Kings and Priests 08: Reclaiming Your Authority

Image result for kingly authorityWe have been spending a lot of time in this series looking at the difference between reigning as a king and ruling as a politician, and we found out that we are called to be kings not politicians, that we are supposed to rule through our birth right and not through the will of the people.

We looked at the paradigm that is being presented by some people today that David has to become Solomon and found that this is just not something you can apply to ministers in the New Covenant, and that without David, Solomon would not be able to have had a time of peace, and that Solomon because of politics made some terrible decisions.  We also found out that Moses the politician gave way to Joshua the military leader and that was also succession.  And it was the warrior Joshua that finally got the people into the land of milk and honey.

So I want to finish this whole things with a few tips to how you can in your life and in your ministry rule as a king, not a politician.  These are simple tips you can put into place in your life and change your whole ministry and increase more and more.  Do not listen to those who say you have to become more statesman like to grow, that is not Biblical, and not helpful.

Here are the tips, as promised:

  1. Remember your authority comes from Jesus – not a committee and not people.  You are dancing before an audience of one!
  2. If someone is not paying you your salary, sharing a bed with you or your mother, then you do not have to listen to their opinion.
  3. Remember you always have the right to say no, and you never need to justify that word.
  4. Spend time with people who are being fruitful and are walking above criticism, this is caught more than taught.
  5. Remember your value is found in where you are different for other people, not where you are the same.  Don’t try and fit in when you are designed to stand out.
  6. Don’t base associations on what other people say, know people by their fruit. If someone is helping you and you can see their fruitfulness, ignore what other people say about them.
  7. Don’t stop running your race to argue with someone on the sidelines doing nothing.  Armchair critics don’t have an opinion worth spending time on.
  8. Fellowship with Jesus.  Keep fellowshipping with Jesus, the more you spend with Him, the more the character, the dignity, the grace and the kindness of His brand of royalty will rub off on you.

 

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Ten Laws of Christian Conferences

10. The people who need to be there the most will not be there. Their excuses will be the most bizarre and pitiful.

9. If the budget is met, about 20% of people in the room will be those who met it. They will be the ones who put in more than the average cost of the conference per person into the offering. Of the others, most could afford to pay – they are bootlegging your conference!

8. The most appreciated “big shot” preacher at the conference will be the one that travelled furthest to be there. Change the geography, change the big shots!

7. People will ignore how well you weave the speakers and topics and ministry together, and come to the conference they invent. The one where they come to the sessions they want when they want.

6. There will be people blessed, inspired, encouraged, challenged, and transformed who will never let you know. They will never write a thank you note or email. This side of eternity there will always be an element of faith to knowing if your conference had an impact. On the other hand, those who want to complain will definitely let you know. Loudly.

5. You will get an unauthorised percussion section. Generally, snuck in tambourines, maybe a wild rain stick might turn up. If you are super blessed, a shofar. The truth is the less sense of rhythm someone has, the more likely they are to unofficially join your band!

4. Some people will come who do not go to local church, they will be the loudest and most needy people in your conference. They will hog and monopolise the time of your guest speakers and try and drain the conference as much as possible. They will have a bag full of any free product but buy nothing. They will rave about the conference. Within two weeks it will be like the conference never happened to them, and you will be to blame (somehow). If you suggest local church to them they will call you a legalist.

3. Some people will be there looking for a handout – either spiritual or physical. They will use guilt to try and get you to pay for their petrol, their hotel room, product. The more blatant will simply just ask for cash. Or they will want special prayer and time with the guest speaker they perceive as most “anointed” because they have problems only that speaker can solve. They will not be in all the sessions, will not have a notepad, and will not ever be serving. They will try and invade the guest speaker’s privacy, even wait until they are in the toilet. You can spot these people as they will stand far far too close to the speaker, and are far more interested in a private word than listening to their spoken public words. It’s all about them having a special mystique about them.

2. Some people want to get close to one of the guest speakers, and because you are the wrapping paper so to speak of the conference, they will just naturally resent you. Some will resent you for spending time with the speakers, others for sharing a message at your own conference because they only want to hear their hero, others because any rules or structure are set by you and these people hate rules and structure. They forget the speaker would never even be in their city or nation without you, and don’t ever expect a thank you from them for the hours, days and weeks of work you have done for this conference to happen.

1. All of the above people need love, care, compassion and kindness. You need firm fences, no doubt, but be sweet, some of these people are confused, lost, sheep without a shepherd and they are part of the reason you are having the conference. Love the lady with the tambourine, love the speaker’s stalker, love the difficult guy who asks why you are speaking at your own conference when there are “anointed” people around, and love the people who put £1 in a conference that cost £40 or £50 a head. Love them all. Be patient, kind, sweet – a good sower sows seed on every kind of ground and expects some sort of return.

Kings and Politicians 07: Things Politicians Always Do

Image result for gordon brown bigoted woman

When our then Prime Minister Gordon Brown was overheard calling a member of the public asking him questions a “bigoted woman”, he apologized. His apology contained these words:

Sometimes you say things that you don’t mean to say, sometimes you say things by mistake and sometimes when you say things you want to correct it very quickly.

You see what happens with politicians is there is two dialogues going on. The private dialogue and the public dialogue. Gordon Brown thought he was in private, so his private thoughts came out, he thought that woman was a bigot. But – as a politician – as someone who needs to impress the people – his public words could not have said that as it clearly did not impress people.

(I am not picking on one politician or one party here, all of them have a dual dialogue – a private thoughts and a what is released to the public, it’s just in this illustration, the words of Gordon Brown are very clear to this dual thoughts).

Because politicians have to impress people all the time, they hold their cards close to the chest, it is hard to know what they actually think or believe on any topic, because they will not tell you, they will tell you what they think the party line is, what they think the right thing to say is, what they think the key people and the majority think.

This dual process leads to politicians invariably doing three things. Now, again, it’s fine for politicians to be politicians, but when it is people in ministry and church leaders becoming politicians these actions restrict the kingdom of God from manifesting:

  1. They will warn you away from other people. Jesus never did that. He never warned people about other people, in fact He said if you are not actively against him then you are for him. He said by their fruits you will know them. I have had several times in my life where someone had taken me out for a quiet lunch to warn me away from another minister I know. They will suggest the person’s character is doubtful. I never ever listen to those things. I will not do it. You see, I do what Jesus says, I know people by their fruit. And it’s always the unfruitful that do it, because they don’t realize how important fruit is and don’t respect fruit. I was once warned off a person who ran a Bible College with over a hundred students and told not to go preach there by a person who planned one day to start a Bible College. Which has more fruit? Where is the godly wisdom in that? It’s politics. It’s making sure that you don’t upset one group of people by respecting another. It’s crazy and it is not kingdom minded. Don’t be a gossip, don’t listen to rumour. Don’t follow it, watch for fruit, build your own friends, and enjoy the company of people – especially Christians who are not from your tribe! Don’t be clannish!
    As a pastor, I have to deal with this too. Sometimes someone leaves the Tree of Life Church family offended and bitter. I don’t really want our people to hang out with those people, bitterness is infected. I assume our people know better than to hang out with someone bitter at their church, they are too wise to listen to gossip and slander that will make it harder for them to walk in their destiny. But sometimes I am shocked when I hear people I respect in the church are in the ship with people who are attacking me, hating me, trying to wreck our church. But I will not warn people away, because I am not a politician, I am not trying to control the narrative. I am not trying to control your fellowship or friendship. And hanging around the bitter and offended is just a sign of deep immaturity, and you cannot really correct immaturity, only feed people with faith and love. Besides, saying it only puts a big arrow on it and feeds the negative relationship. Learn to hold back on this, don’t celebrate it, but don’t correct it either, just tolerate it, let it be, and let it die.
  2. Politicians will always do whatever it takes to avoid conflict. They hate conflict, they hate people having different opinions because they are unsure which side to take, because they do not choose sides based on fruit or personal integrity, they choose sides based on politics. This means that they are bland. Their comments are bland, their preaching is bland, their social media is bland. We have seen this across the world as media has increased in influence, all politicians have become more grey, less flamboyant, more centrist – and in all of that, less authentic. If you post something even mildly controversial, they will not be impressed. Often these politicians in the church, rather than generation new material and new wisdom, and study the Word and pray about how to edify and bless others, but will spy on the social media, and the media of others and try and make what they say more bland or more neutral. I have lost count of the number of people who have contacted me on the TV ministry, the radio ministry or our social media, and contacted me and said that I said something too strong, or too direct. They want me to be less of a king and more of a politician! And then you look at their social media and you realize it is an echo chamber without anything that is not 100% accepted by their political party. It is not reigning like a king, it is not challenging or inspiring people, it is not lifting people to a new level. A politician cannot knight someone, only a king can. A politician can only expose and pull down and try and remove the spice from kings! When someone is contacting you and asking you to be more politic in the way you say things, they are trying to cancel out your kingly authority, to reduce you to their level, and to destroy your distinctiveness.
    If you make everything so bland as to not offend anyone, you will never command a storm to cease, never pull someone out of a wheelchair, and never teach someone a life changing truth. You might be feeding a few people a few scraps, and they are so grateful for it, but you will never start a revolution with politics!
  3. All politicians will avoid danger. Jesus taught us the difference between hirelings and shepherds. Shepherds will run towards danger because they love the sheep. Hirelings will run from danger because they love themselves. When people sense true danger, you see their true colours. Kings lead their people into battle, politicians avoid all battle. You will see politicians fitting into positions in churches and ministries where there is no conflict. You won’t see them on the front line. They need to be insulated from the front line. It’s a hallmark of all politicians.

You need to surround yourself with kings. You need a pastor who is a king, who is a called shepherd who will lead you to green pastures and still waters no matter what way the sheep vote on. You need to learn how to drown out the voices that tell you who you can fellowship with, what you can say and how you can say it until you are as bland as they are – the flavour of water and the colour of magnolia!

Learn how politicians behave, then walk away!

Kings and Politicians 06: David and Solomon (and Moses and Joshua!)

Image result for david and solomon

The idea that we need to rule like politicians and statesmen, and this whole concept that a ministry needs to move from a warrior stage to a politician stage often uses the history of David and Solomon as an illustration, or a prophetic example, of what they are trying to say.

The idea goes something like this: David was a warrior, and that is like a new ministry, being a warrior, but for a ministry to grow, the lead minister needs to learn to be a politician like Solomon, Solomon was a great statesman, and all David’s need to learn to grow into Solomon’s, Solomon after all had more territory than David.

At first glance, it seems like wisdom, and I can see why many people have unthinkingly accepted this teaching.  Now, if you have read the other posts I have done on this topic (part 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) you will know that the entire idea that we are supposed to rule like statesmen to be a fallacious one – we are called to rule like kings.  But, today, I want to dig into this “prophetic analogy” of David and Solomon, and point out a few flaws.

  1. David and Solomon are not the same person.  Solomon is not a more mature David.  David was king, he died and then Solomon became king.  Any differences between their leadership is due to the fact they are different people with different graces, different ideas, different experiences.  David didn’t rule for so many years as David, then God visited him and said “Now, stop being authentic, and start being Solomon, start being something else”.  You see one of my greatest issues with this is it leads to inauthentic leaders.  They shut up  because they want to be diplomatic, they are scared that by holding the sword that the Lord has given them, they will fail to have their ministry grow.  This “statesmen” teaching tries to get the young Davids of our generation, and the older Davids too, to dress up in the armour of Solomon.  That doesn’t work.  It’s inauthentic.  The people telling David to wear Solomon’s armour, in my experience are people who have never fought a giant, never lead a church, never planted a ministry.  They do not have the fruitfulness and the wisdom necessary to disciple you, so they use fear – if you do not be more diplomatic, your ministry will not grow.  We have your best interest at heart, listen to our wisdom.  It’s not the wisdom of God, it’s the earthly wisdom of the world sadly.
  2. Being a diplomat didn’t work out that well for Solomon, he married a whole bunch of women to try and please all the nations around him, forgot about God, forgot about living for God and had a truly unhappy life for most of his life.  It’s not something to aspire to, it’s something to avoid!  Do not be more like Solomon, be more like David.  Be a king!  Rule, fight, win.
  3. Solomon could only be a man of peace because David slaughtered all the enemies.  People can only rest in peace because of warrior-leaders.  The warriors prepared to stand, to tell it as it is, to refuse to play politics, to refuse to have a negotiation with Goliath.  They are the people who make the world a better place.  They are the people who bring about peace!  David’s should be honoured for the wars they fought and won, and if you are enjoy the fruit of someone else’s successful wars, you should always honour them, not despise them and try and relegate them to a supposed bygone era of when it was ok to fight.
  4. The idea that you go from warrior to diplomat can be forced into David-Solomon, but what about the (arguably more important) transition of leadership from Moses-Joshua.  Moses was the prince of Egypt, no one was more of a statesman than Moses.  Joshua was a military general.  Yet, the diplomat did not get people into the promised land.  Moses sent 12 spies into the promised land, one for every tribe.  Joshua sent 2.  Moses wanted to make sure all the tribes had a spy, he wanted all the tribes to feel part of it, he did the diplomatic thing, and it led to unbelief.  Joshua did the military thing and it led to the conquering of the promised land and the people getting out of the wilderness.  I could easily from this transition build a “prophetic paradigm” that until you stop being such a diplomat and such a statesman, and start fighting for what is true and real, and start standing for the promises of God, you will never enter God’s promises for your life.  Selah!

I don’t want to argue with other ministers.  But this doctrine that all warriors should become statesmen, and the idea that their ministries will not grow unless they do (what a way to add blatant manipulation to your doctrine to get people to embrace it) is not godly, not Biblical, and will end up in people being squeezed into a mold that is not from God.  God made us all unique.

What’s interesting is that the people who present this idea to you – they are never pioneers.  They have never faced a Goliath, they have never stood and having done all stand.  They are politicians themselves.  You reigning like a king makes them nervous.  Andrew Wommack says:

Persecution is an indication that the ones doing the persecuting are under conviction. They realize that they are not living what your words or actions are advocating and so, in defense of self, they attack the ones whom they perceive to be the source of their conviction. If this is understood, it makes persecution much easier to take. They aren’t just mad at you; they are convicted. When the Gospel is presented in the power of the Holy Spirit, there will always be either a revival or a riot, but not indifference.

This is the truth, people are nervous when they see you healing the sick, casting out devils, they are more nervous when they realize you will not dance to their beat just because they have a nice set of armour, or work for a big ministry.  They want you to dial it down, because they live on low-volume.  This David to Solomon teaching is actually, below the surface saying “don’t live at the level of a Goliath killer, a nation shaker, a worshipper who loved the Lord”, but reduce yourself to a backslidden fool. who forced his own people into slave labour and taxed them mercilessly, a man who built temples to foreign gods as not to upset the foreigners in his land.  That is not a step anyone should ever make, especially a pioneer who is changing the world.

My advice to you – don’t quit winning.  Don’t quit standing on the Word.  Don’t press mute for anyone.  Be loud, be strong, be confident.  Ignore the brothers calling you arrogant, ignore the brothers who say your dream is never going to happen.  Block the people trying to make you more diplomatic on Facebook, and find some true pioneers to hang around with.

Reign as a king in life!  Selah.

The Balance of Grace and Unbelief!

Andrew Wommack wrote a whole book on the need to keep the balance of grace and faith. He is absolutely correct, grace is God’s part, faith is our only appropriate response to grace. Ephesians 2.8-9 says we are saved by grace through faith.

No-one is saved by grace alone. No-one is saved through faith alone. We are saved by grace through faith. When our faith touches God’s grace, salvation happens.

They balance is vital not just to the initial born again experience, but to the entire Christian walk. All the benefits of salvation, such as healing, prosperity and abundance, protection from God, peace of mind. They are all by grace through faith.

Faith is believing God’s Word and promises, and speaking them and acting on them before we see or hear a change. It’s being moved by God’s Word and promises over and above what we see and hear. It’s what some Bible teachers call living by revelation knowledge over sense knowledge.

Now, what I have seen in the last couple of years is an explosion of people grasping grace. That is good news, I love the grace of God. I preach the grace of God all over the world, and I oppose legalism with all my heart. But you have to balance grace with faith.

But I am actually watching people today balance their grace with unbelief. What do I mean? Rather than get in the Word, find out God’s promises and act in faith, act like Jesus, act like Abraham, and walk in faith, they stay carnal, act carnal and call it grace.

That’s not going to lead to a miraculous life. It’s not going to lead to abundance. The problem is because people have falsely labelled their carnality “grace”, they don’t have an incentive to change. So, I post this with all the love in the world, to change the labels to the true labels to help motivate people to find the balance.

  • I don’t tithe because I am under grace not law! No – tithing started under grace and was done by the father of faith hundreds of years before law. You don’t tithe because of unbelief. Stop balancing your grace with unbelief, step out in faith and believe what God says about finances.
  • I don’t go to church because I am under grace. Well, there was no church until there was grace. The church is a work of grace, and true grace people are attracted to the grace place, the local church. The reason people don’t go to church is that they simply do not believe what the Bible says about the importance of church. It’s not grace that means people don’t attend church – it’s unbelief.
  • It’s not grace that means a man walks out of his marriage into the arms of another woman. It’s unbelief!
  • It’s not grace to say that sowing and reaping have passed away, it’s unbelief.
  • It’s not grace to gossip and be snide, it’s unbelief.
  • Grace isn’t the reason you are unfruitful, it’s unbelief.

The good news is it is very easy to operate.in faith. Simply read your Bible, declare the promises and believe them.

Kings or Politicians 05: A Handy Dictionary

One of the things you must get used to when you are reigning as a king is being called names by the fruitless politicians who cannot deal with your authority.

I thought I would provide a handy dictionary to help you translate what people mean when they call you names:

  • You are offending me – the truth offends me, but I cannot say that out loud, people will realize how immature I am
  • You are harsh, abrasive, rude, uncouth, undiplomatic or unpastoral – I am really annoyed I can’t control you
  • You are not accountable to anyone – you are not accountable to me
  • You should think before you speak – you should think about how it affects me personally, and not the kingdom of God
  • I thought you were supposed to be a pastor – I don’t know a single thing about being a pastor, and I don’t know a single Scripture about pastoring, but you are supposed to do what I want
  • I thought this was supposed to be a grace church – I thought you were supposed to be doing what I want all the time
  • I feel my advice could help you here – Here is a nice suit of armour, David…
  • How dare you say xxx? – I can clearly see you never said that, but arguing with what you did say is too hard, so I will change what you said to suit my argument.

These are all simple politician tricks to make you feel bad about being fruitful and bring you down to their fears and neuroses about what people think of them.

Keep looking for the next post, it’s a big one, about how the statesman Moses could not get the people into the promised land, but the warrior Joshua could. It will sort out this all warriors need to become statesmen nonsense some are saying.

Kings and Politicians 04: The Tyranny of the Majority

One of the concerns of a democratic system is often called the “tyranny of the majority”. It is the idea that the majority, because everyone has one vote, can easily outvote a minority, and impose their rule and their ways on a minority.

Healthy democracies have checks and balances to ensure this does not occur, to balance the desire for justice with the need to give every individual a vote.

When a church or ministry however is led by a politician, not a king, someone who leads through people pleasing rather than God pleasing, then sadly there are often no checks or balances, and then – and this is the ugly side of religion – the majority do rule, and they do become tyrannical.

The irony is the person who knows the people do not rule him or dictate to him, the person without a political bone in their body, the person who doesn’t care about pleasing people is the one who can actually help all people, including the minorities, the dispossessed, the powerless.The political leader on the other hand has to constantly divide people into groups and can only do what the largest group wants:

  • The pastor who cannot preach a series on loving others, evangelism, same sex marriage because it will upset the majority of the church. Now the majority are the tyrant shutting down the will of God in that church.
  • When a minister who would be a great blessing isn’t invited because many people, or even a vocal minority, object, then the blessing is lost because of politics, then there is tyranny there.

Sadly, what often happens in these situations is the ministry or church ends going nowhere. Imagine a bus that was run by democracy. You reach a roundabout and drive onto the roundabout. At the first exit, 25% of people want to take the first exit, but 75% want to stay on the roundabout. At the second exit, 25% of people want to get off that exit but 75% of people want to stay on. This goes on for ever, so a bus driven by a politician will never go anywhere. Resemble anywhere you know? Selah!

Kings or Politicians 03: Handling Conflict

When you realize that as a Christian you are a king, not a politician, how you handle conflict changes.

Politicians have to listen to everylone’s criticism, everyone’s concerns, because they need the applause of the audience. Kings do not.

This surprises and frustrates many people when you start living like a king. They are annoyed because you will not obey their orders or drop everything or do something just to please them. They assume that because they would do anything to please others, you should too, or you are
God

Lpd politician cannot grow a large ministry. If you are trying to plea _lol ok just ok hse everyone you will always eventually please no one. If you are trying to stand for everything, eventually you will stand for nothing. And ultimately the emptiness of it all is revealed. It was not ministry, it was crowd leasing hype and foolishness.

A king handles conflict differently. They know they only answer to Jesus. You cannot make them dance to your beat, because they are dancing to another beat! They are only concerned with pleasing and impressing Jesus.

Does this mean a king never listens to another human? No, not at all. But they understand the principle that Jesus taught so clearly: by their fruit you will know them.

Let’s say a king has a problem with one of their sons. They don’t go to anyone and everyone to get advice, they don’t listen to all the detractors and all the people telling them how to do ministry and how to parent. They go to another king who has fruit in the area of parenting and they listen carefully to the fruitful.

I reign as a king, and I refuse to listen to unfruitful critics. The armchair football players yelling at the television! The spectators telling the runners how to run!

When people criticise my social media strategy, and their social media presence is smaller than mine, I won’t listen. You don’t have to listen to every voice! Which is liberating! When I get parenting advice from people with no children, I don’t have to accept it, I don’t have to canvass for an election, I have to bear fruit. I will find people with adult children serving the Lord and listen to their advice.

The problem is that many people with the politician mindset think that if you don’t listen to them, you don’t listen to anyone. People say to me “you are not accountable to anyone” and what they mean is “you are not doing what I want”. There’s a huge gulf between those statements, but the politician cannot see it.

Politicians never ever stop and think: I don’t really have a clue here, I will just shut my mouth.

They never think “hey, I have never started a ministry, I should really listen to this guy, he started all this from nothing”, no, they say what needs to be said to gain approval, and if that means putting you down that’s fine by them. They never think: “I’ve never done that, maybe I should learn from someone who has”.

You have to learn to develop a spine! A royal spine. You need to learn to say no to every piece of advice you receive. You want to be a good pastor, you need to ignore the baying of people who have never pastored a church telling you how to run your church. Find someone more fruitful than you, and ask their wisdom!

Being a king means that you make decisions based on what you see, not based on democracy. In our Western world, everyone wants a say and wants to bring democracy to the church. But God decided to set up His kingdom on earth, not a democracy. Selah!

Kings or Politicians 02: Longevity

This is our second post about the difference between royalty and politicians. As Christians we are called to be royalty, to reign in life as kings. Revelation 1.6 describes Christians as “kings and priests”, not as politicians and priests.

Last post we looked at the difference in the source of authority between politicians and kings, for politicians it comes from people and pleasing the people, for royalty it comes from birth. And here is the stark truth: royals outlive politicians. The picture above this post is Queen Elizabeth and President Trump. He is the twelfth President of America that the Queen has met. I seriously doubt anyone reading this post could name all 12 of those Presidents off the top of their heads!

When you are a politician you will always become yesterday’s news. I remember in 1997, when Princess Diana tragically died. A lot of people said the Queen reacted poorly, and the current Prime Minister Tony Blair tried to manipulate public perception and use the death for political gain. In the short term, it worked, but over two decades on, the Queen has a public rating higher than she has ever had, and Tony Blair has gone down as one of the worst Prime Ministers the nation has ever had.

When you decide to reign in life, you realize something: political leaders in the church come and go. All the time!

Political Christian leaders are not going to be around long. The same people who cry Hosanna one week cry crucify the next week, and unless your source of power, your source of authority, is more than the people, you will be gone and not even know why. The reason is you never got grounded in Christ. You said what you thought the people needed to hear, not what Christ needed you to speak. You love the praise of man, you are a statesman, not a king.

Greg Mohr said at a pastor’s retreat I was at last week “You cannot bless those you are trying to impress!” And if you are trying to impress everyone, you are blessing no one, and so eventually people will stop coming to you.

I want you to have a long lasting ministry. I have people who tried to destroy me, tried to lie about me, gossip about me. They didn’t care about following Christ, and were prepared to ignore all of Christ’s mandates and instructions to get ahead and impress people. Most of those people are not in ministry! I am still putting out the Word and will be doing so until I die, because I only care about my Royal Family – the Father, King Jesus, and the Lord Holy Spirit. I am not trying to impress man. That means sometimes I look a little out of step with the crowds, but it means long after the crowds change, I am still plodding on, still walking in victory, still wearing my Royal Diadem.

I suggest getting on your face before God until the voice of the people grows strangely dim. Until you hear Him speak, then one I not matter what the people say. Just do it. Then you will be a king and have a ministry that bears fruit and lasts.

Kings or Politicians 01: The Source of Your Authority

Image result for elizabeth and jfk

For a while now I have wanted to do a series of blog posts on the difference between ruling as a king and ruling as a politician.  Since I was born again at the age of 16, I have seen in many different churches, denominations, Bible Schools and ministries, people who have the authority that they flow in through Jesus Christ and His life, and other people who are playing at politics.  I want to set people free from the need to be political and show them how to reign as kings, because that is God’s will for us, and that is where true authority comes from and that is how to win at life and build healthy churches!

The reason why this is so important is that there is a lot of teaching going around the body of Christ at the moment about the need to be more political.  Now if that means the church and Christians should be more involved in the politics of their communities, cities and nations, I am absolutely all for that.  I even ran for public office once!  I believe that the church needs to speak into national issues such as homosexuality, abortion and gender issues.  The church should have a public voice.  But, some of the people saying that churches and Christian leaders should be more political are not saying that – they are suggesting that the way we lead should be more akin to politicians than kings.  That we need to continually look at how people respond, how they react to judge how we should behave.

Now in one sense there is an amount of truth in that.  We should love people, we should not go out of our way to offend and upset people.  Our role as ministers and leaders should be to reign in life.  That ability to reign in life comes from the gift of righteousness (Romans 5.17) and over several posts I will explain how a revelation of our righteousness leads to us being able to lead properly as a king, and not like a politician.  Most Christians who lead like a politician, if you scratch the surface, you will find out they do not understand properly grace-righteousness and they think that their standing with God is something they need to earn.

So today, I want to start with a major truth that many do not realize.  And that is what is the source of our authority as Christians?  It does not come from how many people like us, it does not come from how many people follow us, it does not come from how many people attend our church, it does not come from how many people appreciate you, it does not come from how many partners you have.  No – it does not even come from he people.  Your authority comes from Jesus Christ Himself, as a gift.

Saul made this mistake and lost his kingdom.  He offered a sacrifice he was not anointed to make, he did something that he was never called to do, and when Samuel confronted him on it, Saul said:

11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.

Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” (1 Sam. 13.11-12, NIV)

Saul was the rightful king of the nation, he was not put in power by an election of the people, but by the selection of God.  But he was scared of what the people would think of him if he did not have an offering, and later on we find out that he let the people keep the sheep and goats from the battle fearing their anger if he killed them all.

Saul was concerned what the people thought of him.  That was the driving force of his kingship – he wanted the favour of the people, he wanted people to like him.  That stopped him reigning as a king, and started his career as a politician.  It was a very short career, as it is impossible to reign as a king and be a career-politician.  The way to deal with people, the way to deal with God, the way to handle decisions in both are too diverse, too different, too opposing for someone to do both.  God removed the kingdom from Saul because God is not interested in a politician having authority in His kingdom.  God appointed Saul not the people, and whoever appoints you to a position is whoever you should be looking to for leadership and guidance.

Now, what does that mean for us in the New Testament? 

Our source of authority as believers is Jesus Christ.  He appointed us to bear fruit, not people.  We are not elected.  Some churches hold elections, some of you have been employed by other people in a church or ministry, but ultimately as a believer your authority, your ability to rule and reign in life comes from Jesus Christ, not the people.  Politicians are elected and selected by the people, and kings are given their election by the family they are born to.  Your authority as a born-again Christian comes from your new family from the new birth, not the people.  This should be basic teaching, but sadly many churches and many Bible Colleges do not explain this to people.

We need to not run our churches and ministries like Saul and pander to people.  It is not the way forward, we are not running our race for people but for Jesus Christ.  We need to be free from politics when it comes to Christian ministry and free from being led by the very people we are called to lead.  You can gain political authority in ministry by crafting and changing your ministry to impress the people and you can gain a following by being subject to the desires and whims of the people.  But you do that, and you will not be able to reign as a king at the same time!  You will still have your God-appointed authority, but you will never bring it out in case it upsets one of those people whose “vote” you desperately need.  Politician preachers and ministers can have a following, but they do not raise the dead.  You need to make a choice – will I follow God or please men!  Paul had to make that choice:

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.  My message comes from Christ (Galatians 1.10, NLT)

Everyone trying to be political as a Christian leader needs to examine this verse and see if they are not trying to win people’s approval, rather than serving Jesus Christ.  Our authority comes from being under the authority of Christ, not from the approval of people.

Recently, a large ministry that I respect a great deal has started teaching explicitly and powerfully what the Bible teaches about homosexuality.  The ministry believes that it has a mandate from God for teaching that.  I have seen a number of people tell me that they think that this minister has missed it here, not necessarily because they think what he says is wrong or incorrect but rather because teaching like that so boldly and clearly might cost him followers and people.

Those people are thinking like politicians, they are thinking about the following of the people.  They are thinking like Saul not Paul.  They are thinking like politicians not kings.  I asked the minister about it, and he said “I have lost people when I taught this, but I must obey Jesus over people”.  You know that is the truth, we must obey Jesus over people, and not care about the consequences.

As a pastor or leader you have to be very very careful about people trying to make you political.  Now, those people who do that have no God-given mandate to do that, so they will resort to manipulation and guilt to persuade you to be more political.

For example, they might hear a message you have preached and you have preached it strongly.  I like to be explicit about what I mean and they are concerned I have upset someone.  So they will come and tell me.  But rather than be direct with me, and deal directly with what I have said (it’s one of the traits of politicians not to speak directly) – they will tell me “your ministry will not grow if you say things like that”, “that kind of thing is not statesman-like”, “that kind of behaviour is not godly”.  They will want you to listen to the crowd.  Sometimes they even invent the crowd.

Once I preached a message called “Being Tribal Not Clannish”.  I believe that as church goers we should be tribal, our church should be our tribe, we should support our church, love our church like an extended family, and help them as much as we can – we should speak the same tribal dialect, and have the same culture and goals.  At the same time, we should not be like a clan, so wrapped up in our own stuff we do not look outwards, and cursing and attacking people who don’t look like us.  It’s a good message, and a great way of using language to define what kind of family we are as church.  At the end of the message, an African man came to me to speak to me about the message.  He said that I have offended a lot of Africans by using the word “tribe” to describe how the Tree of Life Church should function.  I asked him who, but he refused to name anyone specific and just said people might be offended.  I asked him if he was offended and he insisted he wasn’t (politicians will never admit to character flaws in case some people are upset!), but that other people might be.  I said I am not going to worry about imaginary people getting offended.   Imagine being so political you worry about what imaginary people think about you!  But people are!  Christian leaders are!

They ask you to think about the hundreds of people who are offended, but they are the only one, but that narrative doesn’t suit a politician, so they will tell you about the people who might be upset.

And you see, actually the reason you need to look to Jesus and obey Jesus and not the people is that Jesus loves people more than anyone who needs the approval of people.  In fact, you cannot really love people while you are trying to get them to like you and approve of you.

This weekend I was officiating at a wedding, it was a young man who has been in our church and just finished his second year at Bible College, and while there met another student.  It was a glorious wedding with people from our whole church family and a whole bunch of Bible College students.  One of the students was coming to a conference we are hosting and I asked which speaker they were most keen on hearing.  I was very surprised, and this is not a humble-brag, that they said it was me.  They told me that when I speak and speak clearly about things, and tell it like it is, it helped them believe that they could actually be in ministry, it helped them deal with things in their life and address things.  You see when you learn to reign like a king and do not care what people think of you – then you can actually say the things people need to hear rather than what they want to hear.  That way you can genuinely help people.

Now politicians get so upset at that, it shocks them that you do not care what people think, they do not know how to process it, and they will call you controlling, authoritarian, unloving, and all sorts of other names.  Just shake the dust off your feet and get on with the task of being fruitful, working miracles and changing the world.  All of us are performing for an audience of one – the Lord Jesus Christ.

Next post will develop this theme further!  Enjoy!