Posts Tagged ‘All to Us’

This weekend, Joe preached about increasing our ministry in and to our families. At the end of the day, this is our primary responsibility as believers in Jesus Christ. We need to be building our families around the gospel of Christ, and that truth ought to permeate all of our family relationships. The message was out of Deuteronomy 6, where Moses is telling the people of God to dwell on the truth of how God redeemed them, and to recount it to their children and their children’s children at every opportunity, from morning until night. I was really challenged to be a better husband and father, and a more faithful spiritual leader in my home. It was a little tricky to find solid songs that have a specifically “family” angle to them, but we focused on the holiness of God and how He redeemed us, and therefore our proper response is obedience and trust, spending our lives to further His kingdom and to give Him the glory He deserves.

Here’s our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service – “Everlasting God” (Bb) [Brenton Brown, Ken Riley]
Welcome/Greeting Time
Call To Worship – Rev. 15:3-4
“Holy Is The Lord” (G) [Chris Tomlin]
“Cannons” (G) [Phil Wickham]
“Our God” (G) [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves]
“Because of Your Love” (G) [Phil Wickham]
Message – “Upgrade: Family” [Joe Hishmeh]
Response – “All To Us” (Bb) [Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Matt Redman, Matt Maher]

“Everlasting God” – We opened in our pre-service time with this song. Not much needs to be said about the song itself. It is one our staples here, and our people connect well with it. We used this song because it emphasizes God’s eternality, and sheds light on the fact that He is very different from us, and worthy of our worship. Also, He uses His great power to hold us up and strengthen us to accomplish His purposes on this earth.

“Holy Is The Lord” – This is a simple, straightforward song about the holiness and glory of God. We sang this song because the passage Joe preached from in Deuteronomy 6 speaks of God’s holiness as a motivator for our obedience and dedication to Him and His purposes. He is worth following.

“Cannons” – This is a song that I haven’t sang in over 8 months. I love this song and its message. Even transposed down a full step to the key of G, it is still on the high side, hitting an E in the melody on the bridge. Tuning it down more would really change the way we play it (especially on guitar), but I may consider doing that, because this song is worth singing. I prefaced this song by mentioning a quote from A.W. Tozer, who says in The Knowledge Of The Holy, “God is as far above an archangel as He is above a caterpillar.” The archangel and the caterpillar actually have more in common in that they are both created things and both distinctly “not-God.” It is from the chapter on God’s Transcendence, and it really opened my eyes more to how “other” God really is. He is much different from us, and there is really no comparison. This idea was really fitting for all that we sang this week, but this song in particular tied in: “You are holy/ Great and mighty/ The moon and the stars/ Declare who You are/ I’m so unworthy/ But still You love me/ Forever my heart/ Will sing of how great You are.” This chorus points out that we are unworthy to stand in His presence, much less be heirs together with Christ. However, God has loved us and made a way for us where there was no way.

“Our God” – We sang this song because it speaks of God’s “other-ness,” when it sings, “There’s no one like You/ None like You.” It speaks of God’s greatness and power, and again points us to His surpassing worth. Because of who He is, the only appropriate response is to follow Him completely, loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

“Because of Your Love” – This song brings the rest of the songs into greater focus, as we sing about how this same God who is above any other is the one who laid down His life to redeem us. It makes the reality of the gospel even more astonishing, in my mind, to think that the one who gave Himself up for us is the one who shaped the universe and the galaxies. This song is a song of dedication, and points us to obedience as we sing together, “Lord, You gave Your life for me/ So I will live my life for You/ All because of Your love.” His giving prompts us to give our lives to Him in obedience. We used this song to tie the message and the rest of the songs together, in that the reason we obey and sacrifice and make disciples is that God gave first.

“All To Us” – This song speaks of Jesus as our “precious cornerstone” and “sure foundation,” and we felt that this was a fitting way to respond to Joe’s message this weekend. We need to build our homes and our lives on the only sure foundation, Jesus Christ.

It was a good weekend of worship. I am so thankful for our community and what God is calling us to do here. The team did a fantastic job in each of the services, and I felt that God’s people were engaging Him in worship the entire weekend. I was happy (and surprised) that I was able to finish all the services without any major vocal issues, despite being sick as a dog the whole weekend. I’m beat now, though, and I’m going to go take a nap or something!

I hope you had a good weekend of worship. Check out The Worship Community’s Sunday Setlists to see what other leaders and worshipers experienced this week in their communities. Have a great week!

In the Son,

Bill

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Here’s our set from this weekend:

“God Is Alive” (A) [Steve Fee and Eddie Kirkland]
Call to Worship – Psalm 96:1-4, 10a
“Say, Say” (A) [Kristian Stanfill, Chris Tomlin, and Christy Nockels]
Welcome/Offering/Announcements/Greeting
“Everlasting God” (Bb) [Brenton Brown and Ken Riley]
“It Is Well” (Bb) [Todd Fields, Philip Paul Bliss, and Horatio G. Spafford]
“Stronger” (Bb) [Ben Fielding and Reuben Morgan]
Message – “I Believe: Questions & Answers” [Joe Hishmeh]
Response – “All To Us” [Matt Maher, Matt Redman, Jesse Reeves, and Chris Tomlin]

This week we introduced Steve Fee and Eddie Kirkland’s “God Is Alive” to our congregation. We began teaching it today in preparation for Easter. I cannot think of a more fitting lyric for celebrating Christ’s victory over sin and death through His death and resurrection. I think it is one of the best modern songs that have been written for Easter. The solid lyric and high energy of the song  are a perfect fit for celebrating Jesus’ resurrection:

“God Is Alive”

Verse 1
Let the darkness flee
It’s got no power over me
I have been set free
God is alive

Verse 2
Death where is your sting?
Sin had got no hold on me
I am free indeed
God is alive

Pre-Chorus
We’ve been redeemed
So rise and sing

Chorus
Everyone, glorify the risen Son
The Holy One has overcome
Jesus is alive
The enemy is broken underneath His feet
Death is crushed in victory
Jesus is alive, Jesus is alive

Verse 3
Let us wake and rise
Lift your voices, lift your eyes
We’re gonna shout, we’re gonna shake the skies
God is alive

Bridge
The empty grave is singing now
It’s shouting out
He is alive, He is alive
And we are free

We also brought back “Say Say” for the closing message of our “I Believe” series. It is a fitting declaration for this series, as it sings in the chorus: “Say, say, say you believe it/ Sing for the whole world to hear it/ We know and we declare it/ Jesus is King/ Say, say, say you believe it/ Sing loud, sing like you mean it/ We know and we declare it/ Jesus is King.” After doing this series for ten weeks, this is where we must land. After all we have seen and heard about the greatness of God, the proper response is to go out a proclaim the truth and greatness of the name of Jesus and His gospel to the world. We need to know what we believe to be able to communicate that message clearly to others.

This week, we also introduced our new pastor of ministries, J.D. Holt. He just finished making the 2100-mile trip from Bellingham, WA to Topeka to begin working with us. I am excited about having him on our team, and about the leadership and experience he will bring to managing our staff team. He’s a great guy, and I really look forward to getting to know him and his wife, Christy. I was nervous as we were searching for the man to fill this role, as my experience has shown it to be crucial to the personality of the staff team. I believe our prayers have been answered in J.D., and we are very grateful!

After the welcome time, we started the second set of music with “Everlasting God.” From Isaiah 40, this song paints a powerful picture of God and His attributes. As we sing the chorus, “You are the everlasting God/ The everlasting God/ You do not faint, You won’t grow weary/ You’re the defender of the weak/ You comfort those in need/ You lift us up on wings like eagles,” I cannot help but see not only a description of God’s greatness, but a call to God’s people to be like their heavenly Father. As I sing, I feel challenged to defend the weak and comfort those in need as I am strengthened by the Lord. This song is a favorite of our congregation, and I don’t mind at all – this is a solid song from the Scriptures that speaks of the unchanging, everlasting greatness of our God.

We followed this song with Todd Field’s hymn rewrite, “It Is Well.” I have said it before, but I’ll say it again: this is one of my favorite hymn rewrites. It preserves the original verses intact, with a very cool acoustic arrangement underneath, has a very fitting new chorus, and it even includes the original hymn’s refrain at the end. I love how it ties the old and the new in a fresh way. It always brings us to worship as we celebrate God’s faithfulness.

We finished this set with “Stronger,” by Reuben Morgan and Ben Fielding. We’re dusting this one off for Easter, because it is a clear anthem about God’s great power to save and conquer sin and death. This was the first time I have led this song with a band. It was one that I began teaching in one venue where I was previously, but I never had the opportunity to bring it into our main services because I ran out of time. I love the chorus: “You are stronger/ You are stronger/ Sin is broken/ You have saved me/ It is written/ Christ is risen/ Jesus, You are Lord of all.” The use of the word “stronger” is refreshing, because it takes the common “mighty” or “powerful” ideas and uses our current language to express it. This song reminds me to write in such a way that captures the truth of the Scripture in vibrant, current language that our congregations can take hold of and sing from their hearts. It is easier for the “average Joe” to connect with words we normally use than it is to connect with erudite language. This song does that well.

We finished the services with “All To Us,” which also effectively connects with the sum of this “I Believe” message series. I struggled with using this song in the beginning, because when the phrase “all to us” is taken at face value, it could be easily misunderstood to mean something like, “God exists for our sakes.” However, its meaning is more along the lines of, “God is everything to us.” He is our sufficiency and our strength, our foundation and our confidence. May this truly be our declaration, that God is our everything. He is the only one that we need. He is the only one on whom our hope should be built.

It was a great weekend of worship. Zach Pruett stepped up and played bass for the first time in our weekend services, and he did a great job, after only playing bass for five months! Bob Fulmer did a great job adjusting to the click track for the first time ever. His attitude was admirable in saying, “It will make me a better player.” I hope for each of us that difficulties and challenges are seen as opportunities to better ourselves and to better serve our church and the kingdom of God with our abilities. The rest of the team did a great job, as usual, and it was a great joy to lead with them again. Our tech team is so faithful to do a great job each week, and they make it easy for each of us to do our part. I feel that each week we are strengthening and improving, and there are great things on the horizon for this worship and arts ministry. Also, the Aviom system continues to be an asset to give us more time to rehearse and prepare for the weekend, and that has been very apparent in the way we play.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were. Please visit The Worship Community to check out their Sunday Set Lists to see what other leaders and team members did this weekend in their contexts. Leave your comments below and join the conversation about our worship ministry and the songs we sing together.

In the Son,

Bill

Here’s our set from my first weekend on staff with Fellowship Bible Church in Topeka, KS:

Pre-Service – “Kingdom” [Kristian Stanfill]
Call to Worship
“Our God” [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin]
Welcome/Offering/Announcements
“Glory to God Forever” [Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching]
“How Great is Our God” [Chris Tomlin]
“How Great Thou Art” (chorus only)
“Lord of All” [Kristian Stanfill]
Message – Pastor Joe Hishmeh
“All to Us” [Chris Tomlin]

This weekend went really well for us. It has been a very crazy week for  my family and for me, as we made the 1300 mile move from Lakeland, FL to Topeka, KS from Monday night through Wednesday, and got here right in the middle of a bunch of snow! Talk about change! God is faithful, and He has seen us through it all. He moved during all four of the weekend services, and He spoke to each of us powerfully through the word that Joe shared about being a missional community and loving the people of this world with the love of Christ. I know I was challenged and called to be godly versus just being normal. I think the chorus of “Kingdom” says it well: “We are the kingdom of God/ We are an army of love/ We carry truth to the world/ We are the kingdom of God.”

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

Bill

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