This week's Team Thoughts blog was written by our co-founder, Tony Barwick. We love this guy's perspective on Kingdom and his passion to see heaven invading earth. We hope you enjoy what he had to say as much as we did!
If we don't know who we are in Him, we’ll never see others for who they are in Him.
Empowerment is something I think about often. Extremely often, actually.
What does it even mean? To give someone power over their own circumstances? To help people financially? To do things for people? To make a program sustainable? To teach people to fish? All good thoughts.
My Google search said empowerment is “to make [someone] stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights," and “to give [someone] the authority or power to do something.”
Here are some of my thoughts around the prerequisites or foundations of empowerment—assuming heaven’s perspective is the key ingredient. (Disclaimer: These are not, by any means, all of my thoughts revolving this topic.)
My first thought I’d like to share is that Jesus leveled the playing field.
The Doctor of Divinity from Yale and the 40 year-old with a 6th grade education are both children of God—set apart for His purpose with full rights and privileges. We have all been made equal in the realm of sonship (and I mean the gender-free kind of sonship). No one can claim a spiritual superiority. With that being said, the fullness of empowerment can only be reached by first acknowledging a person's Kingdom identity.
We are all heirs Not just the wealthy, the West, the educated, those who see eye-to-eye with us, and those who affirm our beliefs. As believers, as sons and daughters, we are all heirs. The educated, the non-educated, the wealthy, the financially destitute, the homeless, the sports stars. All heirs.
As heirs to heaven, we need to be asking God what His perspective is about the people around us. It's our responsibility as stewards of heaven to be seeking out heaven’s perspective over others and releasing what the Spirit shares with us. Sounds a bit like prophecy... probably because it kind of is! And it’s amazing because it’s for all of us to take part in as a priesthood of believers.
You see, our words have the power to bring life or death. And the life that heaven breathes is abundant life. It’s the kind of life, that when spoken over another, edifies and builds up—always. It makes us believe that what He says about us is true. It establishes something from nothing.
Once Kingdom identity is established in our hearts, we won’t see people apart from who they are according to heaven’s perspective. This is the foundation of empowerment that I believe needs to be present and solidified before we'll ever see the full impact that the Church can have here on earth.
So what now? Where do we even start?
Julie and I had the privilege of listening to Danny Silk speak last week. He reminded us that Jesus’s life represented the Father. In John 14:9, Jesus said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen my Father.” Wow. It got me thinking about whether or not I reflect the Father’s heart in every aspect of my life. When people see me, do they see my Father? My honest answer is, "No."
So I know where to start—with me.
I want my answer to change. If you feel the same, then let’s commit to living a "Heart to God" kind of life and to letting the love of the Father change us from the inside out. Don’t focus on the outward fruit of your life! Rather, focus on your inward connection with the Father and on living a life that is overflowing with His love. The rest will work itself out.
If we connect with Him, we will grow in love for Him. If we love Him, we’ll obey Him. Let’s be funnels for heaven to come down and makes its home on earth. This is when we’ll be a part of true empowerment of others!
Heart to God.
Spread the Stoke.