Apostle as Representative, Part 2

We do a disservice to the term, “apostle,” by overwhelmingly embracing Paul to the point of diminishing any and every other apostle. Even though Luke’s writings provide us the best and most complete picture of “apostle” as a person, all apostles are not like Paul. And, our overwhelming embrace of Paul as the master model deforms “apostle” in its many, varied interpretations in the personalities, assignments, lifestyles, communication modes, and spiritual revelations of other authentic apostles.

No Scripture leaves us with the impression that Paul provides us the highest, best, fullest, or most appropriate apostolic model; even if it did, it would still be a model, not a mold. Leaving the impression or perception that Paul is the highest or “bestests” apostle sets a false standard for measuring apostle authenticity. We set check lists for authenticity, usually entitled “signs of an apostle,” in this false impression.

Since Luke provides the most complete insight into apostolic personality, power, and production, we may fall prey to the false impression that Paul represents some type of “final product” or “highest form” in apostolic ministry. He does not, for several obvious and practical reasons; in fact, Paul makes it clear that his uniqueness isn’t a standard by which to measure, that he has taken upon himself forms of ministry that are not essential or even practical for all apostles. He has no wife. He volunteers for financial function inconsistent with apostolic support. He moves on when others would be prone to stay because of his personal and specific assignment to stand before kings and finish his shortened apostolic witness in Rome.

These aren’t “signs of the apostle” that apply to every apostle, nor should the sum total of Paul’s apostolic style become the only, or even the highest, measurement of “an apostle.” At least, we have no such presupposition from Scripture or the words of Jesus.

John remains alive during Paul’s apostolic life and extends his ministry beyond Paul’s apostolic leadership. John’s apostolic life and leadership certainly does not diminish being around Paul or following up in Ephesus upon Paul’s prior apostolic founding in that strategic city and region. John could be Jesus’ favorite in many regards, and he could become our choice for “highest” and “best” if we had the same volume of historic narrative as Paul is given through Luke. (Certainly by the assignment and decision of Holy Spirit, of course, but not as a revelation, “God wanted to emphasize Paul at the expense of any other apostle.)

Perhaps we point all our indicators toward Paul simply because he is the star of the show in Acts and Holy Spirit gave us more of his writings in New Testament canon. Nothing I’m saying diminishes that, but my point remains valid, I think, that Holy Spirit never says, “You should all look at Paul at the expense of every other example when you paint a portrait of ‘apostle.'”

Let me say this: Paul isn’t perfect. Discussion of his methods and manner could be filled with “Paul made a mistake there” in Acts where Luke records history without making comments as to the perfection of Pauline leadership dynamics. Many discuss Paul and Barnabas in conflict over John Mark in this context: “Paul got in the flesh when he should have been more kind.” Similarly, other says, “Barnabas was too merciful by nature and disappears because he was in error,” with some measure of “Paul is the standard of proper leadership” mixed into that conclusion. (I would still maintain that neither position clarifies what happened in this instance; that neither viewpoint tell us if Paul was right or wrong, in other words.)

Implications for Pauline Exaggeration

Once we step back from a Pauline standard of measurement for apostolic leadership, we open the discussion to allow for broader application of apostolic ministry to all the dispositional types, callings, Providential pathways, and gift mixes that mark other apostles. We may apply some of the cold compresses to fevered insistence upon “signs of an apostle” from an overt Pauline exaggeration. That is, not every apostle can be recognized by comparison to Paul’s leadership, life, and lifestyle.

Take for example the insistence that apostles travel around establishing churches and opening new territories as one of the check list criteria. Does this apply to John or Simon Peter? And, if not, does this mean they weren’t apostles? Or, does that mean Paul matured the apostolic past the first twelve in some way because he was an apostle to the nations instead of Israel? (John isn’t characterized by “apostle to Jews” as Simon Peter, so he cannot be measured in this way.)

By “Pauline Exaggeration” I mean the subtle jump to conclusion that comes when we assume Paul to be the highest or best example of apostle based upon the sheer volume of New Testament exposure given to his life and ministry. While we certainly cannot ignore God’s strategic decision to include this in Scripture, we must also halt ourselves before jumping off the cliff of presumption about His intentions. And, we certainly cannot arrive at the foot of drop off with “we should ignore all other apostolic models since Paul has become the only portrait left in the “Hall of Apostles.”

We have to step back, take a deep breath, and discuss how what we learn from Scripture about John, Simon Peter, Barnabas, James of Jerusalem, young apostle Timothy, and other apostles, with strong emphasis upon the apostolic training of the Twelve to include Matthew and (gasp) Judas.

When we write the “How to Train an Apostle” manual or the “Apostolic Ministry for Dummies” volume, we need to answer to God’s creative purposes in the disposition, calling, charismatic gifting, and Providential pathway of preparation for authentic apostles.

 

“Apostle” as Authorized Representation

While there’s nothing wrong with simplistic references to Greek root words in a discussion, we often make complex statements from simplistic dictionary references of root words that really do a disservice to proper interpretation.

For example, while there’s nothing wrong with continuing to discuss “apostle” from the root word sense of “sending,” building complex discussions for apostles, apostolic ministry, and apostolic sending from that simple root reference may be terribly misleading and inaccurate to the extreme – to the extreme when the simplistic gets carried out to the extreme. In other words, simplistic references to dictionary root words can be misleading, allow for people to proof text a point of view that isn’t in the meaning at all, and provide building blocks for a discussion and description of apostolic function that just isn’t in the word meaning at all.

Consider the word, “apostle,” a Greek compound, carries a greater meaning than “sent” or “sent one.” The compound of “apo” and “stello,” combine “from” and “send” to say, “sent from someone as a representative.” “Authorized representation” comes with credentials that prove representation authenticity. These credentials are essential when we consider Who the apostle of Christ is representing.

The term also requires some examination of the Hebrew word, “siliah,” because the sense of the word in the mouth of Jesus and the Gospels has this meaning in it. To understand how the word comes into New Testament Greek use, we need to see how Jesus established His representation in the context of representation already available in the earth through Israel, and His own representation of the Father as Messiah King. (I mean, the meaning of “apostolos” in Jesus’ mouth as we identify His special meaning for His special representatives in His special kingdom.)

So, being sent doesn’t make someone an apostle. Sending people isn’t necessarily apostolic. And, having designated representatives doesn’t sum up an apostolic ministry. If being simply is our goal, let’s start with “sent from” as “authorized representation” and build from that point. Let’s dial back the exaggerations and logical extensions that are based upon overly simplistic references to root words and look at function, maturity, credentials, and sustained representation (“once an apostle isn’t always an authentic apostle”) since an apostle is false when they no longer or never did represent the Master.

While we don’t ascribe to apostolic succession as Roman Catholics do, we do have expectations that “sent from” has more than a “Jesus sent me” validation. Certainly, Paul made his case for “Jesus sent me,” but he also received human apostolic validations from other apostles who could recognize his credentials as an authorized representative in life, ministry, message, power, and authority.

The idea, “Jesus sent me but no one else realizes that,” is pretty much flakey on its face, by definition, since the very people Jesus would have sent you to would fail to discern that you are sent. Paul’s defenses of his apostolic authority applied more to “you already know I was sent from Jesus” but now others have come to replace me by attempts to diminish that authentic representation.”

The Way of Cain

[This is part one of a three part series on the way of Cain, the error of Balaam, and the rebellion of Korah identified by Jude as a fundamental issue in the kingdom; from prophetic revelation for revival movements in Brasil and the US, and from apostolic decrees in Brasil and an apostolic meeting of NEI, both Apostle Clay Nash and Dr Don Lynch feel that revival movement leaders must deal with these three spiritual conditions as current limiters to the expansion of Great Awakening Revival.]

I am addressing these three limitations in modern American christianism.

Jude identifies people sharing in kingdom events who cause shipwrecks for God’s people, lying like concealed reefs under breaking surf of authentic agape relationships. Jude negatively identifies that they shepherd themselves. They are clouds without water, appearances of the real thing drifting about on wild waves because they lack anchor. They vagabond about like stars without set orbits, failing to respond to order of gravity. That is, they function in lawlessness as if they are subject to no verdict or order, exceptions to every rule.

God has reserved a gloomy darkness for them, the motivation of a heavenly response that reveals them for who they really are. This revealing accomplishes something essential to God’s purposes. Jude says these interlopers are already condemned, and we should recognize judgment already made about their teaching, behaviors, and intrusion upon the Message and kingdom culture.

Awakening comes into greater expansion when we deal with people who live in “the pathway of Cain, the deviant error of Balaam, and the rebellious opposition of Korah.” Jude says the examples by which we recognize the interlopers that limit revival are Cain, Balaam, and Korah. They are examples of false leadership.

Our application of this verse to the present international mini-movements for revival identifies the symptoms of these hidden reefs in leaders and mini-movements, especially as the fruit appears at the furthest reach of the branches. The integrity of the home base may not be the best measurement of our readiness for Great Awakening Revival. If our mini-movements produce a fruit contrary to the originating purpose, we need to deal with the pathway of Cain, the deviant error of Balaam, and the rebellious opposition of Korah.

The Pathway of Cain

The pathway of Cain is a detoured destination that produces a vagabond wandering: we never arrive at our designated destination because we choose a pathway that cannot bring us to that purpose. Cain wishes God to change His expectations, strategies, and purposes to fit Cain’s instead of Cain changing his expectations, strategies, and purposes to fit God’s. In this scenario, God agrees to be the Source of our entitlement, God treats us all the same so we can each self-determine “normal” by comparing ourselves with one another, and God submits to our expectations as our Resource.

This is, indeed, the pandemic narcissism of modern American religious christianism.

The highway or road is a pathway that leads somewhere, toward a set destination, an intentional selection as a chosen route, pursued on purpose. The way of Cain leads to a place that does not exist, and those who walk this detour never arrive at the true destiny.

The Story of Cain

The narrative of Cain comes from the earliest chapters of human history. Cain is a gardener or farmer, carrying on the garden lost legacy of his parents. Perhaps Cain is insisting that God restore what He disconnected from Adam and Eve, insisting that Cain be given a garden in reverse of the curse. Why? “Because I am the exception.”

The way of Cain originates from this spiritual condition, habit of thinking, and sense of entitlement, a claim to possession or privilege. Cain says, “God needs to change His ways to fit what I want.” The Cain detour diagrams the ditches of false entitlement, equality, and expectations. Cain demands what he determines should be his, making his way equal with God’s, testing acceptance by false equality with Abel, and creates his own expectations of God’s response.

False entitlement lays claim to possession and privilege that is never really mine in the first place, accepting as mine what isn’t or claiming what is mine on the wrong basis.

False equality demands a flawed criterion of my personal value to justify my false identity so that I dismiss God’s created purpose for myself and others in order to force fit them to my delusions.

False expectation develops a fabricated dreams and destiny with unrealistic outcomes and projects them upon God, circumstances, and other people.

The pathway of Cain says, “My expectations will be met by God’s surrender to me” instead of God’s expectations being met by my surrender to God.

The root of pride produces all the symptomatic fruits of delusion that feed the way of Cain. The “way of Cain” originates in a failure to surrender All, and this failure to surrender that develops into a syndrome of false entitlement, equality, and expectation, and seeks to redesign God and His ways to fit Cain and his ways. We learn that the way of Cain is the way of the vagabond, the way that detours from a proper destiny.

God asks for a blood sacrifice in worship. Cain is a farmer. His brother, Abel, is a shepherd. The problem isn’t Cain’s occupation but his insistence that his occupation become his identity, and his identity become the definer of his relationship to God. In essence, Cain would be required to obtain his sacrifice from his brother, and that breaches his false assumptions of entitlement, equality, and expectation.

So, Cain offers the produce of his farming to God while Abel offers a blood sacrifice. Abel’s offering is accepted. Cain is rejected. Abel raises sheep but doesn’t raise sheep simply to produce available offerings, nor does Abel gain his identity from the work of his hands. Cain works the ground, insists that what he produces defines who he is, and then demands that God makes redemption fit that false identity so that it never appears that Abel is superior in some way because the work of Abel’s hands seems to match the expectations of God for worship.

God wants a lamb, and Abel’s work produces lambs. Cain misreads the redemptive reality of shed blood and sacrificed life, so he determines to school God in worship demanding God alter His expectations, equality, and entitlement in answer to Cain’s. Cain’s false entitlement leads to his false equality that leads to his false expectations. Cain suffers from a syndrome called, “the pathway of Cain.”

What can be more fundamental than the Creator determining my entitlements, equality, and expectations? How more fundamental can our worship be than to enter relationship with God based upon what He created us to be and called us to do?

Bringing God What We Want Him to Have

However, God isn’t rejecting Cain. He is rejecting Cain’s offering, and Cain’s insistence that God allow Cain to design worship. God designs worship, and that worship comes from a complete personal surrender of every “way” of man to submit to “the way of God.”

The way of Cain is “bringing God what I want God to have instead of bringing God what God wants.”

God designs worship. God never gives the authority and responsibility to design worship to man. The worship of God comes from God. Because God seeks to establish a heavenly kingdom on the earth through human beings, the worship He designs comes from heaven, not the earth, and that worship carries the capacity to join heavenly worship to earth worship. Whenever men design worship, bring it to God, offer it as their worship, expecting God to accept their worship because they are offering to Him, they are rejected at some level because they are bringing God what they want Him to have. In this way, men pervert worship and pervert God’s most basic purpose because the substitutions for God’s designed worship produce substitutes for God’s heavenly kingdom. The way of Cain produces a substitute kingdom, worship, and ultimately, a substitute god.

I sat on the platform at a large leader’s conference observing the music portion of our worship eagerly. The music portion of our worship often becomes the time and condition in which authentic worship rises as it releases the deepest surrender of our attitudes, emotional energies, and passionate love for God.

I observed such worship with music that an Overshadowing Glory resting upon the entire crowd of several thousand leaders.

Then, another wonderful worship leader came on stage in another session, anointed, worshipping, and passionate; however, the people went from worship mode to concert mode because this worship leader’s work was nationally popular. The people went into concert mode, moving from spirit first worship to soul first worship, investing more in their enjoyment of the music than in the offering of themselves as sacrifices. No Glory.

Without realizing it, the very people who were giving God what He wants began to give God what they wanted Him to have. The contrast was amazingly obvious. After the worship leader sat down, the worship leader from the previous session sat at the keyboard and began to sing a simple song. The people immediately went back to worship mode from concert mode, and Overshadowing Glory immediately rested upon them again!

This is one end of the spectrum of “the way of Cain.” At the other end of the spectrum are blatant idolatry and the spirit of religion in which the authentic and real never enters into the discussion, in which the spirit first experience never occurs and “worship” is completely about fleshly appearances and perceptions. This end of the spectrum of the way of Cain is “a form of godliness that denies the power thereof.” To be blunt, God has absolutely nothing to do with it even though it has “Jesus” and “Christ” carved in stone and religious artistry embedded into its practices.

The only way to escape this end of the spectrum is to run the other direction!

Often, the revival mini-movements become as guilty of the way of Cain as the religious establishments they left behind to experience revival, and they produce a way of Cain response to God, though less severe or obvious, that causes the originating fire to burn low, starved of heavenly oxygen, burning blue instead of red or white hot. They experience lukewarmness but fail to identify it because they continue to compare themselves with refrigerated religious settings.

It is possible to walk into the pathway of Cain after you start running the way of revival because you begin bringing God what you want Him to have instead of continually mapping your progress by what He wants to have.

It is possible as a kingdom leader or mini-movement leader to produce the way of Cain in those you lead so that, at some level of your mini-movements associations, those who follow actually begin to substitute the appearances and perceptions that mark your mini-movement for the “what God wants” of their personal surrender. If people surrender more to you and the trapping of your mini-movement than they do to God (at no particular fault of your own), you will find the pathway of Cain functioning in your mini-movement, and wonder why the mini-movement travels far afield from its originating assignment. You measure this more at the fruit bearing branches than the root system because what you are producing defines the success of your planting. So, when you think, “We are alright here as long as we maintain the home-base integrity to originating purpose,” you are falling for the method of hell to limit what your mini-movement assignment contributes to Great Awakening Revival.

Consider a scenario: a strong, anointed mini-movement in which the founder is motivated by a desire to make a place for their children, (a motivation and definer of purpose more common to ministry establishing than we want to admit). Consider that the special and valid anointing of the founder produces a strong expansion and influence for this mini-movement, but over time the heart and soul of the ministry becomes a way of Cain deception because the ministry continues to move more and more toward the false entitlement, equality, and expectations of the children for whom it was originated instead of the kingdom purpose that has been the real reason for its growth and influence.

Consider a strong, anointed mini-movement for intercession, prophetic revelation, or authentic revival that begins with the outbursts of grace, Glory, and growth but at some point becomes something inconsistent with its originating assignment because of pride’s subtle conception of substitutes for God’s purposes: having shown that we are anointed, we now are entitled to “first place” or “universally recognized as the best” or “if you ain’t got this kind of revival, you ain’t really got revival.” From this entitlement to possession and privilege, you construct a false equality that demands God measure all other mini-movements by yours, then you develop false expectations for God and people based upon entitlement and equality that resembles a movie script with lines and actions for God and others even though they do not have a copy of the script. You begin to prophesy and project acceptance and rejection upon God and others based upon your fabrications instead of maintaining a humble, brokenness about the actual reasons for your existence, success, and future. Over time, like Cain, you believe that God needs to change His expectations to fit yours, God needs to redefine His standard so make yours the basis for measuring “equality,” and you project upon God your entitlement to historic recognitions including strange and novel truths that only you can properly communicate as His one and only representative.

Add to these scenarios, the more commonly discussed failures of previous mini-movements that became denominations, dead ends of false doctrine, or siloes of special distinctions about revival and its manifestations instead of the purposes of Great Awakening Revival.

The obvious “pathway of Cain” that is demonstrated by religion cannot be our only focus if we are to deal with this revival limitation because the way of Cain in “them other folks” isn’t what is really limiting the expansion and establishing of the next move of God. It is the way of Cain in the Remnant mini-movements that must be confronted.

While it is so easy to talk about visible departures from Bible, kingdom, and Gospel and invest considerable emotional energy in mini-movement battles for the best and brightest of this generation, the real battle for a Great Awakening Revival comes in the internals of Remnant ministries returning to a human striving for goals contrary to the actual assignments Heaven gave them at their inceptions. And, when the pathway of Cain comes to individuals, ministries, and mini-movements, it limits the outbreaks of revival that could gain momentum and become Awakening.

When anyone brings God what they’ve produced with a “I’m entitled to do this,” a “this is equal to what You’ve asked for,” or “God, you now must operate according to my expectations if you are going to do a good job of being God,” the pathway of Cain detours them away from faithfulness.

Reversing the Detour Mapping of Cain’s Way

Begin with humility. Humble yourself. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and surrender to His lifting and timing. In this way, the future belongs to Him, and you will be entitled to what He gives you. You will be equal to what He created you to be and called you to do. You will experience what His Providential pathway provides for your next steps. Pride is your root issue, and humility is your surrender posture for purging pride.

Then, repent of pride. You gotta say something! You need to say it out loud: “Lord, I repent of pride. I repent of the root and fruit of pride. I repent of the deception of pride. I repent for receiving the lie, believing the lie, and living the lie of false entitlement, equality, and expectation. I repent for opening the door to pride, responding to the deceiver’s methods.”

Then say, “I renounce pride, at the root! I renounce the fruit of pride! I renounce the open doors through which pride gained a foothold in my soul! I renounce false entitlement, equality, and expectations!”

Then evict pride as a spiritual condition: “Pride, go! Get out! At the root, I lay the ax of repentance and uproot your systematic delusions! Pride, get out of my life! You cannot operate in me anymore!”

Next, restore your originating assignment, redefine the relationships within your ministry to match that assignment’s priorities, and reset your ministry to the criteria God set for success and acceptance when He gave you the assignment. Be ready to sacrifice the sacred cows that have wandered into the meadow: these are the intrusions of people’s expectations that are eating with the authentic producers of your future. Yes, that means that you will lose some good people, and you may even need to reset your own friends and family members to God’s expectations. It may cost you dearly, tear at your soul, but the reality is that you cannot answer to the tyranny of their expectations and please God. Allow for a season of reset in which this transition to your origination is restored, but set your heart to bring that season to a conclusion at some point with your ministry completely reconstituted toward this origination purpose.

You will discover that many people arrived at the assignment with false entitlement on their minds: “I have a right to” and “I deserve” as the measurement of your ministry’s integrity. To some extent you may have sacrificed the wrong offering because you brought their demands into the worship. You will discover false equality in your people with false claims about being treated unfairly, and adjustments made to accommodate these false claims that sacrificed your originating purpose. You will discover that some of the people closest to you continue to yoke your neck with their personal expectations as if you are free to sell some aspect of your kingdom assignment to them for the price of their support or friendship.

You will discover people who demand to be the exception to the rule because of their pride. If you surrender to them, you immediately diminish your surrender to God and fail the test of loyalty to His purpose. Once you make the exception for them, you have offered a sacrifice of the work of your own hands, hoping, expecting, and even demanding that God accept it.

You may discover hidden reefs of betrayal. People who have chosen the way of Cain also point people to the same detour from God’s pathway of purpose. Eliminate these detours in people’s lives with proper signage, warning that the way of Cain is a road by which you never arrive at any destination.

Then, purify your life of every effort on your own part to define and design worship. God never gives us the authority or responsibility to design and define worship: God designs and defines worship; God creates worship; we release worship at the level of our surrender.

So, reset the calibration of your worship to what God wants, redefine worship as your surrender of all to what He asks for, and reform your worship so it begins with your spirit so your soul and body respond SpiritFirst to Holy Spirit in worship.

Word of the Lord, 2016, Fuller Version

2016 Brings 2015 Carryovers to Fulfillment

First, 2016 is a carry over of what God was doing in 2015 and the two years cannot partitioned from one another. Last year, I saw license plates giving permission for ministries to return to their originating missions. All the plates had dates ending with “6” and God said what I’m doing in 2016 tells you what 2015 is all about.

The resets of originating mission statements were the foundations for the uptick in fulfilling God’s purposes for these ministries in 2016. That is, ministries and individuals that restored their priorities and passions to originating purposes will come into 2016 positioned for the greatest time of fulfillment they’ve ever known!

God reset the assignments of many people’s lives and many ministries so that they could return to the pathway of Providence that would provide for greater fulfillment of destiny and purpose in 2016. Those who continue to veer off course from the actual reason for their existence, making their  lives and assignments secondary to God’s originating purpose for them, 2016 will be a year of withering on the Vine.

Volcanoes and Mantle Plumes

Second, I see a volcano in the spirit. I see both existing volcano cones that are cold and new volcanoes rises up in level places, both bursting with eruptions of burning purpose and passion.

It is not possible to discuss “volcanoes” without a discussion of “mantles.” The play on words between “volcanoes” and “mantles” speaks of special representatives of the heavenly kingdom that provide regional influence and impact in their leadership.

Seventeen plates float on the surface of the earth. Eruptions that breakthrough through the plates are called “mantle plumes.” A mantle plume identifies an active volcano, a volcano alive with its identifying definition. It is not merely a mountain or peak. It is opening that communicates with something that lies beneath.

Seventeen is the number of “victory” with a sense of completion. If the whole were to be set afire with volcanic eruptions, we could finish the victory. Volcanoes, if fully initiated and operational on all seventeen plates, would represent the fullest worldwide kingdom revival of history.

The “mantle plumes” will mark kingdom mantles with eruptions as the greater fire that burn beneath the surface erupt. A “mantle plume” represents the fullness of any mantles function as if everything is hitting on all cylinders in terms of anointing, strategy, alignment, alliances, and most importantly, the fullest implementation of the prepared and positioned leaders and saints aligned with that mantled leader’s assignment.

In 2016, expect spiritual “mantles plumes” that release “the fire beneath” these mantles and expose “the deeper burning” that has been longing, crying, and waiting for a season of release. Pressures began building in 2015, with some rumblings that helped us identify potential hot spots, but the hot spots that experience “mantle plumes” will be those that become active sources of fire in 2016.

When a mantled leader releases from “the hidden depths,” you will see a manifestation of spiritual force available to and through them bursting into view with sudden, surprising, and immediate power!  Some mantled leaders have never experienced the greatest of their eldership because of betrayals, complacency, wrong seasons, distractions and substitutions, because they have never given themselves to the preparation and positioning of other leaders, but this season of eruption will spark an acceleration of the best strategic assembly of leaders to support and carry out the highest of the originating assignment.

While mantled leaders can be identified as “mantled” by the appearance of their mantling, there lies beneath the visible a deeper reservoir of kingdom authority and power that comes to the surface in times when God desires to be represented more apparently than before. That is, God is about to set off some volcanic eruptions of kingdom grace through mantled leaders, and mantle plumes will blow fire from deeper spiritual substrata into the atmosphere.

Outbreaks of kingdom fire will alter the horizons of many nations where these mantled leaders become alive again or for the first time in ways that create “hotspots” of volcanic activity affecting whole regions and blowing spiritual fire into the upper atmosphere over nations.

The metaphor of a volcano speaks of hidden burning cooled by the prevailing atmospheres in previous seasons that will become pressurized by God’s passion for those nations, and “mantle plumes” will break through the crusted places.

In this sense, some “mountains” that do not appear volcanic will erupt as well as some dormant volcanoes. However, I feel that the volcanoes I see are not marked on the map, so to speak, but are mantles prepared for plumes in this next season.

This is an international vision.

Overshadowed Mountains

To understand the volcanoes and mantle plumes, consider how God will overshadow existing mountains and level places, image how that overshadowing will shake those places until the mantled leaders in those places become volcanoes.

Consider how the potent burning that lies beneath will erupt and people will stand in wonder: “all that fire was burning all along but now has erupted into the atmosphere.” Overshadowing brings pregnant places to birthing, the break open of closed wombs, the stirring matrix of purpose that awaits a faithful generation.

Prophesying Donkeys Shut Down Balaam Prophets

Third, I see donkeys prophesying to false prophets. Donkeys prophesy  to blind prophets whose prophetic proclamations answer to purpose foreign to and in opposition with God’s purposes.

God is halting the Balaams, and there are many of them, who function within the walls of churchanity, who have assignments to limit, by curse and false identity and destiny, the present revival.

Their donkeys would represent the vehicles upon which their pseudo ministries move about, just as bicycles or cars represent personal ministry; and these donkeys themselves are going to prophesy, shutting down the errant voices by falling down underneath them. Their vehicles of ministry and function will fail them and turn upon them. A sudden hostility to the fraudulent behavior will cause their structures to fail.

Some murmuring voices are going to be stilled. Some critical pundits are going to stop talking. Some enticing whisperers are going to move back in with their parents. And, some vocal witchcraft is going to go hoarse. While the voices of clear judgment, wisdom, discernment, and criticism will sound louder, these contrary voices that misrepresent the prophetic and apostolic foundations will be muted.

Clearly, internal oddities will discredit and dismantle these false prophets.

Clashing Swords on New Battlefields

Fourth, I hear clashing swords, blade upon blade, testing the tensile strength of opposing forces in direct, face-to-face combat. The important issue is the strength of the weapon as it strikes the contrary word, the Sword of the Spirit being the rhema of God striking the false rhema of the opposing forces.

The kingdom can no longer abide its conflicting messages because the voices have become so contrary that people must take sides, and the passion for purpose in God’s Remnant will move forward with such force that it must run into the internal opposition on its way to a battlefield filled with the enemies of God’s purposes.

God is going to deal with the politics of envy in an opposing spirit of meekness. However, the meek that inherit the earth will clash swords simply because meek doesn’t mean weak, and the meed will continue to speak with spiritual authority and power. The clash will come because they are opposed, not because they attack.

We have tolerated detractors because of misplaced convention, courtesy, and comfort, but the passion of the rising Remnant, burning from the lava of “mantle plumes” in the several hot spots of revival, will create a forward motion of such sudden and intense momentum, the detractors will be caught flat footed and will raise the rhea of dissent against God’s valiant reserve.

“Rhea vs rhema” isn’t the title of the new battlefields but the line crossed, the point of no return at which the Remnant will not turn back, moving onto the real enemies of God’s purposes.

It is time to stop waiting for a false unity that will never come and proceed forward as a radical Remnant, to lead the kingdom onto new battlefields, clash swords with the abiding establishment of dissent to revival and Awakening, and gain the greater boldness from this clash: “our swords – God’s rhema – stand the test!”

The clashes over the authority of the Scriptures, the definition of Ecclesia, and the fundamental, spiritual realities of the kingdom of God will create strong skirmishes with dissenters that will appear as strong as civil war in christiandom, but the clashes are necessary to “separate the men from the boys,” the warriors from the wasters, and the faithful from the compromisers in the day of critical conflict.

This is no time to waver! Every definition of “love and honor” that presupposes that no such clash can or should occur will be immediately challenged, and the saints will take sides over strategy, posture, and message in 2016. The rising, radical Remnant should allow for Gideon test of leadership, move on to new battlefields, and stop wooing and arguing with dissenters. Moving as meek as Moses with the rod of God in our hands.

In short, no definition of kingdom courtesy should delay us in pursuing the new battle lines.

Do not interpret this as a hostile attitude toward dissenters, simply a season of moving on to the next battlefields, clashing swords but not engaging in battle with those within the kingdom who wish to turn back, moving on with courage and conviction to engage the spiritual enemies of God’s purposes.

Civil War in the Kingdom

Fifth, the resulting upheaval of the Remnant – moving past the clashing of swords with kingdom dissenters – will cause a great resettling of modern churchanity along two distinct lines. Remnants do not operate in political spirit dynamics that explain more than half the list of “works of flesh” as the chief limiters of SpiritFirst leadership and living. They will be misunderstood by those who require the decorum of politics. They are the establishment who think they do God a favor maintaining a manageable status quo instead of expanding and establishing kingdom on earth.

One response will be like those that followed John the Baptist. They will walk in a season of renewed minds, accepting new revelation that produces new behavior, the washing of a preparatory baptism, and wide open eyes and ears to respond to the Day of Visitation.

The other will be like that those that solidified their places among the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians in rejection of the season change and “day of the Lord” visitation that comes upon nations in 2016. Again, the stubborn reluctance of the establishment to change – the very condition that keeps kingdom from gaining momentum – will cause a strong disgust to grow against those determine to see revival and reformation.

Do not expect to be greeted with “God speed” by the establishment.

As some fought revival in the past, now the distinctions between those sold out to status quo and a totally different Message and those with passion for God’s purposes move them to radical readiness and response against further infiltrations of compromise will become more clear.

Those that stand for Truth will be called “haters, bigots, critics, and controlling leaders.” Those that rest themselves in the status quo will embrace more humanism, globalism, collectivism, and find ways to welcome the agendas of the Leviathan’s systematic delusion. In no place will this become more apparent than in media, government, economics, and arts.

The contrast will be so severe that many will be distracted from the true enemy.

The Remnant cannot afford to invest its energies in combat within the kingdom when the season calls us to move past the initial clash of swords with dissenting brothers and rush forward into the new battlefields God is opening against His enemies.

That is, we should expect to run into our true enemies in media, government, economics, and arts and maintain our focus upon those battlefields instead of wasting time attempting to turn the hearts of traitors and those that collaborate with Christ’s enemies.

Blockbuster Event

Finally, I heard the word “blockbuster” referring to a real life event more than a cinematic one in which a real life event will be a blockbuster attraction for several weeks and will eclipse all other presentations of drama. This blockbuster will gobble up all the attention and all other efforts, though previously worthy of celebration, will simply not be able to gather a crowd.

I’m speaking of a kingdom event that will reset the conversation and the agenda of the kingdom for people. By a “kingdom event” I do not mean to infer that everyone will recognize the kingdom agenda that produces the event or the kingdom agenda that comes out of the blockbuster event. Only that the blockbuster, like the most recent “Star Wars” movie, will expand the understanding of the Remnant to the purposes of the previous move of God by placing them in an historic kingdom context, revealing how God has been at work in past generations and revivals to prepare and position the Remnant for this great culminating season of visitation for the nations.

Word of the Lord for 2016

2016 Brings 2015 Carryovers to Fulfillment

First, 2016 is a carry over of what God was doing in 2015 and the two years cannot partitioned from one another. Last year, I saw license plates giving permission for ministries to return to their originating missions. All the plates had dates ending with “6” and God said what I’m doing in 2016 tells you what 2015 is all about. The resets of originating mission statements were the foundations for the uptick in fulfilling God’s purposes for these ministries in 2016.

God reset the assignments of many people’s lives and many ministries so that they could return to the pathway of Providence that would provide for greater fulfillment of destiny and purpose in 2016.

Volcanoes and Mantle Plumes

Second, I see a volcano in the spirit.

It is not possible to discuss “volcanoes” without a discussion of “mantles.” Seventeen plates float on the surface of the earth. Eruptions that breakthrough through the plates are called “mantle plumes.” Seventeen is the number of “victory” with a sense of completion. If the whole were to be set afire with volcanic eruptions, we could finish the victory.

The “mantle plumes” will mark kingdom mantles with eruptions as the greater fire that burn beneath the surface erupt.

In 2016, expect spiritual “mantles plumes” that release the fire beneath these mantles and expose the deeper burning that has been waiting for a season of release. Pressures began building in 2015 with some rumblings that help us identify hot spots, but the hot spots that experience “mantle plumes” will be those that become active sources of fire in 2016.

When a mantled leader releases from the hidden deep, you will see a manifestation of spiritual force available to and through them bursting into view with sudden, surprising, and immediate power! While mantled leader can be identified as “mantled” by the appearance of their mantling, there lies beneath a deeper reservoir of kingdom authority and power that comes to the surface in times when God desires to be represented more apparently than before. That is, God is about to set off some volcanic eruptions of kingdom grace through mantled leaders, and mantle plumes will blow fire from deeper spiritual substrata into the atmosphere.

Outbreaks of kingdom fire will alter the horizons of many nations where these mantled leaders become alive again or for the first time in ways that create “hotspots” of volcanic activity affecting whole regions and blowing spiritual fire into the upper atmosphere over nations.

The metaphor of a volcano speaks of hidden burning cooled by the prevailing atmospheres in previous seasons that will become pressurized by God’s passion for those nations, and “mantle plumes” will break through the crusted places.

In this sense, some “mountains” that do not appear volcanic will erupt as well as some dormant volcanoes. However, I feel that the volcanoes I see are not marked on the map, so to speak, but are mantles prepared for plumes in this next season.

This is an international vision.

Prophesying Donkeys Shut Down Balaam Prophets

Third, I see donkeys prophesying to false prophets. God is halting some Balaams, and there are many of them, who function within the walls of churchanity who have assignments to curse or limit the present revival. Their donkeys would represent the vehicles upon which their pseudo ministries move about, just as bicycles or cars represent personal ministry, and these donkeys themselves are going to prophesy by shutting down right underneath them.

Some murmuring voices are going to be stilled. Some critical pundits are going to stop talking. Some enticing whisperers are going to move back in with their parents. And, some vocal witchcraft  is going to go hoarse.

Clearly, internal oddities will discredit and dismantle these false prophets.

Clashing Swords on New Battlefields

Fourth, I hear clashing swords, blade upon blade, testing the tonsil strength of opposing forces in direct, face-to-face combat. The important issue is the strength of the weapon as it strikes the contrary word, the Sword of the Spirit being the rhema of God striking the false rhema of the opposing forces.

The kingdom can no longer abide its conflicting messages because the voices have become so contrary that people must take sides, and the passion for purpose in God’s Remnant will move forward with such force that it must run into the internal opposition on its way to a battlefield filled with the enemies of God’s purposes.

We have tolerated detractors out of convention, courtesy, and comfort, but the passion of the Remnant, burning from the lava of “mantle plumes” in the several hot spots of revival, will create a forward motion of such sudden and intense movement, the detractors will be caught flatfooted and will raise the rhema of dissent against God’s valiant reserve.

 

The clashes over the authority of the Scriptures, the definition of Ecclesia, and the fundamental reality of the kingdom of God will create strong skirmishes that will appear as strong as civil war in christiandom, but the clashes are necessary to separate the men from the boys, the warriors from the wasters, and the faithful from the compromisers in the day of critical conflict.

This is no time to waver! Every definition of love and honor that presupposes no such clash can or should occur will be immediately challenged, and the saints will take sides over strategy, posture, and message in 2016.

Civil War in the Kingdom

Fifth, the resulting upheaval will cause a great resettling of modern churchanity along two distinct lines. One response will be like those that followed John the Baptist. The other will be like that those that solidified their places among the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians in rejection of the season change and “day of the Lord” visitation that comes upon nations in 2016.

As some fought revival in the past, now the distinctions between those sold out to status quo and a totally different Message and those who passion for God’s purposes move them to radical readiness and response against further infiltrations of compromise will become more clear.

Those that stand for Truth will be called “haters, bigots, critics, and controlling leaders.” Those that rest themselves in the status quo will embrace more humanism, globalism, collectivism, and find ways to welcome the agendas of the Leviathan’s systematic delusion. No place will this become more apparent than in media, government, economics, and arts.

The contrast will be so severe that many will be distracted from the true enemy. The Remnant cannot afford to invest its energies in combat within the kingdom when the season calls us to move past the initial clash of swords with dissenting brothers and rush forward into the new battlefields God is opening against His enemies.

That is, we should expect to run into our true enemies in media, government, economics, and arts and maintain our focus upon those battlefields instead of wasting time attempting to turn the hearts of traitors and those that collaborate with Christ’s enemies in these arenas.

Blockbuster Event

Finally, I heard the word “blockbuster” referring to a real life event more than a cinematic one in which a real life event will be a blockbuster attraction for several weeks and will eclipse all other presentations of drama. This blockbuster will gobble up all the attention and all other efforts, though previously worthy of celebration, will simply not be able to gather a crowd.

I’m speaking of a kingdom event that will reset the conversation and the agenda of the kingdom for people.

 

Accountability

With mature leaders, kingdom leaders should expect consistent, concise, and considered reports.

  • “Consistent” means systematic in timing and sequence; weekly but also accumulative reports that build upon one another;
  • “Concise” means to the points of reference by which “success” is being measured, thus the points of emphasis are not overwhelmed with distractions;
  • “Considered” means the mature leaders writing them have awareness on a systematic basis of their response to their responsibilities.

Reports speak to accountability because in the requested reports – remember the word “accountability” assumes “asked questions” – leaders communicate about the blueprint objectives that fulfill assigned purpose. Reports help refocus leaders upon the shared assignment so they do not substitute for their assignments by turning what you’ve asked them to do into something else.

For example, when reports for a retail business respond to numbers, it is because the measurement of “success” is “sales, sales, sales.” At the same time, reports respond to cost cutting initiatives so that “sales, sales, sales” also means profit. One without the other means the business isn’t going to survive. Both sales and cost controls are required. Selling without profit is pretty easy: start selling flat screen TV’s for $25 and you will have increased sales. On the other hand, providing great service that costs so much great sales numbers still fall short of great profits means the enterprise isn’t going to last long. “We had increased sales but the cost of doing business was so high we lost money.”

In the kingdom, numbers do not often become the starting point of measuring our success. Numbers are not left out, and numbers have significance, but numbers seldom help us measure “success” when the measurement of success gages “purpose.” While God wants everybody, He never starts with everybody; God never measures success by how much of the crowd He can get involved. God measures success by people who produce His purposes.

For example, Abraham was “father of nations” but God didn’t measure his personal success by how many children Abraham produced, and even in the production of children, God only acknowledged Isaac as a measurement of “success.”

Of course, modern churchanity has taken to measuring success by the accumulation of believers instead of the discipling of leaders. (By “leaders” I mean every believer functioning in kingdom since God’s kingdom provides leadership.) So, we celebrate the fastest growing churches as if the numbers denote “success.” They can denote “success” at some level, but the simple accumulation of believers never provides the highest measurement of success in the kingdom of God.

Keeping Leaders Accountable to Purpose

How often do you experience this stunning complication? A trusted leaders is delegated an assignment that will help produce the greater assignment’s blueprint purpose, but the trusted leader begins to redefine the assignment by appropriating toward a very different objective, all the while assuming that their kingdom leaders will be or should be impressed with their performance fruit.

How easily kingdom leaders fall into the modern mantra of numbers!

We ask, “How are things going?” and we get the response, “Well, things are not doing so well since so few people are showing up,” or “Great! We’ve had great increase in attendance.” Neither answer addresses the actual goal of the assignment unless we are actually interested in accumulations. If we are, we will change the non-producing leader’s assignment so that more people show up, or we will reward the producing leader’s assignment so more people will show up. Yet, if the only measurement of success is number of attendees, we may finally degenerate the purpose to nothing more than a party with increased entertainment or relational value to those that attend.

What is your assignment? How does the blueprint delegate a specific assignment to what you are asking that leader to produce? How does the report he or she is giving tell you how well they are producing purpose? If they are immensely successful, what will be the ultimate outcome of that portion of the blueprint, and how does that outcome fit into the blueprint of the entire assignment?

Having applied so many natural man ideas to “church as a business model,” we are often confused about there being any other purpose for church beyond the accumulation of believers, and we see the benefits of preaching the Gospel, teaching the principles of the kingdom, and the baptism of believers as “added benefits.” When we explore how well what we are doing disciples kingdom leaders, we may find people “run screaming into the night” at the insistence that we do more than put rear ends in seats on Sunday mornings. We may work very hard at producing a great show, providing a great fireside chat, example something that appeals to the desperate minds of moderns, but have no concept of kingdom success, let alone a way of measuring that production.

Jesus’ Blueprint Kingdom Life and Ministry

Jesus often addressed this particular aspect of delegated authority because He was living His life and ministry in blueprint response to His assignment, making Himself directly accountable to His Father by only doing what He saw Father doing and saying what He heard Father saying.

That Jesus so often mentioned this aspect of delegated leadership, because He functioned in kingdom, we should visit it just as often. We seldom do, and I am convinced we do not visit this subject very often because we still suffer from a religious spiritual condition filled with superstition, substitution, and situation.

Why would I say that? Because the religious spirit specifically operates to provide substitutes for God’s kingdom realities, and accountability would identify these substitutes.

  • Superstition means the artificial conceptualization of spiritual reality that substitutes for revelation of “how things actually work in the spirit” that comes from Holy Spirit;
  • Substitution means giving God what we want Him to have instead of finding out what He wants and giving Him what He wants;
  • Situation means locating ourselves in the cultural setting comfortably instead of confronting the culture around us with the culture of God’s kingdom.

At some level, the Law communicates God’s expectations to which God makes His people accountable. At no point has God changes His expectations, but through Christ He has made the fulfillment of His expectations attainable through a vastly, eternally improved means. In Christ, we can fulfill God’s expectations.

This runs so contrary to modern thinking that many people will simply continue to assume that we are all supposed to mark time until Jesus comes back and fixes everything, I know. That concept is often applied to personal living as well: “God isn’t finished with me yet. I’m getting ready for after life.” While there is tremendous merit in that concept, there is also a practical denial and avoidance behavior of accountability in the idea that nothing is really going to happen until the distant future. “I’m excused for failure to establish kingdom until Jesus comes back and does it Himself” is the common presupposition.

Yet, Jesus invests His ministry life in the preparation of leaders who will do something radical, immediate, and cultural with their leadership. He seems totally committed to the idea that His kingdom leaders will do something about establishing kingdom here and now! And, to this end, He makes them accountable, not to accumulating believers but discipling leaders with influence to transform cultures.

 

Ananias and Sapphira Accountability

Ananias and Sapphira represent radical accountability in a season of visitation. We observe how serious God is about establishing this kingdom reset when we observe God’s response to their casual prevarication. “You lied to Holy Spirit” becomes the grounds for their deaths.

Remember, God did not require Ananias and Sapphira to sell anything. Eject from your mind any idea that God was requiring everyone to sell everything and become paupers because of Pentecost. He was not, and He did not require them to sell anything. They did this because they wanted to, but they decided to make an appearance something where the reality was different. They said, “We sold this and we are giving it all” when they were not giving it all. They lied to God in this way, “Lord, we are giving You all this property as an offering as if God couldn’t see the reality of their motivations.”

God sees the heart, remember, and God also sees the season. So, in the season of accountability, the heart is more openly brought to account. Ananias and Sapphira lied to God about their accountability in the season of accountability, and they both dropped dead because of that lie. So, the reason for the dramatic and immediate response of God to their lie comes from the season of the Father and the motivation of their hearts.

Simon Peter announces God’s decision of judgment as God’s representative. Simon Peter is merely carrying out the decision of heaven, not executing his own peeved perception of their lack of integrity. Simon Peter isn’t insisting they die for the lie because he is demanding that all believers sell everything. This isn’t a fund-raising fiasco!

We ask, “Why did this immediate response to their lie occur.” And, the answer comes from the level of accountability to which the kingdom was exposed during this season.

  • They didn’t die for not giving all the money;
  • They didn’t die for failing to sell all they had;
  • They died because they lied.

It is impossible to separate this incident from its context: when visitation occurs, we deal with God on a more immediate and dramatic basis; His increased Presence and Glory comes in visitation, and visitation arrives with heightened contexts for judgment. Just as our prayers for miracles, signs and wonders meet with more immediate and dramatic responses of power, anointing, and breakthrough, so does all God’s character become more immediately and dramatically available.

Accountability and Visitation

Remember, that giving in this way was appropriate but voluntary. We commend the couple for selling the property, but we are left to wonder about their desire to appear to be something they were not. They were frauds in more than one way, I would suppose. That is, God was resetting kingdom in a rather immediate and dramatic way, and the instruction was “save yourself from this perverse generation;” yet, the couple reached back to the deceptive appearances of the generation already judged for destruction, seeking to bring into the kingdom reset the very things God was cleansing from His people.

The measure of accountability at that moment was at its greatest because the generation was experiencing visitation, and the implementation of God’s response to that visitation was ongoing in the days of the early Ecclesia. So, the couple met God’s immediate assessment of their desire to appear to be what they were not: God says, “See this? This is what I really do not want in My people. This is exactly what I’m at work to remove from My kingdom people.”