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This is Your Year!

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Today, God has given you a gift.  A gift that He has given everyone on the planet.  A gift of time.  A gift of 365 days.  Although the charismatic prophets will be telling you this is the year of this and that – breakthrough, financial release, the wealthy place, the abundant return – and the cheers will go up from the people who believe that changing calendars leads to a fresh anointing – it’s simply not the case.  This year is a gift to you and it’s up to you what it is.

It can be the year of breakthrough – if you renew your mind.

It can be the year of the financial release – if you get some financial wisdom and give generously and in faith and love

It can be the year of the abundant harvest – if you sow the abundant seed

At Tree of Life Dagenham we are calling this year “The Year of Identity” – but that’s not because God is going to give us an identity in 2014.  Christ gave us all an identity as the righteousness of God when He died and rose again on the cross – He welcomed us into the family of God and now our identity is linked eternally with His.  All we are doing is choosing to focus on it, preach on it, sing about it, study it, enjoy it and watch it manifest in our lives as our souls line up with our spirits.  It’s going to be really exciting.  

In Watford we are calling this year “The Year of Healing” but that’s not because God suddenly decided – hey, I’ve got a new calendar, let’s heal some folk.  No – all healing was accomplished 2000 years ago when Christ bore our sicknesses and diseases.  It’s not by this year you were healed, it’s by His stripes you were healed.

In Guildford we are calling this year – well certainly the first half of it because we are going to nail this in less than a year – Crossing Over.  We are going from fort to castle – we are growing into what God has prepared for us.  But it’s not that God hasn’t prepared a land of promises for us – it’s just that this is the year we are going to embrace it and enjoy it by focusing on it and renewing our minds to it.

So – this is your year.  It is what you choose it to be.  It will be the harvest of the seeds you sow.  So, I want to on this first day of the new year give you five kinds of good seeds that you could sow this year and mean that you will enjoy an abundant harvest:

1.  The seed of YOUR WORDS.  Jesus said the sower sowed the WORD.  If you want a good harvest you have to learn to speak good.  This is a challenge for this year: get 10 Scriptures that sum up what you want from God – healing, finances, and so on.  Personalize them – if it says “My God shall supply all your needs” you turn it into “My God shall supply all MY needs”, if it says “By His stripes you were healed”, turn it into “By His stripes I am healed”.  Repeat them every morning and every night.  That one action alone will totally change 2014 for you.

2.Financial seed.  If you don’t tithe, start tithing this year. Not because you have to or because God is going to get to but because you believe God’s Word and it says that if you give it will be given to you pressed down shaken together running over …. and you know that you can give more generously than a dead man under law.  Try it and see the results.  In April, we are running a 90 day tithing challenge – tithe for 3 months consistently – if you are not blown away by the change then your money back.  That’s how much I believe in this.  If you do tithe, think of something outrageous to give and believe that God supplies seed to the sower.

3. The seed of time.  What you do is what you become good at doing.  Want to become better at playing the guitar – put some time in.  Want to become better at being a friend – put the time in.  Want to become better at preaching – put the time in.  Want to become better at knowing God’s Word – put some time in.  What you invest time in will flourish.  What you ignore and neglect will wither and die.  Today, choose what you want to cultivate in 2014.  You cannot do everything  – so decide what is important.  We go on and on about being well rounded, but a squash ball is well rounded but if you needed surgery you wouldn’t want the surgeon using a squash ball, you would want a blade that is not well rounded but sharp.  You have a choice in life, well rounded or sharp.  Sharp is more useful and more valuable.  Focus on what you want to do and invest time in that.

4. The seed of “NO”.  I honestly believe “no” is the single most anointed word in the world.  It has the powerful to release destiny, set you free, give you a future.  An extra doughnut is saying “eat me”.  No.  A friend wants to gossip about the pastor.  No.  A guy starts to come on to you when you are married.  No.  All sorts of negative thoughts are trying to nest in your head.  Your flesh will want to have a pity party – tell it no.  Often our lives are a mess not because of what we are not doing, but because we are doing too much and are too busy.  Churches fail because they have too many meetings, businesses fail because they are trying to do too many things.  Stop being swept away – find out your destiny and say no to everything else.

5. The seed of love.  This is the seed that often produces the quickest harvest.  Try smiling at someone – they almost always instantly smile back.  Go and take someone out to the shops and buy them some new shoes.  Go and buy someone some flowers, some shopping, a new computer game.  Go and mow someone’s lawn.  Right now phone the first single mother who comes to mind and offer to babysit one night this week and let her go out.  Pay her to babysit her child.  Let’s decide to try and outdo each other in being the most loving people on earth this year.  

Sow those seed and this will be the year of harvest.  Don’t sow them and it’s still the year of harvest.  It’s just 100 times nothing is still nothing.

5 Attitudes to Ditch before the New Year

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1. Apathy.  There was a survey done of pastors of growing churches recently that showed the one thing they had in common wasn’t their theology, doctrine, mannerisms in the pulpit – but that they worked hard.  They knew how to rest and enjoy the rest patterns of life, but they worked hard.  They were continually learning how to engage with people better, how to become better leaders, how to influence and help people more.  Apathy never lets anything grow.  Gardens become wastelands when we do not tend to them.  Are there things you know need doing?  Make a list, and start working through them one after the other.  Stop watching nonsense on the TV, and vegging out all the time.  You are creating a vicious cycle that is not helping anyone.  Set the alarm for 5 one day before the family get up and spend 2 hours working through the to-do list.  Take a few days of Facebook – no one will actually miss you and your church or business won’t implode because of it.  Apathy is a killer, the Bible says clearly that laziness arms poverty in your life.  Not just poverty of finances but of thinking, of dreaming, of relationships.  Get up and put some effort into what you want to grow in 2013.

 

2. Stubbornness.  The death cry of the church or ministry or the business or the relationship is “we’ve never done it like that before…”  If you want different results that what you have always had, you will have to do something you have never done.  If you want success that you have never had, you are going to have become more flexible, more adaptable.  Stubbornness is a virtue only if you are right – if not, it is a vice.  Find out how people who have achieved more than you have achieved it, and make some changes.  Change is your friend, not your enemy.

 

3. Noseyness.  You have the exact amount of time in 2013 to do everything God has called you to do.  He is a master planner like that, but He has allocated zero time for you to poke your nose in other people’s business.  Every time you are interfering with someone else’s destiny you are absolutely failing to be working out your OWN salvations.  The fruit of the Spirit is self-control, not other-control.  Live and let live.  

 

4. Stinginess.  He who scatters sparingly shall reap sparingly.  Unless you learn true heart generosity, you will never receive the increase you deserve this year.  Become a great giver and you will become a great receiver.

 

5. Envy.  Stop looking at what other people and what they are doing in terms that you want them to fail so you look better.  Blowing out all the other candles in the room doesn’t mean yours will burn any brighter!  When Peter was told he would die for Jesus, his immediate response was “what about John?”  Jesus told him that John’s ministry was none of his business!  It’s true – the pastors envy the evangelists, the evangelists envy the pastors; the ushers envy the Sunday School workers, the Sunday School workers envy everyone who is not in the Sunday School… it’s hard to keep focused sometimes.  Spend time thanking God for what you DO have, and it is a lot easier not to get frustrated about what you don’t have. 

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