Posts Tagged ‘In Christ Alone’

This week we began our celebration of Advent and our new series, “Simple Christmas.” Pastor Joe Hishmeh shared about God’s plan of redemption for us, and how the only way for us to receive this redemption is to step down from our pride and trust in the finished work of Christ. It was a great way to begin Advent. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

“Joy To The World” (C) [Isaac Watts, arr. by Bill Horn]
“Salvation’s Chorus” (G) [Todd Fields]
Greeting Time/Announcements
Message – “Simple Plan” [Joe Hishmeh]
“Jesus Take All Of Me (Just As I Am)” (C) [Charlotte Elliot, Brenton Brown]
“In Christ Alone” (E) [Keith Getty, Stuart Townend, arr. by Bill Horn]

“Here I Am To Worship” (E) [Tim Hughes]
“Cannons” (chorus only) (E) [Phil Wickham]

Thoughts: This was a great weekend. Joe’s message was a powerful to trust completely in the work of Christ and to step down from our pride that He might be more exalted in our lives. The band did a great job this weekend, too. I threw a lot at them, with some new songs and some old songs done in new ways. We introduced Todd Fields’ (of North Point) “Salvation’s Chorus” to our church this weekend, which is a song that I have wanted to teach for a while. It is a great song for celebrating our redemption in Christ. Also, we introduced Brenton Brown’s update of “Just As I Am,” entitled “Jesus Take All Of Me (Just As I Am),” which is a beautiful song for communion. Cindy Gular helped lead this one, and it was a great moment. From there, we introduced my new arrangement of “In Christ Alone.” The team did a great job of developing their parts, and I was pretty happy with the results. I look forward to singing this arrangement again soon with the church. I simply love the words of this song. All in all, it was a great weekend. The church was singing pretty well, and I loved some of the creativity the team showed this weekend. I love my church and my team! It is such a blessing to serve here.

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

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


(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, Joe shared from Ephesians 3:14-21 about submitting our lives to Jesus, and asking for His presence to dwell in us, His love to thrive in us, and His character to fill us. This, Joe said, is the greatest prayer we can pray as believers. When these things are a reality in our lives, the gospel will advance through us to others. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

For our singing this week, we focused on the powerful love of God, which surpasses all we can imagine.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

“In Tenderness” (G) [W. Spencer Walton, Adoniram J. Gordon, Nate Garvey]
Welcome/Greeting Time

“God Is Able” (B) [Ben Fielding, Reuben Morgan]
“One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)” (B) [Brian Johnson, Christa Black, Jeremy Riddle]

“Beneath The Waters (I Will Rise)” (G) [Scott Ligertwood, Brooke Ligertwood]
Message – “Ephesians 3:14-21” [Joe Hishmeh]
“Stronger” (B) [Ben Fielding, Reuben Morgan]

“In Tenderness” – We taught this song over a few weekends recently, and this was a refresher weekend for the song. It is quickly becoming one of my new favorites, and it is a great fit as we walk through the book of Ephesians. The chorus captures the heart of God in the gospel very succinctly – “O, the love that sought me/ O, the blood that bought me/ O, the grace that brought me to the fold of God/ Grace that brought me to the fold of God!” I simply love declaring this together with the Church!

“God Is Able”– We sang this song coming out of the welcome and greeting time, and it focused us right in on where we were going this morning. We sang this song in particular because part of our passage this week was Ephesians 3:20-21:

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
(Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV)

This is a solid staple in our worship song vocabulary here at Fellowship, and it does a great job of building our confidence in the one who is truly able, our Lord Jesus Christ. He conquered sin and death, and He has redeemed us and given us life. There is no one else who has done what He has done, or who could do what He can do.

“One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)” – This is another fairly new song that we introduced about two months ago. I love the strong declaration that this song makes regarding God’s faithful love. Again, this song builds our hope and our confidence in who Christ is and what He has done/will do.

“Beneath The Waters (I Will Rise)” – This is a new song that our NextGen director Erik Oldberg and his wife Sarah introduced last weekend. We continued teaching it this weekend, and one of our newer worship team members, Cindy Gular, led us on this song. It is a very strong and beautiful song, but I’m not sure yet of how it serves as a congregational song in which our people can participate besides the chorus.

As an aside, I also wanted to make a note about using this song: we made one change before we introduced it, in that we adjusted one line of the song. In the second verse, the original recording by Hillsong has the line, “Salvation through repentance.” This elevates a result of saving faith to a causal position with regards to our salvation. We are “saved by grace through faith,” according to Ephesians 2:8-9. Repentance and baptism, which are connected with salvation by Peter in the book of Acts (Acts 2:38), are demonstrations of our faith, but faith comes first. We believe and therefore we are saved. Repentance and baptism are not salvific, meaning they do not cause salvation or result in our redemption. When we truly believe in Christ, we will do those things that are fitting of a saving relationship with Christ, but salvation does not come through those things. They are not the means of salvation–faith is. While most people would not notice or make a big deal about the word “through” in this line, I think it is a huge deal, because it communicates that salvation is somehow in our hands, which is not the case. Salvation is a gift, and nothing we can do can earn it. We simply place our trust in Him as our divine substitute at the cross, recognizing our own sinfulness and desperate need for rescuing. Because of this, we changed the line to say, “Salvation to repentance,” trying to clarify that we repent because we have saving faith. The bottom line is this: as leaders, we are responsible for what we teach our people (and yes, we ARE teaching our people through the songs that we sing together). I want us to be as clear as possible with the message of the gospel. It has been entrusted to us as His Church and we must be crystal clear with it, because the world around us is doing everything possible to muddy up the truth about salvation.

“Stronger” – We sang this song for our response and communion song. We quietly sang the first part of the song (everything prior to the bridge) while the elements were being passed out, and then we sang the bridge and repeated the chorus after we took the elements. I was reminded how much I love this song when we attended the Hillsong Live concert in Kansas City a few weeks ago. It is a solid song about the gospel and what Jesus has done for us, and therefore it was a great fit for the message this weekend and for our time of communion.

This weekend was a good weekend of worship overall. Our team did a great job, and played and sang well together. I felt like the change to colder weather slowed our people down a little bit, but we celebrated the gospel and Jesus was lifted up as a result. I am so thankful for our church, and pray that the Lord continues to point us to His gospel and the salvation that is found in Him alone.  

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!

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

This week our adult ministries pastor, David Hinkle, continued our discipleship series, “Ephesians – United in Christ.” In his message, David shared from Ephesians 2:11-22 about living in unity in the Church for the purpose of glorifying Jesus Christ. One of the most impacting thoughts was that God has chosen to hang His name and reputation in the world primarily through the Church. He also gave us some really useful practical wisdom about how to respond to the needs of those who are hurting. It was a strong challenge for all of us to pursue love, peace, and unity with one another, not for its own sake, but for the glory of our great God and Savior! You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

For our singing this week, we focused on the saving work of Christ on our behalf.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

Pre-Service Countdown – “Beautiful Things” (D) [Lisa Gungor, Michael Gungor]
“Kingdom” (A) [Kristian Stanfill]

Welcome/Greeting Time

“Hallelujah To My King” (C) [Paul Baloche]
“Lead Me To The Cross” (D) [Brooke Fraser]

“In Christ Alone” (E) [Keith Getty, Stuart Townend]
Message – “Ephesians 2:11-22” [David Hinkle]
“Your Great Name” (Bb) [Michaele Neale, Krissy Nordhoff]

“Beautiful Things” – This was the second time we have sung this song in the pre-service time. It was a great fit for the focus of the weekend, because it points to the amazing truth that Jesus has taken our broken lives and not only made them new, but He knits us together as something as beautiful as the Church — His body — here on the earth. We can accomplish more together than we can apart, and we need one another. There is nothing more powerful than seeing the Church truly living as the Church — doing life together, caring for one another, supporting and encouraging one another, bearing one another’s burdens, serving together, and loving like Jesus loved us.

“Kingdom” – This was our opening song of our services this weekend. It was a late addition to the list after debating between it and “The Solid Rock.” I love how this song connected with the message, as we sang about how God has made us “the kingdom of God” and “an army of love,” whose purpose is to carry love and truth to our broken world. He has put us together not just to form a “holy huddle,” but for a glorious mission and purpose: to expand His kingdom and to take His gospel to the ends of the earth.

“Hallelujah To My King” – After our welcome time, we continued with this song, which recalls and celebrates the gospel, and how “We were strangers/ now we’re called His own.” This thought is tied very closely with the focus passage this weekend, which says that we “have been brought near by the blood of Christ” and that Jesus “Himself is our peace.” We have great cause to praise Him–He has rescued us and made peace for us, that we could be with Him forever. Sarah Oldberg led us on this song, and she did a great job as always.

“Lead Me To The Cross” – Sarah led us this song as well, and it continued to help us focus our eyes on the cross. Everything in our lives as Christians ought to begin with the cross, because everything changes for us there. When we fix our eyes on the cross (which is empty, by the way…) we see things in the proper perspective. We see the incredible and ridiculous love of God. We see grace beyond measure. We find our motivation to love others and to be truly selfless, because Jesus was selfless for us.

“In Christ Alone” – I love this modern hymn by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. This was one that I thought was more familiar to our church than it was. I had anticipated a little more participation, but it seemed to me that people were focusing more on the words of the song (and that’s not a bad thing!) because they were somewhat new to them. I love how this song communicates the gospel. I think I will need to make a point of singing it more often with our congregation, because this is definitely a song worth singing. Again, we sang this because I wanted us to focus on the gospel, because all of our worship and response stems from that.

“Your Great Name” – We responded to the message by singing this song together. Amy Thompson started us off and led the first verse of this song, and then I jumped in with the male vocal on the chorus and we continued on together. This song was definitely a highlight of the weekend. We sang it because David emphasized the truth that Jesus has placed His name and reputation on His body, the Church. All of us come from different places of brokenness and need, but when we love as Jesus loves, and care with the kind of care that Jesus has for us, Jesus’ name is lifted up and exalted. We honor Him and worship Him when we imitate Him in our world.

This weekend started a little rough in our first service, as we had a few hiccups in the band, but we smoothed them out for the last three services. It was a great moment of learning and growth for our team, because when things go bad, it is easy to get sidetracked and overly focused on our mistakes. To press on, we have to learn our lessons and move on and keep working to make things better. Our team did just that. It was a great weekend of worship, where the church was challenged to follow Jesus more fully, and where Jesus was truly lifted up!

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 weekend, we began our Romans series, “Grow In Christ.” Our family pastor, Brian Tryhus, taught about the background information surrounding Paul’s letter to the Romans, as well as calling us as a church to committing ourselves to a diligent study of the book, both individually and in community. I think it was a great challenge to all of us for the new year. I am excited about what the Lord is going to do in our church as we delve into Romans together. I pray that the gospel becomes ever more clear and sure for each of us. You can listen to the entire message here.

This was an interesting and unexpected weekend. I was not originally scheduled to lead, but another leader’s sickness necessitated it. About 3 hours before we started rehearsal, I adjusted our song set, communicated the change with the team, and we went for it. I was once again impressed by the flexibility and ability of our team. They all did a fantastic job, and it was a great weekend of worship, as we focused heavily on the gospel. Each song reflects that focus in some way.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

Time of Preparation/Prayer
“The Love Of God” (D) [Frederick M. Lehman, Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai]
Welcome/Greeting Time
“All Because Of Jesus” (Bb) [Steve Fee]
“Glorious One” (C) [Steve Fee]
“Glorious Day” (C) [
Michael Bleecker, J. Wilbur Chapman]
Message – “Romans: Grow In Christ – Introduction” [Brian Tryhus]
Communion Song – “Sing To Jesus” (Eb) [Richard Nibbe, Fernando Ortega]
“In Christ Alone” (D) [Keith Getty, Stuart Townend]

“The Love Of God”
– We sang this song as our preparation song this weekend. I especially love the third verse, which makes a beautiful analogy to speak of the greatness of God’s love:

Could we with ink the oceans fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky

“All Because Of Jesus” – This was our opener this week. We sang it because Jesus’s sacrifice for us is the reason we have life and hope. As we focus on Romans, this was a fitting song.

“Glorious One” – This song is a favorite of mine, but I have not sung it with Fellowship before this weekend. Fortunately, it was one that they had sung previously, and it was good to bring it back and sing it together.

“Glorious Day” – This song is new to our congregation, and it is one that I have wanted to introduce ever since I heard it. It is from Michael Bleecker and the Village Church, and it first appears on their album, “God Of Victory.”  (Yes, Casting Crowns did a cover of it, taking some liberties of their own, but I definitely prefer the first rendition by the Village). I love the lyric (written in 1909 by J. Wilbur Chapman), and how it communicates Christ’s incarnation, death, resurrection, and return. It moves me every time I hear it or sing it, because the truth of it resonates deeply in me. Here’s the lyric of the song:

Verse 1
One day when heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin
Dwelt among men, my Example is He

Living He loved me, dying He saved me
Buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
O glorious day

Verse 2
One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on the tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He

Verse 3
One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, o’er death He had conquered
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore

Verse 4
One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my beloved ones bringing
Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine

“Glorious Day”
J. Wilbur Chapman | Michael BleeckerCCLI Song No. 5181287
© 2008 Word Music, LLC (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.)

“Sing To Jesus” – This song was brand new to me this week. Sarah Oldberg had picked it out as a communion song this week, so I wanted to leave it in if I could learn it. It is such a beautiful lyric and melody. We did the song with just piano (Cory Zipperle did a great job making it happen!) and vocal. This song was also my introduction to Fernando Ortega. I had heard the name, but never heard any of his music before this week. I am now a fan. I am looking forward to discovering more of his music as a result of this song!

“In Christ Alone” – This was our response song this weekend. I love this modern hymn. It’s interesting to play on guitar, because the traditional arrangement probably wasn’t written with guitar in mind… But it works, and the power of the song takes care of it. It declares the gospel clearly and beautifully, and it is a song that just sounds like I knew it, even when it was the first hearing. It is truly in Christ alone that we have salvation, life, and hope.

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

In the Son,

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