Category Archives: ON THE JOURNEY

Preparing for Apostolic Ministry


How would someone, called to be an apostle, prepare for that ministry? Is there training for apostolic ministry? Where would you go? What might that training or preparation include? Most of those who have that calling, assignment, office, have had to receive their preparation by means other than traditional schooling or ministries.

Please understand, it is difficult to speak of the things that follow. I feel like Paul when he said you’ve forced me to talk like a fool. No one desires to put oneself forward, yet in order to be a blessing to others, we must share what God is doing in our lives. We overcome the enemy by the word of our testimony. I cannot speak for all apostles, so I will testify to my own preparation in a sincere desire to assist someone who may be as baffled as I was.

First, apostolic ministry is not our choice but Christ’s. He sends. No one can choose to be an apostle. Jesus calls and sends. We either go or we don’t. From my conversion experience through my most recent ministry, all has been initiated by Jesus. My role is to respond to his calling and sending. From the time He spoke my name on Christmas day, 1976, He has been revealing His purposes and shaping my character–purging what is in me that hinders his honor. As I’ve responded in obedience (and that has never been perfect), I have been entrusted with more. And often I have not deserved to be sent by Him or to have seen the marvelous things I’ve witnessed. I can truly say it is all of Him. I would not have chosen this path. But I would not want to be on any other. He must become more and more . . . And we must go where He leads. Of course, others must confirm that call. Others will recognize, probably before you will, that you are called to the greater body of Christ. And your going and serving will have results. People will know that you have authority to bless and encourage, to comfort and challenge. Sometimes displays of gifts accompany assignments. These also “testify” to your assignment or ministry in any given place, at His appointed time.

Second, apostles share a deep passion for the Father, and the Kingdom. The apostle Paul said, “The love of God constrains me.” He was pushed, pulled , drawn on, and compelled by love of the Father and Jesus. And for love of those who are loved by God–his people. More about this apostolic passion in my next book.

Third, God has prepared us:

REJECTION.  We have known rejection. We have had to fight through feelings of inadequacy and abandonment. My life before Christ has been one of rejection and continues to be in some sense even today; I experience rejection but from a different angle than when I was a child. The Lord has taught me not to take ministry rejection personally. Don’t get me wrong–it’s still difficult. But it’s not about me. I need only to be obedient and speak what I’m given. Faithfulness is all that’s required of me once I’ve heard and understood.

IDENTITY. We know who God says we really are. We are sons. We have found our identity in Him. Though I am the least among his many living apostles, I know that I am a son and have His authority on my life. I don’t always know how to walk in that and am learning more daily, but Jesus continually presents his own calling–his death and resurrection–in my life. I know that I am walking into His plan and purpose. I also know that difficulty awaits. But so does unimaginable blessing and fruit. I have many promises of God that I am waiting to see unfold. And they will.

KNOWLEDGE. We are learning and are living out what the Father is teaching. We are no longer on milk, laying over and over the same foundations; we have learned the teaching about righteousness (Heb 5.13-6.1). Now we are called to go from sincere love to deep love (1 Pt. 1.22 NIV). We have also prepared ourselves with study of the Word of God. Some of us have studied formally and others informally. Some have done both. But God has taught us. And we know that what makes us most effective is hearing first for ourselves. Being not only hearers, but doers of the Word. Then hearing what “the Spirit is ‘saying’ to the church.”

CHARACTER. We are being shaped by His hands. He is forming vessels of honor (to give honor and bring honor to Him). But the job description is not one that flocks sign up for. When I sought the Lord, asking Him how I could prepare, the Holy Spirit took me to meditate on and abide in 1 Cor. 4.9-21. Take time to immerse yourself in this text before you glamorize apostolic ministry. That said, there is nothing I know as thrilling as being sent on assignment. Whether that be to the local store or to a church gathering several states away or to the Republic of Georgia (I was sent there immediately following the Russian incursion into Georgia with a specific assignment to a specific man, with specific words. When I arrived, he was an atheist, today he is a precious brother in Christ. Dearer to me than flesh and blood brother. His conversion, while I stayed at his home, transformed not only his life and his family, but mine as well. His church and the market where he works was also impacted for Christ). God has a special call and assignment on his life too. Just as he has in yours.

These are some of the preparations I have experienced. I share more about the authority of apostles in my book, We’re the “sons of God” . . . So What?–available at Amazon.com.

Why not participate in a discussion. Leave a comment. Let us know if this post helps you or if you have something that can help someone prepare for apostolic ministry.

©2011, Dr. David C Alves

The Real Warfare is Spiritual


UPDATED for 2020: Given the recent anarchy in our cities and streets. And in our colleges and universities, I felt the need to update and republish this post from 2017.

Who or what is behind groups like “Antifa” and “Black Lives Matter”? Why is violence and hatred characteristic of political extremists on BOTH sides.

Human beings live in an active spiritual war zone. All humans live on enemy held territory. How did this happen?

First, a quick word about “Dualism” so that you do not get confused. Dualism is the view that two equal but opposite intelligent, uncreated powers inhabit our universe and war against one another. In Dualism, one power is good and one equal power is bad. They have been opposed throughout eternity and neither has won. Here and there they have a loss and then a victory over the other. Some people choose the good power and some choose the evil. Though some untaught people believe that this is what Christianity believes, it does not. Dualism is completely foreign and contrary to biblical Christianity.

The biblical Christian knows that the two powers that war against one another are nowhere near equal. One is Creator. That would be God. The other is a created being. That would be satan or the devil (not the cultural devil of red union-suit, pitchfork. horns, and tail fame). Satan was created for a purpose which he chose to abandon. He is far below God in power, authority, and ability. He rebelled against God and drew other angelic powers after himself. They warred in heaven against God’s loyal powers.

The spirit-dimensional beings that fell in rebellion are now demons. Demonic powers are mainly disembodied, though they seek human habitation and animate some humans. Demonized humans are willingly and/or unknowingly used by these powers to wage war both on those who do not serve their cause and on those in fellowship with Christ.

Under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul wrote of these supernatural beings:

Ephesians 6:10–13 (ESV)

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Understand, the voices of Antifa, Black Lives Matter, CAIR, and those who foster division and who hate our nation serve demonic powers. Even though deceived people are the glove, spiritual beings are the hand in the glove. The real war is against spiritual forces. Only those who are equipped to wage war spiritually will be victorious. The majority of people are clueless. Most of them have allied with Satan. A few serve the true and only King. And they are equipped to stand against the demonic effectively.

Jesus said:

Matthew 7:13–14 (ESV)

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

In the excellent 2012 movie, “Act of Valor,” one of the Navy Seals presents a toast to his Seal team as they are gathered informally around a fire the night before their deployment. He lifts his glass and says, “To all those who have been downrange. To us and those like us . . . damn few.”

Genuine followers of Jesus Christ, who understand their calling to displace demonic evil,  have been “downrange” in the spiritual warfare. And we are precious few.

Many can talk or write about spiritual warfare and the demonic but some of us are veterans of the spiritual war. For us it’s not theory or doctrine.

I have seen the joy in the face of a woman who was delivered from a demon. Before her deliverance, the demonic spirit caused her eyes to roll back in her head and her body to go stiff as a plank. I have seen the result when I confronted a violent man bent on attacking me. In Jesus’ name, I commanded the violent spirit controlling him to be bound. He and his friend turned from me and couldn’t leave the scene fast enough. The terror of Christ filled them and overpowered that violent spirit animating them. I’ll never forget the look of fear on their faces. I remember the grateful thanks to Jesus of a couple in Brazil who had their lives and marriage set free from a local Macumba priestess who had overcome them by demonic power. We saw the living Jesus Christ not only set them free, but later deliver and save the priestess herself.

Like it or not, this warfare is real. And we believers have not only authority but the assignment and responsibility to confront and displace demonic powers by the authority of Christ. We are sons of the Kingdom—the “sons of God.”(Romans 8:14)   We are with Jesus and we gather with him.

Luke 11:23 (ESV)

23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

Revelation 6:15–17 (ESV)

15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Christ, the Lamb of God, will destroy Satan and all the demons that currently traffic with humans. To destroy Satan and his powers is to destroy the spirit of murder and terror.

This is the war we fight. Our spiritual battle is not against people, but against the spirits that animate them and use them to champion evil until Christ returns. We have authority over these demonic beings only because Christ gave it to us (Luke 10.19). It is our assignment to crush them through intercession and the command of Christ as we stand in our authority to displace darkness and the demonic:

Luke 10:17–24, ESV

     The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

Followers of Jesus, do not give up. Fight the good fight of the faith!  You will be victorious! For nothing can succeed against the Church–the body of Christ. No weapon formed against us will prosper; all those who rise up against us will fall. We will sit enthroned with Christ to pass judgment on these spirit-beings–the enemies of all that is good, right, beautiful, and true–and send them to their final and ultimate eternal destruction in the Lake of Fire. In Christ we already have the victory!

© 2013, Dr. David C Alves, D.Min.

God Will Hold You


 

I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help [hold] thee.

Isa. 41:13

One day after Hurricane Edna struck western Massachusetts in 1954, my father took me to the Ludlow Bridge which spanned the Chicopee river between Ludlow and Indian Orchard at what was once known as Wallamanumps Falls. We walked onto the bridge and watched the raging water only a few feet below the bridge, splashing against the upstream side. Residents knew that with the dam opened that tumultuous white water was over 50 feet deep. If anyone fell in, they would never survive. I couldn’t see the water because I was only 4 years old and not big enough to look over the concrete siding. So my dad picked me up and sat me on that railing with my feet dangling over the edge. Others around him panicked. At first I was terrified, but my dad held me with a firm grip and told me that I would be OK because he was holding me and would never let me go.

At my advanced age, I still have that mental picture of the raging waters of the Chicopee river directly beneath my feet, and of my father’s strong hands. I can’t help but think that the act of my foster father helping me to see the power of a storm-stirred river developed a deep trust, in my young heart, that my “Dad” was able to hold me and keep me safe. How much stronger and greater the hold of our eternal Father’s hands? He has held me for 42 years now, and has not let go once!

Don’t try to hold God’s hand; let Him hold yours. Let Him do the holding, and you do the trusting.

See Also: Isa. 41:10

NOW on Kindle – High Along the Green Weyes $2.99 for Two Weeks


HATGW_CvrIf you have ever loved and lost, if you enjoy old stone walls, inlets by the sea, beaches, summer warmth, the green of spring in the mountains, the barren beauty of winter, and the vivid colors of fall; if you have–or need–hope for the future, then let this chapbook be your introduction to my early and mid-life poetry. And may it touch something in you along your spiritual journey.

I’ve written these poems over a period from 1966 to 2010.

The Kindle version of High Along the Green Weyes: Selected Early Poems is available at Amazon.com for only $2.99. This promotion of the new chapbook will last until October 5, 2017. Then it will appear at its regular retail price of $9.00.

High Along the Green Weyes contains 25 poems and a brief essay or meditation on the theme of “voice” and inspiration. Hope you enjoy it.

My Newest Book – Almost Finished


I’m in the formatting stage of completing my 5th book. What makes this book stand out from the others is . . . this is my first work of fiction.

I’ve collected and edited 50 decades of  selected poems and compiled a chapbook. Do you like the cover?

HATGW_Cvr

High Along the Green Weyes: Selected Early Poems will be available first in Kindle and eBook format, followed by the print version several weeks later.

I hope that I may add a new fiction audience to my already faithful non-fiction readers. And once my book of poems is launched, I can get to work on finishing the two novels I have in the works. Very exciting for me to launch out in fiction.

I hope you will share this post with friends and family and help me spread the word. I’ll keep you informed.

If you would like to be placed on my Personal Newsletter list, please sign up on the right in the navigation column. The newsletter, when I begin it, will be quarterly. And short!! LOL.

Here’s one of the poems:

Okemo

A light breeze, sweet with morning,

flapped my curtain, stirred the long

blinds to softly clatter, welcoming day.

–a mountain-flyer morning.

 

High over valleys watching, with hawks–

Okemo–scarred with jagged trails, bare, green grassed,

empty lines and lifts and ledges,

beside condominiums–gleaming rows of white teeth

smiling in the sun–

long after Abenaki moved north.

 

Okemo–sore with skiers and trails, waits

through seasons for her trees to return

as the wheel comes round again,

as it always comes round . . . again–

around To her, alone in wind,

with hawks.

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