Integrity Ensuring your public face and private reality match up
Clowns to the left of me; jokers to the right... The importance of escaping political labels. p.20
Streetwise Learning to love and serve women who risk their lives on the city streets. p.36
On Your Marks Are you all set to make the most of the 2012 Olympic Games? p.41
Leadership Conference MAY 2011 Hosted by John & Anne Coles together with your regional leadership team, plus guest speakers and worship leaders.
Mon 9 - Wed 11 May 2011 Ealing Christian Centre, London (non residential) With Dave Workman
Wed 11 – Fri 13 May 2011 Trinity Cheltenham (non residential) With Dave Workman
Mon 16 – Wed 18 May 2011 Adelphi Hotel Liverpool (residential) With Gary Best
If you’re involved in leadership in your local church - whether as a key staff member, in children’s, youth or small group ministry, or a leader in any capacity – don’t miss this great opportunity for in-depth teaching, specialised ‘how to’- style seminars and networking, all with a local church flavour. Dave Workman is Senior Pastor of Cincinnati Vineyard in the USA, where the idea of servant ministry on the street was birthed. They have an incredible ministry to their community that embraces justice and mercy, mission and attraction, and is all fun and fruitful in sharing something of the faith of Christ in really exciting ways.
Gary Best is National Team Leader for Vineyard Churches Canada. In a very simple, unassuming yet profound way, Gary is able to articulate how the Holy Spirit longs to work through ordinary believers to transform lives and the world around us. He will inspire you to go out and do the work of the Kingdom in a very naturally supernatural way.
Programme and seminar timetable available online
Feedback from the 2010 event Discounts available for under 30s!
‘This was my first New Wine Leadership Conference though I’ve been to countless others over the years - for 10 years with a role in a national organisation. Without doubt this was the best I have been to!’ ‘Speaker after speaker spoke directly into my situation and I was moved…to get out of my rut and begin to do what he has been laying on my heart over many months.’ ‘Came away feeling scrubbed down, cleaned off and geared up for the next stage!’
Want FREE copies of the New Wine Magazine for your church? Email us at: email@example.com
News Teaching Stories Culture
Summer 11 Issue 52
Would you like to advertise? 0208 799 3777 firstname.lastname@example.org The next edition will be published in October 2011. The advert booking deadline is 12 August 2011. Editor Mark Melluish Magazine Manager Lucy Williams Commissioning Editor Lucy Avery Advertising & Classifieds Jeremy Geake Jonathan Tearne Creative Tom Morton Print Halcyon Find us: 4a Ridley Avenue Ealing London W13 9XW
Our God at work.
Looking at our world.
Phone us: 0845 437 8656
Having confidence in God’s Word
Juggling responsibilities as a stay-at-home mum
Can I believe in science and the Bible?
Fax us: 0208 799 3770
A note from John Coles
Email us: email@example.com
The importance of telling your story
Visit our website: www.new-wine.org Cut and Paste You can copy text from the New Wine Magazine into local newsletters, church magazines and similar non-commercial communications provided you put a credit line: ‘This material copyright New Wine Magazine and used with permission’. (This excludes any material marked ©).
New Wine Magazine is published three times a year by the New Wine Trust as part of their mission. Your feedback is welcomed; letters may be edited and published in future issues.
Promoting sustainable forest management. www.pefc.co.uk
Encouragement to share what God’s been doing
Minding the gap between our pubic and private lives
Making the Connection Ways of welcoming people in
On Your Marks Making sure we’re ready for next summer
What people thought of some recent New Wine events
Rising above political labelling
Being willing to improvise with mission
Clowns to the left of me; jokers to the right
Stories, feedback, news, a film quiz and more
Understanding the brutality in the Bible
Bits & Pieces We want to look after our environment so we’ve used a recyclable paper. Please recycle.
Faith at Work
An Audacious Demonstration
The Book that Changes Lives One young man’s story of discovering God
Streetwise Helping street sex workers find hope
Rediscovering the party-spirit of Pentecost
Recommended Resources Discover some books and CDs you may have missed 3
A note from John Coles Dear Friends Have you moved house recently? If so, especially if it involved downsizing, you probably went through the dilemma of what to keep and what to throw away. In your clearing up you probably stopped and quietly reminisced as you came across an ornament, trinket or photo. Having moved my parents from a home which has been in the family for 60 years, I have done a lot of that recently. These are moments when God puts you back in touch with something in your history that was part of making you who you are today. I remember John Wimber once talking about how to help churches maintain their DNA in ministry and mission as circumstances and personnel changed: ‘Tell your story, tell your story, tell your story’. That is why the Bible is not just a set of propositional truth statements. It is the story of individuals, families and a whole nation discovering the greatness and grace of the living God. And the only way of communicating the coming of the Messiah was to invent a new genre of literature, the Gospels, combining story and propositional truth. Part of New Wine’s story is the outworking of David Pytches’ generosity of spirit: ‘If God blesses you, give it away’. One way we have done that has been through the development of New Wine’s international ministry. For many years Bruce Collins has tirelessly spearheaded this work while serving on the New Wine Leadership Team. It began with international church leaders visiting our churches or the summer conference, being touched by the Spirit, gaining fresh vision for what God could do in their own countries, and then asking for our help. Bruce has taken teams to such diverse places as Finland and Kenya, Canada and China, New Zealand and Estonia. Bruce has now decided that it is time to stop travelling in such an extensive way. He wants to focus his energy mainly on New Wine Cymru, following his move to Wales three years ago, as well as the Maseno Project in Kenya. Consequently he is resigning from the New Wine Leadership Team and International Support Group. I know that team members, like me, will want to express their thanks to Bruce for his courageous leadership; moreover, the lives of churches and individuals in many different countries around the world have been significantly changed through this ministry. In this edition of the magazine you will read many stories of how individuals and churches have sought to live with the same generosity of spirit in their home, church or life-place. I am thrilled that what God has put in our hearts and minds is gradually becoming more and more visible. Let’s remember our (hi)story, give away every blessing God gives in the present, and together change the future of the nation. With very best wishes
John Coles Director of New Wine 4
Got a job vacancy to fill? THERE’S NOW A SUCCESSFUL ‘FIND A JOB’ SERVICE ON THE NEW WINE WEBSITE. Find a Job gives churches (and other organisations) a quick and easy way to advertise jobs, with access to a large target audience. You can use this service to advertise church leaders’ appointments, as well as all other roles within the church (including worship, youth, children’s and community work, internships, managerial, administrators and other support roles). And if you’re a member of our Church Leaders’ Network, you’ll receive a 50% discount on each advertisement.
AYS D G TRAININ ERS K OR W KIDS T LEVEL REACHING THE NEX
NORT H Saturday 7 May 2011 Holy Trinity Ripon Ripon
SOUT H Saturday 21 May 2011 St Michael’s Southfields London
EAST Saturday 21 May 2011 Fountain of Life, Ashill Norfolk
WEST Saturday 14 May 2011 Trinity Cheltenham Cheltenham
workers in your area, these training days As well as providing a great opportunity to meet other kids’ and youth hes and demonstrate great ideas that present teaching dedicated to Kingdom leadership, showcase new approac edge of youth and children’s ministr y. cutting the have been tried, tested and proven by practitioners drawn from uplifting worship and focused prayer time. Bring your team for an invaluable day of teaching, practical workshops, For more info go to www.new-wine.org/kids And don’t forget to join our New Wine Kids Facebook group!
UPCOMING EVENTS APRIL 2011 Kingdom Theology Taster Day 30 April Ashill, Norfolk
Do you often use the phrase ‘do you remember when...’? We use it when we’re telling stories about things that have happened in the past that remind us of good times. We love to tell stories and remember good things. I remember when, taking my first ever wedding, the bridegroom fainted in the middle of his vows. I remember trying to help someone whose car had got stuck in a muddy patch, while wearing brand new clothes! As the wheels started spinning I got completely covered in mud from head to toe, causing much hilarity among my family. In this magazine we have tried to take some snapshots of churches and ministries around the nation and then tell the story of what God is doing in that place. We have only been able to gather a few but the list could have been endless. Since putting this magazine together I have been listening to further stories about God’s greatness, goodness and grace expressed in so many different ways around the country. I have met together recently with church leaders from some of the toughest areas around the nation and listened to stories of God’s greatness and goodness being expressed. I was in Ireland recently where I enjoyed hearing stories of God’s grace working in people’s lives. On the Sunday morning I was able to rejoice as two people gave their lives to Jesus for the first time, meaning two further stories will be told of God’s grace. I’m sure you have your own stories to tell of what God’s doing in your community and we’d love to hear them! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can share with one another the goodness of God and encourage each other as we seek to live out our faith.
MAY 2011 Kids Workers’ Training Day 7 May Ripon 14 May Cheltenham 21 May London 21 May Ashill, Norfolk Healing Ministry Training Day 7 May Stoke on Trent 21 May Holgate, York Leadership Conference 9-11 May London 11-13 May Cheltenham 16-18 May Liverpool Heart Head Hands 21 May Cheltenham Kingdom Theology Taster Day 21 May Kendal Pastoral Prayer Training Day 21 May Selby
JUNE 2011 Healing Ministry Training Day 25 June Salisbury
JULY/AUGUST 2011 Healing Ministry Training Day 16 July Barking Summer Conference LONDON & SOUTH EAST 23-29 July Shepton Mallet NORTH & EAST 30 July - 5 August Newark CENTRAL & SOUTH WEST 31 July - 6 August Shepton Mallet
SEPTEMBER 2011 Healing Ministry Training Day 24 September Upton
God bless you as you enjoy this magazine.
Mark Melluish Editor email@example.com 6
Also look out for Kingdom Training Days, Youth Work Training Days, Men’s Conferences and the Kids’ Leaders’ Conference at www.new-wine.org
Retreat to Advance 20s-30s Conference January 2011 Center Parcs, Nottingham ‘It surpassed my expectations. I’ve come back excited and refreshed, ready to move on with God. I’ve re-learnt this weekend just how much I am valued and loved by God – head knowledge became heart knowledge! I’ve been telling everyone they need to go next time, it was awesome.’
Kathryn Phipps, Melton Vineyard, Melton Mowbray
‘I’m raving about it! I just thought it was fantastic and refreshing. God’s word was spot on about feeling dry and in need of a fresh start. I left inspired and renewed.’ Matt Rodgers, St Stephen’s Church, Tonbridge
‘I learnt more about Jesus in three days than in my whole life! I gained a real passion to be radical and to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth, in mission with courage!’ Leah Thompson, Hosanna Broadwater, West Sussex
‘It was one of the best things New Wine has done recently, and an essential step forward as there isn’t a huge amount of culturally relevant teaching for 20s and 30s. It ticked so many boxes; not only were the sessions excellent but it was so great to be able to relax in the spa or go to nice restaurants – a lovely way to reflect on all that God was saying!’
New Wine events are happening across the nation throughout the year, but what difference are they making to people’s lives? Find out what God’s been up to among 20s-30s, women, and rural and urban leaders Women & Leadership Conference January 2011 Bristol l Leeds l Aylesbury ‘God was moving and blessing right from the start. The speakers were excellent and our leadership was recognised and affirmed. God’s love and empowering was given to me afresh through the ministry and prayer within our small groups.’ Julia Chamberlin, All Saints, Milton, Cambridge
‘As the sole leader of a small church I rarely have the opportunity to worship entirely freely with no responsibility. It was so wonderful to be with a group of women sold out for God and seeking more of him. I went with good friends, met old friends and made new friends. The worship, teaching, ministry, workshops and social times were all great. It was inspiring, challenging, encouraging and lots of fun. I can’t wait for next year.’ Anon
‘I arrived at the conference feeling battle worn and weary, but went home feeling refreshed, renewed and empowered by the Holy Spirit, ready to face the challenges ahead knowing I am the daughter of the King and in him I have the victory over all things.’ Louise Williams, St Andrew’s Church, Radcliffe
‘Feeling a little dried up and withered, I had to make quite an effort to register for this. How good that I did – it’s unwithered me!’ Janice Thom, Sevenoaks United Reformed Church, Kent
Fiona Spence, St Paul’s Ealing, London
Esther Douglas, All Saints’, Woodford Wells
Rural & Village Church Leaders’ Forum February 2011 Hothorpe, Leicestershire ‘Pete Atkins’ teaching was rooted in his own experience of God’s love and outstanding generosity in the rural setting. His humility, wisdom and encouragement were truly inspirational.’
‘A great opportunity after the hustle and bustle of Christmas to take time with friends to let God move. Fantastic speakers enabled the Holy Spirit to heal, equip and inspire me. Very unexpected for a dreary January weekend!’
‘The forum was a real oasis. It was very refreshing to go to a conference where rural issues were appreciated and addressed. I came away challenged and re-inspired in our work.’
‘Absolutely right words for the right time. Very challenging. Got something out of every single session. Thirty from my church came and we all had a brilliant time and have already had many sessions sharing what God said/did and I’m sure this will continue!’
Lizzie Bond, Trent Vineyard, Nottingham
Janet Anderson-MacKenzie, St Thomas a Becket, Wiltshire
‘It was an excellent balance of teaching, worship and chat.’
o t e t c a e Anon
n r t A e r v d A
cont. Women’s Days February & March 2011 London l Harrogate ‘As a first timer I was very impressed. I went by myself, but made new friends on the day. The speakers were engaging and the theme was excellent: spiritual, inspiring and very moving. An emotional rollercoaster of a day – it certainly won’t be my last.’ Dawn Jenkins, St John the Divine, Menston, West Yorkshire
‘Each speaker brought a fresh perspective to the subject of the day. I left determined to be more active in making a difference to people’s lives, and wanting to serve Jesus more.’ Jane Lister, The Beacon Church, Camberley
‘It was one of the most amazing days ever. To see so many women together in one place showing their love for the Lord was so inspiring, and I spent most of the day in tears.’ Elizabeth Farley, Fallings Park Methodist Church
‘Saturday was remarkable for me and my daughter. The sessions were amazing and it was as if God was using a megaphone to speak to me and encourage me. As a result I have made up my mind to commit to going to Kenya to help train women.’ Jan Fowler, Beverley Baptist Church, Yorkshire
‘Both morning and afternoon sessions were inspirational: truly Spirit led. My friend brought our elderly mums along and they thought they would be too tired for the whole day but they didn’t want to leave. Mum’s comment was it was truly uplifting to see so many Christians worshipping in one place when it appears that our voice in the media seems so small. She went home and this morning told her Muslim carer all about the conference!’ Julie Wright St John’s Thornham, Middleton, Manchester
‘This has to be the best Women’s Day yet: fantastic teaching and worship as well as time for ministry. One woman, who had never been to any New Wine event before, not only wants to come to the Summer Conference but has felt inspired to start an afterschool club. Can’t wait for next year.’ Pauline Thomas, St Mark’s Woodthorpe, Nottingham
UPA & Inner-City Church Leaders’ Forum March 2011 Hothorpe, Leicestershire ‘The forum has been a great encouragement to me as I work in a UPA and realise that I am not alone in my experiences. I have also been strengthened by the teaching from the various speakers who encouraged us, biblically, to continue working in these important areas for the Kingdom.’ Dave Bishop, St James Church, Brownhills
‘I went to the prophecy sessions and three out of the four people gave me words of knowledge about a new position I have applied for, and been offered. It was a great encouragement to me.’ Anon
‘It was encouraging to be around people who are reaching out into difficult and challenging communities. The UPA network reminds us that we are not on our own but we are united and in this together. It’s a God-given privilege to serve the poor and not a fringe benefit.’
At the 2010 New Wine Leaders’ Wives’ event, a generous offering was given to support ColOmbian women facing unimaginable injustice and cruelty. Find out how this has made a difference Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is involved in bringing justice to the persecuted church in Colombia. Pastors are being murdered or disappearing at a rate of about 30 a year, as a result of the 60-year-long internal armed conflict between guerrillas and paramilitaries. In October 2009, Anne Coles, Head of New Wine Women, joined CSW on a trip to Colombia to meet with some of the pastors’ wives and widows. They spoke of armed groups seizing and shooting their husbands in broad daylight, and their children receiving death threats via their mobiles. The women were left homeless, churchless and penniless, with fatherless, traumatised children to care for. Anne recounted their stories at last year’s Leaders’ Wives’ event, and the women responded powerfully, writing letters of love and comfort to the women of Colombia, and donating around £5,000 to support them. 8
A Colombian justice and peace charity subsequently collected project ideas from the pastors’ wives, who had drawn up plans to enable them to make a living and support and educate their children, and carry on with ministry. Idia Miranda Reyes is one of these women, whose husband William disappeared in 2008 without a trace. She is a woman of extraordinary courage and perseverance; in the midst of this dire situation she says, “I have come to know a God with whom I am in love. I used to only know God as the King of Kings, the Creator of all things, but now God has conquered my heart. I drink him in every day. For that reason I can laugh, I can smile, I can love. I can tell people how God’s love has been for me and that it can be that way for them.” Some of the money raised will help Idia find a location and set up a home for other pastors’ widows and children in a similar situation to her. Other women will use their gift to open up small businesses to earn an income and employ their children, selling household equipment, Christian literature and stationery. Another woman will run a fishing business and one an internet café. The women are so thankful to God, and to the women of New Wine, who reached for their pens and their purses to help their sisters in need in South America.
A GOOD GOD STORY Ellen from Gateshead told us her story of how her frozen shoulder got better after being prayed for following a New Wine Healing Ministry Training Day: ‘John [Coles] said there was a woman with a painful frozen shoulder. The group attending believed that was a word for me...I didn’t attend because of the pain I was in. The following day at church...I went forward for prayer. From November I had not had one day or night without pain and it was so debilitating given that I head up our puppet ministry! The pain has subsided substantially. I have had a whole week of sleep without pain waking me through the night. We serve a great God who loves us with a passion!’
Bits AND pieces In the news
Prayer – as well as parcels – is being offered to vulnerable people thanks to local churches
A drop-in service in Halifax is providing food and helping people move on from difficult situations such as homelessness, addiction, debt and asylum seeking. This service is supported by more than 60 local churches, and more than 8,000 parcels have been distributed since it started in 2008 as part of the Hope08 initiative. Around 100 people arrive each Saturday morning and can tick a box to request prayer while they are there. “It’s so exciting to see how many people are taking up the offer of prayer”, said Kate Fawcett from the Halifax team. “Miracles are really happening.” Since 2008, Hope has developed into a broader initiative, with a focus on key Christian festivals over a four-year period, ending with a whole year of mission in 2014. Hope’s Executive Director Roy Crowne has been impressed with what he’s seen in Halifax. “Our vision is to see churches in every area of the UK join together,” said Roy, “regardless of differences, to share Jesus’ love with their communities through words and actions.” A new resource was recently launched called Hope for Easter, which equips churches with mission ideas that can be used for their village, town or city. For more information visit www.hopetogether.org.uk
ONE TO WATCH Go to YouTube and search for ‘Funny Caravan Tow’. Let this be a warning as you prepare for this year’s Summer Conferences!
Find her full story, and many others, under ‘Your Stories’ on our website.
PRISONERS BENEFIT FROM DVD COURSE The Road to Maturity by Mary Pytches was recently run at HMP Whatton, a Category C men’s prison in Nottinghamshire. Twelve men were chosen to take part in the six-week DVD course, with each session followed by discussion and prayer. The aim of the course is personal growth and transformation into the image of Jesus. It’s an incredibly challenging process, identifying, admitting and removing blockages to growth with the help of God. Vera Quick is a Group Leader for Prison Fellowship and supported Jo Honour, the Coordinating Chaplain,
in running the course. “I was bowled over by their openness and honesty in sharing past events in their lives that were very painful. Every one of them met the challenges they were presented with head on and I know it was not easy for them, but I believe they are now better equipped to move into a deeper relationship with God and others”, said Vera. One of the prisoners on the course commented on his experience, “The Road to Maturity course has helped me see my past both critically and yet without condemnation. I know any evil within myself can be overcome.”
To find out more about The Road to Maturity and other New Wine resources, visit www.new-wine.org/shop
For your chance to win a free copy of The Road to Maturity, or the follow-up course, The Marks of Maturity, email either title to firstname.lastname@example.org. Winners will be selected at random and emailed before 27 May 2011. 9
FilmQuiz 1. Released in 1998 with the opening sequence depicting the Omaha landings voted as ‘best battle scene of all time’ by Empire magazine. 2. The world’s greatest villain meets his greatest challenge: Margo, Edith and Agnes. Starring Julie Andrews. 3. Owned by White Star Line and en route to New York City from Southampton on 14 April. 4. “I know what you’ve been doing... why you hardly sleep, why you live alone and why, night after night, you sit by your computer. You’re looking for him.” A quote taken from a film directed by two brothers.
Inspired by Christianity Today’s feature on ‘The Most Redeeming Films of 2010’ and Passion For The Movies by Mark Stibbe and J John, see if you can guess the 10 films from the clues below (answers available at www.new-wine.org/mag):
5. A recent release about the life of Micky, a man from Lowell, Massachusetts who has not had a particularly successful career. His brother, Dicky, is unreliable and addicted to drugs. 6. It has been reported that Frank Sinatra, despite his distaste for the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo, had discussions with the director about playing the lead role. 7. Characters include Jessie, Rex, Trixie and Ken. 8. A 2001 movie starring Jon Voight as Lord Richard Croft and Daniel Craig as Alex West.
A FIGURE OF SPEECH The biblical roots of some everyday phrases.
Going the extra mile:
doing more than is required. Matthew 5:41 In Jesus’ time the law allowed a Roman soldier to force a person to carry his pack for a Roman mile (about 1.48 km). Jesus taught that when required to carry a pack for a mile, we should carry it two, going beyond what is expected of us in helping others, even enemies.
9. The 1969 tagline: ‘The strangest trio ever to track a killer.’ The 2010 tagline: ‘Punishment comes one way or another’. 10. Denzel Washington fights his way across America to protect the secret to saving humankind. For your chance to win a free copy of Passion for the Movies by Mark Stibbe and J John, email the title to email@example.com. Winners will be selected at random and emailed before 27 May 2011.
Salt of the earth:
a person (or people) of great worth in society Matthew 5:13 In this parable Jesus calls his disciples to be salt, which is not only a valuable preservative but also gives taste and flavour. In a societal sense preservation could mean reconciliation or peace, and flavour may refer to hope, purpose and joy.
The straight and narrow:
a conventional and law-abiding course Matthew 7:14 Jesus is teaching using the imagery of two roads leading into a city via two gates – one narrow and one wide. The Scapegoat: narrow gate entering the Kingdom involves surrender and a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place. trust in Jesus, and few choose it. Leviticus 16:7-10 Thorn in my side: A goat is let loose in the wilderness on Yom Kippur after the High Priest symbolically laid the sins of the people on its head. a persistent difficulty or annoyance. 2 Corinthians 12:7 A leopard cannot change its spots: Paul states that he was given a ‘thorn in his flesh’ to people cannot change basic aspects of their character, especially negative ones prevent him becoming proud. We are not told what Jeremiah 13:23 the ‘thorn’ was, perhaps it was some form of illness. This verse was regarding Judah and Jerusalem and the fact Separate the wheat from the chaff: that despite all that God had done and said they were still to separate what is useful or valuable from what is not not behaving in a manner that pleased him. Matthew 3:12 To wash my hands of: In the ancient world grain was hurled into the air using a to absolve of responsibility or future blame tool called a winnowing fork. Wind separated the edible Matthew 27:24 part of the grain (wheat) from the lighter, inedible part During Jesus’ trial, Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, (chaff). John the Baptist warned that on the judgement refused to be involved in the death of an innocent person. day Jesus would separate the wheat from the chaff He washed his hands in front of the crowd, symbolically (good people from evil). disassociating himself from the execution.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing:
someone who hides malicious intent under the guise of kindliness. Matthew 7:15 Jesus warned his followers of false prophets, saying they were outwardly disarming, like ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’. 10
A little bird told me:
being given information from a secret source Ecclesiastes 10:20 A warning from Solomon to be careful what we say, not only in front of other people, but in private. He is speaking specifically about complaints against the government.
A New Wine Europe network exists that hosts events in Versailles in France and in the Netherlands/Belgium area for international churches in mainland Europe. This English-speaking network attracts people from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. This year sees the first-ever New Wine Europe Summer Conference, ‘Changing Nations’, which will be held near Brussels in Belgium from 8-12 August. It promises all the hallmarks of a New Wine event, with worship, teaching and prayer, and a packed programme of activities for every age group. Find out more about New Wine Europe at www.new-wine.eu
For all the great feedback we received about the Winter edition of the magazine; we’ve been so encouraged by your responses. Here’s some of our favourites:
DID YOU KNOW?
‘I have been receiving the mag for several years and usually flick through it and read one or two articles. In this edition, Winter 11, you and your staff/contributors have excelled yourselves! I have read all the articles and found them all interesting/informative/challenging. Several other friends who receive the mag have made similar comments. Well done and long may it continue.’ ‘I love your magazine and could not go without it; in fact, I wish it came more often! I enjoy the articles; they are always reflecting on scripture and helping me to meditate and grow in God. Your adverts for up-to-date worship songs are invaluable and your conferences are worth every penny.’ ‘I am new to New Wine and have recently received the Winter 11 issue of your magazine which I thought was excellent. I found the teaching articles extremely helpful, thought-provoking and inspiring. Being a new Christian, I have so much to learn and like most people have very little spare time to do it. I found the magazine much easier to pick up, read and pray about than the Christian books I have.’ We love to hear your feedback and ideas of how we can improve the magazine, so don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
SHARING IS CARING If you’ve got any stories, jokes, questions, tips or advice, please let us know. There are plenty of ways to get in touch:
Email us at email@example.com
Become our Facebook friend
Check out our YouTube page
nd if you’ve got a fancy phone you can find us quicker using A the QR codes below. You’ll need a smart phone with a QR reader app (which are free to download). Simply take a picture of the code and you’ll be directed to web page, as if by magic!
IN NEED OF FUEL? TOP UP SPIRITUALLY AT A FILLING STATION NEAR YOU! Wanting more? Need a credible place to bring your friends to meet God? Feel like you are alone in your area as a Spirit-filled Christian? We can help.
THE FILLING STATION exists to
Coming to a neighbourhood near you soon!
help bring Spiritual renewal and evangelism to your area. Using informal mid-week monthly celebration meetings, we have seen many come to faith, healings occur and the Christian population of an area strengthened in their confidence and purpose. The Filling Station is not a new Church denomination, rather a group of Christians who want to help you live better.
DON’T HAVE A FILLING STATION NEAR YOU?
Contact the Filling Station Director, Rev Richard Fothergill about starting your own local meeting. We will be able to help you launch a relevant, accessible, informal meeting where people encounter God. The Filling Station currently has meetings taking place in: Somerset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Bedforshire with more planned across the country. Find your nearest Filling Station using our website.
Contact Rev Richard Fothergill: 01225 832806 or 07835263706
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Why do we ignore some questions of faith rather than search for answers? Lucy Peppiatt Crawley encourages us to have the confidence to respond to the seekers and sceptics
he other day someone who had recently become a Christian said to me, “I have so many questions. The problem is I’m such a sceptic.” It’s great to have lots of questions. It’s not so great to be a sceptic. A sceptic is someone whose default position is to disbelieve; a person who makes a habit of doubting what others accept as true, and who mostly doesn’t want to be persuaded differently. A questioner is someone who wants to know more. The medieval theologian Anselm wrote about ‘faith seeking understanding’. He believed in the importance of asking questions in order to deepen our knowledge of God, to add to our wisdom and to broaden our understanding. But he knew that seeking answers about God is only fruitful if we begin from a standpoint of faith and belief: in the truth about Jesus, the goodness of God, his love for the world, and the trustworthiness of his Word.
Freedom to question
Being the daughter of a lawyer, I was brought up to ask questions. In a large and (mostly!) good-naturedly argumentative family, everyone had an opinion and every opinion was challenged. So I’m not scared of questions. In fact, I love them, and I think they’re an important part of growing as a Christian. Anselm writes, ‘Investigations, which are carried on by question and answer, are thus made more plain to many.’ Sometimes we learn much more by discussion than being lectured to.
‘Of course, there will always be aspects of God that remain a mystery to our fragile human minds, but he has given us the ability to think, to explore, and to wrestle’ Living in Europe today, we are surrounded by people who are generally sceptical about faith. This can be wearing and tiresome. But we need to be discerning between the uselessness of the habitual doubter who wants to wear us down and the genuine seeker, the faithful person seeking understanding. However frustrating it can be to be surrounded by cynics and sceptics, at least we are free in this country to speak our minds. We are free to worship, free to pray, free to preach, free to read the Bible and free to think. When so many followers of Jesus literally risk their lives in oppressive regimes, we know how incredibly fortunate we are for these gifts.
This year we celebrate one particular freedom. 2011 marks 400 years of the Authorised Version of the Bible. There may not be many Christians in this country who regularly read the AV any longer. Whether we read this particular version or not, the greatest thing to celebrate is that we have access to the Bible in
our own language. In fact, we have access to an overwhelming choice of Bibles. This is the Protestant heritage: a Bible in every household. This privilege was hard won and definitely something to celebrate, but there’s no point in having the Bible if we don’t read it. And there’s no point in reading the Bible if we don’t understand it. The Bible is not an easy book, but it is a wonderful book. It may be puzzling, sometimes shocking and difficult, but it is full of riches, power, comfort and peace. We believe that it is God’s ‘word’ to his world, God’s ‘words’ to his world. If they are God’s words, then they will bring freedom, wisdom, revelation and strength.
Working at understanding
There are many ways of seeking understanding. First, we need the help of the Spirit. The Father and the Son send the Spirit as a teacher of the truth about God. Jesus said ‘But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth’ ( John 16:13). We need to ask the Spirit to bring us revelation as we read. Secondly, we need to know that sometimes we’ll have to work at it: read a book, listen to a podcast, enrol on a course, set up a discussion group, and tap the wisdom of others. Jesus told a parable about the kingdom of heaven being like digging for treasure (Matt 13:44). There are so many treasures in the Bible, but sometimes we have to mine a bit deeper. For me, it was important to know that there were intelligent Christians out there, men and women who were both prayerful and intellectual, who knew what they were talking about. I know not everyone needs this, but if you are someone who does, then let me encourage you to seek them out.
From simple to complex
Of course, we don’t need to be Greek and Hebrew scholars or highpowered theologians to read the Bible. I do believe that our faith in God needs to be like that of a child, but you don’t need to hang around
children very long to realise that they have important and penetrating questions about God, about existence, about the world. When we start to teach children about our faith, we can quickly be confronted with difficult questions. When my children were small one of them asked why God seems so mean in the Old Testament. As I was struggling to think of a good answer for a six yearold, he piped up, “I know, I think it was because in the Old Testament he didn’t have a mummy.” I’ve always loved that quirky idea! The reality is that from a simple faith, we can ask complex questions. There aren’t always simple answers, but there are answers to some of the hard questions that have been prayed through, researched, debated and deliberated over. Of course, there will always be aspects of God that remain a mystery to our fragile human minds, but he has given us the ability to think, to explore, and to wrestle.
It’s okay to ask
As I have been reading the Bible recently, I’ve been struck by how many questions God asks. He asks questions all the time, so I think he probably loves it when we ask questions back. Moreover, we can be confident in him and in our scriptures that there are good, coherent and satisfying answers for the ones who are genuinely seeking. The contemporary theologian Daniel Migliore writes in his book Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theolog y: ‘Questions arise at the edges of what we can know and what we can do as human beings. They thrust themselves on us with special force in times and situations of crisis such as sickness, suffering, guilt, injustice, personal or social upheaval, and death. …Christian faith asks questions, seeks understanding, both because God is always greater than our ideas of God, and because the public world that faith inhabits confronts it with challenges and contradictions that cannot be ignored.’ I believe that we need to be a church
Lucy Peppiatt Crawley Lucy is an associate pastor at Crossnet Anglican Church in Bristol and a lecturer in Christian Doctrine at Westminster Theological Centre. She is also a member of the faculty for the New Wine Training Partnership (NWTP).
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that can respond to these questions, to stretch to meet them, the questions both from within and without.
As part of this year’s celebrations of the Bible, our diocese in Bristol is planning a number of events and initiatives. One of these is a series of talks to address some of the hard questions that people both inside and outside the church have in relation to the Bible. How do we square the teaching of Genesis with the findings of modern science? What does the Bible have to say about ‘green issues’? What is the historical evidence for the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus? Did Paul invent Christianity? What use is the Bible in an age that has embraced different sexual values and gender roles? Does the Bible condone genocide and present God as violent and vindictive towards his enemies? These are not just ‘interesting’ questions. They are meaningful and real to a lost world wondering who God is and if he cares. It is important for us as a church to have confidence that the Bible equips us to address these issues well. God is not frightened by our questions because he knows all the answers. I love the idea that there is still so much to learn, and that God is constantly revealing more of his truth to his church. He has gifted us his Word and his Spirit and we want to be a church that has the maturity to realise the power of both.
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Training Partnership Practically focused - Spirit empowered - Academically challenging For the past two years Westminster Theological Centre have partnered with New Wine to deliver university-level theological education, practical leadership and ministry training to local churches across the British Isles, which form local learning communities called Hubs. We are excited that this year three new Hubs are joining the existing six across the UK and the Channel Islands. These new Hubs will join the existing ones in Central London, East Anglia, Gloucestershire, Guernsey, Hampshire and Manchester. At the heart of both WTC and New Wine is a commitment to building and training leaders and disciples within the local church, and the new Hub locations will bring this unique, cutting-edge form of theological training to many more people. Already people from across the country with many different walks of life, church contexts and levels of experience are signing up for NWTP courses in their local area starting from September. The New Wine Training Partnership draws on the knowledge and expertise of renowned theologians and leaders from the UK and North America, who teach at residential intensive weeks twice a year and in weekly evening classes via the latest video conferencing technology. The courses are part time and are designed to be manageable alongside full time work and a demanding life.
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Integrity People won’t follow a leader with moral, spiritual or emotional flaws for long. Anthony Rose explores how to make sure your public and private faces match up
hat does the word ‘integrity’ mean to you? I always used to think of it simply as being morally upright, but it can actually mean much more than that. It’s really to do with being whole or sound as a person, including being the same on the inside as you appear on the outside. The Bible makes it clear that with God’s people the behaviour we show to the world should be matched by what we really are at our core, and that’s to do with several aspects of our being. In Matthew 22:16 Jesus is described as ‘a man of integrity’. The word used translates as ‘truthful’, meaning ‘not hidden’ or ‘out in the open’. The trouble is, that’s not always the case for many of us and because we set ourselves high standards we can end up living with guilt if there’s a gap between our private life and our public one. For those in any form of Christian leadership, the stakes are even higher. Not only is there the problem of demonstrating to the world that our faith is real, but we have the responsibility of setting an example to others we hope will follow us. It becomes harder to hide things that might not be right in our lives from our home group, or to lead worship on a Sunday, for example. I suggest there are three main areas of integrity where we need to mind this gap: moral, spiritual and emotional.
Know your weaknesses
In his book Courageous Leadership Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois, USA, writes: ‘Followers will only trust leaders who exhibit the highest levels of integrity. People will not follow a leader with moral incongruities for long. Every time you compromise character you compromise leadership.’ I suppose we all know this, but how can leaders maintain moral integrity in their lives, especially given the extra pressures I’ve mentioned?
There are a number of steps we can take, most of which are common sense. We need to recognise in the first place what our weaknesses might be. Money, sex and power issues are all in the mix, along with various addictions, whether it’s alcohol or just watching too much television! The first thing is to try to steer clear of the areas we might have trouble in. For example, you might simply need to avoid certain situations of being alone with someone of the opposite gender. If you’re tempted to watch unsavoury stuff on your computer, maybe it would help to place the screen where others can see it and try to avoid being alone on the Internet for too long. Pressing that off switch and walking away is an act of the will and sometimes the only answer. We might need to avoid temptation when it comes to money matters. For instance, do we have enough safeguards built into our handling of other people’s money? And have we got a grip on our personal finances? These are just a couple of examples. I’m sure you can think of many other situations where deliberate avoidance is prudent, but I’d also argue for the positive to be stressed rather than just ‘negative’ measures. Take opposite sex relationships again. If you’re married, do you work atyour marriage, spending quality time with your spouseand not simply immersed in work or church ministry? Do you understand their needs and sufficiently communicate yours? In all areas of life we constantly need to be keeping a check on whether we might have weaknesses. What better way for Satan to destroy God’s work than to exploit the foibles of leaders? Accountability is a big positive area as well. Are you accountable to someone? I don’t just mean a line manager, rather a person or group who knows you well enough to ask the right questions and can be trusted to pray for you without judging.
Pursue spiritual growth
There are two parts to this: firstly, your personal walk with God and, secondly, being true to your calling. In your personal walk with Jesus, are you maintaining your spiritual growth to such a degree that you’re able to lead others on? Very often, the longer someone has been a Christian the more their rate of growth slows. Maybe you’ve learned a lot since becoming a Christian but you’ve become a bit set in your thinking. It could be that someone in the group you’re responsible for who is newer to the faith and growing is asking questions you can’t answer. I’m not advocating leadership of the ‘guru in the corner’ kind, but I do believe it’s important for all leaders to be seeking nourishment from God that keeps us fresh in the faith, strong in our love for him and for others, and growing in knowledge of the Bible (because we love it rather than to show others how clever we are). We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to resources to help our spiritual growth: the printed word, audio and visual media, the Internet, conferences, courses and networking opportunities. Many of these are worthwhile and we need to encourage ourselves as well as those we lead to use those means. But I believe that, ultimately, there’s no substitute for the discipline of daily prayer and Bible study. Discipline is not a popular concept these days, but I know my own spiritual life can’t depend on occasional top-ups; I need a daily routine where I can listen to God and immerse myself in his Word. Spiritual integrity for leaders is also about being true to your calling. When I say this I’m thinking about leaders taking the kingdom of God forward. New Wine’s strapline is ‘Local churches changing nations’. If we’re to see change we need leaders at all levels of church life who have fire in their hearts and are open to the Holy Spirit doing anything, even if it means it won’t always be spiritually safe in the particular area you lead. It’s not about saying you believe in Holy Sprit renewal, it’s about having the courage to allow it to happen. It’s about being sure of your ‘spiritual DNA’ and leading by example, not hoping others will get on with it!
Understand who you are
‘Leaders who ignore their interior reality often make unwise decisions that have grave consequences for the people they lead’ continues Bill Hybels. Is the public person you show to those you lead a true reflection of the inner you? This isn’t about being the most emotionally ‘together’ person in the world; sometimes a good leader
Anthony Rose Anthony is Vicar of St George’s New Thundersley in Benfleet, Essex. Before this he led two parishes in Somerset. He is a New Wine Network leader for the South Essex locality.
‘In all areas of life we constantly need to be checking on whether we might have weaknesses. What better way for Satan to destroy God’s work than to exploit the foibles of leaders?’ will admit to their frailties. But too often leaders can come a cropper because they simply haven’t come to terms with some personal difficulty to do with their emotions or personality. When I was a young adult (and a relatively young Christian) I led a youth group and did some ‘up-front’ ministry. For me, that made it harder to face up to certain emotions that I hadn’t come to terms with, connected with my parents splitting up when I was a child. I decided I needed to embark on a journey of self-understanding if I had any chance of moving on as a Christian and indeed being involved in any form of leadership. I wrote a book about my experiences called Stranger on the Shore, published by Thankful Books. ‘Self-understanding’ is really what it’s all about for me. As disciples we’re on a journey and we all need to allow the Holy Spirit to help us understand ourselves more. We might have issues to do with our upbringing. Often the relationship with a father is key. Many others have also spoken and written about this whole area, which shows how important it is. I’m not advocating everyone suddenly rushing out and getting therapy but simply for leaders, particularly, to be aware that if they feel there’s a gap between the public persona and the private person then something needs to be done. Seeking the help of an understanding listener or counsellor and taking in good written and spoken material can be ways forward in this.
Remember the battle
I rejoice that so many leaders I meet are concerned with their personal integrity. We’re blessed, particularly within a movement like New Wine, to have men and women who take their leadership calling seriously and do seek to mind the gap between their public face and their private reality. We need to be aware of the spiritual war we’re in. In any battle, the enemy targets the officers first. But if leaders can maintain their integrity, the devil will struggle to find the chinks in their defences and the kingdom of God will advance further!
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Join a growing network of over a thousand church leaders and pastors • Connect nationally through conferences, leaders’ forums and training events • Connect locally with your Local Network Group • Connect intentionally with a Core Group • Connect online to our exclusive members’ resource area ‘A great source of spiritual refreshment and challenge; in fact, I would say it is a lifeline...I have often had significant encounters with God and received words of knowledge and prophecy that have either reminded me of my calling or challenged me to take further risks in ministry for the sake of the Kingdom.’ Danny Wignall, Surrey ‘The Network has helped me to appreciate the value of ‘joined up’ and strategic thinking and praying.’ Keith King, Buckinghamshire ‘I have found the core group a safe place where I am challenged and equipped.’ Laura McWilliams, Yorkshire
The Network is for church leaders and pastors of any denomination who are in, or training for, significant positions of leadership within the church and Christian ministry. If the imagination, dreams, energy and talents of all the local churches in the New Wine Network could be harnessed, then I believe that together we could really contribute to changing nations. If you share our vision and values, I warmly invite you to join us. John Coles, Director, New Wine
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Clowns to the LEFT of me;
Is where someone places themselves on the LeftRight political spectrum important to you? James Mumford suggests that it’s vital to escape political labels and find our identity in Christ
Maybe it’s just me, but one thing I can’t stand is being labelled. I don’t want to be pigeonholed; put in a box; ‘placed’; categorised without being consulted. For example, my brother and I meet someone together at a party and after only five minutes of chatting they say, ‘James. You’re the good-looking one, aren’t you? You’re the sporty, clever, funny one. While your brother, he’s the nerdy one, right? He’s the one who found it difficult to make friends at school etc, etc. Am I right?’ I can’t stand that kind of labelling because, while all of that may well be true, it should take someone at least an hour to figure it out. I joke. But in all seriousness being labelled is aggravating. Labelling is the quickest, quietest route to dismissing people. Once we’ve boxed the person we’ve just met we no longer have to attend to them, no longer have to listen to what they have to say, are no longer compelled to engage or think through their views. Because in our own minds we’ve already decided we ‘know their kind’. Why can’t I stand it? I don’t really know. Maybe it’s just an inflated teenage sense of my own individuality, my defiant moment of saying, ‘I have that within which passes show’ along
with the character Hamlet in one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. I get equally frustrated when faith comes in for the same treatment. I don’t want to whine, but I must admit I do find it frustrating when in a conversation or a column, a blog or a blockbuster, something the church stands for (the side of a moral argument the Bible takes) is summarily labeled, categorised and dismissed. And of course this labeling is usually political; so it is the church’s convictions about the deepest moral issues which get automatically branded ‘left-wing’ or ‘right-wing’. What I want to argue here, briefly, is that political pigeonholing is not only profoundly anti-intellectual, it is also profoundly damaging to the church’s witness. To put it grandly, we owe it to society to strive for free speech; to try and resist faith-perspectives being reduced to the Left-Right spectrum.
Liberal or conservative? Red or blue? The Guardian or The Telegraph? Left or Right? In my view this rush to label people could only happen in a culture where identity has become thoroughly political. One that has accepted the assumption that our political views determine our identity.
Jokers to the RIGHT…
‘Whether in the media or in the pub, political labelling works by association. For example, say I air a view on the rightness or wrongness of some form of sexual activity. Often it is then silently, without discussion, assumed that because I think that about sex, I must think this about gun-control or the war in Iraq or competition law’ Let me try and explain what I mean by this. In the two countries I know best, Britain and America, one does often get the distinct impression that your political persuasion (whatever it may be) is at the core of your being. Language is revealing: ‘I am conservative’, someone will say; ‘I am left-wing’, another will declare. What this implies is that politics is what makes you, you; that which party you align yourself with is a core determinant of your identity. Politics become not only about what I decide
to do in the polling-booth, now it’s about what I do in the bedroom. It’s about sexuality and music and class; it affects purchasing habits as well as viewing ones. Politics isn’t only about who I vote for, it’s about who I like. And also who I dislike – it dictates friends and enemies. We have heard a lot about the bitter partisanship of US politics recently, with the terrible shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords having been linked to the incendiary rhetoric in which November 2010’s mid-terms were couched. I would hazard a guess that that feverish atmosphere is in large part due to the fact that identity – how people answer the question of who they are – has become thoroughly political.
Guilty by association
Whether in the media or in the pub, political labeling works by association. For example, say I air a view on the rightness or wrongness of some form of sexual activity. Often it is then silently, without discussion, assumed that because I think that about sex, I must think this about gun-control or the war in Iraq or competition law. Or because a person of faith thinks ‘y’ about the environment, they must think ‘x’ about euthanasia.
The key thing to say about the way in which particular moral stances are distributed across the political spectrum (i.e. the way certain positions are labeled ‘left-’ or ‘right-wing’) is that it is totally bizarre and deeply irrational. Last year the satirist Rory Bremner made this point amusingly when he imagined (and impersonated) George Bush talking about a recent visitor to the White House: ‘President Bush spoke warmly about his visitor and the values they share. “Like Pope Benedict I’m pro-life; like him I’m anti-abortion; unlike him I’m also pro-capital punishment, anti-gun control and pro-preemptive war. So, basically, I’m pro-life until it’s out of the womb, and then all bets are off!”’ Let me give a related example. Nuclear deterrence and abortion are two pressing moral debates which have raged in the West for decades and remain of pivotal importance. In terms of the first, any argument against deterrence is labeled an unpalatably far-left view: nuclear disarmament was not even considered a worthwhile topic of debate in the party leaders’ television debates in the run-up to the 2010 General Election (Nick Clegg’s proposal to scrap Trident was a purely financial one); and
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was ridiculed in The Times when he criticised Britain’s refusal to consider getting rid of weapons specifically designed to swallow up whole cities in seconds. And conversely, in terms of abortion, a pro-life position is as an extreme and unpalatable a view on the right as anti-deterrence is on the left. However, when you really think it through (and I am not unaware of how sensitive these issues are) it seems that the logic underpinning both an anti-nuclear weapons position and a pro-life one is the same: both involve the indiscriminate use of lethal force, the taking of the lives of non-combatants.
Now, what has any of this to do with Christianity? Well, as far as the question of Christianity and politics goes, you could be forgiven for thinking that the whole thing’s a bit of a lose-lose. For either the church disengages from politics completely and is branded ‘quietist’ (i.e. so preoccupied with the purely spiritual that it doesn’t care about how the real world is governed). Or else the church engages with politics and is suspected of having ‘theocratic’ intentions (i.e. wanting to impose its own distinct theological view of the world upon people who don’t share that vision). I don’t have the space here to explore why the capitulation of so many German churches to Nazism (the ‘quietist’ option) or the Salem witch-hunts ala the Arthur Miller play The Crucible (the ‘theocratic’ option) were both, theologically speaking, aberrations, occasions when the church lost its way.
Neither do I have space to draw upon the extraordinarily rich and diverse tradition of Christian thinking about politics which shows why, in terms of the relation between faith and the public sphere, there’s a third and a fourth and a fifth way. But what must be said is that at the heart of the New Testament is a profound assumption that, in terms of identity, the decision to follow Jesus means that your primary identity can no longer be political: ‘For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God’ (Col 3:3). First and foremost a follower of Jesus is a follower of Jesus. He or she can no longer be left- or right-wing; can no longer primarily identify as liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. All those loyalties have been displaced; those affiliations, insofar as they determine who you are, have been severed. From now on it’s ‘clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right’ from the song Stuck in the Middle With You by seventies Scottish folk/rock band Stealers Wheel.
grace of God. Yet it is clear that the Bible does generate distinct positions on the deepest, most profound questions human beings have, including the ones about morality. English novelist GK Chesterton wrote that ‘a man can no more possess a private religion than he can possess a private sun and moon.’ Accordingly, all that the New Testament says about how we should live – about personal morality and social justice, from giving until it hurts to managing anger, from chastity to a radical commitment to honesty whatever the circumstances – is part of a vision for human beings, not just for Christians. This vision is not to be coerced or always legislated upon. But we are called on occasion to explain and justify and ‘give a reason for the hope which we have’ (1 Pet 3:16). And the possibility of doing that is severely challenged when everything is reduced to an expression of political preferences.
Secondly, political labeling compromises what the church has to say about moral issues. The Bible warns Christians against being preachy or judgmental or talking about right and wrong without in the same breath talking about the
James Mumford James recently submitted his PhD in Ethics at Oxford University. He is a small group leader at Holy Trinity Brompton, London. He will be speaking at the London & South East Summer Conference (23-29 July). Find out more at www.new-wine.org/summer
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HOLY VIOLENCE In the second of three articles addressing the difficult subject of Old Testament violence, Simon Coupland offers two more simple solutions and one helpful approach
In his book, The God I Don’t Understand, Chris Wright writes, ‘Is there any way to describe the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites other than religious genocide or ethnic cleansing? What possible connection can such violence have with the God we long to love, trust and understand?’ SIMPLE SOLUTION 1: CUT OUT THE OLD TESTAMENT We saw in my previous article (‘Is God homicidal?’ in the Winter 11 edition of New Wine magazine) that this has been one way that Christians have often dealt with the problem, either deliberately or subconsciously. But as we also discovered, doing away with the Old Testament means ignoring large sections of the New Testament which quote the Hebrew Scriptures, parting company with Jesus, losing the context in which he defined himself, and depriving ourselves of many glorious spiritual treasures.
SIMPLE SOLUTION 2: SAY IT DIDN’T HAPPEN
The best way to explain this approach is to illustrate it with three case studies. In 1 Samuel 15:3 God commanded Saul, ‘Attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ That’s just the kind of passage that many Christians and non-Christians have a problem with. But look at chapter 30 of the same book, describing events of a few years later: ‘The Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it’ (1 Sam 30:1). So the Amalekites had clearly not been destroyed by the Israelites: it didn’t happen. 24
At a stroke, then, the ‘problem’ of the violence in the Old Testament disappears - because there wasn’t any! However, although this ‘solution’ may explain away some passages, it certainly doesn’t account for all. Take this incident in Numbers 15:32-36: ‘A man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Lord commanded Moses.’ I struggle with this passage. Why did God command that? Is that really what Sabbath-keeping was all about? And I can’t find any reason to say it didn’t happen. So solution number two turns out, like number one, not to provide a real solution at all. Or take the command that adulterers must be put to death (Lev 20:10). When David was discovered to have committed adultery with Bathsheba, there was no suggestion that either he or she should be killed. Nathan pronounced God’s punishment, which included the sword never departing from David’s family (2 Sam 12:10-11), but neither David nor Bathsheba was threatened with death. The third example is slightly different. Joshua 6:24 states: ‘Then they burned the whole city [ Jericho] and everything in it.’ Yet archaeologists who have dug at the site of Tell es-Sultan (Ancient Jericho) say that they cannot find evidence of a great city being burned at this time. They differ in their interpretation of the site, with some saying that there was no city there and others arguing that there is no destruction layer from the right period. Either way, these archaeologists conclude that the wholesale destruction reported in Joshua simply didn’t happen, thus effectively removing the problem of the slaughter described in the Bible.
Literal or figurative?
Certainly we know that the Bible uses language figuratively and shouldn’t always be taken literally. For instance, Jesus criticised the teachers of the Law, ‘You say to the waiter, “There’s a fly in my soup!” but when he’s fished the fly out, you don’t notice there’s a camel on your spoon!’ (Matt 23:2324, my paraphrase). Jesus exaggerated! He didn’t literally mean us to cut our limbs off or pluck our eyes out (Matt 9:43-47), or most of his followers would be sightless and limbless. The early church leader Origen did take this passage literally and castrate himself, but the rest of the church then, and since, has maintained that he was missing the point.
SIMPLE SOLUTION 3: STOP BEING SUCH WIMPS!
It is difficult for me to present this viewpoint, as it’s not a line I would ever take, but many people do. In a nutshell this approach says that we should stop seeing the violence in the Old Testament as a ‘problem’ and take the Bible literally, sin seriously, and God at his word. For example, in 1 Samuel 15, Samuel not only condemned Saul for disobeying God’s command to destroy the Amalekites, but puts King Agag to death himself (33). He didn’t apologise for God’s demands, but simply obeyed. And down through the ages Christians have similarly taken up arms in God’s name in what they believed was righteous warfare: the Crusaders in the Holy Land, Martin Luther during the Peasants’ Revolt, or Oliver Cromwell in Ireland. Nor is this only a phenomenon of the distant past. In 1917 the Bishop of London stated, “The good old British race never did a more Christlike thing than when it went to war”, and in the US there are Christians who believe it is right to attack those who carry out abortions.
Consistent with Jesus
So are we being unbiblical in being embarrassed by these passages in the Old Testament? I do not believe that we are, for this purported solution overlooks the teaching and example of Jesus (more of this in the next article). He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt 5:9), and told Peter bluntly, “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matt 26:52). When a woman was caught in adultery, which according to the Torah 25
deserved the death penalty, Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin” ( John 8:11). This ‘solution’ consequently seems to me no solution at all for Christians who want to be true to the whole of Scripture and faithful followers of Jesus.
HELPFUL APPROACH 1: JUDGE EVENTS BY THE STANDARDS OF THE TIME
Even if there is no simple answer to the question of the violence in the Bible, there are ways of making it more comprehensible and perhaps less offensive. The first is this: we must judge past events in the context of their day, not ours. Ironically, it is a point made by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion: ‘It is a commonplace that good historians don’t judge statements from past times by the standards of their own’, even if he proceeds to do precisely that! Thus in Old Testament times, the way in which the Israelites waged war was in many ways normal for the day. Total destruction for the deity was widespread in the ancient world, practised by, among others, the Amorites, Moabites, Egyptians and Assyrians. The latter were particularly brutal: a series of stone tablets in the British Museum show prisoners from the Israelite city of Lachish being tortured, killed, possibly flayed alive, and impaled on stakes. When Samuel executed Agag, he said, “As your sword has made women childless, so will your mother be childless among women” (1 Sam 15:33). In other words, Agag was being judged by his own standards.
‘Even if there is no simple answer to the question of the violence in the Bible, there are ways of making it more comprehensible and perhaps less offensive’ ethnic cleansing, as is evident from the example of Rahab at Jericho, who was spared because of her recognition of the God of Israel ( Joshua 2). The Old Testament was in many respects more generous than was customary at the time. We may still not commend or even excuse what the Israelites did in Canaan, but we can perhaps understand it better. By the standards of the day Israel’s behaviour was in no way exceptional, and in some significant respects it was more enlightened and generous than that of the nations round about. In the Autumn edition of the magazine we’ll explore two more helpful thoughts, recalling why God commanded this and recognising that Jesus changes everything. For further reading I’d recommend Evil and the Justice of God by NT Wright (email the title to email@example.com by 27 May for your chance to win a free copy).
Limits on violence
Yet Israel was different from other nations in that total destruction was limited to specific campaigns against Canaanite tribes, and was not a general rule. Deuteronomy 20 and 21 lay down very enlightened standards for the army’s behaviour on campaign against other nations. This was not
Simon leads St Paul’s Kingston Hill and a local New Wine Network, together with his wife Heather. He’s currently writing a book about Burning Issues that Preachers Prefer not to Touch, of which this is one.
© The author retains full copyright of this material; it may not be republished.
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2.07 million mothers in the UK stay at home with their children rather than go out to work. Kirstie Goddard shares some of the pleasures and the pressures of being a stay-at-home mum
What do you do?
I’m a stay-at-home mum with three children aged nine, seven and five – two boys and a girl. I am also very involved with our local church, St Chad’s Romiley in Stockport, coordinating Prampushers, the groups for pre-school children and their carers on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings. On Friday mornings I run a discipleship group for a group of mums who have just become Christians and also volunteer in our community café either serving tables, making drinks or food.
What’s a typical day like for you?
The first two hours of the day are spent with my children, giving them breakfast, getting them ready for school, sorting out packed lunches and so on. This can be the most hectic two hours of my day! After dropping the kids at school I either head down to the church hall or home to do some housework and washing, or go shopping. After school I end up being a taxi service for my children, taking them to swimming, piano, band, ballet and church groups.
What do you love most about the work you do? I count it a huge privilege to be able to be at home with my children, to be involved in every part of their lives and to be there for them when they need me. I believe it is a very important time in their lives and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I can remember my mum always being there for me when I came home from school, and I want to do the same for my kids. I also love the freedom that it gives me to serve Jesus in the community, and this is even easier now that the children are all at school during the day.
What are some of the challenges and how do you deal with them?
Being a stay-at-home mum is not the easy option! Looking after three lively children on the best of days
is a challenge in itself, but dealing with all of their complex emotional, physical and spiritual needs can be overwhelming. On a bad day I’m ready to run down to the job centre! All I can do is to be there for them and to try to mirror Jesus’ love to them. My husband and I pray for our children and our family on a regular basis and know that God listens. We try to figure out what our children’s emotional needs are and start there. That might mean encouraging one of them more or taking another one out for some one-to-one time. Or it might just mean being there to have a cuddle. Working out what the need is, is always the hardest bit. It is also a challenge to know how to juggle church life and home life. It is very easy to be drawn into all sorts of ministries and it begins to take over your life and encroach on your time with the children. I have had to think hard and pray about what areas to get involved in, where God wants me to focus my energy and attention, and what is not right for now. But it is also possible for home life to get too busy and that begins to get in the way of God. I realise that this is something that will always be a challenge. I will have to keep reminding myself to put God first.
How do you try to live out your faith through your work?
I believe that my most important role as a mum is to teach my children how to walk with Jesus. They need to see me living out my faith on a day-to-day basis and hopefully learn themselves to love Jesus and put him first in their lives. They need to know that they are loved unconditionally and that God wants to be a part of every aspect of their lives. I also try to live out my faith in Jesus through my involvement with the Prampushers groups. Tuesdays is for mums and babies, at which we get up to 37,
and Wednesdays and Thursdays are for all pre-schoolers and their carers, to which we get 50 adults and 80 children on both days. On Wednesdays and Thursdays we tell a Bible story, sing a couple of Christian songs and nursery rhymes, and do a craft activity related to the story. These groups are a fantastic witness to our community. The parents and carers know that I am a Christian so I have a wonderful opportunity to tell them about Jesus’ love. The community café is another great opportunity as it is always filled with people who aren’t yet part of the church.
Can you think of a particular time when you’ve experienced God with you in your work?
Kirstie with her children Emma, James and Thomas
I know that God is with me all the time, in all that I do, but one incident sticks in my head. My eldest son, James, had an accident when he was 15 months old. He managed to reach up to the kitchen surface and pour boiling water all over his head. We ended up on the burns unit at the children’s hospital in Manchester. The love and support that we received from family and friends was amazing. We felt surrounded by prayer and were showered with gifts for James. We have to say now that James’ recovery was fairly miraculous. It was the most horrific thing that has ever happened to us, but when you look at James now you could never tell he’d been burned. God was there in the hospital with us, in the treatment he received from the doctors and nurses, in the support we received from our Christian family and in James’ recovery. God is good!
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How do we make sure we aren’t like the ‘religious’ people of Jesus’ time, alienating rather than loving the community we are part of? Do we make it easy for people to cross our thresholds, irrespective of background, status, lifestyle and even faith? Ian King shares some stories of welcoming people in
t Restore Community Church we believe that God has called us to ‘restore lives, restore relationships and restore communities’ and so in recent years we have tried to develop ways to interact with and love the community around us. At the same time, we have also worked at providing a welcoming environment for those who do manage to make the journey across our threshold – irrespective of history or belief. Though this is still very much a work in progress for us, here are some of the stories from our journey.
Helping with practical needs Danielle is a single parent whose husband died suddenly just before
the birth of their sixth child, leading to her having a breakdown and being hospitalised. During that time, her mother looked after the children and several of them started to attend a Kidz Club that Restore helps to run with another local church. Knowing the situation, Sally, a member of Restore and a local primary school teacher, took some initiative to build relationship with the children and started helping the family by taking them out for trips to the park and other fun activities. She also offered to bring the children along to church on Sunday. “I was really surprised and didn’t know what to make of it at first”, says Danielle.
Restore has a group of volunteers who offer one Saturday morning a month to assist with a local community need we are aware of. “There was a fire at my mum’s house and the whole family had to move into temporary accommodation, and the church provided a team of people to help with the move, and then helped her move back once the damage was repaired. The church that runs Kidz Club then bought new beds for the kids”, explains Danielle. “I really appreciated them being there to help my mum when I wasn’t there.” Since Danielle has been out of hospital she has come along to Restore both on a Sunday and midweek. “I have found coming along interesting – sometimes a bit strange – but it has got me thinking. I can see that people there really believe. I would like to believe, but I don’t know what I believe. One thing, though, is it’s a good place to be, a nice place to belong – the community spirit is amazing.”
Finding common goals
One of our most exciting opportunities to interact with a wider community has been in Africa. Having worked with Oasis Esteem to provide lessons in local secondary schools on HIV/AIDS, sex and relationships, we felt that we should support a HIV/AIDS project in Africa. Through some connections, we became a supporter of Beautiful Gate Community School in Kitwe, Zambia. Subsequently, at a New Wine Leadership Conference, someone told me about a local BMW garage owner, Ben Collins, a Christian who had also made connections to support a school in Kitwe. I met Ben and we had so much in common that we decided to pool resources to set up a school building and child sponsorship programme in Zambia. We partner with churches in Zambia with a desire to impact their local community by building and running schools. We are planning on building our fourth school this year.
‘I have found coming along interesting – sometimes a bit strange – but it has got me thinking...it’s a good place to be, a nice place to belong – the community spirit is amazing’ The partnership has provided the opportunity for joint teams to visit Zambia and cover needs such as building the classrooms or registering children for child sponsorship. For these teams, anyone from the garage has been able to volunteer along with people from Restore. An essential part of the trip has been a visit to the church that we are partnering with on a Sunday morning. “The majority of non-Christians on the trip, when asked what the highlight was, said church on Sunday morning!” says Ian Theodoreson, who has led one of the teams to Zambia. “They are fascinated by the motivation of Christians for doing this sort of project. Most go with a holiday mentality, and come back knowing they have made a difference and many having been touched by God in some way.”
in progress’, a bit of a ‘baby Christian’ learning to walk. Restore has helped me to have a real relationship with God. I talk to him all the time, and he helps me to make daily decisions.” Since that time, Dawn has taken over the ownership of the pre-school she works at. She has turned it into a Christian pre-school, with support from all of the parents, including Muslim ones. Dawn also loves to bake, and since becoming a Christian now puts her skills to good use to further help the church to be a welcoming environment. “I have baked for the Marriage Course that we run, the Church Community Fun Day, to raise funds for the schools in Zambia, sometimes as a special treat at church on a Sunday morning, as well as cooking meals for families in need or who have had a new baby. One of my friends says I do ministry through baking.” Ian King Ian leads Restore Community Church, a church of about 300 adults and 100 children and youth, based in Loughton, Essex. He will be leading a seminar at the London and South East Leadership Conference (9-11 May, Ealing, West London).
Inviting people in
In an effort to make inviting people along to church easy, a couple of years’ ago we made invitations for our Family Nativity Service that were basically postcards that kids could colour in. We gave them to our 3-5s group at church, and asked them to give them out to their friends to colour in. One little girl decided to give them out at her pre-school, and when she had given them to all the children, she gave one to Dawn, a member of staff. “I kind of knew Restore was there, but it wasn’t in a ‘proper’ church building and so I was a bit put off of looking in there. But now I’d been invited, and the family seemed okay, I decided to go along”, explains Dawn. “The nativity was such good fun that I went back the next week, and the next, and the next.” Shortly after, Dawn was invited to a midweek small group which has become a central part of her church family. “I have learnt so much, and have felt loved and supported through my journey so far. I’m still very much ‘work 31
ometimes a phrase so neatly encapsulates an idea it seems to have been around forever. ‘Faith is spelt R I S K’ from Vineyard founder John Wimber is one. ‘Football’s not a matter of life or death, it’s much more important than that’ from legendary football manager Bill Shankly is another. At Exeter Network Church (ENC) we regularly remind ourselves of the liberating slogan ‘Mission is seeing what God is doing and joining in’ from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
An exciting concept
I love this definition of mission for a number of reasons. First, it indicates that it is always God who takes the initiative in everything, from the time that he ‘so loved the world that he gave his one and only son’ ( John 3:16), through to today when he is constantly at work making all things new (Rev 21:5).
Jon Soper shares his church’s journey of improvising with mission discernment, ‘seeing’ the mysterious action of the Holy Spirit in all kinds of everyday life and troubles. This implies that we are alert and ready to take hold of opportunities.
doing in and through their friends. We give people permission to experiment, to try out an activity or event to see what God is doing in a particular area or group of people.
Third, it’s a great phrase because it implies action on our part and, in particular, our active co-operation with the Spirit. It’s not just up to God to make things happen, nor is it thankfully down to us alone. It’s more than the church coming up with some good ideas or programmes, it’s about us partnering with God, and it’s an adventure where anything can happen. Mission, like the character Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia, is not necessarily safe, but it is good.
Early on in ENC a couple decided to project the Alpha course DVDs on the wall of a local fish and chip shop during opening hours. It was unusual, creative, direct and fun. Inevitably, it was called ‘God and Chips’.
Free to experiment
In the six years of the life of our church, we have been trying to live up to this definition and to be truly shaped by God’s mission in the world around us. We encourage people to be aware of what God is Second, Williams’ phrase tells us that stirring up in them to do, and to mission involves us using the gift of recognise and name what God is
We celebrate diverse and creative ways of making an impact. To do this, we encourage people to form or join networks: groups of people with a name and a purpose to reach out to others. They celebrate all of life. A new network last year was the Exeter Network Cricket Club. The players were tempted to state their mission purpose as ‘win at all costs’, but eventually went for ‘share your faith, not your box’. Some networks are centred on social action: visiting Dartmoor prison, for instance, or supporting clients of our
debt advice service in partnership with Christians Against Poverty. These give people a chance to love, serve and pray for people they may not usually come into contact with. Other networks reach out to particular age groups: young people and students in particular, but there is also a network called Women of a Certain Age. I’m not sure what happens in that one, but thankfully the Holy Spirit is not limited by my ignorance and fear. Other networks are sports teams, a book club, an after school club, parent and toddler group and social events. There is also a group called Parklife who are building community among residents who live around a park in Exeter. In time they aim to build a café there.
‘In among the activity… the Holy Spirit moves beautifully and powerfully to change people’s lives, bringing them into relationship with Jesus and giving them a new way of seeing the world’ Activity and innovation
Networks can come and go, or operate on an ad hoc basis. There have been networks of salsa classes, surfers, walkers, businesswomen, a stall of free items at a car boot sale, open-mic evenings, even a poker bench. In an atmosphere of trying things out, some have a short life, but others gain traction, achieve momentum and grow. “It sounds like organised chaos to me”, said one man after I had spent a while painting a picture of the life
of our church. I decided to take it as a compliment, but I see the way we try to do church as more like a jazz band. What we are aiming to do is an improvisation around the theme of mission. From time to time one person will play a solo and the others will play around it, but it’s still recognisably the same tune. Like jazz, we want our network life to draw people into participating, to be varied, creative and have-a-go. In among the activity, and often in spite of us, the Holy Spirit moves beautifully and powerfully to change people’s lives, bringing them into relationship with Jesus and giving them a new way of seeing the world.
Encounters with God
We’ve been seeing some wonderful physical healings recently. One man, who we met through our Christians Against Poverty debt counselling service, told his story like this: he’d had a very painful leg for 10 years after someone had knocked him off his motorbike and left him for dead. He allowed himself, with much scepticism, to be prayed for, although he said, “That’s the first time any blokes have put their hands on me for years and got away with it.” As he swung his legs out of bed the next morning, he was astounded to find that his leg was
completely healed. He has moved from believing that Christianity is rubbish to believing in Jesus. Another thing God’s been doing is stirring up in a number of people the need for prayer. As a church leader it can trip off my tongue to say that ‘everything here is undergirded by prayer’, even when it isn’t. We tried praying 24/7 recently and the experience for many of us was profound. Encountering God in long periods of silence and keeping watch through the night turned into amazing encounters with the living God, being affirmed by him and getting direction for life. I was amazed and excited by the number of people I spoke to who God affected in this way. We realised again that it is only in prayer, woven into everyday life, that we really see what God is doing. And when we see, then we can join in. We’ve found that being co-operative with the Holy Spirit involves being active; alert in prayer and can-do in action. When we do what we are able to do, God does in and through us what only he in his grace can do. What an immense privilege it is that God allows us to see what he is up to, and then for us to be able to get involved.
Jon Soper Jon and his wife Jo lead Exeter Network Church, a Bishop’s Mission Order. Previously he was part of the band Fat and Frantic, who are reuniting for a short tour this summer.
The book that changes lives 400 years on from the first publication of the King James Bible, can we still get excited by the world’s bestselling book? Read the story of one young Ghanaian man’s response to being given a Bible
our years ago, delegates at New Wine Summer Conferences gave an astonishing £25,000 to help bring the Bible to schoolchildren in Ghana. Now 18 years old, Emmanuel Dosoo is one of dozens of children at Alorkpen Basic School who were given a copy of the Bible as a result of your generosity. Emmanuel lives in a dilapidated wooden hut on the exquisitely beautiful island of Alorkpen in the River Volta estuary in Ghana. All around palm and coconut trees sway in the breeze. Emmanuel walks to school along a path made of white sand and shells. Beyond his home the broad, deep blue river stretches down to the sea just a few miles away. But scratch beneath the surface of this beautiful landscape and there is a tougher story. Emmanuel is a quietly spoken boy and small for his age. The reason soon becomes clear. Emmanuel’s mother died giving birth to him. His father re-married and his new wife, according to relatives, rejected Emmanuel and told her husband not to care for him. So he didn’t. 34
Photograph supplied by Clare Kendall, Bible Society
An answer to anxiety
From the age of six – when children start school in Ghana – Emmanuel has had to look after himself, finding and preparing his own food and even paying his own school fees. To do this, he’s had to go fishing before classes, which start at 7.30am, and sell his catch. This never knowing if he was going to survive day-to-day caused him much anxiety, which ate away at him. “I worried sometimes about how I would cope”, he says. “I worried so much that I couldn’t read my lessons. Sometimes I would lie awake at night worrying about it.” “The Bible’s taught me how to pray”, Emmanuel tells me. “It says that if you ask God for anything he will listen to you. I have found that to be true in my life. Sometimes I go fishing and I don’t catch any fish. So I pray and put the nets out again and I always catch something. I always catch fish when I pray about it. Nowadays, I’m less worried about the future than I was. I know that you can bring everything before God and pray about it. I pray a lot.”
A new hope
“I didn’t know anything about Jesus Christ”, says Emmanuel, as we sit watching the goats that have invaded the school’s football pitch. “But when I got the Bible I saw that Jesus came and died for us because of our sins. Now I go to church and I’ve become a Sunday School teacher. I’ve got 35 children in my class and I really enjoy it.” Emmanuel’s home bears witness to his new-found faith in Jesus. On the shutters he’s written in orange paint, rather poignantly, ‘God is my father’. In his bedroom he’s painted the slogans, ‘God Almithy’ [sic] and ‘For God so love [sic] the world.’ Today he’s passing on the Good News. He’s lent his Bible to a friend
Faith and hope: Emmanuel Dosoo holding his precious Bible at his home on the island of Alorkpen in the Volta Delta, Ghana.
‘What makes me happiest in life? Reading the Bible. That’s the part of the day when I’m happiest’ ‘because he wanted to read it’. “What makes me happiest in life? Reading my Bible”, he tells me. “That’s the part of the day when I’m happiest.”
Seeing the difference
Samuel Awuku, aged 40, the assistant head teacher at Alorkpen’s school, says that the Bibles provided by New Wine have made a difference to the whole community. “The parents themselves didn’t know much about Christ, so they let their children go their own way”, he explains. “Some of the parents drink and smoke and worship idols. So the children are sent to buy drink for the parents and they learn to drink and smoke at a young age.” “Since the Bible distribution the parents are now beginning to see the light themselves”, he tells me. “At first they didn’t understand. But now they can see the difference it’s making in their children’s lives and they are very happy about it.”
You’ve got the time
This year you too can discover the Bible in a new and exciting way through Bible Society’s free listening programme You’ve Got the Time. A cast of 31 actors from Riding Lights Theatre Company has contributed to this audio recording of the New Testament which has been dramatised in a radical new style that brings the Bible to life. It’s an ideal way for busy Christians to get some time with God each day. You can listen to the entire New Testament in just 28 minutes a day
for 40 days. “It’s something everyone in churches can do, even the activist who can’t sit still”, says Andy Bissex, Head of Community Fundraising at Bible Society. “It’s about renewing our relationship with God in the midst of a hectic life.” You’ve Got the Time comes as a free download, enabling people to listen ‘on the go’. You can also get hold of a CD ROM for church leaders with talk outlines, small group study ideas and a short film to help a whole church get the most out of the listening experience.
Faith comes by hearing
Our hope is that as you’re inspired by the Bible you’ll want to pass that gift on to others. This year you can bring the Bible – in audio form – to people across Africa. Today thousands of people in villages across Africa are gathering in groups to listen to the New Testament in their own language on solar-powered digital audio players. This brings the Bible’s life-changing message to many people who can’t read and to those who have lost their sight. Just £40 will buy an audio player with the complete Bible text on computer chip for a village in Africa. £120 will provide villagers with an audio player, New Testaments and Bibles. “One of the reasons this is so exciting is that the audio Bible bridges the gap for these people, many of whom are Christian, and allows God to speak into their lives”, says Andy Bissex. “It brings communities together. As many as 50 people will meet to listen to the recordings and discuss them. We know that it’s already having an impact on individual’s lives and on whole communities. It’s phenomenal.”
Hazel Southam Hazel is Editor-in-Chief at the Bible Society. She is part of St John’s Church in Winchester, Hants. Visit www.biblesociety.org.uk to download You’ve Got The Time or phone 01793 418 222 to request a CD ROM.
Showing genuine love and providing practical support for sex workers 74% of women involved in sex work cite poverty or the need to pay household expenses or support their children as a primary motivator for putting their lives at risk. It is also estimated that as many as 95% of women involved in prostitution have a drug or alcohol addiction. What can we do to reach these women with Godâ€™s love? Julie Connolly shares how the Streetwise project in Liverpool operates
Starting something new
We asked some of the women what their needs were and what we could do to help them. They were wary of us, as we expected, but it gave us our first taste of what life is like for them. We started the Streetwise project as a trial for six months. We took two cars out each Saturday, with about six team members in each, with flasks of hot water, serving tea, coffee and hot chocolate from the car boots. We also gave out sandwiches and chocolate biscuits and decided that we wanted to give out condoms too. Our reason for deciding to do so is that we want to be primarily a mercy ministry, followed closely by an evangelistic ministry. We want the girls to know that we don’t judge them and that we care about their physical as well as spiritual health.
Learning from others
On one night out we came into contact with a secular organisation called Armistead who had been doing mobile outreach in the same area for many years. They became a wonderful help and support to us, especially in those early days, giving us recommendations on how to best operate Streetwise. Based on their recommendations, we switched to only using one car each night, with a maximum of four team members at a time. We soon formed a very positive relationship, which is still going strong today. I think it’s important that churches don’t rule out working alongside secular organisations. We don’t have all the answers and if we want to be the best at what we do, let’s build with those who can help us!
‘There are wonderful organisations and groups that can help women who want to get out of sex work and off drugs, but it is only God who heals and restores and we want to be a part of that process’ After visiting the 125 Project in Bristol, which is similar to Streetwise, I knew that God wanted us to pray for a van instead of using our cars. So as a team we did this. Some people put on events to raise money and one wonderful woman from the church gave us her car to sell to go towards buying the van. We sold it for £3,000 and bought our van. We used other fundraised money to fit out the van with benches and a table. It’s brilliant to be able to sit inside with the women, out of the rain and cold, and it has led to us having much more time to chat with them.
From trust to friendship
It probably took about a year for the women to trust us. They needed to see that we were reliable; that we didn’t judge or criticise but simply loved them. There is no shortcut to gaining that kind of trust, it just takes time. Now all of the women recognise and trust us and we have very close relationships with some of them. Sometimes team members meet women for coffee; we visit them if they are in hospital, and have supported them when going to court if they’ve wanted us to be there. We have gained a good reputation in the city and Armistead call on us to help them with some of their contacts. When we asked two Armistead workers to come to Frontline and talk about what they do, they were so positive about our work, saying that the women love and trust us, and they even thanked God for us!
We now go out on the streets every Friday and Saturday night from 10pm until 1am. It varies greatly
how many women we come into contact with on each night. We have 36 volunteers, split into teams of four (three women and one man) who have all been CRB checked. There are four Friday teams and four Saturday teams. We always interview potential volunteers to check their suitability and let them go on a ‘trial night’ with a team first. We ask each volunteer to sign up for six months at a time so we can plan rotas in advance. This ensures that Streetwise can be reliable and consistent in serving the women. In three and a half years we have only missed four nights, due to heavy snow!
hen two of us from Frontline church in Liverpool first went out to meet some of the sex workers on the city streets, all of our pre-conceived ideas about them were blown out of the water. These are regular women that we probably queue up behind in the supermarket. Yes, most of them have a serious drug habit that they fund through sex work, while others do it to get rent money or money for Christmas presents, but they are real people with families and loved ones.
Last year we held a Women’s Conference at Frontline and asked the delegates to bring new shoes and bags to give out to the women on the streets. We got so many that we were able to give some to a project in Southampton as well as some to Armistead. We put a label on each one that said how we think the women are beautiful, precious and of great worth. The girls loved the gifts, but it was the labels that moved them to tears. At Christmas someone gave us £500 specifically to spend on Christmas for the women. We were able to get great presents for them and delivered nine food hampers to those with whom we have close relationships. We put Christmas lights in the van and a little Christmas tree, which we encouraged the women to decorate by writing prayer requests on paper baubles.
Here’s what some of the women have said about Streetwise: “I feel safer on the nights when Streetwise is here and know that if anything bad happens I can come to you.” “I’d been living on the streets for months. A warm drink, food and sitting in the van helped me get by every week. Streetwise were the ﬁrst people I wanted to tell when I got a place in a hostel – you and Armistead. Remember? I came running up to tell you and everyone cheered!” “The difference with you is that your people seem to actually care about us girls. Like when I got attacked and was in a total state. One of the
Streetwise people sat with me all night and helped me make a report of what he looked like so they could warn the other girls. They said I should report it to the police, but I didn’t want to and they didn’t make me. I remember she cried as well, it wasn’t just form-ﬁlling.” “We always know you’ll be here and we can trust you. When you ﬁrst met us years ago we were living in a squat or on the streets and life was rubbish. Things have changed for us and life is loads better now. But part of that was through friends on Streetwise sticking by us. Jude [a Streetwise volunteer]
even came with me when I had to go to court. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to go on my own. We’re slowly getting off the drugs, but you need people to believe you can do it.” “At ﬁrst we only expected you guys to stick with us for a few weeks then give up on us. But three years later you’re still here!”
We desire to see these women loved and cared for and to see God break the powers of addiction in their lives and their hearts healed. There are wonderful organisations and groups that can help women who want to get out of sex work and off drugs, but it is only God who heals and restores and we want to be a part of that process. The teams always pray before they go out on Friday and Saturday nights. We want to see the power and love
of God displayed each week! But we only pray with the women if they ask us to, or if it comes up naturally in conversation. The women we meet know that we are Christians, so we leave it up to them if and when they want to ask us about our faith. We have had lots of opportunities to pray for them over the years, whether that’s because they feel ill or because something specific is troubling them. A few have come to church. One woman, who we supported through detox and rehab, is now on the church welcoming team. Another woman we are supporting is now off the street and engaged in a methadone script programme. We are only scratching the surface with Streetwise and are learning all the time. But it’s a journey that we love, with wonderful women whom it is an absolute privilege to serve. Julie Connolly Julie is one of the pastors at Frontline church in Wavertree, Liverpool, where she heads up the Streetwise project with women involved in street sex work. If you’re thinking about starting a similar project and would like some advice, please email cathieh@
EQUIPPING SLAVIC CHRISTIANS TO REACH THEIR OWN PEOPLE WITH THE GOSPEL
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Slavic Gospel Association is committed to working in partnership with local churches across Eastern Europe and Central Asia, helping them to address the particular challenges of building the Church of Jesus Christ in former Communist lands. This includes leadership training programmes, ongoing help for those in ministry, support for church planting initiatives, the erection of buildings and the provision of humanitarian aid.
For more information about the ministry of SGA please visit www.sga.org.uk call 01323 725583 email email@example.com Slavic Gospel Association, 37a The Goffs, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 1HF
‘Can I believe in science and the Bible?’ How do we respond to claims that scientific discovery has discredited the Bible? Paul Chamberlain encourages us to use our intelligence to look at each differently
The short answer to this question is ‘yes’, as many scientists who are Christians will tell you. However, the longer answer is more complicated! Whether you think you can believe in both science and the Bible depends upon what you’re expecting to get from each of them. For example, where should we go for answers to questions as diverse as: Where does rain come from? What is lightening? Is there a God?
The importance of genre
Let’s start with the Bible. It is an ancient document produced over at least 1,000 years in many diverse settings, as well as being God’s Word. The question is: what should we expect from the Bible, and how should we correctly read it? The key thing is to consider the genre of the thing you are reading; in other words, what type of literature is this? We all know about genre, but rarely realise it. We read a letter from our bank manager differently to a letter from a lover, because they are different genres. In the same way we read the poetry in Psalm 18:2: ‘The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer’, differently to Acts 27:29: ‘Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight’. The latter clearly refers to a physical rock which destroys a boat, the former means that God is like a rock to the Psalmist, i.e. he is dependable and strong, solid. So genre matters when we read the Bible, otherwise we might mistake what the author was trying to say. The genre of a text determines the kind of thing you should look to get from reading it. Let’s look at the first chapter of Genesis, for example, which is the narrative of the sevenday creation (it may help you to go and read it before you carry on reading this article). What kind of literature is Genesis 1? It’s a narrative – things happen in it – and it has some features of poetry as well: repeated phrases (‘and God said’, ‘according to their kind’, and many others), and a repeated structure in how each day is described. In Genesis 1, many words and phrases are found three, seven or 10 times; the introduction contains 35 words, earth is mentioned 21 times, God is mentioned 35 times (all multiples of seven). All this suggests that the genre of Genesis 1 is a mix of poetry and narrative, and that the author was very interested in the symbolism of numbers, as well as telling us something about God. Is this the kind of text you would expect to get scientific information from? As Ernest Lucas says in his book Can we believe Genesis today?: ‘The more we look at Genesis 1-3…the more it becomes clear that the meaning of the passage is essentially theological, not historical or scientific.’ In other words, the point of Genesis 1 is to tell us that God is the creator of the universe, not exactly how (scientifically) God did it. The main point here is that the Bible is not a scientific document, it’s a theological one. We should go to the Bible to find out about God, not about science. 39
As a Christian, science for me is about finding out how the world which God made works. Science is thinking God’s thoughts after him, but we cannot say whether there is a God or not using science.
Mechanisms and morals
Now let’s turn to science. What should we expect science to tell us? The aim of science is to explain how things happen in our world. Science is concerned about mechanisms – how did that earthquake occur? How does a cell turn cancerous? Science is limited to studying repeatable, observable and measurable phenomena – and it’s very good at doing it! However, the study of mechanisms is not all there is to life: we could describe in great scientific detail how butter, flour, sugar and eggs, when combined and heated, make a cake, but it would tell us nothing about what the cake was for – a birthday party, perhaps. Similarly, we may think that it’s good to care for the poor and to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves (and most scientists who I know do think that!), but that’s not a scientific conclusion, it’s a moral one. So science isn’t everything and, in particular, it cannot tell us whether there is a God or not. God is not a mechanism within the universe, and science leaves to one side the question of God and simply gets on with studying things within the world.
So science and the Bible are concerned with very different parts of life: science with how this world works, and the Bible with questions of meaning: why are we here? Is there anything worth living for? Is there a God?
“Pushing Through The Gates”
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So can we believe in science and the Bible? Yes! In fact I think we need both. Let me finish with a quote from Francis Bacon, the father of the scientific method, who died in 1626: ‘Let no man think or maintain that a man can search too far or be too well-studied in the book of God’s word [the Bible] or in the book of God’s works [science].’
Paul Chamberlain has led seminars on this subject at the New Wine Summer Conferences. His talks can be purchased from www.essentialchristian.com. Either search under his name, or the talk titles: How should Christians approach evolution? (2010), How should Christians approach science? (2010) and Christianity and science (2009). Do you have a tough question you’d like to explore further? Email your ideas to email@example.com
Paul Chamberlain Paul has a PhD in chemistry with some ecology thrown in. He worked as an environmental scientist for seven years, and is now curate at St Mary’s Thame, Oxfordshire.
On Your Marks… The 2012 Olympic Games offer UK churches a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to engage with the local community. Peter Meadows of More than Gold encourages us to get ready for next summer
Who will be people talking about during the London 2012 Olympic Games? Usain Bolt? Tom Daily? Paula Radcliffe? Chris Hoy? What about Jesus? That’s the dream of many churches across the UK as they prepare for the coming Olympics and Paralympics. This will be nothing new; for almost two decades it’s been happening at Summer and Winter Games around the world. At the Atlanta Games in 1996 churches gave out over three million cups of cold water to visitors on the streets. During the Sydney Games in 2000 churches ran over 100 sports clinics for disadvantaged young people. In Beijing in 2008 more than 30 teams of creative artists performed in pubs, clubs, malls, coffee houses and orphanages. Now the baton has been passed to the UK, with churches invited to seize this opportunity through tried-andtested programmes of outreach, hospitality and service.
That’s why some of the main church denominations in the UK have established More Than Gold, to help every church make the most of the Games. And why major agencies like Alpha, Bible Society, Compassion and Traidcraft are among its 20 or so sponsors. More Than Gold CEO David Willson has spent almost 20 years coordinating the Christian response to more than 40 major sporting events around the world, including the Olympics.
Swept up in the fever
“This is not just a London thing”, says David. “The media will have the whole of the UK swept up in Games fever. You can sense that already. Plus, many events are taking place way outside of London and the Olympic Torch Relay will pass within 90 minutes of almost the whole population. Every church can do something, and More Than Gold are coordinating the skills and experience of over 60 Christian
‘One opportunity is for churches to run a Community Festival, with a big screen showing key events like the opening ceremony – and packing an imaginative programme round it’ agencies to provide the resources and training to help them.” For example, The Salvation Army is producing a guide for churches on how to do sports ministry, presented on DVD with a matching book. The Bible Reading Fellowship is developing a Sports Academy Holiday Club, which includes ideas for a special service or event. At the same time, Youth With A Mission will release a Sweaty Church book for 41
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those working outside the traditional model of church. They are also creating 12 downloadable outlines for school assemblies. There will be a Lent course to help churches and their members get themselves in shape, as well as a wide range of literature, including a pocket guide with athletes’ testimonies and a sports-themed gospel, to give to those who show interest. One opportunity is for churches to run a Community Festival, with a big screen showing key events like the opening ceremony – and packing an imaginative programme around it. In this respect, some churches used last year’s FIFA World Cup as a dry run and had great success.
Don’t compete, join in
With so many opportunities, churches need to make wise choices. Jon Burns, Senior Pastor of Yarm Vineyard and More Than Gold’s UK Director, has some practical advice. “First, find out what the local community is doing – and look for ways to join in and help”, he suggests. “Cooperation is going to be far better than competition. During the Winter Games in Vancouver I saw churches make the mistake of putting on magnificent programmes where there were no people. Meanwhile, there were crowds nearby who they could have gone to.” In the present economic climate, many local authorities lack the funds and resources to respond to the Games in the way they would like – and will welcome all the help they can get from churches in their area. “Rather than add to an
existing heavy programme, a church could first look for ways to give an Olympic or sports theme to things they are already doing”, says Jon. “Like a children’s holiday club, a regular guest service, a men’s group and so on.” One perfect example is the pubstyle sports quiz from Christians in Sport. It is easy to invite sports enthusiasts – who doesn’t support a team? The fun-filled evening, with food, includes a simple presentation of the gospel.
Going for gold
“This is a time to be brave and bold”, Jon urges. “For churches to go for at least one thing that will stretch their faith and vision. To move out of their comfort zones and trust God for great things.” Key to being ready is to visit www.morethangold.org.uk and register your church representative or ‘Gold Champion’. It’s the way to be sure you are receiving all the up-to-date information you need. You can also watch, download or order More Than Gold’s inspiring DVD, Get Ready to Run, together with full details of the various programmes of outreach, hospitality and service that churches can engage with. “As a church leader I know how hard it is to make Christ relevant and visible beyond the church walls”, says Jon. “The 2012 Games give all of us an outstanding opportunity to do exactly that. We must not miss the moment or fail to be ready when it comes.”
To help churches get ready for the 2012 Games, More Than Gold is on the road in May and June. A packed programme gives the latest information together with practical insight on three key areas: • The Torch Relay: How it will impact the local community and the part a church can play • Community Festivals: Why, how and who can help • Sports Outreach: How to reach all ages and the resources that will be on tap Venues include Esher, Oxford, Rochester, Welling, Chiswick, Stratford, Bristol, Weymouth, Worthing, Chelmsford, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Leicester, Newcastle, Cambridge, Nottingham and Central London. For more details and to register visit: www.morethangold.org.uk/onyourmarks
Jon Burns and the team from More than Gold will be at the New Wine London & South East Summer Conference in Shepton Mallet this year, running seminars on how to make the most of the opportunities presented by the 2012 Olympics. Find out more about Summer 11 at www.new-wine.org/summer
Peter Meadows Peter is the Communications Director of More Than Gold. He is an active member of St Paul’s, Hook in Surrey. He will be speaking at the London and South East Leadership Conference (9-11 May) in Ealing, West London.
AUDACIOUS DEMONSTRATION Breakdancers as part of the Pentecost Festival. Photo by Alison Whitlock
Andy Frost shares what God’s been doing through the Pentecost Festival in London over the last three years and encourages us all to take the good news about Jesus onto the streets
“What do you mean, ‘The church has left the building?’” asked the man with a quizzical look on his face, his eyes transfixed on the words printed across my T-shirt. Standing in the heart of London, he was wrestling with what the caption could possibly mean. Leicester Square was awash with noise. Street performers were entertaining the crowds as an impromptu audience whooped at breakdancers flying through the air. A stream of drummers marching and laughing navigated their way along the row of bars as a Ghanaian choir began belting out powerful harmonies. And outside the pubs and cafés, actors, comedians and artists were welcoming passers-by to come and see their productions. A cacophony of sounds and colour was colliding with the crowds of Londoners and tourists under the warmth of the midday sun. But there was something different. This was no ordinary Saturday afternoon in central London. This was Pentecost weekend. The street performers were demonstrating God’s heart for the poor. The breakdancers were sharing snippets of their personal stories of faith. The drummers were worshipping.
And the choir, the actors, the comedians and the artists were communicating the gospel story. “The church is not the building. You see, this is the church”, I said to the man. “The church is ordinary people who have encountered an extraordinary God.” The man smiled as he looked around at the surrounding commotion. “Right, I see”, he nodded.
A time to celebrate
The church is good at celebrating Christmas and Easter, but we often fail to celebrate Pentecost in the same way. And yet Pentecost should be a huge deal. It is at Pentecost we celebrate God’s redemptive plans at work through us, his people. It is at Pentecost we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. It is at Pentecost we celebrate the birth of the church. Fifty years ago, the church made a big deal of Pentecost. The church would organise marches in town centres and special services to mark this important date on the church calendar. I think it is time to rediscover this festival today. And so, over the past three years I have been helping to host Pentecost Festival in London, bringing together different church streams
Drama and passion
In leading the Pentecost Festival I have been continually drawn back to the passage in Acts 2 that tells the dramatic story of the fearful disciples hidden in an upper room becoming the audacious Jesus movement as the Holy Spirit fills them. It is the kind of story that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It is very easy to read this story and think, ‘that was then but things have changed’. It is so easy to limit God.
Courage and innovation
Not only did the early disciples understand the importance of sharing the gospel but they also had a supernatural boldness. They were transformed when the Holy Spirit came upon them with tongues of fire and the sound of a violent wind. They had the courage to preach the gospel where, just a few weeks earlier, Jesus had been unfairly tried and beaten. It is only the Holy Spirit who can equip us with this kind of audacity! And then as the disciples spill out into the streets, into the melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, they begin to speak in an array of languages that they couldn’t naturally speak. With no agreed plan of action or follow-up strategy, Peter gets up and begins to preach. He sees the need and innovates accordingly.
Photographer: Ibiere Oruwari
But I believe the church today is called to reflect that same boldness and passion that the early church demonstrated. And I believe it begins with remembering the power of the gospel. Too often we forget that we have good news for a needy world. If we are to become a passionate church, we must ask God to continually remind us of not only the importance of the gospel, but also the urgency of the gospel. It is as we grasp the beauty of the message in our hands that we will want to engage with the mandate that God has for us, to ‘go and make disciples…’ (Matt 28:19).
and networks to demonstrate that the church is alive and active because God is alive and active! Each year we have seen people who had given up on Christianity re-assess their decisions; we have seen people receive prayer and healing on the street; and we’ve seen people come to believe in Jesus.
As I watched the scenes unfold in Leicester Square, I glimpsed the church as it is called to be. God’s people grasping the Good News, catapulted into action. God’s people boldly communicating their faith empowered by the Holy Spirit. God’s people seeing the needs around them, communicating in languages that could be understood – through music, fashion, justice issues, film, laughter and theatre.
Repositioning the church
Over the past three years, under the tagline ‘The church has left the building’, we have seen hundreds of different groups and individuals
‘We have seen people who had given up on Christianity re-assess their decisions; we have seen people receive prayer and healing on the street; and we’ve seen people come to believe in Jesus’ represent Jesus in the centre of London. I have glimpsed something of a contemporary version of Acts 2 as Christians have demonstrated that they are the church. This year we are expecting up to 40,000 people to be impacted at the Pentecost Festival with a finale in the O2 Arena led by three of London’s biggest churches. For the last two years we have also been coaching different groups of churches across the UK to host similar festivals. Some have been at Pentecost, but others have embodied the same values at other times of the year. But they have all expressed the reality that we are the church, with an agenda to change the world. At various festivals across the UK, local churches have collaborated together to reposition the church at the heart of the community with a message of faith, hope and love. God appears to be instigating a movement of his people, as the church, into the public spaces. There is a greater sense of seeing our workplace as our mission field as well as various initiatives calling us into the community. We are being reminded that ultimately we are the church. We are called to escape our four walls and demonstrate God’s love in a broken world.
Andy Frost Andy is the Director of Share Jesus International and leads the Pentecost Festival in London. He and his wife Jo lead a church in London. He has recently published a book Losing Faith and a DVD resource The Jesus Series.
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Be Lifted High
The Grace of God
This is the latest album from Bethel Church, California, home of pastor Bill Johnson and youth band Jesus Culture. The worship leaders at Bethel, including Brian Johnson and Jeremy Riddle, have a well-deserved reputation for excellent and anointed worship and this album provides another offering saturated with God’s presence. It’s definitely a must-have on any worshipper’s playlist. Musical brilliance aside, this album has a wonderfully prophetic narrative which cannot help but stir the soul to worship. Still not convinced? Download the title track Be Lifted High or the powerfully intimate God of the Redeemed for a taste and see where it takes you. When asking friends who had also bought the album what they thought of it, I received responses from ‘It’s worship to fill your veins’ and ‘If you have a heartbeat, you will be drawn to worship’ to the simple but obvious ‘Buy it now’. Enough said. Ali Quinney is a member of St Paul’s Hammersmith where she plays percussion and keyboard in the worship band.
In the first chapter Andy suggests that ‘from the very beginning God has responded to the sin of humanity with...well...amazing grace.’ He spends the rest of the book backing this up with evidence! He looks at Abraham, ‘a recipient of an unconditional promise’, and Judah who sold his brother, Joseph, into slavery and yet received the blessing of the firstborn. He considers Jonah who found it a lot easier to receive grace than give it to others, and Matthew, who was drawn to Jesus calling those who ‘knew they were sinners’. This book is full of encounters between God and his children and the grace that brings them together. It spells out the good news that the promises of God are not ‘anchored by the behaviour of the recipient, but by the grace of God’. You will come away from each chapter feeling thankful for how good God is and refreshed by the simplicity of his invitation: trust me, I love you. Jonathan Tearne is a member of All Saints Church, Peckham, where he leads worship.
I Am Your Father Mark Stibbe
This book tackles the major issue of fatherlessness that is rife in today’s postmodern world, highlighting the effects it has on society, the church and our relationship with God. Mark takes the reader on a personal journey of discovery and healing, analysing the wounds and identifying the scars of fatherlessness before progressing to healing and then revelation of what it truly means to be a child of God. This book changed my identity: helping me recognise that I am an adopted son of God; enhancing my understanding of God as loving Abba Father; and enabling me to rest in the revelation that God loves me for who I am in Christ. I’d recommend this book to everyone, whether you’ve had a father in your life or not. It’s a book that can bring healing to the church, which then can be passed on to today’s fatherless generation. Tom Morton is a Graphic Designer and part of Regenerate Community, Roehampton.
Destined to Reign
Alan and Debra Hirsch
This great and challenging book has a strong focus on ‘missional discipleship’. What does it mean to be an authentic follower of Jesus in our culture today? Alan and Debra encourage us to identify the ‘wildness’ of the discipleship that Jesus calls us to. It strongly critiques the various idols that we are tied into and gives some great theory and practice in how to make this discipleship work. They explore our view of God, our culture, ourselves and our mission. No area of life is out of bounds. At the end of each chapter there are questions and suggested practices to help you to assimilate and earth the challenging call to be disciples of Jesus. I’m sure that there will be insights here that will stir your souls, convict your hearts and make you return again to the life of Jesus. I cannot recommend this book enough – essential reading! Chris Fox is at vicar factory in Bristol and heads up the Leaders in Training Network.
This book gave me the revelation (as opposed to an explanation) that Christianity is not about what I must do to earn God’s approval. On the contrary, God approves of what his Son has done, and by accepting his Son’s sacrifice, God approves of me. I learned that Christianity is about my heart (as opposed to head!) receiving what Jesus did, resting in that heart knowledge, and living from Jesus’ victory, not for my own! I’d recommend Destined to Reign to anyone confused by Law, Grace and how our Father can love us when we fall short of his standard. Stewart Otterburn serves as Chief Steward at the London and South East and Central and South West Summer Conferences. He is a member of Hillsong Church London.
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PLEASANT HOLIDAY BY THE POOL THIS SUMMER! or making a difference in the third world? 2-3 weeks serving the poor in Africa, Asia & S. America. Well organised small teams. 01483 268467 www.soapboxtrust.com
MENORCA Bedroomed sea view Apartment in Son Bou Gardens Menorca. 3 mile sandy beach, restaurants, swimming pools all in walking distance. Beautiful island. Contact David and Alison Bowden firstname.lastname@example.org
NORTH CORNWALL Port Isaac village. Lovely Victorian house. Luxury kitchen, woodburning stove. Sea views. Beaches 5 minutes’ walk. e-mail: mollypeterlarkin@ tiscali.co.uk Tel: 01564 739428 Web: www.cornishhouse.com
TOPSHAM, DEVON 2-bedroom newly furnished maisonette overlooking Exe estuary and hills. Local shops, inns, teashops, walks. Coast, moors, Exeter nearby. Tel 029 20759314; email@example.com
SOUTH WALES NEAR USK SD house sleeps 5-6, comfortable base to enjoy beautiful, interesting area. From £220 pw. Tel: 01443 831069. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ALTEA, COSTA BLANCA Modern, luxury two- bedroom, two- bathroom apartment; heating, pool, tennis, garden, garage. Shops, restaurants, beach close. Golf, hill-walking, watersports. Renowned for warm winters. Discounts. 029 20759314; email@example.com BRAUNTON, NORTH DEVON 3-bed bungalow to rent for holidays, sleeps 6, kitchen, lounge diner and garden, off street parking for 2 plus cars. Dogs welcome. Close to beaches of Croyde, Saunton and Putsborough and Taw/Torridge Estuary Tarka Cycle Trail, Braunton Burrows and Exmoor nearby. Please contact 01278 760275 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details
LONDON, B&B in comfortable quiet family homes centrally located in London. Direct lines to all attractions and airports. Double £52pn, Single £39pn, children’s reduction. Tel 020 7385 4904 www.thewaytostay.co.uk FRANCE RETREAT – cottage/ retreat centre. Character stone south facing cottage on top of a small hill. Rural location 1 acre garden. 3/4 bedrooms, beams, wood burners. Barns with games, bicycles, DVD/book library. Lehautgenetgite.com email@example.com NORTHUMBERLAND Cottage, sleeps 4. Peaceful with amazing views. Visit Holy Island, Alnwick Castle etc. Further Details: www.cottageguide.co.uk/ kypieview Phone: 0191 281 2309
GLEBE HOUSE BED & BREAKFAST 15 Min drive to New Wine, Double and Twin Rooms. www. glebehousebedandbreakfast. co.uk 01458 851 531 E ABL VAIL ILL A T S ES DAT MER SUM
TRADES CHRISTIAN COUNSELLOR Sarah Morton, Golders Green Parish Church. BACP Member fee £20/hr. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org 07505 321 449
CALAHONDA, COSTA DEL SOL – three-bedroom villa, south facing pool, secluded garden, glorious ocean views. Geofft101@btinternet.com
MICHAEL HALES MEMORIAL PHOTOGRAPHY Creates personal legacy DVD & Photo albums Call 0117 904 8988 www.memorialphotography.co.uk
ISLE OF WIGHT - ST HELENS VILLAGE 2 comfortable one bedroom apartments - each sleep 2-4. Close to coast. Ideal for activity holiday or relaxing weekend break. 4 star rating. www.draytonvillas.co.uk Tel 07812807531.
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AUSTRIA & ITALY, ALPINE ARENA small Christian organisation offering walking from Chalets. Spectacular mountains Tirol & Dolomites. Includes activities. Alpine flower walks, cooking, viaferrata, scrambling, group Christian retreat weeks. Order brochure now 01347 844 161 email@example.com www.alpinearena.com
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Imagine how God could use you at
Haven of Peace Academy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Are you a qualified teacher or school administrator? Are you flexible and teachable, and willing to let God use you in new ways? Do you have a desire to play a vital role in African missions and in shaping future African leaders? Do you have a heart for missionary kids and a vision to see Hindu and Muslim kids and their families come to know Christ? Then we would love to hear from you! Haven of Peace Academy (HOPAC), an international Christian K-12 school overlooking the Indian Ocean in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is recruiting experienced, Christian teachers and administrators. Contact the Personnel Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or visit www.hopac.net.
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COMPELLED SPIRIT BY THE With John Coles and the New Wine Leadership Team Make space to connect with other leaders, and for leadership-focussed teaching and prayer ministry
9 November 2011: Cheltenham 10 November 2011: Stockport 11 November 2011: London
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Published on Apr 25, 2011
New Wine Magazine is published three times a year and provides encouraging stories, in-depth teaching, topical features and much more. It's...