Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Jesus Lives! A collaborative project

Dear friends,

On the last mailing we mentioned that Roger was getting all creative again, and this time his focus was some Passiontide and Easter material. We also mentioned that there would be an opportunity to take part – well here’s the details!

We are going to be producing a virtual choir and orchestra video once again, so we need singers and players. You’ll need to be able to listen to the guide track through headphones and record a video of yourself playing or singing.

As we are going to be performing Roger’s new tune to the old hymn ‘Jesus Lives’, we will be holding a Zoom rehearsal next week on Tuesday 16th February at 8pm. This rehearsal isn’t compulsory, and you are also welcome to attend even if you aren’t able to record a video for the project.

The deadline for video submissions is Friday 5th March.

If you would like to be involved, do email annieroutley@btinternet.com and she will send you full instructions as well as the guide track, sheet music and Zoom link. If you’re an instrumentalist, do let her know what instrument you play when you get in touch!

Have a look at our last project – We Three Kings / Noel! This was the finale of our virtual premiere of Three Wise Camels.


Alongside this project, Roger is also excited about Heart & Soul. He writes this:

Recently, we were thrilled and encouraged to read this on Facebook:

Congratulations to the entire Heart & Soul team as they have just broadcast their 50th show with us here at Brumside Radio. One of our primetime shows which gets a huge amount of traffic every week. (Richard Laundon - Brumside Radio)

This is 50 shows since the new Brumside Radio station was formed. “Heart and Soul” has actually been going for 3 years now! We’ve had some wonderful guests over the years and made many contacts with leaders and others with great faith stories. It’s a privilege to work alongside my Co-Presenters Debra Mayo, Graeme Russell and Dave Stansbie.

Recently I have been interviewing some incredible guests such as Bob Hartman, Jack Sara (Bethlehem Bible College), Gavin Calver (Evangelical Alliance) and Rob Parsons (Care for the Family) – click on their names to access the catch up facility on Mixcloud.

Coming up:
  • 10 February – Nigel Lloyd-Latham (singer, song-writer, worship leader) followed by Henrietta Blyth (CEO of Open Doors)
  • 17 February – Philippa Hanna (singer, song-writer, and now mother!)
  • 24 February – Paul Harcourt (National Leader of New Wine)
  • 03 March – Simon Baker (Community Bible Studies)
  • 10 March – Jeff Lucas (international writer, speaker, broadcaster)
Please listen each Wednesday 6-8pm (repeats Thursdays 11am-1pm) on https://openradio.app/station/brumside-radio-3c20htr7 or www.brumsideradio.com

I’m so excited by these amazing guests, so do spread the word as much as you can!


God bless,

Roger and the CMM Team




Thursday, 4 February 2021

Heart & Soul

If you want to listen back to the Heart and Soul back catalogue, look no further.  Here are some Mixcloud links.

Roger is thrilled to be involved in a local internet radio station.  The station isn't limited to the Birmingham area though - it is an internet radio so you can listen in anywhere!  Roger, along with Debra Mayo, Dave Stansbie and Graeme Russell host the Heart & Soul show on Wednesdays from 6-8pm (repeated Thursdays 11am-1pm).  The first half of the show is usually a pre-recorded interview with all kinds of interesting people such as Jonathan Viera and Bishop Graham Dow.  The second half is live in the studio with the team chatting to a variety of local guests.  All of the chat is interspersed with a variety of Christian music.  Do tune in if you get chance, and follow the programme on Facebook.

The last few shows are up on Mixcloud, so if you want to listen again, you can do so here:

12th September features an interview with Dave Fellingham, and then the team welcome childrens and families worker Trish Nesbett.

19th September - Roger interviews Alison Fuggle, poet and lyricist about her life and her new Christmas book 'With all the Trimmings'.  In the second hour Roger and Debs share more music and chat.

25th September - Roger shares his interview with hymnwriter Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith.  In the second hour Simon and Roger chat to four girls about to go to Peru with BMS.

3rd October - Roger interviews the wonderful Emily Owen about her experiences becoming deaf as a teenager and about her work as an author.  Then in the second half of the programme the team talk to Nicole Robinson-Edwards about her work with Kids Klub Kampala.

10th October - Roger interviews soprano Anne Linstrum for the first hour, and then in the second week the focus is on Baby Loss Awareness week with moving interviews and conversation.

17th October - Roger interviews Jon Pocock and then the team talk about dementia with Sue Hallcroft.

24th October - a moving interview with Ruth Aylward and her mother Sally Rhodes about worship and mental health, followed by in-studio chat with Dick Rogers - clergyman, GP and parliamentary candidate.

31st October - Roger interviews Gordon Bailey about his life as entertainer, and then Roger and Debra chat about Halloween and how we should respond to it as Christians.

7th November - Roger interviews guitarist Paul Poulton about his life and ministry, and then for the second half of the show the team chat to Nick Jones, Methodist Minister in South Birmingham.

14th November - Roger chats to Steve and Velveta Thompson - Steve is Graham Kendrick's keyboard player.  Then more fun in the studio with Simon and Debs.

21st November - Emma Sargeant talks about her work as Youth Project Manager for the Church of England in Birmingham.  Then for the second hour 4 young people from 'Fast Forward' - the youth group at Holy Trinity Lickey come in.

28th November - In the first hour Roger travels to Sussex and interviews cast members from JAIL BREAK, who performed in the local prison.  The second hour sees Revs Glyn & Maureen Dew in the studio asking what do vicars do when the retire?

5th December - Roger chats to folks at Longbridge Retirement Village, and then Sheri, Dave and Rachel Gidney return to the studio to tell everyone how they got on in Kenya.

12th December - a wonderful interview with Chris Eaton, songwriter for Cliff Richard and more, followed by a chat in the studio with Richard Pidgley.

19th December - the first hour features Roger's Christmas musical, The Inn Crowd, and for the second hour Debs shares her own special Christmas music.

26th December - Roger presents Lessons and Carols - traditional and contemporary seasonal music with readings by David Suchet.  Then Simon, with Roger, presents his own varied selection of Christmas songs and carols.

2nd January - Roger presents Simeon, a Christmas musical featuring Beresford King-Smith as Simeon, with Simon Gudger as Joseph, Katie Leaver as Mary, and Gloria Close as Anna, the prophetess.  Then Rev Simon Gudger and Roger Jones present Top of the Praise Pops. Find out which songs have been most sung during 2018. There will be some surprises!

16th January - Roger Jones interviews well-known CMM singer, Ann Steer about her life and music.  Then Simon Gudger and Roger Jones welcome Andrew Haynes the racing preacher to chat about his unique ministry.

23rd January - Roger interviews New Wine author, theologian, songwriter and worship leader Neil Bennetts.  Then Debs shares thoughts, plays worship songs, and talks with local musician Helen Whitten about local churches plans to present the Christian musical "Wildfire".

30th January - Roger interviews author Deborah Armin about how she has come through and survived horrendous times of abuse and rejection, as shared in her book "On my Way Home".  Then we welcome "Story Behind the Hymn" Dave Stansbie and we find out how certain hymns have made such an impact on his life.

6th February - Following Roger's visit last week to Abu Dhabi (UAE), he interviews Rev Andrew Thompson, author and senior Chaplin of St Andrew's Abu Dhabi, who shares about his work in the UAE and his engagement with the Islamic world.  Then Debra Mayo brings an hour of inspiring music and chat to lift your heart and bless your soul.

13th February - Roger interviews Abby Eaton about her work with the Mariposa Trust that supports those who have been affected by the loss of a child at any stage of pregnancy, at birth or in infancy. Then Chris Roe, a local Christian and church warden, comes into the studio to talk about a new outreach in Walsall and surrounding areas.

20th February - Roger talks to Adrian Plass about his life and ministry - a full length interview that is moving, informative and at times hilarious!  Then for the second hour Simon and Roger welcome Andy Hancock and members of the Life Central youth group from Halesowen.

27th February - Roger talks to Rev John Mosey, who lost his daughter when a PanAm flight exploded over Lockerbie. 30 years later he reflects upon his and his family's faith journey, etc - a very moving and challenging interview.  Then Debs and Roger welcome Rev Heather Flack, former local vicar who has now become an author.

6th March - Roger talks to Rev Jo Honour, Managing Chaplain at Her Majesty's Prison Stafford. She reflects upon her role as a prison chaplain and her own faith journey.  Then Dave Stansbie and Roger welcome Graeme Russell, Community Missioner from Redditch.

13th March - A repeat of Roger's interview with Rt Rev Graham Dow - former bishop of Carlisle - a very informative interview with plenty of encouragement and challenge for today's church.  In the second hour Debs and Simon welcome a team from "Healing on the Streets", and talk about their exciting work of sharing the love and power of Jesus outside the church walls.

20th March - Roger talks to Alison Nicholas MBE, famous golfer who leapt to fame when she won the Ladies' British Open and then the US Open. Alison shares about her life in golf and her journey into faith in Jesus.  Then in the second hour Simon and Roger welcome Wesley Erpen of Birmingham City Mission. He shares about the work of BCM and also about his own personal faith.

27th March - Roger interviews Jo Boyce of CJM Music. She used to work alongside Mike Stanley, who took the part of Jesus in Angel Voices as well as singing on numerous other CMM recordings.  The second hour of the show features Marcus Pagnam, worship leader at St John's Harborne, a large Anglican church in Birmingham.

3rd April - Roger talks to Gornal-based worship leader DAVE POPE about his life and ministry in mission and music.  In the second hour Simon and Roger welcome Rev Tim Ferguson, minister at Olton Baptist, Solihull, to talk about his work in ministry, and also about his own faith journey.

10th April - Roger talks to Dave Gidney and Michael Mwanikha about the work of Children Worldwide, and then in the studio Debs and Roger chat to Trevor Gay who runs an Alpha Course from a pub, and 90 year-old Gladys Clifton who became a Christian through it!

17th April - the first hour features the whole of Roger's musical Jerusalem Joy, with Devon Brown as Jesus and narrated by Michele Guinness.  Then for the second hour Debs and Simon chat welcome back Andy Hancock with his youth group from Life Central Church, Halesowen.

24th April - a special Easter show beginning with an hour-long documentary on the life and ministry of Billy Graham.  In the second hour Debra Mayo brings her own Easter reflections, with great thoughts and fabulous songs.

1st May - for the first hour Roger talks to worship leader and children's song-writer Ian Smale (Ishmael).  Then for the second hour Simon talks to Keith and Jackie Medler who head up Catshill Baptist Foodbank.

8th May - For the first hour, Roger talks to Nigel Swinford about his life and ministry with the New English Orchestra. Then after 7pm Roger and Debs are chat to Janet and Bryan Hewett from Christians in Sport, and Philip J Nott, the chaplain at Aston Villa.

15th May - An interview with Ann Widdecombe.  Then for the second hour Dave and Roger chat to Alan Walker, a football ref and insurance loss adjuster.

22nd May - Roger interviews Emma Buchan, co-ordinator for the 'Thy Kingdom Come' prayer project.  In the second hour Roger, Dave and Simon chat to Alan Holdsworth and Kathryn Alvis from Unity Prayer in East Birmingham.

29th May - the first hour feature's Carol and Jimmy Owens' wonderful musical The Witness.  Then the second hour Mark & Trish Fox talk about their new book on Healing and John's Gospel.

5th June - Roger talks to CMM Soloist Simon Cooper about his life and ministry with Refreshment UK in Blackpool.  Then it's a 'chilled hour' with Debs.

12th June - A moving and wonderful interview with singer-songwriter Paul Field fills the first hour, and then the second hour features John Cooper, recently appointed director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

19th June - Roger chats to singer-songwriter Joe King about music and depression for the first hour, and then in the second hour Rev Nigel Hand comes to the studio.  He is the canon missioner for the Birmingham Anglican Diocese.

26th June - Roger interviews staff and students from London School of Theology, then Debs and Dave welcome Ruben King and Adrian Grey to talk about their Templesound Worship Music.

3rd July - Roger speaks to author and speaker Eric Delve about his life and ministry.  During the second hour Rev Francis Williamson from Kings Norton Baptist Church will be in the studio.

10th July - Roger interviews Clair Rogoff  - singer, songwriter and teacher.  Then Dave chats to Christian bookshop managers Warwick Goulding and Tim McCloud.

17th July - features Roger's musical 'Wildfire' for the first hour, and then a studio chat with Colin Tamplin, former pastor at Monyhull Church.
24th July - Roger interviews Roger Mayor, composer, arranger and pianist.  Then Dave and Debs chat to Steve Chedgzoy from Operation Mobilisation.

From 31st July - 28th August the Heart & Soul team are taking a well-earned rest, and each show will comprise two hours of non-stop worship music.  If you want to listen to any of these shows, you'll find our playlist here.

4th September - the team return to Heart & Soul with a moving interview with Chris Bowater, followed by chat with Roger and Debs in the studio.

11th September - Roger interviews singer, song-writer, worship leader Sue Rinaldi who shares about her life and ministry featuring several songs from her latest album "Stranger". The second hour is 'live' with the studio visit of Rev Jill MacDonald, local lay-reader, church minister and recent recipient of Alphege Award by the Archbishop of Canterbury for exceptional contribution to community building.

18th September - Roger's feature interview is with Methodist minister and author Andrew Roberts about his book "Holy Habits", which has become a nationwide for churches and is still growing!  Then Roger and Dave welcome Tom, a Birmingham policeman, former Royal Marine, who shares how he came to faith and how Jesus makes a difference to his daily life on the streets of the second city.

25th September - Roger interviews singer, song-writer, worship leader Lou Fellingham about her life and ministry, with songs from Lou's latest album.  Then live in the studio Morgan Robinson shares about her work as a vet, her passion for leading worship and her faith journey.

2nd October - Roger features Christian opera singer Jonathan Veira and talks to his fans and supporters before and after his appearance at Spring Harvest.  Then we welcome Rev Jo Musson, a "wing-walking" vicar from Worcester!

9th October - We revisit Roger's interview with Abby Eaton as part of our special evening for Baby Loss Awareness Week.  In the second hour Roger and Debs are joined by Roger's CMM colleague Helen Pollard as she shares about miscarriage and emotional healing.

16th October - There was a slight issue with the recording for the first hour so the Mercy Ships interview was repeated the following week.  The second hour features Chris Milton, chaplain to Cadbury College.

23rd October - We hear from Darren Richards about the amazing work of Mercy Ships, which brings medical care and attention to 1000s of folk each year.  Then Debs and Dave welcome Grace Beecher - Singer/Songwriter from Temple Sound based at Harvest Temple Church - Wolverhampton.

30th October - Roger talks to Val Ralston about the amazing schools work of "Open the Book". Then for the second hour Debs and Roger Garth Nathaniel, Rector at Ipsley, in another of our "Meet the Minister" series.

6th November - Roger talks to Peter Moger and his wife Heather Moger about their love for worship and music. Until recently Peter was Precentor at York Minster, and Heather, a professional musician and teacher has produced great material to help under-5s develop and make music. At 7-8pm Dave Stansbie and Roger present an hour of chat and worship music.

13th November - Roger Jones talks to composer, arranger, pianist Roger Mayor about his life, music and ministry. Then Dave and Debra welcome dynamic Anglican vicar and author Andy Delmege.

20 November - an interview and music from CMM's own Ann Steer for the first hour. For the second hour Dave and Graeme chat to David King from Temple Harvest Church in Wolverhampton about his singles ministry.


27 November - Roger chats to Linda Ngamlana, principal of the Amasongo School in Grahamstown, South Africa, alongside supporter Kate Mier, a vicar in Studley. Then for the second hour, Stuart and Vicky Kettell, wedding photographers with a difference are going to be chatting in the studio.

4th December - Roger talks to Chantal Mason, a member of the Lee Abbey community who tells of her own faith journey and also of the work and ministry of the wonderful North Devon community.  Then Dave and Debs welcome the dynamic "Racing Reverend" Colin Mcllwaine.

11 December - Roger chats to Helen Sworn and Amanda Daly about the work of "Chab Dai", an organisation based in Cambodia that helps to combat the awful impact of human trafficking. Then Debs and Dave welcome Rev Claire Turner, vicar of St Chad's Rubery, in our series of "Meet the Minister".

18 December - Roger Jones talks to international singer songwriter Chris Eaton about his songs on last year's Cliff Richard album. Listen to how Chris got the ideas for songs and how Sir Cliff is doing.  Then Debra hosts an hour of traditional and modern Christmas music.

25 December - Roger shares his musical 'Simeon' and then Dave brings some Christmas carols and songs.

1 January - Roger presents his musical 'The Inn Crowd' and then Dave brings more wonderful carols and songs.

8 January - a wonderful show featuring Roger's interview with Fiona Castle, as well as a chat in the studio with Joy Doal, CEO of Anawim.

15 January - Roger interviews Bishop Anne Hollinghurst, Bishop of Aston in Birmingham.  The for the second hour Debs and Roger welcome Canon David Swarbrick, vicar of All Saints Kings Heath.

4 March - Roger interviews Gordon Lee, soloist in both Mary Magdalene and From Pharaoh to Freedom before starting his own ministry.  Then for the second hour enjoy chat with the whole team in the studio.

11 March - Roger interviews songwriter and worship leader Dave Haddon about his life and ministry.  For the second hour Graeme and Debs chat to Guy Donegan-Cross, the Birmingham Diocesan leader for Growing Disciples.

18 March - Roger interviews dancer Lily Brito during his visit to Abu Dhabi about her amazing story. Then Graeme and Debra chat to Rev Guy Donegan-Cross about Growing Disciples.

22 March - a special Mothering Sunday service from Catshill Baptist led by Rev Simon Gudger.

25 March - Roger chats to Rev Sue Field, Archdeacon Pastor of Coventry.  She has long been connected with CMM.  Then Dave presents an hour of music and chat.

29 March - morning worship from Simon Gudger at Catshill Baptist Church

01 April - Roger and Graeme interview boxer Andy Flute about his interesting life and faith journey.  Then Graeme presents reflections on how Spring Harvest had been been a blessing to him.

05 April - morning worship from Simon Gudger at Catshill Baptist Church

08 April - the first hour is Roger's Easter musical, Jerusalem Joy.  Then Debs brings an hour of chilled music and reflection for the week before the cross.

10th April - a service for Good Friday from Rev Simon Gudger

12th April - Easter Sunday morning worship from Rev Simon Gudger

15th April - a special 2nd birthday edition featuring Roger's musical Mary Magdalene narrated by Annie Routley.  Then for the second hour Dave shares Easter music and reflection.

19th April - Sunday morning worship from Simon Gudger at Catshill Baptist Church

22nd April - a rerun of Roger's interview with Fiona Castle, followed by an hour of music and chat from Debs.

25th April - Sunday morning worship from Simon Gudger at Catshill Baptist Church

29th April - Roger talks to Jonathan Veira about his latest album and shares some wonderful tracks, and then Graeme shares a 'Lockdown Reflection'.

3rd May - Sunday morning worship from Simon Gudger at Catshill Baptist Church

6th May - Roger talks to Spring Harvest speaker Steve Legg about his international ministry, particularly in reaching men for Jesus.  Then Dave reveals the 'pick of the worship pops'.

10th May - Sunday morning worship from Simon Gudger at Catshill Baptist Church

13th May - Roger talks to local GP and Anglican Lay Reader Ian Morrey.  Then Debs presents an hour of reflection, prayer and praise.

17th May - Sunday morning worship from Simon Gudger at Catshill Baptist Church

























































Thursday, 28 January 2021

CMM Resources for Lent and Easter

Dear friends – the new year progresses and we are moving towards Lent, Passion and Easter. I share this extract from a joint message from Rt Rev Justin Welby and Rt Rev Stephen Cotterill:

“… we have hope because God raised Jesus from the dead. This is the Christian hope that we will be celebrating at Easter. We live in the hope that we will share in his resurrection. Death doesn’t have the last word. In God’s Kingdom every tear will be wiped away.” (Archbishops of Canterbury and York)

At CMM we have a vast number of resources for the coming seasons, and although there may be few “normal” or “live” performances, we do urge you to try using them in as many ways as you can, both personally and corporately. Do see the list at the bottom of this email, but I’d like to draw your attention particularly to JERUSALEM JOY - We have just released a re-mastered edition of the 1975 recording, with the Choirs of Aston Manor School, and Chris Bowater. It’s now available as a download from our site. It’s a vintage recording and a joy to have recovered!

But this email is not just about existing material, I’m starting to get creative again, and working on several Easter pieces, including with a new bouncy setting of the traditional hymn JESUS LIVES (I’m calling it a Resurrection Romp!). Keep your eyes on these emails because we’ll be asking for singers and instrumentalists to participate in that one! We also intend to release other songs in video form over the next few weeks in good time for you to use them in virtual services or share them with your friends on social media. It is wonderful to be creative again since I finished writing THREE WISE CAMELS in July!

CMM Easter Products Available:

MUSICALS - From Pharaoh to Freedom, Jerusalem Joy, Mary Magdalene, Pharisee, Rock, Saints Alive, Snakes and Ladders, Torn Curtain, Two Sisters and a Funeral

CHORAL ANTHEMS – (Lent and Easter, SATB unless otherwise stated):
Abide with me, It is a thing most wonderful, Lazarus of Bethany (I am the resurrection), Man of sorrows, My song is love unknown, O love that will not let me go, O my Saviour lifted, Praise to the holiest , See how he dies on a cross, Take, eat, this is my body, There is a green hill/Dear Lord and Father, When I survey

HYMN COLLECTION:
Abide with me, And can it be, Christ is alive, I met you at the cross, It is a thing most wonderful, Man of sorrows, My Jesus, I love thee, My song is love unknown, O love that will not let me go, O my Saviour lifted, Praise to the holiest, There is a green hill far away, When I survey the wondrous cross, Were you there?

PSALM COLLECTION
Christ our Passover, Engraved upon my palms (Mothering Sunday), Jesus lamb of God

SONG COLLECTION
Behold the Lamb, God raised him up, Hark how all the new bells ring, Jesus comes, riding into town, Jesus rode a donkey, Lazarus of Bethany (I am the resurrection), Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus (AR), See how he dies on a cross, Take, eat, this is my body, When I see the blood I will pass over you 


SEASONS AND REASONS (My collaboration with Timothy Dudley-Smith)
Freely for the love he bears us, Heaven’s throne ascending, When to our world the Saviour came

SEE WHAT A MORNING
– whole album of Easter Backing Tracks by Tim Jones

THIS IS THE PLACE
– instrumental album by Annie Routley, including a string octet arrangement of When I see the blood I will pass over you, Man of Sorrows, Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus 


Do make sure you explore our YouTube channel, as many of these items can be found there, including the original tour video recordings of some of the musicals. I continue to go LIVE AT FIVE on Mondays on my Facebook page, and hope also to go live on YouTube at some point for those who aren’t on Facebook. Finally, don’t forget HEART & SOUL each Wednesday at 6pm, repeated Thursday at 11am on brumsideradio.com.

God bless you all!

Roger

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Happy New Year from CMM

Happy New Year! – I guess for all of us, that greeting has especial poignance and meaning.  2020 was not what we expected nor wanted, and we enter 2021 with understandable trepidation.  At CMM, time and time again we are led to Isaiah 43, which preceding the foundational (certainly to us!) “You are precious and honoured in my sight … I love you” (4), we see these thrilling words of promise:

                When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

                and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.

                When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

                For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.” (2-3a)

 

Here is promise of his presence and protection, and we must engage with both.  He has promised to be with us always, so no part of our lives need be without him.  Knowing him is our birth-right right as Christians, and despite the restrictions imposed upon us we have many ways of staying in touch with our Lord and Saviour.  Let’s not be a people who only cry out to him when we encounter difficulties, but make significant efforts to stay in touch daily, in fact moment-by-moment.  This will not come naturally to most of us.  If you are like me, the natural instinct will be to go-it-alone. No good!  Do read Proverbs 3:5-6 on this!

 

Of course we all miss the gatherings in home groups, congregations and larger events, and long for such times to return. We at CMM miss you all so much!  But there is so much online and the Lord has caused us to learn new skills and outlets.  In my lifetime the church has never been so free from the physical boundaries of its buildings and traditional ways of operating.  You will have seen how we at CMM are attempting to respond to this challenge.

 

Mary and I have taken to going LIVE AT FIVE on Facebook on my personal page, and there has been great interest and engagement with this. Do follow me if you want to see these.  We also plan to release more videos over the next months, so do watch out for them to appear on the CMM YOUTUBE CHANNEL.  By subscribing you get automatic notice of new additions.

 

HEART & SOUL has now been going for nearly three years, and we are greatly encouraged to occasionally receive comments following our broadcasts from listeners from throughout UK and further.  Over the next few months we have a very exciting line-up:

  • Jan 13 - Gavin Calver (Evangelical Alliance)
  • Jan 20 - “Tough Talk” (Ex gangsters, offenders, power-lifters, bouncers, etc - led by Debra Mayo – 2 hours)
  • Jan 27 - “Apostle” musical (Feast of Conversion of St Paul)
  • Feb 03 - Rob Parsons (Care for the Family)
  • Feb 10 - Nigel Lloyd-Latham (singer, song-writer)
  • Feb 17 - Philippa Hanna (singer, worship leader, song-writer)
  • Feb 24 - Paul Harcourt (National Leader - New Wine)
  • Mar 03 - Simon Baker (Community Bible Studies)
  • Mar 10 - Jeff Lucas (international speaker, author, writer, broadcaster)

These are mainly my 6-7pm guests, but Debra Mayo, Dave Stansbie and Graeme Russell will be bringing inspiring music and themes each week 7-8pm, and their sessions are a real blessing.  They are a great team!
Listen each Wednesday (6-8pm) on www.brumsideradio.com repeats Thursday 11am-1pm)

We have now established a nation-wide network of REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES who will be aiming to bring CMM to the notices of local groups, churches, choirs schools, etc.  Their local knowledge is vital in bringing CMM’s ministry and materials to a wider “audience”.  Please have a look at the list.

  • Is there a rep for your area?  If so, can you help them by putting them in touch with local opportunities and openings?
  • If there’s not a rep in your area do you know someone who might be suitable?

 

So lots to think, pray and act upon.  We really do value your support, so thank you so much for standing with us!

 

Roger Jones

Thursday, 17 December 2020

CMM Christmas News

 Dear Friends,

Here it is - the email you have all been waiting for - the bumper CMM Christmas Newsletter edition.  Do have a read of all the news from the team:

We'd also like to thank all of those who joined us for our Three Wise Camels Premiere on Friday night, and all who have watched it since. If you haven't yet watched it, you can view it here. Please share it widely with your friends, family and churches - we're biased but we think it's a great watch!


Finally, 2020 has been a challenging year in many ways, so we want to thank all of those who have generously supported us financially. Please read the following message from the CMM Trust:

Dear Friends, 

2020 has been a difficult year for many in Christian ministry when leading conferences or meetings in person have been taken off the agenda. It has also been an incredibly tough year for those working in choral music or trying to sell sheet music for groups of any kind. At CMM we have been particularly conscious of our role bringing encouragement, light, hope, and the truth of the gospel of Jesus in this time that has been so dark for many.

In order to stay true to this calling, we have needed the Lord to provide in order to cover the shortfall where we have suddenly lost all income from events or sales. We are blessed to have seen this provision again and again through all of you, and the generosity of so many individuals has been incredibly moving.

Here is a message from our trustees:

2020 has regularly been noted for being strange, difficult or unusual. As we experience lockdown and the tier system there have been many different reactions, but the overwhelming sense of uncertainty pervades through. Meeting family and even keeping jobs has been a major concern for many.

However, we are certain that we have a faithful God, and are also very aware, as Trustees, of the faithfulness of His provisions, no more so than the army of faithful donors who support His work through the efforts of CMM.

Without those who are willing to lovingly gift some of their finances to this work, we could not function. CMM Trust’s only regular and assured funding is from you and the tax relief from these gifts through gift aid, so you can see just how vital your generosity is. We therefore thank you all for these wonderful donations and trust that God allows you the means to continue to offer them in order to help us to continue this vital work in proclaiming his goodness and saving grace through the music ministry.

With grateful thanks

The Trustees

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Three Wise Camels Premiere News

 Hi friends

During this week is the biggest night of the year for us at CMM, probably the event that crowns all that has happened with us since lockdown - the World Premiere of THREE WISE CAMELS - Friday 11 December at 8pm. Join us!

The link is https://youtu.be/EignGsqkcDc 

(We’d really appreciate it if you could subscribe to our Christian Music Ministries YouTube channel.  It’s doesn’t cost and isn’t a commitment, but it will help towards our target of 1000 subscribers.)

Please share this link far and wide, as we would love as many as possible to join us for the premiere, and even more to watch it afterwards over the Christmas season.

The CMM team of Annie, Amy, and Tim have worked so hard in bringing this together, but we must especially mention Helen Pollard, who has spent many hours finally producing the video. We have had wonderful contributions from singers and instrumentalists from far and wide, and there are special moments from our "singing camels" Jennifer Douglas,  Bob Deakin and Simon Gudger, as well as our "speaking camels" Jane Hicks, James Baron and Dave Green. We must also mention the splendid cartoons from George Hicks, which have really brought Camelia, Humphrey and Samson to life!

I look back with amazement to March this year.  I had no plans to write another musical, but as the restrictions began I started looking at Jane Hicks' small drama about the Wise Men story told by their camels, and the rest, as they say, is history.  We are very thrilled to bring this project to you, and despite the frustration of not being able to sing and worship together, we pray that this will bring you extra special joy and be a real blessing to you as we bring ourselves and our gifts to Jesus.

You can get the Vocal Score and CD of THREE WISE CAMELS, (there’s still the special combined offer of £15) - go to our CMM Shop.

God bless you all!

Roger, Mary and the CMM Team.

Friday, 27 November 2020

Three Wise Camels news from CMM

 Hi folks..

As we approach Christmas and go through the season of Advent (the coming), our anticipation is mingled with excitement and confusion.  We’re excited about the coming of Christmas but confused as to how, as the pandemic continues, it’s all going to work out.  However, as the song says:  “We do not know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future.”

We at CMM are thrilled to share the Christmas message with you and long for the time when we can make music together, worship together and generally be together.  Perhaps all this reminds us that people matter more than things, even very good things.  However, we have much to share with you:

THREE WISE CAMELS –

  • Join us for our World Premiere on Friday 11 December at 8pm on the CMM YouTube Channel.  Please book the date in your diary and plan to join with lots of CMM friends.  We will send the link in our next mailing, but you should also be able to find it direct from the channel. While you're there, why not subscribe?
  • We are holding a rehearsal, online over Zoom on Wednesday 02 December at 8pm. The idea is that we can enjoy some music and chat, and then when the premiere comes you'll be able to sing along! So if you’d like to join us let us know at events@cmm.org.uk and we’ll send the zoom link (probably on Tuesday).


We continue to be stretched  financially as our sales have dwindled significantly, although we are encouraged by the response to our new musical, and, of course, no ministry fees or gifts are being received.  Without the generous donations from CMM supporters we cannot continue.

  • Direct contributions to the CMM Trust are hugely appreciated – regular and/or one off gifts would be great – some can Gift Aid their support, which makes it even more valuable – go to our VirginMoneyGiving site for online donations, or see our Trust donation form if you would prefer to send a cheque or make a bank transfer.
  • If you shop at Amazon you can support us through the Amazon Smile Scheme. As you shop, Amazon gives a small donation. This is our Amazon Smile page.
  • Direct purchases from the CMM Online Shop are even more effective.  We’ve got all our musicals available here, CDs and books, all the collections and very much more.  Why not do your Christmas shopping with us?  It would really help us an at the same time spread the message of the Good News in word and song.

Especially this month I would like to recommend:

Each time I listen to these albums I am so impressed with our wonderful array of CMM singers and instrumentalists.  They really do bring out the best in my songs and I am so grateful.  I know you will enjoy listening to, singing and playing these tracks, and I pray that it will help you to prepare for and enjoy the coming season.

I really don’t want to keep on mentioning finance – the ministry is so much more, so I hope you understand, and we encourage you to keep in touch with us in as many ways as you can:

  • Every Monday evening Mary and I go LIVE AT FIVE on my Facebook page with a thought for the week.  We’re amazed that hundreds see us each week, and we have had so many lovely comments.  It is also an amazing opportunity to share from God’s word.
  • Every Wednesday 6-8pm (repeats Thu 11am-1pm) HEART & SOUL features some great music and very inspiring guests – in December I am featuring interviews with Sandra Godley (BBC), Jack Sara (Bethlehem Bible College), and a special programme about The Oakville Singers (local choral society with a very inspiring message), as well as a full array of Christmas music and chat with my co-presenters Debra Mayo, Dave Stansbie and Graeme Russell - Listen on www.brumsideradio.com 


Please keep in touch with us – your fellowship and support means such a lot!

Roger

Friday, 13 November 2020

Torn Curtain Bible Studies and Three Wise Camels News

Hi Folks

Thank you to all those who joined us this Monday for the first of Dave Gidney’s TORN CURTAIN BIBLE STUDIES talks. It was a wonderful evening, and we are looking to going deeper into the Tabernacle over the next two Mondays at 8pm. If you missed it, the first one is now available permanently on our YouTube Channel.  Here are the all-important links:

We’re very excited about preparations for THREE WISE CAMELS premiere. Annie led a wonderful Zoom rehearsal for those taking part in our virtual choir recording of song 8 this week. If you'd like to watch the rehearsal back, get in contact with Helen on events@cmm.org.uk. Having had such a great time rehearsing on Zoom this week, we plan to do another one, where we can learn 2-3 more songs so you can sing along with the premiere.  The date will be Wednesday 02 Dec at 8pm - Helen won't be screen-sharing the music this time, so you'll need your vocal score.  If you would like to be part of this then let Helen know, and she'll send the Zoom link to you.

“Camels” is now one of 6 Christmas musicals we have available, and although we don’t anticipate many “live” performances this year, we do suggest playing and singing them through at home, and sharing the experience with others if you can.  But don’t forget our other Christmas music:

With Advent rapidly approaching I’d also to recommend Annie Routley’s beautiful choral arrangement of my setting of ON JORDAN’S BANK THE BAPTIST’S CRY.  The sheet is now downloadable from  “Sheet Music Plus”, as are many others of our songs, with more regularly added.

I’ve started to go LIVE AT FIVE on Facebook each Monday, with a thought for the week and CMM news.  It seems to be attracting great numbers! Follow me on my facebook page to receive notifications for this.

HEART & SOUL continues each Wednesday,  and now also available via Alexa - just say “Alexa, open Brumside Radio” - each Weds 6-8pm (repeated Thursday 11am-1pm)

We really do appreciate your thoughts, prayers and custom, and all the more so in these difficult times.  Do keep in touch with us, and please tell others!

Roger

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Bible Studies with CMM

Hi Friends

For the next three Monday evenings at 8pm join with us for a Bible Study! Our friend Dave Gidney will be giving illustrated talks based upon his recent book TORN CURTAIN – Bible Studies for House Groups.  Dave is a lively and excellent teacher and we know you will find these sessions interesting and inspiring.  They will last between 30-40 minutes and conclude with a song from the musical. As with our other video premieres there will be a chat forum where we can share thoughts as the video progresses, and the video will continue to be available afterwards if you were not able to join us at 8pm.

The link for the first study (9th November) is https://youtu.be/2O9Jy7MST0k  

Despite the latest lockdown restrictions meaning our buildings and “live” services are suspended, it’s really good to keep in touch with each other, and to know that the church hasn’t closed - and neither have we! 

Each Monday I’m planning to go LIVE AT FIVE on Facebook with some thoughts for the week. Follow my personal page on Facebook to see these.

Every Wednesday 6-8pm (repeated Thursday 11am-1pm) myself and the rests of the HEART & SOUL team (Debra Mayo, Dave Stansbie & Graeme Russell) present interviews and music to lift your heart and bless your soul. You can go to brumsideradio.com or try an app such as openradio: https://openradio.app/station/brumside-radio-3c20htr7

Christmas is coming (you don’t need  me to tell you!) and we have many resources available, for example:

  • Six Christmas musicals now! THREE WISE CAMELS has joined the others:  STARGAZERS, WHILE SHEPHERDS WATCHED, SIMEON, THE INN CROWD and AWAY IN A MANGER
  • Two collections of seasonal material: ROGER JONES CHRISTMAS COLLECTION, SONGS OF CHRISTMAS
  • Peter Lawrence’s classic SQUIDY BOD AT CHRISTMAS – excellent for all-age worship
  • Alison Fuggle's excellent collection of poems: WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS

Whether you purchase for yourself or for Christmas presents we pray these will be a real blessing, and we really would be blessed by your custom.  We have seen a 90% reduction in sales since lockdown began.

Don’t forget – THREE WISE CAMELS Premiere on Friday 11 December at 8pm.  You can be part of it, singing or playing - Annie is coordinating the administration for the collaborative video, so send her an email on annie@cmm.org.uk and she'll be in touch with all the details.

God bless,

Roger

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Three Wise Camels - official launch!

We told you the camels were coming – now they’re here!

I’m delighted to announce the publication of my latest musical, THREE WISE CAMELS.

The musical is launching this week (Thursday 29 October) on our CMM YouTube Channel with interviews and comment from the soloists and others involved in the recording. I’ll be introducing some of the songs, talking to Jane Hicks, the writer of the play that inspired the work and her cartoonist husband George who has created the wonderful camel caricatures of Humphrey, Samson, and of course, Camelia (don’t tell Mary – I’m falling in love with Camelia!).

Join us and be part of the launch on Thursday at 8pm at this link

We love these live premieres as there is a chat forum where you can say 'Hello' and make comments along with other CMM friends. If you aren't able to be with us live, the video will remain on our YouTube channel at the same link. 

While you're there, why not subscribe? It's free, and helps us to move nearer to the number of subscribers we need to make revenue from our channel. There are other exciting video releases coming up on our channel - three evenings of Bible Study based around TORN CURTAIN with Dave Gidney (9th, 16th, 23rd November - further details next week), and then the official premiere performance of THREE WISE CAMELS on December 11th.


Three Wise Camels Premiere

We had such a wonderful response to our 'O Worship the King' project in the summer, that we would love it if you were all able to be part of our Three Wise Camels premiere. Once again, we are calling singers and instrumentalists to take part in our virtual choir and orchestra. If you would like to be involved, you need to be able to listen in headphones on one device and record a video of you singing or playing on another. The closing date to receive videos will be Friday 20th November, so get in touch with Annie on annie@cmm.org.uk to receive full instructions, music and tracks to sing along to. She needs to know your voice part and/or instrument.

God bless,

Roger and the CMM team.



Thursday, 15 October 2020

Three Wise Camels - Mid-October eNews

Dear friends,

We are writing this latest mailing in the middle of what is both a frustrating and an exciting time. Lockdown continues to separate us in person and keep us from singing, but we are actively considering ways of reaching folk despite this.

On our last mailing we mentioned the musical we are about to release - Three Wise Camels. A number of you have responded and pre-ordered the book and CD, and we are so thankful as this greatly helps our cashflow. However, we are struggling a little with our CD producers, and so are still waiting for the final product to arrive. We hope this will come in the next few days, so do please carry on pre-ordering, and your books and CDs will be in the post very soon.

We are planning to hold two exciting Three Wise Camels related events online this autumn:

Thursday 29th October, 8pm - Three Wise Camels Official Launch

  • Join us for a fun evening of interviews, chat and a few song demonstrations from Roger
  • YouTube link to follow later this month!

Friday 11th December - Three Wise Camels Premiere

  • A chance to share in the online premiere of the musical! As we sadly cannot hold a concert performance, our premiere will be virtual. We hope to be able to involve you, so watch this space for further details at the end of the month!

We really do appreciate all of your love and support. We are trying to reach out more to all of you folks in lockdown via our CMMFacebook Page and our CMM YouTube Channel. Do make sure you like and subscribe for the latest updates. Just in case you missed them, here are our latest videos:

Not too hot - a children's song for harvest
Birthed in tears - an acoustic performance of Roger's song for baby loss awareness week

Finally, Dave Gidney has been working hard recording his Bible Studies to be released in November. The release dates are as follows:

  • Monday 9th November, 7.30pm
  • Monday 16th November, 7.30pm
  • Monday 23rd November, 7.30pm

They will be available to view afterwards. More details to follow in a couple of weeks’ time.

 

God bless you all!

The CMM Team


Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Torn Curtain Bible Studies - late September eNews

Hi Friends,

I’m absolutely delighted to announce the release of our latest house group/Bible study book:

TORN CURTAIN BIBLE STUDIES – 96 pages, £6.99 from CMM.

This has been written by Dave Gidney (edited by Helen Pollard), and is a ready-to use practical resource, containing material for nine separate house group meetings. It can be used for individual study, house-groups, sermon series, etc. It’s ready to use straightaway, with prayers, worship suggestions, Bible teaching and questions, as well as activity ideas. Dave is a splendid Bible-teacher and I’m sure many will be richly blessed by this book.


Order from us direct and we’ll also give you a free copy of Peter Lawrence’s BIBLICAL SNAKES BIBLICAL LADDERS (also available separately at special price of £5).

Dave Gidney will be leading three TORN CURTAIN video study evenings on Mondays 09, 16 and 23 November, so do book the dates!

And finally…

Watch out! The camels are coming!!! Our new musical THREE WISE CAMELS will be available next month, and we’re all very excited about it. You can now order in advance, which will indeed help our cashflow – much needed at present.

Keep in touch – there’s a lot happening at CMM and we really value your support and encouragement,


Roger



DIARY

REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES

Thursday, 10 September 2020

CMM Regional Reps - September eNews

 

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Dear friends,

We believe CMM still has so much to offer in terms of products and ministry. We really want more people to know about us, including individuals, choirs, churches, schools, house-groups, etc. So we are delighted to announce the formation of CMM REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES who will be our “ears and eyes” in the local areas, putting folk in touch with CMM and us with them. You really cannot over-estimate the value of local knowledge.

This is an exciting development for us, so please have a look at the LIST OF REGIONAL REPS.

  • Do you notice a gap where CMM is not represented?
  • Do you know of someone who might be suitable for the task?

If so, please do get in touch with me so we can investigate further.  We are looking for those with a good networking instinct, comfortable with internet and media, and who share our vision for spreading the good news of Jesus.  No one is a CMM ‘expert’ as we have a wide catalogue of resources, including musicals, collections, backing-tracks, choral and instrumental arrangements, books, house-group material, etc. but promotional work is so valuable to us, and personal recommendation so effective!

Here’s a heads-up for the immediate future:

  • Late September – we publish Dave Gidney’s TORN CURTAIN BIBLE STUDIES for house-groups and individuals.  We’re thrilled with it, and it can be use in connection with my musical or as a stand-alone study.
  • Mid October – the camels are coming!  THREE WISE CAMELS – a musical for all-ages – whether we can get together to sing at Christmas or not, this will bring fun, joy and meaning to your celebrations.

More news in our next mailing.

Don’t forget to tune in to HEART & SOUL each Wednesday 6-8pm (repeats Thursday 11am-1pm) – we have some amazing guests and great music.

Keep in touch – pray for us if you can!

Roger

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

New Video Premiere from CMM

 Dear friends,

We are thrilled to announce that on Friday evening (21st August) at 8pm our latest video is going live! It features teaching on Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs (Ephesians 5:18-19 and Colossians 3:16), and culminates in our exciting virtual choir and orchestra performance of 'O Worship the King.'

If you are able to join us live on our YouTube channel at 8pm or by clicking the video link below (the video picture of me!), then we can watch the premiere together and you'll be able to participate in the accompanying live chat. After the video has premiered, it will be available on our YouTube channel for the foreseeable future.


The virtual choir and orchestra video of 'O Worship the King' will also be available from 9pm on Friday - do share widely and encourage folks to engage with the ministry on social media. The more you like and comment, the further afield our posts on Facebook are seen. We long to bring the light of Christ and joy to people in this difficult time.

Sheet music and recordings for 'O Worship the King' can be found in the musical Two Sisters and a Funeral or The Roger Jones Hymn Collection available from the CMM Shop. An anthem version is also available to purchase on this page at Sheet Music Plus.

In the absence of income from our events we have been so encouraged by the way God has led people to give to the ministry. If you are able to support us in this way please either see our leaflet here or visit our Virgin Money Giving page.

Finally, Heart & Soul is still going strong - don't forget to tune in at Brumside Radio or via an online radio app every Wednesday at 6pm (repeated on Thursdays at 11am). All our shows are available here on the CMM Blog.

Keep your eyes on our news for details of the new musical coming soon, and several books in the pipeline. 

God bless you all!

Roger

www.cmm.org.uk
01527 576440

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus - Devotional August Mailing

Dear Friends,

August is upon us. This would usually be a time where we travel to some of the most beautiful places in the country to lead music weeks. We are so sad not to be able to do this, and are deeply missing all of the friends we would usually see. In its place we are creating a special Music Week Evening on Friday 21st August - a video premiere to be broadcast on YouTube, which we can all join together to watch. Keep your eyes on our email mailings and social media for the final link when it has been completed.

In these days it is so important to keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus, so we have created a lyric video to accompany Annie's wonderful song based upon these words from the start of Hebrews 12. If you wish to purchase the recording featuring soloist Mike Stanley, it is available on our Look of Love CD, and the sheet music can be found in the Roger Jones Song Collection. Don't forget our current offer - if you purchase anything from the CMM shop you receive a free 'Biblical Snakes, Biblical Ladders' book along with your purchase.

Have a look at the video below, and then Roger has some devotional thoughts below to refresh and inspire us.

We’re to “fix our eyes upon Jesus” (Heb 12:2).  But how?  What does he look like: The grotesque shadow of the Turin Shroud? Robert Powell? Mel Gibson? Or even our own CMM soloists Mike Stanley, Gordon Lee, Simon Cooper, Devon Brown?  Is he black, white, yellow, purple?  We’re all conditioned by culture, ethnicity and education, so have our own ideas, notions and expectancy.

So how do we picture him?  For those of us who believe in him, when we see him, it will be a sight beyond our wildest imagination – a person who is pure, unconditionally accepting and loving us – the ultimate look of love!  Consider the love displayed for the beloved: “Let me see your face…” in Song of Songs (2:14).

I’ve often been helped by the idea of him being a friendly guy in a check shirt and jeans on a park bench, inviting me to come and sit, rest and chat.   We all have our own ideas and conceptions, but I’m certain he won’t be some kind of ‘Star Trek’ alien being that would frighten or threaten.  The Bible says we’re made in his image, so in some way, no matter how much that image has been tarnished, something of him remains.  He’ll be a person we recognise, who smiles and speaks, with a facial expression that says love without limit.  He’ll look like one of us, although of course, we will be incredibly changed.  Will my white hair be blonde? I don’t know, but I’m looking forward to finding out!

We’re to fix our eyes upon Jesus, but also to “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7).  Are these irreconcilable commands?  Maybe this idea may help:

Imagine walking backwards!  What does it feel like?  Pretty scary?  We might trip up or get completely lost.  That game of falling backwards into someone’s arms has never really appealed to me: what if they drop me?  What if they’re not there?  It’s more about the strength and reliability of the one behind us as it is about our own faith.  Would you trust a stranger no matter how much they promised?  We walk by faith because we know him already, at least in a small way, and that knowledge grows as the walk progresses.

“Fix your eyes upon Jesus” begins chapter 12 of Hebrews, which (amazingly!) follows straight on from chapter 11, which is all about looking back at ordinary, very imperfect men and women who exercised faith in their ‘walk’ with God.  We learn by experience, by reading of the great cloud of witnesses, and recognising the ‘still, small voice.’ Common sense and conscience may play their part, but we can have a personal relationship with God through Jesus, and that means hearing and knowing his daily direction.

In John 10, Jesus talks of the shepherd’s relationship with his sheep: “He goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”  This gives the clue.  We walk by faith having first got to know his voice, even if in a very small way.  In one of my early radio interviews, our toddler son Tim heard me speak, and instantly responded “Daddy!”.  Above all the local radio jingle-jangle he knew it was me.

The Psalmist says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me,” which in the Hebrew suggests “chases after me”.  It’s not just that we leave a legacy of a faith-walk behind us, although Enoch’s enviable obituary “he walked with God” is what I’d like to inherit.  But he is there in our history, and we make history every second.  A voice from behind (if we’re walking backwards it comes from behind!) says “This is the way, walk in it”.  How do we know it’s him?  Because we’ve already experienced something of him.

At one point the Old Testament people of God laid an “Ebenezer” (a stone of help, not of the Scrooge variety!) to remind them of how “so far the Lord has led us”. (I Sam 7:12).  It’s not that we should live in the past, but at times when life is confusing or we feel God is far away, remembering how he spoke and acted may help us find him in the present.  Learning to hear his voice, to know what he sounds like, know how he speaks, is the walk of faith that accompanies the eye-fixing challenge of Hebrews 12. 

How do we learn to walk in the Spirit?  By making small steps as the Spirit leads us.  How do we learn to witness?  By being a witness.  How do we learn to pray and minister in the Spirit?  By praying and ministering in the Spirit, obeying, and discovering how it works – just as the first disciples did in their response to Jesus’ direction.

But looking back involves discernment, because we all have a chequered past, “skeletons in the cupboard” of past experiences, good and bad done to us or by us.  We can’t change our history, but he can change the way it affects us, as Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” (Heb 13:8)  He can changes the power of past hurts, break chains that have bound us, and change the way past memories feel and taste!

The Psalmist wrote “Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Ps 119:11).  We have so often believed lies, accepted curses, and made destructive vows by believing and accepting views about God and ourselves that are simply not Biblical.  “You knew me in my mother’s womb” says the Psalmist (Ps 139:13) so no one is a mistake or unwanted, and there is no place he can’t go to put matters right.  But we do need to put more Bible into our memory-banks!

Allowing Jesus into our past, may at times require allowing others to come alongside us!  But we can look back in wonder: wonder at how he could love us so greatly despite everything and wonder at what he might show us next.

Fixing our eyes upon Jesus, turning away from that which hurts us, is not a denial of the reality of past pain.  It’s a choice we can make daily, moment by moment, letting him be the Lord and healer of our past, present, and glorious future!

Blessings,

Roger


Finally, don't forget to tune into Heart & Soul every Wednesday evening at 6pm (repeated Thursday morning at 11am) on Brumside Radio. In August we are starting a series featuring different christian Songwriters and performers, beginning with Graham Kendrick tonight!