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» The Heart of Worship

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A sermon that I was privileged to share with my former home church, Redeemer Bible Church.

The Heart of Worship
John 4:1-41

On my final Sunday on staff at Redeemer I've been given the privilege of leading you in worship in a different way than I normally do – by preaching from the Word of God. Your pastors have graciously allowed me to let this kind of worship leadership be my last. I asked to preach for several reasons. First, I wanted to try and summarize what worship is all about, what I have been doing for the past 8 years, and what my biblical vision was and is for you as a church as worshipers. While planning and leading the service is a teaching ministry, it doesn't give me the opportunity to go into such detail or to interact with biblical texts with depth. Second, I wanted to present this teaching on the heart of worship as a kind of charge – a charge to remember what worship is supposed to be and to stick closely to what God says about it. While there are thousands of... (continue reading...)

» The Expiation of Jesus Christ

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A sermon that I was privileged to share with my former home church, Redeemer Bible Church. This sermon was also aired on national radio in April, 2013 on Wretched Radio.

The Expiation of Jesus ChristLeviticus 16:20-22

What do you think of when you hear the word scapegoat? Maybe you think of sports, where the term is used with some regularity. One of the most famous sports scapegoats was Gary Anderson, one of the best kickers in NFL history. In 1998 as a Minnesota Viking, he became the first player to ever have a perfect field goal record for the season. But at the NFC Championship game he missed an easy one, leading to overtime and a sudden death loss to the Falcons. The term may also remind you of great literature, like the novel the Scarlet Letter, where a woman named Hester is forced to wear the letter "A" on her clothes, marking and shaming her before the community as an adulterer while the father of her child remained anonymous yet eaten alive with guilt. We even make light of the term in humor; you can buy... (continue reading...)

» David Moves to Nashville

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I'm happy to share with Thousand Tongues followers that I (David) moved down to the Nashville area in June 2013 to allow me to focus on one of the aspects of my calling that God has made abundantly clear - songwriting. There is a very long story behind how I discerned that the Lord was stirring me, my family, and my local church, to prepare us all for the transition, but that story doesn't belong on a public news page.

Songwriting is a funny thing in that it's hard to quantify the various components into what might look like a "normal" job. I know that I am called to write songs primarily for the church, and to do what I can to get those songs (and others like them) INTO the church. That's how Nashville fits in; over the past couple of years I have had a chance to visit here several times, and know a few songwriters here already. There are myriads of artists (who could perform/release Thousand Tongues songs), publishers, arrangers, producers, engineers, studio musicians, etc. - a centralized location for songwriting and a hub of songwriting energy. What's more, I've... (continue reading...)

» Talk of God

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In May 2013, The Fuller Seminary Brehm Center for Worship hosted a conference titled "Talk of God, Talk of Science." Before the conference began, the Fred Bock Institute of Music sponsored a contest to find a new congregational song that captured the intersection of God and science. In the providence of God, David took a trip a few months before the contest was created to Canada to explore the Canadian Rockies and wrestled almost the entire trip with science, faith, and their intersection in his own family history. One product of that wrestling was the song The Majesty, which David submitted to the contest. To our surprise, we were one of two winners, and are honored that the Brehm Center would consider our song for their conference.

In contrast to the emphasis many conservative evangelicals place on certainty when studying ancient history, the song emphasizes mystery and awe. Rather than state conclusions, the song simply states observations about this world that remind us of how little we know of the mind of God in creating this world.

» 2012 COS New Psalm Contest

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We are honored to announce that David L. Ward has won the 2012 Church of the Servant New Psalm contest. This contest was sponsored by Church of the Servant CRC in Grand Rapids, MI. David will be with COS on January 27th, 2013 to debut his hymn "God of the Ages." Here is the contest press release:

David L. Ward wins the 2012 COS New Psalm Contest!
Church of the Servant is pleased to announce that David L. Ward’s setting of Psalm 90, "God of the Ages," has won the 2012 COS New Psalm Contest.

Our judges received 78 submissions this year, and there were many we would have been proud to present as the winner. But even among such strong possibilities, David Ward’s song rose to the top. The melody is exquisitely crafted, with the lines rising, falling and stretching toward their peak on the text “and mountains rose up.” The pacing is perfect—never rushed and never losing energy. The lyrics preach the Psalm text through New Testament eyes using fresh imagery that feels timeless. An added bonus for our church is that the song’s music style straddles the contemporary and traditional in... (continue reading...)

» Introducing Our New Name - Thousand Tongues

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You may have noticed that we've been pretty quiet for the past 9 months or so. Part of the reason for that is a very busy season of building transitions at my (David's) home church. But another reason for this organizational sluggishness is that we are in the midst of our own transition. Some major changes have been happening to Reformed Praise behinds the scenes, and it's time to let you in on them.

First, we have become incorporated and are in the process of getting official non-profit status (501c3). The corporate structure helps us prepare for future growth with better accountability, and the non-profit status allows us to accept donations that are tax-deductible, including physical gifts. We have a board (the identities of which we will share in the coming months) and are excited to have more gifted leaders helping make decisions about our future.

Second, we have decided to change our name from Reformed Praise to Thousand Tongues (you can see the new logo at that link). Since we were in the process of a major structural change, the time seemed right to evaluate whether our name effectively summarized... (continue reading...)

» Nominate "There Is No Sin" for LifeWay Worship's March Promotion

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LifeWay Worship is doing their "March Madness" promotion again. Last year, with your help, our song "There is No Sin That I Have Done" was seeded second.

We've been encouraged by the response to the music video we released last fall. And, we'd love to see more people hear the truths of the Gospel presented in this song. We pray those trapped in guilt and condemnation would hear and revel in the glorious grace given to us in Jesus.

To that end, would you consider nominating for "There is No Sin That I Have Done" and then sharing this with your friends? You can submit your nomination here.

» Song for Martin Guitars’ Competition

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We don't often post songs that aren't directly related to Christian worship (though if understood broadly, any song can be a "worship song"), but this time we're going to share a song and ask for your help. A friend tipped me off to a songwriting contest that Martin Guitars is having this month, and though I managed to write a song and submit it the same day I found out about it, there's not much time left for voting. The idea of the contest was to write a 2-3m song with the word "lifespan" in it and post a recording (with guitar) to YouTube. I decided to write a blues song based on Psalm 90 and some themes in Ecclesiastes in order to share bits of the gospel to whomever happens upon this song whether through Martin's website or just through YouTube. While it's certainly not as overt about the gospel as the songs you might find here that are geared towards public worship, I'm still trying to bear witness to Jesus in the world of singer-songwriters.

Vote for the song here:

Please consider voting for the song. If... (continue reading...)

» Songs for Christmas

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Christmas is upon us yet again, and though most of our service planning is probably finished, I'd like to point out a few of our songs that relate to the incarnation of Jesus.

The song When Adam By Transgression Fell was written to accompany a Scripture reading from Genesis 3 about the fall of man into sin. The Anglican liturgy of Lessons and Carols includes this reading at Christmas

Last Christmas Eric Schumacher, Jeff Bourque, and I collaborated to write a new tune (and some new lyrics) to Eric's already existing Christmas hymn How Beautiful the Mystery. Here's the new tune, and here's the original hymn text.

I wrote the song My Precious Savior Gave His All a few years ago to describe what Jesus gave in order to redeem His people from their sins. The first verse refers to the incarnation when it says "He left His majesty behind- The King became a slave!"

This is a much older song, in fact, one of my first hymn re-writes: The Everlasting Lord. The text is by Charles Wesley and features the verse "Equal He with God most high, mild, He laid His... (continue reading...)

» Worship Values: Worship Is Meant to Be Experienced in All of Life

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[ We've been working on rewriting our mission and also creating a series of "values" about worship that will communicate our vision for what worship should be all about. While those aren't completely finalized, I think it will be helpful to share some thoughts about each value in a series of short posts. ]

What kind of worship do we want to cultivate? Seventh: All-of-Life

Most of us use the word worship far too narrowly. We normally attend a "worship" service on Sunday mornings, and may even refer to the music and singing part of the service as "the worship." While worship certainly takes place during the Sunday morning gathering and during our songs, surprisingly, the New Testament does not use the word in connection with public services. Rather, worship is defined as what is happening on the inside which works itself outwards. Consider Romans 12:1-2, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that... (continue reading...)

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