Sunday Setlist 11.8.09

I’ve been getting some grief from folks who are unhappy with my lack of blogging consistency. I’ll try to rectify that in coming weeks, starting with a recap of today’s service and our new series at PCC.

After finishing our WIRED series, which focused on our individual relationship with God and spiritual discipleship, we are intentionally leaning towards a discussion of the character of God and who he is during these next few weeks. We’ve chosen a few adjectives for the messages, but they are by no means exhaustive. Our goal is to prompt thinking and generate your own exploration of who God is through the Bible, small group studies and prayer.
Our graphics team came up with a cool image. (One trivial tidbit of info concerns the blackboard in the series graphic image. That’s a REAL blackboard from the VCU campus in the image…)
Here’s the way the service ran today. For you local PCC folks, I encourage you to follow the links on the songs and add these tunes to your playlist. Worshiping throughout the week to songs that connect to your Sunday experience can provide some powerful moments for you to praise God and for him to speak to you. Click on any song to find it on iTunes.
God Is Great – Hillsong – This is an older tune that we did for the first time today because of the obvious connection to the series title. Easy to learn, lots of energy – it worked and was a lot of fun to lead.
Your Love Never Fails – Chris Quilala – The students have led this song at FOCUS and found it to be a powerful worship song. We were excited to “steal” it this morning. It was great to have Joseph and Samara lead with us; they are regular members of the FOCUS band, and it was cool to have them leading in the Big Room today!
We had a great ‘Man On the Street’ video that was shot by Rachel, a PCC student. A quick visit to Cary Street generated some interesting responses.
So Great – Michael W Smith, Israel Houghton, etc. – Bob Pino sent this song to me and strongly encouraged us to add it to the mix. It was more powerful than we ever imagined when we finally arrived at today’s service. More than anything, it was awesome to look out over the crowd and see people responding physically; I saw a woman standing, hands open, eyes closed, simply worshiping God. Sarah said she saw a man standing in the upper section with his hands raised, looking like an angel worshiping God. Those are the most powerful moments for the musicians and production team – when we are prompted to interact with God in the middle of a service. When we witness it in the crowd, it’s incredibly moving. I want to do this song again, soon.
Brian’s message focused on the idea that God is safe. He taught about sheep and the imagery of Jesus as our shepherd. You can hear the message on the PCC website (www.powhatancc.org). Click on the ‘TELL ME MORE” tab and find the message date – you can listen live or download it to your computer or iPod.
Safe – Natalie Grant – Our closing song was an intense reminder of the promise of God – when we are willing to trust him, he will meet us where we are. One particular line in the chorus has stuck with me all day: “Your love has mended my blisters and bruising shame/here with you I am safe”.

The unique aspect to today’s service – and something we’ll keep out for the next four weeks – were two large boards painted with chalkboard paint, set at either side of the stage. As he began the message, Brian invited folks to come at any time – even while he was talking – and react to the statement “God is…” by writing their response on the chalkboard. We provided sidewalk chalk of various colors. People moved – during his message, during the closing song and then after the service ended. It was really cool – almost a holy moment – to read what people had written.
It was a good day. I’m looking forward to the next few weeks!
If you were there, we’d love to hear your thoughts about the service! Leave them in the comment section below.
This post is part of the Sunday Setlist blog carnival at www.fredmckinnon.com. Check it out for more updates about Sunday services around North America!

Sunday Setlist 10.4.09

What a day at church today.

It’s the second week of our WIRED series (if you don’t yet have a devotional book, pick one up at the office this week or at the resource table at church).
Our community sadly is mourning the loss of Charlie Green, a fine man and passionate community servant. Because his funeral would be at the high school this afternoon (also our Sunday morning home), we made a few changes to our plans and shortened the second service considerably in order to accommodate the set up needs for the funeral.
We did not bring in the incredible set that our design team put together last week; just kept things bare today, with a minimal band. We also made a last minute change to the closing song to better connect the end of the message. I have to give major props to the band, who didn’t blink when I brought them a new chart this morning. It’s an amazing gift to work with such talented people who also have their hearts in the right place.
Here’s what we did today:
Preservice: Rain Down – David Crowder This was extra special because Elijah Schiarelli emailed us a loop he created to open the song. He’s away at college, but he was with us in spirit today. Great song, great loop, great way to walk in.
Lift Him Up – Martha Munizzi Love, love, LOVE this song. Inspired by seeing Bruce Hornsby live at The National, I had a blast playing for Sandy. I think we managed to rock this song to bits. One of my ALL-TIME favorite worship pieces.
scripture As I underscored on the grand, Angie read an excerpt from Isaiah 53, originally planned to support that passage later in the message. It ended up getting cut from the message, but it was a beautiful segue into the next tune.
Jesus Messiah – Chris Tomlin This tune seems to be a winner across the board – singable, Biblical, true. Powerful.
How He Loves – Jon Mark McMillan If you made it to the 9:30 service, you got to hear Matt Turner lead this tune (we lean into the David Crowder version). It was awesome. We had to cut it from the second service due to time – but it will reappear in the very near future.
Thirsty During the offering time, we showed this short video during first service (due to time constraints, we pulled the vid for second service. If you were at PCC today for the 11:00 service and missed it, you can check it out here).
Worth It All – Rita Springer A great song to close the message and emphasize the point: it is worth it all, no matter what, in light of Jesus.
There are days when I really, really love my church – the experience, the teamwork, the unity, the worship we offer. today was one. Don’t get me wrong – I am always grateful for the faith community that is Powhatan Community Church. But today was unique, from the musical team to the set up and tear down crew that worked so hard, with such great attitudes.
It was, indeed, a very good day.
This post is part of the Sunday Setlist Carnival hosted by Fred McKinnon. Hop on over to Fred’s blog to find out what other churches did today…

Sunday Setlist 7.5.09


I’ve been a bit erratic with my worship recaps lately, but today was so awesome that I wanted to share the love just a bit.

We wrapped up our series called Where’s My Bailout? with a dynamic set of music, a great group of players and a powerful message.
During this series, we addressed three areas of life: spiritual bailout (uh…that would be JESUS…), financial bailout (basically, let go…unclench your fist) and time bailout. Today’s sub-title was “When To Say No”.
And by the way – no nods to the July 4th holiday. When we’re honoring people – Veterans Day, Memorial Day, etc. – we’ll sometimes lean into the observation of the holiday. But we choose to separate this particular celebration from our weekend experience.
The band was stellar – leaning heavily towards musicians under the age of 20. Jenn Hall (Jenn blogs here – you should check it out), Matt Turner, Travis Wagner, Elijah Schiarelli, Paul Myers – rounded out by Patrick Parkins, Dan McCown, Beth Humphreys and me. I enjoyed myself immensely today as a musician; I had complete confidence in the band and they never failed to be exactly where they needed to be. I’m in awe of the natural talent God places in people, and grateful to play alongside these extremely talented folks.
We opened with our 10B4 announcements and then did Washed By the Water as a musical opener. Great, great tune with a wonderful vibe – perfect for a summer day.
Our worship set consisted of Today is the Day and At the Name (which I like more and more each time we do it. Last summer Matt Christenot led worship for a World Changers event and the students brought this tune home with them. It’s becoming a staple for us – check it out!)
At the end of At the Name, we plowed right into Jesus Messiah; we put it in Eb for an easy transition and let Beth Humphrey lead it. I was surprised at how easy it was to have a female vocal lead this tune – that’s not always the case with Tomlin songs. We pushed it a bit faster but I loved the energy. Brilliant song.
We showed a promo clip from the upcoming Leadership Summit, which is something we usually don’t promote from the stage – but I feel strongly that this event can and will be defining for our church this year. I’m hoping to have 100 folks from PCC go this year! We’re serving as an assisting church with Saint Paul’s Baptist in Richmond and can’t wait to join them in preparing for this conference. It’s often life-changing.
After the offering prayer, we kicked off Fly Like An Eagle, with a terrific groove from Jenn The Drummer and Patrick, the King Of Grooves. We spun our own vibe on the song – Elijah did a great job with the Motif patches and I had fun playing through a Mac for the first time, since we needed an extra organ patch. I felt my age when somebody asked me, “Hey, didn’t Seal write that song?”
uh…Steve Miller, anyone? Remember him? From the 70’s?
Yeah.
Anyway, here’s the part that was really cool – after we finished the body of the tune – verse, chorus, verse, chorus – the band backed way off, our incredible tech team adjusted the mood of the room down, and we showed this video, made by The Veracity Project. We played the groove underneath the entire thing, and as the In Time ended, we brought the band back up to do the “time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking/into the future” bit and back out.
It worked. Sometimes our weird mash-ups fall short, but this one worked.
Brian brought an incredible message – powerful, convicting. God was speaking to me. When he said that allowing your schedule to be dictated by the needs and demands of others was the easy way out of accepting responsibility for how you invested your time, I listened. Hard.
Brian led us to the end by allowing everyone to simply sit still and be with God. Bob Pino came to the piano and sang, simply but powerful, Be Still and Know It was perfect, a gift of melodic grace.
It was, by far, one of the most meaningful overall worship experiences I’ve had at PCC.
This post is part of Fred McKinnon’s worship leader blog carnival. Check it out!

Sunday Setlist 4.5.09 – Putting The Palm In Palm Sunday

I need to try to process this day; not sure how. 

I keep typing various superlatives; “stunning”.  “Amazing”.  “Powerful”.
None are adequate. 
So, just the facts.
This morning, our ‘Palm Sunday’ service.  We have never been traditional in our approach to much of anything, and we’ve never done much about putting the palm in Palm Sunday.  But this year, we did.
But with a twist.
We handed out palms at the beginning of the service.  Started with the 10B4 video announcements, and as it ended, the action started in the back of the room.  Marc, Elijah and Jenn – drumline kids from the high school – started a beat, and they came down the aisles rocking.  They hit the stage, and in a demonstration of extreme coolness, they riffed for a few minutes.  It put me over the top – it was AWESOME!  Elijah cued Matt with a nod of his head, and in came the guitar opening for Here Is Our King (Crowder).  It was a GREAT opening – first time we’d done it at PCC, too.
We mixed things up a good bit, because our pastor came out after that song, gave a push for tonight’s Unity Service (more on that later) and another event, and then launched into his message.  He explained the scene in Jerusalem on that day – how Jesus entered town on a donkey, a humble king, and the resultant celebration – the “hosannas”, et al.  He spoke for about 15 minutes, and then led us right into a few celebration songs.  We did We Stand (Lee McDerment) – which is a deadly awesome worship song, if you’ve got a great guitar player with great rhythm and a great crunchy tone (we do!) (Learned that tune at Unleash, by the way – thank you Tony Morgan and Perry Noble and NewSpring!)
Went straight from the energy of We Stand into You Are Good (Houghton), my favorite song EVER.  Whooosh.
Offering prayer led into Hosanna (Fraser), another first for us.  We struggled a bit in first service, but at 11:00 we found the groove and it was a good tune. 
Then Brian came back to transition to part two of the message.  Let me preface this by saying that we do not do any other services during holy week – for us, this is it until Easter Sunday.  So, we addressed the aftermath of Palm Sunday today.  Brian did a wonderful job explaining the “quickest slip in approval ratings in history”, digging into the changing attitude of the crowd towards Jesus.  He walked off the stage, and Sandy sang How Deep the Father’s Love For Us (Townend), another first for our church.  It was very clean and simple – her (amazing) vocal, piano, a little synth strings and light percussion.  During the second verse, our stage hands brought up a 10 foot wooden cross and mounted it center stage, still in shadows.  After the third verse, Brian reappeared – center stage, in front of the cross – and talked about the necessary death of Jesus for our sins.  He directed the crowd to walk forward and exchange their palm branches for a nail; a black cloth stretched across the stage, and large nails were scattered across the length of it.
It was a somber crowd that moved forward to take a nail in each hand, and as they moved, Sandy sang the second verse of How Deep; the band (still just keys, synth and percussion) played over a droning bminor chord.  We added evocative touches of other chords to create a powerful mood – sort of creepy, sad, overwhelming.  Elijah had some sort of bizarre sound effect on the Motif – it was weird, but it really set the mood.
Sandy sang:
Behold, the man upon the cross
My sin upon his shoulder
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

She repeated the last line a few times, and words from Mark 15 came upon the screen:  “And with a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.”

And Brian came back out and gently, quietly, sent everyone home; with a reminder that next week, we celebrate.
We kept the lights dim, and John played some beautiful celtic music.
It was a moment.  More than a moment.
And that’s just the MORNING service.  Tonight, we hosted a Unity Service for our county.  
I can’t even begin to process that one yet.
This post is part of the bloggy carnival fun at Fred McKinnon’s blog.  Check it out!

Sunday Setlist 3.29.08

The day is winding down. I hear the low-frequency “thump/thump/thump” of a movie that Sarah is watching in the living room; Syd is working in the dining room, singing along with “Viva La Vida” and talking about the implications of Coldplay’s lyric and the Roman Empire.  Shannon’s been working on some support letters for their upcoming mission trip.  The boys are both asleep, after a long and busy day.

I’m feeling very settled, very much home.  Can’t really describe it, other than thinking that something’s shifted in my environment somehow.  Maybe it’s more internal than external, because things are still a cluttered mess here.  Perhaps it’s the impending arrival of spring, the flowers blooming, the late evening light as the sun lingers in the sky.  I don’t know.  I’m just feeling good, in spite of not feel so good physically.
Today was an immensely powerful day at church.  We did Cardboard Testimonies, which seems to always be powerful, no matter where or when.  We’ve done it once before, and it fit in beautifully with Brian’s message today from John 8 when Jesus healed the blind man with a handful of mud.  When interrogated by the religious leaders about who Jesus was and what, exactly, had happened, the once-blind guy says, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know.  One thing I do know:  I was blind, but now I see.”
End of story.
The guy knew what he knew, and that was all he needed to know.  He’d had an encounter with Jesus, and things changed.
It was a perfect lead-in for the testimonies.  By the time they were over, tears were freely flowing.
I held up pretty well until one of our vocalists walked out with his wife and their 4-month old baby, who we’d prayed intently for while he was still in the womb, diagnosed with definite health issues.  “Miracle baby.”  He was a miracle baby – born healthy, still healthy.  Healed.
Onto a beautiful girl who is an amazing inspiration, a great single mom – whose sign said “Meth addict” on the front – healed, sober, living for Christ.  The bravery, the courage she demonstrated just slayed me.
And our little friend Eli, whose head injury led doctors to declare that he’d never walk again – Eli walked out with his mom and dad.  Healed, healthy, praising God.
It was the body of Christ redeemed, swimming in grace, giving glory to Him.  Amazing.
I felt so privileged to be in the same room with any of those people.  
Here’s the run down of the day:
Ain’t No Rock – always a fun opener.
You Are Holy (Prince of Peace)
Mighty To Save 

The First Steps kids – kindergarten and out – joined us on the stage to “lead” in Every Move I Make.  They were, as kids always are, a home run.  Exquisitely cute.  And they actually did a great job with their hand motions and “singing”.
We showed a My2Cents video – homegrown – during the offering.  Then came the message, which was passionate and evocative and perfectly timed – and we started with the signs.  Underneath the movement we covered Thank You For Hearing Me, the Sinead O’Connor tune covered by David Crowder band covered by Greg Ferguson at Willow Creek.  That’s where I first saw this cardboard thing, by the way – at the Leadership Summit a few years ago, with Ferguson covering Crowder covering O’Connor.  I know a lot of folks are using How He Loves with the cardboard, but I really love the implications of the lyric in Thank You For Hearing Me.  Ironically, some things really lined up with the personal stories…
It was a moving day, a reminder to me of why we do what we do, and why it matters.  There were folks on the stage today whose stories are just beginning in terms of the grace and forgiveness that they are experiencing, the freedom that they walk in as Christ-followers.  I am, again, absolutely stunned by the privilege of being part of this work, of the opportunity to witness such sacred movement.  
It was a very good day.
this post is part of Fred McKinnon’s blogtastic carnival.  Check it out.

Sunday Setlist 3.22.09

I was glad to be back at PCC yesterday, though I was less than 100%.  Still struggling with some sort of cold/head/respiratory thing, and I couldn’t sing at all.  But we had some awesome vocalists on the stage and a killer set of music, so I enjoyed playing.

We’re in a series called MOVE, about the things that Jesus did on earth, taken from the book of John.  It’s been powerful to plan and it was awesome to experience yesterday.  
First of all, we had some cool set elements – our team brought in stacks of old tires (to emphasize the “move” idea) and Andy and Jackie Heberle created a cool sign with random colored arrows pointing every which-way.  It was cool.
We opened at ten minutes before service time with an instrumental version of “More Love, More Power”.  I love playing this tune because the chord stucture is so great for some improvisational soloing.  It was fun.
Our 10B4 video was actually six minutes, and it did it’s job communicating upcoming events and ativities that used to get crammed into the pre-offering prayer.  We started turning this flywheel a few months ago and are finding more and more people coming in ten minutes early to see the video.  That’s a good thing.
Lift Him Up – This Martha Munizzi tune will forever be one of my favorites.  We do only one key change at the end, but it’s enough to get things rocking, along with a stand-up-and-shout a cappela chorus of “Jesus – we lift you up! Jesus!” that never fails to rock my world.
After a short welcome, we showed a home-grown video about money and stewardship.  We’re leaning into teaching some mini-lessons about this topic outside of the main sermon time, with a series of filmed messages called “My Two Cents”.  Each video is about 3 minutes long.  We’ll evaluate in a few weeks, but so far, so good – and Chad Milburn is doing a great job on the creative end.  You can check out week one’s vid here
You Are My Kingseemed to be a Billy Foote kind of day….
The message was excellent, based on the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery.  I have heard a gazillion messages taught on this story, and often heard the implication that as Jesus doodled in the sand, he was listing the hidden acts of the men who gathered around, clutching rocks, muscles taut in anticipation of violent consequence for the sinner.  Brian stretched this out a bit further, noting the background of the Greek word originally used, and dug in deeply to this act of the Savior.
At one point, Brian sat down on the floor, like a story-teller, and talked about how it must have looked to have Jesus sit.  At one point, Brian swept his hand across the carpet on the stage to demonstrate the act of clearing the sand – erasing what was written – and talked aobut the implications of Christ’s love and grace, not only for this individual woman, but for the Pharisees surrounding her in that moment, and for all of us in this moment.
Beautiful, BeautifulBrian found this song to close this service (it is SO awesome to work with a creative senior pastor!) and we began to vamp on the beginning chord progression as he talked more about grace.  When he finished, Sandy sang the song up through the bridge, and then Brian walked back out.
We had set five lined baskets out around the room, and filled each one with sand.  As the band continue to play quietly, Brian invited everybody to experience grace like we saw in the story from John – to come and write your own sin or issue or failing or heartbreak or brokenness in the sand, and then to wipe it away with your own hand – knowing that the grace of Jesus does just that in our lives.
It was powerful.  People lined up and waited for their turn.  It was a holy moment.  We sang the song again, and the chorus reverberated in the room:
Like sunlight burning at midnight
Making my life something so beautiful, beautiful
Mercy reaching to save me
All that I need
You are so beautiful, beautiful

It was a very good day.
This post is part of Fred McKinnon’s bloggy carnival.  Check it out here!

Also, “Beautiful, Beautiful” is by Francesca Batistelli.  Good stuff….

ALSO – Biz Tarr did the graphic work for this series.  She is AMAZING!

Sunday Setlist 2.15.08


This was the second week in our You Can’t Handle the Truth series.  The title was Love Lockdown; but we didn’t pull out any Kanye West.  Great song, though…

The band jam prior to 10B4 was When Love Comes to Town by U2 and B.B. King.  Almost sacrilige to cover something so amazing, but we did.  It was really, really fun.  I loved doing the research on the tune – watching the youtube video – and hearing B.B. King tell Bono, “I don’t do so good playing chords.”
After 10B4 (our announcement video – available on our website), we kicked off the service.
Because of Your Love – Paul Baloche.  This was new for us – easy to learn, easy to sing.  Lots of fun with the “yeahs”.
Everlasting God – Brenton Brown and Ken Riley.  We did this a bit faster than Mr. Tomlin.  I love it with some “oomph”!
OTaste and See – Brian and Jenn Johnson.  I love doing this song with Gina.  One of my favorite verses, I really enjoy this as a worship song.
We broke for a welcome and comments, prayed for the offering and then continued with Your Love Is Extravagant by Darrell Evans.  It was nicely unplugged and I played an egg shaker, which is a remarkable thing, because I’m not too coordinated.  I kept whacking my mic stand with the egg.  I’m thinking that provided a unique percussive effect.
The message went great.  Towards the end, Brian talked about marriage vows, and the irony of what we often promise compared to the conditional way we often love.  Greatly inspired by a video from NewSpring (thanks to Tony Morgan, but I can’t find the link for the clip right now…), we staged a “wedding ceremony” in the middle of the message.  It was fake.  It was funny.I hope to post a video later…
To end, we recapped When Love Comes to Town.  And then we sent ’em home, with a strong encouragement to watch Fireproof this week.
It was a good day.  Thanks to Fred McKinnon for allowing us all to play the Sunday Setlist game – you should check it out!
And now, I’ll leave you with a little B.B…..