JESUS Issue 83 FREE
one / 2010 www.jesus.org.uk
The magazine of the modern Jesus army Multiply Christian Network
A people’s church INSIDE:
Atheists for GOD • Jesus Centres SUPPORT • RAW REAL AND WILD
Jesus Life 1
also... Church Alive
Comment from the Jesus Fellowship Apostolic Team 3-4
Electronic Postbag Emails to the Jesus Army 8
Jesus Christ changed my life David White’s tale of hope 9-11
Atheists for God
Laurence Cooper calls Christians to reject ‘secular gods’
Justin Stone tells Jesus Life about his wild day with 600 “Men Alive for God”
Socks, drugs and salad cream A story of cultural mix 14-16
A look at Support Groups 20-21
Plug into power
Jesus Fellowship events 22
Multiply Christian Network Emma Merry reports on the Multiply UK Conference 23-24
A challenge to radical living 29
On the margins
Jesus Life appeals for an end to the stigma of mental illness
RAW: Real and Wild
James Stacey on the story of a youth uprising initiated by the Jesus Fellowship Jesus Life Two/2009 Page 2
Passion from the past
Jesus Life tells the story of “patron saint of social care”: Martin de Porres
Rant and Rave
Boiling with rage and bubbling with excitement
Pardise Parsi found a love stronger than death 30 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. © 2010 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 or royaltyfree stock photos from www.sxc.hu. 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.
A LA LIIVV EE
A church of tears
E’RE ALL DIFFERENT. We have different faces, long hair, short hair, we’re big, we’re small and we’re from different races – but our basic human need for acceptance and belonging is the same. Our life in the UK has become increasingly individualistic. More than one third of the population live on our own; many families, sadly, have broken up; mobility means that friends or family may live half way round the world. In our pain, we sometimes step back to protect ourselves. The result is often isolation and loneliness that can lead to despair and depression. Some of us “do” relationships “online”, using Facebook, blogs or Twitter – but these are poor substitutes for real, true friendships: enjoying being together, laughing – and crying – together.
IN A DREAM I had many years ago I saw myself reading through a leather-bound volume of God’s wisdom, desperately trying to take in the rich and deep spiritual truths written there. When I woke up I could only remember one line from the whole book – “tears reflect a true heart”. I have often thought back to that dream and the significance of the words. Personally, it has carried importance and brought direction to me at some key moments in my life. But it has also proved a valuable insight into the direction of the church. Throughout the Bible there is a focus on the power and the effectiveness of tears. Whether it is the anguished personal cries of the psalmist, the burden of the prophets for a backslidden people or Jesus identifying with suffering humanity, tears are never far from the poignant story of God’s people. Peter’s brokenness over his betrayal of his Lord and Paul’s pain over the churches he had fathered all speak of a deep love that is inevitably bound up with sorrow. Today, the church must rediscover the ability to “weep with those who weep”. So many people in our society have known hurt, fragmentation and suffering, and it is here that Christians need to connect with them. For the church to be credible in an increasingly secular age it should carry a humility that reaches out in compassion to fellow human beings without superiority or self-righteousness, free from glib words and complacent comments. It is through the tears of true hearts of love that others will be won to the way of Jesus.
A church for every kind of person – young and old, many backgrounds, cultures, races and classes Only our creator, God, through the healing touch of Jesus, His Son, and the power of His Spirit, can sort out our inner conflicts, confusions and pain, and draw very different people together to be a people’s church. The modern Jesus army aims to be a church for every kind of person – young and old, many backgrounds, cultures, races and classes: all finding true oneness through their shared faith in Jesus Christ. That will really demonstrate God’s new society, His church.
A PEOPLE’S CHURCH Huw Lewis
Comments from the Jesus Fellowship UK/ mJa Apostolic Team
Jesus Life 3
s s s s
Continued from previous page
“Family” is vital TODAY, WE FACE very, very different battles to those we faced in the early days of the move of the Holy Spirit among us, when there was still a background culture of religion and some understanding of God. One of these battles is that so many people come from broken families. Absent parents,
the “best” (or just the “worst”). Jesus is out looking for every lost sheep. And He’s doing it through His people, sending them to find each one. In the 1970s, God was preparing us to be “father and mother” to many. Part of the genius of His work was to build among us a great foundation of trust and relationships. When we move in unity and trust, we can provide what the world in these days so often can’t provide: family. We can say to people, “There’s hope for a new beginning for you with a kingdom of God family. The family of Jesus is solid and reliable – come in!” We don’t pretend to know all the answers but sometimes we can help, and we want to help more. We hate what despair is doing to people and we won’t accept that broken lives have to stay broken. Our cry is that we should have power to set people free, to show them that each person is special, to give them a new self-worth and a big dose of God’s love and family.
There’s hope for a new beginning for you with a kingdom of God family. dysfunctional kids who grow up angry – and blaming themselves – and despairing: so many are filled with anxiety and negative attitudes. “Family” just hasn’t worked. It’s so wrong! Jesus always offers hope and a family. He says, “I want to call you friends; to walk and talk with you and give you all that I am and have.” In His story of the man who left 99 safe sheep to find the lost one, it could be any sheep – not just
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THIS HAS BEEN a period of adjustment as we have moved forward into chapter two of the Jesus Fellowship. The transition from Noel Stanton’s leadership to our apostolic team has been seamless. Many of us are carrying more responsibilities and are proving the sufficiency of His grace. There is a great sense of ownership and an excellent team spirit among us. A fresh wind of Holy Spirit life is blowing with a new openness to receive His life and power. The future is exciting as we enter 2010 ‘the year of strengthening’. We do value the friendship, support and prayers of friends around the UK, the EU and beyond. Let’s give our all to building His Kingdom and living for the greatest cause. JL Mick Haines
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S T S I E H T A God Forn the Roman
i s n a i t d s i o r o l h b C s y l a r a d e e r e e h g d T n n i a p l s p a e r w e s w e f e i r i w , s l emp a b . i s n t s n i a e c h t g a n i drink , and – yes – rinking s d r W e d g o n o l b swi s s r a e g d n e i r e w s d n g a n l i s p e p r a w we s . e s f i t s w i , e s h l t a a b i – s e y e cann h – T . d s n t a s i , e s r h t e a g n – i s t sw e y n i – s n d a n i a t s , i s r r h e C g n y l r a swi e e h T . s t s i e h – at We can only avoid being a shabby caricature of what God means us to be by deliberate rejection of secular “gods”, writes Laurence Cooper.
E NEED more Christian atheists today. The early Christians in the Roman empire were slandered as blood-drinking cannibals, wife-swapping swingers, and – yes – atheists. Not that they were considered atheists in the modern sense. Most people back then believed in spiritual powers. Christian “atheists”, however, refused to worship Roman gods – in particular, the one god everyone acknowledged: Caesar. For their refusal to worship, many were executed If this clash of loyalties seems strange to us, it’s because we don’t understand what Christian “faith” is. “Pistis”, the Greek New Testament word for “faith”, carries the sense of what we would call “loyalty”. Jesus Christ did not begin a new philosophy, or even a new religion; He began a new humanity who live under His Lordship. Christians are to give their total allegiance to no other. Minucius Felix, an opponent of Christianity (later a staunch advocate) said this: “They despise temples [and] titles of honour and the purple robe of high
government office... They [call] one another brother and sister indiscriminately.” In short, they had set up their own “way of doing things” which was an offence to the status quo. It flew in the face of the Caesar cult. In our day, we face different false gods. Chief among them is the cult of the individual. The establishment of the new humanity, the new society, has been pushed aside by a focus on individualism. Western Christianity, influenced by an emphasis on the salvation of the individual and post-enlightenment secular thought, has spawned plenty of individualistic deviations: cults of prosperity (“Jesus died to make you rich”): cults of “total victory” (“never experience hardship again”); cults of personal success and big influence for the “faithful”. Caesar may not be worshipped anymore, but the great god “I” is everywhere idolised. This has left a question mark over the point and purpose of Church. One hears of getting “powered up” at church to live our real lives – out there. Christians are advised to infiltrate business and politics, to wield
S T S I E H T A God Forn the Roman
i s n a i t d s i o r o l h b C s y l a r a d e e r e e h g d T n n i a p l s p a e r w e s w e f e i r i w , s l emp a b . i s n t s n i a e c h t g a n i drink , and – yes – rinking s Is “going o toochurch” on the d r e d g n l b swi s s r a level of personal preference e g d n e i r e w s d n g a n l i (like choosing pizza, not curry)? s p e p r a e w w s . e s f i t s w i , e s h l t a a b i – s e y e cann h – T . d s n t a s i , e s r h t e a g n – i s t sw e y n i – s n d a n i a t s , i s r r h e C g n y l r a swi e e h T . s t s i e h – at Continued from previous page
influence for the kingdom and to Christianise the world. Foolishly, we have individualised Jesus’ call to be the “light of the world”, making it sound as though the light of the “city on a hill” is only that which we individually radiate. Such teaching massages the ego, but it is wildly askew; never did Christians further God’s purposes by trying to be like everyone else. Christians habitually move between churches, rather than building church. High-flying Christians in business migrate between countries to build global brands – but meantime authentic new human society is virtually non-existent. Devotion to career, devotion to self: Caesar is winning hands down. Then there’s devotion to family. Yes, the cult of natural family is strong in the Church. Friends of mine have let the demands of family defeat the call of God on their lives. This is in flat contradiction of Jesus’ words: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – He cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). (This is one of
many of Jesus’ sayings to fail the “fridge magnet test” of Christian niceness.) When Caesar is thus revered, Church suffers. Muslim converts, requiring close support from the Christian community to counter the pressure of intense family disapproval, fail to find it in church and drift. Disaffected Christians give up or invent new theologies to justify disappointment (“liquid church”, anyone?) The less distinct the church is, the less credible it becomes. Historian Diarmaid MacCullogh describes “secular indifference” as the most daunting enemy of Christianity. Is “going to church” on the level of
Jesus wasn’t Superman, wasn’t super-pious. His was a tearful, grieving, laughing humanity. personal preference (like choosing pizza, not curry)? If Christians demonstrate this, the unchurched world yawns, and plumps for more virtual entertainment. New humanity is what we need, not new formulas for individual success and fulfilment. What will Christians prefer? To suffer “disgrace for the sake of Christ” and identify with the people of God (Hebrews 11:24-26) Or to prefer the bright secular doctrines of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”? When Jesus spoke from the cross to John and His mother in the agony of redemptive love, He established the first Christian community. She was cared for by John from that moment on. And the community grew: in Acts we read of “the believers” who were always “together” with “everything in common”. Daily they met in their homes, eating together “with glad and sincere hearts”. “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Such costly, one-hearted “body of Christ” commitment is what the Lord is still calling for. It’s only as we live in this way – when Christians really love one another, rather than just paying lip service to the notion
– that people can see God. The common people heard Jesus gladly, because His humanity was warm and approachable. Jesus wasn’t Superman, wasn’t super-pious. His was a tearful, grieving, laughing humanity. His holy “normality” was – and is – mind boggling. “Who is this carpenter’s son?” was the outraged cry of the priests. Jesus’ non-religious humanity infuriated them. They wanted a big sign, something out of the ordinary. Ironically perhaps, it is this authentic human/divine life of love that is the greatest show on earth. And it is now displayed through the Church. It’s attractive and compelling; it’s what people are longing for. And it will cost us to live it out. Christians have a choice to make; being “saved” isn’t enough. Who will we serve? If Christians bow to the dehumanising powers of this age they will not display the authentic new humanity of the son of God, but be stunted in their growth and blunted in their mission. Will we return to “one heart and soul”, “body of Christ” living? To rediscover what it means to live as a new human family – rejecting loyalty to Caesar in every form? Christian atheists, arise. JL
Postba 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 EMAIL: INFO@JESUS.ORG.UK WRITE: JESUS FELLOWSHIP, NETHER HEYFORD, NORTHAMPTON NN7 3LB
MAY I thank you for the welcome I received when supporting my friend at his baptism last evening. Your welcome was exceptional and much appreciated. You greeted us at the door; took time to show us where best to sit and then came and sat with me throughout the service. We were all very impressed with the number of all-age worshippers and it was a joy to see them all worshipping and praising our Lord and Saviour with such sincerity. Keep up the good work in serving people’s desire to serve the Lord. Alan W. Brett NORTHAMPTON, UK For info on upcoming Jesus Fellowship events visit www.jesus.org.uk/dates
LAST YEAR me, Nannie, and our son Sven visited the church and had a meeting in the Jesus Centre. It was really amazing and the meeting has inspired us to dedicate our lives to Jesus even more. We had such a warm welcome and enjoyed the event. Thank you very much for that. We still think and talk about the visit and would like to come and visit you again. Greetings from Holland and may the Lord surround you with all his grace! Danny Oss HOLLAND This message came via the Jesus Army online forum: www.jesus.org.uk/forum
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MY NAME is Ian and I have been a Christian for about 35 years. For the past few years I have been working for the Salvation Army in a homeless men’s hostel in Nottingham. I recently retired from there and feel I still have something to offer the street outreach scene. My own Anglican church, albeit a caring, charismatic church, carries out little street outreach work and I am enquiring if your organisation carries out any work of this nature where I can be of help. Ian Christie NOTTINGHAM, UK If you would like to know more about the work of the Jesus Army in your area visit www.jesus.org.uk/uk
YOU RECENTLY included my mother, Madge Williams, in your distribution of a DVD about your work in Coventry. We watched it together and were very impressed both by the breadth of your work and also the skill with which the DVD was put together by your members. It spoke clearly about the work and is a clear witness to the work of the gospel here in Coventry. I only wish that there were members of all Coventry churches (including our own) with the same creative skills to be able to do the same to encourage support in the same way. Martin R. Williams COVENTRY, UK To receive New D@wn, a weekly email from the Jesus Fellowship, sign up at www.jesus.org.uk/weekly
I WOULD like to say that after looking at the Multiply Christian Network web pages I was very impressed. As a member of Hyndburn Christian Fellowship and a member of its leadership team, the actual site is very informative. Laurie Andrews HYNDBURN, UK For more on Multiply Christian Network visit www.multiply.org.uk
I THOUGHT I would reply to your letter, as I was surprised to receive it, the way the world is today. No one seems to try to help OAPs unless you run after them. Thank you! I know you have a café down at your Jesus Centre; I will come and make a visit. If at any time I want anything I know where to come. Edward Page NORTHAMPTON, UK The Jesus Fellowship in Northamptonshire recently mailed a letter to nearly 10,000 older people in the area asking if they needed any practical or spiritual help from the church.
MY NAME is Simon and I’m a student from Germany. When I was in London in 2005 I met a guy who gave me one of your red crosses and invited me to your church. I learned about the community and now I’ll finally have the opportunity to travel to London again. Would it be possible for me to spend some days in your community to get to know you better and to learn more about Christ? Simon Rüd GERMANY For more on the Jesus Fellowship’s residential Christian community visit www.newcreation.org.uk
C I N O R T C ELE G
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A walking and talking miracle
Born with cerebral palsy, David White’s life looked like it might just spiral into angry bitterness and selfharm. But God had much better plans for him.
T’S FRIDAY NIGHT in Oxford, and out among the student and townie clubbers is a small Jesus Army group with a bulky bin bag and a trolley case. At the centre, kneeling, is David White, quietly pouring out a cup of soup for one of his friends among the street people. This soup run has been going for a year every Friday without fail, rain or shine – and the Oxford Jesus Fellowship Sunday evening meeting now sometimes resembles a dog show with so many of the regulars’ pooches tied up in the courtyard outside: “The soup run is not my idea like some people may think. It is God’s. Which is why, whatever happens, I will not let go till
Singing in the rain: David has found God’s purpose for life
Jesus Life 9
soup run c s David and his friends on the Oxford soup run that was his inspiration
Continued from previous page
God tells me to,” says David. “The idea just would not leave me alone. First I saw the need on the street, then I felt a voice say ‘soup run’, and then the feeling got stronger the more I tried to ignore it. When God says ‘jump!’, all you can say is ‘how high?’” David’s favourite book in the Bible is the story of Esther: “She knows something’s wrong and she keeps going to the king, knowing he’s got the power to chop off her head – and she times her request just right.” It’s a story about perseverance. This is something David learnt from a very young age as he was born with disabilities. “I was told I would never walk or talk because I was born with slight brain damage down the right side and cerebral palsy,” David explains. “But riding helped me: as I love horses my teachers bribed me with the promise of a ride, not only to talk but to walk a few steps. Their attitude was ‘You don’t know unless you have had a jolly good try.’ This drove me to go for it.” Through the first year of the soup run David has got to know many of the street
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people, and there have been a few nearbreakthroughs. One girl stayed in community for a few days, made a break but then fell back when she wasn’t able to transfer her methadone scrip. He’s still praying for her. “I don’t see myself as an evangelist,” he says, “yet in a funny way serving these people is sort of street evangelism. It is not in-yer-face, but it is quietly serving.” The group have had comments both good and bad from passers-by – on one particularly hard winter’s night a police officer asked them to look out for a guy who looked really cold and in need of some help. With David go a team of two to four runners, and a few others help make the soup. “None of this packet stuff, this is the real home-made stuff which goes down really well with the street people!” says David. The team also give out clothes, blankets and sleeping bags. For David, this is the difference between being a Christian and religion: “Religion is dead, formal, in the head, all words. Being a Christian is showing God’s love and
being practical.” David’s sister Johanna joined the Jesus Fellowship when she was at university. After her baptism, their mum started going to a local church in Basingstoke. David went along with her and was baptised there in 1991. But life continued to have its battles for David. While at the Fortune Centre of Riding Therapy in Dorset, he lost his young cousin to secondary cancer. Shortly after, a good friend committed suicide. “My life darkened, and I rebelled against God; I felt He had left me,” says David. His life spiralled down into drink and selfharm. “Cutting myself started small and got bigger,” he says. “I once cut myself all the way from my shoulder down to my wrist. Another time I carved ‘Help’ on my arm.” The lowest point came when he downed a whole bottle of vodka and blacked out in his room. He lay unconscious for most of the day. But God hadn’t left David, and kept calling out to him – for instance, through music. “One time I heard the Candi Statten song ‘You’ve got love to see me through’,”
crew READ MORE: Find other people’s stories of how Jesus Changed their life at www.jesus.org.uk/jcml
David’s vision is to see the people reached on a Friday night “coming home”, escaping the social trap. www.jesus.org.uk
he recalls. Love broke through the darkness when, soon after, David went to stay in a Jesus Fellowship community house in Northampton. There the leader gave him a new nickname: ‘Gifted’. And gifted he is – in healing, prayer, serving, poetry, drama, and more. While in Northampton he went along to the second meeting of a drama group at the Northampton Jesus Centre; he now co-leads it. In 2005, David moved down to Oxfordshire with his parents and they all joined the Oxford church household, ‘Living Faith’. “Since being here I’ve gained lots of confidence. I’ve done a drama for over a 1,000 people!” says David. “I feel really supported by my friends here.” David’s vision for Living Faith is to see the people reached on a Friday night “coming home”, escaping the social trap, finding a new way of life in the church. “I can picture ‘Mike’ helping Jason lug a pile of bricks onto a work lorry or ‘Jane’ working at the church’s cakery alongside my sister. That’s what I’m working, serving and praying for.” JL *Some names have been changed
Broken glass a poem by David
See him on the street Despised by the many passers-by Uncaringly fling a few coppers at his feet Broken heart Broken glass See her walk the street Working for money Trapped No way out or so it seems Getting a hit, a fix To nurse her broken dreams Broken heart Broken glass Now see Him on the cross Giving His life for these people Lost The high price, He paid the cost Mended heart Mended glass
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E S I M O R P “NO COM Justin Stone wasn’t sure what he made of the Jesus Fellowship. But friendship and an invitation to a “Men Alive for God” conference have won his heart.
HEN I WAS invited to “Men Alive for God” I wondered what to expect. For years I had been brainwashed into suspicion about the Jesus Army. I had even fought hard to stop dear friends from joining up. Thank God I failed! Over the years, I have done my own thinking and sought the Lord. I’ve realised that without the Jesus Army a lot of people would not be reached effectively with the gospel. I’ve come to admire their radical approach and focus on Jesus’ priorities. I have enjoyed bringing my family to see old friends in their community homes and at a recent small group meeting. And now? The invitation came at a good time. For various reasons I was in a desperate place. I needed to reconnect with Jesus. So if my brothers wanted me to go to Northampton to do that – I was ready. After a pleasant ride with some brothers from the Jesus Army Coventry, I was overwhelmed by the scale of the Northampton Jesus Centre. What a magnificent resource. After a swift cup of tea we were straight into worship. The experience left me breathless. Here was a group of men with nothing to hide. They just wanted to follow Jesus no matter what the cost. I found myself in the presence of the living God. I didn’t know most of the songs but that hardly seemed relevant as I was still transported into the heavenlies. The warmth, friendship and love were tremendous. My heart sang out in praise of Jesus. A leader spoke: do I want to be an eagle or a chicken? To soar or to peck away at the ground? I felt the holy
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Above: A lively workshop at “Men Alive for God” Right: Justin Stone was blown away by the day
passion of the communicator. (Turned out it was Mick Haines, the Jesus Fellowship’s main leader.) At lunch, everyone seemed to be a friend, a brother. People I had never met were concerned over my spiritual state of affairs. They weren’t nosy; they just wanted me to encounter Jesus! What a community! The workshops in the afternoon were excellent – practical with lots of interaction. I found out what I could learn from celibate brothers; shouted out against oppression in my life; heard accurate words of knowledge freeing people. But it was the love and brotherhood that touched me most deeply. As I walked past a staircase during tea, a man in his fifties asked who I was. I told him and he immediately expressed concern that I get the most out of the day. He didn’t know me. That evening, having had so much teaching, I just wanted to turn it all back to God as worship. And interspersed with energetic praise and worship were demos about spiritual fathering, smoking, debt, brotherhood and so on. But the one that struck me was a rap, asking: “Do you want to be a Crisis Man?” It was based on something the missionary Jim Elliot had said: “Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not
SE” The experience left me breathless. Here was a group of men with nothing to hide. They just wanted to follow Jesus no matter what the cost be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” The challenge went straight to my heart. Do I want to be this kind of “crisis man”? Oh, my dear God, yes! I want to be a crisis man! Then another challenging talk. By now, I just wanted to be prayed for – and the time came. The Holy Spirit came over us all, wave after wave. I was at the front listening to words of knowledge. One was just for me and my brothers prayed into it. I felt pain going as the Spirit healed me. I was able to forgive and had a vision, the first I have had in a long time: Jesus took me on a walk through the most beautiful and real garden, we paddled in a stream, and I saw the tree from Psalm 1 – the scripture God gave me
DON’T MISS the next Men Alive for God on Saturday 20 March 2010 at Jesus Centre, NORTHAMPTON NN1 4AE INFO: 0845 123 5550 email@example.com www.jesus.org.uk/dates
just before I became a Christian: “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.” I laughed with Christ as I drank deeply. Then my brother spoke some words from Psalm 1 – without knowing the vision I had just had. God is good! I’d expected an event like any other Christian conference. But it was like a four-day conference in one day! The overwhelming feeling I had was that we were all brothers serious about Jesus. We wanted to be challenged to become better children of God. We wanted to give it all to Him. We know our faults but we were there prepared to be taught and changed. Jesus was the centre of attention and I felt free to be the man of God that He created me to be. I have always wanted to make God smile. That is my whole purpose in life. I realised from seeing so many covenant brothers, holding each other as they sang about brotherhood, that there is a way to make God smile: complete abandonment to Him. His ways first. An act of my will. JL No compromise.
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& s g u r d , s sockalad cream s
French David Guadagnino and his Malaysian wife, Belinda, live in a Christian community in London with their two children – and a host of people from other nations. It’s a colourful cultural mix.
EAVING HOME in France at 15, David first heard about Jesus in 1993, when he was homeless in Amsterdam. Soon after, he visited a Jesus Fellowship house in London. He’d experienced “street” community: sharing squats, drugs, the day’s small change donations. Now he found Jesus and “people living all-out for Jesus, 24 hours a day”. He moved in, loving it from day one. “I didn’t want to do my own thing anymore. Life at home was such an adventure, you didn’t need to go out looking for it!” Belinda had a comfortable, churchgoing upbringing in Malaysia. In 1991, doing her law finals in London, she felt God leading her to community. “I’ve always valued friendships,” says Belinda, “and enjoyed student shared digs. Visiting the community house, it was the love that hit me. They welcomed me for who I was. People from Zimbabwe, Australia, Romania and Spain already lived in the house. They’d clearly learned how to love each other, and lived a simple and totally committed lifestyle. It was life. I wanted that, so I moved in.” From the outset, both found inevitable clashes of culture – but were determined to work things through. “Jesus has torn down all the barriers, like the New Testament says. We can love everyone because His love fills our hearts,” says David. “An African friend told me he feared losing his black roots, but he hasn’t. When he’s out in London, he notices how people look at him, but inside the community, he doesn’t even think colour. We form a new “Jesus” culture: everyone belongs but still has the distinctive characteristics which make them
He had experienced “street” community: sharing squats, drugs, the day’s small change donations.
a e r c salad 14 Jesus Life
David, Belinda and their sons, Espoir and Jeremai
s g u r d , s ck “After years of good French dressing what was this revolting salad cream?”
unique. People here don’t treat me as French, but as a brother and a friend.” Shared lifestyles mean sacrifices. “I mean, after years of good French dressing what was this revolting salad cream?” sighs David. Belinda had her own struggles with boiled vegetables! Then there’s language. Misunderstandings happen constantly. Two people can be arguing and suddenly realise they’re defending the same corner! The caricature of the English approach to foreigners (“If they don’t understand, say it louder”) really happens. David had to drop the French custom of greeting women with a kiss on both cheeks. It didn’t go down too well in a Christian community that avoids overfamiliarity between the sexes! “I liked female company,” laments David, “now I was expected to spend my time with the other men. I found segregation hard, but gradually learned it was healthier. The pressure to flirt was taken away. I could grow as a man through constant interaction with men. I became more responsible. It must have worked: five years later, in 1998, I got married!” Belinda couldn’t understand the British love of privacy. Others couldn’t grasp her sense of humour: “In Malaysia we laugh at anything and everything! One of the men in the house tripped and hurt himself, and I burst out laughing. People were scandalised! But I wasn’t laughing because someone got hurt – I was just, well... laughing. I concluded the Anglo-Saxons needed to learn to relax!” This household has discovered cultural matters run
Jesus Life 15
r d , s k soc salad s s
Continued from previous page
deeper than colour or race. They tackle them in a matterof-fact way. It comes down to each individual’s response to Jesus, and readiness to let Him transform them into a new family of love, drawn from all races. It’s the crucial principle defined in Jean Vanier’s book, Community and Growth : the transition from “the community for me” to “myself for the community”. Cultural considerations must line up behind that. What principles did Jesus teach on food, for example? Simplicity and gratitude. So that’s how we operate. Whoever’s responsible for the meal cooks what they choose, so long as it’s simple. Jobs are shared out - from cleaning loos to washing socks. All receive God’s provision with thankful hearts!” Raising a family in community brings different issues.
This article is abridged from a chapter of One Heart and Soul – Christian Community in the 21st Century published by Multiply. To order your copy see the reply card between pages 8 and 9, or online at www.jesuspeople.biz/books
“Your children are still yours, not community property!” adds David. “We’re the parents and do the upbringing. Our children benefit from community. They develop fast. They’re stimulated by all the company. But we don’t want them fussed over or confused by lots of ‘uncles’ and ‘aunties’. People in the house understand and support us in this.” In each Jesus Fellowship’s house, Thursday is “friendship evening” for members of the local congregation who don’t live in community and new friends met through outreach. It offers a good snapshot of life in community and, long into the evening, the sitting rooms heave with a buzz of multi-coloured humanity, with some 40 people, from up to 20 nations.
“People can’t believe their eyes when they see blacks, browns and whites truly loving each other and committed to staying together.” When David and Belinda’s first son was born, everyone changed rooms to create the most suitable family area. “You can’t have everything exactly as you would in your own home,” says Belinda. “There must be give and take – like training people not to leave cups of hot tea where children can grab them.” “It’s good to learn from other community families. We don’t always see things the same, but work it out together. The important thing is to embrace the community vision and make quality time for your family within that. We make good use of times before and after David’s work, and go out as a family some Saturdays. That way we preserve our identity within the larger context.”
16 Jesus Life
“Christians talk about ‘multicultural churches’,” says Belinda. “In London there are plenty. But after the service they return to their particular cultural home. I don’t believe that’s the fullness of what Jesus wanted. It’s much harder – but much more attractive – to actually live together. It becomes an amazing testimony. People can’t believe their eyes when they see blacks, browns and whites truly loving each other and committed to staying together.” “It worked at Pentecost,” adds David. “Why not today? “God’s brought the whole world to our doorstep to see something they never dreamed existed on earth: a place where Jesus melts hearts and cultures into a new society of justice and brotherhood. We love it!” JL www.jesus.org.uk
on the margins
Do you Mind?
ending mental health stigma The screen crackles. Sinister, jarring music and conflicting images flash across the screen. The word “SCHIZO” appears as the camera moves down a dark corridor towards a frosted glass door. Behind it a shadow looms.
atest horror movie sell-out? No: the door swings open to reveal Stuart Baker-Brown of Time to Change, the mental health anti-stigma campaign. Pouring tea, Stuart looks at the camera and says, mildly, “Hi there. I’m sorry to disappoint you if you were expecting a lunatic with a knife or on some sort of rampage. My name is Stuart and I was diagnosed with schizophrenia 12 years ago. People like me with a diagnosis of mental illness face discrimination every day. Luckily for me, I have the support of friends and family to help me lead a full life.” Time to Change launched the short film not long after a YouGov poll revealed that more than a third of the public believe people diagnosed with schizophrenia are likely to be violent. According to Time to Change, “the reality is that people are as likely to be Continued overleaf
I’m sorry to disappoint you if you were expecting a lunatic with a knife or on some sort of rampage www.jesus.org.uk
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struck by lightning as to be harmed by a stranger with a mental illness”. But “people going through it say that the stigma and shame can be worse than the illness itself.” The Oxford English Dictionary definition of “stigma” is somewhat telling: “A mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person e.g. the stigma of mental disorder.” disorder Stuart Baker-Brown spoke to Jesus Life about why there is still such stigma when it comes to mental health. “It’s based on fear,” he says, “and ignorance. People see mental illness as something which causes you to lose control of your life – and that breeds panic.” He insists that openness is key to breaking this down: “Other illnesses – like cancer or AIDS are scary, too, but talking about them has reduced fear – and that has led to reduced stigma. The more we talk about something, the less we’re afraid of it. It becomes normal – part of life.” Schizophrenia includes psychosis – the clinical term for severe mental disorders – which can lead to delusions and hallucinations, and which can affect behaviour. Contrary to popular myth, it is not about having a “split personality”. “Words become loaded,” says Baker-Brown. “Psychosis or the word ‘psycho’ makes people think of dangerous killers. People associate psychosis with anger and attacks, but that is a very wrong perception and a media myth. People think schizophrenia means something like Jekyll and Hyde in the horror films.” The same week that Stuart spoke to Jesus Life, a small media storm had gathered over an article published by Financial Times Deutschland, Deutschland the German daily newspaper. The article’s author had claimed that people should keep quiet about depression in the workplace: “The truth is that given our ignorance and squeamishness about mental health, it is probably better to shut up about it.” These remarks were not well received, not least because high-profile German footballer, Robert Enke, had tragically ended his own life that very week – after suffering with depression for six years. Silence – and the shame that causes silence – can be deadly. “Keeping schtum” about mental health problems such as depression can contribute to ongoing stigma and, as in Robert Enke’s case, can lead to tragedy. Some public figures, in order to combat this, have been deliberately open about their own struggles with mental health issues. Alastair Campbell, former press secretary to Tony Blair,
the word ‘psycho’ makes people think of dangerous killers 18 Jesus Life
the deep friendship and care of others that I lived with in Christian community brought me to a deeper realisation of being loved; I’m so grateful for those who stuck by me at the time.” Alastair Campbell agrees that good can come even from awful mental breakdown: “I see my breakdown as having given me the strength to do the things I have done since,” he told Jesus Life. “I was taken to the limit, really close to losing everything, at absolute breaking point and I think over time that turned me into a stronger person.” Pieter Walsma, a GP with experience in psychiatry and a leader in the Jesus Fellowship, is quite clear that compassion must be the hallmark of the Church. “There is no doubt in my mind that mental illness in the form of depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and the like, often causes greater suffering in the patient than many, if not most, forms of physical illnesses. “Jesus taught that those who looked after the sick would be called ‘blessed’ by His Father,” he continues (Matthew 25:34-36). “Looking after the sick must include the mentally sick – and also looking after those who look after them, mostly family and friends.” Sometimes, as in Paul Veitch’s case, the Jesus Fellowship’s Christian community has been a place for such healing. But residential community, with its busyness and bustle, is not always ideal for those with mental disorders. “This is where Jesus Centres, with their emphasis on ‘help for every kind of person’ can come into their own,” says John Campbell, chairman of the Jesus Army Charitable Trust. “They can provide stability and support for those with mental health difficulties, and help with other needs, such as housing, and so on.” As Stuart Baker-Brown put it, “We’re all people – and all people have their needs and differences. Sometimes, JL we just need to share the load.”
on the margins
wrote, “I never hid the fact I’d had a nervous breakdown. I’d always been very open about it... I think people are disarmed when you’re up front about it.” Campbell told Jesus Life, “I think it is important we all recognise we have weaknesses as well as strengths and when we feel on the edge, understand it is possible to get help.” Campbell supports the Time to Change campaign with media work on its behalf. “Many people say the stigma is worse than the illness,” he says. “I did a report on famous and eminent people in history, like Churchill and Lincoln, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie and Florence Nightingale, who had what today would be defined as mental illness.” Philippa King has achieved modest fame as an artist and writer – but her mental illness means she now never leaves her home. “My health difficulties started in child-
Like anyone else, a person with a mental illness needs to feel loved, respected and needed hood,” she told Jesus Life, “and I have never recovered myself. I was eventually diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a cross between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, at the age of 21. “For me, the reality of life with schizoaffective disorder is mostly chaotic and devastating, even though I have tried a wide range of medications. My mood shifts rapidly between suicidal depression and mania in which I suffer sleeplessness, confusion and terror. I hear people talking about me. I have had my thoughts stolen from me and sold on to radio stations. (My psychiatrist may not agree.)” Philippa is clear about what is important for people suffering with conditions such as hers: “Though no two individuals – with or without mental health problems – are identical, it is important to take time to listen, and be accepting and non-judgmental to those of us who experience brain disorders. Like anyone else, a person with a mental illness needs to feel loved, respected and needed.” That was Paul Veitch’s experience. He has been a member of the Jesus Fellowship for more than 20 years. When he had a breakdown in the mid 1990s, which included a psychotic episode and depression, he says that good came of it even though it was a difficult and frightening time. “I came to the end of myself, “ he says, “but
ONLINE • The “Schizo” movie from Time to Change: www.time-to-change.org.uk/schizo • Stuart Baker-Brown’s website: www.stuartbakerbrown.co.uk • Alastair Campbell’s BBC documentary, Cracking Up, can be found in the video archive at: www.alastaircampbell.org • Philippa King’s art blog: loadedbrush.me.uk (find links to Philippa’s articles for The Times here, too) • Jesus Centres and mental health: www.jesus.org.uk/short/help
Jesus Life 19
“ 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.
WHO RUNS THEM?
The Jesus Army Charitable Trust (JACT). Staff and volunteers come from Jesus Fellowship Church.
WHERE ARE THEY?
Coventry, Northampton and Central London. Plans are afoot for further Jesus Centres, in Sheffield (2010) and then Birmingham. 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.
20 Jesus Life
” From weight loss classes to immigration services, from supporting those bereaved by suicide to a group for fathers who have trouble accessing their children, the support groups that are running in London, Northampton and Coventry Jesus Centres are all part of the Centres’ vision to provide “worship, friendship and help for every kind of person”. “People just need to know that someone else understands,” says Piers Young, manager of Coventry Jesus Centre. “With support groups we can link up people with the same problems, to listen to each other and give mutual support. It can make a big difference. We’ve seen it.”
I do a lot of chatting, praying, solving problems, laughing, crying and drinking tea. London “MAKING IT WORK,” is a relatively new job-search support group at the London Jesus Centre. It has been running for over nine months, during which Alison Moore, who runs it, has seen over 50 different people who are having difficulty finding work. It runs every Thursday by appointment, from 8.30am–3.30pm. She helps them to put together their CVs, helps with interview skills, gives employment advice, searches for jobs with them, makes phone calls to employers and, as she puts it, “I do a lot of chatting, praying, solving problems, laughing, crying and drinking tea.” “My Spanish has improved!” laughs Alison, “And I’ve learnt about helping migrant workers to find jobs and a lot about the local labour market.” As a result of Alison’s service, 20 people have found jobs (five of them have been offered two!) She has even managed to get herself a new job as part of the government’s upcoming Future Jobs Fund for 18–25 year olds, on top of the “Making it work” group.
Alison (right) runs ‘Making it Work’ at the London Jesus Centre
Andy (second from right) runs ‘Habit Breaker’ at the Coventry Jesus Centre
THE INSPIRATION behind “Habit breaker,” a support group at Coventry Jesus Centre, lies with Jackie Pullinger. A missionary to Hong Kong, her methods of dealing with the addictions that she found in the Walled City were rooted in the power of the Holy Spirit. Many men and women were freed from the power of addiction as she led them to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Andy Crisp, co-leader of “Habit breaker”, says, “If it can happen in Hong Kong, why shouldn’t it happen here?” Along with Rune Carlberg, an ex-alcoholic who has known healing from his addictions, Andy decided to create “Habit breaker.” It usually happens on Wednesday afternoons and takes the form of a seven-session course covering foundational Christian truths through to water baptism and the power of the Holy Spirit. “Habit-breaker” has been running three years now, and it has definitely made an impact. Everyone who has been on the course has also been involved in other Jesus Centre activities. Nearly all of them have found faith in God and been baptised – there have been no dramatic changes, but through an atmosphere of love and being involved in a ‘spiritual family’ in church, people have been able to gradually break out of their old habits. Although it consists of only seven sessions at a time, “Habit breaker” continues to offer a level of support to its members through the friendships that are formed and the various Jesus Fellowship meetings nearby. Pete went to “Habit breaker” after years of trying to rid himself of an alcohol habit. “I thought I’d give it a go,” he explains, “And it worked. I finished the course and finally beat alcoholism, through faith in God. I would recommend it to anyone with an addiction, or even an addictive personality.” “Personally, I’ve never even smoked a cigarette!” laughs Andy, “But I know that Jesus has the power to set people free, and we’re seeing the reality of that.” www.jesus.org.uk www.jesuscentre.org.uk
“MONEY WORRIES” is a support group that has been running for five years at the Northampton Jesus Centre. It is an appointment-based group, aimed at people who have financial problems. Nine people are trained up to give all kinds of financial assistance. Their services include budgeting, debt and benefits help. The recession has caused a lot of insecurity and uncertainty, so this free service has proven very successful. “Debts enslave people; we need to help them out,” says Clive Millman, one of the volunteers who runs “Money Worries”. “Sometimes people can’t see the way out of the situation that they are in, and we help them to see a way forward. Helping to smooth out someone’s money worries goes a long way to helping them to get their life in order.” “One guy who started coming along to this support group used to be a Christian, but had become disillusioned with it” says Clive. “The practical, friendly approach of “Money worries” when he needed it was enough to rekindle his faith again. He’s started to go to church again – and he has paid almost all of his debts off.” JL Clive (left) runs ‘Money Worries’ at the Northampton Jesus Centre
Through an atmosphere of love... people have been able to gradually break out of their old habits Jesus Life 21
Plug into the
The Jesus Fellowship’s high-octane events around the UK mix friendship and a “no prejudice” approach with exhilaration and gutsy challenge.
THOUSAND or more people enter into an experience of God’s love and power. It’s real, it’s wild. Everyone’s in it together and there’s real friendship. Live bands pump passion into music. Speakers carry conviction. Dramas and demos communicate the passionate vision God has put at the heart of the modern Jesus army. Don’t miss out – come along to the next event, wherever it is. You’re welcome. JL
22 Jesus Life
Clockwise from top: Here we go: worship at a recent Jesus Fellowship event; Hands up: a young leader calls for commitment; Lights in the world: a prayer item with glo-sticks; Shining: a dramatic demo depicts Christian truth
COMING EVENTS: www.jesus.org.uk/dates
Y L P I T L U M RISTIAN CH ORK W Many Generations, T E N One Passion
More Multiply Partners and new friends than ever before met together in November to share how to pass the kingdom baton on to the next generation. Emma Merry reports
WHAT IS MULTIPLY?
Multiply Christian Network is a worldwide apostolic stream of churches, initiated by Jesus Fellowship Church.
DON’T MISS OUT! MULTIPLY INTERNATIONAL LEADERS CONFERENCE TWO-WEEK CONFERENCE: Wed 26 May - Wed 9 June MAIN CONFERENCE DAY: Saturday 5 June Northampton Jesus Centre Northampton, UK, NN1 4AE
MULTIPLY UK CONFERENCE
Saturday 20 November
www.multiply.org.uk Contact Multiply Director Huw Lewis Tel: +44 1327 344533 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: Jesus Fellowship/ Multiply Central Offices, Nether Heyford, Northampton, UK NN7 3LB
Worship at the Multiply UK Leaders Conference
ENERATIONS ALIVE was the theme of November’s Multiply UK conference. As Multiply Director Huw Lewis explained: “It’s important that church gathers together, uses and needs all generations and that they are alive – all need to carry the life of God!” To have generations, you’ve got to start having sons and daughters, according to Mick Haines, Jesus Fellowship Apostolic Team leader: “You must want spiritual chil-
dren. If you don’t care, you won’t get them. Then select some to invest in: note those who respond to the gospel, who are particularly receptive to your teaching. And finally, check with your fellow leaders for witness!” In the past few years Multiply Network has grown in Africa. Desmond Thomas of Ministry of the Word, Sierra Leone, shared some insights on fatherhood. “We need to see the people we work with
Sometimes we won’t know their potential until we give them something to do
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Y L P I T L U M RISTIAN CH ORK W T E N s s
Continued from previous page
as capable – sometimes we won’t know their potential until we give them something to do. Spend time with them – Jesus spent more time with His disciples than the crowd.” Iain Gorrie, Multiply Coordinator, reported back on the year – a busy one, with conferences in Sierra Leone and South Africa, two trips each to Slovakia and Switzerland, and the AMEN (Apostolic Men Empowering the Nations) conference. The Multiply vision is mainly friendships among leaders, with support and whatever level of accountability is wanted. Leadership training, main Jesus Fellowship events
Hearts were lifted to God in praise
including the youth event RAW, architects’ practice and music studio are just some of the other resources that are available to Multiply Partners. During the day, there were reports on Jesus Centres, Switzerland visits, J Generation and RAW, plus contributions from other Multiply Partners. One, Daudet Luwezo of Living Water Church, Gloucester, brought a challenge about whose weapons we use in the fight of faith: “ If David went into battle with Saul’s armour on, Saul could have claimed the glory for the victory… but God doesn’t share His glory with anyone else.” Multiply is a rainbow movement, as Matthew Guest, King’s Church, Chatham, pointed out in the final session: “Today we’re celebrating what Multiply is all about
keep in touch!
BELFAST Jesus Fellowship Church.............................................. 0845 123 5552 Birmingham Jesus Fellowship Church..................................... 0845 166 8153 BLACKBURN Hyndburn Christian Fellowship.............................0170 622 2401 Blackburn Rishton Christian Fellowship................................ 0125 488 7790 Bridgend The Bridge Community Church................................0165 665 5635 BrightoN Jesus Fellowship Church............................................0845 166 8151 bristol Jesus Fellowship Church............................................. 0845 123 5339 chatham House Of Prayer For All Nations................................0163 466 9933 Chatham King’s Church Medway................................................ 0163 484 7477 Coventry Jesus Fellowship Church.......................................... 0845 166 8154 gloucester Living Word Fellowship.........................................0145 253 2138 HASTINGS Jesus Fellowship Church........................................... 0845 123 5551 High Wycombe Church of Shalom............................................ 0149 444 9408 Kettering Jesus Fellowship Church..........................................0845 166 8157 Leeds Jesus Fellowship Church...................................................0845 166 8167 Leicester Jesus Fellowship Church.......................................... 0845 644 9705 Liverpool Jesus Fellowship Church..........................................0845 166 8168 London Jesus Fellowship Church.............................................. 0845 166 8152 24 Jesus Life London N Glad Tidings Evangelical Church............................. 0208 245 9002
– diversity, leaning on one another, a holistic body of kingdom people. In our church, we’re 50/50 black and white, and look like dominoes on a Sunday. Church shouldn’t be selective, but reflective of the society around. Just let the Lord do it. You’re just a conduit for God’s love to flow through.” Matthew then asked to borrow a shoe from Mick. “We’re called to carry the baton from generation to generation – I can’t do it in Mick’s shoes ’cos they’re too big… and he probably wouldn’t like the style of my trainers! “For me, I couldn’t take King’s Church forward in the previous leader’s shoes, and you know what God said? ‘You don’t have to, I’ve made a pair of shoes just for you.’ I wasn’t there by default, God had made shoes for me to stand and walk in to take the baton forward.” JL
MULTIPLY churches and groups meet all over the uk. ring up and find out what’s going on in your area! London S Bible Life Family Ministries...................................... 0208 689 2244 London SE Ephratah Int’l Gospel Praise Centre......................0208 469 0047 London SE Flaming Evangelical Ministries .............................0163 420 1170 London SE Glorious Revival Eagle Ministries.......................... 0208 855 3087 London SE Life For The World Christian Centre.......................0163 431 1507 London SE Mission Together for Christ.....................................0207 401 2687 Manchester Jesus Fellowship Church.....................................0845 166 8169 Milton Keynes Jesus Fellowship Church................................. 0845 166 8159 Northampton Jesus Fellowship Church .................................0845 166 8161 Norwich Jesus Fellowship Church.............................................0845 166 8162 Nottingham Jesus Fellowship Church......................................0845 166 8163 Oxford Jesus Fellowship Church...............................................0845 166 8164 Preston Jesus Fellowship Church............................................ 0845 123 5554 RAMSEY HOLLOW (Hunts) Christians United............................0148 781 5528 Sheffield Jesus Fellowship Church.......................................... 0845 166 8183 Stoke-on-Trent Jesus Fellowship Church............................... 0845 123 5334 SWANSEA Jesus Fellowship Church........................................... 0845 123 5556 WORCESTER Jesus Fellowship Church.......................................www.multiply.org.uk 0845 833 5601
Patron saint of
In cathedrals across South America there are statues of a distinctly African- looking saint with a friendly face, and carrying a broom. Who was this unusual man of God? Article by Trevor Saxby.
IMA, PERU, was not the happiest place to grow up. Founded by the Spanish conquistadors, it had known mistrust and bloodshed ever since. Martin de Porres was born here in 1579, the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a former black slave. He was to spend his whole life in the city – and most of it in one building. From an early age, Martin loved Jesus and had a heart of compassion for the poor. Whatever money came his way he gave to them. At 15, he became a servant in the Dominican convent, where everyone was struck by his loving heart to God and his brothers. The order at that time did not accept non-whites to be friars, but when Martin asked to be admitted, they knew they had to waive the rules. So at 24 Martin became a friar. Because of his great compassion, he was put in charge of the infirmary – and remained in this post for the rest of his life.
He cared for the sick of the city as well as the convent. If he saw a beggar covered in ulcers, or an Indian stabbed in a brawl, he would carry them back to the infirmary – or if this was full, to his own cell – and care for them. When an epidemic struck Lima and Martin filled the infirmary with the sick and dying, his su-
and usually a smile. Whenever he could, he withdrew to pray, because he knew the source of his service had to come from Jesus. Martin rejoiced in his celibacy, since it freed him from cares that would have cut into his ability to serve. No task was too menial for him; often he swept out the kitchens himself, even
If he saw a beggar covered in ulcers he would carry them back to the infirmary – or if this was full, to his own cell periors rebuked him for endangering the lives of his brothers. “Please forgive me and instruct me,” he replied, “but I thought love was the highest command of all.” Many divine healings happened when Martin prayed , but he also nursed the long-term sick with great patience and love,
though there were servants to do this. The broom became his symbol: the sign of a servant. Martin’s warm heart also reached out to animals. He volunteered to feed and groom the convent’s horses, on top of his other duties, and several times a sick horse was healed when Martin prayed. In art, he
is often painted with mice at his feet. The story goes that he was so upset when the friars set traps that he prayed and took authority over the mice – after that, they would visit him in his cell but troubled no-one else! Martin fed, sheltered and tended the poor right up to his death, aged 60. He paid the dowry for poor girls to be able to marry. He established an orphanage and a school, where he taught poor children a trade or homemaking skills. When he died, his fame had spread far and wide. Thousands attended his funeral, where he was called “the Apostle of Charity”, and in more recent times he was made the Roman Catholic Church’s patron saint of social care. JL
READ MORE: More stories of the church’s passionate past at www.jesus.org.uk/revival
Jesus Life 25
James Stacey tells the story of a youth uprising initiated by the Jesus Fellowship.
AW” BEGAN as a dream in the heart of an old man. Noel Stanton, founder of the Jesus Fellowship in the 1960s, had long envisioned a “holy camp” that would impact young people with the gospel of Jesus and the call to belong to His cause. It was an inspiration that lay quietly in his heart for many years, though occasionally he would muse over it with some of his brothers and sisters at New Creation Farm where he lived, in Christian community. Life was plenty busy with other adventures – many of them the products of Noel’s own indefatigable drive. But by 2006, with the Northampton Jesus Centre well established as a major venue for Jesus Fellowship events, the idea took a new turn. Noel spoke to me and two other young Jesus Fellowship leaders, Laurence Cooper and Nathan White, about using the Jesus Centre as the base for the event he’d been dreaming of. Of course, Noel himself wouldn’t be there. The event was conceived of as being for those aged between 15 and 35: Noel, at 80, didn’t quite make it! He handed the vision onto the three of us, entrusted us with it, and (mainly!) left us to work it out. Ten months of feverish planning, promoting, and praying ensued. It was Laurence who first came up with the name RAW – standing for “Real and Wild”. (I remember hoping it would be – both real and wild – or
26 Jesus Life
rled eal and whi RAW 09: R er ay - an act of pr
we’d be faced with having to change the name to FAT – fake and tame.) A “prophetic group” was established to pray, dream and speak into the event. And another group to actually get all the not inconsiderable amount of practical arrangements underway. From the outset, one of RAW’s main distinctive marks – and one which, we believed, set it apart even from other Christian youth events in the country – is that it was entirely planned, led, manned and attended by those aged 35 or less. Truly, a new generation event. And it carried a new generation flavour. Excellent amateur (but not at all amateurish) promo videos appeared on YouTube. Blogs hummed with anticipation. Fliers flew. Jesus Army youth from across the nation got
ft off RAW 09: Li in the air - power was
RAW began as a dream in the heart of an old man fired up about who they could bring along. August 2, 2007, dawned and the Northampton Jesus Centre doors opened at 6.30pm. I remember a heartlurching moment when the first few people trickled in and I thought “No-one’s gonna come” – which was silly and paranoid, but by that time I was already exhausted. Then the event began, hundreds more crowded in and Laurence announced, “This is Jesus revolution”. We were off. It was a wild few days – and I believe it was real, too. “Together we are moving on and on and on” we sang, and “Wanna be part of something wild, Something worth getting up for; Not a ‘whatever’ world of ‘take it or leave it’, But something wild and raw”. For some it was life-changing. One young man, Jake Ball, 17 at the time, put it like this:
RAW 07: Art attack - project got creative juices flowing
ptism ig splash - ba RAW 09: B le into new life op launched pe
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“If RAW had never happened then I would not be who I am today. When I left RAW ’07, I felt different from when it began. Something had changed. “I was studying my A-levels at the time with prospects of university (plus a car, freedom, my life, ‘doing it my way’). These were the things on the horizon for me. Then came RAW and it was incredible! Spending three days with a young and fully alive generation, deepening friendships, learning and experimenting in workshops and worshipping God. It was one of biggest milestones in my life to date! “And, yes, I met with God. Then it was over – and when I came back to the expectations I’d set out for my life in my immediate future, I found I didn’t want them anymore. All I knew was that I wanted to live how God was calling me – and to be joined to a people sold-out to that same vision. “So I did. I gave up my ideas for how I’d planned out my life. After I’d finished my A levels, I moved into community. To this day I live there, with others with the same vision, willing to work out our lives together in God – ‘24/7’. “I’m living it God’s way, and in that I’ve found the greatest fulfilment.” RAW continued to change lives in 2008 and 2009. It had a double impact – to Jesus Army young people and their friends, many of whom found God calling and convicting them in ways like those described by Jake. And also many young people were met in the outreach in streets and parks that took place as part of the RAW event in the afternoons – “RAW Outdoors” as it came to be named in 2009. Now the vision of RAW is moving on. This year on 5, 6, 7 August 2010, RAW is moving cities to Birmingham. And – in final fulfilment of Noel’s dream of a “holy youth camp” – the event is going under canvas. “RAW Brum” is planned to take place “camp style”, in a large park, with the main events taking place in the Jesus Fellowship’s Giant Marquee. As the fliers put it: “Real and Wild just got wilder. This year we’re camping out in Britain’s second city. RAW Brum – here we come.” The dream’s been birthed and JL now it’s flying.
28 Jesus Life
COME TO RAW! BOOK AT THE RAW WEBSITE: www.realandwild.com
RAW 07: Nail your colours - pledges were nailer to a cross
RAW 08: Believe! - Project in local are as won
Sleepless nights, nappies and nightmares Married or single, we’re all called to be parents HAVING CHILDREN makes us human. Is this insensitive, even shocking? What about single people or childless couples? Read on – there’s more to this than meets the eye. Start at the beginning: God created human beings “in His own image” and blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful!” (Genesis 1:27-28). Humans reflect God. Key to this is the drive to have children in their own “image and likeness” (see Genesis 5:3).
s love. ke ta It . ce n e ti a p s ke ta It ns shedding a e m d n a g n li b m u h ’s It rful. many tears. It’s wonde In the Old Testament barrenness was seen as a terrible evil. Think of the agony of a Sarah or a Hannah. Having children was seen as a God-given, human blessing; children are “from the Lord,” as the psalmist sang (Psalm 127:3). But something changes with the coming of an unmarried prophet, John, who prepared the way for an unmarried Messiah, Jesus, who was preached to the nations by an unmarried apostle, Paul. In the New Testament, family life is honoured but alongside it comes a new call: to remain single out of “undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:35). Yet the call to have offspring is as important as ever. “Undivided devotion” is
not a sterile, inhuman way of life; it is a call to greater freedom to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). Those we lead to Jesus and nurture in their faith become our spiritual children. Many parents speak of the awesome moment when they first hold their child. A truly human moment – as are the sleepless nights, nappies and nightmares which follow! Having children makes us human. The New Testament broadens and deepens this call to humanising, loving, patient parenthood to include the vital ministry of parenting spiritual children. Jesus addressed His followers as “children” (Mark 10:24); with the same
Read the mJa blog: jesus.org.uk/blog warm, renewed humanity John writes to his “dear children” (1 John 2:1); Peter has his “son” Mark (1 Peter 5:13); Paul describes Timothy with paternal pride “because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel” (Philippians 2:22). All – married or single, with natural children or without – are called to the heartstretching, human task of having spiritual children. It takes patience. It takes love. It’s humbling and means shedding many tears. It’s wonderful. Having spiritual children makes us JL – newly and truly – human.
Jesus Life 29
“God knew all about me.” A
FTER MY grandparents and my uncle died, I stopped believing in God.” says Pardise, 17. “I thought, ‘If Jesus really loves me, why would He do that to me and my Mum?’ – it made me turn my heart away from God completely.” But God didn’t give up on her – as she was to find out, dramatically. Pardise was born and brought up in Iran, in a nominally Muslim family until she was 10 years old. Her family didn’t consider themselves particularly “religious” but when Pardise’s father moved to Nottingham, England, he made friends with an Iranian Christian. He introduced Pardise’s father to Christianity and brought him along to church; before too long he was baptised as part of the Jesus Army and his family came to join him in Nottingham. “After two months, we moved to Birmingham,” says Pardise, “and we became part of the Jesus Army there. At that time I just went along because my family did, and I’d made good friends at church.” It was halfway through the final year of secondary school, in the midst of her studies for her GCSEs, that Pardise’s grandad died. And the shock of this death was soon followed by the deaths of her uncle and then her grandma. “We hadn’t seen them for six years – they lived in Iran,” explains Pardise, “But their deaths left such emptiness in our family. My mum was so depressed by it all that she had to go into hospital for a bit.” Left to her own devices while her parents suffered, Pardise neglected her GCSE revision and, when the results came later that summer, she found that she had failed some of them.
God proved His love to Pardise Parsi. She tells Jesus Life her story. RAW (Real and Wild), the Jesus Fellowship’s youth event in the summer of 2008 inspired Pardise to “go for it with God” – but a couple of months down the line, the loss of her grandparents and her uncle really hit home. “I hadn’t been to church for months,” says Pardise “But somehow, my friend, Faith, convinced me to go to the next RAW event.” “In the last evening event I was sitting at the back with my friends, surrounded by people – but suddenly I felt so lonely.” Pardise walked out and sat outside, crying. Her friend, Faith, soon joined her and sat and talked with her. By the time they went back inside, it was the “response time” and people everywhere were praying with each other. “I was about to go out of the room again,” says Pardise, “But I stopped in my tracks when someone said ‘There’s a girl here who’s 17, and you’ve been outside crying because you feel lonely’ – I broke down in tears.” The person who had spoken out this ‘word of knowledge’ prayed with Pardise. “You’ve lost someone close to you,” he said, “and it’s held you back from God. But now God is calling you to follow Him.” Pardise was amazed. There was no way this person could have known about her. “God knew that the grief was keeping me from Him – and He showed me,” she says. “I was able to let go of the bitterness that had grown in my heart,” she recalls. “At that moment I felt the strongest love I had ever experienced and I knew it was God.” “It was the best day of my life,” says Pardise, “I know now that God cares for me so much – He didn’t let go even when I had turned away from Him.” A month later, Pardise was baptised in Birmingham, surrounded by friends and family. She came up out of the water knowing that this was the start of a new, healed life. “God has drawn me into deeper and deeper commitment,” says Pardise. “I see His church as a place where I belong”. JL
It was the best day of my life
30 Jesus Life
Boiling with rage and bubbling with excitement Jesus Life hears from mJa members, Hayley Woods and Kirsty Stabler.
Kirsty Stabler Hayley Woods I HATE IT when people don’t If no-one at church looks face up to the “problems” they out for you, how are you going have with each other, and to know that Jesus loves you? gossip about it to anyone else It’s great to help people into except the person they’ve fallen a relationship with God – but out with. friendship with other people is Young people – no matter so important, especially for us what their background or young people. upbringing – need friendships. We need to emphasise the That’s why they form gangs: fact that as a church, we are a they need to belong to family. And we need to lead by something. example – we’re For teenagers Gossip and bitching not perfect and who have of course we’ll should be outlawed! been brought make mistakes, up in front of a screen (TV but our relationships with each or computer), it’s easy to get other need to be strong enough used to doing everything alone, to bring other people in. Yes, in your own little world. But we have our ups and downs, that’s rubbish! At home, in and arguments; what matters the house I share with some is how we deal with them. other Christians, there are Gossip and bitching should be some young girls who visit us: outlawed! they’re learning very quickly that A true family looks out for making cakes, bumping down each other and takes every the stairs or even water fights chance to encourage one with washing up water is loads another, instead of bringing of fun because we do it together! each other down. www.jesus.org.uk
work with your weaknesses CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY: and be open to receive people’s living together and sharing “all direction and help – because things in common” like the first they do it out of love. It’s a way Christians. What an awesome for you to grow and become way to live! more spiritually mature. I moved to Norwich when I It may be tough sometimes, was 17. I lived with my parents, but in community we are united but I wanted something more. with each other, we love each There had to be more – and other, so we genuinely want to living in community is the way I make it work. I believe Christian express that desire to live more community is an awesome fully for God. It meant giving up a few things, Community... means sharing but it was so hearts, lives and everything else worth it. Community – including the washing up! life attracted me because I really be a part of God’s loved the way that a community way to it’s a way of living ily; fam all lifestyle means spending for Jesus and giving -out sold ing shar our time together, your ever ything. I love hearts, lives and ever ything else Hsim ity; I’m passionate mun com – including the washing up! I can’t imagine living – it t rs, abou People are out to serve othe JL any other way. not themselves. also is ity mun com Living in a calling from God – it’s not a HAVE YOUR OWN cushy way out. You still have RANT OR RAVE: have you gs troubles and thin www.jesus.org.uk/forum to work through. You have to Jesus Life 31
REVOLUTION STARTS HERE.
A 365-challenge-a-day cALENDAR. Order from Jesus People Shop (see inside for reply card) and spend the year growing in faith!
Write your own modern day parable today ‘The Kingdom of heaven is like...’ based on something you find in your kitchen.
Buy some balloons today and write ‘Smile – you’re loved’ on them and tie them to prominent places around your area.
F it ‘ h a p p y ’ in t o a s m a n y c o n v e r s a t io n s yo u
Choose three people – one to encourage, one to challenge, and one to pray for, today.
h a v e t o d a y a s p o s s ib l e .
the great giveaway 18 MARCH
Draw smiley faces on post-its (or notepaper) and leave them wherever you go today.
Draw a picture of a friend or someone in need and put it somewhere prominent, and pray for them every time you look at it today.
If you can, sleep on the floor with only a blanket tonight to empathise with those who sleep rough.
t h e modern WWW.
j e s u S.org.uk
online J Also check out the new (mobile friendly) mja blog at jesus.org.uk/blog J