Prayer

5Q: Answers to a Decade (or more) of My Organizational Questions

disclosure statement: I was given a copy of this book, 5Q, by Alan Hirsch to give an honest review of it.

It’s 5:30 in the morning and I can’t put this thing down. I’ve planted a church and started a business in Taiwan, a culture which has traditionally been more resistant to the gospel’s work, with around 3% of 23,000,000 people professing faith in Christ. There have been successes in our ministry. Just a few days ago we were recounting what God’s done and noted that 34 people have been baptized since 2012.  and I’ll be one of the first to admit I often feel I have no idea what I’m doing. The reason I couldn’t put this book down is because Hirsch is putting into words feelings I’ve had for nearly a decade (which is a lifetime for a millennial). The premise of Hirsch’s latest work is that Jesus Christ has already given us a blueprint for what leadership, mission, evangelism, care and teaching should look like and how it’s done. He’s calling us to allow the latent seeds of the fivefold gifts, also referred to as APEST or 5Q, Christ gave the church to begin to grow again. APEST, or apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, are five different gifts or ministries that Christ placed in the church as a result of his ascension (Ephesians 4:1-16). He writes, “In it’s simplest form, 5Q is the synergy of a holistic recombination of the apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherding and teaching (APEST) capacities referred to in Ephesians.” These gifts were given so that we could minister as the body of Christ and ultimately attain to the fullness of Christ. But Hirsch argues the archetypal evidence of APEST predates the establishment of the church and is actually part of the prevenient grace that God established when He created the world. Essentially, understanding and utilizing the fivefold is THE KEY to healthy, thriving organizations across the board whether in business, church or elsewhere.

By understanding 5Q, we are able to assess the health and capacity of our organizations, churches and businesses included. Hirsch traces biblical foundations, primordial forms and archetypes and ultimately the life of Jesus as the architect and builder of 5Q. Jesus shows us that the patterns of 5Q can be used to understand and assess His ministry as well as his commandments to the church. He outlines the fivefold functionality of the church and society at large. In utilizing 5Q, we have a clear trajectory for how to impart, empower and deploy the greatest move of God the world has ever seen! Hirsch gives numerous accounts of how utilizing 5Q in our organizations will invariably lead to transformation on all levels of society.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

  1. It is not coincidental that this breakthrough has come at a time in my life when my spiritual life has never been better–I am experiencing God in a whole new dimension. I find myself spending whole days in prayer and meditation. My prayer life is rich to the point of overflow. In a real way, I believe that 5Q has played a significant role in this sense of overflow. 5Q feels both personal to me, but I also feel its universal significance.
  2. If you want transformational gospel movement–really want it–then you are going to have to unlearn some very ancient churchly habits and be willing to relearn some new–and yet paradoxically more ancient–more authentically biblical ones. You’re a leader; I speak to you as a leader responsible for your generation.
  3. In fact, I hope to show, fivefold-thinking (5Q) reaches into our deepest instincts for ministry by reconnecting the ministry of Christ with the Body of Christ.
  4. Jesus “gave” APEST to the church, distributing it among all the people as he sees fit. It is vital that you, the reader, feel the weight of the grammar that Paul uses to talk about the constitutional givenness of the APEST ministries to the church. The verb form used for “given” (Gk. edothe, the aorist indicative form of didomi) is an aorist indicative, a very resolute verb form perfectly suited for use in constitutions. This is because aorists reflect actions that took place in the past and as such they are once-and-for-all-time events. The effects of the past event are still felt in the present. They are historic in a similar way that the signing of the Declaration of Independence was historic—it will impact America’s self-understanding for all time…Jesus is actually present in the church, and by which he extends his own ministry through us.
  5. Because they operate within a system, each individual APEST function enriches, counterbalances, and “corrects” the particular bias of each of the others.
  6. The good news is that all five functions/callings are like seeds latent in the system. They are already there by virtue of the defining Word of God. This is a liberating idea—all the potential for a tree is actually already in the seed; we don’t need to mess much with that. What we need to do is simply focus on the environment that will allow the seed to flourish.
  7. [M]issional movements are essentially a recovery of the apostolic impulse; prayer and justice movements are manifestations of the prophetic impulse; revivals are an aspect of evangelistic; community and charismatic renewal is a recovery of the pastoral ministry; and theological renewals are largely related to a rediscovery of some lost motif in Scripture.
  8. It is this relationship between high internal resonance and explicit social patterning that this chapter seeks to address. The idea here will be to try to connect the resonance that you should feel in regards to APEST functions and callings with the community in which you are called to express faith.
  9. Giving the answer is always easier than teaching the process…I often say to leaders that we can change our structures in four to eight months, but it takes four to eight years to change our culture.
  10. We see the five marks of the church defined by APEST as follows: missional impact (A), covenant faithfulness (P), gospel proclamation (E), reconciled community (S), deep wisdom (T).

Near the end of the book, Hirsch quotes Peter Berger who notes, “Ideas do not succeed in history by virtue of their truth but by virtue of their relationship to specific social processes,” and as such we are called not only to revel in fun ideas, but to actually begin applying them. Thus, my personal plan to 5Q implementation: do it. In all seriousness, I am indebted to Hirsch and the rest of his team for packaging a biblical, theological treatise on 5Q. For me and my team, we typically think about church in three terms: personal growth, community growth, and missional growth. These are the outworking of pondering Jesus’ Great Commandment (love God, love others) and Great Commission (make disciples in the world). If we are affect the cultural fabric of society, speak truth to power and life to dry bones, plant the seeds of the good news and win souls for Christ, gather God’s sons and daughters, and ensure God’s Truth is passed on correctly, we are in desperate need of 5Q thinking, systems and action. APEST provides an excellent framework, aspects of which we are already integrating. We speak cultural transformation (A), share the good news regularly (E), and teach truth (T), but I have seen how we can and must grow in all areas of APEST and I’m confident with teaching and tools outlined in this book, we are already on the right path.

I would encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and check out additional resources online. The diagrams offered are more than worth the price of admission. Hirsch will offer insights into the fivefold ministry that will shape your ongoing business and ministry endeavors.

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New Breakthrough OUTWARD in 2017

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At Aroma, we’ve developed a habit of beginning each new year with a time of prayer and fasting. We believe it’s a special way to usher ourselves into a new year with a focus on God’s work in our lives. This year, we had a coinciding sermon series:

prayer-and-fasting-2017

 Our second week focused on our inward relationship with the body of believers. Here are 10 of my personal notes and highlights from the content of the sermon.

  1. Throughout history, from biblical times until now, we have seen thousands of testimonies of cultural revival happening because of a chosen group of people who set themselves aside to pray and fast. 
  2. Azusa Street Revival started in 1906 as a small prayer meeting. Since then, they estimate over 600,000,000 people who have given their lives to Christ can be connected to this prayer meeting.
  3. Daniel was reading Jeremiah and realized that the prophecy was supposed to come true in the year in which he lived, but he didn’t see any revival happening. 
  4. Daniel said no to pleasant things. The Hebrew word here is “Shemuda” (credit attributed to Bill Johnson). When the Angel visits Daniel, he says, he addresses Daniel as “God’s dearly beloved.” The word here is “Shemuda. Something happens when we give up our rights to Shemuda. It’s almost as if our release of Shemuda allows us to become Shemuda to God. Daniel denied his right to desirable things here (Earth), in so doing became desirable there (heaven). Something is added to the favor realm by saying “I know I have a right, but for this season I’m going to say no. I want to push into something that’s greater.” 
  5. Yes, Jesus loves you. No, you can’t stay the same. 
  6. Daniel repented for his friends. We usually just judge our friends. We have to be the ones who can get in the middle of a situation without becoming that situation.
  7. The Angel was sent at the beginning of Daniel’s fast. It took him 21 days to get there, because of spiritual battle. It’s almost as if the Angel was saying, “Thank you for not giving up.”
  8. We underestimate the influence our prayer and fasting has on Earth and in Heaven.
  9. God gives us specific windows of time, or opporutnities, to press into Him to see extreme breakthrough in society. 
  10. Which area of society are you called to: arts and entertainment, business, education, family, government, media, religion?

New Breakthrough INWARD in 2017

Embed from Getty Images

At Aroma, we’ve developed a habit of beginning each new year with a time of prayer and fasting. We believe it’s a special way to usher ourselves into a new year with a focus on God’s work in our lives. This year, we had a coinciding sermon series:

prayer-and-fasting-2017

 Our second week focused on our inward relationship with the body of believers. Here are 10 of my personal notes and highlights from the content of the sermon.

  1. God doesn’t want us to be unaware. He wants us to be fully aware (1 Corinthians 12:1)
  2. God is close. He’s close to us through the life of Jesus in the gospels (John 1:1), and He’s close to us through Holy Spirit (John 14:16), and He’s close to us through each other (John, 20:22, Matthew 18:20). The world knows us by our love (John 13:35) for each other. 
  3. Our life in Christ can’t be fully realized unless we do it within the context of Christian fellowship. 
  4. Only in this crucible can our commitment to Christlikeness be lived out. Interestingly enough, this context, the fellowship of believers (Acts 2:42-47), is both where God’s Presence Manifests (UPWARD) and where people get saved (OUTWARD). 
  5. “Struggle drains you of the illusion of self-sufficiency.” Leadership Freak, Dan Rockwell
  6. Fast on behalf of someone for the purpose of seeing cultural, systemic change in yourself and in them. The motive is love, not your way. Consider their needs above your own (think Esther). Declare a new season of breakthrough. 
  7. Fast in order to strengthen the word of the Lord on a person’s life. (think Paul being sent on his missionary journeys after they laid hands on him (Acts 13). Receive words and pictures that you can share with people. 
  8. Fast for extreme breakthrough in the community (think “the number was added to daily” from Acts 2:42-47). Pray people in to the family of God. 
  9. Fast together by sharing what you’re going through and praying for each other (think community in Matthew 6). Use what you know to intercede for that person.
  10. Fast on behalf of someone to receive biblical insight in an area (think 2 Timothy 3:16). Use Scripture to declare life over that person. 

New Breakthrough UPWARD in 2017

Embed from Getty Images

At Aroma, we’ve developed a habit of beginning each new year with a time of prayer and fasting. We believe it’s a special way to usher ourselves into a new year with a focus on God’s work in our lives. This year, we had a coinciding sermon series:

prayer-and-fasting-2017

 Our first week focused on our upward relationship with God. Here are 10 of my personal notes and highlights from the content of the sermon.

  1. Fasting is giving up something physical to pursue God’s spiritual best.
  2. God has presents for us. We often have to be willing to let go of what we’re holding on to in order to actually receive what He wants to give us.
  3. Relationship with God is a radical and well-rounded pursuit.
  4. Our life is often a tension between two things. There’s absolute truth in God, and there’s an in-absolute journey of God getting us there. It’s the joy and pain of life.
  5. You don’t get anywhere by being half something. The world is looking for a radical picture of life abundant.
  6. The goal of fasting is disciplining yourself so that you’ll receive. Abide in me. Discipline yourself. Then, you’ll bear fruit. Man doesn’t live on bread alone. Do we really believe our spiritual is as important as our physical nourishment. All of these say, “Trust God first. Rely on God first. Then, you’ll get what you need.”
  7. Manna, or God’s supernatural provision in your life, happens in the desert (Exodus 16:1-12).
  8. God is drawing us to an intimate relationship with Him. He’s inviting us upward, to abide. He’s inviting us to receive daily manna, or supernatural provision, in our lives for him. He’s inviting us to deny, even the good things in our lives, so we can walk in His best.
  9. Your taste buds physically reset after 21 days.
  10. Jesus is the only one tempted in every way as we are and yet without sin. One of the greatest examples of temptation he went through happened in Matthew 4. As he was fasting, Jesus was tempted with personal gain (loaves from stones), fame (angels’ care), and political power (the authority over all the nations in the world) (from Redeeming Sex).

Money Ruins Your Performance

You might not believe this, but science shows, some motivators have messed us up. Watch this 10 minute video on the science of motivation and then get back to me!

Three things that science shows motivate us.

Three things that science shows motivate us.

Beyond a certain amount of money (enough to make you stop thinking about it), money doesn’t motivate you. Please, stop worrying so much about money and start worrying about purpose, mastery and autonomy. Find your passion and you’ll have high performance and personal satisfaction!

At Aroma, we want to “help people smell, become and spread the Aroma of Christ.” We are going to change the world and you can be the Aroma, too!

Live Supernaturally, Remember Testimonies

This is partially a summary of a great book by Bill Johnson, called “Release the Power of Jesus” but it’s far more than that.  We’ve been stressing the importance of testimonies at the Aroma and I think it’s important that I outline in writing why.

God says “Testimonies are the Spirit of Prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).

This means that when you hear a testimony, you need to understand that’s what God wants to do again.  He set a precedent.  He did it once, and he’ll do it again.

My greatest takeaway: Jesus has given us far more than we know, and we need to be constantly seeing, hearing and remembering what He’s done in order to have Hope, Faith and Love that it will happen again. Press in!

Johnson’s book spells out the importance of Testimonies. Here’s a quick outline of chapters

  1. Truth Empowers: Johnson recalls when he first encountered Revelation 19:10, and how the truth of remembering has effected the last 25 years of his life.  He says, “Our capacity to remember what god has said and done in our lives and throughout history–the testimony–is one of the primary things that determine our success or failure in sustaining a Kingdom lifestyle of power for miracles” (Johnson 26).
  2. Spending our Inheritance: We have unlimited resources at our disposal because of the inheritance promised to us in the context of our commission.  Psalm 119:11 says “I have inherited Your testimonies forever, for they are the joy of my heart.”  Spoken and written records of what God has done are our inheritance.  Testimonies reveal God and show us our heavenly resources.  Our original purpose was to be fruitful, multiply, fill the Earth, and subdue it (Genesis 1:28).  Jesus restored this and empowered our destiny, “from Glory to Glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
  3. Encountering His Mercy: We need Scripture and His Works to know him (John 5:31-40, 14:10), so Scripture is intended to lead us to an encounter with Him.  The breadth of the chapter explains Old Testament perspectives on the ark, covenant, going after God’s heart, and Testimony.
  4. Keeping the Testimony: Deuteronomy 6:6-9 explains that God’s word should be the substance of education, the primary topic of conversation, and the content of what’s posted around us.  We are to steward and remember the testimony.  “In unveiling the power of the testimony, God is not just giving us access to a principle of His Kingdom that works.  He is really giving us access to the knowledge of Himself.  Remember, in every story of what God has done, there is an unveiling of His nature and invitation to know Him experientially in the same way” (Johnson 83).
  5. Memories that Give Life: “Jesus led His disciples into continuous experiences with the miraculous.  Every occasion was designed to equip them for the next unexpected challenge they were to face and teach them the ways of His world…Testimonies must become the lens through which we see all reality” (Johnson 99-100).  Mark 6 shares two miracles: 1) multiplying food, and 2) calming a storm.  Mark 6:52 says that because the disciples hearts were hardened, they didn’t understand the fullness of the first miracle.  Thus, they were ill-equipped to conquer the next miracle – calming the storm – themselves.  There are at least three forms of spiritual perception in order of clarity: 1) seeing, 2) hearing, and 3) remembering.
  6. Courage to Leave a Legacy: “Christ commissioned us to go into our promised territory–all the world–and make disciples of the nations, displacing the influence of the kingdom of darkness and releasing the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven” (Johnson 111). The mandate for courage (Joshua 1:5-9) is empowered by “a growing awareness of God’s presence among us” (Johnson 113).  The breadth of this chapter is focused on stepping out in courage because of meditation on the testimony and presence of God. There is also an important section on living “un-offended,” that is building a case for what God has done rather than building a case against Him for what he hasn’t done.
  7. Living Under the Influence: We must remain continually exposed to miracles.
  8. The Power of Transformation: We are called to be kings and priests (Revelation 1:5) who “re-present the King and His Kingdom in order to put Earth into alignment with Heaven” (Johnson 158).  As we seek His wisdom like Solomon, we discover that “we are carriers of the answers to every problem in the world” (Johnson 159, Ephesians 3:8-12). Generational agreement (wherein Psalm 78 outlines four generations) is a key to unlocking a 100 year revival.  Redding, CA (where Johnson pastors a church) is seeing economic revival because of the wisdom of God and the power of testimony being released (Johnson 164).
  9. Releasing the Presence of God: “our great responsibility is to know God and make God known” (Johnson 167).  Obedience releases His presence, power and glory (Johnson 168).  we can release the presence of God, which contains the Kingdom of God through five activities: 1) laying on of hands, 2) proximity to anointing, 3) acts of faith, 4) prophetic acts, and 5) declaration. Heavenly mandates include: 1) love, 2) purity, 3) power, and 4) glory. Near the end of the book, Johnson quotes Spurgeon, “I think I may push it a little further and say what he has done once, is a prophecy of what he intends to do again…Whatever God has sone…is to be looked upon as a precedent” (Johnson 182, quoting Spurgeon).

Book Cover

In it for the long haul

I’ve only been doing this for 5 years, but sometimes it feels like 500. It’s important to stay in it for the long haul. Unfortunately, in our race to do things ever-faster, we end up burning a lot of people out. The following is a brief list of encouraging words about staying in it for the long haul assembled from various sources.

  1. Driscoll’s “Call to Endure” outlines five areas to keep track of so that you can stay in it for a long time: The Call is to Endure 1) spiritually, 2) physically, 3) maritally / parentally, 4) theologically, and 5) relationally. I highly recommend this (video and audio are available) and personally go back to it about once every 6 months.
  2. Rainer’s “10 Characteristics of Leaders Who Last” shares some great insights: 1) Begin with the end in mind, 2) have a big vision, 3) take care of yourself spiritually, 4) get sleep, exercise and good food, 5) prioritize family, 6) be kind, 7) delegate, 8) don’t be discouraged, 9) keep real friends close, 10) learn to laugh

I’ve narrowed these down to a personal “to done” list, want to share them with close friends, and commit to checking on myself every quarter. DON’T GIVE UP! God loves you too much, and your life, family, work is too important!

  • Pray and Listen: I want to talk to God, but I long even more to hear from God.
  • Prioritize and Be Spontaneous: This is for the family. Make them a priority and just simply choose to be spontaneous and free in doing something crazy to bless them!
  • Write and Read: That’s why I started the blog, but I also want to learn on a variety of topics including academic, entertaining, spiritual, business-related, practical, relational, you name it.
  • Work and Rest. Learning to rest is something I want to grow in.
  • Exercise and Sleep. I need to keep these in balance.
  • Eat and Fast. I want to keep a rhythm and balance of the two.
  • Connect and Disconnect. The latter may be more difficult.

I want to be around to honor this:

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children

Proverbs 13:22