This week our pastor, Joe Hishmeh, shared about authentic, biblical community in a message entitled "Authentic Community." It was a strong challenge to us all to value and prioritize the things that are most important and that will last: God, His Word, and people. One of the best way we can do this is through small groups, where we can share those things--life--together. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. For our singing this week, we focused on songs that emphasized the Lordship of Christ and the freedom and love we now have because of His grace, which enables us to experience true community.
Here's our service plan from this weekend:
"Your Grace Is Enough" (G) [Matt Maher] Welcome/Greeting Time Call to Worship - Ps. 9:1-2 "Everlasting God" (Bb) [Brenton Brown, Ken Riley] "Lord of All" (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill] "How Great Is Our God" (Bb) [Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves] "Your Great Name" (Bb) [Michael Neale, Krissy Nordhoff] Message - "Authentic Community" [Joe Hishmeh] "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" (Eb) [John Newton, Edwin O. Excell, Chris Tomlin, Louie Giglio, John P. Rees] Offering/Announcements/Dismissal
"Your Grace Is Enough" - We opened our services with this song, which is one of our staples. We haven't sung it in a while, but it was fitting this weekend as it emphasizes the grace of God, which is what has brought us together as the body of Christ, and is the only way for us to remain together. We need His grace to shape our hearts and minds and to edify one another in the Church.
"Everlasting God" - This is a song that our church always engages with, and I love it because it pulls directly from Scripture (Isaiah 40). This is definitely a great, yet simple song that is worth singing together. One of our worship leaders, Becky Tindell, led us into this one, and we traded off throughout the song.
"Lord of All" - This song is one of my all-time favorite worship songs. It helps us declare the glory, majesty, and power of our Lord in very simple and beautiful language, and the music adds to those ideas. The chorus is as strong as they get: "There is none so high and holy/ King of kings the one and only/ You are adored, You are the Lord of all!"
"How Great Is Our God" - We tagged the bridge and the chorus of this song to the end of "Lord of All," because they share a nearly identical chord progression. The two songs were well together thematically as well, so it was a great combination that helped us exalt the Lord well.
"Your Great Name" - We finished our main singing time with this song, which is one of my favorites. I love singing the name of Jesus together with the Church. We started it out very quietly, with Becky leading us into it. It was a beautiful and powerful moment. This song is interesting because the original melody by Michael Neale (the guys' parts on the chorus and bridge) is now largely considered the harmony because Natalie Grant recorded the harmony (the girls' parts) as though it were the melody of the song. Because of this, both the men and the women have a clear and strong part to sing, and it makes for a great congregational song. Becky and I each did a verse, and then we sang the respective parts for the rest of the song. This song was the highlight of the weekend for me.
"Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" - We hadn't sung this song for a while, but it always connects with our congregation. We sang this song because it celebrates the freedom and love we have in Christ, and those things are what make authentic biblical community a possibility. Jesus set us free and put us together as the body of Christ, and it's a beautiful thing.
This weekend was really enjoyable for me. There were many moments where I was moved almost to the point of not being able to sing (those are tricky times to be leading...). Our team did an awesome job, and it was truly a blessing to worship together and to point our congregation towards the Lord.
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! (and sorry this is so late!)