Posts Tagged ‘Unchanging’

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!

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This weekend, we focused on the subject of maturity from Philippians 4:2-7. Joe dealt with disagreements, rejoicing, and communicating our needs to God through prayer. His emphasis was that we should seek spiritual maturity and should turn to prayer first, to truly rely on God in everything. I was challenged by the call to pray first rather than worry or turn anywhere else. It is easy for us to turn elsewhere to seek help, but God should be the one we seek first. Our first thought should be toward God, to pour out our hearts to Him.

Here’s our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service – “Forever” (G) [Chris Tomlin]
Call to Worship –
“Unchanging” (G) [Chris Tomlin]
Welcome/ Offering/ Announcements/ Greeting
“Let Me Sing” (Bb) [Todd Fields]
“It Is Well” (Bb) [Horatio G. Spafford, Todd Fields]
“You Never Let Go” (Bb) [Matt Redman]
Message – “An Appraisal of Maturity” [Joe Hishmeh]
Response – “From The Inside Out” [Joel Houston]

Because of the focus of this weekend, we went in the direction of prayer and trusting in God, which results in confidence and hope, and enables us to rejoice and to live in peace. “Forever” and “Unchanging” point to the faithfulness and immutability of God. “Let Me Sing” expresses the desire to worship God and thank Him for all that He is and all that He has done, specifically through the cross. “It Is Well” and “You Never Let Go” remind us that no matter what comes in this life, God is with us, and we have nothing to fear. They cling to the promises of Romans 8:28-39 and declare that we will trust in God, no matter what our circumstances are. Finally, “From The Inside Out” reminds us that the only way we will be able to grow towards spiritual maturity is through the power of Christ working within us.

“Forever” – This is a song that our congregation hasn’t done in a while, and it was good to bring it to our attention again, because it communicates the essence of so many Psalms, where the psalmist calls the people of God to recall who God is and what He has done, and to respond with the statement, “His steadfast love endures forever” (e.g. Psalm 118 ESV).

“Unchanging” – This song focuses in on the truth of Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (ESV), along with the concept of God’s “steadfast love.” He never changes, and His love for us never changes. He is faithful and true, and He is constant. His promises are true because He is true. Our status with Him is assured because He is unchanging. I love the declaration of this song, because it reminds us of the truth of this great attribute of God.

“Let Me Sing”This song hadn’t been done with our congregation for a while, but it was one that I loved when I was serving in Florida. It does a good job of reminding us of the reason to worship Jesus – He bore our sins and died in our place to reconcile us to God. The chorus sings, “Let me sing/ Louder than creation to You/ For the pain You bore in Your body/ To bring my soul to You/ Let me shine/ Brighter than the stars in the sky/ An offering of praise all my life/ To You, my Holy King.”

“It Is Well” – Earlier this week, my wife and I were watching a documentary about disaster flooding, and much of the episode was spent focused on New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. As we watched and saw images of the city and the flooding, my mind was overwhelmed with memories about that seemingly chaotic time in our lives together. I remember packing up on Saturday morning to head over to Baton Rouge for the “weekend” and ready to get back to school at the seminary on Monday. I remember loading up our cat, two of my guitars, some work clothes (for boarding up our friends’ windows), and the few photo albums that we had unpacked (we only moved there four weeks earlier). On Sunday night, as the storm grew, we knew this was not going to be a small matter in our lives. We headed further north to increase our distance from the storm for the peace of mind of our families. As we drove, we had a serious talk about our situation, and the fact that we may lose all of our earthly possessions, aside from what we had in our tiny Honda Civic. We were confident that we would be okay, with or without all that “stuff.” Our statement was, “It is just stuff. We are together and had each other. By the time we ended up at my mother-in-law’s house in southern Illinois, the flooding began. And the possibility of losing all our material possessions began looking more like reality. This song really communicates our hearts during that time, and the lyric of the chorus says it especially well: “It is well, it is well/ Through the storm I am held/ It is well, it is well with my soul.”

One confession about this one: in the third service this weekend (Sunday 9 AM), I mistakenly sang the second verse twice (once in place of the third verse). I’m not upset about singing that one twice, because it is probably the strongest one in the song, singing of our forgiveness through the cross. I didn’t even realize I had started singing it again until midway through the verse. Whoops. 🙂 Our Media Shout man, Shane, was all over it, and had it on the right verse before I even noticed I started verse 2 again. I was humbled, which is never a bad thing…

“You Never Let Go” – This is another song that expresses our confidence in our God and the fact that He is truly with us. He never leaves us and never forsakes. Indeed, He never lets go of us as His children, who have been adopted through Christ’s sacrifice for us. This song really puts words to my trust, and encourages me to deepen that confidence in Christ.

“From The Inside Out” – We used this song for the angle of transformation, growth, and maturity, to support Joe’s message. He said that we should desire spiritual maturity, because “the Lord is at hand.” This song effectively communicates that desire to be transformed from within, and I feel that it was a good way to end our time together this weekend.

In all, it was a solid weekend. The team served really well in all of the services. I felt a little tired from a looming cold, but I was rejuvenated by our times together. Jesus was lifted high. He is faithful, and we have nothing to fear in Him. He is good, and His promises are true and unchanging. Let us each place our confidence in Him in every situation.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship! Join the discussion below: have you had a moment in leading when you messed up the words of a song? Check out The Worship Community to see what some other leaders experienced this weekend.

In the Son,

Bill

 

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)

We had yet another great day of worship together, as Pastor Jay shared a message about the conviction and drawing of the Holy Spirit. It was a powerful, gospel-centered moment.

Here’s our set from this weekend:

“God is Alive” [Steve Fee, Eddie Kirkland]
“Unchanging” [Chris Tomlin]
“Jesus Messiah” [Jesse Reeves, Chris Tomlin, et al]
“Because of Your Love” [Phil Wickham]
“Jesus Paid It All” [Traditional w/ add. chorus by Alex Nifong]
Invitation: “Rescue” [Jared Anderson]
Offertory: “Desert Song” [Brooke Fraser]

Sunday was a sweet day of focusing on the cross of Christ and how He redeemed us by His atoning sacrifice. I never get enough of putting my focus there and reminding ourselves of all that Jesus has done to make a way for us where there was no way. “Jesus Messiah,” based on one of my favorite verses, 2 Cor. 5:21 (“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that in Him we might become the righteousness of God”) is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. I put it off for quite some time (maybe because I was bitter that someone else beat me to using that verse in a song…). Anyway, the declaration of the bridge, “All our hope is in You/ All our hope is in You/ All the glory to You, God/ The Light of the World” is such a powerful statement, one that needs to become something of a motto for the people of God. We have no hope apart from Him and His finished saving work on the cross. We are hopeless without Him!

We also introduced a new song, “Desert Song,” which is a song of confidence and constant praise in our God, regardless of the circumstances. It takes the worshiper through the different seasons of life, from hunger to blessing, and reiterates the expression, “I will bring praise, I will bring praise/ No weapon formed against me shall remain/ I will rejoice, I will declare/ God is my victory and He is here.” No matter where we are at in our journey, or what the circumstances may be, God is with His children, and He has not forsaken us. We can rest assured of that fact.

It was a great day of worship. There were many who came forward to be baptized or to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. I am excited about what the Lord is doing in our midst.

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

In the Son,

Bill

Check out other worshipers set lists here.

Currently Listening to Fiona Apple “Tidal”

Here’s our set for this week:

“Faithful One” [original]
“Unchanging” [Chris Tomlin]
“Let Me Sing” [Todd Fields]
“I Need You” [Kristian Stanfill]
“You Never Let Go” [Matt and Beth Redman]
“I Will Go” [Starfield]
“You’re the Only One” [original]

This week went well. It felt a little like we were swimming upstream trying to get everyone to worship, probably due to it being Memorial Day weekend. I think we got there by the end of the music set, and Pastor Jay’s message really drove it home. He shared some really powerful lessons, and a profound story of suffering which was really hard to hear, yet very impacting. God is truly at work, and it’s awesome to be a part of it!

I hope you all had a great week, wherever you were worshiping.

Be sure to check out Sunday Set Lists at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com to see what other leaders and worshipers experienced this week.