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BISH! BOSH! EVER FEEL PUNCH DRUNK? DRAMA Jesus takes a battering; we go free
WE SO EASILY feel pressurised by all the things that bombard us in life: broken relationships, money worries, empty sex, alcohol to “drown our sorrows”, despair. We can be left feeling empty and confused. But Jesus died on the cross for us, to free us from the pressures, confusion and darkness that surround us. He took them on Himself, leaving us free to live at peace with ourselves, with life – and with God.
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Across the UK you are welcome to call one of our local churches if they are near you. There are Jesus Army congregations and groups around the UK. They are not all the same size, they meet in different sorts of premises, but they are all made up of people who love Jesus and are ready to help you on in your faith too.
BELFAST .................................................. 0845 123 5552 BIRMINGHAM ........................................... 0845 166 8153 BOURNEMOUTH ...................................... 0845 123 5558 BRIGHTON................................................ 0845 166 8151 BRISTOL ................................................... 0845 123 5339 COVENTRY ............................................... 0845 166 8154 CHESTER/ NORTH WALES ..................... 0845 123 5561
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Here are six members of the Jesus Army who are going public about promises they’ve made and intend to stick to. Flying in the face of a “never say forever” society, they’re showing loyalty through thick and thin, keeping their word – and not ashamed of it.
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Brits pig ignorant of holy writ
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Want to have a look at what the mJa is all about? Check us out from anywhere in the world on our website: www.jesus.org.uk But in these days of hi-tech, we still have an address and lots of people write in. Jesus Fellowship, FREEPOST, Nether Heyford, Northampton, NN7 3BR
A CHURCH in Belfast threw open its doors to twenty Romanian families after a week of racist attacks on the group. Pastor Malcolm Morgan said a member of the congregation involved with a race-relations group had felt the group needed to be evacuated immediately. “The response was wonderful from people and agencies in the area” he commented. “We were able to accommodate all 113 people”. The attacks were believed to have been made by a small number of local men. They were widely condemned. Bishop of Connor, Rt Revd Alan Abernethy said, “We, from our legacy of divisions, should know the damage which all racially motivated acts can do.”
You can call us: our National Helpline is 0845 123 5550 (local call rate), and generally there are real people to talk to, not machines.
One pained internet blogger wrote “I suffer from commitment phobia. I have been with my girlfriend for nearly six months, yet this condition is doing its best
to ruin everything. As a commitment-phobe, I feel that I must run away. But commitmentphobia means that I cannot commit to running away either.” In our bones, we know this is a cover-up. “Commitment-phobia” is just selfishness in disguise. “It’s my life – mine! Hands off!”
ALL GOOD armies have an HQ, and we are no exception. We will answer your queries, provide you with free literature or a Mark’s Gospel, even pray with you over the telephone if you would like us to.
IT’S ONE of the latest words to spin out of the blogosphere: “commitment-phobia”.
“Commitment-phobia” is on the rise. Dare you commit?
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MARK’S GOSPEL is part of the Bible and tells the story of the life of Jesus. Packed into 60 pages you can find how one man bridged the gap between man and God.
Doors open to victims of race hate
Single – for good
TEN YEARS ago, Stuart Patnell made a lifelong vow to stay single for Jesus. “I had a real longing to give my best, my first, my all, to God” explains Stuart. “Committed celibacy was the best way I could do this.” He believes commitment is important: “It’s about pinning your colours to the mast, not because you have to, but because you love God so much that you want to.”
Pair swear “I do” MARRIAGE IS off today’s agenda. “Why take the risk?” is the growing attitude. But recently married Fabio and Iysha are determined to be different. “The vows we’ve taken mean that whatever the circumstance, we’ll be there for each other” they say. They reckon their marriage will make it because “we’re both committed to making God the centre of our marriage, which means that it is built on a firm foundation.”
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JESUS ARMY enthusiast, Jacob, says life is a “daily adventure”. In particular, Jacob gets stuck in to national Jesus Army events in lots of different ways like PA rigging, camera work and computer graphic display direction. “This generally results in a large amount of time spent rushing around” says Jacob with a grin “but it’s worth it. Jesus calls us to be servants, to lay our lives down for the benefit of other people.”
SUE HAS lived in a Christian community since 1977. She wanted to be more available to God after becoming a Christian – for her that meant sharing her life. “It’s been such an enriching experience” says Sue. “I’ve met so many different kinds of people; I’ve learnt to understand people.” She sees this commitment as showing God’s character to “a commitment-phobic society”.
THE BRITISH public has very poor Bible knowledge, a new survey has found. The National Biblical Literacy Survey discovered that just 10 per cent of people know about the main characters in the Bible. Only 15 per cent knew the Christmas stories and despite the TV and stage musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat over half of respondents knew nothing about Joseph. Hardly any had even heard about the pigs that drowned in the Sea of Galilee. Even Richard Dawkins, outspoken atheist author of The God Delusion said “You’d be rightly written off as uncultivated if you knew nothing of the Bible.”
HASTINGS ................................................ 0845 123 5551
LEEDS....................................................... 0845 166 8167 LEICESTER .............................................. 0845 644 9705 LIVERPOOL .............................................. 0845 166 8168 LONDON CENTRAL ................................. 0845 166 8152 LONDON WEST ........................................ 0845 833 1319 MANCHESTER ......................................... 0845 166 8169 MILTON KEYNES ..................................... 0845 166 8159 NORTHAMPTON ...................................... 0845 166 8161
Worth living for
A COUPLE of months ago, Georgia became a covenant member of the Jesus Army. Covenant members make promises to be the committed core of the church. Georgia says she “fell in love” with the Jesus Army’s vision. “I’ve found something worth living for” enthuses Georgia, “I couldn’t settle for anything less than committing my life to God and His people”.
Sliced bread VO LU NT EE R
KETTERING .............................................. 0845 166 8157
CO M M IT TE D
IPSWICH ................................................... 0845 166 8156
“SLICE YOUR bread” is a service that has recently been started at the London Jesus Centre by Sandra to help people with financial problems. She has made a commitment to volunteer at the Jesus Centre regularly. “It’s good to bring hope into people’s situations” says Sandra. “It’s a practical way of living out my faith.”
NORWICH ................................................. 0845 166 8162 NOTTINGHAM .......................................... 0845 166 8163 OXFORD ................................................... 0845 166 8164 PRESTON ................................................. 0845 123 5554 SHEFFIELD............................................... 0845 166 8183 STOKE-ON-TRENT................................... 0845 123 5334 SWANSEA ................................................ 0845 123 5556 WALSALL ................................................. 0845 123 5563 WOLVERHAMPTON ................................. 0845 123 5564 JESUS Fellowship Church is an evangelical Christian Church with a charismatic emphasis. It upholds the full historical, Christian faith, in particular it upholds the doctrine of the Trinity and the full divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Fellowship Church is a part of the Multiply Christian Network and a member of the Evangelical Alliance. modern Jesus army Streetpaper No.87 © 2009, published three times a year by Jesus Fellowship Church, Nether Heyford, Northampton NN7 3LB. Editor James Stacey. Photographs in this newspaper are copyright Jesus Fellowship Church or royalty free stock photos from www.sxc.hu unless otherwise indicated. Printed by BGP Ltd., Bicester, Oxon. Reproduction of any part of this newspaper in any form requires written permission. All Bible quotations are from the Contemporary English Version © 2000 Harper Collins unless otherwise indicated. All articles are contributed by members of the Jesus Fellowship Church, also known as the modern Jesus army. Some members live as part of the New Creation Christian Community. Readers wishing to contact authors may do so by writing to the Jesus Fellowship Central Office.
WHAT ABOUT SUFFERING? IF GOD is good, then why is there so much suffering in the world? From grazed knees to cancer ward heartbreak, suffering confronts us all. It’s part of the fabric of human existence. Some, confronted with the apparent meaninglessness of human pain, decide we must live in a godless universe. We’re on our own to make the best of it. Christians hold on to something different. They believe in a God who is love. How come? It is too easy here to fall into pat, too-easy answers. Some are so keen to get God “off the hook” that they scramble for “explanations” and dismiss suffering too easily. But Christian faith doesn’t start there. It doesn’t start with answers; it starts with a person – God. A person who came deep into the misery and meaninglessness of
human suffering. God hasn’t sat on a cloud somewhere, looking down, saying “what a mess”. In Jesus, God became human and experienced the depths of human suffering. Jesus’ death on the cross gives us clues which – as we think them through and let them sink in – can begin to take us towards some answers to the problem of pain. It shows us that a big part of human suffering is caused by human evil. When God came to earth He was murdered. It doesn’t say much for humans. But most of all, Jesus’ death shows that God comes close, shares our pain, soaks it into Himself and offers, though His resurrection, a new hope, a way into a new life. It’s not so much an answer as an invitation.
Top banking watchdog turns to God THE MINISTER appointed to sort out mismanagement in Britain’s banking industry has vowed to turn his back on finance and study theology. Since his appointment as Financial Services Secretary last October, Lord Myners has been an outspoken critic of bankers’ determination to gain maximum short-term rewards. He said “in the financial community money has become everything” adding that the “absence of clear moral purpose” is “very troubling”. A former merchant banker himself, Myners said he was worried he may have “neglected” the moral purpose of life. When he steps down as a minister, he plans to study theology to see how different faiths treat moral questions.
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KNOCK KNOCK WHO’S SCARED? Things went bump in the night in Paul’s spiritualist childhood. That was before the day he bumped into a Christian.
THE CURSOR moved all over the screen by itself as Paul received the news that his mother had died. In a household where objects flew off walls, lights flicked themselves on and off, and piano keys were slammed by unseen hands, this wasn’t altogether unusual.
LIGHT OF DAY Paul says there is now meaning to his life
DEAD LOSS? Jesus Army leader, Tschaka Roussel, explains the difference between living faith and contacting the dead
CHRISTIANS BELIEVE in life after death. But there is a big difference between faith in the living God and trusting in the spirits of the dead. The Bible says we shouldn’t contact the dead mainly because we should trust in God instead. Also Christians don’t just believe in life after death for the soul without a body. We believe in resurrection, when believers will be raised to life with a body – like Jesus was – to live a life that never ends. It’s an awesome hope and it’s firmly based on Jesus Christ.
Paul Bach, 21, says in his early years he grew accustomed to things “going bump in the night”. His mum was a spiritualist. “It wasn’t like I lived in a haunted house or anything” laughs Paul. “No-one’s head ever swivelled 360 degrees.” But Paul saw enough spiritual things to convince him that there was “more to life than meets the eye”. Yet strangely, despite the other-worldly goings-on at home, he didn’t give much thought to what lay behind them or to whether they were good or bad. Paul was 17 when his mum died and after her death, his life went downhill; the rave scene and dabbling with drugs covered a search for happiness. But drugs just gave Paul anxiety and confusion.
One night, home late from a rave, Paul couldn’t sleep. He found himself leafing through a book his mum had given him about the human mind and eternity. “It introduced me to the idea of faith” he remembers. And he felt filled with “excitement,
Paul saw enough to convince him that there was “more to life than meets the eye” energy, a sense of hope”. Despite this spiritual experience, Paul wasn’t sure about God and he didn’t go to church. But he frequently walked past Cornerstone, a nearby Jesus Army house. He’d often found himself strangely drawn to the place.
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One day, walking past on his way home, he decided to walk down the drive. Next minute, he was discussing the meaning of life with Colin, a Cornerstone resident. They struck up a friendship. Paul visited more after this. The faith of the Christians at Cornerstone began to rub off on him, until he decided to move into the house. More “God-experiences” followed including “a real clear vision of Jesus on the cross”. Paul had found a true faith of his own. But less friendly spirits from Paul’s youth weren’t going to let him belong to Jesus without a fight. Waking up in Cornerstone one night Paul remembers seeing a dark figure in the room. Throwing off his duvet, Paul leapt up, shocked. The figure disappeared. But it returned again the next night. “It was scary” admits Paul – but his faith in God won through. Paul prayed with some of his Christian housemates and the figure never returned. No more bumps in the night. Paul says there is now meaning to his life. “It’s great to know that God is there all the time” he says; “there’s real security in that.”
JOIN THE army. Got what it takes? The modern Jesus army calls men and women to come and be built together. To become a force to change the nation for the better. It takes courage. It takes faith. Can you take the strain? People throughout the UK are questioning what life is all about. Searching for answers. Many trapped in debt, in addiction, in hopelessness. The modern Jesus army believes that the lifechanging power of the message of Jesus is their hope. It takes men and women of strength and determination to spearhead a movement at the cutting edge of what God is doing in the 21st century. Rise to the challenge. Be part of God’s worldchanging movement. Call us. Come and belong. It’s for YOU. MODERN JESUS ARMY WEB jesus.org.uk PHONE 0845 123 5550
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ALL FREE ALL WELCOME NO PREJUDICE SATURDAY 24 OCT 2009
UK JESUS PRAISE DAY 2.00pm & 6.00pm Ponds Forge Sports Centre Sheaf Street SHEFFIELD, S1 2BG
SATURDAY 21 NOV 2009
MEN ALIVE FOR GOD From 11.15am
Jesus Centre Abington Square NORTHAMPTON, NN1 4AE
SATURDAY 2 JAN 2010
NEW YEAR UK JESUS CELEBRATION 2.00pm & 6.00pm Jesus Centre Abington Square NORTHAMPTON, NN1 4AE
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CHURCH GROWTH CONFERENCE From 11.30am Jesus Centre Abington Square NORTHAMPTON, NN1 4AE
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2.00pm & 6.00pm The New Bingley Hall 1 Hockley Circus BIRMINGHAM, B18 5BE
INFO: www.jesus.org.uk/dates Tel: 0845 123 5550 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Write: Jesus Fellowship, FREEPOST, Nether Heyford, Northampton NN7 3BR
The youth of today: bored and apathetic? Streetpaper found some who blast the stereotype to little bits... A SURVEY BY Streetpaper found that 100 per cent of apathetic youth were too apathetic to take part in this survey. Okay, there was no such survey. But the prevailing image of young people in the UK is that they’re so laid back they’re horizontal. Unmotivated, non-committal. Or maybe just too cool to care. Previous generations were called the baby-boomers, the post-war protesters, the generation of student marches and “ban the bomb”. But today’s youth are the “iGeneration”, plugged into their private world, somewhere beyond their trademark white earbuds (for the over-30s “earbuds” are headphones). That’s the negative image. Maybe it’s unfair. Maybe the younger generation today are fed up with the cynical sound bites of political spin and
media hype. But that doesn’t mean they have no aspirations. The young people of the modern Jesus army are fired up for a cause. What are they excited about? Church. Forget empty ancient buildings or quietly dozing elderly ladies. From what these youngsters are saying their Christianity
James Norden, 25, and some of his friends have chosen to share a house in a council estate deliberately to bring the friendship of Jesus to people there. James says “I’m living to see people released from the downward spiral. Jesus is the cause that gives people something real to live for.” Gideon Clark, 22, says “I’m aiming at a selfless life, not built on my own self-centred agenda. We want to help other people reach their full potential.” And Amy Williams, 18, adds “In this church we want to live differently from the same old selfish thing. We want to give our lives for something that will have a lasting impact.” One Jesus Army song belts out these words: “This cause is my life / This cause has my strength / This cause drives my soul / This cause is my breath.” Not the language of apathy. Something powerful has got hold of these young people – and they’re not hiding it.
Forget empty ancient buildings or quietly dozing elderly ladies
is fire-powered, energized and exciting. Jake Ball, 19, says “I love belonging to a church that’s full of energy and not afraid to show it. We’re jumping over the pews and taking to the streets.” Jake adds “It gives me something to roll out of bed for every morning.” And they’re not all noise. These young people are making tough choices to put their money where their mouth is.
HASN’T SCIENCE DISPROVED GOD? FAMOUS scientists have believed in God – from Newton to Einstein.
But that doesn’t stop some vocal atheists these days from claiming that science has somehow “disproved” God. The universe started with “the big bang”; human beings weren’t created, they just evolved; God is just an out-of-date idea. But is it as simple as that? Streetpaper asked Piers Young, who has an Oxford doctorate in Zoology. He said: “Evolution isn’t the issue. Some of it does
work, like natural selection producing varieties of living things. But there are big unanswered questions. “Take the origin of the universe – what was before the big bang? Something doesn’t come from nothing. Or the origin of life – what is the chance of a living cell forming from basic chemicals? Actually there is more chance of a dictionary randomly taking shape from an alphabet soup as big as the Atlantic! Can you get simple things to become more complex – like making an eye that sees in black and white see in full colour
– just by mutations?” The bigger questions are “What is life? Where does it all come from? And what does it mean? Christians don’t base their faith on just scientific “proof” for God: they have met and experienced God in a person: Jesus. God has found them; they haven’t “proved” Him, like adding two and two to make four. But it’s worth making it clear – science hasn’t disproved God. And for those with eyes to see, science can open up a world of discovery of all the amazing things God has made.
TIME OF THEIR LIFE Colourful young Christians take faith to London’s streets
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SONG AND DANCE Energetic young Ch ristians express faith on Trafalgar Square
CROSS MY HEART Young people at a Jesus rally
WILD THINGS LEAN ON ME Human pyramid demonstrates Jesus brotherhood
This Jesus Army youth song says it for a new generation that is determined not to be determined by trademarks and sound bites. Are we generation X-Box, Generation fake? Are we hiding behind Facebook, Behind the masks we make? Wanna be part of something real, Something worth getting up for; Not a cinema world of make-believe hype, But something real and raw! Are we generation Playstation, Generation tame? Do we blog about our boredom? Is life always the same? Wanna be part of something wild, Something worth getting up for; Not a “whatever” world of “take-it-or-leave-it”, But something wild and raw!
FREE FOR ALL Christian joy flows down London’s Oxford Street
NCCC © 2007 Jesus Fellowship Songs/CopyCare Ltd.
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RELIGIONS ALL SAY DIFFERENT THINGS; ISN’T IT ALL JUST RUBBISH?
POT OF GOLD
TWO MEMBERS of the Jesus Army in Liverpool recently got married. But just the night before disaster seemed to be looming: the bride-to-be was ill with suspected swine flu. Her fellow JA members prayed and she swiftly recovered. She reports that she has since felt a tangible sense of “being made whole within”. Another healing incident followed. The couple’s young son had problems because one leg was shorter than the other. Again, they and their friends prayed. When his father took him back to the hospital specialist, both legs were exactly the same length. The specialist said he could see no reason why the boy had been referred to him.
Photo: Ignacio Leonardi
A HUGE HOARD of gold has been discovered in a field in Staffordshire. Terry Herbert, 55, who found the Anglo-Saxon treasure said he was “virtually speechless” when he found the items using a metal detector.
LEG IT Shock healing
MONKS ON seventy-foot pillars, eyes looking through slits in a veil, kissing tarmac, sniffing incense. Just what is it all about? In all their bewildering diversity, religions have a lot in common. When it comes to values (like goodness, kindness, love) or spirituality (that there’s more to human beings than just physical flesh and blood) many religions agree. In fact, most people would agree that good is good and bad is
bad, and that we’re not just soulless shells without meaning. It’s also true that religions disagree a lot, too. But this isn’t surprising: just as human beings tend to agree on some things, they also have a habit of disagreeing. And this is what it comes down to: religion shows us something about human beings. We all have a sense of the spiritual; there’s a hunger for God. Religions express this reaching out, this search. But how about if God wanted to reach us? If the direction of the search was
“downwards”, not “upwards”? It happened. God came down – as a man, Jesus Christ. And Jesus didn’t come, ultimately, to start another religion. He came to bring about a new relationship between us and God. He isn’t just “the founder of Christianity”; He is God come to us. Religion – whatever brand – says “Do this, do that and, good boy, you’ll go to heaven (or achieve nirvana or whatever)”. But Jesus said “Follow Me”. It’s not what you know, but who you know that counts.
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Experts say the collection of 1,500 pieces, which may date back to the 7th Century, is unparalleled in size and may take up to a year to be valued. Lucky Mr Herbert didn’t even have to follow a rainbow to find his pot of gold. Jesus said that finding the goodness of God’s rule in our lives is “like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field” (Matthew 13:44, The Bible). But getting hold of that treasure, claiming it as his own took some doing: the man in Jesus’ story “sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.” When we really see who God is and how amazing the life that Jesus offers us is, we will pursue it with all we’ve got. No holding back. For too long much UK Christianity has given the impression that God is just a Sunday hobby. But Jesus calls us to “sell up” and give our all to follow Him. If you’re a Christian reading this, ask yourself “Is Jesus absolute number one priority in my life? The treasure I’m giving everything to make my own?” And if you’re not a Christian, why not consider “Who is this man, Jesus, who claims to be so important that He’s worth giving up everything else for?” Don’t waste your life chasing rainbows. Get hold of the real treasure.
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Sign of real hope beats Belfast blues IN BELFAST, the Jesus Army recently held a five day long outreach “campaign”, with lots of different people from around the UK getting involved. In a city with a painful history of sectarian division the Jesus Army’s “friends of all without prejudice” approach aims to bring healing and help bridge some of the divides that have afflicted Belfast. The Jesus Army has started a Christian community in Belfast called “Safe Haven”. One leader commented: “A Christian community where people live together and share together, demonstrating reconciliation in the nitty-gritty of their lives is a sign of hope.” For more on Jesus Army in your area: www.jesus.org.uk/uk
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Volunteer of the year at Jesus Centre A DOUBLE HIP replacement operation hasn’t stopped Rune Carlberg, 61, from giving his all at Coventry Jesus Centre. He leads an amateur art group, volunteers at a homeless drop-in, helps to lead a support group for those struggling with addiction, and collects fruit donations from local shops. “I feel happy when I help others” he said. Jesus Centres are an initiative of the Jesus Army in various towns and cities in the UK to “offer friendship and help to every kind of person”. Coventry Jesus Centre has been nationally commended for its bond scheme, which helps the homeless and vulnerably housed to find longterm accommodation. For more on Jesus Centres: www.jesuscentre.org.uk
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NEW PALS Emmaline (left) with soulmates Fiona and Esther
Faithful friends share Emmaline’s extraordinary life OUT LATE with mates, drinking, bit of shoplifting: Emmaline at 14 was a pretty ordinary teenager. But just one year before that something extraordinary had happened to her. Something that meant she could never quite feel right about the alcopops or clothes-nicking from New Look. Emmaline, now 18, grew up on a council estate in Brighton with her parents and two younger brothers. “Life could be pretty chaotic” she recalls, “but Mum and Dad were Christians and that brought something really good into our lives”. When they’d found the Jesus Army they’d found the church they were looking for – and church
was “home” to Emmaline, too, from an early age. It was at the Jesus Army in Brighton that Emmaline made friends with two other girls, Amy and Lizzie. Their friendship was a lifeline. “We were very close” says Emmaline “because we knew church was different – and church was who we really were.” “If we were in trouble or down or upset, we’d help each other call out to God” she says. “I knew there had to be something more – or I had a hope there was something more!” Hope became certainty at a big Jesus Army event in Sheffield in autumn 2004: “We were hearing about Jesus calling people to follow Him. I just knew I had to be baptised – then and there. “It was just incredible. Everything inside of me felt clean and new.” But just a year later,
OLD PALS Emmaline at 14 with Amy and Lizzie
“their friendship was a lifeline” Emmaline’s faith was slipping away. “As I realised the cost of following God, I started to try and blank it
out” admits Emmaline. Two paths opened up before her. “It was either what I selfishly wanted
or what I knew God was saying”. “You could tell that she was struggling” recalls her friend Amy “and we had our struggles, too. But Emmaline knew that she had to make a choice. I knew she’d make the right choice. And we’d pray together and that would make things seem clear again.” Certainty for Emmaline came in a church meeting as they sang “this is my home, the harbour of my soul.” “I knew then I couldn’t live my life as it was any more” says Emmaline. “And I knew I had to get away from Brighton and make a new start”. So Emmaline upped and moved to a big Jesus Army house in the Northamptonshire countryside. It was a leap of faith which smashed a lot of insecurity.
Amy is fired with esteem for Emmaline’s courage: “I admire how determined Emmaline is” she enthuses. And Emmaline found new friends in Northamptonshire who spurred her on like Amy and Lizzie had done: Esther, 15, and Fiona, 24, look at the real Emmaline inside, not the external image. And Emmaline is clear about one thing: “Jesus is my friend” she says simply. “You help a friend. You talk to a friend. And you work at a relationship together.” Emmaline now longs to bring people into what she has: “Coming from my old way of life, I really care about people living on council estates, facing the kind of pressures I faced. Some people in my situation never had church to turn to – so I want to be there for them, to be a friend.”
WASTED YOUTH? Teenage girls in the UK have overtaken boys in levels of binge drinking. The UK results of a Europe-wide study of drinking, smoking and drug use among 15- and 16-yearolds show that 29% of girls questioned admitted at least one binge drinking experience within the previous month, compared with 25% of boys. Martin Plant, professor of addiction studies at the University of the West of England said: “Much has been written about ‘ladette culture’, but the truth is we don’t know the reasons behind this burning issue and we urgently need more research.” Dangers to young women who binge drink include greater threat of sexual assault, increased risk of car and other accidents, and foetal alcohol syndrome caused by drinking during pregnancy. Professor Plant describes the government’s alcohol harm reduction strategy for England as “deficient”.
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NEW LIFE! “NOTHING from my past is gonna hold me back” says Becca Hopkins, recently baptised. “I’ve had a clean start and I’m excited about what the future holds.”
SLAM DUNK: Becca, 18, is baptised at RAW, the Jesus Army’s annual youth event. See realandwild.com
WHY SHOULD I BELIEVE IF YOU CAN’T PROVE GOD IS THERE? IT’S A FUNNY thing, proof. Ask most people “Do you love your mother?” and they will say “yes”. But can they prove it..? They could point to various things as evidence – Mothers Day cards, mown lawns, kind words, hugs. But they can’t produce a bottle of love and have it tested in a lab. Even in areas that are a bit more scientific than Mum, “proof” is a bit of a slippery concept. Science takes an idea and tests it, examining what the evidence indicates is true. Up until the time of Galileo, the evidence pointed to the sun circling the earth. People saw it doing that every day. But Galileo’s observations brought new evidence to bear, “proving” beyond reasonable doubt that the earth in fact circles the sun. The facts hadn’t changed. The evidence had. So when people say “prove God is there”,
what do they mean? If they mean “put God in a bottle for us to look at under a microscope” or even “make God appear right here before my eyes” then – no can do. If they’re asking for evidence of God – there’s plenty. First look around. Skies, trees, animals. Order. Creativity. Then look inside. There’s a sense of right and wrong – why? There’s hunger for meaning – why? Then look at Jesus. What can we make of Him and His claim to be God come to save us? Then ask millions of Christians who say they know Jesus what this means. They may all be deluded. But don’t ignore the evidence. And why not pray? “God, if You’re there and if You truly love us, then show me. Come into my life. Open my eyes. Show me the way.”
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Jesus died and rose, free from death. He invites us into this freedom. Christian baptism dramatically activates this. An old life is washed away. A new life begins. Imagine. You stand in the water, your friends all around you. You shout out for joy: “Jesus Christ is Lord!” People pray for you, and there’s power in the atmosphere. Words are spoken that describe what is about to happen. You’re baptised into the death, burial and resurrection of
Jesus. You’re baptised into the family of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. You’re baptised into a new, loving brotherhood. You’re baptised in the most powerful name of all – the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then – splash! You’re under the water. And just for a moment all is quiet. You’ve gone. You join Jesus in His death and burial, leaving your old life behind you. And then – whoosh! Up you come, splashing water everywhere! You join Jesus in His resurrection. God’s life fills you. You’re alive, living a new life full of vision and NOT FOR BABIES Like purpose. many churches, in the Jesus It’s an amazing, Army baptism is for adults who powerful, life-changing experience. have decided to live for Jesus.
ANYONE WHO BELIEVES IN ME AND IS BAPTISED WILL BE SAVED MARK 16:16 THE BIBLE
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