International Leaders Conference Jesus on Trafalgar Square
United in Jesus A UK JESUS PEOPLE MAGAZINE from the Multiply Network and Jesus JESUS army A UKFellowship/modern JESUS PEOPLE MAGAZINE from(mJa) the Multiply Network and Jesus Fellowship/modern JESUS army (mJa)
THE PROPHETIC WORD Cross Culture
12-13 CHANGED LIFE 14-16
TALKING TO: Matthew Guest
RADICAL BITES 29 A Jesus Army challenge
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. © 2006 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. 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.
3-4 8 9-11 17-21 22-23 24 25 26-27 30-31
Church Alive Life on the Outside mJa Tribes: London Multiply Network Spiritual Search Electronic Postbag Jesus on Trafalgar Square Jesus Centres Rant & Rave
Comments from Noel Stanton and members of the Apostolic Team, Jesus Fellowship UK/mJa
A LA LIIVV EE Mick Haines
united in Jesus JESUS breaks racial barriers. We must show in the local church fellowship that Jesus unites us and that people from all nations and races are “all one in Christ Jesus”. The new commandment of Jesus is that we love one another and so convince the world that we are His disciples. Jesus Fellowship is a multiracial church and we are thrilled that many non-white African, Asian and Caribbean people have joined us. Then there are those from the nations added to the European Union in recent years. We have great people from Slovakia, Poland and Latvia as well as from other member-nations of the EU. Our hearts must be open with love for people of all nations. Some of them arrive in the UK in very real need. We must invite them to sit with us at the table of Jesus brotherhood. The colour of our skins or the accent of our lips
is not important. It is the heart that matters. Multi-racial does not mean multi-cultural. The New Testament is clear in saying that we are of the new creation and our old selves and old cultures “pass away”. The Holy Spirit removes the cultural and social divisions. “Christ is all and in all”. There is “one new man”. We are all joined together in the kingdom of God culture. It is a great joy to bring the radical blessing of a charismatic, covenant community church like Jesus Fellowship to people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and see them moving among us with confidence, knowing they are fully accepted. Many of them have been rejected over the years, and we see them getting healed and taking their place. Some of them will become important leaders.
cross centred AS A CHURCH we’ve deliberately made it part of our culture to wear crosses as we identify with Jesus. However, we must understand that it’s the application of the Cross to our lives that counts. There’s little point in wearing a cross if the cross is not central to your life. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12: 24). This is the call of Jesus and the secret of fruitfulness. But many have surrounded themselves with a protective layer – they don’t want to die to their self-life. But there must be a dying before there is true life. Romans 6:5 starts with a very important if: “If we have been united with Him in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in his resurrection”. The if is important: have you been united with His death? If not, you will not find the reality of resurrection life. Many have found fresh anointing from the Holy Spirit – but if underneath there is just lots of untouched self-life, the Holy Spirit will not be comfortable. He brings us to the Cross where we die. It is only then that we will have resurrection life. We’re called to have a martyr spirit for the sake of the cause of Jesus. Are you willing to die for the Church? Don’t be someone who just comes to the Church and enjoys the sacrifices that others have made. Let go of self-life and put the cause first. In the back of my Bible I have written “Mick Haines is dead” – can you say that about your name? It’s the way to truly live – in resurrection with Jesus. Give up to go up. To win, first lose.
my intimacy hang-up
I’VE BEEN struggling with intimacy. I can just about cope with being exposed, if there’s no get-out. Like when I made my foot bleed removing some dead skin. The evidence trailed from the bathroom to the bedroom. Then it started again
at the newsagent’s, and I dreaded the assistant’s alarm at my soggy sandal. No, it’s the whole volunteering for exposure thing that unnerves me. Why mention it? Because in a few months time, I, together with two other families and a bunch of singles, will move into a new community house. And we don’t
know each other yet. Covenant relationships are scary. Sarah was skewered by the Lord when she laughed at the prospect of pregnancy. Jacob was wrestled to submission, and forced to admit his “wangler” identity, before God could affirm him. Moses extracted the most private of names from God, Yahweh.
Then promptly back-tracked when the personal implications of the revelation became apparent. Once in our covenant community house, where will we hide when the stakes are raised, and full honest self-disclosure is the price we can’t avoid? Obviously there are good sides to close relationships.
My Motorists’ Guide says friendship (and fruit and veg) offers the best prevention for road rage. Research predicts our chances of having a coronary are much reduced by belonging to a small fellowship group. The New Testament calls me to walk in the light. And yet fears find no easy peace. Will I be laughed at, misunderstood or
gifts for healing
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some are not – and we must accept the importance of medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. All of us, unless Jesus returns first, will eventually die (death is the “last enemy” to be destroyed). But let’s be true to God’s revealed truth. Jesus has taken our sicknesses. He is the healer and He is with us, gifting us to remove the demonic, to bring
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recovery to the sick. We need to be brave and confident in the use of these gifts. If you are sick, diseased or in pain as you read this, call on Jesus to heal you and make it quite clear to demons that you resist their attempts to keep you unwell. Noel Stanton
FOR SOME months we’ve been emphasising healing for spirit, soul and body, found in Jesus. Healing is four dimensional: healing for the spirit through regeneration; healing for the soul (inner healing); healing for the body; and deliverance healing to remove evil spirits. There will ever be a mystery in healing – some are healed and
disapproved of? Or abandoned, having shared my need? Or repeatedly reminded of what I long to turn from? Will I still have a valued place, or be rejected? Who underestimates the pain of building relationships? I’m battling with my intimacy, my “into-me-see”, hangup. I hope you’re fighting yours.
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IT’S BEEN a busy and blessed four months. The last four months of 2006 will be just as eventful (see National Events p.28). And the London Jesus Centre is due to open in Spring. Thank you, our readers and friends, who support us with your love, JL prayers and gifts.
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Jesus Life Three/2006 Page 4
CROSS Our churches must be multi-racial in order to express true kingdom of God culture, argues Jesus Fellowship apostolic leader, Steve Calam.
E ARE in our oaken cathedral – the open air at Hyde Park. As we dance and sing “come and see Jesus brotherhood”, people are drawn to us there. There’s an Iranian couple; some of our Iranians get talking to them. Some South Africans come to have a look; there are Columbians, Italians, Brazilians... all attracted to what we’re doing, joining in, receiving prayer. It’s very, very exciting. In such moments I see the future of the Church: people of different nations and races joined in a demonstration of Jesus that draws people from every race and culture. Sixteen years ago, I moved from rural Warwickshire to s s
CROSS CULTURE s s
It can be easy to slip into tokenism putting chilli sauce on the table with the Yorkshire pudding and saying “We’re going African tonight”!
Continued from overleaf
London to lead the church here. Back then the church in Warwickshire was fairly mono-racial, but I knew that the church in London must be made up of many nationalities, because that reflects what London is. And more than that: it reflects what I believe church is. So I spoke into it, people caught the vision and it began to happen. People began to turn up who were not white English. Now we have about 40 nations represented and I couldn’t imagine being in a church that isn’t made up of different nations.
DEATH AND RESURRECTION It all starts with meeting at the Cross. Look at Galatians 3, from verse 26: “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Wherever we’re from, our foundation is faith in Jesus Christ. If we “clothe ourselves with Christ” that will involve getting rid of our old cultural “clothing” – whether English or African or Polish – or whatever. “There is neither Jew nor Greek... for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Baptism means we’ve died to old things. But it doesn’t end there: there is resurrection. “We were all baptised by one Spirit into one Body— whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free— and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (1 Corinthians 12:13). We’re literally “plunged” into the Body. Paul goes on to write about every member having a contribution; I believe we can extend this to every cultural distinction having a contribution and enriching the Body. After baptism, your old cultural identity is no longer dominant, no longer defines you – yet you bring who you are, including your race and culture, into the Body and enrich it. “Drinking of the one Spirit”, worshipping Christ and sharing in His life and power, maintains this oneness. If we stop “drinking” we inevitably begin focusing on the old distinctions again and trying to administer unity. “We’ll have this kind of group”; “we’ll wear these kinds of clothes”. It becomes a contrived thing rather than a spiritual thing – and it doesn’t work.
Racial mix: relaxing brotherhood in Hyde Park, London
PROPHETIC LEADERSHIP This is one reason why it is so vital that the Church is prophetically led. Prophetic leadership will cut across everybody’s preferences. We no longer do “our kind of church,” singing “our kind of songs”. Prophetic leadership, by its very nature, doesn’t pander to personal preferences: we’re all uncomfortable together! Of course, this means that it is vital that such leadership is open to challenge, journeying with honesty, integrity and a willingness to learn. Otherwise the dominant culture may merely be that of the “prophetic” leadership. I’ve learned many lessons over the years. I remember years ago in Warwickshire, we had a young West Indian woman in the church. She came up to me in a skimpy dress: bright red and consisting of a few inches of material. “What do you think?” she asked me. I was horrified. (This was totally outside our dress code.) I said, “It’s awful.” Hurt was written all over her face. I now realise she saw me as a father figure and how important it was for her to
be affirmed. I should have said, “You look really beautiful” (and explained a little later on that it may not be a particularly helpful outfit...) “You’ve got to take it off – at once”, I said. So she did. Right there and then. Leaving her... less modest still. I was being completely insensitive to where she was coming from.
NITTY-GRITTY Of course, the nitty-gritty of working out multi-racial church involves many such encounters. We could be glib and just say, “Be filled with the Spirit”. This is the starting point, but it has to be followed with a lot of love and learning about each other. “Do to others as you would have them do to you” is the key. It is not so much a matter of rights and wrongs as living out love. There’ll be some unexpected culture clashes. It’s easy
Cake in community
to be in “sensitive mode” with someone from far away – the latest Inuit to turn up or whatever – but there can be huge communication problems with those we consider culturally “closer” to ourselves. I’ve had some incredible rows with one brother who comes from across a narrow strip of sea in Holland. Language falls apart sometimes – because we haven’t been sensitive and listened for what the other was really saying. It’s important that this is genuine and that it flows out of our love for each other. It can be easy to slip into tokenism (putting chilli sauce on the table with the Yorkshire pudding and saying “We’re going African tonight”!) Our music style changed dramatically the moment an African brother arrived: yet we were enriched by his contribution, not making token gestures to try and make him “feel at home”.
POVERTY OF SPIRIT Our multi-ethnic increase in London may have more to do with economics than culture. Most white Brits in London are taken up with the UK’s dominant religion – materialism. Eastern Europeans, Africans and others who come to the UK poor (and poor in spirit) tend to be the ones who respond. Being a multi-racial church flows out of being a church of the poor. We need to reach such people with the gospel before they are converted to British consumerism. We should learn from the sad story of white Christian relationships with black Afro-Caribbean churches in the UK. Initially, such black churches were largely rejected by the white mainstream. Now many are growing far faster than white churches, yet they’re usually mono-ethnic. An opportunity for a demonstration of oneness in Christ was squandered. Now churches are starting to form relationships across the racial divide – with the Multiply Network this is happening. This is excellent, but still not so powerful a demonstration as single churches containing a thoroughgoing racial mix. Then there is the miracle of Christian community. It’s one thing to do church; it’s another thing to live with one another. One of our African brothers was asked by fellow Africans, “How do you live with white people?” Yet he does. We live in community together. Our shared life is full of joy and fun, even regarding cultural issues: we don’t tiptoe around them, we enjoy the differences and have a laugh about the crazy things we all do and say. (I think I’m being so spiritual, but I’m just being so English sometimes. That’s when it’s healing to be laughed at.) Churches must demonstrate to the nations that Christians have broken down the barriers. This is part of our being a light to the nations – and healing to the nations. JL
l i f e ON THE INSIDE
n a e l c p e e k How do you out? e r ’ u o y n e h we Morriss writes about Open Doors,
Jo . ex-prisoners a group for
s r o o D n e p O
PRISON IS a hard place. I spent 18 months of a three-year sentence inside for a robbery which I pulled off to get money for drugs. I had been injecting amphetamines over several years and was suffering from a psychotic illness. During my time inside, I kicked the drugs and even gave up smoking. I had made a change and become a Christian. Although I was on a drug-free wing and had support from a key-worker, I faced a lot of opposition from other inmates who were using. The general feeling was ‘if you’re not with us, then you’re against us’. I was subjected to a lot of threats and verbal abuse. I was crying out for love and I wanted to find fulfilment. But you had to have a front. Open Doors is a chance to connect with the real person behind the ex-convict front. The group started in 2003. At first two or three of us met in a different house every other week. I wanted to develop a
group that could go to prisons and evangelise. We applied to local chapels in prisons but were seen as a security risk because of our criminal records. We could go with visiting orders but that was it. At this time morale in the group was very low. Now there are four of us meeting every other Friday night at the Northampton Jesus Centre. It is a time of relaxed sharing and we encourage one another. We often have focus sessions - the last one was on women of faith who were imprisoned for believing in Jesus. We had two new guys come, which was great! Our current focus is to act as a bridge for people who have come out of prison and got involved in the church. Open Doors is a good arena to thrash out issues, for example, those who struggle with authority and therefore church leadership and so on. One of the regulars has said that Open Doors has kept him strong as a Christian. Andy came to the group after
“Open Doors is a chance to connect with the real person behind the ex-convict front”
• For information on the Jesus Fellowship’s Prison Release Programme, write to: Phil Ferris, Jesus Fellowship Central Offices, Nether Heyford, Northants NN7 3LB tel: 01327 344533 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
moving into Christian community on the Prisoner Release Scheme straight from a nineyear prison sentence for arson. He has been through various struggles since, but he came to us and shared his heart. He’s learnt to be honest with himself and is doing well. In 2005 I won a Community Champions Award for Open Doors. The Northampton Community Foundation, a government-funded charity, awarded several local charitable groups. I got a certificate, £1,000 for the group and I was in the Northampton Chronicle and Echo. I won in the category of innovation: there was no group in Northamptonshire that was doing what we did. We accept anyone who wants to sort themselves out. A few people have come who were met through evangelism as well as a newly baptised chap. We even had a Christian policewoman come! We want people to become stable and have changed lives. And our vision is still to go into prisons; pray for that! JL Joe Morriss is a leader from Jesus Fellowship Northampton
Faith-flavoured church embarks on new adventures The modern Jesus army in London is a vibrant and varied multiracial church. Jesus Life editor, James Stacey, talked to some of its leaders.
to the flavour with its branches in Croydon, Acton and Westminster. Last year, the congregation embarked upon a significant new adventure of faith: the mJa bought a big former convent near Oxford Circus in Central London, planning to use the building as both a Christian community house and a Jesus Centre. A year on, the “Battlecentre” house family are used to their unusual dwelling and the plans for the Jesus Centre are nearly at launching point. One leader commented: “The countdown clock has seriously started”. The Jesus Centre, which will include a drop-in,
tea room, and skills suite, is due to open next spring. Residential Christian community has long been central to the Jesus Fellowship’s vision. The first Jesus Centre pilot scheme began in Northampton in 2001. But the combination of Jesus Centre and Christian community in a single venue is a new kind of venture. Rob Bentley, London Jesus Centre Project Manager, is enthusiastic: “The shared life will be obvious,” he says. “Christian community will be on display like never before.”
ASKED what he would say was an important part of the London mJa character, one member laughed, “Food!” He followed it with a more serious point: “The food we eat does reflect who we are. It’s very multi-national. It’s not deliberate; it’s people being who they are, doing what they do. Stick a Korean in a kitchen with some fish and flour and peas and they’ll make something Korean!” There are more than 40 nationalities represented in London’s mJa congregation. The result is a colourful, lively, imaginative church. Each new national ingredient has added
Australian, Tim Skene, made his home in London with the Jesus Fellowship. He now leads ‘Broken Bread’, the mJa church in Croydon, South London. He reports for Jesus Life on the goings on in South London.
THE FIRE IS SPREADING
Chris Dekker, from the Netherlands, now a leader at ‘Spreading Flame’ mJa in Acton, West London, reports: “SPREADING FLAME”, the Jesus Fellowship community house in Acton was established a fairly long time ago, but we experienced a restart when our other house “Battlecentre” moved from down the road to Central London. It took time to find our feet and work out the new pattern of relationships. Our evangelism is proving very fruitful; in particular, we’ve met many young men. They in turn have been finding Jesus and the family of God, along with restoration, forgiveness, love, friendship – and a cause to live for. It’s been like dominoes as one after another is baptised, joining the brotherhood. Some of them are Eastern Europeans: a good opportunity for some of us to use our Russian or Polish. Learning to communicate in different languages is loads of fun and immigrants really value being welcomed and made to feel at home. Last year we met and baptised a lot of young Koreans. Although most of them have gone back to Korea now, we are still in touch and they are sending friends to us for training in Christian discipleship. We have a good team from many cultures and backgrounds; a real ‘new creation’ family!
The buzz that animates London’s mJa, is faith writes apostolic leader, Steve Calam.
Spreading Flame brotherhood
HEALING IN THE BROTHERHOOD
MJA CROYDON is a small gathering of people from different cultures, races and ages. We’re discovering what it is to work together. Our mission is to gather together more people from this very multiracial area to establish a group of people who demonstrate the love of God’s kingdom – right here in the heart of Croydon. Statistically, Croydon has more young people than any other London Borough. Many of them come from broken backgrounds and don’t have
‘the word is faith’
We want more. We’re Steve Calam seeing ‘our kind of thing’ happening, which is good, but we want more. It’s a matter of growing our faith; not being complacent, not accepting where we are lightly but challenging ourselves: are we seeing the results of faith, the fruit of faith? There was a Chinese Christian who visited the churches in America and was reported to have said, ‘You can do church without God’. I don’t want that to be us. So we’re attacking our unbelief, dealing with it. Hearing from God and taking hold of what He has said. Once you’ve received that living word from God, you’ve really got something to go on. That’s when faith kicks in. And that’s where we’ve got to be.
Faith in action: prayer for healing
fathers; we want them to get to know the heavenly Father and experience His love through us. One of our more recently baptised Nigerian brothers said, “Fellowship in the brotherhood has given me healing that I have not found anywhere else before.” We’ve been working in Croydon now for nearly three years and appreciated the support of the larger mJa tribe we were birthed from, in West and Central London.
DID YOU KNOW?.. • Just under 10% of the total population of the UK were born overseas. • Between 2001 and 2004, almost two thirds of the increase in population in England and the UK was due to net immigration. • There have been 25 member states in the European Union since May 2004. Slovakia is one of the ten newest member states. These new states have a combined population of over 70 million people. • Mortality and unemployment rates are higher in the new member states then in established EU member states. • In Slovakia, more than 9 out of every 1,000 babies born will die before they are 1 year old. Source: National Statistics
different faces different races one church God is doing something remarkable in the Pitsmoor area of Sheffield. Scores of Slovakian Romanies have been finding faith in Jesus. Many have joined Jesus Fellowship Sheffield. One of them, Cyril Dunka, tells his story.
s Above left: Cyril has found vision;
Above right: Romany Christians in Sheffield
IT IS July 2005 and Cyril has just fallen down some stairs in his home in Zehra in Slovakia and broken his ribs during a fit. “I was ill with secondary epilepsy and I lived in fear of what might happen to me” remembers Cyril. “My wife got the idea of me going to visit England. I was afraid and said to her ‘If I go England I will die.’ She tells me, ‘Cyril, I feel that it will be good there for you and that you will be made well and that you will get work.’ I listened to her and left for England.” He arrived on the 25th August with only enough money for three weeks’ food. He stayed with some fellow-Romanies, Janu and Lida, and was immensely grateful to them – but he still wasn’t sure what to make of their talk of Jesus and a Jesus Army leader, Andrzej, who had helped them so much. “I wasn’t sure whether to believe them or not,” admits Cyril. Yet his curiosity was stirred
and he couldn’t escape the feeling that there was something in what his friends were telling him. “I kept feeling something continually drawing me to the Welcome Centre in the church building in Sheffield where I knew the Jesus Army met. For two days I walked around the building but it was locked. On the third day it was open at about 7:45 pm. I went in and saw an English Vicar. ‘Are you Andrzej?’ I asked him. ‘No’, he said, ‘Andrzej will arrive in ten minutes.’ I waited.” He met Andrzej and stayed for the Jesus Army meeting though he found it very strange and different to his experience of Catholic church back in Slovakia. “I thought I was at a disco!” is how he puts it. Yet Cyril was going to experience God’s power in a way that was far more real than he had expected in his wildest dreams. “Towards the end of the meeting Andrzej asked who wanted to receive prayer for healing. I immediately believed and answered ‘I do.’ He asked me what was wrong with me and I said that I have a headache. I didn’t say that I was suffering with epilepsy and broken ribs.” Andrzej prayed for Cyril, putting his hands on his head and asking Jesus to heal him by the power of His Spirit. Cyril describes the result of that prayer: “I no longer had the headache – or the rib pain! I stopped taking my tablets. A week later I’d had no fits. Before this, despite medication, I was having two fits every week for many
years. I have not had any fits now since Andrzej prayed for me. I was immediately healed; Jesus healed me.” Naturally, Cyril was very excited about going to the next meeting. He got to know more people and grew much closer to Andrzej. On the 1st October 2005 he was baptised. He describes the experience with simple eloquence. “At my baptism I spoke in new tongues. The Holy Spirit rested on me. I prayed to God, I sang out my praise to Him –I was happy. Before leaving for England I had said that I would die here and I did die – to my old sinful life, in baptism!” What is happening now in Cyril’s life? As he puts it: “Very much... “I now appreciate and know Jesus Christ more than before. He has truly changed me and indeed he has changed my whole life. I have a lot of joy. Jesus says ‘Do not accumulate treasures on earth where thieves break in and can steal but rather store up treasure in heaven where rust and moth cannot destroy.’ This real treasure I am storing up in my heart is Jesus and His love which I can share with others. I want to serve Jesus. I have given Him my life. He loves me and I love Him.” Cyril recently travelled to Slovakia together with Andzej, Janu and Jesus Fellowship apostolic leader, Ian Callard, to visit the growing work of God among the Romany population there. “It was like living the New Testament,” re-
calls Ian, “with healings and people receiving the Spirit with joy. There are some very poor families – seven people in a one-roomed timber house, living on £100 per month. There are very few jobs. Our Romanies in Sheffield had sent a collection to buy groceries. “At Cyril’s village, Zehra, we led several members of his family to the Lord. Then, in other homes, we saw more people finding faith, being healed and receiving the Spirit. There are possibly 20 people ready for baptism, and we’ve committed them to the care of four brothers with trustworthy hearts and a desire to serve.” A new church, “Church of the Red Cross,” has been started in Zehra. Cyril enthuses, “This is not a joy just for us but for the holy angels in heaven and for Jesus Himself!” Back in Sheffield, the Spirit’s movement among the Romanies continues to gather momentum. About 80 Slovakian Romanies have been baptised over the last year. Jesus Fellowship Sheffield is now about 50/50 British/Romany (with the balance just tipped in favour of the Romany contingent). The congregation is rising to the challenge of embracing one another across the divides of language and culture. Cyril explains the key to this: “Don’t you know that brotherhood is more than friendship; that it is God’s spiritual family – that we are God’s family? “Our church is growing by the power of Jesus. We love Jesus but He loves us more than we love Him; He gave us His life, He poured
out His blood for us. “I want us all – Romanies and English brothers and sisters – to be together and worship together because there is strength in unity. That is what the Lord Himself wants and where the Holy Spirit leads us.” JL
“Don’t you know that brotherhood is more than friendship; that it is God’s spiritual family – that we are God’s family?”
Talking to: Matthew Guest
Matthew Guest is the senior pastor of Kings Church, Medway. Early life in a family considered ‘at risk’, followed by a wild teenage period gave him the ability to empathise with the disadvantaged people in Medway. He has pioneered the ‘Caring Hands’ project, community living and many other initiatives that have made Kings a thriving multiracial church. He is married to Mara and they have three children. In this interview he talks to Huw Lewis, a member of the Apostolic Team of the Jesus Fellowship.
HUW: How did you first find Jesus? MATTHEW: I grew up in what I would call a semi-Christian home in Gravesend (Kent). It was my mum’s second marriage, and there were eight children and a lodger. There were eleven of us living in the house and a few dogs and cats as well! My dad was in and out of prison and we were on the Social Services ‘at risk’ register. That sounds a very difficult start! Yes. Very sadly, my mum had gone through a rape ordeal and I was the result of the rape. My real father committed suicide after he had written a full confession - he had raped his own two children as well. As a result, my mum was in a very poor state – mentally, emotionally and physically. She then met my step-father. Our social worker was a
I’d been expelled from school twice and couldn’t read or write. My wife taught me to read later by reading the Bible
What happened then? At the end of the service, the last song they’d sung was ‘You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart’. As Trevor sung those words, he looked at my mother and she could lip read him. The only thing she actually understood from the whole meeting was the line ‘You ask me how I know He lives’, and she said at that minute she received the gospel. Mum suddenly realised that Jesus was actually alive and He loved her. So they both became Christians - but it took a while. Dad was on the run from the police and in a lot of trouble. We had many challenges. In my teens, I rebelled against Christian things for about four years. But when I was 18 I just found a fear of God - a reverent fear that I’d shut this awesome, wonderful God out of my life. So I made the
decision to go to church again and it took me six months to get there. But eventually I came to the Kings Church at the beginning of 1991 and made an adult comitment.
It’s a living testimony - a miracle - to walk in a church and it’s half black, half white and a total mix
How did you get on with the church? I’d fallen in love with Jesus, which was the most important thing. He was my hero. I found it difficult because I’d been expelled from school twice and couldn’t read or write. My wife taught me to read later by reading the Bible. A lot of the young people here at that time were going off to university and came from pretty good homes. And there was me with tattoos, five earrings, still smoking, but loving the Lord radically! I wanted people to know Him, and I wanted to see His Church be freed from the world’s negative image. When I was at school you could spot a Christian at 200 yards – they were very straight-laced, probably mummy’s boys. I struggled with that image as I wanted the world to see a radical church that was on fire and attracted people to A Kings Church baptism a radical Jesus. How did your connection with the Jesus Fellowship happen? The connection happened through a Jesus Fellowship leader, Len Kroon, who had been part of Kings Church. A group of us came to a Jesus Fellowship Winning Weekend, and I suddenly realised that there were other radical Christians around! I loved everything I saw –intimacy, covenant relationships, dying to the self life and paying any price. But also, the flesh life got uncovered and it was painful. As time went on I got married
KINGS CHURCH MEDWAY
• About 300 members • Part of the Multiply Network for 12 years • Half the membership is from ethnic minorities • Opened ‘Caring Hands’, a day centre for the disadvantaged, in 2001 • Recently developed a computer recycling initiative, ‘3R’, which aims to provide training for long term unemployed people
to Mara. Not long after we got married I felt that I needed to gain experience in various areas. My parents had already joined the Jesus Fellowship. We were regularly travelling up and down most weekends, so eventually we got committed. After 18 months I had become unsettled and I spoke to our leader. He talked to Jesus Fellowship senior pastor, Noel Stanton, who supported our return to Kings Church. We just knew that it was God. What did you do when you returned? This was about 1995. We came back and we were just attending. Then Barry, one of the founders and an elder of the church said to me one day, ‘Matthew, why don’t you get committed?’ And without meaning to be arrogant or self-righteous in any way, I just said to him, ‘Well I just look at what’s here and I don’t know if that’s what I want to commit to, because I just believe Jesus is more than what I’m seeing’. Myself and Mara were in the car one day, listening to a Jesus Fellowship worship tape. I said to Mara, ‘I’ve got to make a decision whether I’m going to serve God with all my life.’ The song on the cassette was ‘Just poured out wine, just broken bread’. That sealed it for us. Mara did night work so we could earn enough money to live off, and I became available to the church 24/7. I started here in ministry, sweeping the church drive, tidying up the boiler room, putting up shelves. How did your ministry develop? I served in practical ways to the very best of my ability. When I was working here one day a homeless guy came up off the Continued overleaf
Matthew Guest (second from right) with three visitors to the ‘Caring Hands’ day centre
member of a Baptist church and she invited my mother and father to go to church. At first mum said no, but when she found it was opposite the local police station, she changed her mind. She hated the police and wanted to feel good walking out of a church saying ‘I’m a good person; I’ve been in a church!’ On one occasion, the visiting minister was a man called Trevor Dearing. My mum was profoundly deaf and didn’t hear a thing the whole way through, but when there was a call for prayer many people went forward and a number were falling over in the Spirit. My mum said to my dad, ‘He’s pushing them over.’ My dad said, ‘No, he’s got a little zapper in his hand’. Eventually, for a £5 bet, mum went forward to find out! When she was prayed for she went over in the Spirit. On returning to her seat, my dad was jeering and laughing. But she said, ‘No Dave, there’s something in this.’
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streets who was hungry and tired and asked for something to eat. So I made him a cheese sandwich in the kitchen and he then began to share with me about the homeless in Medway, the drug abuse, the prostitution, the sheer deprivation. I prayed for him and he came back to see me 18 months later, telling me two weeks after I prayed for him he got involved with some people doing a walk for Jesus, and gave his life to the Lord and had been a committed Christian ever since. As he shared all this with me I thought that we just could not be a church in the midst of this and do nothing. We had a responsibility - not a choice. I saw the leaders and I shared my heart, pouring out what I thought we should do, and they were supportive. I marched off to the hostel and volunteered to help with cooking and cleaning. I did that for about six weeks and then one of the guys accepted me, and it went from there. I was simply their friend – I didn’t have the answers, I had no experience, but the one thing I knew they needed was friendship. More of the guys started coming up to the church and we’d give them a meal and it began to grow from that. I soon gained a reputation as a street pastor. I also began to get to know the prostitutes and then the pimps. The biggest thing that would hold the girls back would be the pimps, so I had to befriend the pimps as well. God gave us a heart for them and an ability to relate to them. We began to know more and more need so we converted part of the church to meet that need until in 2001 we bought the building across the road which became ‘Caring Hands in the Community’.
How did you end up as the senior pastor here? I had been a leader here since I started Caring Hands. Mara was running Little Eagles Nursery, and we were heading up the covering of all the cell groups in the church. We had also started King’s Community. Then we went to South Africa and while we were away some problems emerged in the leadership back home. When we came back from South Africa, we were kicked out of the church we loved and made homeless. It was an utter mess. At first I just wanted to run away. Everything in me said, ‘No way! I don’t want to take the risk of staying around.’ But I had this awareness of Jesus, the man with scars. There was nothing more to debate. I put myself under the authority of Alan Smith, an experienced local pastor. He simply reaffirmed my calling as a pastor and asked us to not make any quick decisions. Eventually, we were invited back to the church after the previous leaders had left. Then Barry and Alan and several other ministers in the area felt that I should take on the role of senior pastor. It was put to the congregation and they agreed overwhelmingly. I just shared my heart, honestly, with the congregation and said, ‘Look, I don’t know the way forward, I don’t know what’s going to happen but I know that God is faithful’. There was an emotional explosion with everybody looking for the answers and the reasons why all these things happened and who was to blame. At the end of the day we said, as Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do’. The key has been equipping
We’ve got to be the prodigalfriendly church, making it easy for people to come back when they screw up the team of saints for the work of the ministry. I told them ‘We are a family, we are a body and we’re doing this together. It’s not my sole vision; it’s our vision for the church. It’s your responsibility as well as mine and we’ve got to do this together’. What do you feel went wrong with your last leader? Basically, pride and a lack of accountability. There was an absence of covenant relationship where you could get alongside and just say, ‘I’ve screwed up’. There was also a lack of support, and people that he could turn to for help. You lost quite a lot of people during this time? Yes, before that we were a
couple of hundred strong and we went down to 30 adults and 15 kids. We just had to trust in God’s faithfulness, rebuild and move on. You’ve had some cultural challenges to work through as well. Half of our congregation is black, the other half is white. We don’t have Nigerian services or Malawian services - we preach one culture and that’s ‘kingdom of God’ culture. It’s not English culture either! With all the current political unrest and suspicion of different cultures because of terrorist attacks, it’s a living testimony – a miracle – to walk in a church and it’s half black, half white and a total mix. There are more people in our leadership that are black than white. Half of our trustees are black. Nevertheless, the Bible says you pick men and women full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, not colour, creed or social background. It’s impossible for the church of Jesus Christ to be politically correct. Jesus was not politically correct. He turned upside down the political and social culture of His day. You had to hold onto God. It’s been very important to have the father heart of God. We’ve had to be the prodigalfriendly church, making it easy for people to come back when they screw up and make mistakes. We love them, encourage them, put the ring on the finger, re-establish them, but we then teach them. In tough times with lots of suspicion and lots of mistrust, we just had to apply God’s grace. JL
Part Two of this interview will feature in the next Jesus Life.
Set free to serve
The heart of the vision is to serve
Servant leadership was the theme of the 2006 Multiply International Leaders Conference held in Northampton, UK, in June. Emma Merry reports
A WHITE MAN (English) kneels before a black man (Zambian), and tenderly washes his feet before drying them, gently, with a towel as the words of Brother let me be your servant resound around the Jesus Centre auditorium. This foot washing demonstration expresses the heart of the Multiply Network’s vision: to serve leaders and churches, and to refresh them for the next stage on their journey. For the 55-plus overseas delegates, there was much to be refreshed by in visiting the Jesus Fellowship. Many came for more than just the confer-
ence, some for two weeks or more, staying in various of the Church’s community houses. Days were full: touring the chapel, community businesses and Northampton Jesus Centre; listening to, and questioning, leaders old and new(er) on various distinctives of the Jesus Fellowship. Goodness Foods’ walk-in freezer cabinet (at 26 degrees below freezing it’s so cold your nostril hair freezes) proved a challenge for many, and the bathroom display at Towcester Building Supplies was a particular hit with the Ivory Coast contingent. Little-known
concepts, such as the “Kingdom Servants Declaration” which all employees in the businesses adhere to, provoked lively responses. Saturday’s conference, held at Northampton Jesus Centre, explored servant leadership – apostolic, pastoral, prophetic, evangelistic – plus how to train a new generation of servants (and keep the old ones radical). Servant leadership? When Samuel Brengle applied to join the Salvation Army, he thought he’d be given a prominent place. General Booth sent him to the dingy cellars to clean the boots of 300 men. “If you’re not s s
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able to do this, you’re no use to me,” he said. Brengle did it. Multiply director Huw Lewis had started the week by saying, “One ox can pull eight tonnes. Two can pull 32 tonnes. And four oxen can pull 128 tonnes”, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and togetherness. So it was good to strengthen the
bonds with brethren in Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast, and to create new ones with the Philippines, Zambia and India, among others. As the days passed, the clamour for your “contact” so as to be able to keep in touch increased. On the last day, the old ballroom at Cornhill Manor, one of
the Jesus Fellowship’s community houses, witnessed a dance like none it had ever seen. Dancers from Bhutan to Belgium, Hungary to Liberia, and many more, formed a lengthy conga line which snaked its way through the maze of chairs before obeying the call to change direction and to weave another way.
The stiffness of the previous Tuesday afternoon when the group had had to be exhorted to look at one another when singing “Let us open up ourselves to one another” had faded. Now we were a people joined together, a rainbow stream determined to bring change across the world.
LIFTED INTO ANOTHER DIMENSION
A PARADIGM SHIFT
DANIEL AND HEPHZI GRIMMER, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
TWENTY-FIVE years ago, Stephen Mwakabinga popped out to the local grocery shop. But this time was to be different. He met two evangelists on the way. After talking with them, right then and there in the dusty street, Stephen knelt down and gave his life to Jesus. Later the same year he heard about the Jesus Army – but Multiply 2006 was his first taste of the real thing. “It was an eye-opener,” he says of his time here. “Multiply lifts you into your vision - and gives you another dimension. You begin to see that your vision can happen because you’ve mixed with people of faith. Everything they speak, it can be done. Everything is big, it can be done. It’s full of faith and that’s the thing.” Stephen is head pastor of All Nations Harvest Church in Kitwe – both the main church and its branches. A number of different ministries are run – for men, for youth, for women and for children. Stephen also works with other pastors in the city and around Zambia, is church planting in Tanzania and goes on regular preaching engagements to the Congo. He describes what the Jesus Army has been doing as “awe-
AT THE FIRST Multiply International Leaders Conference in 2002 one of the delegates was Alexius Pereira from Abu Dhabi Evangelical Church in the United Arab Emirates. This time, the senior pastor Daniel Grimmer, and his wife Hephzi attended. The church began in 1982 as a Bible study group for a few Catholics from Goa. Two years later they left the Roman Catholic Church to form the Indian Christian Fellowship. When a Sri Lankan joined, the name was changed to Abu Dhabi Evangelical Church.
Jesus Life Three/2006 Page 18
some: I’ve dreamt to see such things happen in our country: ministering to the poor, the drug addicts, and among the people that need hope in their lives in a very practical way. What we learn here can be very helpful back home.” Stephen was also blessed with the fellowship, and the openness of the hearts of the people: “It’s like you are anti-UK tradition – you don’t live in this culture! You have your own!” He explains: “I’ve seen bigger things, where people started from nothing, and it gives me a lot of faith that these things can happen if we stay faithful and we stay connected with people of faith.” A man of passion, Stephen wants more fire and found it here. “The catching of the passion to do what God is calling a person to do and never to die out in the fervour of the call: that was very, very strong. I want to make sure that I am part of this fire! But the other thing I want is to see the fire that I’m catching over here beginning to flame up in Zambia. I want my people to see that what you believe in should never be hidden – bring it out, let everybody know it in the city square and everywhere, inside and outside – and I want that radical spirit to get into our nation.”
Zambians together: Stephen (right) with Audrey from the Jesus Fellowship (left) and Mary
“You begin to see that your vision can happen... Everything they speak, it can be done. Everything is big, it can be done. It’s full of faith and that’s the thing.”
comes along. No one needs to be invited. If they come during the meal time, you don’t ask if they ate, you simply include an extra plate!” Even so, the Jesus Fellowship model of community surprised Daniel: “The community concept, especially pooling salaries into the common fund, is something I’m seeing for the first time – after the Book of Acts! The simple lifestyle, the humility and the presence of the Holy Spirit is striking. The eagerness you have to know about others and spend time with them is unique in the Western culture. While more and more people around the world are becoming time-money oriented, you continue to encourage an event-people oriented thrust. “Overall, your acceptance of anyone irrespective of colour, creed or lifestyle with the love of God truly has opened my eyes and caused a paradigm shift in my mind and heart.” Hephzi adds: “Your love is amazing and treats everyone alike. You cannot make out who is the leader and who is the new community member.” It was Daniel who told his younger brother Joy Stevenson (see over) about Multiply 2006 and also forwarded the Multiply email newsletter to Satish Chettri (see page 21) in Delhi. Multiply is multiplying!
STEPHEN MWAKABINGA, ZAMBIA
Since then, through one-toone, counselling and literaturebased outreach, the church has grown into a multi-ethnic, multi-national congregation. (The worship team consists of three Nepalis, an Ethiopian, a Brazilian, a Kenyan and two Indians!) Hundreds have joined – many have gone to other nations like Canada, New Zealand, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Italy and Australia, where they continue to witness. “We see ourselves as a discipling, mentoring, training and equipping, sending church - a church with a heart for the world, especially for the poor and needy,” explains Daniel. They also want to be a worshipping family demonstrating the love, care and the power of God. For them, sharing is normal: “Asians and Africans live in communities where everyone knows everyone, including what is being cooked for lunch as the spicy fragrance wafts through the cluster of homes around! “Since we married we took various people in and walked with them anywhere between two months and five years. Our home, dining table and hearts are opened to anyone who
AS SPARKS OF FIRE
SATISH CHETTRI, INDIA
CHALLENGED TO CHANGE
JOY STEVENSON, INDIA JOY STEVENSON is a pastor with New Life Fellowship, a fast-growing house church in Mumbai, West India. He stayed in the Jesus Fellowship’s “Jewel” house in Daventry, Northamptonshire, during the conference. “Living in community during my visit has shown me the reality of things I have only experienced before in words,” he says. “It has really spoken to me that as believers we should carry a spirit of self-sacrifice and share our possessions. One scripture that really challenges me is Galatians 6:10: ‘As long as we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.’ In India, we do much social work but I believe that we often neglect the household of faith. “If community can happen in England, it can happen anywhere by the power of the Holy Spirit! Change is always very difficult but love can conquer anything. I believe when I get back home that I will be able to take this love with me and work towards inspiring others to join me in taking up the challenge to put what I have seen into practice in India.”
Joined across the nations: Joy (centre) with his African brothers, Duncan and Stephen.
“...I will be able to take this love with me and work towards inspiring others to join me in taking up the challenge to put what I have seen into practice...”
“WHEN I FIRST got an email about Multiply, my impression was very positive but very careful,” says Satish Chettri. “But it came from a good source. Why not be a part of the blessing?” Satish was born in a staunch Hindu family. In 1986 at the age of 16, he received Christ as his Saviour in a youth camp. The following year he co-founded the first Delhi Nepali Christian Fellowship. For almost 14 years he worked for the Bible Institute in Delhi and broadcast a popular programme, ‘Songs of Life’. A research project on the needs of the Nepali people then challenged him so much that in 2001 he resigned and founded Grace Ministries, with a vision to reach out primarily to other Nepali people – but other nations too. Poverty is one of the biggest barriers he and his 32 co-workers face. “The practical need is always there,” explains Satish. “Nepali people in India are always poor. We have little solution for economic problems, but we have much solution for spiritual problems. “For example, I go to market
and I see a man dying from hunger. I can give him all the bible verses I want; what he needs is bread and soup. We have to take immediate action. And yet, if I don’t share gospel, he could – as a healthy man – go to hell. We have to make him understand who Jesus is: this is the very vital heart of our ministry.” Satish was amazed by his stay in two of the Fellowship’s community houses. “I’d heard about ashrams. But I’d never seen this kind of community: people from different backgrounds and nations, all being a witness for Christ, sharing food, sharing a common purse. “Even in churches there are so many barriers and discriminations. Here your love for one another is so selfless. It is not possible only with human efforts. You are so saturated in the love of Jesus. “It is still unbelievable to me how it can work. I thought such things were only for the apostolic era!” Another surprising concept for Satish was celibacy, a lifelong vow to remain single. “This is the first time I’ve come to an organisation where people are encouraged to pray about this matter,” he says. “The way it is practised here I have never heard!” Satish, an avid networker, is looking forward to sharing the Multiply vision with others: “I am very much impressed by the conference. As leaders we need boost and encouragement. I believe many will go from here as sparks of fire to many parts JL of the world.”
WHAT IS MULTIPLY?
Multiply Christian Network is an apostolic stream which works through an informal network of churches and groups in the UK and around the world, initiated by the Jesus Army (Jesus Fellowship Church). It is a member of the Evangelical Alliance UK. Multiply seeks to operate internationally through key apostolic men who are responsible in their own countries for the growth and development of the network, communicating the vision and organising local conferences.
WHO’S IT FOR?
Multiply is open to fellowships large and small, from all cultures and races, as long as they accept a basic evangelical statement of faith.
WHAT DOES IT OFFER?
Relationships between leaders are central to the vision and are fostered through regular Multiply conferences, celebration gatherings and fellowship. Multiply partners have access to the Jesus Fellowship’s leadership and evangelism training plus a variety of resources, including free literature.
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
which is me? Jessica Thomas, 24, often used to feel like two people. “Shy serious Jessie” hid in her room, reading books and writing her diary. “Jess the rebel” went out on the town, breaking all the rules. It took a tragedy to set her on the path to discovering who she really was.
OR THE first fourteen years of her life, Jessica and her sister, Sophie, were brought up by their dad near Shepherd’s Bush, West London. Three of Jessica’s half-sisters and her half-brother lived with her mother in a different area of London. “Dad gave up his job as a fitter to become a single parent,” says Jessica. “Dad’s flat was small but he did a good job of looking after us: he moved out of his bedroom and slept on the sofa for years so we could have our own bedroom. “Secretly, dad was my hero. I should have been grateful for his care - but at the time I wasn’t. I loved him and was proud of the respect friends and neighbours had for him - there weren’t many single dads around at that time. But I felt angry because I never knew why I didn’t live with mum. “Dad was determined his daughters should be brought up properly. We weren’t allowed junk food. Instead, Dad sent us to school with mostly homemade lunches, including lemon juice in a re-used bottle. Embarrassing!” Jessica began to feel trapped - especially as
her dad seemed even more strict with her than he was with Sophie. He insisted Jessica should go to a Catholic girls’ school run by nuns in Ladbroke Grove, while Sophie was allowed to go to a mixed school in Holland Park where they didn’t have to wear uniform. The two sisters already had problems getting on with each other - now the wedge was driven deeper until they were hardly speaking to each other. “My friends’ families all seemed so close and happy - why couldn’t we have a normal family life like them? At school I was getting bullied for being skinny and quiet. By the time I was twelve I often felt I belonged nowhere and that life was pointless. This led me to keep a diary. Now I could be myself and let out on paper all that was inside.” By the time Jessica was fourteen, even her diaries weren’t enough and one evening, near the end of 1996, she walked out of her dad’s flat. Two years of living with her mother and then an aunt followed. “Shy, serious Jessie” disappeared and in her place appeared “Jess the rebel”, who bunked off school with a friend to smoke draw or explore London by Tube. “I liked fun and spontaneous adventure: I was tired of being good. Living with mum didn’t last long - eventually we had a big argument over something silly and I lost it. Mum called the police to say I was sixteen and uncontrollable - she was kicking me
out. A succession of Centre Point hostels followed.” Things went from bad to worse for Jessica and she started going out with a man who turned out to be violent. She managed to get away from him, but a few weeks later she discovered she was pregnant. “That calmed me down a bit!” Jessica felt she had something to live for at last. But eight weeks before the baby was due she went into premature labour and her dreams came crashing down. “I don’t remember much about what happened except for massive pain and the nurses giving me a spinal injection and telling me they were sorry but they couldn’t hear the baby’s heartbeat any more. On 27 November 1999, Mya Shanay was stillborn. I felt her kicking only the day before but during labour she died inside me. I felt so empty.” Jessica was still only 17. One of her sisters, Elisha, came to support her and the hospital arranged a little funeral for Mya. Then Jes-
Mum called the police to say I was sixteen and uncontrollable she was kicking me out.
sica went back to Camden and tried to carry on as normal. “Such a lot had happened to me in that year - but I had to be strong, didn’t I? For a long time I didn’t cry. I was determined not to. Instead I wrote a song to God and sung it to Him: Why did You take my baby? Was there a reason - You’ve got to tell me! “The following May, on my 18th birthday, I went clubbing with friends in King’s Cross. I’d loved that sort of thing before but now it seemed pointless. Mya’s death had matured me. I felt a longing to get away completely from everything that had been my past life and start all over again.” Seven months later, in January 2001, Jessica had an unexpected phone-call from a long-lost friend who was living with some Christians near Northampton. Would Jessica like to come down for a visit? Jessica’s childhood memories of ‘church’ were a blurry mixture: hymns learnt by rote; big hats; manic Pentecostal praying and people falling all over the place. “‘Church’ had terrified me as a child but I decided to accept the invitation and my friend took me to my first Jesus Fellowship meeting. I remember feeling excited and happy and saying to myself ‘Wow - I’m home!’ I saw something and I went after it! It was only a gathering of ordinary people going to church but something was different. I became fascinated by Jesus and couldn’t get enough of the Bible - I’d never known the Bible was like this - it became my manual for life. Jesus became my best friend instead of my diary - Someone who knew all about me, but never rejected me. Fourteen months after my baby’s death, in January 2001, just before my 19th birthday, I joined the church and moved in with a single mum and her family. “In the church I’ve found the place where I can stop hiding and be totally myself. I still love to sit quiet and listen but I also love to go out and befriend the homeless and the teenagers that hang around - just like I used to - and tell them about Jesus.” Now “serious Jessie” and “Jess the rebel” both have their place in Jessica’s new life. JL
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
Hi, I am a missionary in the Philippine Islands. We have a large group that lives and travels together, preaching the gospel. I was interested to come across your site... I believe our people would like to know more about you. Jeff Pessina Director, Philippine Frontline Ministries, PHILIPPINES
SALLY ARMY SOLDIER
RWANDAN COMMUNITY Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, We are a Rwandan Christian community called The New Humanity Mission. Since 1997, we have been living in Christian community, with all in common in true brotherhood. As all other Christians in our region were against us, we used to think that we were the only community with that vision in the whole world. Because of that constant opposition from our brothers, we were becoming weary in our determination, until God helped us and we found out about you. We then visited your website and read some of your brochures and books, notably “Kingdom Seekers”, “We Believe” and “Fire in our Hearts”. After reading about your testimony, we were very happy and thanked God for His mercy and kindness to you. We were particularly encouraged to realise that there are other brothers and sisters who have succeeded in that vision, even through persecutions and problems. As our elder brothers and sisters in that vision, we would like to know more about you to learn from your experience especially in community life. May heavenly blessings rain upon you. Your brothers and sisters in Jesus, New Humanity Mission RWANDA Jesus Life Three/2006 Page 24
I am a Salvation Army soldier in California, passionate about serving Christ and a bit nervous about the institution that the Salvation Army has become (although praying for her revival and associating myself with those who are like-minded). I just stumbled on a PDF copy of Fire in our Hearts (see www.jesus.org.uk/vault/ library_jabooks_index.shtml) and like what I’ve read so far. I noticed that the Jesus Army traces its roots back to the Salvation Army. Ed Lamaster USA
Hi, I’m a new Christian (two months in the faith) and I want to know how I can know Jesus more. The advice you gave about reading the gospels and praying each day was helpful and I shall continue to do that, but if there’s anything more you could suggest I do to know Jesus more and love him more, then please let me know! I know that I need him, really need him, in my life. Thank you and God bless you all, Julie Dube UK
NO LONGER MORMON
I used to be a Mormon missionary and we lived over the road from the Jesus Army meetings. Now I am part of a movement in Scotland, not a Mormon anymore, and within an evangelical charismatic movement. We don’t have the Jesus Army here, but you made a lasting impression. You guys are great! When are you coming up here?! Chris SCOTLAND
I think you Christians are good and decent people. As an atheist I have the greatest respect for you. I would like us to become friends. I think conceit and arrogance are the biggest barriers between us. We should try to understand each other as human beings and in that understanding rediscover the true brotherhood of man. Neil McBain UK
NEW YORK RADICAL
I’m very much interested in visiting one of your communities. I’m a radical Christian and a lover of Jesus. I’m from New York City, USA. I love to see other Christians bringing the true gospel to the world. I would love to be part of what you are doing in the UK, so please give me any information about the Jesus Army and how I can visit one of your communities. That would be a blessing to me. Michael USA www.jesus.org.uk
JESUS IN TRAFALGAR SQUARE 8 July 2006 saw the Jesus Fellowship taking to the streets in London, singing and dancing their way from Marble Arch to a colourful Jesus demo at Trafalgar Square. Mary Davies recorded her impressions of the day for Jesus Life.
SUN IS shinin’, weather is sweet... it’s gonna be a good day! Start the day off by reading Ephesians chapter six in the minibus on the way to London... good to get psyched up for the big day, ‘putting on the armour of God’. Assembling for the march, excitement is rising. Sound of the drum beat. We are a crazy array of colour. What are we waiting for? Let’s go! We dance, shout and sing our way to Trafalgar Square, spreading the love of Jesus to the people of London... what an impact! The streets are alive with the Spirit of God like a fire bursting through the town. Treading on each others’ toes, clobbered by each others’ flags, we rage onto Trafalgar like a tribe with a war cry and get stuck in; spread out! (Ah, our pastor’s got his summer hat on...) Members of the public mix in with us; all around people gossip the gospel amongst all the commotion. People hear the message and get a taste of life. I love this church’s boldness, its life. Unashamed and unafraid. The afternoon wears on... My legs are aching from so much dancing. Little Sarah grabs me by the hand and I’m off to try and catch a T-shirt being thrown from the stage! (Children are the perfect excuse to act like an idiot...) Three hours later, it’s over! Crowds disperse. We’re off to have tea in some park somewhere... time to chill. Until next time...
Wild at ‘the National’: Jesus Army dance in London’s centre
Treading on each others’ toes, clobbered by each others’ flags, we rage onto Trafalgar like a tribe with a war cry. Mary Davies
Simone an Italian on holiday in the UK for two weeks, stood looking on, clearly touched by the atmosphere and what was happening on stage. But he couldn’t understand how “Jesus” and “Army” went together until it was explained to him that the fight was not against people but against dark spiritual forces. He ended up having prayer to receive the Holy Spirit. Thomas from France had never seen anything like it and was clearly captivated by what he saw. He too requested prayer to receive the Holy Spirit and an assurance of forgiveness of sins. “This sort of event would be very welcome in France!” he JL said.
Jesus Centres A Much-needed
WHAT ARE JESUS CENTRES?
Jesus Centres are places where the love of Jesus is expressed daily in worship, care and friendship for every type of person. We offer a hand of friendship and a listening ear as well as functioning as a ‘gateway’ to other services and agencies.
WHO RUNS THEM?
Jesus Centres are run by the Jesus Army Charitable Trust (JACT), and are the initiative of the Jesus Fellowship Church (modern JESUS army).
WHERE ARE THEY?
Coventry and Northampton. London Jesus Centre will open spring 2007. We expect that eventually Jesus Centres will be found in many major towns and cities around the UK.
MORE INFORMATION: www.jesuscentre.org.uk
Thursdays (during term-time) 10.15am - 12.15am and 2.00pm to 4.00pm at the Northampton Jesus Centre, Abington Square, Northampton.
WEI LOON was 16 when he came to England with his father from Malaysia four years ago. He couldn’t speak a word of English, and had a problem fitting in to the school system as he didn’t have sufficient qualifications for sixth-form college. A friend arranged for him to go to ESOL classes at the Northampton Jesus Centre, and he went for a year and a half, also learning IT. Now he is living in a Jesus Fellowship community house, working in a building firm and speaks fluent English. He enjoys his new life-style, especially living at “River Farmhouse”: “The people there are well close together. We have visitors, but it’s like a family.”
JANA came to England from the Czech Republic in January this year because of her husband’s job. She has been attending a class since February. She has appreciated the opportunity to speak English: “You can learn something from a text book, but when you don’t speak you don’t learn.”
Jesus Life Three/2006 Page 26
HEWAIDA first read about free English classes in an advert in the local library, and came straight in to enrol. She had arrived from Egypt in April, and was planning to buy grammar books to learn to speak to her English brother-in law. She has regularly attended two classes a week since May, and was so pleased with her progress that she brought in her sister Safaa when she arrived in the country in June, describing the classes as ‘a big family’. “I was so lonely without my sister before, but when I came to the class I felt I was with friends,” Hewaida says. She also feels she has gained confidence in speaking – “Now I don’t have to think before I speak” - and has learned about places in the UK. Safaa noticed the improvement in her sister’s English: “Her writing is better as well. She’s more confident. It’s different writing from left to right, but her handwriting is much better.”
She has also enjoyed the ‘friendly and helpful’ atmosphere of the Jesus Centre, and meeting people from all over the world. She comments: “It’s nice to walk through Northampton and meet people you know.” Jana has also been to a college, but prefers a more informal atmosphere: “Here I can find a more personal approach. At college I asked for more preparation for the exam and they asked me what I wanted to know. Here the teacher is always prepared.”
Safaa joined the class herself at the end of term, and is keen to improve her pronunciation. Hewaida has also been to a multi-cultural evening at the Jesus Centre and hopes to return some time to teach Egyptian dancing. Hewaida and Safaa have both experienced difficulty in getting a job, and hope that more fluency in English will help them. They feel disadvantaged by their nationality. Safaa says: “When I started to look for a job – I had three years’ experience of working in hotels – they rang me and said I was not qualified enough. I wanted to have a right to ask why.” Hewaida adds that sometimes “I go for a job and they tell me ‘no’. I remember the class and I feel better.”
DELIA has worked as a volunteer classroom assistant for a year and a half. She has to be “aware and alert to notice when the students need help”. Sometimes she sits with someone who has additional needs. Her aim is “to make friends, to make the students’ lives easier and to create a culture of acceptance.”
Sue Withers teaches English for Speakers of Other Languages at Northampton Jesus Centre; her intention is to do the same in the London Jesus Centre when it opens in Spring 2007.
‘You made it feel like home when I had first arrived and felt so lonely’
A recent student in Northampton Jesus Centre ESOL class
Delia understands what it is like to be new to the country, because when she first arrived from Romania in 2001 she worked as a volunteer for a clothing company and felt “paranoid and weird” because she couldn’t understand English humour. She was thrown out of her accommodation, but found “home” in the church. For her the work involves “a
real concern for people, in and out of lessons”, but it is also good fun. She enjoys seeing them come in “all sleepy but go out lively”; being more determined to learn. Delia is looking into the training needed to become a teacher herself, having been teachertrained in Romania but without work experience.
“CAN YOU IMAGINE yourself arriving, sometimes through difficulty, in a bewildering foreign environment where you can’t speak the language? “Can you imagine yourself grappling with incomprehensible forms, unable to understand the signs in a supermarket, baffled by the GP receptionist or dumb in the face of hostility? “In my career as an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teacher my students have told me stories like these. “In the Jesus Centre our aim is to teach immediate survival English to those at the lowest level of speaking and listening,
but also improve the literacy, pronunciation and grammar of more advanced students. “Classes can be a shock to those who expect to come and quietly listen. The aim is to have 30% teacher talk and 70% student participation. There is group work, role play, hands-on activities and communication games. It’s an opportunity to hear about different cultures, to allow people to open up about things they need to express and to discuss our values. “I believe that God loves justice and cares for the foreigner. For me, the ESOL class is more than teaching English or even imparting an understanding of English culture. It is an opportunity to give a muchneeded welcome, offer a sense of family and share a taste of JL the Kingdom of God.”
Jesus Life Three/2006 Page 27
“Everybody wants a radical, life changing, exciting Christianity”
new friends a very special invitation
introductory course - the christian faith today
SATURDAY 14 Oct
MEN ALIVE FOR GOD From 11.00am Jesus Centre,
SATURDAY 11 Nov
Jesus Fellowship UK / modern Jesus army
MULTIPLY LEADERS CONFERENCE From 10.30am Cornhill Manor,
Abington Square, NORTHAMPTON
27 SEPTEMBER 8 NOVEMBER 2006
attractive scene friendly vibes lively music food and drink look and listen K U e h t r ove ask and talk
WEDNESDAY EVENINGS / 7.30pm - 9.30pm THIS IS JESUS / 4 October FRIEND OF SINNERS / 11 October NEW BIRTH FOR ME / 18 October HERE IS WATER / 25 October WELCOME, HOLY SPIRIT / 1 November THE CHURCH IS US / 8 November I’M SAYING YES! / 12PLUSNovember SPECIAL CELEBRATION HOLY SPIRIT SUNDAY 27 September
SATURDAY 25 Nov
UK PRAISE DAY 2.00pm & 6.15pm Ponds Forge
SATURDAY 30 Dec
JESUS CELEBRATION 2.00pm & 6.00pm Jesus Centre,
SATURDAY 27 Jan 2007
CHURCH GROWTH CONFERENCE From 11.00am Jesus Centre,
BELFAST call 0845 123 5552 for details BIRMINGHAM call 0845 166 8153 for details BOURNEMOUTH call 0845 123 5558 for details COVENTRY Jesus Centre, Lamb Street call 0845 166 8154 for details IPSWICH call 0845 166 8156 for details KETTERING call 0845 166 8157 for details LEEDS Building Blocks Centre, Maud Avenue, Beeston call 0845 166 8167 for details LEICESTER call 0845 166 8158 for details
Sports Centre, Sheaf Street, SHEFFIELD
Abington Square, NORTHAMPTON
Abington Square, NORTHAMPTON
ALL FREE / ALL WELCOME / NO PREJUDICE Info: Jesus Fellowship, FREEPOST, Nether Heyford, Northampton NN7 3BR t: 0845 123 5550 e: firstname.lastname@example.org www.jesus.org.uk
LIVERPOOL call 0845 166 8168 for details LONDON call 0845 166 8152 for details MANCHESTER Jesus Army Centre, Little Nelson Street, off Corporation Street. call 0845 166 8169 for details MILTON KEYNES call 0845 166 8159 for details NORTHAMPTON Jesus Centre, Abington Street call 0845 123 5550 for details NORWICH call 0845 166 8162 for details NOTTINGHAM call 0845 166 8163 for details OXFORD East Oxford
Community Centre, Cowley Road call 0845 166 8164 for details PRESTON St. Augustines New Avenham Centre, St. Austins Place call 0845 123 5554 for details SEAFORD / NEWHAVEN Hillcrest Community Centre, Newhaven call 0845 166 8151 for details SHEFFIELD Sunnybank Community Centre, William Street, Broomhall call 0845 166 8183 for details STOKE-ON-TRENT call 0845 123 5334 for details SWANSEA call 0845 123 5556 for details
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#02 God’s kingdom is good news for the outsider and the have-not.
CHECK OUT the opening chapters of Luke. They all begin with big-wigs (King Herod, Caesar this, Caesar that, governor the other, High Priests, tetrarchs...) but then immediately wheel round to focus on “nobodies” on the edge of things – two childless pensioners, an obscure village woman, a freak in the desert, a bunch of illiterate shepherds. The point? This is their story, not the story of the big cheeses. The human map is being re-drawn, the world is
“being turned upside down”. The world’s way of measuring a person’s worth – wealth, power, status – is being over-turned. The early chapters of Luke aren’t about pop stars. It’s an unmarried pregnant teenager who sings, “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but the rich He has sent empty away.” (Luke 1:52-53) Then Zechariah, an obscure priest joins in: “The rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death.” (Luke 1:78-79) And John the wilderness weirdo sings verse three: “Pre-
pare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain made low!” (Luke 3: 4-5) At first glance this may seem to be about free lunches, holidays for refugees and, er, landscape gardening? Actually, it’s about the justice which has arrived with the king – in effect, the privileged high-ups (mountains) will be humbled and the down-ontheir-luck (valleys) lifted. The hungry fed; the dispossessed given a sunny home. Heaven’s reign arriving. So the king of the poor puts it like this. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor… to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:18-19) Favour for whom? Draw your own conclusions. JL
‘Isn’t it clear by now that God operates quite differently? He chose the world’s down-and-outs as the kingdom’s first citizens, with full rights and privileges.’ (James 2:5,The Message)
marie lutter MULTIPLY CHURCHES AND GROUPS MEET ALL OVER THE UK RING UP AND FIND OUT WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR AREA!
JESUS FELLOWSHIP GROUPS ALSO MEET REGULARLY IN: BELFAST............................................................................0845 123 5552 BOURNEMOUTH ..............................................................0845 123 5558 BRISTOL ...........................................................................0845 123 5339 CHESTER/NORTH WALES ................................................0845 123 5561 HASTINGS ........................................................................0845 123 5551 NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE ................................................0845 166 8187 PRESTON .........................................................................0845 123 5554 SWANSEA ........................................................................0845 123 5556 WALSALL...........................................................................0845 123 5563 WOLVERHAMPTON...........................................................0845 123 5564
“CHEATS”, “scroungers”, “criminals” – media words for asylum seekers. Most asylum seekers arrive with nothing, fleeing persecution, war, and threat of death; seeking a safe refuge. Often traumatised, they are dependent on interpreters, solicitors, and an inadequate “support” system. Imagine: you’re in a strange culture; you don’t speak the language; you have ten days to prepare and submit your case in that language, knowing the system is loaded against you. Happy with that? The asylum system often regards people as just numbers. Above 90 per cent of asylum seekers receive a “no” from the Home Office. Support and accommodation is cut; they end up destitute. Many depend on friends themselves below the poverty line. They face pressures of deportation. Stress, grinding poverty, un-
certainty: all produce high levels of sickness and mental health problems for asylum seekers. Many become depressed and turn to drugs or even suicide. Many asylum seekers have high levels of professional skills. They want to work, but are not allowed to while their case is being determined: “supported” (ha!) at 30 per cent below the accepted minimum living standard; accommodated in poor housing in “hard to let” inner city areas. If they do receive permission to stay in this country as refugees, they face great difficulties in finding houses or jobs and are discriminated against on every hand. Christians are commanded to love the stranger and welcome the poor, showing them the love of Christ: “Inasmuch as you did it to them you did it to me.” Let’s speak out for those who have no voices and break down the unjust barriers in our society.
Jesus Life hears from mJa members about what makes them bubble with excitement... or boil with rage.
AH FEEL BETTER?
BIRMINGHAM Jesus Fellowship Church......................... 0845 166 8153 BLACKBURN Hyndburn Christian Fellowship................ (01254) 876980 BLACKBURN Rishton Christian Fellowship................... (01254) 887790 BRIDGEND The Bridge Community Church................... (01656) 655635 BRIGHTON & HOVE Jesus Fellowship Church................ 0845 166 8151 CHATHAM House Of Prayer For All Nations.................. (01634) 669933 CHATHAM King’s Church Medway ................................. (01634) 847477 COVENTRY Jesus Fellowship Church.............................. 0845 166 8154 CROYDON Jesus Fellowship Church............................... 0845 226 1972 DEAL Christchurch.......................................................... (01304) 366512 HIGH WYCOMBE Church of Shalom............................... (01494) 449408 IPSWICH Jesus Fellowship Church................................. 0845 166 8156 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 N Glad Tidings Evangelical Church ............... (020) 8245 9002 LONDON S Bible Life Family Ministries ....................... (020) 8689 2244 LONDON SE Understanding Ministries ....................... (020) 8855 3087 LONDON SE Ephratah Int’l Gospel Praise Centre....... (020) 8469 0047 LONDON SE Flaming Evangelical Ministries .............. (020) 8694 2083 LONDON SE Hope of Glory Int’l Ministries .................. (020) 8694 6738 LONDON SE Mission Together for Christ..................... (020) 7401 2687 LONDON Jesus Fellowship Church ................................. 0845 166 8152 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 RAMSEY HOLLOW (Cambs) Christians United.............. (01487) 815528 SHEFFIELD Jesus Fellowship Church............................. 0845 166 8183 STOKE-ON-TRENT Jesus Fellowship Church................... 0845 123 5334
THE BIBLE shows us that our awesome and eternal God is passionately involved in getting us into what is really happening here on planet Earth - His story. What a privilege to be able to read this. It hasn’t always been that way. For centuries, the Bible was only available to an educated few. Everyday folk could only hear some of it (if they were lucky) on a Sunday in church – and then only if they spoke Latin! Yep, that’s right, for nearly a thousand years you had to speak a dying language in order to understand the life-giving words of the living God. So I raise a shout of respect and gratitude those who ensured that we have access to God’s Word today, men so consumed with passion for
the gospel that they decided to stand up and shout it out from the rooftops for everyone to hear. John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, William Tyndale and others stepped out of history and into God’s story, joining ranks with the very men they would have us read about. They were pursued, imprisoned, exiled and martyred for acting on their conviction that all people should have access to God’s Word in their own tongue – be that German, English or Swahili. After all didn’t God himself reveal this to us at Pentecost? Having received this book at such cost, should I not also read and live in the hope of its invitation to us: to meet God and then step out into the adventure of His story too? JL
Jesus Life Three/2006 Page 31
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‘...read the thrilling story of One Heart and Soul, and you be the judge as to whether Jesus’ teaching and example is a possibility in the 21st century. If it is, it will be essential for bringing healing to a broken and sick world.’ - Roger Forster, Leader, Ichthus Christian Fellowship UK, from his Preface.
One Heart and Soul Christian Community for the 21st Century by Trevor Saxby
One Heart and Soul Christian Community for the 21st Century
One Heart and Soul
A MULTIPLY ‘Let’s talk’ booklet for those wanting to experience living Christianity
Steve and Val
Lucy Daniel Stuart David Ian and and Jemma Belinda
They were not to live like the nations around them, but were to pioneer a new lifestyle, such as befitted a people set apart by God.
Available from Jesus People Shop, Nether Heyford, Northampton NN7 3LB email: email@example.com www.jesuspeople.biz tel: 0845 123 5550 fax: 0845 166 8178