Here is my worship confessional for April 26th, 2009 at LowCountry Community Church - Hilton Head Island Campus.
Preparing dinner for our family is tough. First of all, cooking is not a pleasure for me. I do not like to cook and I'm not really good at it. My husband is the chef in the family...a little of this and a little of that and he has a masterpiece! However, we cannot afford to eat his meals a lot of times (I meant it, he is REALLY a good cook!) We both work and during the week, we are running just like everyone else. Todd gets to prepare a gourmet meal every now and then (when I can budget one) and he helps with most meals during the week (aren't you jealous, girls?) I do not believe in the "fix everyone what they want" mentality. We also eat out WAY to much and since we are Dave Ramseyites, that is out of the question. With all of that said, I have been looking for 10 meals that EVERYONE likes to prepare on a regular basis. These are meals we have on hand that are easy to prepare with just a little bit of thought. Why 10? Our budget and our schedule dictates that we can eat dinner at home no more than 5 times a week...thus 10 meals per pay check. Well, folks, I have found them! Click here to see the meal plan.
Raising children has given me such perspective on the issue of our taking care of the world around me. I have made great strides with Sydney as a preschooler to teach her that God made the world and everything in it (Acts 17:24a.) and that He has asked us to take care of it (Gen 1:26.) This is why we conserve water by brushing our teeth and not letting the water run. This is why we take our plastic bags back to Publix to recycle. This is why we color on both sides of our paper. I admit, I have a long way to go in certain areas of doing more for the environment (I love water bottles!) But, it has become a spiritual issue for me. I cannot walk around in defiance and ignorance. I CAN contribute to taking better care of the world around me. I need to learn to do it better and I want my kids to grow up understanding that this is important. So whether "green is your thing" or not, you can't ignore it that you can make a contribution to taking better care of God's world.
One of my favorite hymns was written by Maltbie D. Babcock in 1901.
While a pastor in Lockport, New York, Babcock liked to hike in an area called “the escarpment,” an ancient upthrust ledge near Lockport. It had a marvelous view of farms, orchards, and Lake Ontario, about 15 miles distant. It is said those walks in the woods inspired these lyrics. The title recalls an expression Babcock used when starting a walk: “I’m going out to see my Father’s world.”
This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!
This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.
I open my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.
This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.
This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.
I took a vacation last week for everything (including blogging and twittering!) so I'm back in the swing of it now...even if this is a couple of days late:)
The weekend after Easter is always the week that I make EVERY effort to plan worship that is very familiar and focuses on who God is and celebrating what He has done regardless of the message series we are currently doing. There is a natural "down" feeling after the hype of Easter. I think I have taken vacation almost every year the week after Easter weekend. We had the Verizon Heritage Golf Tournament this week, so people get out of here or attend the tournament and our Sunday attendance reflects that fact. We kicked off a new message series called "My House." We are taking a room in the house every week for 7 weeks and evaluating how our "houses" measure up to God's standard for our lives. I'm very excited about it. John, our Tech Pastor, did a cool bumper video for it...I'll try to upload it over the next few weeks in a post... my very favorite he has done thus far! Here was our service..
"Marvelous Light" - Hall
"Alleluia (More Than Worthy) - Carr
Message Series Set-up
Missionary interview - video
Time of Response
"Jesus Messiah" - Tomlin
"How Great is Our God w/How Great Thou Art" - Tomlin
My worship confessional will tell you more and especially the part where I am SO glad God gave me a really good ear :) I'm having a little trouble with audio and video matching up, so this is a little funky - I'll work on it for next time...
My thoughts as a Worship Leader on Sunday, April 19th, 2009 at LowCountry Community Church - Hilton Head Island, SC, USA
We had 3 services this weekend...1 Saturday night and 2 Sunday morning. This week is the Heritage Golf Tournament which means all the schools take Spring Break this week. Let's just say it was VERY difficult to get volunteers to serve since most were out of town. I was a little nervous about the whole weekend because of that and as usual, there was no reason to be. The volunteers we had STEPPED IT UP and I even had an extra video person for Sunday (thanks, Charlie!) For me, Easter is always a strange service to plan and a strange service to lead worship. In every church I have served, you have the most visitors so they don't know the songs you choose. As worship leaders and creative directors, I know we never want anything that we do to be a distraction to people meeting God for the 1st time. I LABOR over the song choices and service elements...praying and asking God what to do. I made a change the week before on one song because I sensed it wasn't the right choice and after the weekend services, I knew God led me to make that change because it was the RIGHT change! Here was our service order. I am listing the name of the worship leader, not necessarily the author that we used the arrangement for on these songs.
"You're Alive" - Tim Hughes
Scripture Reading - Matthew 28 (The MSG)
"Happy Day" - Kristian Stanfill
"How He Loves" - Kim Walker
"To Bring You Back" - Paul Allen
Prayer of Invitation/Wrap
"Sing Sing Sing" - Chris Tomlin
We did not do our usual worship stations and time of response at the end of our service for a couple of reasons. First, I have a strong belief in not doing communion on Easter because it is the celebration of Christ being alive. Also, because our room is small, we were concerned about having enough space since our worship stations are positioned along our walls. We did need the space for the last service as we were at capacity, so that was a good choice. We also premiered "THE WALL" which is a space we have created in our worship center for local artists to show their work. This is a dream come true in in our worship space. Thanks to Jen for ALL her hard work putting it together!
Pastor Jeff spoke on Christ being "The Locator" in our lives - doing whatever it takes to find us. If you haven't seen this show on the WE network - you gotta see it. Troy Dunn is "The Locator" and he connects people with lost family members. We used an edited portion of the show as the lead in video - it was powerful. We found a great song, "To Bring You Back", that pulled it altogether at the end. Pastor Jeff set the song up at the end of his message and we performed it live at both campuses. We use a DVD of our Pastor's message every week, but the way it flowed this weekend, I bet some people thought it was live! (Our Bluffton Campus had a Friday night service so we taped that one and used it all weekend on our campus.)
We had 231 people in attendance which is highest ever in our 18-month life as a church campus. We had 4 people we know accepted Christ. To God be the glory!
Over the next 3 days, the world is once again confronted with the question that is asked every year..."What will you do with Jesus?" Will you deny His claim, simply ignore Him, investigate Him, embrace Him, or worship Him? I have had all of the responses mentioned above except one. I have never denied Christ's claim that He is the Son of God and was sent to this earth as the sacrifice for mankind to be redeemed from our sin. As a kid, this was something I was taught. However, when I was old enough to find out for myself and "get to the bottom of all of this", the proof of Christ's claim was overwhelming. I have to admit there have been seasons of my life that I have ignored Him. The truth of who He is never changed-I just chose to live my life outside of it. What is your answer? Maybe you never thought about the fact that you do answer this question every year at Easter. What will you do with Jesus this year? This isn't a pitch for you to attend one of our Easter Services at LowCountry Community Church. Don't get me wrong-We would love to have you! But just attending church on Easter weekend doesn't answer the question.
Yesterday was just a great day of worship...I felt that people really came to worship God. Bill did an amazing job on "Beautiful the Blood." The highlight for me was our Response Time. I lifted the cello and flute parts from the recording of "Child of God" and our players executed them with such grace and musicality - it was unbelievable! Going out of that into "Our God Reigns" and just letting that happen as the Spirit led us was such a great experience. I love being able to switch between acoustic and keys now depending on the song. It has created such diversity for me as a worship leader. Here was our service:
"Awesome is the Lord" - Tomlin
"O Praise Him" - Crowder
Scripture Reading - Psalm 25
"Beautiful the Blood" - Fee
Time of Response
"Child of God" - Vineyard
"Our God Reigns" - Passion
As a leader of artists in my church, I deeply desire that all of us pursue a fully devoted life to Jesus Christ. We all love our music, art, and creative outlets, but IS our desire toward God first and foremost and serving others? We have great conversation about God and our spiritual journey (I love having multiple services because of the "chat" time) but are we "working it out?" God has been answering me very specifically that my "job" is to model it, talk about it, pray for them to do it, and give HUGE kudos when I see is happening. My cellist, Rob Rechey, is a Senior in High School. In the last 2 years, God has done some really cool things in his life (through the ministry of our AMAZING High School pastor, Rob Jacobs) and by being a part of our worship team. He is leaving in 2 months to return to Mexico and attend college (his parents live here.) Rob showed up at 9 AM this morning to translate all our announcements into Spanish today for our Easter Egg Hunt. I just wanted to give him the biggest bear hug when I saw him today. He was simply serving. I can't help but smile :) and I know My Father is smiling, too.
This is the stack of books that I am reading. This is pathetic. I have almost finished some of them. I have barely started some of them. This pile stares at me every night before bed and I'm tired of looking at it. Here's the deal...by August 15, the pile will be gone. Said it, wrote it, and now on to making it happen!