Category Archives: Praise Band

Sing to the Lord a New Song in 2017


Every year, around this time, I offer a list of contemporary song selections for the upcoming year based on the lectionary readings. Here is a link to download my list for 2017:

Download Link

Enjoy!

This is an excerpt of what the file look like:

Sing to the Lord a New Song in 2017

 

Contemporary Song Choices for 2017 based on the Lectionary Readings
Date Song Title Writer Scripture Ref
Jan 6 Epiphany Mighty to Save Reuben Morgan Isa 60:1-3
One Small Child David Mecce Mt 2:1-12
Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground) Chris Tomlin Mt 2:9-11
Jan 8 The Baptism of our Lord One Small Child David Mecce Isa 42:1
Jan 15 Epiphany 2 Jesus, Son of God Chris Tomlin Jn 1:29
Hear the Call of the Kingdom Keith Getty Acts 13:47
Jan 22 Epiphany 3 Whom Shall I Fear? Chris Tomlin Ps 27:1-3
Children of Light Stanfill, Reeves & Ingram Isa 9:2
Children of God Mac Powell 1 Jn 3:1-2
How Great is the Love Paul Baloche 1 Jn 3:1-5
Glorious Day Mark Bird 1 Jn 3:2
Jan 29 Epiphany 4 Speak O Lord* Keith Getty Mic 6:8
God of Justice Tim Hughes Mic 6:8
Lord I Need You Matt Maher 1 Cor 1:30
Unwavering Matt Maher Mt 5:1-12
Feb 5 Epiphany 5 Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) Chris Tomlin Isa 58:6
Here I Am Lord Dan Schutte Mt 5:14-16
Hear the Call of the Kingdom Keith Getty Mt 5:16
Feb 12 Epiphany 6 Beautiful One Tim Hughes 1Cor 2:8-10
The Same Love Paul Baloche 1 Th 4:7
Speak O Lord Keith Getty 1Cor 2:8-10
Feb 19 Epiphany 7 Living Stones Michael Schmid 1Cor 3:10-14
Your Grace Finds Me Matt Redman Mt 5:45
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Sing to the Lord a New Song in 2016


It was popular last year, so I am doing it again.  Here are my “new song” recommendations for each of your Lectionary-based worship services in the upcoming church year.  On most of the Sundays I have included a choice of songs.  I have not used all of these songs in worship and some of them were released in 2015 so please have your Pastor review all the lyrics prior to use.

Here is an excerpt of the song choices:

Contemporary Song Choices for 2015/2016 based on the Lectionary Readings
Date Song Title Writer Scripture Ref
Nov 29
Advent 1
Overflow Matt Maher 1 Th 3:12
Lift High Steve Fee Lk 21:28
Dec 6
Advent 2
One Small Child David Mecce Mal 3:1-6
Every Promise Keith Getty Php 1:6
Give Us Clean Hands Charlie Hall Ps 24:3-6
Dec 13
Advent 3
Mighty to Save Reuben Morgan Zeph 3:17
Rescuer Johnny Parks Zeph 3:17
Whole World in His Hands Tim Hughes Zeph 3:17
East to West Mark Hall Php 4:6-7
Dec 20
Advent 4
My Soul Magnifies the Lord Chris Tomlin Luke 1:46-51
Dec 24
Christmas Eve
We Have a Savior Reuben Morgan Isa 9:6
Emmanuel (Hallowed manger Ground) Chris Tomlin Lk 2:6-7
He Shall Reign Forevermore Chris Tomlin Isa 9:6-7
Joy has Dawned Keith Getty Lk 2:1-20
Glory in the Highest Chris Tomlin Lk 2:13-14
Dec 25
Christmas Day
Glorious Day Mark Hall Jn 1:1-2
Uncreated One Chris Tomlin Jn 1:1-4
Dec 27
Christmas 1
Offering (Christmas Version) Paul Baloche
Jan 3
Christmas 2
Abba Father Steve Fry Gal 4:6
Rise and Sing Steve Fee Lk 1:68
Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble? Martin Smith Ps 148:7
Beautiful Savior Stuart Townend Col 1:13-14
Uncreated One Chris Tomlin Col 1:15-17
The Heart of Worship Matt Redman Col 1:17-18

You can download the entire file for free here:

https://app.box.com/s/bt7zkk1s8zl0sljuvf9smc8tm2sjqfdl

Promises for Worship Leaders and Pastors


Promises for Worship Leaders and Pastors

– When I am anxious about leading worship through song, I remember…
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. — Isaiah 41:10

– When I am questioning my ministry or calling as being useless and empty, I fight this unbelief with…
So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. — Isaiah 55:11

– When I am feeling weak, I battle unbelief with the promise of Christ…
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  — 2 Corinthians 12:9 

– When I am battling burnout, I turn things around knowing…
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. — Psalm 32:8

– When I am anxious about facing opponents, I find reassurance with the promise…
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? — Romans 8:31

Musician or Artist?


by Steve Brown and Mike Westendorf

Are you a musician, an artist, or both? Are the best musicians artists? This post attempts to answer these questions.

In the secular world, you can watch any popular singing talent show and hear the judges tell the contestants that ‘artists’ make the song their own. And it’s the incredibly talented ‘musicians’ that back-up the singers.

The Musician
A musician is a person who plays an instrument to make pleasing sonorous sounds either solo or in joyful combination with other musicians. Musicians can be highly technical and accomplished to the point of sight reading nearly any piece of music and from any style or genre. They are detail oriented and like things ordered.

The Artist
By contrast, an artist usually has the musician’s skill set but adds to it an individual interpretation. The artist is a creative type by nature, she sees things a bit differently, she innovates and interprets a piece of music beyond the printed notes – they like to be the ones with the box of crayons. He is a trendsetter with something burning in his heart that he just has to share. The artist is more personal and less of a perfectionist and typically uses the right side of the brain more. Artists tend to be somewhat thin-skinned, sensitive and more emotional than other people. The artist sometimes needs the musician to help bring their musical creation to life.

Synergy
Both are needed in God’s kingdom. Both are servants. Both are gifted by God. Both are passionate. Both are loved by God. Both are God’s children. We need both. We encourage you, as the church leaders to foster a community that engages both in harmonious worship.

The Church
Unfortunately, in the traditional church where Steve and Mike roam, the musicians tend to dominate and the artists are somewhat looked upon with judgmental suspicion. This is sad because it’s what’s in the heart that matters. But based on the definitions and observations mentioned here, both musicians and artists can have humble, servant hearts with a passion to serve their Lord and the congregation. Let’s put it this way, King David was most likely both an artist and a musician.  

In the church, we actually need to learn how to harness the artist’s gifts better. Here is some advice:
  1. Artists are particularly well suited for special events such as concerts, picnics, outreach events, teen groups, special bible studies, festivals, etc.  Give the artists a little room here and watch their imaginations bring glory to God.
  2. Artists can be used in the worship service but might need a little guidance from the Pastor in terms of song selection and protocol.
  3. Combine the artists with the musical worship team for a bounty of beautiful music.
  4. Have the artists work with your musicians to help to improve their craft, and vice-versa.
So which are you?  Me (Steve), I am a musician and not a very good one. Mike, he’s an artist and too humble to say, so I’ll say it for him – he is a gifted one. In the end, it of course doesn’t matter; what does matter is your belief in Jesus as your personal savior from sin.

A special thanks to Mike Westendorf for joining me on this post and sharing his insights. Mike is a church ‘musician’ and a recording ‘artist’ in the Milwaukee area. For more information, or to discuss booking arrangements at your church, contact Mike at:

Website: mikewestendorf.com
Email: mike@mikewestendorf.com

Other places to learn more about Mike and his music:

I Will Lead More than a Song


I Will Lead More than a Song

I will lead more than a song
More than a Psalm or two
I will encourage the people to sing along
This is what a worship leader should do

I will sing more than a hymn
I will praise and pray
Deep from my soul within
From this earthen vessel of mired clay

I will strum more than a chord
Living for Jesus, day by day
Lifting our voices in one accord
And for my Pastor, I will pray

I will reach for ever higher notes
For the gospel, I am not ashamed
For Christ, in Him alone do I boast
He overcame; Worthy to proclaim

When you sing, you will find a blessing. God will not judge you if you sing poorly because He knows your heart and that’s what matters most to Him. Singing is the voice of your heart. If you can’t sing well, consider it an opportunity for humility. You will never be ostracized for a lack of skill when it comes to singing.

Tuning Your Guitar in Worship


Invariably, it happens.  You brought your guitar in from the cold car and it warms up as you play it during the congregational opening song and goes out of tune. How do you retune it without being a distraction or drawing attention to yourself?

The easiest way, if you have a good ear, is to just tweak it into tune on the fly, during the song. If you are unable to do this, the best time that I have found to retune is to wait for a part of the service where the people are involved in a responsive reading because there is lots of joyful noise and the focus is on the reading and not the music.

There are also ways to tune a guitar that are relatively quiet. For an electric guitar, if you don’t have one already, get a chromatic tuning foot pedal. When you step on the pedal, it disconnects your guitar from the amp so that you can retune your instrument without even making a whisper of a sound.

It’s a little harder to quietly retune an acoustic guitar but not impossible. I have found that a tuner that clamps onto your headstock is sensitive enough to pick up your sound while just playing harmonic notes. Most guitarists know how to do this but if you are not familiar with this technique and by way of example you can retune the low E string by lightly touching the sixth string 12th fret (without making contact with the fret) and softly strum the string. Your light touch will mute the sound but the tuner will still pick it up through the instrument’s vibrations. You can then tune any of the other strings in the same way. Just play a harmonic of the open strings anywhere else on the fretboard.

You can find these digital tuners at your local music shop or check out Amazon, maybe they will be offering these on sale during their Black Friday Sale Days which actually start today (link below).

Shop Amazon – Black Friday Deals Week in Musical Instruments

While I am on the subject of guitars, have any of you tried using Red® Brand guitar strings? I used to only use Martin strings but I tried a few different brands lately and I really like the sound and the longevity of these Reds. They have a high copper content hence the name “Red”. You can read more at this link:

Red Brand – Acoustic Guitar Strings

My Father’s Name is Jubal


“His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes.” – Genesis 4:21

Seeing that I am a guitarist, I must ask…

“Dad? Is that you?” 

Jubal speaks to the creative impulses in me. He is scripture’s first musician. He invented musical instruments and his name literally means “stream or river” which is a beautiful image of the way that creativity flows to us from God. From his name we get the words jubilee, jubilant and jubilation. Some of us create with paint, others with wood, others in gold and silver, fabric, poetry, pottery, glass, dance and music. Others can be creative with numbers, with cooking, leading, computing, cooking, decorating, physics, etc. We were meant to be profoundly creative.

So say “yes” to your creative gift and tap into God as the source and fount of your creative stream. Create something awesome to the glory of God. Let the river flow. Holy Spirit, move in power.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. – Psalm 46:4

The Burned-Out Worship Leader


The Burned-Out Worship Leader

 To the volunteer musicians and worship leaders reading this, I would just like to say….

Thank you for serving the people of God faithfully.
Thank you for carefully choosing songs and for singing like there’s no tomorrow.
Thank you for the endless hours of research and practice.
Thank you for caring about your church and for giving your time to lift up His glorious name.

I know you may not feel appreciated.
I know that you may feel overwhelmed.
I know that you may receive more complaints than compliments.
I know there are people who call your beautiful instrument the devil’s instrument, and refer to your worship as “happy clappy” or as “7-11” songs.

The stress of ministry can be tremendous. This is a cross to bear.

But know that you are making a difference!
You are not simply an entertainer or a “warm-up” to the message.
You are pointing people to Jesus.
The Holy Spirit is wonderfully using you to create an environment where lives are being transformed.
You are raising up other musicians and worshipers around you.
You are making disciples.
You do this simply by example.
The Spirit is alive and well in you.

You are pleasing to God.
He loves your voice, your musicianship, your professionalism and your songs.
He loves your dedication and your prayers that no one else sees.
He loves to hear your voice.
He knows your heart.

While others may not notice or see all that you do,
God certainly does.
This is the beauty. This is the goal. This is your calling. This is your life. These are your gifts. This is your worship offering.

Don’t give up.
Don’t give in to burn out.
Don’t allow frustration to overwhelm you.
The work you are doing is vitally and critically important.
The work you are doing is necessary.
The work you are doing is appreciated.

Bottom line…
You have been called by God and we need you to lead us.
We
Need
You!