Fellowship Bible Church - 02/17 - 02/18/17

This weekend Pastor Joe looked at Matthew 5:38-48 and focused on Jesus' call to forgiveness versus revenge. It was a powerful challenge for our relationships. For our singing, we focused on songs that reminded us of the forgiveness that we have been shown by the Lord through the sacrifice of Jesus, and how Ephesians 2:14 reminds us that "He Himself is our peace." 

Here's what we sang together:

Pre-service - "How Can It Be" [Lauren Daigle]
"This Is Amazing Grace" [Phil Wickham]
"You Have Overcome" [Bill Horn]
"God With Us" [All Sons & Daughters]
"It Is Well" {North Point Community Church/Lauren Daigle]

It was another great weekend together!

Have a great week!

in the Son,


Fellowship Bible Church - 02/11 - 02/12/2017

This weekend we looked at Jesus' challenge to us to keep our word, both in marriage and in the promises we make. In his message, Pastor Joe shared how marriage and keeping our word is a picture of the gospel and the promises that God gives us through Christ. When promises–especially marriage vows–are kept, they remind us of God's faithfulness in His relationship with us as His people.

Here's what we sang together this weekend:

Pre-service - "Nothing But The Blood" [Andy Cherry, Robert Lowry]
"Grace Alone" [Dustin Kensrue, The Modern Post]
"Before the Throne" [The Modern Post]
"Good Good Father" [Housefires]
"Lord, I Need You" [Chris Tomlin]

In our singing, we focused on themes of God's grace for us, Christ being our Atonement and Advocate and Mediator, God's faithful love for us, and our desperate need for the Lord to be our Righteousness. It was a moving weekend together, as we have all been touched in some way by the brokenness and pain of divorce in our culture, and know the deep need we have for restoration, reconciliation, forgiveness, and repentance in our lives and marriages. May God gives us grace and strength to be people who keep our word and reflect His faithful love to the world around us.

in the Son,


Fellowship Bible Church - 02/04 - 02/05/2017

This weekend for our Way of Life series, Pastor Joe shared Jesus' words from the Sermon on the Mount about adultery and lust. It was a challenging message for all, and reminded us just how much we need the grace of God and the righteousness of Christ.

Here's what we sang together this weekend:

Pre-Service - "All The Poor And Powerless" [All Sons & Daughters]
"Jesus!" [Citizens & Saints/The Northwest Collective]
"I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)" [Charles Hutchison Gabriel]
"No Longer Slaves" [Bethel Music]
"O Come To The Altar" [Elevation Worship]

For our singing, we focused on themes of our own helplessness apart from Christ's work for us and in us, the salvation that only comes through Christ, the freedom that we have from sin and fear because of Christ, and the forgiveness that is available to us because of Christ.

It was a great weekend together, and the team did a fantastic job preparing and leading. It was great to be back after my trip to the Philippines, albeit a little jet-lagged! I hope to post a little about my trip at some point, but it may be a week or so before I can get to that.

in the Son,


Fellowship Bible Church - 01/21 - 01/22/2016

This weekend was our second in our Way of Life series, and Pastor Joe dug into Matthew 5:17-20 to highlight the difference that Christ has called us to be in our identity and impact in this world. 

Here's what we sang together:

Pre-Service - "A Mighty Fortress" [Christy Nockels]
"This is Amazing Grace" [Phil Wickham]
"Hosanna" [Hillsong]
"God With Us" [All Sons & Daughters]
"Forever Reign" [Hillsong]

It was a great weekend. Our leaders and team did a great job giving their best and helping the congregation sing together in worship. Our songs focused on the character of God, which is what He calls us into by extension. He wants our lives to reflect His glory and character to the world around us, and He is the one who makes that transformation happen as we open our lives to His influence and walk in step with the Spirit. We closed with "Forever Reign" because it highlighted the contrast between God's character and our own apart from His work in our lives. It gave us an opportunity to confess our hearts to God and call each other to run to Him and to make Him the sole recipient of our lives' devotion. I think it was a fitting response song for Joe's message this weekend.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship!

in the Son,


Matthew 5:3-12 Study Notes

Blessed (gr. makarioi) — blessed, with an internal emphasis, happy (external blessing – Mt. 25:34)

  • OT – offer of blessing but warning of curse. 
  • NT – no warning of curse. The New Covenant is greater than the Old because it is effective. It will transform and change. No curse need be threatened. Blessings alone are promised!            

is the kingdom (v. 3, 10) — Present tense. The kingdom of heaven begins when Christ rules in the hearts of His followers.

Shall  be... (v. 4-9) — Future tense. Fulfillment in part right now, but complete fulfillment in the eschaton, the end.

1. the poor in spirit — The word for poor comes from the word which means to crouch or to cringe, to shrink with fear, usually in association with utter destitution, poverty, and therefore begging.

2. those who mourn ­­— Those who lament over their spiritual lack, and recognize their sickness and their need for the Lord. They mourn not only for their own sin, but for the sin of the world around them. (2 Cor. 7:10)

“Confession is one thing, contrition is another.”
John StottThe Message of the Sermon on the Mount, p. 41)

3. the meek — Those who have a proper perspective of themselves because of poverty in spirit and resulting mourning; they are gentle to those around them, they treat others as they have been treated.  We have lost both the right and the material to boast.

4. those who hunger and thirst for righteousness — Progressive present, which could be properly translated as “those who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness."

We need God’s righteousness to fill our lives, because we lack righteousness altogether.

5. the merciful — When we are poor, mourning, meek, hungry and thirsty, we will be merciful with others, who—knowingly or not—are in the same spiritual condition as we are. We must recognize that God has been extremely merciful to us, and share that mercy with all, just as God has done. (Titus 3:3)

6. the pure in heart — The idea of purity is that of being undivided, unmixed, focused on only God. Soren Kierkegaard entitled his book about spiritual preparation Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing, which is a fitting picture of the biblical concept of purity. (James 4:8) 

7. the peacemakers — We are to be like Jesus Christ, who has made peace on the cross. We are not only to receive peace, but actively pursue peace. (Heb. 12:14, 2 Cor. 5:18)

The Result of truly following Christ is persecution (v. 10-12). Notice it is blessed when we suffer for Jesus’ sake. It is only for His sake when we are following Him. People will attack what they don’t understand. We are no longer of this world, so they will reject us like they rejected Jesus. When they reject us, we are to “jump and rejoice” because of our reward in heaven, for we are being likened to the prophets.

7 character traits—a symbol of complete Christian character.

Fellowship Bible Church - 01/14 - 01/15/2016

We had an interesting week, to be sure. There were many weather-related questions concerning the weekend, with a looming ice storm that threatened to hit right in the middle of our Saturday evening services and run through the night into Sunday morning. Because of the potential storm, we pre-recorded the service on Thursday afternoon so we could share it with the congregation just in case. However, we were able to get our Saturday 5 PM service in, but we canceled the remaining services to be safe and to keep our people off the roads as much as possible to prevent accidents due to icy conditions. As it turned out, the temperature danced around the freezing point, and the ice was minimal, but when we had to make the call, there was no way to know that for sure. Hindsight...

All that considered it was a great weekend. David Hinkle's message from Matthew 5:3-12 and the Beatitudes pointed us to the truth that our blessing comes to us externally because of what Jesus has done for us. His life, His righteousness, His character–they are shared with us as we depend on Him and look to Him for our satisfaction and our identity. It was a powerful message of the grace of God and being clothed in Christ.

For our singing, we focused on dependence, on the truth that we are children of God and He is our faithful Father, and on how we desperately need Him to lead us and guide us.

Here's what we sang together this weekend:

"All The Poor & Powerless" [All Sons & Daughters]
"Rejoice" [Dustin Kensrue/The Modern Post]
"Your Great Name" [Michael Neale, Krissy Nordhoff]
"Good, Good Father" [Housefires II]
"Lord, I Need You" [Chris Tomlin]

I hope you had a great weekend, whatever weather you were experiencing!

in the Son,


Matthew 5:1-2 Study Notes

“Seeing the crowds…” v.1

  • Jesus went “into the mountain” in order to get away from the rowds, or to get some relief from the crowds, where He could teach His true followers (see v. 2).

“He went into the mountain…” v.1

  • anebe eis to oros – “he went into the mountain” (see previous post)
  • Matthew was using a particular, uncommon phrasing in order to make a point.
  • This particular phrasing is only used in two other places in the Bible, in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament).  Both of these occurances are in reference to Moses receiving the Law from God in Exodus 19.3, and Ex. 24.18.  Moses had prophesied of a prophet like him, but greater than him (Dt. 18.15, 18), and Matthew is making the case that Jesus is that one.  There are similarities throughout Matthew’s Gospel, which compare Jesus to Moses, as the bringer of the New Covenant Law.

“…and sat Himself down.” v.1

  • The posture of the teacher: seated, imparting knowledge to His disciples.

“His disciples came to Him…” v. 2

  • Note that His disciples came to Him, not just anyone who happened to be following Jesus around, as spectators.  These were the ones that believed in His teachings and sought to follow them.

“He opened His mouth and taught them.” v. 2

  • A Jewish idiom found elsewhere in the New Testament (Mt. 13:35; Acts 8:35, 10:34, 18:14), and in the Old Testament (Job 3:1, 33:2; Dan. 10:16). According to D.A. Carson, “it is used in solemn or revelatory contexts.”

Matthew 5:13-16 Study Notes

”You are”

  • In the Greek, Jesus is emphasizing the "you" part of this statement ("You, you are..."). He is making sure that we understand that it is solely the role of His followers, and no one else, to be the salt and the light of the world.

Salt — uses:

  • Preservation, purification (Ex. 30.35, Ez. 16.4)
  • herbicide or a destructive agent  (Deut. 29.23, Judges 9.45, Psalm 107.33-34, Jer. 17.6, Zeph 2.9)
  • seasoning (Mark 9.49)

What function are we supposed to serve here?

  • We are to be the purifying agent of the earth and the preservers of the truth.
  • We cannot be the preservers of the earth, because the earth is corrupt and decaying.

“of the earth” – of (genitive of reference), meaning salt as far as the earth is concerned.

  • We are to be in the world, but not of the world.

“loses its flavor” –to be made foolish, to be defiled. 

  • This expression suggests an Aramaic background.
  • What happens as a result of this?
  • If we lose our saltiness - or purity - how will we be purified?
  • When we lose our purity, we become counter-productive, and we become an agent of destruction rather than healing and purifying.

“thrown out and trampled underfoot” (katapateo) – walked around on, trampled with scorn and shame

  • When salt became impure or mixed with sand, it was good for nothing but to be thrown out.  It could not even be thrown in the dung heap because it would destroy what little value that the dung had as fertilizer, because it would kill the grass.
  • Therefore, it must be thrown on the heavily beaten path, where nothing grows anyway.  There, the “salt” becomes an object of scorn, because all it will do is destroy. 

Light Isaiah 9.1-2, Matthew 4.15-16

  • giving hope, and joy to those who are in darkness and gloom.

The City on a Hill: The glow of a city upon a hill in the night skyline.

A Lamp: in complete darkness (minus electricity) the slightest light is sufficient for all who are in the house.

“Let your light so shine”—before men, in the presence of, in front of men.

  • To glorify God our Father, not ourselves. This idea counters the exaggeration (by many) of chapter 6, saying that all good works should be hidden.
  • This is not righteousness for the sake of being righteous, nor is it righteousness in order to be seen by men.  It happens that we are seen while obeying our Master and Lord while we are in this world.

Ultimately, Jesus is calling us to remain pure and unmixed with the world so we do not lose our purifying and preserving function on the earth through the clear and faithful proclamation of the true gospel. He is calling us to also proclaim the gospel with hope, love, and grace, so that the world would see what we do and how we treat them, and give glory to God our Father.

Jesus, The Prophet Greater Than Moses

Last week our church, Fellowship Bible Church, began reading in the Gospel of Matthew as we introduced our new series, Way of Life, which will go through Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Because of a great professor in seminary, Chuck Quarles, this passage of Scripture has become one of my favorite and most studied passages. Over the course of the series, I will share some of my study notes for those who might be interested.

The Gospel to the Hebrew People
Matthew's Gospel is often considered to have been written to the Hebrew people, with the aim of demonstrating that Jesus is the Messiah, promised in the Hebrew scriptures. Part of Matthew's tactic is to compare Jesus with the greatest prophet in Jewish history: Moses. While all other prophets heard the voice of the Lord through dreams and visions, Moses spoke with God face-to-face. He performed the greatest miracles in the history of the Hebrew people, freeing them from slavery in Egypt, providing food in the desert, and giving them the guidelines that would direct their walking with God for centuries.

A Greater Prophet
In Deuteronomy 18:15-19, as Moses is recounting the law for the Hebrew people, he tells of a greater prophet that would come after him. This prophet would be greater because the people would actually listen to him, and for anyone who did not listen, God would have stiff consequences.

"The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers--it is to him you shall listen--just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire anymore, lest I die.' And the Lord said to me, 'They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.'"

Making the Connection
In the first five chapters of this gospel, Matthew goes to great lengths to show the similarities between Moses and Jesus. While Moses delivered the first Law, Jesus brought the New Law--the Law that would be written on the hearts of believers. Here are a few of the connections that Matthew makes:

  • Both were descendants of Abraham (and therefore Jews)
    • Moses was the son of Amram, son of Kohath, son of Levi, son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham (1 Chronicles 23)
    • Jesus genealogy in Matthew 1 shows that He is a descendant of David, Judah, Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham (see verses 1-6)
  • Both fled their homeland
    • Exodus 2:11-15
    • Matthew 2:13
  • A slaughter of innocent children surrounded their births
    • Exodus 1:16
    • Matthew 2:16
  • Both came out of Egypt
    • Exodus 13:3
    • Matthew 2:15
  • Both went through the water
    • Exodus 15 (the Red Sea crossing was considered a "baptism" in 1 Corinthians 10:2)
    • Matthew 3:13-17 (Jesus was baptized)
  • Both went into the wilderness immediately after going through the water
    • Exodus 15 and following
    • Matthew 4 (Jesus' temptation in the wilderness)
  • Both went "into" the mountain to deliver the Covenant Law
    • Exodus 19:3; 24:18 ("anebe eis to oros" in Greek)
    • Matthew 5:1 ("anebe eis to oros" in Greek)

Into the Mountain
This last point is possibly one of the most significant because it directly equates the authority of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) to the authority of the prior Old Testament Law of Moses. This is something that is not readily apparent in the English translations, but it something that happens in the original languages. In Exodus 19:3 and 24:18, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, uses a curious directional preposition to describe how Moses went up the mountain. It says that "he went into the mountain" ("anebe eis to oros"). This phrasing is only used in the Old Testament when referring to Moses and his receiving of the Law from God. Here, in Matthew 5:1, Matthew writes that Jesus, "seeing the crowds, went into the mountain" ("anebe eis to oros"). This is the only place this peculiar phrasing is used, and it is used for a special purpose. Matthew is telling us and all of his Jewish readers that Jesus is the prophet that Moses spoke of in Deuteronomy 18. Jesus initiated the New Covenant, and the new "law" that is a part of that covenant. 

The New Law
This new law is the law of the heart, which is impossible for man to fulfill on his own. It can only be accomplished through the inner transformation that God works in us through His Spirit, as we are born again through faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Notice two statements, in particular: Matthew 5:20 and 5:47-48, which bracket Jesus' discussion on the common perspective of the Old Testament Law as compared with His divine perspective on the Law.

Matthew 5:20 - "For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds (literally, "is more than") that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 5:47-48 - "And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

The scribes and Pharisees stuck to every single letter of the Law. They were so diligent, they even tithed from their spices. Jesus told His disciples that their righteousness must exceed perfection as measured by the letter of the Law. It must be more than that. It must be a righteousness that pervades our being, and that comes from the inside out--the kind of righteousness that comes from love rather than fear.

May we trust Jesus' word. May we hear Him and follow. May we pursue the righteousness that comes from love and not from fear. May our righteousness be more, not for our own sake, but to honor the One who loved us and gave Himself up for us. 

Fellowship Bible Church - 01/07 - 01/08/16

This weekend we began our spring series through Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew–The Way of Life. The message this weekend was an introduction about why and how to listen to God. I'm really excited about this series because the Sermon on the Mount is so powerful and shows us the righteousness of God in such a striking and challenging way. 

Here's what we sang together this weekend:

Pre-service - "Lead Me to the Cross" [Hillsong United]
"Jesus!" [Citizens & Saints / The Northwest Collective]
"Before the Throne" [The Modern Post]
"No Longer Slaves" [Bethel Music]
"Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" [Chris Tomlin]

I hope you had a great weekend and that you are resting in the finished work of Jesus as your hope!

in the Son,

Fellowship Bible Church - New Year's Weekend

For New Years Eve Weekend this year, we went mainly with a simple, four-piece rock band set up, and it was a ton of fun. It felt like going back to my garage band roots from college. I loved the simplicity and the rawness of it all, and I had the opportunity to play a little electric guitar again this weekend, which I don't do enough. It was a really enjoyable time of remembering and celebrating our adoption as sons and daughters of God through the finished work of Christ for us!

"Words in the Water" [Thrice]
"Made Alive" [Citizens & Saints]
"Grace Alone" [The Modern Post/Dustin Kensrue]
"No Longer Slaves" [Bethel Music]
"O Come to the Altar" [Elevation Worship]


Fellowship Bible Church - Christmas Eve 2016

God is with us! This weekend, we concluded our Christmas Series – "Christmas On Purpose" with a message entitled "To Save Sinners." That is ultimately why Jesus stepped down from His throne and became flesh. He came to rescue us and to give us new life.

Here's what we sang together to celebrate the Savior's birth:

Pre-service - "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (Instrumental) [Based off of Fernando Ortega's arrangement]
"Joy to the World" [Traditional, my arrangement]
"O Come Let Us Adore Him" [Hillsong]
"O Holy Night" [Traditional, my arrangement]
"Silent Night" [Traditional]

Christmas Eve is always a beautiful and special celebration that closes with candle-lighting to remember the Light of World who stepped into the darkness to bring us out into the light.

Merry Christmas!

in the Son,


Fellowship Bible Church - Advent Weekend Recaps

Well, in the busy-ness of vacation and holiday stuff, I have fallen way behind on posting here, so this is a catch-up post for our December weekends, along with our Christmas Worship Night! Below are the sets from the weeks that I have missed. Our Christmas message series was entitled "Christmas On Purpose" from 1 Timothy 1:15: "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost." The messages broke down the phrase "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" into smaller segments to show why Christ came into the world in the incarnation.

December 3 & 4 - Identity

Pre-service - "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" [Traditional]
"Jesus" [Citizens & Saints]
"Grace Alone" [The Modern Post]
"Son of God" [Starfield]
God With Us" [All Sons & Daughters]


December 10 & 11 - Incarnation

Pre-service - "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" [Traditional, my arrangement]
"Angels from the Realms of Glory" [Traditional, my arrangement]
"O Come Let Us Adore Him" [Hillsong]
"What Child is This" [Bebo Norman arrangement]
"Here I Am to Worship (Chorus only)" [Chris Tomlin]
"Jesus Messiah" [Chris Tomlin]


December 17 & 18 - The World

"Hosanna (Praise is Rising/Emmanuel)" [Paul Baloche]
"Go Tell It on the Mountain" [Traditional, arrangement inspired by Crystal Lewis version]
"O Come, O
Come Emmanuel" [Traditional, my arrangement]
"Hosanna (Chorus Only)" [Hillsong]
"Jesus Take All of Me" [Brenton Brown]


Christmas Worship Night - December 11

"Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" [Traditional]
"O Come All Ye Faithful" [Traditional]
"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" [Traditional]
"Angels We Have Heard On High" [Traditional]
"Joy to the World" [Traditional]
"O Holy Night" [Traditional]
"What Child Is This" [Traditional]
"Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" [Traditional, arr by Fernando Ortega]
"Noel" [Lauren Daigle, Chris Tomlin]
"God With Us" [All Sons & Daughters]
"Good, Good Father" [Housefires]
"Lamb of God" [Vertical Church Band]
"Son of God" [Starfield]
"No Longer Slaves" [Bethel Music]
"Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" [Chris Tomiln]
"I Am Set Free" [All Sons & Daughters]
"Jesus!" [Citizens & Saints]
"Grace Alone" [The Modern Post/Dustin Kensrue]
"My Victory" [Crowder]

I'll be posting our Christmas Eve Service Plan on that day.

I hope you have a Merry Christmas as you celebrate the birth of our incredible Savior who came to our rescue! He is with us!

in the Son,


Fellowship Service Recap - 11/12 - 11/13/16

This weekend, we continued our Together series as Pastor Joe looked at the value of being in "Fellowship Together." He focused on Daniel 1:1-21 and how Daniel and his group of friends supported and encouraged one another in remaining faithful to the Lord, even in the face of trials and difficulty during the exile in Babylon.

For our singing together, we focused on God's faithfulness and unfailing love, and the fact that He is with us. We can be encouraged to be together in fellowship with one another because God does the same for us.

Our team did a great job, and I really enjoyed including "Grace Alone" in our actual worship set after singing it a few times in the pre-service section. I love the lyric of that song, and how it points to the Trinity in the work of saving us, from beginning to end. I hope to continue singing it together as we go. We also sang a song that we haven't sung together in quite a while: "One Thing Remains." I love that song–especially the bridge. It's a powerful declaration of God's faithfulness and the security of our salvation because of Him.

Here's what we sang together this weekend:

Pre-service - "A Mighty Fortress" [Christy Nockels]
"Grace Alone" [Dustin Kensrue/The Modern Post]
"I Stand Amazed" [Charles Hutchison Gabriel, North Point Community Church]
"God With Us" [All Sons & Daughters]
"One Thing Remains" [Kristian Stanfill/Bethel]


Fellowship Service Recap - 11/05 - 11/06/16

We had a great weekend continuing our Together series with a message on being "Together in the Word." Pastor Joe pointed us to Deuteronomy 11:18-23 to remind us of the value of keeping the Word of God ever before us as our source and our guide.

For our singing, we focused on songs that reminded us of the faithfulness and surety of God's Word and promises to us, and of what He says about us.

The team did a great job, and it was a beautiful time of singing in worship together in each of our services.

Here's what we sang together:

Pre-service - "The Gospel" [Ghost Ship/Citizens & Saints]
"Before The Throne" [The Modern Post]
"Hosanna" [Hillsong United]
"Good Good Father" [Housefires II]
Communion - "Nothing But The Blood (Your Blood)" [Matt Redman/Charlie Hall]

I hope you had a great weekend! Jesus is King, and He is faithful!

in the Son,


Fellowship Service Recap - 10/29-10/30/16

This weekend was our second in our Together series, and we looked at why it's important for us to be "Together in Worship." Our adult discipleship pastor, David Hinkle, called us as a congregation to move from watching to participating in worship together.

It was a great weekend. The team did a great job leading, and we sang some of our favorites in our rehearsal of what we'll be doing together for eternity: exalting the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, with the song of those who have been redeemed!

Here's what we sang together:

Pre-service - "Rock of Ages" [The Modern Post/The Northwest Collective]
"Rejoice" [Dustin Kensrue/The Modern Post]
"Jesus!" [Citizens & Saints]
"My Victory" [Crowder]
"Revelation Song" [Kari Jobe]
"O Praise The Name (Anástasis)" [Hillsong Worship]

Fellowship Service Recap - 10/15 - 10/16/16

This weekend we concluded our Awakening series with a message from 2 Timothy 1:6-12 about how the Gospel is the greatest gift for us and for others. It was a great reminder and encouragement to share the wealth of the Gospel message with everyone in our lives.

Here's what we sang together:

Pre-Service - "Lead Me To The Cross" [Hillsong United]
"Sing to the King" [Billy Foote, Passion Worship Band]
"Hosanna" [Hillsong United]
"Your Great Name" [Michael Neale, Krissy Nordhoff]
"My Victory" [Crowder]

It was a great weekend together. Both Lindsay and Rachel did a great job leading, and I was thankful to only be leading one song this weekend, as I ended up with a pretty good cough. Someone commented to me that every single member of the band was singing as they played throughout the weekend, and that is a great inspiration to our congregation as they led from their respective positions. It was a beautiful thing.

I continue to see a lot of new faces in the congregation each weekend, many of whom are infusing a new energy into our gatherings, and it is very encouraging to see. I'm excited to see what the Lord does in and through our church family in the coming years!

Have a great week!

in the Son,


Fellowship Service Recap - 10/08 - 10/09/16

[It seems I had an entire post written up, but it mysteriously disappeared when I saved it, so I'll try to remember all the profound things I had to say. ;) ]

We had a great weekend together as we continued our Awakeninglooking at how the gospel is our celebration, and how it brings joy to the Father, to us, and to others who receive it. Joe focused in on Luke 15 and the "lost" parables of Jesus there, where He taught about the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. It was a beautiful reminder of how much the Father loves us and how He and all of Heaven celebrate it when we come back to Him!

Here's what we sang together:

Pre-service - "I Am Set Free" [All Sons & Daughters]
"Rejoice" - [Dustin Kensrue/The Modern Post]
"This is Amazing Grace" [Phil Wickham]
"Blessed Assurance" [Fanny Crosby]
"My Victory" [Crowder]

The team did a great job leading together to serve the church, and all of the songs connected well with Joe's message–especially the new song, "My Victory," which I have been looking to introduce to our congregation for about two months. We hosted Crowder in concert last week, and it was awesome to hear the song sung altogether with many from our congregation and others around the city. The lyric was a great fit for this weekend, as Joe discussed the attitudes of the scribes and the Pharisees toward Jesus and toward the tax collectors and sinners, along with the dangers of us taking the same self-righteous attitude, which stifles joy. The first verse of "My Victory" sings, "You came for criminals, and ev'ry Pharisee/ You came for hypocrites, even one like me." It then turns to look at the amazing gift of salvation that was given to us through the victory of Christ's cross. My favorite part of the song is the bridge, which comes from John 1:29, where John the Baptist declares about Jesus: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

Behold the Lamb of God
Who takes away our sin
Who takes away our sin
The holy Lamb of God
Makes us alive again
Makes us alive again

I believe that for the Christian, something powerful happens when we speak or sing the truth of Scripture together. I believe that truth resonates within us and we cannot help but agree with it and be moved by it. That was the case for me this weekend, and for the first few services, I even had a hard time keeping my emotions reined in so I could finish singing it! It's a beautiful truth to sing together as we look to our wonderful Savior who has taken away our sin and who made us alive again when we were dead in our sin.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship, too.

in the Son,


Fellowship Service Recap - 09/24 - 09/25/16

This weekend, we celebrated our church's 20th anniversary. It was a special weekend as we reflected on how the Lord has moved in and through our church family here in Topeka. It's pretty wild to think that I have been around for a quarter of the life of the church, too!

For the message this weekend, Joe continued in our Awakening series with a talk about why we still need the gospel, looking at the "rodents of the gospel," that gnaw away at our peace and rest: self-condemnation, self-righteousness, and selfishness. It was a great reminder of the subtle power these things can have in our lives, and to continually go back to the gospel for the truth about who we are in Christ.

Here's what we sang together:

Pre-service - "Rock of Ages" [The Northwest Collective]
"Made Alive" [Citizens & Saints]
"I Stand Amazed" [Northpoint Live version]
"Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" [Chris Tomlin]
"Jesus Paid it All" [Kristian Stanfill]

It was a beautiful weekend together as we reminded one another of the truth of the gospel: that Jesus did it all, and we were undeserving of the grace, love, and mercy He has shown us. He is so good to us!

I hope you had a great weekend, as well.

in the Son,


Fellowship Service Recap - 09/10 - 09/11/16

This week was the first of our new series, Awakening, where we are looking at the gospel for all of life as we receive it, live it, and give it away. In this first message, Joe shared about the declarations of the gospel–what it says about God, and what it says about us. It was a beautiful reminder of how the gospel changes our relationship with God, and brings us into fellowship with Him and with each other.

Here's what we sang together:

Pre-service - "Grace Alone" [Dustin Kensrue/The Modern Post]
"It is Finished" [Dustin Kensrue/The Modern Post]
"Jesus!" [Citizens & Saints]
"Jesus Messiah" [Chris Tomlin]
"O Praise The Name (Anástasis)" [Hillsong]

It was a great start to the series. The team did a great job, and it was a very celebratory weekend with the words we were singing, as we celebrated the gospel and how Jesus came to our rescue through His death, burial, and resurrection.

I hope you have a great week!

in the Son,