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Monthly Archives: December 2016

UKs Coming Revival 05: 5 Things I See Coming

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I consider myself to be a generalist in the body of Christ. I can teach the Word, there are many specialist teachers who can take their topic and own it, but I am comfortable teaching all the topics of the Bible. There are people who can flow in the Spirit much more adeptly than me, but I can flow in all of the gifts at different times. I am no evangelist, but I love sharing my faith and creating a culture of outreach.

So I am a generalist, not a specialist. I’m like a GP of pastors! That’s fine, I am happy with what I am called to be and love doing what I do. I am saying all this as it surprises people who only know me as a teacher and pastor that I flow in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But I am seeing the seeds of this revival that is coming right now, and I can see trends that will be coming in the body of Christ.  Here are ten things I can see coming for the UK right now.

  1. I see pastors with a higher level of devotion than ever before.
    Those of you who know me know that I am totally for local church. I believe in local church, and I don’t believe your Christianity is authentic if it is not rooted and grounded in local church. I love local church. I believe everyone should stop being a goat and be a sheep and get a shepherd and be devoted to the local church. I shoot pretty sharp with this because it is fundamental to this coming revival – it will be happening in local churches.
    However, one of the reasons why many Christians sadly are not devoted to their local churches is that there has been many occasions where there has been a lack of devotion from the pastors of the churches!  People are uncertain when the pastor has no devotion to the sheep – no one wants to follow someone who is going to disappear.
    I have to tell my sheep all the time that I am staying in Dagenham and I will be there until I die. In fact I say the only way I am leaving Tree of Life Church is feet first. The people know I could travel anywhere in the world, and need to know I am there for them!  How many pastors travel to America for green pastures!
    But I sense that in the UK there is going to be, more than ever before, pastors who know the geography they are called to, know the people they are called to and will be utterly devoted to the town, the church, the culture, the people. These pastors will be the major harvesters of this coming revival!
  2. I see a positive image of the church bleeding into society
    At the moment, the church is a figure of ridicule in the UK on the whole. People think that the Vicar of Dibley represents the church of the living God, but things are changing and will keep changing, and people will start to realize that behind the scenes it is the church that is feeding the poor, helping people get jobs, helping people learn to read, changing lives, healing the sick and generally being Christ-like.  This shift will come with a shift towards a positive attitude to the church from the leadership of the nation.
    Can everyone reading this do me a favour?  Can you stop reading for a second and speak positive words over your local church (if you don’t have one, get one!)?  Can you say “my church is highly favoured, my church is growing, my church is a great place to be, my church is changing this nation”.  It will be a tragedy if the world wakes up to how awesome the church is before some Christians do.  If you have been attacking the local church, stop!
  3. I see Christian businesses working in the United Kingdom, and church members employing many from the churches
    One of the things that will happen in the next few years is that many Christians in the UK are going to start businesses and those businesses will be successful, putting those Christians in strategic positions. They will use that position to employ from their local churches, and create companies that represent the ethos and love of Christ. People will come to their pastor needing a job, and there will be several available from church members!
    Now if this is to come to pass, we all need to make sure we are good workers – not coming in late claiming we were evangelising!  But being the best workers we can be.
  4. I see the role of the pastor changing on a national scale from teacher to father.
    Many pastors have never stepped beyond being a teacher of the Word to their people, feeding them great messages on grace and faith. But people don’t gather around a teacher, they gather around a father or mother (have a look at Matthew 23.37 for a beautiful picture of this).  The more fatherly the pastors become, the more the churches will grow in this nation.  Now many pastors have made this transition individually through the leading of the Lord, but this is going to be like an awakening, like something everyone is suddenly talking about. There is an anointing to father and it is here right now for the pastors.
  5. I see many many miracles being done by the unknown
    We see many miracles today, and they are done in the big conferences and by the big ministries, and that is great. But miracles are coming home, and the home of miracles is the local church, and the miracle workers are not the pastors of the local church but the “certain disciples” of the local church.  The battle cry of the next ten years will be not “this is a great ministry”, “this is a great conference”, but “this is a great church, this is a glorious church” and the focus will not be a man but the body of Jesus Christ on earth.  I see miracles being done as believers lay hands on the sick, and I see the church as a whole rising up.  People who are in schools, colleges, workplaces that the TV evangelist or pastor would never and could never go will be praying for people and healing the sick all over the nation.
    I know this has begun, I am watching it happen, but it will become a national trend.

These are exciting times people, you better believe it!

There are 50 Ways to Leave Your Church (part 5 – How To Leave Badly and Set Yourself Up For A Fall)

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(I wrote this post in November 2015, and just found it in my draft folder, having never posted it.  However, the – rather sarcastic but true-to-life – truths found in this post are so relevant to Christians today, who seem to leave churches over and over without honour and without love. It’s not Christians struggling to go the second mile, but actually not even bothering to go the first mile and do the things that any decent person would do!)

Here is a check-list to follow if you want to leave a church badly, set yourself up for a fall and find it difficult to find a new church:

  • Meditate on the fact that you can do a much better job than the lead pastor of the church.  It will make you really dangerous to be around. It will also disconnect you from the grace of God.   Under no circumstances consider that people are not assigned jobs by God because they are the best, but because He chose and appointed them. Do not entertain the thought that you might possibly be out of order before God.
  • Forget all about all the help the pastor and the church have been to you.  That will make it easier to insult them to people.
  • Get really irritated and react badly every time you are corrected. Forget that Jesus called Peter satan and Peter kept following Jesus, and get upset at the slightest correction to your character or behaviour.
  • Make excuses for everything.  Deny if you can, but if not, make excuses.
  • Don’t keep your word – it will make everything you do in leaving badly easier.
  • Never say AMEN or NOD when the preacher is preaching.  It creates a bad atmosphere.
  • Don’t ever ever take notes when the preacher is preaching (Personal note from 2016 – I have never been betrayed by someone who takes notes when I preach)
  • Don’t tithe.  Benefit from the church but don’t ever support it – a great way to create mayhem and imbalance. That will move forward into you when you start your ministry.
  • Only attend the meetings you feel like attending.  Especially if you are in church leadership.
  • Before you leave, let everyone know that you are disappointed in the leadership and that you would have treated them a lot better had you been the senior pastor (It’s called doing an Absalom, look it up!)
  • THIS IS VITAL: NEVER, EVER, EVER have an adult, grown-up conversation with the leadership of the church before leaving. Don’t do it. You might learn something, they might learn something, and if you are genuinely called to leave, you might leave well and leave blessed.  NO – just stop coming, and don’t tell anyone what you are doing at all.  That way when leaders are asked where you are, they look really stupid and like really bad pastors when they mumble “I don’t really know…” because they love you and won’t tell everyone “actually, he just walked off like a churlish 5-year old and won’t speak to me because he is clearly offended”.  So it’s a win win for you.  An added bonus of this is that when the leadership make contact with you to find out what is going on, you can paint them out as harassing you and further blacken their name and cause more chaos!
  • Finally, a good passive-aggressive email to a bunch of random people in the church saying you are leaving for “reasons you don’t want to talk about” will cause maximum distrust and gossip among the people you send it to.  Choose the people you send it to wisely, don’t send it to people loyal to the leadership.  You can work out who are loyal because they are the ones growing spiritually!

By following this checklist you can ensure that you will sow so much negative seed that your future will be dark and futile.  You cannot but reap what you sow.

UKs Coming Revival 04: It’s Not Going to Be Easy!

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I thought I better hit this head on early in this series, because although I love dreamers and I provoke people to dream, I hate pipe-dreams – dreams that just cannot make sense, they are just illogical, unscriptural and unspiritual. They are a waste of time and take people away from living their life. Idealism is the enemy of progress, not the friend.

If you are looking for a revival that is problem free, you need to shoot yourself in the head, because the only place they have those is in heaven. On earth, there will always be some flesh!

And before someone jumps on my throat and tells me that this isn’t grace teaching, you need to realize that the greatest grace teacher of all, Paul was very concerned that people understand that revival and end-times living is tough:

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Tim. 3.1-7, NASB)

We must, to be able to do everything God has called us to do, and to walk worthy of our salvation and calling, deal with all of these issues and difficulties in our lives.

Lovers of Self

One of the hallmarks of where we are going as a society, and sadly as a church, is a place where people are selfish and absolutely self-obsessed.  Don’t be selfish. Don’t be obsessed with you – that’s a very small circle indeed. Learn to love and step out in love!

Lovers of Money

You should not be a lover of money. Money should be your tool, not your keeper; your slave not your master. Love of money drove Ahab and Jezebel to murder, it drove Ananias and Sapphira to lie to Peter, their pastor. Neither couple ended well.

I am not against people having money, I believe in prosperity, but money must always be the servant, never the master.

Boastful and Arrogant

We need to stop the bragging and stop the boasting people. Stop enjoying the accolades of men, they mean nothing.

Revilers

These are people who are always running other people down, attacking people verbally, wounding them with their words. They often are running their mouth off at God.

Keep your words kind people, especially in the coming glory!

Disobedient to Parents

Some people have no respect for authority, and it is a tragedy. For them and the wider community. Did you know that honouring your parents brings long life and a good life? (Eph. 6.1-3).  That’s the kind of life we want to live!

Ungrateful

Some people can’t say thank you, others cannot do it. I have had people I have taught to preach, to minister, to serve well, and they leave our church without telling us and never once say thank you. I am very careful to always thank those who have helped me.

Most of the times, ingratitude comes with an entitlement mentality, it’s expected that people do things for you.

Unholy

This here is a reference to living a life with no restraint. Another verse written by the great grace preacher Paul is: let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity (2 Tim. 2.19). What does that mean? It means leave evil, unholy behaviour. Just leave it. Get out of the room. Don’t go near it. Leave it. Separate yourself from it. Stop living like the devil and stop being a hypocrite.

If you are born again, you know you shouldn’t be sinning – you can feel it deep inside. Follow that leading and depart from iniquity.  Today.

Unloving

The KJV has a much better translation here “without natural affection”. It is not talking about agape love here, but a lack of the love that is found in every family. In the last days, families will not even love each other. Parents will abandon their own offspring – of course, seen most vividly in our day with abortion, with over 200,000 babies murdered by their own parents every year in this nation.

This generates a society without natural affection and kindness, and that’s a dark and hellish society.

We have to ensure that we love and care for and cherish our family.

Irreconcilable

This means someone who cannot keep their promises, who cannot be faithful, who cannot exercise discipline. This is happening all over the United Kingdom in marriages, in business and sadly in churches. I have seen people just walk out a church when they were in a position of leadership and start another church across the road. These are irreconcilable people and you need to know they exist, even in the times of revival that are coming.

Malicious Gossips

There are always malicious people who will accuse, slander and gossip against what is genuine, pure and true. Rev. 12.10 calls the devil “the accuser of the brethren”. An accuser is someone who is looking for fault in another, and gossips are accusers – looking for fault and looking for something to attack.

These people don’t want to help build, they want to destroy.

They don’t want to talk about others to help them, but to cause fighting and strife and division. If they really cared about people they would help build them, go to them directly and speak to them, but the gossips don’t do that – they lie and hate and rip people apart behind their backs.

Without Self-Control

People without self-control are those who are completely consumed by lust. They are always seeking to gratify their selfish flesh. They never think about other people and what they want, they just take and grab and hurt.

I’ve seen people want someone else’s spouse, and just wreck an entire marriage, break the hearts of children, just to get what their lust wants. That’s a total lack of self-control. That’s what our society is like in many ways right now.

Brutal

Mean, fierce, brutal people are a sign of the end times. Mean people, people rioting in the streets, people who are aggressively overtly sexual, people who attack others, rip others to people.

Haters of Good

Another massive sign that we are at the end of time is that there are those who despise good. I mean they hate what is good. They hate people who are sexually pure. They hate people who forgive those who wrong them. They hate people who go to church and read the Bible and love God. Hate – real vicious and mean hatred. They hate holiness and anything holy.

That takes us to the end of v.4. Next week we will finish this up and then discuss why revival is the only cure, and why it is the church’s fault if the nation is rotten.

 

UKs Coming Revival 03: This Time It’s Personal

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I love brand new Christians. I mean they are a bit off the wall normally but I absolutely love them. When people get saved and then almost immediately get baptized in the Holy Spirit (which Bible-speaking is absolutely normal) they have a special kind of off the wall about them!

There’s a fanaticism about new Christians, they want to be in church every time the doors open, they love Jesus so much – everything is fresh and exciting for them. Sunday morning is just not enough for these people. These are the people who ask me to hold early morning prayer meetings, who phone me Sunday afternoon and ask “why is the sermon not online yet, I want to listen to it again”. They love Jesus, they love church, and they love the peace of God!

One of the things I see a lot of pastors doing right now is hassling people to go to church – I mean phoning them, texting them, emailing them, begging them to come to church on Sunday. The problem is these people do not need cajoling or guilting out, they need a personal revival. If you do not love church and love going to church, you need a revival. If you cannot agree with the Psalmist and rejoice with people who ask you to go to the house of the Lord (Psalm 122.1) then you need a personal revival.

Revival for a Christian is a return to the freshness of loving God, as a person is inspired by the Holy Spirit who want to live for God like never before. Revival always, always, always, always starts with one person. You can get red-hot no matter what the rest of the nation is doing, or even what the rest of the church is doing. You must get yourself a personal revival!

We all start off happy that we are forgiven, dancing around that we are saved, and it is the consuming joy of our life, and nothing else matters – but over time that fire dies down and needs a refuel. A personal revival brings a renewed fire to read the Bible, to get together in church with the people of God, to pray and to give. Serving God is no longer a chore, but a joy.

There are times when the worship is happening at Tree of Life and I am overwhelmed by the presence of God. I know other people around me are encountering it too. The presence of God fills that cinema room and it is so endearing and precious to me. As I stand there with my hands raised, my heart is stirred. That is the atmosphere of revival, and that is God’s will for Tree of Life, and the UK, and that is for you!  It starts with you, and it starts with me. It starts personal.

If you don’t passionately love the Word of God, you need a personal revival! If reading it is mechanical, you need a personal revival! You need to read the Word in the presence and power of the person of the Holy Spirit. It should be like striking a match while doused in petrol – it should go boom every time you read it.

What happened on the revival on the day of Pentecost? Peter got up and explained and preached the Scripture – the Scripture exploded inside him and he know “this is that”. We need a revival to be ready for those occasions.  Revival makes the Word live inside you.

I am telling you today that you and your family, and me and my family need a revival – personally. We need a personal revival. Until the Word of God is the single most important book in your house and topic of conversation, you need revival.

Until you are tithing and are happy about tithing, you need revival.

Until your church attendance is such that everyone just assumes you will be there and be there on time, you need revival. I believe that the charismatics, especially the people who call themselves the grace people, have become careless regarding local church – the only word you could use to describe your church attendance is sporadic.

I know there are legitimate reasons to miss church, and legitimate reasons to be late, but the truth is that if you can be there you need to get there, and more than that, you need a heart that wants to get there. If not, you need revival.

If you don’t love praying you need revival. I love having good prayer times. Oh man, it’s awesome. Revival always comes from praying people and leads to praying people.

People who are personally revived have divine order in their lives – and are always on! They don’t need the praise and worship team three songs to get them excited, they come to church excited, they are rejoicing on the way. You won’t need me to preach to get you up and over, you will live up and over.

Right now tell God you need a personal revival.  This could change the world people, so take it seriously. Go on, tell God you need revival.  Ask him to revive you today, that you might praise His name and that the world may see His glory.

 

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