Sunday, 3 August 2008

5 sermons that changed my life NUMBER 4

Jackie Pullinger To - "Doing the Stuff" Conference April 2000 - Vineyard UK

Jackie Pullinger To should need no introduction, but just in case she does you can find a three stage explanation here, here and here.

Before we get to the talk itself the woman herself was most of the power. She really has walked the walk. She has given up everything for the sake of her Lord and brought love and life to hundreds of people.

Look at this for a selection of quotes:
"I went up to a man and said 'Jesus loves you' …but I realised that it didn't mean anything unless I did it." "I banked my life on a miracle." "Jesus is everything. If it weren't for him, I'd have no goodness at all."

So up steps this woman, this white, middle class, well spoken, home counties, middle aged lady who then started to speak at a conference full of white, middle class, well spoken, home counties type people (and I was one of them). Everything about it could have been scones and spongecake Christianity - but it wasn't. This was life changing, career destroying, "take up your cross and follow me" radicalism that literally stopped me in my tracks.

There was biblical exhortation, there was encouragement, and it was wrapped in a life story of courage and endeavour that no other British Christian I can think of can equal. "Chasing the Dragon" is the "Cross and the Switchblade" for UK Christians of a certain era. She just oozed grace, passion, determination and asked questions too uncomfortable to ask within huge tranches of UK Christendom.

She spoke of her passion to reach those in poverty with the gospel, and spoke of her total angst that there were so few Christians in the inner cities. She stopped, silent, and lent over the lectern. Then asked the gathered thousands in the state of the art auditorium in a voice hushed to barely a whisper but with a deep, 30 years in the mission field type of sincerity...

"You aren't all still living in the suburbs are you?"

You could have heard a pin drop. She was not actually technically suggesting no-one should live in the suburbs, or to reach people in those classes, but she was chastising a Christendom that has got so interested in being respectable that we have given up on being near millions of the lost.

The talk was a total affront to safe and secure British Christianity, and even though I have yet to fully work out how to live it all out, it left me in a place where if He says to "go" then I know I have to.

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