Posts Tagged ‘Always’

This weekend we continued in the fifth week of our series, “Obedience,” and Joe shared about the life of Elijah and how he stood with the Lord to confront evil in his lifetime. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

Here’s our service plan:

Pre-Service – “Suffering Servant” (A – B) [Dustin Kensrue]
“Sing to the King” (D) [Billy Foote, Charles Silvester Horne]
Greeting Time
Child Dedications (at 5 PM & 9:15 AM services)
Announcements
Message – “Obedience: Confrontation” [Joe Hishmeh]
“Always” (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill, Jason Ingram]
“Hosanna” (Eb) [Brooke Ligertwood]
“This Is Amazing Grace” (Bb) [Phil Wickham, Josh Farro, Jeremy Riddle]
Dismissal

Thoughts: This was a powerful weekend. Once again, Joe’s message was a powerful challenge to follow Christ with all of our lives, and to confront the evil in our world and lives with the power of the gospel. We started out our weekend in the pre-service time with Dustin Kensrue’s “Suffering Servant,” which is a fantastic song from his new record, coming almost directly from Isaiah 52 & 53. This song has brought me to tears several times over the past month, as I have been overwhelmed with the amazing sacrifice that Jesus made for our redemption. It is powerful in both its words and in its music. There are quite a few words to the song, so it may remain a song for special occasions, but I would love to sing it more often. We continued into the service with Becky leading us in “Sing to the King,” which gives us great words by which to celebrate Christ’s victory, and which is one of our church’s favorites. In response to the message, we expressed our confidence and trust in the Lord through singing “Always.” We hadn’t sung this song in quite a while, and it was great to sing it again, as it is a powerful statement of our faith. From there, Becky led us in singing “Hosanna,” and then we closed out the service with “This Is Amazing Grace.” This song has been one of my favorites lately, mainly for the chorus: “This is amazing grace/ This is unfailing love/ That You would take my place/ That You would bear my cross/ You would lay down Your life/ That I would be set free/ Jesus, I sing for/ All that You’ve done for me!”

THAT is why we sing. THAT is why we worship. Jesus has been so good to us.

Your turn: what were your experiences, observations, or take-aways from these past two weekends?

– Bill

For our tenth week of our 2 Corinthians series – “Purpose In Christ,” our family pastor, Brian Tryhus, preached through 2 Corinthians 11-12, and taught about how we as believers need to handle trials and difficulties in our lives. He challenged us to recognize our own weakness, and to find our strength in Christ alone. It was a powerful reminder to all of us. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

Pre-Service – “Beautiful” (C) [Phil Wickham]
Welcome/Call to Worship
“Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)” (G) [Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown]
Greeting Time
Child Dedications
Announcements/Trash Mountain Documentary Trailer

Message – “Purpose In Christ, pt. 10” [Brian Tryhus]
“It Is Well” (B) [Horatio G. Spafford, Todd Fields]
“Always” (B) [Kristian Stanfill, Jason Ingram]
“One Thing Remains” (B) [Christa Black, Brian Johnson, Jeremy Riddle]
Dismissal

Thoughts: This was a great Palm Weekend celebration. Our team did a great job! We also had two brand new team members: Matthew Gonzales on drums and Dawn Phoenix helping with background vocals. It was great to see them connecting with the team and finding their fit in ministry. I loved how everything connected in our services, and the songs we sang this weekend were some of my favorites. It had been a while for all of the final three songs, so it was refreshing to sing them together with our congregation once again. I am so grateful for what the Lord continues to do in our church. I’m am really pumped about Good Friday and Easter this week! It will be our best one yet!

– Bill

What were your thoughts or experiences from your worship gathering this weekend?

This week we began our series through 2 Corinthians– “Purpose In Christ.” Pastor Joe shared about purpose in our suffering, and how we can remained focused on Christ in the midst of trials. He encouraged us to live with hope in the resurrection, simplicity around the character of Jesus, and sincerity in our faith and trust in Him. It was a powerful challenge to not be sidetracked by suffering, but rather to use it as a platform for the glory of Christ and His gospel. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

Welcome
“Your Grace Is Enough” (G) [Matt Maher]
“Unchanging” (G) [Chris Tomlin]
Greeting Time/Announcements
Message – “Purpose In Christ – Suffering” [Joe Hishmeh]
“It Is Well” (Bb) [Horatio G. Spafford, Todd Fields]

“Always” (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill, Jason Ingram]
“You Never Let Go” (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman]
Dismissal
Baptisms

Thoughts: This was a great weekend. Saturday night’s services were some of the most powerful I have experienced since coming here to Topeka. Sunday morning was a little more of a struggle, which I think was partly due to the much colder weather in the morning. It was beautiful to sing “It Is Well,” “Always,” and “You Never Let Go” – great songs of trust and hope – in response to the Word of God and how it speaks to suffering. I am so grateful for my team, who did a fantastic job, and our church. I love them! It has been an incredible two years so far. I’m looking forward to many more.

What were your thoughts or experiences from your worship gathering this weekend?

This week our pastor, Joe Hishmeh, shared some biblical wisdom regarding dating relationships, as we continued our series called “Can You Relate?”. In his message, Joe emphasized the importance of seeking wisdom in our relationships and thinking of the big picture of the future rather than only thinking of the presence. It was great, practical wisdom, which is of benefit to all of us, whether we are already married or in dating relationships, because it gives us wise counsel that we can pass on to others. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

For our singing this week, we focused on the holiness and trustworthiness of God. We can trust Him with the people in our lives, as well as their (and our) relationships.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

“Holy Is The Lord” (Ab) [Chris Tomlin]
Welcome/Greeting Time
Call To Worship/Confession/Ps. 51:1-2 Reading
“You Alone Can Rescue” (Bb) [Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin]
“Cornerstone” (Bb) [Edward Mote, Jonas Myrin, Reuben Morgan, Eric Liljero, William B. Bradbury]

Communion
“Christ Is Risen” (Gb) [Matt Maher, Mia Fieldes]
Taking of the Elements
Reprise of “Christ Is Risen” (Gb)
Message – “Can You Relate? – Dating” [Joe Hishmeh]
“Always” (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill, Jason Ingram]
Offering/Announcements/Dismissal

“Holy Is The Lord” – We sang this song as a foundation for our services, in recognizing the holiness and glory of God. When we see God as He is–high and lifted up and greatly exalted–we see ourselves more clearly as those who are desperate for forgiveness and salvation. God’s holiness and perfection is the foundation for understanding our own sinfulness and our need for salvation. This is a song that we haven’t sung much since I have been here, but it is one that holds a special place in my faith journey, and it was great to hear the church singing together on it.

“You Alone Can Rescue” – After our time of confessing the idols in our lives (the things that we have put stock in for our hope, our peace, our trust, etc.), we read Psalm 51:1-2. Then, we sang this song, expressing our confidence in Christ alone for our life and salvation. He is the only one who can heal us, help us, restore us, rescue us, and give us life. His is the only name in which we can trust without fear.

“Cornerstone”  We have been teaching this song to our congregation over the past few weeks, and I think it is taking root here. As I have written before, I love the lyric of “On Christ The Solid Rock I Stand,” and how it expresses confidence and hope in the finished work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. I love singing this together with the Church.

“Christ Is Risen” – This was our communion song this week, and I thought it tied everything from this weekend together. It called us away from sin and toward Christ. It called us to trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross. It called us to hope in His resurrection from the dead. It reminded us of His victory over sin, death, and hell. It called us to life. We haven’t sung this since Easter, and it was good to sing it together again. I love this one.

“Always” – This is another that we haven’t sung in a while (April). I love how this song calls us to courage and confidence in Christ, recognizing that He alone is our hope and salvation. We can trust Him with our lives, with our broken relationships, with our conflicts, with our hurts, knowing that He can heal us and rescue us. This song says it so well. “I lift my eyes up/ My help comes from the Lord.”

This weekend was a solid weekend. We made a few changes mid-stream, which caused some interesting moments, but overall it was a great time of worshiping together. The team did a great job adapting and leading our congregation well. It seems like it has been a while since we’ve had a “regular” weekend of worship, and it was refreshing to get back to leading with the full team again. I loved how well all the songs connected this week. Glory to God for His direction.

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

What were your thoughts or experiences from this weekend in your church?

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

This weekend, we began a series called “Everything!” Joe is talking through the concepts of a generous life and stewardship with all that we have. It was a really fresh and challenging perspective on generosity, beginning this weekend with a focus on the true owner of the things in this world – God owns everything, and we are stewards of what He owns. You can listen to the entire message here. For our singing, I wanted our songs to remind us that we have nothing to fear when we are in Christ. Many times, the thing that keeps us from obedience and generosity is that fear. He is always with us, and we can trust Him with everything we have and everything we are. He is so good and faithful!

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

“All We Need” (G) [Charlie Hall]
Welcome/Greeting Time
“Everlasting God” (Bb) [Brenton Brown, Ken Riley]
“You Never Let Go” (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman]
“Always” (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill, Jason Ingram]
Message – “Everything: Where Your Treasure Is, Your Heart Will Be Also ” [Joe Hishmeh]

“I Surrender All” (D) [Judson Wheeler Van DeVenter, Winfield Scott Weeden]
Offering/Announcements
Dismissal

“All We Need” – We reintroduced this song to our congregation this weekend. It has been about three years since they had sung it, and it was a great fit for this message series, as it declares that our sufficiency is in Christ and nothing else.

“Everlasting God” – This song remains a staple for us. We sang this song because I wanted us as a congregation to remember that God is from everlasting to everlasting, and that He is our all-sufficient source of strength and hope. 

“You Never Let Go” – We haven’t sung this song for a few months, and I felt that this series was a good time to bring it back. I feel it helps us to remember and declare that God will never leave us or forsake us, because He is faithful and unchanging. Matt Redman has a great gift in writing songs in this vein that really resonate with the Church, and which express great faith and trust in the faithfulness of our great God [e.g. “Blessed Be Your Name,” “Never Once,” “10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord),” etc.].

“Always” – This is another song that we haven’t sung recently, which was also a good fit for the message this weekend. This song really focuses on how we need not fear because of God’s faithfulness and perfect timing. No matter what we face in this life, we will endure and God will see us through. He will be there with us through it all.

“I Surrender All” – We responded to our time in the Word with this song. I felt it was a great statement of faith for us to sing after being challenged to trust God and obey Him completely, even when we feel it is difficult. It is in those times that it truly feels like “surrender,” when we have to let go of things that we hold dear or things on which we feel dependent. That is exactly the type of thing that Joe pointed out in the Word this weekend. I tried playing it differently than I had before, in my favorite open tuning, DADGAD. I thought it turned out rather pretty (everything sounds good in DADGAD if one can find good chord voicings…). I will definitely use that again. I was inspired to take a look at some other hymns to try in this tuning, too. I’ll keep you posted.

This weekend was another solid and very enjoyable weekend of worship. We also had OVERFLOW on Sunday night, which is our night of worship. I may post the set list from that worship gathering as well, in case people are looking for the info.

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 11, looking specifically at Jesus’ raising Lazarus from the dead. Joe preached on the death of death, and how we can only find life, hope, and promise in Jesus Christ. he also talked about how we can look to Jesus’ response to Lazarus’ death to see how He feels about the consequences of sin in our lives. The hurt that we experience because of sin also hurts Jesus. He cares deeply for us, and hates what sin has done to us. You can listen to the entire message here.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

Time of Preparation/Prayer
“Hungry” (C) [Kathryn Scott]
Welcome/Greeting Time
Call to Worship (Psalm 117)
“All Because of Jesus” (A) [Steve Fee]
“I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)” (D) [Charles Hutchison Gabriel]
“Never Once” (A) [Matt Redman, Jason Ingram, Tim Wanstall]
“Always” (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill, Jason Ingram]

Prayer
Message – John 11:17-44 [Joe Hishmeh]
Response Time
“Christ Is Risen” (Gb) [Matt Maher, Mia Fieldes]
Offering/Announcements
Reprise of “Christ Is Risen”
Dismissal

“Hungry” – We opened our preparation time with this song. Becky Tindell led us as we sang of our hunger for the Lord and our dedication to Him. Jesus is the only one who can meet our needs and take care of us. He is the only one who has the words of eternal life, as Peter said in John 6:68. I felt that this was a great song for our preparation time, and helped to focus our hearts along the lines of Matthew 6:33, seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness.

“All Because of Jesus” – We sang this song because it celebrates the life that we have been given in Christ. It is only because of Him–His life, death, and resurrection–that we have life. Scripture says in Romans and Ephesians that we were “dead in our transgressions” and that we needed Christ to give us life. We were helpless to save ourselves, and were desperate for His salvation. Praise God for His provision, making a way for us where there was no way.

“I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)” – Becky led us on this song as well. We sang this song because it praises God for His great love for us, demonstrated through the cross, and experienced in us through the life that we have been given because of His great work on our behalf. This new life is both now and forever. In the Bible, the word that is often translated as “eternal” or “everlasting” means more than just length of time; it conveys a sense of quality as well. The life that we have in Christ continues to grow deeper and fuller from here to eternity as we know and experience our Savior and His love.

“Never Once” – We began teaching this song last week, and we continued with it this week. I love this song, and I can’t stop singing it. The chorus states an ageless truth in a fresh way when we sing, “Never once did we ever walk alone/ Never once did You leave us on our own/ You are faithful/ God, You are faithful.” Our congregation has really taken a hold of this song and is singing it well. For me, probably because of my experience in my journey with Christ thus far, songs that sing of God’s faithfulness really resonate with me. That is definitely the case with this song. I cannot get it out of my head, and I don’t mind at all! The only difficulty with this song (as with many of Matt Redman’s songs) is that the verses are pretty low and the chorus is pretty high. You have to “pick your poison,” so to speak, for your congregation to be able to sing together on the chorus.

“Always” – This remains one of my favorite new worship songs. We flowed directly into this song from “Never Once,” and the two together were a powerful declaration of God’s faithfulness and constancy in all situations. My pastor Joe’s comment about it was that it redeems the expression “Oh my God” as it sings it in the chorus as a declaration of confidence. I agree. This song is similar to “Never Once” in that the verses are low and the chorus is pretty high. We did it in Bb, and if we did it in A, the lowest note in the verse reaches down to F#! There’s no way most people are singing that… Despite that, our congregation really connects with this song. I have probably heard more comments about being affected by this song than any other since I have been here.

“Christ Is Risen” – We responded to the Word with this song. We have never sung this song before at Fellowship, so I was unsure about how well our congregation would catch on and participate in it. This song was not in the original service plan, but as we met together and Joe shared more about his message, the Lord brought this song to the forefront of my thinking, so we made some changes and inserted it. The risk of our congregation not knowing it was worth the impact it could have in combination with Joe’s message. We also tried something different in our service plan, incorporating this song into the end of Joe’s message, and tying it with his call for people to believe the gospel message and to “come awake” as the song says. We kept it dynamically quiet before Joe came back up to call people to the gospel, and then we came back to the CH, BR, CH, CH and ramped it up until we were full volume and singing it with all our might. I was moved every time we sang it together, and I think our people connected with it as we declared the powerful truth of the chorus: “Christ is risen from the dead/ Trampling over death by death/ Come awake, come awake/ Come and rise up from the grave/ Christ is risen from the dead/ We are one with Him again/ Come awake, come awake/ Come and rise up from the grave.” Amen.

This was a great weekend of worshiping our Savior. Our teams did a fantastic job. I was completely exhausted after this weekend was done, because I also led our children’s worship services in the middle of our main services, sang for a wedding Friday night, and for a banquet Sunday night, totaling 11 events for which I sang. I could barely speak this morning. 🙂 God is faithful, and He helped preserve my voice for when I needed it, for which I am very grateful. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve our church in so many different ways this weekend. It seemed like the Lord was calling me to a greater level of servanthood all the way through, and I felt that He was reminding me of His call for me to pour myself out for our people. I was challenged and blessed at the same time. It was a fantastic weekend.

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 week, our focus was Philippians 4:8-9, and Joe preached on “An Appraisal of Thoughts.” This passage calls us out on the way we think about things: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” We can either think on the things of God or the things of this world. The question is: where are our thoughts directed most of the time? I think we were all challenged about our thought lives as a result. For the songs this weekend, we focused on the glory of God, His sovereign might and power, and His unique worth–all pointing to the fact that Jesus is the one most worthy of our thoughts.

Here’s our service order from this weekend:

Pre-Service – “Say Say” (A) [Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill, Chris Tomlin]
Call to Worship – Psalm 40:5-8
Prayer
“Glory to God Forever” (Bb) [Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching]
Camp Barnabas Student Testimonies/Offering
Welcome/Announcements/Greeting Time

“Let Me Sing” (Bb) [Todd Fields]
“Always” (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill, Jason Ingram]
Scripture Reflection – Psalm 97:1-5
“Lord of All” (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill]
Prayer
Message – Philippians 4:8-9 – “An Appraisal of Thoughts” [Joe Hishmeh]
Response – “Psalm 19” (D) [Terry Butler]
Dismissal
(You may notice a little more detail in the set list/service order this week. I decided to begin including every element of our service, to give a better picture of our flow and what we incorporate week-to-week.) 

“Say Say” – This is a song that we began teaching a few months ago, and the focus of believing and thinking about the truth that Jesus Christ is God and King made it a solid fit for this week’s services.

“Glory to God Forever” – We used this song because it points to God as our Creator and the One who has given us breath, and also provides an opportunity for us to respond with faith and commitment. I have written a lot about this song in the past, so suffice to say that I really love and latch onto the bridge of this song, and the prayer for God to take our lives and use them for His glory.

“Let Me Sing” – This is the second consecutive week that we have taught this song to our congregation. It is a song that was used a while back, long before I arrived here, but it needed some “dusting off,” as many in our congregation has recently started attending over the past year. In this instance, the same process of teaching applies, because a song isn’t familiar or part of our worship vocabulary anymore. So, we will teach it one more week, and then bring it back a few weeks after that to solidify it in our vocabulary and collective memory.

“Always” – This is another song that we taught a few weeks ago, and it was time to bring it back as a reminder. In Joe’s message, he focused partially on worry and thinking on things that are not trusting or depending on God. This song speaks to that kind of thinking, in a powerful declaration of faith and confidence in God’s ability to affect our situation, no matter how impossible it may seem. I love the truth of this song, and the way in which it is presented. It’s a strong way to affirm our confidence in Christ.

“Lord of All” – We led into this song by reflecting on a passage from Psalm 97, from which a large portion of this song derives. The passage, in the NLT, reads

The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice!
Let the farthest islands be glad.
Clouds and darkness surround Him.
Righteousness and justice
Are the foundation of His throne.
Fire goes forth before Him
And burns up all His foes.
His lightning flashes out across the world.
The earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
Before the Lord of all the earth.

I love the imagery of this Psalm, as it gives both a sense of mystery and of omnipotence. Rather than fear, the Psalmist calls everyone to “rejoice” because “The Lord is king.” God’s just and righteous reign is indeed cause for celebration and for worship. He is the almighty ruler of everything, and He will always do what is right and good. I believe there is great hope for us when we consider these things. We don’t have to worry about injustice being left unresolved. God will make everything right. He will fix everything. As my daughter’s Bible says (my paraphrase), “God will undo everything that is wrong.”

This song has become a favorite of our congregation, and rightfully so. This song lifts the Lord up like He deserves to be. It speaks the truth about His almighty power, His glory, His uniqueness, His sovereignty, His wisdom, and His worth. I don’t think there’s ever a bad time to sing these things.

“Psalm 19” – I first heard this song done by Shane & Shane in 2003 (although it was written in 1995). The prayer of this song, coming directly from Psalm 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer (ESV)” – was a great fit for the focus of Joe’s message. While it was a little unfamiliar for our congregation, it has enough repetition that it is easy to pick up, and our congregation was participating by the end. I encouraged us to make this our prayer in response to the message.

It was a solid weekend of gathering together to worship our King. Despite the fact that early into the first service on Saturday night, I began going hoarse. My throat didn’t hurt, yet my voice was disappearing randomly. After I walked off the platform, I went straight to the water and brewed some tea, and that got me through the rest of the night without a problem. I think I might have been a little dehydrated, because I didn’t drink much water on Saturday until the evening. I think I’ve learned my lesson.

On a sad note, this weekend was the last weekend serving with one of our core worship team members, Hannah Anderson. She is moving to Colorado Springs next weekend to begin teaching kindergarten for a school there. Her joyful and encouraging presence for our church and our worship and arts ministry, along with her talent as both a vocalist and keyboardist, will be sorely missed. She will be a tremendous blessing to a congregation in Colorado and to her new students. I am thankful for the opportunity to have served with her for these past six months, and the team and I are praying for her on her new adventure.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were. Be sure to check out The Worship Community’s Sunday Set Lists to see what other leaders and worshipers experienced this weekend.

In the Son,

Bill

Question time: what is your favorite song for worship? Join the conversation below!