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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

What Do You Like Most about the Church Service You Participate In?


Do We Spend Too Much Time Singing In Church?


If Your Church Eliminated the Singing Time, Would You Find a New Church?


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

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

Reflecting on Keith Green’s Impact 30 years after His Tragic Death


Today, July 28th, 2012, marks the 30th anniversary of Keith Green’s death.  I wasn’t even a Christian back in 1982, and had no clue who this great man of God was.  When I became a Christian in 1985, I was immediately introduced to him.  He had a profound impact on my life.

Back then, contemporary Christian music was in its infancy.  The local Christian book store had an 8′ x 4′ section of a wall dedicated to it.  There wasn’t much! Basically it was Read the rest of this entry

Guitar and Bass Players: Recover Your Amp and Give it a True Custom Shop Feel


The vision for it came to me in my sleep.  You know how it is.  You have a problem you’ve been trying to solve, and the answer comes while you are lying in bed.  My problem was my little Laney LC15 15w tube amp.  I have been playing Laney tube amps exclusively for the past 10 years.  I LOVE them.  The LC15 was no exception.  I loved it’s tone, but the 10″ celestion speaker just didn’t do the amp justice.  I had been plugging it into my Bogner 12″ cube (which sounds like a 4×12) and the tone was awesome. Alas, it looked bad.  Any self-respecting guitarist knows we can’t have that.  “Just don’t use it live”,I told myself  The problem was that it was the perfect rig for wedding gigs where 15 watts of pure tube tone miked up and feeding the house PA was just what the doctor ordered.

Enter my vision:  Lose the speaker and make it a custom shop type head.  I woke up the next morning, Read the rest of this entry

An Open Letter to the Worship Leaders in the Evangelical Church


Open Letter to Wroship LeadersDear Pastor,

It is obvious to most of us that you enjoy leading the congregational worship time.  You put a lot of effort into learning new songs, and rehearsing with the band.  The PA sounds really good with those new subwoofers, by the way.  The light show is dazzling, and the fog machine was a real nice touch.  Your guitar solo’s are really smoking too!   I want you to know that we do appreciate you and all you do for us.  Most of us pray for you on a regular basis.

On Sunday mornings, you are always excited to lead us.  It must be a bit of a shock to you that most of us are not as excited about singing as you are.  You probably can’t see us, because of the bright lights in your eyes, but I sit in the back row. I often look around to observe the congregation and usually most of us are not singing.  But it isn’t because we don’t like you or God, or because you can’t sing very good.  Far from it.  We do love God and you are a fantastic musician!  A couple of us were discussing this lack of singing yesterday, and we thought you might want to know why this happens.  Just in case you do, I would like to share our thoughts Read the rest of this entry

Is the “Worship” Centered Church Model Bankrupting Christianity?


Bankrupt. Destitute. Impoverished. Insolvent.  Whichever word you choose, they all carry the same basic idea: They describe the inability to meet one’s obligations.  These  words are used to describe people that have been reduced to a state of financial ruin.  We also use the term to depict an individual or organization that is completely lacking in a particularly desirous quality or attribute.   One might be morally bankrupt or spiritually impoverished.  You get the idea.

While sitting in a church service the other day, I came to a conclusion about the church at large, which has serious ramifications for my life.   It was a long time in coming.   I am not sure why it happened that day, but I can’t ignore that it did.  This conclusion was fueled, in large part, by my own journey through the church world:  I have been a senior pastor, a worship pastor, an associate pastor, a volunteer, and a normal guy in the pew who isn’t doing anything.  Over the last three years I have “worshipped” in close to 30 different congregations with varying denominational or non-denominational affiliations.  I haven’t seen it all, but I think I have seen enough! 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

Worship: Is it a Life Well-Lived or a Chorus Well-Sung?


We love to discuss those things we are passionate about, don’t we?  Be it our favorite football team (THE Washington Redskins), politics, sports, movies, cultural issues.  Heck we even argue about beer!   Remember the Miller Lite commercials?  For years, Miller Lite drinkers, including the likes of Rodney Dangerfield and John Madden, bickered back and forth on our TV sets.  The argument?  What made Miller Lite such a great beer.   Some said the drink tasted great. Others said it was less filling.  Though they were very entertaining commercials, it makes one wonder:  Don’t we have anything better to discuss than beer?

Of course we do!  Over here at Not For Itching Ears, we’ve been spending a lot of time talking about a topic that is higher up the food chain:  Worshipping God.  If you read these posts (millions of people do each hour) Read the rest of this entry

Forget About Singing, God Wants Us to Worship Him HIS Way – Part II


What does God consider worship and how can we offer it to Him? I think that is the best place to start a series on worship.   Earlier we talked about this in “Forget About Singing, God Wants Us to Worship Him HIS Way – Part 1”.   God is the one who is worshipped, so he gets to define how that looks. He does this for us in the Bible. A biblical definition of worship is where God tells us what worship means to Him. One of the places He does that is in Read the rest of this entry

Worship Leading Gone Wild: What Can Happen When Worship Becomes A Song…..


Sometimes the truth contained in satire can pierce like a sword. The scene this video portrays about worship leading gone bad is one of those times.   After I stopped laughing, I began to ache.  This is how things truly are in some circles.  In many churches that I have visited over the past 3 years, it seems that simply getting people to sing is the goal.  It doesn’t matter what we actually sing about, Read the rest of this entry

Rethinking Contemporary Worship: Can We “Bring Him More Than a Song?”


Back in 1997, Matt Redman wrote the now famous song  “The Heart of Worship” as a response to a challenge from his pastor.  It seems that music had become an obstacle, perhaps even an idol to the congregation.  So the pastor got rid of the band and the PA.   For a month or so, they sang acapella.  This song was born during that time and was Matt Redman’s personal response to the challenge. 

Recently, we sang that song during a Sunday evening service.  I was struck by one line in the song: 

“I’ll bring you more than a song,  for a song in itself Is not what you have required….”

 The line struck a chord with me, and led to these two thoughts.   First, if a song is not what He requires of us to worship him, then Read the rest of this entry

Worship Leader Make-Over: Choosing New Songs Wisely


There was a time, not to long ago, when choosing a new song for corporate worship wasn’t that difficult.  There weren’t that many out there to choose from!  Christian Radio wasn’t much help.  If you walked into a Christian bookstore, you would find an 8′ x 4′ section dedicated to contemporary music.   You heard that new song at a friends church or a conference, and that was it.    Then, in the 80’s, Hosanna Integrity and the Vineyard began producing bi-monthly worship tapes.  They were very succesful and their success  helped catapult the fledgling contemporary christian music scene into what it has now become.

Finding new songs to choose from is no longer difficult.    They are everywhere.  Finding great new songs is a more tedious task.  If you are responsible for leading the corporate singing time of your congregation, you are well aware of this challenge.  So how do you go about choosing new songs for the congregation?  What process do you use to help weed out the mediocre or poorly written songs, or do you have a process?  What criteria should you use?

Allow me to share the number one thing I do to help me in this process.  Over the years it has helped me more than anything else I could share.  It is simply this: Read the rest of this entry

Is Using Instruments in Corporate Worship A Violation of the New Testament? An Argument from 1864


“I prefer reading books written by dead men!”, an old man of God once told me.  When I asked him why, he told me that books by great men of God who are no longer with us, are not influenced by our current cultural trends.  Their understanding of God’s word is not colored by the same issues that affect us in our day.   Many of the issues we face, were not even around back then.  It is refreshing to read books by people who do not have a horse in the race, so to speak.  Over the years, I have come to appreciate that perspective and have adopted it as my own.

On a recent trip to the Goodwill, I found a very old commentary on the Book of Acts, written by J.W. McGarvey in 1863.  (I bought it at for .99 cents!)  As I read it, I began to tear up.  “Where are these men today Lord?”  I asked out loud.

I did a little research on the man who wrote the commentary.   One of the things I found was this very interesting article titled “Instrumental Music in Churches.”   He was against it and argued from the Scriptures that instruments were not to be used in the Church era. He wrote this article in 1864, at a time when most churches Read the rest of this entry

Get Your Free Audio Copy of the New Testament on MP3


In my search for an audio copy of the New Testament, I stumbled across the “Faith Comes By Hearing” website. I was familiar with their ministry, having taken our church through their very edifying listening program a few years back. I was stunned to find out that they give away, completely free of charge, the Bible in Mp3 format. I downloaded the ESV version and I must say, I am completely thrilled. I just listened to 1 John while I was driving.

Here is a statement from their website, followed by a link to get your own free audio copy of the New Testament on Mp3:

“Faith Comes By Hearing is committed to reaching the nations with the Word of God in audio, offering the Bible in a format that will connect with the world’s 50% illiterate population. To accomplish this enormous task, the Lord has assembled a group of committed leaders and dedicated servants of His Word to develop into a reality the vision of bringing His church together and making disciples.
The word nation is the Greek word ethnos, which means “of the same language and people group,” not the political borders of a country. The worldwide Bible translation and distribution ministries have determined there are 6,809 ethnos, or nations, in the world, most of which cross many Read the rest of this entry