Green Beret Brotherhood
Friday Afternoon, December 28, 2001
Often we are asked in various cities and countries about the Quality of Life that Father desires for His People: “A HUNDRED mothers, brothers, sisters...”—INTIMATE DAILY RELATIONSHIPS, centered in Christ Jesus.
One question that arises frequently is, “So, how do you live out that intimacy and vulnerability together, year after year, in Truth? How can it be that sixteen years plus can be explored and enjoyed Together—without splits or factions, with zillions of people, young and old? How is that possible? We’ve only heard of denominational expressions and ‘house churches’ either falling apart—or using compromise, lukewarmness, disconnectedness, programs, meetings, buildings, showmanship, hierarchy, or personality as the glue to hold themselves together. How can it be that ‘joined and knit together by every supporting ligament’—‘contending as One Man for the Faith’—‘from the least to the greatest’ (no periphery) can happen? Clearly the Scriptures Teach that this can and must happen...but how?!”
There are CLEARLY Essentials in God’s Mind relating to this, but good intentions, desperate desire, and knowledge...will not accomplish much of anything by themselves. One can know all the words, and desire it all deeply for Jesus’ sake (though some want it for themselves, rather than for Him)—and still be a thousand light-years from Reality. Believe it or not, there are people even writing books about “how to have church” who are not living in it, and submitting to it, themselves. They are traveling to “speak” of these wondrous things, creating “web sites” and newsletters, often self-aggrandizing. Truth be told, follow most of any of them home, and follow them around, and most times you’ll find there is little to nothing to show for it all in their own lives. The Quality of Life in a Daily Priesthood (Acts 2:42-47; 1Cor.12; Heb. 3:12-14...) does not exist in the place where most of the “experts” live, or any of the places where they have lived. Obviously, INFORMATION is very different from IMPARTATION.
So, as the questions seem to go (and go and go): “How can we see this daily, priestly quality of life where we are?!”
First, there is the matter of Sovereign Choice. GOD decides where a Lampstand will be. (And, even in the mighty Ephesus, the Christ of God can remove a Lampstand that has been. Christians located in a place do NOT equal a “Lampstand”—a Church.) WE cannot conjure such a thing as a Lampstand—a place where Jesus circulates and enriches and enrobes and dwells in Purity and Life and Wisdom.
Even if not part of a true local Church, of course we can be as “saved” and washed in His Blood as anyone in all of history—His free gift to all who abandon themselves into loyalty and trust in Him. We can always love Him. We can still obey Him. We can LISTEN. And, in lieu of a Lampstand where we live, our job is to be Faithful with our “Bulldozer Assignment”—clearing the Ground, Preparing the Way. We are “voices crying in the wilderness” when we are in this position. We will find ourselves aggressively working to clear the stumps and the rocks, and sow the Seeds of His Glorious Life, on earth as it is in Heaven. We will make the time in the evenings and on the weekends to visit places and people—shaking, beseeching, imploring, rattling cages, shaking boats, praying valiantly, loving emphatically. And then, as we are prepared in this way, and perhaps the place where we live is prepared for Him, He Sends to “every town and village where He is about to go.” HE “determines the exact times and places where men should live.” If we are “seeking first the Kingdom”(rather than our li’l ol’ jobs, our preferences about climate, nation, housing, biological relatives and the like), we will be able to HEAR Him better and know where those “exact times and places” may be. Hearing Him is directly related to being abandoned to His Voice, in utter and radical obedience (Rom. 12:1-2; Jn. 7,8,15).
And, what does it mean to “seek first the Kingdom”? The Kingdom, as you know, consists of a King...and some dumbs. : ) The Kingdom is about people, not just the King. “Seek first the Kingdom”—not just the King. “Seek first” the Expression and Life and Benefit and Subjects of the King. If His People are listening to the Shepherd’s Voice, He’ll direct our steps into His ultimate plan for publicly humiliating and defeating the enemy. That’s WHY we’re still on this planet. “God’s Intent, NOW through the CHURCH, is to make known His many-faceted and powerful Wisdom, even to the principalities and powers” and to impart His Life as He “builds His Church that the gates of Hell cannot withstand.”
Second, the Tools for the Task of Building are invested by the Owner and Builder into the Work Site—GIFTS. Please refer to Book 10—The Plumb Line for more writings on this subject. No group of Believers will long avoid the necessity of this Issue either.
Third, how do we build into our lives together with intimacy, vulnerability, humility, self-sacrifice, truth, and passionate love for Jesus—and for those who are His? How does Father mesh our lives together—with such diverse backgrounds and “educations” and “occupations” and “religious backgrounds” as we all have had? Assuming the first two Essentials above are true, even STILL—how do our lives then come together in the deepest of ways? As we’ve been asked this question around the world, it has often been answered this way:
There was an occasion not long ago when some Green Beret “special forces” men were asked to join a mission. They were asked to assist in freeing a country from a ruthless government. A 30-year-old West Point graduate, a captain in the Green Beret, was asked how he and those who had come with him to this foreign land could possibly be trusted. How could they work together with those who were of such a different background? He answered this way: “We needed to develop the bonds of brotherhood. We did that by being shot at together, by being together when things were being blown up around us.”
Risk TOGETHER in the Trenches
I would submit that there is NO WAY, even WITH the first and second points in place, that any Body of Believers (or individuals) will ever experience what LIFE is truly about—“the Bonds of Brotherhood” in daily Life—unless they are being shot at together. If we are not DOING the Work together—risking job or reputation or promotion, or home or sleep or safety, or comfort, or the affection of pagan (once-born) biological relatives, or our “retirement income,” or even our LIVES for the sake of Jesus and His “ever-increasing Government,” then we’re dying, not Living. If we’re not risking in our workplaces together, risking in our neighborhoods together, visiting area religious folks perhaps (to extend God’s Life and Love and Truths to those who deserve a chance to consider them), risking with biological family members who are lukewarm or worse, risking our health and physical possessions TOGETHER for other Believers and unBelievers in cities and countries...unless we are risking in the trenches TOGETHER, we CANNOT have intimacy with one another, truly. Our religious stuff will only be like plastering on facial makeup to cover up the unattractiveness of reality.
We must also risk with one another—in “wrestling to present one another COMPLETE in Christ,” laboring for one another “in the pains of childbirth until Christ is fully formed” in all. This is a MANDATE from Father. “See to it, brothers, that NONE of you has a sinful unbelieving heart,” and “remove the leaven from the batch—or the whole batch will be leavened.” Perhaps this Calling (of loving our brothers and sisters into greatness) is as costly as any other Command He has given us. Paul spoke of it as such. And, as our brother Paul, we passionately look towards our “first Love”—and then we live to express that love to one another, and to others. And this we do at any cost, any price.
If we are not “being shot at together”—we will never know the exceedingly rich and living Hope and Promise and Life that He means to entrust to us: “A HUNDRED mothers, brothers, sisters, lands, possessions.” If we’re not LIVING together, risking together, then we are dying! Let’s all have some fun and get shot at together. : ) The third point is as Essential as the first two. If we would experience “life that is truly Life” and experience the full meaning of being “baptized by one Spirit into one Body” (described in detail in the interconnected Life together in 1Corinthians 12, and by Jesus as “a hundred mothers, brothers, and sisters,” and by Luke in Acts 2:42-47), it is important that we are RISKING together...DOING the work together...GETTING SHOT AT TOGETHER. And as the Master has said, “signs follow” when we’re risking for the Assignment of Participating in His Quest—to make His enemies His footstool.