Tag Archives: State College Evangelical Free Church

SCEFC Set List: May 15, 2011

In the chaos of the spring research season it is nice to have a task free of experimental units, with no need for randomization or replication. This coming Sunday I am leading the music at State College E-Free Church. The transition from science to song is welcome.

As I put together the set list I spent time thinking about longing. I thought about what it means to see God’s work–in creation and in other people–and to respond to it. To long to understand and know more fully what wisdom is. To be aware of my weakness and shallowness. After putting together this list I found out the message will be focusing on faith, the passage in I Corinthians where Paul writes of presenting the Gospel in simplicity. I think it works well with the content of the songs.

Prelude: (G) Unashamed Love – Lamont Hiebert

Worthiness is troubling. Too often I chase things that are not worthy of my devotion, while neglecting those that are. I’m called to worship God with my life because He is worthy of that level of devotion. Difficulties or insecurities I face are not a valid excuse. May I offer honest and unashamed praise.

Song #1: (E) For the Beauty of the Earth – Folliot S. Pierpoint

Grateful praise, what a powerful response. Some days I am overwhelmed by the beauty that surrounds me. Sadly, many days I am oblivious.

Song #2: (A) God You Reign – Lincoln Bewster | Mia Fieldes

The awesomeness of God is humbling. He rules over the stars and knows my heart. In the majesty of creation I should be pointed toward the Father.

Song #3: (C) HungryKathryn Scott

I’ve been thinking about hunger. I want to be spiritually hungry; the healthy kind of hunger that comes from pure desires. It bothers me how easily I am distracted by other things.

Song #4: (E) Be Thou My Vision – Dallan Forgaill | Eleanor Henrietta Hull | Mary Elizabeth Byrne

I love this song because it is a cry for help. I need help with vision and wisdom; I need to be reminded of the promises that are mine in Christ.

I am contemplating making a lyric adjustment in this song. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time thinking about it; I suspect I will write a future post about gender exclusion in worship songs and how it should be handled. The part that gets me in this song is the line: “I Thy true son.” This song was written by a fifth century monk, so in context it makes sense. But I’m not using the song at a monastery; I’m using the song at a service where half the congregation are daughters, not sons. I plan to think about it a bit more and get a few more opinions before making a decision, if I do not reach a verdict I’ll cut the entire verse (I like the first half of the verse in question, so I am trying to save it).

Song #5: (E) Be the Center – Michael Frye

In I Corinthians Paul writes about knowing nothing but the Gospel. Christ crucified and  raised from the dead. When Jesus is the center of who I am there is a ripple effect in all areas of my life.

Closing Song: (D) In Christ Alone – Stuart Townend | Keith Getty

The closing song is a reflection on the Gospel. It’s a good way to end the formal service.

I’m looking forward to the weekend. Leading corporate music always encourages me.

This Sunday I’ll have a back up guitar for the first time since I started leading music at SCEFC. I bought a Dean Exotica Zebra Wood electric acoustic guitar this week (the guitar will get its own post soon). My playing technique has evolved to a point where I rarely break strings (the last string I broke was about five years ago*), but being without a back up guitar made me nervous because most of my arrangements are guitar-centric.

*I am now guaranteed to break a string this Sunday. Book it.


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SCEFC Set List: April10, 2011

This coming Sunday I’ll be serving as the worship leader at State College E-Free Church. The message for the morning examines priorities in response to the cross.

Prelude: (A) Blessed Be Your Name – Matt Redman & Beth Redman

I’ve been thinking a lot about denial of self recently. In life some things that do not go as planned. Sometimes when my plans and desires are thwarted it hurts. Being able to hold my own will loosely is challenging. Regardless of my circumstances God is good. In the fulfillment of my desires God is good; in the times when I feel broken God is good.

Song #1: (A) Our God – Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Jonas Myrin, & Matt Redman

This is a song of praise to begin the main set. Our God is greater, stronger, and higher than any other. We praise Him as our healer who is for us and with us.

Song #2: (A) Marvelous Light – Charlie Hall

This is the story of being changed. I once was lost in darkness, but now I am found and running to light. In the light of truth I see the beautiful message of the cross. My dead heart now beats, and I am free. The  examination of my priorities in response to the cross is not meant to be a burden. It is not meant to be oppressive. Denying myself lead to a fullness, though I may struggle to see that right now.

Song #3: (A) Jesus Paid It All – Elvina Hall & Alex Nafong

A long look at the Gospel, this song speaks of being met while in weakness by a Savior. All to Him I owe.

Song #4: (E) How Deep the Father’s Love For Us – Stuart Townend

Further reflection on the Gospel and the cross in particular. It was not an ambiguous thing that led to the death of Christ, it was my sin. I contributed to His suffering, yet I have been forgiven and given a share in His reward. It is a love I cannot understand.

Closing Song: (A) Your Name – Paul Baloche & Glenn Peckiam

If I am trying to evaluate my priorities it is essential for me to determine what is important. Shelter and salvation are two good places to start.

I’ve been playing through this list quite a bit. I’m looking forward to practicing on Saturday and the service on Sunday. Leading congregational singing is an honor and a privilege.

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SCEFC Set List: March 6, 2011

I’ll be serving as the worship leader at State College E-Free Church this coming Sunday. The passage for the morning is Psalm 32, with an emphasis on confession and forgiveness. When I think about confessing sin and and receiving forgiveness the first thing that comes to my mind is the Gospel. The wages of sin is death, yet we have hope.

Prelude: (A) Our God – Chris Tomlin | Jesse Reeves | Jonas Myrin | Matt Redman

As I read over the lyrics of this song I was reminded that our God is for us and our God is with us. When we have things to confess, sin that entangles us, it sometimes feels that God wants nothing to do with us. But these feelings are not valid.  Our God is a healer.

Song #1: (A) You Are God Alone – Billy Foote | Cindy Foote

When I get caught up in defining my relationship with God by the way I feel about myself bad things happen. This song is reminder that God doesn’t need anything I can give Him, yet He is worthy of everything I can give.

Song #2: (D) Once Again – Matt Redman

Here our attention focuses on the Gospel. Despite being worthy of everything we can give, God continues to give to us. Emmanuel, God with us. In an act of love we cannot comprehend Jesus suffered, died, and rose from the dead to offer us forgiveness. How can we be anything but humbled and broken in response to that?

Song #3: (A) Nothing but the Blood – Matt Redman

This song addresses atonement. The blood of Christ stands in our defense, it allows us to be friends of God. What a beautiful thought.

Song #4: (E) Here I Am to Worship – Tim Hughes

I’ll never know the price of my sin. That debt has been paid. In response to the message of the Gospel, to the love of Christ, it is fitting to use words such as lovely and wonderful.

Closing: (D) The Wonderful Cross – Isaac Watts | Jesse Reeves| Chris Tomlin | J.D. Walt | Lowell Mason

At the close of the service we pause to remember the power of the Gospel once more. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. In the first verse I love the line “. . . pour contempt on all my pride.”

It has been good to reflect on the Gospel this week as I prepared the set list. I hope that these songs are encouraging to the people of SCEFC.

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SCEFC Set List: February 13, 2011

As I put together the set list for this coming Sunday I spent some time thinking about adversity. Actually, to be more specific, I spent time thinking about correct responses to adversity. The sermon will be based on Psalm 27, which is a prayer of David. I find the final two verses very interesting, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”

Prelude: (E) Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee – Henry van Dyke

This song features one of my favorite lines: “Thou art giving and forgiving, every blessing, ever blest, wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!” Wellspring of the joy of living. Joy is so powerful, especially deep-seated joy that is not based on surface pleasures or convenience. In difficult or mundane times joy is a testament to peace, to maturity, to contentment.

When I was reviewing the lyrics it occurred to me that “hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above” would be more powerful if leaves were substituted for the flowers, considering they have photosynthetic tissue and are able to use solar energy. Then I thought about photoperiodism and how light duration can influence flowering. And then I realized I’ve been spending too much time studying plants.

Song #1: (E) You Are Holy (Prince of Peace) – Mark Imboden & Tammy Rhoton

I like starting the main set of songs by thinking about attributes of God and how we should respond to them. The song ends with an emphasis on God as our Prince of Peace, which is something to dwell on in times of adversity. This song features a chorus that is divided into two parts, traditionally by gender. I really would like to rotate the parts so that both sets of lyrics are covered by everyone singing the song. I’ve been weighing the distraction factor (changing a routine, exposure to a different melody) versus the benefit (exposure to both aspects of the chorus). In my opinion the women’s chorus is lyrically far superior to the men’s chorus, so maybe I’m just jealous.

Song #2: (A) God You Reign – Lincoln Brewster & Mia Fieldes

Here we affirm that God is in control. I really appreciate the lyrical simplicity of this song. We make no grand promises or declarations; we just focus on what is true.

Song #3: (A) Our God – Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Jonas Myrin, & Matt Redman

When I heard the passage for the morning would be Psalm 27 the first song that crossed my mind was this one. It speaks of the supremacy of God and reminds us that we are with Him. If our God is with us; if our God is for us; how then should we live?

During the fall semester I saw someone sitting under the Life Sciences bridge on campus strumming a guitar and singing this song. It stuck in my head. I’ve never used it as a leader, in part because at times it feels a bit lyrically awkward. But I’ve managed to come to peace with that awkwardness for the moment.

Song #4: (D) Desert Song – Brooke Fraser

In every season of life we have reason to sing, reason to worship. In difficulty and in ease we are called to do the same thing. This is a challenging song.

Closing: (A) Everlasting God – Brenton Brown & Ken Riley

This ties in with the final verses in Psalm 27. We will wait upon the Lord. We will wait upon the Lord, for He is the defender of the weak. He comforts those in need.

This set list might be the first one I have ever assembled that does not feature a song that explicitly incorporates the Gospel. The Gospel is interwoven in these songs, but not clearly spelled out. It is something I will keep in mind during my opening comments.

I’m looking forward to this weekend. It is such an honor and privilege to lead Believers in corporate singing. I hope these songs encourage and challenge others the way they have me this week.

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SCEFC Set List: January 9, 2011

This coming Sunday I’ll be serving as the worship leader at State College E-Free Church. I put the set list together before I knew what the theme of the message would be (the theme is hope). Because of this I decided to assemble a list with a progression of thoughts instead of centering it around an individual theme. Over the past few weeks I added and subtracted songs numerous times, ending up with this:

Prelude: (A) God You Reign – Lincoln Brewster & Mia Fieldes

We’ll start the service with a song praising God the Father and acknowledging His sovereignty.

Song #1: (G) Jesus Messiah – Chris Tomlin, Daniel Carson, Ed Cash, & Jesse Reeves

In the transition between the prelude and main set I’m planning to talk about the mystery of God reigning over the earth, yet still being patient with us and allowing us to hold on to our own illusions of control. Sin created a chasm between God and humans, yet He reached out to us at our weakest point. This is the Gospel message. This is the story of a Messiah. The One in whom we place our hope.

Song #2: (A) Marvelous Light – Charlie Hall

This song continues that thought. Though we were once fatherless, strangers, and without hope God chose to show us kindness. In Jesus we have life. We are called out of the sin and darkness that surrounds us and urged to run to the freedom that is found in the light.

Song #3: (A) Your Name – Paul Baloche & Glenn Packiam

We are saved in the name of Jesus. In addition to celebrating that fact, this song also speaks of desire to be strengthened so that we can glorify Christ in our lives.

Song #4: (E) Be Thou My Vision – Dallán Forgaill, Eleanor Henrietta Hull, & Mary Elizabeth Byrne

The main set ends with a prayer to be granted vision and wisdom. In addition to these requests are reminders of the inheritance and treasure we have, as well as the joy that awaits us.

As I was singing this song this week I noticed something that prompted me to wonder. Verse two contains the line: “Thou my great Father, I Thy true son.” Many songs that are sung corporately contain the words men or man to refer to humans, yet calling oneself a son is a bit more difficult to apply corporately (at least I assume it might be a bit strange for women to sing this line). Seeing this reference to being a son prompted me to check the authorship of the song. My copy of music credited two women, Eleanor Hull and Mary Elizabeth Hyde as the authors (this is music from CCLI, which should be accurate). This made me very, very curious. Did two women write a hymn in which they refer to themselves as sons? So I sought the assistance of Google. And that’s how I discovered that the original lyrics of Be Thou My Vision are attributed to a first century Irish poet by the name of Dallan Forgaill, though it is not certain that he wrote the text. Mary Elizabeth Byrne translated the text to English in 1905; several years later Eleanor Hull used the poem to construct the verses we all recognize as the hymn. Mystery solved.

Two final thoughts before I move on:

1. Dallan Forgaill had a serious sight impairment. This makes the the song Be Thou My Vision a bit more interesting to me. While the lyrics are written in the context of needing vision to live with wisdom, it is interesting to think that Forgaill might have drawn inspiration from his own inability to physically see and made the connection to spiritual sight.

2. According to tradition Dallan Forgaill was killed by raiding pirates at an island monastery. That’s right, pirates.

Closing Song: (D) Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken – Henry Lyte & Bill Moore

My thought in selecting this song as the closing song is that it ties up the thoughts expressed in the main set. We have a loving God; we have a merciful Savior; we have been offered life; life is difficult; we need direction. The closing line of the song says “Hope shall change to glad fruition, faith to sight and prayer to praise.” That’s such a good line I plan to sing it twice.

I’m looking forward to practicing tomorrow and the service on Sunday.

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