We were privileged to host Dr Matt Lynch at Ivy last night where he gave great teaching on the subject of how we encounter our God who is ‘a consuming fire.’ My (unedited) notes are as follows – Exodus 24:17 To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. What does the Bible mean when it says our God is a consuming fire? It occurs a number of times in the Bible and the OT occurrences seem pretty scary! Eg Isaiah 30 See, the Name of the Lord comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; his lips are full of wrath, and his tongue is a consuming fire. 28 His breath is like a rushing torrent, rising up to the neck. He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction; he places in the jaws of the peoples a bit that leads them astray. God comes and settles his presence on a mountain but then warns the people not to come anywhere […]
I was reading a post written by my friend Ian Paul on his fantastic blog today as I prepare for my talk on Sunday night where I’ve been going through the Lord’s Prayer. At theological college Ian was always the smartest guy in the room, and I highly commend you subscribe to the blog as I do. There’s always so much to think about even in the throwaway lines, as he boldly goes where Anglicans usually fear to tread. In this example, Ian mentions as a Greek scholar something which has quite profound implications that I want to ponder. Ready? “John 3.16 does not mean what most people think: ‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son…’ but rather ‘God loved the world in this way that he gave his only Son…’ That was the meaning of ‘so’ in 1611 but is no longer today—but the traditional rendition is so powerful that even Bible translators have lacked the courage to make this clear.” I love it! It’s the manner of love that’s being described and not the […]
In a newsagents today I was amazed how many magazines are still writing about the effects of the Reformation, 500 years on. This one in the New Scientist is fascinating. It’s widely held that Martin Luther never aspired to be a great theologian or meant to start a revolution, he just wanted a conversation about salvation that led to the Reformation (did you notice that rhymed? I should have been a rapper!). Reading Nick Page’s recent funny and informative book on the Reformation reminds me Luther was not particularly original either, he combined the ideas of others with the questions he had from reading the Bible for himself and posed some questions about the church in his day that was so far removed from the people it was meant to reach. The new technology of the printing press took his ideas viral and set ablaze a conflagration leading to movements formed that continue to multiply to today. I thank God for that. I thank God for the Reformation today. I thank God for those who gave their lives so that […]
There’s a list in the Bible book of Ecclesiastes that sums up life pretty well, because we’re all in about to go through or going through some of the times up there on the screen – some time… 1 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. 2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance… Do you know someone going through a tearing down time? Anyone on your street or Facebook page in a time of grief? Someone in the family who’s thrown away a job, someone searching for something or someone – but not finding. Someone in conflict? Someone longing for the time of healing? What do we do in times like that? How do we help? I’ll be honest, I was […]
“There are opportunities all around you to enlarge your vision! But only people who have a vision of growing and multiplying will see it. If your vision is just to keep what you have you will not see those opportunities around you.” So says Jossy Chacko, one of the keynote speakers I’m delighted will join us at LAUNCH (in partnership with Exponential), here in Manchester, November 13-15th – just seven weeks from now! The link below is a snippet from what many called a standout talk of last year’s Willow Creek leadership summit. Watch the short clip to find out what a ‘Passionary’ is, and join us with your team at to LAUNCH – to become one!
One Mission is my ‘must read’ leadership book so far for 2017. It follows straight on from another great book (Team of Teams) by the guy who wrote the Foreword – Gen Stanley McChrystal. I read that book and was blown away by it. Team of Teams documents how the Industrial Age introduced Frederick Winslow Taylor’s ‘Scientific Management’ model, which equated to Time and Motion/ Efficiency studies and Command and Control leadership. That used to serve us well when you were making Model T Fords, now – not so much (though its influence prevails far too much – for a crushing critique of how very unscientific that model actually is I recommend The Management Myth by Matthew Stewart). When McChrystal was placed in charge of JSOC, battling Al Qaeda in Iraq – he found that despite having all the men, the money and machines – they were losing against a far smaller group of insurgents in an agile, connected network organisation. The reason? They were efficient, but not effective. He was playing chess, while they were playing draughts! He had a hierarchy, they […]
“If you’re interested in church planting, if you’re interested in multiplication, in mission or movement making – this is the place that you will meet with other people who love and are passionate about the same thing, where you can also learn and share best practices with each other. Make sure you’re there this year!” Dave Ferguson: President, Exponential. Book now and bring your team before the best deals go! 13-15th November at Victoria Warehouse, Manchester Leaders from across the world are gathering for LAUNCH Church Multiplication Catalyst in partnership with Exponential where we learn to multiply disciples, leaders and churches in Europe and beyond.
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 […]
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 […]
From the window where I’m sitting the season is one of my favourites – autumn, but the people I was with last week would call it fall, and by virtue of the fact that people read the blog from all over the world, I’m not going to assume anything. We often think in terms of what time it is, and plan our lives by the clock or the calendar. I live day to day, plan month to month, and have an awareness of what season I am in, whatever the weather. Ecclesiastes 3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. What season of life are you in right now? You have to discern what season you are in, because you can’t be the same in each of them. I heard a talk years back by Jim Rohn who described these four seasons and though I have forgotten the detail of what he said, I’ve tried to apply the wisdom from it. WINTER – Hang in There! Job 37:6 “He directs the snow to fall […]