Monday, October 24, 2005

I Think We Started Something.....

Last night we had the first of our "Pure" services in Linlithgow. This was intended to be a public worship service in our local area, something that those of us who live in this area could invite our friends to, and just to basically worship in the heart of our community.

So here's what happened. We met in the Burgh Halls, right in the centre of town, just down the path from the old Linlithgow palace (Mary, Queen of Scots was born there and Scottish royalty used it as a residence since the 12th century). Funnily enough it's also just next to the masonic lodge, which was interesting. I had a plan for the format of the evening, worship then some teaching and some ministry. As soon as we started the first song, that all went out the window, all we could do was worship for the rest of the time, the presence of God was so thick in the room. It actually felt more like a declarartion, a repossession of this ancient building and this ancient town. The vibe was strange but good, a mixture of elation and fear. We of course finished in the Vineyard tradition of coffee and cake! Just about everybody wanted to do it again, which is always good, so we are going to make it regular and see if it grows into anything. I had an incling of the significance of this meeting with the intense spiritual warfare that went on the night before (I had a very bad night, nightmares, irrational feelngs of terror etc). And today Deb is off work with a migraine and she is just wiped out. So, please keep praying for us. Just within a 25 mile radius our area has a very bloody, violent history, lots of occultic practice going back to pre-Roman times, and good old fashioned oppression caused by economic and spiritual factors. I have always thought that we went last night to pick a fight and to begin our stand for the lost, looks like we've started something...

Friday, October 21, 2005


Lyrics from a song I wrote last week, which have more resonance today (see a few threads down for the link to hear it)


My heart is steadfast, Oh God,
I will sing with all my soul,
I will awaken the dawn,
To praise You,
My Lord

Lord You've shown me real love, unconditionally,
I give You my devotion, with everything in me

My heart is steadfast, Oh God,
I will praise You among the nations,
Lord lift up Your name,
To this sleeping generation.

From a caterpillar.......

Feeling a bit weird today....ok so those of you that know me well, know that nothing new. We've got a lot coming up, mainly the "Pure" service in Linlithgow which starts this Sunday, but I feel in a kind of limbo yet I keep getting a glimpse of something else. Business is very slow, so I need to find more students or raise my price quick, or get another job / business / idea. However I have writing and music pouring out of my every pore. I've never worshipped like I've worshipped this week. My playing has never been better, I have tons of mental energy but my body always feels tired at the moment. I feel like I'm on the verge of a new thing but I'm terrified that it'll never come and my efforts are wasted, ever had that? I guess I need to work on my trust and spend more time with the Father. I do feel like I'm in a cocoon about to emerge, but it's very uncomfortable waiting to get out, but I don't want to make the mistake of coming out before God decides it's right. On top of that we're getting a few arrows heading our way, I guess that has something to do with the fact that we are set to establish a a worshipping community in the Forth Valley and there's a hell (pun intended) of a lot of oppression here. We've picked a fight in this area and I expect opposition, but arrows do smart when they hit, so you prayers keep praying.

Anyway, got to stuff to do. I've been encouraged by some people to get into my writing (songs) in a purposeful way, as in actually doing something about it. Although I probably better get through that list that Debbie kindly left me this morning ;)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

How to learn humility

Here's a tip for any budding guitar teachers out there. Never ...EVER, regardless of how relevant it is to what you are illustrating play the intro to Stevie Ray Vaughan's, "Scuttle Buttin'" in front of a student on a Tuesday late afternoon with less than 3 cups of coffee inside you. Especially when you haven't practiced it more than twice...and then don't even think about being so really impressed with yourself that it sounded vaguely similar, that without a seconds hesitation you put on iTunes and play them the real version. It's abit like doing 70mph on a clear motorway then entering yourself for the Monaco Grand prix. From beyond the grave SRV made me look like a bumbling slow witted fool and taught me a lesson about humility and being a muppet. Today's lesson has concluded.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What an Evening

Scotland win 3 - 0 and then the recent Cream reunion from the Albert Hall was on BBC4.....fantastic.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Heritage Matters

This has really stood out for me recently. Especially as the Lord seems to be stirring the Vineyard in Scotland and Ireland. We just had a couple of regional meetings with John and Ellie Mumford, National Directors of Vineyard Churches UK. Today was a general leader's day where John and Ellie, along with Steve Barber from Southend told stories of the old days, where they had come from, where we had come from. For some of our guys it was important to hear their heritage. Yesterday I was really priveledged to lead worship for a senior pastor's meeting of the Celtic churches (Although I broke a "D" string for the first time in months, thanfully in the last song).

There seems to be a realisation in the Vineyard to really hold on to and, more importantly defend and pass down our inheritance in the kingdom. The Vineyard isn't always the bee knees but it's our family, and those of us that have been around for a while need to keep telling the old stories as we create new ones. In the last 6 months I've heard declarations on this from leaders and friends, such as Lance Pittluck, Wendy O'Connell, Matt Turrigianno and the pastors at Friday's meeting. Whether it's been in a sermon, such as Lance at our local leader's conference in June, or Matt at the worship retreat, or just a heartfelt passionate statement such as made by Wendy at a recent meeting, I think the Lord is in it.

Heritage matters, we have an outward focus to the whole body (quite rightly) but the Vineyard is called to be who we are and nothing else. I sat up last night watching the Martin Scorcese doc. "Red White and Blue" about the British blues boom. I was inspired by the footage of Jeff Beck playing blinding, raw, emotional guitar recreating, along with Van Morrison, and Tom Jones et al, the songs that made up their musical heritage. Regardless of the fashion or the fad it's when we are true to ourselves we really shine.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Forget the Politics Just Enjoy the Moment

One of the guys who posts over on the Fender Forum and is serving in Iraq had this pic taken. Regardless of what you feel about the war, this picture really moved me.

How to survive getting your butt kicked daily!

If you are one of those sensitive, creative, insecure, moody types like me then you'll know what I'm on about. This has been a season of great blessing, hard lessons, joy and tough days. The Lord is really pulling me along with Him and it's fantastic, but the old man (the flesh, for religious readers) doesn't like and is trying to revert to old ways and old thinking. So, there's a battle going and there always will be. I used to struggle with depression but since some major healing over a two year period I don't get depressed anymore (honest, I'm officially a cheery wee soul!). However the enemy often tries to convince me that I am, or am about to. It's now more like my passion gets sapped for a while and my body goes tired. That's when the old flesh kicks in and tries to fix it how I used to. That could be through withdrawing, or just plain old sinning. So, today for example, I felt dreadful, everything was an effort. The solution? I just spent about 2 hours "jamming" along with random worship music. I cranked my amp, put iTunes on shuffle, and played with whatever came on. When you play for an audience of one, whether worshiping with a CD, and acoustic guitar or some "worship shredding" a powerful dynamic kicks in. My passion returned, my spirits lifted and I felt "connected" again. Although worship is for God, first and foremost, He has the amazing generosity to bless us and heal us through it.....We can't lose!

So,the moral of the story is, when you feel like you've had your butt kicked, lift your voice (whatever that maybe) and worship anyway. The end result on how you feel isn't that important, but doing what you were designed for will do you more good than you could imagine.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Check your ego at the door

I was just reading a great interview with one of my favourite guitarists, Carlos Santana, this morning. What really stands out with this guy, whether you love him or loathe him, is just his sheer love of what he does. Something that struck me was when he talked about the fact that other people had warned him against playing with people "better" than him, such Herbie Hancock, Jeff Beck, or Steve Lukather. Carlos' response was that he didn't really care what people thought, he wasn't there to compete, he was there to learn from them. The guy still does it, working with new artists and old from all genres, he sees his role as complimentary, almost part of an whole rather than the star.

I like that attitude and it's what I want to be known for, rather than any percieved ability. Because of our culture and who we make heroes off, musicians often have a problem when it comes to ego and competition. Lead guitarists are often the worst. The old joke goes, "How many lead guitarists does it take to change a light bulb? ...10, one to change it and the other 9 to stand around saying, 'I could do that!'."

And don't kid yourself that Christian musicians get away with it. I've been lucky enough to meet and have contact with musicians of all levels both Christian and non-Christian. To be honest there was often no way of telling, there is an equal amount of humility and ego in both camps. The guys that get around it are those who aren't doing it for any reason other than they just love doing it. These are the guys who get off whether they are fronting the gig or just playing some chords in the background. They are also the guys who willing to share, teach and mentor in orer to pass it on. Danny Daniels was one of those guys for me. A really great musician, I played for him a few times when he came to Southend to do some blues gigs in the pubs. I learned a lot from watching him and listening to him. He'd been around but he knew his stuff and he was real. Those gigs and rehearsals did me more good than months of lessons ever would have.

So, let's put any competition and ego aside and make a decision that our job as musicians is to make the other guy sound great. Who fancies a jam then...?