Ps Lorne Tebbutt
Sr. Minister C3 Calgary & Regional Overseer for Canada
I feel when I write what’s below, it should really be titled “Kingdom Connections; So Far.”, because we all function within the light we are given and therefore progressive revelation demands we continue to ask, seek, knock. Below are some thoughts “Kingdom Connections; So Far.”
I loved how Pastor Phil helped remind us in the C3 Global Christmas Video that success in the Christian life is best defined as fruitfulness and I wholeheartedly agree. I also know that there are competing bids for our hearts when it comes to success in ministry. I began a significant journey in 1993 around what I like to call “Kingdom Connections” and I have since come to believe that our fruitfulness is determined by our connectedness, which Jesus made clear in John 15 when He said, “branches can’t produce fruit if disconnected from the vine…those that remain in me will product much fruit”.
The first seventeen verses of John 15 lay out four types of fruit: No fruit, some fruit, much fruit, fruit that remains. To be fruitful in the redeemed sense we have to work at staying connected to Christ, as our vine. It is one of the designated titles Jesus would give himself in John15:1, “I am the true vine”, implying there are some false ones. Verse four encourages us to stay connected to Jesus and then His life will flow through us. The process of guarding the connections and remaining in Him is the work; fruit will be effortless if the connection stays intact. Fruit is the reward for sticking with the growth process because fruit always comes at the end of growth cycle, not at the beginning or in the middle.
It feels that ninety percent of the time our barometer for life is in context of relationships. You can ask, “How are you?” or in Australia, “How you going?” and find that the answer is often determined by the health of ones current relationships. When our relationships are in order, our life is in order and life is good.
I have found that whenever God wants to bless you, increase you, or enlarge you He connects you. You will not “be fruitful and multiply” on your own without a Kingdom Connection. Our warfare then becomes relational meaning we need to fight to remain connected and in community with those authorized by the Lord to be in our lives. It is our job to keep the connection clean, clear and strong. Our only hope of fruitfulness is connectedness.
What develops in our walk with Jesus amounts to varying forms of warfare around our relationships and the quality of our connections. It has become painfully obvious to me that what God joins together (not just in marriage), we need to discern and then nourish and maintain. You will find that our connectedness becomes our warfare against the enemy. When the enemy wants to steal from you, he separates you from the authorized relationships that God wants to use to bless you. If we are ignorant of this strategy, we will miss the purpose of God in one generation.
Here are a few things I see and have tried to implement around Kingdom Connections…so far.
There is a Kingdom order of fathers and sons. These terms can either bring a smile to your face or cause the little hairs on the back of your neck to stand up depending on your upbringing. Regardless of past successes or failures of your biological father/sons, there is a Kingdom principle that is important to acknowledge.
Father’s war for legacy and son’s cry for destiny. The unspoken question in the heart of our son’s would be something like “can I stay connected long enough to receive something generationally distributed?” Both stand to keep the heart pure and connections clean enough to honour our fathers (biologically and spiritually) that it might go well with us on the earth, which is the first commandment with promise! WOW. Ephesians 6 then reviews this first promise in verse three “This is the promise: if you honour your Father/Mother you will live a long life full of blessing”. In the area it is not going well, where did you dishonor?
Succession is always the battle fathers face. How do we transfer generationally? Ephesians 6:4 starts “Now a word to the fathers …” It’s almost painful to continue, “Don’t make kids angry.” WHAT? But the deeper word for Dad’s “If you listen to your own heart, what stirs up anger for you as a son?” I submit, the deep levels of anger that surface among my gender at any age and all levels of society, is their fatherlessness!
When you look at the life of David closely you will see the real giant he had to slay was illegitimacy. He grew up outside of the affirming words of his father. Overlooked and out in the pasture. That makes me angry just thinking about it. It is stunning to read when David was dying that he chose to remind his son about the covenant he made and to honour them. Why? Because there is no inheritance without covenant. In a culture that has become comfortable with co-habitation that is rooted in fear, covenant is foreign. We want the blessing of covenant just not the cost. That is what makes Judas’ betrayal so deep. He even chose to use one of the signs of intimacy in that betrayal, a kiss.
We live in a world addicted to comfort and convenience. Commitments are disposable, relationally. Not so in Kingdom life. We are to be led by convictions not comfort.
What if one of the only ways that the Lord gets things to us is by inheritance. I have heard it said that it’s the only way…but I haven’t lived long enough to prove that yet. I do know that in order for inheritance to flow generationally you need to be in right relationship. That’s obvious for us all, right? I am in my fathers’ last will and testament because we are related therefore I will receive an earthly inheritance because of that relationship. This is the same principle spiritually!
Legacy is not established overnight or even over lifetime. When we think generationally we must think a minimum of three generations deep in order for values, truth, revelation to be established. One generation is just not deep enough. That is why the Psalms command us to tell the story to our children (Psalm 78:1-7). The bible is recorded for generations (Psalms 102:18). The present generation was meant to receive the previous generations lessons, wisdom, and truth. The God of Abraham was meant to become the God of Isaac.
The New Testament begins with a demonstration that the foundation of revelation is the generations that proceeded by going through genealogy. Jesus would say in John 14 that He expects more from the generation that followed. This is mind-blowing! I would be totally stoked to do the works Jesus did, but He essentially said “If you get this in proper order greater things shall you do“. WOW!!
Relational Integrity is a big deal. Biblically, you could not minister unless you could prove genealogy (Ezra 2:62) and I believe this has practical application today. The forsaking of kingdom connections and the lack of honour displayed in our culture would be my best guess as to why there is such limited fruit in the body of Christ. Paul would say, “You’ve got lots of instructors…” Gosh, don’t we know it. Any one can go on line for a podcast, live stream (don’t get me preaching…) find information, instruction but WHERE ARE THE FATHERS?
The second of four questions the Lord asked in the garden can be summed up as “Whose voice have you been listening to?” I ask you that today. Whose voice is authoritative for you? Who has influence in your life? Who can correct you? Who speaks into your life?
The four functions of Fathers that I have found consistent are:
- To Connect
- To Protect
- To Correct
- To Direct.
If you’re a father these never change, only does the context in which they’re applied. If you’re a spiritual father (loose & undefined) they are the same.
The four outcomes of Fathering:
- Identity. It is the father that determines identity in physical children. I think it is the same spiritually. Identity and legitimacy gets lost when orphans remain un-adopted and un-affirmed. Identity comes from who we identify with. To be able to identify with someone who loves your heart and the destiny you carry gives security.
- Intimacy. To know deeply and be deeply known is the heart cry of every human. This is the only cure for the loneliness we see in our culture and in our churches. Loneliness is not the absence of people but the absence of intimacy.
- Influence. Fathers open does for their son’s and daughters. I get weary of the self-promotion I see in ministry circles, however this is simply the symptom of fatherlessness, since there was no father to go before and make invitations and introductions they had to fight to make their own way. I have seen one introduction open doors that would have taken decades to open alone, as an orphan. Your influence plus your intimacy will equal your authority.
- Inheritance. Legacy is only possible when relational integrity is intact. Without proper relationship there is no inheritance. We all must learn to respect and protect our inheritance otherwise it will move away from you instead of towards you. God cannot sell anything! He only releases what comes out of godly relationship. Heartbreaking to read how Esau sold his inheritance.
Relational Warfare is critical for fruitfulness in ministry. There is a hunger for purpose that is pandemic. I know that personally I find my purpose when I find my people. When my wife and I joined C3, functionally, it took a bit of time for our hearts to migrate. But, once they did, it was very shortly after finding our people that our purpose was released in dimensions we never thought possible. Our assignments are always preceded by our alignment. If you’re properly aligned under godly authority and keep your heart in place of honour then all four of the above will flow to you.
Some ongoing thoughts on Kingdom Connections … so far.