Doing “First” Things First
October 15, 2006
Releasing Kings Conference in Yakima
We’re in Yakima, WA November 10-11 for a Releasing Kings Conference. Friday night is a dinner (Sea Galley @ 6:30) with the local Full Gospel Businessmen. Saturday morning the meeting is 9AM-1PM at Shiloh Christian Center (112 N Pierce Ave). John is the speaker and we’ve invited Howard & Leslie Ferris, John and Joani Laney, and Duane and Karen Smith so you’ll get a flavor of what God is doing in through their “exploits.” This is going to be party and our goal is to sponsor a “jail break” in your life!
Directions to Shiloh – http://www.zachsoft.com/shiloh/map.php
Details – Dusty Arenson (email@example.com)
Doing “First” Things First
Howard Ferris – Last week I promised another great example of a King moving in the Kingdom. Howard is the Regional Asset Manager for Pacific Power and Light in Portland. He is an engineer that has been using his vacation and personal finances to do crusade meetings for people that have never heard the gospel in Costa Rica, South America, India, and Pakistan. It’s an amazing story that resulted in over 50,000 salvations complete with a program for a house church planting follow-up. He has a great role in changing Pakistan!
How? – Howard and Leslie are just like you and I. What is exciting about meeting Kings we interview is finding out how they did it. When you read Howard’s interview you’ll see that there were no doors open for him… so, he opened one himself. If I could convey the single most important “first” ingredient of being Kingly, it’s this; You have to take the initiative before God to pursue your heart’s desire.
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. Matt 22:37-38 NIV
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt 6:33 NIV
Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; Rev 2:4-5 KJV
First Things First – As a pastor whenever people tried to prioritize anything in front of the church I just explained that there was time to do the whole will of God and the church didn’t need to take a back seat. However, as a pastor, my total focus was growing the size of the church, planting more churches, and motivating people to reach the community. That was my assignment from God and I worked over time to make sure it was everyone else’s assignment too.
Now I want to say something surprising, “If you’re not the pastor, growing the church probably isn’t your top priority.” Here’s why (in addition to the 3 verses above). Your first love relationship with Jesus is tied to your ability to find your own relationship with God and your own “first works.” Most of us are not permanently assigned to be extensions of the pastor’s ministry to equip the saints. That’s where our humble, obedient, submissive, servant model breaks down. Once you’re equipped for the work of ministry you graduate to the status of “friend” of God and your specific adventure begins. You don’t stop going to church but your priorities really do stack up differently.
15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. John 15:14-16 NIV
The First Works – From the mega church to the house church the motto is, “we’re planting churches that will make disciples who will make more disciples and plant more churches.” Great pastoral goal!… But it’s a serious “miss” for the average Christian. Pastors will plant churches to equip the saints and we saints will reach the lost, but those activities are a byproduct of a healthy relationship with the Father. Your first assignment is to find out where your heart’s desire intersects with the will of God. When you find it, you find the motivation for the rest of your life, an entrepreneurial vision, a ministry that expands the Kingdom, and the prosperity to carry it out.
Holistic Christianity – Here’s what’s broken when Kings pattern their ministry after the priestly model for making disciples in church. “Ministry” is something spiritual like planting churches and making disciples; “Motivation” is being faithful and obedient to the apostolic hierarchy and the church mold that defines what you should do; Finances come from offerings; People work because they have to and can’t wait to quit to be “full-time.” All that translates to life-long financial bondage and vocational mediocrity. That’s partly why we have an over-emphasis on suffering and persecution and an under-emphasis on abundant life – it fits our experience! Again, full-time staff ministry inside the church is great for pastors after the priestly model, but it’s death for kings. Kings have to integrate their vocation and their ministry. When they do the culture changes. It’s called redemption and lift because all those businesses, doctors, educators, scientists, and politicians are building the Kingdom… reaching the lost, changing the culture, and having fun doing it.
The House Church model is a great pattern, especially in the third world, and there are 25 “how to” books that explain it published in the last 5 years. It’s wonderful. Yet, I’m absolutely amazed those same books are universally silent on integrating vocation and ministry. It’s a priestly model written from a pastor’s perspective – How can I grow my church? Are Kings down on the House Church model? NO – Howard was responsible for several thousand house churches getting started. They are an answer to prayer.
Kingly Disciples – How do you make a Kingly disciple? You simply have to connect the DNA God put in his heart’s desire with his relationship with God. Show him how the desires, and talents he already has connects with the will of God. Help him connect his vocation, his dream, and his ministry. At that point our disciple will get his eyes off men, traditions, and fitting into patterns and start a compelling journey to fulfill his unique destiny. His goal is not to plug him into some one else’s “down-line” for perpetual discipleship. He’s going to connect directly to Jesus and experience a new level of motivation, anointing and power. He will have a servant’s heart, but his self concept will switch from servant to King. He will dream, create, and multiply. His disciples will do the same.
22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. Gen 1:22 KJV
Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. Gen 9:1 NIV
11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body. Gen 35:11
22 The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it. Prov 10:22 NIV
Our Kingly disciple is free to be creative, inventive, bold, entrepreneurial and prosperous. He’ll bring you back some amazing exploits. He can still start a house church or lead a cell group if he has time… but he’s more likely to go to Pakistan and reach 30,000 people on his next one-week vacation… or find a cure for cancer… or start businesses in China. Not a hard choice for me! PS: He’ll finance it too.
You might enjoy two parallel newsletters along this vein.
Making Kingly Disciples and Kings and The Gospel of the Kingdom
Life is an adventure. People are a blessing. God is amazing. We’re winning.
John & Harold (are dancing – Join us)
You can get your copy of Releasing Kings for Ministry in the Marketplace at