GOD SEEKS WHAT HAS PASSED BY

By Apostle Richard Wright

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven -- A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing. A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace. What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor -- it is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. That which is has been already, and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-15)

What God is going to do; this “new thing” that God is doing; this present apostolic reformation that is underway, is only that which God has already done. God is seeking that which has passed by; therefore there will be a restoration of what God has already done. It will be a time of the reformation of His Kingdom government. “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, right here in our time and in our place...right now in our ministries, in our relationships, in everything that will cause us to be the examples that the whole world needs to see and experience”. (My translation)

It is my prayer that none of us get so involved in our own programs and “ministries” that we do not give priority to that which God is desiring to reform in us. You cannot call it “refreshing”, “revival”, or “restoration” any longer, it is a corporate thing with God and it is now called an “apostolic reformation”. If you merely revive something, then it just sits there in a revived state. If you restore something, it is nice to look at but may not be functional. If you reform something, you have changed it and given it new life. God now has us in “reform school”. This is what God desires for those in ministry today.

Ecclesiastes 3:15 again says, “That which is has been already, and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.” That which has passed by is the Hebrew word RADAPH and means “that which has been pursued and persecuted”. Many cannot stand the persecution that comes with the preaching of an uncompromised Word; one that demands change (reformation) and begin to water down their message until the persecution stops. This is a good example of restoration without reformation. When Ezekiel prophesied to the valley of dry bones, they came together and appeared to be restored, but there was no life in them so he was instructed to prophesy to the breath (life) and they were reformed.

We cannot merely pick up new terminology and say we believe, but we must continue to press for reformation until we see the Spirit, character, and nature of Christ formed (reformed) in the Church (the people of God).

There are more and more apostolic ministries beginning to come together. This means that there will be more processing of apostolic patterns, doctrines, revelations and reformation reality and it will be a “corporate” thing, a “kingdom” thing and a “family” thing. We must move on into this thing which has previously passed by, and we must do it together.

All ministries and “churches” who are embracing the apostolic reformation must actually begin to see themselves as patterns of apostolic reality. Emphasis on factors such as leadership, character of ministry, lifestyle Christianity, reformation mentality, global perspectives, finishing spirit and the demonstration of apostolic patterns must become a strong reality. God’s order must be reformed in His Church! This does not come just because we preach and teach this, but it comes because we believe and live it!

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

He is the head and the government is to rest on His shoulders. The shoulders are plural and are located between the head and the body. They are actually at the head of the body. The head has actually entrusted His government to His shoulders and expects the shoulders to embrace, enact, monitor and supervise His divine order of things in His Kingdom!

“Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations, And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.” (Isaiah 61:4)

The combination of words used here implies the activity of rebuilding, making new and establishing. It describes restorative activity that is intent on changing the face of the present system. It assumes that the present state of things has in fact fallen into ruin and disrepair and that the failure is deep, the product of many generations.

This is not a time for Christian “fads” or things only dealing with the surface feelings of people. This is a time when God will be reaching deep into vessels to reform us from the inside out.

God is seeking what has passed by!

UNDERSTANDING THE POWER OF GOD

By Apostle Richard Wright

2 Timothy 1:7-8 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God...”

We constantly hear christians talking about “the power of God”. When asking a minister about the last service they had ministered in, you will usually hear something like “it was awesome, God really moved, the power of God knocked people down and made others weep! People were reeling under the power, etc., etc.

WHAT IS THE POWER, WHAT IS IT FOR, AND HOW DO WE GET IT?

“Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, This man is what is called the Great Power of God. And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts.” (Acts 8:9-11) Not unlike the Samaratans, many christians believe that the power of God is given to knock people down when being prayed for, or for producing a needed miracle. Many chase all over the world seeking a miracle believing that is proof of the presence of God. Where does this thinking come from? It does not come from the Bible, so it must come from carnal, religious thinking. Jesus confronted the religious leaders of His day when they asked for a sign in Matthew 12:39. But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet”.

If we would only seek the Giver of miracles more than the miracle itself, we would be constantly living in a realm of the miraculous. Today’s church appears to put more emphasis on miracles than on Jesus.

So, what is the purpose of any man possessing the power of God?

See Acts 1:1-8, Jesus said, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

“you shall receive power and...”

• you shall walk on water.
• you shall cast mountains into the sea.
• you shall call down fire from heaven.
• you shall perform magic tricks.
• you shall dazzle people with your amazing demonstrations on the stage.

NO, even though we are told that we are to heal the sick and raise the dead, that’s not the primary purpose of the power of God being bestowed upon those who have received the outpouring of Holy Spirit. WE ARE TO POSSESS THE POWER TO WITNESS FOR CHRIST (“MARTYR”). We are to possess the power of God to live the christian life in:

Power to encounter foes and dangers;
power to bear up under trials;
power to triumph in persecutions.

Muslims, in demonstrating their faith, put us to shame. Most muslims would die for their faith, most christians would not. Muslims hold strong to their beliefs, and are united in them. Most christians don’t know what they believe, and the christian faith is so divided because we do not all follow the teaching (doctrine) of our bible. Muslims even pray in unity all around the world. You can access their websites and select any city in the world and it will give you the exact times to pray every day. Many prisoners are becoming muslims in order to gain free time as our American prisons grant muslims time off to pray at their specified times. Their religion seems to be taking over everywhere we look. Our president claims to be christian, but publicly honors the muslim faith more than his christianity. Statistics show that muslims will be the majority in Europe within 10-15 years. It is the fastest growing religion in America at this time. What spiritual good is it doing for us to continue to seek the power of God to produce an occasional miracle when we are losing the battle for this nation?

The muslim faith is extremely disciplined. Where is the christian discipline?

I have seen too many who were chasing the miracles that do not have the power of God to discipline their children in biblical principles for fear that their children would not like them.

I have seen too many who were producing “miracles” that did not possess the power of God to overcome temptations, accusations and everyday problems.

I have seen too many who claim to demonstrate miracle-working power, but do not have the power to walk in honesty concerning financial matters.

I have seen too many who claimed to possess the power of God who did not have the power to tell the truth and demonstrate the character of Christ in their lives.

I have experienced many who do not keep their word or their promises, but claim to possess the power of the Holy Spirit.

Again, look at 2 Timothy 1:8, which says, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me, His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God...”

“According to the power of God”. That is, according to the power which God gives to those who are afflicted on account of the gospel. We are not afflicted on account of the gospel because we use the power of God to produce miracles and cause us to roll on the floor and laugh and cry. We do not use the power to boldly proclaim the gospel wherever we are.

1 Peter 4:11 says, “
Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

The opposite of “steward” or “servant” is “victim”. In his book, “The Search for Power”, Harvard professor David McClelland says that there are 4 stages in the development of an individual to maturity.

Stage 1 - Power is perceived as coming from others, but is directed towards oneself.
Stage 2 - Power is perceived as residing within oneself, but is used for the needs of the self.
Stage 3 - Power is perceived as residing within oneself, but is used for the sake of others.
Stage 4 - Power is perceived as residing outside, coming through the self, but used for the sake of others.

Therefore, a sign of christian maturity in understanding the power of God would be shown in humility. It would be more like Jesus in Luke 8:56 when He raised a girl from the dead and then we read, “
Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened.” Today, we might be tempted to say, “contact the media, we’re having a healing revival”! “The power of God is in our church”!

Luke 10:17-20 says, “The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name. And He said to them, I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

The primary problem today is the seeking of miracles rather than seeking the Giver of the miracles.

All who are filled with Holy Spirit are called to display the power of God, but many do not have the boldness and have delegated this to a few “miracle workers”. In doing so, we elevate them to a place they cannot handle.

We who are believers possess the power of God to boldly take the Kingdom by force (Matthew 11:12). We possess the power of God to live the christian life as God intended when He saved us. We possess the power of God to work together in unity as we boldly follow the Word of God as it is plainly printed.

2 Timothy 2:3-5 says, “
Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.” We no longer follow the rules because we are so afraid that following rules places us either under the law or in some kind of bondage. We must follow the rules and demonstrate the true power of God by being His bond servants!

Probably the greatest example of God’s view of all this is found in His answer to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, when Paul is asking God to take a thorn out of his life. God answers him with,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

As believers, we do possess the power of God. When we finally realize that it does not belong to only an anointed few, we can put this power to use in living a true christian life. We are then able to stand and see the glory of God in the midst of trials and temptations. We then begin to see great victories where before there were repeated defeats. When we realize the kind of power that brings us together in unity of the faith and unity of the spirit, we will reap the corporate anointing in God’s house!

CHURCH! STOP THE ATTEMPT TO MODERNIZE GOD!

By Richard Wright


As I write this I must tell you that I really feel like screaming it at the top of my lungs wherever I find christians who might listen. I have known and still know great men and women of God who, when they reached an age that they no longer seemed to have their youthful zeal, have been “put out to pasture” by the Church. It seems like most of the “church” desire the more youthful ministries who can still dazzle them with their energy. Certainly not all, but many of the younger ministries who I am either hearing or reading are attempting to modernize God “in order to reach this generation”. Much of this modernization of God is leading the Church down the watered-down path toward destruction. This grieves me and when I mention it, my age is blamed and I have even been told that I need to step down and let the younger generation lead.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE WISDOM OF SITTING AT THE ELDERS’ FEET?

Does God change with each generation? Should we appeal to the desires of our youth in order to build larger churches? Does the end justify the means? What are the fruits of compromise?

Lamentations 4:12 The kings of the earth did not believe, nor did any of the inhabitants of the world, That the adversary and the enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem.

4:13
Because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests, who have shed in her midst the blood of the righteous;

4:14
They wandered, blind, in the streets; they were defiled with blood so that no one could touch their garments.

4:15
“Depart! Unclean!” they cried of themselves. “Depart, depart, do not touch!” So they fled and wandered; men among the nations said, “They shall not continue to dwell with us.”

4:16
The presence of the Lord has scattered them, He will not continue to regard them; they did not honor the priests, they did not favor the elders.

5:1 Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us; look, and see our reproach!

5:2
Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our houses to aliens.

5:3
We have become orphans without a father, our mothers are like widows.

5:4
We have to pay for our drinking water, our wood comes to us at a price.

5:5
Our pursuers are at our necks; we are worn out, there is no rest for us.

5:6
We have submitted to Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread.

5:7
Our fathers sinned, and are no more; it is we who have borne their iniquities.

5:8
Slaves rule over us; there is no one to deliver us from their hand.

5:9
We get our bread at the risk of our lives because of the sword in the wilderness.

5:10
Our skin has become as hot as an oven, because of the burning heat of famine.

5:11
They ravished the women in Zion, the virgins in the cities of Judah.

5:12
Princes were hung by their hands; elders were not respected.

5:13
Young men worked at the grinding mill, and youths stumbled under loads of wood.

5:14
Elders are gone from the gate, young men from their music.

5:15
The joy of our hearts has ceased; our dancing has been turned into mourning.

5:16
The crown has fallen from our head; woe to us, for we have sinned!

5:17
Because of this our heart is faint, because of these things our eyes are dim;

5:18
Because of Mount Zion which lies desolate, foxes prowl in it.

5:19
You, O Lord, rule forever; Your throne is from generation to generation.

Jeremiah was the weeping prophet. He wept over the condition of God’s people. Please note in verse 14 he says that the elders were no longer at the gate. The elders were no longer there because the people desired something newer, more modern, and stopped listening to them. Wisdom, justice, and happiness had departed from the city. The city gate where the elders used to gather was the place of justice and wisdom. Disputes between individuals were taken to the wise elders. But with the departure of the elders (cf. Lamentations 5:12) the wisdom and justice normally available to the Jews was gone.

Yes, these are new times, but God never changes, nor does His Word or His ways. Another scripture comes to mind to take into consideration for this apostolic letter to the Church. It also comes from the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah. 6:16 Thus says the Lord, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

The Hebrew word translated here as “ancient” is
OLAM . Some of the meanings of this word are: Old, concealed, hidden, perpetual, eternal, timeless, from eternity. Everything on the earth is patterned after things in heaven. God’s ways are heavenly, eternal, timeless. Before God created man or the earth, His ways were established, and He walked in them. These were ways of thinking, ways of speaking, ways of behaving and relating to one another. Man has drifted so far from these ways that we no longer recognize what these ways are anymore.

Nevertheless, God instructs us through the prophet Jeremiah to see and ask for the “ancient paths” again. He tells us that they are the “good way.” The Hebrew word for “good” used in this passage is the word TOV. Some of the meanings of this word are:
Pleasant, agreeable, happy, well off, prosperous, great, excellent, cheerful, merry, distinguished. We are also told that when we walk in these paths, we will find rest for our souls. This would end all the continual torment that seems to be on the inside of many. The farther away from the original ways of God man has departed, the shorter his life span has become and the more complicated he has made his own life and the Church.

I am constantly amazed at hearing the new age theology that is now mixed in with the Word of God coming from so many. I am also deeply concerned with the lack of discernment and disregard for the pure Word of God that is rapidly growing and being accepted by so many and this includes many ministries.

Join with me in returning to the ancient paths of God. It begins with acknowledging that we know nothing and
are nothing apart from the Lord. We must enter into a season of repentance and going back to the basics we are taught in God’s holy Word. We must reexamine our born-again experience with Jesus and know clearly the day of our salvation and recognize who we are in Christ and who Christ is in us. Let’s finally stop chasing the miracles and chase the Miracle Giver (as we often say). LET’S WALK IN THE ANCIENT PATHS TOGETHER! LET’S RETURN TO SITTING AT OUR ELDERS’ FEET TO GLEAN THEIR WISDOM AND REVELATION OF THE WAYS OF GOD!

Written in His covenant love,
Apostle Richard Wright

WHO ARE THE "LOST SHEEP"?

By Richard Wright

Jeremiah 50:6, "My people have become lost sheep; Their shepherds have led them astray. They have made them turn aside on the mountains; They have gone along from mountain to hill And have forgotten their resting place."

There are current surveys showing that people are leaving the structured Church by the thousands. These people are coming out of denominations and other non-charismatic churches. I have known for years this was coming and in fact have been praying that it would happen; but I didn't see the whole picture and assumed that when they left the old dead churches they would automatically seek out that which is scriptural. I assumed that because they were christians and there has been an apostolic reformation going on since the early 90's, they would flock into that which God is currently doing. I WAS WRONG! The majority of these people are going to the extreme in escaping the structured, program-oriented Church...they are flooding into what is now being called "the Emerging Church."

Some are going to the extreme of getting ordained by internet "ministries" and then meeting in small groups in homes or coffee shops. They are operating without five-fold ministry, without any accountability or elders to oversee the meetings.

Some are attaching themselves to the "seeker friendly" churches and identifying with what is now being called "the purpose driven movement". Current reports are that there are now an estimated 400,000 churches in what is being called the "purpose driven network." This "movement" (I have another term for it which cannot be mentioned here) is full of new age teaching, including the translations of the Bible they use. This new age thing is growing and many "big name" ministries are embracing it. Beware of terms like "contemplative prayer", which includes the lighting of candles and chanting mantras along with walking labyrinths in the guise of prayer walking...the list goes on and on.

Now for the shocking news...according to a CBS report, there may be as many as 20 million participants in the "emerging church". It is being called "a new reformation" by many and the deceit is growing faster than the apostolic reformation! Pastors like Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Brian McLaren, etc., are promoting and encouraging the "emerging church"...these are some of the largest churches in America. Even the American Bible Society is now promoting contemplative spirituality and "emerging church". This is a different gospel and it is sweeping the Church.

I am deeply troubled by this and I marvel at the lack of spiritual discernment within christianity. This is why the Lord has restored the five-fold ministry. The lack of true five-fold ministry is the main reason the Church has gotten so far off the scriptural path.

In Matthew 10:6, Jesus said, "...go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." This is in fact the first commission given by Jesus, before He ever gave the great commission. These people are the lost sheep, those who are wandering around without a shepherd. As in the scripture with which I began this letter, the Lord would say today that "their shepherds have led them astray". Some of these new agers have deceived even some of the best-known ministries and we are sitting idly by watching the destruction. This is a "different gospel" and must be addressed by the true apostles and prophets immediately. This is now the main arena of evangelism needed in the Church. We must reach these "lost sheep" with the truth. This should now become our "first commission" priority.

These people are being misled (as scripture has warned us would happen) because they do not know the Word of God, nor do they understand the one and only pattern for the Church set by Jesus Himself after He said... "I will build My Church." It continually amazes me to see how many "christians" there are who do not care what the Word of God has to say. There is only one pattern for the Church throughout the New Testament, yet man continues to be drawn to another gospel.

I have been shouting this warning for the past several years and have brought messages of warning like "The devil's reformation", and have been criticized for it. Even the church where I was originally ordained has submitted to this teaching and has ignored my warning by saying that I am just jealous because they have larger congregations and their books are more accepted than mine...Oh well.

The bottom line is this: I believe these people are the lost sheep that must be reached and desperately need someone to lead them to the pasture of truth.

These lost sheep are in more need than someone who does not yet know the Lord because they are now denying the power. It is my understanding that some of them are even denying that there is a hell and that there is no need for salvation. Some are also believing that the tribulation is already over and we are in the millennium. Most of them believe that all mankind is saved and that our God would not send anyone to hell anyway. We must be giving ourselves to the first commission of going to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. I will say this over and over again as I know that most who read this will merely put this letter aside and forget about it.

This is urgent and very serious. We have our work cut out for us! It will not be easy because these lost sheep do not see themselves as such and think that they are on the "cutting edge of a new move of God".

"Just look at the great numbers who are accepting this, so it must be of God" will be the response of the majority and I will again remind you that the majority is always wrong!

THE POWER OF INTEGRITY

By Apostle Richard Wright

We are now living in a world of compromise, in a society that has abandoned moral standards and Christian principles in favor of expediency or practicality. The underlying philosophy is based on accomplishing goals by whatever means are necessary. This self-centered perspective should have as its motto: “If it works for you, do it”. This is a notion that inevitably leads to compromise of conscience and convictions. Because compromise is so prevalent in our society, you could say we no longer have a national conscience; guilt and remorse are non-factors in determining behavior.

Politicians, who should be upholding the high ideals of our country, instead are leading the way in compromise. They promote lofty standards and high ideals prior to their election but compromise them once they are in office. The same holds true in business, from executives down to salespeople; in the courts, from judges to attorneys; in sports, from owners to athletes; and in all walks of life. As a result, people learn to lie, cheat, steal, and shade the truth - to do whatever is necessary to get what they want. Therefore compromise becomes a way of life.

Unfortunately, the philosophy and practice of compromise has even invaded the Church. Because tolerance is the operative ideology in our society, the Church adopts a similar perspective to reach the unsaved. Many ministries now look for ways to give the gospel to people without offending them. Yet the very nature of the gospel is offensive because it confronts sinners with their sin. Ignoring that, many ministries willingly compromise God’s Word instead of standing firm on the gospel and they give the world a watered-down version that can’t effect any change (reformation).

God draws the elect into the Kingdom through Christians who prove to be different from the world - who reveal their true allegiance by their commitment and obedience to God’s standards.

The Church is now so adept at compromising with the world that it has forgotten how to be uncompromising. That’s because we readily accept the world’s value systems and indulge ourselves in them to the point that we personalize them and they become our desires. In essence, our standards replace God’s.

Scripture calls us to the opposite of compromise. All through the Word of God, He clearly commands His people to live apart from the world.

1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light...” Whenever we are tempted to compromise, we need only remind ourselves that God never compromises His absolute truths and principles for expediency. He always lives according to His Word, and as His children, we are also to live by His Word. “I will bow down toward Thy holy temple, And give thanks to Thy name for Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth; for Thou hast magnified Thy word according to all Thy name.” (Psalm 138:2)

GOD’S WORD AS THE ULTIMATE AUTHORITY

When you view God’s Word as the ultimate authority, that opens the way for developing integrity instead of compromise. The American Heritage Dictionary defines integrity as “steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code”, “the state of being unimpaired; soundness”, or “the quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness”. It comes from the word integer, which means “whole” or “complete” . Integrity essentially means being true to one’s ethical standards, or in our case, God’s standards. Its synonyms are “honesty, sincerity, incorruptibility”. It describes someone without hypocrisy or duplicity - someone who is completely consistent with his or her stated convictions, someone who does what they say. Integrity to our word is where it all starts.

Nowhere is integrity more critical than in the leadership of the Church, because the spiritual leader must maintain integrity to set a credible example for all to follow. Christ said of the religious leaders of His day, “...therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them.” (Matthew 23:3) After pronouncing several woes on them, Jesus offered this final rebuke: "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell?” (verse 33)

But to the man of integrity, God promises blessing. When Solomon finished building the house of the Lord, the Lord appeared to him and said: “And the Lord said to him, I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. And as for you, if you will walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you {and} will keep My statutes and My ordinances, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, just as I promised to your father David, saying, You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'” (1 Kings 9:3-5)

The goal of this letter is that you will be able to answer the following questions as David did: “O Lord, who may abide in Thy tent? Who may dwell on Thy holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart.” (Psalm 15:1-2)

TOTAL TRANSFORMATION

“This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:17-19).

When you were brought into God’s kingdom, you were totally transformed. You became “a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). You did not just receive something new - you became someone new. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me”. (Galatians 2:20)

The new nature is not added to the old nature but replaces it! An exchange occurs. The transformed person is completely new. If we have a changed nature, then we will have a changed behavior. Please notice his statement in Galatians 2:20 where he says, “....The life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God...” In other words, he is saying that he is not some super spirit or the like, but he lives this life in the flesh. He’s just an ordinary human being who has learned that all he has to do is die to self and live by faith in the Son of God. This requires that the “I” must be crucified.

Look now at Romans 6:1-7, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? (2) May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? (3) Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? (4) Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (5) For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also {in the likeness of His resurrection, (6) knowing this, that our old self was crucified with {Him,} that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; (7) for he who has died is freed from sin.”

When we study Scriptures such as the ones above, we must come to the following conclusions concerning the subject of “integrity of character”:

1. If we still live in any sin, we have not died to it! (Sin is not walking in the truth you have been given according to James 4:17.) 

2. That baptism is not just a celebration of getting wet, but is a message of death to the old “self”! 

3. That we will continue to battle the issues of wrong character if we do not allow ourselves to be buried with Christ! The old nature must be totally buried; totally covered over with earth, six feet under...no hands sticking out of the grave; no toes left wiggling; no chance of any part of the old nature being “dug up”. 

4. According to verses 4 and 5, this is the only way to walk in resurrection life. We know that without resurrection life, we cannot experience ascension life! We must be totally united with Him in the likeness of His death in order to experience His life after His death. 

5. Verse 7 strongly indicates that only those who have died are freed from sin!

The bottom line of the whole message of “integrity of character” is that in order to reflect the character of Christ in our lives, we must have become one with Him in His death, resurrection and ascension. If we discover that we are not people of our word, then we obviously have not truly died to self. If we do not keep our word, then we certainly are not one with Him. If there is any dishonesty or lying in us, then how can we expect anyone to see the Christ that is “in” us?

It is time to come to grips with the fact that we must stop chasing after anointings and giftings and deal with the root of character. It is now time to seek the fruits of the Spirit as we have for so many years pursued the gifts of the Spirit! We must become so clothed with Christ that it becomes second nature to us to live our lives as He would have us do. We must identify with His words when He made statements such as “I only do what I see My Father do” and “I only speak that which I hear My Father speak”.

This current apostolic reformation is not about following a bunch of rules, but is about being IN CHRIST!

“...That you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world”. (Philippians 2:15)

DIVINE PLACEMENT

By Apostle Richard Wright

I keep seeing Scriptures that we have taught the sheep for years now also applying to the shepherds. In fact, they should have always applied to the shepherds (five-fold ministers), but it has been implied by many shepherds that it was meant for the sheep only. One of the Scripture verses that I first saw this way was Hebrews 13:17, which says “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” There is nothing to indicate to us that this was meant for the sheep only, but we sure pounded this home while many shepherds did not apply this to themselves.

Genesis 2:7-8 “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.”

Another Scripture that I am being dealt with for the Church today is the passage above. We know that we all have a purpose, and that purpose must be God’s purpose and not our own. We teach that to fulfill the purposes of God, we must be planted (placed) where God wants us. As you can see in the above Scripture, the first thing that God did after He created man was to prepare a place for him and then He placed him there. This does not only apply to which church we are in, but also to whom God places us together with. This could mean our organization, our network, and our friends. We have all made some mistakes in this area primarily because we only saw the “placements of God” as applying to the sheep. See verse eight again: When God finishes “forming” us in this restoration of five-fold ministry, then He “places” us. This “divine placement” will lead to the reformation of the Church because He not only places sheep where He desires, but also five-fold ministries. These five ministries must work together as a team for the purposes Jesus intended. We will need to know where and with whom we will work as a team. Therefore, we must know the absolute will of God and make an everlasting covenant in the place where God places us. Once we recognize this is of God, our responsibility is to obey the Lord in every aspect of His purposes for placement. Adam did not remain in the place that God had prepared for him bec ause he was disobedient to God’s instructions and obviously did not understand the purposes of the Lord.

Many times in ministry we get so involved with our own vision, goals, ministry, or schedules that we do not readily see the purposes of God for where He places us.

Psalm 68:6 (Amp) says, “God places the solitary in families and gives the desolate a home in which to dwell; He leads the prisoners out to prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.” He gives us families so that we are no longer alone. I am not speaking of the natural families that we have, but the family of God in which He has placed us. This family is a “covenant family”, and that is what makes it unique. The world enters into covenant relationships with an attitude of “if it doesn’t work to my benefit, I’ll divorce myself from the covenant and pull out”.

The Hebrew word for “placed” is “suwm” or “siym” and carries the following definitions: “To put, place, set, appoint, ordain, establish, found, determine, fix, station, set in place, plant.” It also means “To transform into, constitute, fashion, bring to pass.”

Now, let’s look into some New Testament Scriptures.

Please read I Corinthians 12:12-18 and then reread verse 18 which says, “But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.”

The Greek word for “placed” is “tithemi” and carries the following meanings: “To set, put, place, fix, establish, ordain”. In other words, His desire is to not only put His Body together His way, but to also fix (which carries a meaning of “glue”) and to establish (firmly plant and build a reputation) and to ordain (to arrange unalterably and to give authority).

I firmly believe that God does not always give us a choice in His decisions. We believe that the Church is not democratic in its government, so neither should the ministry be. When He calls and chooses and places and plants us, it is not our responsibility to say “why?”, but many times we do. There are times when the Lord should not be asked to explain His every move. We do not always need to know the reason that He does what He does. We only need to say “yes sir” and obey. God does not do anything without purpose.

We must remember this Scripture well, John 15:16,"YOU DID NOT CHOOSE ME, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should REMAIN, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you.”

Now, let’s bring this on into the five-fold. 1 Corinthians 12:28 says, “And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” When we look at what man has appointed or placed in the Church and then see what God placed there, we most often see a contradiction. In most instances, we do not have a choice. The Lord does not seek a vote of our opinions. He does not even ask us if we feel that we are compatible. According to the passage in I Corinthians 12 that we looked at, He often places us together with those who are quite different from us. He sees the differences as making up for what another lacks. He just bluntly tells us that if we were all “seers”, then we could not hear a thing nor could we transport what we saw anywhere as we would have no feet. I love the simplicity of the Bible. Man complicates it through theology and other neat religious thinking. The religious mind sees the differences as faults and challenges to their beliefs.

Now, let’s whittle this down to one individual. 2 Timothy 1:11 says “... for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher...” I have heard many, many Christians, both saints and ministries, read this Scripture and say “Paul was three of the five”. He was a pastor, an apostle and a teacher. So, was he confused as to his placement in the Church? Does this Scripture mean that we can be whatever we choose and when we choose to be? There are some ministries who call themselves “Pastor” when they are home and then when they travel, they call themselves “Prophet” or “Apostle”. Perhaps we have become schizophrenic when it comes to knowing to what we have been called, ordained, set into, placed into, etc.

There are too many Scriptures that we read in which we see that Paul states that he was called as an apostle to take this one Scripture and say that it means that he was three of the five. The word translated here as “preacher” (note that it does not say “pastor”) is the word “kerux” and does not mean “shepherd”, but means “herald”. Scripture also tells us that one qualification of an elder is “able to teach”. All elders, all five ministries, should be able to teach. This qualification alone does not make one a five-fold teacher. We must know our placement that comes from the Lord and give ourselves to that. This does not mean that we cannot exercise any other gift, but simply means, for example, that we can win souls for Christ without being a five-fold evangelist.
What would the Church be like today if all of God’s people were in the place or the relationship that God has prepared for us and stayed there until God might move us?

Now go with me to I Kings 17:1-9. For the sake of space, I will ask you to turn there and read this passage before going any further. This is my favorite passage when teaching on the provision of the Lord.

Here we have Elijah in a place of drought. He knew that because he prophesied it. God then tells him that he needs to be placed somewhere else in order to receive provision. If Elijah were a modern charismatic, he would have said something like, “Lord, my family is here. My job is here and all of my friends, so couldn’t you just send me your provision here and save me a move?” Yes, God could have done that if that was His desire and plan. But God’s plan was to place Elijah elsewhere. God promised him water and two meals a day. (Anytime God provided for His people in Scripture, He only fed them breakfast and dinner, never lunch. “Three meals a day” must have been invented by a restaurant owner.)

So Elijah obeyed God and prospered. After a while, though, his brook dried up and God had to place him elsewhere for provision. Sometimes our brook dries up when those who were to provide for us get “funny” on us, fall, or just simply enter into disobedience and God in His faithfulness will move us into another place for our provision. Jesus told His disciples in the tenth chapter of Matthew, (paraphrase mine) “If the city into which you go does not provide for you, shake the dust off your sandals and leave”. This is not a message on “leaving” anything, but a message on knowing the placement , calling, establishing, ordaining, appointment of God for our lives. When we know, then we come together and make covenant to let the Lord know that we know His placement. We make the covenant “until death do us part” (natural or spiritual) and not “until disagreements do us part”. Elijah had to be where God put him in order to receive His provision.

The people of God are so easily offended today that many ministries have stopped telling the Church the truth in order not to offend. We must remember that God has called those of us in five fold ministries to walk together as examples to others. We are called to be examples in the restoration of godly relationships and how they work, even in times of disagreement. This means that we must practice those principles of God with each other that we teach our flocks to practice. Any and all offenses must be immediately confronted and settled. We must ask the Lord to deal with us if we are one of those who are easily offended.

So, can we make decisions to “place” anything in our lives? Acts 19:21 “ Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed (placed) in the spirit to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome." Notice where Paul placed this thought; not in the flesh, but in the spirit. Our placements are not derived from the desires of our flesh, but from submitting them to Holy Spirit.

Finally, look at Deuteronomy 1:8 with me...“See, I have placed the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to them and their descendants after them.” There is much land that the Lord has placed before us in our time and we must go in together and possess it. The Church has not walked this way in a long time and we will have to work (W.O.R.K.) out the wrinkles along the way.

DEFINING FIVE-FOLD MINISTRIES

By Apostle Richard Wright

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)

For quite some time now I have been asking, “where are the true five-fold evangelists today? Where are the true pastors and teachers since we have been told that they were restored to the Church years ago?” Our contemporary understanding of the dispensations of the five-fold ministry offices has been:

• The 1950s: The office of evangelist was restored  • The 1960s: The office of pastor was restored  • The 1970s: The office of teacher was restored  • The 1980s: The office of prophet was restored  • The 1990s: The office of apostle was restored

The Church (those who believe that five-fold ministries are scriptural) appears to have a better understanding of the prophet and apostle than they do the other three. We have more definitions of apostle and prophet than all the others. This could be due to the fact that they have been around so long that we thought we had all the answers in defining the pastor, the teacher and the evangelist.

As more and more time goes by and as the apostolic ministry is becoming more clearly defined in the Church, it is becoming more evident that we need new definitions of the others. I offer the following thoughts on this matter:

Since we are told in Ephesians 2 that the foundations of God’s household are apostles and prophets, we can begin to see that there could not be a clear definition of evangelist, pastor and teacher until the apostles and prophets were fully restored. Many times we tend to say we believe something simply because we see it in scripture, but it takes more understanding of the ways of God than merely reading and implementing something in the Bible.

I have been around people who for years now have boldly stated that they believed that the five ministries of Ephesians 4:11 have been restored. After listening to them for some time, I began to look for the evidences of this, finding that it was just all talk and no practice. I now realize that was not their fault, but that it was before the time God had in mind.

1 Corinthians 12:28 says, “And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administration, various kinds of tongues.” I have always heard the explanation of this scripture as meaning “... the first shall be last, etc.” and Matthew 20:16 was quoted. If you will go back and reexamine Matthew 20:16, I believe that you will agree with me that this verse is not speaking of the full restoration of the five ministries of Ephesians 4:11.

I believe that what has happened is that there was an awareness of the evangelist in the 50s; an awareness of the pastor in the 60s; an awareness of the teacher in the 70s, etc. We cannot have a full reformation of the three that we have come to recognize so well until the two who must lay the foundation are fully restored. In other words, if the building has not had proper foundations, we must tear it down and rebuild (reformation) from the foundation up!

When the true definitions of the five-fold offices come, they will come from the governmental office of the apostle. These definitions will not come from the religion of man, nor from the mind of man, but from the very Spirit of God through revelation. These definitions will surprise many and many will reject them because of an unwillingness to change.

What will we do with the people that the evangelist brings in if there’s no one to father and mother them? What will the teachers have to build on if there have been no foundations laid first? How will the pastor keep his sheep stable and grounded if governmental authority has not yet been established?

All you have to do is look at the universal Church and see what I am speaking about. Read all the new publications that are being printed about the five-fold offices and ask yourself if God is a God of confusion. There must be fathers and mothers first before there can be the birthing of sons and daughters. We need all five ministries in the Church, but we need them functioning as Jesus ordained them to function. All five ministries must be apostolic in the governing of their anointings and in their presentation of the gospel of the Kingdom.

What a day it will be soon, when the five ministries given by Jesus to His Church will be walking together as the team they were designed to be...each functioning in their anointing and all working together to bring the saints into unity and maturity. A Church in all its glory is a Church that looks just like Jesus!

REVIVAL OR REFORMATION?

By Richard Wright

Let’s talk first about revival. What is it and what does it mean? It is a word that is extremely well known and used frequently around the world. Some believe that revival only comes as God wills, while others schedule God in for revival whenever they see the need. I personally believe that revival, in its truest definition, has come and gone for those of us who have come into a personal relationship with Jesus. Join me now in scripture study on this subject.

Psalm 85:6 “Wilt thou not revive us again; that thy people may rejoice in thee?”

Definition: “Revive” (Strong’s) 02421 hyx chayah {khaw-yaw'}: A primitive root [compare 02331, 02421]; TWOT - 644; v AV - live 153, alive 34, save 13, quicken 14, revive 12, surely 10, life 9, recover 8, misc 9; 262 1) to live, have life, remain alive, sustain life, live prosperously, live for ever, be quickened, be alive, be restored to life or health.

The word “revival” simply means “life”; “sustained life” or “everlasting life”. Therefore, if one has had a genuine “born again” experience with the Lord, he has had all the revival he will ever need. There should be no reason to keep seeking revival as long as we live in Christ. He has given us life forevermore. He has given all He has, and it is His life now in us. We live because He lives. It is no different than going to the altar every week and getting saved again. The only reason anyone would need revival would be if their original salvation experience was not real.

Hosea 6:1-2 says, "Come, let us return to the Lord. for He has torn {us,} but He will heal us; He has wounded {us,} but He will bandage us. (2) He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day that we may live before Him.”

If we are living in a “revival” mentality, then we are back at the second day before the resurrection of Christ. This is the reason we seem to need so many revivals; we have not gone beyond the cross. The work of the cross has not had its effect in our lives or we would be living the “life” that our salvation has brought us.

Revival seeking is under the old covenant where there was no personal relationship with the Lord. It would seem to be needed today because many have not been shown the way to live the life without constantly needing the “revival goose bumps”, the chills and thrills that seem to be called the proof of true revival.

We are now experiencing the fact that we should even go beyond resurrection to the ascension. We should celebrate the resurrection, but we should also go on to ascension life. He promised to raise us up in the third day, not the second.

Let’s stop here and look again at one of our favorite scriptures. Ephesians 4:10-12 says, “He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) (11) And He gave some {as} apostles, and some {as} prophets, and some {as} evangelists, and some {as} pastors and teachers, (12) for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;....”

The “five-fold” ministries that we all embrace are not the “resurrection” gift ministries, but the “ascension” gift ministries. These ministries were not given until after Jesus ascended to be with the Father. He gave them to the body in order that His pattern for the establishment and maturing of His Church would continue. If the Church is still back at the cross, coming to the altar week after week, wrestling with their salvation, then how can we ever be in a position to receive the five ascension gift ministries?

I now understand fully why the five-fold ministries of Ephesians 4 have not been embraced for many years. Even among those who are preaching the restoration of the five ministries, there are still many who seem to have a fear of calling the ministries anything other than “pastor” or “evangelist”. This communicates that we do not believe what we are preaching on this subject.

The reason that apostolic government is not in most churches is obviously that they are still dwelling at the cross and have not moved on to the ascension life complete with all of the ascension gift ministries.

Why do we need to keep seeking that which He has already given us? This would suggest that we are keeping Christ on the cross. This would also suggest that what He has done for us is not sufficient.

We don’t need revival, we need reformation!

Now, let’s go from revival to restoration before we go on to reformation .

Acts 3:19-21 says, "Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; (20) and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, (21) whom heaven must receive until {the} period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.”

Definition: “Restoration” (Strong’s) 605 apokatastasiv apokatastasis {ap-ok-at-as'-tas-is} AV - restitution 1; 1 1) restoration 1a) of a true theocracy 1b) of the perfect state before the fall

This Greek word is found only here. If it really means what the Strong’s interpretation states, then this would mean that restoration would come after revival as the process to reformation. The only true theocracy is when God’s Word is followed exactly as stated. True theocracy under the new covenant would be that which was demonstrated by Jesus and His apostles after he made the statement: “I will build My Church” .

I will state again and again that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. The New Testament outlines quite clearly the description of the Church of the new covenant. There is a pattern for only one Church, not the hundreds or thousands of different kinds of free-will interpretation.

Now, lets talk about reformation.

Hebrews 9:8-12 states, “The Holy Spirit {is} signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed, while the outer tabernacle is still standing, (9) which {is} a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, (10) since they {relate} only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation. (11) But when Christ appeared {as} a high priest of the good things to come, {He entered} through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; (12) and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”

Definition: “Reformation” Strong’s, 1357 dioryosiv diorthosis {dee-or'-tho-sis} AV - reformation 1; 1

1) in a physical sense, a making straight, restoring to its natural and normal condition something which in some way protrudes or has gotten out of line, as broken or misshapen limbs

American Heritage Dictionary, re•form (r -fôrm2) v. re•formed re•form•ing re•forms v. tr. 1. To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition. 2. a. To abolish abuse or malpractice in: reform the government. b. To put an end to (a wrong). See note at correct. 3. T o cause (a person) to give up harmful or immoral practices; persuade to adopt a better way of life. v. intr. 1. To change for the better. n. 1. A change for the better; an improvement. 2. Correc tion of evils, abuses, or errors. 3. Action to improve social or economic conditions without radical or revolutionary change. adj. 1. Relating to or favoring reform: a reform candidate for mayor

1. [v.] To save from a state of sinfulness and its consequences Redeem Absolve Convert Rehabilitate Save Rescue Evangelize

2. [v.] To make right what is wrong Correct Adjust Cure Fix Heal Rectify Redress Remedy Repair Straighten out Revise

3. [v.] To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects Rehabilitate Reorganize Straighten out Restore Reclaim Recondition Reconstruct Rejuvenate

4. [v.] To advance to a better state or quality Improve Come up to snuff Progress Shape up

5. [v.] To change or alter in structure, character, or substance Transform Metamorphose Transfigure Modify Adjust Convert Remake Reshape Differentiate Refashion Remodel Restyle

6. [v.] To effect changes in Alter

To conclude: The bottom line, or the true thrust of the true apostolic message to the Church today, is as Galatians 4:19 reads, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you--”. “Revival” never forms Christ in anyone, but reformation does!

Note that the word “revive” is only in the Old Testament. It is not found in the New Testament. Under the new covenant, we have “reformation” (or forms of the meaning of the word) in place of “revive” (revival is in neither the old or new).

If we are to ever see a Church flowing in unity and matirity that will change the world, we must accept and experience this current apostolic reformation. This reformation will effect the greatest change the Church has seen since the time of Martin Luther’s reformation. This glorious Church will then reflect the image of Christ to the world!

THE APOSTOLIC MESSAGE

By Apostle Richard Wright

As we continue into the season of the restoration of the apostolic ministry, we continue to go deeper in our understanding of not only what or who the apostles are to be to the Church, but what their message is today. Even though we will discover that there are different kinds of apostles who are called to different areas such as praise and worship, etc., we will find that they will be bringing those messages from an apostolic realm of revelation. They will be speaking of kingdom order in their areas of anointing.

As Church history has taught us, there is a pattern that we fall into every time there is a restoration to the Church of that which was once lost. Like a pendulum, we see the Church at first fighting the change, then going to an extreme in the “new thing” and then eventually coming back to a balance. The reason is that when it is first being accepted, it becomes almost a “fad” in the Church. The error comes when some like the sound of the new thing and want to jump on the bandwagon when they are not called to it.

When the prophetic message (I hesitate to call it a “move”) began in the 80’s, almost everyone seemed to then be a prophet. Most conferences were entitled as “Prophetic Conferences”. Some were true and most were not, and that is because there was not a true understanding of what “prophet” or “prophetic” meant. We are now beginning to see more of a balance in that area.

Now we are fully into the apostolic message and the pendulum is at the stage in its swing of coming into acceptance and going out to the extreme end. We can’t seem to find what has happened to all the pastors and evangelists because all of a sudden everyone is a prophet or an apostle. Please hear me! We need true pastors and evangelists to enter into the restoration of five-fold pastor and evangelist offices as much as we need the prophetic and apostolic. The teacher appears to be the most consistent and stable one today. STAY WITHIN YOUR ANOINTING! If you are called out into another of the five-fold areas, wait on the Lord. Find someone with a true mantle of that to which you are called and learn from them.

The Apostolic Message

I have been listening to many of those who are being called “apostle” to discern what they are preaching. I have also been reading those who are writing on the apostolic to see what they are saying and have been somewhat disappointed. I am by no means saying that this includes all, but does include most. I am also not saying that I have the whole truth on this subject, but will base the following on my calling, the present condition of the Church and the Word of God.

Most that I am hearing and reading are still preaching and teaching the same things we have been feeding on all along and therefore are not bringing change to the Church. There are now appearing more books with the same or close to the same title as “Not Many Fathers”, but are not dealing with the restoring of divine order, discipline, or change to the Church.

You’re probably thinking by now, “Apostle Paul preached salvation and those kinds of messages”. Yes, but to whom was he preaching? I guarantee that he was not preaching salvation messages to the Church! He was not preaching faith messages to the Church and he definitely was not preaching ear-tickling messages to attract more members to the Church. He was not speaking of Church growth programs or fund-raising programs to those who were saved. He was not teaching the Church leaders how to run a good nursery program or the developing of Sunday school material.

Galatians 1:9-11, “As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.”

He preached Jesus crucified and risen again to the lost! He preached salvation messages to the lost! Here is what he preached to the Church...(and is certainly not the whole list, but merely some of the main areas):

• Covenant unity: Demanding that the Church honor each other through edification and building up one another in love. He demanded that the churches maintain unity of faith and spirit.

• Discipline: Stating that those who were without discipline in the Church were illegitimate (fatherless). He also taught the leaders of the Church that they must practice discipline in their government and not let sin reign in their meetings. Church is for believers, and those who were playing games and causing division in the Church were to be “cut off from fellowship” if there was no repentance.

• Integrity of character: This began with leadership. Out of fifteen qualifications for leadership that he wrote in the books of Timothy and Titus, fourteen were dealing with integrity of character. A great deal of his message to the Church had to do with developing godly relationships with each other.

• Leaving the elementary doctrines: Not forsaking them, but leaving them and going on to maturity, being established in the truth that is present with you.

• Government and order: Much of his teaching to the Church had to do with Kingdom government and God’s divine order in His Church. He taught the Church to honor those who led them in spiritual things. He taught them to follow God’s order in submission to those in spiritual authority. He taught kingdom structure in the Church, etc. “Let all things be done decently and in order”.

If the Church is ever to be the instrument that God ordained it to be, it will have to grow up and submit to the divine order of following the apostles’ doctrine, not the doctrine of man!

QUALIFYING FOR MINISTRY

By Apostle Richard Wright

Over the past few months, I have felt myself under a new burden for the Church. I keep hearing the phrase "set the house in order". Also, I see some things going on in the Church today that are causing my spirit to grieve. I even see this in many calling themselves "apostolic reformation" churches.

What I see and hear is this: Most ministries are emphasizing outreach to the nations. They are sending "missionaries" and a lot of money to foreign nations, yet their own house is not in order. Most often there are even those in their own house who are in need both spiritually and naturally but those needs are neglected in order to "save the world".

I hear apostles today using the phrase "apostolic strategies", such as "apostolic strategies to take the nations", "apostolic strategies to take our cities", etc. I am grieved over this as I can see Jesus weeping over His Church. We are famous for putting the cart before the horse and the Lord is calling out to us today to stop and take a good look at our priorities. I personally believe that the true apostolic strategy for today is to first get our own house in order. This is what He is saying and saying it very loudly. Perhaps we are not listening because we think our house IS in order.

"It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the Church of God?)" (1 Timothy 3:1-5, NAS)

I realize that this passage is speaking of the qualifications for leadership and is primarily directed toward the ministers' home, but I would like for us to expand this thought and direct it toward the Church, especially in light of today's message concerning sonship. If we do not understand what the Lord is saying concerning getting our house in order, then we must reexamine scripture and open our eyes to the simplicity of the gospel.

Many are praying for revival and believing for the end-time harvest, but have not first prepared their own house to receive and care for the very thing they are praying for. As an "apostolic reformation" people, are the saints being adequately trained, equipped, unified and matured for the work of the ministry? (Eph 4:11-16)

Does the training of these saints begin with them getting their homes in order and dealing with character issues? This is the method Jesus used when training His disciples (Matthew, chapters 5-7).

"But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Timothy 5:8)

"...and especially for those of his own household; that is, who are of the same household of faith with him; see Galatians 6:10, (So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.), and so the Aramaic version renders it, "and especially those who are the children of the house of faith".

I believe that we (the church in America) are unqualified to send ministries and money to other nations because...our own house is not first set in order.

"My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you..." (Galatians 4:19) Here the apostle Paul is addressing the Church as a family...as a father speaking to his children. He is speaking to the Church as a household of faith and telling them that he will be in their face until Christ is formed in them. What makes any of us believe that he would not do the same with today's Church if he were here today? What makes us believe that just because someone has an anointing, they are qualified to minister? Jesus' disciples had to prove themselves in character before being sent. Timothy had to prove himself before being sent. "But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father." (Philippians 2:22)

There are many other passages of scripture that would indicate that our first priority in ministry must be to get our house in order. So goes the home, so goes the Church, so goes the world!

1 Timothy 4:12 says, "Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe." Until we can be a living example of true christianity, we need to stay home and get it in godly order, in our speech, our conduct, our love, faith and purity. The house must also be governed by biblical order as well as being guided by the Spirit of God.

Together, we can do all that we are called to do if we only follow HIS pattern.

NETWORKING REDEFINED IN PRESENT TRUTH - The Elijah/Elisha Principle

By Richard Wright

I now fully believe that the day of the "apostolic network" as we have known it for the past 15 years or so is over. God used it for a season and now is indicating that He desires to do a "new thing" by taking father/son relationships to a new depth. I am going to call this "The Elijah/Elisha Principle". We will look at this biblical relationship for our example knowing that as we examine it, this will only be the beginning of seeing it in a new light. Revelation will continue to come and we will grow in God's will as we receive it. Please read 1 Kings 19 thru 2 Kings 2.

After Elisha accepted his calling, he immediately left his oxen, ran after Elijah and said that he would like to stay behind just a little while in order to make a feast. He wanted to say goodbye to his friends and his parents. Notice that it was Elisha that ran after Elijah and not the other way around. It was Elisha that pursued the relationship because he knew that it was of God. Elijah did not have to continually coax Elisha to keep up the relationship. In today's context, it will be the true sons that will be the Elishas to their fathers the Elijahs.

After Elisha's statement about staying behind awhile, Elijah's answer to him was, "Go back again, for what have I done to you?" This was as much as saying to Elisha that he should settle the matter with God, not with Elijah. God is the one who chose Elisha, so whatever Elisha did about it was to be settled with God and not with his servant.

Elisha made a complete break with his past. He made a complete surrender to God and broke off all ties with the old life. He took the yoke of oxen he had been plowing with and slew them for the purposes of an offering before God and a feast for his friends. He made firewood out of the plow and the yokes. His friends and neighbors saw him burning all his bridges behind him, cutting off all connections with his former life and ownership of property.

After Elisha had provided a feast for the people and kissed his parents goodbye, he arose and went after Elijah. The older prophet became his spiritual father and Elisha took the humble place of being his servant. He served God in the serving of a man of God. We see this principle so many times in scripture, both in the Old and New Testaments. One example is in Joshua 1:1-3:

"Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' servant, saying, Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses."

"So the Lord said to Moses, Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; and have him stand before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation; and commission him in their sight. And you shall put some of your authority on him, in order that all the congregation of the sons of Israel may obey him."

A scripture that I am reminded of at this point is Luke 16:12, which says, "And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own?"

True sonship is first being a true servant. Then, and only then, will you find yourself one day in the same place as your spiritual parents. Our problem in networking has been that the sons have expected the fathers to serve them. We have had this backwards as with many other things in the Church. I'm sure that we can think of many other examples, but I would now like to get back to finish this great story of Elijah and Elisha. Let's now examine the latter part of this father/son relationship as we look at 2 Kings 2:1-2.

"And it came about when the Lord was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, Stay here please, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel. But Elisha said, As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you. So they went down to Bethel."

This was a test for Elisha (who may have thought by now that he would not need any more testings) and he passed it without even hesitating. This expression "as the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you" could be restated this way: "As sure as God lives in you and in me I will not leave you." This is an absolute and final statement. This is a choice in which there is no backing down.

"...so they went down to Bethel." "Bethel" means "house of God" or literally means "household of God". This again speaks loudly of the meaning of this relationship and we come into greater understanding of the meaning of "spiritual family" in our time.

Now, if we look at another passage, we will see even more the significance of the message to us through this great example of a father/son relationship.

2 Kings 2:4 says, "And Elijah said to him, Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho. But he said, As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you. So they came to Jericho."

Again we see Elisha passing another test and they went to Jericho. "Jericho" represents the place of spiritual warfare, entering into activity against forces of evil in the heavenlies.

2 Kings 2:6 then says, "Then Elijah said to him, Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan. And he said, As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you. So the two of them went on."

For a third time, Elisha passes the test and they go on to Jordan. Jordan speaks of death. It represents death to the self-life. Jordan stands as the place of Israel's separation from the self-life in the desert to the life of warfare for the Lord in the land. This resounds loudly in the statement made by Jesus in Mark 8:34-35, which says, "And He summoned the multitude with His disciples, and said to them, If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's shall save it."

Evidently Elisha was willing to follow Elijah anywhere at anytime the Lord directed him. Let's now look at the results of all this.

2 Kings 2:7-14 says, "Now fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood opposite them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. Now it came about when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you. And Elisha said, Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me. And he said, You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so. Then it came about as they were going along and talking, that behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. And Elisha saw it and cried out, My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen! And he saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan. And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and struck the waters and said, Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah? And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over."

Notice that when Elijah departed, Elisha did not shout "my pastor, my pastor", or "my prophet, my prophet", but cried out, "my father, my father".

What did Elisha ask for when the offer came from this great prophet of God who was his mentor? He did not ask for fame or fortune, but for a double portion of the spirit of Elijah. He was not asking for twice as much faith and spiritual force as that which was characterized in his spiritual father. He was asking that he might be considered as Elijah's eldest son, the heir to his spirit, the successor to his work. It was all relational.

Elijah said, "if you see me when I am taken...". This means, if you are still with me when I go. In the past we have experienced spiritual "sons" who wanted to be sons for a season, and then desire a peer relationship with their fathers because they now see themselves as mature fathers. I will tell you a truth, a true father should desire his sons to carry greater anointings than they, but the sons must realize that even if this happens, they will always be the "son" to their spiritual father. Dad will always be dad no matter how great the son becomes. We really miss God when we stop sitting at the feet of our elders because we think we are now more anointed and mature than them. I personally know great apostolic fathers in the faith who have been "put out to pasture" and are scratching for provision because their sons in whom they invested much of their life and resources have left them and stopped honoring them with their support.

Deuteronomy 21:17 says: "But he shall acknowledge the first-born, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the first-born."

This is what Elisha sought, and this is what he certainly obtained. What a powerful example of a father/son relationship we see through this story of the passing of a mantle.

Now is the time for all of us to check our motives and begin building everlasting covenant relationships with those whom God has placed us. All relationships that are entered into with the thought of divorce if things don't go our way will fail to bring fulfillment of the will of God into our lives and ministries. Many ministries begin to move in an anointing and believe that they have received a mantle. These are two different things. An anointing is just for a specific time or place or situation, but a mantle is that which one carries at all times, through all situations and circumstances. You must wait for a mantle to fall and then have the integrity of character that you have earned by keeping your relationship in Godly order so you may properly use it with a double anointing.

God is now "smiting the land with a curse" (Malachi 4) because the fathers and sons have not allowed the Lord to deal with their hearts to walk in close covenant relationship. Most "networks" are still more organizational rather than relational. Will you be counted among the true sons and daughters who walk closely with their spiritual fathers through the oncoming kingdom battles, or are you just doing your own thing while being accountable to no man?

UNDERSTANDING WHAT GOD IS DOING

By Apostle Richard Wright

1 Corinthians 2:12-15 says, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, but a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man.”

Let’s look at the word translated here as “appraised”. This is what the Strong’s says: 350 anakrinw anakrino {an-ak-ree'-no} AV - examine 6, judge 6, ask question 2, search 1, discern 1; 16 1) Examine or judge 1a) To investigate, examine, inquire into, scrutinize, sift, question 1a1) Specifically in a forensic sense of a judge to hold an investigation

Anyone, even those who do not know God, who has the gift of teaching can teach the Bible as well as any book written by man. The problem is that there will be no understanding of the Word, therefore it will not be accepted unless those who teach it and those who are being taught are spiritual people. The carnal mind cannot understand and does not accept that which God is now doing.

Jesus said in John 14:15-17, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.”

So many times in the Church the religious and/or carnal mind attempts to explain or even resist what the Spirit is doing. That is impossible while in the flesh.

Even Jesus stated that the world cannot receive the Spirit of truth because it does not know Him. The whole point of this subject is that unless we are first “in the Spirit”, we will make a mess of that which God is desiring the Church to accomplish. We must first insure that Christ is formed in the Church and that the people of God have a deep, spiritual walk with Him. Far too often we seem to run with the most current “thing” God is doing without first having an understanding of it.

James 3:13-16 says, “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.”

The main reason there is disorder in the Church is that we do not have an understanding of that which God is doing and saying. The Catholics are unified. The Mormons are unified. The Protestants are fractured and divided. Even the Pentecostals, who claim to be “prophetic”, are fractured in their thinking of that which God is doing and saying today. No wonder there are so many different thoughts on this “apostolic reformation”. No wonder it does not seem to be changing (reforming) the Church.

We must get rid of all carnal and religious understanding of what God is demanding today and pray for the wisdom which comes from above.
God is NOT double minded. He speaks the same doctrine to all. His governmental kingdom principles are the same no matter with whom He is speaking. We must get to the place of doctrinal integrity that will bring us into the unity that is required to effect His reformation of His Church.

First things first! We must all repent and lead our people into a deeper, more relevant, genuine relationship with the Lord. We must come out of religion and into a deep spiritual relationship with Jesus. This will become obvious when our priorities are submitted to His order. The things of the Kingdom will be at the top of our priorities and spiritual battles will be won because we will possess the wisdom of God.

The first scripture in this letter gives us the clue. The natural (carnal) man cannot understand or accept what God is doing today. The carnal, religious spirit will accept what God has done in the past but will not accept what He is currently doing. The definition of a true apostolic people is: Those people who are walking in (living) all currently restored truth!

We can accomplish this because He has ordained it so! What a day it will be when all who are baptized in Holy Spirit come into unity of spirit, unity of faith, and unity of Kingdom government.

THE COVENANT OF SALT

By Richard Wright

No matter how many times a message of covenant nature is preached or taught, it seems as though it is not heard or understood. If we do not understand that God is a covenant-making, covenant-keeping God and that we are to be a covenant-making, covenant-keeping people, then we will never accomplish our mandates.

We can ordain, set in, appoint, commission, lay hands on, or whatever we call it all day long, but if there is not a complete understanding of the meaning of covenant relationship with each other, it will never work. “Church” will keep on being the same old religious thing.

According to a news release on December 23rd from a recent study, Christians are more likely to divorce than non-Christians. Nondenominational Christians have the highest rate of divorce among all Christians. Covenant is not just about marriage, but about any relationship where two people have agreed to walk together. Why is it that we think that we can just “disappear” or write a “dear John” letter and break off what God has put together without first working out any differences or bothering to keep our word of covenant? How can the work of the Lord ever reach full accomplishment until we understand this?

In Bible times, men understood the meaning of keeping their word with each other at all costs and this was called “the covenant of salt”. Men wore a pouch of salt tied to their belt and when they made covenant, they would each exchange a pinch of salt, putting their grains of salt into the other’s pouch and vice versa. If a man would try to break his covenant, then the other would say “Yes, if you can retrieve your grains and yours only from my pouch of salt”.

Obviously, this was impossible because the grains of salt would all become “as one” when they were mixed together and you could not tell one person’s salt from another’s.

Leviticus 2:13 says, “Every grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.”

Numbers 18:19 says, "All the offerings of the holy {gifts,} which the sons of Israel offer to the Lord, I have given to you and your sons and your daughters with you, as a perpetual allotment. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord to you and your descendants with you."

2 Chronicles 13:5 says, "Do you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the rule over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt?”

Salt is used to preserve from decay, and whatever salt is applied to, it invariably penetrates. It does not lie inert on the surface. It is also an element that gives flavor or zest.

The covenant of salt was a covenant that was most understood between men - it symbolized loyalty, honesty and friendship. It represented that which was a lasting (preserved) covenant.

We are living in a day when deceit, graft and lying are all an accepted way of life... Honesty, integrity, fidelity and genuine loyalty are rare qualities. It is considered “clever” to be able to deceive and mislead others in order to gain advantages. We see this in our present-day justice system and among many of our esteemed government leaders. Unfortunately, this kind of lifestyle has spilled out onto the Church while all the time we are to be the living examples of the God kind of covenant lifestyle.

Matthew 5:13 says, "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become , how will it be made salty {again}? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

The Church has become “ ” and has been trampled under foot. (Strong’s = metaph. to treat with rudeness and insult, to spurn, treat with insulting neglect.)

Nature teaches us many things. A cell has to have a function in a larger organ. If it is a heart cell, its “vision” or genetic programming is to cause the proper functioning of the circulatory system. If it is a nerve cell, its “calling” is to transport electrical impulses and cause the nervous system to function. If any cell turns in on itself and functions solely for its own sake, ignoring its responsibility to the whole system, it is said to be a “rogue” cell and is called cancer. Is there any wonder that there is so much cancer today with so much “self centeredness”?

We need to ask ourselves some hard questions... 1. Do I live a credible life? Do I do what I say I will do? 2. Am I genuine, or do I play games? 3. Can I be counted on to “come through”? 4. Is my “yes” “yes” and my “no” “no”? 5. Does my behavior foster loyalty and friendship?

These are not spectacular things. There is nothing sensational about being solid, reliable and faithful. You do not even read about it.

Remember my favorite Scripture on keeping covenant...“For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only} when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.” (Hebrews 9:16-17)

Some of the Eastern people still practice this phrase: “There is salt between us”.

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, {as it were,} with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person. (Colossians 4:6)

COVENANT: GOD'S SUPERGLUE

By Apostle Richard Wright

It is the grace of God which knits our hearts and lives into covenantal and relational reality. The same grace that brings us together in network relationships holds us together in those relationships. We must be careful to remember that our ministries come through Holy Spirit. We are then woven together into spiritual, practical and functional relationships by His hand. His purposes must be fulfilled at any and all costs.

One of His basic purposes can be found in Luke 1:17, "And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous; so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

“To make ready a people prepared for the Lord”. The Wuest translation from the literal Greek reads “To make ready for the Lord a people which has been placed in the right spiritual state”. We know that Jesus gave the five ministry gifts to carry on the maturing, equipping, unifying and the forming of the character of Christ in the people. If the devil can break the networking that God is doing among the ministries, then he can keep the Church in a divided, immature state.

I still remember vividly all that Holy Spirit accomplished with us during the April gathering and as I have stated before, I do not want to lose what we gained. In fact, my desire is that our relationships grow into relationships that would reflect a glorious Church and be examples for others to see and follow.

Matthew 19:6b says,"...What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." The Greek word for “man” here is “anthropos” and carries the meaning “human being, whether male or female”. We see here that not only the devil can break up relationships, but they can also be broken up by man. Any “anthropos” who interferes with relationships that God has joined together will be dealt with severely by the Lord.

In John 17:11, Jesus prayed, "And I am no more in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are.” All Spiritual action comes out of relationship. As Jesus was absolutely linked with His Father, so are we linked with Him and with one another. If we know that we are called to the ministry, then we give ourselves to the ministry. If we know that we have been called into relationship with others, then we should give ourselves to developing those relationships. If we have problems, we work them out and invite the Lord into developing the solution. Marriage is a covenant of God and those who are married and have been for some time know that maintaining a great marriage requires a lot of work on both parts. Again, the solution involves getting rid of any self-centeredness by simply dying to self! God has provided a way for us to come into a lasting relationship not only with Him, but with each other. It is called “covenant”.

A covenant itself is actually a set of words that are spoken to define the nature of that relationship and set forth the principles of commitment to it. A covenant can be seen as an oath that seals the relationship between two people! Its purpose is to ensure faithfulness and commitment to the very relationships that are so precious in God’s sight.

THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND COVENANT WILL SEE THEMSELVES AS PART OF A TEAM.

The true anointing will come to the Church when we realize that it will be a corporate anointing. What a relief! We have all these God-given giftings and anointings all around us and we do not have to do everything ourselves. Pastors now have four other ministry gifts to place demands on, evangelists now have four other ministry gifts to help them get the job accomplished, etc., etc.

There is a far greater power when we work together than there is in the sum of the separate parts added up by themselves. The only way that we will ever be able to function together as a team and not get easily offended, envious or hindered is to understand and practice making covenant with each other.

I would like to quote out of the May apostolic letter: Psalm 133:1, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” The word translated as “dwell” literally means to settle down. It is a rare finding when we find brothers and sisters who will settle down long enough to make covenant to walk together in unity and receive the commanded blessing of God.

Then we find that it is not enough just to make covenants, we then are charged to keep them. Romans 1:28-31 says, “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful...”

“Untrustworthy” in the Greek means “covenant breaker”, and in this context speaks of a sinful character trait. Just think how much more God will be able to use His Church when we begin understanding and applying covenant principles!

I will close this letter by quoting myself again from previous letters. “We must work hard at guarding and keeping the relationships that the Lord has joined together. If we experience problems in our relationships, then we must apply Matthew 5 and Matthew 18 principles. God hates divorce!”

THE PURPOSE? . . . TO EXPERIENCE A TRUE CORPORATE ANOINTING AND UNITY OF THE SPIRIT!

ESTABLISHING THE MOUNTAIN

By Apostle Richard Wright

“Now it will come about that In the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it.” (Isaiah 2:2)

There are numerous verses in the Bible that prophesy about the last day Church and how it will be a glorious Church, a Church without spot or wrinkle and how many will be seeking the way to find it. This scripture above is only one that indicates that there will be a day quite different than we are experiencing today. It will be a day when all nations (or races) will stream to it.

Why?, what will be so different in the last days that will cause multitudes to stream to it? Will it be because...

(A) we have finally mastered church growth programs? (B) we have finally learned how to properly market and locate our churches?...or (C) of some “new miraculous thing” that is going on in one or two churches?

THE CORRECT ANSWER IS (D), NONE OF THE ABOVE.

John 13:35 says, "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

When the world can look upon the church (the believers) and see a quality in us that they have not found anywhere else; a quality of living what we preach and showing integrity in our relationships with each other, then and only then will we see the real harvest that we pray for. And remember, the harvest will still only be a remnant.

The Lord is now looking for those who are willing to be made examples: Examples of the very nature and character of Christ for first, the Church to see and then for the world to see.

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 says, “You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.”

We are to be living epistles, testimonies to the power of the Christ living in us. We are to literally be “ ” for the world to see as we live out that which is written on our hearts by the Spirit of the living God.

1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”

Titus 2:7-8 says, “...in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”

My heart’s desire for the Church is that we be known not for some “powerful anointing”, but for integrity of character. We should be known for being examples of people walking together in unity of spirit and unity of faith...known as people who are careful to keep their word to others and are more concerned that relationships be maintained than they are of being right or wrong. And most of all, we must be known for being people who practice what they preach, being examples of the character of Christ as we cry out to see Christ formed in His Church!

John 17:17-21 says, "Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth. ‘As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. ‘And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. ‘ I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me.”

When Jesus prayed for His disciples and for all those who are believers, He did not ask the Father to give us great, well-known ministries or anointings. He asked for us to be sanctified in the Word and that we be one as He and the Father are one. Jesus knew that if we could walk in absolute unity, then the power and anointing would be maintained. Therefore, we find that the primary ingredient needed to become that glorious end-time Church is simply to work at being one together as Jesus is with His Father.

Remember, Scripture tells us that Jesus will present to Himself a Church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:27).

WHAT DOES A GLORIOUS CHURCH LOOK LIKE? IT IS A CHURCH THAT LOOKS LIKE JESUS!

THE APOSTOLIC ATTITUDE TOWARD FALSE MINISTRIES

By Apostle Richard Wright

I want to look at the following passage of scripture in light of what I believe Holy Spirit is saying to the Church today.

Matthew 24:3-5 says, “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives,the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age? And Jesus answered and said to them, See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will mislead many.”

The two words “name” and “Christ” stood out to me and after looking at the original language, I found the following: “Name” also means “authority” and “Christ” also can mean “anointed”. Therefore, we could say many will come in My authority, saying, I am anointed, and will mislead many”.

Let's now do a study on the apostolic attitude toward false anointings.

I. 2 CORINTHIANS 11:12-15 says, “But what I am doing, I will continue to do, that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. (13) For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. (14) And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (15) Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds.”

“...that I may cut off opportunity...”

Definition: “Opportunity” = 1. A place from which a movement or attack is made, a (Strong's #874) base of operations 2. That which gives occasion and supplies matter for an undertaking, the incentive. 3. The resources we avail ourselves of in attempting or performing anything.

II. PAUL'S METHOD FOR THIS OCCASION: To cut off all financial support for the “false apostles” of whom he is speaking. Now, let's look at the Wuest literal translation of this passage:

“Moreover, that which I do I will also continue to do, in order that I nay cut off the particular occasion from those who desire an occasion, that in the matter of their boast (namely, that since they had apostolic rank they possessed the right to be financially supported) they may be found even as also we are. For such men as these are false apostles, crafty workers, changing their outward expression to one which does not come from within and is not representative of their inner character but is assumed from without, masquerading as Christ's apostles. And no marvel, for Satan himself changes his outward expression from one that comes from his inner nature and is representative of it, to one that is assumed from without and not representative of his inner being, masquerading as a messenger of light. Therefore it is no great thing if also, as is the case, his servants change their outward expression from one that comes from their inner nature and is representative of their inner character, to one that is assumed from without and not representative of their inner being, masquerading as servants of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:12-15, Wuest translation)

III. IS THIS SORT OF ACTION RELATIVE TO TODAY? Is this kind of talk and action conducive to Christian ministry? Does this public statement slander Apostle Paul's character?

IV. TITUS 1:10-11 says, “For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, (11) who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not {teach}, for the sake of sordid gain.” (See also verses 1-9.)

To whom is he writing this letter? To his true child, Titus! What is his purpose in making this statement? To silence false teachings! Who should take action and apply this apostolic doctrine? The elders!

V. GALATIANS 1:6-8 says, “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; (7) which is {really} not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. (8) But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”

Definition: “Distort” = “pervert” (KJV), (Wuest) Notice the action that is to be taken! “Let him be accursed.” Definition: “Accursed”: “A thing devoted to God without hope of being redeemed, and if an animal, to be slain; therefore a person or thing doomed to destruction” (Strong's Greek word study)

VI. FROM WHERE DO FALSE MINISTRIES COME?

A. Matthew 7:15: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

B. Acts 20:29-30: “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; (30) and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.”

C. 2 Corinthians 11:26: “{I have been} on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from {my} countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren...”

D. Galatians 2:4-6: “But {it was} because of the false brethren who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. (5) But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you. (6) But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)-- well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.”

E. 2 Peter 2:1-3: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. (2) And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; (3) and in {their} greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

From these passages, we can see that they come in sheep's clothing and that they come from among your own selves. We also see that they are false brethren and that they arose from among the people, those who are among you.

The passage in 2 Peter is especially frightening and discloses their ways when it says, “They will secretly introduce destructive heresies”...That they will use sensuality and will revile, or malign the truth. We are also warned that they will exploit with false words and that they are greedy.

VII. WILL THEY ALSO DISPLAY SIGNS AND WONDERS?

A. Matthew 24:24: “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”

B. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10: “And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; (9) {that is,} the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, (10) and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.”

VIII. WHAT ARE THEY LIKE?

A. Romans 16:17-18: “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. (18) For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.”

B. 1 Timothy 1:3-7: “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus, in order that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, (4) nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than {furthering} the administration of God which is by faith. (5) But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (6) For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, (7) wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.”

C. 2 Timothy 3:7: “...Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

D. 2 Timothy 4:3-4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but {wanting} to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; (4) and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.” (I call such things “Christian fairy tales” and the Church is full of them!)

IX. WHAT DO YOU DO?

A. Matthew 7:15 again; “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

Definition: “Beware”, Wuest, “constantly be guarding yourselves”

B. Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”

“Philosophy” here refers to the reasoning of the natural, carnal mind.

C. 1 John 4:1: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

D. 2 John 1:9-10: “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching (doctrine) of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. (10) If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into {your} house, and do not give him a greeting...” Have nothing to do with him!

E. Revelation 2:2: “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them {to be} false...”

X. WHAT HAPPENS TO THEM?

A. Revelation 19:20: “And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.”

B. Revelation 20:10: “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

XI. WHAT ARE THE RESULTS?

A. Ephesians 4:14: “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming...”

This is definitely a time to be on the alert, that we watch over the house of God with all diligence. We are to be praying and giving ourselves to developing spiritual discernment.

It's a kingdom thing!

THE IMPORTANCE OF APOSTOLIC DOCTRINE

By Apostle Richard Wright

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

Matthew 24:3-5 says, “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives,the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age? And Jesus answered and said to them, See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will mislead many.”

I don't know how much clearer a passage of Scripture could be than this. Just like we believe that it takes all five of the ascension gift ministries to equip, unify and mature the saints to do the work of the ministry, it also takes all scripture in order for it to be adequate.

What is it that causes people who are filled with the Holy Spirit and who move in the gifts of the Spirit and even declare a truth that they have been given...what is it that makes some of these people one day compromise and settle for anything less? (Does this ever happen?)

We see people doing this almost every day. This only tells me that many are still living by their feelings and not by faith in the Word of God. This also indicates that somewhere during the time of their equipping, there was a compromise that led to this inadequacy. Even though we think we believe the Word of God, we must constantly be checking ourselves and our teaching.

Now look at Acts 2: 40-44, “And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, Be saved from this perverse generation! So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common...” (Remember that the words “teaching” and “doctrine” are the same.)

I believe the real key in the above passage of scripture is found in the two words “continually devoting”. When you study these two very important words, (“all scripture”), you really see where their hearts were and why they prospered in spiritual matters.

IS THERE DIFFERENT DOCTRINE FOR DIFFERENT CHURCHES?

1 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church.” “In EVERY church”...Remember that the words “teach” and “doctrine” are the same.

This is where the apostles in the Bible and the apostles today differ...we aren't all teaching the same thing in every church! Many of today's apostles are not demanding reformation and are not dealing with the change the Lord is requiring in His Church. The character issues of ministries are not being dealt with and things in most churches are still very “religious” in nature and more oriented to that which man desires than that which God desires.

IS DOCTRINE IMPORTANT?

Should we know what we believe? Should we know why we believe it?

Compare Christianity with the cults on this issue. Most of the cults equip and train their disciples better than the true Church. Most cult members, including satanists, know what they believe and why they believe it more than most Christians. We need to be periodically passing out test papers on Sunday mornings in place of so many “hallelujahs”. It should be “checkup” time in the Church that belongs to Jesus. Once again: To adequately equip the saints, it must be with “all Scripture”, the whole Word of God. It is the doctrine of the Bible that grounds us and keeps us in the flow of the Spirit of God.

STOP HERE AND READ EPHESIANS 4:11-16

Notice the results as noted in verses 14-15: “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ...”

Notice where “every wind of doctrine” comes from...it comes from men.

I Timothy 4: 17 says, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the Word of God and prayer. In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness...”

These doctrines of demons are the deceitful spirits which are in our churches, leading the Church astray from the doctrines of God. These are the worldly fables that I call Christian fairy tales, and are found in abundance in the Church.

Now see I Timothy 6: 3-5, “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.”

The word “godliness” simply means “god-like-ness”. Did you ever wonder where all the controversy and disputes in the Church come from? Do we believe that strife, evil suspicions, and friction should be commonplace in our churches? Why are we afraid to do something about it? We need to find out where our people are in respect to their understanding of sound doctrine.

It's check up time: “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

Should not all ministries today receive this solemn charge? Do we not believe that the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine? Just look at the word “endure” and this should tell us something. There must be a time of testing to find out if we will “endure”, because sound doctrine always seems to undergo a lot of testing by the religious community.

One of the Biblical qualifications for elders we find is in Titus 1:9, which says, “...Holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.” Now is the time, in the midst of this current apostolic reformation, to return to this truth. Elders must once again receive this charge to exhort and to refute. According to Hebrews 13:17, there will come a day when all leaders will have to give an account as to what they taught, what they omitted in their teaching, and what they let slip by their attention by ignoring that which may have caused confrontations.

Jesus said of the religious leaders in His time, “...But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” Everything in the Church is all in vain unless we know, believe, teach and practice the doctrines of God which are found in His Word. EVERYTHING!

THE SOURCE OF SOUND DOCTRINE

“So Jesus answered them and said, My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.” (John 7:16-17) This is clearly the source of sound doctrine!

WHAT ARE WE TO DO ABOUT IT?

Romans 16:17-18 says, “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.”

Again, see 1 Timothy 4:1, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons...”

IS DOCTRINE IMPORTANT? Keep fighting the good fight of faith!

ALMSGIVING

By Apostle Richard Wright

I would like to address an area that seems to be greatly overlooked in this current apostolic reformation. This area is one that can bring great blessings and provision or great offenses and division in the body of Christ. This is of course an area that affects our pocketbooks. This challenges the area of true Christianity which has to do with the care and concern for our brothers and sisters in the Lord. This area is called "The giving of alms...how and why"?

1. Read Matthew 6:19-24: Mammon is like a mass merchant for the kingdom of darkness. He distributes the wealth of the dark kingdom to the servants of satan in the world. Mammon exercises control over all the demons of greed and selfishness. He also controls the demons of poverty and financial destitution whom he sends against Christians to keep us poor. He possesses mankind through the love of money.

When you decide that you will tithe and give offerings and alms no matter what, Mammon will attack you. He will send the demons of poverty your way to get you to change your mind about giving to God. The one decision you must make and never waver from, no matter what, is to believe the Bible! (excerpt from "Secrets of the Dark Kingdom" by Philip Timmons)

2. 1 Corinthians 14:40, Apostle Paul says, "let ALL things be done PROPERLY and in an ORDERLY manner." Wuest translation says "in right order". When we follow God's order, God's plan for us, then we can expect an outcome that will give glory to Him and also better understand God's provision for us and for His kingdom. When we fail to follow "the due order", we can expect to find chaos and confusion. His peace is in His governmental order of things. (Isaiah 9:7)

3. God's order for our giving is as follows: Tithes are owed to God and are "paid" and are limited to 10% of our gross increase. Offerings are given and are only limited by our generosity. The tithe opens the windows of heaven, but it requires our generous offerings to bring the blessing through the open window. A third offering is spoken of in scripture and that is what I want to talk about today. This offering is called "alms". The giving of alms moves us from the 30-fold blessing (tithing) to the 60-fold blessing (tithing and giving offerings, to the 100- fold blessing of the giving of all three.

4. Deuteronomy 15:4 says, "However, there will be no poor among you, since the Lord will surely bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess..." How are the poor cared for? Does God drop manna from heaven to provide for them, or does He use His most useful means called "Christians"?

5. Now see 1 Corinthians 16:1-3, which says, "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem..."

After seeing this scripture concerning the collection for the saints, I set up an alms fund where the body could give on a regular basis and whenever a genuine need arose, the funds were there. The previous method was to call all the saints and go around and collect groceries or money to meet the emergency need. When a genuine emergency arises, it is usually an immediate need.

6. How are alms to be given? "For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles' feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need." (Acts 4:34-35) Alms are to be laid at the apostles' feet. There is purpose for this and I will tell you a true story of how I discovered the importance of following the Word of God on all matters concerning money.

Several years ago, a minister and his family said that God told them to move to our town and become a part of our ministry. We agreed with them and helped them financially move from out of state and secure a place to live. Some time passed and they still needed financial help, so we were helping with their needs from church funds. What we later learned was that this family would go to various members of the congregation and ask for help and tell them that the church was not helping them. The overall picture was that they were collecting money behind our backs and those who were helping them had no knowledge that others were doing the same and everyone thought that the leadership was not helping.

Now we begin to see the purpose of alms being laid at the apostles' feet. When God's order is practiced in this matter, it provides protection from such examples as I have stated. The apostle now has, at his disposal, a fund to use to meet genuine emergencies in the body. No one is getting financial help without the knowledge of the apostle of the ministry. There are no more "pentecostal handshakes". If anyone in the body has a burden to help another, they simply give into the alms fund and designate it to go to the one they know is in need. It is then directed to the designated recipient through the apostle. The recipient is not told who gave it, but merely that an offering was designated for them.

Please note: I have the same policy for our Covenant Sons Network of five-fold ministries. We have established an alms fund and expect that all requests for financial aid within the network go through me. I have also found that those who are most concerned about giving into this fund are those who have been helped by it.

This is simply God's way according to His Word and everyone is protected and everyone prospers!