Monday, October 31, 2011

year 7 farewell song


Good Riddance has been done recently. So has You've Got A Friend In Me.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

debating debating debating

Last one this Wednesday night. Bring it on.

We're arguing that we need more Australian made television.

Far too difficult a topic for ten year olds.

We're affirmative. If you were negative, how would you argue your case?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

So maybe all the busy of the last couple of months has caught up with me.

I've been feeling pretty flat. And sad.

But still busy. 5 birthday parties/compulsory play dates this weekend. Another prep musical on Monday. Five classes of kids to finish assessing (2 already finished!) 180 reports to write. Pointless choir thing on Thursday night. Many kids to rehearse for various things. Grumpy kids of my own (with a grumpy mother who can't get round to writing anything that she wants to write.)

When will all this end?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011


Nathan, now you can call me old.

now I'm excited!

So it's my birthday today. I wasn't at all excited. It's going to be a huge work day for me - I won't have even 5 minutes to sit in the staff room and eat cake. Nathan is going off to camp. I have a cool idea for a little birthday party but can't find a time that suits all 4 of my friends.

But now I am excited. Andrew and the kids got me one of these.

Just got to get through the next 8 hours, then I can play.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

prep micro-musical

Tomorrow the first of my prep classes are performing our micro-musical Once Upon A Time.

Because of school holidays, school concerts and pupil free days, I've not seen or rehearsed them for weeks. I've not finished writing the script and they don't know their lines. But they know the songs and the vibe of the story. It has a very full narration and the kids lines are all pretty obvious. I have about an hour to pull it all together in the morning, then another 45 minutes in the afternoon to get them dressed etc before the parents come.

I'm telling myself it will be okay. Prep parents will be generous.

I'm also hoping to get four year 7 girls to come and help me pull it off. I can give each of them a group of kids to take responsibility for.

It will be okay. (See, I keep telling myself!) The costumes will look nice. I've gone for simple smock like things:

Knight - Red satin smock, gold belt, cape, sword.
Dragon - Green smock, tail
Humpty Dumpty - Colourful cardboard egg tied around neck.
Grand Old Duke plus men - Red satin smocks, gold ribbons around waist, shields.
Fairies - Green satin smocks, holly tied around heads and waists, alfoil covered straw magic wands
Princesses - Pink smocks, silver ribbons around waists, pretty see though fabric sashes, cone shaped medieval princess cardboard hats with ribbons.

And I've got some cool cardboard castles (that I made years ago for a church kids' club!) for our props.

It will be okay.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Some things...

...are only endurable with large quantities of alcohol.

I don't drink enough.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

poems by Joel

Joel is doing poetry at school. He gets it. He's been writing some at home too. I just found a file open on the computer. This one's my favourite. (He has chosen a picture to match each one.)


Paintings blush of colour
Swirls of wonder and glory
Life on the wall.

These next two paint bleaker pictures.


There's a zombie chain sore murderer
Hacking at your door
He'll hack your head off for all the gore
You'll die a painful death and he'll like it all the more.

Gloomy Day

As the brown sky sinks behind gloomy town
It hangs like an old tie
The cars huff by a group of children playing war
Behind a barbed wire fence.

twist pastor's conference talks


Philip's talk (the state of music in the church) and Bob's first talk (corporate music as pastoral care) are up. Both worth listening to.

John kids church outline version 521

John 1 - Life from the beginning

John 3 - You need new life

John 6 - Bread for life

John 10 - Full life

John 11 - Resurrected life

John 13 - A life of love

John 18-19 - A life laid down

John 20-21 - Life forever

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

worship and an affectionate evangelicalism

What do you think?

Part 1 here. Part 2 here. More in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

RE today...

...was Daniel in the lion's den.

Easiest story in the world to tell - which was good because we only did 5 minutes prep. I read the story through twice. For our first class (200 year 2-3 kids) I set it up by explaining the government of Babylon at that stage - King Darius, 3 governors, 120 officials... then just told the story.

Wanted to do something different for the second class (200 year 4-5 kids). I got Andrew to tell the story and I sat at the piano and played background music. Was fun. It was nice playing off each other. Andrew had to fill out the story more than he usually would so my playing could take effect. We'll try it again sometime. Might even practice beforehand*.


John 3:1-15

I've been thinking about this passage for a while, wondering about Jesus' logic: how did he get from Nicodemus needing new birth to the snake on the pole? And how do I teach this to kids?

I think I've cracked it.

We have Nic all self righteous. "We know that you are a great teacher..."

Jesus replies with, "You know nothing. You need to be born again."

Then Nicodemus is all.. What? How?

Then Jesus tells him that he is as good as dead. Like the Israelites under judgement in the desert. They were dying of snakebite because of their sin. Nicodemus (despite his pharisaic righteousness) is dying of his sin. He needs new life. The Israelites were given life through looking to the lifted-up snake. Nic needs to look to the lifted up son of man to get his new birth and live.

He doesn't understand now, but when he sees Jesus on the cross he will. He'll look up and believe and be granted eternal life.

And us?

Do we know that we're as dead as the snake bitten Israelites in the desert?

Will we look to the one lifted up and live?

it all really sucks.

Five thoughts.

1. It is your fault. Not 100% your fault. Maybe not even 50%. But you have to own some blame.
2. The world won't come crashing in if you admit the things you've done wrong. Nothing can be fixed until you do.
3. Repentance is wonderful and liberating.
4. This would be easier to talk about if you were a christian.
5. It all really sucks.

wish life would stop for a while.

Monday, October 17, 2011

PD day

Pupil free today.

Was brilliant.

James Morrison, QSO people, Harley Mead, Typology.

A master chef finalist made lunch for us all.

Good times.

keep an eye on the briefing today

The next article in the twist series may say some unexpected stuff. Interested in what you think. It's not up yet, but should be sometime this morning.

A taster? "The commonly held evangelical argument for all of life worship is not necessarily in accord with the Bible’s trajectory for worship."

Notes from Bob Kauflin Songwriters’ Dinner

Editing and collaboration.
Years ago, Bob used to get writers to present their songs to a big group. This didn’t work. People expressed contradictory opinions and confusion resulted. Now they do it with an American Idol style panel. 
A great song (or the makings of a great song) will be recognisable straight away. 
Bob might say ‘great tune idea’ then send them back an edited version. The writer may or may not like Bob’s edits. If they don’t like them then they should re-write it themselves. But the bad line can’t stay in. 
If you have to ask 'what does it mean?’ then the song is not worth working on.
Bob encourages a good collaborative attitude between writers. If someone else can come up with a great lyric for your song - ask for help. Bob will often say - "you go work on this with x."
'If we don't ALL think this is a great song, why would we inflict it on the church?'
What hinders process? - when someone insists that others must like their idea.
Bob might suggest concepts.
Don't defend your line. Come up with a better line.
We need to be much harder on ourselves. None of us has done our best yet.
Don't give in to despair/discouragement 'I'll never write another good song again.' Boo hoo. If you don't try you certainly won't. 
Hard work. Need to work with each other in this.
What hinders collaborative process - when someone insists that others must like their idea.
What makes a good song?
Mark asks - Do you have a style vision ... A unity you're aiming at? It’s easier to collaborate if you all share style vision. [great question!]
Bob says, I don't know. - Here's what I'm aiming at.
Easy to sing - range a-d
Stepwise movements
Not too many unexpected twists - except one good one.
Easy to learn.
Easy to understand (for all believers)
Creative imagery vs confusing language
If people don't get it, it's not a good metaphor.
Isaac watts quote.
Normal words put together in a good way.
Hard to forget - memorable - words and tune.
Hard to dismiss - compelling, inspiring, fresh
Hard to categorise - appealing to one generation is easy. Needs to be a style that appeals to everyone - A really good song. Songs that unite not divide people. Style maybe ... If it’s authentic, you'll probably get away with it.
So styles may be different on one album... but what looking for is what comes out of you. 
Stay away from wanting to write in a 'style that makes people love us.'
Worship isn't a 'sound'. People think that worship sounds like 'this'. Organ, or hillsong.
Bob wants 7-8 songs out of 12 that churches WILL sing.
When focussing on words, we tend to be wordy and not leave 'space'
Q - What Songs of yours are the most popular?
A - hymn-like ones. (Q - same with emu?)
Shouldn't judge song by whether our fans like it. Fans are too generous. Won’t make us better writers.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I'm searching old hard drives, reading everything I've written in the last 5 years. Most of it is really really bad. I mean. Really bad.

How horrible to think that in a couple of years I'll look back at what I'm writing now and cringe. Maybe I'll never put anything up on my blog again. This could be my last post ever.

come kneel before the cross

Okay, this is a modified version of the 'come mourn with me' idea I was playing with yesterday. It's meant as a meditation on the cross. A strange meter (couple of hiccups left in). Still needs a chorus or bridge or something and another 6 re-writes. Too glum?

Come Kneel Before The Cross

1. come kneel before the cross
and mourn with me a while
in sorrow and sadness know God’s love.
the lashes on his back
the mocking taunts he bore - 
the cost of his love for us.

2. the thunder of God’s wrath,
death’s merciless embrace,
willing, the guiltless pays the price.
my life forfeit in sin
can now begin again
bought by his sacrifice.

3. Have we no tears to shed?
Can we not comprehend
our precious salvation dearly bought?
O Lord come change our hearts
and set our lives apart
Holy to sin no more.

sar 2011

funny funny funny

My very helpful gmail account scans my messages and suggests things to add to my calendar. Last night it was carefully examining an email chain talking about worship and stuff. Here's what it wanted to put in my google calendar:

Doing all to the glory of God
10/14/2011   3:17pm to 4:17pm 10/14/2011

Where : In the name of Jesus Christ in Thanksgiving

It suggested that it be an event where guests can invite others!

Friday, October 14, 2011

when uninspired...


Just wasted three hours...

...working on a song that no one would ever considering singing.

Read the title to Andrew. 'Come mourn with me awhile.'

Inspired by a hymn by the same title.

Um. No.

ten post-bob thoughts on church music and stuff.

Okay. So Tony is up to part 3 of his twist posts. Philip takes over after this. He'll have positive and useful things to say.

But here are some of my thoughts. In list form, because I like lists.

1. If a song has nothing good or substantial to say, why would we sing it in church?

2. If a song makes me feel nothing, if it stays just words, why would I sing it in church?

3. Even when singing the best songs, it's hard to get into it if you feel exposed.

4. I feel exposed at church when there aren't many people, when we are spread out, and when we are poorly led.

5. I find it easy to get into the singing and think about what I'm singing when I'm led well - by the song leader up the front, by the musicians, by the sound guys, and by the people around me. (Twist pastor's conference last friday ticked all these boxes for me.)

6. I've been reading up on right brain / left brain stuff. All fascinating. Here's a pop psychology table about left-right hemisphere stuff.

This is not completely right, but it's true to some extent. What is undisputed amongst psychologists is that the left brain does verbal and the right brain does visual-spacial. Singing has verbal stuff, so the left brain is involved, but metaphors, images (and the music) fire up the right brain as well. I think this is why God wants us to sing. More of us gets involved...

I have no patience at all with any singing (or life) experience that remains left-brain. Words need to be transformed into something else... a picture, a possibility, a dream... for them to belong to me. But we are not all the same. There are many people out there who are strongly left brain dominant. Such people will need much less right-brain involvement to be satisfied.

7. I wonder if many of our arguments are actually just us expressing our left or right brain preference.

8. A really good song will have stuff to satisfy left and right brain dominant people. Take 'In Christ Alone' - There's a beautiful chain of logic to grip the left brainers, but there's also compelling pictures to draw in the rest of us.

9. In a doctrine text book, singing belongs in the 'church' chapter, not in the 'worship' chapter. It just does. (But let's not be smug about it.)

10. Singing in the new creation will be superb.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

a new plan.

excited at possibilities.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Assessment day.

Today I talked 200 kids through the same music test. They had to write a 4 bar melody in 4/4 time, using do, re, mi and so*, then notate it in C major. Despite the nice font on the handout (avenier) I lost interest in the test after the third class. Now I have 200 to mark and then I have to listen to each kid play me their melody. Tedious times ahead.

All the tunes sound pretty much the same. No idea on what basis to judge one boring melody from another. Luckily I have 3 other assessment pieces for this reporting season. Won't be setting that task again.

* Didn't quite get to teach la, and fa and ti get intentionally left out because they create problems (and interest.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

There is a CIty

Okay, so I'm writing this lyric. It's kind of a love song to a city - the new Jerusalem. I've referred to the city as 'She'. Would you be comfortable singing it?  

There is a city
where we belong
ever unchanging
foundations strong
In every battle
To her I cling
Her laws are my laws
Her king is my king
There is a city
That can not fall
My heart is held there 
safe in her walls
Though I can’t see her
She is my home
Her hopes are my hopes
Her king is my own
Lift high her flag
Her anthem raise
Loud hallelujahs
and shouts of praise 
“Worthy, worthy
the lamb once slain!
Honour and glory 
to his name!” 

sar 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tony Payne on TWIST Pastor's Conference


[I admit that I was nervous when I saw that he was coming...]

new song idea

One of the things Bob Kauflin talked to us about this last week was getting feedback for our songs. He looks at his guys' work and tells them which bits are bad. The temptation for them is to come back with excuses of why a line should be there ... 'It makes so much sense if you understand the Hebrew behind Hab 5:14...' Yeah? Don't care. Come back when you've written a better line.

Tough. But of course he's right.

I've been working on a lyric today. The four people I've showed it to all think it has problems. But they are not Bob so what would they know?

Adrenaline management OR How to not slit your wrists after the substance of things hoped for

1. Ease of the caffeine a few weeks before the event. I know. It will hurt. It will hurt more later if you don't.
2. Resist the temptation to caffeine up during the busy time. Do tea rather than coffee. 2 mouthfuls of diet coke rather than three cans of pepsi max.
3. Work out when the emotional low is likely to arrive.
4. Start to caffeine up at emotional low point. Preferably with friends around and the steak knives safely locked away.

The trick is to not have the caffeine low and the emotional low at the same time.

I'm doing okay at the moment. I have a school concert tomorrow to get through. Tuesday won't be pretty.

The last week...

...has been intense.

High points?
- Meeting Bob Kauflin - everyone's favourite American. So lovely and warm and engaging.
- 360 people at Brisbane Twist
- Philip finally arriving. (Only 2 days late.)
- Hanging with great people like Michael Morrow and Mark Peterson and the lovely Sarah Bailey.
- Staying at my brother-in-law's apartment.
- Jogging around the Opera House and gardens.
- Hearing Philip and Sarah's voices blend so beautifully at Pastor's conf on Friday.
- Meeting blog friend Anthony.
- Being spurred on to write better songs.
- Kirsty, Kristi and Janie wearing orange shirts and helping me.
- Conference center Event Manager Katie being uber-competent and nice.
- Not having to pack up much after Saturday - an advantage of using an expensive venue!

Low points?
- Passport stress.
- Conflict between christian people
- sound desk crashes
- using unfamiliar venues in an unfamiliar city
- cleaning up after pastor's conference.
- officeworks. [Tell me. Who would pay $1 to copy a 2 A4 page handout? I needed 500!]
- Neglecting my family
- averaging not much sleep

Overall? I'd do it again next week if I could. And I'd know how to do it better.

The best way to come down from an adrenaline high...

... is to start planning for the next one.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

God is kind

Let's TWIST!

Brisbane is booming.

The band are great (I'm told).

Bob will be superb.

Philip's still sitting at his desk in England, passport-less. Stupid home office.

Monday, October 3, 2011

This week will be madly busy...

... and yesterday I had an overwhelming desire to learn how to knit. I bought some needles and some funny wool with big lumpy bits in it.

I've done about 7cm of a scarf.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Why does Doctor Who live for so long?

Find answer here.

Andrew's mum set the kids a psalm each to learn this holidays - one verse for each year of their age. This was Joel's. Great to see that the bible has the answers to real questions that we have.

time fail

We're ready for church an hour early. Our computer clocks have switched to DS time.

Just called Andrew. He would have started stressing soon about why no one was coming to church.

Now I've got time to clean the house!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

please pray

A major issue has come up with something I'm organising. Everything will go ahead but it's possible I won't sleep at all in the next week. Please pray for an administrative miracle in the British bureaucracy that will make the problem resolve. Please pray too that I'll handle whatever happens.