This weekend, we continued our series called "Everything!" Joe shared this week from Acts 20:32-35 about how "it is better to give than to receive.". You can listen to the entire message here. Also this weekend, our church brought 10% of all of our non-perishable food to donate to the Topeka Rescue Mission. Next weekend, we'll be doing the same thing with our clothing - all to demonstrate and practice the idea of giving from what the Lord has already provided for us. That is what He calls us to. I'm excited about what the Lord is doing in our church, and our potential to have a dramatic impact in both our community and our world! For the music this week, I chose songs that helped establish that every gift and blessing we have comes from God, and greatest gift of all is the one of His Son who went to the cross for us. Jesus was given up, betrayed, beaten, and nailed to the cross for our redemption. His generosity is what prompts our generosity and our giving to the cause of Christ in this world.
Here's our service plan from this weekend:
"All We Need" (G) [Charlie Hall] Welcome/Greeting Time "Desert Song" (D) [Brooke Fraser] "Son of God" (G) [Tim Neufeld, Jon Neufeld] "Lamb of God" (G) [Original] "The Stand" (chorus only) (G) [Joel Houston] Message - "Everything: It Is Better To Give Than To Receive" [Joe Hishmeh] Communion Intro Communion Song - "Because of Your Love" (G) [Phil Wickham] Offering/Announcements Dismissal
"All We Need"- We brought this song back for our congregation two weeks ago, and we sang it as a refresher again this week. This song is a simple chorus which puts words to the truth that Jesus is all we need. Everything we needed, Jesus is.
"Desert Song" - We sang this song primarily for the last verse, which says, "This is my prayer in the harvest/ When favor and providence flow/ I know I'm filled to be emptied again/ The seed I've received I will sow." The truth is, there are seasons of abundance and seasons of need for all of us. In every season we face in this life, we need to be generous people with what we have - generous with our praise to God, generous with the gospel to the lost, and generous with the resources and talents we have in this life.
"Son of God"- This song is one of our congregation's favorites. We sang it this week because it states the point directly in the first verse: "Son of God, the Father's gift of us/ You alone were broken on the altar of love/ Precious Lamb, our freedom's in Your blood/ It's in Your blood." God gave first, and our response needs to be one of true worship, which means that every area of our lives is submitted and given to God for His purposes.
"Lamb of God" - We sang this song because it really pulls from Isaiah 53, where the meaning and heart behind Christ's sacrifice at the cross is prophesied (and also echoed in 1 Peter chapters 1-3). Jesus laid down His life for us to justify us and redeem us, even though we had strayed and stored up wrath for ourselves before God. He bore the punishment for our sin. The chorus of this song describes the willing sacrifice of Christ for us: "The Lamb of God gave His life/ For our sins, the ransom price/ We were dead, but we are alive/ Bought with the precious blood of Christ."
"The Stand" (Chorus Only) - We tagged this great chorus at the end of "Lamb of God" because it helped to bracket the message, clearly expressing our response to the grace and love of God for us. He has redeemed us, and the appropriate response is thanksgiving, worship, and sacrifice - not as a means of gaining favor with God (that has already been done for us through Jesus), but as a means of expressing our love to Him for all He is and all He has done. This chorus says it wonderfully: "I'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned/ In awe of the One who gave it all/ I stand, my soul Lord to You surrender/ All I am is Yours."
"Because of Your Love"- This song served as our communion song and as our response song to the Word of God. I thought it fit both purposes really well. The verses describe the sacrifice of Christ for us, and the chorus expresses our thanksgiving and response to that sacrifice: "Because of Your cross, my debt is paid/ Because of Your blood, my sins are washed away/ Now all of my life, I freely give/ Because of Your love, because of Your love, I live." This, in my mind, is the bottom line for our lives in Christ. He has given us love, life, and freedom through His cross, and we ought to live in that love, life, and freedom for Him and His glory. He was selfless for us; let us be selfless for Him!
This weekend was a solid one. Aside from the Sunday morning service where the temperature changed as people entered the room and my guitar went way out of tune, everything went well. It was a little bit more of a mellow weekend for me, but that is where the set was directed during planning, and all of the songs really established a good foundation for how we ought to respond to the generosity of God. We also had a little bit of fun with the announcements with a little skit from "The General" (David Hinkle) to make people more aware of our Super Kids Super Kamp this summer. He was hilarious, and it was a welcome change to the normal routine of announcements.
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!