You Are Not Smarter than Jesus 06: You Can’t Force People to Do What You Want

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Amazing how many people think they can just run rough-shod over the wills of other people. Someone once said about our church that their first surprise was that I don’t use fear and guilt to control the church, but their second surprise was that I was impossible to control with fear and guilt.

A lot of pastors can be controlled through fear and guilt – start to suggest “call yourself a pastor”, start to tell them you are leaving and taking your tithe money with you, start to bully them a little. I take a different approach – don’t like it, there is the door. I will not tolerate that kind of behaviour because it is all about controlling and stealing what is not yours.

We need to all realize whether we are pastors or laity that the fruit of the spirit is self-control, not other control. We have enough on our plate without trying to change others or control others. I am not the Facebook police, the food police or the fashion police, and nor are you. Just learn where your limits end.

Somebody recently tried to give me a piece of their mind – I wasn’t that interested to be honest so I walked away. They said to me “I have freedom of speech”, I said “True, but I also have freedom of listening, goodbye”. I don’t have to fill my mind with the rubbish in other people’s mouths, and nor do you!

Now, I normally teach on this from the point of view of the people who are being controlled and give tips on how to not be controlled by others, and that is vital teaching. The first time I taught on this in our church I got a standing ovation, which is not a normal event I can tell you! People were set free. (if you want to get a listen and need help in that area: http://www.treeoflifeguildford.com/building-fences.html)

But today I want to give 4 simple pieces of advice to stop you crossing over your limits and being a controlling person:

  1. Learn to live and let live.  Learn that not everything is your business, and learn to – as the Bible teaches – mind your own business. Ask yourself before speaking – is this my business. If not, shut your big mouth!
  2. Learn to speak directly. A lot of indirect talk is there to control people.
  3. Learn to never build your ego in the responses and actions of others. Pastors manipulate their flock to turn up at events because their ego is in the numbers. I am not against numbers or counting, but I believe strongly that you should be resting in God’s love for you which is the same whether 2 people or 200 or 2million turn up.
  4. Learn to respect the word “no”. Listen for it, and when you hear it respond to it. No means no, not “persuade me”, “push me” or “press me”. Learn to respect the quietest “no” of others, don’t make them force their way.

It’s that simple. Of course, other people should not be stopping you doing what God said, so the constant obstacles and “no” people, respect their no, but then stop building with them and find others who want to build with you. Selah!

 

 

You Are Not Smarter than Jesus 05: You Cannot Exalt Yourself

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For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted – Matthew 23.12

One of the things that frightens me when I deal with some pastors is the high levels of selfish ambition and the remarkable self-promotion. When I meet a group of guys, I expect a bit of alpha male behaviour, where the question “what do you do for a living” really means “do you earn less or more than me, where are we on the pecking order, who is the alpha and who is not”.

But when you meet pastors and the first question is “how many people are you running”, then you realize quickly it’s not to pray for you, to support you or to encourage you, or give you advice, but it is the same behaviour – “do you have less or more people than me, are you above me or below me in the pecking order, who is the alpha and who is not”.

It doesn’t sit well with me at all, and my normal answer to that question is “there are 150000 people in Barking and Dagenham (my borough) that don’t go to church.  That’s the number that I pray about, that keeps me up at night, that keeps me walking with God”.

When you try and exalt yourself, you will fail. You will be humbled – when you humble yourself it is called humility, but when you are humbled by external people and circumstances it is called humiliation. You could say “if you try and self-promote yourself and your ministry, you will end up humiliated”. Now it’s not God who humiliates you, He is love and love never humiliates others, but it is one of the binding principles of the universe that if you try and exalt yourself, you will fall flat on your face and people will – sadly – laugh at you.

I am amazed at the shamelessness of some pastors who want the top seat and do not care who they step on to get there. Don’t be that guy, it won’t end well.  What do I mean in practical terms?

  • Don’t hassle pastors for a pulpit.  The door will open at the right time, not when it is pushed hard by your selfish ambition
  • Don’t shoot up, shoot down. When you are at a pastor’s conference, stop trying to impress the speakers and the bigwigs, but get your hands dirty – pay for someone else’s room, help someone, take someone younger than you in ministry out for lunch and love them. Don’t be too big for the little jobs, don’t try and wangle your way onto the stage.  If you are invited to speak, keep to time and don’t distract. I’ve had enough of MCs who immediately after a powerful message by a great preacher feel it is their right and duty to add a fifteen-thirty minute epilogue to the message. I’m genuinely not interested, and the root of it is selfish ambition
  • Stop having discussions about numbers with people. I don’t share how many we are running except in internal meetings now, and I don’t share our income except in internal meetings.

Instead, humble yourself. Be humble, be gracious, be kind. Take the lower seat, step down – trust that God will seriously promote you like crazy when the time is right!  God is into exalting people and your time will come, but God wants it to happen in a way that only He gets the glory for it. I am telling you, God has a plan to promote you, and you need to trust that plan and that ridiculous favour on your life.

What does true humility look like?

  • Ask 3 questions to every pastor for everyone you answer. Genuinely care about how other people are doing.
  • Don’t try and push something across a bridge that is not strong enough for it. Sometimes I get strangers try and prophesy over me at a conference. I didn’t come for a stranger’s prophetic word – I came to be influenced and inspired and challenged by the conference. I know that sometimes a stranger can bring a great word, and sometimes if the person doesn’t know the situation it can bring great authenticity to the prophecy, but in my experience it generally generates more heat than light, because the word is not given in humility and grace, but in trying to establish a pecking order (ooh, I gave him a prophesy! can really be an insecure arrogance).  These are some of the amazing prophecies I have received in the last couple of years:
    • Shut down all your churches and go to Bible College (what again?  I’ve been for 6 years!)
    • Stop travelling across the world, it will make you ill (I didn’t receive that, and never will.  God told me to travel, and I ain’t getting ill)
    • God wants you to slow down (why? is my pace making you look bad?  Come on now!)
    • You are fat because you are greedy and selfish and your ministry will never succeed (this was after I had lost over 8 stone in a year, and I am still gradually losing weight!)
    • All of these words came from the insecurity and ambition of the prophecier and unfortunately that kind of thing brings humiliation as the people who know me try not to laugh!
  • Finally, the best way to humble yourself is to focus on who you are in Christ, the more you realize who you are, the less you have to prove yourself to others. It’s when you are scared God won’t promote you, then you feel you have to steady the ark. Don’t be that guy!

You Are Not Smarter than Jesus 04: Know People By Their Fruit

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Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? – Matthew 7.16

Jesus was very clear – you know people according to their fruit. The business world gets this point – it hires people who have evidence that they can do the job that is at hand. In other words, they know people by their fruit. If a good businessman had a choice between hiring a lovely person who needed the money or a person who can do the job well, they will choose the person who can do the job well. That’s a fact!

We need to have the same kind of acumen, be a bit more like Jesus, and stop offering jobs to people and stop trusting people just because they are nice, or they have some friends in common with us, or because they have been at the church a while, or because their parents are awesome, or because they went to this Bible College or the other.

We have to look at fruit.  And fruit is always like the seed!  A true pastor brings forth pastors into the world, a true teacher raises up teachers, and so on – just like rabbits have baby rabbits and sharks have baby sharks!

It amazes me how many people look for a mentor but never look for the fruit. The amount of people who have wanted to mentor me, but they are pastoring churches of 30-50 people, have never planted a church, have never pastored and have less fruit that we do – trust me, they can be my friends, I love them, but I won’t let them step into that role because it’s by fruit we know them.

But they have been Christians 40 years and pastors 30 years? It isn’t by the rings in the middle you know them, it’s the fruit!

A young man I know from years ago wanted to go to Bible College. I asked why because I believe in doing things on purpose, and he said to plant a church. I said make sure you choose a Bible College where some of the staff have planted churches, where people are brought in to the speak to the students who have planted churches. He went to a Bible College where no one has planted a church and they don’t get church planters in front of the people. He went because they had this kind of accreditation and that kind of reputation and so on and so forth. He thought he knew more than Jesus! Jesus said go by fruit! Now this young man is no longer even going to church.

You put fruitless people into your mentorship, then you end up fruitless!

And pastors and leader – don’t take someone on who has no fruit!  Don’t put someone into a position leading a church who has no fruit leading a small group. Don’t put people into place who don’t line up with 1 Tim. 3. Don’t waste your time mollycoddling people who don’t bear fruit. Don’t hire your mate, hire someone fruitful.

Don’t buy books that are just theory, buy them from people who have done it. Don’t have any more seminars and conferences from people who are swimming in the shallow end, but those who have launched out into the deep and done it!

 

You Are Not Smarter Than Jesus 03: Stop Swimming in the Shallow End

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Jesus got into the boat belonging to Simon and asked him to put out a little from shore. And sitting down, He taught the people from the boat. When Jesus had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch. “Master,” Simon replied, “we have worked through the night without catching anything. But because You say so, I will let down the nets. – Luke 5.3-5

Recently someone posted a great post on my Facebook timeline, it was from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, and had a whole bunch of people chasing Johnny Depp, and the caption was “This is what it feels like when you post something controversial on Facebook”.  And that’s true, if what you say goes against the grain and culture of the crowd, the crowd will rush you if you say it, whether that is the culture of a Facebook audience, a church, a nation, a city, a community.

The conversation with a couple of people then on and offline developed about how I have a reputation for saying the truth no matter what, and that I genuinely don’t care about what people think. It’s not strictly true, no one likes being rejected, no one enjoys being on the outside looking in, but I do believe that the truth must be said, and it must be said in love. The greatest influence in my life was a man called Dave Duell who was an apostle and an evangelist, and I had the privilege and joy of spending time with him and learning from him, and he used to say – and live – “Don’t give a rip about the opinions of others”.  In one conversation, I jokingly said I only hold back when it comes to parenting, politics and discipleship. But after that, during my prayer time, I felt my own words resound inside my head, and I felt that the Lord was telling me that I was holding back certain truths because I am too concerned about popularity. I’ve changed a lot in the last five months, and become a lot more bold concerning finances – which has led to some people leaving the church, even some leaders – but it has at the exact same time led to some of the most powerful testimonies of people finding jobs and getting supernatural promotions and financial deliverance I have ever heard in my life, and they are happening right here in Tree of Life.

So, I will not hold back on parenting, politics and discipleship. I intend to write a book on parenting in about 10-15 years when all my children are adults. I want there to be a little bit more meat on the bones in terms of proof that I – and my amazing wife, Amanda – are parenting well.

I will not hold back on politics either, but politics is not the real game changer that discipleship is, so I want to immediately discuss discipleship. Jesus was explicit – launch out into the deep. And what I see across this nation is most Christians, and sadly most leaders are still in the shallow end when it comes to discipleship and actually living a life like Jesus:

  • I went to preach in a church and they held an offering for me, and it was larger than what they expected (about double). They had to decide what to do with the money, even though it was explicitly raised for me. I have also a couple of years ago been in a service where they raised money for a minister friend of mine. I put a sum of money in the offering, and weeks later found out the minister did not even get what I gave! Even though it was explicit the offering was for him!
    • We are swimming in the shallow end when we cannot act with integrity with finances, cannot trust God for our financial future, cannot raise money with integrity. When a church has three offerings on a Sunday morning every week, for the church, for papa, for mama, when people are shamed for not giving to the pastors’ birthday offering, when the doors are locked until the offering reaches six figures (all things I know has happened) we have a church that is in the shallow end, if it is even in the ocean at all.
    • When Christians are preaching against tithing and giving, and say that giving is legalism, you know they are in the shallow end.  When people tell people not to give to local churches, then they are very much in the shallow end.  Jesus wants us to launch out into the deep, and go deep with our giving and our faith in that giving.
    • This shallow end when it comes to finances has to change, it absolutely has to change, and urgently. The nation of the UK has a problem with generosity when it comes to local church, and the ministers either settle for poverty and trying as hard as possible with no resources, or they are using fear and guilt to rip the money out of the pockets of the people without changing their hearts and teaching them how to walk, live and give by faith and honour!
    • I believe in prosperity, and I live a prosperous life – but I assure you there is a world of difference between raising money to minister and ministering to raise money and I see far too much of the latter. I believe that a lot of money raised in many charismatic churches is filthy lucre raised through manipulation and intimidation.  We teach people to give because that benefits the ministry and church, but we fail to teach people how to receive – it’s short-term, callous, selfish thinking and it is shallow.
    • I believe many Christians are relying on one offering to change their lives without building a wise and diligent attitude to earning, saving and giving on a consistent regular basis. They will give to big conferences at the tears of a preacher, but do not tithe to their local church, do not save and do not work hard at their career and at developing multiple streams of income. I do not believe we can win the world without this changing and I mean radical changing at the root.

Next Tuesday, I will continue this discussion regarding fruit.  It’s all part of the same syndrome, people are not spending the time, energy and effort to launch out into the deep. People are not letting the Word influence how they act, are not acting like there is a God who keeps promises, not acting like there is a spirit realm, not acting like Jesus – because their discipleship is lacking.  This must change, and we have to be the ones to change it. No one can do it for you, but if we all do it we can heal this nation, and heal the nations.

You Are Not Smarter than Jesus 02: Shake the Dust off Your Feet

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If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. (Matthew 10.14, NLT)

Listen carefully – some people just don’t care for you or your message. It’s time to get over your own ego and realize that. Not everyone cares about your great revelations, not everyone cares about your amazing teaching gift, not everyone cares about your wisdom and your insights.

One trait I see in many pastors that is costing them valuable time, rest and ministry opportunities is an inability to let things or people go.

Jesus on the other hand told his apostles, his sent-ones, that if people didn’t listen, shake the dust off your feet and move on to someone who will. Stop fishing in tiny ponds and move on. I know pastors who are in bits because a certain church or certain Bible College won’t let them preach – you know what, I never care about things like that, I just keep on doing what God called me to, and I have more than enough places to preach I can tell you.

It also happens with people in our church. It’s never nice when someone leaves, especially as most Christians do not have a clue how to leave a church well and with integrity. You want to go and get them back, and you know I have no problems with people doing that – I have done that. But there comes a point where it is obvious people just don’t care. So shake the dust off your feet and celebrate the people who do care.

I’ve seen pastors get up and angrily preach to the people that are not there on a Sunday! No, shake the dust off your feet and preach love and grace and the Word to the people who did come. And the people who are there need to be discipled!

Learn to shake the dust off your feet – learn to let people go. Not everyone can be your best friend, not everyone will benefit from your church and your ministry. Just get over yourself, and work in the sphere God has given you!

Remember if a sheep is lost, and sheep get lost because they are distracted, go and find that sheep and bring him home. Be the good shepherd.

If a coin is lost, and coins get lost because people lose them and other people’s actions cause them to be lost, go and turn the house upside down and bring that coin back into the collection.  Be the good housewife.

But if a son is lost, and sons get lost because they feel that you are holding them back from their inheritance and they would be better off without you and better off if you were dead, and why don’t I get the pulpit now and why don’t I get chances now, and why are you so horrible – then leave him be. Until they come to their senses and come home, you will only make things worse. So shake the dust off your feet, feed the calf, and run your house with the servants and sons that are still at home.

You Are Not Smarter than Jesus 01: Be Aware of Human Nature

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I was talking to someone over the weekend about pastoral ministry and they had some questions about how to deal with a certain situation they were facing as a pastor, as I encouraged them from the Word of God on how to proceed, they said something that has been resonating in my spirit last night and this morning. They said: “Some pastors seem to think they are smarter than Jesus.”

I agree – when I see churches relegate healing to yesteryear and/ or side rooms away from the main services, I think well, Jesus did not do that, He healed in the middle of the room and made a big deal of it. I see a number of issues like that, where pastors are trying to outsmart Jesus!

But one area in particular I think a lot of pastors think they are smarter than Jesus is in human relationships. A lot of pastors think that good pastoring is trusting everyone and letting everyone do what they want. That is not good pastoring and that is not what Jesus did.  Look at John 2.24:

But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, (John 2.24 KJV)

But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew human nature. (John 2.24, NLT)

Jesus, however, was wary of these believers. He understood people (John 2.24, GWT)

Jesus himself did not trust certain people, even believers, because He understood human nature.  Yes, Jesus loved everyone, and that is a good things to do, but loving everyone does not mean trusting everyone. Do not tell everyone your plans, do not promote everyone, do not let everyone speak in your pulpit or even in your small groups!

One element of good pastoring and leadership is understanding human nature. Let me tell you 7 types of people that you should never trust as a pastor (in fact, in any leadership position):

  1. Never trust the people who cannot answer a straight question, even if their answer sounds really religious. If you ask someone “I missed you Sunday, you weren’t at church” and their answer is “I was just in the will of God, brother” or “I am blessed”, do not trust that person. I know human nature, and when someone is secretive it is because they have something to hide.
  2. Never trust the people who only want your money and reject your wisdom. Your first ministry to people as a pastor is to provide them with wisdom, not cash. If they want the cash but not the wisdom, they are not your sheep, let them walk.
  3. Never trust the people who have not a nice word to say about their last church.  You will offend them quicker than you can imagine. Understand human nature – you are not so amazing that someone that thin-skinned will just love you and be fine in your church.
  4. Never trust the people who cannot stand correction. You know the people when you ask them to do something differently just get annoyed, upset and have 100 reasons why their way is best.
  5. Never trust someone who cannot keep your calendar, they are not part of you. Do you know that in England we do not celebrate the American Day of Independence?  Other nations have their own national days? The days you keep reveal the tribe you are in. We had an elder who would always do things on a different day – if I said let’s all fast Tuesday, he would always have a reason to fast Wednesday, and so on. He eventually told lies about me and tried to start his own church. The calendar is an amazing revelation of the hearts of men.  Remember Jesus told 500 people to wait in Jerusalem, because Jesus’ calendar was the outpouring of the Spirit would begin on the day of Pentecost – but only 120 people actually turned up for that day.  They couldn’t keep Jesus’ calendar and they missed out on the birth of the church!
    When people miss your annual healing and revival conference because “I booked my holiday to Barbados because it was cheap that week” or they miss your carol service because “the church down the road was having an event that looked nice”, love those people – love them to bits. But don’t trust them!
  6. Never trust someone who cannot serve. If they cannot put out chairs, make a cup of tea or carry some items around they are not leadership material. If they will not go out of their way to teach one or two or three people, they are not teachers. If Jesus is there when one or two gather, but you see someone only go for the big chair and big meetings, they are not like Jesus! One of the great things about always planting new churches is you can train new preachers in smaller churches and not only train them, but get a great revelation about their heart!
  7. Never trust someone who cannot forgive. If they are easily offended and hold grudges you will be on the receiving end of that offendedness before you know it. You have to realize that if someone is bitter it is entirely because they are a bitter person, and it has absolutely zero to do with the person who offended them, no matter their behaviour. If they are a bitter person, they will end up bitter at you as you lead them. You may say I’m a cynic, I say I know human nature. I say this is Christ-like behaviour. Never promote a bitter man. Never let them have your pearls, they will eventually stamp them into the ground, and then turn on you.

As a bonus, just incase some of you need to hear this:

8. Never trust a liar.

Amazing that needs to be said today, but it does. In fact, I have had people say I am acting in a non-Christian way by refusing to believe the words of a liar. They tell me that the person is just unsure of the truth or they are speaking from a political point of view. I then get told I should be more politic. No way – I am a pastor, appointed by a king, an ambassador of the Lord of Heaven Himself – I do not play politics, and the whole political agenda of some churches and ministries makes me want to vomit. I am not a politician. A politician is appointed by people and therefore has to please the people. A pastor is appointed by the Lord and has to please the Lord.

Remember Jesus Christ said it is the truth that sets you free – when someone is lying they are taking a path to bondage. When you tolerate that, you are denying the Lordship of the Holy Spirit and leading the whole church out of freedom into bondage, the exact opposite of a pastoral ministry!

Leading With the Word 01: Prophets and the Bible

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Today we are starting a new series which I believe will benefit all pastors everywhere.  One of the most important roles of a pastor – or any leader – is to lead people to be more based and more secure on the Word of the Lord, the Scripture.  So we are going to give some short lessons on how to “Lead With the Word”.

Firstly, I want to deal with something which I did think the church as a whole had dealt with, but sadly is coming around again. At our church Christmas meal last night, I noticed a few of the young men were wearing really skinny ties.  I remember when that came into fashion last time, and then went out of fashion. It all comes round again! And it is sadly the same with false ideas in the church – and somehow it seems to me a whole bunch of false ideas in the church gather around how we understand the office of a prophet.

I am still meeting Christians who are changing the whole course of their life because of something a so-called prophet said to them – I mean marrying someone, changing geography, changing church, changing all sorts of things – not because the Spirit of the Lord led them, but because a prophet said so. Now is this Biblical – that is the only question I have about this, or any, practice.  Is this what the Bible tells us to do?

You see if you do not understand the role of a prophet, you could have your entire life destroyed because of a false prophet – someone claiming to be a prophet.

So, let’s phrase the question clearly: are we supposed to receive guidance in our lives from prophets?

And let me make the answer as clear as I can: NO!  Did you get that? Let me say it again… NO! Let me make it even clearer:

NO!

You are not, under any circumstances, supposed to receive guidance from prophets. Ever. Not at all.

If you are living in the New Testament, and according to the calendar you are, then you should be guided by the Spirit of God and the Word of God. Romans 8.14 tells us that God’s sons are led by God’s Spirit.

Are you saying that there is no role for prophets? No – I am saying their role is not to guide but to equip (Ephesians 4.11 tells us prophets are to equip the saints).

In the Old Covenant, you had to go to a prophet to hear God for you because not everyone had the anointing.  But in the New Covenant, everyone has the anointing, and everyone can hear God for themselves. And the prophet is just supposed to equip you to hear God better and function prophetically better. They are not ever supposed to do it for you, and if they do they are false, and you will be manipulated and your life will mess up.

Not only that, when the prophets speak you do not need to accept it 100% no matter what, and you are not in rebellion to the Lord to ponder and analyse and consider a word from a prophet.  Paul is very clear: Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the others judge (1 Cor. 14.29).  What is unscriptural is to just accept a word from a prophet and fail to judge and examine it – which is what some are sadly doing today to their own ruin.

So today, when you have a major life choice, or even a minor decision – don’t seek the prophet, seek the Lord!  Learn to flow with the Spirit and follow the principles of the Word and the peace in your heart.

Lies That Stop the Harvest 10: Ignorance of Good Soil

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Some people do not know the difference between good soil and bad soil. The quality of the soil affects the return from the seed – which is why Jesus never bothered debating the Pharisees and you should not throw your pearls before swine: because they didn’t have a clue what was going on.

You are anointed – if people cannot perceive it, just keep bearing fruit.

But this same Jesus stopped the whole crowd to spend a day with a wicked, traitorous man called Zacchaeus. Why?  Because Jesus took the time to examine the soil and sow into good soil.

Two thieves were crucified next to Jesus, one entered heaven and the other entered hell. Why? One was good soil, and Jesus responded to the good soil. The other just mouthed and yelled hatred, and Jesus backed off.

Jesus taught the importance of observing the quality of the soil you sow into in Mark 4.3-8, explaining that the harvest is produced by good soil.

So, how can you tell what is good soil to give into as a Christian?

  • Good soil is giving. I absolutely refuse to sow into a non-giver as there will never be a return for me.
  • Good soil is productive. I don’t give into the hands of non-workers. Paul was strong on this, he said if you don’t work you are out of order (2 Thess. 3.11), and that we should have nothing to do with them (2 Thess. 3.14) and that they should not eat (2 Thess. 3.10). You are wasting everyone’s time by giving to someone who is not productive. Do not give to someone who will not take work when the doors open for work.
  • Good soil knows about prosperity. I will never give to a church or ministry that is against the prosperity of God.
  • Good soil is teachable. If you are giving to people within a local church setting, insure that your giving includes you sitting down with them and going over their bank statements. If they don’t want your wisdom, why give them your money?
  • Good soil is young ministers. The young guys are the ones pouring their lives and hearts into the into the gospel, they have left good jobs and the promise of a great career to serve God. They don’t have the power of momentum and a big mailing list and so on, they don’t have a great large ministry and reputation. I love sowing into people like that.
  • Good soil is teaching financial abundance. I love to give to ministries that are teaching prosperity and helping people to find prosperity. Some of those ministries have been attacked by the church so much, to help so many with the Word.
  • Good soil is those who have been faithful and loyal to those God sent them to
  • Good soil is those who have given you correction and wisdom
  • Good soil is those who have given you help when you needed it

You need to be asking the Father where you should sow.  It’s not to the guy who cries the loudest, or who makes you feel the most guilty, or so on. It’s the good soil you need to sow into.

Lies That Stop the Harvest 09: A Failure to Ask

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Ask and it shall be given to you – Jesus (Matthew 7.7)

Jesus said ask and you will get it. Despite what your grandmother told you that “askers don’t git”, that’s not true according to the Lord and Creator of the Universe. You need to ask. And that doesn’t just mean asking God, but it includes that. Let’s look at some asking that you could do this week to increase the return on your giving.

  • Ask God for a specific amount of money in prayer. Don’t wish for it, don’t dream of it – but ask for it outloud. A specific amount.
  • Ask your boss for a pay rise
  • Ask your boss for more work and more training (both of which will lead to an increase in your value)
  • Ask someone for some financial advice
    • But ask the right person! Don’t ask someone who is broke. The amount of people who pastor less than 50 people who want to give me advice on pastoring is unreal, but I take my advice from the people who pastor hundreds and thousands. Hence, I get practical wisdom that is proven. It’s the same for money – ask for financial advice from people richer than you!
    • Ask at the right time – when the person has time and the ability to focus on you. Don’t hassle them when they are about to work, about to do something or are tired.
  • Ask someone in the shop for a lower price on what you are about to buy
  • Ask a financial planner for some help
  • Ask a major creditor to wipe out or reduce your loan

When Jesus said ask and receive, for you to fail to ask is like saying you don’t really believe Jesus. Perhaps this is one of the reasons you are failing to walk in your harvest.

Lies That Stop the Harvest 08: Failure to Obtain Wisdom

the-thinker

When you increase in wisdom, you increase in finances! Proverbs 8 tells us that riches and honour are tied to wisdom (v. 14) and that if you love wisdom, God will fill your treasures (v. 21).

Let me say this another way: to gain wealth, you need to become good at what you do.

Study! Go to seminars! Read books! Get a mentor! 

These are ways to increase wisdom, and it is increasing wisdom that will increase your net worth. You don’t have to know everything about everything, but you have to know something about something. You have to develop a skill, an ability, a gift – you must find what God has placed inside you and cultivate that.

What you love is a great clue to your dominant gift – if you love computers, that’s a clue your gifting will be in that, if you love children, then that’s a clue your gifting will be there – and if you love something, it is always easier to develop in wisdom in that area.

Please, develop the attitude that you will be a lifelong learner. I have seen people stop learning and then they start dying.

Today, don’t take prisoners, but be ruthless towards apathy and ignorance. Today, find a seminar and get yourself booked in. Today, buy a book about your chosen topic. Today, find a mentor.  Don’t wait around, this is vital to your life success.