”


It is possible to waste your life. Few things make me tremble more than the possibility of taking this onetime gift of life and wasting it. Every morning when I walked into the kitchen as a boy I saw hanging on the wall the plaque that now hangs in my living room: “Only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” And now I am almost 58, and the river of life is spilling over the falls of my days with tremendous speed. More and more I smell eternity. And oh, how I want to use my life well. It is so short and so fragile and so final. You get one chance to live your life. And then the judgment. I speak as a father who has children your age, and I am jealous with Jesus that they and you not waste your life. “

“What is the unwasted life? What does it look like? What is the essence of the unwasted life?  Read the rest of this entry

Cross-Centered Worship Song: “O Great God”


Welcome to our  “Cross-Centered Worship Songs” column.  It was started as a way to serve my many worship leading friends.  I hope to introduce  some of the lesser known songs out there that you may not have heard.    We will be posting songs from different genres:  hymns, a capella, contemporary rock, etc.   We will post the lyrics as well as the Mp3 along with a chord chart when possible. I hope you find it helpful.  If you do, please let us know!     This weeks selection “O Great God”  is a modern hymn based on a 400 year old prayer.  It was written by Bob Kauflin of Sovereign Grace Ministries.  It is a beautiful piano based song  that reminds us how God took the initiative to redeem us from our sin. Read the rest of this entry

Why Should Our Songs Be Cross-Centered?


In the video below, CJ Mahaney lays out four compelling reasons for having cross saturated songs. I have summarized the points here, but you should listen to CJ’s explanation.

1.The cross is fundamentally central to the storyline of God, thus it should be fundamentally central to the corporate life of God’s people, especially when expressed in worship.

2.We sing cross-centered songs because it reminds us that we cannot come to God on our own. We are in desperate need of a mediator, and singing about the cross reminds us of what Christ has done for us to reconcile us to the Father.

3.The cross isn’t just the center of the story this side of  heaven, but for all of eternity! Heaven doesn’t ever get over the cross. Rev. 5:1-14 shows us that we will be singing about what Jesus did on the cross for all of eternity. Thus it is a picture of Heaven when we do it.

4.Singing songs that are filled with the gospel message is an opportunity to preach to yourself. In fact, it may be one of the only times during the entire week that a believer gets to hear himself proclaim the truth of the faith that he received by grace. It is vitality important to your soul to hear the gospel and be reminded of the gospel and this most certainly happens when singing. Read the rest of this entry

Cross-Centered Worship Songs: “The Glory of The Cross”


This column, “Cross-Centered Worship Songs”, was started as a way to serve my many worship leading friends.  I hope to introduce  some of the lesser known songs out there that you may not have heard.    We will be posting songs from different genres:  hymns, a capella, contemporary rock, etc.   We will post the lyrics as well as the Mp3 along with a chord chart when possible. I hope you find it helpful.  If you do, please let us know!     This weeks selection “The Glory of The Cross” is a medium tempo, guitar driven song written by Bob Kauflin.   A Gospel saturated song that calls us to rejoice in what God accomplished at Calvary. Read the rest of this entry

A 400 year Old Prayer: True Love Was Defined Here – Thank You for The Cross!


 The following  prayer was first offered back in the   1700′s.  It is from the largely forgotten deposit of the Puritan Movement of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  These people knew God and they certainly knew how to pray.  We can learn a lot from them. They are written in old english.  I have updated  a few outdated words and changed the Thee’s and Thou’s to make it more 2011.  However, they still have the feel of that era.   This prayer, titled ‘Love Lusters at Calvary’,  along with many others, can be found in a book titled “The Valley of Vision”, by Arthur Bennett. Read the rest of this entry