Sunday, August 21st @ Immanuel Baptist Church
My pastor recently began a verse by verse series on the book of Nehemiah. This week’s passage was Nehemiah 2:1-8. The key point I used to plan worship was from the end of verse 8. It says, “And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.” I knew the final point of the sermon was going to be about God’s providence being decisive. I decided to try and emphasize God’s providence in the singing and also show our dependence on Him to guide us.
- Call to Worship – O Church Arise with In Christ Alone (choir anthem from The Risen Christ musical) This was the first choir special since our summer break. It was not necessarily a thematic element of the service but being a gospel-centered song it is always appropriate. It provided a wonderful way to start the service and our choir knocked it out of the park! The Spirit was very evident as they sing and they did a remarkable job musically given only one rehearsal to brush the rust off.
- Welcome / Announcements / Time of Fellowship
- Praise & Worship – 3 songs
- Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Passion Hymns version)– Really captures our dependence on the Sovereign Lord of the universe. (Praise to the Lord Above all things so wondrously reigning / Sheltering you under His wings and so gently sustaining / Have you not seen how your desires have been / Sent by His gracious ordaining)
- Precious Lord, Take My Hand (traditional) – Allows us to voice our need of the Sovereign God in all situations. We need His providential care all the time as well as the time of our death. “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13
- Leaning On the Everlasting Arms (traditional) – Old standard that conveys the joy and comfort that comes from leaning on Jesus.
- Solo – Midnight Cry (Larry Curtis) – One of my choir members had been working on this southern gospel standard and I decided to ask him to sing. He did a fantastic job! At the time, I didn’t know how it would fit with the rest of the service. Thematic worship planning is vitally important and I wholeheartedly recommend it, but there are some times when it has it’s limitations. Sometimes God wants to weave everything together unbeknownst to us. Shane Garrison has referred to this as the “golden thread.”
- Sermon – “Preparation with a Purpose” Nehemiah 2:1-8 (Dr. Harold Best) As I said earlier, when I asked Larry to sing I didn’t envision the song fitting with the sermon but I just kind of went with it. Fast-forward to Sunday, my pastor spends a good section of his sermon relating what Nehemiah was doing in Nehemiah 2 to prophecies in the book of Daniel. He showed us how Daniel had prophesied these events long before they had taken place. He told of how it was prophesied that a Messiah would come and be cut off. He talked about how all of those events were fulfilled. Then he shifted to talking about how if all these events were prophesied and fulfilled on the exact day…then don’t you think you should be prepared for the second coming? What does the song “Midnight Cry” speak about? This was a “God moment” for me. It made me realize that I am but a broken empty vessel. I don’t always have the right song or the words to say but He does!
- Time of Commitment – You Alone Can Rescue (Redman) I love this song! It works well in a variety of placements in the service. I really like it in invitation time after this week. Consider the first few lines…”Who O Lord could save themselves their own soul could heal?” Isn’t that what we are after in our response times? We can’t save ourselves. We need a Savior! He alone can rescue! I actually stopped the song right before the bridge and my pastor turned to the congregation and said “don’t you all want to sing the rest of that?” So we ramped it up and sang with all our might the bridge and final two choruses.
It was a sweet time of worship at Immanuel!