This weekend, we focused on the idea of eternal reward, coming from Philippians 3:12-16. It builds off of last weekend's message, where Joe talked about finding no confidence or comparison in the flesh, but only finding confidence and the standard for comparison in Jesus Christ. Everything in this world will fade and pass away, except for God, His Word, and people, and those areas are where we need to prioritize our efforts and our energy. We need to “press on” toward knowing Christ more completely, and loving Him wholeheartedly.
Here's our song list from this weekend:
Pre-Service - "Unleashed" (F#m) [Warren Barfield]
Call To Worship - Jeremiah 9:23-24
"Your Grace Is Enough" (G) [Matt Maher]
Welcome/ Offering/ Announcements/ Greeting time
"Forever Reign" (Bb) [Jason Ingram, Reuben Morgan]
"Lord of All" (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill]
"How Great Is Our God" [Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Ed Cash]
Message - "An Appraisal of Rewards" [David Hinkle]
Response - "I Will Boast" (D) [Paul Baloche]
Post-Service - "You're The Only One" (Em) [Bill Horn]
This was a fun week in terms of the music. Over the past few months, I have gathered that much of our congregation responds to and enjoys songs that have a groove to them, like "Those Who Trust," so I decided to experiment a little bit, take a chance this weekend, and see what happened.
“Unleashed” - A few weeks back we did this as a post-service song on a Sunday, and it went over pretty well, so we decided to try it in the pre-service this week. I love the feel of this song. It has some really fun parts for our musicians, and it communicates a simple truth that God's love is overwhelming and completely fills us. I love the image of God "unleashing" His love on us, like He was holding back a massive wave, and eventually let it loose on us. I'm not sure the congregation quite knew what to do with this one in the first two services. I was more specific before the Sunday services that this song was for us to prepare our hearts and ready our minds for worship. It was fun to play, but I'm not sure if we'll do it again. I will be looking to the rest of our pastoral and leadership team for feedback on that one.
“Your Grace Is Enough” – I don’t think much needs to be said about this song. It is simple and clear, and celebrates the grace of God in a great way. Our congregation connects with it and knows it well, and it is a great way to start the service. We prefaced this song with the passage from Jeremiah 9:23-24 where God speaks of boasting and the only proper object of boasting: “let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth” (ESV). I think the word translated as “steadfast love” is referring to God’s grace and faithful love toward us, and it was a great way to focus our hearts in preparation for this first song.
“Forever Reign” – This was the first time we did this song in Bb together since I arrived here (last time I tried to sing it in Ab, and it was incredibly low in the verses!). This song is a staple for our church, and I have become a big fan of it over the last few months. The verses and chorus were a great connection (more than I realized initially) between the way we began, with “Unleashed” and “Your Grace Is Enough,” to where we were going, focusing on the unique worth and glory of Jesus as the Lord of lords and King of kings. He is all we need, and He is the only one we should be exalting with our lives, first because of who He is, and furthermore because of what He has done in redeeming us through His cross and resurrection. I particularly love the bridge as it sings, “My heart will sing/ No other name/ Jesus, Jesus.” Because of the gospel of Jesus, this should be the truth of our hearts. May that be the case!
“Lord of All” – It’s been a few weeks since we’ve sung this song, but it remains a favorite of mine. Our congregation connects with it well. I have maintained that this is a song that the Church needs to sing, because it not only emphasizes the glory, power, and worth of Jesus, but it also draws attention to His judgment and wrath, which is not a frequent occurrence in worship music throughout the Church’s history. I believe that this is a major emphasis in Scripture, and therefore part of God’s glory that ought to be praised. I understand the fact that God’s judgment is infrequently mentioned because it’s not always a pleasant thought, to think that God will judge. However, this attribute of God also points to His greatness and His perfect power. As Scripture frequently points out, who will question God? Who will tell Him what to do? Who made the heavens? Who created man? Will the created one try and tell the Creator what to do? No. God is almighty, and none can match His power and His glory.
“How Great is Our God” – We haven’t done this song in a while, but it’s a song that we can all get our hearts around and that we can sing well. We tried something a little different at the end of the song, and the ladies on the team sang the chorus of “Lord of All” while I sang the chorus of “How Great is Our God” (they have the same progression). It was pretty cool to hear them both together, because they communicate very similar ideas about God’s greatness, power, and unique worth.
“I Will Boast” – Because David was focusing partly on Jeremiah 9:23-24, he asked if we could do this song as a response. I think it was very fitting, because we are tempted to think that many things in our lives are worth boasting about, but Jesus is the only thing worth boasting about. My youth pastor, James, used to say something to the effect of, “Let’s brag on Jesus.” Word.
“You’re The Only One” – This is the most recent song that I have written, and it is the first time we’ve done it together here at Fellowship. We did it in the post-service time, partly to introduce it into our church. It had particular meaning to sing on Sunday, because one of our people here, a man named David Decker, was killed in a motorcycle accident last night due to another driver’s error at an intersection. David is the father of two boys. The lyric of this song comes primarily from Psalm 139, which talks about the Lord’s presence everywhere. We cannot escape His sight or His presence. No matter what we are experiencing, He is there, and He is with us.
You’re The Only One
In the shadows, in the empty, in the darkness,
You are near, You are here
In the trial, in the fire, in the pain,
You are with me, You are with me
I won’t be afraid
I won’t be afraid
You’re the only one who hears me when I call
You’re the only one to catch me when I fall
In the quiet, in the silence, in the whispers
You are listening, Lord, You hear me
In the hopeless, in the helpless, in the hurting,
You are life, You are the light
Your love never fails
Your love never fails
The dark is like the light to You
And night as bright as day
Wherever I go, You remain
May we all be keenly aware of His presence with us in all circumstances. May God’s presence be known in suffering, in the suffering of two boys who lost their father, and in the suffering of two parents who lost their son last night. Jesus is a High Priest who understands and sympathizes with us, and can minister better than anyone to our needs. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV).
I hope you had a great day of worship wherever you were, and that Jesus was lifted high like He deserves to be! I’m a part of The Worship Community, and you should check it out.
In the Son,