The Restoration of the Lord

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knowing Those Who Labor Amongst Us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sufferings Reward

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I felt I should write the other side of the coin on suffering and that is the successes that come. My wife and me have been privileged to travel internationally to many nations teaching leaders, oversee a full time school of ministry, plant a church, plant a kingdom center, plant a second kingdom center, speak at national conferences in the USA, oversee a network of ministers, and ordained about 60 into into ministry. This has given so many opportunities and memories and contacts and of course spiritual sons and daughters.

In my last post I talked about the sufferings that go with raising spiritual kids, specifically the ones who turn away after investment. But for everyone that turned away there remains a multitude that appreciated the invested and took the words to heart and APPLIED THEM. They are out doing exploits, changing lives and touching culture. I want to share some of these stories.

First the more you sacrifice the higher your appreciation. Our international students have been our greatest success. The price they have had to pay in their nation for their faith, and also the cost of traveling here, leaving family, and coming to a different culture, made them apply themselves with certain self disciplines we did not see in many of our American students. I would say a high percent of these spiritual kids are doing ministry.

One is actively involved in an orphanage in Papa New Guinea and is actively pursuing politics running for mayor in a city of 3 million. Another is leading worship in a church in New Hampshire while others are pastoring churches in Philadelphia, Massachusetts and Florida. One spiritual son and his wife have started a network of churches both here and in Indonesia. Still another from Kenya is preaching weekly at a church here in Iowa.

One of my students is in California and working in a church, still another couple led a church in Chicago and has a church going on Purdue University with students. Another son is in the Klondike and has a new type of martial arts based on the Scripture. His Journey has given him the endorsement of Chuck Norris, Franklin Graham and others. He has students come to him from all over the world.

I currently have a spiritual son in Nigeria who has the largest school of Ministry in the nation and the largest Christian library which we helped him with. I still have other sons running schools there as well. At one point we had 32 schools operating.

The American sons and daughters also have accomplished great things as well. One son and Daughter are pastoring a small church, touching youth as teachers, involved in families who are deployed in the armed services and started a small awakening of youth in a rural area. I took both of them to Nigeria with me once. I have one spiritual son who has climbed the corporate ladder of a large food supplier and is now influencing the top leadership of that corporation.

There is one spiritual son who went on to lead others who grew up fatherless as well. Imagine after years of no contact when he showed up to tell me  how my life has impacted him. Yet another who moved on to do youth work modeled her marriage after ours, still another took a leading role in reform in the medical industry in the state of Oklahoma.

I have many others who are involved in ministry or leading ministry or starting ministry. At the Base now we have several spiritual sons and daughters active in music, serving, working with high risk youth, ministering to other musicians and finding places of expression. But probably the greatest joy in all the suffering is to also have my own son stand with me in ministry over all the years and changes that it has brought. He too has suffered alongside me with deep sufferings, some deeper than my own. But he has stood leading worship weekly. He has seen 4 worship teams developed and countless musicians who moved on and some abandoned as well. He too has lost friendships over ministry.  If he had not been alongside I know many things would be different. Because of the strength he brings in worship and insight, many things might not have had the impact.

It’s amazing the areas we have touched by the investment we made. There are countless others as well, both current and I know yet to come. The thing I have learned in all of it is the ones who don’t flatter you are probably going to be your greatest success. The others are only trying to see what they can get. You soon know an appreciate heart by their actions in honoring. It seems when honoring stops, so does the person receiving from you.

You don’t know who really was impacted until years later. I have lost contact with some as seasons change and the time of doing the work comes. But then one will come from out of nowhere and send a letter or track you down showing at your door and tell you the report of how your life impacted their life. These unexpected bonuses are Gods way of keeping us going. After all we are doing all things as unto the Lord.

Sufferings

I have had many people in the last few days tell me how appreciated they are of my wife and me not giving up when so many have abandoned us along the way after so much invested into them. They can’t believe we are still going on and still investing so willingly. I quit along the way several times but I didn’t give up. LOL. First they can’t believe people walked away from so much and second they can’t believe we are still willing. Leaving a ministry is not what it is about but breaking covenant is what it really is. With so many leaders this past week telling me of lifelong investments to only see their spiritual children leave, is heartbreaking. But maybe the most heartbreaking is that only the spiritual father’s hearts are broken and it seems to not have any effect upon heartbreak on the spiritual children’s side. They take lightly all that was invested. They forget they will one day give account for that investment. Now that is really heartbreaking indeed.

Some have said they see it as a ploy from the enemy along the way to bring discouragement and to make us quite so we would not be available to help so many leaders. For the most part the ones most appreciate are leaders going through the same thing, who have no one to talk to and see our example of tenacity in the midst of broke relationships, covenants and even desertion.

But I would be lying to say that I’m not getting tired, not discouraged, but tired by it all. It has taken a toll but has not dimensioned my drive and I won’t let it. I am so glad the Lord told me “No more investing where there won’t be any return”. This has made me slow down and see who really wants my time who appreciates it. Who really wants the input and who should I really invest into. It is pre-qualifying before any real investment is made. For some whom come across my path they say they want it but in reality once they are kind of put on hold to see if they will pursue I have found out they are not real serious. But for others the heartfelt appreciation reveals who to really put effort into.

We have a prophetic word for this year of prodigals returning. I believe this word to be true. I also know it does not mean all the spiritual kids who once were around will return. I wish it did because a trained army would be in place. It does mean a new influx of people who will be positioned to receive from spiritual fathers. It also means they will come in spiritually spent from wrong focuses and in dire need of investment. Many of them will be most appreciative of that investment.

So for the many leaders who have invested to many sons and daughters only to see it squandered on worldliness, there is a group of people God has just for you. All the investment was not wasted but perfected you to invest at a higher level. It has enabled you to look at your motives. You have safeguarded your heart. It also has revealed to you the gift of God you really are and the great value you have inside. I would rather 10 hungry hearts, ten hearts willing, ten hearts already convinced, ten heart who would do something with the investment than a multitude who give lip service but their heart is far from it.

Right now I’m actually looking for the next bunch of new spiritual sons and daughters to start the process in. The thing different now is the revelation to impart is so much higher than times past and the intentions of God so much more serious about it. These next sons and daughters will have a greater potential. If your one of those reading this and you are serious then you need to get a hold of me.

Is Your Spiritual Community Wrong?

I wanted to put something together after several pieces came to me this week from different places. I want to talk about spiritual community. The BASE is apostolic driven and hence a LARGE part of apostolic is relationships. As a kingdom center we are really a relationship center for those doing kingdom work. Hence if you are not doing kingdom work and just going through life you might not fully fit into the BASE. Second if you are not into relationships or do not like fellowship you won’t fit at all. These two things may limit who wants to participate fully.

But the relationships at an apostolic center are different than a Sunday church.  In the typical church the relationships are about doing community life, while anything that is apostolic will be about spiritual life. Community life is about surviving life and having family. There is nothing wrong with the focuses of a local church as they are foundational. But a kingdom center focus is much deeper, to create victorious warriors and bring the kingdom to the earth.

Spiritual life community develops strategy out of relationships with each other and those relationships do a vast amount of perfecting as “Iron sharpens iron”.  Spiritual life communities also have spiritual fathering by investing and life partnering instead of life instruction coming by teaching only. The community is made to mobilize individuals to fulfill calling and bring the dreams and visions in their hearts to come to pass through opportunities and responsibilities. While a typical church life is made to serve the vision of the local gathering, a kingdom center is made to serve the vision and dream in the hearts of those gathering.

Now with our worship team coming back from a conference were spiritual community was talked about, it was discussed that because people do not fit your community or come and leave it, does not make the community you built wrong, it just means they don’t fit. I have had several national leaders I have discussed this with tell me what you are teaching or doing is not wrong, the people attending are not willing to act on what is being given. That helped but did not explain the why. Now I think I see the why.

As I look back at 20 years of ministry and those who have come and gone, the pattern seems to hold true. People left because they wanted community life relationships over spiritual life relationships. People left because they did not want deep fellowship. And people left because of being unable to relate because they were not doing kingdom work and were unwilling to fulfill calling or the dream assignment God had given to them for their life.  For those building true apostolic spiritual community keep building what you have started. It’s not wrong, it is from God. People just have to mature yet to fully participate.

Laodiceans

Revelation 3:17–18 (KJV 1900) — 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

 I find it hard to believe so many are in the organized church and are living below what could be a life of true joy and glory in God. The eternal purpose of God was put in place before the earth was formed and man was made to both have fellowship with God and to fulfill this eternal purpose he created us for. Why do so many not live any greater depth of Christian conviction and even many seem to once have the fire in their bones have fallen away and or fallen short of any heartfelt desire to truly know him? Past success, knowledge and relationship does not guarantee future positioning!

We do know it is the last days not because of wrong eschatology but because as time continues to unfold as we measure it, we are getting closer and closer to a new age invading this present age. The veil between the realms of what we know and understand and the supernatural realm of Gods eternity are thinning on a daily basis. This thinning could be quickened on our side if we would decide to press through our unbelief and begin to live as he said we should.

Yet the question remains of the great falling away. Many are thinking they have such knowledge of God but are not living the life of God. Many are in self deceived and even delusional state and vain imaginations saying God said, when in reality God did not say. The worst deception is not from the corruption that surrounds us but from our own unwillingness to not face the change required to answer convictions call. This self deceived state makes us reprobate and of no real use to our father in heaven, his plan, eternal purpose, or kingdom. We in our own strength have made ourselves of no true value to the one who paid such a high price for our freedom and for it to be on display before all people and nations.

The end result seems to be a self induced belief system that is disconnected from full and absolute truth found in Gods word. It also has breed confusion within the unbelievers heart of what is to be embraced and what is to be denied. We have traded the comfort of our own deception and the riches of worldliness and its standards of knowledge over the freedom of God expression and his eternal riches.

I fear many in that day will cry Lord Lord did we not cast out devils and speak with new tongues and do all these wonderful things for you. Yet those things are not things coming from our own ability but as the spirit wills. They are borrowed and we only stewarding them. God will want an account of our stewardship, but more so He will want an account of our relationship with him to know how we were to steward these things. Many will not be the Bride of Christ found in intimacy. Many will not rule and region as they have not even ruled and reigned their own lives. Many will be cast out thinking their exploits of yielding to the spirit will guarantee them position.

If you have fears then you have not been illuminated. If you are anxious then you are not found in him. If your faith is not creating then the doubt of the world has become your portion. Only those whose hearts and motives are pure will enter in.  Those who did not love this world or their lives but saw themselves as foreigners and outcast of an unredeemed world. Citizens of a far better place. Ones engaged in the business of a king and His kingdom. These will be the ones chosen in the eternal purpose of God for great pleasures of eternal friendship and privilege of heavens vastness to participate in. Will we be numbered in the redeemed? Will all our works be burned in the fire and tried wanting? Let the Spirit of the Lord illuminate your heart and life with his illumination Glory and let him show you what true freedom really is.

Kingdom Discipling

ImageHere is the forward of my book at the printers…..

I wrote this book because I have sensed a decline of Biblical culture in the Church. For the sake of being relevant and culturally acceptable, we have compromised our original culture as the Church and actually become irrelevant. We have moved from a Church in America that once affected culture and maintained its morality to becoming a group who claims relevance but actually has little to offer and is largely ridiculed and/or ignored.

For the sake of numbers, we have become seeker sensitive and morally soft. We no longer speak with outrage at injustice but silently stand by and watch as society’s culture is now dictating to us how we spend our time, efforts and money. We have become a subculture within a culture that has no voice.

Without a cultural shift in how we disciple people in their relationship with Christ, we will continue to produce what we currently have as weak believers, a few disciples and few true authentic Christians. We have no one to blame for the weakness of the American Church but ourselves. We are responsible for what we have both allowed and created. What we have is admittedly broken at least by those with real discernment. The question is why we are still doing what we know produces no results?

Why are we building so laboriously what the next generation does not want to inherit and will actually tear down and build over? In the mean time, we are wasting valuable energy and efforts and will lose the cultural war as we wait to cycle another generation through a process that is unfulfilling. There has to be a deep repentance for what we have become and a return to true discipleship. We have to get away from the “Club Med” concepts we have grown comfortable with.

It will require us getting into people’s lives and speaking what is needed to be spoken instead of what they want to hear. We may not have mass numbers and multitudes of followers but we will have solid world changers and influencers of cultural thinking formed.

The Kingdom is not about membership but relationship. The Kingdom is not about salvation but Lordship.  The Kingdom is about moving people in a strategic manner from being a new believer, to being a disciple, to being a Christian.

In this book, I look at this premise and how we can move people and some of the elements needed that we currently are not producing. It is not an extensive process manual, but gives the elements needed to transition and produce real Christian Disciples who are willing to lay their lives down for the King and His Kingdom.  We also will look at what has affected us and eroded the correct culture we should be producing.

This book is not for the faint of heart and for those not willing to approach new concepts with an open mind for change. For those who are willing to embrace this, they will see how Kingdom discipling can have long term cultural effects. May you read with an open mind and allow the Holy Spirit to give you the Spirit of understanding to embrace apostolic grace and Kingdom dynamics.