Spiritual Worship

God creates worship; worshippers release worship.

Worship comes from heaven. Authentic worshippers release worship God creates into the earth. Authentic worshippers are the sacrifice Father is looking for, and when He finds this kind of worshipper, He releases what He’s created through them as “spirit and truth” worship. Their spiritual worship engages the reality of spirit. Worshipping God is spiritual and must be released spiritually.

Worship is Spiritual

“The time is coming and has already started when the authentic worshippers worship Father in spirit and truth, for Father seeks for this kind of worshippers. For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” [John 4:23-24]

  • Worship the Father. This becomes possible because Messiah has arrived, because Messiah arrives with the passion of the Father, worshipping as a living sacrifice in the reality of spirit, releasing the reality of spirit into the natural world. In this way, Messiah establishes what Father has always wanted, something David approached in the Tent, but the vast majority of generations knew little about. Glory becomes available because the spiritual worship of the Father occurs in the passion of the Father instead of the passion of the worshippers.
  • Worship the Father in the reality of spirit, for He is Spirit. This becomes possible when worshippers release what God creates instead of bringing God what they want Him to have. The worship of Cain will not be received as what the Father wants, even when it done in the Name of Jesus and glorifies God, even when it occurs in spiritual people with burning passion for what they are doing. What is released must be created in the spirit so that worshippers sacrifice what Father wants – they are the sacrifice! – And what God creates in spirit is released through them in spirit to bring the reality of spirit into the natural world.
  • Worshippers who worship in spirit are the target the Father searching to find. Here’s the cap sheath of revelation about worship: Father is searching like a detective with a magnifying glass for this kind of worship! Father has created worship in heaven that He wants released into the earth, and only this kind of worship can connect what is real in spirit with what is real in the natural. God creates worship, and worshippers release what He creates.
  • Worship comes from Spirit and releases spiritual reality where it occurs. If we release what we create, even when we do so by spiritual means and power, we still release from the natural into the spiritual instead of from the spiritual into the natural. Infusing natural with spiritual cannot begin with the worshipper because the sacrifice isn’t what the worshipper can create. The sacrifice is the worshipper! Once the living sacrifice is offered with an eternal but continual position of surrender, Father can answer that altar with what He creates. Remember, that the offering must be accepted, and will only be accepted when we bring Father what He wants, not when we bring Him what we want Him to have.

Worship is Positional

Worship comes from a surrendered position; the very words mean, “bow down and kiss the ground.” Picture that moment as if you are a photographer or videographer, someone approaches the King, and suddenly, one is on the ground, out of the frame, and the Other fills the whole frame. This is the position for worship. “Worship the Father” as a sacrificed worshipper. The worship removes us and exalts Him! Worship is a position from which to exalt and position Jesus.

  • Worship is sacrifice. Nothing about authentic spiritual worship can be selfish, even while pure worship will touch every part of the worshipper as God accepts the holy sacrifice.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by God’s mercies, to offer yourself as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” [Romans 12:1]

Worship as a sacrifice means the sacrifice lives but isn’t the worship. The worshipper, once fully surrendered to living “absent from the frame,” receives the response of Father’s acceptance – “I’ve been searching for you! – And the worship Father creates is released through the spirit and truth worship!

  • Spiritual reality becomes available to natural reality when a spiritual worshipper becomes a natural sacrifice. This is a spiritual exercise and activity, and it is more real than any natural sacrifice: the natural sacrifice model has always been a failure when it was not spiritually motivated.
  • Spiritual worship and natural worship look and sound the same when discerned by natural means. The same song can be performed at various levels of professionalism or amateurism while the spiritual worship can only be discerned by the spiritual character of the worship, not the natural appearance or sound. The quality of the performance is highest when the worshippers producing the sound and appearance are kissing the ground and the worship experience gives way to releasing worship instead of experiencing worship. That is, experiencing worship can occur through vessels of musical performance using vocal, instrumental, dance, and artistic means at various levels of artistic skill, the highest form of skill being the ability to release worship that best releases what God is creating, whether that be simple or complex in terms of artistic expertise. However, limitations in artistic skill may also limit release of what God is creating when God is creating artistic complexity requiring greater artistic dexterity. So, it is not inaccurate to say, “Sometimes God would like to release worship at a greater level than the people releasing are capable of producing; and, sometimes the artists have achieved a level of mastery that allows a higher level of release. In this scenario, we should strive for the highest levels of artistic skill simply because we can become vessels of honor to release sounds and appearances closer to what God is creating; at the same time, we understand that the greatest skill sometimes rests in fully releasing a very elementary or simply sound, movement, and appearance.
  • Worship begins in Spirit. When “worship” becomes an emotional or mental experience, we are caught up in natural experience of creativity. It is moving for sure, but the passion that is released is human passion. If worship begins with our emotions or minds instead of beginning with God, we use the natural experience as a way of releasing sounds, feelings, passion, and love that originates with us and flows from us. That is beautiful, but it is natural influencing natural even when the people who release it are anointed people. The scope of that spiritual reality influence is meager though beautiful. This position of worship exalts us, and God becomes a corollary partner.
  • We can experience worship without releasing worship: there is a difference between experiencing worship and releasing worship. Only living sacrifices that “disappear from the frame” can receive and release what God creates in spiritual reality. God gets this worship into the earth through living sacrifices; He responds to the sacrificial position of submission.
  1. “Concert mode” worship begins with my enjoyment and emotional response to music that unlocks and expresses my inner experiences; but spiritual worship begins with God’s design and purpose and unlocks heaven so heaven can be released into earth through His worship. That’s what Father looking for: spiritual worship!
  2. In a conference setting, seldom does the Glory of God rest upon a people (The way His Glory rested upon a conference I was in the recent past). Each session, the thousands of leaders present surrendered to spiritual worship, and Overshadowing Glory rested upon us for hours. It was powerful! Then, in one session, a popular worship leader took the platform, a wonderfully anointed worship leader, but immediate that worship leader began to lead worship, the people moved into concert mode, cell phone extended for photos, swaying with the music they loved, and generally operated from “me first” mode to something they had grown to appreciate as great worship music. It was not the worship leader’s fault. Nonetheless, the precious thousands that had enjoyed Glory were now experiencing worship instead of releasing worship. After the worship leader finished, my good friend sat down at the keyboard for a moment to lead the people in very simply worship, and in five minutes, the thousands of leaders switch back to spiritual worship. The Overshadowing Glory immediately rested upon us again! Experiencing worship and releasing worship contrast starkly once you come to recognize spiritual worship.

The Passion of the Father

God is spirit, so we must worship Him in the reality of spirit. While we often assume that means we can do this because we have Holy Spirit or the worship is anointed, the actuality is that we can do this only when we are worshipping in spirit – capable of this because of Holy Spirit, for sure, but not necessarily spiritual worship just because we have Holy Spirit and do something we call, “worship.” So, we can participate in anointed worship and experience worship without worshipping in spirit and truth. We can bring God what we want Him to have without releasing spiritual worship. We can do something we call, “worship,” without actually worshipping in spirit and truth. Father’s worship comes with fire, a consuming of the accepted, holy sacrifice our spiritual worship releases as living sacrifices.

  • Our passion must become a sacrifice, so we can receive and release His passion.
    1. Jesus never operated in His own passion. He lived by the passion of the Father. The fire in His eyes doesn’t come from His head or heart, it comes from His belly, a release from the womb or matrix of living waters. Jesus lives with “what Father wants” as His only alternative.
    2. Jesus makes His passion a sacrifice for what Father wants. This is the oneness He describes and prays will be the condition of His representatives.
  • Once we “disappear from the frame,” becoming a living sacrifice accepted by Father, we submit to a proving process of one particular thing: what Father wants. [See Romans 12:2.] This is above all things that are mentioned by these verses the highest form of surrender, consecration, obedience, and submission arrived at through spiritual worship, releasing what God creates through our priestly offering of All we are. Worship reveal the immediate measure our present level of obedience and submission to God.
  • When our passion is as dead as the rest of us, lying on the altar of completed consecration, we come alive with His passion! In Christ, we experience Father’s passion because He burns with the same consuming fire as the Father!
    1. We cannot understand love without this completing process of surrender, for in it alone do we mature in love so that we can experience Father’s burning, passionate love for us.
    2. Understanding agape love as a sacrifice to God so that we experience Him, Agape Love personified, alters the internals and externals of our lifestyles and enables us to receive and release the worship God creates properly.
  • Reconcile your worship with the words of Jesus: that people will do many things in His Name who are not doing what Father wants!
    1. To this Jesus speaks clearly: “Many shall approach Me in that day to say, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not done great things in Your Name,” but they are people of which I am unaware. The people what Father wants have My attention.”
    2. “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who operate in lawlessness.’ [Matthew 7:21-23]
    3. The Father seeks those releasing spiritual worship because that is what He wants, so we include spiritual worship in this concept of “doing what Father wants.” People can engage in great things, both personal and public, on a scale of private devotion or massive convocation, that do not accomplish Father’s purposes or fulfill Father’s dreams, or build Father’s designs, or answer to Father’s definitions. Jesus says He ignores that just as Father seeks for spiritual worship exclusively. So, we must conclude that Father and Jesus ignore human designs and definitions for “worship” and give attention exclusively to the release of spiritual worship.
  • Ask yourself this question: “What is the fire?” If God is fire, if God is love, if God is spirit, if God is holy, then what is the spiritual fire that burns, purifies, consumes, and accepts the sacrifice? That fire is the passion of the Father, the burning of His passionate love for His purposes, and that burning passion for you was the fire of Creation burning to give you life, that burning passion was Jesus on the Cross, rising from the dead, receiving all authority, and His present priestly intercession for purpose now. That fire burns for purpose, so all worship that God designs has fire in it!
  • As we were worshipping, March 7, 2003, in a University of Ministry class on Spiritual Warfare, I was caught up in open vision, looking down on South America. I prophesied what I was experiencing in the vision for more than an hour and a half, and I am living out the vision today, in 2016! During the vision, I saw Jesus stand up to claim the land, people, and purposes of Brasil, and I saw the fire in His eyes that John saw when He saw Jesus walking among the Ecclesias. I saw that fire, but more importantly, I experienced that fire! I experienced a portion of the burning passion focused upon nations through Jesus’ eyes. As I did, I was shocked to understand that the fire in Jesus’ eyes is not the passion of Jesus. The burning passion released through His eyes doesn’t come from His mind or heart, but from His belly! The passion released in Jesus’ eyes is the passion of the Father, for Jesus always functions in the passion of His Father!
  • Does Jesus worship now? Did Jesus worship while here on earth? Does Jesus remain a living sacrifice, a priest offering Himself before the Father. Stop for a moment and picture the reality of spirit, in Heaven, where all authority, power, wisdom, riches, glory, and honor comes into Jesus so that it can be released through Jesus in both heaven and earth. In heaven through His positioned intercession at Father’s right hand; on earth, through those who represent Him and His kingdom. [See Hebrews 12: 28-29.]
  • We can participate in anointed worship and experience worship without worshipping in spirit and truth.
  • We can bring God what we want Him to have without releasing spiritual worship.
  • We can do something we call, “worship,” without actually worshipping in spirit and truth.

Prophetic Worship

So, spiritual worship reveals. And the revelation of what God creates and releases through us, we call “prophetic worship.”

  • Worship doesn’t begin in our heads. Worship isn’t something you figure out or imagine with the same creative juices that originate other valid kingdom responses. It is not enterprise or entertainment, as legitimate as they may be. It is worship.
    1. The term “entertainment” need not be separated from the kingdom, but entertainment cannot be worship. We should have a clear distinction between the two. I encourage the production, development, and excellence of christian entertainment, and I will enjoy it for its artistic, wholesome literary and entertainment value. Just don’t ever substitute entertainment for worship.
  • Worship doesn’t begin in our hearts. Human passion can never burn hot enough to consume spirit; it can only fire flesh. Only when spirit becomes the burning ember of Father’s passion can we release heavenly worship. God is a consuming fire, and His fire upon the altar will consume the entire sacrifice that He accepts.

 

  • Worship begins in our bellies, in the womb of the spirit.

Corporate Worship

  • Spiritual worship begins at the person level, of course, as does every aspect of kingdom. The reality of spirit has no limitation based upon how many people are involved. You can worship God all the time, in many ways, with prophetic and spiritual worship as an authentic worshipper.
  • The scope of “spiritual worship influence” is as large as the scope of your personal spiritual influence. That is, however you could measure the influence you have in spiritual reality, that would be the measurement of influence for your spiritual worship.
  • Corporate worship is kingdom participation. We can worship God together, in specific times and ways, including prophetic and spiritual worship. However, corporate worship requires us to be where we are assigned to be, prepared and positioned in kingdom location, submitted to kingdom leadership and agreeing with kingdom leadership strategy. Corporate worship releasing spiritual worship comes from people with pure hands and holy hearts. Corporate worship blighted by rebellion, division, pride, strife, and bitterness stemming from unforgiveness and unreconciled offenses fails to release the worship God creates in heaven. That spiritual worship is designed and defined for release by holy beings, created to worship in spiritual reality. It is designed and defined for release into the earth through redeemed souls who seek first kingdom and God’s right behaviors. So, corporate worship cannot be defined as “believers together in the same place singing the same songs at the same time.” Nor does the oft misappropriated Scripture that begins with “where two or three are gathered in My Name” tell us that such a gathered group automatically does everything they are doing with corporate anointing in corporate assignment and corporate authority to represent God and kingdom in the earth. We can be assured, however, that all those corporate factors and variables apply to receiving and releasing corporate worship.
  • Matt Redman song:

Let our praise be Your welcome;

Let our songs be a sign;

We are here for You, we are here for You.

 

Let Your breath come from heaven;

Fill our hearts with Your life;

We are here for You, we are here for You

 

Note the concept that something comes to us so it can be released through us. Kingdom of God means something real in heaven becomes real in the earth through kingdom born citizens who represent heaven on earth. Worship is such a key of release: “what has already been released in heaven, you release in the earth.”

The concept that we can create something on our own, even with His inspiration, that will become worship simply because He has gifted us or we are filled with His Spirit, misses the mark of spiritual worship. The idea that “using your God-given talent” is worship because you are a believer doing something misses the mark. (The worst kind of death metal maniac music “uses God-given talent.” The most immoral rants of hip-hop aggression and sexual anarchy use God-given talent.) Singing the best hymns of history isn’t worship simply because the songs are inspired, inspiring, or sung inspirationally.

God wearies with human performance as a substitute for spiritual worship, not matter how closely the presentation resembles what He designs. We must be the sacrifice so that what we receive becomes what we release.

Worship empties out as it fills up.

  • We must submit our personal worship to corporate worship. While this sounds easy, and many people sincerely believe they are doing so simply because they are in the same room with other believers while something they can call “worship” is going on, the reality is that believers by the millions experience worship without releasing spiritual worship. They measure worship by how they feel, what they like, what fires their own passion, and what they enjoy. They seldom even concern themselves with oneness or even unity (the two are not the same thing), even choosing where they gather together with believers based solely upon their personal tastes, desires, and experience in “worship” as an experience. In fact, I would have to assume, based upon any measurement of modern worship experiences, that the very idea of “corporate” worship has not occurred to but a few, a much smaller group of believers would recognize “spiritual worship,” and the numbers of believers who would discern corporate, spiritual worship would be a small Remnant. Even then, those that recognize and discern it would agree that it is not easily achieved.

Kingdom Worship

  • We are all part of the kingdom by virtue of being born from above, so we can receive and release spiritual worship; kingdom of heaven worship can be released into the earth.
  • But greater kingdom influence can be released when we move out of our personal worship and surrender to a corporate assignment. We release kingdom worship to the extent that the individuals involve surrender to the Ecclesia assignment.
  • The Palm Sunday celebration revealed disconnect between the kingdom and the existing religious and political structure of God’s chosen people. The only place on earth where kingdom of heaven could be released through spiritual worship was Jerusalem at that time, and the King of the kingdom rode into that spiritual arena the day they chose the family Passover lambs.
  • The people were singing songs they had been singing for centuries, and Messianic Scriptures that prophesied Messiah’s arrival in ultimate Passover. Yet, they fell far short of releasing the reality of spirit into the natural. They were singing about something instead of prophesying the reality of something. Even though they had sung, “Hosanna,” for centuries, they missed the meaning and message so much that when Messiah actually arrived they were singing about something instead of releasing spiritual worship.

Spiritual Prophetic Kingdom Worship

  • So when we combine all these elements, in spiritual kingdom worship, the scope of influence in the Spirit changes the atmosphere as large as the scope of our spiritual influence, and as a kingdom gathering we can change the atmosphere over a region!
  • With this kind of spiritual and prophetic worship, our worship releases into what God is doing with a manifestation of power and authority. The children prophesied and what they sang happened! They lifted Jesus into the position of His power and authority as Messiah, and then Messianic things happened. For Israel, the scope of their kingdom influence would have been the scope of their worship influence; that is why God required them to return to Jerusalem for worship events, to celebrate worship as a kingdom people. Had Israel ever produced the level of kingdom culture influence God designed them to have, their worship would have been released as broadly as their influence.
  • Acts 4 prayer is worship and intercession blended together so that we cannot tell the difference between the two. In this setting, their prayer ascended from corporate, spiritual, prophetic, kingdom worship. Lacking a worship band, a fiddle, or a lyre, they worshipped. We can achieve worship without music, but we can ride the vehicle of music into the release of worship is valid ways in any cultural setting: with or without music isn’t the issue of releasing worship.

 

Davidic Worship in Kingdom Worship

  • To understand Davidic worship, we have to understand kingdom. David did not establish this worship until he had established kingdom, and the worship influence was always equal to the kingdom influence. To attempt Davidic worship without kingdom foundations moves us into forms that speak to it but do not produce that experience.
  • Since kingdom influence measures worship influence, Davidic worship always responds to kingdom authority and government. David came into kingship, but immediately sought to move the nation into kingdom; then, he immediately wished to bring worship into the heart of that kingdom by moving the ark to Zion. This was unique to any previous kingdom and worship, and it best prophesied Messiah.

Moving From Preparation into Awakening

God wants everybody but He never starts with everybody. He starts with a remnant and remnant start with leaders. More specifically, He starts with Remnant leaders. Remnant leaders function as forerunners.

To identify the next season properly, we must identify the forerunner anointing preparing the Lord a people who will be ready to respond when that new season arrives. Because the remnant prophesies the “what-God-wants” of the next season that the forerunner and the remnant receives and releases. God will put something in you so He can release something through you: so, God puts what He wants everybody to have into a forerunner who prepares the remnant.

The Forerunner Identity

Avoid the impression that the forerunner identity should become a brand name, a trophy design, and an oil painting over the fireplace or another chapter in “God’s Generals” someday. I mean, avoid the sense that forerunners have the right to make their forerunner identities into next season identities. The forerunner must sacrifice his or her identity to the next season in order to finish the work he or she was assigned. Forerunners cannot say, “See me? What you see tells you who I will be in the next season.” Because the forerunner and remnant prepare people for the next season, they are living the next season before it arrives; however, when the next season arrives, they must walk through the most challenging, gut-wrenching identity crisis of their lives.

Forerunners always say, “I must decrease as He increases.”

When forerunners fail to understand their identities, they tend to speak, act, and lead in ways that say, “I must increase.” They assume, “I am a forerunner because that is God’s strategy to expand His purpose. Therefore, more of me will mean more of God’s purpose. I must increase in order to establish the next season.” Nope.

Reject immediately the perception and practice of good, wonderfully anointed leaders who assume that the strategy of the forerunner is “I must increase.” The move of God received must be the move of God released if it is to become what God has in mind: for revival to become Awakening, and a simultaneous, starburst, similar-but-distinctly-different, “I die to produce life” leadership must move the moment into a movement and feed the momentum of the movement with new leaders. These new leaders can do what the forerunner does and do greater because the next season will cause the things done in the forerunner’s ministry to accomplish much more.

When the next season arrives, the things done in the forerunner’s season remain in place but will be redefined by the next season.

John baptized in water. Water baptism would continue in the next season when Messiah Jesus was announced and revealed; however, water baptism would take on an expanded purpose when the One greater arrived with His baptism of Holy Spirit fire. Repentance marked John’s message and Jesus would preach that message with greater meaning and experience because the Greater One was preaching. And, when Jesus’ disciples – some of whom were formerly John’s disciples – preached the same message in kingdom reality, repentance produced an expanded experience of kingdom in those living and repenting in the next season. These are examples of the concept that the next season defines the season that produced it, not the other way around.

Immediately the forerunner says, “This is it. This is the source and resource. This is the fountainhead. This is the identity of the move of God. This is the DNA,” the forerunner has usurped the role of “the One who comes after is mightier.” And, fallen prey to the limiting assumption that “I must increase” will produce the next season.

The forerunner identity prepares and positions. The forerunner demands repentance – I change to be changed – and the behavior of repentance. The forerunner marks that transformation by the baptism a forerunner can administer in anticipation of the baptism of the fire that never goes out: that baptism marks the transformation available when the next season arrives.

The Revival that Births Awakening

Awakening cannot be controlled by man or any particular kingdom leader. It immediately requires regional leadership that no one personality can provide. Awakening is the work of Holy Spirit upon and through the kingdom that raises the awareness of God and His purpose in the general population. While God uses the forerunner and remnant leaders to prepare the Lord a people, the moment the Awakening arrives, the identity of that forerunning leadership must radically shift. They must decrease during the season of revival in order for the leadership dynamics of the new season to increase.

Whenever revival leaders demand to increase instead of decrease, they may successfully expand revival without moving the moment into a type of spiritual momentum that can sustain an Awakening.

Compare the work of Holy Spirit upon the King in John’s baptism of Jesus to the baptism of revival. Can you discern a pattern in it that parallels moving revival into Awakening? The strategy for kingdom momentum that resets of the kingdom follows this pattern, to move the kingdom into greater expressions of restoration. Like John’s ministry preparing for King and kingdom, so revival prepares the Lord a people to restore kingdom.

This was one of the principles I wished to document in the book, The Spirit and Power of Elijah. This Elijah forerunner anointing remains available in the earth, a mantle for the preparation of a people ready to respond to the Lord when a new season arrives. Once Elijah brought the people to Carmel for the showdown between Jehovah and Baal, Elijah had an identity crisis about his leadership after the general population saw God’s fire and the people of God said, “Jehovah, He is God! Jehovah, He is God!”

It took Elijah so long to get to the mountain, to bring down the fire, to heal the wounded altar of covenant worship, to cleanse the land, to kill the prophets of Baal, that Elijah had some difficulty with his leadership function. The next season for which he had prepared Israel demanded the greatest shift in his leadership, and Elijah ran from his place and position at the very time he should have embraced the new season his leadership was designed to produce.

The forerunner identity sets the forerunner up for the most intense, personal, sacrificial, personal betrayal, Gethsemane perspiration, and “Father, into Your hands” period of his life. In order to be successful he must be a forerunner. In order to walk in the season for which he was prepared and prepared others, like John the Baptist, he must “lose his head” and embrace the new identity that Awakening alone can bring him.

The forerunner identity demands that the move of God that is “next” be exactly like the revival that produced the Awakening. The forerunner demands people reject the very thing for which the forerunner prepares them if he or she rejects the personal identity transformation required to lead in the next season. If they maintain the “I must increase” strategy they thought would expand revival, they will be functioning in the opposite spirit a forerunner should maintain.

The Forerunner Identity Crisis

The spirit and power of Elijah prepares the Lord a people. It never prepares the forerunner a people. The forerunner always assumes “something greater is coming because Someone greater is coming.” The very process that prepares and positions people for “what’s coming next” also moves them out of the preparation and positioning of the forerunner, at some point, and into the “greater.”

Elijah was a forerunner. John was a forerunner. Both faced the greatest personal crisis of identity after producing a great turning of the hearts in their respective generations. Then, Elijah ran and John was offended. Each seemed disappointed with God after the revival produced Awakening, so to speak. Elijah thought the remnant was gone and he alone remained because he was still trying to define remnant with the definitions of what brought the culture to Awakening. John was offended because He thought Jesus would produce a very different outcome in his generation; instead, he was in prison and would soon lose his head.

You say, “Wow! I surely don’t wish to be a forerunner. John lost his head.”

Of course, you want to be a forerunner and lose your head! First, you want to experience both because anything else would grieve God. Second, because you have the passion of the Father for the revelation of His Son. Third, because you won’t literally have to lose your head when the Awakening occurs.

You can walk through the identity crisis, receive the burning immersion that purifies the harvest of the season, and become part of the plowing and planting of that harvest for a season of double harvest! When Awakening comes, Awakening will redefine the revival that produced it and redefine the forerunners and remnant leaders who birthed it.

In the new season, the forerunner doesn’t physically die, merely wishes he or she were before he or she really does die spiritual! The identity crisis is so severe forerunners experience their own Gethsemane and Cross before an identity Resurrection resets their entire lives and ministries.

If the forerunners reject personal transformation, they move their ministry into a prison and may lose their heads to a Jezebel they were designed and destined to destroy! The forerunner doesn’t have to physically die when the Awakening arrives, but the forerunner must embrace the greatest, scariest, deepest, and most personal season of transformation they have ever had! If the forerunner begins to experience a crisis of identity when the move of God matures, he or she should cheer up at that moment! It is going to get worse!

To paraphrase Jesus in the context of our metaphor for forerunning identity: “No one born of woman had what the forerunner had, but the least in the Awakening season will be greater than the forerunner.”

Awakening Redefines the Forerunner

To understand how a forerunner should respond when the preparation season is ending, we must fully embrace the spirit and power of Elijah and fully overcome the spirit of Jezebel. These spiritual strategies and conditions are ancient – God’s strategy and hell’s response – but they remain the way God works and hell reacts. Forerunners may assume “the fire falling” will deal with Jezebel and may become disenchanted when she gets stronger at the very moment they expected her to fold her tents and slink away.

Jezebel manifests intimidation and manipulation. However, we do not fully overcome Jezebel by overcoming her intimidation and manipulation. We need to eliminate her! To fully function in the preparatory leadership of a forerunner, we need to kill Jezebel. Fully function in the spirit and power of Elijah and fully overcome Jezebel.

Jezebel says, “Trust me. Let me get you what you want.” Moreover, at the very moment a forerunner sees the outcome of his or her leadership reaching a point of Awakening, Jezebel will rise up with her greatest influence. She will offer the substitute. She will say, “Let me get you what you want.” But, her substitute offers the forerunner the option of increasing what the forerunner has been doing to position God’s people for Awakening when he or she should be in a position to decrease so the Awakening can define the move of God.

The substitute for a proper prophetic anticipation of a forerunner’s success is a perverted prophetic projection the forerunner’s identity.

A false oracle re-identifies God’s purpose in a way that falsely defines the revival. If hell cannot keep us from God’s purpose, hell will work to limit the fulfillment of God’s purpose. The method of hell is to distract and substitute, to turn the move of God toward the fulfillment of the wrong purpose, to move us toward the “anything but that” sidetrack. Many moves of God sidetrack nearly as soon as they begin: the leaders embrace a false oracle of the purpose of the move of God that opens them to distraction and substitution. It remains a move of God, but it moves toward an “anything but that” destination. It doesn’t produce Awakening.

The forerunner experiences the battle thoroughly, personally, and completely. The forerunner’s identity crisis, when it appears they have reached their highest in leadership, becomes his or hers greatest preparation and positioning for leadership so they can continue to lead when the Awakening arrives. If you are a pioneering forerunner, get ready for the greatest identity crisis of your life and ministry!

Your pride will demand that people respect and receive you upon the basis of your forerunner identity, and you may resist change in your own leadership and life. You may resist change in the sights and sounds of the move of God.

However, it is not your role in the Awakening to repeat the process but to provide blueprint leadership to the Awakening about how to continue the preparation and positioning of Awakening leaders. That is why you experienced the process so thoroughly, deeply, and personally, so you could understand the process that others will experience. They may receive an outcome that took you fifteen years in just fifteen days! They will need the re-identified forerunner to be a father in that moment!

You become an expert in the strategy of leadership development so you can provide leadership in the new season. Your leadership will shift dramatically. You will not recognize yourself. You will wonder if the process of identity crisis isn’t the devil instead of “the One who comes next.”

Therefore, immediately the revival the forerunner leads bursts into flame, pride will be invested in the leader so that pride can be used to limit that leader’s ability to embrace his personal Gethsemane, Calvary, and Resurrection. It will be the third temptation: “You can get what you want without the pain.” The hiss of Jezebel’s voice: “Trust me to get you what you want.”

God doesn’t want you to get what you want. God wants you to get a people ready to get God what God wants.

Even a casual reading of revival history will back up what I’m saying. Moves of God destined to be Awakenings became denominations, doctrinal idols, devotionalized duplicities, and personality cults. So few became Awakenings because forerunners kept demanding the “I must increase” strategy be implemented. They wished to define the Awakening by the revival that produced it. They wished to put the Glory on a cart so the Glory could ‘go on tour.’

So, the leaders that carry a forerunner assignment will experience as much of the “what not to do” as the “what to do.” Unless the forerunner leaders obey completely – Gethsemane – submit completely – “Father into Your hands” – and transform completely – Resurrection – they will not be available to identify the difference between “what not to do” and “what to do.” The Awakening may degenerate into a charismatic Woodstock instead of maturing into a Reformation.

Listen carefully: the water baptism of John continues to prophesy the new behavior of new life, but the prophetic sense of his baptism compared with the baptism that completely cleanses the harvest should never be forgotten. The greater One will bring a deeper work that redefines the identity of the previous work. Water baptism received an expanded definition when functioning in the next season. The spiritual language that many adopted like a Boy Scout patch to prove they were “Pentecostal” had much more power, meaning, and purpose in the Awakening season than could be understood sidetracking that gift into an identifier within a doctrinal system. The doctrine could be legitimate, absent exaggerations, but the meaning and application would be limited in its use to define the revival instead of being defined by the Awakening.

Revival births Awakening but immediately gives way to a greater identity because Awakening redefines the revival that birthed it. When revival demands to define Awakening, the Awakening morphs into something foreign to its spiritual DNA. Awakening redefines the DNA of revival, not the other way around.

Forerunners tend to keep the baby instead of birthing the baby so they can continue to be the source of revival. Forerunners assume they will name the baby once its born but will be shocked when the baby turns around to rename them!

A Forerunning Region

God’s strategy is kingdom. Kingdom strategy is leaders. Leadership strategy is discipling. Discipling strategy is fathering.

Awakening is a kingdom strategy led by kingdom leaders. The preparation and positioning of kingdom leaders is the measuring standard of revival growth and maturity, not anointing, manifestations, activations, visions and dreams, or demonstrations of power, miracles, signs, and wonders.

Beware the subtle sidetrack that redefines leadership as “people who can do the stuff.” A little finger can do the stuff, but a whole Body of little fingers does not grow and mature. Beware the tendency to measure Awakening by miracles, signs, and wonders. Beware the immaturity of measuring maturity by the scrapbook photos of who laid hands upon you and your most memorable “experience of God” as if the fire falling is a finished work. Beware the tendency to want to experience another pregnancy and birthing process merely because you enjoyed the attention, acceptance, and anticipation of the previous one. After you have given birth, you have to get on with the business of maturing the baby you have. The next babies you birth will all benefit from the maturity you learn in making a champion of your firstborn.

What I mean is this: the manifestations of a revival should produce maturity in leaders so those mature leaders can have greater influence and impact in the season of Awakening. Not so those manifestations can become a monument to a moment. God will punch a move of God in the belly when it starts becoming a destination instead of a distribution center. The manifestations only produce maturity when they are part of a fathering and discipling process that prepares and positions people to produce purpose.

Therefore, a revival should produce apostolic and prophetic foundations, a fathering leadership dynamics for dramatic, deep, disturbing personal transformation. The leaders a revival produces are not merely prepared so they can go light more fires as if “I must increase” is the measurement of a move of God. The leaders must be prepared to lead at the next level when revival becomes Awakening.

Beware the tendency to stop with “you will do what I do” in leadership development. This is more of the “I must increase” mentality that limits revival to remaining a revival instead of preparing and positioning revival leaders for the spiritual momentum of Awakening. Be certain of this, revival will not become Awakening until forerunners prepare and position Awakening leaders (not revival leaders) no matter how strong the manifestations, activations, and demonstrations.

Recognizing the Forerunner Identity

The very word, “visitation” means “accountability.” The word, “visitation,” translates the root from which history developed the title “bishop.” The misunderstandings invested into that word through church-anity, blending spirit of the world definitions of leadership into the church, misses the point of the term, a foul ball that hits the crowd in the face. The term means, “oversee, bring to account, inspect.”

Jesus says, “You didn’t recognize your season of accountability.” Amazingly, few translations or commentaries mention the meaning of the word or the context of Israel as a forerunner culture and region. They rejected Messiah when He arrived because He didn’t fit their descriptors and presuppositions, but the context of Jesus’ words is much greater than that their immediate rejection of His Messianic claims. Israel was God’s forerunner culture: God put something in them so He could release something through them. They failed to fulfill their forerunner purpose even though they accumulated people and provisions.

We have redefined “church” as “the accumulation of believers.” Because of this faulty definition, we also put intercessors, prophets, and apostles into that paradigm. We accumulate intercessors, prophets, and apostles. The accumulation of things as a measurement of church growth redefines the function of the very things we accumulate. Accumulation doesn’t define success. Function that fulfills purpose does.

Jesus might say: “Not one of the things you have accumulated – places and people – will displace your enemies because you weren’t fulfilling the purpose of your assignment when I arrived for accounting your progress of producing purpose.” (See Luke 19:44 where Jesus says, “Your enemies will crush you and your children; they will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not recognize the time of your accountability.”)

“See these buildings you’ve built,” Jesus says, “not one stone will be left sitting upon the other.” Accumulating people and provisions does not fulfill purpose, nor does it help us recognize success in our forerunner leadership. The pathway of kingdom leadership preparation that prepares leaders to fit into the accumulation paradigm works against and scatters the pathway of kingdom leadership preparation needed to prepare leaders for Awakening. Perpetuating something accumulated, with a mind that “it must increase,” redefines the very thing accumulated and the leadership dynamics that function to produce it. It can never produce the purpose for which it is accumulated.

Forerunners should blow up these perceptions. John baptized in the muddy Jordan instead of the beautiful baths of the Temple. John preached in the wilderness instead of celebrating the accumulations of Herod’s Temple. John calls people out so they can be prepared to go in. John anticipates Someone greater doing something.

John anticipates a different preparation because the present order cannot fulfill its assigned purpose. John breaks the mold of “what is” so that a new leadership dynamic can influence and impact the culture for “what is coming next.”

When God’s people miss or dismiss purpose, they will accumulate people and provisions instead of fulfilling purpose. Consider the words of Jesus in this context: “Many shall say in that day of accountability, Lord, Lord, didn’t we do a bunch of stuff in Your Name, and I will say, ‘Who are you and how did you get in here?’ I ignore that stuff and give attention to those who do what My Father wants done.”

When a forerunner properly prepares kingdom leaders, they will only be able to function properly in a new season. They will be out of place in the present season. They will only be able to fill up new wineskins. They will only be able to reach fullness and fulfillment by resetting the kingdom, establishing a new spirit of leadership, and laying a new foundation.

When we see revival as restoring the church to glory days of previous generations without the total overhaul Awakening brings, we will rewrite the history of revival to only include the parts that fit our present paradigm of accumulation.

Accumulation of believers isn’t Ecclesia. Accumulation of intercession isn’t an army. Accumulation of prophets doesn’t produce maturity. Accumulation of apostles doesn’t provide a broader blueprint. The function of these aspects of kingdom can only be “normalized” when the forerunner identity prepares the Lord a people who can inherit and fulfill purpose. Then, the forerunner identity must give way to new norm set by Awakening.

Revival has purpose but the purpose, not the revival, must define the move of God! More than the accumulation of people, power, and provision that perpetuates the present conditions, the moment must become a movement, and the momentum must be fed with those who can do “greater,” who can lead in the next season of Awakening.

So, when a revival becomes “come and get this fire, watch this show, feel this experience” as an end within itself, the main focus of kingdom leadership preparation isn’t even discussed except to say, “Come get this and you can do the stuff, too.”

The main speaker or team of leaders moves around on tour developing a following of groupies that carry that identity with the assumption that “I must increase.” This is a subtle substitute for a forerunner assignment. The idea entertained is “if we can accumulate a lot of people who act like us, get what we have, and become carriers of our DNA, we can become the source of the next Awakening.”

You cannot become a source because a forerunner does the very opposite, then must anticipate the greatest test of obedience, submission, and personal transformation will come only at the point of his or her decrease. Accumulation models operate opposite a forerunner strategy. Forerunners don’t accumulate anything. They prepare and position leaders to function in another season, not the season they are operating in during preparation.

Ephesians 4 tells us Jesus bestowed His kingdom leadership dynamics upon the Ecclesia to accomplish this very end: “To prepare and position the holy ones to do the servant’s work. In this way, the Body can experience the fullness only measured by the Christ’s mature stature. It can then, build itself up in love.”

In the transition between revival and Awakening, purpose must be reestablished as the definition of success. Forerunners must mature and finish one season’s assignment in order to lead in the next season. To birth, forerunners must be willing to release the baby, to allow the baby to turn around and rename them.

The Forerunner Ecclesia

Forerunners Ecclesia’s operate as apostolic and prophetic centers. The pattern looks like clusters of empowered gatherings in which and through which kingdom influence and impact alters the spiritual atmospheres of definable regions in measurable ways.

They should reorder their structures, provisions, and people in ways that prepare and position them to function when Awakening arrives. They should reset their leadership dynamics so that their present levels of hundreds or thousands can accommodate tens or even hundreds of thousands. They must be prepared to influence and impact regionally.

Without doubt, Ecclesia’s must be ready for tens of thousands coming into the new season of leadership preparation and positioning. The leaders in the state must learn to function at an international level no matter the scope of their leadership or the location of their assignments. No doubt, thousands prepared and positioned in a forerunner region will be assigned by Holy Spirit to travel and function in the five aspects of Jesus’ ministry leadership to prepare and position others in other states and nations. The role of forerunner leaders moves into fathering because the purpose of their forerunning expands so that other regions can experience preparation and positioning that moves revival into Awakening.

Immediately someone says, “Well, it would seem to me that the big churches already know how to best provide leadership for an Awakening.” Yet, that seldom mirrors reality or the testimony of history. Not because they are evil, more because they are structured to produce the accumulation of believers instead of maturing kingdom leaders who can influence and impact a region.

Churches that accumulate believers cannot prepare and position as forerunner Ecclesia’s as long as the dynamics of leadership by which they function are founded upon evangels and shepherds, not apostles and prophets. They may accumulate but they cannot prepare and position a forerunner Ecclesia. Every function of the Ecclesia that provides a forerunner dynamic must begin with apostolic and prophetic blueprints for a much broader purpose from that the localized vision. The forerunner leadership must prepare the Lord a people who can fulfill a purpose, and that purpose is much different from the purpose of normal churches.

God has a Remnant in waiting, prepared and positioned for release.

Elijah failed to recognize this Remnant because he was resisting his transition as a forerunner. He continued to function in what got him to Carmel when he needed to finish the forerunning assignment that would position the Remnant God had waiting. Elijah thought, “I’m the only one left. If I don’t increase, it is over!”

Yet, God needed Elijah to decrease so the next season could be realized and Elijah could be transformed into a functional kingdom leader. God had a lot more in mind than merely destroying Jezebel! God wanted to reestablish His kingdom on earth. Elijah was caught up in his forerunner identity to the point that he couldn’t see past it.

What to Do with “What Is”

I know you may be thinking, “What do we do with all the churches and ministries? What do we do with ‘what is’ in order to prepare for ‘what is coming next?'”

Great question: the answer would come from Jesus in His consideration of bringing what is His to a season of accounting, an oversight visitation. And, a strong hint would be “not one stone will remain upon the other” if you do not respond to the season of accounting.

Wait! Before you get the idea that Jesus is going to destroy everything, reconsider the meaning of that natural phrase in the context of the kingdom description of “living stones.” Think: “Jesus will reset the whole of the structure.” One stone won’t be left upon another because every living stone must be reset through preparation and positioning to produce the building His kingdom blueprint has designed.

He can and will do that without destroying any of it. Only those who refuse His leadership will experience the destruction that comes from their enemies; none will experience destruction from Jesus.

Jesus builds an Ecclesia that displaces the authorities of hell, right? When the church cannot displace, the inability of the Ecclesia to do what Jesus builds her to do reveals a dysfunctional structure. Therefore, Jesus rebuilds the Ecclesia to function as an extension of kingdom so that she has the authority to displace the authorities of hell. When churches do not respond to this reset, the enemies they cannot displace set up gates around them.

Acts 19 helps us understand the process and progress of a region being touched by a forerunner, becoming a forerunner region, and then becoming an apostolic and prophetic epicenter with international level leadership function. Then, we see how these forerunners became fathering leaders through which Ephesus became the center of Christianity for 200 years. Paul spent three years there preparing and positioning kingdom leaders. He had revival and riot. The “what is” didn’t limit his function in producing the “what is coming next.”

“Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. However, some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. Therefore, Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.”

After resistance from “what is,” Paul moved to an apostolic training center, prepared, and positioned leaders who could influence and impact the entire region. “The word of the Lord” means “the purpose of God for the region.” In a very short time, through an Awakening, the kingdom Ecclesia in the region exploded, influenced, and impacted the culture of Asia Minor.

When Jesus appears in John’s vision, He speaks to the Ecclesia’s that this move of God birthed. In each case, the message assumes that Ecclesia functions differently from the present prevailing paradigm of “the accumulation of believers.”

Sign Up for Some Sifting!

Jesus tells Simon Peter that satan has demanded to sift the entire group of disciples but He has prayed for Simon to bring restoration after the sifting is over.

The process of sifting is actually positive in process and end result, but it is does involve some violent shaking to expose the distinctly different elements presently blended together. We use sifting because processing the individual grains of wheat one by one would be impractical. We separate good and bad, so bad is exposed, no longer able to hide in the blend of interrelated motives and conditions of the heart. The bad has to be dealt with – sifting separates it.

So, why would satan demand the right to sift the disciples? Wouldn’t the process of revealing the bad work at odds with his methods? Why would satan wish to bring attention to the bad?

The nature of satan as “the accuser,” his method of destruction, distraction, and discouragement, uses surfaced qualities of the heart or motives of the soul to make a case for the inadequacy of the disciples, a case satan hopes to use to drive them all away from Jesus at the time of His and their greatest vulnerability.

Just before great victory or expansion of kingdom purpose, the dark days of personal sacrifice and spiritual warfare increase as the stresses of “humanity representing heaven” provide both the greatest fulfillment of Father’s purpose and the greatest exposure of human weakness.

“Jesus, Stop This Process!”

We notice immediately that Jesus isn’t saying, “Simon, don’t worry about it because I’ll completely shield you from this sifting.”

No! Jesus is praying for restoration after the shaking separates the good and bad, knowing that a lot of ugly stuff will surface in His apostles, satan will attempt to build a case for them to quit, and the evidence that they are not worthy will be obvious.

No! Jesus knows that sifting is essential to kingdom advance because humanity is both the point of power and the point of weakness in kingdom: God wants humans to establish heaven on earth, but the human element is imperfect.

Note this kingdom leader: you will discover your greatest strengths and glaring weaknesses – both of them – in the seasons of kingdom advance, as heaven and hell will heighten their methods of help or hurt to accomplish purpose or diminish purpose.

We can find no Scriptural promise for “avoiding the sifting,” no declaration of protection from battles, no “not for you little one” gesture of escape from testing for any believer. At no point does God say, “Jesus did it all so you will never face a test.” Nope.

Instead, we are promised testing, trial, temptation, and terror! We are sent into the teeth of the conflict armed with Divine weaponry, to fight, take territory, stand and hold that territory, and push back the usurpation of hell, displacing the gates of hell as living stones built into a kingdom Ecclesia.

The sifting offers satan evidence to build his case against us. However, what he considers his best hope of distraction, substitution, or even rebellion (his highest hope), Jesus understands as the opportunity for deeper submission. The sifting reveals our tendencies, and the “bad” that is exposed will be the best opportunity hell can find to defeat us.

In other words, sifting surfaces our besetting sins. Pride, rejection, shame, rebellion, witchcraft, fear of men, worldliness, antichrist, and the political spirit – where works of flesh meet works of darkness – wheat glowing with golden life separated from chaff dead, harsh, dull, cutting, and abrasive to the very purpose of the living giving seed. Debris that gathers with the harvest must be separated at the time of expansion when harvest becomes the next season of planting and promise.

You will always experience an exposure at the point of your next personal expansion in purpose, and you will either embrace the pride of being called and chosen as a representative (therefore, falling upon your entitlement mentality to avoid dealing with your flawed motives) or you will humble yourself in submission in order to deal with the surfaced weakness that must be removed as you step forward in your purpose.

“Simon, you all have some big problems, and satan demands his moment in court to make a case against you with the evidence he will dredge up in sifting. He is making a case against Me, because you represent Me, to tell Father that I have failed to produce leaders that represent Father.”

And, satan is right! The disciples are full of selfish, prideful fear! They will all run because it is too hard. They will deny because it saves their own skins. They will betray in a different way from Judas, but their betrayal is just as deadly at the heart level.

And the sifting will expose this heart motive! “I’m really in this for me” will surface among the kingdom seed of purpose, the kingdom bread of life, the kingdom harvest of Jesus’ ministry. Chaff will be exposed. Debris will be separated. The adversary will accuse. The disciples will despair: how can this kingdom move forward if we are the ones chosen to represent it?

Sifting Seasons Surface Seeds

Yet, the enemy fails to discern that sifting also separates the pure, royal seed from what has been mixed with it! The celebrated seeds of purpose receive their greatest distinction, clarity, and usefulness in the same process of accusation. The end result is a restoration of the very purpose all that debris was supposed to destroy!

The purpose comes out even more pure! What might have been planted in the next season with the royal seed is removed! The prepared soil of the next planting is not defiled with the chaff and debris!

As is always the case when kingdom leaders submit with humbled hearts, stop defending their flaws and justifying their weaknesses, the end product of the testing is purity.
Let the sifting begin for this generation needs a good shaking! We approach a great turnaround of revival, Awakening, reformation, and transformation! Let the Remnant feel the demands of our accuser to defeat us! Let this great conflict begin! It is what we need more than we realize!

We cannot sow the chaff and debris of previous seasons in this newly prepared soil, plowed with groaning and labor pains, and we cannot represent Him in the next season with the pride, fear, stubbornness, wounding, and hesitation under which we labor at present.

Remnant Leaders

Jesus prayed for one apostle, Simon, to restore. He prayed for a Remnant leader in the remaining eleven. His strategy for the sifting was a Remnant.
Does anything help us understand the present condition of the modern American church any more clearly?!

The Remnant needs the sifting, the purifying, the punch in the gut, the kick in the seat of the pants, the exposure of chaff and debris – and we are getting just that right now!
Some are expressing their pride in response to the sifting, telling the story of their justification for assuming they have no flaws by the “thou protesteth too loudly” in defense of their perfections and qualifications. This is not time to tell everyone how long you’ve been with Jesus!

This is the time to humble yourself to the sifting so your flaws won’t disqualify you in the greater crisis coming.

Some are expressing their fear of man by diminishing others to make themselves look better as exposure reveals their need for submission. The work of criticism and the criticism of those that criticize is at a fevered pitch. Even the “we don’t criticize” crowd criticizes with perspiration at present, as mini-movement all attempt to see the superiority of their previous experiences.

Yet, the sifting is revealing the fatal flaws of every mini-movement.

Some are ready to hide when they are called to be seen. They are running. They make the accuser into a victor, fearing the Father because of their weaknesses when the Father has a judgment decision that will silence the enemy and set them free in ways they have never been free before!

At any rate, sifting is here because of what is coming, and we should humble ourselves before that exposure, submit to that process, and receive the strategy of Remnant leadership for our restoration.

Apostolic Order and Leviathan Systematic Delusion

God authorizes through assignments and alignments. Once apostles receive assignment, God will bring others into alignment with their assignment. Authority flows toward assignment: you have the authority of your assignment, and aligning with apostolic assignments positions you to function in that authority. All authority comes from the King and flows toward His assignments. As Head of the Body, He makes all assignments, authorizations, and alignments work together so they accomplish kingdom purposes.

In this way, kingdom consensus combines kingdom coalitions to produce kingdom cooperation and collaboration. Jesus has infinite genius to appropriate systematic spiritual dynamics (dunamis power), the power of Holy Spirit in each of us that operates in these assignments, in a way that completely fulfills both personal destinies and corporate purposes. In other words, the quickest and most efficient pathway to personal destiny fulfillment always lies in our surrender to align ourselves with apostolic assignments given by Jesus. All the assignments come from Jesus; we submit to kingdom leadership because we are submitted to Jesus.

Of course, this is the ideal that is seldom seen and difficult to experience because we have lost so much. Without a good understanding of kingdom protocols, we fail to recognize these systematic spiritual dynamics. And, our distaste with religious institutions and substitutes for this kingdom leadership has made us leery of any leadership dynamics. Our rejection of institutional bureacracies has left us longing for Jesus to allow us all to be free spirits and turned the kingdom into a charismatic Woodstock.

Enter Leviathan. hell’s answer to God’s systematic spiritual dynamics is a systematic spiritual delusion. As we examine the many Scriptures that directly discuss the spiritual dynamics of leviathan, and parallel them with the manifestations of the serpent/dragon who heads the spiritual conspiracy against the Messianic King, we see that Leviathan is a system of spiritual coalitions functioning in a strategic region with an agenda to pervert God’s purpose for that region with confusion, substitution, and delusional pride.

Whatever Jesus is for, hell is against. The agenda of darkness is simply to avoid light. To defeat this darkness we must reveal the Light of His Glory, punching holes at strategic points in the occult veil that Leviathan spreads over a region. Light pours through these punched holes and floods the region: “the knowledge of the Glory of The Lord fills the region as waters cover the sea.” The punched holes become portals or windows through which God outpours Blessing for Curse, Glory for Pride, freedom for captivity, sight for blindness, favor for poverty, and rejection for the time of God’s acceptance!

Sifting the Remnant

Jesus tells Simon Peter that satan has demanded to sift the entire group of disciples but He has prayed for Simon to bring restoration after the sifting is over.

The process of sifting is actually positive in process and end result, but it is does involve some violent shaking to expose the distinctly different elements presently blended together. We use sifting because processing the individual grains of wheat one by one would be impractical. We separate good and bad, so bad is exposed, no longer able to hide in the blend of interrelated motives and conditions of the heart. The bad has to be dealt with – sifting separates it.

So, why would satan demand the right to sift the disciples? Wouldn’t the process of revealing the bad work at odds with his methods? Why would satan wish to bring attention to the bad?

The nature of satan as “the accuser,” his method of destruction, distraction, and discouragement, uses surfaced qualities of the heart or motives of the soul to make a case for the inadequacy of the disciples, a case satan hopes to use to drive them all away from Jesus at the time of His and their greatest vulnerability.

Just before great victory or expansion of kingdom purpose, the dark days of personal sacrifice and spiritual warfare increase as the stresses of “humanity representing heaven” provide both the greatest fulfillment of Father’s purpose and the greatest exposure of human weakness.

“Jesus, Stop This Process!”

We notice immediately that Jesus isn’t saying, “Simon, don’t worry about it because I’ll completely shield you from this sifting.”

No! Jesus is praying for restoration after the shaking separates the good and bad, knowing that a lot of ugly stuff will surface in His apostles, satan will attempt to build a case for them to quit, and the evidence that they are not worthy will be obvious.

No! Jesus knows that sifting is essential to kingdom advance because humanity is both the point of power and the point of weakness in kingdom: God wants humans to establish heaven on earth, but the human element is imperfect.

Note this kingdom leader: you will discover your greatest strengths and glaring weaknesses – both of them – in the seasons of kingdom advance, as heaven and hell will heighten their methods of help or hurt to accomplish purpose or diminish purpose.

We can find no Scriptural promise for “avoiding the sifting,” no declaration of protection from battles, no “not for you little one” gesture of escape from testing for any believer. At no point does God say, “Jesus did it all so you will never face a test.” Nope.

Instead, we are promised testing, trial, temptation, and terror! We are sent into the teeth of the conflict armed with Divine weaponry, to fight, take territory, stand and hold that territory, and push back the usurpation of hell, displacing the gates of hell as living stones built into a kingdom Ecclesia.

The sifting offers satan evidence to build his case against us. However, what he considers his best hope of distraction, substitution, or even rebellion (his highest hope), Jesus understands as the opportunity for deeper submission. The sifting reveals our tendencies, and the “bad” that is exposed will be the best opportunity hell can find to defeat us.

In other words, sifting surfaces our besetting sins. Pride, rejection, shame, rebellion, witchcraft, fear of men, worldliness, antichrist, and the political spirit – where works of flesh meet works of darkness – wheat glowing with golden life separated from chaff dead, harsh, dull, cutting, and abrasive to the very purpose of the living giving seed. Debris that gathers with the harvest must be separated at the time of expansion when harvest becomes the next season of planting and promise.

You will always experience an exposure at the point of your next personal expansion in purpose, and you will either embrace the pride of being called and chosen as a representative (therefore, falling upon your entitlement mentality to avoid dealing with your flawed motives) or you will humble yourself in submission in order to deal with the surfaced weakness that must be removed as you step forward in your purpose.

“Simon, you all have some big problems, and satan demands his moment in court to make a case against you with the evidence he will dredge up in sifting. He is making a case against Me, because you represent Me, to tell Father that I have failed to produce leaders that represent Father.”

And, satan is right! The disciples are full of selfish, prideful fear! They will all run because it is too hard. They will deny because it saves their own skins. They will betray in a different way from Judas, but their betrayal is just as deadly at the heart level.

And the sifting will expose this heart motive! “I’m really in this for me” will surface among the kingdom seed of purpose, the kingdom bread of life, the kingdom harvest of Jesus’ ministry. Chaff will be exposed. Debris will be separated. The adversary will accuse. The disciples will despair: how can this kingdom move forward if we are the ones chosen to represent it?

Sifting Seasons Surface Seeds

Yet, the enemy fails to discern that sifting also separates the pure, royal seed from what has been mixed with it! The celebrated seeds of purpose receive their greatest distinction, clarity, and usefulness in the same process of accusation. The end result is a restoration of the very purpose all that debris was supposed to destroy!

The purpose comes out even more pure! What might have been planted in the next season with the royal seed is removed! The prepared soil of the next planting is not defiled with the chaff and debris!

As is always the case when kingdom leaders submit with humbled hearts, stop defending their flaws and justifying their weaknesses, the end product of the testing is purity.
Let the sifting begin for this generation needs a good shaking! We approach a great turnaround of revival, Awakening, reformation, and transformation! Let the Remnant feel the demands of our accuser to defeat us! Let this great conflict begin! It is what we need more than we realize!
We cannot sow the chaff and debris of previous seasons in this newly prepared soil, plowed with groaning and labor pains, and we cannot represent Him in the next season with the pride, fear, stubbornness, wounding, and hesitation under which we labor at present.

Remnant Leaders

Jesus prayed for one apostle, Simon, to restore. He prayed for a Remnant leader in the remaining eleven. His strategy for the sifting was a Remnant.
Does anything help us understand the present condition of the modern American church any more clearly?!

The Remnant needs the sifting, the purifying, the punch in the gut, the kick in the seat of the pants, the exposure of chaff and debris – and we are getting just that right now!
Some are expressing their pride in response to the sifting, telling the story of their justification for assuming they have no flaws by the “thou protesteth too loudly” in defense of their perfections and qualifications. This is not time to tell everyone how long you’ve been with Jesus!

This is the time to humble yourself to the sifting so your flaws won’t disqualify you in the greater crisis coming.

Some are expressing their fear of man by diminishing others to make themselves look better as exposure reveals their need for submission. The work of criticism and the criticism of those that criticize is at a fevered pitch. Even the “we don’t criticize” crowd criticizes with perspiration at present, as mini-movement all attempt to see the superiority of their previous experiences.

Yet, the sifting is revealing the fatal flaws of every mini-movement.
Some are ready to hide when they are called to be seen. They are running. They make the accuser into a victor, fearing the Father because of their weaknesses when the Father has a judgment decision that will silence the enemy and set them free in ways they have never been free before!

At any rate, sifting is here because of what is coming, and we should humble ourselves before that exposure, submit to that process, and receive the strategy of Remnant leadership for our restoration.

Bless; Curse Not

“Bless those that persecute you. Bless and curse not.” [Romans 12:14]

First, persecution means “chasing after in order to apprehend.” A lot of the “persecution” people clamor about, ain’t persecution. Persecution is a process, not a correction or negative comment. A kingdom leader correcting you isn’t persecution! Your mother-in-law telling you how to take care of her baby you married isn’t persecution. Someone on the job being a jerk isn’t persecution.

Persecution is someone targeting you to apprehend you. “This man is out to get me” is persecution, and that is a process. The word can be used positively to pursue something or someone, but in this context it is negative. Persecute means, “I’m out to get you.”

During the process, you bless the one who is out to get you. You do not curse. You do not overcome evil with more complex, refined, and strategic evil. You overcome evil with good. You bless the one coming after you. Win or lose – and that is all in the definition – you bless.

For the smug and sanctimonious, that can be a moment to play victim. Paul isn’t talking about signing up for victimization. He is NOT saying, “Now, lie down and take it like a rug for people to wipe their feet.” He is saying, “You have the greater position of spiritual authority and power; use it to show the kingdom culture’s greatest benefits.”

Not that a believer cannot curse. They can. Jesus did. His curse reveals the persecution purpose and process: He limits the tree, and the process withers it to nothing once He apprehends it. Jesus did bring curse upon things and revealed the curse that would befall His generation because of their own curse words upon themselves.

The point is that a believer can curse but doesn’t. The believer uses spiritual authority and power to bless the one pursuing to diminish them. While that seems like aiding and abetting your worst enemy, Paul says that reveals the kingdom culture. It reveals your faith, that no one has power over your destiny to empty it of life, that evil people cannot undo what God is doing, that greater is He in you than he operating in and through them. You curse from a strategic position of spiritual authority and power, and that blessing reveals that your God is greater than the cursing Accuser.

If you cannot bless the persecutors, you might consider whether or not you are consecrated enough to God that you are convinced He can produce your purpose through obedience, or that He requires your natural wisdom and strength to do a good job of being God. If you wish to use your spiritual authority and power to curse without no authorization but on your own, perhaps you should consider what level of witchcraft remains in your soul. If you cannot bless because you are a victim of out of control anxiety or anger, perhaps you should surrender fear and wrath to God.

If you cannot bless persecutors, you might wish to consider that your delegated authority and power for kingdom leadership lies dormant. In other words, when persecuted, you simply whine that “I shouldn’t have to go through this! Jesus, take it all away so I can get on with my little American life.” That means, you are a spiritual baby cakes that needs to grow up and act like an adult.

Jesus promised us persecution. Rejoice! Yes, relish the moment when the kingdom will shine through you instead of the pride that says you are too wonderful to deserve persecution, or that you deserve a better life than to face what Jesus faced.

Sometimes believers curse themselves in persecution with this level of entitlement pride: “I cannot be touched by persecution because I am a child of God.”

Jesus clarifies that as dysfunctional: “If they persecute Me, they will you. You are not above your Master.”

So, when you say, “I am above this persecution stuff because I am a child of God, you are saying you are better than Jesus.” Of course, some people have some kind of macho extremist faith statement that says, “Jesus took all the persecution so I can lie around at the pool drinking mint tea, eating bonbons, and enjoying cloudless skies until the Millennium.” Duh. (Go back to what Jesus says, believe that, and stop with the dull-witted deception of hell.)

[Deep breath.]

“Bless and curse not.” Paul says, “Bless,” but adds, “Curse not,” just in case you build a faulty concept of blessing that allows you to bless and curse at the same time. It has been done.

It is the “hedge against diminishing supply” application of blessing that says, “Bless you, you filthy scoundrel,” attempting to appear in blessing while working curse into the framework of you piety. It is insincere at best, and makes kingdom look like circus-show scam at worst.

It is the “he is saying one thing but really doing another” that assumes the political spirit method of out-politicking your apparent opponent. It will curse while appearing to bless because it justifies curse with some kind of inner mechanism of doublemindedness, more commonly known as spiritually “passive aggressive.” It is a form of “killing them with faint praise” or “your quaint little starter home is very nice” (with the thought of “my six-bedroom mansion notwithstanding.)

Believers say “bless” and then “curse” by diminishing others in order to look greater than they really are. I’ve seen this many times with leaders doing the anointing comparison and name dropping the apostle game. They bless you and then say, “I run with Elijah and Moses come in the flesh with the Glory Cloud of Greater Goodness around my head.” They pat you on the head while ignoring what God does through you with fingers in their ears going “la-la-la-la” while touting the greatest of their personal “here’s come the ark” meetings.

They are blessing and cursing. They are hoping to diminish in order to avoid being out classed in their internal deception (pride), desiring to be what they conjure in their minds more than what God says they are. In this way, they diminish, and they may even persecute you by pursuing you to apprehend you: to define you to others by their own words that kill you with faint praise. They are not really blessing because they hope you get smaller, not bigger; they see you as competition or someone to be put in their place.

This has nothing to do with needed and authentic correction. That isn’t a part of blessing and cursing as a response to persecution. Correction, remember, isn’t persecution at all. It is an effort to increase and expand you, a form of blessing that you should value as blessing. Don’t mix the two things.

But, a person operating to bless and curse may be a persecutor themselves, and Paul mentions this in order to clarify what “bless and curse not” really looks like.

Elisha’s Preparation for a Mantle

Elisha reaches down and picks up an available mantle. He is in the right place at the right time. By enduring. By focused commitment to preparation. By following Elijah, he is there to be discipled by Elijah, prepared for the moment he will function.

Many mistake discipling with following. Simply put, you must follow in order to be discipled. Jesus says, “Follow Me and I will make you…” Without the following, no shared spiritual experience is available to prepare you for the available mantle: “You will do what I do, and greater shall you do…”

Back to Origins

When time comes for Elijah to be carried away, he says to Elisha, “I am going. You can stay here.” We will hear this repeated scenario each step of the way back to the place of beginnings where Elijah will be carried away. Elijah will be carried away where he started, in Tishbe.

In order to raise champions, we must take them the same route we took, walk them through the same path we walked, and allow them to experience the same things we experience. The following is required for the discipling is required for the mantle.

To gain the proper identity, we must lose identity. We must become nobody in order to be made into the somebody God has in mind. We are made by grace. [See 1 Coriinthians 15:10]

The process required for losing false identity and gaining God’s design functions with the fathering spirit. We need fathers during this season of personal change to reassure us, hold us in the times when we are uncertain who we are, and keep us walking toward the place of new identity we have no map to discover on our own.

While discipling is more than following, following is required. We must be there to be discipled. For many, the test of discipling is the test of being there, of following. Many short-circuit their ministry in the preparation by failing the simplest test of “being there” because they cannot order their lives to follow.

I see more people short-circuit their preparation than I do short-circuit their calling.

Gilgal

First stop, covenant. Gilgal was the place of rolling away the reproach of Egypt, the establishing of covenant in a generation who had not experienced the marking of covenant circumcision. The mark involves the covenant and is intensely personal. Many do not pass this test of nakedness, the openness and transparency that is required to be covenant-ready. They will not stand the exposure.

They will say a thousand things. They will make a thousand excuses, many of these include a “God told me” phrase that is intended to pull rank and silence the very voices that are required for their preparation. They will tell themselves that leaders are “holding them back,” but they are really just quitters. They won’t stand the knife that cuts the flesh.

Such a personal accountability frightens away some of the strongest and most anointed. Yet, without this accountability for covenant, their gifts and anointing will not be enough to function with the mantle if they receive it. Many wish to inherit without being prepared to possess the provision of inheritance. Once they inherit, they think, “I will be ready to decide what to do with inheritance. Just give it to me already!”

Yet, this is not true! What to do with inheritance must be settled before inheritance is received. That is the reason for following to be discipled.

There is no “you can be whatever you want to be, go for it” in kingdom! The verse, “I can do all things through Christ,”, does not mean “I can do whatever I want through Christ Jesus!” That kind of humanistic narcissism must be broken, cleansed, burned, and buried before we are ready for the mantle.

At Gilgal, Israel stopped being carried by God like children. The manna stopped and they ate of the land of promise. It was their first Passover in promise. Passover, remember, redeems the firstborn, the inheritors.

Bethel

God has favorites. Favorite places and people. Many are called. Few are chosen. The chosen are the prepared. The potential isn’t the purpose. We must be prepared for calling before we are chosen for inheritance.

Bethel means ‘God’s house.’ Jacob slept here and saw the staircase of angels going up and coming down, the interchange of heavenly provision in one of God’s favorite places. Bethel is the establishing of a strong home base.

It is not that we have money, famous name, ready-made leadership dynamics–it is that we are called and then, chosen. The choosing comes when we have been prepared by doing the stuff of the called. No one gets to skip the test of doing. There is no “just give me my inheritance and we’ll work it all out later” with God.

We always believe we are ready before we are ready! That’s why we need spiritual parents.

How many say, “Just get me to the nations and my anointing will be released.” The truth is, if you can’t do it here, you will not suddenly be able to do it there. You say, “But I am called, so it will work out.”

Sorry, but being called isn’t enough. You must be chosen, and the chosen have been prepared. You are called when you don’t even know it; but you cannot be chosen without a full vetting of personal preparation.

You will learn how to handle your inheritance by serving with someone who has experience investing inheritance. You will learn to handle the mantle by following someone who is handling it now. Your demanding desire to get your hands on that mantle is a sign you aren’t ready for it. Your addiction to power means you shouldn’t be given power. Your passion for performance means you are confused in priority.

Jesus had an unlimited capacity for Anointing. Yet, He never said anything or did anything He didn’t receive from Father. He didn’t do whatever to whomever whenever and wherever. He knew that mantles are always strategic and function guided by direct contact with the Father.

Remember, Elijah threw the mantle upon Elisha ten years before Elisha picked it up and functioned with it. You know you have a mantle and your passion to possess it and function keeps you focused during the preparation season.

At Bethel Israel learned tithing. He learned that he must be a giver to the One who needs no one to give Him anything. He learned to personally function in first principles. This given is more than token acknowledgement that God is Source and Resource. It is fundamental to blessing: giving is more blessed than receiving.

Jericho

Here God destroyed the first-fruits. The city was dedicated to God, dedicated for destruction. At Jericho, you learn that God is trying to kill you. You learn that preparation includes total destruction. The Jericho test reminds you that God will destroy some things we would turn into trophies, that would eventually become monuments that would eventually become idols. (Remember the brazen serpent.)

At Jericho we learn that breaking open the alabaster box and pouring out the perfume is appropriate behavior when the natural says this is a waste.

The first belongs to God. Always. God reminds us of several things in the destruction of first things. This lesson must be pressed deeply into the wet cement of our preparation lest we touch what is dedicated to “save it from going to waste.”

I observed a wonderful couple perform this desecration with the greatest pain. The understanding that giving God something is never wasting it comes hard to people who have an overt appreciation for money and power. They lose sight of the fact that we can give something to God. They fail the test of letting go. Tithing means that the first belongs to God and we must always let it go so that we have no control over it, for example.

It is this test that prepares us for the mantle. The mantle will never belong to us. We are responsible for it. We wear it. We function in it, but the mantle is inheritance we will relinquish to someone else who will function with it at a higher level.

At Jericho Joshua encountered the Captain of God’s Army. Face to face. “Are you with us or our enemies?” Joshua asks. The Captain says, “Neither. I am for God’s army.”

God’s army only responds to God’s strategy. We must respond to God’s strategy as well in order to do what God is doing. Joshua receives a revelation of what God is doing so he can bring the whole of God’s people into agreement behavior with God’s strategy. If not, Joshua and the people would be working at odds with God while fighting His enemies.

Jordan

This is the crossover from preparation to promise. Elijah came out of the wilderness of Tishbe. He is returning to his roots and taking the next generation with him. Jordan runs into the Dead End, a sign of what we will do with the rest of our lives. Elijah in the wilderness, running from Jezebel, heard God tell him what to do with the rest of his life: “Anoint Elisha to take your place.”

It started here. It ends here. It begins again here.

People who see Jordan as the crossover to heaven miss the reality of Jordan. Jordan is not a trip to vacation land. Jordan is the beginning of inheritance and investment. Jordan is promise to be won, ministry to be released, leadership to function, kingdom to be established.

Elisha remains with Elijah for the whole journey. At Jordan, Elijah says, “What shall I do for you?” Upon hearing the reply, he says, “If you are with me, you will receive it. But, it isn’t up to me.”

Elisha recognizes what is most valuable in Elijah because he has been with him for a decade. He learns that the name and the fame are passing trivialities compared to the spiritual power. He learn that true inheritance is spiritual inheritance. He learns that there is more required of his ministry than being powerful. He needs the spiritual condition, dynamic, disposition, and dependability of Elijah’s spirit as much as he needs the power.

The next generation must walk where we walk to function in the anointing we carry. They cannot receive a mantle without receiving a model. When we become the model, we receive the message and we can lead a movement.