Tree of Life Blog

Engaging Culture with the wisdom and power of Christ!

Monthly Archives: December 2008

Last post before Christmas…

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I am going to be fairly busy the next couple of days, as I know you all will be. I just want to wish you a merry Christmas and a blessed and prosperous New Year.

I will continue the Sower Sows the Word series as soon as the holiday season is over.

Please feel free to ask any questions you have by putting them in the comments section.

Blessings,
Ben

The Sower Sows the Word (Video)

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You can see Ben preach on the Sower Sows the Word at Worshipville Church in London here.

The first couple of minutes of the video have not been edited properly. I have the facilities to do this, but I need to wait until next week due to the terms and conditions of Vimeo. I hope this doesn’t spoil the video too much.

Blessings,
Ben

My new book available now!

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http://www.lulu.com/content/5441807

The book is called Rivers and Wells and is about the fact that the anointing of God is available to every single Christian. You can buy the book from Lulu Marketplace for £3.49, or you can download it as a PDF document for £1.95.  Both these options are available from the link above.

This is the blurb from the back cover:

Many Christians are confused over the idea
of the anointing. If they think about the
concept at all, they think that the anointing
is for superstar preachers and not for every
Christian.

In this practical and Bible-based book,
Benjamin looks at the anointing and shows
that you can move in the power of the Holy
Spirit and that you can do the works Jesus
has done. Prepare to be inspired and
challenged – you will never be the same
again!

You can contact Ben through the Tree of
Life Church website:

http://www.treeoflifechurch.org.uk

The Sower Sows the Word (III)

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Previously in part I, we examined the fact that some people are like the path – they never grasp the Word, never fight for the Word, and so it leaves their life and it is as if they never heard it.

In part II, we saw that some people are rocky ground.  They receive the Word of God into their emotions and not their re-born spirit.  Because of this, the moment their life becomes difficult or the instant someone criticises them because of the Word of God, they instantly get offended and leave the Word alone.

The question we must now answer to help you and help other people is this: how can we ensure that when we hear the preached Word that we receive it into our spirit and not simply into our emotions.

The answer is found in this Scripture in James:

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1.21)

The way for you to receive the Word into your spirit is to:

1. Rid yourself of all filthiness

2. Rid yourself of all naughtiness

3. Receive the Word with meekness

Filthiness is essentially anything that is wicked.  One of the easiest ways to ensure the Word of God has no effect on your life is to do things and watch things you know are wrong.  I am not going to lay a heavy on anyone – but you must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and you must get rid of filthiness.

Naughtiness is such a mis-used word in our society, it provokes images of someone being a little off, or a little crude.  However, in this verse it means a desire to hurt people.   You must rid yourself of every desire you have to hurt or use other people.  Every time you have thoughts of hurting people, you need to reject those thoughts.

Finally, and most importantly, you need to receive the Word of God with meekness.  Meekness is the ability to take second place to something else – to allow someone else to go first.  It is one of the lost virtues of society, often today seen as a sign of weakness.  Even today on the bus, a man told me to grab my seat quick or people would skip ahead of me on the queue.  He said he would skip ahead of me.  I said I didn’t mind if he did.

When it comes to the Word of God, meekness means that if your opinions and ideas disagree with the Word, you ditch your opinions and your ideas, and you don’t ditch the Word.  If we take healing as an example again, if you read “He bore my sicknesses”, don’t try and rationalise it with your opinions – ditch your opinions and put the Word first in your life.

Every great revival, every great revelation contradicts your thoughts and your opinions.  The Reformation of Christianity began when Martin Luther put aside his thoughts and his opinions and realized that “The just shall live by faith” means that “The just shall live by faith.”  Pentecostal Christianity started when people realized that “They spoke with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” meant exactly that.

There are still Christians today who don’t believe that we are justified by faith alone, still Christians who reject and mock the gift of tongues.  Don’t be like that – receive the Word meekly.  If the Bible says you are healed (it does by the way, many times over!), receive it.

Let’s not be stony ground Christians any more, and let’s receive the Word deep in our hearts so that we are Christians not just in the excitement of a church on Sunday, but in the midst of affliction and persecution.

Tomorrow, we will look at how to deal with a thorny issue…

Blessings,

Ben

Our Spiritual Initiative in Prayer

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(In this quote, Kenyon refers to our spiritual initiative.  What he means is our passion for the Lord.  This is a powerful revelation about our passion for the Lord and our faith…)

The hindrance to our spiritual initiative in prayer comes form the neglect of reading and feeding on the Word.  It is evidence of a low type of spiritual fellowship.

When we lose our spiritual initiative, we lose something that would drive us through to victory in hard places.  It is time then that we should give ourselves to the study of the Word.  It is the personal study of the Word that counts.

Whenever your faith loses it aggressiveness, the senses have gained the ascendancy.

Whenever spiritual things take second place, it is evidence that the realities of the divine things are losing out; that sense knowledge is sl0wly but surely gaining the mastery.  It dominates at the crossroads where it is necessary that we have keen spiritual discernment.  We cannot take a negative attitude toward the Word.

We assent to the Word instead of acting upon it.  That holy fearlessness is lost.

The heart will not be saying, “I can do all things in Him today.”

When the spiritual initiative is low, you will never hear one say, “Greater is He that is in me than the forces that surround me.”

It is when the great things of Scripture are held as doctrines rather than as a reality, when the opinions of men are put above the Word of God.  Out of this will grow an inferiority complex in the spiritual realm.

Whenever your heart loses its boldness towards the Lord, its fearlessness in acting on the Word, you are in danger.  The prayer life has lost its reality and things of the senses have taken its place.

You see that is a real spiritual disease.  Now the body becomes helpless.  The mind where disease and fear grow and mature is under the dominion of an outside power and you are in a dangerous condition.

The cure is going to the Word again; giving yourself over to it, resolutely taking your place.  Refuse to give up your confession.

E. W. Kenyon

The Three Real Gifts of Christmas

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Our family today decided to visit a church we had never been to before.  There was a poster advertising their services in the local Christian bookshop and it seemed quite interesting.

It was a beautiful carol service, mainly Africans with a couple of Asians as well.  But it was something said during the preaching that has made me think.

The pastor said that the gifts that the Magi offered Christ of gold, frankincense and myrrh were not the real gifts they offered Christ.  He said that if we think that this is the true offering that Christ wants then we will be discouraged because we don’t own gold, we don’t have any frankincense and we would not have a clue how to source any myrrh.

He said the three real gifts that the Magi offered to Christ were time, worship and faith.  They took the time to change their schedule and their plans to go and meet with Christ.  They worshipped him.  They put their trust and their hope in Him.

And that is something each of us can do.  We can all change our schedules and re-prioritise our life so that we can meet with Christ.  We can all worship Christ, and we can all take Him at His Word this Christmas.

Although as a family we tried to sneak in to the back of the church and just enjoy the service, at the end the pastor said that the Lord had showed him that I was an anointed, kingdom man and that I should share a couple of words about Christmas.  I did share about the joy of knowing Christ and the reason for the season, but to be honest the real message about the real gifts of Christmas will have me thinking about my schedule, my worship and my faith over the festive season.

Blessings,

Ben

Prospering in the Time of Famine

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http://www.studytheword.net/2008/09/21/prospering-in-the-time-of-famine/

In this online sermon, Pastor Mike from Grace Church in Ireland teaches how to live in an economic famine. Pastor Mike has been a wonderful support to us as we are pioneering our church in east London, and has a wealth of teaching resources on the Internet.

The Sower Sows the Word (II)

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Previously we examined the seed that fell on the path, and we found that this represented Christians that had no fight in them, who did not apply themselves to the Word of God and so satan just stole the Word from them and it did not benefit them at all.

Today, I want to look at the stony ground. The seed that falls on the stony ground sprung up quickly, but because it had no root in it it withered just as quickly.

This represents people who receive the Word of God into their emotions and not their spirits. Because it is received emotionally, there will be great emotions when it is received. People who are hearing the Word and are getting very emotional are not always receiving the Word into their spirit.

There is nothing wrong with being emotional as a Christian. Paul wrote an entire letter (Philippians) on the subject of joy. But you must receive the Word into your spirit and let your emotions be changed from the inside out.

Ok you might say, but how do I know if I have received the word into my spirit or my emotions? How do I know if my response to the Word of God is surface level or deep commitment?

The key is found in Mark 4.17:

And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

If your relationship with the Word is only on a surface level, on an emotional level, then when affliction or persecution arises for the sake of the Word, you will be immediately offended.

There is a lot of information in Mark 4.17, and it is vital for all Christians to understand it, so let’s unpack it and try and make some applications to our life.

When you receive the Word, I guarantee affliction and persecution will come.

Affliction is the Greek word thlipsis. It means, according to Strong’s, pressure. This world will always put pressure on you. Christianity is not a walk in the park. It is not a pleasure cruise. It is pressure. Sometimes I think we mis-sell Christianity, by focusing on the benefits of knowing Christ without mentioning the pressure.

If you become a disciple of Christ, you will go against the world and the world will put pressure on you. You need to know you are not about to wake up tomorrow and the world will be a lovely place and everything will be beautiful. That will not happen until Christ returns. So, toughen up.

Let’s use healing as our example again. You hear a great sermon on healing, you find out the Lord is your Healer, that Jesus carried your sicknesses on the cross and you don’t have to be sick.

You get excited, you are shouting at the preacher, you feel good. The Word has planted on your emotions and sprung up. You feel like you are in victory.

Monday morning you wake up and there is pressure on you. Pressure on your throat, on your back, on your nose. You feel like you just want to crawl into a hole and die of pain. Flu assaults your entire body.

At this stage the question is: what is your IMMEDIATE response? If the Word is in your spirit, your immediate response will be something like this:

I am not moved by what I see, I am not moved by what I feel, I am moved by the Word of the living God and the Word says that by the stripes of Jesus I am healed.

You stand on the true Word of God, you fight the lying symptoms and you change your experience with the Word of the living God.

If the Word is merely in your emotions, then IMMEDIATELY you will be offended. This is what Mark 4.17 says. Offended is the Greek word skandalizo. It means: to trip up, to turn away from someone you should be trusting and to get annoyed.

Your response if the Word has only touched your emotions will be something like this:

I thought that preacher said I was supposed to be healed. He must be a liar. The Word clearly doesn’t mean this. I can’t believe it. This stupid Bible, this stupid God. This stupid doctrine. These name-it and claim-it people are deceived. I am never going to that church again.

A complete change from how you felt just 24 hours ago – just because of a few symptoms! This is what people are like when the Word only hits their emotions. One minute they are raving for the Word, the next they are raving against the Word.

The other thing that can change these people 180 degrees is persecution. Persecution is people treating you badly because you believe the Word of God. It might be a severe case, like the people in concentration camps right now in North Korea because they are disciples of Jesus Christ. It might just be a family member laughing at you because they think you are a fanatic.

Whatever form it takes, people who only know the Word on a surface level will let persecution stop them. Any excitement at hearing the Word on Sunday disappeared because their wife or their husband says “You are becoming a bit of a religious freak!”. Immediately they become offended.

Now at this stage you might think: I am a bit like that at times. Yes, you are. We all are. But, don’t panic – there is a solution. You see, according to Mark 4.17 this all happened for one reason: they had no root.

If we can get the Word of God to root inside us, then we can stand in the worst affliction and we can actually challenge the affliction and make the world change rather than allow the world to change us. We can turn the other cheek when we are persecuted and allow the Word to change other people, rather than allow other people to change us.

So, how do we get the Word to root inside us? That will be our theme for tomorrow. Don’t miss out!

Blessings,
Ben

The Spirit in You

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There is a difference between the Spirit being in you and the Spirit being with you. For instance, we are getting light now from outside this building. This is exactly the position of every believer that is not baptized with the Holy Ghost. The Spirit is with every person that is not baptized, and they have light from the outside. But suppose all the light that is coming through the window was inside.

That is exactly what is to be taking place. We have revelation from outside, revelation in many ways by the Spirit, but after He comes inside, it is revelation from inside which will make things outside right.

We are baptizing people in water, remembering that they are put to death, because every believer ought to be covered. Every believer must be put to death in water baptism. The baptism of the Spirit is to be planted deeper until there is not a part of you that is left. There is a manifestation of the power of the new creation by the Holy Spirit right in our mortal bodies.
Where once we were, now He reigns supreme, manifesting the very Christ inside of us, the Holy Ghost fulfilling all things right there.

– Smith Wigglesworth

What It Means to Be Full of the Spirit

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Stephen cried out, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” As he was full of the Spirit he was full of love, and he manifested the very same compassion for his enemies that Jesus did at Calvary. Being filled with the Holy Spirit means much in every way. It means constant filling, quickening, and a new life continually.

Oh, it’s lovely! We have a wonderful gospel and a great Saviour! If you will but be filled with the Holy Spirit, you will have a constant spring within, yes, as your faith centers in the Lord Jesus, from within you shall flow rivers of living water.

– Smith Wigglesworth, 1924.

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