Tuesday, 20 December 2016

We must have Compassion as well as Passion.

' Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” Compassion for those who are lost and in pain is a Christ like emotion and attribute. Jesus had it in abundance for the poor and needy when he was on earth and he still has it for those in the world today. We ourselves were those wretches he had compassion on! But as his servants now, he wants us to have his heart, not only to minister to those people, but also to pray to the Lord of the harvest that more labourers will enter into that work.As our Lord clearly states: 'the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few.'

TALKING TO: ROGER FORSTER Published on 29th January 2016 ( Jesus Army)

I first heard Roger Forster preach at a meeting around 1976 in Belfast. I have also read many of his excellent books including those on apologetics, faith and prayer.He has a genuine ministry of the Holy Spirit and ministers to both believers and non-believers in humility and love. He was also perhaps the most influential leaders of the House Church Movement in the UK. His sermons are also available on youtube and through his Church Network Ichthus Christian Fellowship. The following article was taken from the Jesus Army website.

Roger Forster, is co-founder and co-leader of the London-based Ichthus Christian Fellowship with his wife, Faith Forster. Approximately 130 other churches and movements in the UK and Europe are linked with Ichthus Christian Fellowship. Roger Forster answered some questions in an interview with Paul Veitch from the Jesus Fellowship.
Roger and Faith Forster
Should Christians be involved in politics?
Of course, there is always the danger that we compromise our standards. Because of this, some Christians dismiss the whole world of politics as something they should not be involved with. Sometimes, though, obeying Jesus’ command to love our neighbour means it is important for us to take a stand with or against the powers that be. We can serve our fellow humans by supporting good governance and backing people in high positions. However, we must guard our hearts – we must trust in God, not man – as the Bible says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God”. (Psalm 20:7) The field of politics is a suitable place for believers to do things and take action – especially in local government – such involvement can open lots of doors. When we do, we can’t get everything we want – but maybe we’ll get half. We can be good neighbours.
At this moment in time, there are more Christians in politics than ever before. Christian nominalism has declined; once everyone was considered a Christian unless they declared otherwise; now we are freer to declare our unique Christian viewpoint and commend the gospel.
In terms of the gospel, what’s changed in the UK since 2000? Do you notice any new trends?
Up until 2000, we organised national marches for Jesus in the UK. Around this time, sadly, our use of the cutting edge of the gospel went downhill. This has often been because of the fear of being politically incorrect and being targeted. Some have thought, “I won’t talk about it – I’ll just do good works”. However, recently, in 2015, there has been a new trend; some are “coming out of the woodwork” and are talking about the gospel again. This change is noticeable in parliament: in the ‘Assisted Dying Bill’ debate Jesus was spoken about openly. That probably wouldn’t have happened ten years ago.
Christians are working together more and are more willing to listen to each other. It’s easier to work together in social action projects as we don’t contradict each other. Some of us have begun to engage together in gospel proclamation.
On a wider, national level, atheists are becoming more militant. Science has shown that the statistical possibility of a world coming into being like ours, with its balance of elements, is infinitesimal. The idea of chance is ridiculous. Design is the only solution. Many non-Christian scientists are taking this stand. The facts have driven them there. Atheists are not winning the argument – Christians are – a lot of people are sick of atheistic arguments too. We lost this battle a hundred years ago but are now winning it back. This makes the atheists more vociferous and shout louder.
What would add strength to the church at this time?
In the UK, the unrighteousness inside and outside the church is absolutely dismaying. We must show the church is serious about holiness and our ecumenical networking is producing Christ-likeness in our converts and believers. I would like to see holiness back on the agenda: godly living, thinking, and feeling. It is heart-rending when the church is as bad as the world. We need a campaign to make holiness popular!
The best thing for turning our country upside-down is having leaders like Evan Roberts who led the Welsh Revival, or possessing the spirit of those who were part of the Azusa Street revival in the United States; we need to learn to pray. These people were flat on their faces, fasting and seeking God and the spiritual atmosphere of the places in which they lived were changed. At the time of the Azusa Street outpouring of the Holy Spirit, people could sense the love of God in the atmosphere one quarter of a mile away. We need that sort of Christianity.
We need the supernatural. Supernatural healings wake people up! We need to see more supernatural deliverance and spiritual warfare - we need to learn to be strong in our fight against the spiritual powers, to use the spiritual weapons God has given us and the name of the Lord; we need to fight back and push these dark forces off. Often our prayer life is very shallow.
Often there is no real pastoral input when people get converted: all that is given is a quick fix and new Christians don’t have their issues, their hurts dealt with. All these things must be sorted if we are to grow into Christlikeness character and it requires a lot of time.
Recently the Evangelical Alliance conducted a survey: the result was that congregations said that most of all they needed pastoring – pastors to love them into health. In the survey, pastors, on the other hand, said that what was most needed was Bible teaching.
Have you got a final word?
Keep going and do not get caught up in easy-going kind of Christianity – that seeks prosperity and wants to please everyone – we’re not here to please everyone but to please God. Go for it and don’t give up.


CHARLES de Foucauld came from a Christian family but became agnostic as a teenager, in his own words, “running wild… I was in the dark. I no longer saw either God or men: There was only me.” He served as an officer in the French Army in North Africa but lost his rank after an affair. He then turned explorer in Morocco, disguising himself as a Jew as Europeans were forbidden in that country.
On his return to France, he found himself longing for adventure of a different kind: “Even though I wasn’t a believer I started going to Church. It was the only place where I felt at ease and I would spend long hours there repeating this strange prayer: ‘My God, if You exist, allow me to know You!’”
At 28, a turning point was reached: he began to believe: “The moment I realized that God existed, I knew I could not do otherwise than to live for Him alone.”
Charles (he called himself ‘Little Brother Charles of Jesus’) lived as a Trappist monk for a while. He spent some time as a hermit in Nazareth within the confines of a Poor Clares community. He was later ordained as a priest and in 1901, left for Algeria. His vision was, “to shout the gospel with his life” and, for those he lived among, to find in him, “a universal brother”.
His house in Béni Abbès in western Algeria was known locally as “the fraternity” and consisted of a room, a chapel and three acres of garden. People constantly came to seek him out: “From 4.30 am to 8.30 pm, I never stop talking and receiving people: slaves, the poor, the sick, soldiers, travellers and the curious.”
Charles longed for others to join him but they never came: “Pray to God so that I may do the work he has given me to do here: that I may establish a little convent of fervent and charitable monks, loving God with all their heart and their neighbour as themselves; a Zaouia (Islamic word for school or monastery) of prayer and hospitality where such piety radiates that the whole country is illumined and warmed by it; a little family imitating so perfectly the virtues of Jesus that all who live in the surrounding area begin to love Jesus!”
Inspired by his vision, Charles wrote down a plan for new religious orders, patterned on the life of Jesus.
In 1904, Charles left Béni Abbès to dwell among the fierce nomadic Saharan Tuareg people; he wanted to live among, “the furthest removed, the most abandoned.” He learned the Tuareg language, compiled a Tuareg dictionary and translated the gospels.
He said:“Above all, always see Jesus in every person, and consequently treat each one not only as an equal and as a brother or sister, but also with great humility, respect and selfless generosity.”
Charles’ premature death (he was murdered in 1916) saw his plans for a community unrealised; in 1914 he had written: “not a single conversion! It takes prayer, work and patience.”
Did Charles die feeling his life’s labours had been in vain? A solitary seed, buried in the ground, unproductive and forgotten? It was not to be. Later, various communities such as the Little Brothers of Jesus and Little Sisters of Jesus were formed as they took hold of and implemented his vision and drew inspiration from his words. His legacy, unrealised in his lifetime, lives on. The solitary seed has multiplied and born abundant fruit.
Here is his ‘Prayer of Abandonment’:
My Father,
I abandon myself to You.
Make of me what You will.
Whatever you make of me,
I thank You.
I am ready for everything,
I accept everything.
Provided that Your will be done in me,
In all Your creatures,
I desire nothing else, Lord.
I put my soul in Your hands,
I give it to You, Lord,
With all the love in my heart,
Because I love You,
And because it is for me a need of love
To give myself,
To put myself in Your hands unreservedly,
With infinite trust
For You are my Father!