THE GLORY STORY
Born in London, my alcoholic father left home when I was just three years of age. I was to suffer child abuse of the worst imaginable kind, in children’s homes over a period of five years; I grew to be a very angry and violent young man. I vowed that no adult would ever hurt me again. At the age of thirteen I was expelled from school only semiliterate, for bludgeoning the woodwork teacher with a lump of 4x2.
Mr Waddington, the headmaster, told my mother, “Your son is useless, his life will never amount to anything, he will probably end up sleeping in a ditch” I later spent three years in prison for violent behaviour; during this time I was taught how to lay bricks. Whilst in prison, I spent quite some time “in the hole” in solitary confinement for violence.
At that time, you were locked up ”in the hole” 24 hours a day, all you had in the cell during the day was a Bible; no blankets, no bed, no chair, nothing but a Bible, a block of wood to sit on, and a pot…... I picked up the Bible on a number of occasions and tried to read it, but I couldn’t. On one occasion I threw it down in frustration, and I remember shouting, “WHO can understand that BOOK!”
After leaving prison I worked on building sites as a bricklayer during the day, whilst I would spend the evenings and weekends chasing women getting drunk and fighting. I was wild, for you to have beaten me; you would have had to kill me, which nearly happened on a number of occasions.
At the age of 25 I became a salesman, channelling all my aggression into being number One. I now had an opportunity to prove that I wasn’t a person with no value, I wasn’t just a worthless piece of trash; if I could beat the others I would become someone important! In a very short period of time I was earning a substantial income and owned a beautiful house, my own Rolls Royce’s, a blue one, a white one, a yellow one and a green Bentley for good measure, I also owned Lotus, Ferrari and other exotic cars and had around 50 salesmen working for me.
As a salesman I found it very easy to chat up women. However I never had a proper relationship, I didn’t know how. My idea of a relationship was to take a hostage. I was never faithful; it just never crossed my mind that I ought to be. Although I never committed myself to the covenant of marriage, I had two children with a girl.
After a brief spell in prison for an incident in a night club, I pushed the self -destruct button. I decided that I was fed up with sales and would make my fortune abroad. (The real reason was, I was drinking too much alcohol to hold it all together!) So I bought the kids and their mother somewhere to live, left England and went to Portugal to further my career of chasing women and getting drunk, in which I must say contrary to my delusions, I was more successful in the latter than the former.
During one particular time of violence in my thirties, I was stabbed; all my main arteries were severed. The police later said that if it had not been for two Roman Catholic nuns who helped me, I would have bled to death.
Well, to cut a long story short, on a Friday evening at 8.30 on the 15th of January, in the early nineties, I called out to God with the following thought, “To hell with it, I will give my life to J.” I just got the “J...” of Jesus out, when God met me; He saved me and loved me. All I ever really wanted in life was to be accepted and loved. Ever since that day of my salvation, I have had a burning passion to tell the whole wide world, that Jesus Christ is God’s only Son.
Later in the same year of my salvation I felt inspired to create Bible games and a Talking Picture Bible….with no Bible knowledge, no artwork skills, no story line, no money, having never read a book in my life, nor any love or understanding of games, or understanding of business and no idea whatsoever of how a mission organisation works, I set out on this mammoth task by employing an artist named Slim, who drew our first 300 pictures.
When I was saved I was single and the children’s mother had been in a relationship for a couple of years; So after my salvation I never took a girlfriend or married, as I was consumed with the desire to seek God’s plan for my life, praying, fasting and devoting hours to Bible study. On reflection now, I can see that if I had taken a wife, I would have had to reprioritize my life and it would have been impossible for me to complete The Glory Story.
In 1994 I started work on the Talking Picture Bible. In these books there were no words, just pictures. To accompany the book was a cassette tape that told the story and then told you to move onto the next picture. The idea was that the picture books would stay the same in all the world’s languages, whilst the script could be translated into many languages and given away freely, so that missionaries could make the cassette tape in whatever language they chose. The cassettes would then marry with the picture books and this would be an evangelism tool for many missionaries around the world in many languages.
I think the leaders at the local church must have received special grace to deal with me. Even after my conversion I was still a bit of a hot head; I had been saved for about twelve months, when one Sunday morning a man aggressively pushed me in church. I reacted rather badly…. There was blood all over the church reception area and he was taken to hospital to be stitched up. In terms of church life, nearly everything that I could do wrong, I did. I found comfort in the fact that Jesus called some of His followers “Sons of Thunder” Which meant they were quick-tempered and violent men. I always held on to the fact that Christ died for my sins and God accepted me exactly as I was.
Because my vision of The Talking Bible never originated with the local church it was actively discouraged by the church committee and I was unofficially “written off” as having an “unteachable spirit.” It was at this time that I started to learn about grace from a very precious couple in their late sixties called John & Gwen they showed me and my children their love, by inviting us round for lunch most Sundays. After three years my main motivation to attend the Sunday morning meeting, was to have lunch with these two precious Christians who showed me their love. Man may reject a religious system, but man will NEVER EVER reject love.
I thank God also that I came across the ministry of a man called Malcolm Smith www.MalcolmSmith.org I started to see a wonderful group of people called “The Body of Christ” where Jesus was the head and each man/woman had to find their place in the Body and function under the head as a living organ.
I felt set free! I felt born again, again . Given this new-found freedom, I continually immersed myself in intense Bible studies, a lot of the time with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of wine or a tin of lager in the other. As well as Bible reading, I had the Bible on cassette and I would play the Bible all night and wake up to the Bible being read.
For the first five years of my salvation I only had a push bike I didn’t even have a car! “MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEY” ‘From a Ferrari to a push bike’ I wonder if that would be a popular title for a book in some of the more prosperous Christian circles! All I did for five years continuously was to read the Bible day and night, in relation to the ideas of Bible games and the Talking Picture Bible that we were making.
One day in 1996 I dialled a phone number from a list in a directory. There was no reply, so I left a message on the answer machine. That evening a man called Bernard phoned, after a brief conversation he informed me that I had dialled the wrong number. He then asked what I was doing and I told him about the Talking Bible Project, he replied, “If it is Bible pictures you want my boy, then you come and see me.” John, Gwen and I went to meet Bernard who at this time was in his seventies. Bernard had all the Bible pictures of which he owned the copyright and after several meetings, in the following year of 1997 we came to an agreement and I became the legal owner of the Bible images.
The funny thing was Bernard was from a denomination that my denomination referred to as being “spiritually dead.” And so it was that as I pressed on with the project that my concept of “The Body of Christ” expanded and crossed denominational borders and would eventually in my thinking cross geographical, cultural and international borders.
In 1999 I was under a great deal of pressure with finances, as nearly all of my time and money was spent on the Talking Bible Project and I was forced to sell my four bedroom detached property before the mortgage lenders issued a repossession order.
At this time we started to translate the scripts for the Talking Picture Bible into different languages; from English into French, German, Russian, Chinese, Hindi Arabic, Urdu, Spanish and Portuguese. We were also doing a number of other jobs related to the project and all of my money was continually devoured paying everyone’s wages.
At that time I was living in one room which doubled up as the international headquarters for the Talking Bible Project. In this small room was a bed, a pc and a library of different translations of the Bible and other Bible related books. At this time I couldn’t do internet or email, my only means of international communication was a “pay as you go” mobile phone. I am the sort of person that learns best through mistakes and hardships, rather like most of the characters in the Bible.
One Saturday, everything that could go wrong, did! I couldn’t face going back to that small room alone at 3.00 in the afternoon so I decided to drive 100 miles and have a few drinks with some old mates that I hadn’t seen for about eight years. I was desperately lonely I hadn’t had the companionship a woman for eight years. As I turned right on to the motorway, what was always previously a still small voice inside shouted just two words, “DON’T GO!” I replied, “Too late I am already on my way.”
Within 12 hours of going back to the old territory, I was in jail for drunk driving and head butting two policemen. A short time later I moved into a very small rented property, which for the last six years has also been the international office where The Glory Story film was born without a single member of staff and where I still live at the time of writing.
By 2003 I was fellowshipping with Christians on a daily basis; I would collect my kids from their mothers in the morning and drive them to and collect them from school every day. It was at this time that one day whilst working I found myself talking to a man named Russell Chadwick whom I found out was a part time pastor and he invited me to his church. About six months later I felt inspired to accept the invitation to go to church and I am still there a number of years later.
From that small fellowship of believers led by Pastor Russell Chadwick. I found help and encouragement with our Bible work for the first time. Through that chance meeting with the pastor, the Lord provided a link to a network of international TV stations, a computer architect made himself available to the project, a highly qualified musician caught hold of the vision as did a number of other artistic people who joined in. Without all these gifted people The Glory Story film would not have been possible.
One very prominent lady recently said, “Do you realise what a miracle The Glory Story is?” She then went on to say, “The denomination that I belong to is very wealthy and they spend many millions of dollars every year looking for ways to teach the Bible story. But with all of their wealth and resources they haven’t got a product as good as this, which gives you the panoramic overview of the Bible.” As this woman spoke, I saw what an incredible miracle The Glory Story was and that The Glory Story really was an amazing gift from God.
It seems that God likes to create something from nothing. When I received the inspiration for this work in 1993 I had no Bible knowledge, I received most of my Bible knowledge from the work I did with the Talking Picture Bible. Because of my intense work with the Talking Picture Bible I can recite the whole Bible story from Genesis to Revelation in chronological order in around ten minutes, as the whole Bible story lives within me. Without this understanding of the Bible in chronological order, the making of the Glory Story film, in what I believe to be a simple helpful way for the average non academic person like myself, would not have been possible.
When I started this work in 1993 there was no such thing as a DVD. There was no internet, emailing or computer, no software that could manipulate images and make animated moving films; no software with which to compose your own music. In 1993 if you wanted music you had to employ an orchestra, not speak to a mate from church with a degree in music and a pc. The only people that would even consider attempting to make an animated film of the whole Bible in 1993 would be Disney or another major film corporation.
If you receive a vision from heaven it will not make any sense. To see the vision through, you will have to become a fool for Christ! It will be like writing a book that you haven’t got a storyline for. You will write chapter after chapter and it is not until you get to the last chapter, that all the previous chapters make any sense. It has taken me thirteen years and we are still writing what I hope is the last chapter, before we start on the next book on this spiritual journey.
We share this story with you to encourage you. YES! God does have a plan for your life regardless of sex, colour, discrimination by religious leaders, culture, social or financial standing or personal mistakes. YES! There is hope. YES! There is a future. Never give up! God does have a plan for you! 1st John “If we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Failure is not falling down, but rather staying down!
Ever since the beginning of this project 12 years earlier, a handful of people from different denominations supported me with finances, and of course I was responsible to them regarding how I spent their money. After spending many, many thousands of pounds on the Talking Bible Project, one day in January 2005, twelve years after my salvation, I had a big shock.
I realised that cassette tapes had been superseded by compact discs and DVDs and people were talking about ipods & mp3’s etc which I didn’t understand. However it was very clear that cassette tapes were nearing the end of their commercial life. After 12 years our vision of a Talking Picture Bible was a NO BRAINER! After 12 years our vision of a Talking Picture Bible was going to be A NON EVENT!
So all the work I had done and all of the money and years had been wasted in what could only be seen as foolishness. I was distraught. I wondered how could God bring me through all those hard times to just desert me! Why would God be so cruel to me?
What would I tell my partners who have backed me financially for ten years? What would my children think of me for being such a fool? It was like the pit of my stomach had been torn from me, and in the fantasy of my mind I could hear the religious leaders mocking, “I told you so, an unteachable spirit.”
For months all I could think about was how stupid I had been! I was 47 years of age. I was living in the western world, I owned no property! I had no income! No savings! No pension! I had given twelve years of my life and given all of my money and resources to a stupid project that was a NO BRAINER!
All because I believed that God had spoken into my spirit. This is what had driven me for twelve years. What a fool I had been, how could I have been so wrong for so long. All I could think about was what could I do with the rest of my life. Perhaps I could get a job as a coach driver and take pensioners on holiday.
Then one day in a flash of inspiration I saw that we could make an animated film of the whole Bible, The Glory Story…… the rest is, as they say, history! …..