Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saturday Setlist-Feb 26, 2011

Today and tomorrow I'll be sharing my setlists from a weekend Navigators short-term missions conference that I attended where I was asked to lead worship for about 10 minutes each morning.  Students from all over our region came to Irvine, CA, for instruction and training in how to fundraise and prepare for the various three to five week trips that our region has organized for this summer, in addition to meeting their team leaders and teammates for the first time and beginning to bond as a unit. This is a critical time for our groups-potentially frightening and overwhelming but ALSO potentially encouraging, inspiring, and stretching.

I was torn between introducing new songs or sticking with established songs, but ended up choosing songs that 1) focused on God's power, strength, and our response and 2) were familiar enough that people could sing without PowerPoint.  Familiar songs seemed the best avenue during a weekend overflowing with new information. With all the obstacles that students and staff will face in preparation for and during the various trips, it's critical to bring the focus back to God and His power, His strength, and His heart for the nations. It's only with His help that we'll be able to accomplish anything-but once we realize that we have it, what could stand against us?

Worship Set:

1. "How Great is Our God" by Chris Tomlin (G)*

2. "Lord I Give You My Heart" by Reuben Morgan [Hillsong]
3. "The Stand" by Joel Houston [Hillsong]

*all songs in G

For Saturday, the setlist roadmap was starting with God's greatness and moving into our response-He should be the motivation for everything that we do. I also wanted to introduce the theme that God is our God on Saturday in order to pick up on that theme the next morning. God is great and high above us, but He's personal and chooses to love us even though we don't deserve it. As Paul might say, this is a trustworthy saying-Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom we are chief (1 Tim 1:15).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

United Worship

I'm constantly amazed and excited when I think about all the amazing things I see God doing through worship both in my life and on a larger scale. When recently asked where the Church is at globally and with regards to worship, Hillsong United's Joel Houston responded:

I think it’s an exciting time. Our worship has to be pure. I think the danger is that even when our heart’s intentions are good, we can be pulled by the demands of structure and routine. Sometimes those things have a subtle way of diluting the purity of our worship. I think as long as our expression is pure and open to the voice of the Holy Spirit in what we're doing, and it’s all about Jesus, and about God and people, I think that we’re in a good place. I sense that.

Purity and openness to the Spirit in worship. Doesn't get much simpler or beautiful than that. You can read the rest of the interview, which had a lot to do with Hillsong's most recent release, Aftermath, here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday Setlist-Feb 15, 2011

This week at Navs I didn't actually lead worship, but I played guitar and sang some backup vocals/harmonies, so I'm gonna go ahead and share the setlist and some thoughts about it. I think that this will be the way that I proceed for the rest of the semester-if that ends up being the case then this will be a biweekly feature. Huzzah for some consistency here! haha

We're going through Ephesians at Navs this semester, and this week Don's message was on God's grace, focusing on Ephesians 2:1-10. Briefly, the first week Don used as an intro week (1:1-2), the second week Don taught on God's blessings (1:3-14), and last week I spoke on Paul's first prayer for the Ephesians (1:15-23). 

With the theme in mind, Rachel and I chose songs that would help us all meditate on some of the truths of God's grace and our response to His free gift to us. (Well, Rachel chose most of the songs. I had input with one or two of them and the overall order.) In creating a roadmap for the set, we started with the fact that we're destitute and unable to save ourselves-only God can rescue us. He has enough grace for us all though, and along with that grace a compassion, love, and heart for us. These truths should lead us to response-thanks for His love, saving, healing, etc. and also praise that "spills from [our] lips, flowing onto the feet of [Christ, our] King."

Worship Set:

1. "You Alone Can Rescue" by Matt Redman-(Ab)
2. "Your Grace Is Enough" by Matt Maher-(C)
3. "Gracious and Compassionate" by Vineyard-(Ab)
4. "Thank You for Hearing Me" by Sinead O'Connor-(Ab)
5. "I Asked You for Life" by Kim Walker [Jesus Culture]-(Ab)

In addition to Rachel and I both playing guitar (with different intonations to create a fuller, richer sound), we were blessed to have Tammy play violin and Ernest play cajon. Tammy was a trooper for playing all the songs in Ab, a [comparatively] more difficult or less common key if your instrument isn't easily capo'd and you need to actually know some actual music theory (we guitarists are so lucky to be able to "cheat" and capo to get into difficult/obscure keys but play familiar chord shapes).

The combination of all the different instruments definitely led to more of a feeling of us being a team and not just a group of different people doing worship occasionally. Hopefully/prayerfully this will continue over the coming weeks!

Praise God for His gift of grace for all of us! He truly deserves all of the love and all of the honor that we can bring!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Holy, Holy, Holy

"But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy'" -1 Peter 1:15-16

This weekend The Navigators from our region (the Sunland) had a conference just outside of San Diego. There were between 250-300 students there and it was such a blessing to watch God work in everyone's life through the speakers, workshops, worship, and personal interactions.

Not that I wasn't expecting God to include me in that, but I went into the weekend with somewhat lower expectations that for previous years. God had already called me to serve on staff and was teaching me other things at the time, and this conference is for the students anyways, right? Wrong.

God rocked my world this weekend. Through a combination of the main message and the workshops I attended I really felt God speaking directly to me-and it all came together at church on Sunday night.

The verses from 1 Peter at the top of this blog quickly sum up the main message I felt God giving me this weekend: Be holy not because you are guilty or shamed or even legalistic, but because He is holy. For the past two weeks or so I'd been praying that God would continue to transform my heart and continue to give me the motivation to live for Him-I recognize that it's nothing that I can do alone and no one aside from the Spirit can effect that change within me. This weekend God placed more of that heart and motivation within me!

After hearing that message all weekend, I went to church Sunday night with some friends from Long Beach. Now, ROCKharbor is usually awesome, but the Spirit was clearly and evidently doing something powerful in that room Sunday night. The pastors themselves were kinda taken aback by it-they extended the opening time of worship in response to the way the Spirit was moving.

During worship at the end of the service, God moved again through that time-and spoke to me in perhaps the clearest way that I've EVER heard.  It wasn't the songs-I've sung "How Great is Our God" and "Awesome God" hundreds of times before. It was God revealing Himself to all of us at that gathering that night so powerfully.

In the middle of one of the songs I took a moment to acknowledge God and praise Him through adoration. I intended to just think the thought, "God, You are holy,"  praising God for who He is and humbling myself by exalting Him. God chose to interrupt.

I had only thought "God, You are---" when God spoke in what I can only describe as a low rumble that shook my very being: "I AM HOLY."

I was thunderstruck. I physically gasped-it felt as if I'd just been punched in the gut. For a split-second I was almost embarrassed, but then I reoriented my thoughts to God. What a blessing to have God speak so many ways and through so many people and then confirm and tie everything together so directly and powerfully! Praise be to Him and Him alone!

**A disclaimer: I'm a firm believer that God still speaks audibly to people today and that it isn't an "Old Testament thing." However, I am also very wary-how do we know it's from Him and not ourselves? One of the best ways that I know how to do that is to, as the Bereans did, examine the Scriptures yourself and see if it lines up with what it seems that God spoke. In this particular case, it's pretty easy: in numerous places, one being Leviticus 11:45, God says that He is a holy God. Even if it was "just" my own thoughts that the "I AM HOLY" thought came from, God can still use my own mind to speak to me. The Scriptures agree that He is a holy God, and that's enough for me :).**

Monday, February 14, 2011

Grand Opening

Just a quick update to say that I've added an amazon store onto the blog! Now you'll be able to purchase any cd or whatever that I might mention here on the blog and support my ministry simultaneously-think instant tithing. (Ok, I don't know if that's the best way to phrase it, but you get the idea-money goes to amazon but ALSO to me to support me at CSULB).

It's the tab on the far right of the bar at the top of the page, just to the right of the "Contact Me" tab. So if I were to mention the new Hillsong United or Bethel Live cds that come out tomorrow (2/15), I'll include them and also put them in the store here on the blog.

Right now I only have a "Music" category, but let me know if there's any interest in anything else!