There is tremendous consequence to forgetting God. While it may not come cascading down instantly, we can be assured there is always a price to pay. Like when the amateur mechanic, who leaves out parts he deems unnecessary, everything may eventually grind to a halt–an obvious consequence. Likewise there are many unintended outcomes when a nation abandons faith in God.Continue Reading
What can we learn about Political Spirits?
Donald Trump’s treatment by the media reveals something about Global Political Spirits. The latest furor over a misspelled word gives us tremendous insight into how these spirits work. We might be accustomed to the intrigue of political machinery as it applies to left and right politics, but the identical devices are being used to abort spiritual leadership. These devices distract us from substantial issues in the Church leaving it barren and powerless. While one might expect this in the world of politics, it is tragic when it results in dividing the Family of God.Continue Reading
Where can vision take you? … as far as you are willing to Envision!
Where can vision take you? Vision will take you as far as it can reach; it is its own measurement. Vision defines the destination be it far or near. Like the finish line in a marathon race, vision draws a mark telling you when you are done. It can be modified and moved, but it serves to mark an arrival point. Once you have reached that line your energy will evaporate and whatever drive you had will begin to wane. Get vision and know what it really is!Continue Reading
A Critical Test for Spiritual All Leaders – Passing the Gore Test
If you cannot stand the sight of blood you best not work in an Emergency Room. The Gore Test is the most basic requirement for any ER nurse or Doctor. Being able to handle the reality of defective flesh is the first in a long list of credentials separating suitable from unsuitable candidates for this job. Similarly, in the context of ministry, one must be able to deal with the carnage of humanity in all its forms.
The road ahead will never be as clear as the road behind.
The road ahead will never be as clear as the road behind. Joshua told the Israelites, when entering the promise land, to be deliberate in only following the ark since they had ‘never been this way before’ (Joshua 3:4). Likewise we are called as sons to be led by the Spirit of God. In turn He will lead us where we have never been to do what we have never done.
The team necessary for a mountain climbing expedition can be compared to God’s team necessary for bring the Body of Christ to full maturity.
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-12)
Many have tried to emphasize the importance of the five-fold ministry. We know they are each ordained by God, but there still seems to be some confusion. So many factors contribute to our lack of understanding it is hard to put a finger on what needs to be said next. Regardless, each of these diverse gifts are vital. Perhaps just one more illustration defining some of their unique functions can underscore their importance.
To do this we are going to look at the elementary features of a climbing expedition.The parallels between our journey and an expedition are many. For the sake of brevity we will attempt to keep to the essentials.
To begin imagine an expedition up one of earth’s greatest mountains. What are the stages of assembling a team and making the journey? Now think of the five-fold ministry gifts in the light of the expedition. Here is a fresh look at the five gifts beginning with the Evangelist.
1. Evangelist – the evangelist is the consumate salesmen. He lives to promote the value of the venture. Like many salesmen he is focused on pure recruitment, not thinking of much beyond the sale itself. This gift creates enthusiam for the expedition. The thrust of this gift is to create an appetite for the journey and motivate others to want to ‘sell’ the prospect of the adventure. At the end of the day the Evangelist is looking to get you to commit to the expedition.
2. Teacher – this gift is all about training. The teacher longs to know and share what we need for the journey. Carefully meticulous about identifying stages in the journey to come, he will with delight, itemize future challenges and hopes for success. The teacher will identify in great detail each and every piece of equipment that might be used. At the end of the day the heart of this gift is to familiaze the climber with equipment and its uses. He is passionately given to ensure each is adequately prepared.
3. Pastor – the third of the five gifts is the pastor. He is the caregiver – a kind of ‘mother figure’. This gift is particularly concerned with morale. The pastor is your typical first-aid attendant. Should there be an injury or even a blister the pastor is there to mend, medicate and minister with a delicate touch. When a climber languishes behind plagued with fatigue, this gift will motivate and encourage. The pastor is indespensible in maintaining common vision and unity during the treck up the mountain.
4. Prophet – the prophet is relentless in focusing on the pinnacle of the mountain. This gift is all about creating vision in order to harness the drive necessary to reach the top. With powerful admonitions he hails the virtue of the mountain top as the supreme and only destination. Fanning the flames of passion for all the benefits of the experience and perspective only available at the top. The prophet inspires and challenges toward the final goal. This gift functions in close proximity to the apostle lending his gifts to uncovering necessary strategic steps.
5. Apostle – the apostle is the team leader. He is charged with the ultimate authority for the expedition itself. His priority is the overall success of the climb. Largely given to determining what is necessary he is compelled toward the collective good of the enterprise. The venture is the priority for this gift and it possesses a unique perspective on various routing options. Apostles are extremely conscious of the dangers and rewards. In addition they are defined by unusual wisdom. The apostle, like the prophet, is intolerant of any goal less than the one represented in the top of the mountain.
These five constitute God’s primary ministry gifts to the church. The characteristics we have itemized are by no means exhaustive, however they point to some concrete functions and differences. They all have solid primary strengths, but there are some needs they are not designed to meet. This is not failure, it is design. Hopefully these distinctions can help us see theirs limitation and benefits. Like tools in a toolbox, each is appropriate for its intended purpose. At the end of the day we need all of them. These five gifts for climbing mountains will take us to the apex of the Mountain of the Lord.