“You Won…”

We recently directed some guests of ours from overseas to Kings Cross station London as they wanted to see platform 9 ¾, I wondered what they wanted, 9 ¾ never heard of such a platform, cannot be really?  I had no idea what they were talking about, never heard of it, thought they are not from UK.    However I found out that they knew better than me, the platform was made famous through Harry Potter’s book, you go to the platform quite simply to get your photo opportunity… just in case you wish to see it take the Underground to Kings Cross / St. Pancras, (two main line stations that share the same Underground Station).        Follow the signs into Kings Cross Station when you get to the surface walk along Platform 8 (it’s totally free access).     When you see a sign directing you left to Platforms 9 to 11 keep going on along Platform 8 and the Platform 9 3/4 photo opportunity is a few yards further along on your left. There is normally a conspicuous sign on the platform pointing to the small alcove and out of the wall projects half a baggage trolley.   You have arrived at your destination.

I had no idea of how to get there or how to help others arrive there then the thought came to me, it is a real challenge for us all to answer the question   “where are we going and how can we help each other get there?”.    It is a timely question in the hour we live, with so many changes in society, politics and the economic world , in the business world and in the world of faith, the church change is coming at us as a fast speeding train, whether we want it or not.    Where is it taking us and how can we help each other get  there?

It  is a day for the prophetic people of God to come to the out from under the covers, a day in the midst of much noise and debate, to take hold of the word of God.     Gods’ words when uttered in the past created, they also sustained people who took them up.    These spoken words gave direction and knowledge to those who listen and heard them, those who listened  did not find themselves with out understanding.

Clearly we are in a day of discovering a deeper trust of the Father a new listening and obedience that will lead us into freedom and to the land of promise.    We have to grasp the idea that we are on journey,  that in itself  will empower, challenge and  mature all who embark.

Today as people of God in the west, we find ourselves so much part of societies thinking at large, that it has invaded the church and they way we think, becoming consumers in every way.   Seeking ever-increasing experiences for our emotions, listening to the word of God to consume that which we believe that will give us a quick advance, an edge on life or even fix?    Making decisions on that which we can get hold of immediately, the NOW rules us.    Yet the Journey men and women of old, the pictures of lives of people between the covers of the scriptures walked a journey, not a quick dash with immediate consumer gratification.    Consider the lesson of one of these journey men, Abraham, here is a man who had promise upon promise spoken to him, of peoples, fathering, sons, nation and land, God promises to bless all nations through Abraham, yet Abraham received none of these in his day, but  even 1000’s of years on the promises are still coming to pass.

Even more than that Abraham had a 644 Kilometer journey, once he was willing to entertain the promise.   A 644 Kilometer journey and a 4000+ year, time frame, to get the promises.   Now that is a challenge once he become obedient to the promise words of God it was a long haul walk and a massive time frame to content with.    Now don’t get me wrong on the journey there where evidences, victories of the promise but its fullness took walking on investing time, he become wealthy in his day, he had influence and did finally get a true son of promise, but certainly one son does not constitute a nation!   Once Abraham believed and entered the journey it was counted as righteousness to him, that is keeping in right line with the journey, and keeping it foundational to life’s actions and decisions.   The words of God are living, but how living are they ?  They require movement, obedience, a change of vicinity, a change of surroundings, a departure and a step in front of you.    Actually the words of promise to us all are to bring about sons of God who are led by the Spirit, to bring maturity in light of eternal promise.

I think its time to discover not only the joy of the immediate but the eternal will of the Father, knowing that we have been called to an eternal purpose, to depart from the tent of  the immediate and become the tent of meeting for our life and then our world around us.     We are, the people of God, the ecclesia, the church are to be the place where people will meet the love of God along with a people who are a prophetic journeying people.

Let me encourage you to find others people who will also ask the question, where is all this taking us?  where are we going and how can I help you get there rather than making sure I can get there.

Traveling in a plane has its challenges, but no more for me than the initial film or safety demonstration, we are all shown, there is one difficult line there to listen  to, it goes something like this …make sure your mask when it drops from the roof goes on you first before you see to children or others… that is so against the journey of prophetic people,  firstly seeing to ourselves before others, so that we can all arrive together.    Many years ago  we were taught to play croquet by a great Godly man called Arthur Wallis some 15 or so of us, in a retreat centre in Sheffield.   As we came to the end of our game and our instruction Arthur being the master crossed the line, won the game and a shout of “…you have won Arthur…” went up from all,  with this he turned and said “…no I only cross the line when all my brothers cross…” and with that he fell with his head at the foot of an old wooden cross in the gardens becoming one of the host of witnesses who now continues to cheer on this seen world to ultimate intention of the Father.   What a line to enter eternity with, to depart this expression of life with, what a way to live, asking more how can I help you get to the destination of the will of God rather than consuming, to get there myself.

So find journey men and women, young people, children sojourners who are pursuing the will of the Father in eternal promise and plan and seek to help each other fulfill the prophetic purpose of God.

Trends of the Spirit – Servant – Leader – Influencer

Today the Spirit is re engaging our theology and consideration to realise that our God is a Trinitarian God and not a hierarchical God, as we have so often been instructed.   This simple change in understanding has major ramifications on all thinking and practice within our world.  We realise that theology is at the base of every decision and action in each society – it is time to review and adjust to the instructions of the Spirit and allow the impact to  stretch across our world.

There has never been so much debate regarding the way forward as there is today, with markets changing, people changing, with the needs and requirements of modern men and women.

We actually say that everyone is a leader in some way or another, whether a parent at home discipline, schooling, empowering their children or as a successful business entrepreneur.   You are influencing someone!

Leadership in most people’s’ mind would be thought to be seen, in the charismatic decisive directive goal filled person, with every one else listening and doing as they are told, yet over the years we have seen that this is so far from the servant leadership model, we are all called to.   Willing to pour oneself out for the advance and empowerment of others.

We live in a season where leaders are to be honoured yet Christ poured himself out; this was his style of leadership and influence.    I would even step out and say for true, lasting and worthwhile leadership it has to be “servant style” to be lasting.   As a matter of fact it is in vogue to talk generational in church settings and in mentoring business settings, yet lasting success can only be achieved through servant style leaderships or influence!    It is about time we discovered that once again.

In times of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists”.

Eric Hoffer

The only way to avoid control or domineering of people’s identity, is to rediscover our call to servanthood once again.

As you read through the Psalm’s you can come across gems of thoughts on all emotions and experiences of life, one recently caught my attention “…Finish what you started in me, God.    Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now…”(138:8), we are reminded that we have a God-given purpose, The Father has begun something in us and through us.        We are told in Paul’s writing each one has been given a destiny that has been for ordained, that was placed before the beginning of time.  Then in Philippians we are told that “… he who began a good work in you will complete it…” you see there is no shadow of turning on his behalf, when it comes to his will towards us and towards his purpose.

Each one of us are given the opportunity to imprison, empower, liberate others around you we can entrap friends and employees or bring them into the “… wide open spaces…” the liberty of God. It does not matter whether it is in the work arena or our faith arena, each one of us should be looking to enlarge others.

“The most immediate risk in your present way of operating may be that you could not be replaced, it there should be a need of that”

Robert Greenleaf, Servant Leadership

Decades ago a new book arrived on the shelves called ‘Servant Leadership’ written by Robert Greenleaf it has always amazed me how few books have taken on this focus, although I do believe for lasting impact we are beginning now to realise the distraction we have been brought into.    The term Servanthood, Servant, has been part of our vocabulary for many years and yet we still seem to struggle with its’ full implication in leadership and influence but subtle distractions come our way.   We seem to be still much more comfortable with a dominant leadership style, rather than one the soul reflects the Godhead and the modeling of Christ in pouring oneself out. Perhaps if we considered a different vantage point we could see a change, and move from the idea of being the chief to being a builder.

The servant leader is not the center of attention but the one that matures, releases and promotes others into their position. The servant becomes the stepping stool for others.

It is time that the church becomes aware of their lasting effect and become the leaders and influencers to bring about maturity.

“Servant leaders want to see the company even more successful in the next generation, comfortable with the idea that most people won’t even know that the roots of that success trace back to their efforts” 

Jim Collins, Good to Great

This “servant leadership” will be built on integrity and therefore will attract trust, people will enable men and women to sleep at night as they pulled out their lives for others. There will come a time with the using of others step is to achieve power will cease only as the impact of servant leadership is allowed to be seen.

To lead with the desire to become a successful as you aim to succeed in the very process, servant leadership it is our day greatest cover our call and vocation to evolve into Servant Leaders, to follow the Christ and explain the Fathers ways.

As we move more and more into the day of the saints, advancing from the priesthood of all believers to the ministry of all believers it is the lasting hand of the servant leader that will bring about a lasting impact for the Kingdom of God and his King.

This Kingdom will fill the whole of creation, and the joy of God, the church, will cause Christ to be seen in our world, by being the exact representation of his style in every way.   To love and empower, to free and give course for life, to be the incarnation in our generation through servants of Christ and leaders who are servants of all creation.

This is not a style of leadership but it is a leadership that endures and therefore brings about true lasting enduring advance

Leadership – discovering again its SERVANT nature.

There are so many Leadership styles along with books urging us to discover style would be the best to lead making your mark amongst people and society.    We some times get confused how we who are followers of Christ should reflect the Christ in our work.    Jesus said in John 1:18 (NASB) “…came to explain the Father.” he has invited us to continue what he started, explaining the Father.    I have repeatedly stated and asked the challenging question of my self “do I  explain the Father” as I live my life, do we explain him.

My interaction with people, my work ethic, my conduct, character, the way I live life, are people gaining an explanation?     You and I have to admit we will through word and deed explain something of to others, I wonder what.     I wonder how I conduct myself in a supermarket line, the way I drive the car, my conduct towards those older, younger, or of any difference to me, what do I explain?   Do people walking away from me depart with an explanation of God or is it something else?

We have been called through our own temperament, they way we are cut our character and life not be like the leadership style in our own way but one that explains what God if like.   Leadership is clearly to be rediscover, is in urgent need to be seen as a SERVANT style, one that pours out for others, one that is more interested in establishing an inheritance for the next generation that building for our selves, that serves the society around giving away to build and establish through a servant leadership.   Let us rediscover in world govern by business, getting more and more, amassing wealth, gaining control a servant leadership that flows from being a son of God rather than endorsing an orphan spirit of protection of me and mine, working to make secure my provision rather than trusting the Father and being a Servant Leader.    the people of God would be different in itself if we could driver our delve storm celebrities to servant ministries and taking that model to our world.    Sometime we are so caught on making a mark we have forgotten the desired Christ like style to do so and fall to become “Christian X-factor” leaders rather than poured out Servant Leaders, Christ will triumph and we will become the Servant Bride- a Challenge to be different but explaining God!

‘Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance.’

J. Donald Walters

‘You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader.’

Anthony J D’Angelo

‘Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.’

St. Augustine

‘Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.’

Winston Churchill

‘But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave.’

Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”( Matt 20:27, 28)

Jesus the Christ

Good read to consider further – Leadership, Greatness & Servanthood Phillip Greenslade

21st Century Apostolic

As we advance in the 21st Century and following some of the gains in understanding over the last decades on the Apostolic ministry and its function there are certainly joys of advance along with concerns in our day.   In our travels we find places where no one would receive the apostolic or are reluctant to call any one apostolic, may be a little thinking of ‘it all ended with the 12’.   Alongside this we find a huge growth of the apostolic that seems like every time some one sneezes an apostle is appointed and the apostolic positioned to he higher than others taking control, taking a hierarchical title for position.    Both have the same effect and produce the wrong function and aims and the calling discredited.   Yet for the church the apostolic, just as the other Ascensions Gifts (Ephesians 4:11) are required for the body of Christ to come to maturity, which must be our greatest burden to see the maturity of God creation, ‘Christ filling all in all’, humanity and creation restored to the Fathers first thought and ultimate intention.   It is in the light of these extremes my journey of writing is to discover what is necessary today so I offer these thoughts as we attempt to practice them.   This is the first part of my thought I trust you will enjoy a look forward to the second part.

The apostle is one part of the complement of gifts given by the ascended Christ to our world. These ministries (Ephesians 4:11) are the gifts of the ascended Christ himself. For he “… Gave of himself…” Gifts to mankind, so that Christ will be fully produced in his ecclesia, church.

Without the full complement of gifts (Ascension gifts) maturity and the fulfillment of God’s call will elude his cosmos, creation.

Apostles are those that have the grace and the ability to break through barriers cross boundaries and have a primary concern with the maturing of God’s people.   Apostle Paul said of himself that he laboured “… until Christ is formed in you…” he would only seek to find Christ amongst them. These are clues to the new Testament Church, and the apostles, which are outlined within the pages of the book and begin to paint a picture for us of the church and apostles.

Apostles are an active agent to bring the whole rule and order of the father to Earth; they are advance agents of the kingdom of God.   Adam was planted in the garden of God to extend the order of the father into all creation so too apostles are planted in the garden of God’s creation to extend his rule. They establish the kingdom, proclaim the kingdom and advance the kingdom

The apostolic grace brings with it and imparts an atmosphere of,  “I can do in this”, it leaves an empowerment, it stimulates within the people of God an ability to cross over, and breakthrough.  Wherever there are boundaries they cross, wherever there are walls they leap over they change environments, there is within every apostle an inherent desire to remove restrictions.

They carry the grace, wisdom and skill in the building of Gods abode, his ecclesia the church. For the apostolic is a “… Wise master builder who has laid a foundation …” (1 Cor. 3:10) They are able to bring God’s ultimate goal and heart to the people of God, in the place of their appointing, and in the times they find themselves in. They are not consultants or advisers, but builders of the house of God

Apostles were clearly necessary in the early days of the church, as recorded in the New Testament, to bring heaven to earth and seek to remove the separation of the secular and the spiritual. They are as necessary today, as then, to bring the church to maturity and release creation from its futility, (Romans 8) as they work in harness with the Holy Spirit to bring about the freedom of the sons of God.

Ephesians 2:20 outlines that the apostles along with the profits they are part of the continuity of God in the establishment of the people of God and the maturing of creation, this foundation of apostles and prophets-which is Christ.   The apostles then have the same effect as Christ, that the Christ is ongoing “radical”, if you follow the etymology of the word radical meaning, foundation, forming a base. Christ was radical as he dealt with our foundation and the foundation of creation, the apostle and prophet equally are radical, in terms of the church the dealing as they deal with foundational matters.

Apostles will be amongst us until the body of Christ reaches its maturity, corporate maturity and the unity of the faith (Ephesians 4:12,13). They will diligently labour until we live in the light of the work of Jesus in the cross, until we are one; the apostle declares aloud that we are one.

Paul an apostle says that apostles occupy a principal place amongst the equipping/Ascension ministries, that is they are to “first apostles” (Ephesians 4:7-11; 1 Cor. 12:28) however earlier in the book of Corinthians he outlines apostles are “…last…” (1 Cor. 4:9), So what did Paul mean? Although Paul lived in a world and was formed by Greek thought, he spoke and wrote from a different vantage point; clearly he had a Trinitarian view of God, and understood the relationship within the Divine family to be one of ‘perichoresis’. That is the constant moving relationship amongst the Father, Son and Spirit, a moving, spinning dance, with each party pouring out themselves to the next, being more interested in the other than themselves, bringing pleasure to one another and filling and enabling each others aims. Each one speaking of the other, each one lifting the other, it is not with a hierarchical thinking and mindset that Paul speaks more about functional necessity, as  in every foundation, that the apostle is first functionality. Yet “lastly” he speaks is to indicate the nature of all apostles as the extension of Christ as the servant of the people of God. Apostolic therefore in position is functionally first but positional last, being the servant of all as Christ.

We see that with true apostolic ministries there is not found any sense of superiority they however known their own going continuity and necessity. Apostles should take on the attitude of the chief apostle, Christ himself who became a servant of all “he came to serve not to be served”. Apostles do not take to themselves position or demand honour, but serve pouring themselves out for God’s purpose.

Apostles have an interest and burden for the design of the house of God, and creation, and bring their craft as wise master builders to bear on the building of the house. Paul used the term wise master builder, but fully understood that there were many other apostolic gifting’s and characteristics involved. As you read the scriptures you realize there are a number of other Apostles also named in the New Testament, who did not belong to the 12, we have James, Barnabas and Paul himself even Andronicus and Junias were held in high regard amongst apostles (Romans 12).  In some church traditions even Mary Magdalene sent to the apostles by Jesus himself is recognized as one sent that the gathered saint did not receive her words, so we are told.

It could be said that the Father is apostolic in nature that he sent himself, sending himself in creation and then sending the Son to explain Him (John 1:18) and from there sending the holy spirit, finally sending the people of God to be the apostolic nature of God. There will come a time when the church becomes apostolic in characteristic and realizes its “sent-ness” into creation.

To BE in your TIME

Between the Lines, Between the sheets, Between the pages, Between a rock and a hard place, BETWEEN TIMES…

Much of our lives are spent in a certain kind of mind-set, and experience.  it is often necessary to learn the skill to be able to enjoy the times of our lives.   How many of us are living between promise and accomplishments, between being told it’s coming and the arrival.   the Scriptures are filled with this, are they not?    We read the accounts and stories and miss one fundamental tool in Gods equipment, that is, a word comes but the distance between the utterance of the word and the arrival of that word, can be soooo looong!    take even the promise of the Messiah 100’s of years, and if you include the promise to Adam and Eve of the “crushed head” of the garden experience, 1000’s of years.   yet the words and the promises are no less relevant and potent, it is the skill of staying in and holding on, or better said it is learning to live in  the BETWEEN TIMES.   we are all, if loving God, between the times people, actually all of humanity are living between the times when it comes to Gods love and promise fulfilled, along with his intent and cause arriving.

There is a skill for between the times, the learned skill of trust, of continuing, of setting your face like flint when that which comes towards you looks different from the promise.   stay with the times by fully encountering the between times.

A classic  picture of this is Acts 1, having lost, the Christ gone, and being told to wait , setting in order the loss and appointment of Matthias, yet they were between times, were they not.   Christ had ascended and the Holy Spirit had not come, the fulfilment of Old Testament promise.   Living with each other while between times.   who would not say that’s enough, or I’m not sure if its true, let’s get out of here, long enough, certainly we miss heard, did God say?

Acts 1 is the story of 120 people in a room waiting for release along with arrival, it’s a skill of attitude and keeping faith, how many give up and change their theology because it’s not come quick enough, or even come as we determined it, between times are dangerous times and empowering times.    we have heard many expound the ‘Kiros’ moments, the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment) and direct it to a particular event, i would suggest to you that we live in constant ‘kiros’ moments, dangers and opportunity, always between the times – danger and opportunity

The dangers of when we see nothing happening, in these between times we try to make it happen, Abraham did it  with the promise of a child, he tried to make it happen in the between times.   I wonder about the appointment of Matthias, was that God breathed or were they also simply trying to make things happen.   You can not say that, well it is interesting that we hear nothing of him from that moment on?   be careful in ‘In between times’, if the command is wait, then wait, hold to the promise don’t let it go by trying to make it happen with your own with effort.

The lessons of between times must be, when God speaks, when simple direction is given, take hold of it  with both hands and live in it, not in another moment or event, simple really, between times is a time to keep to the directions given.   this opens up the reality when nothing is happening and there is a God creating between times.   it is the  Fathers problem not ours, hold to Him.

Like many at the beginning of any new year the question of what God is saying comes up and the pressure to say something of significance comes upon us, let us thank and celebrate the workings of the Holy Spirit in our world.  Lets stop being CSI Christians, scientifically looking into more and more detail of where God has been, and oh yes honour the past, but the past is surely for the future, learn  to live in the light of the promise, so that we can say where God will be and not where he has been, a truly prophet people.     I read recently some 1.2 million communities – families – churches have been established with 250 million people coming to Christ in the last 6 years World wide WOW wonderful testimonies of God at work,   yet in all that if I compare with whats happening to whats coming it is still a drop in the ocean, as Christ fills all things and the church moves towards its goal of Christ everywhere with creation transformed to be like heaven here and now, restoration to Fathers first intent, there is so much more to come.   As the old saying goes, made famous by a USA president “you ain’t seen nothing yet” we are between times!   The awakening, the times of refreshing, revivals that will bring the Season of Restoration is still breaking in on us, it is happening but  we are still  between times.   So what do I do, just do  what i have been directed, keep it simple, do what God has said, get on with it and nothing more, keep my thoughts, don’t try to make it happen and loose.  live and enjoy the in between the times, help others to live and welcome the promises fully with both hands and with excitement.

Some might say, well I am going to get it now, i trust you will,  but the bible narrative is too full of lessons of having to hold the promises, just as Mary did with Jesus in hearing the coming promise of a son she learnt not only to say “be it unto me”  but also to “ponder it in your heart” and make it living, there giving room for the promise to be cultivated and grow.    It is important this year ahead, I believe much will come to pass this year, people are believing, faith is raising and much will break forth, but we have to live between the times, to see the promises of God come to pass in our ‘kiros’ day.  Are you willing to put your trust in God… even when nothing is happening?

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.       Albert Einstein

In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.                  Albert Einstein

Distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.        Albert Einstein

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.               Steve Jobs