Tree of Life Blog

Engaging Culture with the wisdom and power of Christ!

Monthly Archives: January 2015

5 Really Bad and 5 Really Good Reasons to Go to Bible College

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5 Really Bad and 5 Really Good Reasons to Go to Bible College.

via 5 Really Bad and 5 Really Good Reasons to Go to Bible College.

I originally posted this last April, and it was the most viewed post of 2014.  Which I believe it should have been – there are right reasons to go to Bible College and wrong ones.  This post will help you realize what they are.

And before you comment – I am not anti-Bible College, I am absolutely pro-education.  I have a degree from a Bible College and a Masters and I am still in two Bible Colleges as a correspondence student.  I believe in education.  But I also believe in doing things right for the right reasons.

The Eight Ball

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I love playing pool.  I don’t get much chance to play it anymore, but I used to as a teen play all the time.  I never was much good, but I enjoyed the game.

You have to pot all the stripes or spots, depending on which you potted first, then finally pot the eight ball.

If you at any point in the game pot the eight ball before potting all your colour – you automatically lose the game.  Potting the eight ball at the right time wins the game, potting it at the wrong time loses the game.

Life can be like that.  Certain things done at the right time will win you the game, do them at the wrong time and you will lose the game!

Abraham slept with Hagar and produced a game-losing Ishmael.  Later, he slept with Sarah and produced the game-winning Isaac.  Timing was everything.  Moses tried to deliver the Israelites 10 years too early and won himself a 40 year exile into Egypt.

I tried to pastor a church about 3 years before I was ready and ended up with an exile into Suffolk.  I still call it the Ishmael church – it was blessed and I was blessed, but it was never a game winner and would never have been what the Tree of Life family is today.

What am I saying – don’t pot the black ball too early.  Often God reveals to us, or we simply work out what it takes for us to win our game – what God has called us to do, what our destiny is, what our life work is to be.  Then we are tempted to rush out and do it – even if it involves sleeping with the servant, killing an Egyptian, pastoring a church that was opposed to the power of the Spirit.  Whatever it is – impatience leads to compromise leads to losing the game!

Let faith and patience have their perfect way in you (Hebrews 6.12) and believe that if God has shown you something you will achieve it.  You will win this game – you are more than a conqueror.  But don’t rush ahead, wait for it for it will surely come, even though it tarry.

God is going to get you where you need to be.  But sometimes He wants us to take the scenic route because that route has lessons, sometimes He just wants us to enjoy the view.  There is often a long corridor between where we are and where God is taking us – learn to appreciate the corridor because that is where we develop the character to handle the promises that will no doubt manifest.

What do you do in the corridor?  What do you do while playing? You are learning to set up shots, learning to judge the speed and angle of the cue, you are becoming good at the game.

So that when it’s time to pot the 8-ball you are ready.

Never neglect that waiting time, that training time, that learning time.  That is time never wasted.  When you end up in your destiny, you will never regret a day of training and preparation and in fact will wish for more of them!

I wonder what David thought when he was writing Psalms and worshipping God and having the time of His life when a lion attacked his sheep.  I think he might be angry at God – why is the lion attacking MY sheep, when I am praising God.  Those other shepherds aren’t serving God like me, they aren’t praising like me, praying like me!  Why is this happening to me?

And David jumps in and fights the lion.  And wins.

Then not long after, a bear attacks.  There is David thinking “oh man, what have I done wrong?  What is this about? Why is God letting this happen to me?” but David fights the bear – and wins again!

Then one day, the whole nation is under attack by Goliath.  And David looks at Goliath and thinks “I can take him – I have fought the lion and bear”

Sometimes we don’t know why things happen, why preparation takes so long – it’s because there is a Goliath coming, and God is preparing you to slay him and set the captives free!

Start to rejoice in the corridor time, in the playing time, in the attacks by lions and bears out of nowhere time.  It’s preparation time, and the promises are coming true!

DIG for Sunday the 18th of January……being offended and taking offence is a sign of immaturity…..Mark 4 v 17

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Such wisdom from a great pastor!

Heilan Word Ministries

After being prompted by a member of the fellowship I have started studying out what the Bible says about being offended or taking offence.

I am just at the start of these studies (so will probably write more in DIG in the future) but already I’ve had a few revelations.

The Word shows many people being offended and suffering for it; it also shows ways of dealing with issues so that being offended is not what we do.

The biggest challenge so far, and the greatest revelation for me is that being offended is a sign of Christian immaturity.

In Mark 4 we read the parable of the sower, with verses 16 and 17 talking about stony ground.

This is a picture of a believer who is immature, who does not really understand the Word, and does not have a good foundation in the truth (or in other words roots).

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Good and Bad Fivefold Ministries!

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FOR THOSE IN THE FIVEFOLD MINISTRY:

Bad apostles command you to plant churches. Good apostles father you and raise you up to plant churches. They are there for you, they help you, they support you.

Bad prophets chastise you for missing God’s voice. Good ones inspire you to tune in to His still small voice and speak His language of unconditional love and grace.

Bad evangelists chide you for not winning the lost. They scold and moan at you because you are not doing enough personal evangelism. Good evangelists will inspire you to win people, take you to where the people are, and listen to you when you are struggling.

Bad teachers will condemn you for not knowing the Bible, they will make you feel inferior to their fount of knowledge. Good teachers will open the Bible up to you and inspire you to open it yourself when they are not around.

Bad pastors control, attack and bite the sheep. They will roar at the sheep like rabid dogs to chase them. They feed them their personal agenda to build an empire. Good pastors lay down their life for the sheep, they lead them to green pastures and still waters. They equip the saints to do the works of ministry.

Now everyone in the fivefold – if we are honest know we have had bad days. But let’s re-focus today and become gracious and grace-filled when it comes to releasing the gift we have inside us for the body of Christ.

Pastors and Elders XI: The Requirements for an Elder (part VIII)

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1 Tim 3.3 says elders should not be given to wine.

This one doesn’t need an analysis of the Greek, it doesn’t need shades of meaning or dissecting.  Now the Tree of Life isn’t teetotal, and I am not teetotal, but if you are given to getting drunk you need to deal with it.

You have a responsibility as an elder to be sober.  To be alert.  To be ready for people and love people 24/7.  Alcohol has a lot more negative associated with it than positives.   It can easily become a problem in your life.

If this is an issue in your life, sort it and/ or get help!  It’s that simple!

Priorities for the New Year

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If you are saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit, your number one key to spiritual growth, to prosperity, to deliverance, to freedom is getting involved in a local church.  It is that simple, and it is that non-negotiable.

Jesus promised to build His church, and Paul tells us the church is the body of Christ.

Try an experiment today: take one of your big toes and cut it off.  Put it in an envelope and leave it somewhere safe in your house.  Maybe on a window sill.

This time next week, come back and compare the big toe you cut off your body and the big toe that is still attached to the body.  See which one is healthier, see which one is better looking, see which one has more life.

It’s a simple experiment, and it will show you graphically what your life will be attached to a healthy local church, and what your life will be separate from a local church.

If you are still not convinced, repeat experiment with your thumb the following week.

Notice that the body is hurt by cutting bits off, but I don’t reckon that anyone who is not plugged into a local church will actually care about that.  But if you realize how quickly the thumb and toe go rotten, maybe your instinct of self-preservation will get you plugged into a local church.

Next week: what makes for a healthy local church…

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