Category Archives: Ken Shearsmith’s Blog

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

Blog June 8th “Is God Good- Part Five”?


Lucy Stimpson Maynard (who co -wrote “Restore Us Lord God Almighty”) at a Mustard Seed Songs concert with James Oliver on cello

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

After a break of a couple of weeks let me please return to continue sharing the thoughts of Selwyn Hughes on the question “Is God Good”? Below is another extract taken from his devotion in Every Day With Jesus – “A Higher Love.”
It is not too difficult to believe that the wounds and hurts we receive in this life are the result of our choices and thoughtlessness, but when we are told that certain things we could label as “tragedies” are brought about directly by the hand of God we feel perplexed or confused.
When Jesus and His disciples were walking on the road they met a man who was born blind. His disciples asked Him “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind”? “Neither this man or his parents sinned” said Jesus but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” (“made manifest KJV) Having said this Jesus spat on the ground, made some mud to put on the man’s eyes, and sent him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. When he did so he was healed.
What did He mean- that the works of God may be made manifest? Ah here we are in the presence of mystery. The answer to that is still to be revealed. Theologians struggle to explain how God’s character is revealed through the seemingly bad things that he allows to go on in this world, but no one has found adequate answers. How God works through the wounds, the losses, the suffering and the tragedies that come into our lives is something we will never know fully on this earth. We are big enough to ask the questions but not big enough to understand the answers. And so we groan and we wonder, but in our groaning and wonderment there is really no better context for trust.

Quote for the week

“What doesn’t destroy us makes us stronger”.

The Word for Today

Blog May 24th Bishop Michael Curry of the US Episcopal Church.


Bishop Michael Curry of the US Episcopal Church

 

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

I would like to take a short break from sharing Selwyn Hughes thoughts on “Is God Good.”? and also on promoting the now public availability of Risen! The Musical on YouTube (https://youtu.be/wYUX1CQEjoY) The reason for this is that I, like many other millions, was enthralled by the speech of Bishop Michael Curry at the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle.

Here is an extract:

“And one of the stanzas actually explains why. They said: ‘If you cannot preach like Peter, and you cannot pray like Paul, you just tell the love of Jesus, how he died to save us all.”‘

“Oh, that’s the balm in Gilead! This way of love, it is the way of life. They got it. He died to save us all.

“He didn’t die for anything he could get out of it. Jesus did not get an honorary doctorate for dying. He didn’t… he wasn’t getting anything out of it. He gave up his life, he sacrificed his life, for the good of others, for the good of the other, for the wellbeing of the world… for us.

“That’s what love is. Love is not selfish and self-centred. Love can be sacrificial, and in so doing, becomes redemptive. And that way of unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives, and it can change this world.

“If you don’t believe me, just stop and imagine. Think and imagine a world where love is the way.”

“Imagine our homes and families where love is the way. Imagine neighbourhoods and communities where love is the way.

“Imagine governments and nations where love is the way. Imagine business and commerce where this love is the way.

“Imagine this tired old world where love is the way. When love is the way – unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive.

“When love is the way, then no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again.

“When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook.

“When love is the way, poverty will become history. When love is the way, the earth will be a sanctuary.

“When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields, down by the riverside, to study war no more.

“When love is the way, there’s plenty good room – plenty good room – for all of God’s children.

“Because when love is the way, we actually treat each other, well… like we are actually family.

“When love is the way, we know that God is the source of us all, and we are brothers and sisters, children of God.

“My brothers and sisters, that’s a new heaven, a new earth, a new world, a new human family.

 

Quote for the week

“You can see further through a tear than you can a telescope”.

Every Day With Jesus

Blog May 17th Risen! The Musical- “One Day A Crown” and “Is God Good – Part Four”?

Risen! The Musical, featuring the London Touring Cast and filmed at the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth will be available on Sunday, May 20th (Day of Pentecost) on YouTube. In preparation we are posting clips from the show and the second featuring “One Day A Crown” is featured today.

Now to continue sharing the thoughts of Selwyn Hughes on the question “Is God Good”? Below is another extract taken from his devotion in Every Day With Jesus – “A Higher Love.”

Why tragedies overtake God’s children is without doubt one of the great mysteries of the universe. Accepting this mystery and not allowing it to sabotage our relationship with God is one of the biggest challenges of the Christian life.

In my early years of being a Christian, whenever trouble or tragedy came my way, instead of accepting it as a mystery I tried to rationalise it. I told myself that this problem or difficulty might not have happened if I had been more careful or if I had been more intent on ensuring that there was no sin in my life. Rationalisation dislikes mystery; it seeks to define it and explain it. When we do this we are really attempting to live comfortably rather than before the “wild, dangerous, unfettered and free character of God.”

One of the most well know rationalisations is that found in Rabbi Kusner’s bestseller “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People”. Rabbi Kushner answers the problem “how can a God who is good allow bad things to happen in His world”? by saying that God is all good but not all powerful. He claims that sin has so upset the mechanism of God’s universe that He is powerless to stop bad things happening. His heart is inclined towards us, especially when He sees bad things coming our way, but because of sin His universe has been disrupted and has gone beyond His ability to intervene. I reject this argument, believing and understanding the Scriptures that teach that God is good and all powerful. He could change things – but if He chooses not to, this never means that He is not good. …………..to be continued.

Quote for the week

“The problem ahead of you is never as great as the power behind you”.

Every Day With Jesus