God is Passionate About You!

The Bible states that “God is passionate about His relationship with you.” Exodus 34:14 (New Living Translation).

This truth is at the very foundation of what Christianity is all about. And, we need to rebuild this most basic truth into the life of the Church and our Church family once again. Otherwise, we will know a lot about the Living God but actually not know Him personally. And, we will lose the younger generation who are looking for more than information they can base their lives on – they are looking to experience truth and encounter God. This is, of course, what God wants as well.

When you look at the Church today you see people who have a lot of information. However, you often do not see people who are experiencing a lot of transformation. This needs to change otherwise, as in Paul’s day, we will have people who “hold to an outward form of our religion but deny the power thereof…” (2 Timothy 3:5) These are people who will have “the appearance of godliness.” In context – they will literally be a bad example of what the true faith is all about because they have not experienced life change and transformation as a result of being touched by the power of the living God.

This was so important to the early church that Paul, an apostle of the faith, goes on to say that if there are people like this in your assembly “avoid them.” Wow! Following that advice there just might be a lot of people we need to avoid in our church today. People who have a lot of information and knowledge but have yet to experience the life-changing transformation that being a true disciple calls for.

If we were truly as passionate about God as He is about us; if we truly want a dynamic relationship with the living God; if we were passionate and as deeply in love with Him as He is with us – we would certainly see a serious and visible transformation in the way we think, live, and relate to non-believers. We would be seriously passionate about Jesus and everything He has commanded us to obey. Remember, He did say, “If you love me, you will obey Me” (John 14:15).

If we are experiencing a loving and passionate relationship change is inevitable because we are walking with the living God who stated, “I am God who changes not” (Psalm 55:19) and “I am the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). A relationship with God through Jesus Christ is always life-changing and transformational – and much more than informational.

God is passionate about a relationship with us – we need to respond and fall madly in love with Him and thus become passionate as well. Then we will truly “love the Lord our God with all of our heart and with all our soul and with all of our mind.” (Matthew 22:37).

Jesus Did It Differently

Jesus was and still is in the people development business. Yes, He came to seek and save the lost and bring them back into relationship with His heavenly Father. But, He also chose and then spent three years developing those He knew would lead His Church as they went into their world to “seek and save the lost” and “…make disciples.”

Jesus’ process of developing people was somewhat different than ours. His methods involved watching, visual learning, questioning, struggling, confronting, calling people out, raising the bar, assimilating people, and using trial and error, community, challenge, ownership, and a death and growth cycle. I believe that for the Church today to be truly apostolic (sent out ones) or missional (more traditional word for the sent out ones) then these aspects must reemerge in the spiritual formation of all disciples and the missional or sent out Church.

This means that the local church will have to develop an apprenticeship environment and totally destroy the consumer mentality that now exists in most churches in the world today. This apprenticeship process is usually highly interactive, based on real life, and has more of a mentor-ship aspect where people are guided into proficiency in the area they wish to learn. The focus of this process would always be reorienting Christians back into the mission circle and away from self-focus.

This means the main leaders of the church will need to have this discipleship / mentoring approach to ministry so that the people are guided and directed by the leaders into the journey of maturing and becoming ministers and missionaries – being able to minister to believers and reaching the lost with the Gospel. This means the main leader will need to be strong and move forward into this vision of equipping and releasing regardless of what others are saying or will say.

As a leader you will need to learn to be yourself – tell your story and passionately say what your heart feels. Reveal to them your heart for God, the lost, and the mission of the Church. If people are sniffing the same air, you will find some fellow kingdom sojourners. If you attract anyone without giving them the real spiel and sharing your heart, you will get what you deserve and will find many not staying but simply moving on to anther place where they can feel safe, secure and comfortable. Doing things the way Jesus did them is never safe and secure so be ready to lose some who simply want a Savior without a Lord and who believe the gospel of salvation (no obligations, commitments, or responsibilities) and not the Gospel of the Kingdom. Jesus preached and challenged people with the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Like Jesus, the leaders in this new model of the Church will need to reveal their hearts, live with and interact daily with the people they are leading and training, share and reveal their dreams, values, plans and prejudices and generally give people a more realistic idea of what life would be like if they were to jump into the mission of the local church they help to lead. Frieghtening but also very exciting and has the potential of reaping great benefits.

Tomorrow is Sunday

The Puritans called the Lord’s Day the “market day for the soul.” By that they meant that Sunday was a day for stocking up spiritually for the week ahead. So, ask what you could do to “stock up” more successfully. Because no matter how you spend Sunday, Monday always shows up before you know it.

To stock up and be strengthened spiritually for Monday and the days following you really do need to prepare for Sunday… Here are some suggestions:

1> Enjoy your weekly night out on Friday so that on Saturday evening you can have an early night and get enough sleep to be alert and bright on Sunday morning and so able to give your best to the Lord.

2> Before going to bed early on Saturday night – read your Bible and prepare your heart and soul to receive from the Lord. Pray that the Holy Spirit will take whatever happens on Sunday and will speak to you through every aspect of the service and fellowship.

3> On Sunday morning – get up early enough to have quality time with the Lord and especially spend time in the Word and in prayer – praying in particular for the pastor and his teaching as well as the worship leader and their leading at the service. Pray for yourself and your family and the experience with God you are heading into.

4> On Sunday morning – don’t fight with your family before you leave for church or on the way to church and if something does arise make sure it is dealt with in a Christian manner and true forgiveness is offered and received before the service begins.

5> After service – take some time in the afternoon or evening to quietly think through the experience and especially the teaching you received. The teaching on a Sunday is truly the Word of the Lord for the people of your church and thus must be responded to. We are called o be “doers of the Word” and not hearers only (book of James).

6> Remember that Sunday is your Sabbath and spend time focusing on God, listening for His voice, and being refreshed in His presence. Often with the fast-paced life we live we fail to do this and use Sunday as a day to catch up with laundry, grocery shopping, house repairs, and family time. The Ten Commandments remind us to keep the Sabbath and maintain a focus that is godly and strengthening for your spirit.

7> Finally, think through how you will apply what the Lord has shown you to the fresh new week He is about to give to you (Monday through Saturday) because without application you will not move forward in your journey of faith.

Make the most of your time with others and with the Lord as you “forsake not the assemblying of yourself together.”

Russia – November, 2011

Russia For 18 Days

Today I leave for another apostolic trip into Russia. I will be out of Canada for a total of 18 days when you include the three days of travel – 2 days to get there and 1 travel day on the return trip (really 2 but with 10 hours time difference it only takes one). So, 15 days of ministry. A little longer than I like but the plans look good and I will simply need to be careful with pacing myself.

 Read all the blogs….

Apostolic Round Table – September, 2011

A Fresh Look At Ourselves

This past Sunday while ministering in a church for the first time I had an opportunity to speak with a pastor and his wife who have recently moved here from Almaty, Kazakhstan. They lived there for 2 years as UN refugees having fled their native country where they had been pastoring a local church until the persecution became too great to remain. The church I was ministering in has sponsored them to come to Canada and begin to work towards becoming Canadian citizens.

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Russia September, 2011

Planes and Trains…

Today I am in Canada on my way to two churches to preach and minister. Tomorrow I will be on my way to Russia to minister for the next several weeks and then several days after that have been set aside to recover strength and adjust to a 12 hour time difference. The trip over is always great – filled with expectations, excitement about what is to come, and an opportunity to read several good- sized books as it takes about 30 hours to get to where I am going.

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Young Russian seminary student named Anatoli learning to prophesy for the first time. An apostle-in-training being mentored by Ralph

And the Lord Would Say…

“And the Lord would say” are very powerful words to speak. I say those words many times a day both when overseas and at home as I minister prophetically on a daily basis. I teach many people in numerous nations to prophesy as well. This is my main task as an apostle – to equip the saints of the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12) and raise up the next generation of young  apostles. Anatoli is one excellent example of that as he made amazing progress flowing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit in just three short days. Read more

Father and son listening for God’s voice as they prepare to prophesy for first time

We are to Seek and Save the Lost

God has given to us some marvelous gifts. The most important and most precious is the gift of salvation as found only in Jesus. As well, we have the gifts of the Holy Spirit that allow us to minister supernaturally to those who do not know God and thus help them to come to know their heavenly Father.

God has also invited each of us to become personally involved in His work – the task He sent Jesus to begin and created the Church to continue and complete – seeking and saving the lost.

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Breaking demonic curses and releasing God’s power as we speak prophetically into a precious child of God

God’s Presence and Power

Written while in Russia…

It has been an awesome 7 days with God’s presence and His power very much on display for all to see. And there has been a sense of His peace in each and every place we have been honored to minister – airports, back seat of cars, homes, and during the services.

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Ralph prophesying over a young Russian who was called to be a five-fold evangelist and to train God’s people to win the lost.

THE Message of the Church

God sent His Son to “seek and save the lost” and He died on the cross to do just that. His death and resurrection have made a way where there was no way. Only through the shed blood of Jesus can we find forgiveness and experience the love and acceptance of God. Only in Jesus can we have the assurance of a place reserved for us in Heaven so that when we die we will immediately be with Him forever. Read more