This weekend, we focused on the subject of maturity from Philippians 4:2-7. Joe dealt with disagreements, rejoicing, and communicating our needs to God through prayer. His emphasis was that we should seek spiritual maturity and should turn to prayer first, to truly rely on God in everything. I was challenged by the call to pray first rather than worry or turn anywhere else. It is easy for us to turn elsewhere to seek help, but God should be the one we seek first. Our first thought should be toward God, to pour out our hearts to Him. Here's our set from this weekend:
Pre-Service - "Forever" (G) [Chris Tomlin] Call to Worship - "Unchanging" (G) [Chris Tomlin] Welcome/ Offering/ Announcements/ Greeting "Let Me Sing" (Bb) [Todd Fields] "It Is Well" (Bb) [Horatio G. Spafford, Todd Fields] "You Never Let Go" (Bb) [Matt Redman] Message - "An Appraisal of Maturity" [Joe Hishmeh] Response - "From The Inside Out" [Joel Houston]
Because of the focus of this weekend, we went in the direction of prayer and trusting in God, which results in confidence and hope, and enables us to rejoice and to live in peace. "Forever" and "Unchanging" point to the faithfulness and immutability of God. "Let Me Sing" expresses the desire to worship God and thank Him for all that He is and all that He has done, specifically through the cross. "It Is Well" and "You Never Let Go" remind us that no matter what comes in this life, God is with us, and we have nothing to fear. They cling to the promises of Romans 8:28-39 and declare that we will trust in God, no matter what our circumstances are. Finally, "From The Inside Out" reminds us that the only way we will be able to grow towards spiritual maturity is through the power of Christ working within us.
"Forever" - This is a song that our congregation hasn't done in a while, and it was good to bring it to our attention again, because it communicates the essence of so many Psalms, where the psalmist calls the people of God to recall who God is and what He has done, and to respond with the statement, "His steadfast love endures forever" (e.g. Psalm 118 ESV).
"Unchanging" - This song focuses in on the truth of Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (ESV), along with the concept of God's "steadfast love." He never changes, and His love for us never changes. He is faithful and true, and He is constant. His promises are true because He is true. Our status with Him is assured because He is unchanging. I love the declaration of this song, because it reminds us of the truth of this great attribute of God.
"Let Me Sing" - This song hadn't been done with our congregation for a while, but it was one that I loved when I was serving in Florida. It does a good job of reminding us of the reason to worship Jesus - He bore our sins and died in our place to reconcile us to God. The chorus sings, "Let me sing/ Louder than creation to You/ For the pain You bore in Your body/ To bring my soul to You/ Let me shine/ Brighter than the stars in the sky/ An offering of praise all my life/ To You, my Holy King."
"It Is Well" - Earlier this week, my wife and I were watching a documentary about disaster flooding, and much of the episode was spent focused on New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. As we watched and saw images of the city and the flooding, my mind was overwhelmed with memories about that seemingly chaotic time in our lives together. I remember packing up on Saturday morning to head over to Baton Rouge for the "weekend" and ready to get back to school at the seminary on Monday. I remember loading up our cat, two of my guitars, some work clothes (for boarding up our friends' windows), and the few photo albums that we had unpacked (we only moved there four weeks earlier). On Sunday night, as the storm grew, we knew this was not going to be a small matter in our lives. We headed further north to increase our distance from the storm for the peace of mind of our families. As we drove, we had a serious talk about our situation, and the fact that we may lose all of our earthly possessions, aside from what we had in our tiny Honda Civic. We were confident that we would be okay, with or without all that "stuff." Our statement was, "It is just stuff. We are together and had each other. By the time we ended up at my mother-in-law's house in southern Illinois, the flooding began. And the possibility of losing all our material possessions began looking more like reality. This song really communicates our hearts during that time, and the lyric of the chorus says it especially well: "It is well, it is well/ Through the storm I am held/ It is well, it is well with my soul."
One confession about this one: in the third service this weekend (Sunday 9 AM), I mistakenly sang the second verse twice (once in place of the third verse). I'm not upset about singing that one twice, because it is probably the strongest one in the song, singing of our forgiveness through the cross. I didn't even realize I had started singing it again until midway through the verse. Whoops. :) Our Media Shout man, Shane, was all over it, and had it on the right verse before I even noticed I started verse 2 again. I was humbled, which is never a bad thing...
"You Never Let Go" - This is another song that expresses our confidence in our God and the fact that He is truly with us. He never leaves us and never forsakes. Indeed, He never lets go of us as His children, who have been adopted through Christ's sacrifice for us. This song really puts words to my trust, and encourages me to deepen that confidence in Christ.
"From The Inside Out" - We used this song for the angle of transformation, growth, and maturity, to support Joe's message. He said that we should desire spiritual maturity, because "the Lord is at hand." This song effectively communicates that desire to be transformed from within, and I feel that it was a good way to end our time together this weekend.
In all, it was a solid weekend. The team served really well in all of the services. I felt a little tired from a looming cold, but I was rejuvenated by our times together. Jesus was lifted high. He is faithful, and we have nothing to fear in Him. He is good, and His promises are true and unchanging. Let us each place our confidence in Him in every situation.
I hope you had a great weekend of worship! Join the discussion below: have you had a moment in leading when you messed up the words of a song? Check out The Worship Community to see what some other leaders experienced this weekend.
In the Son,