! N O S T O O GET YOUR B MMER WITH EC* THIS SU
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/autumn ’08 Welcome to
It’s summer! A time for getting outside, grabbing a refreshing glass of lemonade and delving into this new look edition of /thoughts. Make sure that you get stuck in beyond the words on these pages. Talk to us - we want to hear from you on email, or at one of the many events this summer (check out www.emergingculture.co.uk for where we’re going to be). Take action - look out for how you engage with the world on issues throughout this magazine. Get your own - how did you get this magazine? Why not sign up to receive a free copy of every edition direct to your door! See page 29 for details. As you can see, we’ve had a redesign and we’d love to hear what you think. /thoughts is produced on recycled paper, make sure you recycle yours, give it to a friend!
Get your own! Did someone give you this magazine? If so, then get your own! Turn to page 29 and sign up to receive /thoughts magazines, and we’ll throw in a Chasing Faith DVD for free. summer 08 3
Just want to press pause There are those moments in life, when something beautiful happens and you just want to press pause and enjoy the moment. After more than a year and a half of preparation, the first Pentecost Festival became reality. Throughout the weekend, there were moments when I just wanted to press pause as I watched His Kingdom come…
Emerging Culture The Church, Tolverne Road, Raynes Park London SW20 8RA 020 8781 1734 firstname.lastname@example.org www.emergingculture.co.uk www.sharejesusinternational.com
There was a moment as I was grabbed by a twenty strong, brightly clothed Ghanaian choir as they danced down Camden High Street. Laughing. Singing. Dancing. Pause.
Editors: Andy Frost: email@example.com Lindsey Macfarlane: firstname.lastname@example.org John Rodgers: email@example.com
There was a moment as all the eyes in Leicester Square focused upon mind blowing testimonies as Tough Talk delivered a power lifting demonstration. Captivating. Mesmerising. Transforming. Pause.
Artwork Designer: Huw Tyler: firstname.lastname@example.org Proof Reading: Jeanne Claridge
There was a moment as people from different cultures celebrated the gospel together, as they learnt about the impact of climate change and how they could make a difference. Challenging. Uniting. Mobilising. Pause.
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During the weekend I received this text, “This is awesome… black, white, asian, young, old, smart, casual. It’s a total mix. Pentecost has begun.” Pause. This summer have you made sure you’ve got time to pause and enjoy something beautiful?
© Share Jesus International. Charity Number 1089784
Andy Frost Director, Share Jesus International
All Rights Reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, or any information storage retrieval system, without
Engage with words, engage with the world! 4 summer 08
permission in writing from Share Jesus International. Content and opinions of the articles may not necessarily fully reflect those of Share Jesus International
TAP Did you know that bottled water costs more than petrol! It also creates a massive carbon footprint in bottling and delivering it to your local shop. Afterwards, getting rid of the plastic also creates a massive problem. So why do we ignore the free, carbon neutral, reusable resource in every house, pub and office? This summer, as it gets warmer and we reach for that ice cold bottle, check out www.wewanttap.com
Irresistible Revolution Do you sometimes feel that Christians are just living for heaven; that they tip-toe around life looking only to life after death? Through Irresistible Revolution, Shane Claiborne challenges us to live life to the full; a life thatâ€™s packed with radical, Jesus living where every day is a new adventure. Will you take up the challenge? Will you rediscover how actions of love speak louder than words ever can? This book will get you to re-evaluate your day-to-day. Definitely recommended reading this summer.
Make your own lemonade Get refreshed this summer. Home-made original lemonade is so easy to make. Put some ice in a large glass with 1/2 a small lemon and 3 teaspoons of sugar. Select your mashingimplement of choice and push the lemons, sugar and ice together. Now top up the glass with water (or soda water for a bit of fizz!). Taste your cocktail, if its too bitter, add sugar, too sweet add lemon! Itâ€™s as easy as that. Enjoy!
summer 08 5
/hollyoaks: interview “My mate’s in Hollyoaks.” An interview by Joanne Cox with Jake Hendriks where she finds out what it’s like being in Britain’s favourite teen soap. It’s not the usual way you might begin a conversation but, let’s face it girls, it certainly gets attention! Jake has quickly become one of the nicest and most charismatic actors in Hollyoaks I have had the privilege of interviewing. This is not to be overshadowed by the fact that he is the only actor in Hollyoaks I have ever interviewed. I enjoyed his ability to say the most profound things: “I’m trying to be more impressed and excited by the small things in life… like toast.” And so, in his own words, I introduce you to Jake Hendriks.
Your career stemmed from childhood nativity plays… I was actually one of those quieter kids at school; quite happy to spend the day staring out of windows day-dreaming. The only thing I remember about those early nativities and end-of-school-year shows was blind fear and panic. However, since stuttering out the fact that ‘they travelled to Bethlehem’ in front of two hundred bored parents I seem to have acquired an alarming obsession with the art form. What advice do you have for Thespians and wantto-be actors? Life is a string of experiences - good and bad, but even the most painful and humiliating ones can be useful. I think if we can embrace each one or at least take something from them we’ll have a wider palette of colours and emotions to artistically paint with. You may look at yourself in the mirror dressed as an oversized otter and think ‘this isn’t what I want to do’ but if you truly love something you’ll make the sacrifices it requires happily. Don’t worry about being good, that gets in the way of your work, and throw yourself fully into what you’re doing. Take risks, be daring, make bold and interesting choices. Playing the part of a gay Catholic Priest is a risky thing for you to do. What made you accept the role? I had a very happy, born-again, non-denominational, flags and banners and Graham Kendrick worship songs sort of Christian upbringing, and I am sensitive to the fact it’s a potentially inflammatory topic, one that could upset people. My own parents’ faces told
6 summer 08
me as much when I broke the news to them, in a strange ‘coming-out’ mirroring sort of way: “Dad, Mum, please sit down - I’ve got something to tell you. I’m gay and …I’m a priest.” It feels like one of the big taboos left in this day and age. I felt unprepared and unqualified to be tackling it, but at the same time I felt I had enough trepidation not to do it a disservice. The questions that arise from a human dealing with both his sexuality and spirituality are legitimate ones, and, as long as it’s done in the true spirit of enquiry, deserves investigation. I felt that this was a job that was in the right place at the right time. I felt comfortable, so I took it, and decided I’d try to explain it to my Nan later… much later.
I now feel my raison d’etre is to represent humanity, in its reality, with all its glory and its pain, as Hamlet says to ‘hold the mirror up to nature’ and do it justice. To honestly explore what it is to be fallible, and mixed up and confused, and definite and lost: the whole gamut of human emotions. I think that’s what we’re all searching for: things of value and worth and beauty…and some irreverent silliness along the way…
So maybe that’s the key? Learning to perform the artistry of life well; enjoying its chaotic beauty, its nice things to eat, its laughter, and most of all searching for those things of worth and value that make us get up in the morning and keep us up all night. All too soon, Hendriks casually mentions that he is off to prepare for a wedding. Funnily enough, so am I.
You seem concerned about the culture of celebrity that we live in… I find it worrying how easily and quickly we all, including myself, are invited to value people through the prism of celebrity. It’s one thing to admire and appreciate someone for what they do; I’m all for that, but I don’t feel comfortable with treating each other with differing levels of respect dependent on well.... anything… least of all whether they’ve been on the magical flicker-box or not. So, what is important to you… other than toast? I’ve recently decided I will allow myself only to be influenced by those around me I care about. I am trying not to let myself be influenced by people and things that are not immediately part of my life - and also those things I haven’t realised I needed until Argos told me that’s what my life was missing! summer 08 7
othesis p y h ll e h e h t /
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/water for life
Imagine if you will, not having any clean water. No clean water for cooking, for washing, or for cleaning. You’re not even able to flush a toilet! Imagine having to walk anything up to four or five miles for water, and then, when you get there, the lake or river is at best infected, or at worst, dried up. The water is nowhere near fit enough to use for drinking or cooking. It’s not even fit to wash in. In many parts of the world, parts of Africa, India and China, this is a daily reality. Many people are living far below the poverty line. One billion children live in poverty: that’s one in two children across the world. 640 million live without adequate shelter. 400 million have no access to safe water. 270 million have no access to health services. 10.6 million died in 2007 before they reached the age of five: that’s roughly 29,000 children per day. About two years ago I saw a film on television where two African women were both crying. One was crying because she had no milk to give her baby, the other woman because her baby boy was dying from HIV Aids and she had no medicine for him.
I’d seen pictures like these many times before but this time I couldn’t get them out of my head. I’d been to Kosovo a number of times and seen at first hand some of the suffering that those people were going through, but still nothing had affected me like these TV pictures did. I decided I needed to do something … but what? I wrote to the Prime Minister and leader of the opposition parties but didn’t really get anywhere. I began to read, to pray and to talk to people. I knew people everywhere need fresh water and so I began a project called ‘Water for Life’ with a motto: ‘Save your small change and make a big difference’. My idea was that you fill a jam jar up with all your loose change: 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p etc. (Notes also acceptable!) It’s amazing how much you can actually
Nick Goodwin Nick Goodwin loves to spend his time with his grandchildren, is a methodist local preacher and a member of the lay witness movement. To find out how to help him with ‘Water for Life’ e-mail email@example.com or call 0161 973 2513
collect without really noticing it. Then the money is used to provide fresh water for people, their animals and their crops, in the places where there isn’t any. For us it’s a matter of small change, for them a matter of life and death! So, I need your help. We, in the West, often take the water in our taps for granted and if the supply were turned off we would think it our right to have it turned back on. Doesn’t every human being have that right to fresh water? Jesus said that we should love our neighbours as ourselves and I think the whole world are our neighbours. We may not have seen people’s faces, heard their voices, shared their lives, but Jesus has commanded us to love them. Just think that since 1990 around 270 million people have died just because of poverty related causes and it must stop NOW. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not a natural phenomena, its man-made! It can therefore be overcome … eradicated … and solely by the actions of human beings … that’s me and you … Together, with God’s help, we can make a difference. Will you join me? summer 08 9
/the recklessly loving father The social custom of the time was for important people to walk slowly, so the father choosing to run demonstrated the extent of his love. This son had - John Newton done nothing to deserve a welcome home and yet the father, in his great love, forgave his son’s entire past, embraced him and threw him a party. Likewise, God does not wait until we, His other prodigals, are loveable. Regardless of our past, if we just ask, the loving Father will forgive us and welcome us home. John Newton said, “I remember two things very clearly; I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Saviour.” No matter how good we are at screwing up our lives, God is better at sorting them out!
“I remember two things very clearly; I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Saviour.”
“This is the story of the Prodigal Son. It should really be called the running father who waited everyday for his boy to come home – the son who had rejected him so badly. But when he saw him from afar, he ran to him, hugged him and kissed him.” (Charlie Mackesy - Prodigal Son painting). The Prodigal Son is a joyous Biblical story, told in Luke 15, of homecoming but it is also a beautiful demonstration of the character of God as a Father. To me, this story sums up the entire Christian message. It is a microcosm of the loving grace of God that permeates every page of the Bible. The prodigal asks for his inheritance, effectively implying that he wants his father dead, then heads off to a distant land and squanders all this money in wild living. The father meanwhile waits, longing for his son’s return, and when he sees him, throws all caution to the wind and runs to greet him.
10 summer 08
Divine grace enters into the human story and turns the world upside down. God chose to act in a way contrary to our selfish culture and gave us something that we in no way deserved – new life through His Son’s death and resurrection. God sent his only Son to become the prodigal and take upon himself the mess of the world so that we, the true prodigals, could return home. In a rewriting of the parable by Frere Pierre Marie, the Father says, “my children who, as you know, were dead, have returned to life; they were lost and have been found again.
My prodigal son has brought them all back.” Jesus went into the ‘distant land’ to bring us out of it. This story of the recklessly loving father is a message of hope. It reminds us that God is the God not just of second chances but of as many chances as we need. No matter how insignificant we feel, or how much we’ve messed up, this story reminds us that we are treasured. There is a God who adores us and is longing for us to come back to Him. The same arms that flung stars into space are the arms that are welcoming us home. No matter where we are on this journey, whether completely immersed in the ‘distant land’, on our way there, or even thinking about coming back, let us turn towards the Father and begin the journey home. I can assure you that He is waiting with arms wide open, ready to give you the unconditional love that you have been so badly craving, and preparing the party of a lifetime.
Ruth McGarahan Ruth McGarahan works for the BBC, loves teeny punk music and has a passion to help people recognise how much they mean to their heavenly daddy…’
/lost and found Here are two fictitious accounts that try to parallel a spiritual tale in modern language. Jesus often told stories of things lost and found in the news-speak of His time to help people understand more of God’s love for them. It was an hour after the end of school when Nadia’s mother, Anna, first started to worry. Nadia was not usually this late. As one hour turned to two, then three and four, Nadia was still not home and a feeling of dread drew upon Anna like the inescapable incoming tide. Parents of Nadia’s school friends were phoned, neighbours were visited and by late evening the police were round at the house taking details and making reassurances that they truthfully had little hope in. No one in the street slept much that night as the search intensified, rising to peaks of frantic desperation but flowing down in turn to desolate and inconsolable depths of grief. During the darkest moments of the night Anna descended into a place of nightmarish fears. Her thoughts constantly conjured
imaginations of what Nadia was doing; or rather what might be being done to Nadia that instant. Morning came with no news, no discovery, no clues, no light and no hope. Anna made some TV appearances to call for her daughter’s safe return. The police continued to offer her comfort and spoke of their confidence in Nadia’s discovery. But one day became two, then three and four and there was still no sign of Nadia. All hope had been lost, replaced by a still and certain darkness. The days bled into a haze of aching pain. The sharp horror had now dulled for Anna. She no longer woke with that split second half dream that everything was ok and Nadia was not missing. Even this false and cruel hope had faded and died.
When they were finally reunited in the Police station, Nadia was grabbed up into her mother’s arms and both wept themselves dry. The relatives, friends and neighbours were soon informed and a huge party of celebration began in the street. A bonfire of redundant “missing” posters was lit. In the warm glow of the fire, till very late into the night, songs and shouts of incredulous joy rang out.
But then during the afternoon of the fortieth day since Nadia’s disappearance the police phoned with the most wonderful news. After all the searching, leafleting, campaigning and investigating, Nadia had been found, alive and well in the cellar of the man who had taken her. Wave upon wave of relief flooded through Anna. Relief turned to joy as her heart, shrivelled by the loss and pain was resuscitated. Emotions washed over her bringing life as blood flows again unheeded to desperate dying tissue.
summer 08 11
/lost and found: part 2
Lucy lay trapped under the remains of her home. Her bedroom wall was now the ceiling of a tiny space into which she had been flung by the force of the shaking. She had room enough to breathe but could feel a great weight on her legs. It hurt to cough as she sucked in the dusty air in the darkness of her prison. In forced exile from daylight and her life above the debris she wept and prayed, hoping that someone would hear her cries for help. Several days passed and Lucy grew weaker. Her first frantic screams for rescue were now only faint and feeble moans, surely inaudible through the tonnes of rubble that had piled itself on top of her. Outside of the collapsed ruins rescue workers began to gather. This wasn’t the only house in the street to have suffered huge damage from the earthquake, heaps of twisted metal and chunked concrete stretched on down the road as far as they could see, but only here were the sniffer dogs showing excitement. As the lumps of house were removed the rescuers began to wonder if the dogs had it wrong. How could anyone possibly still be alive under here after so long?
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But as the section of brickwork was taken away some hair could be seen. The hair led to some head and the head to some shoulders, the shoulders to some arms and very soon the whole of a young girl was unearthed from this aberrant grave. Camera bulbs flashed and TV crews piled in to get pictures of the now conscious child as she was carried away by a triumphant and jubilant rescue crew into the back of a waiting ambulance.
John Rodgers John Rodgers is co-editor of this magazine and lives in Cornwall. He is interested in telling stories and rugby. John says: “Why not send us an article or a bit of creative something. You never know, we may print it in the next magazine!”
FRESH WWW.EMERGINGCULTURE.CO.UK/FRESH Are you 15-21 and feel that God has big plans for you? Do you want to explore these further and receive teaching and practical guidance on how to shape ideas? FRESH is a new approach to leadership training for emerging Christian leaders and will include…. - Time to constructively explore your strengths, gifts and visions. - Teaching on kingdom values, visionary leadership & communication. - Practical experience of being involved in and leading missions and events.
PLACES ARE LIMITED BUT FUNDED. YOU JUST NEED TO COMMIT TO THE 4 WEEKENDS BELOW:
Training Weekend 1: 27 – 28 September 2008 Training Weekend 2: 22 – 23 November 2008 Training Weekend 3: 6 – 8 February 2009 Pentecost Festival: 29 – 31 May 2009 Mission Programme: Summer 2009 (Optional)
For more information and to apply visit www.emergingculture.co.uk/fresh or call 020 8944 5678
/hope: stories from the road Do you have an opinion on most things? Dave Wiles likes to regularly check out if his are actually grounded.
national security that they are often implied to be? Are young people all the yobs, thugs and vandals that the headlines so often depict them as? Are all football supporters ‘hooligans’? Are Daily Mail readers really fascists?
When you think about the people that you come into contact with do they ‘measure up’ to some of the dominant narratives that you hear about them? Are ‘immigrants’ the threat to
Our ability to generalise and speculate are gifts to enable us to attribute meaning, form opinions and speculate about the world around us. However, they also have the two edged capacity to foster dogma, misunderstanding and fear. Young people have had a bad press of late and I believe it is time to re-evaluate what we are willing to put up with in terms of misleading generalisations. Many of us work and operate in ways that take us away from face to face contact with young people. Our attention and activities are dominated by thousands of perfectly
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reasonable organisational needs. Busy schedules dictate priorities and a multiplicity of differing demands crave our attention and lay claim to priority in our lives. At times it can feel like the human race is just that – a wild chase to the elusive finish line! I would want to argue that time spent listening to the real world is critical to maintain some sense of balance in professional, personal and spiritual life and recently I have been listening to young people. This kind of ‘interpersonal contemplation’ has helped me to be clear about beliefs, has inspired my efforts as a leader and shaped my understanding of personal and organisational priorities. Reflective theological discourse on the road is a must! Personal faith otherwise runs the risk of becoming somewhat pedestrian and it has been good to prioritise a time to stop, listen and go out on the occasional limb. “Come to the edge,” he said. They said, “We are afraid.” “Come to the edge,” he said. They came. He pushed them… And they flew” (Guillaume Apollinaire).
David Wiles Dave Wiles is the CEO of Frontier Youth Trust and for the last 8 years has engaged in pilgrimages that have informed his faith journey, professional development and leadership of FYT. For a fuller publication of this summary article call 0121 687 3505 or www.fyt.org.uk
Recently I spent a week with Tim Evans (Director of Worth Unlimited) on the road. We only had £10.00 in our pocket; and no plans, no hotels, no transport and some would say no sense! We travelled between Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham and Liverpool with no resources or arrangements other than contact with several local youth work projects, radio stations and that £10! We came home with £4 in our pockets, having given away £5, and spent £1 on chocolate, and we would like to give thanks to God and His people for the care, generosity and love that we received. We never slept rough and we were reminded that faith is spelt ‘risk’!
their training and discovered that we had stumbled upon the Gordano Training Scheme. Here were a group of young people engaging in the government’s agenda for education and employment. They were warm, welcoming and communicative despite the fact that some of them may have been labelled as “Not in Education, Employment or Training” (NEET) by government definitions. Their thoughts about hope were interesting and each of them spoke about the way they and their friends looked after each other, especially when alcohol was involved. On the one hand it is important to express concern about binge drinking, and the associated short and long term risks it presents young people, on the other hand it is
Young people have had a bad press of late and I believe it is time to re-evaluate what we are willing to put up with in terms of misleading generalisations. At one railway station we began a 15-minute conversation with a group of youngsters. It occurred to us that they may well have been seen as a gang of threatening youth by us and others at times – yet they provided us with a positive, respectful and sincere response to our questions. The group we spoke with were cautious to begin with, two middle-aged guys approaching them out of the blue! However, the initial caution turned into very real supportive interest in our journey. We chatted about
also important to remember that this is not the whole story, these young people had all been involved with supporting and looking after their friends when they had used too much alcohol. They had patted the back of their friends whilst they vomited in toilets and sinks and even cleaned up when the target was missed! The young people wished us well on our journey and waved us goodbye…
to make a small contribution to challenging what we perceive to be a “dominant narrative” about young people that is rooted in fear, generalisations and stereotypes. We had very nearly missed our first opportunity to listen to young people as we passed this large group enjoying their cigarette break. We had many incredible encounters: Somali young people who offered to share their home, labour councillors debating the efficacy of their educational policies, Polish lorry drivers with Ozzy Osbourne satnavs, sex workers, youth workers, media personalities and hundreds of uniquely fascinating people! Since our journey we have told the stories we have heard on the road in news reports, journals and magazines in dozens of presentations to powerful decision makers, church groups and many other contexts. For us the fidelity has been to the small voices that are so often lost in the clamour of a society that seems to be speeding at terminal velocity towards an empire that will ignore those that it considers not to matter. Our fidelity has to be to a travelling, listening and serving King who will turn this world upside down!
We walked from the railway station praying that God would be in our journey and that we would be able summer 08 15
How, then, can they ca And how can they belie And how can they hear
/God on the streets
Neil (20) had never stood on a street corner telling his personal story before... His story of the difference Jesus makes to a life soon attracted the attention of a group of his peers. Telling him to be quiet (in a manner of speaking!) one young guy finally gave up, broke from the group and demanded to know “Okay, what is it about this God?!” There’s a question! – What is it about your God? What would you say? 17-year-old Emma followed him. She had questions. I listened. I talked of this Jesus and the transformation He brings. Tears started to stream down her face and then she spoke words now etched on my memory; “I believe there is something out there, and I just want that something to embrace me.” The word embrace leapt out and grabbed at my heart. This is why I take the Gospel onto the streets. This is why I am committed to go to the people, on their turf. Because there is a God in heaven who has embraced the world through the giving of His Son Jesus Christ. 16 summer 08
And people need to know it. “Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell. I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell” (C.T. Studd) We are talking here of eternal matters. Life or death. Heaven or hell. Such things cannot be taken lightly. God doesn’t take them lightly; “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). He came to seek the likes of Emma. “But I’ve seen those street preachers and….well…”
David (26) heard but 30 seconds of the Gospel and broke down saying “I need to know this Jesus”. Today he serves in the ministry in Sri Lanka. After hearing the Gospel on the pavement 8 years ago, Sam surrendered his life to Christ. “I have tears of joy when I remember that night” he says. Sam has since seen his wider family transformed by the love of Christ. Recreational drug addict Peter gave it all over to Jesus. Set free! Then went to serve God in Eastern Europe. “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for everyone who believes…” (Rom 1:16)
Okay…some images of street evangelism aren’t helpful. There are always things we can learn… Engage is a key word for the street preacher. I passionately believe the Gospel is relevant for today. We have to connect with the ‘man on the street’. But we do not compromise the Gospel message in the process. The Gospel is the power of God, and it’s God’s Gospel. We get the privilege of being the messengers! Keep to the Gospel and you will see the power of God on the streets…
Martin Durham Martin Durham is director of Kerygma180° (k180) www.k180. org - with a vision ‘Europe ablaze with the Gospel’ - k180 is committed to biblical Gospel proclamation, to the identifying and nurture of evangelists, and to the enabling of God’s people to “go”.
all on the one they have not believed in? eve in the one of whom they have not heard? r without someone preaching to them? One evening a young woman from China joined the street team. Immediately she tried to stop every passerby. “You have to hear about Jesus!” She later explained her ‘enthusiasm’ by saying she couldn’t believe the freedom we have – “I cannot do this in China”.
Either the Gospel is the power of God or it isn’t. Either the Word of God is living and powerful or it isn’t. These are urgent days. We dare not hold back this life transforming Gospel message that has been entrusted to us. What a responsibility, but what a privilege.
Freedom to preach may not last forever in the UK. What are you doing with today’s freedom?
Let’s not put God in a box! Rather let’s “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2)
Some say street evangelism is dead. Some say that God doesn’t work in that way any longer. Try telling that to David, Sam or Peter. For the vast majority of the world’s believers there is no debate here. In fact they would laugh (or cry) at such debating. Take Iran – the most stunning statement I heard last year was from house church leaders of the underground church - “evangelism is easy” (and much of their evangelism is one-onone on the streets). And the Church is growing fast and strong in that nation. Why is it “easy” in Iran? Because they know that the Gospel is the power of God and they see miracles daily as they step out... and because they are prepared to die for their faith. And some do. Hmm…perhaps this is where ‘the rubber hits the road’…
Emerging Evangelists’ Institute
Martin helps lead a national two-year interactive programme to help equip those God has called to proclamation evangelism. Run in partnership with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the programme consists of four separate residential weeks of training with mentoring and opportunities to participate in major initiatives. Further details and an application form from: firstname.lastname@example.org
“I have always seen the need for this kind of training and we have been committed to encouraging our full time evangelists to join with others in the institute. We have seen the benefit in the quality of evangelists that come through the programme.” Roy Crowne, Director of Youth for Christ
*names altered for confidentiality
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Many 16-year-olds don’t even realise that the decisions they make now will affect the rest of their lives! So, wouldn’t it be good if there was something that could help them? Life, actually features a ‘self-help, dip-in-and-out-of’ book style with credible advice, facts and real-life stories on almost everything from exams, relationships, E, drugs and booze to dealing LIF with parents and money. Equip the teens you know for life with Life, actually from Scripture Union.
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/the catalogue of God’s creation As I stood in awe of your creation, my mind saw you before the beginning of time cataloguing from a to z all that you were to make. Every moment you enjoyed, the minute details of science as you designed every molecule, atom and cell. Before you made man, you made the creatures of sea, air and earth. These are a few that make me smile and make me think how in the world did you think of that: Ants with furry bums; monkeys who steal your clothes when swimming; glow flies to light up your path; a cow’s rough tongue as she licks your hand; a dog’s instinct for knowing when you’re sad; the knocking of an iguana on the roof as you sleep; a kangaroo chasing you while out jogging; the rubbery touch of a dolphin; and baby spiders that use silk to tie themselves to their mother’s back…
Ants with furry bums; monkeys who steal your clothes My knowledge of Your creation is minute, but I know You didn’t make them by mistake. Each with a purpose to help creation function, for man to stand in awe of Your wisdom and knowledge. You had no time limit yet You spoke and seven days later all was put into place. The catalogue of Your creation was made and published as you breathed it into being. Then man catalogued the creation-evolution. Have you ever noticed a parallel between the two catalogues? The ‘Big Bang’ and “Let there be light”; molecules crawling out of water and “expansions between waters”; creatures developing on land and “Let the land produce vegetation” … Who took care of every detail? What catalogue of creation will you stand in awe of?
Sarah Grimshaw Whilst running London-based charity, REALLITY, (who aim to turn young people away from crime through theatre productions and showcases), Sarah seems to find time for her other passions of praying, evangelising, counselling and eating goat’s yoghurt! summer 08 19
“Your grace has found me just as I am, empty handed but alive in your hands.” - Majesty, Delirious?
I don’t want to be a ‘Christian’ Jesus didn’t die to make me a Christian. He didn’t die so that I can read my Bible for five minutes every day and clap my hands in church on a Sunday. He died to set me free. I have a hunger that keeps me awake at night, to be living this life in an extraordinary way - not for me … but for God. It’s not a hunger that’s always been there, but one that’s grown and rooted itself within me to the extent that sometimes I think I’m going to burst with the responsibility and excitement of it all. It makes me feel ambitious and capable – it makes me feel entitled to dream dreams of making a difference, and it reminds me that that’s exactly what God wants me to do. But amongst all that – amongst the passion and desperate longing to know my God better and to live a life that’s saturated with His personality, there’s another voice that makes me doubt myself. It reminds me of my humanity – of the ratio of one me to the rest of the world. It makes me question the calling I believe God has placed on my life and calls me to be content with a safe and mediocre existence. It makes 20 summer 08
me wonder why I should be any different to anyone else – in fact it makes me feel like I should just take a step back and blend in, because isn’t everyone else better qualified than me? It tells me I’m not big enough, I don’t know enough, I’m not strong enough, I haven’t got enough money, I’m not old enough, I’m too old, they’ll never be interested in me, who cares what I’ve got to say... But there’s a line of a song that picks me up each time I question my suitability for God’s calling on my life - it’s a line from ‘Majesty’ by Delirious?: “Your grace has found me just as I am, empty handed but alive in your hands.” God’s grace, His passionate, infinite, loving, endlessly patient and forgiving grace has found me just as I am - finds us just as we are... regardless of however small, young, inexperienced, broken, hurt, past-repair we feel - God sees the potential in our fuzziness and makes it work. When you sense that call from God to go, it’s because His Grace and timing knows that you’re ready to take the first, perhaps even tiny step towards the next phase of
your life irrespective of where you feel you’re at. Now, all of this takes action on my part – it means I have to at least try, even if I make a mistake. But it’s when I surrender my desire to play it safe and place myself helplessly, trustingly, unreservedly, desperately, passionately, into God’s hands that I become fully and truly alive! Each of our potential can be realised when we accept we’re not working in our own strength but in the strength and plan of the author and creator of the universe who goes before and after us. God takes the broken and makes it whole - He takes the ordinary, and makes it extraordinary. Are you living a life that’s free?
Liz Clark Liz Clark is a scouser who has emigrated to south of the Watford Gap. She works at Holy Trinity, Brompton, in London.
Isaiah 40: 28-31 â€œDo you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no-one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men will stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.â€?
God sees the potential in our fuzziness and makes it work. summer 08 21
Having been on the UK graffiti scene for a number of years now edgE is widely recognised as one of the best up and coming writers in the country. Having developed a unique style of lettering he is also renowned for his distinctive incorporation of photo-realism into his pieces. As well as being commissioned for customised clothing design and guerrilla marketing campaigns for blue chip brands, edgE also develops and tutors graffiti workshops all around London and the South East.
www.edgE-Graffiti.com Some prints will be available to buy online soon. You can contact edgE through his website to find out more and also join the mailing list to find out about up coming exhibitions etc. 22 summer 08
summer 08 23
/be careful what you pray Be careful what you pray, they say. Usually, it’s a joke: make sure God doesn’t take you too literally. In Indonesia, it’s no joke. Not since 41 Christians were hauled up before the courts – just for praying that Indonesians would come to know Jesus. The prayer meeting in question passed off normally enough. Daniel and a group of other Christians had gathered in East Java to pray for their country, to pray for Muslims to turn to Christ. Because the prayer session was part of a training event, it was videoed. The video images could have been shot anywhere in the world. A normal meeting, familiar prayers. Only this was the world’s largest Muslim nation. What happened next defies our Western imaginations. The video fell into the wrong hands and was posted on YouTube. The media picked up on it and some Muslims took offence. Hardline Muslim clerics whipped up a storm and rang the police. Daniel and 40 other employees of Campus Crusade Indonesia, who had organised the event, were arrested, tried for ‘blasphemy’ – and sent down for five years last July. Many of them have young children: six are women.
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Under Indonesian law, ‘blasphemy’ can be loosely defined as the effect of someone being insulted by another person’s actions or words. And it’s easy to cause offence when Islamist radicals are keen to pick a fight with Christians. Causing offence here has serious consequences. Three years ago, three Sunday School teachers from West Java were jailed for ‘trying to convert Muslim children to Christianity’ – even though the children in question attended their classes with their parents’ full consent. Churches have been closed under pressure from extremists and Christians have even been murdered for their faith.
/take action /thoughts magazine is all about engaging with words and engaging with the world. We don’t like to sit back and watch but want to be involved and we want you to be involved too... Release International work in some of the most hostile countries in order to free Christians who are being persecuted for their faith or for their actions. This is your opportunity to speak out against scenarios like the one Seren talks of in this article. Fill in the form opposite and send it back to Release or hand it in at any of our summer stands to show your support for Christians like those in Indonesia.
It’s almost a year since Daniel and his colleagues were incarcerated in Malang city prison. Some of the men among them have recently had their sentences reduced to three-and-a-half years on appeal – but it’s still a long wait. And they’re still praying. Next time you pray for a non-Christian, thank God you don’t have to watch your back. And say a prayer for Daniel and his friends.
Seren Boyd Seren Boyd is a freelance writer for Release International, the voice of the persecuted church www.releaseinternational.org
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For four years, Sophie has been showing Jesus’ love at music festivals including The Isle of White and Bestival. My first-ever festival memory is in the early 80’s at the tender age of six. My family’s turquoise Hillman Avenger joined a winding caterpillar of vehicles approaching a green space we were to occupy for the weekend. Sat in the back like good children, wedged between sleeping bags, we had enjoyed the drive thus far playing games like ‘spot the red car’ or ‘wave to make them wave back’. 26 summer 08
Approaching our destination we saw colourful and bedangled people and began to beg our parents to take us back home. What with hair both flowing in the breeze or in rigid mohawk rebellion (it was the 80’s after all) and comparably conventional parents (short haired father, long haired mother), we were a little scared, but the good news is that they ignored our pleas! Within hours, we children were running around as barefoot and carefree as any, enjoying the canvas and creativity.
I am grateful for these early experiences; they punctuated my life through times of childhood wonder to times of spiritual questioning. Now, as a Christian, the sense of wonder I feel at festivals hasn’t left me, I love the celebration in the air.
It seems that this ‘festival vibe’ is more popular now than ever, in fact, festivals of all shapes and sizes can be found springing up in every nook and cranny of the UK and beyond. Even a well-known camping store has a ‘festival range’ of useful paraphernalia. So why this infatuation with recreating ‘Summers of Love?’ Perhaps it’s the opportunity for some time out, a retreat from the ‘hum-drum’ of daily life? Maybe it’s the sense of freedom? Three days out of facing and sometimes bracing the elements can have a profound effect upon a soul that contrasts with hectic lives and super mod-cons. Many of us have lost touch with the simplicity of outdoor living, and with it, the opportunities for pondering nature. Evident throughout history, and encompassing every continent and culture, Man has always responded to nature in a spiritual way: ‘By taking a long thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always
Sophie Perkins Sophie Perkins is a soon to be qualified Occupational Therapist, who loves trees, clouds and cuddles.
been able to see what their eyes as such cannot see: eternal power, and the mystery of His divine being.’ (Romans 1:20 – The Message) Today’s broken families, communities, and fast paced synthetic lifestyles, create a hunger in people for community, nature and authenticity. A festival provides a ‘quick fix’ of tribal living, and an atmosphere of acceptance that leaves people wondering why life isn’t more like ‘this’? Festivals are becoming a ‘one stop’ supermarket for all things pertaining to happiness and well being, eclectic in nature they encompass food for the body, the senses, and the soul – there are some quality menu’s on offer but the ‘Super Size Me’ junk prevails. What better place to offer the ‘gourmet, a la carte superfood’ that Jesus himself embodies - Colourful and healthy with no artificial additives, sweeteners or toxic hidden agendas. Amazingly God has given me the opportunity of being involved in creating a Christian presence at both the Isle of Wight Festival and the ‘Bestival’. 2008 will be our 4th year of hosting ‘Solace’ - a tea tent and lounge that aims to provide a Jesus centred haven where people can rest their weary legs and have a cuppa and slice o’cake (on the house). We seek to express Jesus’ love with no strings attached. We want to join in the celebration and show that the church isn’t about hollow buildings but generosity, creativity and warmth. We want to express love and encourage expression. There is a prayer tree
that prayers can be tied to, and coffee tables that double up as doodle boards. We sometimes get really creative and host clay workshops and henna tattoos…we may even venture to feet washing again this year! Jesus has touched lives and appears to be breaking down people’s poor concepts of church. Hopefully, we can facilitate a journey to meeting the One who alone can satisfy the most rumbling spiritual tummy or parched throat: “Who ever is thirsty should come to me and drink” John 7:38
new people! Think about some ways you can engage with the people around you, it doesn’t have to be large scale or formal, just simple ways you can build relationships. Allow your world to collide with the world outside. It’s easy, grab a bunch of mates for frisbee in the park, or a BBQ on the beach, or maybe even go along to the local open mike night? Just get out there, celebrate, and expose people to the Jesus Life Go on have a summer of love!
So how about it? This summer why not truly make it a summer of love? One of community and acceptance? A summer of celebration and joy? A summer of sharing fun, food and freedom? There is something about this time of year that causes even the most hamster-like hibernators among us to venture outside and meet
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Does wearing a shirt with Jesus on it have to be cheesy? Make sure that you receive /thoughts next time to read about RISE, a streetwear manufacturer and retailer who are taking the cheese out of Jesus t-shirts.
+ more... The next edition of /thoughts will be crammed full of challenging, equipping and engaging articles including an interview with Ben Cantelon and writers including Carina Morton, Cathy Bruce and others.
Send us your /thoughts We want to hear from you... We love to receive letters, articles, photos or other creative bits and bobs. We may include them in future editions.
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Placement-based learning Relevant, practical training I am Sanju from Nepal, currently living in UK. Just want to say ‘Thank You’ for your amazing work in this magazine. I came across ‘/thoughts winter06’ today, I know it’s an old edition but it’s brought refreshing thoughts - words that really helped my inner man. Once again thank you guys and WELL DONE! God 08 continue to put His wisdom in your Thoughts. 28 May summer Blessings, Sanju
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summer 08 29
Take it to the streets... On Saturday 10th May a team of volunteers went out onto the streets to talk and pray with people in the centre of London. Wearing festival t shirts which proclaimed “ladies and gentlemen, the church has left the building” they talked and prayed with people of all ages and backgrounds. Here are a couple of stories to inspire you:
My team and I spent the first half of the afternoon not being very successful with offering prayer. We came together as a team to discuss the way forward and to pray. We believed God would open up doors of opportunity. He honoured our prayer! As we made our way back to the canal I ran into a lad I knew. He was excited to see me and called his friend on his mobile to get down to the canal (Camden lock). We arrived there to find at least 50 youths that hang out there every Saturday. There were some that were intoxicated with alcohol or other substances. God is amazing and faithful! We sat on the canal and these precious children sat around hungry for answers. At one point I felt like this was how Jesus must have felt as I sat with a circle of children around me giving the testimony of my life. Each child was silenced with conviction and prompted me to tell them how I met the Lord. I was humbled that the Lord had used me. They went on to ask if we could pray. They each wrote a prayer request down, held hands and prayed. We then discovered that this particular group all go to the school across the road from my home. We promised to look out for each other and catch up...what a God incident!
Beth Young, Prayer Team, Camden
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The great thing was the fact that we were not pushing religion down people’s throats, but simply showing them God’s love in action. – Sheila Gibbon
The day was fruitful and I came back home on a high, which took me a couple of days to calm down from. So thank you once again and thanks to God of course who is always the one in the midst of it. – Cheryl Winspear
I’ve never before prayed with complete strangers on the street! But the experience of being one of the pray-ers on the street teams leaves me just so excited about the abundant generosity of God. Four young men looked at me like I was from another planet ... but only momentarily! Then one of them said, “Well we’ve all got A levels coming up in the next fortnight” So I replied “So shall we ask God to help you with a real focus on your subjects and some pointers for your futures?” They all said they were up for it so we did, and then they each wanted to shake hands with me. Next thing they crossed the street towards the ‘Love in London’ event with Ichthus Christian Fellowship and stopped there for about 20 minutes. Two different pairs of lads who were coming away from the antiscientology demo just down the street - still with their masks on - stopped for prayer. In one case we prayed for families that had suffered separation because of recruitment to scientology. The other pair, after our prayer asked, “So, what’s Pentecost?” All through the day it was so important to be a member of a team. Beth, our team leader, did us proud. It was exhausting, thrilling, and so much of a privilege. The church most certainly left the building!
Tom Jamieson, Prayer Team, Goodge Street “It was fun seeing the Holy Spirit do His work... It all started with ‘can I pray with you?’ followed by a ‘YES PLEASE’ then the Holy Spirit took over.” – Bola Thomas summer 08 31
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