9.13.15 Worship Rewind (New Life)

Worship Rewind 2013

  • Not To Us – Chris Tomlin
  • Everlasting God – Lincoln Brewster
  • How Great Is Our God – Chris Tomlin
  • Only You – David Crowder
  • Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus – Hymn

It’s been a while since I’ve led worship. We’ve been focused on starting a church so I haven’t led anywhere. I was afraid that I would be a little rusty but my wife said I picked up like I had never stopped. I just love pastoring folks in music. I love encouraging them and leading them in worshiping our God.

I got invited by my friend Jake at New Life to come lead while he was on vacation and I accepted. I love his church and love worshiping with them. They are such great people and the spirit is moving in that place. I could tell today that they were ready to worship. I go there an hour early to set up and it felt like I was sound checking in front of the whole church because people arrive for worship so early.

I’ve been concerned the last two weeks because I recently came down with an upper respiratory infection and have been working diligently to overcome it. It really didn’t seem like the drugs were working but for some reason, God never fails. When I lead worship, he always pauses the coughing enough for me to lead and get off stage.

I used to be that guy concerned that I wouldn’t fail, that I wouldn’t do it right or that I wouldn’t do what I was supposed to do. But God has given me the gift to lead worship so I just do it. I didn’t fear standing before a different group of people who hadn’t heard me before or hadn’t heard me in a while. I didn’t fear that I wouldn’t follow the Spirit. It is sometimes weird going to a different church where you don’t know what God is doing but I decided to go in there and let God speak and lead. Who cared (not me) if I did something out of the ordinary. Thankfully the leadership of New Life trusted me to lead.

Needless to say, when I stepped off the stage, Pastor Richard let the church know I just about preached his message. I left off right where he needed to start. It is so cool when God leads me to sing and speak the words that will be reiterated or picked up and taken further by the pastor. I love it when God seamlessly makes things happen.

We had a great time at New Life today. I even got called weird from the pulpit. I was also asked not to be a stranger at leading worship at New Life. Hey Jake!!!!!!

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11.2.14 Worship Rewind

Worship Rewind 2013

  • God Is Able – Hillsong
  • This Is Amazing Grace – Phil Wickham
  • Here For You – Matt Redman
  • Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) – Chris Tomlin

What a great day at GraceLife today. I believe God’s presence was with us. We had a wonderful time of worship this morning. I’m going to miss worshiping with my GraceLife Clarksville family.

Tony, my worship leading replacement couldn’t lead today because he perforated his ear somehow. I know he is in a lot of pain. Ear aches are no joke. That is some serious pain to overcome. Pray for him!!! Since he was down, I led worship today. Last week, I handed the reigns over to him and asked him to schedule me to play and maybe sing a song. I didn’t have the intention to lead today but it was a beautiful completion of the circle that I told our drummer had come full. When I came to the church, it was just me on acoustic and a drummer. The original drummer PCSed. (In the Army, that means permanent change of station) So Thomas, who I dubbed backup came on first string and we played for a long time together, just him and I. Today, we got to relive that moment. I believe a fitting end to my ministry at GraceLife.

We began with God Is Able. Great song. With only one guitar, I don’t worry about signature guitar licks. I just play the chord progression. I really like doing that sometimes because it frees me up to really just allow the spirit to flow and go where he wants.

We then sang This Is Amazing Grace. We are in our Sola series and today Pastor Carlo was speaking on Sola Gratia, Grace Alone. So we had to sing about God’s grace or unmerited favor.

Next we sang Here For You. I prefaced this song about not coming to church for all the benefits it provides but coming firstly to worship God. I really felt my hand starting to cramp on this song. I typically do when I play by myself. I keep a death grip on the pick and it tends to cramp before I finish. Gotta learn to quit doing that.

Lastly, of course we had to play Amazing Grace. It’s obligatory when you have a message on grace.

Again, it’s really difficult knowing that we merely have just a few weeks left. But I am equally excited to get back to Lewisburg and do ministry in my hometown. This is a huge transition for my wife and I. I never considered myself a church planter. So this is new for our family. I only pray that I have made an impact in Clarksville that will create a legacy and continue to preach in the hearts of people who knew me here.

10.5.14 Worship Rewind

Worship Rewind 2013

  • Unchanged – Chris Tomlin
  • Lord of All – Kristian Stanfill
  • In Christ Alone – Stuart Townend

Another great day at GraceLife.  I alway look forward to hanging out with my church family. Truth be told there are days I don’t want to get out of bed. Especially when it’s raining or the weather has turned cold but I know that hanging out with my church family as we worship God together has the tendency to restore my soul and refresh me for the week.

As I write this, I am aware that I may not have many Worship Rewinds left as they traditionally have been. I have been writing these for years about the songs we sing and how the song service went but my transition from worship pastor to teaching pastor will soon come and the direction and layout will turn from songs to scripture. I look forward to the change but I also will miss the blessing of looking back through the years to see what songs were sung, the notes I have made on mishaps and musings as well as simply having a history of leading songs. That will soon come to pass and a new direction will take hold where I can then look back and see new work my family and I have begun.

With that being said, today was simply awesome. We sang a few songs, had communion and Pastor Carlo started a new series called Sola that simply rocked. I took away a few nuggets from today’s message.

I started the morning off with Unchanged. Nothing new or weird about this song. It sounded great. The worship team was really on key today and everyone sounded amazing.

After welcome, Tony led us in Lord of All. We “ping-ponged” the vocals. He sang the verses and chorus and I sang the pre-chorus and bridge. It was really cool and sounded great.

After Lord of All, the band sat down and I led the church in Communion. I really enjoying doing this. I remember the first time I got to lead the church in communion and I was scared to death. Now, it’s easy and not so nerve wrecking and I look forward to every opportunity.

After communion, we sang one more song. I led solo on guitar In Christ Alone. Our message today was Solus Christus, Christ Alone. I thought it was fitting to sing this song even though we have never done so before at GraceLife. Again, it was a fabulous day. After church, one of my friends took my wife, my son and I out for lunch. We decided to extend National Taco Day to today and continue the celebration.

9.28.14 Worship Rewind

Worship Rewind 2013

  • When I Think About the Lord – Shane and Shane
  • God Is Able – Hillsong
  • I Stand Amazed – Chris Tomlin
  • There Is None Like You – Lenny Leblanc

Awesome day today. We had guest speaker Clem Ferris in town today. He spoke on the Holy Spirit’s role in mission using Acts 10:38.

We haven’t sang When I Think in a while and I know now why I was impressed to put it into today’s set. It really went well with Clem’s message.

I had intended for Tony to lead a couple of songs today and asked him to sing the middle two songs. He did a great job leading us and allowed me to sing BGV or play a little on the guitar. I had a lot of fun doing that. It’s my bread and butter I think.

We then wrapped it up with the chorus of There Is None Like You. I have been playing this song for years and absolutely love the simplicity of the song as well as the message. During the song, I felt we needed to individually pray so I encouraged everyone to open p their hearts and thank God for whatever they needed to thank him for or ask for faith in areas they need more faith. I thought this also played well into Clem’s message of the Holy Spirit and the power we receive from Him.

Now, two things I’m concerned about today. The Cardinals clenching the Central Division and my homework. It will be a loaded day of busyness.

9.21.14 Worship Rewind

Worship Rewind 2013

  • Not To Us – Chris Tomlin
  • Cornerstone – Hillsong
  • God of This City – Chris Tomlin

Today’s Worship Rewind will be slightly different because I didn’t play on the worship team rather I brought the message. I was really able to connect with God during the music this morning. I cried but what’s new right? I thought Tony did a great job leading us yet I also challenged him to be a little more aggressive in the sense that he knows he’s just not singing a song but actually connecting our church with our Lord and Savior.

I got the opportunity to share with our church how my wife and I will be leaving soon to go back to our hometown to plant a very grassroots, organic church. In other words, we’re going to infiltrate our neighborhood and hold church in our living room. We will be so under the radar most people will not know our church exists other than the ones we have connected with.

I’m excited about this new venture that we are taking and quite frankly, can’t wait to get back to start. It’s rather bittersweet because again, we will be leaving a church and people we truly love but I know that we are not far away to visit as well as leaving is never saying goodbye, just a see ya later.

Today’s message was very real and personable. I didn’t try to make it polished. I just wanted to talk with my church family. That’s just what I did. I did go a little long but for the first time, it didn’t bother me because I really needed to say what I did. I love the idea of speaking to our church family without feeling like I have to be a professional speaker. I just spoke like I would if we were all sitting in a coffee house having a simple conversation. Felt liberating to do so.

This week, I’ll share a short version of what I said today.

9.14.14 Worship Rewind

Worship Rewind 2013

  • Here For You – Matt Redman
  • Whom Shall I Fear – Chris Tomlin
  • Because Of Who You Are – Martha Munizzi

Amazing day at GraceLife today. We had a panel discussion with Pastor Carlo, Tim Catchim, and Tony Stefko about “Life on Mission.” I soaked in every word and took lots of notes.

  • Tim Catchim functions as a multi-vocational entrepreneur. He has started several business, to include a curbside recycling business, a Go Green Initiative, as well as Generate: A Coaching and Consultancy practice for church planters and start up businesses. He has also been instrumental in the start up phases of several non-profits.
  • Tony Stefko is the lead pastor at Quad 4 Church, a missional community in Clarksville Tn.

Singing wise, we had an awesome moment of worshiping God in music. I was blown away at the response through music. The place sounded amazing listening to a crowd of worshipers singing loud. Mostly, what touched me most was during the song Whom Shall I Fear. I looked over and saw my buddy’s very young daughter singing with her eyes closed and I had to back away from the mic and began to cry (just a little). It was such an innocent expression from a young girl sing to her God that she has no one to fear. what a moment.

It had been a while since we sang Because Of Who You Are and thought today was a great day to dust it off and sing it again. we could have stayed in the moment but I knew we had a lot to discuss and I didn’t feel we needed to extend worship. But it was really a great moment of worship this morning. I believe God spoke from the music and the message from what I heard from folks after we dismissed.

I love my church but I can’t wait to get back to my hometown and begin the work of building a missional community in Lewisburg, GraceLife Lewisburg.

9.7.14 Worship Rewind

Worship Rewind 2013

  • Today Is The Day – Lincoln Brewster
  • Mission’s Flame – Matt Redman
  • No Turning Back – Chris Tomlin

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been at church due to ministry responsibilities and a family vacation so it was good to be back at GraceLife to see everyone and lead worship.

Back at the start of summer, we took a lot of the band off the stage due to a) doing something different and b) we meet in a gym so we wanted to see the dynamic differences in volume. Today, we brought the drums back but scaled them down significantly. We only had a snare, kick and high hats and it proved to sound great and enough not to wash out the lyrics.

Someone asked me the other day how our church was doing. I mentioned that GraceLife is growing. Growing not just numerically but spiritually which is more important. I can see that as we sing. Folks are engaging more and more and I believe when people begin to realize that worship is a way of life and the singing is a form of prayer in song then we begin to tangibly see lives being changed because the fruit of change is an outward expression of what God is doing on the inside. This was evident today as we sang. That blesses me.

Pastor Carlo shared with us a new vision for the church really stressing life on mission. Instead of being a consumer at church we should be contributors and live a life on mission to reach people in our rhythms of life with the gospel of Christ. Next week, we get to have a panel discussion of what that looks like and in a couple of weeks, I get to share our vision of what GraceLife Lewisburg will look like. It’s going to be a great month.