Just thought it might be helpful to share in a post, a bit of the thinking that goes in the background when planning a Sunday service. Throughout the week, there’s a fair bit of prayer, communication with the preacher, bible reader and the rest of the music team to do our best in leading the folks at Howick Baptist in corporate worship.
Here’s a recap from the Sunday just gone (24 October 2010).
Call to worship
The following is taken straight from my worship leading notes:
From Hebrews 2:6 we read:
It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
putting everything in subjection under his feet.”
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:6-9 ESV)
And as the writer of Hebrews quotes here from Psalm 8, he’s onto something here… he shows how this Old Testament passage wonderfully foreshadows and points to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. It’s a reminder that the whole of scripture points to, and bears witness about Christ. My prayer is that our praises, our songs, our readings, our message, all of it this morning will also point to, and bear witness to Jesus, our blessed Redeemer.
Let’s stand and worship together: “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.”
1. How Majestic by Mark Altrogge. We had a tight group of contemporary-style musicians this week (guitars, bass, drums, piano, singers), which helped to give the song the energy and drive for this lively opening song, based on Psalm 8. Ended the song on the dominant, on a sustained C chord, to make the transition from this song (in F major) to the next one (in E major) more natural.
2. Glories of Calvary by Steve and Vikki Cook. A firm favourite at HBC. It’s a call to believers to remember that the gospel isn’t just a ticket to get into Heaven, it’s what shapes the rest of our earthly race. My favourite line, which has so much meaning packed into it:
“Lord take me deeper into the glories of Calvary”.
3. Jesus Came to Earth by Solomon Campbell, Dave Campbell, and Bob Kauflin. This song first came to my attention when I snuck into a Sunday School service a week I wasn’t on team. The children have a separate time of singing for about 10-15 minutes, and one of the songs that stood out to me was this one. It’s as clear a presentation of the gospel as you’re going to get (in the vein of Paul’s 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 declaration). I think the smiles on the kids’ faces when we started playing the song was worth the effort learning it!
4. How Sweet the Day by Stephen Altrogge. The thinking behind this one is that Peter recently asked the worship leaders to give some fresh Advent (or Christmas-appropriate) songs a go, to supplement the healthy staple of Christmas carols that we usually do. This one came to mind as one that the congregation might possibly be able to pick up. It’s got a light, happy tune and a catchy chorus:
“Oh sing for joy, lift up your voice
Let us sing for joy, the whole earth rejoice
Let us sing for joy to the Son
For Jesus our Saviour has come!”
5. The Greatest of All by Pat Sczebel, chorus by Fanny J Crosby. A song we taught during Peter’s study through Romans 8:1-17 a few months back. The chorus is taken from Crosby’s hymn “Redeemed”, but set with a fresh rousing melody. The verses are almost a paraphrase of the main themes from Romans 8.
Scripture reading: Revelation 5:1-14. Cyrus did a super job of engaging the congregation with the reading of this passage. You don’t sit and drift off when his booming voice is going!
6. The Power of the Cross by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. What more needs to be said after singing this:
This the power of the cross
Christ became sin for us
Took the blame, bore the wrath
We stand forgiven at the cross.
Sermon: 1 Timothy 2:1-7. Our senior pastor Peter Somervell preached a convicting sermon from the text, imploring us to pray and intercede for the lost, no matter how distant from salvation we may assume they are. There’s none to lost to save, and if we don’t intercede for them in prayer: mayors, politicians, co-workers, relatives, friends, enemies… who will?
7. Let Your Kingdom Come by Bob Kauflin. I’d actually prepped (and the team rehearsed) with another closing song, Jesus Thank You. But after reading the outline of Peter’s sermon, I realised I had totally misjudged the thrust of the sermon topic (believing it would be geared towards verse 5, Christ as mediator). But the big-picture story he laid out convinced me that it was better to end with a song to encourage the church family to be faithful in the Great Commission, and to sing:
Let Your song be heard everywhere on earth
Till Your sovereign work on earth is done
Let Your kingdom come!
So it does pay to check emails on a Saturday night!
Some other thoughts:
- This morning’s songs were deliberately geared to proclaim and recall different aspects of Jesus Christ. This was partly to reflect one of my favourite verses in this morning’s text, 1 Timothy 2:5 – “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…”
- It was only when Simon pointed it out on Thursday that I realised that the set list, bar one, consisted entirely of Sovereign Grace Music songs. It’s a testament to how our church has steadily grown over the years to be more and more accepting of contemporary, theologically-rich worship songs – and I guess it just so happens that SGM put out many of them!
- For some reason during the fourth or fifth song, the effects pedal for my guitar died. Lesson learned: don’t rely on battery power for this effects pedal!
P.s.: For those who are waiting for the next in the Colossians 3:16 worship music blog series… well so am I! I’m mainly waiting for more time to flesh it out and write again. It’s been pretty busy with work commitments, and unlike Jamie Brown or Bob Kauflin, I’m not a full-time worship leader!
– William Chong