Blog January “Live”

Sing This Song Of Love For You featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album I Look Up To The Heavens recorded and produced by John Hodgkinson

I read this a few weeks ago and thought I would share it as 2019 will add another year to all our ages and I know many, including myself, who might benefit from hearing what Author Norman Cousins said (and which was quoted in The Word for Today)

No disease is more lethal than the boredom that follows retirement.” Here is a true story of a lady in her eighties who went to her doctor for a check-up. He asked her if she stayed active. She gave him a big smile and said “I jog about four or five miles every day”.” Surprised he told her she needed to be careful and not overdo it- “Take it easy” he suggested. She took his words to heart and decided to slow down. She reduced her jogs to slow walks and cut back to one or two days a week. Within a year she was dead. The doctor who had given her such advice told a friend “Never again will I tell a patient who is doing well to take it easy.” 

The Bible is full of stories of people who lived on because they had something to live for. Remember Caleb? At eighty five he attacked the giants in the hill country, drove them out and became a land developer (see Joshua 14) And how about Noah. He began building the ark when he was five hundred years old and a hundred years later he helped start the world all over again.  Age means nothing unless you are cheese! And wrinkles, grey hair, and spots on your hands mean less than nothing. As long as God chooses to leave you on this earth, don’t just exist – live. Claim the promise- “You will come to the grave in full vigour” Keep dreaming. Accept new challenges. And don’t even think about taking it easy!

Quote of the week:

Faith does not exempt you from life’s storms – it equips you to go through them.

The Word for Today

Blog December 27th “Lucy Stimpson- Maynard”

We hope you have had a very happy Christmas and will have a most prosperous New Year.

I recently viewed the featured video of Lucy Stimpson- Maynard on Facebook and so many wonderful memoires of our recording together came flooding back- so I have looked back on some of my blogs from four years ago in order to have a bit of a  reminisce:.

When sometime in late 1997 I read in the Holy Rood Church notice sheet that there was to be a worship seminar in Winchester, led by Brian Doerksen,  I had that “feeling” inside that made me know that this was something I was meant to attend.  One of the many songs that Brian had written was “More than Oxygen” which had been played at the service in which I was baptised Brian is from Canada so I knew the opportunities to attend one of his Seminars would be few and far between.

So I went on my own to Winchester – which of course I knew pretty well having been to Teaching Training College there- to a church (now Winchester Family Church) housed in what had been a Cinema.  I have to say I was not entirely comfortable with all the hand raising and that is about all I can remember from the evening apart from the important fact that I thought – “I wonder if my pop songs could become Christian songs – perhaps that is why it was intended that I came to this Worship Seminar? “

So I went home and started “converting” the lyrics of my pop songs to Christian lyrics. For some songs this was relatively easy – only needing for example to change “baby” to “Lord!” For others it was not so simple, for example “Don’t Lose Sight Of My Shore” became “Father Help Me Acknowledge You”.

So I went to see John Hodgkinson the science teacher at Crofton School where I was Head of PE and told him that I wanted to do some recording again. He was fine about that – however I now had to tell him that the songs to be recorded were no longer straight pop songs, with a view to making us money, but Christian songs.   For some reason I was embarrassed about this and mumbled “John, the words have changed.”  John replied “Why, the words are fine.”  “Yes John but now they are Chris………. words” I did not actually say the word Christian as I had my hand over my mouth so just a muffled “Chris …” came out.  About three times this happened before John could hear the word “Christian.” “That’s fine” he reassured me – so there had been no need for me to be embarrassed at all.

Next thing was to find a singer-I had just heard at the School Prom karaoke Lucy Stimpson the new Crofton music teacher sing  the Joe Cocker version of the Beatles’ song “With a little help from my friends” and knew that “she was the one.” So next day I ventured over to the music department armed with my cassette of “Don’t Lose Sight Of My Shore.”  After hearing it Lucy said that she would love to record it but why as the previous recording was great. “Ah yes Lucy” I hesitantly explained “But the words have changed.”  “Why, they are great words” insisted Lucy.  “Thanks, but they are now “Chris……. words” I burbled with hand over mouth.  After the regulation three “Chris’s …..” the word Christian came out to which Lucy replied “That’s great I am a Christian.” What no way -this was going too well – what about all the micky taking I was expecting?

I also found out that Lucy, not only had a beautiful voice, but also played piano brilliantly. Also  that she could play either by reading music  or by ear – and as there was no way that I could ever produce written music Lucy being able to play by ear was just perfect!

So the first CD was born- “ I Look Up To The Heavens.”  We then recorded “Love is the Way” “Uplifted” “Where Would I Be Without You” and “Precious” (which was in tribute to my mum) We also did numerous  concerns together including a performance at Hereford Cathedral. In addition Lucy starred in Mustard Seed’s musical “His Story which was performed at the Theatre Royal, Portsmouth, the Kings Theatre, Southsea and Central Hall, Westminster, London.

 It became more difficult for Lucy and me to record together after she moved to Cambridge and Mustard Seed Songs became focused on musical theatre. However I will always treasure all the wonderful times Lucy and I shared… and you never know there may still be more to come!

Quote of the week:

I would rather fail in the cause that ultimately will triumph rather than triumph in the cause that ultimately will fail.

Woodrow Wilson in Every Day With Jesus

x

Blog December 20th “Happy Christmas”

 

In The Beginning Was The Word featuring the His Story Original Cast from the album His Story, recorded and produced by Ross Gill

ALL AT MUSTARD SEED SONGS – THE TRUSTEES, MUSICIANS, MUSICAL DIRECTOR AND OUR WEBMASTER WISH YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY CHIRSTMAS AND PROPEROUS NEW YEAR.

Blog will return on December 27th

Take care and God bless

Ken

Blog December 13th “Is Creation Designed?”

“We Are Hard Pressed” featuring the Portsmouth Gospel Choir from the EP ” How Great Are His Signs” recorded and produced by Joffy Girling

So the sun is 93 million miles away from earth and its surface temperature is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit – if the earth’s temperature was 50 degrees hotter or colder all life would cease.  So it is an accident that the earth is not further away or closer to us  It is also an accident that we rotate 365 times a year as we pass around the sun. If we rotated only 36 times a year our days would be ten times as long and we’d be terribly hot on one side and unbearably cold on the other and life as we know it would cease.

Oxygen constitutes 21% of our atmosphere, the precise balance of air we need to breathe.  If it was 50% then as soon as a match was lit we would all be blown up. Again this an accident. Well I am no academic but  surely it takes a lot of faith to believe that all this and all the other amazing facts about our world and life just happened by accident- some would say a similar amount of faith to believe that a hurricane could hit a scrap yard and accidently create a Boeing 707!   It seems to me that it takes a lot less faith to believe that creation was designed; in which case there must be a Designer.

I do get a tad cross when some people say that science has disproved God – in fact I would say that facts like the above actually help to prove there is a God.  Another thing that annoys me is schools teaching evolution as a fact rather than a theory. I can see that Genna, our lovely Labrador puppy, evolved from a wolf (especially when by accident Caroline or I get a nip!) however that is not at all the same as believing that she and we both evolved from some form of  “pond life.”  It seems much more likely to me that Genna evolved from the first wolf/dog that was designed by God and we evolved from the first human being that was designed by God.  Yes it takes faith to believe this but, as I said, it also takes faith to believe that all creation happened by accident and then all the different, wonderful and amazing species somehow evolved from “pond life.”

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:

Doubt your doubts and believe your beliefs

Every Day With Jesus

Blog December 6th “Opening of ACTS – The Musical – Part One”


Genna at 14 weeks

I Love You Lord (L. Klein) featuring the Portsmouth Gospel Choir from the EP “How Great Are His Signs” recorded and produced by Joffy Girling

I could not resist sharing this picture of our lovely dog Genna taken by our MD Joffy Girling when he was at our house a few weeks ago recording. Obviously his camera is a bit special !
I am not sure what the future holds for the full stage production of Risen! The Musical – it would be wonderful for the show to take place again but we will just have to wait and see. However, we are all ready to go for another school tour of Risen! The Musical Theatre in Education – just need £10k of funding!
The versions of Risen! The Musical on YouTube with subtitles in Mandarin, Spanish and Romanian are getting views – please visit www.risenthemusical.com but we really need some help in knowing how to guide more people towards viewing.
One project of Mustard Seed Songs, of which we know the direction, is the sequel to Risen! The Musical which keeps having its working title changed but which at present is ACTS – The Musical – Part One.
We have already had a number of singers record parts including Alex Knox (Luke) Oscar Batterham (Theophilus) Katie Forge (Mary Magdalene) Max Panks (Saul/Paul) Gemma Terry ( Rhonda) Tim Prestige (Matthias) Ron Long ( Simon the Sorcerer) and Chloe Brockenshire (Suzanna.) I am delighted to say that now Nicola Poustie, one of the original Mustard Seed Girls’ Choir and Mustard Seed Soul band members will be recording for us after Christmas. Nicola sang the part of Mary Magdalene for the Risen! CD and is singing the part of Tabitha for ACTS. We are also hoping that James Townend will be able to record the part of Philip. James sang the part of Thomas for the Risen! CD. In March we will be recording eight more members of the London Touring Cast for parts such as Stephen the first martyr, the Ethiopian official of Queen Candace, the crippled man who was healed at the Gate called Beautiful plus all the ensemble.
I thought you might like to see how the Show opens:
Luke: – Acts 1: 1- 11
Theophilus- Theophilus- – it is your humble servant Luke,
Theophilus:
Luke, my dear friend- it’s been too long – writer of such a wonderful book
Jesus crucified – then risen alive
For forty days appearing as hundreds testified
Theophilus and Luke
Ascended – ascended to heaven
Angels proclaiming He would return.
He would return it again
Luke:
Most excellent Theophilus may I be so bold
There is now so much more of the story to be told
The church has been born – I’ve witnessed it all
How the gospel has spread -allow me to recall

Quote of the week:
The issue with worry is that it does not change anything except you.
Every Day With Jesus

Blog November 29th “Christmas Presents“

Heart on Fire from the album “How Great Are His Signs” featuring the Portsmouth Gospel Choir recorded and produced by Joffy Girling

My wife Caroline and I were discussing what to do about Christmas presents this year – in particular how to broach the subject with some family members of how the money we all spend could be put to much better use -by giving it to those people that really need it.  We decided the time had come to end buying a family member a bottle of wine or pair of socks and getting something of similar value in return.

We knew this was the right thing to do but was not sure how to approach the subject as we felt some might not agree with our sentiments.  Now it may have been a coincidence or more likely a “Godinstance” but we just happened to watch a Martin Lewis Money Expert programme on TV in which Martin referred to a plea he had made some years earlier “It’s time to ban unnecessary Christmas presents. ” This is this week’s featured video clip.

So we included the clip in a message we emailed to those  family members who were foremost in our mind and lo and beyond they all agreed to our suggestion! So now instead of unwanted socks and scarves we will be donating the monies saved to “Crisis at Christmas.” https://www.crisis.org.uk/get-involved/reserve-a-place-at-crisis-at-christmas/

So for every £28.18 donated a homeless person  receives:

  • A warm welcome and good company
  • Three nutritious, hot meals daily, including a delicious Christmas dinner
  • A bed for the night, if needed
  • A chance to shower, freshen up and get clean clothes
  • A health check and treatment from a doctor, optician and dentist
  • Expert help with mental health and addiction problems
  • Advice on housing, employment and benefits
  • A way out of homelessness for good through Crisis’ year-round training, education and support.

Of course “Crisis at Christmas” is not the only charity which needs support- The Salvation Army also has a campaign by which you can donate, for example £19.00 which will provide for a box filled with food and modest gifts for a family in need -https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/donate

One of our family members is donating the saved Christmas present money to the Alzheimer’s Society- the point it that it really is time to change – in addition to the good it does  – donating monies to good causes that otherwise would be spent  on worthless presents – what Martin Lewis calls “tat”-  really is liberating.

Quote of the week

If you want to go fast go alone if you want to go far go together

African proverb

Blog November 22nd “Risen! The Musical with subtitles in Mandarin.“

“How Great Are His Signs” featuring the Portsmouth Gospel Choir from the album “How Great Are His Signs” recorded and produced by Joffy Girling

Suffering this week with a touch of “man flu” so just a short blog – however the video is 1 hour 43 mins and 24 secs long!

So many, many thanks to Katherine Olivia Hobbs for translating Risen! The Musical into Mandarin and to Alex-Emanuel Şerban for creating the subtitles.

In addition to Mandarin Risen! The Musical also has subtitles in Romanian and Spanish. This made me wonder which language is the most used in the world.  A bit of googling came up with this:

Determining what are the most spoken languages in the world is a more difficult task than you might imagine. We can say with some confidence that Mandarin, English, Spanish and Arabic will make an appearance (and roughly in what order) but there are some surprises, too! Would you have guessed that Bengali is in the Top 10 most spoken languages?

The number of native speakers of Mandarin is almost 1.2 billion native speakers. If we were only to look at native speakers, Spanish has its nose in front of English with about 400 million speakers. There are 360 million-odd native English speakers and half a billion people who speak it as a second language.

Of course there is also the Chinese language of Cantonese – what is the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese? Again a bit of googling resulted in:

Mandarin is the official state language of China and is the lingua franca of the country. In much of the country, it is the primary spoken language, including Beijing and Shanghai, although many provinces still retain their own local dialect. Mandarin is also the main dialect in Taiwan and Singapore.

Cantonese is spoken by the people of Hong Kong, Macau and the wider Guangdong province, including Guangzhou (previously Canton in English). Most foreign Chinese communities, such as those in London and San Francisco, also speak Cantonese because historically Chinese immigrants hailed from Guangdong.

 

Quote of the week

What matters in not the years in your life but the life in your years

Blog November 15th “Update on the Risen Christ Central Chapel, Southern Nigeria”

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Risen Christ Central Chapel – July 2017 to October 2018

Pastor Patrick with some of the orphans in his congregation

 

A Mustard Seed Of Faith – featuring the Portsmouth Gospel Choir from the album “How Great Are His Signs” recorded and produced by Joffy Girling

Mustard Seed Songs are, at present involved in four different projects- Risen! The Musical,  Risen! The Musical Theatre in Education, our new musical Acts- Part One “Fire” and the construction of the Risen Christ Central Chapel in Southern Nigeria.

More on Risen! The Musical next week after we have made public on YouTube the version with subtitles in Mandarin.

I am writing more letters this week to potential sponsors of an Easter 2019 Risen! Theatre in Education tour of Primary schools.

Thanks to Chloe Brokenshire, Gemma Terry and Tim Prestige who on Monday recorded ensemble parts for Acts  (thanks also to Joffy Girling our Musical Director recording and production wizard)

This week, however I just wanted to show the fantastic progress that has been made on the building of the Risen Christ Central Chapel in Cross River State, Southern Nigeria. I hope the pictures speak for themselves as to how much has been done in the past 15 months.  The next stage is to finish lining the inside of the roof and then it will be the installation of windows and doors, next electricity and then tiling and plastering.

It is still not too late to help with the costs – you could either download the CD “How Great Are His Signs” featuring the amazing Portsmouth Gospel Choir which was recorded especially to raise funds for the build. https://mustardseedsongs.hearnow.com/

There is also the opportunity to make a contribution directly by visiting our My Donate page – https://mydonate.bt.com/events/portsmouthgospelchoir/452133

Many thanks indeed

Quote of the week

It’s not what you have lost but what you have left which counts.

The Word for Today

Blog November 9th “Ten Words” Every Day With Jesus

Lord I Come to Bathe in Your Glory featuring Lucy Stimpson-Maynard from the album Love is the Way recorded and produced by John Hodkinson

For many years I have read the daily Bible reading notes published by CWR and written by Rev. Selwyn Hughes-“Every Day With Jesus” (EDWJ.) Selwyn’s words have inspired many Mustard Seed Songs, in fact in 2005 we were honoured to have a mini CD of Mustard Seed Songs attached to a special edition of EDWJ which marked the 40th anniversary of this daily devotional.  It was our honour that 80,000 of these editions were distributed worldwide.  The featured song today comes from that mini CD. Selwyn died in 2005 and it was also our honour for some of our songs to be played at the celebration of his life held at Central Hall, Westminster.

CWR continue to publish previous editions of EDWJ with the September/October 2018 issue named “Ten Words”  – an in- depth exploration of the Ten Commandments.  The points that Selwyn made were I felt very well summed up in the final devotion of Wednesday, October 31st which had Romans: 13 8- 14 as the day’s Scripture:  “Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.”

Here is Selwyn’s summary:

We saw yesterday that every breach of these Ten Words (Ten Commandments) is a breach of love and when love directs life there is no such breach. So important is this simple but magnificent principle that we spend our last day together applying it to each of the Ten Commandments.  If we love God absolutely, then we will not be able to find room for another god and the first of the Ten Words is fulfilled. Supreme love for God also means that we will not suffer anything to stand between us and Him and so all idols are broken to pieces. Out of love will spring a reverence of His name and a life worthy of the one who lends His name to us. Love understands the principle behind the Sabbath and will not just cease from work but will also gladly engage with rest and remembrance.

In the second part of the Commandments, love for God means we will honour our parents and will quench all thoughts of hatred for others. Love treats another’s property with respect and keeps our thoughts and conduct towards the opposite sex pure. When love is the filter of what we speak it arrests the faintest whisper of false witness against others.  And love of God gives us a contentment with ourselves and what we have that leaves no room in the heart for coveting anything but Him and the greatest thing- love (I Corinthians 13;13) When men and women  learn to love then Sinai, the mountain  of fire holds no fear. They can stand tall against it, knowing that as Jesus lives and loves in them thoughts will be born, words will be spoken and deeds will be done – in love. Then in thought and word and deed the law is fulfilled.

 

Quote of the week

If God’s mind was small enough for me to understand then He would not be God.

Joni Erikson- Tada in The Word for Today

Blog November 1st Pastor Chris Wickland of the Living Word Church Network


Rev. Christopher Wickland – Senior Pastor of The Living Word Church Network

 

Video clip from Mustard Seed Songs’ first musical His Story

Triumphal Entry (Shearsmith/Wickland) featuring the Mustard Seed Soul Band from the album His Story recorded and produced by Ross Gill

Last week I mentioned that before Risen! The Musical, Mustard Seed Songs’ produced another musical called His Story.  In His Story actors relived the life of Jesus cuing up songs performed by the Mustard Seed Soul Band, enhanced by dancing and a multi- media package.  His Story played at the Kings Theatre, Southsea (at which the featured clip was filmed) the Ferneham Hall, Fareham and Central Hall, Westminster, London. There are some songs from His Story that also feature in  Risen! The Musical  including “Jesus is my Lord,” “Be Set Free” and an up tempo  version of “You Are My Rock.”

Members  of the Mustard Seed Soul Band have included – Guitar: Ross Gill and Chris Wickland, Bass: Andy Herbertson, Gareth Matthews, Ben Lewis and Harun Kotch – Drums: Darren Lewis and Josh Eaves – Percussion: Ian Johnson – Trumpet: Stuart Fowler and Jo Downs – Saxophone: Rob Richardson, Mike Backhouse  and Tim Downs – Trombone: Matthew Sargent and Philip Brockenshire – Violin: Cathy Matthews – Vocalists: Nicola Poustie, Fiona Poustie, Kat Hands, Katy Summer, Lianne Wilson, Lucy Rutherford,  Jessica Castillo-Burley, Ross Gill, Harun Kotch  and Mike Backhouse.

I highlighted the name of guitarist Chris Wickland because on Friday of last week I heard him give a fantastic talk about his life – only about thirty seconds was given over to his life as a musician – the rest was devoted to his journey from Witchcraft to Christ. I cannot give what was an amazing and totally unique talk justice here but instead I encourage you to take the time to listen to Chris’ talk via this link https://www.facebook.com/501936389/videos/10156645094346390/

Incidentally Chris playing guitar with the Mustard Seed Soul Band is captured approx. 1 min 1 secs into today’s His Story video clip.  He also penned the fantastically catchy music of today’s featured song which Chris originally titled  Winter Festival. I loved the tune so much that Chris graciously gave me permission to add lyrics and so it became a His Story song – The Triumphal Entry.

Quote of the week

Let God’s peace be the Sentinel that stands on duty at the door of your heart.

Every Day With Jesus