LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
A Prophet’s Calling
International evangelist Rich Vera shares what the church needs to know about prophecy, power and proof
What’s at stake in this ele
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CONTENTS January 2020
Prophet’s Calling International evangelist Rich Vera shares what the church needs to know about prophecy, power and proof. By Taylor Berglund
Chip and Joanna Gaines
Magic Johnson serves local church
Doug Bender’s I Choose Peace, Selah’s Firm Foundation and Jane Hamon’s Discernment
America’s Got Talent winner performs tribute for Truett Foster McKeehan
Review: Mark Stuart’s Losing My Voice to Find It
Kanye West’s Christian album hits No. 1 on Billboard charts
FEATURES The Invisible War What Daniel Kolenda believes the church must know about spiritual warfare By Taylor Berglund
God Will Break Down Walls of Division in the Church By Rev. Betty King
9 Qualities of an Effective Intercessor How does your prayer life compare?
A Holy Challenge for a Secular Time What compromise in the church could mean for this year’s presidential election By Stephen Strang
Tomorrow’s Charismatic Leaders Five ways the next generation of Spiritfilled leaders will change the church By Joshua Olson
The Case for Fasting When it comes to fasting, modern medicine is catching up to what believers have been saying for millennia. By Don Colbert, M.D.
Reckless Love The writer of the hit worship song breaks down By Cory Asbury
By Eddie Smith
COLUMNS Greenelines How often do you pray in the Spirit?.
Straight Talk God will never abandon you.
F ire in My Bones Jump-start your prayer life in 2020
Perspective Are you prepared for this year’s election?
By Dr. Steve Greene
By J. Lee Grady
By Joyce Meyer
By Stephen Strang
Things to Come 5 ways the Spirit is challenging the church. By Rev. David R. Wells
GAINES/MAGNOLIA; ASBURY/LUCAS SANKEY; RALPH RAMIREZ
GREENELINES BY DR. STEVE GREENE
Why Spirit-filled prayers should power your new year
ob Yandian, pastor and excellent Bible teacher, taught me a spiritual lesson I’ve never forgotten. In one of his powerful teachings, he spoke about bad days and the things that happen through the normal pace of life. He spoke about the full armor of God and how often we head into our work day only half clothed. My recall of what he said next has remained with me for at least 15 years. Yandian looked at the audience and said, “If you want to have better days and better outcomes, you need to pray in the Spirit more often. Some of you go far too long without speaking to the Lord in the Spirit.”
Paul wrote in Ro wise, the Spirit help nesses, for we do no pray for as we ough himself intercedes f ings too deep for w The Amplified V offers deeper insigh way the Spirit [com us in our weakness. what prayer to offer it as we should, but [knows our need an intercedes on our b and groanings too d When we focus the Lord, our prayer intimacy with the Fa
omans 8:26, “Likeps us in our weakot know what to ht, but the Spirit for us with groanwords.” Version of this verse hts: “In the same mes to us and] helps We do not know r or how to offer the Spirit Himself nd at the right time] behalf with sighs deep for words.” on the presence of r lives change. An ather produces an
exchange that can suitably be called a love language. Dr. Gary Chapman outlines five primary ways to express love in his classic work, The Five Love Languages. I suggest our spiritual love language informs and empowers Chapman’s five. The Holy Spirit teaches us to speak—and not just talk. I know my wife’s love language, and she knows mine. We know the love languages of our children and grandchildren. When we have those sweet moments of speaking into each other’s lives in the way most meaningful to each one, all else fails to compare. Many of those moments are seared deeply in memory. The Lord wants the same with us. SEAN ROBERTS
He already knows our love language and meets all our needs in the ways He chooses. But He also wants us to draw close and tell Him about our day ahead. He wants to hear of our worries and frets. He wants us to tell Him everything and “make [our] requests known” (Phil. 4:6b, MEV). The Passion Translation of this verse gives a glimpse of the true intimacy praying in the Spirit can bring: “Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life.” The closer we get, the more our native tongue fails to satisfy our need to love Him with our words—to “worship Him in spiritual songs” (see Eph. 5:19). The Holy Spirit brings us a special love language that magnifies our expression of love and ability to communicate with Him. The Lord reminded me not long ago of the things I miss when I don’t start my day by praying in the Spirit. Here are three of them to encourage
your prayer life. When you don’t Spirit, you miss: Help for your we a day filled with reg you can’t do, pray fo Spirit. Ask God to p through your weakn grace is sufficient (s Intercession for
“When we f presence of t prayer live
to pray for other pe knows our heart and for those in need. Ev ferent people come praying, and I know tual intercession occ the Spirit. Intimate worship in the Spirit, I believ the angels do. I sens
DR. STEVE GREENE i s the publisher and executive vice president of the m
the Charisma Podcast Network. Find his book, Love Leads: The Spiritua amazon.com, christianbook.com or at your local bookstore.
t pray in the
eakness. Instead of grets about what or strength in the perfect His power ness, knowing His see 2 Cor. 12:9). others. We long
focus on the the Lord, our es change.”
eople. The Spirit d our desire to pray very morning, dife to my mind while w there is effeccurring through
p. When we pray ve we worship as se they gather
PODCAST LISTEN TO Spirit-led interviews, commentary and takeaways on how to come up higher and walk in God’s abundance. DOWNLOAD AT CPNSHOWS.COM
‘round and join our worship offering. Of course, we worship in our understanding, but there is also a time of worship as we pray that simply cannot be described. “The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in me” (see Rom. 8:11) and worships Him. Paul also wrote this great word in Ephesians 6:18: “Pray in the Spirit always with all kinds of prayer and supplication. To that end be alert with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Paul knew that to have the most power and effect, our prayers would need the Spirit’s special touch. He also knew we would need intimate communication with the Father; Spirit-filled prayer makes this possible. In this new year, take time to use your love language—and look forward to better days and better outcomes.
multimedia group at Charisma Media and executive producer of al Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, at
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FIRE IN MY BONES BY J. LEE GRADY
Recharge Your Spiritual Batteries for a New Y Are you weary from the battles of 2019? Here’s how you can jump-star
look forward to the beginning of each year because I set aside some days for special prayer. I don’t like to finish one year and start another without taking time to thank Jesus for the ways He blessed me during the past 12 months and to ask Him for supernatural strength for the next season. For me, these days of prayer offer a holy recharge. Without that time, I feel weak, directionless and unprepared for new challenges. What about you? Are your spiritual batteries drained from the battles of 2019? The Holy Spirit offers a jump-start. Here are seven ways you can turn up the heat in your personal prayer life:
Develop your sp Many Christians live of God’s blessings b believe they have be teous by Christ’s sac never expect answe think He’s mad at yo Don’t act like a things. You are His h to give you the king to “draw near with c throne of grace” (He emphasis added). Y anything. Be bold! Be specific. Zig “If you aim at nothin every time.” That’s w are inferior to specifi
t your prayer life
piritual confidence. e on the far edges because they don’t een made righcrifice. You will ers from God if you ou. slave who begs for heir, and He wants gdom. God tells us confidence to the eb. 4:16, NASB, You can ask Him for
Ziglar used to say: ng, you will hit it why vague prayers fic ones. I have
recently begun the habit of making a “Top Seven List” of prayer requests. When I did this during an out-ofstate move a few years ago, the Lord answered six of my seven requests within two months. One of my prayers was that when I bought my new house, my house payment wouldn’t be more than my old one. It turned out to be one dollar less! I was reminded that James 4:2b says: “You do not have because you do not ask.” Don’t limit God with small prayers. Psalm 2:8a (MEV) says: “Ask of Me, and I will give the nations for Your inheritance.” We need to learn to ask big. Why would we settle for SEAN ROBERTS
less when God can do the impossible? Elisha boldly asked his mentor, Elijah, for a double portion of the Holy Spirit—and God gave him that mantle. God may want to double what you are requesting of Him. His vision for your life is far greater than what you supposed. Be aggressive against your spiritual enemies. Status quo prayers won’t be enough when the spiritual battle is fierce. There is a time to go to war in the spirit, and this will require a militant attitude toward the enemy. When Elisha told King Joash to take arrows and strike the ground in preparation for a battle, the king halfheartedly hit the ground only three times. Elisha said: “You should have struck five or six times, then you would have struck Aram until you would have destroyed it” (2 Kings 13:18-19, NASB). Too often we are satisfied with small victories because we didn’t pray with enough intensity. Your zeal will often determine your outcome.
Combine fasting Fasting is not a way You do not need to His attention. But fa focus on the Lord— prayer power. There are certain cles that need an ex speaking of a demo be cast out, Jesus to “But this kind does
“Status quo p be enough spiritual bat
by prayer and fastin you are hitting a spi may be time for fast Pull an all-night kind of guy who typ a.m. to pray. But the our lives when the L to spend time with H
J. LEE GRADY w as editor of Charisma for 11 years and now serves as
(themordecaiproject.org), an international ministry that protects wo Set My Heart on Fire (Charisma House).
g with prayer. y to bribe God. forfeit food to get asting helps you —and it can intensify
n spiritual obstaxtra push. When on that needed to old His disciples: not go out except
prayers won’t h when the ttle is fierce.”
ng” (Matt. 17:21). If iritual brick wall, it ting. ter. I am not the pically gets up at 3 ere are moments in Lord may woo you Him in the night
hours. In Song of Solomon, the bride hears her Beloved calling her to get out of bed (5:2-6), and she doesn’t respond quickly enough. Many of us are too distracted by the busyness of life to hear God call us to a season of focused prayer. Yet the Lord is looking for people who will carry His burdens. Will you let Him pray through you? Let God amplify your feeble prayers. I used to fight discouragement about my prayer life because I didn’t feel my prayers were powerful enough. But then I read Ephesians 3:20b in a new light. It says God is able “to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.” That means after I pray, God adds His own miraculous ingredient. Like the tiny lunch of five loaves and two fish, Jesus can take something insignificant and feed a multitude. When you pray, expect Him to increase the impact. What you whisper in your closet can shake the world.
s contributing editor. He directs The Mordecai Project omen and girls from gender-based violence. His latest book is
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THINGS TO COME B Y R E V . DA V I D R . W E L L S
What You Need to Know From ‘The Calgary Ca Five ways the Holy Spirit is calling the global Pentecostal and charismatic church to come up higher
n August 2019, I co-chaired the 25th Pentecostal World Conference in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, with the theme “Spirit Now.” A key aspect of this conference was to have a listening ear to what the Spirit is saying to the global church in these days. In the New Testament, we see that having “ears to hear” what the Spirit is saying regarding the future trajectory of the life of the church is primarily a corporate responsibility and exercise. While individuals, including prophetically gifted leaders, have a key responsibility to fulfill, it is as the listening body of Christ that we respond to the Spirit’s call.
We see the ten grace, privilege an first church being a called coalition of vided future direct what “seemed goo Spirit and to us” (A When the Spirit de affirmation, correc direction to seven Minor, the apostle Revelation of Jesu message to the ch gers. They in turn a for the entire churc the vision of revela message from the are to hear and to
nsion of law and nd bigotry in the addressed by a leaders who protion based on od to the Holy Acts 15:28a). esires to bring ction and future churches in Asia John shares the s and the Lord’s hurch’s messenare responsible ch to receive ation and the Spirit that they respond to
together. To seven churches, the expected response is given seven times: “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” At the conference, we intentionally chronicled what was being communicated in each plenary, affinity and forum session and then discerned the main themes the Spirit addressed. We titled the summary communique “The Calgary Call” (read it in full at bit.ly/calgarycall). The call, presented at the end of the conference, was endorsed by the
conference’s Host Committee. The Spirit spoke clearly to us about the expected future trajectory of these five areas, and we envision them being prioritized in the global Pentecostal/charismatic church into the future. First, we heard the Spirit’s call to greater unity as an intergenerational and culturally diverse family. Our shared experience in the Spirit should bring together all generations and cultures. Yet, as is so painfully obvious within the Spirit-empowered global community, the message of Jesus and the work of the Spirit are hindered by both subtle and overt divisions.
The trajectory of th is for a wave of fea younger leaders w servedly commit to prayer of Jesus to
“There is an ev hunger for a wave of the S reveal Jesus t complete unity so will know that the
REV. DAVID R. WELLS, M.A., D.D., i s the general superintendent of
costal World Fellowship (PWF) and secretary of the Pentecostal and
he global church arless, primarily who will unreo respond to the be brought to
ver-increasing a refreshing pirit that will to the world.â&#x20AC;? that the world Father has sent
Him. Spiritual heritage will be honored but will not be a barrier for our sons and daughters to experience broader relationships within the greater family of God. Second, we heard the Spiritâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s call to anticipate and engage with the fresh ways the Spirit is working in our world. There is an ever-increasing hunger for a refreshing wave of the Spirit that will reveal Jesus to the world as it is happening today in our various contexts. This involves going beyond being exclusively first wave (classical Pentecostals), second wave (charismatic) or third
the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, vice-chair of the Pented Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA).
WHAT A SINGLE D
If you consume soda or k then this is affect For years, Big Soda companies have been handing out millions of dollars in an attempt to prove that their drinks are NOT the cause of obesity. In fact, the New York Times recently exposed one Big Soda company that paid $1.5 million to fund their own research group. Their ultimate goal? To convince the public that drinking soda is safe. (“Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away From Bad Diets.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 9 Aug. 2015)
But this goes beyond just soda. It turns out there are THREE OTHER FOODS that are being marketed as “health foods. ”These foods may be harming you from the inside, and they could be the
DIET SODA DOES
know any-one who does, ting you directly. reason why you are not losing weight, no matter what you have tried. One of these foods even contains an ingredient that is actually banned in almost every first world country – except the U.S., where it is still legal! These are three foods you should never eat! But they’re so common, you probably have at least one of them in your pantry right now! You may have even consumed these foods today. Go to www.BadFood14.com to find out these foods. P.S. These foods might be extremely harmful to your health. About 80% of Americans consume at least one of these foods. So please watch this shocking presentation at the button below before it’s too late.
STRAIGHT TALK B Y J O YC E M E Y E R
God Will Meet You Where You Are
In your darkest moments, God will remain by your side
hen I teach the Bible, one message I love to share is that God loves you, and He has an amazing plan for your life. He’s always with you, and He will never leave you or forsake you. In every circumstance of your life, when you cry out to Him with a sincere heart, God always hears you, and He will meet you right where you are. The truth is you are never hidden from God. He sees everything; He knows everything; He has His eyes on you all the time; and He never stops thinking about you. What’s even more amazing is that God never has one bad thought
about you! This is so encou we all go through c life. Sometimes we into messes where in over our heads a how to get out. Bu is a God of restora we cry out to Him always come and h on the path we nee I’ve had some s in my life, and I do how many things G ered me from. But can see now that G with me, even in th deepest pain and h
uraging because challenges in this e get ourselves e we feel like we’re and have no idea ut thankfully, God ation. And when sincerely, He will help us get back ed to be on. serious problems on’t even know God has delivlooking back, I God was always he midst of my hardships. He met
me where I was and brought the answers I needed. I remember when I was at the lowest point of my life. I had been away from my parents’ home for five years, and now I needed to go back because I was divorcing my first husband and had nowhere else to go. I was so miserable I didn’t care what happened to me anymore. I knew when I’d married him that it probably wasn’t going to work out, but I was desperate to get away from my father, who had sexually abused me for years. Throughout our marriage, my first husband abandoned me at times, ran around with other women
and was a thief. I knew he didn’t really love me, and I remember nights when I would lie in bed and pray, “God, someday, please send me someone who will really love me and who will take me to church.” I moved back home and managed to avoid my dad. A few weeks later, when I was outside washing my mother’s car one day, Dave pulled up, and we met for the first time. God sent the answer to my prayers in a place I didn’t expect Him to find me! Dave and I have been married for more than 50 years now. God knew I needed him in my life to help me get to the point where He could do what I needed Him to do in me— to heal and restore my soul. My journey to wholeness has prepared me to teach God’s Word and help others find the answers they desperately need through a personal relationship with Christ. Psalm 86:5 (AMP) says, “For You, O Lord, are good, and ready
to forgive [our sins away, completely l forever and ever]; in lovingkindness a in mercy to all thos upon You.” I’ve discovered
“God was alw even in the m deepest pain a
best prayers we ca please help me!” A to struggle to fix o we can get to Him. where we are. So if you’re wai think you deserve need to give it up, God’s mercy and s
JOYCE MEYER is a New York Times’ best-selling author and founde
books, including Battlefield of the Mind. She hosts the Enjoying E joycemeyer.org.
s, sending them etting them go and abundant and overflowing se who call that one of the
ways with me, midst of my and hardships.”
an pray is, “God, And we don’t have ourselves before . He will meet us
iting until you God’s help, you throw yourself on sincerely cry out
to Him: “God, if You don’t help me, I’m finished, because there is no way I can do what needs to be done in my life. God, please help me!” You may not see a change immediately, but I promise you, if you keep believing that God is working no matter what it looks like or how you feel, He will be faithful to help you. The Bible says even when we are faithless, God is faithful (Rom. 3:34), and He will show up in your life and deliver you! So where are you today? Are you lost in problems, tragedy or sin? Are you lonely? Are you sick and afraid of death? Or maybe you’re living with the results of your mistakes and have no idea what to do. Whatever your situation and your needs may be, cry out to God. He loves you; He sees you; and He longs to help you. Call upon Jesus. He will meet you where you are.
er of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. She has written more than 100 Everyday Life radio and TV programs. For more information, visit
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C H A R I S M ATA Spirit-Led Names and News
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Kanye West’s First Christian Album Hits No. 1 The rapper’s public transformation has been incredible
anye West’s album Jesus Is King hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts in its opening week. The album sold more than 100,000 copies—reportedly the second-most of any hip-hop/rap album last year— and became West’s ninth straight No. 1 album. Jesus Is King is the first new music West has released since his public rededication to Christianity. Though West discussed his Christian faith occasionally on early albums—most notably on 2004 single “Jesus Walks”—he had seemed to abandon that faith in recent years, declaring “I Am a God” on his 2013 album Yeezus. But in 2019, West has made public declarations of Christian faith and expressed his intent to live and make music for God now. He has regularly held impromptu church-like “Sunday Service” gatherings since January.
In September, West said he was done with making secular music and would only make gospel music. That same month, at a Chance the Rapper concert, West declared that he “came here tonight to declare that Jesus Christ is King.” His wife, Kim Kardashian, told The View that West “has had an amazing evolution of being born again and being saved by Christ.” During a concert in November, West led an altar call and more than 1,000 people gave their lives to Jesus. Jesus Is King surprised some mainstream outlets with its overt declarations of Christian truth. The album, which is profanity-free, includes odes to Chick-fil-A, praise to the Lord and meditations on whether
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the Christian community will accept him or judge him. Following the album’s release, LifeWay’s Facts & Trends reported that searches for Bible verses and phrases referenced by West had jumped as much as 700%.
American Bible Society CEO Robert Briggs says, “No matter what you think about Kanye’s politics, art or faith, there’s no denying that his comments and album have sparked a huge wave of curiosity and interest.”
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C H A R I S M ATA Spirit-Led Names and News
Chip and Joanna Gaines
hip and Joanna Gaines will be opening a boutique hotel in downtown Waco, Texas. The Christian couple, who gained a nationwide audience with their HGTV series Fixer Upper, will begin renovating the historic Grand Karem Shrineâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; which is nearly 53,000 square
Chip and Joanna Gaines Annou feet and located only a few blocks away from their existing Magnolia Market at the Silos. The hotel will reportedly open in 2021. Joanna explained the reasoning behind the unexpected move in a blog. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are, without a doubt, firm
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unce They Are Opening a Hotel believers that home is the most important place on earth,” she writes. “But we’ve also learned that home can be found beyond a physical dwelling. It encompasses more than the place where our mail is delivered. Home is a feeling, created by and for the people you love and share your life with; it’s
a state of being known and loved just as you are. That is our dream for this hotel—that it would serve as an extension of the way we feel about our own home and all it represents to us, and that every guest who comes to stay would experience that same sense of belonging and community.” GAINES/MAGNOLIA
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C H A R I S M ATA Spirit-Led Names and News
‘America’s Got Talent’ Winner Pays Tribute to TobyMac’s Son
‘We know that this is not an ultimate goodbye’
iberty University and America’s Got Talent winner Kodi Lee performed a stirring tribute to Truett Foster McKeehan, the 21-year-old son of Christian rapper TobyMac. McKeehan died unexpectedly in late October while TobyMac was on a weeklong tour in Canada; he canceled his remaining tour dates to come home and be with his family. In a tribute to his son on Instagram, TobyMac wrote, “Truett always had a soft spot for God. The Bible moved him. His heart was warm to the things of his King.” Other Christian singers, including Lauren Daigle, Mandisa and
Tauren Wells, reached out to TobyMac and expressed their sorrow over McKeehan’s death. On Oct. 25, Lee performed an unfinished song by McKeehan live at Liberty University’s Convocation meeting in tribute before transitioning into a performance of MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine.” David Nasser, senior vice president for spiritual development at Liberty, added, “Here’s the good news in all of this tragedy. We know that this is not an ultimate goodbye. We know that Truett belongs to the Lord, and that he’s ultimately healed and he’s in heaven.”
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C H A R I S M ATA Spirit-Led Names and News
A judge ruled recently that the University of Iowa violated constitutional law by banning a Christian organization from its campus.
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Judge Rules in Favor of Campus Ministry Sued for Discrimination It’s a huge win for religious freedom on college campuses
fter the University of Iowa kicked InterVarsity off its campus for alleged discrimination, a judge has ruled in the Christian organization’s favor. In 2018, the University of Iowa banned InterVarsity—along with several other religious student groups— from its campus because it said InterVarsity was discriminating against students by forcing all of its student leaders to agree to InterVarsity’s statement of faith. The student group, which had been on the University of Iowa’s campus for 25 years, lost nearly half of its members. After more than a month, InterVarsity sued, and the University of Iowa return the organization to good standing, according to RNS. FOX News reported that after reviewing the case, Judge Stephanie M. Rose found that the university “violated constitutional law” for its actions, and that the school would need to pay out of pocket. Dr. Michael Brown wrote for Charisma News, “The issue was that the university had no problem allowing secular groups on campus to make specific requirements about who could be in leadership. But when it came to a Christian group, to do so was considered discriminatory.” Greg Jao, director of external relations for InterVarsity, said in a statement, “We must have leaders who share our faith. No group— religious or secular—could survive with leaders who reject its values. We’re grateful the court has stopped the university’s religious discrimination, and we look forward to continuing our ministry on campus for years to come.” WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
HOW TO REPAIR YO In a year when several health discoveries have already made headlines, this one may be the biggest yet. Dr. Rand McClain, the Los Angeles based “Doctor to the Stars,” released his new technique for what some are calling the Body Restore formula. His science is based on technology that was actually partially banned by a U.S. establishment in 2001. However, Dr. McClain and his partners have found a way that allows them to go and take their discovery straight to the American people. Dr. McClain revealed he’s already offering to his celebrity and proathlete clients with incredible results. In the video presentation, he details how some very big name athletes are achieving
increased strength, healthier bodies and even more energy. But what’s really turning heads is that McClain isn’t offering this as an injection, surgery or medical procedure—which is what his health clinic in Los Angeles is famous for. Instead, the method involves one simple thing: A drink. He has all the clinical trials, the data, he’s conducted the test groups ... it not only works, it works really well. McClain feels the technique—which has been shown in clinical trials— works best for people over 40, particularly those who may be experiencing excessive fatigue, weaker bodies, and even foggy thinking. And when Dr. McClain dropped the final bombshell— video footage of the results he experienced after using the
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thod on himselfâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;it became ar that the discovery is hing short of groundaking. Of course your ivitual results will varys with y new method. While surgery is the nchmark and Dr. McClain arges $20,000 and up, he ls he can offer Americans ew method that provides standing results. ut the latest development his story came when video version of the sentation was made ilable to the public online. of this writing, the video over 3 million views and uickly becoming a social dia phenomenon. his is the video that many ght not want people to . But if the link is working, t means the video is still wable ... for now.
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C H A R I S M ATA Spirit-Led Names and News
‘The Prince of Egypt’ Musical Will Debut in London This Year
he Prince of Egypt, a 1998 animated film, was an unexpected hit, earning more than $218 million at the worldwide box office. The movie told the biblical story of Moses, and how God protected him from his days as an infant and ultimately empowered him to free his people from slavery at the hands of the Egyptians. Now the Bible story that became an animated film will become a full-length stage production, as The Prince of Egypt gears up to premiere at the Dominion Theatre in London’s prestigious West End next February. The production will reportedly feature 10 new songs composed by Stephen Schwartz, the man behind the music and lyrics for the original The Prince of Egypt movie. As such, the show will be a mix of new material and classic songs like “Deliver Us” and “All I Ever Wanted.” A video of an early cast performance of the song “When You Believe” has already garnered more than 120,000 views on YouTube.
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C H A R I S M ATA Spirit-Led Names and News
Man Forgives Former Cop Who Killed His Brother
‘I just hope you go to God with all the guilt’
n September 2018, Dallas Brandt Jean and police officer Amber Guyger Amber Guyger murdered Botham Jean, a young black youth pastor, in his own home. The news made headlines nationwide as a sadly all-too-common example of police brutality against black citizens. When the story made national headlines again last fall, this time it was for uncommon reasons: Brandt Jean publicly forgiving his brother’s killer. While testifying in court, he told Guyger, “I just hope you go to God with all the guilt, all the bad things you may have done in the past. Each and every one of us have do something that we’re not supposed to do. If you truly are sorry—I know I can speak for myself—I forgive you. I know if you go to God and ask Him, He will forgive you.” He then hugged Guyger. His display of love and forgiveness, caught on vide went viral online and confounded many. The jury ultimately found Guyger guilty of murder and sentenced her to 10 years in prison. After the sentencing, Judge Tammy Kemp gave Guyger a Bib
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Magic Johnson Leaves NBA to Serve in Pentecostal Church He’s praising the Lord and helping his community
arvin “Magic” Johnson left the NBA in 2019, but it wasn’t so he could kick back and retire. It was so he could serve more in his church and community. Johnson says his work as the Los Angeles Lakers’ president of basketball operations hindered him from being able to truly help others in need, according to the Los Angeles Sentinel. Johnson and his pastor, Bishop Charles E. Blake of West Angeles Church of God in Christ, announced in March their plans to launch a new initiative together. This initiative is meant to equip African-American men to succeed in life. Later that year, Johnson consulted with Blake
regarding plans to construct the West Angeles Family Life Center, which will provide development programs for inner-city families. Johnson has been going to church for almost 20 years, beginning soon after his wife, Cookie, started attending services. When Johnson started joining her, he found himself growing spiritually, he told the Associated Press. During a Sunday presentation, Johnson reportedly shared that his prayer life is stronger than before and he’s now surrounding himself with people of faith. The church reports Johnson saying: “It’s truly a blessing when you know what direction you’re going in.”
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Calling International evangelist Rich Vera shares what the church needs to know about prophecy, power and proof BY TAYLOR BERGLUND
| COVER STORY
Watch this incredible testimony from Rich Vera about what God is doing prophetically in the world in this season. To hear his portion of the interview, go to the 39:20-minute marker.
P IHR ER ZA M I R E Z R A L P H RRAALM
astor Rich Vera wants the American church to start expecting power in its prophetic movement. He believes the church has misunderstood this vital spiritual gift and office, and he is trying to walk it out through his own ministry. Through a series of supernatural encounters, Vera believes God has placed a mandate on his life to bring prophetic revival through signs and wonders. “My ministry began with a supernatural encounter with the Lord,” Vera says. “I never asked for it. God just came to me. I had this encounter that was very drastic with the Lord. So everything I do is based on that.” Vera—who serves as the senior pastor of the Center Arena in Orlando, Florida—founded Voice of Healing Outreach, an “international prophetic evangelistic healing ministry” that conducts revival services and rallies around the world. Vera says one example from a trip to Argentina demonstrates the call on his life. “I was in a city in Argentina where the people were not really
open to what I was saying,” Vera says. “There was a lot of resistance from religious people. The Lord says [to me], ‘Close down the service.’” So Vera did just that. But before leaving, he told the people assembled, “If I’m a man of God, tomorrow at 7:00 when I come
“Prophets are diffe
Pastors could preach 5
a year because they’re
has a messa here, there’s going to be [both] rain outside and rain inside.” Rain inside may sound impossible, but rain outside was almost as difficult. A local pastor nervously informed Vera after his proclamation that there had been a drought in Argentina for the past two years. He tried to provide Vera a way out, asking, “Did you mean to say it will ‘rain in the Spirit’?” “No,” Vera replied. “There is
going to be water rain that’s going to come, and then you will know that I am a man sent from God.” The next night, Vera was angrily waiting for his ride to church. He had promised to arrive at 7 p.m., but it was already 9 p.m. His driver was running late. Finally, Vera texted the driver: “Where are you?”
erent than pastors.
50 different messages in
e pastors, but a prophet
age.” —Rich Vera
The driver responded quickly: “The city’s flooded.” Rain had fallen in the area, and traffic delayed the driver. Soon Vera received word from the pastor not to bother coming—the rain had apparently fallen so heavily that it broke the roof and began to leak inside the building. The church was flooded. “When I showed up, there were 2,000 people outside on the street,”
Vera says. “Then the power of God hit, miracles took place and hundreds got born again.” Vera pauses before explaining the moral: “That’s the authority of a prophet.” Vera believes miraculous power to carry out one’s mandate will always accompany the office of the prophet—and that there is a big difference between someone who is a true prophet and someone who merely exercises a prophetic gift. Vera spoke to Charisma Digital about the three supernatural encounters with God that shaped his ministry, the common misunderstanding many believers have about prophecy, and the call and mandate God has placed upon his life.
Vera says his own testimony and ministry were shaped by three supernatural visitations he experienced between 1990 and 2005. The first encounter came on July 9, 1990, when he was only 17 years old. Vera—a nominal Catholic—was vacationing in Orlando, Florida, when he was invited to
Benny Hinn’s then-church, the Orlando Christian Center. During that meeting, he says the presence of God came over him for two to three hours, and he wept the entire service. He fell asleep in bed that night reading the book of John. While he was asleep, Vera says, “I had an experience where the Lord came to me in a vision and told me, ‘Nothing is going to separate you from the love of God. When you are 21, I’m going to use you. You’re going to travel the world. And you’re going to lay hands on the sick, and they’re going to be healed. Just follow Me.’” The next morning, he began praying in tongues without understanding what he was doing. From that moment on, Vera says, “The presence of the Lord was on my life. All I wanted to do from that moment on was to know Jesus and fellowship with God.” The second visitation took place in March 1997, while Vera was ministering in a northern city of Argentina. The pastor whose house he was staying at urged him to go take a siesta before that evening’s meeting. Vera says while trying to
get comfortable and fall asleep in bed, he went into a deep sleep and received another vision from God. “I saw Jesus walking the streets of Jerusalem,” Vera says. “He was walking and healing the sick, and there were lines of sick people
on the left and on the right. He was touching the blind, touching the crippled, feeding the leper. I’m behind Him [cheering him on]. And then He stops halfway, turns back and points at me, and says, ‘Now you do it.’ When He
points at me, I freak out. I say, ‘God, I cannot do this. ... I am not Benny Hinn. I cannot.’ So He comes closer to me, and His body [merges] into my body. ... He jumped into my body, and instantly His body was conformed
to the shape of my body. I hope that makes sense. When He came in me, I felt this incredible energy on me, and I continued doing exactly what I saw Him do. I healed about three or four people in this vision by the power of God. Then the voice of the Lord spoke to me audibly, and the Lord said, ‘Your healing ministry will begin today. Pray for the sick.’” Then Vera suddenly woke up, terrified for that night’s meeting. Throughout the service, Vera says he tried to flow in the anointing, but nothing was working. He heard God prompt him in his left ear, ‘Pray for the sick,’ but he refused—he was convinced it would not work, and then he would look stupid. Finally, he gave in to the Lord’s command but remained skeptical as he browsed the crowd for someone in need of healing. “I was looking for the easy case—maybe some kid with a bellyache,” Vera says. “There was a little boy in the front row. I got close to him, and I thought, This kid must have a fever or something. I didn’t realize that one of his legs
had a brace all the way from his hip down, and that leg was several inches shorter. The Lord blinded me from seeing that. I kneeled down and said, ‘How many of you believe the Lord can help this kid?’ As I’m saying that, that leg grows out of his body. The crowd begins to scream. I fell backwards, ran behind the piano player and
“Power is not about th
or the preacher, or abou
Power is about helping t freaked out. Instantly, miracles broke loose all over the place. And that’s how my healing ministry began.” The third visitation happened on during the evening of Nov. 14, 2005, while Vera was grilling fish with some friends in Maui, Hawaii. Vera says he fainted on the ground for six hours, during which time, he says, the Lord caught him up to the heavens to reveal His glory and the truth of the Scriptures. Near
the end of that encounter, Vera says God pointed out a small crowd of people lined up nearby and asked him, “What do you see?” Vera described aspects of their clothing or their appearance, but again, God repeated the question. Finally, Vera stayed quiet and just watched. “I saw an angel go up to this group of people and begin to peel
he status of the prophet
ut how big a ministry is.
the people God loves.”
their skin off, like the way you peel a banana,” Vera says. “But instead of seeing their organs, all I could see inside them was everything that happened in their lives since they were born—all the issues that were going on. My eyes were opened, and the Lord said, ‘From now on, you will speak to people. You will reveal the secrets of their hearts, and you will see what’s going on in their lives. And as you speak it, I will heal the sick. I will deliver
them. You will raise the dead, and from now on, the prophetic is going to be activated in your life.’ That’s the experience that launched me into an international prophetic miracle ministry.”
Gifts Versus Office
Vera says that even though God unlocked a prophetic ministry for him through these visitations, he didn’t immediately understand what it meant to be prophetic. “I didn’t understand the prophetic, or that that there are prophets now,” Vera says. “As a Catholic, I thought Moses was the only prophet. As I began to read the Bible, I realized that the office of the prophet and the prophetic are New Testament, and I began to ... exercise those gifts. And 20-something years later, I’m known around the world because of our strong prophetic ministry.” He says one thing he had to learn early on was the difference between the office of the prophet and the gift of prophecy. Vera believes the gift of prophecy, as taught in 1 Corinthians 12, is available to every believer in Jesus,
but that the gift of prophecy also has very strict parameters. “The gift of prophecy has limitations,” Vera says. “In the Bible, Paul says the gift of prophecy is for exhortation, edification and comfort. ... [If a] lady gets up and says, ‘The Lord says ...’ and then she begins to edify, exhort and encourage the people, that’s the gift of prophecy. But [people with] the gift of prophecy don’t have authority by God to declare people’s futures or to establish things. That will require the office of the prophet to do that.” He says the office of the prophet is quite different and is defined by Ephesians 4:11. It’s one of the branches of fivefold ministry, but not everyone is called to it or will be appointed by God to this office. According to Vera, prophets have a particular message or call and a particular audience—and this is consistent throughout both the Old and New Testament. “God raises prophets with messages,” Vera says. “Prophets are different than pastors. Pastors could preach 50 different messages in a year because they’re pastors,
but a prophet has a message. John the Baptist—what was his message? To prepare the way of the Lord. Elijah—what was his message? To destroy Ahab and Baal and to destroy Jezebel. Isaiah—what was his message? He prophesied the coming of the Messiah. So what is your message? ... And God didn’t call you for everybody. So to whom did God call you?” He says too many believers conflate prophetic giftings with the office of the prophet, and as a result, there are many people operating outside of their anointing. “The office of the prophet is an office not everybody has,” Vera says. “God chooses prophets. Every prophet carries a mandate, a message and the power to demonstrate that message. So nowadays, people think, Because I stood up and I prophesied to Johnny and he got blessed, I’m a prophet, and that’s the mistake. So then they begin to tell people [their future]: ‘OK, you’re going to marry this person, or you’re going to...’ When they go out of their jurisdiction—if you want to call it that—it causes confusion.” He says those people are false
prophets, but that doesn’t mean they are working for Satan. It just means that even if they are well-intentioned, they are immature and passing themselves off fraudulently as something they are not. The best protection against such deception and immaturity is to grow strong in the Word, Vera says. “Maturity is developed by learning the Word of God,” Vera says. “Man, if you learn the Bible, you will mature. False prophets are exposed by a true prophet showing you, ‘This is what it is.’ If you have a basketball player, like Michael Jordan, and then you [are] somebody who doesn’t know how to bounce the ball, and you look at him? You’re going to realize, I don’t know anything.” Vera says he is hopeful that God will expose these false prophets and continue to raise up authentic prophetic voices in 2020 and the years to come. He says the best test to discern the genuine from the frauds is to ask for a demonstration of power. Real prophets, Vera says, come equipped with divine power—like Elijah at Mt. Carmel—to prove their mandate
comes from God. “In 2020, God is going to begin to mark a difference between those who are self-proclaimed and those who are God-appointed,” Vera says. “We don’t have to be afraid to say, ‘What is your message? What is your mandate? Where is your power?’ People have come to my church to tell me, ‘I don’t believe you. I believe
“If you learn the
Bible, you will mature. False prophets are exposed by a true prophet.” you’re a fake.’ I say, ‘Prove it.’ I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t have bodyguards. I say [to those people], ‘Come up to the front, and I’ll prove it to you.’ Within 30 seconds, the prophetic is changing their lives to the point that they’re on the floor crying, turning their hearts to God. Because the prophetic has
power to validate that which God has called you do. That is going to separate the boys from the men.”
Show Me the Power
Vera would describe himself as a person occupying the office of the prophet—and he says he would not make such a bold claim without proof. He says he has “thousands of testimonies” of power manifesting in service of his prophetic calling. So what is his calling? “I’ve been saying since I was 17 [and I had] that experience with the Lord,” Vera says. “The Lord said, ‘I’m calling you to bring prophetic fire and to bring revival of miracles, signs and wonders with a prophetic, now word.’ I’m a prophetic revivalist. God has called me to open territories, to demonstrate the raw power of God to my generation. That God can still heal now. That God can speak now and change your life. ... That is what God has called me to do. To demonstrate the prophetic in the now with miracles, signs and wonders that will impact my generation and the nations.” He admits it’s a big calling,
and the experiences he has had— including the rainstorm in Argentina—have been “wild.” But he sincerely believes and hopes what God is doing in his life is not all that unusual. Others are having or will have these same experiences. “God is raising up people who are going to come with demonstrations of unusual power to deliver His people,” Vera says. “Power is not about the status of the prophet or the preacher, or about how big a ministry is. Power is about helping the people God loves.” Yet Vera laments that many American Christians do not have strong examples of prophets equipped to not merely share prophetic words but to “carry fire from heaven to change situations.” He wryly notes that it’s always when people go to other countries that they report incredible miracles, but on demand in the U.S., they are often unable to perform. “You know, the majority of prophetic people think they’re called,” Vera says. “They like the idea of the calling. But where’s the evidence of the calling? ... That’s what we lack nowadays. If you look on
TV, all these people who claim to be prophets or miracle workers, it always happens, ‘When I was in Africa, three blind people were healed. When I was in Peru, cripples walked.’ But show me now. Do it now. Because people need to [see].” He believes the primary reason we do not see incredible miracles here in the U.S. is due to unbelief. At one point, he notes—sounding unimpressed—that many healings we see in America deal with minor
complaints like back pain. “We’ve got to understand the power of God also works according to your faith,” Vera says. “The Bible says, ‘Them that believe shall lay hands on the sick.’ So any believer can lay hands on somebody, and the pain will be gone. But Corinthians also talks about miracle workers and healers. That’s a whole different level. ... That’s the problem I see. We are following those who talk nice and those who wish to have power. But
TAYLOR BERGLUND is the associate editor of Charisma magazine and hos
I will say, look for somebody who really has it, who has it every time. Because God works everywhere the same. And God doesn’t just heal in Africa. If he heals in Africa, He heals here in Orlando. And if you cannot do in Orlando what you do in Africa, then you’re not called. You’re just operating by faith.” Vera hopes a new era of genuine prophets will help to bring revival and restore faith—both in the American church and around the world.
“That’s what I see God bringing back to America, especially with us here at The Center,” Vera says. “We are demonstrators. We have been raised to demonstrate His power so the many can once again have pure faith in the God of the Bible. And that’s what we do.” READ MORE: about Rich Vera, visit his website at richvera.org.
st of several shows on the Charisma Podcast Network
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God Will Break Down Wal of Division in the Church A prophetess shares her vision for 2020 BY REV. BETTY KING
U N S P L A S H / C L AY B A N K S
od is looking to open doors of unprecedented favor and influence for His church in 2020. As we head toward the New Year, we must prepare for what He will do, so that we can partner with Him without compromise or delay. I believe one of the greatest areas of preparation to address is the unity of the body of Christ. I want to encourage you to pursue unity this season with a prophetic vision given to me recently.
The Walls of Separation Must Fall
A few days ago, while I was on a tour of the biblical lands, I awoke to a prophetic picture of many tubes connecting together, breaking and drilling through walls. I pursued God to get a better understanding of this. I then saw a whole series of walls, and in between each set of walls was a group of people. Millions of people were in each group. The people looked comfortable and light was shining down on them. However, with a closer look, you could also see that their movements were being restricted by the
walls around them. I wanted to get a better look at the whole scene, so a man that was with me in the vision took me to a staircase of 12 steps. They looked like small steps, but as I took each one, I was lifted a vast distance, so that by the time I reached the top I had a full panoramic view. I was saddened by what I saw. The walls had been built from words, and the words were coming from the mouths of praying believers somehow entangled in strife, anger, competition, traditionalism, colonialism and a sense of entitlement. Those whose words were doing the most to build the walls were actually very well-known people. Their words were separating these groups of people from one another and limiting them, and those whose words were building the walls had themselves become limited too. Nonetheless, light was shining down on the people and hope, revelation and righteousness were in their midst. Suddenly, it was as though there was a great awakening among them caused by the Spirit of God, and they seemed like Jeremiah when he declared Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Word is â&#x20AC;&#x153;in my heart as a burning fire shut up
in my bones” (Jer. 20:9). They could see that change was needed and began to shout that “the kingdom of God must advance!” As they did this, I saw the tubes forming and connecting and breaking through the walls. The tubes were channels of proper communication and relationship that began to connect the groups like plumbing through which fresh water of the Spirit was flowing. The ones who had first shouted were now speaking to the walls, commanding them to fall, and were declaring and prophesying words of life and unity. I saw the walls falling, and a new generation of emerging leaders arising from among those who prophesied. God’s righteousness was burning in them, and as the vision continued, they became stronger and stronger. I’m not one for sensationalism, but I could see that God is getting ready to do something major in the nations.
Emerging Leaders Will Break Resistance to Unity
The meaning of the vision is that the Lord is looking to move through the unity of His people. However, many Christians have been resisting
or limiting one another’s progress. In many places twisted words have been spoken against other believers out of misunderstanding, prejudice or selfish ambition. Some have felt that certain positions, privileges, opportunities or callings should be theirs and so have resisted those who have actually stepped out in faith for the Lord. Others have become so confused or jealous that when a church is doing well, they speak against it in a critical spirit, creating lines of division in the minds of those who they teach. Given the greatness of all that the Lord has entrusted His body to steward on His behalf, this really is shocking and should not be so. Although this has been going on for some time and is happening even now, I believe the Lord is moving to deal with it through a generation of emerging leaders who will tackle it at its root. They will operate in a spirit of unity, releasing a fresh move of the Spirit that will make it clear to see where, how and through whom divisive spirits are being empowered. They will uncover the hidden channels and access points through which murmurings, gossip and ungodly conversations have been
polluting the church, and it will come to an end. The Lord is preparing His Bride, and His move has already begun. Truly, the Word of the Lord is sharper than any two-edged sword. It doesn’t matter what divisive structures have been built or are in place. God is speaking grace and more grace to His church, and He will give strength to those willing to dismantle these structures. Even the biggest of them will be broken down by His Spirit operating through delegated authority. As Zechariah 4:7 asks and declares, “Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will be made level ground.”
Psalm 15: A Key to Unity
God is giving us the keys we need to do this and bring about unity. The words of Psalm 15 are one of these keys. In the Passion Translation it reads: »»Lord, who dares to
dwell with you? »»Who presumes the privilege of being close to you,living next to you in your shining place of glory? »»Who are those who daily dwell in the life of the Holy Spirit? »»They are passionate and wholehearted,always sincere and always speaking the truth—for their hearts are trustworthy. »»They refuse to slander or insult others; they’ll never listen to gossip or rumors, nor would they ever harm another with their words. »»They will speak out passionately against evil and evil workers while commending the faithful ones who follow after the truth. »»They make firm commitments and follow through, even at great cost. »»They never crush others with exploitation or abuse and they would never be bought with a bribe against the innocent. »»They will never be shaken; they
REV. BETTY KING i s a world-renowned speaker and prophetess. She is a tru God’s call has seen her travel to all the continents, moving in the prophetic, to full of love, wisdom, kindness, hope, compassion and grace.
will stand firm forever. This Psalm is a word in season that will help the church to defuse the issues at hand. Sincerity and truthfulness, a refusal to participate in ungodly conversations and a commitment to integrity are the principles that will break down the structures of division and allow unity to emerge in its fullness.
Act Intentionally to Build Unity
In this season, focus on building new structures that promote unity. Build bridges of reconciliation between the members of the body. Make sure you know the truth of a matter before you entangle yourself and others in unnecessary spiritual warfare. It really is important to know the facts. Recently, I sat down with a man who is serving God in ministry. He is a gentleman with a good heart, but someone had told him for no
good reason that I was against him and was praying against him. In fact, the opposite was true, and I had been acting as a bridge between him and others. However, the lie he had been told had discouraged him and prevented him from building relationship. When we sat together and talked, the truth came to the surface. As the Psalm encourages, keep your heart pure and sweet before God. Pursue purity in all you do. If anyone misrepresents you, don’t take revenge by misrepresenting them. If you made mistakes in the past, do not let those inform your decisions today. If anyone has offended you, let it go. If anyone brings an issue to you, remember there are two sides to a story. And make sure that you avoid making up your own stories, because you don’t know what someone else has gone through. Be blessed and let unity arise in the nations through you in Jesus’ name!
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9 Qualities of an Effective Intercessor
How does your prayer life compare? BY EDDIE SMITH
GET T Y IMAGES/AVALON_STUDIO
elow is a list of personal and professional qualities that make good attorneys. Let’s see how these qualities also help make good intercessors. 1. Dedication. An intercessor must be committed to Christ, to others and to the task of intercession. There simply is no substitute for dedication. As Phillips Brooks once said, “If man is man and God is God, to live without prayer is not merely an awful thing; it is an infinitely foolish thing.” 2. Reliability. It’s not our ability that God looks for, but our availability. Paul Daniel Rader once said: “If you can beat the devil in the matter of regular daily prayer, you can beat him anywhere. If he can beat you there, he can possibly beat you anywhere.” Or as a country preacher once said, “If your day is hemmed with prayer, it’s less likely to come unraveled.” 3. Integrity. In Alice Smith’s book Beyond the Veil, she writes: “If we accept an assignment from God, we can be sure that He will attempt to build integrity into our lives. I (Alice) love Psalm 26:11-12: ‘But I
lead a blameless life; redeem me and be merciful to me. My feet stand on level ground; in the great assembly I will praise the Lord.’ “My paraphrase would read: ‘In all my public trust I will walk uprightly and pay strict attention to truth, honesty, justice and mercy. I will not plan evil schemes or use myself to promote my own cause. I will be true to the integrity of the Word. I will live a moral life in private and in public. I stand firmly on principles of proper conduct, and I will not turn aside.’” 4. Objectivity and empathy. Objectivity and empathy are tricky. Both are necessary, but they must be kept in balance. If we are empathetic intercessors who cannot find objectivity in prayer, we will soon be consumed emotionally and ultimately overwhelmed with the prayer needs we bear. Remember the words of the old song “Leave It There” by Charles Albert Tindley: “Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.” On the other hand, if we are objective intercessors without empathy, who cannot feel the needs of those for whom we have been
commissioned to pray, our prayer life will grow stale and eventually dry up. 5. Kind. Kindness is a necessary commodity for the intercessor-advocate, as illustrated by the following story. An old man carried a little can of oil with him everywhere he went. If he passed through a door with squeaky hinges, he put a little oil on the hinges. If the gate was hard to open, he poured a little oil upon the latch. Every day he found a variety of ways to use his pocket oil can to others’ advantage. Neighbors thought he was eccentric, but he went on his way, doing all within his power to lubricate the hard places and make life easier and more enjoyable for others. Do we carry with us the oil of human kindness? When the traffic is backed up, the grocery clerk is rude or your boss decides to come down on you, are you exercising the oil of gladness? Go ahead and do it. It will make your day. 6. Discipline. The intercessor will not be successful without applying discipline to his or her work of
intercession. As the next story illustrate, discipline is vitally important. A visitor to a famous pottery establishment was puzzled by an operation that seemed aimless. In one room there was a mass of clay beside a workman. Every now and then he took up a large mallet and struck several smart blows on the surface of the lump. Curiosity led to the question: “Why do you do that?” “Wait a bit, sir, and watch it,” was the reply. The visitor obeyed, and soon the top of the mass began to heave and swell. Bubbles formed upon its face. “Now sir, you will see,” said the modeler with a smile. “I could never shape the clay into a vase if these air bubbles were in it, therefore I gradually beat them out.” It sounded in the ears of the visitor like an allegory of Romans 5:3-5, “Tribulation produces perseverance ... character ... hope” (NKJV). Is not the discipline of life, so hard to bear sometimes, just a beating out of the bubbles of pride and self-will, so the Master may form a vessel of earth to hold heavenly treasures?
7. Leadership ability. In his book Wind and Fire, Bruce Larson points out some interesting facts about sandhill cranes: “These large birds that fly great distances across continents have three remarkable qualities. First, they rotate leadership. No one bird stays out in front all the time. Second, they choose leaders who can handle turbulence. And then, all during the time one bird leads, the rest honk their affirmation. “That’s not a bad model for the church. Certainly we need leaders who can handle turbulence and who are aware that leadership ought to be shared. But most of all, we need a church where we all honk encouragement. It is safe to say that some of our prayer assignments are also being borne by other Christians. Let’s guard our hearts against feeling that we--and our prayers--are “the only reasons” something happens. The apostle Paul warned us that
we are “not to think of [ourselves] more highly than [we] ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3). 8. High moral character. A Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka, who was acquainted with both Christianity and Buddhism, was once asked what he thought was the great difference between the two. He replied, “There is much that is good in each of them, and probably in all religions. “But what seems to me to be the greatest difference is that you Christians know what is right and have the power to do it, while we Buddhists know what is right but have not any such power.” The monk was right. True freedom is not the right to do as we please. It is the power to do what is right! A lawyer who lived in the chambers of the temple told a story about an old gray-haired man in the room next to his who knelt down every
EDDIE SMITH i s the founder and president of the U.S. Prayer Center, and his annual fasting and prayer initiative. Alice is an intercessor, conference speake House).
night and said his prayers aloud. The partition between their rooms was thin, and he heard what the old man said quite distinctly. He was greatly surprised to hear him always say this prayer: “Lord, make me a good boy.” This may seem rather ludicrous. But if you think of it, you will be touched by its beauty. Long years before when, as a little child, that old man had knelt at his mother’s knee, she had taught him this petition, “Lord, make me a good boy.” And through the years with their trials and temptations, he still felt the need of offering that cry in the old, simple language of childhood, knowing that in the sight of the ageless God he was still a child. Just as a good advocate should be a person of high moral character, an effective intercessor must also live a holy life of high moral character. 9. A team player. Corporate intercession is almost an unknown art. In most places it is individual intercession in a corporate setting.
Thankfully, the church is beginning to understand how to gather as a group and approach God as one person! We are also beginning to network as intercessors. We realize that the more testimonies we have in court, the stronger our case will be. We are grateful for the 61 personal intercessors who faithfully serve us and our ministry in prayer. We take seriously the hours they spend in court on our behalf. We never cease to be amazed at the self-discipline exerted by intercessors. The abilities to work well under pressure and with minimal supervision are grace gifts that God has given most intercessors. People of prayer, we admire your faithfulness to voluntarily spend the time you do in prayer on behalf of others. We can experience transformation of our families, cities and nations if we will be willing to labor together.
wife, Alice, is the executive director. Eddie also coordinates Pray USA!, an er and author. This article is from their book Spiritual Advocates (Charisma
| SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Daniel Kolenda strongly believes every Christian should know how to wage effective spiritual warfare. In this teaching, Kolenda teaches how to encounter the Lord so that “rivers of living water” can flow through you.
What Daniel Kolenda believes the church must know about spiritual warfare BY TAYLOR BERGLUND
O L E K S A N D R V O LY K
s he took the stage at a crusade in Monrovia, Liberia, Daniel Kolenda anticipated an ordinary night of preaching. He didn’t realize a witch doctor intended to kill him in the middle of his message. The witch doctor, well-known in this region for her powerful spells, had reportedly taken many lives. One pastor told Kolenda he was personally aware of “nearly a dozen people”
whom she had killed wi people living in the area and her power. She cam not to hear the gospel b kill him where he stood Kolenda remembers c pened next. “I was just preaching Kolenda says. “She stoo side of the stage, out in
ith her curses. The a were terrified of her me to Kolenda’s meeting but to curse him and d. clearly what hap-
Jesus as I always do,” od off to the right front of one of the
Daniel Kolenda addresses thousands at a Christ for All Nations crusade in Abeocuta, Nigeria, in 2019.
two massive towers that suspend our array speakers. She had brought some strange charms to conduct her business. While I was preaching, she began to conjure some curse to hurl against me. Suddenly, she let out a bloodcurdling scream and fell to the ground. There she lay, writhing like a snake and foaming at the mouth. “I ignored her. With a crowd of half a million people or more, I wasn’t about to stop to O L E K S A N D R V O LY K
address one demon. Hundreds of thousands of people were listening to the gospel. I kept preaching. But we have a team trained to address such occurrences. They carried this woman behind the platform to a tent we had set up for deliverance. We call it ‘the snake pit.’ The deliverance team cast the demons out of her, and she came to her right mind and received Jesus as her Savior.” Following this incredible exorcism, the deliverance team brought the witch doctor on stage to talk with Kolenda. He could see in the attendees’ eyes that they were still scared of her, uncomfortable at her presence. But Kolenda says the crowd gasped in amazement at what happened next. “She told me how she had come to kill me,” Kolenda says. “She told me when she went to put the curse on me, she was suddenly struck to the ground. She told me how the demons had been cast out of her, and she was free. Then she told me how she had surrendered her life to Jesus as well, because, in her words, ‘Jesus is more powerful than my witchcraft.’”
For Kolenda, a missionary evangelist who succeeded Reinhard Bonnke as president and CEO of Christ for All Nations (CfaN), this was not his first encounter with demonic spirits. The bulk of his evangelistic work is done in regions where CfaN holds largescale gospel campaigns. Kolenda says animism and witchcraft are often dominant systems of belief in these regions. As a result, confronting witch doctors, occultists and the demonic frequently comes with the territory. Kolenda recalls that in one city, a witch doctor possessed large stones at his house. Because these stones were believed to have magical powers, people would pay the witch doctor to stand on his stones and hear the voices of their deceased ancestors. Following CfaN’s gospel crusade in the region, the witch doctor angrily confronted Kolenda and his team, complaining that his stones were no longer speaking. In other cities, CfaN crusades have dried up business for local occultists and witch doctors. Through experiences like these,
Kolenda has learned the importance of spiritual warfare for all believers—whether they live in remote regions populated by witchcraft and animist beliefs or in the heartland of the United States. In his new book, Slaying Dragons, Kolenda shares the wisdom about spiritual warfare he’s accumulated over the years. He explained to Charisma what many believers misunderstand about warfare and why today’s spiritual battles are so crucial.
Passing the Torch
Kolenda, a fifth-generation pastor’s kid on his father’s side, says he knew from a young age that he was called to missions. He says at 7 years old, he knew he would be a missionary to Africa. But he never could have dreamed his ministry would go beyond the continent of Africa to the entire world. Since 1987, CfaN has documented nearly 80 million decisions for Christ. Some of that is the result of Bonnke, who founded CfaN in 1974. Bonnke transitioned public leadership to Kolenda in
2009. Kolenda says he views that transition as a model of what God wants to do in the next generation. “Historically, the evangelical church has not managed transition well. Often great leaders will build worldwide ministries but fail to pass the baton. When they die, their ministries collapse. God gave Evangelist Bonnke wisdom to do things differently. Many years ago—in the height of his ministry—he invested into my life and brought me alongside him as a co-evangelist. We ministered together in Africa and around the world, and in 2009, he passed the baton of leadership to me publicly.” Kolenda confesses that at the time, he was not sure how the transition would work. After all, Bonnke had such a long track record of success in ministry, while Kolenda was young and relatively inexperienced. Yet Kolenda says God’s grace covered them “every step of the way.” Kolenda remembers that during “one interview in South Africa, a reporter asked me, ‘How
do you intend to fill the shoes of a man like Reinhard Bonnke?’ I felt the Holy Spirit give me the answer. ‘I don’t,’ I replied. ‘I only plan to fill my shoes.’ I knew if I would wear the shoes God has given me, in obedience to His call, there would be grace sufficient for me. And that has been the story of this transition.”
“We are part of His d
back the powers of d God’s kingdom
Fighting a War
Though it’s easy to imagine what we see is all there is, the Bible is clear: We are combatants in a spiritual war. In Ephesians 6:12, Paul reminds the early church, “For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and
against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Kolenda says that verse means spiritual warfare is not optional— and those who fail to comprehend this reality are easy targets for the enemy. “The spiritual battle we are in as believers is not some incidental side issue in Christianity—it is
divine agenda to push darkness and bring into the earth” right at the heart of why we have been saved and why we are in this world,” Kolenda says. “Think about it this way. Why are we still here? Jesus died on the cross 2,000 years ago. Why doesn’t He just rapture all of us out of this world? “I heard a preacher say once that we are here because we are waiting for Jesus to build our mansions in heaven. I thought to
myself, It took Him only six days to create the entire universe. Can your mansion really be that difficult? There is obviously something else going on here.” Kolenda believes warfare is not only real, but the reason we are still here. “God has put us in this world for a purpose,” he says. “We are part of His divine agenda to push back the powers of darkness and bring God’s kingdom into the earth. This is what our spiritual battles are all about, and nothing could be more important for Christians to understand and take seriously.” Yet he says too many believers fail to see results because they are operating according to the spirit of this world. “The primary mistake most believers make is to think about spiritual warfare primarily as something that happens ‘out there,’” Kolenda says. “This perspective is all too convenient. It allows us to blame our problems on the devil. It also allows us to fight spiritual battles in ways that look impressive outwardly
but have very little actual power. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn famously said, ‘The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.’ Most of the important spiritual battles we face are fought between our ears. This is where we need to be victorious first and foremost.” Kolenda says verses like Romans 8:7 and 2 Corinthians 4:4 demonstrate that Satan’s agenda and primary interest is to influence the way humans think. And he says it was “life-changing” when he learned the reason why. “This biblical worldview—one many Christians don’t understand—reveals that humanity has been commissioned as the gatekeeper of this world,” Kolenda says. “God works with us to fulfill His purposes in the earth; and likewise, the enemy must also work through human agency. This means the devil needs human cooperation.” In 1 Corinthians 2:12, Paul says, “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, so that we might know the things that
A mother in Lome, Togo, testifies that her son’s eyes were miraculously healed during a Christ for All Nations crusade.
O L E K S A N D R V O LY K
are freely given to us by God.” Yet his warning was crucial precisely because so many Christians are misled by the “spirit of the world.” Kolenda says it even affected Jesus’ disciples: “When the Samaritans disrespected Jesus, James and John wanted to call fire down upon them. But Jesus rebuked them, saying, ‘You do not know what kind of spirit you are of ’ (Luke 9:55b). Though they didn’t realize it, their carnal response had actually aligned them with a demonic way of thinking.” Kolenda says the most powerful example of this behavior comes in Matthew 16, when Jesus rebuked Peter. “Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He was going to suffer and die and then be raised from the dead,” Kolenda says. “This was the divine plan, but it was very different from what the disciples had envisioned. They thought Jesus would lead a political revolt to overthrow the Roman Empire and restore the kingdom to Israel in their lifetime. Now they were finding out
that God’s plan was quite different. So ‘Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!’” [Matt 16:22]. “Peter thought he was doing the right thing—he was encouraging Jesus that such a terrible fate would never come to Him. But Jesus was not encouraged. He
“These are the g
be alive and to m for the glor
was indignant: ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man’ [Matt. 16:23]. Notice that Jesus calls Peter, His close friend and disciple, ‘Satan.’ Why? Because Peter is thinking as man thinks. Jesus then contrasts the human/demonic way of thinking with the way God thinks. So much can be gleaned
from this.” Kolenda says because Satan has passed his way of thinking on to humanity, our natural way of thinking functions in opposition to God. He says this is the reason Paul gives us a list of spiritual armor in Ephesians 6:10-18. “[The components of the armor of God] are all directly related to
greatest days to make an impact ry of God.” the way we think, believe and see the world,” Kolenda says. “Many Christians are trying to fight spiritual battles while being completely aligned internally with the spirit of the age. It is no wonder they aren’t experiencing victory despite much striving and struggling. This has never been more of a problem than it is today when there seems to be such a famine of sound biblical doctrine. So
many believers think in ways that are completely contrary to God’s Word and have made themselves easy targets for the devil.”
Reaping a Harvest
Kolenda believes it is possible for ordinary believers to become spiritual dragon slayers, both in the world and in their own lives. He says he explains more fully in Slaying Dragons, but passed on to Charisma a powerful lesson he learned from Bonnke during his mentoring and transition into leadership. Kolenda was not the only CfaN leader to be confronted by a witch doctor. During a gospel campaign in Gabon, a group of witch doctors gathered to curse Evangelist Bonnke in his sleep. Under the cover of night, they met at his hotel and cursed him, urging rain to fall so his evangelistic meetings would be canceled. Not only did Bonnke not die, but when he woke, he was met by a most unusual sight. He looked out the window of his hotel room and saw the witch doctors—all “completely naked,”
according to Kolenda—marching around his hotel room trying to curse him. Bonnke opened his window and called out to them, “Hello, I feel so sorry for you. You worked so hard all night, and I slept so well!” The moral of the story, Kolenda learned, is that God must be our focus—not the devil. “Our focus should be on the greatness of God, not the power of the devil,” Kolenda says. “Spiritual warfare that is preoccupied with what the devil is doing soon becomes twisted and unbiblical. Smith Wigglesworth once said, ‘If you have a great God, you will have a little devil; and if you have a big devil, you will have a little god.’” With that in mind, Kolenda says we have reason to rejoice as the church. Our all-powerful God is making His power known through a harvest of souls around
the world. “Many Christians, particularly in the Western world, don’t seem to realize we are living right now in the greatest season of harvest in history,” Kolenda says. “More people are coming to Christ than ever before. Our little ministry has seen nearly 80 million people come to Christ in just over 30 years. Those are documented decisions from new converts that have been ushered into local churches to be discipled.” Kolenda says this is why the church must mobilize to war in the spiritual realm. “As the time grows shorter, God is moving around the world in unprecedented ways,” he says. “These are the greatest days to be alive and to make an impact for the glory of God. This is why understanding spiritual warfare is so important. We need every believer to get off the sidelines and get in
TAYLOR BERGLUND i s the associate editor of Charisma magazine and h
the game.” Some of the best ways to pray for CfaN include protection for mission team members and their families and for God to pour out His Spirit in the form of signs and wonders. “We covet your prayers,” Kolenda says. “We are on the frontlines of world evangelism. Spiritual warfare is not theoretical to us. It is our daily experience. The enemy does not want to see people coming to Jesus—especially in such massive numbers. Pray for the protection of our team and families. Pray that the Lord would continue to pour out His Spirit as we go to the nations preaching the gospel. Pray that we would see even more signs, wonders and miracles that will bring glory to Jesus and pray that every financial need will be met as we trust the Lord for our daily bread.” If that happens, Kolenda
believes the church will truly see a season of “double harvest,” in which we will see spiritual victories unparalleled by previous generations. “In the crusades—the most visible part of the ministry—the results have been overwhelming: millions of salvations, countless miracles, healings, signs and wonders,” he says. “And it continues. We are now entering into what God showed me will be a ‘decade of double harvest,’ where I believe we will see in the next 10 years what took the last 30 years combined—bringing the number of documented decisions to well over 150 million. The best is yet to come!” ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: If you liked this story, you can read more about spiritual warfare at warfare.charismamag.com.
host of several shows on the Charisma Podcast Network.
Those Who Know God… “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit oftruth, and the spirit of error” I John 4:6 KJV
hese words were penned by the last living eyewitness apostle of Jesus Christ. All the other apostles had died a martyr’s death above 20 years before this time, and John wrote his epistle to reveal for all time the “truth” from the “lie,” the “light” from the “darkness,” the “children of God” from the “children of the wicked one” and more. It is impossible to understand the message John left for us and believe at the same time that a child of God is also a sinner. His message is so direct and absolute that He could say, “He that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us.” I John 4:6 KJV A very simple examination of what this great apostle of Jesus Christ said should strike fear into the hearts of many in the modern church, if John is correct. Those who believe “We are all sinners who sin every day” are in direct contradiction to the gospel which John preached, and according to the apostle, they “do not know God.” How is it possible to reconcile the belief that “we are all sinners” with the Scripture “He that committeth sin is of the devil…” I John 1:8 KJV that “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin” I John 3:9 KJV? There are those, including some modern versions of the Bible, that twist John’s words to say we “do not practice sin,” but such an interpretation is impossible in an
honest assessment of what the original Greek text says. If John had intended to speak of our “practice,” he would have used the Greek word prasso, which is not found in any of his epistles. Instead, John used the Greek word poieo for “commit,” which according to the “Strong’s Greek Dictionary” speaks of “a single act” (see Strong’s #4160, “poieo,” and compare with #4238, “prasso.) How is it possible that John, who is commonly known as “the apostle of love,” could make such strong and absolute statements which prove a child of God is not a sinner? The answer is, he knew who Christ was and what He came into the world to do. “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him” I John 3:5-6 KJV. To the person who does not believe what John clearly says, the words “sinneth not” I John 3:6, and “cannot sin” I John 3:9, are words of harsh condemnation, but to the believer of John’s message, these same words are the secret to the “glorious liberty of the sons of God” Romans 8:21 in this present life. If John had agreed with the modern church, that a child of God “should not sin,” he would have prescribed a lifetime of struggle. Instead, he prescribed a lifetime of “glorious liberty” for a believer of the truth when he said “…he cannot sin, because he is born of God” I John 3:9. It is not that this person has “power over sin,” but that they are “free from sin.” The apostle Paul confirms this,
To order, visit or write to: Behold the Lamb PO Box 750 • Porter, TX 77365 saying, “But now (Greek: ‘just now’) being made free from sin…” Romans 6:22 KJV. These apostles understood that no one can do anything which is not in their heart to do. John the Baptist introduced Jesus as “…the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” John 1:29 KJV. He understood what a young fisherman named John would later understand and preach to the entire world. Where does such understanding come from? Over 500 years before Jesus was born to Mary, God sent the angel Gabriel to the prophet Daniel to tell of one called “The Messiah the Prince.” He gave the exact year of His appearance in ministry, which was the same year the Holy Ghost came upon Jesus at John’s baptism service. If Jesus was the Messiah of prophecy, within seven years of His baptism, He must “finish the transgression, make an end of sins, make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness” Daniel 9:24-25 KJV. He would be “cut off (crucified), but not for Himself” verse 26, and it would happen after three and half years of ministry, in the exact middle of the seven years allotted to Him verse 27 KJV. John said, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah) is born of God” I John 5:1 KJV. If we believe “Jesus is the Christ,” it is absolutely necessary that we also believe He came into the world “to make an end of sins” Daniel 9:24 through His death on the cross Hebrews 2:14. “He that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” I John 5:10”
FREE BOOK! The Christ
A verse by verse commentary on I John
by Leroy Surface
If we do not believe the record John gave, it is because we do not believe what God said through the prophets of old. Peter said, “…the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” I Peter 1:11. There is no living person who can rightfully make the claim the apostle made; “He that knoweth God heareth us.” Neither could “Augustine,” or “Luther,” or “Calvin,” nor any other scholar of the past or present, who is not in full agreement with the things the apostle John said. Those who reject the truth which the apostle John so clearly wrote do so because they “do not know God.” Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” John 8:32.
What compromise in the church could mean for this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s presidential election BY STEPHEN STRANG
BY STEPHEN STRANG
Watch this interview with Stephen Strang to learn how God’s hand played a strong role in Trump’s first presidential election. Will God do the same in 2020?
GET T Y IMAGES/ISTOCK-PESHKOV; USCHOOLS; OGPHOTO; JAVIER_ART; PESKYMONKEY; LUCKY-PHOTOGRAPHER
hile there has never been a perfect time since mankind sinned way back in the Garden of Eden, it seems things are getting worse— almost as if our cultural decline is happening at warp speed now. It’s manifesting itself on a global scale, but also through the cultural divide we see so plainly in our own nation. It’s as if secularism is the new religion of our nation, hindering the church and its mission at every turn. Yet as Michael S. Horton, theology professor at Westminster Seminary, says: “Secularization ... is not just something that happens to the church; it is something that happens in the church.” I agree—and I’m not the only one. In his weekly “American Renewal Project” newsletter, conservative activist David Lane recently wrote, “‘Western culture that at first drifted and is now rushing headlong into apostasy from the triune God is a direct result of the vacuum created as
American Christendom relinquished the town square. The disengagement from the culture by Christians left a void in America that is now being filled by everything anti-Christ.” I’ve been sounding this alarm for years on Charisma’s various platforms including my own “Strang Report” newsletter and podcast. And it’s the reason I wrote a new book called God, Trump and the 2020 Election. The book is as much about God, His purposes and what is happening in America as it is about politics. That’s because of what is at stake for Christians if this controversial president is not reelected 10 months from now. As I’ve written before, conservatives and especially Christians will lose an advocate for the freedoms and principles we value. “Decisions have consequences,” Lane says. “The gathering storm engendered by Baby Boomers and passed on to the Millennial and Gen Z generations to sort out will come down hard on the weak-kneed and lily-livered. What Christian minister and cultural theologian P. Andrew
gets reelected, as I argue he will, his term ends in 2025. Then what?”
Sandlin styled ‘Sunday-go-tomeetin’ Christianity’ has been the prevailing attitude over the last century. Making no demands on the culture, this attitude exposed ‘the entire West to the risk of a grave cultural and political crisis, and perhaps to a collapse of
civilization.’ ... The last two generations of Americans handed down this attitude to their children and their children’s children.” Lane predicts that a battle over freedom of conscience is coming, and it will be “with the secular and media luminaries who dominate GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK-LIVESLOW; PESKYMONKEY
the spiritual, intellectual, educational, economic and vocational cultural mountains of influence in America. ‘Big Business’ has become allied with the secular left, turning into active combatants attempting to put the final nail in the coffin of America’s once biblically based culture. Public education already did so about 50 years ago, bringing America’s schooling down to the lowest common denominator.” Over the last century, secularized intellectuals have succeeded in replacing Western civilization’s immutable measure for judging society—the Bible—with laws based increasingly on sentiments and preferences. As a result, America now finds itself in a quandary that is much more significant than whether Donald Trump will win in 2020. Assuming Trump gets reelected, as I argue he will, his term ends in 2025. Then what? Where is God in all of this? I posed this question to David Barton, and he flipped it around: “When you look at where we are now, my question is not ‘Where is God,’ but it’s ‘Where are His people?’” Barton believes the
answer is not too good. He has worked closely with researcher George Barna, who has conducted numerous polls on Christian values and beliefs. They polled a sampling of the 384,000 churches and senior pastors in America, and learned 70% of churches and senior pastors say they do not agree with the Bible in its most basic and orthodox teachings. Even so, that means 30% are what Barna and Barton call “theologically conservative churches.” Those pastors were asked, “Do you think the Bible applies to all issues of life?” The survey then specifically asked them about 14 areas, including immigration, education, unborn life, traditional marriage and national economics. An overwhelming majority (between 91 and 97%, depending on which one of the 14 issues) agreed that the Bible did address these issues. However, most of them also admitted that they did not address those topics from the pulpit because they considered them “political issues.” “But wait a minute,” Barton said rhetorically. “You just said the
Bible teaches those issues and then you say, ‘No, if it’s in the news, that makes it political, and we won’t talk about it.’ So only a small fraction of pastors are addressing issues in the culture that the Bible also addresses.” It’s as if the secularists have persuaded Christians that moral values in the Bible such as life or marriage are no longer the purview of the church once they become “political.” But as Barton wisely notes: “That’s not God’s problem. That’s our problem.” But it’s only part of the problem these statistics show. Only 14% of Christians read the Bible on a daily basis, and only 10% of American adults have a biblical worldview. Even among Christians who say they are born again, only 31% have a biblical worldview, and only 4% of Millennials have a biblical worldview. This means we’re a nation that doesn’t think biblically and doesn’t even know what the Bible teaches. “I talk to Christian university presidents, and they say that the kids coming out of youth group to their schools—even from Christian
schools—don’t know the difference between Jonah and Moses,” Barton told me. “They don’t even know the basic Bible stories. A good friend of mine was talking with a Christian young man, and the names Adam and Eve came up. The young man had no idea who they were—he’d never heard of them.” Several years ago, Barton and Barna coauthored a book called U-Turn, which noted there are more than 70 different moral behaviors in which the authors could not find any statistical difference between Christians and non-Christians. As a lifelong Pentecostal, I’ve seen the secularized liberal drift of the church, even in circles once deemed to be biblically conservative. It starts with a lifestyle that is basically no different from the secular world. Then it progresses to liberal theology where they don’t believe the Word of God anymore or even vote on important issues, such as whether same-sex marriage should be legal. Historically, Pentecostals have been different. The holiness
background of most major Pentecostal denominations called for very strict guidelines of personal behavior (and dress) and belief. There was a lot of focus on church attendance every time the doors were open. Even though many modern-day Pentecostal churches shy away from these views, which are now often considered “legalistic,” as a journalist who has covered this segment of the church for years, I haven’t seen Pentecostals experience the same sort of liberal drift theologically. Perhaps we have that holiness background to thank for the fact that there have never been resolutions in the annual meetings of any mainline Pentecostal denominations over liberalizing the rules on same-sex marriage or abortion. But another form of compromise, liberalism and just plain apathy affects the Pentecostals— and it may be the worst of them all. Few Pentecostal or charismatic pastors actually preach against sin, even if they don’t change their theology to embrace it. They just leave it alone and focus on other things such as church growth, evangelizing
or discipling new converts, or even missions giving. They like to preach on faith—and there’s nothing wrong with that—but many of the sermons just make you feel good when you go home. Having a great church service where you feel the power of God is important, but today’s services rarely mobilize the members to change culture or turn out the vote in crucial elections. In one area, Pentecostals are ahead of most other Protestant groups because their churches are more integrated. In fact, the Assemblies of God has grown in membership for the past 17 years, mainly because of the growth of Hispanic and African American members. Latinos both in South America and in the U.S. seem to embrace the passion and excitement of the Pentecostal experience. If you know your history, you know Pentecostalism grew out of the Azusa Street Revival, which was led by a black preacher named William Seymour, the son of former slaves. At its start, Pentecostalism was more integrated than other forms of Protestant Christianity, and racial diversity
rarely mobilize the members to change culture or turn out the vote in crucial elections.” is still common in Pentecostal churches today. Pentecostal forms of worship where people shout, lift their hands and praise God exuberantly came from the black church experience, not from the formalism of the denominations the European immigrants brought with them. Many “white” charismatic churches in America have a sizable percentage of black members who feel comfortable with the exuberant worship experience. But drill down, and you will find the same dichotomy within these integrated congregations as in the wider culture. The white congregants tend to
be Republican, and the black members tend to be Democrat. Why is this? In my book, I devote an entire chapter called “Black Americans, Democrats and Trump” to exploring why African Americans in this country vote Democratic in huge numbers. Suffice it to say, for the past half-century, Democrats have supported a few key policies important to black Americans. These include civil rights, prison reform and governmental aid for poor communities. As a result, I’ve been told by black Christian leaders that the black community overlooks the “faults” of Democrats, including many liberal policies. In fact, studies have shown that while black Christians align with white conservative Christians on most moral issues, they still vote Democrat by huge percentages. On the Republican side, the GOP supports—or at least gives lip service to—some policies important to white conservative Christians, like abortion and same-sex marriage. So white Christians likewise vote Republican and overlook the things
they disagree with, such as the way Republicans say one thing at election time and govern another way, supporting big business at the expense of the little guy and dragging the U.S. into meaningless wars. Pentecostals who used to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit and emphasized speaking in tongues often relegate that to services later in the week or small groups or classes. And though Pentecostalism came out of the holiness movement of a century and a half ago, and was known for its holiness “do’s and don’ts” when I was growing up, rarely will you hear a sermon on holiness these days. Barton also grew up Pentecostal and bemoans the modern church’s emphasis on conversions rather than discipleship. “Right now, it’s all about converts and getting people to say the sinner’s prayer,” Barton told me. “Well, I can have a parakeet recite the sinner’s prayer. That doesn’t mean the parakeet is a Christian. We’ve moved away from discipleship, and as a result, we no longer
see people thinking or behaving the right way. We’re not disciplining them. The real question is, how are they living? What’s their behavior? Are they producing fruit worthy of repentance? There is a big emphasis on converts rather than disciples, and the irony is that, for 2,000 years, we have let the ‘professionals’ do the work of ministry.” A few months ago, I made this point in my “Perspective” column in Charisma by quoting Barton. “We’ve got missionaries, evangelists and pastors, and they do the work of the ministry—but the Bible says they are to teach the ordinary saints to do the work of the ministry,” he said. “So if every Christian made it their objective to bring one person to Christ this year and then disciple them to think biblically, at the end of this year, twice as much of the world— 64%—would be Christian. And if we did that again the next year, we would have the entire world Christian in only two years—if every Christian just discipled one other person.” Discipleship means teaching and modeling how to live a life set
“Discipleship means teaching
and modeling how to live a life set apart from the secular, godless culture. That set-apart life is what we used to call holiness.” apart from the secular, godless culture. That set-apart life is what we used to call “holiness.” “Be holy, for I am holy,” the Bible says in 1 Peter 1:16b. But I’ve observed, and Barton agrees, that few are teaching holiness anymore. “We’re not finding people confronting wrong behavior, saying this is morally right or morally wrong,” Barton says. “Few pastors are doing this. And not only are we not hitting the holiness aspect, but we largely don’t have the fear of God anymore. There is no sense of having to account to God for our behavior, our beliefs, our thoughts—all the things the Bible teaches. So we have now become a user-friendly kind of a church. We
don’t want you feeling bad about things—we don’t want you to radically change your life. “Look at John 6 where Jesus was offending the crowds. Many left Him. His disciples said to Him, ‘This is a hard teaching; who can bear it?’ He looked at them and asked, ‘Are you guys leaving me too?’ They answered, ‘No, we’ll stay with you. You’ve got the bread of life.’ But man, this is really hard stuff! No American church I know of today is being accused of teaching hard stuff and driving people away, with true disciples remaining in the church to be taught more.” I agree. And this is part of the problem we face. As the culture declines and becomes more hostile
to Christians and biblical principles, it boils down to a failure of the church that there’s no teaching on holiness that would change people’s lives and then motivate them to go out and change the culture. The contemporary, self-effacing church culture hidden behind the walls of the meeting place is not up to Christianity’s standards. A different type of church will be required for America to be born again. Budgets, buildings and bodies in seats can’t be the theological focal point if America is to survive. Christians operating in the public square must be empowered by wisdom from above. Barton said, “Get involved where you live—with your family, business, schools and local government—and let’s look at how Christ applies to all of these areas. That’s where I think the church is really failing.” It’s like David Lane wrote once: “Jesus paid not only the price for our souls and eternal salvation, but
to redeem everything that was lost: people, business, education and government. And there is nothing the devil can do to reverse it. That is, if believers will but engage.” Getting the church to be the church is necessary if we are to turn the tide in the culture. In this election year, I believe that means getting involved politically, and I make an impassioned plea to Christians to understand what’s at stake if Trump loses. Not only will the other side roll back many of the positive changes he made—rolling back regulations, appointing the right judges to the bench, supporting Israel and standing for religious freedom—but we may see laws hostile to Christians implemented. My book makes the case for why Trump, controversial as he may be, must be reelected, but also why he might lose if evangelicals and other conservatives are complacent and stay home on election day, or if we let the other side get away with
STEPHEN STRANG i s founding editor of Charisma. Listen to his podcast “Th from his new book, God, Trump and the 2020 Election, releasing Jan. 14, 20
election fraud and they steal the election. I also make the case for what the Bible says about how to treat the immigrant and what it says about borders. But more importantly, an entire section is about the “spiritual dimension” of this election. I describe some of the prophecies about the direction of our nation and how God has raised up Donald Trump. And I devote an entire chapter to “Donald Trump and Spiritual Warfare.” We must remember this isn’t just politics as usual because, as the Bible says, we “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers” (Eph. 6:12a, KJV). This is something the secular press doesn’t cover because they don’t understand or agree with it. Even many Christians don’t understand this dimension. Yet we believe we have spiritual power against these spiritual forces. The book ends with a call to prayer and action. We must pray
as never before with many of the ministries that are calling for intercessory prayer. But we must also remember to get out and vote and encourage everyone in our spheres of interest to vote. That’s what I’m doing, using every means at my disposal—not only writing this article and the book it’s based on, but doing podcasts, newsletters and media appearances too. This is my third book about the president, and I believe it’s the most important. I hope you will read it—not so I can sell another book, but to open your eyes to the issues and to enlist you in the battle for our nation. The time has come to get involved, to pray, to vote— and to get others to do the same. ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: If you liked this story, you can read more about the 2020 election at election.charismamag.com.
he Strang Report” on the Charisma Podcast Network. This article was drawn 020. Find it at online booksellers and everywhere Christian books are sold.
Enhance lives, build relationships w
BIC Media Solutions: Revised edition of ‘It’s What We Do Together That Count
t BIC Media Solutions, we take enhancing lives and building better personal, company or community relationships to the next level. Our mission is to help “create more fans for your brand.” Through my 50-plus years of conducting management, sales and marketing presentations and acting as a keynote speaker at numerous events, I have shared the “people secret” with many. Simply put, the “people secret” is that beyond the essential needs of food and shelter, a person also needs recognition. When we make others No. 1, they tend to respond in kind. This is called “the law of reciprocity,” and this law has been around since the beginning of time. But how do we begin using the “people secret” to enhance lives and build better relationships for us and those we love and care about? For me, this has been very simple because I have a passion for continuous learning and training others. I continue to share “Earl’s Pearls” in BIC Magazine articles, and you can also learn more by reading BIC Media Solutions’ books, watching our films or attending some of my speaking events. After using meaningful media such as books and
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movies as a way of recogni to others for decades, we lau in 2005 so we could publish we’ve expanded BIC Media TV shows, videos and a spe Here are 10 reasons why y Matters” to enhance lives an 1. Books and films defi the giver. 2. People appreciate gif gence. 3. Wholesome, family-fr elicit emotional responses don’t. 4. Books and movies offe tainment and education. 5. Books and movies can conversation and increase a 6. We are more likely to valuable if we read an edu educational movie. 7. Reading about or vie great happiness or success o help us make better decision 8. The joy of giving or rec can enhance a life will be ap shared for years. 9. Great books and movie shared with our families, c community. 10. Great books and mov used or shared over and ove
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izing and showing gratitude unched BIC Media Solutions our own books. Since 2014, a Solutions to produce films, eakers bureau. you should use “Media That nd build better relationships: ine the tastes and values of
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ewing how others achieve or deal with challenges can ns. ceiving a book or movie that ppreciated, remembered and
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| NEXT GENERATION
Tomorrow’s Charismatic Leaders Five ways the next generation of Spiritfilled leaders will change the church BY JOSHUA OLSON
Glenn Packiam is one of the next generation’s charismatic leaders. Watch as he explains to the crowd at Biola University who the Holy Spirit really is and the role He should play in every believer.
n the late 1960s and early 1970s, an incredible wave of the Holy Spirit swept through young people around the world. The Jesus Movement, as it’s known to many, was a key turning point for the Spirit-filled movement. Entire churches, ministries and missions organizations were founded in its wake. Even this magazine, Charisma, is in many ways a product
anymore, as they prepare for retirement and ministry transition. Waiting in the wings to take their place and continue the ministry of the kingdom is a new generation of young people. Many of them even describe this moment as a second Jesus Movement—a modern continuation of what the Holy Spirit began decades earlier. Charisma spoke to 11 young Spirit-filled leaders about the
“The average global Christian is a
woman of color from the global south, and she is poor, typically.”—Tyler Burns of the Jesus Movement. And the movement didn’t stop there. In the decades and generations that followed, millions more young people came to faith in Christ and passionately spread the gospel to their peers. Nearly half a century after the Jesus Movement, many of its young leaders are not so young
future of the charismatic movement. The full stories with each leader—including exclusive podcast interviews—will be available in the Winter Bonus issue of Charisma, available at charismamag.com this February (in place of the traditional February print issue). But based on those conversations, here are five
trends you can expect among tomorrow’s charismatics. 1. The next generation will be more Spirit-filled—in unexpected venues. Since the Azusa Street revival, the Spirit-filled movement has been alive and well—but often not embraced by other denominations. Putty Putman, who founded and oversees the School of Kingdom Ministry in Urbana, Illinois, says previous generations had to pay a big price and face possible ostracism to embrace the gifts of the Spirit. “In the past, it was a real barrier,” Putman says. “You were either part of the Holy Spirit crowd or not part of the Holy Spirit crowd. There wasn’t really much of a gray area there. If you weren’t part of it, you were closed [to the gifts of the Spirit].” But he says that’s changing: “Now it almost feels like the default [among the next generation] is ‘curiously open.’ We’re not so much debating, ‘Are these things real?’ We’re now saying, ‘OK, what level of experience do you have and
do you want?’ Almost everybody takes [the gifts of the Spirit] as a given. It’s just some people really want to walk in a lot of them, and some people are OK with the occasional dose.” How did walking in the gifts of the Spirit go from splitting congregations to “no big deal”? J.J. Vasquez, lead pastor of Journey Church in Winter Park, Florida, says the next generation is more open than ever to the Holy Spirit, thanks to the influence of churches like Hillsong. “What I do see is the message of the Holy Spirit—when it comes to empowering baptism, signs and wonders, miracles—I see that message becoming a lot more accessible to people than it was probably 10 years ago,” Vasquez says. “... I’m excited for the future, because I think people are open to experiencing God in a supernatural way and not just in a way that makes sense to their reason. [That] probably was the message of the generation before. Everything had to make sense, and it had to be reasonable and rational. And the gospel still makes sense. It’s still MESHALI MITCHELL
reasonable. It’s still rational. But I think there’s another dimension that people are really opening up to, and that’s the supernatural.” Jen Ledger, drummer for the Christian rock band Skillet, says God has opened doors for her band to minister in some of the darkest places—and that the Holy Spirit moves in those venues powerfully and in unexpected ways. “Be excited for what God is doing,” Ledger says. “Be excited to see how He reaches into those depths and He touches people’s lives that you would think, They’d never care about this. There’ll be the big, scary guy with tattoos, and all of a sudden he’s crying because God’s touched him. It’s just so wonderful and beautiful and miraculous to be a part of something like that.” And in an interesting twist, because fewer people are opposed to the Holy Spirit, denominational lines and trends matter far less to the next generation. For example, Glenn Packiam, associate senior pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, says his church has been heavily influenced
by the sacramental theology of liturgical and Anglican churches. He sees the two streams as walking in tandem with one another: Spirit and sacrament. “One of the greatest gifts of the charismatic movement to the body of Christ is this conviction that God is at work, even when we can’t see it or can’t feel it,” Packiam says. “God is at work in the midst of the ordinary moments and the ordinary things. Actually, what we’ve stumbled into over the last decade or so is there’s another stream of the body of Christ that tends to say similar things—and that’s this thread of sacramental theology. The idea of sacramental theology is that ordinary things like bread and wine actually become the occasion for an encounter with the presence of God.” Continue to expect more crossover between denominations and movements in the years to come. 2. The next generation of women is ready to lead. Women in leadership have been an integral part of the charismatic movement from the
Bianca Juarez Olthoff
beginning, from Amy Semple McPherson to Kathryn Kuhlman to Marilyn Hickey. The next generation is hungry to walk in those same footsteps. Bianca Juarez Olthoff—who pastors The Father’s House, OC in Orange County, California— says that when she was growing up, the concept of a woman leading was foreign to her, and
the concept of a female pastor felt downright heretical. “My entire life I felt like maybe there was something wrong with me—like I was in the wrong for doing what I felt God had called, equipped and gifted me to do,” Olthoff says. “There is and has been opposition. ... [But] one day when I come face to face with God, and He asks me what I did
with His Son, I want to unashamedly, unabashedly say, ‘I preached Him to anyone who would listen, no matter the age, the stage, the gender, the socioeconomic status.’” That trend looks likely to continue, with men and women alike voicing the need for women to embrace the spiritual gifts God has given them. When Sharon Hodde Miller first told friends she would be serving as the teaching pastor at Bright City Church in Durham, North Carolina, she wasn’t sure if people would judge her for it. Instead, she was blown away by the reaction. “I was shocked by how many people’s eyes just lit up,” Miller says. “They would say, ‘Finally. Finally! We have needed this.’ We
have sat across from men who have openly wept and said, ‘It is time. It is time.’ It feels like the Spirit has been going before us in a lot of ways and just readying hearts for this. ... I don’t think that we’re doing something new. I think we’re trying to restore the radical place that women actually occupied.” Circuit Riders’ Yasmin Pierce says many women simply need to hear they have permission to use their voice and their gifts for God’s glory. “I think for a lot of the young women on college campuses, it’s simply a question of permission a lot of times,” Pierce says. “Do I have permission to step out? Do I have permission to use my voice? And so for us, our job is really easy. It’s really bringing together women, looking at examples in the Bible like Deborah, and saying, ‘Hey, the Lord’s given you permission. You don’t have to wait for someone to give you direct steps on what to do. If your heart is broken for your campus, if your heart is broken for your city, look at these scriptural JON CHERRY
examples where God used women to see a breakthrough, where God used women to see a deliverance, and go for it and step out.’ So [at] our gatherings, the message and the call are very simple in that way. And it’s always astounding, to me and our team, how needed that message of empowerment is for women on campuses.” 3. The next generation will be racially diverse. Racial demographics are changing—not just in the world but in the church. In 2019, Wesley Granberg-Michaelson reported for the Religion News Service that in the last 10 years: Africa has become the continent with the most Christians. White membership in the Assemblies of God has slightly declined, while nonwhite membership increased by 43%. One in five American churchgoers attend a multiracial congregation. Pastor Tyler Burns—vice president of The Witness, a black Christian collective—says the church is rapidly changing, and
“One day when I com
God, and He asked me Son, I want to unasha say, ‘I preached him t listen.’”—Bianca Juar we need to reconsider our biases. “In the American Christian context, the voices of authority are always those who come from our immediate locale—who come from our context, our culture, our country,” he says. “What we need to do is take a step back and say that the average global Christian is a woman of color from the global south, and she is poor, typically. We have to take a step back and say, ‘Why are we privileging [and] elevating voices that come from one context?’ If you elevate voices from one context, you will only get one perspective.” Burns says that for young believers, racial justice and
me face to face with e what I did with His amedly, unabashedly to anyone who would rez Olthoff activism are a key component of God’s call throughout Scripture to carry out justice for the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed. It’s a biblical mandate, on par with loving your neighbor and forgiving one another. That means this is no passing trend for young charismatics. “We do have the Spirit’s power, and that Spirit power gives us the energy and the strength to move in activism to correct the injustice that has been put on those who are oppressed and marginalized,” Burns says. It’s not only minority leaders who are making this issue known. White leaders are seeing the need
for racial justice and making intentional diversity a priority at their churches. Miller says there are steps every church can take to become more diverse. “Read from folks who are talking about this,” Miller says. “Listen to what your brothers and sisters of color are saying, and then really take it seriously. That’s super important. And then, honestly, hire people of color—just that really practical step of hiring people of color and having them on-stage leading is important.” 4. Mental health will be a priority for the next generation. Chelsea Hurst, a Christian YouTube creator and author, says mental health is the biggest issue facing teenagers and young adults today, even in the Christian world. She says she has even struggled with depression herself, which she says only eventually was healed following a combination of therapy and “praying my guts out.” “People are more depressed than ever and are just really seeking to fill that lonely void
they have,” Hurst says. “Although we’re the most connected generation, we are the most disconnected generation because of the invention of social media and how it’s impacted us. ... What I’m hearing all the time [from fans] is, ‘I don’t even know what I believe anymore, because I’m so sad and I’m so lonely. I don’t have any friends in person. The only people I talk to are people in my DMs [direct messages] or on Twitter.’” Perhaps as a result, Blanca—a Christian singer—says the next generation craves greater vulnerability and authenticity from one another. “I think there is a hunger for authenticity and vulnerability and being able to encourage one another through these places, rather than feeling like it might make us a lesser Christian to really be honest about the things we struggle with,” she says. “So I think it’s a beautiful thing because, from my experience, I’ve learned that when I’m able to open up these places to the Lord or to community and people, that’s where true light shines in
“When I started out i
knew an awful lot abo Ten years down the tr anything about leade how stupid I’ve gotte have gone on.”—Andy and healing happens.” Burns says that shining a light on mental health is not just a trendy thing to do—it’s vital to living out Matthew 22:37. “With the mental health issues that we see continuously arising in the church, we’re going to see the importance of taking care of our minds, our emotions, our bodies—everything holistically,” Burns says. “We have to love the Lord with all of us. We bring our full selves even to our ministry. ... We need counselors. We need spiritual directors. We need therapists. We need to be emotionally
in leadership, I out leadership. racks, I don’t know ership. It’s amazing en as the years y Croft healthy while being theologically precise and Spirit-led in our powers as well.” 5. The next generation still needs the wisdom of previous generations. Pastor Andy Croft speaks for many young leaders when he says, “When I started out in leadership, I knew an awful lot about leadership. Ten years down the tracks, I don’t know anything about leadership. It’s amazing how stupid I’ve gotten as the years have gone on.” Though the next generation
may be taking on leadership, they still desperately crave the wisdom and guidance of previous generations. Some lessons only come through decades of ministry—and it’s up to the older generation to teach those lessons. In recent years, Croft became the co-pastor of Soul Survivor Watford, a charismatic Anglican church in the U.K. founded by Mike Pilavachi. Croft says Pilavachi has become a friend and spiritual mentor to him, modeling both wisdom and humility in leadership. “With succession and things like that, there’s so much potential for it to go wrong and there are so many bad examples of it,” Croft says. “The way that Mike and I do it is we do it as friends— and we really are friends. He and I are involved in each other’s lives to a ridiculous extent. ... We prefer each other, and we submit to each other. And that’s one of the reasons why it works very well.” Burns, who pastors New Dimensions Christian Center in Pensacola, Florida, says his
church is in the middle of a transition from his father’s leadership to his. He says sometimes it can be frustrating for both the older and younger generations to work together, but it’s necessary for the body of Christ. “We’re trying to work through what I’m calling generational appreciation—what does it look like to take the best of the past and the best of the future?” Burns says. “To work together in the present to accomplish the vision that God has given to us?
Working through those is going to be tricky. You know, Millennials [and] Generation Z, we must have the patience and honor to sit under older leaders. Older leaders have to have the humility to listen to younger leaders, because we know the landscape. So [there’s] a push and pull.” One way Croft says Pilavachi helps to pave the way for the next generation is by being quick to give Croft praise for things that go right and take the blame himself for things that go wrong.
JOSHUA OLSON i s a freelance writer.
Curious to learn more about tomorrow’s charismatic about young Spirit-filled leaders who are advancing th Watch for the “Tomorrow’s Charismatics” label on st
Croft says it creates an environment where young leaders are safe to try new things, fail and learn from mistakes—rather than being driven out of ministry altogether. The next generation needs spiritual fathers and mothers who can model what true Spirit-filled leadership looks like. “What [Pilavachi has] said to me constantly and what he’s modeled to me in his life is that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness,” Croft says. “We can think from the outside that what
leadership’s about is knowing what you’re doing and having it all together. It’s not that. ... Leadership is about intimacy with the Lord and obedience to His voice, and trusting that anything that is of eternal worth is going to come as He works through you.” ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: If you liked this story, you can read more about the next generation at tomorrow. charismamag.com.
cs? Good news! This year, each issue will have a story he kingdom and doing ministry in exciting new ways. tories, starting in the March 2020 issue of Charisma.
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 mo often translated to authority happen 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, ho 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 Gree word defines both of them! Howev sometimes it translates differently.
t ow e
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. Trilogy Christian Publishing, a subsidiary of TBN â&#x20AC;˘ 800-473-5106
God cares about your health. Do you? Watch as Dr. Don Colbert discusses the Keto Zone diet on Daystar and how to properly care for the body God gave you!
The Case f
When it comes to fasting, modern medicine is catchi up to what believers have been saying for millennia BY DON COLBERT, M.D.
GET T Y IMAGES/ISTOCK-KARINA URMANTSEVA
asting is often thought of as taking nothing by mouth. Technically speaking, this is true, but it’s not the type of fasting I suggest for detoxification. I consider total fasting—not eating or drinking anything—to be unsafe. Your body must receive at least two to three quarts of water a day to sustain your life, for you can live for only a few days without water. Although there are many ways to fast, the kind of fast that will bring about the optimum health benefits described here is a partial fast. This type of fasting provides fantastic health benefits. For example: »»Fasting gives a restorative rest to your digestive tract. »»Fasting helps the body’s designed healing processes to automatically work by giving them a chance to rest from other activities. »»This rest from “digestion as usual” in turn allows your overburdened liver to catch up with its task of detoxification. »»Your blood and lymphatic
system also receive needed cleansing of toxic buildup through fasting. »»Fasting allows your other digestive organs, including the stomach, pancreas, intestines and gallbladder, a much-deserved rest, which allows your cells time to heal, repair and be strengthened. A powerful, natural way to bring relief to your body from the burden of excess toxicity, fasting is also a safe way to heal and prevent degenerative diseases. As you can see from the list above, the primary way that fasting allows your body to heal is by giving it a rest.
The Principle of Rest
As with all living things, you need to rest. Sleeping is not the only kind of rest you need. Your digestive system and other organs need a rest from their work as well. This understanding of the human need for rest is not new to mankind. God introduced the principle of a Sabbath rest to His ancient Jewish nation. It is one of the Ten Commandments
(Ex. 20:8). Israel was given specific instructions regarding this divine command to work six days and rest on the seventh day of each week. This principle of rest was important as well to their agricultural system. The Israelites were commanded to allow their fields to lie fallow every seventh year to give the soil the rest it
nutrients that our bodies crave for health. And chemical fertilizers do not succeed in giving us the abundant mineral content of healthy soil. It is interesting to note that in the animal kingdom, it is a natural habit to seek rest and to abstain from food, especially when the animal is sick or injured. A sick animal refuses
â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you are overweight and even
significantly obese, partial fasting can help bring your body back to the normal, healthy size that God intended.â&#x20AC;? needed to reestablish its own mineral and nutrient content. (See Lev. 25:1â&#x20AC;&#x201C;7.) Today a decreasing number of modern farmers are following this biblical agricultural principle of resting the soil. As a result, the soil has become depleted of some of the minerals and other
to eat and finds a place to rest where it can lap up water and be safe. Some animals hibernate, resting for an entire season without eating. Rest is also a powerful principle of healing for the human body and psyche. Every night as you sleep, you are providing refreshing
rest for your mind and body, which aids health in a tremendous way. Sleep deprivation is a commonly known form of torture, emphasizing the fact of our innate need for rest. Fasting may be considered an internal rest for the body, allowing it to restore stamina and energy to vital organs by activating the marvelous selfcleansing system with which it is designed.
The Physical Benefits of Fasting
When you fast regularly, your body will enjoy some of these general benefits. 1. Increasing energy and mental clarity. Cellular toxins and free radicals impair the mitochondria (the energy factories in each cell), hindering them from producing energy effectively. As a result, you may suffer fatigue, irritability and lethargy. But when you fast, you allow your cells to shed many toxins so they can again produce the energy you need. Along with increased energy, you will most likely enjoy improved mental functioning as
your body cleanses, repairs and rejuvenates its cells, including those in your brain. 2. Boosting your immune system. Short-term fasting will also boost your immune system, which will help prevent disease and illness and give you a longer life. Along with an improved quality of life, you will discover that fasting even makes you look better. Your skin will eventually become clearer, giving you radiance you have not known since your youth. The whites of your eyes will usually become clearerâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;they may even sparkle. 3. Restoring natureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s delicate balance. When your bodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tissues are too acidic, precious minerals are lost in the urine, and cells become less permeable, which means they are unable to excrete waste products effectively. In a sense, your cells become constipated; they may be full of waste and cannot eliminate it efficiently. As the cells become more and more toxic, free-radical activity increases, and the toxic overload continues to build until your body starts to deteriorate, and degenerative diseases occur. However, fasting brings back the natural
balance. It alkalinizes and raises the pH of the tissues. This enables the cells to excrete toxins again and begins the process of detoxifying your body from head to toe. 4. Helping you lose weight. Fasting frees your body not only of disease-causing chemicals but also of toxic fat. If you are overweight and even significantly obese, partial fasting can help bring your body back to the normal, healthy size that God intended. A regular, sensible fasting or detox program can slim you down very quickly, and you will also experience the more important benefit of reducing the fatty areas in your body where dangerous toxins and chemicals are usually stored.
When You Should Not Fast Some health conditions prohibit fasting for certain
individuals. Major conditions that prevent you from fasting includeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;but are not limited toâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;pregnancy and nursing, surgery, severe liver and kidney disease, mental illness, cardiac arrhythmia, congestive heart failure and type 1 diabetes. In addition, as a physician, I try to help wean my patients off most of their medications prior to supervising a fast for them. Please consult your physician before considering a fast. Finally, children under the age of 18 should not follow a strict juice fast unless they are closely monitored by a physician. Whether physical conditions prevent you from fasting or not, there are steps everyone can take to improve intestinal health and establish a healthy eating plan. I recommend that everyone do
DON COLBERT, M.D., has been a board-certified family practice doctor Texas. He is also a New York Timesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; bestselling author.
the following: »»Always avoid overeating. »»Reinoculate the bowel with supplements containing friendly bacteria: lactobacillus acidophilus for the small intestines and bifidobacteria for the large intestine. These good bacteria can also help prevent damage to the lining of the GI tract, thus maintaining normal intestinal permeability. »»Refrain from excessive eating before bedtime. »»Determine to decrease the stress in your life, especially when eating, by choosing to eat in a relaxed, peaceful atmosphere. »»Stock your pantry with health-first items, and eliminate processed, refined, devitalized and sugary foods. »»Take a good fiber supplement such as psyllium husk powder or keto zone fiber.
IF YOU LIKED THE ARTICLE, YOU’LL LOVE THE BOOK Fasting is more than a dietary choice— it’s a spiritual tool. Learn how to use it to reset your body and transform your health.
Fasting and establishing healthy eating plans are the first two steps to help you feel and look better than you have in years. However, to keep your body detoxified from the harmful toxins in our world, you will usually have to fast repeatedly to detoxify the body and achieve vibrant health. Regular fasting is a healthy, biblical way to cleanse your body and soul.
for more than 25 years in Orlando, Florida, and most recently in Dallas,
Fasting is more than a dietary choice. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a spiritual tool. Dr. Don Colbert shows you how to detoxify your body and rejuvenate your spirit. www.fastingzonebook.com
Available Online and Where Books Are Sold Fasting is more than a dietary choice. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s
www.CharismaHouse.com a spiritual tool. Dr. Don Colbert shows you how to detoxify your body and rejuvenate
your spirit. www.fastingzonebook.com
Reckless Love The writer of the hit worship song breaks down the theology behind the lyrics BY CORY ASBURY
You’ve likely heard Cory Asbury’s hit song “Reckless Love.” But have you seen the live version where Asbury shares a powerful word from the Lord about His love? Watch it here!
hen I wrote “Reckless Love,” I had no idea it would go on to be one of the most popular Christian songs in recent history. I had no idea it would go viral in a matter of hours after hitting YouTube. I had no idea it would break Billboard records and receive numerous Dove Awards and even a Grammy nomination. I had no idea it would become the most frequently sung worship song in the church worldwide—and certainly no idea its theology would be so hotly debated. I just knew those lyrics were exactly what my heart needed to sing to the Father in that particular season of my life. When I sent the demo to my (now) manager at Bethel Music, I included the note, “I think I just penned my opus.” While I had no idea my “opus” would be so widely received, I knew it was born from the depths of my being, from the very core of my raw, imperfect but beautiful walk with the Father.
At that point in my life, I was so hyper acquainted with my own brokenness that the reality of God’s desire and love for me even in that vulnerable place was absolutely wrecking me (in the best way possible). He kept showing up at the doorstep of my heart when I least expected it: after another loss in the battle against lust, after blowing up at my kids (undoubtedly over something inconsequential), after yet another fight with my wife (in which I was undeniably in the wrong). It seemed as if I just couldn’t outrun His grace, and I couldn’t “outfall” His kindness. In that place of surrender to His goodness, the refrain of the chorus was born: “Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.” These words were the banner over my very existence. Isn’t it just like God to use a season like mine to birth a song that heals a multitude? Isn’t it just like God to turn disappointments into dance floors? He really is better than we’ve imagined. I’m constantly overwhelmed by His tenderness in my life.
“God’s longing to be loved isn’t a
suspension of His power; it’s evidence of the incomprehensible fury of His love.”
I’ve received tens of thousands of emails and messages about how the song has touched people’s lives. One of my favorite testimonies came on the day Justin Bieber sang the song on his social media platforms. Boy, did my phone blow up that day. I was inundated with messages from friend and foe alike excitedly telling me that Bieber had sung my song. To be honest with you, I completely freaked out too. I didn’t expect to be so giddy and starstruck, but I was. That day, I received thousands of messages from random people who had heard the song because of Bieber’s posts. The one that impacted me the most came from a young man who was planning to commit suicide that very night. When he heard Bieber singing the words to my song, the Father came close and spoke sonship and belonging over him. He gave his life to God that same day and was saved. It’s amazing what Jesus can do with just a little tune, huh? I’ve been asked countless times how and why I would choose to use a word like “reckless” to describe the love of God. Some
critics have been gracious, and some have been less than gracious (to put it lightly). While I understand that my choice of words is undoubtedly bold, I believe in a God whose love is infinitely beyond the bounds of our English Rolodex of descriptors, a God who lives so far outside the confines of human language that words fail to describe even the edges of His complexity. At the height of the controversy surrounding the song in 2018, it seemed as if its opponents made it their goal to disprove the idea of God’s reckless love. I can’t tell you how many internet blogs, news articles and social media posts tagged me in their publications. Looking at it in retrospect, I believe most people who took offense at the word fall into two main camps.
People in the first camp hold the notion that nothing can happen outside God’s foreknowledge (since He’s omniscient); therefore, none of His actions could ever be deemed reckless. These people would call Jesus’ death on the cross
“calculated” and “intentional.” I would offer this rebuttal: Jesus knew Lazarus would rise again in John 11, yet He still wept for Him. Why? Because omniscience (or precognition) doesn’t negate the pain of the foreseen event. In other words, just because you know something painful is going to happen in the future doesn’t mean it’s not going to hurt when it does. We must remember: Jesus was fully God and fully man, which means, like us, He carried the capacity for deep emotion— empathy, sadness, sorrow and suffering. Describing the cross as calculated because it was always part of His plan doesn’t make it any less grueling. It would be like knowing you are going to the dentist tomorrow to get a root canal— without anesthesia. Just because you’ve got it on the calendar doesn’t mean it’s not going to hurt like crazy. So while the adjectives “calculated” and “intentional” are certainly true of our Savior’s work at Calvary, they don’t intrinsically preclude the application of the word “reckless.” In other words, someone
could be “intentionally reckless.” Allow me to illustrate this idea in two analogies. In the first, a father named Richard plans to surprise his son, Jesse, with the gift of a lifetime: a brand-new car for his 16th birthday. For the sake of making this illustration more relatable (and more dramatic), let’s say this car is a red Lamborghini Aventador S. This model retails for almost half a million dollars, but hey, Richard really loves his son, you know? At first glance, do you as an outside observer think it is wise of Richard to give his son such an expensive vehicle at such a young age? Do you think it’s a sensible thing to do? I suggest that, in light of what we know about the general temperament of most teenagers, it is not sensible. Plus, the latest data tells us the leading cause of teen death is accidental injuries, such as car-crash injuries. Perhaps the 740-horsepower engine of the Lamborghini might tempt Jesse to drive a little faster than the speed limit one night. What if he gets careless with his friends and loses his life in a tragic
accident? Was the car a wasted gift? Was it just a foolish gesture? Again, I’d like to suggest that it was not. You see, God doesn’t give gifts according to our ability to steward them perfectly or on our worthiness to receive them. Neither did the father in this story. God gives according to one criterion—His
In this scenario, a newly married young couple, James and Rachel, just found out they’re pregnant with their first child—a little boy. Sadly, James isn’t as excited as he should be at the news. You see, he was sexually abused as a child and still hasn’t found the courage to tell his wife. The shame of his prior experience
“God is too wonderful for
prose, too beautiful for poetry and too brilliant for love songs. He is altogether indescribable.” ridiculous kindness. He hands out good gifts left and right like it is Christmas morning all year round because it’s just who He is. It’s His nature; He cannot be any other way. His character is overflow. There’s no caution in His kindness; there’s only lavishness. Our second illustration examines one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity: the gift of children.
clouds his ability to feel the hope and joy that should accompany such a mountaintop moment. He’s scared, and rightly so. Bringing a child into this world is a weighty thing. James worries that he’s going to fall into the unfortunate patterns of his childhood and end up hurting his son. Now let’s ponder something. Is it foolish for God to allow James—a
broken, sinful human being with a less than perfect past—to bring a child into this world? Probably. I mean, if anyone is acquainted with humanity’s propensity for darkness, it’s Almighty God. Yet He affords James the gift of a child anyway because He’s just that good. Is there not a strong possibility that James might affect the life of his little boy in a negative way? Absolutely. But what if God in His infinite wisdom knows this is a divine opportunity for healing and redemption? What if God knows this is where the power of the cross can purify James’ past and send his shame packing once and for all? What if becoming a dad could somehow heal the scars of his childhood? Did God think through the vast number of outcomes for this father-son relationship? Has He predestined it, or does James have a choice in the matter? I believe James has a choice, and his choice is the canvas on which to display his gratitude for God’s “foolish” gift, His intentionally reckless display of love. Therein lies the beauty of the entire equation of
life: God lets us choose how we’ll respond to His preposterous mercy, to His scandalous grace. Almost overlooked amid all the trappings of the Father’s generosity, our free will might be the greatest and most reckless gift of all.
This leads to our second camp of opponents: those who say God’s love can’t be reckless because their associations with the word “reckless” are negative. In other words, since the word typically carries negative connotations, it can’t be ascribed to God because He’s altogether positive. Consider this: Scripture says that God is a jealous God, yet “Thou shalt not covet” (Ex. 20:17a, KJV) is one of the Ten Commandments. How can this “paradox” be? The answer is that word association does not equal word definition. Preconceived notions of a word—positive or negative—do not determine that word’s function or meaning. The idea that God could be reckless in His pursuit of humanity also threw many people off. They
Cory his s
felt it implied that He needed our affection in return—and obviously the God who has everything doesn’t need anything. In their estimation, this notion painted God as weak, whiny, whimpering and love-scorned. It made Him look
needy, and most Christians—especially those only outwardly familiar with the Jesus of the Bible—prickle at this notion, because to them, God is only ever big, strong and barrel-chested. But God—the same God who
y Asbury and son, Gabriel
created heaven and earth—gives Himself away in desperate hopes that we’ll return His love. He is that vulnerable and humble, and His heart is that tender. It’s not weakness as many misperceive. God’s longing to be
loved isn’t a suspension of His power; it’s evidence of the incomprehensible fury of His love. A. W. Tozer says it like this: “[God] waits to be wanted.” He’s not a sad schoolgirl wallowing like a wallflower at the high school dance; He’s a Father, fierce in love, coming after His sons and daughters with reckless abandon. To support the second camp’s position that a negative word can’t characterize God, a lot of articles and blog posts cited synonyms for “reckless” in an attempt to discredit the song. They cherry-picked the words that served their purpose while neglecting the others. The inexactness of this logic is quite shocking. It reminds me of arguments I often see on social media—usually between Christians and non-Christians—in which the debaters pick and choose which Scriptures they want to use as ammunition for their empty squabbles, regardless of the actual context of the verses. Just for fun, here are a few synonyms for “reckless” using the same (dubious) method: audacious, carefree, daring, adventurous,
headlong, wild, adventuresome. And here are a few antonyms: afraid, careful, cautious, reserved, shy, discreet, timid, wary, fearful. I don’t know about you, but I don’t serve a God who’s anything close to afraid, fearful, shy, timid or reserved. My God is wild, full of life and much more like a lion than a domesticated cat. This exercise demonstrates that our vocabulary is too limited to describe an ineffable God, a mysterious God who lives outside of time and space. The God who created the cosmos and its languages cannot be contained within their
constructs. We seek words that fall infinitely short of the Creator of the universe. Yet as writers and artists, we still have a responsibility to make Him known, both as descriptively and as precisely as possible. Our language is too feeble, yet we must try. We find ourselves smack-dab in the middle of a glorious quandary. God is too wonderful for prose, too beautiful for poetry and too brilliant for love songs. He is altogether indescribable. Lifetimes could be wasted trying to create something worthy of His incomparable splendor, and they would be
CORY ASBURY is a songwriter and worship leader who joined the Bethel M artist-in-residence at Radiant Church, located near Kalamazoo, Michigan,
wasted most nobly. My friend, Glenn Packiam, said it best: “The point of using the word ‘reckless’ is that it shows us that by all accounts, God’s loving us was not what we’d call a wise investment. We were a risk, even a waste. Yet He loved us anyway. New Testament scholar John Barclay calls this ‘the incongruity of grace’—God’s love for us is not congruent with our worth or our state. From conventional wisdom, it is reckless. A reckless use of money is to give an inheritance to someone who squanders it; it’s to give a feast to someone who
MORE INFORMATION In this 40-day journey, Asbury delves into the heart of his popular song, sharing its underlying themes and the stories behind it.
deserves to starve; it’s to give a robe and a ring to someone who should be wearing a ball and chain. But the wisdom of God is foolishness to the world. And the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of the world. Thanks be to God!”
Music Collective in May 2015. He serves as a worship pastor and and leads worship at events across the globe.
Be Bold Be Courageous
Wear Scriptures strives to create Holy Spirit Inspired designs for clothing and accessories. These designs encourage Christians to be bold and courageous; to stand up for righteousness, the truth and for God’s Word and speak truth to the culture. God’s Word is still the fina Authority. God is calling for His people to be His voice in the earth. God’s Word is not chained. The voice of the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
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The Wormwood Prophecy Thomas Horn Charisma House In Revelation 8:10-11, John sees a vision of a “great star from heaven, burning like a torch,” crashing into and poisoning one-third of all bodies of water. But what exactly does this mysterious prophecy mean for those of us on planet Earth? Is it a harbinger of an asteroid, a fallen angel or even an environmental catastrophe? Bestselling author Thomas Horn digs deep into biblical prophecy and scholarly research to uncover the meaning behind this apocalyptic judgment. Don’t let the end times catch you unprepared.
Photo caption ibusapienis illorias Thomas Horn
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Firm Foundation Selah Integrity Music Selah has been making music for more than two decades, and the trio’s not stopping anytime soon. The band’s 11th studio album features a matching 11 new songs. Selah’s Todd Smith says the album title was inspired by our current cultural moment: “We are in a culture—kind of like in the days of Noah—where we’re living our own truth, doing what’s right in our own eyes, and yet there’s such a hunger from people to know that there is absolute truth. There is this firm foundation in Scripture. There’s this firm foundation in who Jesus is.”
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Losing My V
Mark Stuart with Thomas Nelson Are you playin your life to other rather than faith? to any of those q Stuart, former le tian rock band A relate to your fee says these thoug I have or be enou Losing My Voice the highs and low the rise of Audio his singing voice and the new pur Though Stuart at singing, he say wanted him to e or become a mis “made more sen logic,” Stuart say lot of blind faith becoming a mus “I could pursu wasn’t the life I w
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Voice to Find It Roger W. Thompson
ng it safe, comparing rs or living by logic ? If you answered yes questions, then Mark ead singer for the ChrisAudio Adrenaline, can elings. Ultimately, he ghts stem from fear: Will ugh? In his new memoir, e to Find It, Stuart shares ws of his life, including o Adrenaline, the loss of e, the end of his marriage rpose God gave him. t knew he excelled ys he thought God either join the Air Force ssionary. The Air Force nse. It followed a path of ys. After all, it requires a to go down the path of sical artist. ue the academy, but it was supposed to live,”
Stuart writes. “I knew that entering the Air Force would be running from the platform I’d been praying for since I was a young kid. The biggest and best lives we can live are the ones that scare us to death. ... Still, I couldn’t believe that God would give me the desires of my heart.” Stuart also wrestled with comparison. After seeing his parents sacrifice by moving to Haiti to get their hands dirty and serve the poor, he questioned the desire God put in his heart to be a musician. “The real reason I didn’t pursue it was that I felt guilty about it,” he writes. “Mom and Dad found a deep joy in serving and through it, I could see the evidence of Jesus in their lives. Even though I felt the same kind of joy in music, being in a band didn’t feel as important as what they were doing. I believed there was no way God would want me to do something as insignificant as play music instead of ... being a missionary.” But after a trip to Haiti, Stuart pursued music hardcore. His mom
MARK STUART/DAVID BRAUD
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encouraged him, “Don’t you start limiting what God can do with your life.” And he could not have imagined what God had in store. He and the other members of a band called “A-180” met a fellow student at Kentucky Christian College, Bob Herdman, who had a knack for writing lyrics. Herdman ran sound for them and eventually offered to help them record two rapmetal songs he had written, but under a new band name: “Audio Adrenaline.” Herdman’s style was nothing like what the band had done before or wanted to do, but they went for it. One of the new songs, “My God,” reached No. 4 on the music charts and soon played on radios across the country. Four confused kids found themselves signing a record deal as Audio Adrenaline, a band they knew nothing about that played music they knew
nothing about making. Notably, Losing My Voice to Find It also demonstrates how a dream come true doesn’t mean life will always work out. Stuart’s marriage eventually fell apart, and a disorder called spasmodic dysphonia so damaged his vocal cords that he had to take medication to temporarily heal them—and eventually lost his singing voice altogether. “Control is an illusion brought on by pride,” he writes. “Whether by will or by force, it’s when our control is gone that we truly experience God.” Ultimately, God brought Stuart’s experiences in the mission field full circle. Today he helps lead Audio Adrenaline’s ministry, the Hands and Feet Project, to advocate for vulnerable children in Haiti. In an interview for the C-Pop podcast on the Charisma
For more reviews, teachings and resources, click here.
Podcast Network, Stuart says he hopes readers will learn God is always with them and working on their behalf, even when it doesn’t feel that way. “I believe that God actually touched my voice, and He moved me from being a rock star or being a guy on the stage leading a band to being a voice for kids,” Stuart says. “It was painful. I couldn’t see where He was taking me. I felt abandoned at times by Him. But as I look back, I know exactly what He was doing now, moving me into a new season. My advice is to stick with God. Lean in and trust Him in those hard times.” Through all the ups and downs of his life, Stuart’s resolve to continue clinging to his faith reminds us all to persevere and to listen to God’s voice when life throws us the inevitable curveball. We live by faith, knowing
He will provide what we need. Losing My Voice to Find It makes a great read for anyone struggling in their faith, career, family life, health or other areas. Hope endures.—Kendra Semmen
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S P I R I T- L E D Resources
I Choose Peace
Doug Bender Thomas Nelson I Choose Peace is the book version of the popular I Am Second videos, in which Christian artists, celebrities and leaders share their testimonies of how God changed their lives. In I Choose Peace, Doug Bender guides readers through 16 short stories of love, peace, courage, hope and identity. Hear true stories from Chip and Joanna Gaines, Eric Metaxas, Phil and Kay Robertson, Albert Pujols, Shawn Johnson and many more.
Carol McLeod Whitaker House Why do you matte most important ques will grapple with at o and yet few people s answer. But God mad identity, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time world and stress dist why. Speaker Carol M Significant how to be grace, peace and unm
er? It’s perhaps the stion every person one time or another, say they have the de you with a unique e to stop letting the tract you from your McLeod teaches in ecome a woman of matched purpose.
For more reviews, teachings and resources, click here.
Discernment Jane Hamon Chosen/Baker Publishing Group Are you ready to gain the advantage against powers and principalities? Then it’s time to take your discernment to the next level. Jane Hamon, senior leader of Vision Church in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, explains what the gift of discernment is. She writes, “Discernment is not a sideline issue with God but is the very manifestation of the counsel of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.”
everything about their standing with God and their eternal destiny, but for Sharing the simplicity that is in Christ some reason their thoughts and desires are as unrighteous as ever. “This is just THE MIND AND THE HEART normal,” they are told, “You will not see ecently, Bro Leroy Surface shared the manifestation of being a new creature a dream in which he saw a until you have gone through the process congregation of people worshipping of ‘renewing your mind.’” God. As he listened more closely he So the process begins of reprograming realized something was very strange. The our “data processor.” Start deleting the words they spoke and the music they sang bad and inputting in the good. Principles, to were very beautiful, but their voices precepts, confessions and more. The were mechanical, such as how robotic list of “recovery programs” seems to voices were portrayed in 70s and 80s increase by the day. It all makes sense. movies. There was no true worship at all. The mind must be “reprogramed” before It was all training. It was all programmed the good fruit of Christ can be manifest like it was generated by a computer. in our experience as it ought to be. There Many view the human mind as basically seems to be only one dissenting voice to an highly advanced data processor. If you this view of the mind. It belongs to one input good data, you get good results out named Jesus of Nazareth. of it. If you input bad data, you get bad Jesus said, “For from within, out of the results. There are certain truths to this heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, view of the mind, and in limited measure adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, it can be proven in every area of society, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, but an accumulation of “many truths” do lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, not add up to “the truth,” which Jesus pride, foolishness: All these evil things said “shall make you free” John 8:32. come from within, and defile the man.” As a whole, the church has embraced Mark 7:21-23. He is clear that “evil this same view of the Christian mind. thoughts” in the mind are not merely a When a person makes a profession of result of incorrect data input. The things faith in Jesus Christ, they are immediately declared by the church to be a new creation in Christ Jesus. They are told Simply Christ is sent weekly via em they are now righteous in the eyes of God To request your free book or subscr and will never be judged for their sins. to: Behold the Lamb Publications This profession has supposedly changed
that work in your mind proceed from your heart. In fact, everything that defiles a person comes from their heart … and not their mind. The nature of sin in the heart is like a generator, which produces the evil which is stored there. The heart distributes its contents to the mouth, the mind, the hands and the eyes. It fills the entire person with what it possesses. This will never change until sin in the heart is “taken away.” John 1:29. Jesus confirms this saying again, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Luke 6:45. What you speak, what you think and what you do, all depend upon what is stored in your heart. You can attempt to change your speech, your thoughts and your actions, but these endeavors are only the “filthy rags” of human “righteousness-es” Isaiah 64:6 if the heart has not been washed from sin by the blood of Christ. Yet when your heart is changed, everything changes. This also includes your words, your thoughts and your actions. The terms of redemption were revealed when God said, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an
mail to believers around the world.
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s, P.O. Box 750 Porter, TX 77365
heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” Ezekiel 36:26-27. This is what happens in true salvation. You have a different “generator” within. It is a new heart. It is Christ in you! This receiving a new heart is not a process. It is the miracle of salvation! According to the Apostle Peter, the hearts of Cornelius and those with him were purified by faith in the moment they believed, immediately before the Holy Ghost fell upon them. Acts15:8-9. A child of God is not made up of the data that is programmed into them. They are new creatures, with a new heart, a new spirit, and the life of God springs up from within, filling their entire being!
The Faith of Christ
S P I R I T- L E D Resources
The WTA Group On June 17, 2015, nine African-Americans were murdered in a shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, one of the nation’s oldest black churches and civil rights hubs. Emanuel tells the stories of those victims, their families and how the aftermath of that tragedy ultimately brought hope to a divided community. The documentary was executive produced by NBA star Stephen Curry and Academy Award winner Viola Davis.
Lionsgate A young man is for hometown after his d professional baseball a deadly accident for sider everything he’s a mysterious strange a better future. This a Christian film is Dove 12-plus, which makes family’s next movie n Kakos, Jason London
rced to return to his dreams of playing l fail to pan out. Then rces him to reconbuilt his life on, and er gives him hope for all-new inspirational e-approved for ages s it perfect for your night. It stars John Paul n and E. Roger Mitchell.
For more reviews, teachings and resources, click here.
Overcomer Affirm Films Alex Kendrick stars as a basketball coach whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s reassigned to lead the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s struggling cross-country team and its only member, a young girl named Hannah. By the end, both the characters and the viewers will learn a powerful lesson about finding their identity in Christ. The DVD and Blu-ray editions of Overcomer come packed with loads of deleted scenes, featurettes and interesting behind-thescenes content made just for fans.
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PERSPECTIVE BY STEPHEN STRANG
A Call to Prayer and Action
Don’t let laziness overtake you during this critical election
y new book God, Trump and the 2020 Election releases in mid-January. My feature earlier in this issue gave an overview of what is at stake for Christians in this election. As we enter a new year and a new political season, the body of Christ must focus on prayer as never before. The Bible says to pray for those in authority so we may live quiet and peaceful lives in all godliness (1 Tim. 2:2). Elsewhere it says that “if My people ... will ... pray ... and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chr. 7:14). It’s hard to document and
measure spiritual th lions of people have groups large and sm a shift in the very se in America. One “prayer wa Colbert started the Prayer Call” in 2016 one of the earliest v believers to pray fo Trump. The movem has not diminished election. (Mary is a mine and the wife o bert, one of our mo authors. You can fin the prayer calls at m nation-builders-pra
hings, but mile been praying in mall, believing for erious situation
arrior” named Mary e daily “National 6, making her voices urging or President Donald ment she started since Trump’s good friend of of Dr. Don Colost successful nd out more about marycolbert.us/ ayer-host.)
Recently Mary had a powerful insight, as I explain in my book, about what it means for believers to “turn from their wicked ways,” as 2 Chronicles 7:14 states, so God would “hear from heaven and ... heal their land.” The answer comes during the parable of the talents, in which three servants are given talents. Two servants invest their talents and are called “good and faithful.” But the third servant, fearing he’d get in trouble if he lost what he’d been given, does nothing. The master calls him “wicked” (Matt. 25:14-30). Mary believes that Christians who “do nothing” because they fear being ridiculed as politically incorrect are “wicked” and must repent. T I M K E L LY
“The Scripture says, ‘You wicked, lazy servant’ [Matt. 25:26, NIV], so literally in God’s eyes, the wicked and lazy are synonymous,” Mary observes. As it is often said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” I believe Mary’s focus on the 2020 election is important, including her new strategy to pray for the Democratic Party—a party many white evangelicals have given up on, as is evident by 81% of them voting for Donald Trump in 2016. One day in prayer, Mary says she felt the Lord tell her that He set up a two-party system—Democrat and Republican—for a balance of power. The reason, she believes, is that if one party had absolute power, it would be absolutely corrupt. And while God favors neither party, one has drifted from godly principles and gone so far as to even take mention of God out of its platform. Yet there are righteous Democrats such as Fernando Cabrera, a non-denominational pastor from the
Bronx who has bee York City Council fo running in the Dem against Congresswo Ocasio-Cortez, an a In November, I inter my podcast on the cast Network. This total of more than 2 and that episode w most popular.
“We must be li Jesus even as w for the soul of
In 2019, Mary be righteous people in Party who will stand values. Impossible? way, considering th documents how the has almost gone of Mary believes God pray for the Democ
STEPHEN STRANG i s founder of Charisma. He believes God, Trump an
tian books are sold, is his most important book. Listen to his new podc
en on the New or 10 years and is mocratic primary oman Alexandria avowed socialist. rviewed him for Charisma Podyear I’ve had a 2 million listeners, was among the
ike the gentle we fight battles f our nation.”
egan to pray for n the Democratic d for biblical ? It may seem that he way my book e Democratic Party ff the rails. But wants believers to cratic Party.
PODCAST Stay current by listening to interviews with today’s headliners conducted by Charisma’s founder, Stephen Strang. Download at CPNSHOWS.COM
The Bible says, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26, MEV). So we can pray, but we must work and vote too. God’s people are called to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). We must be like the gentle Jesus even as we fight battles for the soul of our nation. So I encourage you to get registered to vote if you haven’t already and to encourage others to do the same. Get involved in your local community and help turn the tide. I believe there is still hope for the future. But we must act now. None of this matters if you don’t vote. Other generations rose up to meet the challenge. The question is, will we? We cannot assume that others will do it. The point of my book is that Trump can’t win without our help. Each of us must do our part. God demands no less.
nd the 2020 Election (Charisma House), available wherever Chriscast by the same name on the Charisma Podcast Network. T I M K E L LY
JOCELYN WHITFIELD ANNOUNCES PU ‘BROKEN AND DIVIDED: AMERICA AND
The book, ‘Broken and Divided: America and the Church” explores ten hindrance that may interfere with the Church’s (Body of Christ) effectiveness in today’s worl and fulfilling the Great Commission. It also examines why the Church is minimal fulfilling the Great Commission here in America and why it appears weak, powerless, and impotent when it is the most powerful force in the earth. The boo challenges the Church to forsake its personal agendas, doctrines, theologies, and racial preferences and take up the cause of Christ reflecting Who Christ is - displaying His love for all people, demonstrating His power to deliver, and presenting His Kingdom of righteousness, justice and peace to a broken world.
You may think that this book criticizes Christianity or the Church as it is today. You are right; in some ways it does just that. However, my purpose is not only to challenge our thinking about how we represent God in the world, but also to spur us to become a part of the biblical notion of the Church—the bride for which Christ will return one day.
The Church (Body of Christ) still has time to impact this world for Christ. America and the world are waiting for us-waiting for God’s Ambassadors, His messengers of peace and counsel, His vessels of Love to show the way. The Church has work to do but I still believe the greatest hour of the Church is before us. We will be th Light and the Salt of this world. We will change the course of this Nation. We will see the Kingdom of this world become the Kingdom of our God and we will be the ones who will unveil God’s Kingdom to this world. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jocelyn Whitfield has served over 30 years as a ministry leader local churches and in public service. She is also a conference, retreat convener and workshop speaker. She is the author of several books: The Better than Abundance Life,” “St Slaves Today- Working Together to Alleviate Poverty,” “Women of Faith Achieving their Dream” and “Made in His Image to Live for His Glory.” VISIT WWW.JOCELYNWHITFIELD-LIVINGTHEOPTIMALLIFE.COM EMAIL JOCELYN7266@GMAIL.COM | CALL 410-312-0738
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