Archive for August, 2009


For the Sake of the Call

Pardon the Steven Curtis Chapman reference, but I could really think of no better title for this post, as we all wrestle through God’s call on each of our lives.

First, I want to make one thing clear: I believe firmly that, when we talk about what we’re called to do, that God has a clear calling in Scripture for every believer. The call to love God, love others, become like Christ, and preach the Gospel is clearly given over and over. What I’m going to be talking about is God’s call to specific vocations. I believe that the vocation we choose is not necessarily as difficult as we make it out to be. We simply need to ask ourselves what we can do in our lives to best meet the requirements of the general call. This means knowing what our gifts are and what we’re passionate about. For some of us, though, we feel that God has called us to a specific vocation.

Unfortunately, it’s not always as clear cut as Jesus appearing to Paul on the road to Damascus, or being a robot programmed for a specific task, but I do believe that God sets some of us apart for specific tasks. Here, however, is where it gets difficult: just because we feel God has called us to do something specific does NOT mean that we’re going to have an easy time of it. In fact, in my experience, doing what God calls us to do can often be the hardest thing we could possibly be doing. Often, if we feel called to do something, it’s something that we’re not comfortable with – something we feel unqualified for.

This brings forth the idea that pursuing our calling is an act of faith in and of itself. God doesn’t call us to do the things we want; he calls us to do the things He wants. As a result, when God calls us to do things that are beyond our abilities, we need to remember that He is the one who strengthens us to succeed. We don’t have to look hard at Scripture to see God calling someone out of their element to do great things. I love the story of Gideon for just this reason. Here we have a physically small man from a socially small standing, and God calls him to be a general of a ‘grand’ army (of 300 men) to defeat thousands upon thousands of Midianites. And God did this to show that He was the architect behind the victory, and not any particular skill or talent that we might have.

So, whatever God’s calling you to, whether it be a single task or to full-time ministry, keep in mind that no matter how daunting such a call may seem, we have a God who knows what He’s calling us to and who desires that we rely on His strength to pursue that calling. He knows our hearts, and He calls us to things a) to which He knows we’re best suited, and b) to which He knows we can’t do on our own power, “lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2.9) – but that’s a post for later.

(By the way, I’m aware that the above reference is just a wee bit out of context, as it’s referring to salvation rather than to calling, but the principle is still the same: we can’t do it on our own.)

This Week at COJ

It’s been awhile since I’ve put up my Sunday Setlist, not for lack of good intentions, but for lack of follow-through. Anyway, I figured I was well past due to put up a recap of our Sunday service at the Community of Joy, the English ministry of Chun Sung Methodist Church here in Daejeon, South Korea.

Part of my extra motivation for rejoining the Sunday Setlists blog carnival comes from a blog post that found its way into my Twitter feed this morning about the preponderance of Hillsong music in churches (check out the full post here). Reading the post struck home with me more than a little because our little congregation tends to sing Hillsong songs almost exclusively. Now, I don’t necessarily think that’s entirely a bad thing, since these are the songs that the congregation knows and relates to, and I also think that the quality of music that comes from the various leaders and songwriters at Hillsong church is mostly top-notch and widely appealing. The challenge, I think, is in figuring out how to fit songs together from different artists in order to keep with a theme. The various artists at Hillsong have written their songs so they fit well together for multiple reasons, so we start to put those songs together because we know they fit and flow together, and let’s face it: it’s much easier to put a set list together that we already know works, rather than try to tweak songs to blend the way we want.

I’ve long been a fan of medley-ing songs together, mainly because it eliminates awkward pauses between songs which can cause us to lose focus and get distracted (it may also have something to do with my ability to be distracted by another song while I’m playing the first one, but I’m more than willing to chock that up to the Spirit’s leading rather than my own short attention span). The beauty of this is that medleys work best when we’re bringing together songs by different artists that fit with the theme and the mood that we’re trying to convey. The joy is in seeing the reality of Romans 8:28 in this kind of situation, as two or more songs by two or more artists work together in a way that neither had planned when they felt led to write the songs in the first place. It’s a beautiful way of seeing God tangibly working all things together, and a great reminder that He can and does do so much more in the more complex issues of our lives and our churches.

All this to say that it is really to our benefit as worship leaders to expose ourselves to as many different worship artists as possible, so that we can see how God can work all of this music together for His glory.

As I said before, our worship team is quite Hillsong-centric, but that’s because, at the moment, that’s what our leader (and much of the team) is most familiar with. So, without any further ado, here’s our set list:

Opening worship:
Blessed be Your Name
Take it All
One Way
Deeper
Still

Before the Sermon:
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Offertory / Closing:
Hallelujah / Awesome God

Please, feel free to blog about your own worship service and share it over at fredmckinnon.com on the Sunday Setlists blog carnival.