Tree of Life Blog

Engaging Culture with the wisdom and power of Christ!

Category Archives: Thoughts

Seven thoughts about what happened in Woolwich

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The family of Lee Rigby thought he was safe.   He wasn’t on the front line, but home on leave in England’s capital.  It turns out that his killers were raised in Romford and Harold Hill, both places I know well.

But how should Christians respond to such a vicious attack, how should Londoners act today and tomorrow, and what is Christ’s response to this.

I don’t have all the answers, and even in a blog post I don’t have the space to even share all my thoughts, but I want to give a framework that might help people respond in a Christian way.

Firstly, it is not wrong to feel strong  emotions.  Clearly the true grief in this situation is with the family of the bereaved, but as people who recognise the streets and the scenery of the attack it is ok to feel anguish,  angry, fear and grief.  God is compassion and compassion expresses itself in emotions.  Someone might feel they hope the murderers are hacked to pieces, that’s a form of compassion for the bereaved.  Calling those who are angry and emotional unChristian is not helpful.   Let the emotions surface and deal with them as they arise.  That doesn’t mean getting  emotional in any situation  is acceptable or that any action can be justified by emotion, but that emotions are just part of any human response and they need to be acknowledged, admitted and allowed. 

Secondly, this should not be seen as a racial event.  London is a melting pot of ethnicity and has been for years.  The EDF and other groups will seek to use this issue to stereotype and blame “aliens” and immigrants.  The two young men were British born, with a Nigerian heritage.   They went to primary school and secondary school in Havering.  This transcends their culture.  This is not an ethnically charged incident.   It wasn’t done in the name of race.  We should at this time be doing everything in our power to strengthen community links and build a truly international church in the capital where every tribe and tongue meets together. 

Thirdly, the answer to the question was it terrorism.  After a lot of consideration, I have to conclude that it was terrorist behaviour.  Knife crime among people in that age bracket is horrendous and evil, but this something else.   Not just due to the viciousness and premeditated nature of the act, but that it was filmed and designed for people to see it.   It was planned to cause terror which is why I consider it was a terrorist act.   It seems likely that we will find out that these young  men were not linked to any terrorist groups, but acting independently.  That is truly chilling.   No one turned them, they just became offended at western culture and society to the point they decided to not just threaten it but desecrate it.   This was a terror attack and the best way to be the head and not the tail is to not give in to terror.   I have bought a Help for heroes tshirt because I want to honour the people who gave their life or health for this nation and to show I am not scared of anyone.  For a Christian, we need to remember God is with us always.

Fourthly, don’t respond in anger.  Feeling  anger is one thing, responding in anger is another thing.  Calm down.   Consider.   Pray.  The best response to a vicious foe is to refuse to be distracted.   Keep being a disciple.  Keep healing  the sick,  keeping living the faith, keep walking in love and freedom and miracles.

Fifthly, let’s not abandon our armed forces.  Some people may have other views on the legitimacy of war in the middle east, but it is a fact that soldiers are out there.  Pray for them.  Believe God for their best.  Speak Psalm 91 over them.   If soldiers are attacked in peacetime on our shores, we need to remember who we are and speak life and peace to them.   We need to be faith filled not feat filled. 

Sixthly, the young men who did this are not unique.   They grew up in our schools, they hung around with our children, they went to our parties, we watched them grow up.  There are other people, other young men – although they may be black,  Asian or white –  it is more than probable they will be men.  Keep your eyes peeled for people who are disaffected, disassociated and disillusioned.   Offer them company, encouragement, help.   Ask and consider what your church is doing for young people and see if you can’t get involved.   If you have noticed someone and they concern you, God allowed you to notice…  Reach out to them! Show them love, show them grace.

Finally, the solution to every problem I our nation, in our city is not prayer and fasting, is not politics, is not any of that.   Paul said I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1.16).   The power of God to save London is only found in the gospel.  We need not to change the structures so much as change people’s hearts one person at a time by telling them the good news.  Islam and Christian religion look very similar.  Serve God, do this to get into heaven.  We need to distance ourselves from religious Christianity and come back to the good news of a God who became sin with our sin so we could enjoy righteousness, peace and joy.  His righteousness. His peace.  HIS JOY.  Because of what He has done, not because what we have done.  That is the message that changes and melts hard hearts.   That is the message th at turned the Jewish terrorist Saul into the proclaimer of God’s grace, Paul.  That is the message that will change the hearts of the disaffected, the angry and the frustrated today.

What is going to happen TOMORROW?

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God is still going to be your Father

God is still going to love you

God is still going to care for you

God is still going to provide for you

God is still going to give good gifts to you!

God Wants You Well

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Jesus did not die horrifically on the cross with whip marks scored all over his back so you could stay sick.
No, by His stripes, you were healed.

An On Fire Christian Can Never Be Stopped

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Steal from them and they will joyfully give you everything they own.

Force them to be your slave and they will happily be your servant.

Smack them on the nose and they will turn the other cheek again and again.

Kill them – it is simply gain.

Don’t kill them – they will simply live for Christ.

Put them in jail and they will use the time to commune with the Lord and write down their revelations which will then turn the world upside down.

An Onfire Christian can never be stopped.

Healing and the Anointing (And A FREE BOOK!)

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The gifts of healings are part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit and they are awesome to watch.  People being spectacularly healed before your very eyes, people receiving the anointing of God in a tangible way and then being set free from horrific malignant diseases.  Awesome!

This weekend we are going to watch Melvin Banks minister through the gifts of healings and it is going to be wonderful.  Come and see the miracles if you can!

But the gifts of healings often bring confusion to the church as often people leave healing meetings not healed.  The person in the seat next to them was powerfully touched and healed, but they were bypassed.

This is due to the fact that the gifts of healings are as the Holy Spirit wills.

But do not be in despair if this happens to you.  The gifts of healings are an accelerant: they are like petrol on a bonfire, they make everything burn quicker, they make the healing come quicker.

But even without the gifts of healings – if you stand on the WORD you will be healed.

If God did not heal you using the gifts of healings, don’t despair, get excited!

This means that God TRUSTS you to stand on His Word.  And as you stand on the Word of God, the power of the Holy Spirit inside you will manifest and your healing will come.   You are healed by His stripes and as you listen to that and say that and visualise that, your healing will come.

Then you will know God as Healer in a way you would never know Him if you had a healing through the gifts.  Watch carefully at healing meetings and you will see it is the non-Christians and the baby Christians that get healed through the gifts of healings.  You are expected to grow up and stand up for your own healing.  You have to reach a stage where you welcome men of God, but you don’t need them because you have become a man (or woman!) of God yourself!

For more Biblical teaching on this topic, and to hear Pastor Benjamin’s testimony of how God led him to stop looking for men of God and start being a man of God, purchase his book Rivers and Wells, or email us on ben@treeoflifechurch.org.uk THIS WEEK ONLY for a free copy of the PDF download.

God’s Power – Where Is It?

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I heard a guy this week ask his church where the power of God is.  He wanted to know what to do to get God to put His power on us. The answer to his question is simple: there is NOTHING you can do to get the power of God to come on us. Why?  Because the same power that raised Christ from the dead is already inside us.  The fulness of God’s power is INSIDE us already.  The moment we are born again our human spirit becomes righteous and holy and pure and we are alive to God and totally pure. In addition, the  fullness of the power of God is inside us.  It is not outside us – we do not have to go looking for it.  We do not have to go hunting for it.  We do not have to fast, to pray, to work, to repent, to do ANYTHING to get hold of the power of God.  It is already inside us. What we have to do is believe that the power is in us and act according to the truth that the power is in us.  When will the sick in your church get healed – when you tell them that the power to heal the sick is inside you and put your hands on them.  You shut the valve or open the valve for the power of God to come out.

Unfortunately many Christians are like the  preacher I heard this week – looking for something that is already inside them.  Most Christians are like the old man looking for his glasses when he is already wearing them – his ignorance of what he already has stops him from enjoying what he already has.

If we think the power of God is outside us we will waste our life, our prayers, our church services hunting for the power.  More love, more power, more of You in my life is possibly the most unChristian set of lyrics ever produced.  It is total doubt and unbelief.

The fact is all the  power of God is inside you. Stop wasting your life looking for it and start enjoying it.  Lay hands on the sick and watch them recover, put some money in the offering and watch it come back to you many times over, show someone the love of God and watch their life change.  Enjoy the adventure of knowing you are redeemed and able to do all things in HIM!

What is Sacrifice? (Robb Thompson)

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Sacrifice Is The Road Traveled By Those Who Choose The
"Higher Life."


			
		
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