I had a great time at St Mary’s Upton last week, for their ‘Sundays At Seven’ event.
Very professional, they pull in all kinds of people who’d not usually go near a church with this format.
Check out the interview at
I had a great time at St Mary’s Upton last week, for their ‘Sundays At Seven’ event.
Very professional, they pull in all kinds of people who’d not usually go near a church with this format.
Check out the interview at
Mobilising our churches to pray for our police service. Tens of thousands are now signed up to this national campaign started here in Manchester following the tragic shootings this week. at 11am tomorrow we will stand in silent remembrance and pray for the families and friends of PC Fiona Bone and PC Nicola Hughes, and praying with gratitude for all who ‘serve and protect’ in our Police Service.
Full details at this link -
Ivy Grow Group notes
I’m going to be talking this Sunday about church (surprising eh?)
Specifically I want to focus on membership
Being apart OF not apart FROM the Body.
Read 1 Cor 12, then pray together
What parts of the passage are hardest to understand?
What parts go against how we naturally think and live?
Let’s think a bit further on this:
The gospel is like ‘LIVING WATER.’ (where does that phrase come from? Find out and read around it).
What does water do? It fills any receptacle – without retaining the form of any. The container isn’t what’s impt.
The CONTENT stays the same, the CONTAINERS change.
We are individually containers, and we meet together in containers. List what containers Ivy presently meets in that you know of.
Pray for the new outreach starting soon- Ivy Sharston – and the team led by Matty Hawthorne getting it going. Are you called to help with this on Sunday afternoons? Contact the office!
The body looks like it does because of its DNA – that’s what makes us what we are and (to some extent) makes us what we WILL be… = it’s in our DNA.
Much more impt than WHERE we are, is WHO we are!
Go on the Ivy website, look at our church DNA. Remind yourselves of what Ivy is really all about and pray for one another.
I recently visited Harrogate. I love that place! You know the spa water just used to bubble up from ground – then people ascribed to it having life enhancing properties. (to me it just tasted horrible and like a bad egg).
Then what used to be available to all, just bubbled up, had some people put a SYSTEM in place.
People charged for it.
People made a living from it.
Visitors came from all over, and they got religious saying it had to be drunk at certain times, from a certain cup. It was drawn in special cups, by professionals…
They built walls round it (bunker mentality) and charged so much for it ordinary people didn’t get much of a look in.
Any parallels?! How do we do church in ways that help rather than hinder getting that living water to people? What is your GG going to do before Christmas?
We have the living water people need. And we’re putting it out in different shaped containers (look around!).
Ivy is living though the time when you need lots of new wineskins because the wine keeps getting poured out.
Elisha told the widow – go and get more containers – we have to present containers, and heaven won’t run out of oil!
Jesus IS what people need. Jesus IS who people need. The Holy Spirit of God – the living water – HE is always relevant!
We don’t do DECRY and DENY.
We do INVADE and PERVADE.
Did you know you smell? You smell good to God!
How smelly are you?
2 Cor 2:14ff But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.
Pray that this church gets smellier!
Notice how he leads us? TRIUMPHANTLY!
Where does his fragrance spread?
Everywhere we go! So don’t just stay here!
Some will LOVE the smell, it’ll be LIFE to them…
Others will say it smells like DEATH but really it’ll just be them getting a whiff of their own grave clothes they’re going through life in.
But we aren’t ever meant to just close the doors down and shut the world out… that’s why I love this church going OUT…
Like it or not, the Lord has chosen us to live in VERY interesting times! I believe we are living at the most EXCITING time in history! An extraordinary time! God wants you to do some extraordinary things! Will You play your part?
God is birthing the greatest spiritual awakening in the history of the church. Jesus says, ‘come to me and drink…’
I wanted to be a police officer since I was thirteen, and at 16 my dream came true when I joined GMP Police Cadets. After that two years I served 10 years in various roles as a Constable, with some of the bravest and best people imaginable.
As I wrote in my book ‘Diamond Geezers’ my concept of true friendship was forged during those years, and in some senses it spoilt me for what sometimes passes as friendship in the rest of the world.
In the church I have made some great friends too, but such terms as brother/sisterhood are sometimes bandied around too easily as religious concepts among people who are Sunday acquaintances; but while not wanting to be over sentimental, when you’ve been through that dangerous door with someone, or fought alongside them in a dirty pub as the pint pots fly past – you learn who your friends are. My best mate is still one such man I faced fear down alongside with.
The call that every Bobby worth their salt would abandon everything to run to was that of a police woman ‘requiring assistance.’ It was a rare occurrence to hear such a call, because the police women themselves were such brave and resilient people, and when a PW was hurt by a man – he’d crossed the line.
My mum used to always warn me to be careful when I went on duty and I told her not to worry – but many bigger and tougher guys than me were invalided out after injuries on duty. I also remember when I was in GMP a police Inspector called Ray Codling was killed at Birch services and it cast a pall over the thousands who had sworn to work together there for ‘the protection of life and property.’ Just after I left the police it was a brother not only in the police but also a brother in Christ, Stephen Oake, who joined the list of those who laid down their lives in the line of duty. (The full list is found here).
Federation spokesman Ian Hanson said ‘GMP is a family’ – and both serving officers and retired grieve deeply today.
Since I first saw the news break this morning of first of all one, then two police women being murdered in such a callous manner by the coward Dale Cregan. I’ve wandered around in something of a daze. I cried a few times. I’m very angry. I reflected that anger toward heaven as I prayed and the Bible doesn’t shy away from people praying like that. God would rather us be real than religious. The God I know loves people, but hates evil – and punishes it.
If you want honest prayers where people vent their feelings about injustice try Psalm 5, 6, 11, 12, 35, 37, 40, 52, 54, 56, 58, 69, 79, 83, 109, 137, 139, and 143.
King David asked, “Lord, how long will the wicked… triumph they break in pieces Your people, O Lord, And afflict Your heritage” (Psalm 94:3,5).
Jeremiah said: “Why does the way of the wicked prosper? ” (Jeremiah 12:1).
Anyone who knows me or our church will know we support and work for and with many great organisations that work to help those in prison, we work to help rehabilitate offenders, we believe in changed lives and see evidence of it regularly. We believe in forgiveness.
But the Bible also indicates that since the very first murder, blood shed like this pollutes the ground and ‘cries out’ to God.
On Sunday in our services we will have a time of silent prayer, and take up financial offerings – that is the least we can do.
And today I’m just talking to God about how I feel about this, I find it hard to talk to anyone else about it that’s why I’m writing it down here.
Praying for the families of Pw Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes; RIP.
Praying for the City I love, where so much great work is done and incidents like this appall everyone, that after this ‘dark day’ we’ll work together for light and right.
Praying for the Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy who I have met on a number of occasions, and all the Police here who are as he says, ‘In Mourning,’ that their professionalism and integrity will result in the strongest possible case being presented to the court so justice is done here on earth.
Praying for organisations like Redeeming Our Communities, founded from our church by Debra Green OBE working together with the Police and all people of good will for the benefit of all.
But right now – I’m not proud to say, I can’t pray for Cregan, and those who have sheltered the evil coward.
So what do you do when you can’t pray?
I’ll have to talk to God about that.
Carrying on from my Graham Cooke notes for Ivy Grow Groups again! Sorry these are a little late and thanks for the reminder, I have been at New Wine LSE which was fabulous but very busy and little opportunity for internet access.
“I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.”
Isaiah 48:11 “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.”
Discuss: What do you think God meant by not sharing his glory with another?
Graham Cooke said, “You say ‘He won’t share his glory with another!’ Well you’re not another. You’re his and you’re in him. If you’re in Christ, you’re wonderful – step up into your rightful place!”
Q: In what sense might God share his glory with us, without that contradicting what the Bible passages above taught?
“That means you have a great sense of knowing what you’re like WITHOUT Jesus and knowing what you are like as you’re walking with Jesus. That’s humility.”
Discuss: What would you/your life be like without Christ? If you’re not yet a Christ- follower, what difference do you think it might make if you did become his disciple?
GC: ‘God put you into Christ so he can always look at you favourably. You’re a citizen of heaven, living here on earth. So we take our cues from there, not here! Then everyone around you can get blessed. And the more we pour out, the more we get back – pressed down and run over. People around you need you not to be struggling with what God has already killed. Take into your community your closure and your commissioning – and you will take territory.’
READ aloud the end of Philippians 3.
What does it teach us about what people glory in and what God glories in? Is anyone in the group a citizen of more than one country? What does it mean to have citizenship in heaven?
GC: ‘God wants to give you have enough favour to reach the people he’s sending you to. Stop messing around in the shallow end!’
READ Ezek 47:3-6
There are 4 measurings:
Discuss: What ‘control’ holds you back from going head over heels in love with God?
Pray for one another, inviting the Holy Spirit to draw each person into a place of glorious intimacy with him we can never return from!
For the next few weeks in Grow Groups at Ivy MCR we’re going to be revisiting the amazing teaching from Graham Cooke at our ‘Keys the City’ conference, based upon my notes. So much truth made it hard to capture it all, even though I’m pretty good at note taking!
WELCOME : Ice breaker – everyone tell a short story from the past – what you remember when you were 7 or 8.
WORSHIP – Take some time together to enjoy the presence of God.
Key learning point: If we are going to become the people that God sees when he looks at us, it is essential that we understand the process he takes us through to become Christlike.
There’s a three-stage process of transformation;
Discuss – what do those three words mean to you? How would the group define them? Compare to a dictionary definition of each.
The people coming out of Egypt had been slaves for 400 years, they had victim thinking. That means they only knew how to moan and complain and whine! They were a rabble, and had to become a different people group. They had to get closure from the past, if they were to inherit their future.
Q: What betrays the fact that a person has a victim mindset?
Q. Graham then said, ‘”The cross is CLOSURE for our old nature.” What does that mean?
In the Body of Christ there are people who are present/past (always affected by that, looking back).
And there are those who are present/future.
Q. Which are you, usually? If you went to the conference share how this teaching helped identify that.
When you are in Christ you don’t have a right to be wounded, but you have a right to be healed. No matter how many times some people (the past/present thinkers) get prayer, go for counselling etc., they can’t move on – it won;t happen without the old man being closed down. Whatever happened in the past, God’s view of it was that your past was too bad to be cured or cleansed – it had to be crucified!
So you’re dead. Your job – is to stay dead. Stop grave robbing. The date you got saved is on your headstone. The Holy Spirit is not working on your old stuff, he’s given you new life. Jesus died ONCE and FOR ALL.
Q: How do we encourage one another to die to the old life in order to live the new?
Graham said, “If you find it easy to be offended, it proves you don’t have much of a relationship with the Holy Spirit who is the Comforter. Let HIM comfort you – then grow up from being a baby. Establish your real identity. Offences are a hindrance.”
Q. Are you easily offended? How do you move on?
The identity issue is this: Don’t focus on what you’ve BEEN - Learn who you are becoming. We are Present/ future people when we like who we are now and who we are becoming!
Q. Do you like who you are now and who you’re becoming in Christ? If not – why not?
The old has died. God doesn’t talk to us about our sin, he’s dealt with it. Otherwise he’d be treading underfoot the cross as if it wasn’t powerful enough. Christians need to get our story straight – about what Jesus has done for us. Because the enemy would love you to be kept in classes or counselling focused on the old nature. That suits his purpose. He wants you to be focused on what you’re not. Then you’ll never overcome. God is preoccupied with who you are (identity) and who you’re becoming (future).
You don’t become a new person by just changing your behaviour. You discover who you are – and God leads you out of that. This is what it means to be converted! The OLD PASSED AWAY. The new you is the true you.
Jesus comes to you and says, ‘Give me back what I died and went to hell for!’ That anxiety, worry, negatives, hatred – it belongs to me! And I can’t give you what I have for you till you give it to me. I am your Prince of Peace but you can’t have it while you’re holding onto that. Learn to abide in who I am, not in who you are. There is no conversion, without closure.
Q: Have you thought about conversion in these terms before? What new insights have you on it now?
God isn’t dealing with your sin nature – but your sin habits. You have to learn how to be loved, joyful, peaceful, etc. The good habits of the nature of Christ.
PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER remembering, “He uses every situation in life to empower you to become like Jesus. If you’re in Christ, so are all your circumstances. They all have an answer in the Kingdom. So use them to grow up. God will turn it to good for us if we partner with him.”
There’s a lot of power at work in these stories collected by Mark. Power can be abused with terrible consequences. The whole creation has been hurt by the ABUSE of power but Jesus puts it right and reverses and renews it by the ABBA-use of power. By the end of Chapter 5 it’s 4-0 to Jesus. he beats the storm, the devils, sickness and even death. It’s breathtaking!
The disciples were beginning to see many signs of who Jesus really was. The messiah? Yet different than what they expected. God was seen in the OT ruling over and subduing that place that was most scary for the Israelites – the sea. The boat is a traditional picture of the church, and it’s buffeted by the world. That’s an encouragement to them. ‘Do you not yet have SUFFICIENT faith?’ There’s an old kids song we used to sing – ‘With Christ in the vessel we can smile at the storm.’ Do you smile? Relax! Jesus is with you in the boat and he has the power you need.
Nobody is asking for help here – but God breaks in and destroys the work of the devil. The neighbours were scared by the power of Jesus, that’s why they wanted rid of him. His power is let loose here as a foretaste of salvation coming to the Gentiles. Satan has brought humiliation and torment, Jesus treats him like a human being and dignifies him by delivering him. Jesus also sends him back to community, and sending him out as a messenger. Jesus here gains a foothold over the enemy territory, and a stranglehold on the enemy. These days we can hide ourselves away and do that which isolates and hurts ourselves. We too can receive total deliverance.
This woman has many obstacles to healing. No rabbi would help her. Is she trying to bypass the system to get to the power. Jesus demonstrates grace outside the rule. Turns religion on its head and calls her ‘Daughter’ not sinner. Come to him! Bring your mess, in faith.
Arise = be resurrected! This is actually only a resuscitation. Jesus never panics like on Casualty. Not even concern. He is free from the agenda of the people, he’s servant of all but not mastered by anyone’s agenda. He knows he isn’t omnipresent. So he gets there when he can and does what he can do. And he has power over death. He even brings his disciples in on seeing how he can bring life back. He comes to your dream and passion and says ‘Come and wake up!’ We can pray ‘Talitha Koum!!’ too.
Jesus is the eternal source of divine power and he has not stopped! Don’t let anything get in his way. The only thing that prevented Jesus unleashing many miracles was UNBELIEF. You can pray, ‘Lord I believe, help me overcome my unbelief.’
These are my notes from the talk, with some questions for Grow Groups to consider and discuss together.
PRAY: Thanks to God for IVY KINGSWAY! What a great way to start off our new service there at Cineworld Didsbury. Next Sunday we’ll have the lights in too that we’ve partnered with the cinema in buying, it’ll be even better!
Mike said his talk is for those who have felt that your walk with God is drifting or has drifted. Because God wanted us CLOSE.
Question – Do you feel close to God right now? How do you know when you are?
Read 1 John 3:1 – How great is the love of the Father that he has LAVISHED on us that we should be called the children of God! That’s what we are!
Question – Discuss the word Lavish. What images does it bring to mind?
The story of the Prodigal son is actually all about the Father and how he relates to 2 different types of people:
Read the story together and look at the setting in Luke 15.
Two camps heard the story when it was first told ; Sinners - and religious mutterers.
Which do you usually err toward?
Focus on Vs 11;
Throughout the whole OT and into the NT, the firstborn son got a double portion of what everyone else got. If there were 2, the oldest would get 2/3.
But the elder son behaved as though he had never received anything.
Question: In what ways might we not receive our inheritance? What stops us receiving what the Lord has for us?
The young son took his third and went to the world of the Gentiles to party; where some wild living took place. After he’d spent everything, he began to be in need. Ended up hungry for what the pigs were eating.
There was a point at which he ‘Came to his senses’ = this literally means he saw himself in a mirror; saw himself for what he had become. He then decided to go home and say, ‘I’ve sinned.’
Question: what do people think of when they hear the word sin?
The word here in Greek is Hamartia = falling short. When Tyndale translated this it was during the time when everyone in England had to practise archery. And in archery there’s a HIT, a MISS and a SIN. And sin = the shot that falls short of the target. He sees that he’s fallen short of his Father’s expectations for him.
But while he was still a long way off…. his Father saw him and was filled with compassion. He RAN to him. This was what you didnt ever do in public if you wanted to maintain your dignity (like breaking wind in company)! He smells of the pig sty but he doesn’t have to have a bath before. Put his shoes on (slaves went barefoot – children get shoes). And they all eat veal.
Question: Is the church generally known for its welcome of people far off or for its rejection of them? How can we be more like the Father?
MEANWHILE.. the older son is out there in the fields. He’s a long way from his Father too it seems. Religious people don’t get involved in celebration and dancing so he stands outside and asks what’s happening. And becomes angry, judgmental, cross. Religious people can end up like that because of all they feel they have given up to get close to God – but they just get further away from him. So then the father goes out to him too – to plead with him. Leaves the party of which he is host, to go to this other lost son.
The younger son has become a fool, waiting for his dad to give him a goat that he already owns!
What do these words mean to you as you hear them spoken by God to you?
‘You are always with me and everything I have is yours!’
Are you as close today as the Father longs for you to be? What step do you need to take?
Who do you know who is far from God right now? Practically, how can you ‘run’ to connect them back to the love of God?