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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

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 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