He also speaks through Scripture, Church, Friends

by CS Lewis

I don’t doubt the Spirit guides you from within, but He also speaks through Scripture, Church, Friends, etc

Charles Spurgeon: Jesus Christ Doesn’t Need a Worship Band to lead People to Himself

Another thought-provoking article by Not for Itching Ears blog

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:

“Our Savior did not use any means which might enlist man’s lower nature on his side. When I have heard of large congregations gathered together by the music of a fine choir, I have remembered that the same thing is done at the opera house and the music-hall, and I have felt no joy. When we have heard of crowds enchanted by the sublime music of the pealing organ, I have seen in the fact rather a glorification of St. Cecilia than of Jesus Christ. Our Lord trusted in no measure or degree to the charms of music for the establishing his throne. He has not given to his disciples the slightest intimation that they are to employ the attractions of the concert room to promote the kingdom of heaven.

I find no rubric in Scripture commanding Paul to clothe himself in robes of blue, scarlet, or violet; neither do I find Peter commanded to wear a surplice, an alb, or a chasuble. The Holy Spirit has not cared even to hint at a surpliced choir, or at banners, processions, and processional hymns. Now, if our Lord had arranged a religion of fine shows, and pompous ceremonies, and gorgeous architecture, and enchanting, music, and bewitching incense, and the like, we could have comprehended its growth; but he is “a root out of a dry ground”, for he owes nothing to any of these.

Christianity has been infinitely hindered by the musical, the aesthetic, and the ceremonial devices of men, but it has never been advantaged by them, no, not a jot. The sensuous delights of sound and sight have always been enlisted on the side of error, but Christ has employed nobler and more spiritual agencies. Things which fascinate the senses are left to be the chosen instruments of Antichrist, but the gospel, disdaining Saul’s armor, goes forth in the natural simplicity of its own might, like David, with sling and stone. Our holy religion owes nothing whatever to any carnal means; so far as they are concerned, it is “a root out of a dry ground”.”

Excerpt from: A Root Out of Dry Ground By Charles Spurgeon

Another Christ-Centered Worship Song: “Perfect Lamb of God”

This hymn was from Not for Itching Ears Blog. Go there, read more and listen to it.


Hail the perfect Lamb of God
A kingly ransom paid
When You, my Lord, were slain
Love unrivaled here displayed
Calls my heart to praise
The perfect Lamb of God

The light of day was cloaked by night
And heaven closed its eyes
Wrath unspared for countless sins
The guiltless crucified
Hands of kindness driven through
Back on splintered beam
The holy curtain torn in two
Atonement made for me

Insults mock the Son of God
The angels are restrained
But all the cup must be endured
For sinners to be saved
Can grace prevail in such a day
Of scandal and of scorn?
But with a cry “Forgive” You claim
Traitors as Your own

As You drew Your final breath
My debt was satisfied
And love divine in glorious might
Would vanquish death and rise


An example of “church speak”

“We’re not all called to be missionaries.”

“I like my comfortable life, so don’t ask me to make any changes.”

How long does it take to read the Bible out loud?

69 hours.  And to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Version, the Globe Theatre in London–an authentic recreation of Shakespeare’s playhouse–will read it straight through.

Shakespeares Globe Theatre in London has entitled its 2011 season “The Word is God” and will mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible with a cover-to-cover reading between Palm Sunday, 17 April, and Easter Monday, 25 April.

Twenty actors, including many Globe regulars, will take part in the reading, which will take 69 hours over the eight days. They will recite all 1,189 chapters of the historic bible, considered an essential part of the development of the English language, in the theater built as a replica of the place that saw many of Shakespeares greatest plays.

Four hundred years ago, a set of church scholars sat in Stationers Hall by St. Pauls Cathedral and put the finishing touches to the King James Bible. Across the river, a set of playwrights, Shakespeare foremost amongst them, entertained a town. The playwrights listened to the clerics in church, the clerics sneaked in to listen to the plays in the theatre. Between the two of them they generated an energy, a fire and wit in the English language. We will honour that achievement this summer, starting with the recital of one of the greatest and most significant English texts – the Bible,” Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole said in an interview.


Are you still amazed by God and the gospel?

by brianfulthorp at συνεσταύρωμαι: living the crucified life

Earlier today I came across a video on Yahoo of a kid doing some pretty amazing dance moves on a TV program in Norway – what struck me was not the video but a comment someone made about commenters on the video, which was something to the effect of “it can be hard to amaze people anymore…”  and I thought, isn’t that the truth?

It got me thinking about how all through the Gospels, in the ministry of Jesus, we see the people “amazed” at Jesus and his teaching, miracles, power, and the authority with which he went about his ministry and proclaiming the gospel.  For example:

Matthew 8:27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Mark 1:22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

Mark 2:12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Luke 5:26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

Luke 9:43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.  While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples…

John 7:21 Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed.

Now as to the authenticity of the people’s “amazement,” we’ll just leave that aside for the moment – and talk about “amazement.”  You will have to excuse me as I am not at a computer with Bibleworks and languages material but the last I checked… the word used in these verses for “amazed” has to do with the sense of jaw-dropping, mouth gaping wide open, eyes popping out of their heads. breathtaking amazement, maybe even a degree of disbelief (as in totally blown out of the water).  lol!

Maybe that is a little too exaggerated but I am guessing in the more “primitive” culture of the first century seeing the deaf hear, and the lame walk, and the blind see, and the dead raised – demons fleeing, the wind and the waves suddenly going calm, fish overwhelming nets, walking on water, feeding up to 10,000+ (?) folk on four loves and two fish…. teaching with authority and not uncertainty or doubt, etc…

would be pretty



would it not?  :-)

I mean, even today, would not, should not these things practically knock the wind out of us in utter and complete amazement??!!   Or have we become too dull anymore to be amazed at the demonstration of the supernatural power of God – even maybe a bit suspicious? Would we need proof?  A doctor’s note?  Documentation? Evidence that demands a verdict?

These kinds of things still happen you know.  The question is, are we still amazed by God and the gospel?

My guess is maybe some are but I am concerned that many have lost the ability to be amazed at God and the power of the gospel anymore.  I even wonder would I be amazed or would I be too dull to care?  or think, wow, that’s neat, and then move on with my own business in my own little world?

I realize there is a lot of fakery out there.  Jokesters and pranks.  Lots of falsehood and deception – and possibly situations that are more in the psyche than in the body and so on. “Demons” are really just psychological disorders and such…

But I wonder, if due to the fact that much of this stuff is seen as a joke anymore, have we run the risk of having stopped giving God the benefit of the doubt and maybe actually believe in his ability to work his supernatural power in and through the power of the Spirit?

Truly, it can be hard to amaze people anymore.

“He is a Talking God”

by DA Carson

The God of the Bible in the very first chapter is not some abstract “unmoved mover,” some spirit impossible to define, some ground of all beings, some mystical experience. He has personality and dares to disclose himself in words that human beings understand. Right through the whole Bible, that picture of God constantly recurs. However great or transcendent he is, he is a talking God.

~  The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story


A Prayer of Hope for Weary Servants of God

by Scoty Smith

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:15-17

Gracious Father, there are times when the “odds” feel quite stacked against us, as your people. With the naked eye, the enemies of justice, truth and the gospel seem to greatly outnumber your “troops.” Serving you is stressful, overwhelming, and at times it feels futile.

But just when we begin to retreat into a basement of fear, or question your concern and faithfulness, you open our eyes and show us the way things really are. We praise you for the gift of perspective. You haven’t and you will not abandoned us. Things are not as they appear. Because the gospel is true, “those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16).

But the way of the gospel will always be strength in weakness—the transforming treasure of the gospel in fragile jars of clay, like us. You sent 300 poorly armed soldiers with Gideon, not 34,000 fighting men, to defeat the entire Midianite army. You chose Jesse’s youngest son, David—a young shepherd, to be the king of Israel—a most unlikely candidate. Most profoundly, it was the crucifixion of Jesus, not an insurrection of zealots or the religion of Pharisees, which won our salvation.

Father, the “odds” are never really stacked against your covenant purposes and your transforming kingdom. You’re not “trying” to do anything. You never have to resort to plan B or hedge your bets. You are God, and there is no other god. Strengthen us, and your servants throughout the world, when we grow weary in preaching and applying the gospel; planting and maturing churches; and in doing justice and loving mercy. We will reap a harvest at the proper time, if we do not give up (Gal. 6:9).

You don’t need to show us herds of horses or chariots of fire, just show us more and more of the resurrected and reigning Jesus. Our labors in Him are often exhausting and discouraging, but they are never in vain (1 Cor. 15:58). So very Amen, we pray, in Jesus’ trustworthy and triumphant name.


Thinking about repentance

by 0CS Lewis

As long as he doesn’t convert it into action, it does not matter how much a man thinks about his repentance.

Resurrection: You ask me how I know he lives? He lives in me!

by Robert Stein:

[Another] witness to the resurrection is the existential experience of the risen Christ in the heart of the believer. As one familiar hymn states it, “You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.” To those who would minimize this argument and reject it as unscientific and subjective, the evangelical would point out that millions of Christians have for nearly two thousand years made this very claim. It is a simple fact that throughout the history of the church, the single most important witness to the resurrection of Jesus has been the witness of the risen Christ within the heart of the believer!

Raised With Christ,