Blog August 7th “First of Four August videos”

Where Would I Be Without You? featuring Lucy Stimpson – Maynard from the album Where Would I Be Without You? recorded and produced by Ross Gill

For the month of August, I want to share four videos that, for different reasons I have found powerful and encouraging.
So, a short rest from writing and even quoting – thus allowing time for you to please take a look at the videos.
It is also my lovely wife Caroline’s birthday yesterday and it is our wedding anniversary on Sunday – hence the featured song is “Where Would I Be Without You”? – one of Caroline’s favourite Mustard Seed songs and also, of course having very appropriate lyrics.
Happy August to all.

Blog July 30th “Max Panks”

Do not let your hearts be troubled – from the album Risen! The Musical recorded and produced by Joffy Girling

These are most challenging and difficult times for us all, but as lockdown eases and most are beginning to return to work – those working in the entertainment industry are still a long, long way off from returning to anything that resembles normal.
Actor Max Panks, who played the part of Jesus so wonderfully sensitively in Risen! The Musical, is an example of this. Max was taking part in musical theatre on a cruise ship when all on board were quarantined off Tampa Bay, Florida. Max had to stay isolated in his cabin for more than 2 weeks and it was much longer before he was eventually repatriated to England.
Max is recording the part of Saul/Paul for our forthcoming production “Acts The Musical”– he also featured in our, soon to be released, second virtual choir video “Still in Tears.” However Max is forging out another career – that of an artist. You can check out his beautiful water colours at
Short blog this week as I am running, for the 28th year, the Crofton Summer Sports Week. Normally we have up to 100 children taking part in all manner of sports and physical activities but this year, in order to comply with government guidelines on social distancing, we have a limited attendance of 40 children aged 8- 13. It’s really good fun but at the same time really tiring !
Quote of the week
“God will meet you where you are in order to take you where He wants you to go.”

Tony Evans

Blog July 23rd “How Great Are His Signs”

Heavilyn Sarpong conducting the Portsmouth Gospel Choir recording at Challow Park

I was so very chuffed when my very good friend, Pastor Darren Bovis- Coulter, asked if he could use “How Great Are His Signs” for Limbrick Wood Baptist Church’s teaching series from the Book of Daniel.
The song has been used in three different formats. The first was as a chorus for a song written during a very difficult time for Caroline, my wife and me. It was called “Allow His Loving Arms” and was sung by Ross Gill for the Mustard Seed album “The Season of Singing.” The lyrics of the verse were inspired by a card sent by a friend to express her condolences. The chorus I took from the Book of Daniel.
Allow His loving arms to wrap around you,
Know His heart has been broken too,
And in the darkest night of doubt and pain,
Let Him comfort you- just whisper His Name.

For great are His signs,
And mighty His wonders,
His Kingdom’s eternal,
And His dominion endures,
For He is the Living God,
He rescues and saves,
He comforts and heals,
And in Him we can trust.

I always thought that the chorus could stand alone and could be made more “anthem” like and so Joffy our MD and I used it for Risen! The Musical. Here it is sung by the disciple Thomas with the song building over four choruses as more and more of the Risen! cast join in.
Heavilyn Sarpong, from The Portsmouth Gospel Choir, and I were looking at songs that could be “gospelised” for a EP to support the work of Mustard Seed Songs in building a church in Southern Nigeria- “How Great” was an obvious selection. The arrangement by Joffy, Heavilyn and David Ohene- Akrasi is, I hope you agree, wonderful. It was recorded by 29 members of the Portsmouth Gospel Choir and produced by joffyjamesaudio at the Challow Park Studios (see featured pic.)

Quote of the week
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.
Jim Elliot

Blog July 17th Dan Walker

The Gospel of Christ – from the album “Heart and Soul” featuring the Mustard Seed Soul Band – recorded and produced by Ross Gil

I have always liked the manner of the TV football host, Dan Walker and was interested to learn that he is a devout Christian and on many occasions has made it clear that he will not work on Sundays as his beliefs are more important than his job. Indeed In an interview for Radio Times, he said that even if he were to be offered the top job in broadcast sport, presenting BBC Sports Personality of the Year, he would have to turn it down as it is on a Sunday night.
In another recent interview with “Sorted” Magazine, the Football Focus host explained that his faith plays a “very significant part” in his life and shapes his behaviour. “I don’t take much seriously in life except for my faith and my family. I believe that if you have a strong faith in Jesus Christ, it has to make a difference to how you live your life. “It informs who I am and who I would like to be, where I’m going, the way I talk, the way I act, hopes, dreams, aspirations etc. It is a significant part of every day I live.”
He went on to say that he can’t imagine his life without Jesus, as his belief in Him is where he finds his identity and it informs how he engages with society.
“If you are a Christian, that has an impact on your decisions, your language, the way you think and speak and go about your daily business.
“I would like to think that it reduces pride and self-obsession and makes you think more carefully about the people around you, and the impact you’re having on the community and society around you.”
“For me, it underpins everything I am and want to be.”

Walker movingly described how he is still coming to terms with the death of his friend, Wales manager Gary Speed, who he interviewed on BBC1’s Football Focus hours before he committed suicide in 2011.
Walker said: “I still struggle with the fact that he’d memorised the fixtures. I still think about that day an awful lot actually. I can remember it in intricate detail. He came in and, within a heartbeat, he’s like, ‘How are you? How are the kids getting on?’ Then he ran me through the fixtures and dates, the team, what he was worried about, what his hopes and dreams were.
“Then the programme finished. We had a really good laugh, went upstairs and sat in the Match of the Day office. Alan Shearer was in there. He and Gary knew each other really well. We were having a giggle about the game, and I think Alan said, ‘Gary, call me next week and we’ll organise for the families to get together next weekend in Newcastle.’ Gary said, ‘Yes, that’d be great, really looking forward to it.’
“Then Gary said, ‘Right guys, I’ve got to go and watch a game.’ He said, ‘Dan, give me a ring on Monday and we’ll organise a get-together with the kids.’ I went, ‘Perfect, let’s do it.’ I was in church the next day and my phone was going absolutely bonkers.”
He went outside and Shearer was on the line and broke the news.
“We just talked about how is that possible? Still now it’s hard to get your head around. I don’t think we’ll ever know.”
Quote of the week
It’s the heart that’s afraid of breaking that never learns to dance
Bette Midler

Blog July 9th A Love Letter from Heaven

Love is Patient Love is Kind featuring Lucy Stimpson Maynard from the album Love is the Way – recorded and produced by John Hodgkinson

I know last week I said that today I would be sharing some news of Mustard Seed Songs’ second virtual choir video but that is still not quite ready so instead this week I want to share a poignant story. Below is a letter, left by a Christian woman, to be read to her family and friends after she died.
Hi Everybody
I hope you are well and enjoying all these beautiful days you’ve been given. Its amazing to me how much God loves us and how He has purposed His whole design for Creation around that love! Knowing Him personally has been the most incredible experience I could have ever imagined.
As you well know I tend to me pretty “unconventional” so this letter may not take you by surprise. Rick and I have had an extraordinary and beautiful life together. These past two years have been nothing less than amazing with the changes God has allowed. Our friends and family have been a huge blessing and our move to East Tennessee has been like a little “taste of heaven on earth”. We have no regrets or dreams left unfulfilled, just incredible thanksgiving! Christ has proved Himself faithful and gracious beyond measure. My desire now is to lift a burden from my husband so that he can face other responsibilities and begin to heal. I ask that you continue to lift him up in prayer knowing that God is with him and will guide him all the days of his life.
As for me REJOICE!! for I am now with my Redeemer, my Saviour, my Lord. No more sin, no more shame, no more suffering, no more pain! By the purity of Christ’s blood, I am now in His presence. The Breath of life is with me and I am with Him. My family and friends are here; those who also believed in God’s way and put their trust in Him. The family of God surrounds me, together we worship our Lord, forever and ever.
I pray to God that I have lived worthy of my calling and is some small way have been a blessing to you.

For you have been a blessing to me and I am eternally grateful
Quote of the week
Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy it does not boast….
1 Corinthians 13:4

Blog July 2nd A Doggie Story

A Worship Song featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album Where Would I Be Without You? recorded and produced by Ross Gill

So as promised last week – why did we get another dog?

Well Genna our lovely black Labrador will be 2 years old in August. Although she won’t be having puppies, we always thought that she would make a great mum- we also thought it would be nice for her to have a play mate.

The next part is a bit of a long story but basically we had two house rabbits that lived on the top floor  of our house- (we are fortunate to have 2 floors) Rabbits, as I am sure you know, need hay and we found the best hay was to be found at a local farm. The local farm had a black male Labrador and a female Border Collie- both who were able to be parents. (!) Well at the time that the Border Collie was fertile the farmer left a gate open and the Labrador took his opportunity with the result being a litter of 5 puppies.  When Caroline, my wife went to buy some hay she fell in love with “Angus” the only boy in the litter.  At the same time Caroline discovered that the daughter of the farmer loved rabbits and so Caroline “soft soaped” me for a few days until I succumbed and we swapped two rabbits for one “Borador” ( the trendy name for a Lab/Collie cross.) Some money also changed hands- in the direction of the farmer not us!

“Angus” did not stay “Angus” for long – we toyed with lots of names but “Dylan” is a Welsh name and we love going to Wales for holidays – it also means “Son of the Sea” and as we live opposite the sea that almost clinched it – when we realised that “Dylan – The Villain” was also extremely apt “Dylan” he became!

You may be thinking is there a point to this story? Is this some sort of parable – where is the hidden meaning. Well in fact its just a true story – simple as that!

Next week back to the music with info on our second virtual choir project.


Quote of the week

Faith is not a feeling – it is a choice.

Elizabeth Elliot


Blog June 25th -A Conversation in the Womb

Dylan “The Villian”

“Love is the Way” featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the
album “Love is the Way” recorded and produced by Bob Ross

With the lockdown has come lots of videos posted on -line – some of which I have recently shared in this blog. There have also been lots of text messages and this one, which I received via “Whats App,” I thought worthy of featuring today. 

In a mother’s womb were two babies. one asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”
“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”

The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”

The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover, if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”

The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.”

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”

Could not resist including a photo of Dylan (“The Villain”) the latest member of the Shearsmith family.  Will tell you the story next week. 


Quote of the week

You don’t have to see the whole staircase just take the first step

Martin Luther King

Blog June 18th -Two Amazing Videos

It is said that a picture tells a thousand words and so this week I have two more wonderful videos to share with you. The first features Wintley Phipps and includes him singing the most poignant version of Amazing Grace I think I have ever heard.

The second video is truly inspirational and, apart from being very humbling, it also demonstrates just how creative we humans can be.

Quote of the week
God never promised us an easy journey but He did promise us a safe arrival

Blog June 11th – Kodi Lee

Lord I Come to Bathe In Your Glory featuring Lucy Stimpson Maynard – from the album Love is the Way recorded and produced by Bob Ross

So last week I shared three videos from America’s Got Talent (AGT.) I did this because all three contestants had remarkable stories. If you did not get a chance to watch the three videos posted last week then I can really recommend you take a look
Archie Williams is tipped to win the 2020 AGT contest – he was falsely incarcerated in prison for 37 years. – Marcelito Pomoy has the most remarkable voice (in fact two voices.) He came forth in the 2019 AGT – he too has a remarkable story growing up as an orphan in the Philippines. However it is Kodi Lee, the 2019 AGT winner who I wanted to focus on today.
His inspiring story is best told through today’s featured video
Quote of the week
The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard but must be felt with the heart.

Helen Keller

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