A God Shaped Dream – and how to hold onto it. #Bgbg2

Talk by Alan Taylor at Ivy Manchester Genesis 21:1-7   Sarah called her son Isaac because what they heard from God seemed so ridiculous to her, she laughed at the idea. Abram was promised a family, though his wife could not conceive. He would have lived in a place with a lot of stars out every night. His descendants would outnumber them. What do our dreams look like when they are fulfilled? It may be you’re in a hard time, struggling to hold on to your dream – hold on! God wants us to dream along with him, a good dream, a big dream – that brings joy to our hearts. When you read the Bible, ask; 1) Where does this story fit into the bigger story? 2) Where do I fit in this story? God’s dream for Abraham and Sarah was way bigger than a family, it was for them to be blessed to be a blessing – a family on mission. That’s our story now. We carry that too. Called out to bless the world. Isaac was laughter […]


(This is from last Sunday night’s talk at the Ivy AGM – Awesome Gratitude Meeting) One of my favourite author/ speakers died last year – his name was Brennan Manning. If you have ever read ‘Ragamuffin Gospel’ you’ll never forget it. I have read lots of what he’s written and listened to many of his talks, but it was only this week I heard the amazing story about how he got the name “Brennan.” Because his real name was Richard Xavier Francis Manning – a good Irish catholic name, to be sure. While growing up, his best friend was Ray. The two of them did everything together: went to school together, bought a car together as teenagers, double-dated, and so forth. They even enlisted in the Army together, went to boot camp together and fought on the frontlines together in the Korean War. One night while sitting in a foxhole, Brennan was reminiscing about the old days in Brooklyn while Ray listened and ate a chocolate bar. Suddenly a live grenade came into the trench. Ray looked at Brennan, smiled, […]

If You’re Going To Build A Rescue Boat, Check For Leaks #bgbg2

(Snippet from tomorrow’s talk. Will be on podcast next week) Noah was told to build a rescue boat. And that’s what the church is meant to be by the way. This week the CofE put out a report highlighting how good it was that some churches were growing. The headlines on twitter simply declared,‘Good news! Many churches are growing!’ I was really excited, but then  I looked at the actual figures in the middle and in fact since 2010 – 18% of their churches are growing, great. But 55% are plateauing and 27% declined. Later on we read that nearly half of churches have less than 5 under 16s. That’s not good news. Reporting it as such is disingenuous. Surely these figures highlight a problem? If it was a business you’d say ‘It’s change or die time.’ You have to face the bad news, before you can be good news. I’m passionate about this because I’m still convinced that the local church is the hope of the world! We have to recognize the seriousness of our time and build churches and […]

Dream Of A Coming Revival

Anyone who knows my wife Zoe well will know over the years she has a great prophetic gift in dreams, really insightful and occasionally scary! The wonderful thing is how they come true in detail. It’s no exaggeration to say that every major move in our life has been foretold in a dream she’s documented. So the other night she had a dream – about a move of GOD that’s coming our way. This ties in with an increasing excitement I have been feeling, many reporting a palpable sense of the presence of God last Sunday in our service at Kingsway, a number of miraculous answers to prayer here at Ivy recently, one of our sites (the new one at Ivy Sharston) getting over 100 new people turn up last week; and reports from various sites I’m connected to of outpourings in various churches (especially that at my friend Richard Taylor’s church in Wales). It seems the spiritual temperature is being turned up!  Here’s Zoe’s dream, from her notes. The bits in brackets are my explanatory notes. I was with […]

Make This Sunday’s Message RESONATE!

I’ve been a Nancy Duarte fan for years, highly recomending her books as a great investment to anyone who communicates (that’s you) and especially preachers. How fantastic to discover that one of the world’s leading authorities on getting your message across in a way people will hear it is also a Christian and passionate about THE Message that changes lives forever and the world for good. Invest 20 minutes on this video, and take notes! (I have the structure line on my office wall now together with some other prompts to help as I pull messages together).

Watch LeCrae Explain What ‘A Real Man’ Is

Then if you live within striking distance of Manchester book in here NOW for the Diamond Geezers Men’s Day on Saturday April 13th before it’s too late. [vimeo http://vimeo.com/59965923] (If you have any trouble watching the video here, go to http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/lecrae-explains-true-manhood)

Graham Cooke – BRILLIANT THINKING: Leader’s evening at Ivy Manchester

GREAT start to our time this weekend, Graham spoke BRILLIANTLY about thinking BRILLIANT. Tomorrow at the Armitage Centre we’ll hear more. Excited to partner with our friends from Christ Church Harpurhey and Vinelife, It’s not too late to book in – here. Here’s my notes from tonight… Around 25 years ago had 3 dreams: 1) a grey man in an old car was showing him round the grey city pointing out all the sin and problems in people, with a grey attitude. Depressing! Dream 2 – grey man in slightly better grey car saying, ‘We are doing courses to help them’ – that was even more depressing. Dream 3 – Bright young guy in a bright car, shouting encouragement that told them who they really were and it CHANGED the people! ‘This is how I see you – you’re going to be doing this!’ The city changed! The church has an old vehicle being driven by an old man. The old man is the old man that was put on Jesus. We don’t need to do that. God isn’t focused […]