Friday Is Done and Saturday has begun

Friday has come and gone – very quickly. It has been a long day but a good day. We began early – travelling through this city of 1,600,000+ people to a small Baptist Church building that we were using for the day. Rush hour in downtown – very interesting. Because it was a work day we did not expect very many to be there but wanted to be a blessing to those who took time off work to come. I was right. The attendance was small but God was there and those who made the time to attend were blessed and moved forward greatly in their understanding of the Church, their gifts and callings, and the need to walk supernaturally in their world on a daily basis.

We were honored to have the pastor of the “borrowed” Church attend the seminar. However, he turned out to be very argumentative and constantly trying to teach everyone what he believed – which does not line us with what we were teaching concerning being born again (truly converted) and baptized in the Holy Spirit. As well, he began to ask questions which were not relative to the topic and which were “way out there” making one wonder what his theology and understandning of the Bible really was. It was a little confrontational at times. Eventually a team member passed him on the way to the outhouse and mentioned that he should stay on topic and he was less agressive after that and things settled down somewhat.

Two sessions during the day with a hurried trip back through the mid-day traffic to where we were staying for a hot lunch. Then, after supper the third session was held in the facilities that the local church rents for their activities. Apparently Friday daytime is the only time they are unable to use the rented space. Our numbers increased and we had a great evening session ending right on the dot of 10:00p as asked.

Ten thirty saw use eating yogurt and cut-up fruit (a fruit salad) and simply fellowshipping back where we are staying. A short walk in the pouring rain from where we were teaching. Just as we finished the treat our hosts came along with fresh strawberries from their country garden patch and some great tasting ice cream and we had another feast … soon afterwards we all headed to bed as we were all very tired.

During the day sessions we had three of us teaching – so I was able during two sessions to hand write some notes regarding the on-going opposition here in Eastern Europe. I had one email that I had not had time to answer before leaving North America and thought that if I could jot my thoughts down it might get answered in the next few days. It was good to have opportunity to do so while other very capable team members jhelped with the teaching load.

We have finished our arrangements (at least the dates) for our trip in 10 weeks to Khabarovsk, Russia (it overlooks the Islands of Japan). We are working on some of the details – teaching topics, flight routes and ticket arrangements and costs … it is beginning to come together. These opportunities to minister start long before the event ever happens. We first heard of this opportunity last November while ministering in Moscow. We have been in touch and working through the details and the opportunity being offered since then… we are almost to the final stretch with dates set, flights being looked at, topics being selected and discussions re. living facilites, the pace of our work day, etc. taking place. Another few weeks and the trip will be settled and I can get to work preparing the material and doing any necessary research and writing … including learning as much as I can about the city and region where we will be ministering.

Today we have morning, afternoon, and evening sessions … 10 hours of teaching and ministering. Tomorrow (Sunday) one service – 2 teachings – from 11:00a to 4:00p and then supper, fellowship with our host pastors and on the train by 7:30p to head to our next city and the start of our first ever School for Apostles and Prophets.

Please be in prayer for our safe travel. Even this morning as I type this (late Friday in mid-Canada) there has been another plane crash – Air India – with apparently 163 of 173 on board dead…. travel is not always safe and assured.

A Day to Catch My Breath – I Think

It is late on Thursday night here (11:50) Or 2:50p in the afternoon back home… and the day is winding down. It has been a slower day – planned that way due to two full days of travel, 8 time zones crossed and resulting jet leg, leg cramps and assorted other after effects. The night’s sleep was short and sleep was interrupted many times with the pain still there from sitting and standing for two solid days.

A slower day did not mean unproductive. We managed to get my computer hooked to the internet and so the blog that I finished in the early morning was posted and I was able to receive and answer 30+ emails from the 24 hours since my Blackberry was turned off – roaming costs run into the hundreds of dollars for text and email on a two week trip recently so is no longer even considered as I need to be a good manager of our limited funds here at the ministry. We will, by our next trip, be set up for Skype video and audio and international calls and so maintain communications that way.

We also held several “business meetings” as we discussed things that we are working on while here – arranging who is teaching what and when (some of which was changed tonight during a meeting with our hosts for the first four days while in the nation). As well, plans were discussed for several other trips being worked on – eastern Russia and my next trip into Ukraine. The details for the eastern Russia trip actually came in today (after our discussion) and are being translated for me as I write this blog. I will read it later tonight or when I get up in the morning and ask my next set of questions and continue the planning. We have recently received two other invitations to minister in Russia and we are in the initial planning stages for these trips as well – where the one to eastern Russia is in the final stages of boarding (sorry – too many airports) final stages of planning.

We held a meeting of the teach team members already assembled (the forth arrives at 2:35a Friday morning – just 2 and a half hours away as I write this). The discussion was to form a list of what an apostle-in-training or prophet-in-training can and cannot do so that we can give direction to those we prophesy over who have these callings upon their lives. This list arises out of the results of past trips to the nations in Eastern Europe when people who received words acted badly and in an unbiblical manner towards others with respect to the Word that they received – moved ahead of their knowledge and level of training and mentoring. It will be worked on again and then translated in the next few days and ready to hand out at the School for Apostles and Prophets next week in Kirovograd. As well, late tonight another brochure Bob and I have jointly worked on has arrived translated into Russian and ready to be passed out. We will need to check it over.

Meetings were the name of the game as the pastors hosting us arrived where we are staying for an 8:15p meeting that went to 10:45p as we went over and adjusted schedules for the next two days (seminar) as well as for Sunday (2 services) and especially areas they would like us to address from the pulpit on Sunday (topics to preach on). Again, more work to do “on the fly” as these topics were not mentioned before we came and so I will need to either write or re-write something I brought most of my material (the whole hard drive of my main computer travels with me in the form of an external portable hard drive) so all my computerized resources are here – so if I can find what I need I will simply require a few hours to re-write and not have to start from scratch and stay up half the night. Prayer appreciated.

So then one more meeting about the trip to eastern Russia (city of Khabarovsk) where we will be working with the largest church in the city for 8 days. The trip is Regina – Calgary – Frankfurt, Germany, Moscow, Russia (total of a day and a half) and then another 10 hour flight to Khabarovsk. Maybe a stay in a hot tub would be best when first arriving in Moscow before flying out to my destination – just to loosen up the joints and muscles a bit.

This trip to Russia is a series of four public meetings a day and so because they are “public” and anyone can come I will need to apply for a religious visa (a month long process with a great deal of paperwork) so that what I am doing I can do legally. This puts me on the “to watch” list from that point onwards but it will keep the local church and its pastor out of trouble with their government and the authorities who check up on these issues. Your prayers for this process which needs to start immediately would also be appreciated.

That’s my day – nothing out of the ordinary – definitely never boring – always something different and new and often challenging. Thanks for praying – and please continue to do so.

On the Road Once Again

It is Thursday afternoon in my part of the world – Wednesday morning in central Canada and the USA. I arrived here late last night after 36 hours of planes, trains, and taxis. Straight awake time as I don’t sleep when in motion. And, of course, after arriving we had a great hour moving in and meeting, once again, with our hosts whom I last saw in February when ministering for them.
It was a good trip – nothing went wrong and the volcano and the winds behaved themselves and so we arrived without any delay. As well, I had some quiet time before meeting up with my part of my team in Calgary, a great four hour chat with my team in Calgary and in flight (after which he slept and I wrote a teaching), and then some good, quality time with a second team member from Kiev onwards. Our fourth leadership team member arrives tonight at 2:00a (Friday morning) and we aree set to start the real work of discipling, training, equipping and mentoring on Friday morning at 9:00a after another team meeting and some set-up time. It is going to be a busy day and a half.

On the way to Kiev we picked up about 40+ young people in Frankfurt who spoke English, Spanish and Russian. They were easy to spot as they all wore blue t-shorts with the letters FLEX on them. This stands for Future Leaders Exchange. These young men and women had been in the United States for a whole year learning the language and the culture and were now heading home for the first time in 12 months. It was a definite party atmosphere in the German airport, on the plane, especially when we landed in Kiev and the whole flight for that matter. Their excitement and enthusiasm was contagious. It was a great time for a people-watcher like me to observe youth interacting and the youth culture dynamic in full force in one place at one time. Had some limited but good interaction with a couple of them.

Sitting in airports is another people watching experience. No matter what airport in what country you see many different facial features, many different cultural differences (head wear, jewellery), and yet almost everyone wearing the same dress code … blue jeans and t-shirts. Our world is fast becoming one main culture with some cultural differences from place to place – but few that would keep people divided.

As I sat and had a cold Diet Coke (Coke Light here) in Frankfurt airport at McDonalds it was interesting looking around. The facility in the airport sits over 200 people and it was fairly full – everyone from many different nations going, I am sure, in many different directions but all having identical breakfasts of egg McMuffins, hash browns and MacDonald’s coffee…

After a poor night’s sleep (really can’t “call it a night”) due to muscle cramps in the legs and feet from sitting on planes and trains for 30+ hours … a early hot breakfast of chicken, mashed potatoes, cold and excellent salad and hot green tea. Before showering I had to, once again, simply lie down and sleep again. Showered when I woke a second time around 11:30a and now and ready for a long day (remember we are picking a team member up at 2:00a at the train station). A day filled with writing (I am doing a paper for publication through a university in Minsk, Belarus) as well as meetings with my team, working to get the new laptop functioning on the internet here in Ukraine, and then a whole evening of fellowship (and a little business) with our hosts for the next four days.

Tomorrow (Friday) we begin the Russian version of Walking In the Supernatural seminar that I also do in North America. We have the manual totally translated into Russian after making some changes in some of the lists (occult involvements and Religious spirit lists) to better relate to the culture here. This thanks to a wonderful cash donation from the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan area. The four leaders on the team we have assembled for the trip will each teach parts of it so that I am not the only one functioning in my calling and gifts.

We have two days for the seminar and then two Sunday services before heading out to our next city to begin our first ever School for Apostles and Prophets. Both weeks are full house and we are excited about the Lord’s blessing ad His hand on these two weeks of ministry.

Your continued prayers would be greatly appreciated.

Respecting Others

Ever had trouble with people talking about you to others? How about people talking to you about others? Gossip? Heresay? This brochure ‘Respecting Others’ explains in simple terms how to handle these situations. This is a resourceful tool for any age group or situation. If you would like to view a PDF copy of this brochure, please click here . If you have any questions or need furthur help in handling a situation you are facing, please, don’t hesitate to call 306-536-9741.

The Work That Needs to Be Done

As an apostle I think of equipping the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). That is one of the main tasks or jobs of the apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ in the day and age in which we live. One task of many set out for apostles in the New Testament.

If we look at the work and try to place it some type of order (and I am certainly being overly simplistic for the sake of clarity) we could say that the work of the apostle includes:
1> Discipling
2> Training
3> Equipping
4> Mentoring
5> Releasing

Discipling is something that all believers need – and new believers REALLY need. It is the responsibility of all believers to seek discipling. And, when you lead someone to the Lord it is definitely your responsibility to disciple them (or make sure they are being discipled) in the basics of the Christian faith. This would include prayer, Bible reading and study, meditation, worship, financial management by Bible principles, evangelism, brokenness and submission, the role of authority in a believers life, the fruit of the Spirit, the basic doctrines of the Christian faith, and a variety of other issues including life skills to enable the person to live as a believer and to honor God in thought, word and deed.

For an apostle – the emphasis would be to disciple those who are called to be in the five-fold ministry and would include all of the above topics and areas as well as further, in-depth teachings on the basic doctrines and beliefs of the faith not to mention how to defend them (apologetics). Of course, if an apostle leads others to the Lord they have to do exactly what all believers do – make sure that the new converts to the faith are being discipled even if there is not a five-fold call of God on their lives.

Training – the next stage – would allow the person, who has moved forward to a decent level of maturity through discipling, to continue to develop their relationship and walk with God the Father and with Jesus (John 17:3) but would also involve coming to know the Holy Spirit in a deeper and more intimate manner (the “fellowship” – partnership, participation with, partnering with – mentioned in 2 Corinthians 13:14). Here the believer would come to know more about the ministry of the Holy Spirit to them and in them. This would include the Spirit’s anointing, gifts, empowerment, conviction of sin, as well as the fruit of the Holy Spirit (which deals with many character issues) and focuses on a Christian lifestyle that leads to powerful, supernatural evangelism.

Equipping takes the believer one step further as the apostle works with them to understand the gifts and anointing that is specifically for them to walk in and work with due to their calling and ministry potential as revealed prophetically. Here the apostle is literally Encouraging Qualities Undeveloped In People. This is a much more intense level of training than either discipling or training and is much more practical with a great deal of hands-on learning as the believer grows through doing as well as through having more information given to them.

For those in a five-fold calling an apostle will then begin to mentor them. Mentoring is more about life than information; it is about shared experiences. Information, skills, and insights are gained as a result of the mentor opening his or her life to those being mentored and inviting them to enter into their life and ministry – sharing meals, travelling and ministering together, spending off time together,. It is very much relational-based and much less information based. On this level we are looking for experiences and encounters with the living God as the ability to minister and the calling mature and become much more active. In these experiences and encounters, as well as through all ministry opportunities, lessons are learned and character is being formed.

When a person has reached maturity as well as having established an excellent character base upon which to build life and ministry – proven themselves faithful in both natural and spiritual things – can they begin to minister more and more without their mentor. Finally, when the grace of God is fully active and their anointing for their ministry is mature – they can now be released to walk in their calling while still maintaining the solid relationships that have been built over the many years of being discipled, trained, equipped and mentored.

There is much work that needs to done – a lot of it behind the scenes and not noticed by many. However, it is only as five-fold ministers take seriously the call to disciple, train, equip and mentor others that the Church will grow up and become mature and effective in its task of seeking to save the lost.

Tomorrow We Need a Miracle

Tomorrow my team heads from Canada to work for two weeks in the great nation of Ukraine. Today has been a busy day – laundry, packing, purchasing missing items, trip to the bank, and trying to figure out all the teachings that will need to go with us … and taking an extra electronic copy of everything (thanks to external hard drives) in case, like last trip, my computer fails to operate for the whole time we are there. Busy day but a good day.

My first day of this trip starts early with a 7:00a arrival at the local airport, coffee with some family members after checking in (party anyone?) and then a short flight to Calgary. There I meet up with my other team member, Bob MacDonald from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and we drink coffee waiting – a normal occupation (the waiting) for those who fly internationally. Then a 9.5 hour flight to Frankfurt, Germany. Here is where we need the first miracle.

There is a volcano in Iceland that a few weeks ago disrupted millions of travellers for over a week because of airports and routes being shut down due to the dust cloud. And, my last trip back from Belarus missed that mess by 1 day. Well, the volcano is acting up again and may stop us from reaching our destination. All flights from our area to Germany fly over Iceland or, near enough, that the cloud might be a hazzard to us. And, already, with this last set of erruptions 48 hours ago, some airports have been closed here and there. Currently Frankfurt and other German airports are still open but it may be a totally different story by tomorrow (and Wednesday when we actually fly into Germany due to the 7 hour time difference between here and Germany).

Our second miracle will be needed when we are heading home on the 1st of June (the day before if you live in Canada) as the same volcano could delay our return.

While in Ukraine we have full house in both our events – In the first stop (after a 4 hour wait upon arrival in Kiev and a 6 hour train ride) we are working with a great local church and teaching a two day power-packed seminar on walking in the supernatural. We have translated the whole manual into Russian and so each person will receive a complete manual so that they will receive maximum benefit from the seminar. The day before we will spend with the local pastor and his wife…. the day after we will minister at two services in the same local church. I am excited.

Then a train ride to our second location arriving in the early morning. We start on the same day at noon our first ever School of Apostles and Prophets. Again, a full house. I don’t feel that I am prepared for what will be happening that week as I have really lacked quality preparation time over the last few months. However, with all my computer files with me (on two different hard drives) I should be able to find what is needed and hold up my end of the teaching (4 sessions a day). Of course there will also be lots of prophetic ministry going on throughout the week.

We top that week off with two Sunday services and an overnight train ride into Kiev … half a day to clean up and sleep a few hours and then head to the airport at 2:00 a.m. and begin the journey home.

Your prayers for our health, our strength, God’s wisdom and guidance, protection and for these meetings and all the other ones that pop up daily as we go along would be greatly appreciated. I will post a daily blog and pictures as we go along and as internet connections allow (excellent the last week – iffy the first week).

Guest Blogger – Bill Lewis of ATM

Lasting Work, Is there Any?

At this point in life, I wonder at times. What about all the effort put forth and what are the results? I have been a minister, a church planter, consultant, agitator, comforter, confronter, passionate, zealous, and at times depressed. Churches that I have worked with, sometimes for years, go by the wayside, vanish, people scattered. Others who started well on New Testament principles, have moved to their own brand of current expression. People that I have labored with, some are still at it, others have quit, some have backslidden, and some have denied the faith.

I have seen my share of ministries falling apart from all kinds of improprieties. It seems we do not go a month without some type of expose’. Men cheating on their wives, wives cheating on their husbands, churches splitting, and grabs for power, are all too frequent. Whatever happened to “you will know they are mine, because they love one another,” or how about the unity of the faith and bonds of peace.

Even Paul had the ones who labored with him and then departed. Some of them were even teaching false doctrine. Jesus had his Judas, and many more through the centuries. I guess it is not a new problem or my disappointment only.

I do not want to deny Him, become so discouraged that I throw up my hands as some have and walk away. I guess it comes down to being faithful yourself and then there will be a few surprises of success long term. I have had the pleasure of knowing a small handful that are covenant brothers and sisters. There are a few who come back and say thanks and are still at it, serving the Lord.

Even the Lord asked that when He returns, will he find faith?

As for me, I want to keep running the race. Finish well. Climb new mountains and keep taking new territory.

Bill Lewis

Bill Lewis is a leader in the move of the Holy Spirit to re-establish apostles in the Church today. He is also the organizer of the apostolic roundtable that meets in Indiana twice yearly. A tremendous blessing to the Church worldwide.

Walk, Work and Worship

Learn to walk, work and worship God together in the local church. That statement has been running around in my head and heart now for several weeks. Recently I have taught my “Walking in the Supernatural” seminar in a number of locations and in each weekend I have met and ministered to gifted and talented individuals who are dangerous. They are dangerous because they are not rooted and grounded in a local assembly of believers called the Church.

The Church is being built by the Lord. He stated, “I will build My Church.” The Church is what Jesus is coming back for. The Church is the Body of Christ and He is the Head of the body. It is the army of God, the family of God, the Bride of Christ … it is called so many things in the New Testament. But, my point is simple. Every believer needs to be a part of the Church – Jesus is not building individuals – He is building His Church. He is not coming for an individual – He is coming to claim His Church and welcome them into the fullness of His Kingdom. An individual is not His Bride – the Church is. And, according to the Bible He expects every believer to be attached to, active, supporting, and a part of the life of a local Body.

1 Corinthians 12 speaks about everyone being planted in the local Church of His (God’s) choice. He tells us where we belong – AND everyone belongs somewhere. “But in fact God has arranged the parts (that’s us) in the body (that’s the Church), every one of them. just as He (that’s God) wanted them to be.” (1 Corinthians 12:18).

So, these wonderful people I met are out of biblical order because they are not attached to a local Body of believers and are thus very dangerous – gifted but dangerous. We are called and designed to walk, work and worship with other believers.

I have found over the years that the cause of this is pride. Most of these people cannot find a Church that they like, that they agree with, whose leader they think is good enough (as a teacher, as a pastor, as a friend)… on and on the excuses (they call them ‘reasons’) go. The point: they are not suppose to find the Church they belong in – they are suppose to find out where God wants them to be connected and join that one – serving and helping wherever they can, even without recognition of their wonderful gifts, talent, and calling. Serving often without thanks.

Christianity is more than believing – it is belonging. And, any born again believer who actually thinks it is okay not to be planted in a local church is deceived – self-deceived. Any believer who cannot find a Church good enough for them is simply proud and needs to be humbled. If the problem is their gifts and calling is not being recognized – time to be broken and simply serve others. You are dangerous – first to yourself but definitely to the Christian faith and other believers.

If you are a born again believer and find yourself in a local church that does not teach truth as found only in the Bible and which does not declare that Jesus is the only way to the Father and into Heaven … you are connected to a dead body and the Lord is speaking to you to move to one that is alive. A limb or an eye or ear that is not receiving a life flow from the rest of the body will soon be dead like the body it is connected to. Time for a transplant and to become connected to a body that is still alive with the power, presence, purpose and plan of God. Find a place to be fed and where life can flow through the body and into you. You are slowly dying where you are and it is time to reconnect somewhere else. You may think you are called to be a “missionary” to that group but it is not so – if the horse is dead, dismount!

God has called us to walk, work and worship with other alive and dynamic believers. Then we will receive His life which flows through His Body and be healthy and whole … reproducing as a healthy believer seeing others coming into the Kingdom as a result of our witness. And, we will then help the true Body of Christ grow up into maturity (Ephesians 4:11-16)

Willing and Eager but Hard Work

We need to be willing, even eager, to receive the tough questions that skeptics pose, and honest enough to let them put our faith to the test. If our faith is an accurate reflection of God and reality, as we believe it is, it can withstand tough questions. Truth has no need to run from error, but error has no choice but to run from truth.

However, first believers need to come to know and really understand the truths upon which the Christian faith is built … the foundational doctrines of the faith. I don’t expect non-believers to know what the basic teachings of the Christian faith are; I don’t expect nominal Church attendees to know them either; and I certainly don’t expect traditional “religious” people who are not born again to know what we teach. But, and it is a big but, I speak with born again, Spirit-filled believers almost daily and have discovered that they are not able to articulate the basic foundational truths of the Bible … and, in some cases, even believe things that are directly opposed to Bible teachings (reincarnation,. communicating with the dead…).

This is the work of the apostles according to Ephesians 2:20 which states, “the Church is built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone.” Apostles need to be, as they did in the early Church, teaching the APOSTLES DOCTRINE (Acts 2:42). Not popular, not exciting, not something that will sell a lot of CDs. But absolutely essential.

Once we know the truth that will set us free – then we need to know how to “DEFEND THE FAITH” which is called apologetics. We need to know how to listen to the beliefs of others and see where they differ from Bible teaching and then how to, gently and with love, explain what the Christian faith believes about the subject under discussion. This is not as easy as it sounds as many other religions have trained their followers well and they know how to defend what they honestly and sincerely believe. This must also be done in a way that is not defensive or offensive.

Many leaders today are telling the Church that the one need we have in the Church is for followers (disciples) to really know what it is they believe and why – and how to defend what it is that is basic to the Christian faith – the true Christian faith … and not what is preached in many locations today.

Scholars tell us that there are two major threats to the Christian faith worldwide – anti-theism and radical Islam. I believe that there is a third challenge – Christians who no longer understand their faith or the biblical truths upon which it was founded. In a time when we really need the strong, culture-building, life-affirming influence of biblical Christianity we have most believers not even understanding what it is they believe let alone being able to defend it to anyone.

So, we need to be asking ourselves the questions we will be asked when talking to others about what it is we believe – and then answer our own questions so we are ready and prepared to answer others when they ask (and they will and do ask) … learning to answer them in a way that others will actually understand what we are communicating. And, we also need to listen to what others are asking so that we are not tying to answer questions that are not being asked (a favourite passtime in the Christian Church).

What are people – sincere seekers after God – asking? Questions like:
What made God?
How can there be three persons in one God?
What is God’s ultimate purpose in allowing evil?
Where did the universe really come from?
How long are the days of creation in Genesis?
Did Jesus rise from the dead?
Are the records of Jesus’ life reliable?
Does the Bible have errors in it?
Why should I believe what your holy book states and reject what “their” book states?
What is the difference between what you believe and what others believe? (Mormonism, Hinduism, Yoga, Transcendental Meditation, Reincarnation, Buddhism, and Black Islam).

This will be a lot of hard work for serious believers and the Church. This will not be popular. This will certainly not tickle the ears of believers. But, this will help us to speak intelligently about what we believe to be the truth – God’s truth – that sets people free and offers them an opportunity to interact with the timeless truths of God’s Word and understand, truly understand, what it is that the Christian faith is all about.

Jesus did say, “Go into all the world…preach.. and teach them everything I have commanded you…” It is time Church!

Apostolic Team Requirements

If you would like to join Ralph on an apostolic mission trip either to plant churches or work in existing churches here in North America or overseas – the following are the basic requirements we look for in people when forming a mission team…

1> The person must be born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit

2> The person must be able to flow in one or more of the revelatory gifts – Prophecy, Word of
Wisdom, Word of Knowledge, and the Discerning of Spirits Read more