Everything changed!

A new series of the popular television programme ‘Gladiators’ has begun. Warren Furman was a star in the original series in the 1990s. He felt that being part of the programme under his pseudonym ‘Ace’ gave him everything he had ever wanted, but gradually realised that fame and fortune brought problems he was not prepared for. When he was growing up Warren had idolised actors like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger who had made their names by becoming muscular action stars. So, he saw bodybuilding as his own path to success, but he didn’t find a job and his parents told him to leave home.

However, when ITV were searching for new cast members, he found himself exchanging life in a homeless hostel for a limousine and first-class travel on holidays. People idolised him and at first he loved it but the novelty soon wore off. He dated glamour models and could buy whatever he wanted but he found that his new lifestyle was damaging to his soul. Warren said sin felt “good and pleasurable at the time” but was having a negative impact. “Life was a party, but I was picking up a lot of destructive habits.”

When Gladiators was cancelled in 2000 Warren was unemployed and ended up working as a roofer. That year, he met airline stewardess Dionne, who had grown up in the church, and they married and had children. In 2015 he was invited to the home of Julian Richer, the founder of Richer Sounds. Julian said to him: “The best advice I can give you, Warren, is to go on an Alpha course and then, get baptised.” Warren said, “I was like: ‘What are you talking about? What’s an Alpha course?’” He told Dionne and they decided to go together. It was the first time Warren had heard the Gospel explained clearly. “I’d heard people say: ‘Jesus loves you’ in the street, and I’d say: ‘That’s great that God loves you, but that’s for you. It’s not for me.’ But nobody had ever said: ‘Look, God is love and you’re separated from him.’”

Warren committed his life to Jesus Christ, praying that God would transform him, and such was his transformation that his wife Dionne, who had always thought herself a Christian, realised she needed to be born again too. Warren is now a trainee vicar in the Church of England and says, “I came out of the rat race into God’s grace. Instead of living a life of fear, trying to prove myself, I started to live a life of love and liberation; I started to see life in all its fullness. Everything changed. I’m so excited for what the future holds.”

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