This week our pastor, Joe Hishmeh, continued our discipleship series, "Ephesians - United in Christ." In the message for the weekend, Joe shared from Ephesians 5:9-21 about how we are called out of darkness and into the light of Christ; to shine the light of Christ by living wisely and loving deeply in a dark world. It was a great challenge for us to pursue a rich life of following Christ. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. In our singing, we focused on the gospel, and the life that we have been given through Christ. Our response ought to be one of worship and obedience, because He has done great things for us!
Here's our service plan from this weekend:
Welcome "All Because of Jesus" (B) [Steve Fee] "Happy Day" (B) [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon] Greeting Time/Announcements Message - "Ephesians 5:9-21" [Joe Hishmeh] Communion "Christ Is Risen" (Gb) [Matt Maher, Mia Fieldes] "Stronger" (Bb) [Ben Fielding, Reuben Morgan] "Jesus Paid It All" (Bb) [John T. Grape, Elvina M. Hall, Alex Nifong] "Let Me Sing" (Bb) [Todd Fields] Dismissal
"All Because Of Jesus" / "Happy Day" - We opened our services this weekend with the combination of these two songs. We went from "All Because of Jesus" right into "Happy Day," all with the focus of how we have been rescued and made alive by the finished work of Jesus Christ. We have great reason to celebrate and worship!
"Christ Is Risen" - This was our communion and response song to Joe's message this week. His selected passage from Ephesians included 5:14: "Awake, O sleeper/ And arise from the dead / And Christ will shine on you", which is the foundation for this song. This verse, according to the Expositor's Bible Commentary, was probably an early hymn that the Church would sing to celebrate baptisms. This makes sense with Paul's comments later on singing "songs and hymns, and spiritual songs" in verse 19. This song is a powerful song about the resurrection to life that we have because of Christ. He has brought us out of darkness into His light.
"Stronger" - After the Lord's Supper, we continued by singing this song together, which speaks of Christ's victory over sin and death for us. I love singing this chorus together with the church: "You are stronger, You are stronger/ Sin is broken, You have saved me/ It is written, Christ is risen/ Jesus, You are Lord of all."
"Jesus Paid It All" - From "Stronger," we went directly into this song, which is one of our church's (and I'm sure this is true for many other churches) favorites. During our Saturday night services, we only sang the second chorus (or bridge, if you prefer): "O praise the One who paid my debt/ And raised this life up from the dead," but we decided to sing the whole song on Sunday morning. It was a beautiful moment of worship together.
"Let Me Sing" - We finished our services with this song, which really put the exclamation point on the entire service, tying in all the themes that were emphasized: Christ's sacrifice on the cross for our redemption, walking in the light vs. the darkness, and living a life that shines the light of Christ in a dark world. We finished the song with mostly just the voices, and it was beautiful to hear the church singing these words of dedication and response to Christ: "Let me sing louder than creation to You/ For the pain You bore in Your body/ To bring my soul to You/ Let me shine brighter than the stars in the sky/ An offering of praise all my life/ To You, my holy King!"
Thoughts: This weekend was a fantastic weekend. We completely rearranged our services, and it was refreshing and energizing. People were confused at first when the band left the platform after only two songs and Joe came up to preach, but we heard many comments about how people were engaged in worship because of the change. I always love singing in response to the proclaimed Word of God, since all of worship is a response to who God is, how God acts toward us, and what God calls us to. It just felt right. The team did a good job with all of the changes this weekend, and I am really grateful for our weekend of worship together. I am so encouraged by how our church engaged throughout the weekend, and all that is happening at Fellowship. I LOVE MY CHURCH!
What were your thoughts or experiences on your worship experience this weekend?
p.s. don't forget to check out The Worship Community!