Charisma Leader - Winter 2020

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Leader Formerly

Inside: Engage emerging leaders in a digitized age

Pray strategically for your business Make way for creative ideas and inventions

Prophet of Power How the Holy Spirit empowered Rich Vera for a ministry of miracles



What’s at stake this election? Everything. Best-selling author Stephen E. Strang shows you why Christians must support Trump.


JEZEBEL DIED 3,000 YEARS AGO. BUT HER SPIRIT LIVES TODAY. Be bold and join the pursuit for a SPIRITUAL AWAKENING unlike anything the nation has seen.

These Books Are Available Online and Wherever Books Are Sold 16688

DISCOVER TRANSFORMATIONAL COACHING WITH ROB SAUNDERS The Bible clearly talks about 12 lands that mankind lives in. What land do you find yourself in today? Do you live in Egypt – “the land of not enough?” Are you stuck in the wilderness – “the land of just enough?” Or do you enjoy God’s provision and abundance in God’s Kingdom – “the land of immeasurably more?” Rob’s coaching program will take you to a whole new level – mentally, emotionally and monetarily. His IMAGINE coaching technique will help you: • Define and fine-tune your core values • Change many of your concepts • Silence the “negative voices” blocking your success • Find your true purpose and enjoy living out God’s plan for your life

SPACES ARE LIMITED | APPLY NOW Robert M. Saunders, Jr. is the 4th generation of successful investment bankers. He speaks frequently at various marketplace leadership conferences around the world and is passionate about imparting to business leaders the wisdom he has gleaned from over four decades of life and business experience. Now you can learn and experience how the power of the Divine Blessing brings long-term success without adding “pain, toil or sorrow.”



WIN T E R 2 02 0

contents Volume 38/number 1

8 The Leader’s Notebook

Wounded warriors must find courage to be healed.

STEPHEN STRANG | Founding Editor and Publisher

By Dr. Mark Rutland

JOY F. STRANG | Chief Financial Officer DR. STEVE GREENE | Publisher & Executive VP

10 Word & Spirit

Stand up for Scripture in the heat of the battle on gender.


By R.T. Kendall

TAYLOR BERGLUND | Content Development Editor

12 On Their Shoulders

JENNY ROSE SPAUDO | Online News Director

America’s first missionary Adoniram Judson relied on the promises of God.

SHAWN A. AKERS | Assistant Online Editor

By David Shibley

MARTI PIEPER | Copy Editor/Assistant Online Editor

14 Kingdom Economics

KENDRA SEMMEN | Copy Editor/Assistant Online Editor

Leaders must model life in the Spirit in times of turmoil.

18 C O V E R

CARA S. SHOWERS | VP Print Production

By James R. Russell


RALPH RAMIREZ JR. | Art Director

40 On Platform

Alive in the Spirit

Rich Vera’s prophetic miracle ministry impacts thousands around the world. By Christine D. Johnson

MARCSHIA SCIOVILLE | Production Coordinator

Wise leaders prepare for success as well as storms.

NICK BEECHER | Advertising Manager

By Dr. Steve Greene

ANN MARIE KELLY | Senior Advertising Consultant

JOSHUA BUCHANAN | Digital Media Sales Consultant


Leaders must recognize the human talent they steward as technology advances. By Danita Bye

ERICA HEITZ | Media Ad Traffic Supervisor

34 Invent Shine

STEPHANIE MELENDEZ | Digital Ad Traffic Coordinator

Tom Cartwright believes practical inventions benefit the kingdom of God.


By Marti Pieper

DAVID MANNING | Director of Audience Development

30 Pray for Your Business

NETTIE PARKS | Customer Service

Strategic prayer yields insights and plans for your business.


By Dawn Whitestone

DEPARTMENTS 6 Take 5 Shane Idleman on balancing truth and compassion in Spirit-led ministry.

42 Talking Points Quick takeaways for the on-the-go leader.

Charisma Leader is a supplement of Charisma magazine and is published quarterly by Charisma Media. Copyright ©2019 Charisma Media. All rights reserved. Editorial and Advertising offices: 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746, Tel: 407-333-0600. No parts of this magazine may be reproduced or duplicated in any form without permission from the publisher. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Used by permission. All rights reserved. PRINTED IN THE USA.



Cover/Ralph Ramirez | Contents: Ralph Ramirez | Getty Images-E+-SDI Productions

26 Lead in a Digitized Era

EDITORIAL AND ADVERTISING OFFICES: 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746 Phone 407-333-0600 • Fax 407-333-7100 Email: TO ORDER COPIES: 800-749-6500 ADVERTISING POLICY: While maintaining the highest standards, we work with our advertisers in print and online to help them achieve their goals. However, advertising in Charisma Leader does not suggest our endorsement. Please let us know if there is a problem with an advertiser. MAILING LIST: We make a portion of our mailing list available to reputable firms. If you would prefer that we not include your name, call 800-749-6500, write to us at 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746, or email us at


TAKE Up Close With Shane Idleman Southern California

PODCAST The pulpit sets the tone for America. Listen to Pastor Shane Idleman’s episode, “Drifting Toward One Nation Above God.” Download at CPNSHOWS.COM

“God prepares the messenger before we prepare the message.”

Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California. He founded the Westside Christian Radio Network and has a podcast, “Idleman Unplugged.” He is the author of several books, including Answers for a Confused Church and HELP! I’m Addicted. Learn more at

Q: How do you balance truth and compassion in the ministry? Today, the truth is often watered down in the hope of not offending members and building a large audience. Judgment is never mentioned, and repentance is rarely sought. We want to build a church rather than break a heart, be politically correct rather than biblically correct, coddle and comfort rather than stir and convict. The power of the gospel is found in the truth about the gospel. The edited version does not change lives. The pulpit regulates the spiritual condition of God’s people, which affects the nation. A lukewarm, sex-saturated culture (and church) simply reflect the lack of conviction in the pulpit as well as the pew. So I seek to be mightily filled with the Holy Spirit via brokenness and humility, and total dependence on God during my preaching. Pastors and Christian leaders must take responsibility for the spiritual health of today’s church and the nation. We don’t need more marketing plans, demographic studies or giving campaigns; we need men filled with the Spirit of God. 6


Q: How are you leading your church in an era when pastors are pressured to be politically correct? All of us must return to the prayer closet where brokenness, humility and full surrender take place. God prepares the messenger before we prepare the message. Al Whittinghill said, “Without the heartbeat of prayer, the body of Christ will resemble a corpse. The church is dying on her feet because she is not living on her knees.” This is why many pastors are politically correct. If a pastor fills his mind with the world all week and expects the Spirit of God to speak boldly through him from the pulpit, he will be gravely mistaken. “Dead men give out dead sermons, and dead sermons kill. Everything depends on the spiritual character of the preacher” (E.M. Bounds). Who he is all week is who he will be when he steps to the pulpit. We are called to the separated life guided by the Holy Spirit, not Hollywood. Q: Tell us about a recent victory in your leadership of the church.

We are seeing lives radically changed in our area of Southern California. We have an incredible team of people assisting in all areas of service. God is simply honoring our prayers for revival and renewal. There are so many victories to give God credit for, but what really stands out in my mind is how hungry people are for more of God. Don’t give up on America—or California. The light of the gospel shines bright in the face of darkness. With rapid-fire changes within a culture saturated by political correctness and relativism, we are inclined to ask if there is any hope for America. If we continue down this slippery slope, there is little hope. Apart from a national spiritual awakening, it will be difficult to turn the Titanic around—the vessel has been struck; what’s inside is spilling out. But if God brings revival, if we once again set our hearts and minds on Him, there is tremendous hope. This is the victory we are witnessing.

Q: What’s the last great book you’ve read that’s influenced you as a pastor? Anything written by E.M. Bounds, A.W. Tozer or Leonard Ravenhill. Q: Do you make rest a priority? How?

I do. I don’t watch media at night; I read good books and fall asleep on my own. I’m usually up around 4 a.m., fully rested, and spend the next three hours worshipping, praying and preparing sermons. I also try to take a day off each week, and every three or four months, I schedule a few days off in a row to fast and spend time alone. I was able to stop drinking coffee, and that helped tremendously.


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Reach out for help and find hope on your healing journey


ministry leader called me after reading Courage to Be Healed, my book on inner healing. We talked for a long time and will continue talking. He granted permission for me to share the following if I would guard his identity. “I am miserable, lonely, wounded and frightened,” he said. “Nothing I have done seems important to me, and the future holds nothing but more of the same. I have a tiger by the tail. I honestly don’t know how much longer I can do this, and I can’t quit. “The worst part is, I have no one to talk to. I feel so alone. My wife is stressed by the conflict. When I try to be honest about how tired I am, it frightens her. My board is adversarial. My admirers would be shattered if they knew how used up I am. I do not have one friend to whom I can tell the real truth.” What is the “real truth”? I asked him. “The real truth is I am deeply hurt and worn down by years of ministry conflict. I am damaged goods, and I think it’s too late for me to get well. I am running on fumes, and the fumes are running out. That’s the real truth.” Since the release of Courage to Be Healed, I am having more such conversations. The only counseling I do these days is with ministers or other leaders in crisis. Some come to me because of the book, others because they know I understand. They know I stood with my toes over the same abyss they are facing. They know I was once as terrified as they that it was too late. “I have met The ministry is the hardest place in the world to get healed. Angry church legalists who themselves are leaders with more wounded than they know want the wounded faith to move punished far more than they want them healed. The lust in the church for public humiliation is like the mountains and Roman Colosseum. With wounded warriors prone on build great the sands below, the judgmental mob signals thumbsdown and screams for blood. That’s the bad news. ministries Here is the good news. The Good Shepherd signals who lacked thumbs-up. I pray that someone, many someones perhaps, in need of that comforting truth will read this, the courage believe and find hope. Your board may not care about to get honest your emotional wholeness. Jesus does. Your church, ministry, business or whatever may not care about about their own your deep-tissue sadnesses. Jesus does. Those who inner selves.” depend on you may care more about your ability to provide than they care about your battered soul. Not Jesus. Jesus is the lover of your battered soul, and He wants it restored infinitely more than He cares about the size of your church or the balance sheet of your company. Here’s the thing. Healing is often a process rather than an event, and stepping into that process will require one thing of you: courage. You probably cannot change 8


an angry and toxic board. If you actually do, write a book, and I will buy the first copy. The toxic board that courageously faces its own toxicity will be the purple unicorn of boards. Who you can change is you. You cannot change your past. What you can change is your future. You cannot change toxic members of your family. You can change who you are. Why do some leaders begin the healing journey while others cop out? What made that ministry leader in the first paragraph call me for help while countless others limp painfully toward retirement hoping for little more than to reach it without putting a gun in their mouths? I am persuaded that the principal variable in inner healing is courage. I have met leaders with faith to move mountains and build great ministries who lacked the courage to get honest about their own inner selves. Wounded leaders who reach out for help are those with the courage to be healed. It takes no courage to ask, “What is wrong with my wife? Or my pastor or my parents?” And bartenders everywhere will go along with whatever answer you come up with. What takes great courage indeed is answering a different question: “What is wrong with me?” Are you at odds with everyone else in your family? Amid all the variables you are the constant. You. Facing that courageously is the first step toward healing. I counseled with a Vietnam veteran suffering from panic attacks. He told me he killed an enemy soldier, not with a bomb, but close up in a particularly gruesome way. Buried under half a century of success, it was almost forgotten. Fifty years later, it painfully resurfaced. After he told me the story, in graphic detail, he asked, “What do you think of a man who would do that?” I said, “I think the man who would face it, and tell it to a counselor, is braver than a boy who killed in battle so many years ago. I admire your great courage. And I see great healing just ahead.” D r . M a r k R u t l a n d is president of both Global Servants and the National Institute of Christian Leadership. A renowned communicator and New York Times best-selling author, he has more than 30 years of experience in organizational leadership, having served as a senior pastor and a university president.

Life Touch

Good News for Courageous, Wounded Warriors



ABOUT THE BOOK A Closer Look At Authority

investigates and identifies God’s true purpose, responsibilities and qualifying characteristics for authorities in the church. As well as Satan’s abuse and misuse of God’s authority by false preachers that separate people from God, enslaving people to follow false teachings, selfish ambitions and traditions of men. This study includes every Greek word authority is translated from; Seven in the KJV, twelve in the NKJV, and lists all the English words they are translated too in every verse in the Bible, with their definitions. What is most shocking! The Greek word most often translated to authority happens to be the Greek word second most often translated to power. This very same Greek word in scripture defines the power and authority of God, Jesus Christ, disciples, believers, as well as, the power of Satan, the devil, the Beast and the kingdom of darkness. So, how can we truly know if, we, and those who claim to be authorities in our lives are expressing God’s authority, or Satan’s power, in view of this Biblical Fact? The same exact Greek word defines both of them! However, sometimes it translates differently.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Ralph came to Christ in his early twenties and in his sixty plus years

saw abuse and misuses of authority devastate many lives. After many years of study, the cries of his heart compelled him to address the false and misinterpretations about authority in the church. Ralph has co-founded a Teen Center, led the worship team and fulfilled many other duties in church. As a community leader, Ralph received awards from the Governor, State Senate, House of Representatives and Mayor for his volunteer work in his community. He is retired and lives in Harrisburg, Pa.

available on


Making the case for biblical values when society attacks Scripture


ale and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27). If the task of every generation is to discover in which direction the sovereign Redeemer is moving, then move in that direction, as Jonathan Edwards taught, so also we must realize that every generation has its stigma by which the believer’s faith is tested. For example, the stigma of the first generation was whether Jesus of Nazareth was the true Messiah. In the second century, the issue was whether Jesus or Caesar is Lord. In the fourth century, it was whether Jesus was the God-man. In the 16th century, it was justification by faith alone without works. In the 20th century, it was creation ex nihilo versus evolution (Heb. 11:3)—even after the Big Bang theory emerged. The 21st century, however, is met with a different kind of attack on creation. It is transgenderism—an even more sinister attack on creation generally. It is a satanic attack on God’s purpose in making humankind male and female. It is when one’s education teaches that a child doesn’t really have a sex, but that he or she was merely “assigned” a gender at birth. He or she may therefore choose their own “gender identity.” If he or she chooses one that is the opposite of their actual biology, then they should be allowed to choose a new name and dress as the opposite sex. We are being told that gender is simply a social construct, the product of a biased society, that “We must gender has no biological basis at all, that gender roles are being forced upon people; gender is fluid. uphold the Parents are being told they must comply with biblical account this new identity. The doctor prescribes puberty blockers. Since a child has gender dysphoria, now of creation and a young teenager who decides to go forward will not give in to the be given hormone treatments of the sex he or she is not to help them into the sex they want to be. spirit of the age.” There is nothing left but to remove the biological parts remaining of his or her biological sex and try, via plastic surgery, to make the parts of the opposite sex. What is seldom reported is that puberty blockers, hormone treatments and sex realignment surgery almost invariably eventually do irreparable harm, despite what trans activists say. We know this from so many of those who have gone through these treatments and then realize that it was all a great big horrible mistake. What should our reaction be? First, we must show true compassion toward those who have made this regrettable decision. Let there be no pointing the finger or moralizing. These people have been overtaken in a fault and need our love and sympathy. Yes, genuine love and care. Secondly, we must uphold the biblical account of creation and not give in to the spirit of the age. We are being confronted by the devil. Martin Luther is often 10


quoted as saying: “If I profess, with the loudest voice and clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved.” Why is this so important? Our very faith in God is at stake; either the Bible is true or it isn’t. Only recently, a British court in a transgender case handed down this verdict: Belief in the Bible, particularly with regard to human kind being created male and female, is “incompatible with human dignity.” The way society is rapidly changing is perhaps the scariest of all facts. Twenty years ago, same-sex marriage was generally thought to be a terrible thing. President Barack Obama was against same-sex marriage during his first term of office, but changed during his second term. Pastor Andrew Brunson has observed how America has imploded during the two years he was recently in a Turkish prison. What was regarded as horrifying and unacceptable as recently as 10 or 15 years ago is not only accepted but has become regarded as the norm: gay marriage, samesex practice by those in the ministry, same-sex practice by those in the church without anything said from the pulpit—not to mention heterosexual practice before marriage. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones used to say we are reliving the period of the judges. Israel had no king; everyone did what was right in their own eyes (Judg. 21:25). The only thing that will change that trend is a genuine awakening by the Holy Spirit. It is long overdue. We need King Jesus to rule over us; then we will do what is right in His eyes. We need an equal but great measure of the Word and the Spirit coming together simultaneously. This is what they had in the book of Acts. May God hasten the day. R . T . K e n d a l l is an author, teacher and preacher. He now has a number of books in print, including the latest, Whatever Happened to the Gospel? (Charisma House). He was the senior minister at London’s Westminster Chapel from 1977 to 2002. He has earned multiple degrees, including a Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University and a Doctor of Divinity from Trevecca Nazarene University.

T.R. Kendall

Where the Battle’s the Hottest


Peace? Worry. Fear. Anxiety. Anger. Guilt. Depression. Addictions. Emotional stress drains. Do you feel like peace and strength eludes you? Hidden Treasure provides the biblical answers to receiving God’s peace and strength in your life. You can defeat emotional stress, addictions, and unforgiveness in your life and be FREE! This book is a product of my personal testimony and how God taught me to surrender to Him. 1 Peter 5:7 taught me how to cast my cares on Him, because He cares for me. Hidden Treasure shares my testimony over the years and the insight I learned from Scripture on how to depend on God and cast all my cares on Him.

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:6-9 KJV Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:10 KJV

Visit for a FREE download of Hidden Treasure


America’s First Missionary How Adoniram Judson’s resolve inspires Bible-based hope


ew missionaries ever had it tougher than Adoniram Judson. He suffered the death of two wives and several children, battled frequent illnesses and was brutally beaten in a death prison for 17 months. Still, Adoniram and Ann Judson made one of the greatest impacts for Christ in history. Adoniram Judson was born in 1788 in Massachusetts. A natural-born scholar, at 16, he entered Brown College, graduating as valedictorian in just three years. Judson’s inquiring mind also produced a crisis of faith. Perhaps seeking answers more than responding to a ministry calling, he enrolled in Andover Theological Seminary. But God was engineering circumstances. While staying at a village inn, Judson heard the screams of a dying man in the room next to him. The next morning, he learned that the tormented man was a close college friend. Profoundly affected, Judson committed his life to Christ. At Andover, he met Samuel Mills, who a few years earlier participated in the famous Haystack Prayer Meeting at Williams College. This impromptu prayer gathering marked the genesis of the missions movement in America. Taking shelter from a storm under a haystack, several students pledged themselves to fulfilling the Great Commission. They declared, “We can do it, if we will.” Later Mills and Judson would form the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. In 1812, Judson and his new wife, Ann Hazeltine, boarded ship as the first American missionaries. Initially disem“Today most barking in India, circumstances pointed them instead toward Burma (now Myanmar). Landing in Rangoon, evangelicals in they teamed with William Carey’s son, Felix, to reach Myanmar trace the Burmese. They immediately started learning the Burmese language, often studying 12 hours a day. their Christian The Burmese people, though uncomfortable with roots to Judson.” Western-style churches, flocked to local zayats, open areas for discussion and meditation. So between bouts of fever, Judson built a zayat for the purpose of evangelism. Soon many Burmese became Christ-followers. Escalating conflicts between England and Burma disrupted the work. Suspecting foreigners as spies, the Burmese government sentenced all male foreigners to prison. Judson pleaded that he was an American with no ties to British military actions. Unmoved, Burmese soldiers threw him into a death prison. More than once Judson was strung on bamboo poles and tortured. As the British advanced, the prisoners were driven northward, and many died. Judson survived but never recovered physically. Gifted linguistically, Adoniram and Ann produced the priceless treasure of the first Burmese Bible. Ann Hazeltine Judson holds an esteemed place, as well, in the annals of missions as America’s first female missionary. Translating God’s Word into Burmese required a decade of painstaking work. Their single manuscript of the Burmese Bible had no duplicates. Still imprisoned, Judson knew if police found the 12


Bible, they surely would have destroyed it. To conceal the precious manuscript, Ann sewed its pages in a pillow covered with rough cloth. She paid the jailer to let her give it to Judson to help him sleep. Later, when careless jailers trashed the pillow, a Burmese Christian rescued it miraculously and returned it to Mrs. Judson. Sorrows kept mounting for Judson. By 1826, Ann and two of their children had died. In 1845, his second wife died. Yet after a period of despondency, Judson experienced a fresh encounter with the Holy Spirit and renewed anointing for his preaching. In 1840, 28 years after landing in Burma, Judson’s translation of the Burmese Bible was sent to press. Returning to America for his only furlough, Judson received a hero’s welcome but became uncomfortable with the notoriety. He often disappointed his American audiences because he did not tell exciting missionary stories. Instead, he preached the gospel. While in America, he met and married Emily Chubbock, who returned with him to Burma. A gifted writer, she helped him complete a Burmese dictionary in 1849. Emily was expecting their second child when Judson became seriously ill. Leaving on a voyage hoping to recover, Judson died and was buried at sea. Despite colossal challenges, Judson never lost his vision to evangelize Burma. At his death, he left a Burmese church of 7,000 members. Today most evangelicals in Myanmar trace their Christian roots to Judson. He is remembered for his translation work and helping launch American world missions. Judson University in Illinois is named in his honor. The SS Adoniram Judson ship was commissioned during World War II to honor his memory. Today we stand on the shoulders of this missionary giant who was indeed a “prisoner of hope.” Through his trials, Judson still affirmed, “The prospects are as bright as the promises of God.” D A V I D S H I B L E Y is founder and world representative for Global Advance. He helps train a new generation of disciple-makers through his “Days With David” weekends and the David Shibley Institute. His documentary of remembrances of the Jesus Movement and hopes for a new move of God is available at This column is based on profiles from Great for God: Missionaries Who Changed the World (New Leaf Publishing Group).


When someone becomes a Christian at your church, what do you give them? At Gateway,

we used to give them a Bible and several other discipleship resources.

Now, we give them the Fresh Start Bible. We’ve curated our favorite sermons, articles,

and study notes from key leaders like Robert

Morris, Jimmy Evans, and Jack Hayford into the Fresh Start Bible: Everything a new believer needs for a fresh start.



Kingdom Convictions Leaders model life in the Spirit in times of turmoil


ost economists believe that Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is in recession. Europe’s central bank, in an effort to stimulate the economy, has increased the money supply to the point that many of the government-issued bonds of France, Germany and Italy have negative yields. Similarly, Japan’s two-year federal note now has a negative yield. In other words, you have to pay the respective governments to loan them money. The negative yields are evidence that many of the world’s central banks are out of ammunition to jump-start the economy. The U.S. economy has been slowing, but it is still one of the strongest in the world. Inflation is tame, and the economy is currently on pace to grow at a respectable 2.5% this year. Real wages have been rising, employment is strong and unemployment is low. Consumer confidence is still very strong but has been weakening. Economists and analysts have widely diverging opinions regarding the future direction of the economy. Some argue for imminent recession or worse. Others argue that the economy will continue to strengthen. Most economists are somewhere between these two extremes. The correct answer is, “It depends.” The economy is dependent on a variety of factors that are largely unpredictable. For example, will the current trade war with China be resolved or worsen? What will the Federal Reserve do? Will the European economy weaken further? Will there be war with Iran? What will be the end result of the impeachment pro“Consecration cess? Will the political climate allow Congress to pass anything? What about Brexit? All of these factors add is even more economic uncertainty and risk. important in In addition to economic uncertainty, we are seeing rapid societal and political change. The world has tumultuous always had disagreements, but today more disagreetimes.” ments become personal and sometimes vindictive or violent. Time-honored values and traditions are cast aside, denigrated and sometimes decried as evil. Marriage, gender, holiness, purity and biblical inerrancy are now thought of as relative and debatable. Houses are built on shifting sand, and those not built on the rock of Christ are in danger of falling. With news cycles collapsing, important, sometimes life-changing economic and political events happen daily and sometimes hourly. Many of these blockbuster stories bring stress, uncertainty, anger and risk. What used to work may no longer work. What used to be valued is no longer valued and may actually be opposed. A recent survey by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln ( shows that approximately 40% of the population is stressed because of the current political climate, and 20% is even losing sleep because of it. A host of societal problems have resulted from the combination of the change in the cultural, political and economic environments, and the society turning away 14


from God. Drug addiction, increasing numbers of single-parent households, suicide, pornography, child trafficking, hopelessness, deviant behavior, violence, coarseness and a void of love are rampant. The good news of the kingdom is the solution. Nonbelievers need God desperately, even if they don’t yet know it. Believers need to be equipped and prioritize the kingdom. Pastor, you are called to such a time as this. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33, NASB). The world’s turmoil creates stress and anxiety among both believers and nonbelievers. The current situation presents many teaching opportunities for kingdom leaders concerning keeping our eyes fixed on the Lord, believing His Word, praying, hoping, putting our trust in Him and maintaining a kingdom perspective. Today is a perfect time to emphasize that our flock steward time more carefully. Anxiety and sadness can be created and made worse by spending too much time with the news or on social networks. Consecration is even more important in tumultuous times. As leaders, we should teach and model life in the Spirit. “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6). Some of the greatest periods of church growth have occurred during times of greatest stress when fear, anxiety, uncertainty and persecution were pervasive. Make no mistake. We are in a war. Our values, beliefs, culture, children and all we hold dear are under attack. The spiritual forces of the enemy have gained an increased foothold in our country. As representatives of the King of kings, what will we do? Unfortunately, some kingdom leaders have compromised and replaced the clear Word of God with cultural norms. Others have remained silent as they fear addressing those aspects of society that conflict with Christian values could stir controversy and offend. Some teach and model biblical principles to their congregants but make no effort to reach outside the walls of their church to people who are perishing. But others teach and model the Word and have a kingdom perspective inside and outside the church. To those few, the Lord will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” J a m e s R . R u s s e l l is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Call: 844.GO.TO.ATS Click: Visit: Learn More:

“I experienced the reality of God’s love while I was still a sinner. This is why I believe that grace is amazing.” -Samuel Odubena, Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies, Asbury Seminary, Graduating 2020

Visit to read Samuel’s story of miraculous healing and answering God’s call on his life.


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You are one step away from exponential growth in your ministry and personal life. The main goal of the NICL is to provide pastors and leaders practical application to succeed in any environment while focusing on the life lessons seminary training often lacks.

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ALIVE IN THE SPIRIT How God called Rich Vera out of dead religion into a prophetic miracle ministry


BY C H R I ST I N E D. J OH N S O N hat seemed like an invisible hand hit me on the chest and nailed me back on the bed. When this happened, my whole body went numb.” Today, Rich Vera understands more of the supernatural experience he had when Jesus visited him at the tender age of 17. But it wasn’t the only time he has had such a vivid spiritual experience. Now known as “Prophet Rich,” he and his fellow leaders regularly see healings and miracles of all kinds manifest as they minister in the U.S. and in nations from Bolivia to the Philippines. Voice of Healing Outreach is his prophetic healing ministry to the nations, and his Orlando, Florida, base is a revival miracle center at The Center Arena where, Vera says, many ministers and those hungry for a fresh anointing come from around the world to be restored, healed and empowered in their lives and ministries. Clearly God’s hand has been on Vera as he matured. God has blessed him with a ministry partner in his wife, Leslie, and with a family of three young children. But it all started as he was arrested by the living God, leaving behind the dead, ritualistic Catholicism of his Latin-Italian upbringing.

Surprised by the Spirit

As a teen, Vera really wanted to see Mickey Mouse, but God had something else in mind, as he left his Hawaiian home for Florida’s attractions. In the days before Airbnb, Vera’s father called and arranged for him to rent a room in a lady’s home not far from Disney World. Little did Vera know he was about to stay in a room let by one of Benny Hinn’s church members. While in rain-drenched Florida in July, Vera also wanted to hang out at the clubs. One night, he couldn’t go to Disney’s Pleasure Island because the weather was bad, so his host took him to Burger King instead and told him to order whatever he wanted. Then she invited the hungry teenager to church. Afraid he’d have to pay for his food if he declined and wanting to show respect for his host, he figured he’d go to a 45-minute Mass with her. But she wasn’t going to the Catholic church; she was going to Hinn’s church, where a three-and-a-half-hour service was normal. “I don’t know what Pastor Benny Hinn preached, what happened, but for the next two and a half, three hours, I wept the whole service. My body was numb, like my arms went to sleep,” Vera said. “I went home that night, and the lady had skillfully put a Bible on top of my pillow. She didn’t say anything.” His experience at Hinn’s church wasn’t the only supernatural event that happened that night. After reading the Bible and even falling asleep on it in the wee hours of the morning, Vera says a bright light came on unexpectedly, so he put his 18


Ralph Ramirez

Prophet Rich Vera’s ministry launched from Orlando, Florida, to more than 15 nations around the world.

“When my finger touched His

middle finger, it was like the movie ET. The light came on, and instantly I was taken to the place that I was trying to get to.

hands over his eyes. This is when the invisible hand took over—and so did fear. “I’m talking about a massive fear,” Vera said. “And two individuals walked in through the door, stood in front of me, and I just wept. One of the individuals, whom I now know to be the Lord, says, ‘Nothing will separate you from the love of God. I have a word for you. When you’re 21 years old, you’ll preach the gospel; you’ll travel the world; you’ll heal the sick and prophesy, revealing the hidden things of people’s hearts.’” Vera said hearing Jesus’ voice in that moment was like being under a waterfall in Maui. “I felt like a waterfall was hitting me, and it was cleansing me, but my mind was terrified because I was trying to fight it, to get out, and then when He said that, He put His hands on the back of my head, and I went deep into this sinking.” In the vision, a multitude of people wearing black hoodies walked in a certain direction, and Vera knew he needed to go that way too, but nobody would make room for him in the crowd. “I started pushing people, and no one was listening to me,” he said. “Then I saw the hands of the Lord stretch out. And in my mind, I say, I can do it myself. I don’t need nobody. After maybe five, 10 minutes of failing, I thought, Maybe this fellow can help me, and I reached out fearfully. When my finger touched His middle finger, it was like the movie ET. The light came on, and instantly I was taken to the place that I was trying to get to. And I wept and I fell just to embrace Him.” Vera said Jesus laid His hands on him and said, “Just follow me.” Then He left through the door. After all of those tears, Vera went into the bathroom and stood at the mirror thinking, What’s going on here? “While I’m doing this, my lips are going, and I thought I was nervous. And I started hearing this Russian or Chinese, which was tongues, but I didn’t know.” Lifting his hands to the Lord, he said, “Jesus, whatever You want from me, I will follow You.” He headed back to bed and slept until 3 p.m. the next day “because I felt like I got beaten up by three football players,” he said.

Sacrifice for the Call

Vera felt he needed a priest to confirm what was happening to him. Without telling his host, he visited a Catholic church in the area and was advised to stay away from the fanatical Hinn. But Vera knew something supernatural had transpired in his life, and it had nothing to do with the white-haired 20


healing evangelist, so he went back to Hinn’s church. Hinn’s security guard called the youth pastor, Carlos Sarmiento, now founder of the Orlando House of Prayer, to assist and speak to young Vera. “I explained to him what happened, and he laughed,” Vera said. “He goes, ‘Ha! That’s the Lord calling you!’ And instantly, the voice of the Lord spoke to me and said, ‘You’re not going back to Maui.’ I was 17. I was supposed to be here for seven days; I ended up staying for nine years.” Following the Lord’s direction against his father’s will, Vera stayed in Florida and didn’t visit his family again in Maui until 1994. But coming from a close-knit family, Vera missed being at home. His parents considered him a runaway who broke their hearts and split the family. His mother thought Vera’s staying in Florida couldn’t be God because God would not break up a family. Vera broke every family tradition but decided to trust the Lord. “My mom suffered tremendously because I became radical,” Vera said, but the Lord kept saying, “Stay. Trust Me.” Essentially homeless for about a year and a half, he went from couch to couch. It was “the loneliest, the most painful time because I’d never been away from my family,” he said. But it was also a powerful time of building Vera’s relationship with the Lord. “On those couches, the Lord made Himself real to me,” he said. “And I learned His voice. I learned His presence. From there, my life developed, and I became who I am now out of that experience.” God began to teach Vera practically to the point of telling him when to get the oil changed in his car. He disobeyed once and lost the engine. Vera had to learn to hear God’s voice just to survive while alone with no money and no family. “Every sacrifice produces power,” Vera said of leaving his family behind. “I’m the witness of that. So that developed an ability to hear the voice of God in the church. I became known as the most anointed prophetic young man in the church— there were hundreds of young people—and the leaders will remember that, so that was my preparation for the prophetic ministry I have now.”

Restored to His Family

Four years after God saved Vera, he went home to Maui. “My parents told me not to preach to them because they didn’t understand,” he said. “They mocked me, shut me down and tried to convince me I was crazy.” So Vera did everything but speak of his faith to his family; he demonstrated it in other ways like leaving TBN on every TV before going to sleep and inserting tracts in the toilet paper so his family couldn’t avoid the gospel message. One day the Holy Spirit told Vera not to share Jesus anymore with his family. Well, that didn’t sound like the God he knew, but he obeyed. As it turns out, God had a plan, and it was about to unfold. The family had planned to barbecue on the beach, but Vera’s brother got sick and ran a fever of 105. That meant his mom would stay home to look after the brother, and then his dad would stay with his mom. The barbecue was off, and everyone

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Prophet Rich Vera ministers at a prophetic was upset. That’s when Vera heard who died in 2017 at age 84 and healing encounter in Mexico City in 2017. a clear directive from the Lord. had come to Florida. He was very “The Lord said, ‘Stop close to Vera and his ministry. complaining,’” Vera said. “‘Go right “When I saw him minister, now to the kitchen. Dip your finger something became alive because in the oil pan, and go in the room I had the gift,” Vera said. “It right now and lay your finger on always takes a gift to anoint his head.’ So I went in the kitchen, a gift, so that came alive with literally put it in the oil pan and him. The first time I saw him went up to the room.” operate, I said, ‘This is what I Placing the oil on his brother, he can do,’ and instantly I began commanded the sickness to leave. operating in that, so he was a “Just like Jesus healed Peter’s tremendous influence on me in mother-in-law with fever, I say to the miracle ministry.” you, ‘Be healed.’” Now, just as Rev. Jenkins When the fever left, Vera knew poured into him, he has he was in trouble. He escaped to discipled others. the bathroom and turned on the “I have discipled many shower to get away while listening young people who have become to his family talking loudly about pastors and evangelists in their what just happened. Then the Lord respective nations, and currently told him to go into the living room. I disciple many at The Center He commanded his family to come Arena,” he said. “We are in into the living room with him. the process of starting the “They all came marching like first school of the prophets in little sheep because my brother Orlando, a school of healing was completely healed,” Vera said. and miracles and a school of “ ... God is my witness of this. As evangelism to raise up young they’re walking out, the power of people and empower them to it comes on me. I want to say, ‘This touch the nations of the world.” is that Jesus that I was [talking Vera has seen evidence in about].’ As I preached to them, all his ministry of many healings of them were knocked under the and miracles. power of God. My mom began “We are seeing cancers dropping to cry, my brother began to pray off people’s bodies,” he said. “You in tongues, and my sister began name it, God is doing miracles. to pray in tongues. All of them We’re not talking about shoulder got saved at the same time. All of pains. We’re talking about cancers, them now love Jesus.” tumors, deafness, blindness. Today Vera’s sister and one of his brothers have Cripples leave walking, and many are delivered from demons.” graduated from Rod Parsley’s Bible college in Columbus, In October, Vera said he was instrumental in the healing of Ohio, and they all support his ministry. His sister became a woman who was totally blind in one eye. a missionary, and one brother is a successful businessman. “I prophesied to her, and I called it out,” he said. “I said, “They’re involved in their churches,” Vera said. “They’re part ‘There is a spirit in you that comes to torment you.’ As I of my ministry. My sister travels with me, and they just supbegan to prophesy ... something happened to her. She begins port me greatly in every capacity that you can imagine. My to manifest it all, manifest with his demons. It was so dramatic; dad said, ‘I was born Catholic. I will die a Catholic.’ Now he’s it looked like movies almost. ... That crowd went crazy.” my No. 1 fan.” Vera said they have seen other miracles, including financial miracles, court cases being dropped and family members conGrowing in His Gifts tacting their family after years of being gone. Many testimonies Along with Hinn, who has been Vera’s pastor since 1990, have come out of The Center Arena in Orlando. God brought Rev. Leroy Jenkins into Vera’s life as a mentor in Erica Shackelford, a single mom and store manager the prophetic miracle ministry. Vera was anointed to heal, but from Clermont, Florida, is one who has seen God move he kept seeing visions of miracles and believed the Holy Spirit in her life. wanted to manifest miracles in his ministry. “I’ve been asking God for a new job,” Shackelford said. Jenkins had been “known as one of the greatest miracle min“When I left my old job to take the job I have now, I took isters of the ’60s and ’70s in America,” said Vera of Jenkins, a pay cut, and it had been stressing me out. So, at the start

“God is doing miracles. We’re not talking about shoulder pains. We’re talking about cancers, tumors, deafness, blindness.



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Prophet Rich Vera ministers to a Hindu woman, who was healed of a tumor in Mumbai, India, in 2019.



Living Under the Mantle

Along with sharing his testimony on TBN and guest-hosting Praise the Lord, Vera has been a guest several times on Sid Roth’s It’s Supernatural! ( sharing the dreams and visions he says he has had in the Spirit. In one episode, he shares that on Nov. 14, 2005, he was in Hawaii grilling fish with his friends, and he passed out. “The Lord took me to heaven for six hours,” Vera said. “In that experience, the No. 1 thing He did is restore me and reignite my faith.” Backslidden, Vera had stopped participating in church life. “I just cooled off and became a businessman,” he said. “I just walked away from the fire.” But the Lord wasn’t through with Vera. In his vision, He called him to see deeply into people’s lives and prophesy to them. “All I saw was everything in their lives since they were born, their thoughts,” Vera said. Jesus then gave him “‘eyes to see,’ and ‘what you see you shall speak and you will prophesy, and you will reveal the secrets of the hearts.’” With that, Vera woke up, having been “under the power of God” for three days. “That’s how the mantle of the prophet came on my life. And now God has given us a very powerful prophetic ministry that is proven. So it was a radical experience.” Vera is serious about what he has been anointed to do, about his mandate. “The Bible says if a prophet speaks, I, the Lord, will fulfill that word,” he said. “And that’s what I tell people. ... Everything I say by the Spirit will come to pass. I want the church to be restored to the life and power of the Holy Spirit. He still heals, delivers, transforms and speaks today.” C h r i s t i n e D . J o h n s o n is editor of Charisma Leader. Email her at to respond to this article.

Mark Dyczok

of the revival, I wrote down five things I wanted, and I told God, ‘I’m believing You for these things.’ One was healing for my son. I got that. Second was healing for me. I got that. Third was a new job. Yesterday on my way to school, I got a phone call for a job that I applied for two weeks ago. I went for the interview today, but I told God, ‘Go before me. If this is the job, confirm it with the pay,’ and I told God how much I want. I got hired on the spot, and when we got to the point of the man telling me how much the pay was, it was the exact number I told God I wanted! But it gets better! I don’t work any nights. I get a quarterly bonus. I only have to work one Saturday a month from 12-4 p.m. It’s 10 minutes away from my house.” Isaac Brown, a business owner and rap artist who lives in Orlando, also experienced the Spirit move on his behalf in an altercation with his ex-wife in March 2019. “She tried to stab me with a screwdriver,” Brown said. “I pushed her away and locked the door. Because I wouldn’t let her in the door, she called the police and made a false police report. The police tried to arrest me and wanted to, but I explained my side of the story. As I explained, they searched her and found the screwdriver. Later on, she said she lied, but the district attorney wouldn’t drop the case because of the domestic violence going on in Florida. I’ve been paying my lawyer to fight my case. “In the beginning of revival, Prophet Vera prophesied to me, saying, ‘There are some legal matters that God is taking care of. There are some lawyers and judges God’s going to be turning around. There’s a shift.’ Prophetess Glenda prophesied over the church and said that she saw court cases being dropped, and I received it for myself. She said this on a Sunday night, and Monday morning I received a letter that the case was dropped.”

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LEAD IN A DIGITIZED ERA How to engage your team in a new impersonal culture



onsider this paradox: Millennials live in a world where one of the things they are good at— technology—may well be one of the things that undercuts their ability to flourish. They are living under the looming prediction that robots will soon take over their jobs. In contrast, those who are optimists imagine the possibility of new career opportunities developing alongside technological advances. In either case, Christian business leaders are often perplexed by the task of leading in this ever-increasing technological world. They know they are leaders of people, yet it feels as if technology and other digital demands keep them from investing in their most valuable resource—their people. Is there a way to counteract this depersonalization and disengagement phenomenon? Today’s leaders are asking, “How can I be an engaging leader in this new impersonal culture? I feel as if I’m choosing between attracting and engaging top talent and integrating new, state-of-the-art technology.” The core principles of wise leadership are more important than ever. To leverage the digital revolution wisely, we need engaging leaders who recognize the incredible human talent they are stewarding.

Create a Win-Win-Win Culture

In 2016, the Society for Human Resource Management made a compelling case for an engaging leadership approach. Some of its findings suggest that engaged leadership will enjoy: hh 22% greater profitability. hh 21% greater productivity. hh 65% lower turnover. You can create a win-win-win culture where everyone benefits. Engaged employees work harder and smarter, which drives profitability and growth. Your satisfied clients buy more, and the leader wins because he has invested the time to create an environment where employees flourish. How might the message in Philippians 4:8 (NIV) help us engage our emerging leaders in a world of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and digitization? “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is 26


lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Fulfill Philippians 4:8 in Business

Here are three guidelines to assist you to balance the business results with the noble, excellent and praiseworthy: 1) Listen well. Sometimes we feel our efforts to share our knowledge, wisdom and insight with emerging leaders are futile. Our excitement might get the better of us, and we talk non-stop. And then our emerging leader disengages. Why? In the world of sales, we call it the 70/30 Rule of Communication. Top performers know that to be most helpful, they need to ask insightful, thought-provoking questions so that prospects talk at least 70% of the time. What might happen if we spent 70% of our leading and coaching time asking insightful, probing questions and then just listening? Practical experience has proven that active listening improves collaboration, deepens relationships and boosts productivity. Engaging leaders can triumph over the depersonalization phenomenon by listening deeply to their next-gen leaders. When you seek to understand what energizes and makes your emerging leader tick, you spark engagement. In this culture, you will figure out together how their valuable gifts and talents contribute to what is true, noble, right, excellent and praiseworthy. 2) Create alignment and purpose. Emerging leaders often feel stuck and struggle to see beyond the perceived drudgery of their to-do list. Then they become more prone to disengagement and boredom. Purpose, on the other hand, provides a sense of meaning to their everyday work. The more we assist our employees to catch a vision of their purpose, the more engaged they become. The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2019 reports that 46% of Millennials and 47% of Gen Zs indicated that they aspire to make a positive impact on their community or society in general. What might happen when you tap into their goals, dreams and aspirations? What might happen when you help them align those goals with their vision, mission and values? To assist your next-gen leader to see what is noble, true and right, help them live with a high regard for their work. They need to understand how the work they are doing fits into the


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larger purpose of your organization. For example, when they have a clear picture of how they are helping your customers solve their problems by using their technological skills, they become more engaged in every area. 3) Value two-way mentoring. Hidden in the massive amount of fake news and bad news about Millennials and Gen Zs, we find there is good news too! Many research articles report that Millennials value mentoring and coaching from leaders they respect. They want leadership that values their opinion and seeks career development opportunities for them. Millennials thrive when they get clear guidelines and frequent feedback from an authentic, honest leader. Our young leaders also love being able to teach others something. Have you considered harnessing their technological skills to help deliver new products and services, as well as create openings into new markets? We might not want to admit it, but they have important insights that will test and make us rethink longstanding paradigms. Engaging leaders are open to a two-way mentoring approach where they can not only teach, but also learn from their Millennial. Your leadership role is indispensable. The message in Philippians 4:8 becomes a reality for you and your emerging leaders as you discover what is true, noble, praiseworthy and excellent in each other. Listen well, create alignment and remain open to learning from them so they find purpose in the work they are doing. You have the experience and resources to counteract the depersonalization and disengagement phenomenon. The disruption of robotics, AI and overall digitization is here to stay. That does not mean your role as a leader of people will become obsolete. In fact, your role will become even more indispensable as the age of digitization accelerates. D a n i t a B y e is an executive leadership coach and author of Millennials Matter: Proven Strategies for Building Your NextGen Leader. She’s served as a Forbes Coaches Council contributor, a Harvard Business School MBA sales coach, a member of the board of trustees for several Christian universities and a TEDx speaker on Millennial leadership. Connect with her at

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Empowering leaders to listen to God through interactive prayer



onnecting with God to understand His purposes for your business and your role in it is critical. In my coaching and training business, I have learned the value of what I call “strategic business prayer,” which grew out of my earlier work as a counselor. In that role, I utilized prayer to help my clients recognize how past trauma, faulty beliefs and outdated coping strategies were causing problems in their lives. In fact, interactive prayer was by far the most useful tool in my counseling toolbox, more than any of the counseling methods I had learned in my master’s program. Through prayer, they improved their insight, replaced faulty logic and started making better decisions for their current lives. Interactive prayer worked so well for resolving past issues, it only made sense that God might also want to provide proactive insights. Why clean up a mess when you can prevent it in the first place? So, in my own life, I started interacting with God about, well, everything. When I started in business, my target markets were families and social service agencies. However, the people who hired me for coaching and training were business people. The primary tool that worked for them was interactive prayer. After a while, I realized I needed to change my business model. I asked God what to do, and He made it clear I was to develop strategic business prayer. There are two primary, practical areas in which interactive prayer becomes strategic business prayer: insight and planning.

Truth-Based Insight

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,’ says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isa. 55:8-9). We need healthy insight to make wise decisions and solve problems. All of us have our own ways of looking at the world and doing things. Sometimes our ways don’t work as well as they could. We need a better perspective, another way of approaching things. Have you ever sought out wise counsel from someone who provided insight into what you were facing? Good insight can help us understand the why and how of what we are trying to see. When Mark Goldstein, president of the Central Florida Christian Chamber of Commerce, came for coaching, he was looking for a path to retirement. Goldstein believed he was becoming irrelevant and thought the organization needed a different leader. This belief was faulty, but it was the belief

on which he had been basing his decisions. The insight God gave him changed his paradigm and his actions. Rather than focusing on replacing himself, he reinvested his energy into the organization. Within six months, the chamber experienced a membership increase of 10%, the number of weekly meetings doubled, and it started a new publication. What a difference insight can make! Insight comes through asking God specific questions. After establishing a strong connection, questions such as the following can be helpful in seeking insight: hh Lord, what do You want me to know about this? hh What do You want to accomplish in this? hh What do You want me to know about my role? hh How do You want me to prepare? Start with these general but helpful questions. In coaching sessions, questions are tailored to the specific situation. As you practice interacting with God, don’t hesitate to be specific with your questions. Sometimes God’s responses are precise. Other times, His answers are not nearly as specific as we would like. Whether detailed or thematic, accurate insight can make big differences in how we operate our businesses.

Prayer-Focused Planning

“There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the counsel of the Lord will stand” (Prov. 19:21). Business planning is essential. Forecasting, financial planning, marketing plans, sales cycles, trends, regulations, seasonal adjustments—all the planning needed to run a successful business can make your head spin. And then, as anyone who has ever made plans knows, nothing ever goes according to plan! As President Dwight Eisenhower once said, “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Biblical truth is the first place we should look for guidance when it comes to aligning our plans with God’s plans. However, once we have done that, there are still a wide range of possible goals we could seek and routes we could take to those goals. When I had to decide whether to play it safe and keep my job or take the risk of starting a business, I needed more than biblical truth to inform my decision. I needed wisdom from above, and for that, the Bible instructs us to turn to God in prayer. Most Christians I know pray for wisdom. Many Christian organizations start and end meetings with prayer, like bookends. How is strategic business prayer different from that? » Winter 2020 CHARISMA LEADER


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Here’s how: We don’t just start with prayer and then move into a planning process. Prayer is the heart of the planning process. For example, in our strategic planning retreats, we take participants through a step-by-step process: 1) Teach participants how to interact with God in conversational prayer. Understanding

that everyone relates with God uniquely, we teach five ways to do this.

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2) Provide instructions and time to review with God the previous time frame (year, quarter and such) for insights and themes. 3) Assess the current situation, asking God what He wants us to know about it. 4) Provide instructions and time to set goals and objectives for the upcoming time frame based on the purposes that God shares with us. 5) Break down objectives into actions and deliverables.

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This structure can be overlaid with other strategic planning tools. If you already have a planning tool you like, experiment with inviting God into it. Include time to help your team learn to listen to God. Allow everyone to prayerfully ask questions and listen for responses. You may find that as you do this with your team—or even on your own—decisions become easier, and there is less second-guessing in the execution of the plans you set. Someone once said to me that God’s plans are like a freight train—you can either get on board, or you can get dragged behind. It’s so much better to be on board! D a w n W h i t e s t o n e is an executive coach and the author of Strategic Business Prayer: Hearing the One Voice That Matters Most in Business & Life. Contact her at 32


Terry Teng

choice. It’s a spiritual tool. Dr.


INVENT SHINE Tom and Allison Cartwright help bring God-given ideas and inventions to market



aybe you remember seeing a ceiling fan with blades shaped like philodendron leaves. Maybe you’ve even had one in your home. If so, you’ve already encountered the creative genius behind Invent Shine. Tom Cartwright and his oldest daughter, Allison Cartwright, not only take Tom’s inventions from conception to market but now use their coaching business, Invent Shine (, to pass on their vast industry expertise to others.

Fan Base

Few can match Invent Shine’s development experience. Tom Cartwright has been inventing products for more than 40 years, and Allison has had more than 22 years of management and development expertise. The ceiling fan 34


with leaf-shaped blades, known as the Antigua, began with an idea that Tom said, “I believe God showed me, sitting on my porch. I sketched it. I sent it to a woodworking factory in China that I knew, and they made a sample and brought it back. It was presented to Home Depot; they went bananas over it. But the real proof was when it went into the market and got on their store shelves. It just moved.” Indeed it did. That one fan, Tom said, broke industry sales records for Home Depot and for the ceiling fan industry, with more than $150 million in sales. But the Cartwrights didn’t limit their output to the home goods industry. “We’ve covered products from medical and pharmaceutical all the way through woodworking and electrical,” Tom

Tom Cartwright and his daughter, Allison, have brought many practical and helpful inventions to the marketplace.

said. “Another product we developed was a bathing system for patients in hospitals called Wash and Care. It was to reduce cross-contamination.” The Cartwrights licensed the system and sold it to Tyco as a national product. “We got to develop formulation with some pharmaceutical protocol,” Tom said. “That was quite intense.” Tom’s college job of installing pool tables also influenced his career as an inventor. “I ended up developing the ultimate slate pool table, which was sold to Sears. They started off with a $2 million order right away,” Tom said. Despite Sears’ more recent struggles, at the time, the retailer was “the largest game table seller in the world.” Tom’s business relationship with his daughter began after her first year of college. Unsure about her major, she decided to come home and go to work for her father. “We just kind of meshed,” Allison said. “We’ve been working together for 25 years. We really just work well as a team. He’s the inventor, the idea, the big-picture guy, and I’m more into the details. “He sees it, and then [I’m the one who says], ‘Here, let’s get it done.’ Sometimes I say, ‘OK, hold on. Hold on. How are we going to do this? I need you to just slow down and help me out here.” “God knew what I needed, and that’s why He brought Allison along,” Tom said. “I’ve had such compliments. Sears, when we were filling out our vendor paperwork, over 50 pages, they came back to me, and they said, ‘Of all the companies that we’ve worked with, Allison did the best job of filling that out.’ Anybody working in business can appreciate the real value of having somebody detailed at work. Even though I had the idea, she had to do all the other things. And so she’s really been the anchor there that’s helped and made it possible for us to succeed.”

Kingdom Calling

Tom Cartwright believes God gave him the idea from nature for this bestselling ceiling fan.

As the Cartwrights’ business has grown, so has their desire to invest in the kingdom. “I believe God gives us ideas,” Tom said. “We’re created in His image; He’s creative, and we all have that capability.” This forms the heart of his book, Empowering Ideas, available for free download at “When you see an idea that comes along, you don’t know what to do with it sometimes,” Tom said. “In the practical sense, I think we have not really understood that God goes before us. He arranges everything. I want people who have these ideas—I’m trying to encourage them to step out and see how God will go before them and provide everything they need, from the technical side to the finances. I’ve experienced that. I call that ‘the God factor.’” Tom’s vision for Invent Shine came straight from heaven. “God told me a couple of years ago that the ideas that He’s giving His people, He wants them to be able to take those ideas and use them to bless not only themselves but to promote the gospel and the kingdom of God,” he explained. » Winter 2020 CHARISMA LEADER


PODCAST You don’t have to be an engineer to invent new products. Listen to “Greenelines” to learn how God gives Tom Cartwright fresh ideas. Download at CPNSHOWS.COM

“Too many times, people with inventions, ideas or products, they have those products, and they go to the world, and the world then actually siphons off or uses it for their profit, and it’s because there’s not been a clear understanding of what to do with those ideas,” Tom said. “So I’m here to really give my testimony of how God will work with you as you work with Him.” Allison shares her father’s conviction that their coaching and mentoring work comes through their calling. “We’ve had such a wide variety and range of products over the years,” she said. “God has really [given us] one product after another, and we’ve had tremendous success, and then other products that didn’t quite go anywhere. So it’s just been amazing to watch this kind of roller coaster ride, but we’re like, ‘God, why? Why all these things?’ “And it’s because we now have this huge, vast experience to work from to enable and help others, because our passion is truly to make a way for people, for God’s people, to develop their ideas safely and securely, instead of just, ‘What do I do? How do I start?’” Invent Shine works to help others avoid some of the pitfalls inherent to the product development process. “We really don’t want [the inventors] to be taken advantage of; we want to be able to save time and money,” Allison said. “This is our calling. We both went to Bible school; we both have a bachelor’s degree in ministry as well. And so we just see that in these end days here, God wants to raise up His kingdom, raise up His people. We want to encourage and inspire people to ... figure out if that’s an idea they want to step out with or what’s going to be involved in this process, because it’s exciting, and it’s a little overwhelming for some people. “We’re here to say, ‘You can do it,’” Allison added. “We’ve started with ideas. We’ve started with nothing. And God has just opened door after door and made a way. And it’s exciting.”

Tom Cartwright brought innovation to the billiard table, which drew big orders from the largest game table retailer in the world.

“Our passion is truly to make a way for people, for God’s people, to develop their ideas safely and securely. —Allison Cartwright

Inventor Coaching

Tom and Allison have learned that God’s creativity has no limits, and He loves to give even ordinary people ideas. 36


“God is alive, and He’s moving,” Allison said. “Everyone has ideas. Anytime someone meets Tom and finds out he’s an inventor, they say, ‘Oh, I had an idea for this’ or ‘I had an idea for that.’” Not everyone who has invented something, she emphasized, is an intellectual or went to mechanical engineering school. Some of those who invented products we use every day “were just average people, regular housewives who had an inspired idea and followed through with it,” she said. “With God on your side, knowing He’s for you—you can do it.” »


Ryan LeStrange challenges you to let God interrupt the mundane and unleash the unordinary in your life.



“We believe God has

brought us into this ministry to not only show the way but to protect His people from being led astray. —Tom Cartwright

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The Cartwrights have identified several steps in the design and development process that they now share with others via Invent Shine. No matter what the product, Allison said, the same five foundational steps apply. The website offers a series of faith-based online courses and coaching. “Your idea has to be nurtured,” she said. “The Bible says we must count the cost before we start building.” Not only does Invent Shine inform inventors, but the company seeks to help protect them as well. “Inventors are so vulnerable,” Tom said. “We believe God has brought us into this ministry to not only show the way but to protect His people from being led astray. Shepherds keep the sheep from the wolves. And unfortunately, most of the invention-help type companies today have a different agenda than God’s agenda.” Although many inventor-focused companies serve clients for high fees, Tom said, deciding whether a product is worth moving forward on or not shouldn’t require a lot of money. “The inventors or people with ideas spend up to $20,000 with those companies, and very few of them have the success we’ve had ... and it’s because God has directed us and shown us. “Now He wants us to take that and come into the body of Christ and begin to encourage and lay out this path for people, and know they can have that idea that He’s inspired them with, they now have a way to develop it— without being thrown to the wolves.” M a r t i P i e p e r is copy editor and assistant online editor at Charisma Media. 38


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Sun and Storm Surge

Learn to prepare for success as well as storms


tay tuned to this station for the latest update on the hurricane.” Most Floridians heard this message about 100 times too many as Hurricane Dorian neared the U.S. this past fall. Long before it made landfall, the storm wreaked havoc in our ears and on our minds. “Prepare. Buy water. Fill up your gas tanks. Get sandbags. Get more flashlights. Buy ice and batteries. Clear the decks!” This was only the pre-stress. Next came the post-stress. God blessed us and sent the storm out to sea so most of Florida missed its wrath. Though I never felt anxious, contingency planning filled my mind. I need to buy more protein bars. I’ll make a hotel reservation up north in case of a mandatory evacuation. Both vehicles have full gas tanks. I’m glad we just bought cat food. I’m keeping my laptop and cellphone charged. We have enough bottled water to last at least two weeks, and we can fill the bathtubs too. Good thing we already had a lifetime supply of batteries. Preparation is necessary and important. But preparation always concerns a pending action to reach a goal. We prepare so we can execute. It’s always important to have a plan B. But for this storm, I think we exhausted the alphabet and lapped the field. While we all pray for the recovery of our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas, we know they prepared to the best of their ability and resources. We pray for “It’s one thing miracles in their recovery and rebuilding efforts. We rejoice in the ways the body of Christ has responded to prepare for to this continuing need. We have seen story after a storm, but story of those the storm spared making sacrifices to help others whose homes and lives ended up quite another in its path of destruction. Our company’s nonprofit to prepare partner, Christian Life Missions, continues to receive donations at for growth.” I want to challenge you today as you grow your platform to prepare for success as well as storms. It’s one thing to prepare for a storm, but quite another to prepare for growth. We don’t often find a growth checklist to follow or hear an expert’s advice to have a success preparation kit at the ready. What are your plans for growth? Are they as random as a storm? Contingency planning is an expected skill of every leader. But the best leaders have a plan for storms and success. Consider the why behind the plan: hh We need a path to reach our goals. We must know and teach the path we are prepared to walk. hh We must define the steps along the path from milestone to milestone. hh We must plan a course of action for inevitable detours. What if this project “works”? What if it doesn’t? Do you have a path for all possible outcomes? 40


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hh What human resources are needed to help your progress on the path? Lone riders have only one adviser at every decision point. Who will ride with you? hh How will you continue to meet the needs of your followers during a period of growth? How will you avoid ignoring the important as you concentrate on the urgent? hh How fast can you ship products or services along the path? The essence of planning employs delivery of goods and services on good and not-so-good days. hh Are you allowing for times of rest and celebration for yourself and your team? Good times can become stressful if you fail to include this key component. hh How will you nurture your relationship with God during times of storm and success? A consistent spiritual life enables you to “walk worthy” no matter the business weather. hh Planning for storms is healthy and wise. But don’t miss an opportunity to plan a path to achieve your goals. As our platform grows, people watch us to determine their own responses. We have an increasing responsibility to carry out the plans God has for us in ways that will honor Him. We must come up higher in this area so those who follow will know the source of our strength. They must make their plans in accordance with input from the Holy Spirit. The wisdom of Solomon guides us in our planning: “Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]” (Prov. 3:5-6, AMP). In storms and in sunshine, the Lord promises to set the path before you as you follow Him. D r . S t e v e G r e e n e is publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His Charisma House book, Love Leads, is available at, or your local bookstore. Download his Love Leads podcast at, and follow his Love Leads blog at

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talking points think

o n these things

Charisma Leader Recap W I N T ER 2020

Alive in the Spirit

Rich Vera

Lead in a Digitized Era

p. 26 // Engaging leaders can win over depersonalization by “listening deeply” to their next-gen leaders. p. 28 // “Millennials thrive when they get clear guidelines and frequent feedback from an authentic, honest leader.” p. 28 // Your role as a leader of people will not become obsolete in an age of digitization.



Strategic Business Prayer

p. 31 // The insight God gives through prayer can change our paradigm and our actions. p. 32 // Truth from God’s Word and wisdom received through prayer are both necessary when deciding to take a risk in business. p. 32 // Christian organizations often begin and end planning meetings with prayer, but “prayer is the heart of the planning process.”

Invent Shine

p. 35 // “Anybody working in business can appreciate the real value of having somebody detailed at work.” p. 35 // “We have not really understood that God goes before us. He arranges everything.” p. 35 // God wants us to take the ideas He gives and use them to promote the gospel and His kingdom.

Ralph Ramirez | Unsplash | Getty Images/iStock-Andrey Popov

p. 20 // Rich Vera camped out on couches of people who were willing to take him in when he had nowhere to go, but he learned then to commune with God and hear His voice. p. 20 // God had a unique plan to get the attention of Vera’s family, who opposed his faith. p. 22 // “It always takes a gift to anoint a gift.” p. 22 // “We are seeing cancers dropping off people’s bodies.”

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