Here is a transcript of what is said on the video "The Christian Faith" between Andy Nuttall and Dyer in memory of Philip Nuttall:
Andy: Hi, my name is Andy, and I'm here at a church, Love Life UK Church in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. This is Bruce Dyer who's the pastor of the church here, hi Bruce.
Bruce: Hi, greetings.
Andy: We're here actually to, well between us in a moment, we're going to explain what being a Christian is about. And that's actually stemmed from my dad Philip Nuttall who unfortunately passed away early on this year. And this building here was originally part of a Western Reform Union group of churches of which my dad was a part of it, and then that sold last year 2019 to Love Life UK Church. But before we get onto that, I'm going to ask Bruce who actually knew my dad from quite a few years ago now, when did you first come across my dad?
Bruce: It would be around 2011, 12. You know, your dad was part of a charity called Access to Sport. So John Dennis, the former Barnsley chairman, was part of this charity that your dad was part of which was involved in doing sports in the local community in an area called Grimethorpe when your dad was kind of like the administrator and organiser; that was my first encounter of meeting your dad.
Andy: It's great. Yes, I know he did many years working in local government and with local communities raising grants, etc., so that was a good project. I remember him saying years ago; I was involved in this over in the Grimethorpe area. But now you're a pastor of a church now, Bruce, but I understand that you are certainly in the sporting world, to put it mildly. So yeah, can you just give us a quick background as to what you used to do?
Bruce: Yes. I'm an ex-professional football player. A lot of people remember me Dyers, so there's a bit of history behind the name. So, I became the first teenager in England to be sold for over a million pounds when I was 18. I went from Watford to Crystal Palace. So I've played at Crystal Palace, Watford, Barnsley, Sheffield United, Stoke City, Doncaster, Rovers, Chesterfield, so I've been a bit of a journeyman in the world of sports. And so, a lot of people remember me as the first million-pound teenager, but then also now since retiring; I am a pastor of the Love Life UK Church in this beautiful part of the country.
Andy: Yeah, and you're not originally from Yorkshire I can tell by your accent.
Bruce: No, I’m a Londoner.
Andy: London, okay. So for many years as a professional footballer in all the big clubs in the country; when did you become a Christian yourself?
Bruce: I became a Christian in 1998. I grew up in the church as a child. My mum's a minister, my uncle was a Bishop, and so I got brought up in church. I always tell people this; there's a difference in having knowledge of Jesus Christ and having a personal relationship. And so, when I left home at the age 16 to do my apprenticeship at Watford; that was kind of like for me the great escape from home. Became a pro, but there's a Bible verse that I can really, really resonate with and connect with. It says this, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and to lose his soul." And, you know, that was me as a child, my dream was to become a professional football player, become a pro, buy a house, buy my mum a house, buy a Mercedes convertible, see myself on match of the day, and by the time I was in my early twenties…
Andy: Living the dream.
Bruce: Living the dream, by the time I was in the early twenties, I was living the dream, but it went from living the dream to a living nightmare. And I kind of went off the rails and I just found myself in a really, really dark, depressed state. And what confused me the most about that period was, why should someone like me be depressed when I'm living the so-called dream? And I wasn't. And then, I remember my brother who got himself into a mess, ended up on crack cocaine; street robor, up in prison became a Christian in prison and the transformation in his life because of the gospel message of Jesus Christ. I remember when I was in a really bad place, he just shared his story and just told me how, what, when, and I saw the transformation, and it was in that moment that I made a commitment to follow Jesus. And my life has never, ever, ever been the same since, and that was in 1998, and we're now in 2020.
Andy: Yeah, gosh; over 20 years ago. Wow.
Andy: And literally in the last two years, from what I understand then actually, Bruce, you're now sort of involved in Love Life UK Church and leading that.
Andy: So, that's kind of where my dad and this chapel building came into the picture at that point. So, how did that work out? Because I know that you ended up being able to purchase this building very cheap, and also it was very timely, very God timely.
Bruce: I tell people this, I believe in miracles, some people don't, but I believe I really do believe in miracles. And so, we've got a prayer group that we used to meet weekly. And someone turned up at the prayer group who just mentioned about the Salem Church and this building that there was an issue that they needed someone to take it over. It was a really, really small congregation; older congregation and that had kind of taken it as far as they could. And so, I remember in the prayer meeting just simply praying for the trustees of the church that it would go into the right hands. And I remember saying to Richard, the guy who was in the prayer meeting, "We might be interested" because at that time we were just meeting in a hotel; we didn't have a home.
And so, I went in my car after the prayer meeting, and I began to pray in the spirit, and I just felt something. I can't even explain what I felt apart from I felt something.
And obviously, I knew who Phillip was, and so I phoned Philip, and I said, "Phillip, I've just come out of this prayer meeting; what's the bigger picture about the building?" Then he began to share this is the scenario, and one of the things that is really special to our heart that the legacy of James Hudson Taylor is kept alive. And I said, "Funny enough talking about James Hudson Taylor," I said, "Last week I preached about him, Psalms 112, where God remembers the memory of the righteous."
Andy: He was a missionary, wasn't he, for many, many years?
Bruce: James Hudson Taylor was one of the missionaries that taught the gospel of Jesus Christ to China. Now, there are millions of Christians in China because of a man from Barnsley; it's phenomenal.
Andy: Literally, this church, this building was where he was a part of and fellowshipped.
Bruce: Yes, his family attended the church. He attended this church. And so, when I said that to your dad and then your dad was like, "Oh, wow." Then I asked your dad what was the running cost of the building? I explain to him about some provision that had come to the church, which was miraculous as well. And so, your dad said, "Can you come to like an emergency meeting next week?" Which would have been, the prayer meeting Thursday morning, I was speaking to your dad at lunchtime, and then he asked me if I could come to a meeting on the Monday. I went back, told my wife, we both agreed that if felt right, and we came to a meeting here, and I began to share the story like I'm sharing it now. And I'll never forget Jen, one of the trustees, she sat there, and a tear rolled down her face and she said, "We believe you are the answer to our prayers." And she said, "We're going to give you the building." And that's when the journey began, which has been a phenomenal journey.
Andy: Yes, perfect timing.
Bruce: Yeah, perfect timing.
Andy: And I think the most important thing with something like that, like what we were saying earlier actually, is that there's that sense of God and divine timing come in at just the right time and everything slotted into place. And the most important thing and for what we're going to focus on now actually, is what that actually means to be a Christian and to believe in God? That's something that if God does exist, then God is there for everyone, not just religious people or people who even necessarily go to church in that way. But if God is there, He's there for everyone. So, I think probably the best way we're going to have a go at doing this now is through a very old demonstration that my dad did years ago, decades ago, actually. So, when he was preaching in often pulpits like this or different chapels, trying to explain real simple terms, what does believing in Jesus mean and being a Christian?
So, I want to go through what I remember with this Bruce, and then if you can try and add some more to it in terms of what it actually means in terms of real life. So, it started off with a demonstration of an old battery; an old car battery. And this is probably going back; I reckon 20, 30 years, an old battery case that was for caravans and trailers and things. We've got this connected up now to the mains actually, but this represented in simple terms, almost like the power source of God. Because if God does exist, then he's created everything and He's created us, so He is a powerful God. What does it say about that in the Bible, in particular, Bruce?
Bruce: God is all-powerful. I mean, I really love this illustration because God is all-powerful. And in the book of Genesis, it talks about Adam and Eve, and God gave Adam and Eve and said, look, He made this beautiful earth, He gave man dominion, and He said, look in the garden, do not touch that tree. So, they didn't listen, they disobeyed God, and their disobedience disconnected them from God. And so, sin disconnects us from God. The Bible says that all have sinned; everybody has sinned; every single person has fallen short of the glory of God and has been disconnected because of sin. And so this illustration is an illustration of how do we reconnect and get connected with God. Sin disconnects us from God, and that's how it started, and I'll let you carry on.
Andy: Yes. Well, what you mentioned actually when they were supposed to represent the glory of God, and Adam and Eve were created by God and for God. So, on a practical level, the way my dad kind of explained that was by car lights, which sounds a bit strange I know, but those who knew my dad will know that he absolutely loved cars, to put it mildly. So, these literal headlights for cars, I reckon probably go back to the eighties or nineties, old-school round things with a big plastic grille in the front of it. And yeah, he literally had a box of these, so there were different types of these lights. There's one here, which is kind of like a fog light, which is used to put underneath the chrome bumpers. But these are all different, they're all different shapes, different colours purposes, but the idea is that a light is supposed to connect to the battery source and the power so that it lights up. And I guess that links to what you were just saying about when as humans, we were designed to be connected to God in that sense.
Bruce: Yeah, God made us in His image, God made us to be in a relationship with Him and because of sin, we got disconnected. And so, God so loved the world, and John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, it says that whoever, anybody who would believe in Him would not perish or be separated or be disconnected, and would be reconnected to God and have everlasting life. And some people may be thinking, "Well, you know, why do I need to be reconnected with God? What does that look like?" You know, one of the things that really stuck out to me in my time of being disconnected from God is that I lacked peace. I wasn't happy. I had the money, I had the car, I had the house, I had everything that should make you feel happy, but I wasn't.
I didn't have no peace. I didn't have no joy, and I never forget that my brother who, when he came out of prison, he was a reformed person. You know, he didn't have much when he came out of prison, but he had peace. It was just a joy; there was a peace; there was something about him that I used to look at him and think, "I wish I could have that." It was special. And so, God sent His son into the world for Jesus to die on this cross and for humanity to be reconnected, but the connection comes through Christ as you're about to explain.
Andy: Yeah, completely well. And if I will give you one of these lights, actually, Bruce. I'll give you that. So that the theory is now is that we've got this battery box, which is connected to an old caravan socket, I think, or something that you tow a tractor with. Now, that is what actually connects him back to the cross, which represents what Jesus did 2000 years ago. And each of these lights has got a much smaller socket on them. And these small sockets, they're the wrong connector to get into the battery box. As you mentioned earlier, it's almost like the sin problem that if we're doing it our own way, and we're saying, we don't want God, then we can't connect into God. We've created a separation, so the only way that we can get that connection back is through the cross.
So, on a practical note, if I put this back in here, and then I press there, we've got a light there. This is very eighties; actually, these fog lights were, look at that. They put on these like a stone protector I think, to stop the chips hitting them, but these would go underneath the bumper for extra lights on there. And we'll take this one here. This is a really old one, probably an old headlight from an old car somewhere. So, if I've put this thing into one of these here and connect that on there, yeah, that’s another one on there. So even though these are different lights, different shapes, different purposes, once they're connected through Christ, bang, we're back in connection with God as a power source.
Andy: Now, how Bruce, in terms of what it means to be Christian and accepting this belief in Jesus. How does that actually mean and what does that look like?
Bruce: It involves repentance, but one of the first messages that Jesus spoke, He says repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. And what is repentance? Really, the simplest way to put repentance is literally a change of mind that leads to a change of action; that means you’re doing what you want to do in life. Repentance means you do 180-degree turn and you turn and you go the direction of what God wants for your life. And this is as simple as a change of mind that leads to a change of action.
Andy: Yes. At that point, once we decide that, and we make that decision to receive Christ and what He's done because of the cross, He took all the rap, all the wrong stuff that we've done; He took it for us.
Bruce: It's a divine exchange. And again, a really simple way of putting it is that you're in court, the judge is up there at the judge's seat, you know that you're guilty; you've committed the crime. The gospel message is basically Jesus walking into the court, going to the judge and saying, "You go free. I'm taking your sentence." It's really simple. And for me, what really blessed me when I became a Christian; it was actually that simple. It was just a simple decision to just believe and to receive, to be reconnected to the power source, and to be made alive, and to be made a new person that God made all the old things pass away. And He made everything new in my life that here I am 21 years later, still living that brand new class of life because of what Jesus has done on the cross.
Andy: Yeah, fantastic, great. And as we just said, the Bible says that we become a new creation, a new creature, so by being a Christian, we're all, of course still human and God has still made us, and we're still human. But, there's that disconnection from God, our creator, who is a loving God, and He's done everything that He can do to sort out all the wrong stuff to get us back with Christ’s righteousness as well.
Bruce: And it is a process. Again, an illustration that I use is that a butterfly wasn't born a butterfly; it was a Caterpillar. And then, there was a process of being transformed from a Caterpillar to a butterfly, and your walk with Jesus is the same. When I became a Christian, my spirit became, but still in my emotions and my mind, I had to begin to change the way I was thinking. And then, when you change the way you think, you change the way you act, but that was over a period of time, reading my Bible, praying, being around the right people. That over a period of time, the things that I did 20 years ago, I don't do now, but then still have not arrived to where I need to be because it's still an evolving journey, your walk with Jesus.
Andy: Yes. And of course, that, once you're a Christian in the first place and you've got the power connected, then that's actually helping us and changing us to do that.
Andy: We can start then behaving better and doing things that we thought we'd maybe never do before.
Andy: Just to finish off; actually, I'm going to ask Bruce too, first of all, read something from the book of Romans in the Bible, and this is something that specifically, my dad mentioned that we're going to be reading on his Memorial service. And then secondly, I'm going to ask Bruce just to pray for people. And I think the most important thing here is that, just to try and explain to people what faith in Christ and a Christian is, and that's something that I know my dad stood for, for a long time. And it's been an encouragement to me to hear actually the full story of Bruce and the church here. And also, if people are interested, we'll leave some contact details. So, at the bottom of the video, there'll be links to either myself or to Bruce here with the church in Barnsley. Any information, let us know, and we'll gladly provide that for people. So yeah Bruce, could you read the couple of verses from Romans chapter eight.
Bruce: Romans 8:38-39, it says; "For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is through Christ Jesus, our Lord." It's really special to me, that verse because what it's basically saying is that there is nothing that can disconnect. Once we are connected, the only person that can disconnect me from God is me, but nothing else can, because God has given us free will to choose. But, it's saying that nothing can disconnect us and that God's love is an everlasting love.
And so, Father, I just pray now in the name of Jesus. Lord, maybe there is someone that's watching that has already felt what we've said; then Lord, we thank you that it is really simple to be reconnected. And that just involves a repentance of making a decision to change the way we think that leads to change the way we act. And Lord, I want to thank you that Lord, you help us to do that your Holy Spirit gives us the power and the ability to change. And I pray Lord, that someone is listening that may be saying, Lord Jesus, come into my life; that Lord, as they call on your name and that you said that if anyone calls upon the name of the Lord that they will be saved. And as someone calls by faith, then Lord, you will save them and that you would do what only you can do in their lives. And that you would make them a new creation that you would make old things pass away, that you had called all things to be made new in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ and amen and amen.