Seven Principles to Understanding Yourself and Releasing Your Purpose

Text: Matthew 16:13-19
“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’”

Introduction
1. The question Jesus asked His disciples is very important because how a person is perceived and received by others will determine their purpose and destiny. The importance of this is shown by the result of understanding Jesus’ identity, which is the foundation of the church and the key that opened the kingdom of heaven.

a. Purpose is the innate sense of knowing why you were born (John 18:37).

b. Vision is the ability to see in your heart your purpose unfolding (Luke 4:18).

c. A mission is the general description of your purpose (Mark 16:15)

d. Goals are practical steps that bridge your vision and dreams to reality (Luke 13:32). (There are long term and short term goals: daily, weekly, annually, and decade-long goals that are practical steps in fulfilling your vision and purpose.)

e. Likewise, understanding your purpose and role in the kingdom of God is the key of the kingdom that will enable you to bind and loose on the earth what heaven has already declared!

f. Most people want their lives to be filled with meaning, purpose, and significance.

2. We should all be positive about life because God created us all for a purpose; we are not accidents! In the same way God created acorns, trees, oxygen, water, the sun and moon for a purpose, He mapped out our lives before we were born for a purpose. Read Ephesians 1:4.

3. According to Acts 17:26 and Ecclesiastes 3:2, we were born at the right time.

4. According to Ecclesiastes 3:11, God set eternity in our hearts at birth; that is to say, He put His own heart and desire for our eternal purpose within us. Psalm 42:7 says that “deep calls unto deep.”

5. Isaiah 46:9-10 teaches that God finishes something first in the spirit realm, then He backs up and creates it physically.

a. The fact that you were born is proof that you were already completed because God always finishes what He starts (Philippians 1:6).

b. Our purpose existed before we did. Thus you were sent into the world and not just born! (Proverbs 19:21 teaches that vision is more about God than about us.)

6. God designed us perfectly to accomplish our purpose. (See Psalm 139: “I was fearfully and wonderfully made.”)

7. Purpose is already inside of us at the time of our physical birth (not only after we are born again). Ephesians 2:10 teaches that we were saved because of the purpose inside of us!

8. Fulfilling purpose is never selfish but always blesses humanity.

a. God didn’t give you a purpose to have a nice house, cars, and luxury. Those are only by-products of blessings but not the purpose of your existence.

Part I: The Following Seven Principles are Keys to Understanding Who You Are and What Your Purpose In Life Is

I. Know Who You Are as an Image-Bearer/Child of God

1. Genesis 1:26-27 shows that we were made to reflect the person of God. Do not allow derogatory comments about who you are to be your standard of judgment for yourself.

A. Ephesians 4:22-24 teaches us to lay aside our former self and put on the new man.

B. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that those in Christ Jesus are new creations; the old is past away and all things have become new.

2. Being secure as a child of God is the first and most important step in understanding your purpose and calling in the world.

(The following points are from “The Purpose and Power of God’s Glory” by Myles Munroe, pages 51-53.)

3. Ephesians 3:21: When we reflect the image of God we also manifest the glory He called us to walk in.

A. Glory: to fully express the true nature of a thing. The greatest way we glorify God is when both our heart and actions fully reflect the holiness, creativity, and gifts the Lord has endowed upon us. (One of the definitions of the Hebrew word for “work” (abad, Genesis 2:15) is “worship.”)

B. God didn’t put Adam in the Garden of Eden to sing songs and hold prayer meetings, but to work, because the work we do attaches a purpose and meaning to our lives.

4. We need to have the right environment to walk in the glory of God. As Adam was called to work and worship in the Garden of Eden, so we too can only walk in our purpose by walking in the presence of God.

II. You Are Not Someone Else

1. Just as the people thought Jesus was John the Baptist or one of the prophets, they will compare you to someone else.

A. Myles Munroe said (Principles and Power of Vision, page 35) “Although we are all born as originals, most of us become imitators.”

B. In my field of work, many preachers are poor imitations of T.D. Jakes or Joel Osteen instead of operating in their unique anointing. This makes them mere echoes instead being an oracle of God.

2. When you compare yourself with others you are not wise. See 1 Corinthians 4:2, 6-7; 2 Corinthians 10:12.

3. In the same way your fingerprints are different from every other person who ever lived, God made you as a unique individual as part of the corporate body of Christ.

4. Only the few closest to Jesus knew who He really was.

A. First, I care about what God thinks of me, but then I care more about what my family and closest friends think of me than what the public thinks.

5. Be careful who you celebrate in your house; your children will emulate them. (I don’t allow teen magazines in my house, even if there is no sexual material, because I don’t want my daughters admiring and emulating airheads like Lindsey Lohan and Britney Spears.)

III. Your Past History Indicates Your Purpose

1. Jesus didn’t ask His disciples what people thought of Him until He had a public track record.

2. What works have you done, even before you were a Christian, that seemed to give you the most satisfaction?

A. Public speaking, personal counseling, organizing around a cause, writing, painting, composing music, helping others succeed, entrepreneurial endeavors, etc.

IV. Your Natural Giftings and Temperament Point to Your Purpose

1. If you believe you are called to be a psalmist for the Lord but you have no skill to sing, compose, or play an instrument, then you are greatly mistaken.

2. Your natural talents and abilities always contribute and correspond to your purpose and destiny.

A. From childhood, I knew I had leadership ability but had no gifting in the areas of construction, electrical, plumbing, etc.

B. If I look at a map and try to figure out where I am, I get severe headaches and have no grace for it. (I would rather stop and ask someone for directions than try to read a map!)

3. Your temperament and/or personality type corresponds to your calling and purpose. (The below information is about the DiSC personality profile which can be found online at www.discprofile.com/)

A. I have noticed through the years that great evangelists would make great used-car salespersons because of their “I” (influencer) temperament that enables them to be great salespeople.

B. High “I” temperaments are influencers who are usually great with people but not great with details. These people are great to hire as receptionists but terrible as administrators.

C. High “D” (dominant) personalities are task-oriented more than relationally driven.

D. High “C” (cognitive) personalities are introverts/thinkers who are often very creative and/or detail orientated. Great administrators must have “C” as part of their make-up.

E. High “S” (stability) personalities are relaters who make up most of the population. These people don’t like to take risks and would rather stay at a stable 9 to 5 job rather than be involved in high-risk entrepreneurial endeavors.

V. Your Spiritual Gifts Point to Your Purpose

1. The gifts of the Spirit found in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.

A. I happen to move in the words of wisdom and knowledge more than any other gift because those are the two supernatural gifts I need most to accomplish my role as a discipler of leaders and bishop to a growing movement of churches.

B. If your redemptive gift (Romans 12:4-7) is to be an exhorter of others so they can fulfill their purpose, then the gift of prophecy may be very strong.

C. If you are in a vocation in which you are constantly in situations that allow you to share the gospel and win people to Christ, then you may move in healing gifts, miracles, the gift of faith, or discerning of spirits.

2. The redemptive gifts found in Romans 12:4-7.

A. Redemptive: What motivational gift do you have that describes how you express yourself in God’s Kingdom?

B. Prophecy: a passion to declare and correct based on the standard of the Word of God.

C. Service: a passion to operate in the ministry of helps to bless other people.

D. Teaching: a passion to explain truth.

E. Giving: a passion to finance the kingdom of God and bless people.

F. Exhortation: a passion to be an encouragement and positive voice to others.

G. Leading: a habitual leader who is born with an intuitive gift of leadership. (Most Christian leadership books are really more about behavior modification to help leaders become more proficient then making someone an actual leader.)

H. Mercy: a passion to minister to people in spite of their faults.

VI. Your Present Passion Points to Your Purpose

1. What is burning on the inside of your heart?

A. What makes you angry and/or discontent is an indicator that points to purpose. For example, Nehemiah had a great job as the cupbearer of the king but was still miserable.

2. What has God personally spoken to your heart?

3. What keeps resonating in your heart and mind the most? What are you obsessed with when you dream dreams for God?

A. I constantly think about vision, purpose, and how I can release people to their destiny!

4. If your life doesn’t transcend living for yourself or pleasure, then you are already dead!

VII. What the Church and Others Affirm Points to Your Purpose

1. Every Christian’s purpose is expressed through the Body of Christ, which they belong to.

A. Individual destiny doesn’t work in spite of what is preached on the airwaves!

B. Your mission and purpose is always fleshed out in the context of a local church’s mission to the world.

2. Through prophetic words.

A. I keep a record of every prophetic word given to me, my family, or the church, and I review them a few times a year to make sure I am on track. Read 1 Timothy 1:1.

3. Through what I do that bears the most fruit.

A. There are certain things I do that seem to be greatly blessed and other things I do that are uneventful.

4. Through what I do that receives the most affirmation resulting in transformation of lives.

A. Matthew 10:41: “If you receive a prophet in the name of a prophet you will receive a prophet’s reward.” This means that how I am perceived and received by others will determine the level of my anointing and gifting they can suck out of me for personal transformation. That is to say, if you disrespect or don’t recognize and celebrate the gifts of others, then the gifts in others will remain inside of them and not affect you.

Part II: Seven Things Jesus Said About Knowing Yourself and Your Purpose

1. Jesus cared about what others perceived regarding who He was because it was connected to Him fulfilling His destiny (Matthew 16:13).

2. Jesus made sure others didn’t mistake Him for other people (Matthew 16:14-15).

3. Jesus said that the Rock on which the church was built was the knowledge of Him as the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:18).

a. The knowledge of who you are and your concomitant purpose is one of the cornerstones of being released into your purpose.

4. Jesus said that the gates of hell will not be able to stop the advance of a corporate people (ecclesia) walking in their purpose (Matthew 16:18).

5. The keys of the kingdom are connected to knowing and releasing who you are and your purpose on the earth (Matthew 16:19).

6. The ability to bind and loose on the earth is commensurate with your ability to match what you do and who you are to what has already been decreed (bound and loosed) in heaven.

a. When people walk outside of their grace, anointing, calling, and gifting they do not have heaven behind their endeavors.

7. We should understand the timing and process of releasing our purpose (Matthew 16:20).

a. In Jesus’ case, the process involved the cross. The process in our lives also involves dying to self and taking up our cross. Before experiencing the power of the Upper Room we have to first go to Golgotha and experience the cross!

b. God is just as concerned about the process of our journey and He is about our destination.

Part III: Seven Obstacles to Understanding Yourself and Releasing Your Purpose

I. You Don’t Spend Time Cultivating the Presence and Voice of God in Your Life

1. The Bible teaches that meditating on the Word releases purpose and success in our lives. Read Joshua 1:8-9; 2 Timothy 3:16.

2. Worshipping God causes us to act and live like God. It is axiomatic that whatever you worship you imitate and become like.

3. Take time to reflect in silence. The vocation God called you to walk in is the primary voice inside of you. Myles Munroe said: “Take the time to know thyself” and “God’s will is as close as our most persistent thoughts and deepest desires.”

4. Ecclesiastes 3:10: “I have seen the burden God lays on the sons of men.” “Burden” means heavy responsibility which gives us a responsible urge–a strong sense of what to do with our lives (from The Principle and Power of Vision by Myles Munroe, page 43).

5. Romans 11:29 teaches that the gifts and calling of God never change for an individual. Thus, the thoughts and desires of our hearts will be consistent in our lives as we seek the Lord. Read Psalm 37:4.

6. “Vision possesses you; you don’t possess it!”(Myles Munroe)

II. Not Integrating Your Life with Your Community of Faith

1. Purpose is always corporate, never individualistic.

A. Others will not give you purpose but others will enable you to fulfill your purpose.

2. Individual purpose only comes forth as part of the Body of Christ.

3. Knowing the mission, motto, and vision of your local church and contributing to it with your gifts, finances, and talents is the key to unlocking your purpose.

III. You are Confusing Activity for Purpose

1. Most people do anything that comes their way instead of being focused on the primary responsibilities they have in front of them.

A. “The color of your skin will not hold you back, but the color of your life will” and “Too many people are living a ‘gray’ life with no decisiveness of focus, discipline and purpose” (Myles Munroe).

B. Living a balanced life means keeping your equilibrium while moving towards your destination (Myles Munroe).

2. Most people live their whole lives either for retirement, vacations, and/or weekends because they hate their daily work.

3. God has called us to combine our work with our calling; work plus calling equals productivity in your purpose.

4. Paul said “This one thing I do” (Philippians 3:10). Find the one or two things you excel in and concentrate on developing those gifts.

A. Your gifts will make room for you, not your education. Most people receive degrees in areas of life they will never use because their degrees do not fit their primary purpose and calling.

IV. Who Your Friends Are Determines Your Destiny

1. I can always tell a person by the company they keep.

A. Proverbs says: “As iron sharpens iron so a person sharpens the countenance of their friend.” 1 Corinthians 15 says that “Bad company corrupts good character.”

B. 2 Timothy 2 teaches us to fellowship with those who call upon God from a pure heart.

2. Many people never succeed in life because of the soul ties they have with the wrong people. Misery loves company; some of your unsuccessful friends will be unhappy if you succeed.

V. You Don’t Have Mentors Guiding You

1. In our church we have cell groups for mentoring and nurturing.

2. Just attending church on Sunday isn’t enough.

3. To succeed in life you need specific mentors who specialize in your vocation that will help release you to your purpose.

VI. No Vision For Your Life

1. 2 Timothy 1:6 teaches us to “stir up the gift within us.” Know and have a vision for your gifts to be released.

2. Invest time into developing your gifts and talents by volunteering in the church and community as well as releasing them in your job.

3. Vision releases focus and discipline.

4. Vision compels one to have a strategy for success.

VII. You Don’t Understand the Process Involved in Releasing Purpose

1. God cares just as much about the process as He does the product.

2. If things come to us too quickly then we will not be mature enough to either appreciate or manage it properly.

A. Presently, I do the work of four people. I tell my leaders now that if I ever left, they would need to hire four people to do the job I do. This is because as the visionary I grew into the job by process. It wouldn’t be fair to hire another person to do all I do without the same kind of process.

3. Ecclesiastes 3 teaches us that there is a timing for everything under the sun. Timing has to do with the proper way to process out the things God wants to do through you in regards to releasing your purpose.

Recommended Resources
The Purpose and Power of God’s Glory by Myles Munroe
Principles and Power of Vision by Myles Munroe

To download this seminar, click here.

Understanding How to Resolve Biblical Contradictions

To download this seminar in an easy-to-read PDF format, click here.

Introduction

1. The importance of the word of God as a standard for all of life

2. To what extent is the Bible inspired?
a. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21.
b. We believe in the plenary inspiration of the original documents.
c. There are errors of translation, not of inspiration (God didn’t mechanically automate the process of conveying His word through human vessels when they copied manuscript after manuscript.  Any supposed errors are those of the technical nature or matters of not understanding the full context).

3. Importance matters to consider about biblical inerrancy
a. The existence of a perfect original is a matter of great importance even if we don’t have in our possession a copy of it.

Example: Do we say that it doesn’t matter to have a watch because we don’t have the exact time?  Or is it enough to know that there is an exact measurement of time that exists and that’s why we endeavor to set our clocks as close to the right time as possible.

What about the instruments we use to measure.  It is questionable whether the yardsticks or scales we use in business transactions or construction projects can be described as absolutely perfect.  How foolish it would be for any citizen to shrug his shoulders and say “neither you nor I have ever actually seen those standard measures in Washington therefore we might as well disregard them.”
b. Eleven kinds of transmission errors know to textual critics

(Points i-xi below are taken from “The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties” by Gleason Archer, pages 33-40)

i. Haplography
This means writing once what should have been written twice. 
Example: ‘Occurrence instead of occurrence.’
   
ii. Dittography
This is writing twice what is to be written once.

iii. Metathesis
This is an inadvertent exchange in the proper order of letters or words.
  
iv. Fusion
This consists of combining the last letter of the first word with the first letter of the following word, or else combining two separate words into a single compound word.

v. Fission
The improper separation of one word into two.

vi. Homophony
Mixing up two words of entirely different meanings because they sound alike.

Example:  ‘Beat and Beet.’

vii. Misreading similar appearing letters
Words that resemble one another in shape.

viii. Homeoteleuton
The Greek term means “having the same ending” and identifies the loss of text that can result when the eye of the copyist inadvertently passes over all the words preceding a final phrase that is identical with that which closes the sentence immediately preceding or immediately following.
(Having taken his eyes off the phrase in order to copy down what he has just read, he turns his back to it and sees the words he just finished writing down.  Supposing that he is ready to move on to the next sentence, he fails to observe that he has left out all the words preceding the second appearance of the repeated phrase.

ix. Homoearkton
This means that which was similar beginning and involves a similar loss of intervening words, as the eye of the scribe jumps from one beginning to another.

x. Accidental omission of words

xi. Variants based on vowels points only
The Hebrew Scriptures existed only in the form of consonants all during Old Testament period and indeed well into the 7th and 8th Century A.D.   The late origin of vowel points, which were not systematically inserted into the consonantal text until the Masoretic period, means that we must rely heavily on the oral tradition of the Jewish custodians of the Old Testamental period.

4. It cannot be emphasized enough that no major belief or doctrinal stance of Christianity has been negatively affected by the small percentage of letters, words or phrases that are in question.

a. The Bible was written over a period of about 1600 years, by about 40 different authors from different walks of life, including geography, economics, ethnicity, social status and time period.  Yet, the whole Bible as a whole speaks of the same themes concerning salvation, the Messiah, the Godhead…and every major theme and doctrine of the Bible.  The unity of the Bible is just one of the proofs that the Bible is divinely inspired of God.

I. Difficult Scriptures To Understand

A. Genesis 1:3-5
On the first day God Created light, then separated light and darkness, but in Genesis 1:14-19 the sun wasn’t created until the fourth day.

Explanation # 1:  God doesn’t depend on natural light from the stars to emanate light.  The Bible teaches us “God is light”
(1 John 1:5).  So He could have just allowed His glory to shine throughout the universe (read also 1 Timothy 6:16 and Revelation 21:23, 24).

Explanation # 2:  Genesis 1:14-19 doesn’t exactly say that God created the sun and the moon…  It could be that it was at that time that He chose to “let the light shine…” through the clouds that were obfuscating the view of them from the earth.

B. Genesis 1:11, 12, 26, 27 trees were created before man was created, but in Genesis 2:4-9 man was created before the trees were created.

Explanation:  The growth of vegetation in Genesis 2 was not describing the creation of it worldwide, just the personal story of how the Garden of Eden developed with Adam as the proprietor of it in covenant with God.
C. Genesis 1:20, 21, 24-27 the birds and animals were created before man was created, but in Genesis 2:7, 19 man was created before the aforementioned animals were created.

Explanation:  It may not be talking about the general creation but just how God did it in relation to Adam and for Adam in the Edenic Garden.

D. Genesis 1:26-28
Man and woman were created at the same time but in Genesis 2:7, 21, 22 man was created first and woman some time later.

Explanation # 1 :  Genesis 1:26-28 was talking about the genetic potential for the woman being created when the human model Adam was made.  The word “man” in scripture can refer either to the collection of humankind or to an individual person.

Explanation # 2:  It could mean that Genesis 2 just described the process of how male and female were made.  It described in more detail what Genesis 1 just mentioned briefly.

E.   Genesis 6:4
There were “Nephilim”  (giants) before the flood.  In Genesis 7:21 it says all creatures were annihilated after the flood but in Numbers 13:33 it says the “Nephilim” (giants) were in the land of Canaan.  Of course it would make sense if one of Noah’s children were considered to be one of the Nephilim.

Explanation #1 :  The genetic interaction between men of that day had the potential to create giants, so when giants reappeared they   just renamed them after the giants who once walked in the earth.

Explanation # 2:  The giants were the results of an unholy physical union between humans and fallen angels (incubus) and that satanic activity took place again after the flood.

F.       Genesis 2:4; 4:26; 12:8; 22:14-16; 26-25
God is known as Jehovah many times in Genesis but in Exodus 6:2, 3 God was first known as “The Lord” (Jehovah) at the time of Moses.

Explanation:  This meant that the meaning behind the name or the full implications behind the name of Jehovah were not fully known until God moved in great power during the Egyptian captivity.  Moses knew Jehovah in a dimension not known before in the earth (Deut. 34:10).

G.        Genesis 1
God is called in the Hebrew “Elohim” but in Genesis 2 God is called “Jehovah” in relation to Adam.

Explanation:  God has many names in the Bible.  What He is called is dependent on the situation.  Genesis chapter one is emphasizing His power; so He is called “Elohim.”  In Genesis chapter two He is called “Jehovah” perhaps because it emphasized His personal and covenantal dealings with Adam.

H.       Genealogists lists and chronological order
Genesis 5 raises a very interesting question.  What is the connection between this Old Testament genealogy and
chronology?  Before the turn of the century, Professor William Greene at Princeton Theological Seminary and Professor Benjamin B. Warfield following him maintained that the genealogies in Genesis should not be taken as a chronology.  While much of their scholarship had to be a response to liberal theology’s attack on biblical history, I think that the understanding that these genealogies are not a chronology is obvious from Scripture itself.

First, the relationship between the sequence of names and chronology is not always a straight line.  In Genesis 5:32 we read, “And Noah was five hundred years old; and Noah beget Shem, Ham and Japheth.”  It would appear from this passage that Shem is older than Ham who is older than Japheth.  But in Genesis 9:24 we are told that “Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his youngest son had done unto him” (ASV).  The reference is to Ham.  Likewise, anyone reading Exodus 2 would certainly feel that Moses was the oldest son.  Nevertheless, we learn in Exodus 7:7 that his brother Aaron was actually three years older.   Consequently, the content of these various passages are accurate, but chronology was not what the authors had in mind.  Undoubtedly Shem was named first because he was the most important in the flow of biblical history.  What they were recording was the flow of history—the thing we are talking of in this book—the flow of origins, especially of the Jews, for whom such things were of great importance, as we shall see in a moment.  The Bible does not mislead us.  It indicates that the genealogies are not chronological.

A second reason why we must not take genealogy for chronology is that several passages make it obvious that the writers knew the chronology, but that they still deliberately omitted several steps in the genealogy.  For example, if we compare 1 Chronicles 6:3-14 with Ezra 7:2, we find that Ezra, despite the fact that he was a scribe and surely would have known all of the steps, omitted names in the genealogical tree.  Not only this, but he seems to have added two names omitted in the 1 Chronicles genealogy.  Of course, some of these men many have been known by more than one name as were common in Old Testament history, and there is a possibility of a later scribe’s error.  Nonetheless, it does seem that Ezra consciously omitted some names.

An even startling case which shows what the Jewish people were doing with their genealogies occurs in 1 Chronicles 26:24.  Here we read, “And Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, was ruler of the treasures.”  The time is that of David, roughly 1,000 B.C., and the issue is that Shebuel had an official position on the basis of his genealogical line.  The intriguing thing is that Gershom is the first-generation son of Moses, and yet between him and the next man, Shebuel, stand at least 400 years.  There is no doubt that we have here a tremendous gap in years and in intervening generations.  Thus we are reminded that the purpose of all this is to indicate the flow of official, historic lines.  It is important to say, “This man comes from such and such origin.”

Another clear case is found in Matthew’s genealogy of Christ.  In Matthew 1:8 we read, “And Asa beget Jehoshaphat; and Jehoshaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Uzziah” (ASV).  Yet if we got back into the Old Testament we will find that Uzziah’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather are omitted in Matthew’s genealogy.  (See 1 Chronicles 3:11, 12; in this list Uzziah is called Azariah.)  The important point is that Jesus is to be seen in the right genealogical line, and after that has been accomplished; chronological is of little or no interest.

Prior to the time of Abraham, there is no possible way to date the history of what we find in Scripture.  After Abraham, we can date the biblical history and correlate it with secular history.  When the Bible itself reaches back and picks up events and genealogies in the time before Abraham, it never uses these early genealogies as a chronology.  It never adds up these numbers for dating.

There is a third reason why it should be quite obvious that these genealogies are not meant to be a chronology.  If they were, it would mean that Adam, Enoch and Methuselah were contemporaries, and that just doesn’t seem to fit at all.  If this were the case, the silence of the Bible in regard to these interrelationships would seem curious.

I.   The Chronological problem

1. Genesis 11:26
Terah was 70 years old when Abram was born.

2. Genesis 11:32
Terah was 205 when he died (making Abram 135 at the time).

3. Genesis 12:4; Acts 7:4
Abram was 75 when he left Haran.  This was after Terah died.  Thus, Terah could have been no more than 145 when he died; or Abram was only 75 years old after he lived 135 years.

Explanation:  It doesn’t say for sure that Terah began to have children after the age 70; that is just an assumption.  I can say in the future that I was 43 years and had Jason, Rebecca, Justin, Rachel and Charissa.  That can be misconstrued to imply that I began to have children at the age of 43, even though I was merely looking back at that particular aspect of my family at the stage of my life when I was 43.

Explanation:  Abram may or may not have been born first because biblical genealogies aren’t always meant to reflect chronological order.

J.   Genesis 10:5, 20, 31

a. There were many languages before the Tower of Babel “From these the coastland peoples of the Gentiles were separated into their lands, everyone according to his language, according to their families, into their nations.”

b.  Genesis 11:1 – There was only one language before the Tower of Babel.

Explanation# 1:  The chapters don’t always have to reflect chronological order.  Chapter 11 could be an explanation of how the different nations described in Ch. 10 came about.

Explanation # 2.: The one language spoken about could just be describing a general language that all the peoples shared when they came together (e.g. “Mandarin” in China) so they can function together.  Though they had a generic language, it didn’t take away from the fact that they still had a distinct dialect that only those of that particular nation understood.

Explanation # 3:  The word “earth” in Genesis 11:1 is the Hebrew word “erets” which can simply mean “land” (of Shinar) instead of the whole earth.

K.  Exodus 3:1- Jethro was the father-in-law of Moses

Numbers 10:29-Hobab was the father in-law of Moses.

Explanation:  Maybe he was known by more than one name based on who was referring to him (many of us are known by different names, depending on who is talking to you).

L.  Exodus 34:6, Deut 7:9-10, Titus 1:2
God is truthful; He cannot lie.

1 Kings 22:21-23, 2 Thes. 2:11-12
God condones a spirit of lying and deception.

Explanation:  The Bible tells us that once we reject the truth, God gives us up to the deceptions of our own hearts-so we deceive ourselves.

James 1:14, 15, 22 Romans 1:21-28.

M.   Numbers 25:9-24: “Thou killed in the plaque.”

1 Corinthians 10:8-23: “Thou killed in the plaque.”

Explanation:  It can be referring to the three thousand killed in Exodus 32:28 and the unnamed amounts spoken of in Exodus 32:35.

N.   Numbers 33:41-42 – Aaron died on Mt. Hor.
Deut. 10:6 – Aaron died in Mosera.

Explanation: 
Mosera was probably the name of the district in which Mt. Hor was located just as Horeb was the mountain complex in which Sinai was located.

O.   Judges 4:21 – Sisera was sleeping when Jael killed him

Judges 5:25-27 Sisera was standing

Explanation:
It never said in 5:25-27 that he was standing!  To fall is a symbolic language.

P.   Joshua 10:38-40 Joshua captured Debir

Judges 1:11-15- It was Othniel who did it

Explanation:
Joshua was the commander who gave the order but Othniel did the actual fighting or –
This was after Joshua’s death when the land was  re-inhabited

Q.   1 Samuel 17:50 – David killed Goliath

1 Samuel 17:51 – David killed Goliath again?

Explanation:
Verse 51 merely recapping the story again and saying that David killed him AND cut off his head.

R.    1 Samuel 21:1-6 Ahimalech was the high priest                    when David at the bread

Mark 2:26 – Abiather was the high priest

Explanation:
Those Jesus was speaking to recognized the name so it was another way of saying it

S.   2 Samuel 6:23 – Michal was childless

2 Samuel 21:8 – She had 5 sons

Explanation# 1:
1 Samuel 18:19 – The sister of Michal was married to ADRIEL (Merub), so this could mean that Michal assisted in bringing them up for Adriel because something happened to Merub (Michal was more than willing to do this because she had no children)

Explanation # 2 – The text should have read in
2 Samuel 21:8 that “the sister of Michal”…..

T.   2 Samuel 24:1 – The Lord inspired David to take      the census

1 Chronicles 21:1 – Satan inspired David

Explanation:
Look at Job Chapters 1 and 2:3 – Satan attacked Job but God gave him the permission and even said that Satan incited Him against him (Job)

U.    2 Samuel 24:10-17 David sinned in taking the census

1 Kings 15:5 – David’s only sin was in regard to another matter

Explanation:
In the taking of the census, both God and Satan were involved because of the sin of the nation of Israel; With Uriah the Hittite, the sin was due to the lust of his own flesh, not the corporate sin of the nation.

V.    2 Kings 2:11 Elijah went into heaven

John 3:13 – Only Jesus has ever ascended into heaven

Hebrews 11:5 – Enoch was translated into heaven

Explanation# 1:
The main thought here is probably in the context of that nobody ever walked the earth to live who had ever come from or experienced heaven the way Jesus had

Explanation # 2
Perhaps it is talking about the fact that Jesus ascended and descended into the highest levels of heaven that no man up to that point had ever witnessed.

W.    2 Kings 4:32 – A dead child raised

Matthew 9:18-25 – Two dead persons raised

Acts 26:23 – Jesus was the first to rise from the dead

Explanation:
Never to die again – Acts 13:34, Romans 8:29

X.   2 Kings 9:27 – Jehut shot Ahaziah near Ibleam.
   Ahaziah fled to Meggido and died there.

2 Chronicles 22:9 – Ahaziah was found hiding in Samaria, bought to Jehu, and put to death.

Explanation:
There are just two sides of the same story: each one had different details that he relayed.

Y.  2 Kings 16:5 – The King of Syria and the son of the king of Israel did not conquer Ahaz.
 
2 Chronicles 28: 5, 6 – They conquer Ahaz.

Explanation # 1:
In 2 Kings they didn’t conquer totally but reclaimed some land in battle and drove back the Jews
 
Explanation # 2
In 2 Chronicles they beat him but not annihilate or wipe them out completely.

Z. Matthew 4:1-11 – Immediately following His baptism, Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness resisting temptation

John 2:1-11 – 3 days after His baptism, He is in a wedding in Cana

Explanation:
When you carefully read John Ch. 1 you will find that he is only looking back and recounting an event that already took place (by verse 26).  The three days was not after the baptism of Jesus but after John was testifying to the Jews about Christ.
AA. Matthew 4:18-20 – One story about choosing Peter as a disciple

Luke 5:2 -11 – Another story

John 1:35-42 – Still another
 
Explanation
They tell the same story, each one with different detail of the circumstances of how Peter met Jesus

BB. Matthew 5:1 – 7:29 Jesus delivers the “sermon on the mount”

Luke 6:17 – 49 – The same sermon but it is delivered “on the plain”
 
Explanation 1
Jesus preached the same message to different groups of people
  
Explanation 2
Or, both are located on the mountain because the word plain simply means “level ground” and so it can refer to Jesus trying to find “level ground” on which to stand while on the mountain.

CC. Matthew 10:2, Mark 3:16-19 – When the 12 disciples are mentioned, Judas the son of James is excluded (Thaddaeus or Labbaeus is included)

Luke 6:13-16 – All the above are mentioned except for Thaddaeus (Judas the son of James is included)

Acts 1:13, 26 – Thaddaeus is included; Judas the son of James is exclude

Explanation
Thaddaeus and Judas the son of James are one and the same person, they just are known by different names according to who is referring to them.

DD.     Matthew 10:10 – Says “Do not take sandals”

Mark 6:6-8: Take sandals (shoes) and staves.

Mark 6: 8 Were the Twelve to Take a Staff?

When we read Mark 6:8-9, Jesus’ instructions seem clear enough: the only item that the Twelve are to take with them on their missionary journey is a staff.  Yet then we read Matthew 10:9-10 and Luke 9:3, which prohibit the taking of a staff.

The first piece of information that we notice is that although Matthew seems to know Mark quite well in other places, here only his mention of copper is in common with Mark (the word for “money” in Mark means “copper”, while the word in Luke means “silver”).  The rest of Matthew’s version has more in common with Luke.  Since Matthew has many other passages in common with Luke which Mark does not have at all (commonly called Q passages from the German word for “source,” Quelle), the lack of common with Mark looks like here Matthew is drawing on his common source with Luke more than on Mark.  We also notice that Matthew says “no sandals, “ although Mark tells them to wear sandals.  Thus we conclude that in this case Matthew and Luke follow a common source rather than Mark.

The second thing that we notice is that despite the differences there is general agreement among the accounts.  The Twelve are not to take money, bread, a bag (in which to carry their provisions and into which to put anything they were given) or a second tunic
(This was the inner garment, so it indicates a change of clothing).  Thus all of the accounts agree that either the trip was so urgent or their dependence on God was to be so radical that the disciples were not to take the normal necessities for a journey with them.  Luke’s absolute “Take nothing for the journey” is certainly how the Twelve felt.  They were setting out on a trip totally unprepared, without even food or money to buy food.  They were also setting out quite differently from the wandering Cynic and Stoic philosophers of Greece, who traveled simply but were permitted to carry food with them and to take up collections in their begging bag.    By way of contrast, if Jesus’ followers have been given anything beyond what they could eat or put on there on the spot, they could not have carried it with them, for they had no bag to carry it in.

The third thing we notice is that these instructions were taken seriously by Christian missionaries thought-out the New Testament period.  The one place we find anyone shaking off the dust of their feet against a city is not in the Gospels but in Acts 13:51, where Paul and Barnabas do it outside Pisidian Antioch.  Nor is there any indication in either Acts o his letters of Paul’s carrying supplies of any type with him, although this is an argument from silence.   We do note that when he comes to Corinthian and needs to work he does not set up his own stall but joins in another man’s workshop (Acts 18:3).  The point is that these passages were put in the Gospels because they were relevant to missionaries thought-out the New Testament period.  The concern was not simply to record commands given to the Twelve that were irrelevant for later missions.

What, than, can we say about these three passages?  It is possible that a corruption has crept into the text and that Mark originally read “no staff” (which was used for self-defense as well as an aid to walking), but that is unlikely.  There is no solid manuscript evidence for that, nor would that explain the problem of the sandals as well.  The sandals are mentioned twice in the Mark passage (once in Mark 6:9 and than later in shaking the dust off the sandals), while Matthew is consistent in saying no sandals and then telling them to shake the dust off their feet rather than off their sandals.
One solution is to suggest that it is possible that there were two such commands by Jesus and Mark has one and Matthew another.  However, Luke, who agrees with Matthew, clearly identifies his account as the sending of the Twelve, not the Seventy, and there is no evidence that Jesus sent the Twelve out on more than one major trip of this type.  This solution would be inventing trips simply to save us problems.

This view could work if Jesus told them to take sandals and a staff in certain spots when they would need to climb or go over rough terrain; thus the discrepancy because the synoptic were merely summarizing the general instructions of Jesus according to how they heard it at a specific time.  What seems more likely is that there were two traditions transmitting these instructions of Jesus.  Both traditions have the same essence, that the disciples were to travel light, without the normal supplies needed for a journey, resulting in their total dependence on God, but they differed in their exact wording.  Perhaps this was a difference in the understanding of Jesus’ Aramaic (since the Gospels were written in Greek), or perhaps this was the result of an adaptation of the traditions to local missionary circumstances (in some areas one might need sandals or the assistance of a staff, while in others it might be more feasible to go without sandals and a staff).  Whatever the reason for the differences in the traditions, Mark followed one (perhaps one he received directly from Peter) and Matthew and Luke followed the other (we have no idea who the source of their common tradition was).

These differences remind us that in the Gospels we have the meaning of Jesus, his voice, so to speak, transmitted to us, but not his exact words.  None of the Gospels were written in the Aramaic he spoke and not the Synoptic Gospels, with the possible exception of Mark, were written by eyewitnesses.  Thus we are not surprise when the meaning and thrust of the words of Jesus is the same, but the exact wording is different.  Only if one has a very legal mind is there a significant difference.  Surely early missionaries reading Matthew’s version would not feel guilty if while walking up a steep hill they picked up a stout stick to assist them on their way.  They were traveling simply, not prepared for the normal problems of travel, and they just accepted assistance which was lying there to be taken, probably with thanksgiving to God.  Jesus normally speaks in the hyperbole of a wisdom teacher, not the legal precision of a Pharisee. 

These passages are also another reminder to us that we do not have all of the answers.  There are issues which may have a perfectly good explanation if we could gather Mark and Matthew and Luke together, but for which we will not have an answer short of such a gathering. 

Finally, these passages call us not to lose the forest for the trees.  Jesus called his missionaries to travel simply, without the normal provisions for a journey.  They had to depend on God for their support.

EE. Matthew 17 – The transfiguration occurs after 6 days

Luke 9:28, 29 – It occurs after 8 days
 
Explanation
Matthew says “after” 6 days, Luke says “about” 8 days;

Obviously both can be and are correct.

FF. Matthew –Jesus says that Zacharias was the son of Barachias

2 Chronicles 24:20 – Zacharias was actually the son of Jehodia the priest
(The name Barachias does not appear in the O.T.)

Explanation
The Zechariah that Jesus was referring to was not the one mentioned in 2 Chronicles (which couldn’t fit because he couldn’t possibly be the last martyr in the O.T.)

But Jesus was referring to the minor prophet Zechariah whose father was Barachaiah

GG. Was Christ crucified on Thursday or Friday?

The synoptic gospels indicate that Jesus was crucified on Friday but John’s gospel indicates in 19:14 that it was on the  day of “preparation” for the Passover; which would seem to indicate that it was on Thursday.

Explanation
The “NIV” say “It was the day of preparation of Passover week, about the 6th hour” Preparation in the Greek is “Paraskeue”, which by the 1st    century A.D. became a technical term for Friday since every  Friday was the day of preparation for Saturday, that is the Sabbath.  In modern Greek the word for Friday is pasaskeue.

Second the Greek term “tou pascha” (lit “of the Passover”) is taken to be equivalent to the Passover week.  This refers to 7th day feast for Unleavened Bread, that immediately followed the initial slaughtering and eating of the Passover lamb on the evening of the 14th day of the month Abib, which by Hebrew reckoning would mean the commencement of the 15th, right after sunset until the 21st day.   Popular usage merged the two festivals and treated them as  a unity, as they were for practical purposes.  It was  unnecessary to insert a specific term for “week” for it to be understood as such.  Therefore, that which might be translated literally as “the preparation of the Passover” must in this context be rendered “Friday of the Passover week.”

It turns out that John affirms just as clearly as the Synoptics that Christ was crucified on Friday and that His sacrificial death represented an antitypical fulfillment of the Passover.

 HH.  Matthew 27:3-7 – The chief priests bought the field
   
Acts 1:16-19 – Judas bought the field

Explanation

While Luke’s description of Judas’s death is rather gory, Acts 1:18 would not be a problem were it not that Matthew seemingly has a different story.  In Matthew’s account, “Judas threw the money into the temple and left.   Then he went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5).  Matthew also reports that the chief priests used the money “to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.” Aren’t the two accounts contradictory?

It is clear that Matthew and Luke have different concerns in mentioning the incident.   Matthew is more interested in the purchase of the field, which he sees as a fulfillment of Scripture.  He combines Zechariah 11:12-13 (the thirty pieces of silver and the potter) and Jeremiah 32:6-12, (buying the field), perhaps with overtones of Jeremiah 18::1-4 (going to the potter’s house), and links them all under Jeremiah’s name (see comment on Matthew 27:9-10).

Luke has another concern, which is that Judas got what he  deserved, a horrible death.  (A similar situation is reported in Acts 12:21-24, where the author narrates the story of Herod Agrippa I’s death.)  The focus is not on the purchase of the field (which would have appeared a reward, especially to Jews to whom landowning in Palestine was important), but on his death in the field (which was ghastly.)

Both authors want to point out that the field was called “The Field of Blood,” thus memorializing the deed.  Acts appears to connect the title to Judas’s blood in his death, while Matthew ties it to the fact that the blood money paid for the field.  It is hardly surprising that the same name might mean different things to different people.

A closer look at two stories highlights gaps in the  narrative that raise questions about the events.  But  the accounts are not necessarily contradictory.  Acts is concerned that Judas’s money and name were connected to a field.  Whether or not the chief priests actually purchased it, perhaps some time after Judas’s death, would not be a detail of concern to the author.  His point was the general knowledge that Judas’s money went to the purchase, which resulted in the title “Field of Blood” being attached to the field.

II. The different Versions Of The Resurrection of Christ Presented In Each Of The 4 Gospels

Explanation

What happened at the Resurrection?

The story of the resurrection in John is quite exciting and seemingly straightforward.  One woman shows up at the tomb, discovers it is open, and informs the disciples, who investigate, and then meets first an angel and afterward Jesus.  This straightforwardness is true enough so long as we look only at one Gospel.  When we examine Matthew 28:1-8 or Mark 16:1-8 or Luke 24:1-10 we discover differing pictures.  Can these pictures be put together?  If they cannot, what does this mean for the truth of the accounts?  In responding to this issue, it would be helpful to look at the events in the four accounts (see chart).

Event Matthew 28:1-8 Mark 16:1-8 Luke 24:1-10 John 20:1-8
When? At dawn Just after sunrise Very early in the morning While it was still dark
Who comes first? Mary Magdalene and the other Mary Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and others Mary Magdalene
What do they find? Earthquake with angel who rolls back the stone Stone rolled away Stone rolled away Stone removed from the entrance
Whom do they see? Angel sitting on the stone Young man in white robe, sitting on the right Two men in clothes that gleamed like lightening No one
What do they do? Ran to tell his disciples Fled from the tomb, afraid to say anything Told what had happened to the Eleven and others Ran to tell Peter and the disciple, the one Jesus loved
What happens next? Jesus met them  Peter goes to the tomb to investigate Peter and the other disciple investigate
What is the third scene? Guards report to chief priests and are bribed  Story of two disciples on Emmaus road Mary see two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been

When we examine these four accounts, we notice some similarities.  First, all agree that the events happened around dawn, although they disagree about whether it was already light.  Given that the events happened over a period of time, this difference is hardly significant.  Second, all agree that Mary Magdalene was at least one of the ones discovering that the body had disappeared.  The purposes of the individual narratives seem to determine how many other women are mentioned (with Luke, who has a special interest in women, noting the most women).  Third, all agree that women find an open, corpse less tomb.  Matthew seems to imply that they also saw the opening of the tomb, although he may narrate the opening of the tomb as something that happened while the women were traveling and before they arrived at the tomb.  None of the other Gospels mentions the guards, so how the tomb gets opened is less of a problem for them.  Fourth, all agree that the women saw one or more angels (only Luke has two).  However, the angel in John’s account appears to be functioning in a different narrative role than the ones in the other accounts.  It is, perhaps, more accurate to say that John does not inform us if Mary saw anyone at the tomb before going to tell the disciples.  What the angels say also differs, although in all cases the women are informed that Jesus is not there.  In the various accounts they are told not to fear (and that they were afraid anyway), to report to the disciples and to meet Jesus in Galilee.  Finally, all agree that the women left the tomb, and three of the four accounts note that they did inform the disciples.  (Mark breaks off with verse 8, the longer ending probably not being part of the original text; it is debated whether an original ending of Mark has been lost or whether he intended to break off with the women in fear and the question of whether they would follow Jesus into Galilee hanging in the air.)

Furthermore, two of the accounts agree that the woman or women met Jesus that they tried to hold on to him, and that he sent them on their way.  However, John appears to put this meeting after Peter and the beloved disciple investigate, and Matthew puts it before the women report to the disciples.

What can we conclude from this data?  First, it is impossible to make this data into coherent story.  If we assume that the pre-or post dawn timing depends on  whether one gives the time of the women starting their trip or their arrival at the tomb., if we assume that the earthquake and angelic descent happened before the women arrived at the tomb, if we merge what the angels say into one account, if we assume that the angels moved around, and if we assume that Mary Magdalene remained behind at the tomb while the others went and reported (and thus had a separate meeting with Jesus, then caught up with the other women), one can make a single coherent account out of the various stories.  
Obviously, if there were two angels, one writer could report only one.  Not every writer has to report all of the details another mentions.  In other words, these are different stories but not necessarily conflicting stories.  All could be true at the same time.

Second, while it is possible to make the data fit into coherent story, we cannot be sure that we have the right coherent story.  We have a jigsaw puzzle of information and cannot be sure that we have all the pieces.  Thus, since the Scripture has not given us a single unified story, we must be careful or else we will end up believing that our reconstruction is the truth.  A reconstruction may be the truth or it may distort the truth.  Perhaps if we had some other critical pieces of information we would make quite a different reconstruction.

Third, these stories are exactly what one would expect to discover after a significant event like the resurrection.  The chancellor of this author’s university died at the end of an address to the student body.  Within an hour of the event a sociology professor had his thirty students each write down their own account of what had happened.  Each was instructed to write as honest and detailed account as they could, given the limited time of the class period.  When the accounts were later compared, there were numerous differences in detail, although all agreed that the chancellor had died at the end of his address.  Presumably each Gospel writer had a series of stories about the resurrection to sort through.  For example, we know that Matthew knows and values Mark’s account, but in the resurrection story he obviously has some independent information as well.  The Evangelists selected and combined data to get the accounts that they give us.  But even the beloved disciple John is not an eyewitness of most of the events, so we are not surprised to find a lot of differences in their reporting what happened.

Finally, when we try to put the stories together, we miss the point of the authors.  The church accepted into it canon four separate Gospels, viewing each as inspired by God.  It did not put into the canon a harmony of these Gospels (although, such existed).  The fact is that each writer is trying to bring out his unique perspective and theological insights by the details he includes or leaves out (although, unless Matthew and Luke are differing from Mark, which we know that they knew, we often cannot be sure that the author actually knows a detail and so purposely leaves it out.)  Matthew wants to underline the miraculous and also explain a rumor that the body of Jesus was stolen.  Luke stresses the fulfillment of the words of Jesus and yet the disbelief of the apostles. 

John, by focusing on a single character and her intimate discussion with Jesus, points out that in the resurrection and ascension of Jesus the promises of John 13-16 are fulfilled.  Jesus cannot be held, for it is better for him to go to the one who is not only his Father but is now also our Father.  It is when we look at the resurrection through such eyes, informed by the perspective of each Gospel writer, that we see not simply a miracle, nor even the fact of the resurrection, but the message the church has believed that God wanted to communicate in and through the resurrection Jesus Christ.

Ten Keys to Intimacy in Marriage

February 14 is a day set aside for couples to express their love. However, most men are clueless in regards to the state of their relationship with their spouse. If men would just learn to properly prioritize their marriage and family, focusing properly on what matters most, then all the other things they desire for significance will manifest in their proper time! The following are keys to maintaining intimacy with your spouse.

If leaders would just learn to properly prioritize their marriage and family, focusing properly on what matters most, then all the other things they desire for significance will manifest in their proper time!

I once heard Harold Bredesen say something to the effect of: “If I just focus on pleasing the Lord, then everyone He wants me to please will be pleased anyway.”

Someone else once said: “If you put first things first, then what you put second won’t be hurt anyway.”

The following are keys to maintaining intimacy with your spouse:

1. Intimacy Means Different Things to Each Sex
a. Men: It means physical intimacy.

b. Women: It means emotional intimacy.

c. Both men and women need emotional intimacy, but the men seem to be able to press forward oblivious to the fact that there is a lack in the area of emotional connection.

d. Women in general have very little sex drive; their real desire is to feel vulnerable, transparent, and intimate with their husbands. (Desire for sex is determined by a person’s testosterone level. Women have a very low level of testosterone.) Their desire to share their physical body is commensurate to their willingness to share their heart with that special someone.

2. The Key to Intimacy: Create a Safe Haven
a. Create a safe haven in the relationship. Allow your spouse the liberty to make mistakes or say things without rendering an immediate judgment (she needs to know she can vent or make mistakes or even sin without you instantly coming down on her).

3. Make Her Part of Your Whole Life and Vocation
a. My wife would constantly tell me that I am not spending time with her and it would confuse me because at that time we usually had dinner together one night per week, and I was frequently home five nights per week, etc. But I didn’t realize that my wife felt my focus was not with her fully when I was with her. Thus, just being together in body didn’t necessarily make her feel like she had the attention and focus of my heart.

b. Don’t compartmentalize in regards to her. Scheduling time in my blackberry to be at home or take out my wife for dinner once per week didn’t matter to her when she called me during the workday and I answered the phone less than happy. It was obvious to her that she was annoying me because she was intruding and distracting me from my work. She was not a part of my world, or part of my work schedule.

4. Answer Her Feelings, Not Her Words
a. Men usually are more logical and technical, and will dissect their wives’ words which frustrates them and make things worse.

b. The core issue is usually never on the surface. You need to understand the underlying reason for the frustrating tone of her voice and speak to that, not just going “tit for tat” based on her words. Jesus rarely answered people’s questions directly; He always dealt with their motives and/or true feelings.

5. Follow the E.V.E. Acronym
a. Echo

  • * Repeat what your spouse says to let them know you are listening to them.

b. Validate

  • * Show your spouse that what they said to you was important to you and not trivial.

c. Empathize

  • * Show them that you understand why they feel the way they do. When someone is very upset then empathy should be the first thing you show in order to calm them down and get them to a good place for a less heated discussion.
  • * Many men see life’s issues only in black and white and have as their major goal to win an argument and be “right,” whereas a wife’s main concern is to feel secure in the fact that her husband understands her.

6. Understand Your Dysfunction/Fear
a. Deal with the real issues causing friction between you and your spouse.

b. There is usually a latent fear you have that is touched when you react negatively to your spouse (insecurity, control, fear of failure, abandonment, inferiority, disrespect, isolated, fear of pain).

c. Get to the root issues of your fears and deal with them so that they are not on the table when you are dealing with your spouse.

7. A Man Sets the Trend for His Spouse’s Emotional State
a. The wife is the receiver in the relationship; the husband is the initiator.

b. When a woman is depressed it can be a sign that her relationship with her husband is not what she needs. Often a woman can’t help how she feels emotionally because of the way her husband is treating her!

c. She is more fulfilled in her relationship with her husband, while the husband is more fulfilled in what he accomplishes and the tasks he is involved with. A man gets his feeling of satisfaction more from doing a significant task, while a woman generally receives most of her satisfaction from her relationships, especially with her husband and children.

8. You Need to be Responsible for Yourself First
a. Don’t play the blame game.

b. Don’t wait for your spouse to change before you reach out to her and love her.

c. We can’t change our spouse; leave that up to God (trying to change your spouse will frustrate you and your spouse).

9. Live a Life of Continual Self-Renewal
a. Spend time with the Lord so you are always filled with the love of God (Romans 5:5).

b. You cannot love your spouse the correct way without God’s agape power (1 John 4:7-8).

10. Live a Life of Forgiveness
a. You cannot forgive your spouse if you don’t forgive yourself. Matthew 22 teaches us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

b. Do not hold onto unforgiveness–it leads to a formula of resentment and bitterness/torment.

c. Statistics tell us that those who get divorced and remarry have a high percentage of getting divorced a second time. The main reason for this is because folks generally rebound and run into another relationship before they deal with past hurts/pains, thus bringing baggage into the new relationship. For example, Brittney Spears is only 25 and already working on her second divorce. Just a few days after her divorce was announced she was spotted with another “young hunk”!

Suggested Reading:
Discovering the Mind of a Woman by Ken Nair
The DNA of Relationships by Gary Smalley
Safe Haven Marriage by Archibald D. Hart and Sharon Hart Morris

To download the seminar, click here.

The Top Ten Challenges to Building an Apostolic Network

I. The Needs of the Local Church Presided by Network Overseer
1. If the overseer of the network is also a senior pastor of a local church, then in most cases the needs of the local church will at times divert the apostolic leader’s attention away from the development of the network.

2. The advantages to remaining in the pastorate are huge, thus this is very common. Two major reasons for remaining the pastor of a local church while functioning apostolically over a network are:
A. A pastor is generally more respected by other pastors as a gatekeeper than just a horizontal networker. There are some rare exceptions to this.
B. A pastor can draw from their church salary and not be driven totally by the tithes of those relating to the network.

3. In my case, although I have a strong full-time staff and great pastoral leaders working with me in Resurrection Church, I am constantly juggling the local church with my apostolic role as a bishop to pastors and churches. Finding the balance is never easy, especially when my focus gets divided at times when serious issues simultaneously hit locally and extra locally in my network.

II. Ignorance
1. Many attempt to build an apostolic network without first sitting under seasoned leaders who have already built successful models.

2. In my case, I sat under John Kelly, the overseeing leader of Antioch Churches and Ministries, for 10 years before launching out and founding City Covenant Coalition.

III. Local Church Vision as Opposed to Kingdom Vision
1. The apostolic leader is constantly challenged not only with the needs of their own local church but in attempting to change the paradigm of local church pastors who do not have a view of the kingdom of God but only see the importance of their local congregations.

2. Biblically, there is really only one church per city with numerous expressions of His body via various congregations and ministries. Until church leadership embrace this, it will be difficult to build apostolically in a region.

IV. The Apostolic Leader is Personally Overwhelmed
The apostolic leader has many challenges, not the least of which are the divided loyalties between their local church, the network they oversee, and the personal challenges they may have with marriage, family, finances, health, and prioritizing an appropriate amount of time for self-renewal.

V. Covenant is Not Practiced Among the Network Pastors
1. One of the greatest challenges to any apostolic network is when trust is broken between key leaders in a city or region, or within the leadership team of the network.

2. An example of this is when elders or leaders go from one church to another without proper communication between the senior pastors. Thus, fish swapping becomes perceived as sheep stealing.

3. Covenants can also be broken by something as simple as a leader not returning the phone call or email of another leader. If a person does not have “thick skin” and is operating out of a personal search for significance and/or insecurity, then they will most definitely be offended when they attempt to bring purposeful unity to the Body of Christ in their region. Offended leaders then break off relationships and sever covenantal ties.

VI. No Understanding of the Apostolic Protocol
1. Apostolic protocol is a very broad term. By this I mean there are certain ways apostolic leadership functions that are different than historic denominational function.

2. Denominational relationships are often politically and organizationally driven while apostolic relationships are voluntarily and covenantal in nature.

3. Apostolic protocol relates to the proper way ministers relate to one another including how pastors treat translocal ministers when they minister in their local assembly, and how translocal ministers treat and speak about senior pastor when they minister.

4. Examples of bad protocol include:
A. When a pastor cancels the preaching engagement of a translocal minister just a few weeks before the engagement. This is especially difficult for translocal ministers who receive no salary from a church because they are not functioning as pastors. (When we cancel an engagement without a few months notice, we will send that minister an offering if they cannot find another ministry engagement.)
B. If a translocal minister targets and connects with the wealthy members of churches they minister in for the purpose of soliciting financial support.
C. When a translocal minister corrects a church and/or the church leadership in public when they are ministering.
D. When the translocal minister attempts to dictate new vision for the church they minister in, or prophetically appoints leadership and/or a governmental office to a local church attendee in public without first clearing it with the senior pastor and/or elders.

VII. Finances
1. One of the biggest hindrances to apostolic networks is in the collection of covenant tithes and offerings.

2. For any organization to become viable, they must have committed members or associates who consistently give to sustain the vision and overseer.

3. A challenge for the apostolic leader is soliciting funding for the organization without coming off like he/she will only minister to pastors who financially contribute. A fine balance is needed in adopting a proper methodology so that the organization does not foster a hireling mentality among its members.

VIII. Administration Strategy and People
Many apostolic organizations and networks have great anointing and vision, but without good administration and the finances to hire capable staff much of the vision and anointing will be limited. Apostolic administration harnesses the corporate vision and anointing in a focused and practical manner with a spirit of excellence so that all members and potential members are being connected together relationally, technologically, and with regular and purposeful events and covenant gatherings.

IX. Methodology
1. All apostolic networks must come to a conclusion sooner or later whether or not they want to be a highly organized and structured group or just a loose, informal group involving little or no organization.

2. The kind of network you will have is determined within the first 1-3 years of the formation of your apostolic network.

3. Many apostolic leaders do not want the burden of having a highly structured network because it means they must hire full time staff and deal with administration issues. They just want other leaders to come together based on a phone call or email with no agenda except to fellowship, pray, and share the Scriptures.

4. Structured and intentional networks have the most potential in terms of effectiveness as long as strict protocol and/or programs do not replace organically relating and the development of covenant partnerships.

X. Spiritual Warfare to Stop John 17:21-23 & 1 Corinthians 11:30
1. Satan fights the prayer of Jesus in John 17:21 more than any other prayer because kingdom unity fostered by apostolic networks is the key to world evangelization and the lordship of Christ over all.

2. It is not just all the human issues of covenant breaking, organization, local church versus kingdom issues, etc., but that the devil will try to capitalize on any chinks in the armor of the apostolic network or leadership by exacerbating human weakness and the character flaws among the leadership, magnifying every negative experience with a wide array of attacks with only one purpose: to bring division.

3. Satan only has one plan to stop kingdom unity; he does not have a plan B or a plan C, only plan A: to divide the Body of Christ!

4. Often and at the worst possible times, right before an organizational or leadership breakthrough, misunderstandings arise and all hell breaks loose!

5. It is imperative that all leaders function in and covenant to walk in the principles of Matthew 18:15-18 as part of their praxis. These principles should be so ingrained that it becomes interwoven into the very culture of the apostolic network.

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” -Matthew 18:15-17

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New Testament Local Church Government

I.    OFFICES DESCRIBED


1.    Set One
a)    The New Testament shows that the local church was ruled by a team of Elders, with one Elder being set in by God as the Ruling Senior Elder.  Nowhere in the Bible is the Senior Elder called a Pastor.  He is one of the fivefold ministers described in Eph. 4:11.  We will call him the “Set One” because he is “Set In.”  1 Cor. 12:28; Num. 27:16

b)    He is the Set One because he is the one that God originally put the vision into, and the one God primarily uses to direct and implement the vision.

c)    As the Set One, he is the Leader, Senior Elder and Father (or Mother) of the work, and all vision & direction for the church comes first through that person from the Holy Spirit.

d)    New Testament Examples:
The early church was led by a leadership team of Peter and John with the other ten, Peter clearly being designated as the spokesman and Leader. Later on James the Lord’s brother, became the Leader.
Acts 1:15, 2:14, 3:12, 4:8, 5:3, 9, 15, 29, 10:1-48, 12:3

The following verses show that James, the Lord’s half-brother, eventually became the spokesman and Chief Elder.
Acts 15:13-21, Galatians 2:1, 2, 9, 1:19, Acts 21:18, 12:17

e)    The “Set One” was the Episcopal leader of the eldership team
Titus 2:15, 1:5
Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18, 3:1, 7, 14
(“Angel” means messenger – God gave this revelation to the spokesmen of each church.  The spokesman or messenger is the Leader or Set Man.

2.    Qualifications
a)    Should function in at least one of the ministry gifts described in Ephesians 4:11

b)    Should be raised up through their Set One in a local church environment.

c)    Should be sent out and set in with the full blessing of their pastor (set one) and mother church (Rom. 10:15).

d)    Should be under the authority of and submit to another Set One. (Not over the church they oversee, but voluntarily submits their personal life and ministry to their Spiritual father (or mother) as Set One.)

e)    Must be able to oversee and manage a local church.

f)    Must have a vision for the entire Kingdom of God.

g)    Must be willing to be removed from ministry in cases of moral failure or severe incompetence.

3.    Eldership
a)    The term Elder means someone older or it can refer to a person who is mature spiritually and who functions in the church as a spiritual overseer.  This refers to the Set One who is an Elder, and those who serve with him on his leadership team that he sets in as Elders.
1 Peter 5, 1 Tim. 3, II & III Jn.1:1, Acts 15:22, 20:17

b)    Different Kinds of Elders:
    1)    Governmental Elders (voting board – administrative and financial overseer)
    2)    Ministering Elder (all five fold ministers – these do the work of the ministry without being involved with the burden of the Government of the Ministry)

c)    Plurality of Elders who served with Set One in Team Ministry
Acts 11:27, 30, 14:23, 15:4,22, 16:4, 20:17, 20:18
Note: they become a multiplicity of ministry team

4.    Deaconate
a)    Deacon – deaconate – means servant.
Since all are called to serve in the body of Christ, a Deacon is simply one who is an officially recognized servant in the local church.  One who not only meets the ministerial requirements of years of proven service but also demonstrates strict character requirements.
1 Tim. 3, Acts 6, Phil. 1

b)    Different Kinds of Deacons:
These people not only do works of service but they primarily manage the Ministry of Helps.  They oversee different areas in the church.  For example a Deacon may oversee maintenance, another one various kinds of office administration, another benevolence, another finances, ushers ministry or hospital visitations.  Deacons are primarily concerned with and oversee the “physical” needs of the Church, whereas Elders primarily oversee the “spiritual” needs of the Church (Shepherding, Home Groups, Follow Up, Finances, Preaching & Teaching)

c)    Both men and women can serve in the deaconate.
Romans 16:1 – Servant is deaconess in the original Greek
 
5.    Ministry Team
a)    Those who serve in the Local Church on the Ministry Team are those who oversee any ministry or department in the local Church. Example: Sunday School, Evangelism, Nursery, Music, Tape Ministry).  These may or may not be Elders or Deacons but serve a vital role in the Church as Department Heads.

 
II.    PRIMARY PURPOSE OF EACH OFFICE

1.    Set One
a)    Be the Visionary by spending extensive time with the Lord.  (Establish the Purpose, Vision & Goals)  
Ex. 18:19, Acts 6:1-4

b)    Give the general oversight to the Church by sharing Vision and Plans to the Elders, Deacons, and Congregation.
Hebrews 13

c)    Equip the Saints and speak into and train the leaders.
Ephesians 4:11, 2 Timothy 2:2

d)    Preaching and teaching to set the vision in motion.
1 Tim. 4:13, 16, Acts 2:42, 20:9, 20, 28:30, 31

e)    Work with the Elders (and or trustees) for financial oversight.
Acts 4:34, 35

f)    Starting other churches and ministries.
Acts 13:2, 3

g)    Protect the sheep from wolves.
Jn. 10, Rom. 16:17, Titus 3:1, 1 Cor. 5

h)    Bringing the message of the Kingdom.
Luke 4:18, 19

i)    Help facilitate and —- place people in the Body according to their giftings.
1 Cor. 12:28, Rom 12:6

2.    Eldership in a local church
a)    Should bear the burden of the work of the spiritual oversight with the Set One.  (Ex. 18:21-26)

b)    Serve as counselors and advisors to the Set One. (Acts 15:6-19)

c)    Oversee or manage a major ministry in the church. (Ex. 18:21-26)

d)    Serve as armor bearers and protectors of the Set One and the vision.

e)    Help facilitate, implement and administrate the vision of the Church.

f)    Help Set One in equipping and discipling the saints.

g)    Be people of prayer who own the Vision with the Set One.
(Acts 6:2-4)

    Benefits of Having Elders in Team Ministry
    1)    A total ministry
    2)    A variety of ministries
    3)    Power of agreement; productivity accelerated (Deut. 32:30)
    4)    It establishes truth (2 or 3 witnesses)
    5)    It encourages new ideas
    6)    Checks and balances
    7)    Smooth transition (if Set One steps down or leaves)
    8)    Preserves Set One (Ex. 18:17,18)

3.  Deaconate:  The Purpose
a)    It releases the Elders to concentrate on spiritual oversight.  (It increases the Leadership team/mix and makes it more effective.)
Acts 6:1-4  

b)    They manage the ministry of helps and insure that the work is being done and not overlooked.  

c)    The deaconate is a training ground for all those called to serve in the five fold ministry.  (Those called to five fold ministry develop their gifts and increase their anointing by first serving or functioning as deacons in the ministry of helps.


Scriptural Examples of how the Ministry of Helps prepares people for greater ministry (five fold ministry)

1)    Acts 6:1-8: Stephen and Philip later became five fold ministers
Acts 7, Acts 8:5-8, Acts 21:8)
2)    The 12 Apostles first served Jesus in Ministry of Helps.
Jn. 4:31-33 –They purchased food for Jesus.
Jn. 6:1-13 – Organized seating arrangements in an open air meeting.
Mt. 26:17-19 – Prepared food and the room for the Passover.
Mt. 21:1-3 – Retrieved a donkey for Jesus (provided transportation).
Mt. 17:27 – They were sent to pay the tax.
3)    Throughout the book of Acts we see many men such as Timothy, Mark and Luke who first served as ministers of helps to Paul and afterward raised up to five fold ministry.
4)    Numbers 27:16-23 – Joshua was referred to many times as the “Servant of Moses” before He was qualified to lead the nation of Israel under Jehovah.
1 Kings 19:16-21 – Elisha first served as Elijah’s Servant before becoming a prophet.
1 Samuel 16:14-23 – David served Saul before being made King.
1 Samuel 2:18-20 – Samuel served Eli before being made Prophet.

 


III.    HOW SET ONE & ELDERS SHOULD FUNCTION TOGETHER / DIFFERENT KINDS OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT TODAY


1.    One Person Rule: (Episcopas) Mk. 10:42-44

a)    Set One rules by himself.

b)    Set One makes all the decisions, does all the planning without getting advise or counsel from Elders.
Dangers of this form of government:
    •    The weakest and most vulnerable form of government. (It depends only on one person instead of a team so Satan only has to destroy one person to destroy the church).
    •    Takes away the wisdom of a team.
    •    Takes away the synergistic power of a team.
    •    No checks and balances for the Set One if they go- off morally, doctrinally or financially.
    •    This kind of government only holds up in times of peace, but doesn’t hold up when the storms hit.

2.    Congregational (People’s Party – Democracy)
a)    The people rule by vote.

b)    No clear leader. The Pastor is only a regular member.

c)    Pastor must represent what the people want – rather than lead them into what God wants.


3.    Board or Counsel Control:  (Oligarchic leadership )

a)    A Board of Trustees, Elders or Deacons run the church.

b)    The Pastor is just hired to preach/visit and perform religious duties


4.    Central or External Control:  (A Church is controlled by their denomination or the state.  The property of the church is owned by the External Organization.)

a)    The church is controlled by the denomination in State (Empire).

b)    The church property is owned by the outside organization or state, and so the Church Board is answerable to it.

c)    The Pastor is directly answerable to either to a central board and the denomination or both.

d)    This is unscriptural:  All local churches should be semi-autonomous without outside authority or control except in cases of moral failure or another similar crisis. They should network with other churches without getting entangled legally.  The senior Pastor (set one) should be personally accountable to his spiritual leaders without any outside interference from the church he oversees (except in the case of moral failure or another similar crisis).  The church he oversees should be ruled by a team of Elders he leads.


5.    Eldership Team

a)    This is the biblical way.

b)    A team of Elders work together in shepherding and managing the Church and together, as a team they minister to the local church.

c)    In this team, the Set One serves as the Senior or Leading Elder and gives vision and direction to the other Elders.

d)    This type of government combines the Episcopal and Presbyterian form of government.

e)    In this form of government, you have the benefit of having a strong leader who hears from God and gives direction, with a strong team who support him in the ministry with their prayer, wisdom, counsel, input, ministry gifts, administration and checks and balances that he needs to keep to the original mission of the church

 

QUALIFICATIONS OF ELDERS & DEACONS


1.    Exodus 18:21

  • •    Be an able man (able to handle responsibility, anointing and wisdom for ministry function strategy).
  • •    Be a support man (have a servant’s heart to support Set Man, not subvert his role).
  • •    Fear God (Serve God in holiness, uprightly).
  • •    Men of truth (honest, transparent, follow Mt. 18).
  • •    Hate Covetousness (not posturing for position or honor or money).
  • •    Be humble and teachable.
  • •    Know their level of authority and limit.  (Some manage 10’s, some 100’s, some 1,000’s, hard cases brought to Set One, they don’t fake authority, not their own.)

 


2.    1 Timothy 3:1-11

  • •    First be tested (must function for a long time as an Elder before title is given to them).
  • •    The husband of one wife (must be monogamous, divorced only for biblical reasons).
  • •    Temperate (have self control – not a bad temper).
  • •    Sober Minded (have a disciplined, focused mind set on God’s will).
  • •    Good behavior (Doesn’t embarrass himself, family, or church with actions).
  • •    Hospitable (must be willing to have company over their house).
  • •    Able to teach (must have the anointing and natural ability to speak).
  • •    Not addicted to alcohol or drugs.
  • •    Manage his house well (a healthy home life)
  • •    Must not be a recent convert (must have already been through the fires and have brokenness worked into their life so they don’t succumb to pride.)


QUALIFICATIONS OF DEACONS


1.    1 Timothy 3:8-13

  • •    Dignified – Someone who walks with dignity and inspires others to respect and worship God.
  • •    Not double tongued – they keep their word.  They don’t say one thing to a person, and then say another thing to somebody else.  Not gossipers or slanderers.
  • •    Not given to much wine – Always ready for spiritual warfare.
  • •    Not greedy of money – Doesn’t serve for money or position; must be trusted at times with churches finances.
  • •    Must have a clear conscience – Walk in the spirit, not be in bondage to any sin, walk up rightly, must live a life of repentance and brokenness.
  • •    Must first be proved – Must function as a servant for a long time without being recognized).
  • •    Husband of one wife – Polygamy not allowed, unscriptural.  Divorce not allowed.
  • •    Ruling their own family well – Discipline and get respect from children and wife; manage their money well; pays their bills on time , doesn’t have a lot of debt – controls and leads family.

 


In Summary:

  • •    Deacons are recognized servants.
  • •    Deacons must first be proved.
  • •    They are primarily managers and overseers of the ministry of helps and the physical needs of the Church.
  • •    They have strict character requirements (same as Elders).
  • •    Those called into Eldership or the Five Fold Ministry usually must first function in the Deaconate.
  • •    Those who serve faithfully as Deacons have a great reward in heaven and great boldness in the faith.  (1 Tim. 3:13)


SPOUSES OF AN ELDER OR DEACON

1.    Never use a spouse’s position in church to get her way.

2.    Never try to influence a spouse in a negative, unbiblical way, or try to push their own agenda or opinions on their spouse.  They can give advice in a Godly, gentle manner, trusting that God will speak to their spouse and have His way in the situation without their persistent interference.

3.    Should be committed to the Church, the Church Leadership and the Vision of the Church, to pay tithes and offerings and be a regular attendee of all expected meetings.

4.    Should be committed to a discipleship group and be directly accountable and submitted to the leader that the Set One appoints over them.

5.    Be committed to the principles of communication and confrontation as taught by Jesus in Matthew 18:15.

6.    Should vow never to be divisive either by evil speaking against any in leadership (including their spouse) or by being unfaithful or uncommitted to both ministry responsibilities or required meetings, or by holding on to grudges and refusing to reconcile or speak to the person who hurt or offended them.

 

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Dream for Dominion Dream for Dominion

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Text: Genesis 1:26-28
God has called all of us to bear fruit, multiply, subdue the earth and have dominion.

The following are some key principles so we can dream for dominion:

1. Understand that God’s love is unconditional but His blessings are conditional (Deuteronomy 28:1-2; Isaiah 1:19)
a. Miracles don’t just happen; they occur when certain principles are applied.

b. God enables us to participate in the progress of our lives; He gives us the option to succeed.

2. Understanding and harnessing desire
a. Men rarely reach for what they need; they usually reach for what they desire.

b. The proof of desire is pursuit. It doesn’t matter what you say, only what you pursue.
i. Do you hate sickness, poverty, injustice, etc.?

c. Feed good desires by visualizing them.

3. Hang with the right crowd
a. Proverbs 13:20: “He that walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”

b. Don’t expose your 16 x 20 visions to a 5 x 7 person.

c. Have an uncommon mentor to disciple you and send you forth for greatness.

d. The power of unity: Genesis 11; Matthew 18:19.

e. The best way to get rid of the wrong people is to be obsessed with doing the right things.

4. Be focused
a. Stay focused on your future, not your past failures.

b. Don’t be scattered like a shotgun blast; be focused like a laser beam.

c. Creative people have a tendency to stop something before they are finished.

d. Throw off all distractions to your assignment (Mark 8:33; Hebrews 12:2).

5. What you respect will come to you
a. Health

b. Faith

c. God

d. Money
 
6. Learn to use your imagination
a. Great achievers replay past triumphs and preplay future success.

b. The role of memory and imagination.

c. David and Goliath.

d. Abraham: Genesis 13:16; 26:4.

e. Even wicked people can use it for their advantage (Genesis 6 and 11).

f. Jesus’s mind was on the resurrection, not on the cross (Hebrews 12:1-2).

g. Your imagination is not a referee; it grows the seeds you decide to water and nurture.

h. There are disaster seeds and dream seeds.

7. Learn to set goals
a. You must have a destination before you change your location.

b. God honored the planning of Noah, Moses, Solomon, and Nehemiah.

c. Jesus taught us to plan (Luke 14:28).

d. “Go to the ant” (Proverbs 6:6-8).

e. Invest time and money into yourself.
i. People can’t spend $180 on a Men’s Encounter, but they will spend all that at a Yankees game for 3 hours!

f. Whatever you are, you create; whatever I am, I reproduce around me. It’s time to obey God and reproduce blessing and obedience to God around you.

g. Exercising faith is believing that something exists that you have not yet experienced.

8. Understand the use of time
a. God didn’t give us money, friends, businesses, clothes, and hairstyles; He gave us time.

b. Time is the currency on the earth.

c. I have never met a poor person who understood the importance of time; I have never met a self-made rich person who didn’t understand the importance of time.

d. John 7:6: Every problem is an opportunity to make money. Every time your boss is disappointed with something, you have the opportunity to demonstrate your significance.

9. Understand your potential
a. You are a warehouse of seeds.

b. Every seed is a pathway from your present to your future.

c. You can see something no one else can see.

d. You know something others do not know; see something others do not see; see problems others do not see. For example:
i. Lawyers solve legal problems.
ii. Mechanics solve car problems.
iii. Dentists solve tooth problems.
iv. Mothers solve emotional problems.
v. Accountants solve tax problems.

e. In other words, someone needs you; you are a walking solution to someone.

f. Discover the seeds God has given you and your future will be anything you desire.

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Ten Obstacles to Building an Apostolic Network

I. The Needs of the Local Church Presided by Network Overseer
1. If the overseer of the network is also a senior pastor of a local church, then in most cases the needs of the local church will at times divert the apostolic leader’s attention away from the development of the network.

2. The advantages of remaining in the pastorate are huge, thus this is very common. Two major reasons for remaining the pastor of a local church while functioning apostolically over a network are:
A. A pastor is generally more respected by other pastors as a gatekeeper than just a horizontal networker (there are some rare exceptions to this).
B. A pastor can draw from their church salary and not be driven totally by the tithe of those relating to the network.

3. In my case, although I have a strong full-time staff and great pastoral leaders working with me in Resurrection Church, I am constantly juggling the local church with my apostolic role as a bishop to pastors and churches. Finding the balance is never easy, especially when my focus gets divided when serious issues simultaneously hit locally and extra-locally in my network.

II. Ignorance
1. Many attempt to build an apostolic network without first sitting under seasoned leaders who have already built successful models.

2. In my case I sat under John Kelly, the overseeing leader of Antioch Churches and Ministries, for ten years before launching and founding City Covenant Coalition.

III. Local Church Vision as Opposed to Kingdom Vision
1. The apostolic leader is constantly challenged not only with the needs of their own local church, but in attempting to change the paradigm of local church pastors who don’t have a view of the Kingdom of God and only see the importance of their local congregation.
A. The biblical view is that there is really only one church per city with numerous expressions of His Body via various congregations and ministries. Until church leadership embraces this, it will be difficult to build apostolically in a region.

IV. The Apostolic Leader is Personally Overwhelmed
1. The apostolic leader has many challenges, not the least of which include the divided loyalties between their local church, the network they oversee, and the personal challenges they may have with marriage, family, finances, health, and prioritizing an appropriate amount of time for self-renewal.
 
V. Covenant is Not Practiced Among the Network Pastors
1. One of the greatest challenges to any apostolic network is when trust is broken between key leaders in a city or region, or within the leadership team of the network.

2. An example of this is when elders or leaders go from one church to another without the proper communication needed between the pastors; thus fish swapping becomes perceived as sheep stealing.

3. Covenants can also be broken by something as simple as a leader not returning phone calls or emails from another leader. If a person doesn’t have “thick skin” and is operating out of a personal search for significance and/or insecurity, then they will most definitely be offended when they attempt to bring purposeful unity to the Body of Christ in their region. Offended leaders then break off relationships and sever covenantal ties.

VI. No Understanding of the Apostolic Protocol
1. Apostolic protocol is a very broad term. By this I mean that there are certain ways apostolic leadership functions that are different than historic denominational function.
A. Denominational relationships are often politically and organizationally driven while apostolic relationships function voluntarily and are covenantal in nature.
B. Apostolic protocol relates to the proper way ministers relate to one another, including how pastors treat translocal ministers when they minister in their local assembly, and how translocal ministers treat and speak about senior pastors when they minister.
C. An example of bad protocol would be when a pastor cancels the preaching engagement of a translocal minister just a few weeks before the engagement. This is especially difficult for translocal ministers who receive no salary from a church because they are not functioning as a pastor. (When we cancel an engagement without a few months notice, we will send that minister an offering if they can’t find another ministry engagement.)
D. Other examples of bad protocol include: If a translocal minister targets and connect with the wealthy members of churches they minister in for the purpose of soliciting financial support; when a translocal minister corrects a church and/or the church leadership in public when they are ministering; when a translocal minister attempts to dictate new vision for the church they minister in, or prophetically appoints leadership and/or a governmental office to a local church attendee in public without first clearing it with the senior pastor and/or elders.
 
VII. Finances
1. One of the biggest hindrances to apostolic networks is in the collection of covenant tithes and offerings.
A. For any organization to become viable, they must have committed members or associates who consistently give to sustain the vision and overseer.
B. It is a challenge for the overseer to solicit funding for the organization without coming off like they will only minister to pastors who financially contribute. A fine balance is needed in adopting a proper methodology so that the organization doesn’t foster a hireling mentality among its members.

VIII. Administration Strategy and People
1. Many apostolic organizations and networks have great anointing and vision but without good administration and the finances to hire competent staff, much of the vision and anointing will be limited. Apostolic administration harnesses the corporate vision and anointing in a focused and practical manner with a spirit of excellence, so that all members and potential members are being connected together relationally, technologically, and with regular and purposeful events and covenant gatherings.

IX. Methodology
1. All apostolic networks must decide sooner or later whether or not they want to be a highly organized and structured group or a loose, informal group involving little or no organization.

2. The kind of network you will have is determined within the first 1-3 years of the formation of the apostolic network.

3. Many apostolic leaders don’t want the burden of having a highly structured network because it means they must hire full-time staff and deal with administration issues. They just want other leaders to come together based on a phone call or email with no agenda except to fellowship, pray, and share the Scriptures.

4. Structured and intentional networks have the most potential in terms of effectiveness as long as strict protocol and/or programs don’t replace organic relationships and the development of covenant partnerships.

X. Spiritual Warfare (John 17:21-23; 1 Corinthians 11:30)
1. Satan fights the prayer of Jesus in John 17:21 more than any other prayer because kingdom unity fostered by apostolic networks is the key to world evangelization and the lordship of Christ over all.

2. It is not only all the human issues of covenant breaking, organization, local church versus kingdom issues, etc., but the fact that the devil will try to capitalize on any chinks in the armor of an apostolic network or leadership by exacerbating human weakness and the character flaws among the leadership, magnifying every negative experience with a wide array of attacks with only one purpose: to bring division.
A. Satan only has one plan to stop Kingdom unity; he doesn’t have a plan B or a plan C–only plan A: to divide the Body of Christ!
B. Often at the worst possible times right before an organizational or leadership breakthrough, misunderstandings arise and all hell breaks loose!

3. It is imperative that all leaders function in and covenant to walk in the principles of Matthew 18:15-17 as part of their praxis. These principles should be so ingrained that it becomes interwoven into the very culture of the apostolic network.

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”
-Matthew 18:15-17

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