Jesus or Santa? Which is better? I know Harry Hill would encourage a fight at this point, but I believe we should leave fighting for the good fight of faith. So watch this clip to see the similiarities and differences between Jesus and Santa:
Andrew Wommack has written what I consider to be the best, most Biblical article on the economic issues facing the world today. I thought it was important to share this with you. It can be accessed at this link:
The parable of the sower in Mark 4 is one of the most powerful portions of Scripture in the whole of the Bible. Jesus himself says that if you do not understand this parable, then how can you understand any parable.
Imagine that – a parable that Jesus, the Lord of glory, says that if you don’t get it then you won’t be able to understand anything. This is clearly something you need to be able to understand clearly. There are 40 parables in the New Testament – if you don’t get the parable of the Sower, then you won’t be able to get any of them.
In verse 3, Jesus tells us to “Hearken! Behold!”. In modern English, you would say something like: “Listen! Look!”. The Greek word for listen does not mean simply listen, but it means listen until you gain understanding. Listen and listen and listen until you get it. The word for look means: this is going to be new to you, so consider it until you gain understanding.
Immediately we can see that the Parable of the Sower is one of the most important things Jesus ever talked about. Right now, we are going to look at this article and gain some understanding. This is going to be time well spent.
A parable is a story that works on two levels – the physical level and the spiritual level. Although Jesus is telling a story about a sower and some seed, he is really telling a story about the Word of God and people’s hearts. The words parable and parallel come from the same root: a parable is a story with a parallel. While Jesus is talking about the ground, he is talking about you and your heart and your attitude to the Word of the living God.
Some people are the path. The path is those people who hear the Word but immediately satan steals the Word from them. If you simply read Mark’s gospel it almost seems like some people have no choice. They just get the Word and the devil just takes it. Now we know that cannot be true because we have dominion over all the works of the devil. He is a defeated foe and greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world.
If we read Matthew’s account, he makes it a little more clear to us why the devil can steal the Word from some people:
When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth [it] not, then cometh the wicked [one], and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. (Matthew 13.19)
If you hear the Word of God without understanding, then the devil will take it from you. The Greek word for understanding is syniēmi. It was a word used in ancient Greece for people who were going to settle things with a fight. You would say “they are going to come to an understanding” – and everyone would know you meant they are going to fight until one of them is the winner and the other is the loser.
This is one of the greatest problems in the Christian world – we have no fight in us. Things happen to us and we just roll over and play dead, we quit, we submit, we yield. There are even demonic doctrines that tell people that when things like sickness and poverty attack that this is God’s will and they should submit. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Let’s use healing as an example. The Bible is clear that the Lord is Our Healer (Exodus 15.26), that Jesus Christ bore our sicknesses and carried our diseases (Isa. 53.4-6) and that by His stripes we were healed (1 Peter 2.24).
If you go to church and hear a sermon on healing, you might be sick. But you learn to walk by faith and not by sight and receive your healing by speaking to the mountain of sickness and commanding it to leave (Mark 11.23-24). But if the symptoms do not leave immediately, many Christians will give up at that point. They don’t have an understanding with the Word that they are going to fight for the Word until they win. They would rather blame God for their sickness than fight it and walk in divine health. You see the problem is never the seed – it is the ground. The Word is always good – but people need to deal with their heart attitude.
Path people are Christians with no fight in them. They hear the Word but they never get aggressive with it. They never lock themselves in the closet and pray and meditate on the Word until they see the results. So many Christians don’t have a battle-mindset. We are going to stand on the Word and we are going to win.
If this is you, I would get a list of Scriptures and start saying them 2, 3, 4, 5 times a day, start meditating on them. To meditate on the Word is the greatest source of life and victory on earth. I will write some how-to articles on this in the new year, but for now the condensed how-to is this:
1) Repeat the Scripture out loud again and again and again. As it comes out your mouth and goes in your ears, it is feeding your faith.
2) Use your imagination to imagine what you would be like if the Scripture was true. Picture it being fulfilled in your life. Return in your mind to this image again and again.
Simple. Now stop being a path Christian and start being good ground.
Tomorrow, I will explain how to deal with being rocky ground.
Ben became a Christian in 1996 at the age of 16. He attended church as a dare, having never been to church in his life. He found out that Jesus Christ was a real person who died, rose again and that He was still alive today. Ben trained at Regent’s College in Nantwich for 3 years having a BA(Hons) in Theology.
He has preached across Europe, and in India and in Ghana. He preaches a practical message of how to live by faith in the Word. He has a passion for every Christian to know God’s Word for themselves and to move in spectacular miracles.
This is his retelling of his salvation story. How he was water baptized and baptized in the Holy Spirit will be in a later post:
I grew up without any religious upbringing. One day in 1993 when I was only 16 years old, a girl from my school dared me to go to church. I had a reputation for never resisting a dare. So I did. I went to a Presbyterian church because that was the one I was dared to go to – I had never been to a church service even once before.
I was the youngest person in the church by a clear 40 years. I sat down at the back and two old ladies told me off for sitting on their pew. It was their pew – they bought it, and they threw me off it. I would have seated about 10 people, but it just sat those two. I had to go and find an unbought pew and sit on that. I was sitting there bored stiff through the out of tune singing of hymns I knew nothing about and cared even less about. I sat there watching the old ladies of both genders standing up and sitting down and thinking about how selfish the two old ladies had been. All my preconceived ideas of Christians were being fulfilled.
Then the preacher preached. He was old school and preached a very clear gospel message about how Jesus bore my sins. I was captivated. I went back not because I was dared but because the message about Jesus captivated me. Everything Jesus did and everything Jesus said fascinated me. For two months I went to two services a Sunday listening to the simple gospel.
After two months I became a Christian. I repented of my sins and decided to have faith in the gospel. Even though I was only 16, within three months my younger brother became a Christian because I changed so much in my attitude towards him.
I read the Bible voraciously. I loved reading about Jesus. I love reading about how He spoke, how He acted, how He treated people. I read the gospels and Acts over and over. I decided I wanted to be water baptized.
I spoke to my minister and he said that his church would not baptize me but would sprinkle water on me. Well – I wanted it the Jesus way, and I said so. The preacher told me I should find another church.
So I went home, opened the Yellow Pages and looked through Churches. Some churches were called Baptist churches. I thought I bet they will baptize me, so the following Sunday I went to the closest Baptist church.
In July 2007, we were in Sweden attending Ulf Ekman‘s church Livets Ord for a week’s conference. At the end of the conference, we travelled across Sweden from Uppsala to Gothenburg where we were flying back to the UK from.
We reached Gothenburg in the early evening, and our flights were not until 10am the next day. All day the Lord had been speaking to my wife and telling her that we were not to sleep until we knew what the next step in our destiny was to be. We looked around for a bed and breakfast to stay in for the night but every time we went somewhere the Holy Spirit let us know not to go there.
Eventually we prayed and asked the Lord what to do because He was clearly leading us somewhere. He spoke to the two of us – and our eldest son – and told us to go straight to the airport. So we obeyed. We arrived at the airport and didn’t know what to do so we just sat there and waited. At 10pm, they closed the airport for the night and we going to kick us out. We didn’t know what to do – surely we had heard God correctly? We looked for a taxi but they had all gone. Did God want us to spend the night wandering the streets around the airport?
Then a gentleman approached us – he was the airport manager. He said he had to hang around all night to finish his work. He took us to the VIP lounge and we stayed there for free. It was luxurious. He also fed us, and obtained some ice creams for our children.
In the morning, there was no rush to check in – we were already there. But when the children went to sleep, in the airport, I held God to His Word and I did not sleep and I started praying in the Spirit and in English, eager to know what the next step in my walk with Him was to be. After two or three hours of praying, the Lord spoke to me. I knew I was in the middle of a blessed provision, and the Lord provided not just a bed but a direction, a destiny and a destination. Praise His Name forever.
The Lord told us as a family to move to the east end of London. He told us to start a church. He told us it had to be unashamed about the fact that it loved the Word of God and knows the Word is the answer to every question humanity has. He told us it had to be based on cell principles – that everyone has to be equipped to minister in the supernatural.
He told us to hire a hall and start having healing meetings by the end of September 2008. He told us that this church had to be planted in the place where my father grew up.
We moved to London. It has not been an easy move – we have been attacked in ways we could never imagine. We started the first meeting in September 2008. I contacted the council and asked to hire a hall, after every church in the area turned us down, as did every school. They let us rent in the local library – which turns out to be around the corner from where my father grew up.
One person turned up at our first service. Some services we have had more than 10 people. Others I have preached to my wife.
Since September 2008, we have seen several miracles. Since then, we have seen people come in off the street. Attendance has not been large, and has not been regular, but this work is a new work, and we know God is the God of increase. We know that God is the God of multiplication and the hardest thing to do is to push the canoe into the river. Once it is in the river, people will jump in.
While praying in December for the Lord’s will for the 2009, the Lord started showing us some very exciting things. We are going to lay down the meetings in the library for four months, having cell meetings in our house instead. The Holy Spirit has said to turn the meetings over to Him, and He will reveal great and glorious things to us in those house meetings. We are looking forward to this a great deal.
In May 2009, we are going to re-launch the meetings in the library, this time as a more church-like meeting. God has told us to expect a worship-leader to come, to expect praying people to come, to expect a nucleus that wants to live the Word in an uncompromised manner, to follow Him no matter the cost, and to see His kingdom established in London. We will not stop. We will not quit. This is the revelation of God.
When we have a nucleus of about 12 people, we will start a cell group in our house on a Sunday evening. We believe this will be up and running by the end of 2009. We believe it will have multiplied to two house cells by the end of 2009, or be just about to multiply.
Once we have two or more functioning house cells, we will start looking for a venue for Sunday morning church. A celebration service of the life of God, where the worship is exquisite, the preaching is anointed and the people of God can enjoy the God of the people.
That is our future. That is Tree of Life Church. We value your prayers, we value your encouragement. When we moved to London, in the natural we thought it had enough churches, but the Holy Spirit told us: London needs more churches. We are not the answer, but we know we are part of the answer.