Fellowship Bible Church - 02/11 - 02/12/2017

This weekend we looked at Jesus' challenge to us to keep our word, both in marriage and in the promises we make. In his message, Pastor Joe shared how marriage and keeping our word is a picture of the gospel and the promises that God gives us through Christ. When promises–especially marriage vows–are kept, they remind us of God's faithfulness in His relationship with us as His people.

Here's what we sang together this weekend:

Pre-service - "Nothing But The Blood" [Andy Cherry, Robert Lowry]
"Grace Alone" [Dustin Kensrue, The Modern Post]
"Before the Throne" [The Modern Post]
"Good Good Father" [Housefires]
"Lord, I Need You" [Chris Tomlin]

In our singing, we focused on themes of God's grace for us, Christ being our Atonement and Advocate and Mediator, God's faithful love for us, and our desperate need for the Lord to be our Righteousness. It was a moving weekend together, as we have all been touched in some way by the brokenness and pain of divorce in our culture, and know the deep need we have for restoration, reconciliation, forgiveness, and repentance in our lives and marriages. May God gives us grace and strength to be people who keep our word and reflect His faithful love to the world around us.

in the Son,


Songs We Sing - 10/03 - 10/04/15 - Fellowship Bible Church

We continued our Unstuck series this weekend with a message on getting unstuck with our finances. We also celebrated communion this weekend, which is always a blessing to celebrate together with our church family. We tried something rather different for us this week, in that all the instruments used are normally used with bluegrass music. It was a blast!

Here are our songs from this weekend:

Pre-Service - "Absent From Flesh" [Isaac Watts, arr. by Jamie Barnes of Sojourn]
"There is a Fountain" [William Cowper, arr. by Zach Bolen of Citizens & Saints]
"I'll Fly Away" [Albert E. Brumley, my arrangement]
"Before the Throne" [Charitie Lees Bancroft, Vicki Cook, arr. by Dustin Kensrue & The Modern Post, modified by us]
Communion - "Nothing But The Blood" [Robert Lowry, my arrangement]
"Jesus Take All Of Me (Just As I Am)" [Charlotte Elliott, Brenton Brown]

This weekend was very different and very fun! Our team did a great job all the way around. We used upright bass, banjo, dobro guitar, mandolin, acoustic guitars, and cajon, and it made for a unique feel for the weekend. Also, all the songs we used this weekend are hymns, whether old or new arrangements. This is something I have wanted to try for a while, to see what happens. I love hymns and the value in expression and teaching they bring to the Church, so it was fun to put a bunch of them together in one weekend.


Songs We Sing, 08/03 - 08/04/13 - Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, our family pastor, Brian Tryhus, shared the the second message in our series, "Positive Identity," where he taught how we are forgiven in Christ. His big idea was that when we understand how God has forgiven us in Christ, we will then be able to forgive others. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Welcome "Unchanging" (G) [Chris Tomlin] Greeting Time/Announcements Message - "Positive Identity: Forgiven" [Brian Tryhus] Communion "Nothing But The Blood" (G) [Robert Lowry, arr. by Bill Horn] "This Is Amazing Grace" (G) [Phil Wickham, Josh Farro, Jeremy Riddle, recorded by Phil Wickham and Bethel Live] "Son of God" (G) [Jon Neufeld, Tim Neufeld, Ed Cash, Gordon Cochran, recorded by Starfield] Dismissal

Thoughts: This was a great weekend. Communion was a special moment with the congregation, as always, and everything fit for there well. I felt that the congregation engaged with God through the word and through our times of singing. Brian's message was a great reminder of God's amazing grace and the forgiveness we have because of Christ.

For our singing this weekend, we opened our services with "Unchanging" by Chris Tomlin to establish our foundation for trusting and comprehending how God loves and forgives us: His faithfulness. He does not go back on His Word, and His promises are true; therefore, we can depend on what He has said about us because of the cross--that our sins are erased and forgiven, and that we are in right standing with Him because of the cross. After the message for our communion song, we sang the great hymn, "Nothing But The Blood." The blood of Jesus is the means of our forgiveness, and this was a great fit for both communion and the message this weekend. We continued from there by continuing to teach the newer song "This Is Amazing Grace," which is a great co-write between Phil Wickham, Josh Farro, and Jeremy Riddle. This week, we dropped it from the key of C down to G, and just kept the melody up throughout. I thought this would be easier for our congregation to sing, and it was definitely easier for me to sing for four services! We then finished our services with one of our church's favorite songs, "Son of God." The chorus of this song is where I wanted to land our services: "Jesus, O Holy One/ I sing to You, forgiven/ Savior, I'm overcome/ With Your great love for me."

It was yet another great weekend of worship together with Fellowship Bible Church!

- Bill

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

Songs We Sing, 06/01 - 06/02/13 - Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we began our series through 2 Timothy - "Lead In Christ." In the message, our lead pastor Joe Hishmeh shared from 2 Timothy 1:1-14 about suffering and living our lives for the sake of the gospel. He called us to share, to suffer for, and to guard the gospel, You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Welcome "In Tenderness" (G) [Adoniram J. Gordon, Nate Garvey, W. Spencer Walton, recorded by The Citizens] Greeting Time/Announcements Message - "Lead In Christ: Suffering For The Gospel - 2 Timothy 1:1-14" [Joe Hishmeh] Communion "Nothing But The Blood" (G) [Robert Lowry, arr. by Bill Horn] "To Our God" (G) [Brian Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, Joel Taylor, recorded by Bethel Live] "Son of God" (G) [Jon Neufeld, Tim Neufeld, Ed Cash, Gordon Cochran, recorded by Starfield] Dismissal

Thoughts: This weekend was a solid weekend. Our team did a great job, and the church sang well together. Because of the focus of the message being on the gospel and laying our lives down for its sake, we focused on songs that declared the truth of the gospel and our confidence in what Christ has done, and therefore how worthy He is of all our praise and of lives lived to worship and serve Him. I love each of the songs that we sang. Also, communion is always a special time of remembering together, and that is heightened even more when we focus so much on the gospel throughout the service.

I am really excited about the new series that we started this weekend, too. I believe it will be a powerful call to be faithful to the gospel, and to be faithful to share it with our world.

- Bill

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

Songs We Sing, Overflow - 05/05/13

Here's the set of songs from our Overflow worship night on May 5, 2013. It was a powerful and beautiful time of worship! I love co-leading with my friends Erik and Sarah Oldberg, who always do an awesome job. Reading - 1 John 4:7-12 (NIV) "Our God Is Love" (E) [Joel Houston] "In Tenderness" (A) [Adoniram J. Gordon, W. Spencer Walton, Nate Garvey] "Before The Throne" (A) [Charitie Lees Bancroft, arr. by The Modern Post] Reading - 1 John 2:1-2 (NIV) "I Stand Amazed (How Marvelous)" (E) [Charles Hutchison Gabriel] "One Thing Remains" (B) [Brian Johnson, Christa Black Gifford, Jeremy Riddle] "Forever Reign" (A) [Jason Ingram, Reuben Morgan] Communion - 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (ESV) "Sing To Jesus" (F) [Fernando Orgtega, Rich Nibbe] "Grace Flows Down" (D) [David E. Bell, Louie Giglio, Rod Padgett] "Nothing But The Blood" (A) [Robert Lowry,  arr. by All Sons & Daughters] "You Have Overcome" (A) [Bill Horn, Erik Oldberg] Reading - 1 John 3:16-18 (NIV) "To Our God" (A) [Brian Johnson, Jeremy Riddle, Joel Taylor] "The Stand" (A) [Joel Houston] "Hosanna (Bridge Only) (A) [Brooke Ligertwood] "Stronger" (Bb) [Reuben Morgan, Ben Fielding] "Beneath The Waters (I Will Rise)" (Ab) [Brooke Ligertwood, Scott Ligertwood] "10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)" (G) [Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin] "Rise (Bb)" [Joel Houston] Closing Prayer - Hebrews 13:20-21 (NIV)

Songs We Sing, 01/05 - 01/06/13 - Fellowship Bible Church

This week we continued our series: "The Gospel: In/Through/Beyond." Pastor Joe shared about how the God wants the gospel to move through our lives to others in our lives. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Welcome "Everlasting God" (Bb) [Brenton Brown, Ken Riley] "Happy Day" (Bb) [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon] Greeting Time/Announcements Message - "The Gospel Through Me" [Joe Hishmeh] Communion "Nothing But The Blood" (G) [Robert Lowry, my arrangement] "You Alone Can Rescue" (A) [Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman] "You Have Overcome" (A) [Bill Horn, Erik Oldberg] Dismissal

Thoughts: This was another great weekend! Our team did a great job, and it was a great start to the new year for our church. Our people were very engaged, and the focus of the weekend was a powerful challenge to the power of the gospel in and through our lives. The gospel transforms, and we need to share it with our community and our world!

I walked away from this weekend very encouraged about what the Lord is doing here at Fellowship. Praise God for His gospel, and His working in and through us.

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

Set List, 10/20 - 10/21/12 - Fellowship Bible Church

This week our student pastor, Nick Strobel, continued our discipleship series, "Ephesians - United in Christ." In his message for the weekend, Nick shared from Ephesians 4:17-32 about how we are called to "put off" the old man and "put on" the things of Christ in the new man. He ended with a strong emphasis on participating in biblical community. It was a very challenging message that called us to the likeness of Christ. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:

Countdown - "Only A Word" (E) [Bill Horn] "Song of the Redeemed" (Em) [Charlie Hall, Kendall Combes, Dustin Ragland, Quint Anderson, Brian Bergman] Welcome/Greeting Time Child/Family Dedications "Because of Your Love" (G) [Phil Wickham] "Son of God" (A) [Tim Neufeld, Jon Neufeld, Ed Cash, Gordon Cochran] "Nothing But The Blood" (G) [Robert Lowry, arr. by Bill Horn] Message - "Ephesians 4:17-32" [Nick Strobel] "Glory to God Forever" (Bb) [Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching] Offering/Announcements/Dismissal

"Only A Word" - This was our countdown song this week. This is a song that I wrote on my first trip to Brazil when I was on the Amazon River. It is about the power of a single word from the Lord. The idea is that He can change everything with just one word. That kind of power is unmatched!

"Song of the Redeemed" - We began teaching this song last weekend. I love the concept of this song, and especially value the unique lyric of the bridge, which specifically points out our unity around the cross of Christ: "We adore You/ And before You/ Forgiven and redeemed/ All races/ From all places/ Around the cross we sing." If we don't continue singing this particular song, I will always be looking for songs that proclaim these kinds of truths, because there are very few that do it well.

"Because of Your Love" - We came out of child dedications in each of our services into this song, and started by emphasizing that everything pertaining to our life and salvation begins with the love that God has for us and demonstrated at the cross. Everything we do ought to be a response to that love. This song communicates that idea very clearly.

"Son of God" - This remains one of our congregation's favorite songs. It's a simple, strong, and beautiful song about Jesus.

"Nothing But The Blood" - This was the first time we had sung this arrangement of "Nothing But The Blood," which I finished up this past week, and which the band helped me flesh out during rehearsal. I really enjoyed how it built and flowed. I look forward to using it again soon. This is most definitely a song worth singing, because it glorifies and gives credit to Christ alone for our redemption and salvation.

"Glory To God Forever" - We responded to the message by singing this song together. We began with the bridge, which is my favorite part of the song by far: "Take my life and let it be/ All for You and for Your glory..." I wanted to make that the emphasis in our response, because the message was calling us to put of our old lives and to put on Christ, that we would reflect His image to the world around us. This song represents that idea well.

Thoughts: This weekend was a great weekend of worship. The team did a good job, and we had a lot of fun worshiping and playing together. I felt that the congregation engaged pretty well in all of our services, for the most part. Highlight moments were during "Son of God" and "Nothing But The Blood." I'm not sure if we'll sing "Song of the Redeemed" again...

I need to continue encourage the congregation that clapping, applauding, raising of hands, etc. are all expressions to GOD, and not to the band or anyone else in the room. We gather for His sake, not our own. We sing for Him alone. I have to remind myself that many of our people, like me, did not grow up attending churches like ours (or attending church at all), so it's important to be clear about those kinds of things. When we have that clear, it removes some of the awkwardness from outward expressions of worship, and frees us to exalt Jesus more completely.

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, 06/30 - 07/01/12 - Fellowship Bible Church

This was our fifth weekend walking through 1 John together in our "Love In Christ" series. Brian Tryhus preached about forgiveness from 1 John, focusing on the futility of wallowing in shame and guilt when we sin. Our forgiveness has been promised and secured by the sacrifice of Christ. It was a powerful reminder and challenge to walk in forgiveness with confidence, faith, and hope. You can listen to or watch the entire message and service here. For our singing this week, we focused primarily on songs that emphasized what Christ has accomplished for us, and the standing we have with God because of it. We been declared righteous (justified) in Jesus Christ. When the Father sees us, He sees us through Christ.

Here's our service plan from this weekend:

(pre-service) "In The Light" (E) [Charlie Peacock, as performed by DC Talk] "All Because of Jesus" (Bb) [Steve Fee] Welcome/Greeting Time Call to Worship - thoughts from Isaiah 53 "Jesus Messiah" (G) [Daniel Carson, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Ed Cash] "He Has Done It All" (G) [Andy Cherry, Jason Ingram] "Son of God" (G) [Tim Neufeld, Jon Neufeld, Ed Cash, Gordon Cochran] Message - "Love In Christ: Forgiveness" [Brian Tryhus] Video - "Forget What You Know (Caedmon's Call)" "Nothing But The Blood" (G) [Robert Lowry] Offering/Announcements/Dismissal

"In the Light" - (Yes, it is the one performed by DC Talk in the 90's). We sang this one for our pre-service countdown because it is a great fit with the book of 1 John, as it focuses on walking in the light as He is in the light. It is a ton of fun to play, and I could see people in our congregation who remembered it singing along. I think it was a great way for our congregation to enter into the worship center this weekend.

"All Because of Jesus" - We opened our services with this song, which is a staple for our congregation. It set the tone for the entire service, as declaring with joy and confidence that we are alive in Jesus.

"Jesus Messiah" - After reciting a few verses from Isaiah 53, we sang this song together. I love the lyric of this song, and I think one of the most powerful moments of it is the bridge, where we sing, "All our hope is in You/ All our hope is in You/ All the glory to You, God/ The Light of the World." We need to put all of our hope in Christ alone. He is the only way for us to be saved. He is the only way for us to be redeemed. He is our life. This is one of the most significant reasons that He is worthy of all glory and honor and praise.

"He Has Done It All" - We began teaching this song a few weeks ago, and this was the second time we have sung it together. I absolutely love this song. I think it reminds us of the truth of the gospel, and inspires our confidence in what Christ has declared: "It is finished."

"Son of God" - This is one of our church's favorite songs, and it was a great way to finish our main set of songs. It is a simple and beautiful expression of worship to our risen King, Jesus. The chorus and bridge sing: "Jesus, O Holy One/ I sing to You, forgiven/ Savior, I'm overcome/ With Your great love for me/ You are worthy/ You are worthy/ You are worthy of all my praise/ You are beautiful/ You are beautiful/ I will lift up my hands and sing."  I love this song, and our congregation sings it so well!

"Nothing But The Blood" - We responded to the message with this great hymn, which is one of my all-time favorites. I cannot think of a song that more clearly declares the truth of the gospel, and the fact that salvation comes through no other but Jesus. He is the only way of salvation, and He has accomplished it through His blood, which He shed for us at the cross when He died in our place. His sacrifice equals our rescue. My favorite verses are the third and fourth: "Nothing can for sin atone/ Nothing but the blood of Jesus/ Naught of good that I have done/ Nothing but the blood of Jesus" and "This is all my hope and peace/ Nothing but the blood of Jesus/ This is all my righteousness/ Nothing but the blood of Jesus." Amen!

This weekend was an intense weekend of worship. There is nothing I love more than focusing on the cross of Jesus Christ and remembering what He accomplished for us. It always moves me and overwhelms me to think of His grace and love for me. Our team did a great job, and I think we all will walk away from this weekend reminded of the forgiveness and redemption we have in Jesus Christ. When the Father looks at us, He sees us through Christ-- as forgiven, justified, and righteous. Praise the Lord for what He has done for 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, 02/25 - 02/26/12 Fellowship Bible Church

This weekend, we continued our Romans series, focusing on Romans 9:30 - 10:4. In his message, Joe preached about God's sovereignty, and how we need to be zealous for the things that last and the things that matter. Ultimately, those things are God, His Word, and people. It is easy to lose sight of those things, and to get caught up in things that don't last and don't matter. One of those things is our own attempts at making ourselves righteous before God, which we really cannot do. We cannot justify ourselves on our own merit. We need the redemption that is only found in the finished work of Jesus Christ. You can listen to the entire message here. Here's our service plan from this weekend:

"The Solid Rock" (E) [Trent Austin, William B. Bradbury, Kendall Combs, Charlie Hall, Edward Mote] Welcome/Greeting Time Call To Worship "Nothing But The Blood" (D) [Robert Lowry, with additional bridge by Andy Cherry] "Happy Day" (Bb) [Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon] "You Alone Can Rescue" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin] "Rock Of Ages" (Bb) [Thomas Hastings, Augustus M. Toplady] Time of Reflection/Prayer Message - "Romans 9:30 - 10:4" [Joe Hishmeh] Offering/Announcements Dismissal

"The Solid Rock" - We sang this modern arrangement of a timeless hymn as our opening song this weekend, to point to the only solid foundation we can have for our eternal life - Jesus Christ. It is only in His complete and finished work on the cross that we have salvation and hope for eternity. We can depend on nothing else. The gospel is Jesus plus nothing. We are completely incapable of saving ourselves. Jesus is the only way of salvation for us. As this great hymn says in the chorus, "all other ground is sinking sand."

"Nothing But The Blood" - This is another modern hymn arrangement, done by a newer artist, Andy Cherry. He was one of the worship leaders at the Re:Create Conference I attended a few weeks ago in Nashville, and his label shared a pre-release album with all of us. This was one of the songs we sang with him while we were at the conference, and I loved how his treatment of the song really captured the power and confidence of the lyric, along with a great added chorus, which sings, "The blood of Jesus is enough for me/ Oh, the blood of Jesus is enough." You can hear his rendition of this song streaming on his website. I really encourage you to pick up his whole album when it is released in March. It was produced by Jason Ingram, and many of the songs were co-written by Ingram. I'm really enjoying it!

"Happy Day" - This song is a staple for our church, and it was a great fit for the subject matter of this weekend, as we declare that it is Jesus alone who saves us and rescues us from sin and death. We had no hope apart from Him, so there is great cause for celebration because of what He has done for us. We have been made alive together with Christ!

"You Alone Can Rescue" - We sang this song this weekend because it states the major truth of this weekend simply and clearly: Jesus alone can rescue us. There is no other way for us to be saved, nor is there any other way to eternal life. He is our salvation and our hope, and we cannot save ourselves. There is great freedom in declaring this truth together, because it frees us from the delusion that we can do anything to affect our eternal destination; it is only because of Jesus that we have life.

"Rock of Ages" - When I first heard Ascend The Hill's rendition of this song on their hymns album (Take The World, But Give Me Jesus), I was incredibly moved. It is such a desperate cry of dependence on the finished work of Christ for us. I think the lyric and the melody do a good job of communicating that desperation and hopelessness apart from Christ's death on the cross in our place. What a beautiful song! Other than my guitar going really out of tune on this song during the last service, it went really well. We had a time of quiet reflection after this song, where we confessed areas of our life where we weren't trusting God, and where we've tried to find our hope and joy in things other than Him. He is our only source of true hope, joy, and peace. We need to depend on Him and trust Him fully, because He will not disappoint our hope in Him.

This weekend was a good weekend overall. We tried some different things with our service order, in order to try and simplify the flow of our services: we set up a countdown at the beginning of the services that included some key memory verses from our study through the book of Romans; we took out the response song and moved that time earlier in our service; and we also moved a song to the start of the time as a definitive start to each of the services. We had been doing a "Time of Preparation" prior to our services, with the hopes that people would take advantage of that time to prepare their hearts for meeting with the Lord together and to have some quiet time after the hustle of getting themselves and their families to the service. What we found, however, was that it served to muddy the actual "start time" of our services, and people were actually showing up later, not earlier. Regardless, I am in favor of occasionally changing things around in order for us not to become too attached to any kind of order or flow of a service. We often tend to pay less attention to things when we think we know what is coming next.

I am thankful for the opportunities we had this weekend to glorify our Savior. I am so grateful for the sacrifice He made for us, and for how He has rescued us. He is worthy of all praise and honor and glory, with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. He is good.

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,


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

Set Lists, 06/18 - 06/19/11 Fellowship Bible Church

(once again, WordPress logged me out midway through my draft, so this is mostly a second try, so I may miss a few things...) This weekend, we focused on Philippians 3:1-11 for a message on "An Appraisal of Worth and Identity." From this passage, Joe pointed out that we are to place no confidence in our flesh (the things of this world by which we might try to identify ourselves) and we are to compare our lives and the stuff of life against Jesus Christ and His “surpassing worth” (3:8 ESV). Nothing we have to offer—nothing we have done—even comes close to comparing with the worth of Jesus. Our salvation is completely dependent on who He is and what He has done.  Paul says it this way, “not having a righteousness of my own that comes through the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Phil. 3:9 ESV). In the music this weekend, we focused completely on the gospel, recognizing our complete inability to save ourselves, and the unique ability and work of Christ to rescue us and to give us life. We are completely dependent on Him for salvation and eternal life, hence the repeating themes of “nothing but the blood of Jesus,” “You alone can rescue,” and “I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord.” Jesus Christ is all we have!

Here's our set from this weekend:

"All Because of Jesus" (Bb) [Steve Fee] Call to Worship - Psalm 86:8-10 "I Stand Amazed" (G) [Charles Hutchison Gabriel] Welcome/Greeting Time/Offering "Nothing But The Blood (Your Blood)" (Bb) [Matt Redman] / Child Dedication (at Sunday 10:45 AM service only) "Always" (Bb) [Kristian Stanfill, Jason Ingram] "You Alone Can Rescue" (Bb) [Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin] Message - "An Appraisal of Worth and Identity" [Joe Hishmeh] Response - "Nothing But The Blood" (G) [Robert Lowry]

"All Because of Jesus" - This song is a strong declaration and reminder of where our real life comes from: Jesus Christ. It is only because of Him that we are alive. We have life in Him alone. As the verse says, even the breath that we breathe is a gift from God. We are completely dependent on Him, from beginning to end. As James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” Everything that is truly good is from God, and Him alone. Therefore, no one else is worthy of our devotion, our worship, or our glory.

"I Stand Amazed" - Like many hymns (think "It Is Well"), this one speaks to the past, the present reality, and future of our faith - our condemnation, our redemption, and our glorification in Christ. I believe that is what is so timeless about many hymns. It is a song that just revels in the amazing love of God for us. It is truly marvelous, and we should never get beyond a state of wonder when we think of it.

"Nothing But The Blood (Your Blood)"  - YouTube- I love how Matt Redman took the thought from Robert Lowry’s hymn and reworked it into this song. The concepts of placing no confidence in the things of this world and of the blood of Jesus “[speaking] a better word/ than all the empty claims/ I’ve heard upon this earth” and “[speaking] righteousness for me/ and [standing] in my defense” are beautiful and powerful.

I also love the Brazilian version of this song, done by Fernandinho (the Brazilian equivalent of Chris Tomlin), Nada Além do Sangue.” I first heard this on my last trip to Brazil in 2009, when I joined my friends on the worship team of Igreja da Paz in Santarém, located in the Amazon River basin in the Brazilian state Pará. They let me join in leading with them for their Sunday services (all SEVEN), and it was an amazing experience, one of the highlights of my life. You can get a glimpse of what their services are like Igreja da Paz Central. They let me lead “Poder Pra Salvar” (“Mighty to Save,” one of the few that I can actually sing in Portuguese…), and we also did this song, which has a very cool bridge part in Portuguese, and it drives me crazy that it doesn’t really work in English. In Portuguese, it sings “Eu so livre,” which translates into English as “I am alive.” I love the melody of that part, and how it simply sums up the result of what Christ has done. The best I have come up with is to simply sing the melody with no words, and then to repeat, “Nothing but Your blood…” This song makes me miss my friends in Brazil.

"Always" - This was our third week teaching this song to our congregation. You can read more about my thoughts on the song here. The congregation is definitely learning the song, and we are singing it out more together. We will let the song rest a few weeks and then we’ll bring it back to see it with fresh eyes. This is now part of what I would call, “our worship vocabulary,” or basically the songs that we know together as Fellowship Bible Church (a little bit of strategy here…).  I think each worship leader needs to know what is the vocabulary of his context, and needs to be careful to teach the congregation he serves new songs intentionally and with a plan, so that they have a chance to know it and to own it, rather than just singing from the screen or wherever else they see the lyrics. In our church, we want the projection to be a backup plan rather than a crutch. We want our congregation to sing from their hearts, and to have the screen as a backup if they forget the words. We teach a new song at least three consecutive weeks to make this a possibility. I think many modern worship leaders, myself included, underestimate how many times our people need to hear a song before they know it. We wonder, “Why do they sing older song so well?” The answer: they have heard those songs hundreds of times, even if they didn’t attend church gatherings in their youth. It is likely that the newer songs we use are only heard in the context of our worship gatherings. So, they only hear it/sing it as often as we lead it in our worship gatherings. I think it is valuable to any worship leader to assess how many times our people have sung each song, and to be intentional about teaching our people the songs we sing, as I said earlier.

"You Alone Can Rescue" – This song was a great fit for the message this weekend, as it emphasizes that we are incapable of saving ourselves, and that only Jesus can rescue us. I also liked how this song tied together with “Always,” in referring to the passage from Psalm 121:1-2, “I lift my eyes up to the hills, from where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” This song is a simple, powerful declaration of confidence in the work of Christ on our behalf. I love it!

We taught this song a few months ago, and it was time to bring it back, especially for this message. I love how the congregation responds when they really know a song, and it was obvious that they knew this one as we sang it together. This is the fruit of what I mentioned above. We spent the time to learn this song together, and now, whenever we bring it back into our services, our people know it, and can sing it wholeheartedly. This, I believe, is one of our goals as congregational worship leaders. We want our people to be able to sing with sincerity, and that only happens when they really know, from experience, what they are singing. They have heard it, they have seen it, and they have sung it, and they remember it. It’s a beautiful thing.

"Nothing But The Blood" - This is one of my favorite hymns. The simple truth that there is no other pardon for sin than in the blood of Jesus Christ, tied to the truth that there is no forgiveness for sins without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22). During the fourth service, a thought occurred to me: how many times did I sing this song while still having confidence in my own good works as it relates to my standing before God? How many of us have done this? We cannot sing this song honestly if we are still clinging to our own good works before God—we could not sing, “Nothing can for sin atone/ Nothing but the blood of Jesus/ Naught of good that I have done/ Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” May each of our hearts be able to sing this with honesty. I stand on nothing but the righteousness of Jesus Christ, who died in my place for my sins, who reconciled me to God, who made a way where there was no way, who is my confidence.

I am thankful for our team and our church, and for the opportunities we have to worship together. This weekend was refreshing for me. I never get tired of hearing and proclaiming the gospel in word and song, and this weekend was a beautiful example of just that. Christ was lifted high this weekend.

I hope you had a great weekend of worship wherever you were. Be sure to hop on over to The Worship Community to check out what other leaders and worshipers experienced this weekend. Have a great week!

I’d love to hear your thoughts below. Join the discussion!

In the Son,