APOSTOLIC FUNCTION & IT'S RESULTING FORM

(Part 2)

by Bill Click

Christ's Structure is the Form which Follows the Function of His Apostolic/Prophetic Ministries

A foundational understanding of God's creativity with the universe is that everything is designed based on the active role it is going to be purposed to take. Form follows function. Since this is the case, we must once and for all free ourselves from the religious or social idea that our identities, personalities, emphases and evaluations must be perceived subject to others, or be received from our own understanding of meeting of self-expectations. We were made by God in His image. It is for each to become the best "us" we can be according to His objective reality (the Word of God) and His personal development of our lives (through the Holy Spirit).

What makes "us" who we are may be observed by those within our eternal family, the Church, but then again: it may not be. In other words, no one has either the right, ability, or responsibility to define us (absolutely) in the Kingdom of God. We are His; He is ours, and no one has permission from Heaven to alter, interrupt or abort His Divine Right in molding, preparing, commissioning and overseeing us. That said, we must always remain alerted that as we listen for God's voice, He will speak, lead and develop us from within the Body, not just from the unconfirmed, non-accountable secrecy of our "closet."

As the Lord develops us and we respond to Him, we not only discover who we are, but we also come to discover our niche in Him. It is through these we find a basis for relationship and cofunction with the rest of the body as well. In other words, the Apostle or Prophet (as well the Apostolic & Prophetic company) finds and keeps points of connection, fellowship, relationship and accountability in the same way as anyone else in the church. Gift, call, character and timing are the elements of the Divine building process. This is not only true during the arduous seasons of training and partial fruitfulness but also later, when fully deployed in establishing and reproducing.

We may try "this" or go to "that," but ultimately we cannot pick and choose our destiny. As Yonggi Cho is famous for saying: "I pray and then I obey." But even if we find ourselves directed by God providentially (in retrospect) through no conscious effort of our own, it is still the Lord who designed and directed as He saw fit. Our personal responsibility is to fully acknowledge His Lordship by yielding to His leading, allowing Him to continually direct our lives (Ro.8:13-14). Our corporate responsibility is to recognize His uniqueness and cultivate the "Him" that lives within each to fully come forth. This, based on how He designed each of us to function.

The prophesier will encourage you, the exhorter will call you upward, the teacher will bring you understanding, the prophet will do root work and the evangelist will equip you in winning souls- while the apostle will bring it all together to release you and lead the advance, etc. The Gifts of the Spirit will function through all of us to mutually strengthen one other for whatever uniqueness God has in mind for each, while the outcome of all that diversity is a body which is one individually and corporately– individually whole, yet wholly moving individually and together (1Ths.5:23-24; 1Cor.12:12-31; Eph.2:21-22; 4:16).

SETTLING INTO FUNCTION & FORMATION

However we arrive at relationship with each another, sometimes those associations are (regretfully) only transitory, and even within that scenario there can be a gap of time between "A" and "B," "C" and "D" so to speak. The landscape of the changing world and its unstableness make this even more the case. Then, times of transition can either be blessings (either readily seen or in disguise) or they can serve to alienate us from others and prolong our journey into destiny. God wants to take the loneliest times: rejections, failures and the inability to see what good is taking place (or could or will take place) and turn them into the seasons of our greatest intimacy with Him.

Unfortunately, we have sometimes allowed the "in-between" times that we (or others) experience to become fuel for criticizing and even ridiculing parts of the body. Instead, all should be elevated to their proper place by being encouraged throughout their processes. These are (to be) unique times in which God meets with us and molds us in ways which are not plausible (or even possible) while "in the loop."

Of course, our lifestyle is not to be unsettled for years on end. Moving about frequently or being without authentic commitment along the way is a sign of unwillingness to come under God's authority in spirit, or refusal to enter and build essential relationships– as well as in regard to life's choices. Being "at everything, but part of nothing" perennially is definitely a repentance, deliverance and discipleship issue. It indicates a deep, unresolved conflict (usually in early development) which needs to be fully settled under the blood of the Lamb by the grace of God. Past church disappointments may be the fruit of what seems to be the issue, but the root of it lay in significant founding relationships, particularly ones with or without a Father. To overcome such a 'history' requires that one intentionally train themselves to consistently say "no" to the fear, flakiness and frustration that comes whenever called upon to surrender their own will to a Will that is more important because it is eternity oriented. God requires each of us to yield to a Will that requires we become part of something larger than us, an entity and purpose which does not revolve around our thoughts, hopes and dreams.

JOURNEYING INTO FUNCTION & FORMATION

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David (& also later, Paul) could attest to the reality and value of being "on the way" without any explanation of how God was going to do what had been promised. They only knew to continue as directed. This is not only biblically verified, it also reflects an essential eternal principle: those who eventually have the greatest mention in what God will be doing have (in preparation) received significant personalized attention from Him apart from the mainstream. This, before ever being "anointed with the oil of joy above thy fellows" (Psa.45:7; Heb.1:9). But because we often do not perceive the season of those who "could help us if they were just 'faithful, available and teachable,'" those who are not "faithful to us," we find ourselves lashing out at the body. We also find ourselves scourging God as we mock what we do not understand, that for which we are not responsible. Again, with the qualifiers listed above.

When hurting, we do not understand that those who will receive healing in the heart are those who have been gathered together by the Lord. We can all too easily fail to grasp that Christ binds the wounds of those who are among the outcasts of God's people (Psa.147:2; Isa.56:8). This is not a call to a dysfunctional Christian lifestyle which justifies separation, isolation and rejection of the church by those who are offended or otherwise wounded. Instead, this is a call for the functional to rightly perceive what healing the body will actually consist of and to become yielded to it and directed into steps that it can take place.

Moreover, this is a call for the dysfunctional to come and receive complete function from the Lord in the midst of the body. An imperfect, "on the way," (but making mistakes & learning from them) expression of Christ's completeness which is fully dependent upon Him every day. But because some have not progressed past yearning for religious relief from symptoms of dysfunctional Christian living, both they and the gathered church are less than Christ's in completeness. Because many fail to commit and move into position for righteous restoration of maturity, leaders often malign and discard that which appears so "unseemly" to them (1Cor.12:20-26). But often, the very same leaders who are so quick to champion the inspection of everyone else's legitimacy are also experiencing that very same dilemma in their own "covering relationships" (or lack of them).

THE IMAGE OF GOD & TRUE SELF-IMAGE ARE ESTABLISHED IN DIVERSITY

Whether leading, having been called to lead, desiring to function, or just needing to belong– we must find our place of rest by validation from God through the Divine Image in which we have been made, and are being remade (Gen.1:27; Ro.8:29). His Spirit and ours must abide together in the agreement which comes from the completing presence and power of His Peace (or "shabbat shalom"– Sabbath rest). No matter who we are, we must allow His Peace and the resulting sense of destiny to confirm His way for us. Even (perhaps especially) in those instances when our minds and emotions are quick to point out obvious differences between "us" and "them."

God's reasons for connecting us in non-expected ways undoubtedly are multiple in purpose, but the most important one can often be that relationships which cause us to grow the most are those requiring us to walk with and learn from those much different from us. In the same way we do not grow "on the mountain top" because it is time to rejoice in our progress and rest from the journey upward, we do not learn much from those who are just like us. We find so much affirmation in those relationships we cannot be adequately called upward. In relationships with those similar to us, we only sense a 'call' to be with each other, to cofunction or labor with them, to enjoy it and receive affirmation based on commonalities, not a unique oneness in spirit.

God is calling us upward in this hour, so do not be surprised when He moves to align you with those whom you would never have thought or even imagined. Be open, and go through the door, the one marked:

"Imperfect, on the way (but making mistakes & learning from them) expression of Christ's completeness which is fully dependent upon Him everyday, in every way."

If we could just find a way to put all that on the church sign. . .