My Christmas Eve Talk From A Few Years Back – “What’s His Name?”

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 […]


The Why, Who & How of sharing Jesus

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 […]


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 […]


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’

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 […]


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 […]


Ugly Duckling – Get Ready To Fly

I used to always sing this to the kids at bath time. I loved it whether or not they did! As I write the talk now for this coming Sunday at Ivy Church I finish up thinking about our living out our potential. But if we think about our potential as only being for this life, we miss out so much of what God has prepared for us. The Bible says about Jesus, ‘When we see Him, we will know Him,’ (How?) ‘Because we’ll be like Him.’  We live as citizens of heaven. This world is not our home, we don’t always fit in. Some days more than others we feel that don’t we? But our Christian hope is that one day soon, we’ll stand before Him. We would be ashamed of our ‘grubbiness’ as we focus on ourselves, until he says, ‘Look at who I have you!’ The perishable will be clothed with the imperishable. We’ll never waddle again, but soar!


Stuck In Jerusalem? It’s Time To Move!

I’ll never forget my time spent in India and Sri Lanka with some of the most beautiful, bold and fearless Christians I ever met. Hearing their stories of persecution puts much of what we moan about in context and changed my mindset forever. I’m reminded of that and challenged to the core reading the post (below the photo) from Exponential. As you read it, ask – what stage are you at? I like to think Ivy is getting to stage 4 right now, but so grateful we do not at this point have to pay the same price at Stage 2 as our brothers and sisters in many parts of the world. What do you think could be the reason so many in the West stay settled in Stage 1?   As director of training and leadership development for India Gospel League (IGL), Benjamin Chellapandian (“Pastor Benny”) oversees 7,000 church-planting pastors in rural India and Sri Lanka who over the past 25 years have planted roughly 70,000 churches. Recently, Chellapandian spoke to a U.S. church about God’s plan and purpose […]


Want To Grow A Great Church? Do Nothing!

The Bible says if you want a great church – do nothing!  The Bible really says that. We are in a series at Ivy right now called the Summer of Joy, going through the New Testament letter Paul wrote to the Philippians. As I continued to study it, something he wrote to that church (which we learn later had false teachers coming from the outside and fall-outs on the inside) jumped right out at me. What you have to do, to build a great church, perhaps the best thing you can do if like the people he was writing to you have disunity, dissensions and factions starting to develop – DO NOTHING. It really is! Maybe some of you are really glad I say that because that’s what you want to do. But I don’t mean what you think I mean. Maybe some of you Type As are mad now,  and you think that can’t be in the Bible. But it is. The Bible says if you want a great church, Do Nothing. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself. […]