I believe most long term poverty is a choice or maybe a better way to say it, a series of choices.
I've met hundreds online and some locally who talk all day long about wanting better for themselves and their families but when you attempt to help them set some goals and get a plan of action together, they begin to resist and actually fight to remain where they are. This is because there is great comfort in what we find familiar.
Poverty in the bible is a curse, yet those anointed to help people escape it are bitterly attacked by those who are in it the deepest. I've seen Christians resist God's attempts to bless them while they post repeatedly for prayer for their finances. Still others try to dismiss what the Bible plainly teaches about it.
Some folks even try to use out of context verses from the bible to undermine the overall theme of the bible and opine that if you are wealthy, you are corrupt somehow. Don't tell God that as no one is more wealthy than God.
For God to change your financial life for the better He will need to change what (and more importantly WHO) you listen to and believe. For any area of your life to change, your choices will have to change in that area.
The biggest single change that most have difficulty with in finance is in the stopping of playing the victim card.
As an example, if the first thought you have in replying to me here is "you don't understand, we don't have enough".. that is victimizing and you will need to stop doing that. It may seem very logical to you but it is not. Poverty is is a result of being under a curse. Part of that curse is self hatred, self loathing, rejection and other stuff like that. It creates patterns of thinking that completely convince you that you will never have enough.
It is a shock for many to learn that people making millions a year also struggle with that same feeling of desperation and lack. This Is because it's never about the money, it's it's a spiritual root that must be identified and chosen against. No, I'm not saying Jesus wants everyone filthy rich but I am saying Jesus wants everyone spiritually free and if that happens, God's blessings tend to flow freely as a result.
The vast majority I have met have decided that humbling themselves and changing is NOT worth it. For those, they will spend the rest of their lives in the same place missing the simple biblical truth that Jesus IS prosperity.
Many times a straw man question is raised that asks if you would rather have great riches or a deeper walk with Jesus. That's another way for our fallen minds to justify our own ongoing impoverishment. Jesus IS the reward, you cannot separate Jesus and the reward He brings for he Himself IS the reward. It would be like me asking if you would rather see me in person with me muscular system in my body or my skeletal system in my body. The factis that is you are going to see me, you are going to get BOTH at the same time. There is no separating them. Same with Jesus and our Reward.
The only person Jesus ever told to sell everything was a single kid who thought his wealth entitled him to God's Kingdom. The devil has made it a knee jerk reaction for believers to hear of having extra money and instantly equate that with idolatry and money worship. Would we say that about peace or patience? Would someone with a lot of extra patience be a patience worshipper? No, we absolutely need revelation in this area.
Jesus was super clear...behold I am coming soon AND my reward is with me... we like to ignore that reward part but it's in everyone's bible in red letters. He also calls Himself a rewarder of anyone who seeks Himself. In fact, if we will seek His Kingdom first then all of these other things (including money) will be added.
Trying to make the bible fit our current situation is nothing new. That's been going on since Paul asked the church who had bewitched them into thinking their actions earned their salvation. So it is today that people who struggle in poverty try to change the bible to say that extra money is a bad thing when in reality the scripture is clear that the power to get wealth comes from God, poverty is a curse, Jesus has redeemed us from the curse and now it's all on US if we are willing to let the Holy Spirit change our thinking or not. As I said, in my journeys, finding people who victimize and justify is pretty common. You know them..they are the ones who say things like "I don't have the time" or "I can't afford this or that".
Finding those who will repent of the old mindsets and embrace what God is trying to do new in their lives is rare... and when i find them, I stay close and celebrate them.
Here we go with part three of three in my blog series The Hospital Church.
Modern churches are usually historical snapshots of previous moves of God. You can usually tell where a given denomination stopped receiving fresh revelation by simply attending a modern service.
One of the most common "stops" for the Holy Spirit is the suspension or even the suppression of a present, ongoing revelation of Himself. This plays out in perhaps it's most obvious way possible when you look at Sunday Mornings from 10am to 12 noon. Your plans, programs and outreaches don't reveal your level of revelation, your Sunday morning services do.
Since I minister prophetically, I will address things from that perspective.
First lets look at God's original plan from Holy Scripture. His goal is not for us to have a plan or a pattern. We had that previously, it was called the Old Covenant. Under that covenant there was a single man who would carry a special access to God that no one else had because in part they did certain things that no one else did. They would go to the mountain of God and bring back a word from God to the people. The people would then know what God had said, not because they heard God for themselves but because of the holiness (self denial) of the anointed person that went to God in their place.
The icy cold reality is the majority of modern churches all work under that Old Covenant model. Catholics call their anointed person a "priest" while Christians call their anointed person a "pastor" and in some Christian circles they will call their anointed person an "Apostle" but the pattern of the Old Covenant remains undeniable. They all point to a single "Moses" type of leader that brings the word to God's people. This is commonly mislabeled as "feeding the sheep". I would more accurately call it "starving the sheep" or at best keeping them very immature because it never allows them to grow up and learn to hear God for themselves.
You can't have spiritual anarchy either. Someone has to be in charge of the services, correct? Well, yes and no. In matters of church business, finances, who cuts the grass and the day by day stuff, of course deacons are going to be assigned to oversee certain aspects but we're not talking about that stuff, we're talking about Sunday Mornings.
Biblically speaking you want a plurality of leaders, usually in an odd number of 3, 5, etc so that a fast decision can be made as to what they feel collectively is from the Lord and what they feel isn't. This is why Paul says in 1st Cor 14 to let two or three prophets speak and the others judge. You are never supposed to just accept what an individual says as being from God without it being tested or measured for accuracy in the Spirit. Who judges it? The other prophets there in that gathering.
Remember, Apostles plant the work and assign eldership who then assign deacons. Prophets are not assigned by men, they are identified and accepted by men. Read that again, it will help you. Prophets are not assigned by men, they are identified and accepted by men.
So what does this look like in a practical Sunday Morning service? Simple.. you still make your plans and order of service just like you always do, the difference is your plan is no longer the plan A, instead it becomes your solid plan B. The expectation is for God to show up and begin to flow in a unique way specifically designed to minister and meet the needs of the people He has sovereignly led to be with you on that day. If no one perceives or feels that God is doing something special, you fall back on the Plan B until such a time that the Holy Spirit takes things back over again. If He never does, that's fine you just stick with your plan B but i assure you, if you have an honest humility to lay down your plans and yield to Him, He will absolutely come and come in beauty and majesty.
Often He will move thru and even anoint your Plan B but that usually only happens when hearts are honestly open to having Him direct the meeting. Again, the goal is giving HIM the floor... and mature Prophets and Apostles walk in that type of yielding day in and day out with their lives so discerning that on a Sunday Morning is child's play for most of them.
Sadly, I can't count the number of Prophets I have talked with that simply refuse to go to a modern church today because for years and years they went to church and were not discerned as Prophetic or were told to submit their words in writing so other non prophetic people could use what amounted to a political filter on their words. When they reach out or speak out about their concerns they are quickly labeled as rebellious or often falsely accused of trying to take over the church by insecure leadership that were just ignorant to the scriptural stance on what church government was supposed to look like.
So what do we do with our modern "Pastors"? We need to first repent of asking people to function in a way they are not called to function. No other human on the earth is responsible before God for you hearing from God for yourself. I want to say that again... No other human on the earth is responsible before God for you hearing from God for yourself. Millions of churchgoers everywhere make little to no effort to hear Go for themselves instead wanting their personal Moses (aka Pastor) to go to the mountain weekly and bring them back a fresh word. The Holy Spirit is saying to those of you guilty of that, this is the season for you to mature in your faith a bit. Even the basic milk of the word is still ingested by the baby, not the parent. Its time to open up your heart and receive Jesus afresh for yourself and begin to interact with Him directly.
If you are currently a "Pastor", it is very likely that you have a very valid ministry and are simply operating under a mistaken identity. Much like you would sit down with a 30 year old son or daughter still mooching off of you by living at home rent free, you need to have a serious conversation with the congregation and remind them that your name is not Moses.
If you truly are a biblical Pastor, then identify the Prophets and hand them over the authority to run the services that you were never supposed to have in the first place and get a small group going where you can actually Pastor those few that God has called you to Pastor.
If you are NOT a Pastor but find yourself wearing that title, it is critical that you discover what your actual and proper calling is to the body. If you already know what that is, then get to it. If not, seek that out and move toward what God has truly called you to be and do in the earth today.
In closing, if you attend a church that is run like the military or like a police station, I would consider leaving. the church is supposed to be Jesus in the Earth today. We are supposed to be the spiritual Paramedics that arrive on the scene of the world's troubles and struggles and bring HEALING. Remember too, that doesn't mean we don't have an opinion. If someone is engaged in behaviour that is unhealthy, as a doctor you have an obligation to tell them they should stop but that is ultimately their choice. I would suggest your words will be taken far more seriously when you wear a Doctor's coat instead of a Police Officer uniform.
Last time I covered the concept that the modern church should spiritually resemble a modern hospital when it's operating properly. I want to expound a bit more on that topic today and offer some more insight to help everyone better understand these important matters.
I left off asking what you do when someone believes they are gifted in a given area when they are not really gifted in that area. What do you do when you have a person claiming to be a nurse who is really a janitor. On the flip side, what do you do when you have a receptionist who is really a skilled surgeon?
It all comes down to properly discerning the body of Christ.
1 Cor 11 is where Paul is talking about the Lord's supper and He addresses this concept that while true about communion is also true in a more abstract way as well. We have failed to discern the body, therefore there are sick and dying among us. Staying with our hospital example, the reason people are not being healed and delivered more often is because we have an issue properly identifying staff members and placing them in the positions they belong.
In our modern culture for example, the term or title of "Pastor" means the single figure head in charge of a given church or a certain ministry within a church such as a worship pastor or a youth pastor. A Senior Pastor is known as one who has the final say. In the bible however, a Pastor is a very humble person not really in charge of anything. They are likened unto a shepherd but in biblical times, shepherds often did not own the flocks they kept. Biblical Pastors oversaw small home gatherings but the larger gatherings of believers were ran by the Apostles and Prophets as Paul outlines in 1 Cor 14. Yet in today's churches Apostles often are not even recognized and Prophets are usually not allowed to even give an unfiltered word to the body present, let alone take and run the entire service like they should.
Then we get into Pastors who consider themselves Apostles and Prophets, all at the same time. One local Apostle I met with a few months ago told me he knows he is not a Pastor but because many don't believe in modern Apostles he calls himself a pastor so people will more easily accept him as the leader. Evidently the idea of teaching his church truths about God's Government and Kingdom weren't very high on his priority list. Can you imagine a heart surgeon walking out of the ER and into another room introducing himself or herself as a Neurologist and then going to yet another ER and announcing that they are a ear, nose and throat specialist? Yet we have that stuff in our churches today all over the place and then we wonder why the world looks at us funny.
All of that to say we must discern the body properly. So how do we do that exactly? We must first understand God's pattern for building his "hospital" or church in the earth. Until we understand the basic patterns of God's Government, we will never know what positions we are even looking to fill, let alone who is supposed to fill them.
Apostles are the people who get the idea and vision in their heart that a hospital needs to be built along with the where and when. They do not come in to run everything, instead they come in and create infrastructure that in effect replaces themselves as far as the day by day operations. These overseers or hospital board members are called Elders in the bible. These Elders then collectively pray and come into unity and agreement as to who to "hire" and put in charge of various departments in the hospital. These overseers are called Deacons. The Deacons "hire" others to help in their departments as needed from those who have "applied" by attending and showing an interest.
So to be clear, Deacons are appointed by agreement from the Elders and once they are appointed, they need to be free to function without micromanagement. This is why being an Elder is such a hard task and Apostles should choose then very carefully and only by the leading of the Holy Spirit as Elders have to be willing to anoint, appoint and then back off and let people function in their own style. The Deacon who oversees landscape for example needs to have the freedom to cut the grass as they see fit. An Elder trying to tell the Deacon how to mow is an elder overreaching and micromanaging.
Pastors (real, biblical Pastors, not just in name only like we have in our culture) are also anointed and appointed by the Elders. Same thing there though, once a Pastor has an assigned group of souls to love and walk with, Elders need to back away and let the Pastor walk with the ones in their care. Please note that the Pastors are not "in charge" of anyone or anything, they are simply special people who God has anointed to walk closely with and love others in a very real and honest way. Unusual and remarkable Love and Mercy will always be the companions of a true, biblical Pastor.
Here's a radical thought... our "hospital" church is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. How many Emergency Rooms have you been to that are only open on Sunday Mornings from 10 to 12? If we are truly going to be a hospital for the hurting, we must expand what we see our "office hours" to be. In fact, we need to be rid of them altogether ultimately. I know many don't have the staffing to do that right off.. and thats fine.. so don't think of yourself as this grandiose full service hospital if you don't yet have the staff to cover the needs of the masses just yet. The truth be told, most Churches are not close to being a hospital, they are much more accurately described as a part time Emergency Room open a couple times a week and often understaffed with a handful of people doing several different jobs. While this is very admirable, it is also proof that something along the way got off track and out of divine order. To those in that place I say to you to pray for unusual wisdom and increase so God may begin to correct you into growth and proper "staffing".
What about these services on Sunday Mornings? What are they supposed to look like? We will tackle that one in the next blog, the Hospital Church part 3.
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