JESUS Issue 88 FREE
three / 2011 www.jesus.org.uk
The magazine of the modern Jesus army & Multiply Christian Network
PRAYER ON THE SQUARE INSIDE: STORIES OF CHANGED LIVES 01.indd 1
UK JESUS CENTRES
RANT AND RAVE 03/10/2011 16:08:47
S T TEN
N CO Celibacy - gift or choice 4-5
Stuart Patnell on why he made a vow of lifelong singleness
12-14 Heidi Mobius tells the story of how Jesus changed her life
Love is spelt SOCKS! 15-17 A story of how a Jesus Centre changed a life
Talking to... 18-23 An interview with Lord Wei of Shoreditch
Absolutising the present 27
From the blog of Jesus Life editor, James Stacey
RAW photo diary 30-34
Snaps from the Jesus Fellowship’s annual youth event 2 Jesus Life
and... History Makers 6-7
The radical words of a 4th century ‘church father’
Multiply Christian Network 8-9
A map showing international Multiply churches
From the blog of Laurence Cooper
Winning the prayer war 24-25 Huw Lewis on powerful praying
Rant & Rave 28-29
Boiling with rage... buzzing with passion
Keep in touch 35
Phone numbers for Multiply churches throughout the UK 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. © 2011 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 royalty-free 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.
PRAYER ON THE SQUARE A word from Mick Haines, apostolic team leader of the Jesus Fellowship.
T THE JESUS Fellowship’s Trafalgar Square event in June (see the picture right), our prayer teams were kept consistently busy. People want to receive prayer and have a spiritual experience. In our Sunday evening events, we always offer to pray with people. We are learning to reveal God’s heart of love to people as we do this. As we listen to God, as well as to the person expressing their need, we have found the Holy Spirit moving in power. We bring His healing to people, and sometimes deliverance from dark, oppressive influences such as unforgiveness and rejection. Over the summer months, some of our young people have been wearing t-shirts bearing the question “Can I pray for you?” This simple question has often led to deep conversations on the streets, followed by deep, effective prayer for individuals. Often, the person who has been prayed for will say they felt “overwhelming peace” during the prayer. In praying with someone who is open, you connect to their deepest inner being, their spirit. The success of “healing on the streets” initiated by Marc Marx (Causeway Coast Vineyard Church, Northern Ireland) has now spread to towns and cities in the UK and Europe. This initiative has mobilised ordinary Christians into bringing loving, healing prayer to the general public with some excellent outcomes. At the recent “Umbrella Fair” in www.jesus.org.uk
Northampton, our Jesus Army team set up a “healing tent”. Many people came in for prayer and some experienced physical healing through God’s power. One woman who had been wheelchair-bound after a car accident took her first few steps since 2009. We find it’s usually best to pray in a team of two. Our prayer is always “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ”, the name that carries all authority in heaven and on earth. Let’s keep reaching out and praying with people. Let’s release Holy Spirit life, and see the works of the Kingdom of God advance JL throughout this nation. Jesus Life 3
CELIBACY: GIFT GIVEN OR CHOICE CHOSEN?
Stuart Patnell is a leader in the Jesus Fellowship and lives in a Christian community house in Coventry. He made his vow of celibacy 12 years ago. On his blog he says, “I’m single and I love it. Living undivided.”
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Stuart Patnell has made a bold decision to remain single for life. He shares some of his journey to this commitment and reflects on whether his celibacy was a gift or a choice.
we are given the gift by God and we choose to stay single
something we decide on for Him? The answer is: yes. The gift of celibacy is given by God, but the choice is made by the individual. A paradox? It seems strange to speak of God giving you something when it’s something you choose for yourself. Who’s in control, God or you? Well – both. Check out what Jesus said about being celibate: “Only those people who have been given the gift of staying single can accept this teaching. Some people are unable to marry because of birth defects or because of what someone has done to their bodies. Others stay single for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who can accept this teaching should do so.” (Matthew 19:9-12, Contemporary English Version) This makes it clear that celibacy is indeed both a gift and a free will choice. I was given the gift by God. And I choose to stay single. JL
HEN I first found Jesus and received the Holy Spirit, a great love was born in my heart for God, and for people. “God poured out His love into my heart by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5). I found myself longing to be with people who’d had the same experience in order to express this love together. I was so affected by this love, so struck by what I had found, that I began to want little else. I found that there had been a change in my deepest desires – I now hungered for God and His kingdom in a way that caused me to ache. I saw that it was possible for these deep desires to be satisfied among God’s people. This, I’m sure, was the beginning of celibacy for me. God placed His longings in my heart; within this, He was offering the great gift of celibacy. I found that my aspiration to be celibate grew, even if at first I didn’t think it was for me. I looked at the lives of one or two celibates I’d met and found them deeply inspiring. I guess I wanted to be like them; I could see that the source of their fulfilment was in their gifting. As time went on, I found my hunger for God had only increased, and I felt less and less fulfilled by anything else. I remember one time laying on my bed and whispering a prayer: “God, please give me a celibate heart.” God had carefully drawn me and, as the author and fulfiller of my prayer, He was faithful to answer. And, of course, Jesus said anyone who can accept it should. I couldn’t really pass up a challenge like that! Sometimes people ask: is celibacy a gift or a choice? Something we receive from God, or www.jesus.org.uk
CELIBACY is a gift and calling spoken of by Jesus (Matthew 19:12) and recommended by Paul (1Corinthians 7:25-35). Around 300 men and women in the Jesus Fellowship nationwide have made the choice of staying single. They include single parents, the divorced, widows and widowers as well as single people of all ages and sexual orientation. Celibacy is also a choice that has been made by many famous Christians throughout history. To learn more about Christians and the celibate call visit: jesus.org.uk/undivided Read Stuart’s blog on celibacy and following Jesus: single4jesus.blogspot.com Jesus Life 5
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H I S T O R YS MAKER Trevor Saxby finds a striking word for today – in a collection of 1600-year-old sermons!
ASIL OF CAESAREA, Church Father and theologian, wrote his sermon To the Rich sixteen centuries ago, but the context was strikingly similar to today. “Those who have recently grown rich desire more of the same... They ought to be happy and contented, but immediately they yearn to be equal with the super-rich.” Meanwhile, “thousands huddle in misery in doorways.” A time of crisis had struck, in the form of a great famine. Everyone was afraid of what might come. Social structures were under threat; established patterns of life could not be trusted – not unlike some of the global threats we face today. Basil used the opportunity to press for justice, mercy and equality, but above all for simplicity. “The soul becomes like the things it gives itself to,” he writes in his Homily on Humility, “and takes the character and appearance of what it does. So let your demeanour, your dress, your walking, your sitting down, the nature of your food, the quality of your manner, your house and what it contains, aim at simplicity. “And let your speech, your singing, the way you relate to your neighbour, be in accord with humility rather than with vanity. In your words, let there be no empty pretence, in your singing no excess sweetness, in conversation be not ponderous or overbearing. In everything refrain from seeking to appear important.” Most of all, Basil pressed for a voluntary redistribution of wealth and resources, as in the first Church at Jerusalem. As Kamiel Duchatelez, a Catholic writer, describes it, Basil “saw it as a rule of life for all Christians. Moved by the extreme social needs of the population, and enlightened by the Scriptures, Basil insisted that the produce of the earth was intended for all. While God the Creator had www.jesus.org.uk
The bread that you have belongs to the hungry; the clothes that are in your cupboard belong to the naked indeed distributed it unevenly, He had done this with the intention that the rich should share with the poor.” To Basil, a refusal to embrace simplicity and sustainability is a crime. As he wrote in his homily I Will Tear Down My Barns: “Someone who steals the clothes off someone’s back is called a thief. Why should we refer to the one who does not clothe the naked, while having the means to do so, as anything else? “The bread that you have belongs to the hungry; the clothes that are in your cupboard belong to the naked; the shoes that are rotting in your possession belong to the barefooted; the money that you have buried belongs to the destitute. And so you commit injustice to so JL many when you could have helped them.”
Trevor is a senior leader in the Jesus Fellowship. He says, “I love learning from God’s movers and shakers in history, because I want to be a history-maker now!” READ TREVOR’S BLOG radical-church-history.blogspot.com OR VISIT: jesus.org.uk/short/passionate-past Jesus Life 7
EMPOWERING THE NATIONS
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WHAT IS MULTIPLY? Multiply Christian Network is a worldwide apostolic stream of churches, initiated by Jesus Fellowship Church. CONTACT MULTIPLY: www.multiply.org.uk Contact Multiply Director, Huw Lewis, Tel: +44 1327 344533 Email: email@example.com Write to: Jesus Fellowship/Multiply, Nether Heyford, Northampton, NN7 3LB, UK
Multiply Director Huw Lewis gives Jesus Life a roundup of whatâ€™s happening in the Multiply International Christian Network
HERE IS MOVEMENT in Multiply! Weâ€™ve seen a growing sense of ownership and partnership by the Multiply Apostolic men in various parts of the world over the past year. The AMEN (Apostolic Men Empowering the Nations) Conference in June was a time of deeper bonding and growing vision. A Multiply Fund for greater support for our overseas partners has now been established and visits from Jesus Fellowship leaders are planned for India and Nepal (November) and Switzerland (October). Meanwhile, our Multiply UK Conference will be held for the first time at our London Jesus Centre in November. Next year will see Conferences in East Africa in February (Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania) with a youth team supporting local projects in Kenya. We are expecting a first Western European Conference in the summer, to be held in Switzerland and hosted by Multiply partner, Mark Fels. We value and appreciate all your prayers and support! JL
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Events modern Jesus army
ALL FREE ALL WELCOME
MORE INFO? jesus.org.uk/dates 0845 123 5550 firstname.lastname@example.org
Upcoming events you donâ€™t want to miss...
UK Jesus Celebration SATURDAY 31 DEC 2011 1.00pm & 6.00pm Jesus Centre, Abington Square NORTHAMPTON NN1 4AE
Church Growth Conference SATURDAY 28 JAN 2012 From 11.30am Jesus Centre, Abington Square NORTHAMPTON NN1 4AE
UK Jesus Celebration SATURDAY 18 FEB 2012 2.00pm & 6.00pm The New Bingley Hall 1 Hockley Circus BIRMINGHAM B18 5BE
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THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO MMM
Church has to be more like a “bring and share” meal than a cinema if it is to succeed, writes Laurence Cooper.
Laurence Cooper is a writer, fund-raiser, and leader in the Jesus Fellowship. He lives in a Christian Community house in Birmingham and supports Jesus Centres around the UK. READ HIS BLOG: laurencecooper.wordpress.com www.jesus.org.uk
OR MANY Christians, church is a consumer experience like the flicks. Roll up on a Sunday, eat popcorn (sorry, communion) – then leave, a few coins lighter, for another week of work, family life, chillaxing in front of TV. It’s a life, of sorts, and church, of sorts. But it’s not an experience of the living body of Christ. Real church is a contributory culture: everyone has an important part to play. “Bring and share church” is people giving to the gathered Body. What they bring can be summarised by three “M’s”. MEETINGS. Don’t doze in front of a preacher; each member should bring a song to sing, or something to say – as instructed by Paul (1Corinthians 14:26). Church should be like a jamming session, not a solo performance. MUCKING IN. Be prepared to get involved practically. Putting out chairs, stewarding, running a group. The burden is shared. As someone put it, “Those who won’t do the washing up won’t build the church.” MONEY. Won’t give to the work of your church? That’s sad, because you’ll miss God’s blessing on the generous. Jesus praised to the skies the poor widow’s generosity when she gave her all to God (Luke 21:1-4). Only churches whose members invest their substance in the common life of all will live and breathe as they should. Are you pew fodder – or a contributor? JL Jesus Life 11
LET THERE BE LIGHT
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Life was getting darker and darker for Heidi Mobius. Then God – literally – lit a candle in her life.
at home. Tensions grew between her and her mother, to the point when, she walked out of her parents’ home for good. Heidi felt adrift and wasn’t sure who she could trust anymore. “I decided I wouldn’t go through life putting my trust in people or being vulnerable.” Just as she was about to train for the next level of pagan priesthood, Heidi’s plans were interrupted. In the summer of 1994, she was living in shared accommodation with an American Christian called Dan. One night they started talking about religion. “It became a very heated argument,” she says, “He told me that what I was into was wrong. I got really angry with his arrogant opinions and his arrogant God.” Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, Heidi had an overwhelming sense of another presence with them – a person whose presence seemed to fill the room. She had a sense that she was no longer talking to Dan, but someone who was in him and at the same time around them both. She experienced a strange physical sensation of something passing through her, steadily but surely, from the top of her head downwards. “By this point, I was freaked out,” admits Heidi. “I walked away from Dan, to go to my room. As I climbed the stairs, that overwhelming presence revealed itself as love. God is love and I experienced his love for me, Continued overleaf
HERE WAS this God of love when I was getting bullied, when my family was falling to pieces?” 15-year-old Heidi Mobius was disillusioned and desperate. God had been a part of Heidi’s life for as long as she remember – even if it was the occasional church visit, or Christian principles such as “Turn the other cheek”. What caused her to reject it all? Heidi’s family moved around a lot during her childhood. She was born in Wales, but lived in Oxfordshire, Berkshire, and Buckinghamshire. Things began to go wrong for the family after moving away from Milton Keynes – Heidi’s parents started to have problems in their marriage. “I was stuck in the middle,” says Heidi, “My mum turned to drinking to deal with it all, and my relationship with her deteriorated. My dad leaned on me for support… and it was all too much really.” School didn’t offer any relief for Heidi – “I was bullied because I had a strange name and didn’t wear the latest fashions.” In 1987, Heidi’s grandparents died in a road accident. It had a big effect on the whole family and they grew even further apart. “I blamed myself for their deaths because I used to wish they weren’t around.” She admits, “I felt like an evil person.” Desperation for “some kind of lifeline” fuelled Heidi’s interest in the occult. Starting with reading horoscopes as a teenager, by the time she entered into her twenties, Heidi had entered into the organised priesthood of an occult group. She enjoyed the feeling of empowerment. “I didn’t want to feel helpless in circumstances ever again; that’s the attraction new age religion held for me.” There was little security to be found for Heidi
Heidi had entered into the organised priesthood of an occult group
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I knew that Jesus had forgiven and accepted me s s
Continued from previous page unbridled, in such intensity that I cried. I asked Jesus to forgive me.” All Heidi’s opinions had been blown away. But she still wanted assurance that she had truly been forgiven. She asked for a sign. That night she lay awake in bed, unable to sleep, watching a candle on her bedside table flicker. She watched until it went out completely. “I was just lying there, thinking about what had happened earlier,” remembers Heidi. “Suddenly the flame re-appeared and the words ‘I am the light of the world’ came to my mind. It was my sign! I knew that Jesus had forgiven and accepted me.” The next day Heidi got rid of everything she owned to do with the occult and looked up a Christian church in the yellow pages. Two years later, in 1996, having met and made friends with a couple from the Jesus Fellowship, Heidi decided to get baptised. Heidi had found God – and found her spiritual home. “I’d never met people who were this involved – my own family were never that caring towards me. In many ways, it was very healing. “I just keep going back to that amazing experience I had of God’s love,” she reflects. “It’s my anchor in everything.” “The occult was all about power and control – because I felt helpless, I wanted to be the one in control. But being a Christian is different. God is the one in control of my life – and I know I can trust Him.” JL
READ MORE about other changed lives: jesus.org.uk/jcml
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LOVE IS SPELT SOCKS!
Filmmaker Aidan Ashby writes what his camera saw: the moving story of Sid Elliott’s journey from homelessness and addiction to faith and freedom through the work of the Northampton Jesus Centre.
I, I’M SID and this is how socks changed my life.” Sid, sitting in front of us was recounting his life story to our camera. And it’s quite a story! My friend Richard King and I had been approached by Faithworks Northampton, part of a national network of churches aiming to resource and encourage community involvement between churches. They offered us an opportunity to showcase the work of the Northampton Jesus Centre (which is affiliated to Faithworks) through a YouTube video which they would promote. So we’d dragged ourselves out of bed at 5.15 that morning, aiming to catch the cold early morning sunlight on the empty streets of Northampton. We wanted to capture some footage to show Sid in his “old habitat” – the unforgiving streets he slept rough on before his journey took a turn for the better. Later, back at Sid’s house, his journey
WHAT ARE JESUS CENTRES? Places where the love of Jesus is expressed daily in worship, care and friendship for every type of person. www.jesuscentre.org.uk
WHERE ARE JESUS CENTRES? There are Jesus Centres in Coventry, London and Northampton. One will open in Sheffield soon and Birmingham after that, with vision for further locations. MORE INFO: www.jesuscentre.org.uk Jesus Life 15
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Sid started to drink, leading to an addiction that spiralled out of control
Continued from previous page
unfolded in front of our cameras. Ten years ago Sid’s life was pretty well stitched together. He was the Head of Art and Deputy Director of a private school. But a bout of sickness led to redundancy. Sid started to drink, leading to an addiction that spiralled out of control, and that’s where things went badly downhill. His marriage suffered and the family fell apart, and soon he found himself drifting around England – and Europe – not knowing why or where he was going. Sid recounted how at one time he lived in a field for a month, though when he left it he had no awareness that a month had passed. Back from his European wanderings, Sid was sitting on a bench in his old home town of Northampton at two in the morning, in the rain, when he was approached by two lads with green jackets on that said “Jesus Army”. In Sid’s own words: “They came up and started talking to me. I said ‘As soon as you mention God I’m off’. So they sat down with me, and talked to me for a while, offered me a bed at their house (which I refused), and then gave me a couple of corned beef sandwiches and a cup of chicken soup. After about 35 minutes they did mention God, and I did get up and leave!” Fortunately, they had managed to tell him about the Jesus Centre, and the next morning he went along and met the volunteers working there. “I’d been a devout atheist,” Sid explains, “and nothing anyone could say could change my mind, but I was very touched by the kindness and the constant cups of tea and sandwiches and a shoulder to lean on and someone to listen.” This is where the socks come in to the story. Sid had left a bag of dirty washing with a volunteer at the Centre. When he came back the next day he opened the bag of clean washing, what touched him most was the way his socks had been folded – with such love and care that he nearly cried! www.jesuscentre.org.uk
No overnight transformation followed, however. As Sid told our rolling camera, there were many more bumps along the road. On one occasion, Sid – heavily drinking again – was wandering around Northampton when he met his son. Sid slurred a “Hello” – but when his son saw his can of beer he simply said “No, dad” and walked away. In Sid’s words: “At that point I decided that was it; I’d had just enough of life. I took my shoes and socks off, then my shirt, though it was pouring with rain, and decided I’d walk away and finish it.” But another “God moment” intervened for Sid. He felt a strong presence that said “No, it’s not time”, and found himself putting his shoes, socks and shirt back on. A short walk around the corner led him to one of our Fellowship houses. “I think that was the time that, having been an atheist and not understood what was going on in my life, all of a sudden my mind changed and I realised what was actually touching my heart.” Sid found God. Not long after that, Sid was baptised. It had been four years since Sid first set foot in the Jesus Centre. Moments like the “socks encounter” gave him hope; a hope he now shares with the hundreds of people he regularly helps at the Jesus Centre. Sid now does what people did for him, helping people with kindness, whether or not that involves folding socks. Sid’s poignant conclusion: “Love is just a word, but put into practice – i.e. the socks – it has a much more profound and powerful meaning.” JL
such love and care that he nearly cried www.jesuscentre.org.uk
To watch the YouTube video ‘Socks’: jez.uz/socks Jesus Life 17
talking to... LORD WEI 18 Jesus Life
Trevor Saxby, a senior leader in the Jesus Fellowship, talks to Nat Wei, known to many as Lord Wei of Shoreditch. Nat is advisor to the Community Foundation Network and, at 34, is the youngest peer in the House of Lords. He is also a Spirit-filled Christian. We are very grateful for your time, Nat. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? My father is a Chinese pastor and churchplanter. My parents moved over from Hong Kong in the 1970s. I was born here and grew up in London and Milton Keynes. I went to a state school, then Oxford University. From there I went into business and then social enterprise. More recently, I felt an urge to get involved in social reform. Today I have the joy of being able to do this in the House of Lords and more widely through various networks. You were instrumental in founding the Shaftesbury Partnership, a practice of professionals dedicated to social reforms. How did this come about? I spent three years launching Teach First, an educational charity, which recruits talented graduates to teach for two years in inner city schools. I also read about the Christian social reformers in Victorian times and felt a strong affinity with their ‘hands-on’ vision. So I set up the Shaftesbury Partnership in 2005. As other avenues opened to me, I eventually stood down from the Board, but I am still closely involved. How did you come to make the move from business to politics?
become more interested in what’s going on at street level. Three years ago, I was contacted by David Cameron and his team, who were interested in the work I was doing. They wanted to learn how it could apply to their social policy thinking. I was invited to get involved in the House of Lords and to advise them. Groups like Christian Concern are increasingly vocal against the perceived marginalisation of Christianity today. Others say this is a chance for the Church to get back to the task of evangelism. Where do you stand on that? The churches in the Book of Acts followed Jesus in a culture where they were the minority. They loved each other, served the poor and the needy, and shared their lives. They lived out the kingdom of God right there, visibly, in the midst of the secular culture of the day. We need to get back to the original heart of the Church. I see unprecedented openings. Will we as Christians find the desire and harness the opportunity? I sense that an increasing number of Christians, particularly the young, do want this. Until recently you were the Prime Minister’s advisor on ‘Big Society’. Perhaps you could unpack this from a Christian standpoint. The Continued overleaf
It had always seemed to me that if you’re in government, it’s very difficult to make real change on the ground. But politicians have
We need to get back to the original heart of the Church
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Evangelical Alliance has produced a pamphlet, ‘Big Society, Kingdom Opportunity’. Is this how you see things? A door is opening for churches to help to shape this country in a way that hasn’t been possible for decades. Ever since the Second World War, people have looked to the government to solve every problem. For centuries, though, local people would come together to sort issues they care about, and the government wants to restore some of this common-sense approach. Also, the UK has vast assets, far more than the government will ever have, and a lot of it is just sitting there. I have ideas for how people could invest it better, to aid positive social change. They might not get the same return as from a hedge fund, but they could be making a real difference in the local community. This would mean government money could go further and be more strategic. In the Bible, God rarely chose the powerful to do His will. He usually chose people with
A door is opening for churches to help to shape this country in a way that hasn’t been possible for decades 20 Jesus Life
few resources but who were ready and humble enough to be used by Him. Some parts of the Church are recognising that they can partner with others and deliver something meaningful, but they doubt they’re ready. Yet frequently God called His people to do things when they didn’t feel ready. Israel had to leave Egypt with barely the full quota of belongings. Can you give us any examples of initiatives that Christians have come up with which are making an impact on their wider community?
The challenge is to reach out beyond the walls of churches and congregations and connect with people. There are Christians out there with ideas and talent. In a church environment, it can be hard for leaders to work out how best to harness a social visionary, because the focus is on routine issues. In the New Testament churches, many lived together, sharing what they had. Over the last four years I’ve been exploring ways of enabling capable Christians to live in community together on housing estates in London where the crime and deprivation figures peak. This has become Mission Year. Some participants continue in their jobs but give evenings and weekends to local projects. Others volunteer full-time in the Continued overleaf
A vicar in a poor community in the North of England has created a free marriage course. If a couple attends the course and learns about committed relationships, the church arranges the wedding and someone to take the photographs. It saves the couple hundreds of pounds. This encourages people with low income to get married and stay committed, which in turn benefits their children. And through the marriage course, they make friends with Christians from the church and learn right moral foundations for life.
Maybe what’s missing in the average church is ideas. You have started various initiatives to get people with entrepreneurial skills into needy situations. Could you tell us more about ‘Mission Year’?
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ask God to show you how you and your church can be more radical in mainstream life s s
Continued from previous page
local community, being discipled as they do so, and giving people a taste of what all-out Christianity is like. Each Mission Year house is strategically attached to a local church, so the participants can see possibilities and draw up programs for that church, which it might not have come up with itself. Do you see this expanding? I’m keen to see more Christians try out this more authentic, biblical way of living. Mission Year is an initiative of another body I started, Act Network, which exists to offer these experiences. We hope that participants will feel that this is something they will want to continue in their own locality. For some, the first-hand experience of poverty and deprivation may determine their life’s choice: to live in community, to go into politics, business or church leadership, and pursue an agenda of social transformation. These networks aim to attract Christians who can be an army on the ground, working with local churches to make social change happen. Can you give a few examples of what Mission Year teams are doing? They have introduced Food Bank schemes to
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help families with little to eat. They’ve been working with youth gangs, in partnership with XLP. On one estate, they have set up an orchard with local volunteers, to create a green space. There are clips on the Mission Year website, which show how life-changing the social involvement and the community living have been for participants; a number have chosen to continue for a second year, some indefinitely. Finally from me, Nat, where does this leave the average Christian reading this interview? How can they contribute to a better society? I’d have to say, carry on having a personal walk with God, developing godly character. This will make you a strong Christian and a good citizen, who can bless your local community. Do a serious study of how the first Christians operated in the Book of Acts, and ask God to show you how you and your church can be more radical in mainstream life. Some may feel, as I did, that they have visionary ideas. They can create a platform for others to act. Have you got ideas for a webenabled volunteer scheme, for example, or a way to overcome library closures by starting a book-swapping scheme in the church hall? There’s a whole range of opportunities out there. It takes Christians and churches to come forward and innovate, to take a bit of a risk. JL For more on some of the initiatives and organisations Nat Wei refers to, visit these websites: • • • • • •
communityfoundations.org.uk shaftesburypartnership.org missionyear.org.uk actnetwork.org.uk trusselltrust.org/foodbank-projects xlp.org.uk
READ PAST INTERVIEWS: jesus.org.uk/talkingto www.jesus.org.uk
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WINNING THE WAR – BY PRAYING
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Rachel Johnson went to a seminar on prayer and spiritual warfare at a Jesus Fellowship event. Afterwards, she talked to one of its leaders, Jesus Fellowship apostolic team member, Huw Lewis. How do you engage in prayer? Prayer and life are very closely connected. Prayer, at its heart, is simply a walk with God. Yet as we journey into this, we find it is also ruling with God – directing His authority towards situations that need to change. The first kind of prayer is directed “upwards”, the second “downwards”, and both are important. About 18 months ago, I had a real revelation that we’re called to overcome. Many times in the book of Revelation, Jesus calls us to “overcome”. There are seven such calls in Revelation 2 and 3, which indicates how crucial this is to the church and its mission. This had a real impact on my praying. Living as an overcomer meant that I could pray with greater confidence. I saw where we belonged – in the place of authority with Jesus – and I knew I could face every obstacle with that assurance. You say you had a revelation. What happened? I was reading Revelation 3 and it just hit me: as Jesus overcame and as we join Him in the heavenly places, so we, too, can overcome. The word really “connected” and changed something inside me. I call it something going “ping” within. It was moving and powerful and I wish it would happen more often! In the seminar, you talked about “mind renewal”. What does that mean?
been Satan’s strongholds. We are all subject, in varying degrees, to demonic deceit – lies that influence how we see God, ourselves and others. What we think becomes how we live. Others can help bring us illumination, but we have to be determined to bring truth into our thinking, yielding our minds to Jesus each day. I struggled for many years with failure feelings and thoughts of rejection. This stronghold was only broken by persistent, wilful putting off of the old and putting on the new. I’m still tempted to think in those old habitual ways; but now I know I can gain victory over them. You say “persistent and wilful putting off the old and putting on the new.” What does that mean practically? Could you give an example? I had to overcome natural pessimism. I now see it as a defensive response to avoid disappointment. Naturally, I’m cautious, defensive; I look on the gloomy side. When I realised this, I began wilfully to resist negative thoughts and attitudes and very deliberately replace them with faith. I started to speak (and think) faith in particular areas – especially about myself and my ability. It was a struggle at first, but has now become a natural response. I also had to receive prayer for healing because of experiences of rejection in the past. Resisting old negative mindsets is vital, but so is the positive side of all this: putting on the new. Continued overleaf
Our minds are a key battleground. We all need to retake areas of our thoughts, imagination, attitudes and even our subconscious that have
we have to be determined to bring truth into our thinking
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I was better at doing the first but not so good at doing the second. I was helped when someone reminded me that God is more committed to changing me than I am to changing myself. How important is mind renewal for effective prayer? Absolutely vital. If the mind is Satan’s stronghold then victory here is essential in life and prayer. We need to pray “in the Spirit” – that is, receiving and knowing things spiritually and then communicating it through a mind that is in tune with your spirit – a renewed mind. This is a process, not something that happens in a moment. Not everyone has a ministry of intercession; how does a “non-specialist pray-er” enter into praying like this? By following the Holy Spirit’s nudges, the groans, promptings and urgings within. We are all engaged with spiritual battle, we all have a sense of things not working properly, things not changing, people stuck or lost. We can pray in opposition to demonic hindrance, accusation, condemnation, oppression. We need to ask for sight and spiritual intelligence to see and understand what is really happening – then pray into it. How do you deal with discouragement in your prayer life? I often have to push through and recognise that discouragement is a powerful weapon in Satan’s armoury. It really has crippled me at times. But I have seen this and more; these days I’m increasingly determined to overcome. Have you learned any lessons along the way, which have helped you? Lots! Remembering prayer is essentially a relationship. Learning scriptures by heart and chewing them over during the day. Confessing dryness and dullness. Taking time – that’s
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prayer is essentially a relationship important – we often want quick answers and responses, but I know I am someone who frequently has to work through quite a bit of stuff going on inside before I really sense God. Giving thanks as a lifestyle. Speaking in tongues to get hold of the Spirit is helpful. Honesty before God and others. Keeping some record of important prayers and having specific faith agreement targets pinned up on my bedroom wall. And lots more...! What advice would you give to those of us who have trouble with mind renewal or who feel spiritually defeated? Don’t give up! Everyone has problems with mind renewal, discouragement and unbelief. This is trench warfare! Ask God for sight – revelation to know where you are deceived and where you need to conquer. Some areas are obvious, but other areas we are blind to; it is these areas we need to find sight and then take up our rightful position with Jesus. Faith is so important here – God is with us to change and restore, to lift us and join Him. We can move the mountains and shift the blockages. JL Huw is a member of the Jesus Fellowship’s apostolic team and lives in a Christian community house in Kettering. He is one of the Jesus Fellowship’s main bible teachers and a pastor and friend to many. He is also a committed celibate and editor of Undivided, the Jesus Fellowship’s celibacy newsletter. For more from Huw on prayer visit: jez.uz/prayerwar www.jesus.org.uk
From the blog of Jesus Life editor, James Stacey
absolutising the present James is a leader in the Jesus Fellowship. He lives in Coventry with those he loves - ‘wife, three kids and friends forever’ - in a Christian community house. READ HIS BLOG: man-with-the-mop.blogspot.com www.jesus.org.uk
HE OTHER night my friend, another church leader, had the worst meeting of his life. It was truly appalling. A fellowship meal without fellowship, a love feast without love, he’d left it with his heart in his boots, wondering what the point was. Why go on? Did anyone else care? That spiritless meal with those who should be his deepest comrades in Christ’s cause left him feeling bereft of hope. So much so, later, he lay on his face crying, “Why, Lord? Why, oh why?” As a believer in quick and prompt answers to prayer, he shouldn’t have been surprised when just four days later, his little church group had one of the best meetings ever. Fellowship flowed, love was abundant, spirits soared. My friend went to bed a happy man that night. Telling me about both meetings the next day, we both chuckled at our inability to see further than the immediate circumstances, good or ill. We measure our entire reality by what has just happened, by how things are right now. A mentor of mine calls this “absolutising the present” – being unable in that moment (be it of agony or ecstasy) to conceive of reality being anything else ever again. I’ve often called to mind his wisdom. Sometimes it’s saved me from spiralling down into cynical hopelessness, prompted by some discouraging incident. (Or soaring off into the stratosphere over something encouraging, which can be as unhelpful.) Of course, the account I gave earlier of my friend’s two meetings was exaggerated. But that’s the point. Our feelings do exaggerate things: they “absolutise the present”. We have to be disciplined with our feelings at times. As my wise mentor also says: “Emotions make good servants but poor masters”. JL Jesus Life 27
RANT Boiling with rage...
it was the ‘worship’ that made me sick READ AND COMMENT ON MORE RANTS AND RAVES: jesus.org.uk/short/rantrave
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felt sick the other day. Unfortunately, I felt sick when we were meant to be worshipping – and it was the “worship” that made me sick. I found myself feeling “performed at” and it sickened me. I don’t necessarily mean that the worship leading was disingenuous or faked, but it did bring home to me that worship must must must MUST be a thing of the heart. If you’re not careful you can “do” all the right things and sound pretty, but it’s just a performance. God’s not really in it. And actually, you can smell the difference. We talk (and sing!) about our worship being “a fragrance to God”, but how often are we just mumbling along, with our heart not really in it, wondering what time dinner is – or, worse still, just admiring the performance. If that’s a fragrance, it’s one of those nasty, cheap, imitation scents you can buy at the market. Frankly, it stinks (to high heaven). What about real spontaneous, from-theheart worship. Shouldn’t we be crying out with worship to God? With gratitude, awe and and and and..? Yet there we were, with the lights turned down and music playing and the worship leader doing his bit. But when he stopped – we stopped. It was like we’d been switched off. It was like we had nothing further to say. It was like we’d had nothing to say in the first place. I smell empty religion and I don’t like it. Let’s raise the roof, let’s worship so hard and so deep that the programme is scrapped, that songs (or, even better, guitar solos!) are cut – and that God is worshipped. It’s down to us! www.jesus.org.uk
...buzzing with passion PAINFUL GRACE
ECENTLY, I asked God to help me experience His grace. It wasn’t even a proper prayer (what is a “proper prayer”?); it was what I refer to as a “thought prayer”. I didn’t spend hours meditating over it or seeking out deep wisdom. I didn’t endure sleepless nights or hours of pleading to God on my knees. I just thought, “God, I want to really know your grace”. I thought that maybe grace would come all tied with pretty ribbons, a box of wonderful gifts (metaphorically speaking of course). I would experience His all-encompassing love, feel “so blessed”, and overflow with grace toward others and praise toward God. In fact, shortly after my “thought prayer”, a situation arose in my life that I found very painful. Hurting, lonely, angry, insecure, I wondered how I could trust again. Looking back, I can now see one thing that kept me, that held me, that got me through and out the other side – grace. Grace that didn’t come wrapped in pretty pink paper, but came with hurt and pain, with tears and sleepless nights. God’s grace led me on a painful but charactershaping journey. We often hear, read and say it, but only grace can teach us it: through suffering comes strength, through brokenness comes life. He answered my prayer. I have known His grace to such a degree that I can only try to look upon others with that same grace. God often doesn’t reveal to us things in the way we expect or even ask Him to, but thankfully, He knows best. JL www.jesus.org.uk
Grace that didn’t come wrapped in pretty pink paper
Miriam Beresford Jesus Life 29
RAW 2011 WAS DEEP, MAN! The theme of this year’s Jesus Army youth event, RAW (Real and Wild) was “Deep” – the call to be rooted deeply in God. Georgia Morton shared her snaps with Jesus Life.
Bright and early every morning there was teaching on the theme that ran through RAW: going deeper into God.
Wild he Jesus Army’s Real and s. day r fou r ove youth event ran nt eve ry eve for in I had to sign night, and the first on Wednesday Saturday and Thursday, Friday . I got nts eve g nin eve and morning and a and a bright orange wristb RAW into ed div programme and ! 11 20 “Deep”
On Friday I went to a wo rkshop for young women, which was all abo ut purity – in mind, body and spirit. There was no condemnation and all were welcome. (There was a workshop for young men on the same topic in ano ther tent.)
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were four Before lunch, there locations on workshops in various s time to go wa re the RAW site. The Young men . day h eac se to one of the ir hearts, the and women expressed stuck in got and ds, freed their min one. h eac of ies alit ctic pra with the
d time Mealtimes were a goo d, see foo to re-charge, eat erent diff out find friends and RAW. of s nce erie exp s ple peo x and This was a chance to rela the ore bef er eth tog ng enjoy bei afternoon activities. www.jesus.org.uk
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there In the evening events, gs thin nt ere diff of were lots with, ed olv inv get and see to the including dramas about g. nin eve ry eve me day’s the
We took the love of Go d to the streets of Northam pton every afternoon. We spl it into teams, hopped onto buses and ended up at one of five locations around Northam pton for “RAW Outdoors”.
Powerful prayer, fresh fait h and new anointings were stirred during RAW. I received some words of knowledge and got pra yer along with many of my friends. These tim es were filled with the presence of God and peo ple were giving their lives to God, committing themselves to Jesus, and finding new vision in faith.
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ractive familyThere were many inte W Outdoorsâ€? friendly activities at â€œRA le football, tab , ues including barbec nt, giant me rna tou ll tba foo 3-a-side g and Wii ntin pai Jenga, jigsaws, teeshirt and spent g ntin pai e fac e sports. I did som friends. my with some time evangelising We also did things to help the neighbourhoods and est ates like litter picking, car washing, gardening, and fence painting. It wa s great to get involved in the local community and lend a helping hand. d to the teaching We were able to respon practical ways each and worship in exciting event. We could in ma evening during the g, crying, dancing, come before God: kneelin release and was praying, I felt freedom and s of what God nes full the able to enter into . wanted me to experience
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erful baptisms There were several pow prayed and during RAW. We all and sisters rs the supported our new bro th, burial dea His in us Jes as they joined and resurrection!
e at the end of I had an awesome tim ation worship ebr cel the in g nin every eve was dancing me time. Everyone around to Jesus. A ise pra g sin res for God and exp the end and ning fantastic end to each eve JL ! of RAW “Deep” 2011
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We were called to take the plunge and reach for something deeper and more beautiful: purity. It was an opportu nity to respond to what we’d been hearing that day. Many took a white wristband to rem ind them of the call to purity in mind, body and soul. Georgia is part of a rising generation of Jesus enthusiasts. She lives in a Christian community house in Coventry, and works for the Jesus Fellowship’s accounts team. She says, “I want to be all out for God, not just in one area of my life, but all of it.” For more on RAW (Real and Wild) visit: realandwild.com To watch a video on this year’s RAW event (and other exciting videos) visit: youtube.com/jesusarmy www.jesus.org.uk
KEEP IN TOUCH! BELFAST Jesus Fellowship Church........................0845 123 5552 Birmingham Jesus Fellowship Church........................0845 166 8153 BLACKBURN Hyndburn Christian Fellowship.............01706 222 401 Blackburn Rishton Christian Fellowship................01254 887 790 Bridgend The Bridge Community Church............01656 655 635 BrightoN Jesus Fellowship Church........................0845 166 8151 chatham King’s Church Medway........................... 01634 847 477 Coventry Jesus Fellowship Church........................0845 166 8154 gloucester Living Word Fellowship.......................... 01452 506 474 HASTINGS Jesus Fellowship Church........................0845 123 5551 High Wycombe Church of Shalom...................................01494 449 408 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 CENTRAL Jesus Fellowship Church........................0845 166 8152 London N Glad Tidings Evangelical Church..........0208 245 9002
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London S Bible Life Family Ministries...................07932 938 911 London SE Ephratah Int’l Gospel Praise Centre....0208 469 0047 London SE Flaming Evangelical Ministries ........... 01634 201 170 London SE Glorious Revival Eagle Ministries.........0208 855 3087 London SE Life For The World Christian Centre....07956 840 002 London SE Mission Together for Christ................... 07737 475 731 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 (Hunts) Christians United.....................................01487 815 528 Sheffield Jesus Fellowship Church........................0845 166 8183 SWANSEA Jesus Fellowship Church........................0845 123 5556 WORCESTER Jesus Fellowship Church........................0845 833 5601 jesus.org.uk/ja/localnumbers.shtml
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