Sunday, February 28, 2010

Music Set | February 27/28

Here's the music set for February 27/28 at Constance Free Church:


Heaven Declares | Scott Campbell & Mark Alan | n/a
- - - - -
Happy Day | Tim Hughes | Holding Nothing Back album
With One Voice | Dan Leverence & Joel Bowers | n/a
Eternal One | Robbie Seay Band | Give Yourself Away album
Hear Us From Heaven | Ross Parsley | I Am Free album
- - - - -
When God's People Pray | Crystal Lewis | More - Greatest Hits album


Mike Howard, our Pastor of High School Ministries, joined the teaching team rotation for the first time this weekend and continued our series "Deeper."  We looked once again to the Lord's Prayer as Mike challenged us to grow more intimately connected with God in prayer.


I chose songs that were themed around our desire to cry out to God.  Hear Us From Heaven was especially meaningful after we took time in our service to pray "Kingdom-expanding" prayers and asked God to move His kingdom forward.  


Angie sang a great Crystal Lewis tune as a Featured Song which utilized some great images of people praying and seeking God.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Encouragement

I'm not sure what God is up to.  It must be His understanding that the artist inside of me needs inspiration from time to time because lately I've received a steady stream of encouragement that has been exceptionally meaningful to me.

I've always considered encouraging others one of the strongest requirements of any vocational ministry position and throughout my years as an Arts Pastor I've come to understand the necessity of encouraging the artists I lead.  It's essential.  Deep down, we all need to know that our artistic endeavors are appreciated.  We all need to know that art created for God is special.  We all need to know that our gifts and abilities help facilitate worship and honor the artistic God who created us.

In the midst of the recession and general feeling of uneasiness, I've considered the act of encouragement even more important than usual.  As a worship leader, I've been including more guided prayer times that allow us to experience quietness - moments when the Spirit of God can encourage our church in the midst of some extremely difficult life circumstances.  I also make every attempt to encourage anyone in my circle of influence.  There's no denying that these are hard days and people need to hear words of affirmation more than ever before.

If there were ever I time I thought people would take encouragement more than give it, it would be now.  I guess I couldn't have been more wrong.  

Over the last several months, many people have expressed their thanks for the ministry they experience at our church.  To those of you who are a regular part of our Arts Ministry at CFC, you need to know that these comments are intended for you and I will always feel compelled to share these words of encouragement with you.  You are faithful servants of God who are making a difference in the lives of those who walk through our doors each and every weekend.  

Just within the last week, I've had conversations with a couple who feel as though they "met God" through the music at our church and look forward to worshipping each and every week.  I talked with a woman whose husband wouldn't attend their previous church because it just seemed like a bunch of ritualistic jargon and they enjoy the freedom they can experience in our worship.  I talked with a family in our Gallery that isn't particularly musical but they love that we display artwork as another expression of worship and it's meaningful to them.  And this just scratches the surface.  

I'm so blessed by our team - I'm blessed by your love for the Lord, your desire to use your abilities for Him, and your pursuit of excellence in artistry.  I think it's beautiful.  And I think it honors God.

To those of you who have encouraged me, specifically - thank you.  I'm reminded every day of how lucky I am to find such incredibly fulfillment in the ministry to which I've been called.  Your encouragement and God's inspiration keep me motivated to craft worship experiences that will allow us all to discover transcendent moments in which we connect with the heart of God.

In 1 Thessalonians, Paul writes, "He [Christ] died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

Music Set | February 20/21

Here's the music set from February 20/21 at Constance Free Church:


Today Is The Day | Lincoln Brewster | Today Is The Day album
- - - - - 
Awesome Is The Lord Most High | Chris Tomlin | Passion: Everything Glorious album
You're Worthy Of My Praise | Charlie Hall | Passion: Better Is One Day album
Holy Is The Lord | Chris Tomlin | Passion: Sacred Revolution album
Thine Is The Kingdom | Parachute Band | Roadmaps and Revelations album
- - - - -
All My Life | Parachute Band | All The Earth (Live) album
Jesus | Parachute Band | All The Earth (Live) album


Scott Campbell led worship this week as our teaching theme focused on the Lord's Prayer.  It was a great, high energy weekend as the choir participated and sang two great Parachute Band songs (All My Life and Jesus).  The songs Holy Is The Lord and Thine Is The Kingdom (a cool new tune which uses the Lord's Prayer as its lyrics) were great thematic choices for today's message.


Pastor Randy's thoughts over the last several weeks have been so inspiring to me and this weekend was no exception.  I desperately want to have the kind of intimacy with God that we've been talking about.  As we continue to be challenged over the next several weeks, I hope you'll join me as I've committed myself to being open to God and allowing Him to take us deeper in our faith journeys.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Music Set | February 13/14

Here's the music set from February 13/14 at Constance Free Church:


Great God | Dan Leverence & Joel Bowers | n/a
- - - - -
All Because Of Jesus | Fee | We Shine album
I'm Singing | Kari Jobe | Self-Titled album
Here In Your Presence | New Life Worship | My Savior Lives album
- - - - -
Thine Is The Kingdom | Parachute Band | Roadmaps & Revelations album
- - - - -
Jesus Messiah | Chris Tomlin | Hello Love album
Savior | New Life Worship | Counting On God album


Ahhhh Valentine's Day!  As I led worship this weekend, I enjoyed seeing the sea of red shirts and sweaters marking the annual arrival of a chubby little angel spritely sticking people with his love arrows.  :-)


All joking aside, we continued the "Deeper" series this weekend and talked about how we can find God in prayer.  For many, it's an ethereal, mysterious thing that we can never seem to achieve.  But as we remind ourselves that prayer is more about God and less about us, we can begin to experience the presence of God more meaningfully.


I chose All Because Of Jesus to remind us that our life can be all about eternity all the time and after that song, we took a moment to introduce our new monthly prayer guide and pray the 5-second prayer together.  We sang Here In Your Presence as a way to proclaim the joy that we can find in the presence of God.


It's a long story, but I happened upon Thine Is The Kingdom ALMOST accidentally (I say almost because it's pretty clear to me that the Holy Spirit allowed me to hear the song when I needed to). It's a great new arrangement of The Lord's Prayer and we'll continue to sing it together in the coming weeks as we focus our teaching on Matthew 6:9-14.


We also shared in communion together this week and took some time to pray for our church in Congo as we received the benevolence offering.  Please remember to keep the Congolese church in your prayers as they wrestle through tribal conflict and unrest during these difficult days.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Music Review: These Simple Truths | Sidewalk Prophets

These Simple Truths
Sidewalk Prophets
Released:  August 25, 2009


middle:brained review grade:  A-


A while back I heard a song on our local CCM station called "The Words I Would Say."  The first time I heard it I wasn't all that impressed - it's in triple meter (not my fav) and had a touch of country flavor (also not my fav).  BUT, I heard it a couple more times and became very impressed with the lyrics - impressed enough to download the project and I'm VERY glad I did.


I'm not really familiar with who they are, but this project by Sidewalk Prophets is becoming one of my recent favorites.  As most of you know, I tend to pay attention to lyrics before I pay attention to anything else and these guys certainly deliver when it comes to meaningfully crafted lyrics.  On top of that, their melodies are catchy and I've found these songs popping into my head regularly.


There are several tracks that are particularly great:


1.  Show Me How To Love - great song about community, forgiveness, and love.  


2.  You Can Have Me - asks the question of whether or not we'd follow if we saw Jesus on the street and he said, "Come follow me but you have to give up everything."  It's a great anthem of surrender.


3.  You Love Me Anyway - moved me to tears the first time I heard it.  In spite of our sin, in spite of our disobedience, God loves us anyway.  The bridge is a passionate string of reminders that I am a "thorn in his crown," the "nail in his wrist," "Judas' kiss," and "the man who yelled out from the crowd for His blood to be spilled."  This song is destined for use in our Good Friday services this year.


My only criticism is that the powers that be chose to release The Words I Would Say as the first single from this project.  While it's a great song, I don't think it's the best the band has to offer and learned recently that it hasn't been testing well in local markets.  I think one of the other tracks would have been a better single.  At any rate, I hope that this band continues to grow in popularity and look forward to hearing more from them in the future!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Music Set | February 6/7

Here's the music set from February 6/7 at Constance Free Church:


Sing Sing Sing | Chris Tomlin | Hello Love album
- - - - -
God Is Alive | Fee | Hope Rising album
Everyone (Praises) | Desperation Band | From The Rooftops album
Reign In Us | Starfield | I Will Go album
- - - - -
Savior | New Life Worship | Counting On God album
Saving Grace | Hillsong United | Best Friend (Live) album


We started a new series called "Deeper" this weekend.  Over the next several weeks, we'll look at what it means to go deeper in our relationship with God and, more specifically, through prayer.  


Pastor Randy gave us some extremely insightful thoughts from Matthew 6:6 - honestly, some things I had never considered before.  Randy pointed out the daily routine that Jesus had to visit his "secret place" and asked us to consider doing the same.  We've always been taught that we can experience the presence of God anywhere we are and we can pray at any time - which is ALL true.  But personally, I loved how Randy identified the importance of stealing away to a "secret place" behind closed doors where God can meet with us regularly.  These thoughts moved me and it's why we chose to sing Saving Grace this weekend ("night and day I seek your face, long for you in the secret place, all I want i this life is to truly know you more ...").


Krista Gleason (our High School worship leader) led worship on Saturday night and you'll begin to see her more often as a part of our Saturday evening team.  We're excited to welcome Krista onto our adult leadership team as she transitions out of High School Ministries at the end of this academic year.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Music Set | January 30/31

Here's the music set from January 30/31 at Constance Free Church:


God Is Alive | Fee | Hope Rising album
The Time Has Come | Hillsong United | I Heart Revolution album
Mighty To Save | Hillsong | Mighty To Save ep
- - - - -
Give It All Away | Aaron Shust | Anything Worth Saying album


Some of my favorite experiences we have as a church are when we're able to celebrate life events together.  Much like baptisms, I really enjoy weekends when parents commit their children to God through dedication.  This weekend was one of those baby dedication weekends and several families participated in the celebration.


We introduced God Is Alive this weekend - a great song that we'll continue to learn and ultimately use as part of our easter weekend services.  In case you haven't been able to tell, I've been in a bit of a Fee phase and really appreciate Steve Fee's ability to create high energy, singable songs that our congregation seems to really enjoy.


Pastor Randy was back this weekend and unpackaged the idea of giving in secret (Matthew 6:1-4).  I chose Give It All Away leading into the message to remind us again of how generous Christ was/is to us in giving Himself fully and completely on our behalf.