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NEW MUSIC: Author Of My Life

  One of the things I love about songs, is their ability to go to places the song writer might never be able to go themselves. I love songs, because they are like flags in the ground marking a new place or experience we have been to. That time I heard James Taylor sing in Manchester “shower the people” with my best mate, just JT and his guitar. Or Daniel Bedingfield sing Keith Green’s “create in me a clean heart” to a packed Manchester Apollo, or the first time I heard “learning to breathe” by Switchfoot aged 14, or with a  few thousand others singing along to Athlete playing the whole of the Vehicles and Animals album from start to finish, or even just listening to the Godfather soundtrack on vinyl…music takes us to places. I wrote this particular song “author of my life” and recorded it with some friends-and it was a lesson in the goodness of God that I needed to experience for myself. We are releasing it Easter Saturday on the various streaming platforms. At the risk of sounding cliche, this song came out of a really difficult time in my life. I was struggling with depression and anxiety for around two years I think. A few things in my life had happened, that I found difficult to process. Serious family illness, buying a house, work related anxieties etc. On top of that in all honesty I think my spiritual life was really bad. I experienced little joy in being a follower of Jesus, and just felt bad most of the time for how awful I was...

God Is Love-John’s story

Hello, I thought it might be helpful to post my sermon from last night so that you can read more of what I would have liked to have mentioned…the things that I ran out of time to say! I was speaking about how 1 John speaks about “God is love” but I began with the below passage: Luke 9:51-55 (ESV) A Samaritan Village Rejects Jesus 51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. 53 But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them. John was the one asking Jesus to send fire from heaven to burn up the Samaritans that wouldn’t accept Jesus-and he was told by Jesus, that’s not a good idea. The question is: how does a man go from asking God to drop a heavenly napalm bomb on a people group, to then writing some of the most profound and life giving words written? The answer? He meets with Jesus. There’s no other explanation…three years of travelling around with him, and seeing him at work and experiencing the acceptance, the love, friendship and forgiveness of God in the flesh profoundly changed John’s life forever. So much so that in his later years, the early church have records outside...

Looking For The Wonder World

Have you ever had the feeling that a word is following you around? You might hear a word that you’ve never heard before in conversation, and yet that word is the pivotal word in the conversation, you nod along as if you know what the person is trying to say to you, then Oxford dictionary the word and find it’s meaning, only to then hear that same word three or four times in the next few days? The word “wonder” seems to be following me around recently… Back in February I began working on a children’s worship project. I go into lot of schools for my work taking assemblies and other fun stuff, I was thinking about the children that I see week in week out in schools, and the message I would like them to remember as they grow up into adult life. I thought it would be a good project to do with as many children as possible in Farnworth, to sing these amazing words of hope over themselves. In around December/January time I sat down with my guitar at my kitchen table (which is mostly a daily occurrence in my house) and started to sing the words “We’re living in a world full of wonder…so many mysteries to uncover, I just cannot wait for adventure, living in this world full of wonder.” And there I knew that the album…was going to be called something to do with wonder… The date came around that I would begin recording the “wonder” project with Andy and Wendy Green. February 8th was the date. When I woke up that morning,...

Sleepless in Seattle 2 + Vintage Love

Yesterday I had an idea for possibly the worst film sequel ever… But allow me to spin a yarn first. Last night I was at work running our first “Hot Seat” session for young people to ask different people their story when I had a phone call from my wife: “Paul we have another puncture, and I’m stranded on a busy road and not sure what to do!” It was the third tyre in 2 weeks…3 different tyres, 2 different cars…weird. Three hours later the AA had rescued us and I was setting off home again after relieving Sarah of car duty so she could arrive at the event she had been on her way to. (Husband points…check.) When I got home I was pretty cold, so I got in the bath, with my laptop expertly balanced on the laundry basket so I could watch a film… I had seen it years ago, and always thought I should watch it again some day… It’s funny which scenes you remember, I could only properly recall the scene where Meg Ryan and her fiancé are getting ready for bed and sorting that moisture machine thing that helps him sleep…good scene…but probably not that integral to the plot of the film. I was struck more and more by how the plot is pretty much about being unsettled, and holding out for the perfect, which made me ask the question: “What has been the fruit of Sleepless in Seattle?” Is it just a really fun, romantic film that will go down as a classic, or is there a deeper side of it that...

Adventures and Goodbyes

   In memory of Les Ellis, aka Captain “Dickie Ross”   The best adventures I have had, are the ones where you have a story to tell at the end. With my “Breakspear Inc.” buddies…I’ve definitely got stories to tell that will last a lifetime…some stories, now in retelling are hilarious, but at the time I was so frustrated and even angry in the situations, but I can’t help but smile when I retell them to friends today. There is something about retelling a story that makes the whole experience even better. CS Lewis talks about how joy is only complete when we honour the object of our joy by speaking of it. So much of the joy comes in the retelling of the story… My journey with the Breakspear Inc. crew has given me stories, that at the time,  if I’m being honest, I didn’t fully appreciate, I didn’t always handle situations that well, and missed out on what was happening right under my nose… Like the time we camped out in the Negev desert for two nights under the canopy of stars, when the Desert foxes stole one of our shoes with the van keys in. Or the hike in the blazing sun over the dusty, rocky terrain where the water in our bottles was turned into a temperature ideal for washing, but not much else. Or the night in Sicily, where the ship had to pull away from the pier due to heavy winds and high tides, where the rescue boats and to come and get us, with 86 year old Les holding on for dear life...

Your Whiskey Idea

I just got back from 5 days away in bonny wee Scotland. The most amazing landscape and natural beauty, and the mountains are literally ginger…love it. I visited the “famous” Oban Whiskey distillery. They have been making Whiskey on the same site for around 200 years. Anyways, as we were walked through the different rooms and were taught about all the different stages of the making of Whiskey, and seeing the vast copper tanks and oak casks, and the fermenting room, it started to fascinate me, all the different processes involved in the making of this drink. But it also made me start to think…how on earth did this business idea ever take off?! Imagine the scene…Dragons Den-200 years ago. A Ginger haired lad called Angus with his kilt and man purse attached at the waist and his envelope holder tucked safely into his socks (apologies for y mild cultural stereotype-it’s a joke between myself and David Pearson-a genuine Scottish human man). So Angus pitches to the Dragons: “I want to get barley and let it grow for a week, and then just before it starts sprouting, I’m going to get loads of dried mud (Peat) and make a fire with the dried mud and burn the barley over the fire to kill the growth. Then what I’m going to do is crush the barley and add yeast and water to it, then after a few days I’m going to heat it up really hot and then cool it down really quick until we make alcohol…and then when that’s done, I’m going to get a wooden barrel, and pour...

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

Hi everybody. I haven’t written anything for a good while. There are reasons…The reasons are threefold (Friends reference…you’re welcome). Reason #1: There are a lot of people blogging. Usually when I see a lot of people doing anything, I get a bit overwhelmed and think no-one needs to hear my opinion on what everyone else is saying already, or there are so many people doing a certain thing, and they are probably better at it than me, so I shouldn’t even bother. Plus they are already way better than me, so by the time I get to their current standard, they will be miles in front still! Reason #2:  I’ve not really felt like I’ve had a lot to say for quite a while. Reason #3: I want to encourage people with things I write, but all my stuff was pretty depressing! But, I think there are a few things to say today that might hopefully speak into someone’s life. The world is a big old place. There are loads of people in it, and yet we are uniquely and profoundly put together. My life experiences, the books I read, music I listen to, places I visit, people I interact with, coffee I drink, meals I enjoy, journey to work, the church I’m part of, I take it in and filter it all to shape me and mould me into the unique person I am. Who else in the world in the last 24 hours (Insert your last 24 hours here) listened to Lauryn Hill, played the banjo, ate hummus, read the biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, went for a bike ride, played some...

Living Souls With Terminal Hearts

Hello November. The rumours about you, true. You carry within your finger tips The icy chill of death. Enough of the poetry, I think about death probably a bit more than the average person. Call me depressive, I just think about death, and a lot about life, the value of life, what existence is all about, if I’m living it right, am I making any kind of difference in other people’s lives with how I live, will I be happy with the way I lived at the end, is God real, am I real, are you really reading this? Am I on the right track? You get the idea… It gets me down at times…because I think about big abstract questions, and it feels like other people are thinking about smaller questions such as “how is my career developing” or “how much can I save for when I retire” or “what colour iphone should I buy” (I also think about these things-just got an iphone, I went for black and silver-you’re welcome.) What I’m trying to say is, for all the uncertainty and abstract thinking, beliefs, preferences we choose in life, there are some really big definites. One of them is that ALL of us are dying. One day every person on this planet is going to breathe their final breath. Why are we so shocked when death comes for us? I was reading my fave the other day, in “A Year With CS Lewis”…October 24th (he wrote this during WWII-death at the forefront of everyone’s mind) read a smidge like this: “There is no question of death or life for any of us, only...

Peace Through The Night – Song Stories

Peace Through The Night is my first full length album and I wanted to give you all a bit of context into why I wrote the songs and what they mean. I really value knowing what a song is about and so I hope that it helps you to get it a bit more and to see where I’m coming from! So I’ll go through the tracks and write a brief bit about each one, any thoughts I was having at the time, any books I was reading and where I was if I can remember! Holy Spirit For a while, I was confused about what The Holy Spirit’s job was. What he does/doesn’t do, if His job role in the universe has changed or not and loads of other crazy things. My questions left me quite confused, and still do if I’m honest. But I decided one day that whatever my views are, I definitely don’t want to try to get in the way of anything that God the Holy Spirit might want to do in me and in other people. So this track is my opening invite for God to bring to ruin whatever we build to keep Him away (kind of like the witch in Narnia that makes it always Winter to try to keep Aslan the Lion from coming back…), I often pray these words now in a morning when I’m getting ready for my day: Holy Spirit come invade Bring to ruin every wall I build to keep you away Don’t want to hide from you God. There is rest for those who wait...