Real People Changed Lives

Throughout the August Bank holiday week we held a number of events around Brighton and at the church as part of our Real People changes lives week. We were really please to have the opportunity to meet so many people and get to know them a little.

The events held included Coffee Mornings, A Fun Day on the Level, Authentic Chinese Cookery workshop and on the Sunday we held an open evening where some of the members of the church told us how their lives had been changed by Jesus.

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John’s Story

I was born in Southwest London in 1962 and did not grow up in a Christian family, in fact I went to Sunday school twice whilst a young boy and found it very boring and never went again. I left school at 16 with no real qualifications and as I had been in the army cadets for three years I signed up to serve in the British Army.

During my 13 years in the army I served several tours of duty in Northern Ireland during the conflicts. I also served in the Falklands War in 1982 and first Iraq war (Desert Storm). In 1991 I left the army and began my civilian life.

I met the most wonderful girl in the world in 1996 and four years later in 2000 was going to marry her. My life was complete, or so I thought.

Three months before we were due to get married I came home from work one evening and found my wife to be in bed with my best friend. My whole world fell apart. After throwing my friend out I sat down and spoke to my fiance and she confessed that she had been having an affair with him for three months. That was it; the end of the relationship.

Two weeks after the split I took 50 paracetamol tablets and tried to slash my wrists. I didn’t want to live anymore.

Although I survived my suicide attempt I lost the plot and I stopped going to work. This caused me to fall into rent and council tax arrears and in August 2000 I found myself homeless when I was was evicted from my council flat.

I slept rough in different areas all over London using day centres to keep clean to get close washed and to get affordable food. I used to go to food handouts in London the majority of which will run by Christians. One evening 8 April 2001 I was invited to attend an evening service at Southwest London in your church In Putney by a team from that church that provides food every Sunday under Waterloo Bridge. I agreed to go that is a purely selfish reasons as I wanted to warm on that freezing cold and wet Sunday evening.

I sat in the assembly hall of the school where the service was held and when the worship team began playing we all stood up to sing. Much to my amazement I was singing along to “Come now is the time to worship”. I am normally very conscious of the fact that I can’t sing so this seemed very odd to me as I don’t normally sing in public. The next song was “My Jesus my Saviour” and again I was singing along but felt something staring in me but did not know what it was. By the end of the service I felt

at peace, something I had not felt for so long. The time of ministry was held at the front of the church and anyone who wanted prayer could go forward for it. I watched as people went forward and eventually I went forward and got prayed for and gave my life to the Lord that night.

I eventually got off the streets in April 2002 and moved to a shared house run by Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness and I was baptised on 12 December 2002.

I found my faith at the age of 39 and have had the privilege of serving the Lord in youth work as a street pastor and thank God I found my faith when I did or may not be alive today.

Testimony – Penny

I first realised that I needed to be right with God in 2002, it was at a house with some friends, they were talking about what it is to be a Christian and I suddenly understood that I was not a Christian, it was then that I first began to seriously seek the Lord.  It took some time before I came to believe that I was saved, but over the last year I have felt a closeness with the Lord that I had not previously felt.

 As a young disabled woman I had a lot of anger about my disability, I wondered why the Lord had made me this way, but since I have come to trust in His grace and His goodness I have learned to accept my condition and now seek to glorify God in and despite it.  By His grace I recently came to Ebenezer Reformed Baptist Church, and through the preaching of Gods Word I have learned (and am learning more and more) to accept my disability, I have come to understand that no matter what state I am in, His grace is sufficient, and His love, which is shown to me through the Lord Jesus Christ is without bounds.

 My devotional life has improved dramatically, at the moment I am studying Psalms 23 and, as you would expect, I am finding a great deal of comfort in that Psalm, especially v4: yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. It is good to know that wherever I am Jesus is with me, He is my Good Shepherd (providentially, after giving this testimony to Tony the visiting preacher preached on this very psalm).

 As far as my salvation is concerned, I am sure that I am trusting the Lord Jesus and nothing else.  I want to be Baptised so that I can walk in obedience to His Word, I am less frightened at night, and I feel more of His closeness.  From the age of 8 I have wanted to be Baptised, now I am sure that it is both the time and that it is the right thing to do.  Every day He teaches me more and more, He is teaching me – Thy will be done – in my own life.

Far from being bitter about my condition, I now understand why I am here, He wanted me to exist, He planned me before time and has always had a plan for my life, one where I would come to love Him, and He has had His hand on my life from the day I was born. He wanted me to exist, and He wanted me to be His own, and by His grace alone this has come to pass. I am still a sinner, but I am a sinner saved by His grace and kept by His love.  I am convinced of these things, that they area true work of God in my life, and I want to serve Him as best I can and to the glory of His name.

 

Testimony – Rachel Bickley

1614290_10153212024752051_3947591859006999184_oWhen I was young I was always a bit of a worrier. I used to worry that I had a brain tumour or scarlet fever. Looking back I think it was because I knew I wasn’t prepared for what would happen when I died. My parents spent hours explaining how to become a Christian. Repent of your sins, and believe in Jesus Christ. Trust that your sins can be forgiven because of His death and resurrection. 

I can’t really pin down the exact date of becoming a Christian, I just remember reading my Bible when I was about 12 and realising that I did believe. Jesus really had died for me and now I had to live for Him. I was baptised later that year, and soon after my 13th birthday my family made the move from Birmingham to Brighton.

 When I was sixteen I started work, and found myself starting to drift away from God. It happened so gradually that before I knew it I was living a life that was not in obedience to God. I somehow believed that because I went to church and had tried to keep the rules that I should be given all that I desired. Money, friends, relationships. I was looking for comfort in earthly treasures.

I lived my life with this attitude for several years, and found myself growing more and more depressed with the way things were going. I kept wondering why God wasn’t doing what I thought He ought to do – I was trying to get by in my own strength. I made a lot of really bad decisions during this period, and it took me a long time to realise that things weren’t really working out. It took me even longer to realise that the fault was with me and not with God.

By trying to be good and obey God in my own strength I had developed a very bad attitude. Because I was doing certain things for God I thought God was obligated to do certain things for me. Things came to a head when I was in my early 20’s. It had been several years since I had felt really close to God. I still believed in God, still went to church, still knew that I was a sinner saved by grace. Despite knowing all this I was caught in a spiral of self gratification. Things reached a low ebb and I finally cried out to God and asked Him to show me a way out of this cycle.

He did just that. Through the preaching on Sundays, reading the Bible and speaking to God in prayer, God led me out of the mess I had made, and showed me a better way. He showed me the freedom that can be found in seeking to live for Him. My goodness doesn’t depend on the good things that I do, it is the perfect life Jesus lived and in Jesus’ death and resurrection. I am freed from bondage to sin and free to live for God. It is by God’s love and grace toward me that I am able to please Him. Because my Salvation is in Jesus I know that I am eternally secure and will see Him face to face when I die and go to Heaven.

Proverbs 3:5&6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make strait your paths.”

 Ephesians 2:8&9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Testimony – Timothy Denning

My testimony is all of the Lord’s grace. I was brought up in a loving Christian home and was taken to Church and Sunday school which I enjoyed and loved singing the hymns.

When I was about 16 I would say I wanted to explore the world to see what if offered, I stopped going to Church for a few years. I was really not happy and felt there must be more to life than this. Mum and Dad kept praying for me and encouraged me to go to Church.

One day Mum asked me to take her to church and I agreed. Looking back I did not expect such a warm welcome when I went back to Church and in many ways it felt like I have never left, God is so good.

After being back in the Church for quite a while a dramatic event happened at a Sunday evening service. I was listening to the sermon and I remember the text so well – in fact I love to quote it: For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver or gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Peter 1 v 18-19) Christ spoke to my heart and said I died for you personally, That moment I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, I knew what I had to do I must be obedient to the Lord and be baptized (Acts 2 v 38) I walked to the back of the Church and asked to be baptized. The Church heard my testimony and not long afterwards I was baptized.

I can say I was blind I now I can see (John 9 v 25) The Lord saved me for his glory and now he wants me to Love him, glorify him and serve him. (Ephesians 2 v 8-10) Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord (Psalm 150 v 6)