Saturday, October 29, 2011

Kingdom Commando Squad

This is a tactical post: specific tactics for carrying out a larger mission. 


Some of us have occasionally formed teams - temporarily or more long-term - and gone into harm's way. We've taken trips for the purpose of equipping people for war, or we've gone to do battle on behalf of a region or a people. Sometimes that battle has been in the paradigm of intercession; sometimes as evangelism; sometimes as equipping.


One of the dangers of such a team is not understanding how the team works together. Generally, everyone has a different role, and when we don't understand those differences, trouble is a result. One way - and it is only one model; there are others - to understand different members' roles in such a sortie is to consider the metaphor of a military commando squad. In such a unit, we can see how each team member relates to the others. 


Here is an explanation of the commando squad illustration from an apostle who leads these kind of teams regularly in cooperation with a member of a Special Forces squad in the Army. I'd like to suggest that you consider this staffing list next time you're on a ministry team or trip: what role is God assigning you to on this trip? Do others recognize that assignment? What is their assignment for the trip? How can you support others in their roles?





What is a Commando Squad?
A member of a military assault unit or team trained to operate quickly and aggressively in especially urgent, threatening situations, as against terrorists holding hostages.

The commando concept in modern warfare is one of small forces (2 - 12 men), that are highly trained in specialized missions that require them to go into or behind enemy lines. The missions are Search & Rescue, Strategic Recon, Hostage Rescue, Direct Action, and Guerrilla Warfare (organize, train, support and lead the local fighters to fight their own battles).

My team's missions have fit into 4 of these: 


Search & Rescue - These would be trips when we do prophetic prayer with many individuals in a group, we search for their calling and in many cases rescue them from the enemies lies.
Strategic Recon - we call these, "scout out the land" trips.
Direct Action - These are ones where he has given us a specific stronghold to take down
Guerrilla Warfare (organizes, train, support and lead the local fighters to fight their own battles). This has been primarily in training groups to do deliverance ministry, etc.


Secular Special Ops team
Apostolic Special Ops Team
Spiritual Gift
Team Leader
Apostolic leader
Apostle, Wisdom, Leadership

Team XO (2nd in command)
Leader and logistics person
Administration, Leadership, Service

Team Sergeant
The person who is most seasoned in spiritual warfare, specific to each trip

Spiritual warfare
Intelligence specialist
Spiritual mapping and intercession
Discernment of spirits, Word of Knowledge

Medical specialist (1)
Healing - Spiritual (deliverance)  Emotional (Inner Healing)
Gifts of Healing, Faith, Mercy

Medical specialist (2)
Physical healing
Gifts of Healing, Faith

Communications specialist (1)

Prophetic, words of knowledge, direction from home base

Prophecy, Intercession

Communications specialist (2)

Prophetic Intercessor
(ie. call in the air strikes)

Prophecy, Intercession

Combat engineer (1) (demolitions)

Tearing down strongholds
(Spirit Led Worship)

Service (Musician), Miracles

Combat engineer (2) (demolitions)

Tearing down strongholds
(Spirit Led Worship)
Service (Musician), Miracles

Light Weapons – Sniper rifle, knife, Silenced small arms.
Specifically directed Prophetic prayer warfare
Teacher, Evangelism, Exhortation

Heavy Weapons – Bazooka, Mortar, Land to Air missiles
Specifically directed Prophetic prayer warfare
Prophetic Proclamation, Preaching


from Trevor Macpherson's Firefall Zine.


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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Clarifying Apostleship, Etc.

by Steve Crosby, Greg Austin and Don Atkin
early_art There is considerable fussing and fuming over apostles and apostleship these days. When a topic like apostleship becomes trendy, some who are not really called or graced as apostles—for a variety of unsanctified reasons—try to be apostles. Others, who are genuinely graced and called, prematurely attempt to make their own place within an old religious system rather than waiting upon the Lord to reveal His divine intention for them and their servanthood.[1]


Excesses continue to hinder the purpose of God.  The two most popular extremes are (1) to dismiss apostles as not having a place in today’s church, or (2) to exaggerate the role of apostles, placing a greater importance upon their role than that of others in the body. In balance, the church can never come to the fullness of God’s intention without functioning apostles. The same is true for every individual in the body.  We are all horizontally placed under the headship of Christ, who will be revealed in glory through His body as we honor and yield to one another.


A bird that continually has to call attention to itself or describe itself, is not much of a bird. If a bird simply gets on with what it is created to do, everyone will know it is a bird by reason of its flying. While we need not apologize for our calling (e.g.: Paul, an apostle, etc.[2]) none of us needs to emphasize our calling. Our identity in Christ is the source of our ministry, not our calling or “anointing.” Kingdom ministry proceeds from healed, transformed, new creation identity, not our “gift”—apostolic or otherwise. If we preach Christ and Him crucified, live the same, and just get on with being who God has made us to be, everyone born of the Spirit will know who, or what we are, without the need for ourselves to it point out for their presumed enlightenment and benefit.


God’s eternal purpose and ultimate objective is to fill the earth with His governance and glory by multiplying fruitful sons through whom He subdues all of creation under His mighty hand.  His highest form of creation is humankind, originally made in His image and likeness, and subsequently restored through Jesus Christ.


A new creation, seeing and operating in the kingdom of God—heaven on earth—filled with, empowered by, and led by the Holy Spirit, will eventually mature in holiness and wholeness, to deliver creation from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.


God’s creation mandate will finally be fulfilled as He brings many sons to glory, through the spirit of sonship and the maturing process of discipleship. To consider the specific roles of fivefold servanthood in any other context will miss the mark. We must grasp temporal assignments and anointing in the light and context of eternal purpose and ultimate objective.


Equipping graces should be subservient to the priesthood of believers when developing or expressing value systems. Equippers exist to exemplify cohesive servanthood together, not to function in executive administration.  We have allowed that vital order to be reversed at the expense of God’s purpose for a developing people.


God will not fill the earth with apostles. He will not fill the earth with prophets. Neither will He fill the earth with evangelists, shepherds or teachers.  He will fill the earth with saints, known together to be ecclesia—called out and set apart to experience, be immersed in, and to glorify—reveal and show forth--Christ, the Anointed One.


jesus_apostleEquipping servants are hands of God to—in obedient collaboration and concise action in the Holy Spirit—mold the saints for works of service UNTIL we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.  Understanding our limitations and not extending ourselves into perpetuity will release us to new levels of usefulness in the Master’s hands.


Equipping servants are individually brief in form, and collectively comprehensive in scope. There is a significant, supernatural and exponential affect when properly functioning together, each one succinct in his/her grace.  In like manner, failure to stay within the boundaries of our specific graces and spheres, and attempting to function in roles intended for others, will result in exponential error.


When a shepherd (pastor) tries to be an apostle, the result is control.
  • By divine design, the shepherd's  primary focus is the immediate community. A pastor tends to gather and hold, rather than develop and release. When a pastor tries to be an apostle, it usually results in methodologies that build the local group, but there is very little broad expression of kingdom life.
When an evangelist tries to be an apostle, the results are shallowness and insecurity.
  • The evangelist tends to come up with new projects, outreaches, missions, etc. for a single purpose: to win souls. He/she is normally not graced to build and disciple lives. The evangelist finds satisfaction in "activity." If a community of believers is viewed as not active enough, an evangelist will usually go elsewhere to find expression or keep the community "a-buzz" with activities and projects that provide breadth, but little depth.
When a prophet tries to be an apostle, the expression becomes coercive and spiritually neurotic.
  • A prophet generally lacks the supernatural gathering grace that normally accompanies an apostle. Everything from Christ within the prophet is at odds with what the prophet tries to do to be an apostle. The prophet's focus on truth that separates and scatters, means that when a prophet thinks he/she is an apostle, heavy-handed methods will have to be used to try to counteract the "scattering" effect that true prophets tend to have. Insecure prophets with unhealed identities who try to build like an apostle, cause great damage to the casue of Christ in and through the saints.
When a teacher tries to be an apostle, it results in legalism and division.
  • Teachers emphasize principles and conformity to principle, but are
    prone to squabble and divide over non-essential doctrinal differences. They
    also tend to reduce the expression of kingdom life to "teaching sessions" ad
    nauseum. Possessing the critical capacity for essential narrow focus on
    individual truths, their gift precludes the breadth of scope of a true
    apostle. When teachers try to be apostles, the "doctrine" may be correct,
    but because they lack the integrating grace of an apostle, they will produce
    relationally sterile communities that are prone to fragmentation and
    division.
When apostles act like apostles, teachers like teachers, shepherds as shepherds, evangelists as evangelists, and prophets as prophets, in personal security, love and genuine interdependency the Head is exalted, the Body is "out-fitted" (built), and the kingdom expanded.


Oh, how we need one another, healed, whole and  . . .  functioning. 


In closing, let us consider the most prolific error that continues to hinder the developing of the priesthood of believers.  Hierarchy, using Gentile authority models in the church, was condemned by Jesus—both in as many words[3] and also by what He modeled.[4]


There are two specific “titles” that have emerged in ecclesial governance with no New Covenant precedence or foundation for the way they function—Pastors and Bishops.[5] We must retreat to Old Covenant temple worship, when there was a clear divide between priests and the people, in order to find these titles in divine operation.   Many traditions cleave to two classes of believers—the clergy and the laity. Pastors exercise headship over local congregations; Bishops exercise headship over more than one Pastor and congregation.  Individually, they represent singular rule over their flock(s).


Another Bible term[6] that has taken on Babylonian baggage is leadership.  Once again, we need to turn to Jesus and study His leadership style[7] so that we may know how the leadership of the Holy Spirit[8] manifests in our lives.


We realize that many honest men and women with great integrity and with sincere desire to serve God and His people are yet giving themselves within the context of such traditions.  It is not our desire or intention to be critical or accusatory of such brethren.  We are prayerfully hoping to inspire and instruct those with open hearts and minds.


We are persuaded that the testimony and patterns of New Covenant church order present Jesus as the only Head of His church, and plural elders overseeing the flock of God in each city or region.[9] Jesus, Himself, gave us the example of leading those who follow Him,[10] not corralling, controlling or driving them like cattle.  Believers are on a par level with one another, loving and serving one another in grace.[11]


Apostolic grace[12] encompasses the global vision and kingdom values to the end that every grace gift for equipping servitude is functioning in tandem, that every believer finds his/her identity within the body of Christ, and we all become equipped for works of service according to the divine will of God.  May His Spirit continue to instruct us in His higher thoughts and ways.  May His kingdom (governance) come on the earth as it is in heaven.[13]


Governance is the normal outworking of kingdom life.  Governance does not produce spiritual life.  Spiritual life produces heaven’s governance.

From Apostolic Servants.



[1] We are using servanthood and shepherd rather than ministry and pastor.  We are hopeful that these choices of words will more clearly define God’s intention for these roles.
[2] Paul refers to himself and his calling when either defending his apostleship from attack, or when refuting heretical doctrine in the epistles. He did not make a routine practice of preaching about himself and his ministry.
[3] Matthew 20:25-28
[4] John 13:14-15
[5] Pastors and bishops are synonymous with elders, but have been given different meanings within the context of hierarchical religious structures.  We suggest that shepherd more closely defines the actual function intended by God.
[6] Romans 12:8
[7] John 10
[8] Romans 8:14
[9] Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5
[10] John 6:65-69
[11] Ephesians 5:21
[12] 1 Corinthians 3:10-17; 15:10
[13] Matthew 6:10

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

If An Apostle Gives Space To Prophets To “Operate,” Is That Indicative Of Ranking?



"Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord." Ephesians 2:20-21 NLT
I have always wondered why people see rank in the Body of Christ? When I interpret dreams (which I seldom do) I know that vehicles, boats, airplanes in a dream are usually indicators of ministry or ministries. Can even be a church.

That's why when a friend made the statement about space, I heard the Lord speak in terms of Ministry and vehicles.

Do apostles give space to Prophets to "Operate"?

Prophets reveal to Apostles where that Space IS. A church will tip if the foundations are one sided. See the passage above.

Consider the ministry an Apostle is head of as an automobile, a modern automobile.

The Apostle steers the car, starts it, shuts it off, people see the driver, he's visible. It's his car. Yet, he drives blind without the Prophet.

The Prophet keeps the headlights on, the turn signals working, the GPS connected, the windshield clean, the rear view mirrors properly adjusted, the speedometer accurate, the gas gauge showing how long before a pause is needed and if something is wrong in the engine blinks a trouble light saying so.

The apostle may keep driving without any of those things in his "Space" operating, but he will soon go off course, run out of gas and likely crash. I don't consider it a giving, but a responsibility to be what God called me to be, a Holy Ghost Safety equipment complex for the Apostolic car.

In the old days, there were no headlights on cars, or they were very dim. No tail lights. No turn signals (I owned a car with no turn signals). No GPS. You knew by putting a stick in the tank how far you could go till you needed more gas, many cars had no mirrors, no engine trouble light. Cars didn't go far or fast and there were a lot more accidents. The Prophetic metaphorically speaking has given Apostles the ability to find the space they need.

I have knows some reckless driving Apostles. They should be arrested. Most crash before.

If as a Prophet I give a wrong reading or am reflecting an improper image in the mirror or don't keep the windshield clean, I'm not doing my job and need to be replaced or repaired.

Even the GPS in my car sometimes wants to take me down a road in areas I am unfamiliar with. It has a route that will get me there more directly and more safely. IF I am driving, sometimes I will over ride it's direction. IF I know the route clearly, I am OK. IF it's new to me...and I guess. I end up in a dead end. It's happened more times than I will admit.

I know a lot of Apostles who know how to drive but think they have a built in GPS. They think all the other things the Prophetic brings are window dressing. They are like the game some kids play, they turn the lights off and drive fast in the dark to prove how instinctive they are.

Eventually if they keep up that pattern, the world has a name for them...Casualties.

Look at the disasters in big ministries over the last few years. I keep asking the question, who was his Prophet? Why weren't they doing their job. How did it not come that the warning light blinked radically and insistently?

Apostles NEED Prophets, the don't make space for them. If they ignore or disregard, they are flying blind headed for a fall.

From the blog of a guy that calls himself "Prophet Gene."
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Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Victorious Eschatology




For a few generations, the American church has held to a theology that God is challenging today. With all the "End of the world" prophecies and fears circulating the globe today, it's not surprising that God is addressing end times theology.

Hal Linsay's hit The Late Great Planet Earth popularized the belief that the righteous shall be "raptured" and sucked out of their shoes. This idea was unheard of until the early 1800s when a 15-year-old Scottish girl had an unusual vision. It's reported that some men in her day were lacking in their ministry and seized the opportunity to promote a new doctrine of sorts. John Nelson Darby, a British evangelical preacher and founder of the Plymouth Brethren, is often credited as the first to publish it.

If you've read the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, you're familiar with the doctrine in question. There has been a rise in what Businessweek is calling The Rapture Profiteers.

This perspective is losing ground. Believers around the world are questioning this long-unquestioned theology, and discovering that there is very little biblical support for it. One excellent book questioning this theology is The Rapture Exposed, by Barbara Rossing. The one that shook my roots is Raptureless, by Dr. Jonathan Welton.

And the best theological foundation of a more biblical perspective may be apostle Harold Eberle's Victorious Eschatology. In the videos below, Harold explains much of the content of the book.

...







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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Job's Guide - The Prophet




A look at the prophet through the eyes of Job - written by Michael Sawh, originally published here.

The other day, I saw that Job 39 contains a wealth of insights into the 5-fold ministries of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher - everyone is called to operate within these functions at some level of intensity or influence, as the seasons of life turn...I'm starting at the end of the chapter v26-30.

5 of the lessons for prophets can be summarised:

1) seek wisdom and its timing
2) ascend and guard your position
3) abide and depend
4) focus and see the bigger picture
5) grow in grace and be ready for warfare

1) seek wisdom and its timing

verse 26: “Does the hawk fly by your wisdom,
And spread its wings toward the south?"

This verse is a question - prophetic ministry arises from a conversation with heaven, an intimate relationship with God.

The foundation is seeking and listening to the wisdom of God. There is no other way to fly.
The spreading of wings here, speaks to me of the vulnerability required, the beauty of a purpose fulfulled and a constant reaching out to heaven.

Birds know when to head south - prophets are also particularly sensitive to the times and seasons as well as the specific timing to deliver a revelation.

There's something on discernment here, too: discerning between false and true revelation can be like judging between a hawk and an eagle (verse 27), which look similar from afar and to the untrained eye. Keys to discernment: getting closer to Christ and working with the Holy Spirit to improve your vision.

2) ascend and guard your position

verse 27: Does the eagle mount up at your command,
And make its nest on high?"

Worship is key to the prophetic, being inspired and enpowered by the Holy Spirit to rise and encounter the living God.

Prophets need to be diligent in operating from their true position "seated in heavenly places" (ephesians 2:6), ie making your nest on high.

3) abide and depend

verse 28: On the rock it dwells and resides,
On the crag of the rock and the stronghold."

On the rock speaks to me of the centrality of the Word, the unchanging ground and infallible plumbline to test truth.
On the crag suggests to me the necessity of taking risks as well a firm revelation of security within Christ.

4) focus and see the bigger picture

verse 29: From there it spies out the prey;
Its eyes observe from afar.

Being seated in heavenly places gives the proper perspective, both to focus on what's specifically important and the broader picture.

Prophets are given insights into people, events, strategies and opportunities which can enable the Bride to become more beautiful, fruitful and effective.

5) grow in grace and be ready for warfare

verse 30 Its young ones suck up blood;
And where the slain are, there it is.”

"Young ones suck up blood" speaks to me of the mistakes related to growing in the prophetic often requiring much forgiveness!
Prophetic ministry should naturally minister and multiply grace.

"And where the slain are, there it is” reminds me that a prophetic life is one of spiritual warfare. Prophets are sent to speak life where death holds sway, to be vessels of water in the desert, to build amidst the ruins, to bringing blessing to widows and orphans, to encourage the weak and defeated, to warn the proud and indifferent...

good sesh, now for a cup of tea :)


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