Posts Tagged ‘function’

Grace Platforms

The Ministry of Christ is a ministry of grace! His message was the Good News of a Kingdom of grace flowing from Heaven into Earth. It would bring forgiveness, peace and freedom from sin. Yet the deliverance and freedom experienced in the life of a disciple can only be attained and measured by the transformed mind. Real Kingdom mysteries require us to change the way we think about everything pertaining to God, Church and life on this planet (Mt. 4:17). Jesus has stepped into our natural reality and He brought His world with Him!

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His Kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isa. 9:6-7)

Ministry on Christ’s Shoulder:

The five-fold ministry gifts are examples of how “grace has been given” as Christ distributes (Eph. 4:7). All ministry is simply the manifestation of Christ expressed through the believer by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, as the “Christ” is our Apostle (Heb. 3:1), Prophet (Lk. 24:19), Evangelist (Mt. 9:35), Pastor (1 Pet. 5:2-4) and Teacher (Jn. 3:2). He emulated these offices and distributes the mantles for individuals to function in them, so that the Church carries His anointing for ministry (Jn. 14:12).

“…the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So…they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:2-3)

Selected and Sent:

The five-fold leaders are not self-appointed, nor are they simply pastors of a local church. They are clearly defined ministries that have an impact on the Church as a whole and its witness in the world. By nature, their scope of ministry is wider than the local church. They are grace ministries of Christ to the Church at large. Whether its from inner city pulpits or in the bush lands of Africa, the heartbeat of 5-fold ministry is the discipling of the nations… its our Great Commission! (Mt. 28:18-20).

Two things are required for a five-fold ministry gift to come into its own: 1) Recognition by the wider Body of Christ and 2) Functional Ministry to the wider Body of Christ. Jesus said that the fruit of a person’s life is the best way to recognize their identity, character and anointing. Prior to these two conditions being met, someone may potentially have a five-fold ministry gift, but will not yet be moving in the scope and authority of that gift. Jesus gives the grace for each gift to be released into the Church.

“…God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the Chief Cornerstone” (Eph. 2:19-20).

Foundations:

The foundation of the Church is Jesus… the revelation of “Christ – the Son of the Living God” (Mt. 16:16). And yet there is this unique platform of the apostle and the prophet team (Eph. 3:4-5). This platform carries the role of unveiling the mysteries hidden down through the ages, yet revealed in Christ and by the Holy Spirit to the sons and daughters of men. I believe these two mantle gifts still serve that ministry role (Eph. 4:12-13), so it is vital for us to understand how this works in leading the Body of Christ. We must remember that proper buildings are held up by proper foundations. I would propose; that when grace flows into ministry and functions properly, under the headship of Christ and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, it will result in the growth and supernatural health of the Church worldwide. It is the will of God to set this in order and accomplish it through His apostle and prophet teams (Isa. 9:7)… by grace.

The Key of Humility:

The Apostle James and the Apostle Peter wrote specifically about how to receive grace (Jms. 4:6 & 1 Pet. 5:5-6). The humble person receives grace and more grace even as they maintain their humility in the midst of difficult circumstances. Jesus said “Blessed is the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt. 5:3). The humble person; who lives selflessly in ministry, will receive a flow of resource from heaven according to the gift Christ has given them. Their anointing will be in proportion to their faith, assignment and their need.

The Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). The ministry teams made up of Apostle and Prophets like Paul, Barnabas, Silas and Timothy served to accomplish great things in advancing the Kingdom of God. They were set apart by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:2), helped in the midnight hour (Acts 16:25-26) and anointed to do incredible miraculous signs that accompanied the preaching of the Word of God (Acts 19:11-12).

Restoration is needed: In order for the Church to see what God is after today, our impact must set the captives free! We must rely upon the flow of ministry grace… like the dry ground soaks up the rain.

One Body in Christ

“For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” (Rom. 12:4-5)

Three important Truths are emphasized in the Apostle Paul”s use of the “body” analogy in explaining the Church. Simple as it may sound, there is and always will be a need to remind ourselves that there are no super- Christians and no professionals in the family of God. God is a Father and expects us to recognize that He knows what is best for His Children. I hope you can hear the “Fathering” voice of God flowing through the Apostle Paul’s words.

1) No Lone Rangers: 

No individual Christian can function effectively in isolation and sustain any longterm victories for God. The Church’s highest goal is to embrace the value of standing with one another… as One Body in Christ. Our calling is the advancement of Christ’s victory in the world. Just as there are many parts of the human body and the individual parts enable the effective performance of that body, so we are part of the body of Christ. And His ongoing power is made most effective when we stand with each other. Its true, we are many individual members, but each member is important! We are tied together in our offensive posture in proclaiming the Gospel and defensive posture of protecting the weak… ”members of one another”. No member of Christ’s body can battle against our adversary alone and win. We lock arms and lift the burdens together. The devil is a fierce and cunning warrior. His demonic host of wickedness are accustom to the spiritual realm and understand invisible realities that are difficult for us to maneuver. The Church of Jesus Christ is an army that can only function as one dynamic, faith filled unit, when interdependant and coordinated as one in Christ Jesus.

2) Humility Matters:

No member of Christ’s Body should feel more important than any other member. No Christian has exclusive rights to God’s grace nor can any single member move without an effect on the rest of the body. This, perhaps, is one of the Apostle Paul’s major teachings in the passages dealing with the body function.

Some of the Corinthians were saying, “I don’t need you” and/or “I’m more important than you” and Paul made it clear that humility must be at the center of their attitudes. In a parallel passage in his Romans letter (Rom. 12:3) Paul says “…don’t think of yourselves more highly than you ought”. He also wrote, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2). These are powerful exhortations considering the explosive nature of the Kingdom at this time in history.

Why did Paul emphasize humility, gentleness, and patience in these passages? Because, attitudes define altitude in the Kingdom of God. As he went on to say, “There is one body and one Spirit”  (Eph. 4:4). This is essential when we understand, we get our source of life and revelation of God from the Holy Spirit! He said to the Corinthians; “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body… and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). These are powerful realities that make the focus of our faith produce real impact. Though one person may have a more public position, in God’s sight even the person who may go unknown and unnoticed, is just as important and necessary to the body (1 Cor. 12:22-23).

3) Unity Releases Blessing:

Every Christian should work hard at creating unity and aligning their hearts to one another in the Body of Christ. Just listen to these words of the Apostle Paul:

  • “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (1 Cor. 1:10)
  • “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of Peace.” (Eph. 4:3)
  • “…let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Rom. 14:19).

The Apostle Paul was exhorting these Believers to do everything they could to “build one another up”. The atmosphere of mutual edification is the anointed place where God commands blessing and favor (Ps. 133). We want impact and we long for God’s voice to carry weight in the culture… well, this is how we do it! Unity is an awesome platform that establishes the authority of God and produces supernatural influence in the world around us.

“For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Mt. 18:20) 

Ministry of Grace

The Ministry of Christ is a ministry of grace! His message was the Good News of a Kingdom of grace flowing from Heaven into Earth. It would bring forgiveness, peace and freedom from sin. Yet the deliverance and freedom experienced in the life of a disciple can only be attained and measured by the tranformed mind. Real Kingdom mysteries require us to change the way we think about everything pertaining to God, Church and life on this planet (Mt. 4:17). Jesus has stepped into our natural reality and He brought His world with Him!

  • “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His Kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isa. 9:6-7)

Ministry on Christ’s Shoulder:

The five-fold ministry gifts are examples of how “grace has been given” as Christ distributes (Eph. 4:7). All ministry is simply the manifestation of Christ expressed through the believer by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, as the “Christ” is our Apostle (Heb. 3:1), Prophet (Lk. 24:19), Evangelist (Mt. 9:35), Pastor (1 Pet. 5:2-4) and Teacher (Jn. 3:2). He immulated these offices and distributes the mantles for individuals to function in them, so that the Church carries His anointing for ministry (Jn. 14:12). 

“…the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So…they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:2-3)

Selected and Sent:

The five-fold leaders are not self-appointed, nor are they simply pastors of a local church. They are clearly defined ministries that have an impact on the Church as a whole and its witness in the world. By nature, their scope of ministry is wider than the local church. They are grace ministries of Christ to the Church at large. Whether its from inner city pulpits or in the bush lands of Africa, the heartbeat of 5-fold ministry is the discipling of the nations… its our Great Commission! (Mt. 28:18-20).

Two things are required for a five-fold ministry gift to come into its own: 1) Recognition by the wider Body of Christ and 2) Functional Ministry to the wider Body of Christ. Jesus said that the fruit of a person’s life is the best way to recognize their identity, character and anointing. Prior to these two conditions being met, someone may potentially have a five-fold ministry gift, but will not yet be moving in the scope and authority of that gift. Jesus gives the grace for each gift to be released into the Church.

“…God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the Chief Cornerstone” (Eph. 2:19-20).

Foundations:

The foundation of the Church is the apostle and the prophet team (Eph. 3:4-5). I believe, these two ministries still continue in that foundational role (Eph. 4:12-13), so it is vital for us to understand how this works in leading the Body of Christ. We must remember that proper buildings are held up by proper foundations. I would propose; that when grace flows into ministry and functions properly, under the headship of Christ and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, it will result in the growth and supernatural health of the Church worldwide. It is the will of God to set this in order and accomplish it through His apostle and prophet teams (Isa. 9:7)… by grace.

The Key of Humility:

The Apostle James and the Apostle Peter wrote specifically about how to receive grace (Jms. 4:6 & 1 Pet. 5:5-6). The humble person receives grace and more grace even as they maintain their humility in the midst of difficult circumstances. Jesus said “Blessed is the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt. 5:3). The humble person; who lives selflessly in ministry, will receive a flow of resource from heaven according to the gift Christ has given them. Their anointing will be in proportion to their faith, assignment and their need.

The Apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strenthens me” (Phil 4:13). The ministry teams made up of Apostle and Prophets like Paul, Barnabas, Silas and Timothy served to accomplish great things in advancing the Kingdom of God. They were set apart by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:2), helped in the midnight hour (Acts 16:25-26) and anointed to do incredible miraculous signs that accompanied the preaching of the Word of God (Acts 19:11-12).

Restoration is needed: In order for the Church to see what God is after today, our impact must set the captives free! We must rely upon the flow of ministry grace… like the dry ground soaks up the rain.    

5-Fold Ministry

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers” (Eph. 4:7 & 11).

Christ has distributed ministry gifts, which enable the Church to function as His Body, in vision, anointing and effectiveness. These five gifts as we will see, have a special purpose:

  • the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry
  • the edifying of the body of Christ
  • the unifying, growing and measuring of our sonship 

Spiritual Fathering:

The 5-fold ministry gifts are not titles, but anointed mantles that function to empower  “fathering”  in the Church family. There is nothing “elevated” about them (1 Cor. 4:9-13) and we should not assume that they were only given to men. The emphasis must be placed on the special purpose of preparing God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up and function with the same anointing Jesus carried while He was on the earth. Jesus said, “I only do what I see My Father doing” (Jn. 5:19). This value of “sonship”, stands as our model for how the Church gets its authority and power to advance the Kingdom of God in the world. The 5-fold ministry is designed to position fathering leaders in the family of God, so that there is a natural multiplication of spiritual sons and daughters who are doing what Jesus did (Jn. 14:12).

People Doing What Jesus Did:

These five leadership gifts were not simply given to do the work of the ministry, but to train, nurture and enable God’s people to do the work of the ministry. They offer the framework for God’s people to grow in their own callings and gifting under the governing leadership of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:19-22).  

The Time-Frame: “…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

The five-fold ministry did not pass away at the end of the first century, but was given until the maturing of the Body in unity, knowledge and expression of Christ’s fullness.

It was Jesus’ contention that the very gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. Yet we see the frailty by which the Body of Christ moves and wonder how this could ever be acheived. I have come to believe that most of the problems in the Church today can be attributed to man’s desire to do what they want. To experience the fullness of God, means we must be organized and led in the way that God intends. We have either left or lost our way and need to return to being the Church, rather than doing church. That goes beyond how we worship and what we believe, to the very anointing we expect to see emerge in our lives. Our experience has a direct connection to how we are governed and led.

If we are to be prepared for the return of our Kingly Bridegroom, we must discover the priorities that will bring beauty and maturity to the Bride He longs to embrace. 

Uncover Core Values

All I could say was… “Wow, that was amazing!”

In a recent planning session, a close friend of mine asked me what my core values were. At first I felt embarrassed and stammered around a bit, because I guess I had never really thought about it. My friend then asked a simple question: 

“What sort of things or people make you angry?” 

Well, I knew the answer to that immediately. Lies make me angry, especially when somebody is controlling or unwilling to face reality. People who don’t know boundaries make me angry. Bullies make me angry, and I have no problem standing up to them. From there, my friend helped me create a list of core values, which were integrity, truth and freedom. Quickly, I was able to see myself the way other’s were experiencing me. 

Core Values Focus Us:

What was most interesting about this experience was that it transformed my life, strategically. The way I communicate and function out of my core values has become much more natural and authentic. I have uncovered part of God’s design for me. I would propose, this is the stuff God knit into us in our mother’s womb (Ps 139:13-16). 

Now, if I work on a project that sets people free from manipulation and lies; I feel an internal motivation, welling up from who I am and how I see life. The opposite is also true. If I work on projects that are not out of my core values, the work feels difficult and tedious. I am realizing that work does not have to feel like work, if you are living out of your core values.

It makes me wonder how many people have yet to identify their core values and are working on projects that have no connection to their hearts?

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