A Different Way To Get Leaders

How did Peter get to follow Jesus and become a leader? Jesus selected him. How did Matthew get to follow Jesus and become a leader? Jesus selected him. Luke 5: One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore… After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. Jesus called some fishermen and said “Follow me.” He went out and saw the tax collector who was by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. Why did he do that? Because Jesus picked him. […]


How to release prophecy in the church – without being weird

How can we encourage people that God wants to speak to them personally? I’m at the residential as one of the faculty of WTC at the moment and we just enjoyed listening to Brad Jersak as he briefly taught some principles from his book ‘Can You Hear Me?’ about releasing ‘The Prophethood Of All Believers’, and then we got to do it. Glorious! I look forward to us hosting Brad as Ivy later in the year and hope he’ll teach and model more on this for us. In the meantime, here are my notes:  Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear my voice.’ He has confidence in us, that it should happen. In the same was as all Gods’s people are intended to be witnesses, all God’s people are meant to be prophetic, though not all are prophets. There are some very impressive ‘prophetic types’  but the default mode for prophecy is not from strangers but from someone who loves you. So, if someone you don’t know (or you don’t know loves you) gives you a word, check it with someone who you […]


I Just Had An Epiphany

Tonight at Ivy Didsbury Andy Smith blew us away with an incredible talk about the Magi, those outsiders from the East who found themselves in Bethlehem shortly after Christ was born, and on bended knee gave the best of who they were and had to him. There was so much great stuff there I encourage you to subscribe to the Ivy podcast and listen to the talk in full when it’s up later in the week. But something Andy said almost in passing at the end really grabbed me. It was an epiphany at Epiphany! Here it is, as I recall what he said: “The wise men got there, and saw… a baby, an infant, a little child. But God says in Zechariah 4:10 despise not the day of small beginnings,’ and this child grew into the Saviour of the world.” As I sat there I thought about those VIPs. They came looking for the King of the Jews, right? What would that look like? They’d know what Kings look like. And they are somehow looking for God there, the […]


Be Like A Baby This New Year (They Like Changes!)

As we just said goodbye to the old year and welcomed a new baby called 2016 I’m reminded of the saying that the difference between most of us and babies is that babies (especially in nappies) like changes! Someone said to me recently they think 2016 will be a bad year. Most of what we could worry about you can either pray about or do nothing about, so in the meantime rather than worry about what you can’t change, or change what you can – you! Like that baby who just entered the world, a new year presents another chance to grow, to develop, to learn. How do you feel as you look toward 2016? Will next year be better? (You can’t control that) Will you be a better version of you? (You have a lot of control there) If you’re a Christ follower you don’t have to become ‘a new you’ like all the papers promise in the fashion or diet features. You are already a new creation! You just have to become more like you have already been […]


Make One Resolution That Can Change Every Day In 2016

Today is 31 December, which marks 18,583 days I have been on the planet so far. Where did that go?! How many of those days have I lived life to the full? That’s the promise of Jesus that I took him up on the day I died (with him) and rose to new life, 10,896 days ago. The new life is way better than the old in every way and will last forever, but my Bible reading this morning has had me chewing over Psalm 90:12 all day as we visit with dear friends from Surrey to see the New Year in. Standing outside the previous church that has stood since the eleventh century I look back on another 365 days in 2015 and ponder the words ‘Teach us to number our days,  that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’  At Ivy we designated 2015 ‘The Year Of Excellence’ – and defined that as ‘Doing my best for God, with what he’s given me, wherever he puts me’. If I’m honest I’ve not always done that, I’ve let too many potentially excellent days just […]


My Christmas Eve Talk From A Few Years Back – “What’s His Name?”

WHAT’S HIS NAME?  Any Josephs in the place tonight? Mary? Carol!? Anyone called Jesus? No, it used to be common – but he’s pretty unique… he kind of cornered the market on that name. It means ‘God to the rescue.’ Does your name mean something? Do you know what it means? Years ago I asked a bunch of school kids who Christmas was really all about. Someone said Father Christmas of course. Then, a little boy put his hand up…’Oh, It’s… it’s wassisname!’ I want to start by telling you about a vision a man called Isaiah had, we heard something of the words he wrote earlier. By the way the Jewish people made sure their names meant something. Isaiah means, ‘God is salvation.’ He was a prophet, he spoke & wrote around the C8th years BC – what does BC mean? Before Christmas! Every time you write a date it’s saying something about that event that spilt time in two halves forever; the birth of Jesus Christ. But centuries before he was born…. the nation of Israel was living through […]


The Why, Who & How of sharing Jesus

Teaching from Steve and Michelle Addison from their Follow and Fish Seminar at Ivy Church Manchester   WHY should we share about Jesus?   COIN: Look at it – it has two sides. There is the Sovereign on one side. The coin is indivisible. Mark 1:17 tells us there’s a command and a promise to every disciple. Follow and Fish. You can’t separate them. You can’t be a follower who doesn’t fish. Has the penny dropped? There are simple ways to connect to people far from God, do that, give them a challenge and disciple them.   WHO should we share with? Start with your relational world. People you know. You can draw a map of your relationships, this is very practical -put your name in the middle, circle it. Think of people you’re connected with in your FAMILY. Put their names and connection points down. FRIENDS and NEIGHBOURS Gym class? We want to work with God – ask him who he is already at work with. Pray for about 5 of them for 5 minutes a day – every […]


So What If Everyone Just Did Without God?

(My Talk Delivered at Ivy Kingsway This Morning) I sometimes wonder, what would my life have been like if I hadn’t become a Christ follower nearly 30 years ago.It’s a long story and you have already heard it but it started when I opened my mind and opened my Bible, then Jesus Christ showed how real he is, so I opened my life to him and he changed everything. I don’t know whether you’d say you are near to God or far away, but the Bible says ‘Draw near to God and he will draw near to you’ and that’s a promise and that’s what I did. And that’s what He did. And He will do it for anyone here today, so today I want to invite you – like we do all the time round here at Ivy and over 50 people have done it since September – to pray with me to fully give control of your life and come back to God. To receive his love, believe his promises, turn from everything you know to be wrong […]


Work Life Balance? Impossible! Do This Instead

I spoke today to the ‘Ivy Professionals’ Group – a bunch of people who meet to discuss how to get the best out of working for God, whatever they do. They asked me to speak on ‘Work/Life Balance’. Numbers were down, probably effected by the terrible news of terrorist attacks in Paris which leaves us all with a sense of numbness and the need to just reflect, pray and perhaps be with people we love.  The people who were there asked me to share my notes on here and I hope they help you too.  I have benefitted from a lot of training over the years from the fantastic Franklin Covey organisation and much of what I do has been shaped by their materials. I recommend them 100%. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has probably been my number one ‘Go back and read again’ leadership book over the last fifteen years. Once of the central concepts is of course the story of the teacher who fills up a glass storm jar, first with 7 Big Rocks, then with […]


When the fire goes out

Last night we went down to the seashore with some old friends to set off fireworks for bonfire night. One of the rockets somehow lost its fuse, then the fuse must have got damp because it wouldn’t light. All its brothers went flying off to do their glorious thing, while ‘Mighty Max’ could only watch from a safe distance like the rest of us. It was going to miss its purpose and party. What do you do when the fire goes out? Personally? What does a church that’s losing or lost its fire do? There’s no point complaining about it or willing it to go again. The potential may be there but it’s still going nowhere. Enter BIG BEN. We put no longer very mighty Max right next to Big Ben. When Big Ben went off, 36 glorious shots in all, well, there were 37. And number 5, most wonderful of them all, loudest and brightest, was Mighty Max. He didn’t need a fuse. He needed great company! This is a little parable for me as I think about New […]