Unity is Not Unifying: Your Place in the Ecclesia

1 – Unity in the Body derives from shared purpose.

To move in oneness, the Body must be completely representative of the Head in all its spiritual systems.

  • Unity occurs top down, not feet first. The Body cannot simply follow around the feet if it is to fulfill purpose. The Head provides all the spiritual systems of the Body with unifying direction, coordination, and discipline. The exercise of individual systems produces strength and efficiency both in working as a system and working with the total Body.
  • So, leadership in the Body prepares and positions individuals to personally excel in created destiny as well as shared purpose. Leaders don’t devise cunning systems copied from Olympic excellence or political models. Leaders discern created destinies and operate by blueprints from the Head. They do not allow individuals to create their destinies or produce their own sets of blueprints for systems that artificially operate like “church” instead of actually being authentic spiritual systems design and directed by the Head.
  • Jesus, the Head, operates through leaders who prepare and position people to function. The term Paul uses in Ephesians 4, katartismon, speaks to the preparation that produces order and operation by positioning. As a leadership objective, in other words, “success” means that individual members of the Body are prepared to function in the position for which the Head created, called, and charismatically gifted them.

People are different “on purpose:” that is, Jesus creates people with varied destinies, but the destinies all fit perfectly into the shared purpose.

  • No conflict can properly occur between what Jesus wants for the whole or any individual member. Imposing a system upon people, hammering them into a place for which they were not created or called or charismatically gifted produces great limitation upon spiritual life, grace, and function.
  • Celebrating uniqueness is based upon discerning created disposition. Leaders differentiate between dynamics of personality that are foreign to what Jesus created individuals to be, areas of life that require transformational discipling and dynamics of personality hidden under the heavy wet moldy blankets of pride, rejection, shame, rebellion, curse, and darkness.
  • Created destiny and shared purpose have no conflicts that the Cross cannot resolve through repentance, discipling, and endurance. Jesus provides the entire Body with discipling leadership because this application of redemption moves the whole Body closer to the completeness of the heavenly blueprint for the Ecclesia.

2 – Unity in the Body derives from mutual submission to the purpose that honors the uniqueness of each member because the created destiny of the individual members answers to a greater shared purpose for the whole.

Honor releases anointing.

  • Honor appropriates and makes available what the Head has sent and honors the Head who created, called, and charismatically gifted. Honor values equally what is not equal: that is, honor does not make everyone equal but equally honors what is diverse, different, and distinguishable by Design.
  • Blueprint leaders discern created destiny in ways that value the living stones, seeing within the stones, the finished product that fits the building. Blueprints leaders develop the individual members with shared purpose in mind that the maturing member functions with greater unity in the shared purpose, and all the systems of the Body benefit from this greater maturity. In this way, the whole Body matures as individual members mature.

3 – Unity in the Body derives from leadership dynamics that prepare and position members to function within the blueprinted spiritual systems of the Body.

In order to properly prepare and position individual members, leaders must have a blueprint understanding of the whole and how individuals function.

  • In order for them to produce an effective and efficient systematic matrix, they must discern both individual destinies and shared purposes. Of course, not everyone has the blueprints or has a full set of blueprints. In fact, no one has a full set of blueprints but the Father. Even the Son has the blueprints given to Him by the Father, blueprints to which He is working toward fuller restoration of the Father’s purposes.
  • When we speak of “territorial assignments or authority,” we are properly discussing the scope or sphere of leadership assignment any kingdom leaders has been given. Yet, in that assignment the end result of the assignment has to do with the development of kingdom leaders, the preparation and positioning of individual with in that scope or sphere so they can function in the Ecclesia to both take the land and possess the land.

Leaders with a scope of kingdom assignment that includes a region or nation will also have that level of authority and power.

  • The amazing levels of endowment, however, arrive to assist them in the preparation and positioning of kingdom citizens called together into assembly to accomplish shared purpose. They are gifted to serve the greater share purpose, and they measure “success” in their preparation and positioning of people.
  • Their “success” isn’t measurable by the accumulation of believers, on the one hand, or upon the accumulation of people who can “do the stuff,” on the other. The preparation of a hundreds of people to flop around like a hand or roll around like an eye or be carried on the wind like a severed ear doesn’t accomplish anything in terms of the finished blueprint until prepared people are properly positioned to produce purpose.

4 – Unity in the Body derives from abundance available to the whole and individuals so that none prospers at the expense of another when each is properly prepared and position to operate.

While times of emphasis may send more resources to one region or part of the Body for healing or strength, given a particular moment of function that emphasizes that region or part of the Body, the overall abundance guarantees that no one part suffers while others prosper.

  • If one member prospers, he never does so at the expense of other members. The Ecclesia lives in abundance of grace, the enabling capacities provided by Holy Spirit so that spiritual systems never run out of resources.
  • When the Body operates in spiritual unity, all the members are properly supplied. That supply is not equal, cannot be equal, should not be equal, but it is always appropriate to individual destiny and shared purpose. To speak into the metaphor, the blood supply to the digestive system increases when processing nourishment, increases to the extremities when cold threatens the skin, or increases to major muscle groups when strenuous exercise occurs. Resting pulse and running pulse differ by demand. Ears never receive the blood flow that legs and arms demand.

Unity is equality of destiny.

  • The preparation and positioning of individually created and sent parts the Head knows are needed for the blueprint construction and operation of the Body produces unity. Members do not prepare and position themselves because they lack blueprints, because the Head has a strategy for the preparation and positioning of people. The penchant to cry for position must be surrendered and personal destiny must be submitted.
  • The highest of personal destiny cannot be realized apart from the whole because the Creator designed that destiny for a place in His Body.

5- -Unity in the Body derives from love based upon trust that sustains hope. Without trust, love compensates for its vulnerability.

“Faith, hope, and love continue but the greatest of these is love.”

  • Without hope, love turns inward. Without love, trust and hope become selfish. Both trust and hope empower love. Love is measurable because love matures. Love is observable because love has consequences and behaviors. Love is personal because it responds to the love of the Father. Terms like ‘mature’ and ‘appropriate’ are validly applied to love.
  • To value another part of the Body, embracing the fullness of that member’s worth is a choice. Within itself, this wouldn’t be enough, however, to produce and sustain the systems of the Body. Trust built through sustained submission provides for maturity in love, stability in love. Then, hope becomes a shared value instead of a personalized motto or goal. Love disciplines so love matures; love from outside a person arrives to mature the love of the person loved so that the relationship between leader and follower grows. Then, individual members have greater capacity for love, trust, and hope.
  • That is, individual members maintain passion for shared purpose, not just for individual achievement at the expense of the whole Body. To begin with love as a foundational motivation, begin with the love of the Creator who created, called, and charismatically gifted. The basis for our love is His love, so all the summation of His expectations arrives at loving God totally so that love of others and ourselves comes from Him.

Love is sacrifice.

  • Love is treasure. When given to another, love is sacrifice. Love never demands expectation be fulfilled as basis for its investment, but love always has expectations. The concept of “unconditional love” doesn’t negate the expectations of love because love’s expectations speak to its passion desire for the object of love to prosper in what the Creator created them to be and do.
  • To define “unconditional love” as “I just love you” represents immature love that answers back to a need inside you more than a shared passion with the Father for people. The Father’s love has expectations, the “unconditional” aspect can be seen in the eternal perseverance of love for those expectations: “No matter what you do, you cannot destroy your destiny so that I have no power to redeem and restore it.”

Unity is Not Unifying

Unity is not learning how to get along. Unity requires agreement. “Can two walk together except they agree?” Obvious, two cannot walk together very long is one is walking to New Orleans while the other is walking to New York. Unity divides. Unity differentiates. Unity derives from shared purpose, so that unity of purpose alone can properly define unity. Immediately leaders set about to fulfill a purpose by the preparation and positioning of people to produce purpose, as Jesus designed the Ecclesia, those leaders produce division in order to arrive at unity.

While this strikes strong, thunderous blows at “the accumulation of believers” definition of “church,” it immediately provides for kingdom leadership dynamics to function efficiently and effectively.

Apply the concept to love. I don’t love everybody. God does but I don’t. I don’t know everybody, encounter everybody, or experience everybody. God does but I don’t.

Traveling internationally, I am always struck by this thought: “There are a lot of people in the world that I don’t know.” I will never know them. It doesn’t mean I hate them or devalue them. I don’t know them so I can’t love them.

Jesus doesn’t say, “Love everybody.” He knows better. He specifies how love functions: “Love God with All. Love yourself. Love your neighbor. Love your enemies.” Then, Jesus illustrates who a “neighbor is” and how to “love your neighbor” by the famous Good Samaritan story.

To the point of unity – unity in like manner isn’t “everybody.” Unity is about shared purpose. Amazing effort and money has been thrown away attempting to get everybody to unify when unity isn’t unifying. Unity is clarifying, and love allows for that clarification. That is, I can love you when you aren’t in unity with my purpose and I’m not in unity with yours. I cannot give myself to every purpose under heaven to show unity without failing miserably at the assignment Jesus has given me.

“But,” you say, “We are all doing the same thing! We all have the same purpose. Don’t we?” Nope. We do not.

We have unique individual destinies that require kingdom leadership dynamics for preparation and positioning in order for them to fulfill their eternal purposes. Unity arrives through the submission of what God has created, called, and charismatically gifted to His kingdom blueprint, functioning properly within His Ecclesia. “He who calls you will cause it to happen.”

In conclusion, Ecclesia clarifies shared assignment. The place or position for which you are prepared comes from God. Not you. Not leaders. From the Head. From the kingdom, He calls together into assembly. That is Ecclesia. Those living stones in those Ecclesia’s are called together by Him as well. Obeying His call means responding to a place of assignment, and that assignment will have leaders. You are called to a shared purpose. You called to align with leaders for your shared assignment. You are called to submit your created destiny, calling, and charismatic gifts to that assignment, to be prepared and positioned by those leaders, to fit and function in His Body.

A Prophetic Vision for North Florida

Isaiah 45:8 – “Distil, O heavens, and pour out your righteousness (norms of heavenly behavior). Let the earth open wide so both rescue that restores and heavenly norms can sprout up. I, the LORD, created them these norms and their restoration.”

  • ra’aph and nazal, distil and pour out. The sense of “distill” is that the humidity turns into liquid, forming droplets that gain weight by combining until the clouds can no longer hold them, and they fall down.

These words are a couplet describing a meteorological process. Water is present in the atmosphere, distributed as tiny particles of moisture. In this way, it is a storehouse of rain, hidden to the eye because it is distributed in unseen portions. As atmosphere changes, temperature drops result from air rising and cooling. These cause the small amounts of water to combine and condense. The change is called “convergence” in meteorological terms. The convergence combines vast distribution of vapor causing clouds. The clouds can be seen because the convergence begins to block light, the vapor condensing creates a heavier distribution of vapor in the air. A cloud forms when air heated by the sun rises like a balloon. As it rises, it slowly cools until it reaches the saturation point and water condenses. The cloud floats because it is warmer than the outside air around it. The cloud appears, becomes visible, because of this process of distilling. It pours out because of further atmospheric changes.

A cloud forms  may also form because of mountains whose elevations direct wins blowing into it upward. Picture a weather front in the same way: Heavier, colder air pushes down, forcing warmer air to rise through air mass collision. (“Winds colliding at the surface, like two freight trains, have no where to go but upward.”) We call this “convergence.” Air moving upward by these collisions continues to condense. Moisture drops form. An accumulation of drops collides and merges until they become heavy enough for gravity to extract them from the clouds as “rain.” Rain is water that rises up, accumulates, collecting into increasingly heavier droplets, and falls because it becomes too heavy for the cloud. Here we are talking about rain from heaven in the prophetic sense, a different source of spiritual moisture releasing what has been stored, held back, awaiting release.

I saw the showers of heaven falling and the earth responding, sprouts emerging from once barren soil. The sense was that other rains and waterings had never awakened these seeds. The life in them is heavenly, so only heavenly rain will awaken that heavenly life. I heard God say that other waters have created “run off” and the limitation of rain has caused us to design an irrigation system that allocates a limited supply. When heaven’s rain falls, the old system must be broken up. A new distribution will occur. Heaven will rain. Therefore, heaven will determine where the rain falls. The distribution will come from above, not beneath, controlled by God, not man.

Cisterns breaking up! Irrigation lines broken to pieces! Pumping stations shut off! Dismantled and shipped to other areas as discards.

“O Earth, open up so restorative rescue and heavenly norms can sprout up together.”

When what-God-intended falls in the form of heavenly rain, something in the earth must open up, because something is falling that is different from the common rain that has maintained the present conditions, nourishing seeds of “the-way-things-are,” season after season.

Heavenly rain awakens a heavenly seed. Heavenly rain awakens seeds of purpose, so restorative rescue grows up, a restoration of hidden purposes, to produce heavenly behaviors.

The Lord creates this unusual condition, an awakening of life buried and waiting for the proper kind of rain. God says, “Heaven and earth, be fruitful, produce salvation that restores what-God-intended in this season.”

  • June 11, 2005 – Israeli doctors and scientists have succeeded in germinating a date seed nearly 2,000 years old. The seed, nicknamed Methuselah, was taken from an excavation at Masada, the cliff fortress where, in A.D. 73, 960 Jewish zealots died by their own hand, rather than surrender to a Roman assault. The point is to find out what was so exceptional about the original date palm of Judea, much praised in the Bible and the Koran for its shade, food, beauty, and medicinal qualities, but long ago destroyed by the crusaders. Announcing in December 2009 that a 4,000-year-old seed that was found during an archaeological dig in the Aegean city of Kütahya has germinated, Professor Nejat Bilgen from Dumlupınar University said that being able to analyze the characteristics of plants from centuries ago would be a scientific breakthrough. Professor Bilgen stated that while his team was conducting an excavation in the district of Seyitömer in Kütahya, they found a container holding seeds, many of which were burned and useless. “However, three seeds we found were not damaged, and we have been carrying out research on these seeds for two years. Our attempts to germinate them had previously failed, but this year, one of the three seeds germinated. When the germination is complete, the plant will be presented to scientists for further analysis.”

The sprouts that germinate from heavenly seed will be young and tender. It is not time to stomp around in the fields, but it is time to stomp out the religious systems that have had control of the prevailing conditions dominated by an earthly water supply. God is not’ angry with leaders or anyone in particular in this vision. He calmly shatters usurping systems. This causes tremendous dismay to leaders who honestly cannot see how to they can function without the usurping systems. They will now learn to recognize that God can distribute His rain.

This is caused some gardens to dry up. Because God is not raining on them, and the prevailing spiritual rain dominates the atmosphere, they cannot sustain growth. These gardens will receive rain only when they are cleared off, so the sprouts that respond to heaven’s rains can be awakened.

This is true of our own lives. We must allow for examination of our own irrigation systems. God dismantles and destroys our own way of getting water to things, our own dependency upon cisterns and pumps and pipelines. It feels uncomfortable when God shatters our irrigation systems without which you would have total crop failure. The way you get what you need will change. Big time. You will feel frustrated when what you think is your source of water fails, and God waters some ground that you thought would not produce. He reserved for the sprouts that only respond to heaven’s rains.

 

 

Kingdom Leadership Dynamics, Part 4, Five Spiritual Leadership Dynamics

All kingdom leadership dynamics function spiritually. The kingdom is a spiritual kingdom. The leadership has spiritual dynamics. The empowerment and authority is spiritual first but affects people, places, and things by spiritual power and authority.

Kingdom leadership dynamics operate in contrast with leadership dynamics common to the kingdoms of man. Where there is contrast, competition, compromise, and comparison in this world, there is spiritual consensus, cooperation, covenant, and collaboration in God’s kingdom.

Spiritual Consensus

Alignment makes a way for agreement. Agreement allows us to move forward with boldness. The agreement comes from spiritual consensus. Consensus means “agreement and accord” a derivative of “consent.” Consensus comes from submission to assignment. The alliance and agreement that comes through submitted to an assignment produces boldness to build, a surety of purpose and strategy that says, “We are doing the right thing the right way, so let’s pursue with passion!”

At some point, spiritual consensus requires submission. The submission is not a compromise that allows each of the leaders to maintain some sense of personal dignity and autonomy. The submission is a choice each leader makes to align with the King, and the consensus derives agreement from a mutual agreement with God. Such an agreement can only come by spirit-with-Spirit-with-spirit koinonia. True koinonia means, “take a share.” Therefore, koinonia produces consensus through mutual consent. We achieve unity of purpose through agreement of assignment. We have not yet dealt with strategy, of course, the main source of disunity and we have not dealt with striving the main source of conflict, but we have laid down the foundation for kingdom leadership dynamics through which the Body can “build up itself in love.”

How often we hear the cry, “Why can’t we all just get along?” We can! We can achieve high levels of spiritual cooperation and collaboration once we have consented to make the assignment the basis for our agreement. We can never reach oneness on strategy until we achieve unity about our purpose. We cannot build something without a blueprint or without a blueprint to which we agree. We “sign up” to build the blueprint by signing off on the design first, then we settle into the submission process of coordinated strategy.

While consensus is a beginning, it is not the whole enchilada. When I was involved more deeply at the national level with the pro-life movement, I soon discovered that the movement contained a broad coalition of people who agreed on the sanctity of life but were very diverse about “what should be done about it.” I called this the pro-life spectrum, the pro-life journey. I rubbed shoulders with people who attended a fund-raising ball once a year to raise money to support pro-life political candidates and with people carrying the bodies of unborn children burned black with saline solution to cause them to abort. While I wouldn’t include the “let’s just shoot ‘em” mavericks in the movement, some of the people I met were willing to chain themselves to tables while some were willing to stand outside a clinic and sing and pray. The spectrum based upon the consensus was broad and the disagreements over “what should we do about this” were sometimes heated and divisive. Therefore, we had a strong consensus and a divided strategy.

In kingdom leadership dynamics, God never separates His strategy from His purpose. Therefore, consensus must include strategy. The principles and protocols of the kingdom should provide us a basis for agreement on “what should we do about this.”

The first name of “spiritual consensus” is “spiritual.” So, let us reach out for a fuller understanding of how this consensus is spiritual or SpiritFirst. Paul’s discussion of consensus with the Corinthian Ecclesia is classic. He identifies factors of spiritual health and maturity that determine kingdom leadership dynamics. He speaks about infants, fleshly, and mature while contrasting natural and spiritual dynamics as a basis for function.

Two factors emerge: the level of maturity and the leadership motivation. We will encounter a lack of consensus where there is a lack of maturity because infants and fleshly both speak to spiritual discipling development. A person who is fleshly is immature. A person who is infantile is fleshly by motivation and priority: babies tend to be self-centered and overly simplistic. “Feed me. Change me. Rock me. Notice me.” This is fleshly but for a different reason from a fleshly believer who has chosen to prioritize natural or this world’s dynamics instead of spiritual or kingdom dynamics.

Paul says mature people can eat meat. Immature people remain on the bottle. The “meat” to which he refers is spiritual revelation, information received and digested spiritually. So, only people mature enough in spirit to eat substantial revelation, process the information flow of kingdom leadership can achieve consensus. Immature people cannot reach consensus because they have little or no basis upon which to reach agreement.

You can fill the kingdom with immature people, but you cannot establish and expand the kingdom without mature, spiritual leaders. When the kingdom fails to mature people, it fails to reach consensus, divides randomly over immature issues, and fragments about strategies and purposes.

In kingdom leadership, Jesus assigns leaders to build. The builders align their assignments to produce the finish product or purpose Jesus wants. Their alignment reveals that some builders have a set of blueprints for nations, while others have a set of blueprints for a region, while others have a set of blueprints for city. Leaders without blueprints are leaders assigned to a blueprint team, task and project oriented, with authority to recruit, train, and implement some aspect of the assignment a blueprint leader has been given. Everybody in his or her proper preparation and position will be engaged in “the work of the ministry that builds up the Body of Christ.” Therefore, no one has a legitimate assignment to stand around alone.

If we fill the Ecclesia with immature people, we produce a leadership problem. We are applying the wrong dynamics to the kingdom. We are fleshly and/or immature. We are ignoring the strategy of the kingdom. Jesus has a strategy called kingdom. Kingdom has a strategy called leadership. Leadership has a strategy called discipling. Discipling has a strategy called fathering. 

If we lack consensus, we have failed to mature spiritual leaders who can function in kingdom leadership dynamics. Division exposes immaturity.

Discipling should include deliverance and inner healing in order to break people from bondages and restore aspects of their personal development frozen by trauma, dysfunction, and overcompensation. (That is why I developed FreedomMinistry International. A discipling ministry that turns ordinary believers into ministering leaders. It is a blended combination of discipling ministries necessary to the maturing of kingdom people.) Without doubt, the lost art of discipling weakens the modern church more than any other factor. Even when revival and awakening arrive, immature believers misuse these resets because they lack the maturity to build kingdom.

Who of us hasn’t observed a vey promising kingdom initiative deteriorate into chaos because of unhealed wounds and personal bondages in kingdom leaders assigned to lead the move of God? Having accumulated intercessors, prophets, and apostles, yet failing to mature them and the kingdom leaders needed to implement kingdom strategies, conflict, comparison, contrast, and competition continue to mar the kingdom. The spectrum of kingdom leadership remains as diverse as ever because of a lack of consensus, and the lack of consensus remains because of fleshly, immature leadership dynamics.

Blaming a cruel, evil, blinded, and perverse world for failure insults the Power of the Cross, the Life of the Resurrection, the authority of the Ascension, and the Intercession of Jesus! What remains out of reach is a strategy that produces mature leaders because of the neglect or rejection of discipling and discipline. Love without discipline. Honor without discipline. Accumulation remains the fleshly assumption of the modern American church.

Consensus requires revelation. Kingdom consensus is spiritual. The experiences that produce this consensus are shared spiritual experiences operating in mature kingdom leaders with some level of expertise and experience. Consensus requires a revelation experience, more than simply being born anew, but capable of processing kingdom information through a preparation process.

The Spiritual Person

Paul says, “The spiritual person judges all but he is judge by no one.” The sense of the word, “judge,” has to do with processing information. The spiritual person processing information spiritually, so he cannot be processed by someone else because they aren’t party to the spiritual process. He might be judged by fleshly or immature people because they have inadequate capacities to process information spiritually. He might share his conclusions with other spiritual people in order to gain greater understanding, but the spiritual person processes life through spiritual reality.

Paul continues: “For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he can get on board the same boat with Him?’ However, we have the mind of Christ [ so we can get on board, stride the same pace with Him, process what He is thinking.]” The Greek word is sumbibazo, “to stride with, to join together in reasoning, to reach the same conclusion with.” So the spiritual man can reach consensus with Jesus, and spiritual people can join together in this agreement as a basis for purpose and strategy.

We would say, “We need to get on the same page with Jesus. Who can do that?” Paul says, “The spiritual man can! He can process the spiritual information so that he can carry out what the purpose and strategy of Jesus.”

Is “Two or Three Gathered” an Ecclesia?

No. The Ecclesia can function for a specific application of its authority with two or three kingdom citizens doing Ecclesia business, but the Ecclesia cannot be defined as “two or three gathered in His Name (or authority).” That phrase is not a misquote but the assumption that it defines “ekklesia” is a misapplication of the phrase.

Jesus is discussing how the Ecclesia deal with disunity in Matthew 18. While most modern believers ignore the passage altogether in terms of actually applying it with a serious determination to make it work, Jesus makes this activity fundamental to the health and character of His Ecclesia. By setting out a pathway of confrontation, communication, and connection, Jesus makes it clear that He intends for the Ecclesia to be watchful and intentional about healthy personal relationships. Notice that the discussion is about “personal” relationships within the Ecclesia, however, not about Ecclesia as the called together assembly on assignment.

If the breach of relationship occurs between two people, and those two people can resolve the breach, the subject and application of the process ends right there. The stepped process ceases at the point at which the breach is healed. If the breach cannot be healed between two people, other people are asked to involve themselves in the healing of the breach. The breach is still personal, and the process remains private. “Take two or three witnesses to establish the communication” because the process cannot stop while the breach remains, and a foundation must be laid for the completion of the process. The “two or three” of the passage is defined: witnesses gathered together in His authority have the full function of the Ecclesia’s responsibility to heal breaches. In other words, if this can heal the breach, the process ends.

If this does not heal the breach, the process continues to the Ecclesia as a whole, clear indication that the Ecclesia isn’t “two or three gathered.”

In any case, the Ecclesia cannot allow the process to begin without a healing of the breach. The Ecclesia must make judgment about the breach if personal and private don’t bring healing. Then the breach must be made public, and the person refusing to “do the right thing” must understand the nature of the Ecclesia and its relationships. The breach must be publicly defined so that breach never become normative for the Body.

The Ecclesia cannot abide unhealed wounds.

Perhaps the reason the personal communication cannot heal the breach arises from a disagreement about whether or not the breach even occurred. This is the first step that removes most breaches: most breaches arise from misunderstandings. Communication produces understanding, and the breach dissolves.

However, when disagreement about the breach cannot be resolved personally, one on one, then the issue remains private in the sense that only two or three enter into the discussion for the sole purpose of establishing the communication, to answer the question, “Is this a legitimate issue? Did a breach occur? Is the person at fault (someone is by what Jesus describes in His treatment of this subject) willing to make this right, to change, to heal and be healed?

In any case, Jesus says breaches cannot be ignored. Time heals nothing. He isn’t talking about slights and imagined, childish expectations unfulfilled, adults acting like children. He is talking about breaches of relationship that would short circuit the Body’s full function. He’s talking about strained ligaments and pulled muscles, a cavity in a tooth, or an open, bleeding wound. These must be addressed personally and privately because they affect the entire Body.

So, by addressing the functionality of “two or three” in this process, Jesus isn’t defining the Ecclesia as a Starbucks Bible study. He is making a point about the serious nature of breaches of trust, that He will personally authorize the two or three witnesses, the private small “gathered together” to heal that breach without the “whole Ecclesia” whenever possible. Nonetheless, Jesus says if the whole Ecclesia must reset their relationship with this unrepentant person, starting all over with them as if they are a non-functional kingdom citizen, seeking to reinstate them at any moment they are willing to change to be changed, then the Ecclesia must take this action. Breaches are just that serious.

Abuses and misuses of these clear statement abound, but the fundamentals remain. The discussion here isn’t about whether or not a person has committed sin or has a bad habit the church rules forbid. The discussion here is completely about breaches in internal Ecclesia relationships between believers that cannot be properly dealt with by outside judgment or decision making. Believers judge because judging is making decisions, and the authorization to make such decisions involves Jesus even the Ecclesia as a whole isn’t involved.

Kingdom Leadership Dynamics, Part 3, Principles and Protocols

A kingdom always functions on principles and protocols. The principles of God’s kingdom rest upon an agreement or covenant, or I would say, “a covenant agreement.” The terms of the covenant speak to the way the covenant operates. Kingdom leaders respond to the covenant agreement, and the covenant agreement provides a context in which the kingdom functions, a rationale for what we do and why we do it. The covenant agreement produces the psychology of the kingdom, the mind and motivations of Christ. The covenant agreement describes the roles, relationships, and responsibilities of the kingdom.

Understanding Covenant Agreements

Marriage is God’s most basic human covenant agreements. He designed it. He produces the covenant agreement by which marriage becomes what He created it to be. The question cannot be, “Is God in this marriage?” The question can only be, “How well does this marriage function according to its designed covenant agreement?” To this question Jesus says, “Because of the hardness of your hearts, Moses gave you a way to avoid the fullness of the covenant agreement. However, from the beginning of the Creation, God had something more than that in mind.”

Marriage sets new relationships, roles, and responsibilities. The relationship between parents and the children entering into kingdom marriage covenant changes, so the roles and responsibilities of that previous relationship shift as well. The relationship between the covenant partners changes so that they begin to relate to one another in a way that changes every other relationship in their lives in order to live out their roles and fulfill their responsibilities.

There is not mystical mistake in the fact that Paul says that marriage oneness is a “huge mystery” understood, as he explains in the surrounding context, by how Christ responds to His Ecclesia. The relationships, roles, and responsibilities of Christ and the Ecclesia respond to covenant agreement between jesus and the kingdom Ecclesia. In this way, Paul says we can understand the marriage covenant.

Covenant principles and protocols operate through alignment. The covenant agreement provide for the flow of authority and authorization. The alignment is set in place by the culture of the kingdom, so the King remains Lord of His realm. Family has alignment. Cultures have alignment. Ecclesia has alignment. The roles, relationships, and responsibilities of leaders are delineated through alignments. Some people call this “covering.” Others called this “under authority.” Other say, “Chain of command.” No matter how the concept is titled or explained, the end result remains that alignment nullifies autonomy. The covenant agreement provides a means through which authority flows to every person within the kingdom.

Alignment provides for representation. Aligning with Jesus provides the flow of His authority. Jesus aligns with Father to accomplish His assignment, to fulfill His Father’s will. Jesus sets a chain of command, covering, under authority set of protocols and principles that make kingdom leadership available to every citizen of the kingdom through the roles, relationships, and responsibilities of marriage, culture, and Ecclesia. Many alignments occur over which we have little control or decision making that we either alignment with or suffer deficiencies in life.

We do not chose our parents. We did not choose Adam as the first man or Eve as the first woman. We do not choose our kingdom leadership as much as we agree with the positioning Jesus provides us to carry out our callings. We are represented in culture by many leaders we do not directly choose. The alignment remains our safest position, greatest opportunity for success, and most empowering authorization. Aligning with God’s representatives is essential for us as representatives of God.

Kingdom alignment operates through honor. While all citizens have eternal value, the kingdom value or worthiness of kingdom leaders flows through alignments. We defer to God’s alignment by honoring the leaders He sends to represent Him in the roles, relationships, and responsibilities He assigns them. The covenant agreement assumes this alignment, and with the alignment certain principles and protocols apply.

Obedience flows toward the King through allegiance to His representatives. Submission flows toward the King through agreement and alliance with His representatives. To step out of the order of protocol is to expose yourself to disorder, to short circuit the safety of good counsel, and to destabilize the structures through God’s blueprints build kingdom, expanding and establishing His rule.

Understanding Covenantal “Covering”

I stopped using the term “covering” when the term took on meanings distant from the kingdom leadership dynamics of Jesus. It is not a Bible word although used properly by many good and wholesome leaders to describe how alignment with leaders provides protection through accountability. The concept certainly comes through in parenting and marriage rather easily. The concept comes through in how kingdom leaders “watch for your souls” because they are position for oversight. The concept certainly comes through with regard to governments that God sets in place to be a terror to them that do evil. The concept has, unfortunately, been used to subvert people to dysfunctional leadership, and the difference between healthy and unhealthy leadership can be complicated.

First, let us make it clear that no human leadership is perfect, and some dysfunction taints everyone’s leadership. However, within the kingdom, the King is always at work in these situations, and a clear voice within kingdom leaders operating in the principles and protocols of the kingdom will resolve most the damages, even turn them toward greater strength and unity. The principles and protocols of the kingdom designed to provide leadership are based upon mutual love and honor. Of course, dysfunctional people often exhibit dysfunctional behaviors because of dysfunctional love and honor.

Second, Leadership provides boundaries, counsel, and discipline that builds personal leadership into life. Not control or subjection. Leadership. Each of the institutions God designed to provide leadership for your life are designed to produce greater personal leadership. None were designed to run your life for you. Lack of personal leadership will result in diminished kingdom leadership: leaders with greater personal leadership will enjoy greater kingdom leadership function; those with little or diminished personal leadership will enjoy little or diminished kingdom leadership. Kingdom leadership flows into your life so kingdom leadership can flow through your life. The greater your personal leadership, the greater flow of kingdom leadership runs through your life. Your personal dysfunction in home, Ecclesia, and culture will directly affect your kingdom leadership.

Third, leadership grows more functional through experience and expertise, and the level at which kingdom leadership “covers” your life depends upon the flow of experienced expertise into your personal leadership. That is why alignment provides increased kingdom leadership: leaders at the international level speaking into leaders at the national and regional levels, so leaders speaking through the local and personal levels have access to the greatest kingdom leadership dynamics!

The first principle of kingdom is love. So, putting our understanding of “covering” to work, let us examine how love matures. Love disciplines so that greater experiences and expertise in love becomes available. Love God with All. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love your enemies. Love disciplines our personal leadership so that we respond to with God’s love in our roles, relationships, and responsibilities. Love and discipline are kingdom principles and protocols.

The second principle of kingdom is honor. So. putting our understanding of “covering” to work, let us examine how honor matures. Honor values others so higher levels of leadership God sends with greater experience and expertise become available. Then, honor releases these experience and expertise at the local and personal levels. In this way, honor places appropriate value upon God’s provisions and protections and makes leadership a part of every citizen’s life.

The end result is personal leadership. Your experience and expertise grows and matures. The entire kingdom is enhanced by this process.

Love, Honor, and Discipline

I had a wonderful discussion recently in which I hammered out an understanding of how love matures through discipline. The question was, “Don’t you think we should cut back on discipline and be more loving?” I immediately said, “No, we need more discipline than ever.” The discussion reveals the fundamental principle and protocol of the kingdom that applies directly to kingdom leadership dynamics. Love disciplines so that people mature enough to receive more love.

The dearth of love can be better understood as a dearth of discipline. Everything God designs makes love and discipline the centerpiece of maturity and growth. Many people cannot receive love because they lack the discipline to experience love at deeper, personal levels. They lack trust. They lack faith. They lack submission.

Note the working parts of love and discipline Hebrews 12 explains and the outcomes for people without them. A root of bitterness from a loss of inheritance, a sprouting and spreading of this bitterness that poisons others, an Esau spirit, comes from and through people with inadequately matured souls who cannot receive love at a personal level. The working parts that produce the opposite, healthy spirit come through leadership:

  • the Father and earthly fathers provide discipline, to which we submit, enduring the process in order to experience the end result produced by discipline;
  • the process requires submission, and leaders provide strength to those experiencing it so they will continue in it, enduring or sustaining their process until they mature;
  • the fruit of right behavior produced by discipline flows to true children, inheritors prepared and positioned to inherit
  • the response to discipline is “honor,” as Hebrews 12:5 says we must avoid disposing or belittling discipline

As kingdom leaders, we encounter people abused, poorly discipline, punished, rejected, and immature emotionally and mentally who are citizens of the kingdom. When we begin to carry out our roles, relationships, and responsibilities to these kingdom citizens, we run into an inadequacy within them for love and receiving love. Likewise, we encounter them at some level of deficiency with regard to honor and receiving proper honor. They have been devalued and lack a context of experience through which to properly value our leadership. In order for them to become fully functional kingdom citizens, embrace the principles and protocols of the kingdom, and become true disciples – and this is our assignment – we must provide them with a disciplined process of personal leadership development. Our leadership provides them strength to sustain this process as they submit to it, and our experience and expertise matures their level of love and honor progressively so they can mature enough to receive and release greater love and honor.

Any system or approach to love and honor that ignores this aspect of discipline produces dysfunctional leaders with fatal flaws. The trust issue, the level of obedience and submission people are willing to embrace and sustain measures the pace of their maturity. They can only mature as quickly as they can sustain a discipline process that strengths and matures their ability to love and honor and receive love and honor.

Love and honor operates through choices, and strength of will fundamentally affects their maturity. We love because we choose. We honor by choice. Necessity does not govern love or honor. So the key to greater love and honor is strength of will. Love and honor demand risk, so the enemy of these fundamentals works to limit strength of will. Moving through the institutions God designed, from home to Ecclesia to culture, the greater opportunities for love and honor come from the roles, relationship, and responsibilities available at the more personal level.

Expect that the discipling of cultures will require a transformation of love and honor since culture comes from shared beliefs and values. Love of country can be a strong motivator. Honor can produce great risk-taking behavior. There is love and honor in culture but the influence of love and honor arrive personally from home and Ecclesia.

God gives no one the responsibility to love and honor who lacks the authority to discipline.

Maturing Our Intercession: Purpose, Preparation, and Passion

The intercessors gathered even though it was so close to Christmas. We had tried to take some time off the previous year but learned that our post could not be empty in these strategic times. We felt God urging us to maintain our PrayerMountain commitment.

We prayed in the Spirit for 45 minutes or so, and I gathered thirty or so prayer warriors together to hear what Holy Spirit had said. I remember the revelation flow that came out of my belly: “Detroit is the target. Amsterdam is the launch. A concealed weapon, a hidden thing, flies toward Detroit.”

A couple of intercessors immediately felt the spiritual travail of those words, and a watchman intercessor said, “Christmas infuriates the enemies of Jesus, and they intend to mar Christmas Day with death.”

I continued to hear the voice of the Spirit, “Upon approach death will be released, and the secreted device will be activated.”

So, we spoke with authority, in the mighty Name of Jesus, “Lord, in the name and authority of Jesus we declare the fuse will not function, the device will not work, for surely the effort of the enemy will bring pain upon the one who delivers this device yet he will not die. The secreted device will fail.”

On Christmas Day, a few days after PrayerMountain that December 2009, a young man flying from Amsterdam to Detroit attempted to activate explosives secreted in his underwear. He went into the restroom during the approach of Northwest flight 253 to Detroit and attempted to activate the device. The fuse failed! The failure resulted in painful burns and personal injury for the terrorist, but the flight landed safely!

I am certain that other intercessors and warriors were praying the very same way we were praying. I am certain attentive, activated, and mature intercessors prayed and the activities of a terrorist were frustrated. The specifics Holy Spirit had us pray frustrated the plans and schemes of hell.

Maturing intercession provides more effective and efficient kingdom influence than accumulating intercessors. Perhaps the mistaken conclusion that more is better than mature often limits our ability to provide kingdom influence at the level necessary to establish the will of God on earth as it is in heaven.

Maturing intercessors matures intercession. Activating the spiritual gifts and authorizing intercessors to decree revelatory prayer that has been properly processed gives boldness and release to accurate heavenly intervention. If God were going to simply intervene without intercession, because Father already knows what we need, no intercession would ever be necessary. Intercession releases what God wants in heaven into the earth.

Maturing Intercession Prophetically

The use of the term “prophetically” here speaks to the revelatory nature of intercession when Holy Spirit reveals what we should “declare in prayer.”

We do not know how to pray what is necessary. We are limited. Creation groans but can do nothing to alter its condition because it awaits what inheritors of God’s purposes manifest, both ultimately and progressively.

Note how Paul speaks to the ultimate sense of glory and the progressive release of God’s goals in a context of birthing purpose:

“Creation anticipates the ultimate liberation from decay that will arrive through the revealing of God’s children. [The Creation is pregnant with purpose that awaits birthing.] We are aware that all Creation has been childbirth groaning throughout history. We experience childbirth groaning as believers, having Holy Spirit within us as our foretaste of future glory, and we anticipate the ultimate glorification of our bodies from decay. In addition, we await with eagerness the ultimate inheritance available when we receive glorified bodies. [Believers are pregnant with purpose.]

We were given this hope when we were saved. [A spiritual conception occurs when we are born into the kingdom.] (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. What we accurately anticipate because of Holy Spirit within us gives us boldness about our present condition.)

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our limitations. For example, we don’t know how to pray what is necessary (even though our accurate anticipations produce a childbirth groaning.) So, Holy Spirit joins Himself with intercession, and we share His groanings that cannot be expressed in words that Father understands completely; for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. [Holy Spirit within us groaning with full revelation of what Father wants, ultimately and progressively.]

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” [Romans 8:18-28.]

Prophetically, intercessors mature in their capacity to accurately anticipate what God wants to release now because they have a fuller experience of what God will ultimately reveal. They know what to do now because they know more about how things will be when they are completed. Paul makes it obvious that intercession brings the ultimates into the progress we are making here and now in inheriting the what-God-wants for All. Because that experience is way beyond us in our present limitations, God groans with us, and the symphonic orchestration of that spiritual and heavenly operation centers within those chosen, appointed, selected, and positioned through passion to produce purpose.

Paul also makes it clear that Father predetermined that the people who would produce His purpose would be like Jesus. So, He works in us to transform His positioned intercessors to mature them personally: we cannot separate what God is doing to make us more like Jesus from what God can birth through us.

Maturing intercessors prophetically produces more passion and purpose!

While I have always wanted a prophet to lead intercession training, the point is not for our ministry to accumulate intercessors so they can pray out what the prophet sees, hears, and says as much as to train them to function prophetically. Prophetic in this sense means to accurately anticipate what is coming next so we are prepared to respond to it when it arrives.

Picture the child-birth groaning as God’s designed process of preparation for the people with passionate love for God and positioned to produce His purpose so that when the “baby is born” He has matured inheritors of purpose to care for what they’ve birthed. The intercession is the process, passion, preparation, and positioning of a people of purpose who can take care of the “baby” they birth.

While Paul mixes metaphors of inheritance with birthing somewhat, the theme of his writing gathers these metaphors together and wraps them up in a nice package: impregnated with ultimate manifestations, now hidden within Creation and the kingdom like an unborn child, birthing these purposes cannot be achieved in the present condition of the natural world, including our bodies, but we have hope of the ultimates to make us bold. God Himself enters into the process, sharing our spiritual experience, enabling and empower us to birth His purpose as the people of passion He has positioned to progressively inherit what we can birth. Paul speaks to the ultimates that realized in the future as a basis for us understanding what God is doing here and now through His people.

How Then Shall We Pray?

Mature intercession involves the whole Body in birthing. Mature intercession involves Holy Spirit in birthing. Mature intercession accurately anticipates what is coming when the purpose is born so God’s people are ready to respond to that next step of progressive kingdom manifestation. The birthing is spiritual because the natural will not give birth to its ultimate condition until Jesus manifests Himself again, but the birthing is none the less kingdom and glorious.

We should pray the way God is working. Holy Spirit collaborates with us only when we are partnering with the Father to produce His purpose. Intercession doesn’t work All together. God does. We don’t know how to symphonically orchestrate All, and we don’t even know how to pray what is necessary without the “intercession together with” that Holy Spirit does. The point is that Holy Spirit knows and the Father knows Holy Spirit groans as the merging of Father’s passion and purpose with the people Father calls to inherit purpose.

How do we learn to pray like this? By praying like this. We learn to pray by praying. We mature in intercession by experiencing mature intercession. That is, if we continue to pray at the same level, we get better at praying at that level. It is only when a kingdom leader brings us into mature intercession and we sustain that mature intercession that we mature in intercession.

Intercession isn’t women’s work. The days when intercessors are the weirdest women in the church led by the weirdest woman among them, who set about to prove a superlative form of spiritual maturity because of their titles are over! The days when we measure the intercession that births purpose by numbers or spectator devotionalism are over! The definitions of “unity” should be altered to measure our oneness with Holy Spirit more than our agreement with distributed reactions. While coordination of what God is saying and how people are praying about it are very valuable as a context for accountability, the concept that we don’t know how to pray as we ought until we read the latest blog from headquarters limits our preparation for possessing the purposes we are birthing.

The above illustration of intercession was about a room of people doing mature intercession that birthed a purpose. That is more important than merely avoiding a disaster. The story of our prayer for Detroit begins with that illustration. It does not end there. A city marked for revival and riot, Detroit was a target because she has a purpose.

Kingdom Debt Cancellation: Followup to FirstFruits

Father promises provision to those who make His kingdom a priority. When you pursue heaven’s kingdom, Father becomes your Source. Father gets involved in the minute details of your life when you make His rule your primary passion.

Notice how debt is a kingdom or dominion issue. Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich have dominion over the poor, and the borrows serves the lender to whom he is joined.” The Hebrew word for borrower is “lavah,”meaning, “to entwine as ‘be joined to his wife,’” “to be joined,” “borrow,” “cause to borrow or lend.”

Therefore, debt is always a kingdom and source consideration. Your debts have joined you with those to whom you owe money or consideration.

1 Debt – identify your debts.

A debt owed implies that someone has the right or authority to demand what belongs to you. Most debt comes from borrowing someone else’s money at interest to purchase today what you have no provision to purchase. Debt makes the lender part owner and partner in your condition.

Debt means that someone else is your partner financially. So list your partners-through-debt: mortgage, car, charge cards, and loans. Put down the names of the lenders with whom you have partnerships, with whom you joined. Do not list insurance, electric bill, or phone bill even though the phones are technically a debt and you owed payments for actual usage of a service.

2 Debt – identity the spirit of this world functioning through debt.

Debt becomes an open door through which a spiritual condition promotes entitlement, ingratitude, and discontent because you fail to earn by your own work and effort through your partnership with your primary Source, the Father. He wants to give you things you are prepared to maintain, so you possess things with the understanding their value and purpose.

Debt becomes an open door when you make your source and primary passion a different ruler from God. Using debt may be a matter of good business or personal planning, or debt may be a bondage that opens the door to the operate in place of or in distraction from “seeking first the kingdom of God and His right way of doing and acting.”

Assuming that you can spend what you haven’t yet earned may be presumption; or assuming that your source of mercy and provision is someone or something other than Father may be a deep insecurity of unbelief.

Debt can be a surrender or submission of God’s promises to someone else, promising what God has promised to provide to someone who does not seek first the kingdom of God because you have made what you seek after something other than His kingdom.

The person who borrows entwines with and serves the lender.

3 Debt – identify your motivation and behavior that produces insufficiency, or the calamity and destruction of the enemy that steals from your provision and prosperity.

Giving releases proper and appropriate receiving. Work attracts wealth because it creates a debt to which you partner to receive. Giving to God and others also produces a claim upon God’s promises because it partners you with God and He entwines Himself with you.

Tithe is a debt God that opens a door to heaven so you become God’s earthly kingdom partner. This practice is kingdom covenant fulfillment. The principle of God-first is an obvious kingdom principle that Jesus affirms as part of what He is bringing to fullness, not destroying. Tithing is both Law and Prophets that Jesus brings to fullness so the principle and protocol can bring fulfillment of the purpose of the Law or Prophetic Revelation. Tithing articulated a cultural expression of the kingdom of God in Israel through Moses. Tithing is nothing less than what it was, in kingdom culture, for us than it was for them.

Giving to those who cannot give in return secretly opens the door to God’s open and obvious reward. To this Jesus says, “Do not allow the left hand to know what the right hand is doing.” This is the only place where the giving requires secrecy. Giving does not have to be secret but it can be appropriately private.

First fruits partners with God for the fullness of harvest the seed promises to provide. This teaching Apostle Clay Nash just brought last Sunday.

Sowing seed isn’t about tithe, giving to the poor, or first fruits as much as it is about all the giving opportunities God provides in His kingdom. That is, sowing seed isn’t about subtracting something from your tithe or making your tithe a seed when your tithe is already seed. The principle of sowing includes tithe because tithe is available for sowing, but the principles sowing seed isn’t discussed as a tithe function when Paul talks about how sowing produces greater harvest. Eating tithe eats God’s part. Eating seed isn’t wrong because it is yours to eat or sow. The principle operates in investment; you can’t invest tithe because it isn’t yours. Tithe is God’s entwining with you for covenant provision. Seed sowing is you investing seed in what God is doing, including apostolic and prophetic kingdom strategies. Paul discusses an apostolic kingdom strategy when talking to the Corinthians about sowing seed.

Each form of giving has an accompanying promise. Debt seeks to open doors to steal that promise, eat your provision, distract from your primary passion, and substitute for God’s rule so you operate financially with the same spirit as those who are not in the kingdom would.