I blogged the morning of the bombings about how as I discovered the news about the brutal attack at the Manchester Arena I realized I was walking around with my fists clenched, and how it’s hard to pray with your hands like that. Later after we opened the church for prayer to the community and as I looked at the cross, nail pierced hands opened mine to grace. But as more details emerged, my heart began to clench. Ivy is a church with many medics, some very senior. I kept in touch as well as I could with our guys. They have worked 16 and 12 hour shifts “saving lives and limbs” as first priority but nothing but a warzone could prepare many of the staff, though used to appalling injuries. Extracting the nuts and bolts of evil, trying to convince wounded parents to receive treatment themselves when they only wanted to be patched up and be with their injured children. The calculated manner and premeditated maliciousness of deadly intent to maim the most defenceless young families. I hate it. […]
I go to bed early. But through the night the phone in the corner kept buzzing away at an unusually high rate. Then this morning the phone rang and I was asked by someone in the press what I thought about what has happened here in my home city Manchester. Within minutes I had read all the texts, had all the information, and all the questions, but so few answers. How can this have happened here? I love this city that I lead Ivy Church in so much! My year started at the Arena as over ten thousand of us gathered to pray in the New Year for Festival Of Praise. Now I hear of this carnage in the same place. One of our friends, an Ivy member, was there with his kids last night at the concert there, he says a last minute mess up with the tickets put them away from the seats they should have been in right where the blast was, so they were saved. I thank God for them, but then so many […]
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 […]
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 […]
I spent a little time this evening looking through a little piece of the history of our church, as I read extracts from the Minute Book of “Ivy Cottage” Mission Hall. It started as a record of the ‘Womens’ Bible Class,’ then was unused from 1913 to the 50s. There are some fascinating insights into how Ivy saw itself as a MISSION from its inception, church planting, evangelism, and then that movement became a church as it formalized and hired Pastors to lead it (I’m in danger of doing myself out of a job here) and then started looking at various rules and regulations; and when that happened the pioneering and evangelistic work of women was also truncated. The record speaks for itself and there are some funny things to note along the way. Many of you will know Ivy started as a men’s Bible study group meeting in a house in 1893. I’ll have to look at their records some time too! Oct 5th 1908 – Women’s Bible Class held monthly business meetings and had 218 registered members who […]
As I think about the adventure we’re on and the lives changing every week, seeing these people and knowing so many of the stories represented I still can’t watch this without either; – Gasping – Laughing – Skrieking (Fellow Mancs will understand this word, others can click here to save my embarrassment) – Clapping Because I’m part of the biggest and best thing happening on Planet Earth today, and I get to do that here, with friends who love me. Our new website is soooo good. I’m spending time now flicking round the beautiful wonder of it. Thanks to Dan, Steve, Wozza and Andy, a fantastic design and web team who worked so well to deliver excellence. And Sparky’s video? I love it. So good I want to get it as an advert in Cineworld where we meet too so people going to the cinema get to hear about God’s love for them. So good, I’m going to Ivy Didsbury tonight!
These amazing guys are just some of of our fabulous musicians, regularly helping people find their way back to God through using their gifts at Ivy Church – as well as finding many other outlets to turn places into parties wherever they are. We’ve come a long way since All Things Bright And Beautiful, but they actually are very bright, very beautiful people who I love lots. Treat your ears!
This is my talk from our recent baptism service at Ivy, where I looked at the Ice Bucket challenge and drew out its lessons for leaders and churches committed to helping people find their way back to God. It followed 5 scheduled baptisms; some breathtaking stories of life change with Jesus as the star of every story – after the talk a number of people indicated that wanted to follow Him too, and then 3 more people were baptised too! (If it was good enough for the Ethiopian eunuch and Phillip…) I blogged some of the thoughts from my notes of this already on what has been one of the most read blog items I’ve ever done here if you want to look at that too, but there is more on the talk than that item. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you enjoy the talk. Let me know your thoughts?