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]
"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 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,