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 […]


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.’


How to release prophecy in the church – without being weird

How can we encourage people that God wants to speak to them personally? I’m at the residential as one of the faculty of WTC at the moment and we just enjoyed listening to Brad Jersak as he briefly taught some principles from his book ‘Can You Hear Me?’ about releasing ‘The Prophethood Of All Believers’, and then we got to do it. Glorious! I look forward to us hosting Brad as Ivy later in the year and hope he’ll teach and model more on this for us. In the meantime, here are my notes:  Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear my voice.’ He has confidence in us, that it should happen. In the same was as all Gods’s people are intended to be witnesses, all God’s people are meant to be prophetic, though not all are prophets. There are some very impressive ‘prophetic types’  but the default mode for prophecy is not from strangers but from someone who loves you. So, if someone you don’t know (or you don’t know loves you) gives you a word, check it with someone who you […]


I Just Had An Epiphany

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 […]


Be Like A Baby This New Year (They Like Changes!)

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 […]


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 […]


Work Life Balance? Impossible! Do This Instead

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 […]


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 […]


A Ring, a Robe and Sandals: How your Father welcomes prodigals!

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.