MY PROBLEM WITH THE ‘OVERWHELMING, NEVER ENDING RECKLESS LOVE OF GOD.’

Okay I am finally going to be that bloke who writes a blog moaning about a song loads of people love to sing in church. I know it’s never popular and if you absolutely love the song Reckless Love then just watch it again here on Youtube, enjoy it, pray for me and write me off as a grump. To be fair, I initially liked the song a lot and I’m very grateful to Bethel who put lots of great stuff out for the church. It was only about the fiftieth time of into belting it out at yet another conference that something kind of rose up that didn’t quite fit right. I’ll probably get over it and sing it again. I never thought Amazing Grace would be a hit. But there’s something in the back of my mind now that started to niggle now. It’s kind of all about…me Count how many times ‘I’ and ‘me’ is used. I’ll save you some time, 16. And of course that’s without singing the chorus over and over, so we all really […]


Could The Question This African Pastor Asked Me Hold The Answer For Dying Churches In Europe?

I’m writing from Kenya, having already been here a week as part of the Viral church planting conference hosted by NewThing apostolic leader Bishop Oscar Muriu of Nairobi Chapel. Sometimes because ‘a fish doesn’t know it’s wet’ you have to step out of your own context for God to help you see it better and that just happened here for me. After some of the most challenging yet encouraging talks I ever heard, the three days concluded movingly with a stage filled with the church planters Nairobi Chapel are now sending out this year– all held a blazing torch as they were introduced and we heard their story, they were then anointed with oil, prayed over passionately and commissioned. It was an unforgettable moment. The rigorous leadership training process outlined to bring these men and women to that stage would be the envy of any church or movement – now they’ll be released to plant churches. Most will be in their own nation where 93% of the nation are poor by world standards. There they will plant all kind of […]


Intentional Prayer and Planting

I’ve been here through NewThing in Nairobi Kenya at the Viral conference the atmosphere is prayer soaked and the results are very evident! I have not been able to blog too much as I just want to wrestle with the implications of such an incredibly rich time though I will share some more thoughts in the weeks ahead as I remain doing ministry here, writing and teaching and learning from leaders in other cities here. One line is resonating as I write now from a talk from Bishop Philips Katutu, who said he stopped planting churches in 2016, then came to the Viral conference put on by Nairobi Chapel and subsequently became very intentional about it and has planted 23 since! He took us through the action in Antioch from Acts 13:1-5 13 1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul […]


Hero Maker Book Summary 1 – The Power Of Hero Makers

As we prepare for our exciting church multiplication catalyst event LAUNCH 2018 I’m so excited by our theme HERO MAKERS! I am going to blog some thoughts as I reread and summarise some  thoughts from this great book by Dave Ferguson and Warren Bird. I believe it should be a game changer. If implemented this would be a huge part of recalibrating the church for the reproduction and missional impact we long for. They open with the story of Barry, a ‘big dog’ successful business leader who felt like something was missing until he started to focus less on his leadership and more on the leadership of others. The words he used next form the basis for the rest of the book; EVERYONE WANTS TO BE A HERO YET ONLY A FEW UNDERSTAND THE POWER IN BEING A HERO MAKER. Ferguson then credits Todd Wilson, executive Director of Exponential as an example to him of this kind of leader. ‘He creates the platform – and lets me stand on it.’ Those of us who know both men recognise Dave’s typically understated and […]


How Do We Raise Up Evangelists In Church? The Answer Is Not What You Think.

What is God’s will for the church? Maturity. That the people in it grow together as the body of Christ reaching out to the world around us. God wants all of our churches to grow up. But the church has developed a strange view of maturity. We’ve equated it with knowing more Bible verses than someone else, or going to more meetings. That’s not how God measures maturity. Ephesians 4:15 says, ‘We must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.’  We’re meant to grow up, in every way, into Christ, the head. Head of what? His body. What’s his body? The church. You can’t grow into the maturity God wants for you outside of the church of which he is the head. So how does that happen? The answer is in the same chapter; the way that ‘all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ…’ is when we release all the gifts of […]


Crispin Fletcher Louis – The (High) Priesthood Of All Believers

Crispin’s background growing up around church was that things would go great and the Spirit would move – the church would grow, but that was not sustained and that was often because of leadership dynamics, the way churches were led, with abuse of power at times, leading to unhealthy results. There are some concepts to be grasped here that will need a lot of time to think through the implications of. We looked at questions from the outset to open up the day such as; What do we mean by the priesthood of all believers? How do you figure out your calling? Why did priests, and particularly the high priest, dress in particular special garments? Why does bullying happen with the people of God? What does it mean to be made in the image of God? There is an old dualistic/ platonic view of what that means, which comes from Philo who tried synthesise various views with the OT creation picture. That only our spirit/soul/rationality are created in the image of God. That’s not a faithful picture of what Genesis […]


Malcolm Duncan – Tame it! Living a life of freedom

James 2 & 3 Faith and works James wants us to link our faith convictions with our attitudes. Our WISDOM, WORKS and WORDS. But he’s not a linear thinker,  one issue then another – these motifs occur in various places. He keeps looping back round in a cyclical way and intertwining them so we connect what we believe with how we will. Like going round a spiral staircase and passing the same thing over and over but from a different perspective. But what’s at the centre is not ‘WORKS’ but WISDOM. James is about living a godly life. And you can’t do that without godly wisdom. It’s like a tapestry and the threads are wisdom, in how you speak and live – woven together. Chapter 1:20 was about how we engage with anger. How to respond based on God’s perspective. ‘Your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.’ = Don’t assume your anger equates to God’s anger. You may feel you are angry for truth when in fact you are angry for your preference. He says ‘be angry and sin not’. How […]


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 […]


The Characteristics Of A Strategic Mission Mindset (Acts 2) – Dr Kate Coleman

This was an incredible talk that I will return to over and over. Its implications for the church and its mission are inestimable.  Dr Kate Coleman The characteristics of a strategic mission mindset (Acts 2) There are themes here for us all. Main event = PENTECOST Acts 2:1-13 Acts 1:13 tell us the disciples were gathered. Doors locked. In fear. This room = their place of security and bonding together. They had encounter and hope there. They got fired up there! They were where Jesus told them to be. They were united there! It was very special place – but also potentially a very dangerous place. It had the potential to become their prison. We have to be willing to engage in ‘the mission before the mission.’ To keep an ‘upper room mentality.’ Attached to the last encounter, the last paradigm, the last place Jesus spoke to us. Waiting for lighting to strike the same way, twice. People say ‘This where God did this and that, I loved it then, it used to be packed out.’ Hoping for a repeat […]


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. […]