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An Open Letter Regarding HEAL THE NATIONS

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Heal the Nations is our annual conference.  On Wed 20th August, our second Heal the Nations kicks off.  We have an amazing array of guest speakers and we have a great worship leader.  We also have great ushers and hospitality people—a massive thanks for everyone who is involved.  I really love and appreciate you and your help!

Last year Heal the Nations helped people so much, and this year it is about to do the same again.  There is something about hearing the Word all day, worshipping all day and being in a positive atmosphere.  Healings happen, financial breakthroughs happen.  Lives change.  Freedom comes.  Vision comes.

I am just writing this to say that I want you to come to Heal the Nations, or at least as many sessions as you can.  Some people have contacted me and said “who is speaking when”… I have told them and indeed the speaker schedule is online—unlike a certain conference I have just been too where it was cloak and dagger!  But the truth is that if you come to hear one speaker although you will be encouraged and inspired by the Word, the whole conference has been planned with me carefully listening to God and asking who to speak and who to bring.  The messages I believe will blend together (like they did last year with each speaker mentioning that God was calling us to a feast) in a special way to inspire you and give you a healthy balanced diet that you may grow thereby.

I don’t want people to come so I can say “there were xxx people at Heal the Nations.” I don’t care—in fact the less people the more personal attention we all get!  I don’t want you to come to give in the offering, it has all been paid for in advance because of the generosity of this church and the wise planning of finances.

I want you to come because I know it will be the most awesome time of spiritual growth in your life.  I go to conferences, I know about many conferences—I know some are all about money, I know some are all about bragging that our conference is bigger than that conference.  I know that we are doing Heal the Nations for you.  God wants you to be healthy, He wants you to receive the Word in its entirety, He wants you to be a church changer, a nation changer, a world changer.  He wants you to be fully equipped to do the works of ministry.  All of the preachers at Heal the Nations are equippers—their heart is your best.  They wouldn’t be invited if it wasn’t so.

So whatever you are doing Aug 20th-23rd, plan to be where you can be equipped to be all God wants you to be.  Plan to be where the Word and the Spirit come together, where grace and faith are mixed together, and where dreams come true! 

Plan to be at an event that is going to help you, heal you, equip you, inspire you, challenge you, encourage you and lift you!

Plan to be where revival isn’t prayed for but is happening.  Plan to be where you are going to find out your destiny and begin to walk in your destiny.

Plan to be at Heal the Nations.

http://www.healthenations.net

10 Scriptures that Can be used in nearly every mess

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We often learn lists of healing Scriptures, finance Scriptures, family Scriptures, etc. so that in specific crises we know what the Word says.  But if you are a new Christian or if you don’t know the Word as well as you should, or if you are facing multiple battles at once it is great to know that there are some Scriptures that will apply to EVERY situation.  These Scriptures should be learned, considered, meditated and declared in every mess you find yourself in.

10.  Greater is He that is in you, than He that is in the world. (1 John 4.4)

9.  My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory (Php. 4.19)

8. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8.31)

7. He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8.32)

6. We are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8.37)

5. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. (Gal. 3.9)

4.  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (Gal. 3.13)

3. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (1 John 3.1)

2. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Romans 5.1-2)

1. Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. (2 Cor. 2.14)

10 Things You Have to Know About Growing Churches

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10.  Growth is like human growth – in spurts.  You can account for it, plan for it, prepare for it, but you can’t ever quite predict it.  You know a healthy human child will grow, but you don’t know EXACTLY when.

9.  Growth means change.  You don’t like change – no one does.  We like our security and safety.  BUt things must change – things you can do in a church with 15 people (interrupt the sermon, share a Scripture, celebrate your birthday, stop the service and pray for you, be informal about management of money or children, as examples) simply cannot be done with a church of 200.  

8.  Remember the change isn’t for you!  You might like your church and not want to share it with 200 other people but God wants to share the life in the church with as many people as possible.

7.  One of the hardest barriers for a church to cross is around 140-160 people.  It’s when you simply cannot know everyone in the church just by going on a Sunday.  On a subconscious level people find that difficult to deal with.  The best thing to do is to join a smaller group – a Living Church, the choir, the working party, the set up team, whatever.  By being in a smaller group within the group, you still get the benefits of being in a group where you know everyone and you also get the benefits of being in a larger group.  If you are a pastor to break this barrier you simply must provide the smaller groups for people – if you don’t they’ll form themselves and become cliques.

6. Growing churches will always become more formal.  It used to be that you knew the people looking after the children, you knew everyone so processes were informal.  That cannot stay the case if the church grows.  Sometimes we mistake formalization for depersonalization.  No – it’s just ensuring the processes are robust enough to see more people come.  Formalization is the only way to ensure the church becomes more personal and more welcoming.  By taking the pressure of structure off the people and onto the structures and processes, the people are now free to relate to one another and enjoy church.

5. In growing churches, paid staff often do what volunteers used to do.  Volunteers have to get used to having a line manager who is not the senior pastor and main preacher.  Volunteers have to get used to having certain responsibilities taken off them and let it happen graciously.  

4. In a small church the drawing factor is community.  People are part of the small community and that’s why they keep coming back again and again.  The problem is that this community is exactly what is unwelcoming to newcomers.  Every slot is filled – you can only have so many friends.  Occasionally someone leaves the church and someone joins and fits in their place, but it will not grow.  In a growing church the drawing factor is life impact.  It is how someone’s life is being changed.  Therefore the service has to not pander to the community but embrace everyone and provide powerful ways to improve life impact.

3. In a small church certain things are tolerated because of good relationships.  Someone can ramble on in a sermon for an hour and everyone knows “That’s just Bill…”, the worship leader can sing out of key and out of rhythm and everyone giggles because it’s how Jimmy plays.  The low quality is almost an in-joke that sustains the community.  As soon as a church breaks 100 this cannot happen anymore because there will be people who are not in on the joke and have a higher expectation.   Everything must be done professionally, from the first opening song through to the notices, the offering and so on.

2. A growing church needs multiplicity and redundancy of communication.  I knew this intellectually but didn’t really believe it until recently when Tree of Life Dagenham started hitting 110-120 per Sunday.  People would call me and say “why didn’t you tell me about THIS EVENT?”, “why didn’t you let me know THIS SPEAKER was coming?”, “how come I didn’t know about the BAPTISMS?” when these things were clearly in the church newsletter and announced from the front for several weeks.  Because the church is no longer one community – things need repeated.  We now try and say a notice in six different ways: we email everyone personally, we text everyone, we put it on Facebook, we put it on the church website, we put it on Google calendar and we put it in the church newsletter.  No one listens to the notice, so we stopped doing them on a Sunday.   If you are reading this and thinking I am into overkill, you are where I was this time last year.  Let me know what happens when your church reaches 120+.

1. A Growing Church is the most exciting place on earth.  In the age where church attendance is seen as an optional extra for supersaints (or worse – and even more absurdly, institutional legalism for people who don’t get the grace message), being in a healthy, growing church is so much fun.  Marriages are getting restored, Muslims are becoming Christians, children are getting saved, people are getting healed, people are learning how to dream, how to walk in their dreams,community is being built.  Lives are being changed.  I wouldn’t change what I do for the world.  It’s not always easy, but it is always an adventure.

Imagination

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Pastor Benjamin Conway, lead pastor of Tree of Life Church and founder of the Tree of Life Network, shows here how to use your imagination to enter fully into God’s dream and your dream for your life. This message is inspiring and challenging and will let you be all you can be!

Faith Works By Love

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  • For years the faith movement has been telling people that “faith works by love”. It’s true, that’s how faith works, but they misunderstood “by love”, telling us that faith only works when we love.

    If we don’t love people, forgive people, help people, serve people, show compassion on people, help people, live for people then our faith won’t work, we will stay sick, stay poor, stay in defeat and that’s that.

    So we responded. We made our love confessions, we strained to feel good feelings for people who annoyed us, we made ourselves human doormats, we became our pastor’s armour bearers serving them to the detriment of our own families. In the name of love, we strained to the point we became unbearable to live with. Then we stayed poor, stayed sick, stayed in defeat and rather than receiving God’s grace and healing and prosperity and victory we wailed our lack of love, we condemned our unforgiveness, we beat ourselves up for not loving enough, not feeling enough love and not doing enough – no matter how much we did do and how much we sacrificed.

    The truth (which will set you free as you read this): the love that empowers our faith is not our feeble, human, limited, pathetic, self-obsessed, impure, roller coaster feeling of love; not that which we squeeze out of our hearts and then kick the dog the next moment because our heart now hurts so bad. It’s not even our love at all: it’s HIS LOVE.

    Faith doesn’t work because you have earned enough brownie points loving people. It works when you realize that no matter what you have done, no matter what you have felt, no matter what you have felt, no matter how half-hearted you have been, no matter how much you hurt inside: GOD STILL LOVES YOU.

    His love is unending, unconditional, undeserved. It is not a still, logical, passive love: GOD IS LOVE. He is alive with love for you, He is buzzing, sparking, zapping with love for you. He made you because He needed a vessel to love with all the love inside Him. He redeemed you through Christ and His death and resurrection just so He could pour that love inside you and love you from the inside out.

    God is eternal, and every moment of that eternity is crammed with His love for you. God is infinite – and every iota of that space is exploding with the heat of a million suns with love for you. It’s not love based on your goodness, your strength, your joy, your ability to do. It’s love that comes straight from His nature, His heart, His being. The core of God is love for you.

    God is all-powerful and every ounce of His infinite strength is for you not against you. God can think a million thoughts at once, and all of them are thoughts on how to prosper you, how to get you through, how to make your life heaven on earth. His whole nature is love.

    When you realize the depths of His love for you, and when you grasp that He will never let you go, never let you down, never do or think anything that is not for your highest. When you realize that Christianity is not your utmost for His highest, but His utmost for your Highest; when you find out that you are not a sinner in the hand of an angry God, but a child of a loving Father. When you find out that the faith-life isn’t about your love for Him, but His love for you: then FAITH WORKS.

    Why wouldn’t He heal me when He adores me? Why wouldn’t I get the promotion at work? HE ADORES ME. HE LOVES ME. He wants me to have good things to enjoy. He wants to supply my needs according to His riches in glory. He is awesome to me. He can’t stop thinking about me.

    Of course I am going to walk in victory because He loves me. Passionately. Always. Not based on what I do, but based on what He has done.

    That’s why faith works by love: it’s easy to believe good things are going to happen to me the more I realize and grasp and meditate on His love for me.

Grace People or Gracious People?

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Kenneth Hagin said the derailing of the faith movement would happen if the people with strong faith did not love the people with weak faith. I believe the derailing of the grace movement will happen if grace people never become gracious people.

Grace can easily be just head knowledge to a series of doctrines, making you a policeman to those who you feel are too condemning and too judgmental, and blinding you to the condemnation you throw back at them, and the judgement you pronounce on them for not dotting their theological “i”s and crossing their ecclesiastical “t”s the way you do.

“I’m a grace person” can easily degenerate into our shibboleth, instead of being a foundation for which we build our lives and a way to learn how to love how we have been loved, it becomes a standard for deciding who is in our club and who is not in our club.  The very grace that should level us and bring unity is then used as a tool to divide!

People who are graciously serving the people of God, teaching, training, laying down their lives, are rejected and ignored because they don’t fit our image of grace.  Because they don’t do things the way we do, because they were too busy working for God to sit down and spend a year or two learning all your great revelations which you have kept to yourself or just shared with those you deem to be religious.

Healthy churches are rejected and criticized for not fitting the framework, while the grace people meet in their holy huddle, not even filling a living room because so few fit their rigid “grace” lens which doesn’t lead to loving the world, which doesn’t lead to serving and loving the church, which doesn’t lead to work of love and grace, but leads to a wicked judgmentalism and an arrogant us vs them mentality.

Grace is not supposed to be the mirror you hold up to the world to see if they are good enough to join your world.

It is supposed to be the mirror you hold up to your self to reveal your true identity and nature in Him. It is supposed to make you secure enough to take your place in the body of Christ – not leading for you to go through life not going to any church because “none of them are good enough for my high level of doctrinal purity” or rejecting people because they don’t look like us. It is supposed to be the mirror we gaze into to see His glory – His true glory is stepping into a broken, religious, hate-filled world and showing it love. His glory was never supposed to be kept hidden, never supposed to be shone onto the world exposing them for being outside of His pure, accurate doctrine of God and rejecting them for not grasping what He knew about His Father.

We are supposed to gaze into His glory – not just the friend of sinners, but the one who patiently endured Nicodemus’ ignorance, as the one who had a habit of going to synagogue even though they were mangling the book His Father penned to make points He never intended to make, as the one who even when the religious leaders nailed Him to a cross still died for them as well, crying “Father, forgive THEM for they know what they do”.

Then we are supposed to reflect His glory to the world. Is it your custom to be where the people of God are, even if they don’t get you or understand the true nature of your Father? Are you forgiving not just in word but in action, are you committed to His body on planet earth?

If not, get back to gazing at His glory. Stop using grace to divide and start being gracious.

Popularity Doesn’t Matter

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Just as it is dangerous to follow a preacher or teacher because they are popular, it is equally dangerous to follow a preacher or teacher because they are unpopular.

I have been a follower of Andrew Wommack since 1998, when he rocked my world with a message called “Two Kinds of Righteousness”. Back then he wasn’t on TV in Europe, and nobody in the circles I moved in knew who he was.

Now Andrew is one of the leading TV ministers in this nation and his ministry has garnered a measure of success and his Bible Colleges are taking off and his conferences are growing, I actually know people who have stopped listening to his ministry, stopped going to his conferences, stopped being part of it all because “I’ve heard it all before”, “I’m on the new thing”, “I want to be on the fringe”.

Sometimes the fringe is exactly where it is happening. Sometimes it is just the lunatic fringe. Some people actually like being unpopular and being persecuted – sometimes they deliberately choose to go to a church that rejects tongues or healing or the grace message because they enjoy the feeling of being rejected and being persecuted. It makes them feel better than other people. Not being secure in their righteousness, they like being around people they feel superior to because that assuages their sense of guilt and inferiority.

Sometimes they come up with increasingly outlandish revelations in the name of grace most of which tend to universalism or a licentiousness which even our worst religious accusers wouldn’t dream we are capable of. Just to stay persecuted. Just to stay on that high of being on the “cutting edge”.

The fact is some days they will praise you, some days they will crucify you. Learn to live immune to both through faith in His work. Don’t let a need for popularity lead you to disobedience, and don’t let a need for unpopularity lead you to disobedience.

Find out where you fit into the body of Christ, get there and stay there.  People left Tree of Life Church because it was too unpopular, and people have left the church because it was too popular.  Being popular doesn’t mean anything – honouring God does.

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