Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

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Meinl Cajon Kit in Albania

September 20, 2014

This September (2014) I had the privilege of visiting a child feeding programme in Albania… the aim was to serve, encourage and inspire the local Albanian team… and to engage with the children and their families…

I had thought to do some percussion with the Kids… but there were two issues… 1. my percussion is big and heavy (baggage allowances were pretty small)… and 2. whatever I brought with me I wanted to leave behind.

I had already planned to bring some tuned percussion in the form of a BoomWhacker kit (Here at Thomann)… as this was a lightweight 25 piece kit…

So the idea was to build percussion in country… and we were advised not to assume that we could find the resources we needed there… so we needed to bring all that we needed

That’s were the Meinl Cajon Kit came in… a ‘flat pack’ Cajon.

Meinl Kit

Weighing in at 4kg it was ideal weight and size for transport… so ok I did have to bring some clamps, an awl, a screw driver, compression straps, sandpaper and glue… but by pre drilling and counter sinking the playing surface before I left no drill was necessary.

Meinl ConstructionArriving at our first overnight stop in Albania I started assembling the main body of the kit (gluing top, sides, back and front brace) before heading to bed and completed construction (snare, playing service and feet) after breakfast in the morning…

Back on the bus again… the first use of the (unsanded) cajon was at a staff meeting with the Albanian team…

I haven’t played a Cajon that much… but the highly reflective room we were in created a ‘huge’ sound… the bass notes had real body and depth. Folks sat up and took notice… and the Boom Whackers were a delight (our translator told us he was bewildered that he could ‘hear music’ before he realised that the tubes were ‘tuned’)

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Movement in worship was also part of our team – and the girls started with some pre-recorded music – but this started to be drowned out as more and more people started to participate… so I joined in on the Cajon… wow!  in a few moments the pulse of the drum was filling the room, providing a foundation for the dance that was developing…

Meinl FinishedI had to be careful – the Cajon had sharp edges (not sanded yet)… but the effect was dynamic… excellent!

The cajon had proved to be very effective…

After our two meetings of the first day I spent some time sanding the edges of the instrument, giving it a smooth safe playing surface.

The Cajon was a hit (pardon the pun) with the team in Albania and through the week various Kids and Adults gave it a go… and everyone has great fun.

Before our team left we wrote some Albanian phrases (suggested by the local kids) on the Cajon… their promises and prayers  for their village and country — te jene te lire (to live free), blessings on their families, faith, hope… each surface covered with words written in colourful sharpies… and as the drum is played, the sound will resonate through the words… carrying them through the villages and valleys of the places where it is played.

The Meinl Kit was easy to put together – it sounds good (though the snare sound could be a little better) – and it is easy to play… may it’s sound resound for you Albania….

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Musical playpen…

November 27, 2013

Over the past few years I’ve dabbled in music… attached are some of the rough messing about I’ve done… enjoy

 

This tune is my Telecaster, VOX amp… with everything cranked to 11

I acquired a 12 string electric guitar and this is a recording of what it sounded like through my VOX amp

Playing with Loops and synths in Ableton…

My trusty Suzuki W400 and M-Audio Oxygen 49 and Keyrig…

Telecaster.. loops.. and Keyrig again…

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Poem – Of Truth and Flies (or, When the Wifes Away…)

November 4, 2013

Autumn Trees

Of Truth and Flies  (or, When the Wife’s away…)

A still, clear November morning.

The lochan ringed with golden trees

Reflected in the mirrored pool

Give warmth and light more than

The shallow incident rays of autumn sun.

A line unfurls, reaching out over the waters

Settling gently, kissing the reflecting interface

Between cold clear water, and crisp clean air.

There presents the ‘lie’ – a sharp, curled, barbless abdomen

Dressed red body and ruff – dips into the water

Dark hairs clinging to the tension of the surface.

A piscine mind – always hungry, always eating

Always looking for an opportunity to feed – sees food…

And voraciously takes the lie – creasing water, twitching leader

In expectant moment arm muscles tighten

Rod tip lifted high, bows towards an unseen opponent

Strike! – it’s on – battle commences.

A smile broadens.

The line once lazily resting on the pool

Now taut describes a vector between two worlds

One of water and one of earth.

Racing – tugging – pulling – snatched to and fro…

Adrenaline flows… arm wearies… smile remains

The vector shortens, and at times lengthens

As the war of will plays out

But inexorably the line taken is more than is given out

Drawing fish and fisherman to waters edge

Soon, all too soon, man and fish are eye to eye

Surrendered to an encounter with each other

What will the final outcome be?

Warm hand reaches out and gently removes the lie

From the cold blooded lip

Once a prisoner, now released, set free

Leviathan flicks a tail – returns to the depths.

Until next time.

Resting on damp knees, the smile remains

Present at this blue pool, ringed with gold

Thankfulness flows for this place, this time, this moment

And the warm light of a clear, still November morning.

Andrew Gregg (4th November 2013)

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Quiet Retreat Day – 20th April 2013

May 10, 2013

Kilravock-castleAt the start of this year, my wife and I felt a spiritual nudge… to facilitate a quiet retreat day…

Stillness and silence are very foreign to most of us – we all lead busy, noisy lives; balancing all the pressures and demands of the day, the week… the year. In some respects deliberately encountering stillness and silence are as about counter cultural as it gets.

IMG_0177So we went about organising a space, a place of quiet, where people could come for a day, have their ‘logistical’ physical needs provided for (shelter, food, warmth, safety, community)… so that they could engage spiritually in silence, stillness – ‘wasting’ time in the presence, the person of God.  Hearing not from a guest speaker, but from the source of life Himself.

Seventeen brave souls came along to meet in the silence, following our naive, inexperienced expression…. invite people to come and then get out of the way to let God work in each person.

IMG_0182And our ever faithful, ever loving, heavenly father… well…

He met each person where they were at.

The stories and the feedback we’ve received – are sacred… and  I won’t share them here… all I can say is that they were deeply meaningful to each person… way beyond what my wife and I could have imagined.

What this has shown me is that there is a place for stillness and silence in todays world.  A place were, when we intentionally close out the noise and business around us… to be with our beloved God… He is already there waiting for us.

If there is something that responds in you about this  – a desire to go silent, to go to the deeper places in God… well… we hope to run another retreat later this year, and you would be very welcome to join us.


The following links are to the blog of one of the folks, a writer, who came along and experienced the day…

Silent Retreat Day – The Cross

Silent Retreat Day – Playing With Pictures

Silent Retreat Day – Tent Pegs and a Ball of String

all by Melanie Kerr


Here are images of some of the resources created for the day…

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Expanding the impact of a Blog

February 17, 2013

I saw this recently and although somewhat off topic for this blog I hope it will be of use to all of you who have your own blog.

30-ways-to-promote-your-blog-posts

Original post can be found here.

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Fleeting Experiences of God – Reinier Sonneveld

January 31, 2013

Fleeting Experiences of God

by Reinier Sonneveld

We are in the Lady Chapel (Mariakapel) in Hoorn, The Netherlands. What happened there in 1968 has happened with thousands of church buildings in Western Europe: it became vacant.

Totally vacant? One day in 2012 a cloud could be seen in this chapel (see here), for less than half a minute. And that cloud gave light – the kind of thing that unfortunately did not happen when the pews were still present.

Berndnaut Smilde is a young Dutch artist. He delivers experiences. Earlier on, for instance, he sprayed a space full of hospital air, which brought back memories in the visitors of the times they were in hospital themselves. He also projected a rainbow on the photo of a landscape. Just for a moment you think it is real.

Nibmus2I suspect because his image is totally at home in a place of worship. In other locations his clouds sometimes come close to a magic trick. But here, in the mysticism of such an empty church space, the surreal character of this indoor cloud seems to fit.

Smilde titled his photo Nimbus. That is short for what we usually call a thundercloud. But it is also a halo or aureole around the head of a saint. How ambiguous! It is the same ambiguity that we also encounter in the ‘mysterium tremendum et fascinans’. Divine mystery fascinates, but also makes us tremble. We can call this ‘the fear of the Lord’. Whoever experiences God, feels an astonishment that comes close to fear.

With his title and choice of location Smilde himself hints at such a religious reading of this work. When it comes to clouds, believers have indeed often thought of God. When long ago the Jews fled Egypt, a cloud went before them during the day, in which God was present. When Solomon consecrated the temple, a cloud came down into the temple, designating that God had finally entered into the building. Later Ezekiel saw a cloud leave the temple and his conclusion was: God has left us.

That is what I see in this photo. This church may have been empty for almost half a century, but God is still there in a hovering, fleeting manner. This work by Smilde stands in a long tradition of transience. We all know sand and ice sculptures. Or think of street artists with their chalk drawings that are washed away by only one rain shower, or of the potato heads by Giorgina Choueiri that will quickly sprout and disfigure the faces.

It is fascinating that the ancient Hebrew nation experienced God’s presence as a cloud. A cloud can disappear just like that and changes its form constantly. But a cloud stands, at least in dry countries, also for hope. A fluffy spot on the horizon means rain. Out of that mysterious, elusive form flows tangible water that moistens the soil so that green shoots up. Somewhere in that cloud must live a source of life.

Apparently the Jews experienced God as both life bringing and elusive. God, the eternal one by definition, expresses himself in the transitory: a word, a name, a Jesus, a cloud.


The original article this is from can be found here: www.artway.eu

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Soaking In God’s Presence – by Pam Watson

January 13, 2013

Soaking

Soaking In God’s Presence

By Pam Watson

Reproduced from (http://www.secretplaceministries.org)

Rest / Waiting On The Lord / Tarrying / How To Soak In Prayer Before The Lord

Psalm 37:7 “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.”

This essentially is what “soaking” is. When we soak in God’s presence, we are in a place of rest where we wait upon Him. The old timers spoke of tarrying. This is where they would spend long hours waiting on the Lord. Many times however they were waiting to be filled with the Holy Spirit and their waiting was more a form of pleading and trying to get to the place where they felt ready to receive the Holy Spirit. Fortunately we have gained more understanding of the Word and the heart of God and know that the Lord desires to pour out His Spirit upon us. Soaking in the Lord therefore, while similar to tarrying, has an emphasis on rest and receiving by faith, as opposed to striving and crying out to God.

Saturated With God

To soak something, is more than a five minute dip. It is allowing it to become saturated and full of what it is soaking in. If you take a cucumber and place it in vinegar and spices for a few minutes, then eat it, it still tastes like cucumber. But if you take that cucumber and soak it in that solution for a couple of weeks it no longer tastes like cucumber – it has become a pickle. It has taken on the flavour of that solution.

Soaking involves becoming saturated with God so that we take on God’s flavour or nature. Too often we “taste” of flesh. But God wants us to be transformed into the image of His Son and carry his fragrance and flavour.

Transformed From Glory To Glory

2 Cor. 3:18 “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

When we soak in God’s presence, we begin to behold Him. As we do, we become like Him. Soaking in God’s presence enables us to behold the Lord. We cannot do this and remain the same. We are changed from glory to glory and transformed to be more like Him.

Waiting on the Lord

Is. 40: 31 “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

This familiar verse reveals that something happens when we wait on God. Who He is, starts to get on us and in us. This divine exchange of His strength for our weakness and His ability instead of our frailty and inadequacy, happens because we spend time waiting on Him.

Many of us have experienced this in our day to day lives. When we spend time with the Lord in the mornings our day is empowered. As we soak in God’s presence this effect is intensified.

Adoration / Adoring God

Soaking is also about delighting in and adoring the Lord.

Song of Solomon 2: 3-5 “Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Sustain me with cakes of raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am lovesick.”

Soaking in God’s presence is like coming and sitting in His shade and being fed with the fruit of His presence. Like the bride in the Song of Solomon, we can do this with great delight. This passage also speaks of the progression that usually follows where He brings us to the banqueting house or house of wine. This is something that only the Lord can do, but it starts with us coming and sitting in His presence. As we do so, so we are taken into deeper realms of experiencing His love for us, which is likened to being in a house of wine. This not only increases our love for the Lord, but can result in outward manifestations in those who have drunk the wine of His presence. It is not unusual for people to laugh, shake or cry and sometimes this experience is referred to as “drinking.”

Be Still And Know That I Am God

Ps.46: 10 “Be still and know that I am God”

Again this exhortation tells us that when we are still or soaking in God’s presence there will come a knowing or experiencing of God. There is a weight or glory to His presence that we can experience as we are still before Him. It is hard at times to come to this place though because our flesh is very active and often takes a while to settle. What we do with our bodies however is a powerful declaration in the realm of the spirit. When we lie down in God’s presence it is a statement of surrender and a posture of rest that the Lord will honour.

It helps to play worship music while we are soaking. Music sets the atmosphere and worship music opens our heart and causes our spirit to rise in adoration. Worship is the love call of the saints and as we simply love and adore Him, we will experience the richness of His presence in even greater degrees.

Soaking does quieten the flesh and allows our spirit to ascend. As this happens, we become conscious that we are a spirit that lives inside a body. As our spirit starts to rise up in adoration and communion with the Lord, we can get to the place where our body is totally at rest, but our spirit is awake and receiving from the Lord (Dan.10:9).

The Results Of Being In His Presence

Revelation is often the fruit of soaking in God’s presence. The Lord delights in revealing the secret counsel of His heart; dealing with issues that need to be addressed and bringing wisdom to our situation and needs.

The scope of all that is made available to us, as we soak or wait upon the Lord, is revealed in Psalm 27. David climaxes this psalm with his declaration in verse 14.

Ps. 27: 14 “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!”

The exhortation to wait on the Lord is the key to everything that David expresses within this psalm.
v. 1 – 3 confidence and strength in facing the enemy
v. 4 – 5 his desire to dwell in the house or presence of God all the days of His life
v. 6 – 8 sacrifices of joy and the seeking of God’s face
v. 9 – 13 victory over the enemy and seeing the goodness of God

All these things flow from the presence of God and are laid hold of through waiting on God – or in other words, through soaking in His presence.

Is. 30: 15-17 “For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not, and you said, “No, for we will flee on horses” – Therefore you shall flee! And, “We will ride on swift horses”- Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift! One thousand shall flee at the threat of one, at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left as a pole on top of a mountain and as a banner on a hill.”

The Lord encourages us here that salvation, which means wholeness, stems out of returning and resting in Him. This is a picture of soaking, and speaks of trusting in what He alone can do. The fruit of resting in Him is quietness and confidence. This becomes the source of our strength.

Unfortunately our flesh is very strong and wants to rule. Our tendency is to want to do, do, do. Soaking in God’s presence is an insult to the flesh because it is required to do nothing. This is what these people struggled with, and they refused to return and rest in God. As a result they discovered that their fleshly abilities were not equal to the assignment against them. They thought that their “horses” were strong enough to get them through and when their efforts failed, they did not turn to the Lord, but doubled their efforts. The result was that they were left as a pole on top of a mountain. Literally, it means that they were a tree stripped of its branches. In other words, they had no fruit and appeared lifeless.

Verse 18 “Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.”

How gracious the Lord is! Because they would not wait, He waited until they were as a lifeless pole and He was exalted. Then He could minister to them. How much better it is for us to wait on Him! Someone has to wait. When we choose to be the one that waits, then the Lord is able to be gracious, have mercy, reveal His justice and bless our lives. What wonderful fruit, and all because we chose to wait on Him.

Soaking is worth the effort. It takes time and it takes dying to self but the rewards are great. Not only do we increase our awareness of the Lord’s presence, but all the fruit or benefits of His presence are released into our lives.

Soaking is something that can be done privately in our own home whenever we choose. There is something powerful however about doing it in a group. When believers gather together there is a corporate anointing and finding the presence of God is easier.

Enter in, and enjoy!

Ray & Pam Watson pastor Pursuit church in Auckland, New Zealand