Stockport Evangelical Church

Stockport Evangelical Church
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." (Galatians 6:9 KJV)

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Review 2013

Here are a few pictures that tell the story of our year as a church in 2013. We hope you enjoy them!

At the start of the year, Kirsty and I had a newborn baby girl to consider. So we started January a little gently. Kirsty (and baby Elisabeth) joined the Ladies Prayer group for a meal...
and I did some filming for a short documentary I made called "The Secret War- Part 1 and 2"
In February we did a leaflet drop in the local area of a thousand leaflets and called the project "Good Morning Stockport!"
In March/April we celebrated our second Anniversary as a bone fide church...hallelujah! 

April was a very busy month. In fact it was "Mark Month!" We took the Gospel of Mark as our theme and... preached on it, studied it in House Group...
Read the whole of the Gospel of Mark out in our town Centre...
...and sent "Mark Facts" to everyone via text.
We also managed to upset a few Jehovah's Witnesses when Norman Lowndes and I leafleted the local Kingdom Hall's "Memorial Service."
In May we linked up with UK Partnerships for Christ, to put on a Ex-JWs for Jesus Day. It was an outstanding success, with Christians coming from all over the country, including at least two current JWs, who have subsequently left the Watchtower, one of whom has been born again! The video of the testimonies from this event is still bearing fruit now and has recently resulted in the salvation of another lady who was encouraged to leave the Witnesses after watching the videos.
It was also a blessing to baptise Charlotte and we were very thankful to Reddish Christian Fellowship for the use of their Baptistry.
In June we started the first of a three part outreach called "The Big Three!"
We preached, testified and gave away free Bibles in Stockport.
There was real spiritual opposition, so oppressive that many said they felt it.
As we carried on through the summer, we got some new people...praise the Lord!
We hit Stockport Carnival at two locations for our second summer outreach...
We gave away free Bibles and Christian literature and offering cold drinks and gospel tracts to those watching the Carnival procession.
Matthew and I managed to fit in a visit to North Cotes (New Tribes Missions) Bible College at the invitation of our good friend Dan. We stayed a few days, sat in on lectures and got to chat to some of the students and Lecturers.

We got back in time for our third and final outreach of the summer.
I also hooked up with my good friend Jason Thickpenny of UK Partnerships for Christ and made friends with a whole bunch of Christians witnessing at the Mormon Pageant in Chorley.
We slept (for free) on the floor of Chapel House Christian Fellowship and although the floor was hard, my heart was warmed by the fellowship I had with the brothers and sisters I met in those few days.
We were even allowed in to see the Mormon Pageant itself, although we had a security guard escort us...and they were rather large!
On October 5th, Tom and I went with some Christian friends down to the King James Bible Seminar in Dudley. It was a real blessing to hear Dr Jack Moorman defend the AV 1611 with skill and authority and we appreciated the hospitality of Hellier Street Gospel Hall.
As we headed into late October it was my great pleasure to ordain our brother Matthew Purves as an Elder of Stockport Evangelical Church. He has often provided wise counsel and his teaching has edified the Fellowship.
On the 31st October we held our Reformation Day Celebration. Instead of Halloween, I discovered that some churches have had a tradition of remembering this date in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg church door. It sounded like a good idea to me, so we had a meal, recreated the event...
had readings, teaching and singing; and remembered the martyrs that had given so much.
We also got a visit from Pastor Ian Moulton whose church in Chorley had graciously offered their building when we did the Mormon Outreach. Pastor Ian spoke on The Dangers of the Emergent Church.
In November Matthew and I were invited to speak at an Ex-Jw Conference down in Southend, called "Finding JESUS for Jehovah's Witnesses", organised by Martin Sarfas. It was a blessing to meet up with old friends again and to hear great testimonies. We left early as it was a long drive back and listened to an excellent sermon on the way home by Major Ian Thomas.
We finished a busy year by celebrating Christ's birth with our Christmas Carol Service. We only sent out about five-hundred leaflets, but we got a number of people in who had never been to the church before. The children also performed a Nativity and we used a projector and Scripture readings to tell the story of when "the Word became flesh."
We look forward to what the Lord is going to do next year and hope maybe you will pay a visit to Stockport Evangelical Church.
To everyone in the Fellowship, thank you so much for all your support and prayers throughout the year, for all the kind things you have said to encourage me and all the hard work you have put in to making 2013 such a successful year for the church. I look forward to pastoring you all for as long as the Lord wills. Happy New Year!


Saturday, 21 December 2013

The Amorality of a Godless Age

In the days when I felt quite differently about such things, I went to a Rock Gig in Manchester, with a friend of mine. The gig (I think) was organised by the NME and was a showcase for up and coming new bands. One of those bands was "Lost Prophets."
 Paedophile Ian Watkins.

The recent revelations about the depraved and sickening conduct of "Lost Prophets" singer Ian Watkins and his subsequent trial and conviction for the sexual abuse of children, are shocking reminders of the times in which we live. Perhaps even more shocking are the young women involved in these crimes, whose folly lead to the abuse of their own children. All this at the hands of a man who, as yet, has shown no remorse. In fact he seems to be arrogantly indifferent to the pain and suffering he has caused and incapable of empathy. What are the factors that have combined to produce a criminal like Watkins? What circumstances, temptations and influences could strip a mother's instincts of natural affection for her own children? In Romans Chapter one, the Apostle Paul wrote about a society that had exchanged the truth of God for a lie:
"Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgement of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." Romans 1:29-32
A morality that is detached from God is subjective and false; it invests a level of trust that cannot be qualified, takes no account of dysfunctionality and is inherently unstable.
Dr William Lane Craig said, "Traditional moral values have been based in God, who is the highest good. But if God does not exist, what is the basis of moral values?" He further comments, "Science is morally neutral; you can't find moral values in a test tube." (On Guard - Craig)
There are a number of factors that we must address as a nation, before such cases become less and less isolated and more and more frequent. Britain needs to learn again the meaning of words like duty, respect, self-control, faithfulness, sobriety, honour and righteousness. We need to become aware that a whole generation is growing up Biblically ignorant and entertainment obsessed. We need to understand that the moral corruption of  young people especially, is dangerous and destructive for them and ultimately for society as a whole.
Here are some points that ought to be considered:
Pornography takes its name from the Greek word "Porneia," referring to 'illicit sexual intercourse, fornication, Homosexuality etc.'  Because of advancements in technology, individuals are now able to access extremely graphic images without having to give proof of age, or summon up the courage to visit some seedy back-street shop. In fact with the advent of High Street-friendly sex shops like Anne Summers, the lusts of the flesh are now almost completely socially respectable. Cable TV packages offer so-called "Adult" channels and who knows what the man (or woman) sat next to you on the train may be accessing from the ease of his mobile phone. 
The Sexualisation of Children 
Through the media, both adults and children are repeatedly confronted with images of scantily clad models, many in their early teens. In October 2010 an Asda store in Sheffield was compelled to remove a display of padded bras for young girls from their children's section. Hardly a week goes by without the national press homing in on so-and-so's "raunchy" new video, or revealing outfit. It is unhelpful that many of these "stars" have a fan-base that includes young children, who have been exposed to their music through "family" entertainment shows, put out by TV companies long before the watershed.

There can be few industries (with the possible exception of professional football) that actively promote bad behaviour, yet the Rock Music Industry is surely one of them. Rebellion, drunkenness, fornication, arrogance, drug abuse, perversion; it is almost expected of the wannabe rock star. Whilst the taking of injurious chemical substances undoubtedly does lead to a loss of self control and erratic and foolish behaviour, it is perhaps further driven by subscribing to a philosophy that is largely hedonistic, narcissistic and bohemian in nature. 
Many fans of "Lost Prophets" have been stunned by the revelations about Watkins' secret life, not least his own band-mates; yet there is one element missing from the picture that combines with all the others to produce the truly monstrous; that is the existence of spiritual wickedness.
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12
The depth of depravity of mankind reaches such levels of perversion and devilishness, we must understand that there are two sources of supernatural power in the universe, and only two. One is God and the other is the Devil.
Until the world learns to truly value children and not regard them as fashion accessories, or the inconvenient products of their own lack of chastity; until parents value their inquisitiveness, their honesty, their simple and fragile dignity and yes, their faith; then children will continue to be the victims of ruthless and wicked adults. 
"Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." Romans 12:19
God is the avenger of the weak and He will repay the unrepentant for such evil. There is more than one level to hell and for those that forget God, one shudders to imagine how deep and dark and heavy, are the chains of endless torment, that await those that take pleasure in harming children.
Paul Jennings.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Finding JESUS for JWs Convention, Southend, UK

Chairman William Bacon opens the meeting.
It was a privilege to be invited to speak at the "Finding JESUS for Jehovah's Witnesses" Convention, held at Southend Full Gospel Church at the end of November this year. Matthew spoke on the subject of explaining the Deity of Christ to JWs and I shared my experiences of ministering to and discipling Ex-Witnesses.

The venue, Southend Full Gospel Church.
 Matthew Purves teaching on The Deity of Christ.
 Paul Jennings.
 The church were very hospitable and it was great to chat with some of the congregation.
 Chatting over tea and coffee.
We did not stay for the entire event, since we had about a five hour drive ahead of us. However, we sensed a real atmosphere of love and solidarity that was further enhanced by some incredible and heart-rending testimonies.
 Ex-Witness Darryl Faulkner shares a moving testimony