Destiny…Purpose…and You!?

images-6I have a destiny? 
I have a purpose? 
Do you?
These are common statements, yet we discover many frustrated people chasing or advancing themselves to the degree that nothing else matters.    While I believe in destiny, each one of us being created, as the scripture puts it ”…for good works…”  I see that the context of the arresting of the Divine in our lives is sometimes sidelined and misquoted which brings about frustration.
We have been born and set in place to fulfil the will of the Father,  our destiny, never mind what we think it might be, finds its source and positioning in the will of God.     Our names have been included in the bringing about of the Father, Son and Spirit’s will,  this is where we find the most fulfilling and a destiny that is true.   A destiny that is not self willed, self-centred, or self-seeking but being poured out for the Divine Call that is on every ones life.
I believe it is time to re-orient ourselves so we can fulfil the will of God.

Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love         he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,       to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Eph 1:3-6 
This passage explodes into the life of the  Christ follower, it pulsates, it moves at a pace.   Just as Paul whose thoughts inspired by the Holy Spirit he lets lose in  a 10 verse explosion of vocabulary with out a pause in Eph 1.   Some say this is the longest sentence in written form, no breath, no commas, no fullstops!
 
THE EXPLOSION OF “BLESSED BE THE GOD AND FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRISt WHO HAS BLESSED US WITH EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST JESUS
 
An excitement over what God has done for us.   Paul says it is glorious, it takes your breath away what has taken place in Christ with us.
 
Can you feel Paul’s revelation, can you feel his passion as you try read the 10 verses without commas, and pauses?   
We are included!   we are Involved!   See it with Paul!    Paul communicates all history has changed and he is inspired by it.
 
Paul says this is our destiny, to give ourselves not to gain position, quotas, elevation, greater church numbers, more books or TV, bigger and better (is this not competition), events and churches, but to be a part of Divine Destiny.    I have  a destiny, you have a  destiny, it is to be inspired with God’s Destiny and give our selves to it, so we can fulfil the good works set for us as we pursue the destiny of God  we embrace our personal destiny.   My Destiny is found in pursuit of Gods’.
 
So what do I do find people who are giving themselves to “Making God Great”,by following the eternal set ways,  setting Father, Son and Holy Spirit goal as first order and not promoting their church, their ministry but giving all they have to serve the Destiny of God.   Let us be part of a transformation that releases a fulfilled people of God as they give all to Gods’ Goal
 
In the next few blogs I will look at this inspiring destiny,  all our initiatives, all our transformation, missional involvement  and everything we involve with must find its source in the destiny of God, not simply caught on achieving my Destiny, but achieving Gods Destiny  is actually achieving my Destiny God has a goal!
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Be counted in…

“The priesthood of all believers” this was once well taught, Martin Luther in the early reformation took it as a central teaching. Yet after all this time we are still battling with it.     Today we have a professional priesthood or pastors more than ever and with it people are moved into a consumer approach to faith, where we come and get God served to us on Sunday mornings.   We all agree with the notion knowing we are all priest unto God.   The dilemma today is this, do we continue to live as we are, are we ‘consumered out’ and so hierarchically set that we have to live with a priesthood once again and thus remain with a professional priesthood ?

unknownI know this is not our desire.  Today with the great cry for freedom  and liberty all around us, we should  take hold of our position through the love of God.

We have to become a priesthood to all creation, while maintaining a corporate people of God understanding and existence.    Some however have taken it to such an extreme that they have become islands of faith and individuals with no connections,  that is yet another extreme.   We are a community and family of priests unto our God, here to minister to one another and bring explanations of the Father to our world.    This is what  our High Priest the Christ has done before us.

Suppose that you gathered one Sunday morning, and some one stood before the congregation  asking, “Would any priest  here please stand?”   I am sure for some their historical backgrounds would determine the response.  Who would stand and who would you expect to stand?

Some would be comfortable to stand and others wait for those in the vocation or profession to stand.   Before you start looking to other denominations and saying ‘Ah they would….’ What have we slowly and subversively come to?   The question deals with the fleeting issue of ‘Image and Likeness’ and ‘Identity’.  This is central to all dealing with how we see and think of ourselves.  One of Gods central concerns, at this time, is to produce his image and likeness back into his world and humanity, that Christ might have supreme position in all – Restoration.   The Holy Spirit is working to bring about a people of image and likeness to the Father in the cosmos, it is an important issue today.

Heavens resources are working to bring the image and likeness of God back in view to all.

Back to the question on that Sunday morning, how many people do you think would rise? More important, would you stand?

You should! every believer is anointed to serve as a priest.

For the early Christian in the New Testament, the word priest is never used of a church leader; it is only used to characterise the role of all believers.  Imagine how it was received by the early Christians. When Peter wrote, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people” (1 Pet. 2:9RSV), he was writing mostly to people who formerly had nothing to do with Israel and its God. Peter confers on these new Christians both a Jewish heritage (“you are a holy nation, God’s own people”) and the privilege of priesthood (“you are a royal priesthood”). Such a notion would have shaken them to the soles of their sandals.

Perhaps to understand the privilege of being named a priest, we need first to examine what priesthood meant to those who had a history of understanding of the practice of Priesthood.     Why do I write on this, I believe that if we could catch our Image and Likeness, our identity, many challenges would pass and life would be lived very differently, its time to finally realise the goal of the Father in this.

A Favoured Person

Priests were chosen from among the tribe of Levi (one of the 12 tribes of Israel) to serve as mediators between God and His people. God told Aaron, the first high priest,

I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the Lord to do the work at the Tent of Meeting. But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain. I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. Anyone else who comes near the sanctuary must be put to death Num. 18:6-7

It was a tremendous privilege to serve as a priest in Israel—a gift. Priests enjoyed a special relationship to God: They alone could offer sacrifices; they alone had access to the holy portions of the tabernacle and the temple where God manifested His presence; they alone were the guardians of the Law.

Then, in the New Testament, all believers are called as priests. The book of Revelation says that Jesus “has made us his Kingdom and his priests who serve before God his Father” (1:65:10NLT). In a sense, when we are “born again,” we are born into a priesthood as if we were actually privileged descendants of Levi. In addition, with our new birth we receive an anointing, not with oil as Old Testament priests were anointed, but with the Holy Spirit (1 Jn. 2:2027). This anointing empowers us to serve God in this privileged and vitally important priestly role.

You won’t have to Kill a cow or a lamb.

Here are five ways we serve Christ as priests.

1. We offer sacrifices. Under the Old Covenant, priests offered animal sacrifices. They slaughtered a lamb on the altar every morning and evening, drained the animal’s blood, and sprinkled the blood on and around the altar. Then they cut the animal into prescribed portions and burned much of the meat (see Ex. 29:38-39). These costly and graphic sacrifices were a constant reminder of the deadly seriousness of sin and the need for cleansing and forgiveness from God. They were inadequate, however, to cover sins; they only pointed to the ultimate sacrifice.

This sacrifice was realised in Jesus who came as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29). The offering of His life on the cross was the final sacrifice. None other will ever be necessary: “He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself” (Heb. 7:27).

Because of Jesus’ sacrificial offering, priests no longer need to make animal sacrifices. But God does call us to sacrifice consider Romans 12:1 “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship”.

As living sacrifices, we offer ourselves completely to God to use as He pleases.

In addition, instead of the aroma of a burnt offering, God longs for us to offer the pleasing aroma of praise: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Heb. 13:15). This too is part of our priestly service.   I have mentioned in a number of places remember that worship was not singing but a life of obedience, worship was obedience and there to be a sweet aroma to God.    Singing has a place, it helps us express and confess, yet without obedience it is just a sing along, for the sake of enjoying the music or the celebrations of songs

2. We read, interpret, and proclaim God’s . One of the extraordinary blessings of the New Covenant is that we have direct and immediate access to the Word of God. This truth led Christian leaders such as John and Martin Luther to translate the Bible into everyday languages so all people—not just the clergy—could read it, interpret it, and delight in it. God calls all of us to be like the priest Ezra, who devoted himself to studying God’s , practicing it, and making it known (Ezra 7:10).

3. We intercede for others in prayer.    We also have direct access to God—through our relationship with him.   Developing and deepening our intimacy with him.,  Because of our close relationship with Jesus, the great high priest, we can “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb. 4:16). At that throne, we believer-priests can serve others by interceding with God on their behalf.      God is still looking for those who will become the one ‘mankind’ who will stand in the gap, intercede and rule in the cosmos on his behalf.

4. We serve according to our giftedness. Not all priests will serve in the same way under this new priesthood. When God poured out His Spirit upon us, He gave us different abilities. God also has provided the church with a variety of gifted people (none of whom constitute a special order of priests) who encourage and prepare their fellow believer-priests to do the ministry. The Apostle Paul says that Christ has given gifts to the church “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service” (Eph. 4:12NASB).     That the people of God transform the cosmos around by their empowering priesthood.

5. We mediate God’s presence to the world. Ultimately, we are channels of God’s blessing. One of our priestly sacrifices is to serve others: “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb. 13:16). We represent God’s presence to those living with us, those in line with us at the grocery store, serving us in restaurants, working next to us, or sitting across from us in our small groups. As we talk, pray, and live with them, we are fulfilling our priestly role as Peter described it:

1 Peter 2:9 “You are…a royal priesthood…[God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.”

Knowing your true identity and role can have a powerful impact on your life. God has called you to a priestly position and has anointed you with His Spirit for this privileged assignment.

 

 

To this End… will we reach it, by the Spirit of course.

images-4Accompanied by the last number of blogs we have been journeying through a process in my experience, its aim is that God may achieve an end in me and just a little assist us all.   I suppose we would have to say its a maturing process, a journey of one degree to another.   Over the 40 years I have come to realise that what we call sonship is not an event or something that is given but it really is a process, a process of maturing.   We are all born ‘children of God and all have the potential to become sons of God as we mature into the full measure of Christ.  I would suggest that this is the only thing that can explain the circumstances, the challenges along with the joys of our walk for however many years we remain in our ‘earth suit’ so to speak, the apostle Paul called it a ‘tent‘.

Here is a biblical story to hook that though on.   At the age of 12 as Jesus grew in favour with God and mankind, we will know this account of Jesus that he was left behind in the temple, this is not a series of titles for an eschatological writings but Jesus was actually left behind by mum and dad.   The day mum and dad lost God, what a parenting achievement.    All of us who have had children have lost one in a shopping mall, or somewhere the scare, the fear, well Mary and Joseph lost God.   It tells us of a very different community feel that they lived with to today, may be?      Community was so strong for Jesus, someone would be caring for the other child, “…no need to worry when you cannot see him, some ones eye will be upon him…” but after a day they realized “he’s not here.”     Jesus own words told us he know his aim of life “about my Fathers business” yet his heavenly Father sent him back for 18 years to the wood cutting shed to be a builder.   He was not ready, although he could confound the teachers in the centre of all things of God, he had not matured to the place necessary yet.    In his 30th year when he stood at the river banks with John “this is my beloved Son” was declared and the Old Testament saying “today I have begotten you as my Son” comes into view.   Jesus had matured through 30 years of life, joys, pain, challenges, suffering as he learned to be obedient until he now was a mature Son – Think about it!   Sonship is a process open to us all to become ‘sons of God.

So we continue on our process of life and learning, maturing to this end…

Taking up other people’s’ offenses

Frequently those who were proud, rebellious or stubborn would get hurt. They would then Campaign for support. In the ensuing controversy I often foolishly found myself supporting persons out of sympathy or friendship though lacking understanding as to the issues involved, taking up their offenses as my own.

Some of these arguments would go on for months at a time and churches would have several ‘cliques’ within them that were quite political in nature. I had to learn that:

  • To be part of the answer you must not become part of the problem.
  • Defend a rebellious person and you share their lot and outcome.
  • Support the proud and you share their downfall.

When friendship rules judgment then the best means of bringing resolution is rendered impotent.

Secondhand opinions

Because I was generally untaught in the scriptures, I tended to learn from what I saw in others. The people I admired were strong men with equally strong opinions.

In the absence of personal revelation I adopted their opinions as my own. I failed to realize that when secondhand opinions are stubbornly defended, one can end up a bigoted exponent of other people’s’ prejudices.

  • Your foundation in life is your personal revelation.
  • In order to stand in truth you must be in the revelation of it

This is the essence of John’s assertion ‘Yet I know that the touch of the Spirit never leaves you, and you don’t really need a human teacher. You know that his Spirit teaches you about all things, always telling you the truth and never telling you a lie. So, as he has taught you, live continually in him.’  (1 Jn.2:27)

Let us press on as we are encouraged to do so in the scripture laying hold of the end that the Father is drawing, loving us to!

Leadership – discovering again its SERVANT nature.

There are so many Leadership styles along with books urging us to discover style would be the best to lead making your mark amongst people and society.    We some times get confused how we who are followers of Christ should reflect the Christ in our work.    Jesus said in John 1:18 (NASB) “…came to explain the Father.” he has invited us to continue what he started, explaining the Father.    I have repeatedly stated and asked the challenging question of my self “do I  explain the Father” as I live my life, do we explain him.

My interaction with people, my work ethic, my conduct, character, the way I live life, are people gaining an explanation?     You and I have to admit we will through word and deed explain something of to others, I wonder what.     I wonder how I conduct myself in a supermarket line, the way I drive the car, my conduct towards those older, younger, or of any difference to me, what do I explain?   Do people walking away from me depart with an explanation of God or is it something else?

We have been called through our own temperament, they way we are cut our character and life not be like the leadership style in our own way but one that explains what God if like.   Leadership is clearly to be rediscover, is in urgent need to be seen as a SERVANT style, one that pours out for others, one that is more interested in establishing an inheritance for the next generation that building for our selves, that serves the society around giving away to build and establish through a servant leadership.   Let us rediscover in world govern by business, getting more and more, amassing wealth, gaining control a servant leadership that flows from being a son of God rather than endorsing an orphan spirit of protection of me and mine, working to make secure my provision rather than trusting the Father and being a Servant Leader.    the people of God would be different in itself if we could driver our delve storm celebrities to servant ministries and taking that model to our world.    Sometime we are so caught on making a mark we have forgotten the desired Christ like style to do so and fall to become “Christian X-factor” leaders rather than poured out Servant Leaders, Christ will triumph and we will become the Servant Bride- a Challenge to be different but explaining God!

‘Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance.’

J. Donald Walters

‘You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader.’

Anthony J D’Angelo

‘Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.’

St. Augustine

‘Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.’

Winston Churchill

‘But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave.’

Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”( Matt 20:27, 28)

Jesus the Christ

Good read to consider further – Leadership, Greatness & Servanthood Phillip Greenslade

21st Century Apostolic

As we advance in the 21st Century and following some of the gains in understanding over the last decades on the Apostolic ministry and its function there are certainly joys of advance along with concerns in our day.   In our travels we find places where no one would receive the apostolic or are reluctant to call any one apostolic, may be a little thinking of ‘it all ended with the 12’.   Alongside this we find a huge growth of the apostolic that seems like every time some one sneezes an apostle is appointed and the apostolic positioned to he higher than others taking control, taking a hierarchical title for position.    Both have the same effect and produce the wrong function and aims and the calling discredited.   Yet for the church the apostolic, just as the other Ascensions Gifts (Ephesians 4:11) are required for the body of Christ to come to maturity, which must be our greatest burden to see the maturity of God creation, ‘Christ filling all in all’, humanity and creation restored to the Fathers first thought and ultimate intention.   It is in the light of these extremes my journey of writing is to discover what is necessary today so I offer these thoughts as we attempt to practice them.   This is the first part of my thought I trust you will enjoy a look forward to the second part.

The apostle is one part of the complement of gifts given by the ascended Christ to our world. These ministries (Ephesians 4:11) are the gifts of the ascended Christ himself. For he “… Gave of himself…” Gifts to mankind, so that Christ will be fully produced in his ecclesia, church.

Without the full complement of gifts (Ascension gifts) maturity and the fulfillment of God’s call will elude his cosmos, creation.

Apostles are those that have the grace and the ability to break through barriers cross boundaries and have a primary concern with the maturing of God’s people.   Apostle Paul said of himself that he laboured “… until Christ is formed in you…” he would only seek to find Christ amongst them. These are clues to the new Testament Church, and the apostles, which are outlined within the pages of the book and begin to paint a picture for us of the church and apostles.

Apostles are an active agent to bring the whole rule and order of the father to Earth; they are advance agents of the kingdom of God.   Adam was planted in the garden of God to extend the order of the father into all creation so too apostles are planted in the garden of God’s creation to extend his rule. They establish the kingdom, proclaim the kingdom and advance the kingdom

The apostolic grace brings with it and imparts an atmosphere of,  “I can do in this”, it leaves an empowerment, it stimulates within the people of God an ability to cross over, and breakthrough.  Wherever there are boundaries they cross, wherever there are walls they leap over they change environments, there is within every apostle an inherent desire to remove restrictions.

They carry the grace, wisdom and skill in the building of Gods abode, his ecclesia the church. For the apostolic is a “… Wise master builder who has laid a foundation …” (1 Cor. 3:10) They are able to bring God’s ultimate goal and heart to the people of God, in the place of their appointing, and in the times they find themselves in. They are not consultants or advisers, but builders of the house of God

Apostles were clearly necessary in the early days of the church, as recorded in the New Testament, to bring heaven to earth and seek to remove the separation of the secular and the spiritual. They are as necessary today, as then, to bring the church to maturity and release creation from its futility, (Romans 8) as they work in harness with the Holy Spirit to bring about the freedom of the sons of God.

Ephesians 2:20 outlines that the apostles along with the profits they are part of the continuity of God in the establishment of the people of God and the maturing of creation, this foundation of apostles and prophets-which is Christ.   The apostles then have the same effect as Christ, that the Christ is ongoing “radical”, if you follow the etymology of the word radical meaning, foundation, forming a base. Christ was radical as he dealt with our foundation and the foundation of creation, the apostle and prophet equally are radical, in terms of the church the dealing as they deal with foundational matters.

Apostles will be amongst us until the body of Christ reaches its maturity, corporate maturity and the unity of the faith (Ephesians 4:12,13). They will diligently labour until we live in the light of the work of Jesus in the cross, until we are one; the apostle declares aloud that we are one.

Paul an apostle says that apostles occupy a principal place amongst the equipping/Ascension ministries, that is they are to “first apostles” (Ephesians 4:7-11; 1 Cor. 12:28) however earlier in the book of Corinthians he outlines apostles are “…last…” (1 Cor. 4:9), So what did Paul mean? Although Paul lived in a world and was formed by Greek thought, he spoke and wrote from a different vantage point; clearly he had a Trinitarian view of God, and understood the relationship within the Divine family to be one of ‘perichoresis’. That is the constant moving relationship amongst the Father, Son and Spirit, a moving, spinning dance, with each party pouring out themselves to the next, being more interested in the other than themselves, bringing pleasure to one another and filling and enabling each others aims. Each one speaking of the other, each one lifting the other, it is not with a hierarchical thinking and mindset that Paul speaks more about functional necessity, as  in every foundation, that the apostle is first functionality. Yet “lastly” he speaks is to indicate the nature of all apostles as the extension of Christ as the servant of the people of God. Apostolic therefore in position is functionally first but positional last, being the servant of all as Christ.

We see that with true apostolic ministries there is not found any sense of superiority they however known their own going continuity and necessity. Apostles should take on the attitude of the chief apostle, Christ himself who became a servant of all “he came to serve not to be served”. Apostles do not take to themselves position or demand honour, but serve pouring themselves out for God’s purpose.

Apostles have an interest and burden for the design of the house of God, and creation, and bring their craft as wise master builders to bear on the building of the house. Paul used the term wise master builder, but fully understood that there were many other apostolic gifting’s and characteristics involved. As you read the scriptures you realize there are a number of other Apostles also named in the New Testament, who did not belong to the 12, we have James, Barnabas and Paul himself even Andronicus and Junias were held in high regard amongst apostles (Romans 12).  In some church traditions even Mary Magdalene sent to the apostles by Jesus himself is recognized as one sent that the gathered saint did not receive her words, so we are told.

It could be said that the Father is apostolic in nature that he sent himself, sending himself in creation and then sending the Son to explain Him (John 1:18) and from there sending the holy spirit, finally sending the people of God to be the apostolic nature of God. There will come a time when the church becomes apostolic in characteristic and realizes its “sent-ness” into creation.