Apostolic Shepherding

7189604_sThe Great Shepherd and Apostle of our Confession, Jesus Christ the Lord, has told us what to look for in those who are true shepherds, after the model which He Himself demonstrated while in His life on earth.  In the ninth chapter of Matthew’s gospel, as the Lord looked over the crowd of people, He uttered a cry for assistance in the great work of shepherding the flock of God, which contains three characteristics of what He was looking for in those who would continue His ministry as shepherds of the sheep.

“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.  But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.  Then he said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’ ” (Matthew 9:35-38 NKJV)

THE CONDITION OF THE FLOCK

True shepherds CARE about the CONDITION of the flock.  Jesus was moved with compassion; He genuinely cared about their condition in all aspects.  Most shepherds who are called by God begin with sincere motives that put the needs of the people ahead of personal agendas, empire building, and ladder-climbing in the Kingdom of God.  Some, however, have become more concerned about the “contributions” of the flock, rather than the “condition” of the flock.  As shepherds, we must maintain the heart of God for the people, not using them as means to an end, but placing the value on each individual that God has assigned to humanity, and serving them accordingly.

THE GATHERING OF THE FLOCK

True shepherds GATHER the flock of God.  Jesus noted that the sheep were “scattered” without a protecting shepherd, making them more vulnerable to the attack of wolves and other predator beasts.  The shepherd is motivated to gather the flock of God, not for numbers’ sake alone and reaching corporate ministry goals, but for their need of protection and direction.  God’s people are to develop the nature of a sheep, which is to “follow the voice of another.”  Jesus said, “My sheep know My voice.” (John 10:27).  Christians must be gathered together for the protection offered by a spiritual covering, but also to learn how to be led by the Spirit of God as a result of learning to walk with the flock under the guidance of the local shepherds.  As new believers, we don’t know His voice clearly yet; we are often confused about direction in our lives and, having the loving counsel of seasoned shepherds, we gain confirmation that we are truly hearing the voice of the Lord.  The goal of true shepherds is to train people to hear His voice and to be led by the Spirit of God.

THE STRENGTHENING OF THE FLOCK

True shepherds STRENGTHEN the flock of God.  Jesus also noted that the sheep were “weary” – they needed rest, but they also needed the strength that comes from proper nourishment.  A true shepherd wants to produce strong Christians who are able to complete the journey through this life in victorious fashion that glorifies God.  This means preaching and teaching the whole counsel of God, including “doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.” (see 2 Timothy 3:16).  Believers need not only milk (not too much candy!), but also meat (and strong meat) of the Word to grow from babyhood to manhood and become reproducing disciples.  True shepherds know that the future of the flock depends on the healthy reproduction of the flock.  As a shepherd, if my sheep are not reproducing more sheep as a result of being properly fed, trained, and equipped, then the future of the flock is jeopardized.  As true shepherds, let us CARE, GATHER and STRENGTHEN the flock of God according to the apostolic model of Christ.

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The Kingly Anointing

30085725_sIn 1997 I wrote a book entitled He Cutteth Out Rivers, describing the difference between the Prophetic, Priestly, and Kingly anointings, and how believers can flow at all levels.  Since that time, God has been speaking specifically about the Kingly Anointing that has been released upon the Church and with greater detail regarding characteristics of this particular anointing.

OUR POSITION AS KINGS

First of all, we should understand that all believers already have the status of a “king” according to Revelation 1:5-6, which says, “Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us Kings and Priests unto God and His Father…”.  Jesus is called the “King of kings and Lord of lords” in 1 Timothy 6:15.  The “other” kings and lords mentioned in this verse happen to be those who are “in Christ” and already have the positional status mentioned.  We must now learn how to actually live out this positional truth in our everyday lives by renewing our minds to the Word and acting accordingly in thought, word and deed.  Glory to God! We are who He says we are, we have what He says we have, and we can do what He says we can do!

OUR FUNCTION AS KINGS

Current apostolic revelation emphasizes kingdom government concepts, which are the truths that Jesus will run the universe by for eternity.  We are just in the “training for reigning” and “schooling for ruling.”  Part of our training and schooling includes the nature and role of kings in the kingdom of God.  The truths regarding the nature and role of prophets and priests have been restored to us in recent moves of God, and now is the time for kings to understand their function and biblical role in the restoration of the church.

Apostle Paul told us in Romans 5:17 that everyone who receives the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness “shall REIGN IN LIFE by one, Jesus Christ.”  It is kings who reign by exercising dominion in all realms of life and ruling with character, wisdom, power and wealth.  There is a kingly anointing that has been released upon the restoration church, and we are seeing apostolic leaders raised up with a generational blessing upon their lives because they have become sons and daughters of the house, having learned to serve those with an Elijah anointing upon their lives.  It is time for these “sons and daughters” to partake of the next level of anointing that God is pouring out upon us by receiving the revelation being given and following those who are walking in it.

THE KINGLY EXAMPLE

The Gospel of Matthew is written mainly to the Jews to prove that Jesus was indeed the awaited Messiah who fulfilled all the Old Testament prophecies regarding the coming King.  This gospel portrays a King teaching others how to be kings.  “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He that is born KING OF THE JEWS? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.’ ” (Matthew 2:1-2).  Jesus shows us in this gospel how to live and reign in this life as a king in the kingdom of God.  He totally ruled over the kingdom of darkness through apostolic power and authority.  He also established rule in the hearts of men by love and servant-leadership that would make any sacrifice for their welfare.  He won the confidence of those he served by his kingly character, wisdom, and power.  He demonstrated the unlimited resources available to a king ruling under the authority of Omnipotence.

A POOR KING?

According to tradition, “poor Jesus” was born in a stable to “poor parents” who were turned into the night when they showed up at the door at the inn “begging for lodging.”  According to the truth or the Gospel, Joseph went to the hotel to “rent lodging” because he could afford it, but the hotel was fully booked for the night, so they went to the stable because Mary was about to deliver the Christ.  Shortly after the birth of Jesus, wise men arrived and “opening their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11).  There is a principle demonstrated here whereby one always entered the presence of a King bearing gifts in honor and respect.  This not only occurred at Jesus’ birth, but also during His life and ministry (see Luke 8:1-3).  Jesus walked in the wealth of a king while on the earth and never had shortage.  Have you ever seen a poor king?

It is the kingly anointing that is attracting wealth these days.  We should not be after the “loot” but after the “root.”  We must develop the character and wisdom of kings, and then the power and wealth will follow.  The message of the Kingly anointing is for those who are ready for maturity as saints.  We can see from the Old Testament that the kings who ruled without character and wisdom failed and led people to destruction, but those who ruled with Christ-like qualities had long and successful reigns that glorified God and blessed people.

OUR RESPONSIBILITY AS KINGS

I believe the kingly anointing is for the apostolic church which has embraced responsibility for the advance of the Kingdom in this present age.  It is obvious from the past behavior of many Christians that a person can experience prophetic anointing and minister to God as priests at the altar while still living fleshly, self-centered lives.  However, the kingly anointing will flow through character and wisdom produced in the lives of those who have decided to “wholly follow the Lord” in all the restoration truths given to us up until now in the Church.  The kingly anointing was given to His disciples (those who “left all to follow Him”).  We are the people who live in this tremendous time of restoration of all things, so let’s determine to “be all” and have all” that God provided and desires for our lives, so that we can demonstrate the authority and power of the Kingdom of God in this present age.

Apostolic People Have a Winning Attitude

14024243_sThe apostle Paul expressed the “winning attitude” in Philippians 4:13 when he said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”  Paul knew that the anointing within him would enable him to do anything he needed to do in this life, and he was endeavoring to impart that same attitude to his spiritual sons and daughters at Philippi.

I suggest we can develop this winning attitude among the people of God by knowing our POSITION in Christ.  In order for people to be full of faith they must understand positional truths.  Preaching that emphasizes the behavior of saints at the expense of positional truths will produce “good people” who try to live a holy life but have no real daily victory over the problems and trials of life.  Such people cannot fulfill their divine destiny in this hour but require more ministries than they can give to others.  However, when people understand who they are in Christ, they will have faith that produces “good works”, as well as a victorious lifestyle (according to James 2:17).  There are three aspects of God’s work in Christ:

A. SUBSTITUTION.  This word describes what God did FOR US through Christ, commonly called the GREAT EXCHANGE.  All believers must understand that Christ was our substitute at Calvary and took upon Himself all the effects of Adam’s fall belonging to us (including sin, sickness, poverty, curses, and all failure) so that we might receive all that belongs to Him (including righteousness, health, prosperity, favor and success in every endeavor).  When we are blessed through faith we can be a blessing to the world.  These positional truths are revealed in the letters Paul wrote to the church, and in order to understand them one must receive the “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Ephesians 1:16-21).  Rightly dividing the Word of God, we can see that the Gospels deal with “MANIFESTATION of the Sons of God,” Acts deals with the EXPERIENCE of receiving the New Birth and Holy Spirit Baptism, while the letters of Paul give the EXPLANATION of the experience we received in Acts.  After having received the “experience” of Acts and the subsequent “explanation” in the epistles, we can go to the gospels and see a “manifestation” of the New Man in Christ, represented in the earthly life of Jesus Christ, Who was the “pattern Son” of all others (Romans 8:29 -30; Hebrews 2:10-16).  This is God’s plan for the Church being brought to completion in the present move of God (Colossians 1:25-28).

B. IDENTIFICATION.  This word describes what God does IN US through the New Birth and Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Ephesians 4:23-24 tells us to be “renewed in the spirit of our mind” or to become “conscious” of who we are now since being “created in His image.”  When Jesus died on the cross, we DIED WITH HIM (Romans 6:6-10); when God justified him, we were JUSTIFIED WITH HIM (Romans 4:25).  When God made Jesus alive in spirit, we were made ALIVE WITH HIM (Ephesians 2:1-4); when God raised Jesus from the dead we were RAISED WITH Him (Ephesians 2:4-6); and when Jesus was seated in heavenly places we were SEATED WITH HIM there (Ephesians 2:5-7).  We were identified with him after the cross, just like we were in His substitution.  This means that Jesus became like we were so that we might become as he is now.  In the New Creation, or New Birth, we are not just “sinners saved by grace,” but have become “his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph. 2:8 -19).  We must understand that we are like him now in spirit since He became the “firstborn of many brethren.”  Someone once used the illustration of a tape duplicator to demonstrate what happens when we are born again:  God takes Jesus (the “master copy”) and us (the “blank tape”) and runs another copy.  We are an exact duplication in kind (Genesis 1:26-28).  Apostolic people have renewed their minds to these New Testament concepts.

C. MANIFESTATION.  In His earthly life, Jesus was a “man in the image of God,” the last Adam, the second man from heaven.  Adam was the first man made in the image of God, Jesus was the second.  Although He pre-existed as God (Colossians 1:17), He came to earth as a “man in the image of God” or “man as he was meant to be.”  When we see Jesus in the gospels, we are seeing man as he was meant to be, in the image of God.  The gospels provide us with the missing account of what a man in the image of God looked like, since we only have three chapters dealing with Adam and the record doesn’t show how he manifested his sonship, only his fall from sonship.  The gospels give us an account of a mature Son of God living out his relationship with the Father, fully representing the invisible God (John 14:6-9; Hebrews 1:1-3).  Now that we have had the “experience of Acts” and the “explanation of the epistles,” we can go to the gospels and it is like looking at ourselves, since Jesus was the “firstborn of many sons.”  We can now step into those shoes and begin to “walk as he walked” (1 John 2:3 -6), with the same relationship with God, the same Holy Spirit empowerment, and the same faith and authority demonstrating the power of God’s Kingdom.  This is what it means to manifest sonship – simply to be all God created you to be in Christ.  Paul said all creation is waiting for the “sons of God“ to take over on planet earth, according to the eternal purpose of God (Romans 8:14-24).  God is bringing the church to the place where He can say, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”

Developing the Faith of a Champion

18747682_sYoung David went to face the champion of the Philistines.  As the “unofficial champion” of Almighty God, he had a “champion faith” which enabled him to take out his adversary.  You and I will need that kind of “champion faith” in these last days as well, because Jesus said in Luke 21:26 that “men’s hearts will be failing them for fear” as they look upon their adversaries.  Think about David as he looked at all of Saul’s army hiding in the trenches, shivering with fear because of Goliath’s roar of blasphemy.  He wasn’t overcome because everyone else was, but on the contrary, their cowardice made him angry and more determined to destroy the enemy whom he knew was already a defeated foe.  “And all men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid….And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel?” (I Samuel 17:24, 26).  David had one thing on his mind, and that was the fact that this was not just his enemy, but Goliath was defying Almighty God and therefore in deep trouble.  David knew that God would need someone to use executing vengeance upon His enemy, so he stepped up to the plate and said it might as well be me.

Praise the Lord.  We should remember that our enemies are God’s enemies because we have a covenant with God.  He will defeat them by using one of us as His Champion, just like He did with Jesus when he walked this earth.  Jesus was God’s Champion, who through the Holy Ghost defeated every enemy he faced that was threatening the future of the people of God (see Acts 10:38).

YOU CAN DEFEAT THAT WHICH STANDS IN OPPOSITION TO GOD’S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE!

What are some of the steps we can learn from David that will help us develop this championship faith as well?  What made David different from all the rest of his contemporaries that brought him to his great destiny in God? First we should note that David was a “youth,” a mere boy of about 15 years.  This tells me that David didn’t wait until he was an adult to get to know God.  David was not a “time waster” when it came to his spiritual life.  During those early years while herding his father’s sheep, he developed qualities that enabled him to “step up to the plate” when his opportunity for advancement came.

Many people are unprepared for the day of opportunity because they have wasted so much time after becoming a believer.  Instead of pressing in while a “spiritual youth” through prayer, fasting, and study of God’s word, many have allowed the cares of life and an unbiblical value system to rob them of time needed for preparing themselves for God’s plan in the future.  God is preparing you for the day of battle, because the day of battle is also the day of advancement.  Don’t forget that after this battle (David & Goliath), a nobody became a somebody!

Did you ever wonder why you have had the seemingly “tough training” during your formative years as a Christian?  This could be the reason – satan will be there to “defy you” when it your time for promotion.  You will not get to your destiny without defeating the Goliath that stands in your way; therefore, you will need “championship faith” in that hour.

What are the four qualities David developed that enabled him to win his “big battle” and breakthrough to destiny?

  1. He was faithful in his father’s house.
  2. He had a tender heart of worship.
  3. He understood covenant concepts.
  4. He understood faith principles.

David was “tending his father’s sheep.” He learned to be “faithful in the house of a father.”  Submission and obedience are implied in this message.  We see David being faithful to duty at this time in his life, obeying the assignment his father had given him:  to watch the sheep and to take lunch to his brothers on the battle front.  It is important that believers learn to be faithful to duties in the local church right away and develop the ability to stay under authority and do a good job while there.  Many people downplay this important part of preparation and roam about looking for opportunity that never comes.  David was called “the sweet singer of Israel” because he developed intimacy with God while tending the sheep.  He learned to draw near to God through praise and worship, allowing his heart to become tender to God.  This tenderheartedness is what caused him to be so grieved when he sinned, and to immediately seek restoration with the Lord.  Many today have no grief over their sins, but continue in hardheartedness and denial of their wrongdoing.  A tenderhearted worshipper cannot stay out of fellowship with God for long, but will repent and seek God’s presence.

David also learned the key of “covenant relationship” while a youth.  He understood that Goliath was an “uncircumcised Philistine.”  Circumcision was the entrance to covenant in Israel.  No uncircumcised person could partake of the covenant blessings of God promised to the people.  God is cutting away the flesh that hinders us from entering covenant with others that have been placed in our lives for further maturity and impartation.  Have you allowed circumcision in your life at the hand of a “skilled workman” who takes the “sword of the spirit” delicately to those areas that need cut away?

Lastly, David learned to “speak the word” in faith when he faced the enemy.  He said, “The Lord delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, and HE WILL DELIVER ME OUT OF THE HAND OF THIS PHILISTINE….So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him.  AND THERE WAS NO SWORD IN THE HAND OF DAVID.” (I Samuel 17:37, 50, emphasis mine).  But there was a SWORD IN HIS MOUTH.

When we have learned these four indispensable traits, we will be ready to both defeat our adversary and move into promotion.

Overcoming the Independent Spirit

25459205_s It is not a new revelation that we have a fatherless generation in our world presently, with all the attending consequences of dysfunction, independence, anger and hopelessness.  God called it a curse in Malachi 4:5-6: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

A number of years ago, God began to change the hearts of religious leaders into spiritual fathers, who say to their disciples “come follow me” (Mathew 4:19).  They were seeking a genuine relationship of love where sons and daughters are blessed with the generational inheritance of a double portion (Deuteronomy 21:17).

After this change occurred and fathers were in a place to receive sons into relationship, God began to “turn the hearts of the children” with men and women seeking out their spiritual fathers and mothers.  These followers whose hearts have been delivered from the orphan spirit also have a cry in their hearts which says, like Elisha, “I will not leave thee” (2 Kings 4:4).

When Elisha asked Elijah for a double portion of his spirit, the elder prophet responded, “you have asked a hard thing.”  What difficulty was he referring to?  It certainly would not be hard for God to give Elisha the blessing, and it wouldn’t be hard for Elijah to lay hands upon him either.  So what was the problem?  It was going to be hard for Elisha to become the son he wanted to be.

When Elisha asked for the double portion, he was referring to the generational inheritance that belongs to a firstborn son (Deuteronomy 21:17).  In effect, he was actually asking Elijah to become his spiritual father.

Many would-be sons and daughters have identified the need for an “Elijah” in their life.  They have asked for relationship as well, not fully realizing the process that would qualify them for the inheritance and right to be called a son or a daughter.

Those who have grown up without a natural father in their life have many of the results mentioned above.  I personally know the struggle of growing up with a breadwinner and not a dad.  After getting saved and called to ministry, I sought for a father through every spiritual leader in my life and found only those who had not been fathered themselves.  This kind of a person was incapable of being a father to me.  I often encountered the abuse of a “Saul” type of religious leader, or the rejection of an insecure one who was trying to minister from their own dysfunction.  These experiences caused me to press into God for a fathering spirit myself.  This is when God gave me my first revelation of the Elijah anointing.

It is possible to be raised by God in the absence of a real spiritual father in your life, but that is not the pattern that God intended. God planned for spiritual fathers to raise their families and leave a legacy of sons and daughters for generations who would continue the process with their own offspring in the spirit.

When we grow up without a spiritual father, we develop an independent spirit.  An independent spirit is a characteristic of an orphan heart.  A person with an independent spirit has had no one to approve, appoint, protect, or promote them.  They end up having to do these things themselves.  These are normally the functions of a father in our lives.  The independent spirit is easy to identify because it is self-appointing, self- protecting, and self-promoting.  The problem then becomes one of being able to function within a family.

Relationships are difficult, many often ending in offense and discouragement.  This is why we see people with an independent spirit are not able to stay in one place very long.  They wander and roam not knowing they are looking for a family.  But families have fathers.

When this happens, recognizing and accepting a father into our lives becomes a “hard thing.”  Remember the words of Elijah to Elisha…”you have asked a hard thing.”

An independent spirit will not let an individual be the representative of another – they can only represent themselves.  But in the process of becoming a son or daughter, we learn to represent another.  Jesus said, “If you have seen me you have seen My Father” (John 14.9).

In relationship to our earthly spiritual fathers, others should be able to see the spirit of the fathers in the sons and daughters.  The Apostle Paul said Timothy was a “true son” because he was able to represent Paul accordingly (Philippians 2:19-22).  If we have not served with another as a son does with a father, God will connect us with a father whom we can serve until we become a son.

We will have to enter another’s vision and become representative of it in order to be delivered from the independent spirit of self that has grown from our orphan heart.  Our spiritual fathers will know when true sonship has occurred, just like Elijah knew when Elisha was ready to receive his inheritance.  Elijah said, “If you see me when I go up,” which in the original language means, “If we see eye to eye.”  Elisha had learned to see eye to eye with his spiritual father’s vision.

Can you see your spiritual father’s vision and represent it?  This is the pathway to deliverance from an independent spirit, and the road to recovery from an orphan heart.

When we become true sons, curses resulting from an orphan heart are broken in our lives (Malachi 4:6).  We enter into freedom from a self-directed life.  We have a deeper revelation of our Father’s Love for us, because the independent spirit keeps us blinded to a degree.  We are able to receive and give love without the hindrances of insecurity, inferiority, and poor self-perception.

Without seeing a father’s vision and serving it, we have been left to serve our own vision.  Of course we have individual visions, but sonship occurs through the process of relating to a spiritual father as we serve the vision of another man.  This is what Elisha did.  This is what the disciples of Jesus did.  This is what Joshua did, and it is what we must all do.

Many believers have an independent spirit because they have encountered abuse from parents or other authority figures.  Because of this they have decided that no one else is worthy of trust when it comes to their life and destiny.  With the availability of Chris- tian TV, radio, seminars, conferences, and ministry partnerships with nationally known ministers, other believers have grown spiritually without relating to a local church family where there was a spiritual father in the house.  They approach the church with the “self-approved, -appointed, -promoted and -protective attitude” and are difficult to deal with.

This is the hard thing brought about by fatherlessness.  If their established agenda is not appealed to by the leadership, they simply move on looking for the right place (meaning a place where they can represent themselves without confrontation).

Pastors can usually see the calling on a believer’s life, and will believe in their personal vision, but still will not be able to release that person within the church because of their inability to see beyond their own thing.  Such dear people can cause unintentional damage if they do not understand and relate properly to the “vision of the house.”  This can cause offense and confusion which gives place to accusation and betrayal, ruining many good churches.

The same is true with ministry sons and daughters who are being connected to today’s apostolic movements.  If they have developed their ministry vision through an independent spirit, the apostle to whom they connect may have the same problems as the local pastor we just described.  These anointed vessels may have the same traits of the independent spirit and will need to understand that they must be in submission to the father whom God has placed in their life.

This simply means they must submit, or come under the mission of another.  The independent-spirited one may fight for recognition for a while, wanting the father to recognize their call and vision, providing opportunity before any loyalty to the father’s vision is established.  They have not yet realized the move of the Spirit today to “restore the hearts of fathers and children,” and that this is the prophetic mandate upon the church at this time.

This process will produce the mature sons and daughters who really represent the Heavenly Father as Jesus did, and will release the greatest blessing of God the earth has ever seen.  Malachi said, “unless I smite the earth with a curse…” meaning that when the restoration occurs, the earth will be mightily blessed.  The mature sons and daughters who have been blessed with their double portion will do the works of the Father and usher in the return of the King of Kings!

Let’s ask God for understanding of the work He is doing at this time and find our place within it.

The Faith Message

20048951_mlThe “Faith Message” of the 70’s and 80’s has been discarded by many as “extreme or hyper.” Many others, who actually learned the message, have “let it slip” and gone back to “walking by sight.” Someone may well accuse me of being in the “Faith Camp” after reading this bit of “apostolic advice,” but first let’s look at Apostle Paul’s version of the Faith Message.

Paul had a more profound “revelation of redemption” than any other New Testament writer; he especially understood the triune makeup of man and the connection between the “heart and mouth”. “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the HEART man believes unto righteousness, and with the MOUTH confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:8-10

 “And since we have the same SPIRIT OF FAITH, according to what is written, “I BELIEVED and therefore I SPOKE”, we also believe and therefore speak”. 2 Cor. 4:13

 Apostle Jesus operated in the same “faith revelation” as Paul, in fact, Jesus Himself taught it to Paul. Both Jesus and Paul operated from the “spirit man” and not from “reason or sense realm,” that is why they had “apostolic miracles”. (Acts 3:16)

“For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain,  Be removed and cast into the sea, and does not DOUBT IN HIS HEART, but BELIEVE that those things which he SAYS will be done, he will have whatever he SAYS.” Mark 11:23

 Actually, the “apostolic faith message” seems “foolish” to the natural mind because the natural mind operates according to the “five senses.” The “faith message” Paul and Jesus taught was based upon a “sixth sense”, that is described in Hebrews 11:1 Amplified,

”Now FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [FAITH PERCEIVING AS A REAL FACT WHAT IS NOT REVEALED TO THE SENSES].”

 This is an amazing statement, “faith perceives as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.” I think it means the same as “believing with the heart” that Paul teaches us about, it is the sixth sense of the spirit man.  According to this verse, “faith can perceive a reality that the five senses cannot perceive because it is revelatory in nature.” That revelation is the Word of God to the individual that has received it, and therefore begins to speak it out of the abundance of the heart. We can simply say that “walking by faith” is walking by the “sixth sense” of the heart, independently of the five senses which have not yet perceived the reality the heart of man has perceived from the Spirit of God. Abraham operated in this kind of faith when he refused to consider his “own body now dead, nor yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb.” Abraham “believed according to that which was spoken,” not that which he perceived in the five sense realm. We are told to “walk in the steps of the faith of Abraham” in Romans 4:12.

 Abraham “believed in the heart and spoke with the mouth.” Paul said that Abraham “called the things which be not, as though they were.” If God said he was now “Abraham, the father of a multitude.” than Abraham was going to say it as well even though he had no proof in the five sense realm. That was “calling things that be not as though they were.” He had faith, the perception of a reality that had not been revealed to the senses,” he walked by the sixth sense.

 This is the apostolic faith message we can plainly see in scripture. I believe we need a “fresh emphasis” of this message in the Body of Christ as a part of the Apostolic Reformation, since it was an apostolic message to begin with. We need more faith in these perilous times, more teaching on faith until we raise people to a level of receiving from God what Christ has died to provide for them. The writer to Hebrews told us that “the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”

 During the early 90’s, I traveled as an evangelist for a historic Pentecostal denomination, conducting healing meetings across the US. God was healing as I preached the Word of Faith from the New Testament. Headquarters was so moved by the testimonies that I was asked to write a section in a manual to be used for all new believers in this organization. After I wrote it the leadership rejected it saying it was “too Word of Faith.” Amazingly, I had quoted from original Sunday School literature of this organization dated in the 50’s that clearly taught the same thing I was then teaching. It is amazing how in such a short period of time we can lose a truth that was so real to our hearts. Jesus said it like this in Luke 18:8, “Shall the Son of Man find FAITH on the earth when He comes.” This statement seems to make “faith preaching” an “end time message”. Let’s revive this message for today’s church that hasn’t yet learned to “walk by faith and not by sight.”

Apostolic Prayer

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine, breaking of bread, fellowship and prayers”, Acts 2:42. It appears from this verse that the apostolic people of the first century held to four important values that perpetuated their individual and corporate spiritual health and increase.

Teaching of the Word. They were steadfast students of the apostles teaching which included the revelation acquired firsthand under the ministry of Jesus Christ during the earthly ministry.

Breaking of Bread. The new family enjoyed much time together in homes sharing meals and building relationships with all the new additions to the House of God.

Fellowship. The word “koinonia” implies a partnership in and communion of common interests and values. This involves learning, praying, worshiping and working together to fulfill the mission of the church.

Prayers. This is the capstone of all the rest, “My house shall be called a house of prayer”. It is clear that the apostles were leaders of a prayer movement first and foremost. True apostolic ministry will always bring a restoration of prayer to the House of God, because apostles are primarily prayer warriors themselves. Some of what we call revivals are not really revivals at all because they don’t involve the masses involved in prayer, but crowds coming to drink from the results of other people’s prayers. The end result is a temporary blessing but not lasting life changes. Maybe we have lost the picture of what a real revival is, it could look like the upper room where all the people were involved in heavy praying which changed their lives to the degree that they become a living witness for Christ. Our modern day idea of revival is often a spectator event where people are coming to see the latest phenomenon, or hear the hottest new preacher, but few people are really being changed for eternity and becoming a living epistle known and read of men.

Some twenty weeks ago, a spontaneous outbreak of revival prayer broke out in our ministry, characterized by deep” groaning which cannot be uttered”. This prayer spirit has gripped the hearts of hundreds of people in various venues where a tangible impartation is received by prayers that takes them beyond tongues. This is occurring in every prayer meeting no matter the location as soon as hands are laid on people, or they receive the microphone to pray. It is obvious that God is training a new generation of prayers by instantly making them a spiritual womb pregnant with the burden of the Lord. The group most influenced by this move are the 20-35 year olds, male and female alike who are catching this wave of the Spirit. Prayer meetings are being conducted every Tuesday and Friday night for the last twenty weeks with the same manifestations taking place. But this is more than manifestations, it is producing life change in every person who is partaking, and whole churches are being affected by it. This impartation was given as a result of a decision we made to move prayer back to the sanctuary on Sunday and Wednesdays for fifteen minutes prior to opening the service. Whereas, intercession usually is relegated to the prayer room where the average believer never sees what real prayer looks like. We close the sanctuary doors fifteen minutes early and turn the sanctuary into a prayer school where I (Sr. Apostle) lead the meeting and release that powerful anointing. Visitors either remain in the foyer or come in and join us as they hear what is happening. Some folks asked, “What if we scare the visitors away”, to which I replied, “They will have to see God in action sometime, it might as well be on the first visit”. To the contrary, the number attending the pre-service prayer school has grown each week, including first time visitors who are hungry for God in their lives. We than move directly into Praise/Worship because the whole group is already on fire. After the third week of bringing prayer back “center stage” and open to the public before each service, pulling out all the stops on the Holy Ghost, God said, “I’m going to honor you for this”. That is when the fire fell and has continued to present in every meeting, we are truly becoming a “house of prayer”. When God said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer”, He meant that prayer would be the main characteristic of the place where He abides. When this has occurred, we will have seen a true restoration in the Church and all the people will be in revival, they won’t be attending a revival meeting, they will be the revival meeting. May this great restoration of apostolic prayer continue until Jesus Comes!

Apostolic Courage

20653706_lMoses is understood to be an Old Testament apostle according to Hebrews 3:1-3 where he is compared to our Apostle and High Priest, Jesus Christ. Moses is credited with “building a house”, the work of apostles, and imparting to another generation of leaders as a spiritual father. We see the impartation going into Joshua enabling him to do the greater work of leading the people into their inheritance after having received deliverance thru the ministry of Moses.

An aspect on the anointing given to Joshua was courage, something Moses displayed on many occasions while leading Israel out of bondage and something Joshua witnessed in his spiritual father. Courage simply means to “continue in the face of fear and adversity or against much greater odds”.

“Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I swore unto their fathers to give them”, Josh.1:6.

Joshua would need great courage to face the odds arrayed against him and his congregation if they were to succeed in obtaining all God planned for them. Courage is to be the badge of apostolic people since we are living in perilous times as Paul promised we would in the last days (2 Tim.3:1). Paul was a great example of courage to Timothy and all of his apostolic team, facing adversity with assurance of victory and a determination to never give up. During the Battle of Britain, Winston Churchill motivated his people to succeed against all odds by assuring them “We will never give up”, and God worked miracles to give them the victory against overwhelming odds. Courage gives a person the ability to focus on the objective when there are many attempts to get distracted. “To get distracted is to get discouraged”, that is why God emphasized to Joshua the goal he was to focus on, “for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land”. God was telling Joshua that he would accomplish this task against any odds if he would walk in courage.

Apostolic people are those believers who have been “sent forth by the Holy Ghost” on a divine assignment (Acts 13:4) that would encounter great resistance from the enemy, and would require great amounts of courage. Consider Paul as an example of courage when he had to “ride out a great storm” while enroute to testify before Caesar. After the storm and subsequent shipwreck, he still had to overcome being marooned and considered an escaped criminal. It’s no wonder Paul could confidently stand before the Roman tribunal and confidently say, “The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work and will deliver me safely to his heavenly kingdom” (2 Tim.4:18). His courage had developed by facing adversity time and again, beating all the odds. With God no-thing shall be impossible. Today’s apostolic people, those who have sat under apostolic anointing, should be the examples of courage to this generation, keeping their eyes on their God given objectives and turning apparent defeat into glorious victory for the glory of God. The shifting conditions of our day may instill fear in many, but those with apostolic anointing will remain courageous during the most difficult situations, inspiring others to “fight the good fight of faith” and obtain the prize before them. When we operate in courage and refuse to give in to fear, God will make a way where there is no way. When Moses courageously led Israel to the Red Sea, little did he know that the “path of deliverance” was “hidden at the bottom of the sea”. The way was there all the time, but didn’t open up until it was necessary. This is a word for us today, the hidden path will open at the right time, and it was hidden in our obstacle the whole time.

The Apostolic Heart

Apostolic ministry involves more than the functions of the “grace gift”, it also includes the inner motivations of the heart of an apostle. Paul often mentions what motivates him from within, such as his outline in Romans 1:14-16 where he mentions three attitudes of the heart that will be the driving forces of ministry. First he says, “I am a DEBTOR”, meaning that he was a person with a sense of obligation, akin to the attitude a conscientious person takes toward a bill that is due. A sense of obligation will move a person to take care of business with haste, and not procrastinate until the last moment. I once read a book by Jack Sparks on Modern Day Cults which had a quote that summed up this idea of obligation in regards to the unsaved. He said the cults were the “unpaid bills of the Church”, a statement that has stuck with me since the late Seventies when I first read it. This sense that Paul had of obligation to share the truth he had received, led to the next attitude he revealed about his own heart, “I am READY to preach the gospel”. This simply means that because of the debt he owed, he prepared himself in every way possible to pay that debt, he said, “So as much as is within me I am ready to preach”. This is not a half-hearted effort at the task, but a true apostolic attitude toward responsibility to do as much studying, praying, fasting and listening to mentors as necessary to be “approved unto God a workman that needeth not to be ashamed”. Any person, who has been touched by apostolic anointing to the degree that a change of heart has occurred, will share in this sense of obligation and will be preparing themselves to preach the gospel as well. Every believer is called to apostolic ministry in the sense that we are all called, anointed, and appointed by God to a place of influence in our world where we can establish the Kingdom of God. Finally, Paul said, “I am not ASHAMED of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation”. I believe that Paul was thinking of all the times he had preached Christ and watched as the word was confirmed with signs following, like the lame man at Lystra in Acts 14:7-11, “the same heard Paul preach and had faith to be healed”. When Paul “perceived that the man had faith to be healed, he said, “Stand upright on thy feet” and the man got up and walked home carrying his bed. Paul saw the power of God released as he preached the word in different venues, always resulting in miracles, deliverance and new birth; he knew it could happen even in a King’s Court. So he affirms that he wasn’t ashamed of the manifestation of God’s power, not matter how or when it was displayed. These are the attitudes of an apostolic heart, “I am a debtor, I am ready, and I am not ashamed”. (Romans 1:14-16…”I am a debtor both to the Greeks and the barbarians; both to the wise, and the unwise. So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek”. )

Apostolic Prosperity

18827391_sThe Church at Philippi enjoyed a greater measure of prosperity than the other churches of Macedonia because they understood God’s order of apostolic ministry. We learn that the House of God has order and structure from the many Old Testament patterns for building that were emulated by the New Testament leaders. Haggai 2:7-9 predicts the “glory of the latter house will be greater than the glory of the former”, and that there is a connection between the “glory and the silver and gold”. The New Testament church built according to pattern will have the manifestation of God’s glory in it, and the money will always be where the glory is found.

When Paul wrote to the Philippians, he indicated that they had learned how to tap into the glory by properly relating to the apostolic ministry of the day. They recognized the order of God’s house and willingly submitted to it, taking responsibility for the care of Paul and his apostolic ministry. Paul seemingly was surprised that none of the other churches in Macedonia had recognized his apostolic role in their lives, and were negligent in their support of his work of ministry. On the other hand, the Philippians were “careful to communicate with him in giving and receiving” so much so that they found favor with God. Paul told them that their response to his need was “a sweet smelling sacrifice to God” and “well pleasing in his sight”, Phil.4:15-19. It pleased God that this church identified with Paul’s apostolic ministry and were so conscientious in making sure there was a full supply coming into Paul’s office so that he would be able to continue unhindered by financial distress.

When speaking about money to the Church, Paul was careful to explain his motive, “Not that I desire a gift, but that fruit may be set to your account”. He assured them that their giving would result in their own prosperity, and that was what he desired above all else as their spiritual father. He affirmed to what extent they had cared for his life and ministry by saying, “I am full and abound” due to their repeated giving. It was then that God released the prophetic word to them about the glory coming into their midst, bringing with it a “full supply of all their needs”, “But my God shall supply all your needs according to his RICHES IN GLORY by Christ Jesus”, vs.19. The Philippians had realized an important truth about the order of ministry in the House of God and had properly aligned themselves with apostolic leadership bringing a release of the “glory, silver and gold”. The church that is built according to the Apostolic New Testament model will have both the “glory and the money” in it.