Worry in a Time of Pandemic

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Good morning and welcome to Church! Maybe you didn’t notice, but this morning I am using “capital-C-Church.” While we are still not meeting in a “small-c-church” building, we are just as much the body of Christ now as we ever have been, and as one body of Christ we are the Church. Today Pastor John is preaching on worry, so whether you are reading this blog and listening to these songs before or after hearing the message, I pray that your heart would be quieted and that through worshiping in this way you will find peace and comfort in Christ today.

Good Grace – Hillsong United 

So Will I – Hillsong Worship 

In Isaiah 41 verse 10 the Lord says “fear not, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” As we draw in to our time of worship today, I encourage you to think about our God who is in and through all things. “Fear not” is the phrase that is repeated most in the Bible, and it doesn’t appear so frequently because we are being commanded to stop being scared or worried or anxious, it is actually said as an assurance. We don’t have to be afraid, and we know this because scripture says that the same God who spoke the universe into being is holding us securely in his mighty hands.

Lay It All Down – United Pursuit 

Psalm 55:22 says “cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved” and in Matthew, Jesus says “come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest in your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, ESV). We have been invited to enjoy a peace and a hope and a joy that is unlike any other. The peace, hope, and joy found in Christ are fulfilling and lasting, and this offer is continually extended to us.

Be Thou My Vision – Audrey Assad 

Yes I Will – Vertical Worship

My prayer for us this week is that we would continue to grow into the good things that God has in store for us; that we would be ever increasing in our ability to place our trust in Jesus and that we would continually be casting our worries at his feet. Though we don’t know what is coming next, we know that our God is working all things for his glory. As we go into this next week, let us do so with a renewed sense of hope and peace and joy.

 

If you prefer to listen to worship music in a playlist format as you go about your week, our Spotify playlist is updated weekly and always has the songs for the current week at the top of the list! Thanks, and God bless.

Spotify Playlist – https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7EB9xkQQtZJcMRAzV5hrdO

 

 

 

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Welcome and good morning! As we enter into our time of worship today, we will be hearing from Michelle who will be bringing the Word and giving us a deeper understanding of the incredible creation that is the human mind. This morning, as we use this lens to look at the how we find meaning in the midst of suffering, let us lift our voices and turn our thoughts to the things above together. Wherever possible, I have included links to the songs with the lyrics either right in the video or in the description bellow.

Look To The Son – Hillsong Worship 

Be Thou My Vision – Audrey Assad 

While we listen to these first two songs, let us focus our eyes, our hearts, and our minds on God. In these times of uncertainty and waiting, it is so easy to get caught up in the fear and the frustration and loose our thoughts in the situations that we are not content with. My prayer is that in listening to these songs today you will feel the peace of Christ come upon you and that we would together be able to turn back to the one who does know what is going to happen next and the one who does have the answers and the solutions to all of the situations that have left us desiring resolution. Of all our desires, let Christ be the first on our hearts.

Highs & Lows – Hillsong Young & Free   

This song is based on the words of David from Psalm 139:

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your spirit? Or Where shall I flee from your presence. If I ascend to heaven you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me. If I say ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you” (Psalm 139:1-12, ESV).

In response to the word that Michelle has just brought, let us remember that even the darkness of this situation is not dark to our almighty God.

It Is Well – Bethel Music 

Give Me Jesus – Sovereign Grace Music 

I encourage you this morning to heed the words of Psalm 31:23-24 that calls us to “love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” It is okay to have doubts and to have worries, but know that you do not have to be bound by those things. As we go into this next week, let us know that in our times of feeling lonely, hopeless, doubtful, and worried, God is with us in those depths. Even better, let us remember that though the situation may at times feel hopeless, Christ does not just give us hope but he is our hope.

 

Just in case you missed it, I will be updating our Spotify playlist weekly. So if you prefer to listen to worship music in a playlist format as you go about your week, the songs for the current week will always be at the top of the list! Thanks, and God bless.

Spotify Playlist 

 

 

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Welcome and happy Easter! I pray that you are all doing well and that the hope of Christ is sustaining you in the midst of uncertainty and physical separation. Today, if you are indeed reading this on Easter Sunday, we are gathering online and singing at home to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. As you enter in to your time of worship today, I pray that you will feel the depth and the magnitude of the sacrifice that Christ made for you because He loves you. I encourage you to sing along if you are comfortable, and as always I have included links to videos with the lyrics attached whenever possible!

In Christ Alone – Keith and Kristyn Getty 

Forever (We Sing Halleluiah) – Kari Jobe 

This morning, we begin with songs that focus our thoughts on Christ who paid our ransom. The part of the Easter story that I always find the most amazing is how God’s immense power was displayed through the resurrection. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death,” but God’s power was so great that Christ overcame death, paying the price of sin, and He lives again so that we too can have life. Of the many amazing things that God does and has done, this is the great victory that was fuelled by great love, and this is why we sing.

Death Was Arrested – North Point InsideOut 

I chose Death Was Arrested as our song of response today because to me it has always felt like an especially happy and hopeful song. There is awe, and might, and love, and sacrifice found in the Gospel, but we must not forget that equal to these things is the joy found here too. Christ is our hope and our joy, and we can rejoice in the knowledge that He has and is reconciling us with the Father. As you listen to this song, I urge you to hear and feel the joy that only Christ can bring.

Your Glory / Nothing But The Blood – All Sons and Daughters 

Be Enthroned – Bethel Worship

As we go into the coming weeks, let us lift our praise to Him who is above all things. As you listen to our closing songs I encourage you to think about the ways in which you can praise the Lord this week. Let us act in ways that show and share God’s Glory, and let us live as servants who bow before the throne of our enthroned King. Today I leave you with the prayer of the apostle Paul, who says:

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-21; ESV).

 

Just in case you missed it, I will be updating our Spotify playlist weekly. So if you prefer to listen to worship music in a playlist format as you go about your week, the songs for the current week will always be at the top of the list! Thanks, and God bless.

Spotify Playlist 

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Welcome back to our worship blog! I say “our” worship blog because the intent for this is still to be able to connect and worship communally in the knowledge that together we are listening to the same songs, reading the same words, and putting in work to glorify God in what we are doing during days of isolation and uncertainty. This week, John is preaching on seeing God in our healthcare workers who are putting their own wellbeing at risk for the benefit of our nation and our world. As you worship in this way with the songs and the reading, take some time to reflect on the message and think about what it means to see a perfect God imaged in imperfect people who are doing Christ-like work.

Build My Life – Pat Barrett – https://youtu.be/QZW4_8_zCBE

No One But You – Hillsong Worship – https://youtu.be/rOPqG6FkV1c

By now, you are maybe starting to sense a pattern in our songs and the themes that I attempt to draw attention to. In our opening songs, I like to emphasize the “why” behind our worship. God is our foundation. Without this foundation, we would clearly not be doing church “long-distance,” and our hope for tomorrow would be bleak, but this foundation is so much more crucial than we often discuss. God made the rocks on which the foundations of our houses sit. It is only due to God’s provision that we have jobs, and entertainment, and food in our pantries. As we focus our minds to sing together, even if we are in different physical spaces, let us remember the One who has made all of this possible from the very beginning.

Good Grace – Hillsong United – https://youtu.be/CW3OuAaDyZ8

In the message this week, Pastor John paints the image of a united people, walking together towards one goal; fighting a pandemic alongside one another. As you listen to this song this week, my hope is that you can indeed take courage and that you will be able to remember where our help comes from. There are lyrics in the description, or if you turn on “closed captions,” the lyrics will appear on the screen for you to sing along with.

Jesus Paid It All – Newsboys – https://youtu.be/Hs05AtP2wd8

Death Was Arrested – North Point InsideOut – https://youtu.be/uMsMiluCUUI

Just in case you have lost track in the midst of all the changes, next week is Easter. It is perhaps more appropriate than we originally thought that the Covid pandemic happened during Lent, a season of waiting. As we turn our hearts and our minds towards the great sacrifice of our Saviour, I would like us to all be thinking about Jesus’ early followers. It is something of a long standing tradition throughout Christian history to wait and see what God will do next, and perhaps the most notable is the period of waiting between Christ’s crucifixion and His resurrection. Though we do not know what tomorrow will bring, we can have faith that just as God’s plan was good then, His plan is good now.

 

Just a friendly reminder: if you prefer a playlist to the individual YouTube links, our Spotify playlist is also an option. I will be updating the playlist every week and making sure that the songs I have selected for that week will be at the top of the playlist. Thanks and God Bless!

Spotify Playlist – https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7EB9xkQQtZJcMRAzV5hrdO?si=OWpqbha-Qxya_UDqDsdjVg

 

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With our situation ever evolving, I hope that you all have managed to find rest and peace in Christ this week. As we delve into more psychology this week, I have chosen some songs to focus our attention on God our father and our comforter. Michelle’s message is breaking down more of the psychology and science of our brain and what happens when we are confronted with things that elicit a fear response. So, as you listen to and perhaps sing the following songs, I encourage you to be thinking about who God is and how unchanging he is in the face of fear.

Goodness Of God – Bethel Music – https://youtu.be/IvSuGyJQ6oM

Your Glory / Nothing But The Blood – All Sons and Daughters – https://youtu.be/eQssA0HKYxE

As always, it is important to remember why we worship and who we are worshiping. “Goodness of God” is a statement of truth and a commitment of our aspiration to worship God in all things. In the face of fear, in the darkest valleys, and on the highest mountains, God is good and God is faithful. The second song, a medley of “Your Glory” and “Nothing but the Blood,” reminds us that more than simply being good, when we fail to see the beauty in the things around us we can always see the beauty in God’s sovereignty and glory as well as in Christ’s sacrifice for us. The link to “Your Glory / Nothing but the Blood” doesn’t have any lyrics attached, so while you are welcome to sing along as you learn the words or search for a video with lyrics attached, I encourage you to sit and listen to the words and internalize them as a prayer: “Lord, may I always behold your glory with awe and thankfulness.”

I Will Fear No More – The Afters –https://youtu.be/wMmmbJlWhtk

If you watched this week’s sermon before reading this blog post, you will recognize this song as the one I sang as our response to Michelle’s message. I don’t want to step on Michelle’s toes and speak too much about what fear is and how we can respond to it, but as you sing this song I want to draw special attention to the line in the second verse that says “when the wind and wave are coming, you shelter me.” In the midst of dark and uncertain times, it can be easy to believe that the only way to survive a storm is for God to calm the waves. However, what we see in scripture and what this song is hinting at is the reality that sometimes God’s solution is to shelter us from the waves rather than to make them go away.

No One But You – Hillsong Worship https://youtu.be/rOPqG6FkV1c

Be Thou My Vision – Audrey Assad – https://youtu.be/Optrm7lF16s

In closing, my hope is that over the course of the next week, and the next month, and however long this period lasts, we would be fixing our eyes on God instead of the problems in our midst. In Philippians 4:8, Paul says, “finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things,” and let us make that our goal this coming week.

One More thing,

This week, I have also compiled a list of songs that we have sung together, or that I have put in this worship blog, and created a Spotify playlist. Maybe you need to be reminded of these truths as you are driving to the grocery store to pick up essentials this week. Or, maybe you would like to be able to let these songs play in the background as you do work from home this week. However you use these songs and listen to music, I hope that this playlist is a helpful tool while you try to draw near to God throughout the week.

Spotify Playlist – https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7EB9xkQQtZJcMRAzV5hrdO?si=OWpqbha-Qxya_UDqDsdjVg

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Though it is week two of our non-traditional church services, and I miss your faces already, God is still good and so we still worship. As John unpacks what is going on in our world this week, I have put together a list of songs that I hope will encourage you, remind you where we find our strength and our comfort in times of trouble, and focus your eyes on the good in the midst of the bad. While listening to these songs, remember that we do not need to sing side-by-side for God to hear our praise and answer our prayers, whatever the answer may be. As was the case last week, if you would still like to sing a long at home, I have included links to the original artists’ recordings with lyrics attached in the description where possible!

10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman – https://youtu.be/r3K3roEF36k

Goodness Of God – Bethel Music – https://youtu.be/IvSuGyJQ6oM

            The First two songs in our set are what you can think of as our typical opening call to worship. Both of these songs can serve to focus our hearts and minds on the reason we normally meet on Sundays for church, the reason we watch John’s sermon when it is online, and the reason we listen to and sing music: we do all these things as an act of worship. These songs also remind us that it is not just on Sunday mornings that worship occurs, nor is it simply singing songs of praise with the rest of our congregation. Our lives are to be worship and we are called to worship the Lord wholly in the depths of our despair, in our most triumphant and joyous moments, and every time in between.

It Is Well – Bethel Music – https://youtu.be/8Wb_WD1emFQ

For our song of response, “It Is Well” can help to remind us where we are to look to in our times of crisis and trial. This is a modern, recreation of an old him with new lyrics added to the verses and the bridge. One of the lines in the verse says “far be it from me to not believe, even when my eyes can’t see,” and I believe many Christians can identify with that statement right now. Though the situation is bad and it looks as if it will only get worse, we can have faith that God is not just waiting on the other side of this global pandemic, but he is in the crisis with us now.

Highs & Lows – Hillsong Young & Free – https://youtu.be/7ESO6SHEwGk

God Himself Is With Us – https://youtu.be/Vv8xirwTsPY

Our closing songs are starkly contrasting in style but unified in their message. As you listen to these songs, and as you go about the next week – whatever it may look like, I would like to encourage you to remember that our God sits with us in dark places. Psalm 23: 4-6 says

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

The valley may be longer than we were expecting, and the shadow may feel darker and colder than we ever expected, but God is still the one who is in control, even in trying times, and God is with is and in us through all of these things.

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Although at such a time as this we find ourselves in a place of being unable to gather together to worship corporately, together as one body of Christ, it is important to remember that we are still fully capable of worshiping. While our service may have been cancelled, music is still an important expression of our praise. Though we may not be worshiping through song together, we can still use songs of praise to focus our hearts and minds on things above, as well as on the good things that God has made. The following is a list of the songs we would have sang in person this Sunday, but I would like to encourage you to listen to them anyways and acknowledge the truth in the words. If you would still like to sing a long at home, I have included links to the original artists’ recordings with lyrics attached in the description where possible!

Look To The Son – Hillsong Worship

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Come As You Are – David Crowder

These First two songs are intended to focus our minds and our hearts on God and how he has invited us to come into communion with him. In “Look To The Son,” we sing about who Christ is and why we come to worship him, and in “Come As You Are” the words speak to the truth that no matter where we are, physically or in our spiritual walk with Christ, we are invited to come and meet with God. As you listen to, and perhaps sing, these two songs you can consider the why behind our meetings – why we meet, why we are able to meet, and why we sing our praises to the God most high. Below are the links to these two songs and there are lyrics for both of them posted in the video descriptions.

Look to the Son: https://youtu.be/4gBTK1Ra3G8

Come as You Are:https://youtu.be/r2zhf2mqEMI

Saturn – Sleeping At Last

“Saturn” is a beautiful song written by Ryan O’Neal. As you will hear, the piece begins with an instrumental that is reflective of the majesty and breadth of the cosmos, which is followed by lyrics that O’Neal says are “perhaps written from Galileo’s children(s) perspective” (Sleeping At Last [website], 2016). Similar to what we did last week, this song is not a typical Christian praise song. However, the beauty of God’s creation and the beauty of life, death, and resurrection are so present in the words and in the musicality of what Ryan O’Neal has created that we can worship and honor God simply by naming God’s presence in this work of art. Again, the lyrics for this song are in the video description if you are so inclined as to sing along!

Saturn: https://youtu.be/dzNvk80XY9s

Be Enthroned – Bethel Worship

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Death Was Arrested – North Point InsideOut

Our closing songs for this week remind us of the greatness of the God we are worshiping. “Be Enthroned” speaks of us singing praises alongside all of creation, and “Death Was Arrested” points us back to Christ’s victory on the cross. As we look forward to our Easter season, I encourage you to take these truths with you in your daily lives. Truly, we worship a great God – the one who creates supernova’s and the God who conquered the grave to reconcile us to himself.

Be Enthroned: https://youtu.be/xA4zOAtPeJ0

Death was Arrested : https://youtu.be/uMsMiluCUUI

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