Prophetic Self-Talk

Internal Prophetic Communication

Every believer has a conversation going on inside, talking to and with themselves as the mind carries on internal dialogue. The conversation is often composed of positives and negatives, or comparisons and contrasts, as the mind analyzes thoughts, combines them into concepts, make decisions, reaches conclusions.

Believers argue with themselves a way of determining what they hold onto or disregard as true, valuable, and consistent. The process is complex but part of the constant and consistent internal discussion through which the spiritual mind solves problems and makes decisions. Once a  believer has a set of values and beliefs that demand application and implementation in real life with voices in the mind takes sides about simple and complex things, listening to sources of input and information.

For the believer in tune with his own spirit, receiving constant and consistent input from Holy Spirit, a complete paradigm shift of how to think arrives that includes revelation of things unavailable to the human mind through any other source but the spirit.

I call this “prophetic self-talk” when the mind is working with information communicated by spiritual means or the mind assumes that the information comes from a spiritual source. While this is a norm for all believers because they have Holy Spirit in their lives, the maturing of this kind of internal mental processing may hit some bumps in the road, and the possibility of deception is real. Deception can become delusion when the mind jumps to conclusions.

Prophetic self-talk, like all other forms of internal communication, can be key to living in boldness, confidence, faith in the form of trust and faith in the form of action, as well as, a basic way that believers take every thought captive to obedience to Christ.

However, prophetic self-talk must recognize the sources properly, engage in prophetic process faithfully, and resist the work of hell to capture the mind with evil imaginations. The enemy will plant a thought and work to convince the believer he thought it, that it was a revelation from God, or that what the believer lusts after is a legitimate part of the process of deterring what God wants.

In this way, prophetic self-talk can be deceptive and sometimes lead to delusional conclusions about the direction and directives of God. Some believers reach a level of pride in which they assume that every thought they have is from God, that their prophetic processing is perfect, and that their motivations are so pure that no accountability is needed.

God Speaks Today!

Prophetic self-talk occurs within the prophetic person who has prophetic operations and functions, who carries on the same prophetic practices within themselves without the proper protocols to process what they see as revelatory information.

  1. It is obvious that God speaks today, that He is involved with His people individually and corporately, and part of His involvement is teaching, leading, revealing, correcting, reproving, disciplining, and communicating as part of His passionate love for His people and purposes.
  2. It is obvious God communicates in the several methods the Bible reveals He uses to reveal what is hidden, or what cannot be known properly unless God reveals it.
  3. It is obvious that this means every believer learns to recognize the communication of God in order to receive what God communicates in contrast to what the believer thinks or what other sources communicate, both natural and spiritual. The believers make choices about what is God and not, and this process is imperfect even though God’s communications are.
  4. It is obvious that any believer can talk himself or herself into believing that God communicated something, giving it the same high level of authority in making decisions and solving problems that God deserves when God was not the source of the communication or the conclusion reached by that believer.

So, I conclude that many people who have been trained or learned prophetic operations and even prophetic function prophesy to themselves. They engage in self-talk that is self-prophetic. They come to consider that self-prophetic process exempt from the prophetic process applied to all prophecy because they come to assume that this prophetic self-talk is the same thing as God speaking. There is a marked difference in the method God uses to communicate internally within believers and the way prophecy communicates revelation.

God is talking all the time to His people through impressions, dreams, visualizations, and language-based insights that arrive through the spirit of a believer. While these are all a way of communicating, they are not all prophetic or a form of prophecy in the technical or functional sense. Many times a dream simply reveals what’s going on in a believer’s own heart, the outflow of internal dialogue, the imagery of personal emotions, or the imagining of one’s self in interacting internally with respect to conflict and comprehension. In that sense, no direction or directive is given or intended no matter at what level God is involved.

Prophets, Prophecy, and Prophetic Process

The very reason God has prophets and prophecy that comes through all the believers who operate in this important grace capacity,  the reason they have prophetic dreams other than those that provide simply understanding of internal feelings and imaginations, is that God designed and defined prophecy to be something uniquely different from that spiritual life communion. God knows full well the prophetic capacities of believers, wants them to receive revelation, but never intended that this aspect of His relationship with them would short-circuit the leaders He created, designed, defined, and assigned them.

God wants every believer to enjoy the fullness of kingdom leadership, and prophecy needs leadership, order, accountability, principles and protocols just like any other aspect of kingdom to avoid the pitfalls possible to human imperfection.

Although God’s part of the process is always perfect, God makes no guarantee that believers become perfect because they become spiritual. In fact, God makes Himself clear in design, definition, and directives concerning revelation by providing both people and process leadership principles and protocols to safeguard revelation.

When we fail to properly distinguish between prophetic self-talk and prophecy, we fail to apply needed caution, accountability, and wisdom that comes from outside ourselves. Sometimes assuming we are having more communication with or from God than we actually are, we are falling into a form of pride that assumes every thought that enters the mind is from God.

I have observed this phenomenon in prophets and prophetic people for some time. I have certainly observed myself falling prey to the temptation. I want to hear God. I also want to think that I hear Him a lot. I want to think that God is so involved that He makes me as wise as He is.

I fell into the trap through spiritual pride in the early days of prophetic experience. I felt so close to God and was experiencing spiritual things so intensely that I came to the conclusion that I was spiritual in an exaggerated sense. I was certain I was correct in every assumption I made or that my assumptions were actually conclusions reached by revelation. Boy! I learned some hard lessons.

Having leaders to call you on it is step one! Submitting to those leaders is the safest way to overcome the deep desire to be something you are not or cannot be. Learning to say, “I have no idea!” when people expect you to discern it all is vital!

Dangers of Exempting Self-Talk from Leadership

When prophetic self-talk reaches conclusions, these conclusions seem exempt from prophetic process, and people are even willing to name drop “God” as a means of exempting themselves from the prophetic security that comes from leadership. They are willing to dismiss all discussion, merely announce their internals findings, and make horrendously inappropriate, even sinful, decisions, while blaming God for them.

I’ve seen some of my precious spiritual children quit jobs, make moves, jump ship, start ministries, spend or invest money, and even marry someone based upon prophetic self-talk. I weep at the messes they made they continue to attribute to God, and traps they fell into, some of which continue to imprison them to this day. I saw them exempt their prophetic self-talk from the prophetic process because they wished to do what they wanted to do, believe what they wanted to believe, and think what they wanted to think.

In other words, they wished to say this with a loud voice, “God told me to.”

Here some things that happen when you exempt prophetic self-talk from prophet process:

  1. You jump to conclusions about people you see as a threat, dislike personally, or hope to diminish in order to make more room for yourself in the kingdom, assuming that God is showing their weakness or sin as justification for your otherwise bad attitude toward them; you justify rivalry and contest with pseudo spiritual input;
  2. You settle upon something you want and project your demanding desire upon God as a revelation of what He wants justifying your delusions, investing spiritual functions in strengthening your “confirmations” of your misguided imaginations of the will of God;
  3. You dream a fleshly dream in your imagination and interpret it as a God-given passion, building a defense around it because of its value to your heart, and attribute experiences, thoughts, further imaginations, and air castle ideas to revelation when they are simply human imagination; while human imagination is awesome and healthy, it cannot stand the process prophetic revelation must endure;
  4. You find listening ears for your self-talk, some relational association that allows your self-talk celebration; finding this kind of friend is never difficult and often leads to mutual self-talk delusions as one parries the other into deeper “confirmations,” even leading to pseudo prophetic words between you;
  5. You begin to move more of authentic prophetic revelation into this faulty process, drawing back from sharing with leaders and other prophetic people, isolating at a greater pace until you find that you need no leadership, no sharing, no accountability, convincing yourself that what you think, judge, decide, want, and determine is sufficient because God is the One revealing things to you: of course, the prophetic process always assumes that God is the One revealing things, so you have excluded yourself from what He designed and defined to protect you from the very error that has overcome you!

Appropriate Prophetic Self-Talk

When revelation comes, tested, judged, confirmed, and approved, that revelation becomes part of the redeemed mindset of a transformed believer! His self-talk is certainly full of prophetic revelation, but it does not become part of his prophetic self-talk until after it has been processed properly.

The mind of Christ receives revelation readily. The mind of Christ assimilates revelation and gives it priority for determining a proper grasp of reality. Prophetic revelation changes the process by which believers live their lives. The mind of Christ begins with the spirit to process information, think, judge, reach conclusions, and make decisions, and solve problems.

The mind of Christ is spiritual and feeds into the mind of the believer. The mind of the believer has capacities for perception, memory, ideation, reasoning, intention, decision, combining feelings and emotions as input to the processing of information, all of these answering to belief. And, the mind of the believer is controlled by obedience to Christ.

We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient. Look at the obvious facts. Or you look at things only on the basis of appearance. Those who say they belong to Christ must recognize that we belong to Christ as much as they do. I may seem to be boasting too much about the authority given to us by the Lord. But our authority builds you up; it doesn’t tear you down. So I will not be ashamed of using my authority.  (2 Corinthians 10:4-8)
Notice that Paul recognizes that believers have a battle in the mind, yet believers have the mind of Christ, open to revelation. Paul makes it clear that the process of setting believers free is one a leader does. Paul isn’t saying that believers need to use these weapons, in this instance, but that he uses them as a leader to bring thoughts into captivity to Christ.
My point is that God assumes that believers need leaders in their lives to do some serious warfare with regards to how those believers think.
We can apply this to the prophetic self-talk discussion.

Blueprint Leadership: Executing God’s Strategies

The Blueprint Room

I once visited a construction company’s offices to review blueprints, and the company had an entire room dedicated to blueprint storage. Large-drawered cabinets dominated the room, clearly marked, collecting a vast museum of proposed and previously constructed building projects.

The person I was with went to a drawer and lifted a set of blueprints from a stack stored in one drawer, throwing them out like a sheet on a bed upon a large table so we could review one section of the prints that were pertinent to my responsibilities.

Considering this situation today, I was struck with the analogy: perhaps we have such a room filled with revelations of God’s construction assignments as well, properly catalogue and often mentioned in terms of “we received a prophetic word.” Yet, the room is filled with God’s projects as if the blueprints He has revealed await God’s implementation. They do not. God has representatives on earth to build what He designs in heaven; waiting on God to do what God is waiting on us to do might be considered the greatest rebellion of kingdom history because it is a massive collection of disobedience!

Voicing Vision without Implementation

Beware the tendency to shout loud about a prophetic revelation and to do nothing about it, anticipating the God will enforce His judgments when the reason for the revelation has more to do with how His representative people will enforce them. Beware the immaturity of apostolic and prophetic leadership that hears and sees but fails to prepare and position.

The operative word for kingdom leadership says, “Prepare and position the saints.” To apply the physical body meaning of the word for “perfect” implies both preparation and positioning. A prepared body part must be put into place for the operation it was prepared to do, in concert with other body parts. This is the metaphor of Ephesians 4.

The operative word for kingdom leadership says, “Apostles and prophets lay foundations that align with the Chief Cornerstone, Jesus Christ. The master builders have blueprints for the entire building from site preparation to finish work.” The metaphor of building implies that the revelation is the approval for the plans and the authorization for the construction. Blueprints leaders have a much greater assignment than merely voicing a revelation or calling people to a vision. They must do something to implement the revelation!

Right now, kingdom blueprints remain in storage racks as accumulations of Divine assignments await apostolic and prophetic maturity. The point is that until we have an apostolic and prophetic people prepared and positioned to implement, the beauty of artist conceptions for kingdom construction become a gallery show of conceptualizations for us to ooh and aah over instead of a working blueprint calling every believer in a region or nation to their destinies.

“Accurately Anticipating” Applied to Alignment and Assignment

We are still making prophetic announcements of revival and Awakening now as if these are new and novel insights to be celebrated or general invitations to anyone and everyone to parade and party. They are a call to identify the authentic apostolic and prophetic leaders who can found things, kingdom representatives who can tell people what to be and do so that what they are and do builds a body and building.

After spending (almost wasting) time identifying bricks and piling them in neat stacks, we have yet to complete foundations for revival and Awakening, hoping that God will do it for us. He will not. After spending inordinate amounts of emotional energy identifying vision that paints the artist conceptions of the edifices, we have yet to identify the subcontractors or even properly assign the site preparation work that matches the finished product.

We revel in our vision and neglect our assignments. We are like Noah preaching a flood while staring at the timbers that he must assemble to save his family! We assume declaring something obligates God to build something when God reveals so we can do the work!

We may also assume that praying and worshipping will make things magically appear that only the grander kingdom leadership functions can bring to pass. That is, prayer and worship do not form physical things or transform people without the complete functional leadership of the kingdom in full implementation. Praying without preaching or worshipping without discipling won’t produce a mature body. Praying won’t lay bricks or install windows. Without prayer it won’t be right, and we know that. But, the idea that we wait on God to do what God waits upon us to do fills the blueprint with uncompleted assignments.

King Saul discovered quickly that God wasn’t interested in a leader who could offer a sacrifice but fail to obey. King Saul lost what prayer and worship provides because he thought 99% obedience would be enough. King Saul was replaced with David because God found in David someone with His heart, and God defines “has My heart” as “he will finish what I assign him to do.”

Assignment and Alignment

Until you know your assignment, you have limitation in understanding alignment. If you base alignment on any other foundation, it is, at best, temporary, or utilitarian – that is, you use or even abuse alignment instead of submitting to alignment.

While we maintain more than one alignment, given the multifaceted complexity of an international ministry with multiple assignments in multiple locations, every alignment is strategic to those assignments.

  1. An alignment is itself an assignment, and the alignment either feeds or frustrates your own assignment. That is, misaligning frustrates what God asks you to be and do. Authentic alignment feeds what God asks you to be and do. Alignment can be confrontational, gut-wrenchingly so, because alignment always moves you toward your assignment to be and do in transformational ways.

Never give up on alignment because surgery must be done! Never give up on alignment because confrontation with your immaturity occurs! Never give up on alignment even when it fails to meet your demands, since alignment doesn’t alignment with you but with your assignment.

  1. An alignment comes from God more than you. Usually it is a joy to align. Sometimes is a chore to align. Sometimes it starts out great and becomes something else because the leaders with whom you align lack integrity, demand warped levels of honor, or generally fail at fathering at some level.

You are not the one in charge of your redemption or your destiny. God is. He assigns because of what He wants for Himself and what He wants for you. Attempting to be the one in control will always make you double minded and codependent of soul.
Even this failure may not be a “run for your life” indicator. I have had some alignments that God used to teach me “what not to do.” I cried out to Him, and He said, “See that? Don’t ever do that. I want you to see and feel how that appears and feels to others. Whatever you do, don’t do that.” Of course, I knew then the alignment wasn’t permanent.
Such alignments also help you honor the healthy ones, but God may not always ask for your opinion about alignment, and God may also use you in alignment, with others, to speak into leaders wounded by previously dishonoring participants.

  1. Every leader should be in alignment with other leaders in ways defined by God, defined by aligning assignments.

One thing you can never tolerate, even when you are used and abused yet remain in place because of God’s timing, is for an alignment to alter your personal commitment to obeying God in personal assignment.
That doesn’t mean that you develop so much pride that you think you deserve perfect leadership and alignment.
What that means is that even in alignment, you must remain faithful to God’s assignment for you and His assignment for your alignment. You will not always be in “happy, happy, joy, joy” with the ones with whom you align. You will observe their weaknesses as well as their strengths. You will observe them doing stupid. It happens!

You will be disappointed because of false entitlement sentiments: “I thought they would make me more famous and open doors for my ministry and leadership.” (Duh.)
You will be disappointed because of false equality distortions: “I think we should all be treated the same and honored at the same level, as if we all have the same authority and anointing.” (Duh.)

You will be disappointed because of false expectation delusions: “I thought this would all be wine and roses (not whine and poses), but now I am being expected to grow, change, treated like I have something to learn…” (Duh.)
That is, alignment isn’t hiring a spiritual career consultant.
Alignment is submission of your assignment to a greater assignment in terms of scope, construction, influence, and sacrifice to God.
Alignment costs more than isolation but isolation is just plain dysfunctional.

Get the Glamor Out of Ministry!

Glamour, from as early as 1720 [Scottish], “magic, enchantment” a form of sorcery that projects spiritual influence upon the mind and perceptions, “to cast the glamor.” In English we find grammar in medieval applications to “any sort of scholarship, especially occult learning.” This from c. 1500 in English but common in Medieval Latin to describe spiritual influence in the study of mystery or hidden knowledge or knowledge of hidden things. Particularly in the writings of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). Later, the sense of “magical beauty, alluring charm,” first recorded 1840. As that quality of alluring influence and attractiveness that came to be especially associated with Hollywood, high-fashion, celebrity, etc., by 1939.

(See also Jamieson’s 1825 supplement to his “Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language” has glamour-gift “the power of enchantment; metaph. applied to female fascination.” Jamieson’s original edition (1808) looked to Old Norse for the source of the word. Zoëga’s Old Icelandic dictionary has glám-sýni “illusion,” probably from the same root as gleam.)

Thus matured into an art form by modern media to create escapism as a way of characterizing reality in exaggerations for the purpose of entertainment but also with the aim to redefine reality through the attractiveness of this alternate worldview, thus giving meaning to reality from other sources.

Entering into christianism in the latter half of the 1900’s when the use of tools similar to Hollywood called some into a sense of showmanship, especially those with miracle working power in the kingdom who fell into the use of legitimate kingdom authority and power for alluring influence beyond the definition and design of their callings and assignments, building a false attractiveness to ministry and ministry personality upon the foundations of legitimate kingdom leadership.

Glamorizing Kingdom Leadership

This trap is in reach of all kingdom leaders, but the temptation tested those most who become well-known, especially in some novel way. They succumb to the altered state of fascination with their fame, building air castles of pride and delusion, some to the extreme, many to the point of distraction, still many others simply adding into the legitimate ministry of personal calling a personality distinction unworthy of a servant’s heart and role.

In short, there is nothing glamorous about ministry. Nothing. Start here. Proceed forward. Ministry must be real people in real time or we diminish the role of Holy Spirit in the ministry by creating an allusion about those who operate in His power.

We are repeating some tragic mistakes in our efforts to accumulate believers, build downlines, and construction ministry support foundations. We are glamourizing worship, prayer, preaching, and spiritual disciplines, especially with the young, to build perceptions that attract them to false entitlement, equality, and expectations.

I heard one leader say to a worship leader in a foreign country: “Come to our base in America, and we’ll make you the next _______.” Recruitment at this level of hype is wrong! That is building on glamourized fantasy, influencing people to participate in your downline with the work of imagination void of revelation, with little thought at all to the only real issue for kingdom: the will of the Father.

If God wants someone some place with some ministry, He assigns them. He doesn’t lure them to that place of ascended fascination with fame, the stage spotlight of “this is as good as it gets” and you can get it too. Such a sell job demeans Holy Spirit as our Leader, and insults Jesus as King of His kingdom.

To what extent do we use this worldly effort to encourage delusions in people? Do we allow it to remain in place with a shrug as if presenting the subtle hint or more obvious oversold impression that what they see on the stage is what they can have too if only they join in the mini-movement? Do we use the very successes that bring glory to God in exaggerated ways that add allure and glamor to the equation, allowing hundreds, even thousands, of people to assume that all they need do is get to where the show is and they too can enjoy that carefree good life of personal fulfillment, giving no thought to the actual calling of God upon people’s lives?

If we allow that impression to remain, without correction, even when we do not design our sets and ministry shows to create it, we do err exceedingly in that we assist the enemy’s number one method of destiny destruction: the “anything but that” method. We feed the lie that “if only” I could be where my kingdom idol is, I will become a kingdom rock star too. We celebrate with ambitious high-fives when more people sign up for our accumulations as if everyone using our lingo and subcultural dialect, enter our chambers of subcultural activities with well-developed subcultural behaviors is success in the kingdom. We cannot measure success in the same way Disney measures park attendance and company profits. We can accumulate without fulfilling assignment.

Glamorizing ministry leadership involves the practice of grooming superstars from the thousands that don’t do it, to leave the impression that everyone can be just like the superstar if they only immerse themselves more deeply in the subculture or ape the personality traits and spiritual disciplines of the superstar. We lie in this way as well as hell itself whether we intend to or not. It is simply not true; and if it were true, it would be contrary to kingdom principles and protocols.

Jesus Sans Glamor

No matter how many painting you’ve seen of Jesus as a child or grown man, He didn’t have a halo around His head. That can either refer to overshadowing Glory on His life or to the illusion of unreal mystical glamor. Often it is the latter as people attributed to Him what is absent from His life and ministry.

We may misread the meaning of Jesus with respect to lifestyle and ministry. We may misread His finished work and eternal provision dramatically. We may run into a line of thinking that basically says, “Jesus suffered so I won’t. Jesus was poor so I can be rich. Jesus avoided fame because He wanted me to be famous. Jesus lived simply so I can wear the best newest fashions. Jesus was rejected so I can be relevant.” See how we move from exaggeration to exaggeration, without saying a word, by presenting the idea that ‘those who join with us reach these levels of personal potential?’

Potential never enters the picture of kingdom purpose.

Jesus gave no thought to personal potential, and He established that principle and protocol in His kingdom. Doing great things means so little to Him that He ignores it, focused completely upon doing the will of the Father who is in Heaven. Do you realize that is the very opposite of glamorized ministry leadership?

The only kingdom answer to the “who I want to be when I grow up” question is: “doing the will of My Father who is in heaven.” Potential is the devil’s tool for the “anything but that” method. Purpose is God’s design and definition for destiny.

Jesus shunned glamor. One of the initial temptations was geared directly to a glamor shot of Messiah: “Jump from the pinnacle of the Temple so angels will catch You up! It will be a great show!” (From then on, all Messianic followers would be lining to wait in the hot sun for their turn at the “Pinnacle Jump at Kingdom World.”) Jesus didn’t do glamor. Jesus fulfilled purpose. He knew that glamor always distracts from the reality of spirit by appending it with other spiritual influences.

Consider the phrase, “angel of light” in this way. The adversary casts a glimmer or gleam of shimmering. We could offer this as another way of defining “glamor.”

Glamorizing the Apostolic

We exaggerate in our sales pitches even when exaggeration is the greatest enemy of Truth. In order to sell the point we make in a controversial discussion, we oversell. We set ourselves up for dismissal by glamorizing the apostolic because the idea that there are apostles and prophets is controversial. We begin to present the apostolic as the cure-all, highest peak of glory, mountain top for all really spiritual people, and long line for autographs after the game. We design shoes with the apostle’s name on it as if wearing them will make people as authoritative or anointed. When we exaggerate the point, we miss the point.

I suppose we don’t think telling the truth will “help the cause,” but Truth is always the only road to travel!

Apostles suffer more. Apostles are most likely rejected of the kingdom leadership dynamics. Apostles become the targets of opposition. Apostles give more. Apostle belong less to themselves and those they love most than other leaders.

Apostle wash feet. (Not write the purchase orders for the pans and towels others use to wash feet.) Add some other experiences to the reality: shipwrecked, snake bit, stoned to death, hungry, run out of town, in prisoned, beaten several times, knifed in the back by those you trusted most on a regular basis when they didn’t get from you what they demanded, etc. The butt of jokes, the topic of sneering dismissal on doctrinal grounds, the most misunderstood (who can understand who hasn’t walk the path?).

To add the “Wouldn’t You Like to Be An Apostle, Too?” jingle to the advertising campaign requires the apostle to stand on the stage and tout the glories of financial gain, jetting about the globe in first class, eating chocolate covered strawberries and drinking the finest bottled spring waters, living on a special diet of super foods designed by christian television’s best nutritional gurus. Then, “Join my downline and you will enjoy the same kingdom benefit package, and if you are a really good boy or girl, Jesus might let you be an apostle too someday.” Now, let’s all sing our jingle, “Be Apostle; Be Apostle, Wouldn’t You Like to Be Apostle, too?” Lower voice: “Be apostle…be apostle…be apostle.” OK, big high five for Jesus!

We could spend a few paragraphs describing the golden crowns and funny hats, elongated bishopric rods and flowing gowns as some stare into the mirror on the wall….

Glamorizing Aids the Adversary

Apostles are hardworking construction engineers. Accumulating materials for building isn’t construction. Warehousing this accumulating of building materials so they can be spit polished and gold plated so they are more worthy of the Lord’s work isn’t construction either. After several years of apostolic glamor, we have bigger barns but empty fields. We have glamorized the office without building the building chief architects are asked to construct.

In order to be apostolic, we have to get the subcontractors building something on the foundations. One would think we would have some superstructure in place by now that would show the actual job description in the real world. (We do have some, but the point stand that we have much less than we should.)

Here’s how the adversary partners with glamorized ministry: once the bricks arrive, accumulated by glamorized leadership techniques, they all wish to be builders instead of bricks. Somebody has to be a living stone! We can’t build with accumulated materials if the accumulation produced false entitlement, equality, and expectations.

When the bricks show up on site with false entitlement, they arrive with demands that answer to the exaggerated sales job that got them there. When the bricks show up on site with false equality, they start measuring themselves by themselves and begin to see other bricks as competition for their places in the building. When the bricks show up on site with false expectations, they demand to be the headstone or have a star embedded in them and become the very entrance of the house.

Glamorizing kingdom ministry produces a people who all want to be in charge of the building instead of realizing the revelation of their places in the walls. They will hang around for a while waiting for their moment of spotlight performance so they can finally show their stuff on stage, but if that doesn’t produce fame and fortune, they will be on the next heavy truck out of town to another construction site where their potentials will finally be appreciated. After glamorizing ministry, people come to the conclusion that it is the highest place, the place of which their amazingness can be realized.

As if Jesus never said the exact opposite with His lifestyle and ministry, principles and protocols, and kingdom culture behavior. Jesus never oversold. Jesus never exaggerated. Jesus shunned glamor. Jesus asks, “Will you also go away?” but He never said, “Well, I meant that figuratively; you all know that you will be in the high life with Me.” (Wink.)

Shatter the Glamor Mirror!

There are some shoes worth more than other shoes. Then, there are some shoes that are a thousand bucks for no other reason than the maker produces only a few of them so glamorized people know someone else isn’t going to show up at the party with the same pair. You aren’t buying comfort, quality, or longevity of use. You are buying glamor at a glamorous price. Are you really getting a better diamond if “he went to Jared’s?” Or, is the sell job about glamorizing the source more than the result?

The gleam has been cast upon you! Shatter it off your soul! Stop looking in the spiritual mirror to measure your success with the glamorized histories of previous heroes. They are dead! They should tell you that it will cost you dearly. They should tell you how lonely fame really is. They should tell you why only grace kept them from the same end as Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson. They should tell you why an authentic apostle is more beautiful when the lights are turned off, they look too old for glamor shots, when they write their best book while exiled on a rocky island scarred by the boiling oil and pained by prison posture.

Read the real story and you will see that the testing trials of the super stars would stop the heart of most people unprepared for the reality of that level of ministry. The glamorized ones end up in the ditches. The glamorized ones end up with bigger mirrors, trying to keep the show going when the allusions no longer interest the crowds.

When you glamorize ministry, you must increase the glam to maintain it. You gotta drop more balloons from the ceiling, raise more dead people next year, fill a bigger stadium, contract a bigger band or more famous performers. Your anointing has to be throw more bodies to the walls. Glamor is a dead end. Get it off your soul!

When you get to the place where you can preach without your wardrobe, you are starting to shed the dead skin cells of glamor. When you preach your heart out only to understand the conference crowd is glad you are finished so the big boys can finally get to the pulpit, the ones they bought the tickets to see and hear, you are about to encounter your true understanding of ministry. When you realize that God wanted you to do something with no thought whatsoever about your personal fame, you will know that you have more of the mind of Christ. When you realize that God called you to be broken bread and poured out wine for an eternal purpose, you will stop trying to redesign yourself in a way that gets you more Facebook friends,so to speak.

Glamorized Ministry

Glamour, from as early as 1720 [Scottish], “magic, enchantment” a form of sorcery that projects spiritual influence upon the mind and perceptions, “to cast the glamor.” In English we find grammar in medieval applications to “any sort of scholarship, especially occult learning.” This from c. 1500 in English but common in Medieval Latin to describe spiritual influence in the study of mystery or hidden knowledge or knowledge of hidden things. Particularly in the writings of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). Later, the sense of “magical beauty, alluring charm,” first recorded 1840. As that quality of alluring influence and attractiveness that came to be especially associated with Hollywood, high-fashion, celebrity, etc., by 1939.

(See also Jamieson’s 1825 supplement to his “Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language” has glamour-gift “the power of enchantment; metaph. applied to female fascination.” Jamieson’s original edition (1808) looked to Old Norse for the source of the word. Zoëga’s Old Icelandic dictionary has glám-sýni “illusion,” probably from the same root as gleam.)

Thus matured into an art form by modern media to create escapism as a way of characterizing reality in exaggerations for the purpose of entertainment but also with the aim to redefine reality through the attractiveness of this alternate worldview, thus giving meaning to reality from other sources.

Entering into christianism in the latter half of the 1900’s when the use of tools similar to Hollywood called some into a sense of showmanship, especially those with miracle working power in the kingdom who fell into the use of legitimate kingdom authority and power for alluring influence beyond the definition and design of their callings and assignments, building a false attractiveness to ministry and ministry personality upon the foundations of legitimate kingdom leadership.

Glamorizing Kingdom Leadership

This trap is in reach of all kingdom leaders, but the temptation tested those most who become well-known, especially in some novel way. They succumb to the altered state of fascination with their fame, building air castles of pride and delusion, some to the extreme, many to the point of distraction, still many others simply adding into the legitimate ministry of personal calling a personality distinction unworthy of a servant’s heart and role.

In short, there is nothing glamorous about ministry. Nothing. Start here. Proceed forward. Ministry must be real people in real time or we diminish the role of Holy Spirit in the ministry by creating an allusion about those who operate in His power.

We are repeating some tragic mistakes in our efforts to accumulate believers, build downlines, and construction ministry support foundations. We are glamourizing worship, prayer, preaching, and spiritual disciplines, especially with the young, to build perceptions that attract them to false entitlement, equality, and expectations.

I heard one leader say to a worship leader in a foreign country: “Come to our base in America, and we’ll make you the next _______.” Recruitment at this level of hype is wrong! That is building on glamourized fantasy, influencing people to participate in your downline with the work of imagination void of revelation, with little thought at all to the only real issue for kingdom: the will of the Father.

If God wants someone some place with some ministry, He assigns them. He doesn’t lure them to that place of ascended fascination with fame, the stage spotlight of “this is as good as it gets” and you can get it too. Such a sell job demeans Holy Spirit as our Leader, and insults Jesus as King of His kingdom.

To what extent do we use this worldly effort to encourage delusions in people? Do we allow it to remain in place with a shrug as if presenting the subtle hint or more obvious oversold impression that what they see on the stage is what they can have too if only they join in the mini-movement? Do we use the very successes that bring glory to God in exaggerated ways that add allure and glamor to the equation, allowing hundreds, even thousands, of people to assume that all they need do is get to where the show is and they too can enjoy that carefree good life of personal fulfillment, giving no thought to the actual calling of God upon people’s lives?

If we allow that impression to remain, without correction, even when we do not design our sets and ministry shows to create it, we do err exceedingly in that we assist the enemy’s number one method of destiny destruction: the “anything but that” method. We feed the lie that “if only” I could be where my kingdom idol is, I will become a kingdom rock star too. We celebrate with ambitious high-fives when more people sign up for our accumulations as if everyone using our lingo and subcultural dialect, enter our chambers of subcultural activities with well-developed subcultural behaviors is success in the kingdom. We cannot measure success in the same way Disney measures park attendance and company profits. We can accumulate without fulfilling assignment.

Glamorizing ministry leadership involves the practice of grooming superstars from the thousands that don’t do it, to leave the impression that everyone can be just like the superstar if they only immerse themselves more deeply in the subculture or ape the personality traits and spiritual disciplines of the superstar. We lie in this way as well as hell itself whether we intend to or not. It is simply not true; and if it were true, it would be contrary to kingdom principles and protocols.

Jesus Sans Glamor

No matter how many painting you’ve seen of Jesus as a child or grown man, He didn’t have a halo around His head. That can either refer to overshadowing Glory on His life or to the illusion of unreal mystical glamor. Often it is the latter as people attributed to Him what is absent from His life and ministry.

We may misread the meaning of Jesus with respect to lifestyle and ministry. We may misread His finished work and eternal provision dramatically. We may run into a line of thinking that basically says, “Jesus suffered so I won’t. Jesus was poor so I can be rich. Jesus avoided fame because He wanted me to be famous. Jesus lived simply so I can wear the best newest fashions. Jesus was rejected so I can be relevant.” See how we move from exaggeration to exaggeration, without saying a word, by presenting the idea that ‘those who join with us reach these levels of personal potential?’

Potential never enters the picture of kingdom purpose.

Jesus gave no thought to personal potential, and He established that principle and protocol in His kingdom. Doing great things means so little to Him that He ignores it, focused completely upon doing the will of the Father who is in Heaven. Do you realize that is the very opposite of glamorized ministry leadership?

The only kingdom answer to the “who I want to be when I grow up” question is: “doing the will of My Father who is in heaven.” Potential is the devil’s tool for the “anything but that” method. Purpose is God’s design and definition for destiny.

Jesus shunned glamor. One of the initial temptations was geared directly to a glamor shot of Messiah: “Jump from the pinnacle of the Temple so angels will catch You up! It will be a great show!” (From then on, all Messianic followers would be lining to wait in the hot sun for their turn at the “Pinnacle Jump at Kingdom World.”) Jesus didn’t do glamor. Jesus fulfilled purpose. He knew that glamor always distracts from the reality of spirit by appending it with other spiritual influences.

Consider the phrase, “angel of light” in this way. The adversary casts a glimmer or gleam of shimmering. We could offer this as another way of defining “glamor.”

Glamorizing the Apostolic

We exaggerate in our sales pitches even when exaggeration is the greatest enemy of Truth. In order to sell the point we make in a controversial discussion, we oversell. We set ourselves up for dismissal by glamorizing the apostolic because the idea that there are apostles and prophets is controversial. We begin to present the apostolic as the cure-all, highest peak of glory, mountain top for all really spiritual people, and long line for autographs after the game. We design shoes with the apostle’s name on it as if wearing them will make people as authoritative or anointed. When we exaggerate the point, we miss the point.

I suppose we don’t think telling the truth will “help the cause,” but Truth is always the only road to travel!

Apostles suffer more. Apostles are most likely rejected of the kingdom leadership dynamics. Apostles become the targets of opposition. Apostles give more. Apostle belong less to themselves and those they love most than other leaders.

Apostle wash feet. (Not write the purchase orders for the pans and towels others use to wash feet.) Add some other experiences to the reality: shipwrecked, snake bit, stoned to death, hungry, run out of town, in prisoned, beaten several times, knifed in the back by those you trusted most on a regular basis when they didn’t get from you what they demanded, etc. The butt of jokes, the topic of sneering dismissal on doctrinal grounds, the most misunderstood (who can understand who hasn’t walk the path?).

To add the “Wouldn’t You Like to Be An Apostle, Too?” jingle to the advertising campaign requires the apostle to stand on the stage and tout the glories of financial gain, jetting about the globe in first class, eating chocolate covered strawberries and drinking the finest bottled spring waters, living on a special diet of super foods designed by christian television’s best nutritional gurus. Then, “Join my downline and you will enjoy the same kingdom benefit package, and if you are a really good boy or girl, Jesus might let you be an apostle too someday.” Now, let’s all sing our jingle, “Be Apostle; Be Apostle, Wouldn’t You Like to Be Apostle, too?” Lower voice: “Be apostle…be apostle…be apostle.” OK, big high five for Jesus!

We could spend a few paragraphs describing the golden crowns and funny hats, elongated bishopric rods and flowing gowns as some stare into the mirror on the wall….

Glamorizing Aids the Adversary

Apostles are hardworking construction engineers. Accumulating materials for building isn’t construction. Warehousing this accumulating of building materials so they can be spit polished and gold plated so they are more worthy of the Lord’s work isn’t construction either. After several years of apostolic glamor, we have bigger barns but empty fields. We have glamorized the office without building the building chief architects are asked to construct.

In order to be apostolic, we have to get the subcontractors building something on the foundations. One would think we would have some superstructure in place by now that would show the actual job description in the real world. (We do have some, but the point stand that we have much less than we should.)

Here’s how the adversary partners with glamorized ministry: once the bricks arrive, accumulated by glamorized leadership techniques, they all wish to be builders instead of bricks. Somebody has to be a living stone! We can’t build with accumulated materials if the accumulation produced false entitlement, equality, and expectations.

When the bricks show up on site with false entitlement, they arrive with demands that answer to the exaggerated sales job that got them there. When the bricks show up on site with false equality, they start measuring themselves by themselves and begin to see other bricks as competition for their places in the building. When the bricks show up on site with false expectations, they demand to be the headstone or have a star embedded in them and become the very entrance of the house.

Glamorizing kingdom ministry produces a people who all want to be in charge of the building instead of realizing the revelation of their places in the walls. They will hang around for a while waiting for their moment of spotlight performance so they can finally show their stuff on stage, but if that doesn’t produce fame and fortune, they will be on the next heavy truck out of town to another construction site where their potentials will finally be appreciated. After glamorizing ministry, people come to the conclusion that it is the highest place, the place of which their amazingness can be realized.

As if Jesus never said the exact opposite with His lifestyle and ministry, principles and protocols, and kingdom culture behavior. Jesus never oversold. Jesus never exaggerated. Jesus shunned glamor. Jesus asks, “Will you also go away?” but He never said, “Well, I meant that figuratively; you all know that you will be in the high life with Me.” (Wink.)

Shatter the Glamor Mirror!

There are some shoes worth more than other shoes. Then, there are some shoes that are a thousand bucks for no other reason than the maker produces only a few of them so glamorized people know someone else isn’t going to show up at the party with the same pair. You aren’t buying comfort, quality, or longevity of use. You are buying glamor at a glamorous price. Are you really getting a better diamond if “he went to Jared’s?” Or, is the sell job about glamorizing the source more than the result?

The gleam has been cast upon you! Shatter it off your soul! Stop looking in the spiritual mirror to measure your success with the glamorized histories of previous heroes. They are dead! They should tell you that it will cost you dearly. They should tell you how lonely fame really is. They should tell you why only grace kept them from the same end as Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson. They should tell you why an authentic apostle is more beautiful when the lights are turned off, they look too old for glamor shots, when they write their best book while exiled on a rocky island scarred by the boiling oil and pained by prison posture.

Read the real story and you will see that the testing trials of the super stars would stop the heart of most people unprepared for the reality of that level of ministry. The glamorized ones end up in the ditches. The glamorized ones end up with bigger mirrors, trying to keep the show going when the allusions no longer interest the crowds.

When you glamorize ministry, you must increase the glam to maintain it. You gotta drop more balloons from the ceiling, raise more dead people next year, fill a bigger stadium, contract a bigger band or more famous performers. Your anointing has to be throw more bodies to the walls. Glamor is a dead end. Get it off your soul!

When you get to the place where you can preach without your wardrobe, you are starting to shed the dead skin cells of glamor. When you preach your heart out only to understand the conference crowd is glad you are finished so the big boys can finally get to the pulpit, the ones they bought the tickets to see and hear, you are about to encounter your true understanding of ministry. When you realize that God wanted you to do something with no thought whatsoever about your personal fame, you will know that you have more of the mind of Christ. When you realize that God called you to be broken bread and poured out wine for an eternal purpose, you will stop trying to redesign yourself in a way that gets you more Facebook friends,so to speak.

Honor and Inheritance

Honor releases anointing. Dishonor always limits us from receiving what Jesus has sent us.

Honor releases what Jesus sends through leaders. Dishonor limits what He sends us. We often demand Jesus give us directly what He has designed for us to receive through leaders.

We dishonor His leadership when we dishonor His strategy for leadership. We dishonor Jesus when we demand that He do things the way we design.

I have noticed a dishonor displayed by people wishing to be able to claim that everything in their lives and ministries comes “directly from God” without any human leadership involved. They will sometimes allow for a really famous international leader’s touch, but they do so when that international leader has no direct responsibility in their lives and ministry, to avoid direct accountability.

Jesus sends something to us through leaders because we need accountability for what He sends us from the leaders through whom He makes this available. They are sent to release an anointing and are the very ones to whom we need to make ourselves accountable for that anointing. In other words, Jesus knows that putting that anointing upon us directly – “I got this from Jesus so I’m only accountable to Him” – leaves us without the accountability absolutely necessary for having that anointing. In reality, they don’t have the anointing they think they have.

I remember one particular leader who would always avoid receiving ministry when I was laying hands upon people so that she could continue to characterize her anointing as coming directly from Jesus. In that way, she hoped to avoid accountability. She, in fact, avoided receiving fresh anointing and new anointing.

She proved to be a dismal failure at leadership simply because she failed this important leadership test; because of dishonor and a lack of honor, she lacked the very anointing she wished to claim. Because she refused accountability to the ones who would release it, she attempted to show that she had an anointing she didn’t have. Everybody but her could see that she lacked this anointing, so they didn’t honor her at that level – failure to honor results in a failure to be honored.

She demanded a level of honor she wasn’t due because she refused to give a level of honor Jesus asked her to give. She was demanding honor while refusing to give honor.

Life emptied out right in front of her, and all the honor she demanded escaped her because she was never positioned to function and receive it.

Spiritual Sources for Natural Inheritances

Honor begins with sources and originations. Honoring parents because they give you life brings a promise of long life. Honoring parents through whom you receive inheritance brings a promise that the inheritance will produce for you.

In the kingdom, honor begins with sources and originations. Honoring spiritual fathers because they give you what Jesus sent them to impart brings a promise that your spiritual life will expand in your generation. Honoring spiritual fathers through whom you receive ministry and spiritual inheritance brings a promise that the ministry you have will have life and your natural inheritance will expand in your generation. Yes, spiritual inheritance anoints you for natural inheritance.

If you insist upon receiving something without inheriting it, you will short circuit the relationship needed to prepare and position you for inheritance. And, the spiritual relationships that would cause what you carry to produce its highest are necessary to you functioning at the highest.

I have had spiritual inheritance for which spiritual fathers have prepared and positioned me who were not the sources of the inheritance, per se. That is, I carry unfulfilled purposes inherited naturally for which Jesus gave me spiritual fathering; the inheritance came naturally but the fathering came spiritually.

In this way, natural limits are removed from the possibility that I am prepared and positioned to bring those inheritances to fullness in my generation. If I refuse to honor, the natural and spiritual inheritance may only function with limitation: the limits of my success can be measured in the limits of my honor.

 

Apostles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Meaning of Apostle

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

In particular, John records this from Jesus:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ministry of the Apostle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mantle of Apostle

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

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

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

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

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

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

Message of the Apostle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maturity of Apostles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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