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EYE-OPENER JESUS BRINGS A NEW REALITY REAL DEAL God became one of us. Now that’s amazing!
MAN BECOMES alien, identifies with the aliens, fights for them, saves them, lives with them forever. Sound familiar? But it’s not only the plot of blockbuster film Avatar. It’s a much older story. God became one of us, became a human being: Jesus. He identifies with us, fights for us. He died for us and beat death. He’s one of us – forever. So many of us try to escape from the reality of life’s struggles and pain. It’s not surprising we fantasize about different worlds – like a world you can only see through 3D glasses at the cinema. There’s a hero in all of us. We all want to make a difference with our lives – and we can do that as we open our lives to Jesus Christ. He changes us and heals us. When we’re filled with God’s love, through Jesus, life really does gain a new dimension. Don’t miss out! For more information on how you can experience God’s love and reality, text the modern Jesus army: 0774 0774 200
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BROTHERS -INAWE CONTACT US FREE bestseller MARK’S GOSPEL is part of the Bible and tells the story of the life of Jesus. Packed into 60 pages you can find how one man bridged the gap between man and God.
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Brothers Gideon and Jake Clark have both had a lifechanging experience. They tell Streetpaper their story.
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“MY FRIEND prayed for me and I started crying – really crying and crying and crying. And he hugged me and I started crying again and he was crying too.”
BELFAST .................................................. 0845 123 5552 BIRMINGHAM ........................................... 0845 166 8153 BRIGHTON................................................ 0845 166 8151 BRISTOL ................................................... 0845 123 5339 COVENTRY ............................................... 0845 166 8154 HASTINGS ................................................ 0845 123 5551 KETTERING .............................................. 0845 166 8157 LEEDS....................................................... 0845 166 8167 LEICESTER .............................................. 0845 644 9705 LIVERPOOL .............................................. 0845 166 8168 LONDON CENTRAL ................................. 0845 166 8152 LONDON WEST ........................................ 0845 833 1319 MANCHESTER ......................................... 0845 166 8169 MILTON KEYNES ..................................... 0845 166 8159
For 22-year-old Gideon Clark it was a breakthrough moment. Gideon – and his 20-year-old brother, Jake – were brought up in a Christian family. But now Gideon had experienced God for himself. The brothers’ parents are in the Jesus Army, and they grew up in a large shared house with many different kinds of people. But their childhood memories are much like many other happy, average kids – and mixed with a lot of laughter. “Apparently I weed in a Noah’s Ark my dad made me” confesses Gideon. “Things like that have affected me” he adds, mock serious. He describes his experience of God: “It was deep and – unlike me. Tears and snotty nose just aren’t me! I wasn’t
expecting to cry. I’d seen people have ‘shaky-shaky, laughy-laughy, bouncybouncy’ experiences. That isn’t very ‘me’ either, but I guess I was open to something like that. But this was different. It was uncontrollable. “I thought about it a lot later. If God’s Spirit is inside you – His amazingly clean Spirit – if He touches you even the slightest bit, because human nature is so impure, you can’t help it – the slightest touch of God is overpowering.” Unlike Gideon who had always been “quietly interested” in faith, Jake has had a more colourful, zigzagging journey into belief. He says he went through some “rebellion” in his early teens. (“You were drinking at 12!” Gideon blurts out.) Around the age of 15, however, Jake was very affected when he saw, at close range,
EYE EYE! Gideon (left) and Jake
someone being powerfully freed by prayer. “Over the years I’d seen and heard some pretty real stuff” says Jake “but this time – wow. Something started to click.” Days later, in an R.E. lesson at school, he found himself telling his mate, Perry, about what he’d seen. He also started to learn the guitar and sing Jesus songs. Most exciting of all for Jake, his friend Perry started finding faith for himself. “The first time that I ever prayed for anybody was the time I prayed for Perry” bubbles Jake, adding “It was really weird for me. I was laughing as I was praying, but I put my hand on his head.” Jake was learning
how to be a Christian and a leader – all at once. Then at another large Jesus event, Jake, Perry and some other friends had a powerful experience of God when they were prayed for: “We went down like a ton of bricks. It was really powerful; there were about four of us there and we were shaking and there were volts going through our hands” (what Gideon describes as a ‘shaky-shaky, laughylaughy, bouncy-bouncy’ experience). Now Gideon and Jake, together with Perry and others, are part of a growing youth movement of those who have experienced the power of God – for real. Jake’s infectious enthusiasm bubbles over as he talks about his many dreams of many young people getting on board, and the vision of Christian faith spreading “bang, bang, bang, bang”. Gideon’s dreams are expressed more quietly but run just as deep: “I don’t want to complicate things.” He smiles. “It’s basically whatever God wants...”
HEART & SOLE Gideon lives for Jesus
NORTHAMPTON ...................................... 0845 166 8161
Culture Vulture #1 by Laurence Cooper
NORWICH ................................................. 0845 166 8162 NOTTINGHAM .......................................... 0845 166 8163 OXFORD ................................................... 0845 166 8164 PRESTON ................................................. 0845 123 5554 SHEFFIELD............................................... 0845 166 8183 STOKE-ON-TRENT................................... 0845 123 5334 SWANSEA ................................................ 0845 123 5556 JESUS Fellowship Church is an evangelical Christian Church with a charismatic emphasis. It upholds the full historical, Christian faith, in particular it upholds the doctrine of the Trinity and the full divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Fellowship Church is a part of the Multiply Christian Network and a member of the Evangelical Alliance. modern Jesus army Streetpaper No.88 © 2010, published three times a year by Jesus Fellowship Church, Nether Heyford, Northampton NN7 3LB. Editor James Stacey. Photographs in this newspaper are copyright Jesus Fellowship Church or royalty free stock photos from www.sxc.hu unless otherwise indicated. Printed by BGP Ltd., Bicester, Oxon. Reproduction of any part of this newspaper in any form requires written permission. All Bible quotations are from the Contemporary English Version © 2000 Harper Collins unless otherwise indicated. All articles are contributed by members of the Jesus Fellowship Church, also known as the modern Jesus army. Some members live as part of the New Creation Christian Community. Readers wishing to contact authors may do so by writing to the Jesus Fellowship Central Office.
METRO Tabernacle Church is one of many Malaysian churches reeling after attacks by Muslim protesters. The attacks were triggered by a recent court ruling. For centuries, Christians in Malaysia have used the word “Allah” to refer to God, but when a recent court ruling permitted The Herald Catholic newspaper to use the term ‘Allah,’ it sparked a violent reaction from the Muslim community in Malaysia, who insist that the term should only be used by Muslims. Three petrol bombs were thrown into the Assumption Catholic Church, the Life Chapel Protestant church in Petaling Jaya and the Metro Tabernacle Church, which was ‘90 per cent gutted’ by the attacks.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Want to have a look at what the mJa is all about? Check us out from anywhere in the world on our website: www.jesus.org.uk
Across the UK you are welcome to call one of our local churches if they are near you. There are Jesus Army congregations and groups around the UK. They are not all the same size, they meet in different sorts of premises, but they are all made up of people who love Jesus and are ready to help you on in your faith too.
What in the name of God?
GADGETS AND GIZMOS AND GOD-TECH RECENTLY THE congregation of a London church were asked to lift up their phones so that they could be “blessed”. Up in the air they went, a vast array of Blackberries, Nokias, iphones, Motorolas, Palms... And that’s just a few of the thousands of communication and entertainment devices we carry around with us. Some of the congregation put laptops on the altar as well – and then the church leader prayed that God’s grace would reach people through
the use of this technology. Gadgets are useful, most people find them essential in fact. But gadgets are no longer just about the job they do; they’re a statement about you – hi-tech jewellery, saying “I’ve made it, I’m connected and up-to-date.” But it’s hard to keep up. Today’s top-of-the-range bit of tech bling is tomorrow’s outof-use brick – fit for recycling. Jesus said life was about much more than what you wear or own. He pointed to the
possibility of gaining “spiritual riches” that will never wear out, “treasure in heaven”, as He described it. We’ll use phones and gadgets, sure, and they’ll end up in the recycle bin. One day even our bodies will wear out. But if we’ve invested in “heaven’s treasure”, like Jesus said – by following Him and living His way – God will “recycle” us, create for us new bodies for eternity. Now that beats even the most impressive technology.
“Pushed out?” asks Poirot TV STAR of the Poirot series, David Suchet, says that Christianity is “marginalised” in the UK and has been pushed aside to make room for other religions. His fears seemed confirmed recently when Government aid was taken away from a Christian charity that he supports. Suchet, who found God after reading the Bible 20 years ago, has been open about his faith in several interviews. “We should embrace all religions and marginalise none” says Suchet, “but we seem more concerned with marginalising Christianity, and not offending other faiths. We are in danger of losing the importance of the Christian faith in our own country.”
Atheist ad promotes Christian joy THE LATEST in a series of adverts produced by the British Humanist Association (BHA) features two young children, smiling and laughing in a poster which condemns parents bringing their children up in religious families. But God had the last laugh: the boy and the girl used in this campaign, Ollie and Charlotte, have Christian parents. Brad Mason, their father, sells his pictures to stock libraries, where the BHA found the picture of his children. “It is quite funny” comments Brad. “Obviously they were searching for images of children that looked happy and free. I reckon it shows we have brought up our children in a good way and they are happy.”
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HINDU FOUND HEALER Horrific accident showed Sunitha the power of Jesus Christ today HORRIFIED Sunitha Ramakrishna watched as her mother burst into flames before her eyes, while cooking breakfast at their home in Bangalore. “It was a real nightmare” says Sunitha, then 12, now 26. “But I’d learned at school that ‘Jesus is the healer’, so I prayed for Jesus to heal her.”
SUNITHA Healer led her home
RELIGIONS: RUBBISH? It’s not religion, it’s relationship that counts, says Streetpaper editor, James Stacey
MONKS ON seventy-foot pillars, eyes looking through slits in a veil, kissing tarmac, sniffing incense. Just what is it all about? In all their bewildering diversity, religions have a lot in common. When it comes to values (like goodness, kindness, love) or spirituality (that there’s more to human beings than just physical flesh and blood) many religions agree. In fact, most people would agree that good is good and bad is bad, and that we’re not just soulless shells without meaning. It’s also true that religions disagree a lot, too. But this isn’t surprising: just as human beings tend to agree on some things, they also have a habit of disagreeing. And this is what it comes down to: religion shows us something about
human beings. We all have a sense of the spiritual; there’s a hunger for God. Religions express this reaching out, this search. But how about if God wanted to reach us? If the direction of the search was “downwards”, not “upwards”? It happened. God came down – as a man, Jesus Christ. And Jesus didn’t come, ultimately, to start another religion. He came to bring about a new relationship between us and God. He isn’t just “the founder of Christianity”; He is God come to us. Religion – whatever brand – says “Do this, do that and, good boy, you’ll go to heaven (or achieve nirvana or whatever)”. But Jesus said “Follow Me”. It’s not what you know, but who you know that counts.
Jesus’s answer came in an unexpected way. The example of a Christian’s love for her mother at this time affected Sunitha deeply: “There were five unhealed wounds on her leg, and every time she’d walk she’d bleed” explains Sunitha. “This friend would cry for my mum, serve her, pray for her; her other friends wouldn’t.” Sunitha found faith in Jesus, and her mum followed. A year later she was healed. “All the top doctors in Bangalore gave up hope; mum’s only hope was Jesus – He spoke to her in a vision” says Sunitha. It was Jesus’s sacrificial love that won Sunitha: “God loved me enough to die for me – that just blew my mind. I didn’t find that in the Indian gods.” But for Sunitha and her mum, becoming Christians was a huge and difficult
decision. Their religious family had 10 gods in the house, gave food to idols, even gave idols to the temple. So, their baptism had to be secret. Young Sunitha had always cherished two dreams: to have a cause to fight for and to have a big family. “I wanted to be a warrior princess” she says. “While I was at college, I was a Lance Corporal in the National Cadet Corps, I was trained in the forest and mountain to fight and my secret desire was to fight and win battles.”
“Go back to the UK – I’ll give you a people” she felt God saying. So she did. And a couple of months later, in January 2007, she read a verse in the Bible: “Get up, I’ve heard your cry, I’m going to give you a people.” Two days later, as she was running to catch a bus on Oxford Street, she met someone who asked “Do you love Jesus?” and invited her to visit the nearby Jesus Army house. The moment Sunitha came through the door, she knew she had come home.
All the top doctors gave up hope. Mum’s only hope was Jesus. God was to use her fighting spirit to lead her to her second dream. When Sunitha was secretly baptised as a Christian in 2002, she remembers saying to her mum “You know why we have such a big house? ’Cause one day we’re going to live in a massive house with lots of Christians!” The next eight years were years of searching for just such a house. As a student in the UK she looked for a church that could fulfill her deepest desire. When the church hunt turned out to be in vain, she returned to India.
THE MJA BLOG Read Sunitha’s story online as well as many others – plus news and views hot off the modern Jesus army press
Here were the brothers and sisters she’d longed for, for years. But the battle was far from over. Two visa refusals and beatings back home lay in the way of fulfilling her dream. Her friends in London prayed for her return, and, in 2009, against all the odds, she got the papers she needed. No longer is Sunitha lonely. She shares her life with a big, loving family. Now she wants to express her love in caring for others, showing them the purity she’s found in Jesus and adding to the “forever family” she’s found as a Christian.
BAPTISM CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY COMMITMENT DRAMA FRIENDSHIP GOD GOSPEL HEALING JESUS MJA OCCULT QUESTIONS RAW EVENT SOCIAL STREET SUFFERING SUPERNATURAL TESTIMONY YOUTH
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BLIGHTY Ten years into millennium 3, where is the UK at? GLOBAL WARMING may seem a bit remote in a nation that seems to run out of snow-busting salt every year. But the environment is high on the list of British worries as the new decade dawns. And of course, that’s not the only global issue on people’s
minds as the global economic downturn continues to pinch purses everywhere. Meanwhile, few want Newish Labour anymore – but then few can be bothered to vote either. Young people are getting fatter, hardly anyone actually achieves
WHAT A LIFE
SAD Children’s wellbeing is low
MALES born in the UK today can expect to live until they are 77 years old and females until they are 81. When it comes to the old vices, we’re no longer a nation of smokers – more than 70 per cent don’t smoke – and around 65 per cent of adults are within the recommended daily allowance of alcohol, though binge drinking is a growing fringe problem. But we’re still a nation of couch potatoes with 60 per cent of males and a massive 72 per cent of females failing to meet recommended targets of 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. And we just won’t eat our greens! 70 per cent of the population fail to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
KIDS THESE DAYS... BRITISH children are fat and sad according to children’s charity Unicef. Their report, published in 2007, concluded that the UK had the lowest combined ranking for wellbeing out of 21 western nations. Around a third of girls and boys between the ages of 2 and 15 are obese – an increase of almost 5 per cent from 1997. On a brighter note, the percentage of young people that report being bullied in the UK is below average, at around 9 per cent (compared to a high of 14 per cent in Germany).
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11.00am march from Portman Square to Trafalgar Square 3.30pm Festival on Trafalgar Square, Westminster, LONDON WC2N
COUCH Most won’t exercise
BABIES AND oldies are the big news. In 2008, the UK birth rate reached the highest level since 1973. Meanwhile, projections indicate that by 2031 there will be more than 1.1 million people aged 90 and over in Britain. And women are having babies older. The average age of firsttime mothers has risen from 24 in 1971 to 30 in 2008. The racial mix in the UK has grown, but not nearly as much as some shrill voices like to suggest. The majority of Britain’s population – some 84 per cent – are White British, the next largest group is “White Other” – then Asian (5.7 per cent) and Black (2.8 per cent) ethnic groups.
SECOND CHILDHOOD Babies and oldies rise
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INFO: www.jesus.org.uk/dates Tel: 0845 123 5550 Email: email@example.com Write: Jesus Fellowship, FREEPOST, Nether Heyford, Northampton NN7 3BR
CREDIT crunched, the downturn turned down, but is the recession receding? Everyone knows it’s been tough for businesses. Last year there were about 20,000 company liquidations. But – surprisingly – this is still lower than the peak in 1992 of 24,425. Unemployment has risen from its lowest point of about five per cent in 2004 to about eight per cent in July last year. UK unemployment is similar to German levels, but lower than both France and the US. Meanwhile UK youth unemployment was at 21 per cent – lower than France and much higher than Germany.
CRUNCHED Brits feel the pinch
Culture Vulture #2 by Laurence Cooper
THUR-SAT 5-7 AUGUST YOUTH FESTIVAL FOR 15-35s Cofton Park, BIRMINGHAM B45 8UN
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
BABIES AND OLD LADIES
RAW Real & Wild
the “holy grail” of five fruit and veg portions a day, and the prisons are bulging. But it’s not all bad: we’re good at recycling jam-jars. Streetpaper takes a look at the UK as we embark upon another decade.
GONNA GET MYSELF CONNECTED FACEBOOK, Twitter, MySpace, blogs: there’s no end of ways to get yourself connecting with friends and the wider world these days, all courtesy of “t’internet”. People scramble to expand their social network and express their views – whether that’s by writing comments on YouTube or a news site, or by uploading their own video and creating an interest group online. Creativity, collaboration; it’s exciting. There’s an obvious hunger within us to reach out to other people. But there’s also a strange irony. As people do all this they can still find themselves isolated; tapping the keys of a PC in their lonely bedsit, still hungry for relationship – despite the fact that they may have a thousand
Facebook friends or more. We’re made for relationship. Real, direct and personal relationship – first with God and then with each other. Social networking online has its uses for sure, but it can’t be a substitute for a real bond of love between you and God – and you and your brothers and sisters in God’s family. God calls people everywhere to be His friends and to join together in His church – a family that gets together often to celebrate and to share burdens. It’s this heart-to-heart reality that is so fulfilling – as well as having a real shoulder to cry on from time to time. “Brotherhood love” lived out in real life is what meets our deepest need and heals our hurting hearts.
GREEN NATION? THE GOOD news is that greenhouse gas emissions in the UK are slowly declining. Under the Kyoto agreement the UK has a target of a 12.5 per cent reduction in emissions in 20082012. According to government calculations, we’re on target. But will it be enough to prevent climate change? That is the big question that haunts many. 89 per cent now insulate their lofts and hot water tanks – but only 29 per cent have cavity wall insulation and only 29 per cent recycle cardboard. (Brits are best at recycling their glass – 72 per cent recycle bottles and jars.)
COUGH UP Emissions cut
FAITH BOOK MOST UK people see faith as a positive force, and 72 per cent of Britons identified themselves as Christians in the 2001 census. But attendance at traditional churches – Protestant and Catholic – has plummeted from one in 10 in 1970, to one in 20 in 2005. Yet the “happy-clappies” are doing rather better. By 2005 more than a third of regular churchgoers belonged to less traditional New, Independent, Baptist and Charismatic churches. Challenges to Christianity – historically Britain’s main faith – have come from an increasingly aggressive secularism which seeks to banish faith from public life to the realm of the merely “private”, and the growth of other religions due to immigration and an increasingly multicultural society.
HAPPY New churches increasing
THAT’S CRIMIN THE UK is not spiralling into criminal chaos just yet, it would seem. The total number of crimes committed in the UK has fallen by 48 per cent from the most recent high in 1995. Household theft has decreased by more than a fourth. Watch out for your bike, though – bike theft has increased by 100 per cent since 1981! Ironically, the prison population in Britain has grown from around 90 to around 150 inmates per 100,000 in the population.
ON YER BIKE Bike theft has increased
? Y O’RIGHTY T e yout
modern JESUS army Streetpaper No. 88 5
Streetpaper hears from the now generation
e y nt t
“I WAS boiling inside and looked up to the sky and thought a life had gone for no reason... I just had to do something.” The words of Alexander Rose, a young man who is at the forefront of a recent Channel 4 initiative, “Battlefront”. Over 20 young people have been given the opportunity to
campaign for a cause that they feel strongly about – ranging from an end to knife crime to anti-cyber bullying. Despite what media and statistical gloom may try to tell us – young people do care about their future. The next generation are ready to fight for what they are passionate about. Streetpaper heard from some passionate young Christians in the Jesus Army:
I want godly relationships that will direct and inspire my whole life. Becky, 23
I’ve committed my life to building God’s church! Andy, 20
ositive itons ians nce ant m n e e s al d
My future depends on God. I’m waiting on Him to show me the right choices to make. Esther, 16
God will be the soul passion and the sense of challenge. Jake, 17 Jesus is my travel guide and my travelling buddy. He knows where I’m going and we’re going to have a great time getting there together! Faith, 23
cally m an which life to ”, and to
BRIT TOP Life in the UK today SOURCES: British Crime Survey (BCS), Department for Environment, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Food and Rural Affairs, HM Treasury, The Insolvency Service, International Association for the Study of Obesity, NHS Information Centre, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Unicef, World Health Organisation
I’ve committed myself to seeing God move powerfully in the lives of the people I meet. Perry, 19
I am living for God in the present and that will affect my future. Daniel, 24
My future is in God’s hands. I don’t want to live a selfish life but one that serves God in all I do. Anna, 21 For more on Battlefront: battlefront.co.uk For more on Jesus Army youth: jesus.org.uk/short/youth
6 modern JESUS army Streetpaper No. 88
Culture Vulture #3 by Laurence Cooper
“A BOTTLE was lobbed through the window. Lads were outside, giving me the finger” says Sam Cullum, 20, a young leader in the Jesus Army in Coventry. He was in his house playing the piano, when local youths threw the bottle through the open window and started swearing at him. But enthusiast Sam wasn’t going to miss an opportunity. He invited the lads in “for a cuppa and a chat”. This was all it took to make peace. Now they visit the Jesus Army in Coventry regularly. “I’d like to see at least one of them have the bravery to get past what their mates think and say ‘I believe in Jesus’” says Sam “that’s what I’m aiming and praying for.”
Thou Shalt Shoplift
CHAIN Poverty trap?
LOB Opportunity knocks
FATHER TIM Jones, a York vicar, recently told his congregation “My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift.”
THE CROSS FACTOR SUSAN BOYLE may have been the most successful entrant, and Jedward without a doubt had the worst hair styles, but they are just a few of the thousands who have tried to make it big on “X Factor”. There’s no lack of talent out there. Often star quality is on display as people brave the scorn and sneers of the judges to show off their abilities in the hope of becoming the next big thing. When it comes to choosing His stars Jesus seemed less sharp than Simon
Visit the online JESUS
Cowell. His original followers were a ragged crowd – illiterate bumpkins mainly. Life’s rejects; the wrong sort of people. Jesus didn’t demand they become all “squeaky clean and show biz” either. Rather than “X Factor”, Jesus spoke about the “cross factor”: “Anyone who wants to follow Me has to pick up their cross every day.” In those days when someone picked up a cross it’s because they were going to be nailed to it. It’s hard, in other
words, to be His follower. It is not going to win you any awards or sell you a million albums. It does not guarantee success, worldwide fame and an easy life. It might mean rejection from those you love. It certainly does mean an end to selfishness. Sound impossible? In a way, it is. But Jesus promised that He would be present with His disciples, invisibly but powerfully, to help them. Ready to try something truly difficult? “Come” says Jesus – “follow Me.”
For more on Jesus Centres and how you can help: www.jesuscentre.org.uk. For more on Christian community: www.newcreation.org.uk
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He claimed that shoplifting from national chains was sometimes “the best option for the vulnerable”. UK society had failed many needy people, making it “far better that they shoplift than turn to more degrading or violent options such as prostitution, mugging or burglary”. Father Tim denied that stealing is a good thing, or harmless. But he said “shoplifting is the best option that some people are left with,” describing this as “a grim indictment” of “a situation which leaves some people little option but crime.” His comments were not endorsed by the Church of England, who recommended the “many organisations and charities working with people in need, and the Citizens Advice Bureau” as a more positive approach for those trapped in poverty. But it was acknowledged that there are “important issues about the difficulties people face when benefits are not forthcoming.” The Jesus Army sees itself as a “church of the poor”. Not just “for the poor” in a patronising way; the Jesus Army seeks to include everyone in God’s great alternative society, His church. That is why some Jesus Army members live and share together in Christian community. Tags like “rich” and “poor” no longer apply when all is shared and life is kept simple. It is also why the Jesus Army has established Jesus Centres as “places of worship, friendship and help for every kind of person.” Visitors to one of the Jesus Centres – in Coventry – speak about how they see the place: “It’s a great place to make new friends” and “there’s always someone to talk to about emotional problems”. “Confidentiality is helpful.” “I’d end up topping myself if I couldn’t come here” confided one person. The best answer to poverty is not crime – of any kind. Nor is it only to be found in impersonal organisations. Come and be part of church: it’s God’s answer, through Jesus, to all human need.
Full of inspiration, challenge and stories of lives changed by Jesus www.jesus.org.uk/epaper
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Rainbow racial mix “WE’RE 50/50 black and white in our church and look like dominoes on a Sunday” said Matthew Guest, leader of King’s Church, Chatham. He was speaking at a leaders’ conference for Multiply – a network, started by the Jesus Army, for Christian churches of many different types. “Church shouldn’t be selective, but reflective of the society around” added Matthew. And his words were backed up by the multi-coloured mix of races at the conference. Delegates from across the UK had a wide-variety of racial and national backgrounds: from African to Bangladeshi - to white British! For more on Multiply Christian Network: www.multiply.org.uk
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God at work in Norwich A GROWING band of young people is joining the Jesus Army in Norwich. Every Friday night the group gets together – called “J Gen” short for Jesus Generation. One young leader in Norwich says “We go out to the woods and sit round a fire, or stay in and talk about life, faith and God. People are bringing their friends from college and university. “Recently we discussed our experiences of God’s Spirit; it’s amazing to see how God works in people’s lives.” Jan Wong, 21, a Chinese student at the University of East Anglia, says “there’s a very family feeling, and people from different backgrounds, all open to change.” For more on Jesus Army in your area: www.jesus.org.uk/uk
modern JESUS army Streetpaper No. 88 7
e v i t i s o p l l i t s and
Dave Condon, 63, tells Streetpaper his story of hope in the face of HIV ONE DAY in 2000, Dave collapsed with acute stomach pains. After six weeks in hospital doctors still couldn’t give him a proper diagnosis. But next year the unexpected test result arrived: Dave was HIV positive.
Dominated by a bad relationship with his dad, Dave Condon grew up lonely and selfrejecting. He was 13 when a gay relationship with a school-friend began, during a stop-over at his house. That night, in Leamington in 1960, was the start of an emotional roller-coaster for Dave that went on for forty years. “I longed for friendship and for someone to be committed to me” says Dave “but after a while I stopped looking for a long-term relationship. They always broke up. Most of my relationships were either one night stands or I had to pay for them.” Meanwhile Dave’s relationship with his dad went from bad to worse. “My dad pulled me down a lot and told me often that I was no good. In 1963 I joined the Salvation Army. Dad said “you won’t last long in there” – but I stayed with them for 22 years. I enjoyed church and found a real belief in God. “At the same time I still felt so emotionally empty that I was going out meeting complete strangers for sex in public toilets. When I was arrested for ‘cottaging’ in Blackpool in 1977, I had a long talk to my Salvation Army officer. He told me “Don’t give up, Dave, one day you’re going to be free from all the loneliness – you’re going to find God in a real way.” It took twenty-seven years before that prophecy came true – but when it did the effect on Dave was miraculous in more ways than one. “After I got arrested a second time I did try
to stop cottaging, but I couldn’t. In 1984, I was picked up again by the police. “I began to read my Bible and realised that what I was doing wasn’t like Jesus. Soon after, I met Christians from the Jesus Army and began to spend time with them, learning at last to open up just a bit, starting to feel at home with people.” But Dave found keeping up his faith hard and began to see less and less of his friends in the Jesus Army. In 2000 he was diagnosed with HIV. By 2001, Dave was so ill he struggled to walk – even with a stick. “At that time I’d lost touch with my friends in the Jesus Army for over four years. I wanted so much to contact them again, but I wasn’t quite sure how they’d respond when I told them my news. “They accepted me back unconditionally as if I had never been away. I was amazed – I knew other people with HIV whose friends and families hadn’t wanted to know after the diagnosis. “Friends in church began to pray for me regularly and almost at once I felt a whole load was lifted from me, and with it lots of self-rejection. I’d been too big-headed to open up to God the Father.” But from that time on Dave felt free: “I began to feel healed – not just of the symptoms of HIV but of all the emotional stuff that goes with it. “I’m now taking daily doses of anti-retroviral drugs. My ‘viral load’ is below the norm and my immune system improving dramatically. The progress I’m making medically is surprising my doctors. I’ve explained friends are praying for me. Having people round me now who understand me is making an amazing difference to me. I’ve started to help others through our local Jesus Centre. These days I feel too fulfilled to be lonely.”
“They accepted me back unconditionally as if I had never been away”
HAPPY Now Dave helps others
PRAYER PREVENTS CRIME
“GOD TOLD us we were going to meet a gang member on his way to commit a crime” says Jesus Army team leader, David Meakin, 26.
STREET-LEVEL Prayer changes lives
The Jesus Army had parked its bus, equipped with on-deck “café” in Central London. The Jesus Army team were there until the small hours, giving out food and drink, and talking and praying with passers-by. But it was earlier in the evening that one of the team sensed God saying they would meet the gang member. “Later that night we did meet a lad who confessed he was in a gang” says David “and he was on his way to get into crime. We prayed with him and he went home instead.”
8 modern JESUS army Streetpaper No. 88
REAL AND WILD “It was like standing in a shower of love; all my fear was washed away” says Inna about her experience at “RAW (Real and Wild)”.
22-YEAR-OLD Inna from Germany described the experience she had when two friends prayed with her at RAW 2009, the Jesus Army’s annual three-day youth gathering. “I could feel that God is love” she added. RAW includes highoctane events combining music, live demos and upbeat communication of faith and, in the afternoons, practical projects in local estates get underway – from painting subways to running community barbecues.
YOU Don’t miss RAW 2010
Culture Vulture #4 by Laurence Cooper
UNDYING LOVE BELLA IS 17 and in a relationship with Edward. He’s very attracted to her – and the feeling is mutual. Almost. One of the things that attracts Edward is the scent of Bella’s blood. He’s a vampire, she’s a human and they both feature in the “Twilight” series: blockbuster in both book and film format. The apple on the book’s cover represents the forbidden fruit from the book of Genesis in the Bible. It symbolizes Bella and Edward’s forbidden love. Love, mystery and the supernatural combine in this story in a way that is hugely attractive to many people. There’s a hunger to find that dangerously powerful relationship that will transform us forever. Love, mystery, and supernatural power combine in the fullest way imaginable in the story of God’s love for us. How can God’s vast love for
mankind be returned, when the two – God and humanity – are so totally separated? When their natures are so different? He is all-pure and we are so soiled in selfishness? How can the terrible problem of such separation be resolved? In answer to this – as foretold through hints and prophecies through the ages – enters into human history the mysterious figure of the God-Man. Into the tragic tale of a deathbound human race comes the saviour, Jesus. His mission is to bridge the divide, bringing the breath of eternal life to hell-bound humans, transfusing His life into their corrupted veins, bringing wholeness to their fractured beings and transforming them utterly. The impossible is made possible. Those He saves live forever with Him – in a love that never dies.
Serving people on the estates made a big impression on Mihail, 26. “People were picking litter and giving out free burgers” he says. “It’s a great way of making friends and shows God by the power of example.” Mihail is from Romania. Coming from a background of that country’s hardships, he was impressed by the sacrifice he saw at RAW. “They give everything they have for other people. This is a rich country where you can make big bucks – but they give big everything!” Mihail was an agnostic. But he became a Christian after meeting Christians
who had given up wealth and opportunity to live with (and for) others: “I could understand it in a poor country, maybe” he says “but here we have people sacrificing wealth and opportunity. I’ve never seen anything like this before.” Esther, 16, from Northamptonshire wants to pass on what she’s found to others: “This generation is looking for love. I want to show people a different way. I don’t want to be anything big; I want to help bring people into love and friendship and show what ‘church’ really is.” Didier, 26, is an example
of this. He was homeless in London when he made friends with some Christians from the Jesus Army and found faith for himself. Speaking of RAW, he says “I think the greatest thing is I’ve met so many people. Here now I have so many friends, I feel like it’s family.” This year, RAW is on the move. Yet more real and wilder still, RAW 2010 is “In Tent City”. The hundreds of young people expected will set up camp in Cofton Park near Birmingham. For more on RAW: www.realandwild.com
5 -7 AUGUST 201 REAL AND WIL D
COFTON PARK BIRMINGHAM B4
In tent city For local information contact:
mJa: 0845 123 5550 www.jesus.org.uk Email: email@example.com Write: Jesus Fellowship, FREEPOST, Nether Heyford, Northampton NN7 3BR Tel: 0845 166 8171 Fax: 0845 166 8178
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