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CHARISMA ®

LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

JUNE 2018

expect breakthrough Mike Hutchings has seen thousands healed of trauma through prayer.


CONTENTS June 2018/Volume 43, Number 11

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DEPARTMENTS Your Feedback 6 Inspire 16 Megachurch pastor’s demonstration of generosity makes national news. Pentecostal churches are changing a gang-infested country.

Restore My Soul

Empower 60

By Jessilyn Justice

Reviews: Steffany Gretzinger’s Blackout and Franklin Graham’s Through My Father’s Eyes.

God is using evangelist Mike Hutchings of the God Heals PTSD Foundation to minister healing to people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

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Revival in the North The Holy Spirit is moving powerfully in a small Canadian church, drawing people from miles around to be saved, delivered and healed. By Natalie Gillespie

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Miracle Garden Visitors to a Scripture-based sculpture garden in Texas experience salvation, healing and other miracles. By Max Greiner Jr.

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Cinderella Story A former Disney World princess rewrites her destiny after she aborts her child to keep her dream job.

David the Great David learned that being a man after God’s own heart meant living life open and submitted to His will and timing—no matter how long it took to become king.

By Deanna Falchook

By Dr. Mark Rutland

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An Unthinkable Conversation Adopt the radical honesty of the woman at the wall and experience the extraordinary in your walk with Christ. By Mia K. Wright

COLUMNS 8 Greenelines

Discover the secret to a distraction-free life. By Dr. Steve Greene

10 Fire in My Bones

Don’t fall into the trap of prophecy chasing. By J. Lee Grady

12 Things to Come

It’s not too late to turn the tide in America. By James Robison

14 Straight Talk

Exercise your faith and follow your dreams. By Joyce Meyer

66 Perspective

We want a spiritually great nation. By Stephen Strang

Charisma (ISSN #0895-156X) is published monthly by Charisma Media, 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746. Periodicals postage paid at Lake Mary, FL 32746 and at additional entry offices. Canada Post International Publications Mail Product (Canadian Distribution) Sales Agreement Number 40037127. Subscription rate is $24.97 for 12 issues, $39.97 for 24 issues. Canadian subscribers add $24 per year for postage, other countries add $36 per year, payable in advance in U.S. currency only. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to P.O. Box 6102, Harlan, IA 51593-1602. Send undeliverable Canadian mail to: 1415 Janette Avenue, Windsor, ON N8X 1Z1. © 2018 by Charisma Media. For advertising information call 407-333-0600. Nothing that appears in Charisma may be reprinted without permission. PRINTED IN THE USA

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FEATURES

COVER: LIGHTSTOCK; GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK/PROXYMINDER

Samuel Rodriguez’s Shake Free, Randy Clark’s Eyewitness to Miracles and Pure Flix Entertainment’s Samson.

CO N T E N T S: J O N AT H A N H E N D R I C K S; L I G H T S TO C K

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Meet the charismatic woman waging spiritual warfare before Congress.

Cover Story


OVER 700,000 MEN ARE IN TRAINING TO CONQUER PORN AND WALK IN FREEDOM With 68% of men in the church viewing porn on a regular basis, the dominant cry in their hearts is “I will never do this again, I won’t let porn control me anymore!” Most men who make a promise to never watch porn again nd themselves back on the same websites in no time. Will power won’t x it!

TRYING HARDER DOESN'T WORK Trying harder only tightens the noose around your neck. Each time you fail you increase the shame you carry, which perpetuates the cycle you go back to porn to medicate the shame you’re feeling. Committing to a process takes time because there’s no quick x. It’s more than just saying “I will no longer watch porn” because it it’s really not about porn. You’re using porn to medicate anxiety and stress in your life. You do this by accessing the internal pharmacy that you have in your brain. Your brain has the powerful chemicals that you can access when you’re feeling low. Most likely, you’ve learned to rely on these chemicals from a very early age. When you watch porn, powerful neurotransmitters such as dopamine are released, which bond you to those images. According to neuropsychologist Dr. Tim Jennings, “Any type of repetitive behavior will create trails in our brain that are going to re on an automatic sequence.” The result is years of bondage. This is how you can love the Lord, but still be trapped in bondage to porn. You must renew your mind.

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Dr. Ted Roberts in the Conquer Series will teach you how to biblically renew your mind and nd freedom. Dr. Ted has a 90% success rate in helping men nd freedom. The Conquer Series is a cinematic two volume 12-disc DVD set featuring over 7-hours of in-depth teaching from former Marine Fighter Pilot and Pastor, Dr. Ted Roberts, who shares powerful tools and bible-based strategies that he has used to help thousands of men renew their mind and nd freedom from porn.

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Your Feedback

CHARISMA ©

LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

“Thank you for your assistance as we honored my father’s life and ministry.” —Franklin Graham

Founder/CEO/Chairman, STEPHEN STRANG Editorial Board steve.strang@charismamedia.com

Chief Financial Officer JOY F. STRANG

Publisher & Executive VP DR. STEVE GREENE

drsteve.greene@charismamedia.com

Managing Editor, Print CHRISTINE D. JOHNSON

chris.johnson@charismamedia.com

Content Development Editors TAYLOR BERGLUND

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SHAWN A. AKERS

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Assistant Online Editor JENNY ROSE CURTIS

Copy Editor MARTI PIEPER

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marti.pieper@charismamedia.com

BILLY GRAHAM’S GOSPEL LEGACY On behalf of my family and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, thank you for your assistance as we remembered and honored my father’s life and ministry. None of this would have been possible without your help, and I’m deeply grateful. Billy Graham’s life was all about one message—the gospel of Jesus Christ—and he was able to share it with millions of people across the globe. It is our prayer that through my father’s death, many more will hear of God’s love and of eternal life through Jesus Christ. His favorite verse is one of the Bible’s most well-known: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, NKJV). Thank you again for your assistance. May God richly bless you. Franklin Graham Charlotte, North Carolina

MY LIFE MESSAGE TO THE WORLD I just finished reading “Fit for the Kingdom” in the January 2018 issue. It was wonderful to read an article

on my personal life message to the world. I got well from cancer 29 years ago when I was given 18 months to live. God gave me four Scriptures and sent a lady to help me change my diet, and my tumors started going away even before the medical treatment started. Within four months, all the tumors were gone and they have not returned. God led me to teach others in the body of Christ about how to honor God with their bodies. I developed a nutrition seminar for the church titled Biblical Nutrition 101. I have been a cancer coach and nutritional consultant for over 28 years now. God bless you as you minister to the church and others through Charisma. My subscription goes way back to the Christian Life magazine—which later became Charisma magazine—when I was a little boy. Only heaven will reveal the number of changed lives from the ministry of this magazine. I have collected many articles from hundreds of issues, which I have shared with others in my teaching over the years. God bless you as you serve Him faithfully there. C. Brown, email

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Web charismamag.com Subscribe 800-829-3346 cracustserv@cdsfulfillment.com

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VP Print Production CARA S. SHOWERS Art Director RALPH RAMIREZ JR. Graphic Designer LINDA GILLOTTI Production Coordinator NANCY GUHR Advertising Manager NICK BEECHER

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EDITORIAL AND ADVERTISING OFFICES: 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746 Phone: 407-333-0600 • Fax: 407-333-7100 Email: charisma@charismamedia.com Website: charismamag.com POSTMASTER: Send address changes to P.O. Box 6102, Harlan, IA 51593-1602. SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION: 12 issues $24.97; 24 issues $39.97. Canadian subscribers add $24 per year, other countries add $36 per year, payable in advance in U.S. currency only. If you have moved, received damaged or duplicate copies/missed issues, experienced billing problems, want to renew or need additional subscription information, call 1-800-829-3346. To subscribe, go online to charismamag.com. Contact customer service by email at cracustserv@cdsfulfillment.com or write to Charisma, P.O. Box 6102, Harlan, IA 51593-1602. European subscribers can call England at 0870 745 5793. All foreign subscribers can call 515-237-3640. ADVERTISING POLICY: Charisma Media fully supports journalistic integrity with the editorial provided in our print and online products. Charisma strives to maintain the highest journalistic principles. Advertising in Charisma does not imply or suggest support of editorial endorsement. MAILING LIST: We make a portion of our mailing list available to reputable firms. If you would prefer that we not include your name, call 1-800-829-3346, write to us at 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746, or email us at magcustsvc@charismamedia.com.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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S AV E T H E D AT E

JUNE 22 & 23 2018 • ORLANDO, FL

Tens of thousands of people experienced the power of the Holy Spirit at our conferences years ago. Now the Charisma Conference returns to see a generation experience a personal, fresh and transformative encounter with the Holy Spirit once again. We need God like never before.

WE NEED REVIVAL!

Dave and Nicole Binion

William McDowell

Real Talk Kim

Katherine Ruonala

Jonathan Cahn

Mark Driscoll

Jim Raley

Pat and Karen Schatzline

Katie Souza

Kimberly Daniels

R E G I S T E R N O W AT C H A R I S M A 2 0 1 8 .C O M


Greenelines

PODCAST Improve your leadership through love by listening to stories and teachings from Dr. Steve Greene. Download at CPNSHOWS.COM

BY DR. STEVE GREENE

The Distraction-Free Life The secret lies in four powerful words.

“‘Your will be done’ eliminates method, science and reasoning about our priorities.”

»»When anxiety threatens: Paul’s words in Philippians remind us prayer removes anxiety: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). We don’t need to focus on how we come to the problem. Instead, we must examine how we come through it. Anxiety takes us nowhere. Prayer moves the heart of the Father. If we believe “Your will be done,” we have no reason for anxiety. »»When we have to wait: We live in a world that runs on chronos (clock) time. But kingdom answers require the kairos (eternal time) perspective of “Your will be done.” As Daniel fasted and prayed, the Lord revealed the truth about an answer that took three weeks to arrive: “For from the first day that you set your heart to understand this and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come because of your words” (Dan. 10:18). »»As a lifestyle: In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV), Paul instructs us to “pray without ceasing.” I want to stay on my knees, not pray only in times of emergency. “Your will be done” raises my heart to God in a way that brings submission. We must guard against the tendency to pray the Lord’s Prayer more out of a sense of duty than deep desire. Jesus never intended it to become rote—in your life or in mine. When we can pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done” with the heart, the passion and the power of Jesus, we won’t have to ask Him to help us avoid distractions. He has. And He will. Even on Saturday morning.

DR. STEVE GREENE is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. Find his new book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, at amazon.com, christianbook.com or at your local bookstore. 8

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SEAN ROBERTS

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look forward to Saturdays. The morning almost always begins with a breakfast date with my wife of 45 years. I order three eggs sunny side up with a side order of bacon. She feasts on one tiny pancake with butter and sticky syrup. The plastic tablecloth, newly adorned with two cups of black coffee, reminds me of what my grandmother would spread over a splinter-filled roadside picnic table. Before I’ve enjoyed two gulps of the steaming brew, my mind drifts to my smartphone. Inevitably, there are texts to answer, emails to review and retweets to click. I cherish time with my wife, huh? “How then shall I live without distractions?” The answer comes through intentional practice. Brother Lawrence authored a timeless book of help titled The Practice of the Presence of God. If we crave God’s presence, we long to spend time with Him and to hear His voice. We must practice pressing in. We must guard against distractions. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. The central focus of His prayer lies in the four most powerful words we could ever learn, “Your will be done” (Luke 11:2b). God’s will encompasses everything He set before us in Scripture. In God’s will, we find our reason for being. We also find a way to avoid distractions. “Your will be done” eliminates method, science and reasoning about our priorities. It requires intention—a shift in our hearts rather than our brains. “Your will be done” represents a movement of the heart toward God via a spirit of full submission to Him. Our prayers often sound more like “My will be done.” We view God less as loving Father and more as supernatural vending machine. “Your will be done” brings our desires into alignment with His. We must also take care not to seek the opinions of others rather than the will of God. We check with friend after friend until we find someone to agree with us. But a genuine desire to follow God must come first. Before we pick up a phone to request anyone else’s input, we must plead, “Your will be done.” Jesus, the one who knew no sin, modeled a lifestyle of continuous prayer. An examination of His heart reveals His deep desire to remain close to the Father. Before we pray, we need to examine our own hearts. How do we love God? How do we love people? If we treat others better than we expect to be treated, our heart condition will pass the test. When should we pray “Your will be done”? »»When we don’t know how to pray: Christ’s words of surrender inspire ours. Here, we see not apathy, but action. Not reluctance, but acceptance. Not resignation, but power.


Thank you, Walmart corporation, as a company that honors family values, for moving Cosmopolitan magazine from the cashier racks in your stores to the magazine section. Thank you, Walmart corporation, for caring about the welfare of your customers’ children by no longer allowing kids in your checkout lines to stand face-to-face with the barely dressed women and sexually explicit article titles on Cosmopolitan magazine’s covers. Thank you, Dawn Hawkins and everyone at the National Center On Sexual Exploitation, for working so hard with Walmart to make this happen. Your mission to protect women and young girls from the damaging effects of pornography and other forms of sexual exploitation is righteous and admirable.

CosmoHurtsKids.com


Fire in My Bones BY J. LEE GRADY

Don’t Be a Prophecy Chaser—Be a God Seeker There is a right way and a wrong way to seek God’s prophetic direction.

“Prophets are not mediums who read people’s fortunes.”

attention to the messenger. Don’t be impetuous or impatient when seeking prophetic guidance. I’ve talked with Christians who were desperate for a word from God, but they informed me they were on a deadline. They needed instant spiritual gratification. Sometimes they even seemed to be threatening God— as in, “If I don’t hear from God by tomorrow, I am throwing in the towel!” Don’t allow impatience to derail your Christian journey. God moves according to His sovereign calendar, not yours. Don’t throw a childish tantrum and demand that God speak to you. Mature disciples must learn to wait for God’s word. Waiting will require you to adjust your timetable to God’s. Make sure your heart is willing to obey. Many people are eager to hear a word from God, especially if it tells them they will have a worldwide ministry or that they are going to become independently wealthy. But God’s word does not come to flatter us or stroke our oversized ego. A true word from God cuts deep to our core; it requires surrender and demands holiness. Make sure you are willing to embrace a true word from God before you ask for it! Henry Blackaby once wrote: “Our difficulty is not that we don’t know God’s will. Our discomfort comes from the fact that we do know His will, but we do not want to do it.” It is pointless to ask for God’s prophetic word if we are not fully yielded. I’m concerned that we have encouraged a culture of selfish prophecy chasing in today’s church. The only remedy will be to develop a culture of wholehearted surrender.

J. LEE GRADY w  as editor of Charisma for 11 years. He now serves as contributing editor. He directs The Mordecai Project (themordecaiproject.org), an international ministry that protects women and girls from gender-based violence. His latest book is Set My Heart on Fire (Charisma House). 10

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SEAN ROBERTS

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meet many people who tell me they need a word from God. I’ve seen Christians line up in front of prophets, hoping for a quick solution to their problem. I’ve also seen those same Christians stand in line a second time, in front of the same prophets, because they didn’t like the word they received the first time! I call these people “prophecy chasers.” I love the gift of prophecy, and I’m grateful that the church today has made room for this precious gift. God has used me to give many prophetic words. Yet it concerns me that some people in the Spirit-filled community have dragged this gift down to their own level—to misuse, abuse and cheapen. God loves to speak to His people, and I believe He has a fresh word for all of us at the right time. But there is a right way and a wrong way to seek God for His prophetic direction. Here are some guidelines that will help you: Read God’s Word regularly. Many charismatic Christians crave a “direct” word from God, yet they refuse to spend time reading the Bible. They may even consider reading Scripture “religious”—yet they love the thrill of getting a prophetic word in a public meeting. Carnal Christians are not willing to be disciplined students—they want their prophetic words handed to them on silver platters. You will never become a mature Christian if you don’t learn to hear from God on your own through His Word. Look to God for direction, not man. I seek God daily for strength and direction. I don’t chase prophets to tell me what to do. God can certainly use a prophet to speak to me—prophets are gifts to the body of Christ—but my focus is on God, not on the men or women He uses. If you ever start looking to a human being as your source of divine guidance, you are heading toward unhealthy idolatry. People who have the gift of prophecy must be careful that they don’t allow people to put them on pedestals. Prophets are not mediums who read people’s fortunes, and they should never allow themselves to be put in such a position. Stop looking for the sensational. We’ve all heard of charismatic prophets who provide phone numbers or addresses in their prophetic words to confirm a message from God. It’s true that God has the power to reveal such personal information, but in some cases, these all-knowing “prophets” were actually con artists who preyed upon the gullible. Beware of prophets who use sensational means to bring a word to you. In all my years of ministry, the most solid prophets were humble men and women who did not attract attention to themselves. They simply brought a sound message that was fully in line with Scripture. The apostle Paul told us that true prophecy is about three things: encouragement, comfort and exhortation (see 1 Cor. 14:1). True prophecy strengthens us, confirms God’s promises and propels us into our divine destiny. Beware of words that create goose bumps or draw people’s


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Things to Come

A GUEST EDITORIAL BY JAMES ROBISON

It’s Not Too Late to Turn the Tide America is blessed to be a blessing to the nations.

“ It’s not too late to renew our culture and restore proven principles.”

Many will resonate with the essence of this message but are unsure how to respond as salt-and-light people in our present circumstances. Like Adam and Eve, we have been given a “garden” to tend with love and diligent oversight. Believers must stand together against the gates of hellish deception and destruction. Tragically, for the last 200 years, the church has moved away from the importance of proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. Jesus spent significant time training His disciples to recognize that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” and “is within you,” commanding them to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to the ends of the earth. But most church leaders and members have become preoccupied with the kingdom to come rather than proclaiming the reality of the kingdom that has already come through Christ. Believers have become preoccupied with getting “out of here” rather than getting “Him in here,” into the hearts, minds and lives of those who must be born from above. We have been left here with a divine commission to be overseers of the garden of God. This begins with the believer’s personal life, family, community, city, state and nation, and is proclaimed to the ends of the earth. Let us pray fervently for a historic outpouring of the Holy Spirit on His church. It’s not too late to renew our culture and restore proven principles. We can be the beginning of the sunrise of the next Great Awakening in America. If we will stand boldly for His truth, live in a way that impacts others and demonstrate God’s character and love, we can continue to be one nation, truly under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

JAMES ROBISONis the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International and host of the daily television program LIFE Today (lifetoday.org). He is the author of the New York Times best-selling book Indivisible and numerous other books, including his latest release, Living Amazed. His website, The Stream (stream.org), presents breaking news, editorial commentary, inspiration and cultural analysis. 12

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L I F E TO DAY

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atred and violence seem to run rampant in America. Many ask how we got to such a state. The Word of God tells us to hate evil, and we should especially avoid evil in our own lives. But we must not hate people who are different from us, who disagree with us or who are trapped by evil tendencies and unwholesome lifestyles. It’s fine to disagree and debate. Ongoing dialogue and discussions can be healthy. But as Bible-believing Christians, we are called to unwaveringly hold up the truth in love while standing against the hate-filled, deadly outbursts all around us. I’m convinced the increase in hatred and violence is because people have moved far from the redemptive spirit found in Christ. The love of God gives us the ability to forgive and understand one another while holding true to our deep convictions with unwavering character. Christians don’t have to be vindictive, destructive and hateful. The Bible says if you say you love God but hate your brother or sister, you are still in darkness (1 John 2:9). No wonder the light is so dim. Even wealth and success are under attack. Many preachers dare not mention the blessings of God or prosperity for fear they will be critically labeled a “prosperity preacher.” We know there are excesses and extremes in every area, but doesn’t the Bible talk about God’s desire to bless us as His children? Don’t all parents want the best and greatest blessings for their children? God wants us to be so blessed that we become a blessing to the nations of the world. How can we alleviate suffering and help the poor if we don’t have the resources to do it? Even those who foolishly believe in socialism must have some means of wealth from which to extract the money they wish to disburse. Legend has it that as the founders signed the Constitution in 1787, Benjamin Franklin observed a painting on the wall in the room in which they had worked so hard to frame that historic document. “I have often ... in the course of the session ... looked at that sun behind the president without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now at length I have the happiness to know it is a rising and not a setting sun.” It is hard these days not to wonder whether we are still seeing the sunrise or sunset when it comes to freedom as we know it in America. Americans must experience a change of heart and mind—and it must come soon, or we will see the downfall of freedom and of this once-great nation. If we don’t recognize this foolishness and the danger imposed by the hatred of success, blessings and prosperity, we will destroy our ability to meet any legitimate need—along with our future and that of our children. It’s not too late for us to turn the tide. We need to release God’s love to the people around us, particularly to those with whom we disagree. Only then can compassion replace hatred and violence. We must boldly demonstrate God’s power and especially His love and forgiveness in our nation.


Straight Talk BY JOYCE MEYER

Faith to Follow Your Dreams

Don’t let anyone or anything keep you from obeying God and fulfilling your destiny.

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ears ago, when God spoke to my heart about His call on my life to teach the Bible, I was a young wife and mother with three small children. As I prayed about what I should do to prepare for the ministry He had in store for me, it became clear that I needed to quit my full-time job and spend more time at home, studying God’s Word. At that time, it took both my income and Dave’s for us to pay all of our bills. So I decided I should get a part-time job to bring in some income and still have more time for Bible study. But God wasn’t leading me to work part time—He wanted me to be home full time. Well, I got a part-time job anyway, but it didn’t last, because I got fired. Now, this had never happened before, because I like to work and I’m a good employee. So I knew God was making it very clear that I needed to be completely obedient to Him and trust Him to make things work out. The problem was, my “part-time obedience” was a sacrifice I was willing to give to God, but He wanted total obedience. And it required steps of faith on my part to do what He was asking. In Luke 14:26 (AMP), Jesus explains the cost of discipleship. He says, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life [in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God]–he cannot be My disciple.” What Jesus is saying here is we have to love Him so much that we won’t let our own self-will or what others want us to do to keep us from the will of God. We need to give God everything we are and everything we have to be true disciples. Once I made a determined decision to obey God completely, I began a journey of learning to walk by faith, trusting Him to meet our needs. It wasn’t easy, but everything I went through during those years helped me get to the point where I can trust Him to provide for our worldwide ministry today. Walking by faith means giving up the stuff that is keeping us from God’s plans and purposes for our lives. It doesn’t mean we can’t have anything we enjoy, but it does require us to say goodbye to self-will and hello to God’s will. The truth is, everything God wants you to get rid of in your life is something that is hurting you. We need to say goodbye to negative attitudes, complaining, being critical of others, jealousy, and the list goes on. As you pursue intimacy with God, spending time with Him in prayer and Bible study, He

“Everything God wants you to get rid of in your life is something that is hurting you.”

will put His finger on areas of your life that need to change. But for anything He asks you to give up, He will give you something even better in return! Abraham is a great example of this principle. God had a great plan for him, but he had to leave his country and his father’s house to experience it. When Abraham took steps of obedience to leave that place, he didn’t know where he was going to end up, but he believed God had something even better for him (see Gen. 12). Because he chose to put complete faith and trust in God, Abraham became “the father of many nations” (Gen. 17:5). God called him “My friend and servant” and declared his destiny “to become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him” (Gen. 18:17-18). That’s an amazing legacy! God has an amazing plan for your life, too, and you’ll experience it as you pursue intimacy with Christ and walk by faith, doing everything He puts in your heart to do. Remember that God loves you completely, He always wants to do what is in your best interest, and He can “[carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us” (Eph. 3:20). Choose to commit yourself to Him completely—giving up self-will and embracing His will for you—because that’s when you’ll really start living!

JOYCE MEYERis a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. She has authored more than 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Unshakeable Trust (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit joycemeyer.org. 14

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From New York Times Best-Selling Author

JONATHAN CAHN New

Trade Paper Edition ! Releases June 5, 2018

The Book of Mysteries begins with a traveler who encounters a man known only as “the teacher.” Join them as they embark on a journey uncovering spiritual truth, end-time mysteries, and secrets of life. This book is a daily devotional unlike any other, with 365 mysteries, including The Mystery of the Eighth Day, The Portal, How to Alter Your Past, The Face in the Waters, The Maccabean Blueprint, and much more. Now available in trade paper. /C H A R I S M A H O U S E @CHARISMAHOUSE

ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY !

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Inspire

AMAZING STORIES. REAL PEOPLE.

PODCAST Hear daily news stories told from a Christian perspective. Download at CPNSHOWS.COM

Compiled by Taylor Berglund

Pizza delivery driver Monique Hall is overcome with emotion after pastor Choco De Jesús and his Chicago church blessed her with a substantial tip.

Megachurch Pastor’s Demonstration of Generosity Makes National News

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COURTESY OF NEW LIFE COVENANT CHURCH

PASTOR CHOCO De Jesús leads New Life Covenant Church, the largest Assemblies of God church in the United States, and he’s using church resources to honor the unsuspecting. Not long ago, Domino’s delivery driver Monique Hall stepped onto New Life’s platform with no clue to what was about to happen. In a Facebook video that went viral, De Jesús welcomed Hall onstage to receive a very special tip. After asking her what her usual tip was—“$5,” she said—De Jesús counted out $100 and gave it to her. He then asked for 10 volunteers in the congregation who would be willing to stand and tip her as well. Far more than 10 people got up and came to the stage, adding more and more money to the tip for nearly three minutes. Hall, a single mother of two, began to cry. “I hope that God blesses all you so hard,” she said, voice breaking. “This is how we honor people,” De Jesús explained. “We don’t know her story. We don’t know what she’s going through. Maybe this was an answered prayer financially. She’s going to get 100 percent of that. We’re just going to put it into a basket and give it to her to help her out.” The church also prayed for Hall and gave her a Bible before she left. New Life’s radical show of generosity made national news. In an interview with WGN, Hall said, “I knew that I had been struggling for a long time being a single parent, and not having their father in their life, it takes a real damper on you, especially trying to make ends meet So when they did that, I was overwhelmed, and I was shocked. I felt so loved by them—all I could do was cry.”

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Pentecostal Churches Are Changing This Gang-Infested Country EL SALVADOR, once the global leader in homicide rates, is seeing those numbers drop. The government attributes the decrease to intensified policing efforts, but others say it’s a move of God. Reporter Sarah Esther Maslin told NPR, “This is something that started in a prison up in the northeast of the country when a couple-hundred gang members sort of declared they wanted to move to a different part of the prison and conduct Christian services and cut ties from the— you know, the rest of the gang members in this prison. It has now sort of spread to the outside.” For gang members attempting to leave the past behind, these Pentecostal churches truly exemplify redemption.

Within these congregations, men who have committed unspeakable sins bask in the forgiveness of their Savior. Several Pentecostal denominations that planted churches in the country have seen incredible growth. Assemblies of God churches, for example, started with 100 members and 10 pastors, and now boast 1,700 organized churches; 2,200 affiliate pastors; 70 missionaries around the world; 55 Christian schools with approximately 30,000 students; and one Assemblies of God university. Assemblies of God missionaries Mike and Jessica Brown say they receive special treatment from local gang members because of the couple’s denomination. Mike builds houses for the Salvadoran

poor, which includes some gang members. He told Crux, “Once they find out you’re a man of God, they don’t bother you. They show great respect.”

DESTINY CHURCH gave away five cars at its grand opening at a new location in Columbia,

Maryland. The giveaway was part marketing strategy and part theological example. Pastor Stephen

A woman named Kelsey gets emotional after winning a 2014 Toyota Corolla at Destiny Church in Columbia, Maryland. 18

CH AR I SMA | June 20 18

Chandler preached that day on God’s unbelievable, no-strings-attached goodness. What better way to model that attribute than by demonstrating unbelievable generosity? “I think the idea of generosity is not just something that applies to people that are in need,” the pastor told The Washington Post. “We truly care about this community, whether you’re in financial straits or whether you’re in a good season of your life. We don’t just care about the hurting. We care about every single person.” On Destiny’s first Sunday in 2011, 331 people

gathered, meeting in a high-school auditorium before moving to a strip mall. The church used the car giveaway to attract people to its new home. Destiny purchased the used cars with the congregation’s tithes from the past year. Typically, the congregation gives away 10 percent of its tithe funds to charity. This time, though, the charity was its own attendees. The church gave out tickets to the services and had 60 people write in why they needed a vehicle. Of the five cars, one was given to a needy family, and four were raffled off. c h a r i s ma m ag. com

COURTESY OF DESTINY CHURCH | GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK/IDEABUG

Spirit-Filled Church Attracts Community With 5-Car Giveaway


For the JEZEBEL SPIRIT, seduction is its game as it distracts, manipulates, and deceives. The PYTHON SPIRIT chokes the wind of God out of a believer. The RELIGIOUS SPIRIT sows legalism and bondage into the hearts of God’s people. These three spirits all have the same goal: to reverse the progress of your spiritual growth. Ryan LeStrange equips you with the tools you need to rise above hell’s most threatening conspirators and live in victory.

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Janet Porter of Faith2Action speaks at a January 2017 press conference, which launched the Heartbeat Protection Act in Congress.

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A majority of U.S. churchgoers (51 percent) say they have never heard of the Great Commission.—Barna Group

JANET PORTER is on the front lines of one of today’s largest spiritual battles—the fight for the unborn. Porter runs Faith2Action, a launching pad for the pro-family movement, and is lobbying in Congress to see new pro-life bills passed. In 2016, over 892,000 abortions took place in the U.S. In an online video posted by Lance Wallnau, Porter said, “I want to use what God has given us to do what God told us to do, and that is end abortion. I testified one time and they said, ‘The Bible’s a book on tolerance. Jesus never said the word “abortion.” What makes you say you have to be pro-life to be a Christian?’ “I said, ‘Well, if you open up that book, “Thou shalt not kill” made the top 10 commandments. And Jesus said, “If you love Me, you’ll keep My commandments.”’ In addition, we’ve been commanded to rescue those being carried away to death and be a voice for the voiceless.” Porter says, “God gave us mercy with the election. We know that for a fact. The question is, what are you going to do with it?” Now she’s challenging believers to call their representatives and ask them to support new legislation that would limit abortions. “We’ve got a bill called the Heartbeat Bill,” Porter says. “It’ll protect every child whose heartbeat can be heard. That’s a lot of babies. It’s HR 490, and all you need to do is call your representative. They work for you. Don’t be intimidated.” To contact your local representative, call 202-224-3121 and provide your zip code to the operator. 20

CHAR I SMA | June 20 18

Ninety-three percent of Protestant pastors say every church should strive to achieve racial diversity, but 81 percent say their own church is predominantly one race.—LifeWay Research

Practicing Christians (52 percent) are more likely than non-Christians (43 percent) to recommend counseling to friends and family.—Barna Group c h a r i s ma m ag. com

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| COVER STORY

RESTORE MY SOUL Mike Hutchings of Global Awakening ministers healing to those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

iracles follow Mike Hutchings. The Lord has used him to heal nearly 1,600 people of what he calls “soul injuries”—post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other trauma-related injuries. More than 10,000 people affected by trauma have reported being healed through those who have been trained through his God Heals PTSD ministry. Though known in charismatic circles, Hutchings has never before gone on record about his trauma-healing ministry. Evangelist Robby Dawkins was present the first time God used Hutchings to heal someone of PTSD. At Dawkins’ church in Urbana, Illinois, Hutchings ministered healing to Ronald Nixon, a U.S. veteran of the war in Afghanistan. “He wasn’t able to even sleep in the same room with his wife because of night terrors and physical violent sleep disorders,” Dawkins says. “He had been prayed for many times before. As Mike was ministering to him, I stepped over and just observed for several minutes, and I could immediately see this stuff being peeled away, both emotionally and spiritually. “Ron informed me the next day through tears that he had had the best night’s sleep he could ever remember. His wife verified he had not awoken. They resumed sharing the same room and bed within a week and have been problem-free 22

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in this area ever since. I was astonished. This was the first of Mike’s prayer and ministry model for ministering freedom to people with PTSD.” That was in 2011. Today, Hutchings’ training sessions have gone viral. He has trained more than 8,000 people across the United States and in five other countries how to pray for trauma victims and see results. PTSD affects more than soldiers; those afflicted include people who have suffered trauma from sexual abuse, church hurt, workplace injuries or any other incident that triggers the brain’s neurological pathways to recreate the incident again and again. “My primary message is simply this: No matter what trauma you’ve been through, no matter how much you’ve been traumatized, you no longer have to be defined by your history,” Hutchings says. “You no longer have to be defined by what you’ve experienced or how you’ve been treated. You no longer have to be identified by what you’ve done to deal with your pain. You can be healed in Jesus’ name and allow Him to restore your broken soul.” Hutchings has spent more than 35 years in some pastoral capacity, ministering in congregations that range from Baptist to Vineyard to Mennonite. He is director of education at Clark’s Global Awakening, an evangelistic ministry based in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. He also c h a r i s ma m ag. com

RACHEL HUTCHINGS

M

BY JESSILYN JUSTICE


CHARISMA EXCLUSIVE

wrote Soul Restoration: God’s Answer for Healing PTSD and All Trauma, due out this summer. But healing isn’t Hutchings’ primary focus, and he has no formal training in trauma treatment. He lets God use him to heal, then does research to learn more about what happened. He prefers to train others to operate in the Holy Spirit and see the miracles of PTSD and trauma recovery in their own communities. Those who have learned his prayer model have seen miracles and testimonies that prove God is still in the healing business.

Healing a Soul Injury

Hutchings’ prayer model addresses the root of trauma, not just the symptoms. When he goes before the Father, he considers the Psalms, many which were written by David, the man Hutchings says was the most traumatized person in the Bible other than Jesus. Trauma is a disorder that affects both brain and body. When a traumatic incident occurs, images are seared into the brain that physically and emotionally haunt the victim. “It’s not like something in the past; they can have a flashback or a trigger, and it feels like the trauma is right there,” Hutchings says. “The Bible speaks of trauma as brokenheartedness. I call it a soul injury, where your soul—which includes the mind, the will and emotions—has been impacted by a trauma that you just haven’t experienced. Now, everybody has some kind of trauma. Many people are able to move past their traumas because they have resiliency in their soul. ... But there are many folks who carry trauma with them, whether that be from childhood abuse or whether it be from military service or things that they’ve witnessed.” Hutchings trains people to specifically pray over trauma victims to restore the dream God has for their lives. His model seeks to heal the soul of those suffering through several spiritual steps. “That’s one of the things that happens with people who have been traumatized, particularly if they’ve been repeatedly traumatized: They begin to believe a lie that the trauma speaks to their identity,” Hutchings says. “Therefore, they become identified as ‘victims.’ They see themselves as somebody whom bad things always happens to. That’s not the identity God has given them. They’re beloved sons and daughters who have just had some bad things happen to them because they live in a broken world.” First, the intercessor reminds the victim of the promises God made to the victim, which are found in the Scriptures. Second, the intercessor walks the victim through the forgiveness process, both for themselves and others who have hurt them. Next, the intercessor will break off the pain and guilt associated with the trauma. Although each step may be easy to describe, the process ch ar is ma ma g.com

“They can have a flashback or a trigger, and it feels like the trauma is right there.” —Mike Hutchings can be grueling, especially with demonic forces involved. “A huge portion of this prayer is simply declaring God’s purposes and promises for their identity as a son and daughter,” Hutchings says. “So it is breaking off shame, breaking off guilt, helping them to forgive themselves as well as anybody who’s hurt them. It is also about cancelling the assignment of demonic influence that lies to them, saying they have to live with that stuff for the rest of their days. So there is a spirit of trauma. There’s a spirit of torment. There’s a spirit of fear.” These spirits often manifest in the form of suicidal thoughts and actions, especially in the military community. A 2015 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs study estimates 20 veterans commit suicide every day. Other military organizations claim the stat hovers closer to 22 per day. “That’s caused by a spirit of suicide that comes after them,” Hutchings says. “Now they’re not possessed by those spirits. They simply are listening. ... When they’re receiving these thoughts, they think it’s their thoughts, because trauma actually opens a door for the enemy to come in and torment people. Until that soul wound is healed, it’s like there’s that open door there, and they can’t have control.” The model is just that—a model, not a formula. Healing doesn’t necessarily happen instantaneously. After the prayer time, Hutchings or whoever is praying may ask the traumatized person to check in the following day. If healing isn’t evident, they will pray again. And again. The prayer goes deep, and those trained under Hutchings are taught to understand the science behind what they are addressing in the body and why they need to pray specifically concerning a certain area of the brain. Psychology Today reports that chronic PTSD patients have gray-matter structural damage in the prefrontal, occipital and parietal lobes. As Hutchings or his teams pray, they speak to these areas in the brain and spiritually sever the memories lodged in the hippocampus. When the memory pathway is broken from the senses, healing pours over the person as they experience freedom.

Giving Glory to God

Hutchings has never even met U.S. Army veteran Matthew Fisk, yet Fisk is eager to talk about how Hutchings’ work healed him. co ntinued » Ju n e 2 01 8 | C H A RI S MA

23


Fisk says he was held captive by the chains of PTSD since a 2004 ambush in Iraq. Two of the platoon’s four vehicles were destroyed within minutes. Fisk’s gunner, Sgt. Eddie Chen, was killed. The platoon leader ordered the survivors into a nearby alley to wait for rescue. And that’s when the unthinkable happened. “As we set up our defense, the enemy ordered the women and kids to march toward us from both ends,” says Fisk, who has participated in 214 combat missions. “By the time we had stopped killing them, my soul was shattered.” Doctors diagnosed him with PTSD, but Fisk longed for freedom. After a friend gave him Hutchings’ DVD Healing PTSD, God began a work in Fisk’s heart. In 2016, he decided to follow the step-by-step process. “To my surprise, Dr. Hutchings laid out a compelling case,” Fisk says. “I had expected snake handling and a foamingat-the-mouth, tongue-speakin’ type. Instead, I found a reasoned and in-depth explanation of how PTSD affects the mind and body, coupled with a specific manner to pray for healing.” “Faith healing, in general, has not been something to which I’ve given any credence,” Fisk says. “I’ve heard that God can heal, but I’ve never 24

CHARI SMA | June 20 18

seen a credible instance of that in my own experience, so I didn’t fully believe it until I was standing in Walmart later that night. While shopping, a mass of fellow consumers blocked me in an aisle on both sides. I didn’t freak out. My pulse didn’t even twitch. “As the days passed, I noticed that I had lost all anxiety related to my deployment experiences,” Fisk says. “My depression vanished. I felt normal, powerful emotions. I no longer had nightmares. I stopped obsessing about snipers. I would say that I was my old self again, but that’s not accurate. I was new.” Fisk now operates the Lancer Legacy Ranch in the East Texas city of Maud for veterans with PTSD. Hutchings works with veterans, but trauma’s prevalence extends beyond those who have returned from war zones. For instance, Kristen Petrarca’s testimony relates to a workplace injury. Petrarca says she was on a plane flying from Athens, Greece, to New York City in 2014. While in the galley, she heard a piercing noise, which came from a loose door. Though she and other crew members paged the pilots, hours passed with no response. The crew endured the screech for more than 10 hours. As a result of the sound, Petrarca lost

c h a r i s ma m ag. com

RACHEL HUTCHINGS

Hutchings commissions prayer ministers at the 2018 Global Awakening Voice of Prophets Conference to bring healing to people who have been traumatized.

control of her facial nerves, ending her career. The skin on her face distorted and changed colors. She also lost the ability to drive, and walking became difficult due to damage to her vestibular system, the bodily system that helps maintain balance and spatial orientation. “Crossing the street was becoming impossible, and I had a hard time transitioning from walking on cement to grass,” Petrarca says. “I was unable to walk on any incline, and other people’s movement would cause me to lose my balance or fall. I fell so many times that I ripped tendons in both wrists and was in need of double surgery. I lost some of my hearing yet was also diagnosed with hyperacusis.” Hyperacusis, as defined in the American Journal of Audiology, is a debilitating hearing disorder characterized by an increased sensitivity to certain frequencies and volume ranges. “The hyperacusis was so bad, I could not be around any sound,” Petrarca says. “I had to live in seclusion for a solid year. Life was awful.” Enter Hutchings. Petrarca had met Hutchings before her accident, when she was a student at Global Awakening. When doctors gave her a grim prognosis, Petrarca went to meet with Hutchings, she says. When Hutchings prayed over Petrarca, he placed his hand on the left side of her face. He told her to keep her eyes open, making eye contact with him. “I remember feeling very calm,” Petrarca says. “I remember feeling very safe. The first thing I noticed was that the area below my left eye stopped shaking. That particular spasm didn’t hurt like the pain behind my left eye, but it felt like bugs were crawling under my eye. It made it hard to concentrate or focus on anything, and it freaked people out when they saw it. “The first time he prayed for me, all the spasms on the right side of my face stopped; the spasm between my eyes stopped; the spasm below my left eye stopped; and my face stopped turning purple, black and gray,” Petrarca says. “The vulgar pain behind my eye didn’t stop completely, but it became less painful, and the painful episodes became less frequent.” co ntinued »


At the Global School of Ministry, Hutchings prays for a man suffering as a result of trauma.

Allie Harrison has a different story than Fisk and Petrarca: She was sexually abused for more than a decade. Before Harrison met Hutchings, she says she lived in survival mode and refused to share the intimate details of her life with anyone, including her family. Nightmares hindered sleep, and she lived detached from her emotions. “No one knew the real me or what was actually bothering me—or that there was something deep and consuming looming beneath the surface,” Harrison says. “I threw myself into school, work and achievement to escape and keep my mind focused on something productive, and to find my worth when I felt I otherwise had none.” Even during the time of her abuse, Harrison was a passionate, prayerful Christian. She kept a prayer wall where she wrote out all the promises she believed God had for her. This attitude drew her to a 2015 Voice of the Apostles event where she first encountered Hutchings. When she discovered his healing successes, she approached him. “I was desperate,” Harrison says. “I realized healing was the only way out. Once I caught a glimpse that there was more, no one could talk me out of it.” When Hutchings began to pray for Harrison, she says, permeable peace replaced her guilt and shame. Nearly three years later, this peace surrounds her and continues to grow. “That prayer seeded hope in me, as I pulled the weed-thoughts out of 26

CHARI SMA | June 20 18

my mind in the season to follow,” Harrison says.

Preparing the Bride of Christ

Trauma can be easier to identify in the case of veterans or sexual abuse survivors. But within the hallowed walls of the church, hurting people ache for healing, afraid to identify their pain at the very place that is supposed to bring them comfort. Hutchings calls it “posttraumatic church disorder,” although he says he didn’t coin the phrase. “When you say that phrase in a crowd in a church, everybody laughs,” Hutchings says. “They laugh at it with a very nervous laugh because they all know that it’s true. So what we do is we meet with church leaders, we meet with people, and however they’ve been abused, we just go after them.” Hutchings says there is widespread trauma within church leadership as well. He says the body of Christ doesn’t know how to deal with negative emotions, especially trauma: “We have a tendency to be in denial about it. We put on a happy face, and we don’t know how to create an environment within the church where people actually get healed of their trauma and get set free.” Hutchings loves the church and works with congregations around the world to train ministry teams and leaders to perform healing work. Jesus is coming for His spotless bride, and the church is going through the refining fire to make herself ready for Him, Hutchings says. Treating trauma is part of that refining.

Within a congregation, trauma can occur when pastors or leaders experience moral failure. It can also happen when men and women of faith succumb to an illness for which the church had been crying out for healing. To address trauma, Hutchings says church leadership should set up an atmosphere where negative emotions are not stifled. The atmosphere—be it a conference, seminar or special small group—should be a safe space where trauma can be openly discussed to promote healing. Often, especially in the charismatic church, leaders label trauma as a spiritual battle, and at times, the affected individual must fight it alone. Leaders also tend to encourage those suffering hardship to press in for joy, which could actually be detrimental. “In the church as a pastor, we have this pressure to make everybody happy, happy, happy; joy, joy, joy; act like everything is fine when in reality everybody’s broken and bleeding,” Hutchings says. “So we have to create an atmosphere in church leadership where we can talk about how do we deal with negative emotions that come from broken souls.” The feelings that stem from atrocities are valid and need to be addressed: “They’re not a lack of faith,” Hutchings says. “They’re not something that’s sinful.” Hutchings believes the church can be the catalyst in advancing the kingdom of God, especially through healing. “We have to understand how prevalent the issue of trauma is throughout our society and move in such a way that we can address this and make people feel it’s OK to honestly say, ‘Hey, I’m really wounded. I need some help.’” Churches must not ignore or even facilitate the pain that haunts people who have suffered soul injuries. Healing can come if the church abides by the Psalm 147:3 prophecy Jesus fulfilled: “He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.” JESSILYN JUSTICEis online news director for Charisma Media. c h a r i s ma m ag. com

J O N AT H A N H E N D R I C K S

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Dr. Mike Hutchings speaks about how he helps free people from post-traumatic stress disorder through healing prayer at ptsd.charismamag.com.


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| AWAKENING

Revival in the North The Holy Spirit is moving powerfully in a small Canadian church. BY NATALIE GILLESPIE

R

GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK/STOCKSTUDIOX

evival is sweeping the rural village of Cottlesville, Newfoundland and Labrador, bringing crowds to meetings at Salem Pentecostal Church that are greater than the population of the village itself. Evangelist Velmer Bessey calls the Canadian revival a “very deep move of the Spirit.” The revival started in late January in the community, which has a dwindling population of about 250. Pastor Cory Langdon invited Bessey to hold services for a week. Langdon says the first services saw salvations, healings and baptisms in the Holy Spirit, and word quickly spread that something exciting was happening in the church. Langdon and Bessey continued services for a second week, then a third. Residents from Cottlesville and surrounding areas poured in to the meetings, some traveling for hours to see for themselves what was happening at the church that seats about 150. Twelve weeks later, Langdon and Bessey say the fresh wave of the Holy Spirit is “unmistakable,” and the two decided they will ride it out as long the Spirit tarries. As of late April, Bessey was still there, continuing to hold revival meetings four times a week in the community, drawing hundreds from nearby towns and villages. Recently, 273 people poured into one meeting, overflowing into the foyer and standing along the sides of the sanctuary. “We’re expecting even greater things,” Langdon says.

Filled With Glory

This is the third year Bessey traveled to hold revival meetings at Salem Pentecostal, but both Langdon and Bessey agree: This ongoing visitation of the Holy Spirit is unprecedented. So far, 19 people have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and 56—more than 20 percent of Cottlesville’s population—were saved. To put that in perspective, if more than 20 percent of the U.S. population got saved in a series of revival meetings, more 28

CH ARI SMA | June 20 18

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“A lot of people struggling with depression and anxiety in deep ways are being completely delivered.”—Cory Langdon

than 70 million salvations would have occurred. “One particular miracle is a drug addict who got delivered, completely delivered and filled with the Spirit,” Bessey says. “Then there was a friend of mine whose wife had been praying for him for 35 years. He lives about an hour’s drive from this church and has been to a lot of my meetings in the past. He came to a service, and that night at the altar call, he came up and gave his life to Christ. That was so powerful for me, knowing his wife has been praying for him for 35 years and seeing that prayer get answered. Two weeks later, he got baptized with the Holy Ghost.” Langdon is rejoicing as people come forward. “A lot of people struggling with 30

CHAR I SMA | June 20 18

depression and anxiety in deep ways are being completely delivered,” Langdon says. “You just get that sense when you are praying that something is happening.” Bessey says some nights, he stood in the pulpit unable to speak or even turn on his microphone because the Spirit of God was moving so tangibly. “It’s just these encounters with the power of God in this place, the glory of God filling this place,” Bessey says. “It just changes everything. You have some services where you want to sing your songs and bring the Word, but the Spirit just takes over.” Langdon and Bessey say the waves of prayer and praise ebb and flow for hours, with some services going as late as 1:30 a.m.

“There is no music, no singing, just waves and waves of prayer and praises, and when they come onto shore, it’s like thunder sweeping through the place,” Bessey says. “It just keeps happening.” The services have made such an impact that regional newspapers picked up the story. Langdon said he attributes the media interest to God wanting to magnify this movement for His glory. “We had been taking some video clips and posting them [on YouTube], and we just got this random call one morning from the local newspaper,” Langdon says. “I see it as the Lord really wanting to show that His power hasn’t changed. He still wants to show His power to the world.” co ntinued » c h a r i s ma m ag. com

T E R R I LY N H AY WA R D

The small congregation at Salem Pentecostal Church is seeing significant response to its ongoing revival meetings.


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Delivered Through Fire

Angus Wheeler is one man who says his life has been forever changed by the Spirit’s fresh fire. Wheeler, 49, heard about the meetings in their second week and decided to travel from the nearby community of Virgin Arm-Carters Cove to Cottlesville to check it out for himself. On Feb. 9, Wheeler went to the altar to accept Christ. “That night, I knew the Holy Spirit made it very clear to me that I couldn’t leave without becoming a Christian,” Wheeler says. “The feeling started like

years for him to “come to his senses,” he says. He continues to attend the revival meetings and says he also experienced a miraculous healing from tobacco addiction. “I had been a very heavy smoker for many years, a pack and a half a day,” Wheeler says. “I had told God that when the time came, I knew I would be delivered from them—and I was delivered instantly. I have not had even a single craving.” Everything in Wheeler’s life has changed, he says. His passion for the

“I brought a big load of sin and left it at the cross, and that’s where it will stay.”—Angus Wheeler a fire in my belly and just pushed its way up. Bessey didn’t even have to say much, maybe five or 10 words. He just gently said, ‘Here. I’ll walk with you to the altar.’ I brought a big load of sin and left it at the cross, and that’s where it will stay.” When Wheeler was a teenager, he asked Jesus into his heart but says he had not followed Him since. His big regret is that it took nearly 30 32

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Word of God is insatiable, and he plans to witness to everyone he encounters. “I don’t know if you know the song ‘Trust and Obey,’ but that’s what I keep hearing in my head,” Wheeler says. “And that’s what I plan to keep doing.”

Preparing the Way

Langdon said the revival was birthed out of weeks of preparation from the church’s core members, who

met weekdays for extended periods of prayer and fasting. “We bathed this in a couple of weeks of prayer beforehand,” Langdon says. “In fact, before they even knew evangelist Bessey was coming, word went out to the elders that revival was coming. In their prayer time, they felt like the word went forth from the Spirit of God, so we were really looking forward to coming together. That was a big part of this.” Bessey believes those weeks of prayer laid the groundwork for what God was about to do. “I came and preached the Word, and God’s Spirit began moving people,” Bessey says. “They started coming from all around the community, some of them from hours away. People began getting saved, healed, filled with the Spirit, filled with joy and encouraged—and the crowds kept coming.” Bessey retired five years ago after serving as full-time pastor of various churches for 33 years. Since then, he has been traveling as an evangelist, visiting churches throughout Eastern Canada, Peru and Africa. He said his heart has been aching for a revival like the one Cottlesville is experiencing now. “The Lord impressed upon me when c h a r i s ma m ag. com

T E R R I LY N H AY WA R D

People are being saved, delivered and healed in the picturesque village of Cottlesville, Newfoundland and Labrador.


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Pastor Cory Langdon

New believer Angus Wheeler

“The things happening here are deep enough that I believe it will be going on for some time, in some way, in some nature.”—Velmer Bessey

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Discipling New Converts

For Langdon, the entire experience is nothing short of a miracle. Salem Pentecostal Church is his first pastorate. Prior to taking the pulpit three years ago, he worked various jobs and volunteered in church ministries. His congregation numbers about 50, up nine members since he took the role of senior pastor. “I’m in a small community where the population is dropping, and it is challenging,” Langdon says. “We have actually been growing.” A large percentage of Newfoundland and Labrador’s population claims to be Christian, but whether the people live out a vibrant faith is another story, Bessey says. Although Cottlesville is considered part of the Bible Belt of the Canadian province, there have been dry spells in experiencing the Holy Spirit, he adds. Area churches have been like-minded and supportive of Salem Pentecostal’s services. Langdon says he senses no competition or envy among local congregations. Rather, members of various churches are praying for the services, attending and furthering the work of the Holy Spirit. “There seems to be a pretty good sense of coming together of a lot of the local pastors,” Langdon says. “There are six Pentecostal churches within 25

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Watch as evangelist Vernon Bessey preaches a powerful message on the gospel of Christ at SonRise Ministries at bussey.charismamag.com.

minutes of each other here, plus many other denominations. I have been seeing people from all different places, and they’ve been very supportive.” Langdon says it will take more than his church to continue the transformation of lives in the New World Island community once the tangible wave of the Spirit lifts. “The big thing for new converts is discipleship,” Langdon says. “Struggles are real, and everybody needs someone to lift their arms up. You still have to deal with the flesh. Meetings like these teach people how to get into the presence of God, but for us as a church and for moving forward, we want to encourage local churches in the area to promote this unity and go forward and stay in prayer and worship and continue to preach so lives can truly be transformed. “There’s actually a different church about 25 minutes from here that has four young teen men, just out of school, who came and gave their lives to Christ here, then they went back to their church,” Langdon says. “So we are then seeing this ripple effect flowing over.” Bessey sees “a lot of fires being started with the pastors and people here,” he says. The evangelist was scheduled to hold meetings in Peru in April but postponed the trip to remain in Cottlesville. “If the Lord directs me to leave, I’ll leave,” Bessey says. “But the things happening here are deep enough that I believe it will be going on for some time, in some way, in some nature.” Langdon observes the commitment it takes to allow the Spirit room for revival for an extended period. “It’s hard work to hold services four times a week,” Langdon says. “It’s not easy work, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. This is my heart. Should the Lord tarry, we’re in for another big move of God.” NATALIE GILLESPIEis an author, editor and journalist who has contributed to Charisma Media publications for more than 20 years. c h a r i s ma m ag. com

T E R R I LY N H AY WA R D

Evangelist Velmer Bessey

I started this ministry work, moved upon my heart and said, ‘You are going to be scheduled somewhere for a week, but it is going to become a lot longer.’ Still, I didn’t know where or when,” Bessey says. “There are places I’ve been that I thought could be, where maybe we went into a second week. I felt, God is going to break wide open somewhere. I just don’t know where it’s going to be. Then the Lord confirmed this is the place.” Bessey says his heart is to see the Spirit of God descend as in revival movements of years ago. He was in Pensacola, Florida, during the Brownsville Revival in the mid-1990s. “Now this is so refreshing, a lot of lives being transformed,” Bessey says. “Everybody who comes in feels that sense of the Lord’s presence.”


| IDENTITY

Cinderella

Story

Former Disney princess rewrites her destiny as mother of seven.


I

BY DEANNA FALCHOOK

woke up this morning, in the shadow of Cinderella’s Castle, to a phone call from a friend who knows my story well. She informed me of a recent tweet by Planned Parenthood: “We need a Disney princess who’s had an abortion/ We need a Disney princess who’s pro-choice/ We need a Disney princess who’s an undocumented immigrant/ We need a Disney princess who’s actually a union worker/ We need a Disney princess who’s trans.” I am a Disney princess who’s had an abortion, and I want to share my story.

Majesty Forsaken

Once upon a time, at age 18, I received a coveted job as an entertainer at Disney World. I performed, on average, five shows a day in front of Cinderella’s Castle, singing and dancing to “Someday, My Prince Will Come” and “When You Wish Upon a Star.” The production company often recorded my voice as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty to use in special events and ongoing shows. But the rest of my story was not so magical. At that point, I was far from the Lord. I grew up attending a church in a denomination that, I would later learn, considered itself pro-choice. I had never heard the Scriptures about the importance of life. So when I became pregnant unexpectedly, I knew what I must do. I wanted to continue my job as a singing princess. I received no pressure from Disney World or its management to have an abortion; in fact, I didn’t even tell them about the pregnancy. Motherhood had been one of my childhood dreams. But through the years, I had absorbed the popular feminist messaging that bearing a child before I achieved career success was unacceptable. I viewed my unplanned pregnancy as a problem, and I took care of that problem the best way I knew how. After my abortion, regrets came fast. How could I keep singing and dancing about dreams coming true when guilt and remorse filled my heart? Eventually, I quit the job I had tried to keep and broke up with the young man I thought I loved. My enchanted kingdom days behind me, I could no longer muster the energy to sing, dance or whistle a happy tune. I walked away, longing to die, as Cinderella’s Castle—my happy place—faded in the distance.

GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK/TOMERTU

Royalty Empowered

Once upon a time, a young orphan girl lived in the shadow of a great castle. Although she possessed great beauty and inner strength, her wicked stepmother and ugly stepsisters didn’t understand or appreciate the girl they called “Cinderella.” Assigned to take care of her, they kept her busy sweeping up ashes and performing other menial tasks while locking her away from her destiny. In fact, they sought to rewrite her story and steal her rightful place: beloved resident of the castle, beautiful bride of the prince and cherished daughter of the king. We all know the rest of the story. For years, it has empowered women to rise from their own ashes. Cinderella, adorned in kingdom favor, stormed the castle gates to battle for her happily ever after. Cinderella, clothed in beauty, claimed her destiny and position as the true princess even as her abusive family members tried to keep her from it. Cinderella, poised in tattered servant garb, walked into the room to place her foot in her own glass slipper as the prince held it before her. The Cinderella story reminds us and ch ar isma ma g.co m

Ju n e 2 01 8 | C H A RI S MA

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ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: In this interview, former Disney princess Deanna Falchook opens up about her abortion regret. Watch at prolifeprincess.charismamag.com.

Deanne Falchook appears in Walt Disney World’s Kids of the Kingdom 1982 in Toronto; INSET: Falchook today.

our daughters that true beauty, grace and determination withstand the fire and allow the princess to come forth as gold. Planned Parenthood’s story continues, too. It didn’t take long for the organization to defend its tweet. “Today, we joined an ongoing Twitter conversation about the kinds of princesses people want to see in an attempt to make a point about the importance of telling stories that challenge stigma and championing stories that too often don’t get told,” said Melissa Reed, Planned Parenthood’s president and CEO. “Upon reflection, we decided that the seriousness of the point we were trying to make was not appropriate for the subject matter or context, and we removed the tweet.” For years, feminists like Reed have been princess-bashing because they don’t grasp the depth of the princess stories told through the years. These powerful tales focus on overcoming evil, raising beauty from the world’s ugliness and

demanding true love in a world that wants to thwart every happy ending. Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, Merida, Ariel and Mulan all represent strength, power, grace, favor, determination and beauty out of ashes. We should champion their stories, not suppress them.

Glory Revealed

My own story did not end when I walked away from Cinderella’s Castle. The Lord brought healing, but not right away. I endured a grueling process of understanding my early experiences and navigating the path of my grief. Over time, I came to understand the truth of Deuteronomy 30:19: “I call heaven and earth to witnesses against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” By God’s grace, I came to know the depth of His forgiveness and love for me. The Lord blessed me again by writing a handsome prince into my story. A few years after my Prince Charming and I married, I gave birth to a daughter, then a son. I also became a passionate

Pro-Life Princesses Pro-Life Princesses is a Facebook group formed in response to the Planned Parenthood tweet. In the private group, pro-life women discuss princesses and politics, fairy tales and family, beauty and the Bible. They often refer to their identity in Christ with the biblical terms of royalty: royal priesthood, holy nation, bride of Christ and kingdom of God. “You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord and a royal diadem in the hand of your God” (Isa. 62:3). Deanne Falchook invites women to join the Pro-Life Princess group at facebook.com/groups/proprincess/. 38

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advocate for orphans, and before long, God added them to my personal story. Today, I am the mother of a daughter from Guatemala, born to a 14-yearold girl I see as a princess. Because she decided not to abort her baby, my adopted daughter Matea’s name means “gift from God.” Three other children watched their birth mother, Bayoush—a gorgeous African princess—die from AIDS. The story of these Ethiopian orphans intertwined with mine as God brought them into our family through adoption. In Ukraine, a princess named Tetyana made the courageous decision to give birth to her baby boy, Alec, but abandoned him at only 2 days old. Labeled an invalid, he ended up in an orphanage. This little prince’s story nearly ended before we adopted him at age 5. Today, we are a blended family of American-born children and immigrants representing Jewish, Christian, British royal, Hispanic, Ukrainian and African cultures, all brought together by God’s grace. And we are also a Disney family, living near Disney World in Orlando. We walk down Main Street USA to gaze upon Cinderella’s Castle almost daily. We are strong, happy, peaceful. I brought my children to live here as a reminder that orphans can take a position on a throne inside a castle and that dreams do come true. Maybe Planned Parenthood wants to rewrite the princess stories because tales of evil witches trying to kill off beautiful princesses have already been told. Abortion does not empower; it steals, kills and destroys. It’s time to stop the princess-bashing and understand that a politically motivated agenda cannot improve upon iconic fairy tales. It’s time to realize that God has not yet finished our stories. DEANNA FALCHOOKis a freelance writer and author of To Be a Mother and the soon-to-be-published The Cinderella Mindset. c h a r i s ma m ag. com


S

The End of Sin

IN is God’s number one enemy. It is an “invading force” that sin of the world” John 1:29. God was not seeking to “punish” us when He polluted and cursed everything God had created. It is the nature sent Christ to the cross. His purpose was to “redeem us.” We were all of the “Serpent” that found a home in the hearts of fallen slaves to sin through no fault of our own. Everything we were without humanity. The “serpent” that deceived Eve had once been “the anointed Christ was the result of the one sin Adam committed when he discherub that covereth” Ezekiel 28:14, who was “perfect in his ways” until obeyed God. Why would God punish us for what Adam did? …and why iniquity was found in him Ezekiel 28:15. His name was “Lucifer,” which would He punish Jesus for what we did? means “the shining one.” Iniquity was discovered in Lucifer when he We were all born into this world as sinners because of Adam’s sin, said in his heart: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above and we all sinned because we were sinners. It was not our sin that the stars of God: …I will be like the most High” Isaiah 14:13-14. Selfmade us to be sinners. It was Adam who “sold us under Sin” Romans 7:14, exaltation was the iniquity which destroyed God’s “anointed cherub.” and being “under Sin,” we were “slaves to Sin.” John 8:34-36. We did not “Lucifer (the serpent) came to Adam and Eve with the promise, “… “owe a debt” any more than the slaves in America owed a debt. And your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and as the American slave owners were not “paid” to release the slaves, evil” Genesis 3:5, if they would simply disregard the command of God and neither did Christ “pay a debt” for our release. Instead, He destroyed eat the forbidden fruit. Eve believed the serpent’s lie, ate of the fruit, the “slave master.” The Bible says He “bruised the head of the serpent” gave it to Adam, and “their eyes were opened.” Instead of becoming “as Genesis 3:15, “…destroyed the devil” Hebrews 2:14, and “…destroyed the gods,” however, they saw they were naked and they were works of the devil” I John 3:8 for all who would believe ashamed, because “the glory of God” had departed from and trust in Him. In the flood, God destroyed the sinFREE BOOK them. Adam’s disobedience opened the door for Sin (the ners, but at Calvary he destroyed the Sin! nature of the serpent) to become his master, and Lucifer When God considered the plight of a world filled OFFER (the serpent, the devil) became “the god of this world” with sinners, He considered that it was “by one man” Why does sin II Corinthians 4:4. Every descendant of Adam for all time that Sin “entered into the world” Roman 5:12. God deterhave power? would be born with Sin in their heart and nature. mined, if He were to be just Romans 3:26, there had to Lucifer’s quest to exalt himself into the throne over be a “second man” to “take away the Sin” that entered men was amazingly successful. Even though God beckoned, into the world by the “first man.” The “second man” called, and chastened mankind, very few actually served must be born of a woman, yet be of a Spirit that him. In the days of Noah, however, God said, “My spirit transcends humanity. Who better to be the “second shall not always strive with man” Genesis 6:3. One hundred man” than the creator Himself? The apostle Paul said and twenty years later, God destroyed every living person of Adam, “the first man is of the earth, earthly…” with the exception of Noah and his household. Millions I Corinthians 15:47, but he said of Jesus Christ, “the secof sinners died in the great flood, but sin came through ond man is the Lord from heaven.” He was “the WORD, untouched, hidden in the nature of Noah and his family. made flesh” John 1:14. So the eternal Christ became The great flood did not make an “end of sin” upon the a man and was offered as a spotless lamb in order to earth. Sin in the nature of only eight people survived the “take away the sin of the world.” flood and again “contaminated” the whole earth. God Everything sin contaminated that has not been destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, but it did not bring an “redeemed from all iniquity” Titus 2:14 will be destroyed. end of sexual perversion any more than the destruction of Jerusalem The curse that sin brought on God’s creation was such that even the brought an end to abominations among the children of Israel. Sin must heavens and earth must “pass away” to make place for “a new heavbe destroyed, but destroying sinners proved not to be the answer to the ens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness” II Peter 3:13. The sin problem. Somehow, at any cost, Sin itself had to be eradicated. The “heavens and earth” as we know them will “pass away” Revelation 21:1, “cost” to do so was both “infinite” and “eternal” when Christ, who was being burned with “fervent heat” II Peter 3:10. Only those who are in the beginning “with God” and “was God” John 1:1, became a man to die “born of God” and thus “washed from sin” Revelation 1:5 will enter the on a cross Philippians 2:5-8, to “take away the sin of the world” John 1:29. “the new heavens and the new earth.” At the judgment, everything The death of Jesus Christ at Calvary was not a “punishment for sin.” in which Sin remains will be cast alive into the lake of fire with the It was not a “penalty taken” or a “debt paid.” His death was as a “lamb devil and all his angels, there to be contained forever, separated from without spot or blemish,” the “Lamb of God” offered to “take away the God and His new creation.

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| MIRACLES

Miracle Garden BY MAX GREINER JR.

G

od’s first encounters with man took place in a beautiful garden where He engaged His creation every day. So when God called my wife, Sherry, and me to build The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden in the Texas Hill Country, we knew He intended it to display His glory. It would be an “open heaven” where God would walk, and His works would manifest in power. But we had no way to know all He intended to do. Each day, we discover more of His purpose for this garden. Each day, we—and the hundreds who visit the garden each week—experience more of Him.

Hearing His Voice

As the artist and architect God selected for this project, I know He equipped and commissioned me just as he did the tabernacle artist Bezalel (Ex. 31:1-5). I have a degree in architecture from Texas A&M University, and since 1978, have been a professional artist and sculptor. I was raised a fourthgeneration Baptist, but in June 1981, Sherry and I prayed with a stranger named Bill Banks for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That was when our Baptist train jumped the tracks. My wife and I prayed for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be released in our lives. Not long afterward, the Lord called me to 40

CHAR I SMA | June 20 18

be an evangelist. Since then, I have kept detailed daily prayer journals of God’s work. By His grace, I have photographed, videotaped and otherwise documented thousands of miracles. Long ago, I promised the Lord that if He worked miracles in my life, I would bear witness, so others might know He is God. The miracle garden is a huge part of that promise. On Dec. 9, 2001, Sherry and I were visiting Cathedral of Praise—now Austin Cathedral—in Austin, Texas. Guest pastor and evangelist Dr. Mahesh Chavda, from Charlotte, North Carolina, interrupted his sermon and asked us to stand. He then spoke a personal word, prophesying that God was calling us, with the help of others, to restore the tabernacle of David. “Your work, what you are doing, these are some of the ornaments,” he said. “In the Spirit realm, I saw the things you are doing are part of the restoration process.” Chavda did not know us, and Sherry and I did not understand his prophecy. But our lack of understanding never limits God’s work. A few months later, on Aug. 22, 2002, Marlon Quibodeaux from Beaumont, Texas, emailed to say God wanted me to create a 77-foot-7-inch resurrection cross sculpture over Interstate 10 so people would come to Jesus. Another message from a stranger? I asked. Lord, is this really from You? God’s answer came in the form of an open vision. In it, I saw a contemporary Corten steel, hollow-cross c h a r i s ma m ag. com

G E T T Y I M A G E S / I S TO C K / I E V G E N I I A LY T V Y N O V YC H

God’s glory manifests at The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden in Texas Hill Country.


Max Greiner’s 18-foot bronze sculpture The Coming King stands atop a 7-foot base in the Living Water Baptismal Fountain, where people who have been saved at The Empty Cross can be baptized.

“Millions of people across the world learned of the battle for the cross and of God’s tabernacle garden.”


Max and Sherry Greiner

sculpture design and a 300-foot cross-shaped garden with gospel verses in multiple languages carved into stone tiles. I also saw the huge bronze sculptures I had already created placed at strategic points, along with cars turning off the highway to enter the park. Visitors read the gospel in their own languages as they walked toward the cross. Best of all, I saw them being touched, saved, filled with the Holy Spirit and healed!

Confirming the Prophecy

I had no idea how to move forward, but the Holy Spirit would not let me forget what He showed me. As I sought Him, He filled the next months and years with dozens of other words and miracles that confirmed the tabernacle prophecy and garden vision. On Nov. 21, 2003, I visited the Conyers, Georgia, estate of new art

collector Jeff O’Neal. I was telling him about the sculpture garden when he stopped and prophesied, “The world will come to this garden. People will not come to be trained, but to be ministered to. They will be changed. This will be the tabernacle of the New Covenant! God has called you to build last-days tabernacles of the New Covenant, to be repeated around the world!” Later that night, God reminded me of Dr. Chavda’s prophecy from two years earlier. The Holy Spirit then said, “The gardens are last-days tabernacles!” As I pondered this, I realized the tabernacle in Exodus was an outdoor, physical site where God’s people worshipped. Our modern-day “garden tabernacles” (our Texas one would be a prototype) would have the same focus. Still more confirmations lay ahead. On Dec. 11, 2003, I sat at a stoplight in my rural hometown of Kerrville and

Sculpture Garden Testimonies The saving power of Christ, deliverance from oppression and the gifts of the Holy Spirit manifest in this place set apart for God’s glory. »»“I asked a lady in a wheelchair if I could pray for her. She said she had not been able to walk for about seven months. I prayed for her, then asked her to stand up, and she did. I took her hands and said, ‘Let’s walk,’ and she did without pain. ... I took a picture of her walking and her husband walking beside her and her dad behind her with her wheelchair.”—Bobby Jetton, TCKF volunteer (after serving as a greeter at The Empty Cross on Easter Sunday, 2018) »»“As I looked upon the cross, I felt my body soar up and over the cross! When I landed, I was talking in tongues. ... God has delivered me from a 35-year cocaine addiction.”—Dru Williamson, Kerrville, Texas »»“We entered into The Empty Cross, where we prayed for ... named and unnamed cares and concerns ... as well as for the cross and its purpose in reaching others for Christ. At the moment of our collective ‘Amen,’ the sun came out. In the sunlight, we could see that all of us had the unexplainable ‘glory dust’ on us.”—Toni Carter, Kerrville, Texas »»“Today my best friend got saved [at The Empty Cross]. Thanks! God’s not dead!”—Anonymous 42

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heard God’s still, small voice: “Look up. This is the land I will give you.” I looked up, and what I saw amazed me: acres of beautiful raw land, high and lifted up on a 1,930-foot hill at the main entrance of Kerrville. That same day, I discovered the land was not for sale. In fact, it had not been on the market for more than 20 years. But none of that challenged God. Sherry and I wanted to respond to the Lord’s clear commission, so on May 6, 2004, we formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit art organization, The Coming King Foundation (TCKF), with seven trustees. This team of pastors, accountants and a worship leader would help us fulfill God’s clear call.

Praying Into Victory

But how? Once again, we looked to God for answers. First, we discovered the owner of the land, Clifford Reeh, was not only a Christian but an art collector as well. In fact, he already owned The Divine Servant, one of my small bronze sculptures of Jesus washing Peter’s feet. After Reeh and his wife heard about my evangelistic-garden vision, they prayed and decided to donate their property, worth millions of dollars, to TCKF. But when family members learned of the plan, they convinced the couple not to give away their inheritance. Now, a $500,000 price was placed on the land many valued at a substantially higher figure. Despite extensive fundraising and our family’s substantial gift, TCKF failed to raise the needed funds. Just before the contract deadline, on Sept. 16, 2005, a group of 19 intercessors met on the top of the hill and prayed that the land would be used to bring millions to Christ and that God would provide the purchase price. Christian rancher Hershel Reid attended this prayer event, primarily to tell me God had not released him to donate. During this time, our group prayed and anointed a 17-inch cedar cross with oil, soil and water from Israel. As we prayed, Reid put out a spiritual fleece, silently asking God to show him a wild hawk in the sky if his family was indeed to give to purchase the land. co ntinued » c h a r i s ma m ag. com


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ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: In a TBN appearance, Max Greiner shares the miraculous story of The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden. Watch at thecomingking.charismamag.com.

Max Greiner’s life-size Fisher of Men bronze sculpture of Jesus greets visitors at the entrance to the cross-shaped garden.

When I planted the cross and claimed the land for God’s kingdom, a three-inch scorpion charged the cross. Sherry crushed it with her foot just as my nephew Samuel yelled, “Look up in the sky!” To our amazement, nearly a dozen hawks soared above our heads. Although Reid had not yet told us about his “fleece,” our intercessors recognized the spiritual significance of scorpions (Satan’s kingdom) and hawks (God’s kingdom). Sherry and I left right away for a TCKF board meeting, where we prayed and unanimously agreed not to borrow money or make a counteroffer. If God did not go before us, we would do nothing. Broken-hearted, Sherry and I returned home that night to a blinking light on our answering machine. I pushed the button, and a voice said, “Max, this is Hershel. God said to give you the $500,000 for the land. Come out in the morning to the ranch (his family ranch in Hunt, Texas), and I’ll tell you all about it.” Through God’s miraculous sign, He made a way. Reid donated a half-million dollars the next day so TCKF could purchase the land to build our first sculpture prayer garden. Yet our journey to build the garden had barely begun. Years of construction but also attacks—including public objections at City Council meetings, slander, vandalism and false charges filed with state and federal agencies—lay 44

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ahead. On Dec. 8, 2008, opponents sued TCKF to stop the erection of the 70-ton cross. This 15-month lawsuit, the enemy’s last major strategy to eliminate the cross, delayed its placement in the garden for almost two years. God gave TCKF the victory in a legal settlement March 1, 2010. In the meantime, thanks to media coverage generated by the lawsuit, millions around the world learned of the battle for the cross and of God’s tabernacle garden.

Revealing His Glory

Built at cost by Eagle Bronze of Lander, Wyoming, The Empty Cross stands in the garden just a few feet from where the hawks circled over the 19 intercessors, a testimony to God’s faithfulness. During the erection of the cross on July 27, 2010, thousands of tiny sparkling particles, believed to be God’s Shekinah glory (Ex. 34:29, Isa. 60:1, Acts 7:55), rained down on bystanders. That night, intercessors worshipped God around a campfire. Balls of light, believed to be the type of angel described in Ezekiel 1:15-22, were photographed near the cross and the worshippers. As we celebrated God’s work, He joined us. Christian sculptures worth more than $2.25 million have since been added to the garden, donated by three internationally collected artists: Beverly Paddleford of Lander, Wyoming; David Broussard of Dallas, Texas; and me. The enemy could not stop the

garden, the cross or the works God intended to do there. Today, the tabernacle garden is truly an open heaven where, since its official dedication Sept. 13, 2013, people from all 50 states and at least 68 nations (more than 100,000 per year) have visited to experience God’s presence and power. In July 2012, Bobby Dendy from Arizona spotted The Empty Cross from the highway. He remained on the mountain for 42 days and nights, praying and worshipping. When he left, he donated his professional outdoor music system so worship music would continue to fill the air 24 hours a day, year round. Some out-of-town visitors have returned more than 40 times, several bringing as many as 300 guests. At the foot of the cross, thousands of people of all ages have given their hearts to Christ. Believers are baptized in water at the Living Water fountain and baptized with the Holy Spirit inside the cross itself. On the mountain, the gifts of the Holy Spirit manifest in abundance. Sparkling particles like those seen at the cross erection have formed and attached themselves to thousands of visitors. Still and video cameras have recorded thousands of angelic images (Ezek. 1:15). Numerous visitors have been healed physically and emotionally. And, after visiting the cross, at least 27 people have cancelled their plans for suicide. From the start, TCKF has sought to build this garden in faith and without debt. We completed and dedicated our original vision Sept. 13, 2015, but we still depend on gifts of prayer and funds. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18a). We are blessed to fulfill His vision through The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden and beyond. MAX GREINER JR.is co-founder with his wife, Sherry, of The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden in Kerrville, Texas. For more information, visit thecomingkingfoundation.org and maxgreinerart.com. c h a r i s ma m ag. com


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| LEADERSHIP

Deconstructing the man after God’s own heart

BY DR. MARK RUTLAND

I

A Strange Boy

When David first appeared in the story that was to become his, he was a shepherd boy. His life was far from those of the romanticized shepherds of modern stories. In David’s day, the shepherd in the family was the runt, the youngest, and often the most despised by his elders, who was made a shepherd because he was not capable of much else. David had seven older brothers, grown men who were strong warriors. They endured their younger brother—barely. Jesse’s seven older sons thought David was strange, to say the least, and a bragging little liar, to say the worst. co ntinued » 48

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f David had written an autobiography, I believe he would have emphasized that being the choice of God isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Any person seeking to live for God faces excruciatingly tough decisions. Living out that passion for God in such a violent era as David’s is what makes his story so raw and so maddeningly complex. It could be said that because of Saul’s failures, God stripped David of his childhood. When most young boys are concerned with games, David was being anointed king of Israel. At the age an average teenager today learns to drive, David cut off the head of a giant. David’s early life is gut-checking. His life makes us rethink the whole question of what it means to be set apart by God for great things. Between David’s anointing and his public coronation, decades of waiting and bloodshed, and waiting, and running, and waiting, and deceiving and waiting pass by. Being a man after God’s own heart means living life open and submitted to God’s will and timing. It means telling Him, “I’m Yours, and I will trust in You, no matter what.”


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From his earliest days, David’s life had a touch of the miraculous. Consider the fact that David was a master musician at a prodigious age. Prodigies are often hated by their less-talented elders. Then there were his accounts of supernatural victories in the wilderness. Imagine an evening meal in David’s family home: He has returned with his sheep, cleaned up and joined his older, larger brothers at the kitchen table. Challenged by their mother to be nicer to David, they fire off questions between bites. “What did you do today, little brother?” one asks before immediately turning to his mother to make sure she noticed his “effort.” Guileless as the child he is, David answers without hesitation. “Today I killed a lion.” Imagine the ridicule, the mockery he must have endured. Perhaps Eliab, the eldest, led the verbal assault. “Killed a lion, did you? Wow! That must have been dangerous business. It’s a miracle you weren’t killed.” “Yes,” agrees the naïve child. “It was a miracle. A great miracle.” “How did you kill the ferocious beast?” David, oblivious to the sarcasm, answers, “I punched him.” Imagine the laughter. Gales of laughter. David begins to realize he is being 50

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mocked, but he presses on. “Yes, he ran at the sheep, and I hit him with my fist.” “And he died? Just like that? Wow!” By now, everyone is up to speed on the conversation. The brothers are laughing together, and Jesse and his wife are smiling awkwardly and shaking their heads. “Yes, he died. Just like the bear.” “Oh, a bear too. A lion and a bear. What a warrior. What a mighty slayer of beasts is this sweet singer of songs.” After what feels like an eternity to David, his father, Jesse, raises his hand, and the laughter ceases. “OK, David. Are you saying you killed a lion?” “And a bear,” Abinadab adds. “Don’t forget the bear, Father.” “And a bear?” Jesse asks. “A lion and a bear?” “Yes,” David responds quietly. Jesse looks into the innocent eyes of his youngest and says, “The next time you kill a lion or a bear, why don’t you cut off its head? Bring that head home and show it to your brothers. To all of us. No one calls anyone in this family a liar, and we’re not calling you a liar, son, but next time, bring the head.”

The Prophet Arrives

One day, the prophet Samuel arrived in town. This was a big deal, especially in a village like Bethlehem. Since anointing Saul as the first

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“Being a man after God’s own heart means living life open and submitted to God’s will and timing.”

king of Israel, Samuel had nearly retired and taken a back seat in the kingdom. His return to the scene, his arrival in Bethlehem, was something of a scary moment. There was serious apprehension. Samuel doesn’t waste any time upon entering Bethlehem. He tells the elders of the town, “Gather at Jesse’s house for a sacrifice to the Lord.” “Jesse’s house? What for?” “I’m going there to anoint a new king,” Samuel answers. The elders are shocked—probably horrified. “Look, uh ... listen, we don’t want to argue with a prophet. But we do have just one tiny, maybe important, maybe not, question: What about Saul?” Without hesitation, Samuel responds bluntly, “What about him? I have nothing to do with Saul anymore. The next king is in Jesse’s house.” That said, everyone gathers at Jesse’s house. Samuel goes straight to Jesse’s oldest, strongest son, Eliab. He is a perfect specimen of a man. He looks kingly, Samuel thinks to himself. He’s not Saul exactly, but he’s impressive enough. Samuel holds out the oil, ready to anoint Eliab, when he feels a spiritual check. “This isn’t the one.” After going through all seven brothers, Samuel’s next words to Jesse prompt one of the funniest exchanges in the Bible: “Are you sure these are all your sons?” “Am I sure these are all my sons?” Jesse asks in disgust. “What are you accusing me of? What’s wrong with my boys here? What do you mean, are these all my sons?” “Well, are they?” Silence. “Are they? I count seven sons. Is this right, Jesse?” Jesse becomes quiet and looks away before answering. “There, well, there is another ... out in the fields somewhere. The youngest. He is ... well ... What can I say?” Samuel responds, “Let’s see what God sees in him.” When David eventually arrives and sees everyone staring at him, he must have been thinking to himself, What did I do now? He has absolutely no idea


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what’s happening, but as the youngest he’s used to being left out of the loop. Perhaps Samuel himself argued with God. “Oh, Lord, no. Not this one, surely not this one.” Samuel listens for the only opinion that matters. “This is the one.” Immediately, Samuel pours oil on David and anoints him as the next king of Israel. His brothers’ reactions must have been priceless. All their anger and envy must have made that mysterious evening a bitter pill to swallow. David has no more idea than the others of what has happened to him. He just came in out of the field and an old man poured oil on his head.

The Next Step: Wait

Perhaps even stranger than this scene with an old man pouring oil over a boy is that when it’s over ... it’s just FOR MORE STUDY... For too long, we’ve thought of King David as an Americanized shepherd boy on a Sunday school felt board or a New Testament saint. Dr. Mark Rutland breaks down the famed marble statue to reveal the biblical David in his new book, David the Great. 52

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over. Samuel goes back to his lonely prophet’s retreat, and David returns to his sheep. Everything goes back to normal. Or so it seems. Yet nothing is ever normal again. God has made His mark on David, and David’s story was just beginning. It was time for the next step, but that next step was simply to wait. God withdrew His anointing from Saul, who was having horrible nightmares and not sleeping well at all. A kind-hearted minion in his camp says to the king, “Hey, I heard about a kid over in Bethlehem who can play and sing better than anyone in Israel. Why don’t I go get this kid, and we’ll see if he can sing you to sleep?” Saul is willing to try anything at this point, so he summons David to his camp. Now what could David have been thinking at this point? Not too long before, the most famous spiritual leader in Israel poured oil over his head and said that David was God’s choice to be the next king. Now the current king is sending for him? Did Saul know? When young David arrives in the king’s tent, Saul is tossing and turning and moaning behind a veil. And the captain of the guard simply says to David, “Sit over there, and play and

Promotion Comes From the Lord

Young people today spend way too much time trying to force their way into opportunities. Whether we’re fresh out of college or 20 years into a profession, when we see even the hint of an opportunity, our initial instinct may be to push the door open ourselves. We dare not promote ourselves to our next job. We cannot force others to see what only we can see, or think we see, in ourselves and kickstart our destiny into a higher gear. Promotion doesn’t come from us or even from others. Promotion comes from the Lord. You are where you are right now because that is where God wants to use you right now. David had an opportunity to serve the king, and he did it well. That is all God wanted from him at the time. His moment to become the ruling king had not yet arrived. Follow David’s lead. Learn to wait on the Lord. Trust in His timing. Let God work on Saul. Let God work on you. Wait on the Lord. Let God promote you in His own way and in His own time. DR. MARK RUTLANDis president of Global Servants and the National Institute of Christian Leadership. A renowned communicator and New York Times best-selling author, he has more than 30 years of experience in organizational leadership, having served as a senior pastor and a university president. c h a r i s ma m ag. com

GETTY IMAGES/OJO IMAGES/TOM MERTON

“You are where you are right now because that is where God wants to use you right now.”

sing for the king. See if you can get him to sleep.” Here’s young David, away from home and probably frightened. Secretly he knows he is supposed to be the next king, but he’s told to play and sing for the current sleepless and tormented old king. It’s a very odd and frightening moment in the young boy’s life. David plays, and at last the king sleeps. In time, David is sent back to Bethlehem. Saul and his army head out for battle, and nothing else happens for David. It’s over. He simply goes back to shepherding. And that’s exactly where God wanted him right then.


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| FREEDOM

An Unthinkable

Conversation Jesus revealed Himself as the promised Messiah to an ostracized woman, empowering her to live a new life.

esus’ talk with the woman at the well is the longest one-on-one conversation He had with anyone in Scripture, and it is important for several reasons. In the Gospel of John, Jesus revealed Himself through seven “I Am” statements, and this conversation marks the first time He proclaimed Himself to be the promised Messiah. By declaring Himself to be the Messiah to a Samaritan woman who was ostracized by her community, Jesus was saying that salvation comes through Him and that it is available to all, even people who are despised. But He was also affirming the woman’s value. An unmarried woman who was living openly with a man who was not her husband may not have been held in high esteem by her community, but she mattered to God. In fact, she mattered enough for Jesus to go out of His way to have a talk with her. To appreciate the significance of Jesus’ actions, we have to understand the tension between the Jewish people and the Samaritans. The Samaritans were born through the intermarriage of the Jewish people and the Assyrians after the Israelites were released from Babylonian captivity. They worshipped the God of Israel but created a Samaritan Torah, which claimed the temple should be located on Mount Gerizim instead of in Jerusalem. The division grew so hostile, they avoided interacting at all costs. Samaria was situated between Galilee to the north and Judea to the south. But instead of cutting through Samaria to get to their destination, the Jewish people would go around because, according to the Levitical Law, Samaritans 54

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were considered unclean. Jesus would have known the Law forbade Him from having dealings with an unclean person, especially an unclean woman who had made so many wrong choices in her life. But Jesus went anyway. The woman at the well is like so many of us who have made choices that left us feeling unworthy of a relationship with the Lord. It’s easy to believe the negative things people say about us, especially when those words have been spoken for a long time. When we hear something over and over, it becomes ingrained in our minds. I am always saddened when I hear about women who have been marginalized by rumors. These women usually have amazing potential, but they allow what someone has said to keep them from fulfilling their purpose in God. It takes intentional effort to counteract the effect of negative words that get rooted deep into our thoughts. When Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman, He set out to change the way she saw herself. He began by having a public conversation with her, which validated her worth. But He knew her life could change only when she embraced the truth. No one would believe a known sinner unless the woman owned up to her sin. Jesus told her, “Go, call your husband, and come here” (John 4:16). With those few words, Jesus forced her to face the reality of who she had become and the problems in her life. Would she own the truth about herself or try to cover it up with a lie? Trying to save face is tempting when you’re ashamed of something you’ve done. But the truth is we cannot hide anything from an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God. He knows c h a r i s ma m ag. com

LIGHTSTOCK

J

BY MIA K. WRIGHT


“We have to learn to be truthful, because the more honest we are, the more liberated we become.�


“Jesus transformed her life with a conversation, and she, in turn, talked about Him. She found her voice.” everything about us, even the secret pain we never discuss. He desires inner truth from each one of us. It was a courageous and powerful moment when this woman owned the truth. No matter how many lies had come from her lips in the past, the moment she chose to drop the facade and come clean, the unthinkable happened. The truth set her free. I know it’s hard to hear, but we have to learn to be truthful, because the more honest we are, the more liberated we become. John 8:32 says, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” After being honest with herself and with Jesus, the woman did exactly what many of us do: She deflected. She asked Jesus a question completely TO LEARN MORE, READ THIS... People who have experienced the extraordinary do unordinary things. Pastor Mia K. Wright explores this concept, which allowed her to overcome the odds in her own life, in Unthinkable (Charisma House). 56

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The Truth Can Liberate

The truth, as painful as it may be, is what allows us to become free of the strongholds in our lives. A stronghold is a mindset that controls our actions, keeping us from experiencing the life God wants for us. Only the truth of God’s Word can destroy a stronghold, because it’s the only thing that can break through the lies we have come to believe. To be saved, we must accept that our sinful actions are covered by the blood of Christ at Calvary. There is no use denying we have sinned; God already knows that. But when we accept the gift of salvation Jesus died to give us, we are acknowledging that while those things are part of our past, they no longer define us. We can let those past sins go and embrace a bright and better future. Jesus helped the woman at the well understand what she really needed. She believed her physical needs were more significant than her spiritual needs, but Jesus dispelled that lie for her once and for all. She thought her intimate physical needs were greater than her need to follow God, but He dispelled that lie too. She thought she could live on natural water, but He gave her living water. She was living on lust, and He showed her real love. She hid the truth with lies, but He taught her that truth is the doorway to an authentic relationship with God and freedom in Christ. The message for the woman at the

well is also a message for you. When we face the truth about ourselves and allow that truth to set us free from past hurt and pain, we can restructure the priorities in our lives. What seemed important at one time may not actually be important at all after we are free! There is nothing more powerful than allowing God to take charge of your life and set in place the things that are of great importance to Him.

The Truth Can Restore

I love the fact that the Samaritan woman’s story did not end at the well. She had to share her experience with others—in fact, with everyone in her community. In effect, Christ made this “unworthy” woman the first evangelist to Samaria. When this woman began to share what she had experienced, even the men of the town believed her. God gave her influence and expanded her witness when He restored her voice and her sense of value as a person. Being silenced or marginalized because of who you are, what you are or what you have done is a hard fact of life. Unfortunately, people judge others by their actions, their reputations and their history. The woman at the well was a sinner. She was not only ceremonially unclean as a Samaritan but also morally unclean. Thank God for Jesus! He saw beyond all her faults and saw her needs. Jesus transformed her life with a conversation, and she, in turn, talked about Him. She found her voice. Imagine how this woman felt when her voice was restored. Yes, she was new in Christ, but she was still telling people about Jesus. She was talking, and people were listening. She was no longer being marginalized or ignored. Her voice was being heard. What are you called to share? What power does God want to release through your voice? If you believe the truth of God’s Word, then live it. Speak it. Become an advocate for the truth, and let God use your life to change others. MIA K. WRIGHTis co-pastor and director of ministry at The Fountain of Praise in Houston, Texas. She has been a host on TBN’s Praise the Lord and a guest on Daystar’s Joni Table Talk and Celebration programs. c h a r i s ma m ag. com

LIGHTSTOCK

unrelated to what they were discussing (John 4:19-20). He wanted to talk about relationship, and she wanted to talk about religion. He wanted to tell her how much the Father loved her. She wanted to steer the conversation away from her sins because she thought surely God could not love or accept her as she was. When she asked about the proper place to worship, returning to the division between Jews and Samaritans, Jesus responded by circling right back to the message of truth. The time had come to set this woman free. He wasn’t concerned about Mount Gerizim; what was important to Jesus was this woman’s soul. He wanted her to worship God in spirit and in truth.


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ecretly operating behind the curtain of “national security” in Washington, D.C., exists the real government of the United States — the Deep State. This is the story of the players who pull the strings, no matter who you voted for, who actually sits in the Oval Office, or even who controls Congress. Now, the New York Times bestselling author of The Obama Nation, The Late Great USA and Unfit for Command pulls the veil off the Deep State and the powerful agencies behind it — the FBI, CIA, DOJ, NSA, and the Federal Reserve. In his latest bestseller, Killing the Deep State, Corsi reveals for the first time powerful evidence that the Deep State is seeking to remove President Trump from office. Corsi argues that no government agency, department, or official inside Washington — including the president

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Saving Trump Inside his explosive new book, Killing the Deep State, Corsi lays it all out — from the alarming evidence for the coup d’état to take out President Trump to the plan that will allow the president and patriots to destroy this dangerous shadow government for good. Dr. Corsi offers the “smoking gun” proof that the FBI has now taken the lead to stop Trump once and for all. He also provides new evidence that Barack Obama and his key lieutenants are orchestrating the Deep State — relying on many of his most trusted aides who are still in the government working for President Trump! Killing the Deep State shows that the investigation


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The Trump Plan to Decimate the Deep State There is a way out . . . a way to defeat the hard-leftists at their own game. In Killing the Deep State Dr. Jerome Corsi lays it all out, step-by-step. His masterful plan shows you . . . ■

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Just 24 hours after her loss in the presidential election, Hillary was already touting the Russian collusion theme? It was part of this FBI “insurance policy.” Pages 6 and 19 The FBI’s Robert Mueller has turned a blind eye to the open and brazen efforts of the Bureau to first back the Clintons and now sabotage Trump? Page 104 Russia was funneled U.S. military technology and 20% of all U.S. uranium production as part of the “Russian reset” . . . Pages 111–113 Popular Fox News host Glenn Beck, MSNBC’s Pat Buchanan, and CNN’s Lou Dobbs were all forced off their networks? Find out which powerful figure in the Deep State was behind this rabid attack. Page 124 Obama wants black America against President Trump and how antifa activities became designated as domestic terrorist violence by U.S. Department of Homeland Security . . . yet the mainstream media still champions their cause and hails them as heroes? Page 134 FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok, who once led the Clinton email probe, changed the wording in James Comey’s speech about Hillary’s handling of classified information through her private email server from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless”? Page 7 It took so long for government officials to admit the Fusion GPS dossier was a fake — paid for by surprising sources. Were the FBI and Obama behind it as well? Page 90

The game-changing national security crisis that could force the Deep State to abandon the Russian collusion meme. History shows this plan will work. Pages 152–153 How Trump can play this “card” to his advantage and silence Deep State narratives backed by no evidence that are bent on destroying his presidency. Page 154 The 3 things that can save the Trump presidency, including polls! Pages 155–157 How ending a time-honored tradition will silence the mainstream media and stop the jackals from attacking the president and planting fake news. Pages 170–171 And much more.

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Empower

For more teachings and Resources, go to charismamag.com

RESOURCES FOR SPIRIT-LED LIVING Compiled by Taylor Berglund

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Shake Free

Samuel Rodriguez WaterBrook When Paul is shipwrecked, as recorded in Acts 27-28, his shipmates thought they were doomed. But Paul was able to see God’s hand in even the worst circumstances. Pastor Samuel Rodriguez makes the case that, in dark and depressing days, Christians should live with purpose and joy. He writes, “Because of Christ in our life, we have the power to shake off rejection, fear and failure—just like Paul later shook off the viper that should have killed him.”

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Miracles still happen. In Eyewitness to Miracles, Randy Clark aims to prove it. The book is a catalog of hundreds of miracles, using a variety of eyewitness testimonies and official documentation. In doing so, he refutes both the doctrines of cessationism and rationalism, making the case that God moves supernaturally among His people today.

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In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something regrettable. That’s why James 3:9 says, “With [our tongue] we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the image of God.” Take control of your feelings and tame your tongue with the strategies in this book.

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Simply Christ Sharing the simplicity that is in Christ

Mary’s Testimony

Y

ears ago a woman named Mary came to us who had been a lifelong alcohol and drug abuser. Mary was completely possessed by unclean spirits to the extent that if she even attempted to call upon the name of Jesus her throat would immediately swell up and choke off the words. The demons would speak through her at times and both threatened and attempted to cause her to take her own life. In the presence of God she would go into a “stone trance” and be unmovable for up to twenty minutes at a time. What astounded us was that in this condition Mary had been a platform musician at multiple “Spirit-filled” churches and had been assured that she was both saved and filled with the Spirit of God. A year before she came to us Mary entered a major Christian treatment institution for drug and alcohol abuse. In this “Christian” rehab her Hindu psychiatrist used scripture as the basis for his treatment. The foundation scripture was Jesus’ words “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32. Mary was told “the truth” that would make her free was the truth about herself. So ...under the covering of scripture ...in a “Christian” rehab institution ...with a Hindu psychiatrist ...she was indoctrinated against every precept of the gospel of Jesus Christ. She did not believe the Bible was the word of God neither did she accept that Jesus was the Son of God. After over one-hundred thousand dollars of insurance money was spent on her treatment, she exited the center “dried-out” from alcohol and drugs, but still demon possessed, lost, and on her way to hell. I have no natural explanation of why she ended up at Calvary Outreach Church other than she said she had a dream that she would be delivered there. Mary would sit in service after service of gospel preaching and then argue against the things she was hearing, but …she kept coming. In a revival Campmeeting, a visiting pastor from Kansas ministered on broken cisterns. God had said “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13. Something gripped Mary in this service and she began to weep uncontrollably. She realized she had been drinking from a “religious mud-hole” …a “broken cistern,” but they had convinced her it was the fountain of God. I asked her if she was now ready for Jesus Christ, but Mary refused, saying, “I just cannot see that.” Mary began to fall apart. Cravings for alcohol rushed in and thoughts of suicide began to fill her thoughts, but …she kept coming and listening.

Three weeks passed and one Sunday morning Pastor Leroy Surface preached on the work of the cross of Christ. It was a wonderful service, but nothing extraordinary seemed to take place. The following day Mary showed up at Pastor Surface’s home to speak with him and his wife. She said, “Leroy, something happened to me while you were preaching yesterday.” What was that?” he asked. “Well it felt physical, but I do not believe it was. While you were preaching something leaped inside of me and I knew I believed!” Being a little skeptical, Brother Surface asked, “What did you believe, Mary?” She answered, “I knew I believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. I believe He died on the cross for my sins, was buried, and raised again on the third day. I knew that I was crucified with Him, buried with Him, and raised again with Him in newness of life. I knew that I am saved, and I know that I am free! Through simple gospel preaching, without anyone laying hands on her, she was instantly delivered from every unclean spirit and the power and presence of sin. In that moment she was born of the Spirit of God, never to desire, seek, or need alcohol, drugs, or any such thing again. Her whole life became “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” She became a great light to everyone she met until the Lord took her home almost a decade later. Before she passed she moved to a northern state to be closer to family, yet continually sharing the gospel of Christ. The day Mary died family and friends lined up to speak to her knowing this would be the last time they would ever hear her voice in this world. To each person that came she spoke of Jesus and the gospel of his great salvation. When her pastor entered, she looked upon him and said, “It’s all about the gospel! Preach the truth of the gospel! At the funeral the pastor told Brother Surface “I only pray that when my time comes I can die like she died.” Brother Surface responded, “If you will believe the gospel she believed, then you will die like she died, with the same grace she died with.” The truth that made Mary free was not a truth about herself. It was the simple truth of who Christ is, what he came into the world to accomplish, and that he finished it all upon the cross for everyone who will believe “the truth.” Believe that Jesus IS the eternal Christ, the Son of God, who came into the world “to make an end of sins, make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness.” Daniel 9:24-25. Believe that upon his cross he destroyed your “body of sin” Romans 6:6 to deliver you from sin’s power and presence both upon and within you. This is the truth that Jesus said “shall make you free!”

Simply Christ is sent weekly via email to believers around the world. To request your free book or subscription, visit cochurch.org or write to: Behold the Lamb Publications, P.O. Box 750 Porter, TX 77365

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MUSIC

Blackout

Steffany Gretzinger Bethel Music

Follow our daily reading plan in each issue of Charisma to read through the Modern English Version Bible in one year. The plan is also available online at charismamag.com/brg. “BUT FOR YOU WHO FEAR MY NAME, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. You will go out and grow up like calves from the stall.” —Malachi 4:2 June 1 Prov. 19-21; Rom. 13 June 2 Prov. 22-24; Rom. 14 June 3 Prov. 25-27; Rom. 15 June 4 Prov. 28-29; Ps. 60; Rom. 16 June 5 Prov. 30-31; Ps. 33; Eph. 1 June 6 Eccl. 1-3; Ps. 45; Eph. 2 June 7 Eccl. 4-6; Ps. 18; Eph. 3 June 8 Eccl. 7-9; Eph. 4 June 9 Eccl. 10-12; Ps. 94; Eph. 5 June 10 Song 1-4; Eph. 6 June 11 Song 5-8; Phil. 1 June 12 1 Kin. 12; 2 Chr. 10-11; Phil. 2 June 13 1 Kin. 13-14; 2 Chr. 12; Phil. 3 June 14 1 Kin. 15; 2 Chr. 13-14; Phil. 4 June 15 1 Kin. 16; 2 Chr. 15-16; Col. 1 June 16 1 Kin. 17-19; Col. 2 June 17 1 Kin. 20-21; 2 Chr. 17; Col. 3 June 18 1 Kin. 22; 2 Chr. 18-19; Col. 4 June 19 2 Kin. 1-3; Ps. 82; 1 Tim. 1 June 20 2 Kin. 4-5; Ps. 83; 1 Tim. 2 June 21 2 Kin. 6-7; 2 Chr. 20; 1 Tim. 3 June 22 2 Kin. 8-9; 2 Chr. 21; 1 Tim. 4 June 23 2 Kin. 10; 2 Chr. 22-23; 1 Tim. 5 June 24 2 Kin. 11-12; 2 Chr. 24; 1 Tim. 6 June 25 Joel 1-3; 2 Tim. 1 June 26 Jon. 1-4; 2 Tim. 2 June 27 2 Kin. 13-14; 2 Chr. 25; 2 Tim. 3 June 28 Amos 1-3; Ps. 80; 2 Tim. 4 June 29 Amos 4-6; Ps. 86; Titus 1 June 30 Amos 7-9; Ps. 104; Titus 2 64

CHARI SMA | June 20 18

In 2014, Bethel worship leader Steffany Gretzinger released her first solo album to critical and commercial success. Four years later, she’s raised her game on Blackout, a worship album both lyrically and artistically stunning. The album’s instrumentation lends grandeur that separates Blackout from its peers. Only the song “Confident” feels simple enough for a corporate setting. The remaining songs are far stranger and more personal, letting the worship leader dive into artistically complex waters. Take “All That Lives Forever,” a haunting ode to loss and mortality: “Death is just a door that leads us home to You.” Later in the album, “This Is the Sound” channels both the earnestness and “whoa-ohs” of Rend Collective to rejoice in God’s life-giving power. The title track combines crashing guitars and wild synths with jolting transitions. It shouldn’t work, but Gretzinger’s beautiful vocals tie it all together. Beds of soft piano interlude join disparate sections of the album, cohesively weaving ballads and synth-rock into a musical tapestry. Blackout shines lyrically. “Oxygen” finds Gretzinger baring her vulnerabilities, singing to God: “Sometimes my very best is only my weakest yes/ You see strength in every movement/ Baby steps and short breaths/ Anything is progress.” Opener “Save Me” declares, “I’ve been drowning under my skin/ No one but You can save me/ My weakness is my honor, not my shame.” The lyrics are clear and accessible enough for anyone to voice without becoming trite—an exceptionally difficult tightrope to walk in worship music. Blackout is contemplative about subjects ranging from evangelism to relational honesty to God’s character.

The lush music sets a cinematic tone uncommon to worship music, making Gretzinger’s latest uniquely beautiful. Blackout is an easy recommendation. BOOKS

Through My Father’s Eyes

Franklin Graham W Publishing Group

Those seeking pure facts about Billy Graham’s life can consult the many biographies already available. Through My Father’s Eyes isn’t one of them. Instead, the book is a memoir, filtering Franklin Graham’s experiences through wisdom and anecdotes supplied by Billy. Rather than framing these experiences chronologically, the book jumps from topic to topic a la Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. It’s an unorthodox approach that mostly works. The intertwining of father and son’s stories positions Billy’s wisdom as timeless and transcendent. When Franklin explains his philosophy on preaching, for instance, he remembers what his father told him: “I do not have to make the gospel relevant. It is always relevant in any part of the world. Don’t let the newspaper headlines frighten you. God is still sovereign. He is still on His throne.” When the right Franklin story intersects perfectly with Billy’s wisdom or a shared experience, it creates a powerful moment. An early chapter detailing Franklin’s return home after a prodigal experience—with his father rushing to greet him “arms wide open”—tugs on the heartstrings. Other topics include foreign leaders and Billy’s wife, Ruth. Through My Father’s Eyes is a worthy memoir to a great man of faith. It will satisfy fans of the Grahams—both father and son. c h a r i s ma m ag. com

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Perspective

PODCAST Stay current by listening to interviews with today’s headliners conducted by Charisma’s founder, Stephen Strang. Download at CPNSHOWS.COM

BY STEPHEN STRANG

What Secular Media Doesn’t Get

I’m thankful I could speak up for the Lord on CNN and MSNBC.

“The media doesn’t seem to understand that conservative Christians want a spiritually great nation.”

power of the gospel,” I told him. I began to see they wouldn’t contradict me when I spoke up for the gospel, probably because it was Holy Week. In my interview Good Friday with Craig Melton on MSNBC, I turned a question on policy to say: “Millions of evangelical Christians believed the country was going in the wrong way, and we prayed. We prayed that God would somehow do something to shift the direction of our country, and here He raised up a man who we didn’t even necessarily like, in the form of Donald Trump. He has done more for religious liberty and helping persecuted Christians—and the kinds of causes that Christians feel are important—than any president, I think, in my lifetime.” The media doesn’t seem to understand that conservative Christians want a spiritually great nation. Although we are interested in tax cuts and foreign policy, the real issue is how policies help or hurt the Christian community and move our nation in the right or wrong direction. Melton cited a poll that seemed to prove his point that Trump was losing evangelical support. I cited my own “poll”—all the people I’ve talked to, none of whom are changing their minds about Trump. “There have been many, many opportunities to change our minds about Trump,” I told Melton. “But he has come through, again and again. He’s standing strong, he’s trying to make America great again, and most evangelical Christians, like me, are praying that somehow America will become morally and spiritually great again.” To watch my interviews on CNN and MSNBC, visit charismamag.com/ strangcnn, charismamag.com/strangcnn2 and charismamag.com/strangmsnbc.

STEPHEN STRANG i s the founder of Charisma and CEO of Charisma Media. He is author of the best-selling book God and Donald Trump (FrontLine/Charisma House). Follow him on both Periscope and Twitter (@sstrang) or Facebook (stephenestrang). 66

CHARI SMA | June 20 18

c h a r i s ma m ag. com

T I M K E L LY

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uring Easter week, the Lord allowed me to speak up for Him during two interviews on CNN and one on MSNBC. The interviewers asked me about Stormy Daniels, who alleged she had a one-night stand 11 years ago with Donald Trump. As soon as the news about Daniels broke, the media had a storyline: “How could a president this immoral deserve to serve as president? Surely any Christians supporting him are hypocrites.” They only needed some evangelical leader to give them their soundbites. Our public relations company had been pitching me to be on some talk shows to discuss God and Donald Trump, to little avail. Suddenly, I received three invitations to talk about Daniels. I prayed about what to say. My first interview was with Alisyn Camerota on CNN. She began by saying: “Explain to us again how it is that evangelicals are willing to overlook these reports of infidelity, and other things, to support President Trump.” That was easy to answer, I told her, because Trump has had a reputation as a playboy going back to the ’80s, yet evangelicals still voted for him. “I didn’t support Donald Trump for a long time because I didn’t approve of his lifestyle,” I said. “Then what changed?” Camerota asked, which gave me the opening I wanted. I replied: “I think he changed. I really do. I talk about this in my book, God and Donald Trump.” But Camerota didn’t seem satisfied with my answer. “But in order to receive forgiveness, don’t you have to confess your sins?” she said. “Isn’t that a tenet of the Bible? You know, Donald Trump has famously said he has never asked God for forgiveness.” I said I was glad she was quoting the Bible and then shifted the discussion to policy matters. Each time an interviewer asked me why evangelicals could vote for a man so flawed, I replied that millions of Christians had prayed that somehow God would shift the direction of this nation. I said God answered in a way we didn’t expect with a person we didn’t necessarily like. Before the election, I was aware of the comparisons between Trump and the pagan king Cyrus, whom God used to let the Israelites return to Jerusalem from Persia. The Scripture in Isaiah 45 says: “Thus says the Lord to Cyrus, His anointed ... I have even called you by name; I have named you, though you have not known Me” (vv. 1a, 4b). If God could use Cyrus, he could use Trump. Later I understood his policies and strong support for Christian issues. I was surprised to get an invitation to be on a CNN show hosted by Ryan Noble on Easter. Noble asked about Trump’s behavior and quoted Franklin Graham, who said Trump has changed since the time of these alleged affairs. This gave me the best opening of any of the interviews. “You know, the whole essence of Christianity is that God is able to change people through the


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