Alan and I sat down by the beach with the small group of beach boys, some of whom were Muslims. Mohammed our new found friend had gathered a few of his friends to listen to the Bible Study. It was quite surreal to be sat there with the Atlantic Ocean in the background, the sound of the sea pounding the beach. It was not a bad place to do evangelism. Not bad at all.
We all looked at John Chapter 3, that’s the story about Nicodemus coming to Jesus and then the whole dialogue about being born again (that’s where Born Again Christian comes form – BTW there are no Christians who are not born again, as a Christian is someone who has been re-born spiritually). We all read a verse each, some in English, some in Creole, some could not read so were helped by others. That was touching to see.
I then asked what everyone thought of what they had read. There were many responses. Most of them boiled down to the fact that they thought they had to try and work to please God. They already have burdened lives, it is a struggle, to have to please God is another millstone around their neck. So I explained that they needed to come to Jesus, that in itself allows God to come close to them. They do not have to prove themselves.
We prayed and all of us prayed a prayer together committing ourselves to Jesus. Now let me say here, I can be as cynical as the next man about conversions in Africa, but this was different. I’d invited a new friend Pastor Abna from Freetown to come with us. Next week an Alpha Course will begin with the beach boys, starting with the group that we met and prayed with. Fantastic! I’m so very encouraged by that.
So, on the beach I’m feeling alive. A lot of people ask me what I try and do – that is what I do. You create opportunities for the life of Jesus to flow and touch people.
Another situation, this time in the UK. Two Iranian friends of mine are having to seek asylum. They are Christians and the authorities have found out in Iran. They face death is they go back to Iran. The thing is, applying for asylum in the UK is so very difficult and public opinion is hardly with them. The other day they had to move from Manchester (where they now know people) to Liverpool with a moments notice. That is so unjust and quite frankly wrong. I’m ashamed of my own government. We live in a country that can send a Ghanaian woman suffering with cancer to certain death back in her own country. Our justification, our own selfishness and greed. Some of us will have a lot to answer for, before God. So another thing that makes me alive is fighting for people like my friends. Please pray for me in this and more importantly, pray for them.
Another thing that makes me feel alive is exhilarating worship and I’ve just participated in a fantastic worship session at our Alpha Training Conference here in Sierra Leone. A friend Kevin has been leading the worship sessions and he has a very rare gift in my opinion. He has the ability to lead worship cross-culturally, to engage and befriend the people he is with and learn from them. This means, when he is leading it’s a fantastic medley of songs we would recognise in England and songs in Creole, which by the way he is leading in Creole, not English. I’m really very impressed. That worship makes me feel alive and seeing God work through those people on the team is just great.
Just here also, let me mention Alan, Geraint (also known as Gez- reth), Sarah and Rosie from HTB who have all been great! They really have.
Here at the conference, the thing that makes me feel alive is to think that all of these people can greatly affect the lives of many people. You can feel insignificant doing these things a lot of the time, however, think of the multiplication and it can be quite envisioning. Many people could be affected because a few friends and I spent some time in Sierra Leone. That makes me alive!
As I stood before the congregation at the conference (no prizes for guessing this was written at a different time from the para above) and as a final act, prayed for their commissioning to go out in to Sierra Leone, I got quite carried away. Again I felt alive. I also felt privileged to to have been perhaps a small part in their development into a force of evangelistic endeavour. This stuff is what makes me tick.
I’ve decided to do one thing, just one thing every day that is God given and makes me feel alive. It may be serving someone, helping someone, praying or putting myself out. I don’t care, as long as it is for Jesus and is a moment of life. So why not join me in that? Do 1 thing every day to share the life of God with people.