Understanding remnant thinking begins with God’s definition of the term, His strategic purpose. Don’t apply the meaning of modern culture to the word “remnant” to discover God’s strategy.
[Remnants are never leftovers even if they were “left in the land” after everyone was taken into captivity: these remnants had purpose but were overwhelmed with sorrow and despair.]
God creates remnants. God calls remnants. God cleanses remnants.
Remnant thinking: God’s wants everybody but He never begins with everybody.
When a roll of carpet has so little left that it cannot fill a room, we call it a “remnant.” When a bolt of cloth has so little left that it cannot make a shirt, we call it a “remnant.” Quilters love it because they are looking for a pattern more than transformative design. When we have eaten as much as want or should from the prepared table meal, we push back from our plates satisfied. If there is food in the bowls or serving dishes, we call it “leftovers.”
God never sees the Remnant as leftovers. The remnant always speaks of those chosen, appointed, selected, positioned, and ordained in God’s thinking. God wants everybody but starts with a selected and strategic remnant.
Remnant thinking: God puts in the remnant what He wants everybody to have.
Strategic distribution through personal relationship is necessary to discipling leadership. God puts into kingdom leaders what He wants in kingdom citizens. The expansion of the kingdom is measured by the preparation and positioning of leaders. God puts something in us so He can release something through us.
First, God puts purpose in us so He can release purpose through us. When the remnant reaches some point of saturation in a people or place, Awakening responds to the atmosphere change, and spiritual momentum builds in a way that everyone has a heightened awareness of God. The purpose can be more fully fulfilled when God has people of fullness releasing fullness to others.
Second, God puts passion in us. Passion is God’s fire, the burning desire, the spiritual motivation, the pathos of purpose that endures – more it burns so hot that it purges. God puts His passion in us so the love of God is released through us. Remnant people burn with God’s passion. While they may respond with their own passion, they can live and lead with human passion if they are to function as the Remnant. They must burn with God’s passion.
Third, God puts power in us. God puts passion in us first so the we will wait for His power. If we function in our own passion, we will function in our own power. If we function in God’s passion, we will function in His power. God’s passion demands that we do what we can never do in our own power, so God’s passion consumes all other motivations and purposes. It burns in ways that purify our own passions. Then, His power releases toward fulfilling His purpose.
Fourth, God gets more personal. He transforms us. Personal purpose becomes His purpose. Personal leadership becomes His leadership. Personal identity becomes His identity. We lose ourselves. We find ourselves. We find ourselves only when He reveals to us who we are and why we are here. We cannot discover this on our own. Even if we discover a thousand things about who we are, we don’t know who we are until we experience His purpose, passion, and power.
Remnant people live by shared spiritual experience. They experience God. Passion. Purpose. Truth. Experienced. Not truth about the Truth. Truth. Not our own passion for God. God’s passion. Not empowering to pursue our own purpose. God’s power to fulfill God’s purpose.
Remnant people lead by shared spiritual experience. Others experience what they experience. Then, other experience more than they experience but recognize the purity of passion, purpose, and power is of God, not themselves or man.
Having written several times about kingdom resets, I wished to mention here that remnants are key to resets. That is, even in the reset of a relatively small group of hundreds or thousands, as opposed to a whole culture or generation, remnant strategies are essential to resetting the mission and assignment priorities necessary to respond to new seasons.
Beware the tendency to see Azusa Street or Brownsville or Toronto Airport (in the United States) as the introductions of something novel or new to the kingdom of God when it represents a remnant reset of original design and function for kingdom expansion. That is, the sights and sounds of revivals mark style and cultural refinements that help reset the “way things should work” in the kingdom of God. We should especially beware of the tendency to apply everything to “church” instead of kingdom since the modern definition of “church” lacks kingdom awareness and flavor to the extent that much of the reset gets immediately misinterpreted, if not lost, when filtered through this definition.
God will reset His kingdom by introducing something to a remnant as a catalytic delivery system for change.
God never creates an elite group with the idea of maintaining elitism. This is the spirit of leadership in Saul, not David. God may begin with one person, one group, one ministry, one sound, one emphasis, but He is putting something into it so He can release something through it to touch and reset the whole. Remnants are never set in place to become exclusive, and exclusivity is always the enemy of God’s goals with remnants.
God wants to transform cultures, not create subcultures. He has a culture. He isn’t creating a new one. He is resetting His culture so that it can transform all other cultures on earth. His culture is a kingdom culture.
Romans 12:2 applies to remnants: break the mold of your environmental influences, be transformed inside-out, so you can prove the what-God-wants of your life and culture as a basis for priestly ministry. You are the priest. You are the sacrifice. Get yourself right in order to stand between heaven and earth and represent God in the earth.
Through remnant resets, God intends to invest and insert the what-He-wants, to use remnant leadership dynamics to introduce change that can gain momentum and influence the entire kingdom culture so the kingdom culture gains momentum and influences all cultures.
If we consider revival to be a reset of kingdom culture and leadership, we must countenance the change of behavior that accompanies revival as an indicator of cultural norms. Culture is behavior of a people group just as lifestyle is a behavior of an individual. Values, beliefs, norms, and identity mark behavior in individuals as well as groups of people. The behavior of a people group manifests the intricate set of determiners shared by that group in ways that are observable, therefore, transformable.
While the modern church tends to see “discipleship” as a means to turn people into a participant of their particular subculture, Jesus designed “discipling” as a leadership development strategy to produce, prepare, and position kingdom leaders to disciple cultures. While the modern church sees this as a “win them one by one” approach, making discipleship a “tailored to your taste” approach, a personalized and individualized strategy measured by the accumulation of believers, Jesus sees this as a process of turning ordinary people into cultural influencer by preparing and positioning them as part of a greater Body that represents the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ to the culture with a definition of “success” concerned with the culture being transformed through this remnant.
Read the statement of Jesus again: “All authority in Heaven and earth is given to Me. Therefore, [because I have this universal authority, being King the kingdom I’ve been telling you about] pursue the journey [for which I’ve prepared and positioned you and authorized you], disciple every culture [I want them all and your assignments will send this authority to all of them]. Baptize them in the name and authority of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, [to mark them as people who will be prepared and positioned to represent the kingdom as you do]; then, begin the training process that will produce in them the same protocols, principles, and practices [for which I’ve made you accountable as kingdom norms],and maintain awareness that I am with you [providentially present, involved in every aspect of the kingdom, as its King] all the way to the end.”
In other words, the entire process of what we call “discipling” is designed to produce remnant people who live and lead as God’s representative remnant, to transform the cultures Jesus’ continued involvement in their lives assigns them to influence and impact.
Stop for a moment to rid your mind of “the accumulation of believers” definition of church that has been substituted for this kingdom mandate. Note that Jesus begins with authority, never mentions accumulation as a means or measurement, and makes the focus of His statement “every nation,” not every person.
Now, go ahead and step around the question arising in your mind, “But doesn’t this mean that we have to start with individuals?” That’s not the point of Jesus clearly communicated expectation here. He is speaking of discipling cultures and including “baptizing them” so we get the “one by one” sense of this clearly because it obvious that kingdom must be personal, just as personal as it has been for the disciples He addresses with these words originally.
Now, step into the meaning of the message of Jesus with the context of Israel as God’s remnant culture. Jesus arrived to address Israel because they were God’s remnant culture, the culture He intended to influence every other culture. Jesus ministers as God’s Representative to that remnant culture and addresses the generation of that remnant throughout His entire ministry. He says, now in this moment before His departure, “Now, I’ve reset the remnant of kingdom culture in you. With all authority in heaven and earth to make the reset and apply the reset to every culture on earth, I’m sending you. Though I will remain completely and imminently involved, you are going to represent Me. You disciple culture wherever I assign you to go. You go in the authority of your assignment, to disciple that culture, baptizing them one by one so that each culture will have its own reset remnant. Put into them what the entire culture should have. Train them to live and lead as a remnant. Establish kingdom culture in them as strategic remnant.
See, if you try very hard, you can move past the church-anity that captures every word of this command and pounds it into another mold foreign to the setting and intention of Jesus. While nearly every church will tell itself and others that this command is the watchword of their very existence, what they really spend their time, energy, money, and ministry on produces something completely different from the kingdom culture Jesus describes that will have such influence and impact upon nations that they are transformed.