This post is part of a blog carnival hosted by Fred McKinnon; check it out here.
Yesterday we kicked off a new series called 'What's Going On?' In light of the fact that the economy is unstable, issues of gender and race are livening up the current political climate and our sleepy little rural community has been rocked by three murders in as many months, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at what's happening around us - and what God has to say about it. Here's what we did:
Hope In A Hopeless World - Widespread Panic. My brother turned me on to this tune; it was a great opener and a really fun piece for us to play. The band consisted of some of my favorite, most reliable players, so it was nice just to jam a bit.
Welcome To Our Church - video from Floodgate Productions. This is one of the most excellent video pieces I have ever seen. It spurs spontaneous applause from folks. We have used it three times in the last 18 months; it really helps introduce our values and commitment to people. A great reminder to ALL of us, I like to program it on days like yesterday, when we expect first-time guests in the room. If you haven't seen it yet, click the link and check it out.
We did a quick pitch for Christmas production volunteers, then went to a home-grown small groups video that I will show you asap. I'm really pleased with the quality of video some of our folks are producing. Good stuff.
Open My Eyes Carmen D'Arcy. I stumbled upon this via CCLI, which was a surprising treat. Although somebody in the band said, "You know, this sounds a lot like a Hannah Montana song...", it worked. It's a great, rockin' worship song for a female singer. The audience was engaged right away, which is not always the case with a new song. We didn't do the key change so we could make a smooth segue into...
Breathe Marie Barnett. Love, love, love this song.
We continued the tag of the song through the first part of the offering.
Lonely People Igniter Media. We set up the message with this video, but I'm not sure how effective it was. I love the Jars of Clay version of this song, though.
The message was titled 'When Life Doesn't Make Sense', and our pastor did a great job of lovingly tearing down some old cliches. It was a powerful message.
Healer Mike Gugliemucci. I wrestled with this choice, for two reasons; the backstory that most of you know (the initial 'launch' of the song along with a story of the author's diagnosis of cancer, later revealed to be false - the cancer story manufactured to cover an addiction to pornography and a 'shadow self') and the theological implications of the lyric (which I wrote about on our church blog - check it out here). I filed this tune as a potential worship song for us about three months ago, but wasn't really compelled to use it until this service - and until AFTER the story broke about Gugliemucci's REAL battle. I shared that story with the band and a few others, and the song helped create a powerful moment. There's just something about that tune and lyric that speaks deep into the heart of people; I think it's likely due to the deep, dark, desperate place from whence it came - out of the tortured soul of a man mired in sin. I am very, very glad we closed with 'Healer', and thankful that God loves us all too much to leave us as he found us.
It was a great day. I love my job.