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"For we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not of ourselves."
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THE ADVENTURE of FOLLOWING IN JESUS’  STEPS

Part 22 in the series by David Hoyt

Ever wake up late realizing you’ve missed something? 

This happened more than once to Jesus’ disciples.  They woke up, looked around and Jesus was nowhere to be found. Things had already gotten underway for God’s Son.  Jesus had risen early and went to a quiet place to pray to the Father (Mark 1:35).  The Scriptures tell us that solitude prayer was something Jesus did regularly (Luke 5:16, Matt 14:23, Mark 6:46).  Sometimes Jesus spent the entire night in prayer (Luke 6:12). 

Reflecting Back

During Jesus People days we were swept into a momentum similar to when Jesus was on earth with his disciples; if we slept in, ministry would already be underway. In the adventurous dimension of the mission, God gave us the desires of our heart by allowing us to be engaged in a creative and exciting ministry.  We were on the front lines with a clear visibility of the battle, witnessing and participating in both victories and defeats.  In post evaluation, we would have benefited by more sound Bible teaching in step with the move of God’s Spirit; not quenching, legalistic, or manipulating doctrine, we already had that (just kidding; but sometimes true). 

We needed life, personal character, relational and God-centered instruction from seasoned teachers and mentors who might have been able to provide stability to accompany our energetic mission endeavors.  This may have curbed JP leaders who seemed to live and exude urgency in everything they were involved in.  JP disciples were incredibly faithful and hardworking, not complainers or whiners. What we desperately needed was the balance of prayer, rest and teaching that would match our work load – to equip us for the long-haul.

Moving Forward – Jesus’ Calling  

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry (Luke 4:1-2).”  This testing proved crucial when it came to the use of the powers that God gave to His Son. “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time (Luke 4:13).”

We can be sure that communion with the Father in prayer gave Jesus the wisdom and power to resist the devil.  After Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread throughout the whole countryside.  He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.  And he stood up to read.  The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

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‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has appointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Isaiah 61:1-2).’ Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’” (Luke 4:14-20 NIV). 

Reading on we learn that a crowd of people from Galilee wanted to throw Jesus off a cliff that same day (Luke 4:29-30).  In time Jesus would no longer be welcome in Synagogues (John 9:22b), that forced a transition to open-air or home teaching, healing and worship.

What strikes me about Jesus’ regular communion with the Father, his 40 day temptation by the devil in the wilderness and type of ministry cited in Isaiah is; Jesus’ life was destined to be filled with action, mercy, compassion, healings, deliverance, miracles, confrontation, attacks by people and the devil.  His ministry from this point forward took place beyond synagogue walls, among poor and common people, both Jews and Gentiles (Luke 2:30-32). 

This would not be a pleasant religious stroll around Israel.  Instead, it would be a partnership of God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit taking action on behalf of those sitting in darkness without hope or light (Luke 1:76-79).  It would require an out of the religious- box aggressive, intentional mission of truth-telling, rescue, healing, freeing and deliverance.  Inclusively accepting the marginalized poor, sick, needy, outcasts, sinners, unpopular and those lacking in social and religious prominence.  These were people Jesus was interested in. The humble and weak were important to God.  Children, the lost and seeking, Jews, Samaritans, Gentiles were all important to God! 

Following Jesus in Awe

Who is Willing, or Worthy to Follow in His Steps? When John the Baptist was quizzed about his identity, whether he might be the Christ, John answered:  

“I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and gather wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Luke 3:16-17).”  NIV Bible

Following in Jesus’ steps was and still is – a tall order.  JP were not worthy, but willing. They were without formal training and unpolished, but knew how to read.  By reading one Gospel, we understood there was a cost in following Jesus Christ.  It took Jesus to a Roman cross and death by crucifixion. Reading through Acts we learned Stephen was stoned to death. Paul the apostle said, “I persecuted followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them in prison (Acts 22:4).”  

Disciples of Jesus were not safe. They were despised, hated, persecuted and killed.  History confirms widespread violent persecution through the centuries. Presently, persecution of Christians is ongoing in harsh dictatorial countries; communist, Muslim led regimes and countries that attempt genocide of people groups with Christian roots.  The Scriptures also speak of persecution of God’s people in the future (Revelation 12:17, 13:7, Daniel 11:33).  One way or another there is a cost to being a follower of Jesus Christ.

I knew within the first month of experiencing the beginnings of salvation, I would need to die to self, turn from old sin patterns, remain teachable, get along with other Christians, be willing to help others and speak up for Jesus Christ.  When I did these things, my salvation continued to be confirmed inside my spirit.  We were earnest, sincere, desperate for God’s presence and desirous of pleasing Him through obedience.

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A desire to honor, please and obey God was embodied in the Upper Norwood Jesus Family and the Lonesome Stone Theatre team.  We were available and enthusiastic about participating in creative outreach.  At the core we were dedicated to God the Father, Jesus His Son and trusting the Holy Spirit to go with us (Joshua 1:9). We were also firmly convinced that God’s Word, the whole counsel of God was embodied in the First and Second Covenant (The Old and New Testaments).

JP had a lot to learn.  To satisfy this need, God planted a voracious appetite for the Word of God (II Timothy 2:15, Hebrews 4:12-13, Psalm 119).  We wanted to know what God said for ourselves, similar to the Samaritans who urged Jesus to stay with them for 2 days. The Samaritan account says, “And because of his (Jesus’) words many more became believers.  They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world (John 4:41-42).” The Bereans employed a commitment to searching through the Scriptures to discern what was true – though Paul and Silas were the teachers  (Acts 17:11).   Peter said, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God.” John’s Gospel confirms the origins of God’s Word. 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all thing were made, without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:1-4, 14, 17).” 

We were blessed with creativity and a lack of fear of the unknown.  The way we approached ministry possibilities was similar to how Joshua felt when God told him, “Have not I commanded you, be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go (Joshua 1:9).”

Living in Community

There were days when living together in close proximity with others would ‘get on our last nerve’.   We’d think about leaving, giving up, escaping when personal or inter-personal issues reached a boiling point.  For our own sanity and the well-being of others there was a common understanding, these were the instances when personal time was in order – in whatever way this could be arranged. 

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The most difficult aspect of living in community was when our personal sins glared back at us so blatantly that we were sure everyone in the entire ministry knew we were rotten to the core, a terrible disciple.  Somehow, we concluded they were privy to all of our secret sinful thoughts and actions.  Transparency and accountability is a good thing when we’re good – and terribly bad when  bad. 

An additional significant trial of living in community was being rebuked by an elder, or leader. Who needs this type of humiliation?  It wasespecially troubling when we were not guilty as charged!  When emotions flared just thinking about punching someone in the nose gave us satisfaction.

For the most part a spirit of God’s peace surrounded the Jesus Family Community.  We learned to share and hold-lightly to material things, except musical instruments that is (had to get in that truth).  We learned a lot from each other – the benefit of spending lots of time together is – we grew in our faith and a bond of appreciation and love was formed.    

Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment—to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35 New English Translation).”   

The need and practice of loving one another was heightened when living in Christian community.  People with softer, flexible and congenial personalities are better suited than those who are impatient, selfish, egotistical, uncompromising, inconsiderate, easily angered and confrontational.  The later have a rougher go when it comes to God’s inevitable pruning (John 15:2).

As JP we were engaged in the beginning stages of yielding our will to God, His Son Jesus Christ, God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.   The experience was beautiful and wonderful – reaping the results of peace, joy and a clean conscience.  The flip side was excruciatingly painful and embarrassing when it came to the ‘sin problem’.  Sin was being rooted out, over and over again. God’s patience, forgiveness, grace and love, kept us going (Psalm 30:5).  The problem was letting go of our old life, and our old nature didn’t want to die!  Thankfully, we faced the good, bad and ugly in ourselves and others – one day at a time and accepted the necessity of our ongoing transformation into Jesus’ likeness.  God’s mercy triumphed over the justice we deserved.   

“Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice—alive, holy, and pleasing to God—which is your reasonable service.  Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:1-2 New English Translation). 

By studying the Word of God, our conscience was activated (Hebrews 4:12-13).  We knew that God wanted us to come clean about sin and keep short accounts with him (Psalm 51).  In numerous ways we were reminded that following Jesus was a decision of dying to self. “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me (Luke 9:22).

We were called to live in newness of life; to practice humility, truthfulness, holiness, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, faithfulness and love.  The Holy Spirit would guide us into truth and purge out what needed to go. Godly character would be formed.  Wisdom and understanding would be broadened over time (John 14:15-27,  John 17, Titus 2:11-12, 3:1-8, I Peter 3:8-12, 2 Peter 1:3-10). 

On the journey as a disciple of Jesus – it never seemed like a wise decision to turn away from everything that was true.  Peter summed it up well, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God (John 6:68-69).” Our short-comings and everything that is troubling in the world, or the church – doesn’t make God wrong. 

So, how did everything go on our journey as Jesus People?  Good and not so good.  Being most honest – there we days and months that were the pits! Had many of us known the level of personal emotional pain that would be caused by our stupid decisions and stubbornness – many would have bailed. Some did. I’m grateful for the supernatural amount of grace that God gave to carry myself and many of my fellow disciples through dark times. 

During times of severe personal trials, hitting our head against the wall and finding ourselves in the vomit of sin – we knew it was God who came to our rescue again.  He relieved our despair, allowing us to hope again.  He removed our distress of failure and enabled us to find peace of heart.   Like Peter who denied the Lord Jesus three times – God restored s us. Though we were and are guilty of sins, our guilt is washed away again by the power of the blood of Jesus Christ who continues as our eternal high priest—forgiving and healing us.  When praying the prayer that Jesus gave us – it answers succinctly any and all questions about our ongoing battle with the flesh, the world and the evil one.  Our need is significant, encased in the flesh of a human body, in a fallen world, with a real enemy.  For this reason we are invited to come close, stay close and commit the keeping of our souls as unto our faithful Creator (I Peter 4:19). 

Jesus said, “This is how you should pray. Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored.  May your kingdom come.  May what you want to happen be done, on earth as it is done in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Keep us from falling into sin when we are tempted. Save us from the evil one. Forgive people when they sin against you. If you do, your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive people their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:9-15 NIV Readers Bible).”       

Who is this God Who Carries on with a Sinner Like Me?
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The ‘News Boys’ from down under had a tune ‘Great is Your Faithfulness’ with the wording, “Great is Your faithfulness to carry on with a sinner like me.” This tune played over and over in my head and heart causing thankfulness to rise in my spirit. This same sentiment resonated with Jesus People who were amazed that God had reached as far and deep as he had to rescue us from darkness.  To be truly forgiven and accepted by God was and is an amazing miracle. And to be included in eternal life and an everlasting kingdom built on truth was beyond anything we thought possible.  We were and remain thankful to the core!

The more I read in the Bible, I’m awe struck by the Greatness of God who created the entire universe and everything in it – who is also capable of knowing and loving each human being individually.   When I pray in private and God’s peace and presence shows up – the reality of a True and Living God is unmistakable.  I’m convinced and humbled, realizing I can commune directly with my Creator.  Without Jesus Christ paying the penalty for human sin, I would not have access to God, truth, or a resurrected Savior.  Life would only offer what is temporary, decaying and spiraling into entropy.   Thankfully God sent heralds of truth into the world; prophets of God, truth tellers – representing The Eternal One who without blemish, holy, all powerful, all knowing, all seeing, living in Forever!  Not another god fashioned by man’s imagination, to meet our sinful desires, changing whims and unsatisfied longings.  

When we read Jesus’ parting Words to the disciples we felt like God was speaking directly to us.           

Then Jesus came to them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end (Matthew 28:18-20  NIV Readers Bible).”

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Jesus People made the transition.  We knew we had to let go of those things that were false, sinful, demonic, counterfeits of the truth, yes, even our drugs of choice.  We had to start over with God. The results were we were in the process of becoming new people – being changed by God – becoming more like Jesus.  It was straightforward; we received the Word of God in faith and endeavored to obey it, trusting God to give us the strength to do what seemed impossible. 

In the process, we received boldness from the Holy Spirit like the early disciples.  This boldness was a gift, our Holy Spirit DNA, given to us by God and it surprised people (Acts 4:31). How can hippies speak with such conviction about God and Jesus Christ?  They don’t have any formal training!  How can this be?  We couldn’t explain it ourselves.  We were not ashamed of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, or the Gospel message (Romans 1:16-17)!  Jesus’ own words reinforced our practice:

“If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels (Luke 9:26).”   The attitude we sought to employ was remembering how lost and trapped we’d been until God showed up (Psalm 126:5, I Peter 3:15-18, James 2:12-13 James 5:11, 20, Ephesians 2:8-9).  We made up for the church’s silence. We were creative and intentional about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Lonesome Stone’s Launch at the Rainbow Theatre,
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Part of the amazing story of our Christian multi-media theatre production was the launch venue.  The Rainbow Theatre, first a cinema, transformed into a famous Rock Theater, was the place for medium size London Concerts. The following groups or artists were either before or shortly after us: The Beach Boys, The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Queen, Genesis, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Kool and the Gang, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Paul McCartney's Wings, Steve Millers Blues Band, and a host of other well-known acts.

No one had a clue how our production would be received.  We did the prep work of a myriad of details and a full load of rehearsals – opening the show in faith.  Attendance was average, swelling on the weekends. It soon became apparent, the Rainbow-run would be a training and fine-tuning opportunity as the production continued to tighten the acting, music, choreography, lighting, rear screen projection and sound.  At the same time the audiences taught us how to be better equipped for after the show ministry and all that would unfold when the show went on the road.

The weekends drew larger crowds and on slower days we continued to streamline and improve the show.  Early critics gave us mixed reviews.

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Regardless of good or bad reviews we were doing exactly what God had called us to do (Ephesians 2:10).  People were drawn to God by the Holy Spirit and transformed in the same way.  We were sowing the seeds of God’s Kingdom, they were being watered and the harvest would come in God’s timing and way it was intended.

Non Christians came out of curiosity and many were struck by something they encountered that was supernatural.  It wasn’t the smooth and clever outfitting of a great apologetic tool for outreach.  It was God witnessing with their spirit when as they heard, or saw the gospel’s power to transform lives right before their eyes. 

Lonesome Stone gave those in attendance an opportunity to be an observer of how someone heard, thought through, responded and eventually decided to yield to God and release their faith to Jesus Christ, God’s Son.  The songs captured the inner battle and beginning tremors of belief – moving those struggling toward a personal faith experience with God Himself.      

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Birth and regeneration in the world we live in, is akin to spiritual rebirth.  Life is in the seed.  Seeds sown, germinate in their appointed time – yielding new life.  In previous outreach concerts we’d employed altar call invitations (using an older evangelistic style), but the model for Lonesome Stone would be different.  We invited anyone interested in learning more to dialogue with our team and cast members at the close of the show.  It worked.  Those curious or interested met with our team engaging in lively discussions, opportunities to learn more and pray.      

We were transitioning from orchestrated religious salvation appeals to allowing the Holy Spirit to call people in His own way.  Most of us got it, knowing that coming to faith was a process, not a package model of gimmicks, or coercion when it came to matters of genuine spiritual awakening.   

Jesus People with a Calling:

The Jesus Movement was like riding the wind of the Holy Spirit – a continuing of the book of Acts.  The Bible is full of accounts that give a record of Jesus bringing God’s presence into situations by Word, signs, wonders and miracles (Acts 2:22).  Being filled with the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the apostles and early disciples did many of the same miraculous signs – Jesus did, including raising people from the dead.  Peter said to a paralytic bedridden for eight years, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat.”  The man was healed.   In a neighboring town a devout lady disciple named Tabitha had died.  The community was grief stricken until Peter arrived. He cleared the room where she lay and got down on his knees and prayed. Turning to the woman he said, “Tabitha, get up. She opened her eyes and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and presented her to them alive.”  Both accounts are found in Acts 9:32-42.   Peter was not God – but a man of faith.

Peter’s message to his first Gentile audience in Caesarea shortly after these two miraculous events he recounted the source of all signs and wonders.  He knew he was only an instrument representing Jesus Christ.  “As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence.  But Peter made him get up. ‘Stand up’ he said, ‘I am only a man myself’ (Acts 25-26).”   His message to those gathered reveals what Jesus was about.

“You know how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him (Acts 10:38 RSV).”  

Peter went on to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection to Cornelius, his family and friends (all Gentiles) and God poured out the Holy Spirit on all of them as he was speaking (Acts 10:44-46).

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As the Jesus Movement unfolded I don’t remember an emphasis on miracles, or individuals attempting to draw attention to themselves – but miracles did occur.  People were healed physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  People were delivered from evil spirits.  Food and drink was multiplied.  Other unusual miracles occurred with the supernatural provision of things of necessity.  All of the gifts of the Holy Spirit cited in I Corinthians 12 were operational in the Jesus movement.  Some settings were more open and receptive to these gifts than others.

Our focus was to lift up the Name of Jesus Christ, present the good news in its entirety and practice our faith in word and deed.  Were we successful?  Did we make an impact?  Was God the author of the Jesus Movement that began in the mid- 1960’s?  I’ve asked these and similar questions which we will revisit later in this cluster of articles.  The fact is, Jesus People had a mandate from God through Jesus:

 “Let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds
and praise your Father in heaven.”

  Matthew 5:16  NIV

The Jesus Family & the Lonesome Stone Team & Cast

Gerd Bienge – Germany

Caroline Green – England

Karin Gunnersson – Sweden

Siv Algotsson - Sweden 

Philippe – France  

Danny Keating – Ireland

Margaret Keating – UK

Larry Barker – USA

Christian Beese – Germany

Aram Outim – India

Irene Barker – Sweden  

Dennis Knight – USA

Rich Haas – USA

Charlie Moorehouse - USA

Jenny Haas Allan – USA

Lynn Malmberg – USA

Owen Brock – Canada

Sandy Brock – USA

Fred & Gail Gartner - USA

Matt Spransy – USA

Mike & Mary Damrow – USA

Henry Huang – USA

Dieter Gries - USA

Jim Palosaari – USA

Susan Palosaari Cowper –USA

David Hoyt – USA

Mr. & Mrs. K P Frampton –UK

Margie Pinnow – USA

Wilhelm Pinnow - Germany

Linda Feltzer – USA

Odie Carter - USA

Arlene Czekalski Maas – USA

Mike Drehfal – USA

Susan Wilson - USA

Greg & Lynn Nancarrow - USA

Reed Mittelsteadt – USA

Don Schendel – USA

Lisa Carothers – USA

Nick Malham – USA

Ian McDonald – England

Ethel Krauss – USA

Cris Barton

Vincent Lobley

John Marley - UK

Peter Smith

Alan Turnell

Bill Wittala - USA

William N. Smith

Ben Day - USA

Peter Smith

Mike O’Neill – UK

Trevor Allen - England

Gilbert Cailly

Carol Wittala Trott – USA

+ Others that joined

+ Many volunteers

  Thank you all!
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Andrew Whitman’s Story

A Brit who attended Lonesome Stone at the Rainbow Theatre

I was born in 1953 to parents who worked a mixed farm just inside the M25 motorway in Enfield, North London. They were nominally Christian in their moral values. During primary school I was packed off to Sunday school on Sunday afternoons for a couple of years, particularly enjoying “Draw your swords” (a game where you had to find a particular Bible verse speedily). Apart from this my only other exposure to the gospel was through a school-friend called Graham who dragged me along to Crusaders, a parachurch group reaching children and young people, from time to time.

In 1971 I went to Leeds University to study Economics, but actually ended up learning more about music, beer, dope and women. Like most people my age I was drawn into the hippy movement as a curious but cautious participant. I did the usual rounds of festivals – even seeing the Grateful Dead at Bickershaw – and had my fair share of smoking cannabis with my housemates and friends. Many in my circle of friends were tripping on acid and taking speed, although for some reason I never ventured that far. University was a time of experimenting in lots of areas – but never finding what I was looking for…

As the oldest of three children, I was quite startled when my brother Richard and sister Claire claimed to have become Christians in 1972 – all beginning with Claire being given a Gideon’s Bible at her school. I distinctly remember giving them quite a hard time for their new-found faith!

Summer of 1973 was a formative season for me, while home from Leeds University before embarking on my final year of studies. Over the August Bank Holiday weekend Richard and Claire invited me along to a Christian rock musical called “Lonesome Stone” at the famous Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park - not so far from my favorite football ground, where the mighty Arsenal play!

Looking back I can see God was drawing me to go along, almost it seemed ‘against my own will’. I went two nights running, on the Friday and Saturday, and was mesmerized by the story of this hippy coming to know Jesus. God particularly spoke to me through the song “Going back”, which featured the lyrics “I think I’m going back to the Lord I once knew in my youth; I think I’m returning to the days when I was young enough to know the truth”. 

Listening to these words sung reminded me of the beautiful simplicity of Christ I’d known many years before in Sunday school. I’ve often wondered since when I was actually converted; perhaps back then, or at the Christian musical “Lonesome Stone”?

On the first night of attending the show I wandered around afterwards, genuinely hoping one of the cast would approach me for a chat. When nothing happened I went up to Christian Beese, a German member of the Jesus Family (who played the “second drunk” in the cast!) He patiently listened to my story and then prayed two separate prayers: first for real peace to envelop us; and second for Jesus to make himself known to me. I can’t remember praying any kind of ‘sinner’s prayer’, but knew I’d trusted Jesus, and felt a profound sense of cleanness inside.

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The cross especially captivated me, and positively ‘ruined’ me for anything else for the rest of my life. I returned to the show the next night, which was the final Saturday of the three month run at the Rainbow Theatre. I remember linking up with Christian again, and also joining cast members on the stage at the end of the performance.

A few days later I went out and bought a brown leather RSV Bible and began to read it voraciously. It was utterly alive! I then started going along to an Open Brethren church on Sunday mornings, even though culturally I felt like a “fish out of water”. A retired missionary to Muslims, Charles Marsh, took my family and I under his spiritual wing.

In late September, I made my way back to Leeds as a “new creation in Christ” – somewhat dreading the final year of studies in Economics, as my earlier interest had seriously waned. In the first few weeks of returning to university the Christian Union unsuccessfully tried to recruit me, but I arrogantly refused point-blank because they said I had to sign a Doctrinal Statement of belief!

Subsequently I got involved with the friendly Anglican Chaplaincy, and remain in touch with the Curate (assistant pastor) to this very day. His colleague the Vicar (pastor) surprised me by agreeing to baptize me by full immersion in the local Baptist Church down the road – despite my having previously been “Christened” in the Anglican Church as a baby!

Through my Chaplaincy friends I met two highly eccentric believers, Frank and Alan, the latter an ex-member of the Children Of God! I especially recall intriguing conversations together about the Old Testament prophets and their relevance for today.

In early 1974, I discovered a team of two couples who had newly arrived to evangelize and disciple students through Campus Crusade for Christ – and was nurtured by one of them named Nigel Spencer. Christian from the Jesus Family in London also kept in touch regularly by letter and prayed for me. I can readily recall him sending me literature warning me off the cults - stressing Jesus as the only Way to God - and encouraging me to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

On Thursday 2nd May 1974, while completing my final year, I was instrumental in putting on a gig for “The Sheep” in the Union Refectory at Leeds University, alongside my spiritual mentor Nigel Spencer. This was a promotional gig for “Lonesome Stone” at St. George’s Hall Bradford later that month from 6th-14th May.

Shortly afterwards I visited the Jesus Family house at 56 Beulah Hill in Upper Norwood. I can remember Phil Booth from Radio Worldwide leading an eye-opening Bible Study on ‘our position in Christ’ from Romans 6. This visit prompted some contact with the Deo Gloria Trust who sponsored the Jesus Family and Lonesome Stone outreach. Since coming to know Christ through the Jesus Family I discovered Kenneth Frampton was the main sponsor of this group – and many years later was able to thank him face-to-face. I can also remember helping recovering cult-victims from both Rev. Moon’s ‘Moonies’ and ‘The Children of God’ during these turbulent times of cults arising alongside the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

Following graduation I became lead vocalist in a Christian rock band called Sirius, our aim being to go on the road with the message of Jesus. However at that stage most of us were quite immature spiritually and the plan was eventually shelved. Sirius band members were Nick Young (keyboards); Jules Hardwick (guitar); Deluxe Bunyar (bass); Brian Morris (drums); and me (vocals).

In these early years I also found my way to the Greenbelt Christian Music Festival several times – reconnecting there with Jesus Family member “Swaff” (Robert Swaffield) and others. Greenbelt was pioneered in 1974 by Jesus Family leader Jim Palosaari and James Holloway of the band “All Things New”, and brokered by “Capel House” musician Steve Shaw. It was first hosted at Prospect Farm in Woodbridge Suffolk, England.

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Unfortunately I lost touch with Christian a year or so after coming to know Jesus – happily only to rediscover him through Facebook and the late Jim Palosaari about three years ago, just before Jim’s death in 2011. It has been amazing to link up again, express my gratitude to Christian, and together give God all the glory.                

To bring the story up to date:  I then worked full-time amongst students with Campus Crusade for Christ in the UK for seven years; studied for a degree in Theology at the London Bible College (now London School of Theology) for three years; and have pastored or helped to pastor three local churches following that. I presently serve as Equipping Pastor at Bournemouth Community Church on the south coast of England.

As I write I’m celebrating 40 years on the Christian road, and have had quite an attack of nostalgia – connecting with some Jesus Family members via Facebook, reading a numbers of books about the Jesus people movement, and reflecting on my spiritual roots. I firmly believe, despite the sometime naivety, that this era was one of genuine revival, where lost hippy-types were reached for Jesus largely outside but sometimes alongside the more established church. What does intrigue me though is the lack of written documentation of the impact of this revival in the UK specifically.

So, what do I recall looking back?

A special thanks to Andrew Whitman for sharing his story.

“As the Scriptures say, No eye has ever seen,no ear has ever heard, nor has the human heart ever been capable of imagining, all the things God has prepared for those who love Him"  (1 Corinthians 2:8-10, Isaiah 64:4).

To Be Continued


Read previous installments in David Hoyt's
"Jesus Revolution" Series:

Part 1: Jesus People Days

Part 2: A Cry Rushed Upward to a Place Called Heaven

Part 3: Ripe for Change and Heart Revolution

Part 4: Recollections of My Search for Truth

Part 5: My Search - A Prelude to Finding God

Part 6: A Search for God Unraveling

Part 7: An Appointment with God

Part 8: Launched into a New Life

Part 9: A Steep Learning Curve

Part 10: God - An Incredible Teacher

Part 11: Lancaster - A Desert Call

Part 12: Back in the City - San Francisco

Part 13: The SF Bay Area Jesus People Movement - Episode One

Part 14: The SF Bay Area Jesus People Movement - Episode Two

Part 15: Mission in Our Blood

Part 16: Crossroads

Part 17: Our Decision - Their Agenda

Part 18: Over My Head

Part 19: Dark Night of the Soul

Part 20: Spiritual Life Bursting Forth

Part 21: The Origins of a New Christian Multi-Media Theatrical Show


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Dave Hoyt and his wife Ginny reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He grew up a troubled teen in Los Angeles. In 1966 he moved to San Francisco’s ‘Haight District’ seeking truth and God. Reaching a crisis of belief in Eastern Religions – he turned to prayer and came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. He went on to be an early participant in the Jesus People Movement in the USA and Europe. He continues as a follower of Jesus Christ.

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Last Update: 2017-07-24 19:00