Eldership

Eldership

Eldership begins in the home. It begins in earnest with the birth of  children  and the opportunity they present for us to learn the wisdom of our Heavenly Father. The challenge for us is to instill in them a desire to discover the great mystery of Christ for themselves. We cannot unravel the mystery for them but we can minister to them their need to find God for themselves.

If we are unable to present the glories and the wonders of God to our own children, how will we ever be equipped to present Him to the household of faith? Pat answers will not produce the intrigue of the adventure of walking with God. Often Jesus would answer a question with a question.  It was hunger and quest He sought to instill rather than mere answers. Hunger of heart will take one further in God than  information with no spirit of awe or wonder.

Home is the canvas upon which we can learn to paint. An artist works in shades, splashes and hues, each one reflecting a thought, a wisp of truth.  Over time an image appears and each brush of  color is hidden within the wonder of the whole. Eldership is but a reflection of the wisdom of our Heavenly Father; the work of His grace and longsuffering to present such a one to the Body of Christ.

“For by it (faith)
the elders obtained a good report”
Hebrews 11:2

“There are no artists more divine than those who know how to fashion a child’s soul within themselves. Such artists know how to draw forth the greatest divine radiance into their souls”
– St. John Chrysostom

Obviously having children is not a prerequisite for being an elder in God's House. For those who do, let God's wisdom in His dealings with you be an example of how you are to deal with your children.

Brian Troxel

The Testimony of the Church

The Testimony of the Church

“And do not fear those who kill the body
but cannot kill the soul.
Rather fear him who can
destroy* both soul and body in hell”
Matthew 10:28 (ESV)

“I think, my friends, that it depends altogether upon that of which one is afraid. The words of our text (Mt. 10:28), with the solemn inculcation of fear, are also a ringing denunciation of fear: the “Fear Him” is balanced by “Fear not.” The fear of God is here made a way of overcoming the fear of man. And the heroic centuries of Christian history have provided abundant testimony to its efficaciousness”
- John Gresham Machen

The history of the Church has been one of men and women bearing testimony to God by living His truth. True pilgrims were often “misfits”; even though their testimony was a shining light of God’s grace and favor in their generation. They did not dwell in the concepts of men concerning the scriptures. They lived their lives in the unfolding truth of God and as a result their testimony was the spirit of prophesy. There was a sense of being captured or, as Paul would say, “bound in spirit” to the will and purposes of God; a knowing that they had been apprehended to apprehend the thing to which they had been called.

To feel deep within our being that CALL, inarticulate in the language of men, which is more real, more powerful and more essential than any existence the world has to offer is true life. Its passion is to leave a clear witness of the Christ here in the earth. Bound up within this call is to know the joy of finishing our course with a testimony that clearly expresses His heart and being. The CALL to an effective communication of His Faith to the world around us and to leave a legacy of faith in our own children which will impart His Life to their generation is to be our birthright.

The CALL of Christ is unto Himself; it does not leave options or choices to those who respond to it. Disciples are ultimately freed from their own agendas and pursuits. They are captured by the wonder of His beauty to follow Him alone. They cannot rest in anything less than a full and dynamic expression of Christ. There is a sense of the eternal that draws them to things unseen. There is an endurance borne of “seeing Him” who is invisible.

“By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king,
for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible”
Hebrews 11:27

The Testimony of the Church has ever been one of faith, intensity of spirit and heart which desires to honor Him.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…”
Hebrew 12:1-2

May our testimony be somewhat worthy
of all who have gone before us!

 ⊂⊃

*Note: apollumi (G622), a strengthened form of ollumi, signifies “to destroy utterly”; in middle voice, “to perish.” The idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of wellbeing. This is clear from its use, as, e.g., of the marring of wine skins, Luk 5:37; of lost sheep, i.e., lost to the shepherd, metaphorical of spiritual destitution, Luk 15:4, Luk 15:6, etc.; the lost son, Luk 15:24; of the perishing of food, Joh 6:27; of gold, 1Pe 1:7. So of persons, Mat 2:13, “destroy”; Mat 8:25, “perish”; Mat 22:7; Mat 27:20; of the loss of well-being in the case of the unsaved hereafter, Mat 10:28; Luk 13:3, Luk 13:5; Joh 3:16 (Joh 3:15 in some mss.); Joh 10:28; Joh 17:12; Rom 2:12; 1Co 15:18; 2Co 2:15, “are perishing”; 2Co 4:3; 2Th 2:10; Jas 4:12; 2Pe 3:9. “Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words”

Brian Troxel

 

 

Faithfulness and the Open Door

Faithfulness and The Open Door

I know thy works:
behold, I have set before thee an open door,
and no man can shut it…”
Revelation 3:8

Faithfulness to the present truth we know will always culminate in greater things in God. The Church at Philadelphia, even in their weakness and poverty, were faithful to do the works of God and were given an open door. Doing the will of God inevitably leads us into greater avenues of service unto Him. Those who are faithful in the little things will always receive more.

The stagnation of a faith without works perpetuates its own lethargy and barrenness. Within the true disciple lies an eagerness to do that which is before them without hesitation or delay. We must always bear in our hearts the verdict of God upon a “faith” which is void of works.

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him? And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food, and one of you tells them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled;” and yet you didn’t give them the things the body needs, what good is it? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself. Yes, a man will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder. But do you want to know, vain man, that faith apart from works is dead?”
James 2:14-20

The “Open Door” is set before those who are faithful to yield themselves to the promptings of God within and respond accordingly. There are those who feel hemmed in by circumstances when in fact they may have not been faithful to the things at hand. Joseph, bound within Pharaoh’s prison, remained faithful to the gifts which God had given him, and, in the end, he was given great authority!

“For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he has”
Matthew 13:12

The path to enlarged places in God is found within our faithfulness to Him in the little things; hidden things, often only known to God. In the end they will bring us to the open door of His grace.

Just a couple of examples are David who, while tending the sheep of his father, overcame the lion and the bear. Rebekah at the well, in her willingness and faithfulness to serve, was brought into the lineage of Christ!! (read Genesis 24:12-27) May we see the importance God places on those who reveal their heart by the work of their hands. He sees and measures out greater faith in proportion to their faithfulness in everyday life.

Let us seek His “open door” through faithfulness in our commonplace lives. Let our determination to honour Him “in all things” be an entrance into the greater things of Him. May we find joy each day in ever looking for ways to glorify Him, even in the secret thoughts of our hearts.

“I thank him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He counted me faithful, appointing me to service…”
1 Timothy 1:12

Obedience will open doors that no amount of praying alone can.

“The Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the right times? Blessed is that servant whom his lord will find doing so when he comes. Truly I tell you, that he will set him over all that he has.
Matthew 24:45-47

May His exhortations permeate our hearts, and may we seek to be faithful to Him in all things.

Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord”
Matthew 25:23

The one who was unfaithful lost what he had been given and the eternal consequences were even greater.

“But his lord answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant. You knew that I reap where I didn’t sow and gather where I didn’t scatter. You ought therefore to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back my own with interest. Take away therefore the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who doesn’t have, even that which he has will be taken away. Throw out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”
Matthew 25:26-30

Faithfulness determines eternal destinies.

“…they that are with Him
are called, and chosen, and faithful
Revelation 17:14

Brian Troxel

Love One Another

Love One Another

I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ”
 Philippians 1:8

Love is the signature of God ruling within His own. The bonds between the people of God were evident within the language of the New Covenant. There was a living mortar which bound the living stones to one another. One can sense the threads of each life woven together to impart to us the richness of the tapestry of the One Church. It is in stark contrast to our day in which we have increased in the knowledge of the things of God yet lack the essence of what that knowledge is to convey. The estimation of God concerning the progress and development of a heart is in the measure of Love it holds and expresses to others.

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing
1 Corinthians 13:2

Knowledge, gifts of the Spirit, prayer, religious works and even faith itself (necessary as they all are), if not mingled with the power and wonder of the pure love of God, leaves us empty and bereft of God Himself.

“He that loveth not
knoweth not God…”
1 John 4:8

Love is the highest expression of truth. It is the verity of truth within a life. Love is what fuels the faith of God unto the works of God.

“For in Christ Jesus,
neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any strength,
but faith working through love”
Galatians 5:6
(Greek: empowered through)

One cannot hold the love of God and be static, stagnant or isolated. Love, by its very nature, gives of itself and does not seek its own. It is the source and sum of His Joy. It does not regard the sectarian ways of men and is not preferential in its dispensation; it lives only to please the ONE from whom it flows.

“This is my commandment,
That ye love one another,
as I have loved you
John 15:12

Brian Troxel

PODCAST – Exhortation & Harmony

Exhortation & Harmony

A Study on the ministry of exhortation and the unity of God’s people.

The Ministry of Reconciliation

Healing and Reconciliation

“And all things are of God…
and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation”
2 Corinthians 5:18

What is torn can be mended.
What is separated can be blended.
That which is broken can find repair,
And joy can fill the life in despair.
Brian Troxel

To seek reconciliation with others is the revelation of a heart which has and is being reconciled to Christ.

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift”
Matthew 5:23-24

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“Behold, I make all things new”
Revelation 21:5

Brian Troxel

The True Temple

The True Temple

“He who overcomes,
I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God…”
Revelation 3:12

In our day many consider church as somewhere one goes rather than something we are. God’s Church is made up of living stones; purified, united and joined in the harmony of His Spirit. Unity in Spirit is the reality of all who walk in His Spirit. Division and sectarianism are the revelation of the stain of flesh and the ambitions of men.

Those who overcome the spirit of this world become pillars in that heavenly temple. How we walk here, overcoming worldly affinities, determines heavenly realities.

Our Oneness in His Body here reveals the truth of our Oneness in Him. “As He is, so are we in this world”. Whatever is true in spirit must be evident in our walk here. Division and heresy, rivalry, envy and strife, are the works of the flesh. Those who walk in such forfeit heavenly rewards.

He who overcomes,
I will make him a pillar
in the temple of my God…”
Revelation 3:12

Overcoming here is a prerequisite to the reward there. Let no one deceive you in thinking otherwise. Paul in his stinging reproof to the Church at Corinth cried out in the power of the Spirit of God:

“Is Christ divided?”
1 Corinthians 1:13

Those who dwell in the Love of God, love what He loves. Those who walk in the love of the world, love those who love them. We are called by the very love of Christ to “preserve the unity of the Spirit”. Only those who walk in the Spirit know of this “unity”. It is a unity not of this world, nor is it confined to a sect or a select few; it is the world-wide truth of all who walk, live and abide in Him. Paul wrote to Timothy to instruct us in how we are to walk and behave in the household of God, not in some sect or denomination.

“I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth”
1 Timothy 3:14-15 (ESV)

To be free from the contamination of pride is to know the depth and power of the fellowship of the Light and Glory of Christ with one another. They who separate themselves cannot know God nor the substance of His Love.

He that loveth not knoweth not God;
for God is love”
1 John 4:8

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“Beloved, if God so loved us,
we ought also to love one another”
1 John 4:11

Brian Troxel

The Statement

The Statement

“We know that we have passed from death unto life,
because we love the brethren”
1 John 3:14

The evidence of Christ’s resurrection life in our hearts is love. Love is more than an emotion, more than a sentiment, it is the very essence of God. The vastness of the love of God is an ocean one can never pass over. It is a love that transcends knowledge. Paul in his prayer for The Church at Ephesus prayed that they would be strengthened by grace in order

“…to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”
Ephesians 3:19

The way to be filled with God is to grow into the Love of Christ. Love is the power and the faculty by which He unveils Himself to the human heart. Love sees humanity clearly. When Christ hung on the cross amidst the jeers and the mocking of the crowd He saw beyond the animosity of the moment into the deep pain of their condition.

“Father, forgive them;
for they know not what they do”
Luke 23:24

That same love gives us the capacity to see past the injuries of relationships with His people; it empowers us to see past the rejections and disputes of our brothers and sisters and into the causes of them. In Love’s sway we first begin to all deal with the unholy and carnal roots within our own hearts. Love is never blind. Christ on the cross was the eternal proof of the depth and horror of our sin. God’s love sees all and responds. So it is in our lives: love is to become the springboard for our responses to the situations around us. The Love of God being formed in us is the power to live in Him; from this perspective we find the overwhelming need to abide in Him.

To actually love “in deed and in truth” is the revelation of the extent of Christ’s life in us.

“My little children, let us not love in word,
or in tongue, but in deed and in truth”
1 John 3:18

It is incumbent upon us to weigh our life in the light of His truth.

“Lord, make me to know mine end,
and the measure of my days, what it is;
that I may know how frail I am”
Psalm 39:4

Jesus took on our frailty that we might live in the power of God; our poverty becomes the portal for His strength.

Brian Troxel

The River of God

The River of God

“Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus,
better than all the waters of Israel?
may I not wash in them, and be clean?
So he turned and went away in a rage.”
2 Kings 5:12

There are endless strategies and so-called resources to treat the ills of the human heart. Many seem right and sound right to a heart desperate for change and deliverance. Yet there is only ONE river that can bring the cleansing and healing power of God to the soul of man. Many will take a sip of it; they may even dip their toes into its life-giving flow and feel temporary relief; but few dare to immerse themselves into its depths and embrace the import of its full power.

By definition the River Jordan means to descend, to be humbled and brought low. It speaks of freedom from the pride, arrogance and self-seeking of the human condition. The horror of this pride is rampant within the Body of Christ with all of its associated vices: competition, rivalry, division and strife. These are clothed in spiritual garments of deceit and guile that keep His people suspicious, restless and out-of-sync with the character of God. These ones seek relief in confessions, exclusive cliques, and the pre-eminence in religious circles in an effort to appease the emptiness within. When invited into an immersion of a true “baptism” of humility they become angry at the audacity of such a notion. The God of all grace offers no other solution for any of us. We must do it His way or stubbornly refuse the waters of His Life and remain unchanged.

But made himself of no reputation,
and took upon him the form of a servant…”
Philippians 2:7

God has a provision. It is stepping into this river of humiliation and rejection, in concert with Him who deliberately “made Himself of no reputation”, wherein we find the wholesome life promised to all who would obey Him.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls”
Matthew 11:29

The call of Christ is to Himself. In coming to Him, in taking upon us His yoke of obedience, we will discover this “rest” for our souls. It cannot be learned or experienced apart from obedience. The proud seek the accolades and approval of men, while inwardly they are excluded from the “learning of Him”. The River Jordan is deep and costly. It is filled with sufferings and humiliations, denunciation by friends and foes, but only by immersing ourselves in it are His graces formed within the depths of our being.

“Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place”
Psalm 66:11-12

The wealthy place of His ways in us is a land of broad streams, where His mercy flows freely. Forgiveness has been learned in the furnace of affliction and the Character of Christ has been formed in the inner recesses of our hearts. How good and wise are His ways in the lives of His own!

Can we not hear His Call?

“Come unto me,
all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest…”
Matthew 11:28

The wisdom of Naaman’s servant applies to us regardless of our situation in life.

“And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?”
2 Kings 5:13

Humility frees the heart from its own poison. It is the Balm of Gilead alone which can bind up the wounds of relationships from the rivalry, envy and jealously which are the offspring of pride and the source of so much division in His Body. This is the River of Life of which the inspired Psalmist declares:

“There is a river,
the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God…”
Psalm 46:4

Brian Troxel

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

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“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