This post is part of the Sunday Setlist blog carnival at Fred McKinnon's worship blog. Click here for setlists from around the world!
Today at Fellowship North we began a new message series entitled "Warrior." It is intentionally targeted at men, driving home the point the Jesus is not an emasculated, pacificistic man with a lamb draped across his shoulders, skipping down the road, holding hands with children, singing the Barney song. Great start to what promises to be a very strong and challenging series.
Our worship leader was Jeff. He led vocally and on acoustic guitar. Our songs had strong words, nothing too wimpy or ethereal.
"Awesome Is The Lord Most High" - Tomlin
"Let God Arise" - Tomlin
Msg Part 1
"Mighty To Save" (v. 2 out) - Hillsong
"My Redeemer Lives" - Hillsong
Msg Part 2 w/Braveheart "Freedom" scene embedded
Reprise - "Let God Arise" (band v. 2 out/singers sing v. 1 not v. 2)
Pastor Randy sent out the weekly FNC newsletter today - I read it and had to share part of it here. I plan to spend the rest of today praying through the question at the end of the letter: what's your life purpose statement? "I Live To..." Seriously, how would I end that sentence? How would YOU end that sentence? Think about it. Pray about it. Write it down. Tell someone. Then live it.
This post is part of Sunday Setlists at Fred McKinnon's worship blog...click HERE for more worship setlists from around the globe!
Pastor Randy began a new series today called Hungry...here's an excerpt from the Fellowship North blog describing the series.
The fact is, we Americans like to feed our faces, but what about our souls? Do you ever crave God’s truth? Or desire to read His words as much as you long for chocolate? During the month of August, we will learn to feast on Scripture as we learn to feed ourselves!
time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a
famine on the land—not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the
words of the Lord. People will stagger everywhere from sea to sea,
searching for the word of the Lord, running here and going there, but
they will not find it. Beautiful girls and fine young men will grow faint and weary, thirsting for the Lord's word."
Randy threw down a couple of great challenges for us - you just might have to order the CD and hear the whole message - sorry, we're not podcast savvy yet! All in all a great day, thematically tied together. Bread metaphor for Communion was powerful.10:27 Countdown video
Today's theme at Fellowship North was the sorbet between main courses - just wrapped up "Leaving A Legacy" last week and begin "Hungry" next week. Pastor Randy and the Africa team gave testimonies from recent trips to Burundi & Rwanda. I shared about Adele.
Randy used a Dr. Seuss book, "On Beyond Zebra" as theme for the day. In it, the narrator of the story explains the alphabet to his young friend Conrad Cornelius o’Donald o’Dell,
“most people stop” with the Z . . . . BUT NOT ME! In the places I go there are things that I see That I never could spell if I stopped with the Z. I’m telling you this ‘cause you’re one of my friends, My alphabet starts where your alphabet ends!"
We were challenged to live our lives beyond the ordinary. To see what new adventures and experiences might be beyond what we already know and can see. To have faith in the unseen, trusting fully in the God who knows the plans He has for us (Jer. 29:11).
We planned for four songs, but only had time for three. We'll make up for it this coming week!
10:25 Summer Countdown video
10:30 Welcome/Opening story - Randy
10:40 "Everyday" - Key of G
10:45 "I Stand Medley" - Key of F - ("I Stand" + double chorus of "I Stand in Awe of You")
10:50 Prayer - Helen
10:52 Meet Greet Seat - Helen
10:54 Message - Randy & Africa team
[should have done "Jesus Paid It All" at this point]
11:40 Reprise - "Everyday" - offering during this song
11:43 Wrap/Dismiss - Randy
This setlist is part of a global blog carnival called Sunday Setlists - this week SS is celebrating their 1 year anniversary - 52 weeks of worship setlists from literally around the world - stop by, make a comment, post your own setlist (even if you're not a worship leader, post the setlist from the church you attended).
I gotta be honest: today at Fellowship North Church it felt slightly vanilla. Not from lack of planning. And the guest speaker, Byron Weathersbee, was great, wrapping up a 4-week series on Leaving A Legacy. I think the heat was a major factor. Although the church is air-conditioned, outside temps shot up to 113 today. Attendance was a little low - I think summer numbers have finally kicked in. People are escaping to California and other cooler places on the weekends. It's supposed to cool off this week. Hopefully down to 100 by the weekend (chilly).
Q: What do you do when summer kicks in and you feel like your creativity is languishing in the heat?
A: You can be inspired by other Sunday Setlists from some great churches HERE!
10:25 Summer Countdown
10:30 "Sing To The King" - the classic
10:35 Welcome - Randy
10:38 "My Savior Lives" - new life worship
10:43 Meet Greet Seat - Patty
10:45 Scripture/Praise - Pam
10:48 "My Redeeming King" - Jadon Lavik
10:53 Scripture/Praise - Pam & audience read out loud
10:55 "How Great Is Our God" - Tomlin
11:00 Prayer/Praise - Pam
11:02 - Teaching - Byron
11:42 - reprise "My Savior Lives" - offering during this song
11:45 - Dismiss - Randy
On July 12 at Fellowship North Church, we had a guest speaker named Byron Weathersbee. He and his wife, Carla, co-founded Legacy Family Ministries which focuses on marriage preparation for engaged couples and also includes ministry to students, couples and families. He is a very personable, engaging communicator, and a part-time professor at Baylor University which I believe is where he met Pastor Randy when they both attended there about a million years ago.
This morning I really felt led to emphasize the importance of prayer not just as a worship element from a worship leader or pastor, but in a participatory way, with lots of opportunity for praise, confession, requests, thanksgiving, and intercession. I'm really glad we had that time. It seemed just right for yesterday. I'm thinking of incorporating a similar prayer element on a weekly basis. We explained each aspect of prayer, read a scripture that described it, gave 20-30 seconds to pray silently, then closed in prayer. We had a lot of positive feedback. Very encouraging.
Check out Fred McKinnon's website for other worship setlists from around the globe!
10:25 Countdown Video
10:30 Welcome - Jeff
10:31 "God of Wonders" (City on a Hill) - Bb
10:36 "King of Glory" (Tomlin) - F
10:41 "Enough" (Tomlin) - G
10:46 Meet Greet Seat - Patty
10:48 "Overflow" - original
10:52 Guided Prayer - Marina & Pam
10:58 "Life of Worship" (Worship House Media) - video (highly recommend this video)
11:01 "Practice Makes Perfect" - Guest Speaker, Byron Weathersbee
11:41 "We Lift You Up" (Glenn Packiam) - A
Offering during this song
11:45 Announcements - youth team
11:47 Dismiss - Patty
GUIDED PRAYER TIME - Marina/Pam
PRAISE – Marina
(Isaiah 25:1) O, LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.
CONFESSION – Pam
(Psalm 51:1-2) Have mercy
on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
THANKSGIVING – Pam
(Colossians 2:6-7) So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
REQUESTS - Pam
(Philippians 4:6-7) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
INTERCESSION - Marina
(James 5:13-16) Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
This is part #1 of my presentation at church on June 14
I’m always blown away by the child-like abandon with which the Africans enter into worship. I mean, they go after it with every last ounce of strength they have. They wouldn’t dream of just sitting and singing a song while checking email on their phone and shuffling through their purse looking for a stick of gum. It just doesn’t happen. I captured a little 3 yr old girl on video joining in the worship time with the adults. To her it’s just as natural as breathing in and out. It’s something that’s been modeled to her from before birth and then while she was an infant and strapped to her mother’s back and now that she’s walking and talking it’s just part of the rhythm of her life.
I wonder if sometimes the child-like wonder we once had is replaced with a good feeling about God then even that sort of mellows into a “I’ll be a good person and I’ll do good things” sort of life without ever making a personal decision to follow Christ.
We met a gentleman on Tuesday who invited us into his tailor shop. At first I didn’t notice that he was handicapped. His iron crutches were laying on the floor. But then I realized that his legs were sort of withered and useless. I don’t remember his name, but I remember his face.
Such a kind man. He was a devout Catholic. Nothing wrong with that. However, we weren’t interested in his religion but his relationship with Christ. I kept asking him questions about his faith. I wanted to know if he just knew a lot about God or if he knew him personally as his Savior. He kept answering my question with a list of good works. He helps orphans by patching their clothes for free or even giving them clothes if they need them. He has an extra sewing machine next to him so that he can teach orphans the sewing trade who otherwise wouldn’t have a way to make a living. He attends church faithfully. He prays all the time. He is especially grateful that God has blessed him with a business to support himself and to help others with. He constantly prays and thanks God for his blessed life. My ministry partner, Antoinette, cracked the code when she told him “those are prayers of thanksgiving but have you ever prayed and asked Jesus to become your Lord and Savior, forgiving your sins and cleansing you from all unrighteousness?” He paused and then the light bulb went on. It was like we hit him with a ton of bricks. He asked us to please teach him that prayer. So we did and he prayed and now he’s a brand-new follower of Christ, saved by faith not by works. Randy says something to each person that is baptized Fellowship North Church “buried in the likeness of His death, raised to walk in a new kind of life.” And so this new kind of life is a life of love, full devotion and worship from which good works can’t help but flow freely and generously.
I returned from Rwanda on June 7. Randy asked me to help him illustrate his message called "Land of the Lost" (inspired by the cartoon series & current summer movie) on June 14. I came up with an intro and 4 stories with pics/videos that Randy wove into his message. I sat and wrote the whole thing (manifesto) out in about 2 hours then I emailed it to Randy. I gave him full editorial license, however, he just inserted every word into his message (could be because he was on vacation in Mexico with his family). On Sunday, we were both on the platform, taking turns with message & stories. According to Randy, I was extremely wordy - 2500 written words plus once I got comfortable, a few extra words & thoughts! Here's my intro - [note to self - alliteration in writing = good / alliteration in speaking = tongue-twisters!]
INTRO: From the moment we walk up to the Ethiopian Airlines gate at Dulles International Airport, it’s like we’ve entered a foreign, unknown land. When we finally board the plane, strange music plays over the intercom system. Some of the flight attendants are wearing traditional Ethiopian dress. PSA’s are made first in Amharic then in broken English. So interesting and opposite feeling. And so the journey to the land of the lost begins. Once we arrive at our destination, it’s like all the distractions that plague us and keep us from truly experiencing intimacy with God sort of are stripped away. No TV. No internet. No jobs. No school. It is suddenly us and God and the mission He’s called us to. Life fades from brilliant Technicolor fast-paced madness to sudden and utter simplicity. Faith seems the natural byproduct of this lack of clutter and clamor. And prayer flows naturally and fervently in unity with the entire team. We cry out passionately to God together in multi-language unison. Then there’s the songs. The singing and the dancing are surprisingly raw and real. There's joy. There's fellowship. The ebb and the flow of relationship with God and each other spills over into praise, petition, freedom and joy. This is surely a taste of another world far from the one we now call home.
This week at Fellowship North Church, Randy taught about the certainty of uncertainty in life. He's working through a 6 week series based on "In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day" by Mark Batterson. Good stuff. Orange Team, led by Helen, led worship today. We're still going through some incredibly annoying technical problems. Stage lights are not working. ProTools would not record anything today. Hissing in monitors and mains. Keynote froze up. Then ProPresenter froze up. So frustrating.
Hey, how was your Sunday? To read about other worship services around the world, check out Fred McKinnon's Sunday Setlist #41 post today!
iPOD - preservice
Countdown - any background
Welcome - Helen
"Happy Day" - (tim hughes)
Teaching Part 1 - Communion - Randy
"Grace Will Be My Song" - (steve fee)
"God Almighty" - (chris tomlin) - cancelled this song after 1st run-through ;-) - resched for next week
"God of Wonders" - (city on a hill)
Teaching Part 2 - Randy
National Day Of Prayer - video - ran out of time to run this - announced it at end of service
"God of This City" - offering during this song
Wrap/Dismiss - Randy
iPOD - postservice - NO GAP!
For a listing including this and more setlists from around the world, check out Fred McKinnon's Sunday Setlist #40! This week at Fellowship North Church we did a kind of cool opening piece. Randy created a Keynote timed slide show - amazing grace lyrics interspersed with famous quotes on grace and Bible verses on grace - about 5 minutes long. Band played live behind it - Amazing Grace in C - slow sort of blues/gospel then halfway through Todd kicked into a totally different funk beat and we changed keys to D. It was different each service which made it even more fun. No chart for this one - just improv and going with the flow! Let The Worshippers Arise has been working really well as a worship song for us. As Long As I Have You is one of our top 5 songs. Our people love it!
8:52/10:22 - Countdown video
8:57/10:27 - Amazing Grace
"Your Grace Is Enough" - (tomlin)
"Kids At Risk" presentation/promo
"Let The Praises Ring" - (lincoln brewster)
"Your Love Oh Lord" - (third day)
"Let The Worshippers Arise" - (pocket full of rocks)
Teaching - Facing Fear
"As Long As I Have You" - (mark roach)
Offering during this song
iPOD - hit play immediately at close of service - no gap!
SHOUT! will be a group of insanely passionate worshippers of God!
SHOUT! will be for anyone who loves to sing, especially in a big, safe group!
SHOUT! will be a group to connect with and belong to!
SHOUT! will move you from the edge of your seat to your feet!
SHOUT! will be boisterous and fun!
SHOUT! will be an authentic community of insanely passionate worshippers of God!
SHOUT! will be loud!
SHOUT! will be in the house!
SHOUT! will energize and infuse our church with praise!
SHOUT! will make a joyful noise!
SHOUT! will make an enthusiastic difference in our worship service!
SHOUT! will not be silent!
SHOUT! will revolutionize the way we worship as a church!
SHOUT! is at Fellowship North Church – we can’t wait to SHOUT! with you!!
I've never made a centerpiece. I don't even think I've ever bought one. Truthfully, centerpieces all sort of look the same to me. In my mind, centerpieces come together in a mysterious way known only to floral designers and creative homemakers. My most creative attempt at centerpieces has been to arrange some candles on pillars in the middle of the table and call it good. Unfortunately, whenever I'm using the dining room table (daily) the pillars are shoved to the side or moved to the kitchen counter because I've usually got at least one laptop setup, a stack of homework papers, the mail, an empty glass or two, and possibly some clean, folded laundry (please tell me I'm normal).
When the Women's Ministry at Fellowship North Church announced a Christmas floral arranging event, I mentally dismissed even the possibility of attending. Too busy. Not my thing. Who really needs a centerpiece. Etc....However, Alyssa was excited about the event and I ended up buying tickets for her and I to attend together. I should have known that I would absolutely LOVE being able to CREATE something from a pile of what I earlier would have labeled as junky, tacky, cluttery STUFF.
THE BEST CENTERPIECE - EVER!
Tim Hughes and Al Gordon were in town yesterday. FNC's worship team attended a great afternoon session on worship leading. Afterwards we had dinner at Pei Wei's, then we headed back for the worship concert at 7. We had such a great time! I love concerts where I know every song and can sing along. Al & Tim spent about 20 min. mid-concert to share more teaching on getting our worship life in order. They have started an online school of worship in partnership with Soul Survivor called Worship Central. Check out the website www.worshipcentral.org for awesome training and resources. I highly regret that we didn't get a picture of our team with Tim & Al - however, they were totally mobbed at the end of the concert so it just didn't happen.
Here's my notes from the evening teaching session.
Worship should be:
C - Christ Centered. It's not entertainment. It's not for my benefit. In Revelation 4 & 5 we get a glimpse of heaven. Not surprisingly, the spotlight is solely on Jesus - the Lamb that was slain.
H - Holy-Spirit-led. We can't manipulate people into worshipping. When we see blank faces staring back at us, we might try to play louder or faster or even throw in their all-time-favorite song (How Great Is Our God), but all man-centered efforts will fail to bring about true worship in Spirit and truth without the divine leading and intervention of the Holy Spirit. Worship is kindled within us when we are touched by the Holy Spirit. Interesting quote by A.W. Tozer (my paraphrase) "If the Holy Spirit left the church today, no one would notice. We would just carry on as usual."
R - Revealing the Father. Zephaniah 3:17 "God is mighty to save. He will quiet you with His love. He will sing songs over you.
I - Intimate. One on one. No interruptions. The bride belongs to the bridegroom. Heart to heart. Face to face. Whole life dependence on God.
S - Sensitive. Be willing to sing songs of lament. We lament not because we are backsliders, but because true lament moves us closer to God, not further away. Jesus is comfortable with messy lives. The people He encountered were lost in sin, longing, grief, pain, death, regret. Sing songs that are raw, real and honest. Move away from hype, performance, masks.
T - Transforming. Worship must affect the world outside the church. God's heart is for the lost and the poor, the least and those on the margins of society. Worship without mission = self-indulgent. Mission without worship = powerless.
I just posted this article at the Fellowship North website.
We all have friends and family members whose voices we instantly recognize when they call, even without verifying with caller ID. Their voices might not be particularly loud or raspy or have a fancy accent, they just have a familiar cadence and tone and a certain way of saying "hello." Is it possible to instantly recognize and know God's voice when He speaks directly to us? Is His voice loud like thunder? Or is it quiet like a gentle rainstorm? Is it raucous and rowdy like a sports announcer, or is it loving and tender like a mom singing a lullaby? When we gather for worship on Sundays, I believe an important part of our time together is the time we spend listening for God's voice...
Click HERE to read the rest of the article!
Enjoy this video which includes mostly our Kenya trip with a couple of clips of Rwanda mixed in!
The Africans dressed in mostly red are part of the Maasai tribe. They are the cattle owners/herders in Kenya. They are nomadic and still follow ancient tribal customs such as drinking cow's blood. Yuck. They also live in extremely short huts made from dried mud and manure. The Maasai women traditionally build the homes. They are not very tall so they only build the houses as tall as they can reach. Ironically, Maasai men are extremely tall, so they have to hunch way over in in order to move about in their homes. We were blessed to be able to meet with a group of Christian Maasai. We worshiped with them and they let us look inside their homes and allowed us to take pictures of them.
From 53 seconds to 57 seconds, you'll see the green hills of Rwanda. Then from 1:03 to 1:08 you'll catch just a 5 second glimpse of some children in Rwanda.
Well, today at church we had a special guest musical artist - Jessi Colter. We had a great time singing a couple of songs with her (I'll Fly Away and Silent Night - very country with a backup gospel "choir"). Then Jessi sang a beautiful, original Christmas song that she wrote years ago and never recorded. Here's a couple of pics - check out Fellowship North's website for a photo album (December 16, 2007) containing the rest of the pics from today!
I'll admit it - I struggle to maintain my sanity during the Christmas season. It's such a busy time, especially for a musician, and even more especially for a church musician. There's usually a ton of rehearsals and meetings and planning and purchasing and decorating - all for church stuff. Then there's the additional "yesses" I usually love to commit to - little holiday shows, recitals, parties, open mic nights, etc. Don't get me wrong - I love all this stuff, otherwise I wouldn't say yes. But after awhile it takes a toll on my soul. Oh yeah, don't forget to throw in 5 family birthdays. And the fact that Christmas Eve service pretty much takes up all of Christmas Eve day and night. That leaves me dreading Christmas morning because that's the only time I've managed to set aside for wrapping presents, making brunch, and doing Christmas with the family. It's an unhealthy pattern of life that has evolved and snowballed for the last 20 years. After much counseling and a pastor (Randy) who's committed to family first, church second, this year I'm not going to be a part of "Christmas" Sunday or Christmas Eve. I'm deliberately filling my life with tasks that are inspiring and help me focus on Jesus and family and, well, JOY! I found this picture of Snoopy and was really inspired by the simplicity of his life. Just a simple little house. A colorful little tree, and some lights. Nothing overwhelming or huge. Just what he can manage. Just what I can manage.
Here's part of my strategy:
I've also started a daily Christmas devotional series called Christmas Reflections. It's also on the Fellowship North website. Look in the right sidebar. They'll be listed by date. I might even have some surprise authors contribute to this effort!
So sorry for this belated post - I've been super busy with Thanksgiving, church, family, etc. I'm working on a new post, but for now, check out my latest post at Fellowship North's website - it's called "Come In."
We also filled bags with canned and dry goods from home and brought them to church to donate to the Desert Foothills Food Bank. Later this week, Randy will deliver the trailer-load of food just in time for Thanksgiving.
Our Worship Team's mission statement is: Engage. That's it. Engage. This one little word is rich with meaning and just begs to have an on-going dialogue about all that it implies.
When I was trying to define Engage using my own words, I took several rabbit trails. First I landed on engage, as in engaged to be married. That led to thoughts of my daughter getting married.
I posted this article at the newly re-designed, interactive, informative Fellowship North website. Click here for the rest of the article...
Yesterday Team 1 led worship. Patty did an awesome job being the lead worshipper. She has a gift for drawing others into God's presence. That's because she lives and moves and breathes in His presence all the time. She really gets worship.
All The Earth Will Sing His Praises - Paul Baloche
We Lift You Up - Mike Hohnholz
My Glorious/Sing To The King - Martin Smith/Billy Foote
To Know Your Name - Hillsong (new album Saviour King)
Mighty To Save - Hillsong
Check out the new Fellowship North website. I've been working on it for a couple of weeks now. Ean (IT Guy) has been trying to keep up with all the design changes. We took a pre-existing Wordpress template and have been trying to customize it a little bit. It's not perfect yet, but we're getting there. At least it's FREE! fellowshipnorth.com
"Buried in likeness of His death, raised to walk in a new kind of life." Those are the words Randy says as he baptizes people in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. FNC had a baptism celebration on Sunday night at the Gladstone's home. Twelve people were baptized: 3 adults, 5 teens and 4 kids. I love being a part of the audience. It is so cool to see people from every walk make a public declaration of their faith in Christ by being baptized. I remembered to bring my camera. Started to take a few pics inside the house. Then tried to take some pics of the baptism. My camera let me down. It was too dark outside to get any good images. So I'll have to settle for word pictures...the Gladstone's home is as lovely inside as it is outside. As I approached the massive front door, I was greeted by festive scarecrows and pumpkins adorning the front porch. The inside of the house was filled with the essence of fall. Pumpkins, fall colors, candy corn. I headed straight for the heart of the home - the kitchen - which was filled to overflowing with food and friends. Sandwiches, white bean chicken chili, cheese fondue, chocolate fondue, chips and dip, veggies and dip, chips and salsa, luscious desserts. Wow. What a spread. Then out to the patio where a lot more people mingled, sipping sodas and water, watching the kids play in the yard. Lots of people I didn't recognize - most likely family members of those being baptized. Then the actual event. We all gathered around the pool. Randy read out of the Bible. Then proceeded to baptize all 12 people. Then all the kids who had been waiting patiently to swim, jumped in the pool for some more fun! Such a great night!!
Tomorrow morning from 7am to noon we (Michael, Steven and I) will join a group of volunteers from FNC and from around the valley to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity. This should be an interesting experience. We've been told to wear clothes that we wouldn't mind getting tar on - tar??? I wasn't aware that homes had tar in or on them. Maybe I should dig ditches or pick weeds or something non-building related.
I recently read about a really cool and practical ministry at a church in Arkansas - evidently, sometimes the new home owners (of Habitat homes) have no idea what it takes to maintain a home and keep it in good repair and certain Habitat neighborhoods had fallen into a pretty dismal state of disrepair. So some church members decided to start a ministry designed to teach new Habitat home owners take care of their homes and their yards and neighborhoods. The church is committed to being an "irresistible influence" in their community. I think this ministry definitely falls into that category!
This week's set list:
Message series is called "Without A Doubt" and today's message was on Biblical Authenticity. After church, we had a food and family activities on the patio. David Mitchell made 4 deep-fried turkeys - let me just say - it's all about the skin!!! We also munched on corn on the cob and homemade chili - it was fantastic!
The kids had a giant inflatable water slide - looked like a lot of fun...the weather was perfect in the shade and in the sun - nice breeze. We sat around eating and hanging out with friends and family for an hour or so. We hated to leave because the patio is just a wonderful place to be on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
I love websites. Well, I love websites that are good websites. The kind that answer the question that brought you to the website in the first place. Right now, as I type, I am supposed to be helping Ean (IT guy at FNC - see pic below) design, create, build, launch, etc. a new website for FNC. I am excited about the prospect of the website turning out great. I will post updates to our progress as soon as something materializes that is really cool. For now, back to the creative process.
Worship this weekend will be focused on the concept of rain in our lives. Personal storms, crises of faith, troubled times, trials, etc. We will show a Rob Bell video (Nooma) called Rain. We will share testimonies and poems and scripture. We will worship and we will lament and we will pray. And the rain may subside for some and may be just beginning for others. But we will recognize that God is sovereign. And He's there in the storms with us. And when the rains fall and our world is shaken up beyond recognition, He is still there. Still strong. Still loving. Still holy. Still longing for us to cry out to Him. And when we surrender and ride out the storm with Him, He will open the floodgates of heaven and pour out his mercy and kindness and grace and peace upon us. And though the storm rages around us, we will be delivered and when we are able to worship Him in spite of the storm, we will experience God unlike we ever have before. Freedom. Trust. New eyes. A different kind of faith. Shift from belief to believing.
If you close your eyes all the way, then open them up just to a tiny slit, then quickly glance at this picture then quickly glance away, well, then you'll sort of know what Dan and I looked like at our salsa dancing lessons tonight!!
Hilary, from Eurodance, was our instructor again. My dance partner this time was Dan. Last time he was out of the country - great excuse to not be at the dance lessons. But tonight - he had the privilege of being my dance partner. Going into it, I knew that Dan would have two left feet and be rhythm challenged. And he definitely was all that. But, surprisingly, by the end of the evening, we both were somehow doing the basic steps for a merengue and a salsa dance. It was pretty fun and very funny at the same time. I got to do a lot of twirling which I was actually pretty good at. I really wish we had the event on video. Maybe we'll perfect our steps and take it on the road.
After dancing, we had (of course) chips & homemade salsa (awesome salsa made by Trish) and assorted cookies. Another great evening of fun at Fellowship North Church.
Tonight at church, we cleared the tables & chairs and had ballroom dancing lessons. We had an instructor from Eurodance in Scottsdale. Hilary had us doing the foxtrot, the rumba, and the swing before the end of our hour lesson. Michael was my (unwilling) partner. Even he had to admit that it was fun. I'm sure we weren't "poetry in motion" but we managed to get the steps right eventually and Michael even perfected the "twirl" section in the rumba. I think he rather enjoyed being the leader and having me be the follower.
Randy asked me (this morning) to talk a little about dance and how it relates to worship. So I had Amy read one of my favorite Bible passages - 1 Chronicles 29:10-13. We memorized this one in our Crown class. It pretty much perfectly describes worship. When we worship, we acknowledge that God has ultimate Lordship over our lives. He is center stage, we are not. Worship is about HIM and for HIM. But worship is necessary for us as well - it reminds us that we are not the main event. We are here to honor, love, serve and worship HIM. It's like when you were a kid and your parents announced that you were going to Disneyland or to McDonalds's or to your favorite cousins' house -- didn't you need a way to express the intensely overwhelming joy you felt in that moment? I think that God gave us the gift of Dance so that we can express joy, utter abandon, freedom, and worship. I mean, c'mon, aren't we supposed to worship God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength? Doesn't dance fit all those criteria? Throughout the Bible, people danced as an act of celebration & worship & victory. So, let's start dancing. Not to call attention to ourselves, but to give glory to God. After all, He is the Lord of the Dance!
Don't forget to check out The 40 Day Fast.
Message from Mike: "I had a fun time there. I was sad that there were millions of people living in the slums. The kids were all really cute. I told my parents that we could adopt one. I liked that people would always smile and wave to us as we drove by. On Monday when we were sharing the Gospel with a woman in the village, she said that she wanted to receive Christ as her Savior. We prayed with her. Later in the week she came to the victory celebration and gave her testimony. She said that she had been injured when she was younger and her parents took her to a witch doctor. The witch doctor gave her a turban to wear on her head at night. When she wore the turban she would be tormented by demons. The demons would try to molest her and tried to kill her. When she prayed to receive Jesus as her Savior, she felt completely free from the demons. She was really happy and joyful. Someday I hope that I can go back to Africa. I'm really glad that we got to be there as a family. "
Got a text message from Alyssa at 4:30am. "Are you awake? I miss dad. Josh is hungry." I wasn't really awake, but the fact that I even heard the single beep from the phone meant I wasn't really asleep. So I got up. Got dressed. Called Alyssa. We met at 5 & Diner for breakfast as soon as they opened at 6 am. Sat there for 2 hours. Pretty much had the place to ourselves. Dan called just as we were leaving the restaurant. He's still in Bujumbura, Burundi until tomorrow evening. Then he'll head back to Kenya where he'll rest & re-group until next week when the other Kenya team arrives.
Our day was purposely uneventful. Bought some groceries. Washed some clothes. Short nap. Made Steven his favorite pasta for dinner.
Watched TV with the boys. They went to bed at 8:30. I've been thinking a lot about the Kenya trip. There's so much to distill before I can adequately express my thoughts in writing.
This was an Epic trip, meaning it was targeted toward a teen/college age participant. All of the kids from Fellowship North had at least 1 parent with them. Nearly all of the kids from Chase Valley (Alabama church) had at least 1 parent with them. So the dynamic was totally different from any trip I've yet experienced. It was interesting to watch all the kids interact with each other and then form lifelong bonds of friendship by the end of the 2nd day. This trip brought many families closer together. Definitely brought each group closer together and the entire group was totally united in goal & purpose. Very cool to see it unfold.
The two travel days were pretty brutal. We had a 12-hr layover in London. We decided to leave the airport and see the city. This was not as easy as we thought it might be. Took us 2 hours to get out of the airport and onto the correct train. Then we had no plan or directions for seeing the city. We wandered from landmark to landmark, took pictures, ate lunch, then headed back to the train. If I ever go back to London, I plan to secure a comfy seat on the top level of a double-decker bus and have a narrated, touristy-as-can-be tour of the city. I don't know if I thought I'd run into Mary Poppins & Bert in the park, but I definitely thought I'd find at least 1 grimy street vendor selling fish & chips wrapped in newspaper. That never happened. My memory of that day is fading pretty fast. If I close my eyes, I recall lots of people. Lots of trees. Parks. Pigeons. Lots of buildings very close together. Buckingham Palace. Westminster Abbey. Big Ben. "Pay" public restrooms. Starbucks (of course).
When we arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, it was raining. Michael was really nauseous from the malaria medicine. Only Billy's bags didn't arrive with him. Other than that, we managed to find our way into the waiting vans. Went to the ACK Guest House which would be home base for the week. I don't think I've ever been so tired in my life. Our rooms weren't ready yet because we arrived pretty early in the morning. So the kitchen staff pulled together a breakfast buffet for us to eat. When we finally got our room, we were pleasantly surprised at our accommodations. Our room was large - a double bed & a single bed, private bathroom, big closet & armoire. Mosquito netting over the beds. I was willing to pay any amount of money to be able to sleep the rest of the day, but we had a lot of things planned. And so the rest of the week went. Not enough sleep. Not enough time to do everything we wanted to do. But we tried to do it all. And God was glorified.
Although our feet are aching & covered in mud, they are beautiful in God's sight because they are carrying the Gospel to villages where people are in need of salvation!
Due to our daily schedule, the internet cafe has been closed in the evenings when we return from the field and there is a daily team leader's meeting in the morning right when the cafe opens then we eat breakfast and proceed out to our sites!! So, I apologize for -0- posts this week. Right now, the vans are ready to pull out of the parking lot and I'm upstairs in the cafe, waiting for the internet to come to life. And of course, their "hi-speed connection" is about the speed of dial-up. So, no pictures until we are back home.
All that to say, WE ARE HAVING A FANTASTIC & VERY FRUITFUL time of ministry here in Kenya. The people are beautiful and friendly. In certain areas they are more responsive to the Gospel than in others.
I'm not sure of the final numbers of 1st time professions of faith, but it's in the 100's!! Praise God.
Randy's team was able to speak at 2 schools where over 40 kids prayed to receive Christ after Elizabeth shared the Gospel!
Dan is in Burundi now, meeting with top leaders in the country to discuss evangelizing that nation. Very exciting times.
OK, I've got to run.
More maybe tomorrow - we are heading off to the Masai Tribe for outreach.
I've been informed that there's at least one Kenya Team member who is 99% packed. WOW! That's amazing. We have been talking about packing for a long time. We've dragged all our suitcases into the living room. And we stare at them. And we discuss various packing configurations. And then we turn off the light and walk away. But today, Sunday, May 27, 2007, is Packing Day. We will be up 'til midnight most likely. Packing, and re-packing, and packing some more. But the deed will be done. We might have to make a couple of late-night WalMart runs tonight - it's a family tradition after all.
Dan is staying for nearly 1 month. He has some unique packing challenges. Not sure if he'll be able to wash clothes at any time. I don't remember seeing any laundromats while I was there. The hotel might possibly have laundry service. But I've heard that can be pretty iffy. So, we'll see what he ends up with in his suitases.
Michael has been working on his 10-day devotional guide. He is very diligent to complete it before going to bed each night. I'm proud of him for being so conscientious. He told me he has a short sermon ready to go, too. It's on John 3:16. I think he'll do great!
Today at the close of the church service, Randy asked the entire Kenya Team to come to the front of the church. All 22 of us stood shoulder to shoulder. Then he asked the entire church to come forward and lay hands on us and pray over us. It was a wonderful time of prayer and commissioning. When Steve Russell prayed, he lifted up his wife & 2 daughters and gave them to God to be used by Him. That's when a lot of people started sniffling and I felt my eyes well up with tears. It was a great moment. I feel such peace about this trip. I can't even begin to imagine what God will do in us and through us during our Epic journey. I know that Fellowship North, as tiny as we are, has some pretty amazing, faithful servants who are giving freely of their time, talent, resources, & prayer in order to see the kindgdom of God advance and multiply.
I will be posting to this blogsite as often as possible while we're in Kenya. So, check back often. Hopefully, I'll be able to upload photos...I think that's a challenge in other countries, so no promises on that one.
I've added a new photo album - photos of our Epic Team from Fellowship North. I've also added a new Typelist - title is Kenya. Check out the documents posted here. In particular, download the prayer calendar and pray with & for us daily...we'd really appreciate it!!
"Everything" is one of many great songs by Tim Hughes (others include "Here I Am To Worship," "Happy Day," "Be Glorified"). We are singing "Everything" this weekend at Fellowship North Church - learned it tonight. Randy is in the middle of a "Drive" series and this week the theme is trust/faith in your "Chief Spotter."
Download everything.mp3 - this is a 40 sec. clip
http://www.worshiptogether.com/features/article.aspx?iid=518476&tid=227 - this link takes you to Worship Together - they have a new jukebox feature and one of the featured songs just happens to be "Everything."
Here's a question for you to ponder with me: In general, have we (the church at large) turned our praise and worship time into a feel-good experience for us and those around us without regard for how God might feel? Oh, it's a subtle shift. We tend to move from spectator to participant to consumer to connoisseur to cynic pretty rapidly...during the whole "seeker" movement, we may have unintentionally helped to create worshippers who have forgotten that worship isn't about them at all - it's all about Him. And if we lose sight of Him during our daily life, a few songs on Sunday aren't going to restore our relationship with Him. Oh, we might feel like we're back on track because we have an emotional/physical response to worship. But, if we aren't truly striving to live our lives in response to God's unconditional love and forgiveness, then we shouldn't be singing at all, but instead, mourning, repenting, surrendering, giving and receiving unconditional love, and being the body of Christ to a world that desperately needs compassion, justice, mercy, grace, goodness, righteousness, gentleness, peace, joy, everything that we have been given through Christ displayed and lived out in a daily, practical way!
And so my heart's cry (and maybe yours too) should and will be "Be my Everything, You Are Everything, Jesus Everything."
We are getting ready for Kenya 07!
Yesterday afternoon we met with Amber from e3 partners. She lives in Wyoming with her husband Joe and is a Church Planting Coordinator. That means she is a detail-person - exactly what we needed!! Amber works with Church Planters in planning a minimum of 4 trips per year. She also goes on these 4 trips. Her primary areas of ministry so far have been Africa, Costa Rica and Bolivia. Amber is part of the Epic team. David Kaufmann who heads up Epic at e3 is the Church Planter we'll be working with on this trip. Epic is targeted at getting students involved in short term missions trips with e3.
Our entire team from Fellowship North Church came together to start the "countdown" process for our trip. What to bring, what to wear, what not to wear, how to prepare ourselves spiritually and mentally. Vision, mission, overview of the trip. Training on sharing the Gospel. Amber is a rock star when it comes to all this stuff. This was exactly what our team needed at this time. Our fund-raising process is well underway and we're nearly 2/3 funded overall.
Kenya has a population of nearly 34 million people. A little more than 50% of these people are age 15 or younger. Life expectancy is 54 years old.
We've got a lot of cool things planned. Our primary focus will be to work in teams, going hut to hut sharing the Gospel with anyone and everyone who will listen. We will then provide discipleship opportunities for these new believers. We will have evening fellowship meetings at our new church sites. We will be planting 5 new churches in villages on the outskirts of Nairobi. Pastors and leaders have already been trained for these new churches and they are really excited about having us come to help them plant the churches and direct new believers towards them! One day we will have a youth event complete with hired Worship Band. This should be great! We're trying to reach youth unbelievers as well as mobilize youth believers. We'll be working with Pastor Joe Michael whom we met in Dallas at an e3 partners event. Click here to see a short video clip of Pastor Joe Michael! You'll have to scroll down to the bottom of the page then press play. We will be doing outreach 1 day among the Maasai Tribe.
At the end of our trip, Dan will be staying over a few extra days in order to meet with key leaders in Burundi which is a small country south of Rwanda. This is very exciting because Burundi is open to having the Gospel proclaimed throughout the entire country. So these meetings are initial strategy meetings. A lot will be accomplished and hopefully an e3 presence will soon be established there.
While most people plan Easter in a rather linear way - which Easter Egg Hunt do I take my kids to -- what am I serving for dinner- ham or spring lamb -- which church has the most convenient Easter service times -- those of us in ministry are trying to see and present the Easter story in a not-so-linear, relevant, high-impact format. We focus with fierce precision on seamless transitions from countdown to opening jam to music/worship to video to testimony to message to closing song to brunch. Along the way we manage to drag a team of people down the road of chaos with us. Oh, and the family. Well, a spectacular brunch will make up for any lapses in temper that occur directly prior to and after the big event. I actually have a chance this year to thoughtfully plan and pray through simple elements that will infuse hope, conviction, and inspiration into the Easter message that many have memorized but few have let wash over them and change the way they live, breathe and think. This is a task that I take seriously. I, more than anyone, need this message to change my life. I want Easter this year to not be represented by the lovely pastel colors of our favorite candies (you know what I'm talking about) but by bold colors representing sin, death, agony on a cross, resurrection, forgiveness, life and celebration.