Phil Turner and Alpha.

Thu, 13/01/2011 - 16:08

Please tell me how you became a Christian:

I grew up in a non-Christian home, although my Mum, Dad and brother were all God-fearing but we never went to church. However, my Mum and my Nan both worked for St. Joseph’s Church on Elm Grove, so I got to know the priests down there quite well. It’s funny because even though I didn’t understand exactly what was going on, there has always been a desire to know who Jesus is and to work full time to serve the Church. My Nan died when I was 16 which had a profound affect on me because even though Nan’s body was here it was just a shell. Nan had gone somewhere. Looking back I had a deep desire for the meaning of life.

I left college to work at Lloyds TSB and built myself up through promotions and my career. Despite having all these things around me: a nice home and a nice car, there was still a deep sense of emptiness. After a broken engagement I really went off the rails and got heavily involved in alcohol and astrology, star signs and tarot cards. I wanted to know if the person I had broken up with would get back with me or if there was someone else out there for me. Regardless of the predictions and outcomes, I was still empty. I can remember being in a night club down West Street one Friday night with a load of friends yet feeling the loneliest guy on the planet, looking back I was utterly lost. I can remember, praying a simple prayer: ‘Jesus help me, I need you.’ It was initially a prayer for Jesus to get me out the problems I was in but regardless he answered.

Someone out of the blue at Lloyds TSB told me he was a Christian and went to CCK. He invited me to a Paul Oakley concert and I loved it. I looked around the room and two things struck me. One: the deep sense of the love of Jesus they knew and I didn’t and number two: the sense of community. The CCK members really got alongside me and really helped me and I went back home and read the Gospels over the next few weeks and I just realised that I was a sinner and Jesus died on the Cross to forgive me and remove my guilt, and that He rose again to give me a new life. On the 8th October 1993 I prayed to accept Jesus and to be honest I don’t think I’ve ever been the same since. I realised from that moment on that my life is not my own, that if Jesus gave up His life for  me then I could do nothing but to give up my life for Him and respond to his call ‘Come follow me.’ That eventually led me to full time ministry and working at the church both in the city and beyond.

Why are you excited about the Alpha Course?

Alpha is open to anyone, whether they are not sure if they are Christians or they knew they are not. The course is so helpful because it gives people a chance to explore the Christian faith over eight thought provoking Tuesday evenings. Every week the coffee bar opens at 6.30pm and a free meal is provided, which starts at 7.30pm. Most weeks there is live music, a short engaging talk for example the aim of the first four talks is to help guests overcome some objections to the Christian faith which include ‘Hasn’t science disproved Christianity?’ and ‘How can a good God allow suffering?’ The remaining four are very much Gospel centered, for example, ‘Why did Jesus die?’ and ‘Did Jesus really rise from the dead?’ After the talk there is an opportunity for the guests to discuss and ask any question they like. No one is going to push a guest into making a decision to accept Christ. It is an opportunity to explore and come on that journey with us at Alpha. Our goal is getting guests closer to Jesus and to help them in their journey towards Jesus Christ. To register for the CCK Alpha course starting on the 25 January’11 please visit www.cck.org.uk

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