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{Podcast Episode 5} Building From Heaven Down v. Building from the Ground Up

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

We often lean on our own wisdom, knowledge, and experiences to build our identity, ideas, careers, purpose, ministries, and businesses from the ground up when we should be seeking first the kingdom of God, and building from heaven down.

Join Shekinah as she dives into more of the 1140 story with lessons on how to build from heaven down with patience and faith for what God has planned for your life.

Are you planning your own journey into the promised land or allowing God to guide you?

Let's get right into todays' Truths & Promises.

Visit our Podcast page to listen online, Google Podcast Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.

Show Notes:

Psalms 119:105: "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

Matthew 6:33: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

Numbers 20:14-21: Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom, saying:

“This is what your brother Israel says: You know about all the hardships that have come on us. 15 Our ancestors went down into Egypt, and we lived there many years. The Egyptians mistreated us and our ancestors, 16 but when we cried out to the Lord, he heard our cry and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. “Now we are here at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory. 17 Please let us pass through your country. We will not go through any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the King’s Highway and not turn to the right or to the left until we have passed through your territory." But Edom answered “You may not pass through here; if you try, we will march out and attack you with the sword.” The Israelites replied:“We will go along the main road, and if we or our livestock drink any of your water, we will pay for it. We only want to pass through on foot—nothing else.”

Again they answered:“You may not pass through.”

Then Edom came out against them with a large and powerful army. Since Edom refused to let them go through their territory, Israel turned away from them.

Romans 12:2: "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Get Caught Up with Episode 4: BonnetPrayerGang Conversations: Leaning into your Christian identity with JohnnaNichelle & TscienaTown

Building From Heaven Down v. Building from the Ground Up - Transcription


Hey y'all Hey, thanks for tuning into this week's episode of the Truths and Promises podcast. I usually open up these episodes by telling you how excited I am to do this, but I think you all get the point by now. I'm still excited, but today we're talking about building from the ground up versus building from heaven down.

Now, this idea of building from the ground up sounds very noble. You start from scratch. You take an idea, and you build, build, build until it looks good. This idea of building from heaven down. Quite honestly, I don't know of many people that think of it this way, but I think these two are the difference between a good idea and a God idea, which I know is a topic that other people discuss often as well. Like, is it you who's building out this idea, or is it God who's doing it because there, of course, is a difference between the two? The potential of both ideas and the success that will be experienced by going one direction or another.

Now, this whole idea of building from heaven down is one that I encountered first for my father when he started our now ministry, His Touch Restoration Training Center. He started with the idea and the directive from God to build that ministry from heaven down. When I started to build out 1140. My thought was okay, I'm going to do this the same way.

I'm going to build this ministry from heaven down. Shout out to all of the "riders" that have been with me on this 1140 Glory journey. The folks who have been a part of the power team, which is our conference planning team, the folks who are still in the trenches, helping me to develop and create. And bring to life this vision called 1140 Glory that God gave to me almost four years ago now. I guess it has been a total of four years now. So shout out to those folks because some of them rode with me through God ideas and good ideas. I mean, we're not gonna talk too much about this, but 1140 has taken on many different shapes and figures and purposes and missions. I mean, at the core, 1140 has always been the same story with the same mission and purpose, but it had a lot of different faces. We had a webinar series, we had an online membership, we had a Facebook group, we had another conference roll out of the main 1140 Glory conference, and all of these other iterations of 1140 were all really, really good ideas. I mean, we built those babies from the ground up. The marketing was on point. The websites were fire, the webinar topics; I still believe all those webinar topics were definitely got ideas and not just good ideas because they were always so timely. But there were some other aspects of our approach to the organization that weren't exactly aligned with building from heaven down; they were very much so aligned with our knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of trends and marketing, and all of that is good and has its place, but its place is after seeking God to make sure this is the direction that we should be heading in. Building from heaven down sounds like a beautiful idea. But if we can be real, it's extremely uncomfortable because oftentimes, when you're building from heaven down, you don't see the full picture. You don't see how everything is going to play out, you know the end goal or the end result, you know the purpose, but you don't always know how you're going to achieve that thing.

This really comes to life for me in the 1140 story, which I mean, duh, like everything I do and think about connects back to the 1140 story in some way. But when Moses took the Israelites into the wilderness, the promised land was the purpose, right? That was the goal. That was the big idea. That's where they were headed. That's what they were about to do. So we already knew what the in sort of looked like, a land flowing with milk and honey, but how they would get there was so unclear who knew they would spend 40 years in the wilderness. Who knew that they would have to build a tabernacle, who knew that there would be a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire that guided them along the way, and whenever that pillar stopped and rested over the temple, then they would also have to stop and rest. Sometimes for days, sometimes for weeks, sometimes for months and then, you know, for 40 years. Who knew these things. He didn't know these things, but he had one step in one direction. Oftentimes when I think about building from heaven down, I think about the scripture that says, "he will be a lamp unto your feet."

If you put a lamp down near your foot, you can probably see the next step you're going to take or the next two steps you're going to take, but you don't see the full path and all the steps you will have to take to get to where you're going. So building from heaven down sometimes is extremely uncomfortable because there is sort of a lack of clarity, but even in that lack of clarity, there is abundant peace of, okay, we're still moving in the right direction.

We know where we're going. I'm following God's directions. I'm not truly sure how I should be doing this, but something tells me that what I'm doing right now, following God's directions, is good enough. So building from heaven down is super uncomfortable because of the lack of clarity, but also because it requires so much patience.

As I was thinking about this again, I connected it back to the 1140 story, but I also connected it to Jesus' experience in the wilderness that we talked about in our first episode on Matthew 4, both Jesus and Moses spent 40 days and 40 nights, Moses was in the mountains, Jesus was in the wilderness, seeking God.

They were seeking God on that next big idea. Jesus was seeking God about the ministry. Moses was seeking God about moving these folks through the wilderness to the promised land. And they spent 40 days and 40 nights in that space. Oftentimes, and I will be honest, this is me. We go in and say, God, give me clarity.

We go in for a 15-minute prayer. I mean, if you're feeling real holy, you probably go in for a two-hour prayer time, and you expect to leave that prayer time with a clear, laid-out plan of, all right. This is how you want me to do it. This is how it's going to work. This is going to be the outcome, but y'all Jesus, Jesus was talking about the Messiah here, spent 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness seeking God. When I started calculating this, now the numbers don't really matter. So don't get caught up in that. God can provide clarity in two minutes; God can, you know, provide confirmation, you know, in 30 minutes, in one day.

So don't get caught up in the numbers, but this helped me to realize that the amount of time I was seeking God to build out a vision, a ministry, a picture of what he had given me may not have been enough. I shouldn't have been thinking of it as a microwave. Okay. He's going to give it to me in this year, and it's going to pop just like that.

No. That's not necessarily how building from heaven down works. So listen to these numbers here. So 40 days and 40 nights is equivalent to 960 uninterrupted hours. Okay. And if at our best, we spend three solid hours with God on a weekly basis. Now I get these three hours from. 30 minutes a day, plus an hour and church on Sunday.

If we spend three solid hours with God on a weekly basis, that is still 320 weeks or 6.2 years that we would have to spend getting closer to the vision and getting closer to that 40 days and 40 nights of testing that Moses and Jesus had to go through before they got the fullness of what God wanted to provide to them in that moment.

And we being this microwave generation and people think that we should be able to flesh out a God size idea in a six-month launch plan. That's what building from the ground is like; it's like, I've got my six-month launch plan. I know exactly the marketing techniques that I'm supposed to use and how I'm supposed to do things, but that's not what happens when you're building from heaven down.

It requires patience. It requires the understanding that sometimes you will lack clarity. Sometimes it will look like nothing is happening and nothing is moving. I wrote a book some years ago, four years ago, everything happened four years ago, called the Start of Something Glorious. And I mean, the book popped for a little bit amongst my friends and family, and there were some random folks that read it and reached out and were really touched by it. But in my mind, that was sort of it, I mean, I wasn't searching for much for that book, but You know what happened was good. It was great. It buzzed for about a year. Just this year. Someone reached out to me and said, "Hey, I didn't notice, but I've had this book since 2019, and it's one of my favorite books that I now buy for other people who are recently baptized. And I didn't realize you were the author." And I was just going; who knew people were still purchasing this book. I was like, who knew, you know, I would meet someone in a completely unrelated field who had read the book and now still consistently purchases it for other people.

Crazy. Right. But that's what happens with God ideas. They take patience, they may not pop in the moment you expect them to pop, but eventually, the potential that's hidden in there will come to life and will be fulfilled. I heard my pastor say recently that potential needs power. And if we unplug from our power source, that being gone, then the potential can't be met.

It's like this microphone that I'm using to podcasts right now; it's a great microphone. It picks up wonderfully, but that's because it's plugged into power. And if I were to unplug it, it would no longer meet its potential to be a great podcasting mic. It would just be a hunk of metal that does nothing.

So there are so many times we have good ideas that have so much potential, but if we unplug from our power source and we start building from the ground up, and our own wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, and we stop building from heaven down, that's when a lot of those God ideas can just move to good ideas that don't actually meet their full potential.

The scripture asks us to seek first the kingdom of God and all its righteousness, and everything else will be added unto us. Now, when we start to seek first the kingdom of God, we stop moving in our own wisdom, and we started moving by God's spirit first and foremost. That's what it means to build from heaven down.

As I was studying Numbers 20:21, I noticed what I would consider the perfect example and juxtaposition of building from the ground up versus building from heaven down. So in Numbers 20, this is what we see, Moses and the Israelites are asking the King of Edom to make passage through their land. Moses writes this beautiful diplomatic, very wise letter to ask permission to make passage through their country. The King of Edom responds? No, the Israelites respond back, saying no, no, no, no worries. We're going to come through. We're not going to touch anything. If we touch anything, we'll pay for it. We only want to pass through on foot. Nothing else. We're not bringing any problems. So they start their journey through the land. Again, Edom responds. No. And then Edom comes out against them as the scripture says with a large and powerful army. And when Edom does that, the Israelites are forced to turn around and take a detour from the promised land.

So they were headed towards the promised land and then because of their diplomatic interactions with Edom. They are forced to turn around and head back. Then in Numbers 21, what we see is one of the Canaanite Kings attacks the Israelites, and he captures some of them as they're traveling along within that Canaanite land and country.

When this happens, the Israelites make a vow to the Lord, and they say, if you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroy their cities, which is a deeper conversation but aligns with the commands that God has given them. So the Lord listens to them; it's what the scripture says and hears their plea and gives the Canaanites over to them, allowing them to defeat them.

These two stories are both about passing through foreign land towards the promised land. So they're both about a mission, a vision, accomplishing a particular task, but the first story in Numbers 20 is about building from the ground up, whereas the story in Numbers 21 is about building from heaven down.

The big difference we see here is that Moses and the Israelites decide to seek God in the second story. In the first story, they use their diplomacy, their wisdom, their knowledge, their understanding of how things work. They go about building out the strategy and making a plan without consulting the Lord first.

And so, when they hit a wall, they don't even bother to ask God for help. This is the same as moving from the ground up. Thinking that we can build out the visions and make it to the promised land and our own wisdom, capabilities, strategy, knowledge, intellect verses in Numbers 21, we see them as soon as they hit the wall, as soon as they are attacked, they look up to God, and they say "help us." They start to pray. They start to plead, and then they are successful. So this is the difference between building from the ground up and building from heaven down. Building from heaven down requires fearless faithfulness. Fearless faith and fearless faithfulness.

It means you're not afraid of what the future may hold. You're not afraid of success. You're not afraid of failure. You're not worried about the outcomes. You're not worried about the counts. You're not worried about the income you're, you're fearless when it comes to those things, you're worry-less, but you're faithful to what God has called you and commissioned you to do.

Building from heaven down also requires that you surrender your timeline. Okay. We've talked about patience. We talked about the 40 days and the 40 nights and how that actually equates to about 6.2 years for those of us who are only seeking God three hours a week. You have to surrender your timeline. You have to surrender that six-month launch plan and know that when it's supposed to happen is when it will happen. God's divine timing is everything. You also have to surrender your own picture of what you think that promised land or that glory actually looks like. You have to let go of that picture. You have to refuse to compare it to other pictures and versions of what you're building so that you can truly focus on building what God has called you to build. So many times and building 1140, I looked at so many other organizations and how they were doing things, and then I started to model this organization after that organization. And then once I realized that I needed to scrap all of that and start over again, 1140 started to take its own shape, its own personality, and it's still growing, so I still don't know exactly what it's going to look like by the time it meets the full potential that God has for it.

But I'm trusting and believing that I don't have to conform to the ways or the behaviors of this world, but I can allow God to transform me and this organization, according to Romans 12:2. And that's how we have to start to think about building from heaven down, whether you're building your identity, building your career, building out your purpose, building a ministry, building a business.

It needs to be from heaven down. It needs to be from that place where you know God through his word; you know him intimately enough to know what he is placing on your heart to do. That passion, that fire, that drive, that fervor, that heaviness. That's what he's calling you towards. Building from heaven down requires that we trust God that we trust God in ways that we can't imagine because only through knowing him and trusting him can we obey Him and all that he requires of us. Only then can we obey him in a wilderness season where it looks like we're in a dry and barren land and nothing is happening.

Building from heaven down requires that we lean into faith. Faith comes by hearing. So it's okay to go look at other organizations and folks and hear their testimony and see how they built. But then you need to come back to God and hear exactly how He is directing you, how He has designed you, how He is designing, whatever you are building at this time, and know that you can build that from heaven down versus the ground up.

Yes. Some of the wisdom on marketing and engagement and all those good things. They're really great. Right. And there's a place for that, but there is also an important thing that you must know about building from heaven down. I think a lot about Noah's Ark and how crazy that looked to other people. But if he would have built from the ground up, looking at the weather, looking at the people, listening to everyone else, he wouldn't have been in a place where God had called him to be when the floods came.

So, because he was building from heaven down and following the instructions that God had given him, then when the floods came, he was the only one that was prepared. I think about that in terms of the Israelites as well. We see an Exodus as they're leaving Egypt, God's instructing them to take all the finest linens and the silver and the gold, and in their minds, they might've been thinking, but aren't we headed to a promised land.

Why do we need this? Or once they got into the wilderness and realized they were going to be there for however long, they were probably thinking, what are we going to do with this? There's no one coming to buy this. There's nothing we can do. What's the point of having these fancy clothes, but as God gave them the instructions to build the tabernacle, then following His initial direction, that probably made no sense in the moment was pure perfection. God's ways are better than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. And if you want to see the full potential that he's placed inside of you, your ministry, your business, your connections, then you need to build from heaven down. I hope you explore this idea more with folks who come on to this podcast and even with you, so feel free to reach out via Facebook, join our Facebook group or come and hop on our website and leave some comments along with the show notes and blog, and you know, we really want to engage around this idea. How have you been building from heaven down? What do you think about the idea of building from heaven down versus building from the ground up? Have you seen this difference in your life and how it's manifested in different ways?

Let us know. We want to know. See you all on the next episode.

As always, I'm so happy that y'all could take a listen to today's episode of the Truths and Promises podcast. If you want to connect with me or 1140 Glory, go on over to There you can find show notes under our blog section, sign up for our email lists or join our online community.

If this has blessed you, or if you have topics that you want covered, let us know in the comments of the blog. And lastly, If you got anything, something, no matter how big or how small, from today's episode, then be sure to share it with one of your friends and one of your family members.

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