Category Archives: All Others

What can be Better than a Hallelujah?

What can be Better than a Hallelujah?

Transfiguration Sunday is the last Sunday in the church year before Lent. During Lent, many church’s in my denomination give up singing or saying either “Hallelujah” or “Alleluia”. Many of us also use a song called “Farewell to Alleluia” at the close of the Transfiguration service.

Lent is not a time for Hallelujah or Alleluia so it seems appropriate to squeeze in a few at this Transfiguration observation. Here are two additional musical thoughts to draw one’s attention to these great words that we use as proclamations of faith and to express thanks and praise.

Consider opening up your Transfiguration service with the song “A Thousand Hallelujahs” by Mark Roach. You can hear it here (this is actually a teaching video for guitarists as well):

Also, consider using Amy Grant’s “Better than a Hallelujah” somewhere in the service, because sometimes a small prayer or bringing a lament before the Lord in worship might be more important to you than bringing a hardy hallelujah. You can hear this here:

One further recommendation would be to keep the service and the congregational music focused on our Lord’s Transfiguration and to use “A Thousand Hallelujah’s” as the pre-service music and “Better than a Hallelujah” during the Offering, this way you will have the focus on the Transfiguration but another sub-theme on “Farwell to Hallelujah” running parallel to the main worship theme.

Lincoln Brewster

Lincoln Brewster

English: Christian Recording Artist Lincoln Br...
English: Christian Recording Artist Lincoln Brewster plays at the Creation Music Festival Northeast June 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a Christian, a music lover, and as a guitarist; I’ve always enjoyed Lincoln Brewster’s music, especially his guitaring capabilities and his mix. I recently came across some facts about his past on BOSS’s website which I am excerpting here:

He’s one of Christian Music’s most inspiring new-generation talents, but Lincoln Brewster’s rise to global recognition began in the pop mainstream over a decade ago. Barely in his twenties, Brewster — a gifted guitarist/singer/songwriter living in Modesto, California — was thrust into the pop spotlight by Steve Perry, the legendary pop singer from the band Journey.

“I’d made some instrumental guitar home demos,” Lincoln tells us, “and I gave a copy of the tape to Randy Jackson (of American Idol), who was the vice-president of A&R at Columbia at the time. Randy gave the tape to Steve Perry, and Steve called me at home. It was surreal … he had my tape playing in the background, and said he really liked my music. He offered to get together, so I came down to LA.” The two clicked, and Lincoln went on to collaborate with Steve on his solo album For the Love of Strange Medicine. He also joined Perry as guitarist on the subsequent world tour. “I feel like it was one of those things that was part of the preparation for what I’m doing now,” says Lincoln . “I had no idea at the time, but it paved a lot of ground for me.”

Today, Lincoln is spreading a musical message of joy and hope through his landmark Contemporary Christian recordings, as well as his high-energy live performances.

You can read the complete article if interested here:

For more info on Lincoln’s past, present, and future, visit him online at:

You can see Lincoln in action here:

And he teaches how to play the guitar solo here:

Awesome God!

Rich Mullins

Awesome God

Awesome is a word that should be reserved for God only.   I researched the use of this word in the bible and it appears an even 50 times in the OT but not once in the NT.

I’ve always liked the chorus to Richie Mullins song “Awesome God.”  I’ve sung the verses as well but they are a bit more controversial and perhaps even a bit weird.  The following is a responsive reading based on God’s awesomeness and includes the chorus to Mullin’s song.

Pastor:  How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven. – Genesis 28:17
All:      How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth! – Psalm 47:2

Congregation Sings:
Our God, is an awesome God, he reigns from heaven above, with wisdom, power and love our God is an Awesome God.

Pastor:  Who among the gods is like you, O LORD ? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? – Exodus 15:11
All:      For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. – Deuteronomy 10:17

Congregation Sings:
Our God, is an awesome God, he reigns from heaven above, with wisdom, power and love our God is an Awesome God.

Pastor:  You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God! – Psalm 68:35
All:      You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, – Psalm 65:5

Congregation Sings:
Our God, is an awesome God, he reigns from heaven above, with wisdom, power and love our God is an Awesome God.


Never sung contemporary pieces before?  No problem.  This one is easy and everyone knows it.   And even if you only have a closet guitarist, this one is still possible.  Here’s the chords to accompany the chorus (also have your guitarist capo this at the second fret so that everyone can sing along):

(Em) Our (C) God, is an (G) awesome God, he (Dsus) reigns (D) from (Em) heaven above, with (C) wisdom, (G) power and love our (Am) God is an (Bm) Awesome (Em) God.

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of International Bible Society

CCLI Song No. 41099

© 1988 BMG Songs, Inc. (Admin. by BMG Music Publishing), Rich Mullins



Praise Bands, Praise Teams, Praise Charts, Praise Ensembles, etc. – What’s the big deal with praise?

It’s mentioned a whopping 351 times in scripture (292 times in the OT and 59 in the NT).  In essence, it’s this: praise is one of those activities that we can do right now, here on earth, and it continues forever into eternity in heaven.  If you think about it, this is not the case for many other church and worship related activities; like preaching, teaching, praying, evangelism, etc.  These other items are important to us now, but perhaps not so much in heaven.  So praise is important to us, and not only to those practicing contemporary music with a praise band, it’s important for all of us.

Psalm 148 – My favorite “Praise Psalm”

Praise the LORD.  Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.
Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created.
He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away.
Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and maidens, old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
He has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his saints, of Israel, the people close to his heart.
Praise the LORD.


One contemporary song that brings out this theme nicely is “O Praise Him” by David Crowder.  Our band will be playing this during the offering on 2/14/2010 since Ps 148 is the Psalm of the day for that Sunday.  You can hear it here:

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of International Bible Society

Give Us Clean Hands

Give Us Clean Hands

On September 13th, our 3 piece band will be singing a song called “Give Us Clean Hands” during the Offertory.   The song has been chosen because it goes with the Gospel lesson (Mark 1-8 and selected verses).

You can listen to the song and read through the lyrics here (the song is actually sung by Chris Tomlin in this video but it was written by Charlie Hall):

The song is based on Psalm 24:3-6

Psalm 24:3-6:
Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ?
Who may stand in his holy place?
 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.
 5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior.
 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob.

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of International Bible Society


“Lord I Lift Your Name On High” – A song for many occasions

Lord I Lift Your Name On High

The song, “Lord I Lift Your Name on High” has been around for 20 years now, perhaps long enough to knock it out of the “contemporary” genre but its popularity is still high.  I think that one reason for this is its broad application for the Christmas through Ascension church year that’s summarized in its short and simple chorus as shown below:


You came from heaven to earthreference to Christmas (Christ’s birth)

To show the way

From the earth to the crossreference to Lent

My debt to pay

From the cross to the gravereference to Good Friday

From the grave to the skyreference to Easter & Ascension

Lord I lift Your name on high


It has a verse as well:



Lord I lift Your name on high

Lord I love to sing Your praises

I’m so glad You’re in my life

I’m so glad You came to save us


CCLI Song #117947

© 1989 Maranatha Praise, Inc.

By Rick Founds


I like to use this song when I know there will be a lot of unchurched visitors and children because it captures a lot of information about Jesus’ life in a memorable and singable format and is easy to comprehend.  I’ve specifically used this at our worship service that concludes our Summer VBS where a lot of visitors are in attendance. 


As Lutherans, we tend to like a lot of words, some doctrine, and some theology packed into our music.  This song doesn’t do much of that, although it contains the Gospel and is specific in its references to Christ.  It’s not a hymn, but sometimes, keeping it simple is a good idea.  Sometimes we need to see what the creatures do to praise God that were made specifically for that purpose.  Consider the Seraphims for example, they call back and forth to each other, in the presence of God, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full with His glory.”  As far as I know, they are still repeating this today. 


If you aren’t familliar with this song, you can hear it here:

This particular version is sung by Paul Baloche.  This is also an example of Integrity’s worship videos that can be used for congregational singing during worship.

Music for Holy Trinity Sunday and How to Transpose

On Trinity Sunday, I have chosen the song ”Father I Adore You” as a song choice.  Many congregations use this on Trinity Sunday.  There are other good contemporary song choices, such as “Glorify Thy Name”, but I chose ”Father I Adore You” because there is a portion of our congregation that normally does not sing, but they will be singing this song.  I’m talking about our smallest children, and more importantly, those too young to read.  At our church, this age group knows this song from previous VBS and other children’s activities.  I think it’s important for us as worship planners to include a song that they can join in on every once in a while.

“Father I Adore You” was written by Terrye Coelho Strom, many of us WELS types know it as LAPPY # 67.

Last week, during our monthly contemporary service, a teen in the congregation approached me after worship and offered to play her guitar in future services.  Apparently she has been taking lessons and is ready to use her gifts.  I am very excited about this because it’s a teen showing an interest in participating in worship which for some reason is an age group that we find to be difficult to get involved.

But here’s the problem.  “Father I Adore You” is written in the key of F and includes the chords: F, Gm and C.  Not a big deal for most guitarists, but for a beginner, the F and Gm chords can be difficult.  Here’s the solution: transpose.

In this instance, usually the best thing to do is to transpose down to a more guitar-friendly key, then use your CAPO to lift the pitch back to the original key.  For example, let’s transpose this song down to the key of D.  To find the new chords, we need to write down both of the major scales (F and D) as follows:

Original Key:  F  G  A    Bb  C  D  E    F
New Key:       D  E  F#  G    A  B  C#  D

Next, find the original chords in the original key (upper row), then read the new chords, in the new key directly beneath the original chords.  For example:

F becomes D
Gm becomes Em
C becomes A

The new chords are now D, Em and A which are all very easy to play.

The last thing we need to do is to find the CAPO position.  Remember that we lowered the key from F to D, which is 3 half steps (just count the number of frets between the F and D note on any one string). This means that we need to raise our pitch by 3 half steps so the CAPO needs to go at the third fret.

And here’s a neat trick; if you have two guitarists, let one play in the key of F and have the second guitarist play it in the key of D at the capo 3 position.  This will add some color and different chord voicings to your music.  Also, check your guitar tuning with the CAPO in place as this will sometimes throw your tuning off.

For future reference in transposing, here are all the major and minor keys:

MAJOR SCALE   R   -   2   -   3   4   -   5   -   6   -   7
   C  maj.:   C   -   D   -   E   F   -   G   -   A   -   B
   Db maj.:   Db  -   Eb  -   F   Gb  -   Ab  -   Bb  -   C
   D  maj.:   D   -   E   -   F#  G   -   A   -   B   -   C#
   Eb maj.:   Eb  -   F   -   G   Ab  -   Bb  -   C   -   D
   E  maj.:   E   -   F#  -   G#  A   -   B   -   C#  -   D#
   F  maj.:   F   -   G   -   A   Bb  -   C   -   D   -   E
   F# maj.:   F#  -   G#  -   A#  B   -   C#  -   D#  -  (E#)
   G  maj.:   G   -   A   -   B   C   -   D   -   E   -   F#
   Ab maj.:   Ab  -   Bb  -   C   Db  -   Eb  -   F   -   G
   A  maj.:   A   -   B   -   C#  D   -   E   -   F#  -   G#
   Bb maj.:   Bb  -   C   -   D   Eb  -   F   -   G   -   A
   B  maj.:   B   -   C#  -   D#  E   -   F#  -   G#  -   A#

MINOR SCALE   R   -   2   b3  -   4   -   5   b6  -   b7  -
   A  min.:   A   -   B   C   -   D   -   E   F   -   G   -
   Bb min.:   Bb  -   Cb  Db  -   Eb  -   F   Gb  -   Ab  -
   B  min.:   B   -   C#  D   -   E   -   F#  G   -   A   -
   C  min.:   C   -   D   Eb  -   F   -   G   Ab  -   Bb  -
   C# min.:   C#  -   D#  E   -   F#  -   G#  A   -   B   -
   D  min.:   D   -   E   F   -   G   -   A   Bb  -   C   -
   Eb min.:   Eb  -   F   Gb  -   Ab  -   Bb (Cb) -   Db  -
   E  min.:   E   -   F#  G   -   A   -   B   C   -   D   -
   F  min.:   F   -   G   Ab  -   Bb  -   C   Db  -   Eb  -
   F# min.:   F#  -   G#  A   -   B   -   C#  D   -   E   -
   G  min.:   G   -   A   Bb  -   C   -   D   Eb  -   F   -
   G# min.:   G#  -   A#  B   -   C#  -   D#  E   -   F#  -

Song Opportunity – “Nothing Without You”…try it on May 10th at your church!

Once again, has another free song offering if you are a registered member at their site.  If you are, check out the latest freebie “Nothing Without You” by Bebo Norman and Mitch Dane.  If you’re not registered; consider joining today.


From the site, you can download a free MP3, leadsheet, chord sheet, and a cut capo chart for this song in the “free download area.”  If you listen to the MP3, you will notice that the acoustic guitar sounds real full.  This is the cut capo.  The cut capo arrangement of this song is real sweet, but you can play it without one as well.


I hope to use this song at our church on May 10, because it goes well with the Gospel lesson which is John 15:1 -8.  In fact, try singing this song with your praise band during the Offering and step right up to the mic and before singing, recite this verse:


In this morning’s Gospel lesson, Jesus said…“I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  – John 15:5


The lyrics in this song go particularly well as an Offering.  It is however a band song unless you transpose it to a lower key.  Most people in your congregation will not be able to reach the high E notes.


Here’s the song lyrics from


Nothing Without You


Verse 1

Take these hands and lift them up

For I have not the strength to praise you near enough

See, I have nothing

I have nothing without you


Verse 2

And take my voice and pour it out

Let it sing the songs of mercy I have found

For I have nothing

I have nothing without you



And all my soul needs is all your love

To cover me, so all the world will see

That I have nothing without you


Verse 3

Take my body and build it up

May it be broken as an offering of love

For I have nothing

I have nothing without you



And all my soul needs is all your love

To cover me so all the world will see

That I have nothing

That I love you, yeah

With all my heart

With all my soul

With all my mind

And all the strength I can find


Verse 4

Take my time here on this earth

And let it glorify all that you are worth

For I am nothing

I am nothing without you


© Copyright 2004 New Spring, a division of Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing; dba / AppStreet Music / Rotten Banana Music (ASCAP)  Licensing through Music Services. All rights reserved.


Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of International Bible Society