Posts Tagged ‘A Mighty Fortress’

Well, life has been happening and I have fallen behind on my posts, so a little catch-up is in order. The past two weekends have been some of my favorites here at Fellowship. We have been in the midst of a series titled “Faith” and it has been both encouraging and challenging for our church. On 11/02 -11/03, our lead pastor, Joe, shared how we have been redeemed by the finished work of Christ. This past weekend, 11/09 – 11/10, our Adult Discipleship Pastor, David Hinkle, shared about how God has set us apart for His glory and His working here on the earth. Both of these messages were powerful declarations of the gospel, and it really showed as the church sang in response. You can listen to or watch the entire messages and services here.

Here’s our service plan from 11/02 – 11/03:

Pre-Service – “Song of the Redeemed” (Em) [Charlie Hall, Kendall Combes, Quint Anderson, Brian Bergman, Dustin Ragland] 
Welcome
“Sing to the King” (E) [Billy Foote, Charles Silvester Horne]
Greeting Time
Announcements
Message – “Faith: Redeemed” [Joe Hishmeh]
Communion Intro
“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” (D) [John Newton, Edwin O. Excell, John P. Rees, Chris Tomlin, Louie Giglio]
Taking of the Elements
“You Have Overcome” (A) [Bill Horn, Erik Oldberg]
“This Is Amazing Grace” (A) [Phil Wickham, Jeremy Riddle, Josh Farro]
Dismissal

Thoughts: This weekend was one of my favorite services of which I have ever been a part. Our team did a fantastic job leading across the board. Kelsey Thomsen rejoined the team to co-lead this weekend after a long break for school in Wichita, and she did a great job in her return. I am so excited to see how everyone stepped up and called our congregation to worship Jesus. The highlights for me were “Song of the Redeemed,” “Sing to the King,” and “You Have Overcome.” It was an amazing weekend!


Here’s our service plan from this past weekend, 11/09 – 11/10:

Welcome
“Holy Is The Lord” (E) [Chris Tomlin, Louie Giglio] 
“Before The Throne” (A) [Charitie Lees Bancroft, The Modern Post]
Greeting Time
Announcements
Message – “Faith: Set Apart” [David Hinkle]
“A Mighty Fortress” (Bb) [Christy Nockels, Nathan Nockels]
“Jesus Paid It All” (Bb) [John T. Grape, Elvina M. Hall, w/ additional chorus by Alex Nifong]
“Rejoice” (Bb) [Dustin Kensrue, Stuart Townend]
Dismissal

Thoughts: This weekend was another great weekend of worship. Again, our team did a great job leading us in worship. Becky Tindell did a great job co-leading, especially in leading us on “A Mighty Fortress,” which is an awesome song coming largely from the book of Hebrews. It was a great fit with the message this weekend, along with “Jesus Paid It All.” Together, these two songs encapsulated the emphasis of David’s powerful message: we are set apart to holiness for God’s glory, yet our righteousness before God is only in the finished work of Jesus on our behalf. The highlights for me were “Before the Throne,” “Jesus Paid It All,” and “Rejoice,” which is one of my favorite new songs. If you haven’t heard it yet, give it a listen. The lyric is powerful and moving. In all, it was a beautiful weekend.

So, I leave you with this: what were your experiences, observations, or take-aways from these past two weekends?

– Bill

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This was our sixth and final weekend walking through 1 John together in our “Love In Christ” series. Joe Hishmeh preached about assurance and confidence from 1 John, focusing on the rest and security we have because of what Christ has done. It was a powerful reminder of where we stand with God, and how that changes the way that we live. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

For our singing this week, we focused primarily on songs that emphasized our security and sure hope in Christ. We have nothing to fear, because what Christ has accomplished for us is enough.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

“Sing to the King” (E) [Charles S. Horne, Billy Foote]
Welcome/Greeting Time
Call to Worship

“He Has Done It All” (G) [Andy Cherry, Jason Ingram]
“Forever Reign” (Ab) [Reuben Morgan, Jason Ingram]
“A Mighty Fortress” (C) [Christy Nockels]

Message – “Love In Christ: Assurance” [Joe Hishmeh]
Communion
“Your Great Name” (Bb) [Michael Neale]
Offering/Announcements/Dismissal

“Sing to The King” – We opened our services with this song, which is a favorite for our congregation. Sarah led us on this one, and she always does a great job. I love the lyric and the power of this song, singing of the victory and hope we have in Christ. Jesus wins. End of story.

“He Has Done It All” – We continued teaching this song this week. It fit really well with the focus of the message, as well as the entire message of 1 John, which is why I wanted to introduce it at this time. I think our congregation is starting to get the hang of this one, and I think we’ll be singing it together again in the near future.

“Forever Reign” – This remains a favorite for our church, and Sarah did an awesome job leading us on this one as well. I love how it points out many of the amazing characteristics of our great God. His character is the foundation for our hope in Him. It is because He is true and unchanging that we can trust His promises.

“A Mighty Fortress” – I love this song. Sarah led on this one as well. It is another great reminder of the perfect character of our God. He is faithful, constant, true, and unfailing. And we will be with Him forever. Amen.

“Your Great Name” – We responded to the message with this song during communion. This is a fairly simple song that just exalts the name of Jesus for who He is and what He has done. I love this song, and so does our congregation. It was a sweet moment during communion. Stacy Kreuger did a great job helping lead this song, as well.

This weekend was an acoustic weekend, and I love it when we are able to do this. We had a few technical or musical issues, but for the most part everything came together pretty well. For me, acoustic weekends always renew my focus and brings me back to my beginnings as a worshipper. The youth group where I became a believer and began leading worship eventually was only acoustic guitar(s) and singing, and it was always an intense time of engaging with the Lord. When we strip the music down to the bare bones, sometimes it helps us to focus on the main thing: Jesus.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were!

In the Son,
Bill

p.s. don’t forget to check out The Worship Community!

This weekend, we continued our Advent series with a message entitled, “God With Us.” He made comparisons between life with Christ and what life would be without Christ, and it was really powerful to see the two lists side-by-side. You can listen to the entire message here. We continued to try something different with our service order to change things up, and we moved the message up a few minutes earlier in the service to have two songs in response to the message, rather than our typical one song in that position. All of us on our worship planning team believes that these kinds of changes help us and our congregation to engage and to not be passive in worship.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

Time of Preparation/Prayer
“Lord I Need You” (B) [Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockels, Matt Maher, Daniel Carson]
Welcome/Greeting Time
“Joy To The World” (C) [Isaac Watts]
“Joyful (The One Who Saves)” (C) [Brenton Brown, Jason Ingram, Henry van Dyke, Ludwig van Beethoven]
“A Mighty Fortress” [Christy Nockels, Nathan Nockels]
Message – “God With Us” [Joe Hishmeh]
Offering/Announcements
“Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground)” (Bb) [Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash]
“You Never Let Go” (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman]
Dismissal

“Lord I Need You” – We sang this song in our preparation time. This is the second time we have sung this song, and I think it will become a staple for our church. I think it resonates with each of us. It communicates a timeless truth in a fresh way, and helps us express our dependence on the Lord for everything. I’m a big fan of this song.

“Joy To The World” – We sang this oldie but goodie to kick off our services. My arrangement of it is kind pop/punk-ish, so it is fun to play and sing together. The melody is unchanged, so everyone can sing along easily. This song just makes people smile. The content of it is solid, and really declares some of what Christ’s first coming accomplished in this world. He changed everything with His coming.

“Joyful (The One Who Saves)” – We continued teaching this song to our congregation this week. I decided to drop this song a full step to the key of C this week, to make it a little easier for our congregation to sing, especially on Sunday morning at the early service. I think it was much easier for all of us to sing. Becky and I traded off verses on this one, and I think this is something we will continue to do, because I think it helps draw both the ladies and the men into what we are singing together. I really like this song, and I like how it fits into the Advent season.

“A Mighty Fortress” – Becky led us on this song, and it is one of my favorite declarations about the assurance and refuge we have in God. He is faithful, trustworthy, and true, and we can confidently place our lives in His hands. Our church sings this song well, even after only a few occurrences in our services. Part of the emphasis I was going for here was to point to the trustworthiness and love of God for us, and when He is called “God with us,” we can walk with Him in faith, because He will never fail, and His purposes are not thwarted.

“Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground)” – We began our response song with this song, which was new to me this week. I really like the message of the verses, which speak to the time of waiting and anticipation before the Messiah arrived. I also enjoy the chorus as a whole, which simply and beautifully sings of the first coming of Jesus: “Emmanuel, Emmanuel/ God incarnate, here to dwell/ Emmanuel, Emmanuel/ Praise His name, Emmanuel.” There are a few parts of this song that are a little tricky for one reason or another, so I had to work pretty hard to try and get it right, but I’m glad we sang it together this weekend.

“You Never Let Go” – We closed out our services with this song, which remains one of my favorites. Part of the imagery Joe used in the message was the dominant scriptural image of the Good Shepherd. This song pulls ideas from one of the most prominent pictures of the Shepherd contained in Psalm 23, and I think it helped to tie everything together really well. I love this song’s statements of trust and faith in God, regardless of our circumstances. Jesus is worthy of our trust and faith. He will never fail, and He will never let us go.

This was a unique and refreshing weekend of worshiping our Savior together. Our team did a great job as always. I love celebrating Advent with the Church. It’s a beautiful thing.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were.

In the Son,

Bill

p.s. don’t forget to check out The Worship Community!

This weekend, we focused on John 6:60-71, examining the different responses to Jesus when He doesn’t do what we want Him to do, and when we don’t understand what He is doing. We can either walk away (which many did), we can war against Him (like the Pharisees), or we can cling to Him (like Peter and the disciples) as our only hope. Their response of trust was basically this: “Where else could we go? To whom could we turn?” Is this our response when we don’t understand what is happening in our lives? Do we respond with this kind of worship? You can listen to the entire message here.

Focusing on this passage, we sang songs that exalted the Lord as sovereign and powerful, and songs that called us as the church to trust Him more because He is faithful and true. He is constant, and His grace toward us is unchanging because it is not based on us at all. It is based on His character and goodness. He is good, and has purchased us as His own through His blood at the cross. He has adopted us as sons and daughters, and now regards us as co-heirs together with Christ. He sees us as He sees Christ, because of Christ–justified and righteous. Because of this we have nothing to fear, because we will be with Him forever, and this life will be a “blip” on the radar of our lives in the grand scheme of things. We read from 2 Timothy 2:13 during our time of singing: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful–for He cannot deny Himself.” We are a part of Him because of what Christ has done for us, and He will not, and cannot, forsake us.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

Time of Preparation/Prayer
“Captivate Us” (Ab) [Charlie Hall, Christy Nockels, Nathan Nockels]
Welcome/Greeting Time
“You Are” (Ab) [Todd Fields]
“Forever Reign” (Ab) [Jason Ingram, Reuben Morgan]
“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” (Db) [Edwin O. Excel, Louie Giglio, John Newton, John P. Rees, Chris Tomlin]
Prayer
Message – John 6:60-71 [Joe Hishmeh]
Communion
Communion Song – “Rock of Ages” (Bb) [Thomas Hastings, Augustus Montague Toplady]
Offering/Announcements
Response Time
“A Mighty Fortress” (C) [Christy Nockels, Nathan Nockels]
Dismissal

“Captivate Us” – We sang this song for our time of preparation. We had sung it last week for Overflow, which is our quarterly night of worship, and it was the first time I had heard the song. I love it. It took a little bit to figure out the finger-style acoustic part, because it has some interesting chords in the arrangement, but it is beautiful. Sarah Oldberg led this song, and I think it was perfect for our time of preparation.

“You Are” – This song by Todd Fields appeared on the first North Point Live album. We began teaching this song last weekend, and we continued with it this week. In it, we are given words to declare that Jesus is God. As I wrote last week on the blog, there are not many songs that come right out and say that Jesus is God, yet this is an important part of our Christology (study of Christ) and our overall doctrine as Christians. Jesus is equal with God, and He is God, as the beginning of the Gospel of John tells us. We need more songs that declare this truth plainly. I think our congregation connected more with it this week.

“Forever Reign” – This is one of the staples of our worship song vocabulary, and rightfully so. It is a firm declaration of the character of God, and points to many of His attributes, all contrasted with our weaknesses. It exalts God in a powerful way, along with our desperate need for Him. This song aligned really well to Joe’s message, declaring, “My heart will sing/ No other name/ Jesus, Jesus.” He is the one with the words of eternal life. He is the only one to whom we can turn.

“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” – Part of what I enjoy about this song is that Tomlin used the original third and fourth verses of the hymn that Newton wrote. There is a common theme throughout the original verses of security and trust in God, because of His grace, and that is why we sang this song this weekend. We need to remind one another of this truth. His grace was unearned and undeserved from the beginning. It is only because of God’s character that He has grace for us, and He continues to have grace for us because of who He is and what He has done. He redeemed us through the cross, where Jesus died in our place. He was our substitute, and He continues to be that for us. He is the reason for our security and promise of an eternity with God. We have nothing to ultimately fear because our eternity has been secured by God Himself.

“Rock of Ages” – We sang this song for our time of communion/Lord’s Supper. I love this hymn, especially the arrangement by Ascend the Hill. The lyric communicates a powerful desperation for the saving work of Christ, and recognizes our own powerlessness to save ourselves. We need Him, and we are hopeless apart from Christ. “Rock of Ages” says this beautifully.

“A Mighty Fortress” – We responded to the Word with this song. Again, we were emphasizing the eternal, unchanging character of God. Because of who He is–faithful and true, unchanging and constant, powerful and mighty, righteous and good–we can turn to Him as our mighty fortress and refuge. He is the only one who can hold this place in our lives, because there is no one else like Him. I love the way this song declares these truths about our Lord. It inspires confidence and hope in me. Sarah did a great job leading this song this weekend.

This was another great weekend of worshiping our Savior together. I felt like we were all called and encouraged to trust Him more, and to have more confidence in who He is, even when we have NO idea what He is doing (which may be often). I know I was built up this weekend, and challenged to entrust Jesus with more of my life, and more of my “stuff.”

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were.

In the Son,

Bill

p.s. don’t forget to check out The Worship Community!

This weekend, we focused on the topic of contentment from Philippians 4:10-13. In this passage, Paul writes that in every circumstance, he has learned to be content. He is able to do this through the strength that Christ gives. Joe emphasized from this passage that our expectations for increase and improved life status (in the west, anyway) makes it easy for us to be discontent with our lives. Our idea of “normal” is faulty. Our idea of normal needs to change, and we need to trust Christ in any and every circumstance in our lives. This subject is something we all need to hear on a regular basis, because it is easy to be drawn away into discontentment and distrust. Our songs for the weekend focused on trust, peace, and contentment, as well as the power and sufficiency of Christ. He is worthy of our lives and our worship, no matter the circumstances.

Here’s our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service – “Those Who Trust” (Em) [Don Chaffer]
Call to Continue Worship – Psalm 95:1-3
“Let Me Sing” (Bb) [Todd Fields]
Welcome/Offering/Announcements/Greeting Time
“It Is Well” (Bb) [Horatio G. Spafford, Todd Fields]
“You Never Let Go” (Bb) [Matt Redman]
“A Mighty Fortress” (C) [Christy Nockels]
Prayer
Message – “An Appraisal of Contentment” [Joe Hishmeh]
Response – “Desert Song” (D) [Brooke Fraser]
Dismissal

“Those Who Trust” – Taken from Psalm 125, This is a favorite of our congregation, because it celebrates the firm foundation we have in Christ in a very distinct way. It’s a lot of fun for our team and our congregation. Our discipleship, David Hinkle, played his trumpet on this one, and he is always a great addition to the team!

“Let Me Sing” – This was our third consecutive week teaching this song, and I loved using it at the top of the service, after the call to worship this week. It was fitting, coming after reading Psalm 95:1-3 together, which repeats the phrase, “Let us…” followed by several commands of worship. I love the message of this song, as it communicates the “why” of worship – we respond in worship and thanksgiving because God is who He is, and because He has done what He has – He has redeemed us!

“It Is Well” – This song, which we have used a few times over this series, was too good a fit for this weekend’s message for us not to include it. I think it really echoes the truth of Philippians 4:10-13 in a strong way, and helps us to connect the truth to our hearts and minds. It gives us an simple way to respond to these truths through singing our commitment and trust to God.

“You Never Let Go” – This was another song that we have been teaching during this series, and it was another great fit for the message this week. These two songs have made me see more clearly how certain songs are great fits for a series of messages, and not just a single message. On both of these, it is apparent that much of our congregation knows them, and hardly needs to look to the screens for guidance. It’s a beautiful thing.

“A Mighty Fortress” – We haven’t done this song in a while at Fellowship (I think the last time was during the interview process), but it is one of my favorites. It is probably my favorite song off of Christy Nockels’ solo album. Sarah Oldberg led this song, and she did an awesome job pointing to Christ through it. I had really enjoyed singing harmony with her. I love how they arranged the song because it has some great builds and accents that help focus us on the lyric, which powerfully points to the Lord as God and King, along with many other attributes of His. This is a song that the church needs to sing, much like “Lord of All” and a few others.

“Desert Song” – We responded to the message with this song, because it really sums up and describes what it is to praise God through any and all circumstances. Sarah led this song as well. This song has a very unique feel to it, especially for Hillsong – it almost feels Celtic in a way. At any rate, it was a very appropriate response to the Word, and I think we all walked away from this week challenged by the truth.

It was a good weekend. The team did a great job leading, and participation from the congregation was solid. I believe the focus of the weekend remained constantly on Christ, His gospel, who He is, and what He has done.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship, and that Christ was lifted high! Check out The Worship Community to see what other leaders and worshipers experienced in their congregations this weekend.

In the Son,

Bill