Each moment of time possesses its own, unique character and flavor.

Let me quickly give you a reference point:
In the late 1960’s and early ‘70’s there was the “Jesus People” movement.
In the ‘80’s, the buzz word in the Church was “Charismatic Renewal.”
The ‘90’s brought a new word: “Renewal,” along with “Toronto Blessing” and “Brownsville.” And now that we have breached the barrier of a century, the new words are “Apostle” and “Prophet.”

Of these two, the first, “Apostle” is the hot button in many Christian circles. There are innumerable “Apostolic Networks” today along with countless “apostles” touring the world with their “Traveling Revelation” shows.

Publishers are busily cranking out books written by or about modern day apostles. Conferences and Seminars and Conventions are everywhere promoting their apostles, celebrating them and letting the whole world know their identities, their anointings and their attendant spheres of authority.

Churches that want to keep up with “all the nations” (see 1 Samuel 8:5), whoops! I mean, want to keep up with the avante garde, on the proverbial “cutting edge” are naming, coronating and proudly proclaiming their own apostles.

And these apostles travel en entourage with faithful assistants and administrators and man-servants waiting on their every need. These apostles dine in the finest restaurants and recline in the finest hotels. They travel first-class all the way ‘cause, after all, they’re apostles!

And moving along, in the midst of and beyond the recognition of these would-be spiritual giants move - The Apostles.

So don’t get me wrong: Please don’t misunderstand me or misquote me: I’m not dissing Apostles. Au Contraire, I’m just a bit suspicious of “a” postles (catch the difference: “A” postles versus “a” postles – you know, big A and little a....)

I was sitting on the front porch of a home in Amish country in the Midwest of the United States. It was a hot July afternoon and we were just finishing a great picnic lunch when a pastor asked me, “What is an Apostle?”

I took a moment to spit out a watermelon seed while I thought about his question and then said, “An Apostle can best be identified by how difficult it is to identify him.”

Before the questioning pastor had time to respond, I continued: “An Apostle is best heard by noticing how hard it is to hear him. He is best noticed by discovering how unnoticeable he is.”

I took another bite of cold, sweet watermelon and gazed out over the rich, black soil across the road, leaving my pastor friend to digest my answer to his question.

I don’t know what he was thinking at that moment. Maybe he thought I was a fool, or naive’ at best. I don’t know.But I do know that the Apostles I’ve met – and there are precious few real ones that I’ve ever met – never had a print shop make up gold embossed business cards with the title “Apostle.”

There are a cool few verses of Scripture in Ephesians that speak to this issue: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:19-22).

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, out of date, out of sync. I don’t know; don’t really care, either. The older I grow, the more I’m intrigued with buildings – you know, the construction, how they’re put together. I’m interested in the concept of “house” and “temple” and “building.”

And the Apostle called Paul talked a good bit about these structures. He was talking about the Church of Jesus – you and me – when he described what we’re built upon. He said that the foundation – probably the most important part of a building, yet the least noticed or seen – is made of the stones of “apostles” and “prophets” and Jesus Himself.

Tell you what: Next time you take a drive out to some “Street of Dreams” or cruise through a neighborhood of classy homes, pay attention to what you notice about those homes. I’ll guarantee it won’t be the foundations; they’re never adorned with scalloped carvings or the floodlights’ focus. No, it won’t be the foundations you notice - they’re mostly hidden, just like the foundations of the church.

“What is an Apostle?” Well, the watermelon’s long gone and it’s not a hot afternoon in Iowa, but my answer remains the same as it was that memorable July day: “An Apostle can best be identified by how difficult it is to identify him.... An Apostle is best heard by noticing how hard it is to hear him. He is best noticed by discovering how unnoticeable he is.”

In His Grace,

Greg
 

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