So yesterday was a pretty good day. Still in the ‘Big Stories of the Bible’ series, we were raring to go with some good music and two skits.
The most exciting part is the way our team is expanding to include live music in our Power Jam kids’ service. The band that plays the big room one Sunday goes on to do PJ the following Sunday, and so far, so good. There’s a bit of a strain on our tech resources in terms of people, but we’re managing and learning and working out the kinks as we go.
We all gather at 9:05 – no matter what – to pray. (Yesterday, ‘what’ was the middle of our tech run – but we stop and pray regardless of what’s happening. We hope to have finished the tech run by 9:05, but thus far it hasn’t happened.) It’s awesome to see a big team gathered to pray…
Anyway, yesterday’s message was ‘The High Cost of Standing Your Moral Ground’, on the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. Again, Brian stepped away from the podium and did his message unscripted, which is a huge step out of his comfort zone – but one that is bringing great results.
Here’s what we did:
T-R-O-U-B-L-E – Travis Tritt. Yeah. First time I’ve ever heard ‘you’re a sweet-talkin’ sexy-walkin’ honky-tonkin’ baby’ in church. It was risky, but we had a disclaimer to ‘pay attention, and it’ll all make sense’, and it did, more or less. Of course, we’re talking about Potiphar’s wife. Trouble. Get it? One of our acoustic players, all-around-great-guy did the vocal, and he killed it. That’s a lot of spelling in one song.
Everywhere That I Go -Israel Houghton. We love it. This song was especially powerful for me as I got up and ready early in the morning. I listened while I was getting dressed, and the chorus really dug into my heart and gave me strength for the day. ‘You promise me/you’ll never leave/you promise me/I’m never forsaken/I believe/your goodness and mercy will follow me, surrounding me where I go/everywhere that I go’. I just needed that yesterday.
O Taste and See – Brian and Jenn Johnson. Another blog find; great tune. First time I actually got to play it, and our girl Gina rocked the house.
We transitioned with a short skit about small groups, home-grown and funny. Out of that one of our small group leadership team members did a short welcome, and we continued. During the offering, we’d showed pics from last week’s Mega Camp (VBS) and played ‘I Am Somebody’ underneath.
The message was excellent; he led us into a skit, The Ring (Willow Creek) in a very subtle fashion. As he finished, talking about the cost of sin, Brian just walked away and the lights came up stage left on our actor, a table and coffee cup. We found a track of coffe shop sounds on iTunes, looped it and played it during the skit, which set the perfect ambience. The piece worked well, with just two actors – the point was that the male character had cheated, and the female character was giving his ring back – but it was extremely subtle. Highly recommended for any services on adultery, betrayal, commitment, the cost of sin, etc.
As the skit ended, the female character walked away. We faded the lights on the man at the table and began the piano riff from Rebecca St. James’ version of Forgive Me (Scott Dyer, from Willow Creek). A lone male singer did the first two verses, as the ‘voice’ of the male character; after a creative key change, we brought the rest of the vocals in for the third verse, where the lyric changes tense and perspective:
“Lord, we come to honor you
We are forgiven
We bring our praise and thanks to you
We are forgiven now
Lord, we praise you for your grace
Before you we are raised…..forgiven”
Christian sang the final word – ‘forgiven’ – alone, and it was powerful. Then Brian returned to share the truth about forgiveness through Christ, and as he did, I played underneath, a little noodling that built as his words increased in intensity. He quoted Romans 7, and when he got to Romans 8 – ‘There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus‘, the crowd erupted in spontaneous applause. We kicked it hard and the band launched into the chorus of ‘Amazing Love’:
“Amazing love, how can it be
That you, my king would die for me
Amazing love, I know it’s true
And it’s my joy to honor you”
Then everybody went home. It was a good day.