I’m Out Of Here

A hero of the faith died a week and a half ago quietly passing from this life into the next. Cecil John Glover of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan died at the age of 79. Although he passed from this life into the next quietly it was definitely not quiet in Heaven. All of Heaven broke into rejoicing as they welcomed one of their strong warriors into their presence. 

I met Cecil almost 40 years ago when he was sharing his testimony at a Full Gospel Businessman’s banquet. He often did share his testimony at their banquets in the many cities and towns where there was a group wanting to impact the business community with the Gospel of the Kingdom. Cecil would show up and just be himself. With guitar in hand he would lead worship, sing about his relationship with the Lord, share what the Lord had done for him as well as what Jesus was continuing to do through him.

For many years Cecil and his wife travelled extensively in Canada and the United States singing, preaching, teaching, and ministering. He had an amazing impact on many lives wherever the Holy Spirit took him. He was always sensitive to the voice of the Spirit and obedient to whatever he heard the Lord speak.

Cecil was an evangelist and a worshipper. But he also pastored a church in Moose Jaw for many years. A church that was a part of the network of churches that I founded and still lead. Many times Cecil would come to our church in Regina to minister, to teach, encourage, and to share. He was always upbeat, positive, and such a blessing to all of us. His music was amazing. Simple but amazing. A sample of his many songs is found in the link at the end of this blog – from his album “I’m Out Of Here.” I thought it appropriate as I remember this amazing man of God. For truly he is ‘out of here’ after having “fought the good (and long) fight of faith.” 

It was an honour to know Cecil, to have him minister to my people, and to minister on occasion to his people when he was pastoring. He was an amazing man of God and warrior for the Kingdom. Many people today are part of that Kingdom because of his sacrifice and ministry. As a result, he leaves a tremendous legacy behind. His funeral was help last Thursday and as I sat and listened it truly was a celebration of who Cecil Glover was and is. Enter into your rest Cecil. You of all people deserve it!

We will meet again …

Fight the Good Fight from Cecil’s “I’m Out of Here” album

            https://youtu.be/PAbyFIDdykg

The Journey

I believe that life is a journey. And, that on this journey we should always be moving forward. That means we should be learning, growing, changing, becoming more mature. I am in my early seventies and I am continuing to change and grow. I have a hunger to read and learn. I am interested in so many things and want to experience new things on at least a weekly basis. I get bored really fast and this helps me to continue to move forward on the journey.

I recently read an amazing and candid book called “Becoming” by Michele Obama. I am not a political person and read it because it was recommended highly by my sister and her adult daughter. It was an amazing read. Michelle Obama is an amazing writer and has had an amazing life both before and after her eight years as First Lady of the United States of America.

In her book, the epilogue, she writes, “At fifty-four, I am still in progress, and I hope that I always will be. For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end. I became a mother, but I still have a lot to learn from and give to my children. I became a wife, but I continue to adapt to and be humbled by what it means to truly love and make a life with anther person. I have become, by certain measures, a person of power, and yet there are moments still when I feel insecure or unheard. It is all a process, steps along a path. Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigour. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done.” (Becoming by Michelle Obama, page 419)

One of my first mentors always said that many people suffer from “Destination Disease.” They set a goal and work hard to achieve it. And, when they achieve it they begin to live like they have arrived. They have reached their destination. They don’t set new goals. They don’t find a new vision for their life. They simply, at best, coast through the rest of their life … or park and stop growing.

When I first heard the teaching and then later read it in one of his books I determined that I would never “arrive.” I would never catch “Destination Disease.” I want to continue growing, developing, maturing, learning. So, I set goals. One consistent goal is to read a book a week. If the book is a shorter one – under 200 pages – then I read two during that week. I read because I need to. There is an inner hunger to learn more, to grow, to develop. And, there is so much one can learn from others just by reading. I make time to read. Anyone can do that as well if they want to. 

The current younger generation seems to not want to or like to read. I recommend books to the young men I disciple and mentor and they admit that they have not read a book in years. Some don’t try. Those that do quickly fall in love with reading and thus growing through reading. Those that don’t almost always stop the discipling / mentoring relationship. They just, at this stage in their life, don’t see the need to read. Maybe they are growing and maturing through what they watch on You Tube and listen to on their smart phone. Maybe not. But, there is such potential for growth and maturity if the individual will simply pick up a book, get alone, and immerse themselves in the discoveries of others. 

Of course, I drag a paper copy of the book around with me. I am never without a book in my car. You never know when you might find 15 minutes to read while waiting for someone or something. And, I have graduated to ebooks as well. Partly because I have run out of shelf space and am almost out of floor space so cannot stack many more paper books. Partly because of convenience and it weighs less when travelling by plane. The new eReaders are waterproof which makes reading while camping and kayaking a pleasure. 

So, we are all on a journey. Hopefully you believe that you never arrive but just keep learning and growing. And, books are my prime way to learn and to grow. 

Kamshat – Campus Crusade for Christ, Kazakhstan

Wanted to share the joy of starting fulfilling your prophesy over the ministry. It was tremendous the move of the Holy Spirit after your visit of my team and students. You remember a student said that he had visions before becoming a believer and he has them after. That night Ersultan and the rest of my team and some students cast out demons from that student for 3 hours. It was shocking the way demons reacted in him. Then yesterday we continued casting out the rest major 2 demons and a devil from him for 2 hours. Everyone saw visions and then we prayed over students to release speaking in tongues, after worshipped together and the room filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit.
It’s amazing the move of the Spirit which is a starting towards the fulfillment of your prophecy to the ministry of my team. Praise the Lord for His grace on us.

EVERYONE HAS A STORY – Part Four

In review, we have previously looked at the following points regarding telling your story about what Jesus has done and is doing in your life…

1> Ask for permission and don’t be pushy.                                                                                    2> Use ordinary language.                                                                                                                  3> Start briefly and share more as it becomes appropriate.                                                        4> Highlight God’s presence and power

5> Clearly present the before-and-after pictures

6> Share the source of life transformation

7> Let the joy shine through

8> COMMUNICATE WITH HUMILITY

A testimony is not a bludgeon we use to pound people into submission. It is a witness to what God is doing in our lives and a gift for others to enjoy. We need to be careful that our testimony does not come across as a speech in which we tell people that we are right and they are wrong, or point out how good we are now and how bad everyone else is who does not know Jesus. Rather, a testimony is a humble declaration that God is moving in our lives and that we are grateful for what He is doing.

9> REMEMBER WE HAVE MANY TESTIMONIES

Be careful not to get locked into one testimony. Don’t just memorize a scrip and robotically deliver the same words with the same inflection every time you tell your story. Instead, listen to the people around you and discover where they are in life. When you share a testimony, make sure it is relevant for them.

For example, if you are talking with someone who is dealing with loneliness and you have experienced God’s presence in a way that has strengthened you when you have felt alone, share that testimony. But if you are conversing with a spiritual seeker who is wondering if God provides for our needs and takes care of His people, you might tell a very different story – a different part of your testimony. As you walk with Jesus, you will have more and more stories about how a relationship with God transforms various areas of your life.

People love to hear stories, and that’s all a testimony is. In the course of most days you will have opportunities to share organically about the difference your faith in Jesus is making in your life. Pray for these opportunities, notice when the door is open, and then share your stories in a natural way. 

The Holy Spirit will infuse what you share with power. Remember, your part is not to change lives or even to have all the answers. But you can talk about the ways God is moving in your life. Your stories might be just what another person needs to hear.

EVERYONE HAS A STORY – Part Three

This is the third in this series of blogs regarding giving your personal testimony. Previous blogs had commented on the following points regarding giving a part of your Jesus story…

1> Ask for permission and don’t be pushy.                                                                 2> Use ordinary language.                                                                                              3> Start briefly and share more as it becomes appropriate.                                  4> Highlight God’s presence and power

5> CLEARLY PRESENT THE BEFORE AND AFTER PICTURES

When giving your testimony work to present a contrast between who you were and who you are now. In other words, gently state the difference encountering Jesus has made in your life. For example:

  • From hate-filled and self-centered relationships to loving and caring relationships
  • From a life without purpose and direction to a life of deep meaning and clear direction
  • From fear of death to confidence in this life and hope for eternity

Though such a pattern isn’t mandatory for every testimony, it does help people see the difference Jesus can make in a life. If you have experienced a transforming work of God, let it become the focus of one of your testimonies. Here are a few more examples:

  • From loneliness to a sense of belonging (to God and His family, the Church)
  • From anxiety to peace
  • From financial irresponsibility and fear to hard work and financial stability
  • From selfishness to generosity
  • From addiction and enslavement to freedom from addictions

The list of options is as diverse as our life experiences.

6> SHARE THE SOURCE OF LIFE TRANSFORMATION

As we share the story of our life transformation, it is critical that we articulate that Jesus is the source of the change. We could not have brought it about on our own. We don’t want our lost friends and family members to think that the transformation in our lives is the result of going to church or hanging out with a nice new group of people or even getting ‘religious.’ The only power that can changes from the inside out is the work of Jesus. His death on the cross, in our place, and His resurrection in glory are the reason we are becoming new people. We should be careful to express this as we share our stories. 

7> LET JOY SHINE THROUGH

Joy is a universal language. If we talk about God’s work in our lives, the amazing changes we are experiencing, and the relationship we have with Jesus, but do so without joy, we will send the wrong message. Knowing the Father, walking with Jesus, and being filled with the Holy Spirit should bring a flow of joy that is visible and contagious.

This is not to say that we should paste on a fake smile and blurt, “Praise the Lord,” at the end of every sentence. It means the joy of the Lord is evident in our lives, even in the tough times. When the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is growing in our lives, people will see it. Joy is always part of our story, because we know Jesus, the Author of joy. 

An Encouraging Word

Hey pastor Ralph,

As we spoke that Sunday it would be a really neat opportunity to join you on a trip. I feel I would learn a lot in a very short time by tagging along on a trip!

As you spoke I found that you have a tangible and raw faith that I have found in very few people that I have personally met face to face. I see a hunger for the lord and a zeal that drives you to live a lifestyle that is both rare and admirable. I learned somewhere along the way that people usually forget the majority of what you say (I want to say 85% but don’t quote me haha), but they rarely forget how you make them feel. As you spoke I felt energized, rejuvenated, and overall like a life with Jesus is both rewarding and attainable. As I am usually a part of the forgetful statistic, I wrote down the main points from your sermon and they have been great checkpoints as I work on my heart.

I will say things have been difficult lately as I have been feeling like my faith is something I’m dragging along through life lately and not necessarily allowing it to push me and give me purpose… if that makes sense. As I look at the list of checkpoints I have been easily able to find where I have been slipping. All that to say I really found your message encouraging so thanks for that!

I really appreciated getting to know you and I also hope we are able to keep in touch and develop a deeper relationship! I know you are busy and so I really appreciate you reaching out and getting in touch with me!

Thanks again for everything,

Matt J.

The Word – A television series on Access 7 television

Photos from the taping sessions of the new television series, “The Word”.
Watch for the Series, when it runs on Access 7 television.
Always delighted to have you participate, Ralph Howe Your personal testimony of the power of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth to transform lives is refreshing and the message you brought to the viewing audience of “Fear of God” was solid and edifying. Blessings!    ~ Leon Cairns

 

Andrew in Tanzania

Thanks for anointed messages in your website. I am highly blessed!

Marilyn M.

Thank you, Ralph! I heard part of this the other day and knew I wanted to go back and hear the whole thing! Was able to do that today…so convicting, so true, so encouraging, so blessed. Thank you so much for helping me to get back on track! Blessings go to you and Louise. Enjoy that front porch! 😘😘 Praising God for all that He is doing through you.

Oleva

Dear Ralph,
It was so nice to see you Sunday. You are looking really nice and healthy these days. Isn’t God good!
Ralph, the main reason for this letter is because your sermon last Sunday was one of the best sermons I ever heard! Im doing a complete write-up of your notes and writing out all the scriptures with each point you gave us about returning to the basic. Ralph, I am so hungry to hear about Jesus. To her his name be lifted up! To see him glorified in our talks, our songs, our life! Your sermon Sunday just took us to the place of love, God himself. Thank you very much!
God bless as you go to places of the planting of Christ Jesus all over the world.
Your sister-in-Christ,
Oleva
P.S. May you prosper and be in health, even as your should prospers!