So What If Everyone Just Did Without God?

(My Talk Delivered at Ivy Kingsway This Morning) I sometimes wonder, what would my life have been like if I hadn’t become a Christ follower nearly 30 years ago.It’s a long story and you have already heard it but it started when I opened my mind and opened my Bible, then Jesus Christ showed how real he is, so I opened my life to him and he changed everything. I don’t know whether you’d say you are near to God or far away, but the Bible says ‘Draw near to God and he will draw near to you’ and that’s a promise and that’s what I did. And that’s what He did. And He will do it for anyone here today, so today I want to invite you – like we do all the time round here at Ivy and over 50 people have done it since September – to pray with me to fully give control of your life and come back to God. To receive his love, believe his promises, turn from everything you know to be wrong […]

Work Life Balance? Impossible! Do This Instead

I spoke today to the ‘Ivy Professionals’ Group – a bunch of people who meet to discuss how to get the best out of working for God, whatever they do. They asked me to speak on ‘Work/Life Balance’. Numbers were down, probably effected by the terrible news of terrorist attacks in Paris which leaves us all with a sense of numbness and the need to just reflect, pray and perhaps be with people we love.  The people who were there asked me to share my notes on here and I hope they help you too.  I have benefitted from a lot of training over the years from the fantastic Franklin Covey organisation and much of what I do has been shaped by their materials. I recommend them 100%. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has probably been my number one ‘Go back and read again’ leadership book over the last fifteen years. Once of the central concepts is of course the story of the teacher who fills up a glass storm jar, first with 7 Big Rocks, then with […]

When the fire goes out

Last night we went down to the seashore with some old friends to set off fireworks for bonfire night. One of the rockets somehow lost its fuse, then the fuse must have got damp because it wouldn’t light. All its brothers went flying off to do their glorious thing, while ‘Mighty Max’ could only watch from a safe distance like the rest of us. It was going to miss its purpose and party. What do you do when the fire goes out? Personally? What does a church that’s losing or lost its fire do? There’s no point complaining about it or willing it to go again. The potential may be there but it’s still going nowhere. Enter BIG BEN. We put no longer very mighty Max right next to Big Ben. When Big Ben went off, 36 glorious shots in all, well, there were 37. And number 5, most wonderful of them all, loudest and brightest, was Mighty Max. He didn’t need a fuse. He needed great company! This is a little parable for me as I think about New […]

Quick Video – My New Book ‘Work It Out’

Quick Video – My New Book ‘Work It Out’

I wrote Work It Out to help Christians understand and explain their faith better, and so people who aren’t following Jesus yet will understand why we believe it’s the best decision you’ll ever make. The video summarises the main messages. Please watch it, and if you’re a social media type Tweet or Facebook share it to help me. All proceeds from the book go to Ivy Church. Available on Amazon in the USA and UK J. John says it’s,”Readable without being shallow, wide-ranging without being overwhelming and challenging without being threatening.” If you’ve read Work It Out already (and really liked it!) I’d be so grateful for you to share a positive review on Amazon.   

Church & Buildings – The Wrong Question?

This week I ended up embroiled in discussion with some CofE friends via Facebook after I retweeted a Guardian article by Giles Fraser on how the best thing to do with dying rural churches is shut them down and sell them off (that’s my summary, follow the link to read it if you like). His idea can hardly be described as original, but it’s put the cat among the bats in the belfry. And here I risk offending even more than he has by commenting that talking about rural churches only is a hostage to fortune. Would your community weep if the church was no longer there? I know some ministers who wouldn’t even weep if it wasn’t there! Places where the local dry cleaners would be missed if it closed more than the local church because at least that’s providing some tangible benefit. Urban or rural, churches that are only relevant to those still attending but irrelevant to connect meaningfully with their local community will die, they can just take a very long time to do so.  Meanwhile a […]

A Ring, a Robe and Sandals: How your Father welcomes prodigals!

This video was played at our Ivy services last Sunday morning as part of our Finding Your Way Back To God series. I highly commend the book written by my friends Dave and Jon Ferguson for anyone wondering about God, or trying to help point someone home. Following the message in two of our congregations more than 20 people publicly stood to say they knew they were lost, but now they’re going to make the journey back to the Father’s house. Watch the video, and if you’re ready to come home, the door’s wide open, the party banner has your name on it, and a fat calf looks nervous…. Please let me know if the video’s helped you.        

The Rebekah Difference

Tomorrow I will be privileged to speak to the Directors and Store Managers of one of the world’s most exclusive stores, Boodles. What can someone who leads a church say to business people who consistently provide the most excellent products to the most exclusive clientele – whose expertise has been featured in a revealing TV documentary, The Million Pound Necklace? Their leaders are among the best in the world: so I’m going there in learning mode for sure! As I thought and prayed about it, one person’s example from the Bible shone through. Here are the notes I’ll deliver my address from tomorrow:  The first Vicar who trained me went to his door one day on his day off and found a rumpled old man standing on he doorstep, who said he’d been driving past and wondered if he might go and look inside the church for a short while as he was passing. David thought to himself, ‘Well it’s my day off’ – but he found he couldn’t say it so instead he grabbed the heavy set of keys […]

Update on NewThing Europe

(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 […]

10Minute Podcast – Smile In A Trial (1)

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 – 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.