Archive for January, 2012

LEGACY(The next generation)

This will be written for the generation yet to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord”(Psalm 102:18 NKJV).

There is a deep cry within the restless hearts of a new generation for authentic relationships with those who are more experienced with real life issues. They truly want to connect at a heart level with the older generation. But for many the reach is too much of a risk because of what they have experienced at the hands of authority figures(Sometimes in their homes and at large). This need for relationships with the older generation is not limited to Classroom or Post-secondary education. It is at the very core of trying to make sense of life. There is the fear of becoming what they have often seen in the former generation; abuse of authority, power & privileges; non-engaging parents, who themselves often did not develop the skills to model(verbally or physically) healthy, nurturing relationships. The interesting thing is that the scriptures offer much hope and insight for those who feel this way. They indicate that God is on the side of this often marginalized, underdog generation.

When God chose a man by the name of Abraham it was to restore a family image that had been marred by the break with God in the beginning. God found in Abraham a man not perfect but one who endeavored to order his life and future with a God-legacy in mind. “I know him that he will instruct his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD”(Genesis 18:19). Later, Moses was asked,”How will a people who had been in bondage for over 430 years believe that he was sent by God to deliver them?” The LORD replied, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob,has sent me to you. This [is] My name forever, and this [is] My memorial to all generations”(Exodus 3:15 NKJV). Moses was to assure them that the God Who made covenant with each of the Patriarchs was their God as well. To enter into a covenant involves not just “Terms of an agreement” but a true relationship with another person. It is one thing to know ABOUT someone, quite another to get to KNOW the one in whom we have heard. Getting to know the God of my fathers brings assurance of both His personal interest in me and emboldens with faith’s that the promises of the covenant are mine. The apostle Paul states, “If you [are] Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”(Galatians 3:29 NKJV).

God was working out the family likeness from Abraham to Isaac then to Jacob over a cross-generational Timeline, if you please. Each embraced the God of their father at a specific junction in their life. For legacy to occur, there comes a day and a faith decision “That the God of my fathers will become my God”(C.f. Daniel 2:23;Acts 24:14).

THE BIBLE AS NARRATIVE

This is one of the beautiful things about understanding that most of the Bible was written in Middle-Eastern style, which is Narrative versus a Greco-Roman analytical approach. In other words, if you do not see yourself in the stories and events as “your” story you really are only reading someone else’s mail, “interesting perhaps but no relation to me”. And yet, when we read with hearts open, we encounter God’s personal “Love letter” to us.

One of the ways that God unpacks His writings to us is through gifted men and women who have encountered Him and are able to share their discoveries with the next generation, with the help of God’s Spirit. Not that they merely tell us what we should believe about God but they model their discoveries in real life situations. The goal of sharing the truth that has been worked out in life is that others may know their heavenly father personally. This sharing is meant to be also passed along to our family, friends and neighbors as we have opportunity. The apostle Paul had this in mind when he wrote to Timothy, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”(2 Timothy 2:1-2 NKJV).

God’s message of hope is only Good News if others hear and pass it along to their generation in order that the next generation may know Him. This is in part what apostolic momentum means. Jesus said to His first disciples, “You did not chose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you”(John 15:16 NKJV). The Father could never be satisfied merely with the work of Christ in the earth by way of the Cross until He has “many sons in glory” like unto His Son”(Hebrews 2:10). That’s what a family legacy is all about. May we satisfy the Father’s heart and give Jesus Christ our Lord the reward of His sacrifice.

Copyright(c) 2012, Walter Fletcher Jr., All rights are reserved. This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered in any way from its original content. Send all correspondence to:WalterfletcherJr@gmail.com

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SPIRITUAL HERITAGE(Pt.3)

LEGITIMACY (Authentic ministry)

‘‘When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’’’(Matthew 21:23 NKJV).

When Jesus was asked, “Who gave you authority to do the things you are doing?”,we know that this was not the first time this had occurred in Biblical history. Recall that Moses was asked the same, “Who made you a ruler over us?’’(Exodus 11:14). Forty more years passed before they were ready to receive Moses as God’s deliverer. Whenever religion apart from God is involved, those of the religious status quo will respond in a variety of ways. One of the ways is they become offended. “This did not come through us”. Recall that Joseph’s brothers did not understand his dreams and were offended that he would even share them with the family. God was not raising him up to “rule over them”, but rather to protect them from a coming famine. (Ps. 105:16-24). A second response of religious tradition that doesn’t understand God’s ways is they ignore God’s right to choose His vessel. Take for example, John the Baptist. He was ignored by the religious leaders of Jerusalem, pretending “They didn’t know from where his authority had come”(From heaven? or from men?). The only problem was that, when the people, having left their cities and towns, heard John and began moving in repentance and public baptism, it testified to the fact that 400 years of silence was broken. John the Baptist was “A man sent from God”(John 1:6),the “voice of one crying ‘Prepare the way of the Lord!’”.

THE REJECTED STONE

When reading the Gospels we see that Jesus was not confused as to His true identity. He was in fact the unique Son of God sent of the Father to represent the kingdom of heaven on earth. What the first Adam failed to accomplish, Jesus Christ, the Last Adam, would fully accomplish. And to show the tenderness with which He expressed this to those who struggled to believe, He said, “If you don’t believe my words, then believe the works that I do, they are the works of the Father through me”(See Jn.15:1). The religious leaders rejected Jesus without cause, as the psalmist by the Holy Spirit said, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes”(Ps. 118:22-23). Why did they reject Him? Ultimately, because His plans and purposes ran contrary to their plans. He didn’t fit into their system, the way that they ran things. And yet Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build My Church and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it”(Matthew 16:18).

THE GYROSCOPE

Recently I heard a wonderful message from a pastor friend regarding the gyroscope. A gyroscope is a device which both measures and maintains orientation. My curiosity got the better of me, so I bought a small gyroscope and took it to along to meet a friend who (In addition to showing me how it worked!) I knew could explain the importance of the gyroscope. He explained that the gyroscope are the guiding device used in boats, planes, and are being used in rockets and in places where compasses will not work (Like the Hubble telescope). They even use them in phones and other devices in which maintained precision is required. In applying this information, the gyroscope can be likened to apostolic ministries who keep God’s work rightly aligned and or target. When they are missing things will unfortunately go off course. It is no wonder that the apostle Paul had so many battles with Judaisers. These were men who followed his ministry, trying to undermine his apostolic role and authority in the churches he had planted or helped to establish.

RIGHT ALIGNMENT

Many of God’s leaders in the Body of Christ have heard that this is a “Year of alignment to right authority”. God is a God of order and authority. When the apostle Paul wrote that God has established first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers (1 Cor. 12:28) he is talking about God’s order, His house, the Church. The word ‘‘first’’ in this passage in the Greek is ‘‘Proton’’, meaning ‘‘first in time, in place, order or importance. The Church in the Book of Acts was started or birthed by apostolic ministry. ‘‘They continually devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching’’(Acts 2:42a). And as long as the order was right, the Holy Spirit was able to establish strong, vibrant churches in the earth, even in the midst of pressure and persecution. Apostolic ministries are fore-runners, pioneers, planting works that other equally important gifts (Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers) come alongside helping to build up the body. When we ignore God’s order we cannot advance the Kingdom of God as was intended (Read Ephesians 4:8-16). We need all of the ascension gift ministries of Jesus (Ephesians 4). Christ Jesus Himself is ‘‘The Apostle’’ and Head of His Church (Hebrews 3:1;Ephesians 1:22-23). He has established apostolic ministries to bring new truth, revelation and insight giving more of ‘‘Christ’’ to His Body, the Church.

Let us ask God to establish His Kingdom with legitimate spiritual authority in the earth. It will be both our wisdom and safety in this hour. We are heading into dangerous waters, and we don’t want our lives and future carried off course.

Copyright© 2012, Walter Fletcher Jr., All rights are reserved.  This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered in any way from its original content.  Send all correspondence to:Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

SPIRITUAL HERITAGE(Pt. 2)

LITURGY

Having been involved in ministry for over thirty-four years and logging many miles among many different parts of the Body of Christ I’ve made a discovery. It’s about liturgy. Liturgy is more about the worship service than style. One of the best definitions I ever heard regarding liturgy was ,”Liturgy is the work of the people”. In other words, many have mistakenly placed the emphasis on the style or form of the service rather than on the congregations’ participation in worship. Liturgy is the form in which the worship is expressed among God’s people. Sometimes that can be very helpful to those who attend…sometimes you have to crack the religious code to participate in worship. But make no mistake, every public gathering has it’s own style(rehearsed or unrehearsed). But our worship points to a reality that is greater.

When God brought the children of Israel out of 430 years of bondage He announced their new identity before Him. “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. ‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation'”(Exodus 19:6). The LORD God explained the purpose of their deliverance. They had gained their deliverance through the signs and wonders done by Moses and by the blood of the lamb. But He did not free them to be Nomadic wanderers, but children of God. They were to give expression to this great privilege.

A UNIQUE PEOPLE

The LORD wanted a people He could claim as His own. When He said, through Moses, “Be holy, for I am holy”. Their uniqueness was not uniqueness for aggrandizement or prideful display. It was to reflect the uniqueness of God.

So,too, today. If we belong to God by accepting by faith the blood of our Lamb,Jesus Christ, we too must recognize that we are not our own but belong to God. We want our lifestyle not to model the world and its culture, but to model a new Kingdom culture. The apostle Paul said that if we recognize Whose we are, then we offer ourselves fully to God, not in conformity to the world. We are allowing God to transform our mindset and lifestyle to display His will in the world (C.f. Romans 11:36-12:2). This uniqueness is not by chance, but by choice.

A BLESSED PEOPLE

God further let the children of Israel know that they were called to be a blessed people. Even while in the land of their captivity, the LORD God moved upon Pharaoh’s heart during the time of a world wide famine to usher them into the land of Goshen, the best of the land. Again, when they were delivered from Egypt and traveling through the wilderness God caused Balaam to bless them (Read Numbers 23). Balaam was hired by Israel’s enemy, Balak, to come and curse them, but no matter which direction he looked upon them, when he opened his mouth he only could speak blessing. Perhaps as someone suggested it was because he saw their encampment, with three tribes to the East,three tribes to the West, three tribes to the North, and three tribes to the South forming a cross; the cloud of God’s glory in their midst. You can’t curse what God has blessed.

A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD

The purpose of God was ultimately to use the children of Israel as a priestly nation. It is the business of priests to reconcile the sinner and wayward to God. The priest, in addition to making the appropriate sacrifice, was also to give instruction in the ways of God so they would walk in right paths. “You are My witnesses,” says the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I,even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior”(Isaiah 43:10-11 NKJV).

God has a people today who will satisfy His heart longing. The apostle Peter takes the language from the Torah and applies it to a new generation of believers in Jesus Christ. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people, but now are the people of God, who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy”(1 Peter 2:9-10 NKJV).

Copyright(c) Walter Fletcher Jr. 2012

SPIRITUAL HERITAGE(Pt. 1)

 LITERACY (Biblical)

“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You”(Psalm 119:11 NKJV).

Having been raised on a farm during my teenage years has helped me greatly connect with the agricultural imagery of the Scriptures. My father grew many different types of crops: Sugar Cane, Corn, and a variety of Peas and Greens. We also had some Fruit trees on our farm. One thing I observed was that when it was time to harvest there was no confusion as to which field would yield what? You see, that had already been determined. Whatever was planted as a seed in the field was what was expected to come up from that ground in which it was planted. So it is true as God likens His Word to seed that when planted in the right environment would yield its increase.

Jesus loved using “Parables” or stories that were familiar to explain the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven. One in which each of the Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark and Luke record, is the parable of the Sower and the Soils in which seed was sown and a harvest was reaped. Some fields yielded more than others, “Some thirty, some sixty, some a hundredfold”(Mark 4:8). The point of the story was told by Jesus later, when privately with His disciples.  He impressed upon their hearts that they needed to let the Word of God go deeply into their hearts. “And He said to them, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear”(Mark 4:9).

We are in great danger in our Western culture of becoming a “Biblically illiterate” society, not because we do not possess the Word of God in written form. But we neither value it, and as a result, nor make our hearts the place that the seed of His word is hidden, heard and heeded. Many who gather at least once a week around the Word have lost confidence in it’s power to transform their lives. You remember Jesus had to confront many of the religious leaders of His day with the reality that for all their religious posturing in the Scriptures…they really had not worked it into their lives, consequently their was no fruit seen in their lives. They were bound by traditions that neither honored Father God, nor set people free to be who they were created to be. He diagnosed the problem, “You err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God”(Matthew 22:29.

For all our gains in the field of knowledge and technological advances we are falling further behind in the field of knowledge that matters most, the knowledge of God. The apostle Peter wrote to the followers of Jesus who were facing much pressure to compromise with the culture of their day. He said, “Grow in grace and in the knowledge of God”(2 Pet. 3:18). Again, the apostle John wrote of our need to go deeper in the Lord Jesus. He wrote, “The Law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”(John 1:17). He is not saying to do away with what Moses taught. Rather, he is saying that this is the One Whom Moses pointed to. “For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him shall you hear in all things, whatever He says to you”(Acts 3:22 NKJV).

This year we must do more than get back to the Word of God in our lives. We must get back to  confident obedience of letting the Word of God work in our lives. God’s Word works when it is properly applied to living. And let us not merely be satisfied that we have read or studied the written Word of God. Let it lead us to the Living Word of God. Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life”(John 5:39 NKJV). The Scriptures were meant to point us to a Person called “The Word of life”. The apostle John wrote, “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full”(1 John 1:3-4 NKJV). May this be a Year for the increase of Biblical literacy in you and your household.

Copyright© 2012, Walter Fletcher Jr.,  All rights are reserved.  This article may be copied free of charge provided that it is not altered in any way from its original content.  Send all correspondence to: Walterfletcherjr@gmail.com