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 post is part of Sunday Setlists at Fred McKinnon's worship blog. Check out setlists from around the world!
On Easter at Fellowship North Church we went with 2 services - 9am & 10:30am. We've decided to keep these two services going until Memorial Day weekend. We weren't sure if one service would be really lite on attendance or not. To our surprise, the 2 services were pretty much evenly attended. We definitely have room to grow and expand now! The room dynamic changed quite a bit - went from a nearly packed room to a half-full room. Makes a really big difference in energy levels. Something to address and work thru at rehearsals this week!
P.S. I'm looking for someone who uses ProPresenter regularly and can answer some tech questions - anyone able to hook me up???
Pre-service iPOD 'til 8:55/10:25
5-minute countdown video
Intro - Randy
"We Lift You Up" - Glenn Packiam
"Everlasting God" - Brenton Brown
"King of Glory" - Chris Tomlin
Meet Greet Seat
"Mighty To Save" - Hillsong
**Message - "Defying The Odds" - Randy
"You Lifted Me Out" - Chris Tomlin
Offering during this song
Wrap/Announcements - Randy
Post-service iPOD - no gap!
**Randy started a new message series last week based on a book by Mark Batterson called "In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day."
I spent a lot of time last week dealing with tech issues. We finally purchased 2 gently used video projectors. Randy got them installed by Thursday. Jay Robertson and his expert IT team managed to get all three projectors and our Mac talking working together. Not as easy as it sounds. Our old PC we used for recording (Pro Tools) froze up, keeled over and is lifeless. A new computer has been ordered and should arrive and be installed this week. Our CD duplicator quit working and doesn't show any signs of recovering. Deal with that after Easter.
So now we have 3 massive crosses in the middle of the stage back wall, two giant images projected on either side of the stage, and a confidence monitor projected on the back wall for the singers. The stage wall is nearly complete - this week beautiful rocks will be adhered to the wall in a sort of random, rustic pattern. Hope the rocks don't mess too much with the acoustics of the room ;-)
I am now in constant contact with my tech team via text messaging. Helpful for time-sensitive cues and reminders.
pre-service IPOD with Easter promo on 3 screens
God Is Great - Hillsong United
My Savior Lives - New Life Worship
Meet Greet Seat
Teaching Part 1
Communion - intro
Amazing - Mark Roach
Communion - conclusion
Jesus Messiah - Tomlin
Message Part 2
How Great Is Our God - Tomlin - offering during this song
Post service IPOD - no gap!
For other worship setlists from around the world, check out Fred McKinnon's worship blog!
This post is part of a global collection of Sunday Setlists at Fred McKinnon's blog.
First Sunday of the month is always Communion Sunday at Fellowship North Church. Kids join their families in the main service. They tend to get a little squirrelly (kids not parents) but that's ok. It's always a privilege and blessing to partake in communion with our church family!
Eggplant team led worship - it's complicated, but I've named our 4 worship teams after my favorite colors! They put up with this craziness...I let them sing!
9:57 God Created Love countdown-www.sermonspice.com
10:04 We lift you up-Desperation Band
10:09 Everyday-classic Hillsong
10:14 Let the worshippers arise-Pocket Full of Rocks
10:19 Meet greet seat-Karen
10:21 Mona Lisa-Billy
10:55 Video-The Jesus Painter-song=By His Wounds
Communion elements passed out during video
10:59 Communion wrap-Randy
11:04 Grace will be my song-Fee Band
11:09 The Rest of the Story-Randy
11:05 Post-service iPod-no gap! Fellowship announcement slide.
When I think of our E3 ministry partners and friends in Africa, specifically Rwanda & Burundi, I have to smile. We have had some pretty incredible, intense moments of worship with them. The reason I love this picture of the drum kit is because it unapologetically reminds me of their dignity and determination to worship God in spite of debilitating poverty, unspeakable circumstances of civil war, and lack of resources that we would consider essential - like proper stage lighting, musical instruments that are in tune, music charts, etc. I'm telling you, you've never worshipped until you've been travelling down the road at 120 kilometers per hour in a toyota van packed with 16 people, singing at the top of your lungs, using every part of the van as a percussion instrument, all the while watching the veins start to pop out of the neck of the hired muslim van driver...
It's like this time of raw, passionate worship paves the way, lights our path, allowing us a glimpse of heaven even before we get to the town/village where we'll be sharing the Gospel, seeing literally 1000s of people turn to God for the first time, watching the Light intersect the darkness and the moment of illumination that means eternal lifechange for these individuals - when we proclaim God's name to the ends of the earth, we get the privilege of watching His creative hand at work. We've seen God do incredible things in those countries, drawing people to Himself in a magnificent, overflowing, can't-believe-this-is-happening sort of way!
Short-term missions, long-term missions, whatever it is that you are divinely appointed to be a part of - just do it, ok? If you're waffling, right on the edge of going or not going, worried about how to pay for it, wondering if you'll still have a job when you get back, or even caught up in how this will impact you once you return (oh, and believe me you'll be changed forever), let me just help you find the answer you're looking for - it's Yes. Go. Don't hesitate. God is in control. God's mercy will be over you. God's path will be under you. God's Spirit is in you. God's will is in front of you. God will never leave you or forsake you. God's ultimate love has already been expressed for you and I and every person on the planet. Let's not wallow in a self-focused gluttonous intake of that love with no outlet for expression of it - let's see the world through His eyes, offering His love through our open hands to a world in desperate need of His love, His redemption, His gift of salvation.
Is God asking you to GO?
This post is part of Sunday Setlists at www.Fred McKinnon.com. You'll find Fred's setlist and many others from around the globe HERE.
Fellowship North Church is a "called to be unique" church in Scottsdale, AZ. We are set back sort of far from the road and have poor signage due to city zoning restrictions. It's a miracle anyone can find us, yet they do. We are in a stage of growing and not just numerically. It's a great season of ministry and I'm blessed to be a part of it!
Today we introduced SHOUT! our un-choir choir. They rocked the house and yes, they really shouted! 10 un-trained voices mixed in with our regular team 18-strong, filling our church with raw, passionate worship! So proud of them-especially the very nervous newbies. Ranged in age from 14-78!! Lots of dancing going on in the front row...:-)
Humorous very cool moment-during Testify To Love the church was so fully present/engaged in worship that halfway thru the song they jumped to their feet and started singing with the soloist with complete abandon. So the "performance" song was not. But it was ever so much more!!
QUESTION: how do you mic your choir or large ensembles? Need help. The rented, aging condenser mics didn't do the job well today. Need to budget for an awesome solution-just wanting feedback from those in the know...thanks!
9:57 countdown video
10:04 Let The Worshippers Arise (pocket full of rocks version)- SHOUT! & 3 solo mics & band
10:10 You Lifted Me Out (Chris Tomlin)-Jeff & SHOUT! & band (huge shout/cheer after "mourning into shouting")
10:15 Youth announcement-Joshua-end with prayer
10:20 Draw Me Close To You (MWS)-SHOUT! & 2 solo mics & band
10:25 Meet Greet Seat
10:27 "solo" Testify To Love (Wynonna Judd)-Karen & band
11:07 My Redeeming King (Jadon Lavik)-WT & band
11:12 Love The Lord (brewster)-WT & band 11:17 Wrap/dismiss-Randy
We're definitely in the middle of the desert - it's a beauty that grows on you (eventually) in spite of the scorpions, snakes, jumping cacti, etc!!
I've been invited to participate in a blog carnival at Fred McKinnon's worship blog. It's all about Sunday worship setlists from around the country/world. I "heard" a great idea via twitter (sorry, can't remember who's flash of brilliance I should be crediting) about what to do with these setlists. After reading through them, this worship leader/pastor/director then creates an iTunes playlist to listen to during the week. I'm going to try that this week. Should be fun to virtually (and after the fact) worship with churches from around the planet!
Today at Fellowship North Church we began a new series called "40 Days of Love". This is a Rick Warren-inspired series. We don't typically participate in these series, but we really saw some great potential in this one. Of course, the timing is perfect, beginning on Valentine's Day weekend!
Default background "Valentine's Natural Flourish Loop" (Sermon Spice)
9:45 iPod pre-service mix
9:57 Countdown "God Created Love" (Sermon Spice)
10:03 Intro - Randy
10:05 Welcome - Jeff
10:06 "Never Let Go" (Matt Redman)
10:10 "How Awesome Is The Lord Most High" (Chris Tomlin)
10:14 "Glory To God, Forever (Steve Fee/Vicky Beeching)
10:18 Meet Greet Seat
10:20 Message Part 1 - Randy
10:25 "Can't Buy Me Love" (Lennon/McCartney)
10:28 Message Part 2 - Randy
10:38 Video embed - "Love Is" (Sermon Spice)
11:00 "Your Love Oh Lord" (Third Day)
11:04 "Amazing Love" (Newsboys) - offering during this song
11:08 Message Part 3 - Randy
11:15 Dismiss - "Can't Buy Me Love"
11:18 iPod post-service mix
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!!
We fasted for 24 hours, ending yesterday at 5pm. This was part of our preparation for Africa. I hadn't fasted in a really long time. This cartoon from Cartoon Stock describes our (Dan and I) state of mind going into the fast...
When Dan and I sat down to eat dinner and end the fast, I was a little bit sad that it was over. I spent the day praying a lot more than usual. My day had a different pace, a different focus, a different way about it. Now that I've got one fast over with, I'm going to plan ahead for the next time, probably early next week. I'd like to spend some of the time memorizing scripture. And I'm going to have a specific prayer list to work through. If I'm totally honest and "without wax", I've got to say that I was more hungry for food than for God during this fast. It makes me sad to realize this, yet at the same time, it's like an intense hunger for God was stirred up in me overall and now I'm looking forward to the next fast and wondering if I could possibly go 48 hrs instead of 24 and I'm planning to go to the Prayer Garden between now and then to re-focus on God and I have an acute awareness of how easily I let my life run on auto-pilot and stored up frequent flier miles from past spiritual experiences.
Our teenage sons participated in the fast, but we decided to substitute something they really love and depend on rather than food due to nutritional concerns - Michael has started taking his malaria meds and they have to be taken with food; Steven is in football training and I didn't think it was smart to cut out food with the amount of calories he's currently burning every day.
Michael dearly loves his ipod and was looking forward to listening to tunes and even loaded the Message Remix New Testament on his ipod to listen to all the way to Africa. Well, we decided that Michael would fast from his ipod until they reached London. He started his fast on Tuesday night and he probably reached London at about 6am this morning. He took his Bible, some Narnia books, and a journal to help occupy his time.
Steven started his fast yesterday at 3pm. His sacrifice is electronics. Cell phone (texting), ipod, xbox, rock band, guitar hero, computer, tv, all the fun distractions that are interwoven into his daily life. He has already cleaned his room this morning, taken a shower, put away the dishes, taken out the trash. I haven't heard "I'll do that in just a minute, I'll get to it right after this song, I'll help you as soon as there's a commercial" or heard the text ring from his phone this morning. Nice.
In case you were wondering, I didn't make a massively large meal to celebrate the end of the fast (as was my first instinct). I made a really simple dinner - homemade beans and cornbread, topped with sour cream, grated cheddar, chopped jalapenos, cilantro, onions, and fresh salsa. It tasted magnificent!!
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.
OK, last, but definitely not least, was our amazing night of worship sponsored by Word Music and held at Cumberland Church which is a Northpoint venue! Even if we didn't have pink cake for dessert, the night would have been wonderful! Jeremy Riddle, Mark Roach, Sheri Carr & Meredith Wilson shared songs. The songs were interspersed with video clips. Max Lucado, Erwin McManus, um, I think that's everyone! I'm telling you - I was so blown away by Sheri & Meredith. They led worship with such authority and passion and conviction. I spoke with Sheri afterwards. Told her how I was just blown away by the songs she sang. Click HERE to listen to a great interview with Sheri. Click HERE to go to Meredith's MySpace page.
Got back to the hotel and started packing. The swag at Recreate is unbelievably generous. CDs, books, DVDs, tote bags, mouse pad and other cool stuff. Here's a picture of the swag - I found it on Kim's blog - I didn't meet her - saw her several times throughout the course of the conference - her church must have not been in the "tiny church" category so she was in a different focus group.
On Thursday afternoon we visited Kalein. Please visit the website for information and inspiration about this place that is about to be...124 pristine acres that will someday house artists from around the world who want to change things. Artists who are not content with the status quo. Gifted artists who feel a calling to something deeper than themselves. The mission, the goal, the vision, the purpose (whatever you may call it) is to provide a place to encourage and equip extremely gifted artists to discover, develop and discipline their calling.
We were transported to Kalein via 4-wheel drives towing trailers filled with hay! We were greeted by Alpaca and horses. A bonfire warmed us up along with steaming hot chocolate!! I took a few pics while I wandered around the property. When we were all done exploring, Randy Elrod called us all back together to share his personal vision for Kalein. It was a beautiful time of intimacy and solidarity as musicians and dreamers. After Randy finished talking, he introduced us to Charles Robinson. The last pics I've posted are of Charles, his wife, Siouxsan, and his sister-in-law, Dana. They shared Native American dances with and blessed the Kalein property with a dance of blessing. I absolutely loved this part of our day. Charles has a non-profit called The Red Road. Go to his website and read it - every inch of it is interesting and informative and enlightening!
Wow. What a day. There was a shift today to a more personal aspect of being on the front lines of worship leading, planning, etc. Lots of cool elements today - CCLI shared about their new and improved services. You can actually upload video performances (original songs) to a designated section of their website. That's a very cool feature I'll be checking out soon. Mark Roach led us in worship. We sing a lot of his songs at Fellowship North. They really resonate with our team and our people.
Mike Lewis, the Jesus Painter, led us in an incredible time of worship - visually thru painting giant canvases focused on Christ. It was a magical unfolding of splashes and splatters and random lines and then you'd see it - the face of Christ as clear as anything right there on the canvas. Amazing. We shared communion during his painting time. Very moving and beautiful.
We heard from Mark Stuart from Audio A. He shared about personal stuff and about his involvement with Hands And Feet which is a very cool project in Haiti. Audio A and their fans have created a village - they house 30 orphans right now, but their plan is to house 80 kids. Their vision is to grow them up and nurture them and educate them and love them and then they will have raised up a new generation who can make an impact in their native country. They've built bunkhouses that can accommodate groups coming in on mission/work trips. It sounds amazing. I liked Mark so much. Click HERE to read more about Hands And Feet. There's a lot of cool details I'm leaving out because I'm dead tired and trying to get to bed. But I might, no, definitely WILL have more to say about this in the near future. Because missions and music are the two things I'm passionate about - and when you combine the two together, watch out - it's gonna be strong!
Ken Davis spoke to us - he got really vulnerable when sharing his story. More about this later - I related so much to his 3 points - I got out my laptop and typed fast & furiously during his talk.
Then we got to visit Kalein. Oh my. Breathtakingly beautiful. So many details about this coming later. Let's just say, adventure, vision, blessing.
Capped the day off with a great night of dinner and worship sponsored by Word. I can't WAIT to listen to a couple of the CDs they gave us - let's just say - the girls rocked the house! Such authority and passion in their words and the delivery rocked my world - I'm still thinking about it!
Much more later on all these topics. Off to bed!
Friday was our last full day in Burundi. We finished all our evangelism and church planting activities late Thursday night with a celebration service and dinner at one of the mother churches. Friday, we met at the shores of Lake Tanganyika for a baptism service. It was planned by Bishop Independance and his team. I've got really great video footage and no way to upload it. Someday it will be posted here - as soon as I figure out how to change it from .mov to .mpeg4. Uh, yeah.
Anyway, there was a huge worship celebration going on when we arrived at the lake. There were rhythm instruments - big metal shakers and a big drum. And lots of voices singing praises to God. It was really glorious. Then a short message by Independance. Then the baptizing began. The singing never stopped, it only got louder and included lots of cheering as the newly baptized Christians came up out of the water then returned to the shore. Bouquets of flowers were handed out and those robes came right off and were handed to the next person waiting to be baptized. It was so great to join this celebration because it really brought home the fact that lifechange did happen in a big way during our time of ministry. Each person wearing a robe was witness to the fact that our God is Big. He's Huge. And He showed up and poured out His power and love and grace and blessing over Bujumbura, Burundi in a spectacular way. I look forward to how God will use this movement of spiritual awakening and revival to impact this city and the other cities and villages in Burundi. I've been invited to do a women's conference in Burundi. Not once, but twice by two totally different, unrelated people. I'm praying about that opportunity. That would really be a branching out experience for me.
After 4 trips to Africa in 10 months (Dan's been on 6 trips), I've got a lot to think about and pray about. My world has changed a lot. My life has been marked with permanent marker - I'm not the same person I used to be. And that's a good thing. The words of Romans 8:28 are not so vague and out of reach anymore. The tapestry that can be is starting to come into focus. Could it really be that personal and true - that God works ALL things together for good for those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose...
Sitting in a breakout session led by Dr. Thom Parham. Sitting with Mario Minardi, Dan Perkins, Mark Warnock. Earlier this morning, Randy Elrod drew a lucky name from a bag full of names - Rick Muchow won a 1-week Caribbean cruise for 2. Unbelievable. Then Michael Olson led us in worship. Wow! I've never heard him (I don't think) or even really of him. Then Marty McGehee (4Him) sang 4 new original songs from his newest solo project. Cool grooves, little bit of rap, definitely a more rock and roll sound than 4Him ever had. Yesterday, Matthew West led worship in the afternoon then we went to an awesome dinner sponsored by Integrity Music. We traveled by motorcoach to The Factory. There's this very cool & vibey church called The Journey at Ecclesia. Awesome venue. Paul Baloche, Jared Anderson, Kelly Jo, and ? led worship after dinner. During the worship time, we started hearing sirens. I thought there must be a massive car accident being responded to. Then the lights started flickering. Then we were interrupted and told that there was a tornado heading our way and we needed to be ready to bolt to the hallway if necessary. That's the closest I've ever been to a tornado, unless you count the Twister attraction at Universal Studios.
Today is Friday. We were all invited to attend a baptism service for those who prayed to receive Christ this week who are a part of Bishop Independance's new church plant. It was an amazing, unforgettable experience. It is difficult to describe the sights and sounds and smells. Having baptism at the lake is definitely multi-sensory, let alone multi-cultural! We all lined up at the water's edge. Those being baptized put on white robes. There were several from our team who were assisting Independance with the baptizing - Auzelio, Jim, Troy, Mike. After a time of worship, a short message by Independance, and prayer, the baptizers waded out about 50 yds from shore. Then those being baptized joined them in groups of five. As each one was dunked then brought up out of the water, there was a lot of cheering and celebration from the crowd. The baptizees (?) would be greeted with hugs and cheering and big bouquets of wild flowers. All during the baptism time, the crowd was singing songs over and over again, accompanied only by a non-stop drum beat. These Burundi drummers are tireless! When the last Burundi had been baptized, much to our surprise, Joan, one of our team members from Orlando, waded out into the water and asked Auzelio to baptize her. Evidently, she was baptized as a child and had never been re-baptized to symbolize her own personal faith in Christ. And as it turns out, after sharing the Gospel daily, multiple times, she realized that she had never personally prayed to receive Christ as her Savior. So Auzelio prayed with her to receive Christ, then he baptized her - talk about a powerful moment! It was definitely an over-the-top experience. I promise I'll have video uploaded as soon as I get back to the U.S. - you'll want to see the celebration!
Today each team met for worship at the Mother churches - the churches that will be planting or "birthing" a new church this week. We went with Bishop Bosco to a Church of God. The service lasted nearly 3 hours. It was amazing. We sang songs with the worship team. We DANCED our way through a 10 minute song - definitely an aerobic workout. The choir led worship on several songs. People were called forward if they wanted prayer for salvation. People were called forward if they needed prayer for healing. They took up two offerings - one for tithes, one for the brand new church being planted. Bosco preached his heart out - since he's a Bishop, he's more of an overseer of many churches so to have him preach there today was a treat for the congregation and for us!!
We are still waiting for some luggage to arrive. Dan's missing his clothes and all our food for lunches. Ray & Mary were missing all their luggage but two of their bags arrived this morning on the 1 daily flight from Nairobi - (Bujumbura isn't a hot destination yet) - a guy named Dee is missing all his luggage. He's surviving on borrowed clothes and snacks. I don't even want to speculate about socks and underwear...
Tonight, Dan and I and Ray and Mary and Mike Talley will attend the Presidential prayer and worship service at the President's home. I'm really looking forward to it. The last time Dan was in Burundi, he attended the service and said it was really great. Later this week, Herve's parents have invited us to dinner at their home. And possibly Tuesday evening Dan and I will visit Independence's church. He still wants me to come speak at a women's conference at his church. We'll see about that!
I attended this conference in 2007 for the first time. Of course, I already love Franklin, TN. So, the fact that I was at an incredible gathering of worship leaders from around the world - IN FRANKLIN - just made it absolutely perfect. It was at cre:ate that I was finally truly inspired to blog.
For more information go HERE.
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!
Tomorrow is Sunday. The last Sunday of Advent. Theme is Love. A purple candle will be lit. Prayers will be prayed. Songs will be sung. The meaning of Christmas will be proclaimed loud and clear. May all who hear the message have ears to listen. May all who gather to worship the King, find Him. May all who are lost sheep, be found by the Good Shepherd. May all who are weary and burdened with life, find rest and shelter in the shadow of the wings of the Almighty. May all who need a Savior, find Him waiting patiently, offering the gifts of eternal life, forgiveness from sin, and everlasting, overflowing, unbelievable, indescribable, limitless Love.
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 found the following article posted on Rich Kirkpatrick's blog. It is long. Read it and absorb it and think through how this impacts all of us who are striving to be fully-devoted followers and worshipers of God.
I believe that there is a correlation to how we follow Jesus and the idea that the local church plays a huge role in that process. I believe that small groups indeed, as an ideal, certainly are seen as modeling the intimacy that Jesus had with his twelve. But, what about our weekend crowds? Jesus spent a lot of time with crowds, too. Our corporate worship in the church certainly is a crowd. The activity of the small group and of the crowd can be done uniquely in a local church like no other institution. I call the crowd our “corporate worship” for the sake of argument. In the crowd you have both the committed disciples of Jesus and the uninitiated. This looks a lot like many of our churches, especially the church I serve. Click here for the rest of the article...
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."
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
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.
Found this at a blog called The Cartoon Church. I'm not sure how I feel about this picture. It sort of reminds me of an experience I had several years ago. I was attending a local worship serminar. One of the speakers was the leader of a fairly well-known worship band. He spent an hour talking about worship to us. He simultaneously carried on a conversation with God. He really did. Every other sentence he spoke was to us. The remainder of his thoughts he spoke directly to God. Out loud. Once I got the rhythm of this down, I was able to figure when he was speaking to us. I'm still not sure how I feel about that experience. I'd like to think that I have a real relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And that I'm a worshipper who worships in spirit and in truth, 24/7. Yet I've never carried on a conversation with God out loud while conversing with others. And I've never raised my hands to the heavens at a bus stop or any other public place unless I was stretching and yawning. On the one hand, I secretly admire this utter abandon and apparent devotion to God. But my logical, judgmental, rational, conservative, non-demonstrative instincts tell me that this guy is quite possibly crazy. So if I were to look for middle ground where would I find myself? Or is middle ground too lukewarm? Just imagine this guy with his favorite football team's jersey on. The bus pulls up to the stop. There's a lifesize ad for his team on the side of the bus. And maybe a few other fans on the bus, headed for the big game together. Would they be raising their arms up, doing high fives, head-butting each other, cheering and yelling "score!" and being lost in "worship" and adoration of their team? I'm thinking that the same bystander would probably still have the word "idiot" in her thought bubble. My thought bubble might just say "smiling on the inside."
Interesting thoughts on innovation in the church - found it at d-plum's blog - http://www.mosaicland.blogspot.com/
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.
"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."
My friend, Jeff, wrote this song. It's his best song to date. Worshipful, beautiful, singable, memorable. Listen to the song, listen to God speak to you thru this song. It's called "My Salvation, Your Redeemed." I am trying to find a different kind of player for next time I post a song, but for now, this one works. Click the tiny little Play button on the top left. The button to the right of that one is Stop. The Button on the far right is the Volume.
Have a great Sunday!!
Randy Shoulders asked me to share a 5-minute testimony at church today, highlighting our experience in Rwanda and then weaving it into the worship set. I've cut and pasted my notes from today. I ended up not reading the notes but I think what I said is pretty accurately expressed in the following document.
"As some of you know, my husband Dan and I had the privilege of going to Rwanda Rwanda Rwanda
Every morning we woke up at 5:30am. Dan had a leader's meeting at 6:30am. Then we had worship and devotions in the gazebo with the entire team at 7:15. Pretty cool times. Once I thought I had missed the worship time because I heard all this singing. So I raced out of the room with wet hair, no bug spray on, praying no one would mind my tardiness. When I got to the gazebo, I realized that I wasn't late, I was actually early and walked into the middle of a pre-worship/devotion time. Our Ministry Partners were in the middle of praying for the North American team. Now, when I say praying, I mean all of them pouring out their hearts before God at the same time. It was really beautiful, almost like a song. It started out medium loud, then escalated to gut-wrenching intercession - really loud, then started to decresendo back down to quiet then they were done. It was almost like a conductor led them through a beautiful symphony of prayer, praise, intercession, imploring, surrender, and peace. Amazing. I felt like I was standing on holy ground. Then they broke into praise and worship again.
Every morning our breakfast was the same - plain omelettes, toast, honey, and "margarine." Oh yeah, there was also a platter of tiny bananas, fresh pineapple, and some mysterious fruits, possibly a type of passion fruit. Then we loaded into the vans and headed off to our villages. We had 8 teams - 4 vans with 2 teams on each. Pretty crowded. Every morning I tried to mentally prepare myself for my day. But it was nearly impossible. Every day was similar yet different. We shared the Gospel using the Evangecube from 9am to 1:30pm daily. Then we broke for lunch. Then discipleship lessons at the church plant site from 2-4. Then our afternoon meeting from 4-5:30. Every day was long but fruitful.
The kids turned out to be very challenging. By the end of the week we had hundreds of kids at our site. The loved to come up behind me when I was sitting on a bench and pull down on my curly hair and watch it spring up when they let go. Some of them tried to communicate with me in French. So, now I know 2 phrases in French. We told them Bible stories and used a gospel glove to share a simple story of salvation with them. Gold = heaven. Black = sin. Red = Jesus died on the cross. White = forgiveness. Green = new life. We had them memorize John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except thru Me." We also had a device called The Proclaimer. It's like an audio player that plays the New Testament in Kinyaranda which is their language. It has a solar battery which will last up to 600 times through the New Testament. The battery can also be hand-cranked to re-charge. It is waterproof and virtually indestructible. It can reach an audience of up to 300 people. When we ran out of things to do with the kids, we just turned on The Proclaimer and let it play the Word of God. Most of them sat and listened pretty intently. Adults also listened. We ran across quite a few adults who couldn't read or write so this was the perfect tool for them to hear the Bible probably for the first time.
Every day we shared the Gospel with anyone who would listen. We went to homes, huts, fields, banana groves, over rivers, into places most people haven't ever seen or imagined. God was definitely at work in a big way throughout the time we were there. Every day we returned to the Guest House, sunburned, exhausted, tired of talking, overwhelmed by kids, and thirsty. But God's strength was all we needed to accomplish what He had for us. By dinner time, we were revived and ready to celebrate with the other teams.
Every night, Michelle Parker and I made sack lunches for the entire team to take with them. I believe Nabisco donated a ton of pre-pack snacks so we just had to make 30 PBJs/PBHs and assemble the bags. A lot of us ended up giving our lunches away to those who worked with us during the day. I guess most Rwandans only eat 2 meals per day. So, we'd sometimes have nationals with us all day and they never ate or drank anything that I could see. They were very loving, kind people. A pleasure to work with.