"..Yet in My Flesh I Will See GOD" [Job. 19.26]

Friday, October 12, 2018

How You Know If Your Ministry is in God's Will

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To a lot of people, a ministry favored by God is peopled, moneyed and garbed with impressive facilities. To them that's a growing church. If you're one of them, you'd always look for these things when searching for a church or when sizing up one because smart Alecks say it's how you know if your ministry is in God's will.

But this standard is nowhere in the bible. It's man's invention. A church led by the Holy Spirit cannot be measured in the flesh or by any earthly measurement. God looks at it quite differently. To him, it's all spiritual because God is spirit. Going solely by spiritual merits is how you know if your ministry is in God's will or not.


Here are 7 signs to watch out for:
  1. People deepen in the Word and make it always the priority.
  2. People live the Jesus LIFE and character.
  3. People give up everything.
  4. People don't care about programs.
  5. Church uses money on people, not buildings.
  6. Church operates in the 5-fold ministry.
  7. It has Jesus' discipleship.

It's the first and most important sign---craving spiritual milk and going on to solid food for maturity [1 Peter 2.2 and Hebrews 5.14]. The Word then leads you to infilling of the Holy Spirit (as the Spirit also guides you in all truth), empowerment and then the spiritual gifts. A healthy church makes deepening in the Word the priority, not anything else---not even evangelism. The real first great commission is Thy Kingdom come (click here for the discussion).

Evangelism is important but it's secondary to Jesus' first great commission. Without deepening in the Word and the Kingdom, evangelism will be misguided. It will become a tool for mere denominational expansionism, not Kingdom building in the spirit. Watching what you're building is how you know if your ministry is in God's will.

Most churches today make the Word incidental. They have a little bit of it in bible studies and Sunday school. Then they major in church programs and activities and music ministry. They spend a lot of time, money and effort in concerts, choir, worship team, musical instruments and similar gigs. Remember, true worship is presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. This means living the Jesus Life daily. And Jesus is the Word of God. The priority is the Word.

2. Jesus LIFE and Character

Jesus alone is pleasing and acceptable to the Father. On Jesus alone the Father has set his seal of approval, says John 6.27. Thus, everything we do in church is useless, zero, nada, pfft, if we do not live the life and character of Jesus Christ. The reason we receive Jesus into our lives (100 percent) is so we can manifest him fully (100 percent) in our lives, too. Seeing whether Jesus is manifested in people's lives is among ways how you know if your ministry is in God's will.

We cannot remain as we are and think God is pleased with us. The bible says we have to change in ever-increasing glory. Who do we think we are to think God can accept us the way we are? Nobody can please God except Jesus. Nobody can please God except God. We have to experience, "It's no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me." It's mandatory, though we cannot force it on ourselves either. It God's grace that should do it in us. To get this grace, we should prioritize the Word.

3. Give Up Everything

Unless a church (and it's people) give up everything, it's a worthless church. It's Jesus himself saying: "Those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples." It's a sure measure how you know if your ministry is in God's will. Smart Alecks who want to skip this requirement (or who love their material possessions) will argue about context. If you insist on a passage they hate, they'd say you're out of context. Well, Jesus here was addressing large crowds and his invitation was "If anyone comes to me." So the passage is for anyone, or everybody.

4. Don't Care about Programs

It's ridiculous how churches today are so particular about programs. Programs for this and that and everything. They can't do anything without their programs. It's become an idol. They can't see how empowerment or growth can come without their programs. See? I don't know if they've ever heard of the power of the Holy Spirit? Is HE a reality to them, or are their programs more real to them than HE is? If you're program-oriented instead of Holy-Spirit oriented, it's how you know if your ministry is in God's will or not.

Jesus and the Acts church were simply led by the Holy Spirit, period. They didn't sit down to plan a one-year or 5-year program or even Sunday worship program. Private corporations do. But the church---God's family (not corporation)---is designed to be led by the Spirit in all things. Jesus said, the Holy Spirit will teach you all things and will tell you of everything.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. [John 16.13]
That's a trillion times more powerful than man's programs---I don't know why they fuss so much about their stupid programs. No wonder many church people today do not know how it is to be led by the Holy Spirit. They can't recognize God's voice. They grew up being led by man's programs. That's how you know if your ministry is in God's will---you're man-oriented.

5. Using Money on People

The Acts church used money on people, not buildings. "They gave to anyone who had need." Another verse says,
"And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. [Acts 4]
Even Jesus spent their meager resources on people. He fed 5,000 and then 4,000 men with their few, remaining loaves of bread and fish. He never thought of buying properties or putting up church buildings or renting a space for church. In fact, at one time he ignored impressive temple buildings. So, how you spend money helps you know if your ministry is in God's will.


6. Five-Fold Ministry

A whole, big denomination run by pastors and bishops. You see this today, but you see no apostles and prophets. They'd think you're nuts if you insist on all 5-fold. They'd mockingly challenge you, "Go ahead. If you think you're an apostle then be one! Appoint yourself!" Then they'd laugh or make funny faces. But queer, they seriously appoint bishops and superintendents (superintendents are nowhere in the bible) in church.

They think bishops head the church. Nope. Bishops (elders and deacons) are appointed by apostles, as Paul showed Timothy. Apostles and prophets jointly lead the church in teams, led supernaturally by the Holy Spirit. But we cannot change the bible. There's a curse if we do. The bible says:
And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. [1 Corinthians 12]
As long as you call your church "church," then you should have apostles and prophets. If not, then your church is not run according to God's will.

7. Jesus' Discipleship

It should not be a church "program." Discipleship should be a life. That's how Jesus did it. Foremost, it should entirely be Spirit-led. No programs. Did Jesus follow a program? Yeah, but not man's program. He had the Father's program. It's not a bible study or cell group. It was a family. Discipleship should lead to fathering. And "fathering" means you train people to be loyal to God and the man of God (the spiritual father or father-in-faith), not loyal to local church buildings and denominations.

I often hear pastors say: "I train them to be good members of the church so that when someone else pastors the church or takes my place, they will continue being active members of the church."

That's not Jesus' discipleship. His disciples continued to be his disciples even when he was no longer around. They didn't become someone else's disciples. Real disciples are followers of Jesus and the man of God. John the baptist had disciples before Jesus came into the picture. Later, some of his disciples transferred to Jesus. See that? True discipleship---Jesus' style---makes disciples loyal to Jesus (first) and the man of God (second). Never to a local church or denomination.

Very few churches know and practice this. Their discipleship trains people to make the local church and their denomination idols in their hearts. Are things you do in church promoting God and his Kingdom or are they promoting your local church and denomination? It's how you know if your ministry is in God's will or not.

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