Apostles

Comparable words, apostello and pempein, “to send,” reveal two fundamentals concepts: “being sent to originate and being sent to finish what was started.” Especially for John, the idea of being sent links Jesus to the Father as His Representative. The words are common in natural life, of course, but take on a special meaning when applied to the spiritual and kingdom context of being sent.

From that idea of representation, the word, apostolos, “apostle,” became a specific descriptor of a person sent by the king, usually on board a ship, with ambassadorial authority, the original meaning of “admiral” carrying more than messenger or emissary, with messages written by or signed by the king’s own hand and sealed with the king’s own seal.

Originally, the word described a naval expedition through which a group of men, sent with specific intention, not merely to establish settlement, but more to represent the king at a distance. The word immediately means that those who went never did so on their own accord or decision. They were sent on this journey with specific intention, purpose, strategy, and objective.

The Hebrew word, shalach, is closest to apostle, “to send,” but technically applied to those that represent by commission. We see this, for example, in 2 Chronicles 17:7-9. The person sent is always under orders, makes decisions upon the basis of those orders, even to the death.

When the word, “apostle,” comes from the mouth of Jesus, we have these several flavors of historic and cultural use, but we must place the meaning of the word into the context in which Jesus uses it. Jesus is speaking first of Himself as the Father’s Representative, then of the representatives He prepares and positions. He originates and finishes His assignment; but, that assignment resets the kingdom for new apostles, apostles representing Jesus as Jesus represented the Father once Jesus receives the kingdom on earth that He represented from heaven.

Because the bulk of the uses of this word comes in Luke and Paul, we tend to link the greatest meaning and model of “apostle” to what they have to say, Luke spending a great deal of time with Paul writing the book of Acts, and greater emphasis is given to Paul’s apostolic life and ministry for this reason. However, we do err to assume that Paul is the only, highest, last, or dominate apostolic voice or model. Jesus is. We learn a great deal from Paul’s experiences about “apostle in kingdom expansion and Ecclesia,” but we do not read that, “Paul is the only model for apostles” nor do we ever read, “Paul is the last apostle.” The idea that Paul was the real replacement for Judas, thus completely the one and only “twelve” is spurious conjecture without Biblical authority.

Understand that centuries of man fitting the Bible to their own designs for the institutions of church-anity instead of establishing kingdom and the design of its King has led to odd applications of many Bible ideas and the meaning of many Bible terms. With that, we have the added confusion of perverse piling on of meaning to bolster dysfunction and malpractice, so we have “super, elect, arch, primary, first, macro, special apostle of the first order, “cardinalized” and canonized by succession from the most holy, reverend, and right reverend bishop of Mesopotamia.” Usually, this means something really odd sitting in a big chair, wearing a big hat. In other words, it is a substitute for the real thing that lacks real power and authority, to be ignored until “quite dead and plucked up by the roots. “We just need all of this stuff to go away as quickly as possible!

The Meaning of Apostle

“Apostle” in the mouth of Jesus, like “ecclesia” and “kingdom” in the mouth of Jesus, is special in meaning. It applies to a spiritual kingdom, a legal authorization to represent, speak for, take action, command, correct, judge, enforce, announce, and ordain. While Jesus had many disciples, He had fewer apostles, in particular, the twelve.

In particular, John records this from Jesus:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is an apostle greater than the one who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” [See John 13.]

Here we have the sense of sending and receiving the one sent, the scope of the one sent cannot be greater than the scope assigned by the One who sent him: that is, in sending someone to represent him, the king delegates something less than the total scope of the king’s authority. The apostle cannot have a greater scope of authority than the one who sent him. The apostle receives specific scope of authority, sphere of influence, and a definite assignment.

Although Paul has a commission to the non-Jews, Paul is not sent to all the non-Jews; and when Paul seeks to go somewhere outside his scope of assignment, Holy Spirit stops him. Also, when the Ecclesia in Antioch send Paul and Barnabas on a mission, to represent the greater company of apostles, this isn’t the same scope of authority as Paul and Barnabas each receive from Holy Spirit to represent Jesus for “the work I have called them to do.” In one case, they are apostles sent to represent the company of apostolic leaders. In the other, they are sent by God to represent God on special assignment. We tend to mix these “sendings” in our discussions when they are not the same at all; the special meaning of “apostle” in Ephesians 4:11, bestowed upon the Ecclesia to prepare and position the saints, cannot be the same meaning as “messenger” or “representative of man or a group of human leaders.”

For example, as an apostle, I can send representatives from this kingdom center to do the work of this assignment. In this way, you would be representing me and my assignment, as assignment we all share together as shareholders, international in scope and authority. On the other hand, an apostle sent by Jesus to represent Him would maintain relational covenant with us because we are the ones recognizing and validating that God indeed sent them, but they directly represent Jesus in their mission as apostles.

Timothy was sent by Paul to represent Paul in places Paul established ministry. In this way, Paul says, “No one has my heart like Timothy.” However, Timothy had his own kingdom commission after Paul’s death, or even during Paul’s life, that was Timothy, the representative of Jesus Christ. Because Holy Spirit directs all these sendings and representations, no conflict arises between or among them: Timothy can represent Paul because Paul represents Christ; Timothy can directly represent Christ without Paul sending him because Timothy is recognized and validated by Paul and other kingdom leaders.

The meaning of the word “apostle” comes from the words that mean, “to send,” but the meaning in the mouth of Jesus is much more, and that meaning must include the sense of “kingdom representative.” The apostolic commission can be for a specific time with expansion, change, or reset, but the basic understanding is that an apostle represents Jesus who Represents the Father, and can also represent someone Jesus sent. In this way, we see the only sense of “apostolic succession.” (A false doctrine of Roman Catholic sourcing that says the pope traces his authority back to Simon Peter who got all the authority of the universal church from Jesus.)

So, the “apostle” always receives a commission directly from Jesus if he or she is “apostle” in the sense of Ephesians 4:11 and the apostolic function that partners with prophets as blueprint, foundational, construction managing, judgment declaring, fathering and originating.

Hebrews 3:1 says, “Brothers and sisters who share the heavenly calling, discern and understand Jesus, The Apostle and High Priest of our complete consensus about what God loves and hates.” Jesus being both the Son Representing the Father and the Priest dealing with our sins forever, giving us a body of complete understanding for what the Father wants and doesn’t want.

Jesus so represented Father that He could redeem All. We never have that scope of representation, of course, but we do have some scope of representation of what Jesus does representing the Father now because of the finished work of His Cross, Resurrection, Ascension, and Intercession. We are representing Him from where He is seated at the right of the Father, representing what Father wants with the power and authority to establish what Father wants in the earth, here and now! That is apostolic!

Although “apostle” means “one sent” in the simplest meaning, it means much more than that in the mouth of Jesus, and we see that the simplest meaning and the kingdom function are both shown in the Bible, clarifying that “apostle of Jesus Christ” means something that “apostle” does not mean in any other context. Just as Jesus being “Apostle of the Father” means something no one else in all history could be, an “apostle of Jesus Christ” also carries a special meaning because of Who sends that person and what that person is authorized to be, do, and say as the special representative of Jesus Christ.

So, by definition, an “apostle” is a kingdom leader personally called by God, sent to represent Jesus, prepared and positioned by Divine process involving other kingdom leaders, given authority to use God’s power to produce God’s purposes with blueprints for the finished building, alignments for the mature Body, and beautification of the mature Bride, originating kingdom within a scope of assignment, fathering leaders to inherit unfulfilled purposes, working with prophets to clarify what Holy Spirit communicates to the Ecclesiae, and bringing governmental order to the kingdom through personal and corporate relationships.

In this definition we have meaning, method, message, means, management, manifestation, ministry, and mission, as well as the basis for a host of other particulars as the apostolic is applied to every arena of spirit as kingdom leadership influence.

Ministry of the Apostle

Jesus brings some of His disciples into kingdom representation, moving their discipling preparation into a ministry positioning. He did not do so with all His disciples in the same sense. At one point, He expands this representation to 70, sent out in twos to announce that Messiah will be coming to their cities, sent to prepare those cities with demonstrations of kingdom authority and power.

However, “disciple” and “apostle” are not equal terms. Jesus disciples individuals and cultures to produce their destinies and purposes. In this case, He disciples apostles because they were called to represent Jesus. In other words, discipling prepares every kingdom leader for his or her calling, and some of those are “called apostles” and discipled as preparation and positioning for that personal purpose. You can be discipled to be a teacher if you are called to be a teacher. You can be discipled to be serving leader if you are called to be a serving leader (what people call a “deacon.”) You can be discipled as a sheep if you incapable of maturity because of infirmity.

Jesus, who is Apostle, disciples those called to be apostles. While the term, “apostle,” retains its meaning as “messenger and representative” in some instances, the function of “apostle” as a kingdom leadership dynamic takes on the meaning only Jesus can invest into it through discipling. Jesus has this intention from the beginning of His ministry. He is developing kingdom leaders so when the kingdom resets after He finishes His assignment, the kingdom will have the leadership infrastructure to mature even further through direct representation.

We recognize this sending in the original twelve and the seventy because they return to give report to Him of what they were sent to do. The accounting of their mission speaks directly back to the sending itself. Jesus receives a report because He is the One who sends them. They represent Him as He represents the Father. They do not directly represent the Father, cannot directly represent the Father, but represent the Son because the Son establishes the kingdom on earth for the Father in heaven.

In some ways, Jesus bridges the Jewish tradition of shalach with the kingdom reality of apostolos. To test this concept, we hear John complain that someone is casting out demons who is not being discipled as they are by Jesus. John thus recognizes that they are authorized to use power by Jesus, and others doing something like what they are doing in a different way are not so prepared to represent Jesus.

Then, Jesus shares that the shalach or apostolic representative, in any case and by definition, when representing the one who sends him or her, will share the response of that representation: if they accept Jesus through your representation, they accept you as His representative; if they reject Jesus through your representation, they reject you. With the representation comes the response, and sharing the representation causes you to share the response. If they persecute you, it is because they are persecuting the One who sent you. If they embrace you as His representative, they receive all He sends to them through you.

The ministry or serving of an apostle positions him or her to serve Jesus, then to serve other people as Jesus would serve them if He was the one present. Jesus gives them this example in His own life and ministry, serving the Father by serving people as the Father would if He were the One present. Note that the serving doesn’t diminish the Divinity of Father or Jesus but releases the authority and power of heaven to people on earth. Note that this serving doesn’t demote the servant to be a rug for scrapping off mud, but positions the servant for the response: if they accept you…if they reject you…if they persecute you…if they follow you…if they kill you…if they submit to you…all that means they are responding to the One who sent you. The apostolic package carries both rejection and acceptance.

Understand that some of the response you see to apostolic leadership are people manifesting their rebellion or submission with God. The imperfections of human leadership never justify this response because the imperfections of those sent are not the issue: the issue remains whether or not they were sent. So, we say, “I know God called you and you are obviously anointed, but I disagree with you and will not follow anymore.” So we say, “I know you are imperfect, but I recognize that God sent you and will submit to your assignment by aligning as a shareholder of that assignment to establish and expand what the One Who sent you wants.”

The apostle makes it real and personal that Jesus is establishing and expanding kingdom on earth through specific assignments His representatives are authorized and empowered to reveal, build, appropriate resources to, share strategies about, and prepare and position God’s people so they can fulfill their own personal assignments within that kingdom assignment. We can submit to God by submitting to His representatives, building a kingdom building, functioning as a kingdom Body, beautifying a kingdom Bride, or we can insist upon directly representing God in some way we devise and build outhouses, leave roadkill, and develop the allure of a whore in our own authority.

“Ministry” means “serving.” As representatives, we are serving the One who sent us, but His sending carries “serving instead of being served” within it because that is what He would do. We do not seek a throne when we already represent His! We do not use power and authority to pad our pockets even though we may certainly become wealthy as the representatives of the King. (The difference should be obvious: we don’t grow rich on the backs of the people we serve; but we may certainly enjoy blessings as the representatives of the One who owns it all.)

The ministry of the apostle represents the ministry of Jesus, what He is doing right now within a context of what He did while on earth. Both the ministry of what He does now and the ministry He finished while on earth feed into the ministry model of apostles. Of course, no one apostle completely represents the fullness of the Apostle, Jesus Christ; so, what we observe in real life, in each apostle, is some aspect of that full scope of apostolic leadership. No one apostle is “Jesus on earth.” To see “Jesus on Earth” we have to observe the whole enterprise of kingdom on earth, best seen in the operation of His Ecclesiae.

Do not attempt to be Jesus when you are sent to represent one aspect of Jesus. Do not attempt to produce the entire ministry of Jesus when you are sent to produce a defined, assigned, and measured aspect of the ministry of Jesus. Do not arrogantly assume that you can be all things apostolic to any scope, region, sphere, measure, people, place, or generation. You are not Jesus, nor can any one apostle or apostolic ministry hope to represent the King Eternal when assigned one aspect of His eternal kingdom.

The greatest enemy of truth is exaggeration, and we see more dysfunction and malpractice in attempts to be all that Apostle Jesus is in kingdom leaders seeking to the end all of apostolic leadership. No matter what level of leadership the scope of your assignment might reach, it will never legitimately be “all that Jesus is.” It will always be one aspect of Apostle Jesus just as apostle, teacher, shepherd, prophet, evangel each represent one aspect of His ministry. (The order of apostle first, prophet second, teacher third is not followed in this statement on purpose because I am pointing out that the fivefold ministry reveals kingdom leadership dynamics only completely available in One Person, Jesus Christ.)

So, the ministry of the apostle begins with sacrificial surrender of total obedience and submission to the One who sends the apostle as His special representative. The maturity of the apostle always answers to that sending and is measured by the finished product his or her mission asks him or her to complete. (More than one mission may be specified, and a total “this is my life’s work” answers to completing the work you are assigned.)

The idea that authority and power produce increased arrogance, pride, showmanship, personal fame and celebration of the personality of the apostle to the point of requiring that the apostle be cloned as a matter of course strikes directly to the heart of false apostle definitions. In other words, these characteristics help us identify the pseudo, not the authentic.

Serve! Sacrifice! Surrender! The apostle will be given much because the apostle must give much. The apostle does not gather in order to hoard – anointing, power, authority, provision, revelation, scope of leadership, influence, and accumulations of people – the apostle immediately distributes to those building upon the foundation laid, continuing the subcontractor building that will complete the entire edifice.

The apostle works with the prophet foundationally, but with the teacher, evangel, and shepherd just as well and consistently, because he or she has a more complete set of blueprints, greater and more defined scope of representative authority, and expanded perspective for establishing and enforcing kingdom order through kingdom principles and protocols.

On the other hand, we learn from the storied lives of apostles in Scripture that the variations on the theme, “apostle,” can be great. Comparing Paul with Simon Peter, or any of the apostles with John and James the brother of Jesus, for example, reveal the broadest possibilities of apostolic disposition, assignment, success, authority and power, function, and faithfulness. John lives a long time. Paul dies rather quickly after he commences his full apostolic endeavors. Simon Peter has a very different disposition from any of the others. Some are married, and rightly so. Some are single for strategic reasons that answer to their assignments, exceptions to the rule, so to speak because marriage is a kingdom norm. Some seem to blow up a storm and blow out of town on the next wind while others seem to settle in for a longer stay.

Beware the tendency to create a checklist for “marks of an apostle” when no such list exists in the Bible and merely collecting the several sayings of apostles about themselves fails to provide the last word on apostolic descriptions. The collected sayings of Paul about himself do not serve to describe every apostle, nor does the apology of Paul to defend his own authorization to “apostle” the Corinthians provide exhaustive last words on what an apostle is or does. All the saying about “apostle” in the Bible completely agree, but the Bible is not an exhaustive book on any subject. (I do not mean by that statement that we now know more about apostles. We do not. The Bible is the Authority on all but it doesn’t exhaust any subject.)

Most of the literature treating this subject tends toward a generalization, a “one size fits all”, an “every apostle looks like this”, or a “Paul is all” approach to everything New Testament. This brings lasting false impressions about apostles to the kingdom, lays groundwork for apostolic competition so some can prove themselves superior, more mature, or even contend for greater scope of leadership authority to boss everyone else around. This treatment also warps the preparation matrix of apostles toward cloning: “we learn how to be apostles by being just like this apostle or Apostle Paul.” (In reality, we can learn a lot about function when we find an apostle somewhat like us, knowing none may be available to model our assignment perfectly.)

The ministry of the apostle speaks to him or her serving the One who sent them. No apostle can rightly alter his or her assignment to suit the people demanding to change their job descriptions. Impossible! People recognize the apostle is sent, recognize their assignment to assist in the assignment by accepting their share as shareholders, answering their assignment to Ecclesia, submitting to their preparation and positioning to function personally in the kingdom Ecclesia, and receive what Jesus makes available through the apostle and the apostolic team Jesus assigns to complete the mission the apostle leads. The apostle is serving the Sender, the mission, the people who share the assignment, and the scope of his or her apostolic authority.

Mantle of Apostle

Mantling for the apostolic always answers to the assignment: the apostle has the authority of his or her assignment. Those who come into alignment with the assignment share in the authority by submitting to the strategy to prepare and position them to function within that assignment.

First, we must define “mantle.” We use this term, rightly so, in a prophetic sense, remembering Elijah casting a mantle upon Elisha, the preparing and positioning Elisha to receive that mantle when Elijah releases it from the whirlwind. We use this term prophetically to speak a spiritual capacity identified with a certain calling, leadership function, or ministry. So, the “apostolic mantle” simply means, “the authority and power that comes with this kingdom leadership dynamic.”

When Jesus made representatives of some of His disciples, He gave them authority. The authority He gave them released spiritual power. The spiritual power was resident in Jesus, authorized by the Father to represent Him. So, the disciples received some mantling to represent Jesus by demonstrating His kingship as they announced His kingdom.

That same authority and power remains available in the earth today, and to the extent that it does, a particular mantle comes with the apostolic assignment. Again, an apostle has the authority of his or her assignment, and those who come into alignment with that assignment have access to that mantling to some measure, a measure equal to how their personal and particular assignment fits and functions within the apostolic assignment.

While that sounds like some kind of multi-leveled machinery, it is decidedly not! I like to refer to this as a spiritual matrix that births, supports, and sustains what it births in a systematic way. We have come to use the word “network” for this spiritual reality, but I prefer “matrix” because it speaks more to a life-giving, and life-operating system. While the “networking” of which we often speak in apostolic terms speaks to relationships, the matrix speaks to the character of the connections that allow for relational covenants that operate on a spiritual basis even more than they operate on a personal basis. Networks tend to allow personalities to interfere and natural relationships to define spiritual operations. I tend to see a matrix more capable of explaining how SpiritFirst relationships define personal and natural relationships, rather than the reverse.

Mantling represents the spiritual authority and power the special representative receives from the One sending them, authority and power equal to and appropriate for the assignment in scope, function, grace flow and capacity.

Message of the Apostle

In a non-kingdom sense, “apostle” can sometimes be translated “messenger” because the apostle may carry a message or be the announcer of a message. The apostle may also arrive to call together an Ecclesia from the region to which he or she is sent so those authorized to represent that region hear the announcement, judgment, decree, decision, or orders of the King who rules that region.

When Jesus says, “Apostle,” He certainly has much more in mind than “a sent mouthpiece”. While apostles were some of those who wrote Scripture, they were certainly the ones who heard the instruction, commands, training, revelation, and strategies of Jesus and were authorized to be witnesses of His Resurrection, Gospel, and kingdom culture. That is, the apostles were immediately concerned with preaching, teaching, discipling, and ordering the kingdom as a basis for calling together into assembly a kingdom Ecclesia.

While the Gospel of salvation cannot be separated from the apostolic message, the apostolic message is an announcement of “Kingdom Come”, kingdom culture, and kingdom conquest. The apostle has a message to preach, but the message also contains a body of information that brings governmental order to the kingdom and function to the Ecclesia. The apostle has revelation blueprints, the “Word of the Lord” for people, regions, and nations in the same sense of the phrase is used in Acts 19:20:

“In this manner, the word of the Lord gained momentum through overcoming spiritual might, and dominated.”

The “Word of the Lord” was not the Bible but the apostolic announcement of kingdom purpose for the city-states of Asia Minor, as well as the entire region. This is apostolic preaching, teaching, discipling, and kingdom ordering with a sense of kingdom government. The apostle represents the King in a particular way – not that other leaders do not or individual believers do not represent Jesus individually – apostle represent Jesus apostolically while others represent Jesus on the basis of their unique and differing callings and assignments.

When the apostle preaches the Gospel of the kingdom, he or she is calling people to obedience to the entire process required to produce the kingdom assignment. People must receive personal redemption and restoration in the process of discipling that matures them personally to fulfill their kingdom assignments, to prepare and position them for ministry work, so they can operate within the building, body, and bride systems and relationships that mature the Ecclesia. The apostle is preaching kingdom come and kingdom culture.

The kingdom culture orders the kingdom by the principles and protocols set by the King, and the apostles in particular join in with other leaders to reset kingdom where it lags behind in kingdom order, correct what gets out of alignment, enforce Divine decisions (judgments) and make judgment decisions about broken or dysfunctional kingdom relationships and behaviors contrary to kingdom culture, and identify false teaching and leadership to protect the kingdom from intrusions and infiltrations.

While this certainly includes repentance, a staple response for the entire kingdom for needed change, the Gospel is more than “get your sins forgiven and be baptized.” The order of the culture of the kingdom blends spiritual authority and power into the personal lives of every kingdom citizen to prepare and position them to function in the kingdom Ecclesia.

Very often, the preparation and positioning of other preaching and teaching leaders begins with those leader preaching and teaching the message the apostle preach and teach. The point being that apostles and prophets help originate messaging in terms of timing, emphasis, spiritual architecture, DNA, and beautification (building, body, bride). As the apostle matures other voices, they become more specific to their calling in message, increasingly more specialized in message as they mature. A consistent and constant apostolic message matures the ministry as momentum in spiritual authority and power expands the conquest of kingdom come.
Manifestations of the Apostle

Without doubt, the apostle who preaches the Gospel of the Kingdom will particularly represent the ministry of Jesus in miracles, signs, and wonders, as power demonstrates the authenticity of the Message. As well, the spiritual authority and power Jesus authorizes in those who represent Him represent the authority and power of Jesus, so what He did and does will manifest in what they do.

We know that miracles, signs, and wonders can be released in ways other than through an apostle, of course, but we should come to expect a particular demonstration of authority and power in and through apostles. We should not, however, create another checklist of miracles, necessarily, or demand that all apostles perform the same demonstrations. We should not make a check list of miracles the qualification section of any resume for apostolic validation. We cannot say, “Until we see the raising of the dead, you just aren’t there yet” or, “You’ve done a couple of blind eyes open miracles but we haven’t seen any lepers cleansed, so keep at it until you finally get to the ‘apostolic level.’” We don’t say, “Well, when you get bit by the poisonous snake and live, people marveling at the fact you didn’t drop dead, then we’ll all be assured that you are sent by Jesus.”

“Manifestations” is another way of saying, “revealing.” So, the revealing of an apostolic authority and power in ministry occurs over a period of time, accumulations of manifestations may fill a list experiences while apostolic authenticity operates during the entire timeframe in which those manifestations happen. Perhaps the apostolic should fill us with anticipation of what will be demonstrated more than a demand that an apostolic assignment be proven. And, the thing that most points to a “false positive” on the apostolic may not be miracles at all.

On the other hand, we may anticipate that apostles will have access to greater spiritual authority and power because they represent Jesus in way other believers do not. Nothing about this statement or reality should concern our sense of God’s embrace of love for every believer, every person. We simply recognize that Jesus chooses “some apostles,” bestows “some apostles,” anoints and authorizes “some apostles.” We are not all going to be apostles when we grow up, in other words, because we can only become apostles in function when we are called apostles by Jesus.

A listing of possible manifestations is distraction, I suppose. Of course, some give time to this consideration. Some discussion could be made about the miracles of Jesus matching up to a list of expected Messianic miracles, including the miracles recorded by John – a man blind from birth, raise the dead, a Moses’ manna like miracle, etc. – as if apostles should be able to duplicate the list we could assemble for the life and ministry of Jesus. I think most people would agree this to be a distraction, that the manifestations of an apostle need not be exactly like the experiences of Jesus, mostly because the manifestations of the apostles He sent initially were not carbon copies or check lists of spiritual manifestations. The earliest apostles healed, set free, commanded nature, and manifested power (as Simon’s overshadowing shadow) in ways that Jesus did not, or ways not recorded in the Gospels of Jesus’ life and ministry.

We should expect that what Jesus did, apostles can do greater. Jesus promised this to the initial group as a standard of apostolic discipling, preparation and positioning, to say that representatives of the kingdom would represent Him in ways that expanded and exceeded what He did in a relatively short period of time. We also understand that Jesus did what He did in the power of Holy Spirit, and all apostles receive the same Holy Spirit! So, whatever Holy Spirit can manifest through a representative of Jesus is totally possible right here, right now!

Maturity of Apostles

Apostle mature. They do not appear like Adam, fully formed at their highest and most developed. They experience greater tests of obedience and submission. They submit at deeper levels to Father’s discipline. They gather expertise and experience. They live lessons learned where the greater fulfillment of assignment surrounds them with mature people, intercession, prophecy, order, character, meekness, and spiritual fruit. Apostles mature because they are like Jesus.

“Though He was a son yet learned He obedience [by submitting to the process of] passionate suffering; becoming mature, He became the Source of eternal salvation for all those that obey Him.”

Jesus learned obedience through lessons learned without any failing grades; apostles endure lessons learned through endurance as well, since their lessons learned include some failures. Apostle never become the source of eternal salvation, but they certainly represent that eternal salvation to all those who respond to their lives and ministries. And, in a sense different from obeying Jesus, obeying and submitting to apostles releases what Jesus provides in His sent ones.

Apostles are leaders, so their leadership must mature. Apostles are worshippers, so their worship must mature. Apostles should mature in worship and leadership at a somewhat equal rate so that these aspects of the eternal representation produce maturity in those that follow their leadership. Apostles measure the maturity of their leadership by the fulfillment of their assignments, the maturity of those that follow them, and the preparation and positioning of kingdom inheritors. If apostles personally mature without maturing their worship and leadership, their assignments diminish in fullness and fall short of fulfillment simply because apostles are sent to represent Jesus to the kingdom Ecclesia. Simply achieving great things, great messaging, great miracles, great ministry, great methods, but not achieving great leadership by maturing others, means the apostle fails to represent Jesus in making others greater than themselves and leaving prepared and positioned inheritors of kingdom purpose for the next generation.

Maturing the apostolic means we have fewer obvious kingdom dysfunctions, false apostles and pseudo prophets, greater blueprint expertise, stronger regional expressions of kingdom as centers for kingdom conquest originate and mature. Maturing apostolic leadership means our grasp of Bible revelation enhances in each generation with greater clarity of what Jesus established as kingdom culture. Maturing the apostolic means we have increased understanding of kingdom principles and protocols so we achieve greater oneness in building, body, and bride. Maturing the apostolic means we become much more efficient in preparing and positioning every believer for ministry work within the intricate building, body, and bride systems of the kingdom. Maturing the apostolic means kingdom Ecclesia gains greater oneness in achieving the assignments of the King in every region and nation.

Maturing the apostolic means we deal with the infiltrations of the way of Cain, the error of Balaam, and the rebellion of Korah. Maturing the apostolic means we maintain our primary passion and do what we did at the first when that primary passion released greater power. Maturing the apostolic means that prophets are more mature in function, teachers are more authoritative in training, evangels are bold in preaching and demonstration, and shepherds are more aware of the needs for provision and protection for those most vulnerable in the kingdom of God.

“Until we all arrive together, building ourselves up in love, representing Jesus as mature and complete, as big as a full-grown man.” The words of Paul remain important: “Apostles first.” Not exclusively. Not overwhelmingly. Not eclipsing any other sent representation. But, “primary, fundamental, first order, special, unique, and distinct,” apostles representing Jesus in our generation.

Some Words on Testing Prophecy

God’s concern for the prophetic is both maturity and authenticity.

The first principle might be summed up in the phrase, “The spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet.” The second principle might be summed up in the phrase, “Many false prophets will arise to distract and draw away God’s people.”

God’s perspective on both of these principle thoughts is “continue to be faithful” so that immature prophets and false prophets do not move you from the prophetic.

We are commanded to pursue prophecy. All of us. It is singular that Paul singles out what moderns tend to despise and exalts the gift of prophecy above other gifts. Prophecy at any level carries the ideas of representing God as a communicator for God. It means to reveal what is hidden by communication of past, present, and future conditions in a way that reveals what God is doing, designs, determines, decides, and delegates.

Prophecy means communicate by speaking outward what arrives inward.

1 Peter 4:11 “If anyone communicates, he should communicate as if the very words of God are his message.” [Or, speak representing and communicating for God.]

Preaching be prophetic, but prophecy is more than preaching. Preaching is fundamentally declaration with demonstration that calls for response or action, an announcement that demands acceptance or rejection by the very nature of the message. Apostolic preaching will leave people with a choice, and the choice usually means “change to be changed” or else you miss what God is doing right now.

Prophetic preaching simply carries prophetic function into preaching. Prophets typically speak of the past to analyze history from God’s perspective, the present to reveal what God is doing, and the future so we can prepare to fulfill the what-God-wants.

The gift capacity of prophecy is available to all believers functioning with a kingdom Ecclesia. In no case can the gift capacity properly function in or through a person should have no shareholder relationship with kingdom Ecclesia. We also have prophets as a kingdom leadership function or dynamic preparing and positioning kingdom citizens to do the work of ministry and bring the Ecclesia into maturity of influence and impact. In any case, as has always been true, prophetic communication is tested. The New Testament tests answer to the New Testament operations and functions, of course, and the tests focus upon the motivations, heart conditions, and spiritual sourcing of those that represent God in communication for God. [See both 1 Corinthians 14:29 and 1 John 4:1)

Jesus tells us there are pseudo or false prophets (Matthew 7:16, 20). The fruit, or what they produce, we test by motivation, heart condition, and spiritual sourcing. While we can certainly expect to hear from God in ways that require us to wonder, through strangers speaking from no other context but spiritual revelation or from people with less than perfect prophetic polish – note the difference between immature and false in the testing – we should usually receive prophecy from people known to us or known to us by their validation within the kingdom Ecclesias.

Contrary to all modern positivism about prophecy, authentic prophecy is inherently condemning and convicting, judgmental and exposing of hidden issues from the past and present conditions of the heart that call people to repentance. This is apparent in Paul’s discussion:

1 Corinthians 14: “But if all of you are prophesying, and unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your meeting, they will be exposed by connection (to their past wrongs) and judged up by evidence presented in what you say. As they listen, their hidden heart condition will be manifested by what you say, and they will fall to their knees and worship God, declaring, ‘God is truly here among you.’”

Many people assume prophecy to be about the future, a way of obligating God to provide what they want, so they approach prophecy like the lottery, hoping to gain a guarantee of good, success, and happiness. This approach to prophecy is witchcraft! Prophecy reveals what is hidden and can be as much about the past and present as the future.

God guarantees the Bible to be perfect. No such guarantee applies to prophecy. Each of us has responsibility to “test” both the spirit and the person. Do not be intimidated by this part of the prophetic process! Measure the intention of the person, the setting in which the prophecy is given, the basic message in its simplest form, and the authenticity of the revealing of hidden things of the heart.

We should always test prophecies that sound “too good to be true” and overtly positivism for manipulation. While we should test all prophetic words, we should assume that God has a purpose for revealing hidden things, and test the word in that context.

Paul says, “Do not devalue prophecies by despising them.” It would seem that the very nature of the prophetic gives us opportunity to devalue or despise and degrade them. Paul appears to assume that there will be ample opportunity for the revelation of hidden things to be dismissed for various reasons. Testing prophecy doesn’t mean debasing it, but mining it for the value. Keep the good and throw away the rest.

In other words, the “you’ve won the lottery” prophet doesn’t leave much to be dismissed. People are eager to believe this word. It is the revelation of hidden things that require us to devote time and prayer that give value to the word. Despising prophecy comes by dismissing it, and dismissing it often comes because of experiences with immature or false prophetic voices. Of course those that fail to test it at all would actually be devaluing the word, collecting prophetic words in a scrap book makes them more like fortune cookie scripts that do not require us to take them seriously.

Test the person as much as the word spoken by the person. The word can be accurate but the intention of the spirit behind it intimidation or manipulation. Especially test the words that come without context of kingdom structure. Those that refuse accountability for their words should be dismissed no matter the accuracy or desirability of the word because these words arrive outside the protocols of prophecy. They demean all prophetic function by refusing to follow kingdom protocols. Even if the first words are pure, the foundation eventually becomes polluted with dysfunction. People often prophesy to create the need for themselves, and they soon require that you make them a filtering system for your entire life: they need to be needed and feed their personal need desperately. You become a control point for their desperate sense of inadequacy.

The prophetic process requires submission at each step: revelation, communication, interpretation, application, and implementation. None of those step occur in a vacuum. At some point the revelation must blend with other revelations in order to achieve it intended end.

Because prophecy is so powerful, healthy, and essential by design and definition, we need to deal with the prophetic seriously. As we would test the integrity of a surgeon or attorney who involvement in our lives would carry long term effects, we should both embrace the provided prophetic ministry and test its integrity. Prophetic ministry moves us to maturity, deals with our limitations, fits us into the Ecclesia where we serve the kingdom, and provides for our health and well-being. We value it so much that we insist upon its fitness for function.

“Do not despise or devalue prophecy” doesn’t mean “be gullible and naïve.” A healthy judgment of the prophetic is essential. Everything should stand up to scrutiny. The “I speak for God so just take what I say because I say so” should cause you to run. The humble and meek prophet will still have the courage to speak without hesitation, but the beating heart of God will be heard in the word.

After all, Jesus did say “Many false prophets” would come. The level of immaturity in the prophetic alone should make you consider the prophetic word carefully. However, the false and the immature are two very different things! The false prophet made give you an accurate word but the motive is to manipulate or intimidate, to gain something from your amazement, or to make the prophet a source for your life. The false prophet seeks a following, validation, money, fame, or honor. Seeking anything from the prophetic function brings some level of “using spiritual power to get what I want” into the process, a subtle but deadly witchcraft. On the other hand, waiting for a perfect prophet will leave you empty of prophetic function!

The false will move you off course by some measure of deception. Some false prophets move you away from your assigned leadership. Some false prophets want your money. Some false prophets have an agenda of self-righteousness, a need to prove themselves to someone or somebody, a pathology of emotional or mental dysfunction that the use of a spiritual capacity enables.

So, proceed with eyes and ears open before you open your heart. On the other hand, do not so avoid risk that you devalue prophecy. The prophetic process protects you and those prophesying. Follow it. Bring what you receiving into the open: it is a revealing of hidden things so it should not be a private matter. If you do not wish to submit your life to leaders and your revelations to their consideration, you are simply dysfunctional yourself and make the prophetic dysfunctional as well.

If you are not expert in Scripture, improve, but always humbly assume that God has provided someone to lead your life who has greater expertise and experience. The Bible is the text book for prophecy. Accountability is the place of safety for all involved. And, leadership is the kingdom was to maturity. By honoring your leaders, submitting to their discipline, you mature in a safe environment where hidden things revealed are valued as treasure and applied to the blueprint of your personal destiny.

 

Operation PineTree

Operation-PineTree

Jacksonville is the “River City” because the St John’s divides the downtown and dominates the landscape and directional characteristics of the area. Beginning in the marsh lands in the middle of Florida, the river runs north. When it arrives at Duval County, it begins to take over, opening a wide expansion of water as it enters the downtown only to narrow as it reaches the Main Street Bridge. Here, at this narrow spot, the cattle were forded the river in the early days, and the originating name, “Cowford,” was a moniker for the city.

As the river passes this pinch point and slithers further toward the ocean, it forms a very obvious dragon’s head appearance, and dredging the channel has created an eye for the dragon.

jacksonville-nh-map

The dragon displays the Leviathan spirit that the enemy has developed on the point of originating purpose for the nation. The Leviathan is the king of pride, and the Leviathan spirit produces prideful deception. (Refer to Job’s description of the Leviathan.) At the cultural level, Leviathan produces a systematic delusion based upon prideful deception and captures the people of a culture with strong delusions. America presently suffers from this spiritual ruler, authority, and cosmic dominator identifiable by the character of the spiritual condition it produces.

Timucua Defeat Alligators

The first nation’s people of North Florida defeated alligator, the natural Leviathan, by attacking its open mouth.

db183cu

They would cut down a pine tree, trim its branches, and run the tree into the open mouth of the alligator until the exposed internal organs were pierced through and the alligator died. As depicted in this drawing made at the time of this incidence, the impossibly powerful Leviathan protected by impenetrable skin, operating with overwhelming speed and strength, was vulnerable when he opened his mouth.

The Appeal to Heaven Movement

We are presently engaged in a kingdom strategy of prayer and warfare to reclaim the covenant purposes of America called “An Appeal to Heaven” led by Dutch Sheets who was assigned to lead this movement by a revelatory dream confirmed many times by other prophetic leaders.

The Appeal to Heaven recalls the first flag of the US used by Washington in the Revolutionary War. The flag depicted an evergreen tree with “An Appeal to Heaven” written on it, referring to presuppositions of liberty upon which the Declaration of Independence had been based, fundamentals of law and government that called for a new nation with the God’s purposes written into its foundations.

appeal-t-shirt

Upon this prophetic symbolism, Operation PineTree will fly the banner over the river while a boat sails into the city making a renewed Appeal to Heaven for the origination purposes of our nation from the First Coast. Operation PineTree will occur July 4, 2016. This is the 240th anniversary of our Declaration when the appeal became official.

Meaning of 240

Meaning of 240 is “The Tree of Life!”

 

 

 

Kingdom Ecclesia

[Following up on previous posts concerning Jesus’ use of the word, ekklesia, in reference to His kingdom, and how what Jesus says and what modern churchanity assumes varies in massive ways, I wish to consider how to define Ecclesia in terms of assignment, location, coverage of a region, and kingdom legislative function.]

We know that Ecclesia has definable application to the entirety of the kingdom, as it is in any given moment internationally, a reference to kingdom citizens en mass as it were, as the dwelling place of Holy Spirit wherever they assemble in ways identifiable from a kingdom perspective. We also know that Ecclesia can meet in a house, a plurality of Ecclesia in a city, region, or nation identifiable by its kingdom makeup and assignment.

We see Jesus bringing accountability to seven city-states, or regional jurisdictions in the Revelation, the stars He holds in His hands in the vision He shares with Apostle John. We have learned from Scripture that Jesus builds His Ecclesia, that He has one. We learn that we can gain understanding of its spiritual function from metaphors like building, body, and bride. We also learn that internal protocols within the Ecclesia may rise to the place of legislative and governmental consideration from two or three witnesses to “the entire Ecclesia,” presumably an Ecclesia definable as “the whole one” in some specific measurement as opposed to the idea that the “entire Ecclesia” worldwide wouldn’t deal with a one-on-one reconciliation even if the communication of that judgment decision was more universal.

So, we can set some parameters for Ecclesia as “more than two or three or small group” and “less than worldwide” when we discuss Ecclesia in a functional sense. As a building, body, or bride metaphorically, we understand Ecclesia to have internal systems, structure or order, shared passion, focus, role, relationship, and covenantal bond with Jesus in ways that cannot be functional as a worldwide Ecclesia nor a two or three or small group without the essentials of kingdom leadership.

“We Are the Church”

We cannot be so hasty in our generalizations that we include “whatever and whenever” in our design and definition of Ecclesia. We have allowed for error in this regard for some time by allowing for the two or three of Matthew 18 to be “church” when Jesus makes this impossible by His own words; so, we cannot fall into the trap that an Ecclesia can be two or three people simply because what two or three are doing is kingdom business: the opposite would be Jesus’ point, in fact, that He is involved in kingdom business involving two or three even when it is not “the entire Ecclesia.”

On the other hand, we cannot be so hasty in our generalizations that we assume “everybody born again” in any geographical or cultural sense all belongs in or to a particular Ecclesia. We cannot design and define “ekklesia” based upon statements often made that use the boundaries of man to set the boundaries of kingdom. To claim, for example, the Ecclesia in a state, city, or neighborhood is the only way Jesus sees His Ecclesia – “there is only one Church in the city” or “you cannot have an Ecclesia here because there already is one” – ascribes expressions of Ecclesia to a category that lacks legitimate Biblical authority. Jesus speaks to Ecclesia only from a kingdom perspective with geographic identifiers secondary to cultural assignments.

That is, Jesus assigns us to disciple “ethnos,” and kingdom is itself a spiritual culture, so we need to understand His design and definition of “ekklesia” in the context of kingdom culture confronting natural culture with an aim to disciple cultures by spiritual influence to better represent the culture of His kingdom.

We have reacted to the idea of “going to church” in ways that move us into dangerous territory. We overreacted to the idea that “church” is a weekly event so dramatically that we are willing to assume that “being the church” can mean anything we personally wish “church” to be. That would be, and is, a grave error!

Church is not your family. Church is not you and yourself. Church is not two or three. Church is not small group gathered for any form of “doing this for Jesus” motif. Church is “ekklesia.” [We previously discussed how the word changed dramatically to mean “building” because of religious and political considerations, and how these considerations make “church” something foreign the word “ekklesia” in the mouth of Jesus.]

We should say, “We are part of the Ecclesia, and part of an assembly of kingdom ekklesia by assignment of the King.” Remember, “ekklesia” does not mean “called out of the world.” Ecclesia means “called together into assembly from within the kingdom.” So, technically, the Ecclesia can be called together in conference with some type of universal assignment as it was in Acts 15, kingdom leaders making judgment decisions from Scripture, experience, and revelation that expands the scope of implementation of a kingdom establishing blueprint. Generally speaking, however, Ecclesia is more commonly definable by cultural assignment and represented by a geographic location in which that culture exists.

“The Ephesian Ecclesia” would refer to a city-state region in which kingdom of God citizens were called into assembly to represent kingdom culture, follow the apostolic and prophetic blueprints to construct a spiritual building, be prepared and positioned as in a body to function in a body system, enter into spiritual covenant with the King as His bride as the representation of the image of God on earth in a kingdom sense. This identity would include the entirety of Ephesian culture, the surrounding region supported by and part of the bounded city, commerce, culture, and politic that Jesus wishes to confront with kingdom and kingdom culture through the powerful spiritual influences that displace rulers, authorities, and cosmic dominators – the strategically positioned authorities of Hades that currently have the greater influence over the people of that identifiable culture and region.

Acts 19 helps us see this blueprinting more clearly, and how in a rather short time, through the leadership of Paul and many leaders he was training, Ephesus and the entire region of Asia Minor were so influenced by kingdom purpose that they became kingdom centers for more than two hundred years!

So, we can’t say, “We are the Church” when we are not accomplishing these goals at some level of cultural influence and impact. We cannot say, “We are the Church” by designing and defining a subculture to avoid confrontation and lessen the discomfort of opposing forces (avoiding the riot that Ecclesia produced in Ephesus recorder in Acts 19, for example). We cannot say, “We are the Church,” when we accumulate believers without influencing the arena of spirit that prevails over the region in which Ecclesia functions.

Elements of Ecclesia

Ecclesia calls together into assembly the kingdom citizens who share assignments given by the King that represent portions of His blueprint designs for building, systems of operation for His body, or covenantal roles and relationships of His bride. We could say we have done well in representing Him when marriage has kingdom meaning in a culture. We could say we have done well representing Him when have revelation sight, power of miracles, signs, and wonders touch the culture through our hands, when the nervous system of the kingdom body assimilates information and communicates it clearly to every body part and extremity and produces coordinated movement, exercise, work force, and mobility. We could say that we have done well representing Him when the land itself has site preparation that provides for building kingdom culture in a place with a people so that a generation in that geographic location produces more and more cultural likeness to the culture of heaven.

We should expect kingdom leadership dynamics to be present and functional: apostles, prophets, teachers, evangels, and shepherds. We should expect these functional leadership dynamics as kingdom leadership for the Ecclesia so that all the leadership dynamics of Jesus, the King, are represented in the Ecclesia. In this way, His representative leaders make Jesus more involved with and within His building, body, and bride than could be possible in any other way! He is Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Evangel, and Shepherd, so all these leadership dynamics of the King must be present for a kingdom Ecclesia to learn obedience and submission to the King. We should expect this to be very much like the discipling and fathering leadership provided by Jesus as a basis for resetting God’s kingdom on earth so that His finished work on the Cross, overcoming victory in the Resurrection, all-inclusive authority in heaven and earth in the Ascension, and ever-present positioned Intercession with the Father becomes a reality in every kingdom citizen’s life.

We should expect that any and every citizen who refuses to become such a representative faces the process of personal transformation that identifies clearly their hearts so that no misrepresentation of the kingdom culture or misrepresentation of the King becomes a new cultural norm for the Ecclesia. We should expect a clear identification of wolves, bitter rooted people, frauds, perverts, addicts, and rebels as Jude, Paul, Jesus, and John clearly demand. Kingdom leaders should exercise their responsibility and authority to protect the sheep, train each citizen in calling, gifting, and assignment, hold ever citizen accountable through personal relational integrity, and rid the Ecclesia of schism, faction, division, and corrupting leaven by the means Jesus describes.

We should expect that the kingdom expansion comes when born anew individuals begin the process of life change, breaking away from the natural culture to live in kingdom culture (behaviors based upon His righteousness), and taking on a gradually increased responsibility equal to the King’s assignments for their lives.

Alignment, Alliance, Agreement, and Authority

[While to some extent we seem unable to clarify what should be obvious in modern churchanity, remaining in infantile pouts, saying, “Mine, mine!” about toys that represent real trucks and babies while missing the larger kingdom building leadership dynamics that would do more than placate our personal penchant to be someone when we grow up, the kingdom dynamics Jesus uses to build His Ecclesia remain just as real today as they ever have! We can get this right!]

Alignment means that all expressions of Ecclesia, and functional units of Ecclesia, align with the kingdom movement through leadership alliances to forge agreements on strategy so that greater authority becomes available regionally and nationally to gain greater spiritual influence. Knowing that no legitimate conflict could occur between what Jesus assigns one kingdom leader and what Jesus assigns another kingdom leader, we recognize that all conflicts come from human inadequacy, works of flesh dynamics, misrepresentations of the King, and usurpations of territorial integrity such as those to which Paul refers in terms of “going beyond the boundaries of my apostolic assignment.”

Every legitimate expression of Ecclesia best functions in kingdom and kingdom culture when properly aligned with the regional Ecclesia as it aligns with the national Ecclesia so that every expression of Ecclesia, called together into assembly to fulfill a kingdom purpose, has and exercises kingdom authority.

However, do not fall prey to the prevailing distraction and substitute for kingdom alignment best understood by the phrase, “the accumulation of believers.” Do not assume that the number of the crowd gathered, when increased to larger numbers, equates to greater authority, power, influence, or impact. Do not fall prey to the idea that bigger in terms of natural methods, machinery, men, or marketing means bigger spiritual influence when it does not.

Alignment, alliance, and agreement release greater authority, not greater accumulation.

 

Identity and Ministry

Identity comes from the Creator, through revelation – He reveals who He created us to be – not through creativity, through imagination – working to reveal what you imagine in yourself through your own imaging as if what you can do or say revealing who you were created to be.

Doing miracles, as Jesus does, does not make you Jesus. It means that Jesus created you to be someone who He could gift, grace, and anoint to represent Him, but it does not produce an identity; identity, when fulfilled by obedience and submission to a process of personal transformation, emerges by the Same One who Created you.

You can no more create your identity than you can create yourself.

Identity in Position

You know that you are gaining identity from ministry when you imagine that what you do earns you a position inconsistent with your identity. Suppose that you are a watchman, but you imagine that seeing means you should have a place at the table to determine what to do with what you’ve seen. Suppose you are a prophet, but you imagine that seeing means you should be a king. Suppose that you have gifts of hearings, but you imagine that healing people means you should be in “full time ministry.”

You are building identity from your imaging, instead of obeying and submitting to a process that reveals the identity the Creator shaped before there was anything of you outside His imagination. You are jumping to conclusions about who you are from what you do instead of embracing identity revealed to you from who God makes you to be.

If you grew up with feeling of inadequacy, you may imagine a pathway to cure than perception in your spiritual power and authority. You may assume “walking with Jesus” means “I will sit on the right hand.” This is an identity crisis based upon a syndrome or even pathology of internalized inadequacy: and, if you are not careful it will become a full-blown Judas syndrome: “What’s in this for me?”

Here is the point Jesus makes with washing feet: your identity isn’t your ability to cast out demons and heal the sick; your identity is serving others.

Let the equipping pass through you without telling you who you are. Allow one voice, speaking through the leaders God has aligned you to follow, confirmed by revelatory experiences, interpreted through a process of application and implementation – One Voice – to be your source of identity. He created you, so He alone can reveal your identity.

Separate what you do and are capable of doing – that big dream of ultimate ascendancy when your highest performances reveal to everyone who you really are – separate that from identity by washing feet. Remember that all you ever do will gain you a “well done, good and faithful servant.” No heavenly Oscar. No heavenly American Idol. No special suite at the Ritz or showcase in Vegas. God will measure more from your feet washing than your crusade ministry.

Inadequacy as a Syndrome

Consider that all leaders, naturally born with leadership traits, maintain a level of frustration with the present and the obstacles that stand between them and their visions. Usually, because of limitations with parents, school, church, peer groups, and repeated failures necessary to the preparation of a leader, some level of inadequacy motivates the leader toward overcoming obstacles. Or, they settle into a funk of blaming “them” for their inadequacies, or the feeling thereof.

Then, as God begins to work them through the preparation process, this sense of inadequacy meets God’s adequacy! However, leaders may maintain some sense of “I can make this happen” at some level, based upon the years of frustration and fear that the obstacles will remain as limiters of their visions. They keep a “just in case” posture, even with God!

Then, when ministry leadership begins to mature, they apply this level of compensation for inadequacy to their ministries, stepping into a “I must not allow any more failures.” And, the moment they do, they begin to apply their own identity creation to what they do instead of resting in obedience and submission to the process God puts into place to produce identity by revelation.

Over compensation for a sense of inadequacy mars the best ministries with human strength and wisdom, pushes success into prideful delusions, and feeds dreams that should die so the dreams of God can live.

 

 

 

Enforcing God’s Decisions

Jude says God has already long ago passed judgment. The term in verse 4 is “krima,” the Greek term for judgment decision with emphasis upon the verdict: “A long time ago God recorded His judgment decision about people like this.”

God made a decision about people operating in these spiritual conditions, a judgment verdict handed down in writing. We should be able uncover these spiritual conditions because of the influence and impact they have upon the internals Remnant, Kingdom, Ecclesia, and because this influence limits revival moving into awakening.

Now the reason for Jude writing this letter is not to announce that someday God will do something but to warn the kingdom leaders that God already decided what to do with people who function in these spiritual conditions so they can enforce, apply, implement, and lead.

The idea of this written Scripture isn’t “do nothing because God will take care of them.” Just the opposite! This Scriptures says, “God already decided that people like this shouldn’t be allowed to infiltrate His kingdom assembly without an application of God’s verdict being communicate to them so that they can no longer function in hiding.”

Here’s the “do not judge” scenario completely disassembled. The reason we do not judge is because God already did. The “judge not that you be not judged” scenario isn’t that God doesn’t want any judging! We know that isn’t true because Jesus says, “Judge righteous judgment.” The judgment we don’t need is decision making based upon anything other than God’s principles and protocols.

We need God’s judgment decisions: communicated, understood, applied, implemented. Kingdom leaders should be able to identify by discernment people who operate in the way of Cain, the error of Balaam, and the rebellion of Korah, to bring personal deliverance to them or to quarantine the Ecclesia of their internal influences when they refuse to change.

How Kingdom Leaders Deal with Accusations

Problem solving is a leadership dynamic. The wisdom to govern was the request of Solomon, for example, because he needed to make decisions and solve problems if he was to be king. Obviously, we are not kings, but we do represent the King as kingdom leaders.

As a kingdom leader, you deal with false accusations as a leader. I’m not talking about making this personal, because it is kingdom when a kingdom leader is falsely accused.

You cannot allow false accusations to take on a life of their own because you have authority and responsibility as a representative of the King. Saying, “Well, Jesus didn’t answer His accusers,” doesn’t fit the scenario if the false accusations our against your leadership assignment. Being passive is just another excuse to justify cowardice. On the other hand, dealing with the situation in fleshly anger, vengeance, unforgiveness, or pride makes your leadership response worse than the false accusation.

You don’t step back and allow someone else fill the capacity He has given you. You lead! And, if there is anything that makes you vulnerable to the false accusations, you make this an opportunity to step toward the flaw and become a better leader. You allow your life and leadership to stand the scrutiny of those to whom you are accountable even when the accusations are false. You will certainly discover another opportunity to be improved in this moment of testing.

“Do not listen or receive an accusation against an elder until two or three witnesses establish is validity.” [See 1 Timothy 5:19.]

This particular is usually ignored by people because they are so unaware of the principle, think they have the right to be part of the process when they have no leadership standing to listen, and because people simply love to diminish leaders in order to feel more important.

False accusations pretty much come with the territory of leadership. Some measure of blending usually occurs between accusations and false accusations. Seldom is the false accusation void of a twisting serpent’s tongue of deceit, using actual events, prevailing impressions, or available information.

I’ve been dealing with both accusations and false accusations all my ministry life, the “how to” of dealing with false accusations becomes part of leadership life.

Step 1 – Release the gift of forgiveness first, not after you get the facts or understand the motivations. Forgive. If you wait, you may get into denial as a means of dealing with the pain and neglect the fundamental responses of kingdom leadership. Forgive. If you do not do this first, your Father will not forgive you when you overreact or internalize your defense. You may step into anger, frustration, fear, or retaliation; so forgive first and short circuit the enemy’s offense trap. Forgive first so you have a completely forgiven heart before God.

Step 2 – Make yourself accountable to spiritual leaders who have the place and position to confront your true feelings. Make yourself available. Don’t wait to prepare your defense, and then call them in. Immediately, go to them and confess openly your perspective on the accusations with full expression of your authentic feelings about the situation. Don’t be afraid of expressing your true feeling with those to whom you are accountable. If you are required to cover up your true feelings, you may need a different accountability group. You need to “get real” about the situation to avoid receiving a wound or dropping into disgust or despair about the betrayal. You should run right to your accountability group.

Step 3 – Get the facts yourself. Lead so someone else doesn’t. You heard about the false accusations from someone, so find out what was actually said or is still being said. Never listen to someone’s drama queen or king presentation of gossip, the story of someone flying off the handle, or fall into knee jerking. Don’t jump to conclusions about the accuser’s motivations and the meaning of what you initially hear without getting the facts. Many “false accusations” are actually someone’s poorly produced complaint system at work, a cry for help, a tantrum for attention that you feed if you don’t understand what really happened or was actually communicated. Reality and truth always walk together, so get some of both.

Step 4 – Shut down the lineup of defenders who wish to pick sides to defend you before there’s anything to defend, who get into false accusations of their own to discredit the person or persons falsely accusing you. Don’t allow people who love you to get out of position, out in front of you, defending what needs no defense. Stop the feud before it becomes a feud, so the enemy doesn’t have the opportunity to feed the situation or control the agenda and message of the moment. Lead! Leaders lead in crises so someone else doesn’t gain leadership in their places. Be as aggressive as is needed, without anger or overt intimidation in our voice or behavior, but be certain that everyone realizes God’s representative will represent God in this situation, not some bozo on a ego booster high. Do not remove yourself from the situation unless your accountability group finds that this will be the next step in bringing a Biblical response.

Step 5 – Answer all false accusations at the appropriate level of exposure. Don’t make a private matter public; don’t leave a public matter to private discussion. The reach of the accuser’s communication is the scope of the leader’s response. The actual source of the false accusations is where you start. The wording of your response is not nearly as important as your heart in the matter. Seek to meet with the person or persons making the false accusations to see if they will retract or make it clear that their words were taken out of context or misunderstood, if that is the case. Try to avoid allowing them to lie their way out of the corner from which they falsely accused lest they simply repeat the behavior the next time they are angry or afraid. But, communicate your response without creating a sense of self-pity or victimization on your own part. Again, lead. Solve problems, as every leader is required to do. Seek to end the issue, put that thing in the grave, and settle it as much as is possible.

Step 6 – Establish some final definition to the relationships involved. Either the person responded to the opportunity to retract or clarify, and you can reset the relationship, or tragically, they chose to ignore every outreach of your leadership and must be identified for their behavior to protect the Ecclesia. Do this at the level of their communication; keep the scope as small as possible, but you must always settle the issue at the Ecclesia level when the person refuses to face the reality of such a serious misdeed. If the person or persons involved are not believers, the issue must be dealt with in a totally different way: in this article, I am speaking strictly of believers. If the believers do not acknowledge your leadership in this matter, other leaders must be involved to press for kingdom integrity. If that fails, you are left to settle the matter as best as you can and move on. since you have exhausted your leadership reach. Establish finality from that point of reference.

Step 7 – Establish closure in yourself, your family, and the other leaders in your scope of leadership so no residue of unsettled bitterness or unforgiveness clouds the atmosphere or leaves open doors to further hellish intrusions. As a leader, protect those you lead from unresolved issues so they don’t continue to process the situation without reaching a point of closure.

You will discover a great deal of dysfunction among kingdom leaders, and the most likely scenario of dealing with false accusations will find you watching other leaders accepting the false accuser in as a victim of abuse or “misunderstanding.” You will watch in dismay as other leaders justifying the accuser’s victimization with false mercy, placating them for being treated so unjustly and setting them up to repeat their behaviors. Other leaders will give them permission to be rebellious, even continue to speak the false accusation after it is obvious to those actually involved that it is a false accusation.

Do not allow the closure to be reopened once you’ve done all you can do. Let it go! Do not enter into accusation yourself against your accuser, but speak the truth in love. Do not operate in the same spirit, but don’t mince words about truth and reality. Allow the confrontation to speak for itself: the accusations are false, and the perpetrator of false accusations stands accused by his or her own actions. Don’t build a case and enter into a courtroom for punishment. Your goal is always reconciliation and restoration, but the people actually involved are the only one who can accomplish that process. So, if the process gets short-circuited, all you can do is all you can do.

Do not fear that this process will be repeated. Know that it will definitely be repeated, but do not fear it! Be ready to lead when it happens. That’s what leaders do.