How are you? I’m well.
Earlier this year, I read a Rick Joyner’s book, The Prophetic Ministry. Interestingly, I got to read below:
The popular saying that we should “seek the Giver and not the gifts” is not biblical and is actually contrary to the scriptural exhortation to “pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (I Corinthians 14:1). We must pursue love first if our desire for spiritual gifts is to be pure, but this emphasis does not nullify the need to seek spiritual gifts.
In the past few years, I didn’t really pursue prophecy gift, but this year, I began to ask the Father to give interpretation of tongues, prophecy and discerning spirit. So, when I read Rick Joyner’s writing on spiritual gifts, I found out my previous attitude, “seek the Giver, and not the gifts” was indeed not biblical. Then, He gave me a heart to listen to Pastor John Fenn’s teachings on motivational gift. From his Old Testament survey class online, I recall his saying we are all equal, whether we have so-called 9 spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians chapter 12, 5 fold ministry gifts in Ephesians, gifts such as exhortaion, giving, leading, etc. mentioned in Romans chapter 12, or other gifts such as sewing, mechanic works, music and so forth. And he went on to say Joseph had an administrative gift from youth so that his father used him as informant:
Then he said to him (Joseph), “Please go and see if it is well with your brothers and well with the flocks, and bring back word to me.” (Genesis 37:14)
And we know he was in charge of Potiphar’s house:
Thus he (Potiphar) left all that he had in Joseph’s hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate. (Genesis 39:6)
And Genesis 40:4 says “And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them (the chief butler and the chief baker), and he served them; so they were in custody for a while.”
And below is the excerpts from weekly thought, Interpretation, Power Gifts, Gifts of the Spirit #5 in the Church Without Walls International:
There are other gifts like the ‘energy’ gifts I mentioned in the first of this series. These are gifts that move us, energize us, motivate us to do things. Paul names these manifestations of the Spirit in Romans 12:3-8 and they include such things as giving, organizing, teaching, mercy, serving, exhorting, seeing things right/wrong, and so on. These are more than our personalities, these things move us from within to interact with others, and they are as much as the Spirit of God as giving a prophecy. Paul says each person has their grace, and we can only live in our grace, not another’s.
In the Old Testament we see still more gifts, especially around the building of the tabernacle of Moses. In Exodus 31:2-6, 35: 26-35, 36:1, 8, God describes men and women in whom He put wisdom as He calls it, to work with wood, metal, stones and gems, linen and weaving and sewing, and all manner of skills so they can build the tabernacle. They have that ‘wisdom’ or we might say talent or skill or know-how they are born with, because the Lord put that in them. Those things that motivate people are a manifestation of the Spirit of God as much as prophecy or healings!
Friend, I realized that some gifts were discovered from child or youth, but other gifts even when we are quite mature in age. Maybe you knew you had the knack for sports, numbers, music, art, etc. even when you were little. Yet, some gifts such as cooking, sewing, etc. can be discovered at a much later point in our lives. I listened to my former church elder’s testimony who was an ambassador to China, and wrote the book, Ambassador of God. And he seemed to start to receive the words from the Lord for those he prayed for in his early 50 or so. To Him, age doesn’t matter and our background doesn’t matter. It’s all by His grace. I think I will share more on gifts later in future blogs. In the meantime, I would like to encourage us to ask the Father to use us with the gifts He embedded in us for His Kingdom. I would like share excerpts from Pastor John’s book, Return of the First Church, below, as I think it is very helpful to understand 5 fold ministry in Ephesians in house church context as it was originally intended. And it also echoed what I learned from my monthly zoom meeting that our gifts are for equipping and perfecting the saints. It’s not about our ego-booster at all.
Hope this blesses you. Have a bliss!
Where Are the Gifts To Be Used?
In Ephesians 4:8 Paul tells us that Jesus, ascended up on high and gave gifts unto men, followed by a listing of the fivefold gifts which are for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry. He did not give offices, he gave gifts which are functions. The word gift merely describes a function not an office. For instance, the word apostle merely means sent one. So the gift of sent ones was given by Jesus for the perfecting of the saints. Their function is to start (house) churches and raise up disciples. The word prophet is one who speaks forth openly (Vine) which signifies that gift being one where a person speaks the elements of a divine message. The word evangelist describes the gift that is a messenger of good (Vine), and the word pastor describes one who tends herds or flocks (Vine). The word teacher merely describes one who gives instruction (Vine).
Similarly, the word helps from 1 Corinthians 12:28 means laying hold of or helping. Governments means to guide (Vine) and so forth. These aren’t offices to be honored; they are (merely) functions at the bottom of the Temple of God’s people, serving them. These words (which described functions to the people who originally read them in the first century) have through the years been pulled out of the home context and read through the eyes of the pyramid structure and interpreted as offices to be honored, because that’s what fits in the pyramid. These functions are planted within the spirits of men and women and they will not be fulfilled until they are functioning in their respective gifts. We already assign honor to people according to their gifts, or functions in the world, but when it comes to church we talk about the office of apostle or office of prophet and our minds go tilt. We speak of someone who “stands in the office of prophet” as if the office is separate from the gift or because it’s in church the definition has changed.
In a home church setting, as in the New Testament, elders are pastors who take heed to themselves meaning they watch over their own walk with God. This brings into their lives the constant reminder of accountability to the Lord. They also seek the wellbeing of the sheep as a first priority. They are people of character and maturity, with adequate life experience and stability to guide others. Their leadership is offered to others, not demanded. They know when to be quiet and let the Lord use others, and when to speak. They are apt to teach, imparting to others what they have learned, though they are usually not gifted in or fill the role of teacher, but rather as a father in the faith.
There was no pastor elevated above all. In a house church setting, with gifts esteemed according to where they fit in God’s usage, and therefore degree of service rendered, there is mutual accountability among those who are most mature. The word elder is used in the New Testament to emphasize one or all of the following qualities: age, maturity in Christ, and/or maturity in life experience. But the real distinguishing factor is that they take heed to themselves in their faith and lives, and secondarily have a natural love for the sheep.
In authority He is at the top, but in service He is at the bottom. Apostles, prophets and the fivefold are at or near the top in terms of authority given by God, but at or near the bottom offering the greatest service, humility, and servant’s hearts of any of the gifts.
The degree of entrusted authority in a person is proportional to the level of servanthood and responsibility.
Therefore the reality and secret of Jesus’ church structure is not Jesus sitting at the top of the pyramid as our minds tend to think, but rather the lines of authority flow through the burden of great servanthood and responsibility. This is the Great Balance of the Father’s design with Jesus as the greatest example. Jesus was the most gifted and the greatest servant rolled into one. Therefore He is the most highly exalted Man in the universe, seated at the Father’s own right hand. By giving men great authority and power, often with signs and wonders happening in their ministries, the Father tempered any tendency for pride by making those same people the greatest servants of all. This is perfectly logical from the Father’s perspective: it assures they will be humble, transparent, and approachable. Pride should not be an issue for anyone so gifted and yet so burdened if they function in the structure Jesus portrayed.
So we see the check and balance in God’s Kingdom: the greater the authority, the greater servanthood and responsibility required as Jesus taught in Mark 10:42–46; this keeps a person balanced out.
Jesus Himself is the greatest example of Ultimate authority coupled with Ultimate humility and servanthood with the fivefold placed right next to Him at the bottom of the living temple, the people of God.
Your hands have made me and fashioned me;