Slap guitar!

Monday, September 21, 2009
I love watching a good guitarists especially who do something new and different. I've posted a few blogs recently with some videos of guitarist doing amazing things with just one guitar. Yet again I've come across another video (thanks to Musicademy)with this bloke (who has taught Matt Redman) playing Slap Guitar. I've heard of slap bass but not guitar.

Don't you just love it when someone can make one guitar sound like multiple instruments. Watch past the minute mark and it gets even more impressive.

Talk to yourself!

Thursday, September 10, 2009
I've started listening over the last few weeks to talks from the WorshipGod09 conference run by Sovereign Grace ministries. I've attached a video below “Lessons Learned from Three Decades of Leading", an interview with Bob Kauflin & CJ Mahaney. Well worth a listen. You can download 24 free mp3's from the conference here. But before that a great quote from Bob on why singing is so important:

You’ve heard the Martyn Lloyd-Jones quote about how most of our unhappiness comes from listening to ourselves more than we talk to ourselves. In light of this, corporate worship is a serious gift! Singing in corporate worship is a means of talking to yourself. This provides us an opportunity to stop listening to ourselves, to stop listening to sin, legalism, condemnation, and to begin singing and talking to ourselves. And by the end of corporate worship there is a good chance that we will experience the joy of the gospel. Not very often in our noisy world do we have such an opportunity to talk to ourselves. So what your church is saying in these moments of corporate singing is very important. And what a unique opportunity worship leaders have to transfer the hope of the gospel to people in corporate worship. And to think, you can do this each and every Sunday!

Lessons Learned from Three Decades of Leading from Sovereign Grace Ministries on Vimeo.

Gettin into Jesus again

Sunday, September 06, 2009
We've played a couple of Brian Houston's worship songs at church but he's probably better known outside of the church as one of Northern Ireland's great songwriters. A great example of bringing 'worship' music outside the church. Here's an example of his songwriter and musicianship

TV:Unwanted house guest

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's been awhile since I last blogged partly because I've had nothing worthwhile to blog about but mainly due to holidays and busyness.

Anyway I found this paragraph from Shaun Groves' blog on watching TV.

'Imagine I took in a house guest. And let's say that guest regularly told my kids I was stupid, hung pictures of half-naked women up on the walls, constantly told my kids the opposite of what I told them and routinely asserted that God is a liar.  How long would it take me to kick that guest out of my house and change the locks?  There's some innocuous stuff on television, sure, stuff I miss. But most of what I watched portrayed fathers as incompetent idiots, told me it was OK to disrespect people, and contradicted the teachings of Christ in subtle and not-so-subtle ways over and over again.  I have 16.4 fewer hours with a destructive house guest now.'

Preaching on Worship

Saturday, July 04, 2009
My first real venture into the world of preaching last Sunday. Topic ofcourse is worship. Click here to have a listen.

Worship and men

Thursday, July 02, 2009

What would a bricky (builder) in his early 20's think of church sung worship, has been the question I've read so much of lately. A bricky being the man's man and his response being the ideal barometer to how masculine church worship is. Joel Virgo in his piece for Resurgence comments on how more masculine corporate worship is possible.

Is it possible for men to come into a Sunday worship service and reflect: "Now this is a masculine environment?" I reckon it is, but you have to be intentional to get there. Some of our songs lend themselves to a masculine response, and they should be chosen over others. I'm talking about songs full of objective truth that help guys know what they're singing about.

As for songs that subjectively express our love or our longing for Jesus, well they are entirely biblical. Just beware of unbalance. A normal masculine man is going to be troubled by his first visit to church (even if he got saved at Alpha), if it consists of standing to sing for 40 minutes to an ancient Jew words he would find awkward writing in a card to his girlfriend! You know the songs I mean.

And as a rule, maybe your worship leaders (if they are guys) should be the sorts who remind you of Johnny Cash rather than Art Garfunkel!

Michael Jackson and Celebrity culture

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It's difficult to ignore the news and hype around Michael Jackson's death. William Crawley's blog post makes a great comment on celebrity culture in general.

"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." I've no idea who said that, or if it has much merit, but it's eminently quotable. It also has the virtue of being an "idea", albeit a fairly pedestrian one.

But it prompts a conversation about celebrity culture and our global obsession with Michael Jackson. Perhaps one of the reasons why so many people are building "shrines" at locations related to Michael Jackson's story is that celebrity culture has taken the place that religion once had in our society. Celebrities are secular saints. Their deaths become moments of pseudo-religious intensity. People make pilgrimages to celebrity sites where once they travelled to Canterbury.

Celebrity is also a replacement for family and for a sense of community. Postmodern people live postmodern lives. Often separated, often isolated, they crave community through virtual connections. The common experience of a media-generated narrative becomes a unifying feature of their lives.

Is that why we're all talking about Michael Jackson so much?

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Chris Moyles and worship

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
One of the things you get used being a Christian in the UK is the media's misconception of Christianity and the church. Partly it is justified as many churches have become little more than museums though the media haven't really caught on to the fact there is more to the UK church than liturgy, hats, solemnity, old cathedrals and blue rinse.

So it's exciting when a extremely popular prime time radio DJ and 'shock Jock', Chris Moyles gets excited about a Pentecostal church service (Kingsgate Community Church) that he's accidentally seen on TV. Check out the video. Probably the best I've seen or heard Tim Hughes' 'Happy Day' been played in a church.

Art from the Church should be a rampant ....

Thursday, June 11, 2009
A great quote on missional art from a guy who's name has been popping up a lot recently in what I've been listening to and reading

Art from the Church should be a rampant, outspoken, prophetic invader. For
instance, write simple tunes on Sunday morning to serve the liturgy,then go “out
there” in culture as prophet, going to the edge of who you are, creatively

Harold Best

Re:Sound free sampler

Friday, June 05, 2009
Have just been listening to the free sampler from Re:Sound, the new music ministry from Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill Church. Download it from here though be quick as it's only on for another few days. It's pretty good stuff, most of the songs lack the usual cheese and predictability we've come to know and love from worship music.

Tozer on Song

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A good reminder for corporate worship leaders

"Song cannot bring the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit invariably brings song."

A.W. Tozer God’s Pursuit of Man

Unfinished Song: O Great Spirit of God

Monday, June 01, 2009
Another unfinished song. Inspired by the old hymn Spirit Divine attend our prayer by a guy called Andrew Reed

Light of God expose our darkness
And lead us along the paths of righteousness
Fire of God burn in our hearts
And let our lives be completely yours

O great Spirit of God
Come attend our praise
O great Spirit of God
Come fall afresh

Peace of God rest in our soul
That all may know the sacrifise You made
Wind of God inspire our hearts
That all may see the glory of you face

@copyright Colt35 music

Unfinished song: Jesus

Monday, May 18, 2009
Another nearly complete song. I think this one needs another verse and maybe another line for the chorus.

Jesus came from the fathers side
Jesus God revealed to man
Jesus human yet fully God
Jesus we come to worship you

We join in the neverending song of praise
to the one who gave us all

Jesus who took God's wrath for us
Jesus hung cursed on a cross
Jesus alive now death powerless
Jesus we devote our lives to you

@copyright Colt35 music

Worship Star

Sunday, May 10, 2009
A satirical song by Shekelback taking a swipe at the Christian music Industry

Blog statistics

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I've been blogging now for nearly two years. I really haven't blogged or given as much time as I intended to due to posting being low on my list of priorities. Though it's always exciting to see the variety of different countries where people have been reading this blog from thanks to Google Analytics. The majority may have stumbled upon it by accident and quickly moved on but it's encouraging when you get the odd positive email or comment.


Since starting there's been nearly 3000 visits direct (doesn't include viewing from a reader) to my blog from people across 72 different countries. Many of these have stayed on my blog for a matter of seconds. Here's top ten breakdown of visitor numbers


1. United States                    1,273
2. United Kingdom               952   
3. Canada                            117  
4. Australia                          114   
5. Netherlands                     30  
6. South Africa                    29   
7. Germany                         27   
8. India                               24  
9. Singapore                       23 
10. Philippines                    23   

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Extreme Acoustic guitar

Sunday, April 26, 2009
Pretty impressive. Apparently they call it extreme guitar picking

Unfinished song: Because of Jesus

Saturday, April 25, 2009
When it comes to writing songs I find it easy to start them but extremely hard to complete them. I've very unprofessionally recorded several of my songs and I'll post them over the next while. All the songs are at different stages of incompleteness. Hopefully this can give you an idea of what I'm trying to do with the songs.

This song is nearly complete. I wanted a song to describe what Jesus has done, what that means and how we stand in confidence because of the gospel.

I'm standing here in the light of the cross
Humbled by God's amazing grace
I'm standing here justified
No longer needing to prove myself

Because of Jesus
I'm free

I'm standing here as a new creation
Adopted as a child of God
I'm standing here freed from curse
No more condemned or broken

I'm standing here with all I need
Equipped with heaven's resources
I'm standing here in anticipation
of the hope of the life to come
@copyright Colt35 music

Grace and the worship leader

Friday, April 24, 2009
Continuing in my thinking about grace, what does it mean to stand in grace as a worship leader?

As worship leaders knowing that we stand before God righteous because of Jesus dying on the cross:
- Frees us from the need to perform.
- Frees us from having to be the next Matt Redman
- Frees us to be who we are when leading
- Frees us from depending upon the congregation or Church Leader’s approval
- Frees us from trying to continually prove ourselves as good enough
- Frees us to view failure or musical train wrecks as a learning exercise instead of being ministry shattering
- Frees us to fail
- Frees us from trying to be perfect.
- Frees us from expecting others to be perfect and lead worship the way we want
- Frees us from being hard on ourselves for not reading the bible, praying or practising enough
- Frees us from guilt that we’re not doing enough, being more creative, taking risks etc
- Frees us from comparing ourselves to that other worship leader who leads so much better
- Frees us from worry that we’re playing the right songs for a Sunday morning


Thursday, April 23, 2009
Have been really thinking about grace lately. Part of my realisation is that I've been a bit of a legalist for the last while. Somehow since my last revelation of God's lavish grace I've lost that awareness that I'm righteous in Christ and reverted to adding my own little rules onto the gospel.

Boy can legalism drag you down. It's such a tiring pursuit. You try to prove yourself not alone to God but also to others. You start performing to an audience of many gaining some sort of peusdo salvation from their approval.

The burden that is lifted off shoulders for those that have grasped grace is immence. Terry Virgo is brilliant at communicating this great truth. Check out his 4 talks on grace. Well worth a listen.

Here's a great quote from his recent blog:

"You don’t need to live as others who have no hope; to amass wealth and put your trust in uncertain riches; to embrace short-term values and goals; to play safe and avoid danger. Grace releases you to live dangerously in the present – because you know that the one who holds world history in his hands is with you. "


Monday, April 20, 2009
A sad report on the BBC website about a woman with agoraphobic who hadn't left her house for 18 years. Fear is such a thief! I hate fear! I hate the fear in me!

Fear condemns
Fear controls
Fear traps
Fear hides
Fear rejects
Fear procrastinates
Fear hoards
Fear bullies

Christ frees!

Whatever Happened To Music Ministry?

Sunday, April 19, 2009
Is it me or does there seem to be more and more posts, articles etc like this one by Cross Rhythms journalist Mike Rimmer.


Friday, April 17, 2009
Someday, we'll need this very useful tool but for now it's still excel

Introducing Planning Center Online from Planning Center on Vimeo.

To infinity and beyond ............

Sunday, April 05, 2009
I've read many great blog posts recently but this one by Shaun Gorves stands out. Something I'm continually challenged on, how I spend my time best. To see your life as a speck in eternity and how this life, all 80 years of it, can affect the next trillion years plus ad infinitum.

We need more driving

Friday, March 20, 2009
Interesting point made by Jordan, should a worship leader not alone be encouraging or preparing worship on a Sunday morning but also be actively encouraging worship the rest of the week? Or is that the pastor's job?

If you drive to God’s address Monday through Saturday, you need less of a roadmap to get there on Sunday!

Walking bible

Thursday, March 19, 2009
Apparently a free service to help you memorise the Bible by setting images and music to scripture. If not it'll put a smile on your face.

Look good, feel good from WalkingBible on Vimeo.

St Patrick

Tuesday, March 17, 2009
As many people round the world have been celebrating St Patrick's day today apart from some in my office being annoyed that St George's day (English patron saint) is not celebrated with as much enthusiasm, I thought it only fitting to make write a post.

The blogosphere has been tainted green today. Mark Driscoll has posted a history of St Patrick. Talking of Calvinists, ('Old' not 'New') Rev Ian Paisley is writting a book on St Paddy which will be an interesting read.

Though there is no real evidence of his origins and his life is surrounded by myths and legends. Planting 700 churches, training 1000 priests and probably 1000's of converts, if accurate is pretty amazing. What we do know is that God used him to change the spiritual landscape of Ireland and indeed influence Europe. Ireland at one stage was known as the Land of 'saints and scholers' for it's missionary and educational pursuits.

To get a taste of Patrick's writting read David's post on the "Confessio" of St Patrick.

Or for more check out My Worship Revolution

Or for the youtube generation


Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I've been doing a lot of complaining on my blog about modern worship being boring, consumerist and uncreative. So in my sphere of influence, am I doing anything about it? The answer is a very small yes.

For the last six months or so we have been starting our services with a family time of worship which can entail object lessons, being creative with play dough, writing/drawing on our worship wall and of course songs with loads of actions. In our church we've always enjoyed a Good Friday meditative service while at Christmas we had a great family service with prayer stations. Most of these ideas I can't take any credit for as we have some very creative people in our church. I believe this is only the start in our exploration in the infinite ways we can worship our infinitely Creative God and look forward to stepping out more in creativity.

Cardboard Testimonies

Friday, February 06, 2009
Found this video thanks to Randy Alcorn's blog. I love hearing testimonies and it always blows me away how God changes lives.

Good vocal health

Monday, February 02, 2009
Some vocal exercises thanks to Musicademy! Vocal longevity here we come!

Vocal Health from Musicademy on Vimeo.

Shut up and sing!

Friday, January 30, 2009
In recent years I've come full circle in a lot of things. Growing up in a tradional style church meant hymn sandwiches while youthful rebellion led me to the joys and ecxtasy of a charasmatic worship session with it's multiple songs played repetitively and continueously without interruption. I had always detested any interruption in the 'flow' of worship. More recently I coming round to a more balanced view that we need both the musical 'flow' but we also need to engage brain, be extoled, encouraged through testimoney, hear God's word etc

Kyle did a totally unscientific survey on his blog of what people thought of worship leaders who speak in the middle of a worship set. Over 80% of the small number of people voted said that talking in the middle of worship distracted and annoyed them.

Maybe I should do a blog poll?

Worship Matters: Who needs a Worship Leader anyway?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Continuing in my read of Bob Kauflin's 'Worship Matters - Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God'' as promised a few more thoughts.

In his chapter about what a worship leader does, he comments:

"Humanly speaking, the pastor is the worship leader. He is the one responsible before God for the corporate worship of the church".

The term 'worship leader' has only appeared in the last 30 or so years and has risen with the prominence of the music band. I suspect mirroring secular band's 'front man' singer who more often than not has become the face and mouth of the band.

So if a worship leader leads the music at the start of a church service and then sits down, does that mean we all stop worshipping when the preacher gets up to speak. Have we narrowed the definition of worship by using the term Worship leader? Paul in the Bible was a great if not one of the greatest 'worship leaders' but there's only a couple of occasions we see him leading musically.

A great quote from D.A Carson:

"I would abolish the notion of a 'worship leader'. If you want to have a "song leader" who leads part of the worship, just as the preacher leads part of the worship, that's fine. But to call the person a 'worship leader' takes away the idea that by preaching, teaching, listening to and devouring the word of God, and applying it to our lives, we are somehow not worshipping God"

I grew up in a more traditional church where worship was led by the preacher/pastor while someone played the music. This has been the tradition in the church for hundreds of years.

So should we do it old school and let the musicians know their place or should the musicians be encouraged to take a step forward and indeed help the pastor/elder/vicar to lead worship

Is God bored of modern 'Worship Music'?

Monday, January 26, 2009
It's official, worship music is boring!

Outgoing UK Evangelical Alliance leader, Joel Edwards has commented on the current state of 'worship' and 'worship music' as boring. Here's the full quote thanks to Musicademy:

"There is something about the charismatic movement which brought something new and fresh. It came out of something new God was doing.

I am thirsty for something new again. I have to confess to you that mostly on a Sunday morning I am bored! And I wonder if one of the reasons why people are not singing is because they too are bored.

It may be a good thing to discover what you would write down if you spent two months noting what songs are sung on a Sunday morning. I cannot believe that so much of our repertoire has become so narrow. So predictable. That the formation of what we do on a Sunday is so utterly predictable. And I think to myself, how come the God who has formed the constellations and put the stars in place and has a new idea every second, doesn’t have something new for us for a Sunday morning? I wonder whether he might not be vaguely bored too.”

This is something I've posted on in the past, 'Worship Music' becoming consumerist, individualistic and narrow. Though the very idea of worship being boring is a very consumerist mentality in itself. But I suspect Joel was getting at the lack of variety and dependence on a certain form of worship.

I do like how he describes God as having a new idea every second.

I suggest maybe part of the solution to Joel's comments is too change 'Worship' from being a self absorbed activity of me and God to more of a community based activity. In simple getting people involved, expecting contributions. If everyone on a Sunday morning somehow contributed to the service I'm sure we would have countless different types of expressions of worship to God.

This is something our church has been trying to do over the last six months or so. This happened due to the need of a more family orientated worship to include everyone from from the youngest child to the older generation. The spin off from this is that we've become slightly more creative in how we do worship. We still have a way to go. I, myself, still have more stepping out and taking risks to do.

Indeed we still use music which I suspect will be the bulk of our worship activity on a Sunday morning for the near future. Though I have tried to reach back and find old songs instead of grabbing the newest, latest songs. Mainly because the past holds a variety of music styles from hymns to choruses and an ever greater spectrum of topics.

Barack O'bama

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
To celebrate the inauguration of America's new president I thought I would post this video. Apparently Barack loves this song and sings it in the shower.

Developing Arrangements Quickly - Band on the Run

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Band on the Run from Sovereign Grace Ministries on Vimeo.

The Band on the Run seminar from the WorshipGod08 conference. Bob Kauflin and a band demonstrate how to develop good arrangements quickly during a church band rehearsal.

The story behind Chris Tomlin and Laura Story's 'Indescribable'

Friday, January 16, 2009

Worship Matters: Top Ten idols

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One of my Christmas presents from my wife this year was a great book by Bob Kauflin called 'Worship Matters - Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God'. As I began to read I've got stuck on the first chapter entitled 'What do I love' where Bob describes how God changed him with regard to his musical and ministry pride. For many years he had worshipped and idolised his position, his talent, and the approval of others.

By way of confession, if I did a top ten list of what I worshipped or what my top ten idols were, God would be somewhere around number 3 or 4 if I was honest. Approval from others would certainly be up there above God. Comfort, pleasure and maybe my talents would by high.

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. Exodus 20:2-17

I'm so grateful that God is both jealous and grace-filled that he's continually working on these issues.

As I read more of the book I might blog a few posts on it. Who know?

David Gate: Releasing an album without a millstone around his neck

Tuesday, January 13, 2009
On a similar point to the previous post, regarding commercialism and CCM industry, Cheltenham (UK) based worship leader David Gate has released his new album independently through a label set up by his church. Previously his first album was released through Kingsway. In an interview with CrossRhythms he describes the possibility of it becoming a 'millstone around your neck'.

Here's a few interesting quotes from the interview.

"one of my songs was then on an album called something like 'The Best Worship Songs Ever' and I was wondering who decides these songs? Has God revealed that, are they his favourites? And then are we judging them by which songs are top of the CCLI charts? And is that the value of a song? How many churches it's sung in or how many conferences it's sung at or how many albums it's on? It gets really complicated and I just felt like I wanted to keep a closer eye on my songs and what they were doing."

"Certainly everyone seems to be trying to paint these songs with broad brush strokes. I've got this theory that you can walk in to a church in Thailand or Canada or Scandinavia or Stoke and you can hear the same songs sung in the same way. One part of me thinks that can be good for some reasons but ultimately I think that it makes me a bit sad that we are doing the same thing everywhere."

Reply from Worship Central

Monday, January 12, 2009
It's not too often people leave comments on my blog (I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions why not) so when one receives a comment then it's always worth a post to celebrate and to further make comment on the 'comment'.

In October last year I went to Worship Central's Tour as it stopped in Birmingham, UK. As a result I blogged on it, here . Generally I was positive about the night but was concerned at the modern trend in worship which I summarised into three headings Commercialism, Definition of Worship and Congregational singing.

Recently Al Gordon one of the leaders from Worship Central very kindly commented on the post with a gracious reply to my criticisms:

Hey Gareth - I love these thoughts - you're right on these points: it's a real balance between the volume and engagement, and I guess sometimes things are a bit loud. In terms of expression, there's only so much we can do in one night, so we tend to go for that model, but Sundays are much broader. Also, the resources are there because people ask for them, and we're able to bring them to people cheaper than the shops, as we get a big discount. If it's any help, the revenue from the sale of resources goes towards the cost of putting the night on, and the ministry actually made a loss on putting on the events, even with selling resources. We're very passionate about encouraging worship of all expressions, so it's really helpful to see your comments - they're a blessing and help us learn.
God bless,
Al Gordon

As I've mentioned before about the event, I believe God was there and I believe Al and Tim are very anointed, humble worship leaders, songwriters and God uses them and the events they put on.


Friday, January 09, 2009

We've all heard people say they wish there were more hours in a day. Over the last few months and indeed the last year I've been feeling that way. Being frustrated at my lack of productivity and wanting to do so much more but not having enough time to do it.

I've recently started making daily lists of jobs I've got to do which has help somewhat while also trying to say 'no' more and not getting involved in things that eat into my other priorities and that may not be within my giftings.

One of my goals for 2009 is to take hold of time and use it more wisely and more productively. I've found very helpful CJ Mahaney's recent series of posts on Biblical Productivity. Well worth a read!