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"Worship is man's full reason for existence. Worship is why we are born and why we are born again." A.W. Tozer

Friday, December 31, 2010

Completed Reading Plan!

YouVersion Reading Plans

Throughout this past year, I have been reading through the Bible using YouVersion's M'Cheyne One Year Reading Plan. What a wonderful year it's been. By doing this plan, during the course of the year I have read the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice. And this morning I completed the 365th day of reading! This is the first time I've ever done anything this. YouVersion has been a fantastic resource with everything online! With their mobile apps, it makes it that much better. I've got the app on my iPad which allows me online and offline access. The app is also available for my BlackBerry. Now I'm not trying to take anything away from the bound Word of God that I have with me as well. There is however a lot of times I'm in places that I don't have my Bible with me. With this resource in so many places, I pretty much always have access to the Bible; I could keep reading and keep up with my reading plan.

If you've never done anything like this, I would encourage you to do so. There's all kinds of plans out there, so I'm not saying you have to use YouVersion. I've just had a great experience using their resource. They have many reading plans available. You can check them out here if you're interested.

Tomorrow as we start the new year, I will also be starting a new one-year reading plan. I have chosen to do the OWNit365 plan. This plan has a reading from the Old Testament and one from either the Wisdom books or the New Testament (the acronym "OWN") for each day. This plan has readings six days a week and allows for a day off. I'm really looking forward to this one, as my wife and I are going to do it together. It's my prayer that this will be a year where we can grow together in our knowledge of the Word and in our relationships with God. It's also my prayer that you would consider going through a plan and continuing in the Word consistently through 2011.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 12.26.10


Week #127 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, December 26th.

- Joyful, Joyful (Christmas version)
- Angels We Have Heard On High
- Joy to the World (Unspeakable Joy) by Chris Tomlin
- Glory in the Highest by Chris Tomlin
- Winter Snow by Audrey Assad
- How Great Is Our God by Chris Tomlin

We had a great morning today, this day after Christmas. A good group of people showed up this morning. It was a wonderful time of singing and a great message. My wife also sang Audrey Assad's song Winter Snow. She did an absolutely fantastic job. It's one that she's been working on for a while and this is the weekend it worked to do it. Our pastor is on vacation this week, so members and home group facilitators spoke this morning. He did a great job bringing a message to us. It was about how we have now heard the Christmas story and the Christ child that came as a baby now lives in our hearts as believers. Now that we've received Christ, how are we going to live our lives? Are we going to forget about it or are we going to radically live for Him. I just recently finished reading David Platt's book Radical, so I couldn't help but think about the content of that book the whole time. It sure causes you to stop and think about how you're living your life. After the message and before our closing song, I shared this quote from the book Radical because it fit so well with the rest of the message; "Do we believe the reward found in Jesus is worth the risk of following Him?"

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-127/

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve Setlist - 12.24.10


This is a special Christmas Eve episode of Sunday Setlists, even though it was a Friday night. Here is our setlist for Christmas Eve, December 24th.

- Joy to the World (Unspeakable Joy) by Chris Tomlin
- O Come All Ye Faithful
- Welcome & Prayer
- Scripture Reading: Luke 2.1-14
- Away in a Manger
- The First Noel by Phil Wickham
- Advent Reading & Candle Lighting
- O Holy Night
- Quiet Time of Reflection
- You're Here by Francesca Battistelli
- Message
- Scripture Reading: Matthew 2.1-12
- Hark the Herald Angels Sing
- Lighting of Candles
- Light of the World by Chris Tomlin
- Silent Night by Matt Maher

I chose to include the whole entire service instead of just the songs that we used. I know that often worship leaders are always looking for what songs people are using (traditional or contemporary) but also how they're putting them together in the context of a Christmas Eve service. So hopefully this will serve as a good reference for whoever finds this post. The service went great! Pretty much all the songs were congregational, except for You're Here and Light of the World. One of my worship team members told me that she had gotten You're Here and wanted to do it sometime during the Christmas season. I'd almost forgotten about it, but luckily I was reminded of it, and it fit perfectly with Christmas Eve and she did a fantastic job. I accompanied her on guitar and it was a lot of fun to learn how to play it. Definitely stretched my guitar playing. I threw Light of the World in the day before the service. I was looking for something to do while the candlelight was being passed and before singing Silent Night. I had been listening to Chris Tomlin's Christmas CD, Glory in the Highest: Christmas Songs of Worship, and when I came across that song, I figured it would be a perfect fit as a response to the light of the world coming from heaven to earth and then ultimately into our hearts.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Radical by David Platt

Radical by David Platt is one of those books that I believe will be around for a long time. This book is truly a challenge to the church in America. He asks us to take a hard look into the comforts and luxuries we have settled for and instead live a radical life that is sold out for Jesus Christ. His premise is that the church in America is living far differently that what Jesus taught. This isn't the first time I've heard the message. I believe this is a relevant topic today as I've heard many churches do "Radical" sermon series, and a lot of them based on the book of Acts. When you look at that first century church and how the Gospel spread and the church grew, you can't help but ask what they were doing, how they were living their lives. Now I know that there are people and churches that are living radical lives and doing amazing things to further the Gospel, so this book should not be taken as a guilt trip. I know that for some, and even sometimes my mind wanders that direction, this book will come across that way, but try to avoid that thinking. This is a book that is going to cause you to think and struggle. It has definitely caused me to stop and think about my life in the context of living for the One who saved me. David says this towards the end of the book, "Do we believe the reward found in Jesus is worth the risk of following Him?" He also quotes missionary Jim Elliot, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." We long for the reward of spending eternity with our Father in heaven, but what are we doing right now in this life to live radically for Him.

Honestly, I've struggled to write this review. Not because I'm hesitant about the book, but because I'm still working through how I've been affected by this book. It's one of those times where there is a lot going through my head and I'm having a hard time trying to get it out and into this post. It's definitely a book that I'm going to have to read again.

Special thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah and Blogging for Books for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on amazon.com.

If you found this review helpful, would you go to the review on Blogging for Books and rate it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 12.19.10


Week #126 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, December 19th.

- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
- Infant Holy, Infant Lowly
- One Small Child
- What Child Is This?

Wow, what a Sunday. This Sunday was our Christmas service. We enjoyed lots of music; congregational Christmas carols, an adult choir and a childrens choir. We don't normally have a choir, but so many enjoy it and Christmas works well for it. The choir took on two pieces this year; Come To Bethlehem and There Is A Child. The children's choir sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, Go Tell It On the Mountain and We Wish You a Merry Christmas. We ended the morning with a great brunch and a good time getting to fellowship with everyone. It's such a busy time of year, but the time to be able to come together and worship together with the Body is always great! I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-126/

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 12.12.10


Week #125 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, December 12th.

- Everlasting God by Brenton Brown
- Angels From the Realms of Glory
- Angels We Have Heard on High
- Gloria (Mary's Song) by Glenn Packiam

Loving the Christmas series that we're in right now, Changed By Christmas. This Sunday the focus was on Mary and her story from Luke 1.26-45. One young woman's life was completely changed and it started with her heart. I also threw in Glenn Packiam's Gloria (Mary's Song) the day of our rehearsal. My wife and another of my worship team members took it on and did an amazing job, with not a lot of time to prepare it. It fit perfectly with Mary's story. Looking forward to continuing in this series the next couple services.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-125/

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 12.05.10


Week #124 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, December 5th.

- Holy is the Lord by Chris Tomlin
- O Little Town of Bethlehem by Phillips Brooks
- Jesus Paid It All by Kristian Stanfill

This morning we officially began our Christmas series, Changed by Christmas. We began the series this morning in Matthew 1.18-25, where we get a glimpse of Mary and Joseph. Now there is a young couple that was completely changed leading up to the first Christmas. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the series.

Now to those other worship leaders out there, where do you find your music for the Christmas season? I know there's so many standard Christmas carols out there, but what arrangements are you using with the contemporary music setting? Part of me still loves the traditional setting of carols with piano and organ, but that's just not available right now. I'd really like to find some great contemporary arrangements of the Christmas carols. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-124/

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 11.28.10


Week #123 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, November 28th.

- Glory to God Forever by Steve Fee
- Word of God Speak by MercyMe
- Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King by Gateway Worship
- Jesus Messiah by Chris Tomlin
- My Savior's Love by Charles H. Gabriel
- Christ is Risen by Matt Maher
- Revelation Song by Jennie Lee Riddle

Wow, what a service this morning! We did something way different than anything we've ever done before since I've been at the church; we pretty much read God's Word the whole entire service. A friend from school put together a reading of "God's Story." It is God's story from Genesis and Creation to the end of Revelation. He put together this script with only scripture. The cool thing is he didn't use only Genesis passages for creation. He used scripture from throughout the Word to make up that section. There were many sections and he did the same for each. In between some of the sections I mixed in the above songs and also the Advent reading fit in perfectly as well. It was such a great morning. It's hard to write about it. I'm hoping to get the video of it up on YouTube shortly and then include them to this post, but you can also download a PDF of the script from the sermon page on our church's webpage on Tuesday, November 30th, once it's posted.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-123/

Friday, November 26, 2010

Beyond Opinion by Ravi Zacharias

Wow, what a book! Beyond Opinion by Ravi Zacharias was amazing. It was definitely a hard and challenging book to read, but I am very glad that I kept to it. I have heard him speak before and am very familiar with his ministry and what he does, but this is the first book of his that I've read. It was hard and challenging because there was a lot of information, concepts, and ideas. It was also challenging because it's convicting. Ravi and a host of others challenge us to pursue evangelism. They provide a lot of useful information regarding the mindset of other world religions and how best to reach them. Ravi set up this book into three sections; part one is Giving an Answer, part two is Internalizing the Questions and Answers, and part three is Living Out the Answers. The first section provides a wealth of knowledge on the major world religions. The second section is where the knowledge starts to become personal as we begin to consider our part as Christians in bringing the message of the gospel to the world. The third section is where we're challenged to live out what has become personal and internal. What is written in the pages of this book is essential to the life we're called to as Christians. This is a book that I plan on coming back to; one, because I need to continue to learn what is present in part one, and two, because it's a challenge that I need to remember. I end with a quote that strikes at the heart of the matter and one that should cause every Christian to think hard about the life we are living and Who we are living for.
"I have little doubt that the single greatest obstacle to the impact of the gospel has not been its inability to provide answers, but the failure on our part to live it out."
Special thanks to Thomas Nelson and BookSneeze for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on amazon.com.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 11.21.10


Week #122 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, November 21st.

- O Worship the King by Chris Tomlin
- Holy, Holy, Holy by Reginald Heber
- Glorified by Jared Anderson
- New Doxology by Gateway Worship
- You Are God Alone by Phillips, Craig & Dean

Another great morning at Bethel. I pray that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.
"Shout joyfully to the Lord , all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 100
To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-122/

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jesus Culture | Come Away

Come Away by Jesus Culture is my first real exposure to them and it is a fantastic recording. I first heard of them when I came across a video of How He Loves (John Mark McMillan) done by Kim Walker-Smith. I love their sound and their style of worship. It reminds me a lot of Hillsong and Gateway. I'm always on the lookout for new music and I'm glad I came across this CD. I'm very much interested in their music and would love to get more of it. I love that this album is a live recording. Studio albums are great, but when it comes to a time of worship, you still get the sense of God moving mightily coming through the recording. Even just listening to this recording, I'm drawn into worship. The band is amazing and the vocals are equally as great, just soaring over everything. I love the space they leave and just hearing the congregation lifting up shouts of praise. The majority of these songs are vertical in nature. They're singing to God, not just about Him.

You Are My Passion: I believe this will be a great song for the church to grab a hold of. It is well suited for congregational use. I could see my church using it. The lyrics are wonderful, singing straight to God and ascribing His attributes. We are called to give Him praise and that's exactly what this song is doing. I'm alive to bring glory to You, King. God of glory, You are my passion. My strength in life is I am Yours. My soul delights because I am Yours.

Let It Rain: I'm always captivated by a song with these simple lyrics, yet such a deep and intimate meaning. Let it rain, let it rain, open the floodgates of heaven. A song of calling out to God to let His love pour forth. Not just in a trickle, but a flood. This song may not work for every church, but I think in the right context and at the right moment, it could have a tremendous impact.

One Thing Remains: I believe this is a song the current times we're in. We are living in a world that isn't stable. A lot of people are hurting; physically, financially, spiritually, etc. Here we have a song that's crying out no matter what else happens in this life, there is one thing that remains, the love of a Holy God. For it overwhelms and satisfies my soul. And I never ever have to be afraid. 'Cause one thing remains. Your love never fails, it never gives it, it never runs out on me.

You can purchase the CD here on amazon.com when it releases on November 23rd.

widecomeaway

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 11.14.10


Week #121 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, November 14th.

- Hosanna by Paul Baloche
- I Am Yours (Take My Life) by Michael Neale
- Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) by Chris Tomlin
- Your Grace is Enough by Chris Tomlin

Another great morning of worship at Bethel. We had a lot going on this morning. The time of singing was sweet. The worship team was right on this morning and I could tell the congregation was really connecting! We had a time of prayer as we dedicated around 20 shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. We also honored our veterans and those currently serving in our armed forces. We had a lot going on last Sunday, so we chose to do it this morning. Here is a video we showed; A Veterans Day Tribute.



This morning the message was brought by David Yetter. He is the Executive minister for CONVERGE PacWest which is our region under our larger gathering of churches called CONVERGE Worldwide. He brought a message from Luke, the story of the prodigal son; Luke 15.11-32. His message was titled A Heart Like His. He had three parts to his message; the younger son, the older brother, and the father. The focus was on the father and how he approached the situation with love and compassion and we need to have that kind of heart.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-121/

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Surprised by Worship by Travis Cottrell

Surprised by Worship by Travis Cottrell is an absolutely amazing book. I've known of Travis, his music, and his ministry for quite a while. I use a lot of his songs and arrangements of hymns in my own church. When I heard he was writing a book, I could not wait to read it. After reading this book I was drawn to the subtitle, Discovering the Presence of God Where You Least Expect It. I've read books for information or because I'm interested in the target, and while that's true with this book, there came something else. I was drawn into worship while reading this book, I was surprised by worship. Yes, this is a book about worship and he uses plenty of scripture with examples of where the people of God were surprised by worship. But this book is so much more. This is a book that is also the outpouring of the heart of a worshipper. Travis opens his heart and shares his own story of how God led him in his journey of worship, personally and with his family. I love hearing his story of how God brought him to Englewood Baptist Church. Reading it in this book was not the first time I've heard it, but it still speaks to me. The book culminates in the last chapter, surrender, to cease resisting another power; to yield to a different influence. He begins the chapter this way,
"As I sit on the other side of the worship adventures I have recounted in this book, I recall those man-made boundaries I once placed around worship. Then I reflect on the surprises that have forced me to rethink the meaning of worship and how I can adjust my thoughts, practices, and conclusions accordingly. Obviously, the old definitions I once held were entirely too narrow. To think that worship entails only the hour spent in a church sanctuary each week is like thinking Sunday lunch is the only meal I need to nourish me for the week."
He also says this in that same chapter, "To worship God is to offer Him what He is worthy of receiving; adoration, love, and devotion." And this, "Worship doesn't depend on easy tasks, ideal circumstances, or perfect lives, but on a surrendered heart." Reading that last chapter was very encouraging and convicting for me, but it was exactly a chapter that I needed to read.
from the inside cover, "Join worship leader and recording artist Travis Cottrell for a personal and uplifting look at one of God's greatest gifts. And don't be surprised if you get caught up in a new experience of worship."
I was and I'm sure you will be too. To God be the glory!

Special thanks to Zondervan for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on amazon.com.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick

I didn't hear about Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick until a couple weeks before the book actually released. I had heard about Steven and Elevation Church before so I knew what a dynamic man of God he is and the passion he has for ministry. So when I heard he was coming out with the book, I was very excited about reading it. I was curious as to what the title meant, but I was also interested in it because of the subtitle, What Happens When You Dare to Ask God For the Impossible. The book is taken from Steven's journey as a young christian to where he is now. He felt a strong calling from God on his life to pastor a church. I'm sure at the time for him and in the time when he moved to Charlotte, that that felt like an impossible task. It also stems for the story of Joshua in the Bible. In Joshua chapter 10 he is heavily engaged in a battle when the sun begins to set. Joshua believed that God had given the Amorites into his hand and wanted to finish the battle. However that wouldn't happen if the sun went down. So Joshua pray this seemingly impossible prayer. He asks God to make the sun stand still. God answers that prayer and Joshua wins the battle.

The story of Joshua and the content of this book is all about faith, audacious faith. Steven says this as a preview to one of the chapters,
"Audacious faith is not built on the fault line of feelings or the flood plain of your performance. You're building your faith on solid ground. Higher ground. You're building on the faithfulness of God."
Are we willing to strive towards a faith that is built solidly on God. Are we willing to ask Him through prayer for what may seem impossible. We have the ability to and God has the power to act on it. As Steven says though, "If you're going to pray for God to make the sun stand still, you'd better be ready to march all night."

Special thanks to Multnomah Books for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on amazon.com.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 11.7.10


Week #120 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, November 7th.

- Open the Eyes of My Heart by Paul Baloche
- Praise to the Lord, the Almighty by Travis Cottrell
- A Mighty Fortress by Christy Nockels
- Beautiful the Blood by Steve Fee

It was a great morning at Bethel. Worship through song was amazing and we had a lot of other great stuff going on. We had a baptism and took communion. Our pastor finished Hebrews 12 this morning. As I was reading over the passage last week, I got to the last verse and the verses leading up to it, and it's talking about the unshakable kingdom of God and that He is a consuming fire. My mind automatically went to the song A Mighty Fortress by Christy Nockels. It's a song that we've never done before, but I brought it to my team at our rehearsal, and they picked it right up. We did as a special music number and it went great.

This past week I was reading Facedown by Matt Redman. A lot of great stuff in that book, but I ran across one section that resonated with our opening song, so I shared it with the congregation as we began our service. I want to share it with all of you now, as I believe it should be the focus of our worship, especially as worship leaders. We primarily lead worship through song, but the songs are just a tool. True worship begins in the heart.
"Each time we gather together as a worshipping community, we must find ways to reflect these aspects of the nature and character of God. The songs are one thing. But it goes way beyond the music. It's our whole approach. Are we preparing our heart for a divine encounter?"
Matt Redman | Facedown
To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-120/

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 10.31.10


Week #119 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, October 31st.

- Happy Day by Tim Hughes
- Glorified by Jared Anderson
- Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King by Gateway Worship
- In Christ Alone by Keith & Kristyn Getty
- Everlasting God by Brenton Brown

This has been one full weekend at Bethel. Last night we hosted the Laugh All Night Comedy Concert with comedian Mike Williams! It was a great night of laughter. The concert is sponsored by New Missions, a missions organization that has been in Haiti for 28 years.

Then of course the service this morning which went well. No weird things happening this morning because I chose to try and change things up. Though we did have a video that decided to not work on us. If it's not one thing, it's another. It was a promo video for Operation Christmas Child that we've already shown once, so it wasn't a huge deal that it didn't work.

Then tonight, our Awana Club and Children's Ministry had their Fall Festival. I did not make it to that, but I'm hoping it was a great time for everyone involved. A lot of planning went into it, and I'm sure it turned out great.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-119/

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 10.24.10


Week #118 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, October 24th.

- How Great Thou Art by Paul Baloche
- Glory to God Forever by Steve Fee
- Forever by Chris Tomlin
- New Doxology by Gateway Worship
- Holy is the Lord by Chris Tomlin

A good morning at Bethel. Our pastor was back preaching today and he continued in our Hebrews series. This morning was Hebrews 12.5-11 and his message was on the discipline of the Lord. And now, time for one of those funny worship leading stories. We had a lot going on this morning, with five songs, a lot of announcements, and a little bit longer sermon than usual, so I was trying to watch the clock to make sure my pastor was up on time. We were doing "Forever" and I realized that we weren't going to have enough time to do all of "New Doxology" so I knew were going to have to do some changing up of that one on the fly. Normally it's not too bad, but this morning it did not work at all. The worship team was all off and so was our EasyWorship operator. I was focused on cutting off some time and I really didn't do any sort of verbal leading, which is why things didn't work out so well. Oh well, just one of those things that happen, but we finished and I still believe the Lord was honored with our worship this morning.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-118/

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Grace of God by Andy Stanley

The Grace of God by Andy Stanley is another great book to add to list of great books he has already written. One thing I've really enjoyed about reading Andy Stanley is that after hearing him speak and reading other books he's written is that he writes the way he speaks. It's nice to know that he's not trying to be someone he's not. He puts as much passion into his writing and into a subject as he does into his messages for his church. It shows not only his passion for God, but his passion for providing a resource to help others grow in their relationship with God.

This book provides examples of grace shown throughout the Bible; Old Testament and New Testament. So often we think of grace as only a New Testament act, but Andy Stanley shows us that grace was extended to people in the Old Testament as well. Andy Stanley walks us through the entire Bible sharing stories of how God has continuously extended grace to people, including us as modern day Christians, who don't deserve it at all. Andy Stanley writes this,
"God's promise of blessing was not anchored by the behavior of the recipient, but by the grace of the One who had made the promise."
If grace was based on our actions and behaviors, then there would be no hope for any of us. Lucky for us, that is not the case, and that's not the case of the examples that Andy Stanley writes about in this book; Adam and Eve and the fall of man, Abraham who took his wife's maidservant to start the lineage God said He would provide, Rahab who was a prostitute, David who committed adultery with Bathsheba which led to the murder of Uriah, Jonah who ran from God, Levi who left his heritage to become a Roman tax collector, Nicodemus who was a Pharisee, the Samaritan woman at the well who had been married five times and now lives with a man who is not her husband, Paul who had been a persecutor of Christians, and one of the criminals crucified with Jesus. Then ultimately you and I and all those that have yet to come a saving knowledge and relationship with the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are called to share this grace with others. Earlier today I found this on a note that I had written on my facebook page,
"People's lives can be completely changed by Christ. God's grace is given to everyone who should call on His name and believe. No matter your background or what you've done, God's grace is extended to you."
God's grace is amazing and something that He extends to us. Grace that we don't deserve, but we must not forget that it came at a price; the giving of God's one and only Son. I leave you with this that Andy Stanley concludes one of his chapters with, "Eternal life isn't a reward for good people; it's God's gift to forgiven people. So the only question left for you to answer is: 'have I ever received God's gift of eternal life by placing my faith in Christ's death as the full and final payment for my sin?'"
Heavenly Father, I confess that as good as I've tried to be, I'm still not good enough to earn eternal life. I'm a sinner. I need more than a second chance-I need a Savior. I believe Jesus, your Son, came to this world to be my Savior. So right now I place all my trust in his death on the cross as the full payment for my sin. I'm no longer trusting in my goodness, my effort, my commitment, or my consistency. I'm trusting completely in Jesus. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for giving me the promise of eternal life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Special thanks to Thomas Nelson and BookSneeze for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on amazon.com.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 10.17.10


Week #117 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, October 17th.

- Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee by Charlie Hall
- Glorified by Jared Anderson
- Nothing But the Blood by Matt Redman
- Jesus Paid It All by Kristian Stanfill
- Your Grace Is Enough by Chris Tomlin

Another great morning of worship. Loved the songs that we did today, especially Nothing But the Blood and Jesus Paid It All together as a set. Had a couple of the people on the worship team read some scripture during Nothing But the Blood. One passage was Ephesians 1.7-8a,
"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."
and the other passage was Romans 5.8-9,
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him."
Also had my team surprise me today during the service for pastor appreciation month. They got me a card, some gift cards, and even put together a lunch after church. I so appreciate all the people I get to serve with at Bethel. They are a great group of people and I definitely couldn't do this without them. They do such a great job every week.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-117/

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nudge by Leonard Sweet

Nudge by Leonard Sweet turned out to be a very different book than I thought it was going to be. "Nudge will remind you that for God to do something through us, God must be doing something in us." My premise of the book was that it was going to be techniques on how to do evangelism, but as I kept on reading, that was only part of it. The subtitle of the book is "Awakening Each Other to the God Who's Already There", but the each other can only come once we are aware of what God is doing around us. Sweet talks about how the approach to evangelism is changing. He says it's not so much about speaking anymore as it is experiencing; an experience of the five senses we all have, sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. To be honest, I'm not completely sure I agree with him. If we as believers are keenly aware of what God is doing around us, and allow that to show through us to others, I believe it can make an impact in non-believers lives. However, I don't believe that that approach by itself will make people followers of Christ. I still feel that we are going to have to talk and ask questions. He bases the book on semiotics, which he defines as reading the signs of God around us and through that evangelism happens. I believe that that is just one part of evangelism. Towards the end of the book, Sweet says this,
"Where hermeneutics is pre-occupied with meaning, semiotics (or the art and science of sign reading) is preoccupied with dancing. Semiotics is the art and science of paying attention. A spiritual semiotics is paying attention to what the Holy Spirit is up to in our world today."
I think being able to sense what the Holy Spirit is up to is important, but I think to sometimes sense what He's up to, we have to know who He is. I think the meaning (hermeneutics) side is just as important as the semiotics side. If we're evangelizing, or thinking we're evangelizing, to others based completely on senses, we may be just leaving people with a "I think I sensed something, but I'm not sure, must have been a cold chill." moment instead of really taking the time to share with them what that means. I don't think we can just focus on senses.

Now at the same time, I think Sweet's chapters on the senses have good things in them for believers. We do need to be aware of what God is doing around us and recognize those "nudges" and be able to respond to them. This is definitely a book that will challenge your thinking and hopefully make each one of use more aware of the God that is around us.

Special thanks to The B & B Media Group, Inc. and David C. Cook for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on amazon.com.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 10.10.10


Week #116 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, October 10th.

- O Worship the King by Chris Tomlin
- Glorified by Jared Anderson
- Mighty to Save by Hillsong
- Jesus Messiah by Chris Tomlin

We had a great morning today at Bethel. A great time of worshipping through songs with the body and a great message from the word. The message this morning was brought by Paul Root, who is the Church Planting Director for CONVERGE PacWest which is our region under our larger gathering of churches called CONVERGE Worldwide. He brought a message from 2 Corinthians 5.14-21 on a transformed life. It's one of our conferences focuses, to transform lives and communities with Christ's love and truth. He even shared some awesome testimonies of people in our conference that have experience incredible transformed lives because of Christ.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-116/

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 10.03.10


Week #115 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, October 3rd.

- Glorified
- All the Earth Will Sing Your Praises
- God of Wonders
- Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
- Be Thou My Vision
- Blessed Be Your Name

Another great morning of worship. Great music and a great message. We had a guest speaker this morning. Dr. Jim Cecy of Campus Bible Church and JARON Ministries was with us. He brought a great message to us on living a steadfast life; living a life of endurance with the end in mind. All in all, it was a great morning.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-115/

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 09.26.10


Week #114 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, September 26th.

- Glorified
- How Great Thou Art
- Glory to God Forever
- All Creatures of Our God and King
- My Savior My God
- Holy is the Lord

Another great morning of worship. We also did something today that we don't normally do; we did a walk-in song. We did Glorified by Jared Anderson. I gotta hand it to my team. They do such a great job with new music. I had no intention of doing this song yet. I brought it to them at rehearsal, because I knew I wanted to do it at some point sometime soon. However, they did such a great job with it, they requested to do it this morning. And a great job they did with it. It's also such a great song. Looking forward to really introducing it to our congregation soon.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-114/

Thursday, September 23, 2010

All About Worship Retreat


Coming up on May 19-21, 2011 at Grace Church in Overland Park, KS is the All About Worship Retreat! This will be the second year for the retreat, put on by the guys of AllAboutWorship.com, Wisdom Moon and Ben Abu Saada. They are a great resource for worship leaders with podcasts, videos, blog posts, and reviews. If you're involved with worship ministry, I would highly recommend that you check them out.

This would include their retreat. I had the chance to attend last year and what a great time it was. This is not your typical conference. It is a small group of people, about 60, gathered to learn and worship, but also have a time to be refreshed. Last year we were able to sit under teaching led by Dwayne Moore of Next Level Worship. He wrote a great study on worship called Pure Praise. We were also led in worship and got to spend time with Michael Farren of Pocket Full of Rocks, Jared Anderson, Darrell Evans, and Tommy Walker. We were able to spend some time with a lot of great people and build some friendships. You can check out my recaps of each day here; day 1, day 2, and day 3.

This coming year has another great line-up of artists that will be at the retreat. Michael Farren will be back again, as well as the rest of the band of Pocket Full of Rocks. Joining him will be Brenton Brown and Sarah Reeves. You can register by clicking below. There is limited space so register early and by October 1st for the best pricing.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 09.19.10


Week #113 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, September 19th.

- Hosanna
- Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King
- Here I Am to Worship
- We Fall Down
- New Doxology

What a great morning of worship. I really love the volunteers on the worship team that I get to work with every week. Praying for one of my volunteers as he leaves for UC Davis today. He has been a great asset to the team. He's been a part of the worship team since before I was there and for the last two and a half years, he's been up there pretty much every week. His main instrument is piano, but when we needed a bass player he decided to learn it. He did and became a great bass player. It's been a joy to serve with him and I wish him the best at college. We've got a real need on the worship team now, as I could really use another piano and bass player now. I know God will provide and for now we'll do the best with what we have.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-113/

Monday, September 13, 2010

Be Compassionate by Warren Wiersbe

Be Compassionate was a great book. It's a part of Warren Wiersbe's "BE" commentary series. This is the first book of that series that I have read. It is a commentary on Luke 1-13. I first heard of and was exposed to Warren Wiersbe in college and really enjoyed his writing. I've read other commentaries out there and this by far in my mind is one of the better ways I've seen one written. I felt as if I was sitting in a service listening to a sermon series on Luke 1-13. It's not so much that every verse is highlighted, but the important parts are and the context is there. He does a fantastic job of continuing the theme of how Christ lived a life full of compassion throughout the entire book. Warren Wiersbe is a great man of God that has definitely spent his whole life in the Word and it shows. He has a great understanding of it and knows how to explain it. I'm sure this book will turn in to a great resource to be pulled off the shelf time and time again. Makes me want to get as much of the rest of the "BE" series as I can. This is an updated version from the earlier printings and what is also great about this one is the study questions at the end of each chapter, great for personal study or small group discussions. I did not focus a lot of time on those for this reading and review, but it will most likely be something that I will go back through and complete at a later time.

Special thanks to The B & B Media Group, Inc. and David C. Cook for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on amazon.com.

Sunday Setlist - 09.12.10


Week #112 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, September 12th.

- Everlasting God
- Your Name
- Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Travis Cottrell version)
- Enough

Another wonderful morning with the family of God at Bethel. We're still in chapter 11 of Hebrews in the midst of our Hebrews series and today we talked about Joshua and Rahab. The story of Rahab still amazes me. Here's this woman who was a prostitute that hid the spies Joshua sent out and is also included in the genealogy of our Lord, Jesus Christ. A wonderful picture of the love of a Father to all people, no matter what we have done in the past. He love us and will use us in ways we may not understand, but His ways are not our ways and His thoughts, higher than ours. Truly amazing! It was also nice to have my parents there too. They are visiting from Ohio for the next week. I pray that God touched the hearts of those that were there. For some reason, personally I was very distracted. I'm not even sure what about, just wasn't completely focused, so I hope that wasn't a distraction to people.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-112/

Friday, September 10, 2010

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

Max Lucado has written another great book with Outlive Your Life. I have really enjoyed reading his books and I love the way he writes. The writing is so solid, but I love the way he takes creative liberties with his stories and illustrations. He is a fantastic writer and his heart for it definitely comes through. He's passionate and wants to share that with his readers.

The sub-title for this book is "You Were Made to Make a Difference." A calling that is so applicable today just as it was for the first century church. Max takes the premise of this book from the opening chapters in the book of Acts. It was a time when the church exploded and were completely radical in their faith. I don't think it's any coincidence that I have been hearing messages and seeing other books being written on this topic. In the opening chapter of this book, Max tells a fable of a captain who lands on a group of islands and witnesses two very different qualities of life. He asks someone on the island where the quality of life is better, why it is so much better, and this guy responds, "Father Benjamin." The captains asks the guy to take him to where he lives, so takes him to all these places, but has yet to see him. The captain finally asks if he can talk to Father Benjamin, and the guy responds, no, because he has been dead for some time. The captain is confused, but then the guy says, you didn't ask about his death, but about where he lives, so they showed the captain that. It was because of how he lived that all these people had life. He had made a difference. Living your life to make a difference is not selfish, but a life of service.
"These are difficult days in our world's history. 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, natural disasters are gouging entire nations, and economic uncertainty still reigns across the globe. But you and I have been given an opportunity to make a big difference. What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope? Infiltrated all corners with God's love and life? We are created by a great God to do great works. He invites us to outlive our lives, not just in heaven, but here on earth. Let's live our lives in such a way that the world will be glad we did."
We are called to live and be like Christ. Jesus Christ lived his life in a way that made a difference for everyone else. So why shouldn't we try to do the same. Now obviously we can't become a savior, but we can still make a difference, even if it ends up affecting just one person. We were being the church. This book was a challenge to me and I'm sure one that I will be reading quite often as a reminder.

Special thanks to Thomas Nelson and BookSneeze for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on amazon.com.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 09.05.10


Week #111 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, September 5th.

- Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
- Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
- Mighty to Save
- Shout to the Lord

I was away this past Sunday, but had one of my worship team members lead. He's done it for me in the past and always does a great job. I'm very thankful to have some people that can take the lead in my absence.

I was in Leavenworth, Kansas (outside Kansas City) this past weekend for a memorial service for my wife's grandmother. It was a tough weekend, but also a sweet weekend with a lot of family celebrating the life of Grace Thengvall (10.17.19-8.25.10). While there we had the opportunity to worship with the family of High Prairie Church. This is the church that my wife's grandparents, aunt, and uncle attend. A nice, small, country church with a lot of great people. The day of the memorial service they provided lunch for us. All I could think of was a great picture of the church being the church. It was a great Sunday morning as well. One of their young adults was leaving for Lebanon to teach english as a school there. It was a morning of commissioning her to go out and share Jesus with others. The pastor brought a message on that same idea, from Matthew 28.19. Here is the setlist from High Prairie Church.

- All Hail King Jesus
- We've A Story to Tell to the Nations
- Doxology
- Send the Light
- People Need the Lord

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-111/

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 08.29.10


Week #110 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, August 29th.

- How Great Thou Art (Paul Baloche version)
- How He Loves
- Jesus Paid It All (Kristian Stanfill version)
- Glory to God Forever/The Stand

What a great morning of worship. We did How He Loves for the second week and it was great to hear everyone singing, especially with it being a new song. Another combination that worked really well together was Glory to God Forever with the chorus to The Stand; same key and chord structure and with the lyrics it works perfectly to go back into the bridge of Glory to God Forever to finish it out. Overall a great morning. We also shared with our people the launch of our home groups ministry. Lots of people involved in putting it together and looks like lots of people are wanting to get involved. We'll see what God decides to do with that in the life of our church.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-110/

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Worship Mythbuster: yes, worship leading is pastoring!

This post comes to us today from Rich Kirkpatrick, with his permission! You can see the original post over at his blog at rkweblog.com.

Worship Mythbusters

Do we lead worship to impress or engage people to life change? Leading worship is actually part of any pastor’s heart if we look at it that way.

As worship leaders we provide a safe place to meet God. We design experiences that are based biblically on truth, decoding the culture while engaging people in drawing nearer to God.



What do you think: is worship leading pastoring or something else? (If you choose to leave a comment here, please go to his blog and leave the same comment there.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

John Mark McMillan | The Medicine

The Medicine by John Mark McMillan is a great album. I first heard of McMillan after hearing the song How He Loves being picked up by different artists. After listening to this album, McMillan's lyrics seem so honest and real. The melodic lines and his arrangements are very intriguing. You can't help but get caught up in the music. A lot of the songs on this album came out of a troubling time for McMillan and it's those raw lyrics that make this album so great. Personally, I'm not sure how many of these songs would work in my church for corporate worship, but I'm sure there's a place for them somewhere in a worship service depending on the elements of the service.

Death In His Grave: I love the picture that this song paints about what our Savior did for us on the cross. I also love the way he uses the word death in the lyrics. Even though are Savior was condemned to death, in this song there was victory over death and it was placed in the grave that was meant for our Lord, the grave that couldn't contain Him. On Friday a thief, on Sunday a King, laid down in grief, but awoke with keys, of Hell on that day, the first born of the slain, the Man Jesus Christ, laid death in his grave.

How He Loves: This is a song the church that has become an anthem in the church today. I introduced it to my church for the first time this morning. I love the lyrics he chooses to get across the true force of the love of God and how overwhelming His grace is. What a great song for the church to be able to sing when we feel like all is lost. We have a song that can help us remember how much He loves us. He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy. If grace is an ocean we're all sinking. How he loves us so.

Check out the video below as John Mark McMillan shares the story behind the song How He Loves.



You can purchase the CD here on amazon.com or download it here on iTunes.

Sunday Setlist - 08.22.10


Week #109 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, August 22nd.

- Happy Day
- The Lord Reigns
- O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing (David Crowder version)
- It Is Well (Todd Fields version)
- How He Loves
- I Am Yours (Take My Life)



This morning we had a praise service focusing on the faithfulness of God. I believe it fell at a perfect time as we're in the midst of a series in the book of Hebrews and the last couple weeks we've been in chapter 11, the great faith chapter of the Bible. I filled up the platform with a very full worship team which was awesome. They all did a great job. We spent some time allowing people to share testimonies of how God has proved faithful in their lives. We also spent some time in prayer for those that feel faithless. We definitely wanted to focus on the great things, but I felt like it had to go beyond that, because the truth is we all struggle especially in these tough times. I pray that those that are feeling like God isn't around in their lives, that they would be encouraged. At that point, I shared the song story video on How He Loves by John Mark McMillan and then introduced the song for the first time. I believe they really grabbed hold of it. It was a great morning of worship and it's my prayer that everyone was blessed in a mighty way.



To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-109/

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Carlos Whittaker | Ragamuffin Soul

Integrity Music has another great album with Ragamuffin Soul by Carlos Whittaker. I first heard of Carlos when I attended Catalyst West in 2009 and then this past year in 2010 he led worship at a few of the sessions. He has a fantastic blog by the same name at Ragamuffin Soul and you can also follow him on twitter at @loswhit. It's been a blessing to get a glimpse into his life through his blog and twitter. And now you get a glimpse into who he is as a worshipper and one of the ways he worships, through his music. This is a great project with some great songs that share his heart and can also be used by others in the local church.

Rain It Down: So often in the Old Testament we see God providing for His people by raining down manna from heaven to feed and sustain them. Here is a song with a cry from the hearts of people for our Father to rain down His love on us in whatever situation we find ourselves in. Come Lord we're thirsty now, come Lord and rain it down, rain down on us.

We Will Worship: This is a great song that I think the church can really grab a hold of if they become honest with themselves, including myself. The lyrics are tough but are so true. So often we become comfortable in this life as Christians, but I believe God has called us to be so much more than comfortable in this life. Save us from these comforts, break us of our need for the familiar, spare us any joy that's not of You and we will worship You.

God of Second Chances: This is a song of outreach, but also a song that believers should not forget. We don't deserve the life that God gave us through His son Jesus Christ, but He gave us a second chance. He loves us and gave us the wonderful gift through His son. You’re the God of second chances, You're the God who still romances, we're in awe before You now and our hearts are bowing down. You're the God of all the ages, who are we that You would save us, we're in awe before You now and our hearts are crying out.

Check out this video of Carlos. He's singing God of Second Chances when up walks this homeless man named Danny. Out of nowhere Danny sits beside Carlos and starts singing with him. Listen all the way to end.



You can download the CD here on iTunes.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hillsong Live | A Beautiful Exchange

Hillsong Live has given us another fantastic worship album with A Beautiful Exchange. This album holds a collection of songs that come straight from the heart of a body of believers that are seeking hard after God. After listening to the album, these aren't just words put to music, these are prayers that are set to music and offered as worship to a Holy God, a God of love, a God who saves. These are all songs that are set in a vertical setting, they're being sung to God, not about God. I think these are exactly the type of songs the church needs. We have so many songs that are in the context of singing about God, we need songs that are sung to Him. These are songs that I believe the church can connect with.

Our God Is Love: An upbeat song, and as the opening track on the CD this would also be a great song as an opening of a service as a call to worship. Every soul every beating heart, every nation and every tongue. Come find hope in the love of the Father. All creation will bow as one. Lift their eyes, see the risen Son, Jesus, Saviour forever and after.

Open My Eyes: Another upbeat song with a lot of energy and the musical arrangement is great. I like this song because there is already an understanding by the believer on the greatness of God, but there is also a longing to continue to learn more. So open my eyes oh God, open my eyes to see all the wonders and the power of Your name. By Your grace I’ll live, by Your grace I’ll see, for my life and my salvation is in You.

Forever Reign: I believe this is an anthem that the church at large can really grab hold of. It's a little slower with a melody that is easy to catch on to. In times of such uncertainty, when we feel like there's nothing left, we have a God who loves us and has outstretched His arms for us to run into, a picture of the cross and salvation. 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.

You can purchase the CD here on amazon.com or download it here on iTunes.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Setlist - 08.15.10


Week #108 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, August 15th.

- O Worship the King
- Fairest (with Fairest Lord Jesus)
- Holy is the Lord
- Your Grace Is Enough

Another great morning of worship. I'm so thankful for the team I get to work with. I took a quick little surprise trip to see my family in Michigan, so we didn't have rehearsal. The team did extremely well with the songs with just a run-through this morning. Overall the songs flowed really well this morning. So grateful to worship a great God!

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out TheWorshipCommunity.com at http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/sunday-setlists-108/