by Bill Click

Part 1

The Apostolic as an Expression of God the Father

One of the primary descriptions of the Apostolic mantle is that of "Father" (1Cor.4:15; 1Thess.2:11). Today, the enemy strives to eliminate that relationship, function and structure from every realm of life. It is stolen from hearts, out of homes and also from every surrounding– including the Church. Although this needs restoring in every person and setting, the Church will never be able to truly embrace Christ's Apostolic nature without it. As God is again received as Father, the Body of Christ will be empowered to authentically establish and reveal His nature in relationships, Christ-gifts, Spirit-ministries and unity of heart and mind.

Unfortunately, because of this incomplete, broken and unrestored understanding of the Father's heart which prevails, the perception of Apostolic ministry is often centered in "ruling." The goal becomes to susbstantiate self through that, and as a result, Apostolic activity is often relegated to governing, presiding, and deciding instead of manifesting the graceful love which creates new life in others. But whenever Apostolic ministry lacks the example of Fatherly accompaniment and intimate abiding, its relationship with the Body in terms of authority becomes much more legal than it is loving. And this results in a judicial power that is "less than" expressed at the expense of elevating the Church into offspring through intimacy with the One who is "more than enough."

In the natural, we tend to see a Father providing children with resources, granting opportunity, and authoritatively releasing whatever is needed or desired. This reflects the surface level orientations of Fatherhood promulgated in our society. In North America, one who has a Father tends to look to him for money, for approval, for carte blanche endorsement, and for rescue in times of trouble. As a result, this has become our understanding of what God should do for us. Unfortunately, this is also an unspoken understanding of what the Church asserts and models as Christianity, especially during the last 35-40 years.

Instead of understanding the Creator through His creation, we must understand the creation in light of its relationship to the Creator.

In actuality, the Father:

* discloses who He is, not just what He does (Ro.8:16-17).

* reveals Himself personally by the Spirit among and through His children (Jn.1:12-14).

* manifests through Christ to establish a Body which represents Him wherever sent (Mt.16:18; 28:18-20).
* provides a standard of loving righteousness whenever needed, wherever no model is available (Eph.3:9-12).

Because of this, Father's are to:

* disclose who they are, not just be busy about what they do;
* reveal themselves personally among and through their children;
* empower those of their name for establishing and representing them wherever they go;
* provide a standard of loving righteousness whenever needed, so there will be a model for heritage and become legacy.

How are we to be established in such completeness of person and purpose? Apostolic/Prophetic intercession powerfully unites us with the heart of Christ as He prays to the Father. It knits us to that very fabric of eternity's essence. It brings us into oneness with God and wholeness within ourselves. This takes place as the increase of His function within imprints us with the very thought, heart, and intent of the Father.

One Voice—One Heartbeat—One Church
Within God the Father is the seed which creates from nothing. He releases an Apostolic creativity in order to fulfill lives to bring about His plan in ways which make men marvel with an ongoing sense of wonder. Apostolic/Prophetic Intercession will establish true unity and oneness with God while shattering obstacles and overcoming hindrances opposing Christ through the Church.

The Father chose to introduce Himself to us with the conception of Jesus within Mary. This personal intimacy resulted in an ongoing divine creativity resulting in true fruitfulness. This is the aspect of the Fathering dimension of the Apostolic which is often under-emphasized in the Church today. Understanding fathering superficially, we neglect and even omit that which God ultimately designed it for. We are in desperate need of continuous revelations of Him that multiply restorations in, through and among us in this regard.

The Lord truly wants us "filled with all the fullness of God" because He is "exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think" in every perceived implication (Eph.3:19, 20). He is this to us, however, only "according to the power that works within us" (Eph.3:20). This makes clear our need to experience God by the Spirit through intercession. This also reveals the absolute importance of continual divine connection in the presence of God. This also should make plain to us how self-intercession by the Spirit and intercession with Christ for the Church is to open for us far more than just achievements and accomplishments.

In the eyes and minds of some we have done an impressive job developing Apostolic doctrines which are "government" oriented. But often we omit the Fathering seen in the New Testament. And somehow, even when the truth is rightly taught, it is often wrongly misunderstood and at best weakly applied. Therefore it is not only inconsistent but also rarely functional.

This is largely due to an Apostolic lack of fellowship with the Father's heart. We have received neither the depth of Christ nor the significance of being conformed in His image. And if Apostles do not receive the depth of this transformation, it cannot be established in the church even if some are individually receiving it. It must become an inseparable trait of those called "first" (1Cor.12:28; Mt.20:25-28).

Apostolic foundation was not given primarily for securing leadership position by establishing "government," even though those "sent" and "set" definitely must have the spiritual and structural authority Christ designed to truly function as Apostles. But this is what happens whenever the Apostolic governs at the expense of fathering. It "secures" itself, often by removing itself from input, the sharing of authority and all accountability. But in making itself "safe" in this way it fails to equip others with the heart of God, which longs to be spread throughout the church and be seen and felt in the world.

The Father influences the children by the Spirit and restrains both the forces and those used of them from preventing His will. But leadership which controls at the expense of relationally influencing those it is sent to nurture, protect, mobilize and deploy operates no differently than the world. The Father is not seen, heard, felt or experienced when those who represent Him control at the expense of an accompanying, influential relationship. The church can never receive or walk in the authority of the those who emphasize direction above interaction; those who use authority for only orchestrating action. When interaction is only and always a last resort, it can be called neither fathering nor Apostolic.

The Father's influence is released through simple submission to the Spirit of God. Although God said "let there be light" only once, He is forever at work in us to enlarge the agape that He forever was, is, and will be (1Jn.4:8). With this dimension of Himself received and released through the "set" leadership of the church, the children will function with the Father's heart.

Then, Apostolic/Prophetic intercession will cause us to be fully transformed by Him in spirit through a renewal of our mind (Ro.12:2; Eph.4:23). It will also cause us to be completely overshadowed by His purposes and pleasures, with our being catapulted into destiny as His members, ministers and ministries. First and foremost, however, this must be an indistinguishable trait of Christ's Apostles.

The power for Apostolic advance resides within the Father's heart. God creates and abides in order to accompany His creation. God ultimately creates for the purpose of being sought for abiding by that which He has created. The Father's ongoing goal through abiding and accompanying is that the intimacy will result in growth, development, reproduction and full maturity being achieved and established. He issues the command to move out in faith for creative miracles, authentic sign and wonders, and the demonstrations of Christ's glorious Kingdom. These enable the Church to "take the hill" of Apostolic Evangelism set before her. The Father knows no obstacles, going wherever He desires.

The full restoration of Christ's Apostolic ministry depends on true relationship with this grace of the Father. The loving, reproductive fruitfulness of His authority will be what makes the difference in many lives. True Intercession will be yearning for such a dynamic to arise and spill out into the Earth. Apostolic/Prophetic intercession which flows with Christ will yield to this ongoing work of the Father, forming us into vessels which carry and display the Holy Spirit in fullness.

Whenever truly interceding by the Spirit of God, it is through agreement with the heart and plea of Jesus at the Father's right hand. Remaining in that most Holy place, we then can experience impartation of Christ's very heart. As a result, the release of Christ's prayer to the Father for the Church becomes our own prayer as well (Heb.7:25; Ro.8:27). Having heard the Heavenly Voice and entering in with it, we begin to share in Christ's heartbeat for the Church.

That advance called for by the Father was first rooted in the Bridegroom's desire for the Bride. Now it is also the cry of the Head for the Body, the General for His Army, and the King as He presides over those who live in His Kingdom. Through Apostolic/Prophetic intercession, Christ's prayer becomes one voice of the Church throughout the Earth.