In 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!
I often find nourishment for my faith when I read and pray through old prayers. Sure, the church has changed over the years. What it means to follow Christ in a fallen world hasn’t. Those who have faithfully walked the walk before us down through the ages, though gone, can still minister to us. One of the ways this can happen is when we read and prayer the prayers they left behind.
Today, I share with you a 1600 year old prayer from Basil The Great. I have updated it for the modern reader. The Thee’s and Thou’s have been changed.
O God and Lord of the Powers, and Maker of all creation,
Who, because of Your clemency and incomparable mercy,
did send Your Only-Begotten Son and our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind,
and with His venerable Cross did tear asunder the record of our sins,
and thereby did conquer the rulers and powers of darkness;
receive from us sinful people, O merciful Master, these prayers of gratitude and supplication,
and deliver us from every destructive and gloomy transgression,
and from all visible and invisible enemies who seek to injure us.
Nail down our flesh with fear of You,
and let not our hearts be inclined to words or thoughts of evil,
but pierce our souls with Your love, that ever contemplating You, being enlightened by You, and discerning You, the unapproachable and everlasting Light,
we may unceasingly render confession and gratitude to You:
The eternal Father,
with Your Only-Begotten Son,
and with Your All-Holy, Gracious, and Life-Giving Spirit,
now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
People 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
“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.
Not being catholic, I seldom read what the Pope has to say. But this year I actually read his Christmas eve sermon. I was touched by his story of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. I have posted it here. I hope my protestant friends can read it.
“Today, anyone wishing to enter the Church of Jesus’ Nativity in Bethlehem will find that the doorway five and a half meters high, through which emperors and caliphs used to enter the building, is now largely walled up. Only a low opening of one and a half meters has remained. The intention was probably to Read the rest of this entry
A local church in my city recently ran this “Pure Sex” advertising campaign to attract the non-churched to come to their services. They drove around the city with this banner on a trailer. First, I thought it was an advertisement for a porn shop. I was stopped dead in my tracks when I realized it was an advertisement to Read the rest of this entry
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.
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/
These days, it seems that music is the most important element at the typical Sunday morning church gathering. Don’t believe me? Try this: take your watch and time each element of the service: announcements, singing, the message, prayer, etc. The time alloted for singing at many churches is often the winner. Usually, we give the most time to that which we consider the most important thing.
If we ask why music takes such a prominent role in our gatherings, one of the answers we are given is that non-christians like good music and it draws them to church. If we want to reach them with the gospel (who doesn’t want to do this?) then we have to have a great band! I disagree with this. Non-christians do not come to our services because we have a great band. They really don’t. As a full-time musician, I can honestly say that the music in our church services is largely VERY unimpressive to the christian let alone the non-Christian. Plus we don’t serve alcohol!
The great Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon himself, declared that Jesus Christ does not need a great worship band to reach the lost. Well, he didn’t use those exact words. But that is what he would say today. Consider his argument: Read the rest of this entry
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
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
We are brothers in Christ united in one great cause – to stand together for the Gospel. We are convinced that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been misrepresented, misunderstood, and marginalized in many churches and among many who claim the name of Christ. Compromise of the Gospel has led to the preaching of false gospels, the seduction of many minds and movements, and the weakening of the church’s Gospel witness.
As in previous moments of theological and spiritual crisis in the church, we believe that the answer to this confusion and compromise lies in a comprehensive recovery and reaffirmation of the Gospel – and in Christians banding together in Gospel churches that display God’s glory in this fallen world… Read the rest of this entry
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
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
Click on the following link to read why Jesus Christ was born in a manger and died on a Cross. The Reason for The Season.
Of course prayer is free, we just thought it was a catchy title! We all need prayer and sometimes we don’t have anyone to pray with. Other times, we have lots of people to pray with but we want as many people praying for our situation as possible. Whatever your situation is, we consider it a privilege and honor to pray for you. We have a team of people who pray over every request daily. So, let us know how we can pray for you. You can submit your request in the comment section. Let us know if you would like the request to be viewable by others (so that they can pray for you as well) or to be kept private.
Our only request is that you let us know how the Lord answers!
Following Him Together,
The following prayers are drawn 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…
The Precious Blood
Blessed Lord Jesus,
Before thy cross I kneel and see
the heinousness of my sin,
my iniquity that caused thee to be ‘made a curse’,
the evil that excites the severity of divine wrath.
Show me the enormity of my guilt by
the crown of thorns,
the pierced hands and feet,
the bruised body,
the dying cries.
Thy blood is the blood of incarnate God,
Its worth infinite, its value beyond all thought
Infinite must be the evil and guilt that demands such a price.
Sin is my malady, my monster, my foe, my viper,
Born in my birth,
alive in my life,
strong in my character,
dominating my faculties,
intermingling with my every though,
my chain that holds me captive in the empire of my soul,
Sinner that I am, why should the sun give my light
the air supply breath,
the earth bear my weight,
its fruit nourish me
its creatures subserve my ends?
Yet thy compassions yearn over me,
thy heart hastens to my rescue,
thy love endured my curse,
thy mercy bore my deserved stripes.
Let me walk humbly in the lowest depths of humiliation,
bathed in thy blood,
tender of conscience,
triumphing gloriously as an heir of salvation.