Your Purpose On Planet Earth

Once in a while it is good to review why we are here on planet Earth and to think through all of the “stuff” we are involved in and see what is really contributing to why God put us here on the earth. I am assuming, of course, that you are born again and thus have a personal relationship with the Lord and that you have, sometime in the past, sat down with the Lord and written out your personal mission statement.

Let me be bold and share my personal mission statement: “To intimately know and touch the fullness of God as found only in Jesus Christ and to invite others to personally experience His life and love.”

So, I have been thinking lately about all the things I do, the we I live, what I do for my living, how I relate to people, and the hopes and dreams I now have at my age and running them all through the filter of the mission I have in life. The mission statement is the given as I believe the Lord revealed it to me and called me to live with this purpose in mind. So, that means I am the flexible – my values, my priorities, my preferences, my hopes and dreams – are all flexible and must consistently be adjusted to come into line with what the Lord revealed as His purpose or mission for my life.

Well, there are some changes to be made. I have drifted somewhat from center… So, as I approach another year-end I will need to make some adjustments so that I enter 2013 in the center of God’s will for my life once again. Making them now in early December allows me time to reschedule things in early 2013 that are already set and bring all my planning back into line with the Lord’s purpose and plan for my life.

The philosopher Plato once stated that: “An unexamined life is not worth living” and I agree. But, your life needs to be examined in light of eternity, the Lordship of Jesus over your life, and the plan and purpose of God for your life. Why not take some time in the coming few weeks in the midst of the Christmas hussle and bussle to examine what you are doing and why. Remember, His gift to you is time – and there are only three things you can do with time – waste it, spend it, or invest it. The Lord would want you to invest it in His Kingdom purposes.

The Mission of Ralph Howe Ministries

Yesterday I mentioned your personal mission statement and what it is the Lord has called you to do and to accomplish with your time on the planet. Today. I would like to share the mission statement for Ralph Howe Ministries – the sponsor of these blogs…

“Introducing the ministry of apostles and prophets to the 21st Century Church;
Laying biblical foundations to bring healing and wholeness to that Church;
Equipping and releasing a generation of passionate leaders (who will be);
Ministering in supernatural power to win the lost and plant new expressions of the Church that Jesus is building.”

I look regularly at the call upon this ministry that the Lord has given to me and review what I am doing and planning to do in light of what it is He has asked us to do here at Ralph Howe Ministries. Often there is a need to make small adjustments to bring us into line with His design and purposes. But, generally we are close to the center of His will most of the time.

As we plan 2013 it is fast becoming rather full with numerous overseas apostolic trips as well as well an increase in ministry in North America. It is also very evident that there is a great need and demand for written material to be published and circulated to enable and equip churches to make the changes the Lord is asking of His people in all nations. The demand for materials continues to increase as do the range of topics I am asked to write on and supply material about.So, it has become abundantly obvious that more time will be spent in the study in 013 and less in the office and doing other things that ministry often requires.

So, as we go through the hectic December Christmas season there is some soul searching to do, timetables to adjust, priorities to evaluate and reposition, and much prayer needed so that we are ready to jump into 2013 and continue to fulfill the mission of Ralph Howe Ministries in the nations of the world and here at home.

The Clock Is My Dictator

Have you ever felt pressed for time? I have! Often… In fact, almost always. Yet, we are not meant to live with the pressure and the stress that lack of time brings into our lives… And the clock is not suppose to be the thing that drives us each day to accomplish what needs to be be done. I ran across the following while recently overseas (I read while flying) and thought it might give you food for thought. It is based on the 23rd Psalm…

The clock is my dictator, I shall not rest.
It makes me lie down only when exhausted.
It leads me into deep depression, it hounds my soul.
It leads me in circles of frenzy for activities’ sake.
Even though I run frantically from task to task,
I will never get it all done, for my ‘ideal’ is with me.
Deadlines and my need for approval, they drive me.
They demand performance from me, beyond the limits of my schedule.
They anoint my head with migraines, my in-basket overflows.
Surely fatigue and time pressure shall follow me all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the bonds of frustration forever.

Taken from Christine and Tom Sine, Living On Purpose: Finding God’s Best For Your Life.

Now, this might be a good time to go back and read yesterday’s blog entitled “24/6”

24/6


We all live busy lives. The pace of life seems to be constantly increasing in spite of all the “time shaving” devices that have come along and all the wonderful electronic ways we now have of staying in touch with one another. As I look to the future I believe things will continue to move quickly and even speed up and most will find themselves living a “hectic” life if they don’t do so already.

In my own personal life I know that things have not slowed down in spite of reaching an age when many retire and slow down permanently – or, at least, switch gears and become busy with different things that when in the work world. I find myself pressed for time, always behind, and constantly facing one deadline after another. I suspect I am no different than many of you reading this blog.

Here is a decision that I have made. I have decided to no longer work 24/7… In fact, I have decided to no longer function full tilt 24/7. Like most people, if I get a day off (happens infrequently) it gets absorbed in ‘catching up’ with whatever is yelling the loudest. So, the day off is a day lost to the tyranny of the urgent and not a day of rest or a day in which I can think and assimilate everything that has been happening so that I have inner peace and a stable inner core. It is simply not a biblical “day of rest” or a Sabbath.

So, I have recognized that I live in sin because one of the Ten Commandments commands that we take a Sabbath. Even God worked 6 days straight at the time of creation and on the seventh day He rested. Who do I think I am that I can work harder and faster than my Creator. And, what makes me think that I can break a pattern that God has spoken about and said “It is good” and not suffer any consequences. So, I have repented, given a lot of thought to my life-style, and am making numerous changes – some of them major ones.

I have determined that I will no longer live 24/7 but that I am going back to God’s original plan and will work 24/6 and take the day of rest that He so wisely prescribed. No mobile phone, no text messages, no email, no Goggle, no appointments, no catching up on work that is piling up. Just a Sabbath where my body, soul and spirit can heal, re-connect with the Lord, and regain the strength and inner peace to once agin face the world and all of the challenges of life for the next six days.

Sometimes we move so quickly that we need a day set apart to rest and let our soul catch up with us. I have decided that the time has come to do just that.

A Team

The Church today is pastor-driven; the early church was team-driven and the leaders of the team were an apostle and prophet (see 1 Corinthains 12:28 and Ephesians 2:20). The early church was powerful and effective, winning the lost and becoming a change agent in its culture – turning its world upside down in just one generation. We have not and will not have that kind of impact unless we return to the biblical model. That will be a difficult thing to do but not impossible because “all things are possible with God.”

Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “It is better to have one person working with you than three people working for you.” That is the power of a team – together everyone accomplishes more (T.E.A.M.). But often in the church of today a real team leadership structure does not exist. Everyone is doing their ministry; everyone is following their vision; everyone is fulfilling (or trying to) their calling. Hopefully they are all going in the same direction and working for the overall good of the church. At its best it is often a group of individuals working together and not a real team. At its worse – it is a strong solo leader with team members doing their own thing.

To work as a team disciples must be open and transparent; honest and vulnerable. I don’t see that very often here in the church in my nation. Men here seem to fear that kind and depth of self-revelation. To have a good team functioning you need men willing to share intimacy with one another and work in spiritual partnership with others.There is no “I” in team. So, I believe we need to remove the independent spirit that often exists along with the solo leadership concept (senior pastor) and current teams where they exist and begin to build biblically.

Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping it together is progress. Working together is success.” I believe that to see biblical results as found in the life of the early church in the book of Acts we need to be building the way they did. This will, in many ways, mean a lot of changes and a need for leaders to be less insecure and more open to working with others. This starts at the heart level when we invite others to know us and we experience love, acceptance and forgiveness.

Recently overseas I was teaching on this and discussing this during the breaks and over meals. Each and every time I was assured that they were building this way – and yet, in each and every place the key leader was a “pastor” and there were no apostles and prophets. In each place there was literally a strong leader who was really the only leader although others were ministering and working for him – but really not with him.

And so, this “stronghold” will take time to dismantle but I believe it is God’s will that this man-made structure be torn down so Jesus can build His Church His way!

Parking Lot Seminary Lecture

I had the honor of teaching for a morning in an independant seminary in the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan recently. It was a powerful morning speaking about the need for the Church of Jesus Christ to become supernatural and powerful once again. The students were receptive and open to hearing about what the Lord is doing in His Church today. They were hungry for God. A teachers delight.

I taught and answered questions for over three hours including right through the coffee break. Then, at the end of the morning the students literally followed me down the stairs and out onto the parking lot to continue the discussion and to ask more questions. The “lecture” actually continued for almost another hour just standing around the car that was to take me to my next appointment on the other side of the city. It was hard to leave as many questions remained unanaswered and they were asking for prophetic ministry and wanted to hear directly from God for their lives and future ministries. Such hunger and openness.

The professor whose class I was teaching is formerly from Iran where he was actually imprisoned for his faith. He is now a businessman and business consultant in Almaty, Kazakhstan and teaching on missions and the church in this seminary he helped to found a number of years ago. Sargon is a wonderful believer who is also hungry to learn and to grow. He attended our three day leaderrship school and spoke personally to me several times during those days. Then we had another time later in the week to sit together, drink tea, and talk – and he came with so many questions and comments. It was a great 90 minutes of sharing and growing together. He is so hungry and so open – so it was no surprise to find that his students were as well.

I am excited about the future of the Church in Kazakhstan. With young people such as the students in this seminary and others from the university and business world that I met with – the church in Kazakhstan is healthy and strong and moving forward in power and confidence. These young men and women will need continued training and equipping but their hunger to grow and their passion for Jesus ensures that they will seek out that training and equipping. They will move forward into the perfect will of God for their lives and ministries. They could certainly use our prayers.

The point: In looking around at the young people today that I meet and those that I work with in other nations I often see a lack of this heart hunger and passion for the Lord. So, we could also be praying for this generation in your nation – that the Lord would touch them with His mercy and grace and cause in them a hunger and thirst that can never be satisfied. And, while you are at it, pray for everyone in your local church that they too would regain their first love and their passion for the Lord.

Chicken Poop From the Soul


If you have not read “Chicken Poop For the Soul” … look for yesterday’s blog (non-apostolic trip blog)…

Much of what goes on in the Church today is chicken poop for the soul. It is fluffy, superficial and not supernatural, powerless to transform lives and somewhat irrelevant. But like the Chicken Soup for the Soul books it sounds good, smells good and tastes good to the soul. However, the spirit person meanwhile is malnourished and slowly dying.

In the Church today there is too much soul realm ministry – both for the soul of those receiving ministry and from the soul of those ministering. This is so evident in the area of the prophetic.

When ministering prophetically we need to hear God who is Spirit (John 4) in our spirit where the Holy Spirit lives. Too many people ministering in the prophetic hear God in their soul realm – their mind, their will and their emotions. There they will receive mixed messages – God’s Word mixed with their feelings, their thoughts, their agenda for the Church or for the perspon being ministered to. However, if a person hears God in their spirit then this Word is a pure Word when received. It will be a powerful word from the Lord and not simply more chicken poop for the soul and from the soul.

Of course, a Word of the Lord received in one’s spirit then needs to move from our spirit through our soul (mind, will, and emotions) without being contaminated. Otherwise it will be simply chicken poop – as your mind must take what your spirit has received and speak it out with words not accurately representing what the Lord is attempting to communicate. Secondly, the Word will not be spoken correctly without your will’s involvement because you have to decide to obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit and speak. And, your emotions will be involved because what you are feeling (nervous, scared, over-confident) will effect how you deliever what the Lord is saying. If your mind, will and emotions (your soul) is damaged and not healthy – Chicken poop from the soul.

So, your will needs to be submittd to God’s will – otherwise chichen poop from the soul. And it is not just your will located in your soul realm because John, chapter one tells us there is a will of God, a will of the flesh, and the will of man (soul realm). So, your flesh’s will must also be submitted to the will of God.

And, your emotional realm needs to be submitted to God as well – with all unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, offenses and other emotional clutter dealt with or else these things will contaminate the Word that you received and when you give it it will be chicken poop from the soul.

Your mind also needs to have renewed and even transformed by God’s Word (Romans 12:1-2) so that your thoughts are His thoughts and you have the mind of Christ. Otherwise when the Word you received is translated into words in your mind it will become simply more chicken poop from the soul.

Regretfully, in the realm of the prophetic today in the Church there is little really valid prophetic ministry and a lot of chicken poop from the soul because believers are not taking the time to deal with soul realm issues – issues of their feelings, their thought life, their emotional and spiritual baggage, their own unforgiveness and bitterness… and so, instead of a pure Word from the Lord you just have more chicken poop from the soul joining all the other chicken poop coming form the pulpit and elsewhere.

And, man does not live on chicken poop but on spiritual bread from the heart and hand of God. It is time to judge the prophetic and be much more discerning regarding what is being spoken as a “Word of the Lord” in the church and the nations today. There is a serious need for more spirit realm and less soul realm ministry.

Chicken Poop For the Soul

Much of what goes on in the Church today is chicken poop for the soul. It is fluffy, superficial and not supernatural, powerless to transform lives and somewhat irrelevant. But like the Chicken Soup for the Soul books it sounds good, smells good and tastes good to the soul. However, the spirit person meanwhile is malnourished and slowly dying.

You have to wonder some Sundays after the service if God is still into that stuff that Jesus did in the New Testament. You know, when miracles were normal and part of every day life. As I was thinking about this the Lord asked me a question. When the Lord asks you a question He is not looking for information, He is wanting to show you something, teach you something. He asked me if I was living with such reckless faith that I needed to see miracles every day? Gotcha ya!

If we get sick, we go to a doctor. If we need food, we go to the store and buy it. We have no money, we use our credit cards. We have eliminated the need for miracles. If we had enough faith to depend on God like the lilies and the sparrows do, we would see miracles. But we live a lifestyle that doesn’t need God until an emergency or serious crisis arises and then we cry out to Him asking for His help.

Never mind that the crisis is a result of our own action and behavior; that we are simply reaping what we have sown; that we are suffering the consequences of our neglect of our spiritual health. And, then when God doesn’t answer immediately and get us out of the mess we lose faith. Duh! You didn’t have any faith to lose in the first place as you were most likely living according to the world or your flesh and doing your own thing without God … no faith there. So, no faith to lose.

A thought: maybe the mess you got yourself in can be used by God to teach you to put your faith in Him first. Just a thought!

To see miracles, signs and wonders and get out from under all the poop we need to live by faith, walk by faith, believe in faith, be empowered by faith … Jesus said, “Be it done unto you according to your faith.” (Matthew 9:29) Another version states, “Become what you believe.” This is so true. Faith is not an emergency switch we pull to prevent a train wreck – it is a simple, daily way of life that must become as natural as breathing. When it becomes just that – a way of daily life – we will get out from underneath all the chicken poop (the natural, soul-realm and flesh) and actually see the supernatural happen and the real life of God manifest itself.

I, for one, am tired of the poop I see in the Church today and have had enough. It is time for change.

My Personal Dissatisfaction

I am personally dissatisfied with cultural Christianity – Canadian Christianity, American Christianity, or Eastern Europe Christianity. Totally dissatisfied. And my dissatisfaction has not come because all of a sudden I am going “secular’ or ‘liberal.’ I became dissatisfied by studying and plunging into what the earliest Christians called “the Way.” You know, the way of Jesus, the way of the cross, and the way of the Kingdom.” (Shane Claiborne – Urban Monk)

I read that comment on a recent flight to somewhere. It is part of a great book called “The Irresistible Revolution- Living As An Ordinary Radical.” An excellent read and well worth the investment of time and money. Powerful book, life-changing, gripping, moving, thought-provoking. Not a book to read if you are comfortable with the way things are in your life and your walk with Jesus. But, if you know there has to be more – you pray that this is not all that there is to this thing called Christianity – then this is your book.

The way of Jesus – is not the way of the Church. In fact, I wonder, at times, if Church people really know the real Jesus … not just church-goers but even born again believers. Have we encountered the real Jesus or simply a “plastic” version that is really a god of our own making that allows us to comfortable and complacent? I believe that the Jesus most people worship and adore at a distance is “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4). So, we cannot follow the ‘way of Jesus’ if we are not following Jesus. And, if we are not evangelizing and talking to others about the Lord then we are not following the real Jesus because He said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” Not fishing – not following. So, to follow the ‘way of Jesus’ we need to see and follow the real Jesus and not the well known and familiar religious Jesus.

The way of the cross – Now, here’s something that is ignored or forgotten quickly when heard…”take up your cross and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23) To carry one’s cross – whatever that may be defined as – (and the scholars don’t always agree) is something that seems to be ignored and simply not accomplished. Crosses are difficult, annoying, heavy, even visible. We don’t like this because ‘visible’ means we often stand out and appear different and many want to simply blend in and not be noticed. Listen carefully: true believers are noticed and are annoying at the best of times. As they carry their cross they remind us of another world, another plan, another way of life. And that visual reminder goes right to the heart and brings conviction. That is what we are to do – carry the cross and be different so we can be salt and light in the world.

The way of the Kingdom – Now here is a big one. The Kingdom we walk in and that is in us (Romans 14:17) is not of this world as Jesus said. Yet, many live in the domaine of darkness (the world’s kingdom) and live the way the world lives – enjoying sin for a season. The way of the Kingdom is upside down to the ways of the world. Is your personal private world upside down to the world? Is the way you express your inside world – your lifestyle – represent and look like the way of the world or does it really represent the way of the Kingdom – the way Jesus calls us to live? Only you (and those who are not saved and know you) can answer that. Have a look at your Facebook account…look any different than that of your friends who are not believers? Anything up there on your wall that you should be ashamed of as a believer and Christ-follower?

The way of Jesus. The way of the cross. The way of the Kingdom. Which way are you walking? Which way are you heading? What are you embracing?

People Are Afraid to Be Amazing

In our world and in the Church culture of our day people are afraid to be themselves. They are afraid to be who God created them to be. They are nervous about being different than everyone else and marching to the beat of a different drum. They do not express their uniqueness but rather buy in to a certain lifestyle that appears inviting and then they do everything they can to be the same as others living in that lifestyle – to fit in and be one of the “crowd.”

Example: Teenagers and guys in their early twenties worldwide wear oversized blue jeans that slide down over their backsides revealing their multi-colored boxer undershorts for the world to see. It is the same in every nation. People needing to or wanting to fit into a certain group and therefore not expressing their uniqueness as God would want them to – asks them to – needs them to.

Every one of us has been created by God to be unique and different then the others around us. We were created by God to be unique and to do amazing things for Him. But most are afraid to be different and unique and go against the flow. Therefore most never do anything amazing in and with their lives.

Most people are too concerned with what others will think – as if they really do think about you in a normal day. Many don’t want to be different because then they will stand out and might be noticed. Penelope Trunk wrote in one of her books “People are afraid to be amazing.” I agree. Because we don’t express ourselves and the unique person we really are – there has never been anyone like you on the face of the planet and never will be another like you – then we are not and can’t be amazing.

To be amazing you need to know who you really are. Not who you have become to fit in with the crowd you hang out with and relate to. Not who you are in your chosen lifestyle that you worked so hard to reach and now bust your butt to maintain. Not the “you” that changes depending on the expectations of the people you are currently interacting with. Not the person who is defined by the way you dress and where you live and the type of car you drive.

To be amazing you need to know the real you that is hiding inside – the unique person that God created in His image and that is a unique expression of God’s character and nature upon the earth.

But then we are faced with a bit of a problem. To express who we really are and thus be unique and amazing we need to take the time to come to know the real person on the inside; the essence of who you uniquely are as originally created by God. You will need to remove socially acceptable behavior, the expectations you have of yourself and that others have of you; you will need to remove the various masks that you wear in each situation; you will need to unlock the doors of your heart and come to know yourself; you will need to examine your life and discover new things about the real and unique you. Then – and only then – will the hard work begin.

The hard work is to then change the outside to match what you have discovered and uncovered about who you really are. To have integrity you will need to begin to adjust, remove, and change many things in your life and lifestyle to better express the real you, the unique you, the amazing you that you have now uncovered and discovered. Only the really brave need apply as this will, of course, not be easy. As soon as you start this process you will find yourself no longer “floating downstream” with all the other dead fish but you will find yourself discovering real life as you swim upstream and go against the flow.

But, as you begin to change the outside to match the newly discovered and unque inside you will become the amazing person that God designed you to be. And, you will then begin to do amazing things for God as well.

This is why God created you – to be the you no one else can be – because the world needs the real you, the amazing you!