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Seven Keys To Living A Kingdom Life

You are: Essential, A Purpose-Driven Kingdom Representative, And A Values-Based Ruler-In-Training

Willie Thomas Butler


Copyright © 2013 Willie Thomas Butler. All Rights Reserved

Seven Keys to Living A Kingdom Life

Live Your Life Intentionally, With Purpose and Godly Instruction! All Rights Reserved solely by the author. No part of this publication may be produced or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission of the author. The author guarantees all contents are original and do not infringe upon the legal rights of any other person or work. Cover Design & Interior Formatting: Charles C. Christie, Jr. Published for the LifePlanning Institute, Inc. By Willie Thomas Butler NORFOLK, VIRGINIA, USA Unless otherwise indicated: Scripture quotations are taken from The King James Version. The New King James Version (NKJV). Copyright © 1983 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.; The New International Version. Copyright © 1973 by Zondervan Publishers; and The New Living Translation. Copyright © 2004 Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Providing Practical Solutions for the Purpose-Driven Life

www.Life-Planning-Institute.org


Table of Contents Acknowledgmentsvii Dedicationviii Introduction9 What Did Jesus Mean When He Uttered Seven Of Human History’s Most Important Words?

Part I

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What Is Kingdom Life?

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Part II

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Key Number 1

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“You Are First and Foremost A Kingdom Representative” Key Number 2

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“Your Life Choices Matter Greatly In God’s Kingdom” Key Number 3

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“You Are Essential to Kingdom Management” Key Number 4

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“Kingdom Virtues Determine True Success” Key Number 5

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“Your Financial Prosperity is in Managing Kingdom Treasure”

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The Seven Keys To Living A Kigdom Life

Key Number 6

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“Effective Stewards Are Destined to Become Rulers” Key Number 7

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“Choosing to Live for God Empowers His Kingdom in the Earth”

Part III

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Ways You Can Practice Kingdom Living

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

My Heavenly Father, My Lord and Savior and the Spirit of Truth. Thank you for blessing me to be a blessing and to share what you so generously shared with me! And to my wife Brenda, my daughter Emily and my son David, may the fruit of Father’s love be seen in and through you in all of your endeavors. And to the LifePlanning Institute Board of Directors and in particular Chuck Christie, for his imaginative, innovative, and tireless work on this book - thank you for “running the race of life” with me. Father sees and is pleased in our well-doing! About the author: Willie Thomas Butler For a brief biography, please visit the LifePlanning Institute website. You will also find links to additional information there as well.

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DEDICATION

To all who seek understanding and desire to serve God with intention, this book is dedicated to You. I pray that the Lord will find you faithful in your effort to seek him above everything else, and that He will show you Truths that will change your life and your chosen path to one that gives Him all the Glory!

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INTRODUCTION What Did Jesus Mean When He Uttered Seven Of Human History’s Most Important Words? “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2)

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ND, what difference did it make to human history that Jesus came into the world (earth) and preached about His Heavenly Father and a kingdom that has yet to

come?

More specifically, what have these pronouncements meant to you? Are you living your life a certain way because of what Jesus said, or are you just going through life without any sense of direction or purpose? If the last question describes you, don’t fret it. You are just like most people throughout human history that have simply chosen to make the very best of life in any way they can. And why not? Without understanding life’s true significance or your personal role in it, there would seem to be no reason to change, some would say. On the other hand, if you understood that life was designed by intention and with purpose, perhaps it would affect how you choose to live it. Well, that is what Jesus believed, and it is why He came to provide us with understanding. 9


The Seven Keys To Living A Kingdom Life

Not only was he informing us that nothing about human existence or Man’s creation is random but rather that Providence has a fully developed plan for how we should live and how we are destined for eternity through a redemptive process called Salvation. And through salvation each of us has been accorded an opportunity to inherit Eternal life.

Life was designed by intention and with purpose.

Note, however, that the opportunity to inherit eternal life is conditional. However, it was intentionally designed to be easily attained by anyone willing to live as God has purposed for them to live well before their life on earth ever began.

His Kingdom Has Impact on Earth Jesus came and announced to the world that the doors to salvation and eternal life were now open to all, and that the Kingdom of Heaven was the gateway to another world and an unimaginably better life. More significant to us as believers, it means that this other kingdom offers a way of living that was unimaginable and unobtainable before Christ came to share this Good News. But now it is available for all to experience right here on earth, all while navigating through life’s highways. Providing this premise is true, the only question that remains is how much do you want to live a life free from spiritual 10


Introduction

confusion, emotional tyranny, fear and in reaction to the chaos and uncertainty that this present world offers? After all, who is it that really knows you best?… And do you honestly think that the answer to that question is you?

“This is what the Lord says - your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” (Isaiah 48:17)

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PART I WHAT IS KINGDOM LIFE?

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Y definition, “the Kingdom Life Approach encourages practical change in our stewardship and money management strategies in order to pursue the Kingdom of God first, our individual assignment(s) and the myriad ways we can help one another by working together in “Perfect Unity,” that is, doing that which Christ exhorts true Christians to pursue throughout Scripture.” By way of this definition we acknowledge that God has an intentional plan and strategic method which allows each individual to accomplish three very important objectives:

1. Putting God First and Foremost – (Mt. 6:33) “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all other things will be added unto you.” 2. Acknowledgment [and Acceptance] of Our Unique Assignment(s) - (Proverb 3:5-6) “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths.”

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3. Bless Others and Fulfill Our Kingdom Growth and Unique and Specific Service - (Ephesians 4:1113) “So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelist, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” The Kingdom Life Approach acknowledges that mankind is on a journey to fulfill God’s requirements and a prerequisite for individual living (i.e. growing into mature sons [and daughters]) before Christ returns to rule over all of Creation. This rulership will be over “new heavens and on a new earth”— which will be eternally lived right here on earth—in a city called the “New Jerusalem.” (Revelation 5:10)

Someday believers will serve as rulers.

Today’s journey is part of the “Fullness of Time” Doctrine (Galatians 4:4) that was prophesied from the beginning of human history as an indeterminable period that Man must fulfill before divine eternity could be experienced. Kingdom eternity also promises that those who meet God’s criteria would serve in Christ’s Kingdom as “…a kingdom, 14


What is Kingdom Life?

and Priests to God, Our Father…” (II Timothy 2:12) and also as rulers on earth. (Revelation 1:6) True believers that meet this criteria would also co-reign with Christ over all that God designated that He would rule, including other inhabitants throughout a new universe. Everything will be under His authority as He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This is why Kingdom Life is so important. Someday believers will serve as rulers (Matthew 25), but only after they have been properly trained, equipped and commissioned—or sentout—with authority and power from God. Hence, the basis for the Kingdom Life Approach process described throughout this book. The Seven Keys to Living a Kingdom Life is not solely about living more prosperously in today’s world, but about preparing to serve for eternity as Kingdom representatives over all that Christ will rule. This can only be achieved by those who have chosen to commit and submit themselves to God’s plan.

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The Seven Keys To Living A Kingdom Life

Following are seven practical keys to guide you in choosing the Kingdom Life Approach as your method for living your daily life. I guarantee that without choosing His plan, you can never experience true prosperity or the better quality life that God meant for you to live before you were created. These keys are also found in my 2011 and 2012 books on Kingdom Life (below) which is available at all Online bookstores and through my publisher, Xulon Press. Books.Google.com and other stores will allow you to read excerpts free.

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PART II KEY NUMBER 1 “You Are First and Foremost A Kingdom Representative”

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OD’S ultimate plan is to use our individual journeys through this life to develop mature Sons and Daughters that will share His eternal Kingdom with Him in what could be a not-too-distant future period. It will be a Kingdom of individuals that He has selected for fellowship with Him for all eternity. This is the Key Kingdom purpose for the Church and the process we lovingly call or refer to as Discipleship. To ensure His intended outcome—which is to establish a life of fellowship with His creation: Man, the Creator of the Universe set in motion a process that would ultimately restore those who accept Christ to their pre-Adamic state. That is the original state God and His Son, Jesus conceived man and made him to exist before sin. However, sin enters into human existence and causes separation from God, His Kingdom and man’s own sense of identity as beings made in the image and likeness of God, His Creator. So, to enable Man to re-qualify for this eternal fellowship, God sent his Son, the Lord Jesus, to offer a path of restoration; and then the Lord assigned certain practical roles that believers must perform to fulfill His expectations of them. These include serving God as earthly stewards, ambassadors 19


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of His Kingdom and as ministers and teachers of His gospel. Acknowledging Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God is utmost important, however, it is merely man’s doorway to transforming into beings who God can fellowship with in eternity. The transformation involves growing and maturing as God chooses.

In Other Words You are not just another pretty face. You were created with intention and purpose, and you have been empowered to serve as one of God’s many representatives on earth. Being in the world, not of the world is like being a foreigner in a distant land. However, the difference is that as a Kingdom representative you also have diplomatic status and authority wherever you go and in whatever you do. Why? Because as a believer, you are part of—and a citizen in—God’s eternal kingdom, just like Christ was during the fulfillment of His earthly assignment.

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Key Number 1

Kingdom representatives have several roles to perform under different titles, through different positions and occupations, and—in all cases—under Kingdom empowerment. Some of the most common titles among the roles performed are as:

Earthly Stewards Parents, Teachers, Financial Managers, Business Owners and those serving others represent a mere handful of earthly stewards. Interestingly, whether there is a title associated with an occupation is irrelevant. Every person living is an earthly steward of what God has entrusted to them.

Parents, take note. It is not enough to simply rear a child any way you think is appropriate. Acknowledging that parenting is a stewardship role means that you accept that your child or [children] are gifts from God (Psalm 127:3) and His creation. And because each child—like every adult—belongs to the Lord, our job as parents is to discover how to steward each child God’s way, according to His plans for their life. This is possible when seeking God first (Matthew 6:33) and understanding what Proverbs 22:6 really says about training a child in the way they should go.

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From Stewardship to Becoming Sons and Daughters

“Train up a child in the way they should go ...” Proverbs 22:6 Teachers share in that responsibility. The Bible refers to teachers as tutors who have been assigned to educate and train future heirs. (Galatians 4:2-3). It is not enough to have your own educational curriculum and ideas about what children need to know. Rather it is your duty to identify through seeking God first, to know what has been deposited in every child and to assist—along with parents—in bringing out those attributes, or gifts.

Every human-being has a stewardship responsibility before God. Each individual has been endowed with certain gifts, talent and ability they are accountable for. And beyond these 22


Key Number 1

precious gifts, each person is expected to labor—or work—to live. Therefore, whatever work we do also works to define us as stewards.

Church Ministers There are five titles associated with the Christian church hierarchy commonly known as Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher: or what is also referred to as the FiveFold Ministry. However, the word of God says that there are others also given to the church to build up the members and have an impact on the world.

“The gift of administration, according to Spiritual Gifts: Administration author Mark Driscol, is the God-given ability to give direction and make decisions on behalf of others that result in efficient operation and accomplishment of goals. Administration includes the ability to organize people, things, information, finances, etc. Often the mark of an administrator is the ability to accomplish things in a “fitting and orderly way” (1 Corinthians 14:40). 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 describe nine important Gifts of the Spirit, which many in the Church either possess or operate in as specific offices or as instruments that God may use in different situations, such as doing special services. What these show is that every human-being has the opportunity to serve God through some type of ministerial 23


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role. The Greek term “Diakonos” means to serve, which is what Jesus exhorted His followers (and now believers) to do daily. And there are many ways for one to utilize their endowment of gifts, talent and ability and serve. More importantly, the Bible teaches that everyone who accepts Christ is part of His body. Therefore, we should recognize that God has provided each part with a role—and applicable gifts—that contributes to the perfecting of us all. (1 Corinthians 12:12-31).

Marketplace Ministers Among those commonly discussed in this segment of society in every country are Business Owners, Merchants, Executives, Entrepreneurs and Trades-people. Merchants, for the most part, are those endowed by God with the anointing to generate and manage wealth, which is a clear responsibility of stewards. But it is only those businessmen and women who choose to let the Lord serve as head of their business who are actually serving in the marketplace as servants and ministers of Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that in the Book of Acts (Chapters 2 and 4) even the Apostles served as business administrators for those representing the early 1st and 2nd Century Church. Marketplace Ministers are more than employers who provide products and/or services for a profit. You are actually serving God’s Kingdom as well as mans’ greater purpose through the marketplace, and in highly significant ways.

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Key Number 1

Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice Accepting these duties and responsibilities is a significant step in this process. Acceptance requires subordinating your personal quest and committing yourself to God’s plans, however long or challenging they may be. This may seem minor to some, but consider what this actually means. More often than not, business owners and entrepreneurs tend to have great ideas about business ventures they would like to pursue. Just watch cable-network shows like Shark Tank for examples of really great and innovative business concepts. So, in such cases, it matters little to the individual whether God chose the particular business, and it matters more— especially to the owner—whether He will bless what the individual has chosen as a vocation for themselves. Well, that is the opposite of a Marketplace Minster’s true role and functionality.

His Marketplace Representative It begins with an acknowledgment that their individual interest in the business marketplace is from God, and is in keeping with how He endowed them for Kingdom service. Then the individual must recognize that as a faithful steward, their true responsibility is to determine what their Master owns and what they are being privileged to manage on His behalf. Once these things are accepted, then a specific area within 25


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the business community may be revealed—and singled out— as the area to pursue and not assume that the arena allows you to simply choose any area or any type of service. That assumes too much, including that God will bless whatever you do, when that may not be so. He can, however, choose to bless whatever you do providing it serves His purposes. Which leads to the most important point. The reward for accepting God’s plan cannot be matched by anything the world has to offer you. So, why not try it His way and experience the difference for yourself?

Other Professions and Occupations As you will read in the next several keys, everyone and almost every way in which people choose to honorably work can be performed in representation of God’s Kingdom. The Lord allows our use of Free-will where it is appropriate and first and foremost honors Him. (Note the comment: …“where it is appropriate”…). At all other times, His expectation is that you seek Him to know His will for your life and the assignments He may choose in order for you to achieve it. 26


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KEY NUMBER 2 “Your Life Choices Matter Greatly In God’s Kingdom”

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N His infinite wisdom, God established a plan that would enable each person to navigate a proper and orderly course through life. In this context, many Bible scholars refer to the Old Testament prophecy spoken about Jeremiah, where God makes His intentions for this young man abundantly clear. (Jeremiah 5:1) However, for everyone else who do not think of themselves as having been so directly or intentionally named, or prophesied over, God has not forgotten you. There is another reference—a generic and subsequent method—that God provides through a scripture passage found in Proverbs 24:27, which says:

“Prepare thy work outside. Make it ready in the field, then build your house [then family, etc.].” When your Life’s plans are approached this way, here is what the process looks like: Five Phases To Your Pursuit-of-Purpose (1)

(2)

(3)

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(4)

(5)


Key Number 2

Simply restated, this verse exhorts us to: 1. Seek first and foremost God’s Kingdom and to develop a personal and intimate relationship with Him. 2. Once you do and determine your purpose, go and prepare to perform it by getting properly equipped through educational training, real-life experience and mentoring. And once these are successfully achieved; then, 3. Build your house and start your family. Practical Considerations in Pursuit-of-Purpose Initiatives.

The Truth is, the world’s social systems and life-planning strategies do not encourage any such order. Most people simply aim to fulfill their own chosen pleasures based on their own perception of success. They rush to accept employment of any kind; unexpectedly find someone and possibly fall 29


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in love and, in many cases, end up establishing fewer key relationships (with important connectors), and instead start families and acquire homes, etc., before ever knowing what God may desire of them. This is often why so many people end up settling into a lifestyle of conformity and complacency and choose not to respond to God’s call on their life. Rather than being in a position to say “Yes Lord!,” when He calls on you - and He will - a typical response from even fervent believers is often “But Lord!, I have…” and you can fill in the impeding conditions and excuses offered in place of a Yes.

There Is Only One Right Response To answer “Yes!” when God calls on you requires that you establish a personal and intimate relationship with Him, so that you will know what and when He may call you, and so you will know what considerations are critical to your decision. For example, does the fulfilling of your assignment require you to get married, remain single, travel abroad, pursue special skills either through formal education at a specific school or through work experience in a specific area? There are a handful of similarly-relevant questions which should be asked before setting out to pursue a particular career, start a family or choose how much you invest in your future. Those who argue for self-determination and the right to assert one’s free-will often find such mandates and orderliness intrusive and inconvenient. To all such adherents 30


Key Number 2

I would say, “Good!” God never meant for the exercise of free-will to be performed in a void. It was never His plan that humankind would assume a lifestyle and the right to live it without His divine grace, favor and provision. Yet, this seems preferable to many, particularly those who lean towards self-determination and charting their own course through life. If that is you, please reconsider how you make your lifechoices! Independent living is not God’s plan. That is why He made humankind as “one body made of many parts.” (1Corinthians 12:14-31) We are intentionally made for eternal fellowship with God, Our Father, and we are designed to function in a type of Oneness that few fully grasp or understand. So while we remain distinct and highly unique individuals, we yet possess an ability to merge our abilities and to accomplish so much more together than we could ever achieve individually.

What Has Been Your Journey Experience Up Until Now? When I was seventeen, my family moved to the suburbs from a public housing project in Brooklyn, New York. Suddenly, I had entered into a world where there were far more choices for living a good or better life, or so I thought. Shortly thereafter, I had my first car and was driving everywhere, especially to really nice places never before experienced in the inner-city. I had entered college at age 17 and found that I really enjoyed partying with those also attending. Armed with a car and no 31


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parental supervision, I quickly realized I had the freedom to do anything I wanted to: go to class or stay in the student lounge getting friendly with others, many others. This lead to another fascination. That was the ability to ask young women to go out on a date, sometimes instead of going to class. I might add I attended an all-boys vocational and technical high school. What I soon discovered is that I needed more money to fund my new adventures and social interest, so this meant I needed to find a job that would allow me to make enough to pay for owning a car and paying to go out with that special someone or even friends. Suddenly there were two interest that detracted from the time and effort I should have been applying to my college education. And by the end of my freshman year, I had only passed five out of ten classes I was registered for. Not only did I waste time and pay the consequence of having to take the same classes again, the money applied to tuition, books and fees was now down the drain, and I was no closer to completing an important part of my personal growth and development. By the spring of what should have been my second year, I dropped out and took a modest-paying full-time job, more out of necessity than any other reason. By then my personal expenses had increased exponentially, buying clothes, eating out and opening credit card accounts which held sizable balances. And, little did I know that it would be almost ten years later—and I’d be married—before I would return to complete my college education.

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Key Number 2

If someone had explained Proverbs 24:27 to me when I was only seventeen, I might have made what I think would have been better more appropriate choices. Instead, I must begin over, that is, resume life where I left off, only this time I will try to do things with God’s purpose and assignments in mind. I should have known that God, my Heavenly Father, would have had a better strategy for me to follow while growing up. And as His earthly stewards, so should have my parents ... and yours! Your Pursuit-of-Purpose: Considerations

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KEY NUMBER 3 “You Are Essential to Kingdom Management”

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HE Kingdom of God is the largest employer, major industry and manufacturer of goods and services that will ever exist. The First Family of God—which are all believers everywhere—enjoy employment opportunities within every profession imaginable. However, the principal business venture and company mission involves a Vineyard of immeasurable size and reach. Through the Vineyard, the First Family’s mission is the harvesting of souls. That’s right! The most important mission of the Kingdom of God is to recruit as many laborers as possible to work in the Vineyard, and commit to sharing the Good News that—as Jesus did when He was on earth—tell everyone in every nation that

“The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:20) God’s strategy, as the world’s ultimate employer involves every person, every profession and the use of every product, gift and type of service mankind can conceive and thus produce. In the end, the only part of human life that will matter is not what someone did but whether they accepted Christ as God’s only begotten Son.

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And everyone living is being offered an unlimited and nonrevocable employment opportunity to take part in growing the Vineyard enterprise or, at the very least, increasing its production of harvesting souls. The only question remaining is will you accept the job being offered?

True Promotion Is Conferred Not Earned Another fact about Kingdom employment is that God believes in promotion. Unlike human employers that might not care whether you grow professional and thereby advance in your job or career, God wants you to advance and to become part of His senior management team. This is why He offers so many paths to being recruited, in developing fully in your endeavors and ultimately advancing throughout each stage of life. When you do, you are accorded greater spiritual authority and kingdom recognition, which leads to significant earthly influence and prosperity. Your commitment to the family business and the seasons you spend developing your skills and abilities are continually acknowledged and rewarded in ways you would never naturally consider, nor would other employers. Remember, all the positions, titles, duties and responsibilities listed in Key Number Two are Kingdom offices, and are thus accorded global recognition both in the heavens as well as on earth. As an Ambassador, Steward, Minister or Disciple, your authority, rights and privileges are well-acknowledged and highly-respected throughout both the seen and unseen worlds. In other words, you are God’s kingdom manager and representative and, as such, you have the right to use 36


Key Number 3

God’s name with authority the same way an Ambassador representing the United States can wield the name of the President of the United States to invoke authority and power. This is tremendous power: unparalleled anywhere throughout the world. And you are being groomed to wield such power and authority for Kingdom purposes and for all of eternity. Just imagine. Whether your temporal career is as a doctor, engineer or religious minister, or whether you wait tables or cut lawns for a living, what you do today matters little in whether you advance within God’s management ranks. What matters to the Lord is your love—and acknowledgment—of Him, whether you are pursuing your purpose in life and how responsive you are to His will and instruction. Again, to the Lord,

“Obedience is better than sacrifice.” (I Samuel 15:22) These facts along with any pre-determined purpose God ordained for you will ultimately determine what rank you will hold in His Kingdom and as a joint-heir with Christ. Who knows? Clearly, the Apostle Peter nor the Apostle Paul knew in advance. You may be a modern-day Apostle in the making.

From Slavery to Rulership Remember the Biblical story of Joseph? (Genesis 37) Here was a young man who—because he foolishly shared his vision with his brothers—ended up being sold into slavery. To then 37


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disguise their misdeed, these brothers then lied to their father, Jacob, telling him that Joseph was killed by some ferocious animal and torn to pieces (vv.31-33). Instead of us reading the story of a defeated slave, the Bible shows that Joseph had favor with God, and was eventually elevated to the second most prestigious and important status in all of Egypt, behind Pharaoh. (Gen. 39:21)

Through a series of very challenging events, Joseph ultimately proved that with God on your side, that even when you are in bondage that He can bless and promote you to unimaginable heights. After all, who would of ever imagined that a Hebrew slave would grow up to become the second most powerful leader over not just Egypt—a pagan worshiping nation—but over all the nations that this empire ruled over, including Israel (vv. 56-57). As such, when God allowed a famine to affect all nations, He also showed Joseph how he could act—on God’s behalf—to protect not just the Egyptian people but also to supply grain to many nations, including Israel. 38


Key Number 3

And in a short span of years, God had elevated Joseph to prosper even as a slave, to effectively serve as a ruler while in slavery, and to also serve as a savior—of sorts—in helping the nation of Israel survive the famine that could have destroyed them. God, by His loving grace, favor and anointing, empowered a slave-boy to grow into one of the history’s most effective leaders of His Kingdom.

The Ultimate CEO Please note that God’s strategy included allowing the administrative needs of Israel’s enemy: Egypt, to be used to teach Joseph the skills he would one day need as a Kingdom leader (or Kingdom representative) in the earth. So, never assume that you already know how God will teach you His will, or how He might prepare you for Kingdom service. Let it be enough to know that you can trust Him to set you on the right course of life for your personal growth and eventual promotion. Why? Because as in the case of Joseph, your Heavenly Father has need of your service in His Kingdom. And, if Joseph’s story does not make that point for you, think upon one other great historical leader who God trained-up under similar circumstances. That individual was Moses (Exodus 1-7)

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KEY NUMBER 4 “Kingdom Virtues Determine True Success”

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MONG other explanations for its existence, the Bible was designed to introduce mankind to an eternal Creator. Within this book is a love story of how God is going to bring man into eternal fellowship with Himself. It is full of historical events, including how God selected a people to be His very own; it incorporates moments of disappointment, tragedy and despair with very joyous and inspirational outcomes. It concludes with a prophetic utterance and visions of a Utopian world where Creator and His special creation will dwell together for all eternity in perfect unity, love and tranquility. To assist man in getting to know His Creator—whose image and likeness we were made in—God also provides a list of His virtues and characteristics. These are important in helping us to understand what God values and, likewise, what He looks upon with contempt and disdain. Acknowledging another god or symbol of a so-called god is one of many abominations to the Lord. Hence, this establishes the first of His Ten Commandments: “Thou shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 24:28)

A Sobering Note Being alive today, during a time when traditional human values of character and moral decency are constantly challenged is to live during a dramatic shift away from God’s 41


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Kingdom standards. Remember, Man was made in the image and likeness of God. Throughout our human history, the traditional Church has attempted to serve as God’s standard-bearer and oracle on certain social reform issues, such as same-sex marriage, abortion, divorce and other public policy initiatives, but it has been relatively silent on matters of greed, selfcenteredness, pursuing wealth at any cost and sex outside of marriage. The Church’s absence in the public square has only fueled the momentum to abolish all moral standards, and to embrace the notion that the path to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is achievable through any means one chooses in order to obtain them. But this is not true, nor is it God’s plan.

A Perfect Church: Having All Things In Common

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Key Number 4

Unity and Maturity in the Body of Christ “As a prisoner for the Lord, [the Apostle Paul said] then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.� (Ephesians 4:1-6) How you pursue life and those things you aspire most to achieve matters greatly to God and to His Kingdom plan. Some individuals have done irreparable damage to themselves and to others out of sheer ignorance or, in some cases, out of intentional disregard to what stood between them and their concept of success in life. Murder, for example, or taking someone else’s life in the commission of a robbery just because the perpetrator wants more money, is both immoral and reprehensible behavior. It is no less true when a pedophile steals the innocence of a young child. While most people consider such behavior vile and worthy of incarceration, there are growing hordes of voices advocating that such behavior become lawful and have no boundaries, the same way it existed in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19)

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These are heavy illustrations, but they amplify the point that virtues and spiritual character matter today as much as they have ever mattered. And while God may never expect an unrepentant non-believer to embrace His virtues and laws, He has every expectation that Christians will pursue them with vigor. One of the major reasons is so that clear distinction can exist in the earth allowing the unbeliever the opportunity to visibly see and experience the true nature of God, and the nature He chose to place within an obedient and righteously living believer. The practice of virtuous living breeds righteous living, and righteous living invokes the application of virtuous living. In other words, by choosing to live for God, you are guaranteed that you will complete a transformation to become Christlike, who serves as our “Gold-Standard” for human living. However, choosing to be a good person and live according to your own sense of right and wrong will never result in living a Kingdom life of virtues. Why? Because it is impossible to know God, His character, or the expectation placed on you as His creation without first accepting Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Until you accept Christ, you cannot receive the Holy Spirit, who Jesus calls the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13). That is, without the Spirit of Truth, You will be walking in your own counsel [or wisdom] which means would will be walking in lies. You will not know truth and therefore every other way of life will be a lie and counterfeit and not directed by God’s divine hand. 44


Key Number 4

The Third Servant Dilemma One of the favorite examples where good virtues and proper living show real and meaningful distinction can be found in the Parable of the Talents in (Matthew 25:14-30). For most of this story that Jesus told as a parable, the righteous or acceptable living was demonstrated by the two servants who did as their master had expected. The one given five talents and the one given two talents each returned a double-portion to their master upon his return to his home. In exchange, the master said to each, “Well done good and faithful servant. Because you have been faithful with few things I will make your lord over many things.”(vv. 22;23 ) In other words, their proper stewardship [and management] of the master’s resources resulted in pleasing him, being promoted and—please catch this—being given even more responsibility. The Third Servant, however, did not handle his duties in as favorable a way as his colleagues. In other words, he had a different mindset and took a different approach to his role as steward. And rather than returning any increase to his master on what he had been entrusted to manage, he returned only what he received, which not only displeased the master but infuriated him (vv. 24-26). And to justify his actions, the third servant even explained how he knew his master was a hard man, which implied difficult and also unfair. He went on to say that he chose to bury the master’s one talent so that he would at least have something upon his return home. But instead of being thanked or praised on this choice of actions, the master called him “wicked and lazy.” Wicked because the master knew of his ability to manage the assignment given to him. Instead 45


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of performing it, he used an excuse that was unacceptable. And remember, he also offended his master by assuming he knew his nature well enough to take a wrong approach as a steward. He was called lazy because he chose to bury the one talent rather than place it in a bank or with money managers that would have at least earned him interest on what they had use of during the master’s absence. To bury the one talent meant that the Third Servant did nothing, in effect. He did not use his mind nor did he think of ways to properly manage what he had been entrusted to manage for someone else’s behalf. What this also implies looking at it in our day and time is that he did not “Seek first the Kingdom of God” to get wisdom or instruction, the same way we have access to these through God’s Spirit. (Matthew 6:33). It tells us that certain behavior can be looked upon as wicked if not performed to our Lord’s expectation, and that we could be seen as lazy when we neither try to use or we under-utilize our abilities as we should to serve God according to His expectation of us. And these represent only three of many ways we must be aware of what God values and expects from us.

Redemption Trumps All This important key does not seek to condemn anyone who is not living up to the prescribed standard noted above. Were that the case, it would point to just about everyone. No. Quite the contrary is true. The greatest news about

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Key Number 4

Kingdom life is that everyone has to pass through the same divine doorway. There is no one who is considered good or qualified in their own right to be guaranteed admittance through the gates of God’s Kingdom. Rather, all who are admitted must first acknowledge that they are sinners who are saved by God’s grace, and then they must seek repentance from their sins and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And when this happens, each person is accorded the exact same privilege to confess what the Apostle Paul taught us in Romans 8:1-2, that:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

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KEY NUMBER 5 “Your Financial Prosperity is in Managing Kingdom Treasure”

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OES God really want you to be wealthy? Are you sure? Do riches really determine whether you are being blessed by God or that you are prospering in this life?

Sadly, these are the criteria that many Christians weigh in determining their Kingdom worth and earthly significance. You may have heard the old saying that a man’s house reflects much about his personality and net worth. I suppose this day and age the same can be said about what car someone drives, or what clothes they wear. Fortunately, nothing can be further from the truth despite how often you hear preachers or others in society promote money, wealth and being rich as the true barometers or measures of prosperity. It is no coincidence that money, wealth and the subject of prosperity appears in more parts of the Bible than any other subject, including Salvation. In some bible versions there is almost a 3:1 ratio of money topics and keywords to the subject of Salvation as stated throughout scripture in many different ways. And the reason, quite simply, is because it is described as a false god: sometimes referred to using the word Mammon, which means it is a factor that has influenced man’s key decision-making throughout most of human-history.

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But Jesus says that:

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon [or money].” (Matthew 6:24) So, the question is which do you love, and which do you hate? Jesus goes on to teach believers about a Kingdom treasury, which can be found in Matthew 6:19. In this verse He exhorts us not to store up for ourselves our good treasure in the earth where rust and moths destroy them, but to store our treasure with Heaven. Well, now we must ask ourselves whether in practical terms Jesus was asking us not to use banks or invest in things on earth anymore the way that everyone else does. The answer is, of course not. However, Jesus was providing a very significant truth and dispensing a very practical strategy to ensure that we experience the best life possible here on earth as well as in the time to come.

Dual Citizenship Assures Access to Resources within Two Kingdoms Unlike man’s economic system which uses a series of banks, capital markets and monetary and fiscal policies legislated

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Key Number 5

by governments to control how money flows through every nation on earth, the Kingdom’s treasury is not bound by geography, digital efficiency, unified trade agreements regulating currency exchange or even human governance. God’s Kingdom treasury is managed by and accessible to God’s people in the earth, that is, believers of Christ who are designated beneficiaries of God’s creation. Think of it as having a joint checking and savings account with your parents. Theoretically speaking, they have everything and have granted you unlimited access to what they possess. When a believer obeys God, and through love and obedience sow into the Kingdom treasury, they participate in a guarantee of economic and spiritual provision that can be accessed anywhere and at anytime there is need to do so. Unlike the process found in conventional credit unions or small banks that have members, the Kingdom treasury is under no individual’s ownership or control, but rather is governed by God and administered (or managed) by His Spirit, His Son, and those He has designated as stewards of His treasure. As such, the treasury’s balance is infinite and those associated with the rights and privileges to access it can do so for themselves or on behalf of others. Think of this privilege as having access to “petty cash” like some companies provide for everyday use, which you—the manager—have the authority to spend at your discretion. God shares His Kingdom treasure with His Kingdom family trusting them to make the right decisions for Kingdom purposes and for their personal benefit. In fact, that is why it exists as God clearly has no need of money or wealth and riches as we understand 51


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it today. And, eventually — through His divine teaching and impartation — we will come to understand that in our future standard of life we will have no need for it either. If, on the other hand, you neither tithe nor give on a regular basis, and you prefer to invest your earthly treasure on yourself and none of it on others, then none of the guarantees mentioned will apply to you. You may still live a lavish lifestyle on earth; making lots of money and enjoying every bit of what you earn and possess, but please understand that it is not true prosperity. We are far more important to God in His created order than to exist as mere vessels that He must feed, clothe and coddle each day. We are not like ornaments which we design and display in our homes, yards and places of business. We are His emissaries in the earth, and He wants us empowered to serve the Kingdom of God by serving others.

Unlike Human Financial Institutions, the Real Storehouse Serves Everyone This is the greater significance to having and accessing Kingdom treasury. As an institution, it serves as a facilitation center giving believers access to what they need to serve the King of kings and Lord of lords as earthly stewards, and as administrators of His Kingdom. Christ demonstrated how such a treasury is accessed and it’s treasure dispensed as needed when He chose to feed the crowd that gathered to hear Him preach, found in Mark 6:39-45. Not only did He and the disciples successfully feed over 5,000, they also gathered up 12 baskets filled with pieces of bread and fish 52


Key Number 5

that was not consumed by the multitudes (v. 20). Remember that God owns it all (Psalm 24:1) and can tap into resources anywhere, at anytime for any purpose He chooses. Kingdom treasury enables even the poorest of the poor to obtain needed provision for the day at hand, assuming qualified stewards, that is, those authorized to access kingdom treasure, are there to serve them, just like the disciples did under Christ leadership, in the Book of Acts, Chapter Two. It is also the reason why we must recognize that true prosperity is not about money, wealth or riches. The Apostle Paul gives us a better example when he refers to prosperity in 3 John 1:2. He said, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” The Greek definition for “prosper:” εὐοδοῦσθαι means exactly to “have a good career.” In Webster’s English Dictionary, one of the adjectives for prosper is to advance, gain and increase. Combined, it would appear that the Apostle Paul is emphasizing that through prayer that every aspect of a person: their body, mind and soul (or spirit) all experience a good future or career, and that the individual experience growth in spiritual things and thus prospers in their whole life experience. I would add that such achievement would inevitably result in advancing, gaining and increasing in the relationship and ability to serve God and His Kingdom.

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The Fulfillment of Proverbs 13:22 Modern-day prophecies have been given that address the wealth possessed by the unrighteous and the divine declaration that this wealth has been “laid up” for the just or righteous in the earth (Proverbs 13:22). Accordingly, some within the Church believe that we are nearing the time that a major transfer of wealth from the unjust to the just will occur. Unfortunately, there are two major problems with this prophesy. First, who can actually distinguish between those deemed the just or righteous among us from those considered as unjust and unrighteous. Jesus even said to Peter when He called Him good, that no one is good except the one who sent Him, which is God. (Mark 10:18) That said, can any man judge himself? Can those within the Church make such a clear and accurate distinction: a distinction that even Christ refused to make when referring to the wheat and the tares question? The answer to these questions, of course, is no.

Unto He Whom Much Is Given Second, would a just and loving God suddenly turn poorperforming earthly stewards into Kingdom treasurers? If He did, would this not contradict His own word that Jesus gave in The Parable of the Unrighteous Steward? Specifically, he said:

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” 54


Key Number 5

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches [or Kingdom treasury]? And, if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”

Luke 16:10-12

It follows that if someone is a poor money-manager and steward of the gifts, talent and abilities they have been entrusted with, and since material wealth often leads one to lean toward mammon-worship over seeking the Kingdom of God, would God intentionally subject His own people into assuming responsibilities they cannot possibly perform well or to His expectation? Again, the answer is an emphatic no. However, after a person has obtained the proper training and is fully committed to doing things God’s way, only then can the Lord entrust Kingdom wealth into their possession and control. And only then is increase even reasonable to expect using the Kingdom Life Approach standard and not the world’s system for determining who manages and possesses earthly wealth. Let us not forget the bigger goal here as found in The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25). That goal is to find individuals in the earth that can be trusted to manage God’s resources, which includes managing the financial affairs of others on their behalf.

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That is what Matthew 25 teaches us:

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions�.

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KEY NUMBER 6 “Effective Stewards Are Destined to Become Rulers”

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VER notice how a successful business-owner will gradually introduce their son or daughter—or any other mentee—to the family business? It is never an immediate advancing to the position of company president or CEO, even though they were selected and ultimately destined to occupy one or both of these positions. That Is because a caring and loving parent wants to insure that their chosen successor is actually qualified to assume the responsibility—and subsequent benefits—that come with running a major business venture. Well, God’s strategy is no different. Even though Believers are destined to co-reign with Christ in the New Jerusalem, it will not be without first obtaining the proper knowledge, and developing the right character and experience needed to serve the King of kings and Lord of lords for all of eternity. That is, after all, a very long time. Each individual’s life-journey affords them plenty of unique opportunities to learn and grow into their future role alongside Christ, and under His headship. Stewardship—which is the ultimate and universal role for measuring qualification— cannot be overstated as the key barometer in determining one’s preparedness for Kingdom service.

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Key Number 6

Earthly jobs and Kingdom assignments are the method which God has chosen to prepare His children—humankind—for eventual rulership. Remember, “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” according to Psalm 24:1. And Father God established Jesus to reign as King of Kings and Lord of lords over everything He has created. But for man to one day co-reign with Christ, he must be properly trained and equipped. This is what makes your selection of the right jobs and acceptance of Our Heavenly Father’s assignments so important. The wrong jobs and refusal to do as God ask will not produce the equipping or preparedness so vital to fulfilling your purpose and for “running the race of life,” which the Apostle Paul alludes to in Galatians 5:7. This is where Proverbs 24:27 ties in with one’s life choices: “Prepare thy work without, make it fit for thyself in the field, then build your house … [and family, etc.]” This represents God’s recommended method, so it must be a better strategy for all of us. Even more relevant as an indicator of your future role in God’s Kingdom, consider the following reminder also provided by the Apostle Paul, which can also be found in Galatians 4:1-7 (NLT):

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“Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. They have to obey their guardians [and learn from their tutors] until they reach whatever age their father set. And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world. But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman subject to the law. God sent Him to buy freedom for us as His very own children. And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are His child, God has made you an heir.”

Do You See It Now? God calls you His child. As His child, you refer to Him as “Abba, Father,” which translated from its Aramaic root means “Father, Father.” And, as a child of the Creator of the Universe you are now an heir and a future ruler, or ruler-in-training. Father wants to confer on you the role of ruler with all the rights and privileges afforded an heir of nobility. But, as Galatians 4:1-7 60


Key Number 6

says, we must first be prepared for the duties that await us. Galatians says that in order to prepare to assume our rightful place as God’s children, He sent the Spirit of His Son, into our hearts so that we would cry out in acknowledgment of God as Father. This is a prerequisite to Kingdom living. And to equip us to become heirs, Our Heavenly Father provides us with guardians, tutors and others whose paths cross with ours in life to help prepare us for our future rights, privileges and responsibilities. In other words, we go through life as if we are on a lifetime internship, where every person we interact with, every school we attend, job we perform and key decisions we make contribute towards our spiritual growth and maturity. And why not? Look at the ultimate prize that our Heavenly Father is waiting to give us. Knowing this, will you allow it to affect your decisions going forward?

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KEY NUMBER 7 “Choosing to Live for God Empowers His Kingdom in the Earth”

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OW that we have firmly established who you are and whose you are in Christ—and as a Kingdom representative in the earth—you need to understand there is power associated with your calling. And the more you commit yourself to serve Father as an earthly steward and Kingdom representative, the more the Kingdom of God will be seen, experienced and advanced within the earth. Why is this important? Well, remember what we discussed in Key-Number Three and our reference to the Vineyard. This represents the family business: which should now become the main focus for our personal considerations as we now recognize that the family business is our business also. In other words, you should recognize and therefore accept by now that your service to the Kingdom of God is far more important than your personal interest or pursuits in life. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” (Matthew 6:9) is part of what Jesus taught each of us in giving us the Lord’s Prayer.

Accept Your True Assignment Said another way, it is no longer about you, even though it never really was. We are here for Father’s purposes, and we have the privilege of serving Him and—in the process— 63


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contributing towards the advancing of His Kingdom on earth. When we embrace this fact, we become viable instruments which God then empowers as extensions of Himself. We become empowered to overcome the world, its systems and cares, and we are able to do battle for the Kingdom of Heaven. Remember, “It is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6) The common mistake so many Believers make is in thinking that God’s spiritual empowerment is given so they can live better lives, more prosperous lives—as if materialism confirms His blessings are upon them. While material prosperity is the “value-added” of a life lived in Kingdom service—which means in obedience to His will and plan—the real goal is to enable you to do that much more for God’s Kingdom, such as blessing others and sharing the Kingdom of God with those who may never have heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, or accepted Him as the Son of God. This is the mission of the family business and the operational role of the Vineyard as a Kingdom and earthly enterprise. And we can never forget how important these functions are, no matter our age, maturity, personal success in life or failure to acknowledge the purpose we have been placed here on earth to fulfill. Your personal quality of life is directly linked to this process. 64


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The Bible says,

“Give and it shall be given; good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will men give unto your bosom.” (Luke 6:38) Bottom line, the more committed you are to serving His Kingdom and preparing for your future inheritance, the better you will be able to live comfortably in this life. Imagine what it means when Father can rely on you the way that He relied on Christ to complete His tasks. The opportunities for Salvation and Eternal Life now exist because Christ was faithful to complete a unique series of tasks that no other being was qualified to fulfill. So it is with you. Father made you unique. You are one-ofa-kind, and His assignments for you are designed uniquely to fit your purpose and ability as you were made to fit within the Body of Christ and His Kingdom to come. We are God’s instruments for advancing His Kingdom in the earth. As Christ’s bride, we are being made ready for the marriage ceremony and ultimate union. But, this period of preparation exists on two levels: 1. We are being prepared—via our individual purpose and calling—in highly customized ways; and,

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2. We are asked to conform to a uniting of all parts of the body so that we can collectively minister to the world on behalf of the Kingdom of Almighty God. Combined with what you have now learned and hopefully embrace as keys to Kingdom living, the only conditions that remain are whether you will choose this method for daily living, or whether you will continue on a worldly trajectory of self-determination and disobedience. For what it is worth, my money is on your choosing Kingdom Life.

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PART III WAYS YOU CAN PRACTICE KINGDOM LIVING

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FFECTIVE Stewardship as a Kingdom-centric person requires that you become a Comprehensive Resource Manager of everything God has entrusted to you. Notice the significance of this charge. You have been endowed with specific resources otherwise known as Gifts, Talent and Ability: resources that serve as seed supplied that God has lovingly sown into fertile soil.

Comprehensive Management of the Three T’s Your initial task is to acknowledge the intentional deposit and distribution of resources, to take inventory of what you possess and are responsible to manage, then to seek out their intended use and the required training you will need to utilize each resource provided. This is what accountability is all about. Each Believer is ultimately accountable in God’s Kingdom model for what they do with what they have been given. Remember, serving God in His Vineyard is a privilege and the fruit of our effort should be that we bring Him honor and glory by doing things that please Him, which by its very nature means they advance 68


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the Kingdom of God. This cannot be accomplished by doing things your way or on your own terms. This can only be accomplished when you 1) Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…, 2) Pursue your purpose(s) in life, 3) Discover and acknowledge your inventory of gifts, talent and ability; then 4) Set out to fulfill the tasks God assigns you.

The Three T’s To get started on this pathway, there is one other consideration that is vital to the success of your journey. Besides the acknowledgment of God’s endowment of Gifts, Talent and Ability, you are also accountable for the use of everything else — any increase that it generates — and that empowers you to fulfill your purpose. Therefore, you must also consider that other aspects of your personal endowment from God include proper use of your Time, your Talent and your Treasure: otherwise called the Three T’s. Your Talent we have already discussed in significant detail. Your Time is an important commodity in your life-journey, especially since none of us knows how long we may live or will be healthy enough to accomplish certain things in life. Bottom line, Time is a precious resource that should not be taken for granted. Some know this all too well which is why they would rather donate money instead of volunteering or taking time to physically support another. We are just as accountable for the use of our time as we will someday be in accounting for the use of our natural and spiritual gifts. Now, here is the most controversial of the Three T’s. The 69


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Bible also teaches that “a man’s Gift will make room for him, and bring him before great [and powerful] men” (Proverbs 18:16). In other words, the gifts, talent and ability within each of us enable us to produce material resources that we need to live and prosper in this life. Money and wealth are the natural and common by-products of this process. Accordingly, the fruit of our seed is the substance of increase, the substance God expects us to use in acknowledgment of Him. This is what the principle of the Tithe and First-Fruits is all about (Malachi 3:6). Father considers the first-fruit of any increase to belong to Him. This is the basis for the Tithe Process. Your money, wealth and any other endowment you possess that create increase are important resources which God looks upon with careful consideration. Your Time, Talent and Treasure represent the areas of responsibility of a Comprehensive Resource Manager. Unlike a financial manager whose primary goal is to account for the managing of financial resources: spending, investing and budgeting as examples, the Comprehensive Resource Manager (CRM) is accountable for so much more. Upon close examination most of us are often amazed at the size of our personal endowment of gifts, talent and ability, let alone the added blessings of time and money. Some individuals have so many natural and spiritual gifts they cannot choose any one as more significant than any of their other resources. This is not accidental or unintended. The Lord has been very generous ensuring that no one lacks the 70


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means to worship Him through their use of their endowment, nor lack the means — when every resource is used — to care for themselves and live a very productive life. The Bible says that God provides seed for the sower and Bread for food (2 Corinthians 9:10-11). This is why individual success in life is largely based on how one uses the resources entrusted to them even more that how much they earn or spend. However, real success requires the proper balance between knowing God’s will, your purpose and how best to budget in order to fulfill that purpose. The LifePlanning Institute’s LifePlan™ concept was designed to enable believers to properly manage this process.

Developing A LifePlan™

Suppose you already know that you were going to be a medical doctor when you grow up. The education and associated cost of such a pursuit requires a serious commitment of 71


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time, development of your gifts and talent and, of course, a significant financial outlay. At the very least, a medical career as a doctor requires a minimum of a four-year college degree followed by three years of medical school, another 2-3 years of internship then—depending on your specialization— another 3-5 years of residency. In total, it could easily be a 10-12 year investment of time, talent and financial outlay of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Knowing this, what is the most practical way to prepare for such a journey? And how about those precious years leading up to college? Will you likely attend pre-school and have a private-school versus public-school education through your high-school years? Truth is, very few families make such long-range assumptions or consider planning based on these assumptions. But when you consider that private education from pre-school through college graduation could cost you upwards of $200,000 just for tuition, books and school-related fees. And when you add college (cost per year of $30,000-$50,000 in 2013) with medical school (cost per year of $40,000-$60,000), combined you could be facing total medical education cost between $350,000-$600,000 just to obtain the proper, required education for just one individual.

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The example is illustrated as followed: Pre-School Tuition $ 20,000 (Ages 3-Kindergarten) Private School (Grades 1-12)

$120,000

College Degree (Undergraduate)

$120,000

Medical Degree (Graduate School)

$120,000

Post College Support (Internship & Residency)

$ 50,000

$430,000

TOTAL COST

Now, what if that same family has four children? How about the living expenses associated with each during such an expensive education and career pursuit, however aptly suited the pursuer may be? Life Planning is an attempt to consider these and many other factors in order to produce a strategy on how an individual plans to save, invest, budget and spend based on their assumptions and designed goals. Unlike conventional financial planning that generally considers ones’ future goals, such as paying for a child’s college education, retirement and possible estate transfers, Life Planning considers so much more. 73


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A Kingdom LifePlan™ Considers The Following: 1. God’s Will for Your Life 2. Your Pursuit-of-Purpose or “P” 3. Comprehensive Inventory of All God-Given Resources 4. Family History (which includes Genealogy, Cultural Influence, Prophetic Utterances, and Experiences) 5. Financial Net-Worth (The True Picture of Your Total Assets) 6. Income, Glad-Giving, Cash Flow and Goals Using “P” 7. A Practical Strategy and Implementable Budget

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The LifePlan™ is designed to be the ultimate planning tool for fulfilling your purpose in life while facilitating and organizing the management of every resource entrusted to you. Through the LifePlan™ you consider your key goals as assigned to you by God, and you acknowledge Him in every stage of its implementation. Producing a LifePlan™ allows others to assist you in the pursuit of your lifetime goals. It is not a static, one-time planning technique but a living, modifiable tool that adjusts with your various life issues, whether major shifts and challenges or if your life-circumstances remain constant. Not only will you be able to fully monitor how you are progressing through every stage of your life-journey, but you will also be assured of having others help you whenever needed.

3. The LifePlanning Institute’s Support Services To accomplish full and manageable implementation of your LifePlan™, and in order to train people in its practice applications, the LifePlanning Institute (LPI) was established. Unlike conventional financial planning products and services which provide you with a modern-day plan, LPI works with you through every stage of implementation. Ideally, the process begins through a commitment to the Kingdom Life Approach educational program. This program introduces each LPI Associate to the biblically-inspired approach to living this life in a values-based and meaningful way through an in-depth understanding of God’s Kingdom and His plans for each person who seeks Him. This is what Matthew 6:33 exhorts Believers to do:

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“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all things will be added to you.� Once a person acknowledges God as Father, Creator, and as Author and Finisher of their Faith, they are ready to embrace His plans for their life. These plans require personal commitment to a process of maturing in Kingdom understanding and practice management. Now the student becomes intimately acquainted with God, their individual purpose and roles that each of us is required to perform in Kingdom service. These include acknowledgment that each of us are earthly stewards entrusted by God with gifts, talents and abilities which we must utilize in Kingdom service and that helps us mature, prosper and ultimately prepare for eternal fellowship.

After this process is completed, then the preparation of a LifePlan™ begins. During this stage, the Associate and LPI get even better acquainted as they pray together, agree as touching on matters relating to the Associates goals, 76


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purpose(s) and strategy needed to accomplish it. And, they collaborate through their Spirit-inspired attempt to develop a practical strategy for successful implementation. Then, as ongoing initiatives, LPI provides it’s LifePlan™ Initiates with life-long educational tools, continuing educational seminars, workshops and conferences, and the Associate meets with an LPI Advisor on a scheduled basis to ensure that everything possible is available to empower an Associate to achieve their Purpose.

A Life of Service The secret to Kingdom Living is choosing a life of service, and not just any service. Kingdom living is experienced only after submitting yourself to fulfilling the will of God and His purposes. Proverbs 19:22 teaches that while man prefers to devise his own plans [for his life’s journey], it is the purposes of God that prevail. So be wise and chart your life’s course accordingly. The simplest way is to live in submission to God’s plans, your divine purpose and by accepting those related assignments. While such a choice might seem contrary to your exercise 77


The Seven Keys To Living A Kigdom Life

of “Free-will,” it is not. More importantly, God says that “Obedience [to His will and plan] is better than sacrifice.” (Ecclesiastes 5:1). Doing things God’s way and subordinating your desire to do things your way, will lead you to live the best, most fulfilling life you can.

We are a Kingdom, and Priests to God, Our Father Remember that like Jesus demonstrated during His own earthly journey, a life of service is never about you. It is about living for the Kingdom of God; a Kingdom that you too are part of if you have accepted Jesus Christ as God’s only begotten Son, making Him your Lord and Savior. For such a modest price of admission, you are then afforded access to God’s redemption from all sin, sin’s nature and you are promised eternal life—which means eternal fellowship within the Kingdom of God. And, you will be privileged through Christ, to serve as Priest and King, positions of nobility and power reserved for those in God’s Kingdom. And, you can be certain; there is no higher calling or status for living than these. May God Richly Bless You! 78


Seven Keys To Living A Kingdom Life | By Willie Thomas Butler  

What did Jesus mean when he uttered seven of human history's most important words? "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!" (Matthew 3:2) This...

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