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 […]


Praying For The #OrlandoShooting

I have been to Orlando, it’s a fun place. I went for a conference and that was work so Zoe told me I couldn’t go to Disney or have too much fun. But I still had some fun. It’s not a scary place. I walked around in the evenings and felt fine. Maybe it’s the ex-cop thing, but I’ve been in many far tougher places around the world over the years and I generally don’t feel scared walking around anywhere. I don’t know about you but I find it harder to pray for places I’ve never visited when I hear terrible news on the TV (and there’s just so much of it). Perhaps the fact that I have been there makes it easier for me to pray for the city, and weigh heavier on my heart. I imagine the terror in those moments of those inside the club, I think of the families involved who now mourn lost children or relatives, or maintain waiting vigils at their bedsides hoping and praying they pull through. If I hadn’t ever been there, […]


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 […]


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 […]


Lead by listening – Brad Jersak

  Jesus is alive! The resurrection is essential to Christianity not just because there’s’ an empty tomb, but because he is here. We were not just left with a love letter. There’s a living God who wants to know us! Jesus believed we could hear his voice. But I didn’t really believe it.   What if we look at the new covenant promises? Based on Jesus dying for us. What are the promises he made to us.   Forgiveness is forgiven. It was done on Good Friday and I experience it now, AND by word count that’s not number 1. By word count, it’s that we get to hear God.   I grew up believing I had a personal relationship with Jesus, but not expecting him to speak to me. What kind of personal relationship is that?   Jer 31:31ff – Prophesy of the New Covenant. No longer will a man need to say to his neighbour, because from the least to the greatest, ALL will! The least in age, the least holy even (because doesn’t he speak then?! Not […]


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 […]


LEAD BY VISION

As part of Ivy’s ‘Year of Equipping’ we have booked selected world class leaders to lift the lid on our leadership and help us all go to the next level. If you were to give yourself a score 1 to 10 in terms of how you lead, how well you steward your God-given influence, what score would you give yourself? If you’re brave enough you could ask those you lead to rate you! We aim through these ‘Equipped To Lead’ events to help those who lead at Ivy go from where they are now, to where God intends them to be. My friend Nick Klinkenberg visited this week to bring a wealth of experience having pastored various churches in New Zealand as well as coaching and planting across Europe. This really is a great talk and Nick’s passion for leadership that makes a difference and love for people just shines through! Make some notes on how to ‘LEAD BY VISION.’


A Different Way To Get Leaders

How did Peter get to follow Jesus and become a leader? Jesus selected him. How did Matthew get to follow Jesus and become a leader? Jesus selected him. Luke 5: One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore… After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. Jesus called some fishermen and said “Follow me.” He went out and saw the tax collector who was by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. Why did he do that? Because Jesus picked him. […]