Friday, 20 May 2011


My iPhone is amazing. Or is it?

I've just reached the end of a 2 year contract (that's the only way I could afford it – which says something about my attitude when I got it), and I'm glad to say I won't be upgrading to an iPhone 4 or any other smart phone for that matter. I've gone back to basics. I got a Nokia on O2 Simplicity. It's vastly cheaper and I've opted against having any data bolt-ons so I can't download anything – no games, no apps, no emails. Nothing. Just simple phone, camera, text.

It feels great.

A recent BBC article talked about Apple and other superbrands provoking reactions in the same areas of the brain as religious imagery does for those of faith. It would appear that Apple have led a lot of us in worship, and for me it's time to repent of naively following and to prise myself from the clutches of the Mac Monster.

After all, the joy that possessing a piece of Apple hardware brings is nothing compared to the joy of spending time with our Maker and Sustainer. It's nothing but a very cheap, albeit monetarily expensive, imitation.

When I bought into the contract I bought into the lie that my life would become more interesting, happier and easier. I might look sharp on the outside with my beautiful accessory, but on the inside it's blunted me. For all the extra information and knowledge at my fingertips, I feel like I know less – I certainly don't know God as well as I used to. It's far too easy to spend that spare 10 minutes playing Angry Birds or looking for apps that will 'improve' my life rather than praying – and if I was more keen to play than pray, surely that means I loved my iPhone more than I love Jesus! (Makes you feel sick doesn't it?) Too easy to be more consumed with a piece of plastic, glass and metal, than to talk with the flesh and bone people made in the image of God who are in the same room as you. (Apologies to you if I was ever so rude as to appear to be more interested in my iPhone than in you – how utterly ludicrous).

I think I realised in the last 5-6 months of my contract that so much of Apple is about the visual. It's so much about image. It does look pretty cool to put an iPhone down next to your MacBook. But to me, it seemed that the more time I spent with it, the less it offered in reality. Much like a golden calf, giving the appearance of value on the outside, but inanimate, dead and lifeless. Your iPhone isn't going to save you. It could kill you though.

I'm sure if Moses had come down from Mount Sinai and found me with my iPhone he would have gone berserk.

Some of you might disagree with me completely. You might feel that a smart phone has changed your life for the better, and you might have more self-control than I do. Remember though, it is only a cheap, earthly imitation of how God can change your life eternally. Don't let it blunt you like it did me. And whatever you do, don't let an inanimate Apple lead you in worship. Give yourself to the living God.

I'm not really into conspiracy theories, but what's even more terrifying is the logo. Fruit with a chunk missing. Promising the consumer knowledge. Familiar? ;o)

Monday, 16 May 2011

Finish it.

Below are the lyrics to a song I wrote towards the end of last year. I absolutely loved penning this – it was great to contemplate Jesus' cross up close again.

One issue though. It could have done with a much stronger melody with some bigger hooks to do the words justice. The tune just wasn't that interesting. And it's too ingrained in my head now for me to get away from it.

So I was wondering...

Does anyone want to have a crack at finishing it for me? Try not to change the words. However, if you don't feel the lyrical meter fits the tune you've developed then adjust the words, but try to only change unimportant words or joining words. If you have a copy of the original tune that I wrote, try not to listen to it. If you want to though, maybe you could have a go at improving the hooks.

You can download a recording here:

And the original lyrics and chords here:

Apologies for the slow and basic recording.

If you want to have a go either email me a recording at or post a link to your version below. If you come up with a version that I think brings the best out of the lyrics then it's game on. I'm not one for fussing over royalties and all that and I'm sure we could agree something. It's more important for me that the truth in this song gets out there and impacts people's lives and leads them to Christ.

If you like the original as my wife does, or have been using it already and find it works fine, then please feel free to still use it in its original format.

I hear a voice cry from the Cross,
Of the Christ who left His throne,
From eternity of the Trinity
Now forsaken and alone.
He is made my guilt
He is made my shame
He is made my every sin.
In the great exchange He is my disgrace,
As I'm made innocent.

How vast the love that keeps Him there,
How determined is His hand.
For the ones He saves are the ones who hate
And despise His every plan.
Yet the joy that waits
In His Father's house
Is His strength this awful day,
For eternally will His enemies
Be the trophies of his grace.

'It is finished!' thus is His final cry,
As He breathes His dying breath,
And my sin He takes down to the grave,
As would I have done in death.
Yet no match is sin
For His righteousness,
As in life He overcame.
Jesus' life is His, both to take and give
And in rising, lives to reign!

Oh to join the the voices of Heaven's choirs
Crying 'Worthy is the Lamb!'
Glory, blessing, honour and might be Yours.
May Your praises never end!
You who once were slain,
Who were made our sin,
Now the Praise of Heaven and Earth.
Jesus, now the name above every name,
And the King of endless worth.

Lyrics Matt Giles © 2010 Honeycomb Music Publishing Ltd

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Epic Worship Leading Event

The people are gathered. The stage is set. The sound check is done. The lights come up. Are you ready to lead? Nerves anyone?

I became a Dad again on Monday, as Theo Judah, with impeccable timing, burst into the world at 3.33pm. We've now got two boys under 18 months old and a lot of fun and hard work on our hands! Anna, my wife, is doing exceptionally well considering she had a caesarean section!

Anyway, in getting married and having kids, I have brought to my door, the biggest, most challenging, most joy-filled and anguish-wrought worship event I could ever have hope to lead.

Let me explain myself.

Romans 12:1-2 is for me the definition of worship for someone who loves Jesus.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Worship is continuous and is an attitude. It doesn't begin at 10am on a Sunday and end at
10.45am. It doesn't start again at 7.30pm on Wednesday evening and end at 8.00pm. Technically it starts the instant you're born and then doesn't stop. We're all worshippers. What or who we choose to worship is a different matter. Every moment of the day I'm serving somebody's purposes, be they my own or my 'gods' ' or God's. Obviously I want my worship to be Christ-wards.

Having this attitude and leading in this attitude – for that's what lead worshippers should do – should begin at and be evident at home first and foremost – for husbands and fathers in particular – it is our calling.

When I married Anna, according to Ephesians 5: 22-33, I became responsible for loving her as Christ loves the Church and leading her in the above. I am the head of her as Christ is the head of His body, the Church. Christ gave Himself up to enable the Church to worship God. According to Paul in Ephesians, when she's around me, she should be being nourished and cherished in a way that sanctifies her and produces worship as seen in the above passage.

When we decided to have kids I was also charged with Ephesians 6: 4 – 'Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.'

I, as husband and father, am accountable before God for how I lead my wife and sons to Him. Therefore, I must seek to lead them in every moment. I am to sacrifice and serve with every breath in a way that will point them to Christ. Husbands and fathers, we are all worship leaders whether we like it or not. We are called by Christ to be worship leaders! That means we have to be! This is responsibility that we cannot shirk or refuse. God has sovereignly appointed us as worship leaders for our households.

God has made me very aware in the past few days and weeks, that in the same way as when I get up to lead worship musically on a Sunday when all eyes and ears are on me as to what the next move is, that I now have 3 pairs of eyes watching and 3 pairs of ears listening for how next to seek and pursue God 24/7. What an enormous responsibility!

Maybe if I can lead my family well in worship then I can start to think about giving direction to people's lives in a musical and lyrical level and perhaps more in the house of God. - 1 Timothy 3: 5 – 'For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?'

The people are gathered. The stage is set. The sound check is done. The lights come up. Husband, Father, are you ready to lead?

Wow, what an event! :-s

Friday, 6 May 2011

We Are Your Church

Oops, I didn't mean to leave it that long since the last blog! A lot has happened in the past three weeks – the biggest thing for me being the death of David Wilkerson. Wilkerson hugely inspired my walk with Jesus in my early 20s. His sermon 'A call to anguish' absolutely blows me away every time I listen to it - and I've listened to it a lot! His passion for Christ, the Church and the lost is something that I desire to emulate in my life. I would have loved to have met him. Guess I'll have to wait 'til glory now. What a man.

Dave Bish has been challenging me for a while to write a song with something of the jealousy of God in it and His passion for the church. That coupled with the test of trying to write something from Ephesians 5 has produced the song I'm posting here right now. It's kind of an Ephesians 5 / Hosea 1 & 2 song really, with a hint of Romans 7.

I tried it out last night at our Church Together prayer & family news meeting. I thought it went pretty well, although I've ended up changing a few bits melodically since then and recorded it quickly this afternoon. It's just guitar and vocal but you'll get the idea. I felt it was great to be able to praise God collectively as His future Bride. By the way that's my beautiful bride in the picture - thought it would help with the 'Bride' imagery. ;-)

It's the last bit of recording I'll get to do for a while probably. We've got our 2nd baby arriving on Monday via C-Section and I'll have my hands full for a few weeks!

Anyway, hope you enjoy the song. If you want to use it – go ahead and I hope it serves you well!
Once we were not Your people,
We shunned Your love and turned the other way.
Adulterers with our idols,
Content to live in squalor and disgrace.

But You who are love and mercy
- No sea can quench Your jealous, raging flame -
Have given Yourself to redeem us,
Your death has brought us back to You again.

Now we shall be Your spotless Bride;
You washed us with Your blood.

We are Your Church, O God,
Forever You will be our glory,
We adore You
For You have rescued us,
Your faithfulness has bound us to You,
Now we love You, Jesus.

What idol could bring us freedom?
They offer nothing more than sin and death.
The cross of Christ is our ransom
And frees us to His love and righteousness.

The death we died in Christ
Has bound us fully to His life.

The Spirit and the Bride say 'Come to us, won't You come to us?'
The Spirit and the Bride say 'Come, Lord Jesus!'
The Spirit and the Bride say 'Come to us, won't You come to us?'
The Spirit and the Bride say 'Come, Lord Jesus! Come, Lord Jesus!
Come, Lord Jesus! Come, Lord Jesus!'