PUBLISHED BY CARMEL MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL
madeyourmark? the risk of being original explained
abigwelcom It’s time for our third issue of twentyfour7which is now bigger and bolder than before! I trust you will be challenged to ask yourself whether you dare “Risk Being An Original” – and find and follow God’s plans for your life. Read and be encouraged by the testimonies and interviews of ordinary men and women of God who experience extraordinary happenings because they dare to trust God’s word and guidance. Enjoy the teaching of guest speaker D.J. McPhail, who exhorts the church to wake up, to stop being “conned” by the “formation” of the world’s value systems...Celebrate with us our seventh Graduation Ceremony of Anchor Bible Training Centre, at which our dear friend Pastor Tim Salmon outlines “Seven Steps for Serving Successfully in the Ministry.” I am also excited about our annual conference –”Empowering for Excellence” Take time off to join us and recharge spiritually – I know this conference will be awesome. And finally, rejoice with us as we prepare to step up to a new level both in the natural and the spiritual realms, in our move to a new church building. I trust you’ve had a restful and enjoyable summer, and hope you’ll join us in our new home!
Michelle Di Somma
4 testimonies 11
in issue 3 of carmeltwentyfour7>>
guest teaching 14
Carmel twentyfour 7 is published by Carmel Ministries International. Reproduction of this publication in part or whole is prohibited.
For comments and suggestions for the next twentyfour7 testimony please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org Michelle Di Somma Lyn Birdsall Jenny Poole, Neil Keller Sarah Stockinger, Clare Irwin, Ian Irwin, John Delaney Design/Art Director: Darrell Irwin Photography: Julian Clarke, Darrell Irwin, Dean Butler Editor: Associate Editor: Copywriters:
churchservices Sunday Morning Service 10.30am Sunday Evening Service 6.30pm
churchoffice 817A Bath Road, Brislington, Bristol BS4 5NL
For any further information contact Lyn Birdsall on 0117 775533 EVENT
Wednesday 29th October Sunday 2nd November Empowering for Excellence Equipping the Leader Within Pastor Gerri Di Somma, Dr Tayo Adeyemi, Rev.Wynne Lewis, Pastor Bernie McLaughlin
CALL FOR DETAILS
Sunday 2nd November Grand Opening of NEW building!
Saturday 8th November Club Koinona Fireworks Night
Saturday 8th November Mens Breakfast
Friday 21st November Youth Concert
Saturday 13th December Men’s and Womens Breakfast
Wednesday 17th December Carmel Homegroup Social
Sunday 21st December Christmas Play
Thursday 25th December Christmas Service
9.30am – 10.30am
becomingapartner A Partner is a sharer, an associate, one who engages with another in business, one who plays on the same side as another.
Partnership Is Important – It releases power to get the job done. We can accomplish the Great Commission together in unity.
United Kingdom HSBC Account No: 401406 – 11341294
Partnership In Prayer – We believe it is vital for every Partner to develop a strong personal prayer life, and to pray for the leadership for Godly wisdom and direction from the Lord. Partnership In Caring – We are instructed to watch over and take care of the partners in our charge (Acts 20:28). Partnership In Sharing – The whole ministry of sharing is to give of oneself in the areas of love, time, talents and finances.
Tel: (0117) 9775533 Fax: (0117) 9775678 Email: email@example.com
Should you wish to donate by Gift Aid please contact the church office.
South Africa Anchor Ministries International First National Bank, Cresta Account No: 3000080594
Carmel Ministries is a registered charity (Charity No. 1094052) with Luke 9vs2 as its mission statement. All finances sown go into the work of establishing God’s Kingdom through evangelism and preparing labourers for the harvest.
Directions from Bath: Follow A4 Bath Road towards Bristol, past Keynsham to the Park and Ride on the left hand side. At the these traffic lights go straight ahead past McDonalds on your right and turn right into the forecourt of HSBC bank. We’re just behind. Directions from the M4: Take Junction 19 into Bristol on the M32. Take Junction 3, the A4 Link Road, and follow the signs for Bath. Pass Sainsbury's on your left and at the traffic lights (Burger King will be on your right) continue straight on towards Bath. Follow the road up the hill and continue down the other side. You should see a petrol station at the bottom. Contine following the road round to the right and up the hill under a bridge. You will come to a retail complex on your right. Keep going past this and take the next left by the HSBC bank. We’re just behind it. Directions from Bristol City Centre: Follow Temple Way towards Temple Meads Railway Station passing it on the left. Follow the A4 Bath Road passing a Kwik Fit garage on the left. At traffic lights with HTV Studios on the right and Burger King on the left follow the road round to the right uphill and continue down the other side. You should see a petrol station at the bottom then shops on the left. Contine up the hill under a bridge. You will come to a retail complex (JJB Sports) on your right hand side and a Jaguar garage on the left. Keep going past this and turn left immediately into HSBC bank forecourt and we’re just beind this.
Carmel Christian Centre is on the move. twentyfour7 takes a sneak preview of our amazing new home to give you the lowdown... GOD’S CALL Seven years ago God called Pastor Gerrri and Michelle Di Somma all the way from South Africa to England, leading them supernaturally to Bristol, which they didn’t even know existed...Called and appointed them to start a church and the early meetings of Carmel Christian Centre were in a community centre with the Di Somma family and a few others. Then Carmel Christian Centre moved to Unit D, a warehouse on a trading estate, which has been converted to accommodate Sunday services, a bible training centre, a Christian school, youth groups and many other activities reaching out to the community, both local and international. God’s instructions to Pastor Gerri and Michelle were very specific from the start, and when they moved to this building God told them it would be for a five year season. The five years expires on the 28th September this year. The building is now too small to accommodate all the people and activities with comfort and safety, and is stifling growth. GOD’S FAVOUR Over the last 24 months the church has been looking for bigger and more suitable premises. A few months ago we found the Kerridge building, which is situated on the Bath Road in Brislington. Since then we have found God’s favor in all aspects, especially with Kerridge themselves. The building was originally for sale only; they have offered us a five-year lease with and option to purchase. The purchase price (750k) has been favourably reduced, they have also done preparation work for us and they have left us various equipment and furniture.
Carmel Christian Centre grand opening Sund
The new building is approximately 21,000 Sq ft, which is nearly 3 times bigger that our current building. The auditorium with seat around 600 people. There is plenty of office space and additional rooms for the bible school, childrens school, youth work and the many other ministries involved in Carmel. GOD’S PEOPLE We have already started packing and moving boxes and furniture. Building and decorating work will commence in the next week or so, adding additional toilets, partitioning in the bible school, fitting out the auditorium etc. There will be a grand opening, which has been scheduled to coincide with the Leaders’ conventi on “Empowering for Excellence” and will take place on Sunday 2nd November at 6:30pm. The Mayor of Bristol, local business contacts and friends will be invited together with the local press. This amazing new building is another step in Gods divine plan for Carmel Christian Centre. With this new move we will be able to affect more peoples lives with the gospel and the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Come and join us and become part of a growing family of God. We look forward to seeing you there!
ay 2nd November at 6:30pm
After weeks of rehearsals, Carmel Worship Team recorded its first album “Beautiful Praise”, led by Loulita Di Somma, Worship Leader of Carmel Christian Centre. All the music and lyrics were written by different members of the Worship Team and recorded live before a an audience. Producer Ira Jackson prepared the Team with humour and patience, correcting and encouraging, keeping them focused and flowing together. Recording Technicians Mark Stratton and Dave Taylor of Vision Sound Services eased them through the final process with grace and professionalism, tweaking the controls on the sound desk to achieve the right balance. The purpose of the CD? To walk in fullness of what God has declared thus glorifying him and encourage others to do the same. A recent prophecy referred to the Worship Team as “the best kept secret”. When producer Ira heard this, he was amazed because he had recently been prophetically called “the best kept secret producer”! Watch this space...
CD £11.99 TAPE £7.99 SONGBOOK £11.99 To order a copy of
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Find out why our seventh graduation day was our biggest and best ever
The Graduation Service took place on Saturday 12th July with family and friends attending this very special occasion. This year ABTC graduated a total of thirty-five first year students made up of twenty-nine Morning School and six students who attended the Charter Class for Evening School. This year also saw twenty eight second year students graduate with their ‘Diploma in Ministerial Training’. Read on to find out what happened... The Graduation Service took place on Saturday 12th July with family and friends attending this very special occasion. This year ABTC graduated a total of thirty-five first year students made up of twenty-nine Morning School and six students who attended the Charter Class for Evening School. This year also saw twenty eight second year students graduate with their ‘Diploma in Ministerial Training’. Read on to see how it went...
The ceremony was held at Carmel Christian Centre in the main auditorium and was filled to capacity with friends and family. We thank God that next year will see us graduating from Carmel’s new building as we have definitely outgrown this one!!! The guest speaker was Pastor Tim Salmon, from East London Christian Centre, South Africa. He spoke on ‘Seven Points to Serving Successfully in the Ministry’ and spoke with boldness from the Word and a wealth of Godly wisdom gained over the 28 years he himself has faithfully served in the Ministry. We thank God for this gift to the Body of Christ as he ministered encouragement to the students and challenged them to be all that God has called them to be!! It was a thrill to see the spiritual growth in the lives of the students through their commitment to studying God’s Word and we trust Him for a mighty harvest from the labourers that ABTC has had the privilege of training and equipping as each student goes on to fulfill that call. This year’s Graduation Ceremony included several special events, the first being the presentation of an Honorary Diploma to Miss Loulita Di Somma. Loulita left South Africa before completing her second year at Bible School and it was agreed that through her lecturing in A.B.T.C. and attending many lectures herself, she had more than fulfilled the requirements to achieve this award. It was with great pleasure that Pastor Gerri Di Somma was able to surprise her as he called her up to collect her certificate.
W ant to know more? If you want to know more about ABTC then you can request more information by just filling in the details below. Alternatively you can check out all the very latest information on our website at www.anchor-uk.org NAME(S)
SPOUSE (IF APPLICABLE)
With a great sense of reverence, Pastor Gerri continued the evening by calling on Mrs Sarah Stockinger, Director of Student Faculty, and Mr Onofrio Maimone, Assistant to Pastor Gerri, to recognise their gifting and calling by publicly ordaining them in the presence of God and with the laying on of hands by the Church Leaders. God has been so faithful in the lives of those that have faithfully served Him at Carmel Ministries International and when God calls, He raises up, appoints and anoints.
Once again, we were able to surprise Pastor Gerri by presenting him with a gift that could only show a small token of our appreciation and love for him. We know that without his obedience, commitment and sacrifice A.B.T.C. would not be here and we would not be able to disciple the nations as God has commanded.
We could not see the occasion pass without presenting baby Realeboga Sibanda with her honoury certificate as mum Fatima graduated second year having been pregnant for the most of the course. Finally, to finish the evening, the graduating students were able to sing the A.B.T.C. Anthem written especially for the occasion. We give God all the glory and look forward to the next intake of students in September 2003, trusting Him at all times to lead, direct and guide us as ABTC goes to a higher level.
Please return to: ANCHOR BIBLE TRAINING CENTRE ADMISSIONS OFFICE 817A Bath Road, Brislington, Bristol BS4 5NL, United Kingdom
theriskofbeinganori By Pastor Gerri Di Somma (Part of a series ‘Life Skills’)
“Every person has been endowed with a certain mixture of abilities and opportunities which makes him or her unique. No mixture is insignificant. There is something that God has placed within each of us to cry out to be above average and extraordinary.” John L Mason: ‘An Enemy Called Average’
In Psalm 139:15-17, God assures us that we are not a mistake but were planned by Him with a destiny. His intention is for each of us to be an original, but too often we settle for average. Being average is taking your abilities and others’ experiences and opinions as truth and living them. Being an original is taking who you are, mixing it with God’s opinion and living that. An original is produced first-hand so is not a copy. You are born an original; don’t die a copy. The dividing line between being average or original, ordinary or extraordinary, is a thing called ‘risk’. The Oxford dictionary defines risk as “a situation involving exposure to danger; the possibility that something unpleasant will happen.” However, God’s ‘dictionary’ sees risk differently, as ‘a situation involving exposure to God’s Word and His ways; the possibility that something pleasant will happen.’
So what do God’s Word and ways help you to do? 1.
To become God’s original, unique and extraordinary, rather than a poor imitation.
To discover your purpose and encourage you to live it.
To leave your past and all that it contained and to step into your future with its hopes and dreams.
To remove the masks you wear to please others and teach you to please God.
To take off the limits which you and others have placed upon your life and to live liberated, beyond the limits of average, beyond mediocrity, beyond anything or everything that you have done before.
In 1 John 5:4, John exhorts us: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” Overcomers are those who have removed the limits and stepped into extraordinary living.However, in order to do this, we need to take risks. There are four primary risks involved in stepping from the place of being average to being an original:
ginal 1. Risk the fear of man for the fear of God. Psalm 118:8: “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” We must be careful not to live by what other people think or say. As Proverbs 29:25 tells us: “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” This means we must: •
Risk lasting for everlasting. The opinions of man are lasting but God’s ways are everlasting.
Risk irresponsibility for maturity. Irresponsibility is blaming other people, or things that happened in our past, for where we are today. It is allowing other people to dictate how we should behave. Instead, we must be mature, taking responsibility to change the circumstances of our lives to become an original.
Risk man’s wisdom for godly wisdom.
Our value must be rooted in God, not in man.
2. Risk compromise for conviction. Proverbs 12:3: “A man is not established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous cannot be moved.” Too often, we compromise standards of our life to please people. A true original has standards and beliefs from which he will not be moved. When we are people of conviction we will reach our destination, whereas people of compromise will continually be distracted and pulled off course by others. Living by conviction means we must: •
Risk minimising for honesty.
Risk preference for principle.
Risk flesh for spirit.
3. Risk indecision for vision. Psalm 20:4: “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.” We must find God’s plan, purpose and vision for our lives, and once we find it, follow it no matter what the cost. Having two visions is division; division means indecision. Do not become indecisive; as James reminds us, “a double-minded man [is] unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). This means we must: •
Risk comfort for opportunity.
Risk ordinary for extraordinary.
Risk wishing for producing.
When our vision is of God and we follow after it, keeping our eyes on Him, we will begin to produce the things of God.
“May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfil all your purpose.” Psalm 20:4 9
theriskofbeinganoriginal Continued... 4. Risk reputation for character. Daniel 6:8: “Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in Him…” Too often we are more concerned with what other people think of us than with our character. Daniel made his decisions based upon the integrity of his word, and would never compromise the things of God. Character is becoming all God intended us to be without compromise in our life, which means we must: • Risk popularity for maturity. • Risk accomplishment for aspiration. • Risk contentment for achievement. There are many examples in the Bible of people who took a risk in God and became originals.
“Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in Him…” Daniel 6:8
a housewife who became a judge.
an unknown virgin who gave birth to Christ.
an orphan who became a queen.
a labourer who became a valiant leader.
a stutterer who became a deliverer.
a shepherd boy who became a king.
a prisoner who became a prime minister.
a persecutor who became an apostle, the greatest missionary and author of two thirds of the New Testament.
May YOU become the ‘original’ that God intended you to be, and leave a legacy of faith in being significant.
let the word do the talking...
...you know it makes sense! Hear the Word teach, challenge, correct, equip, direct, transform, speak truth and bring hope and life... These dynamic teaching tapes, produced by popular request, are now on sale in our book shop and can also be ordered by post. Be among the first to obtain a copy, and let the Word speak to you.
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debbie rhodes PRAISE, GLORY AND HONOUR UNTO GOD
Early 2002 –
started dreaming of our own house. It seems the most impossible thing that we could ever want to do at this moment in time! We must continue to discuss it and pray about it.
March 28th –
had an appointment with a financial advisor. He informed us that we can’t buy a house without being permanent residents of England. The visas in our passports stated that we can live in the country until 2007. In 4 months’ time we will have been here 4 years, and only then can we apply for residency…..
Pastor Gerri, greetings in Jesus’ name, God has had me examining myself. I confess I have been negative in my speech because I have been negative about myself, and the way I feel about myself is the way I perceive others feel about me. Returning from my holiday I was amazed at the love I received from so many people. I realised they care and my Pastor certainly does care. Chambers Bible says “Our Lord seemed to go so easily and calmly amongst all kinds of men that when He met a man who could sink to the level of Judas He never turned cynical, never lost heart or got discouraged, and when He met a loyal loving heart like John’s He was not unduly elated, He never overpraised him… Jesus knew what was in man, He knew exactly what human beings were like and what they needed and He saw in them something no-one else ever saw.”
Phoned the Home Office and explained our situation. They showed no sympathy to our problem and told us not to waste our time applying for residency before the end of August. Next day –
phoned the Home Office again.
Days later –
Received application forms from the Home Office. They can only be submitted in August.
Completed the application forms and sent them off.
Later in April –
Application forms returned to us, marked “invalid”. We continued to pray, trusting God. We know He will make a way for us. More application forms received. We refused to complete them. We wrote a letter, sending it with the original application forms and our passports.
Praise, glory and honour to God! God has made a way for us! We can now remain in the country indefinitely for as long as we like!
Went back to the financial advisor, and started looking at houses. A problem has arisen – we can’t buy a house, because we’ve never completed the voters’ register, and our names don’t even appear on a creditor’s list. Apparently, without these, nobody can prove that we’ve been living here for 4 years. We’re wondering if we should give up...
It is as though the Lord presented you, my Pastor, to me and showed me something. Because we don’t see and know people’s hearts, we say and do things that hurt and we hurt God. You need encouragement too. I thought there’s nothing I can say to encourage you, but I want you to know I am extremely blessed to have you as our Pastor and your whole family ministering to us. When I first came to Carmel I was dying spiritually and physically. As I was praying one morning, telling the Lord how I felt and that I didn’t want to go back to church, He said “Go to Carmel”. I found Carmel and found you and I am watching myself grow from strength to strength – all to the glory of God. I completed Bible School through God’s supernatural provision. I have seen the Lord restore my health, my finances, and bring my daughter into the Kingdom of God – and my son will follow soon, praise God. Pastor Gerri I love you and I thank God for you and your family who have been obedient to go after that which was lost. Praise God.
All thoughts of giving up dismissed! We’ve found a lovely house, and are thanking God! He’s well able to give us the desires of our heart. 10th Dec 2002 –
Moved in to our lovely house! Once again, God has proved He is a God of the impossible! How He did it, we’ll never know, but we’re so grateful to Him for His faithfulness. He is a loving and merciful Father, the one in whom we can trust! We praise you and thank you God!
GOD MAKING THE IMPOSSIBLE, POSSIBLE! 11 11
Just over 5 years ago Carmel Ministries International established Carmel Bible Church in Stoke-on-Trent. We catch up with its leaders in this exclusive interview. Find out how the church was birthed and why Jerusalem holds such significance in the lives of Pastor Michael and Vicky Fletcher.
Tell me something about yourselves Michael – I grew up in Wolverhampton, the youngest of seven. My mum died when I was 6 years old, so from that point on I had to grow up fast and learn to look after myself. My elder sister used to do most of the cooking for us; I have yet to taste a Sunday roast dinner to compare to hers! We were not a church going family, so I grew up without any concept of God. Vicky – I grew up in the south of England on a quiet housing estate. I have two younger brothers. We always went to church as long as I can remember. I was raised in the Catholic Church and always believed in God, but never had an understanding of true relationship with Him.
How did you become Christians? Michael – That’s a long story! I went through some bad situations in my life, (most through my own doing) which culminated with the breakdown of a marriage. I lost a year of my life because I was never sober and got into fights, one ending with a glass breaking in my face. My life was a mess and I was contemplating the easiest, most painless way of ending it. In the midst of this, I was at a wedding reception, when a lady named Jane sat by me, looked at me and told me that Jesus loved me and then she started crying. I was embarrassed by the whole situation, but from that point my outlook changed. I put my life back together and over the next 3 years, life became good, working in London and enjoying the high life. Eventually I met up again with Jane and her husband, Rick, and had dinner with them a few times. They’d talk about Jesus and I would be flippant with them; life was the best it had ever been but I thought I didn’t need God. They kept witnessing to me and asked me to go to Israel with them and a group of other Christians, and somehow I agreed to go. Once there, on the third day, in the Garden of Gethsemene, I gave my life to Jesus.
Vicky – My mum was born again first and was radically changed. She started to listen to many American preachers on cassette in the kitchen, so if I was in the house, I was forced to listen! For a long time she would ask me to go to special gospel meetings and eventually I agreed to go with her. I was 14 at the time and quite shy, but I remember whilst everyone was praying for each other, I started to cry. An Irish lady took me to one side and gave me a Bible and from then on I couldn’t put it down. She explained that Jesus had died for me, and I gave my heart to Him.
How did you know that Michael was the right one, Vicky? Vicky – I first saw Mick at 4.00am just before we left for Israel. I gradually got to know him whilst we were there and a friendship grew. He made me laugh and was good company. As the relationship grew, I just knew. He was very romantic and finally won my heart. Michael – I got to know Vicky in Israel and I enjoyed her company, by the time the holiday finished I realised I loved her, and any one that would laugh at my jokes must love me!
When did you first realise there was a call of God on your lives? Michael – A number of people recognised the pastor’s heart that God had placed within me, but I reckon from the day I got saved I knew God had called me for His plans. We went to Rhema SA and again we had things confirmed through the prophetic word as to the call of God on our lives. Vicky – When we got married, we saw our lives progress in such a fast way. We got married in Israel and whilst there we knew God wanted us to go to Bible school. To serve God full time is all we wanted to do. We were excited about the journey that God had for us!
What challenges have you encountered? Vicky – In South Africa it seemed a daily challenge trying to hold jobs down and trusting God in the financial area. But the most challenging was when I miscarried twin girls at 22 weeks. In this experience I know that God was with me and I had His peace that surpasses all understanding. We never blamed God and He enabled us to move forward. In the UK I’ve experienced tremendous training in my attitudes to circumstances and standing on the word when I’ve felt like saying “Stop world, I want to get off!” Michael – One of the biggest challenges I had to face was losing our twin daughters in SA. I felt devastated and helpless, but the Lord walked me through it and healed my heart. I probably measure most things against this and in comparison they are not a big deal.
Why did you choose Stoke on Trent, England? Michael – Pastor Gerri planted the church in Stoke on Trent and told us that God had called us to pastor it. I remember seeking God about His will for us and not hearing a thing. I phoned Pastor Gerri and declined the offer. From that point on, God started to speak to me about pastoring Carmel Bible Church.
By the time I visited Pastor Gerri a week later, I knew God had called us to Stoke. I told Pastor Gerri and he just smiled, knowing all along that God had called us. I believe the reason God withheld His confirmation from me was simply to endorse the fact that He had called us to Stoke and to trust Him for all our needs in the hard times. I can look up and know that God has started something that only He can bring to completion. Vicky – It took me a little longer to be convinced that we should move to Stoke. We had been attending a lively church in Sheffield, but it was not a faith church and we had lost a lot of our confession and standing on the Word. So I think my hearing had been slightly affected! Finally, through a mutual friend who knew nothing about our plans, the answer was confirmed. I was so desperate to be in the will of God, I was concerned about making a mistake!
God has brought you this far – what’s the next step? Michael – The next step for us as a church is a building, bringing all that we do under one roof. We are staying faithful to the things God has committed to us in bringing His vision to pass, seeing people saved, healed and made whole.
CARMEL BIBLE CHURCH... STOP PRESS...NEW ARRIVAL Duane and Claire Raitt testify of God’s faithfulness On 20th May 2003 Isaac Thomas Raitt took everyone by surprise, making a dramatic entrance into the world ten days early after a very short labour of one and a half hours. He weighed 8lb 1oz and measured 52cm. Both baby and mother left hospital the same day to be enthusiastically welcomed home by 4 year old sister Caris. Two and a half weeks later Isaac was taken into hospital with an e-coli infection in his blood and urethra and remained there for a week for intravenous antibiotics. Prayer speeded his recovery and Isaac was discharged after only four days. Throughout his ordeal Isaac remained a healthy, well looking baby, and a delight to his Dad and Mam. Duane and Claire thank everybody for their prayers and are onfident that Isaac ‘s next appointment will get the “all clear”.
Vicky – I would like to see the next step moving into our own building with school, kids’ club, office and church all under one roof. In it all, we stay fully submitted to Pastor Gerri and Michelle, trusting God, staying faithful and looking forward.
joined in jerusalem An exclusive interview with Pastor Michael and Vicky Fletcher 13
By Pastor DJ McPhail
Pastor DJ McPhail of Liberty Community Church, Ranburg, South Africa trained as a lawyer before entering the ministry. He believes that God is calling us to be an “extreme church” rather than the “sleeping giant” described by Bono of U2. Extreme Living In our world today there exists a romance with extreme sports and extreme experiences, as people need adrenaline rushes because their lives are so boring. The greatest adventure that exists, however, is to serve the purposes of God and to lead an extreme life in Him. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and that they might have it more abundantly (excessively, to the extreme)” John 10:10. In Christ Jesus there is no such thing as a balanced life! We are not to hold back, we are to be extreme; extremely committed to God; extreme in our relationships; we are to love extremely; we are to work extremely (as unto the Lord). We are also to be extreme in our giving and our serving. When we commit our lives to Christ we give Him everything, we make an extreme commitment. The earliest disciples were given the name Christians not by themselves but by those in the world who recognised them as “little Christs”. A Christ follower has laid down his entire life, his body has been surrendered. Paul tells us to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” Romans 12:1. To many this might seem unreasonable service, but we are called to be extreme. When we do what God has called us to do it is an act of worship and when we worship God we lay down our lives. God has an extreme destiny for everyone and the only way to know God and His plans for us is through His son Jesus Christ. There are two pre-requisites to realising our destiny. We are first called to be like Christ; secondly we are called to do the work of Christ. If we do not have the character our calling cannot be sustained; we need maturity for ministry so that we too might say, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work that You have given Me to do” John17:4.
Once we have found out who we are in Christ we work from a place of rest, of security in this knowledge. This then enables us, “not to be conformed to this world” Romans 12:2. Paul exhorts us not to be “conned” by the “formation” of the philosophies, values, fads, fashions, and principles of this world; not to be conned into thinking that they amount to reality, truth and life. We are to be extreme in our non-conformism! We must not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds (through reading and meditating on the Word) that we may prove what is God’s good, acceptable and perfect will for our lives. God’s will is good for us! Even in our thinking towards ourselves we need to be extreme, extremely positive! Paul warns the Romans, “not to think more highly of yourselves than you ought to think, but to think soberly” Romans 12:3. We, however, have a tendency not to think highly enough of ourselves, we tend to put too much emphasis on the fact that we are sinners saved only by grace. We need to remember that we are created in the image of God and must increase our faith (by hearing the Word of God) in order to view ourselves correctly. We have been made righteous, as Paul tells us, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” 2 Corinthians 5:21. Friends, it is time for us to start living the extreme life to which we have been called. We have been blessed and empowered to live life at a higher level, yet in the church we live like paupers in palaces of opportunity. If you don’t know what your calling is you need to start asking God for direction and open yourself to the changing, equipping power of the Holy Spirit to enable you to become a fully functioning member of an extreme church.
“not to be conformed to this world” Romans 12:2
globalwarming Follow Rev. John Delaney’s diary as he reaches those who live in a difficult climate without warmth and comfort on his latest mission ‘Blankets for Africa’. Sunday 13th April – ran the London Marathon and obtained a Gold from Aid International. Collected all the sponsorship forms and the money raised to buy blankets for South Africa. Monday 30th June – on my way to a cold South Africa. Yes, for three months on the high veldt and the interior, the temperatures plummet to minus double figures... Thursday 3rd July – collected the blankets sent from Durban from the distribution depot on the East Rand; bought sweets, soft drinks and crisps to give to the children in the township. Friday 4th July – stayed with Pastor Mike van Blerk of Kanos Church; met the Pastors of the two township churches and issued tickets to allow destitute families to collect donated blankets. Saturday 5th July – drove through the township visiting various families and seeing groups gathered at the gravesides burying their dead who had died of the incurable HIV virus. Sunday 6th July – made an appeal at Kanos Church for helpers to assist in the outreach. After the service, several laden vehicles proceeded to Nhanmadi Township. At Pastor Williams’ church we shared the word of God, gave out fifty blankets and handed sweets to the children. Then at Pastor Joseph’s church the message of salvation was shared and many responded. Two hundred blankets were distributed. It was special for me to see how an Afrikaans church has established a care centre, clinic and an Aids home, working with African churches in the Township. Monday 7th July – we met with care workers Ante van Rooyen and Rose Twala at the Kwalabushli township and gave out seventy-five blankets to grandparents, who on their small state pensions are caring for grandchildren whose parents have died from HIV-AIDS. There is no welfare system. The “Skinny Disease” has stricken the heart of the population in pandemic proportions, relentlessly killing off families – children from fourteen to adults of thirty-eight years old. Tuesday 8th July – visited The Mission in Central Johannesburg where I started this ministry in 1998 in a disused railway museum. Gave out blankets to people who are living rough on the streets. Rev. Jacques Scharnik now oversees the work, which continues to feed, clothe and minister to a thousand destitute street-people a week. Homeless people are helped in securing accommodation, find jobs and training courses. I then proceeded to Agape Inner-city Projects to the “Joshua House” run by Tracy Dudlu where they care for ten homeless children, abandoned by HIV infected parents. We distributed fifty blankets for their Outreach Project which cares for children awaiting desperately needed permanent accommodation. Within five years it is predicted that five million children will be homeless. This ministry is in desperate need of a multi-purpose vehicle and short term mission workers. Thursday 10th July – flew back to England and home to my family. Mission Link International plans an outreach in December to touch three hundred underprivileged children aged six to fourteen with the Gospel, a meal and Christmas gifts in Knowle, Bristol. Please join with us and support this outreach as we continue touching lives one by one. Thank you Carmel Church congregation for helping to make this outreach possible. God bless you! As Jesus said, “If you have done this to the least of these you have done it unto me!
Rev John Delaney is the founder of Mission Link International. His mission is to travel the world extensively, reaching the poor and destitute in some of the darkest corners of our planet. Mission Link brings missionaries together from all over to share in the common goal of showing the love of Jesus by meeting the needs of the people.
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FLATBATTERIES? Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled Matt 5v6 ‘Equipping the Leader Within’ is the subject of ‘Empowering for Excellence’ – our brand new Faith Convention.
Some of the amazing speakers that will empower you.
With demands made on us from all different directions, our spiritual batteries can sometimes become flat. Equipping the Leader Within will switch you on to lead in all aspects of your Christian walk. So if you’re suffering from power failure in your life – prepare to get empowered by choosing either of the two streams, Leadership or Worship/Creative Arts or a combination of both. The spiritual and practical are fused together in stimulating and inspiring seminars by anointed men and women of God. With guest speakers such as Dr Tayo Adeyemi and Rev. Wynne Lewis this conference will not only switch you on to what God has for your life but equip you to empower those around you. Whether in the minisrty, work or at home we are all called to lead. ‘Equipping the Leader Within’ is for everyone. Replace your batteries today!
Pastor Gerri Di Somma
Dr Tayo Adeyemi
Rev. Wynne Lewis
Pastor Bernie McLaughlin
or £30 f ete l p m o n c entio conv £12 r o ay per d
0117 977 5533 Call this number to recharge your batteries and order your application form today! Alternatively, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org ‘EMPOWERING FOR EXCELLENCE’ IS PART OF CARMEL MINISTRES INTERNATIONAL