This weekend, we continued our Romans series, focusing on Romans 9:30 - 10:4. In his message, Joe preached about God's sovereignty, and how we need to be zealous for the things that last and the things that matter. Ultimately, those things are God, His Word, and people. It is easy to lose sight of those things, and to get caught up in things that don't last and don't matter. One of those things is our own attempts at making ourselves righteous before God, which we really cannot do. We cannot justify ourselves on our own merit. We need the redemption that is only found in the finished work of Jesus Christ. You can listen to the entire message here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:
"The Solid Rock" (E) [Trent Austin, William B. Bradbury, Kendall Combs, Charlie Hall, Edward Mote] Welcome/Greeting Time Call To Worship "Nothing But The Blood" (D) [Robert Lowry, with additional bridge by Andy Cherry] "Happy Day" (Bb) [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon] "You Alone Can Rescue" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin] "Rock Of Ages" (Bb) [Thomas Hastings, Augustus M. Toplady] Time of Reflection/Prayer Message - "Romans 9:30 - 10:4" [Joe Hishmeh] Offering/Announcements Dismissal
"The Solid Rock" - We sang this modern arrangement of a timeless hymn as our opening song this weekend, to point to the only solid foundation we can have for our eternal life - Jesus Christ. It is only in His complete and finished work on the cross that we have salvation and hope for eternity. We can depend on nothing else. The gospel is Jesus plus nothing. We are completely incapable of saving ourselves. Jesus is the only way of salvation for us. As this great hymn says in the chorus, "all other ground is sinking sand."
"Nothing But The Blood" - This is another modern hymn arrangement, done by a newer artist, Andy Cherry. He was one of the worship leaders at the Re:Create Conference I attended a few weeks ago in Nashville, and his label shared a pre-release album with all of us. This was one of the songs we sang with him while we were at the conference, and I loved how his treatment of the song really captured the power and confidence of the lyric, along with a great added chorus, which sings, "The blood of Jesus is enough for me/ Oh, the blood of Jesus is enough." You can hear his rendition of this song streaming on his website. I really encourage you to pick up his whole album when it is released in March. It was produced by Jason Ingram, and many of the songs were co-written by Ingram. I'm really enjoying it!
"Happy Day" - This song is a staple for our church, and it was a great fit for the subject matter of this weekend, as we declare that it is Jesus alone who saves us and rescues us from sin and death. We had no hope apart from Him, so there is great cause for celebration because of what He has done for us. We have been made alive together with Christ!
"You Alone Can Rescue" - We sang this song this weekend because it states the major truth of this weekend simply and clearly: Jesus alone can rescue us. There is no other way for us to be saved, nor is there any other way to eternal life. He is our salvation and our hope, and we cannot save ourselves. There is great freedom in declaring this truth together, because it frees us from the delusion that we can do anything to affect our eternal destination; it is only because of Jesus that we have life.
"Rock of Ages" - When I first heard Ascend The Hill's rendition of this song on their hymns album (Take The World, But Give Me Jesus), I was incredibly moved. It is such a desperate cry of dependence on the finished work of Christ for us. I think the lyric and the melody do a good job of communicating that desperation and hopelessness apart from Christ's death on the cross in our place. What a beautiful song! Other than my guitar going really out of tune on this song during the last service, it went really well. We had a time of quiet reflection after this song, where we confessed areas of our life where we weren't trusting God, and where we've tried to find our hope and joy in things other than Him. He is our only source of true hope, joy, and peace. We need to depend on Him and trust Him fully, because He will not disappoint our hope in Him.
This weekend was a good weekend overall. We tried some different things with our service order, in order to try and simplify the flow of our services: we set up a countdown at the beginning of the services that included some key memory verses from our study through the book of Romans; we took out the response song and moved that time earlier in our service; and we also moved a song to the start of the time as a definitive start to each of the services. We had been doing a "Time of Preparation" prior to our services, with the hopes that people would take advantage of that time to prepare their hearts for meeting with the Lord together and to have some quiet time after the hustle of getting themselves and their families to the service. What we found, however, was that it served to muddy the actual "start time" of our services, and people were actually showing up later, not earlier. Regardless, I am in favor of occasionally changing things around in order for us not to become too attached to any kind of order or flow of a service. We often tend to pay less attention to things when we think we know what is coming next.
I am thankful for the opportunities we had this weekend to glorify our Savior. I am so grateful for the sacrifice He made for us, and for how He has rescued us. He is worthy of all praise and honor and glory, with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. He is good.
I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were!
In the Son, Bill
p.s. don't forget to check out The Worship Community!