Fellowship Bible Church - 04/29 - 04/30/2017

This weekend, we continued our Flow of Everything series about living a generous life. This continues to be a challenging series as we examine how God has blessed us and how we respond to that blessing with what God has entrusted to us.

Here's what we sang together this weekend:

Pre-service - "Worthy of Your Name" [Brett Younker, Sean Curran, Passion Worship Band]
"The Solid Rock" [The Dispatch]
"Grace Alone" [The Modern Post, Dustin Kensrue]
"10,000 Reasons" [Matt Redman]
"Because of Your Love" [Phil Wickham]

We introduced a newer song this weekend, "Worthy of Your Name" which came out of Passion 2017. Several of our college students attended the event and came back talking about the song, so I have been looking forward to introducing it to our church family. There was some thought about incorporating it into our Easter services, but we didn't have enough lead time to do so effectively. It's a tricky song to find the right key for congregational singing because the original vocalist has such a high range. But, we'll keep toying with it to try to find the best key for our church. For the rest of our singing this weekend, we focused on the grace and goodness of God, and called each other (and ourselves) to respond with a life of worship to who He is and what He has done for us. It was a great weekend together!

I hope you had a great weekend of worship!

in the Son,


FBC Service Recap - 02/20 - 02/21/16

This weekend, Joe continued teaching from the book of Acts and focused on Chapter 16, where Luke records three specific lives that were transformed by the power of the gospel: a God-fearing woman named Lydia, a slave girl who was being exploited by her owners, and a Philippian jailer. It was a beautiful reminder of how God has rescued and transformed people from every kind of background and made us all part of His body together. 

Here are the songs that we sang together:

"Hail The King" [Zach Bolen, Brian Eichelberger]
"Blessed Be Your Name" [Matt Redman, Beth Redman]
"Your Great Name" [Michael Neale, Krissy Nordhoff]
"How Great Is Our God (chorus only)" [Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Ed Cash]
"O Praise The Name (Anástasis) [Marty Sampson, Benjamin Hastings, Dean Ussher]
"God Is Able" [Ben Fielding, Reuben Morgan]

We had a great weekend together. We sang some songs we hadn't sung in a while, along with introducing a new song in "O Praise The Name (Anástasis)" from the team at Hillsong. I really enjoyed singing this together. I wasn't sure how I felt about the song going in, but singing it with the church helped me to connect with the lyric more than the recorded version. We'll continue teaching it over the next few weeks, and we're planning on singing it at Easter together, which should be very fitting, as it recounts the story of the gospel–what Jesus has done and is going to do for our redemption. 

The themes in our songs this weekend were our justification by faith because of the work of Jesus, our hope being in Him alone, His worthiness of praise no matter the circumstances because He is with us always, celebrating the power of the gospel and the name of Jesus, and the sacrifice of Jesus for us. 

The team did an excellent job this weekend, and helped facilitate a great time of worshiping together with the church. I'm so thankful for our volunteers and all that they put in to make our times together rich and meaningful. Above all, I'm grateful the that the Lord uses us and moves in and through us in our times together (often in spite of ourselves!). 

All of our hope is in Jesus! 

Have a great week! 

In the Son, 


FBC Weekend Recap - 12/26 - 12/27/15

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas celebration with your families and friends!

This weekend, Brian Tryhus taught from Psalm 23 about how the Lord is our Great Shepherd. He shared how God's people recognize the Shepherd's voice and follow Him, and in doing so, they experience provision and rest.

Here are our songs from this weekend:

In Tenderness [W. Spencer Walton, Adoniram J. Gordon, Nate Garvey / Citizens & Saints]
Made Alive [Zach Bolen, Brian Eichelberger /Citizens & Saints]
You Never Let Go [Matt Redman, Beth Redman]
One Thing Remains [Brian Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, Christa Black ]
Rejoice [Dustin Kensrue, Stuart Townend]

We returned to my preferred service order this weekend, with two songs up front and then three songs in response to the Word. While there are several excellent orders for worship services, I prefer this one because it reflects the concept of "revelation and response" in worship. God has revealed Himself in His Word, and that is how we know Him. When we know Him, we can then respond in worship. We have been away from this order for a couple of months, so it was nice to return to it.

In all, it was a great weekend of celebration and worship, thanking God for being our faithful Good Shepherd!

in the Son,


Songs We Sing - 09/19 - 09/20/15 - Fellowship Bible Church

This was our second week of our Unstuck series, where we looked at what it means to be "unstuck" in our faith. Joe shared the ways we typically get stuck in faith, and the things God often uses to get us growing again in our faith.

"Made Alive" [Zach Bolen, Brian Eichelberger]
"Desert Song" [Brooke Ligertwood]
"You Never Let Go" [Matt Redman, Beth Redman]
"Your Great Name" [Michael Neale, Krissy Nordhoff]
"Everlasting God" [Brenton Brown, Ken Riley]

In talking about faith, we began by focusing on Jesus as the source of the gift of faith, in making us alive together with Him in "Made Alive." We then sang "Desert Song" as a reminder that even if we are faithless, Jesus remains faithful to us, so we don't have to fear. We responded to the message with "You Never Let Go," which continues that idea of God's faithfulness in the midst of trials, and our need to trust Him no matter what we face, because He is with us and cares for us. We then closed out the service with "Your Great Name" and "Everlasting God," both of which proclaim how the Lord is the one who restores us and gives us strength, especially when we are weak.

This weekend served as a gracious reminder that Jesus never leaves us or forsakes us; He is always faithful, even when we have much growing to do in our faith.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship!

in the Son,


Songs We Sing - 04/11 - 04/12/15 - Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we began a new series, entitled Never. In this series, Pastor Joe is going to share about how life in Christ enables us to "Never Give In" (to temptation), "Never Go Back" (to our old lives), and "Never Give Up" (in the face of trials). This week, Joe shared some practical wisdom about temptation. For our singing this week, we focused on Jesus' faithfulness to us as our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4), and how He is all we need.

Here are our songs from this weekend:

"The Mighty Hand of God" [Citizens & Saints - Zach Bolen, Dustin Kensrue, Cam Huxford, Brian Eichelberger]
"Before the Throne" [The Modern Post - Charitie Lees Bancroft, arr. by Dustin Kensrue]
"One Thing Remains" [Bethel Worship - Brian Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, Christa Black]
"Always" [Kristian Stanfill, Jason Ingram]
"You Never Let Go" [Matt Redman, Beth Redman]

The week after Easter always feels a bit like recovery, especially when Easter services are done off-site. There is lingering fatigue and fogginess in the wake of such a significant gathering for the church body. Lots of hours are spent both setting up and tearing down the many pieces that go into such an event. Despite the overall tiredness of our team, we had a great weekend of worship together. Our team did a great job, and the congregation was engaged and worshiping together. I will never get over the joy of hearing the Church sing to Jesus for who He is and what He has done!

The first two songs this weekend really established the foundation for where we were going this weekend, in that our standing with God is dependent on the finished work of Jesus and not our own ability to "get it right." Instead, we seek to honor God and reflect Him with our lives because of who He is and what He has done for us. Our confidence is in Him—not ourselves.

The final three songs were practice for us, giving us the opportunity to trust the Lord in the midst of our struggles and difficulties. All three are powerful expressions of faith and trust in Jesus, who is faithful and constant no matter what we're facing. He is God with us, and we do not have to be afraid of reality any longer. We can move forward in confidence that He's got us, and that He will never let us go.

Songs We Sing, 06/21 - 06/22/2014 - Fellowship Bible Church

For our fourth weekend in our series on Hope, Pastor Joe shared from the prophet Jeremiah about remaining faithful in uncertain times, because of our certain hope in the Lord.

For our singing, we focused on songs that reminded us of our true hope in the Lord, even in the midst of trials and suffering. Our hope is secured because of the finished work of Christ for us, and that is something we need to be reminded of daily.

Here are our songs from this weekend:

  • "Rejoice" (Bb) [Dustin Kensrue, Stuart Townend] - Jesus suffered in our place, and therefore He knows the hurt and the pain of trials and suffering that we experience. Because of this, He is our sympathetic Great High Priest, who knows us, cares for us, and makes a way for us. He goes before us, so we can rejoice always in Him.
  • "I Will Boast" (D) [Paul Baloche) - This song is almost directly from Jeremiah 9:23-24
  • "Your Great Name" (Bb) [Michael Neale, Krissy Nordhoff] - We were all without hope before Jesus saved us and made us His own.
  • "You Never Let Go" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman] - Even in trials, the Lord is faithful and He is with us, so we must keep our hearts fixed on Him and continue to praise Him no matter the situation.
  • "Desert Song" (D) [Brooke Ligertwood] - This song calls us again to faithfulness, in worshiping the Lord in every season of our lives.

It was a solid weekend. Our team did a great job, and it was great to dust off a few songs that we haven't sung in quite a while ("I Will Boast" and "Desert Song"). I'm really enjoying this series as a whole. There have been some powerful and challenging messages about where we find our hope, and how to continue on in hope, even when the situation is grim.

I hope you had a great weekend of worshiping together with a church family, wherever you were! 

Songs We Sing, 03/01 - 03/02/14 - Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, our pastor Joe Hishmeh began a new series on Worship with a message about suffering and worship from the life of Job. You can listen to the message or the entire service here.

Here's our order from this weekend:

Pre-Service - "In Exile" (Am) [Thrice]
Call to Worship
"Rejoice" (Bb) [Dustin Kensrue, Stuart Townend]
Greeting Time/Announcements
Message - "Worship: Suffering" [Joe Hishmeh]
Communion - "Suffering Servant" (G–A) [Dustin Kensrue]
"It Is Well" (Bb) [Horatio G. Spafford, Todd Fields]
"Blessed Be Your Name" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman]

Thoughts: This was a great (but cold) weekend. It was one of those weekends where all of the pieces seemed to fit together even better than planned. For instance, our pre-service song, Thrice's "In Exile," used phrases and words from a verse that Joe referenced in his message. "Rejoice" was a great fit for the start of our services, calling us to worship and rejoice in the Lord even in the midst of suffering. During communion, we sang a toned-down version of "Suffering Servant," a song that we have been singing before our services for the past few weeks. I love this song, and it was perfect for celebrating communion, as it reflects so powerfully on Jesus' sacrifice for us. We concluded our services with Todd Fields' rewrite of "It Is Well" and the Matt and Beth Redman's "Blessed Be Your Name." Together, these final two songs called us to trust in the faithfulness and goodness of God in every circumstance, good or bad. The takeaway from this weekend was essentially this: He will never leave us or forsake us, He is trustworthy and true, and He is always worthy of our worship.

Our team did an fantastic job leading this weekend, especially on the two newer songs, "In Exile" and "Suffering Servant." We had a really enjoyable time making music for the church together throughout the weekend.

Your turn: what were your experiences, observations, or take-aways from this weekend?

- Bill

Songs We Sing, 02/01 - 02/02/14 Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend we continued our series, "Obedience," and Joe shared about how we are called to follow Jesus in all situations. Whether we are experiencing crisis or success, we are to follow His leadership and submit to Him, rather than seeking out our own means for trying to save ourselves. Only Jesus can deliver us. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here.

Here's our service plan:

Pre-Service - "Kingdom" (A) [Kristian Stanfill]
"Before The Throne" (A) [Charitie Lees Bancroft, arr. by The Modern Post]
Greeting Time
Message - "Obedience: Calling" [Joe Hishmeh]
Communion Song - "Carried To The Table" (A) [Leeland Mooring, Marc Byrd, Steve Hindalong]
"One Thing Remains" (Bb) [Christa Black, Brian Johnson, Jeremy Riddle]
"You Never Let Go" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman]

Thoughts: This was a great weekend together. Our team did a fantastic job. Trent Raines co-led with me this weekend, and he led powerfully during our communion time with "Carried to the Table," which is a perfect communion song. Also, one my guitar students, Brynn Baker, played lead guitar for the first time as part of our weekend service team, and she knocked it out of the park. She continues to step up and do a great job wherever she is serving (at 13 years of age!!! I had just picked up guitar at 13 years old, and she would play circles around an 18-year-old version of me...). Her playing was definitely a bright spot for me this weekend, especially when she nailed the lead part on "Kingdom," which is one of my favorites. "Before The Throne" continues to be a song that really resonates with our congregation. I prefaced our singing of it by reminding us that even our worship is acceptable to God only because of Jesus' finished work for us, and not because of anything we have done or can do. Jesus is everything for us! We finished our time together with two songs that called us to trust in Jesus and His faithfulness: "One Thing Remains," and "You Never Let G0." These two songs are simple declarations and powerful reminders for the Church to sing together, and it was a fitting way to respond to Joe's message this week.

At some point in the near future, I hope to take some time to write about my recent trip to the Philippines with the Trash Mountain Project. It was both challenging and inspiring, and I'm still processing much of what I saw and experienced. The Lord is doing great things there, and He is raising up some amazing leaders to advance the gospel in some of the darkest parts of the world. Please pray for them as they fight the good fight!

Your turn: what were your experiences, observations, or take-aways from this past weekend?

- Bill

Songs We Sing, 07/13 - 07/14/13 - Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we had a stand-alone message about walking in faith. Our family pastor Brian Tryhus taught this weekend. In his message, Brian shared about how we gain the conviction to walk in faith because of the assurance of future hope in Christ, looking at the examples of the heroes of the faith from Hebrews 11. It was a powerful challenged to trust Jesus, no matter what. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Welcome "Those Who Trust" (Em) [Don Chaffer] "Blessed Be Your Name" (G) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman] Greeting Time/Announcements Video - Super Kids Super Kamp promo Message - "Faith: Hebrews 11" [Brian Tryhus] "Your Great Name" (Bb) [Michael Neale, Krissy Nordhoff] "You Never Let Go" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman] "It Is Well" (Bb) [Horatio G. Spafford, Philip Paul Bliss, Todd Fields] Dismissal

Thoughts: This was a very emotional weekend for me, as we sang primarily about trusting God and about God's amazing faithfulness. As we sang "You Never Let Go," I was overwhelmed at how God has provided for me and my family, and how He has seen us through so many different situations to where we are today. He is so good to us!

Our team did a great job throughout the weekend. Becky Tindell and Heidi Carlson helped co-lead, and we had our Discipleship Pastor, David Hinkle, as a guest on trumpet. It was a lot of fun, and I love each of the songs that we sang together, helping us to trust in Jesus like Brian challenged us in the message. Jesus is worth following, and He will never fail. He is all we need, and He will see us through.

May we each walk in faith, knowing that Jesus is coming again, and that He will see us through.

- Bill

What were your thoughts or experiences from your worship gathering this weekend?

Songs We Sing, 01/19 - 01/20/13 - Fellowship Bible Church

This week we began our series through 2 Corinthians-- "Purpose In Christ." Pastor Joe shared about purpose in our suffering, and how we can remained focused on Christ in the midst of trials. He encouraged us to live with hope in the resurrection, simplicity around the character of Jesus, and sincerity in our faith and trust in Him. It was a powerful challenge to not be sidetracked by suffering, but rather to use it as a platform for the glory of Christ and His gospel. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Welcome "Your Grace Is Enough" (G) [Matt Maher] "Unchanging" (G) [Chris Tomlin] Greeting Time/Announcements Message - "Purpose In Christ - Suffering" [Joe Hishmeh] "It Is Well" (Bb) [Horatio G. Spafford, Todd Fields] "Always" (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill, Jason Ingram] "You Never Let Go" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman] Dismissal Baptisms

Thoughts: This was a great weekend. Saturday night's services were some of the most powerful I have experienced since coming here to Topeka. Sunday morning was a little more of a struggle, which I think was partly due to the much colder weather in the morning. It was beautiful to sing "It Is Well," "Always," and "You Never Let Go" - great songs of trust and hope - in response to the Word of God and how it speaks to suffering. I am so grateful for my team, who did a fantastic job, and our church. I love them! It has been an incredible two years so far. I'm looking forward to many more.

What were your thoughts or experiences from your worship gathering this weekend?

Set List, 08/11 - 08/12/12 - Fellowship Bible Church

This week our pastor, Joe Hishmeh, shared some biblical wisdom regarding marriage, as we continued our third week in our series called "Can You Relate?". In his message, Joe called us to the example of Christ and the Church. The three challenges were to You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. For our singing this week, we focused on the unfailing love of God. He loved us when we were unlovable, and is faithful even when we are faithless (2 Tim. 2:13).

Here's our service plan from this weekend:

"Unchanging" (G) [Chris Tomlin] Welcome/Greeting Time Call To Worship/Confession "Blessed Be Your Name" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman] "One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)" (Bb) [Brian Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, Christa Black] "How He Loves" (Bb) [John Mark McMillan] Message - "Can You Relate? - Marriage" [Joe Hishmeh] Offering "You Never Let Go" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman] Announcements/Dismissal

"Unchanging" - This was our opening song this week, because it laid the foundation for the rest of what we sang and studied in Scripture: God's faithful, steadfast love for us. It is one that is well-known for our congregation, so we sing it well together.

"Blessed Be Your Name" - We sang this song to continue with the truth that we can trust God no matter what, and that He is always in control and worthy of praise.

"One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)" - - This was a new song for much of our congregation, and it's one that I have become pretty excited about over the last week or so. It is a fairly simple song overall, repeating this line in the chorus: "Your love never fails/ It never gives up/ It never runs out on me." It has been sung and recorded by at least four groups, so look it up. This is one that we will continue to sing in the future, because it a great reminder about God's love.

"How He Loves" - this is a very familiar song through various avenues, but is one that I haven't led before with Fellowship. It really resonates with many in our congregation. I enjoy the fresh, unique lyric in the verses, and the simple pre-chorus and chorus. And yes, we sing the Crowder lyric ("unforeseen kiss"). I cannot sing "sloppy wet kiss" without laughing.

"You Never Let Go" - This was our response song this week, as it pointed us once again to the steadfast love of God. His love casts out fear and gives us rest, because He never leaves us or forsakes us. The Lord is so good to us, and we find hope in His unfailing love.

This weekend was a great weekend of worship together. The team did a fantastic job serving the congregation. One thing I was reminded of this week was that I need to leave room in my worship planning for songs that are currently and freshly moving my heart. That song this week was "One Thing Remains." It has really been encouraging me to trust God more over this past week. I still very much believe that my planning is what I need to do to lead my congregation well, but my leading feels more alive when I am finding and incorporating songs that are speaking to my heart in fresh ways. It made the weekend very special for me. I will definitely keep this tweak in mind as I plan toward the future.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were!

What were your thoughts or experiences from this weekend in your church?

p.s. don't forget to check out The Worship Community!

Set List, 05/26 - 05/27/12 - Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we focused on a Memorial Day-related theme, "On the Other Side of Sacrifice: Freedom in Christ." Joe shared from Galatians 5 about true freedom from sin, and freedom to love and serve Christ and others. It was a great reminder of the peace that we have because of God's grace through the gospel. You can listen to the entire message here. For the music this week, we continued to sing songs that remind us of God's power and love for us, demonstrated by His sacrifice for us. We are free because He has set us free! Here's our service plan from this weekend:

"Faithful One" (G) [Original] Welcome/Greeting Time "Blessed Be Your Name" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman] "Let Me Sing" (Bb) [Todd Fields] "Lord of All" (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill] "How Great Is Our God" (Chorus Only) (Bb) [Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Ed Cash] Message - "Freedom In Christ" [Joe Hishmeh] Video - "God's Pie" Offering/Announcements "'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus" (F#) [William James Kirkpatrick, Louisa M. R. Stead] Dismissal

"Faithful One" - This is an original song that we introduced to our congregation this weekend. My wife has been telling me to teach it here for months, and I finally put it in a service. It is a simple song that speaks of the Lord as "The Faithful One." It is pretty uptempo at 175 bpm... Our congregation sang it well and participated in it together, so we'll probably continue to use this song in worship.

"Blessed Be Your Name" - We sang this song after reading Psalm 72:18-19 together. This song is a powerful declaration of trust and worship, no matter what circumstances we may face in this life. Jesus is with us, He is faithful, and He is worthy of our worship.

"Let Me Sing" - We sang this song to connect the ideas of Christ's sacrifice with the proper response to that sacrifice, which is offering our lives as living sacrifices to Him. He is worthy of all we have to give, because of who He is and what He has done for us. My constant prayer for our congregation is that we would all catch this truth, and lay our lives down for Him and His kingdom.

"Lord of All"/"How Great Is Our God" - This is one of my favorites, and one of our congregation's favorites, as well. We tagged "How Great Is Our God" at the end, since they have nearly identical chord progressions in their choruses, and they have very connected themes. We sang these songs to remember the power, the uniqueness, and the worth of our great God, and to worship Him for those things. I always say that when we see God as He is - high and lifted up - we cannot remain the same.

"'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus" - In response to the message, we sang this great hymn of dependence and trust in Jesus. This was my personal arrangement of it for guitar, and it has more of a country/gospel feel to it. We ended it all by singing the chorus together a cappella with four-part harmony. It was a great moment.

This weekend was an incredible weekend. I am so blessed and encouraged from our time spent worshiping together. We did some new things this weekend, and I think they had a big impact. First, we installed acoustic "clouds" in our ceiling area. These are basically reflective acoustic panels (ours are made of high-grade plywood) suspended at different heights to help give the room more of a live sound, which ultimately helps make the congregation's voices louder in the room. In the past it was frustrating to not be able to hear one another when we are singing because the room was so dampened. There was a big difference this weekend, and it was very moving to hear the congregation so well! It is a beautiful thing!

Also, we gave mics to two of our band members to add a few voices during some of the stronger parts of songs during the set. I also think this added a lot to certain parts of our service. I love being a part of this growing church as we pursue our Savior together!

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!

Set List, 04/21 - 04/22/12 - Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we began a series called "Everything!" Joe is talking through the concepts of a generous life and stewardship with all that we have. It was a really fresh and challenging perspective on generosity, beginning this weekend with a focus on the true owner of the things in this world - God owns everything, and we are stewards of what He owns. You can listen to the entire message here. For our singing, I wanted our songs to remind us that we have nothing to fear when we are in Christ. Many times, the thing that keeps us from obedience and generosity is that fear. He is always with us, and we can trust Him with everything we have and everything we are. He is so good and faithful!

Here's our service plan from this weekend:

"All We Need" (G) [Charlie Hall] Welcome/Greeting Time "Everlasting God" (Bb) [Brenton Brown, Ken Riley] "You Never Let Go" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman] "Always" (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill, Jason Ingram] Message - "Everything: Where Your Treasure Is, Your Heart Will Be Also " [Joe Hishmeh] "I Surrender All" (D) [Judson Wheeler Van DeVenter, Winfield Scott Weeden] Offering/Announcements Dismissal

"All We Need" - We reintroduced this song to our congregation this weekend. It has been about three years since they had sung it, and it was a great fit for this message series, as it declares that our sufficiency is in Christ and nothing else.

"Everlasting God" - This song remains a staple for us. We sang this song because I wanted us as a congregation to remember that God is from everlasting to everlasting, and that He is our all-sufficient source of strength and hope. 

"You Never Let Go" - We haven't sung this song for a few months, and I felt that this series was a good time to bring it back. I feel it helps us to remember and declare that God will never leave us or forsake us, because He is faithful and unchanging. Matt Redman has a great gift in writing songs in this vein that really resonate with the Church, and which express great faith and trust in the faithfulness of our great God [e.g. "Blessed Be Your Name," "Never Once," "10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)," etc.].

"Always" - This is another song that we haven't sung recently, which was also a good fit for the message this weekend. This song really focuses on how we need not fear because of God's faithfulness and perfect timing. No matter what we face in this life, we will endure and God will see us through. He will be there with us through it all.

"I Surrender All" - We responded to our time in the Word with this song. I felt it was a great statement of faith for us to sing after being challenged to trust God and obey Him completely, even when we feel it is difficult. It is in those times that it truly feels like "surrender," when we have to let go of things that we hold dear or things on which we feel dependent. That is exactly the type of thing that Joe pointed out in the Word this weekend. I tried playing it differently than I had before, in my favorite open tuning, DADGAD. I thought it turned out rather pretty (everything sounds good in DADGAD if one can find good chord voicings...). I will definitely use that again. I was inspired to take a look at some other hymns to try in this tuning, too. I'll keep you posted.

This weekend was another solid and very enjoyable weekend of worship. We also had OVERFLOW on Sunday night, which is our night of worship. I may post the set list from that worship gathering as well, in case people are looking for the info.

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!

Set List, 12/10 - 12/11/11 Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we continued our Advent series with a message entitled, "God With Us." He made comparisons between life with Christ and what life would be without Christ, and it was really powerful to see the two lists side-by-side. You can listen to the entire message here. We continued to try something different with our service order to change things up, and we moved the message up a few minutes earlier in the service to have two songs in response to the message, rather than our typical one song in that position. All of us on our worship planning team believes that these kinds of changes help us and our congregation to engage and to not be passive in worship. Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Time of Preparation/Prayer "Lord I Need You" (B) [Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockels, Matt Maher, Daniel Carson] Welcome/Greeting Time "Joy To The World" (C) [Isaac Watts] "Joyful (The One Who Saves)" (C) [Brenton Brown, Jason Ingram, Henry van Dyke, Ludwig van Beethoven] "A Mighty Fortress" [Christy Nockels, Nathan Nockels] Message - "God With Us" [Joe Hishmeh] Offering/Announcements "Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground)" (Bb) [Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash] "You Never Let Go" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman] Dismissal

"Lord I Need You" - We sang this song in our preparation time. This is the second time we have sung this song, and I think it will become a staple for our church. I think it resonates with each of us. It communicates a timeless truth in a fresh way, and helps us express our dependence on the Lord for everything. I'm a big fan of this song.

"Joy To The World" - We sang this oldie but goodie to kick off our services. My arrangement of it is kind pop/punk-ish, so it is fun to play and sing together. The melody is unchanged, so everyone can sing along easily. This song just makes people smile. The content of it is solid, and really declares some of what Christ's first coming accomplished in this world. He changed everything with His coming.

"Joyful (The One Who Saves)" - We continued teaching this song to our congregation this week. I decided to drop this song a full step to the key of C this week, to make it a little easier for our congregation to sing, especially on Sunday morning at the early service. I think it was much easier for all of us to sing. Becky and I traded off verses on this one, and I think this is something we will continue to do, because I think it helps draw both the ladies and the men into what we are singing together. I really like this song, and I like how it fits into the Advent season.

"A Mighty Fortress" - Becky led us on this song, and it is one of my favorite declarations about the assurance and refuge we have in God. He is faithful, trustworthy, and true, and we can confidently place our lives in His hands. Our church sings this song well, even after only a few occurrences in our services. Part of the emphasis I was going for here was to point to the trustworthiness and love of God for us, and when He is called "God with us," we can walk with Him in faith, because He will never fail, and His purposes are not thwarted.

"Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground)" - We began our response song with this song, which was new to me this week. I really like the message of the verses, which speak to the time of waiting and anticipation before the Messiah arrived. I also enjoy the chorus as a whole, which simply and beautifully sings of the first coming of Jesus: "Emmanuel, Emmanuel/ God incarnate, here to dwell/ Emmanuel, Emmanuel/ Praise His name, Emmanuel." There are a few parts of this song that are a little tricky for one reason or another, so I had to work pretty hard to try and get it right, but I'm glad we sang it together this weekend.

"You Never Let Go" - We closed out our services with this song, which remains one of my favorites. Part of the imagery Joe used in the message was the dominant scriptural image of the Good Shepherd. This song pulls ideas from one of the most prominent pictures of the Shepherd contained in Psalm 23, and I think it helped to tie everything together really well. I love this song's statements of trust and faith in God, regardless of our circumstances. Jesus is worthy of our trust and faith. He will never fail, and He will never let us go.

This was a unique and refreshing weekend of worshiping our Savior together. Our team did a great job as always. I love celebrating Advent with the Church. It's a beautiful thing.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were.

In the Son,


p.s. don't forget to check out The Worship Community!

Set List, 10/29 - 10/30/11 Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we focused on John 14, examining the Holy Spirit and how He changes the way we live and face reality in this life. You can listen to the entire message here. Because of the focus of the message this week, our call to worship came from selections from Psalm 107 (an awesome psalm!), which helps us to remember all the ways God has been with us and for us. It helps us to recall the faithfulness of our God. He is so good to us. I challenged our congregation to focus on things that the Lord has done in our lives, from redemption to walking with us through a difficult time, and to dwell on those moments as we sang out to our God. This was something that the Lord laid on my heart as we were rehearsing. As we were singing "You Never Let Go" and "Never Once," I found myself recalling God's faithfulness in bringing my family and I to this church. I remembered God's faithfulness in our journey after Hurricane Katrina moved us out of New Orleans. As these things were at the front of my mind, I was overwhelmed with thanksgiving and praise because of what the Lord had done. He is faithful. This became the focus of our time of worshiping through singing together. Psalm 107 ends by saying, "Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord" (Psalm 107:43 ESV). Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Time of Preparation/Prayer "Jesus, You" (E) [original] Welcome/Greeting Time Call to Worship - Psalm 107 "Happy Day" (Bb) [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon] "You Never Let Go" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman] "God Is Able" (Bb) [Reuben Morgan, Ben Fielding] "Never Once" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Jason Ingram, Tim Wanstall] Prayer Message - John 14 [Joe Hishmeh] Offering/Video/Announcements Response/Closing Time "'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus" (E) [Louisa M. R. Steed, William James Kirkpatrick] Dismissal

"Jesus, You" - We opened our preparation time with this song again this week. I want our congregation to know it, because at the very least, it is helpful for us to focus on the gospel and to remember clearly what the Lord has done for us. As the book of Romans lays out clearly, we were dead and without hope--enemies of God--yet Jesus came to rescue us by dying in our place and rising again victorious over sin and death. Because of what He has done for us, our song for eternity will be one that sings the name of Jesus, our redeemer.

"Happy Day" - This song is a great opening song that helps to put the focus immediately on the gospel of redemption. It is very familiar for our congregation, and I think it resonates with many of us.

"You Never Let Go" - This song remains one of my favorites. We haven't sung this together in a while, so it was good to pick it back up this weekend. I love the reminder in this song of Jesus' promise to believers, recounted in Hebrews 13:5, "I will never leave you or forsake you." There is great comfort, peace, and assurance in that promise, and it is one that we really need to remember as we make the journey through our lives with Jesus. Because

"God Is Able" - We taught this song a couple of months ago, and I think it was a great fit for this weekend's focus because of it's repeated emphasis on God's continual presence with us. I really enjoy this song, and I think our congregation has connected well with it, so we will continue to sing it together in the future.

"Never Once" - Similar to the previous two songs, this song emphasizes God's presence with us and His faithfulness to us as His children. When we look back on our lives in Christ, we will be able to look back on our lives and see that God was always with us, and never, at any point, did we walk alone.

"'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus" - We responded to God's Word with this song. This is a favorite hymn of mine, because it sings about the blessing of the relationship we have with Jesus when we are trusting Him fully. The benefits of knowing and trusting Jesus are the same that the Spirit provides in us, and that is why we sang this song as the response. We will only experience the blessing of truly knowing Jesus through His Spirit when we trust Him.

All around, this was a great weekend of worshiping our Savior. Our team did a fantastic job, and I'm thankful for what the Lord is doing in us.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were.

In the Son,


p.s. don't forget to check out The Worship Community!

Set List, 07/30 - 07/31/11 Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend our pastor, Joe Hishmeh, preached from Philippians 4:14-23 to talk about "An Appraisal of Giving." It was a challenging message regarding stewardship and generosity in our lives, with the proper perspective on our resources being that God is the giver and owner of those things anyway. Also, we can give in such a way as to give God the glory He deserves, in an act of worship through giving. I believe we were all called through the word to live simply so we could all be more generous, for the purpose of advancing the kingdom of God, and investing in the things that last: God, His Word, and people. For our song selection process, we emphasized how God gave first. He demonstrated His great love for us by giving Jesus to die in our place for our sins (John 3:16-17). Our giving is merely a response to His goodness and love for us.

Here's our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service - "All Because of Jesus" (Bb) [Steve Fee] Call To Worship/Prayer "Blessed Be Your Name" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman] Welcome/Offering/Announcements/Greeting Time "I Stand Amazed" (D) [Charles Hutchinson Gabriel] "Lord of Lords" (D) [Brooke Fraser] "Jesus Paid It All" (B) [Elvina Mabel Hall, John Thomas Grape, Alex Nifong] Message - "An Appraisal of Giving (Philippians 4:14-23)" [Joe Hishmeh] Response - "Take My Life And Let It Be" [Frances Ridley Havergal, Henri Abraham Cesar Malan] 

This weekend was a good weekend of worship. We tried a few new things and stretched a little, and I think it was healthy for the church and for the team. For one, I played electric guitar for the majority of our worship set. I definitely felt stretched. Becky Tindell did a great job on rhythm acoustic guitar and leading.

"All Because of Jesus" - This song is a solid part of our worship vocabulary, and our congregation always engages with it and participates. This song served the purpose of reminding us that everything we have is because of God's grace and goodness. This idea is foundational for us to understand what generosity really means.

"Blessed Be Your Name" - This song was used primarily for the bridge: "You give and take away/ You give and take away/ My heart will choose to say/ Lord, blessed be Your name." We

"I Stand Amazed" - Becky Tindell led this song, and she did a great job. She is one of our newest leaders, and she has been faithfully serving and leading with our Children's ministry called the Mountain. This was the first time I have had this song in a "girl" key, and I really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed being able to play lead on this one, in particular. I love the chord progressions of both the verse and the chorus, and it makes room for some interesting melodic lines.

"Lord of Lords" - Becky also led this song. I love how this song helps us to picture the throne room of heaven, and to see Jesus as the Lamb of God seated on that throne.

"Jesus Paid It All" - This song is a staple here, and one that our congregation still connects with well. This song reminded us again that Jesus gave first, and our giving of our lives in obedience and worship is right response to who He is and what He has done.

"Take My Life And Let It Be" - This hymn was chosen mainly for the final verse, which speaks to our money and our mind being given as an act of worship to our King. I love how the congregation sings out on this song, and I think it something we need to reflect on frequently - that all aspects of our lives would be dedicated to worshiping Jesus.

I was encouraged by this weekend, and really enjoyed our times of worship together. May we be generous with our lives for the King and for His kingdom.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship as well. Check out The Worship Community to see what other worshipers experienced and why.

Let me know your thoughts! I love your opinions and feedback.

In the Son,


Set List, 06/04 - 06/05/11 Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend we focused on Philippians 2:12-18 and discussed criticism, grumbling, and arguing. Joe really challenged the church to counteract the tendency to complain and criticize by getting involved. You cannot be truly engaged and active in the ministry of the gospel and of the church and still have a critical spirit. We can all take this message to heart, and search out those areas where we choose to sit on the sidelines and "throw stones" rather than get engaged in ministry. This topic was a little tricky to develop a worship set around, so where we couldn't make a great connection, we focused on the goodness and faithfulness of God, and His unique worth. A few songs were great fits, and I think we ended with a strong connection in our response song.

Pre-Service - "Walk The World (Let My Life Shine)" (B) [Charlie Hall, Kendall Combes] Call to Worship - Colossians 1:13-14 "Marvelous Light" (B) [Charlie Hall] Welcome/Offering/Announcements/Greeting "Blessed Be Your Name" (B) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman] "Always" (B) [Kristian Stanfill, Jason Ingram] Message - "The Appraisal of All Things: A New Appraisal of Criticism" Communion Setup Communion Song - "You Saw Me" (C) [Mia Fieldes, Ben Fielding, and Reuben Morgan] Taking the Elements Response Song - "Mighty To Save" (A) [Ben Fielding, Reuben Morgan]

"Walk The World (Let My Life Shine)" - I have enjoyed this song since I heard Charlie Hall do it first at Passion 2007 in Atlanta. I remember immediately thinking how interesting and fresh the chorus was: "Let my life shine/ Come and let my heart shine/ We're gonna walk the world/ And lift the bread and wine/ Like the stars shine/ Come and let our hearts shine/ In a dark world/ We lift the bread and wine." The connection between the Lord's Supper and the spread of the gospel is really unique. Charlie Hall explained that he was simply making use of the symbolism of communion to communicate that believers lift up the body and blood of Jesus Christ as we go out into the world, and He is the hope that we hold out for them. The focus passage this week talks about how believers "shine as lights in the world" (Phil. 2:15 ESV) and that was the major connection for this song. Being that this weekend was also a communion weekend, the image of the elements was also a neat connection. The groove on this song is killer, and the band did a great job putting the pieces together for it. Our intention for this song in the pre-service slot was not necessarily for participation, but to set the tone for the service and to get us pointed to the focus of the weekend.

"Marvelous Light" - This is a s0lid song about the change that the cross has made for us. While, this is not a new song for our congregation, I don't feel that it connects very well here. It may be due in part to the tricky melody of the verses, where it can really go anywhere, and people are not confident that they are singing the right thing (I have always thought that it was tricky for people to sing with). Even so, I love the pre-chorus and the chorus of the song, as they communicate the powerful truth of the gospel. The pre-chorus says it all, "Sin has lost its power/ Death has lost its sting/ From the grave You've risen/ Victoriously." Word.

"Blessed Be Your Name" - This song is (and should be) a constant challenge to me as we sing it together. To give Jesus all glory and praise, even in the midst of trials and suffering, is contrary to our human nature. If anything, we want to do the exact opposite, and curse God and our circumstances for the way they make us feel. It is only by His Spirit and His grace that we can worship Him in the midst of our suffering. This is why we must call one another to this kind of worship, that knows no boundaries or situations where we cannot worship God. He is always worthy, and we need to see Him that way. No matter the situation, no matter the trial, He deserves our worship and our glory. He deserves our love and trust. When we set our eyes on Him in this way, our troubles seem smaller and we see Him as Lord over all. In fact, worshiping Him in the dark times is really a matter of trust. We worship Him in those times when we truly trust Him. May our hearts continue to be changed to worship Him with this kind of deep love and trust.

"Always" - This was our first time singing this song together at Fellowship. It has been on my radar since I lived in Lakeland, and I have been waiting for the right opportunity to introduce it here. I have had it playing on the house background music for about a month to get people somewhat familiar with the sound and feel of it, so it wouldn't feel so foreign when we taught it. I love this song, and I am almost brought to tears every time I sing it, as it communicates trust in God in a unique way. The bridge of the song comes from Psalm 121, where the Psalmist looks to the hills, the high places surround the city of Jerusalem, and sees the idols and monuments there. He recognizes how powerless those idols are, being only wood and stone. Instead, he says, "my help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth" (ESV). He turned from the empty things of this world to the only one who has the power to save or change anything - the Lord. The Lord is the only one who can make any difference in our lives. He is the only one who can rescue us and save us. Let us look nowhere else for our help.

"You Saw Me" - We used this song for our communion time, and I think this song is perfect for that setting. It paints a very profound picture of Christ seeing us while suffering on the cross in our place. The chorus sings, "And You saw me when You took the crown of thorns/ Your blood washed over me/ And You loved me through the nails that You bore/ Your blood washes over me." I love this lyric, and I think it resonates with the church as we sing it. For my wife, it took a few hearings to really connect, and I suspect it may be the same for many people. I think it requires us to come at the song from a certain angle, and focusing on the wrong part of the lyric can throw you off. Focusing on the chorus of the song puts everything else in its proper place.

"Mighty to Save" - We responded to the call of this weekend's message with this song, mainly because of the bridge, which connected well with Philippians 2:15 (see above) when it sings, "Shine your light and let the whole world see/ We're singing for the glory of the risen King, Jesus." This song is very familiar to our congregation, and I think it was a great fit for the weekend. We are called to carry the message of the gospel to the world, and we cannot do that when we are busying ourselves with complaining and arguing. It's just not possible. Jesus and His gospel are infinitely more worthy of our time and dedication than our own preferences or desires!

("Unleashed" by Warren Barfield) - we only did this song after the Sunday services, as we began jamming with it as band members were showing up for our warm-up time this morning before the first service. This was the song, from the album Reach that introduced me to Warren Barfield.

It didn't seem like the congregation was participating as much this weekend as the past few weeks. I was a little concerned that the keys of some the songs might be a little out of reach, so that may be partly to blame. It may have been the two new songs combined with one with difficult verses. At any rate, the weekend had a very strong and powerful feel to it, and I didn't quite expect it to the extent that it was. "Blessed Be Your Name" and "Always" felt much more powerful than I anticipated. I was really blessed by our worship times this weekend and by our team. I was also very challenged by what Joe shared from the Word. God is so good and faithful. May my life be more committed to expanding the kingdom of God, no matter the personal cost!

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were. Be sure to check out The Worship Community to see what other leaders and worshipers experienced this weekend in their respective contexts.

Join in the discussion below. Talk about the songs from this weekend, the message, the flow, the environment of the services (if you were here), and how the different elements affected you. I love to hear your perspective on things.

In the Son,


Set List, 05/14 - 05/15/11 Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we focused on Philippians 1:18-26, where Paul clearly lays out what is truly worth living and dying for: Jesus Christ. Nick Strobel, our student pastor, shared about living for what is valuable and having proper perspective on life and death. I was really challenged by what he said, and how he unpacked this passage of Scripture. Ultimately, Jesus is more valuable than our stuff and our accomplishments, because Jesus is eternal and Jesus is perfect. He is the only one who can give our lives the value that they need to be fulfilling. He is the only one worth living and dying for. Here's our set list from this weekend:

Pre-Service - "All Because of Jesus" (Bb) [Steve Fee] Call to Worship - Psalm 66:1-2 "Glory To God Forever" (Bb) [Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching] Video/Welcome/Announcements/Greeting Time "Blessed Be Your Name" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Beth Redman] "It Is Well" (Bb) [Todd Fields, Horatio G. Spafford, Philip Paul Bliss] "You Never Let Go" (Bb) [Matt Redman] Message - The Appraisal of Death [Nick Strobel] Response - "Glory to God Forever" (reprise) (Bb) [Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching] 

We opened the pre-service with "All Because of Jesus." This song had a twofold relation to the passage of Philippians this week. First, it related to our real life being created in Christ and His perfect work on the cross. Second, it related in that Jesus is the only one worth living for and giving our glory to, because of what He has done. I thought it was a very fitting way to begin this weekend's services, and it set the proper tone for our worship.

During the call to worship, we took a look at Psalm 66:1-2, and took the opportunity to teach our congregation about shouting for joy to the Lord, as we continue to explore the Biblical expressions of worship. Together, we shouted Jesus' name at the count of three. I think it was a stretching time for our congregation, and while not everyone participated, I think most did, and we are better for it.

From there we moved to "Glory To God Forever," mainly because of the bridge, which fit well with the overarching thought of the weekend, as it sings, "Take my life and let it be/ All for You and for Your glory/ Take my life and let it be Yours." My hope was to emphasize to our congregation to make this our prayer. I cannot think of a more noble or desirable prayer for the King of kings and His kingdom. I love how succinctly this bridge communicates the idea of sacrifice and taking up our cross.

After the welcome and announcement time, we opened the second set with "Blessed Be Your Name." This song is powerful, and has been for some time. There are not many songs that communicate such a heart and willingness to praise God regardless of our circumstances, because He is more valuable and worthy than our circumstances and even our own lives. I think if we are honest, this is a difficult concept for us to handle, much less for us to sing with all of our hearts. This is especially true in the bridge: "You give and take away/ You give and take away/ My heart will choose to say/ Lord, blessed be Your name." This song set the tone for the entire second set, as we tried to remind one other that Jesus is worthy of our lives and our worship, regardless of the circumstances. He alone is that worthy.

We continued the second set with "It Is Well," which I have written at length about in the past. I still love this arrangement, and I think it continues to connect with our congregation in a special way. I love to hear our people sing the lyrics of this song, as we examine how Jesus is faithful and true, and all will be "well" when this life is over. There is nothing to fear.

We then finished the set with "You Never Let Go." This song is new to Fellowship, and was a song that I introduced when I was interviewing here. It has always been one of my favorites from my time at Church at the Mall in Lakeland (you can see our team there leading this song here). I love its declaration of confidence in Jesus regardless of circumstances. It draws partially from Psalm 23 and from 1 John 4. The truth of this song is that we have nothing to fear if we are in Christ, because He never leaves us and never forsakes us, and He will always be with us. We can draw hope and confidence in this truth, and we can walk in such a way that we lay our lives down for the kingdom of God, no matter the cost, because our hope will not be disappointed in Christ!

We responded to the message with a reprise of the bridge and chorus of "Glory To God Forever," and made that a sort of benediction as well as a challenge to each other. My prayer is that we lay our lives down for our King and His kingdom, no matter the cost. May our lives truly be Yours, O Lord.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were. Be sure to check out The Worship Community to see what other leaders experienced in their worship gatherings this weekend.

Be a part of the discussion below with your comments! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

In the Son,