How a market stallholder saw a lifetime of miracles

In Training for Reigning

By Reg Gardner

(as told to Wendy Everingham)

Available from Finbarr Books Direct

Reg Gardner’s inspiring story of going from street trader to street preacher contains a rawness not often found in other books.

Reg is described as “cheeky but full of the love of the Lord”. When a new minister arrived at the church he attended in the East End of London, Reg asked him, “Are you born again?”

When a new minister arrived, Reg asked him, “Are you born again?”

Reg Gardner
“Cheeky but full of love for the Lord”:
evangelist Reg Gardner, now aged 82

A successful market stallholder who drove a Rolls Royce, he had never read the Bible. One day, when he was 51, his daughter rang: “Dad, I have met with Jesus.”

He felt he needed to find out what she was into – after all, there were lots of crackpots in the world! He visited church with her and heard the preacher say that if people had never received the gift of the Holy Spirit (as described in Acts), they should come forward to receive it.

“If there are gifts on offer, I want some of them,” he thought. He went forward and received far more than he bargained for.

What follows in the book is his story: conversion, dealing with addiction, being overwhelmed by his first Bible, followed by a lifetime of service.

He gave up wheeler-dealing, moved into a mobile home and found the Lord provide for him in the most amazing way. He was asked to become an evangelist at the Mayflower Centre (now renamed the River Christian Church) in one of the most deprived areas of the East End. His gift of the gab suddenly became useful as he shared Jesus in the pubs and marketplaces of the area.

The Lord Jesus not only changed him but led him to a life of miracles and divine encounters. Through the Prison Fellowship International he visited prisons, even travelling to the West Indies. He saw 66 prisoners come to Christ over two visits to a prison in St Vincent. Then off to Guyana and on to Africa.

He is now 82 years old, and still standing in his calling. “I am a street pastor to an unbelieving world,” he says.

While the book has not been subjected to editorial corrections from an established publisher, its authentic style is a breath of fresh air.


A Christian GP describes his journey to spiritual and physical wellbeing

Fit for Purpose

By Dr Richard Pile

Harper Inspire

This book comes alive at page 25. Suddenly the author begins to tell his story with gripping honesty.

Dr Richard Pile describes his early life and training as a medical doctor and GP, his marriage and fathering four children. He writes about one of his children who has multiple fits; sometimes the family have had to dial 999 because their son stopped breathing. Richard or his wife would sleep on the floor beside his bed, listening, checking he was still breathing. Gradually life ground him down emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. He faced burnout, and even as a doctor didn’t know how to deal with it.

Sometimes the family had to dial 999 because their son stopped breathing

Richard Pile
Dr Richard Pile says Christians over-emphasise the spiritual at the expense of the physical

For 37 years he had been a Christian. The family were part of a loving church. But he struggled when others stood up in the church to announce answered prayers, such as finding the right coloured outfit when shopping, yet all the time, their prayers for their son seemed to go unanswered.

He writes: “Real life is messy and complex. Beccy (his wife) and I had big questions to ask about whether God was here, did he care (about our situation)?”

They had reached a crisis point. They realised that, to survive as individuals, and as a family, they had to start caring properly for their own bodies. “As far as I am concerned,” he writes, “this isn’t a Christian book. It is a book about wellbeing and what it means to live a life that’s fit for purpose; written by a Christian…”

Within the Church, the author has observed a subtle “dualism” via an over-emphasis on the spiritual at the expense of the physical, so the book deals with the normal activities of life. It devotes chapters to ensuring sufficient sleep, eating the right food (including diets, or not!) and developing proper eating patterns.

It talks about the importance of movement, and of not beating yourself up if you get it wrong. It examines the impact of the coronavirus on our health.

In terms of mental health, Dr Pile shows how loneliness creates hurt and pain, and can lead to addictions and psychological issues. There’s a great chapter on “A renewed mind”.

To survive as individuals, they had to start caring properly for their own bodies

Dr Pile has no problem with those of other faiths. But his conclusion is that faith is vital for wellbeing. He shares three points:

  1.  The more serious, genuinely held and practised a religious commitment is, the greater its effect on wellbeing.
  2. Having a religious belief can give your suffering meaning, and provide a framework for coping with whatever life throws at you.
  3. Belief alone, without a personal practice or participation, does not promote wellbeing, and may even reduce it.

This book’s practicality, and good advice, will be helpful to many.

Are modern-day ‘prophets’ taking God’s name in vain?

RT Kendall weighs in on the current charismatic scene

Prophetic Integrity

By RT Kendall

Thomas Nelson

RT Kendall is a remarkable author but I have question marks about this book and Dr Michael L Brown mentions some of its controversial aspects in his foreword.

RT Kendall
Father figure: RT Kendall counsels caution

RT asserts that the current charismatic movement is an “Ishmael rather than an Isaac”. He tells us that we should never say “God told me,” as this takes God’s name in vain.

RT explains the purpose of the book by talking about divorce and how sometimes the children stay with the mother; other times, they stay with the father. RT’s experience as an 86 year-old father figure in the Church is that a great divide has happened in the Body of Christ today. There are churches who love the Word, and those who long for more of the Spirit.

He has stern words for today’s charismatics, warning that many have no theology of suffering, divine judgement, chastening or disciplining; he quotes Scriptures such as Hebrews 12:6, where the Lord talks about chastening and rebuking those whom he loves.

He calls the book’s early section “the good, the bad and the ugly” and refers to the failure of Donald Trump to be elected for a second term as United States president despite hundreds prophesying that he would be.

He asserts that we should never say, “God told me”

“Not one of them,” he declares, “saw that Biden would be inaugurated.”

His own experiences of the prophetic include his introduction to the Kansas City Prophets. He was so nervous the first time that he met prophetic minister Bob Jones that he began to quietly pray, “Jesus, cover me with the blood.”

When they met, Bob Jones smiled at him and continued: “Jesus, cover me with your blood.”

“Oh dear,” RT thought, “This man knows even my thoughts.”

Then the prophets prophesied of a great revival in London in the 1990s. People got excited. But it did not happen.

RT watched the nightly meetings in Lakeland, Florida, where many believed a genuine move of God was taking place. When a dozen well-known charismatic leaders went to Lakeland and endorsed the revival, they pleaded for RT to join them.

RT refused because he did not believe it was of God. A month later the revival suddenly stopped when the evangelist was caught in immorality.

RT ends this section with a warning to all of us that in the final judgement, God “will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart” (1 Corinthians 4:5).

He refers to the shock of the sex scandal concerning the late Dr Ravi Zacharias – a man so revered by Christians and non-Christians alike in his lifetime. He questions why no prophet discerned what was happening. His question is: “How can Christians – and especially prophets – get it so wrong when the Bible says that God reveals his secrets to those who fear him (Psalm 25:14)?”

Towards the latter part of the book there are excellent chapters about the God of glory, the dignity of his will and what is a truly biblical way to discern the future. You will enjoy reading it, but prepare to be challenged on your own thinking of the prophetic.


No sacrifice too great

Gordon Pettie introduces his new book on the wealthy world-class cricketer and Cambridge graduate who became a missionary to China, India and the Congo

One day I received a phone call from a Revelation TV viewer – a lady in her 90s, clearing her attic.

“I know you have an interest in the work of the China Inland Mission and Hudson Taylor,” she said. “I have found a first-edition book of theirs, would you like it?” I jumped at the opportunity.

When it arrived, it was not a book but notes on a farewell UK tour of seven top students from Cambridge University – wealthy aristocrats of their day, who were leaving everything to go and serve the Lord in China.

The most well-known man in the group was Charles T Studd. His story of privilege, wealth and fame as a world class cricketer, in the days when cricket was the major sport in the land, was amazing. I began to devour all I could read about CT Studd.

My new book is the result of that research. I am gripped by his story and think you will be too.

The book’s title, ‘No Sacrifice Too Great’, is from one of CT Studd’s favourite quotes: “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him.”

Wealthy aristocrats were leaving everything to go and serve the Lord in China

That’s exactly how he lived. After working in China and India, he started a mission in the Congo, Africa, which today has grown to be a worldwide mission with thousands of missionaries in many different parts of the world. The lessons from his life are an inspiration to us today.

The book is over 300 pages long and contains new research into CT’s life, as well as lots of maps and photographs. You won’t be disappointed when you read it!