This week, our focus was Philippians 4:8-9, and Joe preached on "An Appraisal of Thoughts." This passage calls us out on the way we think about things: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." We can either think on the things of God or the things of this world. The question is: where are our thoughts directed most of the time? I think we were all challenged about our thought lives as a result. For the songs this weekend, we focused on the glory of God, His sovereign might and power, and His unique worth--all pointing to the fact that Jesus is the one most worthy of our thoughts. Here's our service order from this weekend:
Pre-Service - "Say Say" (A) [Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill, Chris Tomlin] Call to Worship - Psalm 40:5-8 Prayer "Glory to God Forever" (Bb) [Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching] Camp Barnabas Student Testimonies/Offering Welcome/Announcements/Greeting Time "Let Me Sing" (Bb) [Todd Fields] "Always" (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill, Jason Ingram] Scripture Reflection - Psalm 97:1-5 "Lord of All" (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill] Prayer Message - Philippians 4:8-9 - "An Appraisal of Thoughts" [Joe Hishmeh] Response - "Psalm 19" (D) [Terry Butler] Dismissal (You may notice a little more detail in the set list/service order this week. I decided to begin including every element of our service, to give a better picture of our flow and what we incorporate week-to-week.)
"Say Say" - This is a song that we began teaching a few months ago, and the focus of believing and thinking about the truth that Jesus Christ is God and King made it a solid fit for this week's services.
"Glory to God Forever" - We used this song because it points to God as our Creator and the One who has given us breath, and also provides an opportunity for us to respond with faith and commitment. I have written a lot about this song in the past, so suffice to say that I really love and latch onto the bridge of this song, and the prayer for God to take our lives and use them for His glory.
"Let Me Sing" - This is the second consecutive week that we have taught this song to our congregation. It is a song that was used a while back, long before I arrived here, but it needed some "dusting off," as many in our congregation has recently started attending over the past year. In this instance, the same process of teaching applies, because a song isn't familiar or part of our worship vocabulary anymore. So, we will teach it one more week, and then bring it back a few weeks after that to solidify it in our vocabulary and collective memory.
"Always" - This is another song that we taught a few weeks ago, and it was time to bring it back as a reminder. In Joe's message, he focused partially on worry and thinking on things that are not trusting or depending on God. This song speaks to that kind of thinking, in a powerful declaration of faith and confidence in God's ability to affect our situation, no matter how impossible it may seem. I love the truth of this song, and the way in which it is presented. It's a strong way to affirm our confidence in Christ.
"Lord of All" - We led into this song by reflecting on a passage from Psalm 97, from which a large portion of this song derives. The passage, in the NLT, reads
The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice! Let the farthest islands be glad. Clouds and darkness surround Him. Righteousness and justice Are the foundation of His throne. Fire goes forth before Him And burns up all His foes. His lightning flashes out across the world. The earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, Before the Lord of all the earth.
I love the imagery of this Psalm, as it gives both a sense of mystery and of omnipotence. Rather than fear, the Psalmist calls everyone to "rejoice" because "The Lord is king." God's just and righteous reign is indeed cause for celebration and for worship. He is the almighty ruler of everything, and He will always do what is right and good. I believe there is great hope for us when we consider these things. We don't have to worry about injustice being left unresolved. God will make everything right. He will fix everything. As my daughter's Bible says (my paraphrase), "God will undo everything that is wrong."
This song has become a favorite of our congregation, and rightfully so. This song lifts the Lord up like He deserves to be. It speaks the truth about His almighty power, His glory, His uniqueness, His sovereignty, His wisdom, and His worth. I don't think there's ever a bad time to sing these things.
"Psalm 19" - I first heard this song done by Shane & Shane in 2003 (although it was written in 1995). The prayer of this song, coming directly from Psalm 19:14 - "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer (ESV)" - was a great fit for the focus of Joe's message. While it was a little unfamiliar for our congregation, it has enough repetition that it is easy to pick up, and our congregation was participating by the end. I encouraged us to make this our prayer in response to the message.
It was a solid weekend of gathering together to worship our King. Despite the fact that early into the first service on Saturday night, I began going hoarse. My throat didn't hurt, yet my voice was disappearing randomly. After I walked off the platform, I went straight to the water and brewed some tea, and that got me through the rest of the night without a problem. I think I might have been a little dehydrated, because I didn't drink much water on Saturday until the evening. I think I've learned my lesson.
On a sad note, this weekend was the last weekend serving with one of our core worship team members, Hannah Anderson. She is moving to Colorado Springs next weekend to begin teaching kindergarten for a school there. Her joyful and encouraging presence for our church and our worship and arts ministry, along with her talent as both a vocalist and keyboardist, will be sorely missed. She will be a tremendous blessing to a congregation in Colorado and to her new students. I am thankful for the opportunity to have served with her for these past six months, and the team and I are praying for her on her new adventure.
I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were. Be sure to check out The Worship Community's Sunday Set Lists to see what other leaders and worshipers experienced this weekend.
In the Son,
Question time: what is your favorite song for worship? Join the conversation below!