Tree of Life Blog

Engaging Culture with the wisdom and power of Christ!

Monthly Archives: October 2015

I Thought This Was A Grace Church!?!

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Every so often I will make a decision that leads to someone saying about Tree of Life “I thought this was a grace church!”

Maybe I remove someone from the worship team for sexual immorality, or ask someone not to share a prophetic word that is a bit kooky, or preach a message that challenges people in terms of maybe tithing or loving or world mission.

Then someone says to me “I thought this was a grace church”, meaning I thought anything goes here and I am offended it doesn’t.

So let.me explain and answer.  Let me make this every clear: Tree of Life Church is not a grace church. We are not founded on grace and our cultural pillars do not mention the word grace.

Let me explain before you share that all over Facebook with “I knew it”… Tree of Life Church is a Word church.  Our foundation is the Word of God.  Our first cultural pillar is FULL OF THE WORD.

So, we are a grace church, because grace is in the Word and we are full of the Word so we are full of grace.  I wouldn’t know grace if I didn’t know it from the Word.

But here is the big thing: when you are a Word church, your definition of grace comes from the Word.  Your grace is balanced and healthy because it comes from the Word.  When what you think about grace contradicts the Word you change your opinions on grace, not the Word.

That is what it truly means to be a grace church, to be full of the Word.

The same Bible that says “we are saved by grace through faith, not of works” also says “I beseech you by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice”.

The same Bible that lets us know the.depth of Christ’s unconditional love for the church is the same Bible in which Paul commands the church to walk worthy, instructs Timothy to forbid elders from teaching nonsense, in which there are clear character requirements for leaders.

Let’s be a grace church, but only the pure grace of the Word of God, not some unbiblical substitute because we only know two Scriptures and mistakenly think grace means anarchy!

Let’s be a grace church, where we teach boldly that the grace of God through Christ and His redemptive sacrifice are available freely to all men. But let’s also teach boldly that this grace teaches us to deny ungodly lusts.

Let’s declare that to all who believe are saved, but let’s also declare that those who believe not are condemned.

Let’s leave no one in doubt God loves them.  But let’s leave no one in doubt what an appropriate response to that love is.

Let’s inspire people to dream, but let’s challenge them to make the choices that mean they can live those dreams!

I thought this was a grace church – no, we are something so much more: a Word church!

More Wisdom from a Plane

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I am writing this while getting ready to fly from Boston to Dublin, and we are watching the safety video.

One of the things that we are told during these safety videos is that if you are travelling with people who for whatever reason cannot our their oxygen masks on themselves you should make sure yours is firmly attached first.

Seeing the video reminded me that while ministering to someone this week, I gave them the same advice.  This person was going out to some wild places with her friends to try and win them to Christ, but ended up doing things that hurt her and that she was ashamed of.

She was trying to help other people make a connection to the life giving oxygen of knowing Christ and His redemptive life, but her mask wasn’t attached properly.

I see that a lot as a pastor: people trying, out of a deep love and compassion, to help others see Christ but they end up choking themselves.

Your primary goal as a Christian isn’t to attach everyone else’s mask – it’s to make sure yours is attached.  When you are attached to Jesus properly, with life flowing from your spirit, through your soul, into your life.  You are superior to your environment, not driven by it. 

You are immune to what is going on around you as you are firmly attached to a different source of life, joy and purity.

You are humble, so prayer is simple.  You are grounded in faith, so Word study is part of your life.  You are above offense and selfishness, so being part of a lively local church is easy for you.

When this attachment is secure, then you can go and help others, and help change the world. 

God wants you to help others get their masks on and attach to the source of life, but make sure your mask is firmly attached first.

10 Reasons I Am Grateful for my trip to America

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Bit personal this time, but I guess most people reading this blog are interested in my personal journey…

10.  I got to hear Andrew Wommack share his views on why universalism and preterism are wrong, and it was exceptionally powerful.  These ideas are making massive inroads in the UK and messing up churches, and it is so good to hear they are being countered and addressed.

9. Bonnie Duell is the best host in the world and made us feel so welcome at her house.  What a wonderful lady.  Just a pleasure and honour to have spent time with her.

8. I got to hear about future plans for AWME and the Charis colleges in the UK, and I have never been so excited about Charis as I am now.

7. I finally signed up for the Continuing Education for Ministers.  I will complete that in record time, and that’s going to help me a lot.

6. Have organised some great ministers to come to Tree of Life in the next while.  Just awesome.  Watch this space, but trust me, it is going to be wild.

5. Got to meet Pastor Bryan Lee and do some street work with him.  He is such a gifted evangelist and it was a joy to meet him.

4. Loved ministering at both Mountain High Church in Conifer and Faith Ministries in Kansas City.  FMIN is such a great network to be a part of, and Ed and Mona, and Dennis and Denise are just wonderful people.  Saw people healed in each service, and saw lives changed in each service.  It was a great time to share the Word.

3.  Amanda and I were given a very powerful prophetic Word by Bob Nichols, one of the greatest pastors.  Just beautiful.

2.  Just meeting so many awesome and wonderful people was such a joy.  If I start naming people, I will miss people out but the fellowship this year has been really really special, encouraging, dream building, character building and inspirational.

1. It was great to spend some time with Amanda.  Sometimes we are racing all over the place extending the kingdom, it was nice to spend time together and just relax 💘

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