Dear friends and partners in the Gospel,
Grace and peace to you in the name of our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
My family and I get so excited to see the first snow flakes falling to the ground, and we hope that enough would fall so that we can have a snowball fight, and then get to work building a respectable snowman. Last year, my eldest son, Ethan had the pioneering idea to even build an igloo in our back garden – and that is precisely what we did! I know for many people it is not so much fun, and we think and pray for the homeless at this time in particular that will have to fight for their lives against the cold and wet that snow brings.
Right now, I am waiting for my flight to Northern Ireland to take off at Heathrow airport, and it is a joy to watch the snow fall from my window seat. John Lawson, George Osborn Faye Porter and I are about to embark upon a weekend of outreach and training across Northern Ireland, and launching our first ever IGNITED Conference. When ever I see snow, I am quickly reminded of the words in Isaiah 1:18,
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
What a terrific verse for the believer to cherish for eternity, and yet the challenge to remain clean is which us while we are in this world.
A writer who visited a coal mine noticed a perfectly white plant growing by the side of the entrance. The author and the other visitors with him were astonished that there, where coal dust continually blew and settled, this little plant would be so pure and white.
As the people watched, a miner took some black coal dust and threw it on the plant, but not a particle stuck. The visitors repeated the experiment, but the dust would not cling. Nothing could stain the plant’s snowy whiteness.
This illustrates what every Christian life should be like. We live in an evil world, surrounded by ungodly influences. It is our mission to be pure amid all this dirt and remain unspotted from the world. How is this possible?
Enoch lived in the days before the flood, a time when “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). Yet the Bible tells us that “Enoch walked with God three hundred years” (5:22).
If the Lord can keep a plant white as snow amid clouds of black dust, can He not by His grace keep your heart pure in this world of sin? We live in the world, but the world must not live in us.
Perhaps we can reflect on the words of that popular hymn, “Whiter Than Snow”.
Whiter Than Snow
Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
I want Thee forever to live in my soul.
Break down every idol, cast out every foe
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Lord Jesus, look down from Your throne in the skies
And help me to make a complete sacrifice.
I give up myself and whatever I know
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat;
I wait, blessed Lord, at Thy crucified feet.
By faith, for my cleansing I see Your blood flow
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Lord Jesus, before You I patiently wait;
Come now and within me a new heart create.
To those who have sought You, You never said “No”
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Please pray for our mission in Northern Ireland.
God bless you.
Keep on keeping on…
Founding Director & Evangelist
Avanti Ministries | 6 Clarence Road | Southend-on-Sea | Essex | SS1 1AN | UK
Telephone: +44 1702 333 319 | Email: email@example.com
Avanti Website: http://www.avantiministries.com
Passion Conference: http://www.avantiministries.com/passion
Tony Anthony’s Website: http://www.tonyanthony.co.uk
Hello dear friends,
Grace & peace to you all in the name of our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
I hope that you all had a lovely time last night celebrating and welcoming in the New Year.
97 years ago, on New Year’s Eve 1916, a chaplain spoke to a gathering of British Commonwealth soldiers in Cairo, Egypt. Standing before men whose lives had been turned upside down by World War 1, Oswald Chambers talked to them about yesterday and tomorrow, and Oswald said this:
“At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise from remembering the yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God’s grace is apt to be checked by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them in order to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual culture for the future. God reminds us of the past lest we get into a shallow security in the present. . . . Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ. Leave the irreparable past in His hands, and step out into the irresistible future with Him” (My Utmost For His Highest).
To continually remember that we are in His hands is perhaps the real challenge that is ahead of each of us. It was only 3 months after France and Great Britain declared war on Germany 74 years ago on Christmas Day 1939, King George VI broadcast an address to the nation. By this time, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland had already fallen to the overwhelming power of the Nazis.
Rallying people amid the gathering darkness, the king concluded his speech with these very words:
“A new year is at hand. We cannot tell what it will bring. If it brings peace, how thankful we shall all be. If it brings us continued struggle, we shall remain undaunted. In the meantime I feel that we may all find a message of encouragement in the lines which, in my closing words, I would like to say to you:
I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied: “Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.”
Then the king said, “May the Almighty Hand guide and uphold us all.”
It would be another six years of war before peace was finally restored. As George VI told his people, none of us know what the New Year will bring. If it safety, healing, prosperity, wholeness and joy, we will praise and thank the Lord. But if it brings continued struggles, we will remain undaunted, not because we are strong or have it in our power to remain faithful, but because our God is strong and more than able to keep us in His peace. God promised Israel, “The Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 52:12). We too can take comfort in knowing that our God will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
As we begin 2013, we can place ourselves, and all our yesterdays and tomorrows safely in His care, into the hand of God.
Perhaps we can share a prayer together:
Dear Lord Jesus, I love you very much indeed and I thank you for this New Year that you have made. Please help me to take hold of your hand today, staying close to you every day in the coming year. No matter what happens, may the peace you promise come to characterize my life in a way that will bring you glory, and may I use every opportunity that I can to proclaim the Gospel. I say this prayer in your name, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen!
I wish you all a very happy and blessed New Year!!!
Keep on keeping on…
Founding Director & Evangelist
It has been very exciting to start using the newly designed £20 money tracts at Heathrow airport. I am about to catch a flight to Nepal to commence a strategic 4 day mission before heading over to Delhi for a further strategic 4 day mission.
The new tract notes look so much more realistic than the older ones, and I have simply been leaving them everywhere, in the security trays for the security guards, dropping them on the floor, unravelling the toilet roles in the toilets and tucking one in there for someone to find, on bookshelves in WHSmiths and any other duty free shop for that matter, and leaving them on the gate waiting seats. It is always such a treat to watch a person as I look back in the distance to see them reading my tract. It is almost as good me speaking the message into their lives. Instead it is going into their lives by reading it. I have already dropped hundreds if tracts and the mission has not even started. I could not have as many conversations with people in such a short period of time if I tried!!!!!
It was good though to have a lovely chat with the lady at the Money Exchange that was able to change some money into the local currencies that I need. I was able able to give her a book at the end of the conversation and I do hope that it makes an impact. I had also give one to the lady that issued my ticket at the check-in. Although to be fair, I don’t think she seemed at all interested. Any how, what do I know. God works in mysterious ways, and I may have completely misjudged the situation. What I do know is that my job is just to share the message in the most faithful way that I can, whether or not I think it went well or not!
I am very much looking forward to getting to Nepal to preach the Gospel. This is quite a special trip as the key person in Nepal that has organised everything, Karna Lal Pandey was led to Christ many years ago by Michael Wright, who is the same man that led me to Christ in Nicosia Central Prison many years ago. Karna has been very industrious and already set up a base for Avanti Ministries in Kathmandu. Robert Quay from Avanti Asia Pacific has played a key role in supporting and mentoring Karna through the planning and development of the whole project having already visited Karna in Nepal to prepare the way. Please pray that the Lord Jesus saves many lost souls as a result of this trip and even despite this trip, for we just want to see souls won!!!!!
God bless you.
No Greater Love
Read: John 15:1-13
The Vine and the Branches
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. —John 15:13
OUR DAILY BREAD’s devotional for the day shares a story about a married couple. Bill and his wife were driving through the Rocky Mountains when a near-miss with a truck caused their car to swerve off the road and plunge into the Colorado River. After scrambling out of their sinking vehicle, they frantically treaded water in the swift current. A truckdriver, who had seen the accident, ran ahead along the shore and threw a rope to them. Bill swam behind his wife and pushed her to where she could grab the rope—and the man pulled her out. Bill, however, was carried downstream and didn’t survive. He had given his life for the woman he loved.
To give your life so another person can live is the ultimate proof of love. During the night that Jesus was betrayed, He told His disciples of His intention to give His life in exchange for mankind. He told them: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). And then He set the ultimate example of self-sacrifice by going to the cross.
Have you ever given any thought to the fact that Jesus did that for you—that He died in your place? In so doing, He not only proved His love for you, but He also made it possible for you to be forgiven of your sins and to have an eternal home in heaven.
He who gave Himself to save me,
Now will keep me to the end;
In His care securely resting
On His promise I depend.
Christ’s sacrifice was what God desired and our sin required.
It was great to take time out of the busy preaching schedule to visit my Italian Publisher Pastore Dr Giuseppe E. Laiso and his team at Editrice Uomini Nuovi ( EUN) in Marchirolo. Publishing over 2,000 titles, EUN are the largest evangelical publishers in the country making a huge impact for Christ. Please pray for the team especially during the current financial crises that they will be able to continue to distribute sound Christian literature to a nation in need of the Gospel.
Why does communication still seem so difficult and daunting for so many people today? With all the websites and social networks that we access with such ease through all of the latest gadgets and iAccessories, you’d think it would be easier than ever for the Church to share the Gospel with the world. The reality is that connecting with people seems harder than ever!
Meaningful communication with our fellow human beings in today’s society is an interesting paradox. We’re more connected than ever through social media and online networking, yet we’re also more disconnected than ever. Our quaint Church slogans readily boast our intention that “We are all here for the world”, and that “We are all here to reach the world”, yet our efforts are all too quickly inhibited by our inability to communicate effectively. We really must ensure that our slogans are not just decorative! The majority of us seem to be able to live out our Christian lives ‘most publicly’ in church on Sunday mornings, where we sing out those glorious praises to God at the top of our voices and feed ourselves with the mightiest of sermons. Anyone looking in would think that Christians must be the most confident and powerful of communicators on the planet, with our well choreographed services and well structured feel good sermons, faultless and well trimmed – and there is nothing wrong with that per say. Of course, as soon as we finish catching up with church family over a cup of coffee, we then retreat to our silent Christian lives for the remaining 6.5 days of the week shutting the doorway of ‘Evangelical Communication’ to the world around us. Indeed we may gallantly forward on that ‘all-encouraging-Christian-soundbite’ that appears in our Inbox from time to time that, probably originated in our Christian social network – but for most that would be as good as it gets! Yes, the picture that I am painting for you is very bleak, and indeed we know that around the world today there are so many faithful Christians laying down their lives for the Gospel, however this article is not intended for them for their reward in Heaven will be great! No, on the contrary, this article is identifying what the majority of believers are not doing, as there is simply so much need in the world today, and we can not afford to sit on our laurels – for souls are at stake here. For the Lord said, “For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and yet loses his souls” (Mark 8:35).
You see, as soon as the Lord was raised from the grave, and was with His followers for just a little time before ascending to heaven, the first believers didn’t waste time – they started to communicate with the world around them. Their faith was so real to them that they had to share it with others. Face-to-face, door-to-door, village to village, country to country, all the way to the grave! Doesn’t that form of Christianity appeal to you – one that is authentic and passionate, one that has put feet to its faith. And amazingly, all that the early believers had to communicate the Gospel was a horse, the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit! Look at what we have today: ‘horse-power’, the same Word of God, the same Holy Spirit, and in additional to this we have the World Wide Web, social media, phenominal graphic design, iPhone Apps and the latest technology to deliver the Gospel – and yet we remain crippled to communicate! All we need to do next is just combine Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and then we can truly look at our own profile image and say to ourselves “You-Twit-Face!”. I’m not kidding!!!
Today’s technology makes communication faster, but I am not sure it is better. You can’t make a genuine connection with someone by ‘texting’, ‘emailing’ or ‘friending’ alone. When you meet someone in person and share a meal together, you see how that person interacts with you and the people around you. You observe their body language and how they carry themselves. That’s where the true chemistry happens: face-to-face, one on one. That is how the Lord Jesus Christ touched peoples lives. We would do well to do the same! Don’t get me wrong, we must utilise every social network available to us on our computers and mobile handsets as a channel to share the Gospel through – and that is what our organisation does to a great extent (please visit: www.avantiministries.com). Our organisation devote a lot of energy to developing multimedia presentations that we share with people through the web, and we have seen the Lord save many souls through such efforts. Many of our evangelists share the Gospel by showing a powerful evangelistic clip or presentation with the people that they meet, however this does not happen before some effort has gone into building a bridge in a personal and relational way. We must not forget that the Lord invites us into a personal loving relationship with Him, face-to-face. We should not aim for anything less!
In this post modern age, we find our culture and behaviour weakening and breaking down. We focus in without distraction on the slightest backlight, ringtone or vibration from our cellular device. Have you noticed how we automatically allow a text from “anyone in the world” to interrupt some of the most important face-to-face meetings that we have. We have become a rather rude generation. Just imagine if we monitored, tracked and paid atention to reaching the unsaved around us with the same type of concern and paranoia – I think that if we did we would literally reach this world in no time at all!!!! Please don’t be challenged by these words, instead be upset about them – because I sure am!!!!! Upset about it enough to do something about it.
The focus of these notes is to get people to think outside of the box, and to get people out from behind their computers and neat mobile screens and out into the world making connections with real people. That is what Jesus did. He took the time to speak to a person at a well over a drink of water. He had time to go to someones house to personally share the Gospel with them. He had the time to stop to give time to one very old and sick lady when He was in the centre of a huge crowd of people all around Him. He really did take time to spend time with people. He took time to explain to complete strangers the Good News that could redirect their eternal future!
In this modern world that we find ourselves, let us all try our very best to improve the quality of our lives by not enslaving ourselves to our latest gadgets as much, and by devoting more time to others around us. Let us all try our very best to improve the quality of other peoples lives, by getting more connected with people in a loving and personal way, building relationships and proclaiming the Gospel to them. Let’s meet people in the ‘highest definition’ of all, face-to-face.
Try it today. Go and find a precious soul. Smile, show warmth, shake their hand and share the most wonderful news that exists. Share the Gospel with that person!
Keep on keeping on…
Andrew Betts-Brown and Tony Anthony had a smooth 4 hour drive to Congleton in
Cheshire (North West England) where New Life Church hosted a major outreach event for the local community. The team was given a very warm welcome by Senior Leader, Steve Hodgkinson, and as the venue was quickly filling up, Tony conducted a quick interview with a local freelance journalist / camera man for Christian Television. The venue was full with about 160+ people in attendance. It was a joy to see many people responding to the Gospel message. It was encouraging to see how many of the local believers were fired up by the event to seize more opportunities in their own lives to preach the Gospel, and this must be our on-going prayer that the Lord would raise more workers for the harvest.
Please pray for New Life Church as they follow up this event by kicking off a local Alpha course starting next Wednesday. I am sure you will agree that it is exciting to see how the Lord is working in small corners of the world like Congleton, and He is still sovereignly saving souls across the whole world. Please visit the local website for further information: www.nlchurch.org.uk
Churches Together in Congleton will join together on Sunday, 29th January at 6.30pm for a service of PRAISE & THANKSGIVING. Rev Rob Cotton of the Bible Society will be preaching.
Ian and Hazel Wales from Railway Street Presbyterian Church (senior Minister Rev Brian Gibson) were the key people responsible for organising the Avanti Campaign trip to the Lisburn half of the mission to Northern Ireland. The UK team including Faye Porter, Tim Raggett, George Osborn and Tony Anthony, who started events off by splitting in to two groups to speak at two separate high-schools (Forthill College and Lisnagarvey). The lessons were only 35 minutes long, and so the team worked to a tight schedule sharing the Gospel with about 8 or so different year groups and classes.
The team then made their second trip in two years to Maghaberry Prison addressing a small group of about 20 inmates, who were very grateful and impacted to hear the testimonies and Gospel message. The visit was organised by a dear brother who serves as on the Chaplaincy Team called Rodney Cameron. please pray for the vital work that this team performs within the prison services to both inmates guards alike. The final event for the first day was at TRANSFORMATIONS, which is a dynamic youth initiative held in the local community making a great impact on the lives of many young people from the community, run by Nick Serb and Andy Irwin.
The remainder of the weekend included a well attended PASSION conference that was held at the host church. The day was opened up with a very encouraging word by the RT Hon Jeffrey Donaldson MP (Ulster Democratic Unionist Party), who is a committed Christian and kindly carved out some time to open up the day for us. His message was very sound and tied in very nicely with the teams opening gambit message on the priority of the Church. George and Tim headed straight off with the other organisational lead, Sam Scott to address a Saturday night youth ministry in Drumreach. Tony and Faye stayed in Liburn to share the Gospel with a couple hundred young people at a very dynamic and innovative ministry called EXODUS. Please visit their website: www.exodusonline.org.uk/onematters and you can follow them on Facebook: Facebook.com/exoduslisburn. In 2011 over 4o Exodus Teams met together and travelled to various destinations all around the world to serve in missions. Please pray for this vital ministry.
On Sunday morning, Tony and George preached at a series of church gathings with the view to build up and encourage the Body of Christ. Please pray for the remainder of the trip that will include further schools visits, a prison and an evangelism training session.
Impressed with Jesus!
Jesus Announces the Good News
14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Jesus Calls His First Disciples
16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.
19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Jesus Drives Out an Impure Spirit
21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
No matter where Jesus went during His ministry in the region of the Sea of Galilee, He caused a stir. But most important, He led people to action. Those who observed Him firsthand were moved to do something. Notice how the people responded:
1. Obedience. The fishermen followed Jesus (Mark 1:18).
2. Amazement. The people marveled at His power over demons (Mark 1:27).
3. Service. Peter’s mother-in-law served the Lord (Mark 1:31).
4. Proclamation. Those who saw Jesus in action told others what He had done (Mark 1:45).
We have heard about Jesus so often that we sometimes fail to sense the excitement that the Galilean folks showed. They were genuinely touched by Jesus’ presence, so much so that no matter where He went, there was a crowd.
Jesus has done some remarkable things in our lives. He has transformed us from death to life. He has given us the Holy Spirit. He is at God’s right hand praying for us. He is getting our eternal home ready.
We can respond to Jesus by taking a cue from the people He visited in person. Obey Him. Be amazed by Him. Serve Him. Proclaim His name. Remember, there are still other people who need to be impressed with Jesus.
At the end if the day when you think of all that Christ has done for each of us, surely we will want to do our best for Him.
Raphael Molnar and Tony Anthony head into Rüdesheim for an early start to the day to do some street evangelism at the local Christmas markets. It was partly a training exercise as well as an opportunity to spread and proclaim then Gospel. The time was fruitful distributing tracts utilising various creative methods and having some key one to one conversations.
After a working lunch discussing Avanti Germany, they both set off for Christliche Gemeinde Weitefeld. The team were hosted by local Christian leader / elder, Hans-Herbert and Jorg Thielmann. Tony and Christina (a very gifted local interpreter) spoke at a packed out event where local believers reported that over 70% of those in attendance were visitors attending for the first time. Several extra rooms had to be set up (with a video link in one) as there were so many extra people. The preaching of the Gospel was effective, and many responded to Christ.
Please continue to pray for the spiritual climate in Germany to be transformed by the Gospel, and for the many plans in motion that Avanti Germany have in hand for 2012!!!!