Posts Tagged ‘Isa 9:6-7’

Loving What Emerges

This post is from the start of the very first Apostolic Training Center…….5 years later God is still up to amazing things.

Sometimes we put our hands to work and we are very aware of the outcome… and then there is the ministry. Its the work of God’s hands! He is the Ultimate Potter, we become the clay and the emerging masterpiece is of His craftsmanship. I love it, I love watching it and being part of it.

The Quest:

There is this wonderful vulnerability where grace, tears, risk and adventure come together. Its like there are no blueprints, no plans to follow. Its just faith in God’s power at work that shapes the mission. We have a vision of where we are going, but there is no quest on earth that so yields itself to the will of another. Not just any “another” but “The Another” - God, Himself holds our attention, our heart beat and our foot prints. And somehow a ministry emerges from our efforts that brings Him pleasure, while at the same time transforms a culture. Wow, what a life changing opportunity to join God in this quest.

Mission Uganda:

In my resent journey into Uganda there was one specific goal that God seemed to be emphasizing over and over; opening the Apostolic Training Center. Our teams on the ground were set and ready to move and I have never seen such passion for God’s Word to be taught. Pastor Francis Wanyama met me at the airport with my schedule in his hand and a fire in his belly. Our driver was not about to waste time with small talk; for he was a pastor as well, already engaged in the process of mobilizing a network of laborers. I could tell this was not an ordinary day… a New Day was emerging in the hearts of these people and all I could say is, “Its just the beginning!”

Apostolic Training Center

March 2012

A Grand Opening:

My schedule was filled with conferences and teaching sessions, but the one event that stood out was the Grand Opening of our Apostolic Training Center. I arrived at about 9 am to about 125 students of all ages, hungry and waiting. Blessed and energized by what I was experiencing, we stepped into the process together… all of us knowing nothing of where God was taking us. One thing we were all in agreement upon… we would not have wanted to be anywhere else. There was a buzz in the room that assured us almost immediately that this was a New Day and that God was doing a New Thing.

The Emerging Wineskin:

For the next 4 days something wonderful began to emerge. A wineskin of sorts was beginning to take shape. It was filled with spiritual substance, Holy Spirit stuff like joy and laughter, hope and expectancy; as well as some tough questions about truth… God’s Truth. And no matter how difficult we imagined this challenge to be, God seemed to be offering a resource. He was doing something I have watched Him do time and time again, governing by peace (Isa 9:6-7).

Just the Beginning:

Now, with over 150 people carrying a dream that no man on earth will be able to sustain. All I know to do is love what emerges. It looks a lot like the vision we had in our hearts when we heard from God, but we could never have taken credit for how it felt to us. It was God’s dream first and it thrills me to have brought Him the glory!

Ministry is like that… its the work of God’s hands. When its all said and done we realize, we are His workmanship and He is shaping our hearts (Eph 2:10).

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.

Atmospheres of Peace

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13)

I believe God is wanting to bring a restoration of hope into all the Earth. In order to release revival in any part of the world, there must be a fresh vision of Jesus… Jesus is our Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6-7) (Eph. 2:14). Interestingly, the Apostle Paul saw “hope” as something tied directly to our joy and peace in believing. We can abound in hope, but never without the power of the Holy Spirit releasing atmospheres of peace.

Prophetically: A Pathway for Jesus!

John the Baptist prepared the path for the Lamb of God to come into view for the nation of Israel. The Prophet Isaiah tells us that John needed to “make straight in the desert, a highway for our God” (Isa. 40:3-5). The valleys would need to be exalted and the mountains made low. The crooked places needed to be made straight and the rough places made smooth. And why? “For the Glory of the Lord to be revealed” – that everyone would see it… everyone would experience God’s peace!

Kingdom people are designed to carry the Glory of God and enjoy the atmosphere of peace that goes beyond our understanding (Phil. 4:7). John was a voice crying in the wilderness… “prepare your hearts, repent of your ways, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”. John was not looking for just any man when he looked for the Christ. The Lamb of God would be recognized by peace. John would identify the Messiah by this sign, at His baptism the Spirit would come like a dove (the symbol of peace), land upon Him and stay. God was asking John to notice how peace would come into the world. The Lamb of God would serve as an entry point for the “dove” to land and for peace to be recognized. Remember the phrase… “a place for the dove to land”.

Visible and Recognizable:

When Jesus sent out the 12 disciples in Matthew 10, He said freely you have received now freely give, yet when you go into a community look for places to impart your peace. If they will not receive it then take it back unto yourself, wipe the dust off of your feet and journey to the next community. What Jesus was saying is that we should be looking for places where the “dove” will be welcome. The dove is the Biblical symbol for the Peace provided by the Presence of the Holy Spirit. This is still our urgent mission; not just to win a bunch of people to our point of view, but to bring an atmosphere! Our mission unlocks the revelation that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. And all are welcome to see into its Glory and live in its Peace.

Today – let the Peace of God find its rest in your heart and mind!

Kingdom Ministry

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ.” (Eph. 4:11-12)

The Apostle Paul believed in the government of the Kingdom of God as it rested upon the shoulders of Jesus (Isa. 9:6-7). His teaching promoted Jesus alone, as the Head of the Church and “under-shepherds” as gifted leaders, anointed to equip believers in each city or region. So if you were a Christian in a certain city or region in the Apostle Paul’s day, you would be expected to fellowship and become equipped by the 5-fold ministers around you. All the 5-fold ministers were to model a unity of Spirit even as they traveling across regions of the country and the believers were to embrace their gifts according to the measure of Christ’s anointing upon them.

The Challenge of Kingdom Ministry:

I believe every disciple and every local body of believers need access to the 5-fold ministry in order to mature as spiritually healthy and effective Christians. Today our challenge is training that advances the Kingdom of God. Instead of receiving from all five ministries, we generally find only the leadership of one or two gifts carrying influence in the local body… for instance; the pastor led church, the teaching church or the evangelistic church. These groups might emphasize a balanced message, but they find themselves limited in their ability to release breakthroughs over their city or region. This is because Jesus has given “grace keys” to each of the 5-fold ministers individually and they are designed to equip and release authority in the spiritual realm (Mt. 16:19). Its the “Christ Anointing” that opens doors, breaks yokes and brings down spiritual strongholds over a vicinity. The corporate anointing that advances Kingdom authority has five keys or mantles… apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Any model of Church leadership will suffer when one gift is emphasized over all others.

The Pattern Within the Early Church:

“So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed and fasted, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” (Acts 14:23)

We see that the pattern for Church government was to establish 5-fold ministry elders in every community of believers. We never see the language of one elder or the appointment of one superintendent over a people. There was accountability and strength as Christ governed His Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Notice, the freshly appointed elders were prayed and fasted over and then commended to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Christ Jesus carries the authority of His Church and it is our responsibility to listen and trust His governing headship.

The 5-fold Minister

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ.” (Eph. 4:11-12)

The Apostle Paul believed in the government of the Kingdom of God as it rested upon the shoulders of Jesus (Isa. 9:6-7). His teaching promoted Jesus alone, as the Head of the Church and “under-shepherds” as gifted leaders, anointed to equip believers in each city or region. So if you were a Christian in a certain city or region in the Apostle Paul’s day, you would be expected to fellowship and become equipped by the 5-fold ministers around you. All the 5-fold ministers were to model a unity of Spirit even as they traveling across regions of the country and the believers were to embrace their gifts according to the measure of Christ’s anointing upon them. 

The Challenge of Kingdom Ministry:

I believe every disciple and every local body of believers need access to the 5-fold ministry in order to mature as spiritually healthy and effective Christians. Today our challenge is training that advances the Kingdom of God. Instead of receiving from all five ministries, we generally find only the leadership of one or two gifts carrying influence in the local body… for instance; the pastor led church, the teaching church or the evangelistic church. These groups might emphasize a balanced message, but they find themselves limited in their ability to release breakthroughs over their city or region. This is because Jesus has given “grace keys” to each of the 5-fold ministers individually and they are designed to equip and release authority in the spiritual realm (Mt. 16:19). Its the “Christ Anointing” that opens doors, breaks yokes and brings down spiritual strongholds over a vicinity. The corporate anointing that advances Kingdom authority has five keys or mantles… apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Any model of Church leadership will suffer when one gift is emphasized over all others.

The Apostle:

An apostle is one chosen and sent with a special commission. The 12 apostles chosen by Jesus were witnesses of the resurrection (Acts 1:15; 4:33), but there were many other true apostles (Acts 14:3-4; Rom. 16:7; 1 Cor. 15:5-7; Gal. 1:1 & 19). The ministry of an apostle includes planting new churches (1 Cor. 9:2; 1 Cor. 3:6), grounding the Church in truth (Col. 1:25), preserving unity in the Body (1 Cor. 3:3-5), laying foundations in the Church (1 Cor 3:10) and setting things in order (Titus 1:5). They are involved in opening spiritual doors and fostering a vision beyond the local congregation (2 Cor. 8), fathering new ministries (2 Tim. 1:6) and releasing unusual demonstrations of breakthrough such as miracles and signs and wonders (2 Cor. 12:12).

The Prophet:

The ministry of the prophet involves being “moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21) in prophetic utterance, which can be:

  1. Predictive (Acts 21:10-11; 11:27-28)
  2. Directive (Acts 13:1-3)
  3. Corrective (Acts 15:22-23 & 27-32)

There is such a thing, however, as a false prophet (1 Jn. 4:1), and so God sets clear guidelines: Prophecies should be time-tested (Acts 11:28) and their words judged by church leadership (1 Cor.14:29). Any prophecy should be confirmed independently (2 Cor. 13:1) and should line up with Scripture, “the sure word of prophecy” (2 Pet. 1:19-21).

The prophet operates best in teamwork with the apostle, like we see in Paul and Silas. A prophet is not just someone with a prophetic anointing, but a recognized ministry to the Body at large. Scripture speaks of three levels of prophecy: the word of prophecy – limited to “strengthening, encouraging and comfort” (1 Cor. 14:3 & 31); the spirit of prophecy on a group (1 Sam. 10:10) and the ministry of the prophet (1 Cor. 12:28-29). All believers are encouraged to move in words of prophecy, but only a prophet should exercise the authority of predictive, directive and corrective prophecy and even then, only within clear protective guidelines.

The Evangelist:

The evangelist sees the harvest. They are ”soul-winners”, who preach good news and extend the influence of God’s Kingdom. This is primarily a stirring and awakening gift, but their unique anointing is in persuading the lost that they need a Savior. The ministry of Philip is a powerful example (Acts 8:5-40). They are co-workers with pastors and extensions of apostolic ministry as ground breakers (2 Tim. 4:5; 1 Thess. 3:2). Although they carry great influence in the harvest fields; because of how they see, they also are helpful in imparting evangelistic training to the Body of Christ over all. The ministry of an evangelist is often very effective in regional impact, deliverance and signs and wonders.

The Pastor:

The pastor is the carrier of cool water, that soothes the soul. Our Greek word for pastor, poimen means “one called to tend sheep or care for flocks” (1 Pet. 5:1-4; Jn. 21:15-17). Its interesting to note that, this word is used only in Ephesians 4:11. Elsewhere in the New Testament, other words are used: “shepherd”, “elder” and “overseer”. A pastor is not simply a leader over a local church, but has a Body-wide expression of ministry. As one of the five-fold ministry, a pastor is more accurately a “pastor of pastors” or a “pastor among elders” beyond the local body. A pastor’s emphasis in ministry is in relational networking. They are nurturing leaders, who offer healing, encouragement and comfort. Following the example of the Chief Shepherd (Jn. 10:1-16), a shepherd’s ministry is to feed (vs 9); protect (vs 12), guide (vs 3-4) and love (vs 15) the sheep.

Just to clarify, an elder is not simply someone older in the faith. The title ”elder” seems to focus on the 5-fold giftings with an emphasis on their functioning role of “shepherds” or ”fathers” to the Body (2 Jn 1; 3 Jn 1). “To the elders among you…Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers…” (1 Pet 5:1-2). 

The Teacher:

A teacher is not just someone who teaches; we are all encouraged to teach (Col. 3:16), but they are the ones who bring a standard of instruction to the Body at large. One such example is the Apostle Paul’s description of Apollos as a ”watering” ministry, for the purpose of stimulating growth (Acts 18:24-28; 1 Cor. 3:2-10). Teachers hold a high value on the accurate and practical ministry of rightly dividing the Word of God. They are establishers and strengtheners and carry a specific anointing for helping people become rooted and grounded in the Truth.

The Pattern Within the Early Church:

“So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed and fasted, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” (Acts 14:23)

We see that the pattern for Church government was to establish 5-fold ministry elders in every community of believers. We never see the language of one elder or the appointment of one superintendent over a people. There was accountability and strength as Christ governed His Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Notice, the freshly appointed elders were prayed and fasted over and then commended to the Lord in whom they had believed. Christ Jesus carries the authority of His Church and it is our responsibility to listen and trust His governing headship.

Archives