SANDIE SHIRLEY meets a former hard man who is now flexing his muscles for God
At six foot tall and weighing over 19 stone, ex-policeman Simon Pinchbeck was a force to be reckoned with as a feared, violent criminal.
Today he is a member of Tough Talk – a team of 10 former hard men who have turned soft for Jesus. With an impressive display of power lifting, Simon is muscling in on his faith with a life-changing global message.
“Now I am a stronger person; I still struggle with everyday issues, but when I stumble and fall I have the loving arms of Jesus around me to put me back on track,” he explained.
Most of the team used to send undercurrents of fear across London’s East End. Now they are fearless in sharing the beliefs and values that come in the wake of a personal, divine encounter.
Their stirring stories are told out in prisons, churches and the streets of Europe and America. As a result men, including notorious villains, women and youngsters, have found new purpose and God’s peace.
Simon was a member of the police force for 23 years and patrolled the football terraces to quell the rivalry between violent fans. But he lost his badge and narrowly escaped a prison sentence when he appeared in court on an assault charge.
He was broken and disillusioned with a hard, violent nature. He had also neglected his wife and two boys, turning to drink and good times. To make a living, he resorted to crime.
“I never went out without £500 in my pocket. The more money I got, the more I wanted and the more problems I had. I was greedy and never satisfied.”
He pocketed thousands of pounds for one night’s work until he was fleeced by the criminals he worked with, plunged into debt and intent on revenge.
“My life was out of control but God threw me a lifeline,” said Simon. At the gym where he worked out was a former drug baron who had become a Christian.
“He invited me to church and I found immediate peace.”
An Alpha course to learn about the Christian faith followed; Simon was hooked and found a personal relationship with Jesus.
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