Posts Tagged ‘Wonderful Maker’

This weekend, our lead pastor, Joe Hishmeh, concluded our “Deep and Wide” series, and shared the results of how we came together as a church to advance the gospel in our lives. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

“In Tenderness” (G) [Nate Garvey, Adoniram J. Gordon, W. Spencer Walton, played by Citizens]
“Let Me Sing” (Bb) [Todd Fields]
Greeting Time
Message – “Deep & Wide Recap” [Joe Hishmeh]
“All Creatures of Our God and King” (D) [St. Francis of Assisi, David Crowder, William Henry Draper, Brent Milligan]
“Wonderful Maker” (G) [Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman]
“Son of God” (G) [Tim Neufeld, Jon Neufeld, Ed Cash, Gordon Cochran]

Thoughts: This weekend was a solid weekend with our congregation. Kip Kraisinger co-led, and he and our team all did a great job. We also introduced the glockenspiel to our services for the first time, and Stacy Krueger did a great job with it on “All Creatures of Our God and King,” especially for her first time ever playing the instrument. It was a nice textural addition to our instrumentation, and I look forward to being able to utilize it more in the future. The back half of the service was a nice reflective time where we focused our worship toward God primarily as our Maker. “Wonderful Maker” holds a special place in my life as a worshiper, because it was the first song that had the obvious absence of self in the lyric–it was all about who God is and what He has done. It served as a turning point in my leading, where the emphasis shifted from songs about me and what I was going to do for God to who He is and what He has already done for us. There is a place in worship for offering our lives and essentially making vows to the Lord, but the emphasis must be on Him first. “Wonderful Maker” helped turn my focus in that direction, and I am very grateful for how the Lord used it in my life as a young worship leader. “Son of God” was a great way to close our services, because, in a way, it encapsulates the work of Christ for us from beginning to end, and in doing so it gives us words to worship Him and to magnify His surpassing worth. It always resonates with our congregation, and is a powerful moment of worship together.

Throughout the weekend, I felt a little “off.” No matter how much sleep I had over the past week, I continued to feel very tired. It could possibly be due to a cold or allergies, but I’m not sure. Whatever the cause, I felt a little “foggy” as a result. It can be challenging to lead well when feeling like that, but those are also some of the most beautiful and powerful moments in leading, because we have the opportunity to see God’s power made perfect in our weakness in a very tangible way. It is in those moments that we find ourselves even more dependent on the Spirit of God to work in our lives and in the lives of those we lead, and that is not a bad place to be. I’m thankful for how He continues to move and grow us as a congregation, and that He allows me to be a part of what He is doing here in Fellowship.

Next weekend, our NextGen worship director, Erik Oldberg, will be leading our weekend services with a team of students, and it’s going to be a great weekend! Don’t miss it.

– Bill

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


This past weekend, we continued in our fourth message of our series – “Seven.” Our pastor, Joe Hishmeh, shared about being content with what God has provided for us, and leveraging our resources for the gospel and the kingdom of God, rather than trying to keep up with other people we see. It was a challenging message that called us away from the Keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality of the world to the selfless mentality of a Christ-follower. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

Here’s our service plan from this weekend:

“Made Alive” (C) [Zach Bolen, Brian Eichelberger]
Greeting Time/Announcements
Message – “Seven: Finances – Philippians 4:11” [Joe Hishmeh]

“Jesus Take All Of Me (Just As I Am)” (C) [Charlotte Elliot, Brenton Brown]
“Wonderful Maker” (G) [Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman]
“10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)” (G) [Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin]


Thoughts: This weekend was a solid weekend of worship. The team did a great job, and the church sang out! I am loving “Made Alive.” It is a song that I can’t get out of my head, and it is a great way to get the truth of Ephesians 2 in our hearts and minds throughout the week. I think the church is getting a hold of it, and I look forward to continuing to sing it in the near future. We’re going to rest the song next weekend, and we’ll pick up the weekend after that to continue to teach the song & refresh it for those who don’t remember it as well. “Jesus Take All Of Me” is one of my favorite newer songs for our church, and it was a very meaningful moment during communion in the wake of Joe’s message.

“Wonderful Maker” always holds a special place in my heart as the song that opened my eyes to how selfish I was in worship. This song helped me see just how much I was saying the words “I” and “Me” in worship, and seeking what I could get from God, rather than the glory and praise that I could give to Him because of His surpassing goodness and worth. He alone has effected our rescue, so He alone is worthy of all glory, praise, and honor. This was the first song I can remember singing that didn’t say “I” or “me” in it even once. This song was a game-changer for me that really altered my trajectory as a worshiper and as a worship leader.

I love our church, and I love what God is doing in us!

– Bill

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

This weekend in worship, we began a new series, The Appraisal of All Things. In it, we are digging into the epistle of Philippians, where Paul communicates with the church at Philippi about what matters most. Our set for the series involves a junked 40’s International truck and rusty tin, along with some junkyard images on our sidewalls. The thinking was that we are portraying things that were once very valuable, but now they are worthless pieces of junked rust. Paul said that he counted the things of this world “rubbish” in comparison to the joy of knowing Jesus Christ. Our hope through this series is for our church to put things in proper perspective, and “appraise” their worth in comparison to the matchless worth of Jesus.

Here’s our set from this weekend:

“All Because Of Jesus” (Bb) [Steve Fee]
Call to Worship – Psalm 63:3-5
“Marvelous Light” (B) [Charlie Hall]
Welcome/Offering/Announcements/Greeting Time
“Your Grace Is Enough” (G) [Matt Maher]
“Son of God” (G) [Jon Neufeld, Tim Neufeld, Ed Cash, Gordon Cochran]
“Wonderful Maker” (G) [Matt Redman and Chris Tomlin]
Message – “The Appraisal of All Things: He Who Began a Good Work in You” [Joe Hishmeh]
Response – “From the Inside Out” (C) [Joel Houston] 

(This will be a brief recap, because I am about to leave on a 23-hour road trip to visit friends and family in Florida.)

Because the thrust of Joe’s message was going to be on Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (ESV), I went with the theme of God creating us–both in the beginning and through Christ. Along these lines, we opened our services with “All Because of Jesus,” which emphasizes how the Lord is the giver and sustainer of physical life, as well as how He is the giver and sustainer of spiritual life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was exactly the angle I was going for in our theme for worship this weekend.

During the call to worship we tried something new (it was new to me, too), and began to teach our congregation about different Biblical expressions of worship, mostly described in the Psalms. This weekend, we taught our congregation about lifting their hands in worship. I read from Psalm 63:3-5, which ends by stating, “So I will bless You as long as I live; In Your name I will lift up my hands” (ESV). I had them raise one hand while we prayed together, just as a way to practice the expression in a non-threatening environment, where everyone was doing it together. I could tell that some people felt a little awkward, but it was a learning moment, and I believe it was healthy for our congregation. The idea of going through the Biblical expressions of worship with a congregation was not original from me–I got the idea from Paul Baloche at a worship conference in Florida. I thought it was a brilliant way to expand a church’s horizons and give them more understanding of ways that they can Biblically express themselves to God. I will keep you updated about how it progresses.

After the call to worship, we jumped into “Marvelous Light,” to declare how we have been transferred from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of Jesus—the kingdom of light. The chorus is always powerful: “Into marvelous light I’m running/ Out of darkness, out of shame/ By the cross You are the truth, You are the life, You are the way.” My favorite part of the song, however, is the pre-chorus, which sings, “Sin has lost its power/ Death has lost its sting/ From the grave You’ve risen/ Victoriously!” When we go strong on that part after the instrumental break, I am always pumped up. Does our celebration in Christ get wrapped up much more succinctly? I can’t think of a lyric that says it better.

For the second set, we sang “Your Grace Is Enough,” “Son of God,” and “Wonderful Maker.” “Your Grace Is Enough” is a staple, and very familiar with our people. For years, I sang Chris Tomlin’s version of the song, which adds the variations of the chorus at the end. Only recently, as I have tried to make the songs we sing more accessible for congregations, have I sung Matt Maher’s version, without the additional choruses. I feel it is easier for people to sing with the original choruses, and the additional ones can be somewhat confusing because the rhythm of the lyric changes somewhat. If we are trying to get our people to engage and participate, I believe the original choruses are the way to go.

We also continued teaching Starfield’s “Son of God,” which continues to gain strength in our congregation. The simple melody, and clear and concise lyric connects well. We will continue teaching it for one more week, and then give it a break for a few weeks to bring it back later as a refresher. The focus of the song fits well with Philippians, so it will probably make a few appearances over the next 16 weeks or so as we journey through the book.

We finished this set with “Wonderful Maker,” which was part of a revolution in my thinking regarding worship music. Until I encountered this song, I was drawn to the emotional songs that focused on how I felt and what I needed. When I first heard this song, I was confronted with a song that has only one occurrence of first person, when it sings, “And we have only heard/ The faintest whispers of how great You are.” The rest of the song speaks only of God, His greatness, and His goodness. It was refreshing, to say the least, and it challenged my priorities in worship. Was I participating only for what I could get out of it? Was my worship selfish or self-centered? Or was I doing it only because the Godhead is worthy of all my praise and glory? These questions made me reevaluate my choices regarding worship and the way I led worship through music. As a result, I try to spend the majority of our worship time focusing on God–who He is and what He has done—and less time worrying about us. Worship is about God. He is worthy of my praise, no matter what I am dealing with or think I need. He has paid the price for our redemption and rescue, and He is ultimately more valuable than anything, or anyone, else.

We responded to Joe’s message about God’s “good work” in us by singing “From The Inside Out,” which is another well-known song for Fellowship. I love the dynamics of this song, how it builds from quiet reflection on our weaknesses to committed, sincere praise to the everlasting God, the one whose worth and power never diminishes.

The recurring themes throughout this weekend’s music were Jesus’ surpassing worth and creative activity. It was time well spent.

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

I will be out this next week on vacation, so I won’t have a set list for next weekend. I may have our Next Gen worship leader, Erik Oldberg (he doesn’t know it yet), put some of his thoughts down from leading the weekend services for me.

In the Son,


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,


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