Dr. Charles Mully was a self-made millionaire living in one of Nairobi’s wealthiest enclaves when God called him to dedicate his life to caring for impoverished children.
And that’s exactly what he did.
Giving up his life of comfort and wealth, Mully established the Mully Children’s Family (MCF), a charitable organization helping tens of thousands of the more than 2.6 million children living on the streets of Africa.
“I walk by faith and not by sight, and everything I own really belongs to God,” Mully, 68, told The Gospel Herald in an exclusive interview. “So, it was not difficult to give everything up. When I surrendered to him, He never let me down, and many lives have been changed as a result.”
Mully’s amazing story of faith, sacrifice, and determination is the subject of the forthcoming documentary, Mully. From October 3-5, the film will be shown at about 750 theaters across the United States.
The desire of the Kenyan-born entrepreneur to transform the lives of vulnerable children stems from his own experience. At 6 years old, he was abandoned by his family and forced to survive by begging on the streets.
“I was raised very poor; my father was an alcoholic who abused me and my brother,” he recalled. “One day, I woke up and discovered my family had left. That was a very difficult time in my life.”
After ten difficult years on the streets, Mully, now-teenager, was on the verge of committing suicide when a man invited him to church. There, Mully heard the Good News of the Gospel for the first time.
“When I heard the Word of God, it changed my life forever,” he shared. “It gave me a purpose and a motivation to live.”
As a young man, Mully walked to Nairobi, where he landed a job and met his future wife, Esther Nthenya. Against overwhelming odds, he found incredible success as a businessman, soon providing a comfortable lifestyle for his wife and their eight children.
Still, Mully was convinced that God had something more in store for his life. Leaving his company behind, Mully moved back to Kenya, where he and his wife opened their home to orphans who had nowhere else to turn.
“People thought I was crazy,” Mully admitted. “It has not been an easy journey. My wife and I have experienced rejection and mockery from those around us. But, God never fails. He is a God of love, of peace, and deliverance, and He calls us to obedience.”
Since 1989, Kenya’s “Father to the Fatherless” has transformed the lives of over 15,000 children through rescue, holistic rehabilitation and reintegration. Today, it’s the largest children’s rehabilitation organization in Africa.
Many of his children, Mully said, have gone on to become successful businessman, doctors, and lawyers.
“The Bible says, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,'” Mully said. “Yes, this organization has seen great success, but it is not because of me – it is because of the Lord, who gives me strength. Through God, anything is possible for the benefit of mankind.”
Through his story, Mully hopes Christians worldwide are inspired to take seriously the words of James 1:26 – “look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
“Many people in the Western world are about working hard to acquire wealth and money, money, money,” he said. “When God calls us, we need to listen. There are so many poor brothers and sisters around the world, and we are called to help those in great need, to share what little we may have.”
He continued, “That is the love of God. If don’t have love, if we don’t care for those God loves, we cannot please God. That is my challenge and advice to my brothers and sisters in America.”
These Believers met Christ face-to-face and heard Him speak; they experienced His miraculous deliverance.
Northern Nigeria is a dangerous place for Christians—especially for those who have left Islam to follow Christ. (Image: Displaced Nigerian Christians /via Aid to the Church in Need-Canada)
But BarnabasAid says God intervened in power to save 72 converts and their children from Boko Haram militants.
According to BarnabasAid, these Believers excel in courageous faith, they have met Christ face-to-face and heard Him speak, they have experienced His miraculous deliverance.
They cannot build themselves up by daily study of His Word — because they cannot read. Or they do not have a New Testament.
Their story begins with a group of 500 Nigerian Christian converts from Islam and their children.
It is not normal for this tribe to gather in such large numbers, but all of them had already been attacked by Boko Haram Islamist militants and they hoped that a larger group would give them a measure of security.
Boko Haram were not deterred. They attacked the group and captured 76, taking them back to their camp.
At the Boko Haram camp, the Christians were tortured, and their four male leaders were told they must deny Christ and return to Islam or they would be shot.
The four refused and were duly shot dead, in full view of the rest of the group.
A week later the four widows of the dead men were told they must renounce their Christian faith or their children would be shot. They were given time to think over this dreadful choice.
As they agonized together that evening, their excited children came running in, telling their mothers that Jesus had appeared to them and told them all would be well.
Jesus then appeared to the whole group of 72, and told them not to fear for He would protect them. He said they should not renounce Him but should stay strong, and that He was the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Deliverance from evil
The next day, the four mothers gave their decision to the militants — they would not deny Christ.
The militants prepared to shoot the children, who were already lined up against a wall. The youngest was a little girl of four. Suddenly the militants began screaming and clawing at their own heads. Shouting “Snakes!” They fled the scene, and some of them dropped dead.
One of the Christian men reached for the gun of a dead militant but the four-year-old put her hand on his arm to stop him. “You don’t need to do that,” she said, “Can’t you see the men in white fighting for us?”
Christmas in Vienna – 2 million views O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles), Ave Maria, Handel – The trumpet shall sound (Messiah), Panis Angelicus (Messe Solennelle), Mozart – Laudate Dominum, Mozart – Gloria (Credo Messe), El cant dels ocells, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Valse mélancolique, Maria Wiegenlied, Qui tollis (Messa di Gloria), Medley – Joy to the World; Mary’s Boy Child; Il est né, le divin Enfant (traditional French song); Leise rieselt der Schnee, Cantique de Noël, Handel – Hallelujah, Silent Night (Stille Nacht)
Mantovani & His Orchestra – 40 minutes
O Holy Night, Good King Wenceslas, Silent Night, Joy To The World, White Christmas, O’ Tannenbaum, Midnight Waltz, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, The First Noel, The Skaters Waltz, Nazareth, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Adeste Fideles – O Come All Ye Faithful
Christmas Hymns – 1 hour
Angels We Have Heard on High, O Holy Night, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Away in a Manger, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, What Child is This, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, While Shepherds Watched, Angels from the Realms of Glory, We Three Kings, O Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night, Away in a Manger, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Away in a Manger (Flow Gently Sweet Afton), Go Tell it on the Mountain, Joy to the World, The First Noel.
Christmas Music – 8 hours – Lucian Marza (piano medley, loop 1 hour)
Away in a Manger; O Christmas Tree; Jingle bells; We Wish you a Merry Christmas; O Little Town of Bethlehem; Silent night; Oh Come All Ye faithful; Joy to the World; O Come, O Come Emmanuel; Deck the halls; God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen; It Came Upon a Midnight Clear; Auld Lang Syne; Little Drummer Boy.
A teacher in New York decided to honour each of her seniors in high school by telling them the difference they each made. She called each student to the front of the class, one at a time. First she told each of them how they had made a difference to her and the class. Then she presented each of them with a blue ribbon imprinted with gold letters, which read, “Who I Am Makes a Difference”.
Afterwards the teacher decided to do a class project to see what kind of impact recognition would have on a community. She gave each of the students three more ribbons and instructed them to go out and spread this acknowledgment ceremony.
Then they were to follow up on the results, see who honoured whom and report back to the class in about a week.
One of the boys in the class went to a junior executive in a nearby Company and honoured him for helping him with his career planning. He gave him a blue ribbon and put it on his shirt. Then he gave him two extra ribbons and said, “We’re doing a class project on recognition, and we’d like you to go out, find somebody to honour, give them a blue ribbon, then give them the extra blue ribbon so they can acknowledge a third person to keep this acknowledgment ceremony going. Then please report back to me and tell me what happened.”
Later that day the junior executive went in to see his boss, who had been noted, by the way, as being kind of a grouchy fellow. He sat his boss down and he told him that he deeply admired him for being a creative genius.
The boss seemed very surprised. The junior executive asked him if he would accept the gift of the blue ribbon and would he give him permission to put it on him. His surprised boss said, “Well, sure.” The junior executive took the blue ribbon and placed it right on his boss’ jacket above his heart. As he gave him the last extra ribbon, he said, “Would you do me a favour?
Would you take this extra ribbon and pass it on by honouring somebody else. The young boy who first gave me the ribbons is doing a project in school and we want to keep this recognition ceremony going and find out how it affects people.”
That night the boss came home to his 14-year-old son and sat him down. He said, “The most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office and one of the junior executives came in and told me he admired me and gave me a blue ribbon for being a creative genius. Imagine. He thinks I’m a creative genius. Then he put this blue ribbon that says “Who I Am Makes a Difference.” on my jacket above my heart. He gave me an extra ribbon and asked me to find somebody else to honour.
As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about whom I would honour with this ribbon and I thought about you.
I want to honour you. My days are really hectic and when I come home I don’t pay a lot of attention to you.
Sometimes I scream at you for not getting good enough grades in school and for your bedroom being a mess. But somehow tonight, I just wanted to sit here and, well, just let you know that you do make a difference to me. Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You’re a great kid and I love you!”
The startled boy started to sob and sob, and he couldn’t stop crying. His whole body shook. He looked up at his father and said through his tears, “Dad, earlier tonight I sat in my room and wrote a letter to you and Mom explaining why I had killed myself and I asked you to forgive me.
I was going to commit suicide tonight after you were asleep. I just didn’t think that you cared at all.
The letter is upstairs. I don’t think I need it after all.”
His father walked upstairs and found a heartfelt letter full of anguish and pain. The envelope was addressed, “Mom and Dad”.
The boss went back to work a changed man. He was no longer a grouch but made sure to let all his employees know that they made a difference.
The junior executive helped several other young people with career planning and never forgot to let them know that they made a difference in his life….one being the boss’ son.
And the young boy and his classmates learned a valuable lesson.
“Who you are DOES make difference”.
You are under no obligation to pass this on to anyone…not to two people or to two hundred. As far as I am concerned, you can forget it and move on.
On the other hand, if you want, you could send it to all of the people who mean something to you, or send it to the one, two, or three people who mean the most.
Or just smile and know that someone thinks that you are important, or you wouldn’t have received this in the first place.
Remember that! I give you a blue ribbon.
Who you are makes a difference. And I wanted you to know that.
Isn’t that a wonderful story?
I’m passing the blue ribbon to you, for who YOU are does make a difference too.
Published in the 1993 best seller Chicken Soup for the Soul as “Who You Are Makes a Difference.” It was subsequently turned into a made-for-television movie which aired on PAX TV (now ION Television).
Ethiopia: Evangelical Prime Minister wins Nobel Peace Prize
The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. He was awarded the prize for his efforts to “achieve peace and international cooperation”.
At 43 years old, Ahmed is Africa’s youngest leader. He made quick and deliberate efforts toward reform when he took office in April 2018. Most notably, last year, he signed a peace accord with President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea, after decades of political stalemate and two years of violence that cost 80,000 lives along the border. The two countries have grown increasingly open to one another, with resumed air travel and telecommunications.
The prize announcement commended his leadership, saying he spent his first 100 days in office lifting the country’s state of emergency, granting amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinuing media censorship, legalizing outlawed opposition groups, dismissing military and civilian leaders who were suspected of corruption, and significantly increasing the influence of women in Ethiopian political and community life. He has also pledged to strengthen democracy by holding free and fair elections.
As Joel News International previously reported, Ahmed also helped reconcile two branches of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which split for political reasons in 1991. He also fostered reconciliation between Muslims and Christians in his hometown of Beshasha. In another historic move last month Ahmed announced a tree-planting initiative, to outdo virtually any other country in the world. Ethiopia planted 350 million trees in one day, to combat deforestation and climate change.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (left) and Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki at the re-opening of the Eritrean Embassy in Addis Ababa last year
The son of a Muslim father and an Orthodox mother, Ahmed is a Protestant Pentecostal, or ‘Pentay’, like many Ethiopian politicians. His faith is seen as a driving factor in his push for peace. “There is something of the revivalist preacher in the way he evangelizes for his vision,” BBC News noted. “He has the energy, the passion, and the certainty.” Pentecostal beliefs correspond with a sense of hope and ambition in politics, the idea that nothing is impossible. A member of the Full Gospel Believers’ Church, Ahmed told followers after taking office: “We have a country that is endowed with great bounty and wealth, but is starving for love.”
After the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize on October 11, the Prime Minister tweeted: “I am humbled by the decision of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. My deepest gratitude to all committed and working for peace. This award is for Ethiopia and the African continent. We shall prosper in peace!”
Ahmed is the 24th Nobel Peace Prize recipient from Africa; last year, the award went in part to Denis Mukwege, a Christian doctor dedicated to healing rape victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Ahmed was not the only Christian to win a Nobel Prize this year. Professor John Goodenough has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work at Oxford University that made possible the development of lithium-ion batteries. In his autobiography ‘Witness to Grace’ he describes his life, including his conversion to the Christian faith.
In 1901, when Australia took the Federation census, 96.1% of Australians said that they were Christian. Fast forward to 1916, and in this most recent census, 52.2% of the nation declared they were Christian. During the last census period, we lost 10% and if that decline rate only steadied (didn’t increase as it has been doing) then within 7 years (2 census periods) we would be at 32%. These figures don’t represent the percentage of our population that has a living vibrant relationship with Jesus, but they certainly represent how open we are, as a nation, to the gospel. About 7-9% of the population attend a church regularly which would be a closer representation of those who have a relationship with God.
But there is hope…
Despite it looking like a dark day for Christianity in Australia, there have been times when God has moved in a way that changed major cities. Today, there are towns across this nation that are seeing the same glimmer of hope – a greatly reduced attrition rate in Christianity in opposition to the national average and other towns around them. If we can learn the lessons from these historical moves of God and the regional towns where God is still moving, and if we can harness it in other parts of our nation, then we believe there is great potential to not only slow down the attrition rate of Christianity but to turn it around.
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. (Isaiah 60:1-2)
The two major historical moves in our history occurred in 1902 & 1959.
First, we look at the 1902 Great Melbourne Revival and the impact it had on Melbourne and Australia. In the next section, we look at the national revival and city transformation that happened through Billy Graham’s ministry in 1959. Then if we couple these lessons with modern data we can form the foundation for a strategy to see our nation come back to Jesus. A strategy that is God-inspired, biblical, proven and contemporary with what God is doing across the globe in our day.
1902 – The Great Melbourne Revival
In 1902, the Great Melbourne Revival  changed the landscape of Christianity in this corner of the world. In the 1890s’ many of the Melbourne churches united and invited Dwight L Moody to come and hold an evangelistic campaign. DL Moody had been a significant evangelist and leader in the 1857-1859 Second Great Awakening.
Over 200 churches (about 80%) of the churches gathered and prayed for the upcoming campaign. The prayer meetings started years in advance and by the time the campaign began the local churches had held over 16000 prayer meetings. Also, the churches had door knocked the entire city of Melbourne at least twice, with a personal invitation to the meetings. DL Moody couldn’t come as he passed away in 1899, but his spiritual protégé, RA Torrey came. On the weekend of the first meeting over 8000 gathered in the Great Exhibition Hall. The campaign ran over a few months on each Sunday. The population of Melbourne at the time was 500k. By the last Sunday, they had 250k people turn out to hear the word of God preached. That is 50% of the city. By the end, 50 evangelists led simultaneous meetings in 42 halls and sports fields all across Melbourne.
The fruit of the revival
The revival started in Melbourne and then travelled up the coast and ended up seeing major percentages of the Pacific Islands converted, even to this day most of the islands are Christian and some have attributed it to the 1902 revival.
Directly after the campaign, crime dropped to zero per cent and even 12 months later the police were still bored as there was no crime in the city. Pubs closed, and picture theatres were emptied. That campaign changed the social and cultural landscape of Melbourne.
Keys to revival
When looking back at the event, three things have been attributed to the transformation to three things
Missional unity in churches. The churches not only organised the event together, but they worked together to door knock the entire city at least twice
An immense amount of prayer. In lead up to the event, 16000 prayer meetings were held.
The Gospel. At the centre of the activity was a gospel event. It wasn’t about the event, it was about Jesus, but God used the event to mobilise the Body with prayer and outreach.
1959 – A time of national revival
In 1959, Billy Graham came to Australia and New Zealand to spend 4 months touring and preaching the gospel. He did 114 meetings in 106 days . This tour became known as the greatest moment of revival history in our nation. To this day, I often meet men and women who were saved in that campaign and are still serving the Lord.
Billy Graham was invited out by Anglican Archbishop Howard Mowell, who rallied churches and believers for 6 years in the lead up to the gospel campaign. During the campaign over 146k across Australia made a commitment for Jesus.
Preparing the way
In lead up to this rally, over 40 000 individuals signed up to pray for the event. In Sydney, 600 of the 650 churches worked together to door knock around 400 000 homes with a spiritual survey. Over 8000 counselors (45k nationally) were trained to disciple the new believers. In Sydney, 150k people turned out on the last night and over 56k decisions for Jesus were made. Some churches reported 75% and 94% retention of the new believers.
These numbers are great for Sydney, however across Australia and New Zealand over 3 million (out of a total population of 10 million) turned out to hear the gospel, face to face, and even many more heard it across radio and TV. Almost 2% of the nation publicly admitted to deciding to follow Jesus.
God moved and on top of the multitude of decisions, judges, mayors and politicians are reported to have said that Sydney was a different place. On top of these reports, there was actual city-transformation that had measurable results.
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those whowill believe in Me through their word;that they all may be one, asYou, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.And theglory which You gave Me I have given them,that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me;that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me (John 17:20-23)
The fruit of the revival
Directly after the campaign, the crime increase rate dropped to half. This remained that way for 3 years. Alcohol sales dropped by 10% the following year. Pubs closed down, ex-nuptial births decreased and businesses reported an unusual amount of bad debts being paid off. That gospel campaign changed the social and cultural landscape of our nation, but in particular, Sydney.
The 1959 “Southern Cross Crusade” truly was a momentous occasion for Jesus, in our nation. There has not been a move like it in the last 70 years, but there were keys we could learn from the 1959 revival.
Keys to revival
When looking back at the event, three things have been attributed to the transformation
Missional unity in churches. The churches not only organized the event together, but they worked together to door knock around 400k homes with a spiritual survey
An immense amount of prayer. In lead up to the event, 40000 individuals committed to pray.
The Gospel. At the centre of the activity was a gospel event. It wasn’t about the event, it was about Jesus and His gospel, but God used the event to mobilize the Body with prayer and outreach.
1 – Renshaw, W. F., 2014. Torrey-Alexander: Revival comes to Melbourne. In: Marvellous Melbourne and Spiritual Power. Acorn Press, pp. 42-49.
2 – Faase, K., n.d. Lessons from the 1959 Billy Graham crusade. [Online] Available at: https://www.crossover.org.au/revitalised-in-witness-the-lessons-from-the-billy-graham-crusades-of-1959-pt-3/ [Accessed 2019]
Millions of people disagree with what Israel Folau (Izzy) said or the way he said it, just as millions of people disagree with what the Bible says about a lot of things.
But the crucial issue here is not a Christian footballer, nor even the Bible. After all, Christianity has been violently opposed for 2,000 years since that crucifixion on Calvary.
The crucial issue is losing “freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of belief and freedom of religion” in this free land of the “fair go mate”.
Why religious freedom is a big issue in Australia:
Bernard Gaynor has a background in military intelligence with three tours of duty in Iraq with the Australian Army. Married with eight children, Bernard’s courageous advocacy has cost him more than $400,000 in legal fees. In the process of defending himself he has lost two homes and now lives in rental accommodation.
Since 2013 Bernard Gaynor has faced 50 separate allegations of wrongdoing. Not a single allegation against him has succeeded. He has also defended himself in military inquiries and state tribunals, before magistrates and even in the High Court in Canberra.
A Tasmanian bishop was sued for publishing his church’s and the Bible views on marriage. Some Ministers of Religion have been sued for preaching the biblical teaching on marriage.
A Victorian teacher launched legal action against a Christian college claiming she was discriminated against over her political and religious beliefs in support of same-sex marriage, setting up a test case over faith-based protections for religious schools.
On April 10, Israel Folau posted on his Instagram account the following message: “Warning: Drunks, Homosexuals, Adulterers, Liars, Fornicators, Thieves, Atheists, Idolators: Hell Awaits You. Repent! Only Jesus Saves.” Next to this big, bold statement was the message: “Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him.”
This eye-catching text was from the Bible, a loose paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
If someone else had posted this it would almost certainly have slipped under the radar. But Folau was being watched. Partly this is because of his brilliance as a footballer. He holds the record for the most tries scored in Super Rugby. In 2007 he won rugby league’s Dally M Rookie of the Year award for having scored the most tries in his debut year. In that same year he was the all-time youngest international player (he was 18 at the time). …
But it looks as though Folau was also being watched for an opportunity to punish him for being a Christian; indeed, for being a blunt defender of the classic, conservative Christian faith.
The attack on Folau provoked an unexpected reaction: many Aussies were unhappy. They flooded open-line radio with calls in support of the right of Folau to hold and express his faith. This support was not limited to the 52.1 percent of Australians who called themselves Christian in the 2016 census. A bucket load of callers took the line of “I don’t support what he said or the way he said it, but, hey the bloke’s obviously sincere so why is he being bashed up like this?”
Whether articulated or not, the underlying feeling of much of this response was: Australia is a free country. There was a distinct unease about the possibility of losing at least some degree of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of belief and freedom of religion in this wide, brown land. …
This is no storm in a tea cup: this is central to Australia’s character as a nation and raises three questions: ● Why should there be penalties for defending classical Christianity? ● Why do the rights of one group trump all other rights? ● What is the actual content of the view he is defending? …
But as Folau’s short post indicates, there is more to the story. Here’s the completion of those words from the Bible quoted above: “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:27-28).
There is the offer of God’s love and forgiveness and restoration: switching at life’s end from the bad option (separation, isolation, “hell”) to the good option (connection, community, “heaven”) as a free gift. From the point of view of classical Christianity, Folau saw people in danger and shouted out a warning. In other words, the intention of his message was the exact opposite to how it has been portrayed. And for that Folau is being punished.
In a landmark judgment, the UK Court of Appeal has upheld the rights of British Christians to freely express their faith by handing victory to former student social worker Felix Ngole. Overturning a High Court decision to uphold Felix’s expulsion from Sheffield University, the crucial outcome represents a major development of the law. It is now clear that Christians have the legal right to express biblical views on social media and elsewhere in public without fear for their professional careers. This is the first Court of Appeal judgment regarding freedom of expression of biblical views which sets limits on the rights of professional regulators to restrict free speech on social media.
The ruling is likely to be relied upon in hundreds of future cases. Felix was expelled in 2016 from his social work course at the University of Sheffield after quoting Bible verses on Facebook that were deemed critical of homosexuality. In 2015, he had entered into a discussion on Facebook over the imprisonment of Kim Davies, the Kentucky marriage registrar jailed for refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples. During an online political debate, many views were exchanged on the Christian faith. A devout Christian, Felix quoted Bible verses affirming the traditional Christian opposition to same-sex marriage and of the sinful nature of homosexual activity.
Some months later, Felix was reported to the University of Sheffield by a fellow student and was subsequently disciplined in a Fitness to Practise hearing. He was informed that he had brought the social work profession into disrepute and was then expelled from the course, losing the career he had worked so hard for. In the court hearings, the university argued that Felix had ‘lacked insight’ into the effect of his posts on social media. During his Fitness to Practise hearing, the University had told him that the expression of his Christian views was unacceptable and he was effectively told either to renounce his faith or stay silent on pain of losing his career.
In the High Court hearing, the University of Sheffield implied that Felix was not allowed to express his Christian viewpoint on same-sex marriage or homosexuality on any public forum, including in a church. The Court of Appeal held that it was the university that was ‘lacking insight’ in not understanding a Christian viewpoint. In addition, the Court of Appeal praised Christian Concern co-founder Pastor Ade Omooba MBE for urging that the university seek caution and compromise. The Court of Appeal condemned the position of the university whereby people would live in fear if private expressions of views were overheard and could be reported anonymously.
The court ruled that: “The expression of views on theological grounds does not necessarily connote that that person will discriminate on such grounds.” It was further recognised that Felix had never been shown to act in a discriminatory fashion. The outcome of this case will have significant implications for freedom of speech. Comments made by people on social media, often many years ago, have recently been arbitrarily used to silence viewpoints that people dislike or disagree with. Commenting on his win, Felix said: “‘My personal loss is gain for future Christians’. This is great news, not only for me and my family, but for everyone who cares about freedom of speech.
Felix continued ”I have suffered tremendously as a result of how I was treated by the University and I feel that 4 years of my life have been taken from me. Despite all this, I feel full of joy that what I have lost will be so much gain to Christians in the future as a result of this important ruling for freedom.” Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which supported Felix, said: “This is a watershed case for Christians and a resounding victory for freedom of speech. We are delighted that the Court of Appeal has seen the importance of this case and made a ruling that accords with common sense.”
Williams continued “It is shocking that the university sought to censor expression of the Bible in this way, and we hope this sends out a message of freedom across all universities and professions that Christians and others should be allowed to express their views without fear of censorship or discipline. “Christians now know that it is their legal right to express biblical views on social media or elsewhere without fear for their professional careers. This is a major development of the law and must be upheld and respected in all Christian freedom cases.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
President Kennedy’s speechwriters attributed this quote to Edmund Burke.
Keyes says that the quote has not been successfully traced:
. . . which Kennedy attributed to Edmund Burke and which recently was judged the most popular quotation of modern times (in a poll conducted by editors of The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations). Even though it is clear by now that Burke is unlikely to have made this observation, no one has ever been able to determine who did.
You can support Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells’ Religious Freedom Petition to go to the Senate. Many Christian lawyers are concerned that the current anti-discrimination bill is toothless.
This link gives you 7 tools to help you:
1. The Issues with Religious Freedom
2. Religious Freedom contents to raise with your MP
3. Sample Letter to your MP
4. How to contact Senators and Members of Federal Parliament
5. Petition by Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells
6. Flyer introducing the Senate Petition
7. Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells Speech on Religious Freedom
New Christian’s Guide gives you a basic introduction to living the Christian life through faith in Jesus Christ your Saviour and Lord.
New Christian’s Guide is an introductory guide for new Christians starting out in their life in Christ. It covers basic essentials including Jesus’ instructions on loving God and loving others, with these topics:
Introduction: Welcome to God’s Family
Faith in God – God our Father
Gift of Faith
Follow Me – Jesus our Lord
Follow Jesus in obedience
Follow Jesus in his Word
Follow Jesus in prayer & worship
Follow Jesus in fellowship
Follow Jesus in service
Follow Jesus in mission
Filled with the Spirit – the Holy Spirit our Guide Born of the Spirit
Living in the Spirit
Led by the Spirit
Fruit & Gifts of the Spirit
2 Love Others Love one another Serve one another Encourage one another
Here is the beginning of this book.
Welcome to God’s eternal family. I’m writing this book as a personal letter to you, a new Christian who believes in Jesus. You have given your life to him and you want to follow him and live for him.
If you are already a growing Christian you may find some help in this Guide also. And if you have not yet chosen to be a Christian and follow Jesus, this may help you to decide.
Billions of people believe in Jesus, the Son of God, our Saviour, so you have joined a huge worldwide family of God. Probably somebody told you about Jesus, perhaps a preacher or a friend, or maybe you just want to read more about him.
So welcome to the family of God. We believe in God our Father, we believe in Jesus Christ his Son our Saviour and Lord, and we believe in God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, who lives in us and gives us new life, our Christian life. ‘Christian’ means Christ in you!
Our Christian life begins with faith. We trust in God. We believe in Jesus, God’s Son, as our Saviour and Lord or King. We have faith that God lives in us by his Spirit and that we live in God now and forever.
That’s good news. Really good news. The most famous verse in the Bible puts it this way:
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
Now that you believe in Jesus and trust him with your life you have eternal life. That eternal life does not start when you die. It starts now and never ends. Jesus said:
This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3).
You have done that. You have given your life to God and he has given you new life, his life in you. Because you believe in Jesus and trust him, God lives in you by his Spirit, and you live in God. You have given your life to him and he has given his life to you. So you know him, your God, and you know Jesus your Saviour, because God’s Spirit now lives in you and makes everything new:
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
You are forgiven. When you believe in Jesus your Saviour you ask him to forgive you for all your sin, and he promises to do that: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9).
You are clean. That promise reminds us that God goes on cleansing us, not just once, but always, as we trust him and continue to acknowledge or confess our sin and failures. You can do that quickly, and at any time, such as thinking or saying, “Sorry.” Make it a habit. Keep short accounts with God!
You have new life, eternal life. That’s God’s promise. He gives his life to you and lives in you by his Spirit who is also the Spirit of Jesus. So Jesus lives in you by his Spirit and you now have new life: I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me (Galatians 2:20).
So the old life has gone and a new life, eternal life, has begun in you. You are born again with new life, God’s life ion you.
You are in God’s family. You have a worldwide family of God’s people, your brothers and sisters. You will get to know some of them well in your local church or group. You will also find many brothers and sisters in other places worldwide. We all share God’s life together and we grow in the unity of his Spirit.
What about problems?
Does this new life mean we are now free from all our problems and difficulties? No, but we do have a new life as we encounter problems and difficulties. We have God’s help and guidance in new ways. God promises to guide and help us, and Jesus promised that his Spirit, the Holy Spirit, would help us.
You now have this amazing new life with God your Father and Jesus your Saviour and Lord living in you by his Spirit, the Holy Spirit, who helps us. Jesus said:
If you love Me,keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, andHe will give you anotherHelper, that He may abide with you forever —the Spirit of truth,whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with youand will be in you.I will not leave you orphans;I will come to you (John 14:15-18).
You have God’s help, always. That never ends. So we face our problems and difficulties trusting in God to help and guide us.
How do we go about living this new life with God’s help?
We keep on trusting him. We keep on living for him, with his help and strength. He is our intimate Friend and Guide.
So the title of this little book is not mainly about principles but about a Person. The New Christian’s Guide is God in us, Jesus living his life in us by his Spirit, and guiding us.
That’s a life-long adventure! We can all learn to let God be our Guide more fully, and trust in Jesus to lead and help us by his Spirit now within us, teaching us, leading us, helping us, empowering us, and transforming us.
So, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).
Easy to say – hard to do!
Yes, in some ways it is easier said than done. Living the Christian life is not always a piece of cake. It can be tough at times as we keep listening to Jesus and obeying him. But, as an old hymn says:
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Living this new Christian life means that we trust and obey our Guide. He leads us by his Spirit within us. So now, as you read this, you could pause and thank him that he is with you, he is within you, and he promises to guide you.
If you find some resistance inside you, just confess it. We all resist God’s great love and holiness at times, so we need to just confess that, know that he forgives and cleanses us, and that he promises to help and strengthen us as we live for him.
The rest of this New Christian’s Guide is my attempt to help you follow your eternal Guide, your Father God, your Saviour Jesus, and your Guide and Helper the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said that the most important commandments of all are just two, so let’s explore that with our New Christian’s Guide:
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it:
‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22:37-40).
Our obedience springs from love and flows strong in God’s love. We love Him because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Love is why we obey
Jesus says that we will obey his commandments because of our love for him. We obey from love, not just from duty. Our duty becomes our delight. We love him and love to live for him and please him.
We understand about obeying in love with people we really love such as our parents or husband or wife. We love to please them because we love them. It’s our delight, not just a duty. We love to please or obey them, and we are so happy when our love pleases them.
Jesus’ obedience was a natural part of his loving relationship with his Father, and he calls us into loving obedience also.
If you keep My commandments you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love (John 15:10).
Jesus lived in full fellowship and intimate loving relationship with his Father. Consequently, his obedience flowed naturally and supernaturally from that.
So this book explores how we can obey Jesus in love by loving God and loving others. Loving God and loving others are inter-related. John, the Apostle of love, reminds us:
Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also (1 John 4:20-21).
Believing in God and in his Son Jesus changes us and enables us to love God and to love one another.
Jesus reminds us that the greatest of all the commandments is to love God.
God’s love for us brings us into a loving relationship with him and with others. You could thank him for his love right now!
C S Lewis wrote, “On the whole, God’s love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him. Nobody can always have devout feelings: and even if we could, feelings are not what God principally cares about. Christian Love, either towards God or towards man, is an affair of the will. If we are trying to do His will we are obeying the commandment, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.’ He will give us feelings of love if He pleases. We cannot create them for ourselves, and we must not demand them as a right. But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not” (Mere Christianity, Book 3, Chapter 9, emphasis added).
Jesus pointed out that our God who loves us is One Being. Jesus and the Father are one in eternal union with the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, I and the Father are one. … Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. … But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. (John 10:30; 14:23, 26). We have one God revealed in three divine persons who love us: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
That is a divine mystery, but God reveals himself to us as we believe in him and trust him daily.
Here is a simple way to understand how God is always with us and within us.
We breathe all the time, usually without thinking about it. Now that you are thinking about it you may even breathe more deeply, or take in more breath!
The Bible has one word for breath, wind and spirit. So translators choose the most appropriate English word to translate it from Hebrew (ruah) or Greek (pnuema).
Our natural breathing is rather like breathing in the breath of God of the Spirit of God, by faith. Just as our physical breathing helps to cleanse our lungs and bodies so our spiritual breathing also cleanses us.
We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide continually without even thinking about it. Similarly, in our relationship with God we continually inhale God’s breath, his Spirit, and exhale impurities, by faith, by trusting God.
Another physical picture or parallel is how our heart continually pumps blood throughout our bodies without us thinking about it, cleansing our bodies. Similarly, the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, goes on cleansing us from our sin, for if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
That verse gives us another picture or parallel. The sun always shines, even on cloudy days. So in daylight we live in the light without thinking about it. It’s natural. We can see. Similarly, as we live by faith in God we live in his light. God is light and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).
As a Christian, you are born again into a new life with God, who is light, so you live in his light. Living that way means that you are continually cleansed because of Jesus’ blood given for us all in his death on the cross. So now you have new life, the life of God’s Spirit living in you constantly.
All of that helps us to love and thank God for all he has done for us in creating us, redeeming us from sin, and living in us as we live in him by faith.
So this section on loving God looks at these three dimensions of loving God:
Faith in God our Father
Following Jesus our Lord
Filled with the Spirit our Guide
A prayer of faith you can pray:
Thank you my Father and God for loving me. Thank you Jesus my Saviour and Lord for dying for me. Thank you Holy Spirit of God for living in me and giving me new life, the life of Jesus in me. Forgive me for my sin and I choose you now. Thank you Lord my God for forgiving me and saving me. I give my life to you and I choose to live for you. Help me to live for you always. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
It was on 5 September, 20 years ago, that a rag-tag gang of students launched a 24-7 prayer room in a warehouse on a backstreet on the south coast of England. This small beginning ignited a movement of prayer that spread to many nations.
Founder Pete Greig of UK-based 24-7prayer looks back in this report:
“We’d been inspired by the 18th century Moravians who somehow prayed non-stop for a hundred years, and figured that if they could keep going for a century we might maybe manage as much as a month. (And besides, even if we gave up after a week, it‘d still be six and a half more days of praying than any of us had ever done before).
We weren’t trying to break any records and certainly weren’t expecting to start a movement. We simply wanted to learn to pray – and that was because we’d made two very awkward discoveries:
The first discovery was that prayer is actually the most important thing in life. Think about it and you’ll realise this is true. Whether you’re desperately needing a miracle, urgently needing guidance, or just needing to know if God’s actually really there, nothing matters more than prayer.
The second discovery was that we were embarrassingly bad at the most important thing in the world. We were lazy, distracted and confused when it came to prayer.
WHAT FAITH FEELS LIKE
And so, on this day – September 5, 1999 – we made a decision that would change our lives. We set aside a specially designed room, divided the month into hours, and started trying to pray. I want to tell you that those first few hours were heavenly but they weren’t. They were tedious and horrible. We quickly ran out of things to say. How on earth were we going to do this thing for a whole day, let alone an entire month?
But then something shifted. I can’t really explain it, but as we began to use the room alone or in pairs we discovered the thrill of being with God in the ‘wee-small hours’ of the night. Instinctively we began to pray and worship non-verbally with creativity and silence. And gradually prayer – this thing we all found so hard – started to get easier. It even became enjoyable and exciting. The atmosphere began to change. The room became charged with peace and a sense that anything was possible (which is I guess what faith feels like).
Within a few days, exciting stories began to circulate. Atheists came and experienced God’s presence. Someone became a Christian one day and spent two hours in prayer the next. A girl called Anna said she heard an angel praying in there. A girl called Vicky claimed to see an angel and fell flat on her face in fear. I wrote a poem called The Vision and posted it on the wall. It was just my attempt to make sense of the weird thing that was happening to us but within a month that poem was being sampled by DJs, had been played at a massive event called ‘The Call’ on Washington DC’s Capital Mall, it had been choreographed in Spain and published in the newspaper of the underground church in China. More and more people were reporting that an hour in the prayer room felt like 10 minutes. Prayers were being answered. Miracles were taking place. It became exciting to go to that room just to hear the latest stories of God in the move.
The Vision. Click on the image to play the video.
And then, in our third month of non-stop prayer, God sneezed and the virus began to spread to people we’d never met in places we couldn’t spell. (You can read more of these stories in books like Red Moon Rising and Dirty Glory.)
Twenty years later (I can hardly believe I am sitting here now writing these words) we are growing faster than ever. Somehow that first prayer room has impacted millions of people. It has self seeded into prisons, palaces, schools and cathedrals. It has reached more than half the nations on earth and every denomination from the Salvation Army to the Catholic Church.
THE WILD RIDE
This weird, accidental movement has kick-started new ministries and movements from Prayer Spaces in Schools to 24-7 Ibiza. It has given birth to a global family of 24-7 Communities – churches, Houses of Prayer and modern-day monasteries. It has created and curated many resources to help thousands of people encounter God the way we did in that first prayer room – from apps and articles to devotionals and courses to best-selling books. The Prayer Course alone, which was originally filmed in a couple of days and pretty much written in the back of pieces of card, has been downloaded more than a million times.
Along the way 24-7 has somehow managed to relaunch the ancient Moravian Order of the Mustard Seed, gaining official recognition from the Anglican House of Bishops and Abbots last year. (In fact, right now there are people on all five continents preparing to take the OMS vows next month when we gather in Belfast to celebrate twenty years).
As for me, as I look back today I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude to so many friends and especially to the Lord. He really does do “immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine” (Eph. 3). He really is utterly and completely faithful. It’s been a wild ride – much scarier, deeper, and more exciting than we could ever have possibly imagined in those first few hours trying to pray in that warehouse twenty years ago.
We have made so many mistakes but the one thing we have got right is this: we have never stopped saying yes to the Holy Spirit. Whenever he has told us to do a thing we have tried to do it and the results have been incredible! If he is asking you to do something today – do it. C’mon!”