The Time Is Fulfilled

I have recently been struck with the opening words of Jesus’ ministry, as recorded in Mark 1:15.  “The time is fulfilled.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent and believe the gospel.”

Mark 1:14 tells us that Jesus came to Galilee. Jesus is always “coming.” He has come, He will come, and He is coming now. Every time Jesus “comes” it is evidence that the time is fulfilled.

“The time is fulfilled” has a spiritual and natural connotation.  On the spiritual side, Jesus is referring to over 100 Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Messiah.  On the natural side we have two critical considerations.  One of them is Alexander the Great the the Grecian empire.  Alexander was able to establish the Greek language as the major language of the then-known-world.  After the Greeks, we see the Roman empire, with its system of good roads, and the Pax Romana (peace throughout the empire).  The one common language, along with peace, and good roads ….. all of these things made it more convenient for the early church to spread the gospel of the kingdom from city to city, and region to region.

We have much the same going on in our culture today.  This is the fullness of time.  On the spiritual side we have multiple prophetic words that have been foretelling a mighty move of God in our major cities.  On the natural side we have the English language that is common throughout the earth.  Most young people around the world are being taught English in their school systems.  Spanish is another major language spoken in many parts of the world.  We could get on a jet today and be on the other side of the world tomorrow.  Amazing!  We also have all of the social media outlets that can be utilized to release the gospel of the kingdom.  We really need to be taking advantage of all the social media opportunities ….. amazing opportunities to reach the entire world!

The fullness of time is the culmination of all that has been taking place in the spiritual and natural realms.  It is like a symphony that is building with intensity until the music reaches a climax.  Everyone in the concert hall realizes that the music is building to a climactic point.  That is exactly what is taking place right now.  Everything that has been spoken, plus everything that has been happening ….. all of it has been building up to this moment.  Jesus “comes” in power.  The move of God is here.  This is the fullness of time!

Servant-Leadership

I recently discovered some notes that I used for teaching back in 1999. The class was entitled, “Servant-Leadership Cluster.” One of the lessons in the class was called, “Criteria for Servant-Leaders.” I listed ten qualities of a servant-leader. They include faithfulness, commitment, initiative, diligence, endurance, adaptability, faith, care for immediate family, friendliness, and submission. In that same packet of notes there was a lesson called “Servanthood Sent.” I used 2 Peter 1:1-11 as a scriptural basis for that lesson.

1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

The strength of servanthood is in being sent with a purpose. We have relationships that help us accomplish assignments. We move in faith, which is the common privilege of trusting God. We receive righteousness through the gift of Jesus. The source of servanthood sent is multiplication of grace and peace in spiritual knowledge, divine power, and the divine nature. The strategy of servanthood sent is the addition of faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and agape love that is always self-sacrificing and unconditional. If we practice this kind of servant-leadership we will have the promise of no barrenness, no unfruitfulness, no nearsightedness, and no stumbling along the way.

Praying for Revival

I was recently in a series of sessions with Bishop Tudor Bismark.  These sessions strongly impacted my spirit man.  Bishop Bismark is one of my favorite preachers.  There’s just something in the way he ministers that resonates with me.  I supposed that’s the way it is with all of our favorites.

 

In the first session he spoke about how high places are established.  In the second session he spoke about the formation of apostolic hubs.  In the third session he spoke about cycles of revival.  Of the three sessions, his message in the last one was the least impacting for me.  He told story after story about historic revivals.  The stories were interesting.  I enjoyed it.  But, it didn’t seem like it was effecting me.  And then it happened.  As Bishop Bismark closed his preaching ministry he began to lead us into a time of prayer, calling on the Lord for revival.  He said that America desperately needs a move of God, and Chicago needs revival.  When we started praying, an impartation of faith for revival came into the room.  I could feel faith rising up in my heart.  The second manifestation was the fear of the Lord.  The fear of the Lord was very, very strong in the room.

 

Looking back on that evening, I see those two components as being absolutely necessary if a move of God is going to take place in a city like Chicago.  We must have a high level of faith, and we must have the fear of the Lord.

 

Three times in Psalm 80 the writer says “Restore us.”  In verse 18 he says, “Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.”  That high level of faith is for the restoration of what has been lost, and the reviving of what has threatened to die.

 

In Psalm 85:6, the writer says, “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?”  Verse 9 says, “That glory may dwell in our land.”  Verse 12 says, “And our land will yield its increase.”

 

So, these become the focused themes of prayer:  Restoration ….. People rejoicing ….. Glory in our land ….. Productivity and increase.  This is our cry for revival.

The Paradox

THE PARADOX is the more we move away from God, the more religious we become. Our nation is taking steps away from God, and those steps are becoming larger, with a quicker pace. At the same time we see the media glorifying false religions such as Islam and the Sikhs. And, in the church we see an increasing participation in the wearing of religious costumes, and religious tradition. It appears that we are now being “coronated” as apostolic leaders. We wash “the outside of the cup” (Jesus). We build a “white-washed” wall (Ezekiel).

July 18 Leadership Nexus

2015-SSMI-with-Pam-Ross

The Mandate – Aurora, IL

All things are ready for the second Mandate session of 2015.  It is happening this Friday and Saturday, June 19,20 at Solid Rock Church in Aurora, IL.  Once again,my friends, Kelvin Easter and Dion Campbell, will be joining me as we explore the issues of the heart.  Our theme is “Pursuing the Quest for Wholeness.”  Everything in these sessions will focus on the internal construction and convergence of the leader.  We will discover that the American mentality of independence and pride will not help us on the journey to maturity and accurate prophetic locations.  We will understand that we have departed from Egypt, but in many cases, Egypt has not departed from us.  We are migrating to the promised prophetic positions in the land promised by God.  We will be remodeling our internal structure according to the blueprint of wisdom.  Internal transformation will translate to external transformation.

I hope to see you Friday evening and Saturday morning in Aurora.

Holding the Balancing Scales

Leadership in the local church is like being the person holding the balancing scales . . . you are always moving to inspire a healthy balance in the lives of God’s people . . . the balance between soaring in the heavenly realms of Spirit life, and having your feet firmly planted in real time, real life responsibilities of earth life.

Young, Emerging Leaders

This past weekend we conducted our first Mandate session of 2015. It was an impactful time of training and impartation for those who were present. We received a lot of good feedback about how necessary this type of meeting is for emerging leaders.

The meeting and the feedback got me thinking about young, emerging leaders in a fresh way. So, here is my advice, for what it’s worth. If you are a younger, inexperienced leader, be encouraged to participate in something like the Sharpening Stone Mandate. You need the strength, the instruction, the revelation, the activation, the connections, and the camaraderie. It will help you grow and develop, thus stirring the ministry you lead to grow and develop. It is a very small investment that could change your life, and the lives of many others.

Here is what I have seen as the normal progression with young, emerging leaders. They are usually active in a local church home. They may be hanging out with their pastor, or another mature leader in that church home. They are usually hungry for discipleship, training, and coaching. They want to be connected because they see the tremendous need for support in their development and forward advancement.

Once they are sent out to accomplish what God has placed in their hearts, something seems to change. I don’t know if it is self-satisfaction with actually leading a ministry; or maybe arrogance; or maybe a sense of rejection; or maybe a “father” issue; or maybe they feel pushed away; or maybe they feel ignored. These emerging leaders tend to cut ties with the very people they once sought out for support. They stop attending conferences and meetings that they once craved. They tend to isolate themselves. They no longer reach out for any type of help.

I realize there are always two sides in these situations. I am examining myself to determine where I have missed it with some emerging leaders. Could I be more “fatherly” in my approach? Yes! Could I make myself more available? Yes! Could I reach out more often than I do? Yes! Could I be more intentionally strategic in what I am offering to emerging leaders? Yes! I know I have a lot of room for improvement – no doubt about it.

I still believe there has to be some degree of pursuit coming from the heart of emerging leaders. Our young leaders must pursue their development by reading books, reading blogs, listening to podcasts, attending valuable meetings and conferences, etc. And, they need to pursue mentoring or coaching-type relationships with established leaders.

When I was in my mid-twenties, I moved from the L.A. area to Phoenix, AZ to pursue a leader I wanted to be connected with. I pursued him in his local church setting, and I pursued him on a personal level. I was pursuing him because I wanted to get something he was carrying in his life. I was prepared to remain connected to him for the rest of my life. I viewed it as a life-long relationship. Tragically, that relationship ended when he was killed in a car accident. I still think of him today, all of these years later. He had a tremendous impact on my life.

I’m sure there’s much more to be said on this topic. I hope this will generate some beneficial feedback.

Young leaders – be encouraged; and keep pursuing God; and keep pursuing established, seasoned leaders. It is for your good!

The Mandate – Aurora, IL

There is still time to register!

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