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Jesus Army No. 94 FREE
THIEVES CAR DEATH CELEB What makes the Shock as sex worker killed on the road PAGE 2
rich and famous nick from shops? PAGE 4
SINGLE FOR GOOD... A different kind of love story PAGE 7
THROUGH JESUS WE CAN ALL BE
OLYMPIC HEROES! Watch the vid: jez.uz/torch
WEST Ray carries the flame in Belfast
NORTH Chris, ablaze in Sheffield
PASSION Ordinary men and women are carrying the burning love of God around the UK
2012 IS THE year of the Olympic flame in the UK. Amazing spectacle. World records will be smashed. Olympic heroes – men and women – will emerge victorious. SOUTH Iysha brings fire to Brighton
The greatest hero of them all is Jesus Christ, who won the victory over death itself. This year the Jesus Army will carry the flame of the good news about Him all
around this country. That good news is that through Jesus all of us can win. It is especially good news for those who know they are poor and broken, and those who know they need forgiveness and a new start. And you? Are you ready this year for your new, fired-up life to begin? or more on the Jesus Army, or how you F can join in, text: 0774 0774 200
EAST Perry holds the torch in Norwich
2 Jesus Army Streetpaper No. 94
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Sex worker’s tragic death Staff at drop-in centre mourn a sudden end to a desperate life... by PIERS YOUNG
Coventry Jesus Centre Manager
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Don’t ignore the poor ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, wrote an article for the Guardian newspaper recently, calling for the country to pay attention to “disaffected” people. He claims that ignoring the plight of the downtrodden will intensify the problems that caused 2011’s riots. Rowan Williams warned that “those who have nothing to lose” don’t need further criticism, but in fact “need to be rescued and given a sense of hope”. He also commented in the Radio Times, talking about protesters outside St Paul’s Cathedral, and arguing that Jesus would be there, “sharing the risks, not just taking sides” and joining the debate.
POLITICAL XMAS “A CHANGED woman.” That is how I described Kerry, a sex worker from Coventry who visited us in the Jesus Centre recently. Most weeks we do outreach to sex workers on the “beat” in Hillfields, Coventry’s red light district. We take them hot drinks, food, condoms, and a listening ear, and have prayed with many of them, including Kerry (not her real name). We saw her often a couple of years ago, when she was usually drunk and angry. Not long ago we saw her again a couple of times. She had lost her five month old baby, but was drinking less. We prayed with her then, too, and
found out she was living at a hostel across the road. As she walked through the Coventry Jesus Centre’s door the other week, I didn’t recognise Kerry at first, she was so different. She had reduced her drinking, and calmed down a lot. She came across the room and gave me a hug, and my colleague looked a
JESUS CENTRES are places where the love of Jesus is expressed daily in worship, care and friendship for every type of person. Their slogan is “Jesus Centres: where every person is valued.” There are Jesus Centres in Coventry, London,
bit surprised. As she left I said “Kerry has changed a lot. She used to be very angry.” Kerry agreed with a smile and went out. Last Friday, Kerry died in Hillfields. The newspaper said she was hit by a car driven carelessly by a 20-year old man. We heard
that a “punter” pushed her out of the car and then drove over her. Since then another girl told me that Kerry had been very drunk; she was pushed out of a punter’s car, got up but then fell into the road and was hit by a taxi coming round the corner. She was 25. This story is a tragic one, but this fragility of life is a reality for many men and women in the UK. The Jesus Centres are a way to value people, to bring them a place of warmth and to provide for some of their needs. Jesus Christ, when He walked on earth, was a friend to the “outcasts”. We aim to reach those same people and many more with the love of Jesus.
Northampton and Sheffield with one planned for Birmingham in the near future, and vision for further locations. For more information or how you can help, donate, or get involved, visit: jesuscentre.org.uk
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Jesus... the asylum seeker A NEW REPORT, “The Politics of Christmas” upends traditional views of Christ’s birth. Dr Stephen Holmes from St Andrew’s University, claims that the Christmas story is political and controversial, not sentimental. The theology lecturer says the Gospels’ authors emphasise imperial domination, economic exploitation and social stigma. It is claimed that the slushy Nativity story many associate with Jesus was mainly invented by the Victorians. Oppressive political leaders, the shepherds as the underclass of their day, Jesus fleeing Bethlehem as an asylumseeker all give the story a grittier, contemporary feel.
COVENTRY................................................ 0845 166 8154 HASTINGS................................................. 0845 123 5551 KETTERING............................................... 0845 166 8157 LEICESTER............................................... 0845 644 9705 LIVERPOOL............................................... 0845 166 8168 LONDON CENTRAL.................................. 0845 166 8152 MANCHESTER.......................................... 0845 166 8169 MILTON KEYNES...................................... 0845 166 8159 NORTHAMPTON....................................... 0845 166 8161 NORWICH.................................................. 0845 166 8162 NOTTINGHAM........................................... 0845 166 8163 OXFORD.................................................... 0845 166 8164 SHEFFIELD................................................ 0845 166 8183 SWANSEA................................................. 0845 123 5556 JESUS Fellowship Church, also known as the Jesus Army, 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. Jesus Army Streetpaper No.94 © 2012, 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 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 taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189, U.S.A. All rights reserved. All articles are contributed by members of the Jesus Fellowship Church. 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.
SICK OF SEX
GOD Power dressing
God wears high heels
A NEW FILM came out this year called Shame, by director Steve McQueen. It focuses on sex addiction and why people seek multiple sexual partners without being able to settle down in a faithful relationship. One man, featured in a documentary recently, had slept with over 300 women. He was seeking treatment for his out-ofcontrol behaviour. Sex addiction features in the pages of the New Testament in the Bible. It’s nothing new. In one famous encounter recorded in the Gospel of John, Jesus meets a woman who has had multiple partners and, through supernatural insight, shocks her with his deep knowledge of her hidden private life. What then? Does Jesus tell her off? Is he angry at her for her immorality? Does he advise her to seek professional help in an addiction clinic? No. With a mixture of deep compassion and gentle humour, Jesus reveals to this needy woman that he offers “living water” that meets her deepest need. He shows that this addicted woman is really looking for Him; the Son of God who quenches the desperate thirst of our love-starved hearts. That “living water” is available today for self-hating, shame ridden addicts of every description. If we know his love, we’ll never need to seek love in the wrong arms again.
SHAME Director Steve McQueen
IN THE LATEST in a string of tributes to the King James Bible, because of its 400th anniversary last year, a London theatre is holding a series of plays called “Sixty-Six Books”. The plays, showing at the Bush Theatre, opened with an all-day performance of Genesis, starring Catherine Tate as God in high heels. The series includes homage to social media, with a play called “Godblog”, where the actor playing God uses Twitter. The whole process has involved 130 actors, 23 directors and 66 writers, from Sir Andrew Motion and Carol Ann Duffy to Billy Bragg and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
live like a king
Jesus Army Streetpaper No. 94 3
LAUGHIN’ Richard’s found the best life of all
For Richard King, 24, life was sweet in his tent by the river. But then winter came... LIVING IN a tent in Bath was a great idea. It was summer, it was warm, his tent was pitched by the canal, and Richard had made friends with some hippies who owned a barge. Life was sweet. Until winter came. In frozen February, homelessness was grim. He’d left his childhood home in Norfolk not because of anything terrible; he didn’t flee from awful abuse or threat of violence. Relations with his family were, and are, good. But, in his own words, Richard left home because he was a “proud git”, determined to “make it on his own”. He worked as a “chugger” (a charity mugger” – or is it hugger?), paid to solicit donations on the street. Natural salesman Richard did well – until his “party lifestyle” began to get out of hand. Chugging all day and clubbing all night, powered by a cocktail of Speed and weed, began to take its toll. Richard’s performance went downhill until he got the sack. Some eighteen-yearolds would have given in and gone home. But Richard didn’t want his
self-made life to end, so he headed off to Bath with his tent. But in the icy winter, Richard started to slip into a vicious circle, drinking and taking drugs to “escape”, and chased by those who’d lent him money. Summer’s happy hippies had become winter’s bitter enemies. Richard decided it was time to move on, so he brought a
one-way bus ticket to Exeter. There, Richard met some Christians at a soup run. One rainy Sunday, he went along to their church, surprised to find it lively and energetic, and full of young people. So he kept going. When the leader invited people to come to the front to be prayed for, Richard joined the queue. To his surprise, when the leader put his hands on his head, Richard experienced a sudden surge of faith.
“I instantly knew there was a God” he says, simply. It was the beginning of a voyage of discovery for Richard. He hadn’t seen it coming – but God was doing something in his life. Some weeks later, Richard met a Jesus Army team in Exeter. Many of them were young men of Richard’s age and he got on well with them. When they
asked him if he wanted to come and stay at their Christian community house in the Midlands, Richard leapt at the chance. It was to be a huge turning point in his life. “I wasn’t looked at as ‘a homeless person’,” says Richard. “One of the young men in the house got up at 2 o’clock in the
morning to welcome me – and then gave up his bed for me to sleep in, while he slept on the floor!” Surrounded by the warmth of this Christian family, Richard began to “thaw out” as the effects of his harsh winter ebbed away. “Being able to laugh again – just laugh without needing drink or drugs – was great” says Richard. “I fell in love with these people.” When Richard had a powerful experience of God’s Spirit at a Jesus Army youth event, he knew it was time to cross the line and commit as a Christian. He was baptised as a Christian a few weeks later. That was five years ago. Now, reunited with his family who are very supportive of his new lifestyle, Richard has just launched himself on a new challenge. But this time, he isn’t motivated by desire to “make it on his own”: after a great deal of thought and prayer, Richard has moved to a Jesus Army house in a deprived housing estate. “I wanted to be where the people are” he explains. “I wanted to live in the sort of place where people can knock on the door for a cup of sugar. “I want other people to find the love and the life that I have found.”
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4 Jesus Army Streetpaper No. 94
Upcoming events you don’t want to miss... ALL FREE • ALL WELCOME MORE INFO? jesus.org.uk/dates 0845 123 5550 firstname.lastname@example.org
UK Jesus Celebration SAT 18 FEB 2.00pm & 6.00pm The New Bingley Hall 1 Hockley Circus BIRMINGHAM B18 5BE
MEN ALIVE FOR GOD SAT 17 MAR 11.00am, 2.00pm & 6.00pm Jesus Centre, Abington Square NORTHAMPTON NN1 4AE
ALIVE FESTIVAL WEEKEND FRI 6 APR - MON 9 APR The Giant Marquee Cornhill Manor, Pattishall NORTHAMPTON NN12 8LQ
POWER FESTIVAL WEEKEND
Your f Whatever your face, race, sex or shape, take your place in God’s family by JULIA FAIRE
IT’S FOR every kind of person, posh, poor, rich, skilled, unskilled, super brain, not-soclever, black, yellow, pinkywhite, brown, young, old, sound-minded, those with mental health difficulties, ne’rdo-wrongs, criminals, straights, gays and so on and on. What is it? It’s the church of Jesus. Maybe you see the church as a place of prejudice, Christians as judgemental. If so, that’s terribly sad because Jesus was without prejudice. In fact, this was part of what got Him into big trouble with the powers-that-be. As well as a few respectable types, Jesus had prostitutes, beggars and traitors in His gang. He seemed to love and value the very people other people rubbished. Church is not the church of Jesus
if we don’t act the same. This is why the Jesus Army aims to be a church of where all are welcome, no prejudice. At a recent Jesus Army event, photos were taken of hundreds of people made into a huge photo mosaic representing the face of Jesus. Why? – Because that is what church is and must be – Jesus, here on earth, expressing His love through all of us: embracing every kind of person. True, Jesus doesn’t just leave us like we’ve always been. He’s in the habit of transforming us, changing the broken stuff into something really good. But what is essentially “me” still remains. Result: the church of Jesus is a glorious kaleidoscope of different personalities, all being changed, all learning to love. Come and join us: you’d be welcome – whoever you are.
Watch the vid: jez.uz/faces
FRI 1 JUN - MON 4 JUN The Giant Marquee Cornhill Manor, Pattishall NORTHAMPTON NN12 8LQ
MULTIPLY INTERNATIONAL SAT 9 JUN 6.00pm Jesus Centre Abington Square NORTHAMPTON NN1 4AE
ALL FREE ALL WELCOME
i 04-05.indd 4
INFO: jesus.org.uk/dates Tel: 0845 123 5550 Email: email@example.com Write: Jesus Fellowship, FREEPOST, Nether Heyford, Northampton NN7 3BR
Photo: PM - Il Piccolo Missionario, flickr.com
Photo: Montage Communications, flickr.com
CELEBRITY SHOPLIFTERS WHAT DO American actress Winona Ryder, celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson and footballer Steven Gerrard have in common?
As well as being famous people, they have all been caught shoplifting at one time, Antony Worrall Thompson most recently. What makes rich and famous people steal items that they can easily afford? It’s a mystery. Did you know that certain medications given to people with Parkinson’s disease carry a health warning “May induce shoplifting”? How does that work?! It’s a mystery sometimes, the way we behave. Have you ever
Photo: thebelanda, flickr.com
found yourself hating something you did or said? Saint Paul, one of the first Christian leaders, certainly did. In one of his letters he cries out: “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate!” (Romans 7:15, The Bible). Paul identifies in himself an innate selfishness that twists his best intentions. This is what causes us to hurt those we love, act in ways we are ashamed of, and let ourselves down. Christians know this as “sin”. Rich and famous sinners need the cure just as much as homeless thieves. The cure is a person. His name is Jesus. His living, guiding presence in our lives is the answer to our deepest problem.
Jesus Army Streetpaper No. 94 5
Jesus Army members speak out
“What do Jesus and the church mean to you?” “Jesus changed my life. Church is beautiful. Here I’m accepted and respected.” Gregor, 38, Polish economic migrant
“The stereotype of ‘no gays in the church’ has been smashed. Being accepted has given me the freedom to help and love other people.” Salim, 25, from a Muslim background and gay
“I found a new start in life and a purpose to live for. Church is the family I’ve never had, companionship that brings a reality to life.”
“I have a sense of God’s will for my life and a family to share God’s love with.”
Dave, 28, formerly homeless, now an orchard development officer
Sunitha, 28, from India
“It’s all about laying down my life for something I’m passionate about. It’s living with a sense of purpose along with many other people.”
“Jesus is my Saviour, healer and shepherd. In Him I find my place in the household of God, the family that is the church.” Rahmat, 32, Iranian asylum seeker
Georgia, 20, accounts clerk
“Church is where I work my faith out and where I’ve lived for the last 30-odd years and it won’t change.”
“Living for Jesus means I’ve got a hope that never fails.” Amy, 20, writer and student
Barry, 68, from Sheffield
“Jesus is my saviour and through Him I have a family, the church. Now I no longer have to live alone.”
“Jesus and His church is my whole life and, though that’s challenging, that’s the way I like it!”
Douno, 28, from Africa
Andy, 38, lawyer
AIDAN ASHBY Streetpaper comment
Winning Sir’s heart
FACE Hold the picture close to see lots of Jesus people. Hold the picture further away and you’ll see Jesus (and can you spot Wally?)
“SIR” Friends with the Jesus Army
LET ME tell you a true story from a run-down estate in Northampton. One young man of the estate (who we’ll call “Sir”) has become a staunch friend of the Jesus Army. We first met him as a young teenager when he made a hobby of repeatedly wheelying his BMX through our meeting in the middle of worship time. He lives in the thick of a crazy, hedonistic and generally effedup life, and he takes no beef from any man. He’s the local “pharmacist” of illegal substances, and a prizefighter. Just say the words “I know Sir” to anyone on that estate and they’ll immediately adopt hushed tones and let you pass unmugged. Get the picture? It was Sir’s 21st birthday recently. Two friends of mine (I’ll call them James and John) rang him up and announced they were popping round to see him. They turned up at Sir’s house, and he got into the car, joined by a couple of friends, and James and John took them all to a Chinese restaurant. In the car, John complimented Sir on his shiny Nike Airmax trainers. Sir’s response: “I’ve got five pairs of these back
at home, I can give you a pair, innit?” Soon after their spring rolls, they left in the car to meet up with some more of Sir’s friends back in the estate. Stopping in a cul-de-sac, a crowd gathered around the car, all congratulating Sir for his 21st birthday. One older, slightly drunk man, however, started jeering. “Sir” he whined “what are you doing sitting in a Jesus Army car?” A verbal tussle ensued. “So what if I am?” “You should have grown out of that ten years ago!” “So what if my friend’s in the Jesus Army?” Sir was getting quite agitated by now. One of “his crew” was dissing the Jesus Army. So the slightly sozzled man added hastily “Well, if you’re in the Jesus Army, aren’t you supposed to be calming down right now?” “Somebody take him away” yelled Sir. “I swear down, I’ll do him!” So there you go. James told me the story late last night, enthusing about how this feared, hardened man has warmed to us, and is warming to Jesus. I reckon he’s just the sort of person Jesus spent time with.
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FLASH MOB firstname.lastname@example.org
WOW Youth enthusiasm
“Flash-mob’’ draws crowd
A JESUS ARMY “flashmob” livened up a cold winter afternoon, as passers-by gathered around to watch in Northampton’s town centre. “It drew a lot of attention and made people smile” said Jacob Ball, 22, who was part of the flashmob. “Quite a few people joined in. They could see that we were having a laugh doing it!” Shoppers looked on as more and more people joined in dancing to the Jesus Army song “Get up, get down, get up on your feet and dance!” A video of the flash mob has been uploaded to YouTube. Video at: jez.uz/flashmob
Millions view ‘‘viral”video THE NIGHT Jefferson Bethke, 22, posted his “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” video on YouTube, he made a bet with his roommates about how many views the video would get by morning.
SO LONG, FAREWELL... RUSSELL BRAND has announced he is to divorce US singer Katy Perry after 14 months of marriage.
The couple met in 2008 and married in 2010, at a resort inside a tiger reserve in India. The 36-year-old comedian filed divorce papers in the Los Angeles Superior Court, citing “irreconcilable differences”. In a statement he said: “Sadly, Katy and I are ending our marriage. I’ll always adore her and I know we’ll remain friends.” Last autumn, Kim Kardashian filed for divorce just 72 days after tying the knot with Kris Humphries in a lavish ceremony that was taped for her reality TV show. The 31-year-old also cited “irreconcilable differences” adding that the couple have a prenuptial agreement and she doesn’t want to pay spousal support to Humphries. A source close to the star said she “wanted a fairy tale” but that the couple found “the pressure of the TV show just isn’t
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Photo: themostinept, flickr.com
what they could have handled.” “Irreconcilable differences” are always sad. Broken relationships feature in the jagged landscape of many people’s lives. There’s something within us that longs for faithful, lifelong love, but too often it seems impossible to live that dream. Is it really only “a fairy tale”? Speaking of divorce, Jesus put His finger on the heart of the problem: the problem of the heart. God allows divorce as “a concession to your hard hearts” Jesus declared “but it was not what God had originally intended” (Matthew 19:8, The Bible). Jesus also brought a message of hope. Through Him, God is taking charge of the world again, and central to this is the miracle of human hearts made new. Through trust in Jesus, which releases God’s healing power, human lives can be renewed. That’s when love – lasting, love – becomes Photo: committed Il Fatto Quotidiano, flickr.com a reality again. LOOT Shocking footage highlights selfishness Now that’s good news.
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The highest bet was 6,000. By the time Bethke woke up the next day, the video had more than 100,000 views. Eight days later, it had been watched more than 14 million times. The number continues to skyrocket. The video, Bethke said, was not an attempt to bash all religion, but “against legalism, self-righteousness, self-justification and hypocrisy”. It contains catchy lines like: “The problem with religion is it never gets to the core / It’s just behaviour modification, like a long list of chores” and “I’m just saying quit putting on a fake look / Cause there’s a problem if people only know you’re a Christian by your Facebook”. The video has been discussed by both religious scholars and armchair theologians. Some point out that pitching Jesus against all religion is too sweeping: Jesus was a religious Jew. Bethke himself says “You have to get back to my definition of religion. Jesus was coming to abolish selfrighteousness, justification and hypocrisy.” In fact, the Bible’s definition of Jesus’ kind of religion is pretty punchy: “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you” (James 1:27, The Bible). Defending and helping the defenceless, the marginalised? Refusing to swallow the lies of the surrounding culture? That’s the kind of religion Jesus taught and modelled. Revolutionary religion like that means selling possessions, living simply, sharing with those in need. It means opening your heart and life to others. It means refusing the lie that says “Live for number one”. It means going beyond the pain barrier, learning to love, committing yourself to working for justice and sticking at it over the long haul. For Jesus, it meant dying for what was right. He calls us to follow Him. So, there’s a sequel waiting to be made: “I Love Jesus And I Love The Religion He Loves” – to lay down my life for the marginalised and see through the lies of the mainstream.
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CHOC Full of prayer
Hot chocolate and prayer MONTHLY, a Jesus Army team from around the UK go to London for four days of outreach in the capital. A group from Leicester targeted a Hackney estate, armed with milkshakes, hot dogs, hot chocolate and prayer. They parked a Jesus Army bus to form a relaxed scene with guitars and chat. A local commented “Noone ever does anything like this in Hackney”. Team member Grace Timms, 21, said “People appreciated what we were doing. It was good to pray with them.” The team now regularly travel to Hackney to keep up with friendships they’ve made there. Gospel at: jez.uz/gospel
Success in Sheffield
THE SHEFFIELD Jesus Centre were treated to an amazing set of statistics about their first 12 weeks of operating: 188 different people have come to the Centre’s activities (including art groups, a drop-in for the homeless and a café). They have 25 visitors per day and the number is increasing, as are the services they’re running. They enjoyed a Gala Day not long after opening, complete with facepainting, book and cake stalls and a visit from the Lord Mayor. Jesus Centres are now open in London, Coventry, Northampton and Sheffield. More at: jesuscentre.org.uk
Jesus Army Streetpaper No. 94 7
Single for good! What makes an ordinary young woman love God passionately enough to make a lifelong vow of singleness? Thea Slade tells Streetpaper her story. D I V E H T H C T WA
TO WATCH Thea talking about her lifestyle on YouTube visit: jez.uz/thea The house in which Thea and her friends live is one of a number of
homes around the UK, the residents of which form the New Creation Christian Community – part of the Jesus Army. For info visit: newcreation.org.uk
“GRANDPA GOT expelled from several countries for being drunk and disorderly” says Thea, 35. “He grew weed (not weeds) amongst the flowers in his garden.” But that is as unusual as Thea’s background gets. She had a stable upbringing. “My parents loved each other and us” she says. Thea did well at school, enjoyed pints with the rugby guys on Friday nights, and toured Europe with the school orchestra (“Bit of a scam, really” she confesses, “I only played the triangle”). At 13, Thea’s friend invited her on a Christian holiday. “My efforts to resist ‘religion’ failed abysmally” says Thea. “I saw with my own eyes that the girls on the camp knew God’s love. “I discovered God was real, that I wanted to know Him – and that I could, through Jesus.” After that, Thea would roll up to church on Sundays, 15 minutes late and hung-over. At university, Thea found an opportunity to choose faith on a deeper level: “One morning (having drunk far too much vodka the night before) I found myself experiencing God’s love” says Thea. “I felt His presence in my hung-over state.” It was a small turning-point. But later, Thea sensed a voice
THEA Living for love
saying: “Would you give up going out with guys for Me?” She dismissed it, but the “proposal” persisted until she reasoned: “If I genuinely trusted God, I’d give it a chance.” Thea decided to stay single for five years and trust that God would give her a man at the end of it. Then, when Thea was 19, tragedy struck. Her mum died suddenly, of meningitis.
“With God I could face the pain, collapsing frequently, but knowing that He was with me” remembers Thea. “God was an unshakeable rock while everything else seemed crumbly. I decided I wanted to give the rest of my life to following Jesus.” In her last year at university, Thea was invited to some Jesus Army meetings where she began to find her heart’s home. “I’d seen myself as a missionary in Africa” she says “but I decided to stay with the Jesus Army.” Moving into a Jesus Army
community house, Thea says she “quickly discovered the limitations” of her love for others. “I was quite selfish, really, and prejudiced. I needed to forgive lots and be forgiven.” Thea also became a nurse and began working on a cancer ward, where she found “death brings an acute awareness of what’s important in life”. Thea visited a convent, where she met an 80-year-old nun called Mother Teresa – like the more famous Teresa in India. The elderly woman impressed Thea. “She loved God, talked often about Jesus, had a gentle authority – and she really enjoyed life.” Later, on the Isle of Lindisfarne, reading about the Celtic heroine Saint Hilda, Thea knew what she really wanted: what God wanted. She sensed a call to a lifelong vow of singleness. “And that’s what I did” she says, simply, “by a lake, at half past six one December morning, with 40 of my friends there to witness it.” Eight years later, Thea has become an integral figure in the Christian community house she lives in. “I’ve got lots of people to love” she beams, “they bring me joy and grey hairs. “When I grow up I want to be an old lady like the Mother Teresa I met at that convent.”
8 Jesus Army Streetpaper No. 94
DRAMA Questions and answers
The Poem We are a lost generation And we refuse to believe that We can change the world We realise this may be a shock but God loves us Is a lie, and Money will bring us happiness The truth is God doesn’t care about people We refuse to believe that We can trust Him We will live our lives according to these beliefs There is no God It’s just empty talk to say That Jesus died to save us That divine compassion brings purpose to our lives Is a reassuring thought however It Is a self-deceiving fantasy We can be free without God Our existence has no grand meaning or purpose In a world without faith There is freedom But with God Life is an endless cycle of guilt and shame Without Him Everything makes sense It is ridiculous to think We need God Wrong. It’s time we turned our lives around. Now read the lines in reverse to find what God can do!
Lost generation? Watch the vid:
Stage drama asks big questions: Who are we? What is life about? Is there hope?
IT WAS A dramatic moment at a recent Jesus Army event. The dancers’ t-shirts had big question marks on them. A poem scrolled behind them on a huge screen, and voices were heard, saying “We are a lost generation. And we refuse to believe that we can change the world.”
ITALIAN CRUISE ship, Costa Concordia sank on the first night of its Mediterranean cruise on 13 January this year. The ship capsized after hitting rocks off western Italy, just metres from the Tuscan island of Giglio. Tragically, several people died in the disaster. “There was panic, like in a film” said Fulvio Rocci, one survivor, “dishes crashing to the floor, people running, people falling down the stairs.” Unsurprisingly, several passengers have compared the accident to the film Titanic, about the sinking of the giant ocean liner in April 1912 which claimed more than 1,500 lives. “I can easily understand the comparisons to the film, how it must have been on the Titanic, or in a film” said passenger, Francesca Sinatra. Some noted the chilling coincidence that Costa Concordia sank on “unlucky Friday 13th”, but few are superstitious enough to take that seriously as an explanation for the tragedy.
Hands over ears, the hopelessness and empty words rolled on. Then suddenly, a moment of change: “Wrong. It’s time we turned our lives around.” The dancers tore off the question marks, revealing bright crosses. The lines of the poem began to scroll in reverse, ending with “We can change the world. And we refuse to believe that we are a lost generation.” The turning point was Jesus. No longer putting fingers in ears, deafing out His love. No longer believing money will bring us happiness. No longer Nor were the ship’s passengers any “worse” than anyone else. Faced with a disaster in His own day – a tower fell and killed 18 people – Jesus made the same point, asking “Were they the worst sinners in town?” before an emphatic “No!” He added a crucial truth: “Unless you change the direction of your lives, you will perish, too” (see Luke 13:4-5, The Bible). People rarely think disaster may be about to strike. The Titanic was infamously fêted as “unsinkable”. Ships that look unsinkable may be heading for disaster. Likewise, unless we’re moving towards God, trusting in Jesus who God sent to rescue us, we’re sailing towards shipwreck. Trust in Jesus. Get in the lifeboat. Pray (talk to Him) like this: God, help me turn my life back towards You. Jesus, thank You for coming to save us. I put my trust in You. Come into my life by Your Spirit and help me live for You. or more on what it means to trust Jesus and live as a F Christian, text the Jesus Army: 0774 0774 200
thinking our existence has no purpose. Reaching to Jesus in trust, reaching for the change that God alone can bring. The drama ended with the actors standing together, united, joined as a family through God. The message was clear: we all need God. Through Jesus, we can be freed into being who we were meant to be.
JESUS SAID... “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10, The Bible JA: 0845 123 5550 jesus.org.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Write: Jesus Fellowship, FREEPOST, Nether Heyford, Northampton NN7 3BR Tel: 0845 123 5550 Fax: 0845 166 8178
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