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

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sunday Setlist - 05.29.11

Week #149 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, May 29th.

- Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee by Charlie Hall
- New Doxology by Gateway Worship
- Jesus Saves by Tim Hughes
- All the Earth Will Sing Your Praises by Travis Cottrell

It was a good morning at Bethel. We continued in our new series in the book of Acts with the witnessing part of chapter 1. I really wanted to find a song that would fit well with that and remembered Jesus Saves by Tim Hughes. I brought it to the team at rehearsal that night and they picked it up right away. It's such a great song and I was pleased to find that it also worked well with our smaller, more acoustic sounding worship team. I also believe the congregation connected with it also. We'll be doing it again in the coming weeks and the evaluating to see whether or not it will join the rotation. I'm continually amazed at the team that God has blessed me with. They do an incredible job week in and week out. As it is Memorial Day weekend, we played the below video in honor of those that gave their lives in service to our country.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out at

Monday, May 23, 2011

Jump by Efrem Smith

I have enjoyed picking up just about anything that I can get my hands on to read, and at first I wasn't so sure about this book, Jump: Into a Life of Further and Higher by Efrem Smith. However, after reading it, I'm very glad I did. Smith begins by sharing some facts regarding the African Impala. They were created to jump and are able to jump 13 feet up and 30 feet out. However ones that are in captivity can be contained by a three foot wall. How? They won't jump because they can't see where they're landing. It's so true in our lives as well. We have been called to live by faith and not by sight and we too are caught behind walls because we can't see what's on the other side. Smith writes this, "We were born to make faith jumps. To soar into a world of possibility, to advance God's kingdom, to move higher in our relationship with Christ. Yet too often we find ourselves afraid and held captive by small barriers that appear larger than they really are." Now the book and idea isn't about making blind jumps just to jump. It's about making jumps because we have faith in the God who knows our landing. Smith focuses on seven areas where we can make jumps; 1) the connection between us and our heavenly father, 2) that we know that we are beloved, 3) the jump into a community of believers, 4) reconciling our differences and helping build up the body of Christ, 5) engaging the culture, 6) loving and sharing Christ with the people where we live, and 7) our marriage. Ultimately the subject of this book is our relationship with God. That's where it needs to start. "Jumping is the difference between a limited life and a liberated life, between just getting by and going further and higher. What about you, are you ready to jump?"
"In our relationship with God, it's not just about making a jump; it's about trusting the One we're connected to, even though we can't always see the destination. The key is to abide in God through Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit."
Special thanks to and the Vine Program for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Setlist - 05.22.11

Week #148 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, May 22nd.

- O Worship the King by Chris Tomlin
- Blessings by Laura Story (special music)
- Glory to God Forever by Steve Fee
- Hear Our Praises by Reuben Morgan
- Shine Jesus Shine by Graham Kendrick

Well, I thought this was going to turn into a very interesting weekend, but it ended up being just fine. I was away all day Saturday and when I returned home I had a voicemail and text from my pastor saying that he might not be at church in the morning because he pulled both his hamstrings. The back-up plan was to make the service a prayer/praise service. Slight panic as I only had four songs chosen. Also a couple of those songs were picked to fit the message. The only option I felt I had was to get to the church early this morning and prepare an alternate setlist in case our pastor couldn't be there. Typically on a Sunday morning I don't get there until about 8:30, but this morning I was there just after 7:00. I knew the songs would have to be ones that were fairly familiar as we wouldn't have rehearsed any of them and probably wouldn't have time to run through all of them before the service. I was able to put a setlist together and was just about ready to print off everything when I received a text from my pastor saying that he would be at church for the service. It made for an early morning and some extra work, but I felt it was what I had to do to be prepared, and at the very least, I have a setlist all ready made up for some time in the future.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out at

Friday, May 20, 2011

Radical Together by David Platt

Back in December I had the privilege to read and review David Platt's first book Radical, so when I heard he had come out with his second book Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God, I couldn't wait to read and review it also. If you've read Radical, you will be very familiar with the topic of this book. David Platt challenges believers to return to a gospel-centered vision; a vision that is radical compared to the Christian life we've been accustomed to lately. In Radical, Platt makes the challenge to the individual believer, but Radical Together takes in one step forward; a challenge to the fellowship of believers, the church, to carry out the purpose of God in the world. Platt says this in the opening chapter, "In Radical Together, I want to consider what happens, or can happen, when we apply the revolutionary claims and commands of Christ to our communities of faith. I want to contemplate the force of a people who come together to enjoy God's grace in the church while they extend God's glory in the world. And I want to propose that a movement of such people in such churches has the potential to permeate nations with the praise of God." The way that we as believers will begin to live radically personally and corporately is if we return to the Word and the Gospel that saved us. God and His Word is the power behind this whole idea and the only way that it will happen. What I love about Platt's insight is that he's making a call for the church because he's in the midst of this himself with his church. The motivation behind this book is for sure the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but it's also from his own personal experience. This book is going to cause you to re-evaluate your life and your life together with the community of believers in your church. He's not asking us to do something that hasn't affected him. This isn't going to be easy and he shares that it's not. You may have to possibly change something that is good because it's not allowing for the best to happen through the church. Be prepared to do a lot of thinking. This isn't the easy post to write because there's so much that I'm working through personally to re-evaluate how I'm living my life according to God's purpose. Then that being put into practice, spilling out into the life of the church, and then the church being unleashed for the purpose of God.

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

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

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Unleashed by Erwin McManus

Unleashed: Release the Untamed Faith Within is the first book that I have read by Erwin McManus. I have seen him speak at the Catalyst West Coast conference back in 2009 and was very intrigued with his creativity in bringing a message. This book is no different. It was previously released in 2005 under a different title, The Barbarian Way. When I first read that, I wasn't sure what to think as barbarian doesn't have the greatest ring to it; it speaks to me of someone that is a rebel, completely against you, and won't conform with the masses. And as I kept reading I still found that to be true, but through McManus' creative style of communication, he completely flips the traditional context of the word barbarian and turns it into a way of thinking and a way of life for the Christian. He says this on the back cover of the book; "Jesus never made a pristine call to a proper or safe religion. Jesus beckons His followers to a path that is far from the easy road. This is the barbarian way: to give your heart to the only One who can make you fully alive. To love Him with simplicity and and intensity. To unleash the untamed faith within. To be consumed by the presence of a passionate and compassionate God. To go where He sends you, no matter the cost." McManus says that Christianity has become civilized and safe and I believe he has a point. So McManus uses the picture of a barbarian to challenge us to break free of that safe, religious idea of Christianity and to look at in a barbaric, uncivilized manner. It's about realizing that there is more to this life than what most Christians have made it out to be and it's going to take a huge step of faith. It's a life that needs to be changed for me personally, as I think I've become very accustomed to the safe, easy, and comfortable life of a Christian.
"The barbarian way is a journey that discovers the power of an untamed faith. And while this journey may genuinely the narrow road that Jesus spoke of where very few enter in, what I do know is that if you choose this path, you will for the very first time live a life completely unleashed."
Erwin McManus
Special thanks to Thomas Nelson and BookSneeze for providing this complimentary book to read and review. You can purchase the book here on

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Handle With Prayer by Charles Stanley

Charles Stanley's book Handle With Prayer: Unwrap the Source of God's Strength for Living, originally released in 2000 is a great book for any believer. He write this on the back cover, "Prayer is essential to the life of every believer. It connects us with our heavenly Father and opens the door for Him to move in our lives, to impact our circumstances, and to help us make wise choices. Yet few of us would claim to enjoy a satisfying prayer life. So how can we begin to cultivate a prayer life that truly makes a difference?" Personally this is an area that I struggle with. The concepts and insights that Charles Stanley has definitely come from a life that is cultivated by prayer. Stanley tackles multiple areas in this book, including 1) How to pray with authority, 2) How to receive answers to prayer, 3) Why prayers can seem to go unanswered, 4) How to pray in God's will, and 5) How to pray for others. It's definitely not an easy book to go through, and it's one I'm sure I will come back to. A lot of times I find myself reading fast through some of these books and then feeling like I didn't get a lot out of it when I'm done. I once again felt that way with this book, but it's not because of the book but because of me. I can say though that throughout reading this book, I was constantly thinking about how my own prayer life was stacking up to what Stanley is talking about. I can tell you that I've been convicted that my prayer life is not where it should be. This book can and I believe will serve as a catalyst for people to take a long, hard look at their prayer life and act on it; either continuing in their life of prayer or like me, learning how to cultivate a life of prayer. In the back of this book, Charles Stanley has provided a resource for large or small group settings. Prayer is private and corporate and as this book affects those who read it, the chance to gather with others and continue to grow together in community will further cultivate a life of prayer in the lives of those in the study.

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

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Setlist - 05.15.11

Week #147 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, May 15th.

- Everlasting God by Brenton Brown
- O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing by David Crowder
- Glorified by Jared Anderson
- Happy Day by Tim Hughes
- The Lord Reigns by Gateway Worship

What a day today at church. Today was Vision Sunday at Bethel. For the past 90 days our pastor and elders have been seeking what God has for our church for the next five years through 2016. The past couple years haven't been easy as we've had our rough spots, seen a decline in attendance, etc. and realized we just didn't have a focus of where our church was going. We have a mission statement, but as a church we had no vision statement. We brought in a consultant who spent the day with the leadership of the church and that's what set us on this path that brought us to today. It hasn't been an easy 90 days for our pastor and elders as they have been meeting pretty much every week since mid-February. There has been much dialogue and prayer in multiple meetings with the congregation. A lot of revising and reformatting, but today the church was presented with the vision. As much as it's a vision for the church, it's also a vision for ourselves personally. There isn't any great new idea within the vision, but it's a vision that is how the life of any Christ follower should be. For our church it's a huge vision and one that can only be accomplished by God. I'm not gonna lie and say it's going to be easy because it's not. It's gonna take a lot of time and effort. Our church is going to be stretched, the ministries in the church are going to be stretched and personally we're all going to be stretched. It's just my prayer that I'm personally up to the challenge. I would ask that all of you remember our church, me and the worship ministry in your prayers. We're going to need it. So here the vision for Bethel Baptist Church for the next five years through 2016 is that we would be:
A dynamic community of 600 joyful believers experiencing the life-transforming power of Jesus Christ, our hearts ablaze with love for God, love for one another, and love for a needy world; where the atmosphere is charged with inspirational teaching, fervent prayer, passionate worship, extravagant generosity, and a spirit of expectancy, all to the glory of God.
To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out at

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sunday Setlist - 05.08.11

Week #146 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, May 8th.

- Open the Eyes of My Heart by Paul Baloche
- Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King by Gateway Worship
- How Great Thou Art by Paul Baloche
- Holy is the Lord by Chris Tomlin

A very late post this week. My sister was in town, so right after the service we were heading down to Yosemite National Park for a few days there. Then when I got back and finally had time to sit down and write this post, blogger was down. Better late than never I guess. It was a wonderful Mother's Day at Bethel. We had a great time of singing and then a chance to let all the moms in our congregation stand so we could recognize them and cheer for them. It was cool to hear everyone cheering for all the moms. Then our pastor brought us a message on the love of God. A perfect message for Mother's Day, but one that speaks to everyone, not just the moms. You can listen to the message here.

This doesn't have anything to do with our Sunday service, but I want to share with everyone a picture of where I was earlier this week, Yosemite National Park. If you have never been there, you need to get there at some point. You can't but marvel at the beauty of the park and knowing the One who put it all there. Yosemite holds a special place in my heart as I had the opportunity to work and serve in a ministry there in the summer of 2006. I was there with A Christian Ministry in the National Parks. It's a phenomenal organization and it was truly a blessing to serve with them and minister to all the people that came to Yosemite that summer. The picture below is what they call the "Tunnel View." El Capitan in the large rock face on the left, Cathedral Rocks and Bridalveil Falls on the right, and in the back in the middle is Half Dome. That view never gets old!

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out at

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Setlist - 05.01.11

Week #145 of Sunday Setlists. Here is our setlist for Sunday, May 1st.

- Chosen Generation by Chris Tomlin
- Mighty to Save by Hillsong
- It Is Well by Todd Fields
- Healer by Kari Jobe (special music)
- Blessed Be Your Name by Matt Redman

Another good morning at Bethel. We had a couple speak this morning during our service and our Revive teaching hour. They brought us a message on a Journey Through Loss & Grief. Tony and Bonnie Redfern run a counseling ministry called New Path Center is Kingsburg, CA. Their message this morning came out of their own dealing with the loss of their son about 15 years ago. Through their faith they have great insight into dealing with loss and grief. They will admit that their journey has not been easy, but their experience and their counseling background has given them a great platform to now help others deal with these same issues. I didn't know know a lot of exact info on what they would be speaking about but I tried as best I could to fit the music with this topic. I believe that came out well with songs like It Is Well, Blessed Be Your Name, and Healer, which my wife sang as special music this morning. I believe the Lord was honored and this had an impact on people this morning.

To check out what others are doing in their services and learn more about what Sunday Setlists is all about, check out at