Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Moving on...


To my ever decreasing readership, the time has come to try something new, so onwards into tumblr territory... for some reason i've become frightened to post on blogger, feeling like i need to write some massive long in depth spiel per post to make it worth while...

 It feels a bit like switching from facebook to twitter, tumblr is a bit shorter and a bit more concise.

Anyways, if you want to follow me as i jump ship the new blog URL is:http://joshjohn.tumblr.com/

It's been fun blogger, but it's time to move on


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

On A Mission - Baliva



My friend Baliva has just released his new single "On A Mission"

Baliva is from Zim and has been making music for awhile. This single precedes a forthcoming album which if based on the quality of this single will be worth grabbing when it's released.

You can download the single here: http://baliva.bandcamp.com/

You won't be disappointed!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Hillsong - Cornerstone


Hillsong have now released their new album "Cornerstone" and i'm thoroughly enjoying it at the moment.

Criticism has often been levelled at Hillsong that perhaps their songs are "wishy washy" with the content of the songs being low instead focused more on the music.

They seem to have shifted their approach slightly with this new album and the title track shows that they're keen to have Jesus and the work of the cross at the centre.

It's well worth checking out and i'm sure a few of the songs will be popping up in church song lists worldwide.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Cross Of Christ


A kind donation of some book to the Church office has meant that i have some new reading material. I'd always been recommended John Stott's "The Cross Of Christ" but never got round to reading it.

Therefore i'm delving into this book each day and grasping again the centrality of the cross.

From what i've read so far this is going to be a fantastic read...

"Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
Save in the cross of Christ my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood"

Friday, 29 June 2012

Music Stand The Guide



We unfortunately seem to get through a lot of music stands at Reading Family Church... it has lead to us having to commission the above video to try and inform people of the correct way of setting up and packing away a music stand...

Enjoy

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Caius May Ball


On Tuesday Claire and I travelled across and up to Cambridge for a present from Dan & Zoe (my brother & sister-in-law). The present was tickets to the Caius May Ball.

We'd both been to the Reading Summer ball but this was quite a different animal. With all food & drink free (i got to eat some python paella!), a multitude of bands/comedians, a casino, arcade and loads more. There was definitely a few inches added onto my waistline,

The plan was to stay up til 6am but we sadly lasted only til 3am.

It was a great evening getting a glimpse of what felt like another world.

Big thank you to Dan & Zoe for the gift, it's fantastic getting to do stuff with your siblings, plenty more to come in the future

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Worship Dance Styley



We've tried using beats & loops ourselves at RFC, but what these guys are coming out with are on a completely different level.... definitely something to aim and reach for.

I'd come across these songs a few months ago but it seems they've uploaded 2 newer versions of the songs they did.

I absolutely love what they've done, the songs sound so fresh, why stick to the same old sounds eh? Do check it out, you won't be disappointed!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Extended Family Moments


Last weekend, Claire & I travelled to Cheltenham to celebrate her Dad's 60th Birthday. It was a pub quiz night and our table amazingly managed to win! It was a decades based one so Claire and I weren't especially helpful until the 00s. 

It's great getting to share these kind of memories with my newly extend family and sharing in the laughs, celebration and obviously the washing up! 

Looking forward to many more years of this kind of stuff...

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Ipod Magic



This is fantastically entertaining to watch... Magic through technology?

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Pinterest



I've recently got into pinterest, and found yet another social network site with bubbling potential. Obviously it's not that new a site but i guess the vast majority of people a) don't know what it's use is or b) have never heard of it.

I guess it's a combo of twitter & facebook with a very specific focus on sharing of images over statuses etc...

Anyways i've found it really useful for the design aspect of my job where i can easily keep track of what's going on in the world of design/graphics/etc and grab lots of inspiration... + it's all in one handy place.

If you're on there do give me an add!

Follow Me on Pinterest

Friday, 4 May 2012

Faith, Religion, Morals, Ethics



Some of you may have noticed the 4thought.tv videos that are going round. These videos are 1-2mins long where a person gives their view on a topic. There are 6 people for each topic all going various view points.

Here are a few interesting topics (there's plenty more on the website)

Is abortion ever justified 
Are Christians the new persecuted 
What relevance do Jesus and His teachings have in todays Britain 
How Racist Are We?
Is Faith A Remedy For Depression 
Is Homosexuality A Sin 

It's interesting how these videos help capture a breadth of opinions on issues that make the headlines. These opinions range from the extreme to the apathetic, the heartbreaking to the disappointing.

Do check them out, it's worth seeing just what does Britain think on these issues.

P.S

This video on "Is Faith A Remedy For Depression" caused a response from a guy from my gap year church called Will Van Der Hart (who is now Vicar at St Peter's Church in Harrow). Will has run conferences on mental health issues as well as writing a blog on the topic and you can find his response here.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Symphony



I'm a big fan of Louie Giglio's "Indescribable" DVDs, his latest one is called "Symphony" which i'm guessing has a musical focus...

The clip above isn't actually from the DVD but it's the same talk that is used on the trailer for the DVD. A great mash up moment...

This is the blurb from the video
"2012 DVD release from the Atlanta-based pastor, speaker and founder of the Passion Movement. Continuing in the tradition of the inspiring talks How Great Is Our God and Indescribable, in Symphony (I Lift My Hands), Giglio takes viewers from the ends of the universe to the depths of the seas and shows how all of creation is united in their praise of the Creator. And yet God, who spoke the vast universe into being and cast stars into the far reaches of space, is intimately involved in our lives and will carry us through our darkest nights."




Thursday, 19 April 2012

Ships In The Night



One of my favourite singer songwriters is a guy called Mat Kearney. My brother bought Mat Kearney's first album a long time ago and some of the songs on that album are still some of my favourites even now (Undeniable is a fantastic tune). He's went quite mainstream and  his songs have featured on various big shows like Grey's Anatomy.

Anyways he just released his new single "Ships In The Night". Love the video and how it was shot, i really love the message of the song (you don't often get songs talking about the realities of marriage and fighting for it)

Do check it out



Wednesday, 18 April 2012

A Quick Giggle



It's going round a bit, definitely my favourite cat video...

Friday, 13 April 2012

Cornerstone


An trend running through the global church it would seem is that the hymns are being rediscovered. With new tunes added and fresh arrangements we're seeing this happening more and more.

One new redo is Hillsong's "Cornerstone" which is the title track for their forthcoming album. Using the verses of "On Christ The Solid Rock" they've given it a new tune and then added in a simple chorus.

I really like what they've done with it and can see churches really grabbing hold of it. See what you think of it below


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Bible to Beats


 
My good friend Mark shared this fantastic link of the bible being spoken over hiphop beats. 

Here's the description:
"Streetlights is the world’s first urban audio Bible, combining the authentic Word of God in the New Living Translation with a dynamic musical score influenced by the cultures of the inner city. Top recording artists, accomplished music producers, and professional videographers unite to bring you word-for-word Scripture recited to industry standard, street-credible beats. Through this relevant and engaging format, people of all literacy levels will be able to hear, understand, and internalize the Word of God."

A fantastically refreshing way of meditating on scripture. Do check these tracks out...

Friday, 16 March 2012

Hearing For The First Time...



Do you remember hearing the first time you breathed? Maybe the first time you heard a dog bark? Or even just the wind blowing? I can't and it's probably why i take my hearing for granted. The video above captures the moment a 29 year old womans hears for the first time... a radically life changing moment where suddenly the world is more vibrant and colourful than it used to be

This is what the woman Sarah Churman wrote afterwards on her blog:

 "Lady Gaga sounds horrible on the radio! Just sayin'. Sloan just kissed me good night...kisses sound all smacky like...weird." She adds: "As I sit here beating the keys on the keyboard (not really, it just sounds that way); Skittles the Lovebird has been chirping, it's so cute. :) I guess I'm keeping her up. Well, my hubby is in bed...guess I should join him. I'm thinking I'll leave the device on and listen to him snore. I have to be the only wife that's looking forward to that. God IS good. Thank you to everyone who has kept up with me on this journey...thanks for the prayers, support, etc. Can't wait to get up tomorrow and hear the girls' giggles."

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Scripture #1


After being inspired by some stuff i've seen other people have done, i'm going to try a new weekly (hopefully!) devotional where i create a graphic from some scripture i've read. Here's Scripture #1

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Announcement: Download EP


We released our first CD not too long ago and it was great getting the team to push themselves with arrangements. It was brilliant see the results of people's hard work and while it was fantastic having an end product seeing how the project developed the musicians was priceless.

 We've were recently approached by a guy on the music team who has access to a music studio, who said we could record a few songs if we wanted. We jumped at the chance and so on Saturday 3rd March we will be heading over to oxford to record a few songs we haven't yet recorded.

Last time we layered each section with each part being recorded individually but due to it being recorded on one day we are recording everything pretty at the same time, which will create a slightly different feel. We've used synths in a way we haven't before and so that has added a new texture to our sound.  The guys and girls who will be recording have been hard at work practising over the past few week and we're excited by how the songs have taken shape.

The songs will be:
1.O For A Thousand Tongues
2.Victorious
3. if we have enough time a version of sorts of "Your Child" (tbc)

We won't be producing a CD this time, instead we'll post it up on http://readingfamilychurch1.bandcamp.com/

 Looking forward to sharing what we've done with you all

Thursday, 16 February 2012

How not to say the same old thing...



I recently posted about almost finishing a song called "Victorious"... I was pretty pleased with my efforts and forwarded it onto some trusted colleagues at the church to see their thoughts.

One of the responses was that I was potentially saying nothing particularly ground-breaking nor thought provoking with what i had written.

A stinging response for any songwriter but as i dwelt on this, I knew that I could attempt better.

It's a battle to find "fresh" ways of saying things, but one worth preserving for...

Here are a few songs that are doing just what i'm aiming to do:


"and in that moment you opened up the heavens, to the broken, the beggar, and the thief, lifted out of the wreckage, i found hope in the aftermath"


"his love is fierce, his love is strong, it is furious"


"we raise our white flag, we surrender all to you, all for You, we raise our white flag: the war is over, love has come, Your love has won"


Thursday, 9 February 2012

"No more School for you..."




Apparently New York City's Schools have tried to take steps towards banning churches from meeting in schools. 

Tim Keller responded with this:

I am grieved that New York City is planning to take the unwise step of removing 68 churches from the spaces that they rent in public schools. It is my conviction that those churches housed in schools are invaluable assets to the neighborhoods that they serve. Churches have long been seen as positive additions to communities. Family stability, resources for those in need, and compassion for the marginalized are all positive influences that neighborhood churches provide. There are many with first-hand experience who will claim that the presence of churches in a neighborhood can lead to a drop in crime.
The great diversity of our city means that we will never all agree completely on anything. And we cherish our city’s reputation for tolerance of differing opinions and beliefs. Therefore, we should all mourn if disagreement with certain beliefs of the church is allowed to unduly influence the formation of just policy and practice.
I disagree with the opinion written by Judge Pierre Leval that: “A worship service is an act of organized religion that consecrates the place in which it is performed, making it a church.” This is an erroneous theological judgment; I know of no Christian church or denomination that believes that merely holding a service in a building somehow “consecrates” it, setting it apart from all common or profane use. To base a legal opinion on such a superstitious view is surely invalid. Conversely, I concur with Judge John Walker’s dissenting opinion that this ban constitutes viewpoint discrimination and raises no legitimate Establishment Clause concerns.
A disproportionate number of churches that are affected by this prohibition are not wealthy, established communities of faith. They are ones who possess the fewest resources and many work with the poor. Redeemer has many ties with those churches and their pastors, and our church community invests time and resources to assist them to be good neighbors in their communities.
Let them be those good neighbors. I am hopeful that the leaders of New York City and the legislators of New York State will see the value of a society that encourages all spheres of culture—the church, government, education, business, etc—to work together for human flourishing.
Dr. Timothy Keller
Senior Pastor
Redeemer Presbyterian Church

--
Interestingly if Reading council took the same decision, then we would be in an interesting situation...

Friday, 3 February 2012

Create a Spark #4


Big thanks to Joe Smith for sending me this link... This guy is a teenager and yet he's able to do that... Immensely creative and so fantastic! Gotta get me one of those

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Victorious


So songwriting continues in earnest this year. I had one song that needed finishing and with the help of my trusty friend Pete Coggan, potentially cracked what had proved to be a hard nut...

The song is now called "Victorious"

Lyrics are:

--
Verse 1:
You came to a world far from you
You carried our sin
You paid our great cost
You died so death's hold would be lost
Creator was slain
To beckon us home

PreC:
In the grave your body lay
Creation waited for the third day
From the grave you rose again
Bursting out on the third day

Chorus:
Victorious, victorious
Victorious You are
Your kingdom come, Your will be done
Forever, forever

Verse 2:
No longer condemned for/by our sin
Your spirit now dwells
In those you've redeemed
Now all that we boast of is Christ
Of him crucified
To give us new life

PreC 2:
Now we see an empty grave
It's been empty since that third day
Now we're chosen, found in Christ
For you rose up on the third day
--
Just trying to figure out if there's a catchy little tag that could be added and if the chorus melody lifts enough when you're singing "Victorious You are" & "Forever, Forever"

Hopefully will be finished with it in the next few days, ready for a bit of a spin on a Sunday.

I'm excited, hope all who hear it will like it!



Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Create A Spark #3

On the 9th October 2011, Reading Family Church (the church i'm part of) celebrated 10 years of meeting on Sundays. We met together at Reading Town Hall and enjoyed looking back on what God has done amongst us.

What was a highlight for many people was when people came out and shared how their lives had been transformed by Jesus using a piece of cardboard and a few words.

He makes beautiful things out of dust... An amazingly glorious thought



Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
(2 Cor 5:17)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Create A Spark #2

It could be said that being creative requires you to think outside the box, whoever designed this not only thought outside the box, they turned the box into something else entirely. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Create A Spark #1

As i try to keep stirring myself in creativity, i thought blogging on things that begin to create "sparks" in me could prove to be helpful. So here's Create A Spark #1

Genesis 1:1 - In the beginning God CREATEd the heavens and the earth.

The word "creativity" never appears in the bible (not even in The Message translation) and yet we see creativity bursting throughout the bible. The description in Genesis of how God formed the universe is quite breath taking when you sit and think about it.

In perhaps the biggest understatement ever written, Genesis 1:16 - "God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.", we see He created these out of nothing...


There was no one else's work who he pinched, no magazine who's ideas He incorporated into His own, no one else's who inspired Him to be creative, as God is creative, it is what makes Him who He is...

So many times i catch myself trying to find someone or something that will help spark off something in me, when actually what i should be doing is coming back to God, letting Him captivate me and marvelling at Him.

When you see who He is, what He has done and is doing, creativity will flow...

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Reaching Alice, Christmas Film


Reaching Alice Official Trailer from The Tungsten Collective on Vimeo.


Christmas may be over, but this little video caught my attention. Willow Creek are a church that does things really well and it would seem they created an entire film for their Christmas meetings. Would love to see the full feature at some point...

Maybe in the future there will be an RFC Christmas film...