Posts Tagged ‘How Great is Our God’

This weekend, our lead pastor, Joe Hishmeh, shared the “State of the Church,” where he celebrated what God has been doing in our church, dedicated our church to what God is currently doing, and anticipated the future of our ministry in Topeka and around the world. It is incredible to see what God has been doing and to envision what could happen with our church as we continue to pursue Him. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

Welcome
“Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)” (G) [Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown]
“Before The Throne” (A) [Charitie Lees Bancroft, Vicki Cook, arr. by The Modern Post]
Greeting Time/Announcements
Message – “State of the Church” [Joe Hishmeh]
“10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)” (G) [Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin]
“God Of This City” (B) [Richard Bleakley, Aaron Boyd, Boyd Aaron, Peter Comfort, Ian Jordan, Peter Kernaghan, Andrew McCann, also sung by Chris Tomlin]
“Lord Of All” (B) [Kristian Stanfill]
Tag of “How Great Is Our God” (B) [Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves]

Dismissal

Thoughts: This was an exciting weekend in our church. We don’t take much time throughout the year to celebrate how God has moved in our church and to dream together about what is possible here. We dreamed and prayed for a major awakening in Topeka, asking the Lord for 18,000 new believers in our county. This wouldn’t be possible with just our church, but would need to involve all the gospel-preaching churches here. It will be amazing to see what God will do.

For our singing this weekend, we sang “Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)” to invite God to have His way in us and to celebrate how He has redeemed us. “Before The Throne” was our main gospel-focused song, singing about how Jesus is our divine Substitute and Advocate. I absolutely love the clarity of the gospel in this song. In the middle of the message, after Joe celebrated some of the amazing things God has been doing in our church, we sang “10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord).” We did this just with one guitar and the voices, and it was a great moment this weekend. We responded to the vision for our future by singing “God Of This City,” and its chorus was a great declaration for us this weekend: “For greater things have yet to come/ Greater things are still to be done in this city.” It had been a while since I had sung this song (because it had been played so often at the time), and it felt fresh for me this weekend. We finished the service by singing about God’s sovereign lordship and power in “Lord of All,” and tagged the chorus of “How Great Is Our God.” It felt fitting to end with this, because God is the one who will direct our steps with His perfect wisdom, and who can uphold us as we sacrifice and serve to advance His kingdom.

– Bill

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

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(an image of our Ephesians set design, courtesy of our Tech Director, Wyatt Johnston)

This week our pastor, Joe Hishmeh, continued our discipleship series, “Ephesians – United in Christ.” In his message for the weekend, Joe shared from Ephesians 4:1-16 about unity in the Church. Unity, Joe said, is a sign of Christian maturity and is life-giving for the believer. It was a powerful reminder of the value of unity for our lives and for Christ’s mission for the Church. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

For our singing this week, we focused on .

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

“Your Grace Is Enough” (G) [Matt Maher]
Welcome/Greeting Time/Call to Worship

“Song of the Redeemed” (Em) [Charlie Hall, Kendall Combes, Dustin Ragland, Quint Anderson, Brian Bergman]
“You Have Overcome” (A) [Bill Horn, Erik Oldberg]
“Lord of All” (A) [Kristian Stanfill]
“How Great Is Our God” (chorus & bridge) (A) [Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves,
Message – “Ephesians 4:1-16” [Joe Hishmeh]
“Center” (E) [Charlie Hall, Matt Redman]
Offering/Announcements/Dismissal

“Your Grace Is Enough” – We opened with this song because it is both familiar and it reminds us of the all-sufficient grace we have in Jesus. Our standing with God is not by our own merit, but because of His grace toward us.

“Song of the Redeemed”– This was a new song for our congregation this weekend, even though it’s not really new at all. I love the concept of the “song of the redeemed” throughout Scripture–the song that can only be sung by those who have been redeemed and rescued by God. It shows up in Exodus with Moses’ song, throughout the Psalms, and all the way to the book of Revelation, where the redeemed are gathered around the throne in worship in 14:3. Angels cannot sing this song; only those who have been redeemed can sing of God’s redemption.

“You Have Overcome” – We sang this song because it helps us worship by clearly focusing on the gospel: we were dead and lost, but Jesus went to the cross in our place and bore the righteous wrath that we deserved from God, and then Jesus rose from the grave in victory over sin and death. Jesus has overcome, and there is no one else who can save us! It is overwhelming to see the church sing it as well as they do. There is nothing more powerful or motivating for worship than the gospel.

“Lord of All”/”How Great Is Our God” – We wrapped up the first section of our singing with this sort of medley. First, we sang “Lord of All” which is one of our church’s favorite songs (which makes me very happy), and then we tagged the chorus and bridge of “How Great Is Our God” to finish up. It was a beautiful moment of exalting God together.

“Center” – This was our response song this weekend, as it is a significant prayer for us to sing to our God: “O Christ, be the center of our lives/ Be the place we fix our eyes/ Be the center of our lives.” If we all truly desire for Christ to be the center of our lives, we will be unified.

This weekend was a great weekend of worship! Our team did a great job, and it was a blessing to worship with our congregation. I think the highlight for me was singing “You Have Overcome” and moving right into “Lord of All”/”How Great Is Our God.” It was really powerful and moving as we simply lifted up our Savior for who He is and what He has done. I love our church!

On Sunday morning, we also had a special guest musician playing before our services: Joe Gavin. Joe is a friend of mine from Lakeland, FL, and he is an incredible fingerstyle guitarist. He has taught me a lot, and it is always a joy to hear him play. He was in town to play for the Trash Mountain Project’s Spoken benefit, and he was kind enough to play for us as well. It was a beautiful addition to the day, and contributed in a great way. If you want to hear more of Joe’s music, his website is joegavin.info, and you can find his CD/MP3s on iTunes and on Amazon. Support his great work!

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

What were your thoughts or experiences on your worship experience from this weekend?

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

This week our pastor, Joe Hishmeh, shared about authentic, biblical community in a message entitled “Authentic Community.” It was a strong challenge to us all to value and prioritize the things that are most important and that will last: God, His Word, and people. One of the best way we can do this is through small groups, where we can share those things–life–together. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

For our singing this week, we focused on songs that emphasized the Lordship of Christ and the freedom and love we now have because of His grace, which enables us to experience true community.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

“Your Grace Is Enough” (G) [Matt Maher]
Welcome/Greeting Time
Call to Worship – Ps. 9:1-2

“Everlasting God” (Bb) [Brenton Brown, Ken Riley]
“Lord of All” (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill]
“How Great Is Our God” (Bb) [Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves]
“Your Great Name” (Bb) [Michael Neale, Krissy Nordhoff]

Message – “Authentic Community” [Joe Hishmeh]
“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” (Eb) [John Newton, Edwin O. Excell, Chris Tomlin, Louie Giglio, John P. Rees]
Offering/Announcements/Dismissal

“Your Grace Is Enough” – We opened our services with this song, which is one of our staples. We haven’t sung it in a while, but it was fitting this weekend as it emphasizes the grace of God, which is what has brought us together as the body of Christ, and is the only way for us to remain together. We need His grace to shape our hearts and minds and to edify one another in the Church.

“Everlasting God” – This is a song that our church always engages with, and I love it because it pulls directly from Scripture (Isaiah 40). This is definitely a great, yet simple song that is worth singing together. One of our worship leaders, Becky Tindell, led us into this one, and we traded off throughout the song.

“Lord of All” – This song is one of my all-time favorite worship songs. It helps us declare the glory, majesty, and power of our Lord in very simple and beautiful language, and the music adds to those ideas. The chorus is as strong as they get: “There is none so high and holy/ King of kings the one and only/ You are adored, You are the Lord of all!”

“How Great Is Our God” – We tagged the bridge and the chorus of this song to the end of “Lord of All,” because they share a nearly identical chord progression. The two songs were well together thematically as well, so it was a great combination that helped us exalt the Lord well.

“Your Great Name” – We finished our main singing time with this song, which is one of my favorites. I love singing the name of Jesus together with the Church. We started it out very quietly, with Becky leading us into it. It was a beautiful and powerful moment. This song is interesting because the original melody by Michael Neale (the guys’ parts on the chorus and bridge) is now largely considered the harmony because Natalie Grant recorded the harmony (the girls’ parts) as though it were the melody of the song. Because of this, both the men and the women have a clear and strong part to sing, and it makes for a great congregational song. Becky and I each did a verse, and then we sang the respective parts for the rest of the song. This song was the highlight of the weekend for me.

“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” – We hadn’t sung this song for a while, but it always connects with our congregation. We sang this song because it celebrates the freedom and love we have in Christ, and those things are what make authentic biblical community a possibility. Jesus set us free and put us together as the body of Christ, and it’s a beautiful thing.

This weekend was really enjoyable for me. There were many moments where I was moved almost to the point of not being able to sing (those are tricky times to be leading…). Our team did an awesome job, and it was truly a blessing to worship together and to point our congregation towards the Lord.

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! (and sorry this is so late!)

This weekend, we focused on a Memorial Day-related theme, “On the Other Side of Sacrifice: Freedom in Christ.” Joe shared from Galatians 5 about true freedom from sin, and freedom to love and serve Christ and others. It was a great reminder of the peace that we have because of God’s grace through the gospel. You can listen to the entire message here. For the music this week, we continued to sing songs that remind us of God’s power and love for us, demonstrated by His sacrifice for us. We are free because He has set us free!

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

“Faithful One” (G) [Original]
Welcome/Greeting Time

“Blessed Be Your Name” (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman]
“Let Me Sing” (Bb) [Todd Fields]
“Lord of All” (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill]
“How Great Is Our God” (Chorus Only) (Bb) [Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Ed Cash]

Message – “Freedom In Christ” [Joe Hishmeh]
Video – “God’s Pie”
Offering/Announcements

“‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus” (F#) [William James Kirkpatrick, Louisa M. R. Stead]
Dismissal

“Faithful One” – This is an original song that we introduced to our congregation this weekend. My wife has been telling me to teach it here for months, and I finally put it in a service. It is a simple song that speaks of the Lord as “The Faithful One.” It is pretty uptempo at 175 bpm… Our congregation sang it well and participated in it together, so we’ll probably continue to use this song in worship.

“Blessed Be Your Name” – We sang this song after reading Psalm 72:18-19 together. This song is a powerful declaration of trust and worship, no matter what circumstances we may face in this life. Jesus is with us, He is faithful, and He is worthy of our worship.

“Let Me Sing” – We sang this song to connect the ideas of Christ’s sacrifice with the proper response to that sacrifice, which is offering our lives as living sacrifices to Him. He is worthy of all we have to give, because of who He is and what He has done for us. My constant prayer for our congregation is that we would all catch this truth, and lay our lives down for Him and His kingdom.

“Lord of All”/”How Great Is Our God” – This is one of my favorites, and one of our congregation’s favorites, as well. We tagged “How Great Is Our God” at the end, since they have nearly identical chord progressions in their choruses, and they have very connected themes. We sang these songs to remember the power, the uniqueness, and the worth of our great God, and to worship Him for those things. I always say that when we see God as He is – high and lifted up – we cannot remain the same.

“‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus” – In response to the message, we sang this great hymn of dependence and trust in Jesus. This was my personal arrangement of it for guitar, and it has more of a country/gospel feel to it. We ended it all by singing the chorus together a cappella with four-part harmony. It was a great moment.

This weekend was an incredible weekend. I am so blessed and encouraged from our time spent worshiping together. We did some new things this weekend, and I think they had a big impact. First, we installed acoustic “clouds” in our ceiling area. These are basically reflective acoustic panels (ours are made of high-grade plywood) suspended at different heights to help give the room more of a live sound, which ultimately helps make the congregation’s voices louder in the room. In the past it was frustrating to not be able to hear one another when we are singing because the room was so dampened. There was a big difference this weekend, and it was very moving to hear the congregation so well! It is a beautiful thing!

Also, we gave mics to two of our band members to add a few voices during some of the stronger parts of songs during the set. I also think this added a lot to certain parts of our service. I love being a part of this growing church as we pursue our Savior together!

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 4:46 – 6:59, looking specifically at the feeding of the 5,000, and how Jesus used what the little boy and the disciples had to perform a miracle to provide for the needs of the people. Joe gave us an important reminder that all God asks of us is what we have, and He can do amazing things with that. You can listen to the entire message here.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

Time of Preparation
“Holy, Holy, Holy” (D) [Reginald Heber, John Bacchus Dykes]
Welcome/Greeting Time
Call to Worship (Colossians 1:15-20)/Prayer
“You Are” (A) [Todd Fields]
“Let Me Sing” (A) [Todd Fields]
“God Is Able” (A) [Reuben Morgan, Ben Fielding]
“Lord of All” (A) [Kristian Stanfill]
Prayer
Message – John 6:16-21 [Joe Hishmeh]
Offering/Announcements
Response Time
“How Great Is Our God” (Bb) [Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Ed Cash]
“How Great Thou Art (chorus only)” (Bb) [Carl Gustav Boberg, Stuart K. Hine, Swedish Folk Melody]

Dismissal


“Holy, Holy, Holy”
– We opened our preparation time with this great hymn. You can read some of the history of it here. It always fascinates me how the pieces of a hymn come together. The definition of a “hymn” is simply “a song of praise to God” (Merriam-Webster). People often make the mistake of thinking that hymns were written all at one time, or even all in the same century. Most of the time, however, the lyric was written by one or two persons, and then someone came much later and put the lyrics to a melody that was current at the time. This was the case with this song. The writer wrote the hymn (w

“You Are” – We introduced this song to our church this weekend. I first heard this song from North Point Community Church’s 722 services when Todd Fields wrote it, and I loved it immediately. What stood out to me about this song was the simple and clear declaration of the divinity of Jesus. While many songs describe that truth, there are not many that come right out and say it: Jesus, You are God! For the services this weekend, I thought it was a great way to start out after our call to worship. I prefaced this song by reading from Colossians 1:15-20, which describes in detail the divinity of Jesus, in whom “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.”

“You Are”
Todd Fields

VERSE
Every knee will bow to bless Your name

Every tongue confess that You are King
All for Your glory, all for Your glory
Every tear will soon be wiped away
Every longing heart will see Your face
All for Your glory, all for Your name

CHORUS
You are God, Jesus – Majesty
You are life, Jesus – saving me
You are King, Jesus
All will see that You are God 

BRIDGE
And death could not keep You
The grave could not hold You
You are alive, You are alive

This is a powerful and true declaration that we as the Church should make often. Jesus is God!

“Let Me Sing” – I really value this song because it points out many of the reasons we have to worship, such as God’s creating us and giving us breath, the price He paid for our redemption, and His mercy toward us. These are things that we should constantly remind one another of, because they are some of the major reasons we have to worship our King. This week, we tried singing it in A rather than the usual Bb. It required some pushing during the verses, because it gets pretty low, but I thought it was easier for our congregation to sing it out on the choruses.

“God Is Able” – We began teaching this song last week, and we continued with it this week. I love this song, and I think our congregation is latching onto it.

“Lord of All” – This remains one of my favorite all-time worship songs, because it paints such a powerful portrait of the greatness of God and it helps us to respond to that with our worship. I don’t think this song will ever get old for me. Our congregation connects with it as well, so it will remain a strong part of our vocabulary here at Fellowship.

“How Great Is Our God” – We responded to the Word with this song. After talking about God’s power to use what little we have to do amazing things, This was a more fitting response than I anticipated.

“How Great Thou Art” –

This was a great weekend of worshiping our Savior.

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 the idea of eternal reward, coming from Philippians 3:12-16. It builds off of last weekend’s message, where Joe talked about finding no confidence or comparison in the flesh, but only finding confidence and the standard for comparison in Jesus Christ. Everything in this world will fade and pass away, except for God, His Word, and people, and those areas are where we need to prioritize our efforts and our energy. We need to “press on” toward knowing Christ more completely, and loving Him wholeheartedly.

Here’s our song list from this weekend:

Pre-Service – “Unleashed” (F#m) [Warren Barfield]
Call To Worship – Jeremiah 9:23-24
“Your Grace Is Enough” (G) [Matt Maher]
Welcome/ Offering/ Announcements/ Greeting time
“Forever Reign” (Bb) [Jason Ingram, Reuben Morgan]
“Lord of All” (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill]
“How Great Is Our God” [Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Ed Cash]
Message – “An Appraisal of Rewards” [David Hinkle]
Response – “I Will Boast” (D) [Paul Baloche]
Dismissal
Post-Service – “You’re The Only One” (Em) [Bill Horn]

This was a fun week in terms of the music. Over the past few months, I have gathered that much of our congregation responds to and enjoys songs that have a groove to them, like “Those Who Trust,” so I decided to experiment a little bit, take a chance this weekend, and see what happened.

“Unleashed” – A few weeks back we did this as a post-service song on a Sunday, and it went over pretty well, so we decided to try it in the pre-service this week. I love the feel of this song. It has some really fun parts for our musicians, and it communicates a simple truth that God’s love is overwhelming and completely fills us. I love the image of God “unleashing” His love on us, like He was holding back a massive wave, and eventually let it loose on us. I’m not sure the congregation quite knew what to do with this one in the first two services. I was more specific before the Sunday services that this song was for us to prepare our hearts and ready our minds for worship. It was fun to play, but I’m not sure if we’ll do it again. I will be looking to the rest of our pastoral and leadership team for feedback on that one.

“Your Grace Is Enough” – I don’t think much needs to be said about this song. It is simple and clear, and celebrates the grace of God in a great way. Our congregation connects with it and knows it well, and it is a great way to start the service. We prefaced this song with the passage from Jeremiah 9:23-24 where God speaks of boasting and the only proper object of boasting: let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth” (ESV). I think the word translated as “steadfast love” is referring to God’s grace and faithful love toward us, and it was a great way to focus our hearts in preparation for this first song.

“Forever Reign” – This was the first time we did this song in Bb together since I arrived here (last time I tried to sing it in Ab, and it was incredibly low in the verses!). This song is a staple for our church, and I have become a big fan of it over the last few months. The verses and chorus were a great connection (more than I realized initially) between the way we began, with “Unleashed” and “Your Grace Is Enough,” to where we were going, focusing on the unique worth and glory of Jesus as the Lord of lords and King of kings. He is all we need, and He is the only one we should be exalting with our lives, first because of who He is, and furthermore because of what He has done in redeeming us through His cross and resurrection. I particularly love the bridge as it sings, “My heart will sing/ No other name/ Jesus, Jesus.” Because of the gospel of Jesus, this should be the truth of our hearts. May that be the case!

“Lord of All” – It’s been a few weeks since we’ve sung this song, but it remains a favorite of mine. Our congregation connects with it well. I have maintained that this is a song that the Church needs to sing, because it not only emphasizes the glory, power, and worth of Jesus, but it also draws attention to His judgment and wrath, which is not a frequent occurrence in worship music throughout the Church’s history. I believe that this is a major emphasis in Scripture, and therefore part of God’s glory that ought to be praised. I understand the fact that God’s judgment is infrequently mentioned because it’s not always a pleasant thought, to think that God will judge. However, this attribute of God also points to His greatness and His perfect power. As Scripture frequently points out, who will question God? Who will tell Him what to do? Who made the heavens? Who created man? Will the created one try and tell the Creator what to do? No. God is almighty, and none can match His power and His glory.

“How Great is Our God” – We haven’t done this song in a while, but it’s a song that we can all get our hearts around and that we can sing well. We tried something a little different at the end of the song, and the ladies on the team sang the chorus of “Lord of All” while I sang the chorus of “How Great is Our God” (they have the same progression). It was pretty cool to hear them both together, because they communicate very similar ideas about God’s greatness, power, and unique worth.

“I Will Boast” – Because David was focusing partly on Jeremiah 9:23-24, he asked if we could do this song as a response. I think it was very fitting, because we are tempted to think that many things in our lives are worth boasting about, but Jesus is the only thing worth boasting about. My youth pastor, James, used to say something to the effect of, “Let’s brag on Jesus.” Word.

“You’re The Only One” – This is the most recent song that I have written, and it is the first time we’ve done it together here at Fellowship. We did it in the post-service time, partly to introduce it into our church. It had particular meaning to sing on Sunday, because one of our people here, a man named David Decker, was killed in a motorcycle accident last night due to another driver’s error at an intersection. David is the father of two boys. The lyric of this song comes primarily from Psalm 139, which talks about the Lord’s presence everywhere. We cannot escape His sight or His presence. No matter what we are experiencing, He is there, and He is with us.

You’re The Only One
Bill Horn

VERSE 1
In the shadows, in the empty, in the darkness,
You are near, You are here
In the trial, in the fire, in the pain,
You are with me, You are with me

PRE-CHORUS 1
I won’t be afraid
I won’t be afraid

CHORUS
You’re the only one who hears me when I call
You’re the only one to catch me when I fall

VERSE 2
In the quiet, in the silence, in the whispers
You are listening, Lord, You hear me
In the hopeless, in the helpless, in the hurting,
You are life, You are the light

PRE-CHORUS 2
Your love never fails
Your love never fails

BRIDGE
The dark is like the light to You
And night as bright as day
Wherever I go, You remain

May we all be keenly aware of His presence with us in all circumstances. May God’s presence be known in suffering, in the suffering of two boys who lost their father, and in the suffering of two parents who lost their son last night. Jesus is a High Priest who understands and sympathizes with us, and can minister better than anyone to our needs. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV).

I hope you had a great day of worship wherever you were, and that Jesus was lifted high like He deserves to be! I’m a part of The Worship Community, and you should check it out.

In the Son,

Bill

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)