Oops! I Messed Up

All throughout Scripture there are messages where we are compelled to give God our best. As a worship leader, I am often pulled towards Psalm 33:3. Here the psalmist is saying that he wants to play skillfully to God. Giving God a well crafted piece of praise, that has been well rehearsed. But this isn’t realistic for every week. What do we do, when no matter what, we utterly mess up a song during worship? How can we make mistakes and still be able to give it to God as praise? Continue reading “Oops! I Messed Up”

Attending Church or a Lecture?

Worship is an incredibly important activity in the life of a Christian. There are thousands of books, articles, and blog posts written on the subject. Yet, no matter this truth, I find that in most churches it is simply meant to be the “music time” of the service. It does not matter if your church is “traditional” or “contemporary,” this truth is ubiquitous. I think that worship leaders can help this feeling. Often times we say “join me in worship” and “now it is time for the message.” Is it not true that the entire service is worship? Why do we section it out like this?

“I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb. To great sections of the church, the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called the ‘program.’ This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the public services which now passes for worship among us.”
— A.W. Tozer

I think there is something in our minds where we do not recognize that preaching is just as spiritual an activity as singing praises to God is. We expect the pastor to tell us what the Bible says, never mind the fact that understanding the whole Bible takes faith in God and the action of the Holy Spirit. Any good pastor knows that it is not their own minds that create the words that they speak to us on Sunday morning, but rather, it is the Holy Spirit influencing them to interact with us. Essentially this does segment our services, but not as worship/speaking blocks but rather “us talking to God” then “God talking to us” blocks. This is where we show God the honor and praise He deserves and then He tells us what He wants from us. Sometimes preaching is rough, but that does not make it any less of a worshipful experience.

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing on another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
— Colossians 3:16, NASB

This month my worship team is focusing Colossians 3:16. I love the way Paul put this together. He asks us to let Christ be within us, have wise teaching, and sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. This is what a worship service should be. We pray that God is with us, we have teaching that is inspired by God, and we sing songs that let God know how great He is. It is all worship. Not some lecture where we happen to also worship in song. I think this is where lots of Christians (including me) have failed. We forget that if we are participating in worship, that includes being present with the sermon. It’s not enough for us to sing and say “okay, I worshipped!” Worshipping includes listening to the Word preached.

Songs this Week

Reckless Love

This week at church, I’ve received the pleasure of being able to lead the entire worship service. Typically, I am only able to lead 1-2 songs as my church does a blend of traditional (choir and organ) and contemporary (Praise Band) worship styles. However, this week has the added blessing of it being Mother’s Day.

Anyway, this week’s worship song is “Reckless Love.” I hadn’t realized that there was a controversy surrounding this song, and it all centers around the word “reckless.” God’s love makes no sense to us. He will always do things for us that seems reckless to you and me. To God, this love is not reckless, as he knows what He is doing and it is fairly calculated. Of course, I would land on this side of the controversy as I am also in the “sloppy wet kiss camp” of “How He Loves.” Take a listen below and spend the time considering the ways that God loves you!

This Week’s Set

  • Sing to the King
  • Sweetly Broken
  • Always
  • Here’s My Heart
  • Reckless Love

Fill Me Up

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This week’s song for Worship Sunday, has been one that I wrote myself.

It came during a time over the summer that I was spending time outside every morning, reading my Bible and singing songs to God. I was meditating on the 42nd Psalm.  It reads like this:

“As a deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirst for God, for the living God:
When shall I come and appear before God?”
–Psalm 42:1-2, NASB

This song to me, is all about the pursuit of God that happens in worship. We seek after Him, because He is God and we want more of Him. That’s our soul’s desire. We want to be closer to Him; He is good and pure and we are not, because of our sin. We want to be made more of God. I think about John the Baptist’s testimony, when he says “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30, NASB).

We all need more of God, and our hearts and souls are longing for Him. I hope you can spend some time in worship or simply just meditating on the thought today. Simply ask God to “fill my cup with Your living water!”

PS I put a recording of this song here. It’s not the greatest, but I hope you enjoy it.

This Week’s Set

  • Fill Me Up
  • In Christ Alone (arr. Kristian Stanfill)
  • Nothing But The Blood (Matt Redman)
  • How Great Is Our God (Chris Tomlin)
  • Forever (Chris Tomlin)
  • All Creatures of Our God and King (hymn)

Psalms to Pray: Psalm 48-54

Set A Fire

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Today’s Worship Sunday song is called Set a Fire by Will Reagan. It is a simple song with only two repeated sections. I started singing this during my personal worship time, because it is a cry out to God for us to know Him more. There’s a Psalm that I like that seems to fit into the feel of this song:

“O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for you,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,
For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
My should clings to You;
Your right hand upholds me.”
–Psalm 63:1-8, NASB

David writes that his body and soul are yearning and searching after God. The true heart of worship is to be this way. We don’t simply get together to sing songs. Rather we open our hearts, and search out God’s. So we ask in this song “Set a fire down in my soul, where I can’t contain and I can’t control. Cause I want more of Your God”!

This week’s set:

  • Open Up Our Eyes (Elevation Worship)
  • Set a Fire (Will Reagan)
  • Day After Day (Kristian Stanfill)
  • Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing (Hymn)
  • The Solid Rock (Hymn arranged by Charlie Hall)
  • Fill Me Up

Psalms to Pray: Psalm 37

In Christ Alone

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The song I want to talk about this week has been around for awhile. It has touched many peoples lives, and is fairly well known within the Church. In Christ Alone by Keith Getty and Stewart Townsend is a simple declaration of why we put our faith in Christ and nothing else. The line “No power of hell, nor scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand” just speaks to the level we are supposed to be given to Christ. Paul writes in his letter to the church in Philippi:

“But whatever things were gain to me, those thing I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and counted them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I amy know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” –Philippians 3:7-11, NASB

We give our all to Christ, and place all of ourselves in His mighty hand. We will be singing this song in my church today, but I hope you take time to listen and spend time in worship with it. It is a great song of our faith because “here in the power of Christ [we] stand”!

This week’s set:

  • O Praise Him (David Crowder* Band)
  • Open The Eyes of My Heart Lord (Paul Baloche)
  • Center (Charlie Hall)
  • Lord, I Need You (Kristian Stanfill)
  • In Christ Alone (Keith Getty/Stewart Townsend)
  • The Solid Rock (hymn)

Psalms to Pray: Psalm 25-26

Nothing But The Blood

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“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight…” Ephesians 1:7-8, NASB

This wee’s song is Nothing But The Blood. In my church we will be singing the version that Matt Redman made, but it is actually based on a hymn. Both songs ask the question “What can take away my sin?” This is a basic question we face when we realized we have sinned. People tend to decide that they can get rid of their sin by “doing good”. Others believe that it was by making sacrifice that we get rid of our sin. But the answer lies on the Cross. The refrain of the hymn says this:

“O, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus”

This song tells us that Try as we might, nothing can remove our sin from us but the blood of Jesus. The blood that was poured out for all mankind as a means to remove sin. God did this for us. There is nothing we can do, nothing else will satisfy the need of salvation. God died on the Cross for us, and that is the only way we can be saved of our sins.

This week’s set:

  • O Praise Him (David Crowder* Band)
  • Open They Eyes of My Heart (Paul Baloche)
  • Nothing But The Blood (Matt Redman)
  • Give Us Clean Hands (Charlie Hall)
  • Here’s My Heart (performed by David Crowder)
  • God of This City (Bluetree)

 

Psalms to Pray: Psalm 6

Open the Eyes of My Heart

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There’s a song that has been around for awhile that it’s become a standard for all worship teams, Open the Eyes of My Heart by Paul Baloche. It’s a great request for God to open us up so that we can learn about Him. It expresses our basic need to see and know God in all His glory. God created us to not only care for His Creation, but to also be in communion with Him. We yearn to see God and know Him. Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians, “I pray that they eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,” (Ephesians 1:18, NASB).

Use this song as a prayer today, that we may come closer to God and learn more about Him.

 

Here’s My Heart (The Return of Worship Sunday!!!!!)

giving god your heart

Hey friends, it’s been awhile since I’ve made post like this. But I really felt like we should bring back Worship Sunday.

The song this week is entitled Here’s My Heart performed by David Crowder on the Passion album, Let the Future Begin. If you watch the video here, this song has an interesting story behind how it came to be what was released at Passion ’13. It finds it’s Scripture in Psalm 119, and is a great proclamation of verse 94, “I am Yours, save me;…” (NASB). This song is such a perfect example of what worship is supposed to be like. We come to church not just as something we do week after week, but rather it is us offering ourselves to God. The chorus of this song puts it perfectly:

“Here’s my heart, Lord
Here’s my heart, Lord
Here’s my heart, Lord
Speak what is true”

I would encourage you to let this song fill you up today, and spend some time in worship with it as well. We bring ourselves as an offering, so let God take that offering and use it as He needs.

This week’s set

  • Fill Me Up
  • Here I Am To Worship (Tim Hughes)
  • Better Is One Day (Matt Redman)
  • Always (Kristian Stanfill)
  • Here’s My Heart (performed by David Crowder)
  • We Glorify Your Name (Chris Tomlin)

Holy Mystery

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Today’s song is called Holy Mystery written by Brett Younker. It’s been awhile, but I recently started leading this song within a small group setting. I love the idea brought forward in this song. It asks for Jesus to lead us to a place of holy mystery. It would seem to be that it is like when Jesus would be alone in prayer.

I can only imagine what that situation must have been like. It was God spending time with God. It’s hard to imagine what that would be like. It’s what Brett Younker has described as a holy mystery. I hope you will take a listen to the song a listen. It truly is a great song for worship.