Some of you are aware that there is a restoration and re-align taking place with the apostle of over our church, with our church itself and with many individuals in the church. We see this as a period of restoration and revival. Great things have been taking place around us as the power of God continues to manifest anytime any of us get together.
It is also a challenging time, and sometimes painful as the Spirit deals with things that need to be dealt with in our lives. This past weekend was such a moment for me.
Many years ago I was asked to pastor our church through a troubling time. Many leaders abandoned the family and it was a difficult time for people to hold on. Those who did, matured in the process and gained a profound understanding of the family of God. But there is a definite chain of command in the Body of Christ. Although we are all equal in importance and relationship in Jesus, there is a certain establishment of authority that he has created. Read Ephesians 4 as well as 1 Corinthians 12 to gain a beginning understanding of these matters.
This comes as bad news for those free radicals who do not want to be answerable to anybody but God. These are the type of believers who often dis-associate themselves from the Body for various reasons or spend their lives going from church to church, avoiding accountability. But they are also the ones who sit with a smile on their face in the pew, rejecting much of what is being preached because they believe they know better. But the Word demonstrates that the responsibility, vision, and leadership falls on a few that we know as apostles and prophets and it is the responsibility of the Body to support, encourage, and submit to these leaders. We have the responsibility of carrying the vision God has given to them.
On the weekend some of these things started coming together for me. The Spirit pointed out that things were not aligned properly in the headship of our church. My pastorship, which started 9 years ago, came under the authority of a man who had no authority over our church, thus my pastorship had no authority. Although we had placed the church under an apostle, that apostle had never appointed me as pastor, never laid hands on me, and I was not in alignment with his authority. The Spirit clearly made the point with me that I had to resign because mine was not a correct authority and it was blocking what God wanted to do.
This news came with no guarantees. I was to put aside the mantle of pastor, lay it at the feet of the apostle over the church and sit down. I was not permitted to walk away from the church. In fact, it was clearly my responsibility to become a man of valour to the apostle as David's men were to David. It was my responsibility to support, encourage, lift up, defend, serve, and humbly obey, carrying out the vision God had given to him. Not as a pastor but as a man of valour.
Sunday morning came and it had all been laid out in the spiritual realms what was to take place. I saw it clearly but I did not know if I had the strength to do this. How could I walk away from my calling, the only thing I knew how to do, my purpose on this planet? Yet it was the will of my Father and my only desire was to walk in his will. No guarantees. But as I stood in worship in our pre-service prep time, Jesus stood beside me.
I'm not kidding. I saw him in the Spirit stand beside me, put his arm across my shoulder in a physical act of encouragement and said very clearly, "I will give you the strength you need. I am proud of you." I was overwhelmed by gratitude and love. I felt his strength, his power and I was warm all over by the burning that was taking place in me. A burning I could not control. A burning I could not contain. I wept all the way through worship, not out of sorrow or fear of what I had to do but out of gratitude for the compassion of my King, for his presence and my awareness of it. I wanted to dance, shout and sing all at the same time. I was being renewed and re-established in this one single act of submission to my Father's will. Why had it taken me so long to understand?
The moment came quickly, the Word was preached easily, and in a single act of total surrender, I laid my Bible, representing my mantle, at the apostles feet. Peace filled my soul. I pledged myself to this man of God, to lift him up, to defend him, to carry his vision, to serve. Strength flowed into my limbs, my heart, my soul. Then my wife and I sat down.
It was done. Finished. Completed. I was no longer pastor. No guarantees.
And then something incredible happened.
The apostle took my Bible, had my wife and I stand, handed my Bible (mantle) back to me and laid hands on us, appointing us as pastors of the church under his authority as apostle. If no one else understood the significance of this moment, the man of God, my apostle did. Everything suddenly came into alignment with the Father's heart. Everything from the past was washed away. Everything was made right, proper, and in the will of God. The authority in the church was established according to the will of God. Everything in an instant was healed and made whole. The church gathered around with affirming words and prayers.
Now it was done. Now it was finished. Now it was completed. Now I was truly pastor. Guaranteed.
Today I am more than I was yesterday. Today I am truly a man of authority under authority. Today I stand healed and made whole in my leadership in the church. Today, the mountain is removed and the path made clear for the free flowing blessings and power of Jesus. Today is the first day of a new season for me, my family and the church, and I think for our apostle as well. Today my apostle has a man of valour by his side. May God use us all mightily in this dying world as we minister in his appointed manner.