Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dirty Apo fingernails

"I daily carry the burden for all the churches" 2 Cor 11:28

I am sitting in Reading in the UK. I have loved watching the sun come up on a glorious UK morning. The last two days were spent loving on some pretty amazing men and women. On Friday M and I taught from 10 till around 4 to a group of pastors and wives whose deep love for the church and their nation is inspiring. It has not been easy for them. Several left very high paying jobs to engage on a Jesus journey that has reflected sacrifice and hardship. I love them.

Yesterday, we spent around 3 hours examine the nature of our divine calling with a broader group of leaders. Oh my - these are tough, tenacious God honoring bi-vocational leaders who let the gospel grab their hearts and change their way of thinking. Some were in the doldrums of weariness but left with their heads held high. Put Jesus in the room and watch and see what he does.

There is a clarion call resounding from heaven for the re-engaged role of the Ephesians 4 grace gifts to the church. All are essential. All are necessary. Each in a unique and different way is vital to every church in every city in every country in every part of the world. It is such raw naked arrogance to suggest that we can design the church better than Jesus - that apostles are replaced by mentors, coaches, consultants.

Apostles are known biblically, not as CEO styled leaders of organizations, networks or even movements. Biblically they are driven by a love, deep and sublime for "all" the churches. They are held captive by this love that compels them. They are in a deep love affair that the Father gives them for the churches they serve. They have dirty fingernails because are trench diggers. Paul says that apostles work with foundations... that is what they do. They are not roof wetters, champagne poppers. They have dirty nails from being in the trenches of the churches they love and serve to ensure that the foundations are true, biblical and fully Jesus.

So, how do we know who is an apostle? Two simple ways - look over their shoulders to see what they have built - strong, sturdy, Christ focussed churches that live for reasons beyond themselves; and look at their fingernails - they are in the trenches forging foundations that are essential for each specific church's future. They are intimately involved with these churches, not figure heads or distant administrators.

My pained hearts appeal - let us not lose this great moment of divine restoration again. For the sake of these churches, we simply have to get it right this time.

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