Posts Tagged ‘John P. Rees’

Well, life has been happening and I have fallen behind on my posts, so a little catch-up is in order. The past two weekends have been some of my favorites here at Fellowship. We have been in the midst of a series titled “Faith” and it has been both encouraging and challenging for our church. On 11/02 -11/03, our lead pastor, Joe, shared how we have been redeemed by the finished work of Christ. This past weekend, 11/09 – 11/10, our Adult Discipleship Pastor, David Hinkle, shared about how God has set us apart for His glory and His working here on the earth. Both of these messages were powerful declarations of the gospel, and it really showed as the church sang in response. You can listen to or watch the entire messages and services here.

Here’s our service plan from 11/02 – 11/03:

Pre-Service – “Song of the Redeemed” (Em) [Charlie Hall, Kendall Combes, Quint Anderson, Brian Bergman, Dustin Ragland] 
“Sing to the King” (E) [Billy Foote, Charles Silvester Horne]
Greeting Time
Message – “Faith: Redeemed” [Joe Hishmeh]
Communion Intro
“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” (D) [John Newton, Edwin O. Excell, John P. Rees, Chris Tomlin, Louie Giglio]
Taking of the Elements
“You Have Overcome” (A) [Bill Horn, Erik Oldberg]
“This Is Amazing Grace” (A) [Phil Wickham, Jeremy Riddle, Josh Farro]

Thoughts: This weekend was one of my favorite services of which I have ever been a part. Our team did a fantastic job leading across the board. Kelsey Thomsen rejoined the team to co-lead this weekend after a long break for school in Wichita, and she did a great job in her return. I am so excited to see how everyone stepped up and called our congregation to worship Jesus. The highlights for me were “Song of the Redeemed,” “Sing to the King,” and “You Have Overcome.” It was an amazing weekend!

Here’s our service plan from this past weekend, 11/09 – 11/10:

“Holy Is The Lord” (E) [Chris Tomlin, Louie Giglio] 
“Before The Throne” (A) [Charitie Lees Bancroft, The Modern Post]
Greeting Time
Message – “Faith: Set Apart” [David Hinkle]
“A Mighty Fortress” (Bb) [Christy Nockels, Nathan Nockels]
“Jesus Paid It All” (Bb) [John T. Grape, Elvina M. Hall, w/ additional chorus by Alex Nifong]
“Rejoice” (Bb) [Dustin Kensrue, Stuart Townend]

Thoughts: This weekend was another great weekend of worship. Again, our team did a great job leading us in worship. Becky Tindell did a great job co-leading, especially in leading us on “A Mighty Fortress,” which is an awesome song coming largely from the book of Hebrews. It was a great fit with the message this weekend, along with “Jesus Paid It All.” Together, these two songs encapsulated the emphasis of David’s powerful message: we are set apart to holiness for God’s glory, yet our righteousness before God is only in the finished work of Jesus on our behalf. The highlights for me were “Before the Throne,” “Jesus Paid It All,” and “Rejoice,” which is one of my favorite new songs. If you haven’t heard it yet, give it a listen. The lyric is powerful and moving. In all, it was a beautiful weekend.

So, I leave you with this: what were your experiences, observations, or take-aways from these past two weekends?

– Bill


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

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

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

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

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

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

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

– Bill

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

This weekend, we continued in the second week of our series through 2 Corinthians– “Purpose In Christ.” Joe shared about growing in forgiveness, and how forgiveness can be the demonstration of the victory that Christ has over sin. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

“In Tenderness” (G) [W. Spencer Walton, Adoniram J. Gordon, Nate Garvey, arr. by Citizens]
“Sing to the King” (D) [Charles Sylvester Horne, Billy James Foote]
Greeting Time/Announcements
Message – “Purpose In Christ – Forgiveness” [Joe Hishmeh]
“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” (E) [Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin, John Newton, Edwin O. Excell, John P. Rees]

“Forever Reign” (A) [Reuben Morgan, Jason Ingram]
“You Have Overcome” (A) [Bill Horn, Erik Oldberg]

Thoughts: This was a great weekend. Joe’s message was very powerful and challenging, our team led well, and the church was very engaged. Becky Tindell returned to co-lead after her maternity leave, and it was great to have her back. The entire worship team locked in really well and it was a solid weekend musically. I love the songs that we sang this weekend, and I felt like there was a good balance of both energetic songs and reflective songs. Also, our tech team did a great job, with three volunteers running sound, video, and MediaShout for the first time solo. It is really amazing to see how our team is growing and developing. God continues to bring people who have a passion to accomplish the mission of our church together, for which I am extremely grateful. God is doing some great things here, and I truly believe our best days are ahead of us.

Thanks for reading and being a part of this with me!

– Bill


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

This week our pastor, Joe Hishmeh, continued our discipleship series, “Ephesians – United in Christ.” In the message for the weekend, Joe shared from Ephesians 5:1-8 how God calls us to “Love not Lust.” When we settle for lust instead of love, we are selling ourselves short, and accepting far less than God’s best for our lives. It was a powerful challenge to pursue love and our true identity and purpose in Christ. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

Because of the drive of the message, we focused on the amazing love of God that never changes, never fails, never leaves us, never forsakes us, and never gives up.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

“Sing to the King” (D) [Billy Foote, Charles Silvester Horne]
Welcome/Greeting Time

“One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)” (Bb) [Brian Johnson, Christa Black, Jeremy Riddle]
“Forever Reign” (Bb) [Jason Ingram, Reuben Morgan]
“Your Great Name” (Bb) [Michael Neale, Krissy Nordhoff]
Message – “Ephesians 5:1-8” [Joe Hishmeh]
“The Love of God” (D) [Frederick M. Lehman, arr. by Bill Horn]
“Amazing Grace” (D) [John Newton, Edwin O. Excell, John P. Rees, arr. by Bill Horn]


“Sing to the King” – We opened our services this weekend with this great hymn rewrite by Billy Foote. One of our newer team members, Cindy Gular, led us on this one and did a great job. I loved opening with this song, as it set our eyes on our hope: Christ’s victorious return and the consummation of our salvation. As Joe said in his message, “Our lives our best when long-term values are  the basis of our short-term decisions.” When we keep our eyes on our future and our hope in Christ, we live differently.

“One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)” – We continued after the welcome time with this song, which helps us declare the truth about God’s constant and unchanging love for us. I love singing this song together with our congregation.

“Forever Reign” – This song says a lot about God and His character. I love how it juxtaposes God’s perfection against our weakness in the verses, helping us to see and sing of our great need for Him.

“Your Great Name” – We finished the first part of the service with this song, which points us to the cross and the redemption that we find in Christ alone. He is Lord, and He is high and lifted up, and one day every knee will bow before His throne and confess that truth. My hope for our congregation is that we will confess that truth not only with our words, but with our lives.

“The Love of God” – We responded to the message with this profound hymn about God’s love. I (along with most everyone else who hears this song) particularly love the last verse: “Could we with ink the oceans fill, and were the skies of parchment made/ Were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill, and ev’ry 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.” That is beautifully said.

“Amazing Grace” – We tagged this onto the end of “The Love of God” to finish out our services. We did something we don’t normally do, in that we sang it only with piano. It was a nice moment for us all to hear one another singing this most familiar of hymns together. I feel that it also helped tie everything together from the service: recognizing our own sinfulness, the greatness of God’s love and grace for us, and fixing our eyes on our hope in Christ.

Thoughts: This weekend was a great weekend. Our team did a great job, and I am happy with how each song tied together with the focus. I felt that the church sang well in each of our services, and that people were engaging with the truth of God and His gospel in the songs that we were singing. The weekends are consistently a highlight of my week, as we remember the gospel and praise God for who He is and what He has done for us.

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

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

This weekend, we continued our Romans series, and focused on Romans 5:1-10. In his message, Joe shared about what the life of a believer looks like because of what Christ has done. He talked about how we are now reconciled to God, and as a result we have peace and rest with Him. You can listen to the entire message here. Because of the focus of Joe’s message, we emphasized our new standing with God because of His great love for us. We have hope and life because of Him.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

Time of Preparation/Prayer
“Jesus You” (E) [Bill Horn]
Welcome/Greeting Time
Call To Worship – Psalm 33:1ff
“Your Grace Is Enough” (G) [Matt Maher]
“I Stand Amazed” (G) [Charles H. Gabriel]
“Because Of Your Love” (G) [Phil Wickham
Message – “Romans 5:1-10” [Joe Hishmeh]
Communion Song – “In My Place” (Eb) [Michael Bleecker, Matt Boswell]
“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” (Eb) [Edwin O. Excell, John Newton, Louie Giglio, John P. Rees, Chris Tomlin]

“Jesus You”
– We sang this song as our preparation song this weekend, because it was written partially from chapter 5 of Romans. The certain hope that we have because of what Jesus has accomplished on our behalf is the focus of this section of Romans and is also the ultimate focus of this song.

“Your Grace Is Enough” – This song remains a staple for us at Fellowship. We don’t sing it as often as maybe we once did, but it is a great song of celebration as we express our confidence in the finished work of Christ on our behalf. His grace is sufficient for us, and we look nowhere else for our salvation. Jesus is the one who has saved us; we did not save ourselves.

“I Stand Amazed” – This song was fitting for this weekend, because it points to our previous status of condemnation before God, our redemption through the work of Christ, and the future hope we have when Christ returns. Our church sings this song well. We may have set the click a little fast early in the weekend, but it was still a great song with which to celebrate our Savior’s great and marvelous love for us.

“Because Of Your Love” – I love how this song declares that living our lives for God’s glory is the fitting response to what He has done for us through the cross. We only have true life because of what Christ has accomplished for us. He endured our pain and our penalty in our place as our substitute, giving His life up selflessly, and now we can give our own lives selflessly for Him and for others.

“In My Place”This was a new song that wanted to introduce for our communion time this weekend. I have been listening to this song for the past year or two, and I finally found my opportunity to introduce it here at Fellowship. I love the lyrical focus and the beauty of this song about the cross. We brought it down from G to Eb, and I think it was much more singable for our congregation in that range. I’m still not sold on whether this song could work in our setting for a congregational song, because there are lot of implied notes that the melody pulls out, such as starting on a major 7 (G)of the chord that the rest of the band is playing (Ab). I think it will still be at least a fantastic communion and preparation song in the future. We’ll see how else we can use it. Here’s the lyric:

“In My Place”
Michael Bleecker, Matt Boswell

In my place He stood condemned
He who knew no sin
Became sin for us
That we might become His righteousness

Bearing all my sin and shame
The punishment and blame
He conquered the grave
That we might become the heirs of grace

In my place, Jesus died
The spotless Lamb laid down His life
The wrath of God was satisfied
In my place, Jesus died

Nail-pierced hands, bleeding side,
His body bruised, my God crucified
Crown of thorns, dying cries,
His flesh was torn, my God crucified

Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

CCLI # 5181287 

“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” – This was our response song this weekend. This is another great song that we haven’t done very often, and it was a great fit for this weekend. I love singing of our chains being gone and of our newfound freedom in Christ.

On a side note, my wife and I were talking about 2 Chronicles 20 this weekend, and how God called Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah to merely stand before their enemies, who were on their doorstep and about to attack. The people of God went out to face their attackers, and they worshiped the Lord. As they did, God won the victory for them, and their enemies destroyed themselves without the people of Judah lifting a finger against them. They merely trusted in the Lord, and He fought for them. In this passage, there is an interesting correlation between worship and prayer and trusting in the Lord. Really, when we are doing the first two things sincerely and with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, it is because we are also trusting God. When we depend and trust in Him, we get the opportunity to see Him move in powerful ways, and He gets all the glory. I pray that we, as the people of God through Christ Jesus, would trust in the Lord so completely that our worship and prayer together would reflect that. He is worthy of our trust, and He is worthy of our worship–ALL of it.

This weekend was a great time of celebrating the life, hope, and peace that we have because of Christ, and then celebrating through communion together as well. Praise God for the love that led Jesus to the cross in our place to save us!

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!

This weekend, we focused on John 6:60-71, examining the different responses to Jesus when He doesn’t do what we want Him to do, and when we don’t understand what He is doing. We can either walk away (which many did), we can war against Him (like the Pharisees), or we can cling to Him (like Peter and the disciples) as our only hope. Their response of trust was basically this: “Where else could we go? To whom could we turn?” Is this our response when we don’t understand what is happening in our lives? Do we respond with this kind of worship? You can listen to the entire message here.

Focusing on this passage, we sang songs that exalted the Lord as sovereign and powerful, and songs that called us as the church to trust Him more because He is faithful and true. He is constant, and His grace toward us is unchanging because it is not based on us at all. It is based on His character and goodness. He is good, and has purchased us as His own through His blood at the cross. He has adopted us as sons and daughters, and now regards us as co-heirs together with Christ. He sees us as He sees Christ, because of Christ–justified and righteous. Because of this we have nothing to fear, because we will be with Him forever, and this life will be a “blip” on the radar of our lives in the grand scheme of things. We read from 2 Timothy 2:13 during our time of singing: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful–for He cannot deny Himself.” We are a part of Him because of what Christ has done for us, and He will not, and cannot, forsake us.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

Time of Preparation/Prayer
“Captivate Us” (Ab) [Charlie Hall, Christy Nockels, Nathan Nockels]
Welcome/Greeting Time
“You Are” (Ab) [Todd Fields]
“Forever Reign” (Ab) [Jason Ingram, Reuben Morgan]
“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” (Db) [Edwin O. Excel, Louie Giglio, John Newton, John P. Rees, Chris Tomlin]
Message – John 6:60-71 [Joe Hishmeh]
Communion Song – “Rock of Ages” (Bb) [Thomas Hastings, Augustus Montague Toplady]
Response Time
“A Mighty Fortress” (C) [Christy Nockels, Nathan Nockels]

“Captivate Us” – We sang this song for our time of preparation. We had sung it last week for Overflow, which is our quarterly night of worship, and it was the first time I had heard the song. I love it. It took a little bit to figure out the finger-style acoustic part, because it has some interesting chords in the arrangement, but it is beautiful. Sarah Oldberg led this song, and I think it was perfect for our time of preparation.

“You Are” – This song by Todd Fields appeared on the first North Point Live album. We began teaching this song last weekend, and we continued with it this week. In it, we are given words to declare that Jesus is God. As I wrote last week on the blog, there are not many songs that come right out and say that Jesus is God, yet this is an important part of our Christology (study of Christ) and our overall doctrine as Christians. Jesus is equal with God, and He is God, as the beginning of the Gospel of John tells us. We need more songs that declare this truth plainly. I think our congregation connected more with it this week.

“Forever Reign” – This is one of the staples of our worship song vocabulary, and rightfully so. It is a firm declaration of the character of God, and points to many of His attributes, all contrasted with our weaknesses. It exalts God in a powerful way, along with our desperate need for Him. This song aligned really well to Joe’s message, declaring, “My heart will sing/ No other name/ Jesus, Jesus.” He is the one with the words of eternal life. He is the only one to whom we can turn.

“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” – Part of what I enjoy about this song is that Tomlin used the original third and fourth verses of the hymn that Newton wrote. There is a common theme throughout the original verses of security and trust in God, because of His grace, and that is why we sang this song this weekend. We need to remind one another of this truth. His grace was unearned and undeserved from the beginning. It is only because of God’s character that He has grace for us, and He continues to have grace for us because of who He is and what He has done. He redeemed us through the cross, where Jesus died in our place. He was our substitute, and He continues to be that for us. He is the reason for our security and promise of an eternity with God. We have nothing to ultimately fear because our eternity has been secured by God Himself.

“Rock of Ages” – We sang this song for our time of communion/Lord’s Supper. I love this hymn, especially the arrangement by Ascend the Hill. The lyric communicates a powerful desperation for the saving work of Christ, and recognizes our own powerlessness to save ourselves. We need Him, and we are hopeless apart from Christ. “Rock of Ages” says this beautifully.

“A Mighty Fortress” – We responded to the Word with this song. Again, we were emphasizing the eternal, unchanging character of God. Because of who He is–faithful and true, unchanging and constant, powerful and mighty, righteous and good–we can turn to Him as our mighty fortress and refuge. He is the only one who can hold this place in our lives, because there is no one else like Him. I love the way this song declares these truths about our Lord. It inspires confidence and hope in me. Sarah did a great job leading this song this weekend.

This was another great weekend of worshiping our Savior together. I felt like we were all called and encouraged to trust Him more, and to have more confidence in who He is, even when we have NO idea what He is doing (which may be often). I know I was built up this weekend, and challenged to entrust Jesus with more of my life, and more of my “stuff.”

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!

Here’s our set from this weekend:

“All Because of Jesus” (A) [Steve Fee]
Call to Worship
“Happy Day” (Bb) [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon]
Welcome/Announcements/Greeting Time
“Jesus Messiah” (G) [Daniel Carson, Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves]
“You Alone Can Rescue” (Bb) [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman]
“Jesus Paid It All” (Bb) [John Thomas Grape, Elvina M. Hall, Alex Nifong]
Message – “I Believe God Acted – Redemption” [David Hinkle]
Response – “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” (Eb) [Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin, John Newton, Edwin O. Excell, John P. Rees]

I feel like this week was another step forward for our team and our congregation. We took more steps to make it easier to participate – we brought some songs down to a lower key, and we were more intentional about teaching new material. It seemed like there was more participation overall in each of the four services, which is exciting and encouraging. The team felt locked-in (most of the time), and I felt like we were engaged in worship as we were leading the congregation, as well.

We brought “All Because of Jesus” down to the key of A from the usual key of B, and we brought “Happy Day” down to Bb from B. Both were good moves, as the people sang out more on both. When I took a close look at the lead sheets this week, I noticed that both of these songs had parts of the melody that went well beyond the range of the “normal” voice, from C to C. We brought them both down to get them close. They still weren’t entirely in the desired range, but if we lowered them much more, the verses would bottom out! That’s one of the biggest problems with some modern worship songs – the low verses and high choruses make it difficult to get them into a normal person’s vocal range. We’ll keep working on it, though!

“Jesus Messiah” is one of the 21 songs we have done more than five times over the past year, and therefore is one that I would be safe in saying we know as a congregation. It showed as people sang it out and connected with God through it. I love the lyric of this song, as it really declares the gospel clearly, and finishes it all off with the simple, powerful bridge: “All our hope is in You/ All our hope is in You/ All the glory to You, God/ The Light of the world.” Jesus is our only hope of salvation. Enough said.

Also, this week we introduced “You Alone Can Rescue” by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman. When I initially heard this song done live by Matt Redman, I was very excited about it, but when I heard the recorded version, I was a little underwhelmed, so I put it off for a while. However, when Matt led at Student Life in Daytona this past summer, I was reminded again how powerful this song is. It is a simple lyric, but proclaims a powerful truth – that Jesus is the only one who can save us. Here’s the lyric:

Verse 1
Who, O Lord, could save themselves
Their own soul could heal
Our shame was deeper than the sea
Your grace is deeper still

And You alone can rescue, You alone can save
You alone can lift us from the grave
You came down to find us, led us out of death
To You alone belongs the highest praise

Verse 2
You, O Lord, have made a way
The great divide You healed
For when our hearts were far away
Your love went further still
Yes, Your love goes further still

We lift up our eyes, lift up our eyes
You’re the giver of life
We lift up our eyes, lift up our eyes
You’re the giver of life

Even typing the lyric of this song is bringing me to tears. What a beautiful expression of confidence in Christ alone for our rescue and salvation. We have no hope apart from Him! His humble, loving sacrifice is the only way for us to be rescued; the fact that He chose to redeem us at such a great cost to Himself is overwhelming. This song brings this into clear focus, and is a beautiful expression of thanksgiving and recognition of the work of Jesus Christ to save us. He, and He alone, is the one who can rescue, who can save us, who can lift us from the grave. This is because He is the one who came down to find us a lead us out of death. Scripture says that Jesus’ efforts to rescue us are the reason God has given Him the name above every name (Philippians 2). I know this is the reason I worship Him. He is so good, while I am still so undeserving of it. My life is completely dependent on His grace and finished work of the cross.

We bracketed the message about our redemption with Alex Nifong’s arrangement of “Jesus Paid It All” and Tomlin’s “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone).” These two songs never get old to me, because there is beauty in the simplicity of their declarations. I never tire of singing, “O praise the One who paid my debt/ And raised this life up from the dead.” On “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” Kelsey Thomsen and I traded off on the verse. She did a great job leading, and I think it facilitated a very powerful moment of worship, especially after David’s weighty message about our redemption. I loved his words about what God has done to rescue us! We owe it all to Jesus Christ, who made a way where there was no way.

I love my church, and I am very excited about what is going on around here. We are learning and growing together, and we are pursuing Jesus Christ and His gospel. Jesus, and His work to redeem us, was truly lifted high this weekend. I am so grateful for how He has rescued us. He is truly my only hope!

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

Jesus alone is worthy!


Sunday Set Lists