This weekend, we focused on Philippians 1:18-26, where Paul clearly lays out what is truly worth living and dying for: Jesus Christ. Nick Strobel, our student pastor, shared about living for what is valuable and having proper perspective on life and death. I was really challenged by what he said, and how he unpacked this passage of Scripture. Ultimately, Jesus is more valuable than our stuff and our accomplishments, because Jesus is eternal and Jesus is perfect. He is the only one who can give our lives the value that they need to be fulfilling. He is the only one worth living and dying for. Here's our set list from this weekend:
Pre-Service - "All Because of Jesus" (Bb) [Steve Fee] Call to Worship - Psalm 66:1-2 "Glory To God Forever" (Bb) [Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching] Video/Welcome/Announcements/Greeting Time "Blessed Be Your Name" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman] "It Is Well" (Bb) [Todd Fields, Horatio G. Spafford, Philip Paul Bliss] "You Never Let Go" (Bb) [Matt Redman] Message - The Appraisal of Death [Nick Strobel] Response - "Glory to God Forever" (reprise) (Bb) [Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching]
We opened the pre-service with "All Because of Jesus." This song had a twofold relation to the passage of Philippians this week. First, it related to our real life being created in Christ and His perfect work on the cross. Second, it related in that Jesus is the only one worth living for and giving our glory to, because of what He has done. I thought it was a very fitting way to begin this weekend's services, and it set the proper tone for our worship.
During the call to worship, we took a look at Psalm 66:1-2, and took the opportunity to teach our congregation about shouting for joy to the Lord, as we continue to explore the Biblical expressions of worship. Together, we shouted Jesus' name at the count of three. I think it was a stretching time for our congregation, and while not everyone participated, I think most did, and we are better for it.
From there we moved to "Glory To God Forever," mainly because of the bridge, which fit well with the overarching thought of the weekend, as it sings, "Take my life and let it be/ All for You and for Your glory/ Take my life and let it be Yours." My hope was to emphasize to our congregation to make this our prayer. I cannot think of a more noble or desirable prayer for the King of kings and His kingdom. I love how succinctly this bridge communicates the idea of sacrifice and taking up our cross.
After the welcome and announcement time, we opened the second set with "Blessed Be Your Name." This song is powerful, and has been for some time. There are not many songs that communicate such a heart and willingness to praise God regardless of our circumstances, because He is more valuable and worthy than our circumstances and even our own lives. I think if we are honest, this is a difficult concept for us to handle, much less for us to sing with all of our hearts. This is especially true in the bridge: "You give and take away/ You give and take away/ My heart will choose to say/ Lord, blessed be Your name." This song set the tone for the entire second set, as we tried to remind one other that Jesus is worthy of our lives and our worship, regardless of the circumstances. He alone is that worthy.
We continued the second set with "It Is Well," which I have written at length about in the past. I still love this arrangement, and I think it continues to connect with our congregation in a special way. I love to hear our people sing the lyrics of this song, as we examine how Jesus is faithful and true, and all will be "well" when this life is over. There is nothing to fear.
We then finished the set with "You Never Let Go." This song is new to Fellowship, and was a song that I introduced when I was interviewing here. It has always been one of my favorites from my time at Church at the Mall in Lakeland (you can see our team there leading this song here). I love its declaration of confidence in Jesus regardless of circumstances. It draws partially from Psalm 23 and from 1 John 4. The truth of this song is that we have nothing to fear if we are in Christ, because He never leaves us and never forsakes us, and He will always be with us. We can draw hope and confidence in this truth, and we can walk in such a way that we lay our lives down for the kingdom of God, no matter the cost, because our hope will not be disappointed in Christ!
We responded to the message with a reprise of the bridge and chorus of "Glory To God Forever," and made that a sort of benediction as well as a challenge to each other. My prayer is that we lay our lives down for our King and His kingdom, no matter the cost. May our lives truly be Yours, O Lord.
I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were. Be sure to check out The Worship Community to see what other leaders experienced in their worship gatherings this weekend.
Be a part of the discussion below with your comments! I'd love to hear your thoughts.
In the Son,