ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: KINGDOM ECONOMICS XXXIX
Jun 17, '09 11:54 AM
By Regner Capener
When we began our last Coffee Break, I started to tell you about a personal experience that opened my eyes to the importance of "partnering" as a Kingdom principle, but never got back to share the events that generated the revelation in me. Instead we talked about the foundation of partnership and the fact that it all begins with a covenant we have with the Lord Jesus Christ.
This, by the way, is my third effort to get this Coffee Break out. My first two efforts crashed and burned. In fact, this Coffee Break was ready to post about three weeks ago when my computer crashed and inexplicably deleted the entire file. I've never had anything like that happen before and I'm still mystified as to what caused it. Anyway, onward and upward!
A covenant is more than a contract: it is a life-and-death agreement (with severe consequences for the breaching of it) between two or more parties who, despite the fact that they may not normally be equals, treat each other as though they were equals. It takes each other's strengths and weaknesses and combines them in such a way that the weaknesses or needs of each other are shored up by the strengths of the other. Thus, the covenant makes them partners in a true sense of the word. Whatever successes one has, whatever authority one has, whatever power one has accrues to the other individual's credit. There are some powerful examples in the Word of this, and I'll get there shortly, but let me take you into some things that Della and I experienced.
Oh, and by the way, Good Morning! Blessings on you!
Let's see......yup, coffee's on! Last one to the French Press gets the grounds. Hehehehehehe........
In previous Coffee Breaks, I've shared with you the experiences with my parents, watching them live a life of constant miracles, building churches in the arctic and establishing ministries in difficult places and under near-impossible conditions. I knew there were individuals and churches who contributed regularly to their ministry, but somehow never connected the principle of partnership with their successes.
There were times when Dad took on building projects because of the instruction of the Lord; and he would begin planning, doing the engineering and design work, laying out every aspect of a new church building and making preparation for it without a dime in the bank toward its construction. It was in the spring and summer of 1960 that Dad began to make preparation for our move from Barrow to Wainwright, Alaska to build a church there, and then onward to Point Hope, farther down the coast. He had his rulers and compass and drawing tools laid out on the kitchen table. Day after day he would draw, erase and re-draw, think and re-think various aspects of the building design.
'Scuse me for digressing, but you'll appreciate the fact that in the arctic, we didn't have the luxury of the utilities we all take for granted such as electricity, running water, sewer systems, central heating and air-conditioning, etc. That meant that if we were going to have any semblance of those amenities, some rather extraordinary engineering had to be done. Hohohohoho..... Yup! Let's see....flush toilets. Umm....Nope! How about honey buckets? You know what those are, right? We don't have to get into the specifics.
Anyway, Dad wanted to provide some of the amenities of civilization so he designed a huge water tank for our furnace room (we heated by coal in the arctic), ran a pipe and coil in the firepot of the furnace so as to get hot water and plumbed the sinks so we could have some semblance of running water. Most of the running, though, was me (or my brother) going outside to chop blocks of ice that we hauled in either from the fresh-water ice floating in the ocean or cut from one of the nearby lakes. We brought those blocks of ice and dumped them into the tank to melt at room temperature. As the ice melted, it created a reservoir of fresh water that could be pumped throughout the house and church.
Until some bright inventor came up with the idea of propane-fired toilets that consumed the waste (now you know what it means to sit on "the hot seat" Hehehehehehe.....) the honey bucket was the mode for toilets. As they filled, we dumped them into 53-gallon oil drums which froze. In the Spring the drums would be carried out onto the ocean ice to wait for breakup, and they would fall into the ocean as the ocean ice melted or broke. Anyway, you get the idea.
For the first years in the arctic, electricity was pretty much non-existent unless you used a gasoline or diesel generator, and the cost of getting fuel into the arctic was almost prohibitive. So our electricity -- Dad was determined that we would have electricity -- consisted of a wind generator that put out 32-volts DC and charged up a bank of batteries big enough to fill up the eight-foot bed of a pickup truck. If the wind didn't blow for more than a week (and sometimes it would be still for 10 days-to-two weeks) kerosene lanterns provided our light. If we needed to listen to the radio, we had to use a 110-volt inverter to power it from the 32-volt DC supply.
I'm sort of sidetracked here, but you get the picture. Dad would spend weeks preparing for the building of a new church, laying out every detail without a dime towards its construction. As soon as he was ready, he would place the order for the supplies -- again, with little or no funds on hand.
I'm missing one element here. Dad always communicated with his "partners." He would write letters to the individuals and churches who had been faithfully supporting him and Mom throughout the years, and share with them both the Word of the Lord that had come to him, and the vision God had given him for the future. He never asked for money; he just shared the vision. Dad's favorite saying was, "Whatever God orders, He pays for." If folks saw the vision and the Holy Spirit prompted them, they would give -- and sometimes very generously.
Without fail, God would put it on the hearts of certain individuals to "communicate" (as the apostle Paul put it -- see Philippians 4:15)) out of their substance with my folks. They would send gifts that ranged from $15 or $20 all the way into the thousands. When the bills came due for the materials and supplies Dad ordered, the money was always in the bank in a timely manner and every bill was promptly paid.
There were a few individuals throughout the years whose giving was both consistent and generous. I'd venture to say that while there were probably hundreds of individuals who gave sporadically, there were probably not more than a dozen who gave largely and consistently. These were folks who understood the principle of partnership. They knew Dad and Mom had been commissioned to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ into parts of the world where the Gospel simply was not being preached or compromised to such a degree that Christianity was only a word, a doctrine, a religion -- NOT a reality.
These "partners" also understood that it took finances to accomplish what my folks were doing and that without financial partnering, things would coming to a standstill. They also understood that if they "partnered" with my parents, they had an equal share of the reaping. Though our family was on the front lines of the apostolic effort to expand the Kingdom of God, they couldn't have been there without the "support team" functioning behind the lines.
Think of it like this. People form partnerships (or corporations) who share the same vision, the same objective and the same purpose in business. Each partner has a role to play. A "managing partner" may be the most visible in the partnership -- the one who is out front with the running of the business -- but he or she cannot accomplish the goals and objectives without the participation of the other partners. A corporation is nothing but a large partnership.
Della and I own stock in a corporation. When this corporation began its initial startup, in order to achieve the business objectives set forth by certain individuals with a vision, they needed startup capital. Della and I helped to provide some of that startup capital. We have become partners (stockholders) with the leaders of this corporation, and at some point to be determined in the future we will reap proportional rewards -- which are great -- because we (along with about 800 other partners (stockholders) helped to make it possible for this corporate partnership to achieve its business objectives.
The picture of this strategy for spreading the Gospel and enlarging the Kingdom of God became very clear for Della and me when we left Alaska and established a ministry base of operations at Trails' End in Post Falls, Idaho. A certain sister in the Lord saw what we were had set out to achieve and shared the same vision. There wasn't any way she could fund that objective on her own, but she began to contribute a regular monthly amount in order to partner with us. It wasn't long before another person joined her. During our years at Trails' End, had it not been for the faithfulness of these two people (whose combined giving made all the difference in the world, we would have been hard pressed to accomplish the things that took place. One of those two people has since changed addresses and gone on to be with the Lord, but the other continues to this day to partner with us in ministry. In the years since, we've had others who've participated to a lesser degree.
Are you beginning to get the idea? Folks don't partner together in things they don't agree with, or pursue together because they have common understanding and goals for the partnership. Just as folks partner together with us because they see the vision of our ministry and share the same goals of the Gospel, we likewise partner together with others in ministry. That partnership makes both those who partner with us, and we who partner with others recipients of the blessings, the rewards and the gifts and anointings of the Holy Spirit that are part of the overall benefits package for partnership.
Let me describe it like this. For more than 40 years Kenneth and Gloria Copeland have labored tirelessly in the Gospel. I doubt that it is possible to count the number of people (it's in the tens of millions) who've come to know Jesus Christ personally as a direct result of their ministry. Roughly five or six years ago, Della and I began partnering with their ministry. By that I mean that we have contributed financially and in other ways to KCM on a regular basis. Our financial contribution helps them to continue in their ministry -- just as the contributions of hundreds of thousands of others. We're like a corporation. We jointly share in the cost of the ministry, and we jointly share in God's rewards. We likewise share in the anointing that comes with this ministry.
Kenneth and Gloria could not possibly achieve what they do except with the partnering of the many thousands who enable them to fulfill God's calling upon their lives. KCM employs some 500-plus people (to the best of my recollection) who provide the support mechanism for their worldwide outreach. Many of those people are full-time pastors, evangelists, teachers or even folks with apostolic or prophetic anointings. Now KCM is no longer just Kenneth and Gloria; it is the huge support ministry that goes on behind the scenes enabling far more ministry than Kenneth and Gloria could possibly accomplish by themselves. And our partnership -- along with that of the thousands of other partners enables all of this. Although God hasn't sent us to do what Kenneth and Gloria do, we share their vision, and we get to be a part of what they do by partnering together.
I can't tell you how many times -- ad nauseam -- folks complain about "all that money" that goes into ministries like KCM, Creflo Dollar Ministries, Bill Winston Ministries, Jesse Duplantis Ministries, Joyce Meyer Ministries, and the host of other like ministries that spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Somehow people who complain about "all that money" fail to look at the whole picture. They don't understand that this is a Biblical principle that the apostle Paul both taught and practiced. Take it one step farther. Jesus was being partnered with during his 3 1/2 years of public ministry.
Have a look at Luke 8:1-3: "And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance."
This is extraordinary when you realize that Jesus could have funded His own ministry on his own out of the wealth and riches He possessed. You'll recall the gifts of the magi that were brought to Jesus shortly after His birth. Gold was one of the gifts, and it was given to Him in abundance. We once calculated the value of the gold given Him in today's money (based on historical records and the traditions of the day) and using conservative estimates calculated it to be not less than $120 Million. Yet Paul tells us that Jesus took poverty upon Himself.
II Corinthians 8:9 tells us, "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became (or took on Himself) poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."
"Though He was rich" Jesus walked away from His earthly wealth for our sakes so that we could be rich. Although Jesus could have drawn from His own finances to minister for the three and a half years of public ministry, He had to demonstrate for those who followed after Him the picture of partnership. And that's exactly what He did. Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, "and many others" partnered with Him joyfully. It was their pleasure to minister to Jesus of their substance, their wealth, their possessions, and Jesus never lacked at any time for anything. Whatever Jesus walked away from in terms of his own wealth, He certainly never did without during His years of ministry -- and that's the pattern He established.
Partnership, you see, takes it out of the realm of being a "one man show" and creates a teamwork effort where there the Law of Agreement is at work, where love is being manifested, where the power of the Holy Spirit is being demonstrated, and where people can see Heaven on display. This is absolutely fundamental to the economy of God's Kingdom. Everything He does, He does in partnership with us. Everything we do, therefore, should show that fact.
Dad used to say to me (and I've heard Jesse Duplantis say the same thing), "I don't need to share our needs; I only need to share the vision." When folks get hold of the vision and they see what the Holy Spirit is out to accomplish, that vision just explodes in them and they want to be a part. They begin to give out of their substance, and the Lord multiplies their giving back to them. It's the Law of Seedtime and Harvest at work.
I'd intended to take you into an illustration of partnership in the apostle Paul's ministry, but think I'll hold it for our next discussion. This Coffee Break has waited a long time for publication and with any success I'll be able to get it out this weekend with a follow-up in a few days. Our next discussion on partnership will wrap up -- at least for now -- this series on Kingdom Economics. The Lord has literally been pouring revelation into me concerning the Table of the Lord (communion) and its importance and relevance for us today as believers in Jesus Christ.
For more than 9 months, we have been sharing around the Table of the Lord every Sunday at River Worship Center, and just when we think we've about covered it the Holy Spirit downloads more revelation. I'd like to begin sharing some of that with you.
See you again in a few days.
He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. (Sir Isaac Newton)
The Blessing of the Lord: it makes rich and He adds no painful toil and sorrow! (Proverbs 10:22)
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