Blog September 19th “Acts The Musical – Showreel – Part One”

Acts – The Musical – Showreel – Introduction – featuring Alex Knox as Luke and Edward Duly – Baker as Theophilus – recorded and produced by

jjamesaudio

So we at Mustard Seed Songs have been working hard at producing a 20 minute “Showreel” for Acts The Musical. We realised that it could be sometime before we could finance the recording of the whole 2-hour Show or indeed film it – so instead we have focused on giving people a” feel” of what is to come by producing this 20 minute “Showreel.”
We have chosen excerpts that we hope will demonstrate the flavour and variety of the Show plus give an idea of how Acts – The Musical works on two levels 1) telling the story of how the Gospel message was spread as chronicled in the Acts of the Apostles. 2) Using Theophilus, who was probably Luke’s sponsor, as a person on a faith journey, symbolic of someone in the audience.
We have been so fortunate in having two West End actors – Alex Knox and Edward Duly- Baker to play the roles of Luke and Theophilus.
So, this week it is the introduction:
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 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
Theophilus –
Luke, I don’t know how to tell you this – I do believe but I just need help with my unbelief.
Luke:
Having a relationship with Jesus is a journey on which we are all at different stages. Please allow me to be your guide – let me share with you the Acts of the Apostles
Quote the week
The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.
Abraham Lincoln

Blog September 10th “Agnosticism”

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

First, I thought I would share the latest photo of our two lovely doggies- Genna, the Labrador and Dylan, the Boarder (Border Collie – Lab cross)
Second, I recently had a thought I would like to share. Many people I know would not regard themselves as Christians or Atheists but Agnostics- i.e. unsure if there is a God or not.
A dictionary definition of Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God, of the divine or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable. Another definition provided is the view that “human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist.”
So, I tell my friend Joe that I have a friend called Edward Glover who lives at 35 East Street, Gillingham Kent. I then ask Joe if he believes me. Joe can say yes because he has actual evidence that Edward lives there – for example he saw Edward walk through the front door of no 35. Joe could also simply trust me as he knows I would not lie or perhaps Joe could simply reason why would I wish to deceive him.
Joe could also say that, for whatever reasons, he does not believe that Edward lives at no 35. The third alternative is that Joe could adapt a sort of agnostic attitude- I am not sure if Edward lives there – or how can I know if he does? But Edward choosing this option does not take away the fact that either Edward does or doesn’t live at 35 East Street, Gillingham, Kent.
I would like to extend this thought to argue that either God exists or He does not – an agnostic position of “not sure/how can I know” does not detract from the fact that either there is a God or there is not.
This argument could continue to consider the evidence of God existing or not. Evidence for His existence could include how He reveals Himself to us but I am rushing on- my point today is that being an agnostic does not take away the fact that there are only two possible truths to the question “Is there a God? It is either “Yes or “No” – “Don’t know” does not constitute a third possibility.
Quote the week
A little progress each day adds up to big results
Satya Nani.

Blog 3rd September Two more Videos

 

For the month of August, I shared four videos with you that, for different reasons I had found powerful and encouraging.
It was not my intention to carry on sharing videos in September but I received one from my dear friend Mr Mill that I thought I had to share. Also, as I was flicking through TV channels the other day, I came across the Edinburgh Tattoo- now Caroline and I have been to Edinburgh Castle where it takes place so I thought I would take a brief look, even though it is not really “my thing”.
It turned out it was a recording of the 2018 Tattoo as Covid had caused the 2020 event to be cancelled, however I was absolutely knocked out with a drum performance and was even more knocked out when I discovered that the drum band are private and not military – “The Top Secret Drum Corps.”
Should have some up to date info next week of our forthcoming Acts- The Musical

Blog August 28th Fourth of the August Videos

For the month of August, I have been sharing four videos with you that, for different reasons I have found powerful and encouraging.
So, the fourth video is of Edward Baker- Duly singing an extract from a Show in which he starred – “The Bridges of Madison County.” The beautiful song is “It All Fades Away.” Edward sings it wonderfully and I am delighted to say that he has been recording the part of Theophilus in our forthcoming “Acts -The Musical.” Edward has performed in Broadway and the West End so it really is a pleasure and privilege to be working with him.

Blog August 21st “Third of Four August videos”

For the month of August, I am sharing four videos with you that, for different reasons I have found powerful and encouraging.
So, the third video is Mustard Seed’s second virtual choir video “Still in Tears” which is an extract from our forthcoming “Acts- The Musical.” It portrays the feelings of members of the church of Ephesus as they watch Paul – who had been with them for two years- sail away to Jerusalem, distraught as they knew that they would never see him again.
Many thanks for all who took part and to Joffy Girling (JoffyJames) for the recording and edit.

Blog August 7th “First of Four August videos”


Where Would I Be Without You? featuring Lucy Stimpson – Maynard from the album Where Would I Be Without You? recorded and produced by Ross Gill

For the month of August, I want to share four videos that, for different reasons I have found powerful and encouraging.
So, a short rest from writing and even quoting – thus allowing time for you to please take a look at the videos.
It is also my lovely wife Caroline’s birthday yesterday and it is our wedding anniversary on Sunday – hence the featured song is “Where Would I Be Without You”? – one of Caroline’s favourite Mustard Seed songs and also, of course having very appropriate lyrics.
Happy August to all.

Blog July 30th “Max Panks”


Do not let your hearts be troubled – from the album Risen! The Musical recorded and produced by Joffy Girling

These are most challenging and difficult times for us all, but as lockdown eases and most are beginning to return to work – those working in the entertainment industry are still a long, long way off from returning to anything that resembles normal.
Actor Max Panks, who played the part of Jesus so wonderfully sensitively in Risen! The Musical, is an example of this. Max was taking part in musical theatre on a cruise ship when all on board were quarantined off Tampa Bay, Florida. Max had to stay isolated in his cabin for more than 2 weeks and it was much longer before he was eventually repatriated to England.
Max is recording the part of Saul/Paul for our forthcoming production “Acts The Musical”– he also featured in our, soon to be released, second virtual choir video “Still in Tears.” However Max is forging out another career – that of an artist. You can check out his beautiful water colours at https://www.facebook.com/maxpanksart/
Short blog this week as I am running, for the 28th year, the Crofton Summer Sports Week. Normally we have up to 100 children taking part in all manner of sports and physical activities but this year, in order to comply with government guidelines on social distancing, we have a limited attendance of 40 children aged 8- 13. It’s really good fun but at the same time really tiring !
Quote of the week
“God will meet you where you are in order to take you where He wants you to go.”

Tony Evans

Blog July 23rd “How Great Are His Signs”


Heavilyn Sarpong conducting the Portsmouth Gospel Choir recording at Challow Park

I was so very chuffed when my very good friend, Pastor Darren Bovis- Coulter, asked if he could use “How Great Are His Signs” for Limbrick Wood Baptist Church’s teaching series from the Book of Daniel.
The song has been used in three different formats. The first was as a chorus for a song written during a very difficult time for Caroline, my wife and me. It was called “Allow His Loving Arms” and was sung by Ross Gill for the Mustard Seed album “The Season of Singing.” The lyrics of the verse were inspired by a card sent by a friend to express her condolences. The chorus I took from the Book of Daniel.
Allow His loving arms to wrap around you,
Know His heart has been broken too,
And in the darkest night of doubt and pain,
Let Him comfort you- just whisper His Name.

For great are His signs,
And mighty His wonders,
His Kingdom’s eternal,
And His dominion endures,
For He is the Living God,
He rescues and saves,
He comforts and heals,
And in Him we can trust.

I always thought that the chorus could stand alone and could be made more “anthem” like and so Joffy our MD and I used it for Risen! The Musical. Here it is sung by the disciple Thomas with the song building over four choruses as more and more of the Risen! cast join in.
Heavilyn Sarpong, from The Portsmouth Gospel Choir, and I were looking at songs that could be “gospelised” for a EP to support the work of Mustard Seed Songs in building a church in Southern Nigeria- “How Great” was an obvious selection. The arrangement by Joffy, Heavilyn and David Ohene- Akrasi is, I hope you agree, wonderful. It was recorded by 29 members of the Portsmouth Gospel Choir and produced by joffyjamesaudio at the Challow Park Studios (see featured pic.)

Quote of the week
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.
Jim Elliot

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