SOME FATHERLY ADVICE ABOUT CHURCH MODELS/PARADIGMS: WARY OF THE “NEW” WITHOUT THE “OLD”

I read an article and viewed a short YouTube video recently on two different types of new church models or paradigm shifts that raised concerns. Here is the article: Prophetic Churches and here is the video: Future Church .

FUTURE CHURCH VIDEO: My first impressions on this future church model was this: Is it apostolic in nature and function? Is it duplicable everywhere? And what will it compromise to succeed?

It’s interesting that the fastest growing church is in Iran right now. China would be another example. This future church model would definitely not be duplicable in persecuted lands.

I understand the diverse nature of the body of Christ, and for that reason alone I remain open and teachable, but I’m wary of the prominence of the wisdom of man and an absence of the supernatural element in this sort of model. In other words, I  have reservations.

It has been my observation that throughout history this kind of wisdom based on the ingenuity of man doesn’t normally produce lasting eternal fruit of generational transformation. One person asked me: How is it determined to be the ingenuity of man as opposed to a strategy from God?

I didn’t want to be dogmatic about it, so all I said was that the strategy could’ve come from God, but I’m just wary of this sort of ingenuity that seems to be an aversion to 1 Cor. 1:26-29.

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.”

Time, experience, and growth in God should cultivate your discernment. The Bible, however, does show a clear pattern in which God does NOT usually use the best, the most talented, the smartest, or the most expected and likely to succeed in the flesh.

We must understand that principles when implemented by anyone will get results. The problem is not with principles per se, but the motivating power and ethics behind the principles. Whom do they honor and serve?

HEAR  ME CLEARLY

Again, I’m not saying that the aforementioned church strategy and model the brother received was not from God, but when you’ve lived for the Lord as long as I have, you are slower to embrace the newest, biggest, and fastest growing church strategy or methodology. Due to failures and bad fruit I’ve witnessed over the years, I’m slow to trust the next new thing, as it seems to always fizzle with time. I like to tell believers: God is not always doing a new thing but an old thing. The basics and foundations of the real faith will never change. And as I stated, with time, experience, and some maturity in the Lord, you can be trained to look down the road 10 or 20 years and calculate what it might look like then. This is the reason we need the voice of wise elders and fatherly-like ones in the Lord’s body and learn to be led by the Spirit of God and judge everything by the real anointing of the Spirit.

Personally, what my senses have been trained in is looking for the cruciform nature of Christ in nearly everything pertaining to the kingdom, and many of my judgments are based on that. The gift mix and grace in me looks through that lens most of the time. A businessman I am not. Haha! I don’t believe the church should primarily be run like a business. It is a house of prayer and a soul winning, disciple making organism fueled by the supernatural power of God.

So, what should we make of all this? The good news is that God’s great redemptive plan is enough to sanctify and bless any effort done in faith for Him. He will bless any model, paradigm, or strategy offered to Him in relational faith. He will fill every structure as much as He can. If a perfect church model or methodology was required, there would be no hope for any of us.

On the other hand, we should not presume upon His great grace and redemption to normalize error and continual practices which misrepresent His purposes in the earth, and which could harm the people of God.

PROPHETIC CHURCHES ARTICLE: I have a red flag on this one, too, folks. First of all, I’m always leery of the new buzz words floating around in this contemporary Christian age. Words like “shift”, “atmosphere”, and “prophetic” are overrated in Christianity. Although I absolutely love the emphasis on Spirit-inspired prayer and revival, and agree with many good points in this article, the Church has a propensity to entangle itself in excesses, abuses, and extremes. Yet in seasons of time it takes some extremity to move things from one ditch back to the middle of the road. I believe this is what the article prescribes. The challenge has always been to avoid moving from one ditch to another.

Study the life and ministry of Jesus and it will keep you out of error (John 5:30). Do nothing more and nothing less than what He is leading you to do. One size does not fit all here. As soon as you realize that, you will not fall for the next new fad, trend, or supposed new model of prophetic churches or other paradigms that many are touting today. Pray, and follow His leading.

You need the leading of the Lord and much grace to follow the model of what this article or video are extolling. Again, although I do believe and espouse to several key points in both the video and article, the bottom line is that unless God gives you divine unction you would not have the grace to do what they are saying. Additionally, I also have some reservations about several things in both the video and the article, the biggest of them being the transformation of the church to an enterprising juggernaut (in the video). When the dollar becomes preeminent, history has proven that the church loses its passion for prayer, soul winning, and discipleship.

A friend of mine offered this bit of wisdom: “And while I do like some of the points made in the article it drips with idealism. I have never found idealism (no matter how good it sounds) to be very practical or applicable in its fullest sense.”

May the Lord give you great wisdom and understanding concerning the times we are living in. There are many substitutes for the true grace and wisdom God may be wanting to give you. May you be sober, watchful, and prayerful and live your life with great urgency and an awareness of the wisdom and counsel of the Holy Spirit. The Church and the nation are moving toward greater change and tumultuous times. Just be sure what you are doing is Spirit-led and Word-based, and not consumer driven and image based. Kingdom culture and relationship based Christianity with the Word as our foundation combined with the moving of the Holy Spirit is the emphasis of the Lord in this hour.

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Our books are forerunners to personal holiness, the move of God, and the return of the Lord. They also combat the departure from the faith and the turning away from the truth we are seeing in our day. 

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THE CHURCH MUST FIND THE RADICAL MIDDLE

This is my last article on this theme of The Tumultuous 20s. To get the rest of it, you’ll have to read the book when it is released. I hope you will get it and prepare yourself and others for the critical times just ahead of us. 

I’ve often wondered how some groups of people can live a lie so full of zeal, devotion, and commitment while many in the church live the truth so poorly, purposeless, and with little zeal and commitment.

For example, terrorist groups’ commitment to a dark and violent cause is often so much greater than the church’s commitment to the truth. They are the product of a message and a mandate that inspires such passion in them, while our gospel produces passivity and powerlessness and a general lack of zeal and commitment.

Why does their message produce radical disciples for their counterfeit cause while ours falls so short for the greatest cause ever known to humanity?

Could it be that we are preaching the wrong kind of gospel, thus producing the wrong kind of convert?

Here are the two kinds of gospel I hear in the West:

1. Accept Jesus and go to heaven when you die.

Although true, this gospel falls desperately short of producing passion, whole-hearted commitment and radicality in its converts.

2. Come to Jesus and be like Him and make the world a better place.

This gospel especially appeals to the younger generation as many of them have a passion for making the world a better place through promoting and supporting good causes and being engaged in social activism. They idolize globalism while many on the conservative right idolize nationalism. I love America, and I, too have been guilty of idolizing nationalism and putting too much confidence in the political process myself.

The Lord Jesus Christ is not in either group. He is not a globalist or a nationalist. He is not Republican or Democrat. He is not necessarily conservative or liberal. He is not a Protestant or a Catholic. Jesus lives in the radical middle.

The above versions of the gospel are not the gospel. There is nothing in it that moves me to sell everything and follow Jesus. The Church must find the radical middle.

RIGHT WING, LEFT WING, OR THE RADICAL MIDDLE

In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees were the conservatives and the Sadducees were the liberals, and they constantly challenged Him to take sides, but He never did. He never responded to implied questions or suggestions such as, “Are you for us or against us?” or “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” Such are the political talking points many believers often argue today on social media.

As we soon head to another presidential election season, is our hope being placed too much on the political process to bring forth righteousness, truth, and morality in our nation? Are we sitting at Caesar’s table to gain influence in affecting laws that will bring the kingdom of God to the earth?

Not only did Jesus walk in the radical middle, but in days of old, Israel’s call was to be the same. In the midst of a dark world and the various political perspectives of that day, Israel was to be a light among the nations for all to see. They were to provide a better hope and a better place for the manifestation of God’s glory for people to find fulfillment in.

Such is the highest purpose of the church today. Through the directives in the New Testament, we are to be a place of love, power, morality, truth, and righteousness. We are to be that city set on a hill who exemplify the higher ways of the kingdom of God. We are to set the example of how to live in love, peace, and unity among one another and manifest the glory and power of God.

And as we fulfill this purpose, we become the people of the radical middle, who position ourselves to not only be the conscience of the nation(s)—but a powerful prophetic voice and living testimony to all.

The radical middle does not say to the homosexual, “go back to your closet.” Instead, it says, “come out of your grave!” 

The radical middle does not necessarily say, “make America great again.” Instead, it says, “make Jesus Christ and His Church great again!” 

Our kingdom cry should be far greater than our nationalistic cry. This will only be so when we find the radical middle. More than making America great again, our high calling is to make Jesus and His church great again by fulfilling kingdom purposes.

“Now when Joshua was by Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him. In His hand was His drawn sword. Joshua went to Him and said, ‘Are You for us or for our enemies?’

“He said, ‘Neither, for I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come’” (Josh. 5:13-14).

The commander of the army of the Lord was not for Israel or its enemies. He had come to command His army and to establish His kingdom, which is built on truth, righteousness, and justice. Let us move according to the Lord’s command and not our own agenda. He will always stand for truth, righteousness, and justice for such is the foundation of His character and throne (Ps. 97:2), and it’s His rule and reign that we must have the greatest passion for. Remember, of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. (Isaiah 9:7).

Be a support to us and follow our blog and help spread these messages. Also, consider subscribing to our ministry YouTube channel for weekly 15 minute Face to Face video impartations on the Spirit-filled life from my wife and I.  

Our books are forerunners to personal holiness, the move of God, and the return of the Lord. They also combat the departure from the faith and the turning away from the truth we are seeing in our day. 

Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival and restoration that this ministry carries. Again, if this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

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Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.

A MESSAGE TO THE SHEPHERDS: STRENGTHEN THE THINGS THAT REMAIN

“I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God” (Rev.3:1-2).

I am a messenger of the Lord. My wife and I have been divinely commissioned to draw forth in prayer provision of the wisdom of God for the body of Christ in this hour. We minister in churches and in cities and nations He sends us to.

The Spirit of God has shown me that something is very amiss in many of our churches across the land. There is a disturbing trend that is locking up a certain supply of the Spirit of God to the saints.

LACK OF A FULL SUPPLY FROM EQUIPPING MINISTERS

Many churches now only have a Sunday service while some others still maintain a mid-week meeting of some kind. Long extended meetings where exposure is given to the other fivefold ministry gifts are for the most part a thing of the past. Even to have consecutive day meetings is becoming rare. This is causing a lack among the sheep.

Think about it. If the sheep get the pastor/teacher a majority of the time then they are missing the full equipping they need  for edification of the body of Christ to do the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:11). Without the apostle, prophet, and evangelist the saints will not fully mature. Most churches are top-heavy with pastors, teachers, and administrators and very low on apostolic, prophetic, and evangelistic ministry.

This lack is manifested in a dullness, a heaviness, a boredom, and a general apathy in the body of Christ. I love the local church, but I am bold to tell you that we need a great stirring in many of our churches in this hour.

Pastors will tell you that people are too busy, that it’s a different day, and that we cannot have extended meetings and that we need to limit our special speakers. But no matter what day we are living in, no matter the culture, no matter how busy people are, God always has a plan to meet the spiritual needs of His people.

Several years ago in Kansas City I participated in a monthly forum with a panel of 5-fold ministers, and over a two day period I watched the Spirit of God minister to people in a way I’ve never seen before. I realized the importance of what a 5-fold ministry team can bring to a people.

THE WORD AND THE SPIRIT

Another element of lack in local churches in this hour is how very little of the move of the Holy Spirit the saints are experiencing. We are losing Pentecost. We are raising a generation who knows very little about Pentecost. Many of the early Pentecostal ministers are moving on to heaven to receive their eternal reward. Who will take their place and run with the baton they have passed on to us?

In most of our churches we have sermons, but not much Spirit. We have songs, but too much style. We have announcements, but so little anointing. We receive offerings, but when the needs of the sheep go unmet those same offerings become offensive to the Lord.

A recent statistic revealed that only 15% of all Pentecostals use their prayer language on a regular basis. The manifestation of tongues and interpretation, which distinctly belongs to the New Testament Church, is all but extinct from our Pentecostal churches. Many shepherds no longer lay hands on the sick. Healings and miracles in the local church are now so rare.

LACK OF FERVENT SPIRIT-INSPIRED PRAYER

Another compelling problem in many churches today is the absence of effectual fervent prayer. This is the primary reason for the lack of power and glory in the body of Christ in this hour. Too many pastors are ashamed of fervent prayer that manifests in tongues, groaning and travail, and deep intercession. There’s a new brand of tepid, boring, and listless praying that is far too common in many of our churches that caters to the lukewarm and the visitor.

Here’s a great word:

“If you build a church with people who won’t devote themselves to prayer, you build a church on a weak foundation that will be unprepared for the coming storms, for God’s glory and Jesus’ return, and for the harvest yet to come. This will breed a place for a lukewarm, passionless people void of true judgment and discernment. Your church will be a smoldering altar with only smoke and ashes instead of one where the fire rages.”

BIG I, LITTLE YOU

Another element of imbalance in the body of Christ is the neglect of the smaller church. There needs to be a greater equality among churches. In an hour when ministers are taught to give “up” to bigger ministries there is such a need to give “down” that there may be equality among the churches. The same applies to ministries. Pentecost began this way when the rich sold their houses and possessions and brought the proceeds to the apostles’ feet and distribution was made to all who had need.

Never have I seen such spiritual poverty, hype, and charisma rewarded while the truly holy and anointed are meagerly supplied. Big ministries and big churches have large platforms for sharing their needs while too often our frontline missionary and foreign heroes who are serving in near obscurity have no platform to share their needs, and frankly, are often too busy to do so. Most of them are hardly compensated for the measure of sacrifices they make and the number of risks they take.

And I am not speaking of young ministers who are yet unproven. I am speaking of seasoned ministers and missionaries who have so much wisdom and impartation to make, and yet so little honor is given to them. We need their voices in this hour.

Let’s get out of selfishness. God’s nature is unselfish. Look for the ‘little’ guys who have the character, the calling, the vision, and the anointing to do what God has called them to do, but lack the resources. Pay attention to them and what they are doing. Sow into them and honor their labor.

Listen to the Head of the Church. He is speaking. Will we hearken?

Our books are forerunners to personal holiness, the move of God, and the return of the Lord. They also combat the departure from the faith and the turning away from the truth we are seeing in our day. The Real Gospel, The Real Jesus, The Real Salvation, and  The Real Spirit Of Revival are especially strategic in trumping the many falsehoods spreading in the modern day Church. If any of our books or articles on this blog are a blessing and encouragement to you please use the social media buttons below to share them, and kindly post reviews on Amazonfor any of our books you feel are worthy. Thank you for helping unknown writers who self publish the word of the Lord. 

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DONATE 

Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.