A Consuming Fire – Matt Lynch of @wtctheology

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 […]


My friend Steve Barnett who runs St Andrew’s Bookshop has asked me to put together my top ten recommended books on Leadership. This is very hard! There are more books on leadership than anything other than romantic fiction. Thankfully as I never read the latter I have lots of time to spend on the former, so here goes (these are just Christian ones, when I teach on Transformational Leadership at Westminster Theological Centre I have many more eclectic, business focused and academic suggestions for students too). I’d love to know which ones you would add to the list? Leadership Axioms Bill Hybels Willow Creek’s founder distils decades of leadership at the sharp end on issues such as envisioning others, people skills, financing the dream and releasing the power of everyone. My favourite axiom? ‘Don’t say anybody else’s no for them.’ 76 short chapters to dip in and out of over and over again. Down to earth and actionable – itself a model for leaders and communicators. The 360 Degree Leader John Maxwell I was going to say I’ve read everything Maxwell […]

BE A BOTH/AND CHURCH – Dave Smith (Kingsgate)

Face the challenge – and seize the opportunity. How? Hold together attractional and missional Both/and Come and see and Go and share church From the outside in AND Equip to go from the inside out. Because we want to see the multitudes around us saved! COME AND SEE This isn’t new and invented by Willow Creek! It’s in the OT. Isaiah 2. The mountain of the Lord that many peoples come to it! Direction there = outside in. Temple, tabernacle. Jesus, the Word became flesh – tabernacle among us. So – ‘Come and see’ is there in the gospel. Jesus is the living temple. Acts 2, and 11. Multitudes converted to the new temple – US! Living stones. We have to rediscover the wonder of gathering as God’s people and increase our expectation of what can happen when people ‘come and see’ a church alive! Full of the presence of the living God in the gathering. This needs INVITATION. Someone bold enough to say ‘Come and see.’ We want to be part of God building something that people come and see. […]

QuickBlog- something I’m learning (this one’s about kids learning)

I read a lot. I make notes a lot. I want to start sharing some of the things that grab me as a ‘Quickblog’ post. Here’s one that strikes me as pretty obvious as someone who grew up playing out from Brain Rules by John Medina  EXERCISE IMPROVES CHILDREN (research by Dr Antronette Yancey) Physically fit children identify visual stimuli much faster than sedentary ones. They appear to concentrate better. Brain-activation studies show that children and adolescents who are fit allocate more cognitive resources to a task and do so for longer periods of time. “Kids pay better attention to their subjects when they’ve been active,” Yancey says. “Kids are less likely to be disruptive in terms of their classroom behavior when they’re active. Kids feel better about themselves, have higher self-esteem, less depression, less anxiety, higher academic performance and attentiveness.” Medina, John. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School (p. 18). Pear Press. Kindle Edition. I bet this isn’t just true for kids! If you want to stay young and live happier, exercise and […]

How To REALLY Change The World?

I love a good TED talk and this one is awesome – you have to click on the link up there or here.  It turns so much of how we think about changing the world through charities and non profits (including the church!) on its head. Or perhaps the right way round? There are some very challenging thoughts from Dan Pollotta here. but I found myself saying “YES! YES! YES!” at various points. Here are my favourite quotes – what do you think? “People are weary of being asked to do the least they can possibly do, people are yearning to measure the full distance of their potential on behalf of the causes they care about deeply. But they have to be asked.” “When you prohibit failure you kill innovation.”  “We confuse morality with frugality.”  “Our generation does not want our epitaph to read, ‘We kept overheads low…. we want it to read that we changed the world.”  “Next time you look at a charity don’t look at the rate of their overhead, ask about the scale of their dreams.”

Have A Better 2018 The Tim Ferris Way – Without Resolutions

Fascinating post at the end of Tim Ferris’ 5 Bullet Friday about what he says when asked about New Years resolutions. My first book was called ‘The Don’t Have To Do List’ so this resonates – I’m going to try a PYR this weekend instead – not so much about people though, but reviewing my projects and priorities.  The truth is that I don’t make them anymore, even though I did for decades. Why the change? First, I realized that without accountability to someone else, resolutions rarely get accomplished. This led me to experiment with working with a close friend to mutually assign each other resolutions (with deadlines), which worked. Second, I have found “past year reviews” (PYR) more informed, valuable, and actionable than blindly looking forward with resolutions. It looks like the following and only takes 30-60 minutes: Grab a notepad and create two columns: POSITIVE and NEGATIVE. Go through your calendar from the last year, looking at every week. For each week, jot down on the pad any people and activities that triggered peak positive or negative emotions […]

Don’t Worry – Be Ready!

My notes from last night’s talk at Ivy Central from my friend John Bunjo (Uganda)     Understanding The Times One of the most important things I notice in Europe is TIME. The seasons change, the shops change, the clothes change – because of the season. Why? Because it’s a new season. He saw that people were putting salt on the road. Why! Because there may be snow. They don’t wait for snow to come. They store up salt. They prepare for the season. We live now in the time when the second coming, is coming. Jesus – Maranatha! He came from heaven, saying ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.’ He’s coming back! We work on our bodies. At the gym. Even in our 90s! Why? Fighting to live longer! But however much you exercise, time comes when the body is ageing. No matter what. Some of their parts have already gone to be with the Lord (like hair). What made the first church strong? It was vibrant. It was healthy. No denominations. They held nothing back. They feared God […]

The Most Hated Machine At The Gym – Measures To Motivate

I started my talk at the LAUNCH conference by talking about this machine. Two years ago, overweight and with blood pressure on the rise, I stepped on it and held the handles. There are lots of machines in the gym but I hated this one, because the readings were not pretty. I was 50 but the machine said I had the body of a 51 year old. What do you do? Resign yourself to the inevitable? Go to the cafe at the gym and buy a donut? Resolve to never go on that machine again? Or – CHANGE. I stopped some things, and I started some things. That’s a strategy. Dietary changes. I got coached toward a new exercise plan – and worked it. I stopped drinking alcohol (that’s a lot of sugar!). I drink a lot of water. This changed my results. I went on the machine today. 2 years on, my ‘metabolic age’ is 36. If I carry on, in a few years time I’ll be 21!  Maybe not. But with all the hard work of the conference […]

5 Keys To Lead Yourself And Others – Floyd Woodrow TEDx Video; Skills Of Leadership

Before we’re even 2 minutes into this TedX talk, Floyd Woodrow starts to unpack the 5 key virtues leaders need to unleash potential. There’s so much packed into this, imagine how much you’d get out of a day being coached by this incredible leader? I just got off the phone with this former SAS Major to discuss the training days he is doing for us and I was so excited to be planning ‘The Warrior, The Strategist And You’ event here in Manchester’s Hotel Football event on 2nd December. Take one day before this year ends for you and your team to get the direction and map you need and the action steps that will take you forward into 2018 and beyond! The whole of Ivy’s leadership is booked in so we can plan how we move forward together and I‘d love you to join us. This event is not a ‘religious’ thing but open and accessible to everyone wherever you want to lead, and whether you or your guest would describe yourself as a person of faith. Lunch provided – […]

I’m Teaching – About Preaching

The preaching class at my theological college ended with an Egyptian monk called George telling me, ‘If God could speak through the mouth of a donkey I suppose he can use you.’ Since then I’ve read thousands of books and learned from everyone I can on public speaking and preaching, because I always want to get better at something so important! The Bible says not many people should step up to be a teacher, because we’ll be subject to a stricter judgement. How much more for if you presume to teach others to do it! Despite that, the Ivy staff team have asked me to put together some teaching to help them to preach. I might do more than one of there’s a good turn out, and this one’s open to all not just Ivy people. 7.30pm 24th November at Ivy Didsbury I’ll also touch on how to lead services well, and a lot of what I say will help anyone in business who has to stand up and present. I’ll have fun talking about something I love – you’re […]