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10 Ways to Destroy a Church

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10.  Never be willing to do anything to help.  See the church as a provider of a service, not a community you are part of.  Never step up to taking responsibility, always see yourself as a tenant not an owner!

9.  Expect everyone to notice you and what you contribute.  If they fail to notice you, get stroppy with them for being so selfish and not noticing all you do to make things happen.  If they still fail, withdraw from the group until someone contacts you and asks how you are and makes a big fuss over you.

8.  Always speak to the people you know.  Never speak to new people in case they find us friendly and then decide they want to hang around – then where would we be?

7.  Be very intolerant of people who don’t know how we do things around here.  Our unspoken dress code, our order of service, even how we make a cup of tea and coffee, where cables go at the end of the church.  Make sure these people are told in no uncertain terms that they have done something really foolish and that everyone thinks they look ridiculous.

6.  Make sure you put other people down and criticize their contributions, their ideas, their style.  Otherwise how else is anyone going to know how amazing you are?  Your candle will surely burn brighter if you blow everyone elses’ candles out. 

5.  Be unpunctual.  It’s only 5 minutes of your time – so don’t ever think that if 20 people are waiting for you to arrive that’s 100 minutes you have wasted.  it is important not to think of other people here, but only yourself – otherwise you might stop being selfish, arrive on time and actually contribute to moving things forward.

4. Always take on more than you cope with – and when you serve be like Martha – rush about, get upset at people not serving, get bitter and angry and then boom – you lose your relationship with the Lord, and make other people feel guilty.  It might not help the community grow, but it will make you feel better and superior too.  That’s what it’s all about – that’s the only reason to serve.

3. Look for things to criticize.  You will find them.  In any church, you will find them.  Make sure you don’t look at all the work the church is doing, all the exciting things that are happening, all the good that is being done.  Look for the crack in the wall, don’t praise God for the wall.  When your looking at the cracks, you don’t get inspired and challenged by the wall.  You don’t get excited by all the things happening in the building.  You keep focused on the cracks.  But the good news is that you get a reputation in the church as the crack expert.  When people want to know what is going wrong, they come to you.  You get a lot of admiration being the crack expert and the great news is this – it’s the easiest job in the church.  Getting involved in the building, mixing cement, laying bricks, working as a team – that’s too much like hard work.  No – watch the builders build, notice when they get it wrong and let others know (loudly).  That is an easy job and an easy pathway to making friends and having a following.  (NOTE: please don’t take the time to ever consider that if you choose this path all your friends are backstabbing gossips.  Just be glad that they are listening to you and feed your power base).

2.  Make sure you tip the church.  About £1 per service is about right, maybe £2 or £3 if the message is amazing.  That way you dull the feeling inside that you should contribute to the financial health of the church, and that giving to the church is part of being significant.  There are a whole bunch of internet sites, mostly written by people who don’t go to church about how the tithe is obsolete, giving to churches is wrong and you should keep your money and spend it on yourself.  Spend lots of time reading these sites in case you start giving significant amounts so the church can blaze forward and impact the world.  Every time the preacher gets a new suit or car, think all about your suits and cars that you don’t have and hold back on your giving.  Remember – it’s someone elses’ job!

1.  Never, ever be disciplined about going.  It’s been a busy weekend?  Skip church on Sunday.  Stay in bed.  Play a board game with your children – tell yourself that you are doing it for them (don’t consider that you are training them to skip church when you are tired, and that might not be a good habit to instill in a child).  It’s been a hard day at work?  Don’t go to Living Church.  They won’t miss you.  You can read the Bible yourself (don’t consider that you never do during those times).  You don’t need fellowship to advice.  Go when you feel like – and tell yourself it what Jesus wants.  Again, there are loads of websites written by people about how church is institutional, sets you back in your Christian faith and a whole host of other things.  Start to see church as an optional extra that fits into your life, not the bedrock of your Christian life.  

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.

Ten Reasons to Speak in Tongues…

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10.  You edify yourself and build yourself up

9. You train your mind to shut up and listen to your spirit speaking out of your mouth

8. You build up yourself in the faith

7. You speak mysteries to God

6. You can pray with the spirit, and then interpret and pray with understanding.  It’s a better way to pray!

5. You can pray in tongues in the car, walking to work, doing the dishes – in any situation in which your mind is unfruitful

4. Paul prayed in tongues and he told us that we should imitate him

3. Mary prayed in tongues, and that’s just awesome!

2. In the early church, they all spoke with tongues – and the church hasn’t changed since then.

1. Jesus said “In my name, you will speak in tongues”

Silence is Golden

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I am sitting here late at night and the whole family is asleep. The house is exceptionally quiet, and it is very pleasant. Don’t get me wrong – I love being the father of four, but there is not often I have a chance for a little still!

But that got me thinking about Elijah and his desire to encounter God. God wasn’t in the earthquake and God wasn’t in the fire. God was in the still, small voice.

Yet it seems to me that within the charismatic world all we do is about the earthquake and the fire. Fire conferences, fire clubs, fire meetings, shake the nations songs and worship, the whole lot. We are all looking for revival, all looking for that next explosion.

What if God isn’t in the revival? What if God isn’t in the conference? What if God isn’t in the explosion?

What if God is in the still and the small? What if God is in you baking a cake for your lonely neighbour? What if God is in the encouraging text to the discouraged Christian? What if God is in you turning off the dull insipid TV programme and reading a chapter or two of the Bible and thinking about His love and grace?

We all admire the spectacular, but what if in our search for the spectacular we are missing the supernatural. There was no healing meeting in the book of Acts. Peter healed the beggar on the way to the church, and then saw salvations. We would have taken the beggar to the meeting, and made him listen to I AM THE LORD THAT HEALETH THEE a thousand times because we think God is in the FIRE, not in the small voice: I have something, and I am going to give it to you.

Philip walked away from the revival and the joy and the healings to go and minister to one hungry man reading the Scriptures who wanted to know the Messiah.

Paul interrupted his letter to the Philippians, his favourite church, to ensure a couple of ladies were speaking to each other.

Maybe you don’t have the skills to change a nation, but you can change one person’s life. Today (or possibly tomorrow as it is pretty much bed time here) you could take a small, still, peaceful action and lead someone into a better life.

I am not against numbers, I am not anti-numbers. I was told by God to move to London and build a church of thousands. But this week we took our Living Church (house church, cell, whatever label suits you) and broke it into two groups. It went from one group of 13-15 to two groups of about 6. And the testimonies from the two groups were exponentially more than the testimonies from the one. Why? Silence. The still and the small. People could share issues, people could discuss, people weren’t afraid to share their soul.

Sometimes loud is awesome. But God was in the still. So why are our churches sometimes the least quiet places on the planet?

Today I ask you: just for a day, don’t beg God for fire or for an earthquake in your life, but just listen to the still and the small and follow that. I believe that in the long run you will see more results than just sitting and expecting an earthquake to throw everything in your lap.

Imagine a Church…

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A Better Way to Pray (Andrew Wommack)

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Decades ago, I was participating in an all-night prayer meeting bombarding the gates of heaven. I remember beating the wall and yelling, “God, if You loved the people in Arlington, Texas, half as much as I do, we’d have revival!” Immediately, my lightning-fast mind realized that something was seriously wrong with my theology. What was I thinking?

Did I really believe I loved these people more than God did? No, not exactly. Like many Christians, I believed God was angry with the human condition, and it was up to me to turn Him from wrath and judgment. I was interceding, or so I thought, pleading with God on the behalf of others. What could possibly be wrong with that? As I learned later, a lot.

The things the Lord has revealed to me about prayer since then have totally changed my life, and I’m now seeing miraculous results. If you aren’t getting the results you know the Lord wants you to have, maybe it’s time to consider a better way to pray. I’m not saying that anyone who doesn’t pray as I do is “of the devil.” I wasn’t “of the devil” in the way I used to pray. I loved God with all my heart, and the Lord loved me. But the results weren’t there.

First, we need to recognize that God isn’t angry at mankind anymore. He is no longer imputing or holding our sins against us.

“God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19).

We are NOW reconciled to God through Jesus. That means we are in harmony and are friendly with God right now. He isn’t mad; He’s not even in a bad mood. The war between God and man is over. That’s what the angels proclaimed at the birth of Jesus.

Luke 2:14 says,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

These angels weren’t saying that peace would reign on earth and that wars between people would cease. That certainly hasn’t happened. They were proclaiming the end of war between God and man. Jesus paid a price that was infinitely greater than the sins of the whole human race.

God’s wrath and justice have been satisfied. Jesus changed everything. God isn’t angry. His mercy extends to all people. He loves the world, not just the church, but the whole world. He paid for all sin.

The Scriptures say in 1 John 2:2,

“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

In the Old Testament, God’s judgment was poured out on both individuals and nations. In the New Testament, God’s judgment was poured out on Jesus. That is the nearly-too-good-to-be-true news of the Gospel. We no longer get what we deserve; we get what Jesus paid the price for, if we will only believe.

Before I understood this, I would say, “If God doesn’t judge America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” Now I say, “If God judges America, He will have to apologize to Jesus.” Understanding what Jesus did completely changes our perspective.

Second, Jesus is now the Mediator. A mediator is one who seeks to reconcile, or make peace between, two opposing parties. In the Old Testament, man had not yet been reconciled to God through Jesus. The people needed a mediator, someone to intercede with God on their behalf. That is where we find people like Abraham and Moses pleading with God.

In Genesis 18:23-25, Abraham interceded with God on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah:

“Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

In fact, Abraham actually negotiated with God until He agreed not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of ten righteous people. But there weren’t ten righteous people in the whole city, and only some of Lot’s family survived. A similar account is recorded in Exodus 32:9-12 and 14. Here God was furious with the people, and Moses interceded for them:

“The LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people…And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.”

Moses actually told God, “Repent!” What nerve! What’s more amazing is that God repented. From these and other stories in the Old Testament, modern-day “intercessors” believe we, too, must stand in the gap, or mediate, between God and man. Just as I did decades ago, they believe we must plead with God to save the lost, to withhold His wrath from those He is ready to judge, and to be merciful to those whose needs He is unwilling to meet because of their unworthiness.

That couldn’t be further from the truth, but it is what’s being taught in many churches today. It ignores the fact that Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father (Heb. 10:12), ever making intercession for us (Heb. 7:25). If Moses or Abraham could persuade God, don’t you think Jesus could do at least as well?

In 1 Timothy 2:5, we read,

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

In the New Covenant, Jesus is the ONLY mediator needed to stand between God the Father and mankind. Sin is no longer a problem with God; it’s been atoned for, and we are now the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. That is how God sees us. If we understand that, it will change the way we pray.

It was appropriate for Abraham and Moses to pray as they did because God’s wrath had not yet been appeased through Jesus. Today, under the New Covenant, if people try to mediate in that way, they are actually antichrist—against Christ. They are saying that Jesus was not enough and are not esteeming what Christ has done. When Jesus became our Mediator, He put all other mediators out of business—forever. I know these words are strong, but they are the truth.

Satan is behind much of the wrong teaching on “prayer.” Consider how crafty his plan is and the fruit it produces. He has convinced believers to stay in their closets, taking the place of Jesus in intercession. They spend hours pleading with God to turn from His wrath, to pour out His Spirit, and to meet the needs of the people.

Meanwhile, families, coworkers, and neighbors are going to hell and dying from disease. The Bible doesn’t say that salvation comes through intercession, but by the foolishness of preaching (1 Cor. 1:21). And we are not told to pray for the sick, but to heal the sick (Matt. 10:8) by commanding healing into their broken bodies.

We have been deceived into believing prayer is all about persuading God to release His power. We believe He can save, heal, and deliver but that He is waiting on us to shape up and earn it. The truth is, we don’t deserve it, and we will never be good enough. Because of Jesus, all that God has is ours. That’s good news. We no longer need to beg or plead; we need to exercise the authority He has given us and receive His blessings.

There really is a better way to pray. I am not saying it’s the only way, but it is working for me. I have only touched on this subject in this letter, so I encourage you to order my book, A Better Way to Pray.

This message is also available in a CD or DVD album. In the book and albums, I talk about the primary purpose of prayer; the importance of speaking to your mountain about God, not to God about your mountain; the process of prayer; and I reveal many of the misconceptions about prayer.

These truths have changed the way I pray and the results I get. More importantly, I believe they could revolutionize the body of Christ. I pray that you will take advantage of these truths and help me share them with others. To order, go to our website atwww.awmi.net or call the Helpline at 719-635-1111.

We love you,

Andrew & Jamie

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