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 […]
As we just said goodbye to the old year and welcomed a new baby called 2016 I’m reminded of the saying that the difference between most of us and babies is that babies (especially in nappies) like changes! Someone said to me recently they think 2016 will be a bad year. Most of what we could worry about you can either pray about or do nothing about, so in the meantime rather than worry about what you can’t change, or change what you can – you! Like that baby who just entered the world, a new year presents another chance to grow, to develop, to learn. How do you feel as you look toward 2016? Will next year be better? (You can’t control that) Will you be a better version of you? (You have a lot of control there) If you’re a Christ follower you don’t have to become ‘a new you’ like all the papers promise in the fashion or diet features. You are already a new creation! You just have to become more like you have already been […]
WHAT’S HIS NAME? Any Josephs in the place tonight? Mary? Carol!? Anyone called Jesus? No, it used to be common – but he’s pretty unique… he kind of cornered the market on that name. It means ‘God to the rescue.’ Does your name mean something? Do you know what it means? Years ago I asked a bunch of school kids who Christmas was really all about. Someone said Father Christmas of course. Then, a little boy put his hand up…’Oh, It’s… it’s wassisname!’ I want to start by telling you about a vision a man called Isaiah had, we heard something of the words he wrote earlier. By the way the Jewish people made sure their names meant something. Isaiah means, ‘God is salvation.’ He was a prophet, he spoke & wrote around the C8th years BC – what does BC mean? Before Christmas! Every time you write a date it’s saying something about that event that spilt time in two halves forever; the birth of Jesus Christ. But centuries before he was born…. the nation of Israel was living through […]
Teaching from Steve and Michelle Addison from their Follow and Fish Seminar at Ivy Church Manchester WHY should we share about Jesus? COIN: Look at it – it has two sides. There is the Sovereign on one side. The coin is indivisible. Mark 1:17 tells us there’s a command and a promise to every disciple. Follow and Fish. You can’t separate them. You can’t be a follower who doesn’t fish. Has the penny dropped? There are simple ways to connect to people far from God, do that, give them a challenge and disciple them. WHO should we share with? Start with your relational world. People you know. You can draw a map of your relationships, this is very practical -put your name in the middle, circle it. Think of people you’re connected with in your FAMILY. Put their names and connection points down. FRIENDS and NEIGHBOURS Gym class? We want to work with God – ask him who he is already at work with. Pray for about 5 of them for 5 minutes a day – every […]
(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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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.