Tuesday, 22 February 2011
If you have a penchant for acoustic guitar-based music then you should listen to them here.
Penchant is a real word, right?
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
I've noticed that when I upload an image into a blog post it looks fine when I post it, but if I look at my blog on the PC at work huge gaps appear between images and the text beneath.
I use Firefox at home as opposed to Internet Explorer in the office. Could this be causing the problem?
Sunday, 13 February 2011
In 1995 there must have been some kind of annointing on worship song-writers. Basically, this shows that, on average, four songs will be written each year that will make it into my "keepers" list (and one of those four will be written by Matt Redman). A "keeper" is a song that I will continue to use indefinitely in coprorate worship times; one that I think will stand the test of time.
I'm not discounting all the other worship songs that get written every year. Some are great to sing in church for a season, others are fantastic to listen to, and I have a whole other file of songs that I'll still use for personal worship. But eventually most songs get left behind - in terms of church worship times - while tunes like "My Jesus, my Saviour" are still doing the rounds.
Saturday, 12 February 2011
An interesting corollary is the following list, which shows the amount of songs from each worship song-writer I've included in the file.
I wasn't surprised to see Matt Redman at the top of the list. Beth Redman and Jesse Reeves are mainly there through collaboration. There's a whole heap of writers in the 'just 1" club, notable members include Darlene Zscech, Graham Kendrick, Handel, Noel Richards and Vicky Beeching.
Thursday, 10 February 2011
As a youth worker, I am constantly on the look-out for examples from culture that I can use to help explain Jesus. Films, TV shows, music and YouTube videos can all help people get their head around the amazing story told in the Bible. I used to think, “wow, isn’t it great how there are so many ideas in popular culture that reflect Jesus in some way!” Then I started thinking about why that is.
Popular culture is just what it says on the tin – popular. The film makers in Hollywood have one main objective – make successful films that bring in big bucks. In order to do that they need to make films that appeal to popular ideas. So what are the ideas that we see time and time again in the most successful films?
The forces of good overcome the forces of evil
The hero saves the day
The bad guys get their comeuppance
The hero wins the woman
This is the film formula that people like to go and see – this is what makes most people feel satisfied at the end of a movie. It’s a story that’s hard to get away from, but whose story is it? It’s easy to think that this just happens to be the format we like, that there’s no reason behind it other than the fact that it’s tried and tested. But the more I look at it, the more it resembles the story of Jesus Christ.
How often does the hero have to do something completely unselfish, and make a personal sacrifice?
How often is the hero betrayed by one of his closest allies?
You could get confused by the ‘winning the woman’ bit. Jesus never had a romantic relationship, so who did He win?
Ephesians 5 says:
31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Christ will be united to the church, his bride, whom he has won. The story of Jesus is the story of a hero who saves, delivers justice, fights evil, brings happiness, wins a bride and receives his glorious reward. Bearing in mind that there are other kinds of stories – the folk tales of sly animals (Brer Rabbit, Anansi), the mythologies of trickster gods and horror stories where everyone dies – why is the hero story most popular?
At this point I should probably remind myself that it’s just a theory, but I think that our culture is still obsessed with the story of Jesus. The problem is that though we see it all the time, we don’t recognise it. Instead of letting the hero story point us to the ultimate hero, we let Superman replace the Son of Man.
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
Saturday, 5 February 2011
I thought about publishing the map here, but I don't want everyone to see exactly where I live, so I'll just show you the breakdown instead:
Thursday, 3 February 2011
Because we don't want to replace the delight of knowing God with other, worldly delights, we sometimes assume that if something is "highly pleasurable" it is therefore dangerous and to be avoided. Take a fine wine, for instance; a Château Les Vimieres le Tronquera perhaps. I've never tried it, but from the £30+/bottle pricing I can guess that it tastes good. However, I'm more likely to think "£35 a bottle! That's a sinfully high price!" and reject it based on the idea that anyone willing to fork out that much must be an elitist, hedonistic, consumerist pig. But when Jesus made His own wine, He didn't make Tesco's house red, it was the best.
I think there's a quietly present attitude that if a Christian had to choose between a flat-screen 38" HDTV and an old 18" box that were the same price, they should choose the naff one anyway because the great one might make them fall away from God. We are determined not to create idols. That's good, but lets not assume that if I am really, really enjoying a rib-eye steak, I will probably become a steak-idoliser.
I just have to remember that however much pleasure I get from anything else, it cannot compare to the riches I have in Christ. So I can be very satisfied after eating a delicious dinner, but I know that the finest food will not bring me ultimate satisfaction, God will. In that way, I think Christians become more free to enjoy life's small pleasures, because they know exactly how small they really are.
So I can carefully enjoy all that is enjoyable, remembering that
"You [God] will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever." - Psalm 16:11
The main pleasure in heaven will stem from closeness to God, right?
But the food at that banquet is still gonna be awesome!
Wednesday, 2 February 2011
I'm learning in a Fiat 500...
Which has a few abnormal features; it's an "eco-car", the gear-stick is in the wrong place and a light comes on when you need to change gear. Interesting. I'm looking forward to lesson two on Friday, I might turn a corner - literally.