We are now entering the countdown to Christmas and much of what we are thinking and doing in our spare time is geared to those few days of family, food, and fun…

As I walk my dog I find it interesting, to say the least, that the homes that were seriously decorated for Hallowe’en are now just as decorated for Christmas
That those who did the Hallowe’en thing are now doing the Christmas thing
And, for many, it is just “a thing” and not, in the least, really connected to the birth of Jesus and the spiritual significance – the eternal difference – that his birth was really all about
But, this I do know, it is a great window of opportunity for those of us who believe to share Jesus and, as we say, “the reason for the season” with each and every person that we meet during the mad rush towards more debt…

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Come and See / Go and Be

We live in a inwardly focused world where people are at the center of their own world
Everything is about them
How they feel
What they think
Where they are going
Where they have been
Their thoughts
Theirs opinions
Their beliefs
It is all about me – mine – my
But, as believers, we can and must learn how to live outwardly focussed lives in the inward focussed world
To go into our everyday world and touch lives for Jesus

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Merry Christmas!

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

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

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

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

An Apostolic Understanding – Part Thirty-five

Looking at the work and nature of the apostle we say yesterday that…
1> Apostles have an immediately recognizable intimate relationship with Jesus
2> Apostles operate continually in a supernatural realm
3> Apostles are able to interpret what God is doing

Let’s continue this topic today…

4> Apostles have authority to discipline and pronounce judgment

The first place we see this is with Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5

They had lied to the Holy Spirit regarding their offering to the church

Peter had a responsibility to establish a standard in the church that lying to the Holy Spirit would not be tolerated. And that God was not in the habit of blessing those who broke the unity that He desires to see in the local church. Peter than pronounces the judgment of God on them. If he had not done this than the church would have become defiled, and the power of God would have been diminished.

1 Timothy 1:19-20 we see Paul turning Hymenaeus and Alexander over to Satan, so that they will learn not to blaspheme

1 Corinthians 5:5 a young man is turned over the Satan because of immorality in the hope that he would repent

2 Corinthians 2 Paul instructs the church to restore a repentant sinner to fellowship (may be same young man we saw in 1 Corinthians 5)

This authority to discipline and pronounce judgment is not control or legalism or abuse. This encourages a spiritual atmosphere where the Holy Spirit can work freely and unhindered. This task is given to the apostle.

5> Apostles are “fathers and mothers” in the Church

Apostleship is a relational ministry motivated by love. They are fathers and not rulers – they lead from the front and not rule from the top down

1 Corinthians 4:14-15 “I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”

In 1 Thessalonians 2:5-8 Paul tells the Thessalonians that his goal was not to assert apostolic authority over them

But rather to tenderly care for them as a nursing mother cares for her child. Apostles want to see each person fulfill the call of God that is on their life. They pray, guide, instruct, correct, and open doors of ministry for them. Apostles disciple and mentor believers – – especially those with a calling to be an apostle or a prophet.

6> Apostles dedicate their lives to seeing the Church established and flourishing regardless of the cost

One of the reasons God allows apostles to exercise disciple and correction is because they lay down their own lives for the Church

2 Corinthians 6:4-10 Paul describes the lifestyle that validates his apostolic ministry

He tells us that he lives his life, “…in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distress, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in sleeplessness, in hunger…”

2 Corinthians 11:23-28 he speaks again of what he has gone through for the sake of the Church and the Kingdom

“…with far greater labours, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.”

If you know a true apostle – you will see this in their lives. They will take the risks necessary to move the Church forward. It costs them emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually to fulfill the work that God has called them to. They don’t count their own lives or desires as important. True apostles will have some battle scars.

7> Apostles are anointed and called to set the Church in order

They set the direction and bring order to the life and ministry of the Church. When Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus) he instructed them to set the churches under their care in order. Taking the local church to the next level. Moving the church into it’s future. Bring adjustments to the foundational issues being seen in the life of the church.

When a church is set in order – it works
It moves forward in unity
It’s members experience life
The members are equipped for their specific ministries
The lost are being saved
The power of God is experienced
The gifts flow and minister to believers and non-believers

In review regarding the role and work of the apostle in the Bible and today:

1> Apostles have an immediately recognizable intimate relationship with Jesus
2> Apostles operate continually in a supernatural realm
3> Apostles are able to interpret what God is doing
4> Apostles have authority to discipline and pronounce judgment
5> Apostles are “fathers and mothers” in the Church
6> Apostles dedicate their lives to seeing the Church established and flourishing regardless of the cost
7> Apostles are anointed and called to set the Church in order

So, today in the Kingdom God is reestablishing the ministry of the apostle. As a result the true apostolic Church is arising in many places around the world. God is calling many young people into the ministry role of apostle. There is a need for much training and mentoring of these young people. Thus a need for more apostles to step up and become involved in coaching and mentoring.

God is calling His Church to become more apostolic and less pastoral. God is speaking strongly to churches built by man and functioning in non-biblical ways to heed what the Holy Spirit is saying too the Church today – and embrace the needed adjustments and changes. And, as we come more in line with His original plans for His Church we too will see the Holy Spirit move in power and lives changed.



An Apostolic Understanding – Part Thirty-four

In the Bible there are numerous mentions of true apostles, false apostles and super-apostles… (See: 2 Corinthians 11:5; 11:13; 12:11; 12:12)

However, the Bible gives very clear specifics by which we can know the true from the false. Those who simply call themselves apostles and those who really are called as apostles. If someone is called and gifted as an apostle – God does not want them to hesitate to say they are apostles

So, God set out some “specific marks” of a true apostle

1> Apostles have an immediately recognizable intimate relationship with Jesus

The first mark of an apostle – a very close relationship with Jesus

The life of an apostle shows that they spend time with Jesus daily and know Him well

Standing before the religious rulers who could put them to death should they decide to do so … Peter speaks to explain the situation. As he is speaking the religious leaders note that they are close companions of Jesus

Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”

This was the first priority of Jesus when He chose His first apostles…

Mark 3:13-14 “And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach.”

Many followed Jesus but He wanted these 12 apostles to have a special closeness to Him

To be “with Him” in a different way than the crowds and multitudes. He established a different kind of relationship with them so they could represent His heart and His plans as they went

2> Apostles operate continually in a supernatural realm

A true apostle exercises supernatural power on a different level than believers do. They work in the local church seeing what is happening in the spirit realm. They work regionally and see the bigger picture of what is taking place. They understand the plans and purpose of God for each church and each area in which the church is located. They see what is but also see and know what God wants to establish – thus the changes needed.

They exercise authority over the works of the domaine of darkness. They see miracles happening in their ministry (2 Corinthians 12:12)

Acts 2:43 says that the apostles worked great signs and wonders….

3> Apostles are able to interpret what God is doing

An apostle receives revelation about what God is doing and has authority to interpret new things that are being seen and experienced. They are able to place the new things into the current life of the Church

In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit was poured out and the gifts began to operate

The first day of the Church … and no one had ever seen anything like this before. The disciples began to speak in tongues and nobody knew what was happening – everyone, I am sure, had an opinion. There is total confusion until Peter stands up and says, “This is what the prophet Joel had spoken about…”

This had a ring of authority
It bore witness
The crowd knew it was true
The issue was settled
We never see further discussion about this in the days that follow

In Acts 15 – a new phenomenal was taking place – non-Jews (Gentiles) were getting saved / born again. They were getting saved without first converting to Judaism. Up to this time – if you wanted to know the God of Israel, you converted to the Jewish faith. But while Peter was sharing with some non-Jewish people in Acts 10 (Cornelius) the Holy Spirit came and they were saved, baptized in the Holy Spirit, and baptized in water. So, a church council was called to discuss what was happening – never happened before…

They needed God’s point of view – a Kingdom perspective. Everyone had their say regarding the matter – thoughts, opinions, interpretations. Then James – the apostle in charge of the church in Jerusalem – and says, “This is what was written by the prophet…”

Amos 9:11-12 “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that does this.”

James interpreted what God was doing and what was happening… that God was opening the Church to anyone who had called on the Name of the Lord and was saved. God was pouring out His blessing upon the Gentiles and pagans

His conclusion: “If God is inviting them in, we will not exclude them”

As new things are added to the Kingdom and the Church today – apostles are the ones who have the understanding of what God is doing, how He is doing it, and why. And are able to put it into the current context. They have a revelation of what God is doing and the authority to declare it. It will always agree with Scripture and time will prove it to be right.

More tomorrow…

Seeing Through the Eyes of Jesus

Towards people who He regarded as “sheep”

Lost sheep in need of a shepherd – in need of Him Jesus is the good Shepherd of the sheep ….

John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

And, as the good Shepherd of the sheep, He has great compassion on them for they are lost and in need of a Shepherd – a Saviour

Matthew 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Every animal that God created has its own built-in defence mechanisms.

God, in His wisdom, placed within all living things the desire to survive and the means to do so

So, you may ask … What is the mechanism of self-defence of the common sheep? Is it lightening-quick speed?

No, not with those big round bodies and short legs Is it their ferocious roar and sharp teeth?

Is it the incredible camouflage?

Puffy white creatures on rolling green hills? Don’t think so

We all know it isn’t their quick intelligence and cunning strategic thinking They are some of the dumbest animals on the planet

Some who are a little more in the know might respond to this question by saying that sheep have strength in numbers

To a wolf pack, however, that is the difference between a single entree and an all-you- can-eat buffet!

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Sometimes the line between right and wrong in doctrine and practice does not run through the words or even the practice but through the hearts of those involved. People may blame leaders and leaders may blame people. However, foolishness is often driven from both sides! It was the people of Israel that demanded a king when that was not God’s will for them. God wanted to be their king! Theocracy is not rule by one man. That is a dictatorship! Theocracy is rule by God. This is fulfilled in the New Covenant with the statement that “the head of every man is Christ”! That is the promise of Jesus, “I will build my church!

Sometimes the line between truth and error is visible by the emphasis. Truth is in Jesus. It is living and dynamic. Jesus is God of God and man of very man. Logically those two things cannot be true in the same individual at the same time but our universe is not rationally determined. It is relationally structured. Truth is a person! Jesus is both Son of God and Son of Man. We must hold both at the same time to remain true to who He is. If we let go of either truth we end up in the ditch on the other side of the road. To remain in the way to God we must hold both to be equally, absolutely, totally true at the same time! Our minds must worship. They cannot understand, ie, control this! If my mind could do so, it would be God. My mind must worship the mystery of the Son of God who is the Son of Man! All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ (Colossians 2:3)! Read more

Hear and Heed (Listening to God and to Others)


In the Old Testament God’s people heard Him speak – Heard His Words…

Through the ministry of the prophets

In the constant retelling of the major stories of Israel’s history

The Scriptures being read as a community on the Sabbath

During meals at home led by the home’s spiritual leader

Special festivals when they returned to Jerusalem and the temple

And yet, time after time, they walked away from the truths that they knew and the God that they worshipped

They heard the word but did not heed the word Read more

An Apostolic Understanding – Part Thirty-three

The apostles in the New Testament were not limited to the twelve Jesus first chose as leaders

The original twelve apostles formed the prototype of this gift, but as the Church expanded, more apostles were added. Jesus called others to this role in the Church He was building. The New Testament identifies a number of additional apostles

Acts 1:26 Matthias is added to replace Judas

Acts 14:14 Paul and Barnabas are both identified as apostles

Apollos – 1 Corinthians 4:6, 9
Andronicus and Junia – Romans 16:7 // Junia was a woman
James – the half brother of Jesus – Galatians 1:19
Silvanus and Timothy – 1 Thessalonians 1:1 and 2:6
Epaphroditus – Philippians 2:25

The gift of apostle was not intended to die out with the passing of the original twelve. God was continually adding new apostles. God is continuing to add apostles to His Church in every nation today.

As you come to understand the function of an apostle, you will see that apostles are always needed of the Church is to operate as God intended

Personal comment and observation:

Something people have noted recently is that my preaching / teaching has changed. Not the content as that has always been seriously biblical. But the way I am preaching. Something has changed in these specific places and yet apparently not in other churches or locations

I have also noticed that in these specific places I sense and experience a freedom that is not there in many other locations where I minister regularly

Yet, the content of the teaching is the same
It is the delivery and the results that are different
The moving of the Spirit is very different and more powerful
The anointing on the words is more powerful
The way people are changing is amazing

I have also discovered that the places where this is happening are the places I am drawn to and where I seriously enjoy ministering. I leave these places enriched, more alive, full … not drained and empty. I sense more life and enthusiasm within myself as a result of having ministered. I am experiencing “spirit and life” (John 6:63) and come away from them more alive and “full.”

It has taken me six months to figure out why this has happened and continues to happen. These places see me as an apostle and accept me as one – thus they allow the apostolic call and anointing to be released. Other places simply see me as a ‘pastor’ or ‘teacher’ or as “Ralph’ and thus release what they receive…

Matthew 10:41 “The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.”

They receive me as an apostle to their work and ministry, their church and region (area) and thus receive an apostle’s anointing. And this frees me to be me … an apostle. I am, of course, drawn to give more time and effort to where my gifts and calling are welcomed, received, and released.