New Releases from Harris Creek Worship

Hey everyone!

As I’m sure you’ve gathered, there’s a lot happening at Harris Creek this fall — and I can feel the energy heading into what might be a busy season, but an exciting one. Drew and I couldn’t help but add to the excitement and are releasing our second series of worship videos in conjunction with our Elements Journey.

Last semester, we released our first worship video project, “The Warehouse.” This semester, as we wrapped up Unit 2 of Elements, we are releasing three new worship videos that we think articulate some of the sentiments we explored during Unit 2: God and Me. We chose to do this series of worship videos in an acoustic, intimate setting that we thinks mirrors the personal journey many of us took this last semester as we dove into ourselves and explored who God has called us to be. We filmed these videos in a familiar space – the greenhouse – that you saw in the Elements Unit 2 story videos.

Over the next three weeks we will be releasing one worship video a week and we hope you enjoy these songs. These three videos will be a mix of original and cover songs as well as some new and some old songs. We hope these songs spur you along in your spiritual journey and help you explore who God has created you to be.

If these songs are meaningful for you, we hope you will share them with friends and family so that they can potentially have a Kingdom impact in many other communities and circles.

It is our desire that these worship videos are encouraging and inspiring to you in your walk with Christ. We are looking forward to this exciting season ahead with our Harris Creek church family!

 

Blessings,

Rebecca

Worship & Communications Pastor

 

P.S As we continue our #elementsjourney, keep watching each semester for new songs and videos to be released in conjunction with that Unit!

Check out our first song, “Restless Heart” below:

The Warehouse – A New Harris Creek Worship Project

Hey Church Family, I know this blog finds you in an extremely busy (and sometimes stressful) Christmas season, where you have countless responsibilities and obligations, as you try to get EVERYTHING done that there is to do before celebrating Christmas. I’m no different – even finding time to write this blog has been challenging! Even through all the busyness, I wanted to let all of you know what we’ve been up to as a worship ministry. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that we have begun a two-year journey, “Elements”, as a church, and we are about to embark on the second unit in January. As we were thinking about how to make this a holistic discipleship process for our people, we began to consider how our music might be able to bring some special meaning and provide some additional language to the Elements conversation.

 

“…we began to think about how our music might be able to bring some special meaning and provide some additional language to the Elements conversation.”

 

So, here’s what we’ve done. We recorded three different songs which are thematically tied to the first unit of Elements in the exact same warehouse where we filmed all those great Elements videos you’ve watched this past fall. The first song we are releasing, “O Come,” is an original one that we wrote in light of the themes from unit one of Elements. This is a song you might be familiar with, as we’ve been singing it during the Advent season. The second song we are releasing is the old hymn “Be Thou My Vision,” and the last song we will release is a song we sang many times last semester, “Everything and Nothing Less.” It is our hope and desire that these songs become spiritual markers for you during this journey — songs you can go back to time and again to help you spark a heart for worship, or to help you fully surrender to what God is asking of you. We hope that these songs give you a vision of our Creator, and that they would give you the desire to continually ask for more of His Spirit in your life. We encourage you to share these videos with everyone you can, as it is our hope and desire that they may touch the communities and circles around you and make a Kingdom impact. And maybe, just maybe, someone who’s having trouble slowing down or seeing the joy of this Christmas season will experience the incarnation of Christ in their own heart through one of these songs.

 

Much peace, Drew

 

P.S As we continue our #elementsjourney, keep watching each semester for new songs and videos to be released in conjunction with that Unit!

Check out our first song, “O Come” below:

2015 Sermon Recap

Every year I take time to reflect on my sermons from the last year as a way to think through what worked, what didn’t, and how I need to proceed moving forward. It might seem odd to have me talk about this process (for a variety of reasons), but I think it’s important for people to peek “behind the scenes” when it comes to how sermons are prepared. Often times, people think they are either (a) hand delivered on a golden tablet every Saturday evening by an angel, or (b) half-cocked ideas from someone who is just talking off the cuff. The truth is, preaching is a serious task that requires a lot of prayer, work, and effort.[1]

The other thing people rarely think about is the fact that I don’t love the way every sermon turns out. I strive hard to, first, be a listener of the Word before preaching it. That means preaching is born out of what has convicted me first, not on the annoying things everyone around me needs to get better at to be more spiritual. The other thing that I naturally do is critique my own work. In fact, I tend to be harsher than (or at least as harsh as) many of the skeptical or cynical types listening to my sermons.[2] In the same breath, I also know I am anything but unbiased. Sermons are a little like your kids: you can be frustrated with your own children, but you naturally get a little defensive if someone else gets upset with your child. I’m not sure if it’s possible to avoid this dynamic. It just kind of is what it is.

That being said, this blog is the one chance I get to publicly do what many people do on a regular basis, which is armchair quarterback the sermon. I realize critiquing the worship service is simply Sunday lunch ritual for a lot of people. I get it. It comes with the territory. Rather than telling you to change your ways, I’m going to weigh-in myself. The approach is going to be this: I am going to list the series from the last year, give you some “measurable” stats from my 2015 sermons, then follow that up with a list of my own commentary and reflections from my messages over the last year.


SERMON SERIES IN 2015

  • Ethos
  • The Great “I Am”
  • God in the Movies
  • The Dreamer
  • #blessed
  • Life After Life
  • Our Turn
  • Joy to the World

 

SERMON STATS FROM 2015

2015 Sermon Stats
FAVORITE SERMON: “Interstellar” from God in the Movies
WHY: There were a few sermons that were really fun for me to preach on a personal level, so it was hard to pick my absolute favorite. It was a year in which I got to share the stage with my dad, which was a huge highlight for me. I also had a few moments of personal insight[3] that led to the message scratching the creative itch for me. These were messages like “The Colors God Uses” in the series on Joseph called The Dreamer and even a few of the recent messages in our Advent series called Joy to the World.

With that being said, “Interstellar” was the way I would preach on a regular basis if context weren’t something you have to take into account. It combined elements from recent culture, science, philosophy, and was a sermon that was a form of what I would call “micro-apologetics.”[4] There was a mountain of information to cover, so this was a rewarding process in whittling it down as much as possible to what was essential. It was also challenging to work in ways to keep people engaged, which was part of the idea behind using the chalkboard and throwing the ball into the congregation how I did in this message. All in all, it was the message I was most proud of in 2015.


LEAST FAVORITE SERMON:
“LOCAL/GLOBAL” from Ethos
WHY: There are certainly messages I personally liked less, and there were messages that were less effective than this one, as well. I will also say that the most stressful sermon was sharing the stage with my dad. He did a fantastic job answering some incredibly difficult questions. On the flip side, the dialogue or “interview with commentary” style as a form of communicating is drastically different than preaching.

But the reason “LOCAL/GLOBAL” was my least favorite message is because there were way too many people who walked away thinking I am against global missions (as if that’s even something that is optional for a church or an individual disciple of Jesus).[5] Part of this may have been due to the fact that this was the first message in the series. I think it took a while to understand that we’re not opposed to doctrine, nor do we believe the Church should ignore the needs of “insiders.” For whatever reason, though, this message was received a lot of different ways, which is, first and foremost, on me as the communicator.


FAVORITE SERIES:
The Dreamer
WHY: The best reason I can give you for this being my favorite series is I got really enthralled with the details of Joseph’s story. It stands out in Scripture for a reason and is an amazing story of faith. Joseph is someone that I felt like I could relate to in many ways, yet he is simultaneously one of those people in the Bible that is in rarified air when you look at all he endured. All I can say is that means the author recounted Joseph’s story in the most captivating way possible. To tell a story in such a way that you can relate to someone who is nearly “untouchable” is unique. I’ve already thought back on Joseph’s life and his example of faith countless times since this series.


LEAST FAVORITE SERIES:
#blessed
WHY: Starting a new semester in a “college town” is always a difficult task because of the mixture of listeners you are going to encounter the first few weeks of the semester. Inevitably, we are going to have young people trying us out for the first time and making snap judgments on what we’re all about as a church. You also have families looking to get connected to a new church during this time of year, which is a completely different “audience” than college students. On top of all of this, you have the core of our church who also needs to grow and be challenged in their faith, and hearing some of the most fundamental aspects of our church get repeated too often can cause the vision to become stale for this group over time. And just for fun, you get to do all of the legwork of starting a new series with this complicated concoction of listeners. I’ll just say it’s not my favorite time of year to preach.

On top of all of the normal fun during that time of year, I was not pleased with how I executed as a communicator within this series. I felt as though I was extremely faithful to the text in the messages, but I didn’t do a great job of connecting the text (usually one or two verses) to the chapter it is in, the primary themes in Luke’s gospel, the message of the New Testament, and the major theological strands throughout the entire Bible.[6] All in all, the stakes were high and I felt as though it was important to set the stage for what was around the corner for our congregation. In doing so, I missed some key opportunities to be as clear as I needed to be with certain aspects of the Gospel message for those who were dropping in for the first time. I have to trust that the Spirit connected the dots for people despite my ineffectiveness.


CLOSING THOUGHTS
Overall, 2015 is a year that I am really proud of when I look back on all that we covered. I love being able to teach Scripture on a regular basis and realize that it’s a privilege, not a right. I believe preaching changes things and carries an inherent eternal value and weight. That’s probably one reason why it’s not always easy or “fun.” However, it is something I thoroughly enjoy doing and is something I want to keep getting better at over time.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what stood out to you over the last 12 months. What was something you learned over the last year? In what new ways did God shape you as a disciple? What books of the Bible or topics would you personally like to see covered in 2016? Go ahead and share those lunch conversations you’ve already had in the comment section below.


[1] For those “purists” that think the Holy Spirit can only work in the moment, I think that is a fundamentally flawed idea. Spontaneity is not a pre-requisite for the Spirit to work. If that’s the case, then the Incarnation wasn’t a true work of the Spirit of God because it was prophesied thousands of years before the birth of Christ. What I find to be more inspiring and humbling is when the Spirit works in my sermon planning months in advance to reach someone in a unique way down the road.
[2] What is really fun is preaching a message that I know is falling flat a second time in our multiple service/multiple campus model!
[3] Call it “revelation,” if you will.
[4] This is when I begin by asking how this Scripture can be true because it sounds crazy on an initial, surface reading of it, and then we work to unveil the truth that your average person, no matter their worldview, agrees upon behind the text.
[5] The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 is not optional or “a piece of good advice” for followers of Jesus.
[6] This method of biblical interpretation is a skill I plan on teaching in the spring of 2016.

Adding Your Voice This Christmas Eve

If we’re honest about Christmas, we’re stupefied with wonder; 
every smile a cheap facade over another personal blunder,
each gift-wrapped attempt to steal someone’s thunder,
the contrast between hope and reality couldn’t be more asunder,
and yet every Advent the unexplainable happens; 
heaven and earth share a meal together; 
peace and pain pal up like birds of a feather;
humility armored for all that you could weather,
because a baby is born
A miraculous, God-in-the-flesh, divine redemptive mission kind of birth.
 
If we’re honest about these holidays, 
they are a far cry from holy days. 
The carols we sing are half-truths at best
juxtaposed to the ache within our breast.
And yet we sing
We sing aloud to hear because we don’t believe it, we watch one another sing it to see what we wish we could see, and sometimes we just listen to the voices harmonizing heaven’s tune for our heart and we feel it.
 
If we’re honest about the songs of the season, 
perhaps we choose different words at first to more accurately 
express what we bring with us to the manger, 
but by the end we return to more common verses anxiously
with our faith renewed, no longer a stranger.
 
// clamorous eve, unholy life;
all is chaos, all is dark
in our vicinity the fractured reside_
folks of all ages remark:
when will this? turmoil cease
when will this? turmoil cease

// clamorous eve, unholy life;
all my mess, all my strife
…can anything crack this shell 
of my life where these demons dwell
can Rescue hear? me mourn
can Rescue hear? me mourn
 
// silent night, holy night;
Son of God, love’s pure light
=radiant beams from Thy holy face, 
with the dawn of redeeming grace_
Jesus, Lord! at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord! at Thy birth
 
// silent night, holy night; 
wondrous star, lend thy light_
…with the angels let us sing
{Alleluia to our King}
Christ the Saviour! is born
Christ the Saviour! is born
 
christmaseve1536x860
 
Whether you are ready to sing it aloud or need it sung over you, please come join us for a declaration of our Savior’s birth. Harris Creek’s Christmas Eve services will be at 4:00pm and 5:30pm at our Sunwest Campus (401 Stageline Dr). 

Sunday Set List (8/16/2015)

Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King
Come, thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed up, on it
Mount of thy redeeming love

I was lost in utter darkness ’til you came and rescued me
I was bound by all my sin when your love came and set me free
Now my soul can sing a new song, now my heart has found a home
Now your grace is always with me
And I’ll never be alone

Come, thou fount, come, thou king; come, thou precious prince of peace
Hear your bride, to you we sing, come, thou fount of our blessing
Come, thou fount, come, thou king; come, thou precious prince of peace
Hear your bride, to you we sing, come, thou fount of our blessing

O, to grace, how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be
Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above

CONGREGATIONAL READING — based on Romans 8

Your Love Never Fails
Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
But you have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There maybe pain in the night but joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that you love me
Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water’s deep
But I’m not alone in these open seas
Cause your love never fails

The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I’d reach the other side
But your love never fails

You make, all things, work together for our good.

Ruin Me
Ruin me, devastate my heart, for I am
Giving all myself, you are my desire, undo me, undo me
A beautiful demise, slowly letting go, of everything
From ashes I will rise, rise to find new life, life is waiting

Out of the darkness I find you all around me
Out of my weakness I find your strength
Out of surrender I find you liberating
I am on my knees

Ruin me, devastate my heart, for I am
Giving all myself, you are my desire, undo me, undo me
Out of the darkness I find you all around me
Out of my weakness I find your strength
Out of surrender I find you liberating
I am on my knees
I am on my knees

Sovereign Over Us
There is strength within the sorrow, there is beauty in our tears
You meet us in our mourning, with a love that casts out fear
You are working in our waiting, sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding, you’re teaching us to trust

Your plans are still to prosper, you have not forgotten us
You’re with us in the fire and the flood
Faithful forever, perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

You are wisdom unimagined, who could understand your ways
Reigning high above the heavens, reaching down in endless grace
Youʼre the lifter of the lowly, compassionate and kind
You surround and you uphold me, your promises are my delight

Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good, you turn it for our good and for your glory
Even in the valley you are faithful
Youʼre working for our good, youʼre working for our good and for your glory

BENEDICTION
(Inspired by 1 Cor 9:22-23 in The Voice)
I’ve been broken, I am lost
I’ve felt the brunt of discipleship’s cost
I am depressed, I was oppressed, the joy of my salvation has been suppressed
I am weak, and I’ve been without good rest
But I’ll endure it all again if it brings attention to my intention
I’m flexible, adaptable, moldable, and God-usable
My circumstances are undeniable
In fact, every means of my life could mean something for someone’s soul
So I’ll do it all again for the gospel of Jesus Christ to make you whole

2014 Sermon Graphic Recap

Each year, our Lead Pastor, Brady Herbert, does a Sermon Recap where he revisits and reflects on his favorite/least favorite sermons/sermon series from that past year. I love reading his thoughts on each series he liked or maybe didn’t like — it also brings out a little nostalgia in me from the past year.

A lot can happen over the course of a year. In 2014 there were 52 different sermons preached at Harris Creek which includes 8 different sermon series with quite a few stand alone messages peppered in there as well. I’m a really visual person so a way I can remember what I learned from sermons in 2014, is to remember the graphic that I made to go along with a particular series. Many times, that will spark in my mind what I learned by seeing that image I associated with it.

That being said, I wanted to look back at 2014 and all the images I created for the sermon series to remember what I learned during those seasons, but also to tell you which ones I liked the best and which ones maybe not so much. I also want to hear what you think! I love getting feedback for my work good or bad. And yes I’m totally opening things up for you to share what you think — just keep things civil please — let’s not get carried away here. I hope this also shows how much effort and thought goes behind each and every graphic we make to further the sermon series.

So, with that being said. Here is my 2014 Sermon Series Graphic Recap. 

In case you forgot, here are all the sermon series graphics from 2014. For many, if not all, of the “stand alone sermons” I use predominantly premade graphics (for time sake), so for recap purposes I am going to stick to the complete series graphics all of which (besides the “Essentials” series) I personally made from scratch. I feel I can speak most into those. If you want to see a complete archive of all our sermon graphics, feel free to go on our website to our sermon page to reference every single graphic we’ve used for the past few years.

 

 

Favorite Overall Sermon Series Graphic:

The New Exodus
The New Exodus

Why: As simple as it might seem, this graphic is loaded with meaning. From the red “blood-esque” brush strokes being wiped away, to the beautiful scenery peaking through — It was one of those moments where what I was thinking in my head translated well to the computer and then to this title graphic. The contrast in terms of legibility works well, and I always love designing with realistic photos like this. My one draw back to this would be I wish I would have done “The New” in a different font than the Exodus. But hey, isn’t hindsight 20/20. My take-away from this sermon series was really, if anything, a realization of how expansive the biblical narrative truly is — how stories in the Old Testament are not obsolete and instead show a beautiful picture of what was and is still to come. 

Least Favorite Overall Sermon Series Graphic:

For the Love of Money
For the Love of Money

Why: My “go-to” design style isn’t normally extremely graphic in nature. And no, not “graphic” in the way most all of you are thinking as you read this. Graphic as in, dealing with mostly geometric shapes and vector elements, not pixel based images.  I enjoy dealing mostly with photos and overlaying elements with those (aka pixel based). That being said, I realize we all need some diversity in our lives, so every once in a while I will mix in some “graphic” style series graphics. This one for me just didn’t pan out. It’s a little plain and simple, which isn’t always a bad thing, but this time it is. To end on a positive note, I do like the symbolism of the “strings” tied to the money. Aka money comes with strings attached. 

Most Surprising Sermon Series Graphic:

The Noonday Demon
The Noonday Demon

Why: This graphic started in a completely different direction then slowly evolved into what you see here. We started in the obvious direction of plants, nature, seeds, etc. and just couldn’t land it (pun definitely intended). Finally, in hashing out the sermon series even more with Brady, we began to go a more photo realistic route (surprise…my go to). There were a lot of different images and iterations of this we went through — train tracks, airports, someone sitting on dock looking off in the distance — all of which could’ve been great. I LOVE this one we landed on though, and still even have this image as my computer desktop to remind me of this series. The elements I love: 1. The subtle look over his shoulder the person is giving to his bicycle, 2. The slight touch of red color in the right corner, 3. The crisp clean font 4. The bicycle symbolizing wanting to go, move, or our mobile culture, take your pic. This one surprised me in the end, and I love the outcome. This one might be tied for my most favorite graphic in terms of the symbolism in it. First glance its not impressive, but paired with the sermon series, it’s special.

Most Disappointing Sermon Series Graphic:

The Art of Peacemaking
The Art of Peacemaking

Why: Ironically, I might have spent the most time on this graphic. All the different elements and piecing them all together was a task. The reason it ended up being disappointing to me was that it didn’t translate as well onto huge screens. I should have made the contrast a little more pronounced and therefore some of the elements would have been more visible. They got lost in the sea of black a little more than I wished. That being said, I love the look and feel of it, its very different than other things I’ve done before, but overall a little disappointed with the final look of it.

 

To be clear, these are just all MY opinions. Not anyone else’s. Just mine. I welcome yours too! Take the poll below or leave a comment with your thoughts on any of the graphics. I would also love to hear if you are a visual person who remembers sermons based on the graphics associated with them. Comment below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent Day 38 Reflection

Extravagant WorshipExtravagant worship. What does that even mean? Extravagance, to me, sometimes brings a negative connotation with it — as in “extravagant living” or “extravagant taste” or an “extravagant personality.” Anyone who lives or acts extravagantly brings negative attention to themselves wouldn’t you say?

So when I hear a phrase like that, like “extravagant worship,” some part of me wants to stay away from anything having to do with it. Why? Because I don’t want to bring extra attention to myself, I don’t want to be embarrassed, I’m thinking, “what will other people think of me!?”

A great example of extravagant worship in the bible is the story of a woman washing Jesus’ feet in Luke 7.

36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, so Jesus went into the Pharisee’s house and sat at the table. 37 A sinful woman in the town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house. So she brought an alabaster jar of perfume 38 and stood behind Jesus at his feet, crying. She began to wash his feet with her tears, and she dried them with her hair, kissing them many times and rubbing them with the perfume. 39 When the Pharisee who asked Jesus to come to his house saw this, he thought to himself, “If Jesus were a prophet, he would know that the woman touching him is a sinner!”

This woman, who the Pharisees kindly pointed out to be a sinner, was worshipping Jesus. Extravagantly. She cried tears to wash His feet, she dried His feet with her own hair, she KISSED his feet and rubbed perfume all over them too. It was one thing to have washed them, but all that other extra stuff she did for Jesus? EXTRAVAGANT? Wouldn’t you say? Over the top? Some might even say unnecessary. That’s what extravagance is right? What a lesson we can take from this woman.

Is my worship extravagant? Is it over the top? Do I worship with abandon? As a worship leader I’m so convicted of this in terms of leading music Sunday mornings, but also, worship is not confined to music. Worship is this woman washing her Savior’s feet, it’s the good Samaritan stopping to help the hurting man on the road, it’s Noah’s obedience, it’s Daniel’s faith, it’s Paul’s passion. Worship is so many things. But EXTRAVAGANT worship is what I want to participate in. Not the kind of easy, habitual worship we tend to engage in, but the inspiring, elaborate, passionate kind.

I echo the sentiments Darlene Zschech says in her book “Extravagant Worship:”

“…I long to be known as an extravagant worshiper…that God would discover the song in my heart to be elaborate, overgenerous, and wasteful in my pursuit of Him.”