Posts Tagged ‘witness’

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.

The Ingathering

“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.”  (Luke 10:2)

Jesus said to His disciples that there were fields before them that were ripe for gathering, but one problem would hinder their harvest… few workers! Three things are pointed out by Jesus, that if those disciples would begin doing them, they would see some amazing results.

1st - See What Jesus Sees:

So many disciples have no clue that the world is waiting for their witness. They cannot see the fields in which they live. They cannot perceive anyone wanting what they offer and they find themselves paralyzed by fear when asked to share their faith. We must become equipped with a vision of the fields Jesus sees and has placed us in! Hungry people are filling their lives with alternative lifestyles and they need to be presented with a clear message of spiritual truth.

Embrace a vision for the lost, the lonely and hurting around you. God’s love and the cross of Jesus are motivating forces, but we must feel what the Holy Spirit is speaking into our hearts. The fields, His field is ripe for harvest and you are an Ambassador for Christ, carrying His message. You and I are designed to carry heaven’s atmosphere into our earthly sphere of influence. Our behavior and lifestyle are dictated by how we see. So today ask God to give you a vision for the harvest and a perception of how deeply His field needs your voice.

2nd – Prayer: Work the Field

Jesus expects us to ask, seek, knock and keep on knocking (Mt. 7:7-8). Through prayer, God will position people around you and your co-workers, loved ones and friends. At significant times; in God’s timing, workers will come with a word from heaven to witness of Jesus. But know also, that the very act of asking is as powerful as the act of speaking.

Notice that in the next breath He said, “Go… I am sending you” (Lk. 10:3). If we are praying for workers; we must also be prepared to be workers, to speak when the opportunity arises. You are not only looking for God to answer your prayer, but you a waiting before God to be the answer to someone elses prayers. Jesus is Lord of the harvest… you and I must be faithful to the harvest in prayer and witness. Work the field!

3rd – Lean on God:

This cannot be emphasized enough! The subtle truths we often forget are that these are His fields and He is the Lord of the harvest. He knows how to reach people, how to gather them and how to keep them. Reliance upon God is essential in everything we do, say and believe (Prov. 3:5-6). We must speak to God in faith… and be careful with what we see in the natural or hear on the “grapevine” – we must look to Jesus with our eye on His Word. There are no gimmicks to lead someone to Christ, and there are no superstars with fancy degrees. Just simple people, with a tesimony and a vision to be used by God. Impact is made when an authentic voice with an experience shares their relationship in Christ with others.

Remind yourself that God is wanting to include you in this adventure of a lifetime… the ingathering of the harvest.

Be Thankful

“…In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:18)

Be thankful… its time to end the whining and count your blessings! Look at this picture. Did you know that 50% of the world’s people make less than $2.00 each day? We have no reason to complain do we, but every reason to be thankful! We seldom think of what we have and how blessed we are. We tend to focus on what luxury we lack or new things we crave. When we take for granted all that we enjoy, all that makes life comfortable and live a life without a grateful heart; we often end up feeling life lacks meaning and real purpose. To fail to be thankful is a sin!

Defining Thankfulness:

You see, thankfulness is the recognition that God in His goodness and faithfulness cares for us and has provided for us in all areas of our life. Thankfulness honors the Giver of all good and perfect gifts (Jms. 1:17) and helps us grow in humility. By acknowledging who God is and how, in Christ; a continuous flow of mercy and grace has been made available to us… incredible blessings become noticeable. Thankfulness produces in us a contented heart… and thankfulness pleases the Lord!Make a mental list of God’s blessings in your life and begin to thank Him no matter how you feel.

The Principle of Courtroom Etiquette: (Psalm 100:4) “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His Name.”

1. Its the proper thing to do before a King’s Court! Giving thanks testifies to His goodness, holiness and loving-kindness.
2. Its the honor He is due as the Creator! A thankful heart shows that you recognize God’s work in your life.
3. Its the right response Thank God because of the gift of His Son,Jesus, who died on the Cross and rose again in order to set you free from sin.
4. A life full of thanksgiving is a gateway into God’s Presence and brings Him pleasure.
5. An attitude of thanksgiving changes the way you see everything. When you make thanksgiving a vital part of your life, you find vision and focus.
6. Thanking God helps you get through and breakthrough your trials.
7. God has called you to be a vessel of praise and to meet the needs of others as He works through your thankful heart.

Are you Contagious?

As others look at your character … do they find you covetous or contagious? There is peace and joy being in the presence of a thankful Christian. Thankful people are pleasant people! They are joyful and content in Jesus and they appreciate the blessings of the Lord! Hear the Word of the Lord… (Col. 2:7). We are to abound with thanksgiving! The word abounding means to ‘overflow and bubble’ over with gratefulness toward God! Even in the worst of life… our witness and testimony can show His handiwork (Heb. 13:15). “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name.”

God focused people – truly appreciate the Lord for who He is and what He has done for them in Christ!

Living with Urgency

Scripture: Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (Acts 8:29-30)

Thought for Today: “Spiritual Urgency”

One of the most powerful stories of the New Testament is when we see the Evangelist Philip leave a city moving in great revival, to minister to an Ethiopian on his way out of Jerusalem. His ability to respond to the Angel of the Lord shows great sensitivity to the Will of God Acts 8:26-40. Its a wonderful example of living life with spiritual urgency, because history tells us that through this encounter a Nation was turned toward God.

Discernment:

We were made to do the works of God and manifest God’s Glory in the Earth. While we all recognize that God’s Will must come first in our life, few have developed the ability to recognize the opportunities the Holy Spirit sets in front of us. Discernment is a vital key to walking in sync with God and manifesting His Glory.

The Christian who develops a lifestyle of prayer and fasting will tend to respond with spiritual urgency when they feel the Holy Spirit’s nudge. This is because they have trained their hearts to move in faith, rather than routine or human reason. What the Bible calls discernment, Jesus calls being sensitive to the Spirit’s “quickening”.

Jesus tells us, “It is the Spirit which quickens, the flesh profits nothing: the words which I have spoken unto you are spirit and are life.” (Jn 6:63)

A Quickening:

Feeling the quickening of the Holy Spirit is a powerful faith activity, a strong sense of “NOW” or being present in a Divine Opportunity. Its the heart’s response to supernatural life becoming activated by a Word from the Mouth of God. We can become engaged in God’s timing, simply by believing; not tomorrow or when we have time available, but right now! We are called to live in the moment, to move with an unction of Holy Spirit activity. In God’s timing we need spiritual urgency.

Spiritual Urgency comes from three levels of awareness:

  1. Our Identity: The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are a Child of God (Rom 8:16). Jesus modeled this for us, to value and respond from the identity of a Son or Daughter makes us more sensitive to the heart of God. Jesus said “The Son only does what He sees the Father doing” (Jn 5:19).
  2. Our Compassion: The Holy Spirit’s love compels us to move according to the will of God with great urgency (Mt 9:36). The Apostle Paul spoke of being “bound in the spirit” to go to Jerusalem, even though the Holy Spirit had told him he would find tribulations there (Acts 20:22-23). Yet, Paul felt compelled on the inside toward others.
  3. Our Convictions: The belief that God would desire all men to be saved births an urgency in the person who aims to please God (1 Tim. 2:4). To know that Jesus said that we will do even greater works that these, stirs the believer to go after signs and wonders (Jn. 14:12). To trust in the power of prayer creates an urgent response when someone we love is struggling (Jms. 5:16). When we know and abide in the Truth, the Truth will set you free (Jn. 8:32)… free to walk the walk with urgency.

Remind yourself what Jesus said “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). …With Passion, Purpose and Power!

Tell of His Glory

“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods”  (1 Chron. 16:23-25).  

We were created for praise! Singing, shouting and testifying to the goodness of God, shapes how we see everything. As Children of God, we have access to heavenly treasures and an open invitation to all the benefits of our Father’s House. However, it is only received by faith… a faith that seeks God as the Great Reward in life.

Freedom to Transform Reality:

Salvation is more than freedom from sin, its also the means to our freedom of expression. Praise is the overflow of the blessed life… day after day the righteous declare the greatness of God and night unto night their voices can be heard in spite of the difficulties along the way. Why? Because praise shifts the atmosphere and allows for the angelic winds of heaven (Heb. 1:7). Praise turns the mourning into dancing and the sorrows into joy. Its not just about putting on a garment of praise; its believing that God is faithful, that breaks the spirit of heaviness (Isa. 61:3). Its knowing that “in Christ” things can be transformed; old things can pass away and all things made new (2 Cor. 5:17). I know, He is worthy of my praise! 

Glory and Splendor:

We are living in times that test a believer’s fervency. I want to be found standing in God’s Glory and speaking of His radiant splendor all of my days.  Like Shadrack, Meshack and Abebnego, I want to stand in the fiery furnace with a smile on my face. I want to challenge my Goliaths and hold the ground that God has promised me. These are the days that call for extravagant worshippers to arise and lead with radical obedience. 

We must reflect His Glory as lights in a dark place. Though darkness would cover the Earth and deep darkness the people, there is a King, the Lord Stong and Mighty who will rise over us. His Glory shall be seen upon our faces and heard through our voices (Isa. 60:1-2). For it is our destiny to show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of the darkness and into His marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9). We are the chosen, the royal and the holy; the special people who know the mercy and continually walk in the power of the Living God.

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name.” (Heb. 13:15) Can I get a witness? 

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