An Apostolic Understanding – Part Twelve

As we look at the fresh move of God and the apostolic Church that Jesus is building, let’s take a brief visit to the Early Churches seen in the New Testament, especially the Book of Acts. This can be exciting and challenging at the same time as early Christians had a totally different concept of church than we often do today.

Most of the things that we associate with church today didn’t exist inn the first dew centuries. The Early Church did not have church buildings, budgets, pulpits, pews, church bulletins, or a professional clergy class that led them. They didn’t even have video projectors. So, here is some of what the Early Church would have looked like….

1> You would not necessarily meet on a Sunday morning for your weekly worship assembly. Believers who came out of a Jewish background would have gathered on a Saturday night after sundown after the Jewish Sabbath ended. The first day of the week started at sundown on Saturday and so they gather at the start of every new week.

2> They would not be meeting in a “church building.” These did not come into being until the mid 300’s. The Early Church met in a variety o venues. They used the Temple courts in the city of Jerusalem. The School of Tyranus in Ephesus. They would hold large open-air gatherings. But, their primary meeting place in every city and town was the homes of believers.

3> Early Church gatherings were not particularly quiet nor solemn. As you entered the courtyard of the home where the believers were meeting, it would look like there was a major party going on. Some would be playing musical instruments, some would be singing, dancing, clapping hands.

4> You would feel very welcomed, loved, and accepted in spite of there not being any officially appointed “greets” at the main entrance. Everyone is engaged in making people coming into the gathering feel welcomed and loved.

5> After the worship and celebration food is brought in and people find a seat to begin the meal. This meal was often called a “love feast” or the “agape.” It would start with prayer and thanksgiving for the food and fellowship. A leader would take a cup, say a blessing, and pass the cup around so each one could drink. He would then pick up a loaf of bread and offer thanks. It is also passed from person to person. That was The Lord’s Supper in its original context. Then the supper meal would begin.

There were variations on the supper. For example, sometimes at the start the bread was passed around and each person broke off a piece for themselves. Prayer was offered and everyone ate. The cup was passed around, after prayer, at the end of the supper meal to end the evening with more prayer and then worship.

6> The meal is a joyful time filled with stories of what the Lord was doing one everyone’s lives. Testimonies were shared. Often, someone would stand and read a letter that had been received – sent to them by a believer in another house church or even by an apostle who was a spiritual father to the particular group. These letters that were read were often a result of questions being asked of the apostles by the local leaders.

When the reading and discussion about what was heard ends and the meal is over, worship starts up again…

An Apostolic Understanding – Part Eleven

To understand where we are heading as a Church in today’s world, as the Kingdom continues to expand and impact lives, we need to return to the early Church. The life of the early Church is recorded for us in the Book of Acts.

In Acts, chapter 2, the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon 120 people in the city of Jerusalem. They were the original followers of Jesus who had been born again after Jesus rose from the dead (see: John 20:22). By the end of the day, the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) had begun to flow and God had added more than 3,000 people to the Church. Within a year the Church tripled in size numbering more than 10,000. Some estimate that by the time Stephen was killed in Acts, chapter six, that the Church had grown to 20,000 members.

That kind of explosive growth took place wherever the Gospel of the Kingdom was planted and people came to the Lord. The Lord would build His Church as the seeds of the Gospel took root and people came into a relationship with Him.

In Acts 19, Paul went to the city of Ephesus, a city of 500,000 and the 4th largest city in the world at that time. Paul planted the Gospel in the lives of 12 followers of John the Baptist and the Church began. Paul remained there for 2 years teaching in the church. Acts 19:10 tells us the amazing fact that during that time the entire city of Ephesus and the surrounding area, known as Asia Minor, was evangelized and heard the Word of the Lord.

The Ephesian Church grew so rapidly that the city’s economy was affected. Ephesus was home to the Temple of Diana, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. One of the major industries in Ephesus was the manufacture of silver images of the goddess. During Paul’s two year stay in Ephesus so many people turned from paganism to Jesus that the sales of these idols plummeted. (It is estimated that a quarter of the city was born again during this time). The idol-makers were furious! They rioted in the street to protest their loss of business.

That’s the power of the Gospel and the amazing work of the Holy Spirit through the early disciples of Jesus. The world had never known anything like it before. Wherever the Church was established it grew with incredible speed, and nothing, it seems, could stand against it and succeed. Nothing in the world could resist the power of the Early Church.

That same power is available to the Church today. A person is born again by coming to believe in their heart that Jesus is Lord and Saviour and repenting of their sins with godly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:8-10). Then, as a disciple they can ask God for the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5, 8: Luke 24:49) and have a second encounter with the living God as the Holy Spirit comes upon them and empowers them to be a witness for the resurrected Jesus. This power is released through the nine supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit as disciples go about their daily lives and make God “manifest” in the places where they go – grocery store, gas station, coffee shop (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). As a result of this “being a witness” many will come into the Kingdom as they did in the early Church and as we saw in the story of the Church in Ephesus.

 

An Apostolic Understanding – Part Ten

Those who are in touch with what the Lord is doing in His Church – the fivefold ministers, especially the apostles and prophets – have been predicting a change in the Church for three decades. We have been hearing words like “new wineskin,” “apostolic,” and “fivefold ministry” and these are words that indicate a church quake of undue proportions is underway. There are major changes happening in the Church and the Church needs to recognize these prophetic warnings and embrace the changes that are already beginning to happen.

In the last 15 years things have really begun to stir. In many places and in many nations we have seen people receiving what has been spoken of and revealed. And, as a result a grassroots movement has begun to take shape and gain speed and momentum. It is a spiritual awakening like no other as the Church rediscovers its roots and returns to the model that we see functioning in the New Testament. This movement promises to profoundly change our whole concept of Church.

Many titles have been given to this movement including ‘the second reformation,’ ‘a leadership revolution,’ and ‘a second apostolic age.’ I prefer to describe it as a return to normalcy. The Church has begun to make a shift, a momentous shift. And, we will see many things that are religious and/or traditional being removed from the life of the church and the daily life of the Christian as they respond to this powerful move of the Holy Spirit. Of course, some will refuse to move away from their self-deception and the belief that they are safe, secure, and comfortable right where they are.

The Early Church as seen in the Book of Acts and a number of the epistles (letters to early churches and early believers) was filled with life. But, in the year 325 and the reign of Constantine, the Roman emperor, we see the Church entering a stage of death by degrees. Slowly, gradually pagan and cultural influences were added to the first Church. As well, the involvement of the believers gradually disappeared and the rise of a professional clergy class of believers began to take place. During this time there was a gradual decline and eventually disappearance of many of the life-giving functions and aspects of the life of the early Church.

This went on for well over 1,000 years during the Medieval Church. Then, with the ministry of Martin Luther and other reformers (1560) God began to restore to His Church those things that the devil and man -the powers of darkness, religion, and tradition – stole from God’s people. This restoration will continue until all things have been restored (see Acts 3:21). For the last 500 years and more the Lord has restored many of the things that were lost and restored them in the reverse order of how they were lost. That which was lost last was first to be added back – the truth of salvation by grace through faith. So, we have reached a point where there are only a few things left to restore in their fullness…

1> The ministry of the apostle
2> Apostles and prophets working together
3> The Church becoming apostolic and prophetic – supernatural and sent out
4> The Gospel of the Kingdom being heard in every nation (people group)
5> The great harvest of souls in the end times
6> The return of Jesus

So, we are near the end of the restoration process as the Lord continues to move mightily in His Church to bring it back to a place where it is moving in supernatural power and lives are being changed and transformed daily in each and every location where there is a gathering of believers. Then, and only then, can He return.

An Apostolic Understanding – Part Nine

All over the world the Holy Spirit is speaking “change” to the Church. Change is not something that churches and church leaders usually get excited about, but nonetheless, change is happening. The Church is God’s idea and Jesus is the Head of His Church and so God is bringing change to His Church through a fresh move of the Holy Spirit. He is restoring His Church back to the biblical model or pattern and then will take us from there to a powerful end times instrument in His hands.

God is changing His Church, and I believe it is a change that must come. The Church is broken and so it is time for things in God’s house to change. The Church, in general, has lost the ability to win the lost and disciple converts. The Church is failing to accomplish its primary mission – to seek and save the lost. Statistics tell us that we are in serious trouble as a Church and that the situation is getting worse and not better.

It is not a matter of working harder or even praying harder. If you are working hard and praying hard and the results are nil. Doubling your efforts and praying and working even more will still get you nil. Two times nothing is still nothing.

It is not a matter of buildings – the early Church changed the world without owning one building.

We have the electronics; we are on the internet; we make use of television and radio. We are technologically savvy. We have more Christian books printed and circulating than ever before. And, we have tremendous leadership in most churches and nations. Men and women dedicated to seeing the Gospel of the Kingdom spread to every corner of their nations.

I believe the issue or the problem is much deeper than what we can see on the surface as we take a look at the life and ministry of the Church. The real root issue is that we are not following God’s plan.

For those who have grown up in the Church, as I have, it is easy to assume that the churches we have known are pretty much what God intended the Church to be. We assume that the traditions that have been passed down to us are helpful in our walk with the Lord. We don’t question what we do as a local church, accepting that the leaders, past and present, are following biblical patterns. We even hear many of the leaders state that they are a Bible-believing church and that they do things ‘by the book’ when really they are simply doing things the way they have always been done. This assumes that “the way things have always been done” is biblical when often it is not.

Side note: A great read on this topic is “Pagan Christianity” by frank Viola and George Barna

The truth, however, is that the Church today has very little in common with the Church that the apostles planted and that we read about in the New Testament. Church, as we have known it, is NOT what God intended. For all its hard work and commitment, today’s Church is trapped in a traditional structure passed down, generation after generation, from the Dark Ages. This old structure may have been marginally effective (although also not biblical) at one time, but it cannot bring forth what God desires to do in His Church today.

The good news is that God is changing His Church. But, each local church and leadership team needs to respond or they will simply be left out and left behind as God moves on with His plans and purpose to see the lost saved and the Kingdom touch every nation and every aspect of life.An Apostolic Understanding – Part Nine,,,,,

An Apostolic Understanding – Part Eight

As we enter into new season that has already dawned – an apostolic season where there will be a tremendous move of the Holy Spirit that will lead to many movements being formed. Many streams of new churches being built by the Biblical blueprint with all the streams flowing into one mighty river…the river Jesus spoke about in John, chapter seven that will flow from our inner most being.

As this move of the Spirit gains momentum many will begin to move out of the enemy’s camp of religion. However, as well, many will refuse to leave their religious structures. In fact, they will dig in deeper and defend them more loudly. As those who are hungry and thirsty begin to step out in faith and move with the Spirit many who are religious will not be attracted to this move of the Holy Spirit and the resulting movement. They will remain stedfast in the old place of worship and religious rule that has become a place that is safe, secure, and comfortable, or so they think.

Many others will align themselves around race and gender as opposed to coming into alignment with the mission call of the Church and the giftings that every believer has. However, this will not hinder nor defeat the new movements that will begin through those who follow the Spirit in this new apostolic season. This movement will seriously damage and even destroy the work of the devil and do serious damage to the work of religion.

For this to become a reality we will see the formation of regional churches, also known as regional apostolic centers. These will be resource centers for other smaller churches – traditional churches making the transition into the new season, house churches just being formed, and localized bible studies of hungry believers and seekers who will need help to be established in the true Christian faith.

These regional churches will have the full fivefold ministry represented in their leadership – apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd, and teacher (Ephesians 4:11-12) . These are fivefold, translocation leaders that will go from place-to-place to establish believers in the truth as well as into the new move of the Spirit. They will work with, equip, and enable local leaders to flow in the Spirit and move with power as the Kingdom is brought to more and more places now in spiritual darkness.

These are exciting times to be alive and a part of the Kingdom. God has put into motion such amazing potential for the future. And, in the coming weeks we will be looking at the regional churches or apostolic centers from the New Testament and the truths we can learn from them for today’s move the Holy Spirit as we see the true Church that Jesus is building come alive and spread as we stop thinking about the next meeting and start planning for and releasing the next movement. Big difference.

 

 

An Apostolic Understanding – Part Seven

We are looking at the Church that Jesus is building. It is apostolic in nature and Kingdom focused. This led us to looking at various aspects of the Kingdom. Let’s complete that today.

So far in the last two blogs we have seen that:

1> Kingdom deals with power confirming the Word
2> The Kingdom has a fivefold ministry governmental structure
3> There is a King that all Kingdom inhabitants submit to
4> Every member is a minister and must discover their rightful place of ministry
5> The Kingdom has a culture all of its own.
6> The Kingdom is here and now upon the earth
7> God’s Kingdom is not based on worldly patterns
8> Kingdom needs to be revealed to each believer
9> You cannot delay or postpone the Kingdom
10> A Kingdom mentality will give you a “scattering” structure

11> Kingdom has a ‘presence’ mentality. Those involved seek and know the presence of God. They are not need-driven they are presence-driven. People who are Kingdom minded know that unless God’s presence is established the Church will not move forward into fulfilling it’s Kingdom mandate. You can go to church, gather, fellowship, meet people, and enjoy interacting without impacting or even influencing the future or society. Of course, you can do this in most worldly or secular events and organizations as well. For Kingdom people this is simply never enough as good as it may be. We are presence-driven.

12> The Kingdom is at war with the domain of darkness. Kingdom people understand the spiritual forces that the devil has established that oppose the advancement of the Kingdom. And, as Jesus said when speaking with the disciples of John the Baptist, “the violent take the Kingdom by force.” You cannot be passive if you want to be a part of the Kingdom and its advancement. You must by aggressive, filled with zeal, energetic, passionate, and full of life. Lethargic and apathetic status quo maintainers are not Kingdom people even though they may be church members.

So, there comes a time when wineskins change. The Lord has a day for a structure that has been in place to make a shift. The Lord initiates the season of change and we are currently in such a season. We choose if we want to be involved and be productive in the Kingdom or if we will simply sit it out and become or remain non-productive.

In this new season we will see a continuing emphasis on the ministry of the apostle and the prophet as they begin to work together more often as a team. We will see the Gospel of the Kingdom being planted in spiritually dark places where there is currently no church. We will come to understand and receive the fullness of Jesus’ ministry by welcoming the fivefold ministry that has been raised up and see the Spirit remove the solo pastor leadership style now predominant in most churches. And, we will see the return of prominent regional churches like we see in the Book of Acts in cities like Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, and elsewhere.

An Apostolic Understanding – Part Six

We are looking at the Kingdom and some of the difference between the Kingdom and the current expression of the Church. Last time we examined and commented on the fact that:

1> Kingdom deals with power confirming the Word
2> The Kingdom has a fivefold ministry governmental structure
3> There is a King that all Kingdom inhabitants submit to
4> Every member is a minister and must discover their rightful place of ministry

Let’s keep moving forward in our understanding …

5> The Kingdom has a culture all of its own. Every people group has a culture and the people of the Kingdom all come from different backgrounds and cultures. But, the Kingdom also has a unique and different culture. And, if we conform to the worldly and generational culture around us we will never embrace the unique Kingdom culture. We need to understand Kingdom culture, embrace it, and then express it in the way that we live and relate to others. Thus we become a counter-culture and not just another sub-culture.

6> The Kingdom is here and now upon the earth. We have yet to experience the Kingdom in its fullness. That will happen when Jesus returns. However, we can experience the Kingdom that is currently on the earth and expanding as more people come to accept the Gospel of the Kingdom. The Kingdom is not just ‘out there’ somewhere. It has established God’s rule upon the earth and is everywhere a believer lives. We are ambassadors of that Kingdom as Paul states in 2 Corinthians 5:21. So, we need to demonstrate God’s rule in the earth realm as His ambassadors.

7> God’s Kingdom is not based on worldly patterns. As a result, it is often misunderstood and even misrepresented. Those who understand the Kingdom and are expressing Kingdom on the earth are “working out their salvation with fear and trembling.” Those who are simply church attenders are often critical of those who are moving forward and striving to make a difference for the Kingdom. Many are misunderstood.

8> Kingdom needs to be revealed to each believer. You can’t understand it simply by reading and studying the Bible. Yes, Jesus speaks a great deal about the Kingdom and uses a large number of parables to give us an indication of what the Kingdom looks like. However, to truly understand the Kingdom a believer needs to receive a revelation from God regarding His Kingdom. Kingdom has to be revealed to you.

9> You cannot delay or postpone the Kingdom. When God is ready to move, He will move. We are in such a time of change and shifting in the spirit realm. God is moving. We must stay in touch with the changes. We cannot express the Kingdom in the world in which we live every day life if we are out of touch with the changes the Spirit is making in the Kingdom. And, even when in touch with the current moves and changes in the Kingdom, a believer needs to learn how to express the Kingdom (and the changes) in the earthly domain so that non-believers can understand and receive the revelation and enter into the Kingdom.

10> A Kingdom mentality will give you a “scattering” structure. If you have a Church mentality you will work with a “gathering” mentality. A Church mentality is program-driven and will be designed to meet the needs of the people. A Kingdom mentality focuses on the expansion of the Kingdom, the scattering of workers into the harvest field, and the salvation of souls.

More next time…

An Apostolic Understanding – Part Five

There is a difference between Kingdom and Church. We need to understand this difference.

The Kingdom is the whole of God’s redeeming activity in Christ in the world. The Kingdom includes all of the current strategies of the King that He is manifesting in the variety of societal structures in each nation. So, the Kingdom is much bigger than the Church but includes the Church that Jesus is building. Those who are in the Church and moving with what the Spirit is doing will manifest the attributes of the Kingdom and thus make the Kingdom visible in the culture and society in which they live.

The Church is the assembly of those who belong to Jesus. As the members make a shift in their focus and priorities from Church to Kingdom they, the Church, will begin manifesting Kingdom. Together they will manifest greater Kingdom power than we can exhibit alone. And, as we focus on Kingdom and not just the inner workings of Church life we will be sent out to do the real work of the Kingdom. This means those who understand the season we are entering will become apostolic in nature.

The word ‘apostle’ simply means ‘the sent one.’ So, as the assembly of believers become Kingdom minded they will be sent into the world by the Holy Spirit. They will become ‘the send ones’ or apostolic in nature – both in their lifestyle, their perspective, and their work for Jesus. They will truly live a life that embraces Matthew 28:19, “Go into al the world and make disciples…” Kingdom people will be sent out to do Kingdom work and they will go willingly regardless of personal cost.

Let’s do a quick, somewhat surface look at the Kingdom to begin appreciating what God is doing as we shift from a Church to Kingdom perspective.

1> Kingdom deals with power because the Lord does not only declare His Word, but He performs His Word manifesting His power to confirm the Word. As this happens in the world He will be attracting people to Himself. In 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 Paul, an apostle, talks about not having programs or fancy approaches but simply “demonstrating God” by walking in His power and releasing it among those who do not know Him. The word ‘demonstrate’ in the Greek means ‘to put God on public display’ or, ‘to exhibit God.’ So, Paul would share the Gospel of the Kingdom in a simple way and then God would confirm the word with signs and wonders. This is Kingdom.

2> The Kingdom has a government. Unlike the Church which is often led by a solo pastor who works hand-in-hand with an eldership, the Kingdom functions with a fivefold ministry team under the headship of Christ. There is no early ‘head’ such as a senior pastor or a bishop leading in the Kingdom . The government of the Kingdom consists of a team comprised of apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers. These five ministries coming together represent the five aspects of Jesus’ ministry. And, they work under His headship as they work to expand the impact and influence of the Kingdom in the earth.

3> Because we are talking about Kingdom we recognize that there must be a King. His Name is Jesus. He has sovereign rule within His Kingdom. And, those who want to a part of the Kingdom must submit to His authority. This means Jesus is more than Saviour of an individual. He is Lord of everyone who calls on His Name and every believer must submit to and obey the King.

4> Each individual who is part of the Kingdom must find their place in the work of the Kingdom. We cannot be like Israel at the end of the Book of Judges where “everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” You can’t do what you want and express the Kingdom. You cannot fulfill “your ministry” and be a part of what is transpiring within the Kingdom. It is always His ministry. People who refuse to discover their rightful place, calling, or position in this new season cannot operate in the ultimate expression God desires for them.

An Apostolic Understanding – Part Four

In every generation the Lord needs to rebuild His Church so that His Kingdom can be better manifested in the earth. Because of the major and massive changes in the lifestyle and beliefs, perspective, and world view of each generation the Church needs to embrace changes to the way it expresses the heart of God. The message never changes but the methods through which we present the message must change with the seasons and the generational adjustments to how life is lived.

Jesus understood this need for change as His Kingdom responds to changes in the culture and in society generation to generation. Jesus is approached, in Matthew 9 by a number of John the Baptist’s disciples. They are coming from an old wineskin with questions for the new wineskin that Jesus is establishing and forming. In the 11th chapter Jesus explains more fully, in response to John’s questions, what He is doing.

Matthew 11:3, 5-6 “Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ … Jesus answered, ’the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.’”

Jesus is saying, “Go and tell John that I am doing everything he prophesied would be done in this new season.” Then He added, “Blessed is he who is not offended by Me.” That should be a warning to us. Jesus is saying, “If your disciples don’t get offended by the way I am doing things in this new season, they can move forward from the old wineskin which was good in its season into the new. But they must choose not to get offended.”

After John’s disciples leave Jesus speaks very highly of John and the ministry he had been given by God (Matthew 11:7, 9-11). He states that up to this point there has not been a greater man than John, but we are moving into a new season of paving the way for the establishment and spreading of the Kingdom.

Jesus continues, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John…” (Matthew 11:12-13). In other words, all the prophets prophesied up till now. The Law was developed and ruled up to this point in history, but something is about to shift. Everything they had experienced until that time had been okay; in fact, it had been good and necessary. However, now things were going to shift and change. Jesus was saying that they needed to see and understand the shift.

Essentially, Jesus was telling John that He was fulfilling all of the things that had been prophesied. If one is not offended at the changes, you will see prophecy being fulfilled. Otherwise, offence blinds us to what is happening in the Church and the Kingdom.

The same is true today. As changes continue to happen and become more and more obvious some will be offended. They want things to remain as they are. They don’t want to change because they appreciate what seems safe, secure, and comfortable. They want to maintain the status quo. They like what they have.

I mentioned in a previous blog a church I had been working with for a substantial length off time which has refused to grasp and cooperate with what is happening today in the Church and the Kingdom. At the worst, they rejected the teachings. At best, they ignored them. So, they refused to move forward into the changes that are taking place – changes that are happening with or without them. They have chosen to not be a part of what the Lord is doing. So, His life (presence, power, and peace) will no longer be experienced even in the very limited way they have been seen and experienced on occasion. God will leave them where they are and not disturb them. They will continue with their religion. Some who are hungry for the fulness of the current move of the Holy Spirit will go elsewhere but the majority will simply go on with ‘business as usual.’

However, God will ‘move on’ and find others in the area whose hearts and minds are open to what He is doing today in the Church and in His Kingdom and begin to manifest Himself to them as they follow the Spirit. In God’s heart it is never ‘business as usual.’

 

An Apostolic Understanding – Part Three

It has become very obvious to those who are in touch with the heart of God that we have entered a season where the focus is no longer the Church. For the last two if not three decades He has been preparing us to look past the trees and see the forest… to look past the Church and see the Kingdom. Many have missed seeing the forest because they are so busy with maintaining a tree – the Church as it is – safe, comfortable, and secure. However, others have noticed that the Lord is bringing major change to His Church so that His Kingdom can be better manifested in the earth.

So, Jesus is establishing – some say reestablishing – a Kingdom structure within the Church so that the Kingdom can continue to expand into spiritually dark places and the last days harvest can begin. He is taking us from seeing one tree to seeing the forest – from looking at the local church to seeing Him establish regional apostolic centers that reflect what the Lord is doing on the earth today. These apostolic centers, also to be known as ‘regional churches,’ will be the focus of the Kingdom in the next several decades and have been spoken about by many, including this author, for almost two decades preparing those who have ears to hear for such a time as this.

Seventeen years ago I started work with a small group of believers and saw the great potential they had and also had an understanding, an apostolic sense, of what the Lord wanted to accomplish in them and through them. I worked for over four years laying some very basic foundations both on Sundays and through a discipleship school. The growth in the believers was amazing. Then 13 years ago I taught on a Sunday about the new move of the Spirit and the founding of regional apostolic centers as resource centers and outposts in the Kingdom. Like the Church of Antioch in Acts 13. There was a call to respond and begin to implement changes that were needed to release life and power. No one responded.

I spent the next 13 years teaching and believing that as the leaders and people saw what God was doing and what was possible as Kingdom people they would respond. Over and over again at leaders meetings I would ask for a commitment from them to move in this apostolic direction and no loner hold to the pastoral model of the church and hope that one day they would be large enough to hire a full-time pastor. Much was accomplished during this period of time including the building of an amazing home for the church. However, there was never a solid or serious commitment to move the church into its future and into what the Lord was doing in His Church around the world.

Thirteen years after the first offer to become a regional church, an apostolic center, I shared a similar teaching about what God was doing and the raising up of apostolic centers that would be regional churches helping others enter into the fullness of what God is doing today in His Kingdom. I mentioned that it was thirteen years since God first made this offer to that local church and that He was giving them a second opportunity to respond. There was no visible response.

Eventually, within four weeks, I was asked to stop teaching on apostles and prophets, the apostolic model, the fivefold ministry, the gifts of the Holy Spirit – especially prophecy – and just teach the basics once again. They wanted teachings on the character of God, the nature of God, the love of God, and a constant repeating of the Gospel of salvation (not the gospel of the Kingdom which is the only gospel that is biblical). In other words, they wanted a middle-of-the-road pastor and not an apostle. Someone who would allow the sheep to feel safe, secure, and comfortable and not challenge them to become all that God had spoken over the local church.

The end of October, 2017 was my last day working with the people of that local church and its leaders. It is time to find a people who will respond to what the Lord is doing in His Church, among His people, and in the Kingdom today. Time to move in my calling as an apostle.

From generation to generation and season to season, the Lord rebuilds His Church so His Kingdom can be better manifested in the earth. We are in such a season. And, we need to respond to what the Spirit is saying and doing.