Posts Tagged ‘leader’

Daniel’s Words

The clearest picture we have of a satanic principality ruling over a nation is found in the ninth and tenth chapters of the book of Daniel. These chapter’s describe what happened after the Prophet Daniel set himself to fast and pray until he received revelation concerning the prophetic future of the nation of Israel (which was being held captive by the nation of Persia).

Daniel’s Season of Prayer & Fasting:

After twenty-one days of seeking the Lord, an angel approached Daniel and explained why it took so long for his prayers to be answered. The angel comes to respond to Daniel’s heart, “Fear not, Daniel; for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand… thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days; but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia” (Dan. 10:12-13).

  1. Notice, the angel was sent to answer Daniel’s prayer on the first day of his fast, but he was hindered in his journey by the prince of the kingdom of Persia.
  2. Notice also the mention of the word “prince” in this verse. Both times they are translated from the Hebrew “sar”, which means a chief ruler, leader or commander over an army.

Since the earthly ruler of Persia could not hinder an angel from completing his assignment, and the chief prince Michael is commonly known to be an angel of the highest order, the term “prince of Persia” must refer to the satanic ruler of the spiritual kingdom of darkness that operated over the physical nation of Persia.

Princes & Principalities:

There are principalities that rule in the realm of the spirit over cities, regions, nations and governments. Some of these spiritual powers are good, and some are evil. Revelation 12:7 tells us, “And there was a war in heaven (ouranos – the abode of God, also the spirit realm); Michael and his angels fought against the dragon (satan); and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not…” Angelic forces are doing battle in the heavenly realm even as you read this, fighting one another to gain control over the regions of the earth.

A messenger angel was dispatched to bring Daniel revelation from God concerning the prophetic future of the nation of Israel; but he did not possess enough power or authority to break through the forces of darkness that were controlling the spiritual regions above Persia. Michael is one of the chief princes of heaven. Everytime you find him mentioned in Scripture, he is doing battle with the spiritual forces of darkness. So, Michael was sent to engage the forces of darkness and to open up a highway for the lesser angel to pass through and deliver God’s message to Daniel. The last part of verse thirteen says, “…I remained there with the kings of Persia”, indicating that the messenger angel was restricted by the forces of darkness until Michael set him free, allowing him to resume his journey.

Then, after he delivered his message, the angel said, “…and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come” (Dan. 10:20). The angel had to fight his way back out of the earthly kingdom by doing battle, once again, with the satanic principality that ruled over Persia.

Daniel’s Words:

It’s important for us to realize that Daniel’s prayers were the catalyst that released the angelic forces of God to break the stronghold the prince of darkness had over the nation of Persia. Once the satanic principality was broken, the earthly kingdom of Persia was finished as a world power. History tells us that the kingdom of Greece rose to greatness in 334 B.C. and destroyed the Persian empire. The prince of Grecia, which refers to the satanic principality that governed over the Grecian Empire, empowered Alexander the Great and his armies to conquer much of the world.

Dominion Reality:

I have heard the critics speak negatively about the theology of dominions, but this story clearly indicates the power and authority that angelic principalities have over nations and regions of the earth. It also tells us the important role that our prayers have in releasing the forces of God to break the devil’s stronghold. The angel told Daniel, “… I am come for thy words”. In other words, Daniel’s prayers were the active agent that precipitated a change in the heavenly realm over Persia.

In Matthew 6:10, Jesus told us to pray, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (“ouranos” – the dwelling place of God, and the abode of angels). God’s will is not automatically worked in the earth or in your life; it must be prayed through. Today, I encourage you to begin to value your words in prayer. Don’t let them fall upon the ground without expecting something… see spiritually and engage your faith to believe that angels are ready to lift your needs into the sphere of God’s hearing.

Its possible that your neighbor, your city or an entire nation is counting on your words!

Jesus Our Sufficiency will dream about!

If there is a glaring truth found in our ministry, its that without Christ we are completely lost. Yet with Christ we are a “basket case”. And that is good news, when you’re holding one of Jesus’ baskets.

Let me explain: Today I was reading the story of where Jesus feeds 5000 weary followers (Mk 6:35-44) and a comment jumped off the page. “…they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish.” After feeding on five loaves and two fish, the disciples are now standing with more than they began.

This is the story of Jesus- Our Sufficiency!

In this story are hidden three of the most profound lessons of ministry:
1st) The needs always exceed the resources.
2nd) I am always inadequate for the task Jesus has for me.
3rd) Jesus is always sufficient in every challenge we face.

We are learning how to trust the Lord. The needed finances always exceed the finances we have. The hurting people always exceed the number of people we need to minister to them. Almost every leader God called felt he was just not ready, adequate or capable: Moses, Gideon, Jeremiah and David, to name a few. The Apostle Paul reminds us, “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God…” (2 Cor 3:5). We must recognize that in every task and challenge we face; God has given His Son, Jesus to be our sufficiency, our supply, and our resource.

Baskets Speak:

Our confidence is only as strong as the power at work inside of us. We each need more experience with Jesus to prove the sufficiency of His will and power toward our circumstances. ”Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (Eph 3:20). There is just no way to limit your asking and thinking when you stand with a basket full of sufficiency.

Miracle Zones:

The disciples in this story discovered that they stood in the miracle zone. I think they were a “basket case”, picking up the fragments in amazement and  knowing that they started with less than they ended with. Twelve baskets full of fragments has to speak to your heart. If Jesus was their sufficiency for inadequate food; what could He do with their imaginations or their unseen dreams. He was the Resource of miraculous provision and they were holding baskets that challenged their perceptions forever.

This is the testimony of ministry that sees Jesus as Our Sufficiency! This is what every disciple must discover!

Mutually Encouraged

“I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you– that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Rom. 1:11-12)

Wow- my son Zach and I just returned from a powerful trip to Uganda! Our primary reason for going was the opening of our second year of classes in the Apostolic Training Center in the Lake Victoria region. It was two and a half weeks of ministry and bonding. Yet before we purchased our flights, God was speaking to me about spiritual impartation and mutual encouragement. I truly believe these were goals we saw daily being fulfilled in the ministry and personally between my son and myself. It was a rich time to be together and God has done more in this trip than I may ever know.

Power of Connectivity:

The Apostle Paul longed to see the Romans for the impartation of spiritual gifts and mutual encouragement. There is energy that flows between people who value connectivity. The power shared in being together is worth the effort! There is no way to duplicate seeing people face to face and having the opportunity to rub elbows, communicate ideas and look into one another’s eyes. While electronic communication has a role in keeping in touch, there is a warmth that can only be translated when people connect.

The meetings in Uganda were exciting and my time with Zach was a “once in a lifetime” experience. We wrestled through flight delays and cold showers, saw lives transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and laughed as we talked about some of the most embarrassing moments of the past.

Imparting Spiritual Gifts:

What I noticed; we must avoid giving empty words… there is no substance to them! No one feeds on empty words. Smart quotes may amuse, arguments may impress and sermons may make us feel better, but only the Words of God can release life. Only the Word of God can shape a relationship that honors our history and our memories… without guilt or shame.

The verse I quoted above speaks of mutual encouragement. When we come together, I find it is very important to keep our eyes and ears open. I may be the leader, father or maybe even the son, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from one another. The more I pour myself out to encourage others, the more I grow in my understanding of myself and my anointing! There’s a freshness that comes from heaven… and its true of being a father as much as its true of being a spiritual son. This is the power of the Holy Spirit that works constantly in us to produce a mutually encouraged life… both in ministry and in our personal lives.

Thanks Son… for the impartation!

An Apostolic Call

Called an "Apostle"

Called an "Apostle"

Nearly 2,000 years from the time of Jesus and the call still reverberates in the ears of those who are mending nets or working in the fields. The call is for disciples, those who will follow Christ without hesitation. Jesus is calling for the ones who are ready to pick up their cross… and run to the Nations.

Jesus is Walking the Shorelines:

Throughout the Earth today, people like the first century Peter and Andrew or Paul and Silas are sensing a deployment of epic proportion. Christ is calling them forth. Its as real a sound as at any time in human history. Its like Jesus is walking the shorelines of our comfortable lives, challenging people to respond and step away from the activities of fixing nets and building programs. The Church of Jesus Christ is being called to fill the Kingdom… with souls.  

Note: Its an Apostolic Calling;

You might ask, “So what makes a calling apostolic?” Glad you asked. At the center are two key concepts – “send” and “go”. The word “apostle” was a common military term used among the naval officers of Rome during the time of Christ. The word described a person like an admiral of a fleet of ships being sent with the special assignment of colonizing a new territory. These individuals were ambassadors who represented the interest of Rome. The “apostle” part of their calling has to do with their message, what they carried. In those days Rome wanted to conquer the world and when the apostle went into new territory it was to inform the present occupants of that land that they were under a new governing order. A flag and constitution were the first two orders of business.

Interestingly the Bible uses the term in reference to the returning twelve disciples Jesus had sent out with power and authority. They are sent out as students and learners- “disciples” (Lk 9:1), but return testifying to all that they had done, now being called- “apostles” (Lk 9:10). It would seem to suggest that their experience had transformed their understanding of themselves, to such a degree that they were now ruled by the purposes and priorities of the Kingdom they were representing. Thus an Apostolic Call is embraced by those who are fully engaged in establishing God’s Kingdom on planet Earth. 

New Testament Paradigm:

When the 120 believers in the upper room experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, there was such a massive wave of God’s power that hit the Earth that the little company of followers were transformed into revolutionaries. The region was infiltrated, shaken and completely turned upside down by the Holy Spirit. This event represents the first apostolic revolution and at the end of the day 3,000 souls were saved and a New Church was birthed that looked nothing like the religion of the day. A unity of Spirit and community of faith were now to begin shaping the future of how the World would see God (Acts 2:40-47). The Church would be supernatural and authentic, yet committed to one another and the teaching of the Apostles.

An Apostolic People: 

An Apostolic People are a sending people, knit from the same fabric as their Leader, Jesus. “As the Father has sent (apostello) Me into the world, I also have sent (apostello) them into the world” (Jn 17:18). Today, as in the days following Pentecost, there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that is making its way across our land and reviving the apostolic mandate. The echo is felt in the heart of every Apostle,  “go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations” (Mt 28:19).

Unrealistic Expectations

Awaiting the New

It might take a transformation!

As a pastor, I find getting along with difficult people to be one of my greatest challenges. Learning to deal with them effectively requires me to face my own unrealistic expectations of them and of me.

I often expect Christians to be spiritual rather than carnal. However, through the years I have come to realize that I deal with carnality everyday; so why should other Christians be different than I?

 I have discovered that believers are more likely to be carnal than they are to be spiritual. We must recognize that this has always been true in the Church. After all, most of the books of the New Testament speak to carnality issues, more than any other topic. Had these believers been spiritual, great portions of these books would be missing from our Bible. If I need those portions, then so do most folks in the Congregational setting.

Second, I find myself expecting difficult people, along with every other person in the Church, to love me. Somehow I get the feeling that I am failing in my ministry if I can not earn the love of every person in the Fellowship. This unrealistic expectation creates incredible self-induced pain, because there is no Church where the pastor is loved by everyone. At any given season, 10 to 20 percent of a congregation would prefer to have someone else as their leader. Learning to accept this as normal, frees me from the bondage of  seeking the approval of every person; while my primary aim is to please the Lord Jesus Christ. 

God finally brought me to the place where I realized it would be sufficient for me to live my life rooted in the love of Christ.

 The Apostle Paul’s prayer has become my focus; “to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Eph 3:18-19)

Filled with all the fullness of God!

 Learning to break free from unrealistic expectations took a transformation in my thinking. I needed to recognize that the way I thought was robbing me of the fullness I was after in God and could never maintain. Staying filled required consistent visits to the “Throne-room of Heaven”, where I sense the love of Christ revealing the Father’s heart toward me… and in me. With my root system in the heavenly soil of God’s love; there comes a change of focus for me and a freedom to be myself. It also puts a renewable resource in my ”love tank”, so that I can love others more effectively.