Songs We Sing - 04/25 - 04/26/15 - Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we concluded our series, Never, with a message about endurance entitled, "Never Give Up." David Hinkle shared about walking with the Lord through trials, both internal and external from 1 Peter 4.

Here are our songs from this weekend:

"Rejoice" [Dustin Kensrue, Stuart Townend]
"This is Amazing Grace" [Josh Farro, Phil Wickham, Jeremy Riddle]
"It Is Well" [Philip Paul Bliss, Horatio G. Spafford, w/ additional chorus & arr. by Todd Fields]
"Desert Song" [Brooke Ligertwood]
"Everlasting God" [Brenton Brown, Ken Riley]

We had a powerful worship gathering this weekend. Everyone experiences trials in this life, so messages such as this one always resonate with us and remind us that we are not home yet. We have a path to walk here that will not always be easy, but Jesus will always be with us, and that brings us great comfort. That was the direction of our singing this weekend. Jesus is with us, He never fails, He never abandons us, He gives us strength to carry on, and He will see us through until we see Him face to face. I cannot wait until that day.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship with your church family, whether it's with Fellowship or somewhere else. May you be reminded today that Jesus is with you!

"The Lord is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble;
He knows those who take refuge in Him."
- Nahum 1:7 (ESV)

Songs We Sing, 11/16 - 11/17/13 Fellowship Bible Church

As followers of Jesus, we are guided by the Word of God and the Spirit of God. This was the message from our Family Pastor, Brian Tryhus, as we continued our series titled "Faith." It was a great reminder for us to look for guidance in the right places. You can listen to or watch the entire messages and services here.

Here's our service plan:

Pre-Service - "Lead of Love" (G) [Aaron Tate of Caedmon's Call]
Welcome
"I'll Fly Away" (G) [Albert E. Brumley]
"Your Grace Is Enough" (G) [Matt Maher]

Greeting Time Announcements Message - "Faith: Guided" [Brian Tryhus]
"It Is Well" (Bb) [Philip Paul Bliss, Todd Fields, Horatio G. Spafford]
"One Thing Remains" (Bb) [Christa Black, Brian Johnson, Jeremy Riddle]
"Rejoice" (Bb) [Dustin Kensrue, Stuart Townend]
Dismissal
Post-Service - ""Lead of Love" (G) [Aaron Tate]

Thoughts: This was a solid weekend of worship with our church. It was one of those weekends where I felt the Lord was strong in my weakness. The lyric that stuck with me throughout the weekend was from "Lead of Love": "Looking back I can finally see/ How failures bring humility/ Brings me to my knees/ Helps me see my need for Thee." That resonated with me this weekend. During the message in the first service on Saturday night, I was having a conversation with my wife and keeping my eye on the timer for the message. When it said four minutes left, I quickly headed upstairs, only to hear music playing and to find the speaking pastor, Brian, in the stairwell. Needless to say, I panicked. Kip did a good job covering and getting the band started without me, and I tried my best to quietly head out to my position on the platform and join in. Talk about embarrassing! Anyway, that only contributed to how "off" I felt through the weekend. I'm not sure if it was allergies or a slight cold, but I just didn't feel like I had any energy or focus.

Despite all of that, the team did a great job, and our congregation was really engaged throughout the weekend. I felt the Lord was glorified, and that people responded to the Word of God through the message. Ultimately, the Lord was strong in my weakness. It seems that some of the greatest weekends of worship I experience or witness in our church are those where I feel weakest. I don't believe that's a coincidence, either. :)

The highlights for me were having my friend Ronnie Murphy on mandolin, singing an older favorite of mine in Caedmon's Call's "Lead of Love," "It Is Well," and one of our congregation's new favorites in "Rejoice." The church has really seemed to latch onto that song. I love the declaration and the energy in that song, and I'm thankful we can sing it together.

So, I leave you with this: 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, 03/23 - 03/24/13 - Fellowship Bible Church

For our tenth week of our 2 Corinthians series - "Purpose In Christ," our family pastor, Brian Tryhus, preached through 2 Corinthians 11-12, and taught about how we as believers need to handle trials and difficulties in our lives. He challenged us to recognize our own weakness, and to find our strength in Christ alone. It was a powerful reminder to all of us. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Pre-Service - "Beautiful" (C) [Phil Wickham] Welcome/Call to Worship "Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)" (G) [Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown] Greeting Time Child Dedications Announcements/Trash Mountain Documentary Trailer Message - "Purpose In Christ, pt. 10" [Brian Tryhus] "It Is Well" (B) [Horatio G. Spafford, Todd Fields] "Always" (B) [Kristian Stanfill, Jason Ingram] "One Thing Remains" (B) [Christa Black, Brian Johnson, Jeremy Riddle] Dismissal

Thoughts: This was a great Palm Weekend celebration. Our team did a great job! We also had two brand new team members: Matthew Gonzales on drums and Dawn Phoenix helping with background vocals. It was great to see them connecting with the team and finding their fit in ministry. I loved how everything connected in our services, and the songs we sang this weekend were some of my favorites. It had been a while for all of the final three songs, so it was refreshing to sing them together with our congregation once again. I am so grateful for what the Lord continues to do in our church. I'm am really pumped about Good Friday and Easter this week! It will be our best one yet!

- 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, 02/18 - 02/19/12 Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we continued our Romans series, and focused on Romans 8:31-39. In his message, Joe talked through the five rhetorical questions in this passage, and reminded us all of God's amazing and unfailing love.  I was really challenged to let go of my past and my old slavery to sin, and to move toward Christ and trust in Him will every area of my life. We have a new life because Christ has loved us, and we don't need to look back. We need to look to Christ. You can listen to the entire message here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Time of Preparation/Prayer "Healing Is In Your Hands" (C) [Daniel Carson, Christy Nockels, Nathan Nockels, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin] Welcome/Greeting Time (Child Dedications - at 5 PM and 10:45 AM services only) "Desert Song" (D) [Brooke Fraser] "Unchanging" (G) [Chris Tomlin] "Our God" (G) [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Jesse Reeves, Chris Tomlin] "10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)" (G) [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman] Message - "Romans 8:31-39" [Joe Hishmeh] "It Is Well" (Bb) [Philip Paul Bliss, Todd Fields, Horatio G. Spafford] Offering/Announcements Dismissal

"Healing Is In Your Hands" - We sang this song as our preparation song this weekend, as we focused on how we are held by the promise of Jesus' powerful and unconquerable love. He is faithful, and nothing will ever separate us from His love (Rom. 8:35). This is such a beautiful song (originally sung by Christy Nockels on the album, Passion: Here For You.), and it does a wonderful job of calling out our trust, faith, and confidence in Christ's unending love for us. Becky Tindell did a great job of leading us on this song.

"Desert Song" - We opened the second music set with this song, and Becky led us here as well. This song declares our faith and trust in the Lord no matter what we are facing in this life. In good times and bad, He is with us, and He is worthy of our praise. This song continues to be a staple of our congregation's worship vocabulary, and our church sings it well together.

"Unchanging" - We sang this song this weekend because it also stands firm on the fact that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb. 13:8 ESV). In we declare the unchanging character and love of God. We can trust and depend on who He is, and that flows out into how He cares for us and interacts with us. Because He never changes and never fails, we can trust the word which He has spoken, saying that He will love us "with an everlasting love" (Jer. 31:3).

"Our God" - This song tied directly to our passage from this weekend, particularly in the bridge where we sing, "And if our God is for us/ Then who could ever stop us?/ And if our God is with us/ What could stand against?" We abbreviated this song for the services with the child dedications, but we wanted to keep this declaration in our services, as we sing out the truth of the scripture passage from this week.

"10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)"This is a song that we began teaching our congregation last weekend as Erik and Sarah Oldberg led our congregation. I LOVE this song. When you hear it for the first time, it feels like you've heard it before. It has a sort of timeless melody to it, and it makes me want to sing it out. The chorus is simple and strong: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul/ Worship His holy name/ Sing like never before, O my soul/ I'll worship Your holy name." Our congregation is singing it well, and I think this will remain a part of our worship vocabulary here at Fellowship.

"It Is Well" - This was our response song this weekend. I have written a lot about this song previously, so I'll keep this short. I love how this song ties a timeless hymn with a new declaration of trust and praise in an added chorus. I think it helps to connect a new generation with a beautiful expression of trust in God's faithfulness - no matter the circumstances.

This weekend was a good weekend overall. We celebrated child dedications with many young families in our church, which was a beautiful thing of which to be a part. We also celebrated baptisms after each service. In one of these baptisms on Saturday evening, a young man baptized his dad after leading him to Christ. What a powerful moment! I love being a part of this congregation and seeing how the Lord is moving.

We had a few technical gremlins show up on Saturday evening with our in-ears and some other things. During most of the service at 7 PM, I was getting shocked every time my lips touched the microphone. Not fun. I have no idea what was happening there. Everything was worked out on Sunday morning, so it's all good.

The bottom line is that Jesus was glorified and exalted because of His great love with which He loved us. He is faithful and unchanging, and we can trust in Him and in His love. He is so good to us!

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, 07/23 - 07/24/11 Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we focused on the topic of contentment from Philippians 4:10-13. In this passage, Paul writes that in every circumstance, he has learned to be content. He is able to do this through the strength that Christ gives. Joe emphasized from this passage that our expectations for increase and improved life status (in the west, anyway) makes it easy for us to be discontent with our lives. Our idea of "normal" is faulty. Our idea of normal needs to change, and we need to trust Christ in any and every circumstance in our lives. This subject is something we all need to hear on a regular basis, because it is easy to be drawn away into discontentment and distrust. Our songs for the weekend focused on trust, peace, and contentment, as well as the power and sufficiency of Christ. He is worthy of our lives and our worship, no matter the circumstances. Here's our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service - "Those Who Trust" (Em) [Don Chaffer] Call to Continue Worship - Psalm 95:1-3 "Let Me Sing" (Bb) [Todd Fields] Welcome/Offering/Announcements/Greeting Time "It Is Well" (Bb) [Horatio G. Spafford, Todd Fields] "You Never Let Go" (Bb) [Matt Redman] "A Mighty Fortress" (C) [Christy Nockels] Prayer Message - "An Appraisal of Contentment" [Joe Hishmeh] Response - "Desert Song" (D) [Brooke Fraser] Dismissal

"Those Who Trust" - Taken from Psalm 125, This is a favorite of our congregation, because it celebrates the firm foundation we have in Christ in a very distinct way. It's a lot of fun for our team and our congregation. Our discipleship, David Hinkle, played his trumpet on this one, and he is always a great addition to the team!

"Let Me Sing" - This was our third consecutive week teaching this song, and I loved using it at the top of the service, after the call to worship this week. It was fitting, coming after reading Psalm 95:1-3 together, which repeats the phrase, "Let us..." followed by several commands of worship. I love the message of this song, as it communicates the "why" of worship - we respond in worship and thanksgiving because God is who He is, and because He has done what He has - He has redeemed us!

"It Is Well" - This song, which we have used a few times over this series, was too good a fit for this weekend's message for us not to include it. I think it really echoes the truth of Philippians 4:10-13 in a strong way, and helps us to connect the truth to our hearts and minds. It gives us an simple way to respond to these truths through singing our commitment and trust to God.

"You Never Let Go" - This was another song that we have been teaching during this series, and it was another great fit for the message this week. These two songs have made me see more clearly how certain songs are great fits for a series of messages, and not just a single message. On both of these, it is apparent that much of our congregation knows them, and hardly needs to look to the screens for guidance. It's a beautiful thing.

"A Mighty Fortress" - We haven't done this song in a while at Fellowship (I think the last time was during the interview process), but it is one of my favorites. It is probably my favorite song off of Christy Nockels' solo album. Sarah Oldberg led this song, and she did an awesome job pointing to Christ through it. I had really enjoyed singing harmony with her. I love how they arranged the song because it has some great builds and accents that help focus us on the lyric, which powerfully points to the Lord as God and King, along with many other attributes of His. This is a song that the church needs to sing, much like "Lord of All" and a few others.

"Desert Song" - We responded to the message with this song, because it really sums up and describes what it is to praise God through any and all circumstances. Sarah led this song as well. This song has a very unique feel to it, especially for Hillsong - it almost feels Celtic in a way. At any rate, it was a very appropriate response to the Word, and I think we all walked away from this week challenged by the truth.

It was a good weekend. The team did a great job leading, and participation from the congregation was solid. I believe the focus of the weekend remained constantly on Christ, His gospel, who He is, and what He has done.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship, and that Christ was lifted high! Check out The Worship Community to see what other leaders and worshipers experienced in their congregations this weekend.

In the Son,

Bill

Set List, 07/09 - 07/10/11 Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we focused on the subject of maturity from Philippians 4:2-7. Joe dealt with disagreements, rejoicing, and communicating our needs to God through prayer. His emphasis was that we should seek spiritual maturity and should turn to prayer first, to truly rely on God in everything. I was challenged by the call to pray first rather than worry or turn anywhere else. It is easy for us to turn elsewhere to seek help, but God should be the one we seek first. Our first thought should be toward God, to pour out our hearts to Him. Here's our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service - "Forever" (G) [Chris Tomlin] Call to Worship - "Unchanging" (G) [Chris Tomlin] Welcome/ Offering/ Announcements/ Greeting "Let Me Sing" (Bb) [Todd Fields] "It Is Well" (Bb) [Horatio G. Spafford, Todd Fields] "You Never Let Go" (Bb) [Matt Redman] Message - "An Appraisal of Maturity" [Joe Hishmeh] Response - "From The Inside Out" [Joel Houston]

Because of the focus of this weekend, we went in the direction of prayer and trusting in God, which results in confidence and hope, and enables us to rejoice and to live in peace. "Forever" and "Unchanging" point to the faithfulness and immutability of God. "Let Me Sing" expresses the desire to worship God and thank Him for all that He is and all that He has done, specifically through the cross. "It Is Well" and "You Never Let Go" remind us that no matter what comes in this life, God is with us, and we have nothing to fear. They cling to the promises of Romans 8:28-39 and declare that we will trust in God, no matter what our circumstances are. Finally, "From The Inside Out" reminds us that the only way we will be able to grow towards spiritual maturity is through the power of Christ working within us.

"Forever" - This is a song that our congregation hasn't done in a while, and it was good to bring it to our attention again, because it communicates the essence of so many Psalms, where the psalmist calls the people of God to recall who God is and what He has done, and to respond with the statement, "His steadfast love endures forever" (e.g. Psalm 118 ESV).

"Unchanging" - This song focuses in on the truth of Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (ESV), along with the concept of God's "steadfast love." He never changes, and His love for us never changes. He is faithful and true, and He is constant. His promises are true because He is true. Our status with Him is assured because He is unchanging. I love the declaration of this song, because it reminds us of the truth of this great attribute of God.

"Let Me Sing" - This song hadn't been done with our congregation for a while, but it was one that I loved when I was serving in Florida. It does a good job of reminding us of the reason to worship Jesus - He bore our sins and died in our place to reconcile us to God. The chorus sings, "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."

"It Is Well" - Earlier this week, my wife and I were watching a documentary about disaster flooding, and much of the episode was spent focused on New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. As we watched and saw images of the city and the flooding, my mind was overwhelmed with memories about that seemingly chaotic time in our lives together. I remember packing up on Saturday morning to head over to Baton Rouge for the "weekend" and ready to get back to school at the seminary on Monday. I remember loading up our cat, two of my guitars, some work clothes (for boarding up our friends' windows), and the few photo albums that we had unpacked (we only moved there four weeks earlier). On Sunday night, as the storm grew, we knew this was not going to be a small matter in our lives. We headed further north to increase our distance from the storm for the peace of mind of our families. As we drove, we had a serious talk about our situation, and the fact that we may lose all of our earthly possessions, aside from what we had in our tiny Honda Civic. We were confident that we would be okay, with or without all that "stuff." Our statement was, "It is just stuff. We are together and had each other. By the time we ended up at my mother-in-law's house in southern Illinois, the flooding began. And the possibility of losing all our material possessions began looking more like reality. This song really communicates our hearts during that time, and the lyric of the chorus says it especially well: "It is well, it is well/ Through the storm I am held/ It is well, it is well with my soul."

One confession about this one: in the third service this weekend (Sunday 9 AM), I mistakenly sang the second verse twice (once in place of the third verse). I'm not upset about singing that one twice, because it is probably the strongest one in the song, singing of our forgiveness through the cross. I didn't even realize I had started singing it again until midway through the verse. Whoops. :) Our Media Shout man, Shane, was all over it, and had it on the right verse before I even noticed I started verse 2 again. I was humbled, which is never a bad thing...

"You Never Let Go" - This is another song that expresses our confidence in our God and the fact that He is truly with us. He never leaves us and never forsakes. Indeed, He never lets go of us as His children, who have been adopted through Christ's sacrifice for us. This song really puts words to my trust, and encourages me to deepen that confidence in Christ.

"From The Inside Out" - We used this song for the angle of transformation, growth, and maturity, to support Joe's message. He said that we should desire spiritual maturity, because "the Lord is at hand." This song effectively communicates that desire to be transformed from within, and I feel that it was a good way to end our time together this weekend.

In all, it was a solid weekend. The team served really well in all of the services. I felt a little tired from a looming cold, but I was rejuvenated by our times together. Jesus was lifted high. He is faithful, and we have nothing to fear in Him. He is good, and His promises are true and unchanging. Let us each place our confidence in Him in every situation.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship! Join the discussion below: have you had a moment in leading when you messed up the words of a song? Check out The Worship Community to see what some other leaders experienced this weekend.

In the Son,

Bill

 

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,

Bill

Set List, 04/09 - 04/10/11 Fellowship Bible Church

Here's our set from this weekend: "God Is Alive" (A) [Steve Fee and Eddie Kirkland] Call to Worship - Psalm 96:1-4, 10a "Say, Say" (A) [Kristian Stanfill, Chris Tomlin, and Christy Nockels] Welcome/Offering/Announcements/Greeting "Everlasting God" (Bb) [Brenton Brown and Ken Riley] "It Is Well" (Bb) [Todd Fields, Philip Paul Bliss, and Horatio G. Spafford] "Stronger" (Bb) [Ben Fielding and Reuben Morgan] Message - "I Believe: Questions & Answers" [Joe Hishmeh] Response - "All To Us" [Matt Maher, Matt Redman, Jesse Reeves, and Chris Tomlin]

This week we introduced Steve Fee and Eddie Kirkland's "God Is Alive" to our congregation. We began teaching it today in preparation for Easter. I cannot think of a more fitting lyric for celebrating Christ's victory over sin and death through His death and resurrection. I think it is one of the best modern songs that have been written for Easter. The solid lyric and high energy of the song  are a perfect fit for celebrating Jesus' resurrection:

"God Is Alive"

Verse 1 Let the darkness flee It's got no power over me I have been set free God is alive

Verse 2 Death where is your sting? Sin had got no hold on me I am free indeed God is alive

Pre-Chorus We've been redeemed So rise and sing

Chorus Everyone, glorify the risen Son The Holy One has overcome Jesus is alive The enemy is broken underneath His feet Death is crushed in victory Jesus is alive, Jesus is alive

Verse 3 Let us wake and rise Lift your voices, lift your eyes We're gonna shout, we're gonna shake the skies God is alive

Bridge The empty grave is singing now It's shouting out He is alive, He is alive And we are free

We also brought back "Say Say" for the closing message of our "I Believe" series. It is a fitting declaration for this series, as it sings in the chorus: "Say, say, say you believe it/ Sing for the whole world to hear it/ We know and we declare it/ Jesus is King/ Say, say, say you believe it/ Sing loud, sing like you mean it/ We know and we declare it/ Jesus is King." After doing this series for ten weeks, this is where we must land. After all we have seen and heard about the greatness of God, the proper response is to go out a proclaim the truth and greatness of the name of Jesus and His gospel to the world. We need to know what we believe to be able to communicate that message clearly to others.

This week, we also introduced our new pastor of ministries, J.D. Holt. He just finished making the 2100-mile trip from Bellingham, WA to Topeka to begin working with us. I am excited about having him on our team, and about the leadership and experience he will bring to managing our staff team. He's a great guy, and I really look forward to getting to know him and his wife, Christy. I was nervous as we were searching for the man to fill this role, as my experience has shown it to be crucial to the personality of the staff team. I believe our prayers have been answered in J.D., and we are very grateful!

After the welcome time, we started the second set of music with "Everlasting God." From Isaiah 40, this song paints a powerful picture of God and His attributes. As we sing the chorus, "You are the everlasting God/ The everlasting God/ You do not faint, You won't grow weary/ You're the defender of the weak/ You comfort those in need/ You lift us up on wings like eagles," I cannot help but see not only a description of God's greatness, but a call to God's people to be like their heavenly Father. As I sing, I feel challenged to defend the weak and comfort those in need as I am strengthened by the Lord. This song is a favorite of our congregation, and I don't mind at all - this is a solid song from the Scriptures that speaks of the unchanging, everlasting greatness of our God.

We followed this song with Todd Field's hymn rewrite, "It Is Well." I have said it before, but I'll say it again: this is one of my favorite hymn rewrites. It preserves the original verses intact, with a very cool acoustic arrangement underneath, has a very fitting new chorus, and it even includes the original hymn's refrain at the end. I love how it ties the old and the new in a fresh way. It always brings us to worship as we celebrate God's faithfulness.

We finished this set with "Stronger," by Reuben Morgan and Ben Fielding. We're dusting this one off for Easter, because it is a clear anthem about God's great power to save and conquer sin and death. This was the first time I have led this song with a band. It was one that I began teaching in one venue where I was previously, but I never had the opportunity to bring it into our main services because I ran out of time. I love the chorus: "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." The use of the word "stronger" is refreshing, because it takes the common "mighty" or "powerful" ideas and uses our current language to express it. This song reminds me to write in such a way that captures the truth of the Scripture in vibrant, current language that our congregations can take hold of and sing from their hearts. It is easier for the "average Joe" to connect with words we normally use than it is to connect with erudite language. This song does that well.

We finished the services with "All To Us," which also effectively connects with the sum of this "I Believe" message series. I struggled with using this song in the beginning, because when the phrase "all to us" is taken at face value, it could be easily misunderstood to mean something like, "God exists for our sakes." However, its meaning is more along the lines of, "God is everything to us." He is our sufficiency and our strength, our foundation and our confidence. May this truly be our declaration, that God is our everything. He is the only one that we need. He is the only one on whom our hope should be built.

It was a great weekend of worship. Zach Pruett stepped up and played bass for the first time in our weekend services, and he did a great job, after only playing bass for five months! Bob Fulmer did a great job adjusting to the click track for the first time ever. His attitude was admirable in saying, "It will make me a better player." I hope for each of us that difficulties and challenges are seen as opportunities to better ourselves and to better serve our church and the kingdom of God with our abilities. The rest of the team did a great job, as usual, and it was a great joy to lead with them again. Our tech team is so faithful to do a great job each week, and they make it easy for each of us to do our part. I feel that each week we are strengthening and improving, and there are great things on the horizon for this worship and arts ministry. Also, the Aviom system continues to be an asset to give us more time to rehearse and prepare for the weekend, and that has been very apparent in the way we play.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were. Please visit The Worship Community to check out their Sunday Set Lists to see what other leaders and team members did this weekend in their contexts. Leave your comments below and join the conversation about our worship ministry and the songs we sing together.

In the Son,

Bill

Set List, 03/05 - 03/06/11 Fellowship Bible Church

Here's our set from this week: Pre-Service: "Happy Day" [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon] Call to Worship - Psalm 66:1-4 "Hosanna (Praise is Rising)" [Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown] Welcome/Announcements/Greeting "You Alone Can Rescue" [Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin] "It is Well" [Todd Fields, Horatio G. Spafford] Message - I Believe We Respond: Salvation Lord's Supper - "Just As I Am" [Charlotte Elliott, William Bradbury] Response - "Jesus Messiah" [Daniel Carson, Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, and Jesse Reeves]

This was another great weekend of worship, and we continue to build momentum. People continue to participate more, and respond to worship God through music and the Word. I am also learning more about, and getting more connected with, our people and our team. I am happy with our progress, and with what is happening when we gather each week. This week we also celebrated the Lord's Supper/communion, which is always a sweet time where we focus on remembering what God has done to redeem us. It was especially significant this week, because it followed Joe's talk about salvation, and how we respond in faith and repentance to what Jesus Christ has done for us.

We repeated "Happy Day" in the pre-service section again this week, because it is still fairly new to our people, and because it was particularly fitting for the focus this week. I enjoy this song, if only for the fact that it is simple and happy song of thanksgiving for what Christ has done. It sings of the gospel clearly in a celebrative way, and I think that is the song's greatest value. We followed the call to worship with "Hosanna (Praise is Rising)," which is a great song to follow the call to worship. It has a feeling of preparation and entering into God's presence, and sings clearly of some of the proper motives and responses in worship: "Hosanna, Hosanna/ You are the God who saves us/ Worthy of all our praises/ Hosanna, Hosanna/ Come have your way among us/ We welcome You here, Lord Jesus."

We also continued teaching "You Alone Can Rescue," and our people took hold of it more. It was a great fit for our focus this weekend, as we focused on how salvation is the work of God alone, and we place our trust and confidence in His finished work. I love this song. It's not the music that makes it exciting, either. It is purely the lyric of this song that is overwhelming. Jesus is our only rescue. This will be a song that the church sings for a while.

We brought back Todd Fields' arrangement of "It Is Well," which is one of my favorite modern hymn arrangements. He preserved the melody of Horatio Spafford's original, but added a fitting chorus which captures the spirit of the song well. It serves as a strong declaration of confidence and hope in Christ, through anything that we experience in this life. The guitar part that Fields has written is really interesting, too, which only adds to the value of this song. When we come to the original chorus at the end of the song, it is beautiful to hear the congregation singing out so strongly.

We used the great hymn "Just As I Am" for the time during the Lord's Supper, and we arranged it in a Sufjan Stevens-ish kind of way--with a slow swing to it, organ with Leslie on it, and minimal percussion. It was another great fit for the focus this weekend. I was unsure of how we would arrange it going into the weekend, but the team came up with some nice ideas and instrumentation to make it work nicely.

We finished the weekend off with "Jesus Messiah," which was perfect. I cannot claim credit for this one, because it was the result of some changes late in the planning, and I needed a song to plug the hole, and thought this would work. It connected with Joe's message in more ways than I can count, and coming out of the Lord's Supper only added to its impact. The more I sing this song, the more I enjoy it and its message.

It was a great weekend, and I'm excited about how things continue here with Fellowship Bible Church!

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

Bill

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