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» E-Interview About Reformed Praise

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An Internet acquaintance asked me to do an email interview about Reformed Praise and music ministry at Redeemer Bible Church. In the interview I shared about some of the spiritual struggles I face as an artist, songwriter, and regular "performer" (though not in the typical sense). I'm grateful for the chance to put God's grace on display - it's amazing that He uses sinners like me to spread the gospel and impact lives for eternity.

» Hymns on God's Attributes Work Day

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Just a quick note to let you know that Eric and I are working together all day tomorrow and hope to finish all 15 three stanza hymns on God's attributes, as outlined in our original project post. We would appreciate your prayers for a productive and enjoyable time and that we be filled with the Spirit as we "speak to one another" in hymns. Please also pray for wisdom in what to do with the hymns; whether to seek publication with a major publisher; self-publish a physical book, or simply post them like our other works directly on Reformed Praise.

UPDATE: We finished our work day with four more hymns under our belt (not the 10 we were hoping for!) and were again blessed to spend so many hours pondering the mysteries of God's character and how they were so clearly demonstrated at the cross. This is perhaps my favorite stanza from our time, the second (gospel) stanza from The Lord Is Righteous:
The Lord has shown Himself as both the Just and Justifier
When Jesus died to satisfy what Justice did require.
The spotless Lamb was slain for guilty sinners' gain;
Through faith the... (continue reading...)

» Reviving the Hymns Seminar

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The audio recording of my seminar from the 2009 Sovereign Grace worship conference is now available. I'm also making my notes available directly in this post (formatting may be hard to read) and as a PDF attachment (see the right-hand column).

David Ward

I. Introduction
A. Hymnals – a fading icon of church music?
B. Who I am and why I love hymns
C. Today’s goal – that all those who attend will gain a better understanding and appreciation for the depth and power of hymns and will grow in their desire to use and promote them in their local churches
II. What Is a “Hymn?”
A. Dictionary Definition – the OED defines it as any religious song of praise, especially a Christian song in praise of God. By that definition all of our worship songs are "hymns."
B. Common Usage
1. A "hymn" typically refers to a strophic song of praise to God with a common meter set to a non-syncopated tune
2. The phrase “traditional hymn” is sometimes used to denote a song with traditional music that is at least one hundred years old.
(continue reading...)

» A Sermon on "Be Still My Soul"

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From our hymn-memory project, here is my sermon on our latest hymn:

Be Still, My Soul: Resting in the Sufficiency of Christ

» Sermons Examining Corporate Worship

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In preparation for the TBC Music Ministry Leadership Conference, I began a series of sermons that I've come to title "What Are We Doing Here? Examining Corporate Worship." So far, they have covered:

Why Your Congregation Should Have a Worship War (Every Sunday): The Indispensability of Corporate Worship

Bring the Book! The Primacy of Preaching in Corporate Worship

Singing Songs that Teach: The Role of Song in Corporate Worship

Teaching Songs that Teach: Teaching God's People How to Think and Sing

In the weeks to come, I plan to teach two additional sermons on the role of The Ordinances (Lord's Supper & Baptism) and the role of Public Scripture Reading & Public Prayer.

I've posted the manuscripts from my addresses at the conference. The audio from my sermons at church are also available. I've collected the links here.

» TBC Music Ministry Leadership Conference

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I'm praying for David as he teaches a session this week at the WorshipGod09 conference.

As he teaches, I'm finishing up preparations to teach at a conference next week. I'll be leading four breakout sessions for the "Senior Pastor and Worship Pastor Track" at the Tennessee Baptist Convention's Music Ministry Leadership Conference, August 13-14 in Brentwood. I'm excited to get to learn from speaker David King (pastor, Concord Baptist Church) and Keith and Kristyn Getty, not to mention getting to hear the Tennessee Ladies' Chorus and Tennessee Men's Chorale.

My four session titles are:

1) Why Your Congregation Should Have a Worship War (Every Sunday): The Indispensability of Corporate Worship
2) Bring the Book: The Primacy of Preaching in Corporate Worship
3) Singing Songs that Teach: The Role of Song in Corporate Worship
4) Teaching Songs that Teach: Teaching God's People How to Think and Sing

If you can attend, I'd love to meet you. I'd appreciate your prayers for myself and those who attend.

» Update on our God's Attributes Project

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If you follow our blog, you know that last week Eric and I carved out some time to work on our Hymns on God's Attributes project. We had a very enjoyable time together catching up with our lives and ministries. Both of us were tempted to postpone the trip because of the number of responsibilities on our plates right now, but we decided to persevere and trust the Lord, asking Him to help us manage our anxieties by casting them on Him. We're glad we decided to stick with it, for we not only enjoyed spending many hours plumbing the depths of God's character and how it was revealed at Calvary and works its ways into our lives, but we also had a productive time. We finished (that's a relative term) 12 stanzas, or 4 hymns. I thought you might be encouraged to read one of the texts. Remember, this is to the tune of "A Mighty Fortress"
The Lord is Holy
The Lord is holy, free from sin, unmatched in all his glory.
Before His throne angelic ones cry "Holy, Holy, Holy."
His holiness does fill His being, works, and will.
No... (continue reading...)

» Happy Birthday, John Newton!

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Thanks to JT for reminding us that today is John Newton's birthday.

Here are a couple sermons that David and I preached through Newton texts:

A Sermon on the Hymn “Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder” (David)

Amazing Grace: Faith's Review and Expectation (Eric)

» Working Retreat: Hymns on God's Attributes

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I just wanted to let you know that Eric and I are going to be working on this project for the next couple of days. Please pray for safe travel, an enjoyable time of fellowship together, and for productivity with our writing. We are really excited about this project as we feel that is needed and timely.

Here's a snippit from the original project post:
Project: Hymns on God’s Attributes
Description: A series of hymn stanzas, set to a popular and well-known tune, that teach on each attribute of God, show us how it relates to the gospel, and includes personal applications.

» A Sermon on "A Mighty Fortress is Our God"

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The audio from my July 5 sermon on Psalm 46 and Luther's hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" is now available as a download.

It is titled "A Mighty Fortress is Our God: Resting in the Presence and Promise of Christ."

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