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Shane Claibourne will be briefing us as we hit the streets in an amazing event with prayer and live worship. He is the author of ‘The Irresistible Revolution’ and is a keen activist. Follow us on Twitter: @GenerateJustice

te issues, Do you care about clima Join 1000 persecution and AIDS? as we people in Central London God’s te tra ns prophetically demo heart for Justice. ons including With bases in key locati ing Street Parliament Square, Down and more. Pentecos t Festiva l

iary... d r u o y in e t a d e h t Get 2010 Saturday 22nd May Cost: Just £6!

+ more

online rs e h t o f o s d re d n u hh Make your mark wit /justice k .u o c l. a iv t s fe t s o c e www.pent

/winter ’09 Welcome to



Rain, Ice and freezing cold weather, welcome back Mr Winter, so grab your hats and scarves. This winter issue of /thoughts is jam-packed full of amazing interviews and articles. In this issue we’re talking about everything from iPhones, to sex and changing the world. There’s also an amazing line-up of interviews with the brilliant Switchfoot and 29th Chapter! Our website is better than ever, at, with photos, video diaries and loads of info on ways to get involved. Look out for our brand new /afterthoughts pages where you can listen to the interviews in this issue, read more articles and get stuck in with some games.

Get your own! Did someone give you this magazine? If so, then get your own! Turn to page 30 and sign up to receive /thoughts magazines, and be entered into a brilliant prize draw from Emerging Culture.

practical urban mission and birthdays galore! If you

This was possibly one of the most hilarious, gross and

missed out on this year’s course, go to

thought provoking weeks in the office! The FRESH guys to register for 2010-11.

are going the Turn It Up challenge, where we live on 10 litres of water a day. These 10 litres must cover washing,

Have you ever made a stand in Parliament Square with

cleaning, flushing the loo, drinking, brushing teeth

1,000 other young people? Have you ever petitioned

etc. “Why on earth would you do that?” I hear you ask.

the government at Downing Street? Have you ever seen

In the UK we use about 200 litres of water a day, but in

Shane Claibourne speak?

Africa people struggle to find even 10 and we wanted to experience this. For some hilarious stories of people

Emerging Culture is hosting an amazing, not-to-be-missed

accidently flushing the toilet and wasting 4 litres, go to

event at Pentecost Festival 2010 on 22nd May. We are to watch our video diary.

getting together with 1,000 people from across the UK to

HAVE YOU EVER? Have you ever tried to book a meal for 80 in a local pub?

make a stand for justice in the heart of our capital. We will

Have you ever read an article and then just put it down

start with a morning with Shane Claibourne, then we’ll

without doing anything about the stuff you’ve read? This

go out and do activities on the streets, from places like

issue of the magazine is full of ways for you to get involved

Parliament Square to Downing Street.

with events and activities, so get online and get involved.

Do you ever feel really useless when it comes to making a

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Have you ever had to try to fit nine people into a phone box? Have you ever laughed so much you cried?

stand about issues in our world? Well here’s your chance to This was the first weekend of FRESH 2009-10. We were a

get involved in one of the biggest justice events of the year.

group of 70 people who are all learning and discovering

For more info go to Dot Tyler

what it means to be a leader and how we can impact our communities. There was teaching by some awesome

Have you ever been for a wee and not flushed the

people like Russell Rook and Krish Kandiah, as well as

chain? Have you ever showered in one litre of water?

brilliant scavenger hunts, Bible studies in the pub and

Have you ever washed your clothes in the sink, with

massive games of empire. We’re really looking forward

only two litres of water?

to the next weekend which starts in seven days (from the day I’m writing, so was probably last weekend, by the time you get this through the door!). More great teaching,



Emerging Culture

A Certain Rumour Russell Rook Russell has a look at the rumours

Ice Skating

that Jesus told. Are they true? How do you know? This is a

Moving across ice on two really thin blades

great book which will have

and manoeuvring around the other hundred

you laughing out loud and pondering the creation of the world. It’s a great read, recommended to everyone.

people on the rink... it’s ice skating season. Ice Skating can be a bit like marmite; you either love it or you hate it. Usually it depends on how

See page 30

often you’ve fallen over and pulled the nearest person down with you.


Are you an Ice Skating fan?

Remember the days of your school nativity... were

Yes! I love it, I go all the time.

you Joseph, Mary, one of the Shepherds, angels,

Yeah, I enjoy it, but it’s hard to let go of the side.

or the Inn-keeper’s dog? This year, follow The

Nope, don’t like it at all.

Natwivity on Twitter! Visit! Tweets everyday from the biggest stars; Mary, Joe, the

Tell us on the Emerging Culture Blog!

Wise Men, Shepherds and the rest of the cast... starts 1st


December - don’t miss it!


“Switchfoot to Gate 3 please!” /thoughts caught up with keyboard player, Jerome Fontamillas as he waited for a plane! Read on to hear about their dreams, legacy and news on their forthcoming album.


/t: And when did you become part of the band?

very life changing. We wrote a song called ‘Shadow Proves the Sunshine’ about that experience. The new

JF: They recorded an album called ‘Learning To Breathe’

album coming out, ‘Hello Hurricane’, was written as

and at the time they needed a keyboard player to tour

a result of working at Habitat for Humanity building

with them and they asked me. I enjoyed hanging out

homes. Our highlights are not the awards; it’s more

with them and they enjoyed hanging out with me, so

about being able to do something meaningful.

/thoughts: What are you guys up to at the moment?

they said “Hey, why don’t you just be in the band?” And

Why are you in an airport?

I said “Sure!”

Jerome Fontamillas: We are flying out to do a show

/t: What would you say are your aims as a band?

/t: So are all your songs based on experiences that you guys have had? JF: Jon, the lead singer, is the principal song writer and

here in the States, you’ve caught us as we’re about to get on a plane! When you’re in a band, the airport is like your

JF: In the earlier years the aims were not as global

he writes songs like a diary. He writes his thoughts and

second home!

as they are now. As time progressed we saw how our

his lyrics and we put music to it. When we were building

music was affecting people and saw how music changes

houses in New Orleans, he’s writing about that or if we’re

/t: So, let’s go right back to the beginning. Why and

people. Our world became bigger, we were touring,

in South Africa, he’s writing about that. We look back at

how did Switchfoot start?

doing lots of shows all over the world and seeing the

all our albums and they are like a diary, you remember

world in a different light. We really want to use this

exactly how you were feeling.

JF: Switchfoot started with two brothers, Jon and Tim,

platform of music to make a difference in the world,

and the drummer Chad. They were all still in school and

make a difference in our community and to bring hope

/t: ‘Hello Hurricane’ is out on the 11th November. What

they all said “Hey I love playing music, let’s just jam and

to people.

is your favourite track on the album?

to make it out of college, they never expected to make a

/t: What would you say have been the highlights of

JF: That question is like asking me which is my favourite

living doing music, but the world just opened up for that

Switchfoot’s career so far?

kid! They all mean a lot to us and we are very proud of

be in a band”. That’s how it started. They never expected

them, but the highlight for me is ‘Sing it Out’. I had the

path and so here we are over ten years later! JF: There are a few highlights. Being able to travel is a

opportunity to write a string orchestra for it and it was

big highlight, we went to South Africa a few years ago,

the first time I’ve ever done that. It was kind of nerve

visiting the villages and the AIDs hospitals and that was

racking but really gratifying because I’d never done it

before. At the beginning of the song it’s very minimal.

/t: How much does God and your

You don’t really have anything except vocal and maybe

Christian life impact your songs?

an organ and let it build from there and you go through a journey through the song. Let it go through peaks

JF: Every decision that you make is because

and valleys. Let’s see how we can climb the emotional

of the things that you believe in, and for us, God

mountain and see where it takes us.

is a major part of who we are. Our belief is a huge part of everything we do and that will trickle down

/t: What are your hopes for the future as a band?

through the things that we do and every decision that we make.

JF: We’ve been a band for well over ten years and this is our seventh album. We are really grateful that we are still doing music, that we still have a platform to express our creativity. We hope to release three or four more albums within the next few years. We are really excited about it and this is just the tip of the songs that are coming out. /t: What would you like Switchfoot to be remembered for? JF: We want to be remembered for always pushing ourselves and challenging ourselves but the bottom line is that we’d love to be remembered as a band who were passionate about helping people through different paths. We gave a sense of hope to the people that are really searching.

ge 3 0 See pa


It’s not fair!

Zoe Hayes


When’s the last time you found yourself getting angry and saying ‘It’s not fair!’?

Sometimes it’s hard to connect to the statistics and

Zoe is Tearfund’s England Youth and Student

problems that seem distant to our daily reality. So that’s

Coordinator and is part of the team running the

why a bunch of us at Tearfund and Emerging Culture

FRESH course. She loves snowboarding, curries and

decided to take on a challenge! The average European

being silly. If you want to mobilise your mates to

It’s a phrase we tend to associate with a childish tantrum,

uses 200 litres of water every day, the average person in

do the water challenge and get campaigning visit

when we’re denied what we want and think we deserve.

the developing world lives with only 10. We wanted to

What makes you angry? Middle lane drivers, spending

move beyond the statistics to see what it’s like to live on

hours on hold on a ‘helpline’, queuing?

10 litres of water a day for one week.

In the UK we have a strong sense of our rights. It doesn’t

To put the extent of the challenge in context, having a 10

take much for us to get pretty vocal and angry when

minute shower uses 100 litres of water and flushing the

we feel we haven’t been treated fairly. Programmes like

toilet uses about 9. The first thing that struck me was no

Proverbs 31:8-9 tells us to “Speak up for those who

Watchdog and Rogue Traders are dedicated to calling

matter how many times I told myself not to flush I was on

cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are

companies and CEOs to account and speaking up on

auto-pilot and couldn’t stop myself! 9 out of 10 litres gone

destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of

behalf of us consumers.

in one careless flush. The biggest thing I noticed was the

the poor and needy.”

Check out the videos of Emerging Culture doing the challenge -

time and planning required, and that’s with a water supply But what about basic human rights? The right to food, to

in my house. I’ve realised how much I take for granted the

Let’s get angry about injustice, let’s shout “it’s not fair” to

education, to clean water and a toilet? Who will stand up

convenience of a toilet, taps and a washing machine.

those in power on behalf of those who have none. Visit

for those rights? Do we get angry when other people’s rights are denied? and campaign to get the At the end of the week when I could finally shower, use my washing machine and clean my house, I didn’t feel

It’s not fair that as we come to the end of 2009, 900

as excited as I thought I would. The ease with which life

million people lack access to clean water and 2.5 billion

could go back to normal felt wrong. I was overwhelmed

people don’t have a decent toilet. It’s not fair that this

by the reminder of how rich I am. Bono said ‘Where you

doesn’t make national news.

live shouldn’t determine whether you live or die’ and yet it does. People will die today simply because their water is dirty. That’s not fair!

Prime Minister to take action on water and toilets.


I look like Batman An endless sea of black-and-redtrimmed bodies all unified with the most ridiculous, yet widely recognised headpiece of all, made the view on graduation day this summer certainly one to remember.

Nick Osborne


subject. At times it was a challenging place to be and,

Nick is currently assisting a Theatre in Education

being honest, I didn’t always put God first and include

Company. He loves to perform and jumps at every

him in everything I did. Finding time for Him in between

chance he gets to do it. He also loves FAB ice lollies!

all the paperwork, parties and performances was tough and I can’t say I got it right. All I do know is that I need to trust in God. It’s in His Finding the Christian Union (CU) group certainly helped

nature to provide for his children. After all, He has

I still don’t understand why we’re made to look like

me to keep my focus in the right direction. I would

brought me this far, so I can trust that He has a plan for

Batman gone wrong on the day that mummy is

have found University even tougher without a constant

me and for each of us. At whatever stage we’re at, let’s

supposed to be most proud of her little babbit?

support of encouragement from the friends I had made

be as excited as we can about what we’re doing now and

within that small group. If it’s a friendly atmosphere you

not worry about what’s next.

I could never have imagined completing a degree

want or maybe just some free food and cake, then pop

but somehow three years at university have flown by

along to the CU because whatever your views are about

Oh, and if it’s uni that you’re thinking of, go for it! Look

and two teeny letters have appeared after my name!

Christianity, you’ll most likely leave feeling a lot happier

forward to looking like Batman at the end!

Throughout my time at uni I sometimes questioned why I

and relaxed about the busyness of everything else.

was there and what it was that made me choose to study Drama instead of something else or why I even wanted

But what happens now? I’ve been to university, got

to study at all. I mean, I’d already done GCSEs and

my degree and met loads of cool people along

A-Levels and they were hard enough. What on earth was

the way. I seemed to think that everything

I thinking of, giving myself a load more essays to write?!

would fall into place and life would be easy from there onwards, but quickly

Looking back on it all, I came to realise that it wasn’t

noticed that it’s not that simple;

just the education I would be benefiting from, or the

jobs are scarce, especially in and

idea of getting a better job in the future. I believe the

around the theatre. Will I be

opportunity that I had of going to uni was one that God

able to earn a living? I just

wanted me to experience and one that He put in place

don’t know.

for me to learn more about myself rather than my degree


Justice Generation It’s easy to talk about what’s wrong, it’s easy to see the problems.

Generate /engage

Justice Bringing Global Justice to the Streets

See page 2

Joy Da Costa

Then one day I decided that this wasn’t good enough,

Joy is the Team Leader for Pentecost Festival, where

that there were certain shops and brands I know are

she organises events and liases with Christian

unethical, and that maybe whenever I was unsure I should

leaders to bring together a great big celebration of

choose not to buy that item until I was certain. I decided

Pentecost in London. She loves prayer, travelling

We don’t have to look very far to see that not everything

action was better than inertia and that though I might

and brightly coloured eye shadow.

is right in the world. It’s even easier to be so overwhelmed

sometimes get it wrong, doing something is always better

by all the things we’d like to see changed, that we have

than doing nothing. There are facebook groups, websites,

a chat, shake our heads and return to our daily lives. Not

books and more that can help me find these answers, I

community. I can continue to write to my MP voicing my

because we don’t care, but because we don’t know what

just need to take the time to look. I need to be willing, if

concerns, even if the answer I get is rarely satisfactory.

to do. Justice matters, but sometimes it seems like a huge,

necessary, to give up my favourite chocolate bar in favour

complicated subject and I don’t know where to start.

of a more ethical alternative, if there is even a chance it

Generate Justice is a great opportunity to make a stand

could improve the livelihood of a human being on the

on some of the issues facing our world today. It’s one

other side of the World. I need to care enough.

way in which we can decide that it’s not enough to talk

I have often wrestled with ethical shopping. Can my choices really make that much difference and if so, how

as though we care, we want to act. It’s a day when we

do I decide which shops are ethical? Where do I find

There are so many more issues of justice where I can do

can come together to tell the world that we care and

that information and how can I possibly know that the

the same. I can choose to recycle even though I know

will not continue to ignore something that our actions

information I have is correct?

there’s a chance my recycling will go to landfill anyway,

might be able to change. It is a thousand young people

because there’s also a chance it won’t. I can give generously

who believe that their voices are loud enough to make a

For a long time I chose to claim ignorance. If I was unsure

to charities I believe will use my money well and also

difference. It is your chance to make your mark and bring

I would stick to my usual habits until I knew more.

befriend the poorest, the lonely and the outcast in my own

global justice to the streets.

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Change the World For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to change the world and on meeting Jesus at sixteen it seemed I’d found the source and outlet for my unbridled idealism. Suddenly, I thought, here’s something worth living and dying for.

Chris Stone


Chris is a film-maker who believes in the power of and her mate raised a million pounds by mobilising

stories to inspire social change. His current project is

hundreds of people worldwide to invest time and money

about uranium mining in the rainiest place on earth.

into the issue of climate change. The film has been a

Check out for more.

runaway hit, spawning global action against climate change and affecting government policies. And Jesus’ whole approach was relational. Of the three Then, of course, there’s one Jesus of Nazareth. Born

years of His ministry relatively little was spent in front of

in a shed and brought up in the rough part of town

a crowd preaching. Most of the time He visited homes,

My head filled with triumphant dreams of revival (with

(“Nazareth?” someone exclaimed, “can anything good

ate with people, and invested Himself heavily in His

myself, of course, at the centre). Together, I thought,

come from there?”). He gathered twelve nobodies,

closest circle of followers. You might say He should have

Jesus and I would change the course of history.

showed them what living with God really looks like and,

maximised His time on earth by reaching the largest

after a surprisingly short career, left behind the seeds of

audience He could. But instead He chose to sow a tiny

But it seems that ‘changing the world’ doesn’t work like that.

the most world-changing movement of all.

seed into the fertile soil of friendship… and we all know

Bremley Lyngdoh started his life of activism at the age of

What do all these people have in common? They believe

ten when, in his home town of Shillong, India, he raised

in the power of relationship.

what happens to tiny seeds. Eleven years on and I still want to change the world. But (thankfully) I’m no longer at the centre of the dream.

money for the local poor. He got a whiff of the scent of social change and that set the course of his life. Now in his

For Franny, making ‘The Age of Stupid’ independently

However, if I can truly learn what it means to build

mid-thirties he is mobilising communities in some of the

was a gargantuan task. Everything happened because

meaningful relationships, then perhaps I’ll be able to

world’s poorest countries, to develop sustainable, planet-

of a network of personal relationships built over time on

play my part after all.

friendly industries to lift themselves out of poverty.

the foundation of a powerful idea.

Franny Armstrong is a film-maker who created the recent

Bremley recently told me that, “relationships are the key”.

documentary ‘The Age Of Stupid’. In 2004 she decided

According to him, idealism is a hugely powerful tool, but

to make a feature-length film showing the devastating

more powerful is an idealist who knows how to build

effects of climate change. Over the next five years she

effective, genuine relationships.




Isaac Hoar Isaac is in the second year of college near Southampton, studying graphic art, media and English Lit. He enjoys laughing unnecessarily loudly at bad jokes, as well as listening to and playing music.

There are points in our lives when we find ourselves in seemingly awful situations; and in times like these we can easily become discouraged, and feel that God has forgotten us. But it is important to remember that you have been given a role to play in God’s plan. He has created you and loves you with everything He’s got. When we’re struggling with life and the path we’re on let’s remember that our loving Father has laid out the tracks before us, so don’t fear or be afraid, because He won’t take you anywhere that you can’t handle.

Wondering What to do next summer?

WhY noT Come To The KesWICK ConvenTIon...

Week 1 17 Jul – 23 Jul Week 2 24 Jul – 30 Jul Week 3 31 Jul – 6 AuG Keswick Youth is the place to be if you’re aged 11-18 and want a week (or two or even three!) of getting stuck into God’s word, as well as having loads of fun. Check out... Aged 19-24? Fancy a week of good bible teaching, lively discussions and lifestyle seminars, as well as a chill out? Then come along to Abide in Week 1 (17-23 July). In your 20’s or 30’s? Want some meaty Bible teaching, thought-provoking discussions, practical lifestyle seminars and lively worship? Then K2 is for you in Week 2 (24-30 July). Come on Your oWn or As pArT oF A Group – IT Couldn’T Be eAsIer… JusT BooK Your oWn ACCommodATIon And Turn up. We looK ForWArd To seeInG You! / 017687 80075 /


The Perfect Present... At Christmas time there seem to be a lot more gimmicks and novelty gifts around. I saw a strange one in a London shop the other day; “The perfect present for the person who has everything” read the carton.

Carina Morton


rustling of wrapping paper, the twinkling of lights and

Carina heads up release:potential - the Youth

the rush for the last mince pie, but it can be even easier

Development initiative from Release International.

to forget the hurting, the lonely and the imprisoned

She loves salsa dancing and wishes Chinese food

across the world.

was one of her 5-a-day.

How we spend our Christmas Day can often be a reflection of what’s in our heart the rest of the year. It’s

blessed to be able to pray and know that we are safe in our

something I’ve been challenged to think about. For

own homes and that we do not face the threat of arrest

Curiously I picked it up and gave it a bit of a shake. Nothing.

example, in the run-up to Christmas am I busy writing

or imprisonment for our faith; we’d ask that you’d please

As I continued to read the packaging I discovered that

my own Christmas lists? Or am I thinking about how and

remember those who don’t have this luxury at Christmas.

“nothing” was exactly what the gift was. It was a clever

when I can bless my friends and family?

Please help us to cover Christmas Day in prayer!

We know that Christmas can be a busy time with

For more info, specific prayer points and to claim your

lots of things to remember, (put up decorations, buy

five minutes visit

concept but if you get the person who has everything nothing, what do you get the person who has nothing? We hear of many Christians who have next to nothing

Uncle Boris a tea towel, finish coursework, etc.) so at

materially but the urgent prayer requests that they

release:potential we’ve tried to make it easier for us to

present to their UK family are not focussed on their

remember our extended Christian family on Christmas

material needs. Some of these Christians have had their

Day. We’ve set up a page on our website where people

homes, possessions, even family members taken away

can choose their very own five minute slot to pray for

from them but still their requests are for God to be

Christians who are suffering for following Jesus. The

glorified in their lives.

Bible says to “remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners and those who are mistreated as if

One of the most precious things you can do for the

you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3).

person who has nothing is to invest time praying for them. What they really need is not something you can

We don’t need to meet up to remember our family, we

buy but it is something you can give. It can be too easy

can pray for them as we say grace over Christmas dinner,

to forget the real meaning behind Christmas amid the

before we open our presents, or before bed. We are so


No one died from not having sex “You and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals so let’s do it like they do on the discovery channel” is the line of a song that I used to attempt to dance to. Try not to picture what sort of dance moves I was busting out to those lyrics. Seriously, try not to picture it.


Me: “Sex is just a physical thing, what’s the big deal, why keep it for marriage?” God: “Is it just a physical thing Andy?” Me: “Yes.” God: “Well what makes you different from a dog?” Me: “Err...” (I wasn’t really expecting that comeback) One thing I’ve discovered as I’ve got older is

At the time I was 16, now I’m 23.

that there’s something that makes us different from animals, something besides the fact we’re

My bet is that if you’re reading this article you’ve got

not covered in fur. The something is choice.

a sex drive. I’d also be willing to bet that you’re aware

Animals only act on instinct, for us there’s a

that Christians believe that sex should be kept selfishly

choice involved. Sex is more than a physical

between one man and one woman for the whole of life.

thing, there’s emotion and spirit involved.

Christians believe sex is for marriage. Me: “Okay God, maybe it is more than just I knew that too, I knew it well before I became a

a physical thing but let’s be honest, it’s not

Christian, and honestly I couldn’t understand why.

hurting anyone is it? It’s not like we’re going

Another rule to follow made up by a kill-joy God.

around killing puppies.” God: “What about STDs? Millions in the world

When I was sixteen I had sex and so a little while later,

have AIDs who wouldn’t have if sex was just

when I gradually started to understand who Jesus was

within marriage.”

and what following Him meant, I had a problem with

Me: “Fair point. But how about for those of

the sex-thing. I had a bone to pick with God and for six

us who use contraception? We’re not causing

months I argued with Him.

any harm.”


Andy Croft God’s answered that last one for me over time. He knew

God: “Well Andy, if you love each other...”

Andy is associate director of Soul Survivor. He

what he was doing when he made sex; he made it good

Me: “Yes God...”

spends lots of his time trying to understand the

and an amazing way in which one human being can be

God: “And if you’re committed to each other...”

Bible. He also spends a fair amount of time trying to

wonderfully close to another human being. The fact is

Me: “Yes God...!”

understand his new wife. They are both great.

that it’s powerful and has the potential to be harmful.

God: “Then why don’t you just wait till you’re married?”

Breaking up from a relationship where we have been

Me: “Wait! Are you serious? That could be ages! I’m

having sex causes more damage and leaves deeper

flipping sixteen years old!”

scars than ending a relationship where we haven’t.

God is calling us to be fully alive. To be men and women What I’ve realised though is that if our relationships

who can shape and change a world for Him. He’s asking

Moreover, constantly joining our bodies and souls

don’t work when we’re not having sex; having sex isn’t

us to rise up and go on adventures, to do great things,

to different people can reduce our own ability to

going to make a difference. God reminded me that

to affect eternity. We don’t need sex to be fully who we

enjoy intimacy – and that’s dangerous. The guy who

once you’re married you’ve got the whole of the rest of

are; we need Him and His calling. As a guy who deeply

founded Playboy magazine is now in his 80s and

your lives to have sex, and that the years before that,

regrets messing it up; may I say to you, go for it, live a

still going for it with a lot of blonde young ladies.

though they may sometimes drag are precious to lay a

crazy life for God. Sex? Don’t undervalue it like I did,

He’s had sex with a lot of women. A former girlfriend

foundation that’ll keep you both going till your teeth

value it so highly, and see it as so precious, that you

of his however, revealed that he can now only get

fall out and you can’t control your bladder.

guard it and yourself for marriage.

pleasure from masturbating to gay porn. I’m not trying to be crude, I’m trying to make a point and

My final desperate attempt:

he’s the classic example. He’s shared himself with so

Me: “How can you not let me have sex until I’m married?

many people there’s nothing left to enjoy. He’s eaten

I’m never going to be a real man. I’m never going to be

all the food but lost any ability to take pleasure in it.

fully alive.”

We need to guard our ability to enjoy another person sexually and not dilute it.

God paused. And then... “Andy, I’ve been God for a very long time... and no one

Me: “Fine God, maybe it is a big deal. But what if we love each other!? What if we’ve been going out for five whole months?”

has ever died from not having sex.”

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Self harm

Laura Ryder


“Self harm was a comfort to me at a time when all I knew

Sophie is not alone. Recent statistics say that one in

Laura works for Mercy Ministries UK, an organisation

was fear and mistrust. I trusted self harm and felt like I

fifteen young people aged between 16-25 struggle with

providing opportunities for young women to

could rely on it, it began to consume my day and I started

self harm, and of those that have the courage to share

experience God’s love, forgiveness and life transforming

to think of new ways that I could hurt myself because I

their secret with others, most find that it makes the

power. You are likely to find her in Starbucks, on the ski

felt fat, ugly and stupid. I hated life and I wanted to die”.

situation worse, not better, because people do not know

slopes or pursuing an outdoor adventure!

how to handle their confession. These are the words of Sophie. Like many, her life seemed

If you would like more resources on overcoming

full of lack, lack of value, lack of hope and lack of affirmation.

We live in a society that is constantly bombarding us with

self harm, please visit,

Sophie saw self harm as the most normal option to be able

thoughts and ideas about how we should look, think

email or phone

to handle the pressures of life that she was facing, a way

and feel. For some, the weight of feeling insignificant,

01535 642042 and speak to one of the team!

to control what she was feeling on the inside and an attempt to express herself to the outside world.

useless, worthless and in emotional turmoil leads them to self harm. As with many other issues, self harm is a symptom of a deeper issue and contrary to a popular

For those of you reading and personally struggling with self-

thought, it is not an attempt at suicide; it is a cry for help.

harm thoughts, be encouraged – this is how Sophie speaks now, “My life before was me pretty much just wanting to die,

So how can you help? What can you do to support someone who is struggling with self harm? You can listen, encourage and speak God’s truth to them about their value, their worth and their future. You can offer to help find the

I was terrified of living but now I am just amazed at what God is doing in my life and how much He has changed me”. Sophie’s life was transformed by God as she learnt her identity in Him and her value in who He says she is. She gained an understanding that she had been created

right support for them to be able to address

with purpose, on purpose and that God had good plans

the reasons behind why they could be self

for her life – plans that give her a hope and a future

harming. You can suggest some alternatives

(Jeremiah 29v11). The same promises are true for you.

to self harm such as writing and recording

You are wonderfully made, with a value far above rubies

thoughts or tearing up cardboard. You can

and pearls. Self harm can be a thing of the past, and no

pray for them and with them.

longer a part of your future!


Reality Hits: Sunday School Christian Growing up in a church with my family I thought I could call myself a Christian because I went to Sunday school.

Georgina Weller

I was totally amazed. I had learnt about how Jesus had

Georgina is at college studying for her A levels. She is

healed people in the past, but never actually believed

currently on the FRESH course and loves it. She enjoys

that it could happen now. At this moment I knew that

hanging out with friends and wearing funky hats.

the God I had been learning about all these years was 100% real and I couldn’t deny it. I went home from that

I learnt about the Bible, sang the right songs and said

conference a Christian and it was for real.

all the right things at the right times. Going to church

I used to think that my story, my testimony was really dull and boring. It isn’t glamorous or exciting, I didn’t go to

brought me friends but I can’t say it changed my life

Over the last few years I have been learning about what

prison and I wasn’t addicted to drugs, but I have come

much. Going to church didn’t change the way I acted,

being a Christian is really about. I think being a Christian

to realise that it is just as important and just as valuable

people at school wouldn’t have said there was anything

is about talking to God and building a relationship with

to God as anyone else’s because it’s the story of my

different about me.

Him, talking to other people around me about God and

encounter with Jesus.

encouraging them to follow God. I think that it is about My parents would always take me to conferences and

setting an example and just spreading the word, not just

I am now doing the Fresh course which will help to build

Christian events in the summer, and I usually went to

saying I’m a Christian because I go to church or because

up my confidence in leadership and help use my gifts

hang out with friends and have a fun week. One day they

I know about God. I’m a Christian because I know He is

and strengths more in my community and local area.

had a whole meeting about healing; the band played

real and I can get to know Him personally.

I would like to use these skills to help other people to

and I sat back and watched as people who wanted

know God. I want to help people realise that going to

healing were being prayed for by others in the meeting.

I know that God will never leave my side and He has

After a few minutes I saw people fall to the floor and be

helped me through some really bad times in my life. He

healed right there in front of me.

has been there through the good times just as much. I can’t imagine not knowing God and having Him in my life.

church is not the only thing being a Christian is about.


Reality Hits: God gave me a Sandwich About ten years ago someone said something that stuck with me until this day. It was my first year playing in a football team after making the step up from youth sides.

Dave Guard

I work with teenagers in the fantastic town of Gillingham,

Dave works for YFC in Gillingham and is on the Billy

Kent. One Friday I had a busy day ahead. 10am isn’t

Graham Training Course. He loves football, his new

a particularly early start, but I was taking a team of

cat Stilton and his new wife Laurie.

young people to a regional football tournament, which wouldn’t finish before 11.30pm. We were leaving for the tournament at 5pm. At about Knowing how useless I can be when my stomach is

4.30pm I got a phone call; “Dave, I’m making sandwiches

One Sunday after the game, the team gathered as usual

empty, my great wife Laurie made me a double packed

for tonight”, the voice said, “would you like cheese, ham

in the pub. I had no money. One of the lads asked why

lunch. A banana, yoghurt, and some crisps were all

or both?” Through my friend Keion, who was coming to

I didn’t have a drink. When I explained my money-less

included, but two bumper rounds of sandwiches were

give me a hand, God had answered my prayer. Keion also

predicament, he said:

to provide the main part of my lunch and dinner. On

brought biscuits and crisps, and kept us watered with

first look the ham, mayo and salad in between the posh

steaming hot tea all evening.

“Well you got a tongue in your ‘ead! Why didn’t you just ask?”

seeded bread looked great…

Unknown to my amateur footballer friend, God tells us

Have you ever been to the beach and got sand in your

prayed for a wife, He gave me Laurie. We prayed for

something very similar. The Bible tells us that we don’t have

mouth? Well if you have, then you’ll be able to empathise

a house, He gave us the perfect one. I’ve seen God

what we want because we don’t ask for it (James 4 v2).

with me. My suspicion is that the salad hadn’t been

heal people. But when God gave me a sandwich, I was

washed, leaving a kind of grit, and sarnies that tasted

overwhelmed by how personal our God is.

I have experienced God’s provision in many ways. I

Sounds great doesn’t it?! Like a big Holy vending

vaguely like a sandcastle. They went in the bin.

machine - you ask for what you want and the Big Man upstairs provides. Not that simple I’m afraid. The next

Once again I had no money, so a takeaway was out of

sentence sheds a bit more light on the matter;

the question. So after the yoghurt, banana and crisps, I prepared myself for a largely hungry day.

“...And even when you do ask you don’t get it because your whole motive is wrong, you only want what gives

I prayed, “God, despite my lack of food please give me

you pleasure.”

energy”. And almost as an afterthought, “could you provide some food for me?”



Ali Johnson


Five minutes have gone by, I go the computer, open up my Facebook and check if I’ve had any new wall posts, hoping that someone has sent me a message or ‘liked’ my status. What did I do before Facebook? How did I stay in contact with my friends before I had them all at the click of a mouse or the tap of the keyboard?

Have you ever missed an event or not turned up to

Ali is a Mission Support Worker at Cliff College in

something because it wasn’t on Facebook? Me too. We

Derbyshire. He loves hanging out with friends,

really rely of Facebook! I even rely on Facebook to tell me

spending time on Facebook and eating food.

when my families’ birthdays are. Social networking sites like Facebook have changed the way we live our lives and

Ali is the writer behind The Natwivity (see page 5).

this could really shape the way we do community and

Follow on Twitter - @Natwivity

even church. Our way of life is increasingly shaped by the technology

While Facebook is great, it doesn’t replace the quality

we create and utilize. I cant imagine a world without

time that comes from hanging out with your mates and

mobile phones and Facebook, I would have to wear

doing what you love.

a watch, carry a diary and actually remember things! New, powerful ways of communicating have affected

We only need to look at the Bible to see that words used

and transformed the way we interact with each other in

in the right way are powerful, at a distance or face to face.

our schools, colleges and places of work. The internet

Facebook gives us the ability to be involved in many lives

and social networking sites, like Facebook, have a big

across many worlds. What we do with this technology will

potential to allow us to share our lives with each other

shape the future of our relationships with one another

and to share what is important to us, what we believe and what makes us tick.

and the way we interact with God. Your status, your wall posts and your comments demonstrate who you are and what you believe in. What have you posted in the last few

There are also dangers to these wonderful sites. We can sometimes become so reliant on Facebook

weeks? What does say about your life and your world? What does it say about your bond with God?

that we miss out on building relationships in person. Many times I get home from seeing my mates only to realize I’d forgotten how much I love spending time with them face to face, nothing beats it.

If we use Facebook as a way of challenging people’s attitude towards God then it can be a powerful tool. If we use it as replacement for relationship it becomes a poor imitation of friendship.


29th Chapter


We love these guys! Read on to find out about hip hop, truth and hope. Check out page 30 to be in with a chance of winning loads of 29th Chapter albums. /thoughts: How and why did 29th Chapter start?

/t: Your biog says that you have distinctly set What does that mean?

promoting something positive. We meet so many young people during our schools work. Our music is about

music, the content will fall into four or five categories.

inspiring and encouraging these guys because we believe

It’s normally about sex, drugs, money, violence or

in the potential of young people to do great things.

Mr Prince: 29th Chapter has been around for quite a

completely different perspective. If we’re talking about

while. It was originally called Acts 29 and we changed

sex it’s in the context of love and if we’re talking about

the name about 6 years ago. People kept calling us Axe

money it’s probably about how much of it we don’t have,

29, which sounded like some kind of gnarley rock band.

as opposed to lying about how much we’ve got. I guess

29th Chapter sounded cooler, so we changed the name

in some senses we turn the normal sensibility about hip

to that. The purpose of our music is to use hip hop to

hop upside down on its head and we’re comfortable to

communicate a positive message of hope and love

do that because we’re not making music for the sake of

to young people. The overall press and generally the

making money. We’d rather speak the truth.

overriding message of most hip hop is quite negative or empty. Hip hop tends to promote things like wealth and and satisfaction in life. So our whole view as a band is really to bring a message of hope.

MP: For us it’s about promoting hope for young people,

MP: In loads of ways! If you listen to most hip hop

respect. Though we talk about this stuff too, it’s from a

sex; things that we believe don’t bring real happiness

/t: So what would you say is your overriding message?

yourselves apart in sound, purpose and individuality.

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/t: You mention that you do schools work, but also you

/t: I’ve heard that you guys are releasing a single onto

/t: What would you like 29th Chapter to be

do a lot of big stage gigs. Which do you prefer?

the secular market. What led to that decision?

remembered for?

MP: It’s difficult because both arenas have their place

MP: I guess part of our dream is to take our music to the

MP: I think to be known as a band that changed, that had

and they’re both really valuable and important to us.

masses. We feel that what we’ve got to say is something

an impact on culture and had an impact on society, for

It’s great to do big festivals, the main stage stuff, where

that we want the world to hear. I guess in some senses

the best. I really respect Bono who, through the success

lots of people get to hear our music and get some idea

hip hop has been marginalised to subculture, maybe

and profile of his band and music, has had a profound

of our heart and that stuff helps sell our records, which

urban culture, but over the last couple of years it’s

impact on culture and society. I hope that we would be

helps us pay our bills, which is great. But we’re also really

become really a part of pop culture. I guess we thought

a band that impacts culture and gets people thinking

passionate about just being hands on and direct with

to ourselves, “Well…why not?” At the end of the day we

about the wider issues within society, thinking about the

young people.

think that music is given for people to enjoy and we want

poor, thinking about those who are destitute or broken,

as many people as possible to enjoy our music. But we

and thinking about global issues as well.

e t p t a h ap c h ch a t 9 h ch 2 t e 9

We’ve just got back from doing a couple of schools weeks.

also believe that we have something to say that people

I think there’s nothing quite as challenging and rewarding

need to hear. We have a message that has the potential

as seeing the penny drop with some young people.

to change lives. It’s a message of hope, a message of love

Watching people realise that they can do something

and one of peace. We want everybody to hear it, whether

with their lives and that they have options. We often walk

it’s part of the Christian arena or the mainstream culture,

into schools and kids will be like “gangsters! gangsters!

we just want to get it out there.

gangsters!” and we’re like “Oh my gosh! Where?” We love being able to show people that hip hop isn’t all about gangsters and crime, it’s an art form.

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See page 30


In a rich man’s world Recently I posted a facebook status saying that I want an iPhone but I wasn’t sure whether I should buy one. Twelve people replied, which made me feel very popular!

Adam Price


is great, and until recently it was ok to get it, even if you

Adam works for Leeds Faith in Schools. He loves

couldn’t afford it. We could get it and not worry about

football, red wine and sunshine.

paying for it for a few years. But then it all went wrong. We’re learning that it’s not great

The kingdom of God is where good news is brought to

to buy things you can’t afford after all! If large parts of

the poor, the brokenhearted are healed, captives are

Things matter, stuff matters, but I’m caught in a bit of a

society, our banks and adverts are dishing out poor advice

freed, the blind see, the mourning are comforted and

dilemma. Can I justify getting something that is blatantly

when it comes to money, where can I find good advice?

God’s love is known and experienced (Isaiah 61:1-2).

a luxury and not something I really

After hearing that, let me ask you a question. Does stuff

need? I want an iPhone because

How about this from Jesus’ most famous speech: “Don’t

it will make my life and work

worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about

easier, but more than that I

your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important

The deal with money and ‘stuff’ is that it’s fine, until you

than food and the body more than clothes?” (Matt 6:25)

follow it in an obsessive Facebook-style, until your life is

want one because it will be fun. Is that wrong?

matter? It doesn’t nearly as much to me.

run by it. Life isn’t a point scoring system where we need It’s brilliantly profound and works on two levels. Firstly,

to do the right thing every time. It’s about our attitude

don’t stress about having enough to survive; if God looks

toward things and our decisions about what we choose

fashion, technology,

after the birds, then he’ll look after you because you are

to follow.

opportunities and

more valuable. But secondly, I think Jesus is saying more,

possibilities are a lot

He’s telling us not to worry about trying to attain a higher

Before Jesus tells the crowd not to be anxious he

standard of living, there is something more important.

tells them they can’t serve both God and money. You

We live in a world where

more diverse than throughout the rest of

can’t follow both God and money. Which one are you

history put together.

He finished this section of his speech with “seek first

Society would have

the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these

you believe that having the newest version or the latest fashion

things will be given to you” (Matt 6:33). But what is the kingdom of God?

following... money or God? (In case you’re wondering, I am going to buy an iPhone.)


Compassion Fatigue The word ‘poverty’ will have a different effect on each of us.

Chris Simmonds


In exploring a Christian response to poverty however,

Chris Simmonds loves marmite, films, tea and wants

it seems to me there is one crucial factor that can help

to be like Jack Bauer when he grows up!

us overcome this stale-mate. The Bible indicates that For some it may conjure images of multitudes suffering

our response to human need is an expression of our

under the cruel effects of drought or flood, others of us

relationship with God.

may think of the children obliged to work in the so called

So, we can watch our precious pennies disappear, as it were, in that great pool of need, and we can do it smiling.

‘sweat shops’ forfeiting their human right to education

A despondent shrug of the shoulders will indeed offend

We are released to spend our limited resources of time,

– not to mention a childhood. Other minds may turn to

a good and loving God who has Himself chosen to feel

treasure and talents on the world around us because in

the myriad of girls quietly sold into the global sex trade

the pain of His broken creation. Our slight, feeble gesture

that very act of happy sacrifice we can feel God smiling

each day.

towards mercy and kindness becomes a beautiful

right back at the beautiful thing we have done. We can

expression of worship to God. We don’t need to be

know that as we love that one individual person or help

For most of us, poverty is a remote word. It’s ‘out there’,

frozen by the scale of the need, needn’t even consider

meet a need, we are showing that we love Him. And that

beyond us. The immense shared suffering of a mass of

how much difference our initiative might make – it is

is enough.

people, living sometimes beyond oceans and continents,

enough to know that God sees, and smiles.

can blind us to the individual, personal plights of individual children, men and women. The need seems

Jesus brought perhaps the clearest of this

boundless and our exposure to it will often produce little

in Matthew 25 – “Truly, I say to you,

more than a feeling of impotency at our inability to make

as you did it to one of the least of

any significant difference.

these my brothers, you did it to me.” Jesus takes the gloomy

Many of us will occasionally have responded to pleas for

guilt-ridden obligation to

help following a devastating natural disaster. Some may

give and infuses our

even sponsor a child and give regularly to development


agencies. But it all still seems like a drop in the ocean, we

with a new,

can become numb, reduced to what has been termed

higher, greater

‘compassion fatigue’.

purpose – devotion.

/thoughts magazine



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/thoughts magazine challenges and equips teens, twenties and students to engage with words, faith and culture. This edition includes article...