Principles of Success 06: See It Right

Whenever something happens, whenever something around you is visible, is audible, can be sensed, whether we are successful or not depends on how we frame what we see.

How we frame what we see is one of the most important keys to living the life of Christ, the life of abundance, the life of faith. How you perceive things matters. If you change your perception you change your whole life, I mean absolutely everything changes when you change how you see things. When you change the way you look at something, then what you look at then changes. That is how powerful perception is.

What you have done with your day today depends entirely on your perception of things. How creative you have been today depends entirely on your perception of things. Whether you win or lose depends entirely on your perception of things. How effective you have been today depends on how you perceive things. The better I perceive things, the more successful I become, the more fruitful I become. The more I produce. It all depends on how I see things.

And there is no limit to how much your perception can grow and increase. You can see things for higher and higher points of view until that we see things the way God does and get to a place we can bring light to an entire planet of darkness.

If you start to deliberately frame what you see with God’s Word and God’s love and God’s goodness and His abundance, then the change in your life will be immense. I mean more than you can ask or imagine. And you will never change back – and you will keep getting better and more fruitful. This is so important. You have to see things from a heavenly point of view.

One of the most important places to start with how you see yourself. So many people draw their self-worth from the opinion of others, from how good we are at certain things, or what is going on in our lives. We have to stop worshipping the opinions of others, start to worship God and draw our sense of self-worth from Jesus. You need to draw your sense of who you are – you need to perceive your identity the way Jesus perceives your identity – you need to take the time to read, study, and hear the way Jesus perceives you and let all the other opinions that have gathered in your heart and mind for your entire life be uprooted and thrown into the sea.

Jesus is speaking to you right now about who you are. His life and love are affirming you as a champion, as the head and not the tail, as more than a conqueror, as a king and as a priest. You are wise beyond your wildest dreams, you are as righteous as Jesus, you have the power to solve every problem in your life and that power is in your spirit right now. Stop knowing yourself after the flesh and start to perceive who you really our.

The spirit world is a higher world than the soul world, and that is a higher world than the physical world. If you limit your perceptions to the physical and soul world, you are not perceiving yourself properly, you are limiting your identity to the lower levels of who you are. What should happen is you should perceive who you are in the spirit, that then changes your soul – your thoughts and emotions, then that changes your physical realm.

You need to change how you see things. Most people let results shape their thinking, our calling is to let the spirit shape our thinking and let our thinking shape our results. We have to relate to the spiritual world.

Imagine I had three chairs. Likein the three bears cottage that Goldilocks invaded. The middle chairs is not big or small, it’s the middle chair. But if I only had the big chair and middle chair, you would call it the small chair. If all I had was the small chair and the middle chair, you would call the same chair the big chair. It’s all about perspective.

Some people call £1000 the big chair, others see it as the small chair. The reality is that compared to the power of the Spirit £1000 is nothing, in fact a million is nothing. When you start to see how small money is, you will tithe, you will be a generous giver, you will never worry about money for a split second again, it’s tiny compared to the bigness of your spirit. If God tells you to give a ridiculous amount, you will just go – hey, that’s ridiculously small compared to what I have in my spirit.

When you start to compare things to the right things the way God does, then you will find that your life will go so much better and you will be so much happier. You need to pray and ask God to help you change how you perceive things.

Selah.

Principles of Success 05: Make Good Choices

The most powerful thing that God gave you is your ability to choose. You can choose what you think, you can choose what you feel, you can choose what to do with your life. You can choose to be a success or fail. You can choose to learn how to live your life as the head and not the tail, or you can choose not to.

Here is one of the most important truths that everyone who wants to be a success in life needs to know: you can choose what you want, but you then have to live with your choice. You have the freedom to choose whatever you want, but you do not have the freedom to choose not to have the consequences of your choice.

God told the Israelites they could choose life or choose death. Those words are in the Scripture and still reverberate to every man and woman today. We can choose life or we can choose death. We can choose to think big or think little. We can choose to sulk or rejoice. We can choose to lie down or stand up and fight. We can choose to worry or dream. We have the power to choose.

But what none of us have the power to do is this – to choose life and get death, or to choose death and get life. What you choose is what you get.

If you fail to make godly, good choices, you will not live a life of abundance. You might say “Hey I didn’t know” but if you don’t know about gravity, that does not stop you falling! That’s the principles that the universe runs on – and you have a Bible and can find them out and work them.

If you do something selfish, it will come back to you – the principles of the Word are always working and they will work. If you do not understand how God has designed the universe, you will mess up. But if you do, you will win. Do not look at God’s Word as something restrictive, realize it is a necessary gift that if we study it and focus on it and imagine it – it will take us to an open place, a wide place, a great place.

You have to make a choice – life or death, and that is the only way to get to life is to choose it. You cannot get there without choosing it, you cannot stumble on life and success; you cannot change God or His Word or the way He runs life. You cannot have enough power to change the Word, you cannot have enough money to buy life without choosing it. You have to live in harmony with God’s Word – that is choosing life. That is the only path to success. True success.

God’s Word is an unchanging thing, and it holds you to it. You cannot excuse yourself for not knowing it. When you walk according to God’s Word, and dream big and count the stars and live in faith and hope and love and expect great results then you will get them. When you don’t, you won’t. That’s the truth.

And the principle we looked at in the last post is still the grandfather of them all – what you imagine is what you become. We have to see ourselves moving mountains, living like Jesus, forgiving the hard to forgive, loving our wives, opening blind eyes. All of it. Start reading the Bible, and start using your imagination over and over. This is choosing life, and failing to do that, is choosing death. No one can control your thoughts and no one can force you to choose life. God Himself will not force you, all He has done is set before you life and death and told you choose life.

I tell you the same: Choose life!

Principles of Success 04 Submit to the Flow

God has designed the universe to work, and gave us a Bible to find out how it works. There are principles to success and those principles are very exact. Far too many Christians are just doing their own thing and hoping God will bless it rather than find out what they should be doing.

Being a success in life is like mathematics, there is a way of doing it that leads to the correct answer and ways that lead to the wrong answer. When we study the Word, find out the principles of success and do them, we will be a success – we will be rich, healthy, happy, in the right place, with strong, healthy friendships and doing what we are designed to do.

You cannot make God, He has always been God, and you cannot destroy Him or diminish Him in anyway whatsoever. It’s that simple. God is, and you cannot change Him. You are the one who has to change. The will and purpose and passion of God is that you are a success, so if you are not, it is you who needs to change not God. If what you are doing is not making you an unbeatable winner, not bringing increase and prosperity and peace, you need to do something else because God is not about to suddenly change and start releasing glory into your disobedience of His principles!

Now one of things that you need to understand if you are to win in life is this – God is not just enough, He is more than enough. One of the names of God is El-Shaddai which means more than enough. There is more than enough energy, life, resources, money, peace and friendships in the world. There is absolutely no scarcity in the kingdom. If you are making decisions from a position of scarcity, your mind is not thinking in a godly way, your mind is thinking in a satanic way. Every pastor upset that another church has started in their town is thinking like satan not God. Every person who does not tithe because they think giving 10% to God will make them poor is thinking like satan not God. Everyone who thinks if they turn the other cheek they will become a doormat is thinking like satan not God.

There is more than enough energy in your body to do everything you are called to do. So many people complain about a lack of energy. Listen – even after you die you are still moving. Every molecule in your body is moving around – that’s how it turns into dust. There is more than enough energy. The walls in the room you are sitting in are moving at the speed of light right now. They look still but electrons are zooming around protons and neutrons faster than you can dream or imagine.

When we put our minds to anything, start to believe we can, we can do anything – the energy is there, the power is there, all we need to believe what God says, believe who we are, believe that we can do what He said we can do, and we can do. There is more than an abundance of life from Jesus!

President John F Kennedy asked Werner von Braun what it might take to build a rocket to take people to the moon safely, and his reply was all it takes is will. That is the truth.

We just need to believe we can have success, and successfully do everything God has called us to do. Most people do not have the ability to believe this, their faith is too weak because they never exercise their faith. They can barely hold an image of success in their mind for more than a few seconds, but you can develop the muscle of your imagination!

I challenge all of you to develop your imagination. Pick a book of the Bible, one of the gospels or Paul’s epistles and just read it, do not stop reading it until you read something that is outlandish to your imagination.

For example, you might read what Jesus said in John 14.12, “Anyone who believes in me will do the works I do”. Most Christians nod their head to that but very few carry that in their imagination or heart. That’s just a fact. But it is God’s Word, so you need to give yourself just a few minutes. Just let’s say 5 minutes. And you sit in a comfortable chair, play some soft music (instrumental only), and you imagine yourself doing that Scripture, or whatever one jumps out at you. YOU THINK ABOUT NOTHING ELSE AND JUST DOING THAT SCRIPTURE, and any other thought comes, kick it out and concentrate on the Word of God itself. By doing that you are doing a gym workout for your imagination and making it stronger. This is such an important skill, and sadly it is being lost today, people have neither the creativity or fortitude to dream the Word, and that is going to be one of the biggest bottleneck to revival. LEARN THIS SKILL. DEVELOP YOUR IMAGINATION, MAKE IT STRONG.

You have the ability to do anything in God’s Word, you are not lacking strength, energy, love or power. So think that way, over and over, until it becomes how you think. Then what you dream, as you think it is, it will manifest in your life. It will be created if necessary!

Do not nod your head at this and not do it. This is more important than working out your biceps, quads or even your heart. This is the most important thing that will bring you into success. Do not try and achieve success your way, do it His way.

Selah.

Principles of Success 03 Never Be Ashamed of the Size of our God!

God is huge. Like really really big. Like bigger than the whole universe. He is huge, and His thoughts are huge. And He loves you, I mean really loves you.

So never be ashamed of how big our God is, how much we win, and how much blessing He wants to pour out on us. Never be ashamed of being alive, of being blessed, of being rich, of winning in life. of living life to the full, of winning every battle, of being absolutely abundantly blessed. The Lord told me once that He wanted the level of favour on my life to be ridiculous, and I believe it, and I enjoy it.

There is a conference I used to go to every year. And the teaching was great, but many of the people there did not like me, they have lied about me, attacked me and my family, spoken about me behind my back and made it their job to really humiliate me and put me down. A few weeks ago I was praying about this conference, and the Lord said to me “Do you know why you go there?” I said “To hear the good teaching”, and the Lord said “No, you could do that on your phone!”. So I said “I don’t know”. And the Lord told me that I go in the same way some religious people wear sackcloth and ashes, to deliberately make myself feel uncomfortable because on some subconscious level I am a little embarrassed about utterly blessed I am and how well my life is going! I actually go there to have a bad time because I am ashamed of how blessed I am. That’s crazy, but it resonated with me and brought me great freedom!

I was a little shocked to hear this, but I have run with it, I will not be going again, I will go to places that celebrate me – and there are loads of those places, so many! God said don’t try and mix the oil on your life with the water of people who don’t have any oil and just want to dilute you to make themselves feel better. That is the work of people with tiny dreams and that is not our portion!

We have to grow up and stop being satisfied with small! I heard a pastor recently tell me God had told him to have a small church. I don’t believe that man heard God, I believe he heard his own peanut brain! That’s not the God I know – God wants us to disciple nations! I am not ashamed nor do I despise small beginnings but everything that has God’s fingerprint on it grows. Because God is huge and He loves us!

I got an email last week from a man who left our church running us down and being rude to us, he went to another ministry and was trying to start his own ministry, but this email was asking for money. Like he was a little bird looking for seed in a bird feeder, or a beggar sitting on the floor.

The money was supposed to be for his ministry, but we are not fed by his ministry so why is he asking us for money – I know why because his ministry isn’t feeding people! Now give where you are told, but the normal way for a ministry to be funded is by the people we feed.

All our biggest givers at Tree of Life are people who are there in the services, that I am feeding and challenging and inspiring, I don’t call other churches and Bible Colleges and ask them to give me money for my ministry. Come on now! Aren’t we supposed to be clothed more than bird? Aren’t we supposed to live in abundance? If he needs money, he should get a job, earn, sow, give, and expect increase. That’s what we all need to do. We are designed by God to live a life of dignity and be the head not the tail, be the giver not the beggar. We have the glory and power of God inside us so let’s dream bigger than beggars! If your ministry is not big enough that the people you feed with it are not paying your way then stop begging other ministers and go get a day job until your ministry grows.

We have the life of God inside us, and we should expect it to manifest. We have the divine right that it will manifest! Stop being satisfied with low levels when we are supposed to be changing the world. You might have enough to buy yourself a car, but what about buying everyone in the church a car? That is abundance, that is life, that is the heart of God! We need to listen to His heart and dream as big as Him. We need to not be ashamed of how blessed we are.

The purpose of life is to advance and multiply, to grow. God’s work is always about greater than before. He never retreats. He doesn’t believe in retreat or stagnation, He believes in taking ground! I do too, because I am in Him and think like Him!

Now let’s talk about money. We cannot be ashamed to talk about money! You cannot change the world without money. Money alone won’t do it, but your dream and destiny requires money. If your heart was good, and you suddenly got more money, you would do more good tomorrow than you did today! So, earn more. Everyone can earn more. No one is at their limit of earning. All the money in the world is ours as children of God, the wealth of the wicked is ours, the gold and silver is ours, the cattle on a thousand hills is ours (that’s why I had a steak for breakfast today and another one for lunch!). It’s all ours. All you have to do is go and get it in some way that is legal and honest and godly. Earn it! Every single person should earn more and use that more to make more disciples across the world. You should be expecting increase. You should expect to own everything you need and have so much more for investing into the lives of others. That is God’s will and purpose for you.

You cannot change the world without lots of money. Life is not simple in our generation, it is complicated and to change things we need wealth. You dream of being rich, then feel guilty because religion told you poverty is tied to godliness. It’s not. If I can buy my son dinner for £5, I can buy 100 children dinner for £500, I can buy a million children dinner for £5 million! The more I have the more I can live for God and change the world. I am not talking about living for me, I am talking about living for God.

You have a talent no one else has. You have a destiny, and with that destiny, God gave you a super-power. He designed you in your mother’s womb to do something so well that other people would think you must be an alien! You have to find it (listen to what I am teaching on Love and Destiny on Sunday mornings at www.tree.church/app for more on this) and you have to start using it. You will enjoy life and earn more! What a deal!

Do not be ashamed of the size of your God. Everything you have done up until now is merely the small beginnings of another chapter that is going to open up a life beyond anything you can ask or imagine! God loves you, God’s will and passion for you is increase, God is on your side.

It’s time to stop being ashamed of how big God is and how big His blessings on your life are. Start expecting more blessings, start expecting ridiculous favour! It’s yours! You are designed for success, not failure. Success will not make you proud, failure will not make you godly. Stop being embarrassed at how good God has been to you, and start expecting more goodness than you have ever seen!

Principles of Success 02: See You The Way God Sees You

You cannot succeed in life until you see yourself the way God sees you.  Your mind is like soil, it just takes all the seeds sowed into it and reproduces them according to kind.

If I took some soil and planted wheat, I would get wheat. I could not get anything else.  The soil has no power to produce anything different than the seed.  So it is with thoughts.  What you think is what you produce.

Your life cannot produce different to what you think, and nowhere is that more true than when it comes to what you think of yourselves.  If you think you are going to fail, you will.  If you think you are going to succeed, you will win.

God thinks of you as a winner but that doesn’t make you win.  Only when you agree with Him and submit your thoughts to His thoughts will success suddenly become a visible harvest.

What you think about you is what will bring the abundant life to you or keep it forever put of your reach.  Your mind just produces what you think like the soil just produces what is sowed.

When was the last time you went to the Word of God and wrote down who you are based on what God says and spoke it out loud to yourself.  You have a book that describes you in the most powerful way. Stop ignoring it and blabbing your mouth with your stupid opinions of yourself all the time.  You have to get a grip of your thoughts by speaking the truth about who you are.

You are not who anyone else says you are.  You are not who you say you are.  You are who God says you are, but you will only manifest who God says you are if you think it and say it too.

You are who God says you are.  You manifest who you say you are.  So speak what God says!

Stop letting other people’s opinions root in the soil of your heart.  That produces a paradigm of us as a loser and we start to lose.  Then because we keep losing we reinforce the paradigm.

There are different ways to define the word paradigm but it is a picture of the world and your place in it that is painted in your heart.  Change the painting, change your life.  Or in Paul’s word… Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Why does our image of ourself need renewed?  Because it was old even when you got it.  Your parents and the people around you started painting a picture of you in your heart as soon as you were born.

Think, if you were born to English parents you will grow up speaking English.  If someone kidnapped you as a baby and took you to China, you would grow up speaking Mandarin, and you would not know English.  The environment matters because it paints your heart.

You speak the language of the people you grew up surrounded by, but you also got your self image from their words too.  You painted a picture of your self using their words and I guarantee a lot of their words were wrong, so we need to repaint the image properly using God’s Word. Otherwise that image will dominate your life and hold you back from godly success.

That painting of your self in your heart, which you didn’t paint yourself, dominates your life and limits your ability to win. You must repaint it, and you must do it right.

There are limitations in your life you didn’t paint, problems you didn’t cause, lack you didn’t ask for. You need to repaint. That image more than anything else controls the way you behave. You have to grasp this and then put the effort in to change that image.

You went to school and learned maths and English and science, but no one taught you the most important thing to succeed: to repaint your self image in your heart. So we know what to do, but we don’t know how to make ourselves do it.

As a pastor, I meet brilliant, wonderful people nearly everyday who are having terrible results. Broke geniuses. Smart people who don’t know how to love their wife or submit to their husbands. Christians who are sick and sinful.

Their problem is not external, they don’t need a new course or new church or new job or new wife. They need to repaint the image in their heart. It’s that vital. Let’s make it personal… You need to repaint the image of you in your heart.

You can talk about the virtues of poverty as long as you like, but it doesn’t take long to realize that money helps you serve God, invest in others, and do what you are designed to do, not to mention it really helps you enjoy life. Broke people are not broke because they have no money, but because in their heart they see themselves as broke. Repaint the image and money will suddenly fly at that person!

We will continue this discussion later, but today make a commitment to go through the Word and find out one or two things it says about you and start declaring it and thinking it and start repainting that image.

Principles of Success 01: Success is Your Right as a Christian (and your responsibility)

I recently got an email correcting me for preaching a “success and prosperity” gospel. I thought of replying “well, it’s better than preaching a failure and poverty gospel”. How can failure and poverty be good news? No – being rich and successful is our right as Christians! Our redemption takes care of poverty and brings us into a place of prosperity. The entire curse is dealt with and all we have is the blessing of the Lord, which according to the Bible makes us rich, with no sorrow!

Therefore, it is important to realize that success is your right as a Christian, but it is also your responsibility. The kingdom of God (and your pastor) needs wealthy, happy Christians with strong marriages and great children!

I remember the first time I listened to a cassette tape in my car called “The Financial Statement of Jesus”, by John Avanzini, it changed my life forever to find out Jesus had money. I listened to the tape four times, I finished my drive and just sat in my car listening to it again! That began a study about what the Bible says about success and prosperity, and I have discovered some things that I know most people – and sadly most Christians – do not know. For most people, success, prosperity, walking in your dreams, getting out of debt, making it financially is a mystery, a puzzle, something that keeps slipping out of their reach.

I want to take some time to present some ideas to you that you may not have considered before. You might even be surprised I even believe what I am saying, but I don’t just believe it, I live it. I get up early and pray in tongues, I read my Bible, I study it, I listen to great dreamers, I study favour and grace and the blessing every day of my life. Every single month I read the book “Don’t Limit God” by Andrew Wommack, I have made understanding this a major part of my life. The Bible says “With all your getting, get understanding” (Proverbs 4.7), and it is so important you understand what the Bible says about wisdom and prosperity.

I don’t care how much you know, you can know more, understand more, grasp more, live more, increase more, earn more, give more, live more. Understanding is the best way to deal with your doubts and confusion. If you doubt God can make you rich, get understanding. In all your getting, get understanding. And as you saturate your mind with the truth, as your mind is renewed, your life will be totally transformed.

Becoming what you think you are is a Scriptural principle. We are what we think we are, we move in the direction of our most dominant thoughts. When we set our minds on things above, not things on earth (Col. 3.2) and we devote ourselves to apostolic teaching (Acts 2.42), when we hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches we will conquer and eat from the tree of life (Rev. 2.7). In short, our thoughts can bring us to paradise on earth.

Quantum physics is only starting to catch up with the Bible. We have found out everything is always moving. The laptop or phone you are reading this on, it looks like it is still – but it is moving. The electrons inside it are spinning around so fast – at the speed of light – inside it, at a level you cannot see. The whole universe is moving around, and our thoughts and words can even make mountains move! God has designed the whole universe operate by laws and principles, and we need to study them and grasp them and work them for us.

I got saved in 1993, by 1996, I was absolute broke, with no money, I was in hospital and saw no hope of getting out and my marriage was in a mess. My attitude stank, and I was a terrible and feeble excuse for a Christian, but I knew one thing – I did not like those prosperity gospel people. Thankfully, I grew up, got understanding and I’m healthy, wealthy, and my marriage is days of heaven here on earth.

Some of you to get to that place will have to do what I have done – reject some of the prejudices and preconceptions you have. You need to stop being arrogant and choose to listen to people who know more than you. You might have rejected people because you did not understand what they were saying, and you need to repent of that. You might not want to accept a truth, but do not let your mind tell you what to think, you dig into God’s Word and God’s promises and let that tell you what to think.

The power to think is the highest thing a human can do. You can formulate a thought – no animal can do that, but I find a lot of humans never do that. We are in the image of God, but we never visualise light and say “let there be light” and we grope around in darkness when we should be living in the light that we shine across the world. The light is already in your spirit if you are born again, but you need to let that light shine through your soul by thinking light. It’s the same for success, prosperity, health and wisdom. You need to think it! Thinking it is what makes it manifest. Consider it, dream it, visualise it, meditate it.

I have seen a lot of Christians recently receive information, information about love and prosperity and success, information about humility and truth, and they nod their head, but it is clear to me it never once gets into their heart. They approve of the truth on a mental level, what John Wesley calls “mental assent”, but never let it change their thinking. They treat the word trivially and they never hold onto the truth. You need to work at getting understanding. Stop thinking you are smarter than you are, and just start to think! Use your mind to think about God’s Word and presence, to imagine yourself in the midst of God’s promises for your life.

If nothing happens in your thoughts, nothing will change in your life. If your mind is not renewed, your life will not be transformed (Romans 12.2). If you want a more loving marriage, you have to think more live If you want your ministry to grow, you have to think about it.

Never reject an idea that lines up with God’s Word. Never accept an idea that does not line up with God’s Word. Read the posts I post on this, and let it change you from the inside out. You need to become obsessed with success, with doing what God has called you to do, with walking in His will and His Word and His promises – we need to be preoccupied with God’s Word and His promises of success and prosperity. We need to be unreasonable in our obsession.

You are a born again human, your spirit is one spirit with Christ, you are love and joy and peace in the spirit, you have all the power of the resurrection in your spirit. You have dominion over this planet. You must start to think that though for it to manifest. If you starting thinking it, considering it, and rejecting any ideas contrary to it, you will dominate this planet and nothing will in any ways harm you. No weapon formed against you will prosper.

You are in the image of God, that means you have the power to change your world. You can turn darkness into light, chaos into order, lack into abundance, water into wine. The way you do it is by renewing your mind – changing the way you think. What you think changes everything!

Your spirit is perfect – the core of your being is the image and likeness of God. Start to think like it. Start to speak like that. You are not greedy because you want more, you are not selfish because you want increase and success. It is who you are in the spirit, a winner, someone who increases, someone who has stuff. That is who you are!

When I started at the gym, and I am still like this, I want to lift heavier. When I manage to lift a certain weight, I want to put more weight on the bar and lift more. Increase is in my heart! When I plant a church, I expect it to grow. When I receive an offering, I expect it to be bigger than last week. When I invest in someone I expect them to succeed. I am thinking like God there. If you are in sales, expect to sell more. If you are a runner, expect to run faster. If you are doing this or that, expect increase. It is your nature. Expect miracles, expect healings, expect mountains to move when you speak. You are a being with a perfect spirit. Learn to live from your spirit by thinking about your spirit more than your body! Your body is the most rubbish part of you. The best part of you is your spirit, and you can use your soul to think spiritual thoughts and change your entire world.

Any object in your house right now – look around at each object – was originally a thought. Someone thought about the idea of your sofa, the lightbulb, the TV, the cup I am drinking from right now was originally thought. Thoughts change the world. Thoughts create. Thoughts take the power of the spirit realm and change and create in the physical realm. If you hold a thought long enough, it will become a thing in the material realm. That is the power of thinking. Renewing your mind transforms your life. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he!

In modern language, if you want better results you need better thoughts. If you want more money, you need richer thoughts. If you want to be healthier, you need healthier thoughts. You can think success and have success.

You are in control of what you think. No one can make you think anything you choose not to think. Your mind is mud though, whatever thought you hold in it, it will make it grow. So choose your thoughts carefully. Plant wheat – food, rather than poison in your mind! Plant what you want a harvest of. Think thoughts about what you want in your life!

Have you ever wrote down in a notebook what you actually want in your life? What your definition of winning is? What dreams God has given you. Right it down, but use “I AM” statements. I am successful. I am the pastor of a healthy growing church. I am the apostle who has planted a hundred churches. I am a champion. I am the father of many nations. God speaks like that, and we need to do the same, as beings in His image and likeness. When you write, read and speak and think these things, your mind starts to produce the harvest and your life will be transformed. Things will literally change in front of your eyes!

That’s why I say right it using “I am”, it makes it both personal and present tense, these things are essential in dreaming big. When you speak it and think it in the present tense, then your mind holds those thoughts, starts to be renewed and your life transforms. That’s how God transformed barren Abraham and Sarah into the father and mother of multitudes.

You hold the thought in your mind and it will transform your life. We live in a dangerous age – because there is too much information. You get it from social media, from 24 hour TV, from the internet, and it overwhelms us. Now more than ever you need to actively choose what you think. You need to learn how to stop a thought getting in your mind – you speak words, words like “I do not want that thought, I am so glad that is not happening to me”. That is how I do it. This is how I live. If an advert comes on the radio, and it says “men over 40 struggle with this”, I say outloud “not me, that’s not my portion”. When someone tells me their healing testimony, I say “Praise God, that will never be my testimony, I will never get that sickness”. I might not say it in front of people, I love people and want to bless them, but I make sure I speak my life and reality into being, and think renewed thoughts in line with my righteous, all-powerful, all-loving spirit.

Stop leaving your mind wide open to crazy, small, petty thoughts. Negativity will also produce, just like weeds will grow in soil.

Next part, we will look at the most important thought of all. Who do you say you are?

Principles of Local Church 14 Focus on the Invisible

The Christians that win are the Christians who focus on the invisible. The Christians who focus on the visible are those who fail and lose. The Christian who focuses on the invisible has a different world, different peace, different ministry from the Christian who focuses on the visible.

This is so important. This is the difference between a brave, bold, world changing Christian and a cowardly, weak Christian. What they look at! Our earth-bound religious ideas and traditions have created a very weak church in the UK, unwilling to fight for Jesus’ name, to glorify Him, to build great big churches, to speak out on moral issues, to stand up for Jesus and what He stands up for.

We need to take our eyes off the visible and look at the invisible. All our goals and dreams should never be achievable with what is visible and require invisible help!

We need to see angels. We need to see the invisible. We need to see the Lord and His glory. We need to see Jesus. We need to look at the invisible. We need to do it by faith. We do that and we start to win in life.

I do not look at the money in the bank, I look at Jesus and what He is saying. I do not look to my abilities and my strengths and weaknesses, I look to Jesus and what He tells me to do. I do not look to my capabilities, I look to Jesus. I do not look to anything that is seen, but I look to what is unseen. I look to the Word of God and trust the Word of God.

To be an asset in local church, you need to learn to live by faith and not by sight. We need to look at the invisible. We need to be people of faith. We need to value not anything visible and value what is invisible.

A Church Split? Or Maybe Not.

One of the nine Tree of Life Churches that I have planted in the UK in the last decade once had what I wrongly called a church split. We had raised the church up to about forty people, and it was thriving. We saw cancers disappear, broken bones healed in the middle of the service, someone got out of a wheelchair. There were many salvations. It was a glorious place to go.

Then one of the elders starting lying about me. It was vicious, nasty, and just relentless. I took my son Joel one time to the church, to lead worship, and we got there and there were suddenly six people left. And they were all in the same family. Joel said “Dad, what do we do?” I said act like there’s a hundred people there, and he did, and I did, we had some worship and a great sermon like it was a packed out standing room only service. It was great.

At the end someone told me some of the lies that were being told about me, and I said none of that is true. The person said well, I didn’t believe it, and even if I did, I would still come here because God told me to come here, so we are going to keep coming.

I was impressed with that level of maturity. We went home and I was not sure what to do next. So, I called Dave Duell. He was my spiritual father before he went to glory, and was a man full of God’s wisdom. When I called, he was out of the country, he was in Mexico or Brazil or somewhere preaching. But his wife Bonnie answered, and kindly offered to listen and help.

I told her we had just had a church split. She said “oh that’s really sad to hear, I always thought you and Amanda were such a good couple, and were so good together, and I thought you had a great marriage”. I was confused and said so and explained my marriage was doing well. Bonnie laughed and said “I thought you said you had a church split”, she said “Unless you and Amanda break up there is no such thing as a church split, it’s just a few people leaving at once.”

That has always encouraged me. Churches do not split. There will never be another Tree of Life Church started by someone storming out the door in rebellion. It’s just people leaving. And I don’t take it personally, because it is invariably not about me – or Amanda, or any of our other wonderful pastors.

I have found over the years that when someone leaves a church it’s either the Spirit or the flesh leading them to leave, and about 75% of the time it is the flesh. That matches Mark 4, where only one in four people actually produce fruit. If you leave a church in the flesh it will take years for you to be able to bear fruit, if ever. It’s a real tragedy.

There are three signs that someone has left in the flesh. Firstly, they leave very abruptly. Suddenly they are not there. It’s shocking how sudden it is. If someone is genuinely called by God to a new area and a new church, we lay hands on them, we tell people they are off, we bless them, we say goodbye. Someone who disappears like a thief in the night, that is not how the Spirit leads someone to leave. Selah.

The second sign is that they will then badmouth the church when they leave. They were in the church, and the church fed them, helped them, loved them, looked after them for years. But now they have left, they have to justify their carnal decision, and the only way to justify something to the flesh is company. You need some other people to agree you should have left, so you call other people who still go to the church and badmouth it.

I never meet up with people who leave carnally if they ask me to – they only want to badmouth me and others in the church, they only want to tear apart the people who are still being humble, faithful, honest, serving day and night to build the church. No, if they want to come home, they can by attending a family celebration service Sunday morning, and I will kill the fatted calf! That’s happened more than once and we have never failed to give someone who stormed off a royal welcome home.

That’s a massive clue someone left in the flesh – fault-finding and whispering after they left. When people leave in the Spirit it sits right in them that they left, so they move on with grace and love. Even if they move because the church was bad in some way, they left in the Spirit, so they left in love, they shake the dust off their feet so they have no dust on their feet, and they go forward looking forward. Even in the church is Sodom and Gomorrah, leaving in the Spirit means looking forward to the next church. Not turning round to criticize the old church or whisper about it. Don’t become a salty pillar! Listen, it takes little or no effort to criticize a church. It’s that simple. Anyone can do that. What’s impressive is actually loving the people of God as well as the God of the people.

Finally people who leave in the Spirit end up at a better church. Not objectively better or worse, but better for them. They are discipled more, they are happier, they bring their friends more. They are growing in Christ more. It’s a cause for celebration for the whole kingdom. I genuinely love releasing people into a new church or ministry when they are following the Spirit.

When someone leaves a church flowing in the gifts, teaching the Word, standing for grace and faith to go to some dead church, or church where there are no miracles, but just noise and shouting, they have not left in a spiritual way. When people leave churches to “study the Bible on their own”, they did not leave in the Spirit. When people leave a life-changing church to go to a convenient church, they did not leave in the Spirit.

Selah.

Principles of Local Church 13: Be a Bit Less Cocky

When God called Moses into his ministry, Moses did not respond “Great choice God. Good move choosing me. I am not really sure how you managed without me the past few years…”

No. He said… Who am I to do this. He wasn’t cocky or arrogant, he was humble. One of my leaders said to me recently “do you mind I struggle to believe I can do this role”, I said a lot less than if you ever struggled to believe you couldn’t do it.

One of the character requirements for an elder is to not be a brawler, the word used means someone who thinks they can handle anything. YOU CANNOT. Not without grace.

It took God four decades to bring Moses to a place where he stopped relying on himself and started trusting God. I see many self reliant Christians today and they cannot bear fruit, because that only comes from God reliance.

I have actually had people say to me that Tree of Life will fail if they leave. They left and we are thriving. They needed to be a bit more humble and a bit less cocky. It’s so important when it comes to the body of Christ you do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. You are not better than others, you don’t get your own set of rules.

When I offer someone a leadership ministry or preaching opportunity I ask them how they feel about this. A cocky, “yeah yeah, I can do that” is rarely confidence in God, it’s mostly self reliance. An arrogance towards church and ministry is deadly. Some people think they are qualified others even think they are over qualified.

We started a leadership course called Qualified, I asked someone to go on it, they said “But I am qualified, do you not think I am qualified?”. What I think doesn’t matter, but it’s a concern to me someone thinks they have already attained it.

The truth is this… When you reach a place where you realize you truly have nothing to offer God or the church and that you are an earthen vessel, then you are ready to be a treasure. Until then, you are the wrong person to be promoted.

Paul, the great apostle, he said that he was a wretched man. Early in his ministry, Isaiah said “I am undone, I am a man of unclean lips”. Peter knelt before Jesus and told him to leave him alone, he was too sinful to have a future.

If you don’t reach that place where you realize you have nothing, and I mean a genuine authentic humility, not play humble, you will never find your place in the body.

Selah.

Principles of Local Church 12 Love When You Are Winning

Several times in my life I have had someone in our church that is awesome, kind, servant-hearted, always looking out for others, reliable, faithful. Then when because of those attributes I promote them to a position of leadership, they stop loving. They become bossy, they become territorial, they keep asking for their ministry to be promoted, often at the expense of others, they expect others to work hard for them, but they are hardly working.

That is not good! If you are promoted in a local church, do not let it go to your head. When Joseph became prime minister of Egypt, he did not let it go to his head. He exercised authority with kindness and gentleness. The Bible tells us that when the wicked rule, the people mourn. It is sad to have leaders that are not kind and are wicked. I have seen people so kind until they get a position in a church or ministry or Bible College and suddenly they use that position to bully others. We appointed one couple as pastors and within days they wanted people to bow to them and were texting people to improve what they wore to church. That is not how to be a pastor! They did not learn that from me and Amanda!

When people are promoted they either become more wicked or they become kinder. Choose to use your position to show kindness! Choose to remember that you are not perfect and your title does not define you!

You must choose to be someone who sees God’s hand at work in your life and in others. You must be someone who does not just receive grace but who is gracious to others. You get that right, then you will be a good leader! If not authority might destroy you. It destroyed Saul, it destroyed Uzziah, it destroyed Judas, it destroyed Demas, and it could destroy you today if you do not become aware of this!