I’ll never forget my time spent in India and Sri Lanka with some of the most beautiful, bold and fearless Christians I ever met. Hearing their stories of persecution puts much of what we moan about in context and changed my mindset forever. I’m reminded of that and challenged to the core reading the post (below the photo) from Exponential. As you read it, ask – what stage are you at? I like to think Ivy is getting to stage 4 right now, but so grateful we do not at this point have to pay the same price at Stage 2 as our brothers and sisters in many parts of the world. What do you think could be the reason so many in the West stay settled in Stage 1? As director of training and leadership development for India Gospel League (IGL), Benjamin Chellapandian (“Pastor Benny”) oversees 7,000 church-planting pastors in rural India and Sri Lanka who over the past 25 years have planted roughly 70,000 churches. Recently, Chellapandian spoke to a U.S. church about God’s plan and purpose […]
The Bible says if you want a great church – do nothing! The Bible really says that. We are in a series at Ivy right now called the Summer of Joy, going through the New Testament letter Paul wrote to the Philippians. As I continued to study it, something he wrote to that church (which we learn later had false teachers coming from the outside and fall-outs on the inside) jumped right out at me. What you have to do, to build a great church, perhaps the best thing you can do if like the people he was writing to you have disunity, dissensions and factions starting to develop – DO NOTHING. It really is! Maybe some of you are really glad I say that because that’s what you want to do. But I don’t mean what you think I mean. Maybe some of you Type As are mad now, and you think that can’t be in the Bible. But it is. The Bible says if you want a great church, Do Nothing. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself. […]
Your Bible might headline the meeting in Mark 10 as the rich young man, he’s also referred to as ‘The Rich Young Ruler’. He is everything our culture aspires to be wrapped up in skin and riding a posh donkey with go-faster stripes, but really he’s a self-satisfied, self-centered seeker. The gospels say he’s rich, but he probably didn’t think of himself as Rich. We never do. Materialism hides well in a heart and keeps you from seeing yourself as rich, however much you have. If someone from my world were to go to the poor parts of the same world – you discover you’re a world apart. In Haiti where I have been a number of times and will visit again next year, if you’re ‘Blanc’ – they see you as a millionaire. Why do we never see ourselves as rich? Because of who we compare ourselves with and come into contact with. We compare up not down, and feel better about ourselves as a result. I’m not as rich as Beyonce, Rooney, lottery winners, or MPs. They should do something! […]
Despite what many people in our culture may think, anyone who reads the Bible will soon discover that Christianity is NOT a system for Good people trying to live good lives. When people say, ‘I don’t believe in God or Jesus – but I’m just as much a good Christian as you..’ You can be sure that probably through no fault of their own they either missed the point or were given a description of Christianity that was about religion and rules and quite rightly rejected it. But the REAL gospel – the good news, starts with the bad news that you’re not good. You’re more sinful than you ever dared believe; and more loved than you ever dared hope. Because of the cross of Christ, if we exchange our own messed up record, we get his spotless one. That’s how we end up being ‘counted or reckoned as good.’ Justified, the Bible says. Because of Jesus taking the punishment for my sins, I’m justified – it’s ‘justasifI’d’ never sinned. If that’s all news to you, please get hold of […]
Everyone on the planet is on a search for joy, but paradoxically most of those searching for it end up with broken lives and disappointment. Bertrand Russell had lots of money, sex and power, yet said ‘The centre of me is always and eternally a terrible pain – a curious wild pain – a searching for something beyond what the world contains.’ Where do you find what he (and everyone else) was looking for? Well CS Lewis said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” Do you find yourself longing for home? Lonely in a crowd? You were made for more! You were made for joy! Joy that’s not dependent on circumstances. Krish once lived in Albania. He saw an eagle – the national bird – but it was in a cage, slowly disintegrating itself because of being bound in its circumstances. The apostle Paul was not confined by his circumstances. We can learn from him. Paul was in prison when he wrote […]
I am reflecting back on the inaugural NewThing Global meeting in Nairobi earlier this year and thought a summary post might help answer some of the many questions I get asked about NewThing Europe right now. We met there because of an initial connection between two leaders; Oscar Muriu of Nairobi Chapel was speaking at the Willow GLS and his message impacted my friend Dave Ferguson. They later reconnected through the conference Dave helps lead, Exponential – where Oscar in his amazing keynote from 2 Corinthians 5:14-20 he asked, ‘What are you living your life for that is worth Christ dying for?’ That led to our partnership discussions, and the idea of NewThing Global (of which I am now leading NewThing Europe) developed from that. We wanted to get a small group of friends to gather from the corners of the world to become part of a network, because trust can be communicated through all the relationships in that network. We’ve all been part of groups. There are groups that meet to train, or to talk, but a network is there […]
Because we all danced to ‘You got to move it, move it’ and because you have to get moving or don’t call yourself a movement – that’s what #IvyKinetic was all about. The whole church got equipped for the call – and hit the streets! To find out more or connect with us, check out the Ivy Church website or Like the Ivy Manchester Facebook page after you watch the video. If you’re a leader who wants to turn the church inside out to help people find their way back to God, you can connect with me after investigating NewThing to find out how we can together catalyse more reproducing churches that help people find their way back to God in the UK, Europe and around the world.