Tree of Life Blog

Engaging Culture with the wisdom and power of Christ!

Tag Archives: London

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.

The Riots Continue

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Now there is rioting and looting in the middle of the day.  People locked in shops, people told to stay away from Lakeside.

We are currently on M25 driving to Wales and saw the Sony building burning.

And now finally some one has lost their life.  A young man shot in south London.

This is not God’s will.  This is not God’s destiny for London.  I suggest standing in faith for three things:

1. Wisdom for our leaders.  1 Tim 3 says to pray for our leaders, and they need it now.  The world will seek to criticise everyone and analyse everyones action at this time, submit to a different spirit and pray for them in love.

2. For this to end now.  I believe that the looters deep down inside know God is real and that their actions are wrong.  A wave of God’s love and grace sweeping through the looters would be awesome!

3. Pray for labourers to go to the harvest.  We need in London a message of grace and hope that transcends race, transcends class, goes beyond actions and education.  We need the gospel to be heard.  Pray for opportunities to bring the gospel.

I don’t believe as one radio listener told me today that this is armageddon.  I am not minimizing this, but it will be over very soon.  It will fizzle away, but be bold and strong to stop it flaring up again we need to invade the city with the life changing gospel.

Imagine a Church…

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Radio Ministry

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Become a Radio Partner

The day Benjamin started preached the series on Destiny and Destination in the church, the Holy Spirit spoke to him clearly to start a weekly radio show within London and that this would be the next step in fulfilling his destiny and reaching his destination.

Now an exciting opportunity has opened up to have a weekly 15-minute radio show on Premier Radio in London.

We are believing God for 30 media partners to give £20 a week by standing order to help fund this opportunity.  Becoming a Radio Partner will enable you to enable us to take the message of grace and wisdom to London and help strengthen many, many Christians and inspire many people to become Christians.

If you believe the Holy Spirit is speaking to you about becoming a radio partner, then you could set up a standing order yourself.  Our bank account details are:

Tree of Life Church
Natwest Bank
Sort Code: 56-00-47
Account Number: 31571670

Otherwise you can download and print off the standing order form below and post it to:

TREE OF LIFE CHURCH
Harmony House
Baden Powell Close
Dagenham
RM9 6XN

radio_partner_form.pdf
File Size: 188 kb
File Type: pdf

Download File


Please email us and let us know if you have set up a mandate because knowing how many radio partners we have is going to help us immensely in planning this ministry.

30 radio partners giving £20 a month will enable a weekly programme that reaches London.
45 radio partners giving £20 a month will enable a weekly programme that reaches the UK.
60 radio partners giving £20 a month will enable a twice weekly programme that reaches London.
150 radio partners giving £20 a month will enable a daily programme that reaches London.
450 radio partners giving £20 a month will enable a twice daily programme that reaches the UK.

In addition all radio programmes produced will be available via our website free of charge.

Harmony House *IMPORTANT NEWS*

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Starting April 4th (Easter Sunday) and every Sunday morning following we are meeting between 10.30am and 1pm in Harmony House for worship, fellowship and the preaching of the Word.

You are more than welcome to attend these meetings.  Don’t feel that you have to dress up or prepare to come and meet with us.  We welcome you as you are!  We have a crèche for pre-school children and a children’s ministry for 6-14s.

The address for Harmony House is:

Harmony House
Baden Powell Close
Dagenham
Essex
RM9 6XN

You can get directions to Harmony House here.

Two Powerful Messages On the Holy Spirit

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http://treeoflifelondon.weebly.com/holy-spirit-month-september-2009.html

I have just uploaded a message called The Vocal Gifts, which is really about the heartbeat of being a prophetic church and part of my passion for building a prophetic church in the heart of London and Essex.

I have in addition uploaded today’s message called The Holy Spirit On Our Side, which is a powerful key in how to hear God more clearly, silence the devil and minister in the prophetic in a more accurate and powerful manner.

Enjoy!

Romans 1.14

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I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

In the last verse, Paul says that he would not have the church ignorant. That is Paul’s calling – to educate and provide information about grace and faith to the body of Christ. A very high calling – but it is your calling too.

As an apostle Paul’s ministry was to equip the saints to do the works of ministry (Ephesians 4.11ff). His life was to train the church to do the works of ministry.

We have to, utterly and totally, get away from the superstar ministers that do all the work and get back to the Bible bueprint: the fivefold ministries equipping, training and discipling the church and the CHURCH doing the works of ministry. The church being every single Christian.

We often read statements that Paul makes and we dismiss them as being for superstar ministers. Rubbish – Paul tells us clearly: copy me as I copy Christ (1 Corinthians 11.1).

Why I have said all this is to say this: Romans 1.14 is not just for Paul, not just for Oral Roberts, not just for Billy Graham, not just for Mike, but for every single Christian in the body of Christ. It is for you!

Paul says this: I am a debtor to people. The Greek word is opheiletēs. It means to be bound to someone by duty. Paul’s duty to ensure the church had knowledge bound him to people. So much so that his writings are still rescuing the church from ignorance, generations after he penned them!

Everyone of us is bound to people by duty. For Paul it was four groups of people: the Greeks, the Barbarians, the wise and the unwise. (Actually the wise and unwise covers everyone!), who is it for you? Who are you bound to by duty?

I used to be in a denomination where pastors moved around all the time, then they found out that you do not build a church by moving around, you build a church when a pastor comes to a people and the people realize that the man of God is bound to them, that he will never leave them or forsake them, that he is there for their good and will keep being there. He may move on like Paul did often, but he will still be there in his heart and still be with them in spirit.

Who are you bound to by duty? Who do you owe your destiny to? There is no destiny that does not involve people. No Christian has a destiny that does not involve them being bound to a group of people by destiny.

No Christian can avoid saying what Paul says here: I am a debtor to people. If you cannot say this and know which people you are in debtor to, go and find out. Go and pray and ask the Lord – go and find out.

I have just entered into the first step of my ministry, but I could not enter it at all if I did not know from the Lord who I am a debtor to.

I am a debtor to the people of London and of Essex, people who have lived there all their lives and people who have moved there from every nation and ethnic group.

I am bound to them by my duty to God. They will rise or fall on my obedience.

It is a weighty matter when you deal with destiny because it is not just a game – it is about people. Every single person is worth an infinite amount because that was the price that Jesus paid for them. Every single person on the planet will in one million years time either be a being of pure light and love, or a creature of torment and hatred.

When I make decisions such as where shall our church meet, when shall it meet, what shall I do this evening, where and when shall I go on holiday, what book shall I read I need to realize I am not a free man. I cannot ever just do what I want. I am bound to London and bound to Essex by duty and by destiny.

I take this seriously and soberly. It is not just enough to know the function of your destiny, you must know the geographical and ethnic boundaries of your destiny.

I will say it again – if you do not know who you are bound to by duty, you must find out. Then act bound!

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

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