Minggu, 13 Juli 2008
A Message From Peter
Looking toward the Future
July 11, 2008
The Bible says that the days of our lives are seventy years, with the caveat that by reason of strength they might reach eighty years. When we get to this place, we need to look to God and ask Him to teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. This is all in Psalm 90.
Doris and I have been doing this over the months, and we have been giving much thought and prayer to our future. I'll be 78 next month, and we definitely want to number our days properly.
Many people our age are in denial that they will ever "grow old." Doris and I try to be much more realistic than that and we feel very responsible for the well-being of our heirs. I think this reflects the high value of the intergenerational impartation that we and our friends have been preaching about. In our case, we want this impartation to be accomplished with excellence. Just as an example, we do not want to burden our children with unnecessary decision making when they are grieving over our deaths, so we have prepaid our funerals. Our mortician's fees are paid, our caskets are selected, we own our cemetery plot, our headstone is in place, and we have outlined the details of our memorial services. Furthermore, our wills and accompanying legal documents have all been prepared and updated with the advice and consent of our children and filed with our attorney. No surprises!
I think it is important to establish similar plans concerning the long-range future of our ministry, GHM. For years our Board (as well as our children) has known that our desire is that Chuck Pierce, our son in ministry, become the heir to GHM. However, the timing for this transition has been ambiguous. It has been "if we go down in an airplane" or "when we retire" or "when the time comes." What has actually come clear to us for the first time is that we should begin to plan for this transition now if we have our heirs' best interests in view. Of course the legal heir is the GHM Board, our personal choice for our ministry heir is Chuck.
Speaking of "when we retire," neither Doris nor I have any plans to spend our days in rocking chairs or being "put out to pasture" as we used to do with our dairy cows who stopped giving milk or our horses who could no longer pull plows. Our plan is to keep doing the ministry that God has given us until we die or until we suffer physical or mental disability. But none of that should serve as an excuse for neglecting our current responsibilities to prepare to finish well and strong.
Alignment and Alignments
A large part of the apostolic ministry to which God has called me is facilitating biblical alignment. When the Bible says that apostles (and others) are to "equip" the saints for the work of ministry, the literal meaning of "equip" is "align." I have established several structures designed for alignment such as ISDM, ICA , ACEA, ACPE, EVAT, ACKW, and others. So I need to consider all of these as I look toward the future. I don't foresee any changes in ICA or EVAT. I feel that my fresh assignment for this season is in the area of wealth transfer, so I plan on continuing to develop entities like the Zion Apostolic Council, The Hamilton Group (THG), and the Apostolic Council for Kingdom Wealth (ACKW).
Doris and I are the Founding Apostles of the International Society for Deliverance Ministers (ISDM). Since this is Doris ' professional field, she will be taking more of the leadership, assisted by Bill and Janet Sudduth, our ISDM Ambassadors, who have moved here from Florida and installed their offices in our GHM building.
The Apostolic Council for Educational Accountability (ACEA) brings together some 80 schools and serves as a creative alternative to traditional academic accreditation. I founded it back in 1998, and I am preparing to transfer the leadership to Leo Lawson within the next year.
In the late 1990s I agreed to help Cindy Jacobs start the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders (ACPE), providing the necessary apostolic leadership. ACPE has developed well, and I plan to turn the leadership over to Cindy next September.
Through the 1990s and up until recently, my major vehicle for providing alignment for the prayer movement was what ultimately became known as the U.S. Global Apostolic Prayer Network (USGAPN). I assigned Cindy Jacobs to lead this for a season, then transitioned to Chuck Pierce. At the beginning of 2008, Chuck stepped down and dissolved the USGAPN. This was a huge step forward because it opened the gates for the formation of a variety of new networks providing alignment for many aspects of kingdom ministry. Let me just mention several of the newer networks being led by apostles who are members of my inner circle, Eagles Vision Apostolic Team (EVAT). These developments show that the wineskins of the past must give way to wineskins of the future:
· John Kelly has founded the International Christian WealthBuilders Foundation (ICWBF).
· Cindy Jacobs has founded the Reformation Prayer Network (RPN) and the Deborah Company.
· Ché Ahn has formed the Revival Alliance.
· Dutch Sheets has launched the U.S. Apostolic Alliance (USAA).
· Tommi Femrite has started the Apostolic Intercessors Network (AIN).
· Barbara Wentroble has initiated the Breakthrough Business Network (BBN).
· Robert Henderson leads the Freedom Apostolic Alliance.
· Mel Mullen is introducing new thrusts and emphases to his Life Church Network.
· John Benefiel continues to build the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network.
Global Spheres, Inc.
And one more. Chuck Pierce, along with Doris and me, has initiated another vehicle for apostolic alignment, Global Spheres, Inc. (GSI). This is directly related to Doris ' and my future When we go, there will be no need for transition because it is Chuck's organization, incorporated in the State of Texas .
What is Global Spheres? Much of the answer to this question will become clear over the next few months as we work out the details. Meanwhile, GSI is focused on alignment. As the apostolic movement has mushroomed, an increasing number of leaders are recognizing that they lack formal apostolic alignment, and they are actively seeking it. Both Chuck and I receive frequent appeals from other apostles and prophets, as well as from evangelists, pastors, teachers, and workplace leaders for us to provide necessary alignment. How can this be provided? One very public example of this is the recent apostolic alignment of Evangelist Todd Bentley with the Revival Alliance. While we applaud that stream, we realize that if we are going to be looking to the future, we in our stream must also provide a comparable vehicle. One size does not fit all!
The kingdom of God furnishes the template for our stream. We believe that God's desire for this season can be discerned through "The Dominion Mandate" and "The 7-M Mandate." Chuck has laid groundwork through his books, The Future War of the Church and God's Unfolding Battle Plan. I have been doing the same through The Church in the Workplace and Dominion! We want to provide a viable opportunity for apostolic alignment for leaders who minister in all seven mountains. The International Coalition of Apostles (ICA) cannot do this because it is restricted to apostles only, not allowing prophets, evangelists, pastors, or teachers as members, whether in the religion mountain or in one of the other six, namely family, government, arts & entertainment, education, media, or business. EVAT has no more openings. We believe that Global Spheres, Inc., will fill a gap for many who believe in the direction that Chuck, Doris and I are taking into the future and who desire official alignment with us as their apostolic leaders.
When Doris, Chuck and I met recently to review who we are and to begin to anticipate what type of ministries or leaders would desire to align with us, we could not escape the international missions perspective that molds all three of us. As you know, Doris and I served for 16 years as field missionaries in Bolivia . Then I taught for 30 years in the Fuller Seminary School of World Mission. We coordinated the AD2000 United Prayer Track. Chuck reiterated that he surrendered to missions in a Baptist Student Union Convention, and he spent years working behind the Iron Curtain. I see why we are all driven with a passion to see nations change.
The Lord showed Chuck, while he was meditating on John 21, that there would be 153 sheep nations that would follow into the discipleship of Christ. He shared that he felt his predominant call was to find the apostolically developed leaders in these nations and get them fully aligned for the future. We feel that Global Spheres, Inc., will fill a gap for many who believe in the direction that Chuck, Doris and I are taking into the future, and who desire official alignment with us as their apostolic leaders. We do not want it to be a traditional, religious organization, but rather an aligned network of leaders from all seven spheres that make up societal structures. This is a way that we can do our part toward fulfilling the Dominion Mandate.
I'm excited! Are you excited as well? I'd love to hear what you are thinking!
C. Peter Wagner (along with Doris Wagner and Chuck Pierce)
Sabtu, 12 Juli 2008
The New You
(Excerpt taken from the new book: "The Butterfly in You")
Many Christians actually believe that they are dirty rotten sinners and they are here on earth to survive as best they can until they die and go "home" to heaven. I have even heard believers, when confronted with their true identity in Christ, retort by saying that their true identity is Sinner!
Sinner or Saint?
What about you, dear reader? Do you also believe that you are a sinner? Well, if you do, I am here to prove you wrong. You were a sinner, but now you are a saint.
But God demonstrated his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).
Notice the phraseology in this scripture: "while we were yet sinners." Christ died for us when we were sinners. But we are no longer sinners. We were at one time. That's when he died for us, when we were still in that state. But now we are different. Now we are in a new place. Now we are in Christ and Christ is in us. Oh yes, it's true that we may sin at times. But we are no longer sinners. We no longer have a sin nature. We have been freed from the power of sin. Now we can choose to sin or not to sin. We are no longer slaves to sin. The old man has been crucified with Christ. Sin no longer has any power over us. This is the wonderful message given to us by Paul in Romans 5, 6, and 7.
When the Saints Come Marching In
So, if you are no longer a sinner, then what are you? You are a saint! The Bible says that you are a "holy one." This may be hard for you to accept at first. But it is the gospel truth. You don't have to be "canonized." If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, then you are already a saint.
But you may be wondering about all those bad things you have done. A saint wouldn't do those things. How could this be? Let me tell you what a saint is and how it is possible that you have become one.
The word "saint" literally means 'a holy one.' But what does it mean to be holy? The term "holy" means to be separated or set apart to God and his purpose. Whatever is holy is no longer common but is now "special" in the sense of being separated for God. Because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross, you have been separated and set apart for God. You are his possession. You are a holy one. It doesn't depend upon what you do. It depends upon what he already has done. That is something called grace.
Grace or Law
For the law was given through Moses; grace and reality came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).
Many Christians believe that they are still dirty rotten sinners and they therefore need to repent every minute of every day. These believers still live under a mountain of guilt from their past. They have not fully received the completed work of Jesus Christ that he accomplished on the cross. They somehow believe that his work on the cross is incomplete. When he said, "It is finished," he was just kidding. Now we, the sinners, must atone for our own sins by repenting, repenting, repenting, ad infinitum. These poor Christians are still functioning under the Old Covenant law of Moses. They are still living in condemnation and guilt.
There is now then no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has freed me in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:1, 2).
These believers either have never read or they have never understood the message of the letter to the Hebrews. In chapter ten, the writer deals with this issue of sin (and sacrifices for sin, i.e. "repentance") once and for all.
For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after having said, 'This is the covenant which I will covenant with them after those days, says the Lord: I will impart my laws upon their hearts, and upon their mind I will inscribe them,' He then says, 'And their sins and their lawlessness I shall by no means remember anymore' (Hebrews 10:14 - 17).
The problem is that even though God has forgotten our sins, we have not. Many cannot completely receive God's forgiveness and so feel that they need to do something to pay for the sins themselves. Sorry. That's not God's way. He already did all the work and paid the price for your sins. You are forgiven. You are clean. You are holy. Not because of your holiness but because of his. Now, he is your holiness.
Many Christians have still only believed in the baptism of John (the Baptist) which is a baptism of repentance. They have not moved on to the baptism of Christ. Paul ran into a group of believers like this in Ephesus (see Acts 19: 1-7). We don't want to hang onto John once we have met Jesus.
The Need for Repentance
Now please don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that there is never a need for a Christian to repent. Actually, the term "repentance" in the original language means "to turn." We should be constantly turning to the Lord. There are times in our lives when we have sinned and turned away from the Lord and we definitely need to repent (turn back to him). But the focus should always be him, not the sin. If we are always thinking about not sinning, guess what we will do. Sin.
We want to see as he sees. And he sees us as holy, blameless, and above reproach (Eph. 1:1 - 4).
This is why Paul uses the term "saints" to greet the believers in the various churches (See: 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2).
The Two Men
You need to be able to see yourself from God's viewpoint. His perspective is really the only one that counts. Wouldn't you agree? So the key here is to capture his perspective on your identity.
As far as God is concerned, there are only two men in the whole universe. Those two men are the first Adam and the last Adam.
So also it is written, 'the first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit' (1 Cor. 15:45).
You were originally born into the first Adam. You were part of Adam's race. You were born a sinner. But then you received Christ and were transferred from the 'old' humanity to the 'new' humanity. You were brought from the first Adam to the last Adam, who is Christ. Now you no longer have any identity in the first Adam. Your only identity now is in Christ. You are part of the "new Creation." You are a member of the "new man."
Your identity is now based on that of the new man, the last Adam, who is Christ. You are now dead to the first Adam. You can no longer take the thoughts, feelings, attitudes, actions, and lifestyle from that old race. It just doesn't fit who you are. And if you try to do that, it just won't work because you no longer belong to that race. Yet, we all try to do that, don't we? We all still believe that our identity is based upon the first Adam. Let me ask you a series of five questions to prove my point. Answer them as honestly as possible.
1.Do you believe that your identity is determined by what you do? Does doing determine being? Does your career define you? Does what you do every day determine who you are? Remember the age-old question: "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
2.Do you believe that your identity is established by your relationship to other people? Are you a mother or a father? Are you a husband or a wife? Do these relationships define who you are? Ever heard of the "empty nest syndrome"? This is when a woman (or man) becomes emotionally distraught and depressed because her children have grown and left the home. Her whole identity was wrapped up in her kids.
3.Do you believe that your identity was given to you by your parents? "I have become my mother!" is an exclamation that women sometimes make. And men say, "I have become my father!" Are you the sum total of how you were raised? Do genetics determine who you are?
4.Do you believe that your circumstances determine your identity? You have been burned and abused by other people, even by other Christians. You have gone through some hard times financially. You lost three jobs and your wife left you. Are these circumstances who you are? Are you a helpless victim of your environment?
5.Do you believe that your decision determines your identity? You have (perhaps) made many mistakes in your life. Does that mean you are a failure? Do your choices determine who you are?
Is it not true that most of us derive our sense of identity from one or more of these five areas? But don't be fooled. None of these things define who you are. You are now part of a "new humanity," the last Adam. All of your identity comes from that new position.
Written by Milt Rodriguez