Sons & Daughters
As I was thinking over the last few weeks about my spiritual father John Paul Jackson and how much I miss him, I ran across this blog entry from 2015. I posted it about 10 days after he passed away, but it had disappeared because Patria changed website services. Thought I would repost it here just to have the archive:
One of the most difficult experiences of my lifetime was standing by the side of my spiritual father as he prepared to leave this earthly realm and make the transition eternally into the spiritual realm. On the 18th day of February, 2015, John Paul Jackson, left us to be with the Lord. I know that this loss was a shock to all of you, as it was to me, yet our faith is not shaken. Whether you had a direct relationship with John Paul or not, if you are a part of the Patria family, then he was a part of your lineage and he has left a legacy for you. John Paul was scheduled to be our guest speaker for the Lineage and Legacy conference in Birmingham in May just prior to our Patria Family Reunion and would have been our special guest at the opening dinner of our reunion. He was a spiritual father for all three of the current Patria board members (myself, Sam Biggar and Scott Evelyn) and for many of you. The inspiration for the formation of Patria came from John Paul's Association of Bridge Churches (ABC) and even further back from his Alliance of Related Ministries (ARM). In early 2013, when what had then become known as Bridge Ministries International (BMI) closed its doors, John Paul spoke to me, commissioned me to "do what is in your heart" and blessed the formation of Patria Ministries. John Paul was excited about what God is doing through Patria and what is on the horizon for us as a family.
While this article is intended to honor the man, John Paul Jackson, it is also meant to encourage the spiritual sons and daughters (and spiritual grandchildren) of that man and more importantly to honor the God of that man. Before we can consider the legacy that has been left to us, it is important to address the prevailing question that these circumstances inevitably raise - "Why?" A full answer to that question is almost impossible to provide, as the ways of God are much higher than our own and his wisdom so far exceeds our own that we may not fully comprehend the why of this loss until we enter into eternity ourselves and no longer need the question answered. The simpler answer to the question is that the Father brought John Paul Jackson home at the time when his death would have the maximum impact for the Kingdom of God. The enemy did not win a victory or steal a general from the church. God is sovereign and His plan has not been thwarted, nor hindered. Instead it has been furthered and our enemy who thought himself victorious has instead helped to weave another thread into the tapestry of life that will, over time, help us to see Kingdom of Heaven more fully. Much seed was sown through John Paul Jackson's life, but eventually, in order to produce a full crop, the grain itself must fall into the ground and die. (John 12:24) This is the best, and perhaps the only, answer that I can offer to that great "why" question.
Some have been disheartened by the fact that so many promises were made and commissions given to John Paul that have not yet been completed. With our natural mind, we call into question whether something went wrong or was a condition unmet. I want to encourage you to set that line of reasoning aside and recognize that John Paul finished well and that the promises made to him will not go unfulfilled. You are now a part of those promises, an inheritor of the richness of God's plan for the life of John Paul Jackson. As sons and daughters (grandsons and granddaughters) of John Paul, you too are commissioned and called upon to carry on the lineage making full use of the legacy you have been left. To understand this principle we need look no further than the lives of Elijah and Elisha. Few, if any, would consider the life of Elijah incomplete. It was a life well lived and finished with as much success as it was lived. Yet, a careful examination of the Word reveals that Elijah had unfulfilled promises and was commissioned to tasks that remained incomplete. In 1 Kings 19:15-16 Elijah is commissioned to go and anoint Hazael as king over Syria, Jehu as king over Israel and Elisha as prophet in his place. Look carefully and you will find no recorded evidence of Elijah fulfilling these tasks, or at least none that he fulfilled them in the way we would expect. It is the son, Elisha, who declares that Hazael will be king (2 Kings 8:7-15), and who insures that Jehu is anointed (2 Kings 9:1-10). When it comes to the anointing of Elisha we find no evidence that Elijah ever anointed him, but rather that he cast his cloak upon him (1 Kings 19:19). From man's perspective it could be said that Elijah had unfulfilled promises when he was taken or that he did not complete all he had been given to do (or perhaps that he didn't do it the way God had revealed it, in the case of Elisha), yet without question we consider his life "finished well" because the promises were fulfilled and the commissions completed through the life of his spiritual son, Elisha. In fact, it is from the story of this father and son that we come to understand the concept of a double portion anointing. So it is with the life of John Paul Jackson. While the father may be gone, the sons and daughters are recipients of a double portion and we will see the promises fulfilled in them.
Others are questioning why the prophecies and dreams concerning resurrection were not fulfilled. Again, I want to encourage you that our understanding is in part and when we see more fully we grasp a deeper meaning in these words. So many times at the loss of such a strong ministry leader, the life of the ministry itself is at risk of dying with them. Reflection upon the many revelatory experiences that were perceived so as to indicate that John Paul Jackson would live or be raised from the dead, seems to now have significant application to the purpose and mission of Streams Ministries. I believe with all my heart that the core values of the ministry started by John Paul will see new life and begin to be released at an even greater level as sons and daughters take up the mantle and step out to fulfill a destiny affirmed in them by their spiritual father. Further, I believe the work that Streams ministries has been called to accomplish will not perish, but see a resurrected mission that carries on the legacy of one of God's great generals.
"Jesus left his divinity to show us what we can become and make a way for us to become it. That spiritual legacy is what I'm to do as well. Had Jesus not done what He did, we would have no legacy but evil and darkness. What He did allowed a legacy filled with the light of God to be left to our children, our great-grandchildren and as many generations until He returns." - John Paul Jackson on Daystar.