Author Archives: Risen Webmaster

Blog July 18th “England World Cup Cricket Champions”

1) England overjoyed
2) Chris Woakes (Eng)  goes to console Martin Guptill (N.Z)
3) Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff consoling Brett Lee 2005

“Glorious in His Humility” featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album “Love is the Way” recorded and produced by John Hodgkinson

Cricket fan or not (and I am a huge fan) the World Cup Final on Sunday was absolutely amazing – a tie – a super over etc. etc. I was not able to watch it live but when I saw the highlights I was at first hugely disappointed that the English players were so caught up in their celebrations that no one bothered to console the devastated New Zealand batmen who had so narrowly been defeated. My mind was cast back to 2005 when, in the Ashes, Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff famously consoled Brett Lee after he and the Australian team had been so narrowly defeated.
I was delighted to have now found a photograph of Chris Woakes of England moving towards Martin Guptll of New Zealand to console him. I had heard what a really nice guy Chris Woakes is and he certainly showed it here.
There will be masses written about the England cricket team and quite rightly so but I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank the New Zealand team for the way that they conducted themselves throughout the whole tournament – indeed Eoin Morgan the England captain paid tribute to them saying “I’d like to commiserate Kane (Williamson) and his team. The fight that they show is worth aspiring to. The example that they lead is hugely commendable to him and his team.”
The New Zealand team have indeed won many friends and admirers – I took this extract from an article on the BBC Sport website- it describes how, in the past, New Zealand cricketers have consoled players that they have defeated:
Four years ago New Zealand edged out South Africa in another World Cup thriller, this time in a semi-final.
Grant Elliott struck a six to take New Zealand to within sight of victory and raised his arms aloft in celebration when it was confirmed.
But a second later he was next to Dale Steyn, the devastated bowler, offering a hand to help him up from the ground and offer some commiseration.
Ross Taylor did the same to Carlos Brathwaite at Old Trafford during the group stages.
After the loss at Lord’s, Williamson was full of praise for England. He and his team were visibly devastated – but there was no hint of bitterness. No suggestion of unfairness.
Just a smile, a handshake, and some calm words from Williamson. As he left his news conference for the final time, he was given a round of applause by the journalists.
He, and his side, are a credit to the game
Quote of the week
True strength is to overcome through humility.

Ken Shearsmith from the song “Give Us Your Heart Lord”

Blog July 11th “Mustard Seed Of Faith” Video

A huge thanks to the amazing Portsmouth Gospel Choir for giving up their time so that we could film them singing “Mustard Seed of Faith” a track from their EP “How Great Are His Signs” which is available from https://mustardseedsongs.hearnow.com/

Massive thanks also to Joffy (Joffy James) the Mustard Seed Songs Musical Director for filming and editing.

The video has been produced to raise awareness (and funds) for the Mustard Seed Songs’ project of constructing the Risen Christ Central Chapel  (RCCC) in Cross River State, Southern Nigeria.  To find out more of the story and also  to help please visit –https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/Mustardseedsongs-RisenChristCentralChapel

Many thanks

Quote of the week

Sorrows are our best educator. One can see further through a tear than a telescope

Bruce Lee

Blog July 4th “ Stormzy”

Do I Need To Worship? featuring the Mustard Seed Soul Band from the album “Heart and Soul” recorded and produced by Ross Gill

Although in the past I have been to music festivals I have to admit that I had not heard of Stomzy until a friend sent a link to his Glastonbury performance.  I was so impressed (also with the female singer who comes in at 2 mins 9 secs) that I thought I would share it with you and also do a little research. Here are some extracts from The Guardian:

Musicians, politicians and fans have hailed the rapper Stormzy after he became the first black solo British headliner at Glastonbury festival, opening to a spectacular pyrotechnic display on the Pyramid stage.

The Grammy-award winning singer Adele said on Instagram: “I’m so proud of him, Stormzy just monumentally headlined Glastonbury in his own right with one album!! The first Grime artist ever to do so, you respected everyone that opened the door for you whilst opening a huge one yourself.”

Stormzy whose real name is Michael Omari, has experienced a phenomenal rise to fame since the release of his song Shut Up in 2015 and the album Gang Signs and Prayer in 2017.

Among the highlights of the show, were a performance by the BAME dance group Ballet Black and guest appearances by the rappers Dave and Fredo and Coldplay’s Chris Martin.

Stormzy also played a speech by the Labour MP David Lammy on the disproportionate number of black, Asian and minority ethnic people in the criminal justice system.

Lammy praised Stormzy for using his headline spot “to speak about the injustice of young black kids being criminalised in a biased and disproportionate justice system. Humbled and inspired that he sampled my speech.”

The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, described the performance as political and iconic. “It won’t just go down in Glastonbury history – it’ll go down in our country’s cultural history.”

Ed Sheeran, whose 2017 hit Shape of You was performed by Stormzy on Friday, said the rapper was “an inspiration”.

He posted: “First black British solo artist to headline Glastonbury, second youngest to ever headline, and just an inspiration to so many. This is just the start, congrats big Mike, looking forward to see you do more achievements like this.”

Quote of the week

Go the extra mile -it’s never crowded

Wayne Dyer

Blog June 27th The “Hoover”

“The Fire of Sacrifice” featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album “Precious” recorded and produced by Ross Gill

As I wrote in the blog of two weeks ago the writer of the daily devotion “Word For Today” Bob Gass, sadly passed away on June 5th aged 75.  I thought I would share one of his devotions as a sort of testimony to his life.  This extract comes from his devotion of Sunday, 23rd June 2019.

Almost anyone can spot the problem, discuss the problem and complain about the problem, but a solution-oriented person looks always to solve the problem. Murray Spangler was such a person. As a departmental store cleaner he decided the only way to overcome the boredom of his job, which consisted of sweeping floors, was to find a more innovative way to do it. Plus he had the added incentive of being allergic to the dust he was sweeping away each day.  Then a thought came to him – instead of sweeping up the dust, maybe there is a way to suck it up. Where do such creative thoughts come from? God our Creator.  And since you are His offspring He will share His ideas with you. Spangler’s questions led him to invent a crude but workable vacuum cleaner. He then sought out an old friend in the leather business to finance the manufacturing of his invention. The man’s name was H.W. Hoover. Not only did Hoover vacuum cleaners become very popular, but “hoovering” became, at least for one generation, synonymous with sweeping floors. Built into every obstacle is an opportunity, every question an answer, every problem, a solution. So don’t be afraid to question methods, systems and equipment and ask “Is there a better way?” The world has been enriched by people who dared to ask that question. And you can be such a person, for God promises to bless “all to which you set your hand.”

Quote of the week

As long as you believe that more is better you will never be satisfied. Why because you’ll never live long enough to have it all!

The Word for Today

Blog June 20th Portsmouth Gospel Choir Video


Joffy Girling filming the Portsmouth Gospel Choir singing “A Mustard Seed of Faith”

“Do I Need To Worship”? – featuring the Mustard Seed Soul Band from the album “His Story” recorded and produced by Ross Gill

One of Mustard Seed Songs’ Mission projects is the construction of the Risen Christ Central Chapel (RCCC) in Cross River State, Southern Nigeria.  The roof is on, the ceiling in place, there are doors and windows and the electrics have been installed. The next stage is for the floor to be tiled. In order to launch a fund raising campaign to fund the £2000.00 required the Portsmouth Gospel Choir graciously agreed to help by being filmed at the shore of Lee on Solent singing a track from their “How Great Are His Signs” EP – “A Mustard Seed of Faith” https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/portsmouthgospelchoir. This is Pastor Patrick’s of RCCC favourite song.

Joffy Girling, our amazing Musical Director came to film the track using some fantastic equipment including a £2.5 K drone!

However if you have been living in this country for the past month or so you will know that we have not exactly been blessed with good weather (to put it mildly!) so the 10.00 am start was delayed because of rain  and we were not able to film until 3.00 pm. The choir were wonderfully patient (it helped that there was a local pub and restaurant nearby) – Joffy was constantly checking the weather with his Met Office app and we did in the end get an hour or so of clear weather.

There were 24 from the Portsmouth Gospel Choir that gave up their time – some alumni coming down by car and train from London and some coming from Portsmouth- so it was a really generous giving of their time  and thanks so much again to them all.

One great bit of news is that a couple of days earlier two from the Portsmouth Gospel Choir, Heavilyn (Heaven) Sarprong and David Ohene- Akrasi became engaged. Heaven was the Musical Director for the “How Great Are His Signs” EP and David led the band,  playing keys.

So all at Mustard Seed Songs say “MANY CONGRATULATIONS HEAVEN AND DAVID!”

As soon as Joffy has finished editing the video I will publish it on this blog.

Quote of the week

You can always tell when you are on the road to success -it’s uphill all the way!

The Word for Today

Blog June 14th Bob Gass


Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled featuring Ben Morris from the album Risen!The Musical “Original Cast Recording” recorded and produced by Joffy Girling

Last week I was on holiday in Wales and took with me a book written by Bob Gass entitled “Do Not Be Afraid. “ In addition to “Every Day With Jesus” I also read “Word For Today” which Bob writes for United Christian Broadcasters (UCB). Both of these daily devotions have inspired lyrics for many Mustard Seed songs.
As I was reading “Do Not Be Afraid” I thought I would find out a bit more about Bob and was astounded and very saddened to discover that he had died only 2 days earlier on June 5th aged 75.
Here is a little of his amazing life:
Bob was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His father died when he was 12 and his mother was left to rear him as well as his brother, Neil, and sister, Ruth, on a government pension. His mother was a formative influence on his life, encouraging him to attend church as often as possible. ‘She came into the Kingdom at a hundred miles an hour,’ Bob says, ‘and never slowed down.’
By the time Bob was 12, his heroes were not movie stars or sports celebrities but men and women of God. At this time, he gave his life to Christ. He preached his first sermon at 13, writing it out in a school exercise book. As he began, so he continued writing out each reading for Word for Today longhand in a yellow legal pad.
He was fortunate as a teenager to have Gordon Magee as his mentor. When he moved from Ireland to the United States, Magee offered to pay for Bob’s passage to America. A few weeks before his 18th birthday, Bob arrived in Houston with two sermons in a briefcase and 25 cents in his pocket. Magee asked his friends across the US to give Bob opportunities to preach. For many years he gave Bob constructive criticism of his sermons.
Bob’s first church was in the Bay of Fundy, Back Bay, New Brunswick, Canada. He pastored there for two years and then moved to Bangor, Maine to take over a church from a retiring pastor. Upon his arrival, there were approximately 300 families in the church. After twelve years the church had grown to over twelve hundred families
In 1994, Bob wrote the first edition of Word For Today. At that time, God connected him with United Christian Broadcasters, who were trying to launch Christian TV and radio in the U.K. Bob partnered with them, and today they publish more than 450,000 copies of the devotional each quarter in the U.K., and an additional six million copies per quarter in other countries.
Bob was married to his wife, Debby, for more than 20 years and she helped with the writing of Word for Today.
In addition to his passion for his family and his calling to share God’s Word, Bob and Debby shared a deep passion for the orphans of Romania. They first went to Romania in 1991, and in the last 28 years they built a transition home called The Village of Hope, and have rescued over 5,000 children from the streets, the sex-trade, and orphanages and placed them into foster families.
Bob himself, actually planned for his passing several years ago with a long writing project, which means the devotional will continue long after he passed away.

Bob’s vision for Word For Today was to ‘whet your appetite so much that you’ll say, “Wow! I didn’t know that was in the Bible! Maybe I’d better go and read it for myself.”‘
All at Mustard Seed Songs send their deepest sympathy to all Bob’s family and friends. He was truly inspirational and will be very much missed.
Quote of the week
Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s the mastery of it”
Bob Gass.

Blog June 6th Tudor Davies


Tudor Davies receiving a BAFTA for Sound Engineering on “Later Live with Jools Holland”

Don’t Lose Sight Of My Shore featuring Louise and Cole recorded and produced by John Hodgkinson

So what is the connection between Mustard Seed Songs and Tudor Davies I hear you ask.

Well Tudor was very much the start of it all. Here is an extract from my blog of over five years ago.

One day I went for a meal at the home of Mrs Jan Davies and her husband Barry.  Jan was the first PE teacher at Crofton, having started a year earlier than me when the school was housed in the temporary accommodation at Crofton Hammond.  Jan had twin boys Tudor and Alun.  Tudor was really into music (he now works for the BBC Sound Department) and had a keyboard in his bedroom.  I left the adults downstairs drinking coffee (which is a pet hate of mine) and went to chat to Tudor.  He played me some stuff on his keyboard and I hesitantly asked if he could play something if I sang it to him (apologising profusely about my voice of course) I sang him a new song I had made up “Don’t Lose Sight of My Shore”  Again not the happiest of lyrics – “When you start your journey tonight , have to leave my arms once more, please don’t forget all that’s been said don’t lose sight of my shore. Stay in touch with my touch, let my emotions still soar, keep my hand within reach, don’t lose sight of my shore”

To hear him play the melody back, which up to then I had only heard in my head, was utterly amazing.  He then played “If Love Had Never Died” and some of the other songs I had made up. I went home buzzing.

Next day I went to see my mate John Hodgkinson (Mr Hodge) who was Crofton’s Head of Science and also a brilliant musician, in fact he played in a band with Tudor – “Trilogy.” When I told John what had happened the night before he said “ I can do that. My nickname is Xerox–  I can copy anything. “  Sing me your song.” “No way”   I said whilst secretly hoping he would persist- which he did. So that break -time I sang to John “Don’t Lose Sight of my Shore” which continued“  For we made magic held each other spellbound but our love was no illusion just the truth that we both found”

John was quiet when I had finished and then said “ We had better record that- come over to my place – I have a recording studio”  And that’s what happened.  We then got a girl in my tutor group- Louise to record  a somewhat better version than my effort and later we decided that it worked better as a duet so we added the voice of a guy called Cole who was lead singer in another band that Tudor played in -“Yellow Cab”

And  then we sent it off to record companies and believe it or not  we got a  phone call from a record company that had produced a big hit – “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan  Jett and the Blackhearts. They said they wanted to use “Don’t lose sight of my Shore” for their Eurovision Song Contest Entry – Fame at last? – Well actually no but it was the start (not of fame but of writing songs!)

Quote

Opportunity is a visitor; don’t assume it will be back tomorrow

Word for Today

 

Blog May 30th “Ascension Day”


The disciples are at first blinded by the light as Jesus ascends to heaven ( from Risen! The Musical)

Ascension Medley from Risen!The Musical featuring the Original Cast recorded and produced by Joffy Girling

(Sorry this was given to me to put online yesterday but clean forgot but kept the tenses and dates the same as if done yesterday due to it being Ascension Day – Webmaster PJ)

So today is Ascension Day which marks the 40th day of Easter and in another ten days there is the Day of Pentecost when the disciples were empowered by the Holy Spirit.
As the name indicates, Ascension Day describes the day of Jesus’s ascension into heaven 40 days after his resurrection on Easter Sunday.
After rising from the dead, Christ spent his final few weeks on Earth passing on his teachings to his disciples. He then led them up to the Mount of Olive in Jerusalem, where he said the time had come for him to be returned to God.
Acts: 1:
“Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Christ’s Ascension empowers the following words , which I personally find so encouraging:
John 14: 1-3 (New International Version- 1984)
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
Quote for the week
You can’t control the direction of the wind but by God’s grace you can adjust your sails to take you where you need to go.
Word for Today

Blog May 23rd “Genna and Intelligent Design”

“Walking With Jesus” featuring The Mustard Seed Soul Band from the album “Heart and Soul” recorded and produced by Ross Gill

So Genna, our lovely Labrador is now 9 months old. Until about two weeks ago she was pretty well trained as you may have seen from the video I shared in the blog of April 12th. However when we were walking and she was off the lead trying to get her to come back (recall) when she wanted to play with other dogs was a nightmare—– and then she discovered that chasing after a ball was even more fun than chasing after other dogs (plus she was less likely to get bitten or told off my me!) So now as long as I have a ball in my pocket she is never far from my side- hardly interested in other dogs at all. I have to say it is great to watch her enjoy her walks, sniffing here and there and every so often looking back to check on me- it’s great for her and it’s great for me – a real bonding thing. I am not trying to make a far -fetched analogy but I did have this in mind when I chose today’s featured song “Walking with Jesus.”
Anyway as I have been out with Genna I have been amazed how the coordination of her four feet changes as she goes from walk to trot to canter to sprint ( I hope you click on today’s pic to see the different gaits of all quadrupeds.) Watching her again reminded me of the fact that there is no way that this beautiful animal could have been created by accident – she was obviously designed – by the Intelligent Designer who we could call God – and then I realised I had already posted a blog on this thought on December 13th 2018 and would be repeating myself. But then I thought “so what, it is important” so this next part is simply a repeat of what I believe to be true.
Anyway if there is a Designer who we could call God – it would be pretty amazing if we were able to get to know Him – even more amazing if He wanted to get to know us. But how could He do that? Would He not have to leave where He abides (let’s call it heaven) and come to earth? Now wouldn’t that be amazing – God coming to live with us – God with us – Emmanuel – yes that would be truly amazing! That would warrant a really big celebration and we could call it ….. Christmas!!
Quote of the week
I am never down- I am either up or I’m getting up
The Word for Today

Blog May 16th A Miracle in Nigeria


Map of Nigeria


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

Nigeria is a country close to my heart as Mustard Seed Songs have been fund raising to construct a church – the Risen Christ Central Chapel in Cross River Stage, Southern Nigeria.

In Cross River State Christians are relatively safe but not so further north where Christians can be brutally attacked by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram which is said to be fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state. In addition, according to the 2018 Global Terrorism Index, 1,700 violent deaths have been attributed to Fulani herdsmen in attacks carried out between January and September 2018.

So it is in this horrific context that I was overjoyed to read this story in “Barnabas Aid” which is a publication for Barnabas Fund; a charity which supports the persecuted church.

When Boko Haran militants attached a group of 500 Nigerian Christians converts from Islam 76 Christians were captured. Four male leaders amongst the 76 were asked to return to Islam or be shot. They refused and were killed. Then their four widows were asked to return to Islam or their children would be executed. While the women were agonising, their children ran in saying that Jesus had appeared and told them all would be well. Then Jesus appeared to the whole group of 72 telling them not to fear, not to renounce Him and He would protect them. The following day the militants lined up the children and when their mothers refused to deny Christ took aim. But before any child was shot the gunmen started grabbing at their own heads screaming “Snakes!” and fleeing from the scene. Some dropped dead. A Christian man picked up the gun of a dead militant but a little girl stopped him from using the weapon saying “You don’t need to do that. Can’t you see the men in white fighting for us?” Praise God for this miraculous intervention and pray that the surviving militants will turn to Christ.

Quote of the week

Go with what you have got

Steve Dimon