Songs We Sing, 10/19 - 10/20/13 - Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, our lead pastor, Joe Hishmeh, concluded our "Deep and Wide" series, and shared the results of how we came together as a church to advance the gospel in our lives. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Welcome "In Tenderness" (G) [Nate Garvey, Adoniram J. Gordon, W. Spencer Walton, played by Citizens] "Let Me Sing" (Bb) [Todd Fields] Greeting Time Announcements Message - "Deep & Wide Recap" [Joe Hishmeh] "All Creatures of Our God and King" (D) [St. Francis of Assisi, David Crowder, William Henry Draper, Brent Milligan] "Wonderful Maker" (G) [Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman] "Son of God" (G) [Tim Neufeld, Jon Neufeld, Ed Cash, Gordon Cochran] Dismissal

Thoughts: This weekend was a solid weekend with our congregation. Kip Kraisinger co-led, and he and our team all did a great job. We also introduced the glockenspiel to our services for the first time, and Stacy Krueger did a great job with it on "All Creatures of Our God and King," especially for her first time ever playing the instrument. It was a nice textural addition to our instrumentation, and I look forward to being able to utilize it more in the future. The back half of the service was a nice reflective time where we focused our worship toward God primarily as our Maker. "Wonderful Maker" holds a special place in my life as a worshiper, because it was the first song that had the obvious absence of self in the lyric--it was all about who God is and what He has done. It served as a turning point in my leading, where the emphasis shifted from songs about me and what I was going to do for God to who He is and what He has already done for us. There is a place in worship for offering our lives and essentially making vows to the Lord, but the emphasis must be on Him first. "Wonderful Maker" helped turn my focus in that direction, and I am very grateful for how the Lord used it in my life as a young worship leader. "Son of God" was a great way to close our services, because, in a way, it encapsulates the work of Christ for us from beginning to end, and in doing so it gives us words to worship Him and to magnify His surpassing worth. It always resonates with our congregation, and is a powerful moment of worship together.

Throughout the weekend, I felt a little "off." No matter how much sleep I had over the past week, I continued to feel very tired. It could possibly be due to a cold or allergies, but I'm not sure. Whatever the cause, I felt a little "foggy" as a result. It can be challenging to lead well when feeling like that, but those are also some of the most beautiful and powerful moments in leading, because we have the opportunity to see God's power made perfect in our weakness in a very tangible way. It is in those moments that we find ourselves even more dependent on the Spirit of God to work in our lives and in the lives of those we lead, and that is not a bad place to be. I'm thankful for how He continues to move and grow us as a congregation, and that He allows me to be a part of what He is doing here in Fellowship.

Next weekend, our NextGen worship director, Erik Oldberg, will be leading our weekend services with a team of students, and it's going to be a great weekend! Don't miss it.

- Bill

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

Songs We Sing, 06/08 - 06/09/13 - Fellowship Bible Church

First of all, please accept my apology for the long delay in getting this out from two weeks ago. That Sunday, my wife had emergency surgery and we have been in recovery mode since then. That weekend, we were in the second week of our series through 2 Timothy - "Lead In Christ." In his message, our lead pastor Joe Hishmeh continued sharing about suffering for the gospel from 2 Timothy 2:1-13. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Welcome "Sing to the King" (E) [Charles Silvester Horne, Billy Foote, recorded by Passion Live] "Let Me Sing" (A) [Todd Fields] Greeting Time/Announcements Message - "Lead In Christ: Suffering For The Gospel - 2 Timothy 2:1-13" [Joe Hishmeh] "None But Jesus" (B) [Brooke Ligertwood, recorded by Hillsong Live] "It Is Well" (B) [Horatio G. Spafford, Phillip Paul Bliss, Todd Fields, recorded by Todd Fields] "Lord of All" (B) [Kristian Stanfill, recorded by Kristian Stanfill] Dismissal

Thoughts: It was another great weekend of worship with our church. Sarah Oldberg led with me, and she always does a great job. "None But Jesus" is a great song that we have not done much, so it was great to sing it with the church. I loved how everything in the weekend fit together, and I felt like Jesus was truly exalted by all the pieces of the puzzle. I'm so grateful for our church and for all the people who have helped care for us over these past two weeks! Now it is time to finish this week's post!

- Bill

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

Songs We Sing, 04/27 - 04/28/13 - Fellowship Bible Church

First off, sorry for the late posting this week! This past weekend, we continued in our third message of our series - "Seven." Our pastor, Joe Hishmeh, shared about the importance of our calling, and how we are all called to be ministers of the gospel in whatever vocation we have. Every job can present an opportunity for the gospel if we serve with excellence and integrity. His message called us all out to a higher level of serving with our lives. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Pre-Service - "Only A Word" (E) [Original] Welcome "Your Grace Is Enough" (G) [Matt Maher] "Made Alive" (C) [Zach Bolen, Brian Eichelberger] Greeting Time/Announcements Message - "Seven: Calling - Colossians 3:17" [Joe Hishmeh] "Take My Life And Let It Be" (D) [Frances Ridley Havergal, Henri Abraham Cesar Malan] "Your Great Name" (Bb) [Michael Neale, Krissy Nordhoff] "Let Me Sing" (Bb) [Todd Fields] Dismissal

Thoughts: This weekend was a beautiful and powerful weekend. The team did an amazing job, and the church sang out! I was really encouraged by the feedback we received regarding the weekend, especially about the new song we introduced: "Made Alive" by The Citizens. I LOVE this song. It feels totally different from most of the music for the Church that is out there, and it is taken right out of Ephesians chapter 2, which is one of my favorite gospel passages. It lays out where we were and where we are now because Christ has brought us back and made us alive together with Him because of His grace, love, and mercy. Singing it really just makes me want to shout out! I can't wait to sing it again this week. Another highlight of the weekend was when we sang "Your Great Name." I'm not sure I have ever heard the church sing as loud as they did during that song this weekend. It was overwhelming. Jesus is so good, it's ridiculous.

- Bill

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

Songs We Sing, 12/08 - 12/09/12 - Fellowship Bible Church

This week we continued in our second week of Advent and our series, "Simple Christmas." Pastor Joe Hishmeh shared about how God uses simple people to accomplish His purposes here on earth--people who are simple in faith, obedience, and worship. It was a great message, and a perspective on Mary that I had not seen before. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Welcome "Salvation's Chorus" (G) [Todd Fields] "Joyful (The One Who Saves)" (C) [traditional, w/ chorus & bridge by Brenton Brown, Jason Ingram] Greeting Time/Announcements Message - "Simple People" [Joe Hishmeh] "Jesus Messiah" (A) [Daniel Carson, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves, Chris Tomlin] "Let Me Sing" (A) [Todd Fields] "Before The Throne" (A) [Charitie Lees Bancroft, arr. by The Modern Post] Dismissal

Thoughts: This was a great weekend. Joe's message was a refreshing perspective on the life and faith of Mary, specifically when she received the news that she would give birth to the Son of God, the Savior of humanity! It was a challenging reminder to simply believe God, obey what He calls us to do, and to worship Him for who He is and what He has done.

The band did a great job this weekend. We continued teaching Todd Fields' (of North Point) "Salvation's Chorus" this weekend, which is a song that I have wanted to teach for a while. We also brought back "Joyful (The One Who Saves)," which we introduced last year at Advent. I love the added chorus and bridge by Brenton Brown and Jason Ingram, which are simple declarations of Jesus' power to save. We responded to the message with "Jesus Messiah" because I believe the gospel is the single-most powerful motivator for our worship of the Lord. It is truly the greatest thing that He has done for us, or could have done for us! We continued with "Let Me Sing" to tie together the gospel with our response of obedience and worship. The chorus sings "Let me sing/ Louder than creation to You/ For the pain You bore in Your body/ To bring my soul." I love this song. We finished the weekend with "Before The Throne," which is a powerful new rendition of the traditional hymn. This is probably my favorite song right now, and it helps us declare our confidence in the saving work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. It is finished, and it is all because of Him! It was a great weekend. I love celebrating Advent, especially when I'm part of a church that points it continually to the gospel, because that is what the first advent of Jesus was really all about!

What were your thoughts or experiences on your worship experience this weekend?

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

Set List, 11/03 - 11/04/12 - Fellowship Bible Church

This week our pastor, Joe Hishmeh, continued our discipleship series, "Ephesians - United in Christ." In the message for the weekend, Joe shared from Ephesians 5:9-21 about how we are called out of darkness and into the light of Christ; to shine the light of Christ by living wisely and loving deeply in a dark world. It was a great challenge for us to pursue a rich life of following Christ. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. In our singing, we focused on the gospel, and the life that we have been given through Christ. Our response ought to be one of worship and obedience, because He has done great things for us!

Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Welcome "All Because of Jesus" (B) [Steve Fee] "Happy Day" (B) [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon] Greeting Time/Announcements Message - "Ephesians 5:9-21" [Joe Hishmeh] Communion "Christ Is Risen" (Gb) [Matt Maher, Mia Fieldes] "Stronger" (Bb) [Ben Fielding, Reuben Morgan] "Jesus Paid It All" (Bb) [John T. Grape, Elvina M. Hall, Alex Nifong] "Let Me Sing" (Bb) [Todd Fields] Dismissal

"All Because Of Jesus" / "Happy Day" - We opened our services this weekend with the combination of these two songs. We went from "All Because of Jesus" right into "Happy Day," all with the focus of how we have been rescued and made alive by the finished work of Jesus Christ. We have great reason to celebrate and worship!

"Christ Is Risen" - This was our communion and response song to Joe's message this week. His selected passage from Ephesians included 5:14: "Awake, O sleeper/ And arise from the dead / And Christ will shine on you", which is the foundation for this song. This verse, according to the Expositor's Bible Commentary, was probably an early hymn that the Church would sing to celebrate baptisms. This makes sense with Paul's comments later on singing "songs and hymns, and spiritual songs" in verse 19. This song is a powerful song about the resurrection to life that we have because of Christ. He has brought us out of darkness into His light.

"Stronger" - After the Lord's Supper, we continued by singing this song together, which speaks of Christ's victory over sin and death for us. I love singing this chorus together with the church: "You are stronger, You are stronger/ Sin is broken, You have saved me/ It is written, Christ is risen/ Jesus, You are Lord of all."

"Jesus Paid It All" - From "Stronger," we went directly into this song, which is one of our church's (and I'm sure this is true for many other churches) favorites. During our Saturday night services, we only sang the second chorus (or bridge, if you prefer): "O praise the One who paid my debt/ And raised this life up from the dead," but we decided to sing the whole song on Sunday morning. It was a beautiful moment of worship together.

"Let Me Sing" - We finished our services with this song, which really put the exclamation point on the entire service, tying in all the themes that were emphasized: Christ's sacrifice on the cross for our redemption, walking in the light vs. the darkness, and living a life that shines the light of Christ in a dark world. We finished the song with mostly just the voices, and it was beautiful to hear the church singing these words of dedication and response to Christ: "Let me sing louder than creation to You/ For the pain You bore in Your body/ To bring my soul to You/ Let me shine brighter than the stars in the sky/ An offering of praise all my life/ To You, my holy King!" 

Thoughts: This weekend was a fantastic weekend. We completely rearranged our services, and it was refreshing and energizing. People were confused at first when the band left the platform after only two songs and Joe came up to preach, but we heard many comments about how people were engaged in worship because of the change. I always love singing in response to the proclaimed Word of God, since all of worship is a response to who God is, how God acts toward us, and what God calls us to. It just felt right. The team did a good job with all of the changes this weekend, and I am really grateful for our weekend of worship together. I am so encouraged by how our church engaged throughout the weekend, and all that is happening at Fellowship. I LOVE MY CHURCH!

What were your thoughts or experiences on your worship experience this weekend?

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

Set List, 09/01 - 09/02/12 - Fellowship Bible Church

This week our lead pastor, Joe Hishmeh, shared some biblical wisdom regarding leaving a godly legacy, as we finished our series called "Can You Relate?". In his message, Joe shared about how small changes today can have a long-lasting impact, far beyond what we could even imagine today. It was a challenge to be mindful of the impact that we can have on our children and on others around us who are watching our lives. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. For our singing this week, we focused on the gospel and on giving our lives to Jesus as living offerings of worship and thanksgiving for what He has done and is doing in our lives.

Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Pre-Service - "In Tenderness" (G) [W. Spencer Walton, Adoniram J. Gordon, Nate Garvey, arr. by Citizens] "Those Who Trust" (Em) [Don Chaffer] Welcome/Greeting Time Call To Worship/Confession "Let Me Sing" (Bb) [Todd Fields] "One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)" (Bb) [Brian Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, Christa Black] "10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)" (G) [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman] / "Glory to God Forever" (G) [Vicky Beeching, Steve Fee] Message - "Can You Relate? - Legacy" [Joe Hishmeh] Communion "Jesus Paid It All" (B) [Elvina M. Hall, John T. Grape, Alex Nifong] Offering/Announcements/Dismissal

"In Tenderness" - This was a new (to us anyway - it was written in 1894) song that we taught during our countdown this week. This is one of my favorite songs for the Church that I have heard this year. It is lyrically profound, while being musically straight-forward, energetic, and extremely catchy. I couldn't get it out of my head for at least two weeks. This is especially true of the chorus: "O the love that sought me/ O the blood that bought me/ O the grace that brought me to the fold of God/ Grace that brought me to the fold of God!"

"Those Who Trust" - This was technically our opening song this week, and it established a theme for the weekend in declaring that those who build their lives on - and trust in - the Lord will never be moved or shaken, because He is their foundation. He is constant and true, and we can trust Him to be with us no matter what we face in this life. This song is incredibly fun to play, especially with bassist Ben Engstrom and drummer Jordan Hymon, who love to play funk. It just works.

"Let Me Sing" - This song was key for our focus this week, as it put words to the idea of giving our lives as a response to how Jesus gave His life for our redemption. I love this song, and our church connects with it well.

"One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)" - This was the third week of teaching this song to our congregation. We gave the song a week off last week, and brought it back as a refresher this weekend. This song contributed to our overall direction by giving us assurance and confidence in the unfailing love of God, which in turn gives us freedom to love and give fully.

"10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)"/"Glory To God Forever" - We sang this song just prior to the message this weekend, and it consisted of using all of "10,000 Reasons" and the bridge of "Glory to God Forever." That really put an exclamation point on where were going this week: "Take my life and let it be/ All for You and for Your glory/ Take my life and let it be Yours." That idea is where wanted our major emphasis to be this week.

"Jesus Paid It All" - During communion, we sang the traditional portion of this great hymn, and then after we took the elements together as a church, we sang the additional modern chorus ("O praise the One who paid my debt/ And raised this life up from the dead"). It was a beautiful moment of focusing powerfully on the gospel message, and the thanks and praise that are due to our Savior and King for what He has done for us!

This weekend was an incredible weekend of worship. Our team members all did a fantastic job of preparing and leading well. They worshiped sincerely, and pointed all eyes to Jesus, where they belong! Not only was it powerful, it was a lot of fun, too. Everything clicked well, and we were able to really "enjoy the moment" throughout the weekend. I am so grateful for what the Lord is doing in our team and in our congregation.

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

What were your thoughts or experiences on your worship experience from this weekend?

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

Set List, 06/23 - 06/24/12 - Fellowship Bible Church

This was our fourth weekend walking through 1 John together in our "Love In Christ" series. David Hinkle preached about obedience from 1 John, focusing on "chasing Christ rather than checking the box," and pursuing "godliness, not merely goodness." I think we were all challenged and called to Christ this weekend. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. For our singing this week, we focused on songs that emphasized God's calling on us and His worthiness for our obedience. He loved first and gave first, and our obedience is a response to God for who He is and what He has done.

Here's our service plan from this weekend:

"I Will Go" (F#m) [Tim Neufeld, Jon Neufeld] Welcome/Greeting Time "Let Me Sing" (Bb) [Todd Fields] "Hosanna" (D) [Brooke Fraser] "Lead Me To The Cross" (D) [Brooke Fraser] "All To Jesus I Surrender" (aka "I Surrender All") (D) [Judson Wheeler Van DeVenter, Winfield Scott Weeden] Message - "Love In Christ: Obedience" [David Hinkle] Offering "Because of Your Love" (G) [Phil Wickham] Announcements/Dismissal

"I Will Go" - This was our opener this week, and it is a strong song of dedication that we have sung a few times over the past year. I love the message of the lyric, and I think it something worthy of being sung often: "I will go, I will go, I will go, Lord, send me/ To the world, to the lost, to the poor and hungry/ Take everything I am, I'm clay within Your hands/ I will go, I will go, send me." May this be the Church's sincere prayer to the Lord.

"Let Me Sing" - This song really emphasizes the correct heart and motivation for obedience: because of what Jesus has done in giving His life for our redemption, we respond with all that we are as living offerings of worship for Him and His glory.

"Hosanna" - We sang this song because the second verse and bridge really tied in well with our focus, asking God to break and shape our hearts to align with His.

"Lead Me To The Cross" - This is another great song of dedication, as we look to the cross of Christ, where He also calls us to take up our own cross in following Him. Our own life of sacrifice ought to be modeled after His.

"All To Jesus I Surrender" - We tagged this song onto the end of "Lead Me To The Cross," as a way to help tie everything together. Jesus is worthy of ALL we are and ALL we have. Let us hold nothing back from Him as He calls us to follow Him.

"Because Of Your Love" - I think this song was a very fitting response song to David's message (praise God for His direction here). Again, this song emphasized how the Lord gave first, and our response and obedience to Him is because of what He has already done for us: "Because of Your cross, my debt is paid/ Because of Your blood, my sins are washed away/ Now all of my life, I freely give/ Because of Your love, because of Your love I live."

This weekend was a good weekend overall. I felt that our team led with sincerity and intensity, despite a few loose moments in our playing. I will take that any day. I want our team to lead like they mean it. Sometimes that will result in some less than perfect moments for now, but as we all become more familiar with our vocabulary, that will continue to improve. The bottom line is that we cannot expect our congregation to more excited about engaging with God than we are. That is our challenge--to lead by example, in every area of our lives. I'm really proud of how our team is growing and trying to lead more and more each week.

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, 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, 03/17 - 03/18/12 Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we continued our Romans series, focusing on Romans 12:1-21. In his message, our adult ministries pastor, David Hinkle, taught about the appropriate response and sacrifice to our great God because of all He has done for us. It was a challenging message with a strong call to renew our commitment to follow Christ with all that we are. You can listen to the entire message here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:

"Our God's Alive" (Em) [Andy Cherry, Jason Ingram, Dan Muckala] Welcome/Greeting Time Call To Worship - Congregational Scripture Reading - Romans 12:1-2 "Let Me Sing" (Bb) [Todd Fields] "Glory To God Forever" (Bb) [Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching] "Your Great Name" (Bb) [Michael Neale, Krissy Nordhoff] "The Wonderful Cross" (D) [Isaac Watts, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, J.D. Walt, Lowell Mason] Prayer Message - "Romans 12:1-21" [David Hinkle] "Take My Life And Let It Be" (D) [Frances Ridley Havergal, Henri Abraham Cesar Malan] Offering/Announcements Dismissal

"Our God's Alive" - This is a new song that we are teaching in advance for our Easter weekend. This song is by a new artist named Andy Cherry on his newly-released album, Nothing Left To Fear. I highly encourage checking it out. It has many great songs on it, of which we'll probably be singing a few in the future here at Fellowship. I love this song. It's a power anthem about Christ's victory over sin and death, and the hope that we have in Him. Also, it feels very different from most other worship songs I have heard. It has great energy, and it's fun to sing together. I'm really looking forward to singing it together for Easter!

"Let Me Sing" - We sang this song because it sings very clearly about living a life of worship in response to the sacrifice that Christ made for us. Worshiping with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength is the only fitting response for who Christ is and what He has done for us. When we were enemies and still in our sin, Jesus demonstrated His love for us as the cross, to purchase us with His blood, and to rescue us from sin and death. This song expresses the desire to give an offering of worship that is worthy of our King. This really connected with our focus passage this weekend because of this emphasis.

"Glory To God Forever" - This is a staple for our congregation, although it has been a few months since we sang it together. We sang this song this weekend mainly because of the second verse and the bridge. The second verse sings, "So let my whole life be a blazing offering/ A life that shouts and sings the greatness of our King." The bridge, of which I have written many times before, sings a prayer of offering to God: "Take my life and let it be/ All for You and all Your glory/ Take my life and let it be Yours." I love how this song tied in with the message this week.

"Your Great Name" - This was our third week teaching this song to our congregation. I think this will be a staple for us here at Fellowship, because it is a great song of worship, exalting the name of Jesus Christ above every other name - where it rightfully belongs.

"The Wonderful Cross" - This song focused heavily on the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, and how anything less than our everything is lacking as an offering to Him. He has given us everything, and He suffered torment and pain on our behalf for our sin, and the only right response is our everything. It "demands my soul, my life, my all."

"Take My Life And Let It Be" - This hymn was our response song this weekend. We also took up the offering as we sang together. I like how this song goes through the different areas of our lives and offers each specifically as an offering to God for Him to use for His kingdom and His glory. He is worthy of all that we are and all that we have.

This weekend was a great weekend of worship. It was good to be feeling better again. I'm excited about some of the new songs we have added recently, and I am really looking forward to a great celebration of Christ's resurrection on Easter. God is doing great things in our midst, and I am thankful to be a part of it.

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, 11/12 - 11/13/11 Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we focused on John 19:6-37, examining the cross. Joe shared about its meaning from several perspectives, and closed with a time to respond to what Jesus accomplished for us. We moved our on-stage cross to down stage center to help emphasize our focus for the weekend, and nearly every aspect of our services pointed to it. I am happy with how well everything tied together this weekend. Together, it served as a great reminder of what Jesus did on our behalf. He is so good to us! Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Time of Preparation/Prayer "Lamb of God" (Ab) [original] Welcome/Greeting Time Call to Worship -  "Let Me Sing" (Bb) [Todd Fields] "You Alone Can Rescue" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin] Scripture Reading - 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 "Jesus Messiah" (G) [Daniel Carson, Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves] "Nothing But The Blood" (G) [Robert Lowry] Prayer Message - John 19:6-37 - "The Cross" [Joe Hishmeh] Response Time "'The Wonderful Cross" (E) [Isaac Watts, w/ add. chorus by Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves] Offering/Video/Announcements Dismissal

"Lamb Of God" - We opened our preparation time with this song, since we were focusing on the cross this weekend. When I wrote this song, I was trying to encapsulate some of Isaiah 53, along with the crucifixion accounts of the Gospels. I think it was a fitting way to begin our services this weekend, because it set the tone for everything that would follow.

"Let Me Sing" - This song is a staple for us, and this song really fit with the theme of this weekend. It communicates the reason for our worship and obedience: the fact that God loved us first and sent His Son to die on the cross on our behalf. I love how this song relays this thought, when we sing, "Let me sing/ Louder than creation to You/ For the pain You bore in Your body/ To bring my soul to You." It really brings the two ideas together well.

"You Alone Can Rescue" - We haven't sung this song together in a while, and I think this week was a good week to bring it back. This song emphasizes our inability to rescue and redeem ourselves. We are dead in our sins (Eph. 2:1), and we were enemies of God (Rom. 5:10), but still God loved us and made a way for us where there was no way, reconciling us to Himself through the cross of Christ. Praise God for His grace!

"Jesus Messiah" - We prefaced this song by reading from 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. The last verse of that passage is where the first line of this song comes from: "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." That passage in 2 Corinthians is one of my favorites, as it helps clarify what Christ accomplished for us at the cross. He is our reconciliation.

"Nothing But The Blood" - This hymn is one of my favorites, because it makes no bones about declaring that the sole source of our redemption is the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. He is the only way of salvation. He is the only one who could rescue us and give us life and hope. We need to rest in His finished work on the cross. He died in our place. He has dealt with our sin and the righteous wrath of God against sin. It is finished, all because Jesus shed His precious blood for us.

"The Wonderful Cross" - This song was our response song this week. As Joe finished proclaiming the significance of the cross and the encouraging our people to respond to this truth, we wanted to sing a song that examined the cross and reflected on its great meaning for our lives. The hymn ("When I Survey The Wondrous Cross") by Isaac Watts, along with the additional chorus by Tomlin and Reeves, was a great fit for the moment, and helped us in thanking Jesus for the cross and in offering our lives in response to His great sacrifice for us. I have loved this song since I first heard it in college, and I was thankful for a good opportunity to sing it again.

All around, this was a great weekend of worshiping our Savior. Our team did a great job, and I'm so thankful for what the Lord is doing in us, and especially grateful for the cross. I would have no hope without it.

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, 09/24 - 09/25/11 Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we focused on John 4:46 - 6:59, looking specifically at the feeding of the 5,000, and how Jesus used what the little boy and the disciples had to perform a miracle to provide for the needs of the people. Joe gave us an important reminder that all God asks of us is what we have, and He can do amazing things with that. You can listen to the entire message here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Time of Preparation "Holy, Holy, Holy" (D) [Reginald Heber, John Bacchus Dykes] Welcome/Greeting Time Call to Worship (Colossians 1:15-20)/Prayer "You Are" (A) [Todd Fields] "Let Me Sing" (A) [Todd Fields] "God Is Able" (A) [Reuben Morgan, Ben Fielding] "Lord of All" (A) [Kristian Stanfill] Prayer Message - John 6:16-21 [Joe Hishmeh] Offering/Announcements Response Time "How Great Is Our God" (Bb) [Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Ed Cash] "How Great Thou Art (chorus only)" (Bb) [Carl Gustav Boberg, Stuart K. Hine, Swedish Folk Melody] Dismissal

"Holy, Holy, Holy" - We opened our preparation time with this great hymn. You can read some of the history of it here. It always fascinates me how the pieces of a hymn come together. The definition of a "hymn" is simply "a song of praise to God" (Merriam-Webster). People often make the mistake of thinking that hymns were written all at one time, or even all in the same century. Most of the time, however, the lyric was written by one or two persons, and then someone came much later and put the lyrics to a melody that was current at the time. This was the case with this song. The writer wrote the hymn (w

"You Are" - We introduced this song to our church this weekend. I first heard this song from North Point Community Church's 722 services when Todd Fields wrote it, and I loved it immediately. What stood out to me about this song was the simple and clear declaration of the divinity of Jesus. While many songs describe that truth, there are not many that come right out and say it: Jesus, You are God! For the services this weekend, I thought it was a great way to start out after our call to worship. I prefaced this song by reading from Colossians 1:15-20, which describes in detail the divinity of Jesus, in whom "all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell."

"You Are" Todd Fields

VERSE Every knee will bow to bless Your name Every tongue confess that You are King All for Your glory, all for Your glory Every tear will soon be wiped away Every longing heart will see Your face All for Your glory, all for Your name

CHORUS You are God, Jesus - Majesty You are life, Jesus - saving me You are King, Jesus All will see that You are God 

BRIDGE And death could not keep You The grave could not hold You You are alive, You are alive

This is a powerful and true declaration that we as the Church should make often. Jesus is God!

"Let Me Sing" - I really value this song because it points out many of the reasons we have to worship, such as God's creating us and giving us breath, the price He paid for our redemption, and His mercy toward us. These are things that we should constantly remind one another of, because they are some of the major reasons we have to worship our King. This week, we tried singing it in A rather than the usual Bb. It required some pushing during the verses, because it gets pretty low, but I thought it was easier for our congregation to sing it out on the choruses.

"God Is Able" - We began teaching this song last week, and we continued with it this week. I love this song, and I think our congregation is latching onto it.

"Lord of All" - This remains one of my favorite all-time worship songs, because it paints such a powerful portrait of the greatness of God and it helps us to respond to that with our worship. I don't think this song will ever get old for me. Our congregation connects with it as well, so it will remain a strong part of our vocabulary here at Fellowship.

"How Great Is Our God" - We responded to the Word with this song. After talking about God's power to use what little we have to do amazing things, This was a more fitting response than I anticipated.

"How Great Thou Art" -

This was a great weekend of worshiping our Savior.

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, 08/27 - 08/28/11 Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we focused on the subject of transformational worship. Joe's point was that we become like whatever we worship. We are transformed by the object of our worship. When we are worshiping the things of this world, we become more like them, and take on their characteristics. He called us to preparation for worship, presentation of our lives as living sacrifices, and participation in God's calling on us.

Here's our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service - "Only a Word" (E) [original] Time of Preparation (a time of confession and focus in prayer) Welcome/Greeting Time Call To Worship - Rom. 12:1-2 "Glory to God Forever" (Bb) [Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching] "The Lost Are Found" (Bb) [Ben Fielding, Sam Knock] "Lord of All" (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill] "Jesus Paid It All" (Bb) [Elvina M. Hall, John Thomas Grape, Alex Nifong] Message - "Upgrade - Worship" [Joe Hishmeh] Offering/Announcements Response - "Let Me Sing" [Todd Fields] Dismissal 

"Only a Word" - I've wanted to sing this song here for a while. We used it because it sets a good tone for worship by recognizing God's power to change us and to change the world, and helps us develop an expectation for Him to move in our midst, because "nothing impossible with God" (Luke 1:37). The thought of this song that it only takes one word from God to change everything. Scripture shares the phrase that God said in creation, "Let there be..." That was all it took. I don't think He needed to say anything, but it simply communicates how easy it is for God to transform our reality. He is able and powerful. I have been reading through Tozer's The Knowledge Of The Holy, and he repeatedly states the fact that nothing is difficult for God. He never needs to rest after working. He has everything He needs to do anything He wants whenever He wants to do it. Through that book, I have been reminded that God is truly able.

Here's the lyric from the song:

"Only a Word" Words and Music by Bill Horn

VERSE 1 With a word You throw the spheres and space is formed With Your voice You fill the void with light and worlds With Your arm You carve the ocean from the shore With a breath You move the dust and life is born

CHORUS With only a word, stars come blazing forth Only one verb, and darkness is no more Only Your voice, can pierce us through, O Lord This world can be transformed, with only a word

VERSE 2 With a thought You ease the waves and still the sea With Your hand You touch the blind and let him see With a song You make the prison doors break free Everything can change when You say, “Let it be”

BRIDGE The sun aligns with You For You are the truth You are reality Before everything

"Glory to God Forever" - We prefaced this song with Romans 12:1-2 as our call to worship. I felt it was a good way to start a week that focused on worship, because we need to fight hard to correct the misperception that worship through music is all there is to worship. The proper posture of the worshiping heart is summed up in the bridge: "Take my life and let it be/ All for You and for Your glory/ Take my life and let it be Yours."

"The Lost Are Found" - This was a new song for our congregation this week. Joe asked if we could teach it, because it really ties into the subjects of worship (the song of the redeemed/Lordship of Christ/making all things new) and outreach (which we'll be focusing on next week. This is a good song with a simple a strong lyric. I really like what is technically the bridge of the song, which sings, "The lost are found, the blind will see/ The lame will walk, the dead will live/ And You our God, forever You will reign." In teaching the song, I called our people to remember and look forward to the day of Christ's return, when He makes all things new and rights all the wrongs in this world. We look forward to this day with hope, and it should change our perspective on daily life.

"Lord of All" - We sang this song because it helps is get a proper perspective on who the Lord is  - the Lord of all and King of kings. I love singing this song together. We had one hiccup in the 3rd service on this one, where our drummer Jordan's kick pedal broke toward the end of "The Lost Are Found" and was broken throughout this song. Our tech director, Wyatt, was able to grab a replacement from one of our other venues and get it installed for the end of the song. It was a good reminder of what is truly important in our worship services, and it was fitting in the week about worship. The band and technology are nice, but they are extras that can possibly make it easier for us to worship God by connecting our head and our hearts. However, they are by no means essential, and we all ought to be able to worship the Lord just as well without an instrument as with the full band.

"Jesus Paid It All" - We sang this song because there is no greater reason for us to worship than the gospel of Christ. We were dead, and now we are alive in Him. We were enemies, and now we are heirs together with Christ. Could there be a greater reason to be thankful and worship our great God?

"Let Me Sing" - I think this was a fitting response to our pastor's message this weekend, because it expresses a desire to live a life that worships God greater than anything else in creation. 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." I think this sums up my thinking about the entire service. Our greatest reason for worship is the gospel, and the kind of worship God deserves is that which comes from an entire life lived for Him.

We had a good weekend of corporate worship, focusing on the subject of lifestyle worship. I enjoyed how the different elements connected and interplayed. It seems like God made it all fit together to communicate a single message: worship is life.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship!

In the Son,

Bill

p.s. Don't forget to check out The Worship Community to see what other leaders did this weekend!

Set List, 08/06 - 08/07/11 Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend David Hinkle preached from the book of Ruth to talk about God's mission and how it has involved His people throughout history. The message was title "Legacy," and he talked about how we can become a part of God's overarching purpose in this world. One of his main points was that we were born at this time to be involved in this specific part of God's plan - sending us out to tell the world about His Son, Jesus. It was a challenging reminder of the calling on our lives as rescued believers in Jesus Christ. We have a mission. For this week's message, we focused on the gospel, mission, pursuing God, redemption, and the new covenant. Each of these songs carries at least one of these elements in it.

Here's our set from this weekend:

Pre-Service - "Kingdom" (A) [Kristian Stanfill] Call To Worship/Prayer "Happy Day" (Bb) [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon] Welcome/Offering/Announcements/Greeting Time "Let Me Sing" (Bb) [Todd Fields] "Forever Reign" (Bb) [Jason Ingram, Reuben Morgan] Message - "Legacy" [David Hinkle] Communion Song - "Rock of Ages" (Bb) [Augustus M. Toplady, Thomas Hastings] Response - "Son of God" [Jon Neufeld, Tim Neufeld] 

This weekend was another good weekend of worship. One highlight for me was seeing one of our young guys, Anthony Dake, jump in on drums and do a fantastic job. He played like a champ, and served our congregation well. I look forward to having him in there again soon. Part of our vision for our worship ministry is to build into our younger guys and gals and teach them early on what it's all about and how to lead worship through music, with authenticity and excellence. Our NextGen Worship Leader, Erik Oldberg, does a fantastic job with these guys, and even in the six months I have been here, I have seen huge growth in each of them. I am thankful for his leadership and passion for worship.

"Kingdom" - This song was a great fit for the theme of the weekend, but it is a little tricky for most of our congregation to sing with, which is why it was in the pre-service slot. It really communicates that it is our responsibility and calling to carry the truth of the gospel to the world, and to invade the darkness with the light of Jesus Christ. I love the message of this song.

"Happy Day" - This is now a standard for our congregation, and it has been a while since we sang it together. I love what it communicates about Jesus' victory over sin and death, and how our eternal destiny has been permanently affected by His work on the cross and His resurrection.

"Let Me Sing" - We began teaching this song a few weeks ago, and this was our refresher week, to solidify it in our congregation's memory. This song supported the theme of the weekend with the idea of us shining as lights in the darkness as an act of worship, in response to the amazing sacrifice that Christ made for us. In my mind, this is the most significant reason we have to worship, to obey, and to give of ourselves - Christ gave first, and did so in a marvelous way.

"Forever Reign" - We bracketed the message with this song, or parts of it anyway. The bridge and chorus really helped to communicate the drive of the message, for us to pursue Jesus Christ and His purposes with everything we have.

"Rock of Ages" - This hymn arrangement is from a band called Ascend The Hill, on their album of reworked hymns, Take The World But Give Me Jesus. The first time I heard it, I was immediately struck by the powerful lyric, and the simple arrangement, which added great power and emotion to the truth of the lyric. The lyric conveys the desperation we should all have for the saving work of Christ. We are completely hopeless without His help and His rescuing us. We sang this song during communion, and it was very appropriate in that slot. Here's the lyric:

Rock of Ages Augustus M. Toplady, Thomas Hastings

VERSE 1 Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee; Let the water and the blood, From Thy wounded side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure; Save from wrath and make me pure.

VERSE 2 Not the labor of my hands Can fulfill Thy law’s demands; Could my zeal no respite know, Could my tears forever flow, These for sin could not atone Thou must save, and Thou alone.

VERSE 3 Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to Thy fountain fly Wash me, Savior, or I die.

VERSE 4 While I draw this fleeting breath, When mine eyes shall close in death, When I rise to worlds unknown And behold Thee on Thy throne Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.

"Son of God" - We finished the service by singing this great song to our Savior. It actually ended up being more fitting than I thought it would be, because of the way that David emphasized the covenant and Christ's sacrifice on the cross for us. The ends of each verse spoke to these elements, singing directly about the cross and then in the second verse about how Christ fulfilled prophecy and how He is coming again for His church. I think it was a solid way to end our times together this weekend.

I am so thankful to be a part of this great church, and for the opportunity to grow together in worshiping our King. 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 reading your opinions and feedback.

In the Son,

Bill

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, 07/16 - 07/17/11 Fellowship Bible Church

This week, our focus was Philippians 4:8-9, and Joe preached on "An Appraisal of Thoughts." This passage calls us out on the way we think about things: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." We can either think on the things of God or the things of this world. The question is: where are our thoughts directed most of the time? I think we were all challenged about our thought lives as a result. For the songs this weekend, we focused on the glory of God, His sovereign might and power, and His unique worth--all pointing to the fact that Jesus is the one most worthy of our thoughts. Here's our service order from this weekend:

Pre-Service - "Say Say" (A) [Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill, Chris Tomlin] Call to Worship - Psalm 40:5-8 Prayer "Glory to God Forever" (Bb) [Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching] Camp Barnabas Student Testimonies/Offering Welcome/Announcements/Greeting Time "Let Me Sing" (Bb) [Todd Fields] "Always" (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill, Jason Ingram] Scripture Reflection - Psalm 97:1-5 "Lord of All" (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill] Prayer Message - Philippians 4:8-9 - "An Appraisal of Thoughts" [Joe Hishmeh] Response - "Psalm 19" (D) [Terry Butler] Dismissal (You may notice a little more detail in the set list/service order this week. I decided to begin including every element of our service, to give a better picture of our flow and what we incorporate week-to-week.) 

"Say Say" - This is a song that we began teaching a few months ago, and the focus of believing and thinking about the truth that Jesus Christ is God and King made it a solid fit for this week's services.

"Glory to God Forever" - We used this song because it points to God as our Creator and the One who has given us breath, and also provides an opportunity for us to respond with faith and commitment. I have written a lot about this song in the past, so suffice to say that I really love and latch onto the bridge of this song, and the prayer for God to take our lives and use them for His glory.

"Let Me Sing" - This is the second consecutive week that we have taught this song to our congregation. It is a song that was used a while back, long before I arrived here, but it needed some "dusting off," as many in our congregation has recently started attending over the past year. In this instance, the same process of teaching applies, because a song isn't familiar or part of our worship vocabulary anymore. So, we will teach it one more week, and then bring it back a few weeks after that to solidify it in our vocabulary and collective memory.

"Always" - This is another song that we taught a few weeks ago, and it was time to bring it back as a reminder. In Joe's message, he focused partially on worry and thinking on things that are not trusting or depending on God. This song speaks to that kind of thinking, in a powerful declaration of faith and confidence in God's ability to affect our situation, no matter how impossible it may seem. I love the truth of this song, and the way in which it is presented. It's a strong way to affirm our confidence in Christ.

"Lord of All" - We led into this song by reflecting on a passage from Psalm 97, from which a large portion of this song derives. The passage, in the NLT, reads

The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice! Let the farthest islands be glad. Clouds and darkness surround Him. Righteousness and justice Are the foundation of His throne. Fire goes forth before Him And burns up all His foes. His lightning flashes out across the world. The earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, Before the Lord of all the earth.

I love the imagery of this Psalm, as it gives both a sense of mystery and of omnipotence. Rather than fear, the Psalmist calls everyone to "rejoice" because "The Lord is king." God's just and righteous reign is indeed cause for celebration and for worship. He is the almighty ruler of everything, and He will always do what is right and good. I believe there is great hope for us when we consider these things. We don't have to worry about injustice being left unresolved. God will make everything right. He will fix everything. As my daughter's Bible says (my paraphrase), "God will undo everything that is wrong."

This song has become a favorite of our congregation, and rightfully so. This song lifts the Lord up like He deserves to be. It speaks the truth about His almighty power, His glory, His uniqueness, His sovereignty, His wisdom, and His worth. I don't think there's ever a bad time to sing these things.

"Psalm 19" - I first heard this song done by Shane & Shane in 2003 (although it was written in 1995). The prayer of this song, coming directly from Psalm 19:14 - "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer (ESV)" - was a great fit for the focus of Joe's message. While it was a little unfamiliar for our congregation, it has enough repetition that it is easy to pick up, and our congregation was participating by the end. I encouraged us to make this our prayer in response to the message.

It was a solid weekend of gathering together to worship our King. Despite the fact that early into the first service on Saturday night, I began going hoarse. My throat didn't hurt, yet my voice was disappearing randomly. After I walked off the platform, I went straight to the water and brewed some tea, and that got me through the rest of the night without a problem. I think I might have been a little dehydrated, because I didn't drink much water on Saturday until the evening. I think I've learned my lesson.

On a sad note, this weekend was the last weekend serving with one of our core worship team members, Hannah Anderson. She is moving to Colorado Springs next weekend to begin teaching kindergarten for a school there. Her joyful and encouraging presence for our church and our worship and arts ministry, along with her talent as both a vocalist and keyboardist, will be sorely missed. She will be a tremendous blessing to a congregation in Colorado and to her new students. I am thankful for the opportunity to have served with her for these past six months, and the team and I are praying for her on her new adventure.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were. Be sure to check out The Worship Community's Sunday Set Lists to see what other leaders and worshipers experienced this weekend.

In the Son,

Bill

Question time: what is your favorite song for worship? Join the conversation below!

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, Sunday 09/12/10 Church at the Mall

Sorry I didn't do a recap sooner. It's been an insane week. Quickly, here's our set from last Sunday: "Say Say" [Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockels, Chris Tomlin] "Happy Day" [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon] "Blessed Be Your Name" [Matt and Beth Redman] "Let Me Sing" [Todd Fields] "You Never Let Go" [Matt and Beth Redman] INV - "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" [Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin, John Newton, Edwin O. Excell, John P. Rees] OFF - "Our God" [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, et al]

This past Sunday was another great week of worship together. God is moving, and it's exciting to be a part of it all. This week, we're in the middle of our church's first original evangelistic production, Thanatos, and God is moving in that as well. People are coming to Jesus and coming back to Jesus in droves. I believe this is a hint of revival, the likes of which I have not have the privilege of witnessing before.

Praise God for His power and working, and His choosing to use broken vessels for His amazing purposes.

I hope you had a great day of worship wherever you were this week.

As always, check out Sunday Set Lists at www.theworshipcommunity.com.

In the Son, Bill

Set List, Sunday 05/30/10 Church at the Mall

Currently Listening to Fiona Apple "Tidal" Here's our set for this week:

"Faithful One" [original] "Unchanging" [Chris Tomlin] "Let Me Sing" [Todd Fields] "I Need You" [Kristian Stanfill] "You Never Let Go" [Matt and Beth Redman] "I Will Go" [Starfield] "You're the Only One" [original]

This week went well. It felt a little like we were swimming upstream trying to get everyone to worship, probably due to it being Memorial Day weekend. I think we got there by the end of the music set, and Pastor Jay's message really drove it home. He shared some really powerful lessons, and a profound story of suffering which was really hard to hear, yet very impacting. God is truly at work, and it's awesome to be a part of it!

I hope you all had a great week, wherever you were worshiping.

Be sure to check out Sunday Set Lists at www.theworshipcommunity.com to see what other leaders and worshipers experienced this week.

Set List, Sunday 05/02/10 Church at the Mall

Currently listening to Love, by The Julianna Theory Here's our set for this past Sunday: "Hosanna (Praise is Rising)" [Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown] "Your Grace is Enough" [Matt Maher, Chris Tomlin] "Because of Your Love" [Phil Wickham] "Glory to God" [Steve Fee] "Mighty to Save" [Ben Fielding, Reuben Morgan] "The Stand" [Joel Houston] INV: "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" [John Newton, Edwin O'Excell, Chris Tomlin, Louie Giglio, et al] "Let Me Sing" [Todd Fields]

This week was a solid weak of worship together. We tried to make things flow together well on our end, and tried to create a little space for people to breathe and reflect, which is something we don't do very often. I'm not sure I said enough to set it up, but I think it was healthy nonetheless. Pastor Jay's message was a really poignant one, basically about forgiving the people who have made life miserable in some way. Many people responded at the end of the message, laying situations and relationships at the front to give them over to God and let go. It was a beautiful morning. God is truly at work in our midst, and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of it.

I hope you had a great week of worship, wherever you are!

Bill

Be sure to check out Sunday Set Lists over at www.theworshipcommunity.com to read about other leaders' experiences this week in worship.