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!
I have just uploaded our fourth and fifth parts to our building a foundation for success series:
Part 4: Gifts, Operations and Offices
Every Christian has something they can bring to the local church. Every Christian can operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Every Christian can flow in the power of God.
This message will show you and inspire you to take your place in your church and be all you can be in Christ!
Part 5: A Dream Fulfilled
Your dream is from God. it is not from the flesh, not from the devil – it is from God. And God is not a tease. He wants you to walk in the fullness of your dream and your destiny.
Thie simple and practical message will inspire you and encourage you to step out in faith and see what God sees and do what God calls you to do in your life
New message on faith and hope at our church website:
What is the difference between faith and hope? What should I hope for? How can I, in my life, have hope?
This message will answer your questions and inspire you to be a person of vision.
Hebrews 11.1 tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for. In this compelling message Benjamin teaches how to correctly be a person of hope and what every Christian should hope for. Then he explains in practical terms how to take your hopes, expectations and dreams and see them become real in the earth.
Glory and freedom,
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
What has led to unrighteousness in the world? Why is the world so wicked? Why does the world ignore the truth of Jesus Christ?
Paul gives four clear reasons for this state of affairs in this verse.
1) They did not glorify God
2) They were not grateful and thankful to God
3) They became vain in their imaginations
4) Their foolish hearts were made dark
I believe this is an utterly comprehensive list. If you want to know why a community or a nation is unrighteous and wicked, it is that they did not glorify God, were not grateful to God, had vain imaginations, and their foolish hearts were dark.
Let’s make it more personal: if you feel far from God, if you feel like you are running on empty, feel confused, unable to deal with sin and conquer it, then I guarantee 4 things:
1. You are not glorifying God
2. You are not being thankful to God
3. Your imagination is out of control
4. Your heart is dark
Or let’s turn it around and make it applicable to you as a Christian who I would assume wants to have a dynamic excitiing relationship with God:
1. Glorify God
2. Thank God
3. Keep control of your imagination
4. Keep light in your heart
Then you: will always have a dynamic, intimate walk with God and have continual victory in every circumstance in life.
It is that simple. Let’s look at all four of these one by one and give a sentence or two on how to ensure they are active in your life. If you want a deeper study on these things, then I have a four part sermon series called “How Not To Be An Idiot” on our church website, if you click on the media tab, and this series covers each of these four points.
For the brief version, keep reading.
1. Glorify God. This is the Greek word doxa, which means to give weight to. Do you give weight to God? You do realize that God’s promises put on the scales with any of your problems will outweigh them a million times over? That Paul after being whipped, stoned, beaten and shipwrecked and continually persecuted – he called his problems “light”. Why? Because if you give God glory and weight in your life, you will be always praising, always dancing, always smiling. God is bigger than the problem!
2. Thank God. Many Christians spend their whole life thinking and dreaming about what they do not have. I dare you to thank God for everything you do have. It will take longer than you can ever imagine. Gratefulness leads to faithfulness.
3. Keep control of your imagination. Imagine what life would be like if God’s Word was true – NEVER imagine your future without God’s promises. Never imagine yourself sick, dying young, broke, in broken relationships. Imagine yourself healthy, happy, rich, flowing in the Holy Spirit with love and mercy, fulfilling your destiny.
4. Keep light in your heart. In other words, keep in the Word – there is light in the Word. Keep meditating God’s Word.
If you do those four things you will live in assured victory every single day.
Glory and freedom,
This month (October 2009) is Word of Faith month in Tree of Life Church. On Sundays we are talking about what is faith. We have discussed that faith is an anchor and that faith is the stuff dreams are made of.
On Thursday night teaching service we are looking at the power of Words and how you can have what you say.
These messages are all available on our website at:
Enjoy listening. Any testimonies on how these messages have blessed, encouraged and transformed you, please leave in the comments section!
Glory and freedom,
Casting Down Reasonings
By Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin
Casting down imaginations [reasonings], and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5)
Many people’s minds have never been renewed with the Word of God. They may be saved, filled with the Holy Ghost, and members of a Full Gospel church, but their minds still need to be renewed with the Word of God.
Second Corinthians 10:4 and 5 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
Many people are in a battle between their head and their heart. This is spiritual warfare, and these verses say that our weapons are not carnal, or natural. They’re not guns, swords, or even fists. But our weapons are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds (2 Cor. 10:4).
Paul is referring to “casting down imaginations.” Imaginations can also be translated reasonings, which involve people’s minds.
As long as Satan can hold you in the arena of reason, he’ll defeat you in every battle. But if you hold Satan in the arena of faith, you’ll defeat him in every battle. How do you do that? The Scripture says to “cast down imaginations (reasonings).”
Confession: I cast down imaginations and reasonings. I bring every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. If the thought doesn’t line up with the Word of God, I reject it. I believe and think on only what God’s Word says.
(Taken by permission from RHEMA Bible Church , aka Kenneth Hagin Ministries , Tulsa , OK , USA. www.rhema.org )
David Yongii Cho is the pastor of the world’s largest church. Here are some wonderful quotes to build you up spiritually…
To Grow Out You Must Grow In
Growing in means the development of inner resources. When you build a tall building, the crucial aspect that determines success is the building’s foundation. To build high, you must dig deep.
A building’s foundation is not tested until the exact stress for which its foundation was designed comes to bear upon it. The foundation’s strength is then tested and the soundness of its construction is most crucial at this time.
The first place that God needs to work is in your heart. The heart is the major battle ground.
John 14:1-4 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
Prov 4:20-23 “My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.
How does one become successful as spiritual leader, as a businessman, or in any other profession? You first must change your heart attitude. How can you change your heart attitude? You must inspect your vision. If you have the wrong vision or if your vision is too small for the ability God has granted you, your heart attitude is also going to be wrong and you’ll find yourself discouraged, bewildered, and depressed.
Some cover up their failures by using catch phrases that sound spiritual. God wants us to grow and to grow in a big way. Being satisfied with smallness may reveal a lack of spiritual insight of God’s kingdom purposes. Or perhaps it is a lack of compassion for a world that doesn’t know the Lord or for believers that are struggling. How else can we serve God and help others unless we ourselves are successful. This is no time to be satisfied with the status quo in your life. This is the time that God will work in your heart for great growth both spiritually and materially. Don’t be fearful when you consider the possibility that God has great things for you. God has called you for special purpose. You must work on your heart to find His purpose for your life.
We can never be any more than we dream of being. As we set our eyes on God’s holy word and develop a deep fellowship with the Holy Spirit, our vision is changed. How can you change your vision? You can’t, but the Holy spirit can and will.
I had to be delivered from the concept that the Holy Spirit was just an experience and come to the realization that the Holy Spirit was a real, divine person.
As I began to wait upon him and talk to him, he then became very real to me and began to change my vision. In fact, as we set our gaze upon the Holy Spirit, he takes the brush of faith, dips into the ink of the Word of God and draws beautiful pictures upon the canvas of our hearts. After he gives us a new picture to strive for, we find a new internal motivation.
…there is no obstacle that can discourage a man who’s been given a vision by the Holy Spirit. One of the main obstacles to overcome is the opinion of those who say, “It’s impossible. It has never been done before.” What is their problem? They have never seen what God has shown you. Once God has granted you a vision, then you must learn to spend time dreaming over that vision.
This is the essence of my philosophy. It covers all of the principles of congregational growth work. I call it “visions and dreams.” As I travel throughout the world, I’ve seen evidences of the fact that the application of vision and dreams really works in changing one’s heart attitude.
Most men I’ve seen are satisfied with the status quo. They have congregations of 30 to 50 members and since most tithed, they could live comfortably without expanding. So their congregations become exclusive little clubs. When this happens, the desire for growth will not develop.
Sometimes our actions limit our vision. At times we find ourselves in a situation where we have to choose the level of money we’re going to spend for something. Perhaps you’re visiting a place and need to stay in a hotel. What kind of a room should you stay in? Does God really want us to stay in a nice place? Does he want us to stay in spartan surroundings so as to conserve money? This a difficult question, which only you can you answer. Yet sometimes, I’ve found that people don’t believe God for great things, especially when it comes to themselves. This may come from a sense of inferiority, or a false humility or spirituality.
That week I spent much time teaching the leaders to begin to expand their vision and dreams. As amazing as it sounds, it seems that our heavenly Father allows his representatives on earth to limit his activity through a lack of vision. I believe the same thing applies to prayer. God voluntarily limits Himself by our prayers. He can do anything, but He chooses to limit the scope of His authority by vesting it in us.
So here is how it works. Our heart attitude is changed by catching a fresh vision from the Holy Spirit. Once the vision is imparted, we must dwell upon it and dream about it until the vision comes into reality.
Rom 4:16-18 “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed– God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”
Abraham was a man who was not willing to stay in the status quo. He was able to leave the known and enter into a new place, the one shown to him by God. If Abraham looked only upon the circumstances he would not have listened to God. He would have stayed in Haran. Abraham possessed the quality of obedience which caused him to move forward despite every obstacle. He went through difficult times, when everything he did seemed to fail. Abraham was first obedient to God as evidenced by his leaving the known and being willing to enter into the unknown. Although he believed that God could do what he promised, Abraham had to “see” the promise come to pass in his spirit before he could actually set foot upon it. He first saw the reality in the dreams and by Holy Spirit-given vision. Cho believes that vision comes after a person has proven themselves to be obedient. Then once the vision comes, a person needs to dream about the fulfillment to the vision. That process of dreaming, thinking, and meditating about the vision, he calls incubation. We should incubate on the vision until it becomes reality–until God calls those things which are not as though they were.
We must always remember that God is more interested in our success and church growth than we are. After all, it is his church. Our problem is that our hearts have not had the proper attitude because our vision has not been correct. We have not have the proper vision because we have not entered into a deep and loving fellowship with the Holy Spirit. All vision is revealed to us by God through the Holy Spirit.
What is our goal? Is it growth of God’s kingdom? Are we looking for increased numbers? Are we looking for increased spiritual maturity in people? If so, that we can be assured in our spirits that this is certainly God’s will.
Remember, you can listen to this talk or read a book on spiritual growth yet never see a change in yourself or the situation you find yourself in. Why? Perhaps it’s because your heart has not really changed. Nothing much will happen unless there’s been a heart change.
We are essentially spiritual beings, using intellect and emotion, all housed in a physical body. Our spirits are revived at the new birth, but they need nourishment and development. The Holy Spirit has been given to us as the comforter to lead us and guide us. He has the mind of God, even for your church. Once you receive his direction and vision, you change your heart attitude from failure to success. Now you begin to be motivated by a greater force than you have never known and you will begin to see results as you follow proper church growth principles.
The greatest hindrance to the fulfillment of God’s desire to see growth is a lack of vision within the leadership. “It can’t happen here. This is too hard a field.” These negative statements must be put out of our vocabulary, once and for all. We are to begin using the language of the Holy Spirit and building a new success consciousness in the minds of all our people.
This kind of negative talk kills vision. Once you get a vision from God go with it. Put to death any negative statements. Of course, your vision must not contradict the Word of God and it must be in His will.
I’ve found that the safest course is to take counsel with those in leadership above you. They have been given by God to guard you from getting out of his will. Any true vision of God will stand the test of being brought before leadership. Even if those above you don’t understand or comprehend the vision God has given you, they’ll recognize that the Holy Spirit has indeed planted something within your spirit. you see, efficient is implanted spiritually and its communicated spiritually. You don’t have to fear that your explanation will not convey the divine nature of what you’ve received. Our spirits are commended to another’s spirit by the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes a failure to take counsel indicates a lack of trust in God. God works through leadership not in spite of leadership. Leadership is not an obstacle to get around. Fear that the leadership which God has entrusted to care for your soul will prevent you from walking out your vision is a terrible deception of the Enemy.
People can be deceived in regard to vision. This isn’t meant to discourage you, but vision is so powerful a tool from God that the Enemy can use false or distorted vision to get believers out of God’s will.
To motivate others to succeed, we must have an attitude of success not only in our speaking but also in our lives. Many congregations have a non-growth attitude because the leader does not possess a high enough self esteem. This is a key in leadership.
The reason for your poor self-image may be one of the following: poor appearance, education, discipline, family status, ability, and health. This list is far from exhaustive but representative of the excuses given for poor self image.
Another thing that Cho is saying is that personal appearance is important. When he meets ambassadors of the world’s leading nations, one of the common traits they seem to possess is general good looks. They may not be young or handsome, but they seem to be in good shape. After all, are they not representing their particular country? Should they not try to present their best image? Yet, the kingdom of God also has ambassadors. They represent the king of kings and the Lord of the Lords. It is Cho’s opinion that a leader can change his self image by watching his diet and doing the best that he can with what God has given him. Are you doing the best with what God has given you–as Messiah’s ambassador? Are you presenting an image that other should follow? If not, it’s never too late to change. Once you start feeling good about yourself, you will find others will feel better about you too. People will first look at you before they listen to you. What they see affects how they hear.
Another important concept is learning. Success for people spend their whole lives aboard this is not limited by formal education. He has called us to a life of continual improvement. Educate yourself understand what you’re asking and go out and prove yourself.
A lack of discipline is another reason why people have a poor self image. I’ve had appointments with leaders who show up one to 2 hours late. Traffic, business pressures and unexpected circumstances are poor excuses for tardiness. Make your plans with the provision for the unexpected.
Sin is one of the chief causes of poor self image. It is therefore, imperative for every person who God wishes to use in the building of his congregation to live a holy life. What you watch and dwell upon will affect what you become. If there is sin in your life, confess that sin quickly to God, repenting from it and asking for his Grace to live morally clean. Little success leads to great victories and soon you will find your self image has changed. God is a loving and forgiving God. If he expects you to forgive your brother, why should he not forgive you?
I don’t care how low your family station is, God can change your self image. Remember that Yeshua was born into a very poor family circumstance and He is a son of God. As you get a fresh vision of God’s will for your life and ministry, you can overcome all of society’s barriers and succeed. Abilities may differ but success is for all. Our problem begins when we compare ourselves with other people. Some of you haven’t succeeded in school or in the job market and as a result you have poor self image. The way to overcome these past obstacles is to compare ourselves with the goal that God has set before us. He never leads us to do anything that He has not given us the grace and the strength to accomplish successfully.
Don’t judge yourself too harshly or too quickly. Even Einstein failed over and over again before he had success. Just because you’ve failed doesn’t mean you are a failure.
All successful ministries and leaders that I know have made mistakes. Making a mistake doesn’t mean you’re God’s mistake. Learn valuable lessons from your mistakes.
You must cooperate with God in keeping your body fit. Exercise regularly, watch what you eat, rest as much as possible. Stress is one the greatest problems to keeping healthy. Oftentimes leaders collapse from exhaustion. Learn the secret of trusting other people. Realize that the kingdom of God works by others combining with one another. Trust other people. Trust that you don’t have to do everything yourself.
Maybe you have a handicap–a physical or mental limitation. We should take any handicaps that we have and turn them into assets. Believe God for your healing and restoration, yet move forward. Don’t wait for your healing to move forward.
Watch out for the type of people to associate with. Are they negative? Do they negatively affect our self image? By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be set free from the disabling effects of negative people and surroundings. Read the Word of God. Find out what God says about yourself. If God did not believe we were of value, He would not have sent His son to die for us. We are called to special works. We have great value in the Lord. We’re able to do all that God has called us to do, by his Grace.
Sometimes we pray that God would do something and then we stand back to see what God does. This is a great mistake. God will work through us. He works through you and me. This is why our personal resources are of utmost importance. What would we be like if we had the success we’re believing for? The answer to that question is very important. Our character is now being prepared for revival. We are being tested and we are finding grace to overcome the test. Why? Because God wants to use us.