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,