A couple of months back I was having a conversation on twitter with ApostleFarm about how apostles travel great distances to invest in the next generation of Kingdom leaders. Having seen some of that in Africa, I shared a little bit about the experience, but intended to write a blog post to share more in detail. After thinking about the topic some I decided that a video blog might be a better venue for sharing what I’ve learned.
So with no further ado, here is my video blog about apostolic travel for Kingdom advancement. Make sure to stick around for the last couple of minutes where I discuss what I believe is one secret that I think gets missed by most western apostolic workers.
Thanks for watching the video blog. Have you ever seen apostolic travel in action either here or abroad? What can you learn from the examples you’ve seen? Let me know in the comment section.
There is more to Jesus than what you are currently experiencing today.
There is more of the awareness of God’s presence available to you.
There is more of His acceptance and love that You are called to explore and know.
There is more of Christ’s character that He desires to form in your life.
You’ve only gotten the smallest glimpse of the miracle working power He wants to extend on behalf of those He loves. No matter how much of God’s power you’ve seen and experienced in the past, there is more for you to see.
Don’t be limited by what you’ve experienced. Your experience pales in comparison to the vastness of God. Whether you’ve experienced much of God or experienced very little, He has so much more for you.
We should never be satisfied until we see the fulfillment of the prayer Jesus Himself taught us to pray: “on Earth, as it is in Heaven.”
Be hungry, fellow traveler. Don’t be satisfied with the Jesus you knew a year ago or the manna you gathered yesterday. Let your hunger and the fact that there is more push you beyond your current experience and into all He desires to give the human heart.
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:12-14 NLT)
A year or so ago I had a minor revelation that changed how I understood much of the New Testament. It’s a small thing that dramatically shifts how we understand the priorities of Jesus and the apostles. Are you ready?
Somewhere along the way I began to replace every occurrence of the phrase “the word” with “the message.”
You see, every time I read the phrase ”the word,” my mind always pictured the Bible. So when I read that Jesus was “the Word” (John 1:1) I would always think Jesus is the Bible. This was really confusing and I’ve seen it cause some folks to deify the Scriptures.
But if I replace “the word” with “the message” I get something entirely different. Now when I read that Jesus is the word I understand He is God’s Message. He is what God would say in any circumstance. And this message became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14).
So when Luke writes in Acts 13:49 that “the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region,” I know that Luke is talking about the spread of the Gospel and not the knowledge of Bible verses. In the same way, when Paul encourages the Thessalonians to pray that “the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you,” (2 Thessalonians 3:1), he’s asking them to pray that the message of the Gospel would be received powerfully.
All of this should shift the focus from accumulating Bible knowledge to actually being a part of knowing, embodying, and declaring God’s message that’s found so clearly in Jesus and the Gospel. This is why I’ve argued elsewhere that one of the minimum standards of discipleship is a functional knowledge of the Gospel.
What do you think? Would reading the Bible this way change how you understand what’s happening in the New Testament? And, is this approach dangerous in any way?
I’ve been musing over this question for a while. I’m hoping that you (my readers) have some insight. I think it has implications about how we lead someone to faith and about what happens afterwards. The question is this:
If the Gospel (the message we share to bring people to faith in Jesus) doesn’t include discipleship, why would we add it later? If the Gospel does include discipleship, why don’t we preach it in our message?
If you’ve got some thoughts about this question, please leave a comment in the comment section. I’ll post some of my thoughts after I give some folks a chance to interact and discuss.
“Jesus promised His disciples three things: that they would be entirely fearless, absurdly happy, and that they would get into trouble.” -W. Russell Maltby
(HT to Robin McMillan)
One of the most misunderstood aspects of the church as God designed it is the place of the five-fold ministry. God has designed the body of Christ so that it builds itself up in love. An important part of that process is mature five-fold gifts functioning in and amongst the body of Christ in a mature way. But many have misunderstood the purpose and functions of different aspects of these gifts.
Because of the importance of these ministries, I’ve assembled some of the best posts on the five-fold ministry that I’ve found on various blogs. These are written by men and women with experience with people who have functioned in these gifts. These are my top five posts. Feel free to leave a link to your favorite post on this topic in the comment section.
Felicity gives us a great post to introduce us to the idea of the five-fold ministry and right off the bat she combats the major misconceptions about these gifts God gives the church. This is a short post but many people miss the profound implications that are found within it.
Len’s thoughts on a quote from An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land don’t directly mention the five-fold ministry. But he does touch on an interesting idea: The Kingdom of God is extended by Jesus as He gives these gifts to the church for the world. Read on to see more.
I love this post by Bob Roberts. Bob really brings a very balanced perspective to the whole issue of the five-fold ministry. I love that his insights are born out of his work in the non-Western world and I’m greatly encouraged on his emphasis on the whole church becoming apostolic, and not just one man.
Mike does a great job in this post of describing what a missional community will look like if it is lead by each of the five-fold ministries. While not entirely the same as a house church, I’ve noticed similar group dynamics in house churches led by each of these different ministry gifts. You may learn a few things about why you lead your house church the way you do from this post.
Last but not least, this post is extremely helpful because it identifies characteristics of immature people with five-fold giftings. Many times we reject five-fold minstries because of our negative experiences with the immature versions of five-fold ministries. This frank discussion about the downside of immature five-fold ministries will help those who have had negative experiences. It’s also really helpful to those maturing in these gifts because it highlights weaknesses they will need to address.
Photo Credit: This image is a product of five pictures representing each of the five-fold ministries.
Dave over at Searching God’s Heart asked me to guest post about the topic of Spirit-led Meetings. Have you been part of a Spirit-Led Gathering? How do you know? So many people have different ideas about what a Spirit-led gathering is that it’s hard to know. Here’s a paragraph from the post:
Joy floods the room as everyone begins to glorify God. Several brothers surround the man and begin to pray for him. Plans are made for a baptism the next day, which interferes very little with everyone’s plans because most had planned to assemble together the next day anyways. The gathering goes late into the night as others share about the greatness of Christ, the worth of following Him despite the cost, and the imminence of His return. You leave late into the evening encouraged by the supernatural work that has obviously taken place.
I’d like to encourage you to jump over to Searching God’s Heart and read the rest of the post. This is the first in a series of three posts. Join Dave, his readers, and myself as we discuss the importance of churches being corporately led by the Holy Spirit.
UPDATE: You can see all three parts of this series. I will update the links as they come out: