Archive for the 'Praise' Category


2009 Most Played Easter Songs

Fred McKinnon has a killer thing happening every Sunday called Sunday Setlists. If you blog and go to church you should get involved. I don’t have any evidence from last year but this year looks like a pretty modern list of new and current songs!

Out of the 49 churches represented, I give you the Most Played Easter Songs for this year according to Sunday Setlists:

  1. Mighty to Save – Hillsong – 16 churches
  2. Happy Day – Tim Hughes – 10 churches
  3. Christ the Lord is Risen Today – 9 churches
  4. Jesus Messiah – Chris Tomlin – 8
  5. Jesus Paid it All – Kristian Stanfill – 8
  6. In Christ Alone – Stuart Townsend? Matt Papa? Traditional? – 7
  7. My Redeemer Lives – Hillsong – 7
  8. How Great is Our God – Tomlin – 6
  9. All Because of Jesus – Steve Fee – 5
  10. I Will Rise – Tomlin – 4

There were some INCREDIBLE sets out there. My favorite was one that included Foo Fighter’s My Hero for their offering (ugh…they are my hero!) followed closely with the church that did U2’s Pride (in the Name of Love) for their prelude! Some real traditional sets. Sets with choirs, full bands, the whole mix. What I didn’t pay attention to were the arrangements and that’s a bid deal for songs like Jesus Paid it All and In Christ Alone that have been revamped but…oh well.

Chris Tomlin holds the ground it appears as the most popular artist in church today 🙂 But I was stoked to see All Because of Jesus up there!

Honorable mentions go out to: Phil Wickham’s True Love, The Wonderful Cross, Crowder’s Here is our King, and Hillsong’s Lead Me to the Cross.

So, did I miss you? List your songs below or head over to Fred’s Blog Carnival for Sunday Setlists!


Sunday Setlist Feb. 22nd – 3 Churches in 1!


Not only do I bring you what they did at River today but I went to Ecclesia in Houston and Rae went to Trinity in Lafayette so I bring you the Sunday Setlists times 3!!! 

I’ll spend most of the time discussing Ecclesia since I was physically there and because it’s the one that resounds with me the most! But keep reading for the others as well. I’ll try to keep this strictly to the music so I won’t ramble too much 🙂 

1. @Ecclesia
The band make up was acoustic, electric, keys, bass and drums with a lead vocal. More than enough to get dangerous and just enough to be excellent! 

  • Prelude – Band played and sung song (I don’t know the name and we missed 1/2 of it)
  • Welcome and greeting – I LOVE the greeting at the beginning!!!
  • Here is Our King – Crowder – A
  • Come Ye Sinners – 6/8 time signature swingy feel
  • How He Loves – John Mark McMillan
  • Offering and Announcements
  • Special song – I See You (Amazing song that I’m trying to find!) 
  • Sermon
  • Band played and sung during communion
  • I think Tasting Forgiveness was slated to be played but b/c of time they must have scrapped it

When they struck up with Here is Our King out of the greeting, I immediately got giddy. It’s one of those songs that our church either loves or finds tricky to sing and therefore is discouraged to play so I only get to do it with the youth or out somewhere else. I was surprised to find that they kept it in the recording’s key. It was a bit high but man we belted it out 🙂 They followed pretty close to the live recordings version but added a double dose of Majesty at the end that was sweet!

What’s truly hilarious is that when I went back and found what they played last August when I was there, these next 2 songs were there! I remember it was the 1st time I’d heard How He Loves live and I remember thinking what a cool version of Come Ye Sinners! I was really surprised because I love Robbie Seay’s version and this being his church is completely different! 

Well Come Ye Sinners was again, refreshingly great and How He Loves has become the theme of our Youth Group lately! I played it last weekend at church, they played it at the retreat this weekend, and then we get it here at Ecclesia! For some reason though, this morning singing it out something special really happened. I’m not sure if it was all the exposure to it or what, they pulled it off better than the recording and really settled in it and we all just went for it! It sounded like everyone was singing out! 

I See You is a magnificent song so more on that when I can find it! 

What was really exciting was hearing the students’ reaction: they LOVED it! I purposefully wanted to go somewhere that would have been different from the retreat and they loved the worship, the sound, the songs, the whole thing. That was awesome! 

2. @River: 

  • Bless the Lord – Laura Story
  • Come Ye Sinners
  • Tender Mercy 
  • Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone
  • Prayer and Greeting and Announcements and Offering
  • Sermon
  • Communion
  • Closing – Clean Hands

I don’t know if in fact this week we had electric or not. I’m sure we had mandolin and a couple back up vocals. This was the second week in a row doing Bless the Lord which is the latest new song introduced to the congregation. 

3. @Trinity: 

  • Forever – Tomlin
  • Hosanna – Baloche
  • In Christ Alone – Matt Papa
  • From the Inside Out – Hillsong United
  • Everlasting God – Brenton Brown

When Rae first gave me the song set, I was really giddy! What a selection of songs! 
Tomlin’s live version of Forever is nuts! Matt Papa’s In Christ Alone is the perfect contemporary/hymn song! From the Inside Out is easily one of my most favorite United tunes! Everlasting God is such a solid familiar song!

I got …eh…from Rae. Something was missing. Nothing popped, lack of energy, they all kind of ran together and sounded the same. were some of the things I got from her. This frustrates me because I know as a worship leader it’s frustrating to do songs that are so familiar and perhaps really familiar to the band and keep them fresh and creative. I think for Rae (because it’s true for me too) knowing those songs and loving them so much and hearing them not pulled off like you’re familiar to is distracting. 

Unfortunately, it sounds like she and I had opposite experiences this morning: I heard the intro riff to HIOK and got giddy excited and then lost in the music! She heard Forever and got interested and then deflated by the music. 

How was your Sunday? All a part of Fred’s carnival of Sunday Setlists! I LOVE the banner this week so I stole it 🙂 Unfortunately, Fred doesn’t know who we’re stealing it from so if it’s yours: THANK YOU! and speak up so I can give you some link love!


God’s Timing is Real

Nearly all my life ‘providence’ or ‘God’s timing’ or in ‘God’s hands’ has been the excuse or reason you didn’t get what you wanted when you wanted it. People outside the faith often explain ‘providence’ as simply karma or odds or evenjust plain dumb luck. 

So stories of the unexplainable get me all riled up and I love it! 

  • Nearly 8 years ago we were planted by 1st Presbyterian Church downtown. 
  • 1st Pres. had people pledge support monetarily to help get the ball rolling and even sent people to help us get a core group together. They even pledged as a church to help pay our mortgage when we purchased our building.
  • Fast forward to 2008 and it’s our first year to be financially independent! 
  • We don’t make budget. 
  • Then we get a letter in the mail from someone who doesn’t attend our church but was one of those people 8 years ago who pledged to help out. The letter stated that at the time he wasn’t able to fulfill the pledge but that he is now, heard we had purchased our building and though we might not need the money for the building, use it as needed. He just felt compelled to complete his pledge. 
  • Enclosed was a check in the neighborhood of $30k. 
  • We made budget 🙂 

Seriously, get real.  

I mean us making budget is cool and all but God moving in the life of a stranger like that is unreal. 8 years later coming through on a pledge like that. Amazing.

God’s timing is better than ours! It helped us out in a time of need, I can’t imagine what it did for the one who sent it. Thank you Jesus.


Sunday Setlist Nov. 16th – Youth Style!

Tonight we had another Youth worship service and it was wicked sweetness!!! Here we go: 

  • Tell the World – Hillsong United
  • We Won’t Be Quiet – David Crowder*Band
  • Never Let Go – Crowder
  • activity to wrap up our Road Signs series
  • Marvelous Light – Charlie Hall
  • How He Loves – John Mark McMillan

Today was just super special in so many ways but for the purpose of this post, I’ll restrict it to these songs 🙂 

I’m beginning to think that not all Youth led worship services require the most boisterous and wild and crazy songs there are. I’m finding we have as much, probably more, on the mid to low tempo songs. I think it’s because we’re in the adult sanctuary and it kind of gobbles us up and it just seems silly to go bananas in there…or I just don’t have alot of wild and crazy students…but I find that hard to believe. 

The special songs of the night were the last 3. 
It was our first time playing Crowder’s Never Let Go but after I intro-ed it, I heard a student go, “HEY! They play this song on KLove!” It was pretty funny. This is a special song for me and most of us here. I heard Crowder wrote this in response to Hurricane Katrina. Well that’s a subject near and dear to our hearts here in Louisiana and I’ve been dying to play this tune. I gave it the feel off the live Remedy Club Tour CD, but picked it on the guitar rather than on the piano.

I’m SO GLAD I don’t play Marvelous Light for the adults and that I do have some semblance of crazy students. They love ‘lifting their hands and spinning around!’ It’s my most favorite thing to do! However, note to anyone leading this song on guitar and spinning around in the process: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS pay attention to where your guitar cable is. Otherwise you come dangerously close to ripping your guitar off your shoulder or wrenching the cable right out of the guitar 🙂  

How He Loves…So much to say about this song that I’m leaving it for another post. It’s beautiful, it fit my ‘hurricane theme’ for the night! HAHAHA. And the students responded. I blew out my voice on “When I think about the waaaaay!” going into the last Chorus but I did NOT CARE! It was crazy awesome. 

I absolutely love doing worship with students. It’s much more raw and it’s so cool to see students trying to figure out how to worship! However, I did realize that I need to approach this with as much diligence as our morning adult services. We’re doing some pretty complicated stuff and I’ve taken for granted the quality of musicianship from my few “adult” musicians that step in. My goal has been a way to engage the students IN and WITH worship. And I’m resting on the crutches of some of the adults for the sake of busyness and laziness on my part. I need to remedy that for next time. 

How was yours? 

Fred’s carnival is already underway! Get involved!


What are you saying?

This morning I was taking the kiddos to Daycare like usual and I had some Tomlin on (see Tomlin fans, I’m not a complete hater!) So, I start singing all crazy like usual and please don’t miss this dialog I had with my 3 year old: 


Chloe: Daddy, what song is that? 

It’s a song by Chris Tomlin. 

No Daddy, what music is that? 

Well…it’s praise and worship music sweetie. 

What’s that? 

It’s music that we sing to God. 

Why? …God’s in heaven. 

Yes, but we love God and sometimes we sing to Him.

You know, Daddy has you and Gavin and..


Yes, and Mommy. And I love you all very much. And I love God very much as well.

Mrs. Pam says “God loves us.”

PAUSE– Mrs. Pam is Chloe’s daycare teacher at school. Not that we don’t have incredible teachers at church and that Chloe doesn’t talk enough about what happens at church and why she loves those teachers but this is the 2nd time that Chloe has said something special like this that she’s learned from her daycare teacher at school. 

So thank you Lord for teachers like Mrs. Pam that care enough about her children to try and impact their lives for Christ. 

Mrs. Pam said that? 


And that’s why we love God too. Because He loves us so much! 

Gavin doesn’t love God. 


He’s too little. 

Well, he’ll love God too when he gets older. Right?

When I was little I sat in his car seat and when he gets to be a big boy he can sit in my car seat.

And you can sit next to Daddy because you’ll be a big girl? 


So, what are you saying? Kids are listening!


Sunday Worship Sept. 14th – Guest Worship

This past weekend was a great time of worship led by some good friends of mine! Here’s what they did: 

  • Prelude – Your Love Oh Lord – Third Day
  • Enough – Jeremy Camp’s version
  • Sing Alleluia – Jennifer Knapp & Mac Powell
  • Mighty to Save – Hillsong
  • Indescribable – Tomlin
  • Post Communion/Close of Service – My Hope is You – Third Day

I noticed three fundamental things sitting out in the congregation this week.

  1.  OUR BAND IS GOOD!! I mean on the surface that sounds like an “anti-worshipful” dig that some might criticize. But I’m just being real here, I really noticed how good the musicians are that I get the incredible opportunity to play with! And let’s be honest here who wants to worship to crappy music?!?! HAHA. This is healthy people! Take some time to get out in front of your team! If they’re good, compliment them. If they’re not, work with them! 
  2. Vocal breadth is wicked awesome! Matt and Alyssa are a husband/wife team who lead worship together and have a friend they typically bring with them. The 3 of them bring this beautiful vocal fullness to the table that is amazing! Matt’s your stable male lead. Alyssa is this wind of freedom who sings like no one else I know. Beth is your typical back up vocalist but when plugged into this trio becomes atypical! The vocal fullness was really respectful and added a feeling that “everyone was singing” and made songs like “Sing Alleluia” and “Mighty to Save” really special!
  3. Key is of the utmost importance!!! Matt played songs that I typically play in keys that I typically play as well and yet by the time the singing was over with, my voice was a little tired! I’m a vocalist! It made me realize that I need to be real conscious about the keys I choose in worship. The female vocalists have warned me about this, but I typically am dropping the keys of the songs we play a whole step already from the recordings. It something that I didn’t cater a whole lot of attention before but will examine much more thorough from now on. 

I’m posting our worship recap today as a part of the “Sunday Setlists” blog carnival hosted at FredMcKinnon.Com. What about you? Link over to this week’s Sunday Setlist and don’t forget to participate in my Hello Love Giveaway where you can win a free copy of Chris Tomlin’s new release Hello Love.


Sunday Setlist – Morning Worship Aug 10th

Fred’s got this great resource and carnival style blog thing happening over at So blog about your Sunday experience, leave your info in Fred’s Mr. Linky and enjoy the fun!

So, I believe this is the 1st Sunday I’ve blogged about where I was NOT the worship leader leading worship 🙂 I was “just the guitar player/back up vocalist” and let me say that it was AWE-SOME! Jill has a totally different style of preference, style of playing, style of leadership, way of approaching the congregation, etc. and for me to be under someone doing worship again is really refreshing! (In case your wondering and missed it. Catch up here.) It was also a great Sunday for me and Gretsch to have some special alone time 🙂 It’s been rare that I’ve actually been able to “play lead” and while this was nothing extravagant in any means, it was a great experience nonetheless.

So, the songs:

  1. Prelude – Awesome video set to Let Everything That Has Breath (not the familiar one though) a version with the girl from Sixpence and the dude from Jars singing.
  2. Lord Most High – Shane Everettish
  3. Sing the Mighty Power of God – Grace Presbyterian Version
  4. All Creatures of Our God and King 1/2 – hymnlike with a hint of Crowder 🙂
  5. Offering Psalm 19
  6. Indescribable – Tomlin
  7. Creation’s King – Paul Baloche

My feelings:

  • Lord Most High – repeaty song that works well. It’s a bit low for the guys but very singable. We had a “Small Vocal Ensemble” this week that Jill worked with us beforehand and I believe that lended itself greatly to this week’s feeling of the congregation really sounding like they were singing! Good size too, there was another guy singing with me and 3 other ladies singing with Jill. Beforehand, I would have told you that I hated the idea of a SVE. I’m not sure hatred is the right term anymore. It’s not my thing but it totally worked and…dare I say it…I think I…maybe just a little…liked it.
  • Sing the Mighty Power of God – Jill’s introduced a bunch of “new songs.” It’s funny to say that because not too many of them have been “new” but they’re songs that I’d never done at River. This one has been a favorite of mine. It’s a hymn revamp with this great fresh lil chorus in it! Again, the SVE really lent itself here.
  • All Creatures 1/2 – LEAD LICK! Here’s the thing. I don’t know how to play the guitar. Jill wanted me to play the opening riff of the melody line and I pick things out using the same string and slide around on it (I think it sounds cool and don’t know any better.) The band taught me the “correct way” to play it using a scale and I botched it up on Sunday morning. “Botched it” in the sense that probably the only ones who knew were the musicians. However, this is what I love about what I’m doing now. I can stretch my guitar playing and actually learn how to play!
  • Psalm 19 – Incredibly pretty duet with me and Jill and Larry on the mandolin! What a sermon lead in should do! Set up the sermon and it nailed it musically and lyrically!
  • Indescribable – We played it a bit slow for me and slightly different tags so I couldn’t do the lil riff 😦
  • Creation’s King – This is a NEW song Jill has introduced and it’s a good one. Paul Baloche and Chris Tomlin have the insane knack for writing singable songs. This was one and it was fun to play! Little riffs here and there and fun harmony lines to sing! I think the congregation caught on.

Overall: it was a great morning! I’m not sure how ending with a new song went over. That’s a big “No-no” in my book so I’m curious to see how things were perceived. I’m finding for myself worshipping again while playing! I think those last month of leading youth, leading worship, new baby and all just made it difficult to break out of “playing” mentally and let go and worship on Sunday mornings. It was much easier to do that yesterday and it was great!

One thing that I’m glad isn’t my job to tackle anymore that we need to address that you could possibly help out in: what do you do with “bad musicians?” Jill has been great in opening up the community and bringing in new musicians and singers but now she’s faced with the tough decision of what to do when the excellence of the morning suffers because now you’ve got a wide spread of talent and not all of them are where the rest of the team is?


VIDEOconfessional of The Worship Debacle of May 18th

I was so excited about this past Sunday, I’ve honestly been excited about the past few Sundays but not all have turned out the way they were intended. This Sunday is a GREAT example of that so why not open it up here: The Worship Debacle of May 18th! Below you’ll find some live video with text commentary from Sunday.

Here is a montage of the 1st 2 songs of the 2nd service, check it out:


  • Great contemplative prelude video
  • Good moody swelling songs for worship
  • Great offering video by Amena Brown
  • Life-changing message
  • Incredible closer: Mission’s Flame by Matt Redman


  • Great contemplative prelude failed. Probably the least successful prelude we’ve done in a while. While those already in the sanctuary probably totally dug it, it did not get people in from the Gathering Area.
  • Worship songs troubled by key player getting to practice late coupled with the bass player missing the 1st song during the 2nd service. So for the 2nd service I was totally not worshipping! In fact I started praying during Be Thou My Vision: Lord please allow worship to happen despite me because I am just not having it! Then I was convicted that I should be having it to which I argued: Tough I am just not having it!
  • Amena Brown was incredible. Message was good. Mission’s Flame was awesome! However, Amena Brown + Message + Mission’s Flame = Incoherent goop. Unfortunately, we did not do our duty to thoroughly examine these elements and with poor planning gave poor execution and an service that did not flow. However, I wonder who actually really could tell? I’m sure they didn’t see the awful disconnect but I always wonder if its the difference in people leaving going: “WOW” versus people leaving going: “Hmm.”


We just completed practice for Easter Sunday. I think that is the response I’m going to get this Sunday. It’ll be said behind smiling faces as well as grimacing faces. I’m really confused and my head is telling me I just ruined Easter at River but my heart is telling me this is going to be the best Easter ever! (You should know I’ve only ever done 2 other Easters in the history of me being a worship leader so “best ever” is kind of relative.) Here’s what is going down:

  • Happy Day – Tim Hughes: slammin’, rockin’, awesome
  • Joyful, joyful we adore Thee – DC*B arranged, Charlie Hall performed: we’ve done this one many times already but it again is pretty slammin’
  • In Christ Alone – Matt Papa’s version: incredible tune and very dynamic but ends…you guessed it: slammin’
  • You’re Beautiful – Phil Wickham: gorgeous song and again is very dynamic but for the most part is pretty mellow-ish
  • Wonderful Cross – Robbie Seay’s version: verses are small and choruses are big. Some would probably use the word “slammin'”
  • Amena Brown Resurrection video – Definitely current, modern, new and fresh.
  • Christ the Lord is Risen Today – Conner Byrd’s interpretation thanks to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs drummer: exactly the same melody everyone is familiar with but with a cool stutter drum beat. Some would probably use the word “rockin.'” I wouldn’t but it’s definitely a bit more in your face with the presence of the drums.

So my brain says:

  • Geez Conner can’t you leave anything well enough alone? Why do you have to screw up the golden oldies? Why can’t you just leave them the way they are. Everyone who likes those songs likes them the way they were and now you’ve just meddled with greatness. Thanks for ruining Easter!

But my heart says:

  • Man this is soo great! Look, we’re doing 3 hymns this weekend and if hymns were done this way when I was growing up maybe I’d be more into hymns! What a great collaboration of the old and the new! Those 2x a year attenders are going to eat this stuff up! I can’t wait for Easter!

Then my brain reminds me:

  • What a dumb setlist! The chord progressions for You’re Beautiful and Wonderful Cross are EXACTLY THE SAME! The tinkering in Happy Day and Wonderful Cross are basically THE SAME! The shuffle beat you love happens in 2 songs! Geez what a bland and boring service this is going to be!


  • Oh man that cool little tinkering guitar tone is sprinkled everywhere! Awesome! This version of Wonderful Cross is new and is going to spark new interest in a song we’ve done time and time again! Awesome! Christ the Lord is Risen… it like a new song! AWESOME! We’ve got the best of both worlds! AWE-SOME!

Somewhere inside me I don’t know if I’ve just created the service I wanted so badly or the one that River wants? I mean I know I’m the Worship Leader but I think this is what makes it so difficult because I do know that there are people in our congregation who will totally think I ruined Easter. They’ll probably assume I’m being self-indulgent and selfish and this is my way of tossing up the middle finger on my way out as Worship Leader. The crazy thing is that the worship planning team told me that Joyful, You’re Beautiful, and Happy Day were green lights! They asked me to try and do Christ the Lord is Risen… even after I told them it wouldn’t be traditional and led on the keys. At this point however, I don’t know what else to do. Tomorrow is Thursday and Easter is 3 days away. I’ve worked really hard already on all this stuff that to toss one would be painful…ugh…

Is this how Holy Week goes for everybody else?


Get Delirious?!?!

I’m going to be labeled a heretic here but here goes: I’ve never been all that into Delirious. I mean there was such hype and love always around them, I never totally got it. I loved loved loved what was it? Live and in the Can? And then there was Cutting Edge. And after that, I either loved a song or found them…boring. I don’t know they didn’t capture me. Not that I don’t appreciate and respect and have mad props for what they’ve done in the Praise & Worship realm, it just wasn’t enough to buy all the CDs and be a huge supporter.

Then came Now is the Time: Live at WillowCreek. It was a CD+DVD combo and I’m a total sucker for those! I got it real quickly after it came out, played it a few times and got bored and its been riding around in my center console now for months. Probably b/c I was tired of the 3 United CDs, the Almost, Donald Miller, and Francis Chan, and b/c my iPod battery was dead I rummaged through my console, found that CD and popped it in.

OH…DEAR…LORD…blow away was the only thing I can say! I mean the 1st 5 tracks are retarded! They’re insane! The voicings and blend of the ethereal keys and wicked killer guitar tones are sick! The DVD is even more satisfying! These cats are stellar! That’s the only way to put it! I’m a huge fan now and am trying to figure out which of the 1st 4 tunes we’ll do 1st at our next Youth Service! There’s a quality here to me in this CD that most bands these days miss out. It’s this simplistic approach to everything having it’s place. Every instrument not having to play at 11 the entire song or at 2. There are parts w/o guitar and such and the emphasis it has when it does come in is nasty, it’s how good it is!

So, I’m Delirious?! What about you?

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