Posts Tagged ‘God’

This weekend David Hinkle preached from the book of Ruth to talk about God’s mission and how it has involved His people throughout history. The message was title “Legacy,” and he talked about how we can become a part of God’s overarching purpose in this world. One of his main points was that we were born at this time to be involved in this specific part of God’s plan – sending us out to tell the world about His Son, Jesus. It was a challenging reminder of the calling on our lives as rescued believers in Jesus Christ. We have a mission.

For this week’s message, we focused on the gospel, mission, pursuing God, redemption, and the new covenant. Each of these songs carries at least one of these elements in it.

Here’s our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service – “Kingdom” (A) [Kristian Stanfill]
Call To Worship/Prayer
“Happy Day” (Bb) [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon]
Welcome/Offering/Announcements/Greeting Time
“Let Me Sing” (Bb) [Todd Fields]
“Forever Reign” (Bb) [Jason Ingram, Reuben Morgan]
Message – “Legacy” [David Hinkle]
Communion Song – “Rock of Ages” (Bb) [Augustus M. Toplady, Thomas Hastings]
Response – “Son of God” [Jon Neufeld, Tim Neufeld] 

This weekend was another good weekend of worship. One highlight for me was seeing one of our young guys, Anthony Dake, jump in on drums and do a fantastic job. He played like a champ, and served our congregation well. I look forward to having him in there again soon. Part of our vision for our worship ministry is to build into our younger guys and gals and teach them early on what it’s all about and how to lead worship through music, with authenticity and excellence. Our NextGen Worship Leader, Erik Oldberg, does a fantastic job with these guys, and even in the six months I have been here, I have seen huge growth in each of them. I am thankful for his leadership and passion for worship.

“Kingdom” – This song was a great fit for the theme of the weekend, but it is a little tricky for most of our congregation to sing with, which is why it was in the pre-service slot. It really communicates that it is our responsibility and calling to carry the truth of the gospel to the world, and to invade the darkness with the light of Jesus Christ. I love the message of this song.

“Happy Day” – This is now a standard for our congregation, and it has been a while since we sang it together. I love what it communicates about Jesus’ victory over sin and death, and how our eternal destiny has been permanently affected by His work on the cross and His resurrection.

“Let Me Sing” – We began teaching this song a few weeks ago, and this was our refresher week, to solidify it in our congregation’s memory. This song supported the theme of the weekend with the idea of us shining as lights in the darkness as an act of worship, in response to the amazing sacrifice that Christ made for us. In my mind, this is the most significant reason we have to worship, to obey, and to give of ourselves – Christ gave first, and did so in a marvelous way.

“Forever Reign” – We bracketed the message with this song, or parts of it anyway. The bridge and chorus really helped to communicate the drive of the message, for us to pursue Jesus Christ and His purposes with everything we have.

“Rock of Ages” – This hymn arrangement is from a band called Ascend The Hill, on their album of reworked hymns, Take The World But Give Me Jesus. The first time I heard it, I was immediately struck by the powerful lyric, and the simple arrangement, which added great power and emotion to the truth of the lyric. The lyric conveys the desperation we should all have for the saving work of Christ. We are completely hopeless without His help and His rescuing us. We sang this song during communion, and it was very appropriate in that slot. Here’s the lyric:

Rock of Ages
Augustus M. Toplady, Thomas Hastings

VERSE 1
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.

VERSE 2
Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
These for sin could not atone
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

VERSE 3
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to Thy fountain fly
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

VERSE 4
While I draw this fleeting breath,

When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown
And behold Thee on Thy throne
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.

“Son of God” – We finished the service by singing this great song to our Savior. It actually ended up being more fitting than I thought it would be, because of the way that David emphasized the covenant and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us. The ends of each verse spoke to these elements, singing directly about the cross and then in the second verse about how Christ fulfilled prophecy and how He is coming again for His church. I think it was a solid way to end our times together this weekend.

I am so thankful to be a part of this great church, and for the opportunity to grow together in worshiping our King. I hope you had a great weekend of worship as well. Check out The Worship Community to see what other worshipers experienced and why.

Let me know your thoughts! I love reading your opinions and feedback.

In the Son,

Bill

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Here’s our set from this weekend:

“I Will Go” (F#m) [Starfield – Tim Neufeld, Jon Neufeld]
Call To Worship – 2 Cor. 5:20-21
“Say Say” (A) [Kristian Stanfill, Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels]
Living Water International Honduras Report
Welcome/Announcements/Greeting
“Holy is the Lord” (G) [Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, et al]
“I Stand Amazed” (G) [Charles Hutchinson Gabriel, arr. by Chris Tomlin]
“Wonderful Maker” (G) [Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman]
Message – “I Believe: We Are”  [Joe Hishmeh]
Response: “Mighty to Save” [Ben Fielding, Reuben Morgan]

This weekend of worship was yet another good one. The team gelled well, played solidly, and was sensitive to where the Lord was leading during each of the four services. I feel like the entire worship team is getting some traction for moving forward. I felt like the worship team was all prepared for the week’s music, and it was somewhat easy to put everything together as a result. We were able to make some changes on the fly as people were responding to God, and it was a beautiful thing. There were moments this weekend when the congregation was singing louder than I’ve ever heard them. I am very excited about what the Lord is doing in our midst.

This week has been one where I learned a great deal about the landscape of our worship ministry and where things have been until today. My worship associate, Jason, did some investigating, and dug up what our church has sung in worship since the switch to four services back in August. I was a little surprised by the results: 90 songs in 28 weeks. That comes out to a little more than 3.2 unique songs per week! What does that mean? It means people do not really have a chance to learn any of the songs or make them part of their worship vocabulary. It means our people are stuck staring at the projector screen trying to see the words and learn the songs.

My takeaway? We need to start repeating songs more often, so we can teach our people and get them “off the page” just like we want the band to be “off the page.” When we don’t have to stay glued to a screen or our music to know the song, then it is part of our vocabulary, and we are able to use it easily to express ourselves to God. Then, it comes from within us. Then we can truly put ourselves into what we are doing, rather than worrying more about what we are doing. We can focus on doing it. My normal method for doing this is to repeat a new song for three weeks, and surround it with songs that are already part of the worship vocabulary of our people.

My first opportunity for implementing this was “Say Say.” This was our third week singing this song, and I believe we have now added that song to our worship vocabulary as a congregation. I think the song communicates a simple but strong message to us, challenging us to stand up and “declare” that “Jesus is King.” Our praise of our great God ought not to be something that only happens within the walls of a church’s building, but ought to be happening for the whole world to see. Our exalting of God ought to be a very public thing, both individually and corporately. This idea can be extended to all areas of our lives, as living our lives as living sacrifices is how we worship our God on a daily basis. Thus, loving and serving others is a way that we declare the glory of our God to our world. It is easy to hunker down, get comfortable, and feel safe in our space each week, but what we do weekly as the church gathered together should be a culmination of a week lived in daily worship of our God. That is my prayer for us.

In the same vein, we introduced Starfield’s “I Will Go,” which is one of my favorite newer songs. It is a very driving, high-energy song, but the message warrants it, I think. Here’s the lyric of that song:

VERSE 1
To the desperate eyes and reaching hands
To the suffering and the need
To the ones the world has cast aside
Where you want me I will be

CHORUS
I will go, I will go, I will go, Lord send me
To the world, to the lost, to the poor and hungry
Take everything I am
I’m clay within your hands
I will go, I will go send me

VERSE 2
Let me not be blind with privilege
Give me eyes to see the pain
Let the blessing You’ve poured out on me
Not be spent on me in vain
Let this life be used for change

BRIDGE
I wanna live for You,
Go where You lead me
I wanna follow You

I still get the feeling that I’m pushing the envelope a little for some of our people, but I think we are being challenged as a people by the lyrics of these songs and by the messages that are comprising this “I Believe” series. I think it is worth the risk of pushing a little bit. “I Will Go” is a song that can work in a variety of treatments, and I have tried it successfully as a response song with more of an acoustic feel to it. It will be one we use frequently, because there are not many songs that say it quite so boldly.

For the second set of songs, we put together a few modern worship standards: “Holy is the Lord,” “I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous),” and “Wonderful Maker.” “Wonderful Maker” was very fitting for Joe’s message today about the image of God and the fall of humanity. It deals directly with God’s goodness in creation and God’s declaration that what He made was “good.” It also deals with God’s goodness in redemption. This song holds a special place in my life, because it signaled a turning point in my worship leadership. This song is solely focused on God and who He is, and barely even mentions us in the process (“we” is used once in the third verse). Many of the worship songs I sang in youth group and elsewhere were about the singers and what God could do for us. This song was markedly different in that regard. This song helped me to see what true worship was – about God, to God, and for God. It was not for us. From that point late in 2002 (after Chris Tomlin’s Not to Us was released), my view of, and priorities in, worship music were changed. Every time I sing or hear this song, I remember that change, and I am called back to the true priority in worship, which is our great God and Savior.

We closed the service out with “Mighty to Save,” which was the highlight of the weekend for me. Joe’s message was a heavy one dealing with our depravity. He didn’t pull any punches, and helped all of us see ourselves and our sin clearly in light of God’s holiness and goodness. When we see God as He is, we see ourselves rightly. And when we see the depth and gravity of our own sin, we see just how great and truly amazing the grace of God really is. When we came to “Mighty to Save,” this was our context. When we sang, “Savior, He can move the mountains/ Our God is mighty to save/ He is mighty to save,” we meant it, for we had just finished hearing and reading the Word of God as it spoke to our spiritual condition without Christ. The congregation was singing out at this point in each of the services, and it was a powerful moment of worship. To God be the glory. May we never forget that we were dead in our sins when Christ came in to rescue us and make us alive.

I feel privileged for the opportunity to build and develop our worship & arts ministry at Fellowship Bible Church, and I am thrilled about what the future holds for our congregation!

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

In the Son,

Bill

Sunday Set Lists

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]
Welcome/Offering/Announcements/Greeting
“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
Alleluia

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

Chorus
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,

Bill

(Sunday Set Lists)

(Photos taken by Shelly Zipperle)

Here’s our set from this week:

Pre-Service: “Say Say” [Christy Nockels, Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill] – C
Call to Worship: Isaiah 40:25-31
“Everlasting God” [Brenton Brown, Ken Riley] – Bb
Welcome/Prayer/Announcements/Offering
Greeting Time
“God of Wonders” [Marc Byrd, Steve Hindalong] – Ab
“Indescribable” [Laura Story] – Ab
Communion: “Lamb of God” [original] – Ab
Message: “I Believe God Reveals” [Pastor Joe Hishmeh]
“All Creatures of Our God and King” [St. Francis of Assisi, William Henry Draper, David Crowder, and Brent Milligan] – D

My third week here in Topeka was a great weekend of worship, with an interesting twist: I was more hoarse than I have ever been in my life, aside from losing my voice completely. Strangely, I was able to control my pitch and volume without any trouble, but it sounded really rough on “Say Say.” For the rest of the set, it sounded a little gritty, but I think it was fine. It was a lot of work to control it, to be sure.

I typically have a higher tenor voice, but I have been trying to key things lower for the people in the congregation–specifically the men in our congregation. This week made me think seriously about that. I had already keyed the songs lower (aside from “Say Say”) on purpose, but if I hadn’t, I don’t think I would have been able to sing them at all. I came to a conclusion: if I cannot sing a song when I’m sick, it’s too high for most men to sing. I think that’s probably a fair assessment. Most guys have as much range as my hoarse voice, which basically has the range of an untrained voice. It will be extremely helpful to have that as a guide for my decisions on song keys and ranges going forward.

“God of Wonders” and “Indescribable” were keyed lower than I have ever had them before, and I thought it was very effective. It seemed like the people were singing more easily with the change (especially on “Indescribable,” which is usually through the roof in Bb or B). I think they could have come down even to G without negative effect. I was even more grateful that I had done that when my cold began looming over the weekend.

Also, this was the first week I have shared an original song with Fellowship, in “Lamb of God.” We used it during communion, as the deacons and elders were passing out the elements. For me, it was an especially sweet time of thinking on the cross and what our Messiah did for us to redeem us and rescue us. Pastors David Hinkle and Brian Tryhus did a great job setting up the time of communion, too, which made it that much more meaningful.

Pastor Joe shared about God’s revelation of Himself through creation, through the Word of God, and through Christ. Because of this, we responded to the message with “All Creatures of Our God and King” as arranged by David Crowder on his Illuminate album. I love this arrangement of this hymn, and it was really fitting for the message today. The guitar part at the intro was a little tricky (Crowder capos up to the 7th fret and place it with G shapes and tons of embellishment), but by the fourth service, I think I got it mostly right. I love some of the stuff that Crowder does on acoustic. It spices things up without going over the top.

All in all, it was a great weekend of worship together. We unveiled a pretty dramatic stage design for the I Believe series, which turned out great. Kip Kraisinger and Wyatt Johnston were the brains behind that one. The images in this blog are from the new set. We set out to link our series on essential doctrines of the Christian faith to the concept of “Legacy,” which is where the Tron theme comes in. All it took was some PVC pipe and some lighting, along with aircraft cable and fishing line to rig the pipe boxes. I’m pretty excited about how it turned out. In fact, I’m pretty excited about everything going on here at Fellowship right now. God is so good!

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

In the Son,

Bill

Sunday Set Lists

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

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,

Bill

Sunday Set Lists | www.theworshipcommunity.com

(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)