“I have declared the former things from the beginning; they went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to hear it. Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass. Isaiah 48:3
Perhaps every human has some desire or capacity to see something come to pass that doesn’t exist now. It could be a better toaster, a safer car, a better curriculum, a better relationship, a new medicine, a better fuel or smarter cell phone. Maybe because we are created in the image of the Creator-God we can’t help but see things as they should be and try to bring them to pass through our God-given creativity and ingenuity.
This is even truer for Christians who have been reunited with the Creator through Jesus Christ. As the years pass we will see different needs around us that need filling. Over time we may recognize we have a unique way in presenting Christ and His kingdom to meet those needs. I mention in Roadkill Seminary we discover we all have “the message” (the Gospel) to tell the world, but we also have “a message” (our testimony) to tell the world as well. I think we all have a heavenly “FEDEX” package we are called to deliver, incrementally, throughout our time here on earth. We each possess a particular aspect of the “Word” that is becoming flesh in us, and we are the delivery system.
Our gifting motivation may be that of a giver, a server, a teacher, a facilitator, or a mercy person. Our dominate role may be that of a pastor, an evangelist, a homemaker, an attorney or a plumber, but something deeper is being exchanged. Some heavenly substance or DNA is mysteriously being transferred from God’s realm through the “modem” of our being into this realm. This is what makes “Thy kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven” an emerging reality.
The Way We Think God is Using Us and the Way He is Actually Using Us
Through the benefit of hindsight I am recognizing how the Lord is using me more than I used to. Before, all I saw was the way I thought was the responsible or immediate thing to do. My traditional ministry perspective was limited. My interpretation of what I was supposed to do for God was shortsighted. Now I am more accurately seeing what kind of vessel or instrument I am in His tool belt. I am beginning to see what He has been trying to work “in” and “through” me in spite of my stubborn resistance. As the time has gone by I can see what He was truly empowering me to do; what He was really blessing, as opposed to what I was straining and striving to do. I better understand when He is taking me out of His toolbox to use me in some way and when He wants me to stay quietly in place. God’s patience is immeasurable. Once again His greatness is made more evident to me as I realize He has to work with billions of us, generation after generation.
One Aspect of Prophetic Ministry is Seeing Part of the Future
I say all that because my FedEx package from heaven’s zip code has a prophetic disposition to it. I have observed a key to understanding some of my disappointments, frustrations and even depression. It is tied to the way I am wired. The Lord showed me 35 years ago, albeit through a glass darkly and a slow mind, what has been gradually transpiring over those years. I have had a burning message that I cannot shake, hide or suppress no matter what I have tried. Similar to the calling of John the Baptists, I have an unquenchable desire to see God’s people overcome every mountain of excuse and opposition and every valley of discouragement and disqualification to make straight the way of the Lord in our generation where we live. What is the way of the Lord? All the books and over 50 articles on onelordonebody.com can explain it in more detail, but in a nutshell it is the Lord’s Prayer in John 17. Seeing believers mature beyond institutional and denominational loyalty and move toward oneness (not sameness) in our hearts and communities is what I saw so many years ago. Although we are not fully there yet, I could go on and on for hours about how things have changed over the years. The conversation and connectivity around the Kingdom of God has never been so widespread and fruitful. It is happening as you read this. It may not be as big or visible as we would like but God’s best works are often done in a way where believing is seeing.
How about you? Do you see something from the future that God wants to do or is doing? But like you I’m sure the thing you are contending for has at times created certain barriers or burdens in your life. Here are few difficulties of being from the future that you may wrestle with.
#1 – You See Dead People
One of the burdens of being from the future is that most of the people you and I are sent to speak to seem dead to what we are talking about. They don’t know where we are coming from and why we are coming from there in the first place. This is especially true of the time we are living in. There is much slowness of heart and dullness of spirit in our nation today. Many once fired-up believers have wander from the way of life and have settled for “dead” knowledge. Proverbs 21:16 says it like this; A man who wanders from the way of understanding will rest in the congregation of the dead. Yes, there are a lot of dead congregations out there.
When Isaiah saw the Lord on the throne and received his great call into ministry he was also sent to a “zombie” nation… Israel. God told him; “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ “Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.” Isaiah 6:9, 10. Sometimes we are called to speak things to people who will not receive us nor our message. Our ministry may be more about our testimony being read back to certain people in heaven’s courtroom on judgement day. The good news is, what you are I are facing today is nothing new to God or humankind. Our task is to faithfully convey what we see from the future leaving the results to God.
#2 – You Can Feel Alone
Another burden of being from the future is the sense of being alone on our mission from God. It’s not actually true, but like Elijah in 1 Kings 19:10, we can feel like we are the only ones standing in the gap between the way things are and the way they should be. In one sense being alone is what is called for in certain circumstances. After all, if you are a plumber on a house call, I don’t think you would be sad by the fact there aren’t more plumbers at the house. That would be bad for business. I guess what I am trying to convey is that some of what we are called to do requires are aloneness because of the unique way in which God has made us for a particular situation and time. It takes a while for us to realize this, but sometimes we may have something from heaven that not everyone else in the room has. We may feel alone in our specific situation, but just like Elijah we need to remember there are 7000 who haven’t bowed their knee to Baal throughout our community. We should always remember that we are not ‘the” part of what God is doing, we are “a” part of what He is doing.
#3 – It’s Difficult Challenging the Status Quo
One of the more frustrating burdens of being from the future is communicating what we see is really coming to the world or the Body of Christ. (An example of this can be found in what I saw In The Year 2023). For example, one of the things from the future I have seen is the reality of Jerusalem Churches and Antioch Churches where the Body of Christ in our America cities are more recognized by its geography than the individual signs over our buildings. Where the Church, in one accord, works together with apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral and teaching ministries in a given geographic region. (For more insight into this see God’s Ministry Assembly Line or the Top Ten Reasons We Should be Working Together). I see Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done here on earth as a prevailing reality, not just some cute Sunday school memory verse.
In the past, when I spoke about becoming the people Jesus prayed we would be I would get looks from believers and especially leaders, as if I was speaking an ancient dialect they have never heard of. They often looked like they were saying; “Why aren’t you helping me build my church/kingdom instead of this nebulous talk about Christ’s kingdom”? To help believers understand this contemporary blindness I wrote the Epistle to the Church of Sanford to help Christians in my city see what the Apostle Paul would say to us if he showed up in town today.
I think we are experiencing the same thing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. felt in Mississippi in the 1960s, when he said that change was coming to America. He was telling people one day blacks will be accepted in every walk of life and one day there could even be a black president of the United States. The prevailing culture of the day made him sound like someone who was out of touch with reality. But thank God Dr. King was from the future and in touch with a greater reality.
If you and I are following the Lord’s call on our life we inevitably will be bringing things from heaven, things from the future that this world hasn’t seen or experienced yet. That is why serving God always has a sense of newness about it; because it’s a flowing river of new life from Him that hasn’t been here yet. This is why His mercies are new every morning.
For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Isaiah 46:9, 10