Tag Archive: Tree63


No_bob

Many of you will know of No_bob, the world’s most famous stuffed dolphin. But you may not know the story.

In 2000 i flew to the UK to earn some money teaching [due to an unfortunate police clearance incident i only ended up doing five days of actual teaching which was a high-or-low-light of itself and mostly looked after old people or University professors, who were about equally competent] so that i could join Youth With A Mission in Holland and go and save the world, or something. Continue reading

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so i have been trying to connect with john ellis for quite a while now via Facebook and email and his website [which looks like it hasn’t been updated for half a year] and so just wondering what has happened to him? any of his friends have a contact detail for me to try hook up? any news? i still get a couple of hits a day on the john ellis blogs which i did a couple of years ago, without fail people are still entering his name in search engines and it is leading them to my blog…

so figured out someone out there would know and could you please send him a “hey!” from me – be good to reconnect…

i’ve been blogging for a little over two years now and i enjoy having a space to write my thorts or share my actions or be seriously silly or intriguingly insightful and a whole host of other stuff in between…

and in that time it is the stuff i’ve written on relationships that has been the most widely read… so from ‘How to Love Your Woman Better’ to keys to ‘having a good marriage [ideas submitted by friends i know who are married well]’ to the ‘i kissed dating series’. Then, recently, the first of the Taboo Topics series i have started [trying to look at issues that a lot of people have but rarely discuss] was really successful and hopefully assisting a lot of people who have struggled with losing a baby. A few brave people sharing their stories in the hope that it will bring encouragement, inspiration and hope to others going through the same thing.

so those are the blog topics that have really got a lot of attention… but there have been two other topics/themes/people that have popped up in my “TOP SEARCHES” spot on my blog, and, would you know it, as i go to find out what it is called, it proves my point… so before i announce the point, let me share with you today’s top searches which led people to my blog:

brett fish anderson, john ellis christian, brent fishes blog, never once did we walk alone, john ellis tree63

ha ha, when i go to check yesterday’s to see if they match up, someone reached my page by asking the question, “why did matt redman leave soul survivor?” i fear that will be a question that is never truly answered to my satisfaction…

and so that is the answer – from week to week to week, the two things that keep popping up in searches for my blog are ‘John Ellis’ who i blogged about possibly two years ago [and more specifically, ‘is John Ellis a christian?’], here and also here… and matt redman and more specifically the words to his song ‘never once did we walk alone’ which i posted a while back over here…

i am not really sure why those two topics have been the ones that continue to lure people to my writing [which feels like it happened so long ago – why is no-one searching for ‘somewhat funny bad afrikaans accent instructional warning-of-potential-danger you tube videos’ because surely that is something people are struggling to sleep at night for?] but i thort it would be interesting to pose the question in the subject line, because i already know the answer.

i have met both matt redman [interviewed him on CCFM radio many years ago, connected with him briefly at Soul Survivor Holland and was an attendee at a Matt Redman/Chris Tomlin/Louis Giglio panel discussion held for a bunch of worship and church leaders a couple of years ago at Jubilee church in Cape Town] and john ellis [mc’d for the band when they were still called Tree and i was a dj at CCFM, emailed a few times and had coffee with him in KZN two years ago, hung out with him when he gigged in Stellenbosch and mc’d a gig where he performed as himself at Arisefest in KZN in 2010].

and so when you take the question, ‘who would win a fight between matt redman [never once did we walk alone] and john ellis [formerly of tree63]?’ the answer is definitively that john would win. no doubt. because matt redman would not fight!

the first time i met matt i was a precocious know-it-all radio dj for a christian radio station and yet, as much as i asked him if he was a vegetable which one would he be? and other lame questions like that, all he wanted to do was talk about Jesus.

the second time i was around him he was one of two co-worship leaders at the Holland version of Soul Survivor [2001 i think] and i remember the one time the other worship leader antonie fountaine was leading a few thousand young people in worship and matt moved over to the side of the stage and sat with his legs dangling over the edge of the stage, playing his guitar and just really being out of the way of it all. just screamed ‘humility’ at me and any time i have been near or around me i have never seen anything to suggest otherwise.

and then there is john ellis, who has a song called “come out fighting” which i enjoy, as i do most of his first solo album. and having spent a bit of time with him and watched him do one or two gigs is quite a fitting description of the kind of head space he is in at the moment [or was, a year ago]. i really enjoyed my one on one coffee date i had with john two years ago – we have a similar sense of humour and have been inspired by some of the same books. he has an incredible gift in terms of writing and playing and singing, there is no doubt about that, and when he uses that for Jesus he is a force for the kingdom of heaven, that the gates of hell will not stand against…

but then we had an unfortunate incident at the gig i was mc’ing that he played at, and it’s not important to go into details, but the bottom line was that we went from being friends and him buying me a coffee before he went on stage and then cutting all contact off with me a few days later when he reacted to my blogged response of the incident. more than a year later and i have tried on a number of occasions to make contact and see if we can discuss what happened or move on, and i even emailed him during the writing of this blog [which is now into its third day] to let him know i was writing something and offering to send it to him before i posted it in case he wanted to approve/comment and am still to hear from him…

i don’t know if this is the right space or way but i have tried a lot of ways to connect with him and at the moment anyone who does a search for john ellis and ends up on my blog, gets the early stuff i wrote which was about giving him a chance and the benefit of the doubt and having a conversation with him… i figure there are a few people who read this who know john and so maybe you can pass on the message… some stuff happened, a long time ago now, and it’s beyond time to make up and talk it out if necessary or just move on… how about it john?

someone once said [and it has been repeated by a lot of someones since then] “Preach the gospel always. When necessary use words.” and for me, that statement has always felt more like an excuse from those who don’t want to say the name ‘Jesus’ than an encouragement to live out what you believe. because the reality is that it has to be both… if you only ever speak the good news and it is not lived out, then it will have no meaning, relevance or authenticity to those hearing it… and if you only ever live the gospel but never speak the name Jesus as the author and reason behind why we do what we do, then there is going to be a lot of good done, but no or little opportunity for life-transforming life change.

so the phrase i am working on looks something like this – “Preach the gospel in what you say and how you live. When necessary, refrain from words.”

Up to your cross I crawl
Now I am standing ten feet tall
Jesus my savior look what you’ve done for me

Free at last I’m free
I owe you my life completely
Yahweh Yahweh look what you’ve done for me

R2U2… or ‘d’ or something…

so friday nite there was a U2 concert or something, apparently.. you wouldn’t know by being on facebook at all – hardly a person mentioned whether they were going or not going or hating everyone that was going and kept reminding them about it or throwing their Steve Hofmeyer (very pricey tickets) into the Jukskei river (my favourite one) in protest…

and it’s weird cos ever since i knew U2 were coming to South Africa i was super amped to go – they are one of my top four bands (3 now that Tree63 are no more altho have Snow Patrol knocking on that door cos really enjoying them right now) but then when the tickets were released tbV and myself had just bought plane tickets to KZN so we would drive up to Botswana with our good friends Dreadlock Mike and Nancy the Twin and we couldn’t really afford both (not knowing what 2011 held for us incomewise etc)…

so i should have been more bummed or jealous or over the endless stream of statuses counting down etc etc but to be honest i wasn’t – i had actually agreed to speak at a camp for Rondebosch/Rustenburg high school CU groups this past weekend and it was only after meeting with the leaders of the camp and the other speaker (who said he couldn’t do the evenings so i was down for fri and sat nite speaks) that i discovered that the Fri nite was the U2 concert… hm…

and the whole way leading up to the concert i was somewhat convinced in my head that someone would offer us free U2 tickets (happened all around me) for the nite so my head went to ‘”flip, how do i explain to the camp people that i can’t speak on friday nite?” when the tickets come… and then i realised that there was actually no way out of it… and then quite soon after that i realised that actually i didn’t want the tickets to come…

now this is not anything against anyone who went to the U2 concert cos i am flippin stoked for everyone that went and it sounds like it was an incredible show and i am sure i would have loved it – there are some people, like my buddy Craig who is the biggest U2 fan i know, who i am toyoda’ly overjoyed that he was there and still need to hear from him how it was, and my brother and sister in law who got tickets a day before the concert as well, just flippin happy for them… but it was just the realisation for me (as not the biggest live concert guy ever) that for me, i was very amped that my friday was going to be spent with those school peoples at rocklands campsite in simonstown.

i didn’t get offered tickets so i never had to turn them down or anything like that but i had not doubt afterwards that i was in the right place. i don’t think God or those young people particularly needed me there (God could definitely have used a bunch of other people) but i definitely believe He did use me being there and we saw four girls make a commitment to follow Jesus for the first time ever and that really sealed it for me.

i was really encouraged by my good friend bruce collins’ (who was at the U2 concert in Joburg) story of how he was able to have some profound worship moments (during ‘Magnificent’ for example, one of U2’s most blatant lyric’d songs) during the concert and also the story he shared of the girl who got pulled up on stage and so for me it really doesn’t come down to going to the concert was less spiritual than not going to the concert or anything like that – for those who went and had an amazing time whether just a rad time with a favourite band or a great time with a non favourite band (Joel) or a spiritual experience, that is toyoda’ly cool… and for me it was the same not being there.

good weekend all round it seems. hopefully it was for you… as well…

so it seems like people continue to have an interest in the john ellis… um i’m not sure it’s a saga, i think you need three movies for that, but new direction-taking-focus-ment?

anyways i said to john, “hey john, people have questions” and john said to me “ask me those questions” so i said “Okay, but i just don’t have them yet” and so this is where you come in…

if you have a question for john of ellis about life and God and tree63 and world domination and Americaland and Jesus and why he refuses to write a real song about No_bob the world’s most famous stuffed dolphin but keeps pretending he has but when i look there’s nothing there and it was probably just a ploy to get me to buy his new album which i haven’t yet but only because i haven’t seen it yet and keep forgetting to look when i’m out sorry John, and church and blackadder and how they get the chocolate inside the smarties, then post it here or email me at brettfish@hotmail.com and i will get it to john

i can’t promise he will answer all the questions – i personally doubt he knows the answer to that smartie one – and i can’t even promise he will answer any of them (he’s in a different province from me – my powers of physical persuasion don’t stretch that far) and he will more than likely dodge the No_bob one (and probly continue to refer to him as a fish, the punk) [john’s a punk not No_bob] but i can highly guarantee that he will look at them and consider answering them and if any of them are interesting enuff then who knows, he might give it a go

so if you could ask john ellis, formerly of the band tree63, any question in the world, what would it be?

so as part of a pretty incredible weekend up in the kwazulu of natal i managed to get some coffee time with john ellis (formerly of tree63 and ‘john ellis has hung up his cross and become a giant piece of plasticine’ fame) to hear his version of where he is at and whether he still loves Jesus (he does, whoops i hope that wasn’t one of the ‘between you and me’ moments we shared, john?) and what the flippery flop is going on in these parts…

i left having had coffee with a new friend (well i think i did, or having spent time with a reeeeally good actor – aw man he’s probly going to post something on his blog saying i just used time with him to get better blog hits…oh wait, which in turn will give me better blog hits… hee hee win-win, go for it you thespian!) and someone who is a lot on a lot of the pages i find myself on in terms of God, good christian books and Monty Python/Blackadder humour (altho someone do him a favour and buy him a copy of Black Books so can at least update a little, sheesh – oh wait he Mighty Booshed… never mind, as you were) which let’s face it, are among the most important things in life… ‘she turned me into a newt… i got better!’ and all

in fact twice when i mentioned the two books that had changed my life asking him if he’d heard of them his response was ‘that book changed my life’

is john ellis still a christian? you know what? ask him yourself. i’m pretty sure i know the answer to that question and i look forward to many more conversations and hangings (of the caffeine type not the christian lynch mob) with him when we happen to be in the same place and maybe he’ll even one day include a song about No_bob on one of his albums (okay, maybe not THAT close!) but the point is i did not meet jon to interview him for a magazine or a blog and i don’t think it’s particularly fair on him for me to talk about all the stuff we talked about (and hope i haven’t already said too much, john?) and i don’t really want to – i was just glad for the opportunity to spend some time speaking to someone with a brain, who thinks, and loves it that the place where he is in right now is getting other people to think, and has a sly mischievous sense of humour which creeps in and out of his regular conversation

i do think that sometimes the judging of a person, for whatever reason and in whatever way, says more about the person judging than the person being judged and that Jesus had a bit to say on people with planks sticking out of their face muttering comments about the person in front of them cleaning the dust speck off of their contact lens…

tx john for a treemendous time (no no no PLEASE TELL ME I DIDN’T JUST WRITE THAT!)

so last week at enGAGE (sun eve congregation gathering at stellenbosch vineyard church) we had over 40 people there including a bunch of first-timers and roymond preached up an elijah storm in his first ever preach on the firetruck in the desert and your buckets capacity… at the start of the service i challenged the congregation to be more committed in terms of choosing to hang with us more regularly (attendance can be a bit sporadic at times) not wanting to make it a heavy ‘you-must-come-to-church’ vibe but also when i preach this term a series that build on each other it really helps to have people coming more regularly to get the whole journey as opposed to one or two of the pit stops

so last nite, once the worship team took their places – and we don’t have a worship team of 25 people – there were close to ten people left – from 40 plus to under 20 – great upping of commitment there – and so i was completely bummed

before then i was only partially bummed – we have a prayer time with the leaders and whoever wants to join us before the service and everyone felt so dead and withdrawn and no one was really praying or anything so i felt like God wanted me to pray for peoples amping and filling with the Holy Spirit and so i shared a bit of that and then said whoever wants God to fill them or up their amping please stand and i will pray for you – by then i was super amped to see God just pour Himself into people and really bring His joy and life and ampdness…

til no one stood – a room of 6 or 7 people and no-one seemed ampd to be ampd – and then one of the guys tried to cover over the awkwardness perhaps by making it into something else but i really felt strongly that this is what God was wanting to do and if no one is ampd then that’s fine but i really want to pray for anyone who does – my beautiful wife Val stood and i got to pray for her which was amazing – but again, no one else – and i’m sure people have their reasons and so on and that’s fine – i’m not judging them, but i’m just saying that i was super bummed…

and so during worship singing time i really didn’t know what to do because the preach i had prepared on engaging with those outside of the church seemed a bit random when there were only about 20 people inside the church and so i decided to lus my preach and instead share the anne rice/john ellis stuff that i’ve been blogging and thinking about – i started by saying how i know the pastory type guy has to have it all together and can’t be bummed and so on, but i am and mentioned the previous week’s commitment thing…

and so i read Anne Rice’s three comments/posts and we had the raddest discussion and within about two minutes i had left super bummed behind and just embraced the potential and opportunity to discuss something that is quite real in the church and the world right now – the importance of understanding where a lot of christians are coming from at the moment – loving Christ completely but not so ampd for some of the horrible hurtful things church can get up to

this week i also read the headline of a story of a church in the US (think i know which one if their reputation is anything to go on) who are planning a koran burning on the 9th anniversary of the destruction of the twin towers – i can not begin to imagine the damage that might cause – i can imagine the ‘message of love’ it is sending out with the label ‘church’ attached and i can fully understand a lot of people wanting to have nothing to do with being associated with that particular label

another friend of mine commented on the anne rice note i had on facebook something about those clowns who love Jesus but leave the church – again words of love which are really going to help ‘those clowns’ realise how misguided they are and draw them back towards the church?

at the end of it all, and the really delightful participationary service it had become, the conclusion was this – it is our responsibility and opportunity to draw alongside the anne rice’s and the john ellis’s and so many more people out there in similiar waters, and demonstrate to them a church that IS known by the love they have for each other, that is loving the sinner (while hating the sin but making well sure the sinner realises the difference between the two), that is involved in society actively building, reaching out, loving, reconciling and being the body of Christ in a world that is desperately hungry to see a church that lives out what it says it believes

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