This weekend, we focused on John 6:60-71, examining the different responses to Jesus when He doesn't do what we want Him to do, and when we don't understand what He is doing. We can either walk away (which many did), we can war against Him (like the Pharisees), or we can cling to Him (like Peter and the disciples) as our only hope. Their response of trust was basically this: "Where else could we go? To whom could we turn?" Is this our response when we don't understand what is happening in our lives? Do we respond with this kind of worship? You can listen to the entire message here. Focusing on this passage, we sang songs that exalted the Lord as sovereign and powerful, and songs that called us as the church to trust Him more because He is faithful and true. He is constant, and His grace toward us is unchanging because it is not based on us at all. It is based on His character and goodness. He is good, and has purchased us as His own through His blood at the cross. He has adopted us as sons and daughters, and now regards us as co-heirs together with Christ. He sees us as He sees Christ, because of Christ--justified and righteous. Because of this we have nothing to fear, because we will be with Him forever, and this life will be a "blip" on the radar of our lives in the grand scheme of things. We read from 2 Timothy 2:13 during our time of singing: "If we are faithless, He remains faithful--for He cannot deny Himself." We are a part of Him because of what Christ has done for us, and He will not, and cannot, forsake us.
Here's our service plan from this weekend:
Time of Preparation/Prayer "Captivate Us" (Ab) [Charlie Hall, Christy Nockels, Nathan Nockels] Welcome/Greeting Time "You Are" (Ab) [Todd Fields] "Forever Reign" (Ab) [Jason Ingram, Reuben Morgan] "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" (Db) [Edwin O. Excel, Louie Giglio, John Newton, John P. Rees, Chris Tomlin] Prayer Message - John 6:60-71 [Joe Hishmeh] Communion Communion Song - "Rock of Ages" (Bb) [Thomas Hastings, Augustus Montague Toplady] Offering/Announcements Response Time "A Mighty Fortress" (C) [Christy Nockels, Nathan Nockels] Dismissal
"Captivate Us" - We sang this song for our time of preparation. We had sung it last week for Overflow, which is our quarterly night of worship, and it was the first time I had heard the song. I love it. It took a little bit to figure out the finger-style acoustic part, because it has some interesting chords in the arrangement, but it is beautiful. Sarah Oldberg led this song, and I think it was perfect for our time of preparation.
"You Are" - This song by Todd Fields appeared on the first North Point Live album. We began teaching this song last weekend, and we continued with it this week. In it, we are given words to declare that Jesus is God. As I wrote last week on the blog, there are not many songs that come right out and say that Jesus is God, yet this is an important part of our Christology (study of Christ) and our overall doctrine as Christians. Jesus is equal with God, and He is God, as the beginning of the Gospel of John tells us. We need more songs that declare this truth plainly. I think our congregation connected more with it this week.
"Forever Reign" - This is one of the staples of our worship song vocabulary, and rightfully so. It is a firm declaration of the character of God, and points to many of His attributes, all contrasted with our weaknesses. It exalts God in a powerful way, along with our desperate need for Him. This song aligned really well to Joe's message, declaring, "My heart will sing/ No other name/ Jesus, Jesus." He is the one with the words of eternal life. He is the only one to whom we can turn.
"Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" - Part of what I enjoy about this song is that Tomlin used the original third and fourth verses of the hymn that Newton wrote. There is a common theme throughout the original verses of security and trust in God, because of His grace, and that is why we sang this song this weekend. We need to remind one another of this truth. His grace was unearned and undeserved from the beginning. It is only because of God's character that He has grace for us, and He continues to have grace for us because of who He is and what He has done. He redeemed us through the cross, where Jesus died in our place. He was our substitute, and He continues to be that for us. He is the reason for our security and promise of an eternity with God. We have nothing to ultimately fear because our eternity has been secured by God Himself.
"Rock of Ages" - We sang this song for our time of communion/Lord's Supper. I love this hymn, especially the arrangement by Ascend the Hill. The lyric communicates a powerful desperation for the saving work of Christ, and recognizes our own powerlessness to save ourselves. We need Him, and we are hopeless apart from Christ. "Rock of Ages" says this beautifully.
"A Mighty Fortress" - We responded to the Word with this song. Again, we were emphasizing the eternal, unchanging character of God. Because of who He is--faithful and true, unchanging and constant, powerful and mighty, righteous and good--we can turn to Him as our mighty fortress and refuge. He is the only one who can hold this place in our lives, because there is no one else like Him. I love the way this song declares these truths about our Lord. It inspires confidence and hope in me. Sarah did a great job leading this song this weekend.
This was another great weekend of worshiping our Savior together. I felt like we were all called and encouraged to trust Him more, and to have more confidence in who He is, even when we have NO idea what He is doing (which may be often). I know I was built up this weekend, and challenged to entrust Jesus with more of my life, and more of my "stuff."
I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were.
In the Son,
p.s. don't forget to check out The Worship Community!