Dead Fish Float Down Stream

There are some words that need to become a part of the Church today; especially the word “intentional”. Christians apparently “intentionally” get saved and it’s all down hill – sorry, down river, from there. They seem to think that there is nothing more they need to do and there is nothing further from the truth.

When someone intentionally becomes a genuine convert and is gloriously saved and converted – this person then needs to remain intentional and proactive. They need to sit down and determine, on purpose, how their relationship with the Lord will actually function; what disciplines they will use to keep in touch with a supernatural God (prayer, fasting, Bible reading, meditation, memorization, Bible study, silence and solitude) and what time frames all this is going to take. Not to mention, where is it fitting in the daily schedule and what might need to be removed to make room on the plate for all of this. As well, how about connecting to His body, the Church where their talents and giftings can be used and they can be equipped and trained.

However, most people that I know who are Christians seem to think that this relationship will just happen and so are not proactive and intentional. They immediately turn over on their backs and float downstream. They fail to recongize that anything worth having costs something and that they need to invest time and energy into this new relationship. It seems they think that by osmosis or by accident this relationship will continue to grow and develop and have life. As a result they put little to no effort into the relationship and so nothing happens. The same is true for their Church attendance, their time out telling others about Jesus (fulfilling The Great Commission), and most basic aspects of the faith.

An important note: They do the same thing with prophetic words. They take the tape containing the Word and toss it in the top drawer. Or, they may get as far as typing it out and actually filing a paper copy. But pray about it, cooperate with it, fulfill the conditions of it … “Whoa, that means I have to be intentional and proactive”. Now, you’re catching on!

This came to mind, once again, last night as I talked with a Christian and asked him about his friend who was attending our church and has vanished over the past six months. Apparently he and his wife are going elsewhere – to a place, according to my source, where they are recognized for the gift that they really are and where they are being trained for ministry. Nonsense! That would have and could have happened in the Church I pastor if they had attended regularly, tithed, became involved, joined the discipleship classes and small groups, or joined the Global Discipleship Training classes available to them at the Regina campus which is in my local assembly.

Here was the problem. He received a prophetic word in October of last year that told him, while in a season of not attending and not putting God first, to get connected to our (and at that time his) local church. He was told to spend one year helping the pastor (me). So, we met and we talked through the Word. I told him that the best way he could help me was to simply be committed and involved in the local church. Come and help set up the gym on Saturday night and help with the teardown on Sundays after service. Help wherever you see a need. No, I was not going to mentor him (he did not qualify for one-on-one mentoring), I was not going to disciple him (there was already a system in place for that), no he could not be my driver on my various trips (I don’t need hours of counselling or answering questions about spiritual things when on my way to another preaching engagement – tired just thinking of it), and no we were not going to hang out as friends having coffee and exercising together. Just connect to the Church, build relationships and serve me by serving the Church. He immediately stopped coming and we have not seen him since.

Here is a truth I learned a long time ago – “DEAD FISH FLOAT DOWN STREAM”.

He, like many Christians, is unwilling to put time and effort, commitment and activity into his spiritual life and his walk with Jesus and His Church. They are not intentional about it; not proactive. This was the case when with us – and, unless something has changed, this will be the case where they attend now.

They expect God, the Church, the pastor or someone to do it for them -and open all the doors that need to be opened for them. Push your own doors open, thank you. Not my responsibility. Will he succeed in the Church he is now attending. Not unless something has changed. Will the prophetic Word he received 6 months ago come to pass – never. He moved on and the Word is now null and void as it was specfically connecting him to this Church which he immediately walked away from.

Dead fish float down stream!

Your spiritual walk needs you to put effort and energy into it!
Your prophetic words need your cooperation!
Your gifts and callings need to be submitted to a local leader and worked on!
You need to intentionally serve while waiting for your calling and gifts to be recognized!
You need to take responsibility for your personal walk with the Lord, His Word, and His Church!
Proactive, active, responsive, responsibile, involved, focused, energetic, connected, involved. Otherwise, dead fish float down stream!

For fish to have life (and in some cases to spaun) fish swim into the current. This keeps them strong and active and alive. Only when dead do fish float to the top, roll over, and float with the current, down stream.

Time to start swimming Christians – upstream or uphill! Be intentional and proactive.

It is really easy to just let everything slide and simply say: “Well, if God wants it to happen, it will happen.” No it will not! You will simply find yourself floating down stream with a lot of other spiritually inactive Chrristians because dead fish float down stream.

Believe It or Not – Bible Blog #12

The Scriptures:

“Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”‘ “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

David prophesied that Jesus would not stay in His grace and could not be kept in hell (because He lived without sin) – Psalm 16
David himself, however, was one who died and weas buried and you can visit his burial tomb even today, Peter states … Thus, David was not the fulfillment of Psalm 16 as quoted by peter, Jesus was!
David, being a prophet, knew that God would keep His promise and put one of his descendants upon the throne. He states in 2 Samuel 7:11-16…

I have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. “‘The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.'”

Peter, having said all this, relating and connecting to his Jewish audience at the time, turns to Psalm 132 and quotes it as part of his sermon…

Psalm 132:11 The LORD swore an oath to David, a sure oath that he will not revoke: “One of your own descendants I will place on your throne

Peter states that David prophetically looked forward to the resurrection when saying “He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay” (Psalm 16:10) … which Peter then requotes.

Peter then leaps to his central message: This Jesus whom you crucified – God raised Him from the dead – we saw this with our own eyes.

“Here is the logic,” Peter says:

1> Jesus has been raised from the dead
2> Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God (place of honour) – Ephesians 1:20
3> Jesus received from the Father what the Father had promised – the Holy Spirit
4> So then, this (that you see) is that promise in action and being fulfilled

The proof that this is right…

1> David did not ascend into Heaven but prophesied that the Lord would (Psalm 110:1)
2> Peter declared this understanding of the psalmist’s words
3> Peter was an eye-witness of this resurrection and ascension (Acts 1:9-11)

Therefore … the second one … and we must always find out what it is “there for”…

Here is the summary of the sermon: Listen us and learn. Let all the House of Israel know FOR CERTAIN (Greek: a powerful certainty) that God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ. Jesus is God as well as anointed Messiah already (Romans 1:4; 10:9; 1 COrinthians 12:3; Philippians 2:9,11) and is now Lord and Christ

And, folks, YOU crucified Him!


Here you hear the heart of the Gospel that we believe and are to share with everyone who will give us opportunity… Jesus is alive and well, seated in Heaven. He has sent the Holy Spirit who empowers and enables believers to be witnesses for the resurrection – both with words (the message of the resurrection) and in miracles, signs and wonders (power deeds) that prove He really is alive.

So, Christians, we have the greatest message and all the power we will ever need to tell the world and show the world that Jesus is alive and thus Messiah, Lord and Saviour. But do we believe it? Do we believe Jesus is the only door – Living Door – into Heaven and that without Him you do not enter Heaven but chose for yourself Hell as a place to live for eternity?

If we truly believed it we would live our lives differently than those who don’t kknow Jesus. And, secondly, we would leave how to share this truth effectively and efficiently as well as biblically. Thirdly, we would be out there doing it.

The only parts of the Bible that we truly believe are the parts we apply and live.

Body Beautiful

I have had a full day of ministry. On the way to my morning preaching engagement in the city I live in I needed something to eat. So, stoped at a 7-11 (thank Heaven). I was able to find a banana and an apple to eat. Good food – not junk food. When you are on the road as much as I am you soon grow tired of junk food and start looking for healthy substitutes.

Struck up a conversation with the clerk – which I always do. She was tired and fed up and not wanting to be at work. So, I asked if she was at the end of the shift (so worked all night) or just beginning. I was fishing – afterall I had an extra 15 minutes than I needed to get to the Church and set up. The door did not open no matter how much I pried. No guilt! I went fishing as I have been commanded to do and caught nothing. Got in my car and drove off – enjoyed the banana, the apple was soft.

Good service – good Word from the Lord for the people – connected with three or four young men who have calls upon their lives. Several are really struggling wth issues but that is okay. Who isn’t? The key is that God has chosen them and now they need to decide what to do with this call. Out for lunch with a group from the Church – then home.

Walked the dog – a nice way to say I went fishing again. Few people out walking their dogs and even fewer just out walking or sitting in the parks we pass through. It is a long weekend here in this area and it was also 30C. Did work at striking up several conversations – one with a man my own age whose dog got lose and ran after my pup.He was with friends and so did not open up as he has in the past when it was just him and I. I tried.

Also tried to catch a young fellow skateboarding … they usually go around the bend and up the hill and then turn around. Spotted him and walked faster to see if I could catch him on the return trip down. Surprize! He must live close by as he totally disappeared off the radar and never returned. I tried.

On the way to a Church picnic near supper time stopped in at a gas station to buy ice… did much better here as John, the young guy at the counter, was ribbing the other clerk (I think they are going out together) about the eyebrow piercing and nose ring and… He did not have any visable signs of decoration. She was telling him how this helped to add beauty to her body. Body beautiful – each to his or her own taste. So, I jumped in and warned him (in a fun way) that he was treading on dangerous ground speaking to a young lady like that. The conversation, although light-hearted and fun, did open up and I was actually making progress (in spite of my time pressures) when three other customers came in to pay for their gas. It ended. I tried.

Near the end of the picnic with a great group of Christians from the Church I pastor (even though not there a great deal recently) I was walking our dog who came with us … standing talking with a believer when this guy in his thirties and in obvious great shape walks by shirtless and with super low stretch jeans on (like the Rufskin or N2N Bodywear brands). Now he thought he was beautiful and he wanted everyone in the park to know it. Tattooed from the top of his shoulders, down both arms (tribal bands) and down the sides of his chest (more tribal bands all connected) and then a separate one (but similar) around his navel. It actually looked decent as far as tattoos go these days. Well done and some thought behind it. Another ‘body beautiful’ this time on display and not behind the counter. But, no go.

I was listening to someone share with me some personal concerns and I am sure they were not thinking: “I should let Ralph go so he can talk to this guy.” I was not about to be released so that I could engage this guy in a conversation. The person I was listening to was not thinking about this person at all which is normal and natural, I am sure. And, I have to admit, that this guy was about all I could think about. Spiritually or supernaturally that usually means they are ready to hear the Gospel. The way the Holy Spirit tells me that someone is ready to listen to His Good News is to draw my attention to them and not let my attention waver. Within the space of 15 minutes I had three possible opportunities with this young man as he chased his kids up the slides, pushed them on the swings, took them to the water fountain – but the Christian still had me engaged. I did not want to be rude – but…. Well, at least I was trying.

General thoughts arising out of my personal frustration – mostly not connected to tonight’s event…

Have you noticed how few Christians work at or are intentional about talking to the non-Christians we rub shoulders with? Almost like they don’t exist in the world in which they live. I find it very frustrating. We are called as believers to “go into all the world” and yet we are so wrapped up in our own little world that we fail to see the bigger world (full of people) out there…

I find it even more frustrating when I am kept from starting a conversation with the non-believers because I am in a conversation with a believer. Happens a lot – end of services, in restaurants and coffee shops, on the streets, with people I take along to teach them to minister. Don’t get me wrong – I really do like Christians and hanging out with them. But, let’s be honest about a number of things…

1> Christians can often be almost totally self-absorbed and so focused on themselves that they miss great opportunities to talk with and engage the non-Christian world.
2> Christians, because they talk a lot about themselves, can be boring – very boring. Well, someone had to say it!
3> Christians always seem to need to talk about “spiritual things” when around me – ministry, some vision they have had, a Bible passage they thought interesting … maybe it is because I am a pastor and they think they have to do this. Wish they wouldn’t!
4> Christians are focused on problems – usually their own – instead of being focused on Jesus who is the answer to their problems and focusing on others who need Jesus.
5> Apparently it is not important to most Christians that most of the people they are sharing the planet with are headed to a Christless eternity while they hold in the hearts, heads, and hand the solution to this problem.

It has been a long day fishing and I guess I am just tired. Forgive me for ranting on a bit (or a lot).

Extra, Extra, Extra – Read All About It

It is officially the summer and we tend to slow down a fair amount during this great season. Sitting out with your morning coffee, nights out back by the fire pit, camping and holidays.

Why not that this “slower season” and do some extra Bible reading. It is a great time to spend more time with God than you manage in the busier season of kids sports and church activities. A good time to read more than those novels you have been saving up for your “summer read”. Read God’s Word.

If you are a regular Bible reader the next two months are a great time to read your whole Bible from cover to cover. If you don’t normally read your Bible on a regular basis – this too would be a good time to become very well acquainted with God’s Word.

Bible statistics – the whole Bible contains 1189 chapters – 929 in the Old Testament and 260 in the New Testament

Calendar statistics – the month of July has 31 days as does the month of August.

The simple math – with 62 days available and 1189 chapters to read – that amounts to 19 chapters a day leaving you 11 chapters that you can read on June 30th to launch your Bible reading for the summer or on September 1st to celebrate the end of the adventure.

A suggestion or two– Read any way you want to – straight through from Genesis to Revelation; some chapters in the Old Testament in the morning and the rest of the chapters (to make up a total of 19 for the day) in the evening; if you get behind – catch up by reading your alloted number in the book of Psalms as most of the chapters (except Psalm 119) are much shorter than a chapter elsewhere in the 66 books that comprise the Bible. Don’t study – just read. If you read something of interest or that leaves you with a question simply mark it with a question mark in the margin and come back to it (and research it) when your reading is done for the summer.

Reading format – Read large chunks at a time and don’t focus on the details such as who married whom and how many kids did they have and what were their names. You are reading simply get the Big picture of God’s interaction with the human race.

Personal note – I have been doing this for many years in the summer and have found it very beneficial to my spiritual life and my walk with the Lord. It has helped me to be more discerning and spot the false teachers sooner and faster. It has helped me to know God’s heart better. It has given me an increased sense of the supernatural element that exists in the content of the Bible. It has led me to appreciate my Bible more each time I walk through this discipline.

If you are joining in this journey – let me know how it is going. Keep in touch. To facilitate our chatting back and forth while on this 2 month and 1 day journey – On Monday (June 30) there will be a new Blog available for those who want to chart their journey. Simply go to the main web page, click on “Blogs” on the top menu and then down to “SUMMER BIBLE JOURNEY”. Join us and share your experiences as you go on this Bible adventure for the summer months. Look forward to chatting with you.

The Next Step or Two – Calgary #6

I have been back from Calgary for almost 48 hours and have had a little time to think about my time there with Dennis Cramer and the people of Kingdom Ambasador Ministries. It is always good to let thoughts and feeling settle and to simply go back to “normal life” for a day or two before trying to summarize the trip and what I believe God did and is doing (as I promised to do in “Calgary #5”).

It was a time of arranging a very small bit of the foundation of a new Church that began functioning in March of this year. The Bible says that the Cornerstone of the Church is Jesus Christ but that the foundation is the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20). So, we went to do whatever the Lord led us to do – knowing that this would be “foundational” both because of who we are (an apostle and a prophet) and because of the ministry description as set out in that verse. Because we are foundational – we believe you can build on what we bring to a ministry event such as this.

At this point – it is time to sit down and list everything I said and saw while there and e-mail it to the pastor of the Church (and to the prophet). This will allow him to remember things … as much came up at the numerous meetings we held and we moved quickly from one topic to another. This will be about 8 hours of work as I sift through all my scribbled, hand-written notes from those meetings. Then we will begin long phone conversations as we continue to discuss these items and move forward to the ‘next step’ in each area – which we will determne through prayer and waiting on the Lord.

Shooting from the hip and a good memory – the following areas will require considerable involvement on my part:

1> Designing a new believers class for the Church – they expressed the need as they are seeing many saved on a regular basis

2> A discipleship system of some sort – I do have a 30 part discipleship school and so we will need to talk about setting up a Calgary campus for that school

3> Leadership training – really should be one of our first priorities as he has a good crew of potential leaders who are loyal and loving and sold out on what is happening but who need to be equipped

4> Evangelism training – people seem hungry to share but most are leary about it as they don’t know how to share the Gospel with others in today’s fast paced society

5> Mentoring the pastor – whose full call from God is to be an apostle (evident by what has already been accomplished in such a short time) by first building a depth of relationship and then sharing life (and information and giftings) with him over the next few years

6> Working directly with a number of young men called out – a pastor/teacher/Network planter (Noah), a five-fold evangelist (Neal), a prophet (Ryan), and several others.

My first trip back – to be scheduled early this summer – will be to “pastor the prophecies”. This will involve maybe three days of one hour appointments as I sit with the person who received the prophecy (and their pastor) to go through it with them helping them to understand what was said (you are called to prophesy – that does not mean you are a prophet) and what they need to do first, second, and so on.

Hopefully we will have that organized this week (date-wise) and have it all accomplished before the end of August, 2008. Then, in the new season, in the fall, we can move forward with some of the others things listed above…

Of course, being there to pastor the prophecies means I will have a good chunk of time to meet with the pastor and begin working with him in more depth.

That would be a good start – and an investment of hundreds of hours – and I look forward to every minute of my time with this dynamic, young CHurch in the city of calgary and with the young men called to full-time ministry.

The Radical and Raw Edge

The Church in North America is too comfortable. We need to be challenged – challenged to be radical and actually believe the Bible. Specifically, that we can reach our world – even our nation – for Jesus Christ. We need to believe (and so act upon) The Great Commision to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel, making disciples…” We need to invest our lives, time, effort, prayers and finances in reaching the lost.

We need to go from comfortable to challenged. Seriously challenged to leave what we know and to move forward into areas of the faith we have yet to experience – especially evangelizing the lost.

It is easy to just hold on to what we know – safe worship service on Sunday, a paster only a phone call or an e-mail away, good teaching, a Bible study mid-week – a comfortable home, two vehicles, a good job, 2.5 kids, and a medical/retirement plan. It is safe and, in the long run, boring – extremely boring. You were never meant to “live safe”. God created you to live on the radical and the raw edge of life doing something signifigant for Him and His Kingdom.

This involves risk. This means we have to give 110% of ourselves. This means we have to let go of the comfortable and begin to walk by faith believing God because we are living way past our natural abilities and natural resources.

We need to risk what we have – and are comfortable with – and enter the life God is calling us to – a radical life lived on the raw edge. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. God is calling us to invest our time, effort, emotion and finances in the Gospel – reaching out to others – relating, listening, sharing, caring, loving, investing – so that we show them the love of Jesus and actually talk to them about their eternal dstiny.

Our comfortableness leads us to apathy and lethargy. We basically do nothing of any signifigance for the Gospel. Jesus does not receive any return on the investment He has been making in us. This can be dangerous as the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-29) tells us.

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. “‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.

Jesus expects a return on His investment in us – He expects disciples to bear fruit. He designed us to live radical lives as believers and followers. He wants us to live on the raw edge of life – away from this “me first” comfort zone we have created around ourselves.

In Heldi Baker’s book: “Expecting Miracles” there was one line right near the actual end of the book that really caught my spiritual and emotional attention. It is short and sweet – to the point. She said: “We … are always at the raw edge of our faith, finances and resources.” (Page 184).

I have planted a number of churches in my many years of ministry – here and overseas. It is always an exciting time because you are moving out of your comfort zone. You are “out there” doing what Jesus told His Church to do – “seek and save the lost”. Things are seldom secure and safe, settled and predictable. Your emotions are stretched to and past their limits. You are on your knees praying for the finances you need to pay the bills and continue to reach out to the lost. You pray harder, believe more, give more, sacrifice personal comfort, open your heart and your home – focusing on others and their eternal destiny. This makes life exciting. You live in the “faith zone” having to believe God for every day things that others in the “comfort zone” can just take for granted.

God never called us to be comfortable and safe. We were not created for comfortableness. God is calling His children to leave the comfort zone and step out to the raw edge of faith. The place where there is always enough and always on time – but you have to have your faith in motion and prayer life in high gear because it is not in the bank and there is no natural way it is ever going to be.

So, I challenge you today – become a radical and start to live on the raw edge of your faith – where you are in over your head and are having to believe God for even the daily needs of your life and ministry to the lost. Walking by faith and reaching the lost is what this army called the Church is all able. You are in the army now!

Validation and Approval – Bible Blog #11

The Scriptures:

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know – this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. “For David says of Him, ‘I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. ‘THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE; BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY. ‘YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.’


This passage is part of the main body of Peter’s first sermon. He is presenting and maybe defending Jesus as Israel’s Messiah. He addresses this first sermon to the “men of Israel” who are assembled in Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish Festival of First Fruits.

He starts with the simple admonition: “Listen”. “Hey guys, what I am about to say may be new to you and even sound strange at first but listen up.” He jumps immediately into talking about Messiah but uses Messiah’s early names adn one of His earthly titles: “Jesus of Nazareth” (Matthew 21:11).

This was a Name used by many to describe Jesus. It was a Name which indicated His humble beginnings and that Jesus was not one of the original powerbrokers and in-crowd. He came from humble beginnings and the wrong side of the tracks.

God the Father showed His approval of Him and His ministry – or validated Him and His ministry – through “…miracles, wonders, and signs…”. God performed these supernatural events through His Son Jesus. Interesting Peter would put it this way. This is because Jesus who is God was born as a man and functioned as a man while ministering on earth. Imagine that! He needed the anointing of the Holy Spirit to minister the same as we do today. He says in Luke 4:


This is why He can later say in John’s Gospel (John 14:12) “that the works He (Jesus) does we will do also….”

Jesus did everything He did under the anointing of the Holy Spirit and so do we when we minister today.

Peter goes on … “This man…” – Jesus of Nazareth – He was fully human although also totally God. This is known as the mystery of the Incarnation that we celebrate every year on December 25th – and should remember daily. For “God took on human flesh and dwelt (tented) among us” (John 1:14). That should cause us to sit and ponder daily!

Now this, Peter states, was all done according to “God’s predetermined plan…” The Father pre-ordained that Jesus would die an atoning death for each one of us.

2 Timothy 1:9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity

Revelation 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

This is a recurring theme in the early Church as witnessed through the book of Acts…

Acts 4:27-28 “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.

Acts 13:27-29 “For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him. “And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed. “When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb.

BUT – the scriptures go on to say that this was all accomplished “by the hands of godless men.” As we know, this was accomplished by a combined working of the Jewish religious leaders and the Roman authorities – and so both the religious and the pagan worlds worked together to see Jesus crucified – and both are called, by God Himself, “godless”. What an indictment on the Jewish religious establishment.

Here is a good point, however: As we will see in Peter’s call, to the Jewish men listening who were called “devout” earlier in the Book of Acts, to repent … just because it was predetermined and planned by God does not absolve the guilt of those who caused it and carried it out.

Now the KEY WORD…and this is really exciting:

Acts 2:24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15 that death has power over us because of sin. And, death had absolutely no power over Jesus – He gave His life up – “Into Your hands I commend My Spirit”. No one took it – He gave it. And, Hell could not hold Him because He had never sinned. When you have no sin then death and Hell lose their power over you. It is then “impossible to hold Him.”

Some commentaries will tell you that Hell could not hold Him because of His divine power. Wrong! As a human being He was anointed just as we are and walked in what we are able to walk in today. The lack of death being able to hold Him was not because of His power but because of His lack of sin. That is the only reason.

Peter then ends this part of his first public ministry opportunity be quoting David – king and prophetic psalmist – (Acts 2:25-28) where God is speaking prophetically about His Son’s resurrection from the dead. This became the key teaching of the early Church and is often lost to the Church (many groups no longer believe in a physcial resurrection from the dead) and in the Church today (it is seldom preached on).


Just as God validated and approved of Jesus’ ministry – letting others know by “miracles, wonders and signs” so He wants to validate the five-fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers by confirming His Word with a supernatural move of the Holy Spirit.

Why do we not see this happening most of the time in North America? I believe it is because we are not, in general, preaching God’s Word – we are preaching our own opinions as well as preaching what people want to hear. Of course, we preach so as to make people feel good about themselves in spite of the sin and disobedience that exists in their lives. We don’t want to upset people as we will not grow a big church that way and people may withhold their finances. We also interpret the Bible to suit our theology and back up our experiences. Thus, from the pulpits of North America we seldom hear what the Lord would say or what the Bible really states.

It is the Word of God that He blesses. Isaiah tells us that “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11). If we will preach God’s Word then we would see, as five-fold ministers, miracles signs and wonders following the declaration of the Word.

I also believe that we do not see the supernartural because we don’t expect to and don’t anticipate it nor prepare for it. So, we settle for Church as usual and when God does show up we get all excited and call it a “revival”. It should be the norm.

Wherever Peter went – people got healed (even through his shadow touching them)
Wherever Paul went God confirmed the Word for Him (see Romans 15:18-19)
When Philip preached the word in Samaria miracles, signs and wonders took place all over the city
When we preach or share God’s Word then it should move mightily and the anointing and power upon it should accomplish what it is sent forth to do. Let’s begin to believe for that today!

God Is Up to Something Great!

God Is Up to Something Great!

In every city and town where I minister I see young men who are called to be apostles and prophets. It is exciting to see the number of them that are actually out there. Some already know the call of God on their life. Some have a sense that there is something God is calling them to do for Him beyond the ordinary, while others are clueless that God’s hand and calling is upon their lives.

However, from my vantage point as someone called to train, equip and release these young men it matters not if they don’t know they have a call on their lives. I instantly see the anointing and the grace that rests upon them and quickly connect with them to speak the Word of the Lord (prophecy) to them regarding their future.

I currently have over thirty young men who have a call on their lives to be apostles and who now know it through a prophetic word or even two prophetic words. All of them have been told to connect to “Ralph Howe” as I have what they need and can help to equip, train, mentor and release them. These words have, in the majority of cases, been spoken over them by seasoned prophets – like Dennis Cramer. And, I believe that, having been in the ministry since I preached my first sermon in 1969 (almost 40 years) I have what it takes to help them. But here is the issue…

For a number of years I have been chasing these men. I call, I write, I email, I send a book, I make suggestions, I drive to meet them, I pay my way and even their way to ministry opportunities. But, recently, for a number of reasons, I have become very dissatisfied and very frustrated with this situation. How come I do all the initiating? How come they don’t read the book and then get back to me so we can discuss it? How come it is almost always me traveling to them and not vice-versa? How come they don’t ask questions and begin to walk in the will of God for their lives? How come they don’t seem interested in seeing their personal prophetic word come to pass?

So, here is what I have recently done. I have stopped calling, contacting, and chasing (wow – three ‘C’s). I have simply sat back and I am waiting to see what happens from their end. So far absolutely nothing!

In May while Dennis Cramer was with me in Saskatchewan we talked about my frustration and observation. He is one of my Advisory Council so this is what he is available to do – listen and advise. It was a good conversation and I was able to express my heart and my head in a seriously accurate way. His comment in response was of God and went straight to my heart as a ‘word from the Lord’. Here is what he said to me: “It is there prophetic word and so their responsibility to contact you and not your responsibility to chase them. Let them take ownership and cooperate with their Word of the Lord.”

Wow! Did that set me free. Took tons of weight off of my shoulders and even lightened my work load. At this point in time I have one young man who is initiating the relationship – calling and writing – and sharing his heart and asking for input. From the rest – dead silence! From over 30 men down to one.

This comes to mind once again today as I sit in the airport in Calgary having just finished two and a half days of ministry. During the service last night there were several men called to be connected to me – an apostle, a network planter who is also a teacher-pastor and a five-fold evangelist (and former Mormon). Time will tell if they will initiate and if they will cooperate with their words. But, I have already decided not to chase them. I have entered their e-mail addresses in my system and sent them a test e-mail and now will leave it up to them to contact me verifying their address and making their first contact.

I hope and pray that they will act on their words from the Lord. However, so far the track record of those whom the Lord has called and connected to this apostle has been pretty poor. It amazes me that people don’t take their words more seriously and so don’t follow through.

What a waste of a word from the Lord. What a waste of a call from God. What a waste of a life!

And the beat Goes On – Calgary Trip #5

I’m sitting in the airport in Calgary. I have checked through security and my bags are no longer being dragged behind me. I have had some fruit and cheese for breakfast (you don’t want to know what that cost me) and now I am sitting with almost 2 hours before the flight I will be on leaves the terminal. Diet Pepsi and a laptop.

Just want you to know airports are a rip off. Other than the food costs the airport requires you to pay to connect to their unsecured (get that – unsecured) wireless internet. That would be okay except that in Minneapolis the company you had to purchase a month’s internet access with was Blingo and here it is Telus. So, my membership in one system does not work in another system. All for less than an hour on the internet to write blogs. Hotspots are common these days – free ones, I mean. Three areas in my home city have them paid for by the city. Any coffee shop worth its salt supplies free internet hookup. What is wrong with the airports?

Short flight (an hour and a bit) and I will be in Regina. Some afternoon appointments (witnessing for the Gospel), a stop at a computer store for some needed office programming as we continue to upgrade our systems and then a meeting at The R.O.C. Church in the city of Regina (just scheduled since I have been in Calgary) where they need some apostolic oversight for a disciplinary action that they are taking. I think that meeting is followed by a BBQ for me with the leadership. Steak!

Tomorrow (Friday) my travels do not end as I am in Moose Jaw to minister. Then Saturday a day in the office which, at least, means basically a no people day. Then, in the evening, (weather permitting and body willing) – an outreach event on the parking lot of a major theatre chain.

Sunday – well, Sunday is Sunday and always a jam-packed day.

Thanks to everyone who prayed for this very important apostolic-prophetic trip to Calgary to minister at this new Church plant. Thanks for praying for Dennis Cramer and myself. We both deeply appreciate your time in prayer before the throne of God on our behalf. I will attempt to post a Blog tomorrow on what God accomplished through these few days in Calgary and where we think we need to go from here. Good fuel for more prayer!

Not a Direct Quote – Bible Blog #10

The Scriptures:

Acts 2:14-21 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. ‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’


The last verses we looked at yesterday said that there were generally two reactions to what was happening since the Holy Spirit decended into the Upper Room – some were amazed and yet greatly perplexed, others simply mocked.

The Holy Spirit has come and people are not sure what this is all about or what is really happening. So, Peter is about to stand up as one of the leaders and give his first sermon. The Holy Spirit has already done some major work in him while Jesus was with them between His resurrection and His ascension. But, it is also obvious that Peter is walking in a greater understanding of the scriptures then ever before.

When the Holy Spirit comes, Jesus said, He will lead you into all truth. Peter is seeing truth supernaturally, by revelation – as he connects the Upper Room experience with the prophet Joel. Great revelation. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would bring revelation – He did for Peter. And, Jesus said, the Holy Spirit will convict the world (not believers) of sin, righteousness and judgment. That is about to happen.

Peter stands – a little nervous as this is his first sermon – THE first sermon of the Christian Church. The Holy Spirit has done His work. Peter links the current situation, noise and activity to what Joel stated would happen in the last days…

Joel 2:28-32 “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. “The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

Peter states (as John Wimber made famous) “This is that”. This that you see and hear is that which Joel the prophet spoke of many hundreds of years ago. Peter has had a revelation through the work of the Holy Spirit about Holy Scripture and presents that revelation. Apostles teach from revelation and release life. Peter does just this.

Peter addresses them formally – and responds to those who mocked. “They are not drunk as you think,” he states, “it is only nine o’clock in the morning.” He then goes on to explain what has taken place and is currently happening right before the crowd that is gathering -connecting current happenings to past prophetic words that they would be more than familiar with being “devout Jews” as we saw yesterday.

As we will see in the next few days – it was a smashing success – it smashed the strongholds of Satan and freed 3,000 people from bondage and brought them into the light (Colossians 1:13). Three thousand became “new creatures in Christ” that very first day of the Church as a result of the first Christian sermon ever spoken.

Let’s look at what Peter quoted and the quote itself in the original from Joel for they are not the same when examined closely.

The Last Days is a Bible way of saying this present era – the Church age in which we live and which is now over 2,000 years long. It is the time between Jesus’ first coming as a babe in Bethlehem and His second coming as King of Kings and Lord of lords.

Joel (and Peter) tell us that the Spirit will be poured out on all flesh – not just Old Testament high priests, prophets and kings. Now there is “a priesthood of all believers” (1 Peter 2:9). The result of the Holy Spirit being poured out on all believers (who ask for the Baptism) is that they will prophesy, have dreams and visions and see supernatural things. Let break that down a bit…

Prophecy is (a basic definition) knowing the heart of God the Father towards someone else – hearing the voice of God for that person – and then speaking what you hear or sense to that person. It is not, as many branches of the Christian Church tell us, ‘inspired preaching’.

You cannot take your experience – or lack of an experience – and then rewrite the meaning of words from the Holy Bible to fit your experience. You first find out what the Bible word means (in context) and then adjust your experience. The Bible is the absolute – not the experience. This is one of my major concerns with Lakeland, Florida and what people are calling a “revival”.

There are a number of ways that God speaks and reveals His plans and purposes for people – dreams and visions being two of them. These are available to all who are Baptized in the Holy Spirit. These are not a new gift to the Church as both believers and non-believers in the Old Testament received dreams and visions (Pharaoh in Genesis 41:1-8 and the prophets in Numbers 12:6)

The natural wonders in the sky, the signs on the earth and the sun turned to darkness have not happened yet. This prophecy from Joel and repeated by Peter is divided into two time frames. The first half of the prophetic word took place on the birthday of the Church and continues to operate. The second half will take place during the tribulation and onwards (the Book of Revelation). For example (and there are many references – I only list one for each):
“Blood” is from Revelation 6:8
“Fire” is from Revelation 8:5, 7-8
“Smoke” is from Revelation 9:2-3
“Moon turned red” – Revelation 6:12

So, we live in the time zone between the fulfillment of the first half of Joel’s prophetic word and the start (and fulfillment) of the second half of Joel’s inspired prophetic word. And, they are exciting times in which to live.

From the beginning of the Church God always backed His Word up with miracles, signs and wonders. Paul was able to say that he fully preached God’s message – with words and with the power of the Spirit (Romans 15:18-19). We need, in the Church today, to have a revelation of what that means for us. We need to see the release of miracles, signs and wonders – the power of God – in the Church today.

Peter states that in the latter part of the era we are in – during the Tribulation – those who repent and call on the Name of the Lord in the midst of all these natural disasters and signs in the heavens – they will be saved. Of course, those who repent today after hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ need only cry out and they too will be saved or born again.

Romans 10:10-13 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”


Take the time to compare Joel’s prophetic word and Peter’s quote of Joel’s original prophetic word. If you have a computer Bible program pull up the Joel and Acts references side-by-side and compare the two – the original and the quote.

In doing so you will see that the Holy Spirit added, through Peter, another reference to prophecy. This was to be the key for the Church. God wanted and wants the Church to be prophetic. We have, over the last 1700 years made it pastoral. This means we counsel people (I thought the Holy Spirit is the Counsellor) and, in some ways, babysit people throughout their Christian lives.

Instead, we should see the prophetic set people free from bondage and curses and the like empowering them and releasing them to do the will of God and to seek and save the lost right after their salvation experience. As long as we pastor the Church we will not win the world. We need to go back to the original plan and allow the Church to be prophetic – instantly obeying the Word of the Lord and the leading of the Spirit as we reach out with the Gospel to the world.

God is, I believe, beginning to transform the Church so that it will actually become an organism and no longer an organization – so that it can be a living, breathing prophetic body of Spirit-filled sent-ones.