Stephen Lamb

Little ‘“Lamb Chops’”

Hi. I’m Stephen Daniel Lamb, a youth and community worker in Bradford. I was born 4th October, 1983 in St James’s hospital, Leeds, weighing 6lbs 6oz. Not a bad size to say I was 6 weeks early! To this day, mum and dad say I was born long, scrawny and covered in hair like a monkey. After being in intensive care for a short time, I grew to be a healthy, happy lad with a passion for Leeds United. I played footy every break time at Gledhow primary and was the best defender in the school team. Although I was quite shy and quiet, football was something that gave me confidence and helped me make friends; who later nicknamed me ‘Lamb Chops.’ From an early age, I went to Sunday school at Bridge St church, Leeds. I believed that God loved me and I was a happy lad.

Cheeky Chops

Around the age of 9, church and God became boring and irrelevant. I didn’t get why some people got all excited about church and praying, while I felt bored and fed up! I began to think that maybe I just wasn’t good enough to be close to God. At primary school I became cheeky and would swear and say rude stuff to make my mates laugh. This got worse when I started Roundhay High school and realised there were people a lot more popular and streetwise than me. I wasn’t so much the centre of attention anymore and even though I was still in the ‘popular’ group, I felt I had to do more to be noticed. I became more cheeky and disruptive in class which ended up with me in trouble at school and home. I listened to music with violent lyrics and acted hard but inside I felt scared of being me. I began to grow weed and I would occasionally sell and smoke it because it got me the respect from older lads. But I still felt empty and my life felt pointless. I didn’t like the person I was becoming but I didn’t want to be a boring ‘church boy’ either. I wanted life, adventure and purpose but I didn’t know where to find it. In March 1998, I got a nasty shock when a school friend died in an accident. Tanya fell from the emergency exit of the moving school bus after a fight broke out. She suffered serious head injuries and died, age 13. The news felt like a slap in the face! Tanya had always been so loud and full of life but all of a sudden, she was gone. I began to look at my own life and wonder what or who I was living for. God was on my case but I had no idea what He was about to do.

The Lost Lamb

In the summer of 1996, (age 13) I went to a youth camp on the coast near Bridlington. It was an exciting opportunity to get some freedom away from home, play football and meet new friends (and of course … girls!). What I didn’t expect was to feel and ‘connect’ with God in a way that would change my life! Each evening, about 160 teenagers would pile into the ‘Liveset’ youth tent. There was loud music, games and a real buzz about the place as the leaders spoke about Jesus. I’d heard that Jesus died for the sins of the world a thousand times before, but this time it felt personal. It was as if God was right there surrounding me, saying ‘Stephen, I love you so much, I died for you’! I said ‘OK then God, if you’re really there, do something in my life and if not, don’t bother!’ I didn’t see a vision of God or begin to float on angels’ wings but I know that as I cried out my pain and emptiness, God began to fill me with a love, strength and purpose that I’d never felt before!

Lamb Shanked

Back home in Leeds, my life became loads better. After getting baptised, aged 15, I felt a new power and confidence from God to be myself and not be jealous of ‘popular‘friends. Instead, I began to pray for them to know Jesus. One friend smoked weed in school, stole cars aged 13 and crashed one outside the school gates before a SATs exam. With my new power and confidence I remember at the age of 17 I decided to tell a few drug dealers about Jesus. After praying, I got the bus to Chapeltown and behind the Hayfield pub started telling grown men about Jesus. I was surprised at how a drug dealer and an addict listened as I told them Jesus loved them.

I made many mistakes as a teenager and in fact I still do now. Two days before my 14th birthday I was out in a field drinking with about 50 school friends when a gang of about twenty 17 year old lads arrived from another school. I’d drunk too much to realise that I was in danger when they began threatening me. Suddenly, I was on the floor as they kicked me repeatedly in the head and chest & stamped on my face, breaking my nose. I decided not to get drunk again. God must have been protecting me as I somehow managed to run away. My mate later told me they had chased after me but I was going in the opposite direction! Soon after, I began struggling to sleep. The more tired I got, the more things bothered me and I slept badly for 4 years. During that time God never left me and loads of great things happened but I knew I had to get help. Through reading the Bible and talking to friends and family I began to sleep well again. I realised I’d been stuck in a rut, trying so hard to be a better person but forgetting that Jesus wanted me to rest, be myself and enjoy life. It was around this time that I made some great friends and began to get into (legal) graffiti art and spray painting.

Lamb Legacy

When I spray paint a blank canvas I think of a new start and fresh ideas. But even when I do my best pieces, I still feel ‘I could have done better’. An amazing thing about God is that He made you and loves you just as you are. He doesn’t look at you and think ‘I could have done better.’ He made you unique and amazing. He knows the best and the worst things you’ve ever done and He wants the best for you. God loves you so much that he sent Jesus, His only Son, into this world to die on a cross in your place for all the wrong you’ve ever done or ever will do. 3 days later, He came back to life and is in now Heaven now but He’s coming back soon. If you believe in Him, you won’t be separated from God in Hell when you die but have eternal life with Him in Heaven (John 3 v 16). Hard work and good deeds won’t get you to Heaven. Even on our best days we don’t get close to Gods perfection. The only way to be sure of going to Heaven and to know God on earth is to believe in Jesus & live for Him (John 14 v 6). But the choice is yours, God won’t force his way into your life.

You can say this to God

Dear God, I know that I’m not perfect and I’ve done wrong. I believe you sent Jesus, your Son, into this world to die for all the bad things I ever do. Jesus, you are perfect and I ask you to be the most important person in my life. Give me your power to change and do what pleases you. Fill me with your love and your Holy Spirit. I choose to live a new life with you in charge. Thank you that you have amazing plans for me, more than I can imagine!

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. If you have any comments, questions or even want to chat to me face to face, I’d be really happy for you to contact me by the email address below. Also, if you have said the prayer above, let the ‘I dare you to read it’ team know – they’d love to help you begin your journey with God.

God Bless
Stephen

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