Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Devotional, Easter, Evangelism, Faith, Hope, Miracles

Face fear with your faith!

After the arrest of Jesus and later His execution, we know that the disciples were afraid. 

John 20:19 tells us that on the evening of the first day, they were together, ‘with the doors locked’. It must have been a very distressing time. Their best friend and Saviour had been publicly executed and they must have been very shocked by all they had witnessed. In fear for his life, Peter had denied knowing Jesus and now, they were all hiding behind locked doors. 

This picture hidden away in a room, is an illustration to me, of what the enemy tries to do in our lives. I believe fear is the greatest weapon of the enemy – fear literally paralyses us and stops us from moving forward.

It might be the fear of ill health, of losing your job, the fear of what others think. It does not matter, it all has the same outcome – it holds us back from all that God wants us to do. It was the same for the disciples. Just a few days before, they had been enjoying a Passover meal with Jesus and now they were in hiding, trying to preserve their lives. They were unable to move forward.
The amazing part of this story to me is that when Jesus appeared to them, He asked them, ‘Why are you frightened?’. Luke 24:36 says Jesus asked them, ‘“Why do you doubt that it is really I? Look at my hands! Look at my feet! You can see that it is I, myself! Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost! For ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do!” As he spoke, he held out his hands for them to see the marks of the nails and showed them the wounds in his feet.

Luke 24:41 says, ‘Still they stood there undecided, filled with joy and doubt’.

Even when Jesus appeared to them in power and wonder, after being so brutally killed, they were still not sure whether they could believe their eyes!

The journey of faith is not always an easy one and sometimes even when we know and experience Jesus in the middle of the situations we face, we wonder if He really will save us. This story speaks to us of the heart and mercy of Jesus. He appeared to the disciples in the middle of all their doubt and confusion and then he ate a meal with them. As they listened to all that he said, the Word of God tells us that they, ‘opened their minds to understand at last the Scriptures’.

I believe that faith is a journey. We do not always feel full of faith, but we can make a decision to trust in all that God has said to us. Faith is not the absence of fear, it is the mastering of fear.

For me, the story of Easter speaks to us of hope, of life and of Jesus meeting us in the middle of our confusion and reminding us that we have nothing to fear.

Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Devotional, Easter, Faith, Forgiveness, Healing

Jesus will meet you at your point of need – Mary Magdalene’s story

I have spoken before about some of the losses our family has faced. In the immediate aftermath of a bereavement, without God’s help, it can feel as though life cannot continue without that loved one. However, thank God for His Word that sustains and holds us together during the very darkest times of our lives.  

As we prepare to celebrate Easter, I have been trying to put myself in the shoes of the friends of Jesus; the disciples, the people who were his companions during his life on Earth. I have been wondering what they must have felt after he was executed? What was it like after Jesus was resurrected? How did they feel when they saw him again for the first time, since the atrocity of his death? 

Mary Magdalene was one of those friends. She was a woman with a dark past whose life had been changed forever after an encounter with Jesus. Although she must have known he was the messiah, did she experience any doubt after she witnessed his death? We do not know what she felt, but did she wonder if Jesus was really coming back? Did she experience despair and grief? Even when we know the truth, in the dark experiences of our lives, it can be easy to focus on the circumstances of what we see.   

Whatever she felt, whether it was hope, or hopelessness, we know that on Resurrection morning, after Jesus rose from the dead, everything changed. Matthew 28 says, ‘Suddenly, Jesus met them’.    

This word ‘suddenly’ is very important to me personally, because it reminds me that just at my point of need, just when I need him most, that is when Jesus appears.  
For Mary Magdalene and the others who saw the risen Christ, when Jesus met them, in an instant, hope and peace was restored, they could see a future. They knew they would get through this. In that moment, they experienced the resurrection for themselves.  

This is what Easter means to me. The resurrection was not just an event in history, it was an event which brought hope to the friends of Jesus, hope to all who witnessed it and hope for today’s world, thousands of years later.   

Whatever you are going through, even if it seems like an impossible situation, the death and life of Jesus reminds us that there is a future and that because of the resurrection, whatever life brings our way, we can have hope and peace. When Jesus meets us, everything changes.

Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Forgiveness

How to have hope.

Our country has been rocked by a terrorist attack.

Although I am from France, I have lived here for more than 40 years and my wife and I raised our family here. The UK is our home.

I was in France in November 2015, when terrorists attacked Paris.  I was in the middle of an exciting week of mission at my brother’s church and we were seeing incredible miracles, lives set free and people commit their lives to Christ.

We were full of excitement at what God was doing and then we heard the horrific news. Our hearts were broken, just as they are today for the people of London, for all those who have been injured, for all those who have lost someone.   

We have seen some incredible acts of bravery, a MP who fought to save the life of an injured police officer, doctors, nurses, police and ordinary members of the public who have put their own lives at risk, to help protect ours.   

We are so thankful to live in a country that is able to respond quickly and with deep compassion in the face of a tragedy.

As Christians, we sometimes wonder what to say in the face of such a terrible situation. But on the Sunday morning after the attacks in Paris, our church in France took great comfort from God’s Word, in Psalm 37.

Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong 

Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.  

The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him. 

Let us always go to God’s Word for our answers.  His Word (John 1:5) says that the darkness in the world will get darker, but that darkness will never extinguish light. In fact, that light (His light) will continue to shine brighter and the darkness CANNOT overcome it. 

That is where I get my hope.

Let’s pray with passion for our world and all those who are suffering and grieving today.   

And may God’s light, his in-extinguishable light shine ever brighter in the middle of the darkness we see.

Capture

Christianity

‘The hour I first believed’ – Warren’s story

This week at UCB, the team has been asking our listeners to get in touch and tell us about ‘the hour they first believed’.  We want to hear stories of how God has transformed other people’s lives, as we know stories can reach people in a very powerful way.

I have asked Warren Evans, the Chief Executive of Sports Chaplaincy UK to share how he came to faith and what God has been doing in his life and ministry since.   If you would like to share your story, of how you came to meet and know Jesus, please get in touch through the stories page on our website.

I hope you will be encouraged!

David

Warren’s story

I was born in Manchester. I am one of four boys and in fact, I’m a twin. The doctor delivered my brother and disappeared, but was quickly called back to deliver me (it’s the only time I’ve had five minutes peace and quiet!).  It was a shock because my parents weren’t expecting twins. I was always ribbed by my brothers as being the ‘bonus child’.  My brother and I were premature, placed in incubators and not held properly for six weeks. It’s funny how these things impact you; my father said as a child I didn’t like anyone holding me. Now as an adult, I love to give big ‘Northern’ hugs.

When I was five years old, I remember sitting on my father’s knee (it was Easter of 1975) and he asked me a question which led to me making an initial commitment to Christ. Of course, I wish the Christian walk had remained that simple, but we know it’s a journey. However, during my late teens and early twenties, my behaviour and lifestyle didn’t always reflect the God I knew. I wouldn’t say I left or went away from God, but I didn’t pursue Him either.

Those years were interesting, I had a relatively successful career, worked hard and played hard. I was doing what most guys did, going to the gym, playing plenty of sport, nights out drinking and everything else that went with it – nothing different from every other guy my age, but God had other plans. 

The best explanation of what happened next was – well, you know those extendable dog leads? It felt like God allowed me to have my own way up to a point, but now I sensed Him say, ‘that’s enough, it’s time to come back in and stop ignoring me, stop doing the things you know aren’t right – the excessive going out, drinking, girls and all that stuff.’ 

Why? Well, I believe that God created us and knows what’s best for us.Through all this I was learning to trust God more, confident He would never let me down.

I was single and decided to do some travelling and on a trip I said to God if He wanted me to stay single I would (at the time this was a massive ask). I got to the point where I was willing to let Him have it all. 

Turns out, God had a plan! I met a beautiful girl, she asked me for my number and in the second it took me to reply, it felt like I had had a five-minute conversation with God in which he said, ‘if you don’t share Me with her then who will?’

So, we exchanged numbers. I didn’t have any intentions of marriage but God did. It was clear God was pursuing Juliet and Juliet was searching for God. In the following months, Juliet fell in love with God and me.  We became inseparable (still are!) and we married within the year.  We now have three wonderful boys Jacob (16), Nathan (15) and Alexander (3), yes he’s our surprise blessing.

I was privileged to have been raised in a Christian family, my father was a minister on a large council estate. My career had given me the opportunity to travel and gain a good understanding of process and people. We then supported a couple of churches and eventually I pastored a church. 

Whilst there I was approached by a friend to consider becoming the chaplain to our local professional rugby league club. After much thought and prayer,  I started my journey in Sports Chaplaincy and over the next seven years I have had the privilege of serving and overseeing chaplaincy within Rugby League and then I was asked to become the CEO of Sports Chaplaincy UK (SCUK). Here at SCUK, we believe God has given us a dream to see an expression of his love and compassion in every community called sport. 

I love God, I love sport but really it is all about loving the people. Without being too spiritual, I believe that my whole life has been preparation for this role.

Warren

Life continues to be a journey, I love John 3:16 which says, “God loves you so much that He sent His only son Jesus Christ to save you, that if you believe in Him you will not perish but have everlasting life.”

It’s a massive promise and it’s too important for you or me to ignore. 

I believe God has a plan and purpose for each one us, we are not an accident and he wants us to live life and life to the full. 

We are called to see with his eye and bring the best out of each other, declare his goodness and stand up against injustice and be and make a difference.

warren2

Genesis 50:20 talks about what the enemy meant for harm, God used for good. We serve a gracious, merciful and just God who loves us. My hope is we can communicate to the local church that the community of sport is a wonderful mission field.

For more information about the work of Sports Chaplaincy, visit sportschaplaincy.org.uk

Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Devotional, Evangelism, Faith, Forgiveness, Healing, Hope

Heaven is real

Last year, I told the story of losing our son Jamie when he was 13 months old. Our hearts were broken and as I cried out to God and asked Him to bring Jamie back, I felt God speak into my spirit; ‘He will not come back to you, but you will go to him one day’.
I learned later that these were the words God spoke to King David after the loss of his own son. Over the years, those words have given me great hope and comfort, because they remind me there is a world beyond this one.  I believe we will see Jamie again one day.

If you have lost someone you love, I would like to encourage you to know and believe that Heaven is not a myth. Heaven is real.

The Scriptures give us quite a lot of detail about Heaven.  Heaven is where God lives (Psalm 23:1) and Heaven was designed for us.   God does not need a place to live, He is self-sufficient, but He made Heaven for us.  God’s heart was to create a home and a family and God loves us so much that He has adopted us into the family so we can spend eternity with Him.   But He also gave us a choice.   Where we spend eternity will be determined by the choices we make in this life, whether we choose to accept the free gift of Jesus, or not.

What is Heaven like? 

Jesus said that He would go to prepare a place for us (John 14:3) and in Revelation 22, we are given a beautiful picture of a place with trees and a river ‘clear as crystal’ which flows down the middle of the street.  Heaven is also described as a place where God’s people will live with Him forever, and where all tears, grief, pain and death will be wiped away.  It is a place where the ‘old order of things has passed away’.  (Revelation 21).   If you are like me, sometimes you might think, ‘Lord, it’s dreadful down here…’ But the thought of a perfect world to come with no pain, gives us great hope.

Living for today

Although we look forward to eternity with great expectancy, it is still important to live with our purpose while on this Earth, to be fully present in the life we have been given.  It is ok to dream and look forward to a day when we can take off our ‘suit’ of flesh and blood, but we should not forget that God has a purpose for us now.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul says that we are ambassadors of Christ.   If I were a political ambassador, it would mean that I had an important purpose, but that ultimately I was the citizen of another country.  The same is true when we are Christ’s ambassadors.  Our appointment and purpose is from God and we have a heavenly assignment, to speak God’s heart to the country and situation we are currently in.

If you are in a difficult situation or have lost someone you love too, can I encourage you, Heaven is real.  As believers, it is a place we can look forward to with expectancy.   I believe that I will one day be reunited with both my son and grandson, but until that day, let’s live for the here and now.

Let’s make it our goal to share this truth, this hope with as many people as possible, until the day God finally calls us home.


 

Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Devotional, Evangelism, Faith, Healing, Hope, Miracles, Spiritual healing

God will get you through it…

I would like to tell you about my grandson Emile. Emile is 8 years old and is so loving and caring (especially with his new baby sister) and I believe God has a great purpose for his life.

My daughter Natalie had a normal pregnancy with Emile and as a family we had no idea there was anything wrong. Emile surprised everyone by arriving two months early and at first the doctor thought he might have a blockage in one of the tubes leading to his stomach.

However, as the doctors did many more investigations, they discovered that Emile actually had Vacterl Syndrome, a genetic condition which affects multiple areas of the body. Emile had a hole in his heart, problems with his spine, his oesophagus was fused to his lung (instead of his stomach) and he had only one kidney. In addition, he had a problem with the thumb on his hand and one of his eyes remained shut, as there was no nerve in the eyelid.


At the beginning of his journey, when we were first told of Emile’s diagnosis, our family was devastated. Having lost a child of our own, my wife Jackie and I did not want to see Natalie and Antoine go through a similar heartache. I remember spending a lot of time with God and I felt Him tell me clearly that He would not lift us out of the situation, but He would lead us through it. All around the world, other ministries and friends were praying for Emile and his parents and we felt so lifted by their prayers, knowing that we were not alone.

Emile was finally released from hospital and Natalie and Antoine had a wonderful first day as a family at home with him. For the first time, they felt like real parents but that evening, Emile choked and had to be resuscitated and rushed back to hospital. It felt as though we were facing yet another setback, and yet through it all, we sensed that victory was coming. 

Emile remained in hospital till he was four months old and had many operations during that time and over the following years.


The doctors said that Emile would probably never sit unaided, and if he did, he would probably never stand. And if he was ever able to stand, he would never be able to walk or run. And yet, Emile has done all of those things and much more. 

We wondered if he would ever be able to eat normally. At the time he had a button fitted in his stomach to allow tube feeding. When he was five years old, Emile started to eat and finally this year he had his button removed, as he is now eating enough on his own. I remember the weekend that Emile came to stay with us and ate a whole plate of spaghetti. For Jackie and I, it was an incredible event and even now when I sit at the table and see him eat, there is a silent cry of thanks that wells up inside me. Thank you God, thank you Father for ALL you have done in his life.

God has been so faithful and although Emile faces many challenges, we know that God has been true to His word when He said he would not take us out of the situation, but He would lead us through it.  

Did I ever doubt? I can honestly say I do not think I did. However, there have been times that have been overwhelming. Seeing someone you love in so much pain is devastating and stressful and yet even through pain, God has been there.  

On one occasion I felt God tell me to ‘talk to the mountain’ and so sitting with Emile as he was in his hospital bed, I asked if he could feel any pain. He said yes and I told him that in Jesus’ name, he could tell the pain to go. As we prayed and Emile told the pain to leave his body, I wish I could have taken a photograph, as a huge smile lit up his face. Even now, several years later, our daughter tells us that Emile will shout out, ‘Pain, go, in Jesus name!’

His simple faith has been such a blessing to us and God has spoken to us so many times.

On another occasion, I was with Emile at a physiotherapy appointment, to help correct a malformation in his thumb. The physiotherapist explained that in order to get the thumb into the right position, they would need to ‘stretch and pull’. This would be a repeated process until eventually the thumb stayed in a more natural position. It would not be pleasant but as the physiotherapist explained, ‘when the thumb stays in the right position, we will know we have won’.  

It spoke to me so clearly of how God works in our lives. Sometimes our lives and purposes need to be realigned and we need divine physiotherapy to put us into the right position. It is rarely a pleasant experience, but God uses this stretching and pulling, to shape us into the people he wants us to be.

Today, as we look back on all God has done in Emile’s life so far, we are overwhelmed and so very grateful. There is much physical healing still to be done in Emile’s life, but we know that the God who has brought us this far, will continue to see us through.  

     

Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Faith

Why is Christian Media important?

At the beginning of a new year, we are finalising our plans for the next 12 months and looking ahead to all we believe and trust God will do.   It is always good to keep ourselves accountable and even ask difficult questions.  I have been asking myself, why is Christian media so important?  Can it really impact people’s lives?

What do you believe?

Whether we are aware of it or not, we are surrounded and saturated by messages from the media.  Whether that be TV, radio, adverts, newspapers, Facebook or other online messages, on a daily basis, we are always absorbing many different kinds of information.  Some of those messages may be good, but we need to be wise to the fact that the enemy also uses media to pollute our minds.  It is not just the ‘obvious’ things like pornography or images which do not glorify God, but it can be subtle messages which make us believe things which are contrary to God’s will.

The alarming part is that often we do not even realise we are being influenced!   We are even influenced by different brands.  I see many people walking around with big logos on their clothes and possessions.  Although there is nothing wrong with that, it can be a way people find their identity.  How much better if we knew our identity was only found in Jesus.

Jesus Christ (JC) is the biggest brand in the world and that is what I want to be ‘branded’ with.

This is why I believe good, accountable Christian media is very important.  And in a world where we are surrounded by constant information, it is so important that God’s Word and positive, encouraging and faith-building messages are also ‘out there’ for people to find and listen to.  If the enemy is using media for his own good, how much more should Christians rise up and say, ‘No, we want to reclaim media, reclaim the airwaves for something positive, something transforming that can change people’s lives’.   Let’s use Christian media to show people that their lives CAN be changed for good, forever, by the power of God’s Word.

Get in the boat

A much loved charity in the UK is the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute). They do not receive Government funding and are staffed by volunteers, to help save the lives of people stranded at sea.  They offer a 24/7 life-saving service, working selflessly to help save physical lives each day.

This to me is a great picture of what Christian media can do.  Christian media is also a 24/7 service.  No, I do not believe we are ‘the church’, but we are here to support the church and to help provide an important service, going into places and homes which the church cannot initially reach.  I see what we do very much as a ‘rescue service’.

As I look to the year ahead and I see a lot of darkness online and in our media, I know that we need to continue to offer a ‘rescue service’.  I believe there is truly a crisis at sea, but thank God that He never slumbers or sleeps.

God has given us media platforms available 24/7 to reach every person, everywhere, every moment of the day and night, who need help more than ever before.

Let’s work together to throw a lifeline to people who need it more than ever.

dlh-blog-jan-17