Blog Archives

Can You Write a Better Worship Song Than These Song Writers? We Don’t Think So


Enjoy this satirical look at modern worship lyrics. Song writers were challenged to write a worship song using the name of Soap Opera’s as their dominant lyrics. Hilarious, and surprisingly similar to the typical worship song being written and sung in churches across the USA.

Discover The Early Church – “We Don’t Speak Great Things – We Live Them!


JustinEasy to read.

Hard to put down.

Inspiring.

Informative.

Effortless introduction into the writings of the early church.

Download it and start reading it today for less than  $6 on Amazon

“We Don’t Speak Great Things – We Live Them”  is a must read book for every Christian.  It contains two early church writings:  Justin Martyrs First Apology and Octavius, written by Mark Felix.

If you want an introduction into how the early church thought about Jesus, Salvation, predestination, communion and life after death, and how they lived out the faith, this is the easiest introduction I know.  Thanks to the modern translation, the works practically read themselves.

Next to the Bible, the early Christian writings are the most valuable documents of Christianity.  They teach us what the church was like immediately after the events recorded in the New Testament. What a rich resource they are. Yet, for many followers of Christ , they remain a mystery.  You know all about the history of the United States and how it started.  You probably know a lot about how your own denomination began or at least how the Reformation started. Shouldn’t we all be familiar with how Christianity grew in the first and second century?

Don’t stay in the dark.  Read this book:  “We Don’t Speak Great Things – We Live Them” 

When a second-century pagan ridiculed Christians for their lack of education, one Christian replied, “We don’t speak great things we live them!” That was the essence of early Christianity. It was not a Christianity of words, but rather of holy, obedient living.

This book contains two second-century Christian works, translated into readable contemporary English: Mark Felix’s Octavius and Justin Martyr’s First Apology. They describe the dynamic, living church of the second century and discuss what Christians of that age believed.

The First Apology of Justin Martyr is the oldest Christian apology still in existence in its entirety. Justin penned this work at the risk of his own life. Apart from the inspired New Testament writings, this apology is perhaps the single most valuable work of early Christianity. Through it, we can take a peek through time to see what Christianity was like at the close of the apostolic age. For example, Justin takes us on a tour of a Christian baptism and a typical Sunday morning church service. He lets us know what Christians in his age believed about Jesus, salvation, predestination, communion, and life after death.

Octavius, written by a Christian lawyer named Mark Felix, takes a look at Christianity from both the pagan and Christian view points. It’s not only one of the most readable early Christian works, but it’s also a true work of literature. Felix writes in a graceful style that rivals that of Cicero, and his defense of Christianity is truly inspiring. In the end, Octavius is more than a challenge to the pagan Romans it’s a challenge to the twentieth century church as well.

“We Don’t Speak Great Things – We Live Them” Justin Martyr and Mark Felix

 

Worship: Why Your Church Is Failing And What You Can Do About It


Failing worship gradeFrom my view in the cheap seats, it seems that what it means to worship God has become open to interpretation.

Can I worship God any way I want to?

Does church leadership have biblical authority to design a worship service anyway they think is best?

Judging by the state of worship in the American Evangelical church, the answer is Yes to both questions. And boy do we ever take this permission seriously!

It would appear  that Read the rest of this entry

Top 10 Reasons You Should Visit Our Church This Sunday


top10Top 10 Reasons You Should Visit Our Church This Sunday

#10 We have the best worship team in town filled with young, uber-talented musicians and singers.

#9 Our worship team recently recorded a cutting edge worship CD (You can buy it for $13).

#8 We have state of the art sound and lighting systems that allow you to hear and feel the worship, as well as experience worship in a way you can’t at other local churches.

#7 Worshipping in song is the best and highest form of corporate worship. We do it with excellence and we do it a lot! If you like music, you are going to love our worship!

#6 Come as you are. You can wear whatever you feel comfortable in. People wear everything from business casual to jeans and T-shirts

#5 We have GREAT coffee drinks (for sale) and you can bring the drinks with you into the auditorium.

#4 We have free wi-fi available throughout our facility and it is available at all times

#3 Our services are short! Each of our 3 services is only 70 minutes long

#2 Our pastor is an incredibly gifted speaker who is VERY funny. Each week you will hear a short inspirational talk based on our pastors life experience  or the experience of others that is always relevant to your life. There is usually a Bible verse or two sprinkled throughout the talk to help inspire you to live your life to the fullest.

#1 Our services are FUN! We have eliminated the old school, boring liturgical stuff from our worship which many of the other churches in town still utilize. We won’t ask you to stand or sit or kneel. There are no corporate readings or corporate prayers or communion. Just cutting edge worship and inspirational words.

What’s missing?

I have compiled these “reasons” from church websites and church advertising in my area. Before you write to correct me, realize that this post is a joke. The sad part about it is that they are real reasons that actual churches have given. Well, I have added my special touch to the reasons. Nevertheless, the gist of them is spot on.

Some will object to the competitive nature of the post. The “Our Church is Better Than the Rest” idea is abhorrent, I agree. However, that idea is rampant in our church advertising. It is sometimes subtle, sometimes over the top, but often present for anyone to see. At least I see it.

Some will see nothing wrong in the Top 10 Reasons I have listed. Others, will be able to spot what is missing easily. Still others, will have to look harder until they see what is missing. Feel free to throw daggers, share thoughts or comment as you see fit!

Thanks for visiting us here at http://www.NotForItchingEars.com

 

How The Early Church Spotted a False Prophet…Your Answer to Our Poll


Not For Itching Ears-false-prophetHow is your Early Church History?

Last week we posted a poll called “Do You Know How The Early Church (pre 150AD) Spotted A False Prophet” (Take the poll!)  In it, we gave respondents 5 answers to choose from and only one choice was correct.  It is important to note that this poll did not include all the ways the early church spotted a false prophet.  Also, the one correct choice was taken from the Didache, a respected early church document written sometime between 50AD and 150AD.  Do you know the right answer?  Let us look at them one at a time:

5.  They Believed The Gifts of The Spirit Had Not Ceased.  FALSE! 6% of respondents identified this as the correct answer.

 4.  They Taught That There Were Two Ways Only: The Way of Life or The Way of Death:  FALSE, and almost 13% of respondents chose this as the answer,

3.  They Taught that People had Free Will and Could Choose to Follow Christ. FALSE!  13% of those polled chose this as the correct answer which would be a popular answer for followers of Calvin.

2.  They Taught that Water Baptism Could be Done Without Immersion, FALSE!  It is not surprising that this answer was chosen by 19% of those who took the poll.  However, the early church did not make as big a deal about this as modern day Protestants.  They preferred immersion in running water, but allowed pouring water over the head if running water was not available.

Fifty percent of respondents chose the correct answer.    So,  how did the church spot a false prophet?  Drum roll pleeeeeease!

1.  They Asked For Money!

“Now concerning the apostles and prophets, deal with them as follows in accordance with the rule of the gospel.  Let every apostle who comes to you be welcomed as if he were the Lord.  But he is not to stay for more than one day, unless there is need, in which case he may stay another.  But if he stays three days, he is a false prophet.  And when the apostle leaves, he is to take nothing except bread until he finds his next nights lodging.  But if he asks for money, he is a false prophet. Didache 11:3-6

Think about this.  If they asked for money, they were to be considered false prophets.  Why do you think the early church used this as part of the criteria?  Just as importantly, why do we not use this criteria today and if we did, how would things change?

BONUS:  Here’s another way the Didache instructed believers to recognize wolves in sheep’s clothing:  They did not practice what they preached!

“If any prophet teaches the truth, yet does not practice what he teaches, he is a false prophet.”  Didache 11:10

Do You Know How The Early Church (Pre-150AD) Spotted a False Prophet?


Not For Itching Ears-false-prophetTest your knowledge of early church history in our latest poll.

There are 5 answers to choose from.  Only one is correct, based on the “Teaching of the Lord to the Gentles by the  Twelve Apostles” or what is more commonly called the “Didache” and other early church writings.  The Didache is a well received document from the early church.  The date of its writing is hard to determine, but most scholars put it somewhere between 50 AD and 150 AD, very close to the time of the Apostles. It is not part of the Bible, but it is a very good document to read if you want to learn how the early church understood the teaching of Christ and the Apostles.

Can you identify the correct answer?  There is only one correct answer in our poll, but that does not mean there were not other indicators.  There is only one correct answer in this poll.

So, how did the church identify a false prophet in the 2nd century?

 

Take the poll and then go here for the answer

It’s Official: People Don’t Want To Sing So Much On Sundays.

Inspiring Lives From Church History: James, the Great Martyr of Persia


martyrs for ChristPeople 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 Read the rest of this entry

Does God Care More About Our Character OR What We Do In His Name?


I'm Right and You're WrongIt is a simple question, really…

In your opinion, is God most concerned with character or accomplishments in our lives? In other words, does He care more about the great things we accomplish (or don’t) in his name and for his kingdom OR who we ARE or BECOMING as his followers. In this poll, you can’t say “both” because the question is which one does he car MOST about?

The Church…Who Is Closer To The Truth?


PollToday’s poll is at once both easy and difficult. There are only three real answers. That’s the easy part. The hard part? Choosing the right answer. In our opinion, that takes a little thinking. Here’s what we are asking you: Which church tradition, in your opinion, (Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant) is most faithful to the historic Christian faith of the early church (the first 300 years)?

Easy now my fellow Protestants! Don’t jump to what may appear to be an obvious answer. Why, you ask? because we have lumped all protestant groups into one answer. This group included Baptists, Reformed, Charismatics, Pentecostals, Lutherans, non-denominational, Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, The Faith movements, Nazarene, COGIC etc. Even though the Anglicans are not really part of the official Protestant movement, we have included them here as well. So, it is not simply whatever protestant group you are a part of, which of course is the MOST faithful, that’s why you are a part of it. It’s the whole thing.

Further, we are not asking which tradition is most faithful to Luther or Calvin or the other Protestant trailblazers. The criterion is which group is more faithful to the version of Christianity that the early church embraced and took all over the world in the first 300 years of church history? Another way of looking at is to ask Which church tradition would the Apostles and the early church Fathers recognize as being most representative of the church they gave their lives to lead and strengthen?

So who has remained most faithful to the Early Church: The Protestants as a group, The Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church?

Take our other polls: What Do You Like MOST about the Church Service and What Do You Like LEAST about The Church Service? and too really make your opinion count for an upcoming post tell us Do You Think We spend Too Much Time Singing in Church?

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

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

A Must Read Book For Worship Leaders and Pastors: Discover The Mystery of Faith


Mystery of FaithNotForItchingEars.com was born out of my utter frustration with, and sincere love for, the evangelical church.  Having visited congregation after congregation and reading many studies, I  knew something was wrong.

I spent a considerable amount of time pleading with the pastors and  leaders of the church at large to come back to the ancient path.  I challenged many worship leaders to re-think the worship services they led.

The response of many in the worship leading community was less than enthusiastic.  Most people just wanted me to  Read the rest of this entry

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


An Interesting Take on The Lord’s Prayer


prayerlordsI found it rummaging through a rack of used books. Rather surprised to see it there, I quickly picked it up. I thought to myself, “How often will one run across an obscure book like this?” After perusing through it for a few moments, I turned to The Lord’s Prayer, and the deal was closed.

This unique and thought-provoking version of The Lord’s Prayer is found in “A New Zealand Prayer Book”. We hope Read the rest of this entry

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

Making Room for God in Your Life


Making Room For GodMerry Christmas everyone!

Not being catholic, I seldom read what the Pope has to say. But this year I actually read his Christmas eve sermon. I was moved by his words and challenged in my own life and faith. I have posted it here. I hope my protestant friends can read it and Read the rest of this entry

A Christmas Prayer of Praise


Christmas CrossWe praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
all creation worships you,
the Father everlasting.

To You,   all angels,
all the powers of heaven,
the cherubim and seraphim, sing in endless praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:

Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all praise,
the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.

When you took our flesh to set us free
you humbly chose the virgin’s womb.
You overcame the sting of death,
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come to be our judge.

Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting.

How Does One Truly Worship God? An Early Church Father’s View


From my view in the cheap seats, it seems that what it means to worship God has become open to interpretation.

Can I worship God any way I want to?

On a corporate level, does church leadership have biblical authority to design a worship service anyway they think is best?

Judging by state of the American Evangelical church, I think most leaders believe the answer is Yes to both questions. And boy do we ever take this permission seriously!

It would appear to this writer that Read the rest of this entry

Christianities Family Tree


“As  You sent Me into the world,  I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I  sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be  sanctified in truth.

20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one;  even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us,  so that the world may believe that  You sent Me.

John 17:18-21 NASB

The End of the Beginning is Here


It has been a while since my last real post.  Many of you have wondered out loud if I am  A) dead, B) seriously ill, C) in exile or D) just not writing.  The answer is … Read the rest of this entry