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This is the long-awaited story of who we are as a Christian clothing brand – it's taken me far too long to make this original video and start this blog – to tell the story God put on my heart over four years ago. You see I love to see God in action and love move – I'm chasing miracles and this is where it all started. We are all about encouraging others to be brave and courageous just as God called you to be.
As Laura (my beautiful wife) can testify this message is something I’ve struggled with getting to this point and I’m not 100% sure why – it started as a personal project, something God was challenging me on in terms of stepping out and living the life He called me to live but there was a huge disconnect between my faith and the way I was living. I’d read about all the miracles Jesus performed and that He gave us the authority to do the same and change this world for the better – to walk in love no matter what. So what was stopping me? Fear of looking like a fool? Fear of asking someone if I could pray for and with them believing for a miracle and that nothing would happen? Probably all of these and more…
You see I've been a Christian for around 18 years and attended Hillsong London for most of that time. I had the most amazing encounter with God when I was 26 years young (and that's a whole new blog post in itself, as it was epic). I met Laura at Church later that year and fell in love with the most amazing woman I'd ever met (boom). We soon jumped into building church together, from being on the hosting team, to being leaders in kids church for a few years and also youth. After around eight years of some amazing highs (and to be honest some lows too), as we walked into Church one Sunday a friend of ours, Kenny handed me a promotional card of a course starting very soon, designed just for us men to reconnect our hearts to God's plan – called 'Wild at Heart' – my first reaction was 'no I'm all good thanks Ken' – my La took over and said 'consider him booked in' lol.
On the course taster night I heard the leaders introduce the course and talk so honestly about how they felt at times and things they battled with – I felt like I was sitting on a box full of hurts and mistakes and was so scared to commit to these ten weeks as I knew I'd have to confront them head-on ... needless to say I jumped in and during these ten weeks journaled, read, prayed, talked through so many things that the Holy Spirit brought to the surface. The course finished with a retreat and fifty of us guys going away for the weekend together (packed with teachings and activities – it was so good). By the end of the course I felt like my circumstances were still the same and yet God had transformed so much in my thinking and had restored so much in my heart. Laura could see the transformation in me and experience it in our marriage. When asked she compares me as being Ribena before to Champagne after the course – cheers to that!
After the course finished I was asked to stay on to become a leader of 'Wild at Heart', helping to take on around 200 guys each year through the course and being there for them. I loved these years so much as I was able to connect with so many amazing guys (and their families) and see their hearts transformed also.
Part of the reason I share this short story of me (and us) is that you get to know me and a small part of what God has done in our life. During one retreat one of the guys in my group was looking like he couldn't make it as he was in so much pain with a trapped nerve in his back (it saddened me a lot as he was so open in our group sessions and such an amazing guy). As I spoke to him that week I felt in my spirit like he needed to come regardless and told him with 100% conviction that if he came he'd be healed of the pain and would have the most amazing time (I simply had no doubt).
Matt came and before our opening session I gathered all the leaders around to pray for Matt and his back. After ten / fifteen minutes of praying nothing happened and his pain was the same ... as we dispersed to get ready for the night I knew what God had told me and decided to go and pray one more time for Matt just me and him. I laid my hands on his back and said the most simplest prayer – pain be gone in Jesus name – and asked him straight away to test it. He did and I could see from the tears in his eyes and the disbelief on his face that the pain had gone. We were jumping up and down and to be honest both in shock – he was totally healed. I'd seen so many miracles happen over time through our prayers, but this was the first miracle I saw in person ... wow Jesus really does still work through us!
So back to the reason for this first post and how Fortitudo Club started – looking back it's from this point of seeing Matt healed that I started this quest to see more of God-in-action. I realised that I've never met in person a Christian that loves to go out and actively pray for people where-ever they go ... I saw an amazing documentary called 'Father of Lights' by Darren Wilson and realised that there are people that have the same heart and desire as me and this should be how us as Christians should live our life – in love and in relationship with our creator, seeing signs and wonders all around us – that we are called to be light in this world.
During this time of revelation I also know that it takes amazing courage to be who we are called to be. To go against who the world says we are.
One morning praying for more courage and revelation about 'what God's plan really is for my life' and reading Ephesians 6: 10–20; I decided to make myself my very own 'Armour’ a ‘Brave’ t-shirt to remind myself of who I’m called to be.
So I guess it's from this point forward that the seed was planted for me to go on this journey and to see God in action all the time – a journey to be who God has called me to be and live my life full of love and courage. It's been so hard at times but it's something God has really put on my heart.