The challenge that retards the church, has always been the traditions, attitudes, and self-imposed positions, thereby limiting God's will to use all; for everyone is the called. Some say Paul ordained different roles including those of the "helps ministry". This is true, but Paul was really speaking to the body to work together (to fill a gap, a role) and be in unity as a body should be and that no one part is to be exalted above any other. The church is filled with many who desire to serve in whatever capacity they think they can, by their standard and limitations. This is a natural inclination when one wants to contribute to a purpose, a goal to achieve. Paul also states, "to desire the greater gifts"; indicating all can do as much as those specific to the five-fold ministries and even more; concluding with the statement, "And now I will show you a way that is beyond comparison" - 1 Corth. 12:31.Paul is saying having more or all the gifts will open up and reveal more of God's revelation to yourself and others. This can only be achieved when we abide and focus on the things of God.

Spiritual Awakening

Today, many do not know how to focus their energy on the things that really matter. It may surprise us that even Christians fall into this category also. Even when in church, it has become the norm for some of the Faithful to check their phones for messages rather than focusing on the message from the pulpit. Some say, they are using a phone app. to follow along and read the Bible passage the Pastor is quoting and in many cases this is true as technology allows us to access the Bible electronically. Yet, one can always tell if they are not using the phone for this purpose just by how their expressions and actions reveal what they are seeing on their phones. The real comment on this has to be answered by the individual because it's God's house and each one of us will have to answer for any disrespect to Him.

Why did Jesus leave after three years of earthly ministry? His work was done which included the Victory over death and gave back the divine authority, lost by the first man. He completed His mentoring of those who would continue the work until He returns. Jesus taught everything that would be required to be a true son and daughter of God. We see His legacy continued by the apostles and disciples. Yet, isn’t it ironic that although many like Peter and Matthew contributed to the Bible, their books only serve to paint a picture of Christ’s life and ministry. But with Paul, an outsider, His books are quoted more in religious circles and used by many to develop into agents of change onto Righteousness. This may have to do with the fact that before his conversion from Saul to Paul; he was already a focused person on a mission to have others become in obedience to God. Although not recorded for any of these Biblical icons, the actual effect of their ministry can only be reflected by how much they are used as an example and by far Paul demonstrates this as someone who is focused and untiring in carrying out the great commission under the five-fold ministry roles and just simply as a follower of Christ.
 
Flush it Out! - To be effective; focus is the key !

Just as with everything else, we have to self-judge our focus. Do we give God His due or slide by Him to get to our favorite sitcom, game or novel. I believe every Christian has done this slide by and God is patient and forgiving because it is by our free will do we determine our future. As with everything that we deal with; it requires the measure of attention and depending what it is; the more we focus, is the more our body, mind, and spirit becomes discipline to achieve the desired goals. For Christians, it should be to know God; His ways and methods so that we can walk in full Victory as Christ did on earth. When Jesus was here, He did two clear things. He taught and He showed. Any teacher worthy of their salt knows that students or for that matter people learn better and are inspired more by an example, demonstration rather than just a talk that motivates one but there is no “proof in the pudding”. Jesus clearly gave us the example of authority over any form of darkness, and inspire us to believe that we can do the same stating, “Greater works will you do” - Jn. 14:12. Jesus could only have done these things by focusing on the task at hand. If you think He just got up every day, yawned and jumped right into His ministry; this would be a deadly thought process. Jesus had more responsibility to make sure every Word in the Bible has integrity and is true. Many in the body are not confident that as saved Christians that they should be able to or allowed to do the things that Jesus did. Some have also claimed that it would take a Christian at least four years based on Paul’s letters, before they would be able to do such things. Both these statements are wrong.


Consider this; why did Jesus only had an earthly ministry for three years; as most biblical students agree on. Surely the Son of God could have stayed until satan was put under once and for all. After all who doesn’t need strong leaders who show how things ought to be done. Some say he could only last that long before the stench of evil started to affect Him. Of course, Jesus’ life was already outlined since the “fall” and He essentially was walking it out. But this does not answer the real purpose for leaving His church. Jesus is commonly known as the healer of humankind; mainly because of His miracles, demon manhandling and His statement, “to free the oppressed” - Lk. 4:18. Many only see Jesus just the same as they would their family doctor; just wanting to make one feel better. There is nothing wrong with this, but as many come to realize; it matters not how much prescriptions are given; sooner or later one is back at the doctor again for some other ailment.

It is not difficult to understand the devil. He was after all “at the top” of God’s Heavenly Kingdom. A “focal point of light” that commanded presence and maybe even admiration from fellow Angels. He had it made. Everyone one of us would have to admit that at some point in our life we too felt to be at the “top of the world” or at least desired to be recognized, admired and acknowledged. There is no better sense of worth than to be wanted in some form or another and in many ways God desire is to lift us into Glory - 1 Pet. 5:6. He, Lucifer expressed what many of us try to hide. The need to seen and acknowledged. Some even going to extent of hiding this with false modesty; of being a “humble brag”. A humble brag is someone who even though they earned the recognition still insist that they were just fortunate, lucky or really didn’t contribute to their own “fame of the moment”; all the while keeping the focus on themselves. Sometimes this act is referred to as being superficial.

Nov. 2, 2016.
 

To be focus or not to be.


As said, Jesus’ life is outlined by God just before “the first family” is kicked out of the garden. God said, “He shall bruise you on the head” - Gen. 3:15. This, of course, is referring to Jesus putting satan under His feet as in subjugation. The Bible only gives us glimpses of Jesus’ life and then focuses on His ministry. Now, many may think that Jesus’ youth was “boring” except for His visit to the temple at age twelve, but here again is what we are being asked to focus on, simply because the inspired word only gives us the essentials. In other words, God only speaks to His purpose and our part in it. At age twelve, Jesus is missed by His parents, because He is having discussions with elders in the temple saying to them, “don’t you know I must be about My Father’s business” - Lk. 2:49. Then after this incident, it is recorded that Jesus, “grew in wisdom and favor” - Lk. 2:52; not only with God but also with man. Jesus was not only Spiritual but practical. Later on, at the start of His actual ministry, Jesus states, “I come with a sword” - Matt. 10:34. Jesus ends His earthly ministry with the words, “It is finished” - Jn. 19:30. His last words were, “Therefore go and make disciples of all” - Matt. 28:19. Then He was taken up into Heaven. Jesus had a  very focused life, with little or no fluff to distract him from His call and mission for God. He came, did and accomplish all that was required of Him. He mentored not only the apostles but several disciplines all with the same instructions; to be the example to the world by using the authority that has been invested in them - Lk. 10. Every Christian since, have been given the same directive and purpose to seek, save and empower all those who come to Christ. It is the mission that is to be focused on.

There is no doubt that the gifts of the Spirit are to be employed for this mission, but they are not the prime reason for Jesus’ life and the mission He direct us to. The Salvation of every man, woman and child are the priority. It is also the greatest gift requiring the least empowerment to offer and do. The prayer of Salvation is the focus. This is not to say that every Christian does not have the ability to heal, speak in tongue and even prophesy; even having a role within what is commonly known as the five-fold ministries. Every Christian is a vessel for God and can be used in any capacity God deems. Recently, I heard from the pulpit that “many have not answered their call” and to hear that “one is called” into the five-fold ministry as an apostle, teacher, evangelist, pastor or prophets. There is nothing wrong with this if one senses a particular call to one of these ministry role. But the five-fold ministry is not meant to be inclusive to only those who “specialize” in those particular roles. All are meant to be used in these roles as required.


When Paul labored with the early church and not only seeing but experiencing the challenges of preaching a New Faith to many who by tradition had to grapple with the old to the new had to organize, establish and direct these churches and those under his mentorship to set, maintain and expand the foundation of Christ and His message. One might say, Paul inadvertently fell back into his old ways as a Pharisee to keep every one of the New Faith in line. And he would be right to do so. For God is order, and has specific roles for His Heavenly Kingdom. Jesus also established “specific calls” within His apostles with Peter, whose name means rock and would be given the “Keys to the Kingdom” - Matt. 16:19. Having order does have its place and purpose and every household cannot function and be kept without it. Yet, God also demonstrates when required, a creative flexibility that is also revealed in Jesus. God is the master chess player and will use every piece whether the queen down to the lowly pawn to accomplish His goal, which is to topple satan’s worldly kingdom. And He loves to do it with what man considers the “least or weakest of all” - 1 Corth. 1:27.

We must make one thing clear and that is we are to be the focus for the world. Jesus was the focus for three years in several places and as children of God’s Light, we cannot avoid this state of affair. We are to be the focus! With Lucifer, he made no apologies for this, after all, God put him in that position and he was not shy or abash about it. He was, after all, the “Light Bearer”. The “Light Bearer” is synonymous with the “Morning Star” and many theologians are in conflict because this term is also used to describe Jesus; as stated, “the bright Morning Star” - Rev. 22:16. I believe that the term is best interpreted based on its context and attributes. So for Lucifer prior to his fall is contextually seen as “a walking, talking knowledgeable being for enlightenment and wisdom” - Ez. 28:17. After his fall due to his twisted ego, we find this with secular and satanic organizations that believe with knowledge (enlightenment) alone they can ordain and direct their destinies, doing without God. Sounds just like what Lucifer was attempting to do, “when iniquity was found in him” - Ez. 28:15. His focus became twisted and he turned his focus to himself and not to God.


There are many who claim that satan and Jesus are the same, but obvious this makes no sense because Jesus, the Word existed when Lucifer became treasonous; being part of the Holy Trinity. Jesus of course, is the bearer of light and enlightenment also, and was the focus but deflected, redirected all admiration, adoration, and recognition back to God. Christians must settle this in their minds and spirits that all is towards God and His Glory as is seen with the living creatures “worshipping God day and night never stopping” - Rev. 4:8. We see this Worship and Praising continues with the warning, “Do not do that”; as John is overwhelmed by what he is seeing and falls to his feet to worship the Angel, who quickly state, “I am a fellow servant” -Rev. 19:10. On a side note, it is interesting that these two chapters and these verses seem to have symbolism that matches the verses. The number 4 is “sequencing or timing” or "order" as in day and night” or 4 seasons; whereas the number 8 represents new beginnings or new order as the verse says, “is to come!” With chapter 19; this number is indicative of God’s perfect decree or judgment as in “Do not worship anything but God”; where the number 10 is signifying, testifying or to have the responsibility; saying in the verse, “Worship God”. Remember, we are talking about focus and where it should be directed. Once Lucifer abandoned this requirement, iniquity was found in him and he was thrown out of Heaven. God has rules and they are to be respected.

The ministry of Jesus was a focus on developing others of the Faith to do and accomplish exactly everything Jesus did. The moment Jesus enters the stage of His ministry; one of his first action is to seek out apostles and when needed enhance His call with miracles and motivations. The Bible is not clear as to when all twelve apostles were selected but that He appointed them and mentored them more than any other disciple that was following Him. This tells us that Jesus had a plan and it was critical to the spread of the good news, stating, "taking them away privately and withdrew" - Lk. 9:10. In addition, every day He would retreat to be alone and pray, meditate and receive instructions from God - Lk. 5:16. Although not mentioned directly, the Holy Spirit was His aid in all these events He did and dealt with during His ministry. We know this because Jesus said, He only say and do what the Father instructs. This can only happen by the divine influence of the Holy Spirit and as on many occasions, it is stated, “knowing their thoughts” - Matt. 9:4, Lk. 5:22. What is significant for us with these stories is that Jesus was operating as a man placed on a "dying earth", requiring God's guidance and His Spirit to live, work and die, just as we do. The Bible records Jesus’ ministry with little or no fanfare and demonstrates focused activities. It even demonstrates Jesus’ impatience with things that have very little to do with His mission and serves only as a distraction. We see this with the wedding feast when His mother asked Him to change water into wine and gives a stern response saying, “how is that our concern and don’t you know it’s not my hour as yet” - Jn. 2:4. Of course, Jesus is referring to His ultimate sacrifice, but more relevant in this example is that Jesus and His apostles were busy discussing issues and Jesus became annoyed by the interruption of no more wine.


Jesus is a focused person for His Father’s business and so should all Christians be. Jesus demonstrated His focus by always being about and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead Him. He did this by His three main offices of teacher, servant, and as a priest which is another way of saying the five-fold ministries. Christianity is an action Faith and Jesus was the epitome of being the example of all the different roles. As an Apostle, He was the messenger of God - Jn. 3:16. As an Evangelist, He converted many to the Faith –Lk. 19:9. As a Teacher, He educated all those who heard him about the Kingdom –Matt. 5:1-12. As a Prophet, He warned many of things to come –Matt. 24:3. And as a Pastor, He demonstrated the ultimate love for His flock by sacrificing Himself –Jn 10:27-28. Jesus did this with every gift of the Holy Spirit, and although not mentioned Jesus would undoubtedly have spoken in tongues; because all things were given onto Him –Jn. 3:35.