Here's our set from this weekend: "All Because of Jesus" (A) [Steve Fee] Call to Worship "Happy Day" (Bb) [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon] Welcome/Announcements/Greeting Time "Jesus Messiah" (G) [Daniel Carson, Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves] "You Alone Can Rescue" (Bb) [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman] "Jesus Paid It All" (Bb) [John Thomas Grape, Elvina M. Hall, Alex Nifong] Message - "I Believe God Acted - Redemption" [David Hinkle] Response - "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" (Eb) [Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin, John Newton, Edwin O. Excell, John P. Rees]
I feel like this week was another step forward for our team and our congregation. We took more steps to make it easier to participate - we brought some songs down to a lower key, and we were more intentional about teaching new material. It seemed like there was more participation overall in each of the four services, which is exciting and encouraging. The team felt locked-in (most of the time), and I felt like we were engaged in worship as we were leading the congregation, as well.
We brought "All Because of Jesus" down to the key of A from the usual key of B, and we brought "Happy Day" down to Bb from B. Both were good moves, as the people sang out more on both. When I took a close look at the lead sheets this week, I noticed that both of these songs had parts of the melody that went well beyond the range of the "normal" voice, from C to C. We brought them both down to get them close. They still weren't entirely in the desired range, but if we lowered them much more, the verses would bottom out! That's one of the biggest problems with some modern worship songs - the low verses and high choruses make it difficult to get them into a normal person's vocal range. We'll keep working on it, though!
"Jesus Messiah" is one of the 21 songs we have done more than five times over the past year, and therefore is one that I would be safe in saying we know as a congregation. It showed as people sang it out and connected with God through it. I love the lyric of this song, as it really declares the gospel clearly, and finishes it all off with the simple, powerful bridge: "All our hope is in You/ All our hope is in You/ All the glory to You, God/ The Light of the world." Jesus is our only hope of salvation. Enough said.
Also, this week we introduced "You Alone Can Rescue" by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman. When I initially heard this song done live by Matt Redman, I was very excited about it, but when I heard the recorded version, I was a little underwhelmed, so I put it off for a while. However, when Matt led at Student Life in Daytona this past summer, I was reminded again how powerful this song is. It is a simple lyric, but proclaims a powerful truth - that Jesus is the only one who can save us. Here's the lyric:
Verse 1 Who, O Lord, could save themselves Their own soul could heal Our shame was deeper than the sea Your grace is deeper still
Chorus And You alone can rescue, You alone can save You alone can lift us from the grave You came down to find us, led us out of death To You alone belongs the highest praise
Verse 2 You, O Lord, have made a way The great divide You healed For when our hearts were far away Your love went further still Yes, Your love goes further still
Bridge We lift up our eyes, lift up our eyes You're the giver of life We lift up our eyes, lift up our eyes You're the giver of life
Even typing the lyric of this song is bringing me to tears. What a beautiful expression of confidence in Christ alone for our rescue and salvation. We have no hope apart from Him! His humble, loving sacrifice is the only way for us to be rescued; the fact that He chose to redeem us at such a great cost to Himself is overwhelming. This song brings this into clear focus, and is a beautiful expression of thanksgiving and recognition of the work of Jesus Christ to save us. He, and He alone, is the one who can rescue, who can save us, who can lift us from the grave. This is because He is the one who came down to find us a lead us out of death. Scripture says that Jesus' efforts to rescue us are the reason God has given Him the name above every name (Philippians 2). I know this is the reason I worship Him. He is so good, while I am still so undeserving of it. My life is completely dependent on His grace and finished work of the cross.
We bracketed the message about our redemption with Alex Nifong's arrangement of "Jesus Paid It All" and Tomlin's "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)." These two songs never get old to me, because there is beauty in the simplicity of their declarations. I never tire of singing, "O praise the One who paid my debt/ And raised this life up from the dead." On "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" Kelsey Thomsen and I traded off on the verse. She did a great job leading, and I think it facilitated a very powerful moment of worship, especially after David's weighty message about our redemption. I loved his words about what God has done to rescue us! We owe it all to Jesus Christ, who made a way where there was no way.
I love my church, and I am very excited about what is going on around here. We are learning and growing together, and we are pursuing Jesus Christ and His gospel. Jesus, and His work to redeem us, was truly lifted high this weekend. I am so grateful for how He has rescued us. He is truly my only hope!
I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were.
Jesus alone is worthy!