Skin in the Game: Prophecy
Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of skin in the game when it comes to God’s Kingdom.
There are so many places where this impacts the church, but today, let’s talk about prophecy.
Prophets and prophetic people tend to live in the heavenly realms. We use derogatory terms for that like “they have their head in the clouds” but the reality is prophetic people see things the rest of us don’t, focus on things the rest of us don’t, and that is the gift they bring to the body.
As you can imagine, though, this tendency leads them to have less skin in the game.
Once, I had a prophetic friend who prophesied regularly. Then, after prophesying about a number of things, it became clear that there were several wrong predictions he made. When I talked about the prophesies with my friend, he shrugged, and said “that happens sometimes.” It was here I had to share this concept of skin in the game. Prophetic individuals can’t be spiritual weathermen, predicting the future but knowing that some of the stuff just won’t happen and that’s “part of the deal.”
Instead, mature prophetic ministry is invested in the outcomes of their prophecies. They work to see God’s will come about. They pray. They rebuke. They correct. When it turns out they are wrong, they repent and seek to understand where they missed God’s voice. They are vested in the outcome of their prophecies, whether good or bad.
Much could be written about this and it could become its own separate series. For the sake of time, if you’re a prophetic person, here are some legitimate suggestions about how to have skin in the game when you prophesy:
- Keep a prophetic journal where you record what the Lord is speaking to you and what you think it means.
- Develop sound relational accountability with other believers in the body. For more, see my post here.
- Learn scripture at a deep level. Even learn to have a taste for theology.
- Be a regular part of a healthy church.
- Develop deep relational commitment with other gifted people in the body: shepherds, elders, and apostles. These people help translate true “words” into reality.
- Be open to correction about your prophetic words and understand you only “see in part.”
The most powerful uses of the prophetic I’ve seen are instances where relationaly connected prophets can work within the body of Christ for the good of the body. Prophets who learn to have skin in the game not only have greater impact, but they also grow in their understanding of the Lord.
Photo Credit: Prophet Elijah and scenes from his life [detail]. Painted by Theodore Poulakis, Corfu. 2nd half of 17th cent., Byzantine & Christian Museum, Athens by Dimitris Kamaras
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A Word for the New Year
I’m not the guy who gives words for the New Year. I usually think that things like this are things men dream up rather than actually hear from Jesus.
So when my 11 year old son gave a short prayer before our New Year’s Eve gathering, I was a little taken aback. Normally those kind of prayers are short and help move us along to dinner. We have a rule in our house churches: “No warring over the nations before dinner.”
So when Joel prayed, “Lord, make this a faithful and fruitful new year…” in the midst of blessing the food, I was taken aback. He doesn’t normally pray like that.
Especially before meals.
So, may I commend to you this prayer (and prophetic word) for 2020. May it be a faithful and fruitful year. May you stay the course on the things the Lord has called you to. May God reward you with seeing the fruit of that faithfulness.
Photo Credit: Boy Holding Holy Bible by David Beale on Unsplash
The Thing About Being a Part of the Underground Is…
…you can’t always see what is happening beneath the surface.
The call for many of us who are planting and participating in house churches is a call to the underground. In China, this is by necessity. They have to hide their fellowships, their worship, and to some degree their walk with Christ in order to survive. Here in the West, we participate in the underground by choice. House churches are one way we participate, foregoing some of the flash to focus on the essentials which happen under the surface. Regardless of whether it is by choice or by necessity, we are part of an underground movement.
The price you pay to go underground is to be misunderstood. It can seem like you’re not growing. It seems many times like things are at a stand-still. Often it seems like you are being lazy and not producing very much. In reality, deep below the surface of the Earth, where no one is watching and no one sees, there is a life being formed that will sustain and produce fruit.
It’s just that no one sees it. No one notices. Sometimes you aren’t even aware of the deep work that is going on inside of you. You just know you aren’t seeing the results you thought you would see. Jesus compared this process to death: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the Earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit,” (John 12:24). Every individual must go through this process, but each house church must go through this process as well.
It’s in this season that the foundation for life and fruitfulness is being laid. Everything depends on this season happening the way God designed it. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t see fruit as fast as you’d like. Don’t think that God isn’t working just because you don’t see results as quickly as others. If God has called you to His underground, He’s called you to grow deep so you can be fruitful in season and out of season.
I started to write this out yesterday and in the midst of writing it, a dear friend sent me a prophetic note that he had sent me about a year ago. In it, he describes the Lord showing him how apostolic works need to have shoots and roots. In the vision, the shoots could only go as far as the roots. The level of fruitfulness was determined by our level of rootedness.
Friends, don’t be discouraged by a rooting season. Give yourself to it. Grow your roots as deep as you can. God has a fruitful season for you, but your ability to sustain it will be determined by the depth of your roots.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ around the country,
Recently a brother in Christ who is dear to many of us hear in Iowa suffered a massive heart attack. Rick Lumbard is the Director of Wind and Fire Ministries, a man of prayer, and a servant of the Lord that has been used in a number of peoples’ lives throughout our city and the state. He currently is unconscious and in a hospital in Des Moines. Would you join us in prayer for Rick as we believe for healing for him? He has a wife and several children that would be thankful for the prayer support.