Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Kingdom Identified

Kingdom Identified

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17).


Welcome to today’s Truth for the Journey! Here we will continue with our discovery of the Kingdom and its true identity. Let’s begin by saying that since the very beginning of history, men have always tried to create the “perfect” society! For instance the famous Greek philosophers like Plato always dreamt of the “ideal society” - based upon ethical, political and social philosophies – but in reality their desires were always too “idealistic” ever to be realized!

When it comes to the Bible however, it was first via the Old Testament prophets that a picture of a future age emerged, where men would live together without armaments of war! (This was something that Plato and others where idealistically “reaching” for and would ever find “unattainable” based on their humanistic and philosophical ideals that were outside of God!) It was Isaiah who spoke of spears being turned into pruning hooks, and nations not lifting up swords against each other. In fact, the peace of the world would be so dramatically different that he used the images of a wolf lying down with a lamb, leopards with kids, and calves with young lions to signify the radical change in world affairs, which would come in the future.

As our opening scripture states, the message, which Jesus preached, was one of repentance because the beginning of a new era was at hand (Matt. 4:17) and His teachings, illustrations, and parables primarily dealt with the kingdom of God. Including the prayer that He taught His disciples; “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Jesus continually emphasised the kingdom with His disciples. When studying the gospels this is very plain to see but when it comes to Matthew’s gospel he called it the “kingdom of heaven” simply because it was written primarily for the Jews. However it remains that little agreement exists on what the kingdom of God is and what the message of the gospel of the kingdom should be.

For instance Dr. Paul Y. Cho in his book, “More Than Numbers” states, “Augustine perceived the kingdom of God to be synonymous with the church. The Reformed movement had a large part in redefining the meaning of the kingdom of God. Calvin basically agreed with Augustine. He differed on what aspect of the church represented the kingdom of God. His feelings were that the true church, which was within the obvious church, was the earthly manifestations of the kingdom of God.

The task of the church would be made possible by the use of a special power called the gospel of the kingdom of God. This gospel of the kingdom of God would so affect the lives of first men and then nations that there would be a mighty transformation of social, political, and economic reality. The church was likened to leaven which would slowly so permeate the dough of the earth that at a point in history the earth would proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and King. At this point the Lord Jesus Christ would return to earth to accept the kingdom prepared for him by his heavenly Father.

There has been another school of theology, which does not try to explain the kingdom of God in terms of the future but tries to understand the kingdom of God in its present social context. Harvey Cox is just one of many modern theologians who view the kingdom of God as a social order brought about by the church. The problems of inequality, prejudice, as well as the rest of our social concerns are to be addressed and dealt with by a church, which is conscious of its mission. Biblical terms are redefined to make them more relevant of today’s problems. Many of our liberal church leaders are motivated by what they see is the lack of concern within the more conservative evangelical church leaders.”

However theological views of the kingdom of God are intrinsically flawed and a much greater foundation exists than mere “reason” for establishing what the kingdom of God really is; which is the very Word of God. The following are basic biblical principles that reveal what the kingdom of God is:

  1. The kingdom of God is not only for the future, but also for the present. “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17). Paul reveals to us that the kingdom of God transcends the natural existence of man and caused him to experience in the here and now, the fruit of the Holy Spirit. That if you associate with the Holy Spirit you will become like the person you are associating with. The natural result of association with the Holy Spirit will be a way of life, which is more concerned with the quality God bestows to life rather than the essential aspects to life, eating and drinking.

  2. Paul also reveals that the kingdom of God is something that we have entered into as a result of our being regenerated by the Holy Spirit. “[God] hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13). The word, “translated,” used in our English text, in the Greek is metestasen, which literally means to change sides. As I study this verse, I see a picture of a football game. Each team is on the opposite end of the field. On one side is the team, which represents the kingdom of darkness. On the other side is the team, which represents the kingdom of God. During the game, one of the main players of the darkness team takes off his shirt and number, goes to the opposing bench and puts on the kingdom of God shirt. Then he goes on the field to play against the darkness boys. He simply switches sides. This is what happened to us. We were transformed from one kingdom to the other, the Kingdom of our Lord.

  3. The kingdom of God is also described in its future prospect for eternal blessedness: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly in the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10,11 KJV). In Matthew Jesus spoke of the future when he said, “Many will come from the east and west and sit at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (8:11). Yet in Matthew 13, our Lord tells parables which give further clarification to what he meant by the kingdom of heaven. He says that once the kingdom is purged, the righteous would shine like the sun.

  4. Jesus is the representation of what it is like to be in the kingdom. “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (Luke 17:20-21, RSV). This verse can be applied to the fact that the kingdom of God was there in their midst. The “you” here is the plural, which in English is hard to understand. Jesus was there in their midst. The Pharisees were not to look for a glorious manifestation in the future, but the kingdom was before them and they were too blind to observe that God was working without a lot of fanfare.

  5. The kingdom’s paradox has to be viewed on the basis of a balanced understanding. Jesus told Pilate in John 18, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Yet he also said in Luke 13 that the kingdom of God would start out rather unobservable, like a mustard seed. Yet, this seed, almost unnoticed, would grow up and affect the entire world. Rather than seeing opposing views in Scripture as contradictory, I consider them as a balance. Therefore, the kingdom of God is future, but it is present. It is not of this world, but it affects this world. It can be entered into at the present time, but there is a future fulfilment. You can’t see it with the natural eye, but the kingdom of God is everywhere Christ is. As we analyse the kingdom further we realise that the word kingdom can be understood in different ways.

    Both the word baileia, the Greek word translated kingdom; and the Hebrew word malkuth signify the rank and authority exercised by a king. Our present thinking deals with the people who are under the king’s authority or the actual territory over which kingly authority is exercised. So the nature of the authority may be closer to the understanding of the biblical concept of kingdom than the actual subjects of the authority.

    Psalm 145:13 expresses in poetic terms something of this idea, “Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.” In classical Hebrew poetry, the two verses of the poem are to express the same idea in differing ways. Therefore the poet’s concept of the kingdom was that it was God’s actual dominion.

Take for instance King Herod – a.k.a. “Herod the Great!” - the unpopular king of Israel. Although he rebuilt the temple to majestic grandeur and built a great many fine public buildings in Jerusalem, he had no real kingdom. There was no genuine basis for his authority apart from Roman might. He had gone to Rome and had been given the kingship over Israel without a legitimate basis for having this kind of authority.

He was not born to it. A recognised prophet did not anoint him. He was not a descendant of Judah. He had no legitimacy. Although he lived in a palace, wore a crown and was called King Herod, his kingdom was bought and not earned. In Great Britain there are estates that can be bought which will carry a title with them. So if you have enough money, you may buy a title. Yet, this is not the same as being given a title by the queen; or being born into a noble family. Money might buy you a title, but that title is not legitimate.

As we analyse this thinking further, it causes us to understand the prayer which Jesus told us to pray: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” More than asking God to take over the world in a cataclysmic event, there seems to be the desire in the heart of the Lord for the authority of God to be as obvious to the earth as it is obvious in heaven.

To conclude then, I personally believe that the kingdom of God concerns the nature of His reign and His authority; genuine, indisputable and eternal! The reign of God is present, but it will also be in the future. God has always been in charge! He is the Creator of the earth and for that matter the entire universe. He is all-powerful. However, in this human arena called earth, God has allowed Himself to be limited. Satan was given a realm of authority; he is the god of this present age. He has authority over this world’s systems. His seat of authority is in the immediate atmosphere surrounding the world. Nevertheless God provided an escape from the territory over which Satan rules or has authority. He provided Jesus Christ, the last Adam! Amen.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Father thank You for complete and utter victory through Christ Jesus! I gladly reserve my life for Your glory. I give myself to Your Kingdom. To Your rule and authority. Amen.

CONFESSION OF THE DAY
Today I walk in the authority, power and rule of almighty God, because I seek first His Kingdom. I allow Him to govern my life. I am liberated; spirit, soul and body! I am no longer subject to the powers of darkness. I am no longer oppressed. Because the Son has set me free, I am free indeed. Glory be to God!

THANK YOU FOR HELPING TO MAKE THIS MINISTRY POSSIBLE!
WE LOVE YOU…!

Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2011 © Alan Pateman Ministries

Saturday, 22 January 2011

The Kingdom Reign of God

The Kingdom Reign of God

“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
(Matt.6:10)

Here we are again looking to pursue “Truth for the Journey!” In our last article we looked at “knots” and how the New Testament referred to the kingdom of God as being like a “net.” We looked briefly at the vital role of “knots” in a net and how they bring stability and strength. We talked about how each knot represented “divine relationships” or “contacts” within God’s Kingdom by using this powerful statement, “Divine connections produce strong relationships that in turn develop and enhance God’s Kingdom.”

So in keeping with this emphasis on the kingdom, let’s move on to talk more about what the kingdom really is all about. To begin with, when the Bible refers to the “Kingdom of God,” it is actually referring to the “reign” (authority) of God more than the “realm” over which He rules or over which His authority resides. In other words, it is more about His authority than anything else! However in our modern day vernacular this has gotten a little lost, either in translation or in cultural references and we tend to assume that “kingdom” refers to a “place” or “territory” more than to “authority.”

Clearly this makes it vital for us to correct our focus a little so that the true context is not lost and where we can properly adhere to the true meaning of "kingdom" as seen in scripture. That kingdom is essentially more to do with reigning, ruling and exercising authority than it is about the realm where that authority functions. I would say this is a far more dynamic concept. Much less passive! And it is within the New Testament that the predominant meaning of "Kingdom" was God's reign or rule; with any other meaning seldom used.

For instance if we were to say, “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God,” this would best be understood as "THE GOOD NEWS OF THE REIGN OF GOD." The Gospel is the good news and the kingdom is his reign. Hence the good news of His reign! We must consider this and make it personal; His Kingdom is His rule, His authority and His government therefore when we receive the Kingdom of God; we receive / accept His government and rule over our lives and hearts. To solidify this concept, we can remember what Jesus said; that we must "receive the kingdom of God like little children" (Mark 10:15). In other words, we must receive the government of God over our lives in childlike trust, because He has our best interests at heart. Besides when He “governs” our lives, nothing else can!

Consider this a little further. Every time we have prayed the “Lord's Prayer,” we have actually petitioned God to "reign" over us, ("...thy kingdom come..." Matt. 6:10). The correct context being that “His will” must be obeyed on earth (by men) just as it is obeyed in heaven! Because when He is obeyed by men and His will is done in this present life, then the Kingdom of God has already come! It is already here! It is upon us! And obedience is always the key to truly dwelling in the kingdom of God. If we truly live in the Kingdom of God NOW, by allowing Him to govern over us, this in turn must mean that we see the things of His kingdom coming to pass, not occasionally but regularly and routinely. We know that what is “normal” to the kingdom of God; is not normal to this world (healings and miracles) but must be “common-place” to us!

When the Bible was written, the hearers of the Gospel possessed this early understanding of "kingdom," and had a better grasp of its meaning than we do today. When they heard that the Kingdom of God was at hand, they understood that it meant God's authority was being restored to the earth and that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven meant entering God's reign and experiencing the benefits of this in our immediate lives. Or perhaps today we would say in “real-time” which simply means “right-now!” Religion always keeps God “out-there” somewhere… but He and the rule of His kingdom is “right-here” and “right-now!”

Many preachers have told us that entering the "Kingdom of Heaven" means going to heaven when we die. While this is true, it leaves us with very little understanding of the purposes of God and His intentions for His Church. Failure to preach and understand the “kingdom” of God is the reason that few Christians live the life of “OVER COMERS” today.

It is when the Kingdom of God becomes a “present reality” and not just a “future hope,” that mankind is able to enjoy the blessings of God's rule and reign in their individual lives. Where they enter the more “abundant” and “victorious” life that is promised in Scripture, yet sadly is only enjoyed by a minority of Christians today. Those who enjoy true Kingdom benefits today are not some elite group who live opulent life styles, but rather those who have genuine "...righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit," as mentioned in Romans 14:17. This IS the kingdom of God!

This is not to say that there is no future realm when Christ returns, but it opens to us the marvelous possibility that He will return to a world where His reign is already well established. Not to the fractured and feeble Church we have become, that is divided and has lost its grasp on what the true biblical concept of the Kingdom really is. When the Kingdom of God is proclaimed to the Church and by the Church, we will have returned to the original biblical truth of the matter. Even more importantly, we will be obeying the instruction of our King Jesus, to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, hastening the day of His return.

The Kingdom of God is the only thing that Jesus ever called the “Gospel.” Few people understand this fact. And the fact remains that if we fail to proclaim the “Gospel of the Kingdom,” we are not actually obeying His instruction to preach the “Good News of the God’s Reign and Authority!”

The government of God is the best news that anyone can ever hear, because it is God's only solution to all of man's ills. When we accept this “King Jesus” as the ultimate “ruler” of every aspect of our lives, then and only then can we truly experience Kingdom living as it should be, which is a righteous, peaceful and joyful life style in the presence of the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17).

As ambassadors of His Kingdom our role on this earth is to administer His Kingdom justice here; His rule, reign and righteousness. This is the role of every single believer, to reign spiritually and administer His spiritual justice in order to put into effect His Kingdom right here and right now.

To administer in the dictionary means to manage the affairs of, formerly give out, and to apply. This explains our role quite well in contemporary terms, because we have to minister into our everyday circumstances simply by applying God's spiritual truth and spiritual laws. We do this without denying or breaching natural laws, in order to do things from a Kingdom perspective! BUT the laws of God's kingdom obviously supersede all others and we can apply these truths into the spiritual realm and let it take effect there. Remember that everything originates in the spiritual realm first anyway (Gen 1:1-2) and has its eventual effect here on the earth.

Take for instance such scriptures as Matt 6:10 for example, where it says, "...as it is in heaven" and in Matt. 18:18 especially in the Amplified version where it talks about binding and losing on earth, just as it already is in heaven. We are enforcers who enforce the things of God but in the spirit realm FIRST. Because that's where the struggle is, it is a spiritual battle and not one of flesh and blood (Eph 6:12).

There are places of course where preaching is illegal and believers are forced underground but traditionally this has not hindered the gospel, on the contrary that's often when it runs the fastest, spreads hardest and supersedes all obstacles. But this is another discussion altogether!

What we are talking about here is applying God's spiritual truth into the atmosphere, letting it supersedes all else; yet without breaching natural or political laws, to the best of our ability! (Remember just being righteous in an unrighteous world is spiritual warfare in itself. We don’t have to open our mouths and we create conflict just being here – spiritually speaking! Even our worship is warfare, because it creates an atmosphere that is “contrary” to the atmosphere of this world. Therefore even before we open our mouths, we are not welcome! Anything we engage in is spiritual warfare! Our very presence on earth creates a contradiction and a conflict. (Essentially we represent a real and present “resistance” to evil – particularly when yielded to the Holy Spirit.)

Our next Truth for the Journey will continue this theme on the Kingdom, to truly identify the more in depth aspects of the kingdom. See you back here soon!

PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Father Your Kingdom rule is my freedom. I lean upon You and not upon my own understanding. Take everything I have to give You, including myself, and use it for Your Glory. I rejoice to be part of Your Kingdom. Govern my life. Lead me by Your Spirit. Fill me with the power of Your Word. Amen.

CONFESSION OF THE DAY
Today I take my place. I take dominion. I walk out the authority that God has given me, to govern and reign in this life, through His name.
I only have authority because I am submitted to His authority.

THANK YOU FOR HELPING TO MAKE THIS MINISTRY POSSIBLE!
WE LOVE YOU…!

Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2011 © Alan Pateman Ministries

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

A Network of Relationships

A Network of Relationships

Do you have any spiritual relationships? ...having the same attitude and the same love, living in harmony, and keeping one purpose in mind...
(Phil 2:1-2 GOD’S WORD Translation)

Welcome back! As always we enjoy your company as we share this journey together and today we move on from where we left off in the last article; in which we mentioned the importance of spiritual hubs. By way of a short introduction into today’s “Truth for the Journey” let me begin by saying that one of the signs of the times - in reference to what the Holy Spirit is doing – is that He is very much orchestrating divine connections that “produce strong relationships;” this in turn develops Kingdom business.

Also we looked at how spiritual hubs were a sign of the “apostolic,” it is also important to state that without “networking” (first in regards to relationships within the family, but secondly where ministry is concerned) there would be little growth, if any where “spiritual bubs” are concerned. For this very reason the Holy Spirit is directing us to continually focus on “building relationships” so that a strong NET is produced. A net of relationships that net-work together in order to “produce” for the Kingdom of God.

To continue, this network of relationships is called “apostolic” and is what the Holy Spirit has been and will continue to develop for this end time move of God. These relationships look for apostolic support and encouragement from other men and women of God in order to move forwards boldly and powerfully in the Holy Spirit. This is where they are properly released to fulfil their destinies for the Glory of God.

A Network literally means: a linking of people with a common interest or area of concern. Therefore as we move on in this New Millennium we will see a new emphasis on and the development of such networks; working together interdenominational and via association. Networking does not imply that all groups should come under some “Pope” like figure head or apostolic movement. Networking simply implies associations or groups who work together like “fishing nets.” Each member of a network is like that of a KNOT that ties the net together. Those who have vision, grace and wisdom, to network with other networks will become the great fishing net that God will use to draw in the great multitude of souls.

Dr Bill Hamon says of such Networks, “This gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to bring a greater unity and corporate vision within the Body of Christ. This will enable all available resources to be harnessed to work together towards assisting the Body of Christ to initiate and sustain an effective thrust towards souls. The common meeting ground is to have the corporate vision of reaping the great end time harvest and proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord over all the earth.”

In the Amplified version it aptly refers to a dragnet here in Matthew 13:47, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet which was cast into the sea and gathered in fish of every sort.” The Message Bible on the other hand calls it a “fishnet” where the Authorised Version simply uses the word “net” which in the Greek refers to fishing net but also to a pack-saddle (which in the East was merely a bag of netted rope) but interestingly the root meaning for “net” actually means “to equip!” (See Gk. #4522 Strong’s). Also see the following scriptures: Matt 4:19; 9:35; 13:49; John 21:1-ff; James 3:13; 4:1-8; 1 Pet 5:5-10.

Effectively, a Network depends upon people (pastors and ministers) who are totally committed in every aspect of their life to the Lord Jesus Christ. People who are willing to use their God given talents and abilities without regard to the cost, with great joy. Remembering that this relationship of association networking is not to threaten or contradict denominational loyalties or cause division but to help bring strength, depth, unity, clarity, and the Word of God that can only enhance better skills and insights into sharing the Word of God.

One of the aims of a Network is as follows: to help establish ministry centre’s of excellence and significance for this present move of God. “Spiritual Hubs of Government’” enhance God’s Kingdom and provide a “platform” (for ministry gifts) to speak into cities and nations in an effective way. To develop ministries, enhancing and bringing them into positions of leadership, to influence every area of society. To combine their skills, experience and abilities, to make increasing individual and corporate impact in the regions of their influence for the Kingdom of God and for the Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Lastly let’s take a look at the purpose of Knots: we could say that divine appointments are like “knots” in a net. They are strong connections that can take the strain and bombardments of team work or apostolic relationships. In other words each person is a knot; the net is only as strong as each “knot” or “connection.” Knots bring certain stabilizing features that help empower the net; the same is true of the Kingdom such as strength, ability, security, prosperity, healing, unity, harmony and trust.

FACT: Fishermen spend a great portion of their time mending and cleaning their nets; perhaps more time than actually fishing! Likewise we too must spend larger portions of our time in “ministry” on relationships that will help develop the net, His Net! This way we will be more effective.

FACT: when used to catch fish, nets see a large percentage of what is caught, thrown directly back into the sea: either wrong type or wrong size. Likewise we too will catch “undesirable” things in our nets at times. In addition consider this: God is looking for fish that can be gutted! In other words: those who are not ready to “give” themselves are thrown back... but those who can be “processed” and “prepared” are kept...!

Our emphasis here is evidently the “Kingdom of God” just as Matthew 13:47 clearly stated; “the kingdom of heaven is like a net...” (NIV) This was a direct teaching about the Kingdom not a net; but parallels are drawn and the net is used as a metaphor. However certain characteristics about the Kingdom can be deduced based on our knowledge of nets and I will close by saying that the Kingdom of God involves the following: the restoration of the nets equals the healing of relationships; knots equal the need to submit one to another in order to move forwards; just as knots in a net have to work together in order to make the net effective. Finally in conclusion: networking is equal to the Kingdom of God. We must be willing to work together and be steered by the agenda of the Holy Spirit for the sake of His Kingdom.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Father Your Kingdom is likened to a net. Help me to willing work as part of your Net. Connect me Father with Your “divine connections” and keep me from wasting kingdom time by trying to forge relationships that are not of Your Spirit. Or from time wasters who pursue a relationship with me out of falsehood; those false relationships that don’t help to build Your Kingdom, that look only to serve a different purpose. Help me to avoid being distracted by relationships that have no allegiance to Your Kingdom, and no desire to build Your Kingdom but only their own! Amen

CONFESSION OF THE DAY
Romans 14:17 says “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit...” (NIV) I choose to walk in righteousness, peace and joy and I choose to be led of the Holy Spirit. I will be used as a knot in the Kingdom to bring strength and stability not for myself but for others.

THANK YOU FOR HELPING TO MAKE THIS MINISTRY POSSIBLE!
WE LOVE YOU…!

Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2011 © Alan Pateman Ministries

Friday, 14 January 2011

Signs of the Times

Signs of the Times

Take your everyday, ordinary life... and place it before God as an offering... Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking (Rom 12:1 The Message).

Hello and welcome back to today’s Truth for the Journey. I trust you enjoyed our last article, which was very informative and I hope you were inspired to be a baton catcher and a baton passer for your generation! However as we move on, today’s article discusses the “Signs of the Times.” For this we will continue where we left off and I will begin by saying that the question that the last hundred years leaves us is this: “What next?” The only answer that can be given is that we must surrender to the move of the Holy Spirit and the authority of God’s Word! Only this marriage of God’s Spirit and God’s Word will move us forwards in this generation.

Let me insert something here that came out during a conversation between Dr Robb Thompson and Oral Roberts, which I happen to agree with very much indeed. In Oral’s living room one day they began discussing how the Lord produced such great believers in the past. To which brother Oral made the following comments; “In the last century – we never heard about the word commitment. The word we consistently used was SURRENDER.”

I also would like to suggest that SURRENDER is a key word for any of us wanting to move on with the Holy Spirit today. We must learn once again what it means to be fully surrendered to the Lord. In Psalms 37:7 it says “Surrender yourself to the LORD, and wait patiently for him. Do not be preoccupied...” (God’s Word Translation). However the Authorized Version uses the word “rest” in place of “surrender” here - which basically means to “stop yourself, to hold your peace and to quieten yourself!” (See Strong’s Heb #1826)

To continue and to answer the question: “What next?” I will simply suggest that this has already begun taking place by “The Apostolic and Prophetic Movement.” To qualify this point of view, let me add something that Roberts Liardon spoke with me recently; “The most successful students and ministers now come from schools that are birthed by Apostolic Ministries. In the times of the reformation, seminaries were the place where great ministers were formed, but over time many of them have become places where God’s Word and the present day workings of the Holy Spirit are discredited. It seems that God has moved the place where He trains and launches His ministries and this increasingly is within the apostolic streams.”

In addition to this, it’s true to say that Church historians do recognise that the restoration of truth has been and is being restored to the church. You might say this began as far back as 1517. We can recognise these individual movements according to a particular century and decade. But to summarise, it is important to identify that the Church age could not be brought to a place of full maturity until the fivefold ministry gifts were restored, that every one as a church member could be prepared to be part of a ministry team I.e., a vehicle to reach society as seen in Ephesians 4:11 – 16.

These major truths have been restored, Salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2: 8-9) was the beginning (1500), which we now call ‘The Protestant Movement.’ In the 1600’s ‘The Evangelistic Movement’ began with water baptism and the separation of Church and State. In the 1700’s ‘The Holiness Movement’ came into being with sanctification, the Church being set apart from the world. In the 1800’s ‘The Faith Healing Movement’ with divine healing for the physical body and the recognition that healing was provided for in the atonement.

In the 1900’s ‘The Pentecostal Movement’ exploded on the scene at a small Bible School in Topeka, Kansas with former Methodist pastor Charles Fox Parham, with the Holy Spirit baptism, the evidence of speaking in tongues, and the gifts of the Spirit, the forerunners being Evan Roberts of the Welsh Revival (1904) and also William J. Seymour (from 1906 onwards) of the famous Azusa Street Revival USA. Then in the 1950’s the ‘Latter Rain Movement’ began with the prophetic presbytery, singing praises and melodious worship.

Now from this time forth, The Five Fold Apostolic Ministries have been placed back in the Church, with recognition. The Evangelist Ministry and mass evangelism was reactivated. Then in 1960, The Pastoral gift was restored to being the sovereign head of the Local Church, with renewal of all restored truth to all movement churches; this was known as ‘The Charismatic Movement.’

Then in 1970, ‘The Faith Movement’ began with faith confessions, prosperity and victorious attitudes for life; with The Teaching Ministry re-established as a major ‘five-fold ministry’.

In the 1980’s we saw The Prophetic Movement begin with the prophet ministry restored and the company of the prophets brought forth. We also saw through this prophetic movement, a release of certain characteristics and revelations, such as the activation of warfare praise and prophetic intercession and much teaching on the Joshua generation, which challenged us to cross over into the Promised Land.

Then in the 1990’s ‘The Apostolic Movement’ began with the Apostle’s ministry being restored to bring divine order, structure and finality the restoration of the five fold ministries. Along with this gift, there have been fresh appearances of the miraculous, signs and wonders, unity amongst leaders and a great harvest of souls.

These are not competitive, controlling authorities, but servant-hood governments that have come to serve the people of God and help them fulfil their course and purpose. They will teach spiritual principles and not just mechanics of the Word. They will understand that there are different mechanics for different things in different parts of the world. However, the spiritual principles remain the same. These churches will train the people to use their unction and to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit to reap a bountiful harvest of souls, wherever they go in the earth. (The following 5 principles were inspired by Roberts Liardon’s early teachings; the 6thprinciple is my own addition!)

Six Principles:
1. Divine training takes place:
In a spiritual hub, you will find schools of training with divine purpose and commitment – a place where revelation will abound. Some of these schools will serve and minister to a particular territory; some will serve the nations.

2. Ministries are based in Hubs:
It is a hub where travelling ministries base themselves. A ministry that succeeds and is effective in the earth must have a place of divine feeding, divine love, expectance and prayer.

3. Ministries and Divine Projects are launched:
It is a place where those who have prepared their hearts and lives are launched into spiritual position. There is an abundance of the word and the Spirit. Those who are truly called abound and prosper in the strength of their calling because of the environment of a spiritual hub. In this place, it is important to remember that because it is easy to feel called in a spiritual hub environment, we must search ourselves to make sure we have received the divine impartation to stand against the rough territories and to fulfil the commission or the path to which one is called.

4. Restoration for Laity and Ministries Takes Place:
For those who go out into the earth and build the works of God, it is good to have a place of refreshing where they can receive strength and help. It is wise to receive help when you need it, and to be renewed in your vision. If you are weary in well doing on the field, you must return to a place where you can be filled spiritually and encouraged.

5. It Effects the Culture of a City or a Region:
The maturity, revelation and anointing of the churches in this Millennium will change the cities where they are based. Morality, crime and the economy will be positively affected. Cities where the Spirit of God rules strongly will grow and prosper. There are many testimonies given where churches have had major break troughs because of their strong prayer and righteous mentality. Bars have shut down, prostitution and crime to almost nil rate

6. The Pulling down of Strongholds:
This has taken place because of the dealings with the principalities and powers over their territories. Dr C. Peter Wagner says, in his book Territorial spirits that; ‘…evil spirits are assigned to geographical areas.’ Let me make it plain, these have to be pulled down before we will see change and revival. Remember; time is a rewarder of faithfulness.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Father thank you for this generation of believers - I want to be part of a movement that knows once again how to be properly surrendered to your Holy Spirit. Help me Father to fully surrender my life in Jesus name. Amen.

CONFESSION OF THE DAY
Today I surrender my spirit, soul and body to be used by God the Holy Spirit, in this generation. I choose to be part of the “what next” phenomena on planet earth! I rightly take my place, in willing obedience with Him by my side.

THANK YOU FOR HELPING TO MAKE THIS MINISTRY POSSIBLE!
WE LOVE YOU…!

Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2011 © Alan Pateman Ministries

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Passing the Baton between Generations.

Passing the Baton between Generations.

"One generation will praise your deeds to the next.
Each generation will talk about your mighty acts" (Psalms 145:4 GW).

For this "Truth for the Journey" let's look in detail at recent church history in order to view how the "baton" was successfully passed from one generation to the next. Knowing that through the perseverance and obedience of others - History as we know it was altered forever! In particular we are going to look at how things progressed from the "Azusa Street Revival" onwards and how certain individual's effected their own era, while still affecting our lives today.

To begin with and in addition to the ministers who received their Pentecostal experience at Azusa Street, thousands/millions of others were indirectly influenced by the revival in Los Angeles. Among them was Thomas Ball Barratt of Norway, a Methodist pastor who became known as the Pentecostal Apostle to Northern and Western Europe. After being baptized in the Holy Spirit and receiving tongues in New York City in 1906, Barratt returned to Oslo where, in December 1906, he conducted the first Pentecostal services in Europe. From Norway, Barratt traveled to Sweden, England, France and Germany where he sparked other national Pentecostal movements. Under Barratt, such leaders a Lewi Pethrus in Sweden, Jonathan Paul in Germany and Alexander Bobby in England were brought into the movement. From Chicago, through the influence of William Durham, the movement spread quickly to Italy and South America. Thriving Italian Pentecostal movements were founded after 1908 in the United States, Brazil, Argentina and Italy by two Italian immigrants from Chicago, Luigi Francescon and Giacomo Lombardy.

In South Bend, Indiana - near Chicago - two Swedish Baptist immigrants, Daniel Berg and Gunnar Vingren, received the Pentecostal experience. Believing they were called prophetically to Brazil, they embarked on a missionary trip in 1910 that resulted in the formation of the Brazilian Assemblies of God. The Brazilian Assemblies developed into the largest national Pentecostal movement in the world and had some 25 million members by 1990. Also hailing from Chicago was Willis C. Hoover, the Methodist missionary to Chile who in 1909 led a Pentecostal revival in the Chilean Methodist Episcopal Church. After being excommunicated from the Methodist Episcopal Church, Hoover and 37 of his followers organized the Pentecostal Methodist Church, which has some 1.5 million adherents in Chile.

African Pentecostalism owes its origins to the work of John Graham Lake (1870-1935), who began his ministry as a Methodist preacher but who later prospered in business as an insurance executive. In 1898 his wife was miraculously healed of tuberculosis under the ministry of Alexander Dowie, founder of the religious community called Zion City near Chicago. In 1907, Lake was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. Zion City also produced almost 500 preachers who entered the ranks of the Pentecostal movement. After his Pentecostal experience, Lake abandoned the insurance business to answer a long standing call to minister in South Africa. In April 1908, he led a large missionary party to Johannesburg where he began to spread the Pentecostal message throughout the nation.

Lake succeeded in founding two large and influential Pentecostal churches in South Africa. The white branch took the name Apostolic Faith Mission in 1910, borrowing from the name of the famous mission on Azusa Street. David du Plessis, known to the world as 'Mr Pentecost,' came from this church. The black branch eventually developed into the Zion Christian Church, which had six million members by 1993. Soon after Lake returned to the United States, the movement reached the Slavic world through the ministry of a Russian-born Baptist pastor Ivan Voronacv, who received the Pentecostal experience in New York City in 1919. Through prophecies, he was led to take his family with him to Odessa, Ukraine in 1922. There he established the first Pentecostal church in the Soviet Union. Voronacv was arrested, imprisoned and martyred in a communist prison in 1943. The churches he founded survived extreme persecution and have become today a major religious force in Russia and the former Soviet Union.

Pentecostalism reached Korea through the ministry of Mary Rumsey, an American missionary who had been baptized in the Holy Spirit at Azusa Street in 1907. At that time, Rumsey believed that she was called to Japan and Korea. It was not until 1928, however, that she landed in Korea. Before World War II, she had planted eight Pentecostal churches there before being forced out of the country by the Japanese. In 1952, those eight churches were turned over to the AG, whose missionaries immediately opened a Bible School in Seoul. One of the first students to enroll was a young convert by the name of Paul Yonggi Cho. After he graduated from Bible College, Cho pioneered a Korean church that became the Yoido Full Gospel church. By the time it had over 700,000 members it was heralded the largest single Christian congregation in the world.

As for the Neo-Pentecostals, Charasmatics & Third Wavers - the first wave of the Pentecostal pioneer missionaries produced what has become known as the Classical Pentecostal Movement, with more than 14,000 Pentecostal denominations throughout the world. This phase was followed by organized Pentecostal denominational mission efforts that produced fast growing missions and indigenous churches. The final phase was the penetration of Pentecostalism into the mainline Protestant and Catholic churches as 'charismatic renewal' movements with the aim of renewing the historic churches.

It is worth noting that these newer 'waves' also originated primarily in the United States. They included the Protestant Neo-Pentecostal movement, which began in 1960 in Van Nuys, California, under the ministry of Dennis Bennett, Rector of St Marks Episcopal (Anglican) Church. Within a decade, this movement had spread to all the 150 major Protestant families of the world, reaching a total of 55 million people by 1990. The Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement had its beginnings in Pittsburgh in 1967 among students and faculty at DuQuesne University. After spreading rapidly among students at Notre Dame and the University of Michigan, the movement spread worldwide.

In the subsequent years since its inception, the Catholic movement not only has gained the approval of the church but also has touched over 90 million Catholics in 120 countries. The newest category that was added to these was called the 'Third Wave' of the Holy Spirit. It originated at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1981 under the classroom ministry of John Wimber, founder of the Association of Vineyard Churches. This 'wave' comprised mainline evangelicals who experienced sign and wonders but who disdained labels such as Pentecostal or charismatic. The Vineyard was the most visible movement of this category. By 1990, the Third Wavers were credited with some 33 million members worldwide.

Evangelists & Healers: Throughout the previous century, Pentecostals produced many evangelists who were known for their mass healing crusades. These included Maria Woodworth-Etter, Aimee Semple McPherson (Founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in 1927), Oral Roberts, Kathryn Khulman, Reinhard Bonnke, Benny Hinn and Peter Youngren. Beginning in the 1950's with Oral Roberts, the 'televangelist' genre appeared bringing healing, tongues, prophecies and other spiritual gifts into living rooms across the nation. Some of the most successful ones included Pat Robertson's Christians Broadcasting Network and Paul Crouch's Trinity Broadcasting Network. Notable evangelists Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker fell in the televangelist scandals of the 1980's.

Most religious and secular press carried news of the renewal. This was paralleled by the publication of millions of books and tapes sold in conferences and crusades internationally. New periodicals spawned by the movement included Dan Malachuk's Logos magazine and Stephen Strang's Charisma and Ministries Today magazines. In the late 1970's a newer movement of 'faith' teachers drew national attention. These included Kenneth Hagin Sr., Kenneth Copeland and Fred Price. In this 1990's millions of people tuned in to the teachings of Copeland and Price, while others enroll in Hagins's Rhema Bible College in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and a host of other Spirit-filled Bible schools. Overseas, the crusades of the German Pentecostal evangelist Reinhard Bonnke regularly drew crowds of up to 500,000 in cities throughout Africa; (then later on up to one million in one crusade; truly phenomenal!) the same is true of Rev. Peter Youngren's crusades in India

Major educational institutions arose during the 20th century as well. Healing evangelist Oral Roberts founded a university under his name in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1965, and Pat Robertson founded Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 1978. In addition, liberal arts colleges and Bible colleges were planted worldwide. In a sense, the charismatic movement in the United States reached a peak in 1977 when 50,000 people from all denominations gathered in Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, for the General Charismatic Conference led by Kevin Ranaghan. Planners for this conference were confronted by the major controversy of the era, which involved the 'shepherding' teachings of four charismatic leaders from Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Derek Prince, Bob Mumford, Charles Simpson and Don Basham. This movement fell apart after the four separated in 1986.

In the 1990's, Pentecostals and Charismatics were re-invigorated by new waves of revival that featured such Pentecostal spiritual manifestations such as 'holy laughter', 'falling under the Spirit', and other 'exotic' manifestations. Leading in this new wave was the South African Pentecostal evangelist Rodney Howard Browne. Beginning in 1993, manifestations appeared at the Toronto Airport Vineyard church led by Pastor John Arnott. Although Arnott's church was disfellowshiped by John Wimber and the Vineyard movement, the force of the revival has continued throughout the decade.

Another wave came in 1995 when a notable revival began at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida. Led by Pastor John Kilpatrick and evangelist Steve Hill, the Brownsville meetings have attracted more than two million visitors, and recorded almost 200,000 conversions. Those resulting 'times of refreshing' revealed at the end of the Pentecostal century that the movement was far from over and poised itself when entering the new millennium with undiminished power. Only time can reveal the true impact on the world that the Pentecostal movement had throughout the 20th century.

Finally - from the likes of Rev. Charles F. Parham, William J. Seymour, John Wesley, , Thomas B Barratt, John G. Lake, Alexander Dowie, Maria Woodworth-Etter, Aimee Semple McPherson, Oral Roberts, Kathryn Khulman, Reinhard Bonnke, Benny Hinn and Peter Youngren, Kenneth Hagin Sr., Kenneth Copeland and Fred Price, John Wimber, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, John Kilpatrick, Steve Hill to the infamous Rodney Howard Browne; everyone of these above mentioned gifts to the Body of Christ had a responsibility to "catch" the baton held out to them... Had they dropped their baton, then life as we know it today, just wouldn't be the same! These men and women of God, epitomize what it is to RUN WITH THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD in our time.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Father in Daniel 4:3 it says that Your "...kingdom is an eternal kingdom" and that Your "...power lasts from one generation to the next." Thank You that I can be a baton passer by the Help of Your Holy Spirit and that I will never drop that baton all the while I allow Him to guide my steps totally. I ask you Father to continually help me so that I can leave a mark for You on my generation which will help mark the next - for your Glory. Amen.

CONFESSION OF THE DAY
Today I am used by God to help bring progression to the things of His Kingdom. I invest my life in His Kingdom and deposit my life completely. Nothing will be "stalled" or "delayed" because of me. I flow with God's Spirit and keep in step with His infinite timing. His divine plan for each generation supersedes all that I am or aspire to be. Hallelujah!

THANK YOU FOR HELPING TO MAKE THIS MINISTRY POSSIBLE!
WE LOVE YOU…!

Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2011 © Alan Pateman Ministries

Friday, 7 January 2011

Introduction to Leadership

Introduction to Leadership

FIRST OF all, then, I admonish and urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way (1 Timothy 2:1-2 AMP)

Welcome to today’s article for Truth for the Journey! We will be looking at a subject now that is close to my heart. Over the years I have been hosting leadership gatherings around the world, of which I am very grateful and honoured. However, in my travels I have been consistently challenged by the lack of understanding that prevails. Firstly the lack of understanding of what it means to be a leader and what qualifications are necessary; secondly the lack of insight people seem to have of leadership from a New Testament point of view and the subsequent “out-working” of Church “structure” as seen in scripture.

It’s disconcerting because as a result of this ignorance we tend to get caught up in the extremes that exist that provide no real way forwards at all. So over the next period of time, I want to discuss what it means to be a leader.
• What qualifies us to be one?
• Who appointed us?

Titles are also misused – certainly within the apostolic movement today. Therefore we will also discover what it means to lift oneself up to be a bishop! As many currently perceive that the title of “bishop” exceeds that of “apostle.” We must clear up this confusion within the Body of Christ.

However let it be understood from the very onset of this subject – right here in the introduction - that it is not now, nor will it ever be my intention to use this material to violate, subject, mislead, manipulate or control others (which is often wrongly “perceived” about the apostolic). Instead my heart towards this vast subject is to help bring some much needed “clarity,” as there is so much out there that helps bring much “confusion-to-the-table.” My intention in teaching bout the Apostolic is only to shed some light “all-things-apostolic” as they should be according to New Testament scriptures. None of us should ever manipulate or control the work and move of the Holy Spirit or the lives of any individual committed to networking apostolically - in any capacity.

So to begin with let’s start by saying that although “structure” is good and necessary we must never lose sight of the fact that we are ONE BODY. When structure stands in the way or when we worship or idolise our structures rather than Jesus Christ who is the HEAD of ONE BODY, then we have moved away from the Holy Spirit and truth. Unity recognises that there is ONE BODY. Disunity segregates and divides. We do not become members of a club or organisation – we are members of the ONE BODY of CHRIST.

We must not present ourselves in a said “Association” or “Network” in such a way to imply that those who do not believe and worship the same way as ourselves are out of order with God or are in some kind of error. This is not the prerogative of some kind of Pope Initiative, whether it is the Catholic, Charismatic, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Kingdom, Faith, Prophetic or the apostolic kind.

We all need to appreciate that each person and fellowship has a responsibility to follow their own revelations, convictions and practices, but not to impose them upon the corporate Body of Christ. Dr. Bill Hamon in his book titled, ‘Apostles, Prophets and the Coming Move of God,’ on page 49 (1997) says, ‘Such presumptuous declarations, teachings and actions cause divisions in the Body of Christ. Every erroneous Christian group has established certain doctrines and practices that are unique to them. This then makes them an exclusive, “elected” group that sees itself as superior to all others.’

Mr Hamon goes on to say, ‘Exclusivism leads to cults.’ He says that, ‘the manifestations of this attitude are seen in the extreme groups that arose during the time of the Holiness and Pentecostal Movements: Mormonism, Christian Scientists and Jehovah Witnesses. But sad to say, there are also some of the extreme right that are still counted as “mainline” Christian denominations who believe that they are the only true people of God. They base this conviction on a certain baptism formula, way of worship, Church order or some other unique doctrine or practice.’

‘No one man or group has it all.’ The New Testament Scriptures emphatically and repeatedly declare that Christ has only ONE Church here on Planet Earth. No denominational, fellowship, network, association or restoration camp makes up the entirety of the Church. Every born again, blood washed, sanctified child of God is a member of Christ’s Church. They may be Charismatic Catholics, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Prophetic people or Present-Truth Apostolic people. We are only parts of the whole and members in particular of the corporate Body of Christ. All truth and life are found in the whole, not just in one particular part or member. We need each other and will never come to maturity and fullness of truth without each other. The New Wine is in the cluster – not just in one individual grape (Isaiah 65:8).

However, the late Dr Bob Gordon said, “…a balanced view of leadership is necessary. Leaders are not called to lord it over God’s people. Neither are God’s people called to be free democrats. Both extremes seem to have reared their heads in recent years”.

This however does not detract from the responsibility of any network from fulfilling the commission given by the Lord Jesus Christ to “Go and make disciples…and teaching them…” (Matthew 28: 16-20).

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:10, 11 NKJV).

“The great need of the day is growth, balance and maturity.”

PRAYER FOR THE DAY

Father show me how to effectively pray for my leadership and all those who are in positions of responsibility in your Kingdom. I want to make their work light not heavy or burdensome. I also want to live a peaceful life! Show me your heart in intercession. Amen.

CONFESSION OF THE DAY
In the realm of leadership that has been assigned to me, whether in the work place or at home with my family. I will take my place. I will lead well. I will lead where it is my place to lead and I will lift up and support with prayer those whose God given authority exceeds mine; those who are responsible figures in and for my life. I will do this through Spirit led intercession; praying the Word of God over their lives.

THANK YOU FOR HELPING TO MAKE THIS MINISTRY POSSIBLE!
WE LOVE YOU…!

Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2011 © Alan Pateman Ministries