Apostolic People – Part Two

As God reintroduces apostles into the mix of leadership within the local and worldwide Church we will see a new breed of believer rise up and take their rightful place as apostolic representatives of the King and the Kingdom in the world today. This generation of “new wine” committed disciples will be different than those whom we see in attendance today. As we saw last time – their characteristics will include:

1> A deep love and understanding of the heart of the Father (God)
2> They will have moved beyond the old wineskins and will welcome the new wine (new move of the Spirit)
3> They will have received “life” and will be walking in that life so as to be the light of the world

4> They will know the voice of God, will be listening for the gentle whisper, and will instantly obey what they hear. The Scripture states that His sheep hear His voice (John 10) and new wine disciples are actively listening for His voice on a daily basis. They truly believe that “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14). So, apostolic people have a close and personal relationship with their heavenly Father and know how to listen for His voice and obey Him when they hear Him.

5> They are flexible. Early in my walk with the Lord in my ministry as an apostle I learned the truth behind a non-Biblical proverb: “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be broken.” Apostolic people are ready to move out in faith and simply trust the Lord for both the direction they are to travel and the results of the journey. This means that they are open to changing their minds as well as their hearts. They are open to new ideas, new ways of doing things. They understand that the message is constant but the methods are not – and that methods need to be continually changing and updated as society and the culture changes. Apostolic people are willing to move as the Spirit directs them without resisting or grieving the Holy Spirit or even questioning His guidance.

6> They recognize who is in charge – the know who is the head of the Church – Jesus Himself. And, they recognize that God has placed certain people in immediate authority in the local church. So, apostolic, new wine people are committed to the local church and follow the God-ordained leadership which consists of the five-fold ministry (Ephesians 4:11) led by an apostle and prophet (Ephesians 2:20).

More on the “new wine” and those who drink it next time…

Apostolic People – Part One

Let’s look at the characteristics and qualities of those who will welcome and flow in the new wine. These are apostolic people – people who understand that the Holy Spirit is moving today and doing something new. They are people who might also know what the Holy Spirit is actually doing today. Apostolic people have usually been influenced by the ministry of apostles and have some perception and idea of what the Church that Jesus is building will look like in the years to come.

Apostolic people will:

1. Have a deep love for and understanding of the Father. They will have experienced and had an encounter with the living God and will be true converts, disciples of the Lord Jesus, members of the family of God – the Church, and ambassadors of the Lord. They will have a revelation of our Heavenly Father knowing with great assurance that He loves them, that He is their Father, and that they are His son or daughter. They will walk with great confidence knowing His unconditional love, total acceptance, and absolute forgiveness.

2. Have moved beyond the old wine and the old wineskins. They will have responded to God’s shaking of His Church and allowed Him to remove all of the old religious and traditional garbage and junk so that they are simply hanging on to the bare essentials (Hebrews 12:26-27 The Message Version). They are no longer imposing their standards upon others and are no longer forcing people to become like them. They are allowing each and every new believer and every fellow disciple to express their true inner being without man’s external controls and rules. They will truly walk in freedom and become all that their Father designed them to be – unique.

3. Have received the life of God and will see, know, and experience that life as foundational to their whole walk with God and their ability to enjoy all that God has given to them and has planned for them. Experiencing His life daily will be an important focus of a true apostolic person for they recognize that the life of God flowing within them is the light of the world as it was with Jesus during His earthly life as a man (John 1:4).

Well, that will get us thinking in the right direction … More tomorrow

Ohio to Saskatchewan

I am on the road early this morning as it is a little over an hour from Butler into Columbus, Ohio and then on to the airport in this fair sized city (another 30 minutes). Then, of course, a two hour wait after checking in, security, and customs… but there is a Tim Horton’s in the Columbus International Airport. So, an opportunity to drink some good coffee and check emails…

An hour long first flight on a plane with propellers and I am in Toronto – more customs and baggage claims and then a long walk to another Tim Horton’s as I wait five hours for the next flight (Toronto to Regina). Home just after supper. End of another trip. But the work of the Holy Spirit will continue as He uses what was said and done to help those who listened and experienced the ministry to grow into their full destiny in the Lord. Only when we die and face the Lord will we realize the things we have accomplished by simply being obedient and taking the opportunities to minister that the Lord places in front of us. I am satisfied that I did honor the Lord and do what He asked me to do while in Ohio during these past five days. Thanks for praying.

Please pray for those who received ministry during these precious last few days – that the Lord will continue what He has begun and will bring it to full completion to His glory. Please pray for my day “on the road” for safe travel and an alert mind to stay focused on my reading and studying so I will make good use of my travel time. And, pray that the Lord given me someone to witness to – someone who is hungry for the Lord. Your prayers are appreciated.

Monday in Ohio

My time in Ohio on this trip is quickly coming to an end. It is Monday and with three full days already behind me I am working today in a much less public manner. Today I am meeting with Christopher who is planting a church in the city of Mansfield and is growing quickly as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. He stepped out in faith about 6 months ago leaving the church he was involved in to plant this church in the city where he lives. Then, in the afternoon, I will be meeting with the representative for the company that we have hired to work on the app for smart phones and tablets for this ministry. The evening will be spent with my mentor discussing some things I have on a list I brought with me – and that now includes some questions I need to ask that have come to mind since arriving here last Thursday.

Tomorrow – an hour’s drive to the airport in Columbus and then 12 hours worth of flights and airports…welcome to the ministry. I still have two books with me that I want to read so the time will be well spent.

Your prayers for today’s two meetings – very, very important. I really want the mind of Christ so that I can speak into Christopher’s life and encourage him and, through him, the team he is working with. And, I need some “business savy” as I work with the company designing our app so that I can explain what I am looking for and what I want the app to be able to do.

Thanks for holding this ministry and specifically this trip up before God in your prayers today.

Sunday In Ohio

This morning I will be at River of Life Community Church in the small town of Butler, Ohio. I have been here a number of times and, in many ways, it is like my second home. It is a beautiful area of the United States and the hills and mountains are beautiful at this time of the year. The church here is growing and reaching out to a number of communities that surround the town of Butler. The services and even the pre-service prayer times are always powerful and I am always refreshed when here – both when I have an opportunity to minister and when I sit and listen to others minister. Because the pastor of this church is one of my mentors I am here at times when I am not ministering.

Today I will be preaching and prophesying at the morning service and then meeting with the youth in the evening. It has been a full few days already – elders meetings, meetings with my mentor, a family wedding that I helped to officiate at, and many ad-hoc meetings with people as each day unfolds. It has been busy but it has been good. And, I have been thankful to have had time to prepare for Sunday’s ministry opportunities before I arrived as there has been no spare time since arriving. Tomorrow (Monday) is just as busy with a meeting in the morning with a church planter that I am working with and then a meeting with the company who is designing the app for Ralph Howe Ministries – both within driving distance of where I am located.

Your prayers for today and the people of The River of Life Church Community Church would be greatly appreciated. The morning service usually number well over 200 and God has given me a powerful message for those in attendance. The evening youth group will be 25+ and, if it is like last time, a number of the parents will sit at the back and listen in on what we are doing – so, most likely, a good sized group to minister to. Again, the Lord has laid a special challenge on my heart to issue to the youth.

Thanks for praying – your support in this way is very important and very powerful. I appreciated your involvement in this ministry.

One-on-One Meetings

While here ministering in Ohio I will be meeting with Christopher (pictured). I came to know him through several Apostolic Roundtables that I attended over the past few years. And, since beginning to work in the Butler, Ohio area I have renewed and deepened my relationship with him. Until a few months ago he was the worship leader at one of the churches that I minister in here in Ohio. Recently they have released him and he is now church planting in the city of Mansfield, Ohio and fulfilling the vision that the Lord has given to him regarding his ministry.

Christopher is married and has a young family. He is a tremendous worship leader, good with youth (a former youth pastor), and a good teacher of God’s Word. Like all of us there are areas of his ministry where he needs to learn new skills and approaches and areas of his personal life and character that need to develop and grow. I am excited to be one of many voices that have opportunity to speak into his life and his ministry as he steps out on this new adventure with the Lord. Christopher, like most who are church planting and ministering, has a secular job to earn a living and so juggles a lot each week to continue to minister.

Your prayers for Christopher, for our time together, and for God’s wisdom would be greatly appreciated. It is amazing to watch as the younger generation answer the apostolic call upon their lives, step out in faith and without financial backing, and begin to minister in fresh and new ways to members of their own generation.

Your prayers for my ministry today – a wedding and an opportunity to share the gospel with those in attendance would also be greatly appreciated. Tomorrow (Sunday) I preach and minister at the local church in Butler, Ohio and your prayers for that service would also be greatly appreciated. Thanks for being a vital part of this ministry in this way.

In Ohio Ministering

During my visit here in Ohio I will be spending some quality time with one of my mentors. His name is Bill Lewis and he has been working as an apostle far longer than I have and has a great deal of wisdom which he is more than willing to share. So, during my visit I am taking advantage of every minute of time that he has available to spend with me.

I have come with a lot of questions; I have ideas I want to share and get his input on; I am asking for his help in organizing and planning the obvious on-going expansion of this ministry the Lord has given to me; and I am, of course, looking for any insights he might have about me personally and the way I do ministry. During the course of my stay there will be time as we sit to talk at Starbucks; time in his home to chat; we will drive into the mountains and walk some of the wonderful wilderness trails that exist – talking the whole time; and opportunities over meals to share.

Mentoring deals with more than just ministry – it involves all aspects of life. So, to be properly mentored means being part of and involved in his life as a father and a husband. So, I will am invited to be a part of several special family events that are happening while I am there. In my past visits these family times have been a real highlight as I have watched this fairly large family celebrate together as well as work through some major spiritual and family issues. Mentoring is about life and happens as life happens. I have learned a lot from this righteous man of God who is my mentor – by simply watching how he handles these situations.

Your prayers for my time with Bill and the many conversations we will have over the next five days are greatly appreciated. I am here with a listening heart and want to grow and mature as a person and as a minister of the Gospel, an apostle. Thanks for joining with me in this powerful few days of my ministry to many but also the Lord’s ministry to me.

On the Road – Ohio

It is a great day to read – I am flying Regina – Toronto – Columbus, Ohio and will spend 12 hours doing so. Thus, I have several books with me to read on my way to minister for a few days in Butler, Ohio and surrounding towns and cities. I have several other books for my return trip on Tuesday the 21st of August. Time to read is always, in my mind, in short supply and so I take advantage of every opportunity I can to read, research, and record what I am discovering. Reading is more than a pastime – it is a necessity. Leaders are readers; stop reading and you will stop leading. Of course, a leader reads his Bible but there are also many tremendous other books that we can glean truth and insight from if we will just that the time to read and engage with the thoughts and ideas of the authors. I would appreciate your prayers for the time I will be flying and waiting in airports – for a sharp mind and a hearing heart.

I am on my way to minister once again in Ohio – there are a number of former ministry opportunities and many informal meetings with elders and others. I am involved in a wedding, Sunday services and ministry, hopefully meeting with the youth (it is summer, however), meeting with some of the young leaders in the church as well as someone who has begun a church plant in the city of Mansfield, Ohio. I may even meet with him and some of his leaders together for a morning. That is still in the initial planning stages even as I head to Ohio today. Thus is the nature of ministry in the summer. However, there is always more than enough to do and I know from past trips that every minute of my trip will be well utilized.

I would appreciate your prayers for the whole trip (6 days in total) and for everything the Lord is planning to do while I am there. Please pray for wisdom, strength, increased supernatural power and a stronger anointing for healing and for prophecy as I seek to take both these giftings to a higher and more powerful level. Thanks for your prayers – they are powerful and important to the success of this ministry and what the Lord has called us to accomplish.

Picture: Bill Lewis – apostolic leader and spiritual father – pastor of River of Life Community Church in Butler, Ohio. And, one of Ralph’s mentors.

The New Wine of the Spirit – Part Two

The new wine that is now being poured out worldwide and received by some and rejected by many comes to replace the religious traditions, obsolete methods, and old mentalities or patterns of thinking; to replace programs with relationships and to do away with old ministry philosophies, negative attitudes, and all other old patterns that have been operating in the church that we now know – the old wine skins.

The new wine needs new wineskins in order to flow properly and actually continue to impact lives. If the new wine is poured into old wineskins it will break these old containers and then flow out uncontrollably. The new wine (the fresh anointing and power of God) will, once again, be seen briefly and then lost to another generation. This is what has happened over many decades, even centuries. The new wine is poured out, the supernatural begins to be seen and experienced, and then the old wineskins reject the new wine (break open and burst) and the renewal, the revival, the movement is lost. Tradition continues to keep people from experiencing God’s life and power.

This time it will be important to have people in leadership and mature disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ who follow them – believers and leaders who are trained and equipped to handle the fresh outpouring of the Spirit – the new wine – so as not to see it simply burst the current wineskins, flow out and be lost. God is currently preparing those leaders and disciples – and welcomes anyone willing to walk by faith and give up what is without fully knowing what is to come. This outpouring of new wine will not be lost to the Church this time because these willing leaders and believers will guarantee that it will continue to flow and cause the new wine both to flow worldwide as well as continually – not ending as renewals and revivals always have. This will be, for those who respond, a new and permanent way of life.

And, those who do not respond? Well, they will be rejecting the move of God’s Spirit and His plan and purpose for today – for His Church. They will continue to pray “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” and like the Pharisees in the Gospels they will simply miss God’s will, God’s plan and God’s purpose. They will continue to worship, run programs, hold meetings, and call themselves a “church.” But, the Lord will not be able to honor their traditions because that church will not be welcoming or honoring Him and His new wine.

An apostle who ministers today has made a good point:Some leaders adopt new methods before changing the wineskin or container (the church or ministry they lead), and that is why they are unable to reach their goals. To achieve effective and permanent results, we must change the wineskin first. In other words, we must change the way we think and begin to apply the new methods. The wineskin must be flexible and have the ability to be stretched far enough to contain the new ideas, patterns of thought, and the methods of the new wine.

Again… more next time

A Laugh for a Sunday

10 Facts About You

1> You’re reading this right now
2> You’re realizing that is a stupid fact
4> You didn’t notice I skipped three
5> You’re checking now
6> You’re smiling
7> You’re still reading this even though it’s stupid
9> You didn’t realize I skipped eight
10> You’re checking again and smiling about how you dell for it again
11> You’re enjoying this
12> You didn’t realize there’s only suppose to be ten facts

Smile….it was funny!!!