INSIDE: Apostolic Church Jesus in the capital Inside story
Slaves of all A UK JESUS PEOPLE MAGAZINE from the Multiply Network and Jesus Fellowship/modern JESUS army (mJa) www.jesus.org.uk
Jesus Life Three/2007 Page 1
INTO UNCHARTED TERRAIN Deb Stockley’s journey into celibacy
THE PROPHETIC WORD Apostolic Church
PASSION FROM THE PAST Aidan and Alopen: Apostles
3-4 Church Alive 8 Electronic Postbag 14-16 Jesus In The Capital 17-21 Multiply Christian Network 22-23 Spiritual Search - Carmino 27-28 Inside Story 29 Radical Bites 30-31 Rant & Rave
JESUS CENTRES London Jesus Centre opening
THE JESUS FELLOWSHIP CHURCH, which is also known as the Jesus Army and includes the New Creation Christian Community, upholds the historic Christian faith, being reformed, evangelical and charismatic. It practises believer’s baptism and the New Testament reality of Christ’s Church; believing in Almighty God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit; in the full divinity, atoning death and bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ; in the Bible as God’s word, fully inspired by the Holy Spirit. This Church desires to witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over and in His Church; and, by holy character, righteous society and evangelical testimony to declare that Jesus Christ, Son of God, the only Saviour, is the way, the truth and the life, and through Him alone can we find and enter the kingdom of God. This church proclaims free grace, justification by faith in Christ and the sealing and sanctifying baptism in the Holy Spirit.
RANT AND RAVE - mJa members speak out!
© 2007 Jesus Fellowship Church, Nether Heyford, Northampton NN7 3LB, UK. Editor James Stacey. Reproduction in any form requires written permission. The Jesus Fellowship does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in articles and interviews printed in this magazine. Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, a member of the Hodder headline Plc Group. All rights reserved. Photographs in this magazine are copyright Jesus Fellowship Church unless otherwise noted. The Jesus Fellowship is part of Multiply Christian Network. Both the Jesus Fellowship and Multiply Christian Network are members of the Evangelical Alliance UK. Jesus Fellowship Life Trust Registered Charity number 1107952.
Jesus Life One/2007 Page 2
Comments from Noel Stanton and members of the Apostolic Team, Jesus Fellowship UK/mJa
A LA LIIVV EE
Slaves of all
The strength of meekness
THE NEW TESTAMENT warns of the danger of having spiritual gifts without love. Charismatic Christians can be guilty of this. The gifts are there, but where is the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Among the virtues produced through the fullness of the Spirit is meekness or humility. Jesus says “I am meek and lowly in heart.” He came to “serve” and to “give His life”. He made it clear that only the meek will “inherit the earth”. Humility, Jesus said, must be the character of His followers. The humble would be lifted, the proud would be humiliated. The ﬁrst would be the last, and the last ﬁrst. The poor would rise, the rich would fade.
His was a radical revolutionary word which overturns the norms of society. And He showed this by the poverty and humility of His own life and lifestyle. So meekness is not weakness. Meekness is spiritual character, spiritual strength. The meek have nothing to prove. They are relaxed and conﬁdent, able to take their place and play their part in the service of Jesus. They can be very gifted but have learned that to be effective they must be meek, servant-hearted. The meek are never over-sensitive or defensive. They are always of a teachable spirit. They never grumble, never complain. They live “cruciﬁed with Christ”, with Christ living through them.
YES, SLAVES and servants of all! And that means servants of those who are with us in the church and servants of those around us in society, who need the good news that Jesus saves. The New Testament tells us to be servant-hearted, slaves of all. Jesus said it! Paul said it! And Jesus demonstrated servanthood in His compassion for people and in the way He washed the feet of His disciples. Our cover picture shows the washing of feet at a recent mJa event. For us it symbolises our desire to serve, and to show love. Jesus said we must imitate Him by loving one another as He loves: His new commandment. This love must be shown in our servanthearted willingness to share our lives with one another. And as Jesus said,
those who are ﬁrst (as leaders) in His church can only be genuine leaders if they are the best slaves or servants. You don’t have to be upper class, wealthy, top in your profession, or to have a good education, to be “great” in serving Jesus in the church. Those with little to show in human achievement can become alive in the Holy Spirit, with a servant-heartedness and love for people which gives them authority for leadership. The call of Jesus is always to selfdenial, to take up our cross with Him. We are to die to the “old self” with all its pride, deceit, envy and jealousy. And this “old self” death, followed by our “rising with Him” is made real in our baptism in water (burial) and our baptism in the Spirit
They show the new spirit and new heart which became theirs through new birth. Long ago George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, put it like this: “I knew Jesus, and He was very precious to my soul: but I found something in me that would not keep sweet and patient and kind. I did what I could to keep it down but it was there. I besought Jesus
(rising). And at the same time the Holy Spirit baptises us into Christ’s body, His Church. And so churches become energised with God’s love in a powerful, committed brotherhood displaying real, sharing servanthood. “Slaves of all” means friendship evangelism among people of all ages and all kinds we meet in streets, homes, pubs and clubs. The Jesuslike serving heart empathises with the needs of people and shows them how their guilt can be removed, their hurts healed and their loneliness replaced by real love and friendship. Yes, let’s be like Jesus, full of compassion toward people, letting them know that Christianity is not dogma but living, servanthearted love.
to do something for me, and when I gave Him my will, He came to my heart and took out all that would not be sweet, all that would not be kind, all that would not be patient, and then He shut the door.” Noel Stanton heads up the Jesus Fellowship’s apostolic team. He lives in a New Creation Christian Community house in Northamptonshire. more overleaf
Jesus Life Three/2007 Page 3
THE SUCCESS of the ministry of Jesus was largely a result of two contrasting aspects of His life and work uniting together. It was if ‘two arms’ were in operation. The ﬁrst arm was one of prophetic life. Jesus spoke the clear word of God that revealed, uncovered, convicted and illuminated. He broke through the hard places, challenged the religious hypocrisy of His
time and disturbed the settled norms. But His life also reﬂected His words, demonstrating the power of an alternative way of living. He was uncomfortable to be with but He opened up new ways to those around Him. The second arm was His compassion. He understood the outcast and rejected, reached out to the marginalised and abandoned and loved all kinds of people. He identiﬁed with
broken humanity and brought healing grace to many wounded people. Touching lepers, letting a prostitute wash His feet, weeping over the city that rejected Him, deeply concerned for the ‘sheep without a shepherd’ – all showed care in action. The combination of these two arms produced a powerful ‘prophetic compassion’ that impacted lives. Combining truth and love in His life ands words,
Expose to expel
IN OUR ROOF garden, what had been strong healthy plants had begun to wither and die. On investigation I discovered vine-weevil grubs eating the roots and adults eating the leaves. Shining a torch on them at night when they were active – to expose and then expel them – proved most effective! In a similar way God has been exposing those things which prevent us from being spiritually healthy and fruitful: deep soul issues and demonic oppressions have been exposed by the searchlight of the Holy Spirit. It can be uncomfortable, but the reason is that they might be dealt with. Healing
prayer and a renewed understanding and practice of deliverance ministry have resulted in a new-found freedom and fruitfulness for some. It will take faith and courage as we pray together for a greater anointing in the Holy Spirit to allow Him to continue to expose and to expel so that we might become more effective disciples of Jesus. Steve Calam is a member of the Jesus Fellowship’s apostolic team. He lives in a New Creation Christian Community house in central London.
SINCE THE last Jesus Life we’ve had two Festival Weekends with lots of blessings. London Day in June was a great time with a colourful mJa march followed by the three-hour festival at Trafalgar Square. In early August came the first RAW (Real and Wild) event run by our younger people. It ran for three days and was described as “awesome”! Sadly we have to report that our Liverpool leader, Dave Brown, was killed in a motorway accident last April. Lots of grief, and a united time of thanksgiving for Dave before we committed his body to the grave in our burial ground. Please join us for our coming events see back cover. Also, we’re running a nationwide New Friends Course (similar to Alpha) from 3 October to 14 November. Do contact us if you would like to join us or if we could help you in any way. Our thanks for all your love and prayers. The Apostolic Team, Jesus Fellowship Church UK. JL
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He made a deep impression on all He encountered – He just couldn’t be ignored! More than ever, such a combination is very much needed in the ministry of the Church today to ensure that lives are changed in a lasting way. Huw Lewis is a member of the Jesus Fellowship’s apostolic team. He lives in a New Creation Christian Community house in Kettering, Northamptonshire.
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Apostolic postolic Church hurch
Jesus Fellowship apostolic team leader Noel Stanton reflects on Paul’s approach to building church, as demonstrated in 1 Corinthians. And he applies the principles he finds there to apostolic church today. WE SEE Jesus Fellowship Church as an apostolic church; as a key church in the UK, called to impact the nation with the gospel of Jesus Christ, to win souls and build them into a New Testament lifestyle. But what does it mean to be an “apostolic” church, to have an “apostolic” heart? We can learn a lot by reading Paul’s apostolic letters such as his ﬁrst letter to the Corinthians.
Called It was a letter written to “the church of God at Corinth” by one “called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:2). Corinth, we ﬁnd as we read, was in fact a messy church with many problems which Paul had to address. But it was still “the church of God”. Apostolic church is not perfect church! But it is church with called and visionary leaders and it is church that is “sanctiﬁed” (1:2), set apart to belong to God. Apostolic leadership will create church like this; they
Jesus Life Three/2007 Page 5
V V V V
Are you prepared to be a slave to the rough-andready lads in street gangs? Are you prepared to be a slave to the elderly woman next door? Are you prepared to be a slave to that young couple with a baby and a chaotic life?
Continued from overleaf
will impart “grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1:3). Grace and peace are not just words – they are power, imparted and received for the strengthening of the church. Apostolic churches will know this power – a power that comes from the cross.
Cross The cross will always be central to an apostolic church. It was central to Jesus’ teaching. He said: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24) It was central to Paul’s message: Christ sent him to proclaim the gospel – “not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:17-18) Apostolic church will have at its heart the call of the Cross: die to your old life. Go against the ﬂow of the world. Do not seek the world’s education: what has all the wisdom of the world produced? Injustice, war, gun crime on the increase, a consumer society based on greed. The power of apostolic church does not come from natural talents or education, but from the “foolishness” of the cross. Those who have let the cross work in their own life will be able to release its power in others.
Cultivated Apostolic church grows. It has growth power because “God gives the growth” (3:6 RSV). Its leaders are “servants assigned a particular task by the Lord”: some “plant” church, some “water” it – but God makes it grow. Leaders of this kind of church dare not say, “We have the Holy Spirit but we cannot grow the church”. They are humble, they cultivate faith, believe in God – and grow the church.
Captives Such leaders are captives to the call to love: they are “slaves of everyone” (9:19), so great is their passion to see souls won and the church grow. Are you prepared to be a slave to the rough-and-ready lads in street gangs? Are you prepared to be a slave to the elderly woman next door? Are you prepared to be a slave to that young couple with a baby and a chaotic life? We mustn’t condemn people: our job is to love and serve all. This will be the character of apostolic church. Identifying with people, not arguing with them, not superior. Like Jesus, making friends with people. Certainly not just poking literature at people! This is the great work
Jesus Life Three/2007 Page 6
of friendship evangelism that God started when “He so loved the world that He gave His Son”.
Compassion In chapters 12-14 of 1 Corinthians, Paul writes about all the powerful gifts that God gives to enable us to build the church. Yet central to this and more important still is the call to love. We are to desire the gifts to build the church – yet love is still the “more excellent way” without which we will be fruitless and none of our gifts will work anyway. It is this deep compassion for people which will grow and build up the church. “Love never fails” – that is, it never stops: it always carries on giving and believing with great patience. Does this describe you? Is that your heart for people? There is no power without love. We must “follow the way of love” (14:1) if we are to be apostolic church.
Company Paul worked with a great company of others; we read about some of them at the end of this letter. He was a networker who needed relationships in order to function: they “refreshed his spirit” (16:18). Apostolic church works like this, with networks and
teams pulling together to achieve. Paul had his close team – Timothy, Titus, Silas, Aquila and Priscilla, and others – and his wider network – such as Apollos and others. Relationships will always be of key importance in an apostolic church movement.
Compulsion Paul’s passionate, compulsive devotion to the cause of Jesus comes across at the end of this extraordinary letter. It comes across in a kiss and a curse. A kiss: “greet one another with a holy kiss” (16:20). Paul writes this four times in various letters. There is a sacred affection among those who belong together in the cause of Jesus. Apostolic churches will always carry this kind of heartfelt devotion to one another. A curse: “If anyone does not love the Lord – a curse be on him” (16:22). Paul wasn’t going too far here! We must live in our love for Jesus: nothing else counts but committed, self-denying, self-giving devotion to Jesus and His Church. Paul would give himself a black eye in order to win the ﬁght! (9:27). How about us? Are we ready to give our all, to work with compulsive, powerful love to see the church built and Jesus honoured in our time? JL
Y M R A S U S E J N R E MOD
TRAINING YEAR AN ACTION YEAR DEVELOPING THE POTENTIAL OF A NEW GENERATION OF SHAPERS AND PIONEERS. THE FOCUS IS FORMING CHARACTER, RELEASING PEOPLE INTO BOLDNESS AND STRENGTH IN JESUS info: www.jesus.org.uk/training email: email@example.com / 0845 166 8175
GET EQUIPPED to advance in Holy Spirit movement in the UK today GET INVOLVED in reaching the spiritually hungry people of our nation and build the living church of Jesus GO DEEPER in a community lifestyle of simplicity and sacrifice
Jesus Fellowship/Multiply, Nether Heyford, Northampton NN7 3LB www.jesus.org.uk
Jesus Life Three/2007 Page 7
ELECTRONICPOSTBAG PHILIPPINE GREETING
GREETINGS in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I thank the Lord for allowing me to find your website. God is doing amazing things in the world and I thank you that you play a great part in doing God’s will in your nation. I’m Pastor Brian Baluca, 28 years old, married to Marlyn Baluca. We have a daughter named Rachel Mae. We live in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines. We planted a church in the mountains and now we are pioneering a church in the city where we live. Serving God is full of excitement. We have a vision of church planting and we pray that God will open us doors of opportunity to link with other churches in our nation who have a heart to plant churches especially in rural areas. I do appreciate your prayers for our church here in Tagbilaran City, presently named Living Hope Church. We hope that we can communicate more in the days ahead and encourage each other in the ministry God has entrusted to us. Pastor Brian and Marlyn Baluca BOHOL, PHILIPPINES
I JUST wanted to say that I’m a firm believer in God. Your website really helped me to strengthen my faith, especially the story where God spoke to Dave in a dream. It had made me think that it could happen to me one day. I hope it does. I admire you for what you do. You are inspirational within society, helping homeless people and ex-offenders. Not many people realise that Jesus plays an important part in our lives. Without Him I know I wouldn’t have been able to cope with the downfalls in my life. You should be exceptionally proud of the work you have done. We all appreciate it and I hope it continues for many years. I personally want to thank you for spreading the word. Kayleigh Minton CORBY, UK
HI, I WANTED to say thank you for the burgers today. The students I was with from South America thought it was incredible that you were giving away free burgers – went down really well. Also, thanks to your Northampton house for befriending my two friends, Hanna and Frida from Sweden. They said you were amazingly hospitable and really friendly – they loved their stay with you. It’s great to hear that other people have been opening up Christian community houses. (Until I heard of you from these Swedish girls, I think the only ones I’ve heard of have been YWAM houses, apart from things like women’s refuge homes and others specific to a need.) Isabel Edmunds DERBYSHIRE, UK
HI, I PUT in a prayer request for a baby who was only four days old called Michal... Well he is doing great – the doctors are amazed at the complete turnaround in such a short time: it was within 24 hours. Everything has changed for him. Thank you so much everyone who prayed. Sandra McGowan LESMAHAGOW, SCOTLAND, UK
YOU ROCK! I was once homeless but with the help of the Jesus Army I managed to get outta prison and off the streets and find salvation in a small community. I now have a lot to thank the Jesus Army for. In my times of trouble I believe Jesus shone His light and showed me the way. Continue the good work. Long live the Jesus Army and I hope you find peace and harmony in everything you do! Holly Louise Minton UK
GOSPEL IN INDIA
MY NAME is Rao. I came from an orthodox Hindu background. In 1987, I accepted Jesus as my Saviour and got baptised. I received Bible training and also got a bachelor’s degree in theology from World Bible School. I have been actively involved in the service of God as a gospel worker in various missionary activities. One Sunday morning in 1992, in worship, I had a vision and I was advised by my pastor to spend more time for God. I obeyed and started doing gospel work in my native village. In the beginning I faced hindrances. As I use all my efforts in serving Him, in my limitations, I believe it was the Lord who kept me safe and sound. Now I have good relations and rapport with other like-minded brothers who are doing God’s work in various nearby villages which are generally dominated by Hindu rural folk. In these villages most of the people are agricultural labourers and workers. For several years I have been trying to do something for the children of our community. In this way I started a primary school for poor and abandoned street children in 1999, near our church. To meet the school’s expenses, I work as a teacher in a college for three hours a day. If God is willing, I’d love to welcome you to visit. I would be happy to have some spiritual fellowship and encouragement. Hence I am lovingly inviting you to visit. Rao Vkvr INDIA
If you’d like to send your prayer requests, or let us know what God has been doing in your life or you’d like to find out more about Him
write: Jesus Fellowship, Nether Heyford, Northampton NN7 3LB Page 8 ELECTRONICPOSTBAGELECTRONICPOSTBAGELECTRONICPOSTBAG Jesus Life Thre/2007
Uncharted On 1 April 2007, Deborah Stockley, aged 25, made a lifelong vow of celibacy. “People were a bit surprised at my choice of date,” said Deborah, “it being ‘April Fools’ Day’! But the date was perfect for me – I love it – because through natural eyes it’s a very foolish thing that I’ve done!”
into uncharted terrain... IN 2002, I was engaged and looking at marriage. By 2007 I had committed myself to lifelong singleness. What could be worth giving up all prospects of marriage and children for? Here are some extracts from my “God book” which charts ﬁve incredible years of my life. It is hard to know where to start this journey tale...
15 October 2004: Counting the cost. I’ve been challenged over the last couple of weeks about the marriage or celibacy issue, especially as marriage is a real possibility right now. Tonight I was totally overcome. I was in that position of total surrender to God and that scared me – I wanted to run like hell. I’ve been ﬁghting not to be in that “full and glad surrender” position, but the more I’ve fought it the more God has been taking me on that journey and the whole thing is blowing me away. I know that from now on whatever God asks me to do, I
August 2002: At the celibates’ meeting someone said... “Jesus was focused and clear. He had no distractions. The celibate gift breaks through to change things; turns things around; gathers the committed; draws and wins and reminds us where we’re going. We’re living for something that will last forever and called to be as radical as Jesus was. To go against the tide of this world, putting love for the kingdom of God above all else.”
This got me thinking...
Jesus Life Three/2007 Page 9
Continued from overleaf
will do it. Whatever His way for me – He’ll make it very clear. Either way it will be red hot! 1 January 2004: Well God, it’s been a while – really insecure today – deﬁnite grey day. Do I have some serious ﬂaws in myself and my spirit to be thinking and feeling like this? Let me be true. 18 January 2004: After reading 1 Corinthians 7 God, I want to be “anxious about Your affairs”. Leaving marriage behind will always be a wound in my heart but God I do need You and want You to heal me and bring things to the surface so I can, in You, be whole once more. 9 April 2004: Sacriﬁces This weekend, a leader said we only know the blessing we know today because of the sacriﬁces and lives laid down in earlier years. Within, I know that I want to sacriﬁce and lay my life down in order for our church to be built stronger, wiser, more beautiful. 11 August 2004: Why do I always think I need a man in my life?! Such a lie but I’m so conditioned into it. 1 February 2005: Asking God for the gift At a celibates’ gathering last night a sister had a vision of waves, frothing and moving around – that was the celibate life – people were looking down from above and the call was to dive into the waves – there was a call to respond – I wanted to but I couldn’t – the moment passed and deep inside I’m gutted that I’ve missed the opportunity – crazy! Then another word was brought – someone waiting in the basket of a hot-air balloon for God to release the rope that tethered it – but God was waiting for the person to lean out and cut the rope themselves. That got me, deep within, well and truly – I just cried and cried as God moved in me. My desires so mixed with fear of the sacriﬁce and deep respect of God. As we were singing, later, I asked God for the gift of celibacy. Felt real peace and joy. I was someone who had grown up in “church” and, as much as people who are looking to get married are disillusioned by the high divorce rate, I felt disillusioned by celibates who had broken their vows – there was quite a stigma among my generation about celibacy – was it really relevant or indeed possible? Surely it was a thing of the past and for people who were in their ﬁrst love – not for those of us who had grown up in church. I had to face these prejudices in myself and also face the fact that God was calling me to be obedient and cross the line. 1 March 2005: As of today I am a probationary celibate! I shared it at our Agape meal – felt sick, scared and excited all at once. That’s it God – all out in the open – it’s Your time – take me where You will. 31 March 2005: Not everyone understands Saw a friend today, told her about my probationary Jesus Life Thre/2007 Page 10
celibacy – she was really cautious with me about it which was bizarre. It struck me how I wanted to totally live another life to her, not a safe life but a risky life. I’d never really seen it so clearly before – God keep conﬁrming Your will to me. 12 October 2005: Am I more excited about bringing people into God’s kingdom or bringing babies into the world? This challenge was brought tonight – Jesus, what is my destiny? The lines of a song came to mind: The passion of love had conquered her fears. I know it’s that passion of love that will set me on my path of unreservedly following You; that will stop me glancing back at my past loves and passions. 25 December 2005: That’s it God Tonight I burnt a lot of bridges within myself and practically. 16 February 2006: Shared my heart at a celibates’ meeting tonight The more I share about it the more real it becomes. Like a gift being gradually unwrapped. I’m not really sure what is inside but I know You’ve called me to pioneer and unwrap Your gift for young people like myself and I know it contains wholeness and holiness for me. 30 October 2006: I sense a change within. God – You’re really doing it now. Since I have put my love and life back in Your hands I sense that I have given my life over to Your wild, unknown, daring adventure. Out of the tame safe place into uncharted terrain – it’s You! And even in the last few days I’ve dared to acknowledge and admit, in all honesty, what I really know is my call – deep down I want to be married to You, Jesus, and to Your Church! My grandad wanted to get me something for my birthday. I felt the Holy Spirit say – get an engagement ring to outwardly show our commitment to one another. As I see it we are betrothed but I know that He still has more to do before I make the full vow. Our ring was to arrive on Friday, 10th November and all that week I had such a sense of excitement. 9 November 2006: The eve of my “engagement” The night before – Jesus, my heart is so excited. I want to please You and tomorrow is a really precious day – awesome. Already I feel like I know You more than a week ago. Oh Jesus – His quest, His journey is so exciting! 10 November 2006: We did it! I hardly slept last night – kept waking up. My day at work seemed to go so slow; ﬁnally made it, dropped everyone off after work, and went to my favourite place – the old village church. It was really dark, rainy and windy. I made my way in and lit the candles – it was our time. Worshipped the Lord, gave Him everything, one by one, piece www.jesus.org.uk
CELIBACY AND MARRIAGE
Some members of the Jesus Fellowship have made lifelong commitments to celibacy, though the majority are married and may have children. Celibates choose to “stay single for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” as Jesus put it (Matthew 19:10-12). In some ways this is similar to members of religious orders. However, the Jesus Fellowship’s celibates usually live in the same Christian community house as married people and families and have close friendships with them. Some Jesus Army members who become celibate have been previously married but are now widowed or divorced.
by piece, gave it all over and I wept. Not really ‘cos I was sad but because I was overwhelmed – a totally precious moment. I made my commitment to Jesus and Him to me and put my ring on. Bathing in His love and tenderness and purity. Oh God, You are awesome. 31 December 2006: End of Year Church Celebration Today a lot of older people made their celibacy vows. Inside I felt a real excitement that next year when I take my vow, young people will be taking the helm – pioneering it on! Two sisters prayed for me – to formally acknowledge that Jesus has offered and I have received the gift of celibacy. One saw a vision of King Jesus with His arms full of gifts and I chose one. It was plain and small but I knew it was the right one. As I opened it bright light poured forth. It is for me! God! So full of the Holy Spirit I couldn’t stand under the power, just lay on the ﬂoor bathed in God! 5 February 2007: Nearly there… God – we’ve nearly clinched the deal – seven weeks to go – awesome, exciting, mind-blowing. 29 March 2007: Drawing closer… God, I feel awed by it all; not afraid ‘cos I know You will be with me, every step of the next few days, and of course, forever. I never thought it possible – little waywww.jesus.org.uk
ward me – falling so in love with You and Your kingdom that I’m prepared to lay at the foot of Your cross of suffering all that’s precious within and rise and meet You in death and resurrection. 31 March 2007: The day of my vow God! The day has ﬁnally arrived – when all will be consecrated to You. I feel a deep peace as I begin this day (still can’t believe it’s me – that You have chosen me!) It’s Your miracle Lord – let Your Spirit rise within me, draw me ever close. I made my vow on 1 April 2007 in a small ceremony and celebration, with family and close friends as witnesses, beginning at midnight 31 March. We worshipped, touching heaven in our hearts. Kneeling before an old rugged wooden cross I made my commitment to Jesus, and to His Church. JL
WATCH AN ONLINE FILM about celibacy at www.jesus.org.uk/cinema/celibacy Jesus Life Three/2007 Page 11
Aidan and Alopen, Apostles Aidan was a fiery Irishman, Alopen a refined Persian. Both were monks, both gifted communicators. In AD635, both were, entirely independently, commissioned and sent to start churches: one at the North-West frontier of civilisation, the other in the far East. Aidan became the Apostle of northern England, Alopen the Apostle to China. Despite their extraordinary linked destiny, they never met or even knew of each other. Article by Trevor Saxby
Apostle of the North
BRITAIN AT THE turn of the 600s was a battleground of warring tribal kingdoms, most of them pagan. A Christian prince named Oswald was sent to the Celtic monastery on the Scottish island of Iona for his own safety. In 634 he felt ready to deliver his kingdom, Northumbria, in the north of England. He defeated the invaders and was crowned king. One of his ﬁrst acts was to ask Iona to send someone to convert his pagan subjects. An envoy was sent but returned saying that the Northumbrians were obstinate barbarians, beyond redemption. At this, an Irish monk named Aidan spoke up: it was foolish to expect pagans to accept the strict rules of a Celtic monastery – they must be met on their own level, with grace and humility. For this, Aidan himself was appointed for the apostolic mission to re-evangelise the north of England. It was AD 635. Aidan established his base on Lindisfarne, an island off the east coast, which became known as Holy Island. From here teams went out with the gospel, planting churches and establishing centres at Melrose, Jarrow and Whitby. By the time he died in 651, Northumbria was almost wholly evangelised.
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Aidan succeeded by developing key relationships with those who helped to expand the work and by wise and creative planning. He didn't do all the work himself – at ﬁrst, he couldn't even speak the language but needed interpreters. He appointed and trusted many workers. Other noted Celtic saints, Hilda, Chad and Cuthbert, built up important ministries under his covering. But Aidan was a communicator. He could empathise. Any gifts he received from the wealthy, he gave to the poor. This included a ﬁne stallion given to him by the king. The king was furious, but Aidan replied: “Is the son of a mare more important to you than a son of God?” The humbled king knelt and asked forgiveness. Aidan's primary witness was through the genuineness of his life. He refused personal gain, showed no partiality (rebuking kings when they needed it), and practised rigorous self-denial. If the king came to Lindisfarne, he had to eat the same food as the monks and beggars. Aidan’s approach was “Do as I do”, not “Do as I say”, and because his life was open to all, people gladly followed and the Church was built.
If the king came, he had to eat the same food as the monks and beggars
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Apostle of the East
IN ANCIENT TIMES, China was better known in the West than one might suppose. For centuries a trade route called the Silk Road had linked China with Persia and the West. Arab and Persian merchants settled in China, and Chinese envoys reached ancient Rome. But by the 5th and 6th centuries, tribal wars had shut the Silk Road and made China a closed empire. The arrival of the T’ang Dynasty (AD 618-877) changed all this. The Chinese army crushed the rebels and a golden age of Chinese culture began. The capital, Chang-an (modern Xi-an), was the largest walled city ever built, with two million inhabitants. The reopening of the Silk Road in 632 brought a new cosmopolitan ﬂavour. The Emperor, T’ai Tsung, tolerated all religions and encouraged the discussion of foreign ideas. The Church saw its opportunity and took it. In 635, the Assyrian archbishop Yeshuyab sent an apostolic team, led by a learned and wise monk named Alopen. They accompanied a traders’ camel train and arrived at Chang-an. Alopen had done his homework. He knew the very formal Chinese culture and the need to avoid open war with the Buddhists. So for three years, he and Chinese converts worked
on the ﬁrst Christian book in the Chinese language: The Sutra of Jesus Messiah. A sutra was the way Buddhists presented their teachings, as a series of discourses. Alopen was playing them at their own game. Much reads strangely to Western ears: Jesus is “the Heaven-Honoured One”, the “Master of the Victorious Law”, who has sent “the Pure Breeze” (the Holy Spirit) from “our ThreeOne”. But the Emperor was pleased with what he read and in 638 made a decree: Alopen’s religion was “wonderful, spontaneous, producing perception and establishing essentials for the salvation of creatures and the beneﬁt of man”. The Emperor commanded that a Christian religious centre be built from public funds in the Western merchants' quarter of the city. From this base, with a core of just 21 Christians, the gospel spread out into the land. Four regional centres were built and by the time of the next Emperor, Kuo Tsung, there were churches in ten provinces. Alopen was made bishop (or in the quaint Chinese, “Spiritual Lord, Protector of the Empire”) and the Church was able to put down ﬁrm roots in China - which it would need when persecution was unleashed by Empress Wu in 690. JL
The gospel spread out and by the time of the next Emperor, there were churches in ten provinces www.jesus.org.uk
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treets to the s k o o t y e. sus arm t of nois e J lo n a r e d d n ion a he mo celebrat g the In July t , e v lo claimin o h r it p r w fo ugh n o int sus thro rally po of Lond wer of Je st eme gh the W d throu e bt h u c o r a d any As we m as left in e w v e li n a o is End no ement us mov s Je e th that e ll. ecame th and we quare b S r a lg Trafa
po and a d life and orship w d n a love. prayer of Godâ€™s n o m: ti a onstr to albu the pho Hereâ€™s
Filling the street s with songs of love.
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V V Loving it!
Finding new friends. Making a sc ene.
Jump around - Jesus is alive!
Sharing the good ne ws.
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f hope via
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Praying for the UK.
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We’ll be back next year.
Send us your pictures: You may have pictures of mJa action or similar. Send your mobile phone images to Jesus Life mms number 0774 0774 200 or email them to yourpics@ jesus.org.uk. Or submit them at www.flickr.com/groups/jesusarmy. Jesus Life Thre/2007 Page 16
Sky-juice and two-way traffic In June 2007 eight apostolic leaders from Africa and India were invited to join the Jesus Fellowship’s Apostolic team for the first AMEN conference which was to prove as instructive and inspirational to the hosts as to the guests.
for a forthcoming campaign) and multicultural Beeston, where Matthew quickly made friends in the local African store. Present for some or all of the time were Matthew Oluwasesin (Nigeria and Ghana); Desmond Thomas (Sierra Leone and Liberia); Gregory Wafulu (East Africa); Jan Ellis (South Africa); Lal Rodinga Colney (North-East Continued overleaf
ways to develop Multiply worldwide. Over the 12 days, the group toured the UK from Yorkshire to Kent, stopping off for sessions on Christianity and brotherhood, setting up and running a community house, multiracial kingdom church, church-based business and church planting, and taking in a UK Multiply Partner, King’s Church Chatham, to see how the Multiply vision is worked out in practice here. Where possible, sessions linked directly to the location; for example, pioneering in Leeds led to a walk through the local park (stopping off to pray
Marty Brogan of King’s Church Medway talks to AMEN delegates in ‘the Basement’, part of King’s Church’s social outreach programme
AMEN stood for Apostolic Men Empowering the Nations, and it was Matthew Oluwasesin, the longest-standing Multiply partner and Apostolic Man for Nigeria and Ghana, who set the scene by saying: “If you are among those chosen to be an apostle, you have a vision to fulﬁl. Let’s make sure it’s fulﬁlled. We are here to equip ourselves. When we are equipped ourselves, we can equip others.” Such equipping took the form of the chance to discover more of the distinctives of Jesus Fellowship and the UK Multiply Network, to deepen relationships and to forge effective
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India); Pascal Orome (Ivory Coast); Satish Chettri (NorthWest and Central India); and Stephen Mwakibinga (Zambia). Daniel Grimmer (U.A.E), who wasn’t able to attend the conference, is also a designated Multiply Apostolic Leader. Stephen, on his second visit, was challenged by the Jesus Centre vision: “What kind of church would Jesus have if He had a church? Would He be waiting six days for a person to come back on Sunday? I don’t think so. If Christ would have pastored a church, people would have followed Him everywhere as He was preaching, healing, feeding, listening. That’s what I’ve seen in Jesus Centres and that’s what church needs to be.” In the midst of the hectic schedule (if it’s Monday it must be Leeds!) Certain aspects were constant: thought-provoking
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AMEN delegates worship in a Jesus Fellowship community house
Continued from overleaf
AMEN carried the spirit of openness and transparency among leadership which I think is absent among leaders today
devotionals, lively discussion, provocative questions, and refreshment in the form of ‘skyjuice’ (water) and an ever-ﬂowing and deepening fellowship. Multiply Director Huw Lewis noted: “The interaction and friendships that the leaders developed, such as Stephen linking up with Daniel soon after the conference, were very signiﬁcant – the group themselves were building their own identity.” One direct outcome was the cooperation over the forthcoming Pan African Conference, which is being shaped by the group rather than just one person. “This week has been very inspiring and very challenging,” said Gregory. “It is a week that has caused us to come out of our own shoes and into neutral shoes, where everyone else can ﬁt because we have different leadership styles.”
“A vision transfer conference” is how Desmond described it, and the trafﬁc was very much two-way. As Huw said: “We were learning and receiving from them too, deepening our own understanding of what is happening in the nations.” “AMEN carried the spirit of openness and transparency among leadership which I think is absent among leaders today,” concluded Desmond. “It explained servant leadership and the spirit of sacriﬁce to a common cause which is necessary for the fulﬁlment of every vision. “And it demonstrated that the above is not only reachable in the UK but can also be reachable in the areas we all came from.” Amen to that! The next Multiply International Leaders Conference is in June 2008
Nothing but the truth will do
NAME: Gregory Wafula Nalianya BORN: 1965, Bungoma, Kenya STATUS: Married, with a son and a daughter CHURCH: Christ Evangelistic Church APOSTOLIC MAN FOR: East Africa CONTACT: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
MULTIPLY APOSTOLIC MEN
“I WAS IN a valley burning with red-hot ﬁre,” says Gregory Wafula. “There was a cross lifted up, and on the cross an open Bible, and I could see an angel. Next I saw a small light from heaven shining on my face and my body shook. Then the command came: ‘Preach the gospel to the people who are in the Valley of Decision.’” Gregory was just 26 years old – and not one month old in Christ – when he saw this vision and heard the command to evangelise. It is a vision he has vigorously pursued and a command he has continuously obeyed in the 16 years since, and has led to his current position as Multiply Apostolic Man for East Africa. It could all have been so different. With a father who was important in the Quaker Church, the dominant denomination in western Kenya, where Gregory grew up, he could have settled for a comfortable Christian life. A direct word from a preacher at a student crusade in India shook his complacency: “Your father is a founder of a church – but that does not qualify you for the kingdom of God.” Gregory felt the cutting word and humbly put up his hand to accept Christ. To be a disciple takes decisions – not just one, but many,
Gregory Wafulu from Kenya talks to Emma Merry
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V V V V
Continued from overleaf
over and over and over again. This was a lesson Gregory quickly learnt as he chose, for example, to cut himself off from his former friends in order to pursue his new life as a child of God. Within a month he was elected leader of the Christian Union. “That really pushed me on my knees because I was teaching some really mature and able children of God,” recalls Gregory. His 5am prayer times provided fuel for the day and Gregory was soon thrilled to see people that he had been praying for committing themselves to Christ. Every disciple has to learn the way of working out their faith in an alien world, with its many distractions. On returning to Kenya, Gregory put his Rural Industries and Management degree to use as a teacher at the Kenya National Polytechnic and later as a management training consultant. In 2001 he knew the Lord was telling him to leave to pursue ministry full-time – but his boss persuaded him to stay. It took three deaths in his family in one week to pull him back in line with God’s call. Brokenhearted, he cried out: “God, if there’s another price I have to pay, let me go through it now.” Suffering leads to fruitfulness, and now he plunged himself into the work of Christ Evangelistic Church. Its mission, based on Ephesians 4, is to equip leaders with the necessary
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Gregory (left) along with AMEN delegates and friends from the Jesus Fellowship
skills to successfully plant other successful churches. It started in 1997 in one member’s house; today 70 adult members meet in a hall in Nairobi, and there are three other churches in Kenya - in Mombasa, Tall Station and Kitale - and one in Uganda. Another key scripture for Gregory is 2 Corinthians 4, which speaks of “setting forth the truth plainly”. “If we have to sell truth, we ourselves must be truth,” Gregory says. The accountability and integrity that he saw in the Jesus Fellowship leadership structure at the ﬁrst Multiply International Leaders Conference in 2002 was therefore very attractive to him, and played a key part in his decision to link
“If we have to sell truth, we ourselves must be truth”
with the network. He and the leaders of the other churches in the Kenya Multiply Network have now been meeting weekly for three years. “It has made a tremendous difference,” says Gregory. “As a leader you suffer from a lot of loneliness, a lack of people to encourage and inspire you.” The ﬁve churches also fellowship together once a month and work together on crusades. “Working jointly means we have more impact than we’d have single-handedly,” he explains. The love that reached beyond walls of family, tribe and race in Jesus Fellowship also greatly inspired Gregory, who has a vision to have a church with all 42 Kenyan tribes represented: “I see Multiply as a network that assists in the breaking down of walls that have separated believers in terms of denominations and of races. Though we have extended families, inviting people who are not your own relatives to a meal is not very common. But I saw that here. “And the bringing in of new believers, discipling them, that really touched me too.” As a result, when Gregory returned to Kenya he took in a boy from the Luo tribe and educated him. He now has a job and is almost independent. What Gregory saw of sharing has also been put into practice, with church members bringing in unused clothes, household goods and shoes to share. “The
church is now full of smartly dressed people,” laughs Gregory. The ever-present challenges of resources when unemployment is rife, the need to support family, a transient population and restrictive regulations don’t stunt Gregory’s vision. For Christ Evangelistic Church, he has his sights set on ﬁve new churches in Kenya and more in Uganda too. And for the mother church, he wants 250 disciples – and at least 150 seats (currently there are just 30 seats!) For Multiply, the net spreads wider, with four more towns in Kenya – Kisumu, Eldoret, Kitale and Bungoma – plus Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda as well as Kenya and Uganda all in his sights. An East African Multiply Conference in Nairobi on Saturday 2 February 2008 is set to draw them in. The apostolic path can be lonely, but God always produces needed encouragement, as Gregory found at another desperately low time: “I was walking with the then president in a cassava ﬁeld. All of a sudden there was a small dais. We climbed on it. The president was holding a microphone and I saw hundreds of people running towards us, from all directions. But he didn’t say anything. He handed me the mike and said: “Preach to these people.” One thing is certain, Gregory can be relied on to deliver the gospel of Jesus Christ plain and clear, whoever is listening.
EMBODYING VISION IN THE UK
Multiply is a growing partnership around the UK as well as internationally. Jesus Life hears from Multiply UK Coordinator, Iain Gorrie.
I’D ALREADY been involved in organising Multiply Conferences with Multiply Director, Huw Lewis, and towards the end of last year I was appointed as the Multiply Coordinator. My job is to visit Multiply churches and prospective groups, mainly in the UK, at least once a year and to strengthen and develop relationships with their leaders. So far I’ve visited ten groups. We usually chat about what God has been doing among us, encourage each other, share a meal and pray together.
I felt it was important not just to speak about the vision of Multiply, but to embody the vision. That meant carrying an openhearted love and genuine care, a passion for souls (including all nations), a desire for growth and increase, being church of the poor, release in worship and training the next generation. Leadership teams are encouraged to maximise the effectiveness of their particular spiritual gifts and ministries and to increase in faith. We want to see the Multiply Christian Network stronger and more united – and we will! JL
IAIN’S VISITS SO FAR: Tony Oldbury Rishton Christian Fellowship, Blackburn Frank Andrews Hyndburn Christian Fellowship, Blackburn Daudet Lumakangilu Living Water Church, Gloucester Eugene Tenga Flaming Evangelical Ministries, London Matthew Guest King’s Church, Medway, Kent Joe McDavid Glorious Revival Eagle Ministries, London Pascal Orome Mission Ensemble Pour Christ, London Robin Caine Church of Shalom, High Wycombe Moses Adebiyi Glad Tidings Evangelical Church, London Promise Ngowe and Patrick Zimba Kairos Community Church, Harlow
G N I M O C UP AND
S E C N E R E F N O C S R E D A E L Y L P I T L MU INTERNATIONAL M UNITED KINGDO y Wed 21 May Saturda ne 2008 Ju 4 d e W 7 0 0 24 November 2 ce Main Conferen 8 Sat 31 May 200
WHAT IS MULTIPLY?
Multiply Christian Network is a worldwide apostolic stream of churches, initiated by Jesus Fellowship Church. It is a member of the Evangelical Alliance UK. Multiply now has 18 UK groups and 105 worldwide.
WHO’S IT FOR?
Any fellowship, of any size, from any culture or race, as long as it is basically evangelical. The latest partner to join was Living Water Church, a Congolese Frenchspeaking church based in Gloucester, UK.
WHAT DOES IT OFFER?
Relationships between leaders are central and are fostered through regular conferences, celebration gatherings and fellowship. Leadership and evangelism training plus a variety of resources, including free literature, are also available.
Contact Multiply Director Huw Lewis Tel: +44 1327 344533 Email: email@example.com or write to: Jesus Fellowship / Multiply Central Offices, Nether Heyford, Northampton, UK NN7 3LB
inspiration, challenge and brotherhood
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A Vision for Brotherhood Carmino Blunden describes his spiritual search “AS A CHILD I was bullied. I was frustrated because I couldn’t do what others do. But God gave me other abilities: I was very hard-working and persevering and I had an ability to adapt to situations.” Both Carmino’s parents were Catholic though his Mum was more spiritual – “she acted out love” – and his Dad had “more of a formal” religion. “Whenever I see my mother, I always think of Mary, the mother of Jesus,” says Carmino. “She has an instinctive trust in God. She just knows that He’s there. She sees Him all around her.” Another early inspiration was the Marist teachers at his secondary school: “I saw in a very deﬁnite way the acting out of the religious life. I saw their love and dedication. And in each I saw something different about the character of Jesus.” Carmino wanted to be a Marist brother himself but family pressures prevented this.
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Ten years of frustration followed: “I knew there was a God but I chose to ignore Him. I was lost, with a big, big void in my heart that nothing could ﬁll.” After a lengthy period of depression, he dabbled in photography (“it helped me to get out on the streets and be with people”), but nothing could ﬁll the gap, “not drink, not walking, not TV, nothing”. At the end of 2000 Carmino moved to England, near Croydon. On his way to see a friend, one Sunday morning, he decided to pop into the nearby Baptist church to pray for ﬁve minutes. He stayed for the whole service. “Something gripped me and I couldn’t move. I was just so thrilled.” Carmino started attending the church, but the questions inside increased: “How can I go to the pub on Saturday night, have a skinful, and then the next day, even with the taste of beer in my mouth,
How can I go to the pub on Saturday night, have a skinful, and then the next day, even with the taste of beer in my mouth, go to church? www.jesus.org.uk
Teachers at Carmino’s secondary school, a Roman Catholic religious order. The order was founded in France in 1817 by Marcellin Champagnat, a young French priest. Champagnat was disillusioned with the growing secularism that gripped the areas of rural France where he worked. He decided to start a religious order of brothers, building schools for the underprivileged where they might learn to become “Good Christians and Good Citizens”.
Far left: Carmino breaks bread Left: Carmino in Croydon
go to church? It just doesn’t make sense.” Carmino began to sense that God wanted him to get baptised – but he struggled with this. “God said, ‘Get baptised.’ I said, ‘Why should I?’” A few months later, another crisis loomed as his mum became ill with breast cancer. This was enough to bring Carmino to his knees and God spoke again: “Will you get baptised?” “Yes,” said Carmino, and he began to weep. “Something inside me just knew I was born again.” With this “yes” came the power to say “no” to drinking and other bad habits. In their place came an insatiable thirst for God. Four months later, on 23 June 2002, Carmino was baptised and he began to be involved in local mission work with London City Mission. But still he wasn’t satisﬁed. In 2004, he was in Spain, sitting on a bench with his mother when he began crying. “Look mother, there’s just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle that I need and I don’t know where to ﬁnd it. God must give me the last piece to see the full picture.” Not long after, a Jesus Army bus was parked in Croydon shopping district, and Carmino walked straight on board. “I just felt I could belong!” he recalls, “And as soon as Jesus Army member, Anthony, mentioned community Carmino thought, “Yes – thank You, Lord!” Here at last was the missing piece, “the kingdom of God” lived out in a concrete visible way, and Carmino moved quickly to take hold of it – he became a committed member of the Jesus Fellowship and moved into Christian community that same year, and made a commitment to celibacy the next.
“It’s been a quick and exciting journey”, he says, “but it has not been easy. I had found church – but there is a price tag attached. “God wanted everything. Everything meant everything. Each part of the ‘everything’ has been difﬁcult to surrender and I’ve had to ﬁght and ﬁght and ﬁght.” Perhaps the most remarkable part has been celibacy. “Celibacy has multiplied my love for God, for those around me and for the Church at large. I can love without measure because I feed from the love of God and the love of God is completely unstoppable – the love of another human being can be quenched.” Carmino continues: “My calling is to voice in a very humble and simple way what is the heart of God and to be very clear about it. It reminds me of the miraculous multiplication of bread and ﬁsh: a small, humble offering – ﬁve loaves and two ﬁshes – transformed into a huge meal for a multitude.” “That’s where God is at. That is the God I love.” “My greatest joy would be for people to say ‘I saw Jesus through you; I saw God’s love and beauty through you and you have JL helped me to ﬁnd God in a fuller way.’”
Jesus JesusLife LifeThree/2007 Two/2007 Page 23
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uJ es sCu seCne tn rt ree ss Bottled water – while stocks last Jesus Life editor James Stacey recalls a visit to London – and reflects on London Jesus Centre, due to open at the end of the year. IN LONDON for a couple of days this summer, I was struck again by the vastness of the place. It's like 50 cities in one. A million people in Westminster alone. Just about every ethnic group I can imagine. Vertiginous wealth and profound poverty within spitting distance of each other. In the baking sun, Oxford Street was a mass of hot humanity scurrying from shrine
ter – as long as you had enough cash. The sellers of bottled water were doing very well that day (at £2 or £3 a bottle). But what about that other thirst? The deeper thirst – for meaning, for forgiveness, for purpose? Does consumerism satisfy? And even if it does dull the thirstiness of the rich, what about those who can’t afford Oxford Street’s bottled water? What about the have-nots?
are in the ten per cent most deprived wards in the country. According to London Jesus Centre manager, Rob Bentley, “on an average night there are as many rough sleepers in Westminster as in the rest of the UK put together”. But it’s not only the obvious kinds of poverty – there are also many with an aching thirst for reality: what Rob calls “materially rich people who
“consumerism, the fastest growing religion in the world” WESTMINSTER ROUGH SLEEPERS
50% of rough sleepers in Westminster are new to rough sleeping in the year. 40% of rough sleepers have alcohol problems. 33% have drug problems. 40% have mental health problems. 25% are from the new EU countries. Westminster City Council statistics
to shrine in the devotions of the religion of the West: consumerism (almost definitely the fastest growing religion in the world). But what satisfaction is there in this frantic faith? Beyond McDonalds “golden arches” there are only dying rainforests. Coca-Cola is not really “the real thing” and people know it. On this sweltering summer’s day (rare, this year!) people were thirsty. But it didn’t mat-
Just around the corner from Oxford Circus, the Jesus Fellowship is about to open its third Jesus Centre. It aims to play its part in meeting the needs people have in the centre of our capital: material and spiritual needs. The other day someone remarked to me “There are no poor people in Westminster”. Wrong, actually. There are lots when you look beyond the bright lights and the bottled water. Five Westminster wards
are also in great spiritual need and facing problems of a different kind”. It all reminds me of something Jesus said: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” London Jesus Centre aims to offer this life-giving water – free of charge.
More on London Jesus Centre overleaf
Jesus Life Three/2007 Page 25
su C ntres
London Jesus Centre to open in December
Rob Bentley, manager of London Jesus Centre, explains the vision of the place.
WHAT ARE JESUS CENTRES?
Places where the love of Jesus is expressed daily in worship, care and friendship for every type of person.
WHAT DO THEY OFFER?
All sorts, including showers, friendship, a listening ear, IT classes and food. They also act as a ‘gateway’ to other services and agencies. The London Jesus Centre will offer a wide programme that will provide practical, social and spiritual support. The specially adapted building will include a “drop-in” area with services such as: · showers · laundry · food · clothing · I.T. access · luggage lockers · phone access · mail The Centre's programme will include: · support groups · befriending/mentoring · “New to UK” group (with ESOL) · conversation classes · “Preparing for Citizenship” group · arts and crafts facilities · ICT suite · life skills · other training opportunities There will also be a tea room providing: · good-value food and drink · a place for people to meet And a varied programme of spiritual activities including: · prayer for healing · groups for new believers and those seeking faith · quiet prayer in the listed chapel (which is the venue for the Jesus Fellowship’s Sunday worship meetings) Jesus Life Three/2007 Page 26
WHO RUNS THEM?
The Jesus Army Charitable Trust (JACT). Staff and volunteers come from Jesus Fellowship Church.
WHERE ARE THEY?
Coventry, Northampton and, from end 2007, central London. Eventually Jesus Centres will be found in other places around the UK.
HOW CAN I HELP?
We always need money, old clothes, food and lots more! Check out the website for details.
www.jesuscentre.org.uk Building work underway on the London Jesus Centre
WESTMINSTER IS a place of diversity and sharp contrast. From the Houses of Parliament to Soho, from West End shopping and theatres to rough sleepers in doorways: wealth and ostentatious consumption are side by side with real poverty and despair. The third Jesus Centre is right in the middle of the West End: well situated to be a place of healing and help to the many hurting people in the area. On an average night there are as many rough sleepers in Westminster as in the rest of the UK put together. Many others, including families with children,
are in temporary or insecure accommodation with poor facilities and overcrowding. The skyhigh property prices mean that many have no hope of a home. Central London has long drawn those who are seeking to improve their lives or who are escaping real danger. From all over the UK, Europe and the rest of the world people come to London with hope only to ﬁnd loneliness, exploitation and depression. Many have no entitlement to any state help and can ﬁnd themselves forced into crime. For those who ﬁnd work, long hours and low pay
are common: many hold advertising poles for fourteen hours a day at £3 an hour. In the face of all this need (and we must understand that many people who are materially rich are also in great spiritual need and facing problems of a different kind) we can only hope to help a small proportion; but as we bring real love and compassion to individuals through spiritual ministry and practical help we believe the power of God will be released into people’s lives and the light of the gospel will shine in London’s darkness. JL
ON THE INSIDE
Kieron Richards is 21. He will be in prison until at least his early 40s. He tells Jesus Life his story – and his message for other young men.
Someone would get something in their head and I would end up doing it
an education for?” From when I was old enough to say “army”, I wanted to join up and I knew I could get in without qualiﬁcations. Drinking and smoking weed every weekend became normal. I saw my dad every Sunday morning. To me Dad was Superman; nothing could ever happen to him; he was a third dan black belt in karate. But in 1999 he died; I was told one afternoon that he had died that morning. My world was turned upside down, I started taking hard drugs and drinking more than ever and Continued overleaf
her partner. I can’t say that I’ve ever liked him, if he was at home from work I would stay at my uncle’s until he went back away to work. When we were in the house together we would shout at each other most of the time. The problems just got bigger, I had been smoking and drinking since I was about 11 or 12 and when I turned 13 I started using drugs. I was always in trouble at school, doing whatever I wanted, there was a good few of us kicking up a fuss and I always did what the others wouldn’t dare to do. Someone would get something in their head and I would end up doing it. I always said “what do I need
TODAY I’m serving a life sentence with a tariff of 18 years. I can apply for parole in 2024. I’m locked in a cell 22 hours a day. On 12 January 2007 I was convicted of murder and attempting to pervert the course of justice, after six months on remand. That was the ﬁrst day of the rest of my life and my freedom is ﬁnished. If and when I am eventually released I will still be serving my life sentence on licence; one wrong move would end me back inside. It is all my own fault. My Mum and Dad split up when I was about two or three years old. I was around four years old when my Mum met
Jesus Life Three/2007 Page 27
tion on the For informa son wship’s Pri Jesus Fello gramme, Release Pro sus il Ferris, Je h P write to: ford, ey H er Neth Fellowship, n NN7 3LB Northampto 344533 tel: 01327 k jesus.org.u @ fo email: in
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Continued from overleaf
getting into even more trouble. I was 14 when I lost Dad. Ten months later I was kicked out of school. I started to hang around with a group of older lads. That’s when I got my ﬁrst tattoos. I was bang into ﬁghting. Someone would just have to look at me and I would start on them. I never felt guilty about hurting people and when you get away with something, you keep doing it. The gang I was in used to go to other towns and sell drugs to other people’s punters and when the rival gang showed up we would start ﬁghting like dogs over food. I soon got a reputation as a psycho. My mates used to call me “Mad Dog”. Once I had that reputation I was hungry for more and was always trying to make a better name for myself with the gangs. During my stay in a behavioural unit after I was kicked out of school, they had sent me and some other lads on a day trip to HMP Walton in Liverpool. The idea was to shock us into staying out of trouble and at ﬁrst I was scared at the thought of going to prison. But after 30 minutes of the tour I thought it was a complete joke and that if I did come inside I would just do what I wanted, I was thinking, “Jail ain’t gonna change me.” I was in court for the ﬁrst time in July 2001 facing charges for various things from being drunk to burglary. I walked out with a suspended sentence and a ﬁne and was drinking and doing Class A drugs that same night.
Aged 17, I joined the Army and felt on top of the world. Nothing could go wrong, I was living my lifelong dream, but trouble was just around the corner. One day on a training exercise, running with full kit I collapsed with stress fractures. The sergeant kept bawling at me to get up and calling me every name under the sun until they realised that I had stress fractures in both legs. After a year I was given a medical discharge. I didn’t know what to do next; all I ever planned to do was to be in the Army. I got a few odd jobs; in a pub, a tattoo shop. I even got a job as a waiter in a hotel, but I was sacked after three months when I was arrested on a ﬁrearms charge. The charge was dropped but I was back on the drugs, taking whizz and drinking. If I had any money left over it went on tattoos. By the time I was 19, I was getting back into trouble with the police. But I got some work on a building site in Scotland. I stayed in a hotel with some other lads from the site. That night I drank Jack Daniels, vodka and three pints of bitter. I guess I blew about 100 quid on drink that night. We decided to walk down by the River Clyde and ﬁnish off the bottles of Stella. I can’t remember much of what happened next except that I got involved in a very nasty ﬁght. It got too much for me so I split the scene and went back to the
Jesus loves me even after all the trouble I’ve been in and my life can change for the better, even in a place like this.
hotel, grabbed a shower and tried to sober up a bit. The next day, I was arrested with one of the other blokes and charged with murder and attempting to pervert the cause of justice. I was remanded at HMP Barlinnie for ﬁve months and then sentenced to life imprisonment. I haven’t told this story for anyone to feel sorry for me, because I know I have to live with what I did that night. But, I would hope that any young person reading this story will realise that going to prison is not a good laugh. I thought it was when I was 15 but I didn’t realise that I was going to learn the hard way. Take it from me: I am 21 now; I will be in my 40s when I am released – if I get out that is. Pretty soon I will be moving to a long-term prison with some of the country’s most dangerous and violent prisoners. That’s not a joke. Since being inside I have had a chance to think about where I have made mistakes in life and have started to write to some Christian friends. They have shown me that Jesus loves me even after all the trouble I’ve been in and that my life can change for the better, even in a place like this. As for what I do next, I can only take things day by day. And I want to help to stop young people making the same mistakes I did. So, if you’re a young person reading this: don’t mess up your life, please! JL
The photograph on page 27 is not Kieron Jesus Life Three/2007 Page 28
Forget yawning through it in school assemblies – the Lord’s prayer is hair-raising. REMEMBER “the Lord’s prayer”? Perhaps you used to recite it as part of school assemblies. I’d make a wild guess that no-one there was electriﬁed by its astonishing revolutionary impact. More of a bored mumble through strange-sounding phrases like “which art in heaven”. Obscure and dull, right? Wrong. The fact is that this prayer Jesus taught His disciples contains the heart of His mind-blowing teaching about the “kingdom of heaven” revolution He was bringing about. Consider. The prayer features in the middle of some of Jesus’ teaching about the kingdom (Matthew 5-7). And in it there is a startling, radical deﬁnition of the kingdom: “Your kingdom come, Your
will be done on earth as it is in heaven” The implications of this are mind-blowing. For a start, it means a life of total commitment to one another – who says “I’m off” in heaven (“I’m moving out to hell”)? It means love, forgiveness, grace, fearless truth. It means a life of radical sharing – who calls anything “mine” in heaven? Consider. This prayer, famously, starts with “Our Father”. Note – not “my Father”, but “ our Father”. In fact, the words “my” or “mine” don’t feature in the prayer at all. This is a drastically communal prayer. Jesus teaches us to come to God as “Our Father”: that is to come together as a family, a brotherhood. Not that this means
we don’t have an individual relationship with God. We do. But the kingdom is about a people. Furthermore, it’s a family which prays for “our daily bread”: a sharing people. Even the basics – “bread” – are shared. And if we share our basic subsistence, it surely follows that we should share everything else. God provides; we share. This is what the ﬁrst church did: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship (the word means “sharing”), to the breaking of bread and to prayer... All the believers were together and had everything in common.” (Acts 2:42&44) So go on. Pray it. I dare you. But that means you’ll have to begin to live it – heaven’s JL lifestyle... on earth.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glor y forever. Amen
HAVE YOUR SAY: email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jesus Life Three/2007 Page 29
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I’LL TELL YOU what makes me angry – “touchline critics” who judge things before they’ve tried them! You know – those people with huge, unshakable opinions about something they know nothing about. And it seems to come out especially when it comes to God and faith, to Christianity. How often people trot out the accusation: “Well – that’s not very Christian of you is it?” or “Ooh – call yourself a Christian?!”... They’re experts on “right Christian behaviour”. And I think: “Oh yeah. Because you've tried, have you? You’ve sought to die to yourself, to daily take up your cross and follow Christ no matter the cost
or consequence? You’ve set yourself apart from this world to do something more real and more radical than anyone you’ve ever met? I think not!” So I’m going to just say it like I feel it: Don't make assumptions from afar; don't think you already know how things tick, without ever exploring them; and don't judge others without ever judging yourself. Too many sit back in their comfortable life, unwilling to change who they are for anyone or anything – yet they’re so quick to stab a pointing finger at any Christian that has the guts to stand for truth, to stand for God’s pure society, God’s unfading beauty! I’m not saying no-one can challenge me or that no-one should ask difficult questions of Christians. If someone’s putting their money where their mouth is then fine, let’s talk. It’s taking abuse from “Mr Self-Satisfied” that sticks in my throat. I even hear God’s name get marred in abusive language – because people are too quick to judge, too eager to slam down: and why? Because they’re too narrow-minded to explore the truth, to actually give it a go, to see and taste what it's all about. Their god (themself) has been challenged and the defences kick in. Because it’s so much easier to mouth off about Christians being “hypocrites” than it is to find out what it really means to be a Christian, isn’t it?
SWANSEA Jesus Fellowship Church.........................................0845 123 5556 WALSALL Fellowship ..........................................0845 123 5563 JesusJesus Life Two/2007 PageChurch 30
Jesus Life Two/2007 Page 30
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nt & rave
Jesus Life hears from mJa members, Artemis Artemiou and Mary Davis: one about what makes him bubble with excitement - and one about what makes her boil with rage.
SACRIFICE MEANS ‘to give up, forfeit, to surrender’: words which remind me of Jesus. He gave up His life. He forfeited His life. He surrendered His life. I must do the same. Being a “living sacrifice” for the Lord is awesome, man. It’s such a relief to know that if you give it all to the Lord, He’s going to watch your back. He’s going to fill your life. No worries. I’m just starting out. Turning my back on the world’s ways and giving it all for Jesus. The relief and peace I feel is immense. Nothing else on this planet can make you feel like this. I just get so excited when I think about what I’m doing for God and that He’s going to use me for His will. So what have I sacrificed? Everything that gets in the way of God. That means, for me, no self-centred independence (I’m living in community with my brothers), no TV, no Xbox (’cos I’ve got no boredom to fight), no money of my own (sharing it all), no shopping days, no cinema, no holidays to exotic countries, no staying up late listening to ghetto music with my mates, talking about ungodly things. I don’t need these things. They don’t fill me, spiritually, like Jesus does, so why carry them on? I don’t fear giving my life to Him. The Lord has just filled me with peace and such a deep joy. I want to tell everyone! Living for Him is the only place I want to be. I don’t want second best.
Ar temis Ar temiou HAVE YOUR OWN RANT OR RAVE: www.jesus.org.uk/forum JL
Jesus Life Two/2007 Page 31
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