Leadership

Leadership and the New Wine Skin

Part Two

“Peter saith unto him,
Thou shalt never wash my feet.”
John 13:8

Peter’s deep reverence for Jesus had elements of worldly esteem. His carnal conception of what leadership was to be, was offended by this act of humility. Washing the disciple’s feet contradicted Peter’s idea of how Jesus should be; he deemed it denigrating. The humility of Jesus is an affront to all who desire pre-eminence in religious circles. True leadership of the New Emerging Wine Skin will be by those who understand this powerful truth within the depths of their being.

Leadership in the Spirit is simply a life consumed with following Him. It arises from those who follow the Lamb. Their vision, their purposes and their desires are not to lead others but to follow Christ. The true sheep follow those who bear the nature and the likeness of Christ. They have no earthly agendas, no grandiose concepts of personal greatness; their glory is to serve and honour Christ.

Paul could say freely and simply:

“Then whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things to the glory of God. Be without offense both to Jews and Greeks, and to the assembly of God. Even as I also please all in all things, not seeking my own advantage, but that of the many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ
1 Corinthians 10:31-33; 11:1* (see note below)

Paul’s leadership was founded in the cause of Christ; he did nothing for his “own advantage”. It was a leadership poured out in the edification and admonishment of others for their growth and apprehension of Christ, free from personal gain and agendas. The heart and soul of this new leadership being raised up will not build up anything unto itself. It will not seek its own nor use others for its advantage! It will be free from the pomp and the pride of anything other than the Lordship and Majesty of Christ. It will not walk in the pretense of a false humility. It will not be presumptuous or jealous of others. Rather it will welcome and foster, at every opportunity, authentic expressions of Christ and extend to others an invitation to sit and partake of the fellowship of the Spirit. It will not cut itself off from others nor walk in the spirit of Diotrephes who “loved to have the pre-eminence”. (Such corruption will subject them to the Judgment of God). Those who view any gathering of the people of God “my church”, “my people” or “my fellowship” will find themselves excluded from the New Wine Skin. There must be stamped upon our hearts the living truth:

“Unto Him shall the glory be”

Paul in his epistle to the Philippians declared that many of that day sought their own things and not the things of Christ. Those who refuse to humble themselves in this hour, who refuse to open their hearts to the ministrations of others, will reap sorrow and judgement.

This new leadership will have written upon their very hearts a pure desire to see the Unity of the Spirit become the reality here on earth until we come to the glory and power of the Unity of the Faith! (Ephesians 4:3,13) Any ministration which does not seek this One thing will be cut off from the commonwealth of His Life and Glory! Only the Life of Christ can produce such pure and holy lives.

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil. Cling to that which is good. In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate to one another; in honor preferring one another…”
Romans 12:9-10

The new and emerging leadership must exemplify this heart. They are to be “ensamples” to, not lords over God’s heritage.

“We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also”
2 Corinthians 6:3-13 (ESV)

The verity of all ministry is to One End:

“that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”
Colossians 1:28

“of which I was made a servant, according to the stewardship of God which was given me toward you, to fulfill the word of God,”
Colossians 1:25

What does this life look like?

“for which I also labor, striving according to his working, which works in me mightily”
Colossians 1:29

__________________________________________

“Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus”
Philippians 2:5

*Note: The statement “Be imitators (followers KJV) of me, even as I also am of Christ” has grievously been isolated from the context of the truth of what Paul was presenting in 2 Corinthians, chapter 10, by the placing of a chapter division; some have erroneously interpreted this scripture to their own ends.

Brian Troxel

The Present Truth – Part Six

The Present Truth – Part Six

“lift up your eyes”

“Say NOT ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest”
John 4:35

The context of this scripture illustrates God’s call to the “present” truth of His life within us. Jesus, being weary and hungry, had sent the disciples into the city of Sychar for food and sat at the well waiting them to return. As He was waiting a woman came to the well to draw water. Within a few short sentences He had exposed the secrets of her heart, revealed Himself and shared the desire of His heavenly Father for true worshipers. The disciples returned with food and He responds, “I have meat you know not of”! The profound truth is, in the present doing of His will, we are fed, strengthened and empowered in the “today” of His Life. The hidden manna is reserved for those who see and participate with Him in the opportunities afforded us Today.

Let us take his admonishment, “say not” to heart. “Say not” sometime later God is going to bring in a harvest; “say not” sometime in the future God is going to use me; “say not” God will someday move through my life. It is the deception of our own procrastination which is unable to respond to present day opportunities! God’s answer to the impotency of such faith? “Lift up your eyes” for the fields are already white unto the harvest! Those who see in the Spirit know of the works, the opportunities and movings of God as present truth. Too many of God’s people walk in the impotency of an apathetic faith, not seeing the opportunities of NOW. Delegating everything to sometime in the future results in fruitless and barren living. It is in the NOW that we develop a greater faith for tomorrow’s works of faith.

Jesus confronted the faith of Martha regarding Lazarus her brother; a faith stuck in the past:

“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord,
if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died”
John 11:21

Her response to Jesus’ declaration “Thy brother shall rise again” also revealed a procrastination of faith to some future day: “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day”. A true statement but one that missed the message that Christ wanted her to hear.

“I AM the resurrection, and the life…”
John 11:25

Too many of us live as if our faith is in a God whose name is “I will be” rather than His glorious name of “I AM”; the present God, the present truth and the present answer to the needs of fallen humanity around us. Of course, there are always more glorious things to come in God; such is the truth of His eternal plans. Yet, if I walk in His Spirit, I will see the glorious truth that there are fields, present tense, “white unto harvest”. The blindness of a “someday faith” deprives us of present truth thus robbing God of His present glory. It results in stagnation and spiritual death; ever waiting for some future thing while ignoring the bread and wonder of the present. The “hidden manna” falls every day to those whose eyes are open to see His fields of opportunity.

It is as we walk in faith today that we are prepared for the opportunities of tomorrow’s faith.

“Sanctify yourselves (today):
for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you”
Joshua 3:5

The sanctifying work of today is the precursor to the beholding of His works tomorrow. Sanctifying ourselves today means we are set apart for His works, His will and the doing of the “present truth”. David, before he met Goliath, had a spiritual history with his God. The faith which emboldened him to confront Goliath had been developed in the past victories of faith; overcoming the lion and the bear.

“Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear:
and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them…”
1 Samuel 17:36

Those who walk in the “I AM” of today will be prepared of Him for the greater conflicts which await us. Present Truth is God’s provision for tomorrow.

“Today if ye will hear His Voice,
harden not your hearts”
Hebrews 4:7

To those who whose walk in the present truth of our God the fields are “already” white unto harvest; there are (now) lives to be rescued, hearts to be encouraged, and lives to be transformed by the present wonder of our God.

“SAY NOT YE, there are yet four months, and THEN cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, LIFT UP YOUR EYES, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest”
John 4:35

Brian Troxel

The Mystery of Life

The Mystery of Life

“As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.”
Ecclesiastes 11:5

The secret of the true disciple is one of simplicity and rest. Even as the flow of His Spirit is ever active within, the heart of the true disciple is to be at rest; a relationship of communion (co-union). The child in the womb is a portrayal of our life in Him. The formation and development of His likeness within our own being is fully dependent upon the cord of life from whence come the essential nutrients of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). This dependency is the hope and substance of our life in Him. The true ministers of Christ are ever focused on the formation of Him within the life of every believer, not the fulfillment of their own ambitions and agendas. They are to nurture the development of Christ within each life. The only bonds that should exist between members of His Body are the bonds of pure love and our interactions are to be to this one end: “until Christ be formed” in each of us.

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again
until Christ be formed in you…”
Galatians 4:19

Any ministry with a different end in view does not walk in the mind and Spirit of Christ.

“Charity… seeketh not her own”
1 Corinthians 13:5

Brian Troxel

The Marks of True Servants – Part Three

The Marks of a True Servant

Paul’s Departure
(from Ephesus)

Part Three

“Therefore watch,
remembering that for a period of three years
I didn’t cease to admonish everyone
night and day with tears
Acts 20:31

The true servant of God knows the great battle between flesh and spirit. He is well aware of the weakness of the flesh to grow weary and to compromise. Paul is reminding the Elders of the Church at Ephesus of his own diligence to warn and admonish the believers when he lived among them. His life was an example to them that they must ever be alert and awake to the state of God’s people. We see no letup with Paul; his admonitions were accompanied night and day with tears; for he was filled with the love of God.

This gracious and all-pervading ministration which flowed from Paul was the true expression of one filled with the unction of the Holy Spirit! There was no room for the false comfort of the gospel of today. The fire burned, the admonition flowed.

In the Epistle to the Church at Rome Paul beseeches them to offer themselves unto God as a “living sacrifice”; he left no room for a nominal Christian experience. Beating within him was the insatiable desire to fully apprehend that for which God had so graciously apprehended him. His life burned with purpose and intent. The Christian life was a journey, not a one-time experience. It was a journey filled with temptation and great battles and storms. Yet in a corresponding measure it was also one of growth and glory. Admonition flows from a life which has seen and touched heavenly things.

The individual who has tasted of heavenly things will be in a relentless pursuit of the glory and honour of the One in whom they “live, move and have their being”.

Let us take note of this heart which beat within Paul. May there be a divine SELAH to allow the heart of Jesus to fill our own. Let the apathy of all that is around us be consumed by the passion and the ministration of the Holy Spirit.

“I didn’t cease to admonish everyone
night and day with tears”

SELAH

May we consider the “marks” of the true servant of God and feel anew that fire burning within our own being. Let “this mind be in you” as Paul admonished the Church of God at Philippi. May we know the same intensity and the same care and concern for God’s people that filled the early Church. Let us repent of the status quo and turn again unto the One who can ignite the human heart.

The heart of a true servant of God seeks to bring every life into the Kingdom and dominion of God. It will risk the disapproval of others in order to be pleasing unto God.

Admonition will be a mark of one who serves God in truth.

Brian Troxel

Honouring God

Honoring God

“So speak ye and so do”
James 2:12

We live in a very strange time when individuals can study the scriptures, memorize them, and readily discuss them with others; yet live their lives contrary to the very words they speak. The only way to honor His Word is by obeying it. Obedience is the evidence of a life who truly honors and treats His Word for what it is: Holy. If we do not reverence His Word through obedience we will reap the consequences. How foolish it is to speak His Word and yet not honor it not with our lives.

“For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense; how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation
Hebrews 2:2

They who esteem His Word lightly, lightly esteem the One who speaks it.

“And if any man obey not our word by this epistle,
note that man, and have no company with him,
that he may be ashamed”
2 Thessalonians 3:14

Brian Troxel

The Economy of God

The Economy of God

“Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one:
and every man shall receive his own reward
according to his own labour
1 Corinthians 3:8

The reward is according to the labour.

“He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly;
and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully”
2 Corinthians 9:6

The reaping is in proportion to the sowing.

“Then touched he their eyes, saying,
According to your faith be it unto you
Matthew 9:29

The receiving of God is in proportion to our faith.

Give, and it shall be given unto you;
good measure, pressed down,
and shaken together, and running over”
Luke 6:38

The receiving of God is in proportion to our giving.

Love is the economy of God and is revealed in our involvement in the lives of others. An isolated life, secluded from others, is a life without purpose. Christ walked the streets. He was touched, reproached and loved by people, the common people. His fields, white unto harvest, is who He walked among, where He ate, and where He spoke words of Life. His life was accessible, His grace undeniable; His influence on the sea of humanity was wide. So will ours be, “according” to our faith.

All of God’s transactions with us are “proportional” to the life lived; graces of Christ given, truth sowed, purity pursued, prayers prayed, and tears wept on behalf of others. There is a reward which awaits the faithful; treasures stored up for those who have labored over the lost, the wayward and the deceived.

Deception is any life which does not spend itself for His Glory.

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him
Psalm 126:5-6

Open our eyes and our hearts…

Brian Troxel

Our Feet

Our Feet

Part One

“He will keep the feet of his saints”
1 Samuel 2:9

This scripture gives an assurance of His keeping grace. The feet of his saints speak of various things; one is sensitivity unto the Lord. Moses met God at the burning bush still shod in the shoes of Egypt. His sensitivity was lacking; though he stood in God’s presence he was unaware of the Holy ground upon which he stood.

“Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground”
Exodus 3:5

There was a numbness in God’s presence and an unfamiliarity with the things of God. Yet we see God drawing near to teach him the way of holiness. We see God at work in Moses to cause him to walk carefully and reverently before Him. In removing the shoes of Egypt, Moses was abandoning the ways and culture of Egypt and being introduced to the wonder of God. One cannot hold onto the ways of the world and expect to grow in the wisdom of God. The two are contrary.

“And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me,
but walk contrary unto me;
Then I will walk contrary unto you…”
Leviticus 26:27-28

A sensitive walk is one of feeling our way in God. We must remain sensitive to the intonations and gentle leadings of our Shepherd. These things are beyond the hearing of the ear and seeing of the eye; they can only be known through the deepening of relationship. God desires for us to become so ONE with Him that we know within our heart the way we ought to go. These things are not learned quickly; but as we set our heart to the daily doing of His will there is a recognition of His leading which can only grow through the medium of obedience. It is here we sense that “keeping” of our feet and His Shepherding grace is most evident. We discover by our response to His direction that even small incidents take on importance and adventure. There is a gentle assurance of “this is the way, walk ye in it”. Sensitivity in our walk is vital if we are to learn of Him.

“Take my yoke upon you,
and learn of me”
Matthew 11:29

This yoke binds the heart of the disciple to the will and the way of the Master. It is always voluntary. He encourages, validates and directs us with His Staff; He also corrects and chastises us with His Rod. Both of these expressions come from the same heart of Love. The four Gospels are full of these great aspects of His Love. It is a poor parent who does not both affirm and discipline their child.

God’s purpose is for us to be led in a sensitive walk that transcends hearing, seeing and circumstance; where we instinctively do His will by virtue of an abiding relationship. It requires an intentional and vigilant walk by His disciples.

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye”
Psalm 32:8

The Psalmist goes on to declare:

“Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle”
Psalm 32:9

God’s way with His own is filled with such depths of promise. He stands as our great Shepherd to lead us into those places of relationship and grace. It is our obedience and willingness to learn that determine the extent of our walk with Him.

“Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy Spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness (righteousness and stability)”
Psalm 143:10

Brian Troxel

PODCAST – Worship – P1

True Worship – Part One

 

He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”
(Gen 22:2)

Preach the Word – Longsuffering

Preach the Word – Longsuffering

Part Two

Preach the word;
be instant in season, out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering…”
2 Timothy 4:2

For the preaching of The Word to be effective, it must spring from the source which is the love of God Himself. Care and concern for the status of God’s people is the motive. It does not rise from self-righteousness but from a deep knowing that God is righteous. There is a suffering borne by those who behold apathy and complacency; a pain carried within the hearts of those who feel the call of God to deeper and higher things, who sense a responsibility to cry out in the darkness. The call to speak is greater than the vessel. The need to present God far outweighs the desire for acceptance and friendship. Longsuffering is the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit. It is not an attribute of the flesh, but its hold upon a heart produces a suffering long with the condition of God’s House.

Sin is the reason for the suffering of humanity in its lost condition. Love is the reason for suffering in the godly. Christ suffered most, leaving us an example of what righteousness will bring to one who is growing in the wonder of His light and love.

“For consider Him that endured
such contradiction of sinners against himself…”
Hebrews 12:3

Let us consider Him who endured the contradiction of sinners, who suffered long in the midst of a perverse and lost generation. The greatest contradiction was from His own people who, in their blindness, and religious ambition, condemned Him to death, even the death of the Cross. Those who follow on to know Him must experience in some small way the same rejection.

“Love suffers long, Love endures all things”, and, to whatever measure we are held in its sway, there will be a corresponding expression of its virtues. By contrast, apathy cares little, speaks smooth words, is pragmatic and remains uninvolved with the conflicts between light and darkness. It hides itself in religious garments of false separation and indifference just as the priest and the Levite who passed by the man who lay beaten in the streets. It was the despised Samaritan, who involved himself in the plight of this one, of whom the blessed Saviour tells us to “go and DO likewise”.

The true love of God necessitates involvement and personal risk. The religion of men produces insulated living and empty words which lack the one essential thing: Love. The preaching of The Word must be fueled by the fire of the Love of God to make Him known in this world.

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ”
Ephesians 3:8

The Grace of God received is revealed in the “necessity” to preach among those to whom the vessel is sent “the unsearchable riches of Christ”. There is no desire to draw men and women unto themselves. They have no church, organization or earthly agendas; they live to make Him known! Grace received can have no other heart!

“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”
1 Corinthians 9:17

There is no room for self-promotion or boasting; it is a burden of “necessity” to preach the Gospel. There is an unction and a fire which burns within those who hold a glimmer of His beauty and wonder. This is not a weak gospel that robs His people of the purity and the power of this love. This is not a casual gospel with a gentle presentation designed to make the wayward comfortable and anesthetized to their own sin. For what is often presented as the “love of God” is in fact a “gospel’ of a god who has been made in their own image and to their own liking.

Where are those who feel the pangs of “necessity” to make Him known in this day? May God pour out upon us a grace that produces lives compelled by the Love of God to make Him known. May He save us from slumber, indifference and ungodly apathy, speaking of “deep” things yet revealing our shallowness through unremarkable living; lives with little or no effect upon the world around us. Let us not claim to have a faith in word but which denies the power of God even within the confines of our own homes. It is time for a new generation to arise who will “Preach the Word” and bring strong exhortations of God to contend with the bondages of a lost generation.

May those who bear His fire in their hearts declare His Word unto the earth and unto the heavens!

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine”
2 Timothy 4:2

Brian Troxel

Preach the Word

Preach the Word

Preach* the word;
be instant in season, out of season;
reprove, rebuke, exhort…”
2 Timothy 4:2

There are many who preach today, but not The Word. There are many who quote scriptures but fail to preach The Word. They preach their own words and their own gospel; they preach to gain the approval, affection and finances of those listening. Paul’s instruction to Timothy is to preach the Word that brings reproof, rebuke and exhortation! How few are willing to risk their popularity, their income, their positions or “career” in the organizations of today for the sake of truth. Many ascribe to the “relevant” things of today, but they will not touch The Word; a “sharp two-edged sword” which divides the soul and spirit of the religious man (Hebrews 4:12). Many are reticent to utter the Word of Life which will cut and reveal the thoughts and intentions of the religious man. They seek the favour of men while turning their back on the God who IS a “consuming fire”. Those who bear His Word must know, in some measure, the temperament and fervor of a God who hates mixture and compromise.

Preach the word!

This was the cry of the Apostolic heart in a Day when the Fire of God was burning, and the faith of God’s people was penetrating the darkness of the world in their time. “Preach the Word” is the call of God to His people in this hour who desire His Sword within their own hearts; who know that in order to walk with Him in holy places they must themselves be holy. Preach the Word has ever been the purpose and the directive of the Holy Spirit for He has come to lead and guide us into the truth and power of holy living. Without holiness we shall not see God! Let the truth of this Word revolutionize our hearts. Our pursuit of holiness is the revelation of our desire to see God!

The depth of an individual’s pursuit for holiness
is the revelation of their desire to see God!

“Strive for peace with everyone,
and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord”
Hebrews 12:14 (ESV)

Preach the Word whereby men and women are filled with a fire to pursue holy living. Preach the Word which transforms the tepid, the comfortable and the passive into flaming hearts of purpose, captured by the Eternal Call of God.

“Is not my word like as a fire?”
Jeremiah 23:29

Fireless preaching comes from cold hearts, compromised living and empty altars. If His Word is like fire, should not those who Preach His Word be of the same disposition and temperature?

God is speaking today,
let those who have ears to hear, hear.

*Preach the Word - In a large segment of the Christian Church preaching the Word is relegated as ministry to the unsaved. This was a foreign concept to the early Church (who turned the world upside down). Timothy was sent out to travel through out the Church of God to observe their order, their love for one another and to contend with false teachings and error in their midst. We need those who will "Preach the Word" to the Church in power, unity and truth that HE may be glorified in our midst.

Brian Troxel