HBC Service Redux: 30 January 2011

Here’s a recap of the service and the songs we chose this past weekend at Howick Baptist Church (You can find links to the set lists of this church and many other churches each week at theworshipcommunity.com). You can also read through previous HBC service recaps here.

Order of Service

(worship leader: Simon Newbould)

1. Come Now Is The Time to Worship – Brian Doerkson. Instrumentation this morning included Simon on guitar, Mandy with a strong piano line, flute, and a group of singers to help support the vocal line.

2. Faithful One – Brian Doerkson. Simon bridged into this song with a prayer while keeping his guitar chords going, which was definitely something we haven’t done in awhile. On the one hand when done right (playing and praying) it can help to smooth the transition between different songs and help the congregation to stay focused on what they’ve been praising the Lord about. On the other hand it can be a big distraction to people that aren’t used to having music and someone’s voice competing for the listener’s attention. In the time I’ve been at HBC, it hasn’t been a common practice to have the music carry through while someone’s praying – but it’s standard fare during the corporate praise at many other churches. What are your thoughts?

Announcements, Intercessory Prayer – Associate pastor Joe Fleener led the church in a pastoral prayer for a number of folk in our church family. It’s a good practice that helps us to remember one another in prayer and thanksgiving.

3. Purify My Heart – Brian Doerkson. This is a great song that reminds us about God’s role in refining us to be more and more holy: “set apart for You my Master, ready to do Your will.” The concept of refining, removing impurities, and the refiner’s fire is found in several scripture passages (Mal 2:17-3:6, Zech 13:9, 1 Pet 1:7) – it’d be great for these to be explained next time we do this song, or another one that uses this metaphor.

4. Psalm 23 (The Lord’s My Shepherd/I Will Trust) – Stuart Townend. We had planned this song for the previous week but Peter went a bit overtime, so Simon carried it over to this week.

Scripture reading – Psalms 3 and 4. We’ve started a systematic reading through the Psalms during our morning services, which seems to be going well so far (our Associate Pastor Joe Fleener previously shared some articles outlining the value of a systematic public reading of scripture). The Psalms in particular provide us with a good glimpse of authentic worship – one where the writers are relating to God in times of distress as well as delight.

5. All Is Well – Robin Mark. I thought the choice of this song and “Faithful One” linked very well with the two psalms just read – grounding our hope in times of trouble of the faithfulness and strength of the LORD. Nice one Simon!

6. How Great is our God – Chris Tomlin. Bit ironic that we were singing this the same time as Chris Tomlin himself would have been leading this same song at the Parachute festival this weekend!

Sermon: Women in the Church Part 2: Dealing with the Difficulties (1 Tim 2:11-15) – Peter Somervell. Peter continues a series carefully explaining and teaching this controversial passage. I appreciated how he was actively trying to not go beyond what the text says, yet clearly explaining also what the text does teach.

7. Soli Deo Gloria – Mark Altrogge. A great closing song to remind us to stay gospel-centred, and “to God alone be glory in Jesus Christ” for everything. I appreciated the liveliness the team put into this song, which isn’t always easy when you’re lighter on band instruments (such as bass and drum players!) I did get a comment that perhaps number of times the last line was repeated (“in Jesus Christ” five times) was more than necessary. I definitely don’t think there should be a rule against repeating lines as it’s something you find in a number of the Psalms (Psalm 118, Psalm 136). On a topic like this, a good question to ask might be: “Is this thought worth repeating?”. For example, repeating a single word like “come” will quickly lose its meaning to the regular worshipper, whereas a profound truth (e.g., “to God alone be glory, in Jesus Christ!”) certainly benefits from being emphasised a number of times!

Overall, enjoyed Sunday, and appreciated Simon’s service leading (his first one since returning from his holiday in the UK). To top it all off, we had a great time hanging out with church family at a picnic following the service.

– William