October 19, 2013

a week full of healing

Last night our community gathered and the testimonies shared of the people healed this week past week went on and on.  Our basic rule for testimony time is this – the testimony has to be something that took place during the week leading up to our weekly meeting AND that it needs to be miraculous/supernatural in character – a healing, accurate prophetic words or words of knowledge, dreams or visions, an exorcism, etc.  In some places the testimonies will come from just a few people, but this is NOT the case here in the muslim country in which we are living.  There are regularly as many as 10 different people sharing testimonies in a single meeting – and sometimes even more.  It is just a thrill to see what God is doing and I am always encouraged to see how many, men and women, old and young, who are being used by God each week to demonstrate God's Kingdom to the lost every single week.

As we have believed this is to be "the norm", it has become normal.  

October 17, 2013

thoughts on the "one man show"

We don't seem to change very much even though we claim to know better.  Jesus didn't come to be the one man show, but chose 12 others, then 70 others and broke it open on the Day of Pentecost by pouring out His Spirit on "on flesh" and you'd think the rest would be history.  However, the "one man show" continues to be be model perpetuated by many and bringing people to "the special meeting with the gifted individual" continues to be the predominate model that the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are being used.  I know there are notable exceptions, and the explosion in the past 30 years of "ministry teams" have been one of the healthiest things that ever happened to the Charismatic Church.  That however hasn't put the "one man show" model out of business.  It doesn't seem to matter how many of these individuals (which can of course be either men or women) crash and burn, fall into error or in some other way get off track and become unhealthy, they seem to emerge again and again.  The conferences are full of the new "names", promoting their "anointing" and the show goes on.  I was reminded again even today by this model because it is happening again in a local Church in the city I live.  It isn't a model that empowers the community – and in many cases has exactly the opposite effect.  People think "my job is to invite my friend to the special meeting" and not for them to personally get equipped to move in the same power and gifting that the so-called Christian celebrity (be them evangelists, revivalists, prophetic ministers, healing ministers, etc.) demonstrates.  It is one of the main reasons that I personally stopped going to most conferences.  In my own journey, they served a purpose early on to cast a vision for what is possible.  I saw things I had never seen and it really caused me to get hungry for more.  If that is the goal/aim of the minister/ministry, then I can and do endorse and promote it.  If it is somehow about an individual and doesn't lead to training/equipping of the rest of the Body to do the "same works", then I'm no longer interested.  Jesus came and left the building after 3 years.  The Apostles themselves would leave a deposit and move on – in other words, it was NEVER about people getting dependent in an unhealthy way upon an individual.

Just me thinking out loud.

October 13, 2013

12 characteristics of Apostolic Ministry

1. Apostolic Ministry is "in Christ" - Jesus is the Chief Apostle - the focus is upon Christ and NOT the Apostle/s.
- Heb. 3:1 -­ "consider (fix your thoughts) Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession"
- 2 Cor. 4:5 ­ - "for we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake"

2. Apostolic ministry begins in humility & continues in humility - Consider the Incarnation. God left heaven can became a man IN HUMILITY
- Phil. 2:3 - "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves"

3. Apostolic ministry honors women ­ Mary "birthed" Jesus' earthly Apostolic ministry, women followed Jesus.
- Gal. 3:28 - "there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus".

4. Apostolic Ministry is "team-oriented"­ Jesus built a team, Paul built teams - even the Trinity is a "team"!

5. Apostolic Ministry is "released-oriented" / It's about Fathering & releasing sons and daughters to carry on the ministry in an even greater way.
- John 14:12b - "Greater works you shall do".

6. Apostolic Ministry is Kingdom-focused (not just Church-focused) ­ is part of something GREATER. The Church is PART of the Kingdom. Jesus is PART of the Trinity
- Jesus spoke hardly anything about the Church and almost exclusively about the Kingdom.
- For example, the "Church" is mentioned 2X in Matthew and the "Kingdom" 50X!

7. Apostolic Ministry is relationally, NOT structurally-based ­ begins with the Trinity.

8. Apostolic Ministry is "marked by signs wonders and miracles"
- 2 Cor. 12:12 - the signs/marks of a true apostle were performed among you with all perserverance, by signs wonders and miracles.
- 1 Cor. 2:4 - "my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power"

9. Apostolic Ministry doesn¹t build on another man¹s (churches) foundation - it is evangelistic.
- NOT SHEEP STEALING, Not Church "Transfer" growth, Not "collecting" other Churches into a so-called "Apostolic Networks"

10. True Apostles "have seen the Lord" and are chosen by Jesus Himself - they are NOT self-appointed, or Apostles because people "recognize" them as such.
- 1 Cor. 9:1 - Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?

11. Apostolic ministry will attract problems / Persecution
- 2 Cor. 4:8-11 - "we are afflicted in EVERY WAY, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying around in the body the dying of Jesus for we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus¹ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh"

12. True Apostolic ministry doesn¹t focus on money.
- Jesus said, "Freely you have received, freely give"
- To the Rich Young Ruler, who did Jesus say he should give his $$$ to?? The Poor!