CHARISMA ENCOUNTER THE SPIRIT
DRIVE OUT DEMONS
SPEAK IN TONGUES
LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
Brigitte Gabriel in defense of American values, freedom and security
PURSUING CHRIST: John Bevere on Deceptive Idolatry PROSPERITY : Benny Hinn Changes His Prosperity Teaching
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CONTENTS A ugust 2018/Volume 44, Number 1
DEPARTMENTS Your Feedback 6 Inspire 16 This Pulse survivor fell in love with Jesus and left the LGBT lifestyle behind. Jimmy Evans shares how he overcame the spirits of fear and depression.
By Taylor Berglund
Reviews: Frank Viola’s Insurgence and Provident Films’ I Can Only Imagine
How Brigitte Gabriel’s firsthand experience with evil inspired her to start a grass-roots organization that protects freedom.
Kimberly Daniels’ Breaking the Power of Familiar Spirits, Michael Youssef’s Life-Changing Prayers, Hillsong Young & Free’s III and more
Prosper and Be in Health Benny Hinn stunned the Christian world when he said he had changed his views on the prosperity gospel. He explains what true biblical prosperity means.
God in Our Image? Paul warned the early church not to be deceived by false gospels. Has today’s church fallen for a knockoff Jesus? By John Bevere
By Ken Walker
Spirit-Focused Since starting at an Anglican church in London, Alpha has helped thousands come into a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. By Jessilyn Justice
What It Means to Speak in Tongues The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a powerful gift from God. So let’s get our theology straight. By Mike Shreve
4 Steps for Deliverance That Lasts Spring may be long over, but it’s never too late to clean the demons out of the rooms of your heart. By Alexander Pagani
COLUMNS 8 Greenelines The Holy Spirit defeats imposter syndrome. By Dr. Steve Greene
10 Fire in My Bones
How to fight racism within the church By J. Lee Grady
12 Things to Come
3 things that set Spirit-filled churches apart. By Doug Clay
14 Straight Talk
Growth should be continual for Christians. By Joyce Meyer
Pray for spiritual renewal in North Korea. By Stephen Strang
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LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
“[Falchook] is a brave woman. ... All the glory goes to God from the broken places in our lives.” —S. Kurrian
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OUR BROKENNESS GIVES GOD GLORY (Regarding “Cinderella Story” by Deanna Falchook, Charisma, June 2018): This young woman has essentially turned herself in, by making her story so public. I think that goes to show how much she regrets what she did and went through, and how much she desires to help others from falling into the same trap. She is a brave woman and this is a well-written piece! All the glory goes to God from the broken places in our lives. S. Kurrian, charismanews.com
SPIRITUAL GIFTS DON’T FIT INTO CATEGORIES (Regarding “Why I’m OK Being a Spiritual Misfit” by J. Lee Grady, Charisma, July 2018): Even those socalled power gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 don’t fit into categories. When does a prophecy stop being a word of knowledge, utilizing a word of wisdom to exercise faith to energize gifts of healing? Trying to categorize all “spiritual gifts” into neat boxes doesn’t work. It’s not the gifts, folks; it’s the Holy Spirit. When we list gifts
and giftings, ministries and practices, we have to realize that these are just expressions of one Spirit, who shows Himself in many different ways at different times for the purposes He decides to manifest Himself in the body of Christ. mdemetrius, charismamag.com
KIM DANIELS ENFORCES THE LORD’S WORK (Regarding “How Apostle Kimberly Daniels Is Leading the Charge to Reform Horrific Prison Conditions” by Stephen Strang, charismamag.com): I am so grateful that a five-fold leader (see Eph. 4) in God’s church has addressed this gross injustice. Also, thanks to Stephen Strang for using the Charisma platform to discuss the other wicked areas that are destroying this nation. By the way, God used a donkey to speak on His behalf when Balaam wouldn’t follow instructions. Apostle Kim Daniels is doing the work of one sent to enforce the Lord’s work that He did while He was on earth. Our job as disciples is to follow and do the same. Carmen Dulaney, charismamag.com
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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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Godhead by James P. Norman Jr. helps readers understand God’s word!
This book will guide you through deep, spiritual throught about your walk with Christ. You will learn and grow when you pick up this book! Godhead is highly recommended for study groups, sermons, and bible studies. Dr. Norman’s diligent writing has made Godhead one of the best-researched bible fact books on the market. You won’t be able to put it down! Dr. James P. Norman is a public speaker, educator, and founder of Artesian Well Church. Dr. Norman met his beautiful wife, Kathleen Markham at Enterprise Junior High School in Compton, CA. He has a Hebrew & Greek, Bachelors of Science in Theology; Bachelors of Arts in Sociology/ Psychology; Masters of Science Counseling; Ph.D., Masters of Counseling/ Psychology; Honorary Doctorate of Divinity and a Doctorate of Christian Counseling. TESTIMONIAL BY JUSTINEA ALLEN M Wow! This is a great read! I will keep this book with me all summer to continue studying the bible references. This needs to be in the household of everyone I know. It makes a great reference for a great study group. “Our Prayer Life” on page 98 is all about prayer. I won’t give it away, read for yourself!
purchase your copy of Godhead at lulu.com
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 Holy Spirit helps us defeat the impostor syndrome.
“The apostle Paul never said, ‘I want to be like Peter.’”
“Not that I have already attained or have already been perfected, but I follow after it so that I may lay hold of that for which I was seized by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not count myself to have attained, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12-14). Paul wasn’t an impostor. He was aware of his personal limitations, feelings and inadequacies. In his weakness, he showed the strength of the Lord. In his journey as a follower of Jesus, he gloried in what he wasn’t. He took pride in what he couldn’t do. He failed—and he told everyone about it. God used Paul in great ways. At one point, the Holy Spirit led him to move from one mission plan to another. He had gone to Troas to meet up with Titus. But his friend failed to show up, and Paul was troubled. “I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother” (2 Cor. 2:13a). Paul went on ahead to Macedonia and met Titus there. This high-achieving leader valued the work of his mission partner. He counted his own gain as loss. He became a team player. When we die to self, we defeat the impostor syndrome. The Holy Spirit keeps us real. He empowers us to be what we were made to be and do. Pray daily that His will be done through you. Recognize when your mind is leading you astray. Pray in the Spirit and remind the enemy that you know who you are in Christ. You have the mind of Christ and can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
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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ave you heard of the impostor syndrome? College professor Pauline Rose Clance did the initial research on this psychological phenomenon during the 1970s. She first used the term to describe high-achieving female college students. For no logical reason, these women felt sure they could fail at any time. As it turns out, both men and women experience impostor feelings. The impostor syndrome is a common malady. The odd thing about this feeling of inadequacy is that it seems to occur most often in high achievers. There exists an inner fear among the afflicted that today is the day of reckoning. “Today may be the day they realize I’m not all that.”“I can’t do this.”“I’m not good enough.” We all know Peter Pan can’t fly. He has cables to sustain his airborne adventures. Poor Peter knows the truth in his heart and feels the crushing weight of the impostor syndrome. “I can’t fly.”“Everyone will find out I’m a liar.”“The lost boys won’t follow me anymore.” Perhaps Peter doesn’t want to grow up because he doesn’t want to admit the truth about himself. Surely in Never-Neverland, our failures and foibles don’t count. But unlike Peter Pan, we don’t live there anymore. When we focus on ourselves and slip into the mode of evaluation by comparison, it seems inevitable that we experience personal lack. We all remember the disciples arguing with one another about who was greatest (see Luke 9:46-48). No doubt this strife arose because they considered themselves impostors. “Today may be the day the Master figures out I’m not as good as the rest of these guys.”“I can’t walk on water.”“I’m not strong enough.” But the apostle Paul never said, “I want to be like Peter.” Paul prayed to know Jesus more. Yet Paul endured a Spirit-powered process to reach this point. In the “before” picture Paul paints in the New Testament, we see a man full of pride. Paul cared more about what others thought than almost anything else. “If any other man thinks that he has reason to trust in the flesh, I have more: I was circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, and a Hebrew of Hebrews; as concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; and concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Phil. 3:4b-6). But take a look at Paul’s “after” photo. His emphasis has shifted from bragging about his achievements to boasting in his inabilities. His goal has morphed from receiving the prize for the best Pharisee ever to becoming like Jesus, the best servant ever. Best of all, his focus has turned from himself to his Lord.
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Fire in My Bones BY J. LEE GRADY
Why the Church Needs More Racial Sensitivity
tarbucks closed 8,000 of its stores in May so its baristas could undergo four hours of racial sensitivity training. The company took the drastic action to counteract negative publicity it got in April when two black men were arrested because they sat in a Starbucks store in Philadelphia without ordering any coffee. The ugly incident on April 12 triggered angry reactions. Some customers began boycotting Starbucks when they learned that a white employee called the police after telling the two men they couldn’t use the restroom without buying anything. CEO Kevin Johnson then went on an “apology tour” and announced he would give his 175,000 employees a racial sensitivity seminar. Yet some people viewed the training as a publicity stunt designed to protect Starbucks (which makes $14 billion a year in profit) from a customer backlash. I don’t have high hopes that a four-hour seminar will end racism in America. Yet when I learned about Starbucks’ plan, my first thought was Maybe we need to close our churches for a day and do the same thing. Because racism is alive and well in America’s congregations—and we need to face it. If I were going to offer racial sensitivity training to a church, I would include these steps: Teach more about the Holy Spirit. Whenever the Holy Spirit shows up, racial barriers fall. The first Pentecost was a multicultural miracle; no one can be called a Pentecostal if he doesn’t embrace racial and ethnic diversity. If you want racial diversity in your church, encourage people to be filled with the Spirit. He will tear down the walls that divide us! Address racism from the pulpit. Jewish leaders hated Jesus because He showed compassion to everyone, regardless of ethnicity. And the apostle Paul’s decision to take the gospel to Gentiles offended Jewish people who didn’t believe God cared about anyone but them. The gospel is not the gospel if it doesn’t call people to repent of racial pride. Lead the way in apologizing for past injustice. In my city of LaGrange, Georgia, a black man named Austin Callaway was cruelly lynched by a white mob in 1940—and the murder was covered up. But 77 years later, our chief of police, who is white, organized a public apology service at a local church. Pastors, community leaders and descendants of Callaway joined hearts to heal an old wound. If your community has been divided by racial injustice, public repentance can bring transformation. Model diversity from the church platform. Many white pastors told me they want racial diversity in their churches. Yet when I look at their stages, I only see white. At the church I attend, New Community Church in LaGrange, our pastor, Lamar Hardwick, is black; one associate pastor is a white man and another associate is a white woman. The music team rotates each week and is a perfect blend of white and black; even the greeter team at the front door of the church is mixed.
“Racism is alive and well in America’s congregations.”
It’s no surprise our congregation is about 70 percent black and 30 percent white. Train leaders from all racial groups. I’ve met many African-Americans who attend churches led by white pastors; yet it’s rare to find white congregants in churches led by black pastors. Why is that? Many white Christians hold an unspoken belief that they could never submit to a black leader. That’s silly when you consider that the early church had black leaders. In Antioch, Paul served alongside two black men, “Simeon who was called Niger” and “Lucius of Cyrene” (Acts 13:1). Simeon’s nickname literally means “the black guy.” Give immigrant groups a place to meet. You may be surprised to learn there are immigrants from many parts of the world in your backyard. Perhaps you could invite a Hispanic, Congolese or Pakistani congregation to meet in your church building on Sunday afternoons. Come alongside immigrant pastors and help them reach their own. Identify your Samaria. Jesus told His disciples to take the gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth (see Acts 1:8). Many churches sponsor overseas mission trips, but how many of us are reaching our Samarias? Your Samaria is the part of your local area where “those people” live. Samaria is the part of town you might avoid. Yet Jesus calls us there. Why is it we will fly to another country to share the gospel, yet we rarely venture near the housing projects, slums or mobile home parks that are just miles from our house? Let’s stop pretending racism doesn’t exist inside the church. Let’s confront it and renounce it so we can finish the job of sharing Jesus’ love with everybody.
J. LEE GRADYwas editor of Charisma for 11 years. He now serves as contributing editor. His latest book is Set My Heart on Fire (Charisma House). He directs The Mordecai Project (themordecaiproject.org), an international ministry that protects women from gender-based violence. 10
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The gospel is not the gospel if it doesn’t call people to repent of racial pride.
Things to Come
A GUEST EDITORIAL BY DOUG CLAY
They Will Know Us by the Spirit
’m a product of a local Pentecostal church. All the major spiritual moments of my life happened in the local church: I was dedicated as a baby in the church, found salvation in Jesus in the church and was both water- and Spirit-baptized in the church. The primary instrument God has chosen to expand His kingdom here on earth is the local church. Because of that, Satan fights with all his might to tear it down. Rapid and radical cultural influences have left too many churches teetering between ineffectiveness and extinction. The reality is that we live in a post-Christian society. Biblical literacy is on the decline, while immorality increases. Young people have traded sacred sexuality for gender confusion. These things matter. As people of the Spirit, we are empowered and equipped to step up. The challenges we face as a nation and as a church will require us to equip the next generation with the tools necessary for spiritual battle. We must daily rely on the Holy Spirit’s empowerment and leading in three specific areas. Biblical literacy. Biblical literacy is one of the biggest issues facing the church today. When I use this term, I mean the ability to understand and use the Bible to apply truth to one’s life. Biblical literacy is necessary to our faith and essential for Christian growth, doctrinal understanding and development of a godly worldview. I carry a deep burden of concern about the church’s state of biblical literacy. Without right interpretation and application of Scripture, believers will fall into manipulating the Bible to carry any message they want. Sacred sexuality. Our culture seeks to redefine human sexuality. It’s being twisted, distorted and reduced to a mere marketing ploy. I’m tired of cable television teaching our children about one of God’s most sacred gifts. As a church, we must defend the sacred values of sexuality, including the purpose of sex, the value of human life and the sanctity of marriage. The refusal to live within God’s guidelines for each of these has created horrific problems and wounds. The church must get sexuality right and point people to God’s preferred path. Perpetuating Pentecost. Being a Pentecostal church means we believe in the person of the Holy Spirit, the work of the Holy Spirit, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the role the Holy Spirit plays in the believer’s life. I am passionate about the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s discernable call into Christian service. Growing up in a Pentecostal environment shaped my leadership today. It started with an experience with the person of the Holy Spirit, and it has been developed over a lifetime
“When we fully realize what it means to be people of the Spirit, others will be compelled to Christ.”
of cultivating that relationship with Him. It started with people who believed the Holy Spirit in my life was for a lifetime, not just a time at the altar. To this day, I draw upon those experiences to lead. When we fully realize what it means to be people of the Spirit, others will be compelled to Christ. They will recognize their need for power and find it in the baptism in the Holy Spirit. They will feel their need for healing and find it in God’s mercy and grace to the hurting. And they will experience an urgency to change their world and find it in daily mission. The Holy Spirit wants to be our advocate, not just our assistant. Jesus promised that the Spirit would help us, instruct us, remind us of God’s Word, testify of Jesus, guide us into all truth, glorify Jesus and empower us to spread the gospel (John 14:16-26, 15:26, 16:13-14; Acts 1:8). In John 14, Jesus was clear about why He asked the Father to send the Holy Spirit—not to act as an impersonal force in the world but as a person we can know. When Jesus told His disciples, including us, that He would be with us always, it’s understood that this takes place through a relationship with the Holy Spirit. Who we are as Pentecostals is not a matter of a shared label, a common expression of worship or even an agreedupon doctrine. Our identity is found in the experience of a vital relationship with the person of the Holy Spirit. The dynamic power that can shake the world will only come when we fully depend on Him every day. My prayer is that we—as people the Spirit lives in, walks with and works through—live lives that compel others to Christ.
DOUG CLAY i s the general superintendent of The General Council of the Assemblies of God in Springfield, Missouri. He is also the author of Asking for a Friend: Who Is the Holy Spirit? All-Church Campaign Series, releasing in fall 2018. 12
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Spirit-filled churches must reclaim these three distinctives in their communities.
Straight Talk BY JOYCE MEYER
The Beauty of Change
Growth may not happen all at once, but it should always be happening.
rowth and change are a big part of life. In fact, without change, we’ll never truly enjoy our lives and become everything God has created us to be. One of the greatest lessons God has taught me is that we can’t change ourselves— only He can help us grow and mature. Growth happens as we spend time with the Lord in prayer and studying His Word, pursuing a more intimate relationship with Him. Second Corinthians 3:18 (AMP) says that as we do this, we “are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of ] glory to [even more] glory.” God changes us in degrees—from glory to glory. Throughout our lives, He continues to deal with us and help us grow progressively, so we become more and more like Him. When God deals with us, He causes us to notice things in our behavior that need to change—things we didn’t even realize were wrong before. He doesn’t reveal all of our faults and weaknesses at one time because it would overwhelm us. God knows exactly how much we can handle and when we’re ready to receive it. Here’s a personal example to show you what I mean. There was a time when I used to be very harsh, judgmental and critical, and when it came to my husband, Dave, I could be very disrespectful and defiant in my tone with him. I remember many times when Dave and I would get into an argument and afterwards, the Lord would speak to my heart to go and apologize to him. My initial reaction was usually, “But God! He’s guilty too. Why can’t he come and apologize to me?” In my mind, Dave was “getting away” with things I couldn’t. But the truth is, the Lord deals with each one of us at different times about different things. I’m not responsible for Dave. I’m only responsible for my behavior and how I cooperate with the Holy Spirit to do the right thing. It’s vitally important to remember that when God deals with us, convicting us of something that needs to change, we can’t do it on our own. It’s only through God’s strength that we really change. Now, when I sense the Lord dealing with me in an area, I pray something like this: God, thank You for shining a light on this area. I know I need to change, and I know You are the only one who can change me. I’m relying on Your grace to help me as I do my best to obey what You’re showing me to do. I want you to realize that spiritual growth reaps tremendous benefits for ourselves and for others. The more we grow in Christ, the more we can have a supernatural impact here on earth. Second Corinthians 5:20 (NIV) says, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God
“We can’t do it on our own. It’s only through God’s strength that we really change.”
were making his appeal through us.” In other words, we’re here to show Jesus to the world. Every one of us has a sphere of influence; there are people you can reach for Christ whom nobody else can. And Jesus says, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). God loves you so much! There’s nothing you can do to make Him love you more than He does right now. Growing up in Christ isn’t about being perfect or earning His love and approval. God wants you to change and become more like Christ because He loves you, and He has an amazing plan for your life. So when He shows you an area of your life that needs to change, it’s because He loves you and wants what is best for you. There are times in the process when we can get frustrated with ourselves and think we’ll never change. I used to be such a mess from the abuse I had experienced that it seemed impossible for me to be “fixed.” But it wasn’t impossible for God to heal and restore me, changing me into the woman He created me to be. I still have a long way to go in my relationship with Jesus, but I’m determined to never give up. The blessings of going through the pain of change always far outweigh the pain of settling for staying the same. I want to encourage you today: Never give up in your journey to spiritual maturity. Focus on making a little more progress each day and continually thank God for the good work He’s done, and is doing, in your life. Because there’s nothing better than becoming more like Christ.
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 Living a Life You Love (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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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 customersâ€™ 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 magazineâ€™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.
AMAZING STORIES. REAL PEOPLE.
PODCAST Hear daily news stories told from a Christian perspective. Download at CPNSHOWS.COM
Compiled by Taylor Berglund
LUIS JAVIER Ruiz was injured two years ago in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. Before that night, Ruiz was an HIV-positive gay man who leaned heavily on drinking to numb his pain. But today, Ruiz is a man whose passion for God emanates from his every word. He wants to share this newfound freedom with everyone he knows. “It’s not a gay-to-straight thing,” Ruiz says. “It’s a lost-to-saved thing.” Ruiz, the son of Texas pastors, says he knew the Word of God but didn’t have a relationship with Jesus. Ruiz spent years on and off the Christian bandwagon, trying to build his faith in his own strength. His life change finally came when someone presented the gospel in a new format, telling him he only needed to fall in love with Jesus, and the Holy Spirit would take care of the rest. “That’s what stirred me up to come to Christ, just knowing that I can fall deeply in love with Him, and through that love, it would provoke me to love His Word because He is the Word,” he says. Ruiz doesn’t have a specific date of salvation because he says it was a process of renewal and recommitment. He revealed his faith earlier this year to promote the Freedom March, a rally to celebrate the freedom Jesus offers from homosexuality. He says the church needs to get better at talking to people in the LGBT community. One way the church can do this is to develop ministries for LGBT people and learn how to speak to them without hate. He also says the church should follow in the steps of Christ and love unconditionally. “If we learn how to walk in unconditional love, then that will change the game,” Ruiz says. “That will change somebody’s heart, regardless of if they’re a prostitute, into drugs, whatever it may be—that love will burst out. Let it overflow out of your body. It will attract somebody like me to want to do what you do.” 16
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LUIS JAVIER RUIZ
Pulse Survivor Leaves LGBT Lifestyle to Follow Jesus
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Christian Coders Launch Ministry ‘For Such a Time as This’ LIFE.CHURCH RECENTLY launched an unconventional ministry, Open Digerati, an open-source coding network that empowers Christian designers, developers and engineers to collaborate and create new technological tools. That technology can then be used freely by any church. “We are constantly thinking about what more we can do and what else we can give away for free to help advance the kingdom,” Storch says. “Open Digerati comes from that same spirit
of generosity and builds on that foundation.” Open Digerati started earlier this year. Its initial projects include developing tools that simplify website design, maintenance, app development and server administration. “So often, people think that ‘real ministry’ means going into full-time ministry or traveling abroad,” Storch says. “While some are called to do those things, I want people to understand they can do ministry from wherever God has placed them.
The Life.Church Digerati Team is dedicated to leveraging technology to reach the world for Jesus.
He has given each of us gifts and talents that we can and should use for His kingdom.” Where centuries past saw missionaries hopping on boats to spread the Good News, these modern-day missionaries have adapted the gospel message to beam around the globe. By bringing tech-based workers together, Open Digerati has created a new mission field. “What a unique
opportunity we’ve been given at this point in time,” Storch says. “Individually, we can build all kinds of things for the good of the kingdom. But imagine what we could do if experts in their field, who are passionate about advancing the kingdom of God, came together as the body of Christ. What might we build together for God’s glory? I believe we were born now for such a time as this.”
JIMMY EVANS, apostolic senior pastor of Gateway Church, says the spirits of fear and depression are demonic forces that have brainwashed many people. Evans says by applying Romans 12:2 to his daily life, he learned to recognize the forces for what they were—spirits, not emotions—and walk in freedom, not fear. “Rather than treating [fear] as my emotion, I began to treat it as a demonic spirit that was there to be Satan’s force in my life to keep me from doing what God wanted me to do,” Evans says. “The thing is, it worked.” Though freedom didn’t come instantly, Evans says he felt breakthrough in the weeks and months that followed. He says the same concept can 18
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apply to depression. To fight depression, Evans recommends reading Isaiah 61, which tells believers to put on a garment of praise for heaviness. “When we put on the garment of praise, which means we are focused on God and positive things and not ourselves and negative things, it says the demon spirit of heaviness leaves,” he says. “Again, think about the difference in what I just said. Think about the difference of people sitting around, thinking of fear and depression as their emotions, and they’re overwhelmed and defeated, and think of a person who understands that they have authority in Christ over every demon spirit and that fear and depression are demon spirits that have taken over.”
Gateway pastor Jimmy Evans c h a r i s ma m ag. com
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How America’s Churches Are Failing Refugees
World Help CEO Vernon Brewer works with refugees in Lebanon.
the horrible chemical attack on Douma, what did we do as a nation? We debated. We talked about who was at fault and what military action should be taken.” Brewer believes it’s time for every Christian to act and advocate on behalf of these needy people in the spirit of James 2:15-16. “Unless something changes quickly, years from now, history will write this as a moment of failure for the global Christian church,” he says. “We will have to answer to our children and grandchildren why we stood paralyzed out of fear in the face of unspeakable violence and suffering. We shouldn’t be afraid of how big or overwhelming the need is. We should focus on the individual needs of the one person we can help—a refugee orphan or mother—and give what we can to meet her most urgent needs.” Thankfully, Brewer says, American Christians can help in many ways. “Of course, the first thing we should be doing is praying,” he says. “We should be praying for peace and for the safety of everyone involved. We should be praying that the refugees receive the food, medicine and other supplies they need to survive. And we should be praying about how God would have us to give and to help these people. Just $35 provides healthy meals, medical care and other essential supplies for one Syrian refugee for at least a week.” To learn more, visit worldhelp.net/syria. 20
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Eighty-six percent of Pentecostal churchgoers believe tithing is a biblical command for today. Ninety-four percent of Pentecostal pastors agree.—LifeWay Research
In 1993, 89 percent of Christians agreed that every Christian is responsible to share his faith. In 2018, just 64 percent agree.—Barna
Sharing faith is only effective if you have a relationship with the person. In 1993, 59 percent of Christians disagreed with this statement. In 2018, only 25 percent disagree.—Barna c h a r i s ma m ag. com
B R E W E R: W O R L D H E L P | G E T T Y I MAG E S: D I G I TA LV I S I O N V E C TO R S/J A_I N T E R/I V C A N DY; I S TO C K/F I N E V E C TO R
VERNON BREWER, CEO of World Help, is on the ground in Lebanon working with refugees. As crises in Syria and other locations in the Middle East reach a watershed moment, Brewer told Charisma how Christians can share the love of Christ in such trying times. “I worry that over the past seven years of the refugee crisis in Syria, the American church has grown numb to this great need,” Brewer says. “After
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| COVER STORY
RISE UP Brigitte Gabriel encourages Americans to stand for freedoms.
BY TAYLOR BERGLUND
rigitte Gabriel’s first introduction to Islamic terrorism came when militants blew up her childhood home while she was inside it. They were motivated by the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War, a battle between a coalition of Christian groups and Muslim militants. The war would last 15 years, kill 120,000 people and displace another 76,000. Gabriel, then 10, couldn’t know all that. Lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to IVs in both arms, she asked her father, “Why did they do this to us?” Her father replied, “Because we are Christians. The Muslims consider us infidels, and they want to kill us.” His words stuck with Gabriel, who spent her preteen years dodging falling bombs, avoiding sniper fire and hiding in a bomb shelter. She says, “The only thing that kept me alive was my faith in God—my prayer to Jesus every night, not knowing if I’m going to wake up the next morning.” After seven years of near-death encounters, Gabriel’s family was rescued from the fighting when Israeli forces entered Lebanon and surrounded her town. She later moved to Israel, where she became a news anchor on World News, an Arabic-language show on Middle East Television, which was run by CBN. She eventually immigrated to the United States. But she couldn’t run from her past. “September 11 was a defining moment for the United States, but September 11 was specifically a defining moment for me personally,” Gabriel says. “On that day, my daughter came home from school, and I was watching television and the images of the World Trade Center coming down. My daughter, who was around my age when I was wounded in Lebanon, said, ‘Mommy, why did they do this to us?’” “I had to look into my daughter’s eyes and say, ‘They hate us because they consider us infidels and they want to kill us.’ Here we were two generations apart. I was a 10-year-old little Lebanese girl; she’s a 10-year-old little American girl. I spoke Arabic; she spoke English. Eight thousand miles apart. Thirty years apart. Continents apart. And I found myself repeating to her the same words my daddy said to me. “That day was my defining moment. That day I vowed that I would do everything I can to make sure that my daughter would never ever have to look into her child’s eyes and repeat to him or her what my 22
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c h a r i s ma ma g. co m
“We have the protection of our Constitution to stand up, be counted and make a difference in the world, because we are the voice of the Christians who aren’t enabled to speak.”
daddy said to me and what I had to say to her. That day was my defining moment. That day I was reborn as an activist.” Gabriel’s experiences, as both as a persecuted Christian and a legal immigrant, have taught her never to take freedom for granted. Through her grassroots advocacy organization, ACT for America, and her new book, Rise, she seeks to motivate patriots to stand against tyranny and fight for Judeo-Christian values and freedoms. She spoke to Charisma about why this political moment matters so much, what happens when evil goes unchecked and how Americans can defend their liberties.
Politics and Religions
To hear Gabriel describe it, the clash between Western civilization and Islamic radicals is not just a battle between two cultures; it’s a battle of starkly opposed ideologies. For example, Gabriel says, Christianity’s influence on Western civilization has led to exalting the poor, the marginalized, women and children. “As Christianity spread throughout the world, its teachings and influence 24
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elevated women and liberated them in many ways,” Gabriel says. “Christianity declared men and women as equals in value and worth in the eyes of God.” In Rise, Brigitte details how Christians changed the culture of several misogynistic communities throughout history. These culture changes include banning suttee (the ritual burning of widows) in India, ending foot-binding of little girls in China and securing women the right to education in Japan. “Over time, Christianity’s respect for women and the upholding of female dignity within the faith led to the spread of Christian values all over the world,” Gabriel says. “This included the changing educational opportunities women had historically been denied in many countries, just as they still are today in many non-Western nations.” By contrast, Gabriel says, Islam and the Quran advocate regressive and often harmful views of women. Yet she observes they often find unlikely allies in leftist media, which she says “possesses a particularly interesting ability to mock Christians about their faith yet remains
Mounting a Defense
Gabriel views the world as an increasingly dangerous, dark place. “When you look at the Islamic world, or even the Islamists that are now coming to our Western nation, we are seeing a rise in child marriages,” Gabriel says. “We are seeing a rise in child rape. We are seeing a rise in honor killings. We are seeing a rise in female genital mutilation.” She thinks Christians should rise accordingly. “I titled this book Rise because I not only want to rise the emotions of Christians in the United States, but I want to rise the conscience of Christians around the United States to stand up and be counted,” Gabriel says. Gabriel’s personal philosophy could be summed up as “Good people should never leave evil unchecked.” That worldview was shaped by her childhood experiences, where she witnessed Lebanon, a formerly Christian-ruled country, c h a r i s ma m ag. com
LIGHTSTOCK: XTIAN DESIGNS
“Twenty-six million born-again Christians stayed home [in 2012] and did not vote. By default, they advanced a leader who didn’t share their values.”
strangely silent about Islam.” Gabriel adds: “We are witnessing the unholy alliance forming between the far left and radical Islamists who are coming together against everything we stand for. The radical left is more treasonous in nature due to its American roots. This American enemy, which gives aid to our foreign ones, does so in the name of politically correct terms such as diversity, tolerance and fairness.” Gabriel says that Islam is an inherently political worldview, one which seeks to control every facet of how people conduct their lives. “Islam is a political ideology, not a religion,” she says. “It’s a political system cloaked in religion.” Thus, if Islam and the left are inherently political, then patriots must also get political—lest they risk losing their freedoms. “Freedom of speech is the most fundamental pillar of Western, Judeo-Christian society,” Gabriel says. “Increasingly, this fundamental civil right afforded to all Americans through the First Amendment to our Constitution is being eroded by the Islamist-leftist coalition in an effort to assert control over ‘we the people.’”
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“God changes the world using His people. God doesn’t change the world through lightning in the sky.”
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Brigitte Gabriel explains why Christians across America must rise up and take action to defend their Judeo-Christian values at rise.charismamag.com.
Gabriel applies that same axiom to her own life. She started ACT for America out of her guest bedroom with just a desk she bought for $125 from the Home Depot. Now ACT for America is approaching 1 million members nationwide. She says the reason she experienced such success was her passion. Properly honed, this passion—a crude version of which launched Muslim extremists and radical leftists to power—could be the very force which defeats them. Americans just have to translate it into action.
transform into a corrupt Islamic majority nation. She believes increasing immigration makes that same transformation possible in the United States. “According to Pew Research, immigrants and their descendants accounted for 72 million in population growth between 1965 and 2015,” she says. “If this trend continues, immigrants and their descendants are projected to account for 88 percent of the U.S. population growth by 2065. America is actively being transformed before our very eyes.” In response, Gabriel says Americans need to redefine religious persecution. “As a Christian who comes from the Middle East, I know what real persecution is,” Gabriel says. “In America, people think persecution is, ‘Oh, I took my Bible with me to work and people looked at me funny because I’m a Christian.’ My experience in persecution—look, I had to dress in my burial clothes at the age of 13, waiting to be slaughtered. ... When Christians around the world brace for massacres and crime and tragedies around the holiday, of watching their children blow up, of watching their sons slaughtered, that’s persecution.” But it’s not merely enough to be aware of persecution. Rather, patriots must take action and use their considerable freedom granted by the Constitution to lobby on behalf of those who lack freedom. “In America, Christians need to understand the suffering and persecution of 26
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Christians around the world,” Gabriel says. “That’s why we must rise in the United States in defense of our Judeo-Christian values and why it is important to speak up. We live in a country where we have the freedom to do something. We have the protection of our Constitution to stand up, be counted and make a difference in the world, because we are the voice of the Christians who aren’t enabled to speak.” That’s because the United States is not an island, undisturbed by the rest of the world. What’s happening to other countries will spread to the United States if its citizens do not remain vigilant and alert. Gabriel has already seen her home country fall to extremists; she believes the United States could be at risk next. Gabriel grants that not every Muslim is a radical or an extremist. In fact, she says the vast majority are peaceful. But they don’t matter, according to Gabriel. “There are people who follow Islam [who] want to mind their own business,” Gabriel says. “These Muslims are out there. But those are what I call ‘the irrelevant Muslims,’ because by their lack of action terrorists advance their agenda unchecked. It’s just like Christians. ... Twenty-six million born-again Christians stayed home [in 2012] and did not vote. By default, they advanced a leader who didn’t share their values. What we need to worry about is the radicals who are driving the agenda. Why? Because 2 percent of the passionate will always rule the 98 percent of the indifferent.”
After her conversation with her daughter on Sept. 11, Gabriel knew she had to do something to change the cycle. She laid on her couch and prayed for guidance. “I thought, ‘What can I do to make a difference for my country?’” Gabriel says. “After days of praying and fasting and praying to God, I realized at that moment why I was prepared through everything I had gone through to do what I do. Why I lived in a bomb shelter. Why I became a news anchor. Everything I learned growing up was going to be put to use in me talking to the media, in me writing, in me being able to articulate a thought in a way many people are unable to.” In 2002, Gabriel launched ACT, an educational organization, to inform Americans about the threat of radical Islam to world peace and national security. In 2007, ACT for America launched its grass-roots advocacy arm, “dedicated to protecting the United States of America and the Western values upon which our nation was built,” according to its website. Since then, ACT for America has helped pass 100 bills on the state and federal level regarding national security. Gabriel herself has become one of the world’s leading terrorism experts, speaking in front of the United Nations, U.S. Congress, U.K. Parliament and Australia’s prime minister. She was also knighted in Europe in 2016. In describing her work, Gabriel fuses her worldview with terminology from Jesus, who said, “Let your light so shine c h a r i s ma m ag. com
Faith Without Works
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CH ARI SMA | August 20 18
handle the political battle ahead. “It’s important to pray about issues,” Gabriel says. “We’re supposed to pray for our nation. We’re supposed to pray for our leaders. We’re supposed to pray for our enemies. We’re supposed to forgive our enemies and those who trespass against us. It is a duty upon us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But it is also incumbent upon us to take action against evil, to stand up and be counted, to be active in our own communities, to not only pray, but go out, vote and participate in our political process. “I named my organization ACT for America, not think about America, hope for America, wish for America or pray for America, but ACT for America. Because you can do all the above, and you should, but without action, nothing happens.” Likewise, she says plenty of churches train up their teenagers and youth to go into the mission field and spread the gospel. But she laments that churches don’t invest the same time and energy into training teens to be politically active. As a result, she believes young people are “being used as tools” by the left. For that reason, she recommends training Christian teens to become political activists in the same way they’re already trained to become evangelists. “It’s no secret that America’s younger generations lack the fundamental patriotism and appreciation for the freedoms they enjoy that previous generations largely held,” Gabriel says. “They’re
TAYLOR BERGLUND i s the associate editor of Charisma and host of several podcasts on the Charisma Podcast Network. c h a r i s ma m ag. com
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before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). “You don’t have to talk about the Bible,” Gabriel says. “Let people judge you by the fruit of your labor. Stand up and let your light shine through the nations. What we’re talking about is, you can be a Christian and you can pray for enemies every night before you go to bed and you can forgive those who trespass against you—but you have got to stand up, put your pants or skirt on in the morning, and go out and become involved in your community to protect your community and make the world a better place. It is a commandment.” Gabriel says it is not possible to believe in the Bible, to hold and practice strong Judeo-Christian values, and not be involved in politics. “You must be involved in politics,” she says. “God changes the world using His people. God doesn’t change the world through lightning in the sky. The Christians fled from the Middle East and took Jesus’ gospel worldwide. People were saved. The world became a better place. It is Christianity that improved the lives of millions across the globe.” Later, Gabriel affirmed the truth of James 2:14: “What does it profit, my brothers, if a man says he has faith but has no works? Can faith save him?” She says plenty of Americans pray, and that’s incredibly important. But she doesn’t think prayer alone is sufficient to
starved of even a very basic knowledge of the Constitution, Founding Fathers and American heritage. If children grow up learning that their country was founded on racism, bigotry, oppression and genocide, we cannot expect them to fight for the freedoms it gave to them.” Gabriel says there are plenty of other ways for committed patriots to stand up for their Judeo-Christian values. The ACT for America website (actforamerica.org) provides plenty of resources, petitions, action alerts regarding bills coming down for a vote, and instructions for setting up a new chapter. The organization’s 10th annual conference, titled “Rise,” will take place in Arlington, Virginia, Sept. 4-5. Attendees will hear from experts in the nation about America’s security, hear and speak with elected officials, and get training in what they can do in their communities. “Every single one of us is entrusted with a responsibility to make a difference,” Gabriel says. “We can no longer say, ‘I do not know.’ We can no longer say, ‘I don’t know how to make a difference.’ Now you know.” Gabriel says she believes God gives all people a purpose and a mission in life “so we can be used as His instrument to change the world.” That mission may look different for each person, but she hopes her own journey can be an inspiration to readers seeking their own divine purpose. And she invites every reader to join her on her mission to revitalize the United States and save it from decay. “I am calling on all Americans who love this country, who remember America for what it is—the way it used to be in its glory—to stand up and fight for the Judeo-Christian values that made this country, to fight for our freedom of speech and for what is great in America,” Gabriel says. “We as Christians have an extra responsibility, because we are called by our Creator to stand up for what is right, speak up against evil [and] not only pray for our enemies, but also fight those who are trying to destroy us.”
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Prosper and be in
Health How Benny Hinn’s view of biblical prosperity has changed
BY KEN WALKER
P LU S: I S TO C K - OATAWA
hough Benny Hinn’s demeanor was calm, his incendiary words sparked a firestorm in Pentecostal circles. It was the day Billy Graham died, and followers tuned in to hear Hinn ostensibly eulogize Graham over Facebook Live. But many were surprised to hear Hinn casually remark that some prosperity gospel teaching, including his own, had “gone beyond” the Bible. “We get attacked for teaching prosperity. Well, it’s in the Bible, but I think some have gone to the extreme with it, sadly,” Hinn said. “And it’s not God’s Word [that] is taught. I think I’m as guilty as others.” He then clarified, “The more you know the Bible, the more you become biblically based and balanced in your opinions and thoughts, because we’re influenced. When I was younger, I was influenced by the preachers who taught whatever they taught. But as I’ve lived longer, I think, ‘Wait a minute. This doesn’t really fit totally with the Bible. It doesn’t fit with reality.’ “What is prosperity? No lack. I’ve said this before. Did Elijah the prophet have a car? No. He did not even have a bicycle. But he had no lack. What about the Lord? Did Jesus drive a car or live in a mansion? No. He had no lack. How about the apostles? No lack. No lack among them. Today the idea is abundance and palatial homes and cars and bank accounts. They’ve gone beyond. ... The focus is wrong.” Hinn has been a longtime advocate for prosperity, so his remarks stunned many. Frenzied reports said Hinn had renounced the prosperity gospel. Yet Hinn tells Charisma he still believes prosperity is a biblical idea; it just needs clarification. He sets the record straight here, explaining how his views have changed, what true biblical prosperity is and why it matters for the future of evangelism.
Prosperity and the Bible
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Prosperity means “no lack,” Hinn says, or having all of one’s needs met in every area of life. But that doesn’t necessarily require money or possessions. The evangelist bases his updated view on the Bible, specifically early church practice cited in Acts 4:34. “In the book of Acts, we read that the New Testament church had no lack,” c h a r i s ma ma g. co m
G E T T Y I MAG E S: E+- K AT I V
area of giving toward the spread and establishment of the gospel of Jesus Christ, God is faithful to meet the needs of His children and thus ensure that we have no lack,” he says. “God wants to bless believers so each can, in turn, be a blessing to others. But the Lord doesn’t expect us to become mere pipelines with blessings flowing through us to other people without our experiencing the blessing ourselves. When we are obedient to the Lord in blessing others, the Father delights in blessing us.”
Benny Hinn’s outlook on the prosperity gospel has changed.
“The Lord doesn’t expect us to become mere pipelines with blessings flowing through us to other people without our experiencing the blessing ourselves.” —Benny Hinn Hinn says. “Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Luke specifically wrote, ‘Nor was there anyone among them who lacked.’ Obviously, from time to time, there were people in the early church who had needs while others were blessed more abundantly, but because of the faithfulness of God’s people, the saints who ‘had lack’ immediately had their needs met and experienced no lack.” However, Hinn says “no lack” doesn’t mean “no problems.” “Throughout the ages, heroes of the faith have experienced tremendous hardships,” Hinn says. “Many, such as Abraham, David and Solomon, were men of wealth, social stature and influence. Others, such as Elijah, Elisha and John the Baptist, were not known to own possessions and land, yet time after time, they experienced abundance and 34
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had no lack because their needs were met supernaturally.” Because of this, Hinn believes that focusing on what God has given one person or another is fruitless, since prosperity is more than material goods. “Prosperity is, above all, the abundant, abiding presence of the Lord Jesus in our lives,” Hinn says. “That is why the late Kathryn Kuhlman so wisely said, ‘The poorest man with Jesus is rich, and the richest man without Him is poor.’ Knowing Him and having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ are the greatest blessings a person can know.” Yet while we may not control how God blesses us, we can control how we bless others. Hinn says that’s because God often uses the local church and individual believers as bringers of blessing. “When we are obedient in the
Whether such comments will help turn the tide against prosperity extremes remains to be seen. But charismatic pastor Mike Shreve says Hinn’s influence makes his remarks “extremely significant.” Shreve says that when recognized leaders of Hinn’s stature choose to walk in honesty, humility and transparency, it causes a ripple effect throughout the body of Christ. As a result, he hopes Hinn’s comments will encourage other believers to view prosperity through a biblical rather than monetary lens. “For instance, Joseph was described in Scripture as a ‘prosperous man,’ yet at the time he was a slave in Egypt,” Shreve says. “He owned no material things; he wasn’t rich. He simply achieved excellence and fruitfulness in his endeavors, responsibilities and influence over others.” Bishop Doug Beacham, leader of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, echos Hinn’s remarks. He says God’s blessings are not meant to be hoarded for our good; they’re meant to be shared for others’ good. “Regarding the prosperity message, I prefer to approach it from the perspective of stewardship,” Beacham says. “The Wesleyan revival brought salvation that led to social and economic lift for many families. The Protestant or Puritan ethic did the same. The addition of resources in one’s life means additional responsibility. God blesses us, often in ways that are beyond the material, so that we are a blessing to others.” Charles Self, a professor of history at Assembly of God Theological Seminary, says Hinn’s evolving beliefs fit into a larger pattern of prosperity gospel advocates maturing over time. co ntinued » c h a r i s ma m ag. com
BENNY HINN MINISTRIES
Prosperity and the Prosperity Gospel
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Prosperity and Evangelism’s Future
Almost lost in the prosperity controversy was Hinn’s prediction of a coming, concurrent wave of evangelism and persecution. On Facebook, the evangelist recalled that in 1989, while he was pastor of Orlando Christian Center in Orlando, Florida, he heard God say the deaths of Oral Roberts (who died in December 2009) and Billy Graham (who died this February) would mark the beginning 36
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of the greatest revival in church history. Hinn noted that evangelism followed the Spirit’s outpouring on the day of Pentecost, as did miracles, healing and prosperity. In the video, he encouraged people to prepare for seeing children and loved ones coming to Christ “in a big way.” Months later, Hinn stands by that prediction: “God clearly is doing something amazing as we enter new frontiers of ministry. ... We are entering into a bold new future, and souls hang in the balance.” Yet Hinn also says Americans may not be spared from persecution much longer. “If you look at what’s happening in the world, people are under persecution
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Watch the original video in which Benny Hinn explains his new perspective on biblical prosperity at prosperity.charismamag.com.
in most nations in Asia, the Arab world and beyond the Arab world—India, Pakistan, North Korea and so forth,” Hinn said. “Men are getting killed in many parts of the world, but we’ve been spared up to now. I don’t know if we’ll be spared much longer.” For Hinn, these two predictions are not contradictory. He believes that, like the early believers of Acts 4:34, the church’s “greatest victories” are yet to come, but it may have to undergo persecution first. “Persecution takes many forms,” Hinn says. “The Bible contains vivid illustrations of discrimination and oppression, both subtle and overt. Every believer today should read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, The Hiding Place, Tortured for Christ and so many other powerful books that detail what real persecution is. Persecution continues today, and according to the latest World Watch List from the Christian human rights advocate group Open Doors, at least 215 million Christians face significant levels of persecution in the world today, from harassment to abduction, rape and murder. Churches are being attacked and destroyed.”
degree come to America? Prayerfully not, but what we can do now is be aware of what is happening in the world. We must stand up for those who are persecuted and intercede for the oppressed.” Hinn says he’s asked God to let him do five more things before his death: proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, bring souls to the cross, share the Holy Spirit’s miracle-working power, strengthen the body of Christ and equip the next generation of Spirit-filled leaders. He says, “What happens to the multitudes of lost men, women and children for all eternity largely depends upon what we do with the amazing opportunities and sobering responsibilities in front of us.” Because of that, Hinn says it’s important now more than ever to declare God’s promises of ultimate prosperity. He recommends 1 Chronicles 7:14, Zechariah 4:6 and even 1 John 4:4: “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
He also says, while comparatively mild to persecution in other countries, political correctness represents an attempt to remove Christianity from culture. “Couched in such positive-sounding concepts as ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity,’ the forces of this world have been successful in their social engineering attempts to eradicate any vestige of Christianity from society,” Hinn says. “Court cases and news headlines prove, our First Amendment rights of religious freedom are under widespread assault. Will persecution of this
KEN WALKER i s a writer and book editor from Huntington, West Virginia, and a longtime contributor to Charisma. c h a r i s ma m ag. com
G E T T Y I MAG E S P LU S: I S TO C K - K R I S A N A P O N G D E T R A P H I P H AT
“I’m thrilled with how the prosperity gospel, in many cases, is maturing into something far more than prayer formula or miraculous mailbox moments,” Self says. “I’m watching prosperity leaders look at the whole picture and realize God does want people to flourish and economics to grow, but it takes divine wisdom to put it together. There’s still a lot of personality cults and abuse in certain segments of the world, but in general, there’s a great maturation going on.” Self’s background in history gives him a special perspective on this issue. He says the church oscillates between praising poverty and asceticism and praising wealth and abundance. Yet he’s hopeful that today’s church is finding a healthy balance. For instance, Self says, one church that’s embracing this balance is Bethel Church in Redding, California. Bethel leaders have spoken about the necessity of Spirit-filled believers contributing to the prosperity of their community and influencing society. But dealing with both prosperity and pain means embracing a nuanced worldview, one which acknowledges not everything is black and white. “I don’t go around rebuking everyone who talks about prosperity, but it has to take into account the reality of a fallen world,” Self says. “ ... With the more gullible, saying, ‘Sow your seed and God will bless it 10 times’ is easier than facing the pain of your situation. But there are groups who are helping people get out of payday-lending traps. We went wrong in not considering the complexity of life.” This movement toward a more biblically balanced view of prosperity and working together to build God’s kingdom is timely, especially in light of Hinn’s forecast of persecution touching the church in America.
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| HOLY SPIRIT
What if the Holy Spirit led you to Jesus--not the other way around?
he Alpha course, a humble program birthed from a Spirit-filled Anglican church, has revolutionized discipleship for churches worldwide. Developed over the 1970s and ’80s by Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) in London, Alpha gained international attention during the early 1990s and was revamped in 2016 in video format. Every aspect of the program is designed to answer the questions of seekers and new believers and train them in the way of Jesus, down to its slogan: “Got Questions? Try Alpha.” In practice, Alpha operates similar to a Bible study or a discipleship course. Using the Alpha resources, local churches can lead an 11-week course. Each week’s session features refreshments, a topical talk (either by the program leader or a prerecorded video) and group discussion. Each session addresses a question people may have about Christianity. Talks start with the basics (“Is There More to Life Than This?” and “Who Is Jesus?”) and eventually encompass evangelism (“Why and How Should I Tell Others?”) 38
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and even miracles (“Does God Heal Today?”). Alpha also recommends a weekend retreat, which features four additional lessons on the character, nature and work of the Holy Spirit. This simple program has produced a massive impact. Last year, over 1.5 million people participated in Alpha courses, across more than 34,000 churches and organizations. Churches mobilized 40,000 volunteers to facilitate the course. To date, over 26 million people worldwide have done Alpha in over 100 countries and over 100 languages. The program has been exported beyond churches to workplaces, universities and even prisons. And despite the program’s Spirit-filled roots, it’s been embraced by many denominations, including Baptists, Lutherans and Roman Catholics. Angela Chadwick, head of marketing for Alpha USA, attributes the course’s success to its approachability. “We’ve tried to design Alpha in a way that anybody, wherever they are in the world and whatever church denomination they’re part of, can say, ‘Yes, that is the heart of the gospel message,’” Chadwick says. c h a r i s ma m ag. com
A L P H A I N T E R N AT I O N A L
BY JESSILYN JUSTICE
A L P H A I N T E R N AT I O N A L; G E T T Y I MAG E S: E+- P E S K Y M O N K E Y
“It’s not like a normal Sunday sermon,” she continues. “It’s not underestimating people’s intelligence, but it’s not overestimating what they know. They hear real-life examples, Scriptural references and thought-leader perspectives, all wrapped into something that’s very interesting and engaging to listen to or watch.” HTB pastor Nicky Gumbel started leading the program in the 1990s. In a video posted to Alpha’s site, Gumbel explains his heart behind the program. “I’ve tried so many things, but for us, we found Alpha is the most effective way we’ve ever [done], and that’s why we’ve continued doing it,” Gumbel says. “[My wife] Pippa and I are on our 83rd small group in a row, and we love it. It’s just so exciting to see people encounter Jesus, be filled with the Spirit and invite their friends for the next course. We’ve been around some of our church plants and each one of them is [experiencing] growth. How have they done that? The primary reason is they’ve run Alpha regularly,
and hundreds of people have come to those courses, encountered Jesus, been filled with the Spirit and joined their church.”
Come, Holy Spirit
Alpha’s weekend retreat allows participants to look at the personal works of the Holy Spirit and even invite the Spirit to fill them. Alpha coordinators have said the Holy Spirit often starts transforming people’s lives subtly and priming them to accept Jesus before they attend the retreat. Mark Elsdon-Dew, the communications director of Alpha International, says sometimes the Holy Spirit fills people even before they formally pray the sinner’s prayer. “We pray for anyone to be filled with the Spirit, whether they know Jesus or not,” Elsdon-Dew says. “That’s when they are filled with the Spirit, and I guess become Christians immediately; that’s how it works. Then we lead them in a prayer to give their lives to Jesus.” That may surprise some Christians, who think of salvation as a linear process: believe
“We’ve tried to design Alpha in a way that anybody, wherever they are in the world and whatever church denomination they’re part of, can say, ‘Yes, that is the heart of the gospel message.’” —Angela Chadwick
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“We pray for anyone to be filled with the Spirit, whether they know Jesus or not.” —Mark Elsdon-Dew spoke at an Alpha training conference when Sandy Millar, Gumbel and a large team from HTB came to the U.S. to launch the course. From 1995 to 2012, Noyes served as an Alpha adviser and now trains others to lead Alpha. Her story isn’t unique. At that same weekend retreat, Noyes remembers how an angry atheist began to soften in the Spirit’s presence. He later went on to become a significant leader in the Alpha ministry at HTB, taking groups of teams overseas to teach others how to run the course. “His countenance was completely changed,” Noyes says. “He actually looked like a different person. His furrowed brow and angry eyes were turned into what looked like the skin of a newborn baby with light beaming from his face.” Other testimonies have poured in from around the globe. Chadwick tells the story of a young woman from Tanzania who saw her family changed through the course. Chadwick says she received an email from the young woman’s mom, who asked Chadwick to connect with her daughter in New York.
“She showed up on the first night and basically said, ‘Ever since I left Tanzania, my entire family has changed,’” Chadwick recalls. “‘The people who I once knew when I lived there now are totally different people, and I want to find out more of what happened to them.’” Chadwick says the young woman had an encounter with the Holy Spirit during the weekend away, even though the woman said she did not believe in Jesus as the Son of God at the time. “But her whole life had been completely turned upside down since beginning this process,” Chadwick says. “... [She is somebody] who was being transformed before our eyes and yet still was not sure exactly what she believed. She could not deny what God was doing to her family and what was happening inside of her. She could not deny what she was seeing around her.” Nick Rife, an inmate at Tecumseh State Correctional Institution, took part in an Alpha course with his fellow inmates. He was amazed to see c h a r i s ma m ag. com
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and confess faith in Christ, then become filled with the Holy Spirit. But some Alpha participants report something different—something less linear and more simultaneous. Chadwick says it’s a natural part of the course. “We want it to feel normal,” Chadwick says. “For a lot of people doing the weekend retreat for the first time, encountering the things of the Holy Spirit is not normal for them, compared to the life that they’ve been living. But we want them to know this is what God intended for their life, the fullness of what He intended. So in everything we do, we’re trying to make it comfortable enough for them to step into something that they’ve never stepped into before.” The weekend retreat has left a lasting impact on many Alpha alumni, including Jenny Noyes, who first encountered the program while attending HTB in 1991. “As the prayer time began, we were encouraged to open our hands in front of us as a simple posture of being open to more of God in our lives,” Noyes says. “We hadn’t been standing in silence for too long just waiting on the Lord and asking the Spirit to come before I was overcome by a profound sense of my own sinfulness. The Lord was showing me very clearly that although I had grown up trying to be a ‘good Christian girl,’ my sin still separated me from my Holy God. I owned my sin, truly repented of my pride, arrogance, perfectionism and judgmental attitudes—all my sin that Jesus bore on the cross. I felt the most amazing sense of peace that I was not only truly a sinner, but that I was totally forgiven and set free by the atoning work of Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension. I was filled with joy.” That’s when she received the gift of speaking in tongues. “I was so happy to be experiencing the God that I had known in my head for so many years and that I had served with my hands in many ways in various ministries,” Noyes says. “But now I knew I had a personal relationship with God that was pure grace and love, fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Noyes is now the leader of New Wineskins Missionary Network, a global mission-mobilizing nonprofit serving the Anglican Communion worldwide. She
The Man of Sin Revealed
he apostle Paul was straightforward and clear. Jesus Christ will himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that not come before “the man of sin is revealed!” It is important he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is to note that the apostle Paul did not speak of the “arising” of God” II Thessalonians 2:4. That is exactly what Lucifer said he would the man of sin, but of his “revealing.” The Greek word Paul used for do. He succeeded in leading the church into “the dark ages,” “revealed” means to “take off the cover.” The “man of sin” has been which were brought to an end only when men of God began to “sitting in the temple of God, as God” for most of the time since the once again preach the gospel of Christ. Today, we are living in apostles were “taken out of the way.” Paul said in his day, “For the the prophetic time of “the false prophet.” Exactly as “antichrist” mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (hinis not one individual, but many with the “spirit of antichrist,” so ders) will let (hinder), until he be taken out of the way” II Thessalonians “the false prophet” is not one, but many with a “false anointing.” 2:7. It was Paul, Peter, John, and the other eyewitness apostles who Jesus gave the sign of “great tribulation” Matthew 24:21 when He hindered the antichrist spirit in their day. said, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and The apostle John is the only writer in the Bible who uses the shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were posterm “antichrist.” About 20 years after the death of Peter and Paul, sible, they shall deceive the very elect” Matthew 24:24. It is happening John wrote, “…as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now all around us. are there many antichrists” I John 2:18. Notice he was not speaking In 1994 I saw a vision of a famous preacher who continually of political leaders, but false teachers, false prophets, and false twisted the scriptures to exalt and enrich himself from the offerapostles. John, when warning against false prophets, said “…this ings of God’s people. In the vision, I challenged the man with the is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; simple words, “but the scripture says.” At first he ridiculed me as and even now already is it in the world” I John 4:1-4. a “nothing,” but I continued, with the bible open in my hand, to say Certainly there have been political leaders who were of the spir“but the scripture says.” Soon, when he could no longer deny the it of antichrist. Yet more dangerous, however, are those with the scriptures, he fled into a dark alley and took refuge in a manhole. spirit of antichrist who are working in the church. It is not a man At the end of the vision, I saw the man standing waste deep in who will declare himself to be god in some future “temple;” it is sewer, as a drunk man pouring sewer over his head with his hands, our adversary, the devil, who is called Satan and that old serpent. and laughing uncontrollably. A short time later, when I first saw Isaiah revealed him to be “Lucifer,” the “shining one.” Lucifer had the “laughing revival,” I knew where it had come from. Since that been God’s “anointed cherub that covereth” Ezekiel 28:14, of whom God time, the “fad revivals” have become increasingly demonic in nasaid,“thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast creture, while being promoted as “the great endtime revival.” Gone are ated, till iniquity was found in thee” Ezekiel 28:15. The prophet Isaiah the great gospel hymns of the past. Gone is the powerful preaching revealed the “iniquity” that was in Lucifer. “…thou hast said in of “Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” In their place has arisen what thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above God calls “…the noise of thy songs” Amos 5:23, a cultural gospel, and the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregaa “new spirituality” that is often more “Hindu” than “Christian. The tion, in the sides of the north” Isaiah 14:13. truth has “fallen in the streets” Isaiah 59:14, with none to “plead for Notice the words of Lucifer, “I will sit also upon the mount of the truth” Isaiah 59:4. This “new wave” will continue to devour our the congregation….” That is where the Temple of God was located. youth and our nation until such time as those men and women who Yet from the moment Christ died on the cross “to make an end of know the truth and are willing sins” Daniel 9:24 the “temple in Jerusalem” has never again been “The to be ridiculed as “nothings” II Temple of God.” The apostle Paul speaks of the church which Christ Corinthians 12:11, begin to chalbuilt as the temple of God, saying, lenge the lie with the truth, “Know ye not that ye are the temple saying exactly what God says of God…?” I Corinthians 3:16; “What? in the scripture. When this know ye not that your body is the happens, the “strongholds of temple of the Holy Ghost…?” I Corinthe enemy” will fall, and the thians 6:19, and “…ye are the temple “imaginations of men” will of God” II Corinthians 6:16. The ambibe “cast down” II Corinthians tion of Lucifer was never to be “the 10:11. These cannot stand begod of the drug house;” his ambition fore the man or woman who The power and is to be “god in the church” and to knows the truth and is willimportance of receive the worship of the people. ing to confront the lie with believing the truth! Our text says he “…exalteth “…but the scripture says.”
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“The power behind [Alpha] is the gospel message and the power of the Holy Spirit. Wherever the gospel message is and wherever the power of the Holy Spirit is, you see God at work.” —Angela Chadwick how Alpha changed the way prisoners interacted with one another and the staff. The experience so moved him that he wrote a poem about Alpha’s impact on him and his fellow inmates. He sent the poem to leaders at Alpha USA, who then posted it to their website: They were clothed in labels like drug dealers, thieves, murderers, liars and convicts However, today brought a new Alpha Unknown faces, smiling eyes and a glorious aroma permeate the room A humble voice emerged from a group of volunteers, asking the men to stand for a moment of prayer Silence fell over the room, uncertain of what to do Some bowed heads while others peeked through wandering eyes The man succinct in supplication gave thanks and blessed the food ... Lives that were worlds apart had been carefully woven together in the tapestry of time Some 2,000 years ago, just outside of Jerusalem on a hill called Calvary There a Messiah King hung on a tree 42
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delivering grace, you and me We were blessed to see those words walk off the pages and into life Within the midst of a prison, strangers became family, Carving out an oasis in the desert, filling our emptiness with love The Holy Spirit blew upon the face, whispering in the ears, “Free... Free from the chains you cannot see. Sorry, guilt and shame are no more your name. Forgiven and free is who you will be.”
Testimonies illustrate how Alpha works across denominational and even international lines. The course is available free of charge to anyone who wants to facilitate it. “The power behind [Alpha] is the gospel message and the power of the Holy Spirit,” Chadwick says. “Wherever the gospel message is and wherever the power of the Holy Spirit is, you see God at work. All Alpha does is put it in this really wonderful container that allows the whole church body and people outside
the church to participate and be in close proximity to the Good News that Jesus brings.” That’s why believers from nearly every denomination—from Catholics to Lutherans to Baptists to Pentecostals— have found success with the program. For pastors, Alpha has served as a way to grow the kingdom of God in their own cities. “I believe my ability to pastor and disciple people increased significantly as a result of Alpha,” says Bubba Justice, national coordinator of Vineyard USA. “The church I pastored was more charismatic in the worship services, and Alpha created a space where nonbelievers felt comfortable coming and interacting and asking questions. People in our church invited unchurched friends to Alpha long before they invited them to church service.” During one of Justice’s courses, a 4-year-old child asked her father, who was hostile toward Christianity, to come to the program. Eager to please his daughter, the father said yes. By the end of the course, the father had accepted Christ and now regularly attends church. The guiding force behind the program’s success is prayer. Chadwick compared prayer to batteries in an electronic toy. A child might enjoy that toy even without power, but batteries enable the toy to operate at its full potential, complete with bright lights and loud noises. She says Alpha is like that toy. Without prayer, churches still have a resource they can use, but prayer provides spiritual power. And properly powered, Alpha changes lives. “If you’re longing to see people reached and to see transformation, just give Alpha a try,” Chadwick says. “Just try it. I can say first-hand, it produces fruit. And the more you pray and press into it, the more fruit you’ll see. For me, it’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever been a part of. After 13 years, I still feel that way today.” JESSILYN JUSTICE i s online news director for Charisma Media. c h a r i s ma m ag. com
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ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Emma was devastated when her sister died Dec. 24. She isolated herself from her friends and felt utterly hopeless. Learn how Alpha changed Emma’s life at alpha.charismamag.com.
u nve i l t he
de moni c a c t i vi t y i n y ou r e ve ry da y l i f e .
Our greatest foes are found within the familiar areas of our lives, influencing politics, culture, race relations, and religion. No longer can we view the world with only natural eyes. We must see what hides behind the things that make up our everyday lives. Kimberly Daniels leads you through strategies and prayers to defeat these familiar spirits. Learn from real-life situations and testimonies, and start your journey to break free.
AVAILABLE where books are sold and at CHARISMAHOUSE. com
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GOD IN OUR IMAGE?
| PURSUING CHRIST
How to confront this deceptive idolatry infiltrating churches.
BY JOHN BEVERE
he problem with deception is it’s deceiving. A person who is deceived believes wholeheartedly they are correct, accurate and on the side of truth. But in reality, they are not. That’s why deception is so scary. The apostle Paul once wrote to the church in Corinth, “But I fear that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve through his trickery, so your minds might be led astray from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might submit to it readily enough” (2 Cor. 11:3-4). Centuries later, A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Let’s probe further into a deception that causes many Christians to worship a different Jesus. To do that, I want to call to mind Israel’s infamous golden calf. We all know the story. With signs and wonders, God delivered His people from Egyptian bondage. His aim was to bring them to Himself. He parted the Red Sea for intimacy. And at Mount Sinai, God’s mountain, the Holy One revealed Himself to His people. Sadly, Israel ran from God’s presence. His beauty and wonder were too much for them to handle. So they asked Moses to intervene. With reluctance, Moses obliged. While Moses was away—meeting with God on their behalf—Israel demanded that Aaron make them a familiar god, something within the confines of their control and comprehension. Aaron eventually succumbed to their demands and fashioned the golden calf, calling it YHWH—the holy name reserved for Israel’s God. Now notice they didn’t call this calf a foreign god, like Baal or Ra. In their deception, Israel declared that this calf, fashioned by mortal hands, was the infinite, self-sufficient one. With enthusiasm, they cried, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt” (Ex. 32:4). The byproduct of their imagination become the savior of their nation. In all of this, self-worship abounded. Rather than allowing God to remake them into His image, Israel clung to what was familiar. After all, golden calves were all the rage among the nations. This story may seem far removed from our modern landscape. It’s not commonplace to bow down to statues of animals. But, like Israel, are we worshipping a different or false god, a god molded by the pride of our hearts and the desires of our flesh? Have we attempted to tame God’s holiness by running from teachings that confront sin and the idols of our hearts? Deception and idolatry are still very much alive today. And there’s no question that deception has corrupted our pure devotion to Jesus. Paul made it clear that this deception comes through preaching a counterfeit Jesus and gospel, which many believers have accepted and tolerated. If we leave this problem unaddressed, it will continue to weaken Christians
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and keep them from experiencing God’s resurrection power. The reality is, when a lie is tolerated for too long, it will eventually become “truth.” That’s why silence is not an option.
To preach another Jesus is to preach an incorrect version of Him, a different Jesus than the One depicted in the Bible. You may wonder how on earth this could happen. No Christian in their right mind would blatantly accept a false Jesus, right? If someone came along teaching that Jesus is not the Christ, He never died on the cross, and He didn’t overcome the grave, this would be obvious heresy. The deception, however, is subtle. So how have we preached a different Jesus? By what we’ve failed to communicate. In present times, we create a “Jesus” who will give us whatever our passions desire—much like Aaron did for Israel. Anytime Jesus is depicted as just Savior (and not Lord), we are presenting a Jesus that offers salvation on our terms. This means we believe we 46
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can have the benefits of His salvation, without relinquishing our lives to Him. The Jesus of the Bible clearly commands that we deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. When we make Jesus Lord, He becomes our Savior as well. Jesus as Savior emphasizes forgiveness of sins and redemption; Jesus as Lord translates to a complete reorientation of one’s life. When we only preach Jesus as Savior, we’re preaching a different Jesus. That’s why so many unbelievers come to Jesus just for what He can do for them. Jesus becomes just another means to an end, rather than the end of all means. Throughout the New Testament, our relationship to Jesus is compared to a marriage. The church is the bride; Jesus is the Bridegroom. And just like any good husband, Jesus desires our full commitment and faithfulness. Consider this scenario. One evening, Justin returns home from work and finds Angela, his wife, all made up and slipping into a beautiful outfit. He concludes she must have planned something special for them and offers to get dressed
c h a r i s ma m ag. com
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“There’s no question that deception has corrupted our pure devotion to Jesus.”
up as well. Angela, a bit confused, responds, “Oh honey, I’m going out with Tony tonight. We’re going to get dinner, catch a movie and check into a hotel. I should be back by midmorning.” “Who’s Tony?” Justin fires back. “He’s my boyfriend from high school,” she replies. “What? You can’t go out with him!” “Why not?” “Because we are married. We are committed to each other. We don’t date other people!” He says, stating what he assumes should be obvious. “Hold on, honey!” Angela replies. “You are my favorite. I love you more than any of my old boyfriends, but you really can’t expect me to not see them any longer. I’ve been close with some of them for years, I still love them, and I want to enjoy time with them. What’s wrong with that?” Obviously, this scenario seems ridiculous. It’s hard to imagine someone not understanding that marriage means an exclusive relationship. Certainly none of us would marry someone like Angela who expected to continue dating old boyfriends. Yet this is how many Christians treat their relationship with Jesus. When we fail to communicate the important aspect of Jesus’ Lordship, it produces a bride that is an adulteress, a bride who doesn’t understand the beauty of devoted intimacy. With a counterfeit Jesus comes a different gospel. Paul solemnly warned: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel, which is not a gospel. But there are some who trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ. Although if we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you than the one we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so I say now again: If anyone preaches any other gospel to you than the one you have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:6-9). A counterfeit gospel twists the truth concerning Christ. This false gospel emphasizes salvation without the need for repentance. But without repentance, we cannot experience the life God has for us. co ntinued »
Walk with Jesus through the Ups and Downs
Doing the same thing every day can seem
common or ordinary. But there is nothing ordinary about a daily encounter with Jesus Christ. Walking with the living Son of God through the ins and outs of daily circumstances doesnâ€™t just add value to life. It transforms it. Delve into the pages of Godâ€™s Word and develop an eternal perspective that changes everything you experience. Greg Laurie calls us to be transformed. Seek and find God in spending Every Day With Jesus. Available where books are sold and at
to give us the grace to rise above sin’s smallness. Yes, Jesus wants us to come to Him as we are, but He doesn’t want to leave us as we are. His grace not only covers our sins; it also empowers us to live free from sin. Listen to Paul’s heartfelt words: “I did not keep from declaring what was beneficial to you, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. ... Therefore
“The Jesus of the Bible clearly commands that we deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. When we make Jesus Lord, He becomes our Savior as well.” willfully give yourself over to sin. It’s no different than Angela going out on a date with her old boyfriend after marriage. If we hold on to the sins Christ died to deliver us from, thinking that He covers our ungodly lifestyle, then we have created a counterfeit Jesus by believing a counterfeit gospel.
This false gospel depicts a Jesus who overlooks or tolerates willful sin. But Jesus’ love for us compels Him 48
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I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not keep from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to the entire flock, over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:20-21, 26-28). As leaders and ambassadors for Christ, we must be careful that we don’t just tell people what they want
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Blatant lies are easy to spot, but what about half-truths? John Bevere unpacks how the devil seduces the church with subtle deception at deception.charismamag.com.
to hear; we must also tell them what they need to hear. Could it be that we have become like Aaron, allowing the people we influence to live unrestrained? Our silence is consenting to their lifestyle. If you’ve found yourself struggling with or tolerating sin, I encourage you to read Killing Kryptonite. In this book, I unravel the truth about sin and its crippling effects as well as how to break free from its bondage. This message is serious truth for any Christ follower who longs to embrace the challenging but rewarding path of transformation. After all, it’s for this reason that Paul told Timothy: “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word, be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but they will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, having itching ears, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to myths” (2 Tim. 4:1-4). Friend, I exhort you—do not draw back from declaring the whole truth in love and compassion. Preach the Word! Please join me and resolve to live for truth, whether it is popular or unpopular, welcomed or unwelcomed. Speak the Word of God that will bring change to lives, communities, cities and nations. By preaching the Word, you attack our human tendency to create a god or Jesus in our own image—a powerless god who is incapable of saving us from sin’s power. JOHN BEVEREis an international speaker and best-selling author known for his bold and uncompromising approach to God’s Word. John and his wife, Lisa, are the founders of Messenger International—a ministry committed to developing uncompromising followers of Christ who transform our world. c h a r i s ma m ag. com
LIGHTSTOCK: KEVIN CARDEN
Repentance is a necessary and foundational part of life in Christ. It is the decision to receive Jesus as Lord, turning away from living life our own way. Repentance means changing our minds so deeply that it changes our personalities from the inside out. And with repentance comes the ability to see God as He truly is. When we turn to Christ, we become something more. The old is gone and the new has come. That’s why you cannot profess to be a Christian and
How Do You Find Your Peace?
Worry. Fear. Anxiety. Anger. Guilt. Depression. Addictions. Emotional stress drains. Do you feel like peace and strength eludes you? Hidden Treasure provides the biblical answers to receiving Godâ€™s peace and strength in your life. You can defeat emotional stress, addictions, and unforgiveness in your life and be FREE! This book is a product of my personal testimony and how God taught me to surrender to Him. 1 Peter 5:7 taught me how to cast my cares on Him, because He cares for me. Hidden Treasure shares my testimony over the years and the insight I learned from Scripture on how to depend on God and cast all my cares on Him.
Visit HiddenTreasure.website for a FREE download of Hidden Treasure
What It Means to
Speak in Tongues
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Explaining this oft-misunderstood spiritual gift
| SPIRITUAL GIFTS
BY MIKE SHREVE
n 1 Corinthians 14:21, Paul verified that ancient prophecy foretold a new gift often referred to as “speaking in tongues.” It accompanied the infilling of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, a supernatural sign to the Jews gathered in Jerusalem that Jesus was truly the Messiah. Acts 2:1-11 relays the stunning account. On that glorious day, speaking in tongues manifested for the primary purpose of preaching to the Jews the wonderful works that God had just wrought (the resurrection of the Son of God and the introduction of the New Covenant). However, Paul later described this gift as “various kinds of tongues” because there are several ways it manifests (1 Cor. 12:10).
Various Kinds of Tongues
A language of prayer. First Corinthians 14:2 explains “he who speaks in an unknown tongue does not speak to men, but to God. For no one understands him, although in the spirit, he speaks mysteries.” Tongues can be a rapturous language of adoration that ascends from members of the earthly bride of Christ to the heavenly Bridegroom. A mysterious love language of the regenerated spirit, it transcends intellect (which is based in the soul) and is often accompanied by extreme joy. Paul explained, “What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding” (v. 15). Strangely, though the meaning of the words is rarely understood, those who speak in tongues this way “give thanks well” (v. 17). “The rest” and “the refreshing.” When we “pray in the Holy Spirit,” we build ourselves up in our “most holy faith”—so it awakens confidence, trust and power (Jude 20). It brings peace that passes understanding, an inward witness of the rest of God (Heb. 4:1-3). The “refreshing” it releases can be expressed many ways, including creativity, passion for service, fire to pursue vision, love for others—all these and more come when we exercise the wonderful gift of tongues. A message to be interpreted. Notice the Bible does not instruct us to “translate” the gift of tongues; it tells us to “interpret” (1 Cor. 14:27). One sentence in tongues may take a paragraph in English to interpret. Concerning this type of speaking with tongues, Paul exhorted, “If anyone speaks in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him remain silent in the church, and let him speak to himself and to God” (1 Cor. 14:27-28). Paul was not forbidding believers to speak in tongues in church. He was explaining that if someone has a message in tongues and there is no one with the gift of interpretation, he should instead commune with God so that he doesn’t draw attention to himself in the assembly of believers. If a whole group of believers speaking in tongues simultaneously in a worshipful way is wrong, God moved contrary to His own will in pouring out His Spirit on the household of Cornelius (see Acts 10:44–48). Peter did not ask for that visitation to happen. Cornelius did not ask. It was a sovereign act of God. No speakers of other languages were present (that we know of); no one gave a message that needed interpretation. It was simply an anointed outburst of Spirit-inspired adoration. A common misconception. I have often heard believers claim that Christians should speak in tongues because the devil cannot understand what is being said. I contend that is an incorrect and illogical concept for two main reasons. First, Satan is not with us constantly. He is not omnipresent. He is not monitoring every prayer each believer prays. To believe so is a wild distortion of the truth. There are over 2 billion Christians in the world. If the devil were the intimidating, overshadowing adversary most Christians imagine, intercepting all our prayer communications to thwart them, he would have to be present in over 2 billion places at once, processing all these conversations simultaneously (requiring that he
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be omnipresent and omniscient). These are attributes that belong to God alone. The devil’s demonic underlings may surround the planet ubiquitously, but not the prince of darkness himself. Second, Paul described this wonderful gift as “tongues of men and of angels” (1 Cor. 13:1). We know the devil and his subordinate demons are very familiar with all human languages. They tempt English people in English, Spanish people in Spanish, French people in French and so on. Also, these fallen angels were once inhabitants of heaven, so we can assume they know the language of angels (Isa. 14:12-19, Ezek. 28:12-19). Therefore, the power of speaking in tongues is possibly the fact that Satan and his underlings do understand what is being said. They know it is not frail human beings praying a halting prayer, but the omnipotent Holy Spirit praying through them to the Father in a spirit of absolute faith and irresistible power.
My Experience of Tongues
I have experienced all three manifestations of this foundational gift of the Holy Spirit. The first time was about a IF YOU LIKED THE ARTICLE, YOU’LL LOVE THE BOOK In Mike Shreve’s 25 Powerful Promises From God, you’ll discover 25 primary promises that will empower you to open the door to the supernatural power of God, experience miraculous breakthroughs and ultimately witness real spiritual transformation in your life. 52
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year after I was born again. Now I pray in tongues almost every day. Many times, I have interpreted messages in tongues. Two times I have spoken in a known language that was translated by someone present. One of those incidents was in a prayer session I conducted with Baptist youth leaders at Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly in Asheville, North Carolina. We had just gone through the Scriptures in Acts that imply the baptism of the Holy Spirit always comes with the manifestation of speaking in tongues (Acts 2:1-6, 10:44-48, 19:1-7). They were confused, saying, “We’ve been taught that when we got saved, we received the Holy Spirit by faith, and there is nothing left to ask for.” I responded that there is a difference between the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit that comes when a person is born again and the baptism of the Spirit, which imbues that person with power for service. They said, “We are still not sure.” I suggested, “Let’s pray and ask God for His wisdom.” As we all joined hands and started praying, the Holy Spirit moved on me, and I began speaking in tongues. A youth leader from Chile, who was standing next to me, started trembling noticeably. I thought I was scaring him, but then he blurted out, “You are speaking in my language, in my native dialect.” I got very excited then. I responded, “Please tell me what I am saying.” He responded, “You are saying, ‘I am the Lord your God, and the words
My servant has spoken are words of truth. Hear him.’” Needless to say, that dissolved their concerns. We had a marvelous prayer meeting, and all nine leaders were baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues, in all three of its manifestations, is still a relevant gift in this hour. All nine gifts of the Holy Spirit should be the object of our prayers as we ask God for their manifestation (see 1 Cor. 12:7-11). They can be split in three categories: »»Power gifts: healing, the working of miracles and faith »»Revelation gifts: the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge and discerning of spirits »»Utterance gifts: prophecy, various kinds of tongues and interpretation of tongues All gifts have been bought with the blood of Jesus, and none are to be shunned. All should be sought. Those received should be valued as a sacred treasure in the life of a believer. Even though tongues is the least of the nine gifts of the Spirit, it is a wonderful starting point and is far more important than many believers realize. Remember, the promise is that “the manifestation of the Spirit is given to everyone for the common good,” and Paul did clearly conclude: “I desire that you all speak in tongues” (1 Cor. 12:7, 14:5a). MIKE SHREVEhas been involved in full-time international ministry since 1971. He has written more than 15 books. c h a r i s ma m ag. com
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“There is a difference between the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit that comes when a person is born again and the baptism of the Spirit, which imbues that person with power for service.”
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| SPIRITUAL WARFARE
4 STEPS FOR
Deliverance That Lasts How to evict demons from the rooms of your heart
BY ALEXANDER PAGANI
got saved in prison and learned deliverance because I—and people I ministered to—was dealing with issues that counseling and inner healing couldn’t seem to solve. Through the years, God had been showing me step by step how to help people get free. But there was even more to deliverance than I realized. Christians could not only need deliverance, but demons could lodge themselves in hidden areas of our lives—both in our souls and body parts. Not every problem is caused by a demon. But those who have been through counseling and inner healing with no breakthrough might need to consider that a demonic spirit may be involved. Those demons need to be removed through targeted deliverance prayers. Please hear me: I’m talking about prayers that are specific and detailed. Standing in front of a door yelling out generic prayers hoping the demons inside will leave won’t get you far. No, we must stand before these rooms and use the keys of the kingdom to open the door, go inside and cleanse the room. With our authority in Christ, we can command the demons to leave and they have to obey. It’s a four-step process: 1) Recognize. 2) Repudiate. 3) Remove. 4) Restore.
The first step in the deliverance process is to recognize that these rooms in the human soul exist and that a believer can have a demon occupying them if the door is left open. The Greek word ginosko is sometimes translated “recognize.” It means “come to know” or “get a knowledge of.” The opposite of recognizing is denial, and denial is hard to overcome. Many believers today refuse to even acknowledge 54
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that demons are real and that a believer in Jesus can open a door that allows a demon to occupy a room in their hearts. Demons don’t just hang out around open doors; as soon as they see an opportunity, they enter the rooms! The church of Jesus Christ’s faulty theology and lack of discernment has kept countless believers with real demonic problems bound, because you can’t expel something you refuse to recognize. This first step will require boldness and bravery because it may challenge what you’ve previously been taught about demons. The apostle Paul says, “Examine yourselves, seeing whether you are in the faith; test yourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5a). This means we are to constantly perform self-diagnostics to make sure our beliefs line up with God’s Word. When we do find something malfunctioning, we are to acknowledge and fix it, not deny that it’s broken. In true biblical deliverance, we acknowledge what’s there ,and with the help of the Holy Spirit, make the necessary adjustments to fix it. The apostle Paul didn’t deny his weaknesses; he actually acknowledged them when he said, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10b). In the same chapter, he also identifies the real problem, what he called “a messenger from Satan” (v. 7b). The Greek word translated “messenger” in that verse is aggelos, which is also used to refer to angels. Paul was saying that this thorn in his flesh was actually a demon—an evil spirit sent on assignment to attack him. Paul was not saying he was possessed but rather that in one area of his body, he was demonized, as a thorn doesn’t affect the whole body but punctures only one area. Refusing to recognize the issue you’re dealing with will result in continual malfunctioning in that area. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring light to your house. Allow Him to turn on the lights in dark rooms. Allow Him to go into areas in your heart that say “Do Not Enter” and acknowledge that you need the great deliverer, Jesus Christ, to purge those rooms. co ntinued » c h a r i s ma m ag. com
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“Demons are like roaches that work better in the dark and scurry when the lights are turned on.”
The second step is to repudiate the demons. This step is just as important as the first. Demons are legalists; they must honor the legalities of the courtroom of heaven. They can only carry out their function when humans violate the established edicts of heaven on earth. That is why when the prodigal son recognized his sin, the first thing he said was, “I have sinned against heaven” (Luke 15:21b). In essence, he was saying he violated the commandments sanctioned by heaven’s courtroom. You must repudiate something verbally, not mentally, because demons don’t read minds. The Bible says life and death are in the power of our tongues, not in the power of our thoughts. You don’t have to yell to be effective. I’ve had some people write down their renunciation of demonic spirits, and in group settings, I’ve had others nod their heads to affirm that they renounce the devil’s work in their lives. However it is done, the renunciation must be done openly. An example of this is in Mark 5:7-8, when Jesus cast Legion out of the man FOR MORE STUDY... New York pastor Alexander Pagani shares biblical strategies and his own experience for evicting the demons in the “rooms” of your souls and body in The Secrets to Deliverance. The book will instruct you how to strategically and powerfully overtake the enemy. 56
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in the Gerasenes: “[Legion] cried out with a loud voice, ‘What have You to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure You by God, do not torment me.’ For Jesus said to him, ‘Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!’” This passage is a clear example of repudiation. Jesus renounced the spirit. He didn’t have to repeat Himself multiple times, as many charismatic believers who don’t know any better do. Once is enough.
At this point, the devil is screaming in terror because what frustrates unclean spirits most is being discovered. Demons are like roaches that work better in the dark and scurry when the lights are turned on. I would be surprised if you didn’t feel some resistance as you follow these steps. This is where the confrontation begins. If you’re helping someone receive freedom through deliverance, the demons will begin to display open forms of resistance. The manifestations may include shrieking, animalistic movements, shouting insults and supernatural acts. Whatever you do, don’t stop now that the demons’ authority has been stripped. Now it’s time to remove the demonic spirit. Demons won’t leave simply because we desire for them to go. Nor do they read our minds. We must command them to leave in Jesus’ name—and keep commanding them until they all leave.
When a demon is expelled, the room must be restored to its original purpose. This is done with your authority to bind and loose. You must release and restore what had been removed back into the room or empty area. So if the demon connected to unforgiveness was expelled, you must replace it with a fresh empowerment for forgiveness. If the demon of hate was removed, you must release the power of love to restore what the devil took. If you don’t know what to say, you can always declare blessing. Decreeing blessing is the same as declaring the opposite of what was removed. My favorite part of every deliverance session is watching the Holy Spirit restore joy, peace, gentleness, love, happiness, excitement, creativity, ideas, holiness, prayer and intimacy with God. It’s actually the moment in deliverance ministry when you step back and watch the person bask in God’s presence. The Holy Spirit and God’s ministering angels are doing their sovereign work, and you get to be a fly on the wall to observe that holy moment. It’s amazing! This final step must also be done verbally, when you begin to function as a royal priest and declare the blessing of God upon your life or the person you just helped get free. It’s done through what is called “commanded blessing,” where you command God’s blessing to be over, through and upon the person. Without this process of restoration, the deliverance is incomplete and you or the person receiving ministry run the risk of losing control again in this area (Luke 11:24-26). If you’ve followed these four steps, you can rest in Christ, knowing your deliverance process has begun and heaven will respond. We have been promised in Scripture that whatever we bind and loose on earth will be bound and loosed in heaven. How marvelous it is to know that heaven is eager to join us in our freedom process. ALEXANDER PAGANIis a conference speaker, Bible teacher and founder of He Is Risen Tabernacle in Bronx, New York. c h a r i s ma m ag. com
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Why spend 40 years to learn what Dr. Mark can teach you in only a few days?
The National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL), led by Dr. Mark Rutland, helps you become the exceptional leader that God intended you to be. Nearly a thousand leaders from all over the globe have attended and completed this intense training.
Dr. Mark Rutland NICL Founder & Director
WHAT WILL YOU LEARN AT THE NICL?
The NICL gives pastors and leaders the practical application to succeed in any environment while focusing on the life lessons you didn’t learn in seminary. Participants may also earn up to 12 credit hours towards a Masters degree at several colleges and universities. The NICL now offers two course tracks: »» Full year consisting of four separate sessions (each 2 1/2 days) »» One week intensive (5 full days) + Optional session in November
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YOU NEVER REALLY OWN FREEDOM; YOU ONLY PRESERVE IT FOR
THE NEXT GENERATION New York Times best-selling author Brigitte Gabriel issues a bold wake-up call to America. RISE uncovers the forces that aim to dismantle our Judeo-Christian freedoms, destabilize our national security, and redefine our way of life.
RISE will empower you by: Providing a plan for preserving your values and freedoms before itâ€™s too late Educating you on how to identify behaviors and ideas that could threaten the local community and ultimately national security Motivating you to unite with other patriots who wish to preserve our endangered Judeo-Christian values and freedoms Helping you understand what you can do to fight the forces that aim to undermine our nation Our nation defeated the British Empire, helped defeat Hitler, put a man on the moon, and changed the world forever. Will you sit back and watch the greatest country our world has ever known slowly fade away?
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AVAILABLE NOW WHERE BOOKS ARE SOLD
For more teachings and Resources, go to charismamag.com
RESOURCES FOR SPIRIT-LED LIVING Compiled by Taylor Berglund
Breaking the Power of Familiar Spirits Kimberly Daniels Charisma House
Don’t let demonic spirits infiltrate your life and hinder your spiritual growth. Instead, take the fight to the enemy and defeat darkness with the light of Christ. Kim Daniels explains how to identify and cast out spiritual forces that may have made camp in your house.
Life Changing Prayers
The Road to Freedom
Johnny Baker Zondervan
Michael Youssef Baker Books
Johnny Baker knows addiction. His father was an alcoholic, and Baker also became an alcoholic. But God was able to break the cycle and free him from addiction. Now he’s a leader at Celebrate Recovery, helping others find freedom. His powerful testimony offers sound advice for anyone looking to overcome hurts and habits.
It doesn’t take prayer warriors or titans of faith to work mighty miracles for God. In fact, some of the greatest moves of God have resulted from humble prayers from ordinary people. In Life Changing Prayers, Michael Youssef uses Scripture to show how God honors bold prayers—and what that means for your prayer life.
Plumb Capitol CMG
Michael Youssef 60
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Best-selling recording artist Plumb returns with her eighth album, Beautifully Broken. The title track finds Plumb exhorting listeners that their brokenness doesn’t disqualify them from the love of God. After all, she sings, “Even a million scars doesn’t change whose you are.” c h a r i s ma m ag. com
K I M B E R LY D A N I E L S : C H A R I S M A H O U S E | M I C H A E L YO U S S E F: K A R E N C A M P B E L L M E D I A
How To: Fix Your Fatigue and Get More Energy
Founder and Director Dr. Steven Gundry is a world-renowned heart surgeon, a best-selling author, and the personal physician to many celebrities. But his breakthrough could be the most important accomplishment of his career.
Dr. Gundry has unveiled a simple, yet highly effective solution to issues that plague millions of Americans over 40: low energy, low metabolism and fatigue. “When you’re feeling low energy, that’s your body screaming HELP!” Dr. Gundry’s radical solution was inspired by a breakthrough with a “hopeless” patient who had been massively overweight, chronically fatigued and suffering from severely clogged arteries. The secret to his breakthrough? “There are key ‘micronutrients’ missing from your diet,” Dr. Gundry said, “If you can replenish them in very high dosages, the results can be astonishing.” Users of this new method is what led Dr. Gundry to create an at-home method for fatigue. “They’re reporting natural, long-lasting energy without a ‘crash’ and they’re feeling slim, fit and active,” he revealed yesterday. Dr. Gundry’s team released a comprehensive video presentation, so that the public can be educated as to exactly how it works.
Watch the presentation here at www.GetEnergy5.com Within just a few hours, this video had gotten thousands of hits, and is now considered to have gone viral. One viewer commented: “If this works, it’s exactly what I’ve been praying for my whole life. I’ve never seen anything like it before…the truth about my diet was shocking and eye-opening.” It makes a lot of sense, and it sounds great in theory, but we’ll have to wait and see what the results are. Knowing Dr. Gundry, however, there is a great deal of potential. See his presentation here at www.GetEnergy5.com
PODCAST Be inspired as you listen to interviews from people who areliving out God’s plan for their lives. Download at CPNSHOWS.COM
Empower Elisa Morgan
The Prayer Coin
Elisa Morgan Discovery House
Does the model prayer entail relinquishing your desires and submitting to God’s will, or does it call for petitioning the throne room and contending for what you most desire? In The Prayer Coin, Elisa Morgan responds, “Why not both?” Using Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane, Morgan models how prayer is a simultaneous act of surrender and seizure, relinquishment and request.
Hillsong Young & Free
Hillsong’s Millennial-led worship team continues to deliver worshipful lyrics alongside dance music and bass drops on the band’s third studio. Lead single “Love Won’t Let Me Down” is a bouncy ode to God’s faithfulness, and “Let Go” reflects on Christ’s relentless pursuit of us.
Carey Scott Shiloh Run Press
Carey Scott says it’s time women stop trying to be “good enough” and start being the good creation God made them to be. Discover the power that comes from tapping into your true gifting. Unafraid supplies both biblical wisdom and inspirational tips about how to live authentically. 62
Ben Malcolmson Multnomah
CHARI SMA | Augu st 20 18
Ben Malcolmson went from dropping out of football in fifth grade to becoming a wide receiver on the Rose Bowl-winning USC Trojans. He eventually became the assistant to coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks. Malcolmson shares his powerful testimony as proof that God’s plans for us are bigger than we could possibly imagine. c h a r i s ma m ag. com
HILLSONG COVER AND BAND: CAPITOL CMG | ELISA MORGAN: NASHVILLE PUBLICITY GROUP
Hillsong Young & Free Capitol CMG
How To: Repair Your Body In a year when several health discoveries have already made headlines, this one may be the biggest yet. Dr. Rand McClain, the Los Angeles based “Doctor to the Stars,” released his new technique for what some are calling the Body Restore formula. His science is based on technology that was actually partially banned by a U.S. Establishment in 2001. However, Dr. McClain and his partners have found a way that allows them to go and take their discovery straight to the American people. Dr. McClain revealed he’s already offering to his celebrity and pro-athlete clients with incredible results. In the video presentation, he details how some very big name athletes are achieving increased strength, healthier bodies, and even more energy. But what’s really turning heads is that McClain isn’t offering this as an injection, surgery, or medical procedure — which is what his health clinic in Los But the latest development in this story came when the video version of the presentation was Angeles is famous for. made available to the public online. As of this writing, the video has over 3 Million views and is Instead, the method involves one simple thing: A quickly becoming a social media phenomenon. drink. He has all the clinical trials, the data, he’s conducted the test groups...it not only works, it This is the video that many might not want people works really well. McClain feels the technique — to see. But if the link is working, that means the which has been shown in clinical trials — works video is still viewable…for now. best for people over 40, particularly those who may be experiencing excessive fatigue, weaker Watch the shocking presentation at bodies, and even foggy thinking. www.LCR95.com And when Dr. McClain dropped the final bombshell Dr. McClain calls out both the medical industry and — video footage of the results he experienced certain agencies. One viewer commented: “Why after using the method on himself — it became clear that the discovery is nothing short of ground- did I not know this before? Rand is telling it like it breaking, of course your indivitual results will vary, is...we need more doctors like this!” as with any new method. See his presentation here www.LCR95.com While surgery is the benchmark and Dr. McClain charges $20,000 and up, he feels he can offer Americans a new method which provides outstanding results.
BIBLE READING GUIDE
I Can Only Imagine Provident Films
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. “Therefore, MY BELOVED BROTHERS, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” —1 Corinthians 15:58 Aug. 1 Aug. 2 Aug. 3 Aug. 4 Aug. 5 Aug. 6 Aug. 7 Aug. 8 Aug. 9 Aug. 10 Aug. 11 Aug. 12 Aug. 13 Aug. 14 Aug. 15 Aug. 16 Aug. 17 Aug. 18 Aug. 19 Aug. 20 Aug. 21 Aug. 22 Aug. 23 Aug. 24 Aug. 25 Aug. 26 Aug. 27 Aug. 28 Aug. 29 Aug. 30 Aug. 31 64
Is. 65-66; Ps. 62; John 3 2 Kin. 21; 2 Chr. 33; John 4 Nah. 1-3; John 5 2 Kin. 22; 2 Chr. 34; John 6 2 Kin. 23; 2 Chr. 35; John 7 Hab. 1-3; John 8 Zeph. 1-3; John 9 Jer. 1-2; John 10 Jer. 3-4; John 11 Jer. 5-6; John 12 Jer. 7-9; John 13 Jer. 10-12; John 14 Jer. 13-15; John 15 Jer. 16-17; Ps. 96; John 16 Jer. 18-20; Ps. 93; John 17 2 Kin. 24; Jer. 22; Ps. 112; John 18 Jer. 23,25; John 19 Jer. 26,35-36; John 20 Jer. 45-47; Ps. 105; John 21 Jer. 48-49; Ps. 67; 1 John 1 Jer. 21,24,27; Ps. 118; 1 John 2 Jer. 28-30; 1 John 3 Jer. 31-32; 1 John 4 Jer. 33-34; Ps. 74; 1 John 5 Jer. 37-39; Ps. 79; 2 John Jer. 50-51; 3 John Jer. 52; Rev. 1; Ps. 143-144 Ezek. 1-3; Rev. 2 Ezek. 4-7; Rev. 3 Ezek. 8-11; Rev. 4 Ezek. 12-14; Rev. 5
CHARI SMA | August 20 18
Before “I Can Only Imagine” was the best-selling Christian song ever, it was a short demo, recorded by a young singer dealing with the death of his father. That singer was Bart Millard, frontman and lead vocalist for the band MercyMe. I Can Only Imagine tells Millard’s true story, from his early childhood to joining MercyMe to achieving chart-topping success. Along the way, it tells an exceptionally human story about a son, a father and their heavenly Father. I Can Only Imagine is a movie with modest ambitions that absolutely meets its goals. Anyone who enjoys a good biopic or melodrama—Christian or not—will have a good time here. It’s not just the story that shines. I Can Only Imagine is a very well-made movie. Little details like lighting, costuming, production design and editing are all executed well. Broadway’s J. Michael Finley turns in a rousing and emotional performance as Bart, and Dennis Quaid wows as his abusive father who later encounters Christ. The Erwin Brothers, who also directed Woodlawn and Moms’ Night Out, are capable directors who know when to keep the plot moving and when to slow down and let emotional moments linger. In this reviewer’s screening, filmgoers’ sniffles and sobs filled the theater. Perhaps some factual details were changed in the transition from true story to Hollywood movie, but the emotional reality of Millard’s story rings true. Viewers sensitive to the subjects of alcoholism and abuse may want to avoid this film. However, both topics are handled carefully enough to garner a PG rating and come Dove-approved for all ages. I Can Only Imagine
tells a stirring story of redemption and restoration. Don’t miss it. BOOK
Insurgence Frank Viola Baker Books
Frank Viola’s Insurgence aims to reshape how readers see the gospel, Jesus, the kingdom of God, Christian living, spiritual warfare and major cultural and social issues. Basically, as Viola writes in the introduction, the book’s scope is everything: “My hope in writing this book is that its message will deliver you from every other version of the gospel except the gospel of the kingdom.” That’s a very big promise, and one the book can’t necessarily deliver on. But though a couple of sections miss the mark, the author’s latest packs enough heat to warrant a read. Viola divides the book into six segments, each with around 30 chapters that average one to two pages and make a single argument. The chapters are laid out in logical sequence. That makes Insurgence easy to read and hard to put down. The format is also helpful, since the book runs long, at over 400 pages. It could have been even longer, though. Viola says he included footnotes that link to blogs with more information to keep the book from running to over 1,000 pages. Viola clearly has no shortage of things to say, and he’s a talented writer. But he’s also intellectual, which works great in theological segments (like his gospel doctrine breakdown) and more awkwardly in emotional segments (like his efforts to paint Jesus’ passionate love through retelling classic Bible stories). Readers’ mileage may vary. But the sections that work easily justify the time spent reading. c h a r i s ma m ag. com
Simply Christ Sharing the simplicity that is in Christ
A CHRISTIAN’S NATURE
woman called Bro. Leroy Surface, saying another pastor told her he could help her. “What is your problem,” Bro. Surface asked. She said she was tormented by an unclean spirit. At times it would take complete control of her body and contort it into vulgar positions. During these times, the unclean spirit would speak through her to curse God and give filthy hand signs against the Holy Ghost, and she had no power to stop it. She was very honest about the horrid details of her condition, and asked Bro. Surface, “Can you help me? I have been to many ministers, but no one can do anything for me. Can you help me?” Bro. Surface asked this woman, “Have you ever in your lifetime been filled with the Holy Ghost?” She answered quickly, “I am filled with the Spirit of God right now! In fact I have a wonderful gift of prophecy. I hear it speaking inside of me night and day. I only have to open my mouth, and prophecy begins to flow forth in the most amazing way.” Bro. Surface said to her, “I can help you if you will believe what I tell you.” “What is that?” she asked. Bro. Surface responded, “The spirit that takes control of your body and speaks vulgarities against the Holy Ghost is the same spirit that works in you to prophesy through you. You do not have the Holy Ghost. No one can help you as long as you believe your gift of prophecy is of God, but if you will reject the spirit that prophesies through you, you can be delivered from this vulgar spirit and go free.” Religious thought has degenerated to the place that many believe
God and Satan, light and darkness, and sin and righteousness can cohabit in the same vessel. The error of spiritual “dualism” has corrupted every aspect of the modern gospel message. Jesus said, “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.” Matthew 12:33. God and Satan do not inhabit the same temple. Neither do light and darkness co-exist in the same place. The apostle John said, “God is light and in him is no darkness at all.” The tree is either good, or it is corrupt, but there is no such thing as a spiritual tree that bares both good and corrupt fruit. Remember, it is Jesus who said “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit...” Matthew 7:18. The belief that a child of God has two natures is absurd. Every person sleeps part of a day and is awake another part of the day, but they do not have one nature when they sleep and another nature when they are awake. It is their nature to both sleep and wake. The forbidden tree offered the knowledge of both good and evil, but it was one tree. On the other hand, the tree of life has no evil in it at all. A person may appear to do good sometimes and evil at other times. This does not mean they have two natures, but their nature only has the appearance of both “good and evil.” The fruit of sin and the fruit of righteousness do not grow on the same tree. Religious deceivers “bewitched” the Galatian believers to embrace the Law of Moses, a covenant which Paul warned them was “...born after the flesh.” Galatians 4:23-24. Because they were embracing a covenant of flesh, the “works of the flesh” came alive and began to work in their hearts. Paul told them with absolute confidence, “Walk in the Spirit (the New Covenant), and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16. He gives the reason for this confidence in his next words, saying, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5:17. Many people completely miss the point of this statement when they construe it to mean that the flesh and the spirit are at war with each other inside the same person. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The person who walks in the Spirit “cannot do the things they would” do if they were walking in the Covenant of “flesh” because the Spirit is totally different, opposite, and contrary to the flesh. Therefore the desires of the person who walks in the New Covenant (the Spirit) are completely different from the desires of the one who walks in a fleshly covenant (the flesh). One walks in “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” The other struggles continually against the desires of their own heart, knowing to do good, but evil is always present with them. Your “nature” is simply what is natural to you. A person’s true nature is revealed when they cease the struggle to be something different than what works in their heart. When people have to “struggle” to be a “Christian,” it is either because they have not been “born of God,” or they are trying to walk in a fleshly religious covenant. Your nature is either righteous, or it is sinful, but it is not both. When Christ purifies our heart Acts 15:9, sin is no longer our nature, and to commit sin is no longer natural.
Simply Christ is sent weekly via email to believers around the world. To request your freebook or subscription, visit cochurch.org or write to: Behold the Lamb Publications, P.O. Box 750 Porter, TX 77365
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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
Pray for Christianity to Come to North Korea
President Trump’s summit in Singapore with Kim Jong Un may have had more spiritual implications than the media would like to admit.
“I found some interesting spiritual parallels between Kim Jong Un and President Trump that even they probably don’t know.”
is that, like Kim Il Sung, President Trump was raised Presbyterian by his mother, a native of the Outer Hebrides Islands in Scotland. The Hebrides experienced a great spiritual revival from 1948 to 1952—almost the exact years of the Korean War. The awakening was so widespread and inspiring that the Hebrides was known for a time as the “Jerusalem of the British Isles.” Although Trump said denuclearization was the top priority, at the conclusion of the meetings in Singapore, reporters asked the president if he had spoken to Kim about the plight of persecuted Christians. Trump responded: “I brought it up, absolutely. They will work on that. We did not put it down in the document. It will be worked on.” He added that “Franklin Graham spent and spends a tremendous amount of time in North Korea. He has it close to his heart. It did come up and things will be happening.” Franklin Graham is best known for his important work with the Christian relief group Samaritan’s Purse, but his family has been involved in missionary activities in North and South Korea for more than 100 years. Under Graham’s leadership, the organization has provided aid to North Korea. In 2007, when North Korea was hit by the heaviest flooding in 40 years, Samaritan’s Purse sent a Boeing 747 loaded with 75 tons of food and emergency medical supplies valued at more than $8 million. At the end of the Singapore summit, Graham wrote on Facebook, “Millions of people bathed the Singapore meetings in prayer—Americans, North Koreans, South Koreans—people around the world were praying. Let’s ask God to continue to work in the hearts and minds of these leaders.” To which I say, “Amen.”
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 Twitter (@sstrang) or Facebook (stephenestrang). 66
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c h a r i s ma m ag. com
T I M K E L LY
f I know anything about South Korean Christians, it’s that they know how to pray. I’ve participated in early-morning prayer meetings at the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul attended by thousands. The services were in Korean, and translators told us that, along with other things, they were praying for reunification with North Korea and revival in the Hermit Kingdom. When I first visited Korea in 1985, things were tense. Military exercises required Seoul, which has a population of more than 20 million, to have a total blackout in case the North Koreans struck. I remember looking at a completely dark city from my hotel room window. Their prayers may have begun to be answered after President Donald Trump’s historic summit in Singapore in June with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Shortly before the summit, my longtime friend and mentor Pastor Alex Clattenburg of Church in the Son in Orlando, Florida, was in Seoul. He attended a prayer gathering at the Seoul World Cup Stadium, which seats 66,700. The enthusiastic six-hour prayer meeting was “the closest thing to heaven I’ve ever experienced,” he told me. Meanwhile, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, a Catholic, told the press in the days prior to the summit that the people of his country were “praying for a miracle.” While South Korea has some of the largest churches in the world, North Korea has only two churches (said to be for propaganda purposes), and as many as 130,000 Christians are reportedly in what are essentially concentration camps. Eyewitness reports by escapees tell of Christians being hung on crosses and suspended over fire, crushed under steamrollers, herded off bridges into rocky chasms and deep waters, and even trampled underfoot by military guards and others. But it wasn’t always so. Before the Korean War, there were 3,500 churches in North Korea, which was considered much more Christian than the south. The reason was a great revival that took place in 1906 (the same year as the Azusa Street Revival). That revival was so intense that Pyongyang was known as the “Jerusalem of Asia.” In fact, Kim Jong Un’s great-great-grandfather became a Presbyterian pastor. Furthermore, Kim’s great-grandfather was an elder who raised his son, the future dictator, as a Presbyterian. But Kim Il Sung, the dictator who brought communism to North Korea, not only rejected Christianity but made North Korea one of the most oppressive regimes on earth. How different history would have been had he remained a Christian. Around the time of the Singapore Summit, I conducted research for my new book, Trump Aftershock (releasing the first week of November). I found some interesting spiritual parallels between Kim Jong Un and President Trump that even they probably don’t know. One parallel
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PAT R I C I A K I N G
Core Faculty Honorary Doctor, Christian International
Core Faculty Doctor of Practical Ministry, Wagner Leadership Institute
Core Faculty Doctor of Practical Ministry, Wagner Leadership
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Life in the Spirit - August 2018