Posts Tagged ‘Starfield’

This was our fifth weekend walking through 1 John together in our “Love In Christ” series. Brian Tryhus preached about forgiveness from 1 John, focusing on the futility of wallowing in shame and guilt when we sin. Our forgiveness has been promised and secured by the sacrifice of Christ. It was a powerful reminder and challenge to walk in forgiveness with confidence, faith, and hope. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

For our singing this week, we focused primarily on songs that emphasized what Christ has accomplished for us, and the standing we have with God because of it. We been declared righteous (justified) in Jesus Christ. When the Father sees us, He sees us through Christ.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

(pre-service) “In The Light” (E) [Charlie Peacock, as performed by DC Talk]
“All Because of Jesus” (Bb) [Steve Fee]

Welcome/Greeting Time
Call to Worship – thoughts from Isaiah 53
“Jesus Messiah” (G) [Daniel Carson, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Ed Cash]
“He Has Done It All” (G) [Andy Cherry, Jason Ingram]
“Son of God” (G) [Tim Neufeld, Jon Neufeld, Ed Cash, Gordon Cochran]

Message – “Love In Christ: Forgiveness” [Brian Tryhus]
Video – “Forget What You Know (Caedmon’s Call)”
“Nothing But The Blood” (G) [Robert Lowry]
Offering/Announcements/Dismissal

“In the Light”(Yes, it is the one performed by DC Talk in the 90’s). We sang this one for our pre-service countdown because it is a great fit with the book of 1 John, as it focuses on walking in the light as He is in the light. It is a ton of fun to play, and I could see people in our congregation who remembered it singing along. I think it was a great way for our congregation to enter into the worship center this weekend.

“All Because of Jesus” – We opened our services with this song, which is a staple for our congregation. It set the tone for the entire service, as declaring with joy and confidence that we are alive in Jesus.

“Jesus Messiah” – After reciting a few verses from Isaiah 53, we sang this song together. I love the lyric of this song, and I think one of the most powerful moments of it is the bridge, where we sing, “All our hope is in You/ All our hope is in You/ All the glory to You, God/ The Light of the World.” We need to put all of our hope in Christ alone. He is the only way for us to be saved. He is the only way for us to be redeemed. He is our life. This is one of the most significant reasons that He is worthy of all glory and honor and praise.

“He Has Done It All” – We began teaching this song a few weeks ago, and this was the second time we have sung it together. I absolutely love this song. I think it reminds us of the truth of the gospel, and inspires our confidence in what Christ has declared: “It is finished.”

“Son of God” – This is one of our church’s favorite songs, and it was a great way to finish our main set of songs. It is a simple and beautiful expression of worship to our risen King, Jesus. The chorus and bridge sing: “Jesus, O Holy One/ I sing to You, forgiven/ Savior, I’m overcome/ With Your great love for me/ 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.”  I love this song, and our congregation sings it so well!

“Nothing But The Blood” – We responded to the message with this great hymn, which is one of my all-time favorites. I cannot think of a song that more clearly declares the truth of the gospel, and the fact that salvation comes through no other but Jesus. He is the only way of salvation, and He has accomplished it through His blood, which He shed for us at the cross when He died in our place. His sacrifice equals our rescue. My favorite verses are the third and fourth: “Nothing can for sin atone/ Nothing but the blood of Jesus/ Naught of good that I have done/ Nothing but the blood of Jesus” and “This is all my hope and peace/ Nothing but the blood of Jesus/ This is all my righteousness/ Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Amen!

This weekend was an intense weekend of worship. There is nothing I love more than focusing on the cross of Jesus Christ and remembering what He accomplished for us. It always moves me and overwhelms me to think of His grace and love for me. Our team did a great job, and I think we all will walk away from this weekend reminded of the forgiveness and redemption we have in Jesus Christ. When the Father looks at us, He sees us through Christ– as forgiven, justified, and righteous. Praise the Lord for what He has done for 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!

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This was our fourth weekend walking through 1 John together in our “Love In Christ” series. David Hinkle preached about obedience from 1 John, focusing on “chasing Christ rather than checking the box,” and pursuing “godliness, not merely goodness.” I think we were all challenged and called to Christ this weekend. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

For our singing this week, we focused on songs that emphasized God’s calling on us and His worthiness for our obedience. He loved first and gave first, and our obedience is a response to God for who He is and what He has done.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

“I Will Go” (F#m) [Tim Neufeld, Jon Neufeld]
Welcome/Greeting Time

“Let Me Sing” (Bb) [Todd Fields]
“Hosanna” (D) [Brooke Fraser]
“Lead Me To The Cross” (D) [Brooke Fraser]
“All To Jesus I Surrender” (aka “I Surrender All”) (D) [Judson Wheeler Van DeVenter, Winfield Scott Weeden]

Message – “Love In Christ: Obedience” [David Hinkle]
Offering

“Because of Your Love” (G) [Phil Wickham]
Announcements/Dismissal

“I Will Go” – This was our opener this week, and it is a strong song of dedication that we have sung a few times over the past year. I love the message of the lyric, and I think it something worthy of being sung often: “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.” May this be the Church’s sincere prayer to the Lord.

“Let Me Sing” – This song really emphasizes the correct heart and motivation for obedience: because of what Jesus has done in giving His life for our redemption, we respond with all that we are as living offerings of worship for Him and His glory.

“Hosanna” – We sang this song because the second verse and bridge really tied in well with our focus, asking God to break and shape our hearts to align with His.

“Lead Me To The Cross” – This is another great song of dedication, as we look to the cross of Christ, where He also calls us to take up our own cross in following Him. Our own life of sacrifice ought to be modeled after His.

“All To Jesus I Surrender” – We tagged this song onto the end of “Lead Me To The Cross,” as a way to help tie everything together. Jesus is worthy of ALL we are and ALL we have. Let us hold nothing back from Him as He calls us to follow Him.

“Because Of Your Love” – I think this song was a very fitting response song to David’s message (praise God for His direction here). Again, this song emphasized how the Lord gave first, and our response and obedience to Him is because of what He has already done for us: “Because of Your cross, my debt is paid/ Because of Your blood, my sins are washed away/ Now all of my life, I freely give/ Because of Your love, because of Your love I live.”

This weekend was a good weekend overall. I felt that our team led with sincerity and intensity, despite a few loose moments in our playing. I will take that any day. I want our team to lead like they mean it. Sometimes that will result in some less than perfect moments for now, but as we all become more familiar with our vocabulary, that will continue to improve. The bottom line is that we cannot expect our congregation to more excited about engaging with God than we are. That is our challenge–to lead by example, in every area of our lives. I’m really proud of how our team is growing and trying to lead more and more each week.

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 David Hinkle preached from the book of Ruth to talk about God’s mission and how it has involved His people throughout history. The message was title “Legacy,” and he talked about how we can become a part of God’s overarching purpose in this world. One of his main points was that we were born at this time to be involved in this specific part of God’s plan – sending us out to tell the world about His Son, Jesus. It was a challenging reminder of the calling on our lives as rescued believers in Jesus Christ. We have a mission.

For this week’s message, we focused on the gospel, mission, pursuing God, redemption, and the new covenant. Each of these songs carries at least one of these elements in it.

Here’s our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service – “Kingdom” (A) [Kristian Stanfill]
Call To Worship/Prayer
“Happy Day” (Bb) [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon]
Welcome/Offering/Announcements/Greeting Time
“Let Me Sing” (Bb) [Todd Fields]
“Forever Reign” (Bb) [Jason Ingram, Reuben Morgan]
Message – “Legacy” [David Hinkle]
Communion Song – “Rock of Ages” (Bb) [Augustus M. Toplady, Thomas Hastings]
Response – “Son of God” [Jon Neufeld, Tim Neufeld] 

This weekend was another good weekend of worship. One highlight for me was seeing one of our young guys, Anthony Dake, jump in on drums and do a fantastic job. He played like a champ, and served our congregation well. I look forward to having him in there again soon. Part of our vision for our worship ministry is to build into our younger guys and gals and teach them early on what it’s all about and how to lead worship through music, with authenticity and excellence. Our NextGen Worship Leader, Erik Oldberg, does a fantastic job with these guys, and even in the six months I have been here, I have seen huge growth in each of them. I am thankful for his leadership and passion for worship.

“Kingdom” – This song was a great fit for the theme of the weekend, but it is a little tricky for most of our congregation to sing with, which is why it was in the pre-service slot. It really communicates that it is our responsibility and calling to carry the truth of the gospel to the world, and to invade the darkness with the light of Jesus Christ. I love the message of this song.

“Happy Day” – This is now a standard for our congregation, and it has been a while since we sang it together. I love what it communicates about Jesus’ victory over sin and death, and how our eternal destiny has been permanently affected by His work on the cross and His resurrection.

“Let Me Sing” – We began teaching this song a few weeks ago, and this was our refresher week, to solidify it in our congregation’s memory. This song supported the theme of the weekend with the idea of us shining as lights in the darkness as an act of worship, in response to the amazing sacrifice that Christ made for us. In my mind, this is the most significant reason we have to worship, to obey, and to give of ourselves – Christ gave first, and did so in a marvelous way.

“Forever Reign” – We bracketed the message with this song, or parts of it anyway. The bridge and chorus really helped to communicate the drive of the message, for us to pursue Jesus Christ and His purposes with everything we have.

“Rock of Ages” – This hymn arrangement is from a band called Ascend The Hill, on their album of reworked hymns, Take The World But Give Me Jesus. The first time I heard it, I was immediately struck by the powerful lyric, and the simple arrangement, which added great power and emotion to the truth of the lyric. The lyric conveys the desperation we should all have for the saving work of Christ. We are completely hopeless without His help and His rescuing us. We sang this song during communion, and it was very appropriate in that slot. Here’s the lyric:

Rock of Ages
Augustus M. Toplady, Thomas Hastings

VERSE 1
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.

VERSE 2
Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
These for sin could not atone
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

VERSE 3
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to Thy fountain fly
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

VERSE 4
While I draw this fleeting breath,

When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown
And behold Thee on Thy throne
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.

“Son of God” – We finished the service by singing this great song to our Savior. It actually ended up being more fitting than I thought it would be, because of the way that David emphasized the covenant and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us. The ends of each verse spoke to these elements, singing directly about the cross and then in the second verse about how Christ fulfilled prophecy and how He is coming again for His church. I think it was a solid way to end our times together this weekend.

I am so thankful to be a part of this great church, and for the opportunity to grow together in worshiping our King. I hope you had a great weekend of worship as well. Check out The Worship Community to see what other worshipers experienced and why.

Let me know your thoughts! I love reading your opinions and feedback.

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

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
Welcome/Announcements/Greeting
“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:

VERSE 1
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

CHORUS
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

VERSE 2
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

BRIDGE
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,

Bill

Sunday Set Lists

Here’s our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service: “Say Say” (A) [Christy Nockels, Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill]
Call To Worship –  Hebrews 13:8
“Unchanging” (G) [Chris Tomlin]
Welcome/Offering/Announcements/Greeting
“Hosanna” (G) [Brooke Fraser, arr. by Starfield]
“How Great is Our God” (G) [Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Ed Cash]
Focus: “Phos Hilaron”/”Hail Gladdening Light”
“Joyous Light” (G) [unknown, John H. Gower; Arr. and additional chorus by Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, and Louie Giglio]
Message – “God Is: Trinity” [David Hinkle]
“Holy Holy Holy” (D) [Reginald Heber and John Bacchus Dykes]

This weekend in worship with Fellowship was one of my favorites so far. It felt like everything connected really well, and that the focus of the morning permeated everything. The message for the weekend was about the doctrine of the Trinity, and Pastor David did a great job of communicating the understanding and the significance of this doctrine for the Church. There was a lot of ground to cover, and it was thick subject matter, but I think the message was clear, and people walked away with something to cling to for practical purposes in their Christian life. David ended with the idea that we are to live our lives “To the Father, by the Son, and through the Spirit.”

We chose two main songs to emphasize and support the teaching time and bring our people to a point of worshiping in a “trinitarian” way: “Joyous Light” and “Holy Holy Holy.” “Joyous Light” is a song that I value highly, as it is based off of the earliest known hymn for the church, “Phos Hilaron.” Before teaching this song to our congregation, I read a translation of “Phos Hilaron,” known as “Hail Gladdening Light.” Here is that text:

“Phos Hilaron”

Hail, gladdening Light, of His pure glory poured
Who is the immortal Father, heavenly, blest,
Holiest of Holies–Jesus Christ our Lord!

Now we are come to the sun’s hour of rest;
The lights of evening round us shine;
We hymn the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit divine!

Worthiest art thou at all times to be sung with undefiled tongue,
Son of our God, giver of life, alone:
Therefore in all the world Thy glories, Lord, Thy own. Amen.

It’s an amazing thought that we can join in a song that the church has song since the 3rd century A.D. (almost 1700 years ago!). The writers of “Joyous Light” put it this way:

“Joyous Light”

Verse 1
Hail Gladdening Light, Sun so bright
Jesus Christ, End of night
Alleluia

Verse 2
Hail Gladdening Light, Eternal Bright
In evening time, ‘round us shine,
Alleluia, alleluia

Chorus
We hymn the Father, we hymn the Son
We hymn the Spirit, wholly Divine
No one more worthy of songs to be sung
To the Giver of Life, all glory is Thine

Verse 3
Hail Gladdening Light, such joyous Light
O Brilliant Star, forever shine,
Alleluia, alleluia

It was a great moment for us this weekend, as we we joined in singing this ancient hymn and truth about the nature of our God.

“Holy Holy Holy” was a late addition/change to the set for this week, as David and I discussed late Thursday about wrapping the message. Some scholars maintain that the Scriptural phrase, “Holy Holy Holy” is referring to each person of the Trinity, and we thought it might be fitting (even without mentioning that) to do a song that contained both that phrase and explicit references to the “Blessed Trinity.” It was also another way to connect both old and new in our worship time.

In reference to my learning experience last week (see here), we did “How Great Is Our God” all the way down in the key of G (A bit lower than the recording in C#…). It was rather low, but it fit well in the flow of the rest of the worship set, and the people sang it well. I think the key of A would have been fine, but it further emphasized to me the value of putting things in singable keys – which is something I have been working on and learning for the last 4 years. If you are leading somewhere, and it seems that people are not singing with you (I believe the participation of our congregations ought to be part of the goal), try dropping the key a step or so and see what happens. Try to eliminate any excuse people can give for not joining in the song with the church, especially for the guys.

In all, it was a great weekend of worshiping together. I love our team here at Fellowship, and I am so blessed to serve with them. Their hearts and their talent is what makes our weekends special together. I’m excited about where things are heading, and the things we’re learning together as we help to lead God’s people in worshiping their King!

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

In the Son,

Bill

(Sunday Set Lists)

Here’s our set from this weekend, which was also our baptism weekend at Fellowship:

Pre-service: “Happy Day” [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon]
Call to Worship – Psalm 47
“All Because of Jesus” [Steve Fee]
Welcome/Offering/Announcements/Greeting Time
Focus passage for second set – Ephesians 2:1-10
“Jesus Messiah” [Daniel Carson, Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, and Jesse Reeves]
“Son of God” [Tim Neufeld, Jon Neufeld, Ed Cash, and Gordon Cochran]
“The Stand” [Joel Houston]

Message – Pastor Joe Hishmeh
Baptisms/Testimonies

Response: “Jesus Paid It All” [Alex Nifong, Elvina M. Hall, John Thomas Grape]

This weekend was my second week leading Fellowship Bible Church in worship, and I thought it went well, and that God was glorified. I have many dreams and ideas for the future of our Worship & Arts ministry, but it doesn’t all happen over night, and I am looking forward to building these things and making these ideas happen here in the near future.

We opened up with “Happy Day” as some people were still entering the worship center. We had to cut this song for the fourth service, because the baptisms went a little long, and our two services ran into one another, creating quite the traffic jam as people were coming and going. This song is fairly new to this congregation, so it was another teaching moment. I used this song during one of my trips up here to interview with the church, and this weekend was the second time they have sung it. With that in mind, it did seem that the people were with it and participating.

The second song was “All Because of Jesus,” and it followed a call to worship, in which the Word of God challenged us in Psalm 47 to clap our hands and to sing praises to our God, the great King over all the universe. I made the comparison between the way we cheer for our favorite sports teams, with loud clapping and shouting, and the way we worship our God. I challenged our people to offer at least as much energy to our God, who is infinitely more worthy than a sports team (especially the Cleveland teams that I root for…).

After the welcome, offering, announcements, and greeting time, we moved into a time of worship focused on the idea of Ephesians 2:1-10, specifically how God made us alive together with Christ when we were dead in our sins and transgressions. We were completely hopeless for eternity before He intervened and rescued us. Because of His great gift for us, we ought to respond with our lives as living acts of worship. The next three songs, “Jesus Messiah,” “Son of God,” and “The Stand,” followed that focus.

“Jesus Messiah” and “The Stand” were both very familiar to the congregation, so they engaged well with it. “Son of God” was new to Fellowship, and is a song that I believe the Church should be singing. It does a good job of describing the story of Jesus, from shaping the stars to fulfilling the prophecy of the Messiah. It wraps it up nicely with a simple, solid chorus (“Jesus, O Holy One/ I sing to You, forgiven/ Savior, I’m overcome/ With Your great love for me”) and 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”).

Pastor Joe’s message focused on the life of Saul/Paul as an example for us to describe how God’s story has intersected our own story and taken it over, transforming our lives from one centered on ourselves to one that is properly centered on Jesus Christ. After he shared, we baptized people who had signed up and prepared a testimony to share how God had rescued them.

We wrapped it all up with “Jesus Paid It All” as the response song. It’s hard to go wrong with that song, as the hymn does a great job of examining our own weakness and dependence on Jesus for our every need, and the additional chorus by Alex Nifong is a beautiful, concise expression of thanksgiving for what Christ has done: “O praise the One/ Who paid my debt/ And raised this life/ Up from the dead”. This is another song that I believe the Church needs to sing, because of the powerful truth which it contains.

Three of the four services went without a snag. The third service (Sunday, 9 AM) went a little long because some fo the testimonies were longer than we had planned for. It was a moment where we have to remind ourselves of the reasons we gather together. One of those reasons is to see lives changed, regardless of how long it takes. Sometimes our organization and systems can make it easy to lose track of the things of most importance, because we’re concerned about someone complaining or having to change our plans. While I don’t prefer to make a habit of this kind of thing (going 30 minutes over our scheduled time), I am reminded that this morning we were witnesses of God’s amazing grace and power in the lives of His people. I am thankful that He still moves in such amazing ways, and that He still rescues, just as He rescued me.

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

In the Son,

Bill

Sunday Set Lists