ARE IN THE SON
‘Prayer is so precious’ says actor Simon MacCorkindale
Striker Dimitar Berbatov eyes the title and the Bible
SOUL STAR RUBY TUNES INTO GOSPEL SEE PAGE 3
TREASURED GIRL PAGE 5
BINGO! RINGO SEES THE SEESTHE LIGHT
FORMER Beatle Ringo Starr has revealed that he has ‘found God.’ The rock legend, who celebrates his 70th birthday in July, broke the news in an interview with the Los Angeles Star newspaper while recording his new album ‘Y Not.’
See full story on centre pages
BRAZILIAN SKIPPER LUCIO HOPES TO GET HIS HANDS ON THE WORLD CUP SEE PAGE 15
Former Beatle reveals he has ‘found God’
Tough Talk from tough men WORLD CHAMPION power-lifter, Arthur White, was a man who had money, fame and influence and then lost everything because of an addiction to cocaine. Behind the tough exterior of a man built like steel with a vice-like grip, is a man soft on Jesus, who now unashamedly shares the gospel from London’s East End to the East Coast of America. At the age of 37, strong-man Arthur had it all. But the luxury homes, fast cars, successful business, sporting fame and happy family crashed around him when he had an extra-marital affair. His cocaine addiction cost him more than £150,000 and put him on a collision course with death.
SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE He became a man with no peace, a hard heart and no will to live until in desperation he turned to God. His spiritual experience lifted him from the pit of hell and today Arthur’s past has equipped him to reach out to the murky underworld in the city ghettos of New York and London. “I am more a man now than I ever was before. It takes a real man to be a follower of Jesus in this dark, dark world…but Jesus will help you through,” says Arthur. The power-lifter’s life turned sour when he left his wife for a younger woman. He was plagued with depression and a feverish addiction for cocaine. Arthur’s life continued to spin hopelessly out of control. He became an East End debt collector with a diver’s knife tied to his wrist to persuade people to pay up and was frequently involved in violence. “I was taking cocaine like you would take sugar on your cornflakes, I spent about £150,000 on the addiction…. I even stooped so low as to sell my
Arthur White has published his remarkable story in a book called ‘The Power & The Glory.’ The Son is giving away 10 copies of his book to readers. All you have to do is e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. uk with ‘Power & Glory’ in the subject box.
Arthur White belongs to Tough Talk, a charity dedicated to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that appeals to people who would not normally go to a church meeting. Tough Talk is made up of a group of men with backgrounds of ex-bouncers, ex-football hooligans and ex-East End hard men who have turned their backs on their past. Many of the team are very keen powerlifters. All the team feel that having let God into their lives, they now have an urgent need to share their experiences with the hope of helping others. They have found that the message of hope in Jesus Christ reaches people from all backgrounds and age groups. The team travel throughout the UK, Europe and worldwide performing powerlifting demonstrations in prisons, schools, churches and a host of other locations as a backdrop to telling their amazing stories.
wedding ring. At that time of debauched living, nothing was precious to me. Everything was expendable,” says Arthur .As a member of Tough Talk, he is one of the most innovative evangelists in Britain, he now sees hardened criminals reduced to tears as the team’s life transforming stories from drugs, violence and crime rekindle hope.
HEARTFELT PLEA Arthur’s own life was changed when he cried out to God in 1983, convinced he needed to turn away from evil. That desperate heartfelt plea was answered as “a strange feeling enveloped me, soothing me and I felt at peace with myself,” recalls Arthur. It heralded a new start and Arthur
swapped the diver’s knife and drugs for Bible study and marriage counselling. His home, family, health and business have been restored and today he is a man with a mission for God and a new heart of love. When he regained the world power-lifting title this autumn, the arm of his T-shirt simply read: “To God be the Glory”.
To find out more about Tough Talk and their work visit www.toughtalk.com
Big science has expelled smart new ideas from the classroom...What they forgot is that every generation has it's Rebel! That rebel, Ben Stein travels the world on his quest, and learns that educators and scientists are being ridiculed, denied tenure, and even fired for believing that there might be evidence of 'design' in nature. Perhaps life is not just the result of accidental, random chance. In this often hilarious film Ben says "Enough" And NOBODY messes with Ben! An expose of the first calibre, this movie gets to the heart of the issues. This UK version includes over 45 minutes of interviews not in the US version In a controversial new satirical documentary, author, former presidential speechwriter, economist, lawyer and actor Ben Stein travels the world, looking to some of the best scientific minds of our generation for the answer to the biggest question facing us today:
Are we still free to disagree about the meaning of life? Or has the whole issue already been decided… while most of us weren’t looking? The debate over evolution is confusing and to some, bewildering: “Wasn’t this all settled years ago?” The answer to that question is equally troubling: “Yes…and no.”
“Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” looks to scientists on both sides of the issue…and reveals some truly shocking answers.
RRP £15.99 £10.97 Buy your copy of “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” +P&P
£10.97 www.crossrhythms.co.uk/direct/expelled or call us on from
at the discounted price of just
Purchasing Expelled from Cross Rhythms helps us reach the next generation with positive values Page 2
RUBY, RUBY, RUBY, RUBY!
Ruby Turner performing with Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Band
Soul diva releases her first-ever gospel album to critical acclaim IT’S BEEN almost 20 years since Ruby Turner became one of the few British based soul singers to hit No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B chart, with 1990’s It’s Gonna Be Alright. Now, for the first time, she’s turned her hand to a gospel album. The Jamaican-born Briton’s career has including performing with Culture Club, solo albums and a current residency as a featured vocalist with Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. I’m Travelling On, on her own RTR Productions label was released last autumn. Ruby says she was moved to create the album by listening to originals by the Swan Silvertones, Soul Stirrers and others while on the road.
+ ruby turner factfile + ruby turner factfile + Ruby Turner was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 1958 (some sources say 1962) and moved with her family to Handsworth, Birmingham when she was nine years old. In the early 80s Ruby got to work with British blues legend Alexis Korner. As early as 1983 she had appeared on records with UB40, but Ruby’s biggest early career boost came in 1986 when she appeared on the Culture Club record “From Luxury To Heartache”, with Turner landing a recording contract of her own soon after. Her debut album, Women Hold Up Half The Sky (1986), was a critical and commercial success. Over the following 11 years she charted eight singles, the most successful of which was I’d Rather Go Blind which made it to number 27 in England in 1987. Ruby has performed with Bryan Ferry, Steve Winwood, Mick Jagger and Jools Holland, and has also established herself as a successful composer, with covers of her songs by Lulu, Yazz and Maxi Priest. She has also successfully covered others’ songs, most notably If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me), the Staple Singers classic that she recorded with Jonathan
Butler. She also topped the US R&B charts in February 1990 with It’s Gonna Be Alright. Ruby branched into acting as well, working in stage productions of A Streetcar Named Desire, Carmen Jones and Fame, on the BBC soap opera Doctors and appeared in the feature film Love Actually. It’s been the release of her first gospel album I’m Travelling On which has brought her back into the headlines. A 15-track set produced in the Midlands by Bob Lamb the album features Ruby’s soulful interpretations of classic oldies from gospel giants of yesteryear such as Mahalia Jackson, Soul Sisters, Thomas A Dorsey, Doris Akers and Brother Joe May which has wowed the critics. For Cross Rhythms, Phil Thomson wrote, “Turner can sing pretty much anything convincingly but ‘I’m Travelling On’ is definitely valueadded. There’s no musical seduction, slick virtuoso moments, no gimmickry; it is all for real.” Possibly the most arresting cut of all on I’m Travelling On was the Ash Howes Radio Mix of the Sister Rosetta Tharpe classic This Train which became a turntable hit for Ruby on the Christian radio station Cross Rhythms during the end of 2009.
PENTECOSTAL “I was driving between dates on Jools’ tours and got fuelled up by these wonderful spiritual songs,” she says. “I’m from a Pentecostal background. I left the church when I was about 15, but the church never left me.” Ruby was baptised at age 12. Her mother was not happy as she thought she was too young to understand. “She was not wrong but like I have said, I left the church but the church never left me, thank God. “I have never professed to be the perfect Christian. God knows that is true. But there is a line and you try every day not to cross it. Hard, but I try.” Asked what spiritual lessons she has learned in the last year or two Ruby replied: “Be careful of the company you keep. Try to discern the wolves in sheep’s
clothing. This is a business that attracts people who just want to be with you for the life-style, whatever that means. It’s hard to know who to trust so you have to be on your guard at all times.” Ruby said: “The recording of this album was the most enjoyable and fulfilling project I have ever undertaken.
DREAM “I was in control of the whole process and that really is an artist’s dream. Getting the album out was the strangest thing. A few people heard it and before I knew it I spent more to promote this project than any other. Let’s just say ‘The word must be heard.’ She added that having her mum in on one of the sessions was just sheer joy. “I have never seen her so happy and really enjoying herself.” Having done a fair bit of guesting on other people’s albums Ruby was asked if she ever had to sing material which conflicted with her Christian faith. Ruby said: “Fortunately I have never been asked to do anything that, in my opinion, would compromise my beliefs.
RISKY “I have however been asked to read scripts that were a bit risky. But you just have to be up front about things and ask if it can be done another way.” Ruby is looking to secure international licensing for the album. She says setting up her own label to produce the album “gave me great satisfaction and a sense of empowerment — that it can be done.”
Spring 2010 Page 3
Good ideas? More likely God ideas! God idea 1 - Anaesthesia GOOD IDEAS come from God, so ask Him for one. The world’s been blessed by those who did. Consider anaesthesia: how would you like to be operated on without it? That is the way they did it until a Scottish doctor named James Young Simpson introduced something he called ‘artificial sleep’. As a student at Edinburgh University he was attracted to surgery because he was troubled by the pain and mortality rate experienced during operations. As a result of reading ‘And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam...’ (Genesis 2:21 NKJV), Simpson thought chloroform might be the answer. He first experimented on himself. Finally, in 1847, the first three operations with chloroform took place. One of the patients, a young soldier, enjoyed it so much that he seized the sponge and inhaled again. ‘It was just too good to be stopped,’ he said. At first Simpson (pictured left) encountered opposition. Some thought it was a sin to interfere with nature. ‘Hand me the Bible,’ said Dr Simpson. ‘This is how God operated on Adam.’ Simpson made speeches, wrote letters and pamphlets and tried to convince those who opposed him that this was the way forward. In a setback, when three deaths attributed to chloroform were reported from other hospitals, Simpson was able to show them that they were not applying the anaesthesia correctly. The tide turned when Queen Victoria gave birth to her eighth child under chloroform and declared that she was ‘greatly pleased with its effect’. Today ask God to give you an idea that blesses others. Then act on it!
‘...All peoples on earth will be blessed through you...’
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+ media spotlight + media spotlight + media spotlight +media spotlight + DUNCAN WILLIAMS has seen the very worst of the media world. Working as a tabloid ‘dirt-digger’ in the late 90s he spent his days seeking out celebrity stories in a culture where bribery, blackmail and stealing rubbish was the norm. Even born again Christian Jonathan Aitken once phoned to call him “a lying, underhanded s***.” Now, though, Duncan owns his own ethical publishing company with a keen vision of building up struggling local and regional titles, and helping them to keep giving a voice to communities who are often drowned out in the noise of globalisation. He deliberately employs a proportion of ex-offenders and those recovering from addiction - and insists on a strongly positive editorial policy. In a nightmare market, the company is going from strength to strength. So how did he get from one to the other?
From dirt digging hack to positively good news guru
DESTRUCTIVE Duncan’s first contact with the media was through editing his school magazine, which he quickly renamed Bronco after a notorious brand of toilet roll. Writing gave him and his rebellious school friends a chance to let off steam, and he was hooked. At age 17 he moved from the West Country to London to attend film school, and went on to have a career in new media and film advertising throughout the 90s boom years. It was a destructive environment, with a heavy drinking culture, but even then Duncan says ‘writing was really a form of prayer, a way of getting in touch with my real self when I couldn’t always express things well verbally’. A move into print at the end of the decade proved lucrative - whilst selling advertising for a series of high profile London magazine titles, Duncan realised that the real money was in sensationalist news and set himself up as a freelance investigator for all the major tabloids. Kept on retainer, he would be given a brief by an editor and set about finding, or creating, a story about them. One well-read middle England title, he recalls, would particularly like tittle tattle about society women and would pay very handsomely for insider gossip. It wasn’t unusual to see suitcases of cash changing hands. Duncan had regular dealings with ‘Benji the Binman’ who made his fortune hunting for scandal in rubbish, and would also employ covert surveillance.
DISTORTED Even if all that failed it didn’t mean the story was dead. “I clearly remember one day seeing on the front cover of a big selling Sunday tabloid, a story about Robbie Williams, and knowing that 90% of it was distorted from fact, because I had engineered most of these embellishments. Robbie went on to sue and win a large out of court settlement,
• Publisher Duncan Williams..media can be a force for good but most of the time, for the papers, it was worth it”. As several recent revelations about tabloid reporting practice confirm, he doesn’t think much has changed. “Today, one rewarding change for me,” says Duncan. “ Is that I am able to commission the very celebrity targets of my past life to write positive pieces for my own publications. Obviously, celebrities have feelings too... and fortunately forgiveness is often one of them!” Duncan says that there was no blinding light revelation for him, just a realisation over several years that his life had ‘bottomed out’. He sought help with his heavy drinking and excessive lifestyle, and became a committed Catholic. Not long after, he made the decision to use all the money he had made to set up his own independent news company. With the support of some old tabloid colleagues, angel investors and some big hearted celebrities, this step forward seems to have worked out. Duncan thinks it’s the most exciting time to be in papers, and that the laments over the
death of journalism are misguided. Change is inevitable, but not disastrous, and can be a chance for good. He was able to buy shares in several large media companies after the price had dropped by 90% last year and is now on the board of five of these.
POSITIVE STORIES “There are huge opportunities for those who want to be influential people of integrity. The digital revolution will eventually provide far more readers for local titles once they’ve embraced new platforms; Things like Kindle and the iPad provide an amazing way to get positive, ethical stories out there, and we’re showing that there is an audience for it.” The titles owned by Duncan, and his group of positive independent news companies, are trying to make a stand against the ‘propaganda of negativity’ that he believes shape our thinking. Like many of us, and even having seen the very darkest side to the media, he passionately believes it can be a force for good.
Top journo Peter Hitchens on his journey back to faith Top journalist and columnist Peter Hitchens has revealed how his faith in God has helped heal a long-standing rift with his atheist brother. Hitchens, who writes for the Mail on Sunday has published a controversial book in which he describes his spiritual journey back to God – and the end of his feud with his older brother Christopher. During his teenage years and early 20s, Peter Hitchens lost his faith and rebelled against everything he had been brought up to believe in. He reveals he set fire to his Bible on the playing fields of his Cambridge boarding school when he was just 15. He went through years of doubting, convinced that civilisation had grown out of
the nursery myths of God, angels and Heaven. “My own, slow return to faith began when I was 30, in 1981,” writes Hitchens. “I no longer avoided churches. I recognised in the great English cathedrals, and in many small parish churches, the old unsettling messages.” After ‘rediscovering’ Christmas, which he had pretended to dislike for many years, Hitchens and his long-time partner decided on a church wedding. Word spread around his trade that he was somehow mixed up in church matters. “I talked to few people about it, and was diffident about mentioning it in anything I wrote. I think it true to say that for many years I was more or less ashamed of confessing to any religious faith at all, except when I felt safe to do so.
“It is a strange and welcome side effect of the growing attack on Christianity in British society that I have now overcome this. “Being Christian is one thing. Fighting for a cause is another, and much easier to acknowledge - for in recent times it has grown clear that the Christian religion is threatened with a dangerous defeat by secular forces which have never been so confident. “Why is there such a fury against religion now? Because religion is the one reliable force that stands in the way of the power of the strong over the weak. The one reliable force that forms the foundation of the concept of the rule of law. In an age of power worship, the Christian religion has become the principal obstacle to the desire of earthly utopians for absolute power.
FROM NIGHT CLUB STRIPPER TO TREASURED CHILD OF GOD A FORMER exotic dancer who suffered years of physical and emotional abuse and violent relationships is now running a charity helping women escape from the sex industry. California-based Harmony Dust had been in an abusive relationship for eight years when, at the age of 19, she started stripping to pay off her massive debts. She had racked up the huge debts keeping the man she thought loved her, while all the time he was out of work and seeing other women. “The fear of losing him had its grip on me. I thought that making him financially dependent on me was the only way I could make him stay,” she said.
ABUSE “No matter how much I gave him, it was never enough. I was never enough and I felt undeserving of love. He constantly validated my feelings of worthlessness with emotional and physical abuse.” Young, naive, and hopeless, Harmony began stripping. “My intention was to work for a couple of months in order to pay off my bills. Then I could return to a ‘normal’ life.” But as ‘Monique’ she found herself trapped in the lifestyle. “Wads of cash filled my hands, but nothing seemed to satisfy the void in my heart. Every night, I came home and gave him all of my money. I had convinced myself that I didn’t deserve it anyway and I figured that the more dependent on me he was, the less likely he would be to leave me.”
A college student by day, Harmony continued to live a double life. “I began to lose sight of who I was, and became lost in make-up, stilettos, and the glare of stage lights. The fear of rejection and judgment kept me isolated from the outside world, until all of the people I had contact with were other strippers, costumers, and my abusive boyfriend. The isolation made it easier for him to control me. He dictated my every move. The emptiness I felt inside seemed infinite and my self-image continued to decline. Over the course of the next three years, being a stripper became my identity. My already tainted view of men seemed permanently damaged. I developed the notion that all men were inherently perverted and sick. I began to use stripping as a way to take back control of my sexuality. I finally felt like I had the upper hand. I learned to exploit for myself, the very thing that men had already exploited...my body. “In retrospect, I can see that God’s heart was deeply pained by my brokenness. He wanted nothing more than to extend his hand to me and show me my beauty and worth – to help me see the value I never saw in myself.” Then Harmony met a girl who was a Christian who showed her unconditional love for the first time. She started to go to church, even though she continued her life as an exotic dancer. But then one night the track ‘Purple Rain’ was played in the club – and it was a lifechanging moment for Harmony.
Harmony pict ured outside one of the many stri p clubs in he r city “It was the track I first auditioned to as a stripper thinking that it would only be for a few weeks. Now, here I was three years later, trapped.” She cried out to God and felt His promise that He would take care of her and not let her down - unlike all the people who had previously been close to her.
PURPOSE “At that moment I decided to quit stripping and never went back. God took the hollow and empty pit inside me that had been carved out by a lifetime of disappointment and despair, and He filled it with hope, love, and purpose.” While completing a Master’s Degree in Social Welfare in 2003, Harmony founded a charity called Treasures, as a dream born from her broken past and a heart healed by the love of God. The charity is an outreach and support for women in the sex industry and she and
others like her use their past experiences to reach other women caught up in the dangerous and demeaning world of stripping and prostitution. Harmony has told her story in Scars and Stillettos, a stark, honest and ultimately hopeful account of how God found her in that dark, noisy place and led her back out. Harmony is now a sought after speaker, has been featured widely in the media and on TV and was also chosen as Social Worker of the Year. Her website can be found at www.iamatreasure.com
HARMONY’S STORY Scars and Stilettos – the transformation of an exotic dancer is published by Monarch Books and retails at £7.99 ISBN: 978 1 85424 906 7
Harmony (back centre) with some of her Treasures volunteers
Spring 2010 Page 5
Good ideas? More likely God ideas!
NEVER ON A SUNDAY
God idea 2 - Braille GOOD IDEAS come from God, so ask Him for one. The world’s been blessed by those who did. One God-given idea can change so much. Braille surely did! In 1824, Louis Braille, a Christian, invented a system of raised dots on paper so that blind people could read. He invented 63 symbols representing every language, hence God’s Word was placed into the hands of the visually impaired for the first time. And communications? In part, you owe your mobile phone and your computer to a Christian named Samuel Morse. How differ• Louis Braille ent the world was before him! First-class news took two weeks to reach the USA. And reports of a major victory could take six weeks to reach Britain. One day a friend said, ‘Morse, when you were • Samuel Morse experimenting did you ever come to an absolute deadlock, not knowing what to do?’ Morse replied, ‘More than once.’ His friend asked, ‘What did you do then?’ Morse shared a secret, ‘I got down on my knees and prayed for light, and light came, and when my inventions were acknowledged by flattering honours from America and Europe, I said, ‘Not unto me, O Lord, not unto me, but unto Thy name give the glory.’” That’s why the first message sent by transatlantic cable read, ‘What God has wrought.’ Now add another Christian named Louis Pasteur, the French scientist who • Louis Pasteur showed us that infection is the result of things we cannot see, namely germs and viruses. He introduced sterilisation methods that eventually saved the lives of multitudes. Think God has run out of good ideas? Not a chance! Ask Him for one for your life, your ministry or your business!
‘...All peoples on earth will be blessed through you...’ Page 6
ONE of the new faces of the BBC’s football coverage refuses to work on a Sunday because he is a devout Christian. Dan Walker insists on observing the Lord’s Day even though there are top-flight matches almost every Sunday this season. Dan, 32, presents the popular Football Focus programme on BBC1 - but he won’t be covering Sunday games. Dan said: “When I first told the producers on a major radio station I wouldn’t work on a Sunday they told me I’d never get anywhere in broadcasting. “They thought the fact that I said on my CV that I wouldn’t work on a Sunday was some kind of joke. “When I explained I was a Christian, and why I felt the way I did, one of them just sat with his mouth open for about ten seconds. “It was a great job and they fully expected me to give up everything to work for them, but I wouldn’t - I didn’t get the job.
CHURCH ON SUNDAY “I take my faith quite seriously and not working on a Sunday is part of that. I don’t even watch football on a Sunday. Obviously as a professional I keep abreast of the scores but I spend Sunday at church and with my family. “An old boss of mine, John Pickford, told me if I wanted to stick to those principles I wasn’t just going to have to be good, I was going to have to be the best. “For anyone I’ve ever worked for as a sports presenter I’ve always said I’d do as good a job if not better than anyone they’d ever employ. “But I did always think the Football Focus job was one I’d never get because of my insistence, because it’s so high-profile.
DREAM COME TRUE “To be given it means even more for me because I’ve made my stand but still been handed this opportunity. I’ve grown up watching Football Focus, so now to be presenting the show really is a dream come true. “Sport has always been a big part of my life. When I was 12, and about 2ft taller than all the other kids, I was asked to play for quite a few teams. “The problem was all their games were on a Sunday. “I had only recently become a Christian and this was the first time I was confronted with the
Football Focus presenter sticks to his principles – and lands top TV sports job issue of how I should be spending my Sundays. I firmly believe God was using that experience, even at an early age, to prepare me for situations in the future when I would need much stronger convictions. “People often say it must be really hard to be a Christian and to do the work I do - I disagree. “I think my job puts me in the same situations everyone else faces. “The only difference is that people who work in the media are usually paid to have opinions so you can get involved in some heated debates. “Because of my stance I have been shouted at, insulted, stabbed in the back, laughed at and
ignored. But I have also worked with and met some great characters and been given plenty of opportunities to talk to people about the Lord Jesus Christ. “Many people - even Christians - have asked me why I feel so strongly about the Lord’s Day. “For me it seems quite obvious. God, our creator, has given it to us for our own good. Some will argue that Jesus Christ’s coming means we are no longer obligated to keep it special but I fundamentally disagree. “There are still ten commandments and it is more important than ever to guard the fourth one - remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”
Why Sunday is so special for Dan DAN WALKER gives some of the reasons why Sunday is important to him and why he won’t work on a Sunday. • Because I believe that the principle of setting aside one day in the week to worship and honour the God who made me and saved me goes right back to creation. It was a gift to all of us before sin even entered the world (Genesis 2.1-3). • Because I am persuaded that the principle of the Sabbath was laid down in God’s moral law and is still relevant (Exodus 20.8-11; Deuteronomy 5.14-15). The law of God has been written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31.33). • Because the Lord Jesus Christ Himself knew it was important. He went to the regular Sabbath meetings in the Jewish synagogue. In his teaching, he never undermined the principle but put it back where it belonged (Matthew 12.1-12; Mark 2.28). • Because it was observed by the New
Testament church and should be observed by all of God’s people. • Because I am persuaded it’s a blessing that will be forever enjoyed in heaven. (Hebrews 4.1-13). Revelation 7.9 is a picture of a perpetual Sabbath, given to those who rest from their labours (Rev 14.13), and whose eternity is spent in adoration of God in Christ (Rev 21.1-7, 22-3). • Because observing the Lord’s Day is a great privilege and brings with it loads of blessings. Some of the greatest of God’s promises, for example, about knowing the glory of God, enjoying Him and receiving blessing from Him go hand in hand with the idea of the Sabbath (e.g. Isaiah 58.13-14; Psalm 92). Over the years – and I’m talking centuries – keeping the Lord’s day has generally been one of the marks of God’s powerful working among his people. • Because it makes clear that my Saviour, Jesus Christ, deserves the very best of my time and energy.
PASSION OF CHRIST IN TRAFALGAR SQUARE
THOUSANDS of people are expected to attend a vast outdoor performance of the Passion of Christ in Trafalgar Square this Easter. Under the eye of Lord Nelson, a cast of more than 150 actors from the Wintershall Estate near Bramley, in Surrey, will act out the drama of Christ’s trial, crucifixion and resurrection. Organisers have promised the free event will give spectators a ‘’unique’’ chance to experience what it was like to be in Jerusalem on the first Good Friday with the audience hearing the crowds baying for Christ’s blood. The event will be staged on the afternoon of Good Friday, April 2, coinciding with the most solemn moment of the year for Christians when Jesus’ crucifixion is commemorated. Peter Hutley, owner of the Wintershall Estate, who has written and is producing the event, said it has received support from a range of Christian denominations. He said: ‘’I hope the play will bring faith in Christ to those who don’t know about him, remind those who do, and develop faith as the greatest gift that mankind can have.’’ Peter is well-known for his annual outdoor production of the Life of Christ which is staged each year in July at the Wintershall Estate and attracts thousands of spectators. The Trafalgar Square production will follow the traditional Passion outline of Christ’s trial and crucifixion at the hands of the Roman authorities and a baying mob. The modern day equivalents of sour-faced centurions might well be the legendary beings at Health and Safety, who have caused the organisers some soul-ache. “There are laws regarding the use of animals and children in theatre,” said the Passion’s director Ashley Herman. “It’s hard enough doing Oliver!, but when you get them into a public arena it’s a nightmare.” Peter Hutley and his Wintershall team have performed the Passion on Guildford High Street, so have experience of outdoor, street theatre and want to make use of Trafalgar Square’s unique opportunities. “Where do you do it? Which part? Underneath Nelson’s Column? What we had in mind was Jesus bursting out from between the lions,” said Hutley. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, who is backing the production, said: ‘’I am delighted that people from so many Christian denominations will be coming together to remind Londoners why the bank holiday of Good Friday is observed.’’
Lord Carey accuses politicians of bullying Christianity out of public life Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has accused politicians of trying to bully Christianity out of public life. He complained of a ‘strident and bullying campaign’ to marginalise Christianity in the name of political correctness. Lord Carey said: “We have reached the point where politicians are mocked for merely expressing their faith. ‘I cannot imagine any politician expressing concern that Britain should remain a Christian country. That reticence is a scandal and a disgrace to our history.’ The powerful intervention from the retired Archbishop, who stepped down from Lambeth Palace in 2002, comes in the wake of stronglyexpressed criticism of state attempts to sideline
Christianity from other senior prelates. Earlier this year the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said that Christianity was being pushed out of public life in a ‘ferocious and insidious’ manner. Lord Carey has raised a number of controversial matters since his retirement in a way he avoided while serving as the Anglican primate. In particular, he has backed limits to immigration, criticised Islamic theology, and attacked the ‘anything goes’ philosophy that has led judges to constrain public debate about the bad behaviour of celebrities for the sake of their privacy. He told a meeting in the House of Lords: “Christianity, which has given so much to our country, is now being sidelined as never before as though it is a stranger to our nation.” Lord Carey told Christians to stand up for
their faith and to be more assertive when their heritage is attacked. “If we behave like doormats, don’t be surprised if we are treated as though we are,” he said. “It is time to return to the public square.” Lord Carey echoed Dr Sentamu’s concerns that the rights of Christian schools to teach the basis of their faith is being stripped away.
MARGINALISING “This bullying campaign seeks to ban faith schools, despite evidence that faith schools perform better than many others.” He added: “It is clear that we must stand up against the marginalising of faith. “We must constantly remind society of its Christian roots and heritage.” Lord Carey was addressing a conference run by the Christian Broadcasting Council which
highlighted cases of individuals picked on for their Christian faith. They included teacher Olive Jones who lost her job last year after offering to pray for a 14-year-old cancer patient with whom she was working, and Caroline Petrie, a Somerset nurse suspended for offering to pray for a patient but then reinstated by NHS bosses following a public outcry. Speakers also cited Gary McFarlane, a Relate counsellor who lost his job after he declined to offer sex therapy to a gay couple. Olave Snelling, chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Council, said: ‘We have the duty of telling the stories of those suffering persecution for their faith overseas and now, it seems, in Great Britain also. ‘Pressure is building against Christians in what was once a Christian land.’
Spring 2010 Page 7
RINGO’S ROAD TO BEATLES drummer Ringo Starr, thas admitted he has ‘found God,’ after taking what he described as a winding life of enlightenment. The reformed rock legend admitted he had lost his way when he was younger, first as a Beatle then later after the group broke up. He experimented with LSD and marijuana when he was a Beatle in the 1960s, then later in the 1970s suffered alcohol and cocaine problems. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ringo, who is now teetotal and has quit his 60-a-day cigarette habit, said that religion was one of the most important aspects in his life.
How an old woman’s word came tru DENZEL WASHINGTON is one of Hollywood’s most successful and respected actors. But the two-time Academy Award winner (for 1989’s Glory and 2001’s Training Day) is also one of Hollywood’s highest profile Christians. The son of a Pentecostal preacher from Mount Vernon, New York, Washington, 55, has been an active member of West Angeles Church of God in Christ for nearly 30 years, reads his Bible every morning, and always chooses roles that he can ‘bend’ in the direction of a positive message or a reflection of his deep personal faith. In his latest movie Denzel Washington stars in The Book of Eli, as the keeper of the last Bible on Earth. Faith is everywhere in Washington’s new post-apocalyptic film which opened earlier this year and is being marketed with B-ELI-EVE and D-ELI-VER US billboards. In the movie, Washington plays a mysterious machete-wielding traveller named Eli, directed by God to protect the earth’s last remaining copy of the Bible—that’s right, the Bible—and to take it ‘out West’ for safekeeping while villains seek to take it by force and use it as a ‘weapon’ of control. Washington’s character in the film is intensely violent—severing the limbs of bad guys at every turn— but begins to soften when he meets an innocent girl (Mila Kunis) who reminds him that we Page 8
can get so caught up in protecting God’s Word that we sometimes forget to live by it. For Washington, ‘living by it’ is chiefly characterised by love and sacrifice. The ultimate message of Eli, he says, is ‘Do more for others than you would do for yourself.’ It’s a message Washington was surrounded by as a boy. “We prayed about everything, everyday,” Washington told members of the religious media during a recent interview in Los Angeles.
‘GOD IS LOVE’ “And we always ended with ‘Amen. God is love.’ I thought ‘God is love’ was one word. It took me a long time to learn what that meant. I don’t care what book you read or what you believe—if you don’t have love, if you don’t love your fellow man, then you don’t have anything.” Though Washington isn’t a huge fan of the word ‘religion’ and refrains from any sort of ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’ talk, he is not ashamed to speak bluntly about his Christian beliefs. “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God,” he says. “I’ve been filled with the Holy Spirit. I know it’s real. I was in the room. My cheeks blew up, I cried like a baby, and it scared me to death. It kind of scared me off it. I backed up and went the other direction, to be honest with you. I didn’t know what was going on. It was too strong. It has taken me many years to come back around.” Sitting in his house recently, reading the Bible (he’s on his third time reading the whole thing straight through), Washington came across a
‘LONG AND WINDING O FAITH’ “I feel the older I get, the more I’m learning to handle life. Being on this quest for a long time, it’s all about finding yourself,” Ringo told the newspaper during an inteview at the Grammy Museum event in Los Angeles after recording his new album Y Not. “For me, God is in my life. I don’t hide from that ... I think the search has been on since the ‘60s. “I stepped off the path there for many years and found my way back onto it, thank God.
Ringo, who is a vegetarian, is married to former Bond girl Barbara Bach and now splits his time between homes in the USA, UK, and Monaco. In the interview he said it was far easier approaching 70. “Forty was: ‘Oh, God, 40!,” he said. “There’s that damn song, Life Begins at 40. No, it’s not so big any more. “I am nearly 70, and I’d love to be nearly 40, but that’s never going to happen. Working as producer for the first time on his new album. Ringo got some help from old bandmate Paul McCartney and admits the experience is a milestone for him in a couple of respects. It’s the first time in his halfcentury career he’s taken the wheel as producer, in addition to singing, drumming and co-writing most of its songs. He’ll be singing
some of those songs during his next All-Starr Band tour, during which he’ll become the first Beatle to turn 70, on July 7. Y Not doesn’t vary greatly from the approach he’s taken through much of his solo career: lots of collaborations with high-profile musician friends, some lightweight rockers that give him the opportunity to exercise his well-honed chops behind the drum kit and a couple of meatier numbers that let the man of a thousand quips touch on the matters of the spirit that mean the most to him. “You can be serious in a good up way,” Ringo said. “I think this record has captured where I’m trying to be musically and as a writer. My spirits are high.” As the years roll by,” he said, “I think spiritual issues are more prominent.” On Y Not, that manifests in Peace Dream, which name checks Lennon and reiterates his message from Imagine. On 2008’s Liverpool 8 it showed up in the unflinchingly direct ballad Love Is and R U Ready, a country gospel rave up about the universality of spiritual yearning.
ue for super star Denzel Washington I can get better. I can learn to love more. I can learn to be more understanding. I can gain more wisdom.” The marketing campaign includes all sorts of religious language. Like his character in The Book of Eli, Washington believes in prophetic calling and tries to make the most of what he believes God has given him to work with.
passage about wisdom and understanding in Proverbs 4, which made him reflect on his life. “I’m in this big house with all this stuff,” he observed. “I’ve heard that saying, ‘You never see a trailer behind a hearse.’ You can’t take it with you. The Egyptians tried; they got robbed. I said, ‘What do you want, Denzel?’
DEVOTIONAL “And one of the devotional words that day was wisdom. So I started praying on that. ‘God, give me a dose of that.’ I can’t get any more successful. But
In his case, worldwide fame and one of the most successful acting careers of his generation. Washington recalls a story from when he was 20 years old that demonstrates how intimately he relates his faith with his career. The day was March 27, 1975, and Washington— who had just been kicked out of school—was sitting in his mother’s beauty parlour. An old woman who was under the dryer kept looking at Washington and then asked him for a piece of paper, on which she shakily wrote the word ‘prophecy.’ The woman was named Ruth Green, one of the oldest church members in the town, known to have a gift of prophecy. That day she said to Washington, ‘Boy, you are going to travel the world and speak to millions of people.’
Spring 2010 Page 9
Prayer is so p Former Casualty star talks candidly about his battle against cancer and the importance of his faith... ACTOR Simon MacCorkindale, best known for his role as a consultant in BBC TV’s hit series Casualty, has talked frankly about his battle with cancer and the importance of his faith. Simon, who is married to actress Susan George, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2006, undergoing an operation to remove part of his bowel during a two-week Casualty filming break. It was thought to have been cured, but a year later the cancer spread to his lungs. Simon continued working during treatment, but publicly
revealed the disease was incurable in November 2009. Susan and Simon run a successful stud farm on Exmoor in Somerset where they breed Arabian horses. “It’s a very outdoorsy life and we love it,” said Susan. “We’ll ride out together and go for long walks, and there surely can’t be better therapy than that.” Simon and Susan recently gave an in-depth interview to Hello magazine in which they talked about his battle with cancer and how their belief in God was giving them the strength to fight on. Simon said in the article: “Both Susan and I are very spiritual. We both very much believe in God. We look at the things that have happened
Actor Simon MacCorkindale appearing in the stage production of Sleuth and think ‘How are we going to cope with this?’ then, miraculously a door appears to open. But you have to be open, free and ready to receive; things do then happen.” Susan said: “It’s about knowing God is in our house and trusting in him. He’s with us every day and walks with us every day.” Asked if his faith helped to carry him through his darkest days Simon said: “If someone says they are going to pray for me, I think it’s the greatest gift they can give.
AMAZING “When people write that they are praying for us, it’s the most glorious thing you can hear. That someone takes the care and trouble to sit down and write it, let alone follow it through, it is amazing.” Simon told the magazine that there he has no fear of the unknown, given that he has been told that he may only have five years to live. Determined to confound the medical prognosis he said: “The power of prayer is massive. One must never forget that people can and do get rid Page 10
of this thing. Faith has got an awful lot to do with it and as much as it’s bad luck in getting it, there’s good luck in getting rid of it.” Simon said that when he was told his illness was terminal ‘it was like being hit by a truck.’ “I’m quite strong, but I have to say that it did take my breath away. I kept stopping and thinking ‘what have I just heard?’ Then I sat in the car for 20 minutes wondering ‘how am I going to deal with this?’ I thought it through and then decided ‘Okay, this is what we do next.’ “There were days working on Casualty which were seriously bizarre. Maybe there was some synchronicity between playing a doctor on TV for six years and getting a disease I could talk about at some point and perhaps be of use to sufferers. Maybe this is what it’s all about.” Susan said: “I want to say something very important...Simon is not dying of cancer, he’s living with it.” Simon added: “Both Susie and I believe in the Jewish proverb: ‘When God shuts a door, he opens a window.”
precious says actor Simon “If someone says they are going to pray for me, I think it’s the greatest gift they can give” TV REPORTER UNDERLINES THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER IN HIS OWN FIGHT WITH CANCER SKY TV reporter Colin Brazier has emphasised the importance of prayer in his own battle with cancer. Brazier, wo followed the 2003 Iraq war and passed through areas where birth defects have since been occurring has revealed that he is now fighting cancer. In an article in the Mail on Sunday he said that he had been exposed to hazardous chemicals during his time in Iraq and may have been contaminated with depleted uranium. A small pea-sized lump under the skin near the hairline on the right side of his forehead has been diagnosed as lymphatic cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Coming to terms with the diagnosis and weeks of treatment, Brazier talked about the reaction of others to his cancer. “Over the past few months I have had many kind expressions of support. They have all been appreciated even as they reveal how our post-Christian culture struggles with what we used to call ‘Last Things.’ “My mother and sister lit candles, while one friend organised prayers for my recovery to be said by Carmelite nuns at a convent in Lancashire. “But the non-believers were sometimes tongue-tied. ‘I’ve been thinking about you’ does not offer the succour that comes when somebody says you are in their prayers.”
Simon MacCorkindale with his actress wife Susan George
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Spring 2010 Page 11
CD REVIEWS thebandwithnoname The4Points:The Best Of thebandwithnoname This then is the end of the chapter that has been TBWNN, is it really nearly a decade? With their unique fusion of hip-hop, rock and dance they have become one the most effective bands working in British youth culture.With studio maestro Zarc Porter ensuring that the beats are truly thunderous the band, in each of its incarnations, have refused to be pigeonholed in their style and have released three truly great albums. Chip K has, of course, been ever present in the line-up while, as this compilation demonstrates, there were masterly contributions from past members such as rapper MC Presha and singer The Bobsta. What you get here is probably right in being credited ‘the best’ and includes all of my favourites such as Amazing Grace, Without You Within Me,The Best Thing and my all time favourite the anthemic Home. The new songs are typical TBWNN: “The 4points” is typically brilliant using an unexpected fragment of the classic Oh Happy Day. The other new recordings Heroes Fall and Space Cadet deviate a bit from the usual TBWNN sound but work perfectly. So we sadly say goodbye to TBWNN.This essential compilation is a reminder of how much they will be missed.
Music Reviews supplied by Cross Rhythms, the UK’s leading Christian music voice. For more than 20,000 reviews, music news, articles, online radio and shop visit www.crossrhythms.co.uk The Rend Collective Experiment - Organic Family Hymnal This collective are a group of 15 or so young people with a singular vision, ‘to make journey music that talks from the heart and tries to follow God’s heart’.They seek to make music ‘grown in a natural environment without the use of nasty pesticides’.The songs presented here range from brass and piano filled sing-a-longs such as the infectious Exalt to the simple bucolic charm of Love Divine and God Is Near. Recorded at Castlewellan Castle and mixed by Sam Gibson, who has worked with big names including Delirious?, the album’s clean, radio friendly production is sure to win it plenty of airplay. Particular standouts are American worship radical David Crowder joining with the collective on Faithful and the pounding Thine Be The Glory (not the old hymn) which moves confidently into rock territory. Expect to hear a lot more about this exciting ensemble in 2010 and beyond.
Sanctus Real - Pieces Of A Real Heart
Toby Mac - Tonight More or less a direct sequel to ‘Portable Sounds’, this demonstrates that the one-time dc Talk man has found the perfect rock/pop/R&B/hiphop hybrid with which to communicate spiritual truth yet exudes youth culture radio-friendly accessibility.The driving and eminently catchy title track opener, featuring guest John Cooper from Skillet, is a great vocal pairing while ShowStopper demonstrates again Toby’s love of old school funk.Toby’s ability to create tuneful lines which naggingly stay in the mind is exemplary while his lyric writing goes for the spiritual jugular with incisive wit. One of the album’s many highlights is Hey Devil which sees the ever-eclectic Toby moving into a previously unexplored music form: 80s alt-pop.The rhythm is hypnotic while the lyric cleverly portrays our struggles with Satan’s temptations(‘Shuffled down the boulevard/Cut me like a deck of cards/I thought you had me/You thought that you had me/But hey Devil, go on, get your junk outta here, I don’t need you’).There are plenty of other delights here, choppy funk rock on Changed Forever, an engaging go at reggae on Break Open The Sky while Wonderin’ is a delightful mix of charming piano-based beats by Relient K’s Matt Theissen with Toby’s raps.
This is the bands fifth release with Sparrow Records and is gladly received with its thickly textured music and use of extra instruments in some of the tracks - eg the pizzicato strings on Lead Me and the piano pattern on the introduction of Keep My Heart Alive. As has become common in some more modern music the vocals have a somewhat over auto-tuned feel in places which is a shame as Matt Hammitt is highly regarded as one of the best rock singers on the current Christian scene. The lead guitar on some tracks is very effective and takes on a similar role to that of a keyboard in places like the introduction to I Want To Get Lost and I’ll Show You How To Live.The songs on this album are, in the main, excellent, with insightful lyrics and memorable hooks, though over the span of the album some sound a bit similar to each other. If there was more variation between them this would add to the listening pleasure.
Newworldson - Newworldson Two years on from the release of their hit-making debut Salvation Station this set shows that the tours with the Newsboys and exposure to an ever growing international fanbase have bolstered their confidence and songwriting to even higher levels. Musically NWS offer a blend of retro-tinged rock and funk laid on a foundation of world music influences ranging from Cuban samba to roots reggae to Latin salsa. Rich Moore (bass) and Mark Rogers (drums) are a spectacular and imaginative rhythm section, providing a solid framework from which Joel Parisen (vocals/keys) and Josh Toal (guitar) hang some cracking riffs, solos and musical flourishes. Party songs like That’s Exactly (How I Like It) and You Set The Rhythm are bound to become live favourites. If comparisons are helpful then imagine Salvador hooking up with Maroon 5 and The Spin Doctors, with a back up band made up of Jamie Cullum and the Buena Vista Social Club - it really is that diverse over its 12 tracks, but never feels fragmented or too broad. If there’s a more thrilling CCM album released in 2010 I’ll be amazed.
Nearly one million different people visited the Cross Rhythms website last year, making it one of the most popular Christian websites in the UK and among the top sites of its kind in the world. The website includes music reviews, testimonies, prayer rooms, reflections on life and life issues and an online shop. Visit www.crossrhythms.co.uk
VOICE OF Politics and faith ith a General Election due in a matter of weeks, the country faces a huge shake up of politics.
Regardless of which party wins the election there will be the biggest ever change of MPs in the House of Commons for over half a century. In fact, over half of the country’s elected representatives could be new to Westminster. It provides Christians of all denominations with the opportunity to find out from their local prospective parliamentary candidates – and sitting MPs – what they believe about such key issues as the sanctity of life, the importance of marriage and the need for religious freedom. It is particularly encouraging to know that Christian Concern for Our Nation (CCFON) have launched ‘Christians and Candidates’ which will involve the former Bishop of Rochester Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali hosting a series of General Election Hustings across England in order to help local Christians question candidates for Westminster seats. The evening events, being planned with co-operation of the main political parties will be held in partnership with local church leaders and will run from 17-30 April, although dates and venues may vary according to when the Prime Minister announces the long-expected date. It is hoped that these meetings will act as a catalyst, encouraging local churches nationwide to provide similar forums for meaningful interactions between Christians and parliamentary candidates. We applaud this initiative and encourage everyone – Christians and non-Christians alike – to find out more about their candidates or to attend Christians and Candidates meetings in their area. There is a special website where people can find out more about the meetings and when they are being held. It can be found at www.christiansandcandidates.org. We recommend that you visit it regularly!
Spot on, sir! ongratulations to the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey for speaking out against the increasing marginalisation of Christianity in society today. In a powerful address at a Christian Broadcasting Council conference in Westminster Lord Carey warned that if Christians behave like doormats then they will be treated like doormats. It was time, he said, to return to the public square and fight for the rights that we used to enjoy in our Christian country. The timing of his speech, a few weeks ahead of the forthcoming General Election, was spot on.
Golfer Paul Azinger faced the biggest challenge of his life WORLD CLASS golfers like Paul Azinger have to cope with plenty of highs and lows in their careers. One of his greatest triumphs was captaining the US Ryder Cup team to a famous victory over Great Britain and Europe in 2008. But his darkest moment came when he discovered at the age of 33 that the nagging pain in his shoulder was cancer. Paul said: “I had been having trouble again with nagging pain in my right shoulder. My doctor, one of the premier sports physicians in the world, had operated on my shoulder in 1991, and wanted a biopsy as soon as possible.” Paul talked the doctor into letting him compete in several top tournaments returning months later for the tests. “The doctor seemed irritated for letting me talk him out of doing a biopsy earlier as my shoulder was red-hot to touch. “As I dressed, for the first time I felt a stab of fear. Come on, Zinger, I reproached myself. It’s probably nothing. “When my wife Toni and I went back to see the doctor, I dispensed with the usual pleasantries. ‘How am I?’ I blurted out. He looked me right in the eye. ‘Paul, you have cancer.’ “One simple word. Cancer. Impossible. It was a good thing I was sitting. Toni gripped my hand and I rocked back and forth in my chair, shaking my head. “I had been worried about my career, not about dying. Suddenly everything had changed. “Paul, if the cancer is still localized, then
‘I had been worried about my career not about dying’ it is treatable.” Something like a silent explosion overwhelmed me. “I put my head in my hands. I thought about Toni and the girls, about our life. I thought about golf. Dear Lord, help me. I’m scared to death! “Toni and I had become Christians back in the days when we were bouncing around the country in our old camper— happy, carefree, uncomplicated days, they seemed now. “Sometimes it is when you have the least that you are most aware of how much the Lord provides. We always managed to put enough food in our mouths and gas in the camper. We took turns driving and reading
aloud from the Bible.” Reeling from the shock news Paul and his family attended a local church. “The big room was full and smelled of cut flowers. There was a fire in the air, a spiritual charge I could feel throughout me. I felt I was face to face with God, and an excitement I hadn’t felt in
years came over me. “I knew that Christ wanted not just my cancer, or my golf, or my fears about my family, but all of it— my whole life, if only I would give it to him and recommit myself to faith. I need you now more than ever, Lord, I whispered silently.” Paul underwent an
intensive course of chemotherapy, returning to his home in Florida between the monthly treatments. The phone rang regularly with wellwishers, including President Bush and even arch rival Greg Norman. “Then one morning while I was getting ready for the day
something happened. I was standing in my bedroom praying, wondering in the back of my mind what would happen if I didn’t get better. “The sun was forcing its way through the blinds when suddenly a powerful feeling swelled over me like a huge, gently rolling wave lifting my feet off the sandy bottom of the sea. I stopped everything I was doing and experienced an incredible, peacegiving sensation. “I knew that God was with me; I felt absolutely assured that I would be okay. It wasn’t that God told me what would happen next, or that the cancer would go away. I simply felt positive I was in his complete and loving care no matter what.” Paul Azinger made a full recovery and went on to compete in a number of top tournaments around the world, crowning his career with the Ryder Cup victory in 2008.
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Want to become a Christian now? IF HAVING read this paper you’ve decided you want to become a Christian just say these words: “Jesus, I want to do things your way from now on – come into me and make me a new person. “I’m sorry for all the bad stuff I’ve done – please forgive me. I am going to try – with your help – to live the life you intended for me. “Thank you for loving me and never giving up on me.” It’s as easy as that – we promise. Welcome to the best life in the world! If you’ve done that please let us know by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org WINNERS... Brazilian skipper Lúcio celebrates his match-winning goal against the United States in the Confederations Cup Brazilian captain Lúcio will be one of many born-again Christian players who will be heading for South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. In many people's eyes it is almost a foregone conclusion that he will be lifting the trophy at the end of the tournament. The talented defender has already experienced World Cup success, having been a member of the team which won the coveted trophy in 2002. Last year Lúcio helped Brazil to success in the 2009 Confederations Cup scoring the gamewinning goal in the 84th minute against the United States. Lúcio converted on a header from an Elano corner-kick which beat American goalkeeper Tim Howard.
FIFA RECORD In the 2006 FIFA World Cup, he set a FIFA record by playing 386 consecutive minutes without committing a foul, a streak which was finally broken in Brazil's 1–0 quarter-final loss to France. In August 2006, Lúcio was appointed as captain by current Brazil manager Dunga. Lucio is an evangelical Christian, and frequently talks about the way his faith sustains his life in professional football. Lucio is a frequent goal-scorer but this has led to some criticism that he is neglecting his defensive duties. He is at peace. “I give thanks to God for the goals I have scored. I don’t go out looking for goals because I play in the defense, but equally in the game there are opportunities. When it happens that I am able to score it helps my team. “Before I became a footballer, my mother took me to an evangelical Church in Brasilia and I immediately felt that I belonged there.
work of the Lord in my life guarding me, protecting me and keeping me for the big future blessings. “Anyone who thinks that he has everything and doesn’t have Jesus has nothing. The one who has Jesus has happiness and peace. “With Jesus in your heart you need have no fear. That is the person who has everything in life. I think that is most important. “The most important thing in a game of football is to give your all and do things in a responsible way because for sure the victories will come, but there will also be defeats. Anyone who steps onto the playing-field is subject to handle any result. “When you lose there is a need to analyse why. I don’t think there is any reason to lose hope just because you lose a football match. After all in any game three results are possible – a win, a defeat or a draw.
OPPORTUNITIES “Anyone who plays football has to accept that and work to achieve the best possible result. Aside from the result, there are opportunities to grow in your profession. “You need a lot of character and a lot of faith in God to be a professional footballer. It is a difficult thing to be a professional football player, but we have an obligation and a task inside football.
“It is difficult because we have to deal with unpleasant moments, rejection, and humiliation in football. We have to have strength to fight and conquer these difficulties, and above all to spread the Word of God. “There is a passage in Psalm 1 in the Bible that says: 'Blessed is the man who refuses evil advice and will not follow sinners or join in sneering at God. He is like a tree growing beside a stream which produces fruit in season.’ “I think this verse reflects my life because everything happened at the right moment. I also had that discernment of the Lord and His guidance in keeping me from sneering at God. “I think that it is important in the life of the professional football player to know that there is only one road that is secure. That road is Jesus.”
“Anyone who thinks that he has everything and doesn’t have Jesus has nothing. The one who has Jesus has happiness and peace” LÚCIO
“I somehow knew God had forgiven me for all the bad stuff in my life.”
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DISCIPLINE “It was here that I realised my need of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and committed my life to follow him. Being a Christian has helped my football career and given me more discipline and success. “Becoming a Christian brought about a total change in my life. Before I knew Jesus I did not have a disciplined life. I had low self-esteem. I did not have confidence in the things that I did day by day. “Today I don’t only want to walk with the Lord, but also, to be more disciplined and persevere towards my objectives. “When things don’t work out, I don’t understand it but after it is over, I regard it as a
Brazilian captain Lúcio on football, the World Cup and his deep-rooted faith in God...
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Spring 2010 Page 15
Berbatov keeps his eye on the title – and the Bible STRIKER Dimitar Berbatov is playing a key role as Manchester United battle out the Premiership title race with rivals Chelsea and Arsenal.
HIGH-FLYING... Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov is playing a big part in Man Utd’s bid to capture the Premiership title again
Mensah’s test of faith as he considers his future at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light TOUGH TACKLING defender John Mensah may face an uncertain future at Premiership football club Sunderland – but the big Ghanaian knows that his destiny is in God's hands. Sunderland manager Steve Bruce recently warned that Mensah - known as the ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ – needs surgery to deal with his long-term injury problems. But the Ghanaian player believes he would not be where he is today without his deep-rooted faith in God and has committed himself to following God's way. Mensah says he would like to extend his stay on Wearside but admits his future at the club remains up in the air. The 'Rock' is on loan from Lyon until the end of the season and has Page 16
impressed fans with his unflappable style and knack for making important and timely challenges. His performance in the 1-1 home draw against Manchester City in March was described as ‘outstanding.’ Mensah's injury problems have been well documented and his run of starts against Arsenal, Fulham and Bolton marked the first time he has played three games in a row this season. But the Ghanaian international says the medical staff have played a big part in getting him fit again. It seems Lyon may be willing to let the player go at the right price and Mensah revealed he'd be happy to stay if a suitable deal could be agreed. “Well for me I've been to many clubs and I cannot say I have to stay or I have to go,” he said. "I like Sunderland. They treat
John Mensah...destiny in God’s hands
But while the Bulgarian target man may have his eyes firmly on the Premiership title, he’s also got a firm focus on the Bible. Some people might consider a Christian playing for the ‘Red Devils’ to be a contradiction in terms, but Berbatov, appears to be pulling it off. With 10 goals to his name by the middle of March, Berbatov is the club’s second-highest scorer behinds the prolific Wayne Rooney. To the surprise of many football fans the striker, who joined the club in a controversial move from Spurs in September 2008, claims to be a firm believer in the Bible and its teachings. This unexpected disclosure came to light when Berbatov was discussing his prospective relationship with United skipper, Alex Ferguson, before he joined the club. He claimed Sir Alex would get on with him because, being a Christian, he never swears. It’s a wellknown fact that the manager cannot stand to hear offensive language on the pitch. Talking about bad language, he told a UK newspaper: ‘This is a matter of good upbringing. I don’t swear in my daily life.’ This rule, he says, affects the way he speaks and behaves. ‘I try to do everything with style, not only in football,’ the player claims. ‘And if I manage to give any positive examples, then that’s great.’ Whilst he has been criticised in the past for his apparently sulky demeanour, it seems there could well be another side to Berbatov. Although he admits that he has been hot-headed at times, the Bulgarian international says he has been able to put many bad habits behind him as he has matured, and that one of the most important
influences in his life is the Bible. Talking about his younger years, he says: ‘I’ve done many stupid things because of my stubbornness, only because I didn’t want to listen to my parents’ advice. And it always turned out they were right.’ His faith in God and in the Bible, which he considers to be a valuable life manual, appears to have had a very positive impact on him. “I am religious and I take the Bible everywhere with me.” he reveals. “There are many good pieces of advice for those like me in the Bible.”
20 PAIRS OF BOOTS Berbatov was deeply into sport at an early age, and did particularly well in running and long jump as a youngster, although football has always been his passion. It is a little known fact that the first club he played for, Bulgarian side, Pirin Blagoevgrad, sold him to CSKA Sofia for 20 pairs of football boots. From that point on, his career has gone from strength to strength, as his evergrowing transfer fees reflect. He joined Bayer Leverkusen for £1.6 million in 2001 before moving to Tottenham for £10.9 million in the summer of 2006. However, it was the sky-high price tag Manchester United put on him that really made the headlines; the club eventually paid out £30.75 million for the striker. And Berbatov has experienced a good deal of success so far during his career. He was part of the team that won the Bulgarian Cup in 1999 and the Spurs team that won the Carling Cup in 2007/08. Since joining United, he has helped his team lift the Premier League trophy and the FIFA Club World Cup. Meanwhile, off the field, he appears to be putting his faith into action by reaching out to thers. He is a dedicated supported of a children’s charity in Bulgaria that runs five care homes. The player has also said that he is hoping to open a football academy in his hometown to help young aspiring footballers develop their skills.
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Editor: Chris Girdler LOCAL DETAILS: me well and make me happy. The physios work hard on my fitness and give me more confidence to come back fit and give everything possible for the team. “I don't feel anything bad and I am happy to stay, but that depends on my agent, the club and the manager.”
While he has the utmost respect for his manager, John Mensah believes God is ultimately in control of his destiny. He will be praying that he is fit enough to play for his native Ghana now that they have qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa this summer.