Behind-the-Scenes Scripture for DAVID

Do you like behind the scenes info?  If you want to know where the basis for DAVID came from, here is a basic outline of the cuts I made with the references.  This is all in the NIV.  What I’ve done is create a paraphrase based on a public-domain version of the Bible, but this will give you an idea of the story I am following and the connections I’m trying to make!

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake…
-Psalm 23:1-3

…The Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.  But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him. –1 Samuel 16:13b-14

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
-Psalm 23:4

The Philistine [Goliath], with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”

45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. -1 Samuel 16:41-48

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell
[a] in the house of the Lord
-Psalm 23:5-6

49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.

50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.-1 Samuel 16:49-50

When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. As they danced, they sang:

“Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands.”

Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.

10 The next day an evil[a] spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand 11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.-1 Samuel 18:1-11

Psalm 7:1-2, 10, 17

Of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning…a Benjamite.

Lord my God, I take refuge in you;
save and deliver me from all who pursue me,
or they will tear me apart like a lion
and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.

…My shield[d] is God Most High,
who saves the upright in heart.

…I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.

But an evil[a] spirit from the Lord came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the lyre, 10 Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.

11 Saul sent men to David’s house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t run for your life tonight, tomorrow you’ll be killed.” 12 So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped. 13 Then Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats’ hair at the head.

14 When Saul sent the men to capture David, Michal said, “He is ill.”

15 Then Saul sent the men back to see David and told them, “Bring him up to me in his bed so that I may kill him.” 16 But when the men entered, there was the idol in the bed, and at the head was some goats’ hair.

17 Saul said to Michal, “Why did you deceive me like this and send my enemy away so that he escaped?”

Michal told him, “He said to me, ‘Let me get away. Why should I kill you?’”

18 When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him.-1 Samuel 19:9-18 

Psalm 59:1-4

Of David. When Saul had sent men to watch David’s house in order to kill him.

Deliver me from my enemies, O God;
be my fortress against those who are attacking me.
Deliver me from evildoers
and save me from those who are after my blood.

See how they lie in wait for me!
Fierce men conspire against me
for no offense or sin of mine, Lord.
I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me.
Arise to help me; look on my plight!

That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances:

“‘Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands’?”

12 David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13 So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.

14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? 15 Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”-1 Samuel 21:10-15

 Psalm 56

Of David. When the Philistines had seized him in Gath.

Be merciful to me, my God,
for my enemies are in hot pursuit;
all day long they press their attack.
My adversaries pursue me all day long;
in their pride many are attacking me.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
    In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?

The king [Saul] ordered the guards at his side: “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because they too have sided with David. They knew he was fleeing, yet they did not tell me.”

But the king’s officials were unwilling to raise a hand to strike the priests of the Lord.

18 The king then ordered Doeg, “You turn and strike down the priests.” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck them down. That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. 19 He also put to the sword Nob, the town of the priests, with its men and women, its children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys and sheep.

20 But one son of Ahimelek son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled to join David. 21 He told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 Then David said to Abiathar, “That day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, I knew he would be sure to tell Saul. I am responsible for the death of your whole family.23 Stay with me; don’t be afraid. The man who wants to kill you is trying to kill me too. You will be safe with me.”--I Samuel 22:17-23

 Psalm 52

Of David. When Doeg the Edomite had gone to Saul and told him: “David has gone to the house of Ahimelek.”

Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero?
Why do you boast all day long,
you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?
You who practice deceit,
your tongue plots destruction;
it is like a sharpened razor.
You love evil rather than good,
falsehood rather than speaking the truth.
You love every harmful word,
you deceitful tongue!

…But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.

David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him.

Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t strike him twice.”

But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? 10 As surely as the Lord lives,” he said, “the Lord himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.”

12 So David took the spear and water jug near Saul’s head, and they left. No one saw or knew about it, nor did anyone wake up. They were all sleeping, because the Lord had put them into a deep sleep.

13 Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the hill some distance away; there was a wide space between them. 14 He called out to the army…  Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is that your voice, David my son?”

David replied, “Yes it is, my lord the king.” 18 And he added, “Why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done, and what wrong am I guilty of? 19 Now let my lord the king listen to his servant’s words. If the Lord has incited you against me, then may he accept an offering. If, however, people have done it, may they be cursed before the Lord! They have driven me today from my share in the Lord’s inheritance and have said, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 20 Now do not let my blood fall to the ground far from the presence of the Lord. The king of Israel has come out to look for a flea—as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”

21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Come back, David my son. Because you considered my life precious today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have been terribly wrong.”

22 “Here is the king’s spear,” David answered. “Let one of your young men come over and get it. 23 The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness. The Lord delivered you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. 24 As surely as I valued your life today, so may the Lord value my life and deliver me from all trouble.”

25 Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, David my son; you will do great things and surely triumph.”

So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.-1 Samuel 26:7-13, 17-25

 But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul….”-Samuel 27:1a

Now Samuel [the prophet] was dead-1 Samuel 28:3

Psalm 142:1-3

Of David.  A prayer.

I cry aloud to the Lord;
I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out before him my complaint;
before him I tell my trouble.

When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who watch over my way.


Performance February 16-18 and 23-25 with all-for-One Productions at the PPG ArtsLab Black Box Theater
300 E Main Street, Fort Wayne, IN.  Ticket info Here!

DAVID Is Coming to ECC

It’s been a full week of final adjustments, rehearsals and meetings as we get ready for the next step for DAVID: the one-man-musical.

All that to say that we are getting closer to being ready for the services this weekend.  As I continue through this creative process, some decisions are calculated, some are prompted by feedback and some are based purely on instinct.  However, each time I dig into this story I learn more about David and his God.  Here are three thoughts…


  •  The spirit of God is powerful.  It empowered David for most of his life.  When it left Saul, he was consumed by fear, hate and dark moods that took control of him.  The spirit of God, or the absence of him, is powerful.
  • The psalms have incredible emotional depth.  David cries out for help.  He cries out in pain and suffering.  He cries out for God to right wrongs.  He also sings and dances to the point that some people think he is in danger of losing his reputation.  Too many times, we are uncomfortable with dark or intense emotions.  David, however, was not one of those people.
  • David was a man of faith and trust.  You might say that David was a man after God’s own heart!  No matter the situation or emotion, David always comes back to a faith in this God he loves.

It all goes down this weekend at Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne, IN.  July 8th at 6:30PM and July 9th at 9:30 and 11:00AM.  Come see this man of God who sang,

When my spirit grows faint within me,

It is you who know my way…


God who spoke will speak through the Word. God who acted will act in our worship. [We need] a restoration of the supernatural, an expectancy that God will be present to us in our worship to touch us, to heal us, and to make us whole.

-Robert Webber, Worship Is a Verb: Celebrating God’s Mighty Deeds of Salvation, Second Edition

DAVID: musical update


The last three Wednesday nights have been filled with workshops for DAVID with the amazing actors of the Emmanuel Theatre Co. here at the church.  I’ve presented the first 30 minutes of the piece and gotten amazing feedback that is still shaping this one-man-musical.  I’ve also been in the studio with a couple musicians laying down tracks to develop the sound of the various songs in the show.

All that to say that we are getting closer to being ready for the first preview performance a week from today on March 10th at the Philmore-on-Broadway for the all-for-One Productions fundraiser.  As I go through this creative process, some decisions are calculated, some are prompted by feedback and some are based purely on instinct.  However, each time I dig into this story I learn more about David and his God.  Here are three thoughts…

  1.  The spirit of God is powerful.  It empowered David for most of his life.  When it left Saul, he was consumed by fear, hate and dark moods that took control of him.  The spirit of God, or the absence of him, is powerful.
  2. The psalms have incredible emotional depth.  David cries out for help.  He cries out in pain and suffering.  He cries out for God to right wrongs.  He also sings and dances to the point that some people think he is in danger of losing his reputation.  Too many times, we are uncomfortable with dark or intense emotions.  David, however, was not one of those people.
  3. David was a man of faith and trust.  You might say that David was a man after God’s own heart!  No matter the situation or emotion, David always comes back to a faith in this God he loves.

Lastly, here is the third song of the show…each one has a different musical flavor so this is just a taste.  I create the individual loops using my voice and a Looping Station.  Enjoy!

Announcing DAVID: a one-man-musical


Yes, you read it right.  I’m working on a one-man musical based on the life of King David, the giant killing, song writing and chosen king.  As I work on it, I’m realizing that creating a one-man-musical is a lot of work.

I know. Thank you, Captain Obvious.

But, let me share a couple observations…

  1.  David was a tough guy.  He killed bears and lions with his bare hands.  The man not only killed Goliath, but killed hundreds of Philistines.  So much so, that God called him a “man of blood”.
  2. David was an amazing singer/songwriter.  David was the top artist of his day.  If there had been a Billboard Top Ten list, David’s songs would fill most of the list week after week.  While it’s been a challenge at times, putting original music to his lyrics has given me an appreciation for the depth of emotion, the engaging story-telling and gripping use of metaphor.
  3. Saul was a nut-job.  I might be exaggerating a little bit.  BUT, he is so consumed by jealousy, hatred and dark moods, that he swings from murderous blood-lust to blubbering regret.  He is seen multiple times “with his spear in hand” which seems a little ominous to me, right?

Right now, I’m memorizing the script and music while developing movement and characterization.  This is the hard work behind the craft of theatre.  However, I’m keenly aware that this is God’s word.  I want to do my best to make it engaging and real for the audience.

You will be hearing more about the project as a piece will be performed at Emmanuel in June and then the full show with all-for-One Productions on February 16-18, 23-25 of 2018!  For now, here is an unfinished demo of  Psalm 59 David wrote after Saul sent soldiers to his house to kill him!

Are You Excited?

“Are You Excited?”

I don’t know how to answer that question.

…And I wonder if the people I talk to are more excited about our adoption than I am.  Or at least, that’s what you might think based on my reaction to this question.  It’s been such a long wait for us (2 years since we started the paperwork!) so lots of people are excited about the possibility of the Wards having a baby any day now.

Sidenote:  we are matched with a birthmom and she is due any day now…thus the excitement!

But for our family, we’ve been through a year of 3 failed adoptions.  We’ve been in the room for the C-section, blood on the floor, and walked away with nothing.  We’ve taken care of two babies in the hospital, changed diapers and rocked them to sleep, and walked away with nothing.  We’ve changed car tires in the rain, for one our birth-moms, and walked away with nothing.

Or you would think we had nothing if you didn’t step back and see God’s hand at work in our lives.

This past year has been incredibly hard, but we’ve learned the wisdom of waiting on the Lord.

This week, my daughter brought home a bible verse to memorize.  It comes from Isaiah 40.  She only has to memorize the last verse, but reading the larger passage myself I found it to be a message from the Lord…

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
does not become tired or grow weary;
There is no searching of His understanding. [How soon I forget…]

He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who has no might, He increases power.

Even youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly, [And I’m not as young as I used to be!]

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]
Will gain new strength and renew their power;
They will lift up their wings [and rise up, closer to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun];
They will run and not become weary,
They will walk and not grow tired. -Isaiah 40:27-31 AMP

It would be easy to look at our family and assume that we’ve survived a year of “nothing”, but the opposite is true.  We have been tired and weary.  We have been searching for understanding.  But through expecting, looking and hoping we are seeing the LORD work…we are rising on wings like eagles…closer to our God.

And who knows…maybe we’ll have a baby soon!

Adoption Psalm 126

It was about this time last year that we were meeting with a birth mom and hoping we would have a baby in our home for Christmas.  As I think you know, that didn’t happen.

And here we are a year later.

It’s easy to wonder what God has planned for us, but instead I’m trying to actively thank God for this time of waiting.  One way I can do that is in prayer.

“Thank you Lord, for making us wait for this baby.  We want the right baby for us.  And we will wait on You, Lord…”

But until that happens, I can also rewrite psalms to help insert myself into God’s story.  In the same way the psalmists waited for the Lord, I will wait.  In the same way Christians have waited for millennia, I will wait.  So here is my Adoption Psalm 126…until our baby comes home…

When the Lord first brought us a baby,
    it was like living in a dream.
Our mouths bubbled with laughter,
    and we couldn’t stop singing.
All of the email (pre-Facebook) notes said,
    “God has done great things for you.”
The Lord had done great things for us,
    and we were filled with joy.

Bring us another baby now, Lord,
    like you did over a decade ago.
We who have cried tears
    will sing with songs of joy.
We who have been weeping,
    carrying nothing but memories in our arms,
will return with lullabies of love,
    carrying newborns in them.

If Christians are to witness to God’s mission to restore the world, to recover the Garden, to establish once again the communion of God’s creatures within the communion and fellowship of the triune God, then we must know the narrative, proclaim it and live it—to the death if necessary.

-Robert E. Webber, Who Gets to Narrate the World? Contending for the Christian Story in an Age of Rivals


logoThis week, the three worship leaders from Emmanuel (Dan, Jason and myself), are heading to Louisville, KY for the Doxology&Theology conference.  I’m excited that we’ll have a chance to hang out and laugh together, but also to think deeply and theologically about what we do each weekend (doxology).  I won’t agree with everything the speakers say, but this is another attempt for our worship pastors to dig into HIS WORD and apply it to OUR WALK.

One of the speakers has written this, which sums up why we are going…

One of the greatest needs of the modern church is theologically driven worship leaders.  The church is starving for worship leaders who will teach them to sing about the great gospel of Christ in all its richness.  This need for theologically driven worship leaders exists in large part because many believe that worship leadership and theological aptitude are mutually exclusive…because of this, our churches are limping along with people who do not understand that the greatest truths of the gospel have always been designed to cause the greatest praise.*

That is why we try to teach about the songs we sing when we introduce them.  We want everyone to know what we are singing and why we are singing it.  Pastor John Piper writes,

Truth without emotion produces dead orthodoxy and a church full (or half-full) of artificial admirers.  On the other hand, emotion without truth produces empty frenzy and cultivates shallow people who refuse the discipline of rigorous thought.  But true worship comes from people who are deeply emotional and who love deep and sound doctrine.  Strong affections for God rooted in truth are the bone marrow of biblical worship. **

Let that be said of us!  My hope for myself and for all of us is that we will be people who deeply love the Lord AND HIS WORD, and because of that worship God with emotion in our services.

This is part of a two part series.  Click here for part 2!


* Matt Boswell, Doxology & Theology, 1.

**John Piper, Desiring God, 81.