Kingdom Centers and the Ecclesia

What exactly distinguishes a kingdom center from a typical church or ministry center? There’s talk of revival hubs and places that hold revival type meetings in the general Body of Christ. The kingdom center is much more than a revival center. The dynamics of the kingdom center hold much spiritual life and longevity of life for the Body of Christ. Most of us define success by the sheer number of people that we either ministered to or at least came through our doors. What is happening in the spiritual realm is how God determines the success of what we have put our faith into action for.
A kingdom center has one thing that sets it above all other types of ministries, churches, revival centers, and places of outreach and outpouring. It sets a new standard of Kingdom expression and life flow that causes a disturbance in the spiritual realm. The standard of the kingdom center is grounded in biblically-based doctrine, expression of that doctrine, gift development, and the overall functioning of the Body of Christ. Unlike most places that have a set person who leads a service or has five-fold ministry leaders leading a service, a kingdom center sees the entire Body of Christ as having a place of function and expression each time it gathers, thus raising the standard of Christ’s nature being expressed.
The standard a kingdom center sets brings us a greater understanding of the truth of the Bible and the application of those truths into everyday life. This causes a spiritual life flow that brings fulfillment into the typical believer’s life as they see their self having value and a place of function in the overall Body. The standard a kingdom center brings not only sets a spiritual bar in the atmosphere, but it’s very presence begins to confront the atmosphere and demand a change upon the spiritual climate of the city or region.
Even though we define kingdom centers as a hub of regional activity, or teaching center that has been established within a certain region for a group of people, or even a revival center, the standard that it brings raises the spiritual climate and atmosphere to a new level so all are affected. What a kingdom center is carrying is a certain grace that enables the standard to be established within a city or region. The establishment of that standard of the Kingdom is now placed for others to find and attain through grace. Not everyone will come through a kingdom center and possibly very few will even understand what a kingdom center is, but many will discover the grace within a region it has unlocked for others’ benefit. The recognition of man is not important to those of a kingdom Center but the approval of God is what matters.
If we truly are one Body of Christ, then we must be thinking along those lines concerning all the activities of that Body. Some parts of the Body are revivalist and have revival centers. Other parts of the Body have teaching centers. Still other parts of the Body have care and nurturing centers called churches. Many times we look at a ministry or a church that is struggling and that seems to be small in number and yet other churches and ministries around are growing and expanding. Our disjointed thinking makes us believe there is something wrong or lacking with the smaller church or ministry. What we may not understand is a smaller church or ministry may be combating and doing most of the spiritual warfare for the city or region. That warfare is enabling others to grow supernaturally and expand as they are not involved in the intensity of the battle but can be more involved in the intensity of the outreach. The kingdom center that sets the standard within the city has a vital role to play in the overall Body of Christ.
Though there may not be many who attend a kingdom center, as most are small in number, but most are doing large things in the spiritual realm. They play an important role in the overall spiritual climate of the city that enables others to reap the benefits of it. Without a standard placed, the typical will always remain the standard. Eventually the standard a kingdom center places also becomes a rallying point that the Holy Spirit can use to cause the Body of Christ to come together. It is not necessarily the kingdom center that is the rallying point but what the kingdom center is carrying a certain grace upon, which is a deeper expression of the nature of Christ. This now becomes the sound from heaven that others suddenly hear. The sound was being released months and even years prior to others hearing it. I know this from personal experience in our ministry as we have been a forerunner of many different things at times. In some ways, it was frustrating that 3-5 years later, others would finally hear the sound and grab hold of what we had previously said. We had already received the revelation, processed it and had moved on. We offered it at that time, but they were not yet ready to receive it.
What you will find about a kingdom center is they are both a pioneer and a forerunner. They break open new territory that has never been seen before. They also carry and are modeling that which God is trying to do and bring into the earth. Because this dynamic does not fit all people, the numbers that will participate in a kingdom center will be drastically smaller than normal ministries. But what a kingdom center does carry also has a high privilege and great responsibility for the future of the Body of Christ. Without their tenacity, pioneering and willingness to be misunderstood and struggle to bring forth the intentions of God, perhaps the future that so many desire would not fully come into existence.
We must remember it is what we do in the spiritual realm that is eternal. The buildings and sound equipment that we have are only tools to be used to help facilitate the eternal realm into the earth realm. The number of people that participate in any Christian event or gathering is only a number indicating interest. The real number that God is concerned about is the number of hearts and lives that have been changed. That is why kingdom centers have a vision for the entire Body of Christ and sees that Body mobilized to do the work of the ministry. They see eternally instead of temporally.

A Sovereign People

We seem to be missing another ancient path of understanding of the Church. I hope this short blog will begin to bring forth some truth we really need to embrace. I will be taking this blog and expanding upon it for my new book, Restoring Ancient Paths.

We all desire to be like the Church in Acts. We have studied, preached it and tried to make it happen. Yet we seem to fall short every time. We rely on the Holy Spirit and the gifts and have them operational but don’t seem to impact or shift culture. We are having affects but not influences. We are maintaining but not advancing. When we advance is when we see the outpourings, revivals and the great harvest of souls we all desire. Advancing has to have more than moving in gifts. It even has to have more than great faith. It requires a new perspective of how we see God and how we see ourselves in the plan of God.

The early Church had such a perspective. They possessed a willingness to pay any price and go anywhere required in order for the Kingdom to advance. This mindset came down to one thing, sovereignty. They first had a great understanding of how sovereign God is that certain events in time could not be escaped. Not only did God’s sovereignty have spiritual laws that held things in place, but it also had set actions God had predetermined would come into existence. Of course, the birth of Christ after 400 silent years was a sovereign move of God. What they saw and what we see of this moment of time is a totally different viewpoint of this sovereignty.

We see the birth of Christ as sovereign concerning sin, redemption, mercy, grace, God’s love, forgiveness and a new and living way of salvation. They saw that but did not stop there. They also saw it as a set time that had opened, a window of opportunity that they had been invited to go through. They knew a messiah was coming and when He came, they saw they were in a sovereign moment upon the earth. That the birth and resurrection had not ended a season but opened a season. They saw sovereignty not just governing the universe but also managing time- both chronos and kairos. They also saw that it carried assignments and a sovereign or set group of people.

Here is the point. They did not see the sovereignty of God as an event or spiritual law but a co-partnering of God with them. They saw themselves in a sovereign moment and because of that, they were actually a sovereign people: birthed, placed and positioned, like Esther for such a time as this. We love to speak that verse but have little to no concept of the sovereignty behind it. It was God’s plan unfolding through a people. If this is the case, then those people were also mantled with a sovereign grace that holds greater purpose than the daily grind of being a Christian or as a leader leading a group of people. It holds authority to advance. It holds a sense of destiny coming to be fulfilled. It holds a challenge but along with that, a greater understanding of God’s paths and ways. You see, the early Church discovered a sovereign moment, a sovereign grace and a sovereign strategy to fulfill God’s desire upon the earth. They saw themselves as sovereign!

How does this apply to today? Just like in the early Church, they knew one was coming and we too, know a move of God is coming. They had a time of preparation and we are in that season now touching into some things but not yet the fullness of those things. The timing had come to fullness for the early Church and it is about there for us as well. So if we know that what is coming is going to be more than a visitation of God but a dwelling of His Presence, more than ‘feel good’ meetings but life impacting and shifting, then we are saying something sovereign is coming! If that is true, it will require a sovereign people! YOU are that sovereign person put upon the earth for the moment that is upon us now and coming into fullness now.

As I have begun to get the revelation of this, it is giving me a wider and deeper perspective of who I am to God and the importance my life carries. Many of us are like the earlier apostles, pioneering and forerunning. Yes, the move of God is here, the awakening has started, but it is not yet in fullness. It’s much like the apostles sitting at Jesus’ feet, for the most part that’s what we are doing, still getting our teaching and instructions. But then time shifted and they stepped into what the fullness of sovereignty brought: the outpouring and advance of the Kingdom to the world. This revelation truly settles it for me that what I do does carry a truly far reaching weight of glory. It is preparing for something that though we are waiting for it, it is surely coming. It has enabled me to see from a higher perspective. See yourself as a sovereign person and reach into the grace that comes and walk in that fresh grace.

This is just an overview. In my book, I will be showing this in-depth as an ancient path we must restore.

 

Accusations

How exactly should a person respond to accusations in the Church that are false? Many times people who are accusing others are responding from hurts and disappointments. Others times they are lashing out because of unmet expectations. I have been on the receiving end recently of the “accuser spirit” and we must realize we are indeed dealing with a demonic spirit. So when these things come, I know how to walk through them, but right now several in our ministry are having this accuser spirit come after them. So I use these times as teaching moments to help others.

Even our judicial system recognizes the damage accusations can cause: the defaming of character and releasing serious doubt and trust issues into others. Suffering of reputation that has been put in print on an open media forum can be a cause for libel. Slander and libel are serious accusations having the potential for lawsuits to be filed for damages incurred. The main goal in accusations is the damaging of a person’s reputation and character. Most accusations are focused into these areas.

But for the Church, there is a proper process of accusation to be dealt with. If the accusations hold any weight of validity, then the facts can be presented and presented to the spiritual oversight such as a leadership team, board , or the spiritual covering. Accusation is always a time for a re-evaluation and a searching for the Holy Spirit. If there is no conviction, then there is nothing to shift or change or repent of. You keep moving forward knowing that your heart is clean. If facts cannot be presented, then the accusation is more of a private interpretation of events or conversations and this is where the waters really become muddy. These types of accusations are not meant to correct things nor are they sent as warnings. They are simply sent to inflict pain.

I have had many accusations come against me and most of them slide off like water off a duck’s back. Those that seem to bring the biggest struggle come from those that you pour your life into and then they falsely accuse you. But we must remember we are dealing with a spirit and the person is simply the tool the accuser spirit is using. The carrier of this spirit has a real or imagined offense that has not been dealt with. They lash out in their desire to inflict that pain of offense towards someone else. It is usually directed toward a leader of a ministry or their team.

The word ‘offended’ is not so much the action of a person against someone as it is the spoken attitude of the heart of the one bringing the accusation. They never safeguarded their heart or had never been convicted to come into alignment with God’s love. The word ‘offended’ actually means I am willing and going to spread slander about you. It has nothing to do with the words or actions of the one supposedly causing the offense, but has everything to do with the one saying they are offended. It is an attitude of the heart that is unwilling to change so it tries to discredit others to justify their current position. Offenses are held in the place of bitterness in the heart even for months and years before the opportunity is finally seen to unleash it by accusations.

Many times, the accusation is the very thing God is dealing with the accuser in their own lives. They project it outward instead of dealing with it inward. It is definitely a place of being self-deceived and playing right into demonic activity. It is giving yourself to the spirit of the accuser of the brethren. You end up submitting yourself to demonic influences and those demonic forces know right when to unleash the accusations.

The accuser spirit works hand in hand with the religious spirit. The bulk of accusations I hear of come in the Full Gospel circles, rather than the denominational circles. It is a religious spirit that comes against freedom and truth. It is a religious spirit that won’t recognize fivefold gifting and their function opposing specifically apostles and prophets. You see, the accuser spirit comes and convinces a person their actions will save others. It comes masked in godliness but the words have no lasting fruit of the Spirit. It comes to speak not truth but falsehood. Not only does it bind the person doing the accusing but also tries to bring others into the same accusation. It looks for the disgruntled and unhappy ones. It preys upon those not solid in faith. It’s amazing to me the power it holds over a person for such a length of time. A person offended once can be found to be offended again, even years later as it stirs the deposit left behind that was not dealt with.

It is under a religious spirit that it will have a form of godliness and deny God’s power (His nature) to be formed in them. The religious spirit is the principality at work and the accuser spirit is the power to go along with it. It is a religious spirit that is trying to steal the potential from a person and their spiritual inheritance. The religious spirit keeps the person bound by the accuser spirit working through them. Every accusation, every wrong judgmental word keeps freedom from them and the deception is that they believe it is the person/people  they are accusing that’s binding them when in reality, it is the bitterness and hurt in their own hearts.

The accuser comes at key pivotal moments of spiritual advance and growth: Times immediately after breakthrough meetings, times of God’s Spirit moving, Spiritual advance in a region, etc. They also come when the future is about to open up before you. They come to discourage and even come against the promises of God and His plan. At the time of this writing, I had four written slanders about me come to my attention. At the same time, the ministry is growing, we have advanced and expanded into new areas, opportunities are opening, new plans are given, we are experiencing healings every service, people are starting new ministries that will impact culture and the Lord spoke to me that it is time to start writing the next book. Why wouldn’t accusations come in written form? I hope you see what I mean. Last week another ministry just had a large breakthrough. Things were shifting and guess what- accusations came, disagreement, a refusal to talk or be teachable. One thing I found to be true, those who leave a ministry without a face- to-face talk will fall into the accuser spirit.

The best example for handling accusations is Nehemiah building the wall. His assignment was sure, the opposition was great, and breakthrough was occurring. The voices rose up against him but he stayed focused on the promises and the task before him. He did not empower the voices by giving them much recognition but recognized them for what they were, a demonic force trying to stop forward motion.

Sadly some who accuse think they are helping others see faults but are actually moving in extreme evil that inflicts deep pain. The devil knows that to simply accuse from afar off has no real effect upon us. But to accuse close to the heart will cause disappointment, discouragement, and hurt. We need to be aware of his devices and not fellowship with the accusing spirit or those who carry it, or those who support them. If we look, we actually see so little fruit (the way we are to judge) and a dissatisfaction of life, it actually saddens me that someone could fall prey to this.

The pain the person feels of being falsely accused is real. It does not come from the accusations themselves. The accusation actually holds no real weight, it only holds weight because it comes from someone we know and love. If the same accusation came from someone we don’t know, we would never even consider it. The pain comes from disappointment in the person we thought we knew. We were walking out life together and investing into each other and then suddenly the accusation comes. It is a pain of feeling deceived. It is what the Bible says: Proverbs 27: 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Friends will point to things in your life but will remain friends, willing to walk out and help correct issues. But the unwillingness to walk out the issues means the wounding was not to help change but to pass judgment and the accuser has moved from being a friend to a place of opposition. So how does a person work through this process?

  1. First of all, remember this is a spirit at work. The same accusing spirit is making accusation before the throne of God night and day. Meaning it is relentless and accusations will be coming again in the future. The same spirit that wrongfully accused Jesus is the same spirit at work against you. The man, Jesus, understood that He was in a plan of God far more reaching than an accusation. He stayed focused on the course before Him. He did not take the accusations personally, but saw them as an accusation against God Himself and His plan upon the earth. Nehemiah did the same thing refusing to stop the work he was called to do and entertain or fall prey to the accusations requiring a defense. He simply stated the promise of God again and declared the purpose for which caused the accusations to come.
  2. Secondly, realize God is your defense. He will defend His beloved and He will defend His word and His actions. God does not like being mocked and an accuser spirit is mocking what God is doing. In some forms, it is bordering on blasphemy. Most accusations attack the work of God and call it demonic, wrong, unbiblical, or not doctrinally correct, etc. The Bible says blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the only sin not forgiven. That’s pretty heavy but consider what the word means. ‘Blasphemy’ means ‘to declare that something that God is doing is not from Him but is from the devil’! When you consider the word ‘offended’ meaning ‘slander’, accusation is opposing what God is doing; we are getting very close to blasphemy. So God will defend what He is doing. It might take years before a person runs into the conviction of God to cause change, but conviction will one day come and their eyes will be open and they will see the damage their words have caused to others and the plan of God upon the earth.
  3. Thirdly, you break fellowship with the person. The Bible says in the last days men will be false accusers (2 Timothy 3:3. The Bible also states in 2 Thes. 3:6 to “draw yourself away from any brother or sister who is walking disorderly.” ‘Disorderly’ means ‘not with the rule of spiritual law, out of rank, out of order, those who do not show up, those who are refusing to do the work’. In other words, we are not to associate with evil. Most of the time we still fellowship with them. When in reality, they should feel shame for their actions and learn to realize the hurt they have done the Body of Christ and will break free from the accuser spirit. You see Apostle Paul when he was still Saul, had the accuser spirit operating under a religious spirit. The only way to be free from this is the Holy Spirit needs to reveal truth while having an encounter with Christ! Our convincing will not do it.
  4. Fourth, confess daily Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; And every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord. This is a very powerful promise. When accusation comes to my attention, I confess this daily, several times a day for several weeks. Accusations come to nothing.
  5. Fifth, if the accusation is given publicly before others, then the accusation needs to be addressed publicly. When we address private accusation publicly, we become victims of the same spirit. Jesus only addressed public accusations publically with truth. He wanted others to see that truth was greater than presumptions.
  6. Sixth, operate at a higher place of character and honor. Do not lower yourself and come to their level but maintain the standard by which you want to be known. The Bible says in 2 Tim 3:9 that their folly will be made known to all men. The word ‘folly’ is interesting. It comes from two words “son” and “one lacking understanding and madness expressing itself in rage”. The root words of both of these means “the offspring of those incapable or unwilling to understand.” This is how God sees them and this is how we should see them. This is why they end up being numbered with the spiritually poor that we would have with us always.

I have had people call me years after their accusations with such urgency in their voice to talk. They had held things against me in their hearts for years. They had spread slander and now had come under the conviction of God’s Spirit. One poor woman soon realized everything that was going wrong in her life was because of this judgmental attitude she operated in. It finally piled on her and God began to deal and convict. She was in a most miserable place and had to make amends with a long list of people. Once she did, everything turned for her and the blessing began to flow. No one had cursed her; she had cursed herself by her words. You see accusation is a pronounced curse. If not accepted it returns back on the person. Their own words could end up cursing them.

There was another person who spoke slander about me to leaders in my state for years. I did not know what to do and even went to their covering to see if they could step in. They basically refused. I held my voice and continued with the assignment I had been given. A few years passed and people saw my heart was right. Many had been convinced I was like the accusations from this other person. At a corporate gathering of about 120, the conviction of the Holy Spirit fell and the person stood and asked me publicly for forgiveness for the damage done. I forgave them and made sure things were clean before us publicly in front of everyone. Were things delayed?  Yes. Did God prevail, YES! With the accusation exposed and removed publicly that had been done publicly, people saw me in anew light as who i was and not through the eyes of accusation.

A person is known more by their actions than their words. How we respond is important. Do we still love? (You can still address things in love). Do we maintain an open door once repentance is seen? Do we cut off the vehicle or the way accusations come? For me, when someone begins to accuse me, I distance myself from them. Many times this can be seen as rejecting a person, when it is rejecting the accusation.

Here is my post from Face book again:

Today I come against every accusation you are experiencing. Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; And every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
The weapon of accusation will not produce, advance or have any effect, upon you, your family, your calling, your ministry or what you believe in God! Every person, every voice, every written word that rises, judging your actions, heart, motives, and mandate from God, coming to not just wrong but evil conclusions, we and God have condemned. We say these voices are guilty of coming against the servants of God and God Himself. May God have His vengeance. May God have His defense. May God have His convicting power loosed upon their lives. May God have mercy upon their souls for the harm they have done, the evil they have released and the pain in the heart they have done. May they come to the end of demonic voices and truly hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Saints of God hold fast you your convictions. Hold fast to the pure word of God. Hold fast to the assignment given. Hold fast in faith believing. All will be made know and revealed. All will be seen openly. A day of reckoning is coming when some will suffer shame for their actions. Some will suffer reproach, yet the faithful will have the full reward, both here upon the earth and in eternity. We count it all joy to be ridiculed and mocked and despised. We are accepted by God for what we endure. His Glory will be seen upon the saints who have been tried, not accusers of the faith. His glory will be upon the saints who have held fast, unwavering and voices, and not the ones used by demonic influences. I use my authority and LOOSE this word over your LIFE!!! NOW LET GOD BE SEEN AND HEARD!

Spiritual Fathering

Spiritual Fathering

This is indeed the season of the sons and daughters returning to fathers. If you have been a son or daughter and have a broken relationship with your spiritual father, you need to repent and turn back to the heart of the father. Perhaps in the past, you experienced abuse by one you looked at as a spiritual father. They may have been that in words but not in heart and actions. Let me tell you there are real fathers out there, not a huge number, but ones with huge hears who can heal your brokenness. But fathers can only invest into those whose pride is removed and allow that investment to come to them.

The spiritual fathering relationship is more than getting some counsel from time to time, or being another number in a network, or just another stop in a preaching circuit. That is not fathering. A spiritual father invests into the life and purposes of the sons and daughters. They do this unreservedly and not based on the return from the son or daughter. They see their hidden potential and see it fully healthy and functioning. There are many claiming sons and daughters with no real relationship and the motive is not for the betterment of the person but to add numbers to their own tribe. The motive was wrong so the actions were also. This sickens me as many are getting only a portion of fathering without full investment.

All spiritual fathering relationships are required to have the expectations in them understood by all involved. They have safeguards in place as well to make sure things do not get off base. If Jesus could only father the 12, Paul had less, and Timothy was instructed to look to find them, then fathering is limited in the number you can truly be effective with. In the past few years, spiritual fathering has become another buzz word. I have seen many claiming sons who never spent any time investing in them but “absorbed” them already matured to claim they have sons. Or they absorbed them into their network without really helping to perfect them in the faith. To me, this is having the rewards and affirmation of peers, over the reward of seeing a son or daughter blossom.

Relationships change as seasons of fathering are completed. You can have 50-60-100 sons but you probably are only truly fathering a handful into the very depths of fathering at any one time, because if done right, like natural fathering, there comes a day when they stand on their own and have grown up. You will always be their father but it will change in function. If a spiritual father has many immature sons, then it is a sign that the father is still lacking in how to father properly.

Fathers love it when their kids come to see them and I love it when my spiritual kids come to see me. I’m in a season of life where many of those I have fathered that went out across the world to do ministry are reconnecting with me again realizing the investment I have done in their life has led to the current motion of God in their ministry. Many have come and spent time with me in my home. I also am seeing many, many come back that were prodigal or disconnected in the process. (As I write this another comes home.) This is equally rewarding as though they had never left. I can testify firsthand for the fathers who never disconnected their heart from their sons and daughters, no matter how they treated them in leaving, the hearts of those sons and daughters are being convicted and they are turning back to their fathers. I have some specific ones I am waiting on right now with faith and expectation for their heart to turn. My prayer for them is that it won’t take calamity like one of my sons overseas. He had been successful in ministry and became a “big man” in his nation. His wife died and in his ‘bigness’ he had no one to share his grief. I had heard his wife had died and reached out to him. Three months later, he contacted me in heartfelt repentance confessing he used me to climb up the ladder. The relationship was restored but his shame has kept it from being the same as it once was.

Once the spiritual fathering relationship is started, the father’s heart is always there for the sons and daughters. As I tell my sons and daughters, if I started this relationship, I already have decided the investment needed, the time required and the privileges I will give. I tell all my sons and daughters they have the same privileges as my own natural sons. They can call at any time and they have both privilege and priority. This is the hardest thing most sons and daughters seem to struggle with the most. They don’t want to be a bother or to take my time, yet ministry opportunity tends to come when it is not convenient and will always cost something if it holds any value. This is my first test starting in the relationship, will they even call me? Do they want this so badly that they are willing to take a chance in calling?

For the most part, sons and daughters are coming from an orphaned spirit. Perhaps their relationship with their natural dad is skewed. Perhaps they have been spiritually rejected, deemed of no value or pushed aside. These things are the second things I begin to press into to see them get healed and whole. Without these things complete in them, then all other perspectives and perceptions are really out of focus. These areas are probably the reason for the relationship. Identity is also a large part of this second step. Without a proper identity, you may never function correctly as function comes from identity not identity coming from function. This reversal is a hard one for most sons and daughters as they have always performed to have a place in the ‘pecking order’. For them to see the value of who they are to God takes time. This is the real heart of fathering. Patience. Long suffering. Right perceptions. This step is about helping the person to become whole in the midst of their confusion, perceptions, and self determined value.

The third step is the step of releasing potential. Giving opportunities for that potential to come forth and walking out life together. It is about helping with mistakes together and learning together. This is where ministry truly begins to happen and the person’s ability to rise above their past and into the future becomes present in their life. The core spiritual DNA is now drawn upon to see stimulated growth. This is new territory not fully explored, even if the person is currently doing ministry. This is destiny of the person’s life and how they will leave their mark on the earth.

These steps are paraphrased here to the simplest terms. Some of these steps will be occurring at the same time. Some will need to be done in a set order. Each relationship is different and requires truly knowing the heart of God for the person and having vision for who they are to God.

Spiritual fathering is an art form more than a taught way of ministry. You cannot read about it in a book and do it but it comes from a heart that has been formed over time. That same forming of the heart in the spiritual fathering is forming young hearts after they have been made whole.

Word For Iowa

I felt lead to share this word for Iowa again in my blog so more people would be able to read it that may have not seen it before. Hear the word of the Lord.

April 11, 2015, Saturday, The Base, Apostle Greg Crawford

I hear the Lord say, Do not look to those far away to come and ignite the fire.  For there will be some that will come and they will begin to ignite some fires, yes, but the fires will be short-lived.  There will be some that will come and they will kindle their own flame for their own fire. And pay no heed to those, for those will die out as well.  For I will raise up those within this state, says the Lord, that will be carriers of the flame and they will be the ones of fire that will go forth.  And they will sustain that which I am about to bring forth into the earth.  They have the investment of the land hidden in their heart.  And they will sustain that. And they will fight for it, war over it and they will rejoice for it to see it come forth into fullness.  So do not heed those that would come from afar, for they will only bring a certain degree of my flame.  But I am, even in this hour, raising up those from within, raising them from the very dirt and the dust, says the Lord, to carry the flame.

And when my prophets come in the month of June, they will finalize that which shall be.  For you think even in this hour that the new season begins in 7 days, but I say it begins even this night. For this night I begin to break forth the new season upon you, says the Lord. And when my prophets come in June they will finalize the season that is now beginning to break forth.  And you will come into your destiny and purpose that you have longed for and struggled to understand.  Many have even abandoned the destiny and purpose that lies before them thinking it is here or it is there, thinking they can go and be a flame in another place where they have no investment of the land in their heart.  But I say unto you, for those who have remained steadfast and faithful, that have endured the shame and the chastisement of many, the ridicule and the rejection of much, I will raise you up to be the messengers of fire and flame and you will sustain that which is about to break forth.

For the next 90 days I will begin to formulate something in you of great substance and great wealth.  Something that has been set aside, placed in your heart, hidden along the way that others have even tried to take and discourage you from seeing.  But what I am going to do, says the Lord, no man will stop.  And you have seen the beginning of it in other places that have longed for it.  And you have heard the reports in other places and regions and said, “Oh God, why can it not be here?  Why can it not be us?” And you have allowed the enemy to come and convince you to steal your inheritance from you, to cause you to be in faithlessness. But I say, only believe me, only believe me, only believe me.  And I shall cause these things to come, says the Lord, only believe me.  Let your doubt and despair be pushed aside. Do not be dismayed. Do not let hopelessness control your heart.  Do not let your soul or your mind begin to dictate to your spirit. But let your spirit rise in this hour and see me in new heights and new ways.  Let your spirit come before me and I will begin to tell you the mysteries of the kingdom that have been hidden for this age that is now breaking forth.  For don’t you know the eternal realm is breaking in upon you?  And that which is everlasting shall be everlasting and it will remain everlasting even when the temporal has disappeared.  For that for which you are laboring and working for is that which is of everlasting,  that which is the essence of who I am, the essence of my very being, my Spirit.

And I say unto you, Come, rise. Come and rise and take your places, Mighty Warriors, and as men and women of God that have been chosen for this time and season of the earth. For the assignment that lies before you, for the depths of what it would be. Your understanding does not have to be complete for my Wisdom shall make up the lack.  The utterance of my Spirit will give the Breath and it will confront the hearts of men and they will turn in a moment of time.  And you will see the wickedness of men’s hearts.  But you will see the hope of that which is eternal land upon the wickedness in the heart and begin to dissolve it and remove it and cause it to spring forth in a new life.

There are many in this hour that I am pulling and dealing with. And I am looking and longing for the place where people have come after me and my Presence to such a degree that they will not allow anything to hinder their walk or their belief or their understanding of what I could do.  I say, because of what I am about to do is bigger than what you have dreamed of, and it is bigger than what you think you can contain, and it is bigger than what you can plan for.  For I say there is even coming a season where that which you have as a building and as a place will not contain what I am about to do.  No matter how large you begin to grow and build and plan and scheme.  For what I do will require you to step out into areas that are not even your very own.  And I will cause you to go forth into places people will begin to call and an understanding into why they have called the outcome of what will be in the journey you are about to go on.

And the prophets that come will begin to make known that which is in my heart in a new way. And you will begin to see things and your faith begin to be ignited.  And it will pull others in like a big vacuum and a whirlwind. And the fire of the whirlwind will come and it will begin to burn the dross and the chaff out of people’s lives.  And, even as tonight, out of your very heart there is beginning to be a burning of the chaff that is there that lies within.  There’s a burning of the dross that has risen to the top and is skimming off.  There is coming the refiner’s Fire and the Fuller’s Soap. And I will cleanse the outside and cleanse that which is within.  And there will be purity in my house once again and holiness will be established.  For these are the things I am beginning to bring forth in the earth.  And this is what will cause the outcast to come.  This is what will cause the ones of hopelessness to come because they will see the purity that is upon my people and they will know there is hope once again.  They will know there is a God in the earth that is concerned with the affairs and the intentions of men’s hearts.  There is a God that has answers and I will be the answer for them.   It will not be you but it will be me.  And I will bring that which is eternal into their heart.  And the joy of salvation will begin to spring into the earth once again.  And the harvest will come forth and it will not be lost.  For it will be brought in, and it will be thrown into the wind, and the chaff will blow away. And the Refiner will come and purify what remains and the end will be.

♪ For I say it is a season, it is a season to call forth that which has not been seen.  It is a season to call forth that which you have only dreamed of.  It is a season, a season to call forth with the sound of heaven in your voice.  It is a season that I shall do things that you have never even dreamed of or thought of or even considered.  And I will become your God in a new way, a new and living way, and it will even overtake you at times and you will not know what to do with my Spirit resting upon you except to yield and to give in and say, “Yes, God, here I am.  Send me.” ♪

For I say, this is a season of something new coming.  There are some even in this room, says the Lord. You have not had your encounter with me that has shifted your heart.  I say, I am coming for your heart to encounter you that you could encounter me.  Just pursue me a little longer. Pursue me a little deeper. Pursue me just a little more and I will come in a very unexpected way.  You will see that I have come into your life and the encounter will begin and the understanding will come and Wisdom will set in.  For those who will carry this flame will have my Wisdom as their portion.  My Wisdom will rest upon sons and daughters.  It will rest upon fathers and mothers in new ways.

To Go or Stay

I want to address a real issue affecting Kingdom works: it is the placement and alignment of people in the Body of Christ. First of all, let me say I am not trying to cause a mass exodus but to look at things through a Biblical perspective. We all have heard such discontentment from a multitude about the current lack at the places they gather for fellowship, worship and spiritual community. Many are waiting and hoping, though not really in true faith believing, for changes to occur so it will be what they desire in their heart for it to be, which is life- giving. But when confronted with leaving that which does not bring life, the answer almost always is “God has not released me”.
A release from God means there is an assignment given that has not been completed. What is the assignment so many seem to be on and what authority do they have to complete it? How were they sent? If no real assignment has been given and a person is just waiting for changes to occur, perhaps it is not God releasing as much as you deciding to move. Perhaps it is a reluctance to leave what is common and comfortable. Perhaps a person thinks they are the catalyst for change instead of the Holy Spirit.
Soul ties and obligations seem to be the real hold, yet Jesus said “There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” Luke 18:29-30. If we are truly Kingdom minded, we would not allow ourselves to be stuck in frustrations when there might be real options. If we are on a Kingdom assignment, then we would be seeing progress and also be positioned to influence for the sake of the Kingdom. I have seen people wait for years in false hope when there were options they allowed to pass on by. I knew a woman who waited for 17 years faithfully praying for change in one church and nothing occurred. She finally gave up and and moved to another place only to step into a place of similar lack. She prayed for 11 more years and finally gave up. It is hard to move on after investing so much. We don’t want to believe that the things we desire will not come. Perhaps where we have placed ourselves is the real issue. Maybe in that time there were not any options but now in this season with the apostolic and Kingdom government emerging in force and strength, options for true spiritual growth are available.
God has placed you in the Body as He sees fit — to grow you spiritually. If you are not growing, either you are in rebellion, have things in your heart that need to be addressed or you are not in the right faith community. Thinking of it in a practical sense, why would God decide to sacrifice you and stagnate you in spiritual understanding of Him? Why would a loving God frustrate you? Or perhaps you are frustrating the grace of God to bring change. It is just not what you might be thinking of changing, what you are connected with, but changing your perceptions and maybe your alignments to something more life giving. Perhaps you placed yourself in your current faith community and the next location will truly be the place God has placed you.
Even Jesus could not perform miracles or healing even though the anointing was present in some places. Just because a person’s desire is in place to see God move, does not necessarily mean He will. He will not overstep the will of people and specifically the will of a leader. What a leader is currently allowing to occur in a meeting is the most you will see, unless there is a real heart change. You can’t change what you are not in charge of. You might influence but that will be at a price of rejection. So if you are complaining about it, then you are not really in an assignment as any assignment has a specific grace to endure. You can only grow to the degree your leader is growing. That is why it is imperative for leaders to constantly be studying and advancing themselves.
Paul, at times, was not accepted because he could not do anything. But the big, big, difference is that Paul was on assignment and not attending a place to be taught. For the most part, fellowship is what holds people, but it only can produce a certain degree of growth. Think of this: the early Christians left the temple and all the practices for what was life- giving. They left prestige, position, influence, family, obligations and comradery, for a new life-giving flow. There are no examples of people leaving a community of believers in the Bible as all were being taught and growing. The only time we see a departing is when there was doctrinal error and someone was being sent. The commitment to a life- giving community was very evident. That community was formed by God in such a way to grow all the members of that community into deeper relationship with Him.
Now let me say this: the commitment I am talking of, I do not want to be misunderstood. It does not apply to a place that does not produce life and true disciples. That is more a friendship obligation than a pathway to spiritual life. It does apply to a place that is producing disciples and life. This means submitting to real leaders for true spiritual transformation. It means becoming part of a spiritual community that esteems each other and recognizes gifting. It also means becoming involved with the spiritual DNA God has given you. I have seen rashness in young adults coming from the culture around them to abandon if the things being contended for corporately in a Kingdom setting did not come quickly. In this case, the leaving was unjust; they did not have patience to endure to attain the prize. I know of 2 cases in our ministry that they gave God a time limit and said ‘if this does not occur by this length of time, then I’m leaving’ and they did. Imagine the immaturity of that kind of thinking. But this has been caused by an instantaneous culture with rewards and levels attained. It also occurs by not putting your whole heart in play because it shows reluctance and a withholding of full faith.
I had conversations with a man over several months concerning the current body he was attending. He was a prophet living in frustration. Control and secrecy was evident in the body he was in. He would come to me and ask about doctrinal issues that were very skewed. There was a lot of liberty being taken in some areas and in others, things were overlooked. It seemed to be more about money than people. And when it did come to people, it was certain people who got the most attention, the well-to-do people who fit the classification the whole ministry was trying to become. Finally one day I told him, I can no longer meet with you to help you and listen to this. You need to stop attending. He asked ‘why’? I responded with two questions. “Are you attending there?” Obviously the answer was ‘yes’. “Are you tithing there and giving offerings?” The answer was ‘yes’ again. I then said “By attending there, your presence is endorsing it. By giving there, you’re actually supporting it. Both actions are empowering it to remain the way it is. Unless you stop endorsing it and supporting it, no one will stop to take notice of anything wrong.”
Perhaps it is time to shake the dust off your feet. Shaking the dust off is a sign of being on a long journey and the conclusion is before you. You shake the dust off before you enter a house to rest. It is leaving all the excessive baggage you have collected, the dirt, disappointments and weariness and entering into a new place for which you have been destined.

How Does Jesus Measure Success?

Coming out of a leadership meeting recently, I found myself somewhat in a quandary. We had talked about many different changes we could make to help facilitate the ministry. Many were God inspired ideas and many were just plain practical. Like everyone’s meetings, the underlying tone was that each idea would help us to grow numerically as well as spiritually.

Change is always hard and requires lots of effort. As a ministry, we have had some very high moments of both numerical growth and spiritual understanding established. But these did not happen in a moment, it took time. Each person was taken from a starting point and eventually ended in fruitfulness. Each person was hungry for God and that made the transformation easy. What we see as success is the finished product. We don’t see the work as the success even though it is the true success and the finished product is only the by-product of the work or success.

Many can say if you did this or that, I would come, or if the meeting was held at a different time, or you had child care, or you had… we have all heard these excuses before. The thing that makes lasting change is desperation for change and hunger to find answers. When you get desperate enough, you will do anything and pay any price to find change that will last.  The hidden place of the heart is where success is only seen by God. I have always said the number of people who come is only the number of those interested. The hearts that are changed are the numbers who are serious. As leaders, our role is to grow people in Christ, not grow large administrative works. We are trying to get a lot of people interested, so we can grow our works and in the process, we may be losing our success.

It appears that most people don’t want to really do the work of the ministry unless there is a guarantee of a finished product or measured success. I see many pastors desiring change but uncertainty of the outcome stops them from every trying or making an attempt. The emerging generation has this perception as well not knowing what to do, but at least more willing to attempt. Human natures DNA has within it a willingness to do the work, as long as a guarantee of result is given. But many times the results can be lacking, so do we still look at that as success or failure? Thank God Jesus did the work of the Cross and put into place the success of it for us, even though others would deny the cross! In many ways it could be looked upon as a failure, like how the early disciples saw it, it’s all in your perceptions.

We have all kinds of ways today that we measure ourselves to see if we are attaining our goals. Much of this is how we compare ourselves with each other; this is a much skewed way of measuring. It is measuring different gifts, callings, assignments, personalities, strengths, weakness, understandings, revelations, etc. against each other and expecting the same results or outcome. Paul was right when he said in II Corinthians 10:12,13  “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise. But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.”     The measure of the rule of Christ is the measurement of His righteousness established in our lives. It is looking at our lives and seeing how we are in measurement of the righteousness of Christ. Where is righteousness lacking? Where is it strong and settled? What is Christ desiring of me in areas? Now that is how we are to be looking: not outward but inward.

I talked to a neighbor just yesterday who has left the organized church about 8 years ago. He is discipling people in his home who have been so burned by religion and are hurting. He said “It does not matter to me if I have 2000, 200, 20, or even 2. If this is what God has given to me in my hand then so be it, then this is what I will pour my heart into!”

My perception had begun to change. I talked with a spiritual son yesterday and he gave me some good perspectives.  As an apostolic work, I have a desire to see the Body grow up but also to see the organized religious structure limiting. As a Kingdom center, we have always tried to maintain a position of neutrality, even holding meetings at different times than the organized church, etc. But after all is said and done, we have not seen those leaders support or help promote what we are doing. We did not want to compete with them, but now I am coming to a point of saying ‘perhaps we should be meeting at the same time and allow people to make a choice where they put their time, commitment, and resources’. Have I compromised for the sake of not being offensive? Could I not be fulfilling the will of God for the sake of helping keep the organized structure thriving by not having a choice or option for those seeking at the typical Sunday morning time? Am I doing and using everything available in my decision making to best put a tool in place that would change hearts?

What I do know is this; I must fulfill the things in my heart. That means even if no one else wants to participate or the number of followers seems low. Just because others deny, does not mean what you are doing is any less or more. It’s like preaching, if you are preaching the Word and you don’t see the results, it does not mean what you preach is wrong, but what people are doing with it is probably lacking.  The bottom line will not be the size of our ministry or the amount of people we produced or succeeded with. Nor is success how busy we are, thinking that equals results. Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen the better thing to simply sit at his feet. When we stand before God, we will be asked something similar to this: “What did you do with my Son and His righteousness in your life as you fulfilled what I asked of you?” The work of success is righteousness and the outcome of righteousness is God’s will fulfilled!