I have been away this last Friday and Saturday at a Christian conference entitled “Pastoring the Prophetic”.
As I reflect on what is taking place in the Christian world at present and the tragic consequences resulting from the actions of those who are misrepresenting the Body of Christ on earth, I feel it is important and relevant to sum up some of the gold nuggets I came back with, as a result of the teaching we all received during the first of the two days:
1.Despite the efforts of many man-made, man-appointed, self-seeking and self-serving prophets out there today to exalt themselves by claiming to know all of God’s mysteries, God is unveiling a very simple and clear prophetic message in these times through his SERVANTS the true prophets:
LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND FEED THE POOR
1 John 3:17
My heart is broken within me;
all my bones tremble.
I am like a drunken man
like a man overcome by wine,
because of the Lord
and his holy words.
The land is full of adulterers;
because of the curse, the land lies parched
and the pastures in the desert are withered
The prophets follow an evil course
and use their power unjustly.
“Both prophet and priest are godless;
even in my temple I find their wickedness” declares the Lord
“Therefore their path will become slippery;
they will be banished to darkness
and there they will fall.
I will bring disaster on them
in the year they are punished.” declares the Lord
Jeremiah 23, 9-12
2. Prophetic Ministry = Inspired speech
The only road that leads to true prophecy is the road less travelled:
Daily commitment to standing in the counsel of the Lord by committing time alone with Him.
This time alone with our Heavenly Father must not be understood as a chance for us to bring our needy requests to Him, but must be a time of intentional emptying of one’s heart desires which will then result in an intentional filling with His word, His heart, His will.
The fundamental experience of the prophet is having fellowship with the feelings of God, a communion with the Divine consciousness which results in the ability to hear God’s voice and to feel God’s heart.
3. The prophetic spirit is not only aimed at edifying, encouraging and building up an individual or a collective, but also, and very often, God will use that person or group of people to reveal a situation or a pattern of behaviour which does not reflect God’s heart, and where injustice, idolatry or unrighteousness prevail.
4. When God empowers the prophetic spirit in someone to reveal something that does not honour Him, the delivery of a prophetic word will always be accompanied by tension and confrontation. Somebody once said: “IT IS VERY EASY TO BE SERVANTS OF THE WORD WITHOUT DISTURBING THE WORLD.”
5. Waiting patiently in expectation is the basis of prophetic life, and not manipulating information and circumstances in order to attempt to bring something to pass before God’s timing.
6. There are two areas where those who are serving within the prophetic ministry often display a lack of integrity:
Publicly apologising when they realise they have made a mistake.
Showing a concern for the person upon whom they have prophesied. Although the responsibility of someone operating in the prophetic ends once the word is delivered, as Christians, we have a duty to nurture that individual and offer our support even after having given them a prophetic word. Prophets as well as teachers, preachers, etc are all serving the Lord, and they must therefore not forget that they are ministering to God’s children. Without love and the shepherding element, the prophetic word becomes robotic and ineffective.
7. The prophetic word must be tested and discerned to be carrying God’s authority with it.
A Christian does not need to use a special voice or language to deliver a word from the Lord. If it is from God, that word will carry enough authority to be credible. One must remain humble enough to avoid adopting the ‘Babel Spirit’: trying to make a name for yourself. PROPHETS ARE SERVANTS OF THE LORD.
8. Partnering of the Prophetic Ministry keeps it from being shipwrecked.
You must not go it alone. Ensure that there is another Christian out there who knows you and loves you well enough to clearly say when you are heading in the wrong direction and to whom you are accountable. Operate as part of a team and seek others’ counsel and guidance.
9. There is no need to look or act prophetic.
Christians must let the hearer determine whether a word is from the Lord. We should not be looking at building our own reputation, our ministry. Again, we are SERVANTS of God.
10. There was no elitism in Pentecost.
All Christians are called to be prophetic in various degrees and to different ends, be it to encourage a person, or give a church direction or rebuke, etc. If we only get prophetic stuff from the folks on the platform, society is going to go without for the most part, and those who do not sit on the top steps of the hierarchical ladder will be unable to operate on their gifts, and bless in turn the thousands of people out there who need to hear and sense God’s love for them and God’s wish to draw them near to Him.
11. Who are we to put limits to what God can do through prophetic people? Do we want God to display HIS POWER only through those things that we are able to comprehend or as His word promises, we are going to trust Him to accomplish for us so much more than we could ever dare to hope or imagine.
Jeremiah 23:16-32 (King James Version)
17They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.
18For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?
19Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.
20The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.
21I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
22But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
23Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?
24Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.
25I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.
26How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;
27Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.
28The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.
29Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
30Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
31Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.
32Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies.