Posts Tagged ‘Glory’

This week, we focused on Philippians 2:1-11, and dealt with putting others ahead of ourselves. It was a challenging message for those of us who are prone to selfishness (me!), and called us to the selflessness of Christ, who emptied Himself and became obedient even to death on a cross, so that we could be redeemed. As a result, Scripture says, God has exalted Him and given Him the name which is above all names, that at His name, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. In a similar way, the Bible says that the one who wants to find his own life must first lose it. May we all lay our lives down for the kingdom of God and His purposes, and in doing so, may we find our true life in Him.

Here’s our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service – “Happy Day” (Bb) [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon]
Call to Worship – Revelation 4:8, 11
“Our God” (G) [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves]
Welcome/ Video/ Offering/ Announcements/ Prayer/ Greeting
“You Never Let Go” (Bb) [Matt Redman]
“Desert Song” (D) [Brooke Fraser]
Scripture reading – Philippians 2:3
“Lead Me to the Cross” (D) [Brooke Fraser]
Message – “An Appraisal of Attitude” [Joe Hishmeh]
Response – “Jesus Messiah” (G) [Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash]

We began in the pre-service time with “Happy Day,” and I chose this song because it got us thinking about the cross, and what it accomplished for us. We benefited immensely because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, yet He paid for our redemption with great suffering and anguish. He gave up His right to grasp His equality with God, and laid it down in obedience and willing sacrifice. He was generous with His own life, and had the attitude fo a servant rather than one of entitlement.

In the call to worship, practiced the command to “ascribe” praise and to the Lord. This means to attribute to God the truth about who He is and what He has done. I searched and struggled to find a passage that encapsulated this idea concisely, and I felt very comfortable with Revelation 4:8, 11 (ESV) –

Holy, holy, holy,
is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come!
Worthy are You,
our Lord and God,
To receive glory and
honor and power,
For You created all things,
And by Your will they existed
and were created.

We read this together as a congregation with this phrasing, and I think it set our hearts on Jesus’ surpassing worth and glory. I am feeling more and more compelled to point our people to Scripture and for us to read it together and respond together in different ways. I would guess that worship doesn’t get much more “Biblical” than that… I hope we begin to make the connection between these explicit worship directives and the ones that call us to worship by living our lives for our King and His kingdom, loving Him and loving our neighbor.

We immediately moved into “Our God,” because we just finished talking about the creative power of our God, and this song emphasizes some of that aspect in reference to miracles and His omnipotence. I love how this song resonates with God’s people, as we declare His greatness and power together, and then recognize that this same great and powerful God is for us. He is for His people, and He loves us, cares for us, and protects us. At the end of this song, I felt led to have all the instruments drop out as our people sang out the chorus, and it was a sweet moment that I didn’t want to end. It felt a little funny jumping from that into the announcements, but who cares?!?! We’re here to worship together, and it’s never too early to do so.

After the announcements, we led out with “You Never Let Go.” This was our third week singing this song together, and the chorus has taken on new meaning for our congregation (especially the Saturday night group) after last weekend, where we had to take shelter from funnel clouds in the area. I think we are getting this as a congregation, and God is reminding us of His faithfulness through it. Our congregation sings this song so well together. I am so thrilled with how we are responding to God together.

Then, Kelsey Thomsen led us in singing “Desert Song” and “Lead Me to the Cross.” This was Kelsey’s last weekend leading with us (for a while, at least), because she is heading off to physician assistant school this summer. It was a little bittersweet as a result, but I have enjoyed getting to see Kelsey’s heart for God’s people in worship over these past few months. I know God has great things in store for her and her ministry through worship. These songs spoke to the point of trusting in God no matter what, and obeying Him regardless of how afraid we may be. He is worthy of our lives’ obedience, no matter how we feel about it. He is worthy of our lives being give for the purpose of expanding His kingdom and His fame in the earth.

We responded to Joe’s challenging message with “Jesus Messiah,” which speaks clearly of Jesus’ laying down of His life for us. He is our model and example of sacrifice and of being a servant. When we look to Him, we see the pattern of our calling. We see what we are to be in Him. This song continues to grow on me, as I reminded of 2 Corinthians 5:21 and other verses which speak of the ridiculous gift Jesus has given us through His grace and through the cross. He is so good to us. May we be so generous with our own lives.

We had a few difficulties on Saturday night. One team member thought he was on for next weekend, and as a result, wasn’t able to get to rehearsal until an hour after we started. We ended up finishing our preparation very close to the start of the first service, and I forgot to communicate with the team that Kelsey was going to share before “Desert Song.” When I turned to look at Kelsey, the rhythm section jumped into the song, and the rest of us had to catch up. It was a minor train wreck, but we got back on track, and I believe God was glorified in spite of the problems. It has made me evaluate our lines of communication, both prior to and during the weekend. We can always improve. Sunday went very smoothly, and I was proud of how our team pressed on and kept trying to improve throughout the weekend, despite a slightly frustrating start. I am so thankful for the team of people we have here at Fellowship.

Overall, it was a powerful weekend of worship. I love it (sometimes begrudgingly), when God moves and works in our midst, when it seems like we have made it difficult. It just goes to show that we cannot manufacture worship. We cannot force it to happen. We cannot make people experience God. We are powerless to change lives at the heart level. Only God can do that. And He does. What we can do is be available and be humbled before our King, and trust that He will work in our midst. We can give Him our best and do what we can to facilitate (literally, “make it easy”) for our people to engage God in our worship gatherings. Let us serve our God and our people by trusting in our God and giving our best for Him and for them. He will take care of everything else.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were (and hopefully didn’t have the problems we did!). Be sure to check out The Worship Community to see what other leaders and team members experienced in their worship gatherings this weekend. To God be all the glory!

In the Son,

Bill

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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

Sunday Set Lists

(Currently Listening to Quantity is Job 1, by Five Iron Frenzy)

Here’s our set from this past week:

“Kingdom” [Kristian Stanfill]
“Salvation’s Chorus” [Todd Fields]
“Glory to God Forever” [Steve Fee]
“God of This City” [Bluetree]
“Jesus Paid It All” [traditional w/ add. chorus by Alex Nifong]
Message: “It’s Your Serve–Build an Altar” [Pastor Jay]
INV: “I Want to Love You” [Todd Fields]

This week felt pretty good overall. I love it when the church sings “Kingdom” all together (“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 also love the concept of “Salvation’s Chorus,” in that believers have a song that others cannot sing (even the angels), namely the song of the redeemed. We have been rescued from sin and death, and because of this we have much to celebrate. “Glory to God Forever” has become a major prayer of my life–specifically the bridge: “Take my life and let it be/ All for You and for Your glory/ Take my life and let it be Yours.“Jesus Paid it All” is always one of my favorites, as the church celebrates by singing, “O praise the One who paid my debt/ And raised this life up from the dead.” I don’t think we can sum up the reason for our worship more succinctly than that. I think that’s why it’s so powerful a lyric for us to sing. There are certain things that we hear or say that strike a chord within the believer, as the Spirit confirms the truth of those things and stirs us because of it. This is one of those truth statements that provokes that kind of response from believers.

As I approach my last week leading the worship in music for Church at the Mall, many things are flooding my mind as we lead. I look at the students and feel burdened for their future, their leadership, and their ministry in the church. I find myself praying over them as we sing out to God about being the Kingdom of God (“Kingdom”), and asking God to take our lives and let them be all for Him and for His glory (“Glory to God Forever”). I find myself celebrating what God has accomplished in our midst over these past 4 1/2 years. I look out over the assembly of believers and see a huge transformation from the way things were in the beginning of 2006, with nearly half as many people meeting in the old Montgomery Wards, and many blank stares as people didn’t really know what to do with the “music time” of the service. Many enjoyed the music, but did not feel the need or the motivation to participate in it. Many just spectated. Some just dreaded it. As we’ve grown together over these past few years, more and more of us are engaging in the songs and owning them, responding to God with thanksgiving and praise for who He is and what He has done. I see people passionately singing out to God. I see raised hands. I see people dwelling on the truths that we’re singing together. I love it. It is hard to leave something that I have given so much of my life to building. I am so thankful to have been a part of God’s working in Church at the Mall.

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

In the Son,

Bill

(Sunday Set Lists)

Here’s our set for this morning:

“All Because of Jesus” [Steve Fee]
“Happy Day” [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon]
“Glory to God Forever” [Steve Fee]
“How Great is Our God” [Chris Tomlin, et al]
“Lord of All” [Kristian Stanfill]

Message: “It’s Your Serve: Use Your Pain”

INV: “Never Be the Same” [original]

This morning was probably the hardest day I have ever had as a worship leader. I shared the news with our congregation that my wife and I are sensing God leading us out to something different, possibly a church plant or a smaller congregation that is getting going. We’ve known about this since mid-July, and shared it with our church leadership at that time, and they have been very helpful in this time of transition for us. We are seeking God’s guidance and wisdom for what is next for the two of us. We have a framework in mind, but nothing certain yet. I shared the news after the first two songs (there is never a good time to do something like that), and then had to continue on in leading our worship time after Pastor Jay’s welcome and the baptisms. I believe this was a moment to demonstrate that worship is even more important in the difficult times, because it truly becomes a matter of trust and belief that God is who He says He is, and He will do what He says He will do. It is a bittersweet moment for us, as we have poured out 4 1/2 years of our lives here in Lakeland, FL. We consider this place home. Our house is the only home our children have ever known, and this town is the same for them. We are trusting the Lord with our lives and with the future direction of the church. He is faithful–He has always been, and He will always be.

Pray for us as we step out in faith.

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

In the Son,

Bill

(check out Sunday Set Lists)

Here’s our set from yesterday:

“Rise and Sing” [Steve Fee]
“Hosanna” [Brooke Fraser, arr. by Starfield]
“Glorious” [Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown]
“Our God” [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, and Jesse Reeves]
“Cannons” [Phil Wickham] w/ tag: chorus of “Let My Words Be Few” [Matt Redman, Beth Redman]
MESSAGE: “Catching a Glimpse of the Glory of God, Pt. 2” [Dr. Jay Dennis]
INV: “Let My Words Be Few” [Matt Redman, Beth Redman]
OFFERTORY: “Indescribable” [Laura Story]

This week was another great day of worship with Church at the Mall. Pastor Jay continued his message about the glory of God, and we led in that direction with the music. The glory and awe theme ran throughout the music, because when we see God in the truth of who He is, we cannot help but see ourselves more clearly. Such was the case for Isaiah, as Pastor Jay shared in his message from Isaiah 6. When Isaiah saw the Lord, high and lifted up, with the temple shaking and filled with smoke, and God’s glory overwhelming everything, Isaiah’s response was one of dread and fear, recognizing his own sin and unworthiness of standing in the presence of God. Because of Christ, our response can be a little different because we may not fear for our lives, but we should still see our own lives clearly and recognize God’s grace and mercy all the more. We have no right to stand before God and enter into His presence. It is only because He made a way for us where there was no way. He redeemed us and adopted us and made us free. As a result, we can stand before God without fear, but we should never forget who we were or how desperate we are for His help and grace.

One could argue that it begins and ends with worship–we worship God for who He is and lift Him up in our praise, exalting Him and recognizing His surpassing worth and glory; then we see how unworthy and undeserving we are of His love, grace, and mercy; finally, we worship Him even more because of what He has done for us.

May we continue that cycle in our lives, worshiping Him wholeheartedly for who He is, seeing ourselves more clearly and honestly, and responding to Him with thanksgiving for all He has done.

The last few lines of “Indescribable” say it well: “Incomparable, unchangeable/ You see the depths of my heart/ And You love me the same/ You are amazing, God.”

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

Bill

www.theworshipcommunity.com’s Sunday Set Lists

Currently watching: Toy Story

This morning was a great day of worship with Church at the Mall. Here’s our set for today:

“Faithful One” [original]
“Holy is the Lord” [Chris Tomlin]
“Beautiful” [Phil Wickham]
“Revelation Song” [Jennie Lee Riddle]
“Lord of All” [Kristian Stanfill]
Message: “Catching a Glimpse of the Glory of God” [Dr. Jay Dennis]
Invitation: “Never Be the Same” [original]
“Glorious” [Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown]

This morning everything came together in a beautiful way. I was thrilled that Pastor Jay was going to be spending this week focusing on the glory of God, because there is so much you can do to emphasize that through the worship music. It isn’t difficult to find worship songs that deal with the glory of God.

Pastor Jay had requested that we learn Paul Baloche’s “Glorious,” because it would fit well with this message. This was a song I have wanted to introduce for almost a year now, since Paul played it for the state convention’s Worship Expo which was held at our facilities last year. It’s a captivating song, with a solid lyric and some unique melody ideas. There are points where the melody is almost haunting. I love it.

We also brought back our arrangement of Phil Wickham’s “Beautiful,” which powerfully incorporates the theme of God’s glory through creation, the cross, and eternity. I’ve said this before, but the lyric of the fourth verse always moves me when the church sings it together: “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.”

It all came together well, and I believe God was truly exalted by the church this morning. As we lifted up His praise, we encountered Him in a beautiful and powerful way. God is so worthy.

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

Bill

As always, check out http://www.theworshipcommunity.com and Sunday Set Lists to see what other leaders did this week in their faith communities.

This Sunday was a great day of worship! God presence was very tangible in our midst, and as the Word was preached, I think people’s lives were changed. One lady was saved, and then baptized at the beginning of the next service. It was  beautiful thing to witness.

Here’s our set from yesterday:

“Kingdom” [Kristian Stanfill]
“Salvation’s Chorus” [Todd Fields]
“Our God” [Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin, Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels]
“Jesus Messiah” [Daniel Carson, Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, and Jesse Reeves}
“Because of Your Love” [Phil Wickham]
MESSAGE: The Psalm 119 Method for Reading and Studying the Bible – Pastor Jay
INVITATION: “Nothing But the Blood” [Matt Redman]
OFFERTORY: “Cannons” [Phil Wickham”

While there is a lot of stuff weighing heavily in my life, I felt great about this morning. It seems to me that God is most at work and most present when we are weakest and most dependent on Him. Sounds like the Scripture, doesn’t it? (2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV): “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”) I have witnessed the truth of that statement firsthand over the past few weeks. God is most glorified when He gets all the credit for something, not when we put on a good show and people think it’s all because of our own abilities – that’s my $0.02, at least.

Yesterday was one of those mornings. Everything did not go perfectly – the click battery died, we lost tempo a few times, etc. – but God was in the midst of it, and He was working in all of our lives. I am excited for the future as God continues to show me what it means to depend on Him completely. I am a slow-learner. I don’t struggle much with faith or trusting the Father, but I struggle greatly with depending on Him. I tend to lean toward independence. I am comfortable when the ball is in my court and I can make the decisions and make things happen. To be honest, I enjoy getting recognized  for those things, too. However, God does not receive glory when I go my own way and do things in my own strength. He receives the most glory when He is the source and the lifeline for everything we do as believers. In reality, nothing of any eternal benefit happens in our own strength. After all, it is “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zech. 4:6).

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

May God bless you with the knowledge of His presence, and with complete dependence on Him, that He may receive all the glory.

Bill

p.s. be sure to check out Sunday Set Lists over at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com to see what other worshipers experienced around the globe!