Set List: Faith Community Church (19 January 2014)

I’m excited as we prepare for our team’s first worship session for 2014.

It’s always good to start the year on a positive note.

Recently, Ps Benny shared in his “Back to the Future” message about how the Hebrew conception of time can be denoted by the word picture of a rower. The rower faces backwards as he rows, so that in a sense, he is always facing the past as he moves forward. I love that illustration because it is like our walk with God. We often can’t see what’s ahead, but we can rest on the certainty that, just as we see His fingerprints of faithfulness over our past, He is certain to be faithful in our future.

So as we begin the year, I wanted to focus the congregation on a God who is able to fulfil His every promise for our lives.

Second Corinthians 1:20 says this:

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

So this week, I want the church to make some faith-filled declarations.

No matter what sort of year 2013 may have been, I believe that, as it says in Isaiah 61, 2014 will be a year of God’s favour. He will bestow a crown of beauty in place of ashes; the oil of joy instead of mourning; a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair so that we may display His splendour!

So here are the songs for this week:

//  Trading My Sorrows (A)
//  God is Able (B)
//  Never Once (B)
//  You Deserve the Glory (B-C)

Here is the Israel Houghton version of “Trading My Sorrows” which we are going to try!

I can’t wait for this Sunday!

Our Toughest Set Yet

Christmas

For the worship team, Christmas is both a time of celebration and dread. Celebration, because of the wonderful theme of Christ’s incarnation and the manifestation of God’s salvation plan for all mankind; and roast turkey and festive carol-singing. Because everyone loves to sing carols. But dread, because whilst everyone loves to sing carols, the worship team usually hates to play them.

In the context of a Sunday service, a carols service always presents dual challenges. The first is that singing carols can devolve into mere singalong without the elements of worship engagement and verticality. The second is that there are so many arrangements for carols that there are no reference points for church musicians, unless you write your own arrangements.

Yesterday, we had the first of a series of Christmas-themed services at Faith Community Church. And what a challenge it was!

Three weeks earlier, my music director (the ever hard-working and talented Lukey Luke) sent me a youtube link to a Lincoln Brewster-led Christmas service. It was such a fresh guitar-driven sound (yet reminiscent of Christmas because of the bells and tambourine elements). So we decided to style a set around this idea, including refreshing an old song (Graham Kendrick’s “The Servant King” which contains such powerful lyrics).

I also wanted to get Diana Wee to start leading worship with me on the team and we were on the same page when we both decided that “This is our God” would be a great focus song.

So, after fashioning the set, we were all ready to go and there was quite a sense of excitement within the team. However, there were no illusions about how easy it was to play the set – it was going to be challenging.

Rehearsal on Saturday afternoon was tough. We went from 4.00 pm to 7.30 pm. In the words of Caleb our drummer, this was “the most difficult set yet”. He wasn’t kidding (and Caleb had to play for a Hillsong worship leader just a couple of months earlier). I was starting to wonder if we bit of more than we could chew on top of battling a stomach bug. And I got a little worried the set was going to be too long.

But something miraculous happened when we reconvened on Sunday morning. Suddenly there was a renewed sense of energy and we started flowing well. I suspect the team went home and put some more work into the set and then rested well. And as I timed our run-through, it came to a well-timed 26 minutes!

As we played through the service, there was a growing sense that we were going to musically nail it. But not only that, it felt like we had entered into a divine flow and there was a real sense of God’s presence. By the end of it, if felt like our team had just broken through new frontiers of musical creativity. Carols might never be the same again!

So here is the set list from yesterday:

// Musical prelude
// Hark the Herald Angels Sing (E)
// Angels We Have Heard on High (E)
// The Servant King (E)
// This is Our God (E)
// O Come All Ye Faithful (F)
// Joy to the World (C-D)

And here’s a recording of it by our amazing sound guy, Senny.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the band for all their hard work musically and their continued pursuit of God’s presence. Playing with you guys have been an amazing honour. May God continue to grow us together and take to new realms of His glory. The best is yet to come!

Set List: Faith Community Church (23 June 2013)

I had the privilege of serving yesterday with Band 4 at Faith Community Church for the Sunday Service.

Continuing from my thoughts yesterday on “Personal Genesis”, I felt that God was releasing a new anointing on our band. I actually wish I had the music recorded from yesterday’s service because the sound that was released was quite unconventional.

When it comes to worship, I err on the side of predictable. I like familiar, tried and true arrangements. Like my wife likes to say, you don’t mess with the classics.

But our music director on the band, Joe Wee Chuah, is a consummate musician and I wanted him to explore and push through his own creative frontiers so I asked him to attend to the musical arrangements. Joe Wee ended “scripting” some incredibly fresh renderings of old, near-weary songs.

At first, I was a bit cautious because, as I said, I like predictability. But I was personally challenged too – if we could pull it off as a band, why can’t we have a “both/and” mentality dabbling in both familiarity and surprise?

What also really impressed me was, apart from some novel musical arrangements, some of the guys were so dedicated to see it through that they spent an extra session rehearsing together, without my even asking for it! To me, it was a sign of our band’s maturity to take personal responsibility for the delivery of worship and to support my leading, without leaving me to carry the load on my own.

And deliver they did! It was one of the freshest of Sunday worships we’ve done as a band. For me, this was the raising of a new water mark and a breaking through of the glass ceiling.

May we only go from strength to strength from here on in!

Here is the list:

// God is Great (B)
// Lay Me Down (B) (Chris Tomlin)
// Here I am to Worship/Call (E)
// Your Name/Cry of the Broken (A)

Here is the version of Your Name which we did from Darlene Zschech’s Revealing Jesus album.

Setlist: Deborah Company “Light Up Your World” Conference (22 June 2013)

I have the privilege of leading worship at Deborah Company’s “Light Up Your World” Conference this Saturday 22 June 2013.

As I was preparing for the session, I really sensed that God would do a couple of things during the worship time. Firstly, an increasing of faith to believe that God can use ordinary men and women to transform their cities and nation. And secondly, an intercessory cry for awakening, for a renewing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, churches and cities.

And I have the privilege of serving with an awesome band with musicians from Faith Community Church and Influencers City Church. It’s going to be awesome!

Here are the songs. If you are coming to the conference, why not familiarise yourselves with the songs beforehand?

// Your Love Never Fails (Jesus Culture) (A)
// Nothing is Impossible (Planet Shakers) (A)
// You’ll Come (E)
// I See the Lord (Chris Falson) (E)
// Hosanna (Brooke Fraser) (E)
// Your Presence is Heaven (D)
// God of this City (C)

Here is a link to Your Love Never Fails, which is the opening song on the day.  Enjoy!