Relationships Produce Revival: Deurteronomy 16:16

 Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXXXIV 

What do all these feasts have to do church structure or the five fold? The feasts are not about structure, but about relationships between man and his God. They aren’t about religious institutions, programs, or organizations; they are about living organisms.

Passover reestablished righteousness between God and man. “Righteousness” means “being in a right relationship.” Because of what Jesus did on the Cross, the “ain’ts” became “saints”! “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11: 6) Those ”who seek Him” have been rewarded eternal life and membership into the Priesthood of Believers.

Pentecost empowered this Priesthood of Believers to live by faith. All those listed in  Hebrews 11 “gained approval through their faith” yet they, "did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us. (Hebrews 11) What was promised would be Jesus and the Holy Spirit who would fulfill Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Booths. The Holy Spirit would empower believers to live out the Logos Word through the Rehma Word.

The Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles, Feast of Ingathering is relational because God is not only calling individual believers to Him eternally, but is calling an entire priesthood, the Priesthood of Believers, the Church to Him through Jesus Christ. Unlike marriage, it is now beyond “death do us part,” Because of Jesus’s death and resurrection, the committed relationship between God and man is now eternal.

Relationally physical and spiritual change happens through these feasts; the earthly body, that looks like mankind, is being changed into the image of Jesus Christ. We will “grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,” and we will “Lay aside the old self, which is corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:15, 22-24)

If we, as believers, will have new bodies, new “structures”, why wouldn’t the Church also transform into a new structure? If your temple (“Do you not know that your body is a temple (tabernacle) of the Holy Spirit?” (I Corinthians 6:19)) is going to be “renovated” or “renewed”, why wouldn’t the Church also experience renovation called “revival”? A new body! A new structure! A metamorphosis of newness, so we as individuals and corporately as the Body of Christ can fly, soar, into the heavenlies with the Godhead for eternity.

 “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast (of Booths), Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39)

Jesus announced openly in Herod’s Temple about the Holy Spirit. It would be the same thing he offered the Samaritan woman at the well, “from the innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” Jesus was offering them transformational relationships. “Jesus answered, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (John 7:16-18)


What is this Priesthood of Believers?


Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XIII

 The Priesthood of Believers is all about the “priesthood,” the body of Christ as a whole, the Church, not the priest, the individual believer. The organism is more important than the individual components. It is a community of faith composed of God’s people as equal peers who give and receive from one anther. Jesus Christ is its High Priest, and it is lead by the Holy Spirit. It is a diverse group of people with different giftings, drives, passions, and points of view who still can come to a consensus because they are willing to lay down their lives for one another.

The Priesthood of Believers has no divisive classes or domineering hierarchal leadership structure since it is linear relational. Accountability comes through the giving and receiving through peer relationships. Respected leadership is earned by one’s willingness to lead when walking ahead, protect when covering one’s back, and encourage and reassure when walking beside another believer.

Why is the principle of the Priesthood of Believers so important to revival? The Priesthood of Believers is all-inclusive, all believers in Jesus Christ. Acts 2:16-18 states: ”But this is what was spoken of old through the prophet Joel: ‘It shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;  Even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy."

God is “pouring forth My Spirit” on a lot of different people: “on all mankind, your sons and your daughters, your young men, your old men, even My bondslaves, both men and women". The Priesthood of Believes is an inclusive group through Jesus Christ. There are no class distinctions, sexual preferences, or elite groups. God’s Spirit is not just on the clergy, the professional, the ordained, or the privileged, but is IN “all mankind” who profess Jesus Christ, the Priesthood of Believers! Revival happens at the grass root level.

The five fold is five diverse passions and points of view, when evoked separately, can be divisive and destructive, but when given and received as encouragement and support can be powerful tools bringing Christian maturity and unity to the body of Christ. When believers recognize their five fold giftings, they cannot “outsource” them to another. Every believer is responsible for what he has been given. There is no room for passivity.

A church unwilling to abolish the clergy/laity divide will not be receptive to the five fold as a grass root believers’ movement. They will want to retain their titles and offices while accusing the laity of not submitting to their authority. A church willing to end to its clergy/laity divide and willing to submit to the Holy Spirit as its authority will be willing to embrace a cocoon stage and be open to transition.

If God’s people are the Church, then God’s Holy Spirit must work through all of them, not just a select few. All of God’s people are called to respond to the Holy Spirit. That responsive, all-inclusive group of believers in Jesus Christ is the Priesthood of Believers.



The Rise Of The Professional Clergy

Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XII

How did the clergy rise to power and create this divide?  Frank Damazio in his classic book The Making of a Leader (Portland, Or: Bible Temple Publishing Co., 1988, p.9) explains, “Another major cause of the Church’s unbiblical division between the ‘clergy’ and the ‘laity’ is the professional status the church accords to clergy. The process of elevating clergy to the status of ‘professional Christian’ follows a claim of logic that looks like this:

Since the:                              clergy          =   priesthood

and the:                                priesthood    =   profession

then:                                    profession     =    professional

  Therefore:                             clergy           =    professional.

Those considered to be in the clergy, therefore, were looked upon as ‘professionals’. Those who received a theological and ‘professional’ education were considered to be part of the clergy, or at least, well prepared for a particular denominational ordination. Neither of these ideas, however, are Biblical.”

Here we are in the twenty-first century still maintaining the belief that the only clergy can be professionals, those who have made a career out of what is called the “full time ministry.” Because they are paid out of the laity’s tithes and offerings, many in the laity feel they do not have to do ministry because “that is what we pay our pastor and staff to do,” so they outsource their obligations.  I have heard the Pareto Principle quoted that “20% of the people do 80% of the work.” I have no idea if that is valid, but very few of the non-clergy in most churches do very much of the work. The paid staff does it! Some believe the “lay” in “Laity” justifies being passive. I believe that clergy and laity want it that way. The clergy do not want to give up their pulpit, control, and power, and the laity enjoys being passive with no requirements placed on them except financial!

The hierarchal organizational church of the Dark Ages advocated the two class system: The clergy were educated and spiritual; most of the laity illiterate and secular. The clergy were set apart to draw near to God; the secular needed the clergy for confessions, the resolving of sins, penance, baptisms, marriages, and the giving of sacraments.  What brought the Church out of the Dark Ages? The invention of Guttenberg’s printing press, the Age of Enlightenment, and the Age of Reason when the laity learned to read the Bible themselves.

Martin Luther questioned the mother church’s institutional structure, power, practices, and doctrines that bred enormous wealth and corruption. His discovery of “justification by faith” and John Calvin’s “justification by grace” brought a spark of life back into the organism. As believers read the Bible for themselves, they began questioning official church dogma for interpretation, and life seeped back into the Priesthood of Believers.

Although Luther did not actually pen the term Priesthood of Believers, he did initiate the principle that all believers in Jesus were peers, equals in the faith, and could do many of the things that the organized church had prohibited them from doing. Ironically, as much as Luther advocated the concept of Priesthood of Believers, he felt forced to accept a hierarchal leadership model when State governments began to endorse State religions as Germany went Lutheran, the Czar went with Russian Orthodoxy, and England’s King Henry VIII formed his own church, the Anglican Church. Those rejecting State run religion fled to America where they placed the Separation of Church and State into their Constitution.


What The Church Can Not Afford


Embracing the Five Fold– Part XVI


….. because we can not afford NOT to embrace the five fold and its benefits.

If the five fold is the passions, desires, and diverse points of view in the Body of Christ among its Priesthood of Believers that already exists in the Church, the Church can not afford to continue to be passive about ignoring these five giftings among its laity that is called to birth, care, nurture, and equip the saints for the works of service, then release them to serve!

Now is the time for the Church to again listen to the voice and leading of the Holy Spirit sent from the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ to teach the Church, his saints, all things.

Now is the time for transitioning from religious traditions to building functional peer relationships for support and accountability.

Now is a time of building up the Body of Christ as a Priesthood of Believers, peers in Jesus Christ, to have believers grow individually into the image of Jesus and corporately unifying the Body of Christ.

Now is a time for equipping through care, nurturing, teaching, and drawing near to the Father; then recognize the time for releasing.

Now is the time to realize the need for some serious structural changes in the way we do and govern the Church by continually building relationships.

The present church cannot afford to continue to enable its laity and still expect them to be active. It cannot afford to keep the laity passive when they are to be salt and light to the world. It must not only recognize the clergy/laity divide, which is not Biblical, but begin to embrace one another as peers in the Priesthood of Believers.

The present church must also realize that it cannot be faithful to its traditions if it wants to embrace change, revival, and unity. Radical Christianity demands new mindsets!

The 21st Century Church needs to invest in its people, the saints, not in its staff, the paid professionals. God invested in His people through the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the Cross. If believers in Jesus Christ have been called to lay down their lives for their brethren, then the 21st Century Church has got to start having its leadership be tolerant of other Christian camps and begin accepting and embracing one another, supporting one another, equipping one another, and releasing one another in their spiritual journeys with Jesus.

It is time for the Church to again embrace the Holy Spirit for its guidance, wisdom, and teachings., a time to again trust the Holy Spirit, and a time to learn how to trust one another.

If the 21st Century Church is in a time of transition, it’s people cannot afford to remain passive, stagnant, and inactive, for now is the time for “Acts”-tion, the returning to when the Church was alive, active, challenging through change, and influencing the world for Jesus.

Church, let’s embrace change, transition, redevelopment, a retooling, a revamping, a regenerating, responding to the call and voice of the Holy Spirit in individual Christian development as each believers strives to be more Christ-like, and the church becomes unified.

Church, let’s admit the five fold is already among us, part of our spiritual DNA make up. We can afford to embrace the five fold because! Jesus paid the price, now are we willing to pay the price of "laying down our lives for the brethren"? 

Let’s do it!


Home Grown Always Tastes Better Than Canned…


Developing Local Leadership For the Local Community– Part XV


….. because home grown leaders are birthed, nurtured, taught, equipped, and released by the local church, the priesthood of believers, to serve their local community. 

Today’s church leaders emphasize developing disciples out of the laity, but they do not promote developing lay leadership that would replace them. Why? They quote the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19 which commands to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” They equate disciples with everyday believers who are the laity, but they believe that leadership does not lay with the laity but with the clergy, thus laity does not “qualify” for leadership.

The five fold is drastically different. The purpose of the five fold is to equip the “saints”, the disciples, the laity, for works of service. Jesus had twelve disciples, who were not Pharisees, Sadducees, or Jewish leaders, but common ordinary laity, fishermen, tax collectors, etc. Jesus “equipped” them for “works of service” and empowered them with the Holy Spirits. Their “Acts”-tions proved them to be evangelists, shepherds, teachers, prophets, and apostles as they began to lead this new movement, first from their hometowns and Jerusalem eventually to all parts of the known world. They were homegrown boys raised and equipped by Jesus in their home country of Israel.

Later Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee of Pharisees, gets literally knocked off his horse when confronted by Jesus, converts to becoming a believer, and spends time “deprogramming” his Pharisaical beliefs while “redirecting” his zeal, his passions, his drive into the five fold giftings of serving others through Jesus. He becomes an evangelist, a teacher, a shepherd, a prophet, and an apostle by the actions of service he does.

Paul goes into a city, visits the synagogue first trying to convert his fellow Jews, gets rejected and “redirects” his zeal toward the gentiles who receive him. He spends two years or less “equipping the ‘local’ saints for works of service”, then leaves them to begin a new work in another city. He develops homegrown people, new disciples in Jesus, into leadership to fully replace him when he moves on to a new location. He does not call in the “Big Boys” from the Church at Antioch” to come lead his new church as their “pastor”, their clergy, but raises local leadership from the local laity.

Jesus loved sowing and seed parables because he knew that once a seed was sewn, takes root, it grows if properly cared for, becomes mature and ripe, and is harvested.  Why hasn’t the church learned that once a seed is sown and takes root (a person accepts Jesus as his/her Savior), they too will grow if nurtured and cared for properly (through the five fold). A purpose of the five fold is to “mature” a saint into the image of Jesus and have him/her ‘grow up’ in the faith. When mature, ripe, ready for harvest, the local church needs to release them to do the works of service for which they have been trained.

It is the job of local church leadership to “care & nurture”,  “equip”, and “release” fellow peers, believers in the faith, the Priesthood of Believers to do their calling of “service” to others. It’s local leadership training and equipping hometown believers in Jesus how to “serve”; then allowing them to “serve”! Like the woman at the well, when she met Jesus and realized he was not only a prophet, but the Jewish messiah, she ran and told her hometown friends.  Even the demoniac, once released of his demons, wanted to also go with Jesus, but was commanded by Jesus to stay in his hometown.

Through the five fold, we can “equip”, train, care for, nurture, develop and release hometown people to more effectively reach their hometown friends for Jesus! 


Diverse Plurality Brings Activity


Why I Would Want The Five Fold In My Church – Part V


….. because it prepares the body, a priesthood of believers, the Church, to serve.

The purpose of the five fold is to equip the saints for works of service. The saints have not been called to be passive, pew sitters, stand byers, non-participants. They are suppose to be doing the work of the gospel through service! What a revolutionary mindset. Are they suppose to pay someone else to do it for them!

If we look at the above statement, we see “body” is a group of people. “Priesthood” is also a group of believer(s)! It is the plurality of believers together that serve! You never see “priest” mentioned in the New Testament, only the “priesthood”, the functioning body of Christ, the Church. The many individual peer believers working through service together brings individual growth and unity among the believers as stated in Ephesians 4.

That is why Jesus Christ gave himself, the Church, apostle(s), prophet(s), evangelist(s), pastor(s), and teacher(s). He gave plurality, diversity, creativity, the “supporting ligaments” that “grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Each believer, each peer in Jesus Christ does it part so the corporate whole, the body of Christ, the Priesthood of Believers, the Church, serves!

The Church can serve through “birth” because He gave it evangelists. The Church can nurture growth through living care through shepherds/pastors. The Church can teach truth, the Logos Word, not legalistically, but through experiencing it, the Rhema Word, that gives life by allowing the Holy Spirit to teach through his believers. The Church can encourage man to “draw near” the Spirit of the Living God through the service of its prophets. The Church as a whole can function in unity as a whole through the diverse passions and spiritual giftings through service through the networking of its apostles. It is not about only one person, Jesus, yet not about the individuals who make up that person through the Church, the Body of Christ, but through many individuals, peers in Jesus, the Priesthood of Believers.

When individual believers in Jesus Christ, the Priesthood, is released to manifest their passions as evangelists, shepherds, teachers, prophets, and apostles, and free to flow in the spiritual giftings God has given them, corporately they are an empowered, movable force called the Church! Satan and his kingdom of darkness cannot withstand the power, dominion, and authority of an united Church that is lead by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ who serves!

The Church will not remain in its caterpillar stage of a two tiered system of clergy and laity, but after being in a cocoon of revival and reconstruction, it will come out as a Royal Priesthood, empowered to soar. Every believer, every peer in Jesus Christ, every priest in this priesthood will follow the orders of their High Priest, Jesus Christ, through the leading of His Spirit. The Church will be known for its activity, not it passivity, its ability to move forward, not it being lethargic. It will move with authority and power because of these five fold passions, spiritual gifts, and the ability to hear the voice of the Lord through the Holy Spirit.

The passive nature of the 21st Century Church will be looked upon as another chapter in the History of the Church. The Dark Ages led to the Reformation and Age of Reason and Enlightenment. This passive age is leading the Church to an Age of Preparation for the Bride, the Church, to meet its Groom, Jesus, at the Great Banquet Wedding Feast.

The church has to first pass through the cocoon stage from being a historic, lumbering structure to be retooled, remodeled, and “reformed” into a Butterfly.


Accountability To the Priesthood of Believers


Why I Would Want The Five Fold In My Church – Part II


….. because it makes the priesthood of believers, the laity, us, accountable.

Why would a church be open to the five fold? One reason would be that it makes the parishioners, the believers in Jesus Christ accountable and not just passive. To encourage the people of the local church to do works of service, to evangelize, to nurture, care, and shepherd, to study the Word of God and listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit for themselves, and network different giftings for the good of the group would be a revolutionary change in the way we think about doing church and being the Church. No longer could you just apathetically attend.

Ephesians 4:14-15 outlines how the five fold makes each believer accountable for their faith walk in Jesus individually, and corporately, “15 Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

Embracing the five fold would challenge individual believer to “grow up”, take responsibility, and support the other members of the body while doing their part. That is a radical change from just being a pew sitter.

“Do you not know that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” (I Cor. 6:19) If every believer has the Holy Spirit in them, then the gifts of the spirit are also within them. The key is to release those gifts, then equip that believer for works of service that would result in releasing life back into our churches. Anticipation brings excitement.

Sunday mornings corporate gatherings could be times when that excitement could be shared corporately. Instead of being told when to sit, stand, kneel, pray, sing, financially give, greet one another, and exit the premise, believers would now want to share what the Holy Spirit is doing in their midst. They would change from being passive, to engaging, to becoming aggressive. The life that existed in the book of Acts would again become evident.

With the five fold would come an accountability to peer believers with diverse gifts. One’s strength could bolster the weakness of another, and your strength could build others up in Christ. Accountability would be reciprocal, not conditional on office, rank, or title.  Accountability would be built on peer relationships, not a pyramidal structure of offices. What is important is who leads you so you can follow, or who is behind you covering your back, or who is willing to walk beside you as a brother or sister in the Lord as an equal, not who is over you who demands you submit to them.

No longer would accountability be toting the line as dictated by leadership “over” you, but accepting and giving service and grace to those who walk their faith journeys in Jesus together, side-by-side. Acceptance of one another as equals because of relationships enhances accountability rather than submitting to authority because it is required.

It is a revolutionary way of thinking for the current church, but a way enabled passivity could be diminished in today’s local church. Let’s enter the cocoon of revival and allow the Holy Spirit to take away our apathy and reconstruct it into activity, a butterfly, soaring in service to one another.


Why I Would Want The Five Fold In My Church


Reasons To Embrace This Incredible Journey


I believe part of this metamorphosis, the change of physical institutional structures of the church, will come through the truth and understanding of the purpose of the five different passions, drives, and points of view found in Ephesians 4 (the evangelist, shepherd, teacher, prophet, & apostle). It’s purpose is to “equip” the “saints”, not staff, for the works of “service”. The “priesthood of believers”, the Church, is about to learn how to not only serve their God but serve each other. They will be willing to lay down their lives for their God and for each other. “Service” will be their motive, their passion, their desire, and they will use their personal passion to serve the body of Christ and edify their Lord and Savior, Jesus, whose fruits will be unity.

There will be a new accountability to each other in this new paradigm, not based on a hierarchal structure of dominant leadership, but based on horizontal leadership of walking beside the brethren in service; leading them by being in front of them, covering their back when behind them, and serving when walking beside them. This paradigm will demand intimate relationships of trust through service to be established among the brethren. Instead of being accountable to a hierarchal structure or titles and positions, the accountability will come through relationships and the willingness to “lay down your life for your brethren” and serving them.

So “Why Would I Want The Five Fold In My Church?”

….. because it makes the priesthood of believers, the laity, us, accountable.

….. because it releases believers in Jesus to serve others through their passions, giftings, drives, and points of view.

….. because it replaces enabled apathy with Holy Spirit led activity for believers in Jesus.

….. because it prepares the body, a priesthood of believers, the Church, to serve.

….. because it makes believers in Jesus accountable to one another through service.

….. because instead of enablement and inactivity, it promotes equipping and releasing of believers in Jesus to actively pursue service.

….. because it requires sacrificial service, the laying down of your life, for others.

….. because it equips the local body to serve the local community through Jesus.

….. because every believer is special, gifted, and equipped through Jesus to do the Great Commission, the Golden Rule, and to love one another.

….. because it forces every believer, me, and the entire priesthood of believers, us, the church, to ask the question, “Do I totally trust the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and can I trust my fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord?”

….. because it requires us to be our brother’s keeper through service and love.

….. because home grown leaders are birthed, nurtured, taught, equipped, and released by the local church, the priesthood of believers, to serve their local community.

….. because we can not afford NOT to embrace the five fold and its benefits.


Why I Wouldn’t Want The Five Fold In My Church


Reasons To Reject This Incredible Journey


I believe part of this metamorphosis, the change of physical institutional structures of the church, will come through the truth and understanding of the purpose of the five different passions, drives, and points of view found in Ephesians 4 (the evangelist, shepherd, teacher, prophet, & apostle). It’s purpose is to “equip” the “saints”, not staff, for the works of “service”. The “priesthood of believers”, the Church, is about to learn how to not only serve their God but serve each other. They will be willing to lay down their lives for their God and for each other. “Service” will be their motive, their passion, their desire, and they will use their personal passion to serve the body of Christ and edify their Lord and Savior, Jesus, whose fruits will be unity.

There will be a new accountability to each other in this new paradigm, not based on a hierarchal structure of dominant leadership, but based on horizontal leadership of walking beside the brethren in service; leading them by being in front of them, covering their back when behind them, and serving when walking beside them. This paradigm will demand intimate relationships of trust through service to be established among the brethren. Instead of being accountable to a hierarchal structure or titles and positions, the accountability will come through relationships and the willingness to “lay down your life for your brethren” and serving them.

So “Why Shouldn’t I Wouldn’t Want The Five Fold In My Church?”

….. because my institutional church values their traditions, their view of Biblically correct doctrine, and their desire for a professional hierarchal view of leadership over change, challenges to one’s theology, and having to give up control.

….. because the senior pastor heads our ship and his staff is onboard; the priesthood of believers, the laity, the saints are not “trained” professionally to lead.

….. because the five fold are positions and titles within the church, thus “leaders” exhibit these gifts, not the everyday priesthood of believers, the laity.

….. because our pastor reads scripture to us, prays for us, and instructs us through his sermon when in his pulpit on Sundays; the laity, or priesthood of believers, is intellectually incapable of properly doing that themselves, I guess.

….. because our senior pastor gives evangelistic messages in his sermon, he is an evangelist. Our Pastor is a pastor, duh, of course, thus the title! His sermons prove he is a teacher. His spiritual discernment and desire to draw near to God for us demonstrates that he is a prophetic priest, and his oversight of our church as a whole makes him apostolic.  If he is doing it all, no wonder the priesthood of believers is apathetic when enabled, and has the attitude, “that is what we pay him to do, and he does it well.”

….. because you will have a free-for-all if everyone runs the church. The church is not a democracy but a theocracy, a hierarchal structure, so a senior pastor is needed (hired) to run all meetings, head all programs, and lead in an orderly fashion. Order through control prevents chaos.

….. because the purpose of the five fold is to “equip the saints” for what? Oh, “works of service”! Oh, janitorial and secretarial work or lawn care or building maintenance! But wait! To develop them into evangelists, shepherds, teachers, prophets, and apostles? Inconceivable! That would require laity to become active, not passive or lethargic. That would require them to become active, not in church programs, but in service to one another.


Revival and the 21st Century Church

Options: Traditions or Change


I haven’t written a blog entry in almost a half a year, but I am back. I have been working on editing manuscripts, including over 500 blog entries into book form  (over 800 pages worth!), and I have reread every blog entry that I have written. I truly thank the Lord for some amazing insights.

I have realized that if a church truly wants revival it will have to be willing to embrace drastic change, and historically the institutional church has only embraced gradual change. Traditions have ruled the day. There is a sense of safety in doing things the traditional way, for traditions don’t make waves. They don’t flow; they are established.

If what I am sensing is truth, that the church is entering a cocoon stage in its development, drastic change will be a requirement. The necessity of changing the church’s very structure is at the core of this metamorphosis. The caterpillar structure of the current church with is squishy body, its multi-legged segments, and its ravishing eating habits to sustain constant growth will have to yield to a hard shelled, three segmented structure with wings whose purpose is to soar into the heavens. These are two totally different structures; same creature, but new look and purpose!

The churches who are willing to face this metamorphic state will find themselves surrounded by conflicts that demands change. Every program they have will be challenged; every thing they have done will be questioned by the standard of “relationships”. How does this standard or program enhance the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and their relationship to mankind, us? Can I trust the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ? How does this standard or program enhance the relationship between man with his brother in this priesthood of believers that is known as the Church, us?  Am I truly my brothers’ keeper; if so, am I willing to “lay down my life for the brethren”? Can I trust my brother or sister in Jesus Christ? Those are the basic, challenging questions that will be asked.

Under the old caterpillar mentality of doing church, the Church cannot fly. It’s multi-legged, multi-bodied structure of splintered, divided factions, and its ravish appetite for constant church growth have often hindered its vertical relationship with the Godhead. It has not been able to bring an united, corporate atmosphere of worship or fulfilled John 17’s vision of church unity with the Godhead. Every segment feels it has the inside scoop with the Father through their church doctrine and beliefs, and the other segments of the body don’t, thus bringing division.

Under the butterfly mentality, the Church will be “equipped” to fly because it will “equip” the “saints”, the priesthood of believers, for the works of service. Everything that they do will be seen as an act of worship to the Godhead. Everything that they do will be an act of service to each other; all at the price of being willing to lay down their lives for their God and their fellow brothers and sisters, exactly what Jesus did on the Cross! The Cross is still the central component of the message of the gospel.

Every church revival that I have studied about or have personally experienced has been a messy affair as man has been challenged with new ways of doing things, new mindsets, a new awareness for the need of worship, a new burden to truly be one’s brother’s keeper, and a hunger for healthy relationships with the Godhead and the body of Christ, the priesthood of believers, that only comes through brokenness, repentance, and healing through Jesus Christ. Churches who don’t want the mess or the challenges will safely continue to crawl into its security and safety that tradition and being an institution can give. We are faced with only two options: tradition or change!

Question: How Did The Early Church Come To An Agreement?

The Act of “Consensus” – Part I


The early church followed what form of government?

Certainly not a democracy, for there were no viable democracies in the first century. The church did not vote on matters with the majority ruling the day.

Certainly not a monarchy, even though Jesus is referred to as King of King. Jesus taught that his kingdom leadership was built on service, not “lording over” others like the gentiles do. His kingdom would be composed of a royal priesthood; a kingdom that would recognize Him as both King and High Priest, but his believers would be a linear, relational priesthood of peer equals in Jesus Christ. There would be no hierarchy or distinctions among them as in secular institutions.

Certainly not a dictatorship, for the Roman Caesars vividly displayed the ruthlessness of such a structure. The “laying down of one’s life” rather than the taking of another’s life seemed to be rule of thumb in Jesus’s kingdom.  “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (I John 3:16) In fact the gospel takes it farther, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Laying down your life not for just your own, but also outsiders is a pillar of the Christian faith.

If the Church was birthed in a Middle East, Westernized world of kings, Caesars, ruthless dictators, why did they not just make Peter the Pope and the Apostles the Ruling Council of Lead Elders to micromanage this new organization. The answer is simple. The church is not an organization. It is a living organism. Man directed it towards becoming an organization and later an institution. It does not have to follow Robert’s Rules of Order, just Jesus’ unconditional love by worshiping the Father and laying down your life for your brothers and sisters in Jesus.

If not an organization, then how did they govern themselves as an organism?  Another simple answer: through consensus in the Holy Spirit. They learned to listen and be obedient to the Holy Spirit. When he speaks, he speaks in one voice, the voice of God, that brings unity. He reveals only what Jesus wants, and Jesus reveals the heart of His Father. The three speak as one in unity.

When the Holy Spirit spoke, the Church did not debate about what He said, they just obediently followed it. They did not write position papers, or create dogma, or write doctrinal statements, etc., they just were obedient and followed it. God could speak through any believer, and often through several, yet his Word, his message, was always the same, bringing unity and clarity. All were in agreement, “in one accord”, in consensus. No debate, no dialogue, no critiquing, no criticizing, no theologizing, only faithful obedience! All moved ahead in the same direction because they had consensus on every matter when the Lord spoke to them.

Let’s look over the next few blogs on how this consensus worked, how effective it really was, and how the church has wondered away from that model into the hierarchal models it practices today. Finally let’s examine how we can “revive” the spirit of consensus back into the Church.



The Principle Of “Reigning With”, Not “Ruling Over”


Prepositions Define Leadership Style & Relationships

God established a Priesthood so that He would have men “draw near TO him.” God’s design was never to have a “distant” relationship WITH mankind, but an intimate, close relationship. God had walked IN the garden WITH Adam and Eve; they all communicated as close friends. Sin separated man FROM his God; distant relationships came THROUGH sin.

Relationships were mutual BEFORE the fall; Adam and Eve did everything IN one accord, together, IN unity WITH God. Sin brought distance IN Adam’s relationship WITH Eve, and as part OF the curse the male would dominate or “rule OVER” the woman who would cling TO him. This intimate mutual relationship OF equal peers could only be restored THROUGH the shed blood OF Jesus Christ ON the Cross, as an atonement for the sins OF mankind. Now, IN Jesus, a mutual relationship as equal peers to be united as one was restored not only TO the institution OF marriage but also TO the Church as a whole. God’s design was never to have a “distant” relationship WITH mankind, but an intimate, close relationship.

Jesus told his disciples that the gentiles “rule OVER” one another, but that is not the way IN the kingdom OF God. God’s people “reign WITH” one another by being “BESIDE” one another IN a linear relationship OF equality. Even though Jesus had to return TO the Father IN heaven to intercede FOR His believers, He promised that he would not abandon them as orphans. He does not believe IN distant relationships. Instead they He made them “children OF God”, and their physical bodies would become the “temples OF the Holy Spirit.” God’s personal Holy Spirit would not be “ABOVE” them in the far distance, nor descending as a dove had upon Jesus when he was baptized, but would be “IN” them. How intimate is that?  All mankind has to do is allow the Holy Spirit “IN” their lives, and He chooses to dwell or live there forever! How awesome is that?

Unfortunately when we diminish relationship, we establish religion. As “God’s people” became known as “The Children OF Disobedience” IN the dessert, a religious institution replaced those relationships WITH an Old Testament Priesthood headed by a High Priest, a man, who oversaw animal sacrifices and a Levitical priesthood. By the time Jesus appeared the Ark OF the Covenant, God’s Presence, was missing IN a Temple that had replaced the Tabernacle. God wanted to reestablish relationships, to again “draw men near” him, thus he faced the Cross, death, that led TO his resurrection. God had already established a “Priesthood of Believers” according TO the order of Melchizadek who was without genealogy, tradition, and IN the likeness of Jesus Christ. Fallen relationships had been restored THROUGH Jesus.

Religious “institutions” have built pyramidal organizational structures WITH a man AT the top. I don’t care if it is the High Priest, the Roman Catholic Pope, or the Protestant local Pastor who lord “OVER” their flock or group. The foundation OF the clergy/laity schism is built ON this pyramid of church power and politics of who will rule “OVER” the church. OVER the centuries the clergy have made sure power has become entrenched WITH them while the laity are to be only followers.

This is not how the kingdom of God works. Leadership “WITHIN” the Church is defined by who is “BESIDE” you, “NEXT TO” you, “WITH” you, not who is “OVER” you. When Jesus was ON earth, He never lorded “OVER” anyone. He did not establish a pyramid structure where he was “ABOVE” his disciples but always walked “WITH” them, “BESIDE” them while teaching them AS a peer, a man, a teacher teaching only what the “Father” was telling him. In fact, the last thing he taught his disciples before going TO the Garden OF Gethsemane and the Cross was how not to be “ABOVE” them, but stooped down “BELOW” them and washed their feet. He was preparing them to learn the principle OF how to “lay DOWN your life FOR your brethren” by literally “laying DOWN his life FOR them.” When you lay something DOWN, it is “BENEATH” you, not “above” you.

The Church needs to learn to lay “DOWN” their lives FOR one another; Christian husbands need to learn how to lay “DOWN” their lives for their wives, not lording “OVER” them. They are your equal peers, your Eve’s, restored TO oneness “WITH” you so that you can be IN agreement IN all things! They are not to be controlled but served! You are to present them TO yourself “without spot or wrinkle”, pure, holy, blameless, as a restored equal IN Jesus!  Leadership needs to not be “ABOVE” those they are to serve, but be AT their level: “AHEAD” of them to lead, “BEHIND” them to cover their backs, and “BESIDE” them IN their personal journeys, and they need to begin to “equip the saints”, not the staff, for the “works OF service”, teaching them to serve one another THROUGH personal examples!

As believers IN Jesus, God is “WITH” us, not distantly “ABOVE” us, out OF our reach, but actually “IN” us; His Holy Spirit choosing to “IN”dwell us! The church needs to rethink and restructure its leadership models. Institutional hierarchy models are not scriptural, not the plan of the kingdom of God, and not relational as equal peers IN Jesus Christ. If the Church wants true revival, radical changes will have to occur IN its mindsets, IN its methods, and how it handles relationships, especially between leadership and the rest OF the body of Christ.  Leadership MUST begin to get off its pedestal “above” its congregation, and not only mingle, but be equal peers WITH them THROUGH service.


The Cross: A Dying Principle


What Does “Laying Down Your Life For Your Brethren Mean?

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (IJohn 3:16-17)


  • Even nature teaches us that you cannot have life without death.
  • The season of “spring” comes only after the dying of the “winter” season.
  • The Christian Church was birthed through death & resurrection, thus the Easter story.


During the Lenten season, I often ask the Lord to reveal a new aspect of the Cross to me. There is so much to learn from the Cross, for it is central to the Christian faith.  One year I learned the principle that “God can make beauty out of the worst possible scenario; he can make the ugliest situation the most beautiful.” The most painful, cruel, inhumane judgment the Romans executed was the crucifixion. Jesus hung beaten beyond recognition, exposed before women, and totally disgraced in front of his own mother, YET in less than three days he would be resurrected in a new body with scars but without pain for his mother and his disciples to see!  The beauty of the resurrection replaced the horror of the crucifixion.  When I find myself in dark spots, places of disgrace, in areas of pain and suffering, those ugly places, in hope, I look for the coming resurrection that can only be found in Jesus.

This Lenten season I am focusing on IJohn 3:16-17 as I continue to ponder over the meaning of “laying down your life for your brethren.“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” That principle I understand in my head, in my intellect, but practically in every day life the “we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” still baffles me.

Being a retired 8th Grade English teacher for 40 years who had to teach English grammar, I am fascinated by John’s choice of pronoun here: “We ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” The pronoun “we” is inclusive and plural. It doesn’t say “I” but “we”. We, I believe, refers to the Body of Christ, the Priesthood of Believers, the corporate Church! Today’s church is known for shooting their wounded, criticizing their brethren, debating profusely over theology and doctrine, yet hypocritically proclaims that “we” are one Church, united in Jesus! If we truly are united in Jesus, then our actions should speak louder than our words, and they don’t. When we see brothers and sisters in different Christian denominations, sects, or local churches not under the same Christian sect’s banner as our own, we do not meet their “need” nor show “pity” towards them, but judge them by “pitying” them for having a “need” as if it were judgment for their lack of faith or incorrect theology! As John and I both ask, “How can the love of God be in (us)?

Laying down one’s life is the central message of the gospel. “Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” That single act opened the door for redemption, reconciliation, healing, hope, faith, love, etc. “And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers,” that single act, will open the door for redemption, reconciliation, healing, hope, faith, love, etc. between brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. The Cross ended the curse of sin that divided mankind from his God; the Cross also ended the curse that caused Cain to kill his brother Abel that has divided mankind throughout history.

Death brings resurrection. Jesus’ body that laid in the tomb three days dead was resurrected. History was now changed forever. Only if “we”, the Church, the believers in Jesus Christ, the Priesthood of Believers, are willing to lay down our lives, dead to our past traditions and mindsets, can “we” expect to see a resurrection of life and unity in the Spirit and in the Church!

But the question still needs to be asked, “How do we lay down our lives ‘practically” in our day to day life towards each other?” What does that mean? What does it look like? What practical steps must “we” take, individually as believers in Jesus and corporately as a Church, a Body?

As this series of blogs professes, I truly that believe by embracing the five fold as passions, drives, points of view, and diverse voices in the body of Christ to build up the saints into the image of Jesus Christ while bringing unity to the Body of Christ, every believer in Jesus Christ, every member of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, is responsible for the “we” who are to “lay down his life for his brethren.” If I truly profess that the Church is going through a metamorphosis stage of redevelopment and structural reconstruction, then I need to focus on the “we”, the Church, part and figure out how I can lay down my life for my brethren, not for the institution nor its organization, but for my fellow brethren, real live people! This Easter “I” need to die to self; “we” need to die to ourselves, and begin to “lay down our lives” for one another! That is the price for true revival!


Have I Missed The Mark? I “Think Not”; I Just “Experienced It!”


Having Second Thoughts About The Next Movement Of God?

I had forgotten an important principle in my life: In order to learn a spiritual kingdom of God principle, I usually have to experience it! Head knowledge for me is never enough!

Although revivals usually work outside the boundaries of the institutional church, I believe the next major movement of God will directly affect present day Church structure.  I sense God will work within his own body, the Body of Christ, to reinstitute the Priesthood of Believers as peers, equals, brothers and sisters in the faith where linear relationships built on trust, service, honesty, and integrity will be solidified. The clergy/laity schism will finally be diminished. Like every other revival or movement of God, this must be orchestrated by the Holy Spirit, and obedience to what the Holy Spirit reveals is mandatory.         

I believe that this move of God will be a “metamorphic” transformation of present day church structure that is professional, clergy driven, and pyramidal in structure (caterpillar stage) to a laity driven, linear structure of peer relationships among believers in Jesus built on acceptance, equality, and accountability to “one another” (butterfly stage). How does the Church get from Point “A”, the caterpillar stage, to Point “B”, the butterfly stage?

On this path lies the dynamics of this next movement of God, the cocoon stage. As God covers, masks, and builds this cocoon around his Church, unobservable by the outside world, the Holy Spirit will supernaturally reconstruct what was once natural into a butterfly. The butterfly’s structure will not resemble anything the traditional church has ever seen; the old structure will be totally reconstructed. “The old has passed, behold the new!”  Infamous for not embracing change, the Church will embrace structural change and how it functions. Since butterflies function differently from caterpillars, this new Church structure will demand new ways, new forms, and new mindsets.

My dilemma: I have believed that my local church, which has embraced drastic changes in the past, would be open to embracing this new movement of God. I became shocked when leadership opposed it, not wanting to hear about it, so conflict arose which has forced me to break ties with that body. It became a power play. Why would a strong, pyramidal leadership structure relinquish their control over the Priesthood of Believers? I have looked “unsubmissive” to their leadership by questioning them. Some have even accused me of “slandering” their office and “defiling” their sheep. One elder advised me to accept their strong, pyramidal leadership style that he thought biblical or leave the fold, the family, that which I have been grafted in for almost twenty years. I told him I am seeking leadership who will be in front of me to lead, behind me to cover my back, and beside me to walk relationally through my faith journey with me, not a leader who dictates what I should and should not do and can and cannot do over me. I am looking for an equal brother in the Lord, not a leader who renders me voiceless, threatening severe church discipline if I make one more mistake.

While what was my local church keeps choosing the path of institutionalizing, empowering clergy and staff, while enabling the Priesthood of Believers into passivity, families are leaving, numbers dwindling, with many of the faithful no longer faithfully attend. I still believe God is working in their midst, for they are entering their cocoon of introspection, and it is painful because inside the cocoon at the center of all this activity is the CROSS!

The Cross is a painful place that brings death. Without death there is no resurrection. Great opposition led Jesus to the Cross. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day could not hear nor see what God was saying or doing. Today is no different, for Pharisees are always spiritually blind and tone deaf. I know; I am a recovering Pharisee. Like Saul, now Paul, I have been there! At the Cross God reconciled himself to man (John 3:16) and reconciled man to mankind (IJohn 3:16). The Cross is the only place God can teach his faithful, his Priesthood of Believers, how to “lay down your life for your brethren,” bringing transformation from dominant leadership to peer acceptance through reciprocal service to and from “one another” as equals. There are no classes of distinction, no offices nor titles in the kingdom of God, only equals, a Priesthood of Believers.

In spite of the opposition, the darkness of the hour, facing the emotional feelings of rejection and abandonment, I still believe God is faithful and moving, and revival IS happening IN the CHURCH right now as it approaches this metamorphic stage. God, give us, the Priesthood of Believers and church leadership everywhere, strength as we go through this dynamic transformation! 


Standards For Revival


The Priesthood of Believers Includes All Who Believe In Jesus

- Revivals always start in the soil that has been prepared by God, at the grass roots level.

- Revival never flourishes in institutional structures, but eventually affects those structures.

- Revival is usually a threat to institutional structures, thus they oppose true revivals.

- Revival is birthed out of the belief that all believers in Jesus Christ are part of the ”Royal Priesthood” defined in I Peter. It is a priesthood of peer relationships of “acceptance” and “equality” through brotherhood and bonding through the Holy Spirit. It is a fluid organism, not a rigid organization.

- Revival transcends religious institutional positions and offices and touches individual believers’ lives individually and in masses.

- Revival is in the control of the Holy Spirit, but the institutional church will fight for that control.

- Revival can touch you, a believer in Christ, if you are open and accepting of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Since the Great Reformation, lead by Martin Luther, the doctrine of the Priesthood of Believers surfaces during a season of revival, because revival touches individual believers and the masses. Revival works in the hearts and spirits of individuals that touches the corporate good. Individual believers in Jesus Christ begin to recognize who they are in Jesus Christ through the teachings of the Holy Spirit. This exposure of recognizing one’s position in Christ, forever changes how an individual believer in Jesus Christ thinks, acts, and what motivates him.

The need for a priesthood in the Jewish faith is archaic because there is no Temple, temple worship, or animal sacrificing any more.  God created a priesthood to have humans He could draw near and who would draw near to him.  There is still that need, and the Priesthood modeled by Abraham through Melchizidek before the Mosaic priesthood ever existed is an example of one. This priesthood became a New Testament “Royal Priesthood” under the High Priest, Jesus Christ.

This priesthood operated effectively in the first century because believers were “equal peers” in the faith. There was no hierarchy of church government, but Christianity was built on the bonding of relationships with their God and with each other. At first Christianity was known as the only religion that did not have a building, a temple, a spiritual institution where they formally met. Believers claimed their bodies to be “the temple of the Holy Spirit”, thus no need for a physically built building. When the Temple in Jerusalem fell to foreign invaders, Christianity remained, even grew. Although historically rooted in Judahism and Temple worship, they could survive, grow, and flourish without a physical building. Revival spread.

Today, in America, aging Temples, alias Christian religious structures, are in almost every city block, dotting the rural countryside, and are even called “churches”, and we as “the Church” have lost focus on the people being the Church, not the building nor institution nor the hierarchy. The Church was birthed without buildings and a hierarchy, and can survive, revive, and grow without them, but it can’t grow without a priesthood of believers.

I firmly believe if the five fold is to be the next wave of revival for the Church, it must be grounded in the doctrine of the Priesthood of Believers, where every believer in Jesus Christ is an equal peer that serves one another sacrificially and is willing to lay down their life for their brethren. It is a daunting challenge, but an attainable one in Jesus.


Can The Church Trust The Holy Spirit Enough To Have Revival?

10 Ways The Church Might Change: Point 9

[In a previous blog I have outlined 10 possible changes the Church may face in the future. This is point 9 in the series: Empowerment by the Holy Spirit will trump positions and offices.  The Holy Spirit fell on ALL, men, women, & children in the Upper Room on Pentecost in fulfillment of the book of Joel.  On that day the royal priesthood of believers was established and the Church, the body of Jesus Christ, was birthed. With revival comes empowerment by the Holy Spirit producing radical change in individual lives and corporate structures.  The only way the Church will see revival is through empowerment by the Holy Spirit.  The Sanhedrin, the Jewish governing body, knew these Galileans, these disciples, were different. They were not educated but were empowered from on high.]

With true revival comes empowerment.  It has been quite a long time since I have attended a spontaneous gathering of believers who have no agenda but to be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading, where the Holy Spirit orchestrated the gathering and the direction of their fellowship, worship, and ministry. Gatherings that were highly unpredictable, but created a sense of excitement, a sense of urgency to what the Holy Spirit would say and do through His people.  Even as various spiritual gifts arose during the meeting, there would always be a clear meaning, a crisp direction, a definite theme or message that was pertinent for the group at that time in their spiritual lives. 

No man could orchestrate a gathering like that, but many have tried to recreate it. I recall at Jesus 74, an outdoor Jesus Festival on a farm in Mercer, Pennsylvania, one evening as the keynote speaker was giving the evening message, a thunderstorm was approaching from a distance producing a natural light show. Several campers retrieved their Coleman gas lanterns, fired them up, and laid them in the shape of the Cross on the hillside by the main arena.  It was spontaneous, beautiful, effective, and added to the theme of the evening. The following year the powers that be at Jesus 75 tried to recreate that same atmosphere as they planned and orchestrated candles to be handed out. When properly cued, people were to light them as a plane flew overhead to film the event. At first they handed candles to people who would make up the shape of the Cross, so the Cross would be lit. Then someone changed their mind and wanted the area round the cross area to be lit outlining the dark figure of the Cross.  Soon people were throwing candles in all directions producing confusion, chaos, and igniting tempers.  Finally, upon cue, candles were lit, the plane flew overhead, but the event was never as effective as its predecessor a year earlier because it was man-orchestrated trying to recreate what was Holy Spirit-orchestrated a year earlier.

True revival demands TRUST, TRUST in the Holy Spirit. Most churches are skeptical at what the Holy Spirit will do, because often the Holy Spirit goes outside the bounds of what the church has labeled as normal or acceptable behavior. Revivals are often messy. To prevent that, the church wants to keep “order”; “order” means “control”.  If the Church wants revival, guess who has to be in “control”? The Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ!  Jesus is the head of the Church, so the Church has to learn to lose control and give the control back to the head.  “But what happens if…” is the cry I most often hear.  Bottom Line: You need to ask these questions: Who is in control? Can you TRUST the Holy Spirit?

It has been well over a decade since I have attended a meeting that was spontaneously led by the Holy Spirit that was totally unpredictable about what was going to happen but created an excitement of expectancy.  It has almost been that long since I have attended an unplanned, unrehearsed, unorchestrated meeting where the agenda was open and the gifts of the spirit would flow freely among the priesthood of believers, and out of the manifestation of those varied gifts would come a theme, a message.

Now I am not saying that the Holy Spirit is not in today’s congregational church services, for where two or more are gathered, there Jesus is, but I am saying that we now have such preplanned, highly orchestrated, professional sounding and orated presentations called worship services that there is very little time or space allowed for spontaneity by the Holy Spirit through the diversity of the Christians present.  It goes too smoothly, very professionally, and is highly predictable.  Churches with multiple weekend services feature genetically the same format for all services, even down to the exact sermon preached and music sang. Everything is so predictable; there is no room for spontaneity buy the laity.

True revival is lead by believers in Jesus Christ who are willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and are obedient to what they are told, no matter how ridiculous it may sound.  It does not have to be led by high church offices or a professional staff, only by anyone willing to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is incharge and is looking for willing, obedient vessels through which to speak and minister.

What the spirit of revival is looking for is willing vessels who will allow themselves to be empowered by Jesus Christ to perform whatever the Holy Spirit asks them to do.  It can be men, women, and even children. All it takes is a willingness and an openness to be “empowered from on high”, just like Jesus’ disciples were during and following their Pentecost experience.  Holy Spirit come; Holy Spirit empower your believers!



 The Clash Of “Mindsets”: Structural Versus Relational

The way one looks at church, structural verses relational, will effect they look at missions.

Most of us, who have grown up in the Church, look at missions as a place “missionaries” go or a thing do.  Missionaries are people who go around from church to church to raise (actually forced to beg for) money, so that they can be a “professional”, having an income to free them financially while “ministering”.  Unlike Paul, who was a tent maker on his missionary endeavors, a missionary goes forth as a paid professional.  What he builds is a kingdom that depends on him, for he usually remains atop of the pyramidal structure he creates.  A true missionary, like Paul, would move one, allowing those he “equipped” locally to maintain the new work, freeing himself to move on and start, plant, or birth a new work.  A good way to tell if missionary endeavor is relational or pyramidal in structure is by seeing who is leading.  Is the missionary over them, or are the natives ministering relationally to their native neighbors, brothers and sisters, families, and communities.  If missions were structured as a pyramid or hierarchy, the structure will want to stay to keep its structure and maintain its positions.  If the structure is relational, then there is no need for a hierarchal, pyramid, institutional structure because spiritual life flows horizontally among the participants.  The banned underground Church in China is an excellent example when placed beside the institutional Church in China that the government permits.  There are no westernized missionaries “overseeing” the spiritual life of the Chinese Church today, yet it is a vibrant, living organism rather than a highly structured organization partially due to persecution.   A persecuted church is often forced to abandon its structure for survival.

As a person growing up in the American church, I believe that missionaries eventually open up either missionary hospitals or Bible Schools.  The Bible Schools are to train future “pastors” to go out and start, develop and maintain new churches.  That is structural religious thinking.  Relationally, I believe, Ephesians 4 outlines how we are to “equip the saints”, not “equip a staff”, for the work of “service”, not necessarily paid professional service, to bring “maturity” to the saints in being more Christ-like, into the image of Jesus, and to bring “unity” to the body.  Bible Schools preach the doctrine of the churches that finance the endeavor and propagate their uniqueness and correctness of theology doctrine compared to other “sects” of the Church, bringing division in the Body of Christ.

If someone came in and relationally developed and released those believers in the body of Christ to be evangelistic, reaching those in their culture who are lost to find Jesus in terms that their culture understands, to be shepherds, caring physically, mentally, and spiritually to the context of their cultural community, to be teachers of the Word, the Bible, by not only interpreting, but applying the written word to their culture world (in a way like Wycliffe Bible Translators do today), to be prophets so the native people in their own land can hear the voice of God for themselves and claim God to be the God of their nation, region, and community, to be apostles releasing their own people according to their spiritual gifting to their own people in the culture of their own country but under Biblical principles, written and living.  Someone has already done that: Paul, and how he did that is recorded in most of the books in the New Testament after the four gospels.

Saul, like us, first went to where he was familiar when entering a new town, a new culture.  He went to any existing synagogue, to God’s people like his own, only to be rejected by most of them, often thrown out, even stoned by some thinking him dead.  Rejection forced him to then look to the native culture, the gentiles, who accepted his evangelistic message, received and developed his pastoral, shepherding care towards one another, got grounded in the written scriptures of his day through the unified message of the “apostles’ teaching”, grew in the intimacy of a personal relationship with their God through Jesus prophetically, and acceptance the “seeing over” what the Holy Spirit was doing through the apostolic.  Then as one of their “apostles”, Paul “released” them to do the work “of service” for which he had trained and equipped them and moved on.  Other “apostles”, “prophets”, and “teachers” in the body of Christ would pass through to help to continue to “equip” THEM and “release” THEM.  Never did Paul nor any other apostle, prophet, teacher, etc. rule over or control them, or remain there to dictate “apostolic oversight” that controlled a pyramidal, hierarchal, institutional structure, contrary to what the Roman Catholic, pyramidal, institutional church claims.

Paul set up relational “networks” throughout his known world at his time with whom he loved, nurtured, encouraged, and longed to see and be with, but whom he never “controlled”, opting in allowing the Holy Spirit to flow freely and birth, develop, and maintain His Church in a culture through those living in that culture.  The “relational” mission mind is far different than the “structural” mission mind, and the Church needs to allow the Holy Spirit to “teach us all things” in how to birth, maintain, and develop such endeavors through His people in His/their locality.



Caterpillar to Butterfly: Systematic Definitions– TO – Relational Definitions

From Caterpillar to Cocoon to Butterfly – Part XVII

In this series we have been asking the question, “What happens with metamorphosis during the cocoon stage?”  How, structurally, do you get a butterfly from what once was a caterpillar? In my Aug. 20, 2011’s blog, I listed several forms of transformation that I see occurring inside the cocoon of change for the church.   Today we will look at the principle: Definitions that have been created by scholars (caterpillar) TO the Wikipedia phenomenon (butterfly).

Caterpillar: The institution has defined one’s belief systems over the centuries.  Councils, church leaders, scholars, historians, patriarchs, and others have labored over their tenants of faith, attempting to place on paper what they believed.  The Jewish faith wrote the Talmud to interpret the Torah, their central text of faith.  Christianity has filled libraries with commentaries and theological dissertations to interpret the Bible, their central text of faith.  The Bible, a collection mainly of letters, poems, proverbs, and historical works, became books, chapters, and numbered verses for the purpose of organized scholarly study.  Many versions of the Bible have been translated from Latin, Greek, and Hebrew to be used in present day culture.  The westernized influence of producing learned scholars has fueled the need for Bible colleges and seminaries throughout Church history.  Denominations script official “church papers” to define their beliefs and stands on many social, cultural, and religious matters.  During sermons you will hear the pastor quote great church theologians.  Definitions of what you believed defined the difference between different religious groups or sects.  You knew if you were a Calvinist or Armenian, a pre-, post-, or mid-tribulationist, a pacifist, a predestinationalist, a fundamentalist, or an evangelical, or Pentecostal, or main line denomininational, etc. by how you “defined” your statement of faith.

Butterfly:  With the linear, horizontal, relational internet crowd of today, peer communication and linear acceptance is the norm.  This has affected the world of “definition”, no longer controlled by unabridged printed dictionaries and volumes of encyclopedias.  The “Wikipedia” phenomenon has hit where definitions are presented, not just by scholars, but by anyone.  Footnotes at the bottom of pages give the text some validity, but a slanted scholarly approach is not set in stone as “the” definition, as others with personal experience and personal knowledge on the topic can also add to the definition.  As an educator in language in the public school system, I warn my students of the accuracy and authenticity of Wikipedia, but students go their first because of electronic convenience.  I tell them that Wikipedia is a “starting point” for internet research to other websites, passages, links, blogs, etc. to dig deep into the true meaning of the definition.  Today, this linear crowd of peers not only relies on Wikipedia for their definitions, but helps define them.

The Differences: “Definitions” use to be compiled in printed dictionaries, abridged if shortened, unabridged if a large volume.  Definition of words were compiled by “scholars” of language, linguistic, etymology, etc. The “highly educated” P.H.D.’s did the defining for us.  We only had to look up their definitions in dictionaries, something everyone owned.  Today “scholars” are still fighting for literary and historical accuracy by citing sources, but definitions through Wikipedia, an –ebook compilation of definitions from various sources, also allows average individuals to be part of the defining process in helping to define words, events, famous people, etc. from a personal, or cultural level. Today, Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, has over 3,724,00 different articles or definitions in its unabridged source. The question becomes “who is the authority” in the process of defining?

Implications Today: I feel the Wikipedia phenomenon has a huge impact on the way people will look at Bible interpretation in the 21st Century.  For centuries the masses of believers have counted on the interpretation of scriptures from their pastors, priests, rectors, parsons, etc. as the official “word of God” as delivered from their pulpits or from scholarly interpretations from the great theologians of their day.  Interpretation of belief was always dictated to the laity from the clergy.   Today, believers in Jesus Christ, can read for themselves the Bible, while relying on the Holy Spirit for interpretation of how those scriptural truths need to be applied and activated in their daily lives rather than just being a academic exercise.  Sharing beliefs, relationally, horizontally, through written form, verbally, or electronically, now holds weight.  My interpretation is looked upon as being as valid as yours as we communicate them back and forth to one another.  We can share our experiences that have come out of our scriptural studies and how it has affected us culturally, personally, and corporately.  Collectively we, together, have begun to “redefine” our definition. 

Conclusion:  I believe we, as a church, are in a process of change where what we believe and how we are to live it out will not be dictated systematically from those in leadership above to be followed without question or opposition.  The “priesthood of believers”, those who believe collectively in Jesus Christ, will begin to “redefine” much of what has been historically instructed to us hierarchally, flushing out dogma in a quest to simplify the gospel and go back to the roots of simplicity of the apostle’s teaching. Instead of every wind of doctrine being blown around us by every different theologian, pastor/teacher, or religious group claiming their point of view to be “THE” truth, there will be an united, corporate effort for simplistic truth, shedding religious interpretation of the past. This will be a radical transformation, a radical reformation in the way we will build our corporate belief systems. I personally believe that the points of view of the five fold (evangelist, pastor, teacher, prophet, apostle) will be a powerful in the way we teach, apply, and oversee our beliefs, as well as preserve scriptural “truth”.  Redefining will keep the truths of its historical past, but will add a flavor of the “culture” to which it is impacting.  Paul “redefined” many beliefs as he traveled throughout different cultures in his known world during his time period. The same is about to happen today, but on a grandeur scale.



Positions Determined By Office– TO – Positions Determined By What We Do

From Caterpillar to Cocoon to Butterfly – Part VIII

In this series we have been asking the question, “What happens with metamorphosis during the cocoon stage?”  How, structurally, do you get a butterfly from what once was a caterpillar? In my Aug. 20, 2011’s blog, I listed several forms of transformation that I see occurring inside the cocoon of change.   Today we will look at the principle: Positions are determined by offices (caterpillar) TO Positions are determined through service, what you do, not who you are (butterfly).

Caterpillar: Pyramidal, hierarchal institutional structures major in positions and titles. You position’s title is suppose to identify what you are to be doing or in charge of.  It supposedly defines your sphere of influence.  The higher up the chain, the greater potential for some one having someone below you “do” what needs to be done because of your directives due to your power by title or position.  Those at the top don’t really do much physically to get things done, but has those under their “leadership” do it making them look good and effective.  In corporate America you work hard to ascend the pyramid at the expense of those below you.  The American church is no different, professionally. In some camps you become an evangelist working so that some day you will get “your own church”. Other camps have the progression from Youth Pastor, to Associate Pastor, To Senior Pastor.  Often one starts in smaller churches working their way to churches with larger church attendance.  Then some work their way from pastors, to superintendants to bishops, etc.  With each step are financial benefits. You know who is “in charge” by their title.  Often laity is exempt from their hierarchal structure because they aren’t professionals.  The height of their titles would be elders or church board members. Those with titles are identified as “leaders”; no title, you are considered a “follower”. Ie. worship leader (title), worshiper in the pew (no title, only a follower).

Butterfly:  On a linear horizontal plain there is no one “over you” as everyone is perceived as equals or peers.  Here the “Priesthood of Believers” is practiced, where all are priests, peers.  The only hierarchy position is that of High Priest, who is Jesus Christ.  Being a “priesthood”, corporate ministry is central, so the church will experience a new definition of what ministry by the believers in Jesus Christ is individually and corporately.  “What you do” defines who you are.  If you do lead people to Jesus Christ, you do evangelism, so you are an evangelist.  If you take care of people, nurture them, help develop them, you are shepherding them: action not title.  You share from what you have learned by studying the Logos Word, the Bible, and practiced those truths in your life, the Rhema Word, the living word, then you are “teaching” people. What you do, determines the adjectives describing your actions.

The Differences: Institutional structured produce titles and positions to identify what one is suppose to be doing and giving them authority to have it accomplished, even if at someone else’s expense.  It establishes a “power” structure or grid of “authority”.  Relationally actions produce adjectives to describe that action, not nouns to identify the office.  An “evangelist” by title is hired, through offerings, to come in and “evangelize” anyone who comes to their meetings. They are “in charge”.  An “evangelist” relationally tells others about Jesus Christ, the Gospel, the good news verbally and through the “actions” of their personal lives.  They can’t help themselves; they just “do it”.  It is their passion, the way they see things, their point of view. Anyone, and everyone, who does evangelism, ie. telling “their stories”, their “faith journeys in Jesus” can be identified as evangelists because of what they are doing.

Implications Today:  Whenever the Holy Spirit moves, what he “does”, the institutional church will institutionalize by making that action, that movement, a position.  Let’s look to the 20th Century Church as an example.  In the 50’s through 80’s, the Church institutionalized evangelism to the extent that they could fill stadiums and draw large TV audiences as shown through Billy Graham Crusades, the C.B.N. and T.B.N. Christian TV networks, and televangelists like Jim Bakker & Jimmy Swiegart.  In the ‘70’s, with the release of the Charismatic Movement, the need for the pastoral was needed, thus the institutionalizing of it that produced the Shepherding Movement. The 70’s featured tremendous “teaching”, as the gift of teaching was released, & the Church institutionalized it through the Word Movement, producing more teaching tapes than my cassette recorder could run.  The prophetic spirit was released in new powerful ways in the ‘80’s, and the institutional church promoted their pastors to prophets. The culmination came with the apostolic being released in the ‘90’s, where people were now getting to see the big picture of the Church, but the church institutionalized it by entitling their “super pastors” of large mega-churches as apostles wanting smaller churches to follow their lead.  By the end of the century, the institutional pyramidal, hierarchal church had “structured” professionally within their ranks every movement of God during that century as an office, so today they think of the five fold as offices.

Conclusion: To become a butterfly, the church needs to change the way they think of structure. Relationally, evangelism, teaching, pastoral nurturing and caring, prophetically insight, and apostolic vision are all ACTIONS when released among the “priesthood of believers” by the priests, the believers in Jesus Christ to other believers by laying down their lives for each other in service.  When God moves, the cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night, the Church needs to know how to “move”, ACTION, and respond to the moving of the Holy Spirit, not try to “fit it” into their current structure by institutionalizing it through entitlement, titles, and positions in order to be “in control”.  Positions and titles are for control. The Church needs to let the Holy Spirit be in control.  They need to settle the question, “Can you trust the Holy Spirit?” 




The Clash Of “Mindsets”: Structural Versus Relational

Linear worship can be done in an institutional setting, but only if the leadership of the institution is willing to “give up” control to the Holy Spirit, and be wiling to take the chance that it might just look as if it is “out of” control while being willing to be an integral part of the worship experience as a just a horizontally relational peer. 

I don’t know if you noticed, but the worship scene at most churches has become stagnant.  Even though drums, electric guitars and basses with a worship leader and several background singers have replaced organs and choirs, church services have become very predictable.  Even though the church may not print out a bulletin with “order of worship” in it, opting for it now being just an advertizing piece of literature of church activities, events, and services, if one attends that church weekly, it will not be hard to predict the order of the formal “worship” service. I know of a local church that has several campuses with each having their own worship band, but streams in the mega-senior pastor on huge life size screens to give the “unifying” message, all scheduled down to the minute.  What has happened to spontaneity, diversity, and many gifted people participating in worship?

Worship services revolving around “order of worship” or “order of song/chorus choices” in a tightly formed worship program or format appears very professional, meticulously formulated so that the lighting director, sound director, director of television production, director of Social Network streaming, and director of DVD production will all be on the same page at the same time as the worship team, designated participants and Senior Pastor on stage during the finely tuned scripted production, oops, worship “service”.  When visiting different camps, sects, denominations, groups, etc. under the Christian banner, their services have striking similarities.  Current “worship” songs fed by the Christian Music Industry now head the song lists replacing hymnals once placed in wooden pews.

Secularly, country music has produced its own sound & style.  Although Jimmy Hendrix lead guitar “fills” may no longer be popular, classic rock has its distinct sound.  The program “American Idol” tried to find the right sound and image that American pop culture demanded.  Now we even have our own “Christian worship” sound, style, and culture that stylistically is beginning to sound the same.

I remember the birth of C.C.M, Contemporary Christian Music, because I am old!  When birthed it was considered “alternative” Christian music, pushing the norms of conventional church hymns, organ arrangements, and choir cantatas.  It had trouble finding stations that would “air” it, for secular stations were not open to “Jesus” music.  I had to stay up to 11 p.m. on Sudnay night to listen to the Scott Ross Show on a local rock’n roll station to hear any Jesus, Contemporary music.   As it developed into an industry, I remember prophets like Keith Green unpopularly challenging it!

As we have “institutionalized” the Christian music industry, we have curbed if not destroyed spontaneity in a Christian “worship” service, and any “originality” of local unknown songwriters creating new music or being allowed to play their compositions in local churches.  What ever happened to the “new song” propagated by the scriptures?

As long as we look at worship structurally as part of the institutional system, it will continually look and sound professional at the price of spontaneity and originality.  Worship teams look today as worship being basically “vertical” to God & Jesus, but they don’t think of it relationally.  Very few Christian musicians work “horizontally” on relationships in their band, ensemble, or worship team.  They claim to be relational, but the “worship leader” is the center of attraction and focus who leads, solos, and directs almost all the songs on the stage.  “Background” singers are to augment the lead singer, the worship leader.  Most of the time they don’t even sing harmony, and male singers, like good bass singers, are rarities. The Church stigma of male dominance even appears at the worship leader as men are usually the worship leader with women as “background” sisters, oops, singers!  When watching a worship band on stage at most churches, what can we learn “horizontally” about relationships with in that music group or community? The same as the rest of the church, that it is pyramidal and hierarchal. Often the “worship leader” is professional “on staff” while volunteers are “volunteers”.

Let’s look at what would happen if we took “worship” at church truly from a horizontal, personal, a laying down your life service by the “priesthood of believers” without a “worship team”, “worship leader”, or scripted “order of worship”. That is our next blog tomorrow