The Life of an Apostle
A Free Lesson on: The Realities of Apostolic Training
(The following is an example of the kind of lesson you can expect in our Fivefold Ministry School)
In the first months of coming over from South Africa to join Les and Daphne Crause in what was known then as Global Ministry Resource Network, Craig and I came to a stark reality. That reality was that ministry was not all about glory and fame. We had packed just a few months before with dreams in our hearts and minds of what might await us.
We had built up pictures and hopes of what we wanted to do and what burned in us. We were full of zeal, we were full of ambition…we were full of flesh. The ideals we had in mind differed from what the Lord has planned and instead of an outbreak of revival the Lord led us to the basement of apostolic preparation!
Have you ever heard this statement, "The elevator to the penthouse begins in the basement?" Well we learned exactly what that statement meant. The first task that I was given as a team member of this international ministry was to handle all the correspondence and to take care of the cooking!
Craig was given the exalted position of gardener and for a long time if I ever needed him, I could be sure I would find him up to his elbows in grass and weeds. Yet in the midst of carrying out these seemingly menial tasks, the Lord had begun a work in us that we would only see years later.
Right there with dirt under his fingernails Craig was learning to become all things to all men. It reminded me of David who sat taking care of his fathers sheep as his brothers got all of the glory. At times it sure felt that we were taking care of sheep and there were days when I felt more like a overworked mommy than the apostle that God had called me to be.
Craig and I would often look at our circumstances in confusion saying to ourselves, "So this is what it is like to be in ministry? We were better off in South Africa!" Yet just as David, who would become the greatest King that ever lived, we learned to watch sheep! We learned to be servants. I learned to answer correspondence after correspondence, spending hours in counseling and taking care of people's problems.
Craig would spend hours taking care of our problems and seeing to it that the rest of the team could function in the ministry without having to worry about the day to day care of the home. After all, someone has to watch the sheep! Often we feel that the best person for that job is the person who is least capable of ministry, but I tell you that until you have learned to watch the sheep and do those menial things, you are not ready to become the apostle that the Lord has called you to be.
You might have the passion, the dreams and the desires, but without the living experience and the ability to relate to anyone on any level, you will not make a very good leader at all. Well as we began putting out teaching, Craig had come to a place in his spiritual life where he felt that if he was ever going to put out a teaching that he had learned in the year since we arrived, that it would be called "The Way of Gardening!"
It was at this very point that the Lord took him out of that and thrust him into becoming an active part of the ministry team. He rose up fully into prophetic office and seemingly overnight was a essential part of the team. Yet again I am reminded of David who within days found himself from being an outlaw in the wilderness to being placed as king over Judah! Imagine the dreams David must have had from the day that Samuel anointed him! He was called to be king, and yet it would seem that everything went against him from that day!
He was made to care for the sheep and when he finally did make it to the courts of Saul, found himself in trouble yet again and was forced to leave and run for his life. Death after death David struggled with the desires of his heart and the many disappointments he faced along the way. Yet it was only when David had learned a few things and had become a leader, that he was ready to be a king. He had to go through a bit of training first.
I can imagine that the last thing David was thinking about, while camping in the land of the Philistines, was being appointed as the king of Israel. It seemed impossible and I wonder to myself how many times he thought that maybe Samuel missed it or was wrong. Yet within just a few short years from the time he ran from Saul, David found himself upon the throne of Judah and then on to being king over all Israel.
Are you seeking God for direction? Are you asking Him for your mandate? The reason that He is not speaking yet is because you are holding on to the old one. Until you let go of the old, your mind will not be able to comprehend the new. You cannot have both. One has to go and for your sake I pray that you sacrifice upon the altar all that is in the past.
For it is only when you are willing to let go of what you think you are called to do and also what you want to do, that you will be ready to receive the mandate that the Lord Jesus has for you. You might have an idea in your mind what you want to do in ministry and where you want to go, but until you receive that full picture, you are going no where! It would be like receiving only half a painting and deciding what the other half should look like. The problem with that is you will add things to the painting that should not be there. You are making an uneducated assumption. You are doing the same thing in your apostolic calling if you are chasing after a vision that you think is complete.
Give that vision to the Lord now and lay it upon the altar. I can promise you that if you will allow the Holy Spirit to consume it, that He will carry you upon His wings and take you to a new level. But if you insist on holding on to your old revelations and promises gone by, then you will only remain longer in the wilderness.
In fact you will remain there as Moses did until every last shred of your vision has died. Moses also grew up with a vision in his heart. He knew that he was called of God to deliver the Israelites and Hebrews tells us that, "Hebrews 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;(GMR)"
But he only had half of the picture. He had no idea what God really had in mind. How could he have imagined that God was going to part the Red Sea for them? In his human understanding could he have imagined that God was going to rain bread from Heaven and cause water to come from a rock? No, his human mind was limited to the things that he could see and as a result he took it into his own hands.
And so he failed! He killed the Egyptian and in the end had to run for his life! David, and Moses had to run for their lives, because they all came to learn that when God gives you a mandate, that He will give you what you need to accomplish it His way. God does not need your help to put this picture together and he does not need your natural strength. All He needs is your availability.
Moses spent forty years in the wilderness before God called upon him again. By the time he saw that burning bush, thoughts of the Israelites were far from him and he no longer saw himself as the great deliverer. Yet it was at that point of weakness and of being stripped of everything he had, that he was ready! Only when he was nothing, did God begin to unfold the glory that awaited.
So learn from Moses, for if you hold on to your own ideas of how you are going to implement the vision that God has given you, then you will never know what really awaits. You are trying to do with your human arm something that only God to do. You can try and strive towards your goal, failing all the way. Or you could let that vision die and then stand back and watch as God opens up the sea before you and drowns your enemies behind you. It is up to you. You are at the place right now where you must choose.
Do you desire to see the impossible? Then let go of everything that you think you know and sacrifice what you want to do. Because I have a little secret for you, "You do not know what God wants to do!" Just like Moses could not have anticipated the ten plagues of Egypt, so you will also stand in awe as God steps in where you left off. Be prepared to be amazed, but first be prepared to die.
So how long will it take you to die? It took Moses 40 years. It is up to you. If you are weary of dust being in your eyes, then perhaps it is time for you to let go of your vision. If you have no vision left, then rejoice for now the Lord can begin leading you to the promised land! For only when you reach your destination will you see how everything falls into place and how, without your knowledge, the Holy Spirit was plotting a course for you that is exactly on beam with every plan and pattern He has for you!
1. Can you identify a time in your life where you thought you knew exactly what you wanted to do in ministry and then everything fell apart? Give the details.
2. Have you ever felt like David, left to take care of the sheep while everyone else got the glory? Can you see how this was a part of your apostolic calling?
3. Can you identify a time in your life where you have spent time in obscurity, wandering in the wilderness? What did you learn during this phase of your life?
4. What is the Lord calling you to do now?
5. What price are you willing to pray for the promotion God has for you?
6. What price is God calling of you to pay right now and are you ready to pay it?
Your Personal Road Map to Apostolic OfficeImagine a detailed map showing you every step of your Apostolic Training. Then imagine someone who has already completed the journey taking the time to show you the way personally. This book has the potential to not only confirm your calling, but launch you headfirst into the training that ... read more
The Apostolic Ministry Course
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