Leading Worship in Kfar Saba, Israel

Kfar Saba, Jan 19, 2019:  As is my custom, my specific preparation for this worship event began 5-7 days prior, in communication with team members from the congregation to understand who will be available and to address any relevant concerns. Vocalist Hannah came forward with several song suggestions, including “Roni Roni Bat Tzion” which I had also recorded in the studio with the Yerubilee project. Our recording has been featured on radio programs, and is available as a download and as part of The Green CD.

However, for this time of worship, the congregation was not able to provide a drummer, bass, horn section, electric guitars, etc. We would need to do a stripped-down arrangement, with only keyboard, acoustic guitar, 2-3 voices, and light percussion – no drum kit.

The week progressed and I prayerfully built a setlist which included Roni Roni as the second song, as part of a rejoicing medley of dance songs. I felt led by the Ruach to start out with a soft song, “Ahavta Oti Rishon.” This turned out to be a blessing, because little did I know that the teaching that day would be about the Love of Elohim, and that’s exactly the message of this song (“You First Loved Me”).

As I do not drive in Israel, and with very limited time during the week, we were not able to rehearse together in advance, but only in the hour before the congregation meeting. I set out that morning to ride the bicycle for one hour in the brisk cold to get to Kfar Saba.

On guitar we had Bro. Kim with vocals; I switched between Davidic Harp and the keyboard, with vocals; Plus, Hannah on vocals, and occasionally Tony pounded the congas or the tambourine. We had lots of help from Daniel on the mixing board and A. on the computer to project the lyrics and Scriptures onto the wall for everyone to read along. Pastor Tony had a last-minute song request: “Shir Chadash” which he had written and was being requested by the 40-plus visitors from Taiwan. Thankfully, we were able to honor his request, with a bit of technical work to share the lyrics and chord sheet with all the team members and quickly teach the song to Kim. In Hebrew, I told him he would not have to worry about singing since the song was new, but to just focus on the guitar for that song and that would be enough for the first time.

Altogether, the setlist included about nine Hebrew songs, about half of them upbeat celebration tunes and half meditative worship ballads. The congregation was seen and heard clapping, singing, lifting hands, and at times with faces upturned and closed eyes. It seemed to me that many of us felt a move of Elohim’s Ruach haKodesh (the Set Apart Spirit) in our midst.

Congregation founder and leader Tony Sperandeo expressed his thankfulness that day for the ministry of worship. The team talked together about the move of Elohim, as well as a desire for more time together for preparation.

Special thanks to all those from around the world who contribute spiritually and materially to make this vision become a reality.