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!

Building Antioch

There are three distinct churches being built. This is also reflective in three distinct types of ministry styles that have been birthed from these influences. Though each has things to offer, only one is truly the more Biblical approach. These three styles are seen in Acts as the Church at Jerusalem, the Church at Ephesus and the Church at Antioch. Let’s make this more real. These three are the people assembled to conduct spiritual government and implement the intentions of God at Jerusalem, Ephesus and Antioch. These are not necessarily structures but are people.

Jerusalem was the place the Church was birthed but it was not until Antioch that they received their identity. As grand as the birthing was, the people were not without problems. They were reluctant to spread the gospel of the Kingdom being more focused on their city than even their region. Yet the command was to be witnesses to Jerusalem, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world. Jesus had given them their assignment but also was describing the transitions that would be occurring.

The Church in Jerusalem was single culture focused. They went ever deeper in their own culture and never truly reached out in the community. Yes, the outpouring came and yes, many were added, but the Church in the years following never did have another major move of God. You see we become stagnate when we interpret through cultural perception and not through scriptural interpretation. If a ministry is singular in culture or focused on culture itself such as blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, etc., they have taken on the Jerusalem model of church.

This means it is personality centered and relies on the person who has the greatest charisma or ability to hold the church or ministry in place. The people are followers with very little activity and influence affecting the future destiny of the Church. Most of these models are pastoral driven under a central form of government. Board meetings and meetings in general are the norm. Conformity and not creativity is a major pressure point. Unity as a goal, programs to engage and relationship that are more obligation than genuine. Most in this model are looking at temporal solutions and not permanent ones.

The Jerusalem church was very weak in developing leadership and leadership teams. We see this in Acts 5 of not being able to meet the needs and having to resolve it by putting into place leadership that they had not raised up but God has raised up. Mostly the focus is not on raising people beyond thier problems through a death process, but more so trying to restore them out of an unrepentant heart. Over time, they lost the Kingdom lifestyle and even more so, world missions outlook. This is why there was a scattering from Jerusalem instead of a sending. God waited long enough and stepped in.

Perhaps one the biggest things I see overall today is our constant desire and longing for another outpouring like we see in Acts 2. I believe this is due to us not reaching towards maturity and longing for another experience to solidify our faith. For the most part, denominations fall into the Jerusalem model. But so do many charismatic, Full Gospel, and Pentecostal churches. I see most of the ministries to homeless, jail ministry, and especially pastor group meetings falling into this model. It is easy to see the lack of response when a God- inspired moment comes and even less response when something is required of the people.

Building around its own activities, dates and programs, the Jerusalem church spent all its resources and manpower to maintain the existing church as a caretaker. Today’s pastoral driven churches either fall under the Jerusalem or Ephesus model, both are churches we should not be modeling to build after.

The Ephesus church was a church in proper focus but not properly aligned with apostles and prophets. There may or may not be a willingness to align and relate. We see the Ephesus Church doing much warfare and had much demonic activity allowed in its sphere of influence in the region. The Temple to Diana was set in strongly along with other occultism. Perhaps the meaning of Diana could best describe the Ephesus church. It means ‘fully enlightened but flow restrained’.

We see this in the Epistle to the Ephesians that Paul wrote where he addressed their spiritual enlightenment, their activation, demonic battles, Kingdom government, stewardship of grace, the power of God for transformation, and a host of other things that were lacking. These were things not so much in place but lacking! The Ephesus church is a church who will hear the heart and direction of apostles and prophets and be slow to implement it or possibly not at all. The apostolic thrust of Paul was available to shift the culture and impact society, but it hinged on them becoming active in the instruction given to them.

The Ephesus church is rebuked in Revelation 2. They are hardworking and many times have made it on their own merits. They have preserved and even tested the apostles and prophets and when they found a false one, they rejected not just that one but all of them from that point forward. But they have lost their first love. The excitement of God is hard to find and the zeal has been replaced with programs. The Spirit is no longer leading but is found along the way. The passion has been lost. The apostolic has come to bring renewed passion if accepted.

Many times the Ephesus type church will hold to a past move of God or a past truth that was brought forth to be dominant for a season. They are reluctant to embrace new revelation and will pick and choose what to embrace and what prophetic words to engage with. They focus more on the dominant gift and gifting that is present and dismiss any others. Under the Ephesus structure, an apostle will not be effective in bringing these churches together for instruction to establish them in greater faith and truth. The apostles’ hands are basically tied and the gifting is dismissed. The prophetic gifting will be embraced as long as it affirms the vision already in motion.

The Ephesus church today is the Spirit filled churches not connected or aligned with apostolic and prophetic voices. This again is the House of Prayer movement, many missions’ organizations and especially Spirit filled churches under pastoral leadership. Many times these types of churches have experienced great growth and success and believe they do not need any governmental guidance from apostle and prophets. Yet these foundational gifts have been given to expand and advance the works already in place. The Ephesus church again is not the model by which we should be building.

This leads us to the Antioch model. Antioch is where the Church or ecclesia received their identity and were called Christians or Christ like or little Christ. To have this name, they were required to be flowing in revelation, performing healings and miracles, casting out demons and to be connected in Holy Community with a culture of love and honor. If a person slipped from one of these things, then he was no longer looked at as being a Christian but being a disciple again.

Antioch had a defined ordered structure and a way of advancement that all could participate in. Plurality of leadership and a defined mandate were present. World mission and Kingdom advance require everyone to work together for the common cause of Christ. When it was time to send out people, they did not send who they could get by without having around but they sent the best they had to offer. This was reflected in the lifestyle lived and the functional expression of it.

They were a group that prayed, fasting and ministering to the Lord. They worked as a team that heard the Holy Spirit and then acted on it. The structure allowed for team expression, growth and development. There was no fear of others, no restrictions or limitations placed upon people. This enabled each ministry gift to develop more fully and move in their calling at a greater capacity than any other model of Christianity.

They had not only a culture of honor for each other, but also respect and honor for leadership and their authority. They were break through believers who broke free of cultural restraint and fear of men. The believers became the force to implement the vision and assignments laid out by the apostolic leadership. They had a “let’s make this happen” attitude.

As Antioch grew, it birthed other apostolic expressions. Each was autonomous and was allowed to have an individual expression but all related to Paul as an apostolic father they were in covenant relationship with. Paul helped bring a holistic spiritual perspective and brought in the ministry gifts based on need. The relationships were not in name only but functional and accountable. Antioch churches became regional bases of resources and have a region and even a state focus, not protecting its local expression but reaching out to others to bring the Kingdom. Antioch churches carry the burden for an entire region and will release people to impact where they are planted.

The commitment level is deeper than an Ephesus or Jerusalem model and since it is apostolic driven, the Antioch model requires a response to the truth spoken, the assignment given and the vision presented. Antioch churches know the destiny of each other is interconnected and will only be released through a corporate means.

Antioch churches are functionally connected and aligned with prophetic and apostolic oversight. They are regionally focused and many times much of the real work is not done within the walls of the local gathering but outwardly. They will travel anywhere there is a desire for the Kingdom. This final model is the pattern we are to build with to advance the Kingdom. Though small in number now, perhaps this teaching will enable us to drop the Jerusalem and Ephesus patterns and portions we have allowed to attach to us and fully come into the Kingdom expression we know is deep in our hearts!

Full Gospel or Apostolic Kingdom

I have been asked several times about the difference between an apostolic or kingdom church and a Full Gospel charismatic church. After all, they are the same, aren’t they? No, not at all. Here are some comparisons. (Full Gospel Charismatic church will be FGC. Apostolic Kingdom will be AK.)

Vision

Generally an FGC church will be focused like most other churches on outreach of winning the lost and discipling. The discipling is more into the tenets of their expression. The AK will be more focused on the development of people and their placement into effective function in the local assembly. FGC will focus on conversion of all souls and will focus on presenting the gospel of salvation. AK will be focused that all people will feel the weight of the Kingdom and its influences. AK knows the Kingdom automatically demands an answer and decisions will have to be made.

Structure

The structure of an FGC is more traditional and will be composed of a board and elders who make decisions. It may or may not have a voting system. Involvement in the ministry is generally attained after several months and is based more on attendance. AK will be composed of a team of leaders making decisions together. A board may exist but only to be a legal corporation. Involvement is generally very quick and is based on discernment and heart connection with the overall vision.

Alignments

FGC generally align to a network of churches connected by doctrine. Many times this is a denomination. Outside alignments are seldom seen and this is reflected in the ministries coming through. Most of the time they are from the same camp. AK will align apostolically and prophetically and not so much doctrinally. AK will be relationship driven and the ministries coming through will be in relationship more so than the same camp. AK does not fear the variety of ways of ministry as much as the FGC.

Leadership

This is probably one of the greatest differences. FGC has a senior pastor. Generally they are charismatic and probably have a certain degree of a teaching gift. As I stated earlier, it is an eldership driven leadership made up of those of the congregation and decisions are made based more from a business perspective than a faith position. AK will have an apostolic leader (not necessarily an apostle) who has a certain grace to lead others into Kingdom dynamics. A team is formed of fivefold type leaders who will speak by visionary perspectives and lead by faith.

Focus

The focus in an FGC will be more on life discipling and family focuses. Programs will be put in place to minister to the needs of the family and this will be reflected in special gatherings for men and women, youth and kids. The AK will be focused more on the Kingdom than the family and trust that if Kingdom dynamics are put in place, then the family will automatically be taken care of. The outworking of this is the family being together to experience spiritual life as a unit. Activation is put upon the family and development of gifts started at a young age.

Messages

FGC messages are culturally relevant and again family focused. Removing injustice is part of the message but ends up being more about ministering to injustice than removing it.  AK will have more revelatory messages and of course Kingdom dynamics. Messages will be on reforming culture to remove injustices instead of ministering within culture. While FGC will be “culturally relevant” (trying to relate to culture) AK will be “counter cultural” (knowing that Kingdom culture will change current culture).

Worship

FGC will have more of a standard approach to worship. Songs will have more of a focus about God instead of Who He is. Songs will also have a self focus and will be better known. Song services are more planned and have a set time. With AK, the songs are more focused on God Himself and His great works. Very few songs are about self. Songs are more from unknown artists because the message they carry is fresher. Spontaneous worship and creating of songs is what AK is known for. The worship has no real set time factor.

Prayer

FGC has a group set aside and recognized as the intercessors. AK looks at every person as called to intercede. Prayer for people at altar calls may have a team in a FGC, but generally it is the senior leader and their spouse. AK will have a team or see everyone as being able to pray and minister to others.

Activation

FGC will take people through classes associated with what they believe before they truly activate people. Time factors and certain things need to be attained before a person is released or put in place, to reduce possible mistakes. AK will activate people pretty quickly and will train them as they do ministry. They are not concerned about mistakes but are more concerned about a person trying than being perfect in how they do things.

Spiritual Community

FGC has spiritual community based on relationships around the belief system. Most spiritual communities are pretty healthy but can also be more surface type relationships. Smaller churches will have greater community. In larger churches, the community will be several communities within it based around the programs. AK will develop a community of honor and tightness in relationships that can be enlarged as it grows. They will have solid, deep meaningful relationships that build a sense of family. This family is more than those in the room but also extends to those outside of the local gathering and into all those they are in relationship with in other ministries.

Missions

The outward expression of FGC will be set missionaries they help support in part. Locally missions will be a helps type ministry of feeding the homeless, crisis pregnancy centers, and other outreach programs. This could also extend into foreign mission trips where the same types of ministry occur such as erecting/repairing church buildings, working in orphanages, etc. The AK approach in missions is not so much as supporting but sending. They too, might be involved in the same local outreaches but are looked at as more of being sent with an assignment. This is extended to the foreign missions as well. Being sent with a specific assignment, the helps ministry is not seen in other nations but leadership training, conferences and educational thrusts are primary.

As we can see, there is a difference to both types of ministries. There needs to be more of a balance. As I see it, the main thing to be added to the AK model is local outreach. I think many Apostolic Kingdom Churches are hesitant because of associating with an old model. The main thing that stands out in the apostolic / Kingdom churches that I did not cover is a more consistent life-giving flow. To me, this is the primary difference and is why so many churches need to transition to this model.

Pharisees, Sadducees or Kingdom?

As I look at the intentions of God to provide for the advancement of the kingdom I started a journey of reflection of the early church. As the early church was put in place in the earth they were positioned to be a voice of authority in the spiritual realm of cities and regions. The true church defined by kingdom definition is the one moving in authority, carrying Gods breath with a fresh life-giving flow, ones esteeming each other and ones who love the lost that are longing for hope to be free. All the churches related to Paul as an apostolic father and he allowed each to have their own expression of spiritual life. There was not a central form of government but a kingdom structure and relationship alignment that allowed freedom of expression to be formed.

I wonder how today Paul would view the current church structures we have built with over 600 denominations and so many expressions with the bulk not relating to any apostolic father and having such diverse believe systems. It seems to me Paul would probably be rebuking them openly, and then if not repentant would be dis-fellowshipping many churches that would reject Gods ordained means of oversight. Paul would probably look at these religious positions as equal to Sadducees and Pharisees and forms of religion but denying the power of God to work through them. Disconnected to the kingdom and thus really not fully Christian or Christ like. Perhaps they would be looked at as new young believers but not truly disciples.

During the time of Christ and the New Testament era, the Sadducees were aristocrats. They tended to be wealthy and held powerful positions, including that of chief priests and high priest, and they held the majority of the 70 seats of the ruling council called the Sanhedrin. They seemed to be more concerned with politics than religion and being seen. They did not relate to the common man. This seems to be somewhat how the church today is viewed with the Hollywood style preacher with all the glitz’s and glamour. The other group the Sadducees who were legalistic only considered the written word to be true. The common person would relate the Pharisees who looked at oral traditions as equal to the written word. Both of these group put demands of offerings and giving upon people to support both of their traditions and to increase their positions of influence. This group to is easily seen in the current religious structures we have as well. The striving for position, jealousy, and the ladder of succession has created a great division and a spirit of competition, much like the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Paul even saw many who tried to imitate the apostles and even spoke the same messages. For these he accepted them as long as truth was presented but when truth was twisted or screwed he then would call them out and rebuke them. The woman declaring who Paul was for three days until Paul turned and rebuked her is a great example. The woman’s intention was to draw people after her and not Paul. Her insights and words were right but her intentions and motive was wrong, a self promotion to make converts to follow her. She was stating I also have this believe system to add to my own so if you join me you also are joining into Christianity.

So am I saying that many places need to be rebuked? Am I saying we disassociate with many churches? I know this may not be very popular but have we allowed so many belief systems to be formed because of us not wanting to confront what we know to be false doctrine or partial doctrine? The question always comes… who has made you the spiritual police? What I am saying is we are trying so hard to fit into the overall belief systems and expressions current in our culture, instead of realizing the Kingdom stands separated from all of these. Perhaps we should be more focused on birthing new kingdom focused apostolically connected churches. What if there truly was a network of these types of churches across our nation. What if apostles and prophets were being funded by these networks? What if apostles and prophets were truly accepted and embraced by these churches and had the freedom to travel to these to encourage them? We have spent so much in America on buildings and furnishings and not on supporting leaders and those really doing the work of the kingdom. Culturally in the church we are pretty messed up in our priorities and what we deem important. Culturally we want spotless bathrooms, 4” foam chairs, light shows, bible apps instead of written word, a condensed gathering, and no real confrontation that would create change. We want a soft word to create huge returns and to do ministry when it is convenient so we can feel good about ourselves. The formula is pretty simple to have success as a ministry. Don’t confront, don’t rebuke, don’t speak on repentance, holiness, sin and above all don’t have an expectation of change. As those from China years ago said America is the only nation you can have a successful ministry and God is nowhere to be found involved in what you are doing. Dutch Sheets said a couple of years ago “We know what to say and when to say it. We know how to cheer people on and have become real good at scheming instead of strategically planning.”

As we look backward longing for “old time revival”, we look at the outcomes but seldom look at the messages. Messages that were uncompromising and demanded responses. Messages that went for 2 hours not 30 minutes. Messages that came from preachers who had been through the heart dealings like Peter did so when they delivered it came from experience and not just correct exegesis.

The apostles traveled and their needs were provided by the church as a whole. Offerings were collected before they came and presented by laying them at the apostle’s feet. The life-giving flow of their messages they brought was confronting and convicting. They were in your face and pulled no punches, yet the people appreciated the honesty they presented and also the grace they brought that enabled them to go from glory to glory. They did not withhold their offerings as we do today, if something is not to our liking, but they gave and gave abundantly.  By today’s standards Paul’s ministry endeavors and team traveling with him would cost over a million dollars a year! Nobody is moving to this degree of kingdom provision.

So some real questions arise. How much time will be spent on trying to convince those who really don’t what to change and come into more of a kingdom expression? I for one am so tired of going to so many pastoral driven leadership meetings and seeing so little revelation, truth, and life-giving flow being presented. I look for the breath of God that creates and seldom find the anointing to speak for a few minutes under the spirits unction. It’s time we decide to let go of any religious connection and begin to truly spend our time on what we know to be true kingdom.

What decision? Ouija Boards?

So new years is now here and everything is to change isn’t it. All the resolutions for self-improvement, decisions for things we have wanted to change, but never did, and now suddenly we have courage to publicly announce that we are going to finally do this thing. We look forward to a brighter tomorrow each year and yet each year it seems nothing truly changes. For some magical reason we believe within a 24 hour period everything in our life is about to change. We celebrate the New Year with all kinds of events, parades, football and gatherings. Don’t worry, I even went to someone’s house for a couple of hours but it was more for fellowship than celebration. But celebrating does not put anything in motion.

We should know the times and seasons like the sons of Issachar and that means knowing more than how to turn of the calendar. For me the new year started about 7-8 weeks ago. It was a new year in the spirit realm and we already are in it. Gods calendar is not the same as ours. Much of the shifting we feel actually started shifting a few weeks ago, we just now are feeling or sensing the shift. So many prophetic words are given about the New Year, and for the most part I dismiss almost all of them. So many are given based on performing for the calendar moment, than truly being led by the spirit.

A New Year starts with so many people having a hope for the next year. This tells me two things. First people are not happy with their lives as they are. They look backward to dismiss the hard times of the year, so they turn forward with expectation for the future. That is the second thing I see each year the expectation of something to change. The desire is sitting inside of people; they just don’t know exactly how to make that change. They hope their sheer will power will do it, when in reality it requires their will to come under the will of God. He wants to be their hope and also be the catalyst of lasting change.

This year the greatest selling game at Christmas was the Ouija board! Alarming yes and no. It shows me the desire for the supernatural is extremely strong in people. But what it really shows me is the desire to know the future is even more dominant. As the world seems in such disarray and evil is increasing, people are starting to come into fear.  It’s a time of many unknowns, and people want something to believe in and also something to put their hope in. I see it both in the world and even in the church as people are leaning at times into fantasy, and spiritual speculations of an ideal world, job, or environment to walk out their faith in.  God did not say he would change the circumstance to be perfect but he would perfect us in circumstances so they do not have a hold on us. It’s time the church become the voice of the supernatural and the future. We need to not be giving some flowery prophetic words but some real words of direction. People are hungry right now and we need to wake up to what’s going on around us. I don’t know how much more ripe things have to be before we actually know the time and season we are sitting in. Jesus is our hope and future. He is our expected end. He has a plan for each person. We are to help people find that plan and find the person of the Christ.

Are You in Leviathan’s Stream?

Job 41:1, Psalm 74:14, Psalm 104:26, Isaiah 27:1

In the scriptures, Leviathan is seen as a demonic being we have to deal with. This morning in a conversation, the Lord gave me a great revelation concerning this demonic force and how it works. First, some background on what Leviathan is. It is a seven headed dragon-like creature that was believed to live in the streams. Its counterpart, Behemoth looks like a rhinoceros and lives in the mountains. Leviathan, having seven heads and a singular body, has a primary assignment to create indebtedness. It was called a twisting serpent and was believed to wrap itself around a person’s eyes and cause the inability to see sunlight. It also is seen in Hinduism as one of their gods. It is called a piercing serpent and is seen as piercing the base of the skull with its tail. The base of the skull by those in occultism is looked at as the point of Kundalini and also life force or flow. This is why yoga is so wrong; it tries to trigger this area of the skull. The base of the skull is also the place connected to astral projection and connected to the silver cord found in Ecclesiastes 12:6.

The revelation the Lord gave me is Leviathan is found in the streams or flows of many of the spiritual meetings going on right now in the overall church structure. It does not mean our stream is demonic, but I am speaking of past streams still occurring. I believe we may have allowed past streams to become polluted that allow access for this spirit. This demonic spirit is trying to stop others in older structures from experiencing the awakening by taking residence in old streams and affecting those participating in those past streams.

Since part of its assignment is to bring poverty or lack, this seems to be a major hold right now with many apostolic and Kingdom works. Many Kingdom centers and emerging voices and places of awakening are lacking in the area of funds to perform the Kingdom work and assignments. I believe it is directly related to a second indebtedness, an indebtedness to religious systems. This is seen as an obligation to remain in the past structures that have no life. Many in this hour are benefiting from apostolic alignments and from revelatory teaching found in emerging Kingdom centers, apostolic churches and other forerunner type ministries. But at the same time, many are still putting their tithe in past structures or streams due to being “indebted” to that structure by obligations, soul ties or traditions and not by real life-giving relationships. These fading structures should be approached from a missiology perspective by those still attending both them and the emerging move. These structures should not be looked at except through the eyes as a missionary place to minister life-giving flow. With this perspective, the area of finances would come into alignment and the funds needed to advance the awakening move would be in place.

Leviathan’s seven heads represents the double mindedness and inability to make a full commitment to embrace the light and revelation that lies before us. This demonic force comes to wrap in a twisting motion around us and to take the truth and twist it as well. The truth of freedom, awakening, reformation and Kingdom has been twisted by those who want to deny its graces upon others. The wrapping of its long neck over the eyes is the stoppage of revelation coming that “seeing, we might see and be converted.” The neck represents the will and it is allowing its will to cover instead of God’s will to fully cover.

Many outside of the Body are experiencing this in full force right now. Many are in such tight bondages and they are having such a hard time seeing truth. We have many different types of belief systems going at the same time. We are disjointed on End Times, Israel, the existence of five-fold ministry and function, the existence of the Holy Spirit, Kingdom/Church, open Theism, hyper- grace, and other multi- head beasts all fighting for a voice in the midst of the stream of truth. Many have taken over the stream fully and have become the main voice. Many of these streams are polluted and Leviathan is sitting in the midst of the streams controlling them.

 The covering of Leviathan is scales of pride (Job 41:15). This pride is very evident in the Body of Christ. It says the scales are joined one to another. Pride seems to connect to others walking in pride and when this occurs, it becomes a covering we think is impregnatable. This is reflected in many pastoral gatherings, alliances and meetings. As we try to participate in supporting these gatherings, we do not fit many times. Do not come under these coverings. What you submit to, you then are indebted to. The verse goes on to say ‘his heart is as stone’. This is the outcome of pride, hardness of heart. Pride protects what must be changed. This demonic force has tried to stop the changing of hearts in this current move from unfolding. Pride is such a terrible thing in men’s lives. The unwillingness to admit to a need or a lack causes stoppage of God becoming strong in our weakness. When we say we are without need we then enter into self deception. This spirit has led many into this place. If not careful, they will become reprobate in mind. I strongly urge you to read all of Job 41 and see the things we are combating.

I hope these things make sense to you. I am seeing very clearly the struggles so many are going through are directly related to this demonic force. It is stopping the embrace of truth, awakening, etc. It has positioned itself in the streams of the past to try and stop the flow of new streams emerging today.

Our hope is found in Psalm 74:13 As God says He will break the head of Leviathan and feed it to the people in the wilderness. I think of a song Ric Pino sings and the words go like this “He gives us giants for our bread”. The victory of defeating this power will be living bread for us. He goes on to say He will dry up the streams he is living in. We better be sure we have the right stream flowing and are living our spiritual live in a single stream and not an old stream or a mixture of old and new.

In Isaiah 27:1, He says He will take His sword and slay Leviathan. That sword is in us. It says He will both punish and slay. I believe that punishment will come through the Saints, the holy remnant rising and standing against him. It is us staring at all seven heads and they no longer holding a grip around our eyes. When his will no longer is wrapping us and his scales of pride no longer covering us. Then the life Leviathan draws from us will be cut off with the sword and that same sword will slay him.