What does your city look like fully restored? When transformation arrives, what purpose will be restored, will it be the purpose God has for your city? Nearly 100% of the people would be without a clue, therefore they cannot tell what to do today to fulfill God’s purpose. They will spend their efforts and make their investments in things that miss that purpose but accomplish good and noble ends.
What does the Kingdom look like fully functional and restored? What does the church look like and culture look like when the kingdom of God is fully functioning within it? Most people think that the goal would be reached by getting more people born again until some tipping point is reached at which the percentage of people who are believers transforms society. A couple of glances at the modern church will help you understand that this condition would not produce the kingdom; rather, a greater political division and confusion would emerge between factions of the Body seeking to sit on the right hand and left. In any care, nearly 100% of the people do not know, therefore they do not know what to do today to establish His kingdom in their region. They would think that the accumulation of believers would be the foundation of the rule of God when the rule of God requires the fuller function of God’s government through His people.
What does the Ecclesia look like fully restored? What does the “called together assembly” look like when kingdom government is functioning, and the people of God operate as His Body? The church is the Body of Christ, for sure, but a body of a baby and a body of a fully-grown, mature, full-stature, properly trained by practiced skill body are different! Merely accumulating believers can make a Body fat without preparing a Body to lead. Nearly 100% of the church would be clueless, therefore they cannot determine what to do today to reach God’s goal. Many believers would call a fully restored Ecclesia a cult. They wouldn’t recognize the Ecclesia as Jesus designed it and would rebel against functioning within as Jesus created, gifted, and called them to.
What does a kingdom leader look like fully restored to function? Jesus didn’t design Ecclesia leaders as much as kingdom leaders who function in the called together assembly. If we don’t begin with kingdom to define Ecclesia, we dysfunction in leadership. Kingdom leaders establish kingdom; Jesus builds the Ecclesia from the kingdom. Nearly 100% of the leaders would be clueless, therefore leaders do not know how to function today to reach God’s goal. They are attempting to build the Ecclesia instead of establishing the kingdom; they are victims of false expectations and redefined roles for leaders within the Body that has the nature of a political system and a political spirit. The Ecclesia is victimized by spiritual conspiracies when dominated by a political spirit. To understand a political spirit better, read the second half of the list of works of flesh and consider how these works of flesh fight against the spiritual kingdom of God, flesh against spirit. These shall not inherit the kingdom, Paul says.
What does a person look like fully restored? God isn’t making you someone else, but the person He created them to be in the first place. Few people would recognize what God has in mind for them looking into a mirror. Paul says we look into a mirror and see Jesus and gazing upon Him, we are transformed by the Spirit of the Lord. In this context, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Nearly 100% of the people haven’t a clue, and therefore don’t know what to do today to become what God created them to be. They require a revelation. They require discipling leadership. They require discipline from the Father. They require a shattering spiritual makeover.
What does the heart of a leader look like when fully restored? The spirit of leadership that was in David is being restored to the kingdom so that the leadership functions of the Ecclesia release the heart of the Father. David had a heart for and like God’s, so his kingdom became eternal in Jesus Christ, the perfect and eternal expression of the Father’s heart. Nearly 100% of those in leadership wouldn’t have a clue, therefore they do not know what to do today to experience a restored heart. The demands of people will never get you the heart of the Father. They will redefine you and your behaviors at will to fit their own expectations. A true champion inspires a following by serving God’s agenda with God’s heart, and the ones who follow are often the outcasts of the existing cultural norm.
Revival Nations in Identity Crisis
Brasil is in a traumatic identity crisis. This identity crisis means that God is revealing His purposes for regions, cities, kingdom leaders, the Ecclesia, leaders individually, and individual people. Everything is facing a challenge of personal, functional, and regional transformation. Since transformation is restoration, we must have a revelation of God’s purpose before we can begin to long term goals that tell us what to do right now. We also lack a good plumb line by which to measure success. We also have a vague idea of where to invest provision, people, and prayer.
For me, I see Brasil struggling a bit with the maturing of apostolic and prophetic foundations. There are more apostles than prophets, and the prophets tend to function immaturely. So, apostles have often gone ahead without them, ignored their adolescent efforts, and attempted to establish without clear revelation of purpose, using proper strategy to build with slightly inaccurate blueprints or a good grasp of finished product. We can grow well for a season but realize that we have plateaued because the season’s success wasn’t part of a five- or ten-year revelation of purpose.
I have a forty-year vision and assignment. I measure success by that long-range goal, but I recognize that there are segments of success. I do make course corrections when I realize that the investments are not producing the necessary short range objectives that will produce the assigned purpose.
At the airport, my friend immediately began to speak of this principle and shared the strategy of the Brasilian Olympic leaders to win as many as thirty medals in the 2016 Olympics. An excellent analogy, and one I had in mind as I was writing Fathering Harvest, a new book about the preparation of inheritors who can function at an international level.
Nations that are winning the gold and leading in the medal count have strategic preparation programs in place that begin by identifying champions early in life and investing in those with the proper characteristics to become world class in the events.
Personal Identity Crisis
So, I ask you. What if God gave you a clearer picture of your own identity? Would you be willing to walk through the traumatic death of your faulty, limited self-image in order to experience a greater manifestation of what He created you to be? What if God gave you a clearer picture of His purpose for this region, would you be willing to risk the best of your personal assets in fulfilling His purpose? What if God gave you a clear picture of personal destiny for the people assigned to your discipling and fathering leadership? Would you risk them running away from you by facing them with the kind of discipling that personal transformation requires?
By “traumatic” I refer to the feeling we encounter when we face the loss of our definition of who we are so God can give us a revelation of how He sees us. To let go is difficult as we discussed in “Jacob’s Identity Crisis,” a previous blog. We wrestle with God because not knowing who we are doesn’t feel good. We attempt to hang on to our personal framework of self-image because we fear that we will fragment into pieces. Then we do, and God puts the pieces back together again.
Usually, believers are surprised that this is happening when they have been saved for a long time and have settled into a strong understanding of who they are. They think this sort of redemptive restoration is completed when they are born again. Yet, such a personal or national crisis can occur at any time, as it did with Moses late in life after years of settling into a false sense of destiny. Certainly, Jeremiah felt a shattering of self-image when he heard the word of the Lord to prophesy to nations. “I can’t do it. I’m too young.” God answered, “Do not say.” Another way of saying, “You don’t know who you are until I tell you who you are.”
There are elements of personal destiny hidden from us, revealed in God’s time, in God’s way, to be established in our lives by God’s power and wisdom. At critical points of history, a nation can experience this traumatic identity crisis as well as a person. It is an adjustment of priorities required for that nation to fulfill a purpose hidden until its time, preserved and reserved for a generation. God gives us ample warning, a spirit and power of Elijah leadership, to prepare us to respond to the day of the Lord. The rejection of John was the rejection of Jesus because those who rejected John remained unprepared for the ministry and leadership of Jesus. They did not recognize the day of their visitation.
National Identity Crisis: Israel
In Jesus’ day factions struggled to define Israel. Herodians demanded allegiance to Herod as king. Pharisees demanded obedience to their various standards of tradition. Sadducees were the secularists who interpreted life as if God and spiritual things were unimportant. Each group was seeking to define the nation when Jesus arrived and set the whole culture on its ear with His announcement: “God’s rule is here! He’s taking back what is His and defining the purpose of Israel.” They dismissed Him at first, then killed Him to stop this definition of their nation from catching on. They could not allow God to define Israel when God’s definition left them on the outside.
In any case, transformation for Israel in Jesus’ day would be restoration of the purpose of God for Israel, not the creation of a new nation. He arrived to fulfill Law and prophets, not destroy them. He would bring all that had been given to define Israel into its fullness through grace and truth. Such a change would be so traumatic because it would demand a traumatic confrontation with their trust in God. To surrender at that level would change everything! Yes, that is exactly what God is after.
Restored Culture Isn’t Perfect
No matter how well we reveal and recover the redemptive purpose of a region, we are not rendering it perfect, sin-free, and quarantined of sin and sinners. Even in everyone were to born again, the culture wouldn’t be free of misunderstanding, offense, and sin. The culture wouldn’t be completely united, and the kingdom of God wouldn’t be the only influence.
Psalm 110 says that Jesus reigns in the midst of His enemies. Although a future condition may be established “in the end” when everything in the universe is where it belongs, our assignment to disciple cultures will not produce a perfect world or culture. It will make available an aspect of the kingdom of God that is part of God’s design.