Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Jesus, Christianity and Islam

Adrian Warnock has posted a couple of very useful and interesting lists:
11 Things Muslims agree with Christians about concerning Jesus (a prime number, wahey!)
Six Things Christians and Muslims disagree about over Jesus.

It seems we agree more than we disagree, but then the disputed points are by far the most significant. I mean, the belief that Jesus is the Son of God who died in our place and rose again, and is worthy to be worshipped, is the crux of the Christian faith.

Disappointingly, there doesn't appear to be any inter-faith controversy over beliefs about Jesus' facial hair.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Common worship leading mistakes

I was pleased to see that the folks at have published a list that contains a prime number of entries! It's satisfying when they don't just go for a "top ten". So here we have 17 common worship leading mistakes to avoid.

I think I've experienced (and been responsible for) most of them, although I'm not sure I've ever seen a "worship crash", which sounds like the title of a David Crowder album.

Setting songs in the right pitch is crucial. Most mainstream worship song writers seem to have supernaturally augmented vocal ranges. The article suggests that the average range of a woman is five semitones below that of a man (up an octave, of course). Can anyone confirm that? I previously thought it was about two semitones. Would be useful to know.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Reaching the Unreached 2012

Yesterday Lis and I travelled to our second conference in as many weekends. This time to Reaching the Unreached 2012; an intense day-and-a-bit of focused teaching around the theme of taking the gospel to council estates/housing schemes/urban priority areas/you get the idea.

The teaching content was really first-class. Our guest speakers took us through the book of Titus, and employed their finest exegesis, testimonies and food-related analogies to inspire and equip us in our gospel ministries. It was very refreshing for me to hear such fantastic preaching from guys with strong regional accents.

It was also really interesting to compare the two conferences:
- "Written by the Spirit": A creative writing conference with a heavy emphasis on the Spirit, led by folks from Bill Johnson's church, with much exuberance and a dash of wackiness. Followed by...
- "Reaching the Unreached": An evangelistic conference with a heavy emphasis on the Bible, led by conservative evangelicals.

In both cases I had many more positive things to say than negative.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Written by the Spirit

At the weekend I went to a creative writing conference organised by a local Anglican church in a perhaps surprising partnership with Bethel, Redding, California. The teaching content included story writing, word & image, song writing and testimony. There were some fairly exhilarating times of worship as well.

It was definitely an inspirational event. I went along hoping to get some song writing ideas, but got motivated in several other directions. Conferences often have that effect. So while I may have left with a bundle of new ideas, the main thing is that I pursue God - and find out where my creativity fits in with His kingdom.

Conference speaker Pam Spinosi and Rev. Richard Spencer talk about the conference in a BBC Radio Shropshire interview you can hear here.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Handling Pressure

Most of us encounter high-pressure situations regularly. How many jobs these days don't involve an element of pressure? Most advice seems to be about how to handle pressure, rather than avoid it. I'm all for limiting pressure (trying not to take on too much etc.) but no one can completely escape it's grip. So it is a good idea to learn how to cope with pressured situations.

I've just completed a BBC test - with Michael Johnson - that showed me the extent of my pressure-handling techniques, and suggested a few more. It was quite fun, so why not give it a go?

Anyway, the results were interesting:
Consistency - MEDIUM (I perform with a reasonable degree of consistency under pressure.)
Improvement - HIGH (I learn effectively from past experiences.)
Efficiency - HIGH (I know how to focus on my goals.)

My optimum mood is happiness - I perform better when I'm in a good mood, so think happy thoughts!
Anxiety might help as well though.

I am less likely to suppress negative emotions and more likely to reappraise them.

And now I've got Under Pressure by Queen in my head, which will be fine until it morphs into Ice Ice Baby.