Blog Archives

Poll: Are You Attending Church More or Less These Days?


Why Christians are Leaving ChurchIn a recent post, we discussed a study that concluded Christians and non-Christians are both attending church services much less today.   If you missed that compelling post, you can read it here: Barna Study: Even Christians Are Leaving Our Churches.

Today we want to give you a chance to chime in on the topic, and we have two polls that allow you to do that.  The first one asks if you are attending church more or less these days.  There are several answers.  Please don’t answer the way you would like to be able to answer or how you think you should answer.  Just the way it really is in your life at this moment.

The second poll asks why you are attending church less.  You have several option here as well, even an “other” where you can write in your answer.  There is also an answer for “I am attending church MORE”  and “I am attending about the same”

Thank you for voting and please feel free to share these polls with your readers or re-blog this post.  If you look at the results so far, it seems to coincide with the study.  The more answers the better, so share away!

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Inspiring Lives From Church History: Hesychius 300AD


The_Christian_Martyrs_Last_Prayer_by_leon_geromePeople have been living and dying for Christ for over 2000 years and history is full of wonderful examples of men and women who followed Christ faithfully. We can learn a lot from studying their lives. Yet, there is something truly compelling about those who suffer for Him and pay the ultimate price for their faith.

When I read the historical record of what some of these ancient brothers and sisters went through, it challenges me deeply. I often wonder how I would respond in such situations. I guess we won’t ever know unless and until we find ourselves in the same place. The one thing I can say with certainty is that Read the rest of this entry

Are You Running from God in The Valley of Transformation?


running from dangerDuring the 1996 Superbowl, Nissan launched its now famous “Life is A Journey, Enjoy the Ride” advertising campaign. In the two-minute spot, a young boy finds himself in an underground garage, where a mysterious man shows him some old cars. As the boy begins to leave, the old man offers him a parting word of sage advice: (You have to say this with a thick Japanese accent for the full effect) “Remember….Life is a journey. Enjoy…..the ride.”

Of course the commercial was designed to sell Nissan’s, so people could “enjoy the ride” in a nice car! It had a different impact on one young pastor who was watching.

I paused to reflect on my life and the journey I was on Read the rest of this entry

Inspiring Lives From Church History


The_Christian_Martyrs_Last_Prayer_by_leon_geromePeople have been living and dying for Christ for over 2000 years and history is full of wonderful examples of men and women who followed Christ faithfully.  We can learn a lot from studying their lives.  Yet, there is something truly compelling about those who suffer for Him and pay the ultimate price for their faith.

When I read the historical record of what some of these ancient brothers and sisters went through, it challenges me deeply.   I often wonder how I would respond in such situations.  I guess we won’t ever know unless and until we find ourselves in the same place.   The one thing I can say with certainty is that these accounts inspire me to live for Christ.  That is why today, we are beginning a new series.  In it, we will highlight men and women who suffered for Christ, because of their faith.  They won’t be long posts, so you should be able to read them in less than 5 minutes.  My Prayer is that they will cause you to reflect on your own life and faith, inspiring you follow Him more deeply.

Today, we will read about Mark, the Bishop of Arethusa  (361 AD)

Mark, Bishop of Arethusa, suffered for his faith in Christ under the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363). By order of the emperor Constantine, St Mark had once destroyed a pagan temple and built a Christian church.

When Julian came to the throne, he persecuted Christians and tried to Read the rest of this entry

What Do You Like LEAST about Your Church Service? Take Our Poll


Dead People Speak To Me


Dead people speak to me. It’s true, they really do!

Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not that the dead visit me in my sleep, or that I hear voices in my head. I am talking about the writings of the early church leaders, those great men of God who passed from this earth 1700-1900 years ago. Their writings speak volumes to me about what it means to Read the rest of this entry

A Christmas Prayer for All


The following prayer is from the largely forgotten deposit of the Puritan Movement of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They testify to the richness and color of evangelical thought and language, as well as their devotion to the Savior. They can be found in a book titled “The Valley of Vision”, by Arthur Bennet. I have included them in this blog so that others can use them in their own prayer life as a springboard to a more faithful walk with Jesus. These prayers are 200-400 years old! They were written in old English, but that should not get in the way if you don’t let it.

Following Him together…
Read the rest of this entry

And Behold, A New Blog Was….Born


The other day, while shopping, my wife found the perfect t-shirt for me.  It said:

“Nobody Cares About Your Blog!”

Unfortunately it was the wrong size, plus it was pink!  However, I interpreted that to mean that what the world really needs is one more blog and that I should start it.

Not being one who takes my responsibility to serve mankind lightly, I have started, and now made public, a New blog called “Following Him Together”  It is a pastoral/devotional type of blog, that will focus more on the journey of the Christian life than on the problems of the evangelical church, which I have now solved.

Be one of the first 10,000 to subscribe to it and you could “Win a brand new car!”  Not really.  Visit it here:  Following Him Together.

“Teach Us How to…Live”, An Early Church Fathers Take on “The Lord’s Prayer III


“Lord, teach us to pray…”

You would have reacted the same way, I suppose. The disciples had seen Jesus do incredible miracles. They also watched him pray a lot. They put two and two together and surmised that Jesus’ power was a result of his prayer. Now, every first century Jew knew how to pray. But nobody could do the miracles that Jesus was doing. The disciples wanted to know how to do that!

So they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. That inquiry resulted in what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” A short lesson on how to pray that the church has held dear ever since.

But is it a lesson on how one should pray?

“Yes, but”, is how I think I would answer that.

Yes, Jesus taught the disciples how to pray here. But if you look closer at what Jesus taught, I think He was actually Read the rest of this entry

Pray This 400 Year Old Prayer: “May I Live My Life To Honor You”


The following prayer was first offered back in the 1600′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, “A Disicples Renewal” along with many others, Read the rest of this entry

400 Year Old Prayer: “May I Live a Life Worthy of You”


The following prayer is from the largely forgotten deposit of the Puritan Movement of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It testifies to the richness and color of evangelical thought and language, as well as their devotion to the Savior. This prayer and others can be found in a book titled “The Valley of Vision”, by Arthur Bennet. I have included them in this blog so that others can use them in their own prayer life as a springboard to a more faithful walk with Jesus. These prayers are 300-400 years old! They were written in old English,but that should not get in the way if you don’t let it.

Need of Jesus

Lord Jesus,

I am blind, be my light,

ignorant, be my wisdom,

self-willed, be my mind

Open my ear to grasp quickly your Spirit’s voice,

and delightfully run after His beckoning hand;

Melt my conscience that no hardness remain,

make it alive to evil’s slightest touch;

When Satan approaches may I flee to your wounds,

and there cease to tremble at all alarms.

Be my good shepherd to lead me into green pastures of your Word,

and cause me to lie down beside the rivers of its comforts.

Fill me with peace, that no disquieting worldly gales may ruffle the calm surface of my soul.

Your cross was upraised to be my refuge,

Your blood streamed forth to wash me clean,

Your death occurred to give me a surety,

Your name is my property to save me,

By you all heaven is poured into my heart,

but it is too narrow to comprehend your love.

I was a stranger, an outcast, a slave, a rebel

but your cross has brought me near,

has softened my heart,

has made me your Father’s child,

has admitted me into your family,

has made me joint heir with yourself.

O that I may love you as you have loved me,

that I may walk worthy of you, my Lord,

that I may reflect the image of heaven’s first-born.

May I always see your beauty with the clear eye of faith,

and feel the power of your Spirit in my heart,

for unless he move mightily in me

no inward fire will be kindled.

For More of these old Prayers, visit our prayer page https://notforitchingears.com/prayer-of-the-week/400-year-old-prayers-1/

Christ Centered Worship Songs: “What A Savior”


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 “What A Savior” is a remake of the old hymn (1875) with an updated chorus.  Musically, it is very stripped down, with a lot of potential to put your congregations own touch on it.   A Gospel saturated song that calls us to rejoice in what God accomplished at Calvary.

Read the rest of this entry

John MacArthur: “To Be A Christian Is To Be A Slave of Christ”


What  is a Christian?  What does it mean to be one?  How should Christians order their lives?  What priorities should captivate and compel those who call themselves Christians?  In our day, it seems many who call themselves Christians are confused about this.  Several months ago, I embarked on a study of the descriptive terms used in the Bible to describe Christians.   I hypothesized, that understanding those terms, would shed much light on what it means to follow the Savior.  I was right.  It was a very nourishing exercise. 

Would it surprise you to learn that the word “Christian” is one of the least used terms in the Bible to describe those who follow Christ?  It occurs only three times.  The two most common terms used to describe followers of Christ are:  Disciple and Slave/Servant.

In his new book, “Slave:  The Hidden Truth About Your identity In Christ”,  Dr. John MacArthur focuses  on the term “slave.”    I was hooked by the end of the first page.    Here are some great quotes from the book:

When we call ourselves Christians, we proclaim to the world that  everything about us, including our very self-identity, is found in Jesus Christ because we have denied ourselves in order to follow and obey him.  He is both Savior and our Sovereign, and our lives center on pleasing Him.  To claim the title is say Read the rest of this entry

A 400 year Old Prayer: “Today, May I live a Life That Honors You!”


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 ’Morning Dedication’,  along with many others, can be found in a book titled “The Valley of Vision”, by Arthur Bennett.

ALMIGHTY GOD,

As I begin this day
I commit myself, soul, body, affairs, friends, to your care;
Watch over, keep, guide, direct, sanctify, bless me.
Incline my heart to your ways;
Mould me wholly into the image of Jesus, as a potter forms clay;
May my lips be a well-tuned instrument to sound your praise;

Let those around see me living by your Spirit,
           trampling the world underfoot,
           unconformed to lying vanities,
           transformed by a renewed mind,
           clad in the entire armour of God,
           shining as a never-dimmed light,
           showing holiness in all I do.

Let no evil this day soil my thoughts, words, hands.
May I travel muddy paths with a life pure from spot or stain.
In those things I must do let my devotion be in heaven,
           and my love soar upwards in flames of fire,
           my gaze fixed on unseen things,
           my eyes open to the emptiness, fragility,
                  mockery of earth and its arrogance.

May I view all things in the mirror of eternity,
         waiting for the coming of my Lord,
         listening for the last trumpet call,
         hastening unto the new heaven and earth.

Order this day all my communications according to your wisdom,
        and to the gain of mutual good.

Forbid that I should not be profited or made profitable.
May I speak each word as if my last word,
         and walk each step as my final one.

If my life should end today, let this be my best day.

For more of these old prayers, check out our Prayer Page at: https://notforitchingears.com/prayer-of-the-week/

The Greatest Message Ever Given…


The greatest message ever given is the Message of a crucified Savior.  It is the message of God forgiving treasonous, rebellious traitors who wanted nothing to do with Him and who deserved absolute judgement.   Not by winking at our rebellion or pretending it wasn’t happening.  Rather, He sent his own Son to take our place in judgement.

One of the things that amazes me about this blog is the number of people who read it who do not speak english.   This post is for them.  It is John 3:16-18 in different languages, the Gospel in its clearest form.  Feel free to repost it! Read the rest of this entry

Cross-Centered Worship Songs: “Oh What Grace”


I have been responsible for leading corporate singing in the church for years.   I know how frustrating it can be to find songs that are worth singing.  Many of the newer songs never mention or even allude to the most important aspect of Christianity:  The message of The Cross!  To be sure, there are songs out there, but it takes time to find them.  I often sift through 40 songs, just to find one new song.   (Worship team members have affectionately, and some times derogatorily, nick-named me “The Lyric Police”.  Call me old school if you like, but I think the songs we sing to our Savior should be worthy of Him!

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 is an upbeat, rock-style song off the CD “Fuse”.   It is called “Oh What Grace”  and is by Zach Jones.  Read the rest of this entry

The Most Rewarding Exercise / Training Program of 2011


A new year has arrived and it has brung with it the promise of improvement!   Of course, I am talking about the resolutions many of us make.   I like the idea of regularly reflecting on one’s course in life.  Where am I going? What am I doing?  What am I building my life upon?  Do I need to change course or am I on the right track?

The number one New Years resolution is all about getting in shape or losing weight.  If you made any resolutions, the odds are that you made one in this general area.   I don’t think this surprises anyone.  Our culture values, almost more than anything else, good-looking bodies.  January is the most crowded month at the gym.  EVERYONE comes in January because of the vows they made in December.  But come, mid-February, things are generally back to normal.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not dissing getting in shape….  Read the rest of this entry

A Christmas Prayer: Thank You for The Gift of All Gifts


Merry Christmas everyone!

The following Christmas prayer is  from the largely forgotten deposit of the Puritan Movement of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They testify to the richness and color of evangelical thought and language, as well as their devotion to the Savior. They can be found in a book titled “The Valley of Vision”, by Arthur Bennet. I have included them in this blog so that others can use them in their own prayer life as a springboard to a more faithful walk with Jesus. These prayers are 200-400 years old! They were written in old English, but that should not get in the way if you don’t let it.

Following Him together…
Read the rest of this entry

Cross-Centered Worship “All I Have Is Christ”


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,… Read the rest of this entry

Want To Be Challenged By The Early Church? Read This…


Listen to this blog:

Do you ever  grow weary of all the new fads and techniques the modern church creates?  I  do!  What is important to us, may not have been important to those who were personally discipled by Jesus Christ and those whom they disicpled.  

I am continually challenged when I read the history and the writings of the early church.   I am drawn to them over and over again because of how close they were in time to the Apostles.  There writings are not scripture, but neither are the writings of Luther, Calvin or John Stott.  These writings shed tremendous light on how the Apostles and the early church viewed the Christ event and the implications of it.   Anyone who wants to follow Jesus Christ faithfully owes it to themselves to read the writings of these Godly men.

Today, I have included the entire “Didache”, also known as  “The Teaching of The Twelve Apostles.”  It is one of the most fascinating documents to emerge from the early church.  It was probably in circulation somewhere close to the end of the first century…  Read the rest of this entry