We have lived a long time, and of course, not flawlessly. God has seen our hearts and love for Him. Because of this, He will raise us as the heart of a new age. As a tent needs a centre pole to hold it up, we will be the standard and security of the most significant time in history since the physical Life, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Never disclosed Wisdom and Revelation will guide a new army filled with God's Love. We will walk in intimacy with our Heavenly Father far, far beyond our wildest imagination. The Word will open up like a treasure box releasing incredible power and gifting. In all history, nothing like this has ever happened. Love among God's family will be so great that the unbelieving world will be awe-struck. A vast part of humanity will come into our communities. Seasoned men and women will be the very embodiment of the Father's love and power.
As the saying goes, "Absolute power corrupts and corrupts absolutely." When an unbroken leader grows in power, their morality decreases. Billy Graham's grandson, a lawyer who takes on clerical abuses by church leaders, has said the higher up in church government a leader ascends, for some the less there is of Jesus. I know of many leaders this is not true, but we know bad things have taken place.
A world absent of any anchor in hope, security challenged with an uncertain future is in desperate need of the ministry of the faithful church. Without self-promotion, seasoned leaders, most old with grey hair, will be unwavering standards. At times hidden in the background, almost invisible, our strength and experience support all God's good works and gifts brought forth through His people. The power to become the true Sons and Daughters will shine through His vibrant children in a dark and confusing world as never before.
A lifetime of battling the world, the flesh and the devil have qualified us as remarkably seasoned servants, God's Generals and selfless leaders.
How did we come by this trust from God? For me, a big part of it has come from my failures. When I thought if I were God, I would cast myself off, but He did not. He chased me down and reached into my shame, and loved me back. We know that if any good comes out of us, it is because He died for us and gave us His righteousness taking our failings to Himself to set us free. We know we would once again slide down on the slippery slope of separation from True Life if left to ourselves.
We as spiritual fathers will not repeat the failures that caused the church to stumble and, at times, profane God's Wisdom and Compassion to the onlooking world. Again it is a lifetime of battling the world; the flesh and the devil are what has qualified us. Our Father has longed for a generation of leaders to walk in the fullness of His Glory and Presence. We are this generation. Through much suffering and tribulation, we have emerged. Yes, learning to be obedient has not been an easy walk, but the coveted fruit of obedience has produced in us trustworthiness of which God is pleased.
At times you may feel that this is more of a younger person's call. How wrong can we be! Our lifetime of experience, both good and bad, has brought forth in our humility the greatest gift the church needs, WISDOM. Unless a young leader has fatherly care and wisdom, they most likely will find that zeal for God alone is dangerous and leads many astray. To pastor a church that had some problems, Paul sent his young spiritual son Timothy. Paul knew that zeal without wisdom is a time bomb that will explode and hurt many. He had confidence in young Timothy because he fathered him. When asking for spiritual gifts, how many say I would like to be a spiritual father or mother above all else?
Jesus said to beware of false Christ.
In many places in the Bible, it talks of false leaders leading many astray. Leaders can claim the title and honour of "father," but God knows they have not let Him father them. Refusing correction is refusing God's Fathering. He even calls them "bastard" children.
We all have failed. Authentic fathers have acknowledged their failing and, through deep sorrow, have confessed their sins and received redemption upon the Mercy of God. Too many leaders think they can bypass this and still receive the double honour due to honest leaders. They block out of their minds that there will also be double punishment towards those who lead and refuse for themselves life-producing correction from Father. The unconfessed sins hidden deep within their hearts give open permission for greater evil to enter them and spill out on the congregation.
We are what we are inside. God does not look for perfection. Being broken of a self-serving spirit and having a contrite heart makes you His friend even though we know there is much more redemption still to take place. In knowing His kind heart, we are at home in His love and welcome the process necessary to remove all things inside that keep us separated from Him.
The Unbrokenness of the leader will affect innocent people. Sooner or later, this leader will produce from his life something questionable. Can good fruit come out of a corrupt tree? It is ok to become "fruit inspectors."
If you do not do this with love, you will also cause significant harm with your BAD FRUIT!
To ask God what kind of spirit is in a leader is not wrong but rather a must. True leaders welcome this inspection.
Because of resistance before God to be transparent, some have prevented God from moving on the people. New directions and the birth of more beautiful experiences with God are left unfolded. Every genuine move of God requires greater transparency. When leaders refuse to relinquish all within their hearts, they turn from the open doors God brings, which would lead to more incredible experiences. Some leaders change the course of the church and create a culture that does not require transparency. Drawn to this scenario are others who, like the pastor, want recognition and power. The result is a "toxic" environment. Innocent people are hurt.
There is a cost.
Some want to go through the open doors to more incredible things in God, but permission to pass is refused. Darkness cannot live in the Light.
We are to behold the Mercy of God. If we approach our Father with a transparent heart, we will see our darkness and failures that rightfully condemn us. What does the Lord say; "My Mercy will overcome the judgment owed to you, I set you free, enter My Love."
The other side of this is the Words; "Be also aware of the Severity of God." The purpose of a leader is to "grow" their people to greater maturity. Presenting a false image hinders this. Such a leader is on the dangerous ground before God.
May we as leaders come clean and be the model we once desired to be. It is not too late, but it will cost us everything.
What we are inside is what we take when this earthly body passes and turns to dust. Do we want to meet the pure heart of Jesus with unresolved darkness hidden inside and limit our eternal position? When His eyes search our hearts, will we have to turn away in shame and end up with less than the fullness that heaven has for us? The skeletons in our closet are what will condemn us, not God. To the degree we have limited God in our souls because of hidden secrets, there will be an equal repercussion for eternity.
The wonderful truth is His Spirit is inside us. He knows everything about us and still loves us. He is constantly changing us from the inside out. Even though we know there is more redemption needed, God continues to welcome us to come boldly in His presence. Why? Because we desire Him to shine into our darkness, and we do not pull away.
IT IS THE FEAR OF GOD THAT IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM.
Dan Chappell was fathered in the prophetic by Robert Ewing of Grace Churches of Texas in the early 80’s and mentored in “The Heart of the Father" by Jack Winters.
He is recognized trans locally for his sensitive and encouraging prophetic and strategic insight. His gifting is not just for the local church, but impacts churches across the continent. Debbie, his wife, stands with him in this demanding role.