Tuesday, 20 December 2011

A Baby Changes Everything



Christian palindrome used at the Reading Family Church christmas carol concert 2011. On the night we had 2 people narrating the words over the top. Made the video from scratch and hopefully created a nice reflective moment on the night.


All copyright for text is not our own, it is all the work of The Bible Chapel - http://www.youtube.com/user/TheBibleChapel. Video background is the fantastic work of Zach Fonville - http://zachfonville.com/. Music is Chad Lawson - Sing We Now Of Christmas (http://feelslikechristmas.com/free-christmas-music/traditional-instrumental/)

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Carol Concert 2011

This Sunday we will be holding our second carol concert at Reading Girls' School from 5-6.30pm. With plenty of carols to sing-a-long to, a choir doing some fantastic performances, minces pies afterwards and plenty more, it's going to be a brilliant night. If you're in the Reading area do pop and join in the festive fun with us...

Look forward to seeing you there

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

My fave new version of a Christmas carol 2011

 Last year it was Phil Wickham's "Evermore" which is quite frankly still fantastic... this year i've gone for David Crowder's redo of "Joy To The World"... fantastic drum beat and a new shout along chorus...

Give it a listen here

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

I am second


I came across this website called "I Am Second" where some relatively famous (well in America they are) Christians give their testimony. The Brian Welch video (ex-guitarist from Korn) is the most popular and in some ways it was a very high profile conversion.

Give it a watch and see just what a difference Jesus can have on a person's life. To me hearing his story and seeing the beautifully extreme transformation is just astounding. 

Watch the video here: Brian Welch - I Am Second
(Warning - He talk a bit explicitly about his previous drug use, in some ways that helps show just how radical the turnaround is)

Friday, 18 November 2011

Here For You + One Thing Remains

It's always interesting to see which songs are beginning to extend beyond a certain movement. It would seem currently that Matt Redman's "Here For You" and Jesus Culture's "One Thing Remains" are 2 such songs (judging by the amount of CDs the songs are on). Have a listen and see what you think of them

Matt Redman - Here For You

Jesus Culture - One Thing Remains

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Duelity



"Duelity is a split-screen animation that tells both sides of the story of Earth’ s origins in a dizzying and provocative journey through the history and language that marks human thought."

apologies for the rather crude animation of "animals filling the land" in advance... but i thought it was a rather interesting comparison of Creation & Evolution...

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Acoustic Night Sat 12 Nov

This Saturday will see us holding our second acoustic night. We've got 3 fantastic acts - Lozi Bolton, Mimi & Friends and Forerunner and we're very excited to hear what they have in store for us.

You can book tickets here, to avoid missing out on what will be a brilliant night, or grab a ticket on the doors.

So bring some friends, nab a ticket and look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Today...

Today is no ordinary day
Today is one that I'll always remember
Today it's no longer I but we
Today I get to build a home
Today things change for the better
Today I get a join a family
Today my family gets one person bigger
Today we throw a party
Today we celebrate what God has joined together
Today my best friend becomes my wife
Today I get a partner for life
Today is a very special day
I like today

Friday, 21 October 2011

Beats, loops and Sunday Meetings...


On Sunday i will be attempting something a tad different. We're constantly trying to think of creative things we can use to help stop us being stale musically and that people don't turn up already knowing exactly what's going to happen. We also want to use our creativity to help draw people closer to Jesus rather than taking attention away from Him.

What will be different this week is that we won't have a drum kit (though we will have a djembe), instead for the first 3 songs we'll be using beats & loops to create most of the rhythm for the songs. 

We'll see how it goes, just gotta hope Mr. Mac doesn't decide to switch off randomly!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Humble Pie strikes back

The humble pie has returned in full force. While covering Karen's duties of writing out the life group notes i managed to write this:

 "Community Lunch: On the 30th October after the morning meeting (12.45-3pm) we will be holding a community lunch at the church offices. There will be an African theme to the event with bring & share food, fellowship and the opportunity to learn some traditional “Gumboot” dancing, so bring your willies."

My bad... hopefully my embarrassing mistake brought a laugh or two out of you!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Keep Singing Of The Cross - released


So on Sunday we released the CD and gave them away for free. You can still grab a copy from the church office.

You can also download the album from this website:
 http://readingfamilychurch1.bandcamp.com/

Below is a player if you want to have a listen to some of the songs.




There is also a songbook which we've made up which you can download from here:
http://issuu.com/rfcmedia/docs/songbook



   



So after many months the CD is out, hope you enjoy listening to the songs!



Friday, 7 October 2011

They've arrived!

So we started the CD project back around February time and since then we've had a lot of recording sessions, many discussions about the CD & plenty of phone calls to production companies. The result is our first CD which arrived in its physical form today. You'll be able to grab a copy at the 10th Anniversary Meeting this Sunday. If you miss the event you'll be able to get your mittens on one by heading down into the church office.

If you're more of a digital kind of person you'll be able to download one off our newly formed bandcamp website. It'll be live this weekend and you'll find it here

Phew, i think i'll have a large cup of tea to celebrate...

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Download website

We're days away from the 10th Anniversary and I'm currently trying to finish building a bandcamp website so people can download the RFC album "Keep Singing Of The Cross". Hopefully we'll be able to keep updating it with new content in the following months & years. We aim to include some dance remixes of our songs as well as acoustic tracks and any future songs we write. Exciting times! Will let you know when it's live...

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Keep Singing Of The Cross Song book (coming soon)

Just finishing off a songbook we're hoping to release along with the CD. It'll include the chord for the songs on the RFC CD. Hopefully you'll enjoy the chance to play along to the songs you hear. We'll have it available off the website to view & download and probably off this blog & the RFC music blog website. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Forumla For Happiness


The Formula For Happiness from Central Films on Vimeo.


perhaps a little on the cheesy/american side of things, but i love the simplicity of the graphics and how they've used them effectively

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Keep Singing Of The Cross released 9th Oct

So the CD is now currently being physically made... The picture is the artwork for those interested. The fantastic Pete Coggan designed it and we're ever so pleased with it.

We shall be giving the CD away at our 10th Anniversary Celebration so don't miss it! 

Friday, 9 September 2011

"Mixy mix mix time"

Yesterday Grae, Jess Del Rio and myself sat down and listened to mixes for what seemed like a very long time, making subtle tweaks,  played around with intro/exits and amused my strong desire to "reverse delay" everything.

So where we're at is, listening to the mixes on repeat... constantly... and hopefully catch things that don't sound right as well as thinking of any other changes we might need to make. The artwork will shortly be commissioned and be ready, fingers crossed, by next week. Mastering will take place next week as well, if we stay on plan, and then production the following week. We also have a potential bonus addition if we can figure it out...

It's been amazing hearing these songs that we sing on a Sunday translated into recordings and we hope that these songs may benefit other churches. We do feel we have something different to bring compared to songs being written by other church, so 7 Reading Family Church home written songs coming your way, very soon...

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Grace (Jesus Author Perfecter of Faith)

So i have a few songs on the go which are in the unfortunate limbo position (i.e. frustratingly close to being finished but can't figure out as few lines)...

One such song is this one called "Grace" or "Jesus author perfecter of faith. I started writing it possibly last year after looking at the passage Hebs 12:2. I then started to incorporate the idea of adoption and how because of what Jesus has done we can now enter into God's family. Pete Coggan helped me shape a great tune for the chorus though unfortunately i still can't figure out a second half to the chorus... there are some other frustrating lines and i've pondered trying to write a simply Trinitarian tag... but so far my efforts haven't resulted in a finished song... anyways here are the lyrics i have so far...
---
Jesus Author Perfecter of Faith/Grace 

Verse 1:
Jesus author perfecter of faith
You have lifted me from the grave
By Your spirit I’m found in You
Now my soul will sing Your praise

By no merit or work could I boast
Simply Jesus and your great worth
My salvation secure in you
Now my soul will sing Your praise

Chorus:

Grace has freed me
Grace now leads me
To the open arms of my Father 
---
???
???
???
---


Verse 2:
Was a sinner and far from you
Yet you chose me, (maybe: said I am yours or “You are mine”)
Irresistible grace you showed
Caused my soul to sing Your praise

Now this orphan’s a child of God
And my sonship forever stands
For my Saviour has called me home
Caused my soul to sing Your praise

Bridge ???



So hopefully with a bit of prayer, inspiration, some elbow grease and a lot of thinking i may get this song finished and hopefully it'll get a play at RFC at some point in the future! I'll share some of the "other songs in waiting" soon



Thursday, 11 August 2011

Newday 2011

The youth from RFC attended Newday this year... Check out the rather fantastically well done video review of what went on. Our training base leader Brett has headed up Newday for the past few years and this was his final one. Looks like the event went down pretty well (despite rain!)

Friday, 5 August 2011

We Are Yours - Forerunner



My good mate Pete has done it again... He's written this cracking tune called "We Are Yours". It's a song that talks about freedom, how we've been adopted into God's family and the chorus swells at the end to the very shout able "WE ARE YOURS..." I remember when he first played it to me and it sounded brilliant then, but the recording of it is top notch... The boys definitely have some talent up their sleeves. I believe it may have been played at Newday this year and will be interesting to see how it was done there. Do give it a listen, i can't wait to download it soon... 

Friday, 29 July 2011

Continued progress

Weds was my first day doing some vocal recording with Claire. While singing on a sunday meeting feels quite natural now, standing in in front of a mic and with headphones on in an empty room is quite a different experience. You feel quite exposed and every little mistake made is quite evident (and there were quite a few mistakes on my side!). It was though great fun  trying out new things with harmonies etc... and just trying to give character to tracks through melodies. The songs are now starting to take real shape and i can't wait to hear them all filled out with vocals.

All is progressing well with the CD, we're finishing off the lead vocals and harmonies in the coming days and then adding in the vocal group to beef up a few parts of the songs. Below are 2 video clips if you're interested that may whet your appetite of what it's beginning to sound like... don't judge the songs by my phone's poor recording quality though!

video
video
More updates coming soon!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

When Maccy boy became extremely useful

Recording for RFC CD (still to finalise the name) is back on and i'm sat at my desk editing recordings for what will hopefully be a few parts for a nice vocal group/choir to sing on a few tracks...

Claire and I spent a few hours tracking some parts and hopefully all the parts will sound really nice together. Here's a little clip of how the harmonies will hopefully help strengthen verse 4 of "And Can It Be"


Monday, 18 July 2011

What a few weeks

Haven't blogged in ages, been a very busy period...

Moved house twice, been to 2 weddings (played at both), marriage prep of both kinds, lead worship, been to brighton, said farewell to my fellow london fpers, had new projects assigned to me, seen the cd project start up again, practiced for another wedding and many other things...

How much of it i've tried to do in my own strength and how much I relied on God is something, i've been thinking about and probably it's been weighted the wrong way...

Claire gave me a good scripture when I was beginning to feel the weight of stress...

"because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness". (Lam 3:22-23)

I'm glad my God is always trustworthy to get me through whatever I face in life and showers compassion on me!

I'm now relaxing in Cheltenham and looking forward to a nice week off I have ahead of myself

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Worship Leader Meeting

Last night we had our first worship leaders meeting of the year. It was great fun as we sat, ate some chinese takeaway first, had a few laughs and then talked about how we felt about worship leading currently and some other practical stuff.

 It was a brilliant time of encouragement and re-envisioning for us. It's fantastic to be on team with these people and a real privilege to serve with them.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Lots and lots of drums



so as we try and push on with doing creative things, this week i'm attempting to have 2 djembes and 1 cajon and seeing how it works musically at the evening meeting...

If all goes well may try and do it bigger scale the following week... not sure we'll be able to pull of what the people in the above video do but it's definitely got me in the mood for more drums!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Worship Song "Audit"

I'm a big fan of looking at stats... it's a great way of being able to see things that at a glance you may not be able to see.

I've done this before, but today i complied a list of all the songs we've played so far this year and tallied up how many times we've played each song, and also what individually each worship leader has played... on top of this i also put the year each song was written on the totals (just because it interested me really!)

Our top 14 songs were (because there were 5 joint number 10s)

And can it be (2010) - homewritten remake of the hymn
To God be the glory (2010) - Lou Fellingham
Keep Singing (2011) - homewritten
Stronger (2008) - Hillsong
Amazing Grace (trad)
Because of your love (2008) - Al Gordon
How great thou art (trad)
See his love (2005) - Tom Lockley
There's no condemnation (2005) - Simon Brading
I delight (2010) - homewritten
Our god he reigns (2007) - Simon Brading & Matt Redman
The righteousness of god (2010) - Jordan Dillon
When I survey (trad)
Yahweh (2009) - Hillsong

It's an interesting mix of songs, and in our top 3 we've written as a church 2 of them!

As a team we don't want to get stale and simple play the same songs again and again... As one would hope, it's encouraging seeing the top songs we played last year not getting played as often this year as we hopefully keep trying to stay fresh in the songs we sing and not kill songs by playing them every week...

While it's good to not making 'singing the latest song' the be all and end all, we similarly want to keep pressing on and singing the timeless truths in a fresh way... i'll be interested to see what songs RFC are singing when i do this next year!






Thursday, 23 June 2011

So long farewell, auf wiedersehen goodbye (london training base)

So yesterday was the final training block/day for the London training base. It's crazy how quickly this year has gone by and how the end is now very much in sight.

I still remember as we all shuffled in at the first training block, so many strange faces, awkward first conversations, sizing up each other and all that first time stuff that happens when you meet a whole new group of people. Over this year we've seen strong friendships form, seen highs and lows, done fun things together and generally just been one big happy FP family.

Brett got us doing various things throughout the day such as writing a letter to ourselves (quite a surreal experience), brainstorming what can be improved about the year, thinking about what advice we would give the future FPers. Stef Liston gave us a stirring talk on how to guard our tender regenerate hearts, and Pete Wood gave us a few hard hitting words... We ended the day worshipping God, thanking Him for what's He's done and fixing our eyes on Him as we walk towards what He has planned next for us...

It's been such a fantastic year, I've met some brilliant people who are going to do some amazing stuff for God, I'm sure of it, Brett has been a fantastic base leader who's honesty and openness has helped set the pace for us to do the same and generally he's just been amazing...

The next London Base Fpers are going to have a fantastic time and if anyone reading this is um-ing or er-ing about FP... just do it... you won't regret it!

p.s. we did a "most likely to" poll and apparently i'm the most likely to get a card from "Big Tezza" (aka Terry Virgo)... He forgot this year and i'll forgive him but i'm expecting one next year!



Saturday, 18 June 2011

Craig and Ellie

Today saw my FP mentor Craig get married to the lovely Elli, was a fantastic day and a joyous occasion... It's great being part their family's day... I had "the view from the music seats"...



Wednesday, 15 June 2011

In His Shoes



As father's day approaches there's loads of videos popping up over the net/church resource websites... It's a challenging topic in many ways, and as I prepare to get marriage the reality that I could one day be a Dad does hit me every now and then... it's videos like this one that remind me I've got a lot of growing up to do still and how much responsibility there is as a parent!...

*UPDATE*
Dave Rogers has shown me a brilliant little video along the same lines!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Lion of Judah... the film...



So i came across this little film trailer, it can be perhaps described as a Christian attempt at a Pixar-esque film. I'm not going to say if i like it or not you can make your own mind up about the film, but it's interesting to see Christian's trying to step out into film culture.

Shame they seem to have given the whole plot away in this one trailer...

Sunday, 12 June 2011

A little bit older, maybe a little bit wiser

So i've now collected another year to the 22 I've already collected so far. I managed to head back early from southampton and was treated to a meal at tampopo by Claire.
It's been quite a year with ups and downs. Highlights including getting engaged to my beautiful fiancee Claire, fp as a whole, the packed out carol concert and many other things means there's lots to remember. This time last year I was working at a recruitment agency wondering what my fp year would look like... Now i'm sat wondering what marriage and full time employment at rfc will look like... I know that this coming year is one of a big transition...
The best thing of all is that I can testify about God's faithfulness and goodness throughout and how I know this will follow me through all my years. Thank you to the many many people who have blessed me this year, i'm so grateful to God for you. Looking forward to being able to talk about all the great things that have happened this time next year.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Park life - day 4

So friday at park life has come and gone, and we've witnessed God move once again. I left a bit early today but there was loads of people still receiving prayer for all sorts of things. Rfc's very own Scott Taylor was giving the talks and he communicated the gospel brilliantly. We saw more people once again responding to the good news that Jesus saves and numerous people asking for prayer for healing. We had a great time celebrating as well with some very unbritish dancing going on. It's my last day tomo so looking forward to whar God is goin to do amongst us... Plus it's my birthday!


Thursday, 9 June 2011

Park life - day 3

The fact day three ended with a large prayer tunnel pretty much sums up today. We saw more responses to thr gospel, healings (including legs regrowing!) and once again trying to bless southampton as much as we can in the time possible. We're definitely enjoying our time here and it's a privilege being part of park life 2011... it's great there's plenty of time left for God to continue to wow us



Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Park life - day 2

So it's been a busy day here at park life. After yesterday's training, it was the real deal today, as we told southampton about jesus. We had iffy moments with the weather including incredibly hail... I've been on bass duties for a bit and we had great times of worship over the 3 meetings. We've seen numerous responses to the gospel (unofficial count is 8) and people coming up for healing, so it's great seeing God working from the outset. Looking forward to more of the same tomorrow.


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Park life 2011 - day 1

So we've finished our first day here. We've mostly had training, worship and lots of prayer. It's been great hearing what's happened in previous years and stirring ourselves for the week. It's going to be a good week, i'm sure!


Park life - almost there

So tomorrow morning, the rfc interns once again hit the road for another chapter in our fp year. We shall journey to Southampton to take part in Park life 2011.  Sounds like there's going to be loads going on and we're expecting to see God do some amazing stuff (the stories from last year's event sound fantastic). Do keep the event in your prayers and hopefully we won't have to pull out the umbrellas very much over the week. Will try and blog/twitter during the week...

Friday, 3 June 2011

Prayer Meeting

Last night we had another one of our new monthly prayer meetings where we gather together as one church instead of meeting as life groups. We started by Richard giving an exposition on Psalm 24 before we launch into some songs.

It's always stirring seeing people passionately worship Jesus at these meetings and last night was no different. We try to choose songs that lift our gaze to our Saviour and remind us of biblical truths to help lead us into action. I think it's always good to be remind just how big a God we have before we start praying!

There was loads to pray about and we saw prophetic words spoken. We prayed about buildings, salvation, people to be set from and for people serving overseas. One of my favourite moments was seeing the church family huddle around Laura (who's going out to South America) and pray blessings over her.

It's such a privilege to be at nights like last night and to be standing side by side with other RFCers as we cry out to our Father. I'm looking forward to what He has in store for us! Do try to get along to the next one... you won't want to miss it...

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Father's Day @ RFC, 19th June

On Sunday 19th June at 12:30pm we're going to be celebrating Father's Day together as a church (that means both meetings). There's going to be a BBQ, a bouncy castle, inflatable joust, a tug of war and the infamous "Young Pups Vs Old Dogs" football match which i'm sure will be just as much fun as last year.

I'm looking forward to chatting to some new people, great food and lots of fun! Hopefully see you there (maybe on the pitch!)

Friday, 27 May 2011

Sitting is Killing You?

I came across this rather worrying graphic. Is a job sitting at a desk starring at a computer killing me? Maybe I should take up jogging while on the computer...


Via: Medical Billing And Coding

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Smart Phones on the mind...

So at the weekend Claire (my fiancee) signed up to a new contract with 3 and got a shiny new HTC Desire S in return. Now not only is she better looking, of higher "cool" standing and more talented than me, she now is more technologically advanced than me...

The world of phones has changed massively recently, and where we once were gasping at the fact that phones had colour (remember how blown away you were by this), we now expect them to do everything from emails, tell us where we are, entertain us, be a substitute for our debit cards (about to be introduced), take brilliant photos and many other things.

The world wants us to believe that these things will change our lives completely and fulfil our wildest dreams. I'm not sure they will but i do like the idea of getting emails on the go and playing a bit of Angry Birds during long journeys... (as well as a variety of more pious reasons).

Matt Giles (writer of "The Grace Of My God") has written an interesting blog on the topic and given reasons why he's given up his iphone. You can read it here

I like John Piper's idea of the Bible App arresting our focus on our smartphones... hopefully that'll happen with me if I get a smartphone... You can read Piper's thoughts here

All in all i guess with most things, a smartphone is a neutral thing that can be a good thing but without self control can quickly be a God thing too. Hopefully if i get one it won't become one for me!

oh and p.s.  if i do get one and I start to do that classic "not listen properly to conversation as i'm starring at my smartphone and flicking randomly" then you have permission to tell me off good and proper!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Erasing Hell...



So it seems Francis Chan will be wading into the Hell debate with his own book. A nice controversial title and a little promo video to accompany. I really enjoy Francis Chan's stuff and his humility shines constantly through his books/videos/talks. I like a lot of the points he makes about this whole hell conversation and looking forward to purchasing the book when it come out in July.

Check out the video and see what you make of what he says...

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Beautiful Things


Beautiful Things from Studio B on Vimeo.


In St Petersburg I struck up a conversation with a student about God, Jesus, the bible and his thoughts on the whole matter. He seemed to give me the classic answers of Jesus being a good teacher, agreed that there was something different about Him and what He taught, and generally seemed to think Jesus was a pretty brilliant person. Why I've remembered this conversation above the many others I've had was how he asked me "what difference does believing in Jesus make in a christian person life? What radical changes in their lives have taken place?"

The amazing thing about the God, is that He's in the business of actually changing us, of making us new. The 2 Cor 5:7 verse proclaims this boldly...

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here"

I'm sure we all have stories we can tell about what Christ has done in us & in others and I love how the video above shows this...hopefully the video above will make you smile and reflect on how wonderful it is that God is actively at work in us and it making us more like Christ each day.











Monday, 16 May 2011

Day (i'm not sure anymore) of Recording

Today we had another day of recording (i've lost count of how many days we've done so far) and the songs are now all starting to take shape. It's been great hearing some of the ideas people have come up with for the 7 songs we're doing. We now tracked all drums, bass, rhythm and the majority of electric. Keys are also in the process of being recording atm. May try and give you all a sneak peek of some of what we've done at some point, in my opinion it sounds brilliant! Hopefully can start taking preorders at some point soon! Big thank you to all who have put in so much effort already and those who are working away at parts at the moment, it's a privilege working with such talented people.

Monday Football Thoughts

My favourite football blogger pretty much sums up my frustration and disappointment with this season here

While we certainly weren't the best team in the league, we had clear chances to turn us from being from nearly men to actually winning something. Yet once again Arsenal fans are left watching our rivals gloat over us... (2 man utd fans in my house ensure this...)

So what will the summer bring? Well the rumour mill will begin that Captain Cesc will leave, The founder of Compare the Meerkat will leave us to return to the homeland, and i'm sure some young french "next big thing" will be linked to us

What would I like? I'm switching between if Cesc leaving with do us good or not, deadwoods need to be removed quickly and we need a backbone as a team again. The Verminator's return should help this process but it would seem that major investment is needed.

We lost 2-1 to Aston Villa, a team without it's manager and yet seemed to be much more up for a fight than we were. Let's hope that the team regains it's confidence with a successful summer and some fresh faces who are up for the new season...

Thursday, 12 May 2011

All I Have Is Christ (Animation)



This is simply a stunning piece of work... I love the imagery of how Jesus on the cross takes the wrath of God & of the person running towards Christ. Hope you enjoy this and it stirs something in you.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

St Petersburg

So for the past week i've been in the city of St Petersburg with Sean, visting Dave and Hannah Henson. It was great to finally see what's happening @Hope Church after hearing so much about it.

The trip was rammed with things to do, including: Pastor meetings, 3 church services (got to do some bi-lingual worship, a real treat), their first ever Alpha, a discussion group on the doctrine of election, and many other things. Was great fun being part of Hope Church for a week and catching some of what's going on at this vibrant church.

We spent a lot of time with the Henson family who are simply fantastic. They're clearing doing some amazing work as they seek to help build Jesus's (bilingual) church in St Petersburg. I'm so glad we're supporting this wonderful family as a church.

I stayed with Phil & Julia Pike who looked after me over the week. It was always nice to be greeted with a warm welcome and an even warmer cup of tea when arriving back, so a big thank you to them as well.

I learnt loads, met with some brilliant people and got a glimpse of what life in St Petersburg is like... So all in all a fantastic trip!




Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Keep Singing... Remixed... soon?

Due to some very generous and lovely people I ended up receiving an Ibook and quickly purchased "Garageband" to hopefully help spark off my creativity in songwriting.

While playing with loops, beats and other such fun things I thought I would attempt doing some interesting arrangements of some of the songs I've written. My first efforts have been on my latest song "Keep Singing Of The Cross". Lots of fun and hopefully when i've finished adding stuff/mixing/etc... you might get a full listen.

I'm actually off to Russia for the week so any work (or blog posts) will have to wait til next week. For those of you who are interested here's a 2min peek into what i've done so far (hopefully you'll like what you hear so far...) Maybe i'll attempt an "RFC remix" album some time soon.



See you next week

Monday, 25 April 2011

Monday Football Thoughts

There's not much to say really... another poor performance now sees us in third and seemingly free falling. I guess you have to look back to the Carling Cup final for the root of this collapse in confidence. From challenging to all four competitions to now settling for third place...

I've said all that can be said really... Really just looking to next season now and hoping that we see a new rigid backbone that we desperately need. I used to one of those Arsenal fans who argued that the team just needed one or two players and that's what would make the difference. Yet after once again witnessing the demise of any real challenge for honours, I'm beginning to wonder if there needs to be real change...

Anyways I'm tired of evaluating this disappointing season so a short blog post this week

Hopefully next week I can say something positive!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Follow


Here's the follow up to "The Social Network Christmas"... seems to simply us Twitter as a model rather than all the social networks... powerful stuff still!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Monday Football Thoughts

And so it would seem Arsenal are out of the title race. While numerically it is still possible for them to snatch the title out of Man Utd's grasp, it just seems inconceivable that a team with such a strong winning mentality as Man Utd can simply collapse...

The 1-1 draw against Liverpool was simply 2 points thrown away, as once again the flaws of the gunners were exposed for all to see... Cutting edge? didn't see it, a solid defence? MIA, the ability to grind out a result when it counts? i've forgotten what that looks like when watching Arsenal...

I'm not quite sure how you can have a penalty in the 8th minute score, and still end up with a draw. I read one description of there seeming to be sheer terror in the Arsenal team when Liverpool got the ball before their penalty and that feels like an accurate description, the players seem unable to simply make the tackle and finish the game off. Instead the one man wrecking ball of Eboue allowed Liverpool to get back into the game...

What else is left to say that hasn't already been said? Yes Man Utd have the potential to slip up in their remaining fixtures, but it feels like Arsenal have the greater tendency to self-implode than Arsenal. Yes we're most likely going to come second and perhaps that shows an improvement, though I feel it's perhaps the capitulation of Chelsea and Liverpool that has allowed us to leapfrog from 4th place.


Maybe I'll be surprised and Arsenal somehow pull the cat out of the bag, but I can't say i'm too hopeful...



P.s. well done to Jack Wilshere on winning PFA Young Player of the Year, definitely deserved, not too sure about Bale though...

Driscoll on Men (and marriage)

On saturday night, the men of RFC gathered for a night of curry, fellowship and some hard hitting truths. Sitho brought along a dvd series from his brother's church on the topic of "Real Men" showing us a bit of a talk by the man's man himself Mark Driscoll. It was a stirring talk by Driscoll and well worth checking out. The talk reminded me of another talk i've heard Driscoll do, which covers some of the same material. I thought I would share it with you. If you haven't heard it, it's definitely worth listening to, a sermon that will definitely challenge me to be the best (future) husband i can be

Saturday, 16 April 2011

A busy week/month/year...

A distinct lack of blogging has been down to a rather hectic few weeks

Highlights include:

Training @Bracknell - with some great sessions on the church, church history, Simon Benham's musings and a brilliant time @Oakwood Youth Challenge... I was made to do 5 press ups during a session on team exercises when I tried to be funny while doing a "get across an acid river" task and commented "well as long as I get across that's fine"... lesson learnt...(humble pie moment 4). It was great that I got to hang out my brothers & sisters for 3 days, what a privilege it is to be part of this group

Recording - we've started and there's now a real buzz about the project, next step is bass/guitars...

Playing bass - filling in 2 weeks in a row may mean that I'm now officially a bassist! or not...

Seeing family - my parents, brother & sister-in-law came to visit which was brilliant. In such a hectic year it's amazing having the fantastic support of my family.

Men's curry night - great to gather with the guys from the church to eat some curry, chat and hear some encouraging/challenging stuff

Doing lots and lots means i'm having to learn how to say "no" and also how to simply rest... The threat of tiring myself out seems very real at times and so I'm having to take big steps on the journey of organising myself and why God gave us a Sabbath.

Exo 20:8-11
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."

It's times like this i need remind myself i can't do everything, and it's pride that would make me think i can... i need to ensure I rest, and on top of that, rest in my Saviour. I know the danger of burnout is a very real one and i want to ensure it doesn't happen to me. This puritan prayer is something that I want to have on my mind when over this final stretch of my FP year...

MY DEAR LORD,
I depend wholly upon Thee,
wean me from all other dependences.
Thou art my all, thou dost overrule all
and delight in me.
Thou art the foundation of goodness,
how can I distrust Thee?
how be anxious about what happens to me?

In the light of Thy preciousness
the world and all its enjoyments are
infinitely poor:
I value the favour of men no more than pebbles.
Amid the blessings I receive from Thee
may I never lose the heart of a stranger.

May I love Thee, my Benefactor, in all my benefits,
not forgetting that my greatest danger
arises from my advantages.

Produce in me self-despair that will
make Jesus precious to me,
delightful in all His offices,
pleasurable in all His ways,
and may I love His commands
as well as His promises.

Help me to discern between true and false love,
the one consisting of supreme love to Thee,
the other not,
the former uniting Thy glory and man’s happiness
that they may become one common interest,
the latter disjointing and separating them both,
seeking the latter with neglect of the former.

Teach me that genuine love is different in kind
from that wrought by rational arguments
or the motive of self-interest,
that such love is a pleasing passion affording
joy to the mind where it is.

Grant me grace to distinguish
between the genuine and the false,
and to rest in Thee who art all love

(Taken from ‘The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers,’ edited by Arthur Bennett)


Monday, 11 April 2011

Monday Football Thoughts

And so it would seem Arsenal becomes the next Premier league team to end up in foreign hands. Stan K looked always likely to be a future owner once he started to become best mates with the Arsenal board...

It's hard to grasp just what it will mean for the club. He's not uber rich so it's unlikely to result it Man City style transfers, nor does it seem like he's going to saddle the club in debts to buy the club... Which leaves potentially Arsenal in the same position as before, which is what Peter Hill-Wood/the rest of the directors wanted. I guess maybe he'll exert some extra pressure on Wenger for results so that it will = profits, but my guess is that Arsenal won't change much because of the change of owners... (though I'm sure i can be proved wrong)... I'm sure the Stan K camp will continue to release "we understand the club", "we too love Wenger" statements which will remain interesting to read for another... well few seconds... anyways we'll wait and see what actually happens as a result of this potential change of ownership

On the actual football side of things, we managed to record and victory against the team with the weakest defence in the entire league... How we weren't up by more than 2 goals i don't know, but yet again the Arsenal defence seemed intent on making things harder for themselves than is necessary. Clichy hesitating on the ball, Koscienly attempting to give away yet another penalty (luckily the ref thwarted Koscienly's best efforts) and for Eboue words "defensive duties" still seem to have no meaning. But a win is a win and hopefully confidence will begin to trickle back into the players... Hopefully the defence will start to be a bit more ruthless with "Mad Jens" screaming at the back again. It's funny how you forget what a difference it makes to have a strong leader within the team again... All credit to him to be able to play in the Premiership at the age of 41... I'm sure he'll give us a few moments over the next few games...

That's all for now, training tomorrow @Bracknell which will be fun... see you next week!

Friday, 8 April 2011

RFC CD - Day 2 of Recording

So yesterday we finished the drums for all the songs, was a brilliant day of working through the songs, trying out new things and a lot of hard work. Loved the end product and looking forward to fleshing it all out now.

Some of the songs required extra work with making distinct drums parts and was really interesting realising how we often do just everything the same usually in a song. Definitely needed to be on our creative best and hopefully we've managed to make the songs sound individually unique... I guess those who buy it can tell us if we managed it!

Well done the two drummers of Jethro & Rob, Grae for bearing with us and the Del Rios for once again being fantastic!

Here's a clip of yesterdays recordings... can you guess the song?


Drum Recording from Josh John on Vimeo.

There's another clip here... but it's a ridiculous size...

Next stop Electric/Bass/Synth/Piano... etc....

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

RFC CD - Day 1 of Recording

So a big project for my FP year was to attempt producing a CD of some of our home written songs. There was some ground work done from the year before but it's a big new venture for the church.

We're hoping to release a 7 song EP sometime around Aug/Sept. It will contain some of the songs that we sing regularly at the church which we have written ourselves.

It's going to be a great blast trying out stuff and letting rip in terms of creativity

Over the past few weeks/months I've been deep in budgets, track lists, thinking of titles, arrangements, pondering what's the best way to distribute the product and so on. So it was brilliant that this Monday we started actually getting it recorded.

The first step has been tracking the drums. After a bit of setup we started with the new song "Keep Singing" where Jethro had a few fills he had come up with. It sounded fantastic and I'm looking forward to hearing how the song develops. On thursday we'll be trying to get all the other drums done (with both Jethro and Rob)...

Big thank you to Jess & James Del Rio who have been amazing in helping us attempt this project, Grae who's producing it all, and Matt Sales for helping us out with some equipment... Looking forward to letting you know the continued progress and maybe giving you some video clips of what's going on!....

Yesterday/Monday Football Thoughts

And so the title race is no longer in our hands, 2 disappointing draws have meant that we've fallen quite far behind Man Utd and now can only hope that they slip up in the coming matches. The 0-0 draw against Blackburn only showed how far our confidence has fallen and why no one really fancies us to win the title anymore. This wasn't Barca, Man Utd, Milan or some other team of significant calibre, it was Blackburn... AT HOME!... Perhaps one win will give them the vital self belief boost they need for this frantic end of season.

The team seems emotionally/physically drained as well a void of any urgency in their play.  We got the ball, passed around a bit and then proceeded to let the Blackburn team get organised and simply punt away any chance. We had 11 attempts on goal and only 3 on target... that's pretty shocking from a team that prides itself on attacking football... Why did Wenger wait until the very end to bring on Chamakh and Bendtner who seemed like they could actually get on the end of one of the many crosses... I'm still a bit perplexed why we attempt crosses with VP as lone striker... Well done to Nasri for playing with that gigantic bump!

I've moaned about the failing of Arsenal since pretty much I decided to start making monday, a football blog day... so I'll leave it with this, please start shooting, start to have some urgency and please please get a win... (surely we'll beat Blackpool at the weekend)

In other football news, Crewe beat Cheltenham 8-1 (a crazy score no matter what division), Rooney decided to tell a camera what he thought of it, and this little Japanese kid tries his best Messi impression...



i don't know whether it would be more frustrating playing against the kid, or being on his team (I don't remember seeing him make a single pass)...

Until next time...

Friday, 1 April 2011

April Fools... some highlights

So April fools descended upon us. There have been some brilliant April fools pranks on the web...

The "gmail motion" was a fantastic little clip. You can find the full video here. I think the "sending mail" motion of licking a stamp and putting it on was my faveourite.

Following closely behind, the "playmobil apple store2 made me giggle a fair bit... miniature ipads, how amazing...



I enjoyed the spoof of Mark Driscoll's latest release, the chapter on "cowering" would have made for some interesting reading no doubt...

utest (a market place for software testing) setup a pretty hilarious dating website for software testers... (website) if you're a wookie looking for a droid that's the website for you... techcrunch has compiled a list of some other brilliant April fools gags (list)

There's plenty more which i've missed (such as the youtube 1911... BMWs Royal themed car etc...) but there's only so much i can blog on, do let me know if there's a spectacular one i've missed tho!

So all in all a pretty successful day, if you want to hear what we as interns concocted transfer yourself over to Sean's blog where he's listed the pranks we pulled (and the failed attempt).... you can find it here


So happy April fools hope you had fun

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Q&A on prayer from DesiringGod.org pastors conference

I came across this interesting Q&A session from the recent Pastors conference held by Desiring God ministries. Some really thought provoking questions... Christianity today has profiled a bit on unanswered prayer which is worth having a read over. Prayer is a topic with some deep questions tied to it, so it great seeing some good answers. I've got Francis Chan's talk from the conference lined up to listen to as well! Enjoy the panel discussion and the interesting questions..

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Forerunner - Hold Your Fire

My mate Pete Coggan's band (Forerunner) have released their long awaited EP called "Hold Your Fire"... I had anticipated this was going to a fantastic collections of songs and boy did they exceed expectations. Riff laden, hook filled, musically quite distinct and just essentially a brilliant listen. This self produced gem is well worth picking up and it's only £3.95, what a complete bargain...

I can't recommend it highly enough, go and buy it here, you won't regret it!