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. […]


Leader – Don’t Accept The Default!

What internet browser do you use? Why would it matter? I was reading a fascinating book, Originals by Prof Adam Grant, a fifteen year study on creativity, looking at who makes breakthroughs in every area of life, science, the arts and business, nobel prize winners and so on. He cites a study of an office, a sales environment – where they picked out fairly easily the individuals who were pushing things forward. People who had longevity in post, stuck at their tasks longest and who ‘took the initiative to see the vision fulfilled.’ They looked for similarities. They couldn’t find any. There were all sorts of backgrounds, shapes and sizes. Then on a whim someone looked what internet browsers everyone used – and was stunned! Because the ones who used Chrome or Firefox stayed at their jobs 15% longer than those who used Internet Explorer or Safari. They missed work 19% less. They also performed way higher – making shorter calls, but lots more sales. They rated themselves happier, their customers rated them better. So what made the difference? They […]


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 […]


Happy Reformation Day! Ready For The Next One?

In a newsagents today I was amazed how many magazines are still writing about the effects of the Reformation, 500 years on. This one in the New Scientist is fascinating. It’s widely held that Martin Luther never aspired to be a great theologian or meant to start a revolution, he just wanted a conversation about salvation that led to the Reformation (did you notice that rhymed? I should have been a rapper!). Reading Nick Page’s recent funny and informative book on the Reformation reminds me Luther was not particularly original either, he combined the ideas of others with the questions he had from reading the Bible for himself and posed some questions about the church in his day that was so far removed from the people it was meant to reach. The new technology of the printing press took his ideas viral and set ablaze a conflagration leading to movements formed that continue to multiply to today. I thank God for that. I thank God for the Reformation today. I thank God for those who gave their lives so that […]


Who’s job is Job? Caring for people in a world of need.

There’s a list in the Bible book of Ecclesiastes that sums up life pretty well, because we’re all in about to go through or going through some of the times up there on the screen – some time… 1 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. 2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance… Do you know someone going through a tearing down time? Anyone on your street or Facebook page in a time of grief? Someone in the family who’s thrown away a job, someone searching for something or someone – but not finding. Someone in conflict? Someone longing for the time of healing? What do we do in times like that? How do we help? I’ll be honest, I was […]


Efrem Smith – KINGDOM DREAMS IN A BROKEN WORLD at #Exponential

Revelation 7: After this, I saw a large crowd with more people than could be counted. They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and they stood before the throne and before the Lamb. They wore white robes and held palm branches in their hands, 10 as they shouted, “Our God, who sits     upon the throne, has the power to save his people,     and so does the Lamb.” 11 The angels who stood around the throne knelt in front of it with their faces to the ground. The elders and the four living creatures knelt there with them. Then they all worshiped God 12 and said, “Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom,     thanks, honor, power, and strength belong to our God     forever and ever! Amen!” 13 One of the elders asked me, “Do you know who these people are that are dressed in white robes? Do you know where they come from?” 14 “Sir,” I answered, “you must know.” Then he told me: “These are the ones who have gone through     the great suffering. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb     and have made […]


Subtraction, Addition or Multiplication – What Level Is Your Church At?

We showed this short video at last year’s ‘Exponential Conversation’ event, because it explains quite succinctly the five levels or cultures of church multiplication and their distinguishing characteristics. As you watch it, ask yourself which level you’re at right now, subtraction, addition or multiplication – and where do you want to be? It might be a helpful summary that in Levels 1 and 2 the message is ‘Please stay.’ In Levels 3 and 4 the message is ‘Please come, be part of our mission.’ A Level 5 church is a launchpad saying, ‘Please GO! Fulfil your mission!’ If you want to go to the next level – you’re not too late to book for the church multiplication catalyst event LAUNCH in Manchester, 13-15th November.  I’d love everyone who’s coming to LAUNCH to have already done the free assessment here so you know what level you’re at, because you can’t go where you’re meant to go next, till you know where you are now.


There Are Too Many People Coming To Church

You’ll probably be surprised to hear a church leader saying that. The papers love to report the decline/demise of ‘Christianity/faith/religion’ in the nation – so any survey that points that way is of course big news. The truth where I am right now is that actually we actually do have too many people presently attending some of our services at Ivy – this is why we keep planting new ones and this morning had to keep some people waiting to get in the building because it was too full. But that’s not what I mean when I say there are too many people coming to church. What I mean is, too many people who still come to church, well – just come to church. I asked the people who came to our building tonight, do you just COME to church – or are you BECOMING church? We actually still have lots of buildings all over the nation where people still come to church – but not enough BECOME church. You become church when you get gripped by the grace of God […]