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I recently came across these objections in a blog as lives. Surrounded by many objections on every side, our
reasons why people feel unable to take the message of desire is to build confidence in the truth and power of the
the Bible seriously. They certainly rang true as things I’ve Bible as the word of God.
often heard people say in different contexts. The problem
The comedian, Lee Mack, was recently interviewed on
is that as I read each one of them, I just didn’t think any are
Desert Island Discs and he said this:
actually true. What do you think?
I’m glad you get the Bible, because I would read the Bible.
1. Jesus never claimed to be God.
I think it’s quite odd that people like myself, in their forties,
2. The Bible is so full with errors you can’t believe any of it. are quite happy to dismiss the Bible, but I’ve never read
3. Accounts of Jesus were written so long after his life it. I always think that if an alien came down and you were
there’s no way of knowing what he really said or did. the only person they met and they said, ‘What’s life about?
4. None of the four gospels in the New Testament were What’s earth about? Tell us everything,’ and you said, ‘Well
first-hand, eyewitness accounts. there’s a book here that purports to tell you everything.
Some people believe it to be true, some people do not.’
5. The four gospels of the New Testament contradict each
‘Wow, what’s it like?’ and you say, ‘I don’t know, I’ve never
read it.’ That would be an odd thing, wouldn’t it? So at the
6. The God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath and the very least, read it.
God of the New Testament is a God of love.
You’ll find inside this issue of our magazine stories
7. There are lost books of the Bible that were suppressed
locally and across the globe of people on the journey
by the early church.
of discovering the truth and relevance and joy of the
8. The Bible and science are in direct conflict with each message found within the pages of the Bible, a message
other. which is all pointing to one person – Jesus.
9. You can’t harmonize history or archaeology with the
Hope you enjoy it!
10. You can interpret the Bible any way you want. Mark Francis (vicar)
This is why we encourage people to look into it for
A note for younger readers: you might want to see if you
themselves. This is why we are doing The Bible Course
can spot this Bible cartoon hiding somewhere on every
together as a church. We believe that as the message of
the Bible points us to Jesus it has the power to transform
In the last issue of our magazine, we laid down a challenge for younger people to
ask some of those who are later in years about themselves, what they did before they
retired, and the ways God has worked in their lives. And we heard some inspirational
stories. This month we’re reversing the challenge.

Those who are older may WHAT’S THE BEST • The fruits of the Spirit are very
remember what life was like THING ABOUT YOUR challenging for me and they
when they were younger but in CHILDREN’S OR YOUTH challenge me to live my life like
lots of ways life is very different GROUPS AT CHURCH? Jesus wherever I am (editor’s
for younger generations growing note: you can find these in
up today. Why not ask them • Being able to spend time with Galatians chapter 5 verses 22-23)
about some of the joys and other Christians my age and • When you are struggling with
challenges! discuss problems we have from a school, work, friends etc. you can
Christian perspective turn your troubles and worries
To get things started, we asked • Reading the Bible and eating
Jacob, Esther, Samuel, Joshua, over to God
Izzie, Martha, Bethany, Gabrielle • Getting to meet with others my
and Alice a few questions about “Cast all your anxiety on God
age who share the same faith as because he cares for you”
life and God through the eyes of it helps me when I feel alone as a
a younger person. 1 Peter 5:7
Christian at school to know there
are other Christians my age WHAT’S THE BEST THING
WHAT IS THE BEST • Meeting with other young
THING YOU LIKE ABOUT Christians and talking to them
SCHOOL? about God
• Playing games and thinking FAR?
• The holidays
about people in the Bible (like • His love for me!
• Maths! Stephen and Philip from the • He listens to you when you talk
• School trips away and other book of Acts recently) to him
special events • Seeing friends who I don’t see • He loves us and died for us
• My friends at school and learning about God • He made us and he sent Jesus
• Seeing my friends • Dad teaching me! (editor’s for us
• Getting to see my friends note: Jacob’s dad is one of our • His love, which was shown in
• Play time and golden time excellent leaders at The Rock) the beginning when he created
• Maths, PE, break time and lunch us, but he also created death
time WHAT ADVICE DOES THE when sin entered the world so we
BIBLE GIVE THAT HELPS would not have to live in a sinful
YOU AT SCHOOL? world forever – he then gives us a
choice to receive eternal life after
THING ABOUT SCHOOL? • Be still and know that I am God death
from Psalm 46 • He sent Jesus to die on the
• When it’s curry for lunch
• God is with you wherever you cross for us
• Tests and exams go • His unending forgiveness and
• Writing • Being compassionate love – I know that no matter what
• English • To remember that suffering I may have done I am always
• Getting told off we may face now is not worth coming back to a forgiving God
comparing to the glory in heaven • He is always there for you
• Getting told off and detentions that is to come
• Too much homework!! • The Bible tells us God is with us “God has said, ‘Never will I leave
at school you nor forsake you’”
• God is at school to help me Hebrews 13:5
Four of our university students give us an insight into life at uni:
• Tarun Third year studying questions about Christianity they
Medicine at the University of want to discuss with someone…
Leicester over a toastie of course!).
• Hannah Third year studying Hannah: I’m a member of the
Sport and Exercise Therapy at York Mountaineering Society and after
St John University my time in the States last year, I’m We hear a lot about the challenges
• Josiah Second year reading planning to also join the rowing and opportunities for Christian
Law LLB at the University of team this year. students at university so are you
Southampton able to tell us about how easy you
find it to be open about your faith?
• Rowan Third year studying
Biology (with a focus on genetics) Rowan: It was easier than I
at Portsmouth University expected. Most people know I’m
Josiah: As well as being a member a Christian. A few are open to
Can I begin by asking if you could of the various Law and Mooting discussing and a few are firmly
tell us what you have enjoyed Societies (I will be on committee opposed, but my experience is that
most about student life and your for these this coming year), I’m most aren’t overly bothered.
course so far? also part of the Debating Society
and the Southampton University Hannah: A lot of my friends are
Tarun: I think probably my Christians so it’s easy to be open. I
favourite part of uni life has Jazz Band. I also play in a jazz-funk
function band at university which is go to church at St Michael Le Belfry
definitely been meeting so many and usually the evening service
new people and making friends for fantastic fun.
(the6). It’s student-oriented and
life. Tarun: I’ve joined quite a few, but always full of worship and music!
Hannah: I’ve really enjoyed my favourite has to be playing
sport, especially rugby. Josiah: In my experience, I’ve
making new friends too, but then found it very easy to be open
just all the opportunities that I’m sure you miss the delights of about my faith. The presence of a
university has to offer, such as the home-cooking while away but strong Christian Union shapes the
study abroad programme (Hannah what’s your favourite recipe to general culture of the university to
recently returned from 6 months cook for yourself? help make this possible. I’ve also
studying in the States as part of her been fortunate to have met people
course). Tarun: To be
honest I’m not who are perfectly accepting of me,
Josiah: The new experiences, and really much of and one of my flatmates who is
particularly mooting interesting a cook, but I do also Christian.
and contentious topics as part make a mean Tarun: There are different societies
of my Law course (a couple of lasagne and churches nearby which
examples have been: should makes it easy to practice my faith.
intoxication be a valid and Rowan: My favourite recipe to
cook would definitely be sweet Many of my peers and friends
accepted defence to murder? aren’t Christians but I have had
and whether comments posted and sour chicken!
discussions with them about our
on social media are defamatory Hannah: I love making Tacos!!! different beliefs, which is good.
– does the defence of ‘truth’ of What about life beyond university –
the comment justify publishing How does being a student make
do you know yet what you hope to it hard to live faithfully as a
a statement which is harmful to do after you graduate?
whom it is about?). Christian?
Rowan: I’m currently looking Tarun: With long hours of classes,
Rowan: There’s been a bit more at graduate schemes with
of a research focus to my studies various clubs and socialising, it can
biotechnology firms to gain be easy to lose your faith in God.
recently which I’ve really enjoyed some experience with the
– and also getting to know people Making time to pray helps me most
hope of completing a Masters with this.
through activities with my societies. degree, possibly in translational
So which particular clubs or neuroscience. Rowan: Making time to read my
societies have you joined? Bible, but it helps being part of
Hannah: I am planning to go on the CU and a church, as it reminds
Rowan: I’ve joined Portsmouth to complete a Masters, but haven’t me of how I should live. Please
University Scouts and Guides quite decided what it will be in yet. pray for me to find the time for my
(PUGS). We do social activities Tarun: No firm decisions about relationship with God, as well as
each week and have camps each what speciality of medicine to go confidence to share my faith with
year. I’ve also joined the Christian into as I’d like to learn a bit more housemates and course mates. I’d
Union, with weekly worship about them all before I choose. also appreciate prayer for what I’ll
meetings and outreach events, like However, I have started to look into be doing when I graduate.
handing out donuts and water to the idea of sports medicine.
students going clubbing, or text-a- Thank you very much to you all
toastie (which involves delivering Josiah: I hope to become a and be assured of our support and
toasties to students who have commercial pilot. prayers.
Two leaders and six young people went from St John’s,
joining up with many more who came from different
places across the country.
Miriam Markham was a first-time leader at the venture this
summer and, with help from a couple of the young people, she
shares a few experiences.

This year the teaching theme was What was the most important thing
all based on Mark chapters 8-10, you learnt on camp?
delving deep into how important To make time to read the Bible
it is to understand that Christ calls and to always remember that What was the most important thing
us to lose our lives now in order to Christians sometimes view things you learnt on camp?
gain them in the life to come. differently to people who are not
Christians but we can continue to The most important thing I learnt
believe. came from this diagram we made:
“For whoever wants to save
their life will lose it, but Would you recommend Ventures? Now Later
whoever loses their life for
Yes it’s great fun! And the food is Jesus’s way
me and for the gospel will
excellent. You get to try out loads
save it.” Mark 8:35 of different activities and make lots
of new friends.
The week was packed full with The world’s
fun and laughter and the most way
amazing thing was to watch how
the young people on the camp
engaged with the teaching from This basically taught us that
Mark’s Gospel, asking questions although we may suffer as
and getting to understand the true Christians now in this life, when
meaning of Christ’s call on their we are with God we will have
lives to follow Him. everything for eternity. But if we
live the world’s way we can have
This is what two of the young everything now for the short time
people said about their first time at MICHAEL MATTHEWS: we are alive but will suffer and
Ventures: have nothing for eternity.
What was the best activity for you?
Would you recommend Ventures?
DAISY MATTHEWS: My favourite activity was when we
did Cake Making. We had four Definitely – it was the best week
What was the best activity for you? different teams and we had jelly of my summer holiday! I got to
stuff that was meant to be custard. meet a load of new people, learn
The game in the night was the
You had to carry the custard in two about Jesus, and play a load of fun
best. We were woken up and we
hands cupped together and then games with new friends.
had to find Bartie – he had been
kidnapped! If you had a torch light put it in a bucket, you then had
shone on you were out. It was a to carry flour in one hand against
really fun game. your face, and then hold eggs
above your head.
Sponsor a Pastor
When you sponsor a pastor, we will send you:
Jamie Read from Crosslinks joins us at St John’s for our
World Mission Gift Day 2019. Crosslinks have launched
an initiative to sponsor pastors across the world to
receive the theological training needed for leading
churches. Could you be a part of this?
More Regular Points for
95% of pastors worldwide have had no theological or information updates prayer
ministry training. Typically these pastors live in Majority about them
World countries – Asia, Africa and Latin America –
home to the majority of the world’s population. As we approach the Crosslinks centenary in 2022,
our vision is to be supporting 100 students each year
Many are striving to be faithful but accessing training
through studies in their own context. This requires
is tough. If more pastors could access just two years of
Christians in Britain and Ireland to get behind them.
training, the impact would be huge.
You can be part of this by praying for and giving
It costs an average of £150 a month for a local pastor towards a pastor’s studies.
to study for a diploma or degree in Theology. You can
give any regular contribution towards this total, or a All the details can be found at:
one-off gift towards the cost of a pastor’s training.
When you sponsor a pastor to train for ministry, you’ll
have a stake in God’s mission. You will sow a seed that
will yield a harvest of many.


The Bible Course at St John’s is helping us to
understand the big picture story of the Bible, and
how all the different characters, events and books
of the Bible all fit together as one story.
See if you spot the names of 25 of the 66 Bible books hidden in the paragraph below (we’ve highlighted one
of them to get you started):
This is a most remarkable puzzle. Someone found it in the seat pocket on a flight from Los Angeles to
Honolulu, keeping himself occupied for hours. One man from Illinois worked in it while fishing from his john
boat. Roy Clark studied it while playing his banjo. Elaine Victs mentioned it in her column once. One woman
judges the job to be so involving that she brews a cup of
tea to calm her nerves. There will be some names that are
really easy to spot… that’s a fact. Some people will soon find
themselves in a jam, especially since the book names are not
necessarily capitalized. The truth is, from answers we get, we
are forced to admit it usually takes a minister or a scholar to
see some of them at the worst. Something in our genes is
responsible for the difficulty we have. Those able to find all
of them will hear great lamentations from those who have to
be shown. One revelation may help. Books like Timothy and
Samuel may occur without their numbers. And punctuation or
spaces in the middle are normal. A chipper attitude will help
you compete. Remember, there are 25 books of the Bible
lurking somewhere in this paragraph.
Or for something a little easier, Jesus coming to earth sits at
the centre of God’s story for our world so can you find the 10
differences between these 2 pictures of his baptism in the
River Jordan?
Transforming lives is what Christianity is all about and what we are seeking to play
our part in this through the Mission Agencies that we support here at St. John’s. It’s all
about Christians reaching out to spread the Good News about Jesus, giving comfort or
or practical help and through this showing God’s love so that lives are transformed..

From Argentina . . . In 2002 Jony was twenty years old

and an atheist. He met the son of
language, Lunyole. Gift, who is
the Language Programme Co-
one of the families from John’s ordinator in Uganda explains,
One of our Link Missionaries, congregation, who told him about ‘When we started the Lunyole
Jony Bertin, who we support in the Gospel and planted the seed project they had no written
Argentina, explains this so well, of faith. language. We started from scratch’.
“God is the one who changes lives,
of this there can be no doubt. In 2014 Jony and his wife Jenny Many people were involved in
When we see change, when we came to the UK to study at the project to translate the New
see the seed of the gospel bearing Cornhill and Oak Hill Colleges Testament and the Lead Translator,
fruit, it is always ‘God who gives and Jony explains that, “Through Gesa Aristarchus, explains,
the growth’ (1 Corinthians 3:7). Argentinian links we soon met ‘Translation is very tedious. It
And yet, God in his sovereignty John, and came to know how the needs commitment. It needs
brings about this growth by using changes God had brought about knowledge. Digging really deeper
workers who give themselves to in me, could be traced straight into it. And so it has taken us about
the task of planting and to the task back to John’s early ministry in twelve years.’
of watering (1 Corinthians 3:5-8).” Argentina.”
Many people have witnessed
“John took the time to get to know the difference this translation has
So neither the one who plants me well, and to start watering” and made. Gwali Aggrey, Literacy &
nor the one who waters is when we returned to Argentina in Scripture engagement worker
anything, but only God, who 2017, “he continued nurturing me says, ‘It’s now so much better when
makes things grow. regularly through Skype calls, even I preach from the Lunyole Bible,
1 Corinthians 3 v 7 in his last months on earth”. rather than having to use other
Jony goes on to tell us that, “this languages. You really feel that God
Less than two months after their
is also the way in which God is speaking to you, because now
last Skype, Jony was ordained as
brought about the growth in me”. we understand Him better.’
a Presbyter in the Anglican church
He says that of the many faithful Translator Mathias Mahabala
of Argentina. He says, “Now, as
Christians who have nurtured him enthuses, ‘I’m now seeing the
we look ahead to the immense
John Ellison stands out and, “could Word of God transforming
task of planting and watering and
rightly bear the title of being my people’s lives.’
furthering the Ellison’s faithful
‘spiritual great-grandfather’.” From work, we praise God for the
1970 to 1982, before Jony was incredible change that He brought
born, John and his wife Judie went about through the Ellisons in
to work for the Anglican Church in Argentina and also in us.”
Argentina, proclaiming the Gospel

. . . to Uganda
and transforming lives.

St. John’s also supports Gift

and Katherine Asiku who work
for Wycliffe Bible translators
Zipola Waguti and her husband Paul Silaaji
in Uganda. It is amazing the who became a Christian through a Wycliffe
difference their team makes by Bible literacy programme
enabling people to read the Bible
in their own language. The life of Zipola Waguti has
been transformed now that the
Jony with his spiritual great-grandfather, A group of Banyole people Bible is available in Lunyole. She
John Ellison wanted the Bible in their own explains, “My husband was a
Muslim. When we married I tried day level so she never thought to almost complete recovery. “God is
to convert to Islam, but I couldn’t question them. a miracle worker”, she says, “I love
do it. My husband was hard on you Jesus!”
me, but I went on praying.” Once
the Bible was translated the local
church could run Bible literacy
. . . and all the
workshops. Zipola’s husband, Paul way home
Silaaji, started going to them and
was so impressed that he said to Here in the UK we support CPAS
his wife, “We have to go and learn and a key part of its work is to
more about life following Christ.” reach out to young people in the
In time he turned to Christ and was UK through Christian holidays
baptised as Paul. He says, “Since I called Ventures which are aimed
became a Christian it feels like we at eight to eighteen year-olds.
are so rich and satisfied.” They are wonderful opportunities
for them to meet other young
The effects of having a written
Christians, have fun and explore
language ripple out beyond
their faith more deeply. Many lives
Christians and churches to touch
have been transformed by these
the lives of whole communities.
holidays and recently, Luke and
When people learn to read Sothea who became a Christian through a
WRC Cell Church Miriam Markham have been taking
and write their language they
groups from St. John’s to Ventures
can communicate in new ways,
One day she became very ill. Her and helping to lead the activities
access technology, gain new
mother said it was caused by evil (more details from Miriam about
work opportunities and learn
spirits and that evening gave an their experience this year on page
their legal rights. Women and
offering of a chicken and a pig, but 4). The faith of our young people
girls are empowered, education is
the pain kept getting worse. has been greatly strengthened by
transformed and parents can read
the experience.
the correct dosage of medicine to By the time Sothea got to a
give their children. hospital she had typhoid, malaria
and kidney failure. She said, “After
. . . and Cambodia I heard this news all my hope was
lost. It was as if somebody had
Through Tearfund, St. John’s cut off my wings”. In desperation
is connected to World Relief Sothea cried out, asking if there
Cambodia (WRC). In January was a God who could heal her.
2018 a group of us from St. John’s A few days later Sothea was
visited WRC and saw how they being cared for at home because
were working through small local Young people having a great time!!
her family could not afford the
churches to help people to break expensive hospital bills. One of
free from their belief in spirits her neighbours was a Christian, Here in the UK we support CPAS
and learn to trust each other after attending the local cell church and a key part of its work is to
the oppression of the 1970s. which WRC helped to set up. This reach out to young people in the
These cell churches are helping neighbour had attended WRC’s UK through Christian holidays
with literacy programs, savings training on sharing God’s love called Ventures which are aimed at
schemes and giving advice through caring for the sick, so eight to eighteen year-olds.
about crops to grow to cope with he went over to Sothea’s home,
the drastic climate change the brought her some food and asked
country has been experiencing. if he could pray with her. She said
Sothea’s story is just one example that, “When he prayed for me I felt
of the way Cambodian’s lives an instant peace in my heart and
are transformed when they learn spirit and after they left I could
about Jesus. think of nothing else.”
Sothea (name changed) grew Sothea decided to try to go to a
up in a family that believed in church service. She was still really
spirits, witchcraft and superstition. sick, but with her family’s help she
It had always been this way and managed to get there! During the
she never questioned it - it was service the congregation prayed Learning by working together
just how things were. Her beliefs for her and she was healed. Sothea
didn’t impact her life on a day to is no longer ill and has made an
Bethany Fox writes:
BAPTISMS AND My family brought me up in a loving Christian

home, so I have always known the Lord to be
with me. I have been part of St. John’s church
family since I was small, and I am grateful for
their prayerful support. I love attending the
Congratulations to youth group here at St. John’s as it is really fun
Charlotte, Josiah, and gets you talking about all things faith-
Claire, Bethany, related. I really came to personally recognise
Bethany, Michael, my faith at Spring Harvest Holidays in France
Daisy, Izzie and a few years ago where the 1 to 1 support from
Martha on their their youth leaders was really inspiring and
baptism and July. helped me to find the Lord for myself.
John’s on Sunday 14
confirmation at St.

to Claire and Graeme
Johnson on their
marriage on Saturday
10 August.

The first Holiday
Club for children
from the church and CAR CLUB WAS BACK BI
local area was a great GGER AND
success and we will BETTER FOR 2019:
be building on this
success and running 30 young people took part,
with expert help from Luke,
a holiday club again Alastair, Jezz, Grant, Diane,
Hedley, David, John G and
during the Easter John D.
holidays 2020.


We welcome Chris Munday to St John’s for two evening seminars
exploring issues related to Mental Health. Chris is the Chief Executive of
Crossways in Tunbridge Wells and was a speaker at this year’s Keswick
Convention. In these seminars, Chris will address a wide-range of issues
relating to Mental Health and drawing on his experiences in this area.
Wednesday 16th October and 23rd October at 7:15 – 9:30pm. TALKS ON THE WEBSITE
£5 per evening. If you miss a Sunday or you are
unable to make it on a regular
All are welcome and a meal is included. basis, all our talks are available on
the church website.

Children’s Groups for 0-11s meet during our 10am service. 01342 314027
Youth Groups (11-18s) meet during our 6pm service.
Visit the website for more information.