past illustrious ministers and ministries

E StanleyJones

Rev. E. Stanley Jones:

Exegete of Culture, Evangelist for Christian 1938,

Time magazine honoured E. Stanley Jones with the distinction of “world’s greatest missionary evangelist.” Time‘s laudatory expression was not an isolated one. Christians and non-Christians celebrated the multi-faceted contributions of this visionary man. For instance, his missionary work in India coupled with his outspoken efforts for Indian self-determination in the early decades of the 20th century caused one Indian government official to say Jones was “the greatest interpreter of Indian affairs in our time.”

However, Jones regarded his chief calling as being an evangelist of Jesus Christ. He fulfilled that calling by preaching to hundreds of thousands of people in countries in every part of the world in his 88 years of life.

E. Stanley Jones was born in Clarksville, Md., in 1884. He became a Christian by responding to an altar invitation as a teenager in an evangelistic meeting and testified to a dramatic conversion. He attended and graduated from AsburyCollege in Wilmore, Ky., and in 1907 was sent by the Methodist Episcopal Church to India to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

His missionary evangelism was a call he readily embraced. He was consumed with sharing the good news of Jesus. After several years of unsatisfying ministry and limited success in which Jones laboured almost exclusively with the low castes of India, he said he felt “strangely drawn to work among the educated high castes, the intelligentsia.” In working with the upper class of India, he came to see the message of Christ had become tangled with Western history, capitalism and imperialism in the minds of Indians.

He saw that one of his chief responsibilities in proclaiming the gospel to India was to disentangle Christ from Western culture and make the gospel of Christ available to the people through the lens of their own cultural understanding. In 1925, Jones published his groundbreaking book The Christ of the Indian Road, which described his own evolution in proclaiming the gospel to India; in it, he laid out a strategy for Western Christianity to share the gospel with humanity who had suspicion and animus toward the West. His book sold more than a million copies and became a template for western Christians engaging the world for Christ. The conclusions he reached in ministry to the Indians, which he recorded in his book, deeply influenced his preaching ministry for the rest of his life.

Jones the Preacher

E. Stanley Jones noted that non-western critics of Christianity attacked it on one of three fronts. They either attacked the claims of the Old Testament; attacked Western civilization, which they saw as synonymous with Christianity; or they attacked the political, social and economic systems of the West, which they saw as an extension of Christianity. Jones determined that none of the above was Christianity. He believed Western civilization and its systems often behaved badly, subsequently not reflecting Christianity, and that the claims of the Old Testament culminated in Jesus Christ. Therefore, to focus on the Old Testament’s claims was evangelistic folly because the full expression and ultimate interpreter of the Old Testament—Jesus Christ—is available.

So, Jones’ preaching de-emphasized the above three elements and capitalized on the centrality of Christ in which all matters were explained and all problems answered. In other words, Jones was not an expositor of Scripture. He did not attempt to discern the particular voice of each part of the Bible and convey that truth for the edification of the body. He preached instead as an evangelist. He utilized texts that allowed for a robust assertion of Christ’s sufficiency to meet every human need. Jones noted that his decision to focus on Christ in his preaching—rather than getting mired in texts that might create questions for hearers—simplified and vitalized his preaching6. It liberated him to do the work of an evangelist in proclamation, and it muted his critics because Jesus Christ is universally admired, even if the manifestations of Christianity aren’t.

Jones’ preaching dealt with the existential plight of human beings. He often used the language of psychological pain to describe the human condition without Christ. Words such as emptiness and neurosis were sprinkled liberally through his sermons. He certainly believed in personal sin and its eternal consequences, but was inclined to speak of the effects of sin being intrapersonal disorientation and interpersonal dysfunction. While he painted a bleak existence without Christ, he also offered the most optimistic possibilities of abundance in Christ.

Jones’ preaching appealed to the intellect. His preaching was in conversation with the major thinkers of his time, as well as seminal thinkers throughout the history of the world. It was not uncommon for him to refer to the likes of Jung, Rousseau or Socrates in demonstrating his own intellectual relevance. He had the ability to be erudite without appearing elitist. He often demonstrated how important ideas either collided with Christ or confirmed Christ.

E. Stanley Jones preached for a verdict. There was a gentleman’s urgency to his call. He wanted each person to know the Christ he knew. In shaping the claim to his hearers, he made his argument persuasive with sound propositions and with tender solicitation. He spoke with a staccato enunciation that was bold and certain, yet elegant. It was a mix of folksy rhetoric for broad appeal and sophisticated argument for the more intellectually predisposed.

While he engaged in ministry during a time when American Christianity was polarized with the modernist-fundamentalist controversy Jones’ preaching rose above denominational partisanship and sought unity in the body of Christ.

E. Stanley Jones was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, was an advisor to presidents and prime ministers, influenced such luminaries as Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. and wrote 29 books selling more than 3 million copies. Yet it was his ministry as an evangelist that most defined him and blessed the world.

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pastor’s weekly thought

ianwilliams

Rev. Ian Williams

BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS

Nanette

The bible says that God knows everything! He knows the “end from the beginning”, so infinite is His knowledge (Isa 46:10). Wow!

But have you ever pondered what things God knows the beginning and the end about?

On the one hand, God knows the end and the beginning of big things like the history of the world. We can read the account of the Creation of the world in the early chapters of Genesis, and we can also read about the End Times in the book of Revelation. God is fully present in – and fully familiar with – both ends of humanity’s timeline.

On the other hand, God also knows the beginning and the end of individual human beings, like you and me!

Life – just like history – is a journey that unfolds as we go along. However, it starts when God ordains the beginning and it ends when God ordains the end.

As a church I love when we celebrate new babies born into our extended family, but just this week, my own family is (sadly) celebrating the life of an uncle who has passed away, whose life we were blessed to have been a part of.

Paul’s words: There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it, and bring it to a flourishing finish (Philippians 1:6).

As we work our way through the ups and downs of life, we can have faith in our Eternal God who knows the end from the beginning, because He promises that all things work together for the good of those who trust Him (Rom 8:28). My uncle’s life has reminded me again, that God always finishes what He starts and finishes well!

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news and views

AMBASSADORS FROM HONGKONG MISSION

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

Through TWR’s Project Hannah ministry, the lives of countless women around the world have been transformed by the love of Christ. Project Hannah founder, Marli Spieker, explains how it all began.

In 1963, Edward Lorenz published a hypothesis for the New York Academy of Sciences which was greeted with nothing but laughter. The preposterous, ridiculous idea was that “a fragile butterfly can flap its wings and set molecules of air in motion, which move other molecules of air—eventually capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet.” Mocked by the scientific community, this so-called “butterfly effect” took hold as a fascinating myth used in comic books, low-grade movies and science fiction. To the amazement of scientists, thirty years later physics professors concluded that, in fact, the proposed theory was indeed “authentic, accurate and viable!” Dubbed the “Law of Sensitive Dependence upon Initial Conditions,” it has been proven that a small change or motion by any form of matter, including people, can cause a chain of events that leads to a large-scale phenomenon. Thus, an almost weightless butterfly can unleash great forces of nature like the hurricane. Unbelievable!

I thought of unbelievable people who started movements with one idea, one move with global impact, some affecting our lives to this day. There is Einstein, Mother Theresa, William Booth, Paul Freed, and others – including a Jewish carpenter and his 12 uneducated friends! One idea, one move, one “flapping of wings,” is causing changes in people, communities and even countries!

In 1997 a handful of women gathered to pray with me for the 500 Chinese women who kill themselves each day in order to escape a life of indignity and shame simply for being females. Their “wings” of earnest, simple prayer resulted in Project Hannah’s (PH) massive prayer movement which is now established in 123 countries!

It is a wave of prayer circling the globe 24/7 causing a powerful hurricane of faith, changing the eternal destiny of millions of women (and men) worldwide. This hurricane reaches from the flourishing Albanian prayer ministries to the Tanzanian woman who shared: “Your testimonies and God’s message left me deeply moved. I am joining your [Project Hannah prayer] group because I received Jesus as my Saviour and Lord today. I want to be baptized and to change my name from ‘K…’ to Hannah. Please pray for me and my family.”

In 1998, another handful of women, TWR missionary wives on the island of Guam, flexed their “wings” while producing Project Hannah’s first Women of Hope radio programme in English. Today this signature broadcast is piercing the veil of intellectual, social and spiritual darkness covering women. Christ’s liberating message of eternal life, light and truth is broadcast in 58 Marli Spieker languages—Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, and Berber Kabyle, to name a few. In addition to reaching women in their heart language in their homeland over high-powered radio, the programmes are also reaching isolated immigrants throughout our region. As the world comes to Europe’s doorstep, Women of Hope is the tool being used to change women’s lives, whether through phone lines set up in Germany, MP3 players handed out in Sweden, or accessing the internet wherever possible.

Together we are reaching women around the world and also free-spirited, successful European women whose hearts ache for real love, acceptance and significance—just like their less privileged sisters on the other side of the globe.

I pray God will call many more “butterflies” to fly out of their comfort zones taking Jesus, the great defender and lover of our souls, to women everywhere. May they passionately “flex their wings” in prayer, causing a hurricane of God’s saving hope to sweep over the world, especially over this old continent of Europe!

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minute message

ernest reading pose

Rev. E. Anderson

DE-STRESSING

Taken from the Word for Today

Years ago stress was considered mostly a male problem, but not anymore. Women are experiencing the stress of pursuing perfection, looking a certain way, competing in the workplace, attempting to do it all, never saying no, and having no time for themselves. That’s not how God wants you to live! ‘The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest’ (vv. 17-18 NIV).

So, (male or female) here are two practical suggestions for de-stressing:

1) Allow yourself more time. Since everything takes longer than you think, having enough time to complete the job reduces your anxiety greatly. Whenever you’re under pressure, a good rule of thumb is to allow 20 percent more time than you think you’ll need.

 2) Be content with less. A recent study of thousands of households found that those who maintained lifestyles beyond their means were more prone to stress-related illnesses such as heart attack and depression. ‘He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house…’ (Proverbs 15:27 KJV). You say, ‘Does that mean God doesn’t want me to get ahead in life?’ No, He just wants you to keep your priorities straight and to learn to enjoy where you are, on your way to where you’re going. If you’re feeling stressed today, pray: ‘Lord, I need to be renewed.

This business of living has drained me. Thank You for ordaining quiet times and places of rest in the midst of hectic schedules. Help me always to put You first and to find my place of rest in You.’

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message by rick warren

rick warren

Rev. Rick Warren

MOVE FORWARD WITH CONFIDENCE 

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.” (1 John 3:21 NIV)

You’ve probably noticed that your confidence ebbs and flows. It varies greatly from day to day: One day you’re up, and one day you’re down. What causes that?

In part, it’s about what is going on inside of you. The Bible teaches, “If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God” (1 John 3:21 NIV). When we face life’s hurts, habits, and hang-ups, it’s important that we walk out of self-condemnation and into the faithful confidence that God forgives us.

What causes self-condemnation?

UNRESOLVED GUILT: King David wrote, “There was a time when I wouldn’t admit what a sinner I was. But my dishonesty made me miserable and filled my days with frustration” (Psalm 32:3 LB).

This reminds me of a sign I saw the other day: “A clean engine produces more power.” That’s true in humans, too. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who wrote “Sherlock Holmes,” once pulled a prank on 12 prominent Englishmen. He sent them an anonymous note that said, “All is found out. Flee at once.” Within 24 hours, eight of those men had left the country! Guilt destroys your confidence.

UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: This is also known as perfectionism — the feeling that I must be flawless, that I must please everybody, that I always have to do more, that I’m not allowed to relax.

If you’re a perfectionist, your favourite phrase is, “I should … I must … I ought … I have to …” You’re always doing more.

If you’re an average person, you have three things on your daily “to do” list. You get one of them done, you leave one of them unfinished, and the third one you just forget about. You go home and put your feet up at night and feel good about yourself.

If you’re a perfectionist, you have 29 things on your daily “to do” list. You finish 28 of them, then you go home and feel like a failure! The Bible says, “Even perfection has its limits, but [God’s] commands have no limit” (Psalm 119:96 NLT).

Both guilt and perfectionism cause a lack of confidence in our lives.

TALK ABOUT IT

What unresolved guilt do you need to settle with God?

How do you need to change your expectations so that you are living in confidence and not fear of failure?

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message of note

ianwilliams

Rev. Ian Williams

LIVING LIFE IN THE “FAST” LANE!
Isaiah 58 highlights the difference between two types of fasting, one being a hypocritical, self indulgent and ritualistic “look at me” fast, the other being a God centred fast that reveals God’s supernatural power.

The prophet Isaiah describes the acceptable purposes for a “fast” and how it should be reflected in our actions:

Action 1: to loose the chains of injustice
Action 2: to untie the cords and yoke of oppression
Action 3: to provide food for the hungry
Action 4: to provide shelter for the homeless
Action 5: to clothe the naked

When the church lives in the “fast” lane, results will begin to happen:

Result 1: God’s light breaking through the darkness
Result 2: God’s healing power being released
Result 3: God’s righteousness going before us
Result 4: God’s glory being our guard
Result 5: God hearing our cry for help and answering by saying “Here I Am!”

Isaiah links the actions and results together by making a prophetic statement that “whoever chooses to live life in the fast lane will be satisfied even during seasons of drought – they will be strengthened and equipped – they will rebuild the foundations, repair the breach and restore the paths”.

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meet the christian ministers

bendowding

Rev. Ben and Gale Dowding

Influence Church in Richmond North Yorkshire (formally RichmondPentecostalChurch) is lead by Pastors Ben & Gale Dowding.

Following an 18 month transition period with David & Pat Rivers, who lead the Church for 45 years, Ben & Gale took on the senior leadership position in 2008.

Over the past 5 years many changes have taken place, they have seen God do some incredible things and the Church has grown from 70 to around 200 people!

One of the significant changes the Church has been through was the introduction of their new name, InfluenceChurch, back in 2011.

Speaking about the name change, Pastor Ben said: “Richmond Pentecostal wasn’t a bad name, but we wanted our Church identity to be something that didn’t just describe our beliefs, but declared something of our purpose and vision to the community around us.”

The vision of the name InfluenceChurch is rooted in Matt 5: “You are the light of the world”. The Church believes that each of us as Christians are called to be a light in our world, an influence to community in which we live.

InfluenceChurch aims to be a positive influence in their town & community, through the Church together but also through every individual member.

Possibly the biggest development in the Church in recent years as been the launch of their second Church ‘campus’ in BarnardCastle.

Using the phrase ‘1 Church in 2 locations’, in May 2012 Influence Church launched a Sunday service & Connect Group in Barnard Castle, a Town of similar size, 20 miles away.

Since it’s launch in May the Church has continued to grow in strength and the Church are now looking to lease their own long-term property in the Town.

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living devotions

ernestanderson

Rev. E. Anderson

NEEDFUL TESTS

Senior Living Ministries 

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. — 2 Timothy 4:3

Whenever you go to a doctor for your annual check-up, he or she will often begin to poke, prod, and press various places, all the while asking, “Does this hurt?” Now if you cry out in pain, one of two things has happened. Either the doctor has pushed too hard, without the right sensitivity. Or, more likely, there’s something wrong, and the doctor will say, “We’d better do some more TESTS”.

This is often true when pastors preach on touchy subjects, and certain members cry out in discomfort, criticizing the message and the messenger. Either the pastor has pushed too hard, which is possible. Or perhaps there’s something wrong underneath the surface.

Today’s Scripture is clear that there will come a time when people will stop putting up with sound doctrine. They’ll want to hear what makes them feel good instead of the truth. They’ll prefer living under the illusion that things are okay with them instead of discovering the truth that there is something very wrong underneath the surface.

The Bible is a tool that the Great Physician uses to poke and prod in order to identify areas of concern in our lives. So the next time you read Scripture or hear teaching that makes you uncomfortable, ask yourself if the pressure is too high, or if maybe there is something under the surface that needs to be checked out.

PRAYER CHALLENGE

Ask God to help you discern if there are any areas of your life where you have problems under the surface. Pray that He would give you the resolve to react appropriately when the “prodding” hurts!

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leadership factors

jmaxwell

Rev. John Maxwell

DISCIPLINE

Taken from the John Maxwell leadership Bible

TRAVEL ON THE INSIDE FIRST

Numbers 33:1-49

We must travel on the inside before we can travel on the outside, because the journey of growth and success is first an internal one. The first person you lead is you—and you can’t lead ef­fectively without self-discipline.

If only the Israelites had remembered this les­son! Numbers 33 provides a review of the entire exodus journey, from Egypt to Jordan. And, boy, was it ever a journey! Tons of manna. Far too much grumbling. And it lasted 40 years.

Why didn’t the Israelites get to the Promised Land more quickly? Not because it lay so far away; they could have made the trip in two weeks. The real reason boils ‘down to preparation. The people simply weren’t ready for God’s blessing until 40 years after they began their trip.

How about you? How is your self-discipline? Plato said, “The first and best victory is to conquer self.” If you want to be a leader with self-discipline, follow these action points:

1.  DEVELOP AND FOLLOW YOUR PRIORITIES

All leaders are pressed for time, but the successful ones have a plan. If you can deter­mine

what’s really a priority and release yourself from everything else, it will be much eas­ier to follow through on what’s important. That’s the essence of self-discipline.

2.  MAKE A DISCIPLINED LIFESTYLE YOUR GOAL

To be successful, self-discipline can’t be a one-time event. It has to become a lifestyle. One of the best ways to nurture such a lifestyle is to develop systems and routines, espe­cially in areas crucial to your long-term growth and success. Once you have them, put them to use every day for the rest of your life.

3.  CHALLENGE YOUR EXCUSES

Challenge and eliminate any tendency you may have to make excuses. If you can name several reasons why you can’t be self-disciplined, realize that they are really just barri­ers to your success—all of which need to be challenged if you want to go to the next level.

4.  REMOVE REWARDS UNTIL YOU FINISH THE JOB

If you lack self-discipline, you may be in the habit of enjoying dessert before eating your vegetables. Mike Delaney offered good counsel: He said that businesses need to differentiate between their shirkers and their workers, because if they reward both the same, they’ll soon find they have a lot more of the former than the latter!

5.  STAY FOCUSED ON RESULTS

Anytime you concentrate on the difficulty of the work instead of its results, you’re likely to become discouraged. The next time you’re facing a must-do task and you’re thinking of doing what’s convenient instead of paying the price, change your focus. Count die benefits of doing what’s right, and then dive in.

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just a thought

aaronlinford

Rev. Aaron Linford

BEYOND MEASURE 

Of the ninefold fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) it says, “Against such there is no law”. This puts these spiritual graces into a class all of their own. SCIENCE is confined to observation and measurement – Bunsen-burner, test-tube, microscope, telescope, and so on, all instruments to assess change or state. But the values that enrich life are more concerned with meaning, where quality is more important than quantity. 

In this bracket may be listed these spiritual “fruit” of our text. NO laws restrict their use, their growth, their depth; they are above computation. Take the first three manifestations of divine life.

Love – “the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge” (Eph 3:19). It has “breadth, length, depth and height”, but these extend to infinity.

Joy – to believers is “joy unspeakable and full of glory”

(1 Pet 1:8), an ineffable rapture that brings Heaven into our

experience.

Peace – “passeth all understanding” (Phil 4:7). We may not grasp its exquisite tranquillity with our minds, but we can feel its intense presence in our hearts, banishing worry and fear.

And so, although we value rationality, there are forces that are beyond (though not against) it. There are the things matter most.

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