Posts by David L. Ward

» The Priesthood of All Believers

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A sermon preached at Trinity Baptist Church in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant reformation.

» Hymns for the Weary Now Available on iTunes

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Our new album, Hymns for the Weary, is now available in the iTunes music store. If you've already listened to the album, please add a rating or review, otherwise feel free to pick up a digital copy from iTunes or from our own store.

The album is also now available at the Music Store

» Hymns for the Weary

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Hymns for the Weary by Thousand Tongues, Released August 2014

Solo piano arrangements of traditional hymns
By David L. Ward

Hymns for the Weary by Thousand TonguesOrder at Bandcamp
Tracks1. Holy, Holy, Holy
2. Great Is Thy Faithfulness
3. Be Thou My Vision
4. Fairest Lord Jesus
5. Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
6. Take My Life and Let it Be
7. Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross
8. Be Still, My Soul
9. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
10. Grace Greater than Our Sin
11. The Solid Rock
12. Amazing Grace
13. I Need Thee Every Hour
14. Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me
15. Man of Sorrows
16. How Great Thou Art
17. I Surrender All
18. It Is Well
19. Improvisatory Interlude
20. O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
21. The Church's One Foundation
22. Jesus Paid It All
23. This Is My Father's World
24. Have Thine Own Way, Lord
25. Day by Day
26. Abide with Me
27. May the Mind of Christ, My Savior
28. How Great Thou Art (Jazz)
29. Amazing Grace (Jazz)

I have been playing the piano as an accompanist to Christian congregational singing for over twenty years. When I first started, my skills and sensibilities were only in the "contemporary" vein, playing simple chords behind more popular and modern tunes. But as... (continue reading...)

» Nepali Worship Missions Trip - Support Needed

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Friends of Thousand Tongues, I (David) have an exciting missions and ministry opportunity to share with you, and for which to ask for your help/support.

This fall, I will have the privilege of traveling to Nepal to serve an organization called Wycliffe Bible Translators. If you're not familiar with this organization, it was founded in 1942 with the goal of translating the Bible into every language. Along with its primary mission of translation, it often performs various other religious and humanitarian functions such as helping to lead or found churches, preaching or teaching among remote people-groups, hosting conferences, or serving the poor and needy in various ways.

Why do I want to go?
Short answer - I'm convinced that God wants me to. Long answer - I've known a Wycliffe translator in Nepal and had the desire to visit and help him for years. I even offered to plan and lead a trip from my former church so that I could go a few years ago, but it wasn't the right time. Amazingly, a fully planned trip to Nepal was just dropped in my lap this year! Additionally, the required... (continue reading...)

» Songs for the Book of Luke Wins #1 Indie Worship Album

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We're happy to share that Songs for the Book of Luke, the project which features our song Not in Me, was selected by Worship Leader Magazine as the #1 independent worship album of 2013. You can read the magazine page by clicking on the image below:

» Thanksgiving Hymn

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I'd like to call your attention once again to a hymn text that we wrote for singing before meals. It is the perfect song to sing at Thanksgiving and could be a great way to give testimony before your extended family of your faith in Jesus as the Living Bread. If you aren't familiar with the hymn tune it may seem strange at first, but I promise that it can be learned by even very small children. The traditional lyrics for this tune are "Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven"

Heav'nly Father, Grant Your Blessing

Heav’nly Father, grant Your blessing
On the food before us spread.
All our tongues are now confessing:
By Your hand alone we’re fed.
Never let us be forgetting:
Jesus is our Living Bread.

» Live Music at the Carpe Cafe in Nashville

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David will be playing at the Carpe Cafe in Smyrna, TN on Saturday Nov 2nd from 7-9pm. Please come on out and support this small, locally owned coffee shop that exists as a ministry to connect Christian artists with the local community. He will be playing a mix of songs but mostly songs from the new album and songs written in the past year or so.

» Do Not Fear Now Available on iTunes

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Our new album, Do Not Fear, is now available in the iTunes music store. If you've already listened to the album, please add a rating or review, otherwise feel free to pick up a digital copy from iTunes or from our own store. It will be another week before we have the physical CDs in hand.

The album is also now available at the Music Store

» Our New Album Do Not Fear

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We're excited to announce that our new album Do Not Fear is finally available digitally and in a few weeks physically as well. Those who have supported us on this latest sonic journey know some of the obstacles that we faced getting this completed, including David's move to Nashville and career shuffle. We are hopeful that this album will provide arrangements and presentation of songs that will serve the church in public and private worship. Most of the arrangements are sparse, which resonates with my vision to serve smaller and often musically under-served congregations. Please spread the word and support this project and our ministry.

» Do Not Fear

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Do Not Fear by Thousand Tongues, Released October 2013

Do Not Fear by Thousand TonguesOrder at Bandcamp
Tracks1. You Are My Righteousness - An acoustic pop arrangement full of the joy of basking in the righteousness of Jesus.
2. My Precious Savior Gave His All - This 12-string guitar driven arrangement with some sparse pedal steel accents serves the lyrics well.
3. Do Not Fear - An electric guitar driven rock arrangement that could easily be the most powerful track on the album.
4. He Alone Is God - This up-tempo song is served up with an acoustic guitar and mandolin duet.
5. I Have a Dad - A solo piano/vocal presentation of this beautiful hymn.
6. Rain - A toe-tapping Americana setting of this song about the Holy Spirit that is sure to engage the body as well as the heart.
7. I'll Never Forsake You - An acoustic rock arrangement of our popular song
8. Come Down - In stark contrast to Ralph Vaugn Williams' traditional choral setting, this song puts a blues twist on the historic text "Come Down, O Love Divine"
9. Uncondemned - A strong acoustic guitar driven presentation of this conversion story... (continue reading...)

» Not in Me Additional Press

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We're happy to share that Not in Me is getting a fair amount of press. The Gospel Coalition (the organization that recorded the song) has recommended the song for congregational use at their blog. Here's an excerpt:
We have a lot of repenting Pharisees at my church, including me, which is why we enjoy singing “Not In Me” as we worship God. In fact, our band recently led this hymn at Sovereign Grace’s Worship God East conference. Although the song might have been new to many attendees, the crowd enthusiastically sang this modern hymn.
Our friends at Sovereign Grace music mentioned that they used the song at a conference a few weeks ago. It was also mentioned on the post about their new album, Grace Has Come.
I thank God that a lot of great songs for congregational worship have been written recently, like Not in Me and Man of Sorrows. More people are trying to write songs that are theologically driven, gospel aware, fresh, and singable.

» Not In Me Featured in Worship Leader Magazine

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We were honored to find that Worship Leader Magazine published a review for The Gospel Coalition's Songs for the Book of Luke project in which they mentioned our song Not In Me in particular.
"Not in Me" is a definite standout track and ready for you to bring into your service of worship. Solid biblical faithfulness creates solid sung theology.
You can check out their review here.

» 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.

» There Is No Sin Music Video

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In 2011 we created a music video for our popular song There Is No Sin That I Have Done. You can read about why we created the video here. In 2012, we created a special DVD that presents this video and includes all of the audio tracks from Merciful to Me. This would make a great gift and is a way to share the ministry of Thousand Tongues with others in a unique way.

To purchase, navigate to the Merciful to Me Bandcamp page and scroll down until you see "There Is No Sin That I Have Done Music Video" on the left-hand side. By purchasing the DVD, you'll also get immediate access to the entire digital album.

Purchase at Bandcamp

» 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...)

» 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...)

» The Story Behind the Music Video

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The music video for There Is No Sin That I Have Done has been out for a couple of weeks now, and I'd like to share the story behind it. If you had asked me whether I'd ever make a music video as part of Reformed Praise a couple of years ago, I would have laughed, and laughed hard. I'm not naturally a great performing singer and could never have envisioned myself on screen in a production anything like you'd see on music television. Besides, I write worship songs – songs intended for congregations to sing – a genre whose songs are normally accompanied by music videos, unless they are of a live performance in a worship setting (like Hillsongs videos).

A friend and fellow member of my local church runs a music and video production studio, but I wasn't able to work with him on our last album, Merciful to Me. After the album was finished, I was approached by another member of our church, who asked me if I had any work I could give to the studio. Since I didn't have any music recording projects lined up, I couldn't... (continue reading...)

» There Is No Sin That I Have Done - Official Music Video

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We're thrilled to share the official music video for our song There Is No Sin That I Have Done on the album Merciful to Me. Special thanks goes to Terrell Ferguson at 121 Studios for directing the film. We'll share more about how this video came to be later, but for now the video alone will have to suffice. May God be glorified as people experience this song in a new way through the amazing medium of video.

» Responding to Judgment Day Predictions

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In the mid 1990s I used to periodically listen to a radio station in New Jersey founded by Harold Camping called Family Radio. Once I started hearing Camping teach about the Bible and learned of his failed predication that Jesus would return in 1994, I lost interest in listening. This same group has garnered a huge amount of publicity in the past few weeks, making the national media spotlight with Camping's prediction that the new day of judgment was today, May 21st, 2011.

While much biblical prophecy about the end of the world is clouded by culturally removed symbolism, all evangelical, "Bible-believing" Christians agree that Judgment Day is real. As Jesus said in Mark 13:32, "concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." The world will be destroyed and re-made, but not even Jesus knows the specific time of His return. Amazingly, Harold Camping thinks that he has come to understand the living Word of God better than the Word Himself (Jesus is called the "Word" in John chapter 1).

Predictions of a judgment day have been... (continue reading...)

» Worship Values: Worship Must Be Congregationally Oriented

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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? Sixth: Congregationally Oriented

Gathered Worship
I like to call public worship "gathered worship" to emphasize several things including this very value. God commands that we worship Him in several spheres of our lives - in private, in our families, and with our local churches. I'll write more on these spheres next time in our seventh and last worship value. It is certainly true that worship is for God, and in an overarching sense, directed to God; after all, we are to worship God, not anything or anyone else. But at the same time, God wants our gathered worship to be edifying to the church. He has designed the church's public gatherings as a time when the entire church can participate, utilize their spiritual gifts, and be edified. Look... (continue reading...)

» A Personal Tribute to Chip Stam

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While there have been several fitting tributes to Chip Stam shared in the past week (Ware and Schreiner, Pierre, SBTS), I would like to share a more personal tribute and explain how Chip and I got to know each other and what he meant to me.

My first memories of "Chip" (Carl) Stam date back to the early 1990s when I was a high school student in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I became a Christian at the age of twelve and within a few years joined a church on my own called the Chapel Hill Bible Church. I was very involved in the youth group and worshiped there just about every Sunday. I remember pastor Jim Abrahamson preaching verse by verse through the book of Romans and Chip's ever-smiling face as he strummed his guitar and led the music on Sundays.

Chip had a flourishing music program which included both a choir and small ensemble with woodwind instruments and a rhythm section. The church used a variety of songs, the majority being the so-called "praise choruses" from that period including many songs by Graham Kendrick. This was the musical language of my... (continue reading...)

» Worship Values: Worship Must Be Culturally Accessible

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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? Fifth: Culturally Accessible

This might be the most controversial value because of the various positions theologians have taken regarding the Church's relationship to culture. Culture can be simply defined as the customs, values, and social forms, of a particular group of people. This includes both physical and body language, social customs such as how people express affection, and what drives, to some extent, aesthetics in areas like music, art, and architecture. We could also use the word "style" to represent what we are getting at by using the word culture. Mankind is made up of many cultures, even sub-cultures. Because of modern society's amazing ability to communicate (in various forms), travel, and trade, people associate around shared styles even within geographic areas. In fact, in developed countries, one... (continue reading...)

» Gospel Coalition Conference

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I'll be attending the Gospel Coalition conference in Chicago this week where there will be three concerts of worship music given by fellow songwriters and artists who share a love for old hymns and theologically rich worship music. If you are going to be attending the conference this week and know about Reformed Praise, I'd love to meet you; just contact me through the website or just leave comment on this post (they are moderated, so if you pass me your phone number I'll make sure the comment doesn't get posted)

On Tuesday, April 12 at 9 PM several artists from the Indelible Grace Music, Sojourn Music, and Bifrost Arts will put on a concert of old/new hymns.

On Wednesday, April 13 at 9 PM Keith and Kristyn Getty will share their music

On Thursday, April 14 at 8 PM several Christian hip-hop artists will share a concert titled "We Are Unashamed"

The full schedule is available here

» Christianity Today - Focus on Worship

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The March 2011 issue of Christianity Today features several articles about worship and congregational singing. Allow me to draw your attention to two notable resources.

First, John Koessler's article titled "The Trajectory of Worship" follows the writer's personal journey through decades of worship music changes to the place where he finds himself today, a self-titled curmudgeon, struggling with his personal distaste for much of the music used in public worship. After admitting his struggle, he offers this insight which I find to be rife with humility and wisdom:
Like most churchgoers, I tend to view worship as something that moves from earth to heaven. We think of worship as something that originates with us, our gift to God. Perhaps this is why so many of us are conflicted about it. We consider worship to be an expression of our personal devotion. So when the musical style or some expression gets in the way, we don't feel like it is our worship at all. It is someone else's idea of worship. Perhaps the worship leader's or that of the majority. But not our own. - p.20
He then goes on... (continue reading...)

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