Kingdom Manipulation

18 12 2010
The dream was about two pastors, one whose face I recognized and the other I could not. The two of them were tested of their servant hood: They were to clean up some dirty spots in their church. In the dream I happened to be their helper. As they rubbed the dirty ceilings they would hand me the dirty rags that they used to clean. They started cleaning; the pastor whose face I recognized handed me his rag and it fell to the floor and the two of them stopped cleaning. They looked at each other and then looked at me. Then he said, “This is manipulative action.”
“What do you mean?” I asked in my dream.
“You intentionally dropped the rag on the floor for us to pick it up again”, he said.
“You accuse me of manipulating you?” I replied.
A bunch of their congregation happened to be around as they have been tested in front of them. And then his ‘pastoral pervasive aura’ started to manifest and fill the whole atmosphere. He can somehow make himself appear ‘right’ in front of his members. He dramatically changed to his vested suit and stood up straight ‘among every one’ as if he is the man ‘in-charge.’
“Manipulative action,” God spoke to me clearly “it traverses around my Kingdom.” Then I realized that just as it is in modern churches today, exalting ‘one gift,’ the ‘pastor’ in the church, there is a tendency in His Kingdom to ‘raise’ what we have been calling ‘The Fivefold Ministry Gifts’ among all other gifts. This woke me up, around 5 in the morning. This is unusual to me as I am a night person, who normally writes from midnight until 3 in the morning.
“Do you want me to write something about pastors?” I ask the Lord. “I know I have been hurt by them, but writing against them is another story.”
“It’s not about them Molong nor about you,” He said, “It’s about My Kingdom being manipulated by gifted people; exalting one gift above another.”
I knew, what He meant about ‘gift’ is the ‘Five-fold Ministry Gifts’ so I asked myself, “Is the word ‘Five-fold’ gifts appear anywhere in the Bible?” Ephesians 4 mentions the five gifts to His Church, but ‘Five-fold’ which denotes a separation from other gifts, that appears to be ‘superior’ gifts among ‘less superior’ gifts, I couldn’t find it. “What about all these verses about ‘apostles and prophets’ being the ‘foundation of the church’”? I continued asking myself, “Does this mean that they are ‘superior’ than other gifts just because they are the ‘foundations?’” Foundations serve the purpose of the entire building. They are ‘invisible’ to the naked eyes but recognizable in times of storms and earthquakes. But the way we treat them seems like they are the ‘superiors’ in His Kingdom.
THE PASTOR
Just as the serpent is the most cunning creature in the Garden of Eden so is ‘The Pastor’ of a local church. He can ‘so’ appear himself as the main attraction of the whole event on Services. By the way he dresses himself, the way he postures himself, the way he speaks God’s Word, the way he projects himself in front of his congregation can be so deceiving. It takes just one person to bring the whole denomination under ‘cultic’ teachings, namely the pastor. He grabs with him the whole congregation – is manipulative in the way he handles the affairs of his church, he can just do it that quick before you know of it. His reputation rests on his title, his salary, his position in the office. Strip him off of his right and he’s nowhere to be found, not even in his own city.
I am not talking about one particular person, anyone can be that man, I am talking about ‘exalting’ this ‘one’ gift above the other four gifts listed in Ephesians 4 can actually manipulate the whole congregation as easily as he can. In the simple church movement, of course, we focus more now on ‘The Five-fold Ministry Gifts’ as we call it for many decades. And this is the whole point of the message.
THE FIVEFOLD GIFTS
God has been leading us through His Spirit. As we continue being church together as family, we know where we’re heading – towards body-life expressions corporately – but, we haven’t risked yet in our extended families to find out what it is to have ‘elders and deacons’ etc. When we are led to do so in exceptional cases, we do. Similarly, the ‘five- gifts’ listed in Ephesians: Who are they? Where are they? How shall they function? What is the expressive importance of these gifts in the body and where do they fit in His Kingdom? Questions could go on to pin-point exactly where they are hiding! For God’s people it is a joy to find out these answers!
SERVING THEIR NEXT GENERATION
First of all, these are gifts from Jesus to God’s People. They are not individual persons; they are gifts however the ‘spirit wills’ or ‘enables’ it will function. They are gifts to His people. There are ‘five gifts’ not ‘five people’ who has gifts. That is why it says in Ep 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers Not one individual has received all the five gifts on himself but ALL of His people are given one of these various gifts. [Some call this ‘four-fold’(some to be pastors and teachers)
instead of ‘five-fold’]. If you add all those “some’s” that would sum up to “ALL” have gifts in His Kingdom. These gifts will be more ‘visible’ when they function, depending on a given situation at a certain time as he is led by the spirit.
“VIOLIN MOLONG?”
“Paul, an apostle…” (one of the many) not “Apostle Paul.” One says, “That’s my gift.” The later says, “That’s my profession.” If I know how to play Violin, would you call me “Violin Molong?” or “Molong, the violinist?”
SERVANTHOOD NOT LEADERSHIP
Every disciple in His Kingdom gets the privilege of serving the King by serving His people. We serve God by serving His people, not ‘leading’ His people. There is already leadership in The King’s Kingdom; it is called ‘spirit- led.’ I believe that all the so-called leadership ‘qualities’ or ‘characteristics’ with scripture quotes were never intended for leadership, but for serving one another. Have you ever bumped into a Scripture that encourages us to ‘lead one another?’ Or ‘serve one another?’ Or have you ever wondered why there is so much competition in churches? Is it because they argue who serves or who leads? It’s obvious, isn’t it? Yes, it’s obvious. Christ is the head, not me, not you. It’s His body; we’re only a part of it. No one owns it, no one builds it, and no other ‘leads’ it except the Holy Spirit. “But can one be led by the spirit to lead?” Of course, be led by the spirit to ‘lead an unbeliever to Christ.’ You were gifted for that. But don’t try to use it for your brethren – we have been given authority, don’t use it on God’s children, your brethren. “Not so among you” Jesus says, “for you are all brothers.” The context talks about the Roman leadership in His day, be it Roman or Jewish, “not so among you!”
None of the apostles of Jesus called themselves a leader; instead we read “servant of the Lord Jesus Christ”- Paul,
James and Peter.
MANIPULATIVE ACTION
Jesus was very tough on the leadership of His day, either religious or governmental. And He ‘never’ promoted an ‘alternative leadership style’ except the counterpart: servant-hood. I read from a friend’s comment that Jesus never eradicates leadership but instead added ‘servant-hood’ in it. I wonder what other qualities are there to it. And if He ‘added’ servant-hood, would it still be called ‘leadership?’
No other ‘structure’ can be as manipulative in its action as in leadership. Either good or bad influence its aura is very strong. If we start preaching Jesus as King, anyhow that’s what we’re expecting when He returns, then we better start looking at these ‘five-gifts’ towards His Church as ‘servants of the King’. There is only One King in His Kingdom, the rest serves. Each is led to serve toward each other. All have gifts as the spirit ‘enables them.’ No gift is superior then the other. Just as there is no leadership ‘ladder’ to climb in His Kingdom, there is also no ‘superior’ or ‘inferior’ gift. Just as there is no ‘clergy’ and ‘laity’ there is also no ‘leader’ and ‘member’ in a church.
If we are not clear in the Kingdom about these ‘five-gifts’ and how it functions in and to the entire body of Christ, His Church, we may end up like Institutional churches that ‘exalts’ one gift over the other. What difference would there be then? Unless there is clarity we may even manipulate His Kingdom with these gifts!

Additional Thoughts from Mercy Simson [Thanks for editing]

Kelly Joel Weiler says: “I suppose many are looking for a new breed of hotshots who will be so much hotter than the rest. They’ll flash bigger smiles, have more confidence, walk with more polish, and teach the flashiest sermons. But how many have walked with Paul, or Peter, or Thomas, or Matthew? ‘The scum of the earth’ was what they were sometimes called. Crucified, homeless, despised by some, recognized and honored by others. I believe the Lord has been preparing a whole special generation of apostles and prophets for some time now. Though they may first appear on the scene in a somewhat typical fashion, ultimately I think what is brought to the church will significantly change the appearance of what we currently call church. Any ecclesiastical/political revolution will be the result of the content of their lives and ministry, but not throne seeking on their part. This will bring a whole new blood line into the leadership of the church. It’s not a political revolution, exercising a new type of dominion or papacy. What they bring is a revolution of heart foundations, which will inspire a revolution of leadership and ministry; returning the church to the foundations of ‘one body, one family, one for all and all for one.’”

 

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From Rad Zdero’s Desk to the “Thriving” Philippine House Church Movement

15 12 2010

Dear Friends in the Philippines,

Some time back brother Molong Nacua invited me to write a letter of encouragement to your nationwide network—in fact, your thriving movement—of house churches. I feel humbled and grateful for the chance to do so. Of course, modesty prevents me from being too enthusiastic about the idea because I feel I too am always learning and growing in this thing that God is presently doing on the earth by restoring his grassroots church. But, equally, false modesty might prevent me from writing anything at all and miss the opportunity for me to share what I have from the Lord for you and for us to connect on a deeper level with one another. And so I have taken your invitation soberly. What I would like to do is simply highlight some important elements that I believe any Spirit-led, Scripture-based, and  strategy-driven network of simple, organic, house churches should endeavour to include in their midst. These insights I have written about before in an article, but I wanted to make sure that I also send these to you at this time. I want to first remind us of what God has done in history, and is doing today, through small group and house church movements and then move on to give 10 specific points for your national network to consider.

The God of History

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Leadership or Servanthood?

10 12 2010
I am thinking Apostle Paul was a leader because people follow leaders….right?

People follow leaders indeed, they normally look for leaders or who’s the leader. Let unbelievers follow you, for ‘awhile’ like John the baptist, he has disciples on his own ‘for awhile’ until Jesus came and then his disciples followed Him, so we don’t know until when those people ‘followed’ Paul. I believe it’s ‘for awhile’ since he himself warned the Ephesian elders that, “there are some among you here who will draw disciples for themselves.” So the question really is ‘Are you drawing them to Christ or to ourselves? This is entirely up to us. People normally look and follow leaders, let them follow you, make sure of that because of your light, lead them, but not for long. When they started following you, push them to follow Christ by hearing His voice, being spirit-led. In this way, we are only taking men to Christ for him to be discipled. Or as Floyd McFlung would say, “we disciple the lost to convert, we don’t disciple the convert.” Or in leadership we say, ‘we serve those whom we lead, not lead those whom we serve.’  This is the difference between a servant and a leader.
If people followed Paul, yes, but following Paul is following Christ. If so, he himself did not call this ‘leadership’ but servanthood. He calls himself a ‘servant.’ Not a ‘leader’ nor a ‘servant-leader.’ Even that word ‘servant-leader’ confuses me, is he a ‘servant’ or a ‘leader?’ Or 50 percent of both?
People follow Jesus, because he is a leader. I think Paul said …. Follow me as I follow Jesus. So if Paul was not a leader why did he say….Follow me????