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


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Contending for THE Faith?


calvinism2Things are slow around here so when I saw this and I just couldn’t resist.

That sound you are hearing?  That is me stirring the pot!

Calvin’s faith is certainly different from the faith of the early church, but is it going to far to say he reinvented or re–delivered a new faith?

You decide.

Play nice, please.

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

Cross-Centered Worship Songs: “Let Your Kingdom Come!”


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 If we are going to sing in church, I think the songs we sing to our Savior should be worthy of Him and His work on 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.   Today’s song, “Let Your Kingdom Come”, is an Read the rest of this entry

A Worship Song for the Hard Times: “As Long As You Are Glorified”


Does your worship service look more like a High School pep rally?

You remember those days, don’t you?   The cheerleaders and the band would work us up into a frenzy, trying to fire us up for the Friday night game.  Much of today’s corporate worship reminds me of those days.  everything is so upbeat and wonderful.  Week after week, upbeat and wonderful, life is one victory after another, aint it all great type of stuff.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I am not advocating that everything be the exact opposite.

However, sometimes we are living on the other side, aren’t we?  Life is hard, you’ve lost a loved one, a job, your kids are making horrible choices, the doctor just gave you the bad news, your worried about the future, your __________________  (fill in the blank).  Sometimes, as we gather with other believers, we are not feeling upbeat, wonderful or victorious.  Those type of songs, don’t always help pull us out of that.

That is why I like this weeks song, “As Long As You Are Glorified”, by Mark Altrogge.  It reminds us that God is control of all things, and that no matter what I am going through in my life,  Read the rest of this entry

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

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

Christ-Centered Worship Songs: “Through the Precious Blood”


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 “Throught the Precious Blood” is a medium tempo song in 6/8 time.    Read the rest of this entry

Christ-Centered Worship Songs: Leading Worship at a Funeral


It was the most difficult “worship” service I have ever had the honor of planning or leading.   On a cold January morning,  the pastor called me into his office.  One of the young  ladies in our congregation had died in a horrible car crash.  She was only 20.   “Jim,” the pastor said, “we’ve been asked to lead worship for her service.   I am putting you in charge.”   Nicole had been “The Girl of The West” which was a very big deal out here in Colorado.  Because of this, her memorial service had to be moved to a much larger facility.  We expected over 500 people to attend.   I was overwhelmed by the assignment!

Leading worship at a funeral for a genuine believer is no small task.   Yes, we gather to celebrate their life, but the emotion present in those gathered is not celebratory.  It is grief, gut wrenching heartache, over the loss of someone they love. Few people feel like singing.   In addition, many who attend the service will not know the Savior.   If you are asked to lead worship in this situation, you will need songs that help people express their pain and their hope in the resurrection.  You will also need songs that call unbelievers attention to the Savior.

I don’t remember the songs we chose for Nicole’s service.   I do recall there were several drafts, and that I was not completely happy with our final choices.   I wish I had known about Read the rest of this entry

Cross-Centered Worship Songs: “The Father’s Love”


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 Father’s Love” is an up-tempo, guitar driven song written by Joel Sczebel.   A Gospel saturated song that calls us to rejoice in what God accomplished at Calvary. 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

Bob Kauflin: What it Takes to be a Worship Leader


If there was one gift I could give to every person responsible for leading corporate worship, it would be Bob Kauflin’s book “Worship Matters:  Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God” It is a very readable book, and dives deeply into the subject. 

Much of what I have learned about leading worship over the years has come from trial, error and a LOT of study.  How I wish that someone would have given me this book 20 years ago!

For those of you not familiar with Bob Kauflin, 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 300 Year Old Christian Prayer: “Lord, Help Me Follow 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 ‘The Throne’,  along with many others, can be found in a book titled “The Valley of Vision”, by Arthur Bennett.  At the end of the prayer, I have also included a song called “Before The Throne of God Above”, written by   Charitie Bancroft in 1863.  The music was written by Steve and Vikki Cook just a few years ago.  I think it goes perfectly with this prayer. Read the rest of this entry

Cross-centered Worship Songs: “Jesus Died For Me”


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 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. 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

Cross-Centered Worship: “The Prodigal”


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… 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

What is Your Life Centered On?


C.J. Mahaney writes in his bookLiving The Cross-Centered Life:  Keeping the Gospel THE Main Thing”

“Each of our lives is centered on something. What’s at the center of yours?  Think about it for a moment.  What’s really the main thing in your life? Only one thing can truly be first in priority; so what’s at the top of your list, second to none? What are you most passionate about? What do you love to talk about? What do you think about most when your mind is free? 

 Or try this, what is it that defines you?  Is it your career?  A relationship?  Maybe it’s your family or your ministry?  It could be some cause or movement or some political affiliation.  Or perhaps your main thing is a hobby or talent you have or even your house and possessions… Read the rest of this entry