Kingdom in Fullness?

We have a lot of Kingdom language, verbiage and even definitions. The question is why then are we not seeing more of the Kingdom displayed? There seems to be a vacuum between what we proclaim and what we actually are experiencing.

Perhaps the problem is we are not in alignment within this Kingdom. We are citizens of the Kingdom, children and heirs of the King, but not really functioning in fullness. As with all things of God, there is always an order and a set structure to that order. Nothing is done randomly and nothing is done without connection to another thing in some way. This is a pattern from heaven itself.

I believe the reason we do not see Kingdom displayed is we are not aligned apostolically. The apostolic is the structure in which God has chosen that the Kingdom would be displayed. Apostolic government demands a response just like the Kingdom, but also makes a way for that response to take place. Apostolic is more than a titling, but is actually a grace given for Kingdom activity to be released. In recent years, both the apostolic and Kingdom are seemingly appearing simultaneously. This is because the two are directly connected and you cannot have one without having the other. Thus if we deny one, we deny the other.

As I see lots of events, conferences, prayer gatherings, etc, the things I am looking for are Kingdom and its expressions. The Kingdom of God is eternal and thus all things connected with it are eternal as well. This means we are looking for things that carry eternal weight, not things that are temporal. So prayers look different, they are not begging God but decreeing the intentions of the Kingdom. When we beg God, we don’t know our rights or citizenship. We actually are praying from a temporal perspective instead of an eternal one.  Kingdom knows authority and operates in it. This is why apostolic is so critical. Apostles know who they are and what they are carrying. For the most part, apostolic led prayer is being limited and not allowed to fully function.

As we move into functioning in the Kingdom, it is not about having Kingdom principles, but activating those principles into reality. Apostolic equals activation. It is more about the breath of God that brings life and creates than anointing that sustains life. The breath is advancing and the Kingdom is always advancing and expanding. Apostolic is also about advancing over sustaining. When we have the right leadership and allow them to lead into true Kingdom, then we will see the advance we are looking for. This grace gift of the apostle will release the Kingdom in fullness. Right now we are seeing in part.  Until then, we will continue to sustain with the anointing and gifts of the Spirit.

The apostle is a sent messenger carrying a mandate to bring forth the Kingdom of God and put it on display. If the Kingdom is truly functioning, then apostles would probably not be sent into that region. But if we do know that an apostle has been sent, then we should know the Kingdom is in need of being brought to the forefront as well. Apostles do this with apostolic proclamation that comes by decrees or revelatory preaching that reveals Kingdom dynamics and life giving flow. This style of preaching is not making statements about God which is what most preaching is, but making the Word of God, His Word, revealed in the present moment. This unlocks the Kingdom in fullness. Those that are sent have the Spirit without measure or limitation. The depth of the Kingdom can be displayed through their lives if they are received and given freedom to minister without limitation as well.

Apostolic structures help release what is eternal and is not concerned with what is temporal. Since apostles are visionary, they see the Kingdom in the fullness of what it can be and anything else then that needs to be adjusted. Apostles know how to place people into the Kingdom to function the best and also how to develop them for that Kingdom. Hence again, leaders who have not had apostolic oversight in development will probably lack in Kingdom understanding.

Perhaps because we have not embraced apostles and released them, we are not truly seeing Kingdom.  I believe we are seeing the Kingdom in some promising ways but far from what we desire and see in the early Church. At the same time, we are seeing the apostolic in some promising ways but far from what we desire and saw in the early Church. Both are interconnected and can only function in fullness when both are allowed to have full expression.

 

Elders of the City

This blog has come to fruition after a phone conversation I had recently where we talked about Kingdom age eldership and I explained who the real elders are. I believe this will help many see their place and help align us into some Kingdom perspectives. We need to shift a lot of things with right leadership and some old mindsets will have to be replaced.

As Apostle Paul traveled, he went into cities and appointed elders. He found certain qualified people and then gave them the title of elder. We must look at things contextually and see that he was not appointing elders over churches but over The Church (Ecclesia) and was not even appointing elders over a group of believers even though that is part of their focus since they belong to a city. The Ecclesia was Kingdom minded and governmental. To maintain that culture, elders were appointed. Eldership of the church was eldership of the ruling reigning ones and not the full congregation as we now know it.  Since there was no division and also not many believers, his task of locating them was more simplified than we would do today.

But what Paul was actually doing was appointing elders over a city and not over a congregation. This is more in alignment with Kingdom and the large viewpoint needed. These were watchmen who were watching over the souls of men and what was coming into their culture and region. They helped maintain a Kingdom culture and not a denominational belief system. These elders are seldom mentioned in the Bible, but since Paul appointed them “in every city” the emphasis being “city”, there was a structure he was putting into place within a city. Paul was looking for a larger oversight of a city. He knew that as the Church grew, he could not keep in contact with hundreds of elders in hundreds of congregations. These city elders worked closely with the apostles in making decisions and also in implementing those decisions.  Acts 15:22-23, Acts 16:4 That is why Paul told Timothy to “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine”  1 Tim 5:17.

Today there are elders of the city. They are men and women who have a great desire to see God within their city and are in tune to what God is doing. They may or may not be leading a congregation. Some pastors are more elders of a city than a pastor of a congregation. Some may be businessmen. Some may be in the political arena.  I know several who have no real ‘ministry’ but have the pulse of a city. They are not apostles or prophets or pastors but move and function as elders. They meet the qualifiers Paul talked of and see things in the larger picture. They have vision for a city, hear God speak about their city and may have prophetic warnings as well.

Those people that we call elders in a local church are really deacons in function and qualification. The need of local eldership in a congregation seemed to be the natural flow as the Church grew. But the reality is apostolic teams and companies have been replaced by elders. Most elders in a local congregation are stagnated in function and their only real role is to decide the best for that congregation. We need elders of cities who help decide the needs of the city and what is needed to see the Kingdom come. This is the difference between church age eldership and Kingdom age eldership. Our paradigm shift needs to occur in this area so we can further empower those true elders of the city. I imagine many of you reading this can easily identify the elders of your city.

Apostolic Teams and Companies

Since I have been teaching on this subject over the last few weeks in our School of Ministry and web stream, I decide to write a condensed version as a blog so more people can have these insights.

We see in the Bible, that there were apostolic teams sent into regions to bring impact and that Paul traveled with a company of people as well.  Let me first say that all apostolic teams/companies always travel with an apostolic leader. Apostles lead these teams with strategy and vision and a deep knowing of the overall destiny and assignment of the group. Apostolic teams focus on pioneering movements. They cultivate a set of core values that empower such a movement. Apostles gather other fivefold ministries to come alongside and travel into a region with the intention of aligning that region with Kingdom dynamics and to leave a deposit behind that would have an ongoing effect. That team is decided based on what grace gift is needed to create the impact.

At times, along with these teams, there might be an apostolic company. The company is made up of those of same passions and understanding to help model the overall value being imparted. They are already moving in the overall movement and come to demonstrate that for others to see. They speak the same things and articulate the core values. Apostolic teams and companies are not easily formed or brought into existence. They require great investment and long term investment to be able to carry the same vision, heart and voice. The greater the time of developing, the greater the effectiveness that will be seen.

Sometimes both an apostolic team and company are needed to bring the shift that is required. The team is made up of those carrying the message by the breath of God and the company is there to reinforce that message. Generally the team has seasoned fivefold people that are also seasoned in the message. The company will be those who have been impacted by the message and are possibly future leaders. All apostolic teams are part of the company but not all the company is part of an apostolic team due to overall calling and grace function.

Apostolic teams are focused. Apostolic teams are not apostolic because the team members are prophets or apostles but because they are apostolically led. We easily see this pattern in the scriptures and we don’t see teams or companies being sent without apostolic oversight. Apostolic teams must understand God’s strategy for the present moment of time. That strategy is then released into the company formed under them. The team is built to establish the Kingdom and the company is supporting their endeavors.

If an apostolic team is sent into a region by God that means God is endeavoring to release new Kingdom dynamics into that region. He brings a group of men and women either by team or company to show the depth of how important the message is that they are carrying. If God has sent such a group, then He must have a tremendous desire for that region to embrace that message. He has prepared hearts in advance of the team or company coming to embrace that message. The apostolic team knows the right timing and season that is occurring so they know when to go with the right message.

What makes the team and company dynamic effective is how they move in faith when they go into a new region. This faith walk they have has already been cultivated and has been challenged by the apostolic leader. The apostle may not fully know the way the vision will occur but does see the vision in fullness. The apostle is going by faith and expects the company/team to do so as well. This allows the Holy Spirit to be depended on and for faith to be activated. The team/company trusts the apostolic leader even though they may not fully see or understand. This empowers the apostle to move to greater dynamics of faith thus releasing the team to move deeper as well. This is the empowering to shift a region or city by released authority and faith creating Kingdom in places not seen before.

These apostolic teams and companies can only truly function in fullness in areas they have been invited or sent by God directly to break something open. Generally the apostle has a deep knowing in their spirit of the intentions of God. They mobilize those under them to fulfill this intention. The apostle trains them knowing what is required to do the assignment. This training is by instruction, activating, and by having vision for the individual knowing how they fit the overall plan of God locally. The local training is the proving point for being part of a team or company to be sent out later.

Some of the main things an apostolic company will do are confront principalities over regions. They discern the things opposing the move of God and confront with intercession in advance, and public decrees while in the region. These teams empower upcoming gifts in the region they go to. They confirm callings and empower leaders into greater authority. They come to support what is occurring but also to challenge into greater positioning.

Apostolic teams also carry one thing that really sets them apart and that is revelation. The team and company are both a living example of the revelation they are carrying. The team can release current revelation directly from God and also knows how to flow in the Spirit to make a harmonious meeting without breeches. They sense the Spirit’s desire for meetings and know how to steward those moments. The apostolic company traveling with them also has revelation but may not be able to fully present it. They may not know how to fully steward a meeting, so they once again rely on the team and the apostle they are under as the final authority.

Apostolic teams and companies show the functioning single corporate man. They show how to function together as the Spirit leads. They also show how unity multiples grace and authority, and causes impact. Conferences today are taking the place of apostolic teams but are not truly apostolic teams by Biblical pattern. The group called to speak at a conference has not been connected before the conference and have not necessarily been sent as a team or are under apostolic authority. They may act more as individuals trying to work together than a group appearing as a single flowing Body.  Apostolic teams and companies need to be released and embraced again so regions and cities can be impacted.

The Shift From Church Age to Kingdom Age — Part 2

 

The dynamics of this shift are many and the catalyst is injustices and the ability to have freedom taken away is bringing the separation required. In this hour we have many things that are coming against us. Potential loss of religious freedom, gay marriage, and other cultural issues are emerging. These are not coming against the church per say, as some of the church is embracing and entering into this, but these issues are affecting the true ecclesia that has hid itself in the Kingdom, yet we were warned. This is the leaven spoke of in Matt 13.33. Leaven is not a positive but a negative. The word means mental and moral corruption. The worlds system knows it cannot stop the kingdom, so it is trying to corrupt it. It is trying to make it like itself with the same approaches and answers to social problem. This corruption is in the church in the form of compromise and even allowing the worlds systems and culture to come inside the walls. We have come to engage in issues and resolve social issues with the same type of  programs our governmental systems and manmade ideas have established. Yet the kingdom age is still coming!

In a desire to be sustained the church age has decided to engage culture by being relevant to. Yet all relevance requires a degree of compromise and acceptance of current culture to be heard.   To be relevant means you have become part of instead of standing opposed. The word relevant means closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand. It means to be or find significance. That to me describes the ending of the church age, the effectiveness has run its course as it has tried to find significance. Yet our significance is only found through kingdom eyes and seeing the role our life plays in it. All seemingly hard questions are found through kingdom perspectives and not through finding connecting points to culture. Looking at past history every change was like this. Starting with Christ we see he was not relevant to Judaism but was contrary to it. No one is paying much attention to what the church currently does but everyone is paying attention to those kingdom minded who bring things contrary to current culture.

 

As one age closes and another age opens it will cause a revolution in thinking and function. Awakening is such a shift in lifestyle it will form a new culture. From that culture we will not have reform but radical reform. The kingdom age that is now upon us, like all things kingdom is demanding a response. This now is also another dilemma, will the many answer this call, or will they reject it? If we are not careful as kingdom people we too will try to be relevant to those we are trying to convince and could possible delay the kingdom age manifesting. People change how they function when their believe system changes. What we need to do is give the benefits and values of the kingdom life by both words and display. This is what was attractive in the early life of the believers in Acts. The values presented was greater than the price required to be paid for it. This enabled them to stand and endure while Christianity was birthed for the opening centuries.

 

As kingdom people we must live with kingdom principles and lifestyle. We must see things and present things not through chrucdom, but through kingdom. We must understand these principles to see them in everyday life and point them out. After all, the kingdom has always been here and is still here. People are not recognizing it because they are only seeing a worldly culture and not an eternal culture emerging.

The Shift from the Church Age to the Kingdom Age

 

As the church age is closing and the Kingdom age is emerging I am wondering exactly how much must shift to be able to transition. Terminology, function and mindsets are just the beginning. New ways of ancient ways returning, new paths of ancient paths must be walked. So much of our current approach, as much as we don’t want to admit it is really coming out of churchdom and not kingdom.

We all know and can list all the changes and shifts occurring over the last 10 years. Our expressions of worship, intercession, prayer and even teaching are starting to take on Kingdom perspectives. These outward functions are all related to one thing, revelation. Revelation comes to confront doctrine and what men believe to be true. Revelation may not replace past truth but will bring fresh understanding of what God is emphasizing for this moment. It also may bring things that have been lost and in need of being restored. But as I told one pastor “I’m not here to convince you of what I believe but I have come to bring revelation and only ask you put it in what you believe. If it is from God it will change your belief system.”

The awakening so many are talking about and the reformation to follow are both directed connected to the kingdom age and not the current/passing church age. This is the dilemma we are in. The church age has brought us to a place that our relationship with God is focused upon us and our need, while the Kingdom age is about living with eternal perspectives based on seeing Him and His kingdom in everything. By that I mean we may not see the conversion of, but the influence of. While the church age seeks for conversion, the kingdom age is not concerned with this as much as they see all things are in the kingdom and its influence is being felt by everything and every person.

I believe one of the things we are still needing to help facilitate the kingdom age is to have leaders who have emerged from the secret places of the Mysteries of Christ. Like reformers of past major transition upon the earth, there has to be remnant within the remnant of those who have paid a price to walk in holiness, who have encountered the real throne room, and are carrying the breath of God. Ones not seeking fame, meetings or followers. Ones who care nothing for how men react but how God is displayed in His glory. These are being formed in this hour in secret places. If they will be the ones to emerge to launch the kingdom age, or if it might be the ones they will mentor in secret will be the ones, is still to be determined. The one thing for certain is the institutionalized church ( that is any church with doctrines of men attached to it, that are not biblical and kingdom) is not really seeking a kingdom that has no end. But the good news is there is a harvest that has eternity placed in their hearts and it is our role to find the key to unlock them. That key is kingdom age dynamics. Kingdom language, function and approaches. God has prepared a people for the remnant Kingdom Age forerunners.

The Restoration of the Lord

I recently am seeing many different process of how God is restoring people. But for most we are not realizing how this process works and at times it can even be confusing. Some things seem demonic and other things seem all God. How can both exist in the same process?

God is in the restoration process and for the most part everyone is in one from of restoration. Some are seasonal, some are completed and others might be ongoing. Some of the restoration process we really enjoy, and others times it is gut wrenching and soul searching, yet it is still restoration. Here is three of the most restoration processes we will experience. I only choose these three as it is the progression from being a believer, to being a disciple, to being a Christian.

The easy way of restoration is when we are born again or rededicate our lives to the Lord again. It is a time where everything is new and fresh. It seems everything falls into place and its like a honeymoon with God. The word is fresh. Life is exciting and expectation is high. It does appear all things are new. Sin is being conquered and the world in us  is disappearing. This is restoration of relationship with God.

Another time or season is when other people and especially family are brought back into our lives to make things right with. A realigning of broken relationships or hurt from past are healed. It can be again the breaking off of relationships that are detrimental and adding new friends who will help bring us into our future. An evaluation occurs and values are set. Vision for purpose and destiny in life also comes into existence where it was not before. We see our life has a reason for existence and we begin the search for it. A shift in placement of affections and time begins to occur. We drop things off and begin new habits. We see a larger picture and have decided to place ourselves in the picture. We find the promises of God for our life.   This is restoration of inheritance and heritage.

Sometimes we seem to be stripped of everything in life. From past experience this is the most severe and confusing of all restoration process. The striping away of things seems like God at the same type has demonic activity it appears. A lot of questions are formed in this process and most are spelled with only 3 letters…why. Two things are going on simultaneously. God is working a deep work of character and faith in the person. The tool he is using is demonic activity as it appears to be working effortlessly around us and affecting our lives. Some of the things we hold onto so tight are not to be taken into the next season and may have been a distraction. God is restoring and that means not only adding to but taking away out of our lives. It also means closing past season to open new ones. It is a restoration process for service for God.

These are just a few of the ways of God in restoring. It does not mean everything stripped away is not bad, but it may be excessive things to carry along and distract from restoration or slow its process way down.   

Knowing Those Who Labor Amongst Us

It has been a while since I have blogged.  As I expected a recent Face Book post really hit home with about 50 people responding and many more liking the post. I decided to write something about it as the Lord started speaking to me on this subject today. Perhaps this will help with the reasoning behind my post. It is the area of relationships, truly knowing a person and being able to pray and decree over their life effectively. Paul said I know no man after the flesh. (after what I observe or perceive, or have heard, or even see)

It seems there is an epidemic of real relationships in the Body concerning truly knowing people, yet almost all the postings on my status came from people outside my region who do really know me in ways those geographically close do not. I find this interesting that my deepest relationships are really with those a long distance from me and those leaders I know also have said the same thing to me. Polling says over 80% of all pastors have no close friend to share their struggles with and 85% say the ministry has been detrimental to their families.

I believe this is because we don’t really have apostolic Kingdom-based relationships with those who can truly help us and with those whom God has placed close to us. There are several factors at work here and I will try and expose a few of them. We really need to ask God “Who is this person to you?” This has been my practice for years when meeting people or seeing how they do certain things. It is looking past all the quirkiness. It is the only way you can develop people, it is by having God’s vision for them. It also is the only way to really know them spiritually.

First of all, long distance deep relationships are not threatening. Both have nothing to really gain but the relationship itself. Mutual commitment is required and the value system is different. Biblically, trans-local relationships held the greatest value and honor and appreciation was often seen. Familiarity breeds a lack of real respect. I find it amazing how easily I can minister when traveling and things are received, while the same things may not be received or embraced regionally.

Long distance relationships seem to have more of an alliance and covenant feeling than local relationships. Tolerance on a local level for the sake of unity versus celebration for the sake of Kingdom advance seems to be the parallel. As Barbara Wentroble once said, “you need to go where your gift is celebrated not tolerated”. The only way we can celebrate someone is to truly know their life. We do not know people by a monthly meeting, planning activities, or coming together with an event. The Biblical way of knowing someone is by doing ministry together. This is why the translocal seems to work at deepening relationships because they generally are called in to co-labor. Locally, we do not do ministry together but do events together with a little ministry attached to it.

Jesus could pray effectively for His disciples because He knew them. He knew how they moved in ministering and how they responded to the struggles in life.  Later we see Paul also praying “for what was lacking to perfect their faith” and to “establish their hearts in love”. You don’t know what to pray for unless you really know the person. Recently in an open Q & A that my wife and I did with our ministry, my spiritual daughter asked the question, “How can we pray for you?” It was so refreshing and actually caught my wife and me off guard. When was the last time someone locally asked you that question? I tell you over the years so many have made assumptions on what to pray over me and told me later how they were praying and some of it was pretty screwed up.  

From my recent Face Book post, I received several calls and responses. Some called out of concern and others called to encourage. Some called just to talk about other things, but it prompted them that they had relationship with me and needed to touch base again, not wanting to lose what had been formed. What seemed interesting is about 80% of those who did respond to the post are leaders experiencing the same things who are on the front lines of ministry to bring awakening and transformation.

You see, it seems we need each other more than we realize. All relationships are ordained by God, either for a season, a moment or for life. But all relationships are to be maintained by men. Some relationships shift as assignments and maturity continues. New ones come. Some need to be let loose of. Those that are formed deep in the heart are not lost but continue to grow. We need to move from relationships that are soulish based on what we experience in meetings and events, to what we experience in the spiritual realm as we minister together. On local levels, the deep relationships will probably not occur unless we start working together DOING MINISTRY.

1 Thessalonians 5:12–13 (KJV 1900) — 12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

 The Bible says we are to know those who labor among us. The word ‘know’ means ‘to perceive with all the senses’. It means ‘to be apprehended’ and ‘to recognize’. In theological context, the word is not talking about knowing Christ or His workings upon the earth, but knowing Him from an eternal perception! It is not abstract knowledge but a real knowing of mission and purposes. It means to experience the same state or condition. It continues to deepen that the understanding is not natural as the Bible says to ‘know no man after the flesh’. It continues in meaning to know the force and the meaning of the force and what it will do and the defined purpose it will accomplish!

From this, we see why trans-local relationships seem to work. We understand the force that a person brings. We understand the purpose of that life. We see what they carry is eternal. But is the real intention of God that only trans-local is seen this way? Looking at the above verse, it says “among you”. The word ‘among’ is a Greek word to put emphasis on certain things. It is the word EN, or what we say as “in”. It means ‘fixed position in time and place.’  It means ‘to be instrumental in implementation and construction.

If we take the context of this verse and look at the original meaning, it actually is saying that God has placed people “in” our lives (fixed in position in time and place) on a local level who are instrumental in the construction of the Kingdom. They are fixed in position and have a certain force that is to be released to help build us. They are on a mission that is eternal. If we would embrace them to not hold them back but embrace them to truly release them, the effect would be upon all of our lives and felt by all.     The early church embraced the apostles and the outcome was felt. The 12 embraced Jesus and the outcome was felt. We need to stop the foolishness of some of our actions that we think are building relationships until we really know each other in the Spirit and then see what God would do!