The School has Ended And…

Often when ministering either the leader I am working for or the Holy Spirit will change topics or directions at the last minute. When this happens I sit down quickly and jot down what I believe needs to be said with regard to the changes. This means relying heavily on the Holy Spirit at every turn – and there are many turns when it comes to ministering trans-locally… many last minute changes and adjustments.

On this trip alone – in the last ten days we have been in Ukraine – every day has seen major adjustments to topics, schedules, locations, events … it reminds me of an old non-Bible proverb: “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be broken.” The Holy Spirit is faithful and He always allows things to turn out well for those being ministered to even if it is a bit of a stretch for my faith and my abilities. This simply means being more dependant upon God and not relying on my own wisdom and understanding.

So, we plan and prepare and then trust God to do what God does best. And, He is faithful and powerful and always blesses His people. This is especially so when it comes to His leaders who have sacrificed much for the Gospel and give and give every day for the Kingdom. When we come together, as we have this past week, to learn and grow in the things of the Lord He truly does meet us where we are and bless us with His presence and with great wisdom and understanding. Paul speaks in Ephesians, Chapter One about “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ” and that aspect of the Holy Spirit has certainly been very evident here this week at our School for Apostles and Prophets (in training).

Thank you for praying and standing with us in faith for this powerful week and the School. It is so important to surround these events in prayer and we appreciate you standing with us on a daily basis. God truly does answer prayer. Today (Sunday) we spend a day with New Generation Church in L’vov (the same city where we have been holding te School) and we have one service to minister at. We have been asked to speak about the prophetic. We will, of course, minister prophetically. Please be in prayer for this church and their pastor Alexander Zhuk as well as our main team members who, after two weeks of ministry, are beginning to show some wear-and-tear. Many thanks.

How To Love Better

As I travel to many nations in the world I am finding many young “ordinary radicals.” Just plain and simple young men willing to give everything they are to the King and the Kingdom. These young men are simply trying to figure out how to love better. Well, better still, they are trying to love better, to risk, to dream …. they are simple pilgrims, radical disciples of the Lord Jesus and wild revolutionaries who want to see “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth…”

It is in such stark contrast to many who claim they are believers and who live their lives as if Jesus did not exist or is powerless to change them and change the world in which they live. I believe there is coming a time when people who claim to be believers are going to have to make some fairly basic choices about the way they live – starting with who Jesus really is to them. I believe that is the real root problem in many areas of the world – a cultural Jesus not based in Scriptures but a “god of our own making.”

Paul warns us of this issue in 2 Corinthians when he writes about another Jesus, another Gospel and another spirit. I believe we are guilty in many ways of following and being influenced by all three. As I read the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus and take the time to meditate on and think about what I am reading I discover a different Jesus, a more radical Jesus, than the one spoken of in most churches and the one followed by most believers. I see a Jesus who wants to destroy religion, set people free from all bondage (including religion), and who wants to celebrate life with His people on a daily basis as they work through the typical events and happenings of every day life.

I find a Jesus who expects a great deal from those who say they are His disciples; He expects them to take up their cross every day and follow Him regardless of where He takes them. He expects them and us to be “salt” and “light” and to impact and influence our world. He demands total and absolute obedience without questioning what He is asking us to do. He demands that we die so we can live; that we give so that we can get; that we love as we are loved. He offers us the greatest challenge any human has ever been offered – to win the world for Him one person at a time. I see a Jesus that makes me uncomfortable at times and yet a Jesus that I really hunger to follow completely. A powerfully attractive and challenging individual that captivates my heart totally and to whom I gave my life many years ago.

I believe, at least for me, that it is seriously time to re-examine the Jesus I follow and bring Him more into line with the revelation of God we see in the Gospels and then to rededicate my life to loving and serving Him. Time to become a radical follower of a serious Radical.

End of Week Two and…

It is Saturday and our School is shutting down at noon today after five great days of teaching and growing in our callings as apostles and prophets. Not only did we have our own team members at the School but we also had some visitors who came to see what we were doing and to “feel out” Ralph Howe Ministries. This was fine and they fit in very well with the student body and everything that was happening at the school between and after sessions. We have a lot of fun and fellowship when we meet like this.

We are, of course, somewhat tired as this is also the end of our second full week of ministry here in Ukraine. The main team stays on here in L’vov for Sunday at New Generation Church and then one team member heads back to Canada while I and another team member head into Russia to minister in two places for another seven days before heading back to our own nations. So, with an afternoon and evening without ministry today we will have an opportunity to think, pray, and go for several long walks just to talk… and then rest a bit so that we are ready for a new place tomorrow – a local church where we have never ministered before.

Today’s prayer requests: For safe travel for all the students and team members heading home today – by plane, by car, by train, and by bus. For good weather and a safe trip with many opportunities to share Jesus with prophetic input as they travel. For the remaining team – that we will be refreshed in the presence of God this afternoon and evening and ready to minister tomorrow… For next week’s ministry in Russia. We really greatly appreciate your time in prayer for us and these wonderful nations.

It Is Not How Much You Do

I love what Mother Teresa once said: “We can do no great things, just small things with great love. It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into doing it.”

Gandhi use to say: “What we are doing may seem insignificant, but it is most important that we do it.”

In other words – we are called to be faithful in what God has asked us to do and to do it with excellence no matter how insignificant it may appear to be to us and to others. We are called to do things out of love for the Father who loves us with an everlasting love regardless of whether others notice us doing it or not. We are called simply to serve the “least of these” and know that it is the same as doing it unto and for the Father and Jesus.

That’s all ministry really is – serving others with the right motives and the right heart. Not for public recognition; not to be noticed; not to be thanked; not to be paid; not to be thought highly of – simply to serve because you love Jesus that much and want to express your love by serving others. This is one of the ways we can tell if someone is truly born again and in love with Jesus. Does the person love the community of believers enough to become involved in the lives of others and serve them whenever and wherever they see a need.

I travel a lot and minister upfront and publicly every day while away from the home office of this ministry. However, in spite of all the public ministry and changed lives I see and get to be a part of I still get the greatest blessing from the conversation with the young worship leader an hour before worship starts in the morning; handing someone some money to help them pay for their food at a conference because I know they are short of funds; hugging someone who has never known a dad and does not have a spiritual father to relate to; blessing someone by simply staying behind when everyone else goes home and talking for an hour or two about them and their ministry.

You see, it is really true: “We can do no great things, just small things with great love. It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into doing it.”

So, I have been thinking about the many little things that I do that seem so insignifigant and often pointless. The things that go unnoticed and often, I am sure, unappreciated. But that’s how I like it as then Jesus gets all the glory and I can just be a quiet servant of the Lord and receive my thanks directly from Him. I honestly don’t need to be noticed and think that the behind the scenes and after hours ministry are often much more satisfying than what happens in front of the video camera.

A Great Supernatural School

Pictured – a young couple from Russia whom God blessed with numerous miracles to allow them a week with us. They were called out as an apostle and a prophet in January of this year on our last Apostolic visit to Eastern Europe.

We are quickly coming to the end of the School for Apostles and Prophets (in training). Today is day five and tomorrow we end at noon and have the sad task of saying good-bye to a great bunch of students with whom we will have spend five great days. Powerful and life-changing days. Days that have changed all of us forever.

50 people hungry for God studying God’s Word, worshiping, fellowshipping and praying together for a week is simply an amazing thing to be a part of. We have had many, many hours of teaching and the Lord has brought new light and fresh revelation to many familiar passages of Scripture. The Holy Spirit has moved powerfully and ministered prophetically, ministered healings, brought reconciliation and forgiveness, and fresh boldness and courage to many of our younger students. God is truly at work preparing His Church for some terrific times ahead – dangerous but powerful times.

I have personally been amazed at what the Lord has shown me personally about my ministry and what He is planning to do and how He is working to open new doors for us to walk through. As well, it has been amazing the level of revelation He has allowed me to walk in as I prophesied over young people during the sessions as well as when I walked with then before and after sessions and during the breaks. These informal conversations were just as or even more anointed than the four teaching sessions a day. I have been seriously blessed to be a part of the School.

These Schools are very expensive to run and are definitely a drain on our resources. However, it is worth every dollar (Grivna) we invest. These twice a year one-week schools are still one of our most powerful ways to influence the future of the Church in the former Soviet Union. Thanks for praying and for standing in faith with us for the finances needed. Thanks for giving sacrificially as well.

Today we would covet your prayers for the School, the students and staff, the staff of the mission whose facilities we have rented and who have served us well with the meals and facilities, as well as for my team. We will continue to minister here in L’vov after the School ends on Saturday afternoon. We will minister in a local church until Sunday evening. Then the team splits up with some heading home to their particular countries and I will be going with my administrator into Russia for the last week of the three for this trip. You are a serious blessing to us – thanks for praying.

Sprinkle It With Faith

I am simply facinated by the prophetic. I am so glad that the Lord gave us this wonderful gift and that each and every Spirit-filled believer can prophesy. It is such a powerful gift and so life-changing. It is simply awesome to know that we, as believers, can hear the voice of God (John 10:10) and speak what we hear from His heart into the heart or spirit of another person and thereby release the very life of God into that person.

It is good to remind ourselves that when we receive a prophetic word God’s Spirit begins to work in us to bring about change. The Word is always the fixed and we are the variable. That has been so true in my life. As I have been believing and cooperating with the words spoken over my life I have seen many things change in me – desires, dreams, likes and dislikes, personality traits, how and where I do ministry… the list is almost endless. I am simply not the person I was 10 years ago or even 10 months ago. The prophetic word is active and powerful and brings about situations and circumstances that help each of us to become more like Jesus and walk closer with Him as we fulfill His plan and purposes for our life.

As I travel from church to church and nation to nation; as I minister to crowds of people, small groups and individuals; as I speak to people in airports, on planes, in coffee shops and restaurants, I am amazed at the power of the prophetic. It opens doors to share the Gospel with unsaved people; it blesses and builds up those who know the Lord; it stirs up churches and leaders of churches and brings fresh life and enthusiasm into their ministry; it refreshes, encourages, and propels people into their God-given destinies.

If you have received a prophetic Word from the very heart of God and have not looked at it recently; would you do yourself a favor and dust it off right now and re-read it? Pray about what you read and begin to apply your faith towards seeing it happen. If you have “sort-of” ignored the Word it has been lying dormant waiting for you to sprinkle it with a little faith and thus allow it to begin its creative and life-changing work as the Spirit of God brings it to pass in your life.

Prophetic words are powerful instruments of God in our lives, churches, communities and nations … listen to the heart of God and agree with what is being spoken and watch your life change for the better and your world become a little brighter. And, if you have not had a fresh word in the last few years – find a church that believes in the prophetic and let the Lord refresh you in His presence and with a personal Word to you – and your faith will grow as “faith comes from hearing the Rhema (now Word) of God.” (Romans 10:17)

Thursday and the Beat Goes On

It is Thursday and I have now been on the road with this current apostolic trip for 8 days. We are into our forth day at a six day School of Apostles and Prophets (in training) as we train, equip, teach and mentor about 50 students of various ages in their callings as apostles and prophets.

Today I am also making contact with a tremendous man of God from the Kiev area who ministers all over Ukraine and has seen our DVDs of a previous school and would like to open his ministry to me and help me to enter into many of the churches in Ukraine hungry for true apostolic ministry and the prophetic. He will open many doors for us in this nation where another man almost two years ago slammed shut many doors we already had open to us …

This wonderful man of God has been in our sessions today just listening and getting a feel for what I do and later today we will talk and begin plans to connect with the many churches all over this nation who trust him and would thus welcome my ministry as well. God is good and what man intended for evil God has turned into good – just as he did with Joseph in Genesis and just as Paul spoke in Romans that “all things work together for good to those who love the purposes of God” and I certainly do love God’s purpose to seek and save the lost.

You could be praying today for this meeting and for these last three days of the School here in L’vov, Ukraine. Pray that God’s will be done here as it already is in Heaven and that the sweet fellowship we have been experiencing all week will continue. As well, pray that the powerful teaching anointing would continue to grow and accomplish all that the Lord brought us together to do. Your prayers are greatly appreciated.

Come and See

Someone asked Mother Theresa about her work in Calcutta, how it was going, what life was like and her answer was classic: “Come and see.” In other words, if you want to see Christianity lived out among the poor on the streets of Calcutta it is best to come and see what is happening for yourself rather than have someone simply tell you their personal stories from their perspective. Her suggestion to enter into an incredible adventure working with the “poorest of the poor” was the best way to see and understand what she was truly doing and what her ministry was all about. In fact, this was also how you would discover what she was all about.

Someone has just shared about Jesus and His ministry yet Philip’s friend Nathanael does not believe the reports he is hearing. Philip simply says to him, “come and see” (John 1:46). If you want to know if what I am sharing with you is true – come and see for yourself. It is always the best way – to enter in to the experience personally and come to your own conclusions after having had your own personal experience.

An angel took the same approach – in Matthew 28:6 – when speaking to Mary. He said to here “come and see” the place where Jesus was buried inside the tomb. He added something important after making his initial comment … “Then go and tell...” (Matthew 28:7) and this is so, so important. When you have come and seen then it is important for you to go and tell others what you have experienced and your conclusions and invite them to become a part of it by coming and seeing for themselves.

Jesus uses the same “go and tell” comment in Matthew 28:10 instructing Mary to let the disciples and other followers know what she has just experienced and seen – that Jesus has, as He said He would, been raised from the dead on the third day.

As we have a daily experience of His love and encounter the hand of God in our life and the affairs of life – we too should be sharing our stories with others who do not know Him. This is, of course, called a testimony. Then, we should challenge them to “come and see” for themselves – come and experience the Living God for yourself. Of course, when they do they will see that Jesus is alive and is who He said He was and they too will then hear Him say “go and tell.” That’s how the faith and the Gospel spread from place-to-place.

Peter wrote it this way: “But you are the ones chosen by God … God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you...” (1 Peter 2:9 The Message Version).

That’s our call – to “go into all the world and share Jesus…”

School of Apostles and Prophets

I am in the City of L’vov which is a very beautiful and ancient city in western Ukraine. It has a population of 1 million and is much like you would expect an ancient city to look like – beautifully designed buildings from the past when they decorated every corner and every window with wonderful art work. The streets are very narrow and often cobblestone and the buildings are seriously close together.

Last week when we first arrived in Ukraine I ate in a restaurant in the heart of the city where there are many universities and colleges. The restaurant – two complete levels – was full of university students with laptops, iPads, and text books studying while eating a meal or simply have a coffee or tea with other students. Today we are taking our students from the School of Apostles and Prophets (in training) into the city from the mission center where we are living and running our School into the core of the downtown area for a trolley ride / tour where with earphones all of us will hear the tour guide in our own language and have some of the history and architecture explained to us. Just a break from the four long sessions we have a day … half the afternoon touring this beautiful city.

Our students come from many nations of the former Soviet Union and due to the policy of the U.S.S.R. they all speak Russian. So, all the students can fellowship, talk over the joint meals, get to know one another in the dorm rooms … it is great for team building. Many of our team members (now numbering over 125) were not able to come to the School due to work and university classes. However, we are video taping all of the sessions and will package them up – ten full videos are sold for under $20.00 due to the lack of adequate income here in this part of the world. We are, of course, subsidizing the taping (cost of equipment and staff), production (editing, etc.) and duplication (we have the equipment and do it ourselves donating the raw materials and the labor). We are simply doing all we can to facilitate the spreading of our teaching and training material into all 15 former Soviet Union nations. Thank you for being a part of all this through your financial and prayer support.

Prayer requests for today: For the continued growth of solid and godly relationships between the students and for Ralph and Miroslav as they continue to discuss the details of the expansion of this ministry into new countries and wisdom for scheduling and organizing future trips as they respond to the many requests for ministry.

In the Hands of the Living God?

From my desk in my study (you can’t even find or see my desk in the office) it looks to me like some time back we stopped living Christianity and just started studying it. Soren Kierkegaard, the nineteenth-century Danish philosopher spoke about this when he said:

The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words of the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.”

Jesus said, “Unless you come like these little children (full of trust and simplicity) you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” And, sometimes we have studied the very simplicity right out of the faith and the New Testament. And, like Paul stated: We need to be careful less “we be deceived and walk away from the simplicity that is found only in Christ.” How fast we are, with the help of our many Christian books and wonderful scholarship, to simply walk away from reading God’s Word, heeding it in our hearts – and believing it such that we actually apply it to our lives and live the truths we discover in our everyday lives. It is meant to be that simple.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love to read good books – classics, current good literature, Christian books that have depth and substance (narrows the field a lot)… but FIRST I like to read my Bible and hear what God is saying before finding out what others might be saying about what God is saying. Going to the Source of Life and experiencing it seems to be much better than simply reading or talking about life. Just my opinion and I am certainly open to hearing yours …

For me, I would rather live my life in the hands of the living God and spend time alone with the New Testament finding out, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, what that life should and does look like. Discussions and arguments are many – but there is only one Source of life and as I go to Him and walk with Him daily – His Words teach me how to live that life in very practical and everyday ways thus influencing and impacting my world.