Monday, 4 November 2019

Living Globally


This is not meant as a political comment, but Brexit will not keep us out of Europe. Nor will building walls stop Central America from being next to the United States.

More importantly, nothing can stop clear and easy communication from taking place between these nations. We live in a Global World. That world is facilitated by the Internet and social media. If it’s blocked, it going to get through anyway.

Much of the recent popular protests in countries as diverse as Hong Kong and Lebanon started life on WhatsApp, Facebook and other forms of social media.

We trade globally too. If my wife (who is of Indian heritage) wanted to buy a new sari a few years back, she would go to the Melton Road (‘Little India’) in Leicester. She’d pay a premium for it. The shopkeeper had had to pay a wholesaler. He’s had to pay transport costs as well as dealing with wholesalers in India. Today she can go online and buy directly from the factory in India.

Sure, there may be tax and tariffs -the financial equivalent to a wall- but it doesn’t stop the trade.

And all that brings me to another thought. As a Christian, I hold in my hands the Book of Life. When people read the Bible, lives change. There’s power in the words. It’s God speaking with lives changed as a result.

I love that we no longer have to smuggle Bible’s into China. Even if Bible’s were banned, they’d still get through – thanks to the Internet. Electronic versions -legally and illegally- get through any barriers that nations and ideologies may care to put in its way.

I love that in Iran, a nation that outwardly prohibits Christian conversion, there’s one of the biggest Christian revivals taking place right now. 

I love that one of the major celebrities of our age has found a faith in Christ and is reading his Bible every night before he sleeps. There’s power in God’s Word.

I love that in our own family we are spread around the world. Our oldest son and daughter in law are in China. Our youngest daughter and son in law are in Africa. Our ‘adopted daughter’ and husband are in New Zealand. Our sponsored child is in Ghana. I can -and do- travel globally and find Christian friends and family wherever I go.

We live globally. We trade globally. And we share our faith globally. God does not recognise geography, politics or ideologies. I’m part of the biggest family in the world – one that transcends every barrier.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Dear BT, Goodbye.... Kind Of


For those kind people who have followed my blog over the years, they will know of the battles I’ve had with British Telecom (BT). It took them 91 days and 4 hours to provide me with Broadband when we moved house. At the time, I was probably counting the seconds too!

And once installed, I tried to move to my preferred provider, Sky (better people on the phone and they don’t read from a script for starters). It failed of course. I was advised that the servicing company, Openreach (owned by BT), were not able to find me a Broadband line in my village. The only ones available were - surprise, surprise - for BT.

So there I was, paying through the nose for a BT phone line and Broadband. Until I called in to an EE shop.

I went to EE to sort something out on my mobile, but like all good sales people, the guy used the opportunity to offer Broadband and phone. At a price that was £53 cheaper per month than BT. Per month! I thought I’d misheard.

The same deal as BT - just without BT Sport. Now, I know what some of you will be saying…. nowadays, EE is a subsidiary of BT. Yes, exactly. That’s the reason I can do it. Otherwise, it’s back to Openreach telling me the lines are reserved for BT. But - ha! - with EE being a subsidiary of BT, they can’t play that game. And I get to save £53 a month.

How come BT charges so much? It wasn’t long before they called. Here is a transcript of the call, as accurately as I can remember….

BT: Hello Mr Turner, we understand you want to leave BT?

Me: Yes.

BT: Sorry to hear that. You are a valued and long term customer. Is there a particular reason?

Me: Yes. I’m saving £53 a month.

BT: We’d be pleased to match that saving.

Me: Pardon?

BT: Rather than lose you, we’ll match our competitor.

Me: Not really a competitor - you own them. But how come you can match it?

BT: It’s what we do.

Me: So why didn’t you offer this before?

BT: We only offer at this stage.

Me: I thought I was a valued and long term customer. But you were willing to charge me an extra £53 a month so long as I didn’t complain?

BT: I wouldn’t put it like that. But the offer is what all companies do. If you go to Sky or Vodaphone, you’d find they only offer this sort of deal if you are threatening to leave.

Me: That’s not true. Sky call me regularly to check I’ve got the right TV deal. That includes reducing costs.

BT: Oh. Maybe it’s different for TV deals.

Me: Is that all?

BT: So you won’t come back to us?

Me: No.

BT: What if I told you that it will cost you £27 a month if you want BT Sport outside of your current deal?

Me: I’d say that was a threat and it’s not worth that much.

So there we go. At long last, I’m away from the dreaded BT. The new Broadband went ahead without a problem. And EE have promised to be active in keeping the costs down.

Now all I need is a future government to decide that this whale of a company is too big and powerful, and hive off EE into a separate entity.

I continue to dream….

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Give Me 20 Minutes of Your Time

11-08-2019 | Leading People to Jesus | Ralph Turner from Chroma Church on Vimeo.

You're a Christian. You're keen to share your faith, but not sure how.

Here's five points and some encouragement to do just that. Give me 20 minutes of your time. It could bring eternal rewards.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

The Best Prime Ministers We (N)ever Had



There they are. In an alternative universe, the best Prime Ministers we (n)ever had.

We could be waking up today to a second Labour term for David Miliband, off the back of successful middle ground governments under Owen and Jenkins, as we enjoy a close and financially successful relationship with France and Germany. Instead, we’re waking up to Boris.

We could have had a very early contender for first woman Prime Minister with Barbara Castle. Instead we got Thatcher.

We could have enjoyed stability, peace and prosperity with sensible Tory governments under Heseltine and Patten. Instead we got Thatcher (again) and Cameron; so worried about his internal politics that he sold the nation.

I posted the photo on Facebook yesterday to see what response I got. It was a pretty good response. A couple of friends suggested I missed John Smith and Shirley Williams. I agree.

We’ve lost the centre. Politics has become extreme. My choice today is a right wing/Brexit Tory government or a left wing/can’t govern Labour one. I can vote for the smaller parties, but our voting system doesn’t help – look at what happened to the extremely well thought out policies of the Change party.

One of my Christian friends on Facebook said I shouldn’t worry and that God was in control. That’s a cop-out. As a Christian, I am called to pray for my leaders – and I do – but that doesn’t mean I agree with them or should just assume it’s what God wants. That’s the road to not voting, a loss of democracy and the rise of extremism. At least three European countries have what appear to be racist policies and propaganda…. And what to make of our cousins over the Atlantic?

So, I’ll continue to wonder what could have been. And to vote for what could still be.

Monday, 1 July 2019

REPOST: Soon I Will See the Lines on His face

I recalled the words from this book today. A re-post from April 2008

I've been reading a really interesting book by Donald Miller called 'Blue Like Jazz'. It's his own journey towards faith. Here's a great quote:

'I am early in my story, but I believe I will stretch out into eternity, and in heaven I will reflect upon these early days, these days when it seemed God was down a dirt road, walking towards me. Years ago He was a swinging speck in the distance; now He is close enough I can hear His singing. Soon I will see the lines on His face.'

How wonderful. May I always hear Him singing. And one day, too, I will be so close as to see the lines on His face.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Stories


Stories are powerful.

Yesterday I interviewed a lady for a new book. Incredible stories of lives changed in Kenya and Pakistan, all because she stepped out in faith that God would meet her needs as she met the needs of others.

Today I read stories from the Mission24 team that has just come back from Uganda and Rwanda. Stories of healing and of lives transformed.

I serve as a trustee, helping an organisation to change lives in Eswatini. In one location, over 400 children have been rescued and given a hope and a future. My youngest daughter worked there and tells stories of horror changed to stories of hope.

I work with friends in India, helping rescue girls from prostitution and human trafficking. Every smile tells a story of a life changed.

I'm in awe of the wonderful people at The Wall, compiling a million stories of answered prayer.

And as Chair of the Leprosy Mission, I see incredible stories of people who overcome the most severe discrimination, with love and forgiveness for those who shunned them.

Jesus told stories all the time. The ultimate storyteller, He wove them into his teaching – and lives were changed as a result.

How about your story? If you’re reading this as someone with a Christian faith, do you tell your own story to your friends and family? It’s the most effective way of sharing your faith. People can argue over theology but they can’t contradict your personal narrative.

Why not prepare your own story? Put it on paper. Read it back to yourself; see how it sounds. Rehearse it so that it’s there when you need it, and you can share it at a moment’s notice. Have a long version and a short version. Be ready to tell someone how Jesus has changed your life and what He has done. Put in illustrations from your own life – whatever your story, whether it is dramatic or seemingly ordinary, it will tell others in a compelling way that Jesus is alive today.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Singing in the Rain - Living in Revival


As a church historian, it’s hard to see the age we live in, in any other way than as an age of revival. These things don’t reach our secular news programmes, but large parts of the globe are celebrating a revival in the truth of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Saviour of the world.

There are pockets of revival right now in churches, towns and villages in nearly every nation. In parts of South America and central and southern Africa, the revival is more clearly seen on a nationwide scale.  In nations where Christianity is restricted, there too, God is on the move. In places where it is hard to preach the gospel of Christ, there are many stories of people having dreams and Jesus meeting them. There was a recent report from Iran, not the easiest of countries to hold to a Christian faith, where in the last 40 years, there has been a numerical growth in Christian numbers from around 500 to over one million. Despite persecution in Islamic nations and in countries such as China and India, the church continues to grow - much of it underground and out of plain sight.

In our nation, the UK, best described as post-modern and sceptical of religion, faith in Christ is on the rise. People are open to the supernatural, so when the Holy Spirit moves through miracles and healing, lives are changed. One report from friends in Derby last week speaks of over 150 people asking Jesus Christ to change their lives - most of them out on the streets rather than in organised meetings.

In church meetings there is an increased awareness of the presence of the Holy Spirit. In my own church in Leicester, you can almost touch the sense of God’s presence as we worship.

The church observers at Operation World note that in nearly every nation of the world, the Evangelical/Charismatic/Pentecostal wing of the church is growing at a more rapid rate than the birth rate. Many leading pastors and theologians are beginning to write of coming revival.

Today, there are estimated to be around 2.3 billion Christians in the world. It’s by far the biggest faith group, and it continues to grow.

A good friend of mine put it this way:

“We are truly in a now season! No longer are we standing in the desert longing for the rain; the first drops have begun to fall and the season has shifted. It’s time to pray for rain in the time of rain…. it’s time to start singing in the rain!”

If the 1500s were a time of renewal in the revelation of faith through God’s Word; if the 1700s were a time of renewal in the revelation of Christ as Saviour through evangelism, and if the 1800s were a time of renewal in the lost art of compassion and care, then the century we live in is best described as a time of Holy Spirit revival. From the small church to the changed nation, the words of Jesus Christ are sounding out. He is the way, the life and the truth. And millions are finding that to be true every day.