Lucy Smith at Ivy Church – Filled to Follow

Revelation is meant to lead us into a face to face with God. To experience Him MORE.

‘We are designed to be people of ever increasing breakthrough’ Bill Johnson

There is no kingdom formula
It’s a relationship

It’s about being filled, and following.

The bible contrasts the flesh with the Spirit

Go with the flesh, get the results of Gal 5:19-21

But then Jesus doesn’t just forgive us
He fills us!

We go from fear to freedom because the Spirit comes, like at Pentecost.

The most powerful life is one that is filled and free – and fruity!

Jesus went to the Father so this could happen. So we could be filled with the Holy Spirit.

So are you free
Are you filled
Are you fruity?!

How do you walk with the Spirit?

1) Read the Word
It’s living, it’s active. Read it thinking – What happens there, can happen here!

2) Set your mind and intentions on things above
We end up saying the craziest things in worship don’t we? Totally all out for God. Maybe that’s the real you!

3) Let him direct and empower you
Write out what you know or think God has been saying to you. Put it on the walls of your house and keep focusing on that

4) Go where the peace and the joy is.
Don’t go the other way, because that’s not where the Spirit is leading!

5) Make mistakes – then get more grace.
We might get it wrong. Actually, we will. It’s okay anyway.

Romans 8 (Msg)
God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children.


I nominate YOU for this challenge – what are you going to do?

Have you heard about this challenge that’s going round?

It started with one person, having water poured all over them. Because of a disease, 3 letters.

That person challenges other people, calls them by name. If and when that person responds, they get water poured all over them too, then they challenge their friends and family and people and people they work with maybe. And it’s like, ‘What are you going to do about this?’

And the idea is that pretty soon this spreads from person to person and millions of people get to hear about it, and tell their friends, and it just spreads across all the nations of the earth! You’ve heard of it haven’t you?

What’s it called? It’s called BAPTISM!

The Bible says Jesus issued a challenge, to a small group of his friends who believed he was the Son of God because they saw him die on a cross and come back to life. It was a big vision! He said, ‘Now you are the plan to make this go viral.’

He said, All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me, therefore GO into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded.’

That was Jesus’ challenge to his followers. Go and MAKE disciples, followers

Then MARK those disciples by baptizing them,

Then MATURE them – by teaching them to live His way.

He fully expected that everyone who got this challenge, would pass it on, so it would go viral. How quickly could such a message spread? So everyone got to hear about it and got a chance to say yes or no?

Well it’s been going 2000 years longer than the internet and it’s not stopped yet.

At Ivy today we baptised 5 very different people, with amazing stories ranging from abusive backgrounds, heroin/crack addiction, desperate prayer needs answered, to people realising their life was empty and then they all had this ONE thing in common, they said YES to the Jesus challenge.

As a result of hearing that – another 3 people who just came along to church that day heard the gospel, said yes to it and they were in turn baptised!

Check the Ivy Facebook page for more details of these kind of stories, we’ll be posting them all week.

This thing just keeps on rolling, no matter what, ever since Jesus Christ came to earth, to show us and tell us how much God loves us. That was the good news. But there was bad news too. He came because of a disease – everyone ever born has it except him because he was born as God’s Son.

The Disease is called, S.I.N.

A guy called John the Baptist was raising awareness about the S I N disease initially – telling people, ‘You have to try to live differently – walk away from the kind of life that leads to death and live for God instead.’ The message spread and people started to come and bathed by him in the River Jordan. They called it a baptism for repentance because that word means turning around.

The water he stood in was for sinners. Plunging in there and having it poured on you was an outward sign that said ‘Yes, I have this problem. I have S I N. – I can’t fix it, can’t cure myself, but at least I’m going to try to live better.’


Tax collectors, soldiers, some religious people, crowds gathered around the water because of the challenge. But John couldn’t really help them. All they could do was try harder, they still had to live with the disease. They were just admitting they had the problem, no power to change.

Until one day, Jesus came to the river. God opened John’s eyes so he could see – Jesus was different! He didn’t have S I N. Even though he was tempted like everyone else, he always said no to it and yes to what God wanted for his life, never broke God’s laws.

Nobody, those living closest to him, even his worst enemies, could not accuse him. They had to make up lies that he’d broken their religious rules so they could nail him on a cross.

But before that happened, when John saw Jesus pushing through the crowd – he shouted to everyone, ‘Look! The Lamb of God – who takes away the sins of the world!’ He knew who Jesus was, and what he’d come to do, to sacrifice himself to save us.

Jesus stepped in and said, ‘Baptise me!’

But John knew – this water was water for sinners!

Why are you here – in here? I deserve to be here, I can’t nominate YOU, you have to nominate me for this! No way Lord!’

And Jesus said ‘I’m nominating myself. I’m in here, because you’re here. You and you and you and you. I know what you’ve done, but I haven’t come to point it out, I’ve come to take it away. I haven’t come to rub it in, I’ve come to rub it out. I’m stepping into this, so I can pull you out, out of this old life you’re drowning in. I’m in the water – to save you.’

Jesus didn’t have the disease, but he was identifying all of us who do, when he went into that dirty water. He was saying, ‘I’m becoming like you – so you can become like me.’

On the cross, he did exactly the same thing. It wasn’t just water but blood and water poured out from his side as he crucified, dying of a broken heart over the brokenness of this world, to wash away our sins.

In one terrible moment, Jesus absorbed and carried on himself the sins of the world. Every atrocity in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Manchester. Every time Anthony Delaney (or you) ever sinned in thought and word and deed.

This summer at Ivy we’ve been studying a NT letter the apostle Paul wrote to a church in modern day Turkey, it’s called Galatians – and now we’re at chapter 5, where Paul lists the kind of things that anybody who has this disease S I N will struggle with. A little diagnostic test. These are some of the symptoms but he finishes it by saying ‘etc.,’ Because it isn’t exhaustive – generally, if you’ve ever in your life done anything like this, I’m sorry to tell you (because you have to know the bad news before you will ever get the good news) you have S I N. And it’s fatal.

He says – ‘The works of the flesh (the sinful nature) are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry and false religion, hatred, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, division, envy, addictions, gluttony and so on.’

Tim Keller says ‘We are much better at noticing the works of someone else’s sinful nature than battling our own!’ We look at a list and let ourselves off what we think we don’t struggle with. But remember this is just a sample of symptoms, of the disease we can’t cure. And God says, what we’ve been seeing week by week in this series, is that the way to deal with it, is not to try, but to die. It’s not try harder to not live like this, but actually DIE to living like that.

Christian baptism is different than John’s baptism. What Christian baptism symbolizes is not, ‘I TRY to live a new life,’ it’s ‘I DIE – to live a new life!’

John the Baptist just pointed to the problem and then pointed to Jesus and said ‘HE’s the solution!’

“I TRY to live a new life’ doesn’t WORK! Anyone else ready to admit that? You just get more of the same or similar. Paul calls all those things on his list, ‘The works of the flesh.’ It’s just human, just NATURAL to live like that. You can’t change human nature. You’ve heard it all your life. Human nature can’t change human nature, so you need a NEW nature! A DIVINE nature.

Try not to be selfish, in your own strength, give it a week. Try to not be jealous of others. Whatever your struggle is, try. You’ve been defeated before, you won’t win. You can’t cure yourself. It’s that serious. You can’t save yourself! If you could, the Son of God would not have gone to a cross and shed his blood to save you. You don’t need natural, you need super-natural.

When Jesus stepped into that water, in his great love, God identified with me as a sinner. He went in there, to get me out.

The Bible says he went even further in his love – he actually BECAME sin for me, when he died on the cross. He got the disease I had – and he died from it – but that wasn’t the end of our story. It says ‘it was impossible for death to hold him!’ He rose again! He proved that he’s the Son of God!

So now, before I die, (which is something I have no choice about and neither do you), before I die – If I choose to die, that’s how I can live forever. I die to that old life! Those attitudes and actions. I die every day. That’s what a Christian is – a dead man walking. A dead woman, more alive than ever! Dead to sin, alive to God!

Christianity is NOT a way to improve your life. It’s not a system to be religious. It’s not there to make me feel better about my sin and learn to live with it. It’s not a spiritual self-help programme.

Christianity is; Jesus did everything, to save everyone. Jesus did what nobody else could do. The Son of God laid his life down, nobody took it. He didn’t die because he sinned but because I did. He died for all, so all who know they’re sinners, can know… salvation. And he rose again. So we can too.

It’s not, ‘try to live a good life, a better life.’ It’s die and live a new life! I have to die, so I can rise again with him. He became like me, so I can become like him. He got what was coming to me, so I get what is coming to him. He died AS me, so I can live AS Him. A Son of God, a co-heir, a co-inheritor with him!

That’s what Christian baptism is a sign of. When you go in the water, and we hold you under – it’s not, try , try, try! it’s DIE! Die! Die!

(Maybe we should say that when we baptise people next time – not sure how popular that would be).

It’s not, ‘I’ll TRY to live a new life,’ it’s ‘I DIE to live a new life.’

Paul told the Galatians how this works in chapter 2. Gal 2:20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in this earthly body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

It starts the same for everyone, when a person looks at their life and says, ‘I need the new life only Jesus can give me.’ You come to the cross and ask him to do what you admit you can’t do yourself; you can;t change human nature, you need a divine nature now.

Say, ‘Save me Jesus!’

If you’ve not done that yet, if nobody else ever nominated you – I’m doing it here and now.

That’s why you’re reading this today. Stop the try plan, go with the die plan. So you can live the life you’re destined for. God promises you can have that fresh start and new life. Jesus died for all your sins to be forgiven and is alive again so you can know his love forever.

If you say you’ve already done this, my challenge to you is to like this message, but not just like it – do something, pass this message on to a few friends, ask them to consider saying YES to this challenge that has been going 2000 years and is still virally spreading across the nations. It changes lives for ever, one at a time, by connecting to God’s love in prayer – saying you want the new life more than the old one. Because you can’t have both.

I want to thank those who challenged me; people like Zoe, Jan and Alan, Eric Delve, Alan Buckley.

Now, I nominate YOU.

I feel sick..

Anthony Delaney:

So much that’s overwhelming in the news these days. Thank you Hannah for this perspective.

Originally posted on Hannah

This morning I was outraged by the actions of an older lady on Great British Bake off as I caught up on the reports of sabotage. She took his icecream out of the fridge and my bearded Irish contestant was voted off. How unfair! So I was pleased to see this older lady has left the show. My world is calm again.

I walked to Tesco and worried the heavens might open as I had no cover on the pram & no hood on my coat. Thankfully it was only a light drizzle. My world is calm again.

My baby took an hour to get to sleep, he wouldn’t settle & it meant my dinner was dry. Eventually he did sleep & I ate. My world is calm again.

Then I get a distressed txt from my mum;
Oh Hannah I’ve just seen such a horrid thing on the news…

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Galatians 4 – @mattyhawthorne at Ivy Sharston

If you live under the law you’re inviting God to judge you on how well you keep the law. How will you do with loving God and people perfectly

Parables = two things thrown down side by side

Like the Pharisee and the tax collector.

We pick sides quickly – it’s not so cut & dried in real life. Tax collectors did pretty well – it was a booming business.

The fact that Jesus was friends with people like that said a lot about Jesus, not them.

But the sinner is justified not the plaster saint Pharisee.

The religious add on the list of conditions to the position of being children of God. They say ‘we are the sons of Abraham’

But Paul tells the Galatians – yes but Abraham had 2 sons – One represents law
One represents promise

One is the son of a slave – Ishmael. No miracle there.

One is Isaac – where life came to what was dead.

It’s 2 covenants – 2 ways
1) unbelief, make it happen yourself
2) trust and rest in the promise

Law – bondage – performance
Grace – through Christ – promise

Those who have confidence in their own goodness end up empty

Those who are confident in God’s promise are given life.

Persecution comes from the half brothers – religious without love

Law & grace could not live in the same house. Hagar has to go!

Are we trusting in the cross
Our works or the finished work of Jesus?

Paul had known what it is to be a slave to law
Now he’s a slave to love. A child of the promise.

The law accuses us
But we are not under the law

Don’t try to fix your own life – that’s what children of Hagar do. Live free, satisfied, as a child of the King.

‘The gospel is for frustrated failures who hunger for God’ Luther

This grace is available free to tax collectors and you and me.

Church, Here’s Why People Are Leaving You. Part 1

Anthony Delaney:

Great stuff

Originally posted on john pavlovitz:


Being on the other side of the Exodus sucks, don’t it?

I see the panic on your face, Church.
I know the internal terror as you see the statistics and hear the stories and scan the exit polls.
I see you desperately scrambling to do damage control for the fence-sitters, and manufacture passion from the shrinking faithful, and I want to help you.

You may think you know why people are leaving you, but I’m not sure you do.

You think it’s because “the culture” is so lost, so perverse, so beyond help that they are all walking away.
You believe that they’ve turned a deaf ear to the voice of God; chasing money, and sex, and material things.
You think that the gays and the Muslims and the Atheists and the pop stars have so screwed-up the morality of the world, that everyone is abandoning faith in droves.

But those aren’t the reasons…

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2 Ways To Live – Alan Taylor @ivychurchhub

Galatians 4:8-20

Have you ever seen someone who starts off full of joy in God. But then they lose focus, lose grace – end up a pain to be around. This church went like that completely.
The simple message of grace they embraces was getting very complicated.
Imagine someone being told at adoption ‘we will love you in this family -,if and when you follow the rules’ There are 2 ways to live
Law or Grace
Which way are you living?

Law = it’s all about what you know
Grace = being known

Paul says going to live by law is just as bad as living that pagan life.

We can trade the old life problems for new
Give up drink
Take up religious Pharisaism

More impt than knowing God is being known by him.

What does it mean to be known by God?
To know that he is your Father and you are a son. An inheritor. God knows you as a loving father loves his beloved son.

Got a problem with the idea of father? When we want to know what the Father’s like, look at the son. Jesus.

When you have one child you wonder how you could ever love another so much But God loves us like he loves his Son.

Knowing in the head can get in the way of knowing in your heart. Just because you can understand it doesn’t mean you have the reality of it.

Law makes you miserable
Grace makes you joyful

Paul says they’re getting all caught up in special days.
When you first start going out you remember the one week anniversary of going out, the 6 month etc

But you don’t have to remember the 4156th monthaversary of going out – because now you are married. A new covenant has come in!

God proposed to you – offered to do life with you
Gave you a sign -,the cross, so we can be sure & secure.

You can end up not doing the bad things others are doing because of law, but you won’t get joy that way.

But as a son you can say no because you don’t want to lose the joy.

If you ask your Father for a fish he won’t give you a snake
Ask for the Spirit he won’t give you a slap!

Law deforms
Grace transforms

Paul says I’m pregnant for you as Christ is formed

The Law doesn’t transform you, it just tells you you need the change.

Grace transforms.
We are not meant to be slaves but sons
Heirs not orphans

We don’t want to be Pharisees that reach people but don’t see them change except into sons of hell

Only sons can represent the Father fully.

Until you can call God your Father, you’ve missed the whole point of Christianity.

Philip Jinadu – Free To Serve at @Detlingsummer

People get on edge when they hear the word evangelism.

We used to get the evangelists come to the church: Big bible, stories, miracles, wife.

But God wants to set you up to win.

1 Cor 9:19-23
Paul’s secret of evangelism?

Connect to the people where they are, to win them to Christ.

Become a servant to them for the sake of the gospel.

Evangelism isn’t about what you know-

It’s about:
1) Who we are
He starts off by saying he knows who he is. If you know who you are in Christ, you’ll share him. Let your light shine. Jesus says I AM the light of the world. The salt of the earth. This is who you are because he is in you

That’s plural, not singular
It’s not ‘you in your small dark corner and you in mine.’ It’s you together – plural – are the light, singular.

Nothing changes about the light, it’s all about position. If you put it under a bowl it lights nobody else. The church is better than you think. More powerful than you know. The light of the world

2) How we relate

Paul’s not compromising, he’s looking for a point of contact. It’s not ‘come to church and become like us ‘ it’s about I love you enough to accommodate to you. Build a bridge
You can’t drive a heavy load over a thin bridge
All of us have relationships
The gospel flows through relationships
EA. – 77% came to church because a friend invited them

Evangelism looks like joining the running club, or going to the pub, opening your home, praying for people by name, being a friend – especially in hard times. Build bridges.

It’s not our job to convert them, convince them, or convict them. Love them! By all means!
Meet them where they are

3) What we share

The pressure’s off. Paul says he does it all for the sake of the gospel. Some people will get it, others won’t. But the gospel is the power of God unto salvation of everyone who believes.

Nothing can change hearts like the gospel – never be ashamed of its dunamis.

It’s a dark, dark world. Shine!

Pray ‘Dear God, use us! To use our freedom to reach others with the gospel.’

You Foolish Mancuniuns! Matty Hawthorne at Ivy Sharston

We are a church that gets this message of grace.
But one survey said 81% of Christians believe Christianity is primarily as rule keeping. We have to get grace, and Galatians is all about that.
New believers there were being told it was Jesus plus that saved us The OT – the law was 613 rules
The NT – Heb 8 : it’s on your heart and mind. The law… Of love 1 John – his commands are not burdensome
We live under one covenant only
Eph 2:12 says law was never an option for Gentiles anyway
It’s new covenant or nothing for us, foreigners to the covenant.

It says ‘I will forgive their sins & remember them no more’

Jesus death and resurrection bought it for us

For there to be an inheritance there has to be a death
The covenant takes effect then
There’s a great dividing line in history

Moses came down with the tablets
They say ‘we will do it all’
Then they make a golden calf

Being under the law is like having a swivel chair God, like in the Voice If you have done well, he will turn his face to you

But the real God is unchangeable
So to save us he makes a promise to himself because that’s not going to change. It’s a covenant between God and God and you caught in the middle.

We can’t live by the 613
We can’t live by the 10
We can live by grace – Jesus plus nothing.

Guided by Jesus he will lead you into life. Law never does that.

You foolish Mancuniuns!

Take Jesus instead. You can’t pick and choose laws – you’ll pick and lose. Because then you are under a curse. Don’t pinch laws and sprinkle them into your grace.

The cross says Christ is the end of the law. You need to read the OT with NT glasses on. Then it’s clear.

Heb 10:11 – Jesus doesn’t have to keep standing in the tabernacle – he’s sat down. Because it’s finished.

Don’t make salvation about you and your efforts
You never leave the gospel

So, I’m sinning – what do I do?
And get grace.

God already forgave you. He doesn’t deal with you on the basis of your sins but on Christ’s offering.

Believe him, like Abraham – and it’s credited to you as righteousness.

Don’t fix your eyes on your sin
Fix your eyes on Jesus
Don’t fight the flesh. Be filled with the Spirit.
His grace is enough
He gave his life for you
To give his life to you
To live his life through you

Debby Wright at #NewWine14

We are here as a people of the presence.
Years ago she felt God kept stirring her to make a difference to prostitutes.
10 years on, she got connected to a drop in centre, and started to volunteer every Friday. Found people with such broken lives.
One girl was a prisoner in her own home, abused by her partner – but refused prayer, over and over. Finally she allowed it.
When she got to her house she found the only man who had ever been kind to her in her life was outside.
He threw the guy out, and he drove away drunk – and got arrested and out of the picture. We can’t do anything in our own strength.
Isaiah 55
God wants to satisfy us.

David learned to go to God & be satisfied
That prepared him to be King
God remembered David’s heart for him, more than his sin.
That David wanted to be His.

Only Jesus can quench our thirst.
He wants to feed us
And others through him

When you overflow, you can’t help but give it out.

How quick do you leak?
Could it be an email or a word that empties you out?
Interrupting the flow

John 4 – the water of Jesus is an internal spring that never runs out: as long as we’re abiding, drinking him in.

One day, Revelation promises, this will be completely satisfied.

We receive and now we can give. In the presence of God, amazing things happen.

People of the presence get mobilised to go out. To move out in their gifts – they get released. Not ambitious for their own sake, but for the kingdom.

People of the presence get influence. They are willing to pay the price. Counting it all loss. They press into God and press on to glory.

Filled up – we spill out
The end of Is 55 is about going to the nations.

Reach out, step out, speak out, give out.

Robby Dawkins – how leaders can help grow their churches in the miraculous t

Notes from a meeting at New Wine 14. Most of it was Robby, some from others.

1. Keep stories of miracles
– in & out of the church, of people stepping out; and ‘free to fail’ services That it doesn’t have to be successful
You have a value of risk taking
– in home groups, on the streets.

2 Step up yourself.
Once a quarter/ a month – step out. Pull people in front of everyone and model it. Walk through the model of prayer – one to one.
If it doesn’t seem to ‘work’ – you’re I’m that now and not yet deal, it’s okay. Get the kids to pray, or people who have never prayed for someone before Or ‘anyone with problem with shoulder?’
Anyone feel God doesn’t use you in prayer? Get over and put your hands on them and say this…

3.Pray the way Jesus prayed.

The way the apostles prayed – ‘shoulder be healed…’

4. What if they don’t get healed?
Don’t avoid this!
Take a risk.
Say something you normally wouldn’t
Do something you usually wouldn’t
Put Something out there for God to multiply.,
You’re not a healer anyway
You can’t heal anyone
Just because it works doesn’t mean you’ll ever get confident in it anyway!

5. Be around people who believe this stuff still works.

Give yourself permission to do a new thing. What you do on Sunday is meant to be reproducible on Monday.

If you’re already not seeing people healed by not praying, you might as well get praying!

We create the culture. Don’t change the culture, create a new one. You’re in charge of that.

Don’t let feeling fear stop you. That feeling/ thought may not be you. Don’t let the enemy intimidate you out of it. Act like an overcomer. Trust that and push the other way against it. Push out.

Put some time in the diary every week to be out on the streets praying for people.