Easter Faithfulness

Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!

Today we rejoice and celebrate for our Lord Jesus is risen from the dead and is victorious over sin & over death. He has overcome the grave and just as He lives, we live – lives that are lived for Him. Just as God reminds us of His faithfulness on this day, we too live lives that are faithful to Him. For because of the cross where Jesus died for our sins, we are made new, made alive to God, and dead to sin.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Happy Easter, everyone!

Reflection Song: He Has Overcome


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Lent, Week 4: Peace

When I think of peace, I instantly think of the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” because of the first verse: When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say it is well, it is well with my soul.

How confident are we in this peace that surpasses all understanding, that even when sorrows come in like sea billows we can still say it is well? Crises, trials, accidents, temptations, chaos… But the Bible says to focus on the Lord because He will give you peace, a calmness the world cannot provide. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” And Jesus said that in Him you will have peace (John 16:33): “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

The story goes that the writer of the hymn, Horatio Spafford, experienced great loss and pain during an overseas trip. He sent his wife and four daughters to England before himself, later learning that their ship had a collision and only his wife survived… that’s when he wrote the first verse. Wow.

Being able to say those words even through tragedy! That’s the kind of peace God gives us, brothers & sisters. As we trust in Him in the good times and the bad, with steadfast minds, we place our faith in Jesus Christ who is coming back.

We’re already about halfway to Easter but are you continuing to look to and trust in God at all times? Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

In this fourth week of Lent, whatever is troubling you, whatever is comforting you, whatever your lot (defined as fate, future, or destiny…), I hope we will be able to look to nothing else but the Lord who guards us and leads us by still waters.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

Reflection Song: You Are Greater


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Endless Love

How amazing is God’s love? It is everlasting. It is unconditional. It knows no bounds.

We recently led worship at IN2 Church’s Crosswalk lock-in where they had the banner above, representing God’s neverending love for us. Throughout the night, people wrote on heart-shaped post-its with what they are thankful for and posted it on this banner. This should get us thinking… especially in this Thanksgiving season, what are you grateful for?

Lamentations 3:22 says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” One thing we can count on is God’s never failing love for us. And with His one and only son, Jesus, and the cross, we see His love displayed for us and making a way for us. This endless love is not something foreign or alien, but familiar and given freely to us by the grace of God. Because His love is endless, so should be our response! This reminded us of our song Unending Praise:

Lord, I live for You… Lord, I give to You unending praise, unending praise. More than anything, be my everything. We give You praise, unending praise.

Just as how we are the recipient of God’s unending love, may God receive unending praise from us – that our response to His love may be worship, that our lives would be worship, and He would be the object of our worship.

No matter what hardships you may be going through & experiencing, remember your relationship with the Lord and who He is. For starters, Psalm 145 says He is gracious, compassionate, loving, and good… so you are not in this alone. God is for us and Jesus Christ is the sign of His perfect love for us. Be encouraged today as you begin a new week for His glory. Be thankful and find peace & joy in His endless love for you!

Reflection Song: Here Today

New Songs In Church

“Of course he’s doing his songs…” is what some may be suggesting when you use your own songs in church. But more on that in a little bit.

We’ve heard it many times before from Psalm 96: “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth”, which could refer to spontaneous times of worship or, for the purpose of this post, a new song you and your team have planned. For example, you’ve heard the new Passion or Hillsong album and you want to try the title track on a Sunday… what do you do?

When I select songs, I’m very intentional. What I mean by that is I make sure I’m not slapping together any 4 songs together as an “emergency setlist”. In fact, I often prepare setlists weeks in advance. This may come as a surprise to some of you, while for others it may be the norm already. But introducing new songs is the same deal: we don’t want to impulsively throw a new song at our congregation or even our team. It takes planning! In addition to our older post What Kind Of Songs Do You Pick?, here are a few thoughts when it comes to new songs:

  1. Listen to the song carefully. How easy is it for your average congregation to learn the melody? How many times would you need to “introduce” it before it’s more naturally sung? When we introduce a new song at our church, we use it about 3-4 times within 2 months (which may even involve back-to-back Sundays) before including it in our regular rotation of songs.
  2. In a given year, I only allow a handful of new songs. That means I may not even get to the latest single by “So-and-so Worship Artist” because I don’t want to overwhelm the church with too many new songs at once.
  3. If you plan on introducing a new song, always take a closer look at the lyrics and even ask your worship pastor (if you have one, or another one of your pastors) if it is scripturally sound.
  4. What other songs are you including when you lead this new song? Make sure that you are surrounding it with more recognizable songs to balance the familiarity of songs and flow of worship.
  5. Lastly, and possibly most importantly, notify your team in advance! The only thing that makes teaching a new song harder is a band that doesn’t completely know the song either. Imagine if you were out in the pews trying to learn the song but the lead vocalist is unsure of the melody… or the words on the screen don’t match… These factors make your job that much more difficult.
  6. Added bonus: if the song in question is played frequently on the radio and your church has some avid Star 99.1 / KLOVE / etc. listeners, then half the battle is won!

Once the new song is in place, feel out how the congregation is responding to this song to determine if it works (or will continue to work) in your church.

Now onto originals…

If you write your own songs, like we do, you may feel led to introduce some of them in church. This is where you really need to get objective and answer the same questions as unbiased as possible! With the songs that you write, do they fit in Sunday worship context? And feel free to check out other factors in What Kind Of Songs Do You Pick?.

We want to be careful that we don’t come across as “self-promoting” because that shouldn’t be the reason why we’re writing these worship songs in the first place. We’re not worship leaders to promote ourselves, but to promote Christ. And if we’re called to be worship leaders, we ought to be leading both on and off the stage. If we’re leading both on and off the stage, then your fellow brothers & sisters in Christ will probably be eager to learn something new with you!

For us, we generally use our songs if: A) it fits a sermon topic or theme for that particular day/event or B) if the song was birthed out of something we experienced together as a church. If you can relate to B, then that’s great! That means it’s not so much “my song” (you, the writer) but “our song” (us, the church)!

It’s easier said than done, for sure. You’ll find that you like these new songs, while your drummer will like those new songs, etc. But it goes back to what we wrote in our previous post: it’s important that as leaders we lead intentionally – this stems from the very beginning when we select the songs to how we decide to actually lead and connect these songs. Let’s be intentional and humble in all these processes. We’re merely the vessel for these songs to be led & sung in worship by the church to our Lord Jesus Christ!