Devotions - Graham Perolls (13/05/19) Graham spoke about one of his favourite films, Les Miserables. In the film there is one scene that he particularly likes, but is often overlooked despite its importance. Jean Valjean was a prisoner who stole a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s children during a time of economic depression. He eventually was released and in desperation went to a priest’s house and was given shelter. Whilst there he stole some silverware and soon after was picked up by the police and taken back there. The priest, however, told the police that he had given the candlesticks as a gift and so, Valjean, was released. This is a great story of redemption- the film tells the story of his repentance and from then on becomes an honourable man, becoming the Mayor of Montreil-Sur-Mere. He adopted the daughter of a dying girl and had a very different life. The other main character is Javier, a policeman who appears obsessed with Jean Valjean, thinking ‘once a criminal, always a criminal’. He sees him as the convict he was, not the honourable person he became. What the film doesn’t tell you is that Javier came from a criminal background and as a result became obsessed with everything being in accordance with the law. Of the 2 characters Javier’s struggles lead to his eventual suicide, whereas good was on the side of Valjean. Graham was at the Leader’s Conference in his church recently and one of the main speakers was David Oyelowo- he had been a member of HTB a number of years ago before moving to Hollywood to pursue his career as a film star and director. Both he and his wife gave an amazing, inspiring interview, detailing his rise from the ordinary upbringing to the star he is now. Another speaker was Prem Watser, an Indian billionaire living in Canada. Graham was particularly impressed with his talk about work culture, one where he doesn’t expect his staff to work long hours (in an industry that on the whole does expect that). Because of this it ensures a good work and family balance and this has become a very successful culture in his businesses. He was very humble, if you met him in the street you would not have a clue as to his influence. Craig Groeschel was another speaker- he is the senior pastor in the biggest Protestant Church in America. Ordinarily Graham isn’t keen in TV Evangelists, but Craig was different to most, setting up his church to meet the needs of a section of society that most churches don’t reach. It started with 40 people in his garage in the late 1990s and now has numerous churches throughout the USA Nicky Gumbel spoke about values and it was interesting to hear about how they developed the values for HTB- He started off with 50, but whittled it down to 10, but his family still felt this was too many. Lastly Nikki Marfleet spoke- she is a prison Governor and spoke about building character. In the work setting she faces it is particularly challenging and she spoke about how important it is to be authentic. Don’t try to present yourself as something you are not. All in all it was a really interesting and inspiring day.