Drink – Don’t Drive

A quote from an unknown source: “The mark of a successful man is one that has spent an entire day on the bank of a river without feeling guilty about it.” One of the greatest lessons that I’m learning from God is that rest is not a sin. Taking a break doesn’t mean you are lazy or that you are not valuable. Catching your breath now and then does not mean you are not carrying your load, or that you are less committed to your church, your company, or your calling.

I have learned that scheduling rest in BEFORE my calendar fills up is really the way to go. rest is jot an afterthought; it has to be a primary responsibility. It brings a rhythm back to life and a cadence that makes like sustainable. If you are tired, your soul gets weary. And if your soul gets weary, you are depleted more than you can afford. If you were a long distance runner there is a rule that is followed; every fifteen minutes you drink six ounces of water. Even if you are not thirsty you are not allowed to violate your hydration limits. Here’s the point – If you wait until you are thirsty to take a drink, it’s too late. Your body is already into dehydration. The same is true spiritually for your soul and your spirit.

This is why God gave us the gift of rest (the Sabbath). And, today it seems that we have a hard time accepting His extravagant gift. We somehow imagine that the world (or our family, our marriage, our company) won’t be able to go on without our involvement. There is simply too much to do and no time to rest. Yet God says: “You shall do no work at all… it is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls.” (Leviticus 23:31-32) Did you hear what it said? In this version of the commandment it tells us the reason for a time of rest – a sabbath. It is to “humble your soul.”

What does that mean? God is saying that if we wait until the work is done before we rest, we will never rest. The work will never be done! So even in the midst of the work, we have to cease and rest. Wow! You mean, we are not indispensable? This may be a really rude awakening. but the fact is the world will go on even if we are not involved for a day. Don’t think about this one too long, but the world will also go on even after we depart this life. I know it is difficult to contemplate, but it is true. When we rest at predesignated intervals, we are reminding ourselves that ultimately God controls the outcomes, not me or all of my wonderful efforts. It is good for us to wean ourselves off the need to be needed. For many, this would be the beginning of health.

In fact, if we violate the Sabbath rest, something morphs in our soul. We start to get proud, edgy, anxious. The psalmist tells us, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” (Psalm 127:2) God says, “Let Me humble your soul with rest. It is not all about you. I can get the work done even without you.” When we rest, God continues His work. When we reenter, it is with a humbled soul, hungry again for what He has called us to do. We return once again as a servant knowing that our Master can and did manage with us but that He is again offering us an opportunity to become involve din His work.

The lesson – drink in on regular intervals and stop driving yourself – take time to rest. In short form: Drink … Don’t Drive!

The Evening and the Morning – The Second Day

I am always amazed at God’s Word, our Bible. Every time I read it I learn something new. Not “learn” as in more information in my head; “learn” as in a heart revelation and thus transformation because of the new insights. An example: I am flying to Bishkek, Krygyzstan recently and I am reading and The Lord asked me, “When does your day begin?” When do you start your day?” Now, when The Lord asks me a question I know He is not looking for information – afterall, He is God and knows everything. He is asking so that I will learn (in my heart) a new truth and thus be transformed. My answer was, “Whenever I wake up!” Of course, at the time of asking I was mixing mornings and evenings up due to flying through 12 time zones on to the other side of Planet Earth. So, in reality I was not sleep and the morning and evenings were all mixed up. But, I digress.

God then showed me that if I were to look at the creation story (book of Genesis) where He created the days, we find these words: “So the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Genesis 1:5 NKJV). This pattern is repeated as God continues to create each successive day. “So the evening and the morning were the second day.” (Genesis 1:8 NKJV). In other words, God started each day in the evening, not the morning. Your day does not begin when you get up. It starts when you go to sleep. Rest begins your new day, not coffee.

I have been doing it wrong. I thought my day began with the morning’s coffee and the start of activities; but instead, it actually began with the evening’s rest. I was now in need of reprogramming my mind to that biblical reality. You see, the success of any short race is determined at the start, and now that my days obviously start in the evening – I needed to start better. There are two ways to win a race. One is to be faster than everyone else , and the other is to start sooner! In a normal race, that’s called cheating. But in life, it’s called wisdom. For an Olympain, it is called illegal. For a Christian, it is called biblical.

If you ever need to sleep in, learn to sleep in on the front side of the clock, not the back side. Simply put, your deepest sleep is when your REM cycles happen, and that typically takes place between 11:00p and 3:00a. That is when you will get your deepest sleep. If you miss getting to bed before 1:00a, you will have missed half your chance at receiving your deepest rest. You may think you can sleep in until 9:00a to get your eight hours of sleep. But you are mistaken! You will have had the sleep time, but not the rest. Your sleep will be shallow compared to what it could have been, and when you awaken just before noon, you will still feel sluggish and lethargic.

So, you can sleep in on the back side dumb, or sleep in on the front side smart. Go to bed at 9:00p and get up at 5:00a. Then you will have had eight hours of sleep – real sleep! Then you will have had a good night’s sleep – evening and morning – because you are cooperating with God’s design for the body.Learn to sleep on the front side of the clock. Sleep right and double your rest…

While in Montreal I am attempting to implement what I learned while flying to Bishkek.

Your Purpose On Planet Earth

Once in a while it is good to review why we are here on planet Earth and to think through all of the “stuff” we are involved in and see what is really contributing to why God put us here on the earth. I am assuming, of course, that you are born again and thus have a personal relationship with the Lord and that you have, sometime in the past, sat down with the Lord and written out your personal mission statement.

Let me be bold and share my personal mission statement: “To intimately know and touch the fullness of God as found only in Jesus Christ and to invite others to personally experience His life and love.”

So, I have been thinking lately about all the things I do, the we I live, what I do for my living, how I relate to people, and the hopes and dreams I now have at my age and running them all through the filter of the mission I have in life. The mission statement is the given as I believe the Lord revealed it to me and called me to live with this purpose in mind. So, that means I am the flexible – my values, my priorities, my preferences, my hopes and dreams – are all flexible and must consistently be adjusted to come into line with what the Lord revealed as His purpose or mission for my life.

Well, there are some changes to be made. I have drifted somewhat from center… So, as I approach another year-end I will need to make some adjustments so that I enter 2013 in the center of God’s will for my life once again. Making them now in early December allows me time to reschedule things in early 2013 that are already set and bring all my planning back into line with the Lord’s purpose and plan for my life.

The philosopher Plato once stated that: “An unexamined life is not worth living” and I agree. But, your life needs to be examined in light of eternity, the Lordship of Jesus over your life, and the plan and purpose of God for your life. Why not take some time in the coming few weeks in the midst of the Christmas hussle and bussle to examine what you are doing and why. Remember, His gift to you is time – and there are only three things you can do with time – waste it, spend it, or invest it. The Lord would want you to invest it in His Kingdom purposes.

The Mission of Ralph Howe Ministries

Yesterday I mentioned your personal mission statement and what it is the Lord has called you to do and to accomplish with your time on the planet. Today. I would like to share the mission statement for Ralph Howe Ministries – the sponsor of these blogs…

“Introducing the ministry of apostles and prophets to the 21st Century Church;
Laying biblical foundations to bring healing and wholeness to that Church;
Equipping and releasing a generation of passionate leaders (who will be);
Ministering in supernatural power to win the lost and plant new expressions of the Church that Jesus is building.”

I look regularly at the call upon this ministry that the Lord has given to me and review what I am doing and planning to do in light of what it is He has asked us to do here at Ralph Howe Ministries. Often there is a need to make small adjustments to bring us into line with His design and purposes. But, generally we are close to the center of His will most of the time.

As we plan 2013 it is fast becoming rather full with numerous overseas apostolic trips as well as well an increase in ministry in North America. It is also very evident that there is a great need and demand for written material to be published and circulated to enable and equip churches to make the changes the Lord is asking of His people in all nations. The demand for materials continues to increase as do the range of topics I am asked to write on and supply material about.So, it has become abundantly obvious that more time will be spent in the study in 013 and less in the office and doing other things that ministry often requires.

So, as we go through the hectic December Christmas season there is some soul searching to do, timetables to adjust, priorities to evaluate and reposition, and much prayer needed so that we are ready to jump into 2013 and continue to fulfill the mission of Ralph Howe Ministries in the nations of the world and here at home.

The Clock Is My Dictator

Have you ever felt pressed for time? I have! Often… In fact, almost always. Yet, we are not meant to live with the pressure and the stress that lack of time brings into our lives… And the clock is not suppose to be the thing that drives us each day to accomplish what needs to be be done. I ran across the following while recently overseas (I read while flying) and thought it might give you food for thought. It is based on the 23rd Psalm…

The clock is my dictator, I shall not rest.
It makes me lie down only when exhausted.
It leads me into deep depression, it hounds my soul.
It leads me in circles of frenzy for activities’ sake.
Even though I run frantically from task to task,
I will never get it all done, for my ‘ideal’ is with me.
Deadlines and my need for approval, they drive me.
They demand performance from me, beyond the limits of my schedule.
They anoint my head with migraines, my in-basket overflows.
Surely fatigue and time pressure shall follow me all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the bonds of frustration forever.

Taken from Christine and Tom Sine, Living On Purpose: Finding God’s Best For Your Life.

Now, this might be a good time to go back and read yesterday’s blog entitled “24/6”

24/6


We all live busy lives. The pace of life seems to be constantly increasing in spite of all the “time shaving” devices that have come along and all the wonderful electronic ways we now have of staying in touch with one another. As I look to the future I believe things will continue to move quickly and even speed up and most will find themselves living a “hectic” life if they don’t do so already.

In my own personal life I know that things have not slowed down in spite of reaching an age when many retire and slow down permanently – or, at least, switch gears and become busy with different things that when in the work world. I find myself pressed for time, always behind, and constantly facing one deadline after another. I suspect I am no different than many of you reading this blog.

Here is a decision that I have made. I have decided to no longer work 24/7… In fact, I have decided to no longer function full tilt 24/7. Like most people, if I get a day off (happens infrequently) it gets absorbed in ‘catching up’ with whatever is yelling the loudest. So, the day off is a day lost to the tyranny of the urgent and not a day of rest or a day in which I can think and assimilate everything that has been happening so that I have inner peace and a stable inner core. It is simply not a biblical “day of rest” or a Sabbath.

So, I have recognized that I live in sin because one of the Ten Commandments commands that we take a Sabbath. Even God worked 6 days straight at the time of creation and on the seventh day He rested. Who do I think I am that I can work harder and faster than my Creator. And, what makes me think that I can break a pattern that God has spoken about and said “It is good” and not suffer any consequences. So, I have repented, given a lot of thought to my life-style, and am making numerous changes – some of them major ones.

I have determined that I will no longer live 24/7 but that I am going back to God’s original plan and will work 24/6 and take the day of rest that He so wisely prescribed. No mobile phone, no text messages, no email, no Goggle, no appointments, no catching up on work that is piling up. Just a Sabbath where my body, soul and spirit can heal, re-connect with the Lord, and regain the strength and inner peace to once agin face the world and all of the challenges of life for the next six days.

Sometimes we move so quickly that we need a day set apart to rest and let our soul catch up with us. I have decided that the time has come to do just that.

A Team

The Church today is pastor-driven; the early church was team-driven and the leaders of the team were an apostle and prophet (see 1 Corinthains 12:28 and Ephesians 2:20). The early church was powerful and effective, winning the lost and becoming a change agent in its culture – turning its world upside down in just one generation. We have not and will not have that kind of impact unless we return to the biblical model. That will be a difficult thing to do but not impossible because “all things are possible with God.”

Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “It is better to have one person working with you than three people working for you.” That is the power of a team – together everyone accomplishes more (T.E.A.M.). But often in the church of today a real team leadership structure does not exist. Everyone is doing their ministry; everyone is following their vision; everyone is fulfilling (or trying to) their calling. Hopefully they are all going in the same direction and working for the overall good of the church. At its best it is often a group of individuals working together and not a real team. At its worse – it is a strong solo leader with team members doing their own thing.

To work as a team disciples must be open and transparent; honest and vulnerable. I don’t see that very often here in the church in my nation. Men here seem to fear that kind and depth of self-revelation. To have a good team functioning you need men willing to share intimacy with one another and work in spiritual partnership with others.There is no “I” in team. So, I believe we need to remove the independent spirit that often exists along with the solo leadership concept (senior pastor) and current teams where they exist and begin to build biblically.

Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping it together is progress. Working together is success.” I believe that to see biblical results as found in the life of the early church in the book of Acts we need to be building the way they did. This will, in many ways, mean a lot of changes and a need for leaders to be less insecure and more open to working with others. This starts at the heart level when we invite others to know us and we experience love, acceptance and forgiveness.

Recently overseas I was teaching on this and discussing this during the breaks and over meals. Each and every time I was assured that they were building this way – and yet, in each and every place the key leader was a “pastor” and there were no apostles and prophets. In each place there was literally a strong leader who was really the only leader although others were ministering and working for him – but really not with him.

And so, this “stronghold” will take time to dismantle but I believe it is God’s will that this man-made structure be torn down so Jesus can build His Church His way!

Parking Lot Seminary Lecture

I had the honor of teaching for a morning in an independant seminary in the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan recently. It was a powerful morning speaking about the need for the Church of Jesus Christ to become supernatural and powerful once again. The students were receptive and open to hearing about what the Lord is doing in His Church today. They were hungry for God. A teachers delight.

I taught and answered questions for over three hours including right through the coffee break. Then, at the end of the morning the students literally followed me down the stairs and out onto the parking lot to continue the discussion and to ask more questions. The “lecture” actually continued for almost another hour just standing around the car that was to take me to my next appointment on the other side of the city. It was hard to leave as many questions remained unanaswered and they were asking for prophetic ministry and wanted to hear directly from God for their lives and future ministries. Such hunger and openness.

The professor whose class I was teaching is formerly from Iran where he was actually imprisoned for his faith. He is now a businessman and business consultant in Almaty, Kazakhstan and teaching on missions and the church in this seminary he helped to found a number of years ago. Sargon is a wonderful believer who is also hungry to learn and to grow. He attended our three day leaderrship school and spoke personally to me several times during those days. Then we had another time later in the week to sit together, drink tea, and talk – and he came with so many questions and comments. It was a great 90 minutes of sharing and growing together. He is so hungry and so open – so it was no surprise to find that his students were as well.

I am excited about the future of the Church in Kazakhstan. With young people such as the students in this seminary and others from the university and business world that I met with – the church in Kazakhstan is healthy and strong and moving forward in power and confidence. These young men and women will need continued training and equipping but their hunger to grow and their passion for Jesus ensures that they will seek out that training and equipping. They will move forward into the perfect will of God for their lives and ministries. They could certainly use our prayers.

The point: In looking around at the young people today that I meet and those that I work with in other nations I often see a lack of this heart hunger and passion for the Lord. So, we could also be praying for this generation in your nation – that the Lord would touch them with His mercy and grace and cause in them a hunger and thirst that can never be satisfied. And, while you are at it, pray for everyone in your local church that they too would regain their first love and their passion for the Lord.

Chicken Poop From the Soul


If you have not read “Chicken Poop For the Soul” … look for yesterday’s blog (non-apostolic trip blog)…

Much of what goes on in the Church today is chicken poop for the soul. It is fluffy, superficial and not supernatural, powerless to transform lives and somewhat irrelevant. But like the Chicken Soup for the Soul books it sounds good, smells good and tastes good to the soul. However, the spirit person meanwhile is malnourished and slowly dying.

In the Church today there is too much soul realm ministry – both for the soul of those receiving ministry and from the soul of those ministering. This is so evident in the area of the prophetic.

When ministering prophetically we need to hear God who is Spirit (John 4) in our spirit where the Holy Spirit lives. Too many people ministering in the prophetic hear God in their soul realm – their mind, their will and their emotions. There they will receive mixed messages – God’s Word mixed with their feelings, their thoughts, their agenda for the Church or for the perspon being ministered to. However, if a person hears God in their spirit then this Word is a pure Word when received. It will be a powerful word from the Lord and not simply more chicken poop for the soul and from the soul.

Of course, a Word of the Lord received in one’s spirit then needs to move from our spirit through our soul (mind, will, and emotions) without being contaminated. Otherwise it will be simply chicken poop – as your mind must take what your spirit has received and speak it out with words not accurately representing what the Lord is attempting to communicate. Secondly, the Word will not be spoken correctly without your will’s involvement because you have to decide to obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit and speak. And, your emotions will be involved because what you are feeling (nervous, scared, over-confident) will effect how you deliever what the Lord is saying. If your mind, will and emotions (your soul) is damaged and not healthy – Chicken poop from the soul.

So, your will needs to be submittd to God’s will – otherwise chichen poop from the soul. And it is not just your will located in your soul realm because John, chapter one tells us there is a will of God, a will of the flesh, and the will of man (soul realm). So, your flesh’s will must also be submitted to the will of God.

And, your emotional realm needs to be submitted to God as well – with all unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, offenses and other emotional clutter dealt with or else these things will contaminate the Word that you received and when you give it it will be chicken poop from the soul.

Your mind also needs to have renewed and even transformed by God’s Word (Romans 12:1-2) so that your thoughts are His thoughts and you have the mind of Christ. Otherwise when the Word you received is translated into words in your mind it will become simply more chicken poop from the soul.

Regretfully, in the realm of the prophetic today in the Church there is little really valid prophetic ministry and a lot of chicken poop from the soul because believers are not taking the time to deal with soul realm issues – issues of their feelings, their thought life, their emotional and spiritual baggage, their own unforgiveness and bitterness… and so, instead of a pure Word from the Lord you just have more chicken poop from the soul joining all the other chicken poop coming form the pulpit and elsewhere.

And, man does not live on chicken poop but on spiritual bread from the heart and hand of God. It is time to judge the prophetic and be much more discerning regarding what is being spoken as a “Word of the Lord” in the church and the nations today. There is a serious need for more spirit realm and less soul realm ministry.

Chicken Poop For the Soul

Much of what goes on in the Church today is chicken poop for the soul. It is fluffy, superficial and not supernatural, powerless to transform lives and somewhat irrelevant. But like the Chicken Soup for the Soul books it sounds good, smells good and tastes good to the soul. However, the spirit person meanwhile is malnourished and slowly dying.

You have to wonder some Sundays after the service if God is still into that stuff that Jesus did in the New Testament. You know, when miracles were normal and part of every day life. As I was thinking about this the Lord asked me a question. When the Lord asks you a question He is not looking for information, He is wanting to show you something, teach you something. He asked me if I was living with such reckless faith that I needed to see miracles every day? Gotcha ya!

If we get sick, we go to a doctor. If we need food, we go to the store and buy it. We have no money, we use our credit cards. We have eliminated the need for miracles. If we had enough faith to depend on God like the lilies and the sparrows do, we would see miracles. But we live a lifestyle that doesn’t need God until an emergency or serious crisis arises and then we cry out to Him asking for His help.

Never mind that the crisis is a result of our own action and behavior; that we are simply reaping what we have sown; that we are suffering the consequences of our neglect of our spiritual health. And, then when God doesn’t answer immediately and get us out of the mess we lose faith. Duh! You didn’t have any faith to lose in the first place as you were most likely living according to the world or your flesh and doing your own thing without God … no faith there. So, no faith to lose.

A thought: maybe the mess you got yourself in can be used by God to teach you to put your faith in Him first. Just a thought!

To see miracles, signs and wonders and get out from under all the poop we need to live by faith, walk by faith, believe in faith, be empowered by faith … Jesus said, “Be it done unto you according to your faith.” (Matthew 9:29) Another version states, “Become what you believe.” This is so true. Faith is not an emergency switch we pull to prevent a train wreck – it is a simple, daily way of life that must become as natural as breathing. When it becomes just that – a way of daily life – we will get out from underneath all the chicken poop (the natural, soul-realm and flesh) and actually see the supernatural happen and the real life of God manifest itself.

I, for one, am tired of the poop I see in the Church today and have had enough. It is time for change.