Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Setlist 11-30-08

First, I recommend you go checkout this website. I've really enjoyed viewing other worship leader's blogs and seeing what's happening in other churches on Sundays.

Now, here's how our Sunday went...

Prelude: Orchestra - Joy To The World (Hymn)

Lighting of the Advent Candle.... Stinson Family
Each Sunday from now until Christmas Eve we'll be lighting an advent candle and considering the great gifts that God has given us: Mercy, Peace, Love, etc.
We first experimented with this in our Christmas Eve service last year and decided to expand it to use throughout this Chirstmas season. So far, most people have commented on my children and how cute they were. (pics to come later) Hopefully, as the month progresses we'll be able to focus more on the subject of the day.

Lord, Have Mercy (Michael W. Smith version) chorus only
What Child Is This? (Hymn)

Welcome / Fellowship

Mighty To Save (Hillsong)
Introduced this song today for the first time. I was familiar with it but hadn't really considered using it in corporate worship until I saw so many others at Fred's website using it on a regular basis. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and took to it quickly. We'll definitely see it again.
O Come All Ye Faithful (Hymn)

Choir Special: Offering w/ His Glorious Name (From upcoming Christmas musical "Joy Joy Joy")
Message Bro. Steve: Gift of Gifts-Mercy, Luke 1:26-38, 46-55
Invitation: Just As I Am (Hymn)
Closing Chorus: Joy To The World (Hymn)

As you can see we started Christmas music today. I always find it a challenge to incorporate in traditional Christmas songs into the worship service. So many of them simply tell a part of the nativity story from one person's perspective (angels, wise men, etc.) I'm curious what you think. Should traditional carols be included or would it be better to leave them out and focus more on more worshipful songs?

And I'm wondering, How was your Sunday?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday Setlist 11/23/08 - Thanksgiving

This blog is part of the “Sunday Set lists” blog carnival hosted here. You should check it out.

We had a great day of worship Sunday at Westwood.

Sunday morning we tried something a little different. I began the service by talking about how so often we come in and view the worship service as a show. We sit in the congregation, sing a few songs, but mostly watch what is going on on the stage. I then encouraged everyone to find new ways to worship that day. Rather than just standing there and singing you could walk across the room and tell someone why you’re thankful for them. Or you might want to gather with folks in prayer and give God thanks for something in particular. We even put a large dry erase board at the front of the sanctuary and invited everyone to come write on the board what they are thankful for. So instead of doing two separate songs sets broken up by a welcome time from the pastor and a “hand shaking/hug fellowship time” we simply encouraged them to allow the music coming from the stage to be background music to the worship they were doing as they talked with each other and utilized the dry erase board. It went great.

Here’s how it was laid out…

Prelude: Orchestra - Count Your Blessings (Hymn)
Call To Worship: Choir Special– Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Hymn)
w/ key change and big choral ending. It really helped set the tone for the service.

Welcome / Explanation of worship today and purpose of white board.

Blessed Be Your Name (Redman)“Every blessing your pour out I’ll turn back to praise.” Love it!
Thankful Medley (Hymn) Old School praise all with an offbeat kick, flowing one into the next He Has Made Me Glad, We Bring The Sacrifice Of Praise, This Is The Day
My Savior, My God (Shust)
Introduce this song to the congregation of the first time. They seemed to really respond to it.
The Wonderful Cross (Tomlin)
Everyone seemed to be back in their seats by the time this song started. Then they really sang out. It was a great way to conclude the worship that morning.

Offertory Prayer - Deacon

Solo: Patrick Galloway – Thankful (Josh Grobin) We changes the words of slightly. Rather than singing “you should find your truth” we decided there was only one truth and that we should all find the truth. Patrick did a great job with this song.

Message: Bro. Steve “Forever Grateful” (2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
Theme: Gratitude is an attitude that leads to action
Invitation: I Surrender All (Hymn)
Closing Chorus: This Is The Day (Hymn)

Everything went great. I was especially pleased with how many folks responded to the more active worship format. Even last night people were still talking about how much they enjoyed it. I will definitely be looking for other ways to worship corporately without involving singing.

I think it’s only fair to say though, that not everyone thought it was as meaningful as I did. When I examined the board at the end of the service there were at least a couple people who were thankful for some surprising things. Among them: Wal-mart and opposable thumbs. Ya gotta love the youth.

Sunday night was just as awesome. We hosted the community wide thanksgiving service this year. Numerous churches from the area gathered together for a night of worship. I had the awesome opportunity to lead a community choir. It was approximately 50 voices strong. Seeing people worship in more active ways is always very encouraging as a worship leader. Typically our faith family is pretty reserved, we get a few raised hands in worship but basically our folks are very reserved in their worship. Last night was very different, shouting, raised hands, crying, swaying. It was awesome, Not to mention there were probably 500 people there and the sound of the voices raised in worship was amazing. I'm pretty sure I'm becoming more "Bapti-costal" every year. Here’s the list…

Pre-service video countdown
Call To worship: Westwood Ballet piece
Welcome: Bro. Steve
Prayer: Rev Rachael Martin - Church Of The Reconciler
Worthy Is The Lamb (Zcshech)
How Great Is Our God (Tomlin)
How Great Thou Art (Hymn) chorus only

Responsive Reading: Matt Hill, First Priority area minister

Power In His Blood Medley (Hymn)
There is Power In The Blood / Are You Washed In The Blood / Glory To His Name
Give Thanks (Hymn)
My Tribute (Crouch) It was great hearing the crowd sing out this great chorus “To God Be the Glory for the things He has done.”

Offertory prayer - Rev. Rick Cooper, the President of West 78 Ministry

Community Choir: “Total Praise” (Brooklyn Tabernacle version) This was awesome!!!

Message: Rev. James Ephraim, First United Presbyterian Church of Forestdale
Closing Song of celebration: Days Of Elijah (Mark)
It was truly an awesome day of worship. I’m thankful I was able to be a part of it all. I’m so unworthy.

How was your Sunday?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Train night

Today turned out way better than I expected.
I started the day dreading 2 things...Shopping for clothes for the boys and going to see twilight. Maybe dreading is too strong a word for the way I felt about the movie. I was looking forward to having a "date night" with Kristi and taking her to see a movie she cared about. (She's read all 4 books in the past two weeks.) I just didn't care any about this movie.

We realized this morning that our thoughts on child care weren't going to plan out so it was decided that Kasey (the sister-in-law) could go with Kristi to see twilight in my place.

So fortunately I got to go home and keep the boys all afternoon. We decided early that tonight would be "Train Night". Gavin's been showing a lot of interest in Ethan's old Thomas trains recently so we decided to get them all out and see what we could do with them. We had so much fun we just decided to leave them up so they could play with it for the the next few days. The pic here is of the finished product. The is every piece of track we own except for 3, we just couldn't find a way to make them fit. In case I haven't mentioned it recently, I love my boys. We had a blast.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Adults at play

I'll sometimes walk @ a local park during lunch. Today i got to watch 2 adult men drive a gocart just for fun. The best part...watching 2 adult men push their ride home when they ran out of gas. Lol


Sometimes I miss my childhood. But I wouldn't trade watching my boys grow up to go back. Being a dad is the coolest thing ever.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Confession time

Things are slow at work today. I've had a lot of time to think about my life. This thought process has led me to realize some things I've done that I'm not exactly proud of (or have been trying to hide.) So, just to get it off my chest, here's a list of 5 confessions…

1.) Phrases like "Autobots, Roll Out!" and "Yo Joe!" still make me smile.
2.) I have seen every episode of the last 2 seasons of "So You think you can dance".
3.) I was in my 20's before I saw the original Star Wars Trilogy in it's entirety.
4.) Every time I go to wal-mart, I walk through the toy section. It has nothing to do with my boys.
5.) Not only did I see "From Justin To Kelly" in the theaters, there is also a DVD copy of it in my house.

Ugh, that last one hurts.

What do you need to confess?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

5 things

Just because I'm bored, here's a list of 5 things that have annoyed me today….

1.)The layout of Target in Fultondale– When your store is large, doesn't it make more sense to put the front doors in the middle of the front of the store rather than on one end. If you park on the far end of the parking lot, and have to go to a section in the back corner of the store, that is quite a hike. I don't mind the hike, it just seems so unnecessary.
2.)The way William Shatner says "Birmingum" rather than "Birmingham" in a local law office radio commercial. Besides, why is William Shatner doing radio commercials for a local law office?!?
3.)Blue Ray DVD's – Supposedly they can hold a ton more info than a regular DVD. Why then do we still need 2 & 3 disc special editions of movies? It seems to me you could get it all on one disc. (But maybe my frustration is really due to the fact that I can't afford Blue Ray DVDs, a Blue Ray player, or even an HD tv to enjoy them on.)
4.)The human body, specifically mine – How come I can eat the same thing two days in a row, exercise the same two days in a row, but I won't loose the same amount of weight both days? What's up with that?
5.)Christmas shopping – due to budget restrictions in the Stinson household, I'm trying to be a bargain shopper this year. Mostly through examining purchasing items in store vs. online and comparing the two. What has really surprised me is how different some stores will charge for items. Example: It appears that for most items Target charges suggested retail price, while wal-mart will charge much less than that. But Target is carrying more of the items my boys want. Ugh, it's all so annoying. Today I was standing in the aisle at Target looking at prices online on my cell phone to see if I could save a buck or two. The whole process is so annoying. In the end I will probably have saved a total of $20 by doing all this extra work. Is it worth it? Probably not. If any of you are trying to figure out what to get me for Christmas, feel free to give $20 so I can save it for next Christmas and not go through all this headache . (Or even better see #3 for some ideas.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Builder Article - Dec 2008

Each month we mail out a church newsletter called "The Builder".
Here's my article for December..

I’ve been asking God to answer a question for me recently. What is my job here at Westwood? That may seem like a question that is easily answered. My job title says I’m the “Minister of Music & Worship Arts.” What does that mean exactly? It sure sounds fancy, doesn’t it? It’s interesting to see the titles that churches place on staff members that are in my same position. Here’s a few of the titles I’ve seen in recent weeks... Minister of Music, Music Minister, Minister of Worship, Worship Leader, and even Lead Worshipper. But what do all of those really mean? Some might say that the person in my position is responsible for picking and leading the songs used in worship. God has been reminding me recently that it’s so much more than that. He’s been showing me that I’m called to draw attention to him and help others see reasons that He is worthy of praise and worship. But, I’ve also realized, aren’t all Christians called to do this? Isn’t this something we can all do everyday in our own lives? While we may not all be leading people in singing songs everywhere we go, we can all give God glory in our conversations and actions outside of our church walls. I’ve got a challenge for you this Christmas season. We all get real busy with parties and family gatherings. I challenge you to be a worship leader at each of the gatherings you go to. Don’t worry, I’m not asking you lo lead any singing. (Although I’m sure an acapella version of “O Holy Night” from you would be enjoyed by all.) I’m simply challenging you to find a way to praise God in your conversations with people at these events. I think you’ll find if you’re willing to mention God a little more often in your conversations, it becomes much easier to talk with those same people about his great gift to us, the gift of everlasting life through His son, Jesus. We may not all be called to lead singing, but I have no doubt we’re all called to lead others to worship Him.

In closing, I guess it’s time to consider a different question for next month that has come to mind. If Sunday school teachers teach, and preachers preach, what do ministers of music do? “Minist”?

Fa, La-La-La-La , La-La-La-La.

On second thought....

Maybe Obama won't be as bad as I originally thought.
I just read the following...

From the AP: "NEW YORK – It's not exactly at the top of his agenda, but President-elect Barack Obama says there should be a college football playoff to determine a national champion. In fact, he knows exactly what he wants — an eight-team playoff.

In an interview with "60 Minutes," Obama addresses a subject college football fans have debated for many years, and says he will use his influence to create such a system.

"It would add three extra weeks to the season," he said. "So, I'm going to throw my weight around a little bit. I think it's the right thing to do."

You can see the entire article here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Going Down

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Sunday Setlist 11/16/08

This blog is part of the “Sunday Set lists” blog carnival hosted here.

Here's the setlist for our service today.

Walk-In Music: Power In The Blood (Hymn arrangement)
Did this one with a southern kick. The folks commented more on this song than any other when the service was over and it was just instrumental. I've learned recently that our folks really enjoy this type of off beat rhythm on older songs.

Announcements - I did announcements and invited Joseph (our student minister)to come share something about our church's involvement in "Operation Christmas Child". He began looking all over the stage and said he was looking for a big box. He asked the crowd if they'd seen it, then quickly the lights went down, the theme from "2001 a space Odyssey" began to play, and a spotlight lit a portion of our ceiling where a large gift box was slowly being lowered down toward the stage. I'm not sure it translates well here, but it was very funny. An interesting way to bring attention to that ministry for sure. I even think it was better than last year. Last year, I wheeled in a big gift box on a cart, talked about OCC, and when I was done I tapped the box and said "OK, you can go now." The box began to rattle then it stood up and walked out. (Our student ministry intern was inside of it the whole time.) Funny stuff. Anyway, I digress..
Then we began to worship.

1st Set:
Holy, Holy, Holy (Hymn Arrangement)
Hear Our Praises (Reuben Morgan) w/ "Hallelujah" bridge.
First time we've done this bridge. It went well.

Welcome / Fellowship

2nd Set
Blessed Assurance (Hymn Arrangement)
Testimony - Millie Caffee, a cancer survivor, shared a simple testimony of what she is thankful for. I totally expected her to focus on her health and her battle with cancer, but instead she briefly mentioned that like it was no big deal and got choked up when she said "but what I'm really thankful for is Jesus." She mentioned his love for her and how amazing and surprising it is that he would want to spend eternity with her. I was incredibly moving. It set the tone for the next song. I really wish I would have had her share earlier in the service. It was moving.
Give Me Jesus (Traditional) Fernando Ortega version.
First time we've ever done this song. It went very well.

Offertory Prayer

Choir Special: Refresh My Heart (Geoff Bullock)The choir sounded great on this one. Sometimes a repetitive song is very worshipful and the group singing it seems to worship more with every repeat. Unfortunately this one just seemed repetitive. But, maybe it was just me.

Transitional Chorus: Give Me Jesus (Traditional) 1st V, and chorus
Message: Bro. Steve
Invitation: I Surrender All (Hymn)
Closing Chorus: Doxology (Hymn)

To end this I'd like to ask a question..
I'm trying to come up with some ways to lead a large group in worship without using any music. Any ideas? I've got something we're going to do next Sunday that I think will go great. I'll share more about it next week. But for now, how would you lead a large congreagtion to worship in a way that does not involved music or singing? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mmmmmm, Lunch!

How to gain weight....

I was so tempted today at lunch to get a burger. Not like "Man, a burger would be nice" but more like.. "UGH, MUST HAVE BURGER!!!" But, alas I did not fall to temptation. I had a grilled chicken salad. I've been trying this week to get back on a good habit of losing lbs, not just maintaining. It hasn't been easy. In June I started eating better and really kicked it into high gear in July with the "fat-smash diet" and a regular workout program. I've stuck with the workout program since then and have been eating much better, but in recent months I've only been maintaining weight. I haven't been disciplined enough to really loose much more. So here I am today 39.7 lbs lighter than I was in May. Only 10.3 lbs to go to hit my secondary goal of losing 50 lbs by Christmas. (My first goal was simply to get out of the 300's.) Can I loose another 10 lbs in 6 weeks? I'm sure gonna try.

Super Mario

So I've learned how to blog from my phone. Now I'm just goofing off. Here's a pic of me from Halloween. "It's-a me, Mario!"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Favorite Cell Phone Pic

This is a test. I'm blogging from my phone. Here's a pic of me & Gavin from a few months ago.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008


I just read this article.
Within it I learned that the wonderful television show "Lost" is moving back to Wednesday nights this season (beginning January 21st). I hate it when they put good shows on Wednesday nights. Don't they know I have choir rehearsal and I workout (stop laughing) on Wednesdays? Oh well, I probably would have DVR'd it anyway.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Setlist 11/09/08

This blog is part of the “Sunday Set lists” blog carnival hosted here.
I'm thankful for Fred's blog because it has helped open my eyes to new worship music and some interesting things worship leaders are doing across the country. Today we did "God Of This City" for the first time. I'd heard it before but not thought much of it. I reconsidered after seeing so many use it in their services on Fred's website. Thanks guys. Great song.

We had a good day today. It started off Rocky, but all worked out well. When I arrived at rehearsal I learned that we had an issue with our sheet music. We recently purchased the new Baptist Hymnal from Lifeway and had not yet started using the orchestration from it. We had planned on utilizing the new orchestration next week, but our orchestra director jumped the gun a week early, so we had a different arrangement for all songs being played by the rhythm section and the orchestra. It was almost a train wreck. (These are the types of problems you get to deal with when you lead worship utilizing full rhythm section and orchestra. No printing guitar chords off the Internet for us.) It took us about 10 minutes to get the problem corrected and rehearsal continued as normal. I was a little shaken by all these problems, but i knew the day was going to be great so I tried not to let it get to me.

Today was our Community Reach Out day. Following the AM service approx 100 people joined together, ate lunch, then went to surrounding communities inviting people to church. It really was a great day. I got to spend an an hour or so with Bro. Steve (my pastor) and his wife Heather. We laughed a lot. ("Hello, My name is Joe. I'm from the Church of the Short Term Memory. I just stopped by today to say... Hello, May name is Joe...." Maybe you had to be there.)

Anyway, the AM worship was focused on our God, his greatness, and our willingness to share his love. Here it is..

- Orchestral Prelude: How Great Thou Art (Hymn Arrangement)
- Announcements w/ Veterans day recognition. - This year we ran a 3 minute video featuring pics of our veterans in uniform from years past. Many have already told me how much it meant to them. I'm glad we did it that way this year. It's a good, quick, way to acknowledge their sacrifice without taking up too much time designated for worship of our creator.
* In Christ Alone (My Hope Is Found)(Getty/Townend)
- Pastor's Welcome / Fellowship
* Shout To The North (Smith) First time I've EVER lead this song. I've never liked it because it sounds like an Irish drinking song. "Shout to the North and the South, Arrgh.!" I shared this from stage, got a laugh, and then shared how this song came to mind when thinking about us proclaiming the good new of Christ. It went well. It's always interesting to see how an old song to me (copyright 1995) can be new to so many in our congregation.
*How Great Is Our God w/ How Great Thou Art (Tomlin)
- Offertory Prayer - Deacon
- Choir Special - God Of The City (Tomlin) Taught this new song to the congregation this week. It went well. Being "reach out" Sunday it fit perfectly. I had Tammy take some pics for me of our city, which Danny used to make a video to play behind the lyrics in media shout. It looked great. I could see the reaction on some faces as they saw the pics and sang the chorus. It was very moving for some. I do wish the chorus wasn't so high. But it still worked
- Message - Bro. Steve
- Invitation - Where ever He leads I'll go. (Hymn arrangement)
- Closing Chorus - God Of The City (Tomlin) verse and chorus 1x only.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sunday Setlist 11/02/08

What a day we had Sunday! It was great.

First a quick set list, then some more indepth notes for those who care.


Orchestral Prelude: Only Trust Him (Hymn Arrangement)


*Here I Am To Worship (Tim Hughes)
*He Is Exalted (Twila Paris / Shane & Shane version)
*My Life Is In You, Lord (Daniel Gardner)

Welcome / Fellowship

*Standing On The Promises (Hymn Arrangement, hoe-down style)

Testimony: “I Am Thankful For…” Debbie Marshall

*Worthy Is The Lamb (Darlene Zschech)

Offertory Prayer: Deacon

*Choir Special: I Can Only Imagine (Mercy Me / from the musical Evidence Of Grace)

*Transitional Chorus: Thank You Lord (Seth Sykes)

Message: Bro. Steve

*Invitation: Change My Heart, Oh God (Hymn Arrangement)

*Closing Chorus: How Great Thou Art (Hymn arrangement)

Now the more in depth look:

Sunday began with announcements as usual. One of the announcements I had to make was reminding everyone of the “reach-out” event we have coming upon Nov 9th. The entire church is encouraged to have lunch together then go out and knock on every door in a specific community to come worship with us. This really isn’t an original idea, but it’s something we haven’t done in years, if ever. For at least 3 years the only organized outreach we’ve had has been a dedicated group of senior adults who gather each Tuesday evening to go out and visit those who visited our church Sunday. I have to say I am so thankful for this dedicated group. They are willing to do what so many of us, (myself included) say we don’t have time for. This special event hopefully will encourage everyone to get more involved in outreach, to be more aware of opportunities that present themselves to invite someone to church or even better, tell someone about Jesus Christ.

Sunday, I stopped making planned announcements for a few minutes and was just “for reals” for a few minutes. Kristi (my lovely wife) says I think through things to much, and she may be right. Typically anything I say from the stage has been carefully thought out. Sunday I just went “off the cuff” and shared that I hoped everyone would come and we could give a personal invitation to everyone who lived in the area we’re reaching out to next weekend. I really think if we would be more concerned about what goes on outside of our church building we’d see a change in the people and the amount of people inside our building. As I said Sunday ..”Nothing changes if nothing changes.”. This time of sharing from the heart just sort of opened my heart to what God was saying to me that day. I worshipped in a way Sunday that I haven’t in a long time. I’m talking about: eyes closed, hands raised, heart open, everyone else melts away, it’s just me and God…worship. I might not have been a great worship leader Sunday for our church family, because I wasn’t paying attention to them, but I know I had an encounter with my Father when I worshipped Him Sunday. Praise God.

From the set list above here are just a few notes..

“My Life is In You”… I decided to include this simply because it was a vertical, celebration song and I thought we needed something a little more upbeat in the first set. Turns out, I should have left it off. Musically it was fine, but the transition from the mellow version of “He is Exalted” into this was a little rocky. Plus, while the lyrics themselves are great, I flashback to a commercial for a “time life” worship CD I saw once. Everyone else must too, because no one else seemed to get much out of it. It was filler. Filler has to go.

“Standing On The Promises”.. our church is made up of 50% Senior adults. When we do these older hymns with a southern (or Pentecostal) kick everyone seems to enjoy it. The lyrics are biblically sound, and the music makes you smile. What a great combo. Great celebration “By the living word of God I shall prevail.” Good stuff.

“Worthy Is The Lamb” Great song that is losing it’s effectiveness with our folks. The first 4 or 5 times we did this song in the past it seemed to really resonate with everyone. Not so much now. Might be time to retire it for a while. Hmmm?

Choir Song: “I Can Only Imagine” – honestly I chose this song because it was one our choir knew well and we could pull it off without much practice on it. (We’re in the middle of working on a Christmas musical so some shortcuts are taken where possible.) We did the version from the musical “Evidence Of Grace”. It has the solo that everyone knows with the choir backup like an angelic chorus singing “Hallelujah, Praise the Great I AM.” I like this version of this song, but honestly, I’m kind of over it. You know, tired of this song and ready for it to be put to rest… or at least I thought I was. As I sang the solo on this song I felt an overwhelming desire to put my words into action. Without any thought, as I sang “or to my knees will I fall.” I did just that. I was bowing on the floor. From that point to the end of the song was a blur. I just closed my eyes, sang, and thanked God for the relationship He’s allowed me to have with Him. I’m so thankful that God, the creator of all things, loves me enough that He does so much for me and allows me to do some stuff for him.

That evening, a few people approached me and said they could tell there was a point when I stopped singing and started worshiping. They said they were led to worship by my actions. I’m humbled by that. I’m not sure exactly how, but I think God may be pushing our worship, or at least mine, to another level. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

This blog is part of the “Sunday Setlists” blog carnival hosted at FredMcKinnon.Com. Check it out here.