The Great Outdoors Songs of Praise


The Great Outdoors

Eamonn Holmes meets people who have a passion for faith and sport. Music from Keith and Kristyn Getty, Rend Collective and hymns from St Killian's College Chapel.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to Songs of Praise from my homeland, County Antrim.

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As we explore this beautiful part of Northern Ireland,

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you'll be meeting people with a passion for life and the great outdoors.

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Bikers who're on the right track.

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A man who's happy and on the crest of a wave.

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The rugby players who pray as hard as they play.

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And we have special performances from local singer-songwriters, Keith and Kristyn Getty,

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and Rend Collective Experiment.

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Nestling in the hillside along the County Antrim coastline

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is the chapel of St Killian's College.

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It has a backdrop of fields, forests and hedgerows

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and a spectacular view over the Irish Sea.

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It's an inspiring location for our congregation as they gather

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and sing the first hymn, Praise My Soul the King of Heaven.

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It is breathtaking here, in more ways than one.

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At every turn there are dramatic landscapes, forests, mountains

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and of course, beaches and where you have waves, you'll have surfers.

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People like Andy Hill who's as happy in the water as he is out of it.

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Andy runs a watersports business in the seaside town of Portrush,

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just at the end of the beach.

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I've been surfing here almost 30 years now

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and that passion just developed into my life, really.

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I was a member of the Irish national surfing team.

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I was at three World Surfing Championships and seven European Championships

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and I was an Irish national champion six years on the trot.

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It sounds like an idyllic lifestyle that I led and it was good,

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it gave me a lot of life experiences and opportunities.

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I met wonderful people but I still felt there was something missing,

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wasn't quite fulfilled to the right way.

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I became quite unwell and just had a life-changing moment.

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I felt God threw a storm into my life

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and it made me look at things in a slightly different way.

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'Look at that for a wave...'

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I realised that maybe there's more to this world than just me.

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It was sort of a pivotal moment

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where I went from almost being, well, I was an atheist

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and I just now believed in God and I wanted to research that.

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The aim is to try and find out who Jesus was...

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'I help lead a Christianity Explored course and it's an informal presence

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'where we can introduce the gospel of Mark to people.

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'All sorts of people come, we have people who come from their own fellowship,

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'people from the community.'

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It's an opportunity to take that time and that's the thing -

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our world is so busy.

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When I was just a surfer and a competitive surfer,

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the waves were all about me.

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I was almost addicted to surfing,

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I needed that salt water fix every day.

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I wanted to ride those waves as aggressively as I could

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and it's when you have that addiction, it becomes your idol.

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That's when it becomes dangerous and basically, surfing was my idol.

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I am still passionate about surfing

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but it doesn't define me any more.

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I would like to say I'm defined as a Christian now

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but I'm still blessed to go in the water and surf and enjoy it.

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After I became a Christian, I had this peace

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and I can rely on God's and Jesus' strength now

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to meet the challenges of this busy, busy world.

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It's a gift, anybody can receive this gift.

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It's the gift of grace, none of us deserve it,

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but just accept it and trust what Jesus has done for you

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and I guarantee you, your life will be so much better.

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There are many ways of getting around County Antrim.

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You can drive, you can swim, you can walk, and you can bike.

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A lot of tourists love to take the time and cycle along the coast road,

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stopping every now and again to enjoy this incredible view.

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And then there are others whose eyes never leave the tracks,

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like Winston Copeland.

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Winston is part of a group with the unusual name of BOMB NI,

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which, thankfully, is not as bad as it sounds.

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Squaring up to the challenge of bumpy forest paths

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is something that he takes in his stride.

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As soon as we heard BOMB, it clicked.

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At that time, Northern Ireland was coming out of conflict.

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It stands out

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and it gets a reaction, no matter where you go.

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It's a fantastic name!

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BOMB stands for Believers On Mountain Bikes,

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using bikes as a tool, as a medium to get people's attention.

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And then share the gospel with them.

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Through time and through prayer,

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it has formed into the group it is today.

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When you're out on the trails,

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you'll come across logs and roots...

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'We felt, in order to reach young folk, young groups,

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'we needed to get them out on the bikes,

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'and that's where we approached a local bike shop

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'and they in turn came back with 10 mountain bikes.'

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That was our first ever real answer to prayer.

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Mountain biking is a fantastic way to get out and about

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in the mountains and the forests,

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to meet new friends and to push yourself.

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There's so many challenges on a bike.

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You've certainly a sense of achievement and a sense of fun.

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Faith and life is full of challenges.

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Your life is full of challenges -

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from the time you get up in the morning till you go to bed,

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you face challenges, much like mountain biking.

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From when you get on the bike

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until you get off the bike, you're facing challenges.

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And your faith helps you deal with those challenges

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on a day-to-day basis.

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It's as much a buzz for us to get out on the bikes on a Saturday afternoon

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as it is to take the group out, and that's why we love it.

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We start to talk to them about who we are and what we're about,

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we try to relate mountain biking

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to everything we do as regards the gospel.

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So, it's just always about ticking the boxes

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and keeping them entertained, but also getting the message across.

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The thing is about building relationships.

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These are folks we want to meet with again, to see again.

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Once they become Christians,

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if that's the way it works, then they'll be disciples

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through their own churches and we can come back and get to know them,

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to encourage them to think outside the box as regards Christianity -

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that Christian isn't being just about on a Sunday,

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it's an every day affair, it's through your hobbies, through your sports.

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Even if only two or three come to us about mountain biking,

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if the rest of the group go on and look for hockey or football

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or rugby or knitting, whatever they find themselves interested in,

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a group of Christians together doing the same thing

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can impact so much more than one on their own.

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That may have looked like rain to you but to us here in Ireland,

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it's what we call a "soft" day.

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It's not unusual in these parts for musicians to gather informally

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and just see what happens.

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Rend Collective Experiment started out something like that -

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a group of friends with a collection of instruments

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who wanted to explore worshipping God in a new way musically.

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The experiment caught on, the music and enthusiasm infectious.

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You can hear them now as they perform

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specially for Songs Of Praise - Build Your Kingdom Here.

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# Come set your rule and reign

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# In our hearts again

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# Increase in us we pray

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# Unveil why we're made

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# Come set our hearts ablaze with hope

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# Like wildfire in our very souls

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# Holy Spirit come invade us now

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# We are your Church

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# We need your power

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# In us

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# We seek your kingdom first

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# We hunger and we thirst

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# Refuse to waste our lives

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# For you're our joy and prize

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# To see the captive hearts released

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# The hurt, the sick, the poor at peace

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# We lay down our lives for heaven's cause

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# We are your church

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# We pray revive

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# This earth

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# Build your kingdom here

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# Let the darkness fear

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# Show your mighty hand

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# Heal our streets and land

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# Set your church on fire

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# Win this nation back

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# Change the atmosphere

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# Build your kingdom here

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# We pray

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# Unleash your kingdom's power

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# Reaching the near and far

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# No force of hell can stop

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# Your beauty changing hearts

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# You made us for much more than this

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# Awake the kingdom seed in us

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# Fill us with the strength and love of Christ

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# We are your church

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# We are the hope

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# On Earth

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# Build your kingdom here

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# Let the darkness fear

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# Show your mighty hand

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# Heal our streets and land

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# Set your church on fire

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# Win this nation back

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# Change the atmosphere

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# Build your kingdom here

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# We pray

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# Build your kingdom here

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# Let the darkness fear

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# Show your mighty hand

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# Heal our streets and land

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# Set your church on fire

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# Win this nation back

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# Change the atmosphere

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# Build your kingdom here

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# We pray. #

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And now, a couple of lads who hardly ever sit still.

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They're members of the Ulster rugby squad.

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South African, Johann Muller, and local lad, Paul Marshall.

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For both of them, rugby and success is obviously important.

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But their strong personal faith in God is even more so.

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I think for me growing up,

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it was something that I was always very passionate about,

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something I probably put before a lot of other things at times.

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I definitely put it ahead of my schoolwork,

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which probably got me in a bit of bother at times!

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-COMMENTATOR:

-Johann Muller, looking for his first Ulster try.

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Has he got across the line?

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All South African little boys have got a dream

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and that's to play for the Springboks

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and that dream became a reality at the age of 26 for me.

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I never would have thought that I would, firstly,

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have played for the Springboks and then to captain them

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and to win a World Cup, it's all dreams come true.

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So, really, really fortunate.

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Within my school team, we had a lot of talented guys.

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I was not one of our best players,

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but I always kept in the back of my mind,

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"I want to play for Ulster," and I worked as hard as I could

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and tried to be the best that I could be,

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and it's just a schoolboy dream for me come true, really.

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I don't think we just play rugby for the sake of playing rugby.

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I think we've got this wonderful opportunity to play rugby,

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but it's about something bigger and it's about spreading the word.

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It's about talking to people about the wonderful love of God.

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I think we're in a really fortunate situation here

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that we do have rugby as something that we can use.

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Something which we've put in place to try and encourage each other

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is our own Bible study once a week before training, you know.

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I think it's been fruitful for the two of us

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and for the other guys as well.

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It's open for the whole team - if anybody else wants to come along

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they're more than welcome.

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It's not just a secluded group for the holy huddle or anything.

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It's a real privilege and it's a blessing to be there...

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'It opens doors, playing rugby,

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'to maybe go to church events or youth groups.

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I think over the last season, because we had

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a more successful season at Ulster,

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we've seen that going through the roof at times.

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Whenever we go to a youth group or a manse meeting, I always say,

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"If you leave today after this meeting, you'll go,

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"Paul Marshall and Johann Muller's a great guy, great rugby players."

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I'll be really disappointed if they leave with that mindset.

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At the end of the day it's not about me and it's not about Paul.

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At the end of the day, it's about Christianity and it's about faith.

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We're just the lucky ones, you know?

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I think it's also really important -

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I can't change your mind and I can't make you a Christian.

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All I can do is sow that little seed and just leave the rest up to God.

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I think that's probably our job, is to go out there,

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just sow little seeds to people, and show them

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what we believe in and the way that we live our lives

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and hopefully, that will make them grow

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and hopefully God can take it from there.

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Throughout the holiday season,

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this part of County Antrim is a hive of activity

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as people escape the busyness of everyday life.

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Some come for the views,

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others for the good fresh air along the coast

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and others come in search of a quiet space in a picturesque harbour.

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And that's what the great outdoors has to offer, isn't it?

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Space for recreation and reflection,

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a place to contemplate the beauty of creation.

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And in keeping with that theme of quiet rest,

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we join the congregation at St Killian's again

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as they sing Be Still.

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Keith and Kristyn Getty have been writing hymns for over 10 years now,

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bridging the gap between traditional and contemporary

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and creating what's been described as "singable theology".

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The music's familiar to churchgoers around the world.

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In Christ Alone is one of the favourites here on Songs Of Praise.

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But for us now, they're singing By Faith.

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# By faith we see the hand of God

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# In the light of creation's grand design

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# In the lives of those who prove His faithfulness

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# Who walk by faith and not by sight

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# By faith our fathers roamed the Earth

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# With the power of His promise in their hearts

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# Of a holy city built by God's own hand

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# A place where peace and justice reign

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# We will stand as children of the promise

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# We will fix our eyes on Him our soul's reward

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# Till the race is finished and the work is done

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# We'll walk by faith and not by sight

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# By faith the prophets saw a day

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# When the longed-for Messiah would appear

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# With the power to break the chains of sin and death

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# And rise triumphant from the grave

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# By faith the church was called to go

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# In the power of the Spirit to the lost

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# To deliver captives and to preach good news

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# In every corner of the Earth

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# We will stand as children of the promise

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# We will fix our eyes on Him our soul's reward

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# Till the race is finished and the work is done

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# We'll walk by faith and not by sight

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# A-ah

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# By faith this mountain shall be moved

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# And the power of the Gospel shall prevail

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# For we know in Christ all things are possible

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# For all who call upon His name

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# We will stand as children of the promise

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# We will fix our eyes on Him our soul's reward

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# Till the race is finished and the work is done

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# We'll walk by faith and not by sight

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# We will stand as children of the promise

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# We will fix our eyes on Him our soul's reward

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# Till the race is finished

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# And the work is done

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# We'll walk by faith and not by sight

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# We'll walk by faith and not by sight. #

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We give thanks for the gifts that God has given you.

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May he continue to give you success to keep you eager,

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trials to keep you improving

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and determination to ensure that each day is better than yesterday.

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And may almighty God, the father, son

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and Holy Spirit come upon you all and remain with you for ever.

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CONGREGATION: Amen.

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And that's almost it from County Antrim.

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In their own way, the people who you've met today are all valiant.

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Andy, Winston, Johann and Paul,

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dedicated and determined to be the best they can be

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in God's great outdoors.

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To paraphrase Mark Twain, in 20 years from now,

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you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do

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than the things you did.

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So, sail away from the safe harbour.

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Catch the trade winds in your sails and explore, dream, discover.

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Until the next time on Songs of Praise, bye-bye.

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Next week, Aled samples the vibrant lifestyle in London's newest

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royal borough, historic Greenwich.

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The Archbishop of Canterbury celebrates the life

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of one of his predecessors and you can join in

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with hymns sung in the setting of the Old Royal Naval Chapel.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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Eamonn Holmes is out and about in County Antrim to meet people who share a passion for faith and sport in the great outdoors. With music from Keith and Kristyn Getty, Rend Collective and hymns from St Killian's College Chapel.


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