Discerning the Angelic Presence

This is a excerpt from the forthcoming book Angelic Encounters by James Goll. It was published on March 10, 2010 on Elijahlist.

Discerning the Angelic Presence

Have you ever seen or felt an angelic presence—or a demonic one? When we "see" or "sense" or "feel" a spiritual entity nearby, we have discerned its presence. This chapter is devoted to the topic of discerning the angelic presence, because it's vital to be able to distinguish spiritual origins and outcomes when you're dealing with supernatural realities. Both good and bad (fallen) angels are spiritual beings, and we need the gift of discerning of spirits when we encounter them.

In general, discernment always involves the evaluation of some kind of evidence. We can only accomplish this by using our five bodily senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch. We notice something; then we start sifting quickly through the incoming data. We discriminate between the pieces of evidence and we detect patterns. Then we decide what to do, based in large part on what our discernment tells us.

Discerning (or distinguishing) of spirits is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12:10). This gift is a little different from the gift of the word of knowledge, in which facts are simply dropped into our minds or hearts. With discernment, you have to consider what is happening around you. Did what just happened make your skin prickle? Did the room just get brighter or darker? Did you hear a noise? Did you perhaps smell or taste something? Is what happened from a good source—or a bad one?

To discern spiritual realities, we need spiritual perception. We need to know what we're dealing with. Is this thing just my imagination, or is it coming from someone else's human spirit? Is it demonic? Is it in fact an angel? Is it the Holy Spirit?

God doesn't just take the gift of discerning of spirits and plug it into you, fully developed. Normally, it takes a lot of practice to get good at it, and some of your "discernment lessons" will involve making mistakes. That's also true of the learning process for your general discernment, which is part of your maturation as a disciple and which stems from Bible study, experience, and discipline. You will need both kinds of discernment when you find yourself involved with supernatural happenings. It's important for each of us to want to be one of "the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14, NASB). Don't forget—you can always ask God to give you more ability to discern spirits and more mature discernment in general.

Discerning Spirits With Your Five Senses

In cooperation with the Word of God, the name and Blood of Jesus, etc., the other primary "discerning equipment" we possess is our Holy-Spirit-anointed human spirits (which can sometimes be called our "sixth sense"), consisting of our five bodily senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch. None of us ends up using all of our senses to the same degree. We tend to "specialize" because of our God-given personalities and types of experiences. At the same time, we need to remember that if we find ourselves in the midst of an unusual spiritual experience, it might be one of our less-used senses that can best contribute to our discernment.

For example, for many people, sight is the biggie. What if, one day, one of these vision-oriented people begins to smell something. That's it, just a smell. Nothing else is happening. It's not a good smell; it's the acrid smell of ammonia. "Ah, a bad smell!" he thinks. "So therefore a bad spirit must be in the room." He scrutinizes the place, but his eyes tell him nothing. He does notice that he doesn't feel bad. On the contrary, he feels fine, merely curious, somewhat "prophetic."

Basically, discernment is perception. Sometimes it is as simple as an inner knowledge, a "gut feeling" that we cannot explain. That kind of spiritual perception is often so subtle that we can easily miss it or dismiss it as a mere hunch. But the more we yield our natural senses to the Lord, the more God can anoint them and make them more sensitive to discern. It's a progressive unfolding.

I Saw...

You see things with your two eyes wide open. You also can see things with your eyes closed, you know—visions are often seen this way. You also see things when you're sleeping—unless you are physically blind, almost 100% of your dreams will be memorable because of their visual content.

It's no wonder that, with so many ways of seeing, we so often rely on our sense of sight when we're discerning supernatural events. Our sight—both external and internal—is one of our most valuable senses. Sometimes it may be no more than a flash of light that brings a strong sense of a spiritual presence into the room. Other times, we may see an outline form or even a kind of fog of God's glory filling a room. We may observe a kind of shimmering presence or, of course, a fully defined vision, perceived in our mind's eye or with our wide-open physical eyes.

The prophet Ezekiel was overwhelmed with visual input. "In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the Heavens were opened and I saw visions of God" (Ezekiel 1:1, NIV). He goes on to describe in detail what he saw in Heaven: a fiery windstorm, four living creatures with four faces each and four wings and four hands, four wheels full of eyes, and much, much more (see Ezekiel 1-3).

Apparently, John the beloved disciple saw with his physical eyes what he received from the angel in his book of Revelation, although, interestingly, he first heard a voice like a trumpet, and...

...then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.—Revelation 1:12-14, NASB

In other words, John quite naturally looked with his eyes to see what had made the loud sound. And there was plenty to see, including a number of angels:

I saw another strong angel coming down out of Heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire; and he had in his hand a little book which was open. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land.—Revelation 10:1-2, NASB

Seeing and hearing are often intertwined, aren't they? Let's look at some Scriptural examples of how people discern spirits through hearing.

I Heard...

Later in the New Testament, we read about how Cornelius, who "clearly saw in a vision an angel of God." Cornelius hadn't expected that. He was jolted even more when the angel spoke his name in a commanding voice, "Cornelius!"

And he said to him, "Your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God. Now dispatch some men to Joppa and send for a man named Simon, who is also called Peter; he is staying with a tanner named Simon, whose house is by the sea."—Acts 10:3-6, NASB

Those were pretty specific directions. Cornelius didn't waste any time. He gathered his men and went to Joppa. No one had to teach him about discerning what he had heard. He knew he had received a message from God.

Even though hearing is one of the most common ways of receiving a heavenly message, it's not limited to hearing spoken words or sentences. People can hear the sound of wind, such as occurred on the day of Pentecost. That happened to Michal Ann and me that time when a supernatural wind came blowing through our closed bedroom window and woke us up to receive angelic visitors.

People hear bells, thunder, a telephone ringing, heavenly music. The variety of options is endless. I know a woman who was awakened from sleep by a small noise, only to overhear a short conversation between two angels, whose illuminated faces she could just make out as they stood next to her bed. "Is she really going to do it?" said one, referring to a very difficult undertaking that the woman was feeling led to initiate the next day. "Yes," said the other. That's all she saw or heard, but that snatch of conversation assured her that she could expect angelic help in the morning.

Keep looking, keep listening, and keep tuning in with all of your other senses to distinguish God's envoys from counterfeit messengers.

I Smelled...

As noted in an earlier example, spiritual discernment can sometimes come through our sense of smell. Many people have testified to sensing the presence of the Lord accompanied by the smell of roses.

At times, it is possible to identify the enemy's presence in the same way. A particular place just may not "smell right," even if we don't quite know why. Sometimes we can identify a rotten-egg odor or other noxious smell. If there is no logical, natural explanation for the unpleasant odor, it may be an indicator that an unclean spirit is present.

I have found that I am able to discern a certain form of addiction in a person's life by using my sense of smell. I can smell a type of smoke that I associate with the addiction, and then I know how to proceed in ministering to the person involved.

The sense of smell is not prominently portrayed in the Bible accounts of discernment, in spite of the fact that we ourselves, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, are described as carrying His "sweet savour" to the world around us:

But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph (as trophies of Christ's victory) and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere, for we are the sweet fragrance of Christ unto God, among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.—2 Corinthians 2:14-15, AMP

I Tasted...

What about discerning a spiritual presence through the sense of taste? Have you ever heard someone say, "That just leaves a bad taste in my mouth?"

The prophet Ezekiel (whose extensive experiences could be used to illustrate all five senses in overdrive) was treated to a spiritual tasting incident. Remember the scroll he was told to eat?

"But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you." Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, which He unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe. And He said to me, "Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel." So I opened my mouth, and He gave me the scroll to eat. Then He said to me, "Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it." So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.—Ezekiel 2:8–3:3

Another supernatural scroll was consumed by John, who recorded what it tasted like:

So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, "Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour , but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey." I took the little scroll from the angel's hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.—Revelation 10:9-10, NIV

I Felt...

It's certainly true that we can feel or "sense" spirits, but here I want to refer strictly to physical touch, the kind of feeling that happens through the nerves in your skin. This is the area of sensitivity that is the strongest in my own life. And, yes, angels do touch people to get their attention, to communicate with them, and sometimes to hurt them, if they're bringing God's judgment. Here are a few Scriptural examples, with the "touch words" in italics:

Then the angel who was speaking with me returned and roused me, as a man who is awakened from his sleep.—Zechariah 4:1, NASB

Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter's wrists.—Acts 12:7, NIV

Your sense of touch comes into play when your skin or scalp tingles, and also when you feel pain that is meant to communicate a message to you. At times I receive physical pains in my heart that indicate to me that some kind of heart-wound has occurred in another person's life. These pains alert me to be ready to minister freedom and healing to the other person.

So we see that we can discern spirits (angelic, human, and demonic) by various means, if we are anointed with the Spirit of God. At different times, people see, hear, smell, taste, or feel the touch of another spirit. Our Holy-Spirit-filled spirits are our ultimate sensors, and we can continue to grow and mature in this realm for as long as we live here on earth.

Closing Prayer of Consecration

Holy Spirit, we present to You our eyes (our natural eyes and the eyes of our hearts) and we ask You to anoint them to perceive, to distinguish, to differentiate. We present all of our senses to You and we ask You to keep us on track. Anoint our senses to perceive heavenly realities. Help us to steer clear of counterfeit spiritual experiences. May complete access be given to the Word of the Lord in our lives. We are covered with Jesus' Blood, Amen.

Blessings to Each of You!

James W. Goll

Email: info@encountersnetwork.com


Michael Frost on The Missional Church

The discussion on the missional church began some 20 years ago. Two years ago God began speaking to me about it. I read The Shaping of Things to Come;Innovation and Mission for The 21st Century by Michael Frost and Allan Hirsch. The book profoundly impacted me and changed much of what I once believed . What changed was my perspective on how God wanted me to see Him at work in the world. If we are to bring the kingdom of God to earth, we must go into society as His representatives. The word apostle means 'one who is sent'. Frost has much to say on being people who are sent into the world.


The Transition of David to Solomon

For the past couple of decades, we've been walking in the pattern of King David.

In the late 1980s, God spoke to the church about a new generation of warriors He was raising up, and He used the young David as the model. The new warriors would be anointed by God in anonymity (1 Samuel 16:13). They would be unafraid of the enemy (17:26), and would be willing to step into the war that the generation of Saul had no heart for (17:32). They would initially be disdained by the church of the previous generation (17:28), then the church would try unsuccessfully to clothe them with the old armor, the old methods of waging the war (17:38-39). After the miraculous victories in the Name of the Lord (17:51), finally the old army pays attention (17:55), and draws them into its influence (18:2), which ends up in a sour match (18:8).

It was in this season that God raised up many young "Davids," and formed key alliances with supportive partners, "Jonathans," and brought the new warriors out of the old form of religion into a new model. While many ministries were birthed in this season, there were far more young warriors that fell from the favor of the traditional churches, and were forced by Divine strategy into the wilderness where they began to learn from God. There, they began to gather with others who were "...in distress... in debt, and ... discontented." (22:2)

Then in the middle of the 1990s, God was speaking of David again, this time from the story of where he brought the ark to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6 & 1 Chronicles 13 & 15). God taught us that the desire for His presence (the Ark) was good and right, but we must seek for His presence in His way. Jokes were made in pulpits all across the land that the use of "boards and big wheels" (the components used to make a cart, 1 Samuel 6:3) is the wrong way: that's the way of the Philistines. Uzzah (lit. "strength", speaking of man's strength) was killed when he touched the presence of God (the Ark, 6:6,7). David was angry (6:8), afraid & confused (6:9), and put off the project for months or years (1 Chronicles 14). A holy fear came on some as God judged His church.

Later, David submitted to the Law of God & brought the Ark (God's presence) into Jerusalem (the church) using the methods God had commanded (1 Chronicles 15:13), and was lavish with sacrifice (speaking of holiness, 1 Samuel 6:13) and praise (6:14). The house of Saul again expresses disdain, and is judged for it (Michal, in 6:20-23), but the power over the new warriors was broken off: never again would David be subject to the house of Saul.

During this season, the worship movement exploded across America (with Integrity Music & Vineyard Music in their prime), and the cry for holiness was heard, albeit less vigorously. And God's presence did indeed begin to come back into His church. Cities like Toronto and Brownsville became famous for God's presence, but many communities began to see His presence in less publicized outpourings.

The presence of God is hidden away in "David's Tabernacle," which is little more than a pup tent in a back bedroom or courtyard in David's palace, but God's presence is there, and David himself undoubtedly leads the band of palace employees in worship there.

Now there were two places of worship. David and his household worship in God's presence in the back bedroom. But the nation - or those who worship God - still worship at the tabernacle of Moses, which is still in operation on Shiloh's hill. They're obeying the Law there, like their fathers did before them, and God's blessing is on them. The pagentry of the priesthood and the Levites continues in full swing, and the people's offerings support that worship. Israel is obeying God when they worship at the tabernacle. But God's presence, the ark of the covenant, is now gone.

David was the only historic figure who walked in all three anointed offices of prophet, priest and king, and those three ministries are being released on the church again, in the prophetic, intercessory and apostolic movements, and the Lord Himself leads the movements. David's psalmist spirit is being released again, through prophetic song or "ode pneumaticus," the "song of the Spirit."

During the recent years, much was made of the requirements needed to bring the Ark into Jerusalem, but little or nothing was said of what happened to the ark once it got there. In the past few years, God has been speaking of this: there is an established, obedient, liturgical church that is walking in obedience to what God had commanded, and they enjoy power, prestige, position and possessions. But the Ark of God's presence is no longer among them. There is no judgment on them, they are obeying God; but His presence is not among them.

God's presence is more often found in the little bands of God chasers, gathered in small storefronts, converted warehouses and living rooms, led by the Son of David Himself. These are the modern Tabernacles of David.

During those historic years, David worshiped at that little tent in his back yard, but he also worshiped "in the temple" (Psalm 27:4), though it wouldn't be actually built until David was dead and buried. David worshiped in faith, seeing with the eyes of faith that which mortal eyes wouldn't see for another generation. God is beginning to release a faith for the work that God is beginning for the next generation. With eyes of faith, some have seen His outpouring in the generation that is now in its youth. Those visionaries - like David - are beginning to prepare plans, materials and workers for the richest, most glorious outpouring of God since the angels sang to startled shepherds outside of Bethlehem two millennia ago. Many of those preparing and interceding for the outpouring will never see this house with their mortal eyes, but having seen it in faith, that's almost irrelevant: the tidal wave is coming.

This move of God's Spirit, this message, is not yet established in the Church. The preparations are not yet complete, but the waves are coming more quickly now. I believe that another wave of His Spirit is already beginning. This is not the tidal wave, the move of God that will compare to the glory of God in the completed temple, the outpouring that will bring the harvest of perhaps a billion souls in a single generation. This is merely another lesson, and not necessarily the next one, in preparation for that day which is still yet to come.

The vision is certainly not yet clear, but here are some shadows to be discerned in the approaching wave. 1 Kings 1 documents the transition of leadership from the generation of David to the generation of Solomon.

But there comes a challenge for the succession to the throne, and this is where we must now focus our attention. God's purposes call for Solomon, the son of Bathsheba, to be on the throne. But Adonijah son of Haggith ("rejoicing" or "festive") declares "I will be king" (1 Kings 1:5; see also the "I will" statements of Isaiah 14:13), and he has some claim to the title, being the eldest surviving son of David. (He is also brother to the now-dead Absalom, born from the same mother.) He sets up a coronation with a group of leaders, including some from Saul's days: Joab , the great general & traitor, and Abaithar the priest, the last priestly descendant from Eli. Notably absent are the true leaders of David's generation.

The self-coronation is revealed to the prophet Nathan, who involves Bathsheba, a picture of redemption and forgiveness, and King David himself. The plot is stopped, the right son, Solomon, is sat upon the throne (1:35), blessed (1 Kings 1:37) anointed (1:39). Adonijah repents and is spared (1:51-53) for a season. After David instructs Solomon & dies, Adonijah makes a manipulative try for the crown in the guise of proper relationship (2:13-18), but he's found out & executed (2:22, 25).

I believe that God is raising up a "Solomon generation." These will be characterized by wisdom (Solomon's great gift), by peace (the literal translation of "Solomon") inwardly if not outwardly, by God's favor (Solomon was offered something no one else has ever been, 1 Kings 3:5), and by the great outpouring of God's grace (the "tidal wave" mentioned above).

This generation is also known as the "Samuel generation," for like Samuel, God is preparing them from a very early age to move powerfully in the prophetic and to turn the tide of history. While they will not fight the wars of the older generation, they will lead an entire generation into the glory of God. Of course, they will not go unchallenged by the enemy.

When the present generation of leadership is dying off, I expect that my children's generation will be challenged for the right to shepherd the move of God. There will be some who will rise up from a background of religious obedience, or even the evangelical movement (Adonijah means "the Lord is my master"), and some from a background of the renewal movement (Haggith means "rejoicing" or "festive") to lay claim to the leadership of that generation, and indeed they will have the natural right to claim the position; and they are natural leaders. And they will augment their claim with leaders from the Saul generation, persons (formerly?) of influence in the denominational or traditional church structures. But they will not be God's choice to lead their generation.

Those chosen by God will be brushed right by, and it will seem like they never had a chance, but our generation must recognize the new leaders, and place them in the office that is being wrested from them.

It is interesting that although the attack is against the Solomon generation, it is the David Generation that must identify & overcome the enemy at this time. Our prophets must see the challenge (as Nathan did) and speak out, our pastors must cry out (as Bathsheba did), and our apostles (in the role of David) must designate and anoint the leaders whom God has chosen. They must be brought into leadership, even ahead of us, while yet God's grace is still upon our generation (the throne: 1:35), and this process must be public (1:39). The Solomons will sit on the throne, but it is our war to fight, not theirs, which will make that happen. However, the final victory over the Adonijah rebellion will be theirs.

I believe God has reason for bringing this to light now:

* Our generation will require years of preparation before we ourselves are ready to carry out our responsibilities at the end of our time of glory.

* God will anoint the new generation before the old generation is gone. (I told you the waves were coming faster now.) By that point, before we are through with our own ministry, we must have conquered the Philistines, and have handed the kingdom - and the preparations for the great temple - to the divinely chosen leaders of the next generation.

* The plans, materials and workers must be in place before the next generation is ready, or even understands the vision. We must train the children and the youth in the ways that God has given us: intercession, prophecy and apostolic leadership must be in their blood before they reach adulthood.

* We must intercede for the battle over leadership that is yet to come. A war can be turned by little effort spent before battle is joined. If comes to full combat, the cost will be much greater. We must pray for those chosen by God to be raised up instead of the natural leaders.


Unity & Diversity

I’m going to describe several different types of Christian experiences. They could be called perspectives, church models or paradigms. Each one describes a different type of individual. A group of such people becomes a body; a large group - a movement or separate branch of Christianity. Each one has a different focus. Each one is valid. These are generalizations; please allow room for individual differences.

Many of us are familiar with what I’ll call ‘bible churches’. Here are some characteristics of them: These churches and individuals are bible – focused. The written word is their anchor and reference point for their relationship with God and the church. They have bible studies during the week, bible camps in the summer and bible retreats in the winter. When they meet corporately they study the bible. Formal teaching is an essential activity and corporate fellowship looks like a classroom. The teacher takes a prominent place in front. His role is to teach doctrine from the bible. These churches and believers are highly focused on doctrine. In private they study the word in depth and often use study tools such as a concordance. Many are fluent in Greek or Hebrew. It’s common for verses of scripture to be highlighted by the Holy Spirit as they study. These believers have key concepts that are important; things like eschatology, doctrine, Christology, inerrancy, apostasy and exegesis. Major concerns of this group revolve around doctrine. They argue the validity of the bible and defend it ferociously. Biblical ignorance in the church is a sore spot with them. Their desire is to see us walk in the truth of the word. Heresy and apostasy are ever-present concerns that represent rebellion against God. Corporately, they see God as the author of the most exquisite book ever written; a love letter to the world. These believers have been influenced for centuries by men and women who were teachers. Their experiences reflect the influence of doctrinal teachers through the ages. I was discipled in this tradition for years. I understand it well. But it isn’t the only valid expression of Christianity.

A different type of expression comes from those who are gifted as pastors; the dutiful servants who shepherd the flock of God. This type of person has been an ever-present force in the history of the church. Were it not for their gift of keeping watch over the sheep, the church would have been laid to rest long ago. Their heart is always for the sheep. Protection of the brethren is their focus and passion. While they may be adept at teaching and evangelism, their mainstay is tending to the spiritual needs of the body. They’re concerned with horizontal relationships in the church. They’re the ones you’ll find at the bedside of the sick. They grieve with those who experience death and loss. If you know someone who intercedes for others, they probably have a pastor’s heart. These wonderful people live and die by the words Jesus spoke to Peter: “Tend my sheep”. Major concerns for them are the health and safety of the church. They see outsiders who would mislead, entice, or prey upon the flock as an enemy and treat them as such. They see God as embodied in Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Its unfortunate we don’t see more of these folks in the church. Men and women are often given the title ‘Pastor’, but far too many don’t have the heart of a shepherd. People who sit under a pastor’s influence reflect these values in their walk with God.

The evangelist brings a different expression and set of values to the body. Though a constant influence on the church through the centuries; few evangelists have held permanent leadership positions, making their influence less prominent. Most have been itinerant preachers or foreign missionaries like Whitfield, Wesley, Billy Graham and Hudson Taylor. Salvation of the lost is their passion. They sacrifice convenience and give their lives to the mission field. Many suffer loss, torture and loneliness for the opportunity to spread the good news. Soteriology, missiology, regeneration, outreach, souls, damnation and repentance are the words of their culture. Laziness and apathy are their gravest concern. Churches and individuals who come under the influence of the evangelist reflect these values. They see God as embodied in Jesus, the missionary. Their expression of the church is to be sent into the world as he was. I can’t say that I’ve been personally influenced by this type of person until I met Dennis and Diane Teague.

In the last century, the prophetic has been restored to the church. A few years ago I came under the influence of leaders who were prophets. I was warned often about the heresy and error found in this part of the church. When I arrived, I was concerned over what I saw as blatant disregard for sound doctrine. They were forever taking passages of scripture out of context; interpreting and applying them however they wanted to. It nearly drove me crazy. But there’s more to this expression of Christianity.

Prophetic people relate to God, the world and the church differently. They hear, taste, feel, smell and see spiritual things that are valid expressions originating in God. The prophetic believer is concerned with relationship more than doctrine or salvation of the lost. His or her life is a never-ending conversation with God. The Lord speaks to them at night in visions and dreams. They hear drumming in the spirit while driving to work, and see visions of heavenly things at rest. They steward the presence of God wherever they go. Intimacy with the Godhead is what matters most to them. This is not to say that evangelism and bible study are not important to these believers – they certainly are. But they prioritize them differently. A prophetic gathering doesn’t usually have a central figure. Groups of people hang out and party in God’s intoxicating presence. Angels are commonly found in their company, coming as messengers and fellow-laborers in ushering in the supernatural to the world. The demonic realm that is often revealed to them is the greatest threat to the prophet. Their conversations are filled with words like anointing, mantles, glory, miracles, manifestations, impartation, visions, rhema, seasons, signs and symbols. People who come under the influence of the prophet reflect these values in their life. They see God as a friend, father and revealer of heavenly secrets. Their desire is to share the secrets of the Lord with the world.

The apostle is only beginning to emerge as a presence in the church after its long absence. We have yet to see how this gift will shape those who sit under its influence. It is the least understood of the five gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:11. It seems that the apostle is the one who connects the other four and brings networking and connectivity to the church. Apostles appear to function as facilitators of others in ministry. They are well connected and mobile, coming alongside those who need their maturity and expertise. They understand the other gifts and operate in all of them to some degree. The apostle has been called the New Testament equivalent of the king. They are undoubtedly leaders who bring God’s governmental structure to the church. Those who are mentored by apostles reflect these values in their lives.

These are broad generalizations. Most people have a mixture of gifts and a variety of influences in their lives. There is considerable overlap of gifts in most people. I apologize for generalizations that don’t reflect your experiences. But I wanted to illustrate something many of us overlook.

God is interested in diversity. One look at nature reveals diversity of form and function everywhere. It reflects the nature of God. The Godhead reveals both unity and diversity through communion in the trinity. His diverse nature is reflected in His body - the church. The diversity of gifts was intended to give balance and strength. All the members functioning in unity and harmony would make a church against which the gates of hell could not prevail. Diversity is God’s nature and desire for us. But diversity creates problems. I won’t spend a lot of time on this except to say we have terrible disagreement, hatred, accusation, suspicion and mistrust of those in the body who do not reflect our own perspectives and gifts. Imagine if the Father, Son and Spirit acted this way.

The enemy tried to eradicate the diversity of gifts centuries ago. They’re coming back with a vengeance. The prophetic branch is growing. The young apostolic movement is gaining momentum too. And young evangelists are hitting the streets in unprecedented numbers. This is the work of God. We are experiencing labor pains as we give birth to the new things from the Lord. After they are born they grow. Rest assured; growing pains are a part of the process. My final encouragement is for all of us to treat one another with honor, regardless of which branch they come from. Love is to be the one thing that makes the church unique from the rest of the world.


About This Blog

Through a series of dreams, God inspired me to create this blog. After talking to an apostolic friend, I decided to move forward with it. My vision is to share what God is saying and doing among those gifted in the apostolic and prophetic. There are many church blogs out there, but few represent these two aspects of kingdom life. I'm not an expert in either of these areas. My recent call to the prophetic makes me more of a student than teacher. I hope to share what I learn as I grow in the gift. Your input would help. This is not an exclusive blog. I'm looking for contributions from others. E-mail me if you'd like to be a contributor. Thanks for your interest in what the Lord is doing.