Blog August 16th “Nothing Can Separate Us From the Love Of God”


Robbie Richardson playing with Tim Downs and Stu Fowler for the Mustard Seed Soul Band at a concert at Paulsgrove Baptist Church 2010

“We Can Do Anything” featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album “Precious” recorded and produced by Ross Gill

Last week I spoke of Robbie Richardson who has, for many years, played sax, clarinet and flute on Mustard Seed albums. The featured song today “We Can Do Anything” features Robbie’s brilliant playing. This song comes from our album “Precious” which was dedicated to my mum “Audrey”.

In two weeks’ time we will be doing some more recording for the sequel to Risen! The Musical which has a working title of “The Acts of the Apostles- Part One: Fire! “ Our new musical will include some adapted Mustard Seed songs such as “We Can’t set The World On Fire” and “You Are The Shepherd Of My Soul” together with new material – I thought it would be nice today to share the lyrics of one new song that will be sung by the apostle Paul:

Nothing Can Separate Us From Christ’s Love

Did you drift too far?

Did you wait too long?

Did you slip too much?

Were you too uncertain?

 

Did you not have faith?

Did you cry in fear?

Were your thoughts unclean?

And your tongue unguarded?

 

Well He won’t stop loving you

He won’t stop loving you,

He can’t stop loving you,

He can’t stop loving cos He is love

 

Would you not forgive?

Did you hold a grudge?

And refuse your hand,

To a fallen neighbour?

 

Did you not stand firm?

Did you deny truth?

Did you chose the wrong path

And then blame another?

 

Well He won’t stop loving you

He won’t stop loving you,

He can’t stop loving you,

He can’t stop loving cos He is love

 

Nothing can separate us from Christ’s love

No demons below or Angels from above,

Nothing in the present,

Nothing in the future

Not height not depth

No nothing we can measure.

 

Nothing can separate us from Christ’s love

No demons below or Angels from above,

Not any power

Not any nation,

Not death not life

No nothing in creation.

 

Nothing can separate us from Christ’s love

 

Quote for the week:

We don’t know who we are until we know who’s we are.

Every Day With Jesus

Blog August 9th “Tom Millen”

“Judas” featuring Tom Millen of the “Original Cast  from the album Risen!The Musical recorded and produced by Joffy Girling (“Judas” follows “Judas Has Betrayed Our Dearest Friend” featuring Alex Knox)

It’s my 10th wedding anniversary today so first may I say a big thank you to my beautiful wife Caroline who loves me and cares for me so wonderfully well. Thank you – I love you very much.

I was delighted to discover that a good friend, Tom Millen is now starring in a film “The Salzburg Story.” Tom sang the part of the disciple James in the CD of Risen! The Musical. How we met made me think of how networks, in particular those associated with Risen! have been created through, what I believe to be, “God instances.”

Some four years ago I was speaking to Mick Mellows who is Godfather to my two sons, James and Christopher. Mick played football for Portsmouth FC and now runs the charity Faith and Football who, in 2015 were winners of the Queens Award for Voluntary Service. I was asking Mick if he knew of a saxophonist as we needed one to record on one of the Mustard Seed albums. Mick said that Robbie Richardson was teaching his daughter, Hannah how to play the sax so I contacted Robbie who subsequently played tenor and alto sax, clarinet and flute or numerous of our albums – he also played in just about all our concerts and “His Story” productions – oh and yes he played at Holy Rood for Caroline and me at our wedding service.

Robbie would often sing the praises of his nephew Josh Belil who was a tenor trained at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. I asked Josh if he knew of someone that could sing bass as we needed someone to record the part of the disciple Peter for our Risen! The Musical album- Josh recommended Tom Millen. Tom has an amazing vocal range but we decided to use him, not as Peter but as James using his baritone/tenor voice -the result includes today’s featured song “Judas” recorded by Joffy Girling in his first studio, which was a converted garage at the vicarage of Holy Rood church.

I have stayed in touch with Tom and Caroline and I went to London to see him perform brilliantly in Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds’ classic musical “Salad Days.” Tom is a really lovely man and deserves every success- congratulations Tom!

Quote for the week:

We form our habits and then our habits form us.

The Word for Today

Blog August 2nd “Bobby Jones and Sportsmanship”

 

“Put Your Hand In the Hand Of God” featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album “Precious” recorded and produced by Ross Gill

Music and sport have always played such a great part in my life. I have so enjoyed ,in my earlier years, playing and coaching all manner of sports but in particular cricket, football and basketball. Now I really enjoy golf which brings me to the point of today’s blog. I love it when I see displays of sportsmanship and in the blog of August 25th 2016 championed Andrew Flintoff’s gesture to Brett Lee in the Ashes match of 2005.Unfortunately sportsmanship is seen less and less these days- Neymar in the recent World Cup rolling around in “ agony “ epitomises this. Cricket once a bastion of fair play is now tarnished with “sledging” even rugby has its “dark arts.” I think however that golf still holds the higher moral ground and I was reminded of this when reading “The Word For Today” last week as It recounted a story of Bobby Jones in the 1925 US Open Championship

Jones’ approach shot to the 11th hole’s elevated green fell short into the deep rough of the embankment. As he took his stance to pitch onto the green, the head of his club brushed the grass and caused a slight movement of the ball. He took the shot, then informed his playing partner Walter Hagen and the USGA official covering their match that he was calling a penalty on himself. Hagen was unable to talk him out of it, and they continued play. After the round and before he signed his scorecard, officials argued with Jones but he insisted that he had violated Rule 18, moving a ball at rest after address, and took a 77 instead of the 76 he otherwise would have carded. Jones’ self-imposed one-stroke penalty eventually cost him the win by a stroke in regulation, necessitating a playoff, which he then lost. Although praised by many sports writers for his gesture, Jones was reported to have said, “You might as well praise me for not robbing banks”.

“The Word for Today” talked about integrity and how Jones believed that losing his integrity was not worth winning the Open for. The USGA’s sportsmanship award is named the Bob Jones Award in his honor.

I was interested to discover that Bobby Jones founded and helped design the Augusta National Golf Club where the world famous Masters Tournament is played for the coveted “Green Jacket.” I was also interested to discover that in 1948, Jones was diagnosed with syringomyelia, a fluid-filled cavity in the spinal cord that causes crippling pain, then paralysis; he was eventually restricted to a wheelchair. He died in Atlanta on December 18, 1971, three days after converting to Catholicism. Jones was baptized on his deathbed by Monsignor John D. Stapleton, pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta.

Jones was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.[

Quote for the week:

The church is not perfect that is why people like us are welcome there.

The Word for Today

Blog July 27th “The Crofton Summer Sports Week”

 

“You Are The Maker” featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album “Love Is The Way” recorded and produced by Bob Ross

No real blog this week as have been soooo busy with the annual Crofton Summer Sports Week that I have been running now for 26 years!!

Here are some pics of our brilliant children and brilliant staff.

I have also posted two pics of the Risen! Christ Central Chapel in Southern Nigeria- for details and the opportunity to help finish its construction please visit https://mydonate.bt.com/events/portsmouthgospelchoir

Quote for the week:

If you get fixed on a destination you can miss great things that happen along the way

The Word for Today

Blog July 20th The Acts of The Apostles- Part One “Fire!”


Alex Knox with Joffy Girling recording the part of Luke for the sequel to Risen!

I Will Tell featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album ” I Look Up To The Heavens” recorded and produced by John Hodgkinson

A couple of weeks ago I listed the present projects that Mustard Seed Songs are, at present working on. They included:

Risen! The Musical being broadcast on YouTube with subtitles in languages such as Romanian and Spanish.

The success of the Easter tour of the Risen! The Musical Theatre in Education of 17 schools and the hope that funding will be forthcoming to allow for a 2019 tour.

The release of the Portsmouth Gospel Choir’s CD “How Great Are His Signs” with proceeds going to the building of the Risen Christ Central Chapel in Southern Nigeria.

How we have been posting clips of the Portsmouth Gospel Choir’s concert at Kings Church, Portsmouth (in fact the full concert will be posted on You Tube today)

The building of the Risen Christ Central Chapel in Southern Nigeria.

What I did not mention is that we have also been working on the sequel to Risen! The Musical which has a working title of” The Acts of the Apostles – Part One “Fire!” The title is, I trust self -explanatory. The musical is based on the book of the Acts of the Apostles chapters 1- 12. The plan is to one day write a musical based on the Acts of the Apostles Chapters 13- 28 but that is for some time in the future! In the meantime the script has been written, Joffy Girling our amazing Musical Director has recorded the piano score and Alex Knox (see blog of Nov 24th 2016) has sung the guides. He also sung the part of Luke as shown in the featured pic. We now need to record all the other vocal parts and will be looking to members of the wonderful “London Touring Cast” for this as soon as we gain the funding. Today’s featured song   “I Will Tell” will be one of the songs from “Fire!”

Quote for the week:

Learn from the mistakes of others- you will never live long enough to make them all yourself.

Admiral Hyman Rickover

Blog July 12th The Risen Christ Central Chapel

Just a short blog today as I am lamenting England’s loss to Croatia last night. It was all set to be a fantastic night as I was watching with my wife Caroline and also Joffy Girling, Mustard Seed Songs’ Musical Director and Alex Knox who sang the part of John on the Risen! The Musical CD. Alex and Joffy have been staying with me for a couple of days recording the sequel to Risen! The Musical – The Acts of the Apostles – Part One “Fire!” We were also joined by Sam Martin, another musician who plays French Horn in the Royal Marines Band. Alex is an avid Tottenham fan – Sam, Arsenal – so for a few hours at least there was peace from this infamous rivalry! Everything was ready for the perfect celebration of England’s entry to the World Cup Final – the full version of “Football’s Coming Home” ready to be sung at full volume-the pre requisite barbeque with a few beers etc- everything in place but unfortunately Croatia had other ideas and we have to wait another four years before trying again to emulate the wonders of 1966 courtesy of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Gordon Banks, Bobby and Jack Charlton, Alan Ball, Martin Peters, Nobby Stiles, Ray Wilson, George Cohen and Roger Hunt. Never mind it was a great run and with the brilliant weather we have been having the whole country has been uplifted.

Meanwhile in Nigeria the building of the Risen Christ Central Chapel, one of the current Mustard Seed Songs’ projects which I mentioned last week continues. You can see from the pics that the building has come a long way but that there is also a long way to go. It was to fund this church that Mustard Seed Songs produced the recent Portsmouth Gospel Concert of which today’s video clip is another extract.

If you would like to support the building of this church in Cross River State, Nigeria then please visit www.mustardseedsongs.or.uk where you can purchase or download the Portsmouth Gospel Choirs’ CD “How Great Are His Signs” with all proceeds going to fund the church build. You can also visit http://mydonate.bt.com/events/portsmouthgospelchoir/452133 to learn more of the Risen Christ Central Chapel and to make a donation.

Quote for the week:

Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others

Robert Louis Stephenson

 

Blog July 5th Mustard Seed Songs Update

 

The Portsmouth Gospel Choir singing “Our Father” in aid of the construction of the Risen! Christ Central Chapel, Southern Nigeria

Mustard Seed Songs have a number of on- going projects of which I thought I would update you.

Risen! The Musical – The full show is now available on https://youtu.be/wYUX1CQEjoY There is also a version with Romanian sub- titles https://youtu.be/ICSAlaI6YZ0 We will soon have sub- titles in Spanish and Cantonese and are in negotiations for sub- titles in Urdu to reach Pakistan and India. Of course we would love the 18 strong London Touring Cast to produce another live performance but need funding for that to happen.

Risen! The Musical Theatre in Education – our special version for children featuring 5 of the London Touring Cast was a great success this Easter playing to 4000 children- again we would love to produce this again but need funding of £10,000 in order to do so.

Portsmouth Gospel Choir– CD “How Great Are His Signs” This is the first CD produced by the fabulous Portsmouth Gospel Choir who sang with Seal in the finals of BBCs “Pitch Battle” and who also performed for the Queen and Royal Family at Westminster Abbey. The CD has five Mustard Seed songs together with the classic worship song “ I Love You Lord.” CDs can be purchased or downloaded by visiting www.mustardseedsongs.org.uk

The Portsmouth Gospel Choir Concert was also recently in a concert at Kings Church, Portsmouth organised by Mustard Seed Songs to raise money for the Risen Christ Central Chapel in Cross River State, Nigeria. The video of the concert, which also featured the cast of Risen! The Musical Theatre in Education and Chelange (formerly known as C.J. Edwards of TVs The Voice) This week’s featured song and video clip- “Our Father” is taken from the concert and tonight we will be releasing another clip “Oh Happy Day” on YouTube before publishing the full concert.

Building the Risen Christ Central Chapel. The story behind this project is told in the blog of December 7th 2017. Next blog I will give you an update of how the construction is progressing but again we need funding in order for the 200 seater Chapel to be completed.

Quote for the week:

Happiness does not come from getting what you want but from recognising and enjoying who you are.

The Word for Today

Blog June 28th Roberta Cousins Missionary to Uganda

Mary and Martha
Mary and Marha with Jesus – Uganda card from Roberta to Ken

Roberta
Mustard Seed Songs concert for Roberta at Holy Rood

“Lord I Come to Bathe in Your Glory” from album “Love is the Way” featuring Lucy Stimpson – inspired by a devotion from Selwyn Hughes in “Every Day With Jesus”

When on Monday I walked into my home group “The Way”, Gill one of the members said, pointing to a woman sitting on a sofa, “Come and meet our new home group member.” That came as a bit of a shock as I was not expecting a new member – however it was an even greater shock when I recognised the person to be Roberta Cousins – not a new home group member at all but a very old friend who I had not seen for many years. She was on a short break from Uganda

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  (see featured pic) 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.

It is from the book that Roberta gave me that I have been taking quotes for this blog.

Quote for the week:

If you can worry continually you can pray continually – just change your focus.

The Word for Today

 

Blog June 14th “Risen! The Musical with Romanian Sub-titles”

Risen! The Musical featuring the London Touring Cast in  HD quality with sub titles in Romanian

So yesterday Mustard Seed Songs published on YouTube Risen! The Musical with sub titles in Romanian. We will soon have subtitles in Spanish and Mandarin with other translations to follow- so how did this all come about?
Mustard Seed Songs’ Trustee and my dear friend Dr Graham Giles MBE arranged for Risen! The Musical to be broadcast on two Christian TV channels in Romania- Alfa- Omega TV and Credo TV. The person who translated the English to Romanian and created the sub titles for Credo TV was Alex- Emanuel Serban. Alex enjoyed Risen! so much that he contacted, via Facebook, some of the actors from the London Touring Cast who feature in the film. He also sent them a short video that he had made to promote the Risen! broadcast on Credo. One of the actors, Max Panks who played the part of Jesus, posted the promo video on the Risen! Facebook page and of course I saw it. When I did I sent Alex a message via Facebook and we have been in touch ever since.
Kathryn Oliva Hobbs kindly translated Risen! The Musical into Mandarin and Jacqueline and Rafi Lamb translated it into Spanish. Alex is, at present working on using those translations to produce Spanish and Mandarin sub- titles for Risen! The Musical.
The version of Risen! The Musical that was first published on YouTube was, for technical reasons, not of the highest quality but the video that is featured in today’s blog is in HD quality. This is because Alex has now been able to use the version produced by Global Fire Creative who filmed Risen! at the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth.
You may ask how many people outside of Romania would wish to watch this version. Well there are Romanians living all over the world (diaspora) including: Moldova, Serbia, Ukraine, Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania, Portugal, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand, the USA and UK.
So our hope is that Risen! The Musical will be shared and enjoyed by people all over the world – at present in English and Romanian, but soon also in Spanish and Mandarin and later in many other languages.

Quote for the week
“Life not centred on God is purposeless and meaningless. Without Him nothing else can satisfy. With Him all of life and His other good gifts are to be gratefully received and used and enjoyed to the full”.
NIV commentary on Ecclesiastes.

Blog June 15th “Is God Good- Part Six”?


Mustard Seed Songs’ first album ” I Look Up To The Heavens” which included the song “In Times Of Trouble”

 

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

Today I was going to give an update on all that is happening with Mustard Seed Songs but I am going to delay that for one week as I read something on Tuesday, again in an “Every Day With Jesus” devotion written by Selwyn Hughes, which I thought would be a good post script to his thoughts that I have been recently sharing on “Is God Good”?

So here is an extract taken from his devotion “Guaranteed.”

So faith has the opportunity to grow in situations of ambiguity and uncertainty. Anyone can have faith when the sun is shining and there are no dark clouds in the sky, but what happens when storms come and we are pounded by the winds of hardship and adversity? Well what we should not do is pretend that we are not stunned by them. If we are not stunned by them then fine, but if we are then we admit we are. There is no shame in this. God will not fall off His throne because your faith has been rocked.

When C.S. Lewis’ wife died of cancer, this is what he wrote about the spiritual fog in which he found himself: “Go to God when your need is desperate, when all other hope is in vain and what do you find? A door slammed in your face and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that silence. You might as well turn away. One writer said that Lewis’ words at that time were blasphemous. No he wasn’t being blasphemous, he was being real. Lewis did not turn away, in fact he came through the experience with God’s help and readers of Lewis’ works came to hear a new note in his writings. The story of how he found God in the midst of his pain has become a classic account of how faith can, not only survive, but thrive in times of despair.

Are there some dark clouds in your life at the moment? Hold on. When you come through the time of difficulty, you will find there are more muscles in your faith that you could ever have thought possible.

Quote for the week

“Turn setbacks into springboards – obstacles into opportunities”.

Every Day With Jesus