THIS SATURDAY I FEATURE IN THE INDEPENDENT – HERE’S WHY IT’S SCARY AND I NEED YOU TO PRAY

I’ve seen the pre-print copy and generally the reporter who has put it together gives a fair assessment of what I said in answer to her questions which started as a ‘Why did you become a Christian’ but then ranged far and wide on issues including;

Why some churches are growing and others not
Women Bishops / women in leadership
Homosexuality
Abortion
Christianity and other religions

She isn’t a Christian, no church background, and so ties it together with various phrases that I wouldn’t be comfortable with at times (she says ‘Born Again’ a lot for instance, that was their angle), but the bits in quotes are the things I said and I stand by them. When you read the article please bear that in mind and read my words to hear my heart.

These are all difficult subjects! But some years ago I made a commitment to God, I said that if He opened a door into media I would not chicken out but would walk through it and be bold, so please would he close doors that I wasn’t to go through. Since then I’ve done Radio 2, Radio 4, and Radio 5 Live as well as many regional stations.

This is a national/ international press opening and an opportunity to present the gospel and tell my life story of the difference Jesus has made and I took it. It also features a couple of family members and their stories, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’

It looks to be a full colour feature in the Independent on Saturday, in the supplement, up to 100,000 will read it – please pray that it goes well and helps bring hope and encourages this vast readership to think again about their lives and helps them find their way back to God. Let me know what you think of it too because I’m unlikely to read the comments on the article itself, I expect some vociferous responses from e.g. the atheists who don’t know how much God loves them and has done for them.

Nick Duffy at Ivy MCR Bringing Stones to life

Great talk from the heart tonight – Nick leads our CAP outreach as well as helping lead Ivy Fallowfield.

We don’t always see from the outside what’s going on in the inside. In a heart and in a home I wonder why we don’t cry more?
When we see the need
When we see the spikes put up to stop homeless people sleeping there There are 13000 households accepted as homeless this year
What does God think about all the excess in my rooms when they have nothing and nowhere Government and education are part of the answer
Is the church the answer?
God says let there be light
He forms us with a Word
And breathes his Spirit
He never gives up
God chooses a slave nation for freedom
To love him
To love people
To show who he is
He gives his law to recreate them
To restore what was lost
God expected his words to be lived out and embodied
To love God means to obey him
To live consistent with our identity

Israel were meant to play the game of life in a way that would draw a crowd.

Laws about setting slaves free
About limiting violence and retribution
Valuing people over possessions
Protection for the vulnerable
Liberal generosity that would eradicate poverty
Open hands and hearts
Ex 23:22-27

Imagine a people who lived like that

They didn’t
Isaiah tells us they ‘seemed to’ – but did as they pleased. Instead of breaking the yoke and clothing the naked.

What does God do when his people fail to embody him?

He does it himself – the Word became flesh
Associated with the poor and homeless and refugee
So we see him
And see his Father

His life matched his words
He became ultimately vulnerable
Showed us what love is like on the cross

The problem is that my heart is not as soft as his

Please Lord, let your word disrupt my life, do soul surgery, give me a heart of flesh instead of stone.

God has not just saved you enough to be debt free – sometimes that’s as far as CAP can take them and it’s wonderful There is more for you than that!

Lk 4
This is why we are anointed – to be good news to the poor
Freedom for captives

Why? Because we are his living presence in the world. A Jubilee people – liberated to liberate others.

God soften my heart to make this happen.

Lynn Swart at Ivy. God’s Top Ten

We call it the Ten Commandments
But it’s actually in Hebrew the Ten Words
In a covenant relationship
Boundary lines come out of love

God is saying ‘I want to show you my love, and out of that I will give you some words that help you in that love.’

The highest form of worship and love is obedience.

This is not domination or control
It’s to lead toward a full life

Two categories
1-4 us and God
6-10 us and others

Love me exclusively
And
Live a life of love, as you have been loved

Cf Mark 12 – what’s the most important?
LOVE GOD with all you are
LOVE your neighbour

Receive the love
Give the love
And repeat!

It’s there in Dt 6 ‘Hear!’
It flows out of relationship
It doesn’t come out of us

It comes out of a God who brings us out of slavery – and we haven’t arrived yet- but I live loved.

And afterward there’s this awesome power of God revealed, but then they pulled back from him. Fear stops them.

‘God has come to test you’ not for judgement
But for an upgrade!
There is more!

If we come from that place of awe. Knowing we don’t have to go back.

Cf World Cup:
Yellow card – less serious
Red card – a serious offence

There is a World Cup going on right now and all heaven is watching!

It’s not a 4 year thing.

God wants you involved in the action!
He gave his Son so you’d know his love eternally.
He doesn’t want you to be at a distance

God wants to give you;
Focus
Freedom
Future – there’s a promised land for you too! Don’t lose hope! God is still working in this world. Life is still to be loved, life to the full.

Receive his love by faith now.
Then think of your world, ask the Lord to help you give it away.

@Debrajgreen at Ivy MCR – Where God guides, he provides

Exodus 16

There’s good news and bad news here

The good news – God provides for 2 million people who have seen many miracles and are headed from slavery to promise

God provides meat and bread
When you follow God’s vision, you get God’s provision

The bad news it takes 40 years for them to get into Canaan, because they could not enter in. What kept them out of promise? Disobedience. All the men who could fight but didn’t, had to die first.

Be a man who obeys!
Obedience attracts blessing & promise

The word grumble is repeated 7 times here. It becomes a pattern for them. Despite all God has done. All the deliverance. Because they are hungry
Do you get grouchy when you get hungry?

We live in a place of plenty.
We have enough!
‘I haven’t got anything to wear!’ (Really?)

Give up grumbling – it’s the opposite of faith!

They keep moaning – some people prefer to live in Egypt. Don’t want to move on.

‘Do all things without grumbling…’ Rom 4:16

Ask the people closest to you – are you a grumbler?

Trust comes when we reflect on the fact that God is reliable and good. We can completely rely on him. Prov 3:5

Their eye was on Canaan but their mind was on Egypt.
Get out of Egypt!
Places or patterns or choices are not who you are, they are what you did. Get your mind renewed. Live according to your new name

Live on the manna he has – it’s grace! It’s so undeserved isn’t it? But God blesses us ANYWAY. Jn 6. Jesus is the living bread!

They only had manna
We have Jesus as a spiritual feast.

Give us our DAILY bread. You don’t have to hoard up the blessing as though he can’t do it again. This new situation is not too hard for him. God has got it covered.

Money follows ministry – vision and provision run on parallel tracks.

They had no sign of the provision – every day they had to believe for it.

And for generations to come they had a sign to show of God’s miraculous provision. ‘So they can see I gave you bread in the wilderness.’ Our faith effects the next generation

What he gives, he gives for the generations to follow to be blessed. They are watching how we live, it’s a testimony.

Gerald Coates at @ivychurch leaders day

Marriage is a bit like a game of cards You start off with hearts and diamonds
And end up looking for clubs and spades

If you want to be understood – that will hold you back
Jesus wasn’t understood
It’s part of being a Pioneer

Gerald tries to build church around Jn 17
Love is doing the decent thing
Even to your enemies

If you want to be like Jesus you have to love what he loves

Mk 16 Mt 24
Great command
Great commission

God is in you for you
But he is on you for others

How do we go from church to movement

By moving
By moving in the Spirit
By moving in the word
By moving in our gifting
By moving together

AW Tozer
The prayer of the minor prophet

God is getting you ready for your future

Why does it feel like a battle?
Because it is
God allows us to go through things so onlookers will see how we do that and say ‘I want to be like you.’

God is the Creator
He makes everything good
Then the biggest idea ever – he creates someone like himself
His essence is love
We are wired for love
And wired for the light
Things grow and bear fruit in the light

God creates a man – not good – he’s alone, and so He determines what is good.

Once you start questioning Gods word you start to redefine what is good or evil.

So God creates various ways to get a people safe so a Saviour could come.
To a getting, grabbing world – he gave. Why not wipe us all out?! Look at the world
Look at us!

Then the Saviour comes – goes around doing good
And goes – lays down his life, became sin for us – all our sin
And leaves…
Church

That word has got mixed up for people

But Jesus chose 12 who became 70 who became 500 then 3000plus

Now we are the fastest growing people group in our nation and the world.

They are an ecclesia – a gathering for a purpose
A people with a God purpose is a church

We think building – he thinks living stones

Now, when this gospel has been proclaimed in every nation, then the end will come.

Don’t go looking for temples being rebuilt or red bulls

It’s our job to bring the gospel and his to decide the times.

In the church that becomes a movement;

1) Pray for the leader – because it’s a lead thing.

2) How about caring for the environment
It won’t be long till it’s too late
We can all do our bit as Christians to spearhead caring for the world. Rather than consume – care. Do the decent thing. For your children’s children’s sake.

3) how about engaging in the battle with porn?
If we know we are in a battle, we should fight and be prepared to die.
There is freedom – we don’t have to sin any more, or excuse it.
No public me/ private me
Be a champion!
Talk about porn in church so people don’t have to hide.
Permissiveness precedes possession.

4) Prayer – be soaked in prayer.

Be a happy intercessor (Benny Johnson)
We aren’t going to be here forever. Spend a lot of time praying
Let it come out of your life
Every day start with saying ‘it’s another day- and you’re here’
Let the Spirit pray through you.
He knows what to pray!

5) Be saturated in Grace

Extending grace doesn’t mean I agree with you.
All Paul’s letters start and end with grace.
But in the middle there are instructions on godly living.

You will not commit adultery is not a command for us now – it’s a promise.

6) Be relational

Mt 18 is about how to win the person not the argument.

I have to beware of dismembering the Body of Christ. By my words. Putting people down.

We re-membering when we break bread. Together.

‘I don’t go to church because it’s full of hypocrites’ is like saying ‘ I don’t go to the gym it’s full of of overweight people.’

They don’t preach ‘em like that any more.

When I was on the long and winding road that ended up with Anglican ordination, at one point I was interviewed by the then Bishop of Derby. He asked me what kind of books I liked to read, especially in terms of theology and I mentioned I was a big fan of Spurgeon.

I’ll never forget the Bishop’s reply as he lifted his reading glasses, ‘Oh really? Do you really think we have anything to learn these days from a 19th Century baptist?’

I could see he was serious. I replied, ‘Well people from all levels of society used to flood into every place he preached, up to 10,000 at a time, so yes, I think so.’

spurgeon-preaching-at-crystal-palace

This morning I read one of Spurgeon’s sermons. Wow. The title of it is enough to rattle a lot of cages, but its subject matter and content shows that in terms of competing agendas, liberalism vs literalism etc., there really is nothing new under the sun.

Go and get yourself a cup of coffee then read the talk and ask yourself if there’s anything the church these days could learn from Spurgeon about how to call people to be doers of the Word and not just deceived hearers.

If you haven’t got time to read the whole thing – at least look at this, how does it compare with the response at the end of even the strongest evangelistic preaching; there’s no easy A, B, C, (Admit, Believe, Confess) here – but he outlines a call to soul wrenching personal examination.

‘if it should be laid to your heart to endeavour to seek after repentance, I will tell you the best way to find it. Spend an hour first in endeavouring to remember thy sins; and when conviction has gotten a firm hold on thee, then spend another hour—where? At Calvary, my hearer. Sit down and read that chapter which contains the history and mystery of the God that loved and died; sit down and think thou seest that glorious Man, with blood dropping from his hands, and his feet gushing rivers of gore; and if that does not make thee repent, with the help of God’s Spirit, then I know of nothing that can.’

 

 

Going through transition and change well.

From staff meeting today – thanks Dave Challis, & Paul Scanlon.

Amos 9

Here the order seems wrong
There’s so much change going on at once it feels out of synch You think change is difficult?
Try irrelevance
Change is always personal
It’s not just a system or a process
It’s not the change that mixes you up
It’s the transition
Leaders will always get there first
Followers will take their time

You could change by being married
But not do the transition of living like a married person

You could say a prayer and make a decision to follow Christ
But have you transitioned to be a disciple?

The grief cycle applies to change too;
People deny it or its need
May resist it
Then begin to explore it
Before committing to the new way

God says ‘Moses is dead – move on now Joshua.’

There’s a gap between where you were and where you’re going People fall through that gap if you don’t help them in that neutral zone. That place is a great opportunity time actually – you can grow deep roots there.

1) convince people why here doesn’t work – sell the problem. 2) acknowledge the loss
3) take some of the good memories forward with you but not enough to hold you back.

Andy Hawthorne at Ivy Kingsway ‘Let my people go’

Exodus 7
Moses had the longest apprenticeship ever. 80 years long. How frustrating!
John Norman came to the Message and said God often takes those he uses through these stages- 1 Appointed
2 Disappointed
3 Anointed

Are you in the disappointed stage?
Moses was in that place for 40 years in the desert.
The impulsive Moses of Ex 3
The hesitant Moses of Ex 4
The triumphant Moses of Ex 5
Wouldn’t be able to do it.

In chapter 7 he’s coming into his anointing.
Remember this is not a kids story. It’s a real historical story and a parable with us to learn from.

We are on a rescue mission.

God is angry about sin. About how it messes you and the world up. How the thief keeps stealing, killing and destroying.
The bible says clearly if we harden ourselves toward God we will experience judgement. Preachers don’t preach this any more because we are nicer than God.

God brought plagues, disasters, darkness on Egypt because it stood against him.

This is a world under a curse and every week we see this happen. There really is a hell. Who wants to tell people that?
But if we don’t they keep on heading toward it.
We love John 3:16
But read the next verse

Pharaoh stubbornly rejected the word of God

The Bible was presented to the Queen on her coronation as the lively oracles of God. She has done an amazing job of what was placed in her hands But what about us

There are 2 sides to Gods character:
Justice and Love

The cross holds both in tension
The way out from justice is love at the cross

I’m not going to hell
I’m not a slave
Because ‘it is done’

It is finished! A victory shout! The debt is fully paid. The way is open. Anger at sin is not the end of the story.

In the middle of chapter 8, as the nation continued to struggle against God, verse 9, Moses said ‘I leave to you the honour of when you get rid of the frogs.’

What would you say?
Today obviously!

He says ‘Tomorrow.’
What a nutter!
Why would you kept the frogs one day longer?

Today is the day of salvation.
Today decide for where you will spend all your eternal tomorrows. And today you can be appointed for his purposes and anointed to fulfil them.

Why wait till tomorrow?!

Your teenager has lost half their mind. And it’s normal.

Don’t you just love TED talks? All this knowledge, free. I’m a junkie for it. Turn the TV off and learn something. 

Anyone who’s a parent, grandparent or in any way knows an adolescent or someone likely to grow into one should watch this one. And for adolescent, really, read ‘Up to 25.’ The speaker’s voice isn’t exactly calming I know – but bear with it please she has some great insights.

 

the link is here if wordpress messes me up yet again:

My notes:

 

Physiologically the chemicals that tell you ‘I am angry’ go in 90 seconds.

Unless you press repeat on them.

 

Nobody can MAKE me angry, or make me anything. It’s always my choice to respond (as Dr Covey would no doubt concur – cf. Habit 1 of 7 Habits)

 

We like to think we are thinking people who feel, whereas actually we are feeling people who think.

 

The Brain’s main question, most of the time = ‘Am I safe?’

We feel safe when everything’s as normal. Familiar.

 

When it all gets shaky for whatever reason, our amygdala goes on alert – but we can control that by our self talk. The reason people get violent is because they didn’t wait 90 seconds.

 

The TEENAGE BRAIN is different, biologically.

 

We are born with twice as many neurons as we need.

The cells not stimulated die away.

 

0 – 10 is all about ME finding my way around the world.

Prepuberty you get a boost, an exhuberance.

Then….

 

Puberty involves a major growth spurt (upsets the amygdala)

a hormone flood (mood swings)

and 50% of the synaptic connections get pruned back, you lose half your mind! How unfamiliar does that make you feel!?

And you grow testosterone receptors on your amygdala – which leads to AGGRESSION.

 

The prefrontal cortex is the last part of the brain to get reattached. This is the part that deals with ability to plan ahead, control impulse, sense danger, understand consequences and their appropriateness.

 

Whatever you want to do later, do it as a teenager. This is the time to ‘tend the garden of your mind.’ Choose who you want to be later.

You become an adult at 25.

 

Parents? ‘Keep ‘em alive – to 25.’

Teens? Keep your brain cells alive – to 25.

 

Our left brain society is leading to environmental and mental issues. We mask our pain with substances. The teenage brain is most vulnerable to this. You can choose who you want to be in the world.

 

CREATE and cultivate a conscious relationship with your brain!