My 5 Star Review of Primal Fire

PrimalFireI’ve had the privilege of walking with Neil Cole and his cohorts (Phil Helfer, Ed Waken, Dezi Baker, and Paul Kaak) in varying degrees over the last 15 years. I’ve been an “insider” to the learning that has fleshed itself out into the work Primal Fire. Keen attention to the APEST (apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherding, teaching) gifts has been part of my experience with the CMA movement throughout. (http://CMAResources.org). This is the best articulation of a true APEST team that I’ve experienced on the planet.

Many in mission circles are talking about the need for this APEST community of leaders, but hardly anyone really has that kind of community. What Cole and friends express in Primal Fire is the real deal. It is not merely theory, but theology, theory, principles, practice, victories and pains through real life and ministry. It is a treasure to have this snapshot as captured in Primal Fire.

A word of warning: Don’t merely flip to the chapter on your favorite or perceived gift (chapters 9-13) and read about what an apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd or teacher does. I was tempted to do that, but if you do (or maybe when) make sure to take the time to engage with the first 8 chapters of the book! If you don’t, you will be missing some VERY important foundations from the whole of the New Testament. Most importantly, you’ll skip a tremendous exegesis and exposure of Ephesians chapter 4 (which Cole appropriately dubs the “Magna Carta” of the church [primarily chapters 5-8]).

In those foundational first eight chapters, you’ll be challenged in your theology and your practice. For instance, Cole draws out that church leadership isn’t merely to servant-hood, but to truly be servants. And beyond that leadership in Jesus’ church and hierarchy have no place together! Into church practices, elders and deacons are addressed thoroughly. In fact, a revolutionary biblical proposal on deacons will have you chewing through the Scriptures again.

In the portions of the book that expose and articulate the five APEST gifts that Jesus gave (chapters 9-13), I believe that the authors’ hope is that these pages in Primal Fire will affirm what Jesus has given and will draw together fully functional APEST teams. In fact, as I finished this book (the first time), I left it with a missionary team in Chad (Africa) with the hopes that they would be able to capitalize on these insights to fuel a burgeoning church-planting movement there.

Since this is Jesus’ idea and His gifts for the maturing of the Body, I whole-heartedly encourage you to chew on the content of Primal Fire for the greater multiplication of disciples, leaders, churches and movements all over our globe.

 

A Simple Way to Organize Your Life by Ed Waken

Priorities

Put the following four words in the correct order of importance;

Work, Family, Church, God


What did you come up with?

Actually, this is a trick question.  The best option is to remove God from the list, put the other three words in any order you’d like and then place God on top of the list.  It might look something like this:

PrioritiesMost of us today would describe our lives as busy.  Probably too busy is more like it.  When we consider our lives as having compartments like work, house work, hobbies, family time, devotional or quiet times with God, church activities, evangelism and on and on, there is simply no way we have time for it all.  However, if we follow the picture above, and we write God over whatever category you place on the list, pretty quickly we can begin to have more time.  How can that happen?.

The Scriptures teach us that “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17).  In this verse we find the principle of writing God over our lives, in all we do.

Here are a couple of suggestions to help you realize the time you need to live a full, faithful and fruitful life.

1. Hold your life open and accessible to God at all times.  Ask Him what His priority is for you in any given situation.  This will require you to die to your agenda and replace it with God’s agenda.  This may require you add a hobby to your life so you will engage a person of peace (Luke 10) and help them to learn to follow Jesus.  It may require that lay down a hobby or other activity that is distracting you from hearing the Lord and following His lead.  Whether God adds, subtracts or rearranges things in your life, you will need to learn to become flexible in some ways as you discipline yourself to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead in your life.

2. Stop seeing life as a bunch of categories (work, rest, play, church etc.) and begin to see your life as a continuous story where God interacts throughout.  When we move in this direction then God is prevalent in every moment.  Whether we are pumping gas, watching a sunrise, straining to lift weights, enduring another meeting at work or spending time leisure around the home, when life is viewed as a continuous action of worship, we find rest and fulfillment.  We are no longer missing out on doing something, we are enjoying God in whatever we are doing.

So stop categorizing and start writing the presence of God over everything you do.  Listen to His voice and follow His lead.  You will more time than you can imagine and more fruit than you ever dreamed possible.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know if this is helpful to you and your church.


©2012 Ed Waken

Originally posted on Ed’s Blog here
Ed tweets @EdWaken
Used with permission.


See also:
Conversations Not Conversions – Ed Waken
Who Is In Charge?: ReTooling Leadership 1
Jesus’ Example: ReTooling Leadership 2
The Leader’s Priority: ReTooling Leadership 3
Organic Evangelism Principles
The Deal on Disciple Making – Video

The Mission of Leaders with Ed Waken

Ed WakenEd Waken shares with the Valley Life Church network and others about leadership. What is the mission of leaders? Are they to feed the sheep? What are they to do?

Take a listen now or download the MP3

The Truth, Adventure & Mystery of Evangelism by Ed Waken

For too long the truth, adventure, mystery and joy that comes with giving away the life of Jesus has been stolen from the ordinary believer.  We have been taught methods of sharing Jesus that feel more cold, distant and dutiful than life giving.  We have heard that just a few gifted ones will really be successful at evangelism.  This is yet another blow designed to sideline the ordinary person from engaging in the supernatural work of sharing the life of Jesus with those thirsty to taste the goodness of God.

Truth

The Truth
The great commission is often seen as Jesus’ marching orders to make disciples, which must include ongoing sharing of Jesus’ good news with those who have not yet heard.  The great commission and Jesus’ similar instructions to the twelve in Acts 1:8 were delivered directly to His twelve Apostles.  This has caused some to believe that not every follower of Jesus is responsible to engage in giving away the life of Christ; it simply is not their gift.  This is not the truth.  An often overlooked statement in the great commission instructs the Twelve to be teaching their disciples “to obey everything I have commanded you.”  The Twelve were to teach the ordinary believer to obey everything Jesus taught them including the making of disciples or being a witness to all the world.  Everyone is responsible to be intentionally sharing the life of Jesus with the world.

The truth is that the ordinary person is a competent minister of the good news (2 Cor. 3:6).  The truth is that success in evangelism should be measured by conversations about Jesus not conversions to Jesus.  Ordinary people are only responsible to tell about and demonstrate the love of Jesus.  Only Supernatural beings are responsible for the results, “I planted, Apollos watered but God was causing the growth.” (1 Cor. 3:6-7).  Everyone is an evangelizer and success is measured by obedience to share.

Adventure

The Adventure
The church needs to rediscover what has been stolen from her.  We need to give back the cold, distant and dutiful methodologies* of evangelism for the more adventurous, risky and romantic renditions that only Jesus can create and place in our souls.  The church needs some fresh adventures in understanding how Jesus is getting the message into the souls of people.  When we think about engaging people with the truth, we should capture the understanding that Jesus is a customizer of methods, not a cookie cutter.

Jesus will take a believer, with all their experiences and fears, and have them cross the paths of not-yet-believing people who are a perfect fit for the customized approach Jesus gives the believer.  This requires trust and obedience, but it is exactly what Jesus promised.  Jesus said He will give us the right words at the right time, every time (Luke 21:13-15).  This takes our faith and evangelism to a whole new level of adventure.

Mystery

The Mystery
I can count fifteen people who shared Jesus with me in some form or fashion before Ralph shared the same truth with me and my life was transformed.  Who was more important in my choosing to follow Jesus, the fifteen or Ralph?  Was Ralph more gifted or skilled or persuasive than the others?  Did Ralph ‘close the deal‘ because he has an anointing?  I believe that all sixteen who told me about Jesus were equally vital to my process of turning to Jesus.  All salvation experiences are mysterious.  Some are dramatic, some are mundane, others cannot be marked by an event.  Salvation is always a supernatural event where the God of the universe enters the life of a human being permanently.  When the rich young ruler heard what was required by Jesus to gain eternal life, he became very sad.  Jesus’ disciples asked him if a rich man can’t be saved “…then who can be saved?”.  Jesus answered, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” (Luke 18:18-27).

Enjoy the freedom of not knowing what God is doing in another soul. Enjoy that it is a mystery.  Be assured, however, that God is doing something in the souls of those with whom you share His truth.  Trust in His perfect and powerful ability to draw people to repentance in the way they need.  Obediently follow His lead, even when it doesn’t make sense; because most mysteries don’t make sense.

The bottom line regarding evangelism is to enjoy it (weird huh?).  Jesus is an artist of the soul.  He created you specifically to engage the people He brings in your life with His truth.  Enjoy His adjusting the delivery of the message to fit the current need of the one listening to your words.

If we learn to enjoy sharing the life of Jesus with others as He leads us, we will most assuredly share that life more often and with more passion.  The Scriptures teach that the more we sow, the more we will reap.  The power behind people coming to Jesus is not in any delivery, method or medium.  The power behind people coming to Jesus is always in message (Rom. 1:16).  Give away the message often and with joy and enjoy watching God at work!

 

* God can, has and will continue to use a more formal, methodological approach to giving out the Gospel.  It is not wrong to do so, however, it has robbed the fun of spiritual reproduction from the ordinary believer.  The giving out of the Word will never return without effect on the one hearing the truth.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know if this is helpful to you and your church.


©2012 Ed Waken

Originally posted on Ed’s Blog here
Ed tweets @EdWaken
Used with permission.


See also:
Conversations Not Conversions – Ed Waken
Who Is In Charge?: ReTooling Leadership 1
Jesus’ Example: ReTooling Leadership 2
The Leader’s Priority: ReTooling Leadership 3
Organic Evangelism Principles
The Deal on Disciple Making – Video

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