Sunday Recap – 12/5/2010

It’s hard to believe it, but it’s time to bring out the Christmas carols!! Pastor Tim started his Christmas series today, with “Did God Really Put Skin On?’, which was a great reminder of how the Word became flesh, based on John 1:14.

 

Contemporary Services

It was a Tomlin morning, I guess, with several from his newest Christmas CD and others.  It also was Communion today, and “Jesus Messiah” worked so well today as  a bridge between the Christmas message and the communion table! You can watch the video for this service, and see the Planning Center details.

 

Cafe Connection Service

I didn’t lead in either the Cafe or the Traditional this morning, so I was able to be the Producer today during this hour.  It was great to see Zack lead here in the Cafe and Randy in the Traditional.  The team did a great job today! I loved hearing them do “Carried To The Table”. Zack did an awesome job on the acoustic guitar on that one!

 

Traditional Service

  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel
  • Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
  • Joy to The World
  • Break Thou The Bread of Life
  • There Is a Redeemer

You can watch the video of this service and see the Planning Center details for this service.

This post is part of the Sunday Setlist blog carnival at The Worship Community, where you can read recaps from other worship services.

“Love God. Love People.” by Israel Houghton – A Review

I had the privilege of listening to “Love God. Love People.”, the new release by Israel Houghton set to release on August 31st, to review for All About Worship.  I have been anxiously awaiting his next release, following “The Power of One”, which was hugely successful, garnering a Grammy for the Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel album earlier this year.  This new album was such a joy to listen to! It did not disappoint in any way!

As the title indicates, this new project “is a return to a simple, foundational Gospel command: Love the Lord with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself,” says Israel. The album was recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in  London, and features Israel and the New Breed along with a group of outstanding guest artists, including Kirk Franklin’s vocals on “Mercies”, Fred Hammond on the bass guitar and smooth vocals in “Surprises”, and half of the Take 6 group on the beautiful “Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher)”, one of my favorite tracks on the whole album!

It’s hard to describe the style of this new album, with much of it having the all-familiar Israel Houghton gospel style, which is so wonderful! But, there is also a mix of rock, funk, pop, reggae, and a few more surprises thrown in, including The London Session Orchestra, and Israel’s version of the the recent Passion song “Our God”.

From the first few seconds of opening title track, I knew this album would be a lot of fun to listen to! I put on my headphones, turned up the volume, sat back and enjoyed a captivating musical journey filled with exciting moments of upbeat gospel praise, excellent tight vocal harmonies, outstanding musicians, and plenty of surprises along the way. I had to take off my “worship-leader-looking-for-new-songs” hat that I usually wear when listening to new albums, because although there are a couple songs I can see introducing to our church (“You Hold My World” and “Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher)”), I thoroughly enjoyed just listening to this album, appreciating all of the outstanding, excellent musicians using their amazing talents to praise God!

Some of the stand-out tracks for me I’ve already mentioned, including “You Hold My World”, a great song that could easily be adapted for churches; “You Won’t Let Go”, which fuses Reggae, Rock and that huge horn section into a contagious mix of sounds that I just had to play over and over again; and “Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher)”,  mixing the beautiful string sounds of the London Session Orchestra, a pure sound of a boys choir, the tight vocal harmonies of Take 6, and Israel and the New Breed’s vocals into a powerful worship song that builds and builds to an amazing climax of worship. The perfect way to close out this powerful project!

You will definitely want to pick this CD up when it comes out the end of August. You will not want to miss it!!

Barry Westman
All About Worship

(Note: You can also read this review on the All About Worship website.

Find Your Own Voice and Sing a New Song

It’s been over a week now, since we returned from the National Worship Leader Conference in Kansas City.  What a great week it was! As I’ve had time to ponder some of the themes that we encountered during the week, there seemed to be a recurring message that popped up in several places, and I’ve even encountered it in new places since the retreat. The theme is this – find your own voice and sing a new song!

The theme of the conference was “Sing a New Song”, based on Psalm 96:1. The week was filled with amazing new songs, sung by some of today’s newest artists such as Jonathan Lee, Matt Papa, Starfield, and Tenth Avenue North; as well as new songs by some of our favorite worship leaders – Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Israel Houghton and others.  I left with enough new songs to last me until next year (or at least until Christmas….)!

But, that wasn’t the only kind of new song that we heard about at the conference.  From Steve Berger, we heard about our new song that’s birthed through pain and suffering.  Using Psalm 40:1-3 as his text, Steve described his recent time in the pit after the tragic death of his son.   It’s easy to lose hope and give up on the thought of ever having a song of praise when you are going through a time in the pit, as David was describing in this Psalm.  But, Steve taught us that while we’re in the pit, we need to wait patiently, and realize that God has us there for a reason. God is still good, and He just has us there so He can conform us to be more like Him.

We just need to continue to lift our prayers and praises to him, not look to anyone or anything else for our salvation,  and realize that we will not stay in the pit forever.  You will not be there one second longer than you need to be.  Our hallelujah in the pit will lead to a new song of praise! Many will “see” our new song, as Psalm 40 says. Our new song is meant to be seen, not just heard. Our lifestyle may lead others to fear and put their trust in Him more than our songs. Our life should be a new song of praise!

We also heard about finding our own voice and singing a new song from Marcos Witt. Marcos is one of my favorite speakers, and this time was no exception! Using the story of the woman at the well from John 4, Marcos taught us what it means to be a proskuneo worshipper, willing to bow at the throne and be who we are.  Jesus said the Father is seeking true worshippers, and the word there for “worship” is proskuneo, or “to bow”, to lower your body, your attitude, humbling yourself in awe of the Lord.

We need to keep God on the throne in our lives, and let Him call the shots.  Marcos said when He’s on the throne, cool stuff can happen, and keeping His commands is no big deal.   He told some amazing stories of things God has asked him to lay down, or give up. Just like the elders in Revelation 4, we need to be willing to lay our crowns, or accomplishments, skill, down at the feet of Jesus.

The how of worship, this mountain or that mountain, isn’t so important. We try to copy the models of worship we hear and see. We try to be just like Chris Tomlin as we lead worship, or sound just like Matt Redman on his songs.  We can’t just instantly become as good as Lincoln Brewster is on the guitar via a one-time information download. It takes practice and skill to develop our own voice. We need to find our voice and stop trying to imitate others, and the only way we can do that is to be a proskuneo worshipper, willing to bow at the throne, to be who we are and sing a new song with our own voice.

There were so many other great speakers and ways to sing a new song; too many to describe here! But, the great part is that you can watch all of the main session speakers on your own online! The folks at Worship Leader magazine have provided video from the WorshipCast live streaming that was done during the conference. Just go to video on-demand section for the NWLC ’10 General Sessions to view all of these great speakers!!

You have to hear Louie Giglio tell his story of the “dead grandpa”, and hear Lisa Harper talk about her first experience twirling a banner! But, above all, find your own voice, and Sing A New Song!!

Barry Westman
All About Worship

Getting Started

Well, I thought I would just make a place for some of my thoughts, and things I’ve learned. I’ve been involved with the worship ministry for the last 16 years, and I’ve been through a lot of changes in that time.

I’ll be attending the National Worship Leader’s Conference next week in Leawood, KS, so I thought I may use this site to share some of my notes from different sessions and workshops. We’re bringing a team of 12 people from our church to the conference. I’m really excited for the week and look forward to seeing what God has in store for us.