1 Corinthians 4:1-11

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

Where is the Functioning Body?

Isn’t it a wonder that the Holy Spirit, through Paul, takes several chapters here to explain and lay out the gifts of the Spirit and the functionality of the body of Christ and yet when we look at churches and service, with few exceptions, we don’t see this happening.  We may in a measure, but generally it is controlled, kept in the program and limited to very few individuals.  Somehow in our worship and assembly our eyes have been directed to the “ministry” and  “pastor” and not to the Holy Spirit. 

Don’t get me wrong.  There are a lot of pastor and teachers that deliver a great word, but where is the body functioning in the Holy Spirit through all of this.  We have put God in our neat little boxes and they vary in appearance from place to place, but does it really look like the Holy Spirit intended it too?  Is the body at large truly brought into participation through the leading and gifting of the Holy Spirit?

I think most churches and organization may consider this too dangerous.  It is too apt to get out of control and we can’t regulate it, so we don’t want to go there.  As a result the majority of the players set on the side line, while just our star players or coaches perform and play, usually in a well scripted manner of our own design.  Is that really what the Holy Spirit’s intent was for His Church? I believe many times the Holy Spirit Himself is setting out in the pews waiting on the sidelines while we have church as usual.  The Holy Spirit is in all of the body.  It is not just in the few that get up on stage.  Where is this Holy Spirit church operating in the freedom and “order” that the Word of God lays out for us?  We have become so dumbed down as the church, it is seldom we ever ask these questions, because this is the way we have always done it.  To us, that is what church is suppose to look like.  Is it?

As I read through the scriptures in 1 Corinthians 12-14, I see a many member body presented with multiple giftings, different kinds of services, but One and the same Lord.  I see that these giftings are to flow in harmony, in order and most of all out of love, not self, for the edification and the building up of the body of Christ.  

What I have been hearing in my spirit from the Holy Spirit is “Activation”.   I believe in this hour we are moving away from big names and singular people that headline our church, worship and ministry.  Holy Spirit needs to be put back in the forefront of our churches and assemblies, not any one man.  Do we still need pastors and teachers?  Of course we do.  We need all of the fivefold  and all of it’s functionality which is resident in all of us as Spirit filled believers to one degree or another.  

We are all at different levels in those Holy Spirit gifting that we possess, but how can they mature in us and through us unless they’re given place and opportunity to manifest and be cultivated in the right environment, which should be the church.  As we grow up and are built up in our faith and confidence in our giftings then those gifts need to be spilling over into our every day lives and how we can minister through them to the world around us.  Jesus gave us signs and wonders to confirm His Word.  How often do we see that operating?  

Maybe we have become impotent in seeing the power of God move, because we have sterilized Him.  We have kept Holy Spirit in the confines our religious box and thinking while we go through the motions of having church.  We weren’t birthed into Christ to play church; we were birthed into Christ to be the Church, in authority, power and love.  The five fold ministry of Ephesians 4 wasn’t given just to rule over and direct the services of the church.  Let’s look at what the Word of God says their function is for.  Ephesians 4:10-13 says, “He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  The five-fold’s functionality is preparation and maturing the body.  Do football coaches go out and play the game while they leave their players on the bench to watch?  That’s what we do as the church.  We have a control issue, perhaps without even realizing it, because it has become to engrained in our thinking.  The coaches or the five-fold now want and are doing it all.  They teach about how to play the game and then they do all of the playing.  I wonder why so many pastors are getting burned out today and quitting the ministry?  They were never meant to do it all, but that is what has become the standard.  

People of God, Holy Spirit wants to activate us in this hour.  He wants us out on the field operating out of the giftings, service and abilities that He has placed within us.  We have become just as guilty as our leaders because we are content to be complacent and  just set back while we are taught, fed and someone else does all of the work.  I believe the Church, as a whole is out balance, and that balance is only going to be brought back as we are activated both within and without the walls of church to come into the fullness of what Christ designed each one of us to be.  If we want to see the power and love of God come back into the Church, then we have to put the Holy Spirit back in the driver’s seat, not just in word, but in action.

Blessings,

#kent

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Body Ministry

February 27, 2015

1 Corinthians 12:25 –26
so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Body Ministry

Yesterday, I began to have some gout flare up in the ball of my foot, above my right toe. It causes swelling, inflammation and pain that can become quite severe. It is a little affliction, not any greater than many others endure, but I felt like through it the Lord was ministering to me this morning about the body. I noticed how my own body reacted to the pain in this member. My hands would gently message it and my other leg and foot would take upon itself more of the weight when I walked. My mind was thinking about what I needed to do to get rid of it. My body was cognizant and responsive to the pain in one of my members. Each one did what it could to lessen or relieve that pain or minister to it.
I began to think, are we in tune with the body of Christ like our own bodies are with their members. In this scripture and those that precede it, the apostle Paul goes through quite a discourse explaining how the body is many members and yet one spirit. These many are made one and function as one through the unity of the Holy Spirit.
As I was meditating this morning on this truth I was thinking about how many times we, for instance, attend the funeral of a friend and we offer our condolences and then we often remark with the platitude, “if there is any thing that I can do, call me.” I think that is more for our benefit than theirs. We feel like somehow we have reached out and made ourselves available for their need, when in reality we have excused ourselves from really meeting any needs. Wouldn’t it be far more effective if we looked around and saw a particular need that we could do that would really minister to them in this time and then with their permission do it? That would effectively be ministering to the need in the body and this particular member.
I know that with myself it is far too easy to get caught up in my life, my agenda and all that I need to do and really miss the ministry and responsibility I have in meeting the needs of the body; rather that would be in my family or in others. I can become desensitized and unaware of the hurt in others and what I could do to minister to that need at that time. This is where we all need to stay in tune and sensitive to the Holy Spirit, because we function and minister to one another through His power and anointing. It may not be miraculous, but is often practical and necessary. Often the miracle begins to take place after we have ministered and went our way. We are not there in those circumstances to get the glory, but to minister the love of Christ and bring Him the glory.
The second part of body ministry is that even as we fill up one another’s needs, strengthening, providing and empowering each other, we, in turn are the servants of the world. A healthy body of Christ is God’s ministry and gift to the world. We are there individually and corporately to minister to the needs of others. We are willing to give ourselves, even as Jesus did on a daily basis to minister in whatever circumstances the Father placed Him in. Let us be sensitive and responsive to the needs around us.
The key to body ministry is that we all function out of the Spirit and by the Spirit. That Spirit is love and love always is thinking and moving on the behalf of others. The Holy Spirit mobilizes us as one man, for one purpose, to fulfill the will and expression of the Father. The expression of the Father is love and love meets the needs in one another.

Blessings,
#kent

Not the Outward, but the Inward

Romans 14:17
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

The church is not so unlike the Jewish nation before us. We have taken the principles of the kingdom of heaven and have fashioned them into laws and burdens that are placed on the backs of men. So many of our denominations have taken a revelation and a truth, dug their foundations and built their denominations and that is where they have staid. God is not stagnant. He is an ever-moving river of truth. He is continually unfolding and unveiling His plan before us. His truth is all there in His Word, but the revelation of that truth has not been fully manifested. It is a progressive thing. One of the chief kingdom principles is never think that you have it all and never be content to build your faith and religion on present day truth. That is not to say it isn’t truth, but it may be only a facet and part of the whole.
From the early days of Christianity men have done what the religious leaders of old did with Judaism. They try and make our faith a mandate of rules and regulations. Men still try and dictate and control by taste not, touch not and eat not. If Christ taught us anything He taught us to change the outward there must be a change inwardly. Jesus once told the Pharisees, “ It is not what goes into a man’s belly that defiles him, it is what comes out.” Jesus knew that unless the condition of the heart is changed no amount of rules and regulations will really change men. They may try to act correctly outwardly, but inwardly they are still the same. The kingdom of heaven in us begins with a heart change. It must change from the desire for earthly enrichment and expression to the desire for the Spirit of God to have expression through us. No longer my will, but Your will be done. What we find is that when we really get in step and in sync with God’s heart and the Holy Spirit, we have set out on a God adventure and there is no telling where it may take us. It is exciting and it is ever fresh and new. The neat thing is we are not struggling to control it, but we have relinquished control to the Holy Spirit. Now our chief desire and ambition is to flow in harmony and obedience to Him. It is no longer about religion telling us we have to do this and we can’t do that. The law that governs us lives within our hearts and we know that our obedience to Him leads to heightened relationship and fellowship. We have found that our faith is not of the ceremonial outward protocol, it is righteouness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Instead of ceremony we celebrate who and what we are in Christ and all that He is becoming in us. Perhaps that would explain why there is such a large movement away from traditional religion and more of a move toward non-denominationalism. The kingdom of heaven is not about the organization it is about the organism in which the Holy Spirit is released and free to move in and through His body according to His will and purpose and not the dictates of men and their programs. Where the Holy Spirit is free to move is where you will find that it will be as the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:20, “For the kingdom of God [is] not in word, but in power.” Isn’t that what we desire and seek today? We have heard countless words, but God we want to behold your power. We want to see the kingdom manifested in the lives and affairs of men. This is what we press into as we seek the deeper experience of the kingdom of heaven. We want to find the lover of our soul, our King. We want to find the place of intimacy and relationship with Him where we have true communion and dialog with His presence.
May our hearts become inflamed with an everlasting passion for our Christ and His coming as well as His manifest kingdom. When we are consumed in our love for Him, the things of this world become strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. Righteousness then becomes a state of who we are by association and relationship with Him who is righteous rather than something we seek to achieve through outward efforts and works. The kingdom of heaven in you is allowing and giving place to Christ being all that He desires to be in you. Allow the kingdom to flood into every part and fiber of your being and your life. As He is in you, so will you be in this world.

Blessings,
kent

Body Ministry

June 5, 2012

Romans 12:4-5
Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Body Ministry


The Word gives us the illustration that our marriages are like Christ and the bride.  We who are many are made one in Christ Jesus and we who are many members, having many and different functions in the body are to all function as one in Him.  One of the mistakes we make in marriage and in the body of Christ is that we often want to try to fit others in our box.  We tend to think, others should think as we think, have the same doctrinal views that we have and fit our idea of what a Christian should look like.  We do that in our marriages and that’s why a lot of our marriages have severe problems or don’t work.  Instead of loving and accepting the other person for being the unique expression that they are, we want to clone them into us.  We forget that one of the things that probably first attracted us to them may be those very things we have been trying to change in them.  They can no more be you than you are them.  What we miss in marriage and in body ministry and functionality is that we were created to be different.  Love is the key ingredient in us that helps us to defer and give place to another.  If God’s love isn’t present, then it becomes all about us and our world.  It is kind of like how scientist use to think the sun revolved around the earth, rather than the earth around the sun.  It has to do with our perspective and understanding.  In a good marriage there are two individuals that have learned that they belong to one another and their function is to complete the other, not to try to change the function or individuality of their spouse.  In the compliment of the two lives, you see one complete life.
There is a key here in these two verses that we really need to get a hold of, “each member belongs to all of the others.”  You see, our particular gifting and abilities are not about us, they are for the benefit and the building up of the rest of the body.  If  I wrote what I do and then just kept it to myself, I would be denying the rest of the body of what Christ has put in me.  He has put something just as important in you, but if you fail to recognize that it doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to the body, then the body is deprived and robbed of that expression of Christ that only you can bring.  We are all just parts of the bigger picture, but the picture can’t be complete unless you are in it, doing and being what you were created to be and do.  I need you.  You need me.  Our completion comes from Christ functioning through all us, not just any one of us.  This is one of the reasons I believe God is moving away from one man ministries.  The expression of the body is being denied, but don’t think that your expression can only happen in church.  That may be the last place it happens. Does that make you any less significant or important?  No.
We often have the perception that our identity is related to a title, ordination, or an acknowledged position.  We need to know that Christ has already acknowledged our position and it is in Him.  He is our ordination and He has given us the title of sons and children of God, which is our identity.   You are in Christ regardless of the title of man.  Titles are simply houses our identity sometimes lives in, but regardless of title, it doesn’t change who we are or what we do.  Some of the most significant members are those that are least seen.  Our significance and worth has nothing to do with how men perceive us, it is all about how Father sees us and are we being true to what He has created to be in our expression of Him.
Just remember, in marriage or in the body of Christ, it is not important that others are like you or that they believe just like you, or do things your way.  It is not about you.  It is about Jesus and our individual faithful expression of Him.  When we get a revelation that we are not our own and the Son doesn’t revolve around us, but we were created, formed and called into Christ to belong to the body.  We are here to give what Christ has put in us to give and not get offended when others don’t always seem to appreciate that.  Our value comes from Christ, not the kudos and acknowledgement of others.  There are parts on your body that get little to no praise or recognition, but you would sure notice if they quit existing or functioning.
It is the love of Christ and the oil of the Spirit that lubricates and unites us to function in the unity of the body of Christ,  If we are missing those ingredient, will then we begin to wear on each other.  Let us remember, we are not our own, we belong to each other, so let us be there for each other in whatever need we can meet.

Blessings,
kent

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