THE WALK OF PRACTICAL MINISTRY
“Abstain from evil (shrink from it and keep aloof from it) in whatever form or whatever kind it may be. And, may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through (separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God); and may your spirit, soul and body be preserved sound and complete (and found) blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (The Messiah). Faithful is He who is calling you (to Himself) and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it (fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you).” (I Thess. 5:22-24 AMP)
At times, we need to share our thoughts because we have seasons when our perception becomes cloudy, while others may be able to see a more balanced view because they are observing from a different angle. I can say with conviction that it is very important to be careful whom you share your most intimate visions. Mockery and ridicule is becoming more rampant within the fabric of our culture which has bred sharper tongues with less sympathy and compassion – even in the church environment. We realize there are many weird ideas out there and unfortunately, there is much suspicion and doubt of the super-natural, which is always ready to chip away at faith and hope. Remember that God is ALWAYS working in the super-natural because HE IS super-natural, and walking in His Spirit includes visions and dreams. Only share with those who love you and care for your soul to speak into your life. Selah.
Discernment is crucial when making strong bonds of trust. It is sad but true that people you look up to are sometimes fleshly and not always concerned with your well-being. You would think that ministers and leaders would be more loving and have you on their minds – but do not be deceived. Anyone can be cordial in public to your face, yet have no substance in their personal relationship with Christ. If leaders are not red-hot in their prayer life then do not expect them to even think about you or remember your problems. Praying is a direct result of love and can be justly measured on the spiritual balances of genuine concern. If leaders do not seem to sincerely love you “just for who you are”, it is probably the best decision to be nice and just stay on the “surface” with them. You can only be as trusting with them in the ministry as they are intimate with Father and you are not obligated to remain under their authority if they are not submitting to Christ as the Lord of their life. These ministries are usually just trying to build their own legacy and will surround themselves with those who can help them.
We have heard the phrase, “people person” and we casually presume it means someone who has the “gift of gab” or charismatic charm when it comes to communicating, but I believe it is much more than that. My view of a genuine people person is a rare individual that actually listens “beyond” the words of others with a commitment to being sensitive to hear not only the cry of someone’s heart, but also what God has to say on their behalf. Sadly, many who love to communicate do not necessarily care about the lives of the ones that are pouring out their heart but are just using this time as an opportunity to take advantage of them. I have known some people that were convinced they were really good at connecting with everyone but in reality they were deceived. Have you ever shared your problem with someone that you knew was not really listening? What about the ones that try to come back with a story of their own that is even more traumatic or they just pat you on the back and say that it will all work out while looking at their cell phone? It is very common to find people who love to talk about how life is treating them and their world-views, but do not really care about how others are hurting. Only those who abide in God’s love have the desire, interest and wisdom to “hear” a soul in crisis and in the arena of spiritual ministry, this is vital for divine appointments. Ministry is not telling everyone what to do but it is being consumed with agape love – which always desires the best for others. Humility is becoming extinct because we live in a calloused society that continues to lure leaders away from being selfless and harden them into being selfish! Sadly, even many pastors have become so caught up with their own agenda – they have little concern to really listen or pray for anyone else. We all need true friends and strong respected leaders that we can trust for counseling and confide in because we “believe” they are walking with God. Sadly, it is alarming to realize that genuine followers of Christ’s character are rare. Proverbs 11:14 say’s, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety”.
I realize this may sound elementary, but make certain before you move out in a ministry that you have heard the Fathers distinct voice telling you NOW. Just because you know HIS direction, also make sure you are moving in HIS timing. For example, many missionaries have moved out too fast and failed, not because they were not called, but because they were not prepared. God is never late, he is always on time! He has planned our lives for thousands of years with careful planning and charts out a unique course for each of his elect. This is not to say that all things are carved in stone before they happen but some things are destined according to the Fathers sovereignty. It is true that our limited free-will can help or hinder God’s plans, which is why the importance of walking in the Spirit is mentioned so many times throughout scripture. Step out in faith – but just make sure it is HIS time! “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching for those things that are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 3:14)
If you feel led to delay or alter your course, maybe there are loose ends that need to be tied up before you leave. Sometimes there are business and financial situations that need to be settled, so that your integrity is preserved. Also, if you are married there must be an agreement that you both have heard from the Lord in the decision. When a couple has confirmation they are in God’s perfect will, there is nothing more exciting but if a spouse is not completely convinced about the change, there is nothing more miserable and the move is probably destined to have problems. Also, if you are blessed with children you will need to direct your attention to some special issues that would pertain directly to how this change will affect them. You must have God’s peace in your spirit about these sensitive “behind the scenes” areas or you will not be as effective as you could be on the frontline. Do not be offended if you are not “blessed” with encouragement from family and friends. Sad but true, many times you are not quite as loved or respected as you thought you were. It is a difficult lesson but unfortunately people are not as appreciative of your labor as you would have thought. Do not be discouraged but settle the issue within your own heart by telling the Lord that all of your work was for Him and His glory. “For I say, through the grace given unto, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)
You are a minister of God in EVERY area of life – ALL the time!
It is important to minister love and life to everyone in your network including the eyes and ears of strangers. It is crucial that you NOT be a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide, because this will hinder your anointing and without God’s power to live holy, your attempt to labor for Him will be powerless and ineffective. Make a list for the purpose of forgiving each person that has failed, discouraged, offended or betrayed you and make sure you are clean of all resentment and “hard feelings”. If you sense it is necessary – speak a kind yet firm declaration to those who have hurt you, that you forgive them and are following the Lord’s call and that you would appreciate their prayers. (This releases you from a root of bitterness and gives humility a chance to develop in your life.) How they choose to react is between them and God. Maybe The Lord will reveal to them an important lesson about their lack of spiritual concern and through conviction of the Holy Spirit their eyes may be opened to a revelation that can change their attitude. If people think your ideas are foolish and out in left field, then do not even ask or expect their intercession, support or encouragement. Sometimes you might discover that people just do not respect you because you do not believe like them. Life is filled with politics from the tip to the toe, yes even in the “religious” arena and who knows all the reasons why people act the way they do. If you are not received, dust your feet off and keep going. Father has plans for you each minute of the day and it is exciting to see what is just around the next corner. It is true that you and the Lord can accomplish anything but He uses other people as links in a chain, to form a support system that can open the doors we need to accomplish HIS perfect will.
Where are all the resources going to come from? Three things; Prayer – Prayer and more Prayer! Praying is not only to change things “around” us – it changes US into His image! The battle to overcome our carnal flesh is a serious sacrifice that is OUR responsibility. Couch blessings are a fantasy! There is much LABOR to do for Him and that involves OUR faith! He is calling for His children to fall on their knees (and roll up their sleeves) to become what Jesus died for them to be. We pray, believe and know that where He guides – He provides. Selah. Seek His specific will night and day, so you will KNOW when and where to act. Be instant in season and out of season and be ready to show the “doorkeepers” your ideas so they can see the vision God has spoken to you. Preparation is the most important work you can do because, IF YOU ARE NOT READY – YOU WILL MISS YOUR DIVINE APPOINTMENT. He is not working within our plans – we are following Him! Are you moving in His dreams and visions? Are you waiting for Him, or Is He waiting for you?