Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Chuch that Treats a Prophet without Honor Slaps God's face

Jesus said that a prophet has no honor in his own home town. Or extrapolated, in his home church. This is a misunderstanding of the Gift of the Prophet God Sent...

Jon Cressy and I may not see Eye to Eye on many things, and we have argued.

But, he has written a couple pieces I endorse. I believe that the Church of Jesus that fails to deal appropriately with the gift of the Prophetic slaps the face of the Giver of the Gift. That doesn't in my opinion seem to be a smart thing to do. So, here is a primer:

Here's How the Church is to treat the Prophet among them:

#1 Pray for the prophetic person - Paul Cain is always asking for prayer. I am not sure that he always believes that God is going to answer that prayer, but he appreciates it. Pray for God’s wisdom an favour so that they will be a blessing to those they minister to.

#2 Pray that they will get on with Church leadership without sulking if they do not get their own way. Prophets with strong and remarkable gifting rarely get told ‘no’ when they should!

#3 When it comes to the prophets in your midst give them titles! Make sure that everyone knows that they are a prophet by Calling them ‘Prophet’ instead of just by their first name. The ones who are in it for titles love this one. For the rest - call them friend and invite them home for a meal and talk about 24, Lost or James Bond and have fun together!

#4 Never pay them for interpreting your dreams or giving you words. It’s not what they are about. But, as has happened to me, if you want to give them a slap up steak meal, it is appreciated!

#5 Pastors; if prophets have contributed in the meeting let them know how they did. But tell them in a sensitive way, the way you would like them to talk to you if they were evaluating your preaching. Like you, they probably are not as good as they think - we all need encouragement and direction.

#6 Prophets really should not be treated in any way different to other folks in the Church. The apostle James made that very clear in his epistle. Some of the prophets today expect lots of little perks. Don’t give in to them!

I don’t expect any favoritism, a special seat or a financial gift - if folks want to show that favour then I will praise God for it, but it certainly is never about faith with hinting!!

I say most of this lightly - but there is a challenge that we need to face and it is that prophets are in place to serve. Our expectations can only ever be met in Christ - He alone is the author of our salvation. We love Christ and serve Him, and in serving the Church with love, commitment and loyalty we reflect a little of that love for our wonderful God. The Church owes us nothing, but we do appreciate the prayers, love and affection that they show us.

Here's what the Church Should EXPECT of the Prophet Among them:

#1 Honesty
If God has not spoken to you don’t say he has, and don’t share something that God spoke to someone else as if He said it to you personally. The Church is not at all impressed when they accidentally stumble upon the original source of such ‘revelation’. If anything it just makes you look a bit desperate for profile and attention. If you want to share something that someone else has said, then admit that they said it, but you think it is relevant. Do that, and you may be on your way to finding God’s blessing!

#2 Opportunity
If God is speaking to you and wants you to share things with others, He will give you opportunity. Don’t moan at your church leadership if you are not getting the opportunities that you think you deserve, it just turns them off. True story! When the right moment comes, with humility and gentleness you will seize it - with God’s help.

#3 Be like Elijah
That sounds very emotive, but the issue is a very simple one. When Elijah realised that the rain was coming he made the prophetic declaration and then he did something radical. He went and prayed for what was coming to come. Don’t assume that God’s blessing is coming because you have ‘decreed’ (awful religious term) it. Pray, pray, pray!

#4 Make a mark in history
If you are a prophet, and not just one of those who likes the title, do something really radical. Commit yourself to doing something that few are doing. Pray like few do, and read your Bible like few do. But don’t go bragging about your devotion time, keep it to yourself. When was the last time you read the entire gospel of Mark in one go? When did you last pray for an hour or more? I am not talking of a ’should or must’ that comes from legalism, but of investing your life fully into your calling. What kind of a prophet does not immerse themselves deeply in prayer and scripture? Only the presumptuous ones in my view.

#5 Have fun
Prophets can be intense and not much fun to be around. That makes them nothing like Jesus. Crowds gathered around Him at every opportunity. He was amazing, kind, generous, encouraging and, although Scripture never says that Jesus was fun to be around, it does mention that the Spirit of Joy was on Him. Instead of having the ‘burden of the Lord’ this weekend (the one that makes everyone know what a mighty prophet of God you are - not!)try joy! There is time for serious words, but learn to have fun - I beg you!

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