Walking Through Doors into New Paradigms
In the fall of 1996, the Father asked me the following question: “If I put a lot of money in your hands, would you give it all back to me?"
The question shocked me, and I responded with something like, “I think I would, Lord, but what do You mean? Are You saying You’d like to put the money in my hands, identify various ministries that You want me to send it to and then have me distribute all the funds?” It seemed like the only logical question at the time.
“No,” He responded, “I want you to take that money and use it to build and acquire companies which will have the following distinct characteristics:
1. I, God, will own 100% of the profit earning shares in those companies, and 2. The primary target employee group in those companies will be homeless youth.”
I had no existing paradigms which could have fed me this thought. Up to that point, I had never met anyone or read of anyone who had received a vision like this. It touched the entrepreneur in me. It seemed too good to pass up - building and acquiring companies, all the money needed to do so being made available from the Father’s bank account and a vision for those companies which seemed absolutely unique.
You can guess my response. With all heart I said, “I’d love to,” convinced that He had just put in my hand the fire that would open the door to my destiny. I was ready to go through that door the next day. But while I had received the fire from Him alright, I should have known that when you are given a fire and when a new door is involved, the fire isn’t used to open the door. It is only a step in the process. The fire is used to light a fuse which ignites the dynamite to blow out an opening for a new door.
In this case, once the fire had reached the other end of the fuse, I heard a loud explosion and everything blew up around me. Nothing escaped, our business and finances, marriage, family, friends and our physical health. Nothing was left in tact, or so it seemed.
WALKING THROUGH THE FIRE
I know that many of you reading this have received a similar vision in recent years regarding the marketplace. Others will receive a similar vision in coming days. I’m writing this not to scare you from pursuing your destiny in God, but to encourage you through the process involved. Some of you are currently experiencing the “explosion.” You may be wondering if your world, as you knew it, has come to an end. The simple answer is, “Yes, it has.”
When your life explodes, it can be a little scary.
There are times when you think that the pieces of your life have been blown away. Be encouraged. The one who oversees these “explosions” is the one who holds the universe in the palm of His hand, and none of those pieces has ever left the universe. He holds them all in His hand and as the Master Recycler, He will collect and reuse every piece, even the smallest one, to build and adorn the new structure He is building in your life.
One other helpful thing about God’s proposals, especially the big ones which define your life’s destiny: He will give you only the executive summary. You get to hear the highlights only. I got the executive summary of His proposal to me that day in 1996. But if my wife and I had heard the whole proposal in advance, the details would have been enough to scare us away from the pursuit of our destiny. Since His ways are so far beyond our understanding, I turned to the Bible.
God presented Moses, one of my favorite patriarchs in the Old Testament, the executive summary of His plan to liberate Israel from Egypt by speaking to him from a bush burning in the desert. (Exodus 2:16-19)
“Go to Pharaoh and tell him to let My people go. There will be some resistance there, but only until I display My wonders.”
It sounded like an easy assignment especially since God was apparently doing the work. But God’s summary ended with the news that He would also arrange for them to be loaded down with money from the Egyptian banks.
The whole assignment seemed like an entrepreneur’s dream! At first Moses took a little time to “buy in,” but eventually he jumped in with both feet. That lit the fuse. The resulting explosion created shock waves that rocked two nations, but it created an opening big enough to literally open a door through the Red Sea.
FINDING YOUR IDENTITY
In “final details” of negotiating the agreement, God asked, “Moses, what’s that in your hand?” Moses responded, “It’s my staff.” That staff represented who he was, a shepherd.
Then God responded, “Throw it down, Moses.”
Moses obeyed and threw his staff on the ground. Immediately it became a serpent, and the response of Moses was to run.
This sign symbolized another important step in the transformation of Moses, and it is an important step for each of us as we answer the call to God’s destiny for each of our lives. I had attached a lot of significance to my identity as a well-educated and experienced environmental engineer. The Holy Spirit showed me that when I first entered the process described above, He had asked me to lay down my identity. When I did, it too became a serpent in my life, and I, like Moses, ran from it.
When this happens God may not be asking you to permanently throw away your staff. At a later time in this transformation process, He may ask you to pick it up again. What was formerly your staff in your hand will now be His staff in your hand. This is just another example of the wonderful way in which God picks up all the pieces from the “blast” and recycles them as valuable building materials for the new structure he is building with your life.
Moses had used his staff as his main tool to protect and deliver a few hundred sheep on the hillsides of Midian. But as it became God’s staff in Moses’ hand, it delivered a whole nation. Imagine what God can do with the “staff” you hold in your hand if you obey Him, lay it down and allow Him to change it into His “staff.”
During the past several years, God has been showing me some of the “framework” for the new doors into the business community which I refer to as new marketplace paradigms. It has been encouraging to hear of others who have received a similar vision. The good thing about being linked together as a body is that when one part of the body goes through a new door, it stands open for everyone.
Right now God is opening up new ways to minister in the marketplace, outside church walls.
Consider the following marketplace model: local churches throughout a city functioning as training and equipping centers to prepare business leaders and workers to operate and manage businesses which carry on God’s business. These businesses would be managed by boards of directors consisting of people with business and financial skills, pastors, prophets and others with recognized credentials in areas related to hearing and recognizing the CEO’s (God’s) voice for those companies. Anointed staff would man corporate healing rooms, providing God’s corporate health plan services to company staff and to the general public. Intercessors, functioning in gifts of prophecy, discerning of spirits and with words of knowledge would be part of the corporate operations team. The general staff team would be a mix of Christians as well “pre-Christians,” those who haven’t yet come to Jesus.
I’m excited about new ideas that I believe God is giving me. For example, wouldn’t it be wonderful if today’s downtown office towers were really prophetic models for marketplace ministry? What if the main floor, the public access floor, were to be the “worship floor,” open to the public for worship and prayer that would actually under gird the activity on the floors above it?
I believe God has given me His ability to satisfy my heart’s desires with the work of my hands. He wants everyone to experience satisfaction in our vocations, our hobbies and our recreational activities.
The only thing God carries in His heart is His love for His people.
He uses His hands to satisfy their hearts’ desires. He holds the universe in one hand so that with the other hand, He can take whatever He needs out of this universe to satisfy His heart’s desire. What God really wants is that we would carry only Him and others in our hearts. Then we would be free from the love of money, and God would be free to put all the money and resources we would ever need into our hands as the tools to satisfy the desires of our hearts.
Before the fall, God freely gave Adam and Eve all the resources of the earth and instructed them to expand corporately and grow to fill the whole earth. The problem is that after the fall, money became the desire of man’s heart and people became the tool in the hands of man to satisfy his new, perverted desire.
The good news is that Jesus came as the second Adam, and so it is now possible that we can co-operate with the Father to put things back in proper order in our places of influence. I believe God said to me, “If I can take the money out of your heart, I can put it into your hands.” We were created to work to make a giving rather than to work to make a living.
As I write this article, I am still waiting for some of the pieces of my puzzle to fit together. To those whose lives are also about to radically explode with change, I say don’t bother to invest in “protective gear;” it is useless. God is using the explosion to rearrange your life in accordance with His desire for you. The whole process, although it may be painful at times, will position you for God’s richest blessing, loving Him more deeply and enjoying the fruit of your labor.