Blog June 4th -You Tube Favourites

Marcelito Pomoy

Kodie Lee

Archie Williams

As I am sure you are aware when you watch a YouTube video you get other videos that pop up. So there have been three in the last week that have really inspired me and which I would like to share. You can decide yourselves which is the most inspiring, or of course they could all be equal.
Quote of the week
Forgiveness is a decision to set a prisoner free and then discovering that the prisoner is you.

Word for Today

Blog May 28th – Acts The Musical – An extract – “Peter’s Miraculous Escape From Prison”

So here is the first glimpse of “Acts The Musical” – Mustard Seed Songs’ forthcoming sequel to Risen! The Musical.
It has been wonderfully produced by our fantastic Musical Director, Joffy Girling -@joffy.james
Many thanks to all who so kindly sang.
From the cast of the film of Risen! The Musical

Johnny Fitzharris who played the disciple James and who sang solo on this virtual choir project
Jodie Quirke who played Mary Magdalene
Katie Forge who played Mary wife of Cleopas
Andrew Dovaston who played John
Casey Lloyd who played Cleopas’ friend
Benny Bright who played Cleopas

From the singers on the Risen! The Musical CD

Alex Knox who sang the part of John
Nicola Poustie who sang the part of Mary Magdalene
Jan Moll who sang the part of Mary Mother of Jesus

From the Portsmouth Gospel Choir

Heavilyn Sarpong
Philipa Brobbey
Natalie Chinambu
From the Mustard Seed Soul Band who played on numerous of our CDs and also in our first musical “His Story”

Lucy Stimpson- Maynard
Ross Gill
Harun Kotch
Mike Backhouse
Jassica Castillo-Burley
Katherine Hands
Fiona Poustie
Jim Rogers
Helen Joy Robinson
John Hodgkinson

From Holy Rood Church – past and present

Colin Prestidge
Tim Prestidge
Gillian Prestidge
Gemma Terry
Scott Rushby
Abi Martin
Sarah Summers
Simon Curtis

And my good friends:

Sasha Kennedy – professional singer
Henry Newbury – ex Crofton pupil – professional singer/pianist with 10k subscribers to his YouTube channel
Kevin Jones who sings in a barber shop group and who is in my Portsmouth prayer group

Quote of the week

You’ll never get to a person’s soul until you understand their hurts.

Ravi Zacharias

Blog May 21st – Ascension Day

Today is Ascension Day -celebrated by the Christian Church as the day in which the Resurrected Jesus ascended to heaven watched by His disciples.

It is portrayed in today’s featured video – Episode 3 of Risen! The Musical – “Galilee to The Ascension.”

My sincere thanks to my old friend Ross Gill for dividing the whole of Risen! The Musical into three “bite sized” episodes.

Today is also the anniversary of the fifth anniversary of the first professional production of Risen! The Musical – May 21st 2015. It was performed at the Coventry Pentecost Festival

Quote of the week

You’ll never get to a person’s soul until you understand their hurts.

Ravi Zacharias

Blog May 18th Roberta Cousins


Roberta and Ken at Holy Rood Church


Great and Marvellous featuring the Mustard Seed Girls Choir from the album Love is the Way – recorded and produced by John Hodgkinson

What a surprise I had over the weekend when my dear friend Roberta Cousins rang me from Nigeria. Roberta is a missionary there and telephoned to say that how much she had recently been blessed by the Mustard Seed song “Great and Marvellous” which is featured today,
I could not do Roberta’s amazing story justice here but will draw from my blog of March 2015 to tell you that Roberta overcome agoraphobia and a lack of support from the elders of her church to obey what she knew to be God’s call and to go to Uganda on her own – not knowing anyone and with no planned place to stay. Now, after many years and despite continuous bouts of malaria Roberta is still in Uganda preaching, evangelising and blessing the local people of Kampala and the surrounding villages- a true “Woman of God.”
On 11th of November 2000 Roberta gave me a book in which to write thoughts and verses – the book had a card inside from Uganda with a picture on the front of Martha and Mary with Jesus – Mary at His feet with Martha looking on irritated as she prepares Sudza en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadza Inside Roberta wrote “A Word from the Lord” for me – it is something that I often turn to for encouragement when things don’t seem to be going well – most especially in all that is connected with Mustard Seed Songs. Here is an extract – it’s the part that begins “You must remain in me “ that I need to constantly remind myself.
Though you I will heal the broken hearted. I will bring hope to the desolate, I will strengthen the weak. I will comfort the lonely, giving my love to others as I give my love to you. You must remain in me for I am the vine that feeds you, without me you can bear no fruit. You did not choose me but I choose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my Name- this is my command love each other.
I use this book that Roberta gave me to jot down quotes that I wish to remember.
Quote for the week:
Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5 New Living Translation

Blog April 30th A Message from Bear Gyrlls

Restore Us Lord God Almighty (Shearsmith/Maynard) featuring Lucy Stimpson-Maynard from the album “Where Would I Be Without You?” recorded and produced by Ross Gill

Although this message from Bear Grylls was intended as an Easter Sunday message I still feel it appropriate for the challenging times in which we are, at present, living.

Today’s featured song is again chosen as it appropriate for these times. I remember singing songs that God had inspired me to make up to Lucy Stimpson- Maynard. Just about every time Lucy would give me a nice look of acceptance. However on one occasion I remember the verse of a song (in fact this song ) had not been God inspired but had been rather “forced” by me. I could tell by Lucy’s face that it did not work, but then I remembered a melody that Lucy herself had composed for a school concert- so we used Lucy’s melody for the song’s verse and mine for the chorus.

“Restore Us Lord God Almighty”

Why have You rejected us?
Why Lord do You hide Your face?
How long oh Lord will it be?
We cry out from this lonely place.

You’ve put us in the darkest depths,
Lord our eyes are dim with grief,
Oh Lord the God who saves us,
Hear our prayer to be released.

Restore us Lord God Almighty,
Make Your face shine upon us,
That we might be saved,
Return to us Lord God Almighty,
Revive us and we’ll call on Your Name.

Your wrath lies heavy upon us,
We’re overwhelmed with Your waves,
We spread our hand out to You,
Is Your love declared in the grave?

Restore us Lord God Almighty,
Make Your face shine upon us,
That we might be saved,
Return to us Lord God Almighty,
Revive us and we’ll call on Your Name.

Lord we call on Your Name.

Taken from Psalms 80 and 88.
Inspired by devotions in “Every Day With Jesus”

Quote of the week

Don’t count the days- make the days count.
Muhammad Ali

Blog April 23rd Chris Wickland on BBC One

BBC Close Calls on Camera

“In Times of Trouble” featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album ” I Look Up To The Heavens” recorded and produced by John Hodginson

Back in November 2018 I talked about Chris Wickland who played guitar in the Mustard Seed Soul Band but who is now a leader of the Living Word Church.  In December of last year and on January 30th this year I wrote about his recent near death experience. Well yesterday that was one of two featured events on the BBC One programme “Close Calls.” It was such a good programme that I have made it the feature for today.

I have also chosen a song from Mustard Seed’s first album “I Look Up To The Heavens.” It is called “In Times of Trouble” – I trust the words are appropriate for the difficult times in which we are living.
In Times of Trouble”

Back in November 2018 I talked about Chris Wickland who played guitar in the Mustard Seed Soul Band but who is now a leader of the Living Word Church. In December of last year and on January 30th this year I wrote about his recent near death experience. Well yesterday that was one of two featured events on the BBC One programme “Close Calls.” It was such a good programme that I have made it the feature for today.
I have also chosen a song from Mustard Seed’s first album “I Look Up To The Heavens.” It is called “In Times of Trouble” – I trust the words are appropriate for the difficult times in which we are living.

In Times of Trouble
In times of trouble oh Lord You’re my Shepherd,
You comfort me with Your staff and Your rod,
You say “Do not fear for I’ll always be with you,
Be not dismayed for I am Your God,
I will strengthen and I will help you,
I’ll uphold you with my right hand. ”
These words of love I take to my heart,
And I cast my cares on you Lord.

Oh Lord with You I shall not want,
You lead and guide me with light radiant,
You restore my soul my cup overflows,
Your goodness and love follow me

Oh Lord with You I shall not want,
Oh Lord with You I shall not want,
Oh Lord with You I shall not want,
I shall not want, for Your love follows me.

Taken from Psalm 23 and Isaiah 41:10

Quote of the week
Everything may not be perfect. There are things that may need to change, but you have the grace to be happy today.
Joel Osteen

Blog April 16th Risen! The Musical Watch Party and Coventry Pentecost 2015


Cast for first professional performance of Risen! The Musical Coventry Pentecost Festival 2015.


First flash mob for Risen! The Musical – Coventry 2015.

Well the Facebook Risen! The Musical Watch Party took place on Saturday. I messed up the tech and there were three parties going on at the same time- also people kept losing the stream. Nevertheless it was great for the London Touring Cast to reminisce and interact. They joined from all over the world – Jodie Quirke, who played Mary Magdalene, was in Dubai and Max Panks, who played Jesus, was confined to his cabin on a cruise ship anchored off the coast of Florida.
After the Watch Part Darren Bovis Coulter (see blog of October 25th 2018) live streamed the whole of Risen! The Musical. We received some wonderful comments such as “This is the best musical I have ever seen! This made me think of the first performance of Risen! The Musical at the 2015 Coventry Pentecost Festival which Darren had a big part to play in organising. I also reminisced on how this all came about and below have taken an extract from my blog of May 2017
The Risen! CD was mastered by Andrew Bourbon, who was Joffy Girling, our Musical Director’s Lecturer while they were at Birmingham University. Andrew is now a Senior Lecturer at the London College of Music (LCM) which is part of the University of West London based in Ealing. He was so impressed with the show that he told his colleagues in the Performing Arts Department. I met one such colleague, Niamh Mcguckin, who Lectures in Voice (which means singing too) and she too was so impressed that she took it upon herself to form a cast from LCM students and alumni together with fellow professionals. She acquired the use of the LCM facilities (which are amazing) for rehearsals and had 10 rehearsals on Wednesdays and Sundays before the Pentecost production.
So finally, after more than four years of writing, recording and piloting Risen!-The Musical premiered at the Coventry Pentecost Festival on Saturday, May 23rd. It was an unforgettable day; the cast from the London College of Music were absolutely brilliant, not just in their performance but also for being such a great bunch of people to be with. So a huge thanks from me to them for everything that made the day so special – the “flash mob” in the Lower Precinct (our featured video) – Jodie managing a great performance even though poorly sick- the impromptu singing of “Jesus is My Lord” in the Marquee, with that pretty much straight after the cast arrived after a two and a half hour journey. I will never forget the way that “jaws dropped” when people heard Leah sing the opening notes – they obviously had no idea of how good the cast would be but they certainly found out there and then! And of course all the commitment, patience and good humour in rehearsing with such a short time available – oh and I nearly forgot, for helping me drink a few glasses of Prosecco!
Tremendous thanks also for the amazing organisation that took place from the Festival Organisers “Hope for Coventry” – Andrew , Angus, Matthew and of course my great mate Darren- Bovis Coulter. Also to Jo the Manager of Holy Trinity Church’s Prayer House ; some parts of this inspiring building were built in the 15th Century and the cast had the privilege of using it for their changing rooms. Just behind us was Coventry Cathedral, which is so impressive with the new building standing side by the side with the original that was bombed in World War Two.
Biggest thanks, however must go to Niamh McGuckin, our brilliant Director who also played Mary Mother of Jesus. With very little time to rehearse she worked tirelessly to ensure that the production was of the highest possible quality. Her humility was also really apparent when she looked so shocked when the cast presented her with a bouquet of flowers in thanks for all her efforts.
So many people said such kind things about Risen!- The Musical but here is a quote from Andrew – one of the organisers:
“Risen! – The Musical” was a wonderful climax to the Coventry Pentecost Festival -we were treated to an uplifting portrayal of the story of Holy Week to Pentecost through amazing songs, word, action and dance by a highly professional team who conveyed the hope of the Gospel very powerfully. We felt truly blessed and privileged to host the premiere of this inspirational musical and everybody I spoke to was blessed by it. We wish you all God’s blessing in the future, and that “Risen!” will bless many thousands of people in the months to come.
CAST
Jesus – Mikey Wooster
Mary Mother of Jesus – Niamh McCuckin
John- Andrew Dovaston
Mary Magdalene- Jodie Quirke
Peter- Kieran Lawson
Mary sister of Martha and Lazarus – Claire Hutchinson
Thomas- Adam Valentine
Mary wife of Clopas – Leah Godbold
James- Johnny Fitzharris
Cleopas- Benny Bright
Cleopas’ friend- Coby Collins
Judas – Ennio Ficiur
Director and Mary Mother of Jesus: Niamh McCuckin
We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.
Chuck Swindoll

Blog April 9th Risen! The Musical Watch Party

This coming Easter Saturday, April 11th I am hosting a Facebook Watch Party for the full length English subtitled version of Risen! The Musical. It is scheduled for 4.00 pm and it would be great if you could join and interact with others as we use this relatively new Facebook feature.
If you are unable to join then please watch at some other time during this Easter season. I really hope you enjoy it and will be blessed.
Today is Maundy Thursday but why Maundy? Wikipedia says:
Maundy is the name of the Christian rite of footwashing, which traditionally occurs during Maundy Thursday church services. Most scholars agree that the English word maundy is derived through Middle English and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum (also the origin of the English word “mandate”), the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”) This statement by Jesus is from the Gospel of John 13:34 by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet.
Others theorize that the English name “Maundy Thursday” arose from “maundsor baskets” or “maundy purses” of alms which the King of England distributed to certain poor at Whitehall before attending Mass on that day. Thus, “maund” is connected to the Latin mendicare, and French mendier, to beg. A source from the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod likewise states that, if the name was derived from the Latin mandatum, we would call the day Mandy Thursday, or Mandate Thursday, or even Mandatum Thursday; and that the term “Maundy” comes in fact from the Latin mendicare, Old French mendier, and English maund, which as a verb means to beg and as a noun refers to a small basket held out by maunders as they maunded.
Quote of the day
Looking like the churches may be empty this coming Easter but have no fear so is the tomb!
Anon

Blog April 2nd Risen! The Musical Promo


Lean on Me (Bill Withers) featuring the Mustard Seed Soul Band from the album Heart and Soul recorded and produced by Ross Gill

With the lock down and Easter fast approaching I have put talking about St Paul on hold to concentrate on directing people to Risen! The Musical.
The promo which is featured today https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYoi6a2e340 was produced by Mustard Seed Song’s Musical Director Joffy Girling specifically for AO Vision who are distributing the Risen! The Musical DVDs. AO Vision was behind the recent cinema release of the animated “Pilgrims Progress.”
I am hoping that after watching today’s promo you will share via email and social media and be ready to view the complete Show next week.
Thank you.
Quote of the week
Jesus provides safe access from here to eternity.
Selwyn Hughes in Every Day With Jesus