Posts Tagged ‘Faithful’

This weekend, our lead pastor, Joe Hishmeh, continued in our fifth week of our series, “Deep and Wide,” and shared how the deep and wide follower of Jesus experiences joy when he or she is surrendered to God’s authority, submitted to God’s will, and sacrificing to God’s mission. When we are faithful with what He has given us, God brings us into His joy. It was a great challenge to evaluate whether we are truly experiencing joy. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

Video – YoungLife – Andy Vogel
“Rejoice” (Bb) [Dustin Kensrue, Stuart Townend]
“Happy Day” (C) [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon]
“Joyful (The One Who Saves)” (C) [Brenton Brown, Jason Ingram, Ludwig Van Beethoven]
Greeting Time
Video – LifeCare Ministry – Frank Eschmann

Video – You & Two – Theresa
Message – “Deep & Wide: A Follower of Jesus… is Joyful” [Joe Hishmeh]
Elder-led Prayer – Greg Armbruster

“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” (Eb) [Edwin O. Excell, Louie Giglio, John P. Rees, John Newton, Chris Tomlin]

Thoughts: This weekend was great. Kip Kraisinger and Heidi Carlson both did a great job co-leading, and the team did a fantastic job overall. After introducing the new song “Rejoice” last week, our congregation sang it really well throughout the weekend. I love how the song calls us to rejoice because of who God is, in every circumstance, because He is with us and He is worthy. It’s a powerful lyric for us to sing: “All our sickness and our sorrows/ Jesus carried up the hill/ He has walked this path before us/ He is walking with us still/ Turning tragedy to triumph/ Turning agony to praise/ There is blessing in the battle/ So take heart and stand amazed.” “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” was a great way to end our services, while Kip and Heidi helped lead the congregation in singing.

For our singing this weekend, we sang songs that focused on how we can have joy in all circumstance because of who Christ is for us. He is our Redeemer, and He is with us no matter what we face in this life [“Rejoice,” “Happy Day,” “Joyful (The One Who Saves),” “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)”]. It was an encouraging and hopeful weekend throughout.

– Bill

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

This weekend held a few surprises! During the middle of the message in the 5 PM service, we had a funnel cloud sighting and the tornado siren going off in Topeka, so we had to move everyone to our children’s theater in the basement to take shelter. Joe closed out his message and I brought my guitar down so we could worship together. It was a sweet time of worship in that basement, with everyone (kids and all) crowded into a smaller room. We sang a few songs together, and it was such a beautiful sound to hear everyone so clearly (our worship center is pretty deadened sonically, so it is sometimes difficult to hear everyone). It was a blessing. Because the warnings persisted, we decided to hold our 7 PM service  in the basement as well. The whole band came down and it was a really special time for all of us, as we adapted to the situation and still served God and our church. I will never forget last night. You can see more about the details of what happened over my Tech Director, Wyatt Johnston’s blog:

Joe talked about fear and security, and suffering for the cause of Christ. It was a challenging message. He shared about how God calls us to faith, trust, and certainty rather than fear, doubt, and uncertainty, regardless of the circumstances. He shared about the high calling of suffering together with Christ, that Jesus’ name may be lifted high through it. May we all be counted worthy to suffer for His name.

Here’s our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service – “Those Who Trust” (Em) [Don Chaffer]
Call to Worship – Psalm 150:3-6
“Everlasting God” (Bb) [Brenton Brown, Ken Riley]
Welcome/Announcements/Offering/Greeting Time
“Hosanna (Praise is Rising)” (G) [Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown]
“You Never Let Go” (Bb) [Matt Redman]
“Your Name” (Bb) (Paul Baloche, Glenn Packiam]
Message – “A New Appraisal of  Fear and Security” [Joe Hishmeh]
Response – “Forever Reign” (Ab) [Jason Ingram, Reuben Morgan]

We began our pre-service time with “Those Who Trust” from the album Enter the Worship Circle: First Circle. This entire album holds a special place in my life and walk with Jesus, as it was a catalyst for a worship reformation for me. Each of the songs comes directly from Scripture, and the writers came together, studied the Bible, and created songs out of that experience together. The recording is raw and full of life, and done with all acoustic instruments. One of the most amazing worship experiences I have ever had happened as a result of this music. I joined a few friends after an event, and we were sitting on the floor in their living room, and we had a few guitars, and they began to sing some of these songs. As we sang and spent some time in a spontaneous worship moment, just playing a few chords and singing our prayers to God, a bridge came to me, and it ended up becoming the bridge of this song, Everything. The experience taught me a new way to write and to worship, in singing my prayers to God. This particular song has a great groove to it, and I love the declaration of confidence in God from Psalm 125. “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot move, but abides forever.” Our God is a sure foundation, and we can place all of our confidence in Him. This song was an even better fit for the message than I had planned.

During our call to worship, we focused on Psalm 150:3-6, and taught our people about the Biblical expressions of worship through the instruments that are written about there (with a few adaptations…). We had our Adult Ministries Pastor, David Hinkle, playing trumpet for the service, so it was the perfect opportunity for this. It was a fun demonstration of Biblical worship. This passage ends with the command: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (ESV), so we repeated together as a church, “Praise the Lord!”

After the call to worship, we went straight into “Everlasting God.” This song is a standard for our church, and we always sing it well together. I love the simplicity and solid foundation of this song directly from Isaiah 40. We followed this with Redman’s “You Never Let Go,” which was very much in keeping with the theme of leaving our fear behind and placing our confidence and trust in the Lord, coming largely from Psalm 23. This was the second week that we have been teaching this song, and the congregation was sing much more in each of the services. We finished the second set with “Your Name,” which partly comes from Psalm 65:8: “The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy” (NIV). This song is very singable, and is well-known to our people, so we all sing well on it. David Hinkle played the cello part on his trumpet with the mute, and it was a cool and new feel for that line. I really enjoyed it.

We responded to Joe’s message with “Forever Reign.” Sarah Oldberg sang lead on this song, and did a great job. This song focused on another element of the message this week–that Jesus is more worthy and more valuable than anything we can have or lose in this life: “Oh, I’m running to Your arms, I’m running to Your arms/ The riches of Your love will always be enough/ Nothing compares to Your embrace/ Light of the world, forever reign.” The bridge of this song always engages me, as we sing together, “My heart will sing/ No other name/ Jesus, Jesus.” May this be true of all of us. May our hearts truly seek Jesus as the main object of our love and affection.

In each of our services this weekend, I felt that our people were really engaging and participating. I am really encouraged by how we are growing together, and God is being glorified in our transformation. I am also encouraged by how well all of our teams adapted to the craziness of the storms on Saturday night. No one complained (not once!) about the inconvenience of moving all their gear downstairs, or recreating the worship slides, or having to deal with a smaller stage or lesser equipment. Everyone maintained the attitude that it is a joy and honor to serve Jesus and His church, and adapted to the changes with grace and gratefulness. This just goes to show what an amazing group of people I have the privilege of serving with here with Fellowship. I am so thankful for each of them. God is so good!

I hope you had a great weekend in worship, and I hope that you are safe from the weather. Be sure to head over to The Worship Community to see what other churches and leaders experienced this weekend, and join the conversation there. Also, share your thoughts below. I love to hear your take on things!

In the Son,


Here’s our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service: “Say Say” (A) [Christy Nockels, Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill]
Call To Worship –  Hebrews 13:8
“Unchanging” (G) [Chris Tomlin]
“Hosanna” (G) [Brooke Fraser, arr. by Starfield]
“How Great is Our God” (G) [Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Ed Cash]
Focus: “Phos Hilaron”/”Hail Gladdening Light”
“Joyous Light” (G) [unknown, John H. Gower; Arr. and additional chorus by Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, and Louie Giglio]
Message – “God Is: Trinity” [David Hinkle]
“Holy Holy Holy” (D) [Reginald Heber and John Bacchus Dykes]

This weekend in worship with Fellowship was one of my favorites so far. It felt like everything connected really well, and that the focus of the morning permeated everything. The message for the weekend was about the doctrine of the Trinity, and Pastor David did a great job of communicating the understanding and the significance of this doctrine for the Church. There was a lot of ground to cover, and it was thick subject matter, but I think the message was clear, and people walked away with something to cling to for practical purposes in their Christian life. David ended with the idea that we are to live our lives “To the Father, by the Son, and through the Spirit.”

We chose two main songs to emphasize and support the teaching time and bring our people to a point of worshiping in a “trinitarian” way: “Joyous Light” and “Holy Holy Holy.” “Joyous Light” is a song that I value highly, as it is based off of the earliest known hymn for the church, “Phos Hilaron.” Before teaching this song to our congregation, I read a translation of “Phos Hilaron,” known as “Hail Gladdening Light.” Here is that text:

“Phos Hilaron”

Hail, gladdening Light, of His pure glory poured
Who is the immortal Father, heavenly, blest,
Holiest of Holies–Jesus Christ our Lord!

Now we are come to the sun’s hour of rest;
The lights of evening round us shine;
We hymn the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit divine!

Worthiest art thou at all times to be sung with undefiled tongue,
Son of our God, giver of life, alone:
Therefore in all the world Thy glories, Lord, Thy own. Amen.

It’s an amazing thought that we can join in a song that the church has song since the 3rd century A.D. (almost 1700 years ago!). The writers of “Joyous Light” put it this way:

“Joyous Light”

Verse 1
Hail Gladdening Light, Sun so bright
Jesus Christ, End of night

Verse 2
Hail Gladdening Light, Eternal Bright
In evening time, ‘round us shine,
Alleluia, alleluia

We hymn the Father, we hymn the Son
We hymn the Spirit, wholly Divine
No one more worthy of songs to be sung
To the Giver of Life, all glory is Thine

Verse 3
Hail Gladdening Light, such joyous Light
O Brilliant Star, forever shine,
Alleluia, alleluia

It was a great moment for us this weekend, as we we joined in singing this ancient hymn and truth about the nature of our God.

“Holy Holy Holy” was a late addition/change to the set for this week, as David and I discussed late Thursday about wrapping the message. Some scholars maintain that the Scriptural phrase, “Holy Holy Holy” is referring to each person of the Trinity, and we thought it might be fitting (even without mentioning that) to do a song that contained both that phrase and explicit references to the “Blessed Trinity.” It was also another way to connect both old and new in our worship time.

In reference to my learning experience last week (see here), we did “How Great Is Our God” all the way down in the key of G (A bit lower than the recording in C#…). It was rather low, but it fit well in the flow of the rest of the worship set, and the people sang it well. I think the key of A would have been fine, but it further emphasized to me the value of putting things in singable keys – which is something I have been working on and learning for the last 4 years. If you are leading somewhere, and it seems that people are not singing with you (I believe the participation of our congregations ought to be part of the goal), try dropping the key a step or so and see what happens. Try to eliminate any excuse people can give for not joining in the song with the church, especially for the guys.

In all, it was a great weekend of worshiping together. I love our team here at Fellowship, and I am so blessed to serve with them. Their hearts and their talent is what makes our weekends special together. I’m excited about where things are heading, and the things we’re learning together as we help to lead God’s people in worshiping their King!

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

In the Son,


(Sunday Set Lists)

Here’s our set from this past week:

“God is Alive” [Steve Fee, Eddie Kirkland]
“Our God” [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin]
“You Never Let Go” [Matt Redman, Beth Redman]
“Lord of All” [Kristian Stanfill]
“Beautiful” [Phil Wickham]
Message [Pastor Jay]
INV: “Never Be the Same” [original]

The band and team did a phenomenal job this past week in worship. My friend, Larry, filled in on guitar for my last week, and he did admirably. The rest of the band was right on as usual. It felt like a bit of a “best of” morning, where we pulled out some of our definitive songs over the past few years. “Our God” has become something of an anthem for our congregation. “You Never Let Go” describes my journey with Christ as well as any other song, especially at this point. “Lord of All” has become a summary statement for us as a congregation: There is none so high and holy/ King of kings, the one and only/ You are adored, You are the Lord of all.” We finished the worship set with “Beautiful, which I thought was particularly relevant given that it was my last day. The last verse looks to the day of consummation, when all believers will be gathered together as the glorious bride in the presence of Christ: When we arrive at eternity’s shore/ Where death is just a memory and tears are no more/ We’ll enter in as the wedding bells ring/ Your bride will come together and we’ll sing, ‘You’re beautiful.'” I thought it was fitting to end emphasizing that this is not really the end, but rather a parting of ways as we continue to expand the kingdom of God and to go where we are needed for God’s purposes. We will all be together again soon, and we will be together forever in the presence of our only hope, Jesus Christ, and we will sing the song of the redeemed!

There aren’t really words to describe all the feelings that went with this past weekend. It was my last Sunday leading for the 9:30 service for the church, and although it was a great day of worshiping together, it was also a very sad day in some ways. I feel that I have poured my life into that service, and it has come a long way in the 4 1/2 years that it has been in my charge. It is awesome to see what it is compared to what it was when I arrived here. I am so thankful for how the Spirit of God has transformed that service and has grown us together over these years. I am so thankful for the relationships that have made my experience here what it has been. To think that it was probably the last time I would be leading beside Pastor Jay and the other leaders of the church is difficult to imagine. It is hard to even envision worshiping with a different family of believers. It will be strange to be anywhere else.

I pray for God’s richest blessings on the people of First Baptist Church at the Mall, and I leave with this note from Acts 20:32 (the context captures my heart as well): “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

I love you, dear church.

In the Son,


Sunday Set Lists |

(Now playing – Charlie Hall, “Center”)

Here’s our set from this week:

“Faithful One” [original]
“Hosanna” [Brooke Fraser, arr. by Starfield]
“Let Me Sing” [Todd Fields]
“I Need You” [Kristian Stanfill, Louie Giglio]
“You Never Let Go” [Matt Redman]
“Never Be the Same” [original]
“You’re the Only One” [original]

This week was a great week of worship. I felt a great deal of freedom and tried a few different things, which was exciting and challenging. I tagged a slower chorus of “Faithful One” (a declaration about God’s constancy and immutability) to get us to the tempo of “Hosanna,” and it set us up nicely to bring the songs together. I’m not sure where exactly I got the idea, but it probably was inspired by Chris Tomlin and his band at Student Life in Daytona Beach this past week (which was one of the most amazing worship experiences I have ever had, by the way).

The second set of “Let Me Sing,” “I Need You,” and “You Never Let Go” were all chosen to help us focus in on Pastor Jerry’s message about the prayer of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. The elements of praise, recognition of Christ’s sacrifice, our need for Him, His faithfulness, and His nearness to us were all intentional to set the stage for prayer. I think we got there, and God worked in a powerful way. God is so good.

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

God bless you!


P.S. Please take time to check out Sunday Set Lists over at to see what other leaders did this week. God is building His church!

Currently Listening to Fiona Apple “Tidal”

Here’s our set for this week:

“Faithful One” [original]
“Unchanging” [Chris Tomlin]
“Let Me Sing” [Todd Fields]
“I Need You” [Kristian Stanfill]
“You Never Let Go” [Matt and Beth Redman]
“I Will Go” [Starfield]
“You’re the Only One” [original]

This week went well. It felt a little like we were swimming upstream trying to get everyone to worship, probably due to it being Memorial Day weekend. I think we got there by the end of the music set, and Pastor Jay’s message really drove it home. He shared some really powerful lessons, and a profound story of suffering which was really hard to hear, yet very impacting. God is truly at work, and it’s awesome to be a part of it!

I hope you all had a great week, wherever you were worshiping.

Be sure to check out Sunday Set Lists at to see what other leaders and worshipers experienced this week.

(Well, I just typed most of a post, and hit the track pad with the palm of my hand, clicking on a link and erasing everything I’d typed. This one may be shorter…)

Here’s our set for this week:

“Faithful One” [original]
“Cannons” [Phil Wickham]
“Indescribable” [Laura Story, Jesse Reeves]
“Lord of All” [Kristian Stanfill]
“You Never Let Go” [Matt and Beth Redman]
“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” [w/ add. chorus by Chris Tomlin, Louie Giglio, Jesse Reaves, et al]
“Your Name” [Paul Baloche and Glenn Packiam]

This week, we did something different. We went ALL acoustic. Every instrument was an acoustic instrument. Corey played the cajon (Spanish for “box”), Melanie played piano, Sal played high-strung acoustic (which has nothing to do with coffee), our friend Zack Nethercutt played cello, and Andrew and I played acoustic. It was fun to wail away on our guitars, like it should be done.

This week took me back to my roots, when I started getting involved and then leading worship in music over 15 years ago. It was never a well-produced band with electric guitars, drums, keyboards, and bass. It was usually just three to seven acoustic guitars and possibly a djembe for percussion. Its value was not in the production or the performance. It was in the sincerity and the intimacy. This is what this weekend was like for me. It was a return to the heart of the matter and the central focus of worship- Jesus Christ. That was my purpose in the whole thing, and judging from what some people have told me, they got it. I had two comments from the morning that confirmed this. One of the pastors said that by the time we finished, God was glorified. That is the mother of all compliments for a worshiper. I told him, “That is what I live for.” I want nothing more than all of us to say that God was glorified when all is said and done. I don’t care that people enjoy the music, if they miss God and His glory in the whole thing! I care about doing it well, but that is not the end goal. The end goal is ALWAYS the glorifying of our Lord Jesus Christ. The second comment was from one of our people, who said that it really helped to put things in perspective. That’s what I hoped for. It’s all too easy to get used to having all the big production, with the loud drums and guitars, and the driving, energizing music, and to think that is what is necessary to engage God in worship. This morning was a necessary break from the pattern to jar us all back on track. The point is to glorify God, not rock and roll (even though I love that part of it, too.)

Two things stood out to me about the morning. The first was Zack on cello. He did a fantastic job, and his passion for his instrument really came through. We had a ton of fun playing together, and I can’t wait to get him back in there and playing again soon. The second thing was the people singing. I have never heard our church sing so loud! The youth have added so much to our service, too. It was awesome to hear all of their sweet voices lifting praise to God. There was a moment at the end of “You Never Let Go” where everything dropped out it was just the cello and our voices, and it was so beautiful.

It was a great day for our worship team and for our church, in my opinion. I hope we can do it again soon. I am thankful for Pastor Jay supporting me in taking a chance and trying something different. It was a beautiful thing. I hope you had a great week of worship, wherever you were. Next week, we’re going to continue to try some new things, just to keep us all on our toes!

Glory to God!


Be sure to check out Sunday Set Lists over at, to see what other leaders and team members have to say about their worship experiences all over the globe!