What New People Visiting Your Church Need This Sunday

I got a nice hand written (remember that?) letter from Richard Reisling today thanking me for putting his great stuff on my blog based on my thoughts about the notes I took from his visit. Well it’s my pleasure – and I’m not done yet! Here goes… What new people need: I NEED DIRECTION. They need someone to have thought about where they go, explain what’s happening with their kids etc. I was walking through Terminal 4 of Heathrow Airport recently and thought, ‘None of this just happened!’ It took SOMEBODY to think how all these people with all these needs, routes, cases, schedules… get around the place. We’re talking about things like signs here. (I just made up a Christian joke about not having signs that make people wonder, but you have to be a charismatic to get that one). TREAT ME AS NORMAL. Like when someone comes to your house. You know how to be hospitable already. Remove the following phrase, ‘Are you new?’ There’s no way to say it without offending someone. Ask instead, ‘How long have you […]

Debra Green – Mountains or Fountains

My notes from this, the first talk in our 40 Days of Ivy DNA Series: RELEVANT. People are surprised when we as a church are normal rather than ‘religious’ Text –  John 4- the samaritan woman at the well. 1) Jesus asked – ‘Will you give me a drink?’ This is a very controversial conversation for him to have at all. He’s showing us the type of Saviour he is. He’s speaking to her in her language, about her every day life and needs. Connects with the familiar. If we want to be relevant we need to offer and speak into what people need. Cf Breathe City Church in Stoke- their ‘When‘ ministry: giving clothes to the poor in the city. Thousands of clothing packages given. When we meet the felt needs of people, we’ll be relevant. We’re not relevant because the worship is great or the preaching is good: people outside of church are not even asking about that anyway! But if we help people and connect in people in prison, in debt, when we are marked by hospitality, […]

FAITH in God is reasonable. Faith in atheism is not. (John Lennox)

Notes from lecture at RZIM by John Lennox Reasonable Faith. When he started at Cambridge – someone said to him, ‘Oh you’re Irish, you all believe in God, and fight about him.’ He started to engage more with non believers. Has done so in unusual places. Eg communist atheism.  Russia. More recently debating eg. Hitchens and Dawkins. Comes from the conviction that Christian faith is not only helpful, but TRUE. And if we do not stand up, secularism or atheism will appear to win. 1 Peter 3.13 Can anyone really harm you for being eager to do good deeds? Even if you have to suffer for doing good things, God will bless you. So stop being afraid and don’t worry about what people might do. Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life. Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope. Give a kind and respectful answer and keep your conscience clear. This way you will make people ashamed for saying bad things about your good conduct as a follower of […]

Exclusive Christianity?

We have this course going at the mo called ‘Big Buts.’ Tonight I’m speaking on “But what about all the other religions?” Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, nobody comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6). Isn’t that very exclusive and intolerant? How can Christians believe that in a world where their adherents make up at best a third of the population (most of them nominal, see the pie up above? I’d slice it a lot thinner)? Some thoughts on that then. Firstly, Christianity is not the only religion that makes claims which are exclusive. 1.5 billion Muslims claim exclusivity, in a linguistic fashion for starters – the means of salvation is available through study of the Qur’an, for which you’d need a sophisticated understanding of Arabic. Buddhism was borne out of a rejection of the truth claims of Hinduism. Sikhism came as a challenge to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Of course there are atheists who believe (sic) there is no God, some of whom are keen to exclude the truth claims of […]