Understanding the Times

The Times and Strategies

April 6, 2014

From the beginning, the age-old struggle of evil’s intent against good rears its head at unexpected and subtle junctures. The foundations shift as the times change with new generations. While God has provided the wisdom to build from one generation to another, new generations cannot simply ride the momentum. Again and again over the centuries, during times of spiritual slippage, evil has enveloped God’s people, seeking to destroy them. On the other hand, the Lord has always had His Davids, His champions, who would risk everything to stand against evil and prevail.
“I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” (Acts 13:22)
During this last generation, there has been an incredible dismantling of the assaults of evil against God’s people; ranging from the fall of Nazism, to a standoff of the onslaughts against God’s people in Eastern Europe, Russia and Asia. Many champions have stood and resisted, some at the cost of their lives.

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The Revival Code

February 19, 2014

In defining sovereign moves of the Spirit, the question must be asked: What is it that distinguishes true revival from the contagion of a well-orchestrated program. From models of revival, what are the codes and strategies that ignite and sustain it? Likewise, is revival something that has manifested just since the Acts 2 outpouring of the Holy Spirit or is there precedent historically within the Jewish roots to the faith? One of my favorite remembrances from the early 1970s, days of vibrant revival fires, was what we referred to as body ministry. It was one of the distinguishing characteristics of those days. Praying for one another was more spontaneous. We took time to gather; to bear one another’s burdens. I recall vividly small group gatherings that nurtured short words of wisdom, exhortations, testimonies of answered prayer, simple scriptures participants may have had on their hearts; all of which came together prophetically under the Spirit’s guidance to form a theme that highlighted and encouraged those people gathering. These interactive dynamics would be followed by spontaneous prayer as members of the group revealed needs tied to the words given. Spontaneity, Word-based, Spirit led were the key factors that marked these gatherings. It was the gatherings like this that became the spark that ignited revival in a broad, cross-section of the church Similarly, Acts 2 notes that the believers in the early church met daily and broke bread together in their homes; in addition to meeting in the temple. The Amplified version notes those gatherings included the Lord’s supper and prayers (v. 42). Paul gave instruction for such gatherings (1 Cor 14:26) with the admonition that when they came together that opportunity should be given for ministering to one another; building one another up. He made it clear that this vital function should be done under the guidance of leadership, decently and in order.

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Spiritual Vision

January 16, 2014

The attack against the Body today targets maturity bearing on the prophetic and leadership for transformation. Again, the subtlety of the challenge facing the Body is talented people going on their own abilities with an element of the anointing spliced in. The demarcation into maturity will pivot on humility and be Spirit-driven. Spiritual maturity is not our limited perception of being right or doing right. It is when those matters, we refer to as ego, issues and self, have no root from which to manifest and true spiritual vision can manifest. It is the discernment that knows the difference in the close calls between His will and what may be blind-spots or matters kindled by the soul. Spiritual maturity on a community-level basis is when there is an alignment of the provision, power and purpose among those deemed as leaders. Spiritual maturity and spiritual vision enable God’s Light to shine and disperse the blindness and confusion. It releases the Kingdom power that paradoxically transcends the division and reverses it into opportunity. It is when there is no vestige of variation between His will and our own. Spiritual maturity with spiritual vision is a complete oneness with the Lord.

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Ministering the Fire

January 8, 2014

Strange fire results from polluting the pure. Jesus warned of strange fire through the parable of the tares. When attempting to mix the impure with the pure, it backfires. Pure fire is the most potent catalyst to the release of the blessing and power of God. It is also the most powerful response to encounters with aggressive strongholds, and actuates the release of judgment. However, strange fire results when the pure process is modified or defiled with a replacement. Strange fire and replacement of the purity of God’s process has been at the core of the enemy’s strategy from the beginning. The pure was defiled by eating the forbidden fruit in the garden. Similarly, the pure process was corrupted by the sons of Aaron, just as the profane was added by Ananias and Sapphira. The defilement of the pure was reflected by the Hellenization of the Gospel, the expungement of the Jewish roots to the faith by Constantine; and in each instance whereby the precepts of men employed the seductive use of strange fire that impeded entrance within the veil. It is within the veil that the pure fire is released. The times demand not just the pure fire, but the restoration of the holy process without the polluted add-ons. Daniel noted that in the time of the end many would be purified and refined, but that wickedness would increase and abound. The times upon us are bordering between the times of sorrow spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 24 and the times of the end described by Daniel. Wickedness is on the increase and abounding.

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Pushing Back

November 21, 2013

There are requisites that God’s people must meet in order for His turning to be released. The story of David in 1 Samuel 30 unveils insights into these requisites. From the time of his renown after killing Goliath, David was in over his head, operating against the odds. Eventually fleeing for his life, David had pulled out all the stops to respond honorably to Saul’s efforts to crush him. Finally, without any question of David hitting a low point in walking out his “calling”, he gave in and sought safety by cavorting with the Philistines. David was flying by the seat of his pants. Then with his activities with the Philistines abruptly terminated, he returned to his base at Ziklag with his remnant of warriors. Upon returning, they discovered Ziklag had been raided by the Amalekites. They had lost everything, including their families. It was a time of utter despair, with no foreseeable hope for even the next step. With his followers disgusted and ready to stone him, David’s mantle of leadership had hit a threshold. Yet, it proved to be a turning point for all that would unfold from that point onward; in David’s calling and for his followers. The scripture tells us that at that low point, in the face of revolt and the bottom dropping out; that David strengthened himself in the Lord and inquired of the Lord. The word of the Lord came: he was to pursue and all would be recovered. It was a time to reach beyond the hopeless despair and push back.

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The Model in Motion

October 27, 2013

The world’s system is being shaken. Tenets of leadership, once accepted as the standard, are in question. The response of God’s chosen to this shaking; the response needed to impact nations requires more than what can be done in the natural. It demands a community-level response and a higher level of leadership. The response needed is to foundationally restore God’s order. The response will flow from the ancient model of God-centered entrepreneurial community being fully set in motion by a people mobilized in God. Within Christendom today are remarkable models to mobilize churches. Likewise, the last generation has seen incredible models that have mobilized missionaries. Now, we have entered the time of mobilizing the marketplace. All this has been good. However, in each of these cases there’s been a serious blind-spot. That blind-spot is created from the premise that if you are successful in one area, then success will follow in other areas. The blind-spot has also held that if you just employ a successful Western church model, then by doing it enough it will transform society. Not so. Church growth should be the by-product rather than the goal. Mobilizing missionaries should be the by-product rather than the goal. Spiritual success first pivots on changing the spiritual climate to the level that it impacts a culture. It is a process. It is a process that emanates from God’s order. At its crux is the restoration of the biblical model that fully embraces the interactive dynamic of the spiritual, the economic and community, all operating in concert.

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The Elect

October 18, 2013

During His entire earthly ministry, Jesus challenged misaligned and unproductive thinking. He raised the bar. He challenges those with idols in their minds, who miss the mark of true service by fearing the loss of their turf and “perceived empires.” There’s something very holy when a people refuse the defilements that come from the way the world responds to life and its ambitions. They begin seeing things from the stance of the Lord’s heart. It involves a standard that flows in the honor that only comes from God. It’s the standard that is at the heart of Jesus’ kingdom message. It reflects an issue of mind-sets that penetrate the very core of a culture. Jesus drew a strong line in the sand with the Pharisees. First, the standard for leaders is much higher. Jesus’ hard line also was because not only was Pharisaical-thinking askew in terms of God’s order; but because these religious leaders justified their thinking with what Jesus referred to as “the precepts of men.”

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Strategic Holiness (Part 2)

February 11, 2013

Lord God, in the Name of Jesus, we bow our hearts before You. For Yours O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty. Indeed, everything that is in the heavens and earth is Yours. YOURS is the dominion O Lord; and You do exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You and You do rule over all. In Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to strengthen and to make great. So we thank You O Lord and we glorify Your awesome, holy Name. And Lord we thank You for preparing us for a pathway purified by fire, that we might walk blameless before You. Lord, we bless You and we praise You. You are awesome and worthy to be praised. Lord, give us the grace we pray, to rule our own spirits. We thank You Lord, for giving us a heart to repent and a heart to forgive. Lord, we resist and renounce all forms of unholy dependencies and blindnesses. We likewise repent, and renounce and resist impatience and the sin of Saul to force issues that go contrary to your plan and timing, as well as the bitterness and fear and jealousy that so marked his tragic life. Lord, bring us into Your flow. Sensitize us to the issues central to Your heart. Enable and equip us afresh as able instruments of Your purpose; as Your ambassadors. Lord, may we be strong in You and do exploits. O Lord, the thunder of Your power; who can understand? Lord, up until this point, we have only heard the small whispers of Your power; despite these “whispers” being awesome. May our hearts be prepared for the time in which we will witness the thunder of Your power. Grant us the wisdom to recognize and flow in the authority you’ve given us each within our spheres. Lord, we thank you for the incredible opportunity in these times we have entered. Help us to better understand the unfolding of these times and to know what to do. These are the times spoken of by so many who have come before us. They are the times spoken of by Daniel when he said that many will be purified and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. Lord may we flow in that type of wisdom. Lord, these are the times spoken of by Ezekiel, when every vision will be fulfilled and the accomplishment of Your word will not be delayed. Lord, may we operate in the level of strategic holiness, authority and faith that releases that type of impact.

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Strategic Holiness (Part 1)

February 1, 2013

Joseph and Daniel operated uniquely and consistently in strategic holiness. It didn’t matter whether they were in prison, the lion’s den or in the king’s palace. Their priorities, goals and responses to circumstances were consistent regardless of their position. They knew Who they belonged to and they were about His business. They were stable, steadfast and faithful at each juncture. They knew who they were in the Lord and how to operate in the sphere and authority they had been entrusted with. Joseph and Daniel each disciplined their hearts to give single-minded focus to the big picture of the Lord’s purposes and their part in it. This focus released authority; an authority that changed the spiritual climate around them. They faced the realities and paid the cost. They were not swayed by threats, pressures or what appeared as the outlook of things in the natural. Their orientation came from their time with the Lord. Their hearts were fixed, abiding and trusting in the Lord, as they fearlessly took the initiative, when they knew the timing was right, to accomplish God’s purposes in their spheres. For these uncertain times, this strategic dimension will mean being connected. Lone rangers and the fear of authority that goes with it will experience undue hardships. Rebellion, as in Saul’s misfires will result in sad, untimely forfeitures of what may have been significant callings. We have moved from the tactical to the strategic. The Body has long been fragmented. Yet, from this point, unity will no longer be something nice to talk about and strive toward. It is going to be the foundation for survival.

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Defining the Issues

December 27, 2012

At the core of our mission is discerning the heart of God, defining issues and then with strategies based on God’s model and mandate, strengthening, equipping and mobilizing leaders, especially among those persecuted and oppressed for their faith. So, as we have traveled the nations to fulfill this mission during this last year, our sights have been lifted in terms of the whole arena of “understanding the times and knowing what to do.” If I had to sum it up in a word, this year has been a sequence of exposures to fresh applications of the model and strategies reflected by the “Joseph-Daniel calling” and wisdom of “God’s economy.” These applications offer pivotal insights into responding to the times we have entered and are key to the mandate of preparing to prepare. At the core of our observations is the Abrahamic model of God-centered, entrepreneurial community. Within totally different contexts, we have seen unexpected demonstrations of the application of this Abrahamic model. We have witnessed it releasing God’s authority to bring influence and positive impact in unlikely secular and corrupt settings. We’ve viewed the release of God’s power resident within remnant communities operating in unity as they have been led by the Spirit to operate beyond the threshold of their natural abilities. We’ve observed the potential exhibited by the establishment of “incubators” to enable opportunity and bring increase in community settings. Incubators are safe places that nurture the growth of an enterprise, be it ministry or business or both. These “unexpecteds” we’ve encountered the past few months have taken place in locales ranging from the African continent, to Asia, to Eastern Europe, as well as within areas in our own nation.

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