This weekend held a few surprises! During the middle of the message in the 5 PM service, we had a funnel cloud sighting and the tornado siren going off in Topeka, so we had to move everyone to our children's theater in the basement to take shelter. Joe closed out his message and I brought my guitar down so we could worship together. It was a sweet time of worship in that basement, with everyone (kids and all) crowded into a smaller room. We sang a few songs together, and it was such a beautiful sound to hear everyone so clearly (our worship center is pretty deadened sonically, so it is sometimes difficult to hear everyone). It was a blessing. Because the warnings persisted, we decided to hold our 7 PM service in the basement as well. The whole band came down and it was a really special time for all of us, as we adapted to the situation and still served God and our church. I will never forget last night. You can see more about the details of what happened over my Tech Director, Wyatt Johnston's blog: wyattjohnston.com.
Joe talked about fear and security, and suffering for the cause of Christ. It was a challenging message. He shared about how God calls us to faith, trust, and certainty rather than fear, doubt, and uncertainty, regardless of the circumstances. He shared about the high calling of suffering together with Christ, that Jesus' name may be lifted high through it. May we all be counted worthy to suffer for His name.
Here's our set from this weekend:
Pre-Service - "Those Who Trust" (Em) [Don Chaffer]
Call to Worship - Psalm 150:3-6
"Everlasting God" (Bb) [Brenton Brown, Ken Riley]
"Hosanna (Praise is Rising)" (G) [Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown]
"You Never Let Go" (Bb) [Matt Redman]
"Your Name" (Bb) (Paul Baloche, Glenn Packiam]
Message - "A New Appraisal of Fear and Security" [Joe Hishmeh]
Response - "Forever Reign" (Ab) [Jason Ingram, Reuben Morgan]
We began our pre-service time with "Those Who Trust" from the album Enter the Worship Circle: First Circle. This entire album holds a special place in my life and walk with Jesus, as it was a catalyst for a worship reformation for me. Each of the songs comes directly from Scripture, and the writers came together, studied the Bible, and created songs out of that experience together. The recording is raw and full of life, and done with all acoustic instruments. One of the most amazing worship experiences I have ever had happened as a result of this music. I joined a few friends after an event, and we were sitting on the floor in their living room, and we had a few guitars, and they began to sing some of these songs. As we sang and spent some time in a spontaneous worship moment, just playing a few chords and singing our prayers to God, a bridge came to me, and it ended up becoming the bridge of this song, Everything. The experience taught me a new way to write and to worship, in singing my prayers to God. This particular song has a great groove to it, and I love the declaration of confidence in God from Psalm 125. "Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot move, but abides forever." Our God is a sure foundation, and we can place all of our confidence in Him. This song was an even better fit for the message than I had planned.
During our call to worship, we focused on Psalm 150:3-6, and taught our people about the Biblical expressions of worship through the instruments that are written about there (with a few adaptations...). We had our Adult Ministries Pastor, David Hinkle, playing trumpet for the service, so it was the perfect opportunity for this. It was a fun demonstration of Biblical worship. This passage ends with the command: "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord" (ESV), so we repeated together as a church, "Praise the Lord!"
After the call to worship, we went straight into "Everlasting God." This song is a standard for our church, and we always sing it well together. I love the simplicity and solid foundation of this song directly from Isaiah 40. We followed this with Redman's "You Never Let Go," which was very much in keeping with the theme of leaving our fear behind and placing our confidence and trust in the Lord, coming largely from Psalm 23. This was the second week that we have been teaching this song, and the congregation was sing much more in each of the services. We finished the second set with "Your Name," which partly comes from Psalm 65:8: "The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy" (NIV). This song is very singable, and is well-known to our people, so we all sing well on it. David Hinkle played the cello part on his trumpet with the mute, and it was a cool and new feel for that line. I really enjoyed it.
We responded to Joe's message with "Forever Reign." Sarah Oldberg sang lead on this song, and did a great job. This song focused on another element of the message this week--that Jesus is more worthy and more valuable than anything we can have or lose in this life: "Oh, I'm running to Your arms, I'm running to Your arms/ The riches of Your love will always be enough/ Nothing compares to Your embrace/ Light of the world, forever reign." The bridge of this song always engages me, as we sing together, "My heart will sing/ No other name/ Jesus, Jesus." May this be true of all of us. May our hearts truly seek Jesus as the main object of our love and affection.
In each of our services this weekend, I felt that our people were really engaging and participating. I am really encouraged by how we are growing together, and God is being glorified in our transformation. I am also encouraged by how well all of our teams adapted to the craziness of the storms on Saturday night. No one complained (not once!) about the inconvenience of moving all their gear downstairs, or recreating the worship slides, or having to deal with a smaller stage or lesser equipment. Everyone maintained the attitude that it is a joy and honor to serve Jesus and His church, and adapted to the changes with grace and gratefulness. This just goes to show what an amazing group of people I have the privilege of serving with here with Fellowship. I am so thankful for each of them. God is so good!
I hope you had a great weekend in worship, and I hope that you are safe from the weather. Be sure to head over to The Worship Community to see what other churches and leaders experienced this weekend, and join the conversation there. Also, share your thoughts below. I love to hear your take on things!
In the Son,