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For as long as I can remember planning to lead and leading corporate worship was something  of a magic show.  TA DA…see all these songs, hear how good they sound, ooohh and ahhh over the fresh arrangements and marvel at how you are led into a deep, emotional experience with God.  All the while hoping that a little dog doesn’t come over and rip away the curtain to reveal the tiny man behind all the smoke and mirrors…”PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN”!  Several months ago things began to change in how I prepare and lead music in our corporate worship setting.  Being heavily influenced by the Reformers, the regulative principle, liturgy, and most recently Mike Cosper and the Sojourn Church I began to approach this task with humility and joy.  And unlike my “magical” past saw there was much more than putting on a good show.

With all that said I want to begin and, God-willing, keep up this effort for the encouragement and joy of our body and for those who join us in the future.  Each week on Thursday I will release a post entitled “Preparing to Gather”.  This post will provide the sermon text and most, if not all, the songs we will sing that week.  As you prepare your hearts through prayer and the reading of Scripture and singing my hope is that these songs will permeate the walls of our homes and our hearts and we can come together on Sunday and teach and admonish and encourage one another with the Bible-drenched, Spirit-filled words on our lips.  We gather with purpose.  We come together as a redeemed family spurring one another along in the mission of God.  The songs we sing help us glorify God as we testify to one another about who He is and what He’s done.  We are seeking to structure the service in an arc based on the story of the gospel (creation, fall, redemption, and restoration), rather than some emotional arc.

This week we will continue through our study of the book of Colossians.  Pastor Jonathan will preach from Colossians 2:16-23.

We will be singing a few familiar songs and learning a new song.  The new song “Not In Me” is one that I believe our church, and every church, needs to sing…we need more songs of repentance among us because as we gaze at the majesty and glory of God we see how truly sinful and wretched we are and all the more how rich a treasure we possess in the gift of Christ.  This song was written for the Gospel Coalition‘s project “Songs for the Book of Luke” and more information can be found here.

We will sing:

10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)

Not In Me

In Christ Alone

Psalm 62

See you Sunday!

This Sunday I look forward to gathering with the body of Christ to read, pray, sing, teach, and meditate on God’s Word.  His Word is sweeter than the drippings of the honeycomb (Psalm 19) and I pray that we would long for it like the Psalmist did.  Most importantly it all points to Christ and Him crucified…the law, the prophets, and the writings everything written about Him!  We will be in Psalm 119 and the gospel of Mark chapter 12 to behold the glories of our Savior who is God come to rescue His children for His glory.  We will be singing a few old hymns, one new hymn, and a Sovereign Grace song leading us to behold our God…

Blessed Assurance/Power In The Blood/Tis So Sweet (Bluegrass Medley) (Traditional)

O God Of Our Salvation (Bleecker/Boswell)

Behold Our God (Baird/Altrogge)

Come Thou Fount (Traditional)

If you haven’t downloaded Spotify yet, give it a try. You can subscribe to the worship playlist and hear recordings of the songs for worship: July 29

Come ready to delight in the law of the Lord and behold our God!

 

Preparing to Gather 1/15/12

This week we will continue through the gospel of Luke and look more deeply at the cost of discipleship.  A few weeks ago Ben laid out the vision for 2012 at Integrity in light of Christ’s call to His church to make disciples, and if we the body are not fully and actively engaged in this then we miss the mark.  The songs we sing on Sunday morning during our time of “worship” serve as a reminder of the glorious truths found in the gospel and serve as refreshment to weary souls as we continue in this difficult, cross-bearing, live-giving task.  So as you listen to these songs and prepare to gather together remember to sing loud and encourage your brothers and sisters with the words of these songs as we bring glory to God through the building up of His church.

You Alone Can Rescue (Redman/Myrin)

Mighty To Save (Morgan/Fielding)

Beautiful (Wickham)

Before The Throne Of God Above (Bancroft)

It Is Finished (Papa)

See you Sunday!

Preparing to Gather 1/1/2012

As we ring in the New Year most of us look back in disappointment at resolutions broken and unfulfilled and look in hope to the promises of another year.  Much ink has been shed on new year’s resolutions so I will not seek to reinvent the wheel with my inconsequential thoughts on them, except to say that both our disappointment in not keeping and our hope in keeping resolutions should never be separated from the love of God in Christ that is ours through the gospel.  We can never be disappointed because he has paid for all our failures and mistakes and sins on the cross and we can hope because we know that “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).  All that to say we gather this week reflecting on the kindness God has shown us in the past and the grace He continues to lavish upon us each new day. 

In light of this we will sing songs that point us toward the good news that God became man to live and die in our place and rise again to the glory of God the Father and Ben will preach from Ephesians 4:11-16.

Glory To God Forever (Beeching/Fee)

God Of This City

Nothing But The Blood (Redman)

Psalm 62 (Townend/Keyes)

Completely Done (Baird/Gunderlock)

See you in 2012!

Preparing to Gather 12/18/11

This week I came across a blog that pointed to Christ and the Incarnation from an unexpected text.  Justin is the pastor at my former church and one of the finest pastors I have ever had the privilege to serve with.  Looking at 1 Timothy 1:15 “This is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance: that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners” he explains the Incarnation and how it relates to redemption and furthermore points to the gospel in all its glory…you can read it here.  All the songs this week will revolve around Christ fulfilling the prophecies in the Old Testament, the salvation that he accomplished, and will end in a doxology of praise for the greatest act in all history.

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

And Can It Be

Jesus Messiah

Mighty To Save

At The Cross

See you Sunday!

Preparing for Sunday 12/11/11

We are nearing the end of Advent season but I am always grateful that the culmination, commonly known as Christmas, is only the beginning!  This week will be the first of two parts on the fulfillment of the Incarnation.  We will sing songs celebrating the season and more importantly the fulfillment of Jesus’ coming.

O Come All Ye Faithful/Sing To The King (Traditional/Foote)

Hark The Herald Angels Sing (Traditional/Maher)

All I Have Is Christ (Kauflin)

Revelation Song (Riddle)

In Christ Alone (Getty/Townsend)

See you Sunday!

Preparing to Gather 12/4/11

As Advent season has officially begun my family and my church continues to look upon the Incarnation and feel the warmth of the countless blessings that this season brings.  This Sunday we will focus on the outcome of the incarnation and will hear Noah Joyner from North Wake Church as he opens God’s Word and points us to Christ.  In light of Advent, and because it is the first Sunday in December and I have been given the thumbs up to sing “Christmas songs”, we will fill our time with a few favorites, some to a new tune, but familiar songs nonetheless.  Songs that point to the eager expectation of Christ we see throughout the Old Testament and the importance of the coming of Immanuel, God with us. 

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus (Wesley)

O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Neale/Helmore)

Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing (Robinson)

Saviour King (Sampson/Fields)

Angels We Have Heard On High (Chadwick/Renstrom)

See you Sunday!

Preparing to Gather 11/20/11

We are taking a break from the gospel of Luke and beginning a series this week called “The Incarnation” which will go through Christmas.  I have been barred from doing “Christmas” songs until the first of December so we are doing songs focused on the condecension of Christ and His mission on earth (He was born to die).

This Sunday we are singing “And Can It Be” (Indelible Grace), “Because Of Your Love” (Wickham), “Before The Throne Of God Above” (SGM), “By This We Know Love” (SGM), and “Center” (Hall)…as always I wanted the locus to be on the cross of Christ but also wanted some lyrical assent to the advent/first coming of Christ.

See you Sunday!

Preparing to Gather 11/13/11

Over the years the “gravity” of communion has grown in my own personal theology.  As I have prepared for this Sunday, and the fact that I will be leading our response time, I have been encouraged by Dr. Moore’s words here on why a closed communion is so important:

The table is not just an individual reminder of the gospel; it is the very locus of church fellowship, the place where we experience Christ present in proclamation and in one another. It is here that we experience a foretaste of the wedding supper to come, and where we announce those we hold accountable to struggle with us until then. The church is “recognizing the body” of Christ (1 Cor. 11:29) by defining the boundaries of communion at the table in terms of those who are in union with Christ and who are able, should they deny him, to be disciplined.Read more: http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=24-05-016-v#ixzz1dQfHCeWn

This same thought should be carried over into every facet of corporate worship, from sitting under the preaching of God’s Word to singing gospel centered songs even to greeting and fellowshipping with one another.  We will sing some weighty, gospel centered songs and my hope is that we will all see the surpassing greatness of our Savior.
 
 
 
Come Ye Sinners (Hart/Seay)
 
Beautiful, Scandalous Night (Daugherty/Hindalong/Seay)
 
 
Let’s prepare to gather and take communion and remember the gravity of occasion for which we meet, we are remembering the Lord’s death until He comes.

Preparing to Gather 11/6/11

Bob Kauflin has encouraged me this week in helping to think about our times of gathering.  He said in speaking at a recent conference:

“while “worship” is a word that refers to our relationship to God in all of life, I was going to speak primarily about singing songs of praise when we gather. Throughout Israel’s history, God intended there to be a connection between the faithfulness, authenticity, and passion of their gatherings and the way they lived their daily lives. What the Israelites did when they met at the tabernacle or temple was meant to reflect and shape what they did in their daily lives. So it is with us today.”

The songs we will sing revolve around God’s power and sovereignty over life, death, nature, man, salvation, and all things:

O God Of Our Salvation (Bleecker/Boswell)

Mighty To Save (Morgan/Fielding)

Sweetly Broken (Riddle)

Stronger (Morgan/Fielding)

You Never Let Go (Redman)

Once again…listen, sing, pray, read (Luke 8:19-39), and come ready to encourage one another as worship God corporately.  See you Sunday!