Posts Tagged ‘Our God’

For our final week of our 2 Corinthians series – “Purpose In Christ,” our pastor, Joe Hishmeh, preached through 2 Corinthians 13, and taught about how believers can pursue peace with one another through “rejoicing, restoring, reaffirming, reuniting, and reconciling.” It was a great challenge to each of us to pursue health in our relationships. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

Welcome/Call to Worship – Ephesians 2:4ff
“In Tenderness” (G) [Adoniram J. Gordan, W. Spencer Walton, arr. by Citizens]
Greeting Time/Announcements
Message – “Purpose In Christ, pt. 11” [Joe Hishmeh]
Communion
“In My Place” (G) [Michael Bleecker, Matt Boswell]
“Son of God” (G) [Jon Neufeld, Tim Neufeld, Ed Cash, and Gordon Cochran]
“Our God” (G) [Jonas Myrin, Jesse Reeves, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin]

Dismissal

Thoughts: This was a good weekend. Our team did a great job, and the church engaged well in each of our worship experiences. Lindsay Kraisinger and Heidi Carlson did a great job leading “In My Place” during communion, which was a beautiful moment. Kip Kraisinger did a great job co-leading on several of the songs, as well. It was great to have a few people to share the leading load this weekend, especially since I was fending off strep throat (which my wife had) the whole weekend. My immune system finally gave in Sunday afternoon, but I’m glad to have gotten through the weekend without too much trouble. Now, it’s time for some rest.

– Bill

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

This weekend, we continued our Romans series, and focused on Romans 8:31-39. In his message, Joe talked through the five rhetorical questions in this passage, and reminded us all of God’s amazing and unfailing love.  I was really challenged to let go of my past and my old slavery to sin, and to move toward Christ and trust in Him will every area of my life. We have a new life because Christ has loved us, and we don’t need to look back. We need to look to Christ. You can listen to the entire message here.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

Time of Preparation/Prayer
“Healing Is In Your Hands” (C) [Daniel Carson, Christy Nockels, Nathan Nockels, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin]
Welcome/Greeting Time
(Child Dedications – at 5 PM and 10:45 AM services only)
“Desert Song” (D) [Brooke Fraser]
“Unchanging” (G) [Chris Tomlin]
“Our God” (G) [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Jesse Reeves, Chris Tomlin
]
“10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)” (G) [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman]
Message – “Romans 8:31-39” [Joe Hishmeh]
“It Is Well” (Bb) [Philip Paul Bliss, Todd Fields, Horatio G. Spafford]
Offering/Announcements
Dismissal


“Healing Is In Your Hands”
– We sang this song as our preparation song this weekend, as we focused on how we are held by the promise of Jesus’ powerful and unconquerable love. He is faithful, and nothing will ever separate us from His love (Rom. 8:35). This is such a beautiful song (originally sung by Christy Nockels on the album, Passion: Here For You.), and it does a wonderful job of calling out our trust, faith, and confidence in Christ’s unending love for us. Becky Tindell did a great job of leading us on this song.

“Desert Song” – We opened the second music set with this song, and Becky led us here as well. This song declares our faith and trust in the Lord no matter what we are facing in this life. In good times and bad, He is with us, and He is worthy of our praise. This song continues to be a staple of our congregation’s worship vocabulary, and our church sings it well together.

“Unchanging” – We sang this song this weekend because it also stands firm on the fact that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8 ESV). In we declare the unchanging character and love of God. We can trust and depend on who He is, and that flows out into how He cares for us and interacts with us. Because He never changes and never fails, we can trust the word which He has spoken, saying that He will love us “with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3).

“Our God” – This song tied directly to our passage from this weekend, particularly in the bridge where we sing, “And if our God is for us/ Then who could ever stop us?/ And if our God is with us/ What could stand against?” We abbreviated this song for the services with the child dedications, but we wanted to keep this declaration in our services, as we sing out the truth of the scripture passage from this week.

“10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)” – This is a song that we began teaching our congregation last weekend as Erik and Sarah Oldberg led our congregation. I LOVE this song. When you hear it for the first time, it feels like you’ve heard it before. It has a sort of timeless melody to it, and it makes me want to sing it out. The chorus is simple and strong: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul/ Worship His holy name/ Sing like never before, O my soul/ I’ll worship Your holy name.” Our congregation is singing it well, and I think this will remain a part of our worship vocabulary here at Fellowship.

“It Is Well” – This was our response song this weekend. I have written a lot about this song previously, so I’ll keep this short. I love how this song ties a timeless hymn with a new declaration of trust and praise in an added chorus. I think it helps to connect a new generation with a beautiful expression of trust in God’s faithfulness – no matter the circumstances.

This weekend was a good weekend overall. We celebrated child dedications with many young families in our church, which was a beautiful thing of which to be a part. We also celebrated baptisms after each service. In one of these baptisms on Saturday evening, a young man baptized his dad after leading him to Christ. What a powerful moment! I love being a part of this congregation and seeing how the Lord is moving.

We had a few technical gremlins show up on Saturday evening with our in-ears and some other things. During most of the service at 7 PM, I was getting shocked every time my lips touched the microphone. Not fun. I have no idea what was happening there. Everything was worked out on Sunday morning, so it’s all good.

The bottom line is that Jesus was glorified and exalted because of His great love with which He loved us. He is faithful and unchanging, and we can trust in Him and in His love. He is so good to us!

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 continued our Advent series with a message entitled, “God For Us.” Joe shared about the different meaningful ways we can understand this expression, and all the ways that God is truly “for us.” Joe shared that Jesus is for us in His life, in His death, in His resurrection, and His return. We need to live life in light of who God is and what He has done for us, in hope, worship, and anticipation of His second Advent. You can listen to the entire message here.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

Time of Preparation/Prayer
“I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)” (E) [Charles Hutchinson Gabriel]
Welcome/Greeting Time “Joyful (The One Who Saves)” (C) [Brenton Brown, Jason Ingram, Henry van Dyke, Ludwig van Beethoven]
“Our God” (G) [Chris Tomlin, Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman]
“O Holy Night” (C) [Placide Cappeau, John Sullivan Dwight, Adolphe Charles Adam]
“What Child Is This” (Em) [William Chatterton Dix]
Message – “God For Us” [Joe Hishmeh] Offering/Announcements
“Lead Me To The Cross” (Bm) [Brooke Fraser]
Dismissal


“I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)”
– We sang this song in our preparation time. Kelsey Thomsen led us on this song, as we focused on the love of Christ as it was demonstrated at the cross, where He redeemed us from our sins, and rescued us from death. What amazing love He has for us!

“Joyful (The One Who Saves)” – We continued teaching this song to our congregation for the third and final week. I have really enjoyed singing this song with our congregation, and I look forward to bringing it back again in the future, because it is a great combination of old and new in a song that is true and memorable.

“Our God” – This song was the one that connected with the message the best this week. It is powerful to exalt God and His sovereignty and then recognize that if this all-powerful God is for us, nothing can stand against us.

“O Holy Night” – This is one of my favorite Advent songs. It is a beautiful piece of music and a solid lyric that declares some of the changes that Jesus’ arrival on this earth effected. Everything is different because He came. We can have in Him an object of hope, upon which we can found our faith and trust. Because of who He is and what He has done, He is worthy of our humble worship. He is King!

This carol came from a poem written in the mid-1800’s by a French poet, Placide Cappeau. You can read more of the song’s story in the wiki.

“Midnight, Christians” by Placide Cappeau

Midnight, Christians, it is the solemn hour,
When God-man descended to us
To erase the stain of original sin
And to end the wrath of His Father.
The entire world thrills with hope
On this night that gives it a Savior.

People kneel down, wait for your deliverance.
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, here is the Redeemer!

May the ardent light of our Faith
Guide us all to the cradle of the infant,
As in ancient times a brilliant star
Guided the Oriental kings there.
The King of Kings was born in a humble manger;
O mighty ones of today, proud of your greatness,

It is to your pride that God preaches.
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!

The Redeemer has overcome every obstacle:
The Earth is free, and Heaven is open.
He sees a brother where there was only a slave,
Love unites those that iron had chained.
Who will tell Him of our gratitude,
For all of us He is born, He suffers and dies.

People stand up! Sing of your deliverance,
Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer,
Christmas, Christmas, sing of the Redeemer!

“What Child Is This” – This is probably my favorite Advent song of all. For most of my life (and this is probably the case for most of us), I only heard one chorus for this song. A few years ago, when I was reading a book that my friend Jerry gave me, I saw that there were originally three choruses for this song. The second of these was striking: “Nails, spear shall pierce Him through/ The cross be borne for me, for you/ Hail, hail the Word made flesh/ The babe, the Son of Mary.” I love how the gospel is present in this chorus.

“Lead Me To The Cross” – We closed out our services by responding with this song. Kelsey also did a great job leading on this song. This was another great match for Joe’s message this week, in which he emphasized that we need to preach the gospel to ourselves daily, in order to keep our focus in the right place, and to live a life that exemplifies the power of the gospel. The way I see it, everything in our walk with Christ is downstream from the gospel. When we have a proper view and appreciation of what Christ has accomplished for us, everything else falls into place. Let us keep our eyes on the cross.
Advent makes for some special worship times together. I love how it helps us focus on what Jesus gave for us, to rescue us and make a way for us where there was no way. It makes me think of Philippians 2: 5-11, which says,

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point fo death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Our team did a great job as always. I love celebrating Advent with the Church. It’s a beautiful thing. 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 2:1 – 4:44, and looked at several people and their responses to Jesus. Ultimately, we all need to have the mindset of John the Baptist, that Christ must increase, and we must decrease. Jesus should be the one to receive all the glory in our lives, and not us. From salvation to the day-to-day, Jesus is the one who deserves the credit and thanksgiving for all that is good in our lives. We also focused on the gospel, and how our lives should interact with it on a daily basis. In the songs for this weekend, we emphasized the miraculous and God’s ability to do the impossible, with the ultimate point being that the gospel is a fantastic miracle, where Jesus accomplished the impossible on our behalf, and rescued us from our sin.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

Time of Preparation
Welcome/Greeting Time
Call to Worship/Prayer
“Unchanging” (G) [Chris Tomlin]
“Our God” (G) [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves]
“The Lost Are Found” (A) [Ben Fielding, Sam Knock]
“God Is Able” (A) [Reuben Morgan, Ben Fielding]
Prayer
Message – John 3:22-36 [Joe Hishmeh]
Offering/Announcements
Response – “God Is Able” [Reuben Morgan, Ben Fielding]
Dismissal
Baptism Service

“Unchanging” – We sang this song this weekend because it speaks about the eternal, unchanging existence of Jesus. He has always been God. As the Gospel of John begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This song is a strong part of our church’s worship vocabulary, and we are able to sing it from our hearts and not merely from the page. I have loved this song since it was first released back in 2002 on Tomlin’s Not To Us album, partly because it says something that isn’t quite common in worship music: Jesus was, and is, and is to come. As Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

“Our God” – As we have been reading through the Gospel of John as a church, we have begun reading the accounts of Jesus’ miracles as His public ministry began. This song speaks of some of those miracles, and turns those to point to Christ’s supremacy – He is higher than any other, and there is no one like Him. This is another staple in our vocabulary, and it is a great reminder of the glory of God.

“The Lost Are Found” – We began teaching this song a few weeks ago, and brought it back this week as a refresher, as it fit very well with where we have been reading in John. One thing I value about this song is how it not only looks back to the miracles that Christ worked on this earth, but also forward to the future when Chris returns and makes everything new. He will restore all that is broken, heal hurts, right the wrongs of injustice, and wipe away every tear. We can look forward with confidence and hope to that day, that hope should change the way we live (as 1 John 3:3 says). This not my favorite song, because there is not a whole lot to it. However, it communicates a great truth in a new way, and some of our people really connect with it.

“God Is Able” – This was a new song that we taught this week. I have not been able to get this song off of my heart and mind over the past few weeks since I first heard it. It is very easy to sing, and it is a very encouraging song that points to the power and ability of our God to change things. Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37), and He will never fail. We can place our hope and confidence in Him as we look to the empty grave and see God’s power over sin and death. He is truly the Almighty. Here’s the lyric:

“God Is Able”
Reuben Morgan and Ben Fielding

VERSE 1
God is able, He will never fail
He is almighty God
Greater than all we seek
Greater than all we ask
He has done great things

CHORUS
Lifted up, He defeated the grave
Raised to life, our God is able
In His name, we overcome
For the Lord our God is able

VERSE 2
God is with us, God is on our side
He will make a way
Far above all we know
Far above all we hope
He has done great things 

BRIDGE
God is with us, He will go before
He will never leave us, He will never leave us
God is for us, He has open arms
He will never fail us, He will never fail us

This is one of my favorite songs of this year. It grabs my heart and points my hope and my glory to the risen Christ. We repeated this song after the message. I look forward to this song becoming a part of our church’s worship vocabulary over the next few weeks. Our congregation was already singing out and engaging with it this weekend, so I can’t imagine how that will develop with time.

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, Joe preached about increasing our ministry in and to our families. At the end of the day, this is our primary responsibility as believers in Jesus Christ. We need to be building our families around the gospel of Christ, and that truth ought to permeate all of our family relationships. The message was out of Deuteronomy 6, where Moses is telling the people of God to dwell on the truth of how God redeemed them, and to recount it to their children and their children’s children at every opportunity, from morning until night. I was really challenged to be a better husband and father, and a more faithful spiritual leader in my home. It was a little tricky to find solid songs that have a specifically “family” angle to them, but we focused on the holiness of God and how He redeemed us, and therefore our proper response is obedience and trust, spending our lives to further His kingdom and to give Him the glory He deserves.

Here’s our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service – “Everlasting God” (Bb) [Brenton Brown, Ken Riley]
Welcome/Greeting Time
Call To Worship – Rev. 15:3-4
“Holy Is The Lord” (G) [Chris Tomlin]
“Cannons” (G) [Phil Wickham]
“Our God” (G) [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves]
“Because of Your Love” (G) [Phil Wickham]
Message – “Upgrade: Family” [Joe Hishmeh]
Response – “All To Us” (Bb) [Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Matt Redman, Matt Maher]

“Everlasting God” – We opened in our pre-service time with this song. Not much needs to be said about the song itself. It is one our staples here, and our people connect well with it. We used this song because it emphasizes God’s eternality, and sheds light on the fact that He is very different from us, and worthy of our worship. Also, He uses His great power to hold us up and strengthen us to accomplish His purposes on this earth.

“Holy Is The Lord” – This is a simple, straightforward song about the holiness and glory of God. We sang this song because the passage Joe preached from in Deuteronomy 6 speaks of God’s holiness as a motivator for our obedience and dedication to Him and His purposes. He is worth following.

“Cannons” – This is a song that I haven’t sang in over 8 months. I love this song and its message. Even transposed down a full step to the key of G, it is still on the high side, hitting an E in the melody on the bridge. Tuning it down more would really change the way we play it (especially on guitar), but I may consider doing that, because this song is worth singing. I prefaced this song by mentioning a quote from A.W. Tozer, who says in The Knowledge Of The Holy, “God is as far above an archangel as He is above a caterpillar.” The archangel and the caterpillar actually have more in common in that they are both created things and both distinctly “not-God.” It is from the chapter on God’s Transcendence, and it really opened my eyes more to how “other” God really is. He is much different from us, and there is really no comparison. This idea was really fitting for all that we sang this week, but this song in particular tied in: “You are holy/ Great and mighty/ The moon and the stars/ Declare who You are/ I’m so unworthy/ But still You love me/ Forever my heart/ Will sing of how great You are.” This chorus points out that we are unworthy to stand in His presence, much less be heirs together with Christ. However, God has loved us and made a way for us where there was no way.

“Our God” – We sang this song because it speaks of God’s “other-ness,” when it sings, “There’s no one like You/ None like You.” It speaks of God’s greatness and power, and again points us to His surpassing worth. Because of who He is, the only appropriate response is to follow Him completely, loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

“Because of Your Love” – This song brings the rest of the songs into greater focus, as we sing about how this same God who is above any other is the one who laid down His life to redeem us. It makes the reality of the gospel even more astonishing, in my mind, to think that the one who gave Himself up for us is the one who shaped the universe and the galaxies. This song is a song of dedication, and points us to obedience as we sing together, “Lord, You gave Your life for me/ So I will live my life for You/ All because of Your love.” His giving prompts us to give our lives to Him in obedience. We used this song to tie the message and the rest of the songs together, in that the reason we obey and sacrifice and make disciples is that God gave first.

“All To Us” – This song speaks of Jesus as our “precious cornerstone” and “sure foundation,” and we felt that this was a fitting way to respond to Joe’s message this weekend. We need to build our homes and our lives on the only sure foundation, Jesus Christ.

It was a good weekend of worship. I am so thankful for our community and what God is calling us to do here. The team did a fantastic job in each of the services, and I felt that God’s people were engaging Him in worship the entire weekend. I was happy (and surprised) that I was able to finish all the services without any major vocal issues, despite being sick as a dog the whole weekend. I’m beat now, though, and I’m going to go take a nap or something!

I hope you had a good weekend of worship. Check out The Worship Community’s Sunday Setlists to see what other leaders and worshipers experienced this week in their communities. Have a great week!

In the Son,

Bill

This week, we focused on Philippians 2:1-11, and dealt with putting others ahead of ourselves. It was a challenging message for those of us who are prone to selfishness (me!), and called us to the selflessness of Christ, who emptied Himself and became obedient even to death on a cross, so that we could be redeemed. As a result, Scripture says, God has exalted Him and given Him the name which is above all names, that at His name, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. In a similar way, the Bible says that the one who wants to find his own life must first lose it. May we all lay our lives down for the kingdom of God and His purposes, and in doing so, may we find our true life in Him.

Here’s our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service – “Happy Day” (Bb) [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon]
Call to Worship – Revelation 4:8, 11
“Our God” (G) [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves]
Welcome/ Video/ Offering/ Announcements/ Prayer/ Greeting
“You Never Let Go” (Bb) [Matt Redman]
“Desert Song” (D) [Brooke Fraser]
Scripture reading – Philippians 2:3
“Lead Me to the Cross” (D) [Brooke Fraser]
Message – “An Appraisal of Attitude” [Joe Hishmeh]
Response – “Jesus Messiah” (G) [Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash]

We began in the pre-service time with “Happy Day,” and I chose this song because it got us thinking about the cross, and what it accomplished for us. We benefited immensely because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, yet He paid for our redemption with great suffering and anguish. He gave up His right to grasp His equality with God, and laid it down in obedience and willing sacrifice. He was generous with His own life, and had the attitude fo a servant rather than one of entitlement.

In the call to worship, practiced the command to “ascribe” praise and to the Lord. This means to attribute to God the truth about who He is and what He has done. I searched and struggled to find a passage that encapsulated this idea concisely, and I felt very comfortable with Revelation 4:8, 11 (ESV) –

Holy, holy, holy,
is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come!
Worthy are You,
our Lord and God,
To receive glory and
honor and power,
For You created all things,
And by Your will they existed
and were created.

We read this together as a congregation with this phrasing, and I think it set our hearts on Jesus’ surpassing worth and glory. I am feeling more and more compelled to point our people to Scripture and for us to read it together and respond together in different ways. I would guess that worship doesn’t get much more “Biblical” than that… I hope we begin to make the connection between these explicit worship directives and the ones that call us to worship by living our lives for our King and His kingdom, loving Him and loving our neighbor.

We immediately moved into “Our God,” because we just finished talking about the creative power of our God, and this song emphasizes some of that aspect in reference to miracles and His omnipotence. I love how this song resonates with God’s people, as we declare His greatness and power together, and then recognize that this same great and powerful God is for us. He is for His people, and He loves us, cares for us, and protects us. At the end of this song, I felt led to have all the instruments drop out as our people sang out the chorus, and it was a sweet moment that I didn’t want to end. It felt a little funny jumping from that into the announcements, but who cares?!?! We’re here to worship together, and it’s never too early to do so.

After the announcements, we led out with “You Never Let Go.” This was our third week singing this song together, and the chorus has taken on new meaning for our congregation (especially the Saturday night group) after last weekend, where we had to take shelter from funnel clouds in the area. I think we are getting this as a congregation, and God is reminding us of His faithfulness through it. Our congregation sings this song so well together. I am so thrilled with how we are responding to God together.

Then, Kelsey Thomsen led us in singing “Desert Song” and “Lead Me to the Cross.” This was Kelsey’s last weekend leading with us (for a while, at least), because she is heading off to physician assistant school this summer. It was a little bittersweet as a result, but I have enjoyed getting to see Kelsey’s heart for God’s people in worship over these past few months. I know God has great things in store for her and her ministry through worship. These songs spoke to the point of trusting in God no matter what, and obeying Him regardless of how afraid we may be. He is worthy of our lives’ obedience, no matter how we feel about it. He is worthy of our lives being give for the purpose of expanding His kingdom and His fame in the earth.

We responded to Joe’s challenging message with “Jesus Messiah,” which speaks clearly of Jesus’ laying down of His life for us. He is our model and example of sacrifice and of being a servant. When we look to Him, we see the pattern of our calling. We see what we are to be in Him. This song continues to grow on me, as I reminded of 2 Corinthians 5:21 and other verses which speak of the ridiculous gift Jesus has given us through His grace and through the cross. He is so good to us. May we be so generous with our own lives.

We had a few difficulties on Saturday night. One team member thought he was on for next weekend, and as a result, wasn’t able to get to rehearsal until an hour after we started. We ended up finishing our preparation very close to the start of the first service, and I forgot to communicate with the team that Kelsey was going to share before “Desert Song.” When I turned to look at Kelsey, the rhythm section jumped into the song, and the rest of us had to catch up. It was a minor train wreck, but we got back on track, and I believe God was glorified in spite of the problems. It has made me evaluate our lines of communication, both prior to and during the weekend. We can always improve. Sunday went very smoothly, and I was proud of how our team pressed on and kept trying to improve throughout the weekend, despite a slightly frustrating start. I am so thankful for the team of people we have here at Fellowship.

Overall, it was a powerful weekend of worship. I love it (sometimes begrudgingly), when God moves and works in our midst, when it seems like we have made it difficult. It just goes to show that we cannot manufacture worship. We cannot force it to happen. We cannot make people experience God. We are powerless to change lives at the heart level. Only God can do that. And He does. What we can do is be available and be humbled before our King, and trust that He will work in our midst. We can give Him our best and do what we can to facilitate (literally, “make it easy”) for our people to engage God in our worship gatherings. Let us serve our God and our people by trusting in our God and giving our best for Him and for them. He will take care of everything else.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were (and hopefully didn’t have the problems we did!). Be sure to check out The Worship Community to see what other leaders and team members experienced in their worship gatherings this weekend. To God be all the glory!

In the Son,

Bill

Palm Sunday weekend (we had to tag “weekend” onto it because of our weekend services–we landed there after a little bit of discussion…) is one that brings mixed feelings. On one hand, we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem as Messiah and King. On the other hand, we see our fickleness as humans, where one day we are praising Him as King, and later that same week we are calling for His death. At the same moment we recognize Jesus’ supremacy and power and worth; along with our own weakness, foolishness, and wickedness. Planning for this weekend, we tried to emphasize the real focus of this moment: the Messiah has come to save us! Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and He is our only hope. Each of our songs this week pointed in some way to Christ as Messiah or King.

Here’s our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service – “God Is Alive” (A) [Steve Fee, Eddie Kirkland]
Call to Worship – Matthew 21:6-9
“Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)” (G) [Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown]
Welcome/Offering/Announcements/Greeting time
“Hosanna” (G) [Brooke Fraser, arr. by Starfield]
“Our God” (G) [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, and Jesse Reeves]
“Son Of God” (G) [Jon Neufeld, Tim Neufeld, Ed Cash, and Gordon Cochran]
Message – “The Heroic Rescue of Humanity: The Messiah” [Joe Hishmeh]
Response – “Lord Of All” (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill]

This weekend we sang “God Is Alive” for the second time. It seemed like the song caught on a little better this time, and people were participating more, even though the song was still slated in the pre-service time slot. Much of the congregation was clapping and singing together. I was a little unsure of the song’s reception last week when we introduced it, but the response this weekend was encouraging. I’m looking forward to using this song on Easter, because the lyric is perfect for the occasion.

After the call to worship, we moved to Paul Baloche and Brenton Brown’s “Hosanna (Praise Is Rising),” which is a perfect fit for Palm Sunday weekend. The chorus echoes the statements made by the disciples and fans of Jesus as He entered into Jerusalem, but restates them while being informed by our Christian understanding of the person and the work of Christ: “Hosanna, Hosanna/ You are the God who saves us/ Worthy of all our praises/ Hosanna, Hosanna/ Come have Your way among us/ We welcome You here, Lord Jesus.” That word, Hosanna, literally means “come save us now,” and it was what the people of Israel were crying out to Jesus as He entered in as King. However, they didn’t really know what they were asking. They didn’t really know what they needed. They were asking for deliverance and salvation from Roman rule in their lives. They were asking for less than what God intended for the Messiah. What they really needed was deliverance from sin and death, and restoration to God. Joe shared this idea in a powerful way this weekend. We can either trust in Christ as our Messiah, or we can seek deliverance our own way by trusting in worthless idols–“substitute Saviors.”

Following the welcome time, we kicked off the second worship set with Brooke Fraser’s “Hosanna.” This week we did a variation of Starfield’s performance of the song, which is suited better for my vocal. I like their treatment of the song, and how they gave it a little more overall energy, which serves a little better toward the top of a worship set.

Next we moved to “Our God,” which has become a staple for us. The concept of this song fits very well with Luke’s account of the triumphal entry, as he wrote that “the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen” (Luke 19:37). The verses of “Our God” align perfectly with that, as they sing, “Water You turned into wine/ Opened the eyes of the blind/ There’s no one like You/ None like You/ Into the darkness You shine/ Out of the ashes we rise/ There’s no one like You/ None like You.” The rest of the song sings of the Lord’s great power and ability to rescue, and when He is for us, there is nothing that can stand against us. It was a great fit for Palm Sunday weekend.

We finished the second worship set with “Son of God,” which is new to our congregation. I sang this song once when I came the church to lead as a guest, but it was completely new here. This week was the first week in which we’ll be teaching this song, and we will pick up teaching it after Easter weekend. I love this song because it presents Jesus in many respects, such as Creator, Savior, Lord, and promised Messiah. It proclaims His surpassing worth and greatness, along with His love and forgiveness for us. While very simple, it covers a lot of ground, and shows how Jesus, from beginning to end, is King. It declares His worth and how He deserves our worship in everything. Here’s the lyric:

“Son of God”

Verse 1
Son of God, Shaper of the stars
You alone the dweller of my heart
Mighty King, how beautiful You are
How beautiful

Son of God, the Father’s gift to us
You alone were broken on the altar of love
Precious Lamb, our freedom’s in Your blood
It’s in Your blood

Chorus
Jesus, O Holy One
I sing to You, forgiven
Savior, I’m overcome
With Your great love for me

Verse 2
Song of God, strength beyond compare
You alone, the darkness cannot bear
Lord of love, Your kindness draws me near
It draws me near

Son of God, prophecy of old
You alone, Redeemer of my soul
Come again and lead Your people home
Come lead us home

Bridge
You are worthy
You are worthy
You are worthy of all my praise
You are beautiful
You are beautiful
I will lift up my hands and sing

We finished the service with one of my favorite songs, “Lord of All.” I have discussed this song at length in the past, but suffice it to say that I believe this song is one that the Church needs to sing. It declares the power, glory, and victory of Jesus, the King of kings. It proclaims the truth of Philippians 2:10-11: “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.” It does this with strength and truth, and I have never regretted singing this song in corporate worship. I don’t think we, as the body of Christ, can sing this truth enough.

On a technical note, we continued using the click track and the Aviom system, and it continues to be a great asset to our team. We are consistently tighter as a band, and it cuts lots of time from our rehearsals as an added benefit. Stephen, our drummer, had never played with a click before, and he did a fantastic job operating it and sticking with it. I have given more responsibility to our drummers, as they not only have to play their instrument, but now they also have to make the tempo adjustments to our click track (which every band member hears), and start and stop it at the appropriate times. I continue to be impressed with our team as we challenge ourselves to get better at what we do, so that we might serve our congregation better. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve with this awesome team.

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 planned and experienced this week in their worship services.

Hosanna! Glory to God in the highest.

In the Son,

Bill