If It Works, It’s Right (Part One)

In the 1960’s Hugh Hefner’s motto “If it feels good, do it” became the slogan that characterized a generation, my generation. It was not right or biblical but it did become part of the foundational beliefs that a whole generation built their lives upon. This, of course, undermined the authority of the Scriptures which really declare the absolutes that determine what is really right and what is wrong.

Today we live in a different time and space marching to the beat of a totally different drum. Today people do not ask “Is it true?” but rather they ask “Does it work?” They have redefined truth as “whatever rings true to your experience, whatever feels real to you.” (Rick Richardson – Evangelism Outside the Box)

So, they have defined and test whether an action is right or wrong – not based on some objective standard like the Ten Commandments – but simply upon the desirability of the outcome. In fact, seventy-two percent (72%) of them believe that “you can tell if something is morally / ethically right for you by whether or not it works in your life.”

This, of course, is not biblical.

When Joseph, the son of Jacob, was a slave in Egypt and was propositioned by his master’s wife, he did not pause to ask himself, “Would this work for me?” Instead, the Bible records his response: “How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9)

When David, who had sinned with Bathsheba and then engineered the death of her husband, was confronted by Nathan the prophet, David did not say, “Nathan, it works just fine for me, so don’t try to impose your morality on my behavior.” On the contrary, once his action was exposed, David responded in no uncertain terms, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12:13)

When Jesus, who was overburdened with the imminence of his execution, cried out to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, he did not protest, “This isn’t working for Me!” No, instead he said, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup of suffering away from me. However, Your will must be done, not mine.” (Luke 22:42).

Today – a generation makes their decision by the credo, “If it works, it’s right.” But God’s perspective of reality says, “If it’s right, it will work,” for if you “Obey [God’s] directions, laws, commands, rules and written instruction … then you’ll succeed in everything you do wherever you may go.” (1 Kings 2:3) Ours is a cause-and-effect world in which God communicated to us His ways, ways that are based on universal – not pragmatic – standards. His ways protect us from harm. His ways provide safety and blessing for us. But today people don’t see it that way. And their distorted perception of reality is not only flawed; it also leads to hearache and suffering.

More in this tomorrow…

My First Book

Over the past few editions of the e-newsletter that has gone out from our office to our readers I have been slowly recording my thoughts on the Church as we see it today and the Church as it will be in the future. I have been looking at the way the Church functions today and setting out the contrast – the way the Church will be functioning in the very near future. I have been comparing the PASTORAL MODEL with the APOSTOLIC MODEL.

Well, on my recent trip to Kazakhstan we were asked to teach on apostles and the Church. This was the first time anyone has asked us to speak on the whole topic of apostles and the way the Church was designed by the Lord, her Founder and Head, to function. A bit scary as we had never done this before, the team member from Saskatoon (a wonderful and powerful apostle) has studied the topic as have I but we have never compared notes and ideas … and never “produced” a definitive teaching on the subject (which is so immense anyone would find it hard to nail it down to a few specifics). However, we jumped in and both taught a number of sessions on the topic of Apostles today. It went well (humble opinion).

One of my teachings involved some of the material I have written for publication in my e-newsletter but also included a lot of information and concepts that were still simply rough notes (I carry them with me most places I go in case I have time to work on developing the thoughts). As I gave 30 or so points of comparison between a pastor-driven Church structure and an apostle-lead Church model from my rough outlines I have been working on for years I could feel life being released. There is no other way to describe what was taking place in the spiritual realm.

As I spoke and shared I sensed life rising up in me – the very life-giving force of God…the power of God as found in the Word which is “living and sharper than a two-edged sword”. My heart was pounding and my spiritual heart was excited and expectant – as if something was being birthed and released. The people were excited and receiving life – it was just so evident that there was a deposit being made into their lives by the Holy Spirit. They were leaning forward in the natural and the spiritual just sucking in the information and it was bringing instant change and transformation. A holy moment in the Kingdom of God.

Afterwards the feedback was immediate, exciting, positive, powerful and gratifying as I had taken a risk and bared my heart and soul teaching material that I have nursed for many years and was not planning to release or teach for some time to come because it was still growing and developing in my heart and soul. However, God apparently had other ideas.

There was an immediate demand for written copies of what I had spoken on. They don’t exist – other than in scribbled formats on the back of scrap paper, restaurant napkins, and margins of my Bible. However, I did promise to bring some order to the teaching and begin publishing the material on my web site.

Since this time the Lord has spoken very clearly to me that this material is the form the first of many books that have been prophesied over my life in the past few years. I have had numerous prophetic words telling me to write a book – then it became books … and I have not found or made the time to do so. I have five or six ideas and even some raw material researched and sorted for several of the books – but have yet to set aside time to write. Lacked interest. No sense of emergency or urgency. Simply can’t be bothered as I am busy enough without this added work.

However, this is THE topic that I feel for and that brings excitement to my heart and mind and that I would be willing to invest time in writing about. This is more than another teaching or more insights from the pages of Scripture. This is life itself and the future of the Church (if I can be so dramatic – some would say melodramatic) and so there is an ungency in my spirit about this one book and I see a serious need in the Church today for solid foundational teachings on this subject.

So, starting January 1, 2010 I am setting aside a part of every week to write this first book of many … and I am excited about the thought of authoring a book for the first time since I heard ten years ago that I would be an author and writer.

Prayer would be much appreciated – pray that I sort through all the activities I am now involved in and know which ones to purposely neglect. Pray that I will hear the voice of the Holy Spirit as I write and thus it will be a supernatural book and not just another book of opinions and man’s ideas (and I have lots of ideas and thoughts). Pray that, when finished, it will find a readership (a market) and begin to impact the direction of the Church and the way it is being built. Pray that the funding be in place to self-publish in both English, Russian and Spanish (working with the prophetic word from August 2009 which stated the U.S.A. would be opening to this ministry and many people living in that nation speak Spanish). Pray that the opposition in the spirit-realm to this work be minimal and that it will not slow down the work that needs to be done.

Thanks for partnering with me in this exciting new adventure. And an adventure I am sure it will be.

Concerns Needing Prayer

Over the course of history it has become fairly evident that the last “move of God” is often not in favor of the current things that the Holy Spirit is doing on the face of the earth. Our God has such variety that He often does things differently in one time or one place than He does in another time and/or place. He loves to surprise His people and seldom does the same thing twice in exactly the same way.

Therefore those involved in what God was doing often declare that the “current thing” is not of God – or are simply critical of what happens and the way it happens. I am not talking here about blantant biblical error as things must always line up with the Bible and be in line with the plans and purposes of God for His Church as stated in His Word. I am talking about the “what” God is doing and the “way” God is doing it. Each move seems to misunderstand and therefore “persecute” the new move of God as “this is not what we believe” or “this is not the way God moved for us.”

In a few places we meet opposition to what we are doing as apostles in the churches that invite us. This opposition is never from the place we are the ministering or the leaders we are serving but always from those involved in their own ministry which perceives that we are stepping on their territory (even though we were invited). The people we are serving have always been 100% supportive, encouraging, and pleased with the way we serve them, our hearts, and the ministry that we have while with them.

We are, of course, careful to teach only what the Bible states is truth. We are very careful to set out what God says about apostles, prophets, five-fold ministry, prophecy, and all that is involved in properly handling a prophetic word that you receive. We do not teach in secret – but are very public about what we believe and what we sense God is doing today. In some cases the churches where we teach post the teachings (written and audio) on their web sites. Yet, still we are blamed for things that happen after we leave because someone mishandles their prophetic Word and does not do what we taught them to do ith it.

So, we field questions, give answers, teach the same material over-and-over again… making sure that we are clear about what the Bible teaches on the subjects we are asked to cover during services and at the various schools we teach at. But still, we have those who disagree with us – and don’t speak directly to us but do gossip and spread rumors and thus offenses to many others in many places. We deal with them in ever new place that we go – they have heard about the concerns and disagreements before we even arrive. So, we gently explain what we really teach and that we are not responsible if one or two misuse their prophetic words and don’t follow our teachings and biblical advice.

One such issue that continues to brew and poison many – and which we discuss and answer questions every place we go to minister – seems to be becoming more and more confusing. The people involved are apparently spreading a good deal of untruth about what we do and how we do it. It has the potential to affect our ministry in a major way (would appreciate your prayers) and maybe even shut us out of some churches if things are not resolved – and it looks more and more like it won’t as it is very hard to undo the damage gossip and rumors do to a reputation. And, each time I hear about the situation the issues being spoken about with others are not the issues I was asked to discuss in person with those involved – we have a shifting and ever-changing agenda and evolving issues that simply become more and more complicated.

In the middle of the last trip we have just finished (Kazakhstan) this topic came up once again. The pastors asked questions about what the issue was between this group and our ministry. One of our team answered as best he could without breaking confidences (he is a member of both our team as well as part of the leadership team of those involved in this current issue). And, we spoke together about what is happening and what is being said and done a number of times during our 16 days together – including one very long meeting which took up a whole morning that we had “off”.

This, of course, can be (and is) very tiring and draining. It can, if we are not careful, absorb a lot of time, energy, and emotion. It can also effect the prophetic ministry that we are very deeply involved in and that forms a major part of what we do when we travel – because these feelings and thoughts can cloud and thus effect our ability to give a clear and clean Word of the Lord to people and churches that we are ministering to.

During this past trip overseas this became a major prayer concern and the Lord spoke to me very clearly. He reminded me that He opened the doors for me to come back to Ukraine and now these other nations. That man did not open these doors – He did. Then He gave me the verse found in 1 Corinthians 16 (verse 9) “…for there is a wide-open door for a great work here, and many people are responding. But there are many who oppose me.” So, I am standing in faith and believing that because God opened the door that even if man closes some of the avenues for ministry overseas that other doors will supernaturally open and welcome our ministry as we preach and teach about the ministry of apostles and prophets and the wonderful gift of prophecy …

Please stand in faith with us – that this work will continue to go forward in the Lord regardless of the opposition and that the hearts of man will be revealed and truth will prevail. Right now this issue is a very important one for this ministry and is heavy on my heart.

The Problem Today With Believers

We have made Jesus Savior and not Lord. We have “purchased” a ticket to Heaven by saying a sinner’s prayer or have had an emotional experience at an altar call in some service or event that was being held. We believe we have had our past forgiven and that everything is now alright between us and God. That we are righteous and that nothing more is required of us because someone told us this was the case.

But are we really just fooling ourselves about what it means to be a Christian? Was there any true repentance? Did we experience godly sorrow? Was there any quality decision to follow Jesus regardless of where this may take us? Are we willing to “die to self”? Have we honestly “counted the cost”? Taken up our cross? Or are we simply safe and saved and sitting – content and comfortable?

We make Jesus our personal Savior and think we are safe and eternally secure knowing our final destination after we die. But we don’t see any outward change brought about by an internal transformation. We are like those Paul mentions to Timothy who “hold to the outward form of their religion but deny the power thereof…” to bring personal life change and inner transformation. Instead we are happy to declare Jesus is our Savior and that we are born again believers.

Being a born again Christian is more than declaring Jesus as our personal Savior. In fact, the Bible states that we must know Him as Lord and even declare Him as Lord of our lives. Then, live as if he really is Lord of everything. Afterall, by the definition of Lordship He is either Lord of all or not Lord at all.

Lordship is key to a solid foundation in the Christian faith – and to true conversion to this radical faith that is to transform us into new creatures in Christ and ambassadors for His Kingdom in the domain of darkness.

This is not, in my mind, optional. This is not just for those who are called into ministry. This is not just for those who become fanatical or radical or over the edge in their faith. The Bible talks about Lordship – making Jesus Lord of your life as basic to the Christian faith and our walk with Jesus who is Lord.

Romans 10:9-10 states: that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

NOTE: “confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord…” and not just as Savior.

Therein is the problem with believers today – and thus with the Church. They are still running their own lives and making decisions based on their own will because Jesus is their Savior but not their Lord. Well, that may not be exactly the case. A person needs to ask themself if it is possible to have Jesus as Savior if He is not also their Lord. Can we separate Lord and Savior? Can He be one and not the other in a person’s life? I personally do not believe so. I believe that biblically He must be both or He is neither. That could mean a great many who call themselves born again believers might not be and might still be living in their sins and not destined for Heaven when they die.

Lordship means that when we are saved and that we declare by the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus is Lord. By doing so we are recognizing that we have come under new ownsership and not just new management. He (Jesus) now owns us totally. Everything we are belongs to Him. Everything we have is His. Our hopes and dreams, our future and our possibilities are in His hands. He owns all of us – past, present and future.

I believe that to fulfill one’s prophetic word one must have made Jesus both Lord and Savior and not just one’s Savior. That is why many who receive fantastic prophetic insights into their futures – the possibilities, the opportunities, the potential that they have in the Lord – never see any of it come to pass. I believe that Lordship is one of the basics that must be established and lived out in a person’t life before God’s plans and purpose for a life can come about and actually happen in the person’s life.

The born again Church is in trouble. Individual believers are in trouble. And thus the world is in trouble because we are the change agents that the Lord works through to transform the world and bring others into His Kingdom and yet we do not know Him as Lord, do not hear His voice, are not obeying all that He has commanded us to do, and are not walking in our own destiny and the plans and purposes that He has planned for us …. We have some changes to make before “His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” becomes a reality and “His Kingdom come” becomes an actuality.

I believe that we are NOW entering a season when changes in the born again Church will begin to happen rapidly and many will come to the place where they can truly say that they have declared Him as Lord. We are entering exciting and challenging times in our walk with the Lord Jesus!

A Personal Note to My Local Church – the 6th of December

It is good to be home and among God’s people here at my home church. While away for 18 days ministering in 47 services and many meetings I was constantly with others who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We belong to a very large family with very special people many who are very different than we are – however, this is my home and I feel closest to those with whom I have been worshipping now for almost 30 years. You are my immediate family in Christ and so it is good to be home.

I hope that you are sensing the change in the spiritual atmosphere here at The Sanctuary. There is an ever increasing assurance … a “feeling” of definiteness … an expectancy … a “God is up to something” expectance. It is very real in the spiritual reality in this assembly and it is the very opposite to the general spiritual atmosphere that permeates our Canadian culture. And I have to be honest – I have not sense it anywhere else in this nation or, for that matter, anywhere in North America. However, I have sensed it a number of time recently in my trip to Kazakhstan.

The same expectancy and anticipation was there among one specific congregation in the city of Karaganda (means “black rock” as it is located in a coal mining area). Just one place and one group of Christians but then it only takes a few who are open to partnering with the new thing that God is doing to actually bring about major changes in a nation and in the world.

So, it is good to be home – and to sense exactly the same spiritual reality right here and now in this group of believers that I recently sensed in one church in Kazakhstan. We are in for some very exciting times as we enter a new season and a new move of God’s Spirit and see apostolic power with accompanying miracles, signs and wonders become a daily thing among His people. It is going to be exciting and seriously dynamic.

Right and Wrong – Personal Choice and Standard

I like Sean McDowell’s experiement that he did once with some young people in a Christian high school to help the students look at the fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The resurrection being an objective fact and one that should be looked at objectively – examining the evidence.

“I placed a jar of marbles in front of them and asked, “How many marbles are in the jar?” They responded with different guesses, 221, 168, 149, and so on. Then after giving them the correct number of 188, I asked, “Which of you is closest to being right?” They all agreed that 168 was the closest guess. And they all agreed that the number of marbles was a matter of fact, not personal preference.

Then I passed out Starburst candies to each one of my students and asked, “Which flavor is right?” As you might expect, they all felt this was an unfair question because each person had a preference that was right for him or her. “That is correct,” I concluded, “the right flavor has to do with a person’s preferences. It is a matter of subjective opinion, not objective fact.”

Then I asked, “Is the resurrection of Jesus like the number of marbles in a jar, or is it a matter of personal opinion, like candy preference?” Most of my students concluded that the question of the resurrection belonged in the category of candy preference. I concluded the experiment by talking about the nature of Jesus’ physial resurrection – that if we were present at the cross we could have felt the warm blood of Jesus trickling down the wooden planks or even watched him take his last breath. And if we were at the tomb on that morning, we would have seen the stone rolled away and the loincloth of Jesus sitting inside. I reminded them that while many people may reject the historical resurrection of Jesus, it is not the type of claim that can be “true for you, but not true for me.” The tomb was either empty on the third day, or it was occupied – there is no middle ground.”

Here is the problem. People today are applying to all questions a mode of thinking that is legitimate only for certain types of questions. While tastes in candy are certainly a matter of personal preference, that does not mean that questions about truth can be determined the same way. Truth is either objectively true and conforms to reality, or it is simply not truth. Personal preference does not affect the question at all. The attempt to determine spiritual and moral truth by personal preference will lead to certain disaster as it did in ancient Israel in the time when “everyone did whatever he considered right (Judges 17:6 GWT). The resulting anarchy led to unprecedented depravity and the near annihilation of one tribe.

Treating universal truth as personal preference is disasterous because God never intended us to see scriptural truth as optional or to position ourselves as the sole arbiters of what is right or wrong. But that is precisely what people today are doing, and consequently, they are making wrong choices … while thinking they are right.

It is called lawlessness and it is certainly not new. But it is what we are facing in our churches and in the world today. Recognizing this as a current reality and fact will help us to adjust our approach and methods so that we can effectively communicate our message which never changes. Be wise – stay alert to how your culture and society is changing and adjust your methods accordingly.

Next Overseas Trip

Next Trip Overseas – yes, even while on the trip that I have just come back from (Kazakhstan) I am thinking about and working on the next set of meetings I will be ministering for in Eastern Europe … I am working in Ukraine in four different churches. We thought we had it all nailed down for schedules and timing and thus routes (trains, planes and buses) but just before leaving for Kazakhstan one of the pastors found out he has a course to attend in Kiev during the time originally scheduled for the meetings in his church. Part of a degee that he is working on. So, we will be working on shuffling all the events to allow us to still fit everyone in but just in a different order. Thank God for an administrator.

This mid-January 2010 trip I will be teaching on the three sets of gifts (motivational, charismatic, five-fold) and focusing during the latter part of each seminar on the gift of prophecy, of course. This is normally a four day seminar when you add an interpreter saying everything you are saying and opportunities for questions and answers. Paul states, “concerning spiritual gifts brothers I would not have you ignorant…” and there is a great deal of ignorance about the various gifts of God and so this seminar is needed in many places. However, on this trip I have to squeeze the teachings into three days due to the scheduling of events.

Then, I end the trip with a week of meetings teachings on dreams and visions and their role in the prophetic. In other words, how does God speak through dreams and visions. We will be focusing specifically on visions as the pastor who has requested this seminar recently taught on dreams in his local church. People attending will be asked to listen to or read these teachings before attending as this will form a great foundation for what I hope to be teaching.

I say “hope” because I have only recently begun the research for this week of teachings and so still have a lot of reading and writing to do between the 1st of December when I arrived home from this trip to Kazakhstan and the middle of January when I fly back to Eastern Europe. I enjoy reading and researching, writing and editing… but sometimes the time it consumes can be somewhat overwhelming. And, with everything else that needs to be accomplished here at Ralph Howe Ministries as we continue to change and adjust to meet the daily growth this ministry is seeing – quality time is often difficult to find. However, I firmly believe in hard work and am willing to give it the old “college try” which may mean some all-nighters (gee, I remember those well).

As we are looking at our schedules for 2010 we are fully booked for our overseas works. Others are now asking us to come and we hope to extend some of our 15 to 18 day trips by a week (can I squeeze that many clothes into the two suitcases?) so as to accomodate the new requests that come in almost weekly. And, of course, none of these trips is yet fully funded – but, we trust God and He has never failed us in supplying all the needs for each trip. That means 7 (or now more) trips to Eastern Europe in 2010. Thus, we are already negotiating and booking 2011 and 2012 and beyond.

Add to this a serious request from Pakistan and a possibility (very “ify” still) from central Africa and you have a seriously busy year facing us … and we are excited about all of it, believe me! The downside of this planning and scheduling is that many places asking us to come are going to have to wait until mid-2012 before we can actually get there. And, that bothers me in my heart but I am not sure there is actually anything I can do about it at the moment. I am training my leader for a second team as fast as I cvan so that we can cover twice the territory and twice the opportunities than we now can do but it will be another year before Miroslav is ready to transition into this role – but we are already amking major adjustments each trip to facilitate his training and speed it up if at all possible.

It is really quite a process that we go through when invited to a place to minister.

First we need the clearance of the Holy Spirit to go … but then this is the usual process – listen to those who call asking us to come, hear their heart, sort out the real needs that they are working on meeting. Then, discuss our role in this and what they would like us to focus on and accomplish (goals, vision). Following that – assuming we still have a green light – we start to talk about expectations such as what we are expected to pay, what we are expected to do each day, living conditions, who will be in attendance (leaders, general population), types of events (leadership training, outreach and evangelistic crusades, local church or network of churches…). So many things to consider. Each of them can be the stop sign should the Holy Spirit indicate we are the wrong ministry or it is the wrong time or we are simply being taken for a ride (it does happen – used and abused). If the light stays green then dates are determined and we start praying for the money to cover all costs up-front and start asking God for the team members who should be with us for this particular ministry opportunity.

I think that is about the flow of what happens – don’t really give it a lot of thought as we do it so “automatically” watching for the stop and go signals as we plan and negotiate. Your prayers for both the current paid staff of three (I still work without a salary or income from this ministry), the formation of teams from the group of 40+ men and women I am training and mentoring spread over four nations, the actual planning and then the research that goes in to all these opportunities once they are accepted and agreed to, and the funding or financing of these ventures – your prayers would be greatly appreciated.

The ministry is growing fast as is the serious opposition to it. Sad but a fact of life when you are doing something new and different for the Lord. But, I will not be distracted by the opposition as the Lord has assured me that He will work things out and that He is the One who has opened the doors and that He will keep them open. Should man close them – He will open other doors for this ministry and we will continue to minister with more and more power as we expand our apostolic sphere to include many needy local churches.

It really is a rather massive undertaking with many facets that need daily attention. It can make an old man like me very weary if you think about it too much. But, like Caleb I want to “take the mountains” and plan to continue being a pioneer until the day I can say, as King David did, that I have fulfilled God’s plan and purpose for my life in this generation. I am excited, enthusiastic and challenged and hope to remain so until the day I go to be with the Lord many years from now. I am learning and growing every day and hope to continue to do so until I have run the race and crossed the finished line.

The greatest days are still ahead as the Lord always saves the best wine for the last.

All Moral Truth Is Up For Grabs – Postmodern

All moral truth is only truth when you choose to believe it. That is what people believe today – young and old. In the absence of foundational training, people have been influenced by a philosophy that permeates much of our society – government, schools, movies, television, and music – and guides much of our behaviors without us even being aware of it. This extremely complex, often contradictory, and constantly changing school of thought can be summarized as the prostmodern belief that: moral and religious truth does not exist in any objective sense.

Instead of “discovering ” truth in a story (such as the Bible) that presents a unifed way of looking at life – postmodernism rejects any overarching explanation of what constitutes truth and reality.

Truth – whether in science, education, or religion – is created by a specific culture or community and is “true” only in and for that culture.

Individual persons are the product of their cultures. That is, we are not essentially unique individuals created in the image of God; our identities are defined by our culture (Eastern, Western, European, urban, rural…).

All thinking is a “social construct.” In other words, what you and I regard as truths are simply arbitrary “beliefs we have been conditioned to accept by our society, just as others have been conditioned to accept a completely different set of beliefs.

Any system or statement that claims to be objectively true or unfavorably judges the values, beliefs, lifestyle, and truth claims of another culture is a power play, an effort by one culture to dominate other cultures.

People have not so much consciously adopted these concepts of truth as they have absorbed them over time. This cultural mindset has permeated every level of today’s society – everywhere.

So here is the problem … people have adopted a view that “all truth is relative to the individual and his/her circumstances.” So while a person may be willing to state that certain things are right or wrong; they believe that it applies only to them personally. People no longer believe in an absolute moral standard or moral truth. They do not believe there is a truth outside themselves that determines right from wrong. They do not believe there is a universal truth that is right for all people, in all places, at all times. Each person has been given the right to do and to say what that person thinks is best for him or her.

Gee, that sounds like the book of Judges where “each man did what was right in his own eyes” and I do believe we could call that lawlessness– at least that is what God calls it.

Here is the major issue for born again believers:

We believe in absolute truth and that God (a Source outsdie ourselves) has set that standard for us. Thus we are not free to decide for ourselves what is right and what is wrong. This is not a personal or cultural or societal choice. It is not a private matter but a matter of fact and stated record.

So, unlike today’s society in which we live that believes that no one should be allowed to impose his or her own ideas of what is right and wrong on another. We believe, as born again Christians, that we have the objective truth and therefore the only truth and that without this truth one will not be living a life pleasing to God and will not be going to Heaven to be with God after this life ends. And, we believe therfore, that we must tell others about this objective truth and He who is Truth and literally convert them to our way of thinking. We are out to change the world – one person at a time.

As a result of this postmodern mindset – Christians are therefore now considered to be narrowminded and bigots who are judgmental and divisive. Our book, the Bible, is being declared hate literature and we are finding ourselves persecuted for what we believe or, at the least, simply written off and ignored as one fringe element of society that is no longer being tolerated or accepted.

This is the challenge that we face as born again believers today in many nations around the world. And, we must rise to this challenge and continue to declare the absolute truth as set out by a Source outside of ourselves and our immediate culture – God Himself. Truth that declares loudly that Jesus Christ is God and is the only way to salvation and eternal life – a personal relationship with God now and forever.

We must declare the answer to humankind’s basic needs and not be intimidated by a culture that is against all that we believe. We must not “go quietly”. In fact, we must go into all the world and declare the real and absolute truth. It is imperative that we do so and seriously urgent that we do so now. It is seriously time to stand up for the truth as seen in the pages of God’s Word, our Bible.

Sony E-Books

I have just finished a book on Sarah Paulin who ran for the Republicans in the last presidential campaign as the running mate for John McCain. (Called “Sarah” by Kaylene Johnson). It covered her life from birth through to her first two years as governor of Alaska. She was some spunky lady. A Roman Catholic who got saved and became a wonderful example of a Christian who allowed her values and beliefs to impact her life and her politics and who never backed down from standing up against corruption and any wrong that she could see. I would like to read more about this woman’s life and her work to influence the direction of her nation so I think I will purchase several of the newest books out about her – in the old format of actual paper and having to turn literal pages.

What made it more interesting was that it was the first book I read using my new Sony E-Book Reader. This is where you download current books in e-book form and read them on an electronic reader. I have downloaded a number of free electronic books (Goggle has over ½ a million public domain books on line for free downloads). My next book to read – most likely on my way home from Kazakhstan – will be Robinson Crusoe by Daniel de Foe. It is always good to revisit the classics.

This e-book reader is about to be replaced by a newer edition with touch screen technology. This one works on menus, numbers and buttons and works just fine, thank you. And the neat thing about this particular brand name of e-book reader is it allows you to move your own documents across to it and so I can teach and preach from a small tablet in my hand and without paper notes. This will help when overseas as I will no longer need to carry pounds of paper printouts of my teachings … Yes, I could have used a computer (laptop) and preached off the screen but most “pulpits” where I work in my own country and overseas are actually music stands and not built or stable enough to handle the weight of a laptop. The e-book reader is lightweight and can be held in one hand for long periods of time thus enabling my movement in the pulpit or around the pulpit and allows me to walk closer to the people and make better visual contact.

The new technology out today is allowing preachers who keep up with what is available to really do a lot more in a shorter time and do it with greater excellence than ever before. However, the cost of keeping up – time invested to learn the new technology and money spent to purchase it – can be a little unsettling. In my work overseas and my preparation beforehand it is becoming increasing necessary to be up-to-date and working with the most modern technology. I can now take all of my teachings and research material with me on a very large hard drive that is smaller than a pack of smokes, plug it in to a laptop that is faster and has more memory and capabilities than my desktop which is also fairly new and I can upload my teachings for the day onto the e-book reader and carry something that fits in the back pocket of my jeans to work from for three services or teaching sessions a day for a week, a month or a year even.

Now, I just need time to organize all my computer files better so I can actually find what I am looking for when they switch topics on me suddenly – which happens frequently here in Eastern Europe as we all learn to work together and flow with what the Holy Spirit is apparently doing.

Our Last Sunday – Kazakhstan Day 17

They announced that visitors were not allowed to take pictures of the service or the people. Only the one appointed by the church was allowed to snap pictures. Otherwise you might be working for the religious authorities and taking pictures so as to pinpoint who is at these services and then begin a systematic hassling of the believers for this activity of worshipping the Lord Jesus in the way that we do (in other words in a non-Russian Orthodox Church).

We have two services today. 10:00 to 2:00 and 4:00 to 7:30 (not 8:00 as we need to drive to the airport). People are hungry and we will work hard. The morning I will have some fun and give my testimony – about 5% of what God has done in my life as otherwise it would be a ten hour teaching. Then into ministry – prophesying over the church. The leaders have already received prophetic words from us within the last year as they travelled to Ukraine and were in some of our meetings there. The evening Bob will be teaching a great teaching on what to do with your prophetic word (we teach it everywhere we go as it is very essential to seeing the prophetic word fulfilled) and then more prophecy.

We arrive back in Almaty after a short hour long flight (and we were 45 minutes late departing) and so it was a late night or early morning – 1:30 a.m. Monday before settling in for some sleep. Monday will be an active day of meetings and events and not come to an end as immediately the last meeting is over we head to the airport to begin flying home. Check-in at 12:00 midnight and first flight out at 2:40 a.m. and we are on our way to Canada via Astana, Kazakhstan, Frankfurt, Germany and Calgary, Alberta.

The brothers from Ukraine fly out at 4:20 to Turkey and then into southern Ukraine. They then get on trains and buses to arrive home in 36 hours. We arrive home in 51.5 hours from leaving the car in the airport parking lot to getting in the car in my home city (Monday midnight to Wednesday at 3:30 a.m. body time). I will be tied and jet lag will definitely effect the first day or two that I am home.

However, nothing new as this happens on all trips to the former Soviet Union.

Follow-up blogs as availability to the internet allow.