When God says, ‘I’m not coming!’ (Pete Greig)

(My notes from a great talk by Pete when he recently visited Ivy)  One of the most surprising verses in the Bible is Ex 33:1-3 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ 2 I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 3 Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.” Nobody has verse 3 on a tea towel: “I will not go with you.” You’re on your own. I’m not coming. What’s that about?  Moses says ‘No deal! No way! I’m not doing that deal.’ I can’t lose you. Even though God said, ‘It’s all going to happen, every prayer will be answered, but I’m not coming.’ How about us? Would we say ‘No! We want […]


You Can Build A Ship, But You Can’t Make The Wind Blow. Matt Chandler

My notes from a stand out talk from this year’s Exponential West 2016; At conferences, you see the speakers up there, like they have something special going on, and then there’s’ little old me.’  Like they have these great big ocean liners and you’re in your little rowboat. But that’s not what matters. We can all aim to implement great practices; we can try to build that a bigger, better ship.  But… we can’t make the wind blow.  We can gather, we can motivate, but we can’t transform.  We are so much in need of the Holy Spirit to blow that wind, in the hope that we move forward. We must not think though, that He isn’t a magical genie in a lamp that you simply rub and it will happen! What we can do is look at the place where the wind blows. If we position ourselves where the wind has a tendency to blow, it will happen. Amid the books, the conferences or podcasts we can all think ‘the Church needs Tim Keller, or someone…’ but he put Keller […]


Want To Be A Great Leader? Try This!

John Maxwell said, ‘A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.’ That’s why I say if you’re looking for the supreme example of true leadership don’t look to a football manager, politician or a business mogul. Look at Jesus Christ. Jesus was an extraordinary leader. Just think…it’s 2000 years since he walked on this earth, yet over 2 Billion people right now around the world who would say they are Christians. This morning I was blown away as I read one short passage in the gospel of Mark that holds for me Jesus’ THREE secrets to what he called great leadership. GET GOING. Mark 10:32-45 starts by saying Jesus and his disciples were on their way to Jerusalem and Jesus was leading the way. Even though he knows and then predicts that there is pain, betrayal, a cross and a grave awaiting him. it says he was ‘leading the way.’ That’s what great leaders do. The first secret. Get going. Nobody can follow someone going nowhere. if you stay still, nothing’s going to […]


What Season Are You In?

From the window where I’m sitting the season is one of my favourites – autumn, but the people I was with last week would call it fall, and by virtue of the fact that people read the blog from all over the world, I’m not going to assume anything. We often think in terms of what time it is, and plan our lives by the clock or the calendar. I live day to day, plan month to month, and have an awareness of what season I am in, whatever the weather. Ecclesiastes 3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. What season of life are you in right now? You have to discern what season you are in, because you can’t be the same in each of them. I heard a talk years back by Jim Rohn who described these four seasons and though I have forgotten the detail of what he said, I’ve tried to apply the wisdom from it. WINTER – Hang in There! Job 37:6 “He directs the snow to fall […]


Rick Warren – Is Your Church Mature?

What a privilege today to meet and hear Rick Warren here at Exponential. He’s been an inspiration to me for twenty years. Most years at Ivy we do one of his ’40 Days’ journeys of some kind and they have really helped us. I think I have read more of his sermons, blogs and books than any other Christian leader (well, he puts a lot out there!) and so in that sense he has influenced me more than most. Here at Exponential the emphasis is of course on Church planting and what many will not know is that as well as being a Megachurch guy, he’s one of the most prolific planters on the planet. I was able to spend a little time with him today and I’m praying we can get him to come to Europe. Here’s my notes on today’s talk: it was off the charts. __________________ Should I grow or should I send? There is a tension between attractional and missional and people have weighed in on both sides. Should I grow or should I send? The answer is – BOTH! The first public […]


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 […]