Tree of Life Blog

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Monthly Archives: April 2019

Whatever the World Says Think the Opposite 02: You Need the Cooks!

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We are continuing our series on the reality that whatever the world says we, as Christians, should think the opposite.

Nearly every worldly proverb or pithy saying is the polar opposite of Biblical truth. One that is particularly important for growing in grace is that you need to understand that too many cooks do not spoil the broth.

Have you ever heard that saying before? It means that if too many people are involved in a task or activity, it will not be done well. Now there are a few times when you just need one person to do a one man job, and no one is suggesting any church or ministry should be run by committee. However, what does the Bible say about having more than one person in a project:

Without counsel, plans go awry,
But in the multitude of counselors they are established. (Proverbs 15.22)

You see every plan, even if you have heard from God, comes in embryo form. It has things that need to be planned, ideas that need to be altered, aspects that need to be compromised. The world would seek to speak to your ego, your flesh, and draw you to do it your way. It would want you fancy yourself as a lone wolf. But in reality, the world is the wolves, and when you are separate from counsel, you are a sheep separate from the flock and you will be easy prey.

No, the solution to you walking in your dreams, to seeing your plans established rather than go awry is to send in the cooks. Get people around you who will have the graciousness to comment on your plans, and have the humility to listen. Search out people and ask for advice.

Now they need to be cooks, not just people who can burn toast! Seek out people who are fruitful, who are successful, who genuinely care about you. You don’t have to ask the most carnal, grumpy person in your church if you should change the services in a certain way. But you need to find good cooks and welcome their advice.

You also need to remember that it is just counsel, you are not running away from responsibility. Only you are called to do what God has called you to do, and only you will stand before Him. Learn to judge counsel, and receive some, and ignore others. I have found if you take on board about 50% that works the best. But pray and listen and get that counsel.

If all your best laid plans gang aft a-gley, then you know what to do: call in the cooks!

Hosanna to the Son of David

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Today is Palm Sunday, the day we celebrate the day that Jesus Christ, King of the Jews, Saviour of Humanity, Lord of all Lords and King of all Kings, made His triumphant entry to Jerusalem and was received as king. The people laid down palm leaves to make a carpet for him, similar to the modern red carpet used in Hollywood and for royalty. And they cried Hosanna, which is translated as “He saves”.

This day always reminds me of three truths:

1. Jesus is the King. Dave Duell used to say that the donkey would be really stupid if he thought the shouts and praises and palm leaves and the whole Royal reception was for him rather than for the man he was carrying. As donkeys who carry Jesus, that’s a great lesson for all of us!

2. People are fickle. The timing of this day in the church calender is not accidental. This celebration of Jesus as royalty, bringing salvation to the city, and welcomed with songs of praise is literally days before Good Friday. In just days the people’s chant changed from “Hosanna” to “Crucify” because Jesus did not want to do things according to their politics and their way of thinking. I have seen that too many times to count. They turned on Jesus, and they may easily turn on you. Love them anyway. Do what God has called you to anyway.

3. The important of gathering. Jesus wept on Palm Sunday because He wanted to gather the people, but they refused to gather. There can be great praise, great honour of Jesus, there can be the presence of Jesus – but still no gathering. The gathering of Christians in church is essential to victory. Going to a meeting is not gathering, gathering is being part of a community, a family, a church. And Jesus’ heart and love is still the same, He loves and cares for you so much He knows the best for you is to be gathered in a local church, with a pastor.

Selah.

Whatever the World Says Think the Opposite 01: Count Those Chickens

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One of the things we must realize as Christians is that the wisdom of the world is normally the polar opposite of the truth of God’s kingdom. So many Christians still think in ways that are so far removed from God’s kingdom and His way of doing things. In the next few blog posts, I want to examine some of the worldly wisdom and show you that whatever the world says, think the opposite.

Let’s start with a phrase you have probably heard since you were a child: don’t count your chickens before they are hatched. The Cambridge dictionary of phrases defines the phrase like this:

you should not make plans that depend on something good happening before you know that it has actually happened

It’s typical of worldly wisdom to say things like this. The world thinks it is kind to say things like “don’t get your hopes up”, “don’t dream too big”, “don’t fly too close to the sun”, “don’t get ideas above your station”. According to Romans 12.2, Paul says that the key to life transformation is renewing your mind – changing how you think and play in and dream. Changing your perspective changes your life! However, Paul is equally insistent that before the process of mind transformation can take place, you have to not be conformed to the world.

The context of that verse is your mind, so the implication is this: do not be conformed to thinking like the world thinks, imagining like the world, dreaming like the world. The world wants everyone to think the same, and their standard is pretty small. They don’t dream big, they don’t take risks, and they don’t count their chickens before they are hatched. No – they wait until they see something before they call it. It’s the level that Thomas was at when he insisted that he see the resurrected Christ before he believed he was alive. Thomas was too nervous to count his chickens before they hatched, and Jesus told him that he

On the other hand, Abraham counted his children before they were born. He went out in the middle of the night and spent years counting his chickens long before they hatched. And now he is the father of many nations, the father of the faith, and the father, through several generations, of Jesus Christ Himself. That is the power of counting your chickens before they hatch.

Some of you reading this have big dreams. Stop being conformed to the world, stop being pushed into small dreams, stop being squeezed into the world’s mould. Start counting your chickens before they are hatched, count millions of chickens, meditate on your dreams, see your future. Lift your eyes and your thinking to a higher level.

If you want help on how to do this, we have an entire online conference on dreaming big and counting stars. The link is here: https://tree.church/gatesofthecity. Enjoy!

Coaches or Cheerleaders?

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It’s great to have cheerleaders, but they are very easily replaceable. It’s not hard to cheer someone no matter what, it doesn’t take much wisdom or skill to say well done no matter what job is done.

It’s a good coach that makes teams win. It’s someone who can look you in the eye and say “that play won’t get you through”, “you need to change that”, “this must be different for you to hit the target”, that is the person who will lead you to victory.

The tragedy is we live in a world where everyone wants constant affirmation, and wants every thing said about them to be positive.

Some people have even recast Jesus as a cheerleader – now He is encouraging, He is positive, He is inspiring, and a good coach is all those things. But read Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus is not afraid to talk straight to New Covenant believers when they are getting it wrong. You can’t rebuke Jesus, or call Him a legalist when He says “remember how far you have fallen”, “you hold the wrong doctrine”, “you need to repent and quickly or your church will be closed”, “your works are not perfect”, “you are lukewarm”. No, that is just great coaching, strong, clear advice to help you win the game. To help you improve!

If you cannot receive correction, it doesn’t matter how many cheerleaders you have, you will fail. Selah.

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