I’m Teaching – About Preaching

The preaching class at my theological college ended with an Egyptian monk called George telling me, ‘If God could speak through the mouth of a donkey I suppose he can use you.’ Since then I’ve read thousands of books and learned from everyone I can on public speaking and preaching, because I always want to get better at something so important! The Bible says not many people should step up to be a teacher, because we’ll be subject to a stricter judgement. How much more for if you presume to teach others to do it! Despite that, the Ivy staff team have asked me to put together some teaching to help them to preach. I might do more than one of there’s a good turn out, and this one’s open to all not just Ivy people. 7.30pm 24th November at Ivy Didsbury I’ll also touch on how to lead services well, and a lot of what I say will help anyone in business who has to stand up and present. I’ll have fun talking about something I love – you’re […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


Time To Go Can Be Your Time To Grow!

Today I got TWO letters of resignation from two of our best leaders. Matty and Nick aren’t leaving because they don’t want to be at Ivy (they’re not even leaving Ivy, they’ll still be part of the church). The letters were expected, because we’ve talked at length about where they’re at and what God’s calling them out of – and into. Both have a different path ahead of them, but what’s common is that it will always all be about Jesus. Someone asked me recently, ‘What’s Ivy’s biggest challenge?’ I said, ‘When you tell people they can go and change the world for Jesus, they start to believe you – and go and do it.’ Ivy’s that kind of a place and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is why we need to keep raising up more leaders. Leaders we invest in, and hope will stay, but only as long as they should. Leaders with backbone enough to let go of certainty and not retreat into what’s safe – because they are NOT leaders. You can’t play it safe […]


9 Bullets Simon Guillebaud Fired At Ivy Church Last Sunday.

Privileged to host my friend Simon Guillebaud at Ivy last Sunday on a whistle stop tour from the poorest, most messed up country in the world. He spoke about how they put the fans on loudly in the house so the kids can’t hear the shooting outside, and how he recently witnessed a mass shooting where many bullets were fired but thankfully only a few hit. He then fired out 9 truths from the Bible in Deuteronomy 30. A number of them hit me! Which ones are on target for you today? Here are my notes, but I recommend you listen to the talk (and if Ivy podcasts are helping you, please could you take two minutes to write us a positive review to encourage others to listen too?) Nine Things That Will Change Your Life Will you choose; 1) Clarity – or Trust? Trust is challenging for us. We want clarity. Let go of clarity to get trust. Trust him! 2) Obedience – or Disobedience? Obedience means submitting ourselves to what God says, while your conscience is still tender […]


Why Aren’t Men (Even Christian Men) More Like Jesus?

Everywhere I go these days I see young men with long hair and beards, but being like Jesus doesn’t mean trying to look like him. I posted on my Facebook page yesterday about my friend Krish Kandiah. He doesn’t have a beard but I’d just read a blog he had written outlining a positive way we should connect with Muslims rather than give way to Islamophobia. He works tirelessly to put the lonely in families and most recently is helping the government rethink its refusal to receive refugee children from Europe. I thought, “I wish I was more like Krish.’ Why did I think that? I reposted his blog with comment, “This man is so like Jesus, full of grace and truth.” That’s why. When I was at primary school, I wanted to be like the bigger boys. At High school, I wanted to be like Mr. Stanford the P.E. Teacher. When I joined the Police Cadets, I wanted to be like the ‘real’ police. When I became a police officer, I wanted to be like the old timers who […]


How Can Your Church Connect With Generation Z?

  A pre-figure of Generation Z appears in Acts 20 where we read how a young man called Eutychus was hearing a sermon that sent him to sleep and he ended up ‘pushing up Zs’. He fell out of the window and would have stayed pushing up daisies, until the apostle Paul did something dramatic that raised him back to life. There are presently six living generations. How many can you name? I had heard of Boomers and Busters, got my head around Generation X (I’m in that bracket) and Generation Y (millennials b. 1980-95) but unlike marketeers and media people I was way behind the curve when it came to Generation Z, the tweens and teens of today (1995-2010). As someone who wants to reach the world for Jesus, that’s pretty much inexcusable- because this hugely populous group are the influencers of tomorrow, living in a world that has radically changed from when I was a teen. I first heard someone tackle the importance of reaching this burgeoning group of potential world changers (or self obsessed narcissists depending who you […]


SIX STEPS to Growth

6 STEPS to Growth (Tom Lane, Gateway Church) Matt 25:14 ‘Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 ‘After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.” 21 ‘His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful […]


I Just Had An Epiphany

Tonight at Ivy Didsbury Andy Smith blew us away with an incredible talk about the Magi, those outsiders from the East who found themselves in Bethlehem shortly after Christ was born, and on bended knee gave the best of who they were and had to him. There was so much great stuff there I encourage you to subscribe to the Ivy podcast and listen to the talk in full when it’s up later in the week. But something Andy said almost in passing at the end really grabbed me. It was an epiphany at Epiphany! Here it is, as I recall what he said: “The wise men got there, and saw… a baby, an infant, a little child. But God says in Zechariah 4:10 despise not the day of small beginnings,’ and this child grew into the Saviour of the world.” As I sat there I thought about those VIPs. They came looking for the King of the Jews, right? What would that look like? They’d know what Kings look like. And they are somehow looking for God there, the […]