(I’ve been asked by the guys in the USA to do a snapshot report of the ‘story so far’ and thought I’d share it here for those of you who are interested. This Sunday at Ivy we have another of our monthly days set aside to pray for NewThing and this will help you) I was just coming to terms with being challenged already from NewThing’s LARN process to step out of my comfort zone as Pastor of a growing network of Ivy churches taking ground here in Manchester and consider the whole of my nation of Great Britain: how to create systems to reproduce networks to attract, train and deploy apostolic leaders? Many of you will know from the Exponential book one of the main ideas is that you draw your vision on a napkin? That was one of the biggest challenges because I’m not very good at drawing (Manchester’s easy, just draw a circle for the M60 and drop a few dots all over for churches: Britain’s a lot harder to draw and always ended up looking like two pieces of […]
I said today in my talk at Ivy Kingsway, Joy is not a way you feel, it’s a way you think. (The podcast of that talk will be available free shortly on www.ivychurch.org – why not subscribe? And if you listen on iTunes, please give us a review) The reason people miss out on joy is they’re looking for the wrong thing in the wrong places! In this quick encouragement I want you to listen in on how happiness is different than Joy. Grab a cup of what you fancy, then put your feet up and press play above to find out how you can experience joy, even in troubles, temptations and tests.
I used to always sing this to the kids at bath time. I loved it whether or not they did! As I write the talk now for this coming Sunday at Ivy Church I finish up thinking about our living out our potential. But if we think about our potential as only being for this life, we miss out so much of what God has prepared for us. The Bible says about Jesus, ‘When we see Him, we will know Him,’ (How?) ‘Because we’ll be like Him.’ We live as citizens of heaven. This world is not our home, we don’t always fit in. Some days more than others we feel that don’t we? But our Christian hope is that one day soon, we’ll stand before Him. We would be ashamed of our ‘grubbiness’ as we focus on ourselves, until he says, ‘Look at who I have you!’ The perishable will be clothed with the imperishable. We’ll never waddle again, but soar!
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 […]