The Intoxicated Life. @AlanTaylor82 at Ivy Didsbury #YearofMore

Jesus calls people to be with Him
And to be like Him
More and more and more
He wants to increase us.
Luke 5
The calling of Matthew
He throws a party!
Matthew was the most unlikely person to follow Jesus
But the greatest sinners can become the greatest saints
The religious people whisper against it.
Jesus says ‘Change your mind- see like I see, the sick need a Dr, you think you’re too healthy for that.’

Vs 33ff
Every been to a wedding where everyone’s fasting? No! This is celebration time.

He takes some everyday examples to help then see heavenly truths.

You can’t just do a patch up Job with clothes – or those who wear them.

You can’t put new wine in the old containers.

I wish I had known that when I first came to faith
We have to exchange something – not managing the old, trying to do a self renovation job. It’s old for new
New thinking
With capacity to follow now. You have an exchange not just an add-on.

The new life is not compatible with the old one.
Do not get drink on wine, but be filled with the Spirit.
That’s good news! Because I love that drunk feeling where you can do anything, be bold, be who you want to be – because you’re intoxicated. That’s just an imitation though!

There’s a better kind of intoxicated life with God.
You don’t say and do stupid because you’re full this way.
Get the Spirit in you, speaking through you.
You’ll get filled. That’s what everyone’s longing for in a drug or a drink. You can’t have a mixture of the old and the new.
Jesus is the new wine.
He didn’t come in the package they wanted so they rejected him.

You are chosen. Before you were born. To have Christ in you, the hope of glory. Not just more of Jesus out there in the world – but more of Him in me.

You need a new container
New capacity – for more of God!

The Kingdom Of God Is A Party

Very much in line with my talk for tomorrow morning where I will talk about what happened when Matthew threw a great party ‘with Jesus as the guest of honour,’ this fabulous talk by a hero of mine will blow your mind about what Christianity is really about.


If You Want To Check Out Ivy’s Music…

These amazing guys are just some of of our fabulous musicians, regularly helping people find their way back to God through using their gifts at Ivy Church – as well as finding many other outlets to turn places into parties wherever they are.

We’ve come a long way since All Things Bright And Beautiful, but they actually are very bright, very beautiful people who I love lots.

Treat your ears!

How the gospel can go viral like the Ice Bucket Challenge

This is my talk from our recent baptism service at Ivy, where I looked at the Ice Bucket challenge and drew out its lessons for leaders and churches committed to helping people find their way back to God.

It followed 5 scheduled baptisms; some breathtaking stories of life change with Jesus as the star of every story – after the talk a number of people indicated that wanted to follow Him too, and then 3 more people were baptised too! (If it was good enough for the Ethiopian eunuch and Phillip…)

I blogged some of the thoughts from my notes of this already on what has been one of the most read blog items I’ve ever done here if you want to look at that too, but there is more on the talk than that item. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you enjoy the talk.  Let me know your thoughts?



Gordon Brown, Ursula Burns: Leaders are Always On

Harvard Business Review:

How much MORE should this be true for Christian leaders?

Originally posted on HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review:

The gaffe when he thought the microphone was off might not be the major reason Gordon Brown didn’t win the British election. But it showed that he forgot a leadership lesson: Act as if the audio is always on.

At a rally shortly before the election, Prime Minister Brown was asked some awkward questions about foreign workers that he answered politely. A few minutes later, he was heard over an open channel and later the broadcast airwaves complaining to aides for exposing him to “a bigoted woman.” His insult and apology dominated press coverage.

There is no “off” switch for leaders. There is barely a backstage. Leaders walk around with spotlights, cameras, and microphones on them all the time.

Visibility rises with the leadership level, even though, paradoxically, top leaders can command the trappings of privacy, such as special entrances into buildings. In meetings, facial expressions are scrutinized…

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MY BOOK – powerful and very real dream I had last night. (What’s in your book?)


The dream started just after I heard (our lodger) Darren’s alarm clock go off at 6am upstairs, and lasted until he put the shower on which woke me up again, so it could only have been a matter of minutes – but it seemed a very long, powerful and real dream. As I write it now I have to hold back tears and when I told it to Zoe I couldn’t stop crying, I know I’m soppy! 

It follows my preparation yesterday for this coming Sunday’s talk when I had the idea drop into my spirit  that when Jesus called Matthew in Luke 5 he traded in his TO DO list for the TO BE list that Jesus had for him. 

It’s interesting too that the very first thing Matthew did after saying yes to the invitation to follow Jesus was throw a party, something religious people didn’t understand at all – but after this dream, I think I now know why! 

I was in a long queue where many people young and old were going to someone who would pray for them, giving words of prophecy etc. My daughter Hannah was in the queue in front of me, I was worrying I might not get seen in time but Hannah said I could go before her.

Finally I got there, a man I recognised (someone who I hadn’t seen for over 20 years until he recently turned up to Ivy out of the blue and gave me a very encouraging massive word of prophecy) then opened the door to me and I stepped in.

He said, ‘What have you been looking at?’

I immediately became defensive and said, ‘I haven’t been looking at anything I shouldn’t be looking at!’

He laughed kindly and said, ‘No I know you haven’t, I’m not here to condemn you, remember – I want to commend you, because you have been looking at what the Commanders and my Leaders have written and through them you’re learning to be a Commander and General too.’

He got me to lie down, then he started prodding and pushing at my body and said, ‘You need to learn to let the good stuff I am putting in you really get into you. So much of it just goes through you, like bad stuff goes in and out. Let the good stuff settle in and do its work.’ (See Mark 7:19, bad stuff doesn’t go into your heart but out of your body)

Then another man appeared there who started reading from a book: things like this -
“Oh God I don’t know how I am ever going to get through this!’ 
“Lord I can’t handle it!’ 
“Lord will my marriage to Zoe really be okay – will we be alright? Please help!’
I said, ‘That’s not how I feel.’

He said, ‘No, it’s how you felt, and you turned it into prayer and it got answered didn’t it?’

I suddenly felt very grateful then the first man smiled and said, ‘You measure the wrong things you know so often. You get caught up in your lists and your numbers and how many people are coming or are going to come to church and all that Willow Creek kind of stuff, and I love your heart and people are so important, but let me show you what I measure; Here’s one of my favourite videos.’

A big screen showed my family, snapshots of times like my fortieth birthday party, in fact all kinds of parties where we’ve dressed in fancy dress or just had fun with family, church family and friends – and Jesus (now I knew it was him) was just pointing at the screen, laughing and laughing and loving all the fun, family and partying.

‘I love this! This is what I measure, this is what I love!’ 

Next, he opened a book to show me, and I knew it was my book, a very thick book and when he opened the pages on every line, over and over was just my signature, page after page.

He said, ‘This is every time you have ever said thank you to me. Thank you for being grateful.’
Then I woke up and worshipped!

Isn’t it amazing to think that the only records kept in heaven are the prayers we pray, even in our most desperate times, and the times we thank God for the answers.

PS. Zoe had a fabulous dream it turns out at just the same time, and I KNEW someone must have been interceding for us that that time, 6am today – so if it was you, THANK YOU and I thank God for you, it’s going in my book.

PPS. Finishing with something I’m always grateful for, our favourite band – Beautiful South

In Deep Water. Luke 5:1-11 @duffy_nick @ivchurchhub

How do we know what God is like?

Look at Jesus- Heb 1:1-3 says Jesus is how God has spoken to us bad shown himself to us

Truth is a person we know not a fact we know

Everyone on the side of truth listens to Him.

Nick talked about his uni days, right where he now leads a church: how he was just blowing his life till some crazy Christians set up a prayer room in Owens Park. He said yes – full on to Jesus

And 3 months into that he was right on the edge of blowing it again.

How does God treat people who failed?

Fishermen fail a lot.
Jesus stepped right into that boat.
With an invitation – put out a little from shore.

Matt 11:28-30
Jesus has unforced rhythms of grace for us.
He chose you first remember!

He knows you
That’s intimacy – not information!

We know him – by knowing him. By relating. Saying yes to the invitation and the challenge.

Jesus takes him from observation in the shallows to participation in deep water.

Simon thought he knew how to fish
Jesus was a landlubber
But he still responded with a Yes
So then he saw Jesus work, in his work.
There was a big ripple effect!!
It spills over into the lives of others.

Jesus set it up so Simon couldn’t fail! He doesn’t set you and me up to fail. He’s setting us up for a miracle.

We don’t have a bible syllabus to master – to get to heaven and be tested on. We have a Master.

Who doesn’t say ‘You’re a rubbish fisherman’
He says ‘Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll catch people’

He wants to step into your boat.

Don’t get caught up in your nets. Don’t get tied up
God can still use you – throw off everything that hinders and the sin that easily entangles; fix your eyes on Jesus!

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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