Posts Tagged ‘life’

Hello friends!

Sorry for my prolonged absence from blogging over here. My wife delivered our third child in early December, and we’ve been adjusting to a new normal and “zone defense” at home, all while enjoying the Advent season together with friends and family. I will be doing some catch-up posts about our Advent songs and one about the two weeks since then, as well. Keep an eye out!

I pray that you have a blessed New Year, and that you are keenly aware of Christ’s presence with you.

Bill

This weekend, we focused on the subject of transformational worship. Joe’s point was that we become like whatever we worship. We are transformed by the object of our worship. When we are worshiping the things of this world, we become more like them, and take on their characteristics. He called us to preparation for worship, presentation of our lives as living sacrifices, and participation in God’s calling on us.

Here’s our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service – “Only a Word” (E) [original]
Time of Preparation (a time of confession and focus in prayer)
Welcome/Greeting Time
Call To Worship – Rom. 12:1-2
“Glory to God Forever” (Bb) [Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching]
“The Lost Are Found” (Bb) [Ben Fielding, Sam Knock]
“Lord of All” (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill]
“Jesus Paid It All” (Bb) [Elvina M. Hall, John Thomas Grape, Alex Nifong]
Message – “Upgrade – Worship” [Joe Hishmeh]
Offering/Announcements
Response – “Let Me Sing” [Todd Fields]
Dismissal 

“Only a Word” – I’ve wanted to sing this song here for a while. We used it because it sets a good tone for worship by recognizing God’s power to change us and to change the world, and helps us develop an expectation for Him to move in our midst, because “nothing impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). The thought of this song that it only takes one word from God to change everything. Scripture shares the phrase that God said in creation, “Let there be…” That was all it took. I don’t think He needed to say anything, but it simply communicates how easy it is for God to transform our reality. He is able and powerful. I have been reading through Tozer’s The Knowledge Of The Holy, and he repeatedly states the fact that nothing is difficult for God. He never needs to rest after working. He has everything He needs to do anything He wants whenever He wants to do it. Through that book, I have been reminded that God is truly able.

Here’s the lyric from the song:

“Only a Word”
Words and Music by Bill Horn

VERSE 1
With a word You throw the spheres and space is formed
With Your voice You fill the void with light and worlds
With Your arm You carve the ocean from the shore
With a breath You move the dust and life is born

CHORUS
With only a word, stars come blazing forth
Only one verb, and darkness is no more
Only Your voice, can pierce us through, O Lord
This world can be transformed, with only a word

VERSE 2
With a thought You ease the waves and still the sea
With Your hand You touch the blind and let him see
With a song You make the prison doors break free
Everything can change when You say, “Let it be”

BRIDGE
The sun aligns with You
For You are the truth
You are reality
Before everything

“Glory to God Forever” – We prefaced this song with Romans 12:1-2 as our call to worship. I felt it was a good way to start a week that focused on worship, because we need to fight hard to correct the misperception that worship through music is all there is to worship. The proper posture of the worshiping heart is summed up in the bridge: “Take my life and let it be/ All for You and for Your glory/ Take my life and let it be Yours.”

“The Lost Are Found” – This was a new song for our congregation this week. Joe asked if we could teach it, because it really ties into the subjects of worship (the song of the redeemed/Lordship of Christ/making all things new) and outreach (which we’ll be focusing on next week. This is a good song with a simple a strong lyric. I really like what is technically the bridge of the song, which sings, “The lost are found, the blind will see/ The lame will walk, the dead will live/ And You our God, forever You will reign.” In teaching the song, I called our people to remember and look forward to the day of Christ’s return, when He makes all things new and rights all the wrongs in this world. We look forward to this day with hope, and it should change our perspective on daily life.

“Lord of All” – We sang this song because it helps is get a proper perspective on who the Lord is  – the Lord of all and King of kings. I love singing this song together. We had one hiccup in the 3rd service on this one, where our drummer Jordan’s kick pedal broke toward the end of “The Lost Are Found” and was broken throughout this song. Our tech director, Wyatt, was able to grab a replacement from one of our other venues and get it installed for the end of the song. It was a good reminder of what is truly important in our worship services, and it was fitting in the week about worship. The band and technology are nice, but they are extras that can possibly make it easier for us to worship God by connecting our head and our hearts. However, they are by no means essential, and we all ought to be able to worship the Lord just as well without an instrument as with the full band.

“Jesus Paid It All” – We sang this song because there is no greater reason for us to worship than the gospel of Christ. We were dead, and now we are alive in Him. We were enemies, and now we are heirs together with Christ. Could there be a greater reason to be thankful and worship our great God?

“Let Me Sing” – I think this was a fitting response to our pastor’s message this weekend, because it expresses a desire to live a life that worships God greater than anything else in creation. The chorus sings, “Let me sing louder than creation to You/ For the pain You bore in Your body/ To bring my soul to You/ Let me shine brighter than the stars in the sky/ An offering of praise all my life/ To You my holy King.” I think this sums up my thinking about the entire service. Our greatest reason for worship is the gospel, and the kind of worship God deserves is that which comes from an entire life lived for Him.

We had a good weekend of corporate worship, focusing on the subject of lifestyle worship. I enjoyed how the different elements connected and interplayed. It seems like God made it all fit together to communicate a single message: worship is life.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship!

In the Son,

Bill

p.s. Don’t forget to check out The Worship Community to see what other leaders did this weekend!

This weekend, we focused on Philippians 1:18-26, where Paul clearly lays out what is truly worth living and dying for: Jesus Christ. Nick Strobel, our student pastor, shared about living for what is valuable and having proper perspective on life and death. I was really challenged by what he said, and how he unpacked this passage of Scripture. Ultimately, Jesus is more valuable than our stuff and our accomplishments, because Jesus is eternal and Jesus is perfect. He is the only one who can give our lives the value that they need to be fulfilling. He is the only one worth living and dying for.

Here’s our set list from this weekend:

Pre-Service – “All Because of Jesus” (Bb) [Steve Fee]
Call to Worship – Psalm 66:1-2
“Glory To God Forever” (Bb) [Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching]
Video/Welcome/Announcements/Greeting Time
“Blessed Be Your Name” (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman]
“It Is Well” (Bb) [Todd Fields, Horatio G. Spafford, Philip Paul Bliss]
“You Never Let Go” (Bb) [Matt Redman]
Message – The Appraisal of Death [Nick Strobel]
Response – “Glory to God Forever” (reprise) (Bb) [Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching] 

We opened the pre-service with “All Because of Jesus.” This song had a twofold relation to the passage of Philippians this week. First, it related to our real life being created in Christ and His perfect work on the cross. Second, it related in that Jesus is the only one worth living for and giving our glory to, because of what He has done. I thought it was a very fitting way to begin this weekend’s services, and it set the proper tone for our worship.

During the call to worship, we took a look at Psalm 66:1-2, and took the opportunity to teach our congregation about shouting for joy to the Lord, as we continue to explore the Biblical expressions of worship. Together, we shouted Jesus’ name at the count of three. I think it was a stretching time for our congregation, and while not everyone participated, I think most did, and we are better for it.

From there we moved to “Glory To God Forever,” mainly because of the bridge, which fit well with the overarching thought of the weekend, as it sings, “Take my life and let it be/ All for You and for Your glory/ Take my life and let it be Yours.” My hope was to emphasize to our congregation to make this our prayer. I cannot think of a more noble or desirable prayer for the King of kings and His kingdom. I love how succinctly this bridge communicates the idea of sacrifice and taking up our cross.

After the welcome and announcement time, we opened the second set with “Blessed Be Your Name.” This song is powerful, and has been for some time. There are not many songs that communicate such a heart and willingness to praise God regardless of our circumstances, because He is more valuable and worthy than our circumstances and even our own lives. I think if we are honest, this is a difficult concept for us to handle, much less for us to sing with all of our hearts. This is especially true in the bridge: “You give and take away/ You give and take away/ My heart will choose to say/ Lord, blessed be Your name.” This song set the tone for the entire second set, as we tried to remind one other that Jesus is worthy of our lives and our worship, regardless of the circumstances. He alone is that worthy.

We continued the second set with “It Is Well,” which I have written at length about in the past. I still love this arrangement, and I think it continues to connect with our congregation in a special way. I love to hear our people sing the lyrics of this song, as we examine how Jesus is faithful and true, and all will be “well” when this life is over. There is nothing to fear.

We then finished the set with “You Never Let Go.” This song is new to Fellowship, and was a song that I introduced when I was interviewing here. It has always been one of my favorites from my time at Church at the Mall in Lakeland (you can see our team there leading this song here). I love its declaration of confidence in Jesus regardless of circumstances. It draws partially from Psalm 23 and from 1 John 4. The truth of this song is that we have nothing to fear if we are in Christ, because He never leaves us and never forsakes us, and He will always be with us. We can draw hope and confidence in this truth, and we can walk in such a way that we lay our lives down for the kingdom of God, no matter the cost, because our hope will not be disappointed in Christ!

We responded to the message with a reprise of the bridge and chorus of “Glory To God Forever,” and made that a sort of benediction as well as a challenge to each other. My prayer is that we lay our lives down for our King and His kingdom, no matter the cost. May our lives truly be Yours, O Lord.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were. Be sure to check out The Worship Community to see what other leaders experienced in their worship gatherings this weekend.

Be a part of the discussion below with your comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

In the Son,

Bill

Jesus is risen! He has conquered sin and death, and He reigns forevermore. This weekend holds so much meaning for the church, and it was truly a joy to celebrate Christ’s resurrection together. This weekend, we had two services on Good Friday, and then six Easter services through Saturday and Sunday (two on Saturday and four on Sunday). It was a marathon, but it was completely worth it. I am so proud of our team for stepping up and serving with excellence in all of the services, giving their best for our Savior and His church.

Here’s our set from Good Friday:

“Jesus Messiah” (G) [Chris Tomlin, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, and Ed Cash]
“Because of Your Love” (G) [Phil Wickham]
Lamb of God” (G) [Bill Horn]
Message – “The Heroic Rescue of Humanity: Jesus the Savior” [Joe Hishmeh]
Response – “The Wonderful Cross” [Isaac Watts, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Lowell Mason, J.D. Watts]
Communion Intro
“Nothing But The Blood” [Matt Redman]
“You Saw Me” [Mia Fieldes, Ben Fielding, and Reuben Morgan]
Taking of the elements
Dismissal 

And here’s how we celebrated the resurrection in our Easter services:

Pre-service – “God is Alive” (A) [Steve Fee and Eddie Kirkland]
Call to worship – Mark 16:4-6
“Happy Day” (Bb) [Tim Hughes and Ben Cantelon]
Welcome/ Offering/ Announcements/ Greeting time
“You Alone Can Rescue” (Bb) [Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin]
“Stronger” (Bb) [Ben Fielding and Reuben Morgan]
Message – “The Heroic Rescue of Humanity: Jesus the Restorer” [Joe Hishmeh]
Response – “Jesus Paid It All” [John Thomas Grape, Elvina M. Hall, and Alex Nifong]
Dismissal – Joe Hishmeh

I am thrilled with how this weekend’s services went. Our Good Friday services were sweet times of reflection on the cross and on Jesus sacrifice for us. We used a distinct instrumentation for the service, with predominantly acoustic instruments. We had two standard acoustics, a high-strung acoustic (Nashville tuning), viola, fretless bass, and a percussion set up for our drummer with djembe and cajon and a few toys. It was very organic in the way that we put the songs together and in the way we presented it. I thought it came across the way we wanted, and people were pointed to the cross. We had the large, wooden cross lit in all red, and the band was all in black in the background on the stage, and that helped to communicate the desired focus for the evening. In all, it was a strong and sincere evening. Good Friday is one of my favorite occasions for worship, as we praise our Savior for His great sacrifice on our behalf–in our place, for our sins.

One Easter, we pulled out the stops, and pushed things forward a bit with some new elements. We opened the pre-service time with “God is Alive,” and we used a brand-new element in our context: our drummer, Jordan, is a master beat producer, and he brought out his Akai MPC 4000 to create a loop to play underneath the whole song, which would be brought into focus during the intro and the breaks. I was giddy when he put it all together and we started to play together as a band. It was such a fresh addition to what we have been doing, and it is and element that I have wanted to incorporate (in any worship setting) for years. The click track was step one to getting to this point, and we got here a lot quicker than I anticipated. It was pretty special to finally experience it in that way. I thought it added even more energy to an already exciting song. It was a perfect moment for me, as we sang out “Everyone/ Glorify the risen Son/ The Holy One has overcome/ Jesus is alive/ The enemy/ Is broken underneath His feet/ Death is crushed in victory/ Jesus is alive/ Jesus is alive.” It’s a beautiful thing!

We followed the call to worship with “Happy Day,” which felt like a great fit for the weekend. This song was a little more familiar to our congregation, so they sang out and participated more than on “God is Alive” (which is part of why we did “God is Alive” in the pre-service slot). I love the truth in this song, and I think it is one of Tim Hughes’ best songs. He captures the gospel message clearly and simply. The verses say it well: “The greatest day in history/ Death is beaten, You have rescued me/ Sing out, Jesus is alive/ The empty cross, the empty grave/ Life eternal, You have won the day/ Shout it out, Jesus is alive/ He’s alive!”

After the welcome time, we moved to “You Alone Can Rescue” and “Stronger,” which are two songs that focus on God’s unique ability to save us and rescue us from sin and death, and to give us eternal life. I love the choruses of each of the songs. “You Alone Can Rescue” sings, “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 belong the highest praise.” In particular, my favorite line is the one that describes the divine condescension, His coming down to find us and leading us out of death. I am moved as I sing those words. This song really took hold with me as Matt Redman led at a week-long event in Daytona Beach last summer, and the weight of these words really landed. It remains a powerful expression of worship for me. The chorus of “Stronger” sings, “You are stronger/ You are stronger/ Sin is broken/ You have saved me/ It is written/ Christ is risen/ Jesus, You are Lord of all.” This echoes Scripture in a few places, one of which is Philippians 2, where Paul writes that “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:8-11 NASB).  Because of Jesus’ humble and obedient sacrifice to conquer sin and death, He now has the name which is above every name. He is Lord of all, and worthy of being worshiped as such.

We finished the service by responding with “Jesus Paid It All,” but we did it a little differently than we had previously. We treated the original hymn in a very standard way. We played it in a way that would be very familiar for guests and regular attenders alike, in a gentle and slowly building manner. Then, we finished with an instrumental chorus, with the piano playing the melody. When we landed on the tonic chord (Bb), we let it ring out, and then quietly sang Alex Nifong’s added chorus: “O praise the One/ Who paid my debt/ And raised this life/ Up from the dead.” We went from gentle to full-bore in a matter of moments, and it was a powerful moment as we declared praise and truth about our risen King, who has also given us life when we were dead in our sins and transgressions (Eph. 2). It was a great fit with Joe’s message this weekend, which talked about two ways to live – either submitted to Jesus as the true King by faith and trust in His finished work on the cross to make things right; or attempting to reign over our own lives and to make things right on our own, unsuccessfully.

Our Easter weekend has been a true highlight of my time with Fellowship thus far. I can’t wait for us to continue to develop things and build from here. We have an amazing Worship and Arts team here, and I love their servant hearts. God is doing great things among us. He is alive and moving in His church!

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were. Be sure to check out The Worship Community to see what other leaders and team members experienced in their worship gatherings this weekend.

In the name of the risen Son!

Bill

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” This verse has always been one that has guided Diane and me through our marriage and ministry together. We have sought to trust God, even when it’s difficult, and to follow Him wherever He leads, because He knows what we do not know, and He sees what we cannot see. His will is what we would have chosen if we knew everything about any given situation.

In February of 2006, after the craziest 6 months we had ever experienced, God called Diane and I here to First Baptist Church at the Mall. He confirmed this in many ways and made it absolutely clear that He wanted us here. When He said, “Go,” we went. Before Lakeland He called us to New Orleans for seminary, and before that it was Gainesville, FL, to serve as campus missionaries. He has been faithful to guide us and direct our steps, leading us where He wants us and providing for us, and that has only furthered our trust in Him.

In mid-July, God again made it abundantly clear to Diane and me that we are to go. God is calling us to serve in what we believe to be a smaller church or church plant as the worship pastor, but we are not certain of where yet. At this time, we have talked with several pastors about different opportunities, but nothing certain has developed. Throughout this process, we have sought to be wide-open before God, saying to Him, “Lord, whatever You want is what we want.” We shared this with Pastor Jay and the executive staff team when we knew, and they have been extremely supportive and helpful through all of it. Words cannot tell you how grateful I am for these men and for the church taking good care of us during this time of transition.

This has been one of the hardest and most uncertain times in our lives, as we have never had to walk this road with so much at stake, but we are trusting God to lead us and to take care of us as He has so many times in the past. It may seem foolish to step out like this with no sure thing on the other end, but I would have failed you as a leader and a pastor if we ignored God’s calling on us and disobeyed His direction.

Please know that it has been our privilege to serve such an amazing church family. We have some amazing relationships here. We have witnessed God move in amazing ways, and we are so grateful to have been a part. We have been able to share the joy of the birth of both of our children here. You have encouraged us, nurtured us, and loved us as we have learned and grown over these past 4 ½ years. We have never felt as loved as we do here. Many times, however, following God means letting go of something that you treasure. For us, that is you. We love you like crazy, and we will miss you terribly. So much of our hearts will be left here. We consider this home, and saw ourselves staying here indefinitely, but God had other plans.

We ask that you would please pray for us as we take this step. Pray for God’s clear direction. Pray that we will be able to sell our home. Pray for our kids as they deal with change. Also, pray for the church leadership as they seek out God’s man to take up where I leave off. We are trusting that the greatest days for Church at the Mall are still ahead, and that God will bring just the right man to continue on in leading you and caring for you. I know for certain that you are in great hands with this worship team, as they are some of the most talented musicians and leaders I have ever served with.

I will be leading for the next few weeks, as long as I am needed, and we look forward to sharing time with you and worshiping together as we all continue to pursue the heart of our great God. He is the only one worthy of our praise, and the only one worthy of our lives. Let us lay our lives down for the sake of His name and His Kingdom, because He laid down His life for us at the cross.

Here’s our set for this morning:

“I Will Go” [Jon Neufeld, Tim Neufeld]
“God is Alive” [Steve Fee, Eddie Kirkland]
“Jesus Messiah” [Daniel Carson, Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, and Jesse Reeves]
“Because of Your Love” [Phil Wickham]
“Lamb of God” [original]

Message – “It’s Your Serve – Grab a Towel” [Dr. Jay Dennis]
INV “I Want to Love You” [Todd Fields]

This morning was a good day of worship. Because Pastor Jay was dealing with the call on each one of us to serve, we focused on the cross of Christ as described in Philippians 2:5-11. Here, Paul tells of how we are to have the same attitude as Jesus,

“who, although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus ‘Ever knee will bow,’ of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

“Jesus Messiah” was a perfect fit for this passage of scripture, singing, “He became sin who knew no sin/ That we might become His righteousness/ He humbled Himself and carried the cross/ Love so amazing/ Love so amazing.” There is no better example of service than Jesus Christ. He had everything to lose by serving (by the world’s perspective), yet He put it all aside to save us and to glorify the Father. We have much less to give up in order to serve those around us, yet we can still glorify the Father in doing so. May we all take a long look at our lives, and see how we can lay our lives down for one another. I know I am.

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

In the Son,

Bill

As always, check out Sunday Set Lists over at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com. It’s awesome to see how brothers and sisters around the country and the world are worshiping the Lord in their own communities of faith.

(Listening to Jon Foreman right now)

Here’s our set from yesterday:

“Happy Day” [Tim Hughes]
“Say Say” [Kristian Stanfill, Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels]
“Our God” [Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin, Chris Tomlin]
“Beautiful Jesus” [Kristian Stanfill]
“Mighty to Save” [Ben Fielding, Reuben Morgan]
“Psalm 19 (May the Words of My Mouth)” [Terry Butler]
“Lord of All” [Kristian Stanfill]

We had a great day of worship yesterday. Pastor Jay taught about meditating on the Scriptures, and gave a lot of practical wisdom and instruction about it. It was very helpful, and I believe it will be transformational in the church’s approach to studying and dwelling on the Scriptures. I was challenged by his message, and will be seeking to implant more Scripture into my heart and my mind, so that it will penetrate every of my life.

I tried to focus the music on the phrase, “Is anything to difficult for the Lord?” Hence the themes of God’s power and sovereignty throughout the songs. Some were even inadvertent, but God was guiding the process and really brought it all together. “Our God” is a fantastic song that focuses God’s people on His strength and turns the corner to help us see how that same strength is for us when we are in Him. It’s a beautiful thing.

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

Bill

p.s. as always, make sure to check out Sunday Set Lists at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com to see what other leaders and worshipers experienced this week.