8.26.2008

Top Ten Worship Albums

Here are my top ten worship albums at the moment. Some are new and some are not, these are just the ones that keep ending up on my iPod playlists. What are yours?

1. All of the Above - Hillsong United
2. Saviour King - Hillsong
3. God of this City - Passion
4. Rise Up - Rita Springer
5. My Savior Lives - New Life Worship (Desperation Band)
6. How Great is Our God - Passion
7. Illuminate - David Crowder
8. Living for You - Gateway Church
9. Eternity - Misty Edwards
10. Free to Worship - Lakewood

8.25.2008

Communion

This is in response to a couple of questions inquiring as to how we do communion at Collision.

In no way do I hold this as the "right" or the "only" way, it is just "our" way and we are open to doing it however the Lord leads us. The main goals of communion for me are:

1. That everyone has the opportunity to corporately commune with God
2. For everyone to have a clear understanding of what is happening, and for no one to feel awkward.

I have been in many a church service where I felt awkward trying to figure out "their way" of receiving communion. I don't think the Lord's table would ever be somewhere that someone felt awkward or out of place.

Disclaimer: I am going to give you all probably 100 more details than you ever wanted.


Each week we have a communion table that is set up for people to come to at anytime during the worship service. Then, about once a month we come to the table corporately and receive communion.

Yesterday we sat up a table down front on the right side. We used a large rug and then sat a table in the center of it. (We are currently meeting in our fellowship hall as we wait for our new worship space to be completed, so it is all rugs and partitions.) We placed the bread and the juice (sounds funny to say juice and not wine, but it was juice... which I guess is baby wine?) in the center of the table. We served a large round Kings Hawaiian bread and Welch's grape juice. The bread sits in an "earthy" wooden bowl and the juice is served in two large ceramic "cups." (I am sure there is a very perfect and holy word for them). Basically they are just very cool looking pieces of fired pottery shaped like over-sized wine glasses. We use these wooden partitions standing behind the table with a large wooden cross affixed to them. Additionally, there was a metal, rustic looking, cross on the actual table as well as lit candle.


As far as actually serving communion, this week communion was a central response to the message and so it was served at the end in more of an "altar call" fashion. We tend to serve communion at the end of our service so that it is a response and not a "practice." Pastor Missy shifted to communion at the end of her sermon and then gave the words of institution (a fancy word for explaining communion as it was detailed in scripture) and broke the bread. At this time, as three assistants as well as myself came forward, the congregation was encouraged to spend a moment in silent prayer and reflection. Missy and the other assistants served myself and each other from the Lord's table.

The reason that I came up at this time is because we found it is a great way for whoever is sharing music during communion to receive communion without it being awkward. There is nothing more awkward than being in the middle of a worship song and having two people come up and try and serve me communion without me dropping something, choking on something, or the music stopping strangely altogether.

I began to play and then those serving communion moved to the center as Missy instructed, "the table is open, please come." We serve communion by intinction (another fancy word that means breaking off a piece of bread from the loaf and dipping it into the juice). I am a fan of this method, all theological reasoning aside, simply for the sanitary presentation. Of course, the wafers and small cups accomplish the same sanitary result.

This week I played "Remain in Me" during communion. It is a very simple songs and the lyrics are:

I am the vine, you are the branches
Remain in Me
I am the vine you are the branches
Stay here with Me

Remain in Me, remain in Me
For apart from Me you can do nothing
Remain in Me

I think there are a lot of great communion songs out there and as a general rule I play something that is reflective in nature. I also never play something that will attempt to be a "show stealer," this time isn't about me or my song, but about people dining with Christ. Often times I will just play something light on the acoustic and sit on a stool, it is also my preference for the stage lights not to be up very much.

I hope that you all find this helpful! Please comment and let me know how you do communion.

8.24.2008

08-24-08 Collision

WORSHIP RECAP

Sermon: God's Faithfulness

This morning we discussed God's faithfulness to us. Pastor Missy shared stories from Saul and David and showed the contrast of how Saul relied on his own self once he was placed into power and yet David constantly sought God's will. Although sometimes David got it right and sometimes he got it wrong, he was seeking- that is why David is called a man after God's own heart. It is important that we take our eyes off of what we can do or what others think we should do and refocus our eyes on what God has already accomplished, as he continues to work it out in our lives. Just as Paul said in Philippians 1:6, God, will be faithful and just to complete the good work that he has started in you! We also served communion this morning as we sealed the truth that God is faithful.

Worship Set:
Sing, Sing, Sing - Chris Tomlin
Your Grace is Enough - Matt Maher
Fire Fall Down - Matt Crocker
No Sweeter Name - Kari Jobe

Check out other worship leader's setlists here.

8.23.2008

Healer: The Michael Guglielmucci Scandal

I am generally not one to respond to issues of media, politics, and the like because I find that it has a way of getting me into trouble. I think that is mostly because I have found myself speaking about things of which I am in no way a subject matter expert. In this post I am not presenting myself as a subject matter expert in any way and I welcome comments from anyone who has insight or more knowledge about this whole deal.


My experience in all of this begins on July 23rd at about 1pm, when a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook. It was entitled Healer, and that got my attention. As I clicked over to the YouTube video, which has since been removed, I found myself emotionally invested into the story of Michael Guglielmucci. I myself knowing what it is like to watch someone struggle and eventually lose the battle with a terminal illness, was encouraged and empathetic to this whole story. What compounded this for me was watching 3 of my favorite worship leaders, Darlene Zschech, Joel Houston, and Brooke Fraser speak about the experience. You see, the video detailed the story of Mike's battle with an "agressive form of cancer" and how God had given him this song. He tells of how he sat at his piano and pressed record on some sort of audio capturing device as he started to worship. Never writing out chords, verses, or choruses, Guglielmucci tells of how he sang the song the whole way through as God was giving it to him. The former pastor of Planetshakers, Australia's largest youth church, Mike was invited by Hillsong Church to share his story and and his song on their live worship recording of This is Our God, which was recently released.

I was so moved by this whole experience that I was eager to share this song story with our congregation. For some reason or another I just couldn't get around to doing this, it didn't fit with our current direction and we have had some pretty unique programming in our services over the last several weeks. However, I was hoping to be able to share it and to play Healer in Collision in September. I actually had the music printed for the Worship Team to learn this week and left it laying on my desk. (Not that, that is so unusual...) I had the YouTube video posted here on my blog titled: Must See.


This morning I was perusing some worship blogs, when I discovered that, indeed, Michael Guglielmucci faked his entire illness. My initial response was anger, as I think most often is when we realize we have been taken advantage of or slighted in any way. However, once verifying that Hillsong was not involved in the scandal, my anger really turned to heartache. To top it all, every report is confirming that even the Guglielmucci family believed the illness was real, to include Michael's wife and children. I truly cannot imagine the mental anguish and torment that Michael probably lives in. I don't believe that as he was growing up in a pastor's home he plotted and schemed to become a pastor with great influence so that he could fake and illness and devastate people. I have to believe, from half way around the world, that he was motivated by a much deeper and more complicated issue than just being devious.


You read about people who, because they cannot overcome their own vices, addictions, and/or moral failures, become therapists and counselors to help others with their same struggles. It is some sort of emotional transfiguration in which a person attempts fulfillment through someone else's journey. I have to believe that many people become pastors and ministers for the same reasons- it is that mentality of, "if I can just do enough, be enough, then I can become the person I think, everyone else thinks, I should be." Some people can't get past the obvious reality that it doesn't work that way and so they live miserable lives in which they try to help others so that their struggle is eased. The truth is, there is no resolution or redemption in this path, but only more anguish.


Where I went wrong in all of this, is that I was drawn to the cute story and the emotional catch, when I should have been focused on who God is, that God is a Healer and that He is always glorified. People fail and people fall, that is what we do. However, just as we receive grace when we fall as we focus our hearts on the cross, we must focus our hearts on the cross to offer grace to others when they too fail. I began to feel that I had wasted my time praying for the healing of Michael Guglielmucci, I just couldn't see that my prayers were for his heart and his mind, not for his cancer. He and his family need our prayers now more than they ever did when everyone thought he was dying of cancer.


I say all of this to say:
1. My heart hurts for Michael Guglielmucci
2. God works despite humanity
3. Healer is still a powerful song of truth
4. We need to pray for this family and entire community
5. We must be careful not to focus on man, but on God.

I keep reading where people are dejecting the entire scandal and scathing at anything which is tied to it. I understand that perspective, but I also believe that God is bigger than Michael Guglielmucci. If you were touched by this song or this story, please don't discount what occured in your heart on account of another man's choices. God works despite our choices, doesn't he? I have seen time and time again where God was still glorified in the midst of my own darkness. I still plan to have my worship team learn this song, because I believe that He is my Healer- be it in life or death, in sickness or temptation, heartache or failure. God is a God that heals and restores, despite the choices of humanity.

Photo credit: Andrew Oskar

8.19.2008

08-17-08 Collision

WORSHIP RECAP

Sermon- God and Country

Today was our God and Country service, which was much anticipated by our leadership team- who let me just take a moment to say is incredible. The whole service was a huge success. We honored students from cubscouts, boyscouts, girlscouts, and brownies (I'm sure I have those all wrong and missed a group or two) who completed the God and Country program at there age level. The various programs were God and Me, God and Family, and God and Life. It was a lot of fun to encourage them and to honor the influences they are inviting into their lives through such excellent programs which promote servanthood, respect, and commitment.



Worship Set:
Marvelous Light - Charlie Hall
How Great is Our God - Chris Tomlin

Check out other worship recaps over here.

8.10.2008

08-10-2008 Collision

WORSHIP RECAP

Living a Life of Discipline

This morning Jason talked about Christian Disciplines. The whole idea was centered around a quote from Tolstoy that says "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." This really rang true for me- I am always so willing to get involved in a variety of initiatives "save the world," but would readily sacrifice a life of service at the altar of personal discipline. We looked at three areas of discipline this morning, two which were personal and one which war corporate. The first two were meditation and study. The enemy majors in three things- noise, hurry, and crowds. If he can keep us bound in business then we are sure to neglect our pursuit of holiness. We walked through an exercise or "Palms Down, Palms Up," as a way to meditate. There are no right ways or wrong ways to meditate- but it is through the practice of meditating that we learn to do it better. As for study we used a four step process: Repetition, Concentration, Comprehension, and Reflection and we applied it to Romans 8:5. Finally we talked about worship. William Temple once said, “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by they beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.” Everybody worships something all the time. Worship is about removing idols and placing God first. Part of the responsibility of worship is having a holy expectation to experience God in your worship. Just like meditating we can’t read a book and figure this out- we learn to worship by worshiping.

It was really a sweet time of worship this morning. I enjoyed the change of pace and was blessed as I watched other really seeking God throughout the service this morning.

Worship Set:
Sing, Sing, Sing - Chris Tomlin - E
(sermon)
Mighty to Save - Hillsong - G (Didn't actually get to the rest of the set)
'Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus (chorus) - C
Here is Our King - David Crowder - G


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8.03.2008

08-03-2008 Collision

WORSHIP RECAP

Rules to Live By

Jason preached from Colossians concerning household rules and how we as Christians should live our lives. The punch line: if we are serving God and seeking Him, the rest will fall in to place.

Worship Set:

Sing, Sing, Sing - Chris Tomlin - E
O' Praise Him - David Crowder - E
Jesus Messiah - Chris Tomlin - B
We Fall Down - B

Check out other worship lists from other worship leaders from around the world