Issue 09 Summer 2013
Good News in Australia Sharing the love of Jesus in Sydney
The story of BASE A new Friday night event for youth
Generous Justice Book review
Change What the Bible has to say
Change: let go and let God
Books by Tim Keller Tim Keller leads a large New York church and has written a number of popular books about Christianity. He is one of today’s most insightful Christian writers.
Generous Justice Book Review by Sam Markey “In virtually all the ancient cultures of the world, the power of the gods was channelled through, and identified with, the elites of society, the kings, priests, and military captains, not the outcasts. To oppose the leaders of society, then, was to oppose the gods. But here, in Israel’s rival vision, it is not high-ranking males but the orphan, the widow, and the stranger with whom Yahweh takes his stand.” In Generous Justice, Keller challenges Christians preaching peace and justice, but not taking action to bring it into being. Drawing on Scripture to lay out God’s heart for social justice, he reveals that caring about and pursuing social justice in the world around us isn’t an optional extra for Christians, but should be a key feature of our Christian walk. As eloquent as it is compelling, this book will be of interest to those already engaged with issues of social justice, as well as those for whom it is an as yet unexplored element of their faith. There are no simple answers to the problems of poverty, inequality and injustice, but this book provides an excellent way to begin to understand why we should care about them and some practical tools to get started. If you’re interested in finding out more about social justice and making a difference, why not join the Justice Matters Missional Community? Meetings take place twice a month at venues in North Finchley. For more information, visit JusticeMattersN12.blogspot.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MISSIONAL COMMUNITIES St Bs Missional Communities are groups of people with an outward focus on either a geographical neighbourhood, a network, or people with a particular need. Growing to between 20 and 40 members we hope that they will be small enough to create a sense of belonging, and big enough to do something. We encourage all members of St Bs to belong to a Missional Community, so if you’re not yet in one, why not consider joining one of the groups below; or if you have an idea for starting a new group, speak to/email David Brown: email@example.com East Asian
(a service for those facing unemployment/redundancy)
Healing on the Streets
Dave and Bridget Harvey: firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter and Pauline Sutton: email@example.com
The Finchley Jam
Rachel Kane and John Auton: homelessoutreach@ stbarnabas.co.uk
(for musicians and those who enjoy live music)
Andy Yeates and Simon Swan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam and Victoria Markey: www.justicemattersn12. blogspot.com
(encouragement for those living out their faith in the workplace)
Gita Paton and Nikki
Jon and Ros Hoare: email@example.com
Richard and Sue Greeves and Jonathan Burnett: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith – by drawing out the parable of the prodigal son, Keller shines a light on the central message of Jesus. The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God – co-authored with wife Kathy, Keller explores marriage by engaging in its relationship to the Gospel, arguing that it should neither be idolised nor undervalued. Every Good Endeavour: Connecting Your Work to God’s Plan for the World – Keller explores how God’s plan for our lives and the world unfold through the work we do and how we can glorify God and serve society in our workplace.
Mark Johnson, Felicity Barnum-Bobb and Ros Akilapa email@example.com
The B Magazine editorial team also recommend you check out some other Tim Keller books: The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Scepticism – Keller addresses the most frequent questions he has encountered from sceptics to explain that faith in the Christian God is a soundly rational belief.
Philip and Heajin Slater: firstname.lastname@example.org
> How to advertise To advertise in B Magazine please contact: BMag@stbarnabas.co.uk
From the Vicar
B Mag’ Issue 08: Contents
02 Generous Justice Book review by Sam Markey
A Portrait of Change About a decade ago I had the unusual experience of sitting for a portrait. The artist was a purist who refused to work from photographs and so the process was extremely prolonged. I had started sitting in the summer wearing a light shirt. For the sake of continuity I tried to wear the same clothes each time, but by the middle of winter I arrived in a thick woolly jumper. I was about to take off the jumper to reveal the same light shirt as before, when the artist started excitedly painting, calling for me to sit down. “I really like that jumper” he said as he wildly stroked his brushes across the canvas. I confess I was at first non-plussed and then rather irritated. What was wrong with the shirt, what was the point of all that time sitting for him to paint the shirt, only to have it covered over by the new jumper? When eventually the portrait was unveiled I could see that the jumper did indeed add something to it. But at the time it felt like an unwanted diversion.
I nevertheless urge you to take a risk, step out of your comfort zone, and join in the challenge to become a truly missional church.
Many people have found it difficult to understand, still less embrace, the church’s new vision for Missional Communities and 2-4 groups. We all tend to like what has become familiar and safe, and change messes up all our neat arrangements. And, as someone with generally conservative tastes, I am the first to acknowledge that change is distinctly uncomfortable. Yet the essential imperative for the church is mission: “for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). So, with Jesus’ great commission ringing in our ears, and despite the inconvenience, we feel compelled to reorientate St Bs outwards. Although recognising it is hard for many, I nevertheless urge you to take a risk, step out of your comfort zone and join in the challenge to become a truly missional church. Perhaps in the future you will look back and see that the newly-embraced jumper adds something to the portrait of the body of Christ.
The Story of BASE Sam Whittington on the change to Friday nights at St Bs
06 Change: A Biblical Perspective David Brown on what the Bible says about change
07 Nicky Hargrave Interviewed by Hayley Pavlou
08 Church Building or Temple Henry Kendal on the need for building change
10 I saw God at Work Stories of encounters with God
12 Good News in Australia News from mission partners, Mark and Rahel Landrum
14 Henry Kendal
News in Brief A round-up of St Bs news
B Magazine Issue 08 Editorial Team: Margaret Peach (Coordinating Editor), Henry Kendal, Sam Whittington, Paul Pavlou, Hayley Pavlou. Email: BMag@stbarnabas.co.uk Photography Coordinator: Phil Rogers Art Direction: Hannah Knight: email@example.com
THE STORY OF BASE The Story of BASE
FROM FRIDAY NIGHT CHILL TO A FRIDAY NIGHT CHANGE…
By Sam Whittington Date: Friday, 8 February 2013. Time: 7.40pm. Location: Parish Hall, St Bs. Young people are gathered around tables, playing board games and UNO. There is another table by the door where the kids register. Two girls sit on a couch, chatting away. Another group of girls run down the corridor and reappear moments later, grinning mischievously, which draws some friendly but firm questioning from a leader. The kitchen hatch is open and hot chocolate is being served with what could be described as generous portions of whipped cream. All in all, it’s probably a scene typical of many youth groups running in many churches.
Date: Friday, 8 February 2013. Time: 8.20pm. Location: Parish Hall, St Bs. Later, the scene is different. A smaller group are gathered around tables that have been pushed together. They’re not playing or chatting now but focusing hard on developing plans for how best to stage a modern day retelling of the parable of the Prodigal Son. Ideas for stage design, props, and costumes are being written down, or discussed with leaders. This group is the ‘Tech Hub’, where the kids are encouraged to develop and use technical skills in order to grow in confidence and build friendships with one another and the leaders. In another room the Acting and Singing Hubs are being put through their paces, working on a big opening number. This is BASE, the new Friday night youth group run at St Bs for 11-14 year olds.
“Churches hold an enormous amount of people with skills,” explains Liz. “BASE gives people a chance to put their skills to use to help kids grow as well as share their faith. As the kids go on a journey they put their trust in their Hub leader who can then speak into their life more and more.”
The predecessor to BASE was called Friday Night Chill. FNC ran for five years and grew from a group of six to over eighty young people. Put like that, it’s hard to imagine it was anything but a huge success. So why did St Bs Youth Pastor, Liz Bewley, decide to close FNC in the summer of 2012 and start something new the following autumn? “We were facing some challenges, so I looked back at the original vision. Despite the team’s incredible efforts we were not reaching the goal we had set out to achieve, sharing our faith with the youth through relationships. Something that looked successful numerically was not reaching its full potential.”
We did feel that it was time to start focusing on building relationships, rather than just creating a safe space for the young people to hang out. Having realised that change might be needed, Liz spoke to her team of volunteer leaders; they agreed. Liz Randall, who volunteered at FNC and now leads BASE, confirms this. “It was great to be a part of a group (FNC) that was reaching out to the young people … however, we did feel that it was time to start focusing on building relationships, rather than just creating a safe space for the young people to hang out.” It was decided that a change was required. So were there any nerves about making a change? “Yes and no,” explains Liz B. “Yes, because it was not going to be popular with the kids. But no because I prayed and talked to key people involved and felt God say there are no sacred cows and we should not be afraid to change.” So where did the vision to replace FNC with BASE come from? “BASE plays off the culture of Britain’s Got Talent or X-Factor. Society has tapped into the fact a kid can grow in selfconfidence through something like street dance groups. They provide a focus on gifts and talents, to be all you can be and achieve more.” How could a church group help youth develop in this way though? “Churches hold an enormous amount of people with skills,” explains Liz. “BASE gives people a chance to put their skills to use to help kids grow as well as share their faith. As the kids go on a journey they put their trust in their Hub leader who can then speak into their life more and more.”
The focus of BASE is not simply limited to kids who want to sing or dance. Following four weeks of working together, Liz Randall explains that the first set of Hubs were able to produce a performance evening in December containing, “a table tennis performance, an Emeli Sandé song, an acting ‘machine’, an AC/DC drum solo and some interesting looking brownies.” Liz R could also see BASE developing as a place where new friendships could be built: “I saw kids that we’d only met six weeks ago with no church connection come along and perform in front of the newly formed BASE family”. To top it off, a spontaneous dance party broke out as everyone celebrated together. This was significant for Liz B because it demonstrated the growing confidence and friendships BASE was encouraging; as she points out: “anyone who’s worked with 11-14s will know that if they don’t want to get involved, they won’t”.
There were two things that were evident from visiting BASE just six weeks before their next termly performance evening. First, for the volunteers involved it was taking a great deal of commitment to be leading a Hub, where the kids’ skills and confidence could be built up toward a final goal. Second, it was also taking a lot of courage for the kids to be there, willing to take a risk and get involved, putting forward their ideas or singing in front of one another. And yet, while numbers may not equal the frenetic heyday of FNC, it was also clear that a renewed emphasis on relationships and investing in young people is proving fruitful, even as the kids still have a place to come and have fun and see their friends at the end of the week.
GET INVOLVED BASE is a Friday night group that aims to develop 11-14s in their self-confidence, talents, friendships and faith by placing them in Hubs to work with skilled volunteers, enabling the young people to work together towards an end of term performance evening. BASE leader Liz Randall would love to hear from anyone who would like to get involved, especially if you have skills or experience in acting, tech, art, dance and cooking. However, volunteers without a particular skill set would also be very welcome, to support and encourage the kids and to ensure adequate amounts of whipped cream are always served with the hot chocolate. You can contact Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Change: A Biblical Perspective
Change: A biblical perspective By David Brown
If you wanted to pick a fight with God (not something I would advise by the way) then one thing you might want to take up with him is this: why is it that God, who says about himself in Malachi 3:6 “I the Lord do not change”, is so committed to bringing change into our lives?
For some of us change is an exciting word, speaking of things new and better and different. For others it is a daunting word, speaking of unwelcome disturbance and disruption. But love it or hate it, change is on God’s agenda for all of us. And our vision statement “transforming lives • changing the world” is a clear signal to all of us that we are a church that expects and embraces change. Sometimes change comes in a moment and is dramatic. People use the phrase a “Damascus road experience” referring to the encounter that Saul (later to become Paul) had with the risen Lord Jesus in Acts 9:1-19. When Paul himself recounts that experience he says that Jesus called him to turn people “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18). And the word repentance, which is so often associated in the New Testament with the beginning of our journey of faith, conveys the sense of a radical change of direction, a 180 degree turn around. Sometimes change comes over a period of time, and is less dramatic. Not so much a 180 degree turn as “one degree of glory to another” as one translation of 2 Corinthians 3:18 puts it, “...and we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image from one degree of glory to another.”
Love it or hate it, change is on God’s agenda for all of us.
The image of bearing fruit, which the New Testament uses in many places to speak of our spiritual growth, also speaks of change that is incremental; slow and steady but sure. When I speak with people in difficult situations, I often hear them express a genuine and heartfelt longing for God to change them. Sometimes what they really are asking for is instant and dramatic change, but I find that God often seems to prefer the slower version of change. His plan for all of us is for us “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). That is the fundamental change that God is committed to bringing about, and according to 1 John 3:2 it is something that will only be finished when Jesus comes back. So until then, let’s keep allowing our unchanging God to change us into his image, so that we can honestly say: by the grace of God I am no longer what I was, and by the grace of God, I am not yet what I will be.
INTERVIEW WITH NICKY HARGRAVE
I’ve been seeing my prayers answered left, right and centre; He answers prayer in my dreams, through other people or He just puts it on my heart.
Interview by Hayley Pavlou “Constant change is here to stay” is an oft repeated phrase at St Bs. But we all know that the embracing of change, whilst creative, can be very challenging for us. Nicky Hargrave is someone who has experienced a personal change of the highest order. She lives on Strawberry Vale and has an amazing story to tell. I met her recently for coffee to find out about this radical story.
What’s life been like since that first experience?
Can you tell us about your life before you became a Christian?
Yes definitely, but I refuse to go back to that. Friends continue to invite me to spiritualist events, but I see that life with closed gates now. I know that I need to stay firmly over this side of the gates until I am firm enough in God’s word to evangelise! I was baptised three weeks ago, and since then have felt the devil attacking me, trying to make me turn away, but God is stronger than that and I know He won’t let me go.
When I was 17 my mum died and strange things started to happen in our home – I started seeing, hearing and feeling spirits all around me. It was a scary time and I was looking for answers – I assumed it was my mum. A friend directed me towards spiritualism; I was told everything I was experiencing was normal, and they could help me to understand/deal with it and more importantly find out what had happened to my mum. I got heavily involved; joining disturbing “healing circles” where I would feel strong; but when I left and was on my own, there was an overwhelming fear. Tell me about your first experience of God I kept seeing billboards outside church@five that asked questions like “Who are you? Where are you going?” I realised I didn’t know the answers. The first time my daughter brought me along to a service I was sceptical, expecting to be Bible-bashed, but I was so wrong. As I sat there I could feel something amazing washing through me – I was covered in goose bumps. I knew from previous experiences that this feeling only occurs with truth. That’s when I met with Jesus.
I am definitely still in the “wow” stage. I’ve been seeing my prayers answered left, right and centre; He answers prayer in my dreams, through other people or He just puts it on my heart. My relationship with Jesus is so strong now, I suppose it was always there, but I was so focused on the magic. Do you ever feel pulled back to your old life?
How did it feel to make such a huge change in your life? I felt very conflicted at first; struggling with guilt and the feeling of being disloyal to my old friends. The change in me feels completely natural; better than anything I have ever experienced – I have never felt so much joy! On the inside I am a new person. What would you say to others who are in a similar situation? I would advise people first to get to know Jesus and his word. Otherwise there is a danger that you become surrounded in a power and a battle that you know nothing about.
Church Building or Temple
By Henry Kendal
What is it about churches and buildings? Many Christians have a strong and sometimes unhealthy attachment to church buildings. The tendency to view church buildings as replacement temples to â€˜houseâ€™ God, is tantamount to the irrepressible Old Covenant usurping the New, ousting the in-dwelling presence of God with us, in favour of keeping God shut up in dusty old buildings.
The Church of England has 12,500 listed buildings, more than any other institution in the country. Although this is, in many ways, an incredibly rich heritage, these buildings are not only a massive drain on scarce resources, but also send the message that God can be contained. One has to ask the question: did Jesus want us to be so embroiled in the maintenance of historic monuments, or did he have a more radical and subversive agenda for his church?
Church Building or Temple
The New Testament teaches that the people of God are to be the real temple, rather than God being confined to a mere building (Ephesians 2:19-22). Empowered by a vision to live as strangers in the world, the early church set out to herald in the kingdom of God through a peaceful revolution, unmatched in human history. For nearly 300 years the gospel infiltrated every echelon of society without the assistance of a single building that we would recognise as a conventional “church”. But when Constantine became the first Christian Roman emperor in 312AD and declared Christianity the official religion of the Empire, everything changed. The church settled down and accommodated itself to the society around it, and as part of that institutionalisation the church went on a building spree, from which it is yet to recover. St Barnabas, built nearly 100 years ago, although not listed, is an excellent building. Entering, one cannot fail to be impressed by the splendid stone arches and spectacular timbered ceiling. Some have said it is aptly named: Barnabas by name, barn by nature, so cavernous is its interior. And many, including me, consider this vast interior to be particularly beautiful. However, it is just a building.
The tendency to view church buildings as replacement temples to ‘house’ God, is tantamount to . . . ousting the in-dwelling presence of God with us, in favour of keeping God shut up in dusty old buildings
Many of you will know that we have long held ambitions to find a new building to replace the current St Barnabas building. Recently I was asked: why do we need a new building when our existing one is just fine? Of course the questioner is right that the current building is “fine”. But the way St Barnabas has grown means that it is no longer suitable for many of the activities that fill it each week – a bit like driving one of Henry Ford’s famous Model T classic cars on the North Circular in rush hour. Fortunately we have rented some land from London Transport at the back of the church and have put some temporary buildings on this site. Currently over half our staff, and approximately a quarter of all our regular meetings are based out there. But, even with this temporary solution, we are struggling. The main building is feeling its age and we are putting it to the kind of use that was never envisaged when our forebears built it. We don’t as yet have a solution to this problem, but we do know that if St Bs is to continue to grow and flourish into the fullness of the vision we believe God has given us, we will need a new facility. Some might question whether we need a building at all, when the early church managed without such resources. However, provided that it is regarded as a tool to resource the work of the gospel, a building can add an enormous amount to what a church can accomplish. The problem comes when an artefact of bricks and mortar becomes lodged in our hearts as something to cherish for its own worth. Whatever the new St Bs facility turns out to be like, we will need to remember that it is only a building – we are the temple.
God at Work
I saw God at Work
God is doing amazing things all the time, with many people’s lives being hugely impacted by divine encounters. Here are some stories:
GOD IN MY
OF MY TIME
Just before Christmas, a house three doors from us was burgled. We’d never met these neighbours, but as I’m always looking for ways to connect with my community, I saw this as a good opportunity to pass on our sympathies and introduce myself. So, I went round with a ‘sorry to hear’ card and a box of chocolates. Two days later the neighbour (who was out when I called) knocked on our door and thanked us wholeheartedly for our thoughtfulness and kindness – he was clearly very touched by our action. He then talked at length about himself, his wife, work and the burglary. About a week later he returned with a Christmas card for us. We now have a relationship with our neighbours which we would not have had, if we had not taken the time to share in their time of trouble.
Listening to Andy Hawthorne at New Wine last summer, my husband Jan and I both knew that God was inviting us to become more involved in Strawberry Vale. We’d always been committed to church@five, but the rest of the week we lived very separate lives. So this was a challenge – to our time, our privacy, and our pleasures. I say God was inviting us because God never forces our hands. It’s our hearts he’s after and when he moves our hearts, things that seemed important before no longer seem that way. Privacy suddenly looked like a dividing wall and now that we’ve opened our home and our hearts, we have a new family.
I had been unhappy in my job for a while, but was unsure about what to do. I had been applying for jobs sporadically but only received rejections. My husband and I prayed regularly, asking for signs of the path I should take. As I continued to be rejected from jobs I applied for, I assumed God wanted
[My] neighbour knocked on our door and thanked us wholeheartedly for our thoughtfulness and kindness – he was clearly very touched by our action.
Perhaps the greatest miracle, though, is how God changes our pleasures. As for time, we’ve all heard that God gives plentifully when we’re doing what he wants us to be doing and it’s true. Perhaps the greatest miracle, though, is how God changes our pleasures. The psalmist says: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” And it’s true: if we let him, God will plant his desires in our hearts and that’s when we know what true joy is.
God picked me up by the scruff of the neck and removed me from that situation. me to stay put; I thought there must be a reason! So I tried hard to stay positive about work and find new ways to take enjoyment from it. But still I felt bored, and more than that – anxious. I struggled to sleep, thinking about getting up in the morning and going to the place that I hated. We continued to pray, and then God acted – my company made me redundant a couple of weeks ago! Whilst it was a shock and never a nice situation to be in, I felt a real joy and sense of relief. God picked me up by the scruff of the neck and removed me from that situation. Whilst, at the time of printing, I don’t know where he is going to put me down, I have every faith that he will place me somewhere and I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me!
I have been working as a Barista in a coffee shop on Brick Lane to supplement my income whilst building up my business in presentation training. When making sandwiches at 7.30am it can be hard to find satisfaction in the daily grind... unless I see the job as a gift from my Heavenly father and a chance to learn about serving – not only coffee but also serving with my attitude. Colossians 3:17 says “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through Him”. In moments where I would naturally switch to auto-pilot and do my job half-asleep, I have chosen to try and practically apply this verse. When I am warming milk for a latte, I imagine I am making it for Jesus, so it needs to be the best. When I am serving a customer, I make eye contact and take a genuine interest in them, choosing to remember I do this for Jesus. When I have no motivation, I switch tasks and clean the tables or toilets; thanking Jesus He is with me in that moment. Jesus is here with me and wants to be involved in everything I think and do. I need him to help me live my life of faith as much in the coffee shop as in the exciting business meetings! It is not glamorous and I have not seen revival on Brick Lane, yet I know Jesus more closely and am learning to be content and grateful for every moment. That is a priceless gift that I will carry into every area of my life.
In 2012 I had lots of problems with my teeth, needing six fillings in the space of five months. The dentist’s started to feel like my second home, and I got friendly with the dental nurse, Andrea. One day she told me she’d dreamt that we were cleaning windows together! We both found this hilarious. On my next appointment she told me that she was going through a difficult time, and reading was one thing that helped her to cope. I said I’d pray for her. I asked God what book to give her. He said nothing. Then our lodger walked into the room and said, “I need to read The Shack again.” I took that as an answer. I left it at the surgery with a brief note that I’d found faith in Jesus when I was having a hard time in the past. I then got an ecstatic text from her, saying that she had given her life to God in an empty church a few months earlier and told only one friend; she knew it was real at the time, but was still feeling depressed, and beginning to doubt God.
I imagine I am making it for Jesus, so it needs to be the best.
The day before receiving the book she’d prayed for a sign. The book was that sign! The story spoke to her too, in details that she shared with the main character, as well as its main message. She is now reading her Bible daily and tells me that the depression is gone, and we meet to pray when we can.
She had given her life to God in an empty church a few months earlier and told only one friend. She thinks her dream was prophetic – that through our friendship, in part, the ‘windows’ through which she understands God have been cleaned, and she can see clearly now. And I’m happy to say that my teeth are completely sorted too!
If you have any stories of God at work in your life, we’d love to hear from you. Please email BMag@stbarnabas.co.uk 11
Good News in Australia
Good News in Australia Mission Partners share the love of Jesus By Rahel Landrum
Mark and Rahel Landrum are mission partners who were sent out to Australia by St Bs nine years ago, with support from Mission Task Force (MTF). They share the Gospel, and minister the love of Jesus with Jews for Jesus, to the Jewish people in Sydney, through the ministry’s bookshop, street outreach and individual and group Bible Studies. Although the Jewish people were the original recipients of the Gospel, most don’t realise it’s for them. Mark and Rahel are passionate about bringing the good news to Jewish people. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (Galatians 5:22) Love, joy and peace are in high demand in our world. Show me someone who does not desire to experience love, joy and peace in their lives. In fact, we’re bombarded with ads that offer hotels and retreats that promise peace and tranquility – but only for a moment. Yoga and meditation offer assurance that practising them will lead to experiences of peace and joy. What about real love and joy and peace that last forever? How do you get that?
Toby* has been asking these questions. He is a young Jewish man who has been searching for peace and joy in various places with no success. We prayed for him with his mother, an Israeli believer in Jesus, for several years. He was a troubled teen, and then turned into a troubled young man and we kept praying with his mother for him and his salvation. One day, when he was extremely down, he asked us to pray for him to get free from depression and find peace. I told him we were happy to pray for him, but he could not get the benefits of freedom without coming to the cross first and that he needed to repent of his sins, accept the atonement Jesus made on the cross for him, and then God’s Spirit would come into his life to fill him with the power to experience true healing and freedom from the bondage of sin.
Toby had nothing to lose; he had heard the Gospel before, he knew he was a sinner and was finally ready to surrender to Jesus. He prayed with us to receive the Lord and soon Mark had the privilege of baptising him. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36) We saw the fruit of the Spirit in Toby’s life almost instantly. He’s very creative – he paints. His previous paintings were dark and disturbing but since coming to faith, he’s lit up, become full of joy, and his paintings reflect that. Mark is currently discipling him and they were studying Romans 8:28 about God working all things together for good for those who love Him. On that very day Toby sold one of his paintings for the first time, at a good price. Toby is growing fast in his faith. He continues to spend time with Mark; he attends a church regularly and participates in a home group with young people his age. He sent me a message that sums it up: “I am doing really well and church is doing amazing things for me. I am becoming a stronger believer and learning so much. Mark is making me realise a lot of godly things that I need to know.” It’s such a delight to see Toby so excited about his new experiences with the Lord and the changes he made on his own. His room used to be full of Buddha statues. After studying the Bible with Mark, he was convicted and realised he needed to get rid of the idols in his room, which he did as soon as he got home. He’s become an outgoing young man, ready to serve in his community and sharing the Gospel with His father and one of his brothers.
When people encounter the touch of the Living God, they have no choice but to be transformed. Ask Toby, he’ll tell you coherently and with a sweet smile what the Lord did for him. He delivered him from darkness into His light, from depression to hope and from a lost state to a future with Him. Toby doesn’t ever want to go back – why would he? He has experienced the love of his heavenly Father who keeps changing his life for the better all the time and this is only the beginning. Others around can’t help but notice the transformation. They can’t argue with what they see, the changed life for the better right in front of their eyes. It makes them stand in awe and have the desire to ‘have what they have’.
“I am doing really well and church is doing amazing things for me. I am becoming a stronger believer and learning so much.” Unlike Toby, who grew up with a mother who believed in Jesus, Jerry*, a Jewish man who meets with Mark and attends our weekly Bible Studies regularly, has had a traditional Jewish upbringing and finds it hard to follow Jesus. He has seen the change in his wife’s life when she came to faith in Jesus and that’s what’s impressed him the most and attracted him to Jesus.
However, he is reluctant to get baptised because of the strong perception that has been ingrained in him since early childhood – that we Jewish people don’t believe in Jesus and it is against our tradition to get baptised. A friend who is a Jewish believer in Jesus often starts his story, saying: … from an early age I was immunised against Jesus. This immunisation is prevalent in the Jewish community. In fact, there is only one antidote and it’s out of this world: the work of the Holy Spirit who has the power to perform miracles and change hearts and hard-ingrained perceptions. If a Jewish person gets baptised, it is perceived that he/she is no longer Jewish, that they have lost their identity. One could be alienated from family and friends who might think one betrayed their own people by changing their ‘religion’. Please pray with us that Jerry and other Jewish people like him would see that ‘There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.’ (C S Lewis: Mere Christianity) Despite these obstacles, the good news is that the Holy Spirit is at work among Jewish people and has the power to change manmade perceptions. The number of Jewish people who believe in Jesus has grown in the past decades, but still there are many like Jerry who need to respond to the Lord’s prompting. We still need prayer partners who believe that Jewish evangelism is on God’s heart. What will the Jewish people’s acceptance of Jesus result in but life from the dead? (Romans 11:15) *Not his real name
If you would like to support Mark and Rahel or find out more about their work, pick up one of their prayer postcards from the Missions Board at St Bs, or email: email@example.com
News in Brief
News in Brief A round-up of Who’s doing What, Where, When and sometimes Why Staff News
Men’s Curry and Quiz Night
This term sees a number of comings and goings on the staff team: Youth Team: Liz Bewley will be going on maternity leave in May; we are very pleased that Liz Randall, one of our youth team volunteers, is going to join us in April as Acting Youth Pastor, covering Liz B’s job whilst she is away. See pages 4-5 to find out more about recent developments in our Youth work. MTF: Ros Pateman, who has been with us since September 2011, is retiring at the end of April. We are sorry to be saying goodbye to Ros, but wish her every blessing in her retirement and are delighted to announce that Caroline Burns will be joining the staff as Missions Worker in April. Caroline was a St Bs Mission Partner for five years in Bolivia, so brings to the role intercultural experience, together with a great passion for God and his mission. She will be working here three days a week as well as studying at All Nations Christian College for a Certificate in Biblical and Intercultural Studies. Support Team: In March, Gail Beckett left the team after more than four years as Office Administrator. Together with her husband Colin and children Chloe and Sam, she has returned to Scotland. At the time of going to print we are in the process of recruiting a new Office Administrator to work alongside Trevlyn Yeates and the rest of the team. In May, Siming Hill will be returning from maternity leave to her post as Finance and HR Administrator. We are grateful to Sam Whittington for covering this role during Siming’s absence. In March Georgie McMinn, who has worked as a volunteer for the past few years, left the staff team. We are so grateful to her for her work as Equip Administrator and as David Brown’s PA. Children’s and Families Pastor: At the time of print, we are in the recruitment stage for this post and hope to be able to make an appointment in the near future.
dall Liz Ran
Caroline Burn s
One Saturday evening in February, over 120 men attended a fiercely contested (but ultimately good natured) quiz night at St Bs. A professional quiz-master tested our general knowledge with bafflingly obscure questions. And over a fantastic curry friendships were formed, many with men for whom this was their first visit to St Bs.
You may wonder where Colin is during the summer term as you won’t see him around St Bs for three months; during this time, he will be on study leave. He is planning to spend some time on retreat, catch up on reading and study and, along with Natalie and the kids, visit mission partners, Malcolm and Kerstin Gray and Rena Cardy, to serve alongside them in northern Thailand. We look forward to welcoming back a newlyinspired associate vicar in July!
Georgie McM inn ill Siming H
Onelife Young Leaders Conference In February half term, Liz and the youth team took a group of about 15 young people to the Onelife conference held at Soul Survivor Watford. We so often hear teenagers referred to as the church of tomorrow, but at this conference they had a great time, being encouraged as part of the church of today, in their role as leaders amongst their peers in every sphere of society. We are excited to see how God will continue to guide and lead our young people.
GOOD N S QU E S T IO
In February, the latest round of GQ (God Questions) took place at Coffee Republic on North Finchley High Road. Guests were given the opportunity to ask any question relating to God or faith that they wished to. Topics covered during the three sessions included suffering, the point of the resurrection, other religions and what difference Jesus makes. There was a great atmosphere each week and conversation flowed with these and many other good questions.
Ann-Marie Wilson at UN In March, Mission Partner, Ann-Marie Wilson had the privilege of being invited to New York to speak at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, representing Tearfund, Inspired Individuals and 28 Too Many. Ann-Marie delivered two talks on research that 28 Too Many did in Tanzania in November for Tearfund on the Role of the Church in Ending FGM and Stories of FGM from East Africa and how research can help it end. To find out more, go to: www.28toomany.org.
Prayer and Fasting In January, a week was set aside for prayer and fasting, with daily prayer times during the week leading up to a Saturday prayer and worship event. The impetus for the week came from a desire to see breakthrough in our building development plans, as well as other areas of church life and the lives of our members. Despite a week of snow and ice, many turned out to pray and seek the Lord, and through the week it became apparent that God was speaking to us about the need for us to grow in unity in our church family. To hear more about what God did that week, why not download Henry’s sermon from 20 January, which can be found on the St Bs website www.stbarnabas.co.uk
Synergy This term St Bs young adults have been busy socialising as always, enjoying an alternative Valentine’s Day celebration event; the boys also spent an evening out in town together. At the time of going to print, plans are well underway for a Maundy Thursday Passover Meal. Then at the end of May Synergy will be heading off to Saffron Waldon for a weekend together, enjoying some teaching, discussion and worship as well as good food and plenty of time to hang out and relax together. For details of this or other Synergy events, get in touch with Ryan Venn-Dunn.
Mothers Day We always enjoy welcoming many visitors to our regular family services and Mothers Day in March this year was no exception. The church was packed for both morning services as families worshipped, prayed, listened and had fun together and the service ended with everyone releasing a balloon to let go of things they wanted to give to God.
Befriending and Mentoring Scheme (BAMS) Project As reported in the last issue, funding has been received from the Bishop of London’s Mission Fund and the John Lyon Trust to enable the setting up of this project; the aim is to build on existing work on Strawberry Vale in youth and community regeneration. Hope House and St Bs are now working in partnership to make two appointments: a part time coordinator and a full time projects worker. It is planned to get the scheme running during the summer term.
Super Springfest March saw the church filled once again for one of St Bs very popular springfests. Several hundred people of all ages packed into the church for an afternoon on the theme of superheros. With superhero challenges, a bouncy slide, a strongman striker, face-painting, superhero jelly station, assault course, craft area and much much more, there was something for everyone. And everything for free!
7.30PM, EVERY TUESDAY FROM 16 APRIL TO 25 JUNE 2013 AT ST BARNABAS stbarnabaschurch
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT MIKE PAVLOU ON 020 8343 6138 OR EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope House North London is a partner charity of St Bs, working particularly closely with St Bsâ€™ Estates Ministry. For more information please contact Helen Shannon, Projects Director email: email@example.com
To East Finchley
HIGH ROAD NORTH FINCHLEY A1000
WOODSIDE PA RK NORTHERN LIN E
To Whetstone & Barnet
To Finchley Central
St Barnabas Holden Road Woodside Park London N12 7DN Tel: 020 8343 5770 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.stbarnabas.co.uk