Adding Value to Others

One of the things I recognized early in life is that I need to be intentional. I learned early in life that when I become more intentional, my life can be transformed and I can accomplish more of my personal and professional goals sooner.

I also learned that I needed to be intentional about adding value to others thus allowing my life to have significance and not just success. But adding value to others is an uphill journey for several reasons. First, many people actually don’t want to grow or change. Secondly, and more importantly, we are naturally selfish. We automatically think of ourselves first. If you don’t believe that, then let me ask you a question. When someone takes a photo of a group that you’re in and then shows it to you, who is the first person you look for? Case dismissed. You look for yourself. That’s not an accusation. I look for myself, too. It’s proof that we’re all selfish. Selfishness is a downhill habit. Adding value to others is an uphill trait. But achievable. 

There are five essentials for adding value to people. I learned these many years ago from a mentor. If you do these things every day, you will make a difference.

1> Every Day, Add Value

People don’t add value to others when they don’t value others. So why should you value others. Because they’re people. You don’t need any other reason. Listen, human beings are human. They make mistakes. They say the wrong things. They hurt out feelings. Many people treat us poorly and are not very lovable. Love them anyways.

You know how you feel when others devalue you and how you feel when they value you. Doesn’t it make a difference to you? How you are treated impacts how you feel about yourself and how you treat others. Keep that in mind as you interact with people. When you value others, you start creating a cycle of positive interaction that makes life better for everyone.

2> Every Day, Think of Ways to Add Value to People

If I said I had a five-minute thinking exercise for you that would give you a huge return in your relationships, would you be interested? Of course you would. Here’s what I want you to do. Spend five minutes every evening thinking about who you will see the next day, and ask yourself, “What can I say to them, give to them, or do for the that will make our time together more memorable, be unexpected, and add value to them?”

That sounds too simple, doesn’t it? But trust me, this exercise will set you apart from 99 percent of all the other people in the world. And if you do this every evening and then revisit the ideas you came up with the next morning to potentially improve them, you will be amazed by the difference you can make for other people.

People who make a difference think about ways to add value to people ahead of time. Take a look at your day’s calendar. Where will you be going? Who will you be meeting? In what ways might you add value to someone else? It only takes five minute, but the opportunities to make a difference are endless.

3> Every Day, Look for Ways to Add Value to People

If the previous tip was about planning ways to add value before the day starts, this one is about going through every moment of your day on the lookout for additional ways to add value to others. It’s proactive and ongoing.

As you go through your day, what is your mind-set? Are you intentionally looking for ways to add value to others? If not, you can. It’s a capacity choice. If you choose to look for ways, you’ll find them

4> Every Day, Do Thinks That Add Value to People

It’s not enough to just look for ways to help people. You have to follow through if you want to make a difference. Intentionally living requires intentional doing.

How do I know I‘ve had a good day? When I say yes to the question I ask myself every night, “Did I add value to someone today?” My ultimate goal in adding value to others is to do something for them that they cannot do for themselves.

Mother Teresa said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be a living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.” That is something all of us can strive for.

5> Every Day, Encourage Others to Add Value to people

I believe nothing is as common as the desire to make our lives count, to make a difference. And there are needs all around us waiting to be met by intentional people. Yet so many never intentionally add value to others. Why? Because doing the right thing is more difficult than knowing the right thing. That’s way we need to encourage others to act.

So you make the choice to add value to others and develop the first four points, don’t forget this fifth point of encouraging others to do the same. You will be amazed at what can happen when like-minded and like-valued people work together to add value to others and make a difference. 

You can be someone who makes a difference. You just need to try to help someone every day. That’s what intentional living is. Every time you think about ways to help others and take action, you are increasing your intentionality potential, making a difference, and achieving something significant with your life.

Sometimes I’m Not Bold In My Conversations

Sometimes I’m Not Bold In My Conversations

We have been talking about being bold

Doing so through the book of Acts in the New Testament – chapters 4 and 5

The story of the early Church and the first believers in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead

We have seen:

Boldness is behaviour born out of belief

How you pray reflects what you believe about God (bold prayers)

Today – let’s talk about boldness in the way we speak and what we speak about

There is a problem today in the Church:

We don’t want to offend anyone and so we are careful to be politically correct and thus we don’t speak boldly about what we believe

As a result: we decide that we are just going to let our life – the way we live – be a witness to others

It sounds good and is a good place to start Read more

What If…

The Bible states:

2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV) “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

TPT “For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control.”

NLT “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

If this is true – and it is – why then do so many of us find ourselves consumed at times with fear? I mean, it’s clear that what God has given us is power, love, and a sound mind. So, something needs to change. It seems we need to do more than acknowledge the verse – we need to apply and live the truth of the verse

Fear shows up under many different names

      • Anxiety
      • Worry
      • Dread
      • Foreboding
      • Apprehension
      • Fright
      • Consternation
      • Panic
      • Trepidation

Fear does not have to be rational or reasonable.  In fact, most often fear in our life is very irrational, even silly 

If you are always worried — always anxious —  always overwhelmed — living paralyzed — then you need to realize this important truth

Fear comes from our enemy

He lobs smoke bombs at us constantly — each time hoping that we’ll mistake it for a live grenade

If your life is polluted by fear, it is time to clear the smoke and take a breath of fresh air

People often say that fear is the opposite of faith

I respectfully disagree

Fear actually relies on faith — it’s simply faith in the wrong things. Fear is placing your faith in “What-ifs” rather than in “God is.” Fear is allowing your imagination to wander down the long dark alley of possibilities and get mugged every couple of steps. Fear is being taken hostage by all of your “what-ifs” instead of allowing “God is” to set you free.

Jesus spoke about worry, angst, and anxiety all of which are simply others words for “fear.” 

Listen to what Jesus said:

In Matthew 6:27 Jesus makes it clear how much good worry and angst does us…

“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (NLT)

“So, which one of you by worrying could add anything to your life?” (TPT)

Obviously, the answer is “no!” And yet we continue to live with worry, anxiety, and the resulting fear.

Thus we need to face the fact that often we know a Bible verse such as the one we are looking at but we don’t really “KNOW” the truth of the verse. We have not applied the verse to our daily lives. We have not thought through the implications of the verse and how the truths of the verse should bring change – needed change – to our personal, every day lives. 

Jesus said that “the truth will set us free” but only if we apply the truth to our lives. There is knowing and then KNOWING. It is time to take seriously the truth of this verse as we are now living in the midst of a continuing pandemic which does not appear to be going anywhere fast. 

And, in the midst of this pandemic many people are living in and with fear.

Fear of the loss of a loved one or a close relationship

Fear of financial loss – job loss

Fear of getting sick

Fear of running out of money

Fear of the unknown

Fear of change 

So, we can help them to deal with this uncertainty and fear but only if we have first applied the truths of this verse to our own lives and are successfully overcoming fear, worry, and anxiety in our own lives.  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

 

The Pattern

In my study of the Book of Acts (of the Holy Spirit) I was struck by a specific verse the other day. Acts 7:44 states, “Our fathers had the tent of witness (tabernacle) in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen.” There is a pattern to the birthing (planting) and building the Church that we would do well to understand and follow.
Starry night skies boast of a divine order in the universe. Planets crisscross the heavens in charted paths. They move precisely and predictably. Astronomers know exactly where was one will travel. Men can set their watches by the movement. Every visible star obeys the order God built into His creation.
God is not the author of confusion and disorder but of peace and wholeness.

Read more

Sometimes I Have Fear In My Life

Sometimes I Have Fear In My Life

The Bible states:

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

TPT “For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control.”

NLT “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

In spite of knowing and believing this verse, at times I don’t live my life in accordance with the truth of this verse

“Sometimes I Have Fear In My Life” and so do most people

  • Fear of the loss of a loved one or a close relationship
  • Fear of financial loss – job loss
  • Fear of the risk that they are taking not working out
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of getting sick
  • Fear of getting a divorce
  • Fear of running out of money
  • Fear of being betrayed by those we love
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of confrontation
  • Fear of change 
  • And when I have fear in my life I have to make a choice – I am faced by a decision:

Do I Face Everything And Rise

Do I Forget Everything And Run

Read more

Sometimes I Don’t Trust God

Click Here to Listen to the Audio Teaching

Truth: “When you can’t see God’s, hand, trust His heart”

Emily Freeman

It seems that in life… You are either coming out of a difficult season, in the middle of a difficult season, or about to go into one.

That may not be particularly encouraging, but, I have to admit, it seems to be true

Fact: Life is difficult

Even when we are not in a rough season, it seems like there are often others close to us who are

Each of us know someone – a family member, a friend, someone we work with or work for – who is going through a rough season

Fact: Life is tough Read more

Recent News

Check out these BLOGS!!!

This week Ralph will be writing a series of blogs discussing “apostolic fellowship.” The Bible states “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship” (Acts 2:42). So, exactly what is “apostolic fellowship”?

We will be looking at the early church as revealed in the Book of Acts and examining what was really involved in fellowship in the Church and then compare it to what passes as fellowship in most churches today. A series of five blogs to help you see the Church as Jesus designed it to be when He said that “He would build His Church.”

 

You may also sign up and have them automatically delivered to your inbox each week day.

 

 

 

Sometimes I Live With Fear

As believers and disciples of Jesus we must learn to trust God and thus live with an inner peace and calm that only He can give us. Jesus said, “Peace I give to you, not as the world gives…” So, we are to live with an inner, supernatural sense of peace and calm. However, there are times when life throws something at us that causes us to panic and fear sets in.

We have two options when that happens. Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. John Wesley (1703 to 1791) a Spirit-filled Methodist preacher once said, “I have never known more than fifteen minutes of anxiety or fear. When I feel fearful emotions overtaking me, I just close my eyes and thank God that He is still on the throne, reigning over everything, and I take comfort in His control over the affairs of my life.”

Fear, anxiety, and worry should have no place in the life of a believer. This week we will look at what the Bible has to say about overcoming and defeating all the various types of fear we experience and encounter in every day life.

Click here to read and hear the full teaching…

Posted as an audio on Podbean under Ralph Howe Ministries.

 

 

 

Sometimes I Don’t Pray In Tongues

This coming weekend Ralph will be teaching on “Sometimes I Don’t Pray In Tongues.”

An in-depth look at the practice of praying in an unknown language and what this spiritual and supernatural practice accomplishes in the spirit realm and in the life of the believer. We will also be looking at ‘singing in the Spirit’ and what this corporate practice in a local church releases for the believers and the Kingdom.

1 Corinthians 14:13-19 TPT “So then, if you speak in a tongue, pray for the interpretation to be able to unfold the meaning of what you are saying. For if I am praying in a tongue, my spirit is engaged in prayer but I have no clear understanding of what is being said.
So here’s what I’ve concluded. I will pray in the Spirit, but I will also pray with my mind engaged. I will sing rapturous praises in the Spirit, but I will also sing with my mind engaged. Otherwise, if you are praising God in your spirit, how could someone without the gift participate by adding his “amen” to your giving of thanks, since he doesn’t have a clue of what you’re saying? Your praise to God is admirable, but it does nothing to strengthen and build up others.
I give thanks to God that I speak in tongues more than all of you, but in the church setting I would rather speak five words that can be understood than ten thousand exotic words in a tongue. That way I could have a role in teaching others.”

Click here to listen to and read the whole teaching…..

 

 

 

Audio Teachings!

Check out these recent audio teachings in the sometimes series by clicking the links below

 

 

Bold Obedience

When I was a young Christian – I had a young family and I made very little money each month

In fact – the amount I earned was totally inadequate to meet the rapidly increasing needs of my young family

The man through whose ministry I was healed and born again was in the area still and so I went to listen and receive

The time for the offering came and I asked God what I was to give – He said $100.00

I had $150.00 in the bank and it was still three weeks till pay day and that in itself was inadequate but take away $100.00 and it was past seriously inadequate into dangerous

So I’m thinking – no way Hosea

So, I turned to my wife – more spiritual – and asked her what God had told her we should give – $100.00

We wrote a cheque for $100.00 boldly trusting God

The next day – went and picked up the mail and there was a letter from another town – where I also had a small church which I was working with

From a man I did not know and had not met YET

Inside the envelop was a cheque for $1,000.00 and a note saying it was something he promised God he would do the year before and God reminded Him about it a week before and told him to send it specifically to me

A week before I obeyed the prompting of the Lord He was already blessing me because of my yet-to-be obedience to His prompting and giving of $100.00

“Your Heavenly Father knows what you have need of before you ask”

I want to talk about BOLD OBEDIENCE today…

To Read the whole article Click here…

 

 

 

An Apostolic Fellowship

With zeal 3,000 new believers turned towards their new opportunity to live out their faith. The first Christians hungered for the apostles’ teaching, prayed with tenacity, and worshipped wholeheartedly. They were not passive or neutral about it. They “continued steadfastly” in their commitment to God and to the apostolic fellowship. They had a passionate commitment.

Luke describes the believers’ zeal with a Greek word that is fairly rare in the New Testament. The word communicates an intense, consistent dedication. It means to persist in adhering to something, to be intently engaged, or to attend constantly. A verb in the imperfect tense, it signifies continuous action: ‘They kept on continuing steadfastly” in day-to-day commitment. These believers possessed wholehearted devotion.

Luke used this powerful word several other times. The 120 disciples who gathered in the upper room “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication” (Acts 1:14). The first church members were “continuing daily with one accord in the temple” (Acts 2:46). After the congregation grew into a so-called ‘megachurch,’ the apostles declared their intention to “give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4)

As a result of Peter’s preaching, many present on the Day of Pentecost declared themselves to a whole new way of life. The Amplified Bible translates verse 42 as: “And they steadfastly persevered, devotion themselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles.”

Believers’ lives were marked by:

      • The apostles’ doctrine
      • Fellowship
      • The breaking of bread
      • Prayers

To read the whole teaching click here….

 

 

 

A Look Inside Yourself

1> Is my personal walk with God up to date?
2> Am I keeping my priorities straight?
3> Am I asking myself the difficult questions?
4> Am I accountable to someone who knows me well and who can ask all the hard questions?
Here are the accountability questions I have adopted in both my life and my ministry…
  • Have you spent daily time in God’s Word and in prayer?
  • Have you flirted, or had lustful attitudes, tempting thoughts, or exposed yourself to any explicit materials which would not glorify God?
  • Have you been completely above reproach in your financial dealings?
  • Have you pursued the hearts of your wife and kids?
  • Have you done your 100% best in your job, school, etc.?
  • Have you told any half truths or outright lies, putting yourself in a better light to those around you?
  • Have you shared the Gospel with an unbeliever this week?
  • Have you taken care of your body through daily physical exercise and proper eating/sleeping habits?
  • Have you allowed any person or circumstance to rob you of your joy?
  • Have you lied on any of your answers?

 

 

To read the whole teaching Click Here…..

 

 

 

Loving Difficult People

Are you aware of the tremendous advantage frogs have over humans? They can eat anything that bugs them! Wouldn’t it be great of we could consume our relational problems rather than letting them consume us! What “bugs” you the most about people? Is it inconsistency? Inflexibility? Inability to give and take? Bad attitudes? Whatever it is that makes relationships difficult for you to build and maintain is something that needs to be looked at and dealt with.

I personally can handle disagreements or differences of opinion, but people who refuse to engage in and embrace a relationship that they have chosen to become involved in really gets to me. It means that the relationship becomes very one-sided very quickly. All give and no take. You share feelings and thoughts and there is no response, no interaction. So, it is like talking into a void never knowing what the other person is thinking or feeling.

I find that most Christian people suffer from very poor and even surface relationships. They truly are missing the relational skills needed to form and build healthy beneficial relationships with others believers and with non-believers. And, as a result they suffer from guilt in their relationships with others.

Christians are often taught that we should be full of grace,. Sounds good. But, what does it mean? Does God expect us to get along peaceably with everybody? Are we suppose to simply overlook other people’s faults and idiosyncrasies? Right relationships with difficult people can seem like an impossible standard to reach. Just what are we suppose to do?

Click Here to read the whole teaching…

 

 

Growing Through Criticism

Our ability to take criticism can make us or break us. No one is indifferent to criticism; it causes us to respond either positively or negatively. The foundational truth regarding criticism is this: If you want to do great things for God there will always be someone who doesn’t like what you are doing and who will become a critic of you and your ministry.

There are two kinds of people who are highly subject to criticism. The first group are the leaders. Aristotle said it well, “Criticism is something you can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” Yes, one of the costs of leadership is criticism. If you’re    willing to stand apart from the crowd, you’re putting yourself in a vulnerable position, so count on some degree of criticism. When you are willing to stick your neck out, someone will want to chop it off.

Besides leaders the other group of individuals who are prone to criticism are the “leaders,” people who leap into the public eye because they are change agents. They bring unwelcome and uncomfortable change into people’s lives even though it usually is for their benefit.

To grow through criticism there are some things to note…

  1. Understand the difference between constructive and destructive criticism.
  2. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
  3. Look beyond the criticism and see the critic.
  4. Watch your own attitude towards the critic.
  5. Realize that good people get criticized.
  6. Keep physically and spiritually in shape.
  7. Don’t just see the critic; see if there’s a crowd.
  8. Wait for time to prove them wrong.
  9. Surround yourself with positive people.
  10. Concentrate on your task or mission — change your mistakes.

TEN TIPS FOR GIVING CRITICISM

Click Here to read the whole teaching…

 

 

Introducing….

We are introducing “Transformation Ministries” which has just begun ministering after months of preparation and prayer. This is another but separate outreach of Ralph Howe Ministries which is now entering its third decade of ministry.

As a result of a number of prophetic words received since October, 2015 Ralph, along with a number of young leaders from several nations, has formed this ministry to take the Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, to the next generation. This ministry will be transforming lives as they plant churches and open safe centers for those who are looking for freedom and a new way of life.

Transformation Ministries will be raising up and training young leaders who are willing to “go and make disciples of all nations.” This ministry will find, train, mentor, and release young men and women who serious about Jesus and are wanting to make a major difference in this world desiring to see lives transformed by the power of the Gospel.

Transformation Ministries will also be focused on ministering to those between the ages of 16 and 36 as it plants house churches on university campuses in the nations where Ralph has already established his ministry. And, it will be planting house churches for young people in cities and towns where the next generation is not yet being impacted with the Gospel.

Transformation Ministries is focusing on seeing young lives totally and supernaturally transformed by the power of the Gospel and then equipped and released to touch the lives of other youth around the world.

As a registered charity in the nation of Canada we are reaching out to nations of the world with the powerful, transforming message of the Gospel.

 

Ralph Howe Ministries is run completely from donations. Expenses such as airplane travel, web design and management and visa documents come out of these givings. Your donations also help to support many young families as men and women all over the world obey God’s command to reach the nations with the gospel!

If you would like to give to Ralph Howe Ministries, simply click the Donate button on the right of the home screen.

Reading a Book

I am reading a book. For those who know me or follow my blogs you realize that this is not news. I am always reading a book or two or three or… I am a reader. I am a bookaholic. I am more than addicted to books, I am addicted to reading and darn proud of it. I have always been a reader and if a day goes by without taking time to read something then I feel empty and hungry inside. This addiction has become so bad that I find myself reading everything and anything – cereal boxes, labels on cans, news bulletins on my iPhone – just for the sake of knowing something more or something new. 

I read daily as I make it a priority in my life. 

I read widely – politics, current affairs, novels (I have two or three favourite authors), history, classics, books on the Bible, the Bible, church, leadership, business, biographies, autobiographies, mentoring, discipling, and material dealing with the Christian faith current and past. 

I read one to two books a week – every week.

I don’t read, watch, or listen to anything that people forward to me and there are lots of opportunities to break that rule. If I don’t ask for something or agree to it being forwarded to me I simply don’t pay attention to it. First, there are simply too many things that people forward to me – one of the pitfalls of having a web page. Second, most of what people forward is sheer nonsense and not worth the time or effort. I value my time to read and don’t want to waste any of it reading something I didn’t ask for or need. And, this simple rule frustrates many and even makes a few mad.

I took a break from writing this blog for a few minutes as my phone let me know that Fedex had delivered a parcel and I knew it was books. Three new ones – one on the book of Genesis and two on writing and publishing non-fiction. I receive a book delivery at least twice and often three times a week. Yes, I have quite a substantial library. Oh, did I mention I was a bookaholic?

One of my mentors many years ago taught me: “A leader is a reader.” He also often said, “If you stop reading you will stop leading.” I believe both comments are true.

I prefer paper copies of books. You know, real books. But, if a book I want to read is no longer available in print then I do read eBooks and have both a Kobo and Kindle eBook reader. I read on my main office computer as well as I download material and resources so I can copy and paste storing what is valuable and useful to me. I mark each book up with a series of symbols so I can then go back and computerize the material I want to save – You know, “Q” for quotes, “B” for Bible, “Blog,” “new idea,” “FR = Further Research,” … you get the idea. 

I have to admit I am amazed at the number of people who don’t read or listen to audio books. Not just amazed – disappointed. And, I understand all the reasons and excuses for not reading or reading very little. But, in my humble opinion, people who don’t read on a regular basis tend to be shallow in their conversation and not all that interesting to speak with. I’m aware that I will most likely get blow back for that comment. But, in my experience of seven decades of living and relating to people, it has held to be true. People who don’t read are often boring. And the opposite is true, those who read widely always have something interesting to talk about and share.

So, no matter where you see me there is always a book in my hand or in the passenger seat of my car. A pen and highlighter is never far from my right hand. I never leave home without a book as you just never know when you might have five or ten minutes to do a little reading. 

Passing Along Truth Reminders

I am a fan of Frank Viola and his writings. He is always current and on the cutting edge of what God is up to in His Kingdom. He is a fan of – and thus mentions frequently – a man names T. Austin-Sparks (1888-1972) who was a preacher. His teachings are on-line and you can buy them on amazon.ca or simply go to the man’s web page and download them all free. Austin-Sparks was a friend of F.B. Meyer whose teachings I also read. So, as a fan of Viola and Meyers I have looked up T. Austin-Sparks and have begun reading some of his teachings.

One of Frank Viola’s stories as quoted in his new book “Hang On, Let Go” reads as follows:

Those who read my work know I’m an unabashed T. Austin-Sparks fanboy. Spiritually speaking, Sparks was a force of nature. But as deep as his insights into Christ and God’s purpose were, he, took, had mentors.

On one occasion, Sparks went to visit F. B. Meyer, an amazing author on the deeper Christian life and a man whom Sparks held in high regard. Meyer wasn’t available when Sparks visited, so he was asked to wait in Meyer’s study.

As Sparks looked at Meyer’s library, he spotted a wooden plaque that contained two words inscribed in gold. Those words were “Look Down.”

Meyer walked in at that moment and greeted Sparks. Sparks mentioned he plaque and asked, “Shouldn’t it be look up, and not look down?”

Meyer responded: “It’s a question of your position. If you are in Christ, you are seated with Him in heavenly places and you look down. But if you are under the situation, the only thing you can do is look up.”

As best you can, take the heavenly view of your life. Remember that this life is passing. As a follower of Jesus, therefore, you’re a sojourner and a pilgrim here (1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 11:13)   

It’s true that one can be so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good. But it’s even more true that a person can be so earthly minded that they’re no heavenly or earthly good.

In your day of trouble, remember where you are. And learn to look down, not just up. 

(Story is from Chapter 68 of “Hang On, Let Go”)

T. Austin-Sparks quote: “Are you looking at God through your circumstances out at your circumstances through God?”

The Pattern – Part Five

The Book of Acts contains more than the birth and the history of the early Church. It is the second half of a two-volume Gospel, Luke, a medical doctor, wrote the books to reinforce his reader’s faith in the living Jesus Christ. As he narrates history he also teaches theology. He explains the dynamics of the first New Testament Church and illustrates the principles by which it should be build and the way it must function. 

His first volume, the Gospel of Luke, covers Jesus’ life and teachings. Acts follows what the Holy Spirit continued to do and teach in Jesus’ Name through the Church. Opening statements in both volumes reveal Luke’s purpose:

Luke 1:1-4 “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”

Acts 1:1-3 “In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.”

Luke’s readers needed to know with certainty that what they were believing and doing had been started by Jesus and continued by the Holy Spirit. Their faith in Jesus and their experience of the Body of Jesus, the Church, needed to be founded on an authoritative, orderly witness. Luke provided it for them — and for believers in every nation today.

The Jerusalem church is the first fulfillment of Jesus’ promise in Matthew 16:18 that “He would build His Church.” For several years, the church faithfully followed the pattern, although it had an advantage over many churches today. All the converts had the same ethnic heritage. As Jews, they shared a background in Old Testament Scripture. It enabled them to correctly apply the teachings of Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Modern day believers often have difficulty correctly applying the teachings of Jesus without a good, proper understanding of Old Testament Scriptures.

The distinctive of the early church are seen in:

Acts 2:38-47 “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

Acts 4:31-35 “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”

Acts 5:12-16 “Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”

The same distinctive should be explored and implemented in local churches today. These distinctive show…

        • The New Testament Church had a clear doctrinal and experiential foundation. It began with repentance, demonstrated by an initial experience of believer baptism by immersion in water. It was then energized and controlled by the Holy Spirit who empowered and enabled the Church to fulfill it’s mandate and purpose (Acts 1:5, 8)
        • Converts immediately identified with the community of believers. They did not become spiritual “Lone Rangers.” Those who responded to the preached Word recognized a covenant relationship with one another as a logical part of their personal covenant with the Lord.
        • A leadership structure of trans-local apostles and prophets as well as local elders governed the community of faith. The twelve apostles appointed by the Lord composed the original leadership team. With the leading of the Holy Spirit, they did not hesitate to exercise the authority the Lord delegated to them (Matthew 28:18-20).
        • Believers entered into a new lifestyle almost immediately — a pattern of receiving and living according to the instruction of the apostles (Acts 2:42). As a result, they lived together in a vibrant and dynamic fellowship.
        • Given to prayer and praise, the New Testament Church was a worshipping community in love with the Lord. Christians visibly celebrated His Lordship.
        • The presence and power of Christ was evident. The Lord confirmed the preached Word with miraculous signs and wonders (see: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; Mark 16:20). The supernatural events brought the fear of the Lord upon believers as well as upon their neighbours and onlookers.
        • Members took fellowship seriously and expressed it practically. They lived a lifestyle of selfless service, living out the dynamic of the cross putting others first before their own comfort, safety, and security.
        • Believers maintained unity (Ephesians 4:3, 13; 1 Peter 3:8). They  assembled together at various places and times for worship, instruction, and for simply sharing their lives together.
        • Neighbours and people in surrounding areas were impresses by the markedly different life in the Christian community. Many chose to believe the Gospel of the Kingdom and became a part of the remarkable community.

The pattern demonstrated in the book of Acts is still the pattern for the Church today. The Lord is restoring and building His Church according to the same principles and dynamics. They hold true today and will continue in every generation. The closer we come to the return of the Lord, the more we will experience, in our own lives and churches, the living reality of the dynamics of the New Testament Church.

Begin now to study the pattern. Believe it, contend for it, and to believe God for the wisdom to implement it.