Audio coming soon!

When Jesus was twelve years old He went with His parents to Jerusalem. After the celebrations were over the many families who had been in Jerusalem worshipping travelled back home together. It was only later that they discovered Jesus was not with them.

Often, as believers, we travel through our daily lives and don’t realize that we have misplaced Jesus. Often we run on our own agenda and only when things don’t go the way we want them to do we realize that we are ‘missing Jesus.’ It seems at times that we think we are smart enough or strong enough to handle life on our own. Then when we call out to Him in our crisis only then do we realize that we are ‘missing Jesus.’

This teaching will be looking at this bible story found in Luke’s gospel (Luke 2:41-52) as we examine our own lives to see where we have wandered away from Jesus and so, in some ways, we are ‘missing Jesus’ in our daily walk. And, we will also look at why this seems to happen when we truly are in love with Him and have committed our lives to Him.

Taking a Step Back

In the first 300 years of the Christian faith… dynamic, powerful, influential

And, as a result, the Early Church grew at a terrific rate ….

  • In the year 250 AD – 1.9% of the population of the Roman Empire was born again
  • In the year 300 AD – 10.5% of the Empire’s population was born again
  • In the year 350 AD – 56.5% of the population was born again

The Early Church…

Worked with regional apostolic centers … Located in Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, and Rome

Centres where the fivefold ministry teams were located and from where they spread out as needed to plant the Gospel of the Kingdom and establish new expressions of the Church  Read more

Ephesus – A Light in the Darkness

Within the Kingdom changes we have been discussing over the last few days there will be an increasing emphasis on the regional apostolic church. Recently in this series of teachings I have looked at the regional centers of Jerusalem and Antioch.

So, let’s turn our attention to the third apostolic regional center found in the city of Ephesus.

But first remind you of where we have been in this discussion…

God is changing the Church.

He is breaking off those things that were not part of His design for the Church that Jesus came to establish.

He is breaking off old traditional mindsets

He is calling us back to His original plan Read more

An Apostolic Understanding – Part Sixty-Six

So Paul came to Rome and added his gift. He taught the church and trained the saints in ministry. But Paul did more in Rome than just teach and minister. God used Paul tp penetrate a whole new strata of society. In Rome, Paul penetrated the capital of the world.

God’s ways are amazing. God arranged for Paul to have a unique entrance into the city of Rome. In Romans 1:9-11 Paul assured the Roman church that he has been trying to get to Rome. It was the desire of his heart to minister among them and he had asked God repeatedly to make a way, but God had not yet opened up the door.

Finally, God provided a way. Paul had been arrested in Jerusalem and the Jewish religious leaders wanted him killed. To escape their plot, Paul exercised his right as a Roman citizen and demanded a trial before Caesar. So Paul was sent to Rome as a prisoner, awaiting trial before Caesar. He won a “free, all-expense-paid trip to Rome,” courtesy of the Roman government.

He was taken to Rome as a prisoner, but he was not put in jail. He was allowed to rent his own house while he waited for his court date. He was in that house for at least two years. While he was there, he was free to minister and teach and “have church” in his home. The only stipulation was that, since he was a prisoner he had to be kept under guard continually. And it was not just any guard. Since he was awaiting a hearing before Caesar, the guards assigned to him were members of the elite Praetorian Guard, the same soldiers that guarded the imperial palace.

So, picture this: Paul was living in his own house in Rome. All the Jewish leaders from the city came and talked with him about the Messiah. Some of them received Jesus. Then for two years he used the house as a training center. He preached. He taught. He performed miracles. He healed the sick. And all the while members of the elite Praetorian Guard were assigned to watch him and listen to everything he said.

For two years the guards rotated through Paul’s house. They listened to the teachings and the discussions. They saw the miracles. They would go back to the barracks at night and tell the other guards what they had seen saying, “You wouldn’t believe what happened today!” The result was that the whole Praetorian Guard was evangelized. And through these same men, chosen as the best from every corner of the Empire, the Gospel penetrated both the imperial palace in Rome and every corner of the Empire.

And so the church in Rome continued to grow. We know from history that the early Church grew with incredible speed, but in most cities we can only guess at its size. But in Rome we have a way to measure the harvest.

The city of Rome has an estimated six hundred miles of catacombs burrowed under the city. From the first century to the third, these tunnels were the city’s cemeteries. Millions of people were buried in catacomb tombs during those years.

It is easy to identify which of the tombs were Christian tombs because the Christians tended to decorate their tombs with Christian symbols and pictures of biblical events. By studying the catacombs, archeologists are able to get a fairly accurate picture of the size of the church at any given time. Their studies reveal that by the end of the first century, the church in Rome numbered two hundred thousand people. That is a fifth of the population of the city!

Try to envision that kind of growth. The church in Rome would have begun near the middle of the century with a single house church of probably 20 people. As the saints were equipped to minister, that little church multiplied to two, and then to four, and then to eight. Through fifty years of sometimes severe persecution, the multiplication continued until by the end of the century, the church numbered 200,000. Assuming that an average house church numbered about 20 people, by the end of the first century there would have been more than ten thousand house churches scattered across the city of Rome!

That’s church growth! The Romans had no way to stop the growth of the church. As the church operated in fivefold ministry under the power of the Holy Spirit, the harvest came in.

From the apostolic center in Rome, teams went out to every part of the world. You have heard the saying, “All roads lead to Rome.” This also means that from Rome you can go anywhere in the Empire.

So teams went out and planted churches in every location. Tertullian, in the year 200, wrote to the pagans, “We have filled every place belonging to you: Your cities, islands, castles, towns, assemblies, your very camp, your tribes, your companies, your palace, your senate, your forum. We leave you your temples only. We can count your armies, but our numbers in a single province will be greater.” That’s called harvest.

The church historian Philip Schaff writes, “It may be fairly asserted that by the end of the third century the Name of Christ was known, revered, and persecuted in every province, and in every city in the Empire. In all probability at the close of the third century the church numbered ten million souls.” Some estimate that by the end of the third century, half of the population of the Empire had converted to Christianity.

Today: We are seeing the restoration of the ministry of the apostle to the Church in many nations. And, we are beginning to see the emergence of apostolic regional churches or apostolic centers where the fullness of the fivefold ministry can reside and then minister from there to house churches throughout their region.

These apostolic centers will enable the Church to once again grow and spread with incredible speed. God is preparing His Church to receive the great end-time harvest. God is changing His Church. He is changing the structure and basic foundation of the Church so that His life can once again be experienced and shared. He is doing it for one main purpose – that the harvest may come in.

Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

We will rise up powerful once again and, like the church in Rome, penetrate the structures of the world.

God is restoring the Church as His new wineskin, and He will pour in the new wine.

Happy New year from all of us here at Ralph Howe Ministries.

Our prayer for you and your family is that 2018 will be a year when His power is more evident in your life that at any time since you began your journey with Jesus.

That 2018 will be a seriously supernatural year of the Lord as you walk in His love, influencing and impacting your friends and neighbours.

Thank you for your prayers and financial support over this past year. It has been an amazing journey with Jesus for all of us involved in Ralph Howe Ministries. Our teams have touched lives in numerous nations as we travelled overseas. And, our outreach in western Canada has been seriously blessed as more and more lives are impacted and changed by the Word of God.

2017 saw new church plants; increased outreaches to many who have never experienced the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the power of God; many who were bound by the spirit of religion and tradition have been set free; and there has been a renewed commitment to see the Church that Jesus is building become a reality in an increasingly religious world.

2018 is looking to be an exciting year with a commitment to a number of overseas trips already made and several others in the works with dates yet to be determined. Our overseas ministry continues to expand and increase. And, each trip, as in 2017, will see a young apostle-in-training from North America travelling with Ralph to Eastern Europe and Central Asia. As well, there are several teams planning trips into the United States and remote areas of Canada to plant the seeds of the Gospel and raise up disciples as Jesus builds mew expressions of His Church.

These are exciting times that we live is as Jesus reveals the fullness of His ministry to the Church by reestablishing the fivefold ministry in the midst of His people, especially the ministry of the apostle.

Again, our sincere thanks for your prayers and financial support over the past year, and as we enter 2018, we know that together we can make a serious difference and have a tremendous impact for the Kingdom in many nations of the world.

Merry Christmas!

As we celebrate the birth of Christ and the amazing gift that He is; we at Ralph Howe Ministries want to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very “Marry Christmas.”

Our prayer is that this Christmas the Prince of peace will make His supernatural peace known to you in a fresh and new way. That you will come to know the depth of the peace with God you received when you were born again and that you will walk in the supernatural peace of God that only Jesus can release to our lives.

May you have a tremendous celebration of the birth of Christ and may His presence become even more real to you on a daily basis as you walk in His supernatural power in your daily life.

From all of us here at Ralph Howe Ministries – our best wishes and prayers for you and your family at this special time as we remember and celebrate the birth of our Saviour.

An Apostolic Understanding – Part Twenty-six

We are talking about trying to transform a pastoral model of the church into an apostolic model. This is definitely a difficult task and not to entered into by the faint of heart. The two models are so vastly different in their foundations, perspective, and operations that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to move a group of people, the local church, from one model to the other. I speak from experience having, after 17 years of working with a local congregation, simply failed to see the transformation take place.

So, the current model of the local church is based on a pastoral model with the key, main leader being the senior pastor or lead pastor. We have built the church on the backs of these men and women when it was never God’s plan nor design to do so. As we saw earlier, Paul sets out for us the order of working within a local church and seeing new churches raised up.

1 Corinthians 12:28 “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.”

Because we have built upon the backs of pastors – a non-biblical model – we see that the statistics regarding the life and ministry of pastors is distressing. Studies in North America show:

80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses regularly struggle with depression
80% feel they are unqualified for their position; they don’t believe they have the ability and training necessary to do what their job requires
70% say they regularly consider leaving the ministry
50% say that they would leave the ministry if they had another option to support their family
1500 pastors actually leave the ministry every month due to burnout, moral failure, or contention in the church
70% of pastors do not have anyone they would consider to be a friend. Almost no pastors have a close friend
75% say that they live under constant stress. The insurance cost for mental breakdown for clergy is 4% higher than for any secular industry
77% of pastor do not feel that they have a good marriage
50% of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce
The majority of pastors’ wives say that the single most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage was the day that they entered the ministry

Think about it now. The traditional pastoral model of the church is destroying pastors. In a pastoral church, pastors are given a set of demands that no one can fulfill. God never intended one person to do it all. God never gifted one person to do it all. The old wineskin places demands on the pastor that no human being can satisfy!

It is no wonder that the Church is in a mess if this is the condition of most leaders. The pastoral church is an old, non-biblical, wineskin that does not work.

So, we need to change and build biblically. This means that we need a new understanding of the role of “pastor.” The biblical pastor is a fivefold ministry role as seen by the only time in the New Testament that the word is mentioned. Ephesians 4:11 states, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers…” Here the “pastor” is a trans-local minister who is part of a team of trans-local leaders. They move from church to church in a region working as a team in the various churches. They can show up alone or as a team depending on the need of the local assembly. The pastor comes to a local church to teach and train the people to “do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12) and equip them so that they work effectively. Then the body can minister to the body (see 1 Corinthians 12) and every person ministers and all needs are met. Biblically, there are no solo pastors as they always work within the fivefold ministry team. And, the local church or assembly is not led by a local pastor. Totally unheard of in the New Testament and an invention of men in the late 300’s.

So, what do we do with the current crop of pastors? They will need to step down as the local church builds on a biblical foundation. Some will need to find alternate employment and continue to minister to those they are in relationship with at work or in the community. Every member of the body of Christ is a minister. So, they continue to minister but as a disciple and not from an official position of ‘pastor’ and not paid by the local assembly.

And, we should note, that most “pastors” are not pastors. Some are apostles. Some are prophets, evangelists, teachers …. The problem is that the old wineskin had only one main position of ministry – the local church pastor or priest. So, when someone answered the call on their life to go into the ministry – the only ministry they knew and were aware of was the pastorate. In fact, in most cases, the only ministry position recognized by the organized church was pastor or priest. So, many of those serving today as pastors are misplaced and need to discover their real calling and giftings and simply leave the pastorate and pastoral ministry and fulfill the real call upon their lives. The old wineskin forced everyone into the same mold and made them all do the same thing. This is now, hopefully, coming to an end.

So, one last thought … this is why most pastors are miserable. Their weekly schedule is full of things they are not gifted to do, and it always takes longer to do what they are not gifted to do. This means they rarely have the time to do what they are called to do. Pastors need to be free to be who they are. A church needs to figure out what their pastor’s gift and calling really is, and let their pastor exercise that gift to equip the Body of Christ. Then God will raise up the people – the priesthood of all believers – and equip them to do the pastoral ministry as a result of being empowered and released to do body ministry … member ministering to member as it was in the beginning and is suppose to be now.

 

Ministry in Assiniboia, Saskatchewan

Ralph will be ministering in the town of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan November 26th, 2017.

Location: Assiniboia Apostolic Church located at 200 4th Avenue East in Assiniboia.

Time of service: 10:00a

Everyone is welcome

Ralph and his team will be teaching God’s Word and ministering prophetically during the service.

Topic for the morning: Jesus, The Revolutionary