A Kingdom Mindset
Jason Westerfield prophesied that the Body of Christ will go from a church programme mindset to a Kingdom releasing mindset. He prophesied this over Bill Johnson in Bethel and that is what they have discovered. God has given a platform to Bethel because they have sought the Kingdom first. Many churches look at Bethel and try to emulate what they have but Bethel seeks the Kingdom first. You can have a miracle manifestation but be in a mindset wilderness- miracles don’t prove you’ve got the goods. The Israelites had miracles in the desert but God wanted to take them to the Promised Land to experience the Kingdom.
Uprooting the Empire
Martin Scott has carried a revelation about the Empire Spirit for about 15 years now. Others have stood like Roger and Sue Mitchell, Godfrey Birtill, Steve Lowton, Mike Love and many others and have carried a message that God is uprooting and opposing the Empire Spirit. I know that God is dealing with this issue in the church. Dale Gentry released a Prophetic Word many years ago that the wind of the Spirit of God was going to blow through the church and get rid of every plan of man, causing the things which opposed the Spirit to collapse. Churches which embraced this wind would experience a second more powerful wind of revival.
I walked with Steve Lowton in 2005 from London to Edinburgh as part of a team prophesying the Empire is over. We walked up the spine of the country, to uproot a mindset of empire in the nation. It was sore and I was definitely one of the worst walkers. God spoke to me during this walk that churches, businesses and ministries with an Empire mindset might look the same on the outside as ones that didn’t have it, but God looks at the heart and motive of the people.
Steve Lowton eventually walked from York to Rome. Martin Scott had prophesied months earlier that the birth of his grandson would be a prophetic sign of the coming Government of God – 12 representing this in Hebrew. So in the 20 minute window that they had in Vatican Square, the Pope appeared and they prophesied in the presence of the Pope that the Empire is over. Martin Scott’s grandson was born in this 20 minute window on the 21st of the 12th.
The History of Empire
When we talk about the Empire Spirit we are not talking about big and successful churches. We are talking about a demonic Spirit. This demonic spirit opposes the Holy Spirit. It can attach itself to mindsets, in a churches, businesses, groups or people. Being a big church doesn’t mean you have an Empire Spirit! But likewise being an apparant successful church is not a sign that you are free from it either! The issue is not found in what a church looks like but in its heart and mindset. The size of congregation is irrelevant.
It was the Emperor Constantine who first Christianised the Roman Empire and built what is known as ‘Christendom’. While this brought a time of blessing to the Christians in the Empire it confused the advancement of the Kingdom with the advancement of the Empire. This was the first time the church went from houses and living rooms to church buildings. It went from sending people out into the community to drawing people inwards. Many people think the church became inward focused at this time, serving itself rather than God and the needs of the people. It gathered money in, and ceased being a source of blessing to the poor. The centre of the church became Rome and the Head of the church became the Pope (I do love Catholics however just to clarify). The church became preoccupied with preserving and replicating itself rather than serving God’s plans.
The Fruit of Empire
The fruit of the Empire Spirit is self promotion, selfish ambition, competition and strife. It looks at everything else as a threat to its own position and so brings division and disunity. Because of its suspicion and jeolousy of other’s success it breeds prickly isolation between itself and other churches. It only networks with other churches which serve its own interests. It has a hierarchy which is top heavy. Leadership is seen as the pinacle and so it values the few at the expense of the many. It makes the many serve the few! It sucks people in, instead of sending them out. It promotes man based on his efforts and not the voice of the Lord. Like Judas it betrays the plans of God for the selfishness of man. In doing so it sets itself in rebellion against God. Rebellion is the sin of witchcraft and with the Empire Spirit there is always the operation of witchcraft.
We are not talking about hocus pocus magic when we say that but manipulation and control. Rick Joyner has written a great article called ‘Overcoming Witchcraft’ where he addresses these issues in the Church. In it he writes:
What God is building is not raised up by might or power, but by His Spirit. Whatever we build by other means is an affront to the cross and will ultimately oppose that which the Spirit is doing… Any authority or influence that we gain by our own manipulation or self-promotion will be a stumbling block to us and our ability to receive a true commission and authority from God.
You can read the whole article here: www.upstreamca.org/ocwitchcraft.html
Many writers including Roger Mitchell have written on the subject of the Empire Spirit. Dyfed Wyn Roberts has a great blog where he is exploring this issue: www.dyfedwynroberts.org.uk/
From Pyramids to Mountains
Pyramids are manmade mountains. I believe that the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land is a prophetic picture for the church. It must go from slavery to Pharoah, building manmade mountains to walking among the Mountains of God, ruling in true Spiritual authority. It is the church’s destiny to LIVE in the Promised Land. Hebrews 4 calls this ‘the rest of God’ and gives the command ‘cease from your labours’. The church is called to cease from its labours and live in the Kingdom of God.
Sat in Christ, not Eygpt!
There is no hint of Empire in Christ. He was tempted by it in Luke 3.5 but the crosshairs of his earthly ministry were fixed firmly on the cross. The Devil jangled the Keys of the Kingdom in front of Him like a carrot on a stick and showed Him all the Kingdoms and Empires of the world, saying “I will give you all power and authority” but Jesus knew He could not serve the Empire Spirit and God. God’s Kingdom would cause Him to empty Himself and become nothing (Philippians 2.7) in order to truly restore the Keys of the Kingdom.
He opposed every opportunity that He had to establish an earthly rule, much to the frustration of his followers at times. Although His ministry platform only consisted of a few towns and cities He was not intimidated by the fact His disciples’ ministries would take them around the world. Neither was He jealous that they would see greater things than He would; that Peter would see people healed through his shadow, or that Paul would write more books for the New Testament than Him.
In Mark you have the what is called the ‘Messianic secret’ – that Jesus even hid his true identity of being the Messiah! Instead of seeking legitimacy and an endorsement from the Chief Priests He spent time with tax collectors and sinners. He took the low road to death, to a humiliating end to what seemed like a failed ministry. Even the first people He appeared to after His resurrection were people 1st C. Palestine did not value- women! Imagine the I told you so on the Pharasees He could have got, standing before them in resurrection power!
The Kingdom of God is an upside Kingdom. Jesus says “4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven 5” Matt 18. So often we can get caught up in trying to ‘serve’ the Big Names and yet Jesus teaches in the Parable of the Sheep and Goats ‘what you do for the least of these you do for me’.
Although Jesus opposed the Empire Spirit He wasn’t an anarchist. Infact He said ‘rend to Caeser what is Caeser’s. This is because the fruit of the Kingdom of God is righteous, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The Presence of God is the focal point of the Kingdom. It has its eyes fixed on Jesus and makes the Presence of the King the priority. The Kingdom of God lets us enjoy our union with Christ. When this happens, when we rest in the Kingdom, the fruit we are seeking manifests naturally. I believe that this is what has happened in Bethel. It is not in their striving that they have seen revival but in their rest.
What the Lord has been releasing is a revelation of our union with Him but in the coming days the Lord will release a revelation of our union with each other in the church. God wants us to realise we are one in the body of Christ. Philippians 2 states:
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
We might read this in the context of a local church and think ‘yes this is what our church needs!’ but the Lord wants us to see this in the context of His Kingdom. Whatever denomination we are in, whichever church we go to the Lord is releasing the revelation and understanding that there is no separation in the Kingdom, that there is no separation in Christ. We are one. The Kingdom of God turns the Empire on its head. Philippians 2 is calling for church organisations and ministries to serve and promote each other. For competing churches to value the interests of each other and actually work together (crazy thought I know!)
I love the Catholic understanding of the Communion of Saints. During the Eucharist they believe that in union with Christ they become one with each other and the Communion of Saints: the whole host of Heaven! We believe we are continually united to Christ. We are continually one with the communion of saints- both those on the earth and in Heaven. The Body of Christ is permanently united in Christ. The worldwide church has been united in His death and resurrection to each other.
In Christ there is no division of church walls and ministry. There is no seperation between denomination and local churches. There is union. Union with Christ and union with each other.
God has given us a revelation of unity within the church. The Body of Christ transcends the man made structures, boundaries and walls that exist on earth. God is releasing now a revelation of the family of God which will cause love to conquer all. The Spirit of Empire with its ugly manifestations will be overwhelmed by love and the revelation of union.
Even Jesus’ last prayer was for a revealtion of union in the Body:
20 Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching, 21 That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me.22 I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one: 23 I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me.
Being united in Christ means we are united with each other. The Lord has given us the Glory so we can be one and then, Jesus says, the world will have a revelation of who Jesus is. That is a pretty powerful prophecy from Jesus Himself. Jesus is saying that the greatest form of evangelism is union. The biggest way we can bring a revelation of Christ to the world is though resting and enjoying our union with him and resting in our union with each other. No striving or competing but understanding we are one. Jesus said it himself: Revival will happen through our union.
It was prophesied by Martin Scott years ago that Leeds would lead and pioneer in the UK. 10 years ago when we were living in Leeds there were countless organisations set up across the city which brought together 30+ churches to work together. Leeds Youth Cell Network is pioneering a city wide network of youth from 30+ churches. Kidz Klub in leeds is the only Kidz Klub in the country which brings together 30+ churches from across the ciy to work together. I remember a friend of mine, Justin Thomas, commenting “it is now unheard of in Leeds for a program to be set up by one church on its own. Churches which are doing that are unseccessful here”. Network Leeds was established 10 years ago – a city wide website promoting and linking together churches and ministries from across the city. You can find it here: www.networkleeds.com/.
When we are talking about churches working together, we don’t mean a meeting once every 6 months. We are talking about working together week in week out, daily working on a team together. In this melting pot the church you’re from becomes meaningless!
The original vision for unity in Leeds came from looking at the unity present in churches working together in cities during the Argentinian revival. Jesus’ last words were demonstrated because the cities in Argentina turned to God in revival fire.
Leeds is a forerunning city in the nation but its now time for the UK to catchup. The prickly isolation, suspicion and competition between churches that exists because of Empire is being dealt with by God. God is releasing a revelation of union that will manifest the Kingdom in revival fire.