Behind The Worship Music is an in-depth look at how the songs are chosen for Sunday morning service. LHBC's Worship Leader, Dewey Noordmans, gives a brief description to how or why each song was selected and the significance to the message for that week. Scripture and a few key words are given as a prompt by Tony Randall to begin the process and the rest is left to the Holy Spirit to guide and direct.

*Posts are updated weekly the following Monday morning.

Sunday December 15, 2019
Message: Can God Really Use Me?  
Keywords this week: How God used Mary, How God can use us to serve His Kingdom
Scripture: Luke 1:26-55
A lot of the music this week was chosen with the point of view of Mary and Joseph in mind. As much as possible I tried to put myself in their shoes and imagine what they must have been going through. In the same thought I attempted to use the common thread that Christians today could connect with: serving God with our lives.

O Come All Ye Faithful / We Adore You by Paul Baloche
I’m going to be completely honest with you and say that this song was picked because it is 1.) Christmas music and 2.) I enjoy this arrangement and didn’t want to let this Christmas escape without us having played this tune.

There is also the underlying theme of the title alone, “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Mary and Joseph were faithful to what God had commanded them to do. All the others that encountered messages from angels as well and were faithful to follow that East star that led them to Jesus.  We start out with a song that is easy to sing and in a more upbeat contemporary arrangement to grab your attention, but we still have the beginning of this week’s theme hiding just under the surface.

Your Promises by Elevation Worship
This song stood out to me clearly because of the lyrics in the chorus:
Doesn't matter what I feel
Doesn't matter what I see
My hope will always be Your promises to me
Now I'm casting out all fear
For Your love has set me free
My hope will always be in Your promises to me

I’m sure Mary and Joseph felt completely overwhelmed with the task that God had asked them to carry out. He brought reassurance through the messages of angels, but there was little information given beyond the fact that they would be responsible for raising the Son of God. I mean, how do you do that? It’s hard enough with a regular baby! I can imagine they had a million questions and feelings about the situation, but held on to God’s promises.
Luke 1:35-37 (NIV)
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

Here I Am by Eddie James
Between “Your Promises” and “Here I Am” I had one of our worship team members read this passage of scripture to help put us in the mindset of Mary.
Luke 1:26-38 (NIV)
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
After the reading of scripture, we sang through “Here I Am” once as a sort of interlude into “I Give Myself Away.”

I’m not sure how to love someone like You
How can You so great and holy
Receive the worship of someone like me
All I have seems insignificant and small
But I freely give it all to You

Here I am to worship You
Here I am to honor You
Make my life be a praise
That will glorify Your name
Here I am to lift You high
To lift my voice with tears in my eyes
All I desire is to love You with everything I am

This song spoke to me deeply to how Mary must have been feeling in the moment. I imagine her was completely overwhelmed and wondering why God would use her to glorify and further His kingdom in this way—and yet, she chose to worship! (Luke 1:46-55)

I Give Myself Away by William McDowell
After “Here I Am” as a congregation we sing this song with our own tasks in mind that God has commanded us to carry out. We ask and declare that we too want to be used mightily by our Lord! Since we know our Savior gave His life for us, we willingly give ours in gratitude and worship back to Him.
My life is not my own
To You I belong
I give myself
I give myself to You

Psalm 100:3 (NIV)
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Romans 14:7-9 (NIV)
For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

Do You Hear What I Hear? by Future Of Forestry
The arrangement of this tune by Future Of Forestry is my absolute favorite and has become a staple to include during Christmas time at Lincoln Hills. As I do with most music, I read in between the lines a bit and found lurking rhetorical questions from God looming there:

Do you hear me calling your name? Do you hear my warning? Do you hear my encouragement?
Do you see how I’m working in your life? Do you see my faithfulness, my hand on your life?
Do you know just how much I love you? Do you know that I understand your hurt? Do you know I can restore you?

When I listen to this song with these questions in mind it hits me like a ton of bricks. Every year this song helps me to see the first advent in a fresh new way. It is the beginning of the most important event in history. It is the realization of God’s plan conceived in eternity past and the most amazing thing we can know; our God came to rescue us and reunite us with Him! He came to pay the debt for our sins so that we can receive forgiveness and salvation for free. Do we know just how significant this Savior is to us?  
*Fun Fact: This song, originally written in 1962 was written in light of the Cuban Missile Crisis and was only loosely based on the Nativity of Jesus. The story of the nativity of Jesus was used to mirror the threat of nuclear war and also as a plea for peace world-wide.

What A Beautiful Name / Agnus Dei by Travis Cottrell
This is arrangement song I enjoy including around Christmas time. In the spirit of looking at things from Mary and Joseph’s perspective I wanted to include “What A Beautiful Name” to have us ponder what the name Jesus meant to them. It was the name of their son and their Savior. I can imagine Mary holding her new born son and realizing the beauty in the name of Jesus right before her eyes.  

This version arrangement also includes Michael W. Smith’s version of “Agnus Dei.” It is a truly powerful chorus to incorporate into “What A Beautiful Name.” Being honest again, I did include this song because I enjoy the lyrics and arrangement. When talking about the greatness of Jesus Christ there is no getting around his reign and authority over heaven and earth.  
Sunday December 8, 2019
Message: Perfect Communication: The Word Became Flesh  
Keywords this week: Christ coming to us, Christ is “The Word”
Scripture: John 1:1-3, 14, Hebrews 1:1-3, Revelation 19:11-13
This week I was released to include Christmas music in the worship set list. I was excited to do so but was more persuaded more by the scriptures given to select the following songs for this week. My mind latched onto the second advent rather than the first, even though we often like to celebrate the first advent this time of year. However, just as remembering Christ’s first coming is important, I find it equally—if not far more important—to look forward to his second coming. So with both Christ’s first and second advent in mind I chose the following songs:
Hark The Herald Angels Sing/King Of Heaven by Paul Baloche
This song does an excellent job of mirroring the first and second advent. The traditional Christmas carol that we are familiar with reminds us of the first advent while the contemporary worship song speaks of our longing for the second!
Verse 2
Hail the heav'n born Prince of Peace
Hail the Son of righteousness
Light and life to all He brings
Risen with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King

King of Heaven come down
King of Heaven come now
Let Your glory reign shining like the day
King of Heaven come
King of Heaven rise up
Who can stand against us
You are strong to save
In Your mighty name King of Heaven come

For whatever reason I enjoy Paul Baloche’s mashup and modern arrangements of classic Christmas carols more than most. Perhaps it’s because the rhythm and melody of the original hymn isn’t altered very much making it easier to enter into. Either way, the lyrics and melody of “King Of Heaven” fit well in this classic carol and breathe some new life into a perhaps worn out song of old.
Center by Passion feat. Charlie Hall
I’ll admit, I almost chose “O Come, Come Emmanuel” here, but decided on “Center” because of its verse and pre-chorus:
And You're the center of the universe
Ev'rything was made in You Jesus
Breath of ev'ry living thing
Ev'ryone was made for You

You hold ev'rything together
You hold ev'rything together
When speaking of the Word becoming flesh, we are talking about Jesus who is part of the triune God and was there from the very beginning of time. As we accept Jesus as fully God we accept that he was the one who spoke the universe into existence and also holds it together!
John 1:1-3 (NIV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
What A Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship
The very first verse of this song further emphasizes the scripture listed above:
Verse 1
You were the Word at the beginning
One with God the Lord Most High
Your hidden glory in creation
Now revealed in You our Christ

When given the scriptures for this week “What A Beautiful Name” was the very first song that came to mind because of this verse. The bridge of this song also came to mind when reading through the scripture given out of Revelation:
Revelation 19:11-13 (NIV)
He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.13 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 12 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 11 
Death could not hold You
The veil tore before You
You silence the boast of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring
The praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again

You have no rival
You have no equal
Now and forever God You reign
Yours is the kingdom
Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name above all names
This description of Jesus in Revelation truly is a terrifying one, but also one that should give us a deeper respect for our Lord. This Warrior is the one that is for us. He has been given this power and glory because of His perfect sacrifice: bearing the wrath of God in our place. For those of us who have put our faith and life into the saving work of Christ we do not have to stand before this terrifying Warrior of glory but rather beside Him, at His right hand. Praise God!
Revelation Song by Kari Jobe
This song came to mind as an extension of “What A Beautiful Name” in my eyes. In “What A Beautiful Name” we enter into a very “Revelation-esque” worship exalting Jesus as we sing the last chorus “what a powerful name it Is, the Name of Jesus Christ my King… nothing can stand against….”

During “Revelation Song” we borrow, quote, and paraphrase from scripture as we worship through the song.
Verse 1
Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain Holy holy is He (Rev. 5:12)
Sing a new song to Him Who sits on Heaven's mercy seat

Holy holy holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come (Rev. 4:8)

With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of kings (Rev. 19:16)
You are my ev'rything
And I will adore You

Verse 2
Clothed in rainbows of living color Flashes of lightning rolls of thunder (Rev. 4:3-5)
Blessing and honor strength and glory And power be to You the only wise King (Rev. 5:13)
I believe this is a worship song in which we should never hold back. This is the language in which the entirety of the heavens and earth will giving praise to God during His second coming, how can we hold back?! I can guarantee that we will be the ones who look foolish and shameful if we are merely standing there like statues. God does not care if physically bowing down before him “isn’t your thing.” It is the type of worship He demands from His people because the worship is for Him.

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus by Christy Nockels & Even So Come by Chris Tomlin
Around Christmas time every year I like to pair these two songs together to mirror the first and second advents. It has always puzzled me how “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” has been favored as a Christmas hymn when the second verse very strongly alludes to Christ’s second advent. It really is a song that speaks of both advents in and of itself.

Either way I like to sing through “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” as an interlude of sorts and then swell into “Even So Come.” As we remember Christ’s first advent and how much the people back then were looking forward to it, we remember what has been revealed to us about Christ’s second coming. We now have our very own advent to look forward to and it is going to be something else! WHOO.

“Even So Come” was actually the second song that came to mind when picking songs for this week because of the second verse pulling from the Revelation passage given this week:
Verse 3
There will be justice all will be new
Your name forever faithful and true
Jesus is coming soon

Revelation 19:11
11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.
My personal opinion is that in this moment when Jesus comes back, those of us who have drawn near to Him in this life will see Jesus on that White Horse and know it is Him. When reading about Jesus’ encounters with His disciples after the Resurrection we read in the gospels that He looked so different than before that no one recognized Him. But in the Book of John when Jesus appears to them again it seems to be implied that they still do not recognize Him:

 John 21:12 (NIV)
12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.

Another encounter with the resurrected Christ recorded in Luke piques my interest as well:
Luke 24:37-41 (NIV)
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”
We long for Christ’s return and will be frightened, overjoyed, and dumbfounded when we finally see the miraculous return of our Savior and King. Our joy will be so great that we will doubt that it is too good to be true! That everything that we’ve longed for is finally happening! Justice will be poured out and Heaven and Earth will be renewed! No more sin, pain, and struggle. No more longing for the Day! It will be upon us and we will know that the Rider on the white horse is our beloved Savior, Jesus.

*Bonus Song*

Whitehorse by Earthsuit
Reading through the verses in Revelation I was also reminded of this now retro song by Earthsuit. They disbanded in 2003 and the left-over members went on to form other bands, namely Mutemath. The lyrics are more poetic in structure but point in the same direction. They speak of a longing for the return of Christ on that white horse; wanting and needing to be rescued from a broken and cold world.  
Searching high with a yellow soul
There's no tomorrow in the days of old
I was falling low, with my yellow soul
It's sad to burn, left in the cold

But I see Jesus riding on a white horse
Hero calling from the sky
I see, see Jesus riding on a white horse
With spare room for you and I to fly
2 Corinthians 4:13-18 (NIV)
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NIV)
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.