Greetings and salutations from the smoky Okanagan valley! It's exciting to launch the first ever posting from Pulse, and let you know a little bit of what we've been up to for the past several months. It is my hope that the following summary that I wrote for our group that meets once a month, would give a taste of some of the teaching that I'm working on. It's evolving as we meet together, and wrestle with what it means to carry our mix of revelatory gifts with grace and humility. The end goal is to come away still loving Jesus and one another!
Since April of this year, we've committed to a monthly gathering of the revelatory and intercessory types in our wonderful K-Vine (Kelowna Vineyard) family. We've had some intense and transformative times together. I hope and believe that it's been beneficial for all.
Since our first meeting, we've covered the history of prophetic expression in the Vineyard family, and the roots that have grown the foliage and fruit we see today. Out of that, we've explored our posture in the body of Christ, how do our values and rubric inform our actions? We've agreed that maintaining alignment in our body is critical, and achieved by honouring the truth and wisdom of inspired scripture above transient revelation. It's understanding the unique interplay of our personalities , biases, history, and accrued theology, and how these combine to form a world view that is not without error. We've discussed the pitfalls of navigating the revelatory arena, and how it relates to other gifts; the draw of mysticism, elevation and hierarchy that aims to isolate the prophet from the rest of the body, rather than empower them to serve and encourage.
This brought us to dig into our prophetic purpose and role. The responsibility to equip and build up the church is central to our ministry. In order to do this effectively, attention to personal character is key and it forms part of the structure of a firm foundation. Relationship with Jesus, like any significant relationship, requires time spent together. Nurturing the soil by simply being in His presence: resting, loving, chatting, asking, waiting, weeping, listening, and emptying ourselves until there's only the pressure of our head resting on His breast. This tethers us to Love, propels us to invite others to the same, and draws us to community. Nothing worthwhile and lasting happens outside of relationship. This is what we leave behind when we die, here on earth and one day in heaven. So we ask ourselves, 'what am I leaving behind?'
Our most recent meeting was about the age old battle of the mind. Countless paradigms have surfaced throughout history on this subject. Ways of freeing, categorizing, analyzing, harnessing, theorizing, and managing the unfathomable impulses of the brain; these have formed the bedrock for accepted psychological theories and counselling practices. It informs religion and spiritual practice around the world, each one claiming to hold the key to ultimate enlightenment. Our challenge as a prophetic people who are committed to walking with Jesus, is to understand the war that rages to claim ground in our thoughts every day. If you ever wondered if this is a hot button topic, you only have to consider the flood of thoughts that come when this concept is considered. Many have written on the subject, and I acknowledge the effort that has gone into the application of scripture and teaching concerning this discipline. The mind is a revolving door, so it's no wonder that men have struggled and puzzled for centuries on how to navigate this inscrutable subject. But...we have the wisdom of Isaiah to draw from. I have long believed that the enemy has a vested interest in making simple truths as complicated as he can, in order to muddle and confuse us from the way of peace. So the Old Testament prophet spoke of things he knew intimately, things that were part of his experience. "He (Jesus) will be a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate." Isaiah 28:6 (NIV)
As revelatory people, we are called to guard our gates, and be cognizant of the impact of our thoughts on our daily lives. Everything we do begins with a thought. I struggled with the legalistic trajectory of this teaching when I was working with it. Formulas and rhetoric peter out quickly when we are under the weight of oppressive thoughts. But Isaiah understood something about the transformative power of the spirit. He knew that the vital power and strength, the breath ('ruah') of God, would support those who stood guard when the battle came to their gates. If we are able to discern the source of the thoughts that come knocking on our doors (the mind, the main gate), we can intervene before their whispering's lodge into our hearts (the middle gate). We can ask Jesus to breathe on us, infuse us with His vital power and strength to resist the devil from seeding lies and influencing our motivations and decisions. Our hands represent the inner gate, the place we operate from.
So, we are told to discern every spirit, and the source that it comes from. This is the practice of the wakeful Christian. Be alert, without fear, for He has given us everything we need.
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2Corinthians 10:3-5 - (NIV).
Peace and grace for the journey,