new songs

I was asked by a friend in the States for a song her congregation might sing throughout Lent. I didn't think I had anything, until I remembered one Lent over a decade ago when I went without shoes for 6 weeks. It was an amazing experience, feeling the different textures of the earth under my feet, textures I was so often oblivious to and ignorant of. I realised how insulated I was from the world...

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I just had an enquiry from Canada about this song of mine, Sweetest Mystery. It is one of my favourites from my 2013 album, 'Into the Deep.' For some reason it hasn't seemed to have caught on with others as much as it has caught on with me. I have been under its spell since I wrote it. In many ways this song that I created has been recreating me ever since. I wrote it...

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We had our graduation last night for our 2nd year ministry interns. They've been with us for a two year journey of discernment and formation, following on from theological study and plenty more discernment. To mark the end of this chapter, I wrote a simple liturgy. It wove in themes we had been working through and thinking over during the block course: trinitarian theology, language for God that goes beyond the masculine and the personal, as...

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Psalm 137:1-6 I grew up on a sheep farm 40 minutes south of Dunedin. Just north of a little place called Milton. My grandparents, Jean and Andy, my Dad’s folks, owned the farm before us. They lived two paddocks away, in the house Dad had grown up in. They lived two paddocks away and sat one pew in front of us at church. Every Sunday. Most school holidays my cousin Andy came up from Kelso in...

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So I've been working on a collection of songs for small churches for the last few months. In my work with congregations around NZ (and indeed in Australia and Scotland) I've noticed that while most of our contemporary worship music is written by large churches with amazing musical resources, when small churches with more limited musical resources try to recreate them they struggle. The songs tend to rely on their arrangements, thundering rhythm sections, or...

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Earlier this week I had a conversation with my five year old son, Sam about the significance of Holy Week. I have been fascinated by Jesus' statement, 'Father forgive them, they don't know what they're doing' (Luke 23:34). If Jesus reveals to us who God is (Col 1:19, John 14:7) then this offer of grace to those who aren't even looking for it is mind boggling. I wanted to help this truth make its home in...

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The story of the Prodigal Son comes up in the lectionary readings this Sunday. People who know me will be aware that I believe this short story to be a better piece of work than anything from Narnia, the Lord of the Rings, Roald Dahl or even Captain Underpants (the last two reveal something of my son's bedtime reading demands at present). When we look at the three stories of Luke 15 together we often  focus...

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Here's a message I shared at Omokoroa Community Church last Sunday. You can warm up by reading Psalm 32:1-7. Many of you will have heard that something noteworthy happened in New Zealand Cricket last week. For the first time in our 84 years of being a Test playing nation, someone scored 300 runs, by themselves. Brendon McCullum, Black Caps captain, batted across 3 days for 750 minutes to bring this up. You could watch the LOTR...

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[caption id="attachment_993" align="alignright" width="300"] Abraham with the three visitors. Gen 18[/caption] So I've been thinking, learning and listening a bit recently, about a concept I will call, 'the anonymous Christ'. Its the idea that Jesus will show up at times and in ways that we didn't see coming. We are well familiar with this idea. But what about if we flesh it out? What if Jesus can arrive unrecognised and proceed to minister among us, still...

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Here's an old story and a new song. My wife and I can both trace our ancestry to the Orkney Islands, and so I've come to love the story of St Magnus, the patron saint of these Isles. Let me assure you, as far back as we can tell our ancestors were different people ;) The story of St Magnus The Orkney’s Islands, off the northern coast of Scotland, were ruled by the Viking king of Norway...

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