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TAKE A FRESH LOOK Elim backs project to help people see the Bible with new eyes Life after addiction

Self worth is restored in Christ

Holding on to God’s promises Our tribute to George Canty

Elim’s oldest minister goes home to his reward

John Glass looks at Elders, Deacons and Lay Reps

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The people churches can’t do without

TV H A c ne op M w h C be as O at a LE

How a Peterborough church grew from a housegroup to a megachurch

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MARCH 2011 Issue 114 £1.70


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CONTENTS 5

EDITORIAL John Glass says we should tell it like it is

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YOUNG PASTOR WITH EXPERIENCE Dominic De Souza was 11 when he started preaching. Today, he leads a growing church

10 NEWS from Elim and the wider church 12 OUT AND ABOUT WITH THE GS John Glass opens his diary 14 FINDING LIFE AFTER ADDICTION Many were impacted at Livingstone House’s debut conference, Beauty for Ashes 18 TAKE A FRESH LOOK AT THE BIBLE Elim backs the Biblefresh project to help people re-engage with the Scriptures 21 DEATH SENTENCE FOR CHRISTIAN CLAAS Director Nasir Seed reports on the case of Asia Bibi, jailed in Pakistan 22 A FORMIDABLE PERSON WITHIN ELIM A special report on minister George Canty, who has gone home to be with the Lord 25 BE CAREFUL, I’M BREAKABLE! Only the King of kings can fix broken lives, says Aspire team member Lynda Heron 26 HOLD ON TO GOD’S PROMISES Elim Bible Week guest speaker Dave Smith leads a growing church that hit the headlines

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30 THRIVING IN A TOUGH PLACE Elim’s Le Phare in Paris celebrates its10th anniversary and is seeing growth 32 BE A BREAKTHROUGH CHRISTIAN! God is looking for believers who are ready to break barriers, says Gary Gibbs 33 THE LORD’S PRAYER We should honour God’s name, says Nik Howarth 35 SHARPEN YOUR GIFTS Carving the Sunday roast helped Mark Pugh make an interesting discovery 36 VITAL ROLES WITHIN ELIM Elders, Deacons and Lay Representatives are vital to the Movement, says John Glass 40 A NEW BEAT FOR TOP TV COP The Bill star Graham Cole tells Direction how he lives out his faith as a television star 41 BOOKCASE with Richard Dodge Reviews to help you decide 42 SEEKING GOD’S PURPOSE Graham Murray’s A-Z of Leadership 44 WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY Jesus calls every believer to be salt and light, explains Nigel Tween 49 ANSWERS with Jim Dick 50 AND FINALLY with John Lancaster

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Church Direction Representatives: please advise any alterations to your order before the 10th of each month

Direction Magazine is the official publication of the Elim Pentecostal Church @elimpentecostal www.elim.org.uk 0845 302 6750

Elim Pentecostal Church

Editor-in-Chief: John Glass, General Superintendent Publishers: Elim Pentecostal Church Elim International Centre, De Walden Road, West Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 4DF Charity no. 251549 (England)

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Disclaimer: Views expressed in articles and news reports do not necessarily reflect the view of the Editor or the official position of the Elim Pentecostal Church. The acceptance and publication of advertising does not indicate editorial endorsement. All submitted articles are subject to editing due to space restrictions. By submitting articles, writers accept their articles may be edited.

Publishing agents: New Life Publishing Co, PO Box 777, Nottingham, NG11 6ZZ, England Tel: 0115 824 0777 Website: www.newlifepublishing.co.uk Email: editor@newlife.co.uk or orders@newlife.co.uk Printers: Buxton Press Limited, Palace Road, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 6AE Back copies: previous issues are available while stocks last, at cover price plus £1.00 handling charge, incl. p&p, per order.

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A Conference for Pastors’ Wives and Women’s Ministry Leaders

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For more details or to pre-register; Please contact Sharon Millar on 0845 302 6750 or visit our website www.aspirewomen.org.uk Untitled-2 1

27/01/2011 17:31


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John Glass

F I R S T WO R D S

Tell it like it is I love the story of the man who goes to the doctor and insists that his physician tells him the unvarnished truth about his condition, saying, ‘Hide nothing from me, doctor; no medical jargon, I can take it however bad the news.’ To which the doctor replies, ‘Well, the fact is that that you are ill because you are a massively obese couch potato who has abused his body for such a long time that you now fully deserve the symptoms you are suffering.’ The man thinks for a moment, and after a pause says to the doctor, ‘Just one more thing, could you explain my condition in medical jargon so that I can explain to the boss at work why I have been off for so long.’ Doublespeak is now engrained in the syntax of everyday life. Everyone knows that the manager who tells his employee that, regretfully, he will ‘have to let her go’ is in reality simply giving her the sack. When I walk into a hotel bathroom I instinctively look for the little card which evokes a mixture of mild annoyance and a wry smile when I am encouraged, ‘In the interest of our planet and to secure a more green environment, I should consider re-using the towels that have been put at my disposal.’ Perhaps it’s because I am a Northerner that I would rather read, ‘We would like to boost our profits by saving money on overheads so, to help us accomplish this, please consider re-using your towels!’ Just tell it like it is! The gospel is good news. But it is only un-

derstood as good news when we have properly conveyed how bad the bad news is – that’s the reason why jewellers display diamonds against a dark background. The hope of heaven cannot be fully realised outside a parallel understanding of the horrors of hell. Salvation makes no sense without an awareness of sin. Feel-good motivational preaching that continually encourages people to ‘get to the next level’ is great as long someone is on the ladder in the first place. You cannot flatter people into faith. To do so is to earn the condemnation heaped on pampering prophets by Job, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and especially Jesus, who called such attempts at politically correct preaching a ‘whitewash’. I am not advocating the red-faced, scary-eyed, invective that condemns to damnation everything that passes within a couple of metres. Anyone who knows me, or reads this column regularly, is aware that I contend that the most effective evangelism arises out of relationship that has earned the right to speak. What I do call for, however, is that that the Church which carries a commission to convey the full gospel commits to tell the whole truth and nothing but truth. John Glass General Superintendent Elim Pentecostal Church

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Fresh faced he may be, but Dominic De Souza started preaching when he was just 11. Today, he leads the growing Letchworth Garden City Church and spoke to Direction about his ministry

Christians don’t just go to church, they are the Church!

Above Dominic De Souza preaching Main image Dominic at Letchworth Garden City Church. Inset, the congregation and Dominic with a volunteer taking part in The Extra Smile community project

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He may look like one of Elim’s youngest ministers, but 29-yearold Dominic De Souza has been working in church circles for 16 years and is actually something of a seasoned pro. Growing up in Kensington Temple, Dominic says church was like a second home when he was a child. ‘I literally grew up at KT. My mum would volunteer there every day so I’d usually go there after school. I’d be at every single service on a Sunday and mid-week, sleeping for the most part – and being a little mischievous now and again! ‘When I was six, I remember making a commitment to Christ and feeling God get hold of me in a very profound sense. ‘I started preaching at the age of 11, entered into youth leading at 13, and at 15 when the youth pastor moved on I

took on primary leadership for the teenagers’ church.’ Dominic has certainly packed a lot into the last three decades. An award-winning student at Cambridge University where he completed his theology degree, he eventually took on the role of director of training at KT, which, amongst other things, included heading up the International Bible Institute of London. But in April 2009, Dominic, his wife Jodi and their son Kobie, made the bold move to leave KT and head off to lead Elim’s Letchworth Garden City Church. He adds, ‘LGCC was already a good church with a strong reputation, and I considered it a real blessing to be able to take on a church with such pedigree. In the time that we’ve been here God has done many great things. Kids,

youth, women and men have been equipped in fresh ways. We have new services, exciting initiatives and even another church has been birthed. ‘We’ve connected with our community in unprecedented ways and most of all God has been moving. Miracles and salvations are becoming the norm, with a wonderful coming together of the Word and the Spirit. And it’s looking possible that over the next few years we’ll grow to 1,000 disciples.’ Dominic and Jodi arrived at Letchworth with a firm idea of what church should be, and what God might want to do there. But they spent the first year and a half preaching kingdom values and gauging where the church was at, with a view to forming clear strategy and vision to implement and introduce in


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2011. Reflecting on the journey, Dominic explains, ‘Firstly we wanted to deal with the whole idea of church and what it actually is. Somewhere in 2,000 years of Christianity God has got lost in a building, but the New Testament revelation is that God lives in us – that we are the Church! ‘One of our themes in 2010 was the sometimes uncomfortable message that church is not about us – that we don’t exist for ourselves but for the lost. We’ve also been talking a lot about connection. Broken, disconnected relationships are at the very crux of the human problem, but in Christ we can regain our vertical connection with God and also re-connect horizontally with each other. It’s like we put one hand up to God vertically and one hand out to each other horizontally to make the shape of the cross. The Church is where the two points meet, and the lost are invited to come into this fellowship of reconnected relationships. ‘Another thing we’ve been exploring is how we measure success. Success is so much more than running great services or having large numbers of people. It’s about raising up disciples and adding value to our local community. Would our community miss us if we were suddenly to disappear?’ And Dominic doesn’t believe that he is the only minister in the church. He says, ‘As senior leaders Jodi and I see our primary role as equipping our members to be effective for God outside of the four walls of our church building. ‘I passionately believe that every Christian is a full time minister – at home, at play and in the market place. We want to get away from the idea that the pastor is the only effective person for God – as if all the “less holy” people go out and get “secular” jobs. Often we compar tmentalise our lives 

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into sections, where God is only involved in the “religious” aspects. But Christ’s lordship and activity needs to extend into every part.’ One area close to Dominic’s heart is that the church should be outwardly focused. LGCC runs many ministries in the community, including SOAR School of Performing Arts, the G7 Kids Club, and The Extra Smile Project. ‘The Extra Smile Project is about mobilising a task force from the church to just go out and do good works in the community – it’s about going the ‘extra mile’, being good news and putting a smile on people’s faces in the process,’ he explains. ‘We’ve been going into areas of poverty, for instance, and helping out single parents by painting their homes, clearing gardens and putting down carpets. This has been financed mostly by the church.’ LGCC has also witnessed a deep awakening of its Pentecostal heritage under Dominic and Jodi’s leadership. And as the Holy Spirit has moved, there has been an acceleration of healings and salvations, with more first-time commitments in recent months than at any point in the church’s history. ‘We’ve seen strong demonstrations of healings,’ Dominic says. ‘From people being healed of diseases like arthritis and cancer, to a young man in a coma physically responding within hours after prayer and even accepting Christ with the hand that doctors said would never move again!’ One of Dominic’s passions is to equip Pentecostal Christians to articulate their faith clearly and intelligently. He explains, ‘I see theology and apologetics as a spiritual activity in which the Holy Spirit empowers our thoughts and speech – a form of spiritual warfare in which I hope Pentecostals in future generations will lead the way.’

Jodi De Souza

Jodi De Souza serves alongside her husband as co-leader at Letchworth Garden City Church. She heads the women’s ministry, STORM, and runs a professional theatre and film company

Leading the perfect STORM... Last Christmas saw Letchworth’s first-ever professional pantomime, and it was staged in the church building, thanks to The Humble Theatre Company, which Jodi runs. Jodi says, ‘I wanted to put on a top professional performance which would appeal to the community and put LGCC on the map in a new way. Our building is the biggest and most state-of-theart venue in the area, so it made sense to use it. ‘It was a great bridge into the community and a great message to the church about excellence in the arts. It was the first professional pantomime that the town of Letchworth has ever seen and we had an award-winning creative team with West End actors involved. Despite the very heavy snow at that time, about a thousand guests who had never been in the building before came, and the feedback was fantastic. What’s more, tens of thousands who didn’t even know that LGCC existed heard about us for the first time through the media campaign.’ Since joining the church, Jodi has revamped the women’s ministry and it has become one of the most exciting parts of church life. ‘Called STORM, the women’s ministry is based on the dictionary definition, “A disturbance of the normal condition of the atmosphere manifested

by winds of unusual force,”’ Jodi explains. ‘Dominic and I believe that women are called to stand on the front-line too – and not just cultivate beauty on the inside. ‘My prayer is that the Holy Spirit – the wind of God – will empower women in a fresh way, creating change in the spiritual atmosphere so that they can make a genuine difference in the world. ‘I wanted to do something to involve all women – to let them know that no matter who they are, they can make a difference and rise up and change things within the church and the world.’ Through three events a year – a conference, a social day and a day of consecration – plus weekly discipleship groups, all the women in the church can get involved. Jodi says, ‘The women of the church have really embraced it. We get all different types of women coming to the events, which is great, and there are now women rising up alongside the men in a new way. It’s about releasing potential, and it’s produced great testimonies of lives changed and a realisation that we can be more than just a husband’s shadow.’ Jodi’s own resumé is impressive – having studied at the prestigious Italia Conti stage school she knew from a young

age what she wanted to do. ‘I always wanted to be a theatre and film director since I was about 12,’ she says. ‘I felt that as a performer I wouldn’t have much influence in the types of roles you can take, especially being a young girl, and as a Christian I wanted to be able to speak into and influence this industry. I thought that directing was the best way forward, so I went to London with the intention of doing that.’ Whilst in London she attended Kensing ton Temple where she met Dominic. After leaving Italia Conti, she felt called to Bible college and God provided in an amazing way. ‘God provided my funds miraculously when it looked like there was no way that I would be able to go,’ Jodi recalls. ‘It was an amazing testimony of provision.’ And she graduated from Bible college with the top student award. Jodi has also used her skills to set up SOAR, the school of performing arts at LGCC. ‘We run regular classes in singing, acting, dance and musical theatre and we do a summer school each year. The church building has recording studios, so it’s a great place for us to host the school. Already many new people from the community have come in – and some are now even part of our number!’


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An honour for Street Pastors A group of Street Pastors brought together by Elim pastor Colin James were honoured at a recent launch ceremony before being released on to the streets of Andover, Hampshire. The launch is the culmination of a year-long vision birthed when Colin met with a local police inspector who expressed an interest in the idea. A small management committee was formed and the initiative got underway, and from September onwards, up to 16 volunteer pastors began their training. Colin said, ‘We feel grateful

Prayer appeal for Christians Prayer is needed for 14 Christians still in prison in Iran after being arrested on Boxing Day last year. They were among 25 Christians arrested on December 26, when special security officers forcefully entered their homes. Among those arrested were five married couples and a number of single women. Although 11 were later released, at the time of going to press 14 remained in custody with no legal representation and no charges made.

Elim missions meetings plan The Elim missions department is holding a series of meetings about how to resource missionaries and partners to help special needs adults and children overseas. For a list of venues and dates please email kathy. cooper@elimhq.net

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Sir George Young MP with the Street Pastors from Andover

to God for the privilege of being able to listen to people and to help and serve them. It’s about bringing practical help and sharing kindness with people. We’ve already

had conversations with 400 people, given away 40 pairs of flip-flops [to girls who find it difficult to walk home in high heels] and helped five very vulnerable people. I would like to

pay tribute to the commitment of the Street Pastors and the management team.’ The launch was attended by MP Sir George Young, the mayor and local police.

Launch of church’s worship album was ‘Magnificent’... Oasis Christian Centre in Long Eaton, Nottingham, launched their worship album to a packed house. With 200 copies of Magnificent sold, the night was hailed a success by Pastor Adrian Mancini. He said, ‘This was an amazing outreach project involving our worship team under the leadership of Tim Sanders (Gathering Band). It encapsulates the growing momentum, fresh confidence and vision we have as a church. ‘Our aim is to introduce our community to contemporary worship from their local church, whilst enabling believers to experience the heart of worship.’ The launch nearly didn’t happen after the CDs got stuck in Calais the night before due to snow, but all was resolved and the event was able to go ahead. ‘Thankfully the driver braved it

The worship band at Oasis Christian Centre

through the British snow and they made it with hours to spare!’ said Tim. ‘The journey started back in the summer when we met together to write and record a collection of songs that capture in part what God is doing in us as a church. ‘The whole process has been so encouraging as many have risen to each challenge and

served with sacrifice and skill. The launch event was a memorable evening – a real landmark occasion with the whole family coming together to celebrate. ‘It was our privilege and joy to share the songs and boldly sing of God’s greatness and provision over our church. ‘It’s our prayer that through this CD the power of the gospel will change lives.’


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Café church resonates in Worcester! Resonate, Elim’s youth initiative aimed at young people and students, has launched a monthly café church in Worcester’s Costa Coffee shop. Alongside City Church, a group of believers based in the Barbourne area of the city, the group meets once a month on a Sunday night to discuss the things of God in a relaxed café environment. Resonate spokesman and Serious4God Director Mark Pugh said, ‘We’ve been creating an environment where people can explore questions about life, God and the world we live in. It’s a great opportunity for those who wouldn’t normally go to church.’

Ashbourne to move home

Ashbourne Elim is looking forward to moving into new premises this year. After being in the same building for 90 years, Pastor Ben Brown is leading the congregation to a 5,000 sq ft building on a nearby retail park. The multifunctional centre will include a church, community centre and conference facilities. Pastor Ben said, ‘We’re looking forward to expanding our existing ministries in our new building.’ The new building is expected to be completed by June.

Great start! Youth For Christ kicked off 2011 with their annual conference at Bodelwyddan Castle in Wales. More than 350 people attended. National Director Gavin Calver said, ‘We had an amazing time of inspiration.”

Church marks anniversary by looking into the future Belualah Elim in Pontarddulais, Swansea, celebrated its building’s 30th anniversary by looking forward to the future. The church, also known as Bont Elim, now sees 150 people a week go through the building and is looking to move to bigger premises to facilitate its growing congregation. The anniversary was attended by former Regional Superintendent Geoff Feasey, who was pastor at the church 35 years ago. Pastor Jason Beynon said, ‘Whereas it was so good to see Geoff coming back to the Fellowship he faithfully served 35 years ago, leading us in a celebration of a longstanding Fellowship and a 30-year-old

Pastor Jason Beyon with Sam, a member baptised as part of the celebrations, and baby Tommy

building, we look forward in faith to the provision of a new building as God builds his Church.’ Jason has seen steady numerical growth since he took over as pastor four years ago, of a congregation of 12. The church now averages around 60

people attending on a Sunday. He explained, ‘We’ve taken the church in two directions since coming here. This is a traditionalist area, so we have two gospel services every Sunday. One is more of a traditional gospel service with hymns, and our evening service is more contemporary. ‘We are so passionate about what we do for Jesus. Our church is now open every day of the week, with different activities and drop in opportunities for the community.’ Geoff said, ‘This church is making a tremendous impact in the community, and over 150 people per week go through the building, which is amazing for a small town church.’

The Mini Rockers team with Yeovil Elim’s Claire McSevney, third from left

Parent and tots initiative to help community Yeovil Pentecostal Church has launched a new community initiative for parents and toddlers called Mini Rockers. The weekly service will cater for parents with children aged up to four years, and will give young families the space to play, laugh and learn together. Having looked at parent and toddler provision in the Larkhill and Westfield areas of the town, Yeovil Elim’s youth and children’s director Claire

McSevney recognised a clear need for this essential community service. Claire said, ‘We surveyed what was on offer in the local area and came to the conclusion that we needed to rock things up a bit for Yeovil toddlers, and so I came up with the concept of Mini Rockers.’ Mini Rockers takes place every Thursday between 1.30pm and 3pm with a small entrance fee of 50p per family.

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GS DIARY

Direction goes out and about with John Glass

Regional Leadership Conference, Scotland

St Helens Elim I enjoyed an excellent Sunday with Philip Fell and the team at St Helens. Like so many of our churches across the UK, St Helens has realised that the purpose of the church is to have a positive effect in local community and to see evangelism as going to where the people are – rather than reducing its impact to the limited ghetto of Sunday services. They also have a healthy and vibrant interaction with other churches in the surrounding area. At the close of the morning service the whole of the church stayed behind for a three-course meal during which I learned of an exciting initiative that was being taken to hold services in a local pub. Well done St Helens for thinking out of the box and getting out of the box!

AoG Regional Day

I very much enjoyed conducting two days of leadership meetings with around eighty pastors from our sister Fellowship the Assemblies of God. The venue was Exeter and the meetings were convened by Regional Leader for the area, Tim Robertson. There was a great atmosphere right from the start and there was a wide spectrum of leaders ranging from those who are emerging into pastoral roles through to those who have given many years of exceptional service within their denomination. There was a fantastic buzz in all the meetings, which augers very well for the future, and I would want to thank them for the warm and honouring way that I was received.

Bethnal Green I always love being at Elim Bethnal Green, London, with senior pastor Richard Jama and his wife Toyin. This is a lively and enthusiastic church at the heart of the Capital. The service featured the church’s excellent choir, and following the service I enjoyed time with the wider leadership of the church over a meal. If you live in the Bethnal Green area this would be a great church to make your spiritual home.

One of the greatest joys of my role is meeting our leaders during regional leadership Conferences and, given that fourteen years of my ministry has been spent in Scotland, it was a particular delight to spend two days with our pastors north of the border. Despite the worst weather for many years, with snow closing airports throughout the country and the roads being treacherous, there was an almost total turnout – one or two being absent only because it was physically impossible to get through. Close friend, NLT member and Regional Leader for the area, Kevin Peat (pic tured here with his wife Margaret) invited Marilyn and I to join them and their pastors at a four-star venue at Strathclyde Country park for the two days together.

Wembley Christian Centre How does she do it? Apart from leading a successful dental practice, Soke-Mun Ho is the pastor of Wembley Christian Centre – an Elim church and part of the London City net work under the auspices of Kensington Temple. I was present to preach at a special community

service at which several community leaders were present. Brent is referred to as the most diverse borough in Britain. Pastor Soke-Mun (pictured lef t) expressed her church’s appreciation for the community leaders, prayed with them and presented them with

plaques to commemorate their presence with us. This included the current mayor, the previous mayor, head of the fire service, a representative of the police force and business leaders. I cannot commend too highly the leadership that Soke-Mun Ho continues to give to the church in Wembley. She is one of our finest women pastors.

As reports take some time to get from ‘meeting to magazine’ you can keep up to date in ‘real time’ by visiting elimgs.blogspot.com, or on

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With the theme of Beauty for Ashes, many were impacted and set free at Livingstone House’s debut conference

Conference weathers storm to launch outreach events Above Sally Livingstone, who organised the Beauty for Ashes conference Main image Moments from the Beauty for Ashes conference, which was hailed a success

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Sally Livingstone’s first conference was hailed a success, as delegates from all over the country braved the snow to hear her inspirational story at the Beauty for Ashes conference, held at Birmingham Christian Centre. Sally, whose story of how she overcame horrific childhood abuse and subsequent drug addiction reached the finals of the BBC My Story competition, is the founder of Livingstone House, a Christian detox unit and drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Birmingham. The conference kicked off with worship led by the New Jerusalem Apostolic Church, before Sally was joined on stage by several young men who gave their testimonies of how

Livingstone House has helped save their lives. Then Sally’s powerful story, as shown on the BBC, was played, before a moving time of worship and prayer. Lunch was followed by inspirational worship led by Godfrey Birtill, before Elim General Superintendent John Glass finished off the day, speaking on the subject, ‘Beauty for Ashes’. The conference, which took place last December, marked a significant point in the life of Sally Livingstone, who, not content with running Livingstone House, also wants to branch out into evangelism. Sally says, ‘Although we wanted to raise the profile of Livingstone House it wasn’t a conference about addiction, al-

though there were professionals on hand to help those struggling in those areas. ‘I’ve always seen myself as an evangelist, so this is the next logical step. Aspire and GOD TV were both there too. ‘This is the first of many conferences. John Glass spoke on Beauty for Ashes and his preaching was second to none. The impact of that word is still affecting people today. He’s such an anointed, powerful speaker and we were so privileged and blessed to have him come and speak.’ One young woman who was particularly blessed during the day was 17-year-old Rachel Willis. She explains, ‘The first thing that really encouraged me was seeing the boys from


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Livingstone House. The way they worshipped God was just so free – despite all the previous things they had done in their lives. ‘However, it was the message that John Glass brought that really got me on my knees. One of the things that touched me was when he asked if anyone wanted to come up to the front to get rid of their ‘ashes’ and start afresh and just make a decision to never worship over a heavy heart. He nailed my spiritual battle in that sentence – it was exactly what I was going through. ‘When we went up to the front, I just cried and cried and he then came around and anointed our heads with oil. I went home changed and just felt so free. I know it wasn’t the speaker or the music or the people who changed me, it was God, yet I am still grateful that Sally obeyed God and decided to go through with the conference. Her heart and motive for setting up the conference seemed right and where the heart is pure, God really moves.’ John Glass added, ‘It was a delight to be invited to speak at the Beauty for Ashes Conference at Birmingham Christian Centre. I am an enthusiastic advocate of all that Sally Livingstone has achieved through her ministry, and it was a pleasure to underline my support by attending the first of these special events.’ Picture posed by model

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Livingstone House brought me to Christ and restored my self worth You could have looked at John Hagans and thought that everything was fine. He was 35, he had a respectable job as a nurse and wasn’t the ‘typical addict’ you might expect to find. However, John was living a secret lifestyle after a car accident in 1996 that drove him to the point of taking more than 80 painkillers a day. He was a selfconfessed drug addict. ‘As a nurse at first it was easy to hide and I had ready access to drugs,’ John says. ‘But it soon became harder to hide as my addiction worsened. ‘I did not fulfil the stereotype of the junkie, lying and stealing from family members and society to pay for the next fix. I was a professional addict, one who maintained an air of respectability, dignity, and outwardly a sense of care and concern. But the only care and concern that I had left at the end was for the drugs. ‘One day I finally reached that rock bottom that is often talked about. I had become sick and tired of being sick and tired. The drugs had stopped working for me. They no longer took away the pain. They contributed and made it worse. The painkillers were no longer killing the emotional pain, they were magnifying it.’ When John lost his job after his addiction was discovered soon after the birth of his first child, he realised he needed to get clean. Desperate, he turned to God. ‘I prayed that the Lord would help me, show me the way to live, and let his will be done in my life,’ he remembers. ‘I prayed for the first time in my life and meant it. Did I have an overwhelming Damascus Road

experience? No. But what I did feel was a glimmer of hope. I heard the following words, “Do what is right in my name.”’ In 2003, John started to attend various 12-step meetings, and underwent a painful unmedicated detoxification. But he still felt that there was something missing. He says, ‘I did everything I could. I went to meetings, spoke to people and prayed, but I felt that I was mentally slipping.’ It was whilst at one of these meetings that he first met Sally Livingstone. He remembers, ‘Sally’s car had broken down and I volunteered to go and pick her up outside a pub in Halesowen.’ John then took Sally and her residents back to Livingstone House. As soon as he stepped through the doors, he felt something different. He reveals, ‘People talk about moments of clarity in recovery. They talk about God speaking to them. I believe that God spoke to me that evening. He said, “This is my house. It is your house. Do what is right in my name.” But this was Sally’s home. It was clean. It was calm. There was something different though. God was in every room, in every molecule of air that I breathed.’ Over the next weeks and months John spent all his spare time at Livingstone House and began to use his skills as a nurse to help. But he admits that he was still reluctant to accept Christ. ‘At first I would go a couple of times a week; then I was there every day. I’m not somebody who just jumps into things. I have a scientific mind and believe what my eyes can see. I wasn’t

John Hagans

‘I believe that I had to go through what I went through with my own addiction to be able to offer something to Sally’s work’

just going to give my life to God like they kept telling me. ‘I believed that I was a Christian because I’d been raised a Catholic. But gradually what they were saying began to make sense and I did give my life to Christ.’ ‘It may sound strange, but I believe that I had to go through what I went through with my own addiction for me to arrive at Livingstone House – in order for me to be able to offer something to Sally’s work. ‘It’s given me back my self worth and respect and a purpose. It is my pleasure to serve God and to work alongside evangelist Sally Livingstone.’




Time For God: 40+ years of quality volunteering Pastor William Atkinson was a TFG volunteer for a year back in 1978 to 1979. Having taken his A levels a year early, he wanted to grow up a bit before going to University: so he decided to do voluntary service for a year. At first, he hoped to go overseas, but the main voluntary service organization catering for overseas work would not take him at the tender age of 17! However, William soon heard about TFG, which placed volunteers in churches and other situations in Britain. He applied—and was accepted. Having grown up in London, he didn’t really mind where he was placed as long as it was not London—he wanted to see a bit more of life in another part of the UK. And where did TFG place him?—you’ve guessed it: North London!! But God always knows what He is doing, and in fact William had a highly fulfilling time working in a Methodist church there. Throughout his year working for the church, William was constantly impressed by TFG’s organization and the excellent training that it offered to all its volunteers. So when the time came, decades later, for the church he serves in Braintree to look for a volunteer, his mind naturally went to TFG again. In the intervening years, TFG had moved largely to taking volunteers from overseas to work in this country, and sent Braintree a volunteer all the way from South Korea! The initial problem with English language was soon overcome, and Eun Jeong proved to be a tremendous asset to the life of the church—she even decided to stay a second year through TFG+!! After all these positive experiences, William gives the thumbs up to TFG, and would recommend any Elim church to consider taking a volunteer through this organization. Quality volunteering changes lives E: office@timeforgod.org P: +44 (0)2088831504 W: www.timeforgod.org

Looking for a year of service that will challenge and transform you? Looking for a volunteer to work with you? Ask t our abou 2012 For Time - Become t c h’s Proje he Churc 2 t 01 f 2 o part se to the s. c n i o p p m ly res on O Lond

Then get in touch, we have a variety of placements in the UK & abroad but we are always looking for more. office@timeforgod.org +44 (0) 20 88 83 15 04 www.timeforgod.org

TFG provides quality volunteering opportunities through which God changes lives.


DIRECTION Dr Krish Kandiah, Churches in Mission Director at the Evangelical Alliance and Chair of Biblefresh

RTC Principal Nigel Tween looks at t he churches to take part in the new initi ativ since the publication of the King Jame s V

10 reasons why y o

Encouraging a greater passion Biblefresh is gaining momentum, and it’s not too late for your church to get on board! This year marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version of the Bible, and therefore presents a unique opportunity for churches to focus their attention on the Word of God. Biblefresh is a movement of churches, agencies, organisations, colleges, festivals and denominations – including Elim – which is happening throughout 2011. The aim of the Biblefresh initiative is to encourage a greater confidence and passion for Scripture, using a range of new and different initiatives. They are all on the Biblefresh website and this is the place where individual

churches need to sign up to be part of the initiative. Elim’s General Superintendent John Glass said, ‘I unreservedly commend the Biblefresh initiative because of the creative encouragement that it brings to the wider church to engage with God’s Word.’ Dr Krish Kandiah, Churches in Mission Director at the Evangelical Alliance and Chair of Biblefresh, added, ‘We want people to appreciate how God speaks to them through Scripture and to reflect on how they have been challenged and encouraged through the Bible. ‘The Bible is as relevant today as it was four centuries ago when King James commissioned his world-changing translation.’

Make no mistake about it – the Bible is here to stay. The Bible is a collection of books from God – about God. It’s a story of his love for people. In the New Testament, the central figure is Jesus, God robed in flesh. The Bible records information about his birth, life, death and resurrection. Its miraculous message is that the God who spun the worlds in space visited earth to provide a way to heaven; as a result, everyone has the possibility of sharing in the new kingdom and becoming a member of God’s very own family. The Bible is no ordinary book. It is strangely different, because people who listened to the voice of God wrote it. The words they penned were more than human. They live, like fire, for each new generation, fresh as the wind and pure as the rain.

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The Bible is the Word of God (2 Peter 1:16-21). The Bible is God’s revelation to us. This means (i) it is a book by God. The Holy Spirit used people to record the words that God wanted us to read; (ii) it is a book about God. Without it, there is so much about God that we would not know; (iii) since it is God’s Word, it will be around forever (1 Peter 1:24-25).

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The Bible answers life’s most important questions. Since the Bible is written by the Author of life, it is full of wisdom, guidance and direction for life (Psalms 119:19, 97-105; Proverbs 2:6).

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The Bible nourishes us spiritually. (Hebrews 5:12-14). We have all seen the effects

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of a poor diet, but God’s good food is contained in the Bible – are you taking your daily allowance?

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The Bible encourages us to see ourselves as we are (James 1:22-25). The Bible is a mirror. It shows you the things in your life that you need to correct so that you will look how God wants you to. We do not study the Bible to impress people with our superior knowledge. Rather, the purpose of studying is to help us straighten out our life so we will look more like the one in whose image we have been made.

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The Bible brings transformation (Romans 12:1-2. Hebrews 4:12). The Word of God is living and active. It helps


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at t he Bible as he encourages Elim niti ative that celebrates 400 years me s Version

Easy ways to make it part of life Our top tips to help you make the Bible part of your everyday life

y ou should read the Bible to transform us by renewing our minds and by judging our thoughts and attitudes. Martin Luther wrote, ‘The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.’

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The Bible is a source of comfort and hope (Psalm 119:49, 50, 52). The Psalmist records, ‘I am weak from waiting for you to save me, but I hope in your word’ (Psalm 119:81); ‘You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my only source of hope’ (Psalm 119:114); ‘In my distress and anguish, your commands comfort me’ (Psalm 119:143).

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The Bible equips us to love and reach out to people (1 Peter 3:15). The Word of God prepares us to answer the notyet-Christian’s questions about life and its struggles, God and his love for them, and God’s way of salvation for all.

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The Bible prepares us for eternity. John 8:51 records, ‘I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.’ The Bible offers comfort and hope to the bereaved and the dying.

‘The people who listened to the voice of God wrote it’

• Take your Bible and a notebook to church • Ask your pastor for a Bible reading plan • Buy and read a good Bible commentary • Download the Bible on to your iPod/phone • Listen to the Bible in the car or while doing household chores • Order the UCB Word for Today Elim edition • Consider studying at Regents Theological College • For more information, visit www.regents-tc.ac.uk or www.BibleFresh.com

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The Bible exposes false teaching (Matthew 7:1523; Galatians 1:6-9). We are confronted with so many belief systems and ideologies – the Bible is the best guide to life.

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The Bible empowers us to resist temptation (Psalm 119:9-11). It has often been said, ‘Sin will keep you from the Bible, or the Bible will keep you from sin.’ A regular diet of God’s Word will enable the Holy Spirit to work in your life (1 Corinthians 10:13).

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The first ever death sentence to be handed to a Christian woman in Pakistan has made international headlines. Nasir Seed, director of CLAAS, an agency helping persecuted believers, reports

Sentenced to death... for being Christian The persecution of Christians under the pretext of blasphemy has intensified in recent years and it is time the world, and other Christians especially, were aware of what is going on. Asia Bibi is already behind bars, struggling to come to terms with the severe sentence handed to her for little more than a dispute with her Muslim colleagues over their faiths. The sentence has devastated her husband and three children who cannot bear the thought of her being taken so unjustly from them. Like other Christians found guilty of blasphemy in Pakistan, there is absolutely no evidence at all that Asia committed blasphemy, and she has always denied the charge. Sadly police often turn a blind eye to false blasphemy charges and side with the extremists, sometimes not even bothering to hear the side of those who stand accused. All too often, Christians are being thrown behind bars for years at a time for crimes they never committed. It can be years before their case is brought to trial, and even if they are acquitted, life is never the same for them. Islamic extremists often continue to make threats against the lives of those who have been freed, forcing them to spend years or even the rest of their lives in hiding. Even if Asia is eventually acquitted – as has happened so far with every death sentence for blasphemy – she will not be able to return to life as she knew

Asia Bibi is already behind bars, struggling to come to terms with the severe sentence handed to her for little more than a dispute with her Muslim colleagues over their faiths

it before. We have seen this to be the case just recently with the acquittal of Ruqqiya Bibi, a young Christian woman who was sent to jail together with her toddler son after a Muslim neighbour accused her of blasphemy following a minor dispute. Ruqqiya may be out of prison now, but she is anything but free. Radicals are unhappy about her release and are looking for revenge. For the foreseeable future she will have to live in hiding. The Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) has called repeatedly upon the Pakistani government to repeal the blasphemy laws. It is not simply that they are being misused by Islamic extremists to settle scores with Christians. There is also the fact that they foster an attitude of superiority among the majority-Muslim population, that it is somehow okay to mistreat Christians. Such

‘Elim applauds the courageous work in which CLAAS is involved through its mediatory role on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves’ John Glass

Above Asia Bibi’s sentence has hit headlines across the world

an attitude is only reinforced by the fact that extremists are very rarely held to account by the legal system, while the real victims, the Christians, are handed severe sentences on the basis of scant evidence and sham trials. In reality, repealing laws is a lengthy and complicated process, and even amending the laws would be a significant step forward in efforts to end the misappropriation of the blasphemy laws. So far, the Pakistani government has established a committee to review ‘laws detrimental to religious harmony’ and made utterances about changing laws that could potentially be exploited to create ‘violence and disharmony’ in society. Disappointingly, there has been no real sign from the Pakistani government that it takes its own pledges seriously. Very little visible progress has been made in tackling the laws that lie at the heart of the suffering that Christians in Pakistan face, and unless real steps are taken to amend or repeal the blasphemy laws that suffering will only continue. Elim GS John Glass has thrown his backing behind the work of CLAAS. He said, ‘Elim applauds the courageous work in which CLAAS is involved through its mediatory role on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. CLAAS brings into sharp focus the atrocities inflicted on Christians that a liberal media would all to often like to be kept hidden from public scrutiny.’

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Last New Year’s Eve, Elim’s oldest minister, George Canty, went home to be with the Lord, aged 99. Desmond Cartwright reports

A formidable person within Elim The death of George Canty shortly before his 100th birthday breaks the link to the earliest years of Elim’s history. Born into a poor family in Hull, George was brought into contact with the Pentecostal Movement for the first time after his five-year-old brother came home with a report of the miraculous healing of his teacher. His widowed mother, a convent-educated lapsed Irish Catholic was converted in a Free Church Mission. It was to the small, back street Pentecostal Mission that she was drawn, however. It was out of this meeting where Ernest Boulton became minister that George and Stephen Jeffreys held meetings in May 1922 that would give rise to the fourth Elim church in England. Inside George’s small frame was a young boy alive with energy but frustrated with the lack of opportunity for educational advancement. With little help he still went on to qualify professionally in property management and estate agency. At 14 he made his first efforts at preaching in the crusader meetings. It was a first step on a long road that would take him to Elim Bible college in Clapham in 1937 and to ordination in 1941. This was followed by short periods of service in a number of churches as was the case with most ministers at the

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‘With little help he still went on to qualify professionally in property management and estate agency’

Above George Canty opens Coventry Elim building in 1941

time. Following a short period in Southampton after the war he moved to Langley in 1946 where he met and married his wife, Rieta. The next move was to Gloucester where he stayed until 1962, and where he saw considerable growth in the church. During that time his ministry took a new direction as he discovered a fresh touch from God that launched him into a new dimension of a revived ministry. In 1973 he was elected as Elim’s Vice-President, becoming President in the following year. His final church was Sparkbrook, Birmingham 1966-76. He was entitled to retire on reaching the age of 65, or if he wanted to he could ask to continue on the Active Retired list. He had many more years yet. He did not appear on the list

as retired until 1985, and even then he continued working on his computer by writing many books for well-known evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. George was a radical thinker to the end. He kept up his study and reading, and his library reflected that. I got to know him well when we served together on the Doctrine of the Church Committee. At our last meeting, when I asked him how he was, he replied, ‘I’m all right from the neck up!’ His last words with me in November when I made an appointment to meet with him in December were, ‘Come in the afternoon as I will be working in the morning.’ We were not to meet again: he had another more important meeting that he had awaited for 85 years.


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John Glass with George Canty at Malvern last year

Though a small man, George had great spiritual stature

Above George Canty, who was a great servant of God and Elim George worked extensively with well-known evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, below, who also spoke at his funeral

George Canty was a formidable person within Elim. Though small in frame, he was a man of great spiritual stature who, since he first entered into ministry with us in 1938, served as pastor, evangelist, church planter, writer and broadcaster. As an evangelist he was known as the man who ‘painted while he preached’, and who, at the close of the service, would present the painting to the person who had brought the most people to church. As a pastor he served in Oldbury, Coventry, Southampton, Gloucester, Leyton and Sparkbrook. It is remarkable that George Canty, though a writer with a huge vocabulary, never understood the meaning of the word ‘retirement’. He

pioneered the church in Acocks Green when he was 66, and pastored there until he was 75. Denominationally, he served for nine years as a District Superintendent, and for one year as President. Just five months ago he visited our International Offices in Malvern, and it was my privilege to host him for the day. Most importantly, I had the joy of praying with him in hospital just 36 hours before he went home to be with the Lord. Multitudes of people were saved and blessed through the wide spectrum of his ministry gifts. The Elim Movement honours him today. George Canty, we salute you. John Glass, General Superintendent Elim Pentecostal Church

We can expect greater things in God’s kingdom... Direction reprints one of George Canty’s articles on healing overleaf

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Never afraid to speak his mind, George Canty was well known in Elim for his writing, often addressing contentious subjects. As part of our tribute to George, we reprint this article on healing

We can expect greater things in God’s kingdom The Elim Constitution lays down the fundamental purpose of the Movement as proclaiming Jesus Christ as Saviour, Healer, Baptiser in the Holy Spirit and the Coming King – the foursquare message. As I consider healing I remember that, in my teens, I heard healing being discussed more often than being proclaimed. As a schoolboy I’d seen campaign posters declaring: ‘The blind see, the deaf hear, cripples walk’. But later they were toned down to, ‘The sick will be prayed for’. Then, in a major ministry campaign that lasted weeks, I saw people being prayed for – but nobody even looked to see if they were healed, and I heard of no healings. I recall Christ being proclaimed as the Saviour and Coming King, but he was only preached about as Healer, and his being the Baptiser in the Spirit was hardly ever mentioned. This, however, was very understandable. Criticism of these two aspects of the Foursquare Gospel came as a constant roar from the Church worldwide. The sands of worldly and even Evangelical unbelief clogged the wells of the supernatural. I hardly ever heard a sermon about healing or the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, except under the teaching of one pastor – an outstanding man

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Above George Canty in action

of faith. And he found it hard work to re-dig the wells of the miraculous. That was a long time ago and, years later, God pushed me into taking a positive stand (reluctantly) to re-dig the wells. It brought me, for example, an invitation to address a united conference of Pentecostal leaders on the subject of healing, and I was introduced as a ‘brave man’ who faced unsympathetic

hearers. Meanwhile, we learn from church history that reports and records about the miraculous have sometimes been written or edited by people with attitudes that ranged from superstition and naivety to prejudice. But while I set aside great questions like, ‘What is healing?’, ‘Is it in the atonement?’ and ‘Why are so many people not healed?’, I can say that my own faith began as the Holy Spirit used Bible texts – like burning arrows – to set my mind on fire. For me, all the encouragement I need to minister to the sick and to expect miracles is the ministry of Christ. He worked the works of the Father as the eternal God, not as a god adopting a temporary phase and putting on a special show. God has no temporary phases. In Acts, the apostles were pioneers discovering the supernatural possibilities of the Holy Spirit and the resurrection. And if we follow their example, we can expect even greater things in the kingdom of God. The ultimate intention of the Lord is humanity without physical distress. ‘No longer will there be any curse’ (Revelation 22:3). The curse is the true label for sickness, and if we read such a verse as only meaning that heaven will be pain free, we completely miss the point.


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Aspire A passionate ministry for women in Elim

Be careful with me, I’m breakable! Only the King of kings can fix broken lives, says Aspire team member Lynda Heron I love a cuppa, but not any old tea – it must be Earl Grey, and preferably in a fine china cup (if you want to get the best taste). As I sat down to write this with a cuppa in hand, I pulled my favourite cup out of the dishwasher, only to realise it had broken during the cycle. Of course it was wrong to have put such a fine, fragile item through such indelicate treatment. Funny how it’s usually the expensive, precious, valuable items in life that must be handled so delicately and with extra care, lest they break! I guess people are like that too. After all, we are God’s most treasured possessions (Psalm 139:13-18). And we certainly cost him a lot, so people are valuable. People are precious to God. In fact we will never meet anyone that doesn’t matter intensely to God! I recently helped a friend move house, and for most of the day I was simply unwrapping china, glasses, ornaments etc from layers of Bubble Wrap. Each box was labelled ‘handle with care’ or ‘fragile’, to warn me of the fragility of the precious contents – and of course I felt no pressure handling her treasured possessions – I don’t think! Then, chatting away, I unravelled a beautiful red Italian

cut glass, edged in gold, with a long stem. ‘Aww’, she said, as it emerged, ‘That’s a very precious gift from a very precious friend.’ There was only one problem – as I unravelled the Bubble Wrap, it became apparent that the stem was detached, and the glass was broken in pieces. The box had been mishandled at some point, maybe thrown around and not protected during the moving process, causing the precious contents to be broken into pieces. I looked again at the ‘Handle with Care’ label, and the thought occurred to me that maybe we should wear these labels too: ‘Be careful with me, I am breakable’! We are breakable. People are fragile. When we are mishandled, thrown around, not cared for properly, not protected, or put through ‘indelicate’, tough treatment, like the finest china, we are breakable. Elijah was a man who ‘broke’ (1 Kings 19:5-18). He had been zealous for God, had a high-powered ministry seeing great miracles, yet the tough talk from Jezebel was too much for him. He broke, then ran and hid in a cave. It’s uncanny that too often it’s not the sticks and stones of life but the words from others

that deliver the final cracks to break us. But if words are powerful to break, then words used correctly are powerful to restore too. The words of God came to Elijah in a gentle whisper to draw him out of his place of brokenness. Gentle words can bring healing, hope and restoration, and empower us when fragile (Proverbs 15:1). Historically, we women are known to be the more gentle gender. This gentleness is not to be viewed as weakness. Gentleness is powerful; it brings strength to the weak. The still, small voice was loaded with the strength of gentleness. Gentleness is the interwoven character of God. Isaiah 42v2-3 tells us, ‘He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.’ The age-old nursery rhyme depicts us (people) as fragile as eggs: ‘Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again.’ Only the King of kings can put a broken person together again! Jesus was broken so that we didn’t have to be.

‘There was only one problem – as I unravelled the Bubble Wrap, it became apparent that the stem was detached, and the glass was broken in pieces’

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KingsGate Community Church in Peterborough hit the headlines when Rad services on TV and the positive effect it had on him. With a thriving Sunday centre now open, Becky Barlow met leader Dave Smith ahead of his visit as What is the story behind your move to Peterborough? I’d just finished my studies at Oxford, when Simon Matthews from Plumbline Ministries asked if we would come and start a church in Peterborough. After much praying, my wife Karen and I decided that this was from the Lord and so, together with our six-month-old daughter, we moved to a city that we knew little about and started a church in our home with nine people. That was in September 1988 – the beginning of what is now KingsGate Community Church. The first few years were tough. I would describe it more as root work rather than fruit work. During that time, we grew to about 15 people. Then after about 18 months we had something of a ‘backdoor revival’, and ended up with six people left. I handed in my resignation to the Lord several times, but thankfully he didn’t accept it! After four years, we had built a solid core of around 25 people and I made a decision to quit my full-time teaching job and take a step of faith. In the summer of that year four new families joined the church. That was definitely a defining moment. The church doubled overnight and since then we’ve seen growth year on year. Now we have a 12½ acre site which currently seats 1,200 people and when it’s finished will seat 1,800 people. We have a fantastic team and on a Sunday morning average around 1,600 people. In September 2010 we launched our second centre in Cambridge and had a wonderful start in a rented building. Already the congregation is between 150–200 on any given Sunday. As pastor of a local church, how do you maintain the

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balance between speaking engagements and being there for your own church? I’m clear that my primary call is to build the house of God and to fulfil the Word of God in and through the ministry of KingsGate, and I have managed to stay fairly focused on this. So I keep the vast majority of my weekends free so that I can be at home church. But I also do want to serve the wider body of Christ so I am always open to outside speaking engagements. What are the key lessons you learned in the 23 years since you planted the church in Peterborough? There have been plenty of lessons along the way, but a couple of things immediately come to mind. The first is that God is good! He is committed to building his Church and is faithful to his promises. Whilst we may have faced challenges along the journey, the Lord has never let us down. Knowing God’s goodness and being strongly convinced of his calling, even though it was tough, has pulled us through. Right at the start of the church, we had a prophecy that told us to, ‘Think big, or you’ll limit me!’ Such words have kept us pressing forward through tough times. I also learned the great importance of cultivating my own intimacy with the Lord – of the need to hear him and obey what he says. Jesus is building his Church and he will continue to build his Church through me as I listen to him and obey him. I have also discovered the need to build a great team, both of volunteers and full-time staff. No one of us has all the gifts to accomplish what God is calling us to do. So over the last 23 years I’ve deliberately tried to bring

Hold on t


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en Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles mentioned having seen the unday morning congregation of 1,600 and a second s visit as guest speaker at Elim Bible Week in June

Dave Smith during an altar call at KingsGate Community Church, Peterborough

n to God’s promises

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onto our team differently gifted men and women who are one in heart and mind with the vision that God has given us. Have you noticed a significant shift in Britain in regards to the gospel? If we look back to the late 1960s there’s no question that there has been a cultural shift, at least in terms of legislation, away from biblical values. The good news, though, is I think there’s still a strong and increasing spiritual hunger for something other than materialism. So we continue to find that when people come to church there is a great openness to the gospel. Every year we see hundreds converted, although how we do evangelism has probably changed from when we first started out. At the beginning we would do lots of door knocking and street work, and while I don’t think there’s anything

‘The first thing we need if we’re going to reach our communities is to allow God to give us a supernatural love for the place and the people’

Above The packed congregation at KingsGate Community Church

Care Zone ‘On a practical level of reaching our community, we run something called Care Zone,’ reports Dave Smith. ‘Different agencies refer to us people who have moved into the city and have nothing in their house. They turn up and we provide anything from clothes to furniture.

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wrong with these methods, as a church we have shifted to evangelism based more on personal relationships that has a strong serving component within it. For example, we will go out and serve the community without watering down the truth of the gospel. But we still believe there is power in proclamation evangelism and we still give altar calls on Sundays and consistently see people saved. What is your vision for KingsGate Community Church? Our vision has always been to build a large church based on the prophetic word we had all those years ago. But over the years we’ve sensed a shift of emphasis without letting go of the original vision, and have generated a new mission statement, ‘Transforming lives from our neighbourhood to the nations by the power of God’s love.’ Over the next ten years we believe God is calling us to impact our local communities, connect our crowd to God and to his family, care for our congregations, equip our committed members and send our core into our neighbourhoods and the nations – filled with the power and presence of God. We want to see the whole church involved in reaching

communities throughout our cities and regions. We want to see every school in our region impacted with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We want to see people passionate about making a difference for God in their workplaces. We want to see a community action programme that meets the needs of people from every walk of life; practically, emotionally and spiritually. Our focus is now more on building big people and, as a result, God has been building the church. We want to see vibrant, loving communities of God’s people connected together. We want to provide warm, welcoming environments where all people feel that they are accepted and belong. We want to see thousands of people from all nations, generations and vocations make KingsGate Community Church their home. There will always be challenges in a church of this size, with people at different stages of their walk with God, but at the heart of the church is a wonderfully committed core. Originally our heart was for the city of Peterborough, but a couple of years ago I felt the Lord say to me, ‘It’s time for you to lift your horizons and start establishing centres across the UK.’ Cambridge is the first of these new centres. How does the one church, two centres idea work? The philosophy behind the new centres is that they are still part of one church, with one vision, sharing one set of values and one DNA, but with their own distinct character and local teams. The advantage is that we can maintain close contact but give the centres freedom to contextualise the message to the specific city that they are a part of. So they will have all the benefits of connection and commonality running through them,


DIRECTION

but at the same time develop their own feel. What is the best way for a church to connect with its community? The first thing we need if we’re going to reach our communities is to allow God to give us a supernatural love for the place and the people. For the first year that we lived in Peterborough, my wife and I didn’t really like the place. The Lord spoke to us that if we wanted to reach the people we had to love the place and, over the years, God has given us a supernatural love for this city and the people. We also need a confidence in our calling and in the power of

‘I was honoured to be asked to speak at this year’s Conference and I’m thinking of speaking on the life of Joseph’

Above Pastor Dave Smith and his wife Karen

the gospel. We need to passionately believe in the greatness and love of a redeeming God. What is your link with the Elim Movement and do you know what you will be speaking on yet? I’m indebted to Elim in a couple of ways. I’ve always considered myself as a Pentecostal, Charismatic Christian who loves the personal work of the Holy Spirit. I have much to be grateful for from the early Pentecostal pioneers in this nation, of which Elim were key players. Secondly, years ago I decided to do some more studies and did a wonderful course at

Nantwich [Regents Theological College], which was an MA in Pentecostal and Charismatic issues. It was so inspiring and really encouraged my love for the Word of God. I was honoured to be asked to speak at this year’s Conference and am thinking about speaking on the life of Joseph. I’ve just finished writing a book called Living the Dream, about Joseph’s life, and there are so many wonderful lessons that can apply to both churches and individuals. Joseph is a great picture of an individual believer, but I also think he’s a great prophetic picture of how we should corporately be as a Joseph generation. He starts out receiving a vision from God – he dreams God’s dream – but rather than go straight into it, he then endures a severe 13 years of testing before receiving dramatic promotion and then spends 80 years at the pinnacle of power and influence. I believe that God wants every single one of us to dream his dream, to embrace his preparation, then receive his promotion in order that we fulfil his destiny for our lives and, like Joseph, finish well and leave a great legacy. All of us can go through tough times, but if we hold on to God’s promises and pass the tests, he can pour out his favour on our lives and get us to the place where he wants us to be.

Emphasis on equipping every believer ‘We have a strong emphasis on equipping every believer to be involved in personal friendship evangelism and to invite their friends to corporate events,’ says Dave Smith. ‘The most effective of those has been our Christmas and Easter celebrations. We make

much of these because we see thousands coming to our services and many people giving their lives to the Lord. ‘It’s vital to follow these people up and we do this in a number of ways, with letters, phone calls and an invites to Alpha.’

29 29


DIRECTION

The pastor of Elim Le Phare in Paris celebrates the church’s tenth anniversary and reveals how the fellowship is growing

Thriving in a tough spiritual environment Pastor Allswell Mensah is the leader of a growing church in the heart of the French capital, Paris. This is no mean feat in a country where open evangelism is illegal and only the Catholic Church is recognised by the government as a place of worship. But despite this, in the ten years since Allswell planted Elim Le Phare (The Lighthouse), his congregation has grown to about 70 regular attendees, all from the Ghanian community. He says, ‘We started Elim Le Phare with me, my wife and two daughters in my sitting room, ten years ago, and we’ve grown to around 80 members. We’ve had 75 baptisms since the start. It’s very, very difficult in France because we’re not allowed to do open evangelism so our church has grown through people sharing their testimonies and telling their friends about Jesus.’ The story behind Allswell’s own conversion is quite remarkable. Born in Liverpool, he went to Paris for work, which is where he encountered God. He explains, ‘One night I had what can only be described as a vision. In the vision a man dressed in white came to my room. In those days I had an unhealthy lifestyle and was drinking and smoking and sometimes wouldn’t go to work. ‘This man walked into my room dressed in white then he stopped and pointed his finger on the end of my nose and called me by name. Then he said, “Don’t you know that your

30

Above Allswell Mensah with wife Grace and Geoff Feasey

body is the house of God and you are destroying it.” I woke up and there was nobody in the room. I looked at the clock and it was 1.30am. I went back to sleep and the person appeared to me again. Again he pointed at me and touched the end of my nose calling me by name. He said, “Your body is the house of God and he has put things in you so that many will be blessed.” ‘I woke up and it was 3am. I didn’t know anything about the Bible, but in the morning I got rid of every bottle of whiskey that I had in the house.’ The date was June 17, 1992, and though he didn’t know it, Allswell’s spiritual journey had begun. Desperate for answers to who had visited him in his vision, he set out on a ten-day pilgrimage to Lourdes, which left him £1,000 out of pocket and still with a spiritual longing within him unanswered. After trying the Catholic Church and a brief stint in the Jehovah’s Witnesses, he

heard about a Ghanaian prayer Fellowship starting up so he decided to join. It was here that he head about a ‘man of God’ who would be visiting the area. ‘I immediately wanted to meet him because I’d never heard anyone described like that before,’ he remembers. ‘I happened to be at the airport when he arrived and I touched him and he said, “What do you want God to do?” I replied, “I want to know the true God.”’ The man was evangelist Owusu Tabiri and Allswell spent the next few months driving him across Europe, still searching for answers as to who had appeared to him. ‘I drove him to Germany and while there I had another vision,’ Allswell says. ‘I woke up and told Owusu and he told me that God had called me to ministry. I didn’t understand what that meant, but I knew without a doubt that the spirit I had seen was God.’ Allswell returned to France where he was baptised and planted the Church of Pentecost church in 1993. He applied to Kensington Temple where he carried out his training and went on to study at Regents Theological College before joining the Ministers In Training Programme. He was ordained as an Elim minister on June 3, 2003. Elim minister Geoff Feasey, who attended the church’s anniversary says, ‘The progress in five years since my last visit is awesome for a church in France!’


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DIRECTION

Don’t reduce Christianity to going to church and being nice, says Gary Gibbs. God is looking for believers who are ready to break barriers for him

The church needs you to be a breakthrough believer

Above Don’t settle for a ‘safe and secure’ kind of faith says Gary Gibbs Main image Roger Bannister crosses the line in May 1954 to become the first person in history to beat the four-minute mile. He ran it in 3:59.4, beating a time that many believed to be a physical impossibility. Since Bannister proved it possible, numerous runners have gone on to improve his time. The record currently stands at a staggering 3:43.1 set in 1999 by Hicham El Guerrouj from Morocco.

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Perhaps the greatest disappointment for a believer would be to come to the end of this earthly life and, on reflection, realise that he/she had settled for a ‘safe and secure’ kind of Christianity, rather than one of pursuing the great adventure that God had in store. We are in danger of equating faith with the following: going to church at least twice a month, being honest in our dealings, being kind to all – especially children and puppies, staying out of debt (except on our mortgage and car), giving to our favoured charities and being careful what we watch on TV after 9pm. Now, there’s nothing wrong with the list – in fact there’s a lot right about it. But sadly, if these characteristics are the benchmark for radical Christianity, well, we have a huge problem. If we believe that this is all that biblical discipleship is about, not

only will we end up bored and possibly disillusioned but we will never be the ‘breakthrough’ people that God has recreated us to be. Almost 57 years ago, a young medical student named Roger Bannister stepped out on to an athletics track in Oxford and shortly afterwards he became the first person ever to run a mile in under four minutes. Until that day, many had believed it was impossible to achieve such a feat. Bannister believed the barrier was psychological, not physical; as a result he became a breakthrough person. Since then, literally thousands have dipped under the four-minute barrier. In your life, what is the barrier that prevents you from being a breakthrough person? James is clear that ‘faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead’ (James 2:17). My

plea and challenge to us is that we embrace faith-filled, breakthrough activities in the months and years ahead. Here are a few examples to whet your appetite as to what this might look like: A geographical breakthrough There are probably a hundred and one reasons why you should stay exactly where you are right now, doing the same sort of things you’ve been doing for years. It takes great courage to even ask God the question, ‘Lord, can I serve you somewhere else?’ We have some challenging opportunities within the Elim family right now for you if you are up for the adventure of following Jesus to another part of the UK and being an ambassador for him. A ministry breakthrough Are you a Christian? Good, then


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The Lord’s Prayer with Nik Howarth

In prayer we should always seek to honour God’s name, explains Nik Howarth

you are also a minister! In other words, you have the God-given ability to serve. In fact you are probably serving in your church in some capacity already, but let me invite you to release your imagination for a moment and stretch your missional horizon. Have you considered becoming the pastor to your office, or street, or to the school gate parents? They don’t need to know about it, but if you simply decide before God that you will take on that responsibility, it will change both how you pray and what you do for them! Have you thought about joining with someone else from your church who lives nearby and planting a new small group in your neighbourhood? The aim is to grow a group of 10-12, but to do it evangelistically. There are all sorts of ‘Alpha’ type courses out there, which can give you a focus to kick

off once you have built some relationships. A vocal breakthrough Recently I read the following: ‘Saying, “Preach the gospel, use words if necessary,” is like saying, “Feed the hungry, use food if necessary.”’ Brilliant! Of course we need to be kind, honest, caring people towards others, but God’s method to bring his message to this world is primarily through words! So, let’s get over our reluctance to share, when appropriate, the best news ever with those around us. Maybe we will be surprised at how open people are to hear about our loving, gracious and miracleworking God! • Gary is the Director of REACH, Elim’s evangelism and church planting department. If you would like to be involved with REACH, contact gary.gibbs@elimhq.net

Jesus said, ‘When you pray say, “Hallowed be your name”.’ In our culture, a name is merely a label – but this was not so in Jesus’ time. The ‘name’ embodied the individual’s personality, power, reputation and authority. The word for ‘hallowed’ is from hagiazo, often translated as ‘to make holy’. Jesus is telling us that the first thing we should be seeking for in prayer is to make God’s reputation honoured and separated, above all else. Are we praying for something or some occurrence that would benefit others or ourselves and thus bring glory to God? Or are we primarily seeking only God’s glory? To pray in the first way may not seem misplaced but Jesus tells us that the first purpose of our prayer should always be to bring honour to God’s name. It may be that instead of praying for release from suffering we should

pray for grace to show God to others through it. The Roman emperor Constantine was converted because of the testimony shown by Christians who were being persecuted and killed for their faith. In their suffering their first desire was to honour God’s name. To honour God’s name and make it holy is to worship him. The word proskuneo is often used to portray the worship of God – it means to draw near to kiss, in the sense of bowing to kiss the hand. This is how we should approach God in prayer. Who are we praying for? Do we pray that others might honour God’s name – of course, but how much more should we pray that we may honour his name in our lives and actions? This is the first point of all prayer. In prayer, our first desire should be to seek that honour is brought to God above all other considerations.

• Nik is an Elim minister leading Nuneaton Christian Fellowship. He is also a medical doctor and has an MA in theology from Regents Theological College.

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DIRECTION

While slicing the Sunday joint, Mark Pugh was so frustrated with his carving knife he was ready to buy a new one. But he realised that he had the correct knife, it just needed to be sharpened

You have the gifts... just sharpen them It’s a familiar scene – a Sunday roast dinner is being lovingly prepared and cooked, and its aroma fills the home with a sense of wellbeing and anticipation. There are so many flavours waiting for their moment to come alive in the mouths of a very grateful audience, and their simmering smell is but a small tease conspiring to get the stomach rumbling with an impatient concerto. As my wife prohibits me from meddling in the process of cooking such a feast, I am delegated a few tasks that she hopes are unlikely to have any spoiling impact on her masterful endeavours. As I set about the first of these, I straighten the tablecloth and then begin to add the placemats, cutlery, condiments and drinks glasses. Task two has the artistic sounding title of ‘carving the meat’. In all honesty that is probably too elaborate a description – ‘slicing, cutting or tearing’ may be more appropriate. I’ve often come to this theatrical moment and felt that the shining piece of steel in my hand was inadequate for the job. I’ve watched others demonstrate how it should be done, and noticed the ease with which the knife glides through the succulent juicy meat (sorry veggies but this story just wouldn’t work with a ‘Quorn’ substitute). I’ve tried different knives from the

Above Mark Pugh

kitchen drawer and all of them seem to attack it like an angry rugby scrum, leaving the strips of meat looking worse for wear. As these ‘chunks’ are served out onto the warm plates along with the perfectly cooked vegetables, and fused with amazing gravy, it somehow seems to spoil an otherwise perfect looking meal. Surely to achieve those evenly cut, aesthetically pleasing slices I would need to buy a new knife – one that is made for the job – one that will gently and graciously interact with the meat and cause it to comply willingly. After years of serving up disappointingly shaped meat because I resented paying the apparently high cost of a professional meat carving knife, I had an idea. I’d recently bought a sharpener to maintain some of my gardening tools and, like a cartoon cloud containing an illuminated light bulb above my head, the thought came to me that I should try using it on the kitchen knives. With a bounce in my step I got straight to it, expending generous amounts of energy by quickly moving the edge of the blade against the sharpening stone. Occasionally I would stop and inspect it visually to see if I could notice anything different before repeating the process again… and again and again. The moment of truth was

now sitting in front of me on the kitchen work-surface as a freshly cooked chicken awaited my attention. I stood in front of it, rested the blade gently on the seasoned skin and applied a little pressure. Incredibly the knife just cut through the white meat with such ease and perfection. What a moment of great satisfaction. For years, I had been wishing for a different result and assumed that I needed a different tool in order to achieve it, when all along I simply needed to sharpen what was already in my hand. All too often we can assume that we’re holding inadequate resources to achieve the things we believe we’re called to do. Often we either give up or just make a poor job of it – but so often the answer is to sharpen the gifts and strengths we have. A ‘blunted’ hospitality gift needs to be sharpened. That gift of encouragement, which has fallen victim to fatigue, needs to find its cutting edge again. Your generosity to others needs to have its incisive impact rediscovered. Whatever we hold, we need to guard it from dulling, tiredness, poor finishing and complacency and ensure it stays very sharp and very effective.

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DIRECTION

Elders, deacons and lay representatives are vital to every thriving church, explains Elim’s General Superintendent John Glass in this special feature

Roles that bring a vital dynamic to our Movement Above John Glass Main image Everyone has a ministry from which they can serve both God and those around them

36

More than 2,000 Elim members voluntarily, and often sacrificially, give of their time to serve as elders and deacons within our churches. Traditionally those who work in this way are termed lay leaders – a phrase that is a derivative of the word ‘laity’, which the dictionary defines as a group ‘distinct from the clergy’. This number does not even begin to include the very many who serve the church through its various departments and without whom the local congregation would not be able to function. Pentecostal churches, and especially the Elim Movement, is less than comfortable with a delineation that sets apart ministers from non-ministers, as it is our belief that everyone,

including every member, has been given by God a ministry from which they can serve both God and those around them. Whole books have been written about the difference bet ween elders and deacons but, certainly within the churches that I have pastored, we have taken the view that, though both ministries are vital to the wellbeing of the church, elders generally have more to do with people than things, and deacons more to do with things than people. The latter group gives input into the fabric of the church and the former into the format of the church. Since our Movement began almost a century ago, there has also been a role that has been defined as the ‘Lay Representa-

tive’. This person, who can be male or female, has a function that affects not just the local fellowship but also the wider Movement. At our annual Conference the business of church at home and abroad is convened and it is the Conference, and not the National Leadership Team, that has the final decision on all matters of policy. Every ordained minister is able to vote, but each church also has a vote, too. The person nominated to act in this way is the Lay Representative or the ‘Lay Rep’ as they are more commonly known. Too often the local church disenfranchises itself from this opportunity by either not selecting a Lay Representative or


DIRECTION

by not registering him or her to vote at Conference. In my view, it is in the interest of every church member to ensure that their voice is heard at Conference via the office that has been put in place for this purpose. Ever since I was first inducted as a pastor in 1970, there have been innumerable occasions when I have had reason to thank God for the elders and deacons that I have been blessed to have serve alongside me in local church leadership. During my eight years as Regional Superintendent for Scotland, however, I also came to appreciate from a different perspective how critical they, and the Lay Representative, were to the success or failure of the local church.

‘Since our Movement began almost a century ago there has been a role that has been defined as the “Lay Rep”’

It would be an impossible task for me to single out an elder from the churches I ministered in, so I have chosen to highlight someone who I have the highest regard for and who has served for many years in positions at local, regional and national levels in Scotland. The following, therefore, is a conversation with Jackie Clarke, of the Elim Church in Glasgow: Jackie, tell us about how you first came to faith. I was taken to the Glasgow Elim Church by my mother when I was a baby and dedicated to God by Pastor JJ Morgan. In 1949, an American evangelist Dr Sackett came to Glasgow. He was dressed as a

cowboy, and as an eight-yearold boy I gave my life to Jesus and have endeavoured to serve him from that day. Years later, after serving as a Sunday school teacher and youth leader, I was asked in 1963 to allow my name to go forward to fill the role of a deacon within the Glasgow Elim Church, and I was duly elected. Due to family circumstances in 1972 I did not serve for two years as a deacon, but still was available to perform any duties I could help with. I resumed my role as a deacon in 1974 and have been on board ever since. In addition to that role I served as treasurer for 25 years and also as church secretary since the year 2000. When I became a deacon in 1963, I felt God tell me I was to 

37


DIRECTION

serve whoever was my pastor, and to give him 100 per cent commitment in everything he was seeking to do for the Glasgow church. The role of a leader encompasses the various seasons of local church life. How do you define those ‘highs and lows’? I would say some of the highs are being part of a Church Session, which is interested in the people of the church, and not necessarily concentrating on the building itself. One of the other things I would say that brings pleasure is seeing a church grow spiritually and numerically, and also making an impact on the local community. Another great high is being involved in making decisions that have an impact on people’s lives, and which help them to achieve greater things for God. As far as the lows are concerned, I would say that not being able to meet the expectations of some departmental heads, as they do not always see the bigger picture. Heads of departments are sometimes so focused on ‘their ministry’ that they think the church has an unlimited supply of cash. Occasionally times arise when major decisions have to be made without the congregation being aware of all the circumstances as it would not be prudent to share some information, and this does not go down too well with some people.

‘Always consider yourself to be a servant and willing to do any task, no matter how menial. This also involves serving your pastor and your fellow members’

Above Lay Rep Jackie Clarke

to be a servant and willing to do any task, no matter how menial. This also involves serving your pastor and your fellow members. God has called us to serve no matter what our title is. Whenever possible, in making decisions at a church session, let it be unanimous and NEVER divulge any split of opinions to church members or outside parties. Remember that relationship with your fellow leaders is more important than promoting your own opinions. Look for the potential in other people that they may become leaders. In your role as a lay representative, what value do you put on attendance at the annual conference? Having been a Lay Rep since 1979, and having missed only two conferences since, I think it is important that a lay rep from each church attends every year. Often business is discussed which affects all ordinary church members, and it is important that each church Lay Rep is there to make a contribution to the debates. It is also good to

meet other Elim laymen, and for us to realise that we are part of a bigger Movement than just our local church. Do you have a view on how we as a Movement can improve what we do in order to make the role of Lay Representative even more meaningful than it already is? Personally, I would like to see more communication and information being sent to the local Lay Rep from Elim HQ. At the moment it is only ministers who receive this. Speaking to other Lay Reps, it is often the case that they have not been informed of things that are happening within the Movement. I feel that this would make laymen feel a part of the Elim identity and not just a layman in a local church. Without commit ted lay people it would be almost impossible for most churches to function efficiently, and I think these dedicated people deserve recognition from the Movement for their involvement in their local church. Local regional training days could also be set up for lay people giving an insight into what is expected of them when they enter into a leadership role. Thank you, Jackie, not only for your contribution to this conversation but, more especially, for the faithful service that you have given to our Movement over very many years.

As a leader with great experience, what advice would you give to a man or woman embarking on leadership for the first time? Entering a Church Session for the first time should be counted as an honour and not be considered as an achievement. Always consider yourself

38

• Since this interview the National Leadership Team has decided to adopt Jackie’s suggestion of improving communications by sending a monthly letter to lay representatives.


The Delusion of

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Graham Cole, star of long-running TV drama The Bill, talks about listening to God and living out the gospel

It’s a new beat for TV cop who’s spreading the Word

Above Active Christian Graham Cole played PC Tony Stamp for 20 years

40

Sunhill star Graham Cole played it for real when he researched an explosive new storyline. The popular actor appeared as PC Tony Stamp in ITV’s The Bill for more than 20 years, before the show was axed recently. He regularly went on patrol with crack officers from London’s Met police force to see how the real boys in blue operated. But on one trip during a terrorist alert, Graham found his TV character taking over when he arrived at a pub at the centre of a bomb scare. ‘The place had been evacuated and I strolled into the snug looking for the bomb,’ he smiles. It was the sort of thing PC Stamp would do. Suddenly a senior officer shouted at me to get out. He asked, “What would you do if you found the bomb?” I thought for a second then

quickly left the pub.’ Millions of fans were devastated when PC Stamp was axed from the show last year. The producers said they wanted to appeal to a younger audience, which meant culling older characters. But just a few months later, it was announced the programme itself was being wound down. No one was more disappointed than Graham. He adds, ‘The media wanted to know if I was glad it was coming to an end because I’d been kicked off. I can honestly say I bore no animosity. I loved The Bill, still do and was sorry to see it end.’ Active Christian Graham said he loved it when his onscreen role mixed with his offscreen appearances – especially when he was working with the Met to help research his character. ‘One time I was sitting in

a police car with a real officer when a guy came over, stared at me for a minute then told me I looked just like that actor from The Bill. ‘A lot of young black lads would approach me because they could identify with PC Stamp. He was a down-toearth sort of guy anyone felt they could talk to. I suppose he was the sort of beat Bobby people remember from their childhood but, because of changes in the system, is not as common as he used to be. I really liked playing him.’ Ironically, Graham had never played a cop before he joined Sunhill’s finest, and he was originally only signed up for a fight sequence. However, his character became so popular that producers widened his part and he became a stalwart. ‘I played over 160 different char-


From The Bill to your church Following 20 years on The Bill, Graham Cole is aiming to arrest people with the gospel! Graham makes himself available to share his testimony and speak at church events through the Lighthouse Agency, run by Chelmsford Elim member Dave Bemment, pictured with his wife Anne.

acters in plays, TV and musicals before I became PC Stamp. When I started on The Bill, I’d be in the studio until 6pm then off to a theatre for the evening performance of Jesus Christ Superstar or some other play. ‘Whatever job you have, I think it is important to always be professional. I made sure I turned up on time, knew my lines and gave my best.’ But no matter how demanding his schedule became, Graham always found time to pray, read the Bible and go to church. ‘My parents were Methodists and some Sundays we would be at church three times. I liked church, but by the age of nine I was rebelling,’ he adds. ‘Like many people, I wanted to do things my way and felt church got in the way. When I was 14, I went to a Billy Graham meeting in London where I was amazed at how he spoke about God’s love. At the end, he invited people to get out of their seats and come down to the front to give their life to Jesus. When he made that invitation, I just knew I had to accept. ‘It was like God was speaking through Billy Graham to me. Nothing could stop me going down to the front.’ Since that day Graham says he has never stopped loving Jesus. ‘I started going to an Evangelical church. I loved the music

and style of worship. I used to think of prayer as a chore. Now I pray all day long, maybe just little prayers to thank God for my day and all my blessings. ‘He is my friend, and I love being with my friends. I tell him what’s on my mind and listen to what he has to say to me.’ Graham has a message for people who feel God has forgotten them or those who don’t believe an almighty God cares about them individually. ‘When people tell me they don’t think God loves them, I suggest they really need to listen to him. God tells us what we should do and how we should live because he loves us and wants what’s best for us. If at times our lives seem messed up, it’s not because God has abandoned us. It’s more because we have resisted him, trying to find happiness our own way. That won’t work.’ Graham is well known as one of the hardest working actors on and off the stage. He attends over a hundred charity events every year, working with groups such as Childline, the Scout movement, football and cricket clubs and churches up and down the country. He also has some advice for the so-called New Atheists like Prof Richard Dawkins: ‘When people ask why God causes wars and strife, I reply that it isn’t God but humans.’

BOOKC A SE with Richard Dodge

Reflections John Lancaster Life Publications On receiving my copy of Direction each month, I turn to the And Finally column by John Lancaster. I find these articles relevant, clearly written and challenging. Long may he continue! In his book, this selection of 79 of Pastor Lancaster’s musings must be among his best. Arranged under six groupings, we are challenged and uplifted, blasted and blessed, and receive good teaching and encouragement. The constant call is to seek God’s best, and to be the best for God, but also be given guidance to achieve this. The simple (but not simplistic) facts of faith, growing in grace and holiness and ways to encounter our great and gracious God, are explored and explained as far as is humanly possible. Pastor John seeks to lead us all into an even deeper relationship with the King of kings that he serves. Buy a number of copies of this book and give them away – but don’t forget to keep a copy for yourself and be blessed as well! Paperback, £7.99 Dealing with Dawkins John Blanchard Evangelical Press This small booklet gives a helpful overview of the eight key issues in the writings of Professor Richard Dawkins. Pro-

fessor Edgar Andrews, Emeritus Professor of Materials at London University, commends this publication as a book that ‘will demonstrate that contrary to Dawkins’ atheistic claims, biblical Christianity is reliable and relevant, powerful and persuasive.’ I found it a great help. Paperback, £2.99 At Least it’s Not Raining Stephen Redman New Wine Press The story of one family’s fight against an aggressive cancer at the back of their young son’s right eye will make you cry as well as rejoice at the comfort of God and his overwhelming grace. It is a tragic tale in the eyes of the world, but as God works in many different ways, we can rejoice even through our tears. Paperback, £9.99 Pure Linda Marshall Inter Varsity Press The idea of living a ‘pure’ life is an outdated concept according to the world. Yet this world is reaping a rotten harvest of sexual immorality and unfaithfulness. Pure is a useful study course for individuals and groups to get to grips with real Christian teaching on sex and relationships. Useful for church, youth activities and Bible studies. Paperback, £6.99

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DIRECTION

A–Z OF LEADERSHIP In his A-Z series on leadership lessons, Graham Murray discusses graciousness, humility and integrity

Leaders don’t ‘lord’ it over others that cements lives together, an unmerited favour that can create life long harmony. Leaders are to be those who do not ‘lord’ it over others, but make it possible to return while maintaining the undiluted truths of God.

GRACIOUSNESS Luke 4:22, ‘All bore witness to him, and marvelled at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”’ These kind and benevolent words echoed the tenderness of the heart of God while revealing the Scriptures and their impact. Leaders who desire to follow Christ are called to execute such graciousness in the way we handle even the most delicate of matters and some of the most fragile issues. Grace and truth, of course, were the very hallmarks of Christ – he came into the world FULL of grace and truth. Those who would lead others must make room in their lives for these qualities to emerge. Graciousness demands a gentle yet firm handling of truth while at all times seeking to build up and not destroy. Every closed door should offer an open alternative. Graciousness is a truly divine quality. It is the Lord who is gracious and so those who lead others in his name should practice and develop this grace in the way we handle them. Grace does not turn a blind eye to wrong or to ungodliness, but rather seeks to lovingly and firmly correct it, offering hope and promise. Grace gives birth to gratitude, and bonds are made in love. Grace is a building block

42

HUMILITY Above Graham Murray has some useful advice for leaders

Proverbs 22:4, ‘By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honour and life.’ A humble heart in leadership is one that is not easily overtaken by the potential pride that success may bring. At all times one must maintain the servant heart that recognises that to serve Christ in any way is an honour and a privilege. There will be times when one is praised or thanked for things done. The sincerity of those appreciations is not to be sneered at, but by the same token neither are we to accept all the praise, for we are indeed servants, and all honour and all praise and all glory belongs to God. Leaders in particular are responsible for rendering back to God the thanks and praise they may receive – no one is higher than his master. To be humbled is not to be humiliated! It is to accept gladly the lower place – if we are elevated for a reason or a season then we are all the more indebted to God for that honour.

INTEGRITY Psalm 78:72, ‘So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart. And guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.’ King David serves us well here in the matter of integrity. A true leader must above all have integrity, and integrity is not difficult to understand. Simply put it means that what you say is what you mean! In private and in public you must be reliable. Integrity, of course, is a true matter of the heart. Intents and desires begin their life in the heart, in the true centre of our being. When that true centre is occupied by self, then integrity is threatened and things come along that whet our carnal appetites. Our old nature finds a way to rise up and take the lead in our decision making. But when God is at the core of all we are, then out of our innermost being flow rivers of living water. No one had more integrity than Jesus himself. He spoke the Word only as the Father commanded him to. He acted in truth, and no political or social trend could divert his path. He spoke honestly and directly to all, and maintained love and compassion in all he did. When leaders understand the length and breadth of integrity, it is self evident that no leader worth his or her salt can truly operate without this quality.


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43


DIRECTION

We all know that Jesus was the light of the world, but he called every believer to be salt and light as well, explains Nigel Tween

Like Wilberforce, we can make a difference The movie Amazing Grace tells the story of William Wilberforce who, as a Member of Parliament, campaigned for 40 years to abolish slavery. He is a tremendous example of a Christian taking his responsibility seriously in a decaying and dark world. Wilberforce realised that, as a Christian, he had a responsibility to his world, and the world is a better place because of it. He is just one of thousands of examples that could be given of Christians throughout the centuries who built hospitals, established schools and fought for social justice. We, too, have a responsibility to our world. In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus calls his followers to live a radical counter-culture life, to be ‘salt and light’. Salt of the Earth First, Jesus declares his disciples to be ‘the salt of the earth’. By using this term to describe his followers, Jesus implied their distinction from the world. Salt is always in contrast to what it is placed on. We are to be in the world, but not of it. In the ancient world, the main function of salt was preservation. In a world without refrigeration, this was very important; thus, to preserve meat, salt was rubbed in it. Jesus is telling us that our presence in the world as Christians is to improve it. By calling us ‘the salt

44

of the earth’, Jesus is reminding us that the earth is rotting and in need of enhancement. Sadly, many Christians have become ‘unsalty’ and refuse to be what they are called to be. One of the reasons that God has gifted Christians to the earth is so that they will have a positive influence upon it. We are to be a means of God’s grace that keeps the world from being as bad as it could be were we not here. Paul, in Colossians 4:6, says that our speech should be seasoned with salt in order to

Above Ioan Gruffudd as William Wilberforce aboard the slave ship Madagascar

THE

C O L U M N

minister grace to our hearers. Light of the World Next, Jesus declares his followers to be ‘the light of the world’. Again, Jesus’ use of this term indicates that his followers are to be distinct from the world. Nothing is so distinct as light and darkness. We are to shine as lights in a dark world. The Bible tells us that God is light (1 John 1:5) and that Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12; 9:5), but here Jesus describes his followers as


DIRECTION

the lights of the world. This is possible because Jesus has sent his Spirit to shine through us (Ephesians 5:8; Philippians 2:1416; 1 Peter 2:9). Furthermore, Jesus illustrates our calling by stating that, ‘a city set on a hill cannot be hid.’ In the ancient world, as today, in the daytime, as people travelled they could easily see a distant city on a hill because the stone walls reflected the light of the sun. At night, the same cities would be less visible but could still be identified by the burning ‘Elim Christians laugh a lot, enjoy making friends, are ready to lend a hand, are generous with their time and resources, stand with the oppressed and marginalised, and confront injustice.’ lamps in the homes. A city on a hill cannot be hid and neither can Christians. It is unthinkable for a Christian not to be salt and light in the world; it is a dereliction of our duty. Jesus’ conclusion to this section is a fitting one, ‘Let your light so shine among men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’. The Big Question The question arises, ‘How can

we Christians be true to Jesus’ call and yet avoid being seen as weird and bigoted?’ We must listen to and learn from Jesus as he walked with the people whom some in society had rejected – the taxcollectors, cheats, prostitutes, adulterers, and so on. To Jesus, these people were among those he invited to eat with him – not what society had expected. Elim churches also should be communities of welcome and acceptance for all. Elim Christians should be known for what we are. Let’s make a list of our aspirations: Elim Christians laugh a lot, enjoy making friends, are ready to lend a hand, kiss their spouses, are generous with their time and resources, stand with the oppressed and marginalised, and confront injustice. Christians are called to be vigilant. We are to seek to uphold good and wholesome standards in society. Therefore, we are to be careful that we are not seduced by the invasive effect of media. Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) is an official partner organisation of Elim. They have excellent resources to help you stand up and speak out. Our ultimate goal is to ‘glorify our Father in heaven’. Let’s aim to do what we can and do it in such a way that God receives the glory.

The good you can do Be engaged in your work, local and leisure communities. Be like Jesus and do as much good as you can (Acts 10:38). Here are some ideas: • Volunteer to serve in a local charity • Coach a children’s sports team • Start a business and run it with integrity • Run for local or national political office • Campaign for local improved community resources • Adopt a lonely OAP • Become an ‘under cover pastor’ at your workplace.

Music Reviews by Ian Yates Come Away Jesus Culture One of the most anticipated albums of 2010 is Jesus Culture’s ‘Come Away’, recorded live at the ‘Jesus Culture Encounter Conference’ in Redding, California, in front of a full house of passionate youth and young adults. This album delivers a powerful expression of musical worship. The thing I love about Jesus Culture is that they manage to marry up quality music and authentic worship, and the anointing on the songs is like nothing else I’ve heard. Kim Walker-Smith, Chris Quilala and the band give us ten fresh songs and with that an authentic and real encounter with our God. I love to put the DVD on and just enter into worship with the band. Introducing the City Harmonic The City Harmonic Now for something a bit different – a four-piece band from Canada. This introductory EP is anthemic, fresh and relevant. If you’re looking for something new, and enjoyed the recent Rend Collective album, you’ll like this EP, which comes with a 10/10 rating from Cross Rhythms. The album starts off with the Coldplay-sounding ‘I Wonder’, then launches into the epic ‘Manifesto’, which is a brilliant track you can watch on YouTube, and ‘I Am’ is also a top track. Check these guys out! Price: £5.99, 6 tracks Label: Kingsway Music

For me, three songs really stick out: ‘I want to know you’, ‘Show me your glory’ and ‘One thing remains’ which has a superb hook… ‘Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me.’ On the last track the band finish the song but the crowd keep singing until the drummer brings the kick drum back in and the song explodes again – a great moment! Buy the CD/DVD package and enter into the presence of God. Price: £12.99, 10 tracks Label: Elevation Music

Song of the month One Thing Remains A fantastic new song from Bethel Church, California, on the new album by Jesus Culture. You can get a free chord chart at: www. brianandjennjohnson.com/chordcharts Speak the Words Kees Kraayenoord Af ter eight years spent strengthening the worship life of the local church in his native Holland, Kees Kraayenoord is about to get better acquainted with worship fans around the world. This brand new release is a 16-track ‘best of’ compilation – an essential introduction to his remarkable voice, with songs co-written by Graham Kendrick, Noel Richards, Chris Eaton and Aaron Keyes. Full of great melodies and hooks, the album also includes a fantastic version of ‘God of the Moon and Stars’ written by Paul Field. Price: £10.99, 16 tracks Label: Kingsway Music

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her Nigerian Margaret her eyes as for raculously opened earnestly praying family were said her recovery. Oyebola Bello, HosHer daughter, Royal Berkshireat the medics at the were baffled pital in Reading in sudden turnaround. consultant came She said: “The just open her eyes.’ she anand said, ‘Did you surprised?’ He an I said, ‘Yes, are woman was because this and swered, ‘Yes, consultant came dead!’ Another Page 3 on ● Continued

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A BABY deaf in who was born had her her left ear ting healed has lously hearing miracuto k now, and I wanted restored. happening ‘Why isn’t Ava it is four Dominguez, Someone to my baby?’ then failed months old, who that told healing six and was hearing had God’s happens me tests time, in deaf in declared “I went not ours. stone to the medics. her left ear and by but Ava took doctors, Her this time the test, broughtmother, Heather, came the results back that her to tian healing passed! a Chrisshe Mobile, crusade she has The report had Alabama, in hearing 100 per said she received where cent in her British prayer whe n be fore left ear by totally Morris. preacher Nathan deaf.” she was Afterward Evangelis to the s, whose t Morris doctors she went – baby surprisedwhere Bay of meetings at the the by passing Rev iva the Holy Spirit everyone the test. aired l i n Mobi le on “Behind GOD TV – a re prayed said: a story this miracle Heather said: “I is to the woman of a persistent went who knew tests doctors and she could would get her that if failed, come the Jesus, child to back failed, she I knew failed. her miracle.would receive my littleJesus could But “We heal girl so going miracleshave seen we kept for prayer. many to the but this at the Revival, I came eve r y revival in Mobile We thankone stands opened t i me t he doors fantastic Jesus for out. this prayed and prayed has even healing which and been confirmed saw lots a nd prayed! by medical of people I ● For more experts.” getwww.bayr details, evival.org visit

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Nigerian Margaret Oyebanki miraculously opened her eyes as her family were earnestly praying for her recovery. Her daughter, Oyebola Bello, said medics at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading were baffled at the Nigerian Margaret Oyebanki misudden turnaround. raculously opened herDOCTORS eyes as her were amazed familycame She said: “The consultant wereinearnestlywhen praying a for woman her recovery. and said, ‘Did she just open her eyes.’ to life after her came back I said, ‘Yes, are you surprised?’ He an- Oyebola Her daughter, life support Bello, said machine medics swered, ‘Yes, because this woman was Royal Berkshire at the was switched off. Hospital came dead!’ Another consultant and were baffled in Reading Nigerian Margaret Oyebanki at the ● Continued on Page sudden 3 miturnaround. raculously opened her eyes as her familycame She said: “The consultant wereinearnestly praying for and said, ‘Did she just open her recovery. her eyes.’ I said, ‘Yes, are you surprised?’ Her daughter, He an- Oyebola Bello, swered, ‘Yes, because this medics at was the Royal Berkshire said woman dead!’ Another consultant Hospital came in Reading and were ● Continued on Page 3sudden turnaround. baffled at the She said: “The consultant came in and said, ‘Did she just open her her eyes.’ I said, said ‘Yes, are you surprised?’ He answered, ‘Yes, an ‘Y s, because this ‘Ye woman was dead!’ Another consultant came and ● Continued on Page 3

SOUNDS GREAT GREAT... Ava with evangelist Nathan Morris

SOUNDS G GREAT... GREA T Ava with evangelist T... t Nath Nathan an Morris

ting healed and I wanted A BABY who was born deaf in her left ear has to k now, ‘Why isn’t it had her hearing miracu miracu- happening to my baby?’ Someone then told me lously restored. A BABY was happens thatwho healing in healed and I wanted Ava Dominguez, who born ting deaf in her time, left ear God’s nothas ours. to k now, ‘Why isn’t is four months old, had it had her hearing mira miracu“I went to the doctors, failed six hearing tests happening to my baby?’ lously and restore restored. Ava took the test, and was declared stone Someone then told me A BABY Dominguez, was born ting this time the results deaf in her left ear byAvabut who thatwho healing deaf in in healed and I wanted is fourcame her left earhappens month months old, back that she had medics. had time, nothas ours. to k now, ‘Why had God’s failed passed! hearing miracusix hearing isn’t it hea The tests reporther said Her mother, Heather, “I went to the doctors, happening to my lously rrestored. estored. and was declare baby?’ shedeclared has 100 pe r yce nt Ava took the test, stone Chrisbrought her to a Chris Someone then Avaand Dominguez, told her lleftinear herby left but ear tian healing crusadedeaf in inhearing whoresults this time the that healing happensme four months medics.whe n be fore isshe in wa s backold, Mobile, Alabama, where had God’s time, she had failed came six hearingthat Her totally moth deaf.” mother, Heather, she received prayer by tests said“I went not ours. passed! The report and was to the doctors, brought her a Chris ChrisEvato ngelist Morris British preacher Nathan stone she–declared has and pe r ce deaf in nt Ava took the test, tian healing her left100 whosecrusade meetings the Morris. in at hearing in ear herby left but medics. ear this time the results Mobile,Bay Alaba Alabama, of thewhere Holy Spirit Afterwards, she went n be fore she wa came s back that she had Her whe mother, Heather, passed! Rev ivaprayer l i n Mobi a re deaf.” to the doctors whereshe the received by le totally brought The report said British aired her to a Chrispreac on GOD preacher Nathan TV – said: baby surprised everyone Evangelist Morris she– has 100 tian healing pe r ce nt miracle is crusade by passing the test. Morris. “Behind thisMobile, whose in at hearing meetings the in her left ear Alabama, Afterwards, a story she of aw persistent went Bay of the where whe n be fore Holy Spirit she received prayed to the doctors she wa s womanwhere who knew ifiva prayer the that by le totally l i n Mobi British a re deaf.” sh Rev preacher baby surprised everyone Nathan N Heather said: “I went she could getMorris. her child to on GOD athan aired TV – said: Evangelist Morris passing theshe ttest.would receive – to the doctors andbythe Jesus, “Behind this miracle whose is meetings Afterwards, tests would come back prayed her miracle. to a story she of awent Bay of the Holy at the persistent the doctors Spirit failed, failed, failed. But “We havebaby seen many the that womanwhereknew Rev ifiva l i n Mobi le a surprised who Heather said: “I everyone re I knew Jesus could heal miracles at went the Revival, she could aired get by passing the doctors the test. her child to on GOD TV – said: and my little girl so we to kept but this a one the standsJesus, out. she would receive “Behind this miracle tests would come com Jesus is back forprayed going for prayer. I came We thank this her miracle. a story of a persistent failed, failed, failed. to the revival in Mobile fantastic healing But which have seen woman who knew Heather“We I knew Jesus said: “I went many that if could eve r y t i me t he doors has even been confirmed heal h miracles she at the Revival,could get her child to the doctors littleby girl gi medical so we experts.” to opened and prayedmy and kept the Jesus, but this and one stands tests out. she would receive would goingI for●pr come back her prayer. I came prayed a nd prayed! For more details, visit We thank Jesus for thismiracle. failed, the revival failed. in i Mobile failed, saw lots of peopletogetwww.bayrevival.org get But which healing “We have seen I knew fantastic eve r y t i me t h could many he doors Jesus heal even miracles at the been confirmed my littlehas girl so we girl opened and prayed Revival, p and kept but this by experts.” going one stands out. for medical prayed a nd prayed! I came I ● prayer. For details, We thank Jesus for to the visit revival more saw lots of people in Mobile fantastic this peopl geteve r y t iwww.bayrevival.org healing which me t he doors has even been confirmed opened and prayed confi rmed and by medical prayed a nd prayed! experts.” I ● For more saw lots of people details, visit get- www.bayrevival.org www.bayrev yr ival.org yrev

Frinton-on-Sea is an attractive location, with a pleasant beach and good local infrastructure, including supporting churches. All our care schemes are known for their Christian distinctiveness and loving, family ethos. The Pilgrims’ Friend Society incorporates Pilgrim Homes, the Ernest Luff Homes, the Redbourn Missionary Trust and Pilgrim Care, our domiciliary care division. Established for

over 200 years, we are a progressive Society noted for the quality of our training programmes - Pilgrim Homes is an Investor in People, which describes what we do very well. The person we are looking for to fill the Nursing Home Manager role will — � Be a registered nurse � With management experience � Or experience in a residential setting � Be able to lead management, care and service teams in the home � Have good communication skills � Be able to lead devotional times and give spiritual guidance

Does this sound like you? Phil Wainwright, Director of Human Resources email: info@pilgrimsfriend.org.uk telephone: 0300 303 1400 Or write to: The Pilgrims' Friend Society, 175 Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 2AL

www.pilgrimsfriend.org.uk Incorporating Pilgrim Homes, the Ernest Luff Homes and the Redbourn Missionary Trust. Pilgrims' Friend Society is a registered charity (No: 1134979) and a limited company (No: 07169875) registered in England and Wales. Registered office: 175 Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 2AL

OFF

Daughter prays at hospital bed DOCTORS were amazed Daughter prays when a woman came back to life after her life support machine was switched off. at hospital bed DOCTORS were amazed Daughter when a woman came prays back to life after her life support machine was switched at hospital off. bed

Hearing restored Hearing in baby’s left earrestored Hearing in baby’s left earrestored in baby’s left ear

As the number of elderly people grows so we are extending our services, as the Lord provides, in order to help as many as possible. We have care schemes in different parts of the country, including Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, and are currently looking for a Home Manager for this region.

WAS SWITCHED

This Easter give your neighbours a New Life SOUNDS GREAT... Ava with evangelist Nathan Morris

Nursing Home Manager | FRINTON-ON-SEA

ON PAGE 5

MIRACLE MUM... Margaret Oyebanki, left, and her daughter Oyebola Bello

MIRACLE MUM... Margaret Oyebanki, left, and her daughter Oyebola Bello

MIRACLE M MIR IRACL IRA C E MUM... Margaret Oy Oyebanki, ebanki, left, and nd her daughter daughter Oyebola bola Bello Bello

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A n s w e r s ELIM E X PERTS K EEP YOU POS TED

You frame the questions for Elim experts to answer. This month: long-serving pastor, Jim Dick

A return to courageous evangelism is needed Should the Message version of the Bible be classed as a ‘real’ translation? Yes. This year we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the printing of the Authorised version of the Bible, which has served well for many generations of believers. Eugene Peterson wrote the Message (it is a paraphrase, not a strict translation) as a sincere attempt to get the message of the Bible into the lives of ordinary men and women in a language they would understand. It was not written for academics or theologians. His desire to write it arose out of 40 years as a pastor dealing with the day-to-day lives of people, and also from his awareness that many knew little of the Bible. His desire was that people would read The Message and get a feel for the big issues of the Bible and hopefully that would lead them to more serious study. To me, one of the helpful features of The Message is the succinct and clear introduction at the start of each book of the Bible. It’s best read as a supplement to a good modern translation of the Bible and not as a substitute. Did Jesus have to be born to a virgin? It was prophesied that the Son of God would come into the world by the supernatural means of a virgin birth. Mary was told that she would not conceive by the normal method, but that ‘the Holy Ghost would come upon her, and the power of the Most High would overshadow her. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God’ (Luke 1:35). So Jesus was conceived by

the Holy Spirit, but born through the body of a woman; thus he was both truly human and divine – Son of Man and Son of God. The virgin birth circumnavigated the transmission of the sinful nature so that Jesus was born without sin and went on to live a life without sin, thus making him the perfect man to become the perfect sacrifice. He was free from sin – inherited or acquired. The unique circumstances associated with his birth underline the importance of him becoming our Saviour.

enhancement gospel that is so often peddled as truth, they are more likely to make a positive decision. A return to courageous, out-among-the-people evangelism and biblical gospel preaching encapsulating the message of repentance and faith is the bottom line requirement for a change in our spiritual climate.

If it is God’s will that none should perish, why do so many remain unconverted?

The same Holy Spirit who inspired the writers of the Scriptures was also at work in its compilation and preservation. The Bible consists of 66 books, 39 from the Old Testament and 27 from the New Testament; penned by many different writers over a wide time range, but with a supernatural unity of theme. The majority of the New Testament was written by the apostles or close associates of Jesus Christ, and it was the same apostles who endorsed the Old Testament. As early as AD 170 there was general agreement as to what books were inspired and thus part of the Canon of Scripture. The word ‘canon’ means ‘a rod or ruler’ and the Scriptures are the rule of faith for all believers. Although the accepted Canon of Scripture was not imposed by ecclesiastical authority, there have been several important church councils that have met to validate what was generally accepted by the majority of believers as comprising this Canon, and thus today, there are no good reasons for doubting the accepted Scriptures as we have them.

Overall the Church is growing faster than at any time in its history due mainly to astonishing growth in second and third world countries. However, in the western hemisphere most denominations are declining although among a few – mainly Pentecostal and Afro/ Caribbean – this is not the situation. My personal view is that generally speaking the western church has lost its evangelistic zeal with too much evangelism being confined to the inside of church buildings. However, there are some encouraging indications that this tide is turning with a new, albeit still small, number of radical groups of believers who are rediscovering the purpose for which the Church was commissioned. The most dangerous thing God ever did was give mankind a free will rendering people responsible for the choices they make (and refuse to make). But when people are presented with the truth of a Christ-centred, life-changing gospel, not the error of a life

When the Bible was put together, who got to choose what went in it, and in what order?

If you have a question, email it to: editor@newlife.co.uk Keep your questions coming so that thousands can benefit from the answers! Opinions expressed are those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Elim Pentecostal Church

49


DI R E C T I O N

A n d f i n a L L y. . . by John Lancaster

Will they invite Jesus to ‘the wedding’? It was the arguably the largest audience any Christian preacher had ever addressed on one day. On the 21st of July, 1981, an estimated 500 million people watched the then Archbishop of Canterbury mount the steps of the pulpit of St Paul’s cathedral to give his address at the wedding of Prince Charles and his bride Diana. The world waited to hear what this high-profile Christian leader would say on this significant occasion. It was a moment of supreme opportunity. But what did this vast global audience hear? Nothing specifically Christian! The name of Jesus was not even mentioned. As far as this wedding sermon was concerned he was absent. There was a reference to a ‘fairy tale romance’ but no affirmation of Christian faith. So, we wonder, what will happen at the next big Royal wedding next month? Will the virus of political correctness strangle the vocal cords of Christian witness? Hopefully, the hymns and prayers and readings will be specifically Christian, but what of the wedding sermon? At the time of writing it is not known who the preacher will be, but we need to pray that those who prepare the royal couple for their marriage (and not just their wedding) and have the priceless privilege of speaking to a worldwide audience estimated to be 700 million will have the courage and integrity to share the good news of the Lord Jesus

50

‘We need to listen to his voice through his Word and the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and to do what he says even if humanly it seems impossible’

Christ who revealed his glory in the context of a wedding (John 2:1-10). A troubled world needs more than fairytales – it needs to hear the truth of the gospel, sensitively but clearly proclaimed. The characteristic feature of New Testament Christianity was its proclamation of the gospel in a way which was biblicallybased, Christ-centred, and Spiritanointed. In a cultural setting in which the preaching of the cross of Christ was theologically and philosophically absurd (1 Corinthians 1:18-25), Paul refused to dumb down the message (Chapter 2:1-5). It was this Christ-exalting ministry that God repeatedly confirmed with signs and wonders. Perhaps the absence of such confirmation in our own day is an indicator that we have moved away from that Christ-centred emphasis. To ‘proclaim Christ’ is both the privilege and responsibility of every man or woman who claims

to be a Christian. It must be done with wisdom, but also with clarity and conviction. Being relevant to the contemporary culture must not obscure the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. When Jesus was invited to the wedding at Cana it was a transforming moment. He not only saved the blushes of the underprepared family who hosted the feast, but changed the insipid water set aside for religious ceremonies into the sparkling wine of the kingdom. Most of all, for the first time he manifested his true glory – and he did it in this most ordinary village wedding! It is not ‘fairy tale romances’ that guarantee human happiness – they can turn into nightmarish horror stories – but the presence of Jesus. As we pray that he will be given his rightful place in the royal wedding next month we need to recognise our own need of giving him the central place in our own lives and ministries. That means ‘doing whatever he tells you’ (John 2:5). In our personal private world, as couples, as parents, as children, as pastors and leaders, as preachers and as Christians in church and in the world, we need to pray and ask him what he wants to do in us. We need to listen to his voice through his Word and the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and to do what he says, even if humanly it seems impossible. Only then shall we see his glory.


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fresh learning

Just Looking is a free event to give you a taste of what life is like at College. Includes two nights accommodation and all meals.

Just Glancing is a fast moving one day free event to introduce college life. Just Looking & Just Glancing includes:  An introduction to college courses  Tour of new Malvern campus  Meet the faculty and students  Listen to a lecture  Sample a lunch menu

Dates:  19th - 21st April 2011

Dates:  19th March 2011  14th May 2011  25th June 2011  16th July 2011

Book your place today!

freshlearning.org Regents Theological College, West Malvern Road, West Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 4AY t: 0845 302 6758 e: info@regents-tc.ac.uk

Direction Magazine March 2011 issue  

Encouragement, inspiration and teaching for members of Elim Pentecostal Church and all Christians

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