Sunday, 16 March 2014

Call Mcr Podcast

Call Mcr Podcast

Google "Call Mcr", search iTunes or click the Call Mcr link here

Listen to the Podcast and Connect via Twitter and Facebook with people in  Manchester who are reaching for more -more of life, wellbeing and faith.

Facebook Call Manchester  Twitter CallManchester1

See what people said about Call Mcr podcast:
Good depth for the deep”…..
Great enthusiasm and testimony from Carla”…..
” I really liked it and am looking forward to the next one.”

Monday, 4 March 2013

“Who is Jesus?”

Asking “Who is Jesus?”
is probably the most important question you can ask in your lifetime because depending on how you answer it changes everything.  The Russian Communist dictionary allegedly stated that Jesus is a “mythical character”, but no serious historian today would deny that Jesus of Nazareth really did live and die 2000 years ago.  But can we really believe what we read about Jesus?...

People who study ancient writings say the Bible is… “one of the most trustworthy  ancient documents",  the gospel accounts of Jesus portray the real world of the first century (not fairy tales!) that agree with other sources.  Take a minute to read this
  • Historians of the day: Josephus(b. AD37) a Jewish historian in Palestine and Rome wrote about the people portrayed in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John).  The Roman historian Tacitus (AD56-120) confirms Jesus was crucified.
  • Archaelogy gives us plenty of evidence for the Roman empire that the gospels portray: sculptures of Tiberius the emperor; Arch of Titus depicting the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70AD; inscription of Pilate (who crucified Jesus) found Caesarea 1961; Temple buildings in Jerusalem; Galilee; The New Testament of the Bible, written in 1st century has 5000 manuscripts, going back to 2nd, 3rd, 4th  centuries.  
  • An unlikely invention: the accounts of Jesus in the bible go back to eyewitnesses and they knew they had witnessed something life changing: The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15; ‘If Christ has not been raised..your faith is are still in your sins..those who have died as Christians have perished..we are of all people most to be pitied’  
  •  Jesus claimed to be God many times eg Matthew 16: 13-20, so he cannot be “just a good man” as so many like to say.  He was, as CS Lewis said, either MAD i.e. claimed to be God but was deluded OR he was BAD i.e. claimed to be God but was devious OR he was GOD i.e. claimed to be God and was God !
  • A resurrection: Jesus claimed “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies” John 11:25.  Frank Morrison, a lawyer, wrote a book “Who moved the stone?” setting out to disprove the resurrection of Jesus based on evidence, but found that the evidence actually supported the resurrection of Jesus:  -He really died; the tomb was really empty; he was really seen; people really changed; the Church really grew ; death has been swallowed up (it’s not the end!).  Jesus is the "Christ" (=King) and you can really meet Him today.

Sunday, 16 September 2012


What conversations have you been part of this week?  Perhaps it's something people have been doing over the summer, like reading "50 Shades of Grey" or watching the Olympics.  Perhaps it's something that's been in the news this week...

One of reasons Jesus was so "attractive to sinners" was that he brought good news to people in their everyday lives and their everyday conversations.  Jesus asks us to follow in his footsteps by being ready to do the same... offer some good news into the conversations we are part of everyday, whether in the office, the home, the school playround etc

By clicking on the THIS WEEK video clips below, you can see some examples of offering some good news to the conversations from this week.   Will you be intentional in the conversations you are part of this coming week, prepared and ready to offer the good news that Jesus gives us?  Be assured, that Jesus is with us as we go.

VIDEO LINKS LIST -just click the link below.
THIS WEEK March 2013: no substitutes
THIS WEEK January 2013: public Christianity
THIS WEEK December 2012: shepherds and me
THIS WEEK November 2012: money money money
THIS WEEK October 2012: on top of the world
THIS WEEK September 2012: an unfair world

Saturday, 25 August 2012

the value of goals

JC Penney, the owner of the chain of US department stores Penneys once said  
"Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I'll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I'll give you a stock clerk.“

It’s bizarre that things we accept in one sphere of life, like in the workplace, we often ignore for our personal lives and our discipleship.  For example, I’d never thought of setting goals for my family life, but I’ve come round to the idea that it’s essential.  If you’re interested to see the simple process I used, click here.

Friday, 1 June 2012

...hearing God

At the heart of Christianity is a relationship with God which is why prayer is the most important activity of our lives.

A wise man once said said... ‘The power of prayer depends on our apprehension of who we speak to.’  

When we pray, we speak to an awesome God!... The story of the Voyager 2 spacecraft which set off in 1977 helps illustrate this..12 yrs after launch, travelling at 90,000 mph it reached Neptune, then it left our solar system…it will be 958,000 years before it reaches another star like our sun.  There are 100,000 million stars like our sun in our galaxy and our galaxy is one of 100,000 million galaxies… the Bible says in Gen 1:16 ’he also made the stars’ ...such is God's power.

The Bible assures us we have a God who hears us and who answers our prayer (Matthew 7:7-11) -incredible!  The Bible also teaches us how to pray (Matthew 6:5-15).  It says we also need to learn to listen to God by finding a quiet place.  It's an awesome reality to be able to hear God speaking to us!

Many people have found many ways to hear God.  Prayerfully reading the Bible is a major way (see blog on the Bible below).  Another way is using an Ingnatian exercise (named after a Spaniard called Ignacio Lopez) called LT3F which is an acronym to help remember the exercise which is to be done at the end of the day:

  1. Light -pray for God's light to illuminate the moments of your day and guide your thinking
  2. Thanksgiving -thank God for all the good things that have happened in your day
  3. Feelings -walk back through the moments in your day remembering how your feelings in each moment
  4. Focus -ask God to help you focus on one or two of those feelings from moments in the day.  Ask God why you felt like this.  Do you feel you were working with God or resisting God in some way
  5. Future -ask God what this means for the future.  Do you need to do anything in prayer or action?  How will you handle the situation again if it occurs?  Commit it to God in Jesus' name.  

Silence is hard... but it is something that the Bible encourages to use as a discipline to hear God and hear ourselves.  If you want to look at some further exercises to practice silence and to hear God click here for some exercises.

Praying together. History has shown that, when a few who are committed embrace and live out the principles below, countries are not only moved but changed for the better.
Centrality of Christ: Following Jesus Christ means trusting in him and so learning what it means to think like Jesus talk like Jesus and act like Jesus.  As we commit ourselves to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we discover God's calling, purpose and pattern for our lives.

Committed friendships:
Relationships are the heart of the teaching of Jesus.  His example inspires us to share our lives with a few others on a regular basis for encouragement, accountability and prayer.  We are also challenged to respond to opportunities to help others in their discipleship as well as seeking out those older in the faith who can stand along side us as mentors and encouragers.

Career calling:  Every individual is thus called as an ambassador of Jesus Christ in all situations.  He is able to direct us into vocations in which we can use our talent and expertise while having an impact for Jesus, both in work place and society as a whole.

Compassion for those in need:  Love is the most powerful force in the world.  Jesus Christ modelled unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness.  The more we get to know the Jesus the more we care about the things which are on his heart.  Therefore, if we love as Jesus loves, we will be motivated to reach beyond ourselves to those who are hurting and in need.

A further tool for supporting committed friendships in encouragement and accountability can be downloaded by clicking here.  

Finally, it's worth knowing that we're all different and that means we find different ways to pray.  Have a look at this list of different spiritual pathways and think about exploring your pathways further.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

I still haven't found what I'm looking for...

Very few of us feel we are 'sorted!'  I know I don't.  What I do know is that Jesus has revealed a whole lot of truth and as I come to appreciate it, he is changing my life, my family life, my outlook and what I do with my life.  There are some things that have made a profound effect on my life in helping me 'do life better' (click the links underlined below for more).

Family Life.  My wife and I have grown a lot in our marriage and the Marriage Course has really made a huge difference!  Parenting of our 3 lively children is our greatest joy and is something we have enjoyed much more with the help of the Parenting Course for children and teenagers.

Why Jesus?  It's easy to put the big questions of life on hold, but exploring Jesus' claim that he is God and offers us a 'life to come' by his death and resurrection is something we have to tick off our 'to do' list and I recommend sooner rather than later.  The brilliant Alpha Course always available at a church near you is the most welcoming and tailor made course to get your questions answered once and for all about Jesus and the Christian faith.
Blogs below have some further resources which might be helpful

Friday, 23 March 2012

Books I love...

There are so many great books, but this list contains the books that I most commonly recommend to people at my church.

Books on the case for Christianity:

  1. Tim Keller's "Reason for God" which answers 7 questions of doubt before offering 7 compelling reasons for God. 
  2. Nicky Gumbel's similar and easy read book called "Searching Issues"
  3. C.S. Lewis's classic "Mere Christianity" which has such a good argument looking at human morality which points to a Creator.

Books which explain crucial bits of the Bible:
  1. Tom Wright is probably my favourite author of all.  I love his theology and his clear writing.  "Mark for Everyone" on the Gospel of Mark is inspiring and spells out why Jesus is worth following!
  2. I am also a big fan of David Wenham who also has the gift of clear writing that brings alive the message of Jesus.  "Exploring the New Testament" and "The Parables of Jesus".  David's brother Gordon, has written a great partner "Exploring the Old Testament"

Exploring Christianity through....

  1. psychology: M Scott Peck's "The Road Less Travelled" and Mitch Albom's "Tuesdays with Morrie" have really had a deep impact with friends who were some way off from Christianity but started the journey towards Christ by accepting the truths about our human condition in these books.
  2. fiction: William P Young's "The Shack" which deals with why God allows suffering and Gerd Theissen's "The Shadow of the Galilean" really brings alive the world that Jesus of Nazareth lived and was crucified in.
  3. autobiography: be warned, these stories will make you realise you're life could be so much more if you were bold enough to live by the faith of these women!  Jackie Pullinger's "Chasing the Dragon" about seeing God's healing and provision in the dark parts of Hong Kong and Heidi Baker's "Alway's Enough".  Now you will believe in miracles!
Resources that heal the soul:
  1. For those who are married and parents, HTB church has really got a great package of resources, that we use, called Relationship Central.  
  2. Mary Pytches has written some helpful stuff, including "Yesterday's Child" which explores how our pasts shape the person we are today.
    Churches that offer "Wholeness" courses are perhaps the best place to get healing as someone can pray with you.
    Learning about personality is really helpful as we understand ourselves and others.  Τhe Myers-Briggs indicator is good but Richard Rohr's "The Enneagram" goes quite a bit deeper.