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7 CONTRASTS BETWEEN TITULAR AND FUNCTIONAL LEADERSHIP
By Joseph Mattera

Through the years, I have observed various types of leadership styles as well as how people operate within the flow of leadership titles. In this article, I use the word titular, to refer to a person who tries to lead primarily on the merit of their title and or official position. When I use the term functional, I am referring to a person who earns the respect of their peers and subordinates through their effectiveness and relational capital. Continue reading “Functional Vs. Titular Church Leadership” »

TEN CONTRASTS BETWEEN ENTERTAINERS AND LEADERS
By Joseph Mattera

There is a great tendency in human nature to crave the affirmation of other human beings. With some people, their need for affirmation is so great it hinders their ability to discern between the will of God and the will of man. What is more alarming is the fact that those who lead churches and Christian organizations are not exempt from this tendency.

The fact of the matter is, if you are a local church pastor, chief executive officer of a ministry or business, you are called to lead not entertain. Many do not understand the difference. If your primary goal is to make people happy, become an entertainer, not a leader. Leaders by nature should be on the cutting edge of God’s will, which challenges people to leave their comfort zones.

Often times this causes people to be upset with their leaders. The leader also should keep people accountable to standards of excellence. This becomes especially difficult when a leader is close friends or family with those aligned under their spiritual authority. Many do not understand how to discern between business and friendship, and it causes a rift in the relationship.

The following are ten contrasts between entertainers and leaders.

1. Entertainers primary goal is to make people happy. A leader’s goal is to empower/provoke people to excellence.

An entertainer’s primary focus in their ministry is to keep their people happy and satisfied. Sometimes folks are happy because they are comfortable and feel secure but their own hearts is deceiving them. A true leader’s primary goal is to disturb the comfortable and provoke them to excellence. For example if an athlete never pushed himself to the point of pain in his training, he will never excel. True leaders push their people to the perimeter of their potential in Christ.

2. Entertainers perform. Leaders lead.

Entertainers put all their effort into the public performance of their speaking, worship team, visual effects and appearance. They do not take a lot of time evaluating whether their followers are truly growing in Christ. A true leader cares about their public appearance, but puts more time focusing on bringing people into the promised land of their destinies.

3. Entertainers avoid disagreement at all costs. Leaders often provoke disagreement and discomfort.

Since entertainers crave affirmation because of their own lack of self-esteem, they will attempt to avoid strife and disagreement with their people. True leaders don’t really care so much about disagreement because their main motivation is to move people from passivity to purpose.

4. Entertainers gauge their success based on numbers. Leaders base their success on obedience to their assignment.

Entertainers count nickels and noses. It’s all about church attendance and offerings. If both are high then they are happy. True biblical leaders gauge their success on remaining faithful to the call of God upon their lives and organization. For example Jeremiah is considered one of the greatest prophets of all time, but yet he had only a few who believed him. He was not only rejected by his leaders and thrown into prison, he also died in exile.

Furthermore, when Isaiah received his mandate from God (Isaiah 6), God told him nobody would listen to him and the cities would eventually become desolate! John the Baptist only had a six month ministry and died in prison, yet Jesus called him the greatest person ever born of a woman (Matt. 11:11).

By today’s standards of success, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and John the Baptist, to name a few, were very unsuccessful! Even Jesus only had one hundred and twenty true followers after more than three years of ministry (Acts 1). However, the true gauge of success in the kingdom is obedience to our assignments, not numbers.

5. Entertainers are popular with the mainstream. Leaders are often distained by the mainstream.

Entertainers always put their hand in the air to sense where the wind is blowing and then they will go in that direction. They are politicians who crave the vote of the majority, and care little about the holy minority. They will preach only what will receive the least resistance and will always stand on the edges of compromise so not to offend. It is not just what they say, but what they will not say that matters. (They will never say anything controversial when it comes to social and moral values.)

Leaders (like Dr. Martin Luther King and Winston Churchill) speak the truth even when it could cost them their careers or their lives. When true leaders lead, they are often on the prophetic edge of what God is saying and only have “innovators and early adaptors” as their followers. It is easy to go with the mainstream, difficult to swim upstream; leaders swim upstream and are counter cultural.

6. Entertainers make people feel good. Leaders transform people.

Entertainers dream about how they can make people feel good. Leaders dream about how they can make disciples that will transform the world. Entertainers focus on attracting the crowds, leaders like Jesus, focus on the few that will eventually build a movement that will transform the world.

7. Entertainers long for acceptance. Leaders provoke respect.

Entertainers live to be loved and liked, while leaders primarily desire influence and respect. For example good parents are not always liked, but are respected by their children when they have to correct them because they have their best long-term interests in mind. Likewise, leaders understand that maintaining respect is more important to release the purpose of God then garnering social acceptance and likeability. Jesus wasn’t always liked and understood, but His followers (John 6:60-71) always respected him.

8. Entertainers are focused on the present. Leaders are focused on the future.

Entertainers are focused on making people feel happy in the moment. They base all their strategies around programs, hype, and visceral experiences that lift people’s souls. Leaders not only want to emotionally lift the souls of others, they want to transform the lifestyle of people’s souls towards a divine trajectory.

9. Entertainers focus on their public persona. Leaders focus on their interior lives.

Many entertainers spend hours in front of the mirror practicing their public speaking, reviewing their body language and appearance. They focus primarily on their outward appearance so as to attract the most followers. In contrast, true leaders focus more on their interior lives and gives God space to transform their souls. They obey the words of Jesus who said to first cleanse the inside of the cup and then the outside will also be clean (Matt. 23:26).

10. Entertainers receive the accolades of men. Leaders receive their accolades from God.

At the end of the day, entertainers may go down in history as being popular with men, but what will the verdict be when they stand before God? In eternity it will be known that many loved the glory that come from men more than the glory that comes from God (John 12:43).

Leaders may not always be the most popular ones while they are alive, but they will be received into eternity with a rich reward and will eventually have the most influence on the earth with men.

Recently I heard a great prophetic teacher (Thamo Naidoo from South Africa) mention in his message that there is a difference between apostles of churches and apostles of Christ. He said that while there were many apostles of churches, there were only very few true apostles of Christ on the earth today. That one statement exploded on the inside of me and gave me much illumination.  I had never heard anyone make this delineation before, but it makes a lot of sense to me. The following is what I have unpacked in the scriptures since Thamo made this statement.

Essentially, the word apostle means a person who is sent to represent another, whether a king, kingdom, or entity like a church. 1 Corinthians 12:28 teaches that God places first in the church apostles, since they are sent by God to represent Him in a city to pioneer a beachhead (a church or ekklesia as shown in Matthew 16:18-19) for city transformation.

Apostles are the “sent ones” who represent the essence of what the church vision or mission is all about. In John 17, Jesus constantly referred to the fact that He was sent by the Father to the world, which is one reason why Hebrews 3:1 refers to Jesus as our Apostle. Jesus was God’s Apostle sent into the world to redeem it. In Revelation 22:14 we see the term “the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” There will never be another apostle added to that list since there were only twelve. However, it seems evident (at least to me) that Paul was also an apostle of Christ, which means this general category was not limited to merely 12 in total. Paul qualified his apostleship not only by planting churches but also by seeing Jesus (1 Cor. 9:1), which means that apostles at this level must have experienced a dynamic encounter and intimate walk with the Lord.

In the New Testament there were dozens of people identified as apostles. It is my view that since Paul was an apostle of Christ his apostleship transcended the churches he founded. Although Paul did not found the church in Rome, he was respected enough by the general body of Christ that he was able to write the letter to the Romans with apostolic weight and authority as if he was the one who planted it. Hence, apostles of Christ garner a high level of respect beyond the borders of their own church networks, even though they would never attempt to supplant the authority of an apostolic leader who is the founder and/or leader of another network (unless there was heresy or a gross violation of biblical ethics).

Also, Paul warned that there were some who were masquerading as apostles of Christ (2 Cor. 11:13), which probably means that this term (apostle of Christ) was used to identify some significant apostles who were not one of the original twelve. Furthermore, in 2 Cor. 8:23 Paul identified some as “apostles of the churches” (not “apostles of Christ”) which I believe refers to the fact that these leaders only had limited recognized apostolic authority related to representing a particular constellation of churches. Since apostles of Christ directly represent the Lord Jesus, they have a burden and calling for the whole body of Christ and/or a large expression of the global body of Christ. Apostles of Christ are also trans-cultural, trans-generational, and are more loyal to the Kingdom of God than to a specific geopolitical affinity.

The following are ten characteristics of apostles of Christ:

1. Apostles of Christ Build the Kingdom.
Oftentimes, church apostles are just focused on their local church and/or their network or denomination. One of the reasons is because their assignment is limited to those works they personally oversee or have founded. They do not have the grace or leadership capacity to go beyond their particular church system, doctrine and/or culture. On the other hand, apostles of Christ have an ambassadorial call that transcends any one church, movement or denomination. Hence, even if they try to focus on one group or movement, God will constantly pull them into other church communities and/or nations to build apostolic foundations related to doctrine or Kingdom life.

2. Apostles of Christ Are Not Hierarchical.
Generally speaking, church apostles can be caught up in titles, measures of influence within their movement, and/or church politics. Apostles of Christ do not personally crave titles (they will use them when appropriate) and do not need institutional church structures to validate their ministry or calling.

3. Apostles of Christ Don’t Strive For Recognition.
Philippians 2 teaches us that Jesus made Himself of no reputation. Apostles of Christ are often hidden and do not seek public attention, since they are already rooted strongly in their identity as sons of God and have no innate need for public acclaim.

4. Apostles of Christ Are Not Driven by Money.
Apostles of Christ have so much faith in their assignment from God, they trust God will provide all their needs as long as they are in His will. They do not go to a place to minister only because the offerings are good but will go only where the Lord is leading. Paul said he did not peddle the word of God for money (2 Cor. 2:17) and the apostle Peter warns shepherds not to minister for dishonest gain (1 Peter 5:2). Although I believe those who labor in the word full-time are worthy of double honor and should make a living from the gospel (1 Tim. 5:17; 1 Cor. 9:14), the bottom line for apostles of Christ is the will of God, not material gain.

5. Apostles of Christ Lay Down their Lives for the Gospel.
All of the original 12 Apostles (except John) as well as the apostle Paul were martyred for the gospel. As Jesus laid down His life for the sheep (John 10) those who represent Him are willing to die daily (Revelation 12:11; Acts 20:24; Galatians 2:19-20) whether it is to their own will or to literally lose their lives.

6. Apostles of Christ Have a Servant’s Heart.
Apostles of Christ are unassuming, do not have an entitlement mentality, have a servant’s heart, and do not lead with a top-down autocratic approach like the rulers of the Gentiles (Mark 10:42). They mimic Jesus’ words when He said that the greatest in the Kingdom is the one who serves (Mark 10:43-45).

7. Apostles of Christ Have Divine Influence and Calling Beyond their Network of Churches.
Although the apostle Paul strove not to preach where Christ was already named (Romans 15:20) his greatest epistle was to the church at Rome, where he endeavored to go in spite of the fact he was not their founding apostle. Paul had vast influence way beyond the primary sphere of activity he was focusing on (Read 2 Corinthians 10:10-14). His influence has even reached to us 2,000 years later through his inspired New Testament writings.

Since apostles of Christ represent the Lord Himself, by nature they have to be trans-national, trans-cultural, and multi-generational and have a desire for Kingdom advancement, not just the enlargement of their church networks.

8. Apostles of Christ Have an Intimate Walk with God.
Since apostles of Christ have to represent Jesus and not merely a church or denomination (of course all believers are called to represent Christ but apostolic callings have a greater measure of responsibility), they are obligated to know God intimately and walk in His presence and power.  All of the original 12 apostles walked with Jesus personally for more than three years before they were launched into their ministry, and Paul the apostle had a personal encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). All true apostles of Christ will have a driving passion to know God and to make Him known.

9. Apostles of Christ Endure Great Hardship.
Paul validated his apostleship by the immense hardships he endured, not just by signs and wonders and church planting (2 Corinthians 11:17-12:8). Paul said (1 Cor. 4:9) that apostles live like those condemned dying in the arena (or have the sentence of death upon themselves). This kind of apostolic leader must have the capacity for high-stress leadership combined with the kind of emotional maturity to deal with all kinds of difficulties that the average person could never endure.

10. Apostles of Christ Live in Simplicity.
Apostles of Christ do not need or desire to live a life of extreme luxury and opulence. Their spiritual and psychological needs have already been met through their deep and abiding relationship with Christ. They have been so satisfied with living with the person and presence of God that they count all things as dung compared to knowing Him (Philippians 3:8-14)! Their greatest desire in life is to fellowship with Him, meditate on the scriptures, and serve God’s people and Kingdom. Consequently they do not need to drive the most expensive cars, live in the largest houses or make a huge salary in order to be satisfied in this life. Consequently, they live in simplicity, are content with little and are not driven to pursue material possessions and pleasure.

After seeing these 10 traits, we can see how there are only very few apostles of Christ in this world. May the Lord raise more up in these days so the body of Christ can fully advance!

Heaven’s Prophetic Assignments
By John Eckhardt

God puts a prophet through a process of refinement. God purges the prophet and develops their character. The prophet has to respond to the dealings of God in his or her own life before they can effectively deal with the problems in the lives of others.

Sometimes as a prophet you will feel as if you are in a furnace. You may find yourself saying, “God, why are You dealing so strongly with me? Why don’t You deal with everyone else like this?” Don’t give up, prophet. Go through the process.

A prophet is a vessel. God purges His vessels. God will take the dross (impurities) out of your life. You have to become the raw material to be a prophetic vessel. Go through the process. Let the fire burn.

Prophet, don’t allow guilt, shame and condemnation to prevent you from accepting and walking in your calling. Many prophets struggle with feelings of inadequacy as a result of their past. Isaiah was purged and sent. Allow the Lord to purge you from sins of the past, walk clean before the Lord and fulfill your call.

Moses distinguished himself as a prophet by his faithfulness (Num. 12:7). Be faithful to the call and commission.

The Prophet’s Anointing

Prophets understand grace. They know God’s strength is by grace. They understand that they cannot do this in their own strength (1 Cor. 15:10). Prophets depend on the grace of God—His strength, favor, power and ability. They understand that without God, they can do nothing (John 5:30). Prophets will find themselves in situations in which they have to depend on grace.

God calls all kinds of people to be prophets. The Lord chose the foolish things to confound the things that are wise (1 Cor. 1:27-29). David was an obscure shepherd boy. Amos was not a prophet or a prophet’s son. God calls people who would not qualify by the standards of men. Prophets are not determined by men but by God. God’s choice is a challenge and rebuke against the pride of men.

There are things that you can learn directly from God. This is what happens to prophets. Prophets know things that are not taught by men. Jesus knew more than all the religious leaders of His day. They marveled at His knowledge (John 7:15). Jesus had not attended their schools.

The prophet’s words are anointed and carry power. When prophets speak, things happen. When prophets speak, things change. When prophets speak, God moves. Open your mouth, prophet, and speak. God will back you up. He will confirm the words of His servants (Is. 44:26).

God commands His prophets to prophesy. When they do, there is a noise, a shaking, a coming together. Dead things come to life. Dry bones live again. The prophets’ words bring life. They release breath.

When God is speaking, who can keep from prophesying? Some may want the prophets to be quiet, but they can’t help but prophesy (Amos 3:8). This release can happen in the form of weeping, speaking, writing, singing, dancing or praying.

You cannot make prophets do what you want them to do. They are not to be used for your benefit and desire, but they are created for God’s purposes. You are in trouble when you try to make them see and say what you want them to see and say. Prophets are independent spokesmen.

Prophets don’t preach what is popular. Neither do they preach to be popular. They often preach a truth that makes them unpopular. They are not owned by people and organizations; they are owned only by God. The prophet is devoted to God and truth, not institutions, organizations, religions, doctrines and creeds.

You Must Overcome Fear

The Lord will put you in situations where you must overcome fear. You will have to learn to overcome criticism, rejection, jealous people and the like. This is part of the making of a prophet. The Lord is building courage in you. You will have to make decisions some people won’t agree with. You will have to take a stand. You cannot please everyone. You may lose some relationships.

Prophets must overcome the fear of man. This can be a major battle for some. The fear of man brings a snare. You cannot fear man, the call, criticism, rejection, persecution or intimidation and be strong in the prophetic. Fear will short-circuit your prophetic flow. Everyone has to overcome some kind of fear. You are not alone. God will deliver you from all your fears and give you the courage you need (Jer. 1:8).

The prophet’s desire is to please God, not men. You cannot be a servant of Christ and please men (Gal. 1:10). Prophets don’t seek the approval of men. The prophet’s priority is to please God. Inordinate people-pleasing brings you into bondage by enslaving you to everyone whom you desire to please.

Jesus did not look for or receive honor from men (John 5:41). Jesus received honor from the Father. Prophets have always had to live without honor from men. God does not want you to depend on man’s honor. The Father’s honor is the most important thing to prophets (John 8:54).

Some of the early church leaders were excommunicated. Martin Luther, Jan Hus and other reformers were excommunicated. Are you willing to be rejected because of the truth?

How to Handle Opposition

Demons hate prophets. Witches and warlocks hate prophets. Jezebel hates prophets. Prophets are a threat to the works of darkness. They expose the works of the enemy. Prophets are on the enemy’s hit list. God protects His prophets, so don’t be afraid of the enemy. No weapon formed against you will prosper (Is. 54:17).

God sustains His prophets. They don’t have to depend on men and religious systems to survive. Prophets depend on God. They must be free to speak for the Lord. True prophets don’t eat at Jezebel’s table.

Elijah was fed by ravens (1 Kin. 17:3-5). God was his source and provider. Prophets depend on God for sustenance. Prophets need God’s sustenance because they are often rejected by men. Prophet, expect to receive miraculous provision from God.

God hates when His prophets are mistreated (Ps. 105:15). Prophets can be mistreated, persecuted, ignored, called crazy, rejected, overlooked, isolated, muzzled and passed over. Prophets are often persecuted by the systems they cry out against. This is nothing new. God vindicates His prophets, defends them and deals with the systems that mistreat them.

If you are a prophet, you will have to develop some toughness. Prophets have to learn how to “shake off the dust” (Matt. 10:14). Prophets want everyone to receive the truth and be blessed, but sometimes it just does not happen that way. You can’t make people do what the Lord says. Sometimes you have to leave and “shake off the dust.”

If you are rejected, don’t pick up demons of hurt and rejection. Don’t let those demons in your life. Remember the word of the Lord to Samuel: “It is not you they have rejected, but Me they have rejected from reigning over them” (1 Sam. 8:7).

It’s not about you; it’s about the Lord. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad.

General Functions of a Prophet

Prophets pull down that which God did not build, root up that which God did not plant and destroy what God wants destroyed.

God uses prophets to send out ministries. Prophets enjoy releasing and seeing ministers released. Prophets love to see people activated and released into their God-given destinies. They love to see the plans and purposes of God come to pass in peoples’ lives.

Prophets don’t like being in ministries where no one is released. Prophets don’t like seeing the wrong people released.

It is the ministry of prophets to pray over and lay hands on those being separated unto special ministry (Acts 13:2). The prophets and teachers at Antioch heard the Spirit say to separate Paul and Barnabas. They separated them, laid hands on them and sent them out. Prophets help us release ministries.

Some prophets are also scribes (Matt. 23:34). They write down their dreams, visions, prophetic words and insights. They often love journaling. The scribal prophet is not limited to writing, but can release the word through audio, video, print and other media. They have a desire to record what God is saying.

Scribal prophets, go back and read the things you wrote down years ago, and you might be shocked at what the Lord has done to bring those words to pass. Some of you have journals that you have written over the years. God is faithful.

Scribes can also be persecuted. Religious systems of control hate scribes. This is because their writings challenge these systems. Truth and revelation can be imparted and released through writing. Writing has always been a powerful tool of reformation.

Some prophets are musicians and singers; others may express themselves through dance. Both Miriam and David expressed themselves in the dance (Ex. 15:20; 2 Sam. 6:14). Prophets are expressive, and the dance is one of the most powerful ways to express God’s power, victory, love and mercy.

The Unusual Life of a Prophet

Prophets can find themselves in the most unusual places and circumstances, and wonder, “How did I get here?” Prophet, God can place you there to release His wisdom and His word. Don’t be surprised where you find yourself ministering. God will open doors for you, send you and place you with people who you ordinarily would never meet. They need what you have.

Prophets can speak to people of power and those in positions of power. This is because power is so easily abused and misused. Nathan spoke to David. This is an example of speaking to power. Sometimes power does not want to hear what prophets say. Jesus spoke to power when He challenged the religious leaders of His day for their hypocrisy and abuse.

Yet beware. Lord Acton said, “Power tends (sic) to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” This famous quote addresses the fact that men have a difficult time handling power. Pride tends to corrupt men of power, and this is why we need prophets who will speak to and challenge power.

Moses is the exception. He was a man of great power, but he’s called the meekest man of the earth (Num. 12:3). He never needed a prophet to correct him.

Prophets are not normal, and their experiences are not normal. Prophets are different because they have visitations. Unusual salvations, deliverances, dreams, visions and divine encounters are the prophet’s portion. When a person encounters God, he or she cannot remain the same.

Moses encountered a burning bush, Isaiah saw the Lord in His glory, Ezekiel had visions of God, and Daniel had angelic visitations. Jeremiah encountered God at a young age, John was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb, and God appeared to Jacob in a dream.

Prophets are different because they encounter God in unusual ways. They have unusual testimonies. If you tell people some of your experiences, they might think you are crazy and spooky.

Prophets do most of their work in secret. Prophets don’t have to have platforms, although God may give them one. Prophets don’t have to be seen, although God may highlight them.

Prophets pray, weep, minister to the Lord and study in secret. What God shows them in secret, they speak to the world. Prophets love the solitary place. Prophets hate the hype and sensationalism they see on many platforms.

Prophets are often hidden from view. They do much of their work in the secret place.

The hidden ones are the “secret ones,” “the precious ones” and “the treasured ones” (Ps. 83:3).

Prophetstown

I drove from Illinois to Iowa some time ago and passed a town by the name of Prophetstown in Illinois. I have lived in Illinois all my life, and I have never heard of this town. I researched it, and this is what I found:

“Prophetstown is named for Wabokieshiek (White Cloud), a medicine man known as ‘the Prophet.’ (He was) also friend and adviser to Chief Black Hawk. Born in 1794, he presided over the village known as ‘prophet’s village’ on the Rock River. He was half Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) and half Sauk and had great influence over both tribes.”

I pray that the Lord would raise up “Prophetstowns” in every region across the globe. Let true prophets arise and come forth in every town and city. Let the cloud of glory be in these towns.###

John Eckhardt is overseer of Crusaders Ministries in Chicago. Gifted with a strong apostolic call, he has ministered throughout the United States and overseas. He is an international conference speaker, produces a weekly television program, Perfecting the Saints, and has written more than 20 books. Eckhardt resides in the Chicago area with his family.

Original article: http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/53180-heaven-s-prophetic-assignments

For three years or so the Lord has been speaking to me out of the prophetic prediction of Malachi 3:1-6 concerning imminent events that He will be orchestrating in the Church that He is building, i.e., the genuine Body of Christ. In the first quarter of this year, the Lord has been continually increasing the intensity and urgency of what he has been showing and telling me in this regard. I cannot possibly convey much at all of those prophetic insights He’s been communicating to me here in this forum and format or at this time because it is far too expansive and extensive and I have only recently begun to attempt to transfer it from my spirit to paper, so to speak, or in reality, to computer. I will, however, be progressively sharing it in some books and study courses I am currently and concurrently working on.

Anyone who has any substantial experience in “prophetic writing” knows how arduous, strenuous, and time-consuming such an endeavor can be, especially when words so often fail when attempting to convey spiritual impressions, concepts, precepts, and insights into human language as the medium of natural – i.e., intellectual – assimilation. I cannot account for the experiences of other prophets, but I know in my own case, what I “see” in my spirit, is so clear, precise, unambiguous, forthright, apparent, but when I attempt to communicate what I’ve seen in the spirit for consumption by others, words/language fail, and communication methodology conventions hinder rather than help. Or maybe in reality its just my own communication capacities that are lacking.

Many times I’ve wished that God would allow at least momentarily a peeling back of the clouds of human carnality overlaying our spiritual senses (hearing and sight) so that pristine spirit-to-spirit communication could transpire, but as idealistic and desirable as that might seem, it is not His plan or desire. Maybe some of those who are called upon by the Lord to communicate prophetically to God’s people understand what I am trying – probably ineptly and inartfully – to say.

Notwithstanding, I rise today through the auspices of this forum to make a sincere and earnest attempt to convey what I believe I received as a prophetic word from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, which He has instructed me to convey to the Church He is building, that is, His Body. A few days ago, I heard Him instructing me in my spirit to sit down at my computer, write what He speaks to me, and title it “A Prophetic Prognosis.” I did; He did; and what He spoke is what this article is about. It is too long and would take up too much space to place the whole message into this post format. So I have summarized what He spoke to me here and provided a link to the PDF document that contains the entire prophetic word. Continue reading “A Prophetic Prognosis” »

This article is part 1 of 1 in the series God's Theocracy

Moses & Israelites Exodus

The Church is the quintessential Theocracy. Its government is not a political government wherein the governed themselves constitute, devise, and effect their own government, such as that of this nation, the United States, which is a form of democracy (a republic), supposedly “of the people, for the people, and by the people.” Rather, the Church is literally governed by a singular Supreme Potentate—the Lord Jesus Christ—who God has appointed as its Sole and Sovereign Head. Thus, the ultimate Theocracy. The absolute necessity of understanding this one concept is emphasized and re‑emphasized repeatedly in the volume from which this article is extracted, and indeed is the ultimate and salient point of that book, Charismatic Captivation.

But, once it is understood that Christ Jesus Himself is the ultimate Head and Cornerstone of the Church, it is just as vital to understand that the government Jesus presides over is an intermediated or proxy government in its physical application. In other words, He does not govern alone, nor directly, nor even in person. Rather, His government is a “representative” or “delegate” form of government, if you will. This is to say that as God set apart and specially consecrated the Levites under the Old Covenant to represent Himself unto the people, so also Jesus appoints, anoints, and sends special envoys, ambassadors, to represent Him and His government unto the Church. These envoys are His personal proxies, His delegates, His stand‑ins, whom He sends to convey and effect His purposes, plans, pleasures, and passions. Continue reading “How God’s Theocracy Manifests on Earth” »

By Charles Carrin

The False Theory of Cessationism

To absolve itself of power failure, the contemporary Church has invented an escape hatch called cessation theology. This pleasant-sounding expression declares that God has withdrawn the Holy Spirit’s miraculous power from the Church. It says the Church’s power is in a book—the Bible—and nowhere else. This doctrine also says if we have no power it is because God has removed it, that the fault is not ours. (Yet, astonishingly, the Lord did not cause Satan’s power to be removed at the same time ours supposedly was.)

Modern Christianity has convinced itself that Jesus provided two distinct Gospels and two distinct faiths—one for the First Century Church and one for the Church that followed after. Cessationists say the first Church was miraculously empowered while the second was not; the first had the baptismal gift of the Holy Spirit, while the second was merely given a book telling what the Holy Spirit had achieved in the past. Continue reading “Are You An Apollos Or A Paul?” »

With all the proliferation and promotion of the prophetic that is happily taking place now in some streams and camps of the Church, it is critical that we understand what the true Purpose of the prophetic really is. Some prophetic novices and new prophetic groups appear to think that prophecy itself, whether in the form of personal prophesying over people or publishing prophecies on the Internet, for example, is the goal of the prophetic. Moreover, the actions, attitudes, and speech of some regarding the prophetic seem to indicate that they think that the prophetic is an end in itself. But, it’s not.

Though it may seem enigmatic to say, prophecy is not the Purpose of the prophetic. The true Purpose of the prophetic is not the prophetic itself as an end in itself. It’s not just prophesying. It’s not seeing who can prophesy the most, the loudest, the longest, the most authoritative sounding, or the most profoundly. It’s not to use the prophetic to build a name for oneself, or to promote and proliferate a ministry, a minister, or a movement, or to develop a means of support or income for a ministry, or to sell books, or to become well-known or famous, or to build a church, a following, or a prophetic organization, or to achieve personal ambitions. The true Purpose of the prophetic is none of those things. Continue reading “Prophetic Purpose” »

By Dr. Steven Lambert

In a day of ubiquitous uncertainty, one thing the Body of Christ can know without any doubt or equivocation is that Christ is coming back to claim as His Eternal Bride the true ekklesia that Jesus has been building now for more than 2,000 years (Mat. 16:18)! That is the great hope of the Christian faith that distinguishes it from all other so-called “faiths” or “religions.” Christ WILL soon return, and events and circumstances around the world are telling us, per Bible eschatology, that His return is imminent! And, when He does return, we have the glorious promise (and God cannot lie) that: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with [the dead in Christ] in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thes. 4:17) Indeed, the succeeding verse commands us to “comfort one another with these words.” Continue reading “The Purification Of Deliverance” »

By Eddie L. Hyatt

Prophetic ministry has great potential for blessing and building up the people of God. But when abused and misused, it has the same potential to trouble and destroy. In order to derive the greatest benefit from prophetic ministry, we need both the guidelines of Scripture and the lessons of history to point the way.

Warning Sign 1:
When prophecy is used to enhance the status of a movement and its leaders.

1517-1537 was a very exciting time for many Christians in Europe. A great spiritual reformation was under way, and many believed that God was restoring the church to its original purity and power. Many believed that out of this restoration would come a great revival and harvest that would usher in the coming of the Lord and the end of the age. Continue reading “Five Warning Signs That Prophetic Ministry Has Gone Awry” »

The following are the expanded notes from a speech Bishop Mattera made on August 7, 2011 to 150 political, business, and military leaders in the African nation of Rwanda, including the Speaker of Parliament.

First of all, I want to say that I am pleased to address you, the political and community leaders of Rwanda for the magnificent job you have been doing in rebuilding this great nation! Most in the United States have no idea how much progress you have made, the great attitude of your people and the motivation to move forward in spite of all the global challenges! I will be sure to pass the word around when I go back home to New York City! Continue reading “How to Frame a Nation with the Law of God” »

February 20, 1990 | by John Piper

[Editor’s Note: Though this article was originally published in 1990, it addresses a topic we wholeheartedly espouse, and contains some poignant and Scripturally valid points regarding a little understood, oft disputed or entirely rejected subject. Of further significance is the fact that the highly-regarded and widely-acclaimed author is not known to identify with Pentecostal or Neo-Pentecostal theology, demonology in particular as well as ecclesiology. The matter of “spiritual warfare” is a truth that the End-Time Remnant Church Jesus is building needs to recover, embrace, assimilate, become knowledgeable and trained in, and engage in on a broader scale in order to offensively resist the strategic battle plans (“schemes,” “wiles”) of the real, unseen Adversary, the devil (Eph. 6:10-18; Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8,9; et al.). Unfortunately, we recognize and lament, this is one of a number truths the Holy Spirit has been restoring and re-emphasizing to those in the End-Time Church who have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying, but which has been significantly discredited and consequently disregarded as a result of indefensible extremism and imprudence in some streams who have been its proponents. Our fervent hope is that those who do have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying will push through the daunting and discouraging effects of the criticisms of men to embrace and engage in the sort and levels of spiritual warfare that are needed to defeat the Adversary’s wiles and schemes in order for the Church Jesus is building to advance and conquer in every place and way the Helper as well as the Head of the Church ordains.]

On February 12 of this year (1990; ed.) about 30 prayer leaders met in Pasadena at the invitation of Peter Wagner for a Post-Lausanne II Consultation on Cosmic-Level Spiritual Warfare. At least five workshops at Lausanne II in Manila last year had dealt with “territorial spirits” and their relationship to world evangelization. The Pasadena meeting was strictly ad-hoc and aimed simply to pray and brainstorm about wrestling with principalities and powers in world evangelization.

What shall we make of this new warfare strategy in evangelism? Is it the sort of thing you only read about in Frank Peretti’s novels? Or is it terribly real and strategic for finishing the great commission among “hard” and “closed” peoples of the world? Continue reading “Cosmic-Level Spiritual Warfare” »

By Joseph Mattera

In the past several decades we have seen massive church growth. Church attendance in the world is at an all-time high. Yet, in most places of the world, cultural decline keeps accelerating at an alarming rate.

For example, in spite of now having numerous megachurches with over 20,000 attendees, social issues that undermine Judeo-Christian values like abortion, same-sex marriage and threats to religious liberty continue to be on the rise! This has often troubled many people who wonder why a nation like the United States could have so many people who claim to be Evangelical, born again believers (some estimate as many as 45 million, not including Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Episcopal and mainline Protestant churches) and yet far-left political leaders continue to be elected by people of faith.

This is because many believers view entitlement programs, access to political power, skin color, and economics (the Keynesian view) as higher priorities than public policy issues grounded in God’s nature, character and law (for example, the Ten Commandments). This includes sanctity of life issues. Continue reading “Are You Gathering a Crowd or Building a Church?” »

This Sunday, May 27, 2012, is Pentecost Sunday. It will be acknowledged and in various ways “observed” by many Christian denominations/groups, Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal. Though its real significance is largely lost on most denominations today, it is a day of commemoration of the original Day of Pentecost that occurred fifty days after the resurrection of Christ when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon 120 disciples who secreted themselves away in a small alcove that became known as, “The Upper Room,” awaiting the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy, “…you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5). Continue reading “A Different Gospel Without Power” »

By Charles Carrin

“For unclean spirits crying with a loud voice came out of many who were possessed and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city. But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished (bewitched) the people of Samaria…” (Acts 8:7-9).

Years ago, I received an urgent call from a young Church of Christ pastor in Tennessee who wanted time with me. He was in great distress. We met at the Nashville airport and went to his home where he shared his crisis: “The only power in my ministry was argument and debate,” he explained, “There was no manifestation of God’s presence like the early church experienced. I became so despaired with my spiritual deadness that I turned to other sources. And I made wrong choices — I went into Eastern Mysticism.” I listened as he continued. “I found real power — but power that soon became dark and frightening. The problem was that having invited it into my life, I could not make it leave. It began to dominate, control, and in a merciless way, forced its will upon me.” His story was familiar. The “spirit-guide” that had invaded his life, harassed his sleep, affected his family relationships, and succeeded in separating him from those he loved. In time, it destroyed his ministry. As we talked, depression clung to him in a merciless way.

When he finished, I explained that he had “touched the unclean thing” (Isaiah 52:11), which God forbad. The good news was that his repentance and the power of Christ could free him. I reminded him that there is no power of darkness that can successfully stand against the authority of Jesus (Philippians 2:9). Continue reading “So You Think Psychic Power Is Fun and Games?” »

A prophet “blows the whistle” on the things that are unreal, feigned, false, synthetic, compromised, the things that constitute a lie, and if people continue in their deception, it will constitute death for them. It is not death as biological termination but death even while they live. The prophet is totally committed to life. He has an uncanny ability to discern those elements of death that have become so normative in the lives of people. Jesus said: “I have come to bring you life, and that more abundantly.” We need to contend for life and oppose every kind of artificial, stultifying, pharmaceutical thing that even children are now taking to quiet their “disorders”. The prophet will cry out, he will intervene and intercede for the fullness of life. Any falling short of the full-orbed life that God has intended for men and women in their humanity in God is a measure of death. Continue reading “The Holy of Holies” »

There are few things more controversial in the body of Christ than the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the accompanying gifts.

Much of modern-day Christianity sees the born-again experience as all there is to salvation. Many Christians oppose the belief that there is a separate experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit, and they especially oppose the validity of the gifts of the Holy Spirit for today’s believers.

That type of belief puts them in conflict with the book of Acts and the very teaching of Jesus. Those who experience the power of the Holy Spirit today are labeled as fanatics or heretics. But what does the Bible have to say? What did Jesus say about this? Continue reading “The Holy Spirit” »

Let me state the cause of my burden. It is this: Jesus Christ has today almost no authority at all among the groups that call themselves by His name. By these I mean not the Roman Catholics nor the liberals, nor the various quasi-Christian cults. I do mean Protestant churches generally, and I include those that protest the loudest that they are in spiritual descent from our Lord and His apostles, namely, the evangelicals.

Editors Note: This article appeared in The Alliance Witness May 15, 1963, just two days after the death of Dr. Tozer. Some have commented rightly that in a sense it was his valedictory, for it expressed the concern of his heart.

HERE IS THE BURDEN of my heart; and while I claim for myself no special inspiration I yet feel that this is also the burden of the Spirit. Continue reading “The Waning Authority of Christ in the Churches” »

In our American culture we glorify results and performance. The measure of our success is often the level of positive response received, monies raised, and number of people we gather.

In this article I am examining if the above view lines up with biblical standards since, if the measure of success stated above is correct, then many of the great biblical and historic heroes of the faith were really miserable failures!

This topic has been especially important to me because, since 2003, I have put my life and my soul into fighting for traditional marriage in New York State. After eight long years of success, we lost the battle this June! When this happened, the Lord had to assure me that my prophetic role is to speak truth to power, but that results cannot be determined by me or the church, as much as we want the results to go our way! Continue reading “The True Measure of Success in the Kingdom” »