Posts Tagged ‘Worship

21
Sep
09

My Holy Hangover

First off: Mad props to Shawn for the term Holy Hangover.
So what is a Holy Hangover? It’s what we in the ministry affectionately call that feeling we get on Monday Morning. Especially after a day like yesterday:

  • 1:30 – going to bed b/c we are at the beach and get to sleep in tomorrow morning!
  • 7:30 – Up and packing
  • 8:30 – Breakfast
  • 9 – Lead worship for last weekend retreat session
  • 10:30 – Say goodbye and pack up
  • 11:30 – Grab a bite to eat
  • 12 – On the road!…with 2 kids..ugh….
  • 4:10 – Backing trailer into the driveway…Orange Beach -> Baton Rouge in 4 hrs! BOOYAH!
  • 4:15 – Pulling out of the driveway in Rae’s car
  • 4:38 – Youth group! (8 mins late)
  • 6:20 – Wrapping up Youth (20 mins late but was so worth it! Amazing youth tonight!)
  • 6:30 – Changed and off to downtown
  • 7 – Arrived at Whitney’s Celebration Service for 10 Years at First Pres.
  • 8:10 – Hugging and goodbyes
  • 9 – Eating lunch…dinner…um…whatever
  • 9:30 – Check emails put on Psych! It was a Bollywood theme!
  • 11 – Heading to bed. Probably one of the earliest in months…years?

And voila: Monday Morning’s Holy Hangover.

How are you feeling this morning?

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15
Mar
09

Sunday Setlist March 15 – Variety Show

sunday_setlist_red21

I love the zoo. Various animals from various continents of various shapes and sizes all available for me to spend the afternoon walking around to view in 1 place. However, if they were physically all in the same space you might have some confusion, bewilderment, chaos, and the tigers would be devouring a small antelope in front of your 3 year old!

We had variety this week! Which for creativity’s sake was phenomenal! Although I remember every time I walked into the sanctuary I went “Whoosy whatsy?”

Prelude – Come Thou Fount
Announcments & Greeting
Creation’s King
Great is He Who’s the King of Kings
The Lord is Gracious and Compassionate
Come Thou Fount
Offering – Jesus, Lover of my Soul
Sermon
Communion – Bluegrass instrumental
Closing – Here I am to Worship

It wasn’t so much the music choice for this weekend that’s worth talking about so much as the variety that was so thought out to make this Sunday a very diverse one.

  1. The Choir – This week we had a mini-choir of about 5 ladies singing harmony with our Associate Pastor as the male part harmony. They were particularly showcased on Great is He… which was a new song however each part was taught to the congregation before the song began. It took some time but in the end it ‘worked.’ It’s not something I enjoyed b/c well I’m not too keen on choirs and then the time allotted to teach the song was a pretty big flow killer. That being said, it did get at least the guys and girls singing different parts. They were also showcased on the special for the Offering on Jesus, Lover of my Soul.
  2. Bluegrass – I’ve done a Bluegrass Sunday before and we’ve had acoustic Sundays with a more country folk sound but never just a good ole’ folksy bluegrassy tune smack dab in the middle of the service. It was particularly interesting for communion.
  3. Auxiliary instruments – Not only did we have an additional acoustic/electric guitar but we had a banjo and a saxophone. Therefore this week even the “normal” songs were not “normal” sounding songs. However it was Jesus, Lover of my Soul with the saxophone that was truly the addition of variety for the morning. Choir + Sax = !?!?!

I would have imagined my borderline ADD would have been all over this morning but something felt more confusing than pleasing. I recognize that’s just personal style preference. For marks on creativity and thinking outside the box: A for effort! I always wonder though how do you decide what’s appropriate or ‘what’s us?’ The human side of worship planning is so dang difficult!

But it is great to be a part of Fred’s Sunday Setlist Blog Carnival!

29
Sep
08

Sunday Worship Sept. 28th – The Desert

I find myself in an interesting predicament now at my church. I’m the previous Worship Leader who’s now doing Youth Ministry but still involved in the worship planning meetings we have but with a new worship leader who’s style and direction is different than mine. That’s not the difficult part. I don’t believe there is one correct style of worship that is pleasing to God. However, the rub comes from sitting in on our worship planning meeting and knowing the direction and intention of the service to come on Sunday and therefore, I have the built up excitement and giddiness that something “good is coming up” and then when it doesn’t…uh…can I say this outloud?…I feel a bit jipped. 

So here’s what happened: 

  • Open the Eyes of My Heart
  • Everlasting God
  • Sermon
  • Hungry w/ Scripture readings between the verse/choruses
  • Communion
  • Your Love oh Lord
  • Be Thou My Vision
  • I Need Thee Every Hour 

So we tossed the service around a bit this past Sunday. We wanted to create a corporate, fluid time of worship after the sermon. Psalm 63 was the focus and it was about a desire to worship God with our whole selves. The message concluded with a rallying cry, if you will, to engage in worship in a new way. Clap, move, kneel, raise hands, sing, remember, etc. with the intention of moving into an intimate setting to bring us to communion and then celebration afterwards.

…and I was distracted…

Moving in to this intimate time, the lights were full on and everything completely lit up. The music was so quiet it felt awkward to sing out. The tempo of each of the songs were all the same and only lent themselves to a reflective time of either raising your hand or kneeling. We sat, we stood, we took communion, we sat, we stood, it felt stiff and robotic.  I truly felt like the David we just read about, in the desert yearning and thirsting for God and not being satisfied. 

Rae helped me realize that I overly criticize (which I do!) and that most people didn’t pick up on anything that I had a problem with. We then remembered seeing several people raising their hands, with a few taking advantage of our kneelers as well. 

As I type this, I wonder if it’s God’s way of prodding me to think less of the things we do in worship and more of the One we worship. It’s not like that’s something I don’t know already. It’s the delicate balance of being aware of the subjective, human side of things that happen on Sunday morning and the otherly, supernatural God side of things that happen on Sunday morning. The pendulum can swing too far in either direction and disaster happens, I think I need to let me pendulum settle.

As always, check out the rest of the Carnival over at Fred’s site where all this gets started each week!

07
Sep
08

Sunday Worship – Sept. 7th After Gustav

Well the church received power on Friday so we were extremely happy to hold worship in the AC…with coffee…visuals up and running…PA system…with coffee…cold water…with coffee…did I mention the coffee 🙂

Even with the power back on we decided to stick to the plan of what we had intended on doing for today. However, instead of playing unplugged, we were able to play more like usual. Here’s what I went with today:

  • Everlasting God – Lincoln Brewster style
  • Holy is the Lord – Chris Tomlin
  • Blessed Be Your Name – Matt Redman
  • Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)

It was a pretty special Sunday. We actually had a great turnout for worship today. We took some time between Holy is the Lord and Blessed Be Your Name to have a very interactive share time where people were able to share their eventful week with everyone and had a joint time of prayer which concluded with Blessed Be Your Name.

I did something a bit different with Blessed Be Your Name this time around. We typically play it very, VERY With or Without You! (Pssst…it’s the exact same chord progression!) This time around I played it in the key of G and each time around we started small in the verse, built up the pre-chorus and then dropped out for the chorus and had just the voices sing. The bridge was actually the “biggest” part of the song. It was a nice deviation from what we normally do and felt really appropriate after our joint share and prayer time. People really sang out, I think it joined everyone together no matter what their experience was like this past week!

I’ve found God working very thematically with me lately. Last week was the Glory theme and this week it was about the Strength God gives His people. We have all this beautiful imagery in Everlasting God:

  •  Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
  • You (GOD) are the defender of the weak
  • You (GOD) are the comforter of those in need
  • You (GOD) lift us up!
  • YOU do not faint nor grow weary

Holy is the Lord simply states that our strength comes from the joy of the Lord. I found that fascinating that we could be given strength through God’s delight! And in doing so it causes us to celebrate!

We’ve got a lot of tired and worn out people at our church with everything Gustav has brought. I thought it was a great reminder that this is a time that God hasn’t forgotten about us. God’s not on a holiday and unaware with what’s happening in the Gulf of Mexico and Baton Rouge. In the midst of even a hurricane, He’s still glorified! It was a great morning!

Join in with Fred’s carnival and share about your Sunday!

02
Sep
08

Sunday Worship – Aug 31st Pre-Gustav

Ironically enough, this Sunday was my first Sunday back in the saddle leading worship since our new Worship Leader took the reigns. I appreciate the break in my Gustav trials to remember that time and share it with you and the community over at Fred’s incredible blog and his little blog carnival

It was quite a “Conner Sunday.” The new worship leader is quite different from me in many different areas and I strongly debated whether I would try and keep this Sunday true to the changes she has brought, however, after many people asked if I was returning “the rock,” I figured I would oblige and do what I do best. What I didn’t know was how much God would speak through those songs in to what we were about to encounter with this hurricane. 
This Sunday was on the glory of God. That was great for me, as a huge Passion-head there are tons of songs on the subject of glory from many of my favorite artists. Here’s what we did:

  • Prelude Not to Us – Tomlin
  • O for 1,000 Tongues to Sing – Crowder version
  • My glorious – Delirious
  • You’re beautiful – Phil Wickham

Then came all the meat in the middle: meet & greet, message, communion, etc.

  • Glory in the Highest – Tomlin
  • Oh Praise Him – Crowder

Like, I said, the theme and topic was great looking forward into the storm. Initially as I planned the service it went something like this: 
Not to Us as thematic greatness for sermon topic & 1 of my all time favorites ->
1,000 Tongues as a call to worship with the new chorus ->
My glorious looking at God’s grandness and thematic goodness ->
You’re Beautiful telling of God’s story shows his grandness again!

The service ended with Glory in the Highest being a great pull out of communion with topical theme ->
Oh Praise Him being the celebratory ending!  

It ended up being a great service discussing the things that glorify and point to the great grandness of God, which includes nature! The earth! Sky! Sunrise! Sunset! I just couldn’t shake My Glorious from Gustav: 

God is bigger than the air I breathe
God will save the day and all will say: “My Glorious!”

It truly was the most encouraging thing. It hit me in the face as we sung the songs the 1st service. I was glad we had 2 services that morning 🙂 I was able to offer the words of encouragement I received from the song to the congregation! Hopefully, they had those lyrics singing in their heads as we took shelter the next day.  

I’ll tell you, I’ve never seen the glory of God like when our typical 5 minute drive through our neighborhood to our house took nearly 20 minutes of winding and doubling back and going around all the fallen trees to turn on our street and see not a single downed tree! Then to find the top half of our tree square in our backyard missing my shed, our house, and the power lines that run above ground to the house from the back of the yard! I’m saying it: MY GLORIOUS!!

11
Aug
08

Sunday Setlist – Morning Worship Aug 10th

Fred’s got this great resource and carnival style blog thing happening over at FredMcKinnon.com. So blog about your Sunday experience, leave your info in Fred’s Mr. Linky and enjoy the fun!

So, I believe this is the 1st Sunday I’ve blogged about where I was NOT the worship leader leading worship 🙂 I was “just the guitar player/back up vocalist” and let me say that it was AWE-SOME! Jill has a totally different style of preference, style of playing, style of leadership, way of approaching the congregation, etc. and for me to be under someone doing worship again is really refreshing! (In case your wondering and missed it. Catch up here.) It was also a great Sunday for me and Gretsch to have some special alone time 🙂 It’s been rare that I’ve actually been able to “play lead” and while this was nothing extravagant in any means, it was a great experience nonetheless.

So, the songs:

  1. Prelude – Awesome video set to Let Everything That Has Breath (not the familiar one though) a version with the girl from Sixpence and the dude from Jars singing.
  2. Lord Most High – Shane Everettish
  3. Sing the Mighty Power of God – Grace Presbyterian Version
  4. All Creatures of Our God and King 1/2 – hymnlike with a hint of Crowder 🙂
  5. Offering Psalm 19
  6. Indescribable – Tomlin
  7. Creation’s King – Paul Baloche

My feelings:

  • Lord Most High – repeaty song that works well. It’s a bit low for the guys but very singable. We had a “Small Vocal Ensemble” this week that Jill worked with us beforehand and I believe that lended itself greatly to this week’s feeling of the congregation really sounding like they were singing! Good size too, there was another guy singing with me and 3 other ladies singing with Jill. Beforehand, I would have told you that I hated the idea of a SVE. I’m not sure hatred is the right term anymore. It’s not my thing but it totally worked and…dare I say it…I think I…maybe just a little…liked it.
  • Sing the Mighty Power of God – Jill’s introduced a bunch of “new songs.” It’s funny to say that because not too many of them have been “new” but they’re songs that I’d never done at River. This one has been a favorite of mine. It’s a hymn revamp with this great fresh lil chorus in it! Again, the SVE really lent itself here.
  • All Creatures 1/2 – LEAD LICK! Here’s the thing. I don’t know how to play the guitar. Jill wanted me to play the opening riff of the melody line and I pick things out using the same string and slide around on it (I think it sounds cool and don’t know any better.) The band taught me the “correct way” to play it using a scale and I botched it up on Sunday morning. “Botched it” in the sense that probably the only ones who knew were the musicians. However, this is what I love about what I’m doing now. I can stretch my guitar playing and actually learn how to play!
  • Psalm 19 – Incredibly pretty duet with me and Jill and Larry on the mandolin! What a sermon lead in should do! Set up the sermon and it nailed it musically and lyrically!
  • Indescribable – We played it a bit slow for me and slightly different tags so I couldn’t do the lil riff 😦
  • Creation’s King – This is a NEW song Jill has introduced and it’s a good one. Paul Baloche and Chris Tomlin have the insane knack for writing singable songs. This was one and it was fun to play! Little riffs here and there and fun harmony lines to sing! I think the congregation caught on.

Overall: it was a great morning! I’m not sure how ending with a new song went over. That’s a big “No-no” in my book so I’m curious to see how things were perceived. I’m finding for myself worshipping again while playing! I think those last month of leading youth, leading worship, new baby and all just made it difficult to break out of “playing” mentally and let go and worship on Sunday mornings. It was much easier to do that yesterday and it was great!

One thing that I’m glad isn’t my job to tackle anymore that we need to address that you could possibly help out in: what do you do with “bad musicians?” Jill has been great in opening up the community and bringing in new musicians and singers but now she’s faced with the tough decision of what to do when the excellence of the morning suffers because now you’ve got a wide spread of talent and not all of them are where the rest of the team is?

20
May
08

VIDEOconfessional of The Worship Debacle of May 18th

I was so excited about this past Sunday, I’ve honestly been excited about the past few Sundays but not all have turned out the way they were intended. This Sunday is a GREAT example of that so why not open it up here: The Worship Debacle of May 18th! Below you’ll find some live video with text commentary from Sunday.

Here is a montage of the 1st 2 songs of the 2nd service, check it out:

Intentions:

  • Great contemplative prelude video
  • Good moody swelling songs for worship
  • Great offering video by Amena Brown
  • Life-changing message
  • Incredible closer: Mission’s Flame by Matt Redman

Results:

  • Great contemplative prelude failed. Probably the least successful prelude we’ve done in a while. While those already in the sanctuary probably totally dug it, it did not get people in from the Gathering Area.
  • Worship songs troubled by key player getting to practice late coupled with the bass player missing the 1st song during the 2nd service. So for the 2nd service I was totally not worshipping! In fact I started praying during Be Thou My Vision: Lord please allow worship to happen despite me because I am just not having it! Then I was convicted that I should be having it to which I argued: Tough I am just not having it!
  • Amena Brown was incredible. Message was good. Mission’s Flame was awesome! However, Amena Brown + Message + Mission’s Flame = Incoherent goop. Unfortunately, we did not do our duty to thoroughly examine these elements and with poor planning gave poor execution and an service that did not flow. However, I wonder who actually really could tell? I’m sure they didn’t see the awful disconnect but I always wonder if its the difference in people leaving going: “WOW” versus people leaving going: “Hmm.”



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