I am pleased to share more life bearing words that challenged and encouraged me. I received this from Don Atkin today, and believe it will be a real source of edification for you:
Following is a "LETTER TO A RELUCTANT PROPHET" - excerpts by Chip Brogden. This seems to me to be a timely word for all of us. I will add a few more comments, particularly about the apostolic, at the end.
LETTER TO a RELUCTANT PROPHET-excerpts by Chip Brogden.
It is with a certain fearfulness that I respond to your inquiry, for I
am not an authority on such things. I can certainly relate to your
reluctance at being identified among the company of the prophets
when so many false apostles, prophets, and teachers abound. I
wish I could point you in a proper direction, but I can only point
you towards the Lord. It is He who selects His messengers, and
I have nothing to offer you by way of what to do.
At most, perhaps you can look upon me as an example of what
NOT to do, and take some word of counsel from a weak brother
who has made many mistakes and endured many failures along
the way. Perhaps you too will have to make even the same
mistakes in order to learn, yet following my advice could perhaps
help you to avoid the unnecessary heartache and cruelty inflicted
upon yourself and others when thinking that you are doing God a
service. I would counsel you, first of all, to be a Christian. Do not
spend too much time focused on that which is prophetic. Do not
come to others as a prophet, but as a child. Let Christ be your
obsession, not the prophetic word. For "the testimony of Jesus is
the spirit of prophecy." There need not be turmoil in your heart
about your calling; it is clear that you are among those that are
"the Called, according to His purpose." And what is His purpose?
That you be "conformed to the image of His dear Son." That,
above all, is your first calling. Many are eager to wear the Prophet's
mantle, but are reluctant to bear the Christian's cross. This cannot
be. Given the choice between Christian or Prophet, choose Christian.
Serve God as the earthen vessel you are, in the place you find
yourself to be.
Perhaps the Lord will indeed use you in some prophetic way, but
if not then at least you have been faithful with the "one talent" you
have been given. God will not give five talents to those who cannot
be faithful with one, and will not give ten to those who cannot be
faithful with five. If you are a Christian first you will remember that
you should walk softly, with meekness and humility, while
esteeming others as better than yourself. Then the prophetic word,
when and if it comes, will be seasoned with the appropriate amounts
of mercy and grace.
Remember that without love you will inevitably become as
sounding brass - all judgment. If we cannot or will not stay in Love,
God will set out to humble us shamefully before our brothers and
sisters that we may know the depths of our hypocrisy and
self-righteousness. That is evidence of HIS great love for all of us.
Now, concerning the prophetic word itself. God will give you the
"what", but the "when" and the "how" are left up to you. "The
spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." You can be
right on target with the "what", but if you screw up the "when",
and especially the "how", you do yourself and others unnecessary
Let us not only be familiar with His Word, but let us become
acquainted with His Ways. It is not enough to memorize what
He said, we must take His yoke upon us and walk in tandem
with Him. Since Christ bids us to "learn of ME", beware of those
who will try to gain access into your life with an inordinate desire
to mentor or shepherd you. We may certainly seek the advice,
prayers, and counsel of other mature believers. Even the little
children in the Kingdom of God can teach us much. But people
can only carry us so far... Do you see dear friend, that God
is more concerned with the messenger than the message? Do
you see that the minister is more important than the ministry?
If the messenger is wrong, the message will be wrong too. If the
minister is wrong, the ministry will be wrong. And do you see that
the Lord of the work is more important than the work of the Lord?
Meditate on these things. There really is no famine of the Word
of God. If God is able to find the right vessel the Word will come
forth in abundance. Therefore, He takes much time to mold,
fashion, train, refine, purge, break down, build up, discipline and
create His prophets. Yield to that process. It cannot be rushed,
but it may certainly be hindered. We cannot force the Spirit, but
we may certainly quench Him. Ah, your gifts are given to you in a
moment's time, but your fruit, your character, YOU, develops
over many seasons of God's dealings. Do not be thrilled with
your gifts, only observe if you are fruitful in Spirit, bearing much
fruit, abounding in love, joy, peace, faithfulness, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, meekness, and self-control. You can be
sure that there are more gifted people in the world than you, yet
the fruit is what will remain when the gifts pass away. Never
neglect the place of abiding in Him, and you will remain a fruitful
branch in the Vine. Expect misunderstanding. Expect persecution.
Expect ridicule. Expect mistreatment. Expect suffering. Expect
rejection. Then, you won't be surprised when it comes. And when
it comes, shut your mouth, go to the cross, and die so you can
live. Learn to kiss the hands that nail you to the cross, for as you
are decreased, He is increased. It is not a better living we need,
but a better dying. We cannot reach Pentecost but by way of
Passover. There can be no resurrection without a crucifixion...
Be afraid of the praise and acceptance of others, for they are the
fertilizer for the self-important and grandiose thoughts that are
yours by nature anyway, which spring up in the shallow ground
of your carnal mind. Carry about the Death of the Lord so you
may have the Life of the Lord. Be ready to suffer with Him, that
you may reign with Him. And now, some practical advice: As
much as possible, stay away from money...
Be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Before, you would never
apologize even when you knew you were wrong. Now, be willing
to apologize even when you know you are right.
This is my counsel, dear friend, and perhaps something I have
said in this brief letter will bear witness with you. With these
words then, I commit you to the care of the Lord Jesus Christ,
Who is able to complete the work which He has begun in you
and see you through to maturity, as you are rooted and grounded
in Him, being thoroughly equipped and strengthened by His
Might which works in those who have taken up the cross to
find power in weakness... --Chip Brogden.
From Don Atkin
The second phase of the apostolic restoration has begun, and is meant to bring the entire church into apostolic reformation. Every restorative emphasis that we receive is meant to make a permanent and transforming deposit in His body. These movements are to be cumulative, we are to lay hold of the heavenly impartation, and then move on into the next phase as the Holy Spirit reveals it to us.
Luther Reformation - Justification by Faith
Wesley - Discipline/Holiness
Pentecostal Movement - Gifts of the Spirit
Evangelical - Burden to reach others with the Gospel
Charismatic Movement - Priesthood of all believers
Teachers - Emphasis upon Scripture
Prophetic - Emphasis upon seeing/hearing
Apostolic - Emphasis upon the Foundation - Christ Jesus
In all of the above, without exception, failure to move on with God into the next phase of restoration/reformation has perverted and compromised the purpose of that particular phase. We are not to "camp" there and remain exclusively involved in only that move. We are not to "denominate" ourselves by any one part, but we are to become fully orbed by continuing in Christ.
One example that we saw in the Charismatic Movement: All believed that they were called to the ministry! Truly, they were. However, the pattern of the church as they saw it identified "the ministry" as pastors or evangelists. If you liked to travel, you must be an evangelist. If you liked to stay home, you were probably a pastor. Thus, God's purpose was corrupted because people concluded wrongly in their unsanctified, unrenewed minds. Yes, all believers are called to the ministry, a ministry that is not corrupted by a false laity/clergy dichotomy.
Similarly, we are now in a time when God is illuminating and restoring the apostolic to the church. The apostolic seed (sDNA - read "The Second Incarnation" available at www.DonAtkin.com) in every believer is being stirred. This means that all believers are to become "apostolic." It does not mean that all believers are apostles. This wrong understanding is pervasive right now, primarily because of what exists in the church. Adding an apostolic layer to the church in its present condition is not God's objective. It is a further perversion of what began in the Spirit.
Much of today's church is still largely bound by religious tradition and does not facilitate an accurate understanding of the apostolic seed—Christ in us, the hope of glory—and the ultimate affect that God is after in this current restoration. The sDNA in each believer is intended to center that believer on Christ, the Foundation and Apostle of our faith. The Sent One in us wants to send us, not necessarily as apostles but necessarily apostolic.
We need apostles to exemplify and nurture that apostolic seed in God's people.
We need prophets to bring additional foundational strength through what they see, hear, counsel and proclaim.
We need evangelists to rightly proclaim the gospel of the kingdom, setting free the captives, healing the broken-hearted, etc.
We need shepherds to tend the flock of God on their migration toward a city whose Builder and Maker is God.
We need teachers to rightly divide the apostolic doctrine, filling out the body of truth for the maturing of the body of Christ.
We need elders to exemplify Christ life and patiently guide and protect the flock of God.
We need deacons to lift up the hands of the elders and the ministry gifts.
We need believers who are willing to follow Jesus fully.
Only the apostolic seed (sDNA) can make us what we are supposed to be and empower us to do what we are supposed to do. The discovery of Christ's apostleship within prophets does not necessarily make them apostles. God's intends that there be prophets who grasp and function within the apostolic framework. The same is true of all other gifts, all other saints. What we are by the grace of God does not necessarily change. Yet, we are all to become apostolic in the sense that we are all "sent" for someone, for something.
So long as we try to be somebody, we remain nobody.
When we are willing to be nobody, God will make us somebody.
Chip Brogden has ably counseled us all in how to posture ourselves. I recommend that you read his letter again, and simply replace the word "prophet" with "apostle." Or whatever!