IF God is so good, why is the world so bad?

Every day for weeks we have been bombarded with horror stories. Orlando and then various cities in the USA, Baghdad, Syria (of course), then Nice – a place where Ivy has mission partners that I have visited so it feels a lot closer to home. It really wasn’t that long since Zoe and I sat on the Promenade des Anglais, looking out at the sea and praying together. A beautiful place – and then irrational, unfathomable evil is unleashed and the innocent suffer again. How are we supposed to deal with it? And whether you believe in God or hate the idea of God, you have to deal with it. Sociologist Peter Berger said we all have to come up with a solution to this for ourselves in some way, or we’ll find the world unbearable. We’ll crack up. That’s one reason the world is so hopeless and fearful right now. People are still trying to figure it all out, and they can’t… Last night at Ivy I addressed the issues in a talk entitled How can God be good, when […]


Equipped – To Teach (Five Ways)

My notes from Ivy’s latest ‘Equipped To Lead’ event: Lucy Peppiatt Crawley – The Bible’s Five Fold Teaching Gift   Teachers are those who believe they have truths to impart. There’s something they want to pass on. Jude talks about ‘the faith that was once and for all entrusted to the saints.’ You have been entrusted with something! Part of your calling then is to learn how to teach. And there’s more than one way to do it. Teaching has to do something. Impartation for action – that leads to change. All real teachers want to see that. Teaching is at the heart of the Christian faith. Because Jesus was a teacher- he came as a Rabbi. He gathered disciples to teach them, to teach others to obey all he’d taught them. You can’t make disciples without teaching. In the early church they would have around three years teaching before they’d be baptized people. Proverbs 24:3,4  By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. You can’t get knowledge […]


Praying For The #OrlandoShooting

I have been to Orlando, it’s a fun place. I went for a conference and that was work so Zoe told me I couldn’t go to Disney or have too much fun. But I still had some fun. It’s not a scary place. I walked around in the evenings and felt fine. Maybe it’s the ex-cop thing, but I’ve been in many far tougher places around the world over the years and I generally don’t feel scared walking around anywhere. I don’t know about you but I find it harder to pray for places I’ve never visited when I hear terrible news on the TV (and there’s just so much of it). Perhaps the fact that I have been there makes it easier for me to pray for the city, and weigh heavier on my heart. I imagine the terror in those moments of those inside the club, I think of the families involved who now mourn lost children or relatives, or maintain waiting vigils at their bedsides hoping and praying they pull through. If I hadn’t ever been there, […]


Lying Down Beside Still Waters, In Nettles.

10 years ago I had a nasty fall off a mountain bike, smashed the bike helmet (this is why I always wear one) my right shoulder, and my neck. I knew I’d got it bad when the first thought I had as a spat bits of teeth out was, “Who’s going to preach on Sunday?” I can’t really recall being off sick since – until today. Yesterday I had a nasty fall off a mountain bike, and smashed my left shoulder. The front wheel overran the path, down the river bank and over the top. Thankfully I didn’t fall in the river but I landed in nettles, which meant my first thought this time was, “Quick, get out of these nettles!”. I knew my shoulder was bad immediately so rode home one-handed then went to casualty. I have to go to the hospital again on Thursday but the X-Ray seemed to show a break in the clavicle and some dislocation. Thank God for the NHS. Really, if you live in the UK, you know you should. They gave me strong […]


Lead Better With Seven Great Coaching Questions

In the last couple of days I’ve read a short book called The Coaching Habit. As I write it’s on offer at just 99p on Amazon UK on the Kindle which makes it a 5 Star Bargain. I thoroughly recommend you buy it because it has lots of science to back it up, is unusually well written and very funny in places. The only thing I felt was missing was a one page summary for easy reference, so here’s one I made earlier to put into Evernote in the hope it gets into my brain and changes my habit of trying to give all the answers, instead of asking better questions. Seven Great Coaching Questions can deliver you from having to have all the solutions to help people find them for themselves: Ready? 1) What’s On Your Mind? There are scientific reasons Facebook asks you this! 2) And What Else? Repeat this after listening, repeat this after listening, and repeat this… you get the idea 3) What’s The Real Challenge Here For You? Cuts to the chase, provides focus. 4) What Do You Want? Gives ownership […]


Time To Go Can Be Your Time To Grow!

Today I got TWO letters of resignation from two of our best leaders. Matty and Nick aren’t leaving because they don’t want to be at Ivy (they’re not even leaving Ivy, they’ll still be part of the church). The letters were expected, because we’ve talked at length about where they’re at and what God’s calling them out of – and into. Both have a different path ahead of them, but what’s common is that it will always all be about Jesus. Someone asked me recently, ‘What’s Ivy’s biggest challenge?’ I said, ‘When you tell people they can go and change the world for Jesus, they start to believe you – and go and do it.’ Ivy’s that kind of a place and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is why we need to keep raising up more leaders. Leaders we invest in, and hope will stay, but only as long as they should. Leaders with backbone enough to let go of certainty and not retreat into what’s safe – because they are NOT leaders. You can’t play it safe […]


9 Bullets Simon Guillebaud Fired At Ivy Church Last Sunday.

Privileged to host my friend Simon Guillebaud at Ivy last Sunday on a whistle stop tour from the poorest, most messed up country in the world. He spoke about how they put the fans on loudly in the house so the kids can’t hear the shooting outside, and how he recently witnessed a mass shooting where many bullets were fired but thankfully only a few hit. He then fired out 9 truths from the Bible in Deuteronomy 30. A number of them hit me! Which ones are on target for you today? Here are my notes, but I recommend you listen to the talk (and if Ivy podcasts are helping you, please could you take two minutes to write us a positive review to encourage others to listen too?) Nine Things That Will Change Your Life Will you choose; 1) Clarity – or Trust? Trust is challenging for us. We want clarity. Let go of clarity to get trust. Trust him! 2) Obedience – or Disobedience? Obedience means submitting ourselves to what God says, while your conscience is still tender […]


Why Aren’t Men (Even Christian Men) More Like Jesus?

Everywhere I go these days I see young men with long hair and beards, but being like Jesus doesn’t mean trying to look like him. I posted on my Facebook page yesterday about my friend Krish Kandiah. He doesn’t have a beard but I’d just read a blog he had written outlining a positive way we should connect with Muslims rather than give way to Islamophobia. He works tirelessly to put the lonely in families and most recently is helping the government rethink its refusal to receive refugee children from Europe. I thought, “I wish I was more like Krish.’ Why did I think that? I reposted his blog with comment, “This man is so like Jesus, full of grace and truth.” That’s why. When I was at primary school, I wanted to be like the bigger boys. At High school, I wanted to be like Mr. Stanford the P.E. Teacher. When I joined the Police Cadets, I wanted to be like the ‘real’ police. When I became a police officer, I wanted to be like the old timers who […]


Top Tips For Speakers

Speaking Better

I loved this TED talk by Julian Treasure. It will take you about ten minutes to watch, but if you only have five – watch the last five. It will be well worth it in terms of how long people will be willing to give you a hearing. Anyone aspiring to grow in influence and leadership will benefit, but make sure you’re in private when you do the wee-wah exercise!