We have come out of such a difficult time in the nation and the church. We’ve had so many questions we’ve felt so out of our depth. What might God be saying about the church going forward?
What a privilege to host New York Times #1 best selling author Dr Gary Chapman at Ivy Church yesterday for two services and then a special afternoon event focusing on children and marriage at Ivy Sharston. Here are my notes from the morning talk. He told some great true stories to illustrate each point but if you want to hear those too please listen to the podcast which we’ll put up later in the week. Gary said that ever since writing the book a question he’s been asked time and again is What’s God’s Language? The short answer is, he speaks all 5 of them! When you look through the Bible you see that because God is love, people come to him because he spoke their love language. We are all unique, so he speaks our language to connect with us in unique ways: Words of affirmation Genesis 1: God blessed creation, and when he made people, he blessed them too… A favourite piece of scripture for many of us who are Words of Affirmation types would be Is 41:10 ‘Do […]
I became a Christ follower a short while after a challenge from an attractive woman who gave me a Bible. I was interested in her so I pretended to be interested in that. She had written a verse in the flyleaf, Mark 8:34. I also pretended I knew all about religion too (enough to try to put her off God and onto me hopefully), because I was ‘already a good Christian’- but now I was stumped. Mark.. 8.. Was this a code? I remembered her previous boyfriend’s name was Mark. Hmm. What did it mean? She frowned as she opened the book and helped me find the verse, which she’d underlined already – ‘If anyone would come after me he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’ I told her I didn’t understand what it meant – and she told me the fact that I didn’t understand it meant I was not a Christian. She’s taught me a lot more since we later married, but that was what I needed to hear most – and not just at […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]