Posts Tagged ‘Set Lists’

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,


Here’s our set from this weekend:

“God Is Alive” (A) [Steve Fee and Eddie Kirkland]
Call to Worship – Psalm 96:1-4, 10a
“Say, Say” (A) [Kristian Stanfill, Chris Tomlin, and Christy Nockels]
“Everlasting God” (Bb) [Brenton Brown and Ken Riley]
“It Is Well” (Bb) [Todd Fields, Philip Paul Bliss, and Horatio G. Spafford]
“Stronger” (Bb) [Ben Fielding and Reuben Morgan]
Message – “I Believe: Questions & Answers” [Joe Hishmeh]
Response – “All To Us” [Matt Maher, Matt Redman, Jesse Reeves, and Chris Tomlin]

This week we introduced Steve Fee and Eddie Kirkland’s “God Is Alive” to our congregation. We began teaching it today in preparation for Easter. I cannot think of a more fitting lyric for celebrating Christ’s victory over sin and death through His death and resurrection. I think it is one of the best modern songs that have been written for Easter. The solid lyric and high energy of the song  are a perfect fit for celebrating Jesus’ resurrection:

“God Is Alive”

Verse 1
Let the darkness flee
It’s got no power over me
I have been set free
God is alive

Verse 2
Death where is your sting?
Sin had got no hold on me
I am free indeed
God is alive

We’ve been redeemed
So rise and sing

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

Verse 3
Let us wake and rise
Lift your voices, lift your eyes
We’re gonna shout, we’re gonna shake the skies
God is alive

The empty grave is singing now
It’s shouting out
He is alive, He is alive
And we are free

We also brought back “Say Say” for the closing message of our “I Believe” series. It is a fitting declaration for this series, as it sings in the chorus: “Say, say, say you believe it/ Sing for the whole world to hear it/ We know and we declare it/ Jesus is King/ Say, say, say you believe it/ Sing loud, sing like you mean it/ We know and we declare it/ Jesus is King.” After doing this series for ten weeks, this is where we must land. After all we have seen and heard about the greatness of God, the proper response is to go out a proclaim the truth and greatness of the name of Jesus and His gospel to the world. We need to know what we believe to be able to communicate that message clearly to others.

This week, we also introduced our new pastor of ministries, J.D. Holt. He just finished making the 2100-mile trip from Bellingham, WA to Topeka to begin working with us. I am excited about having him on our team, and about the leadership and experience he will bring to managing our staff team. He’s a great guy, and I really look forward to getting to know him and his wife, Christy. I was nervous as we were searching for the man to fill this role, as my experience has shown it to be crucial to the personality of the staff team. I believe our prayers have been answered in J.D., and we are very grateful!

After the welcome time, we started the second set of music with “Everlasting God.” From Isaiah 40, this song paints a powerful picture of God and His attributes. As we sing the chorus, “You are the everlasting God/ The everlasting God/ You do not faint, You won’t grow weary/ You’re the defender of the weak/ You comfort those in need/ You lift us up on wings like eagles,” I cannot help but see not only a description of God’s greatness, but a call to God’s people to be like their heavenly Father. As I sing, I feel challenged to defend the weak and comfort those in need as I am strengthened by the Lord. This song is a favorite of our congregation, and I don’t mind at all – this is a solid song from the Scriptures that speaks of the unchanging, everlasting greatness of our God.

We followed this song with Todd Field’s hymn rewrite, “It Is Well.” I have said it before, but I’ll say it again: this is one of my favorite hymn rewrites. It preserves the original verses intact, with a very cool acoustic arrangement underneath, has a very fitting new chorus, and it even includes the original hymn’s refrain at the end. I love how it ties the old and the new in a fresh way. It always brings us to worship as we celebrate God’s faithfulness.

We finished this set with “Stronger,” by Reuben Morgan and Ben Fielding. We’re dusting this one off for Easter, because it is a clear anthem about God’s great power to save and conquer sin and death. This was the first time I have led this song with a band. It was one that I began teaching in one venue where I was previously, but I never had the opportunity to bring it into our main services because I ran out of time. I love the chorus: “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.” The use of the word “stronger” is refreshing, because it takes the common “mighty” or “powerful” ideas and uses our current language to express it. This song reminds me to write in such a way that captures the truth of the Scripture in vibrant, current language that our congregations can take hold of and sing from their hearts. It is easier for the “average Joe” to connect with words we normally use than it is to connect with erudite language. This song does that well.

We finished the services with “All To Us,” which also effectively connects with the sum of this “I Believe” message series. I struggled with using this song in the beginning, because when the phrase “all to us” is taken at face value, it could be easily misunderstood to mean something like, “God exists for our sakes.” However, its meaning is more along the lines of, “God is everything to us.” He is our sufficiency and our strength, our foundation and our confidence. May this truly be our declaration, that God is our everything. He is the only one that we need. He is the only one on whom our hope should be built.

It was a great weekend of worship. Zach Pruett stepped up and played bass for the first time in our weekend services, and he did a great job, after only playing bass for five months! Bob Fulmer did a great job adjusting to the click track for the first time ever. His attitude was admirable in saying, “It will make me a better player.” I hope for each of us that difficulties and challenges are seen as opportunities to better ourselves and to better serve our church and the kingdom of God with our abilities. The rest of the team did a great job, as usual, and it was a great joy to lead with them again. Our tech team is so faithful to do a great job each week, and they make it easy for each of us to do our part. I feel that each week we are strengthening and improving, and there are great things on the horizon for this worship and arts ministry. Also, the Aviom system continues to be an asset to give us more time to rehearse and prepare for the weekend, and that has been very apparent in the way we play.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were. Please visit The Worship Community to check out their Sunday Set Lists to see what other leaders and team members did this weekend in their contexts. Leave your comments below and join the conversation about our worship ministry and the songs we sing together.

In the Son,


This weekend was exciting! David preached about Christ’s return and judgment, and the service took shape nicely to connect our worship through music with the word that he shared. As I was planning this a month ago, it became apparent that many of the options to which I was being drawn were songs with female lead parts, so we decided to go for broke this weekend, and put two of our ladies (Sarah Oldberg and Kelsey Thomsen) up front on acoustic guitars, and I picked up my electric for rhythm work for the weekend. It felt like a very shared service, in terms of leadership, and it was a very enjoyable change to break from the routine and do something unique. I loved each song that made up this service, as we celebrated the return, reign, and rule of Jesus Christ.

Here’s our set list from this weekend:

“Everlasting God” (Bb) [Brenton Brown and Ken Riley]
Call to Worship – Psalm 98:4-9
“Forever Reign” (Ab) [Jason Ingram and Reuben Morgan]
“Hosanna” (E) [Brooke Fraser]
“Lord of Lords” (E) [Brooke Fraser]
“Lord of All” (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill]
Message – “I Believe: God Returns” [David Hinkle]
“Sing to the King” (E) [Billy Foote and Charles Silvester Horne]

We opened the pre-service time with “Everlasting God,” which is a favorite of our congregation and set up the service well. Because the message was about Christ’s return and judgment, I wanted to focus on God’s immutability, His timelessness, His power, His justice, His love, His return, and His reign. Each of the songs in our set this week focuses on one or more of the attributes from this list. The call to worship was also focused this way, from Psalm 98, where it calls all of creation to worship the Lord, “for He is coming.” I excited about how we were able to even tie this in with the focus this week.

After the call to worship, we moved into “Forever Reign.” This song is fairly new to me, but the congregation had done it many times before I moved here. I love the message and the build of this song. Originally we had this song at the end of the second set, but it was part of a massive reordering of the service to move a specific song at the end of the service. It was a little more mid-tempo than I would usually prefer toward the top of the service, but it got us started out right, and set the tone for the service. Because of the subject matter of the weekend, which included the eternal punishment of hell, I felt that we needed to be somewhat gentle with our worship set, not relishing in the suffering of the lost through overly exuberant songs, while still properly exalting Jesus as righteous Lord and King.

After the welcome time, we moved to Brooke Fraser’s “Hosanna,” which points to Christ’s second coming and the preparation of His people for that return. fromt here we segued straight into the chorus of “Lord of Lords,” which is a beautiful song out of the book of Revelation, portraying the throne room of Jesus, and how we, as the people of God, long for that day when we will see Him in His full glory, and will worship Him completely. We finished this set with Kristian Stanfill’s “Lord of All,” which is fairly new to our congregation, but is a song that I insist that churches everywhere ought to sing. It is in the vein of Tomlin’s “How Great is Our God,” but I think it is even more powerful, and is something the church needs to say to God.

After David’s challenging message, we responded with Billy Foote’s rewrite of Charles Silvester Horne’s hymn “Sing to the King.” This has always been a favorite of mine, and it was new to our congregation, despite being several years old (2003). As I mentioned above, we originally had this in the pre-service section, where the majority of our people are still entering the worship center, and may have missed the message of this song. After talking with David about the value of this song, and how it fit so well with his message, we decided to move it to the end, and move other things around to make that work. It was absolutely the right decision. Whereas many times the high point of the worship in music is somewhere just before the message, this weekend it was during the response time. When we sang the second verse (“For His returning we watch and we pray/ We will be ready the dawn of that day/ We’ll join in singing with all the redeemed/ ‘Cause Satan is vanquished and Jesus is King!”), we had vivid images in our minds from the message, and it it was a rich moment, and I think we will definitely be incorporating this song in the future, because it is powerful and solid, and points to Christ’s return, all the while avoiding the cheesy factor that usually accompanies that kind of song…

This week felt very different for a few reasons: the message was on a very difficult subject, I felt a little foggy from a sinus thing, and we had several people co-leading. My prayer this morning regarding the message was that we would love the truth. I think this is something that we need to pray for our churches and our leaders. The truth is not always easy or convenient, but it is something to be upheld and loved, because it is from God. Jesus is the personal embodiment of the truth. This was one of those weeks where hard truth was being shared, and we needed to pray for our hearts to love even the hard truths.

I hope you had a great week of worship wherever you were. Be sure to check out Sunday Set Lists, where others share about their experiences this weekend.

May the church love the truth.


Here’s our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service Song- “Your Grace is Enough” (G) [Matt Maher]
Call to Worship
“Holy is the Lord” (G) [Chris Tomlin, Louie Giglio]
Welcome/Intro Special Guest
Video – Trash Mountain Project, “DR Thank You”
Guest – Brett Durbin, President of Trash Mountain Project
Announcements/Greeting Time
“Glory to God Forever” (A) [Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching]
“Our God” (A) [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin]
“Lead Me to the Cross” (D) [Brooke Fraser]
Message – “I Believe: God Empowers (Sanctification)” [Brian Tryhus]
Response – “Take My Life and Let It Be” (D) [Frances Ridley Havergal and Henri Abraham Cesar Malan]

This weekend we focused on how God empowers believers in the process of sanctification. Brian did a great job unpacking the truth of this doctrine, making it clear and laying all the cards on the table so everyone could understand it. I can honestly say that his message was one of the clearest explanations of sanctification I have heard. It’s a beautiful thing. I thought the songs that were planned communicated the same message well, and that the whole was unified and clear that our God is holy, and He is the one who makes us holy.

We also had my close friend, Brett Durbin, in to share about something happening with his missions organization (Trash Mountain Project). They have begun a child sponsorship program in which every dollar goes to feed and educate a child in the Dominican Republic called “Kids With a Hope.” Our church’s goal this weekend was to sponsor every child they have left to sponsor at the facility, which was somewhere around 140 kids. His organization has taken a risk and has not incorporated any administrative fees into the sponsorship fee, so every dollar goes to the kids. The sponsorship is $34 per month – $28 for food (2 meals and a snack per day) and $6 for education costs. In my family, we have been considering doing a sponsorship for a while, for our daughter to get connected to what God is doing in the rest of the world, so this was a no brainer. We are excited to finally find the right child to support, and we are excited that it is connected with Trash Mountain. Because of my daughter’s enthusiasm, I had to fight to hold it together during the last service this weekend. When she found out we were going to be sponsoring a child this morning, she ran upstairs and grabbed her piggy bank and said, “I want to give them all my money!” While it was only a few dollars, her generosity was truly beautiful. I am so proud of her. I was overwhelmed with thanksgiving for what God is doing in her life.

As far as the music part of worship goes, it was a great weekend. A highlight for me was when Sarah Oldberg and the band did a fantastic job on “Lead Me to the Cross,” which was a great connection with Brian’s message. He emphasized Romans 12:1-2, where Paul calls the church to offer their lives as living sacrifices. I took that and connected it with Jesus’ call to take up our cross daily and follow Him before we sung this song. I really love this song and its message, and how it connected with the weekend’s focus.

We spent most of the morning on songs that celebrate God’s grace, holiness, and greatness. We opened the pre-service time with Matt Maher’s “Your Grace Is Enough.” This was the first week that I didn’t sing the additional choruses from Chris Tomlin’s version, because I felt that they were more complicated and would make it more difficult for our people to participate. I think it was a good decision, and I will continue to sing it with just Maher’s chorus. After the call to worship, we moved to “Holy is the Lord,” which is a great and simple celebration of God’s holiness and the fact that His name will go out over all the earth. One day, everyone will understand His holiness.

The rest of the set consisted of “Glory to God Forever” and “Our God,” which each have elements of recognizing God’s greatness and of challenging us to go in boldness for His kingdom. The bridge of “Glory to God Forever” has become my favorite part of the song, and I consistently call our people to make this our prayer: “Take my life and let it be/ All for You and for Your glory/ Take my life and let it be Yours.” The only thing I would have changed would be the key. We tried these again in the key of A, when we have been doing them in the key of G most recently. There are parts of these songs that extend out of most people’s reach, so I think we’ll return to G in the future with these songs.

We also introduced an arrangement of “Take My Life and Let It Be,” which I have taken (and modified slightly) from Andrew Osenga from his days with The Normals. I have always loved this treatment of this great hymn, and it was a perfect opportunity to bring it in, because it really tied in with Brian’s message, and where he landed it. It is a great prayer for us to pray, as it focuses on different areas of our lives and how we can give them over to God and His purposes. The writers mention our lives, our hands, our feet, our mouths, our intellect, and our resources as means for worshiping God and building the kingdom of God –

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee
Take my moments and my days
Let them flow in ceaseless praise
Let them flow in ceaseless praise

Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee
Swift and beautiful for Thee

Take my voice and let me sing
Always, only, for my King
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee
Filled with messages from Thee

Take my silver and my gold
Not a mite would I withhold
Take my intellect and use
Ev’ry power as You choose
Ev’ry power as You choose

May this be the prayer of our lives, that every aspect of us would be poured out as an offering of worship to our great God!

In the Son,

p.s. Be sure to check out what other leaders did this weekend at Sunday Set Lists!

Here’s our set from this week:

Pre-Service: “Happy Day” [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon]
Call to Worship – Psalm 66:1-4
“Hosanna (Praise is Rising)” [Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown]
“You Alone Can Rescue” [Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin]
“It is Well” [Todd Fields, Horatio G. Spafford]
Message – I Believe We Respond: Salvation
Lord’s Supper – “Just As I Am” [Charlotte Elliott, William Bradbury]
Response – “Jesus Messiah” [Daniel Carson, Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, and Jesse Reeves]

This was another great weekend of worship, and we continue to build momentum. People continue to participate more, and respond to worship God through music and the Word. I am also learning more about, and getting more connected with, our people and our team. I am happy with our progress, and with what is happening when we gather each week. This week we also celebrated the Lord’s Supper/communion, which is always a sweet time where we focus on remembering what God has done to redeem us. It was especially significant this week, because it followed Joe’s talk about salvation, and how we respond in faith and repentance to what Jesus Christ has done for us.

We repeated “Happy Day” in the pre-service section again this week, because it is still fairly new to our people, and because it was particularly fitting for the focus this week. I enjoy this song, if only for the fact that it is simple and happy song of thanksgiving for what Christ has done. It sings of the gospel clearly in a celebrative way, and I think that is the song’s greatest value. We followed the call to worship with “Hosanna (Praise is Rising),” which is a great song to follow the call to worship. It has a feeling of preparation and entering into God’s presence, and sings clearly of some of the proper motives and responses in worship: “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.”

We also continued teaching “You Alone Can Rescue,” and our people took hold of it more. It was a great fit for our focus this weekend, as we focused on how salvation is the work of God alone, and we place our trust and confidence in His finished work. I love this song. It’s not the music that makes it exciting, either. It is purely the lyric of this song that is overwhelming. Jesus is our only rescue. This will be a song that the church sings for a while.

We brought back Todd Fields’ arrangement of “It Is Well,” which is one of my favorite modern hymn arrangements. He preserved the melody of Horatio Spafford’s original, but added a fitting chorus which captures the spirit of the song well. It serves as a strong declaration of confidence and hope in Christ, through anything that we experience in this life. The guitar part that Fields has written is really interesting, too, which only adds to the value of this song. When we come to the original chorus at the end of the song, it is beautiful to hear the congregation singing out so strongly.

We used the great hymn “Just As I Am” for the time during the Lord’s Supper, and we arranged it in a Sufjan Stevens-ish kind of way–with a slow swing to it, organ with Leslie on it, and minimal percussion. It was another great fit for the focus this weekend. I was unsure of how we would arrange it going into the weekend, but the team came up with some nice ideas and instrumentation to make it work nicely.

We finished the weekend off with “Jesus Messiah,” which was perfect. I cannot claim credit for this one, because it was the result of some changes late in the planning, and I needed a song to plug the hole, and thought this would work. It connected with Joe’s message in more ways than I can count, and coming out of the Lord’s Supper only added to its impact. The more I sing this song, the more I enjoy it and its message.

It was a great weekend, and I’m excited about how things continue here with Fellowship Bible Church!

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


Sunday Set Lists

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

Here’s our set from this weekend:

“I Will Go” (F#m) [Starfield – Tim Neufeld, Jon Neufeld]
Call To Worship – 2 Cor. 5:20-21
“Say Say” (A) [Kristian Stanfill, Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels]
Living Water International Honduras Report
“Holy is the Lord” (G) [Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, et al]
“I Stand Amazed” (G) [Charles Hutchinson Gabriel, arr. by Chris Tomlin]
“Wonderful Maker” (G) [Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman]
Message – “I Believe: We Are”  [Joe Hishmeh]
Response: “Mighty to Save” [Ben Fielding, Reuben Morgan]

This weekend of worship was yet another good one. The team gelled well, played solidly, and was sensitive to where the Lord was leading during each of the four services. I feel like the entire worship team is getting some traction for moving forward. I felt like the worship team was all prepared for the week’s music, and it was somewhat easy to put everything together as a result. We were able to make some changes on the fly as people were responding to God, and it was a beautiful thing. There were moments this weekend when the congregation was singing louder than I’ve ever heard them. I am very excited about what the Lord is doing in our midst.

This week has been one where I learned a great deal about the landscape of our worship ministry and where things have been until today. My worship associate, Jason, did some investigating, and dug up what our church has sung in worship since the switch to four services back in August. I was a little surprised by the results: 90 songs in 28 weeks. That comes out to a little more than 3.2 unique songs per week! What does that mean? It means people do not really have a chance to learn any of the songs or make them part of their worship vocabulary. It means our people are stuck staring at the projector screen trying to see the words and learn the songs.

My takeaway? We need to start repeating songs more often, so we can teach our people and get them “off the page” just like we want the band to be “off the page.” When we don’t have to stay glued to a screen or our music to know the song, then it is part of our vocabulary, and we are able to use it easily to express ourselves to God. Then, it comes from within us. Then we can truly put ourselves into what we are doing, rather than worrying more about what we are doing. We can focus on doing it. My normal method for doing this is to repeat a new song for three weeks, and surround it with songs that are already part of the worship vocabulary of our people.

My first opportunity for implementing this was “Say Say.” This was our third week singing this song, and I believe we have now added that song to our worship vocabulary as a congregation. I think the song communicates a simple but strong message to us, challenging us to stand up and “declare” that “Jesus is King.” Our praise of our great God ought not to be something that only happens within the walls of a church’s building, but ought to be happening for the whole world to see. Our exalting of God ought to be a very public thing, both individually and corporately. This idea can be extended to all areas of our lives, as living our lives as living sacrifices is how we worship our God on a daily basis. Thus, loving and serving others is a way that we declare the glory of our God to our world. It is easy to hunker down, get comfortable, and feel safe in our space each week, but what we do weekly as the church gathered together should be a culmination of a week lived in daily worship of our God. That is my prayer for us.

In the same vein, we introduced Starfield’s “I Will Go,” which is one of my favorite newer songs. It is a very driving, high-energy song, but the message warrants it, I think. Here’s the lyric of that song:

To the desperate eyes and reaching hands
To the suffering and the need
To the ones the world has cast aside
Where you want me I will be

I will go, I will go, I will go, Lord send me
To the world, to the lost, to the poor and hungry
Take everything I am
I’m clay within your hands
I will go, I will go send me

Let me not be blind with privilege
Give me eyes to see the pain
Let the blessing You’ve poured out on me
Not be spent on me in vain
Let this life be used for change

I wanna live for You,
Go where You lead me
I wanna follow You

I still get the feeling that I’m pushing the envelope a little for some of our people, but I think we are being challenged as a people by the lyrics of these songs and by the messages that are comprising this “I Believe” series. I think it is worth the risk of pushing a little bit. “I Will Go” is a song that can work in a variety of treatments, and I have tried it successfully as a response song with more of an acoustic feel to it. It will be one we use frequently, because there are not many songs that say it quite so boldly.

For the second set of songs, we put together a few modern worship standards: “Holy is the Lord,” “I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous),” and “Wonderful Maker.” “Wonderful Maker” was very fitting for Joe’s message today about the image of God and the fall of humanity. It deals directly with God’s goodness in creation and God’s declaration that what He made was “good.” It also deals with God’s goodness in redemption. This song holds a special place in my life, because it signaled a turning point in my worship leadership. This song is solely focused on God and who He is, and barely even mentions us in the process (“we” is used once in the third verse). Many of the worship songs I sang in youth group and elsewhere were about the singers and what God could do for us. This song was markedly different in that regard. This song helped me to see what true worship was – about God, to God, and for God. It was not for us. From that point late in 2002 (after Chris Tomlin’s Not to Us was released), my view of, and priorities in, worship music were changed. Every time I sing or hear this song, I remember that change, and I am called back to the true priority in worship, which is our great God and Savior.

We closed the service out with “Mighty to Save,” which was the highlight of the weekend for me. Joe’s message was a heavy one dealing with our depravity. He didn’t pull any punches, and helped all of us see ourselves and our sin clearly in light of God’s holiness and goodness. When we see God as He is, we see ourselves rightly. And when we see the depth and gravity of our own sin, we see just how great and truly amazing the grace of God really is. When we came to “Mighty to Save,” this was our context. When we sang, “Savior, He can move the mountains/ Our God is mighty to save/ He is mighty to save,” we meant it, for we had just finished hearing and reading the Word of God as it spoke to our spiritual condition without Christ. The congregation was singing out at this point in each of the services, and it was a powerful moment of worship. To God be the glory. May we never forget that we were dead in our sins when Christ came in to rescue us and make us alive.

I feel privileged for the opportunity to build and develop our worship & arts ministry at Fellowship Bible Church, and I am thrilled about what the future holds for our congregation!

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

In the Son,


Sunday Set Lists