This week our student pastor, Nick Strobel, continued our discipleship series, "Ephesians - United in Christ." In his message for the weekend, Nick shared from Ephesians 4:17-32 about how we are called to "put off" the old man and "put on" the things of Christ in the new man. He ended with a strong emphasis on participating in biblical community. It was a very challenging message that called us to the likeness of Christ. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:
Countdown - "Only A Word" (E) [Bill Horn] "Song of the Redeemed" (Em) [Charlie Hall, Kendall Combes, Dustin Ragland, Quint Anderson, Brian Bergman] Welcome/Greeting Time Child/Family Dedications "Because of Your Love" (G) [Phil Wickham] "Son of God" (A) [Tim Neufeld, Jon Neufeld, Ed Cash, Gordon Cochran] "Nothing But The Blood" (G) [Robert Lowry, arr. by Bill Horn] Message - "Ephesians 4:17-32" [Nick Strobel] "Glory to God Forever" (Bb) [Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching] Offering/Announcements/Dismissal
"Only A Word" - This was our countdown song this week. This is a song that I wrote on my first trip to Brazil when I was on the Amazon River. It is about the power of a single word from the Lord. The idea is that He can change everything with just one word. That kind of power is unmatched!
"Song of the Redeemed" - We began teaching this song last weekend. I love the concept of this song, and especially value the unique lyric of the bridge, which specifically points out our unity around the cross of Christ: "We adore You/ And before You/ Forgiven and redeemed/ All races/ From all places/ Around the cross we sing." If we don't continue singing this particular song, I will always be looking for songs that proclaim these kinds of truths, because there are very few that do it well.
"Because of Your Love" - We came out of child dedications in each of our services into this song, and started by emphasizing that everything pertaining to our life and salvation begins with the love that God has for us and demonstrated at the cross. Everything we do ought to be a response to that love. This song communicates that idea very clearly.
"Son of God" - This remains one of our congregation's favorite songs. It's a simple, strong, and beautiful song about Jesus.
"Nothing But The Blood" - This was the first time we had sung this arrangement of "Nothing But The Blood," which I finished up this past week, and which the band helped me flesh out during rehearsal. I really enjoyed how it built and flowed. I look forward to using it again soon. This is most definitely a song worth singing, because it glorifies and gives credit to Christ alone for our redemption and salvation.
"Glory To God Forever" - We responded to the message by singing this song together. We began with the bridge, which is my favorite part of the song by far: "Take my life and let it be/ All for You and for Your glory..." I wanted to make that the emphasis in our response, because the message was calling us to put of our old lives and to put on Christ, that we would reflect His image to the world around us. This song represents that idea well.
Thoughts: This weekend was a great weekend of worship. The team did a good job, and we had a lot of fun worshiping and playing together. I felt that the congregation engaged pretty well in all of our services, for the most part. Highlight moments were during "Son of God" and "Nothing But The Blood." I'm not sure if we'll sing "Song of the Redeemed" again...
I need to continue encourage the congregation that clapping, applauding, raising of hands, etc. are all expressions to GOD, and not to the band or anyone else in the room. We gather for His sake, not our own. We sing for Him alone. I have to remind myself that many of our people, like me, did not grow up attending churches like ours (or attending church at all), so it's important to be clear about those kinds of things. When we have that clear, it removes some of the awkwardness from outward expressions of worship, and frees us to exalt Jesus more completely.
What were your thoughts or experiences on your worship experience this weekend?
p.s. don't forget to check out The Worship Community!