Get Beyond the End of Your Nose 07: All Ministry is to Others

So many people who want to be in ministry want to be in it for either themselves, or if they are slightly larger hearted, several people who they already know. I had honestly had people ask me to start a church in their town because their church is struggling and so all the people that are leaving are wanting somewhere to go. That’s the limit of their vision! I have been asked to plant a church next to a Bible College so the students have somewhere to go to – that’s the limit of the vision!

No – a true minister of God wants to reach others. It wants to reach the people who do not go to church or Bible College, it wants to reach the people who are from all over the earth. It wants to reach the people who are utterly unreachable, people who are not right there, but people who are out of the way. A true minister of God wants to reach people – all people.

A true minister of God cares about people he does not even know. As the Tree of Life Family grows, there will be people we reach I don’t know, our TV ministry is impacting many people I do not know. Sometimes people ask me why I travel so much, but the truth is that I want to reach people far away. Paul invested his life in others, and we should too!

It is hard for me in the Tree of Life Family sometimes to get people to think of others. Why are we going to all these places? Why are we building churches in all these towns? Why is your eye on Europe, why do you travel to America and Africa, isn’t there enough problems in the UK? Why are you planting in Cambridge? Why did you go to Dorset? Why are you in Suffolk? Guildford is doing fine, you don’t need to go there. What is your interest in this place or that place? I have a call of God on my life to go into all the world and make disciples. Sometimes I have to work on persuading people that it is all about others. I understand William Booth writing “others” as his special message for the church.

Paul had to keep reminding others to think of others. Paul raised up TImothy in ministry because he thought of others. My favourite pastors and elders are the ones who are thinking of others. My favourite places to minister are around people thinking of others. My favourite places to go are where there are others.

Paul told the Corinthians this:

I will very gladly spend and be spent for you, though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.

2 Corinthians 12.15

We need to have the same attitude, and love others, even if it means that others love us less for it. I have certainly been loved less by certain people because I have loved others more. If I had stayed pastoring one church certain people would love me more because of it, but because I have a drive inside me to reach others, it has cost me friends, it has cost me love. But the rewards have totally outweighed the cost. And it will be the same for you.

What can you do for others today? Give to a ministry that is involved in world mission and planting churches! Pray for others. If you are part of the Tree of Life Family, go viist another one of the churches, or one of our Grace Gatherings when they open up and get involved helping and loving people. Pray for a country you have never been to. Pray for a church you have never been to. Ask the Lord for some wisdom here and He loves you and will lead you!

Initial Steps to Discipleship 04: Definitely Copy Abraham

Abraham: The Peacemaker – Enneagrammar

I have been writing about how discipleship is copying others for a while. You find someone further along tham you and copy them. Today, I want to point you in the direction of one of the best people to copy in the world, and that is Abraham. If you want to be better at the faith stuff, you should definitely copy Abraham, he was one of the best ever at the faith stuff!

Abraham was so good at the faith stuff, we are told he is the father of faith. When it comes to copying people to be a disciple full of faith, Abraham is Biblically speaking, the daddy of all people to copy!

Abraham was a man of big faith, and that led to big success. He was happily married (mostly) and had children supernaturally. He was loaded – in cattle, silver and gold. In our day, he would have been an investor, with stocks and shares in other companies. He knew God and heard God speak, and God spoke to Him, and when Abraham prayed, God listened and Abraham’s prayers got answered. You should definitely spend some time looking at his life and copying him!

Abraham had some battles in his life, but he won every one of them. He also lived well over a hundred years old. You should copy him! Win every battle and live long and prosper!

Even after dying, Abraham was still a really important fellow! Lazarus died and went to a place called Abraham’s bosom. So even after death, he was still important. Some people are really important in this life, but when they get to the next life will be really insignificant. Everyone in hell will be really insignificant! But Abraham was not just important in this life, he lived in such a way he was important in the next.

I think if Abraham lived today, there would be many reporters around him asking for the secrets of his success, people would want to know how to copy him. But we have the Bible, and we can read the Bible and find out how to copy Abraham. Here are some ways you can copy Abraham:

  • Copy Abraham by holding earthly family and their influence lightly. If God says “go here” go there, doesn’t matter where anyone else in your family is living, you go live where God says. That’s faith to copy!
  • Copy Abraham by doing whatever God says immediately. When God told Abraham to offer Isaac, it says he got up early the next day. Abraham was into quick obedience to God! Do it early and do it immediately – that is big faith. You can copy that!
  • Copy Abraham by not adding extras to what God says. Abraham messed that up at first taking Lot with him, but God did not call Abraham and Lot, God called Abraham alone (Isaiah 51.2). Abraham took Lot with him and Lot caused hassle all the time! Many people launch into their destiny bringing people from their past life with them, and build partnerships God has never ordained. People from your past are rarely your forward people. If God has called you into business or ministry, don’t try and build a committee or partnership, go alone into what calls and let Him add others to you at the right time.
  • Copy Abraham by listening to and believing God. The most important thing about Abraham is he believed God, and his faith brought the promises of God into manifestation. Faith does that – it makes you well, it puts your child in your arms, it puts your car in your driveway, it pays off your house. Faith brings blessings! We need to believe God.
  • Copy Abraham by counting the stars. Get out and start dreaming.
  • Copy Abraham by leading your house well. God told Abraham about Sodom and Gomorrah because God said “I know He will command his children and his household after him” (Gen. 18.19). We need to be like that – and lead our children well. Most Christians do not really care about their childen on a spiritual level. They would rather their children went to the right university and had the right job than lived by faith. They work a lot and spend a lot of money on their education, but virtually nothing on their spiritual development. If you are copying Abraham you should care that your children are spiritual, born-again, spirit-filled, full of the Word, living for God and radical disciples. That is far more important than getting them into a good school. God said “Abraham, he will drag his kids to church, he will make them read the Word, he will make them pray” – that’s more important than learning maths and English! You cannot go to church and leave your children at home watching filth on TV – you bring your children to church, and you make them go. That is copying Abraham and is living by faith. Impress on your children the important of sexual purity, of marrying an on-fire Christian, who is full of the Word and full of the Spirit. Some Christian men come to church and let their wives stay at home, others send their wives to church and don’t go themselves. Get a grip, copy Abraham and lead your family! In my house, even my cat serves the Lord. That is copying Abraham, and copying faith!
  • Copy Abraham and tithe. If you don’t tithe, you are failing to copy the wealthy, faith-filled Abraham! It was after tithing that God appears to Abraham and reveals Himself as his shield and reward (Genesis 15.1-4). If you want to be loaded like Abraham, learn to tithe like Abraham. God doesn’t need your money, doesn’t need your tips, doesn’t need your tiny gifts. But God does want you to tithe to get your faith going so you can receive all the awesome things He has for you.
  • Copy Abraham by praying for the areas around you. Abraham prayed for Sodom, he did not curse it, he prayed for it.
  • Copy Abraham. It is vital. God tells us to copy him as a father and call those things which are not as though they were (Romans 4.17). Copy Abraham and call yourself the father of many nations, call yourself blessed, call yourself healed, call yourself in abundance.

Initial Steps to Discipleship 03: Some Ideas to Be a Better Copier

Just Because Someone Else is Doing It Doesn't Mean It I

IDEA #1 Copy what people teach. The book of Luke, according to Acts verse 1 and chapter 1, was penned so we can know what Jesus did and taught. We should copy what Jesus taught, and we should copy what other people teach. I see a lot of ministers want to preach something new and original, and they do, and there’s a reason no one has ever heard it before! Again, I am not saying we should not be our own man, and I am definitely not saying we should not be authentic, but there is nothing wrong about copying another person’s message! If you want to teach a great message on prosperity, listen to a Kenneth Copeland CD. If you want to teach a great message on grace, listen to an Andrew Wommack CD. If you want to teach a great message on getting ready, listen to a TD Jakes CD. Copy others! That makes you a great disciple. If you are in a local church, quote your pastor. Learn from them and copy their teachings!

IDEA #2 Copy what people do. You need to copy what other people do – you want a great church, copy someone who is building one. You want a miracle ministry, copy someone who has one. Read the biography of someone who did what you want to do. Learn from the lives and challenges of others. Learn from how people handle being married, being a family, having a habit, praying, reading the Word, living by faith. I read in one of Andrew Wommack’s books that he once spent 16 hours reading the Bible, so I set my alarm, cleared my calendar, and spent 16 hours reading my Bible. I have learned a great deal about praying as a pastor from Pastor Juan Carnos and copying him, I have learned about how to flow in the gifts by copying Greg Mohr. His funnies? He copied them from another preacher! Copy the things other people did!

IDEA #3 Copy people from the Bible. Copy a bit of Abraham when you are being pressured, copy a bit of David when Goliath is coming at you, copy a bit of Joshua when it comes to taking the city. 1 Cor. 10 says they are in the Bible for us to learn from. Copy anyone who obtains a promise and gets a good report. You want to be healed? Copy someone Jesus healed and do what they did! Want to heal the sick? Copy Jesus, copy Peter, copy Paul. Sometimes you may read something that you think – I definitely shouldn’t copy that. Don’t! Keep reading until that person does something you can copy!

IDEA #4 Copy people from history For the last four months on Sunday nights I have been teaching about different champions of faith throughout church history. You should copy them. Copy Smith Wigglesworth, copy John Wesley, copy Charles Finney. They are not in the Bible, but they have done things. Everyone who wants to be a successful Christian should consistently be reading biographies of successful Christians.

IDEA #5 Copy people in your church There are humble people in your church. They have to be humble to go to the same church as you! There are other poeple in the same generation as you ahead of you – copy them! Stop criticizing them and copy them. I have been criticized a lot for who I copy. But Tree of Life would not be Tree of Life if I didn’t copy Andrew Wommack, didn’t copy Dave Duell, didn’t copy Robert Maasbach, didn’t copy Kenneth Copeland. There are people whose lives are your Bible school – learn from them and copy them. It will take you into your future faster than anything else you do and you will be a disciple indeed!

There is a minister reading this frustrated you are not further down the road in ministry. I believe God is showing you who to copy, humble yourself and copy them!

Initial Steps to Discipleship 02: How to Be a Good Copier

Alphabet Writing Practice Sheets that will complement Jolly ...

Do not be lazy, be a follower (Hebrews 6.12)

That verse is a very specific instruction for us to be followers of others. To copy others. We spoke in our first post that the foundation of discipleship is to copy others. The Bible has loads of examples of people copying others, and we can copy them! We can copy others as they copy others and get better at copying by copying others who copy well!

I want to help you develop your skills and abilities in copying others, here are some great keys to being an expert copier of others:

  1. Copy God! The Bible tells us to be followers of God (Ephesians 5.1). So the first person you copy is God. You look at God and look at how He loves others, how He treats others with grace and compassion. And you copy that. You look at Jesus dying on the cross, extending forgiveness to the people who killed Him. Copy that. You look to Jesus taking our place and dying our death because of His deep, powerful love. Copy that! You copy God when you walk in love! A lot of Christians do not know that you can copy God, they think they are so far away from God that is impossible, but it is not – you can love like God, you can care for people like God, you can forgive like Jesus, you can fellowship with people like the Holy Spirit would! That is copying God and you do that and you will be a disciple indeed!
  2. Copy the person who copies Jesus! Paul said “be a follower of me, even as I follow Christ” (1 Cor. 11.1). Paul told the church – copy me guys. I am a good person to copy – then he added the caveat – as long as I am following Jesus. Sadly, a lot pastors are not copying Jesus. Some are copying businessmen, some are copying motivational speakers, some are copying politicians, some are copying satan! A lot of pastors are spending the majority of their time reading books by secular millionnaires, but they should be reading the Bible more! They should be copying Jesus. But when you find someone serious about copying Jesus, do yourself a favour and copy them!
  3. Copy the people who copy the people who copy Jesus! In Php. 3.17 Paul says “pattern your life after my life, and learn from those who follow my example”. In other words “copy me, and copy those who copy me”. As a new Christian, I read a lot of Kenneth Hagin and it affected me deeply. I wanted to be able to teach like him and copy him. There was a small problem with me copying him – he was with the Lord. But I found out Kenneth Copeland spent a long time copying Kenneth Hagin, so I copied Kenneth Copeland copying him. Now I have a few people I know well who knew Kenneth Hagin and copied him, and as I copy them, I see myself moving into that kind of teaching and miracle ministry! You can follow me, but as the Tree of Life Family grows maybe you don’t know me that well, so copy the pastors and elders and leaders and people who are copying me.
  4. Copy a group of people! Paul told the Thessalonians “you became followers of us” (1 Thess. 1.6). The “us” was Paul and his team. You can copy a whole team of people, copy a whole church. You can find a group of Christians around you who all copy each other. That would be encouraging for all of you! I want to dream big like Andrew Wommack so I copy him a lot, but I also copy the preachers he knows and spends time with, I copy Greg Mohr, Greg Fritz, Jerome Fernando, Arthur Meintjes and others. It’s an “us”, and we can all have an “us” to copy – it will make us better disciples.
  5. Copy delegates! Paul told the Corinthians to copy him, and then said “for this reason I have sent you Timothy” (1 Cor. 4.16). Paul sent Timothy to Corinth so that people could copy Timothy and therefore copy Paul. Paul wanted the Corinthians to grow up and the quickest way to mature and catch up was copy him. He couldn’t go so he sent Timothy, because if you copy Timothy, you copy Paul and you copy Jesus. A lot of us struggle to copy a human, but that is how God set up New Testament discipleship. A lot of us really struggle to copy the number 2 guy, but that is also how God set up New Testament discipleship. A lot of times people do not grow as Christians as they will not copy a human or at the least only copy the top person in a group or organization or ministry. Anyone who is too big to copy someone is never going to grow. Anyone who is too big to copy a delegate will equally never grow.
  6. Copy people with faith and patience (Hebrews 6.12). When you are watching someone to copy them, the two main things you should look for is faith and patience. Faith is trusting God and patience is consistency. When I spent time with Dave Duell, he trusted God so beautifully and was totally consistent in his walk with God. That I watched over and over, and copied. Robert Maasbach is the same, full of faith and patience. It is faith and patience that gave someone the fruit you want! Do you want to learn to copy someone? Look to their faith and patience and copy that. This week I heard Riley Stephenson speak, and I like copying Riley because he gets results. As he started to talk about the power of God’s Word, I realized that Riley really really expects God’s Word to always work when you share it with people. I was watching his faith, because that is what you must do when you copy someone – watch their faith and patience and copy that. That same Scripture tells us not to be lazy when we copy people. Laziness is often why we do not copy another person. A lot of people look to the grace on my life and say “you have a lot of grace on your life”, that’s true, but watching my grace will not help you be a better disciple – watch the faith and the patience I have, that will help you be a better disciple.
  7. Copy your church. In 1 Thess. 2.14, Paul tells the Thessalonians to “become followers of the churches of God”. In other words, to copy the church. You need to be in a church and you need to copy the church. Study the church, think about it, look at how it does good things. and copy it!

It takes effort to copy others, I know it. It takes some time, some energy and for you to be humble and diligent to copy. A lazy, proud man will never be good at copying. But as we copy others, we become great disciples and the doors for all sorts of success start to open to us.

Initial Steps to Discipleship 01: Learning to Copy

Curbing copying in tests, exams | Deccan Herald

Jesus told us that we need to both be disciples and make disciples. I see a lot of people today doing a lot of activity, but not doing the main thing – being and making disciples. So, in the next few posts I want to go right back to the basic, initial steps of discipleship. And the most basic of the basic steps is you have to learn how to copy someone else.

That’s all discipleship is when you take all the religious and all the theological stuff away, copying someone else. The Greek word for disciple is mathetes, which is the word for an apprentice. When a carpenter or plumber would take on an apprentice, the first thing the apprentice had to do, before anything else was watch their master, and learn to copy them.

The art of discipleship begins with copying. The art of discipleship is you copying someone else who knows more than you. Imitiation, emulation. Trying to be like someone. Doing what they do, the way they do it. Unless you look like a clone of that person you have not been a good disciple. Now there is a place later on for being your own man, I agree with that, but you have to start somewhere and this is where. You become a twin, a double of your master. There really is no other way forward.

Copying someone else is not something you need special training in, people fail to do it because they lack the character and humility to copy someone else. But when you were a child you copied others all the time, you copied speaking and walking, and running and dancing, and thinking. You did maths by copying the teacher, you learned to write by copying writing. And you learned loads as a child, you moved forward in leaps and bounds. You have never learned a language as quickly as you did as a toddler – because you were humble enough to copy others.

You know the wealthiest nations and people in the world? They are all excellent copiers. Whenever one nation did something good, the nations that copied benefitted, whether we are talking about roads, the printing press, a mobile phone network, a system of banking, military equipment and strategy. How do you catch up with people more advanced than you? Copy!

Look at nations that have only recently got wealthy – South Korea for an example – what did they do well? Copy! They learned how to copy, they made imitations. A Hyundai looks and drives in a very similar way to a Toyota because the Koreans learned to copy! They copied and copied to catch up and now they are innovating and developing and even surpassing the people they copied. But they would not be able to surpass anyone they did not first copy. A lot of us cannot be world changing Christians because we will never surpass anyone because we are not humble enough to copy someone.

Did you know Jesus encouraged people to copy him? Jesus took a bunch of wild fishermen and tax collectors and turned them into apostles leading the church into revival through letting them copy him. It was how He did everything, and so what makes us think He has changed? He is still behind copying today. Whenever Jesus wants you to know something, He brings someone into your life to copy. I needed to know how to flow in the gifts and heal the sick. Jesus gave me Dave Duell to copy. I needed to know how to pastor with sweetness and grace. Jesus gave me Robert Maasbach to copy. I needed to know how to dream far bigger than I have ever dreamed before. Jesus gave me Andrew Wommack to copy.

The art of discipleship is the art of copying. You see someone and you admire their faith, their love, their commitment, their wisdom. That connection is not by accident, it is Jesus helping you grow, and become a disciple. So, copy that person. Become a clone of them, become a replica! By copying you will catch up quickly and be able to do everything Christ has for you to do.

Think about this:

  1. Who around you should you be copying right now?
  2. What is stopping you from being a copycat?
  3. What benefits will you gain from copying that person?

Use those questions to lift your imagination and lead you forward.

Get Beyond the End of Your Nose 06: Be the Good Samaritan

In Luke 10.25-37, Jesus tells what might be the most famous parable in the Bible, the parable of the good Samaritan. The reason the parable is so popular is that it teaches us such a powerful lesson – we need to care about others. We need to go and do likewise – we need to be Good Samaritans in our everyday lives, not just concerned with people who look like us or worship like us, and we need to care about others.

I believe that Christians are still passing by people that they need to stop and help. They need to have a heart that feels the needs of others, an eye that notices those lying by the roadside and they need a wallet that doesn’t just spend all its money on itself and its needs and wants.

The priest and the Levite both saw the man, but they did feel any empathy. They did not see him with eyes of love, they were still in their hearts looking at their to-do list, their love of themselves led to them ignoring the needs of others.

But the Good Samaritan did not put his journey above the needs of others. He put the needs of others above his need to get his journey done. We need to be people prepared to deviate from our busy lives, or even our holidays to help others. I meet plenty of people who never have any money to help others, but they never lack money to go on expensive trips.

The Good Samaritan used his oil and his wine to help others, he didn’t bathe in it all, and didn’t drink all the wine himselves. I guarantee there are people out there who need some of your wine, and some of your oil. You need to start thinking of others.

Now the greatest need of the world is what? The oil of the Holy Spirit and the wine of God’s love! Nothing can save this world from hell apart from the love of God – we need to share our wine with others, we need to share our church with others, we need to share the gospel with others. We need to share our Jesus with others!

And your Christian friends, they need some of your oil. We need to flow in the Holy Spirit and bring life to people. We want to move in the presence of God – it is the presence of God that can change lives, it can reveal keys to life, it can take us to a higher level, it can lift us. We can share our life with others and help them.

People have been beaten up, wounded and left for dead by life and these people – these others are crying out for others to help them. You can be those others to them!

If you feel the Holy Spirit is telling you and leading you to care for others and calling you to commit to be a Good Samaritan, here are some key facts about being a Good Samaritan:

  1. The Good Samaritan never made a single excuse. Well, I am too busy, I bet that guy on the ground deserved it, he must have done something terrible, I have some many important things to do. I can’t help, who am I to do something about it. We must eradicate excuses from our heart and be willing to stop and help the hurting.
  2. The Good Samaritan did not care about danger. It was an area with bandits around, they could have attacked a vulnerable man helping others, but he risked his life to help the man. We need to think about that – maybe the Lord is leading you to go to another country, to take a risk and go to the end of the earth.
  3. The Good Samaritan paid a great price to help others. He gave up his oil and wine to help others – that costs money. He spent money on helping – there is always a financial cost to helping the lost! Any evangelism will cost money, and when you first give up money to help someone – that is the start of your ministry! That is when you really become a Good Samaritan.

I believe today the Holy Spirit is using this post to speak to you about someone – maybe someone unsaved, maybe someone blind, maybe someone poor, maybe someone beat up by life, maybe someone who needs a lot of help. Whoever it is, do not walk by on the other side, because God is about to use you to help someone and change someone’s life!