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Jesus Army No. 95 FREE
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GOD QUESTION! FAQs about God, God, life,, faith life faith,, truth
d e r e w ans
JUBILATION Reasons to celebrate
KARATE KID GOES WILD
How Perry’s life changed
HAVIN’ A BLAST
STREET PARTY Jesus is worth celebrating
TOO MANY newspapers are full of bad news. There’s often plenty going on in UK society which doesn’t make for cheerful reading. But Christians have good news: God loves us, accepts us, and has made a way for us to be helped and healed through faith in Jesus Christ.
The Jesus Army sometimes overflows onto the streets – not to protest or condemn anyone, but to celebrate God’s love. The church of Jesus isn’t about sad religion; it’s a place of life, love and joy. Join in! God welcomes us all – and so do we in the Jesus Army. For info, text: 0774 0774 200
THESE UK CHRISTIANS ARE ALIVE WITH LOVE AND ENERGY
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TEXT COLD NIGHTS, NIGHTS, US WARM HEARTS cry laugh speak need thank reach seek shout talk share write poke rant find help wow w mean nag praise rave sing scream
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CONTACT US GOT QUESTIONS? We’d love to help. Contact mJa online, on the phone, or by post for free literature, advice, or to find out what we’re up to near you.
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BLACK BELT TRADED FOR RED CROSS
Jesus Army Streetpaper No. 95 3
by JULIA FAIRE
Julia Faire volunteers in a scheme to help the homeless. This is an extract from her blog. IT’S HALF TEN on another cold night. Helen and I are armed with hot water bottles, walking the streets of Coventry. Where are all the homeless folks tonight? Let’s hope they’ve found somewhere warm for the night. We find some, sitting at a bus stop, two men hungrily eating chips. We approach them and offer the hot water bottles. One of them, Billy, tells me his story. “I was homeless in London for two years and then came to Coventry. Val found me a place to live a year ago.” (Val is a support worker at Coventry Jesus Centre, running a “bond scheme” to help homeless people into secure housing.) “Yes, Val is a wonderful lady” says Billy, adding “D’you want a chip?” Billy went on to tell me how cynical he used to be – about life, how he thought everyone was just out for themselves, not bothered about the likes of homeless men like him. He told me how, after Val had helped him find a flat, he’d attended another church in Coventry, which had a volunteer scheme to support homeless people. He went there one day and sat down, overcome and crying. How could people give up their spare time to help people like him? It was too much. Billy said his mate, who was with him at the time, had been embarrassed at his tears – “a grown man crying”. But Billy is no longer cynical. “What a lovely thing” he said, “giving out hot water bottles” – but explained that he didn’t need one as he no longer lives on the streets. “Here, have another chip!” “No thanks, Billy” I replied “no more. You enjoy them now.” Read Julia’s blog at: julesjotting.blogspot.com
Olympic God MORE than Gold is a Christian organisation founded “to encourage and enable churches to engage in outreach, hospitality and services during the London Olympics”. The organisation has said that it hopes to find several hundred “Games Pastors” to “demonstrate the love of Christ” and “respond to the practical and spiritual needs” of the 800,000 extra people expected to flood the streets of London during the games. More than Gold Games Pastors will be located around railway stations, game and big screen sites. Look out for them. More online at: morethangold.org.uk
Photo: CMS, flickr.com
Bishops blast Photo: Jeremy Brooks, flickr.com
COVENTRY Jesus Centre runs a drop-in for the homeless and vulnerablyhoused and a bond scheme to help people into accommodation, as well as range of groups and services for many kinds of people. Four Jesus Centres have already been opened by the Jesus Army, in Central London, Coventry,
Northampton and Sheffield. Jesus Centres are places where the love of Jesus is expressed daily in worship, care and friendship for every type of person. Further Jesus centres are planned, with the next one to open to be in Birmingham. For more info or how you can help: jesuscentres.org.uk
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ARCHBISHOP of York, Dr John Sentamu, is pushing politicians to tackle “the rising tide of inequality across Britain”. Addressing the Church Urban Fund’s 2012 conference, in Leeds, last week, the Archbishop spoke of the need to face up to and deal with “the reality of poverty and growing inequality in our country”. “At a national level” Dr Sentamu said at the conference, “we need to witness clearly that our government must promote social justice. For when the government puts the promotion of social justice at its heart, we can stand together as one nation, recognising the dignity of all.”
“Karate kid”, kid”, Perry Hudson, Hudson, gave up karate for something even wilder... PERRY HAS swapped his black belt for the trademark fluorescent cross of the Jesus Army.
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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.95 © 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.
A BUS carrying school children on a holiday trip crashes – many die. A bomb kills six of our young soldiers in the blink of an eye. Four kids are shot dead outside a French school. A mass killer stands trial for the murder of 77. Has the world gone crazy? Look in the newspaper on any day and there’s one
MESSED UP WORLD? constant theme: pain. What’s the story? And where is God in a beautiful, but hurting planet? Writer CS Lewis said “Pain is God’s megaphone to wake a sleeping world”. Not that God gets a kick out of pain, but He uses it to show us there’s something badly wrong with the way we’re “doing life” on planet earth. What’s wrong? We’re doing life without God, the source of all goodness, truth and joy. We’ve said, in effect, “We’re
ok, leave us alone.” Have you ever considered that you might be trying to make it on your own, without God? Why not take a few quiet moments to reflect on this fact: God understands your own confusion and pain. He relates to our brokenness, because Jesus has been broken on the cross. Listen to God’s heart, and invite him into your own life: He can start to make some sense of its painful, discordant music.
800,000 WORDS and 1,189 chapters summarised into 140 word daily tweets? This is the ambition of Durham-based web developer, Chris Juby. Every day Juby reads a Bible chapter and sums it up it in a tweet. Chris hopes to reach the final book, Revelation, on November 8, 2013. Juby doesn’t see his Twitter bible as a substitute for reading the good book. “There’s loads of really important stuff in there that I can’t possibly convey on Twitter” he says. “Could I do justice to the 176 verses of Psalm 119 in 140 characters? Probably not.” Follow on Twitter at: twitter.com/biblesummary
ADVENTURE Perry’s living for God
TO WATCH Perry talking about his lifestyle on YouTube visit: jez.uz/perry The house in which Perry and his friends live is one of a number of
“I loved the adrenaline of fighting” Perry says “even though it’s all controlled in karate”. But now he’s given it all up to be a radical Christian. “I felt God’s energy” says the now 22-year-old. “I just want to win people, to befriend and love them, and call them to live for Jesus.” Why the change? Perry’s upbringing could define “normal”. He was no gangland ghetto fighter. Stable, hardworking parents. A childhood of “scouts, swimming (and, of course, karate)”. Teenage years that didn’t get more wild than the odd night out with the lads (“We tried to sneak in to clubs – then give some guy a tenner to
buy you a £3 drink.”) One of “the lads”, Jake, had been Perry’s mate since primary school. Perry vaguely knew that Jake’s family were Christian and part of the Jesus Army. But it was only in high school that Jake told Perry about it. “It was an English lesson” remembers Perry. “Jake told me about some mad experiences he’d had – God and demons – crazy stuff. It was interesting, but I didn’t believe a word of it”. 16-year-old Jake was returning to his childhood faith after a time of teenage rebellion. “One time” recalls Perry “we went round our friends to drink. But Jake wasn’t drinking. He said ‘I’m going to sort out my life and live for God.’” That got Perry thinking. “Jake was the life and soul of the party, always the one to crack jokes” says Perry. “He sent me some
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
Christian songs over MSN (back in the day when MSN was popular). They weren’t boring hymns! I just loved them and sent them round to all my other friends. There was something about them”. d Perry started e to think more d about life and ie death. “I’d lie am, awake at 3am, bout freaking out about ing death, asking ust myself ‘Am I just e in gonna be a note history?’”. Jake was getting more serious about e had a God, too. “We d we were free period and lying on the grass, on a e said ‘Don’t sunny day. Jake k on God’. I turn your back laughed it off – but Jake was insistent.” Perry went with Jake to a Jesus Army event for the 06. “Jake put first time in 2006. his hand on my head and
CREW Perry and friends
prayed for me – like ‘Yeah God, uhh, haha’. It probably wasn’t one of the best prayers. But I did feel a warm sensation. Then ‘logic’ kicked in and I dismissed it.” But whether or not he knew it, Perry was inching towards God. The following spring, at an event in the Jesus Army giant marquee, Perry felt God’s power unmistakably. “For the first time I proper felt something energetic and powerful” says Perry. “So
powerful, I fell over.” It was Perry’s turning point and in the months that followed Perry made a quiet but firm decision to be a Christian. And at RAW, a Jesus Army youth event in 2008, Perry had another anot powerful experience, ence this time combined with a sense of call. “I knew I had to quit karate and live for God fully.” Perry Pe was baptised as a Christian Chri in October 2008 and now lives with a number of o his Christian friends, including in Jake, in a large, l lively Jesus Army house h in Norwich. “I’m pioneering; I know God wants me kn here here. I’d like the house to b be full of people, living for Jesus” says Perry (“a (“and having a laugh” he grins).
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RAW REAL & WILD THU 02 - SAT 04 AUG Square 1 @ Coventry University The Hub, Jordan Well COVENTRY CV1 5QP
WINNING FESTIVAL WEEKEND
QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS There are some questions not even Google can help with
TYPE “THE answer to life the universe and everything” into Google and you’ll get the number “42” coming out top. 42 was the number calculated to be the answer to “life, the universe and everything” in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In Douglas Adams’ famous comedy sci-fi series, a race of hyper-intelligent aliens build a computer named “Deep Thought” to calculate “the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”. When the answer was revealed to be 42,
“Deep Thought” explained that it was incomprehensible because the aliens didn’t know what they were asking. Douglas Adams, of course, was having a (clever) laugh. But the truth is that our natural instinct, as humans, is to question – to want to know where we came from, why we’re here, what is the purpose of our life. People are searching (and not just on Google) for something deeper. It’s a good thing that God wants to be found. According to Jesus, “Keep on seeking, and you will find.” (Matthew chapter 7, verse 7, The Bible).
God expects us to ask questions, to wonder why. He could have provided us all with a “Frequently Asked Questions” section in the bible so that all the hard work was done for us. But He didn’t. He wants us to seek. He wants us to care. And He wants us to find Him, despite our confusion and the noise of our own thoughts. When you find faith in Jesus, He fills the emptiness inside us and brings real peace. But that doesn’t mean we stop asking questions. In some ways, we start questioning harder. But we know it’s worth it. We know the answer, ultimately, is a Person, not a number.
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UK JESUS CELEBRATION
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
GOD HELP US! MOST PEOPLE pray in a crisis or in danger. As the expression goes “There are no atheists in the trenches”. It is no surprise, then, that when premiership footballer, Fabrice Muamba, collapsed on the pitch recently with a massive heart attack, many people’s response was to pray for him. Supporters of both teams clapped him off the pitch and waited with baited
Photo: Ronnie Macdonald, flickr.com
breath for word of his condition. “GOD IS IN CONTROL” shouted The Sun newspaper’s front page headline, with “PRAYING FOR MUAMBA” underneath it. Bolton Wanderers’ club manager, Owen Coyle, said at the time: “Everybody is praying for Fabrice, which is very important, and that has been a real source of strength to the family.” Amazingly, Fabrice is now well on the road to recovery, thanks to the
amazing treatment he received at the time and in hospital, but also thanks to God, who hears and answers prayer. None of us are fully in control of our lives. Are you in crisis? Has tragedy struck close to you? You need to know that God is always ready to hear those who cry “God help!” Why not try talking to Him now, whatever your need? Say “God, I need your help”. He will never turn away those who humbly come to Him in time of need.
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
HASN’T SCIENCE DISPROVED GOD?
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.
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.
IN THE face of suffering, people can find themselves questioning God or becoming angry. Pete Walsma, 59, a doctor, has been confronted with a lot of suffering over the years and says he has “no wise answers” but added “I can offer some of my own ‘blood, toil, tears and sweat’ to make a difference. That’s what Jesus did.”
MONKS ON seventy-foot pillars, eyes looking through slits in a veil, kissing tarmac, sniffing incense. Just what is it all about?
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WHAT ABOUT SUFFERING?
ISN’T RELIGION JUST RUBBISH?
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Jesus Army Streetpaper No. 95 5
man, Jesus Christ. And Jesus didn’t come, ultimately, to start another religion. He came to BALBIR FROM Coventry has bring about a new relationship between us and recently been baptised as a God. He isn’t just “the founder of Christianity”; Christian, after converting from He is God come to us. Hinduism. She said: “When I Religion – whatever brand – says “Do this, came to Jesus I experienced do that and, well done, you’ll go to heaven (or a peace I never found when I achieve nirvana or whatever)”. worshipped in the temple. In Jesus there is But Jesus said “Follow Me”. It’s not what forgiveness and new life.” you know, but who you know that counts. Name and image changed to protect confidentiality
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? And what about the bigger questions like “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
“EVOLUTION isn’t the issue” said Piers Young, who has an Oxford doctorate in Zoology. He added “Some of it clearly 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?”
CAN YOU 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”? – 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 an our saviour? 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.” RUTH PANNELL from Oxford discovered that faith in God is about “taking risks”. She says “Faith requires courage because it doesn’t necessarily feed the intellect, but it touches the deepest heart of a person.”
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Charity award LONDON JESUS Centre was named “Charity of the month” by their local Waitrose recently, as voted for by Waitrose customers. They also received a generous donation from the superstore. Centre manager, Rob Bentley, was delighted and somewhat bemused: “It’s all a bit amazing” he said. “The store isn’t very near and we don’t have a lot of Waitrose customers that we know of coming here.” The Christian centre near Oxford Circus, with its drop-in for the homeless, tea room, and other services including ESOL classes, is more well-known and supported than it realised. For more on Jesus Centres, or how you can help, visit: jesuscentres.org.uk
Could there be more to this year’s Jubilee celebrations than barbecues and boating displays?
Photo: Chin Lam, flickr.com
KONY 2012: MAKE HIM INFAMOUS KONY’S GOING to be one of the most famous people on the planet by the end of this year. Kony? Kony who?
Joseph Kony is a murderous Ugandan warlord who has been responsible for the enslavement and abuse of tens of thousands of children and young people. Over 88 million (and counting) people, all over the world, have seen the viral video calling for the arrest and imprisonment of this international criminal. Sadly, the Kony 2012 campaign didn’t turn out to be as straightforward as it first appeared. Within hours of the video “going viral” on the internet, people began to question the methods the “Invisible Children”, the organisation behind the campaign, were using. Some criticised their financial practices and the way important issues were “glossed over”. Controversial or not, this viral campaign definitely blew up a
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THE QUEEN celebrates 60 years as Monarch in 2012: her Diamond Jubilee. She and the Duke of Edinburgh will make special visits to many places around the UK. Other members of the Royal Family will travel overseas – Charles is off to Australia, William to Malaysia, Harry to Jamaica, and Anne to Africa. Meanwhile, events celebrating the Queen’s reign are planned up and down the country and around the world. There’ll be street parties, boating pageants, parades, concerts, festivals, exhibitions. Environmental and educational projects are being launched. Three towns – Chelmsford, Perth and St Asaph – are being made into cities. There’s even an extra bank holiday on June 5. It’s a right royal celebration. Which is, after all, what the word “Jubilee” means: a special celebration to mark an important anniversary. It comes from a Hebrew word meaning “ram’s horn”. The Old Testament tells how ancient Israel was to hold a “jubilee” year every 50 years. All property that had been bought and sold over those 50 years was returned to its original owners. Slaves were set free. This extraordinary event was marked by the blowing of a ram’shorn trumpet. A “jubilee” like this meant justice and equality: the trend of rich getting richer and poor getting poorer would be stopped in its tracks; the brakes slammed on exploitation. Scholars scratch their heads about whether ancient Israel actually put this socially radical part of God’s law into practice! The Jesus Army, along with many other churches and groups, believe keenly in justice and equality. We believe it is close to God’s heart, too. Some Jesus Army members live in Christian community houses, living together and pooling resources like the first Christians, in order to attempt a less selfish way of living. And the Jesus Army has opened Jesus Centres, in UK cities and towns, to be places of friendship and help for every kind of person without prejudice. It would be excellent if the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations included projects to bring hope to people who are desperate and redress to those who’ve been dealt a poor hand in life. We can safely say Her Majesty would approve. If you would like to know more about the Jesus Army’s community houses, or Jesus Centres or projects with the poor, text 0774 0774 200 or visit jesus.org.uk
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Liverpool live! A JESUS ARMY team will be moving to Liverpool this summer to add strength to the Jesus Army group there. “The Jesus Army has a vision to bring hope and regeneration to urban areas around the UK” said James Stacey, a Jesus Army leader. Liverpool Jesus Army member, Moira Riley described preparations on the large house in Allerton, Liverpool, that is their base of operations: “Wallpaper stripping, carpet ripping, chip frying, skirting-board wiping, picture colouring, floor washing, tea breaking, lunchtime praying, blanket making, cellar clearing, shelf making, garage blitzing, raucous laughing and song singing.”
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storm and made people to look beyond their own lives. What the Kony 2012 movement has shown us is that this world is a messy place. Even when we try to do right, we can find ourselves doing wrong. Jesus comes in to all our mess and brings hope that is real and lasting. A true cause to fight for. Jesus strongly condemned those who abused children. Jesus was on the side of the powerless and rebuked those who abused their power from emperors, to religious leaders, to warlords. Are you satisfied with the status quo, or would you like to see murderers and tyrants brought to book? Do you want to join in a movement that seeks to create a better world? Believe in and get to know Jesus Christ. Live for his cause of love, joy, peace and justice. Speak out for the poor, the voiceless, the oppressed and the downtrodden. You can make a difference!
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Wake-up call 20-year-old Lil Campbell is setting out on the adventure of her lifetime. But first it took a brush with death to jolt her into reality.
Looking for a
Wanna make a SWEET Success
Free for all
A JESUS ARMY team in Coventry, have been fostering community cohesion and sharing God’s love in a multi-ethnic area of the city. “Come rain or shine, we take a walk in the Foleshill area and give out something free” said Julia Faire, one of the team. “Soup (when it’s cold) ice cream (when it’s hot) and last springtime toffee apples!” She added “It’s good to meet ‘the neighbours’ (we’re told to love them) and it’s good to just give something away free. We get plenty of smiles and “thank yous” and quite a few takers. Every now and again, we fall into a conversation about Jesus. “We see it as very worthwhile.”
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LIL Big adventure
SATURDAY NIGHT. Drinks and drugs freely passed around. Lil Campbell, then 16, was at a house party in Northampton. Lil took a walk to get away from the pounding music. Going into a room, she tripped over something on the floor. She looked down and, to her horror, saw her friend slumped there. She had slipped into an unconscious seizure, obviously overdosing. Lil says “I prayed – that’s all I could do. It was instinct. Immediately my friend started muttering about horrific things that had happened to her. I prayed harder and started to tell her that Jesus loved her. My friend started crying and fell into a healthy sleep. “I sat back, suddenly completely sober, and thought, ‘God, You are real!’ It was the turning point of my life.” Lil had Christian parents, who were, in Lil’s words, “rocks” but Lil wanted to find her own way and answers to life. At 16, she confesses, she had two lives: she had friends in church and stayed with them
some weekends; she also went out partying, drinking and dabbling in drugs. The Sunday morning after her friend overdosed, Lil, thoughtful, alone and brushed off, walked to church and, “had a moment with God. I told Him I didn’t know what to
On the way home from Belfast, Lil sat on the top of a doubledecker bus and prayed. “Up to that point I hadn’t had much of a relationship with God” she says. “I sensed God wanted me to live in community. I had grown up in a rough area and saw the beauty of
do with my life.” Lil decided she needed to leave town in order to get her head together and was invited by some of her Christian friends to join them in a mission they were running in Belfast. Some of them lived in a Christian community and shared what they earned and owned. While she was among them, Lil says, “I fell in love with the community way of life, and asked myself, ‘What am I doing with my life?’”
sharing. When you share your m o n e y and lives, you can be available to help people. I’m a reckless person and, when I got home, I told my family, ‘I’m moving into community this week.’” Two and a half years ago, Lil moved into a Jesus Army house in Northampton called Koinonia (a New Testament Greek word meaning “sharing together”).
Now 20, Lil is about to spread her wings and move to another community house, Lighthouse, in Liverpool. Last year, she was part of a Jesus Army outreach team in Liverpool and became very aware of the great need there. She sensed God say “I need you to fill the need. Will you?” “I felt like God said ‘I’ll stay with you, even If you can’t see where you are going’,” adds Lil. H e r decision to leave Koinonia has been a very difficult one as Lil loves sharing her life with the people there. Her comment was: “I wish God’s call was sent in the post with a risk assessment and flow chart to show you where you have to get to. But it’s not like that. Instead, I have to trust.” Looking towards an exciting – even if a bit scary – future, Lil says “I’ve been forgiven a lot and learned to love. I do not see it as my duty to build up God’s church; it’s my heart – I want to! I’m inspired!”
8 Jesus Army Streetpaper No. 95
The Olympic Flame relay takes a powerful symbol around the UK
THE OLYMPIC Torch arrives from Greece where it was lit from the sun’s rays among the ruins of the site of the ancient Olympic Games. From Land’s End it makes its epic relay journey: 70 days, 66 evening celebrations, six island visits. About 8,000 people carry the Torch a total distance of about 8,000 miles. The Torch relay, it is said, brings the Olympics to within one hour of 95 per cent of the UK population. There’s something about a spectacle like this that stirs deep feeling. The official London 2012 website,
London2012.com, speaks of Olympic Torchbearers “spreading the message of peace, unity and friendship”. Peace, unity and friendship: that’s a message worth spreading. Christians also have a message worth spreading. In fact, “peace, unity and friendship” is not a bad description of it. But this flame was kindled not in ancient Greece, but on the Roman cross where Jesus Christ was executed. Of course, if Jesus had stayed dead there would have been no message. But He didn’t stay dead. In an extraordinary reversal, Jesus rose from death. He was vindicated – shown to be in the right – by none less than God. By raising Him from the dead, God sided with Jesus – against injustice, against oppression, against corruption, against all that pollutes and disgraces the world – and against death itself. This is good news, not only because it means there is hope beyond death – though that is pretty amazing in itself. It means the resurrection has released a new power into the world and into the hearts of those who believe the message. Evil is defeated. Peace, unity and friendship really are possible – with God, with each other, with the whole world.
Photo: Zoonabar, flickr.com
TORCH Last time the Olympic Flame was in the UK was in 2008
LIFE BEFORE LIFE ON EARTH? IN HIS new film Prometheus, Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Blade Runner, has created another epic story that will have audiences on the edge of their seats. In this new movie, a team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, a discovery that will have terrifying consequences as they are led to an encounter with an alien race, posing a threat to humanity’s existence. Was there life before life – as we understand it – on earth? Life in which our own life found its origin, as the Prometheus film suggests? An intelligence that shaped the
beginnings of our species? The Bible suggests that the answer is yes. It says that “in the beginning was the Word”. It says that through “the Word” all things were made. In this mighty “Word” was life, and “that life was the light of all mankind”. Intriguing, isn’t it? Throughout the ages – and long before Christianity emerged – people have grappled to engage with this “Word” that created all things. In Jesus Christ the “Word” stepped out of eternity and became human as the extraordinary carpenter from Nazareth. He came to give new life – not only natural, biological life, limited by mortality – but eternal life.
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
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