Church Leaders and Money by Ron Cottle

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HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

There is a renewed interest in personal and ministry finances within the Spirit-filled Church.  In some areas it is urgent.  While honest ministry leaders have always striven to maintain good stewardship, the question is being raised today by many, including a congressional investigation of several high-profile leaders: “How much is enough? How much is too much?”
 

OPULENT LIFESTYLES

 With the prosperity movement’s impact, a growing interest in finances has produced great, almost fanciful, expectations and some questionable practices from some ministry superstars.  Opulent lifestyles in the name of “faith” have brought a slur on the good name of the Church.
 

HARVEST REQUIRES MORE

Let it be said that the current interest in finances is not all bad.  Many Christians are beginning to realize that the tithe and offerings income streams of the Church are not enough to accomplish the harvest expectations that the Word and prophetic declarations place upon this generation.  Because of this, they are investing large amounts of money into legitimate business ventures to raise greater amounts of capital.  They are doing this not primarily for personal gain, but to invest in Kingdom expansion and ministry growth.  This has resulted in a new way of thinking about wealth-building and Kingdom giving.
 

BIG VISION REQUIRES BIG FINANCES

When one’s vision and ministry opportunities are larger than one’s present economic capabilities, he must develop a greater income stream if he wants to accomplish the vision God has given him.  Many men and women of God are realizing this and taking unusual steps to achieve their dream.  No doubt some will be criticized as “out of the ministry and into the world of money-making.”  However, they must continue to find ways to build significant streams of financial resources if they are to move forward in their calling.  (Jabez Prayer)
 

MANAGE EARTH’S RESOURCES FROM HEAVEN’S POINT OF VIEW

God mandated in Genesis One that man was to bring the whole created order into a place of responding to the order of heaven. (1:26–28).  He expects us to rule over creation and take dominion over it as His caretakers and stewards.  We are to manage earth’s resources from heaven’s point of view.  We are not owners but stewards of the one Owner, God Himself. (Psalm 24:1)  It is His stated will that men are to be restored to saving fellowship with Himself. (John 3:16; 1Peter 3:9)  So he has designed that we use earth’s resources for His purposes.  However, we must first control those resources in order to use them.  The present emphasis on wealth-building is a genuine move of the Spirit in this direction.
 

RIGHT USES OF GOD’S RESOURCES

God provides resources for us so that 1) we can use some for ourselves; 2) share some with others; and 3) return some back to Him for Kingdom purposes.  (Isaiah 55:10 and 2Cor. 9:10-11)  These are all legitimate uses of God’s resources.  All that we steward and give comes from Him. (1Chronicles 29:14)  We must not allow a spirit of greed to ruin this current move of God.
 

WEALTH DISTRIBUTION

Wealth acquisition is very important.  However, wealth distribution is also critical to serving God’s purposes with our lives and resources.  Simply acquiring wealth is not enough.  It requires biblical and compassionate distribution to achieve Kingdom significance.  A man’s capacity to receive is determined by his faithfulness to give.  These present-day entrepreneurs, whether ministers or so-called laymen, who are creating revenue streams for Kingdom purposes, are doing God’s work.  They are todays’ “Josephs” who will be able to accomplish great things with what is today the “world’s wealth.”  We need to pray that Deut. 8:18 will characterize all they do.

“Celebrate and remember God, for it is He Who gives you power to create   wealth so that He can fulfill His Covenant with our fathers.”
Posted on April 20, 2017 .

Separation of Church and State by Jim Garlow

We hear much about separation of church and state. The question is the proper—and I repeat “proper”—separation of church and state?

The answer is to realize that the civil government has authority for national defense.

However, the church is considerably better predisposed to the welfare of individuals and families.

Long before the government became so involved in the early 1900s—the church had an excellent track record of providing for the poor and needy.

The greatest philanthropic endeavors throughout history have been because of the church.

The calling of Christ to love the widow, the orphan and one’s neighbor—is the DNA of authentic Christ followers.  In fact, it’s pervasiveness of the “image of God” on every person, the impulse to help is not merely a Christian phenomenon.  It is evidence of God’s redemptive ‘fingerprint” on the human spirit!

© Jim Garlow WWW.JIMGARLOW.COM

Posted on April 20, 2017 .

The Great Reformation (Part 2) by Dennis Peacocke

A reformation is a robust enough social event to change the collective worldview of a nation and global culture. It not only alters structures, but transcends to change the way massive numbers of people view life itself and the social contexts created to express their very lives.

Put another way, a genuine reformation opens the doors of social change that can continue for generations until it may be altered by another reformation. The Reformation that Luther and the other reformers started, including the Counter-Reformation, altered and eventually reformed both Western culture and Eastern culture while, riding the wave of their efforts, economic trade unified the world over the coming centuries. True reformation is an historical tsunami.

We Christians, as a general statement, still do not appreciate the massive power of God’s Word, especially as it goes beyond its effect on us personally, to change both history and society itself. When the Reformation released the Scriptures to the common man in their language, all the latent power of God’s truth and principles began to leaven every dimension of society. In particular, the two massive foundations of modern society–the division of labor (economics) and the separation of powers (political government), both modeled and deduced from the nature of the Trinity–were released and changed everything. Chronicling the components of society individually and how the Scriptures changed them as a result of The Reformation is great fun and a sure-fire path to profound worship.

As noted, a Reformation itself is the reshaping of the worldviews of sufficient numbers of people to permanently alter the culture. Therefore, if we are to make a genuine reformation possible by understanding the nature of the prevailing cultures to be changed, we must first understand the core foundations of the worldviews presently driving them. Today, that would be what we commonly call the political “left” and “right,” with obvious nuances within them both and some religious-cultural exceptions beyond them. These two alternative worldviews have trapped us all in a stalemated conflict where conversation is increasingly impossible because neither side truly understands the “both-and” dimensions of their common concerns and are locked into a no-win, “either-or” paradigm.

And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” -Matthew 22:37-40

This Greatest Commandment must be the foundation of our biblically based public policy as we proceed into this turbulent process of cultural upheaval. It carries within it both the issues of personal worldview, justice-righteousness, and connection to God and His political gifts to all people as individuals (the issues of the “right”), as well as the issues of community and our moral and relational responsibilities to one another (the issues of the “left”). Our worldview is comprehensive and bridges the issues and concerns of both sides of mankind’s quest for personal freedom and social empowerment. That priestly function of mediation is our privilege and our intellectual gift from Christ to humanity out of God’s love and common grace to mankind.

It is true, as we will shortly see, that at a foundational level, agreement which allows us to socially function together will require appropriate accommodation and space to disagree in that process towards the practical applications of public policy. That being said, a future reformation rests upon the renegotiation of what those accommodations will actually look like. Yet for now, we cannot proceed further until we first examine some of the obstacles and major issues of our current conflict which stand at the doorway to any further movement towards a genuine Reformation. And that is…THE BOTTOM LINE.

© Dennis Peacocke WWW.GOSTRATEGIC.ORG

Posted on April 20, 2017 .

The New Order by Frank Dupree

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We are living in a day when The Lord is bringing The Church into Apostolic Alignment. Let me take you to the Old Testament to show you an example of what I mean.

One of the greatest symbols of The Lord was the Ark of the Covenant. Now there was a time when all Israel had backslid and The Lord allowed the Philistines to invade them. They had lost a battle and in 1 Samuel 4:3“…the elders of Israel said, Why has the LORD smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us get the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh and when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies.” (emphasis mine). And so, Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of the High Priest, took the Ark into the battle but the Philistines won and The Ark was taken.

Please pay attention to what I am saying here. The people, even the Elders, were looking to the symbol of His Presence for deliverance rather than looking unto Him. Isn’t that the way it is for so many people today? People trust in the things they wear. They trust in their church, their shepherd or in great leaders of the past. They trust in someone else’s relationship with The Lord and not their own.

We see in 1 Samuel 4:11 And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain. When Eli the High Priest heard this news (1 Samuel 4:18-22) “…he fell from off the seat and broke his neck, and he died” This meant that the Old Order had come to an end. His daughter in law, Phinehas’ wife, heard the news just as she brought forth her baby boy; “And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel”.

When David became King, being a Prophet, he desired to bring the Ark of God back to the people of God. David brought the Ark to Jerusalem with rejoicing and placed it in a special Tabernacle he had prepared for it. It was simply called “David’s Tabernacle.

The amazing thing is that the Tabernacle of Moses was still standing in Gibeon and the Priests still offered up their daily sacrifices there. Why didn’t David bring the Ark there? That is where it belonged isn’t it?

No. It did not belong there anymore. The Old Order had ended and the New Order of Ministry was beginning. Before, only the High Priest could come before the Ark of the Lord but now, in David’s Tabernacle all that chose to could come and worship The Lord there. The singers and musicians ministered to Him every day and the Lord had His way among them.

Today we have the churches and denominations that so many people trust in. They are always looking for “the Minister” to do the “ministering” for them. They continue to worship the same way they have for so long. The church is run the same way. These systems are part of the Old Order and “the Glory has departed”. We must look for the Glory in our midst in the New Order!

This is a Prophetic Time! Peter preached; “In the last days I will raise up the Tabernacle of David”. Even though he brought that message almost 2,000 years ago the old order still prevails! But the time is now for us to enter with “boldness into the Holy of Holies” and build our relationship with Him.

The goal of every believer should be to come into “David’s Tabernacle” and learn to “Worship in Spirit and in Truth”. Today, while many in the Churches will continue to do things the way they always have, we will enter the “Restored Tabernacle of David”. We don’t want to continue to do what others are doing week after week but to “be prophetic” and enter into what The Lord has for us in these “last days”.

The New Order of Ministry is that every believer has a personal ministry to The Lord. You can enter in through worship and praise and learn about it through the anointed teaching and preaching of the Word of God.

© Frank Dupree WWW.FRANKDUPREE.COM

Posted on April 20, 2017 .

The Great Reformation (Part 1) by Dennis Peacocke

2017 is the 500th year since what is known in Western history as “The Great Reformation.” In 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg door and figuratively lit a match to the conditions God had arranged to start world changes which have affected every nation today and led to the formation of all we call the “modern world.”

At its core, the Reformation was about how man sees God, the meaning of creation, and man’s place in it. It was aimed at issues far, far beyond just the reforming of practices of the Roman Catholic Church. Its theological implications laid the groundwork for changes yet to be experienced even today. It proved its true historical breadth by the affects it had on society, economics, national political identity, and the future challenges of the uneasy relationship between political activity and the role of theology in the management of nations. It literally redirected history.

Is it possible that we are on the beginning edge of such an almost-cosmic event today? I believe that we are and I hope to make my case in upcoming releases of The Bottom Line Newsletter. In over 30 years of writing this social-spiritual commentary, I have never done anything like this—that is, staying at some length on one issue. My conviction is that this current hour in which we are living is a God-timing bridge of history worthy of exploring in its monumental possibility.

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Reformation requires at least four connected things:

  1. God’s applied will.

  2. Issues that are significant enough to create critical-mass social reactions.

  3. A person or identifiable movement to galvanize new members in large numbers

  4. And a common language that identifies the cause in a clear and compelling way.

I contend that we have all four of those components present today:

  1. God’s will to advance His Kingdom on earth is a standing order.

  2. The political-economic war of worldviews between the progressives on the left and the marriage of populism/anti-globalism on the right.

  3. Donald Trump and populist leaders emerging in multiple nations give us three of the four already.

  4. All we are waiting for now is the language mantras that move the process beyond mere political contexts into the realm of articulated destiny for the majority of humans.

In no way can I hope to go into the depth this prophetic subject deserves in a series of commentaries like this. What I do hope is to stimulate a serious dialogue regarding the possibility of these next decades being historic in their advancement of God’s Kingdom. I also hope to give a set of suggestions as to how we understand and work cooperatively with The Holy Spirit in our responses to what God is doing rather than what social forces are demanding us to think or do. In short, how can we midwife the Reformation and thus serve God and man with self-conscious joy in the process.

Biblical faith requires positioning ourselves before God in what I call “an openness to possibilities.” This is what I am asking you as readers to consider. Are we in fact in a moment that is far larger than a political battle between the left-right forces of just another “pendulum adjustment” in the dialectical view of historic thesis-antithesis-synthesis? Is God about to push history in ways only truly understood by sets of His people so to help midwife His church? I trust I have raised the question enough to position you in our journey.

There is a day Christ spoke of in Matthew 13:47-50: Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

This Scripture speaks to the Kingdom going “viral” into all the nations and the unsaved cohabiting with the saved for the benefits of Kingdom living before Christ’s return. Is the time in front of us and our grandchildren that He is speaking of? Remember, the effects of the Reformation of 1517 took decades to leaven the nations, but they had a clear beginning. Some understood the magnitude of what was happening in their day, just like some did in the first century church.

Our times will indeed be times of disruption and unintended consequences. I can assure you that no one was more surprised than Martin Luther at some of the consequences his actions produced (i.e., the peasant wars); so too will this time of historic conflict and major realignments produce surprises for us in our day. It is dangerous to disrupt, especially when those bent on revolution, not reformation, are in the mix and willing to push things just to see what will happen. Let’s begin the journey with “openness to possibilities” and the conviction that analyzing what we can see may well allow us to see what we should see. And that is...THE BOTTOM LINE.

© Dennis Peacocke WWW.GOSTRATEGIC.ORG

Posted on March 17, 2017 .

What is Transformational Education by Stan DeKoven

Many Scriptures declare the importance of gaining Knowledge, such as “Wise people treasure knowledge…” (Pro.10:14), "A wise person is hungry for knowledge (Pro. 15:4), and"Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge (2 Peter 1:5 NLT).

The following teaching by Stan DeKoven explains how to gain knowledge for discipling nations with Transformational Education. 

The Definition of Transformational Education: An educational program, which maintains academic excellence while emphasizing strong practical activation of the Word to Kingdom life and practice.

This style of education is centered on a Hebraic model of education rather than a traditional Greek model.  It goes far beyond the prevailing mindset in which there has been a tragic divorce (separation) between teachers and students.  Teaching has been redefined as what the teacher SAYS rather than what the student learns. 

 The current model of Christian education we could call a “banking model” of education – knowledge is “deposited” into students – almost as if their heads were opened up and knowledge poured in – or like music and movies get downloaded from the Internet onto a computer.  In this model of education students are passive.  Their job is to learn whatever the teacher tells them so they can pass exams.

The Student/teacher relationship is not really essential.  In this model the teacher’s primary responsibility is to cover the material and convey the necessary information.  The student’s responsibility is to memorize the information and regurgitate it for the exam.

There is NO precedent in Scripture for teaching the mind just for the sake of academia, to fill the mind with facts, or to get a credential!  Teaching is for the purpose of seeing the student “transformed after the image of the God who made him.”  Every thought is to be brought captive to Christ – the mind of Christ is what we are to model and teach. 

Thus, for a system of education to be transformational it must be intensely personal, and relationship driven – a system that trains us to “think God’s thoughts after Him”.

Summary of Transformational Education:

·        Learning that is characterized by transformation in the life of each student,

·        Teachers who exist to serve the student and they accept their primary responsibility before God to cause their students to learn.  (If the student is not learning/changing then the teacher is not truly teaching the student.),

·        Mentorship (truth is communicated in the context of modeling and relationship),

·        Decentralized classes -- courses are taught within the context of strong apostolic covering (fathering) and local church family life.

·        Students are expected, and required, to personally activate the truth in the context of their lives and ministries (“doing” vs. “memorizing”).

The Platform for Transformational Education

Five “C’s” form the platform from which Christian transformational (holistic) education is accomplished:

1. Christ - All teaching will be centered in Christ – seeking to bring students into a Christ like life and thinking.  To accomplish this goal, the teacher must them self be in a right relationship with the Lord Jesus.  The teacher and his teaching must flow out of a walk with God and out of a relationship with Jesus.

2. Community - Learning will be carried out and proven in the context of community life (relationship).  The student’s personal relationship with Jesus will be expressed and worked out in the daily life of his various communities: his family, his church community, the teams he is a part of, and the broader community of the world.

3. Character - Building strong character will be the goal of all training. (Not just impartation of knowledge.)  The indwelling life of Christ expressed and worked out in community will develop godly character.

4. Calling - Will be observed, developed, and proven within the community. 

5. Competency - Competency in a particular area of life and ministry is developed and nurtured in the environment of a loving community.
 

Description of Transformational Teachers and Students

Transformational Teachers Must:

1.        Have successful experience within the field in which they are teaching.

2.        Build a mentoring relationship with students (Through personal interaction and exemplary living).

3.        Communicate all material with a purpose of transformation in the life of every student.

4.        Give student assignments that will cause the learner to interact with the material and personalize the concepts – learning will be seen as doing. (It is not about memorization of material).

Transformational Students Must:

1.        Demonstrate personal passion and ability previous to enrollment.  (i.e. personal involvement in cell leadership, church planting, discipling, evangelism.)  They have demonstrated “fruit” bearing and the passion to move into new levels of greater (“more fruit”) production.

2.        Be in relationship with apostolic leadership and committed to the vision of the leadership. 

3.        Be actively involved in Christian Community (local church) so that they can be tried and proven in the fire of relationship.

4.        Be applying what they are learning to personal life and ministry. (Doing what they are learning.)

5.        Must be striving to become a catalyst for transformation within their sphere of influence (spiritually, culturally, etc.). 

© Stan DeKoven WWW.DRSTANDEKOVEN.COM

Posted on March 17, 2017 .

15 Principles to Live by Ron Cottle

1. Successful ministries grow out of a divine connection and an apostolic releasing.

2. Spiritual identity only comes out of spiritual authority.

3. A disciple incarnates the teacher not just the teaching.

4. Criticism doesn’t define who I am; it refines and clarifies who I am.

5. How you deal with criticism determines the quality of your life.

6. Most churches are not struggling because they don’t have good preaching.  They are struggling because they don’t have clear vision.

7. Hope and faith produce expectations.  Expectation releases divine potential.

8. Never settle for what you are today; only settle for what you can become tomorrow.

9. Believe now that nothing good is impossible.

10. The whole world steps aside for the person who knows who he is and where he’s going.

11. If you are doing the right thing for the wrong reason, you can’t count on God to bless what you are doing.

12. Hope your potential.  Believe your potential. And you will become you potential.

13. A leader must realize that long-term significance is greater than short-term success.

14. Authority minus accountability equals trouble.

15.  What your inner self thinks and expects about you, you will become.

Posted on March 17, 2017 .

Your Biggest Enemy by Jim Garlow

Who or what is your greatest enemy?  And what’s your game plan?

The apostle Paul put it pretty bluntly in his letter to the Corinthian church in 2nd Corinthians 10, verses 4 and 5:  He said:

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.

On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and”. . . here’s the key phrase . . .

“we take captive and make them obedient to Christ.”

You have the ability to control your thought life.  We all do.

But it takes discipline, understanding the work power of the Holy Spirit in your life, and the importance of God’s strength in your weakness.

Every thought captive.  Every thought obedient to Christ.

It’s the mark of a maturing believer!

© Jim Garlow WWW.JIMGARLOW.COM

Posted on March 17, 2017 .

The New Wineskin Of Leadership by Frank Dupree

Mark 2:22   “No one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.”

It’s time for the Leadership of God’s Church to take the New Wine of the Holy Spirit and put into a New Wineskin of Leadership. Here’s why…

Once Our Lord had ascended into Heaven and left His Apostles here to continue His work it did not take long for old habits and ways of doing things to begin to affect the growth of the Church. It didn’t take long for things to stagnate… So, The Lord allowed persecution to afflict the Church and they dispersed throughout Asia Minor. Meanwhile, The Lord was stirring things up…

In Acts 10 we are told about Cornelius, an unsaved man who had an Angelic vision telling him to send for Peter and he would tell him what he had to do. Let’s look at this chapter:

Acts 10:9-48 (NKJV) 9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. 10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance 11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. 13And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” 15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again. 17 Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate. 18 And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there. 19While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. 20 Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.” 21 Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, “Yes, I am he whom you seek. For what reason have you come?” 22 And they said, “Cornelius thecenturion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.” 23 Then he invited them in and lodged them. On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him. 24 And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” 27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together. 28Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 29 Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?” 30 So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.’ 33 So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.”

[Now listen carefully as Peter responds to this]

34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. 36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ–He is Lord of all– 37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. 40Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

Peter preaches to them the KEREGMA… the Seed of the Gospel Merriam-Webster defines as: the apostolic proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ”.

Now look what happened after this simple message…

44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

Peter had a vision for the Church… he was sure that he knew what to do but the Lord wanted to change some things so he gave Peter this vision telling him that he had to think about things differently. If Peter had not been confronted by the Lord about his lack of outreach he might never had recognized the necessity of obeying the words of Jesus to “Go into all the earth and preach the Gospel”…

Now, we need to move into Acts 11 and see the reaction in Jerusalem after Peters First “Missionary Journey”!

Acts 11:1-3 (NKJV) 1 Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, 3 saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”

They were appalled that Peter went among the Gentiles!!! And, yet that was a part of The Great Commission! So, then Peter explains why he went and this is what happens:

Acts 11:15-18 (NKJV) 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” 18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

Praise God! The blockage was removed! The Gospel could now begin to spread around the world!

Look at the very next thing that happened…

Acts 11:19-26 (NKJV) 19 Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. 20 But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. 22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So, it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

So, it was in Antioch that finally a Church grew that was filled with Saved Jews and Gentiles!!! It was here that the fires of reaching the lost began to burn… The model had changed… They were now going to do things the way that Jesus had intended for them to do them!

We have experienced a similar thing here… And, there are others that are experiencing it too.

Paul had called himself a “wise master-builder” (1 Corinthians 3:10) and he described what the Church was to be like and then he laid the foundation for it in people’s lives. He had received his vision from the Lord too.

Jesus had not done everything by himself and the Leaders in Antioch followed His model… Jesus had trained his disciples and then sent them out to do the work of the ministry. He welcomed others into the process of building the Church and so the Leaders in Antioch did the same thing. So it is there that we see the first Apostolic Team formed.

For many years now the role of the Senior Leader in the Church was to “The Pastor” … and the Pastor had to do it all! The Pastor was to be the charismatic builder who did it all. Recently some Churches have begun to call their leaders “The CEO”.They have modified the traditional role and styled it after the business models of todays corporations.

But today the Lord is casting a new vision to His Leaders. He is showing that “The Way of Jesus and The Apostles” is the best way!

Leaders today must become more of a visionary like Peter and Paul were rather than being like the corporate giants of today’s world. Rather than sitting in Board rooms and running the Church with this modern corporate style they need to be active in the Church looking for the next Timothy, Titus and Mark!

As the Early Church learned in Antioch, the Leaders of The Church today need to create Apostolic Teams made up of Gifted Servant Leaders who work together to “equip the saints of God for the ministry” of their daily lives.

This is the role I have been trying to fulfill as a Bishop. I have not been called “Pastor” for over 20 years now because I have been on a Journey learning how to build an Apostolic Team of Leaders to share the work of “Equipping the Saints”.

That vision and my work is now bearing fruit. There is a shared responsibility in this Apostolic Team here. I am no longer the “chief cook and bottle washer”. Today you see in our Church the fruit of my labors… There are others who now work alongside of me sharing the load of ministry.

Our common goal is found in Ephesians 4:11 – 13 (NLT)

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.  Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.  This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.”

We are raising up “Full Stature Christians” who resemble Jesus! That’s our goal… We minister according to our giftings and we impart to the Members according to their ability. The results are that we are seeing mature Christians who demonstrate New Testament Christianity to everyone they meet. This is the Vision and Mission of my Church and I hope you embrace it for yours too…

OUR VISION IS TO TRANSFORM each Church member into a true Disciple of Jesus and demonstrate the Kingdom of God in our daily lives.

WE ARE LED BY AN APOSTOLIC TEAM of Spirit Empowered Servant Leaders. The Team equips God’s People by nurturing them in the Word building Character and developing the Fruit of the Spirit. We endeavor to Identify and Activate each members Spiritual Gifts resulting in our Members having opportunities to Serve using their God Given Gifts, Talents and Abilities. We believe in the Abundant Life that Jesus spoke of helping us to prosper and live in Good Health as our souls prosper. Because of this, our Members move from Salvation to Discipleship.

“Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit saith The Lord. [Zech 4:6]

WE WILL SEE GOD’S KINGDOM COME BY IMPACTING OUR CULTURE AND EVANGELIZING THE LOST. And we Raise our Children in a “Culture of Honor” [Exodus 20:12] and we desire to be a dynamic Church that meets the needs of everyone who comes to us.

WE BELIEVE IN THE RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS that the Prophets spoke of and the Return of Jesus as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. [Acts 3:21 & Acts 1:11]

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© Frank Dupree WWW.FRANKDUPREE.COM

Posted on March 17, 2017 .

Hope For A Nation by Jim Garlow

You can take this to the bank!

We can’t operate as an individual or a country, for that matter, against God’s ways and succeed!

When all is said and done, the hope for a nation, is conformity to God’s ways found in God’s Word.

I guarantee you, secularists certainly don’t believe this to be true.

And I wonder at times, do most Christians really get it?

So what’s the problem?  What’s holding us back?

If we’re anti-biblical in our national life, it’s self-destructive.

We know we can’t operate as an individual against God and succeed.

We can’t operate as a family against God’s ways and succeed.

We can’t operate as churches against God’s ways and succeed.

So what makes us think our nation can be anti-biblical in fundamental policies and somehow be preserved?

Only the biblical way preserves all that’s good!

© Jim Garlow WWW.JIMGARLOW.COM

Posted on February 6, 2017 .

Fivefold Ministry Functions By Frank Dupree

All Ministry comes from Jesus… In his seminal letter to the Ephesians the Apostle Paul introduces us to

THE FIVEFOLD MINISTRY

This is also known as “The Ascension Gift Ministries” because they were given when Christ Ascended into Heaven

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Ephesians 4:7-16 (NKJV)
7  But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8  Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” 9  (Now this, “He ascended”–what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10  He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

11  And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

12  for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13  till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14  that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15  but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ– 16  from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Every person in the Body of Christ has received grace for some aspect of the 5 Ministry Giftings. We see this in the gift of prophecy and the Prophet. It also applies to the apostolic anointing and the Apostle, the pastoral anointing and the pastor, etc.

The key to understanding Fivefold Ministry is FUNCTION or PURPOSE and not title…

The title is there to describe the FUNCTION…

The Apostle Governs:

He is like the Heart revealing compassion & strategy for advancing the Kingdom

The Prophet Guides:

He is like the Mouth communicating guidance

The Teacher Grounds:

He has the Mind of Christ to bring wisdom and understanding

The Evangelist Gathers:

These are the Hands that are always reaching out to souls

The Pastor Guards:

These are the Feet leading the sheep to pasture and the paths of righteousness

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Our hand serves as an example for the Fivefold Ministry too:

  1. The Thumb represents the Apostle: This finger is the only one that touches all others and is the finger that enables us to grip.
  2. The Forefinger represents the Prophet: It points…
  3. The Middle finger represents the Evangelist: it is the furthest reaching
  4. The Ring finger represents the Pastor: married to the sheep he is always with them
  5. The Pinky represents the Teacher: this finger is the one that gives balance to the hand

The 5 G’s of Ministry

Apostles and Prophets lay the foundation of the house. The Teacher builds on that foundation with the stones the Evangelist gathers and then, the Pastors cares for the house. Of course, the “house” means the people of God.

The Apostle Governs” or oversees the House bringing vision, order and government. He/she develops leaders and raises up “sons in the Gospel”.

The Prophet Guides” and administrates in the House. He/she declares and confirms vision for the house and facilities. They bring direction and counsel also.

The Teacher Grounds” and equips the saints through their gifted teaching ability. They bring balance to the vision of the house.

The Evangelist Gathers” by training workers/witnesses in outreach into the community.

The Pastors Guards” the House, caring for the people overseeing visitation, etc. They are concerned with the everyday aspects of the community of faith.

As such, we can see how the 5 Ascension Gift Ministries function together as a Team!

Here are some other functions of each Ministry:

The Apostle is to be “Godward” and minister to Him. As he/she does they receive vision and then they go and plow the ground.

The Prophet has what we would call a “watchman on the wall” or “crows nest” ministry.

The Teacher grounds as they reemphasize the vision of the House and balance it with the Word. They break up the fallow ground.

The Evangelist gathers and also sows seeds.

The Pastors guard by example leading the prayer and care ministries and harvests the crop.

Are all Ministries Equal?

Although each Ascension Gift Ministry is vital to the Church there is a “Governmental” aspect to ministry. We see this in the Fivefold Ministry in one of Pauls letters:

1 Corinthians 12:28  “And God hath set in the Church, firstly Apostles, secondly Prophets, thirdly Teachers, after that…”

The Apostle is primary, the Prophet secondary and the Teacher is third. All are equal in the fact that each one is a member in the Body of Christ but there is “order” and “government” in the ministries also. The Apostle is guarded by the other four because his anointing is the “primary” anointing.

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© Frank Dupree WWW.FRANKDUPREE.COM

Posted on February 6, 2017 .

Apostolic Faith by John Polis

Apostles are known to be people with great faith resulting in great exploits for the Kingdom of God on earth. There are two aspects to the faith taught by Jesus and the first apostles which can be understood as faith as the sum total of our beliefs and faith as the means of appropriating from God.

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Faith as the sum total of our beliefs is referred to in 1 Thessalonians 3:10 by the Apostle Paul.

“Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face and perfect (fill up) that which is lacking in your faith.”

Paul taught the Church what to believe while Jesus taught people how to believe. In this verse, Paul refers to what is “lacking in their understanding” concerning the finished work of Christ in redemption and the New Creation. His desire was to “present every man perfect (complete) in Christ” (Col.1:27-29) by completing their understanding of the Word of God.

Diagnostic testing by the Spirit of God. A good illustration of how Holy Spirit locates where the gaps in our understanding are, can be seen in a program used by a certain Christian School curriculum. When new students were brought into the school, a diagnostic test was given to locate where the child had stopped learning in any particular subject. Some students at the chronological level of tenth grade, may not have understood math beyond a seventh grade level. When the gap was discovered, coursework was used to fill up what was lacking in their knowledge of math. God uses a diagnostic test as well to help us in gaining a complete understanding of God’s work in Christ. Every believer may not have drank from every stream of truth revealed in the Restoration of the Church.

“There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High” Psalm 46:4.

Each stream represents another revelation of truth to the Church which believers must understand in order to have the fullness of the River of God (the operation of the Spirit). Restoration of the Church involves all the truth of scripture and all the gifts and ministries of the Spirit back in the Body of Christ as Acts 3:21 indicates,

“Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

We can complete our understanding of truth by going back and studying the revelations that came to us through the Evangelical, Pentecostal, Charismatic, and the present Kingdom move of God. Each of these restoration moves of God contained truths that all believers who would be “complete in Christ” must understand and walk in.

While Paul taught what to believe, Jesus taught how to believe, as we can plainly see in the  Gospels. Jesus was an expert in faith and majored on teaching people how to receive from God. He measured the faith of individuals and sought to bring their faith to the greatest level in order to receive the greatest miracles from God.

Measuring faith is an apostolic function because apostles want to help people receive all they need from the Lord. Jesus remarked about Peter’s faith, “Oh you of little faith.” He said of Thomas, “How is it that you have no faith.” When he met the Centurion, he was amazed at the level of the man’s faith and said, “I have not found so great faith in all Israel.” Jesus affirmed faith in operation when the woman with the issue of blood was healed saying, “Daughter, your faith has made you whole.” He was always looking for faith in people as stated in the story of the man being let down through a roof, “…and Jesus, seeing their faith…”

Teaching people how to believe requires being able to locate the level (measure) of their faith, it also involves defining doubt and unbelief as hindrances to receiving from God. Jesus dealt with both of these subjects in Mark 11:23-24 and Matthew 17:20-21. Jesus made it plain that “according to your faith, so be it done unto you.” Jesus taught the mechanics of faith by teaching people how to speak and act upon the Word of God for results. He taught that faith was believing with the heart independently of the the five senses when he instructed the Ten Lepers to “go show yourself to the priest” even before there was any physical evidence of healing in their bodies.

Apostles today must also major on the subject of faith in both of these aspects. There are what I call “Big Bible Words” like Faith, Grace, Love, Righteousness, Peace, etc. By Big Bible Words I refer to subjects that are major topics of scripture. The Bible is called the “Word of Faith,” therefore, the subject of faith should be a major theme in our apostolic teaching. Jesus emphasized the need of faith teaching in the End Time in Luke 18:8,

“Shall the Son of Man find FAITH on the earth when he comes.”

© John Polis WWW.RFIUSA.ORG

Posted on January 6, 2017 .

Racism & Classism by Dennis Peacocke

Racism and classism have existed for thousands of years. As manifestations of generic human sin, they are universal and clearly not unique to the United States. As expressions of man's fallenness, they will likely never be fully expunged from among us. Racism, in particular, has historically been far more grounded in negative ethnic identities rather than simply skin colors. The countless wars in Europe over the centuries are a clear example of white people killing white people over ethnic identity. This is equally true of Asians; the history of racial prejudice between the Chinese and Japanese, for example, makes the point.

For the record, the word "ethnicity" refers to a people group of a distinct ethnic identity having a common genetic history. It can also denote cultural traits and distinct characteristics. Historically, it has seldom carried with it a negative set of evaluations but rather simply denotes a unique set of people.

"Race" or "racism" frequently carries with it something quite different. It is not denoting a unique set of people as much as a people group who are separated by skin color or some negative characteristic within their ethnic identity. The Irish had an ethnic identity, but not a race identity. Racism frequently denotes a prejudicial distinction in ways that ethnicity does not.

<Diffen: Ethnicity vs. Race>

As modern genetic science has repeatedly proven, genetic differences between people over skin color are relatively minor compared to other genetic variations. Skin color, per se, as a sign of racist distinction, is relatively unique to the United States. All of this issue is fueled by the fact that American slavery, as well as elements of European slavery, focused on Africans during the last several centuries. Rome, for example, in its apex in the time of Christ, was comprised of more than 60% of its population cast as slaves. They were white slaves, brown slaves, black slaves, and all variations in between. Racism, of course, is an absurd concept at its core because there is only one race and one ultimate genetic gene pool. Humanity is one race, so claims of "racial superiority" only reveal the ignorance of those who carry it as a social disease.

The playing of the "race card" in the US is a highly flammable issue. Racism, of course, exists, but it is not limited to only whites as we have already noted. Racism is a social slur and an insult to both sides of the slur. It says to both sides, "You can't see me because of major flaws in your character." It reeks of fear, hate, unmet power needs, excuses for personal weakness, and other sordid baggage. Here is the US, it also insults African Americans who are not "ghetto enough to be black" because they have changed economic-social class distinctions. For middle-class and upper-class blacks, that is a real double whammy; they are cut off from their roots on one side and caught under the subtler form of racist "glass ceiling" on the other side.

As an old civil-rights activist, I have felt for many reasons that we Americans need to have far more honest conversations on the subject. We are better at all this than we used to be, but we are still stalled and stuck at levels we should not accept. While a wider list of issues exists, I will limit my discussion here to one of the most major ones: classism.

"Classism" is a term most properly used to distinguish social, attitudinal, and behavioral changes that occur when people economically graduate from one set of social relations into another more prosperous set of relationships. Some people don't change when they reach more substantial income levels, but most people assimilate into the behavioral changes of the "new class" in the normal human process of our need for community and social belonging. For me, this is both a no-brainer and a point of deep frustration as I listen to the incendiary drivel coming out of so many social pundits who labor to clarify these issues or use the concept of race as personal weapons against others.

For example, the middle class has far less need to steal than the lower classes, especially the youth, for purely economic reasons. Stealing, therefore, does not have the same level of negative stigma within the lower class. It becomes a class identity rather than an ethnic identity amongst both whites and blacks of the similar economic and relational communities. The drug culture that cuts across all classes has, of course, severely complicated this discussion.

Class-based culture covers the levels of education of those in the class, their vocabulary, interests, leadership positions in their chosen fields of work, and multiple other areas of their lives that distinguish their particular class. These kinds of class distinctions show up most powerfully in terms of relationships. In fact, the most successful anti-poverty programs I am familiar with note that the single-most important step out of poverty's lifestyle has little to do with "making more money." Guess what it definitely is? Changing who you "run with" (relationships). Of course, many trapped in the ghettos are neither criminals nor into drugs, gangs, or "being in the 'hood" as marks of social value.

Poverty tends to produce a class set of values, attributes, and barriers to getting free from its clutches. This alone makes it very challenging to get out of poverty. One has to leave the peer pressure of poverty's relationships, at least until one's life choices have changed. This is reality.
What also has a huge effect on this whole discussion is the destruction of the family unit, two-parent incomes, and class evaluations on the importance of education. Once again, my primary purpose of this discussion is to highlight race-class issues.

The leaders of The Statesmen Project's believe that our mandate is to:

  *   Provide an accurate diagnosis of the current economic, political, and social situation. We must powerfully communicate the current cultural suicide of creating a secular culture that attempts to disconnect itself from the biblical values and principles that have proven historically to be the foundations of many successful nations.

  *   Proclaim and educate on the biblical principles, values, applications, and models/proof points that have been historically successful.

  *   Call for open discussions and prepare for an anticipated global debate. Without a free flow of ideas in the context of democratic expression, we will be increasingly unable to roll back the abuses of misused power, losses of personal freedoms, and increasing government centralization and dependencies. We believe that the need for a global dialogue about the relationship between freedom, sustainable prosperity, and justice---and the spiritual/moral foundations supporting them---has reached a critical state.

  *   Encourage people that despite the great challenges we face now and ahead of us, these crises need not render us hopeless. There is reason for great hope. We have hope because there are answers that have proven to work in history. People who have applied the principles of "loving our neighbor as themselves" in the past have achieved sustainable prosperity, freedom, and justice.

Until we can begin to discuss poverty, racism, and several other sure, class-based realities, we are stuck in the merry-go-round of fruitless and destructive public narratives. Even far, far worse is the painful reality of the "modern plantation" holding millions trapped in the mythology that poverty rests solely on the lack of money and racism. Let's begin the task of freeing our brothers and sisters from systemic ideas maintained by the most insidious "racism" of all: that "helpful" bureaucrats will get people free because they are incapable of getting there themselves. Really? Let's have some honest conversations about that.

© Dennis Peacocke WWW.GOSTRATEGIC.ORG

Posted on January 6, 2017 .

The Apostolic Mission by Frank Dupree

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The Mission of an Apostle and, by extension, an Apostolic Church is Fourfold:

  • To Advance the Kingdom of God:     To conquer and subdue cities, regions and nations placing them under the feet of Jesus
    • The 1st Century Apostles were successful because they had a militant mentality… They believed that they had a Mandate for Global Dominion; a continuation of the Genesis Mandate!’
    • They were “Kingdom Minded” and had a grasp of “Sentness”. They realized that they are “commissioned” and they had a sense of purpose and destiny!
  • To Establish the Church:      The Early Church was “Kingdom Minded” and had a militant mindset to “fight the good fight” and “run the race with patience”. They knew that God would “work all things for their good” as they continually trusted and praised Him. They were an Equipping Church
    • They instructed & trained the new converts in the culture of the Kingdom of God by making Disciples
    • They trained and raised up Fivefold Ministers and Deacons
    • The equipped all the Saints for the work of the ministry in their daily life
  • To Set up the Governmental System of the Church            
    • Titus 1:5 says: “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee…”
    • This ensures the continuing witness of the Kingdom of God in the Local Church and the area it resides in.
  • To “Increase and Multiply”
    • The Early Church did not “forsake the assembling of the saints”. We must also be careful to be active members in the Church or we will never walk in the anointing Jesus died to give us and our lives and our families lives will all be negatively affected if we do.
    • The Early Church was not Passive about sharing their faith! They wanted to reach lost souls and save them from an eternity of hell!
    • With the Governmental Structure of the Churches “set in order” the Churches were positioned to “Increase and Multiply” or “Reproduce”
  • After the early apostles died, the commission was passed on to the next generation of Apostles. It has yet to be totally fulfilled and will remain in force until the day it is fulfilled. I believe that the Commission and Mandate are still God’s Will today so, we must pattern our Church after the structure of the Early Church.

© Frank Dupree WWW.FRANKDUPREE.COM

Posted on January 6, 2017 .

Authority Delegated by God by Jim Garlow

In moving forward, what does it mean—to obey God?

An obvious answer is:  To obey God’s Word, obey His principles.  And that’s important.  But it also means being in proper conformity.

And what do I mean by that?

Being in obedience to God’s Word regarding those God has put over you.

Wherever you are in life, you’ll have other human authorities over you—placed there by God.  In fact, delegated by God.

If you want to walk in full obedience to God—guess what?

Here’s the tough part.  You must walk in obedience with those God has ordained and placed over you.

Pray and fast for our nation—our world.  Mark 9:29 reminds us that some things come only by prayer and fasting—as we seek the Lord’s will and prepare for the days ahead

© Jim Garlow WWW.JIMGARLOW.COM

Posted on January 6, 2017 .

Apostles and Administrators by Frank Dupree

1 Corinthians 12:28  “firstly Apostles…thirdly teachers, after that… helps, administrators…”

The word translated “governments” in The King James Bible is also translated “administrations” or “administrators” in the New American and Revised Standard Versions.

In Greek this is the word “kubernesis” which means to steer and is used to designate the pilot of a ship. Anyone knows that unless the pilot is the owner of the ship he does not decide where it goes, he simply steers it where he is told to. God raises up Apostles to pioneer new churches and bring forth new revelations. Once the Apostle is gone the movements or churches that they pioneered are usually taken over by people who have “administrative” gifts. When that happens the movement ceases, there is no more advancing the Kingdom.

Administrators are important and are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:28 but the Administrative gift is never to be first or “primary”! When administration is first it causes the movement to enter into a “maintenance mode” and many times it will die!

The reason this happens is because Administrators are not pioneers! They are not the kind of people to take the risks that Apostles will in order to advance the Kingdom of God! Paul uses the word “proton” for “first” Apostles… When administration is “proton” they stop anything new! They want everything to stay the same. To administrators, the “status quo” is good because they can predict what is going to take place. When Apostles are leading the future is not certain and the status quo goes out the window! The favorite verse of administrators is usually that everything be done; “decently and in order”!

For the most part, Christian churches are being run by “Pastors” who are usually gifted Administrators. Traditional Christianity is largely structured around denominations, and most denominational executives are administrators, many of them excellent administrators. Thus, day after day and year after year, administrators are those who make decisions which affect the life and the ministry of the churches under their jurisdiction. The Bible teaches that administrators are necessary because they carry out the vision of the Apostle. Again, without an Apostle leading and administrators leading potentials are usually not reached. But, if an administrator is following an Apostolic Leader they become invaluable because they bring a certain amount of positive tension into the leadership team. They become the ones who, by their gifting, bring balance to the Apostolic Vision.

Many Christian organizations flourish in the first generation and then tend to lose some of their initial vigor after their founder passes off the scene. One of the reasons for this is that the founder was very likely an apostle who carried a “pioneering anointing” and was an Apostolic Leader. But after the Apostle is gone most of the time the person who replaces him turns out to be an administrator. There is a vast difference between an apostle and an administrator. Remember, the Apostle has the “pioneering anointing” while an administrator has a “maintenance anointing”. Both are vital for the healthy life of a Church or Ministry but the “order” that Paul calls for is “Apostles first” casting vision and empowering the people and then the Administrators steering in the direction that the Apostle has called for. The ship is steered properly and it will reach it port!

© Frank Dupree WWW.FRANKDUPREE.COM

Posted on December 14, 2016 .

The Law of the Land by Jim Garlow

When the law of the land goes against what you believe—what then?

First, let me correct the question!

The issue isn’t when the law goes against what you believe—but when the law goes against what God says.

And the Bible is very clear!

Romans 13 clearly says to obey the government, but it also goes on to say the government is to be the minister of God.

In a Constitutional Republic, you are the government so your task is to make sure the government, as a minister of God—is carrying out Godly principles.

Some say, “never challenge the law.”

If the task of government is to be the minister of God—and it’s not doing that—you absolutely must speak up.  What about slavery?

What about improper treatment of women and children?

©Jim Garlow WWW.JIMGARLOW.COM

Posted on December 14, 2016 .

Millenials: Focus On a Cause by Nathan Culver

The bible is filled with many influential and generationally impactful leaders, however, the one that most resonates with millennial leaders or more closely resembles millennial leaders would be David the King of Israel. David after being anointed to serve as Israel’s next king found himself in a battle with a giant from among the Phillistines named Goliath. David was sent by his father Jesse to bring lunch to his brothers who were supposed to be engaged in heavy warfare with the Phillistines found his brothers trembling and hiding in fear of Goliath. When David hears the threatening and intimidating words of Goliath he becomes so enraged with the response of his brothers and the army that he decides something must be done about this giant. David tells his brothers that he will fight Goliath and they respond to him with discouraging words. His response to his brothers when asked why would he go to fight Goliath and David says, “…Is there not a cause?” (1 Samuel 17:29) The church has been struggling trying to figure out why church attendance is plummeting and their finances are hurting. The answer to this challenge is simple, millennials want to know what is your cause?

This generation will not attend church just to attend or financially support an organization that has no cause. When we look at the Black Lives Matter movement and all of the rallies and public marches there have been huge turn outs of many millennials and if you pay close attention they have been ethnically and racially diverse groups participating. Why do you think various ethnic groups have participated and supported this movement? This is because millennials believe in supporting “a cause”. The reality is this generation believes in participating in things that matter whether it results in financial gain or not. All they want to know is “what is the cause?” This speaks to the prophetic nature of this generation because their focus is to shift culture and see real change. Millennials don’t believe the church carries the weight and influence necessary to bring real change and if it does then it sure is not evident. The question is, what do we do to gain audience with and be able to influence millennials for Jesus?

We must first do the following if we are to have success with discipling millennials:

  • Define and develop causes that speak to relevant issues that are both biblical and culturally relevant. I am not implying that we need to get out and do marches and rallies but we do need to be involved with or create campaigns that affect humanity.

  • Develop meaningful campaigns that meet a real need in our communities, society, and culture. Our churches must be relevant and still remain faithful to biblical truth and standards.

  • We must develop churches that are relational and family centered so that we create an environment where millennials sense genuine love.

  • There must be transparency in our preaching and teaching so that we are not seen as mini-gods or humans without error. If we are going to impact millennials then we must eliminate religious dogma in our preaching.

  • Create an environment where the supernatural power of God is evident and the transformative work of Christ is taking place in our hearts.

We are in a war and if we are going to be effective at discipling this generation then we need to learn the culture and find ways and strategies that are impactful. Millenials want Jesus but we must reveal to them led by the Holy Spirit their need for Jesus. The cry of their heart is to experience the TRUE and LIVING GOD and not religion.

Posted on December 7, 2016 .

Our New Creation Image by Ken Chant and Stan DeKoven

Recently I have been reading a lot about the Third Day church, The New Apostolic Reformation, Feast of Tabernacles blessings, etc.  There seems on the surface (I am by no means an expert on any of these phrases or meanings) a general frustration with church as it is, and a desperate cry for more…more of God, more power, more anointing.  Sometimes I sense, (an observation of some, not an indictment on actions or intentions) that emerging and seasoned leaders are looking for something in their experience and life in Christ that goes beyond the completed work of Christ on the cross.  There has always been a tension between our daily experience and our biblically stated reality.  I suppose I am one, along with my colleague, who believes unequivocally that Christ has already provided for us all that pertains to life and godliness, and all blessings are already ours, in spite of what our present mundane experience might reveal.

In this brief article (perhaps not brief enough for some) we endeavor to present our understanding of the position we maintain and enjoy because of our divine position in Christ.  Sadly, many believers struggle needlessly in their pursuit of perfection (maturity, of course but perfect, forget it!).  Our true growth in Christ begins with our settled faith in Christ completed work…a message I think I am hearing in Third Day/Feast of Tabernacles/One New Man/New Apostolic teaching, but perhaps presented in a different way.  Regardless, for your reading enjoyment, we present our thoughts on the New Creation in Christ: In the Heavenlies.

Perhaps the most thrilling presentation of the wealth God has freely given us in Christ is found in the first three chapters of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.  In this letter Paul fathoms the utmost depths, and scales the transcendent heights, of the glories of the gospel, and he reveals them to us in five pungent sayings about our position IN THE HEAVENLIES in Christ – Ep. 1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12.

YOUR PROVISION IN THE HEAVENLIES

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavelies” (Ep 1:3).


EVERY BLESSING IS ALREADY YOURS

You will notice, Paul says this great work has already been done: “God HAS blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavelies”.  What a rich and dynamic gift.

Think of all the good things comprehended in the phase, “ALL spiritual blessings”.  We must note that “spiritual” does not mean immaterial blessing as opposed to material blessing; but rather, every good thing that God has made available to us through the gospel, his total salvation for body, soul, and spirit (see below, para (B)).

If a person lacks these things, perhaps, they have looked in the wrong place?  Where are all these spiritual blessings to be found?  In yourself?  In your church?  In your own good works?  In a leader?  The scripture tells us quite plainly where to locate them: “God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies:  For point of discussion:

  • If a friend deposited a large sum of money in a bank, in your name, you would at once become wealthy.  However, your new wealth would do you no good unless you went to that particular bank, presented authorization that gave you the right to draw on the money, and then withdrew from the account as much as you required.

So it is with your riches in God’s “heavelies”.  The expression describes a particular spiritual dimension into which all believers in Christ have access.  In this place, God has deposited all the treasure of salvation.  Whatever you need from God, whatever God wants to give, is placed there already in your name, waiting to be claimed by faith.  Every spiritual is now ours…waiting for us to withdraw.


THE MEANING OF “SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS”

Paul’s is clear that these blessings are called “spiritual” not because they are unearthly, but because they have a spiritual basis.  That is, they arise from the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Christian’s life; they stem from our union with Christ.  It is the origin or place from which they come that makes them spiritual.

Paul gives a kind of analysis of these blessings in Ep 1:3-20.  He lists them as

  • A blameless and holy life (vs. 4)

  • Destiny as the sons of God (vs. 5-6)

  • Redemption and forgiveness (vs. 7-8)

  • Knowledge of the plan of God (vs. 9-10)

  • Freedom to live for God’s glory (vs. 11-12)

  • The promise of the Holy Spirit (vs. 13)

  • A Guaranteed inheritance (vs. 14)

Then he sums it all up in three great statements (vs. 18-20), statements that should be a part of the prayer and praise of every believer.  First, there is hope.  For in fact, our future is secure in Christ, thus we have a destiny, a kingdom, a reward appointed for us, of which none can deprive us, save we ourselves, by unbelief.  Further, there are riches.  These are the riches of pardon, grace, healing, life, of supply of every need; indeed all the treasures offered in the promises of God are ours now for the taking by faith.  Finally, there is power, truly immeasurable great power: over all the kingdom of darkness, over the principalities and powers of evil, over the opposition of the world, over death and the very gates of hell.  As with all of God’s promises and blessings, there are two keys needed to unlock these treasures.  First, the believer needs a revelation of God’s purposes and power.  As I have already indicated, our ears and eyes need to be opened so that we might understand that all these promised blessings are ours right now, not for some future date, and not to be obtained by magic or slight of hand (or doctrine).  But such knowledge is beyond the natural mind; it must be revealed by the Spirit.  Then we must ask ourselves, how does one gain this spiritual revelation of the promise?  But first, the second key is release.  If “revelation” is the first key to unlock your spiritual blessings in the heavenlies, then the second key is the “release” of your faith.  For in truth, those things that are already your potential possessions will become your actual possessions when you make a faith commitment to receive them from God.
 

YOUR POWER IN THE HEAVENLIES

As you will readily see in Ep 1:19-20, Paul did not ask God to give them power. He longed only that they might know the greatness of God’s power in the heavenlies, and know that this power, all of it, was already their possession and prerogative.  Paul knew, and wanted his Ephesus friends to know two great things about his power:

  • First: it is “immeasurable”; no Christian need ever fear that this power will be insufficient to meet any difficulty that may arise.  Whatever we need to do or to traverse the most difficult circumstance, God’s power is amply available right now.

  • Second:  it is “according to the working of the mighty power which God wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead.”

So the extraordinary strength that we own in the heavenlies is the same in character, force, and effect as that which broke the bonds of death from the crucified Christ, freed him from sin’s darkness, and raised him in glory to heaven’s radiant throne!  Really, what additional power could we ever need?
 

YOUR POSITION IN THE HEAVENLIES

“God had made us alive together with Christ, and through our union with Christ by faith, he has raised us up and enthroned us with Christ in the heavenlies” (2:5-6)

Herein lies the key to our present understanding:

There is a difference between what might be called “situational” truth and “positional” truth.

  • Situational truth describes your condition at the present time, that is, your situation as observed by the natural eye; it is the state you are apparently in just now, whether spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical.

  • Positional truth describes your condition as God sees it in Christ; it is your position in the heavenlies in contrast with your situation on earth.

  • On earth you may be incomplete in sin; but in the heavenlies you are complete in Christ (Cl. 2:10).

The Bible in fact declares four things about your “position”.  First, you are crucified with Christ.

  • That is, united with him in his atoning death, thus becoming the recipient of all the mercy, pardon, and grace made available to each repentant sinner at Calvary.  One cannot crucify him or her self, but we can agree with what has already been done for us, and revel in its benefits.

  • That is, united with him in his victory over the power of sin, the strength of death, and the grip of the grave is broken.  

  • Thirdly, you are ascended with Christ.  That is, united with him in his endless life and in his unlimited access to the throne of God.  

  • Finally, you are enthroned with Christ.  That is, united with him in his triumph over Satan, over all the powers of darkness, and over all that is antagonistic to the kingdom of God.

  • You should realize that those events are not set in the future; they are true of you NOW!  They describe the position you already hold in Christ.

  • When you know, regardless of your actual situation on earth, that you truly are spiritually enthroned in the heavenlies with Christ, and when you begin to confess aloud that enthronement, then God will begin to make it actually happen for you.  

  • When your confession matches your position, then your situation will be made to match your position!

Someone will protest that to say you are enthroned when in fact you are enslaved is to tell a lie.  But that is not so.  You are merely supplanting one set of facts for another set of greater facts; you are changing one truth by the application of another truth.

  • For example: for centuries mankind was bound by the obvious fact that iron and steel cannot float; they have no natural buoyancy.

  • Everybody scoffed at the idea of an iron ship, until someone was bold enough to apply the laws of specific gravity; then behold, an iron ship afloat!

  • The fact that iron sinks in water was overcome by a greater fact.

  • Likewise, nobody can deny the truth of your situation, which may be one of sin, fear, sickness, or defeat; but what you should do is replace situational truth with positional truth.

  • Whichever one you choose to believe has power to nullify the other.
     

WARFARE IN THE HEAVELIES

“We are not contending against flesh and blood, but against…the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies” (6:12).

  1. Paul, having said that “every spiritual blessing” is found in the heavenlies, also says that we will have to contend for those blessings against the thievery of Satan.

  2. But how should you contend against that deceiver, Satan, and his dark hordes?  From the weakness of your earthly situation, or from the strength of your heavenly position?  If you are wise, you will possess the throne first, in the name of the invincible Christ, and then war against Satan with a crown on your head and a scepter in your hand!

  3. Our weapons are not carnal, not “flesh and blood”, but they are mighty through God to pull down every stronghold of Satan (2 Co. 10:3).

It is essential truth that we embrace the completed work of Christ and the cross, and fully possess the reality of our heavenly position.  This is not simple faith confession or positive thinking, but the reality of our inheritance in Christ.  We are a new creation, we are a new man, we are truly seated with Christ in the heavenlies, and until our situation and position are one (most likely, in the resurrection), we are in the heavenlies, and we have Christ in us; the hope of glory!

© Stan DeKoven WWW.DRSTANDEKOVEN.COM

 
Posted on November 23, 2016 .

An Apostolic Strategy for a New Generation by Nathan Culver

The church over the last few years has focused most of its attention on how to reach and impact the Millennials. It seems we have become so preoccupied with the evangelistic and discipleship strategies for Millennials that we haven’t completely considered the fact that the world is already evangelizing and discipling iGens (Generation Z). Please do not misunderstand this writing as it is not my belief that we should not continue to reach as many Millennials as possible; however, we can’t forget that secular leaders have already been discussing and implementing plans to capture the post Millennials or iGens (Generation Z). One of the failures of today’s current apostolic leadership is the lack of strategy to impact, disciple, and deploy new generations continually. As apostolic leaders, we need to think generationally and begin to seek God for strategies before Satan has implemented his own strategies. A few months ago, these words from an article in the Huffington Post entitled, “Educating Generation Z: Let Them Color Outside the Lines” piqued my interest:

I recently read a statistic by social researcher Mark McCrindle which set off an internal monologue that ended in a migraine: my daughter's generation will have 17 employers across 5 separate careers, working in jobs that don't even currently exist. How do I even prepare my 7-year-old child for that sort of future? ... All of a sudden, the ingrained mantra of ‘study hard, get a good job, save money’ is no longer acceptable. And yet, I have to be progressive enough to recognize that the current education system is unable to prepare my daughter for a life we can only predict.   

In addition, the article went on to point out that the present day leaders of our education system are unsure how to prepare Generation Z for the future because they are uncertain of how the future looks when it comes to various cognitive and technological advancements. If the world is uncertain, this should not alarm the church of Jesus Christ. On the contrary, this uncertainty should excite and encourage us to seize this moment to become the frontrunners in shaping the future for this emerging generation. We have an opportunity to fashion a generation of revolutionaries empowered by the Holy Spirit to go out and provide answers to the world’s greatest challenges. If we are going to arm Generation Z, then we need to do some of the following:

  1. Seasoned and Emerging apostolic leaders need to come together to discuss the issues awaiting Generation Z and devise strategies through prayer on how to equip them to chart new courses.

  2. Apostolic leaders should begin talking with other five fold ministry leaders about teaching their church to think generationally.

  3. Apostolic leaders should have more dialogue amongst each other about strategies that should be employed to disciple and develop Generation Z to have cultural impact.

  4. There should be the creation of opportunities and initiatives that encourage the children of Generation Z to be creative.

  5. Apostolic leaders should begin to dialogue with Christian education and marketplace leaders about developing new educational systems and models that encourage the creation of new technology.

  6. Apostolic leaders must take time to pour into emerging Millennials who have apostolic DNA, so that they begin to think about the most effective way to serve future leaders of Generation Z.


Finally, it is vital that the church sees the need to cultivate leaders in every generation. We must begin to create plans that continue the process of raising leaders who will transform each generation. We often become so consumed in working the vision given to us by God that we do not consider that someone must continue to carry out that vision once we can no longer do it ourselves. This type of failure in thinking is what Satan desires because it means that we have not spent time equipping and preparing successors. The failure of past movements was not considering the succeeding generations. It is time that we think generationally so that the work of the Kingdom impacts every generation.

Posted on November 2, 2016 .