Calling – by Mark Reid

I’m so excited to have a guest post from Mark Reid on the prophetic inspiration behind his worship album ‘Calling’. Mark has agreed to be one of the prophetic writers of our community ‘Prophetic Roadhouse’ and this is his first piece! Mark comes from a rich prophetic heritage and his voice is one that I believe we’re in need of hearing. His honesty and pure hearted desire to worship God resounds the cry of a forerunner in today’s complex world. Please give him lots of facebook love (likes&shares) and if you resonate with what he says, go buy his album!

Calling

Writing ‘Calling’ was very significant for me, as I’ve journeyed with and written these songs over the past five years. They reflect a season in my life where the Lord was specifically telling me what He thinks about me. As you listen to this album, you’ll come across the theme of ‘identity.’ So, as I write this short piece describing the album I’m also opening up to some of my journey, specifically how the Holy Spirit prophetically established my core being.

For myself, and (I believe) many others alike, the cry of the heart is to be influential and to be significant. We see big time ministries and people speaking or leading thousands and we say ‘I want that.’ I remember in my late teens I often prayed that I will be an influence to people and I believe that it’s a good prayer to pray. But, God knows the position of the human heart and in my own youth and immaturity I had much to learn, especially about the love of God, so when the trials and tests came I could stand on firm ground.

During this season I was led to the life of David, and much of this album is influenced from studying his journey with the Lord.

The life of David is a profoundly moving section of Scripture to read. First and Second Samuel show the events of David’s life, but the Psalms reflect the movements of David’s heart. David was a man who knew God, knew God’s love and was firmly established in it. So, I will walk through two significant themes, which give insight into some of what the Lord is saying in this short 6 track EP.

1. Success is knowing our identity in God

“Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 1 Samuel 16:1 ESV

The way we define our success is generally where we build our identity. For many, success is measured by how big the bank account is, or the position in the workplace, or followers on Instagram. These things aren’t necessarily bad, but we cannot afford to make them our primary identity, otherwise we’re building our houses on sand (Matthew 7:24-27). 1 Samuel 16:1 is beautiful for one simple reason – we are primarily called to love God and to enjoy His love in return.

If we analyze this, we notice that this passage points out to us that before title, ministry, influence, job or whatever – our primary calling in life is to be God’s, to simply love God and be loved in return. It is in this that we are successful.

The title track “Calling” speaks this very message. It was written during a confusing season where I encountered a lot of bitterness and envy toward others. The point of the song is to recognize that I am His before anything else. I don’t need to strive to be somebody ‘for God’ – He loves me already and He is calling me to be His own, His beloved!

This is the word that people in this generation need to hear. If we can live our lives from the perspective that we are unconditionally loved by God, and that when we choose to love Him in return (even if our love is weak and distracted) we are already successful in His eyes, that makes all the difference. It doesn’t matter how I get on when I lead worship, or a service or the prayer meeting. It doesn’t matter how ‘anointed’ I come across, and it certainly doesn’t matter how many albums I sell – He is already impressed with me!

2. His presence is the substance that brings life.

“One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.” Psalm 27:4 NKJV

I have made this verse the statement of my life and I will always come back to it. To pursue and long for the presence of the Lord. His presence is the substance that brings life. It gives me joy and it sustains me through all the various testing’s that life throws at me.

Christianity in the 21st Century can be difficult to keep feeling ‘fresh’. I believe this is partly due to the increase in accessibility and usability of technology. With an iPhone, iPad or Mac never too far away it makes it hard to switch off and be ‘off the grid’. Although technology and social media can be great, even toward proclaiming the gospel message, they also present the ability to busy our minds and draw us into an isolated world, which can distract us from what the Father is saying. Andrew Sullivan confesses that the greatest threat toward the Christian faith is not hedonism but simply distraction. Technology and social media have an ability to distract us in such a way that we lose intimacy with God and become numb to His voice. It is too easy to ‘check-out’ in front of Netflix for a whole day instead of reading, praying or even going outside. I’m not intending to be a ‘law junkie’ but this speaks of our generation needing wisdom in this area, and He is the source of all wisdom. Proverbs conveys numerous times that wisdom is more valuable than any gold, silver or precious ruby. We must cherish it and diligently search for it. The song ‘One Thing I Ask’ simply says this, it’s a confession of a hungry heart yearning for more of God but also longing for His wisdom!

The intention of this album is to bring the listener into a place of stillness and prayer, with the hope that they begin to realize the love that God has for them, and choose to love Him in return – enjoy.

Check out ‘Calling’ here

Mark Reid

Prophetic Integrity in a Political World

I’ve been procrastinating for months on writing this article because quite frankly I wasn’t sure I should write it. When is it right to speak? And more importantly what motivates us to speak up? These questions have been at the forefront of my mind. I’ve wrestled with the moments (there have been many) where I’ve wanted to rant ‘No—-what–are–you–doing!’ But thankfully I refrained from sharing until now. The reason I’m writing this now is because I sense God wants to encourage all of us who love prophecy to hang in there, learn and lead by example.

Just to be clear this article is not about Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton. Phew.

It’s a response to what I believe has been an abandonment of prophetic integrity during this political season. Just as the political world has gone ‘off the edge crazy’, so too have parts of the prophetic world.

So below I’ve written about three areas that can help us retain prophetic credibility. It’s not an exhaustive list but ones I believe are crucial. They’re reminders of the foundational stakes that keep the integrity of prophecy in tact. These span all the aspects of life that we prophesy into but are particularly relevant to the heated political sphere we currently find ourselves in today.

 

1. Remember that we prophesy in part.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be restrained; where there is knowledge, it will be dismissed. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 1 Corinthians 13: 8-10 NIV

It’s important to remember when we get a prophetic word around anything political that we prophesy in part. We don’t get to see everything – we see a piece. And even when we get this piece it’s subject to our predispositions. Treasuring this understanding is vital because ultimately it keeps us open instead of closed. Open to interpretation, accountability and most importantly open to others. When we forget this and present prophesies as unchallengeable conclusions, it brings division and confusion, polarizing people who discern differently.

Divided contradictory prophetic messages devalue and ridicule the gift of prophecy to the secular world. This is a sorry state of affairs as prophecy can be used powerfully to show people that Jesus is real.

The measuring stick of whether we’ve lost our integrity in prophecy or not is how it’s building up the church. Prophecy is the Holy Spirits gift to the church intent on edifying the whole body of believers. If our prophesies are causing division then something is wrong! It takes maturity for us to stop at that point and let go of prophecy in favor of love.

 

2. Avoid prophetic manipulation.

We need to be careful when we’re prophesying ‘what we believe God is saying‘ when it involves other peoples choices. Choice is sacred to God. Our choices as followers of Christ involve spiritually exercising our wisdom, knowledge and understanding of Christ in us. This is the journey to maturity. When we prophesy in a way that supersedes choice we are simply falling into prophetic manipulation.

In our Western World, politics along with relationships are founded upon the choices of individuals. God isn’t directive in these areas because there’s choice involved of multiple people. He does speak to us about these things, often giving us His advice but this honors the process that choice takes.

Wisdom says that a prophetic inclination on politics or relationships should be petitioned in the secret place rather than the public arena. This avoids unintentionally manipulating people’s choices through prophecy or the influence/platform that prophecy has given you.

 

3. Living and learning through accountability.

If you share a prophetic word, according to scripture it then enters a place where it’s publicly discerned. If you wish to keep the discernment part to yourself, according to the apostle Paul you need to keep the prophecy to yourself also. (1 Corinthians 14:29)

This is because by very nature the prophetic gift belongs to the body of Christian’s not just to one particular individual. And with that joint ownership comes accountability. One person doesn’t get to decide what it means.

Prophecy is a team sport so to speak. If we want to harness prophetic integrity it’s wise to understand this reality. There’s nothing worse in a team sport where one individual is not playing with others or doesn’t pass the ball! It disrupts the synergy of the team and usually makes the team lose.

But learning the prophetic gift underpinned with the humility and grounding that accountable community brings is one of the greatest adventures one can go on. It guards love, protects us from our own blind spots and presents the world with the valuable testifying Word of God.

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If you’ve been confused or disillusioned by what’s been happening in the prophetic movement during this election I hope you can join with me and use it as a way of strengthening our resolve to have prophetic integrity. Let’s learn from it and apply those lessons to our own life’s ministry. We cannot change how others use the prophetic gift, only lead by example. As we lead in this way – the way of love,  I’m convinced that the goodness of God will shine through.

Guest post – The Dark Side of Leadership

David Mitchell is the best pastor I know. He’s been the senior pastor of Woodlands Church, Bristol for over 15 years and has been ministering for many years before that. It’s an absolute privilege to have a guest post written by him. Here’s some of the wisdom he carries for people who are in leadership or church ministry. 

The Dark Side of Leadership – by David Mitchell

The dark side of leadership is not so much what you do, or what is done to you, but what you can do to others or who you can become. Here are some dangers, and some remedies against colluding with the dark!

The Dangers

Ego identification with ministry?

It can happen that your ministry becomes an extension of your own ego and that critical self-awareness becomes diminished in the process. It’s more ‘your thing’ even though you say it’s God’s thing. And of course my thing is the best thing in town, so I become small-minded.

What is your Secret History? Your devotional life?

The danger of professional Christian service is that the ‘above the waterline’ activities of public devotions are not balanced by a private spirituality for an audience of one. Indeed one’s secret life, the inner life of the soul can be consumed with escapism or destructive thoughts.

What about Control? A religious spirit? Spiritual manipulation.

I find the desire to control, for things to be done my way ‘because it’s the right way’ are things to battle with. I recognise I can control people and use people for my cause by making them feel guilty. I can celebrate my (relatively recent) traditions because I’ve established certain practices which are not the same as eternal values.

Mistaking my will (for you) with God’s will.

I can impose my ambitions on you, or conversely restrict you because I don’t believe in your potential as much as God does!

What is the unique danger of being put in a position of being on a pedestal? What about being accountable?

We can put leaders on pedestals to their detriment. It’s not good for people to be idolised. And we can put ourselves (or be put) above contradiction, and not really have anyone speaking into our lives.

What about your sexuality? Alpha Male /Alpha female?

There are attractional undercurrents between men and women in collegiate leadership or ministry roles with one another. Good friendships may feel great but have inherent vulnerabilities if they conflict with spousal loyalties. Beware of the power of sexual energy (via porn or other routes) to provide a quick fix to depression or tiredness.

Is ministry the validation of my need or impulse to rescue others?

Many church leaders are rescuers and we can enjoy dependent relationships and feel validated by them instead of empowering people or being strategic about (or delegating) pastoral care.

The cult of business – justifying our existence.

If people are watching me, or paying me do I need to look busy all the time? Do I celebrate a martyr spirit, sacrificing myself on the altar of the Church?

Fear of evaluation – including self-knowledge.

We can avoid really asking the hard questions about the fruitfulness of our ministry, or whether we are still on track. We can avoid asking the hard questions about our own motivations.

Hype (and the need for success).

The need for success can cause us to exaggerate what’s actually happening (in terms of conversions, healings, growth etc.). Ultimately claiming more than we are delivering breeds disillusionment for our congregations and a hollowness about our ministry style.

Competition (toward those inside and outside of your church).

It’s so easy to compare yourself and compete with other churches and ministries locally. We can feel diminished by other’s success, we can worry that we are not as popular or gifted as another colleague. We can envy other Churches especially if they are attracting people in our target group (or congregation). We can fail to celebrate what God is doing in others.

Cynicism.

Hardness towards the flock or individuals. ‘Those people’. Can we keep childlike in our willingness to believe that God really does work in amazing ways. Can we choose to interpret people’s motivations in the best (not worst) possible light?

Too many late nights.

We need to look after our bodies and not get into the habit of working late or lonely late night times, especially when married.

Some Remedies

1. Church & Ministry. Hold it precious, hold it lightly
2. Cultivate a positive Spiritual history.
3. Positively listen to other people’s Church stories and bless them
4. Care for the poor. It’s good for you. It softens our hearts
5. Find a spiritual parent. Find true, not just ‘structural’ accountability.
6. Take a good day off and regular retreat times.
7. Never behave with someone of the opposite sex in a way your partner would be uncomfortable with.
8. Flee controlling behaviour. Ask why it’s there and be ruthless with it.
9. Be confrontable and seek 360 review.
10. Jesus said ‘learn this. I desire mercy not sacrifice’

 

Forts and Bridges

I’ve just launched my book ‘simply word and spirit’ at a conference in Bristol, UK called ‘Release2016‘. It was a real honor to do this as the charity behind the conference lovebristol are dear friends of mine. As I was preparing to lead my session to talk about the inspiration of the book, God reminded me of a prophetic dream I had a number of years ago.

In the dream I was in a line of people to get a book signed by the famous prophet and writer James Goll. As I reached the table where he sat the scene changed and instead of a table of books, there were two big buckets of blue paint, and a large blank sheet of paper. He asked me to put my hands into the buckets of paint and then onto the blank paper. He looked at my blue handprints and said ‘ah yes, clear as a day, forts and bridges.’ I looked at him baffled. So he said ‘ok let’s try this one more time.’ I repeated the process, and he said ‘I’m absolutely certain, forts and bridges.’ Then I woke up.

That dream has always had a sense of mystery about it for me. The color blue is prophetically likened to healing and handprints can be seen as someone’s ministry or work. But the term forts and bridges has continued to perplex me. Sometimes there can be many interpretations for a prophetic dream or a continued unfolding of meaning.

I was asking God what I should share at Release2016, specifically concerning the core message of my book – the coming together of the Word and the Spirit, and He dropped this dream in my mind.

So after questioning and praying, this is what I believe God is saying. About the Word and the Spirit but perhaps other things also.

Forts and bridges represent a certain mentality. God want us to move from the fort mentality to the bridge mentality.

The fort mentality is all about defending what we have from attack. We build walls around what we believe or how we behave because we don’t want it stolen or lost. The fort mentality creates ‘you’re either in or you’re out’ reality for people. Our need to defend costs us inclusion, diversity and unity.

Reading the history of military forts it’s interesting to see why they were deemed inefficient in modern warfare. As military technology advanced the fort that at one time was a stronghold against attack, actually seemed to draw attention to itself for attack. Also, they found that military tactics needed to be moveable, and forts are immovable.

I believe God is highlighting the fact that we have a fort mentality in the church today. Whether our forts are built around our need to defend ‘the Word’, or whether they are built to protect ‘the Spirit’, or the other thousands of other territories we feel the need to defend. I sense God is wanting us to remember that He is our Great Defender, and the role of us being a defender is something He doesn’t want us to take on. We’ve assumed the responsibility to defend God and His church, as a result we’ve built spiritual forts that have immobilized us. Maintaining a spiritual fort halts us from advancing the kingdom of heaven to become actualized on earth. God’s encouraging us to let go of the fort mentality, to take down our walls, to realize this way of defending the faith is outdated for such a time as this. The fort mentality has made us stuck, and God wants us to be on the move.

This doesn’t mean we let go of truth, and it doesn’t mean that anything’s up for grabs. It’s about choosing to trust God to defend and protect His church, so that we get released to be bridge builders.

The bridge mentality is what I believe God is asking us to embrace. The bridge mentality is about reaching out to mend rifts. It’s forging new ground and stepping into other people’s worlds before we expect them to understand our own worldview. The bridge mentality brings advancement in the most unusual way. God is calling His people to become bridge builders. Will you be one?

I know if we’re going to see the coming together of people with a leaning on the Word, and people with a leaning of the Spirit, bridges will have to be built. This will take a movement founded on love and humility. It will take people who will choose the bridge over the fort at every turn for the sake of love and representing Jesus to a world that needs to see Him.

Prophetic Delay

The Prophetic Delay
Sunny but still cold

The other morning my son Titus came bursting into my room saying “Mommy its sunny, its sunny.” I found it sweet that such things excited him. I got up and got everyone ready for the pre-school run. I looked out the window and he was right it was a beautiful sunny day.

As we went to get in the car I felt the chill of the wind. Titus words to me that morning sent me into automatically dressing us all for a warm sunny day. It wasn’t until we got outside that I realised that it wasn’t as warm as it looked. Because it was still early morning I ignored this fact and assumed that it would warm up. A few hours into the morning routine I realised that it was freezing. Sunny yes but still cold outside.

After we warmed up inside with a hot cup of tea I felt God speak to me about this funny chain of events.

God started sharing with me how there’s a delay from the prophetic word given and the actual reality people experience. So many people have been told prophetically “it’s sunny” or in other words “hope is here” or in biblical language “winter is over” but as they step out into their reality it feels as if nothing’s changed. Others have been prophetically given a vision or a calling that seems to have not taken effect – yet. There’s a discrepancy between what’s been said and what’s experienced.

So I asked God what should we do about this.

I felt Him say three things are key and I hope these are helpful to you as they are with me:

1. Understanding that this timing issue is part of the way the prophetic works is helpful. Some people can get disillusioned when the word and their circumstances don’t match up. But actually the truth is that the prophetic operates in the future not the now. There will always be a time delay of some sort.

2. Knowledge of what’s actually taking place is helpful. And what’s actually taking place is change. Once a true prophetic word is released about the future, the wheels have been set in motion – and that’s a good thing! Like the story of Daniel’s prayer – his first utterances of need set the heavenly resources into action. But it took 21 days for the angel Gabriel to reach his reality (Daniel10: 10-13). We need to accept that there will be a time delay from the prophetic word spoken to it impacting our reality. But we must also be fuelled by the knowledge that all sorts of spiritual fireworks are going off on our behalf to bring that future into the now. There’s no passivity with the prophetic word and all heavenly efforts are in full effect.

3. Wisdom is needed to know what to do and how to be during a time delay. We mustn’t be stupid and dress up for the sun when it’s still cold outside. This will just make us grumpy. Selah. But we need to choose to believe more in what we ‘see’ over what we ‘feel’. If God has spoken, He has gifted us a vision that is more powerful and real than anything we feel day to day. It’s a vigourous force loaded with heaven’s resources that will come into being – in it’s timing. We need to fix our mind on what we know will happen and let it energise us. We need to allow ourselves to dream of what it’ll be like and be lavish in how we immerse ourselves in this vision. We need to sit outside all wrapped up in our cold environment and let our face soak in that sunshine. And when we do – a warm glow enters our hearts that keeps us going.

Prophetic Hope – Advent

“And His name will be the hope of all the world.”

Prophecy is supposed to have a positive effect upon us as Christians. The bible teaches that it injects life into our church, it encourages and builds up the individual. A prophetic word can also help us walk into our destiny. However, one of the most interesting impacts of prophecy is it’s ability to establish and solidify hope. According to Hebrews our faith is made up of ‘hope that is certain’. Therefore it’s vital that we have help understanding and believing what our hope is. What’s prophecy’s role? Prophecy brings visibility, colour and a vibrancy to the christian hope – it creates a little window into the future and allows us to peer inside giving us enough vision for that hope to become real.

The prophetic writings of the old testament can be known for their doom and gloom. However it’s important to note that there’s a beautiful song sung widely among them  – it’s a song of hope. It’s a song that emphasises our ultimate long term hope of restored nations and re-established world. It’s a grand hope centred on a great messianic figure – Jesus, who is the key to fulfilling the redemptive plan of God and is the hope for all humanity.

This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning him: “Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, and I am very pleased with him. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout; he will not raise his voice in public. He will not crush those who are weak, or quench the smallest hope, until he brings full justice with his final victory. And His name will be the hope of all the world.Matthew 12: 17 -21 

Isaiah Chapter 9

Isaiah chapter 9 loudly proclaims the wonder of this hope;

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on His shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the LORD Almighty will guarantee this!  Isaiah 9: 6&7

When this prophecy was written, the hope of the messiah’s first coming felt just as far off to people as His second coming may feel for us today. As we approach Christmas in 2012 we’re in a wonderful position of celebrating the fulfilment of part one of the prophetic hope that Isaiah shares whilst also eagerly anticipating the second part – Christ’s return and the hope of our eternal life on a renewed earth.

What is our Hope?

As we enter advent let’s reflect on the hope that we have.

The hope of Jesus is very present for life here today. Healing from sickness, restoration for relationships, provision for jobs and finances, freedom from fear, peace in the storm. All these things and more are available to the faith filled believer. It’s a hope that we have to pull on in faith and wrestle with while living in a fallen world.

However the apostle Paul says something very interesting and challenging in his writings to the people at Corinth about hope;

And if we have hope in Christ only for this life, we are the most miserable people in the world.  1 Corinthians 15:19 

Was he saying that present hope that Jesus can bring isn’t important? No. What he was saying was that present hope alone is incomplete – what’s needed is a thorough, detailed, rock solid hope in what is to come. As well as us having a firm grip on the hope we have today it is vital that we attain a grasp of the whole picture of hope that spans eternity.

The consequences of Christ’s birth, his life, death and resurrection are huge and ripple throughout eternity. He established and secured our redemption and resurrection. I am sure we will continue to marvel at as we live out our eternal life in the age to come.

Hope gives us permission to live freely

Do you ever wonder how the apostles could live with such abandonment and courage? How Paul could endure 3 shipwrecks, prison sentences and countless beatings? How Peter continued to preach even when his life was on the line? And Stephen, how did he hold such composure as he was being stoned to death?

You will have courage because you will have hope. Job 11:18

The common theme among the apostles was that their hope was secured. It wasn’t some ethereal wishy washy dream – to them it was more real than their lives on earth. It was so concrete that they were torn between longing to live here and longing to go and be with Jesus. And it set them free.

Free from restriction, fear, small mindedness. Free to live courageously, generously and full of joy.

Our hope is important. It anchors us into eternity giving us liberty here on earth.

As we approach Christmas let’s ask the Holy Spirit to impart even greater depths of understanding of the hope we have in Christ. Let’s read the prophetic writings of scripture with an eager eye and see the detailed picture they paint of life to come.

My prayer for you in this season, is the prayer the apostle Paul prayed to the Roman church.

I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.       Romans 15:13 

 

The Seer

How do you hear from God? How do you sense what He’s doing? One of the ways the bible talks about people tuning into God’s heart is having a ‘seer gift’. In my time as a pastor (back in the day) I witnessed many people mis-understand this gift – thinking it was only about extraordinary spiritual people seeing angels and experiencing heavenly realms. Sometimes that does happen but what they didn’t grasp was that the mainstay of the seer gift is an approach – a way of seeing things, which is a God given ability. Often, it’s the ability to instinctively see the spiritual activity and seasons in normal everyday life.

So maybe you’re a ‘seer’ and you’ve never counted yourself in?

Just for fun here is my list of a few seer traits –

Seers see analogies everywhere
Seers notice things that others pass by
Seers ask a lot of questions to God about everyday life events
Seers love analysing films, books and current media
Seers are frequent followers of World news
Seers often have a dramatic dream life
Seers are day-dreamers
Seers often notice the same thing multiple times in a short space of time

My feeling is there are far more seers out there than we think and maybe you’re one of them? God is stirring up this gift right now. Don’t worry if you don’t fit a Christian box – just take notice of who you are, what you see and ask God to grow the gift in you.

The Trustworthy Prophet

To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved. George MacDonald

Lately I’ve been feeling a call from God  –  it’s not a new call, but more a reminder of an old one. Nonetheless it’s been strongly present in my thoughts and dreams  –  it’s a call to be one of His trustworthy prophets.

It’s this topic of trustworthiness that I want to unpack in this second part of this series. For us to become God’s prophetic people, I believe that becoming trustworthy is key.  It’s a word that can easily send us to the edge of misunderstanding  –  it tinkers on the border of ‘earning our way up the top of the spiritual ladder’ if we’re not careful. We have a lavish, good God who trusts us in so many areas that we don’t deserve  –  that’s part of our good news of grace. But we also have a very kind God who has deposited His wisdom into us regarding attributes that make us healthy, mature and  able to fulfil our destiny. Trustworthiness is one of these attributes.

What does it look like to be a trustworthy prophet?

Early this year a good friend reminded me of an incredible verse in the book of Jeremiah;

And if you extract the precious from the worthless, You will become My spokesman.  Jer 15. 19

This verse I believe should be a banner of vision over any prophetic person. It not only promotes a way to become God’s spokesperson (looking for the precious) but it also implies something of significant consequence: If we are to become God’s spoken representatives we must carry His heart as well as His words.

Isaiah’s Commission

One of my favourite stories of the old testament is held in the first six chapters of the book of Isaiah. It’s where Isaiah gets commissioned to be God’s spoken representative. There are a number of lessons in this story that have always captivated me.

Firstly, there is an interesting historical point of context found in the first verse of chapter 6;

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Is 6. 1

Chapter 6 is the chapter of Isaiah’s commission and it is framed by this information of King Uzziah’s death. If you do a little bible treasure hunting you’ll find an interesting little story in 2 Chronicles 26 about king Uzziah’s death. He died of leprosy, which the bible says was given to him by God on the account of his pride. It seems remarkable to me that in the year that pride was cast off by God, a prophet was born.

Secondly, we have the internal struggle of Isaiah himself.  For the first five chapters Isaiah is somewhat negative – he’s pointing the finger left right and centre. He’s obviously getting visions from God (the gift) but he’s yet to be commissioned (become God’s spokesman) and he doesn’t hold back any punches from Judah and Jerusalem. There’s a wonderful transition point held in chapter 6 that propels Isaiah from a person with a prophetic gift to a commissioned prophet. And it’s at this point that something significant happens.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.  And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” Is 6. 1 – 5

I believe that in this grand open vision, pride got broken off Isaiah himself. People with pride tend not to see the problems in their own life and are attracted to pointing out the problems in others. Faced with the beauty and majesty of the Lord, for the first time Isaiah could only see his own sin  –  a humble moment indeed.

And it was at this moment of genuine brokenness and humility that the Lord commissioned His prophet.

There are many people like the Chapter 5 Isaiah who can carry the prophetic gift without being released as a spokesperson of God. I believe that we are on the cusp of seeing a major release of the prophetic within the church world-wide. Thousands upon thousands of spokespeople released into all sorts of places in society. For this to happen the church needs to know one thing  –  that God’s looking for people who will carry His heart not merely repeat His words.

Attitudes of the heart that are not of God, like pride, have to be dealt with for people to move into a place of commission.

For me, this call to be trustworthy is a pursuit to represent God the best I can. It’s about making sure I get to know Him intimately  –  so intimately that I convey Him accurately to people. It’s about making sure that I know His heart and hold His values so that when I live and act and speak I am truly representing my king.

This is a journey that’s not about trying to be good enough for God, but it’s about allowing His goodness in.

The currency of trustworthiness

When we talk about growing in the prophetic gift we point people towards discovering the language of God. The areas of growth are found in revelation, interpretation and application. But to grow as a prophetic person the areas of growth are different – instead we need to learn how to move into authority, influence and favour.  I believe trustworthiness is a spiritual currency that allows increase in these areas.

While working for Woodlands Church as a pastor I experienced a journey of growth in my role. At first as a 25 year old my scope for authority and influence was fairly small  –  I had a lot of step -by -step instruction from my senior pastor  –  he needed to ensure that what I did within the context of the church met the values of the church. As time went by the range for authority and influence widened. This was due to the fact that I had become trustworthy in the eyes of my pastor. By the end of my time there I was in a senior role making all sorts of creative decisions. This principle of trustworthiness ‘leading to more’ is evident in many of the parables that Jesus taught. He’s watching to see what we will do with what we’ve been given and if we are trustworthy more influence, more authority and more favour is granted to us.

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with a lot. Whoever is dishonest with very little is dishonest with a lot. Luke 16. 10

Trustworthiness is a corridor we must walk if we’re to access the offices of authority and influence. Part of becoming God’s prophetic people is to be God’s favoured people, positioned all over the world in areas of incredible influence. As we eagerly pursue the gift of prophecy  let’s also be eager to pursue being commissioned as God’s representatives. Let’s shout ‘Here I am, Send me!’  Let’s let Him deal with our hearts and allow the incredible love of the Father to be the loudest message we share.

I’m a Christian Celebrity – Get me out of here!

A couple of weeks ago I was spending time in the presence of God and I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me. He said in a strong internal voice, “there’s a bad smell in the house.” I began asking Him what He meant (hoping it wasn’t a personal word of prophecy!) He put on my mind and in my heart the oddity of the Christian celebrity culture.

His words reminded me of an incident we had in our house where one day I came home only to be greeted by the most vile smell. A few days later the smell was still there even though I’d washed and cleaned everything. Finally we’d figured it out – we had a dead mouse rotting away under our floor boards.

For anyone who’s been in the same position you will know that you have four options ahead of you:

  1. Move to another house (only for the rich and famous)
  2. Try to hide the smell (apparently microwaved lemons work)
  3. Live with the smell (no dinner parties then)
  4. Be prepared to pull up some carpet or cut through a wall to get to the source.

As I’ve been asking for revelation and understanding on this subject it’s been much like pulling up that carpet and digging around underneath the floorboards. There’s a bad smell, but where it is and what it is have been the questions on my mind. Continue reading I’m a Christian Celebrity – Get me out of here!

Imagine all the People

What does it look like to be a prophetic person? Is it really just about getting ‘words of knowledge’ on a Sunday and being part of the prophetic team at church? Is it merely for a few ‘mystical’ Christians, or is it for all of us? 

These questions have stirred in me since I was a baby Christian. In my journey so far—from not believing the prophetic was for me in the early days to becoming the prophetic pastor in my church—I’ve tried to unravel some of the confusion.

It’s ironic that I didn’t believe I was a prophetic person because it was through a series of prophetic dreams that I met God. But back then I didn’t see that these dreams were prophetic. For me, these were the type of dreams I’d had since I was a kid. What I saw modelled in church as ‘prophetic’ was usually someone standing on stage at a Sunday service either singing a prophetic song (which most definitely wasn’t me) or sharing a ‘picture’ they’d just had. They would say that God had just spoken to them about this or that which just reaffirmed the fact that I’d not ‘heard’ God speak to me. So I just figured that prophecy was for the elite few, and I just wasn’t one of them.

Continue reading Imagine all the People