A few months ago I was listening to Havilah’s Cunnington teaching about Seers, Feelers, and Knowers. (I believe that she is writing a book, which I can’t wait to read)
To be honest when I have previously heard this language used I have tended to use it to disqualify myself. Whereas I know that some will have heard it as a qualification. Well this time it was different, as I heard Havilah paint a picture which I could relate to. It was especially when talking about Seers that left me able to leave the meeting encouraged. Although I have as yet not seen angels with my eyes, I began to realise that I am indeed a Seer.
What I heard that day gave me a title for how I see. I am going to call it a Strategic Seer. Alongside that I also saw that I am perhaps a Pragmatic Prophet, and of course in addition I do prophecy, although I do not consider myself to be a holder of the office of the Prophet.
Before I explain it is important for me to say something. Whatever public and ministry use of the gift of prophecy, it must I believe be based on the 3 principles of Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:3.
“But the one who prophecies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging, and comfort.” (NIV)
In other words, the prophetic word, however it is received by the one prophesying should leave the person receiving the word, encouraged, strengthened or comforted.
It is also essential to me that the word is given in the context of a good God, seeing what God is doing, emphasising what is right with the world, and biblically aligned. We may receive something challenging, or seemingly negative, but we all have a choice of how we deliver that word. It does nothing for the hearer to speak about their possibly obvious sin but it is of great encouragement to speak hope, life, purity, and righteousness over them.
I have grown in my awareness that I see the emerging patterns and themes of life connecting to past themes, which in turn lead to me to believe and speak into the future.
Strategic thinking takes the best of the past, with an awareness of the needs and circumstances of the present and declares into the future. That thinking influences what and how I see.
Let me give you an example. Around the time of the Jesus People movement in the 1970’s there was a convergence of circumstances:
Anti Government sentiments
Anti war (Vietnam)
Assassination of a President
Sudden explosion of sexual freedom, and drugs etc..
Decline in church attendance
There are some similarities today, so what do I do with them? I suggest that we can look at these circumstances and the following revival as a source of great encouragement. It can become the source of a declaration: Do it again. Or as the prophet Habbakuk said, “Revive thy work in the midst of the years.” Hab 3:2.
Similarly I can look at the current challenges for the church in Europe, the circumstances of the continent and as I look at revival, reformation, and renaissance history see patterns emerging which give me hope and encouragement.
We can review a season of history from the plagues of Europe, the hopeless poverty and then see the raising up of John Wesley and the revival which he led. This was closely followed by a season of great reformers including Wilberforce, Nightingale, Cadbury, Howard, Morris and many others.
It is not in my view difficult to find these strategic themes and use them to speak life and hope into the future of our nations.
Pragmatism is more about seeing what is. Some perhaps find this limiting but I want to suggest that it can be a source of insight and hope. A popular example of a prophecy which many of us have heard is: “There will be a billion soul youth harvest.” I love this. It sounds impossible doesn’t it? So why would I so firmly stand upon it? Let me give you one simple fact. This is the first time in history that there have been a billion youth alive on the planet. It has quite simply never been practically possible before.
What I do in circumstances like this one is I take the scripture: 1 Cor 15:46: “First the natural and then the spiritual.” In this case I use this scripture for discernment purposes. Its actually possible in the natural, so let us believe for it in the spiritual.
As you can see I am probably not speaking something which has never been seen or heard of but by seeing strategically or pragmatically, I add the heart of God and create a declaration based on what I am seeing.
Another example is perhaps a combination of Strategic and Pragmatism. We have adopted the language of different generations and their characteristics. Starting with baby boomers, we have now moved through the millennials and are now at Gen Z. Unbelievably some of the millennials are now Grandparents! Each of these generations has tended to be given a stereotypical set of characteristics. Interestingly my observation is that although they may start with the age group those characteristics do spread out to the whole of society alive at that time. I for one adopted several of the traits of millennials including artisan coffee and vinyl records.
So what can we begin to say about Gen Zee or Zed!! The simplest I have heard is that they want truth, authenticity, and involvement. As soon as I heard this I was encouraged. Quite simply I saw what this age group are asking for and saw that they are three great needs of the church. I hope that their desires spread to all of us alive at this time.
We so desperately need a restoration to truth. Sound biblical truth upon which all else can be built. Secondly we need authenticity, in an age where we can live an alter ego life via social media there is a hunger for the real thing. And thirdly that while we need leaders, we do not need leaders on pedestals but leaders who involve everyone, erasing the division of secular and sacred, and demonstrate and empower a priesthood of all believers.
I want to encourage you to study the past in the light of the present and use it to declare hope into the future, be a Strategic Seer and Pragmatic Prophet and look at what is occurring in the natural and use it to fuel your prayers and declarations for the needs of our world. You may also find that it will bring life to your studies and teaching, it does mine, especially as I read the commentaries written by todays authors, and use them to gain insight and understanding.
By the way I will continue to leave the prophesying of future leaders, super bowl winners, and major world events to the ‘professionals!’