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WAKE THE CHURCH

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PREACH GOD’S LOVE

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LIFE IN THE SPIRIT

LEAVE A LEGACY

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

NOVEMBER 2019

Dr. Reg Morais was radically healed by God. Now he’s on a mission to bring others into relationship with Him.

IN THIS ISSUE: Why God picks weak people to serve Him How Christians must respond to addiction

REBECCA JOHANSSON


Dr Norvel Hayes tounded NLBC over 40 Years ago, whicl&s trained thousand of minister's around the world.

$1,000.00 Per Semester PLUS $200.00 Curriculum Fee

Con ct Us Today! 423.479.7120


CONTENTS

FEA

Prior Pray Have

November 2019/Volume 45, Number 4

By Da

COVER STORY

Healed and Set Apart

How God radically healed Dr. Reg Morais of autism and OCD and set him on a path toward international ministry. By Taylor Berglund

DEPARTMENTS Dear Charisma Charismata Man confesses to murder after hearing this Christian song. More than 8,000 people get saved at a California revival meeting.

Hom Andr the s seven that d impri

By Ta

Finis God m the w spirit day. T the e

By M

Spirit-Led Resources Max Lucado’s How Happiness Happens and Jeremy Camp’s The Story’s Not Over Review: Zach Williams’ Rescue Story


ATURES

3 Ways to Discern God Is Moving You in a New Direction

rity Thanksgiving yers Most Christians e Never Prayed

by Glenn Bleakney

avid Bryant

By Joshua Olson

When the Weak Win Throughout history, God has empowered and raised up the weak and the leastqualified to challenge the strong. But why does He do this?

Addicted Every day, hundreds die in the U.S. due to opioid addiction. Find out how believers can push back against this growing crisis.

The Critical Years Learn why college students need to be challenged not only academically, but also spiritually.

Leaving a Legacy Discover the miracle and the prophetic word that made Morris Cerullo’s new Legacy International Center possible.

mecoming rew Brunson shares spiritual battle and n prophetic moments defined his two-year isonment in Turkey.

aylor Berglund

sh the Fight may have already won war, but we still face tual skirmishes every Take authority over enemy.

Mark and Grace Driscoll

By Jessilyn Lancaster

By Ryan LeStrange

By Lew Weider

COLUMNS Greenelines Don’t miss the power of godly imagination.

Straight Talk Experience the joy of the Lord.

By Dr. Steve Greene

By Joyce Meyer

F ire in My Bones See in the invisible, spiritual realm.

Guest Column It’s not over until you win.

By J. Lee Grady

By Marilyn Hickey

Things to Come The Holy Spirit is saying, “Urgency!”

Perspective Look at politics through a spiritual lens.

By Dr. Michael Brown

By Stephen Strang

G E T T Y I M A G E S / D E A G R E E Z | J E R E M Y C A M P: C A P I TO L C M G | B R U N S O N S / PAT R I C K R O B E R T S O N


GREENELINES BY DR. STEVE GREENE

Only Imagine

Spirit-filled believers should not overlook the power of godly imaginat

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oday I remember a friend who, for years, wanted to play a Hammond B-3 organ. This powerful electric instrument is coveted by churches and jazz musicians alike. My friend’s imagination allowed him to picture himself tap dancing on the pedals and navigating the keys with Spirit-fueled excellence. I saw only one problem with his deep desire: His fingers had never once touched a keyboard. But that didn’t change his unrelenting prayers—or his imagination. A man of vision as well as faith, he was seated in his usual folding chair one Sunday when the church organist failed to appear. My friend walked to the organ and sat

at the bench as the Ho Our pastor and music d about his lack of music simply placed his finge three-tier keyboard and he had done it all his lif First came clear, int that charted a hymn’s b unphased by a hymn in several runs up and do navigating both pedals When the worship serv on a run around the sa others followed him. My friend’s newfou even him. “I’ve never ev sticks’ before,” he said. “


tion

oly Spirit said, “Come.” director knew nothing cal expertise. He ers above the massive d began to play as if fe. ntroductory phrases basic melody. Then, n four flats, he flowed own the keyboard, s and keys flawlessly. vice ended, he went anctuary. Several

und ability shocked ven played ‘Chop“I don’t remember

what I just played.” To this day, he still plays for all services. Long before that miraculous Sunday, my friend had the imagination to see what God wanted him to do. Even though he had no skill or training to play the organ on his own, “God played through me,” he said. Our imaginations are much more powerful than we realize. For the believer, another term for “imagination” is “spiritual vision.” We imagine what the Spirit of God is up to in our lives. He plants those thoughts deep within us. When King David shared his vision for building God’s temple with the people of Israel, he took time to offer a prayer. His words included this key phrase: “O Lord God SEAN ROBERTS


of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people” (1 Chron. 29:18a, KJV). The Modern English Version says, “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the thoughts and intentions of the heart of Your people.” Imagination allows Spirit-filled believers to keep a picture in their hearts of what God is telling them to do. Imagination breaks down earthly walls and soars above human limitations. Where the enemy tries to tear us down, imagination lifts us up. It calls us higher. It moves us out of lack into “life more abundant and free.” But the Holy Spirit must guide our imagination, or we will suffer the consequences. One of the seven things the Lord hates, listed in Proverbs 6:17-19, is “a heart that devises wicked imaginations.” In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he urges his friends to use their spiritual weapons of warfare, which are “mighty through God to

the pulling down of str down imaginations and that exalts itself agains God” (2 Cor. 10:4b-5a). In fact, biblical refe or “evil” imagination (Je 13:10, 16:12, 23:17; Luk refer to those thoughts to the obedience of Ch

“Where th tries to tea imagination

Our own imaginations behavior. But His imagi path of blessings. A godly imaginatio more through the eyes with our darkened eart

DR. STEVE GREENE i s the publisher and executive vice president of th

of the Charisma Podcast Network. Find his book, Love Leads: The S tivity, at amazon.com, christianbook.com or at your local booksto


rongholds, casting d every high thing st the knowledge of

erences to a “wicked” er. 7:24, 9:14, 11:8, ke 1:51; Rom. 12:1) s not yet taken captive hrist (see 2 Cor. 10:5).

he enemy ar us down, n lifts us up.”

bring forth carnal ination produces a

on allows us to see s of the Spirit and less thly vision. It allows us

PODCAST Listen to Spirit-led interviews, commentary and takeaways on how to come up higher and walk in God’s abundance. Download at CPNSHOWS.COM

to come into agreement with these words of Jesus, fueled by His own imagination: “Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in Me will do the works that I do also. And he will do greater works than these” (John 14:12a). Because imagination lets us see what God sees, we can experience His peace. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because He trusts in You.” Andrew Wommack once quoted the verse like this: “The Lord will keep you in perfect peace when your imagination is stayed upon Him.” Whether it is a keyboard, a palette, a flashing cursor or a classroom filled with wide-eyed learners, we must know there is no “if” to imagination. We can only imagine—through the Holy Spirit.

he multimedia group at Charisma Media and executive producer Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Producore.


YO

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OUR NEXT PROMOTION

will be determined by the MAGNITUDE OF YOUR PERSECUTION BY DR. REG MORAIS PERSECUTION LEADS TO PROMOTION If it is a small persecution, your promotion will likewise be small; but if you persecution is great, your promotion will be great as well. You might say "I don't want any persecution at all; not small, or big - but I do want a promotion." I'm sorry to tell you this, but that's not how God's Kingdom works! WHY WE CRY w�e t�e Hol Spi�� Com�� Upo� Us

The Holy Spirit will manifest in crying and weeping; and manifest in that way in your personal life too. He's simply trying to say, "I understand all of your pain, your agony, your sorrow, and your loss."

AVAILABLE NOW!

CLICK HERE


FIRE IN MY BONES BY J. LEE GRADY

You Must See in the Invisible Realm

The prophet Elisha knew perception isn’t reality. We too must walk by f

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hese days, I’m trying to raise funds for some overseas mission projects. I need several thousand dollars to finish a women’s shelter in Guatemala, about the same amount for a similar effort in Peru and even more for projects in Africa and Asia. My faith rises when I pray, but when I look at my ministry bank account, my heart sinks. The numbers aren’t good. The reality of my lack can be discouraging. That’s because I’m negatively affected by what I see. Bank ledgers don’t lie. We all deal with this struggle. God’s promises look bright, but reality is like ice water poured on our dreams. We can be traumatized by what we see or hear— whether we are dealing with a financial

challenge, a health cris a struggling church. The Lord is teachin right now, because my my reactions totally on I’ve had many freak-ou because I see my situat promise. So the Lord to the prophet Elisha’s life ception isn’t reality. When the king of A ture Elisha, the prophe early in the morning to He was terrified when h iots circling the city. His heard the deafening so But Elisha wasn’t ev


faith, not by sight.

sis, a wayward child or

ng me this lesson y tendency is to base n what I see and hear. ut moments recently tion and doubt God’s ook me to a story from e to teach me that per-

Aram plotted to capet’s servant went out o assess the situation. he saw the king’s chars faith shrank when he ound of marching. ven remotely worried.

He told his servant: “Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than with them” (2 Kings 6:16). Then the prophet prayed that his servant’s eyes would be opened to see behind the curtain of natural senses. The Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and verse 17b says, “he saw that the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha.” Elisha had no fear of the king’s army because he saw what was happening in the invisible realm. He knew heaven’s reality was more real than earthly reality. Heaven’s armies were stronger. God was preparing a SEAN ROBERTS


surprise victory. What Elisha’s disciple learned that day is a lesson for us all. We live in a time when the enemy’s hordes are all around us—and in our media-saturated culture, they make a lot of noise. The devil, the master of fake news, traumatizes us with scary sights and sounds. We must respond in three ways: Develop your spiritual senses. Just as there are five senses in the natural, there are spiritual senses. We can see visions, we can hear God’s voice, we can feel the Holy Spirit’s quaking, we can smell the fragrance of Christ and we can “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8a). But the writer of Hebrews tells us that our senses must be trained (Heb. 5:14) if we want to walk in spiritual maturity. Our God is invisible. His throne, His angels and His glory are hidden from our natural eyes. Yet every spiritual hero in the Bible who left us an example of faith saw beyond what eyes can see. Ask God to open

your eyes to the heave Don’t focus on the your mind. Paul said th the flesh is hostile towa who are in the flesh can Rom. 8:7-8). This is one the Holy Spirit often. H “I will pray with my spir with my mind also; I wi spirit, but I will sing wit

“Listen for th His angelic

Cor. 14:15, ESV). We do at the door when we b God can use our minds grasp spiritual reality if natural realm. You mus

J. LEE GRADY w  as editor of Charisma for 11 years and now serves as

(themordecaiproject.org), an international ministry that protects wo Set My Heart on Fire (Charisma House).


enly realm. e flesh or rely on he mind that is set on ard God, and those nnot please God (see e reason he prayed in He told the Corinthians: rit, but I will pray ill sing praise with my th my mind also” (1

he sound of c warriors.”

on’t check our brains become Christians. s. But you will never f you only live in the st be filled with the

Spirit and submit your thoughts to the Spirit. Otherwise, you will rely on human reasoning and human strength instead of God’s invisible power. Discover the reality of Christ’s victory. When David was at war with the Philistines, he trusted God to show him how to fight. In one battle, the Lord told David not to strike until he heard the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees (2 Sam. 5:24-25). That makes no sense in the natural! But David knew when he heard the sound that God’s unseen angelic armies had arrived. David wrote of these unseen armies in Psalm 68. He said: “The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, even thousands of thousands” (v. 17a, MEV). You may feel God has left you to fight defenseless. Think again! If you belong to Christ, He has not left you alone in this battle. Open your eyes and ears. Listen for the sound of His angelic warriors as they fight for you.

s contributing editor. He directs The Mordecai Project omen and girls from gender-based violence. His latest book is


HOW TO REPAIR YO In a year when several health discoveries have already made headlines, this one may be the biggest yet. Dr. Rand McClain, the Los Angeles based “Doctor to the Stars,” released his new technique for what some are calling the Body Restore formula. His science is based on technology that was actually partially banned by a U.S. establishment in 2001. However, Dr. McClain and his partners have found a way that allows them to go and take their discovery straight to the American people. Dr. McClain revealed he’s already offering to his celebrity and proathlete clients with incredible results. In the video presentation, he details how some very big name athletes are achieving

increased strength, healthier bodies and even more energy. But what’s really turning heads is that McClain isn’t offering this as an injection, surgery or medical procedure—which is what his health clinic in Los Angeles is famous for. Instead, the method involves one simple thing: A drink. He has all the clinical trials, the data, he’s conducted the test groups ... it not only works, it works really well. McClain feels the technique—which has been shown in clinical trials— works best for people over 40, particularly those who may be experiencing excessive fatigue, weaker bodies, and even foggy thinking. And when Dr. McClain dropped the final bombshell­— video footage of the results he experienced after using the

met clea noth brea indi any W ben cha feel a ne outs Bu in th the pres avai As o has is qu med Th mig see. that view

Dr. McClain calls out both the medical industry and certain agencies. O “Why did I not know this before? Rand is telling it like it is ... we need m


OUR BODY

thod on himself—it became ar that the discovery is hing short of groundaking. Of course your ivitual results will varys with y new method. While surgery is the nchmark and Dr. McClain arges $20,000 and up, he ls he can offer Americans ew method that provides standing results. ut the latest development his story came when video version of the sentation was made ilable to the public online. of this writing, the video over 3 million views and uickly becoming a social dia phenomenon. his is the video that many ght not want people to . But if the link is working, t means the video is still wable ... for now.

One viewer commented, more doctors like this!�

Watch the shocking presentation:


THINGS TO COME BY DR. MICHAEL BROWN

Urgency!

Where is the passion in today’s sleeping church?

A

s I pray and ask the Lord, “What is the Spirit saying?” I hear in my own spirit one word: urgency! These are urgent times, contentious times, confusing times. There are times of great upheaval and great opportunity. These are intense times, difficult times, blessed times. And the Spirit is saying, “Urgency!” Unfortunately, the message from all too many of our pulpits is not one of urgency. It is one of complacency. Of comfort. Of personal success. It is not a message designed to wake up a sleeping church, nor a message designed to prepare for war or to challenge and stir. Instead, while moral confusion and

spiritual deception rise people are enjoying a p lulled to sleep by voice that refuse to confront ture or talk about divin to wake up! I’m not talking abo itics. I’m not talking abo anger and judgmentali about a holier-than-tho about having a burning sumed with love for Go world, a heart that is de the direction in which s talking about urgency. While in prayer ear reminded of a quote by


es, many of God’s peaceful slumber, es of compromise t sin, address the culne judgment. It’s time

out focusing on polout preaching with ism. I’m not talking ou attitude. I’m talking g heart, a heart conod and love for a dying eeply burdened by society is heading. I’m . rlier this year, I was y Edward Payson

(1783-1827), known as “Praying Payson of Portland.” He said, “I do not believe that my desires for revival were ever half so strong as they ought to be; nor do I see how a minister can help being in a ‘constant fever’ ... where His Master is dishonored and souls are destroyed in so many ways.” Immediately, I was cut to the heart by his words. What would Payson say to us today? If he expressed these sentiments in the early 1800s, grieved and burdened over the spiritual complacency of his generation, how would he feel in 2019? How much more is our Master being dishonored today? How much more are souls being destroyed “in so many ways”? How NANCY BROWN


much more should ministers be in a “constant fever” over the moral and spiritual state of our nation, beginning with the state of the church? I had the incredible privilege of being a close friend of Leonard Ravenhill the last five years of his life (1989-1994; he was 82 when we met), and he was in a “constant fever” because of the compromised state of much of the church. He would come out of his prayer closet with tears in his eyes and a stunned look on his face and say to me, “Mike, the church is blind and naked and doesn’t even know it!” He was embarrassed and grieved and broken on behalf of His Lord, He who died for this church to make it something beautiful. Ravenhill lived with a sense of holy urgency. How would he feel today? Brother Len, as we called him, gave my wife, Nancy, and me a precious set of books consisting of the sermons of Catherine Booth. Talk about messages of intensity and urgency! In one of her sermons, Booth uttered these unforgettable words: “Opposition! It is

a bad sign for the Chris it provokes so little opp no other evidence of it know from that. When world can jog along to you may be sure there The world has not alter the same as it ever was were equally faithful an

“We live in a d to use a figur America is bu should be bu

Lord, and separated fro that their lives were a r ness, the world would h it ever did. It is the chu not the world.” Yet today in Ameri push back against the s

DR. MICHAEL BROWN i s host of the Line of Fire podcast and radio br


stianity of this day that position. If there were t being wrong, I should the church and the ogether comfortably, is something wrong. red. Its spirit is exactly s, and if Christians nd devoted to the

day in which, re of speech, urning. We urning too.”

om the world, living so reproof to all ungodlihate them as much as urch that has altered,

ica, unless we sinful culture,

LINE OF FIRE RADIO PODCAST Radio Broadcasts of The Line of Fire with Dr. Michael L. Brown Download at CPNSHOWS.COM

the church and the world jog together quite comfortably. But it’s not because we’re changing the world. It’s because the world is changing us. It’s time we wake up! Kids are being exposed to pornography at 8 years old. There are reportedly more witches in America than Presbyterians. Infanticide is being defended by elected officials. Divisions are ripping our nation apart at the seams. And the number of professing Christians in our country is decreasing rather than increasing. How should we respond? We live in a day in which, to use a figure of speech, America is burning. We should be burning too. May God awaken His people! May He set our hearts ablaze. May He share His pain with us. The Spirit is saying, “Urgency!”

roadcast. His latest book is Jezebel’s War With America.


C H A R I S M ATA Spirit-Led Names and News

Compiled by Taylor Berglund

More Than 8,000 People Saved at Revival Meeting “Hope has a name, and it’s Jesus Christ”

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ore than 100,000 people attended the 30th annual SoCal Harvest at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. The organization reports that 8,677 people made a public decision to follow Jesus over the weekend event, which ran from Aug. 23-25. Harvest has held massive evangelistic crusades around the world for 30 years now. More than 500,000 people have reportedly come to salvation in Christ as a result of these events. Performers at the event included Passion, Lecrae, for KING

& COUNTRY, Jeremy Camp, the Newsboys, Chris Tomlin and Phil Wickham. Speakers included professional baseball all-star Daryl Strawberry, author and radio host Eric Metaxas and Greg Laurie, who made the gospel presentation. “Don’t put your hope in technology,” Laurie said. “Don’t put your hope in material things. Don’t put your hope in politicians. Don’t put your hope even in religion. Hope has a name, and it’s Jesus Christ, and He is here with us tonight, and He is ready to change the course of your life.”

Mor SoCa Calif


For more Spirit-Led news, click here.

re than 8,000 were saved during the 2019 Cal Harvest at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, fornia, in August.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF HARVEST


C H A R I S M ATA Spirit-Led Names and News

Big Daddy Weave

Christian Song Leads Man to Confess to Murder

D

“I just knew He was stirring on my spirit”

anny Dashay Holmes says a Christian song prompted him to confess to murder. During his trial, Holmes pleaded guilty to murder and kidnapping. As a result, he will serve a life sentence. So why’d he confess? He says it’s because God changed his life over a year ago. He heard the lyrics of Big Daddy Weave’s song “Redeemed”: “Then You look at this prisoner and say to me, ‘Son, stop fighting a fight that’s already been won.’” Holmes says: “I’m 30 years old, and I’ve been fighting for nothing all my life. I’ve been fighting for gangs. ... I ain’t never fought for anything that made sense. But I knew the Lord was telling me to fight for Him this time. I just knew He was stirring on my spirit.”


For more Spirit-Led news, click here.

Lauren Daigle Preaches God’s Love at Ohio Prison She told them they are children of God, even behind bars

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auren Daigle performed a concert at the Ohio Reformatory for Women and spoke to women at the facility’s Tapestry Therapeutic Community on August 24. In a video from her visit, Daigle remarks this is the fifth time she has visited a prison. (In February, Daigle worshipped and visited with inmates at the Folsom Women’s Facility.) The Billboard-topping singer also preached about God’s love to the inmates during her concert. “The one thing that we can always do is look up,” Daigle said. “... You can look up and see the kindness of God and His extravagant love for each one of you. I know sometimes that can be hard to wrap your mind around, but let me tell you something: He doesn’t see you by your faults, or maybe the things that you’ve done or the things that have trapped

Lauren Daigle you and ensnared you. But He sees you as children, as His own, beloved from the Most High King. That’s who you are.”

BIG DADDY WEAVE/MERGE PR | CENTRICIT Y PRESS


C H A R I S M ATA Spirit-Led Names and News

Wailing Wall, Jerusalem

2 More Countries Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

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.S. President Donald Trump decided in 2017 to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Now other countries have followed suit. Honduras and the Republic of Nauru, a small country in Micronesia, have formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael

Katz praised the move on Twitter, writing: “I commend [the Republic of Nauru’s] important decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. We will continue to strengthen Jerusalem and to bring about the recognition and opening of diplomatic missions and embassies in our capital.” WAILING WALL/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS


For more Spirit-Led news, click here.

‘Overcomer’ Debuts at No. 3 at U.S. Box Office The Kendrick brothers are proving that movies can be ministry, too

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nce again, faith-based films are proving there’s a market for Christianity in Hollywood. The Christian film Overcomer debuted at No. 3 at the domestic box office for the weekend of Aug. 23-25, making $8.2 million during its opening weekend. The movie, which is the sixth film written and directed by Alex and Stephen Kendrick, stars Alex Kendrick, Aryn WrightThompson and Priscilla Shirer and encourages people to base their identity in God above all else. Overcomer premiered in 1,723 theaters nationwide and earned an A-plus CinemaScore from audiences. That makes Alex Kendrick only the second director in cinema history to garner an A-plus CinemaScore for three separate movies

A scene from “Overcomer”

(Overcomer, War Room and Courageous), alongside Rob Reiner (The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally and A Few Good Men). Overcomer also had the third-best debut of any Kendrick Brothers film, after War Room and Courageous. War Room eventually went on to make $67 million in 2015. Shirer, whose first acting role was in War Room, told Charisma that these movies reach people who might never otherwise enter a church. Because of that, she considers them ministry. “You know, some people may never read a book I might write,” Shirer says. “They may never come into the church to hear a message I might give. They may never go through one of those Bible studies. But they will go to a movie.”


C H A R I S M ATA Spirit-Led Names and News

Christian College Opens ‘Lee Strobel Center’

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“This may be the epicenter of revival in America”

ee Strobel will partner with Colorado Christian University to open the Lee Strobel Center for Evangelism and Applied Apologetics. “We’re not talking about creating ivory tower scholars,” Strobel says. “We’re talking about creating people who are winsome in sharing their faith, but who are equipped to be able to defend it in an increasingly skeptical world.” Mark Mittelberg, the center’s executive director, says time is running out to evangelize unsaved people with the gospel: “There’s one thing we can do here that we will not ever get to do in heaven, and that’s ... reach people who are far from Christ, who are dying to know the good news of the gospel.”

Lee Strobel Strobel believes the center could even have history-making import: “Who knows? This may the epicenter of revival in America. That’s our prayer, and that’s our hope.”


For more Spirit-Led news, click here.

‘VeggieTales’ Is Back—TBN Relaunches Classic Christian Series

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Have they got a show for you

eggieTales, the Christian children’s video series, has returned with new installments this fall on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). The first season of the revival will be 18 episodes long and begin with a Christmas special, according to RNS. The show’s original co-creators, Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki, returned to write most of the new episodes. The video series stopped releasing new installments in 2015, and a couple of Netflix series ran from 2014 to 2017 before being cancelled early last year. Tom Newman, TBN’s head of development and production, said, “These all new episodes will reintroduce VeggieTales to existing fans and remind new ones [of] the importance of presenting biblical values through high-quality children’s entertainment.”

‘VeggieTales’ return this fall on TBN

V E G G I E TA L E S/T B N


C H A R I S M ATA Spirit-Led Names and News

Court Says Katy Perry Copied Christian Rap Song

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She and her label will be fined $2.78 million

n the past, Christian artists have been accused of ripping off secular music. But now the tables have turned. In August, a federal jury found that Katy Perry’s 2013

Katy Perry

hit “Dark Horse” had improperly copied the underlying beat of the 2008 song “Joyful Noise,” featuring Christian rappers Lecrae and Marcus “Flame” Gray. Perry and her label will have to pay $2.78 million as a result. Perry’s co-writers— including rapper Juicy J, Cirkut, Max Martin, Sarah Hudson and Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald—were also declared liable. The court decided the underlying beat of the two songs was too close to be coincidental. Perry, formerly a Christian singer, argued that she never listens to Christian music, but the jury determined that “Joyful Noise” was distributed widely enough that Perry and her collaborators could have heard it. While two music videos for “Joyful Noise” collectively have more than 5 million views, “Dark Horse” has been streamed over 1.8 billion times.


For more Spirit-Led news, click here.

C

Hillsong Worship Leader Recovers After Emergency Brain Surgery

helsea Lee Taylor, a Hillsong worship leader, has made a miraculous recovery after suddenly falling ill and requiring emergency surgery in August. Taylor was rushed to the hospital after leading worship, and doctors discovered she had an aneurysm attached to a major artery. They performed an immediate, nine-hour brain surgery. After lots of prayer from Hillsong and the body of Christ around the world— including Brooke Ligertwood, Bethel’s Jenn Johnson and Steffany Gretzinger— Emma Fellers, Hillsong Church’s creative administrator, said she’d received word that Taylor had

made it safely through surgery and was recovering well ahead of schedule. On Instagram, Taylor’s mother said Taylor had received the all-clear from her surgeon and spent the morning worshipping: “Praise our wonderful God. ... She can’t wait to share this with everyone—the kindness of God—and she is so so grateful.”

Chelsea Lee Taylor

TAY LO R / FA C E B O O K | K AT Y P E R R Y / K AT Y P E R R Y FA C E B O O K PA G E


C H A R I S M ATA Spirit-Led Names and News

Jeremy Camp

‘Riverdale’ Star Play Jeremy Camp in New Mo

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he upcoming movie I Still Believe will tell the true story of Christian rock sta Jeremy Camp, who will be pla in the film by Riverdale star K.J. Apa. The movie also stars Britt Robertson (Tomorrowland), Gary Sinise and country music star Shania Twain. The fi is directed by Andrew and Jo Erwin, who directed the hit fil Can Only Imagine last year. Camp, an ordained minister worship leader who attended Assemblies of God college, m ried his first wife, Melissa, in 20 She was diagnosed with ovari cancer and died only four mo later. (Camp later remarried.) His hit song “I Still Believe” wa the first song he wrote after h death. Based on the official tr the film looks as though it will deal with their marriage, Melis sa’s diagnosis and how it affec Camp’s faith and musical care I Still Believe releases in thea nationwide March 20, 2020.


For more Spirit-Led news, click here.

Assemblies of God Changes Church Bylaws on Divorce

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F

Divorce due to domestic violence will no longer disqualify someone from leadership

rom July 31 to Aug. 4, more than 22,000 people convened at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, to attend the 58th Assemblies of God General Council. Leaders of the Pentecostal denomination passed 22 new resolutions and updates to their bylaws. The most interesting new resolution allows those who divorce their spouses due to domestic violence to continue to serve in ministry leadership. The Assemblies of God already allows people to serve in leadership following a divorce in cases where the person either got divorced before becoming a Christian or divorced their spouse for infidelity. Now domestic violence has been added to the list. “Many spouses who leave a violent spouse (with or

without children) are running for their lives from someone who has literally become an oppressor and enemy,” the resolution reads. “David and others in Scripture fled for their lives and prayed for God to deliver them from the hands of their enemies. That is justified when one’s life or children’s lives are endangered. ... This confluence of verses and overarching biblical themes validate this exception for approving a divorce with The General Council of the Assemblies of God.” Kelly Delp, an Assemblies of God pastor based in Paris, France, praised the council for speaking up in defense of women. She wrote on Twitter that she is “proud to be part of this fellowship. Women preaching, domestic violence condemned, the gospel to the world prioritized.” JWEWMY CAMP/CAPITOL CMG


STRAIGHT TALK B Y J O YC E M E Y E R

Enjoy the Journey Every Day

Are you experiencing the authentic joy of the Lord?

B

ack in the 1970s, I used to bowl on Friday nights. I remember one night when I wasn’t doing very well, and I heard the Lord speak to my heart, “Ask Me to help you bowl.” I immediately thought, I can’t ask You to help me bowl! But I went ahead and prayed, “OK, Lord, please help me bowl better.” And He did! I remember this experience so clearly because it was a great eye-opener that made me realize God cares about every part of our lives, and He wants to be involved in everything we do. John 10:10 (AMP) says, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and

enjoy life, and have it full, till it overflows].” Jesus died so we c just some barely-get-b Jesus comes back” exi God wants each o intimate, personal rela we can enjoy our ever how to “do life” with H do every single thing i and for God. When we realize w Him at home doing lau cery store as we are at time in prayer, then w everything we do. The first several ye


in abundance [to the

can have life—not by, “I’m hanging on till stence. of us to have a deep, ationship with Him so ryday lives and learn Him. This means we in our daily life with

we are just as close to undry or at the grot church or during our we are serving Him in

ears I was in ministry,

I didn’t enjoy it. I worked too much and was too concerned about what others thought about me. I had a tendency to be this way because growing up, it seemed the more I worked and the more I accomplished, the happier people were with me. Over time, I became a first-rate workaholic. It took me a while to realize “all work and no play” is not healthy, and God wants me to have abundant life. This meant I had to learn how to balance my priorities so my relationship with God is always first, and everything else follows. This includes my relationships with family and friends, along with work and taking time to relax. It’s not wrong to work hard, and I like


to work. But if I don’t make time to rest and just have fun, it won’t take long for me to get out of balance and lose my joy. So much of life can become a mundane routine that we only really enjoy it when we do something out of the ordinary, like go on vacation, go to a special event or do something exciting, like shop for a new dress. And many people have a “working for the weekend” mentality. But this type of enjoyment is based on emotional excitement, not the joy God gives. The joy of the Lord is much greater than simply feeling happy. It brings peace and contentment to your soul, even when your circumstances are difficult and things don’t make any sense. Nehemiah 8:10b says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” This kind of joy makes the Monday,

Tuesday, Wednesday, T routine enjoyable. And life is Monday through to enjoy it! In John 15:11 (NIV told you this so that m

“The joy o is much gre simply feeli

and that your joy may The Amplified Bib translation says “that y may be of full measure

JOYCE MEYERis a New York Times’ best-selling author and founder

books, including Battlefield of the Mind. She hosts the Enjoying Ev joycemeyer.org.


Thursday, Friday d since most of h Friday, we need

V), Jesus says, “I have my joy may be in you

of the Lord eater than ing happy.”

y be complete.” ble, Classic Edition your joy and gladness e and complete and

overflowing.” In the 10 verses leading up to this one, Jesus is talking about abiding in Him, because that’s the key to living with His joy. Abiding means “to live, dwell and remain in”; it’s not just visiting once a week at church. It’s having a personal relationship with Christ, being one with Him and doing life together. The truth is that apart from Jesus, we can do nothing of real value, but with Him, we can bear much good fruit (John 15:5). God wants to abide with you every day, throughout the day. He doesn’t just want you to seek Him when you go to church or when you’re desperate. His desire is to have a personal relationship with you so you can experience His presence in everything you do. That’s when your everyday life is really enjoyable!

r of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. She has written more than 100 veryday Life radio and TV programs. For more information, visit


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GUEST COLUMN B Y M A R I LY N H I C K E Y

It’s Not Over Until You Win

Five keys I’ve learned to live a life of victory

A

fter 12 months of intense planning and years of prayer, the time had finally come. Thousands of people lined the streets as we made our way to Jinnah Park next to Mazar-e-Quaid, the national mausoleum and final resting place of Quaide-Azam (Great Leader) Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. No Christian organization had ever received permission to utilize those grounds before. I was very aware that less than two years before that day, 32 suicide bombers had stopped one of my healing meetings when they had taken an oath to blow up the stadium and kill me in the process. When we drove onto the grounds, the

security team formed keep the people back. As I took the stairs saw the dignitaries alr of white leather couch chiefs and religious lea faiths were present an main spectacle was th front of the stage. You the people because th almost defied belief, fe dream. It seemed unre My friend, Pastor A to me and said, “Now w lion people!” I was almost overc of that multitude. I had


a human chain to . s up to the platform, I ready seated on rows hes. Politicians, police aders of various nd welcomed, but the he mass of people in u couldn’t really see all here were so many. It eeling at times like a eal. Anwar Fazal, turned we have a mil-

come by the impact d been believing for

an event attended by a million people for many years, having prayed for that crazy number when I started traveling overseas for my first healing meetings! You see, that night in Pakistan with over 1 million people didn’t happen overnight. I started my ministry several decades before that with small, in-home Bible studies. The support from those who attended the Bible studies ended up funding my radio and TV programs. Over many years, those ministries grew, and I eventually started holding international healing meetings.


It is a blessing when God allows you to see the results of your hard work and sacrifice, and to reap from fields you have wept over and sown into for years. I thought I was stretching my faith when we held meetings in a Muslim country where we saw 400,000 people attend. However, when I started working with Pastor Anwar Fazal, it changed everything for me regarding my ministry in Pakistan. Those 1 million precious people were the guests of honor, sitting cross-legged upon a dusty carpet in Pakistan, all personally invited by the Holy Spirit. They sat and listened to me tell of the miracles of Jesus and how the biggest miracle is inviting Him into their hearts. Signs and wonders followed the message as I prayed for those who were sick and afflicted. Testimonies were numerous and remarkable. Hundreds of thousands of people gave their hearts to Jesus that day, and multitudes of people were healed. You see, with God, it’s not over until

you win. God wants yo victory, and you don’t than God’s best in you have a life of victory? First, you must fu say yes to God. One o we don’t say yes to Go

“God wants y life of victory, have to settle God’s best in

or discouragement. Ho fully surrender to Him Second, you mus depends on it, becau pray, it gets your heart

MARILYN HICKEY i s the founder and president of Marilyn Hickey Min

airs internationally to more than 2 billion homes.


ou to have a life of have to settle for less ur life. So how do you

ully surrender and of the biggest reasons od is because of fear

you to have a and you don’t e for less than n your life.”

owever, you must m (Josh. 1:9). st pray as if your life use it does. When you t set on things above,

so if you want to be supernatural you must pray (Col. 3:1). Third, you must have vision. Provision follows vision. If there is vision, there is always provision. We must stand in faith, walk in the vision and take God at His Word (Hab. 2:3). Fourth, you must speak the Word to change your circumstances. Don’t speak about your circumstances; speak to your circumstances. Find the promise of God and speak the promise rather than the problem (2 Cor. 4:13). Finally, you must embrace the process. God works through process, and you must trust God and be willing to walk through the process (John 14:1). It can take a long time for faith goals to manifest, but if you hold fast to your confession, you will see results. Remember, “He who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23b). My prayer is that reading this article has inspired, encouraged and convinced you that with God, it’s not over until you win!

nistries. Her television program, Today With Marilyn and Sarah,


HE

SE


EALED AND

ET APART How God radically healed Dr. Reg Morais of autism and OCD and set him on a path toward international ministry BY TAYLOR BERGLUND

D

r. Reg Morais was 7 years old when he first tried to kill himself. Addled by both Asperger’s Syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Morais found his life to be “completely, utterly miserable” and resolved to end it. He walked out into the road in front of trucks, taxis, buses—any moving vehicle he could find. But inevitably, the driver would screech to a halt and brake before hitting him (yelling a few choice words in the process). So Morais mixed himself a concoction of cordial juice, rat poison and cockroach poison and drank it. Though it caused him immense pain, the poison did not kill him—and he tried to poison himself several times over the next two years. “I couldn’t die,” Morais says. What Morais couldn’t have known then was that God had an extraordinary plan for his life, one that involved total healing from his mental disorders and a ministry that would reach thousands of people with the gospel. Today, Morais pastors Living Faith Community Church REBECCA JOHANSSON


(LFCC) in Perth, Australia, which—in conjunction with his Anoint the World Ministries— has planted 764 churches around the world. At any given moment, 160,000 people are worshipping God under his church’s banner, according to Morais. He believes God is raising the church into revival, and he has seen God do miracles firsthand—both in his own life and in the lives of others.

Sprouting Seeds

Morais says that for the first 13 years of his life, he struggled immensely in school because of his autism and OCD. “It was 13 years of misery,” Morais says. “I had to go through all my personal life with pain, agony, shame and more than anything else fear. ... I was riddled with fear.” But things began to change when his family encountered God in a radical way in June 1982. They attended a crusade by South Korean pastor Dr. David Yonggi Cho in which roughly 80,000 people gathered in a soccer stadium in Singapore. On the first

day of the crusade, his parents gave their hearts to Jesus. On the sixth day, his brother followed suit. On the seventh day, Morais finally had his first relational encounter with Christ. “With everything I had, I didn’t fully understand, but I could see that Dr. David Yonggi Cho was praying for people,” Morais says. “The lame were walking, the deaf were able to hear, the mute were able to speak, and people were coming out of wheelchairs, but I, Reg Morais, was still unhealed. I could not find in myself that a total healing was given. However, in the simplicity of my heart, I told God, ‘I will give my heart to you, and if you were to heal me, I will serve You for the rest of my life.’” Exactly one year later, Morais’ prayers were answered. He says he was miraculously healed of his autism while in the middle of a geography class. “All of a sudden, in the middle of the class, there was a dark cloud which just passed me,” Morais says. “Something shook me up, and something told me I’m totally


healed. I stood in front of the for ministry. Dr. Reg Morias, his wife, classroom of 42 kids, and ICaryn, told and his “All these prophetic words sons, Jessethat andI Josh the teacher was OK. ... kept on coming into my life, surFrom there, God healed me from rounding my life,” Morais says. my autism.” “Those words, as they were planted The next year, at 15, he like seeds in my heart, started to had a prophetic word spoken really bubble up, and that started over his life. to give me the confidence more Morais remembers, “[This man] than anything else. The faith of put his hands on my shoulders God decided to rise up in me, and and he said to [my mother], ‘This as that faith started to develop, son of yours will not live in Singaand as it started to grow, I realpore for too long. God is calling ized each illness and disease that him into full-time ministry. ... He I used to have started to vanish will go into a place called Aussimply because of the call of God. tralia, a place called Perth, and he Walking in the Word of God by will study for four years in a Bible faith set me completely free to college. He will never return to experience what God is doing in Singapore. He will serve his minmy life today.” istry in Australia for the rest of It would be five more years the foreseeable years of his life.’ ... before Morais was fully healed of I’ve got to be honest. My head was his OCD, but he says God even spinning, and I was spinning, and healed him of that too—albeit I just did not know what occurred more gradually and less instantato me. I literally had an encounter neously than his autism. with God. That prophetic word “I know some people can get was planted into my spirit.” instantaneously healed, and others He says at least 20 other will get progressively healed,” prophets corroborated that proMorais says. “I think in my case, phetic word over the next sevGod progressively healed me eral years, making it clear to over and over again over the last him that God had set him apart number of years.” REBECCA JOHANSSON


Morais became an itinerant evangelist for the next decade, but despite his call from God, he was dismayed that he never saw any miracles, signs or wonders. Furthermore, few churches and ministries were interested in scheduling such a young man to speak or minister. It so discouraged him that, during a layover in Singapore, Morais told his parents he intended to call it quits on his ministry. “My dad was about to break down because he felt that I was betraying my call and betraying none other than Jesus,” Morais says. “And I explained to them very carefully and said to them, ‘I can’t see any healings taking place, nor any signs and wonders taking place. I feel right now I should go back into my business field and I think, being in that, I could make more money and still serve God.” He left his parents and got on a plane back to Perth. But while going through the customs line at Perth, he received an extraordinary vision from God. “As soon as I landed, I gave my bags to the customs officers right

in front of me,” Morais says. “I could hear this thunderous voice, and it said, ‘We are here to meet you,’ and I could not see any of the customs officers. I could no longer see the Perth International Airport customs office; everything

“The lame were w

were able to hea able to speak, a coming out of w —Dr. Reg

had been blanketed with a white cloud. Someone touched me on my right shoulder and said, ‘I am the Holy Spirit. We are here, and we want to speak to you.’ And I realized there was someone else in this room. ... [The Holy Spirit] finally says, ‘This person, His name is Jesus, and He wants to


meet you.’ As soon as I met Him, I knelt down before Him. I did not know whether to cry or hysterically laugh. I had a confusion of emotions.” That encounter with Jesus— and the conversation Morais says

walking, the deaf ar, the mute were and people were wheelchairs.” g Morais he had with Him for about 15 minutes—changed his ministry forever. After that, Morais says he became equipped with the gifts of the Holy Spirit—particularly words of knowledge—and Anoint the World became the international ministry it is today.

Ministry of Miracles

Morais believes that many believers’ lives match his own early ministry experience—they don’t see miracles for themselves and wonder what they’re missing. He says he observes basically two kinds of churches: Those that are focused on the power of God and those that are not. Morais says some churches “act as though the enemy is no longer there or the enemy is no longer going to provoke us. If we were to come to church on a Sunday morning and sing four, five or six feel-good songs and hear a good sermon, we’d feel that’s good as gold. However, ... we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but we wrestle against principalities and powers of this dark world. ... When the enemy comes, there is no doubt in my mind, heart or spirit that there is a certain amount of fear which he puts onto your life right now. And the only way you combat fear is by confessing the Word of God.” He says the churches that fail to recognize the supernatural power of God will be unequipped to fight


Dr. Reg Morias and his wife, Caryn

back agains is a crucial from the fe mental illne “I think this mental you’ve got r have to pas Christ, pass Word of Go Jesus is all s “Jesus carri and if you c guarantee y find in diffe can be brok for all, beca Jesus Hims Morais s ground, he heal childre wherever he time to call dren with a OCD, depr ical ailment “On beh say that in t are a lot of erfully heal istry,” Mora for those ki


st the enemy. He believes that component to freeing people ear underpinning so many esses and disorders today. if you are going to defeat l illness or any of the fear that right now, I think you and I ssionately fall in love with Jesus sionately fall in love with the od and passionately know that supernatural,” Morais says. ied the anointing on his life, carry the anointing, then I can you right now, the fear you erent parts of [your culture] ken and diminished once and ause the Bible says clearly that self was anointed.” says because of his own backhas a heart to minister to and en with special needs. He says e goes to minister, he makes l up all the parents of chilautism spectrum disorders, ression and other psychologts. half of my Jesus, I can proudly the last 20 years or so, there cases where God has powled autistic kids in this minais says. “...I’ve got a burden ids, because I know what

they’re going through. I suppose anyone can pray. But I think people who have gone through it—like how I have gone through their pain and agony—can understand that they feel almost trapped in their body. They can’t seem to really express their emotions or their speech, and something sort of stops them.” He says sometimes he takes as long as three to four hours after a meeting to pray for each child individually. Though healing is not always instantaneous, he says he has heard many stories of parents who have noted their children’s condition has improved dramatically in the days following his prayer for them. “I want to encourage every single person who’s reading this article, don’t give up on God, especially when it comes to mental illness, whether that’s depression, oppression, autism, schizophrenia [or] bipolar disorder,” Morais says. “... When men says it’s impossible, God says, ‘All things are possible to those who believe in Him.’”

Prime Minister Prophecy

Morais says that in recent years he received prophetic words for his country’s political landscape. “Every time before a new year dawns, God will start to download to me the REBECCA JOHANSSON


major events that will take place in Australia and worldwide,” Morais says. “This ministry came out of necessity due to our [local] TV channels inviting clairvoyants and psychics to provide predictions for the new year. One day God said to me, ‘Why don’t you do this for the Kingdom of God rather than allowing these people to give their predictions that are not of me?’ “On December 31, 2017 Jesus appeared to me face-to-face and said, “Start to write down and declare what I am about to say for the world. Within the Senate of Heaven, I (Jesus) have decided to remove the sitting Prime Minister (PM) Malcom Turnbull.’ I remember saying to Jesus that [Turnbull] is riding on a popular vote. Jesus responded, ‘There will be a new PM in your country, and it will be your current Treasurer, Scott Morrison, who will become the next PM.’ When I released this prophecy over different mediums in Australia, I came under attack from all corners for being out of

whack. But in August 2018, there was a rumbling in our parliament, the government lost confidence in Turnbull, and three contenders arose, with one being Morrison.

“Walking in the Wo set me completely what God is doing —Dr. Reg That surprised many as he was never considered. God gave him the numbers and he took the PM-ship overnight. “Again on December 31, 2018, Jesus told me again there would be an election in May 2019, and Morrison would win the unwinnable election, as all polls showed the opposition leader Bill Shorten easily and convincingly winning. But God triumphed and brought

TAYLOR BERGLUNDis the associate editor of Charisma magazine and host


in Morrison, a devout born-again Christian, to lead.” On a local level, Morais says his church holds six to seven services per week, and that people are

ord of God by faith free to experience g in my life today.” g Morais giving their hearts to Jesus every single day. It’s a trend not exclusive to Australia, he says, based on his travels overseas. “There’s a phenomenal move of God which is taking place in the United States,” Morais says. “Sure, there are some things that are taking place that are working against the church—whatever the enemy has got—but it seems to me that American Christians

are now starting to pull the walls down, and they are now starting to push back the enemy’s tactics and the enemy’s schemes for this time.” He wants the rest of the world to see the Holy Spirit move powerfully in their lives—just as he has seen the Spirit at work in his own. “My expectation in God is this,” Morais says. “I feel very strongly that if this Jesus I seem to know can’t do a miracle, then I am either the greatest charlatan, or I have been duped and cheated. But the fact of the matter is that God gave me a hope—and not only gave me a hope, but He also healed me. That same healing is now taking place in different parts of the world.” READ MORE: Dr. Reg Morais also successfully prophesied the appointment of Scott Morrison to become Prime Minister of Australia. Click here to watch his original prophetic word from January 2018 and here to watch his word from August 2018.

t of several shows on the Charisma Podcast Network.


| THANKSGIVING

PRIORITY

THANKSGIVING PRAYERS

MOST CHRISTIANS HAVE NEVER PRAY


G

YED

BY DAVID BRYANT

W

hat is the greatest gift you’ve ever received? Is there one blessing above all others that has ignited your heart with undying gratitude? Is there any work of God’s grace toward you that fills your daily prayers with appreciation and praise? Christians know from Scripture, there’s only one answer to all three questions: our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul tells us so in 2 Corinthians 9:15. Here it is in four translations (with emphasis added): 1) Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! (RSV) 2) Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (NIV) 3) Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words! (NLT) 4) Thank God for this gift, his gift. No language can praise it enough! (MSG) In the context, Paul is speaking of Jesus and all the blessings that come to us through him. For example, the apostle reflects in the previous chapter: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. Jesus is the greatest gift any of us will ever receive. All other gifts—in fact, all the promises of God—are showered on us through him. Yet we’re told in verse 15, he’s the one gift that GETTY IMAGES/E+-PEOPLEIMAGES


is inexpressible, indescribable, beyond human description—unspeakable. So, how can any Thanksgiving Day prayer be shaped by something—by someone—so lofty, so profound, so amazing that current vocabulary fails to do him justice? Moreover, Paul increases the difficulty of our challenge in Ephesians 3:8 when he adds that in God’s Son are found “riches” that are “inexhaustible” (MSG), “boundless” (NIV) and “endless” (NLT). So, even if I’m able to come up with words to express gratitude for how we have “received grace upon grace out of Christ’s fullness” (John 1), there will never be an end to my discoveries of all the treasures found in my Savior! No wonder the Bible declares that our Father “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3b, MEV). “Heavenly” means we have topics for prayers

of thanksgiving defined by eternal, cosmic, angelic realities beyond this world—and defined by who Jesus is, where he sits, and what his current saving reign means for me. Still, as impossible as it may seem, Christians are called to take hold of words and declare with their tongues heartfelt thanks to God the best we know how. We are to “rejoice always” and “in everything give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:16, 18, NKJV)—most of all, as we give thanks for Jesus, the one


gift that subsumes all others— including in 2018. Let Me Help You Create a New Way to Pray at Your Thanksgiving Table This Year What I want to do for the remainder of this blog post is give you seven facets of this one grand gift, suggesting a few key questions for you to answer about each. Then, your answers can be used to compose seven one-paragraph prayers—basically by turning each separate answer for each main

topic into an expression of thanksgiving to the Father for the Son, based on what your answers inspire for you. Finally, I suggest that you type up your seven single thanksgiving paragraphs on seven separate sheets of paper. At your Thanksgiving Day celebration distribute each written prayer to seven guests. Before the meal begins, ask each person to read the prayer out loud, asking everyone else to pray along silently. Encourage everyone to see each prayer as a new kind of Thanksgiving prayer that most of them have never prayed before. Also, remind them that all seven prayers are really one prayer—all about the one Person who is the greatest blessing any of us could possibly celebrate in the past year. NOTE: The seven topics for these seven prayers are based on the seven groundbreaking keys explored in over 600 pages in my latest book, Christ Is Now!—in case you would like to explore any of this in more depth for yourself. GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK-SKYNESHER


1. Thanks for the gift of who Christ is to us

2. Thanks for the gift of who Christ is for us

3. T wh

Prompts to help you shape your prayer: »»What is one insight Jesus helped you to see more clearly about the nature and ways of God this past year? »»What is one new truth about Jesus’ majesty and supremacy you discovered in your study of the Bible this past year? What is one name or title for Jesus (out of over 300 in Scripture) that brought special joy and meaning at some point in your life this past year? »»In 2018, what was one time your identity as one who belongs to God’s Son blessed you? Compose Thanksgiving Prayer No. 1. Drawing on your four answers, create a one-paragraph prayer thanking the Father for the gift of who Christ is to us.

Prompts to help you shape your prayer: »»What blesses you about knowing Jesus can fully understand you in whatever you’re going through because for our sakes, He became one of us? »»At what one specific moment in 2018 did Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for your sins take on a deeper meaning for you, filling you with gratitude for all He suffered for you? »»What does it mean to you that Jesus conquered death forever? This past year how has this truth brought you comfort or filled you with renewed hope? »»Are you thankful for a moment this past year when the truth about Jesus victorious reign today increased your confidence to face a challenge? Compose Thanksgiving Prayer No. 2. Drawing on your four answers, create a one-paragraph prayer thanking the Father for the gift of who Christ is for us.

»» your »» whe work »» the t unfo reaso »» the t the d mea »» the t king with ahea »» whe the f rem faith

p


Thanks for the gift of ho Christ is over us

4. Thanks for the gift of who Christ is before us

»Prompts to help you shape r prayer: »Was there one time this past year en the truth that Jesus reigns over the kings of creation filled you with praise? »Was there a time this past year when truth that Jesus overrules in the olding of world history gave you new ons to celebrate? »Was there a time this past year when truth that Jesus is in full control of design of global leaders brought you a asure of reassurance and hope? »Was there a time this past year when truth that Jesus is advancing his gdom among earth’s people fill you h renewed excitement about what lies ad for the gospel? »Was there a time this past year en you witnessed Jesus reigning over forces of darkness in a way that moved fear from you and ignited bold h in you? Compose Thanksgiving Prayer No. 3. Drawing on your five answers, create a one-paragraph prayer thanking the Father for the gift of who Christ is over us.

Prompts to help you shape your prayer: »»Christ has gone before us into the future to bring it back to us right now. What is one way you’ve seen him do that for you this past year? »»Jesus has gone before us into the heavens to take us there with him right now. What is one way this reality has encouraged you this past year? »»Christ has gone before us into the promises of God to make them ours too, right now. Is there one promise of Scripture you’ve had fulfilled in your life this past year through Christ? »»Jesus has gone before us into the world to open up a way for us to serve him right now. What is one way this past year our Savior opened a new way to share him with someone else? Compose Thanksgiving Prayer No. 4. Drawing on your four answers, create a one-paragraph prayer thanking the Father for the gift of who Christ is BEFORE us.


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| PERSECUTION

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Seven prophetic moments that defined Andrew Brunson’s t


MING

two-year imprisonment.

T

he first time Andrew Brunson received a prophetic word, he was 3 years old. His mother, a missionary to Mexico, met an old man named T. Stanley Soltau. When Soltau was a boy, James Hudson Taylor—the famous missionary to China—laid his hands on Soltau and his brother and set them aside for missions work. Both men grew up to become missionaries. Andrew’s mother told Soltau, “I want you to pray for my two children and do for them what Hudson Taylor did for you.” So Soltau took Andrew and his sister, laid his hands on them and prayed that God would set them apart to be missionaries for Him. “I think I received an impartation from Stanley Soltau that he had received from Hudson Taylor,” Andrew says. “It was very strong in me that I was supposed to be a missionary.” Andrew did become a missionary, one whose story has spread worldwide. In 2016, Andrew and his wife, Norine, were arrested by the Turkish government on allegations of espionage and aiding terrorists. Though Norine was released soon afterward, Andrew was GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK-FCSCAFEINE


held for another two years before being released last year after significant political efforts by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration. His story has become a symbol to many of the persecution many international Christians must endure for their faith. But fewer know that Andrew and Norine are charismatic Christians who believe in supernatural healing, intercession and prophetic words. In fact, the Brunsons relied on prophetic words throughout Andrew’s imprisonment. “Most of the interest in our situation has come from non-charismatic churches—maybe that will diminish as they see how much we’re also part of the charismatic movement,” Andrew jokes. “That may diminish, but I don’t want it to. I want to keep having an open door. But I think the charismatic side has been less aware that, actually, we are fully wanting to jump in the river.” Andrew and Norine Brunson told Charisma about seven prophetic moments that shaped this international incident behind

the scenes.

Harvest Preparations

In high school, Andrew explained to his teacher, Peter Mehegan, that he couldn’t find any consistency in his walk with the Lord. Mehegan—who was charismatic—said he needed to be filled with the Spirit. With Andrew’s permission, Mehegan anointed him with oil and prayed for the Holy Spirit to fill him. Andrew says he’s never been the same since. He met Norine while attending Wheaton College. They married and then in 1993 partnered with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church to serve as missionaries in Turkey. Two thousand years ago, Paul and the apostles planted churches across Turkey. All seven churches mentioned in Revelation are located in Turkey, and Antioch and Constantinople were central hubs for the early church. Yet today, in a country of 83 million people, only seven-tenths of 1% are Christian, according to the Joshua Project. And while some historically


Andrew Brunson and his wife, Norine

Christian ethnic groups exist in Turkey, nearly 100% of ethnic Turks are Muslims. “When we went to Turkey, Turkey was the largest unevangelized country in the world,” Andrew says. “Most cities did not have a church. People said there were 1,000 to 1,500 believers from a Muslim background in the country.” Andrew says many Muslim countries harbor suspicion toward Christians, and Turkey is no exception. “Turkey obviously has a long history of conquest,” he says. “They were the head of the Ottoman Empire, and the Ottoman Empire was the head of Islam. They conquered many lands and imposed Islam. Now, of course, they say there was a lot of freedom for Christians in that. But the fact is that wherever Turkey went and conquered, Christianity was suffocated over time. ... [Christians] are looked down on, seen with suspicion and are very much second-class citizens. Many of them have fled the country.” Hostility toward Christians has

intensified in the last few years under current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who founded the pro-Islamist Justice and Development Party. Andrew says hate speech against Christians has risen significantly, much of it related to his case. “In contrast to what they call ‘hate speech’ in the U.S., which often is more on the level of micro-aggressions, [Turkish] hate speech has actually led to violence in the past—killings and things like that,” Andrew says. “I think the environment has been created in Turkey now so that when there is violence against the church, or when there is persecution—and it will happen—the majority of the Turkish population has now been conditioned to say, ‘Well, they deserve it. It’s OK.’” For the first few years, the Brunsons focused on learning the language and culture. They attended a Turkish university. Later, Andrew briefly taught at a small Bible school before it was closed down. In 2001, they began church planting. Though many media outlets have characterized Andrew COURTESY OF ANDREW AND NORINE BRUNSON


as “a pastor of a small church of about 15 or 20 people for 20 years,” he says that’s not totally accurate. From 2001 to 2016, Norine and Andrew were involved in six church plants with various teammates. They also started a house of prayer and conducted some training programs for local believers. Everything was small and fragile, but there was a lot happening. In 2007, the Brunsons saw Bill Johnson at a conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. Andrew recalls Johnson saying: “When you’re at a conference like this, there are waves of the Holy Spirit that people can ride. Maybe when you pray for someone, they’ll be healed, because faith is at a higher level, or maybe you can more easily hear from God and pass that on to someone. More happens because you can ride the wave of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual authority is what it takes to start the wave.” “That really stuck in me, because I thought, I’m working in a place where there are not any waves,” Andrew says. “There aren’t any

people who are starting those waves. ... So I began to pray, better than I knew. I said, Father, draw me so close to Your heart that You will be able to trust me with the authority required to start waves. ... We started going after His presence, after intimacy, and that

“It’s a matter o

matter of what i But it’s not a mat going to be [harv —Norine B became our main value.” In 2009, they attended Randy Clark’s first Europe-based School of Healing. While there, Andrew asked God to give him a word of knowledge for healing. “Prepare for harvest” came into his mind instead. After initial resistance, that word got planted in his heart, and he began to believe for it.


Andrew and Norine began working hard in Turkey to prepare for the coming harvest. In 2014, the Brunsons began working with Syrian refugees fleeing the war. Andrew led a team that worked on the Turkey-Syria border and another in Izmir, where a refugee

of when. It’s a it will look like. tter of if. There is vest] in Turkey.” Brunson church began. By now, Norine says, Andrew’s 2009 prophetic word “about a spiritual harvest coming to Turkey has gone deeper and deeper into our hearts. So deep that I just don’t question it. It’s a matter of when. It’s a matter of what it will look like. But it’s not a matter of if. There is going to be [harvest] in

Turkey. But Satan wanted to abort this. He wanted to stop it.”

Going Home?

A few days before his arrest, Andrew says he received a confusing word from the Lord: “It’s time to come home.” “I thought I was home already,” Andrew says. “I had lived in Turkey for 23 years, and we were planning on being there for the rest of our lives. ... I expected to see the harvest with my own eyes. I had words related to that. I thought, Lord, are you telling me you’re going to take me home to heaven now? Are you cutting short my ministry? Have I done something wrong? I was very discomfited.” So when Andrew and Norine were arrested by Turkish officials on Oct. 7, 2016, Andrew remembered the prophetic word and connected it to the officials’ threats of deportation. He determined God had been warning him in advance of this predicament and that, through it, He was assuring the Brunsons He was actually in this. “Early on, we had the sense that this was not a normal deportation,”


Norine says. “In fact, I think there was some pretty high spiritual warfare going on.” After 13 days, Norine was suddenly released with no explanation. She resisted the guards who tried to escort her out; the night before, Andrew had confided in her that he was afraid of being alone. She did not want to leave him. But the guard told her that her release was a good sign—and that Andrew would likely be released next. Once freed, Norine called each of her three children to let them know what had happened, and then phoned the American Embassy. She says she spent the entire night on the phone. Meanwhile, the longer Andrew stayed in prison, the longer he began to question his original interpretation of the prophetic word. “I was pretty upset at God,” he admits. “I thought, Didn’t you say, ‘It’s time to come home?’ A normal person would take that to mean that there’s some sense of immediacy. ...

This isn’t something I can obey. I’m locked up. It’s not a matter of cooperation with the word. It’s completely up to You.” So why wasn’t God doing anything? That question would haunt Andrew for the next two years.

The Cloud of Witnesses

After Andrew’s imprisonment, Norine solicited help from outside sources. She reached out to advocacy groups but received


was deporting her. Her release did little to clarify the situation, and she could not get clear answers from any officials regarding whether her residence permit had been canceled. For all Norine knew, at any moment, she could be forced to leave the country— and leave Andrew all alone. Even after she Andrew and Norine Brunson secured a temporary at a refugee camp on the permit to stay, some Turkey-Syria border Christian leaders encouraged her to conflicting advice: Some recleave Turkey for her own safety. ommended going public with “I said, ‘OK, Lord, if I should Andrew’s arrest, while others sugleave, then you need to tell me so gested working quietly behind the clearly in a way that I cannot disscenes. Norine—who had never pute,’” Norine says. “‘I need an dealt with international diploangel in front of me—something macy and advocacy before—was clear—otherwise I’ll stay.’ So I understandably overwhelmed. determined to stay and do what On top of that, her own visa was I could. It meant that I was more in question. Prior to the arrests, behind-the-scenes, and not doing Andrew and Norine had applied interviews and things like that.” for a long-term residence permit. Instead, the Brunsons’ daughter, But she was led to believe her arrest Jacqueline Furnari, became “the occurred because the government face of the family,” according to COURTESY OF ANDREW AND NORINE BRUNSON


Norine, doing media interviews. In November 2017, she testified before the Helsinki Commission that her father had already missed her wedding and would miss her graduation that December if swift action was not taken. Norine would also miss both milestones, due to concerns that if she left she would not be allowed to reenter. “In February, I got married,” Furnari said. “We didn’t want to get married without my parents present, but because my husband is in the military, we could not postpone it. We had received my father’s blessing, but we felt so terrible about getting married while he was imprisoned. Neither of my parents was present when I got married. I will never get that moment back. “For those of you who are fathers to daughters, I’m sure you would want to walk your daughter down the aisle. My father didn’t get that. I didn’t get that. My husband and I decided to have a civil ceremony and to postpone our wedding ceremony until my father is home. I’m still waiting for my wedding. I’m still waiting to

wear the wedding dress that I got almost a year and a half ago. I’m still waiting for my dad to walk me down the aisle. I’m still waiting for that father-daughter dance.” Another man at the church began pastoring and co-leading the church with Norine during

“What I have be

this was an un prayer movem on one p —Andrew

this time, which freed her up to focus on Andrew’s plight and visiting him in prison. Andrew’s moods swung dramatically, and he battled deep depression during his imprisonment. Norine urged other believers to pray for Andrew. “Shortly after Andrew was arrested [and] was still in the detention center, there was


something that came to me also: that God was raising up a cloud of witnesses,” Norine says. Soon, Andrew’s story became known to believers around the world—thanks to the work of organizations like the American Center for Law and Justice

een told is that nprecedented ment focused person.” Brunson (ACLJ). Through visits with Norine, Andrew became gradually more aware of how many people were interceding for him. “What I have been told is that this was an unprecedented prayer movement focused on one person,” Andrew says. “Timothy George from Beeson Divinity School is a church historian. He

said that the last time there’s been something like this was in World War II for Martin Niemoller. ... A number of people have come up to me and said, ‘You know, I prayed for you. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and pray for you.’” Andrew was particularly encouraged by news that the Chinese underground church had heard of his plight and was interceding for him. He believes China will become a major mission force in the coming decades, and because of that, he had long wanted to reach the Chinese to call them to Turkey. “After my imprisonment, one of the house church networks in China printed up a million brochures that told about my situation,” Andrew says. “A million brochures went out. Who knows how many people saw them? More than a million, I would assume. If I’d gone to China repeatedly again and again for years, I never could have talked to that many people about Turkey.” Andrew began to consider that perhaps enabling this incredible prayer movement was the entire


point of his imprisonment. “We came to see this as a supernatural prayer movement, something God was initiating and sustaining and causing to spread,” Andrew says. “I began to see just the glimmers of a faint outline of what I thought He was doing, at least in part with my imprisonment—that my going to prison was actually part of my assignment to prepare for harvest. Because this many people have never prayed for Turkey. I thought, God is using me as a magnet to draw prayer in for something much greater than setting me free. He’s doing this to raise up an amazing amount of prayer to pour into this land. And this prayer will be a major key in accomplishing the harvest He has planned.”

The Dream of 68

In March 2017, Andrew had a dream in prison. In the dream, he saw a piece of paper with his name and the number 68 written next to it, and he understood the 68 to indicate the number of days before his release. “I’d already been burned about a couple of things,” Andrew says. “So

I held it lightly, but I counted out the days, and 68 days later would be May 22. And so I said, Is this possible that on May 22 God will effect my release? It seems too good to be true that He’d give me something that exact.” On May 16, President Trump invited Erdogan to visit the White House. During that summit, Trump inquired about Andrew’s imprisonment and asked for his release three times. Norine received a phone call on May 22: The two governments agreed to his release—exactly as Andrew’s dream had predicted.


Andrew Brunson preaches at the first meeting of their church plant in Turkey.

The Brunsons would be sent back to the U.S. She needed to pack their bags and be ready to go at a moment’s notice. But on Tuesday, May 23, Norine woke up with a song stuck in her head: “I Surrender All.” (She says God frequently speaks to her through music and lyrics stuck in her head when she first wakes up.) She didn’t understand why God gave her this song, but she said, “OK, Lord. I don’t know what you’re asking me to surrender, but I will surrender it.” On May 24, the Turkish government pulled out of the agreement.

Andrew would remain in prison. “That really threw me,” Andrew says. “I was like, Well, God, obviously I didn’t mishear. You can’t mishear a dream. Obviously this dream wasn’t false. It was true. So now I knew that God had orchestrated events and moved two governments in exactly the way he had foretold. But I was still in prison. So what happened?” Over the next 17 months, Andrew and Norine would experience moments similar to this, in which release was promised to be imminent and then ripped away. A number of times Norine woke COURTESY OF ANDREW AND NORINE BRUNSON


up with “I Surrender All” playing on repeat in her head before one of these reversals. Andrew’s faith in the prophetic was severely tested during this season. With hindsight, he believes he may now understand what God was doing. “Basically, what He was saying is, ‘I can take you out of prison right now—but if you’re willing to stay [and surrender], then I can accomplish something that’s greater,’” Andrew says. “Now, I wish He’d said that to me directly. Because then that would have made it very clear. Instead, it was very confusing.”

The Stillborn

Soon, it became apparent to Andrew and Norine that the struggle to get Andrew freed wasn’t primarily about Andrew at all. In 2016, during Norine’s last night in prison, she received a prophetic image of a stillborn baby in the womb. She believed the baby symbolized the harvest coming to Turkey—and that the devil wanted to kill it before it could ever be born. Months later, Andrew had a related dream from

Andrew Brunson embraces his wife, Norine, as their plane leaves Turkish airspace.

prison. He told Norine during one of her visits. “In that dream, I was pregnant and I suddenly gave birth to a live baby, and Andrew helped deliver it,” Norine says. “But it was a live baby—that was the important part. ... Satan wants to keep these people in darkness and in bondage, but God has something really amazing planned for them.” Andrew believes his imprisonment, at least initially, was a spiritual attack from the enemy. But


what Satan intended for evil, God used for good. “We saw God as a grandmaster chess player,” Andrew says. “I don’t think He initiated [my arrest]. I think it was an attack. The goal was to knock Norine and me out—which should not be very difficult to do—and to silence our voice of declaring again and again that harvest is coming.” He adds, “The way that I have imagined this is at about 18 months into my imprisonment,

Satan suddenly becomes aware of what is happening. And he says, ‘Oh, no, God outmaneuvered me again.’” When believers around the world began praying—and the Turkish leaders hardened their hearts and refused to free Andrew—the Brunsons interpret that as physical manifestations of an intensifying spiritual conflict. Though the couple themselves are the first to admit they are not all that significant, their predicament embodied a larger spiritual battle for the region. “If you look at major battles in wars, I don’t think the two sides ever decide, ‘Hey, let’s have a big turning-point battle over there,’” Andrew explains. “It’s more that a battle starts, and then both sides commit more resources, and it keeps growing, and they commit more resources, until it has become so big a battle with so many resources committed that they realize, ‘OK, this is going to be a decisive turning point.’ ... I think this is what happened in my case. ... It started out small, where they were just wanting to COURTESY OF ANDREW AND NORINE BRUNSON


knock us out. And then it escalated and escalated until you now have millions of God’s sons and daughters around the world praying into one of the darkest spiritual strongholds in the world. I don’t think Satan wanted this at all. If he had foreseen what would happen, I don’t think he would have done it.” Andrew believes God may have allowed the battle to go on even longer in order to fulfill a greater spiritual purpose. He says the country’s leaders, like Pharaoh with the ancient Israelites, stubbornly opposed his release even when it no longer made sense for them to do so. “Half of the time [Pharaoh] hardened his own heart, and half of the time God helped him harden his heart,” Andrew says. “I think there were times when there was a clear exit for me, and it then closed. I think God was involved in that. I’m not saying God kept me in prison. I don’t think He does evil to us, or that He’s the cause of our problems for the most part. I think He allowed the other side to do what they wanted

to within certain parameters, and did not intervene when He could have for me. ... But it was a huge spiritual battle going on. I think this is one of the reasons why I had such a difficult time and broke so badly in prison—because it was a very intense battle, and the stakes were very high.”

“As he read the he became awa verses emphasi the end. This sca was not sure The Lockbox

Millions worldwide may have been praying for Andrew, but after a year in prison, Andrew felt further from God’s presence than ever. The man who had devoted the better part of a decade to chasing after God’s presence now


felt alone. The Lord was silent, or when He did speak, His prophecies came true—only to fall just short of rescuing him from prison. “I very much questioned God’s faithfulness and His goodness and His personal love for me,” Andrew says. “It was easy to find many verses about God’s general love

Bible in prison, are of how many ized enduring to ared Andrew; he e he could.” for His people. But how about me, Andrew? Specifically me? The truth is, God does sacrifice many of His children, because He thinks of it differently than we do. There are many of His children who suffer and many who are martyred that no one ever knows about. [They] go through horrible things.

And God just looks at the death of His children differently than we look at it, because He’s very much looking at it through the eyes of eternity—of reward and what is accomplished.” Andrew remembered the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18: “Our light affliction, which lasts but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” But Andrew could not relate to Paul. “My afflictions seemed very heavy to me,” he says. “Paul had seen the glorified Jesus. He had visited heaven. Of course he saw things differently. I was sure if I had a similar experience, my perspective would change entirely, and I would have a deep fear of God that would make me willing to suffer for Him. I would see things with the eyes of eternity.” Andrew begged God for an encounter.


But that encounter never came. “When I was put in prison, [I experienced] the total silence of God,” he says. “I was really shocked by it. I did not have a sense of God’s presence throughout my time in prison. And after this had been my main value—what I ran after for years—I felt like, You’ve abandoned me. How could You do this to Your son? ... I said, ‘Are You just the God of conferences? Where are You in my darkest time, when I really need Your presence?’” He could not turn to his Muslim cellmates with his doubts. There were no other Christians to console him, beyond visits by his wife. He would sometimes receive letters from Christians who encouraged him to “trust God.” Even today, he bristles at that phrase. “People would write to me and say, ‘Just trust God,’” Andrew says. “I know when they say that, they’re really saying, ‘Trust the person. He is trustworthy.’ But usually we link it to an outcome. We’re trusting Him for something. What am I supposed to trust God

for? For many of the people who are writing, what they really mean is, ‘Trust Him that He’s going to save you.’ But there are no guarantees that God’s going to get me out of prison. There are no guarantees when it comes to suffering or persecution. This is where it really hit me hard, like a sudden realization. “Especially for charismatics, you have all these Old Testament promises of provision, health and protection, if you’re following God: ‘If you do these things, If you keep My covenant, then I will supply all your needs, and I will protect you from all your enemies. You will be healthy and have none of the diseases the other nations have.’ Then you get to the New Testament. And Jesus, in some ways, seems to renew those things, where He says, ‘Don’t worry about housing or anything. Don’t worry about what you’re going to eat. Your Father in heaven is taking care of those things.’ And of course Jesus healed everybody who comes to Him. “Then what He tells His disciples is, ‘If you keep My covenant, then people are going to hate you


Andrew Brunson and his wife, Norine, meet their children at Andrews Air Force Base after returning home.

COURTESY OF ANDREW AND NORINE BRUNSON


and persecute you.’ So it’s a real flip of the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, ‘If you obey me, you’re going to be blessed materially’—you could say—and the New Testament says, ‘If you obey me, the nations will hate you.’ Now, obviously, not everyone is hated all the time. But the point is, Jesus really flips it around.” Andrew wrestled with that apparent contradiction in prison— and he has since come to a fascinating conclusion. “When it comes to persecution, what I would suggest is that all of those words about provision, protection and healing are suspended,” he says. “I think it is naive—and actually the wrong way of thinking—to go into a persecution context and think, I have the promises of God that He’s going to provide for me. Well, Jesus also said that you could lose everything. Paul says he went hungry and was naked and had pain. He also had provision. So the point is that there are not guarantees when it comes to persecution. I looked for a verse, [like] ‘What can I hang on to that God’s going to save

me from prison?’ But there is no verse that says He will save me from prison.” So Andrew says the question of “trusting in God” is a difficult one—because he’s not certain he did. He understands that may sound very shocking and wrong, particularly to American believers.

“It’s just an am type thing, from White House.” —A “I can’t trust Him that He’s going to get me out of prison,” Andrew says. “I can’t trust Him that He will return me to my family. I can’t trust Him that I won’t die in prison. The outcomes I can trust are all pushed off into the future, for eternity. He says nothing can separate me from His


love. He says He’ll work all things together for good for those who love Him. But what is that good? It may not be a good I see in my lifetime. I may have to suffer, and others will receive the benefit of it, and I will receive a great reward in heaven, which will be an amazing thing to carry for billions and tril-

mazing Josephm conviction to Andrew Brunson lions of years. ... I moved away from thinking in terms of trust to thinking in terms of loyalty and endurance and faithfulness. Am I going to be faithful? Am I going to endure and persevere? Am I going to betray God when I feel betrayed—or am I going to be loyal to Him?”

As he read the Bible in prison, he became aware of how many verses emphasized enduring to the end. This scared Andrew; he was not sure he could. Eventually, Andrew repented of the accusations He had made against God’s character and chose, instead, to “stand in the dark.” He would be faithful even if he felt God had not been faithful to him. He relinquished the idea that he needed the sense of God’s presence and decided that what was most important was a “basic devotion to God.” He would hold onto God’s hand like a small child clinging to his Father. He would endure without understanding, without prophecy, without fellowship. “I came to the point where I imagined a lockbox, and I intentionally took my doubts and questions, and I put them in the box,” Andrew says. “I closed the door to it and turned the lock. I imagined a digital lock as well, with handprints, and I’d say, ‘My palmprint is going on here. I can open it. The only other person who is able to open it is God.’ I said, ‘God, I make the decision that I will not


open this box. ... If you want to bring them up and open this box, You can do it. Otherwise, I will not. I do not need to have the answers to have a relationship with You—and I’m fighting for my relationship with You.’ So whenever those doubts or questions would return, I would say, ‘No, you’re locked away. I will not think about it.’”

The Captives Released

Early in Andrew’s imprisonment, Norine asked Catch the Fire Toronto’s John Arnott if he could ask prophetic individuals he trusted whether they had a word to share. She asked him not to tell the prophets who the word was for, in order to keep it “pure” and avoid any bias. Arnott reached out to his contacts, and a man named David Wagner replied. He told John, “On Sunday afternoon, I had a vision of a golden jailer’s key during my meeting, and I heard the Lord say, ‘I’m going to cause the sound of praise, a concert of prayer and the winds of worship to open up prison doors. The Josephs

are about to be released, the Pauls are about to be released, the Silases are about to be released from their prisons. Fear cannot withstand the power of perfect love. Get ready for an early release, and I AM redeeming the time.’” Norine was encouraged by Wagner’s prophecy, but she was also confused by it. Andrew was just one man, but the prophecy indicated that many people would be released from prison. She says the prophecy began to make more sense to her after she saw the Trump administration prioritize freeing persecuted Christians around the world. Andrew says he is still grateful for the work done by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ambassador-at-Large Sam Brownback to free him. And Norine says Vice President Mike Pence somehow became aware of their situation very early on—even before his inauguration—and remained a champion for Brunson’s release. On Oct. 15, 2018, Pence wrote on Twitter, “Pastor Andrew Brunson is an innocent man held in Turkey & justice demands that he be


released.” Meanwhile, the political situation in Turkey continued to worsen. The Brunsons officially made their story public in the media in December 2016—a move that netted them disdain from local Turkish-language media. “I was called a military spy,” Andrew says. “They said I hated Turks, and I wanted to cut their heads off. They said I was leading a group of American Special Forces officers who were there to undermine Turkey and try to split the country up, cause division and basically do away with the Turkish state and set up a Christian state by force. ... Most of the media in Turkey—over 90% of it—is controlled by the current government. This was a government-driven propaganda campaign, using me as a focal point, but I wasn’t the only target. By painting me as a traitor and enemy of the Turks, they were painting all Christians in that light, because I’m a leader in the church.” Yet slowly but surely, progress was made toward freeing Andrew.

Citing health concerns, officials moved him from prison to house arrest in July 2018. And after a diplomatic battle between the U.S. and Turkey—in which the U.S. imposed sanctions on Turkey, which was already dealing with an economic crisis—Erdogan relented. On Friday, Oct. 12, a Turkish judge sentenced Andrew to three years, one month and 15 days in prison for espionage and aiding terrorism, but ruled he could be released for time served and leave the country immediately. No one was more surprised by this ruling than Andrew. “It was very surreal, and I felt very detached,” Andrew says. “I’m standing in the courtroom, and it has become clear that I’m going to be convicted and given a prison sentence, and I expect that I’m going to be sent back to prison. And then suddenly, they do convict me, and they do say, ‘OK, you have a prison sentence.’ ... And then suddenly they’re saying, ‘OK, you’re free to go now.’ I was very shocked. What does this mean? I thought I was going to prison, and instead, they


said they’re releasing me for time served and they’ve removed the travel ban.” Within 24 hours, Andrew and Norine had been flown back to the United States and were speaking in front of reporters at a press conference in the Oval Office, at Trump’s invitation. During that meeting at the White House, Andrew laid hands on Trump and prayed for him: “Lord God, I ask that You pour out Your Holy Spirit on President Trump. Give him supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country.” Andrew says the experience felt almost unreal. “[One day,] I’m standing in a court being convicted as a terrorist,” he says. “A day later, I’m standing in the White House, in the Oval Office. It’s just an amazing Joseph-type thing, from conviction to White House.”

A New Urgency

For months, Andrew admits he felt like an observer in his

own body: “Stuff is happening to Andrew Brunson, and I’m observing what happens to him. But it’s not really me. It’s like it’s happening with someone else. ... I’m happy for what’s happening, but I don’t feel like I’m fully entering into it.” When he was evaluated for PTSD by a State Department psychiatrist shortly after returning to the U.S., he was assured that this kind of detachment is normal for trauma victims. He’s also comforted that as time has passed— it’s been just over a year since his release—he has felt more like himself, and the sense of detachment has gone. In February 2019, Andrew was able to finally walk his daughter down the aisle for her wedding. The ceremony, held in the mountains of North Carolina, happened just one day shy of her second anniversary. But as Andrew’s feelings have returned, a new urgency has gripped his heart for the church in America.

TAYLOR BERGLUND is the associate editor of Charisma magazine and host


“My focus has always been overseas, and especially on Muslims,” Andrew says. “But since I’ve come back to the States, I just have an urgency for the American church, and especially for the next generation. I believe it’s going to become much more difficult to stand for truth, to stand for what God stands for, and to stand openly for Jesus. ... So I want to challenge young people to start running after God. Cultivate fear of God—the right view of God. Go after intimacy with Him, because a lover is willing to suffer for His beloved. If you love someone, you’re willing to sacrifice yourself for them. So if you cultivate that love for Jesus, then you’ll be willing to stand for Him even if it costs you.” To everyone who prayed and interceded for their release, Andrew and Norine extend their thanks—and ask them not to stop praying yet. A decisive battle may have been won in Turkey, but that is not the end of the spiritual war. It continues for Turkey and

the region. “I rode a wave of prayer out of Turkey, but a tsunami of prayer crashed into Turkey,” Andrew says. “We will see the results over the next years. It’s not finished yet. The full result isn’t my being released; that was accomplished by the prayer of God’s people. But there’s going to be much more that happens because of this prayer movement. We’re already seeing it in Turkey. In the last year, I’ve had reports of many more people than ever before coming into these small Turkish churches, saying ‘I don’t want to be a Muslim anymore.’” The Brunsons still believe a harvest is coming. And they will be ready when it does. READ MORE: If you liked this story, you can read more about the persecuted church at persecution .charismamag.com.

t of several shows on the Charisma Podcast Network.


| SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Finish the Fight 4 keys to exercise God-given authority and end spiritual skirmishes BY MARK AND GRACE DISCOLL


W

orld War II was the biggest and bloodiest war in the history of the planet. More than 30 nations were involved in the battle for six years, starting with the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939 under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. Historians estimate that between 40 and 50 million people died because one man sought to rule as a demonically empowered false god over many nations. At the war’s conclusion, despite Hitler’s suicide and his successor Karl Dönitz’s signed surrender, individual skirmishes continued. As is often the case in war, some German soldiers kept fighting long after their nation was defeated and the triumphant nations had cleaned up their victory parades. Some refused to accept the reality that their kingdom had fallen. U M S P L A S H / M A R C O L I V I E R J O D O I N | G E T T Y I M AG E S / I S TO C K - B O O N YAC H O AT


Others did not care that they were defeated and simply wanted to inflict as much pain and death as they possibly could. The war between God and Satan is much like World War II. At the cross of Jesus Christ, Satan was defeated. But skirmishes rage on until our King returns to once and for all round up the rebellious people and spirits and sentence them to an eternal prison as His kingdom overtakes every nation of the earth. These skirmishes in your life are not the big battle— King Jesus already won that! Your battles are fought in the context of a war that is over with a foe who is defeated and will ultimately be disarmed and destroyed. We were snuggled up on the couch watching television late one night, flipping back and forth between channels. When watching the History Channel, even though the program showed footage of World War II with building suspense, we were not anxious or alarmed. On the other hand, as we watched real-time footage on the news channel, we were noticeably more agitated

and anxious. Why? We know the ending for the old news but not for the current news, which caused us to respond differently. For God, everything is the History Channel, and nothing is the nightly news. God sees everything in its finished state and invites us to trust Him for a happily-ever-after ending for all of His people. To walk with Jesus is to march in the angelic army with the God who overcomes the world. We are to believe this by “our faith” until we see it by sight as God does. The enemy and his empire are crumbling and will be crushed. Knowing this and by faith believing that the Bible accurately records the end of history will give you the courage you need to win your wars. In our daily battles against sin, Satan tries to tempt us to join his army. He wants us to hate others rather than love others, hurt others rather than help them and punish them rather than share the good news that Jesus was already punished for them. This not only harms them but also harms us, as we experience anxiety


“To walk with Jesus is to march in the angelic army with the God who overcomes the world.�

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 - D U N C A N1890


instead of peace, angst instead of joy and acrimony instead of harmony. Not only is Satan a deceiver, but he has also apparently deceived himself into thinking he can rewrite the storyline of the Bible and defeat God once and for all. This might explain why Satan continues to wage war even though the Bible is clear that he loses in the end. Nevertheless, the same Jesus who defeated the devil in His first coming will finally destroy the devil in His Second Coming.

Four Keys

Our King Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18b). If you belong to Jesus Christ, you need to believe the following four things so you can exercise the authority He delegated to you as you wage your war. 1) You have clearly moved from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. When you were born, you were born into the world system, which is a counterfeit kingdom

at war against the kingdom of God since “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19b, ESV). When you were born again of the Holy Spirit, your citizenship transferred from this world to the kingdom. Your residence may still be in this world, but your citizenship is in heaven, as “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). Furthermore, King Jesus protects you in this enemy territory: “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him” (1 John 5:18). For Christians, this life is as close to hell as we will ever be; it is as bad as it will ever get. Conversely, for non-Christians, this life is as close to heaven as they will ever be; it is as good as it will ever get. 2) Demonic or satanic attacks are not uncommon. In school, we study the history


of wars; in church, we study the war behind the wars. Not only are soldiers marching into battle throughout history, but so are spirits. Like physical soldiers, demon warriors are skilled persons who communicate, possess great intelligence, have emotions that drive them and have a will by which they make tactical decisions (Luke 4:31-37, 8:28-30; Mark 1:23-24, 27). When two nations are at war, every citizen is also involved in that war. When an enemy army marches into a town, the residents find themselves under siege for the simple reason that there is a war and everyone is on one side or the other. In wars, only the noteworthy warriors become legends. The Bible names some of these demonic warriors: »»Baal (Num. 25:1-5) and other demons working together as the Baals (Judg. 2:11-13), which also called the host of heaven (2 Kings 21:3). »»Ashtaroth/Asherah (2 Kings 17:16). »»Chemosh (1 Kings 11:7).

»»Molech (Lev. 18:21). »»Artemis (Acts 19:24-35). »»Legion (Mark 5:9). »»Hermes (Acts 14:8-18). »»Zeus (Acts 14:8-18). »»Dike, also called Justice (Acts 28:1-6). »»Castor and Pollux, the twin gods (Acts 28:11). »»Kiyyun, the star-god (Amos 5:26). »»The queen of heaven (Jer. 7:18, 44:17-19). »»Lilith, also called the night creature or screech owl (Isa. 34:14). We also see the princes of Persia and Greece at spiritual war with the Lord’s angels in Daniel 10. As with any army, we do not know the names of most of the enemy troops as there are many demonic “unknown god(s)” (Acts 17:23). New Testament scholar Clinton Arnold has noted that in addition to the named demons in Scripture, “one scholar has counted 123 different demons identified by name in the rabbinic literature.” The Bible also speaks of demons in terms of dangerous beasts,


starting with Satan as a serpent/dragon and a lion (Rev. 20:2, 1 Pet. 5:8); other demons called such things as a python spirit (Acts 16:16-18) and goat demons (2 Chron. 11:15, Isa. 34:14); and wild animals, including ostriches, bulls, hyenas, birds and scorpions (Isa. 13:21, Ps. 22:12-13, Luke 10:17-20). This is not surprising, as the Bible also refers to evil people, in addition to evil spirits, in animalistic terms such as vipers, serpents, goats, cows, dogs, wolves, leeches, donkeys and evil beasts. This might also mean that the “wild beasts” Paul fought in Ephesus were actually people operating by demonic powers (1 Cor. 15:32, NIV). Demonic attack is constant, often seducing the flesh within us because we are living in the midst of a war that has been raging since it erupted in heaven. Knowing about this war can cause panic, but God invites you to cast “all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded;

be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world” (1 Pet. 5:7-9, ESV). There is no place you can go to avoid this battle since the war is waged throughout the world. But the fact that you are sometimes under attack should oddly comfort you. A loyal subject of the king is the most likely target in a war. If you are loyal to King Jesus, then it is normal to walk through a demonic minefield now and then. 3) You come with the authority of your King. Sometimes as a guilty pleasure, we will watch a few minutes of the television show Cops. Full disclosure: Mark has had at least one cousin on the show, and he was not one of the cops. We have noticed that something curious happens in episode after episode. Someone who is raging and out of control suddenly changes his or her behavior once a police LIGHTSTOCK/SKY LIGHT PICTURES


officer shows up on the scene. Often, the person committing the crime simply surrenders. Why? Because the cop shows up with the full authority of an entire police force. When someone with more authority shows up, you must surrender. You can do this willingly by getting on the ground and throwing your hands up, or you can do this unwillingly by getting slammed on the ground and having your hands wrenched behind your back for handcuffs. Either way, when someone with higher authority shows up, you will surrender. When a demon comes into your life, it does not need to surrender to you. You have no authority apart from Jesus. Every demon must submit to Jesus because He has all authority. No one and nothing has authority equal to Jesus Christ. Today Jesus is at the right hand of the Father “seated ... in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this

age but also in the one to come,” with everyone and everything “under his feet” (Eph. 1:20-22). However, there is more. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we read that God “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). The children of God will be seated for all eternity in authority with King Jesus. In fact, a day is coming when God’s people will “judge angels” (1 Cor. 6:3b). How staggering is that concept? When all is said and done, God’s people will exercise authority over fallen angels for all eternity. Therefore, when a demon shows up in your life, he is the criminal, you are the cop, and you come in the name and authority of the highest power in all eternity: Jesus. 4) Your defeated enemy has to surrender to your victorious King. Do you remember the kids’ game called “uncle” or “mercy”? The gist of the game is that two kids squeeze one another’s hands until one of them surrenders by shouting “uncle” or “mercy.”


Satan and demons seem to like playing their own spiritual version of this game. They will bring some sort of trouble, trial or temptation and squeeze until you surrender to them, thereby allowing them to win. Demons want you to believe the lie that they will never stop squeezing until you surrender so you will give up and give in to get it over with as quickly as possible. The truth is that you do not have to play their game. Rather than surrendering to unholy spirits, you can yield to the Holy Spirit. If you surrender to the Spirit and command the demonic to depart, it must leave you: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Jesus modeled this. As we surrender to the Spirit, the devil must surrender to Him as well. You do not have to give up or give in. The Spirit of God in you is greater than the demonic spirits against you, and if you do not surrender to the demonic but instead surrender to God, they will also surrender to Him and leave you as they did Jesus.

The Supernatural Power of Spirits

The limitations we have are natural. As created beings with limited energy, we all reach the point where we have depleted ourselves and say things like, “I’m out,” “I need a break,” “I cannot do any more,” “I just need to sit down” and “I’ve got nothing left to give.” Sound familiar? Now, consider the different reality in which angels live. Angels do not share in the limits of our humanity. Instead they sing and serve “day and night” (Rev. 4:8b, 7:15b). What is the longest church service, worship event, Christian conference or retreat you have sat through? Even the most devout believer would not be able to hold church and worship God “day and night,” day after day and night after night. What is true of angels is also true of demons. Satan’s nonstop attack on believers is “day and night” (Rev. 12:10). Demons do not need a nap, a day off, food, water or sleep because they do not get tired or sick. Do you see the problem for


you? If you have human limits, and demonic spirits who attack you do not share those limits, how can you possibly win a war against that foe since “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic

powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places� (Eph. 6:12)? To win your war, you cannot fight by your own natural power. A natural person cannot win a spiritual battle against a


supernatural demon. No one ever defeated the demonic by his or her own strength. No matter how self-disciplined you are, how hard you try or how tough you may be, eventually the supernatural always defeats the natural. Sometimes evil people live by

the power of demonic forces and have a superhuman energy level. They harass and hound you until you are overwhelmed, exhausted and overtaken. Jesus delivered two “demon-possessed men” who were “so fierce that no one could pass that way” (Matt. 8:28-34). People took the long way around the region where these men lived. Two men controlled an entire region— until Jesus cast their demons out. In Mark 5:1–20, Jesus encounters “a man with an unclean spirit.” With demonic strength, “no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones” (vv. 3b–5). You know you are dealing with a demonized person when they do evil, never grow weary and force everyone else to work around them, to avoid them and to live in fear of them. The only way that you can win your war LIGHTSTOCK/KEVIN CARDEN


against demonic power is by the supernatural power of God the Holy Spirit: “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Eph. 6:10). Our strength comes from the Lord’s strength and not our own. The Christian life is supernaturally lived “in the Spirit” by God’s power at work for you, in you, and through you. The counterfeit of being Spirit-filled is being demon-possessed. When someone is filled with the unholy spirit, your only defense is to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Spirit-Filled Like Jesus

The only way to win a war against an unholy spirit is by the power of the Holy Spirit, because “you are from God and have

overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4b). Jesus Christ models this truth for us. When God entered history as Jesus Christ, He joined us in our humanity and experienced


“The only way to win a war against an unholy spirit is by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

our limitations. After a long walk through the desert, Jesus sat down at a well to rest because He was tired from the journey (John 4:6). After fasting for 40 days and nights, He was hungry (Matt. 4:2). On the cross, Jesus said, “I thirst”

(John 19:28). Jesus’ body was pushed to its human limits. During His earthly life, Jesus could have made things much easier for Himself. He could have chosen not to live humbly and endure the limits of humanity, but instead He chose to humble Himself to become like you so that you could become like Him. Jesus was pushed to the limits of humanity as you are. Prior to His death on the cross, Jesus’ greatest spiritual battle was with the devil himself. Knowing Jesus was isolated, hungry, thirsty and tired after 40 days alone fasting in the wilderness, Satan sought to exploit Jesus’ humanity. Satan offered the hungry Jesus bread to eat. Satan also offered self-indulgence to meet every physical longing we humans have, such as LIGHTSTOCK/FRESH PHOTO STUDIO


food, drink, sex, sleep and comfort. The Father offered self-denial to resist every sinful longing and temptation that we face. In all honesty, which path would you choose—the pleasure path of self-indulgence or the pain path of self-denial? Jesus won His war. How did He do it? Jesus’ march into war “was led by the Spirit” (Luke 4:1b). After winning His war, “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14a). You can win your war by the same power that our Christ did. The supernatural power of the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of Christ” that “dwells in you” (Rom. 8:9). The same Spirit that empowered the life and Resurrection of Jesus Christ while He was on the earth is available to you. Often we think of the ministry

of the Holy Spirit as being miraculous things, but the Holy Spirit also ministers in the mundane. He is there to help you in times of trouble, trial and temptation so you can live by a supernatural power, the most incredible power source there could possibly be! Perhaps an illustration will help. While writing a previous book, Spirit-Filled Jesus, Mark was under a deadline and had hours of writing time on a flight. He opened his laptop to find that his battery was nearly dead. He was admittedly frustrated as he had a long flight and lots of work to do to help people learn to live by God’s power, but his laptop had no power. His laptop died, and ironically, he spent the remaining hours wishing he had power so he could write about power. To make matters worse, after the flight landed, he dropped a pen.

MARK AND GRACE DRISCOLL h  ave been married and doing ministry toge Scottsdale, Arizona.


As he bent over to pick it up, he saw that under his seat was a power outlet he had overlooked. Yes, he had an unlimited free power source available that he simply failed to access. The power of God in the unseen realm is available to God’s people in the seen realm through the Holy Spirit. He plugs us into the power of God so we can defeat the same demonic forces that were already defeated at the wars in heaven and on the cross. Many, if not most, Christians are living life by their own power until they wear down and wear out. The devil and his demons know this, so they beat us down until they bring us down. Meanwhile, God the Holy Spirit is available as the power source we need to live a life of victory. Sadly, we fail to plug into His power. We

MORE INFORMATION Learn to use Christ’s power to fight Satan and deepen your family relationships via Mark and Grace Driscoll’s new book.

often have a far better and more intentional plan to plug our phone or laptop into a power source than we do to keep our soul plugged into the Spirit. So how should we do that? Prayer, worship, Scripture, fellowship and inviting God’s presence and peace—before, during and after our wars. The key to all spiritual war is to overcome our demonic influence.

ether for over 25 years. They planted the Trinity Church with their five kids in


| DISCERNMENT

T

here invariably will come a time in our spiritual journey when the Lord will solicit our cooperation in permitting Him to guide us in a new way. His preference is that

we would sense His leading, fully cooperate and move in the new direction. However, as is all too often the case, He must intervene in the affairs of our lives due to the fact that we are comfortable and


3 WAYS TO

Discern God Is Moving You IN A NEW DIRECTION BY GLENN BLEAKNEY

entrenched in our present course of action. To secure our attention and place us on the pathway God desires, there are strategies that He employs that are very effective. As much as we are not to be ignorant

of Satan’s devices (2 Cor. 2:11), we must be even more knowledgeable of the ways of the Lord (Ps. 25:4). Knowing God’s ways will result in us experiencing His mighty acts (Ps. 103:7).

GETTY IMAGES/OLEGKALINA


Here are three ways God works to move us in a new direction: 1) Disruption of Our Plans 2) Dissipation of Resources 3) Dissolution of Relationships

Disruption of our Plans

The Apostle Paul had received an apostolic commission to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. In keeping with his mandate, he targeted key cities in the Roman Empire to visit. Yet, the New Testament narrative informs us that on at least one occasion he was not able to fulfill his objective because God saw fit to stop him. “They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia and were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they came near Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not allow them” (Acts 16:6-7). Like Paul the apostle, while attempting to do the will of the Lord, perhaps you were heading down a certain roadway and you ended up “hitting a wall” and were stopped in your tracks. From that point on, no matter how hard you worked, you were incapable of making significant progress.

Initiatives and projects that were originally inspired by a lofty vision and deep passion ended up languishing, some of them even terminating. When stuck at an impasse, it is a natural tendency to return to familiar surroundings. We see this in the lives of the disciples after Jesus’ death. They went back to fishing even though they had clearly been mandated to forsake their vocation and follow Christ (See Luke 5:10-11; John 21:3). Because they were commercial fishermen, there may even have been economic motives behind their actions. Nevertheless, we see clearly that there was no lasting provision and no permanent peace in returning to past environments. When God leads us out of a place of familiarity and the way forward is blocked, what is the solution? There are some breakthroughs reserved for us that can only be accessed through prayer. We must seek God until we receive a clear answer from heaven. Whether it was Paul’s night vision of the man in Macedonia summoning


him, or the voice of Jesus speaking to the disciples on the seashore in Galilee, the New Testament Christians received clear direction from the Spirit and were able to regain momentum and experience breakthrough.

Dissipation of Resources

When God wants us to move in a new direction, He may also permit us to experience the dissipation of resources. Elijah had been powerfully used by the Lord to declare prophetically the purpose of God in dealing with Israel. “And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1) And just as the prophet had foretold, the word of the Lord came to pass. “And there was a severe famine in Samaria ... “(1 Kings 18:2). During the famine, God looked after Elijah. He gave him specific instruction relative to how he would be sustained. “Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Get away from here and turn eastward,

and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.’ So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook” (1 Kings 17:2-6). Cherith which means “place of covenant,” was where the Lord demonstrated His faithfulness in taking care of Elijah. However, the day would come when the brook would run dry and the birds would no longer fly (see 1 Kings 17:7). Although Elijah had come to depend on such provision, God seemed to have no compunction at all cutting off these resources.

Has Your Brook Dried Up?

Have you experienced something similar? Your streams of resource have dried up. You struggle to make ends meet and you do not know how you are going to keep going. During such a time, trust that the


Lord will soon speak to you like He did to Elijah. “Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you’” (1 Kings 17:8-9). More than a cute cliche, you will see that the place where He leads you will be the place where He feeds you. Where the Lord guides, He provides!

Dissolution of Relationships A third way the Lord works to set us in motion in a new direction is through the dissolution of certain relationship. (Please note: we are not addressing covenant marriage relationships here). We see this clearly in the life of David. The heart of King Achish, once favorable to David, turned away from him.” Then Achish called David and said to him, ‘Surely, as the Lord lives, you have been upright, and

your going out and your coming in with me in the army is good in my sight. For to this day I have not found evil in you since the day of your coming to me. Nevertheless the lords do not favor you. Therefore return now, and go in peace, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines’” (1 Sam. 29:6-7). An unanticipated meltdown in a relationship can cause great pain. Abandonment and unanswered questions will naturally follow. One vital truth to come to grips with is that God will on occasion send certain people into our lives for a short season or perhaps even a brief encounter. God-sanctioned, transitory connections, though nonsustainable, serve a purpose in facilitating the plan of the Lord. Being able to differentiate between what is intended to be provisional and what is meant to be permanent will enlighten one of the Father’s intention for the relationship.

GLENN BLEAKNEYis the founder and president of Awake Nations Ministrie Awake Nations with Glenn Bleakney is taking the gospel of the kingdom to th through the power of God manifest before before their eyes through signs an


Here is a powerful truth to embrace when a key connection you value has dissolved for no apparent legitimate reason: The Lord is turning the hearts of men in the direction He desires (Prov. 21:1) and is in fact making it easier for you to let go and move forward into your next assignment. Therefore, do not take the matter personally and become bitter with people as though they are rejecting you.

Trusting in God’s Good Guidance

You may not understand what is currently happening in your life. Does it seem to you that God has messed up your plans? Have resources dried up? Has a relationship disintegrated? Sometimes Father God’s ways do not make sense to us. Scripture even attests to this reality. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your

thoughts” (Is. 55:9). This is because the LORD possesses infinite knowledge and perfect wisdom. He is eternal, Almighty and omniscient. He sees the end from the beginning and is completely aware of the final outcome of all things. No matter how it may appear on the surface, He is actively involved in the affairs of our lives. On occasion, He may even interrupt our plans resulting in us experiencing a sense of anxiety due to a perceived loss of control. However, as uncomfortable as we may become, we must trust that He is leading us along the best pathway for our lives. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye on you” (Ps. 32:8). Trusting God at all times is a non-negotiable prerequisite for living supernaturally in the kingdom!

es. With uncompromising conviction and in the power of the Holy Spirit, he nations of the world. Many lives have been saved and transformed nd wonders! Learn more about Glenn Bleakney at awakenations.org.


| MIRACLES

Leaving a Legacy How a prophetic word and a miracle paved the way for the Morris Cerullo Legacy International Center BY JOSHUA OLSON

The Legacy Resort Hotel


Morris Cerullo

P

rophets never retire. That’s what Morris Cerullo says he heard from God years ago— and that prophetic word inspired him to build the Morris Cerullo Legacy International Center in San Diego, California. When it opens this December, the Legacy Center will feature a hotel resort, a spa, a performing arts center, a restaurant, a library, conference facilities and attractions designed by theme park engineers. Cerullo says for him, it’s about building a place that will carry on his evangelistic mission long after he’s gone to be with the Lord. “I heard the voice of God say to me, ‘Morris, do you know that prophets never retire?’” Cerullo says. “I asked God what He meant. He told me, ‘I do not want this ministry that I have given to you, that has raised up millions of nationals worldwide, to ever die.’ It was at that moment that I knew God had called us to build Him a legacy center.” Jim Penner, the Legacy Center’s executive director, says they created the facility to be warm and inviting for nonbelievers. They want to draw MORRIS CERULLO WORLD EVANGELISM


tourists visiting San Diego to stay at their site—regardless of their religious affiliation—and have a positive experience with Jesus on the campus. “For somebody who’s secular, walking into a church can be a very intimidating process,” Penner says. “But this feels like a very warm and inviting place to come, a very safe place for people to explore their faith. ... If this is a place that becomes known as

warm and inviting, then that’s truly celebrating what we as Christians should be about. You know, Jesus told us to go into all the world and reach the people with the gospel. And that’s what this is attempting to do.” But the journey to the December launch has been a difficult one, filled with supernatural miracles. “After miracle after miracle, the vision has not changed, but it

The Buil


certainly has intensified,” Cerullo says. “The Legacy Center is a destination with a great destiny.”

Miracles in the Making

Cerullo has seen the Holy Spirit move mightily over seven decades of ministry. According to estimates by Morris Cerullo World Evangelism (MCWE), Cerullo has preached to millions of people in 93 nations on all seven continents. He has seen miraculous

e Pavilion lding Entrance

healings—including his own. But both Cerullo and Penner were blown away by the miracle of how they acquired the property for the Legacy Center. The Legacy Center is situated on prime real estate along Interstate 8, just a mile and a half from SeaWorld. The land originally housed the Mission Valley Resort, before it was overtaken by a series of financial issues following the 2008 mortgage crisis. Penner says the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) took over the land and appointed a receiver, with whom MCWE attempted to negotiate for the property. The receiver was uninterested in selling to a ministry. One year later, MCWE learned that the property was going to be auctioned off. The ministry was told many big developers would be there, but if MCWE really wanted the property, it was welcome to try and bid on it too. “Dr. Cerullo sent our CEO [Lynn Hodge] to the auction and gave him a fixed number to put on the property: It was $18 million,” Penner says. “He said, ‘Don’t pay MORRIS CERULLO WORLD EVANGELISM


a dollar more than that.’ Basically, a million dollars an acre, because it’s 18 acres—and that’s a highly discounted price if you know anything about real estate in San Diego. So Lynn showed up at the auction, and nobody was there at the courthouse. Lynn was the only one who showed up. “After about 20 minutes, the auctioneer says, ‘Well, I guess we better get started.’ And so the auctioneer says, ‘I’ll be bidding on behalf of the bank. The bank has given us a number that they’ll bid up to in order to retain

the property.’ They started bidding—but it’s just Lynn and the auctioneer. Finally, the auctioneer called Lynn over and said, ‘Look, let’s cut to the chase. The bank has given me a fixed number of $18 million that they cannot exceed on their behalf. ... You’ve got to give me something over $18 million—even if it’s just a penny more.’ Lynn reached in his pocket, pulled out a penny and put it on the counter. So for $18 million in cashier’s checks and a penny, he got the property.” MCWE leaders internally refer


The Legacy of Nations Experience

to it as “The One-Penny Miracle.” Penner says he has told that story many times to developers in San Diego, and every time, they ask, “Why weren’t we at that auction?” After all, it was highly valuable property acquired at a steal of a price. Penner says the answer is simple: “God didn’t want them there. He wanted that property for Legacy.”

Growing the Vision

Once the land was acquired, it came time to build the Legacy Center. Originally, Penner says the

vision was simple: Build a facility where foreign nationals can come to be trained by MCWE in how to reach their home countries for Christ. It would be an educational training center, with programs offered both in-person and remotely online. But then the vision expanded. “We thought, Well, if we have this great training facility here, we’re going to need some place to house those who may want to come for training,” Penner says. “So let’s build a world-class hotel. And if we’re building a world-class hotel, that means we’re probably going to have a lot of San Diego tourists staying in that hotel as well, because we won’t use it 365 days a year. And if we have all these tourists coming to stay in a world-class hotel, what do we have for them to do while they’re on the campus? So we developed the whole Experiences Center with technology and theaters and exhibits that would be exciting for the average tourists to come through, to learn a little bit more about this God who loves them.” When it opens, the Legacy Center will have three main MORRIS CERULLO WORLD EVANGELISM


buildings. The first building is a luxury hotel and spa. The second building, the Pavilion, houses a 500-seat performing arts theater, conference facilities, office space, a library and a restaurant. Finally, the third building—the Welcome Center—features a number of theme park-style attractions and experiences. These include an interactive globe, an international market styled after ancient Jerusalem marketplaces, a replica of the Wailing Wall, fountain and light shows, catacombs to explore, a themed children’s area and even a dome theater. Cerullo says his favorite attraction is Wings Over Israel. “A group from Disneyland— that produced many of the top attractions there—came to me early in the Legacy Center process, and together we formulated an

experience that is not available anywhere else in the world,” Cerullo says. “We have created a 100-seat, four-dimensional interactive dome theater at a cost of nearly $20 million that will take our Legacy Center guests on a 10-minute experience of soaring over the nation of Israel.” Some Pentecostals may hear these attractions being described and immediately think of Heritage USA, Jim Bakker’s famous theme park/timeshare property hybrid. But Penner says the Legacy Center operates on a “completely different model.” “Think of if Hilton were going to build a convention hotel property,” Penner says. “That’s essentially what this is. It’s a convention hotel property that also happens to have conference facilities, attractions and all of that, but it is a hotel. It’s

JOSHUA OLSON i s a freelance writer for Charisma.


not a timeshare. ... It’s built for the public to use it. We’ll rent it out to civic groups or corporations in San Diego, just like they rent a ballroom at Hilton. And it’s a great gathering spot for people who are staying at neighboring hotels or for local San Diegans and tourists who are coming to the city. It’s an experiences place for people to enjoy. So that’s how it’s much different than Heritage.” Ultimately, Penner believes it’s a miracle that the Legacy Center was built at all. “The Legacy Center should not be sitting there, and it certainly shouldn’t be sitting there in the middle of San Diego, the third-highest tourist destination in the United States,” Penner says. “There’s just miracle after miracle that has happened. And God continually amazes me how, even

when we don’t see that grand plan coming together, He times it all out. All those significances come together.” Cerullo urges Charisma’s readers to come see the property for themselves, saying it’s made for them. “The Legacy Center will continue our training of nationals worldwide—and our mandate to ‘build God an army’—and to reach every nation with the gospel of Jesus Christ, long after I am gone home to be with Jesus,” Cerullo says. “This ministry and vision will never die. ... Soon, [my wife] Theresa and I will be in heaven. [But] we built this Legacy Center for the body of Christ and for the world.” READ MORE: For more miraculous stories, visit miracles.charismamag.com.


| ADDICTION

Add E very day, nearly 200 Americans die from a drug overdose. Millions more across the nation are unable to find freedom from addiction. In October 2017, President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. But Gary Blackard, president and CEO of Adult and Teen Challenge, says the opioid crisis is not a political problem; it’s a spiritual one. He believes this addiction is fueled by spiritual warfare.

“We believe Satan is directing this epidemic, using it as a way to kill people and destroy families,” Blackard says. “Every day, we see stories about parents being separated from their children, imprisoned for their drug use or imprisoned for the crimes they committed because of their addiction. This scene is at the forefront of not only the United States, but around the world, and it’s a very, very spiritual battle. If you don’t fight it spiritually, you miss that opportunity to really see Christ


cteD BY JESSILYN LANCASTER

transforming lives.” Though some believe addiction could never affect them or their loved ones, for many believers, it already has. In a recent online survey conducted by Charisma Media, 84% of respondents said they or someone they know has been addicted to drugs. Drug addiction affects every race, class and religion without discrimination—and it’s only growing worse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that from 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000

people died of a drug overdose. Of the 70,200 drug overdose deaths in 2017, around 68% overdosed on an opioid. That number is six times higher than in 1999. So how can Spirit-filled believers push back and shift the atmosphere in America? Charisma spoke with multiple sources— from addicts to parents to professionals—about the spiritual side of this national crisis for the Charisma News Podcast’s “Addicted” series (available now on cpnshows. com). Their stories, presented one

G E T T Y I M A E G S / E = - 2 W U B D S PA ; I S TO C K - F E V E R P I TC H E D

How the Spirit is breaking the chains of victims of America’s opioid crisis


by one, offer definitive proof that the Holy Spirit is still in the miracle-working business.

Angel Colon

When Angel Colon woke up from a cocaine-induced blackout, his face was covered in blood. His bedroom appeared ransacked. Furniture was tossed upside down. When he asked his roommates what happened, no one knew. But Colon did. “What I didn’t tell my roommates at that moment was that I had a lot of nights where I had spiritual warfare,” Colon says. “There were a lot of nights where I fought with demons. ... I would wake up at night [and] I would literally hear demonic voices, and I’d fight with them, but even though I was in the world, I would rebuke them. I would pray, and they would go away.” Colon made international headlines when he was one of 49 people wounded in the Pulse nightclub massacre in 2016. Most people know his story because the Lord set him free from homosexuality. But Colon says he rarely

gets to share about freedom from another addiction—hardcore drugs. Colon first turned to drugs when his father, a pastor, had an affair. “I thought if my dad did this and he was a man of God, then I could live the way I wanted to,” Colon says. “That’s when I turned into an alcoholic.” From drinking, he turned to ecstasy, cocaine and poppers, a euphoria-inducing drug that leads to intense muscle relaxation. “I would hear voices every time I went into a club or a party,” Colon says. “They would tell me I didn’t belong here. It was the Holy Spirit, and I would take a few more bumps of cocaine to drown out the voice.” Still, he denied he had an addiction—until the night he believes he wrestled with a demon. That’s when he invoked the faith of his youth and commanded the demons to leave in the name of Jesus. But the experience shook him to his core. “After that moment, I realized I had a serious problem,” Colon


says. “And I realized the enemy wanted to take me out.” Colon was desperate to break the addiction, so he prayed one of the most dangerous prayers of his life. “I told God to do whatever [He needed to do] to bring me back to Him,” Colon says. He prayed that prayer in 2015, about a year before he was shot approximately six times by a gunman at Pulse. Incredibly, Colon says the shooting actually saved his life. Because of his blood loss, he received a transfusion that saved him from going through painful withdrawals from the cocaine. Colon says he is now completely clean, despite the repercussions of the shooting. “I wake up every morning and see my scars, and it just gives me a chance to say, ‘Thank you, Lord,’ because not everyone has this chance,” he says. “There are others who gave their whole lives and are not here today, so I want to give everything I have to God. He is worthy of it all—all my praise. Everything I do is for Him and GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK-ANANKKML


nobody else.” Colon’s powerful testimony is something to celebrate. By the grace of God, he never experienced an overdose, but other Christian families have to hold fast to their faith when addiction steals the life of their loved ones.

friends he could find were alcoholics and peers who smoked pot on a regular basis. Second, Korn’s husband left the family when Tim was just 15. “To go from a two-family income to a single-mom income

Robyn Korn

Robyn Korn’s teenage son, Tim, died of a heroin overdose in 2010. “He was one of the first [overdose deaths] before the heroin epidemic became really big,” Korn says. “He was on the beginning wave of the heroin epidemic in Shelby County, Alabama.” By the church’s standards, Korn did everything right. She raised her two sons in church. They attended Sunday school and youth group. Tim was even baptized at a conference hosted by a Spirit-filled church. He was also actively involved in Boy Scouts. Still, the addiction took root. Korn says she believes two main factors contributed to Tim’s addiction. First, the Korn family had relocated from overseas when Tim was in middle school. The only

“We belie

is direct epidemic, a way to k and destroy —Gary Bl impacted Tim’s perspective,” Korn says. “He was used to being able to have many things, and we really had to cut back. Plus, he went from having an active dad in his life to somebody who was no longer around at all. I think that


created a lot of pain.” Tim went from drinking to marijuana to pills to heroin. But Korn kept fighting for her son’s life and future with the help of the church. “I never realized how much

eve Satan ting this using it as kill people y families.” lackard I was on my knees before God lifting Tim up, asking for help with him,” Korn says. “Every Sunday, I was up front getting prayer, and I wasn’t ashamed to do that. I knew I needed God’s help.” Church elders connected Tim to

counseling services and even tried interventions on multiple occasions. Korn says many men in the church stepped in as father figures, taking her sons to monster truck rallies and other activities. The women of the church surrounded Korn with love, support and comfort, even on her darkest days. “It was my 50th birthday, and Tim ended up going to juvenile detention center that night, but there was a group of women who took me out just to celebrate [my birthday] with me,” Korn says. “I knew I wasn’t alone, and I wasn’t the only one trying to muddle through this.” People from the church met Korn at the hospital when Tim overdosed but didn’t die. They also were the first people on the scene after paramedics when addiction ultimately took Tim’s life. Korn believes that it’s this effort that allowed Tim to return to God in the months just before his death. “He realized he needed God’s help in trying to get out of this addiction process, and he would ask people for prayer,” Korn says.


“The problem with addiction

is that when you can stop, you don’t want to, and when you want to stop, you can’t.” —Robyn Korn

Six weeks before Tim’s death, he was arrested for drug-related charges and sent to jail. While behind bars, he wrote a letter to his mother saying he was ready to be clean. “He had hit rock bottom for a while, but I think adult jail really opened his eyes to what he wanted to do with his life,” Korn says. “... He said the problem with addiction is that when you can stop, you don’t want to, and when you want to stop, you can’t. While Tim recognized he was an addict, he was very careful to prevent others from going down that path.” Korn says after his death, many people told her stories of how he

tried to protect others from addiction. And even in Tim’s death, Korn still saw the grace and mercy of the Lord. Two people accepted Christ after Tim’s death, including his girlfriend. She was baptized in the very church Tim was raised in. Today Korn uses Tim’s death to minister to other families devastated by addiction. “There is hope, and God can walk you through it,” Korn says. “The one thing I have found in Tim’s death is that I don’t know where I’d be if it weren’t for the grace of God. A loss like this is so devastating, but much more so if you don’t have the hope and grace of God to support you through it.”


Jenna Winston

Jenna Winston was angry to be alive. After doctors pumped 87 oxycontin out of her stomach, she woke to realize her suicide attempt had failed. That’s when Winston says a beautiful woman named Rachel came into her hospital room. “It was like 2:30 a.m., and it looked like a bad ’80s horror movie, because I’m in a hospital gown and on a gurney in the corner, and there’s really bad lighting,” Winston says. “She comes in and closes the door behind her and says, ‘I’m not supposed to do this. I could lose my

job, but God’s been telling me for two hours to come in here and tell you that He loves you, and if you look up, He’s going to pull you out of this.’” Winston cursed God, but something inside her broke. “I just started weeping uncontrollably,” Winston says. “I started opening up about all of this stuff that had been stuffed inside for so long. In that moment, everything changed. Within a couple of weeks, through the most supernatural chain of events, I ended up in faith-based recovery.” Once a raging addict who would fake tooth pain to get narcotics, Winston now runs GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK-MEGANMIKS


Heartscaping, a prophetic deliverance ministry that helps heal the root of pain and addiction. “Most people focus on their behaviors and what they do wrong,” Winston says of working with addicts and traumatized victims. “But my passion is getting to the roots behind what got them there in the first place, because when you can get those roots ripped out and loose the perfect love of heaven—the perfect love of Jesus—those behaviors fall off on their own.” Winston says much of addiction is rooted in fear and lies. “When people hear the word ‘deliverance,’ they think it’s like, ‘Come out, you evil spirit,’ but deliverance can be as simple as exchanging a lie for asking God what His truth is about me,” Winston says. “Sometimes, we need to let His truth be louder than the lies, and that brings so much deliverance.” Winston knows this firsthand. “I grew up in a home where I dealt with all kinds of abuses and traumas, at the same time as going to church and saying we loved each

other,” Winston says. By 18, she was married. At 19, she had her son. When she turned 28, she began to suspect her husband of cheating, which triggered suppressed memories. “All the traumas I suffered and all the memories were popping up,” Winston says. “I became crazy with neurotic anxiety and ended [up] in the psych ward a few times for meltdowns where I took a lot of psych meds.” That’s where she discovered her penchant for opiate-based pain pills. “They made all my pain and anxiety go away, and I felt like Superwoman,” she says. “It was like a lightbulb switch, and I became an addict overnight.” Winston says she was a functioning addict for years. She held a job while popping pills on the side. “Slowly but surely, I lost it all,” Winston says. “I went from beautiful homes and cars and functioning with a job to having my teeth pulled for drugs.” That’s when she attempted suicide with the 87 oxycontin. Shortly after the failed attempt,


Winston found herself in a faithbased recovery program. Still, she smuggled in weeks’ worth of drugs, fearing the detox would kill her. One morning, everything changed. “I said out loud, ‘God, I’m done picking and choosing which parts of me You can have,’” Winston says. “I took all the meds over to the main house [of the rehabilitation center], and we flushed them down the garbage disposal.” That was her natural deliverance. And two weeks later, she experienced her supernatural deliverance. “Jesus was going into that darkness, and it had to leave,” Winston says. “I had this moment where I just started screaming, and all the rage and anger inside me came out. I screamed forever. I remember falling out in my bed spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted. And Jesus crawled in that bed with me and just started to play with my hair. He goes, ‘I am so sorry for the things that happened to you that made you not want to feel. And if you trust Me, I’m going to make every day of your life better than any day that

you ever lived.’” She surrendered everything to Him and now works with addicts as well as people who suffer from anxiety, depression and other emotional disorders. “My favorite thing in the world is seeing people get freedom,” Winston says. “Everything the Lord has set me free from, from rape to trauma to addiction to infidelities—from everything you can imagine, we can carry breakthrough.”

Caleb McCall

Caleb McCall was 13 years old the first time police arrested him for drug possession. What started with pot quickly evolved into snorting cocaine before junior high basketball games. “My parents had an idea some things were going on, but they didn’t understand how bad it really was,” McCall says. McCall was dealing the same cocaine he smoked and turned to methamphetamines as a freshman in high school. The drugs didn’t impede much on his athletic performance, and colleges began


scouting him for basketball. But at 18, he got his girlfriend pregnant. “I turned down all the [college] offers and said I was going to work,” McCall says. “But keep in mind, I was a drug dealer. It was all I knew.” McCall would pick up a job every few months to keep the police off his back, but drugs remained his consistent source of income. “At 18, I’m a kid trying to raise a kid, just a drug dealer who has become addicted throughout my years of dealing and using drugs,” McCall says. “I always had them, and I was taking them as I was selling them.” McCall said he wasn’t an intimidating presence at the time, which made him a target. His 6-foot-5 frame carried maybe 100 pounds. “I wasn’t a violent person,” McCall says. “I was always softspoken and never really liked fighting. Word got out about this skinny kid who has all these drugs, all this money, and these other people who’d been dealing drugs were more violent. They began to

hear about his, and two robberies changed the trajectory of where my life was heading for the next six years.” The first occurred in a Walmart parking lot. “They held a .45 caliber pistol to my chest and told me to give them the drugs,” McCall says. “My pregnant girlfriend was in the vehicle at this time, and they took all the drugs and robbed me.” McCall didn’t retaliate, so other dealers jumped him in an apartment complex a few weeks later. This time McCall changed his approach. He started injecting steroids to bulk up. “I got really big really quick—I mean, really quick,” McCall says. “I started lifting weights, and the violence began coming out of me. My mentality changed.” Now McCall was the one behind the gun, conducting robberies of his own. From age 19 to 26, he lived a life of crime and addiction. But he also began hearing the voice of the Lord. At age 24, McCall says he went into church the morning after a bar fight. He was on crutches, and


hobbled through the church doors after the service and shook the pastor’s hand. “As we were leaving, he stopped me and said, ‘Man, let’s grab some lunch sometime,’” McCall says. “And I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Does this dude even know who I am?’ A lot of people in the church knew I was the biggest drug dealer in the area. But sure, yeah, let’s go

to lunch.” McCall says the pastor really began to minister to him and offered him odd jobs at the church. The church became his haven. “The reason why I went to church is I knew that the only way my life would change was if somehow God intervened and had mercy on me and changed G E T T Y I M AG E S / I S TO C K - B AC K YA R D P R O D U C T I O N


my life,” he says. As McCall began to paint walls, the pastor introduced him to an audio clip of Todd White’s testimony, detailing how God set the evangelist free from a life of drugs. “I walked around the corner of the church and broke down crying,” McCall says. “Me! This big, violent, angry, mad drug dealer. But God was speaking to me through him. And I told God, ‘God, if You’ll do it for that man, You’ll do it for me.’ And there was a breakthrough that happened in my spirit.” McCall says he spent the next six months living in hypocrisy, working at church but selling drugs on the side. When McCall got into more trouble, the pastor recommended a Teen Challenge program. “When I got to the program, I realized Jesus is way more than I thought,” McCall says. “It’s so much better to actually live for Him, to have a relationship with Him, and not just go through the motions.” McCall says he devoured the

Bible, renewed his mind and felt a fresh call to ministry: “When I went to Teen Challenge, they taught me how to be a man, how to get up, go to work, do your devotions and spend time with the Lord.” He now leads a program similar to Teen Challenge called Be the Bush Ministries in Middle Tennessee. “We teach them Christ and disciple them,” McCall says. It’s testimonies like McCall’s that really make a difference in the lives of addicts today.

Courage to Change

Breaking addiction is not just a physical or mental issue. Instead, it’s often a supernatural occurrence led by the Holy Spirit. And without the Holy Spirit, taking down addiction seems impossible. Ann White, founder of Courage for Life, has developed a method that helps addicts recover while reminding them of what’s most important. She often ministers in prisons, where she preaches, teaches and encourages them to embrace God’s Word


and His peace that comes with it. White’s own story, one of alcohol addiction, gives her a relatable platform when she ministers. “It breaks down walls,” White says. “When you begin to share your testimony—and it’s the same way in churches, support groups or any place we are seeking help— we’re encouraging other people in their walk with the Lord with hope and healing. That transparency is critical. As I begin to share my story, and my ministry team shares their personal stories, these gals can relate to our walks with insecurity, our walks with shame and self-condemnation, walks with mistakes and codependency. ... Pain recognizes pain, and these gals begin to connect.” White depends on the acronym “COURAGE” to preach the truth about recovery from any addiction or emotional bondage. “C” means to commit to change. “We have to ask ourselves, ‘What does God want me to change?’” she says. “I need to make a commitment that I’m going to do this—and it’s not going to go out the window

like our New Year’s resolutions, because we’re going to follow it up with six more steps.” “O” stands for overcoming obstacles: “When God is calling us to make a necessary change in our lives, we are going to look at what stands in our way. Is it other people? Our own issues? Codependency? Our attitude? Satan is going to be attacking us at every turn, but we need to be prepared.” The third step, “U,” is about uncovering your real self. “It’s not who the world says we are, but who God says we are,” White says. “He is with us at every step and every turn to give us everything we need. When He calls us to do something, He is going to equip us to do it.” The “R” step allows someone to replace worldly lies with scriptural truth. This step has been instrumental in White’s own life and ministry. “Now when Satan tries to interject a lie into my life, I can say, ‘I reject that lie in the name of Jesus because the truth is...,’ and then I can recite the Scripture related to that,” White says. “When you


practice it, when you put God’s Word in, it’s going to come right back out. When we put God’s Word in, we begin to grow stronger and more courageous in a positive way.” “A” means to accept the things we cannot change. “I can’t change someone else,” White says. “I can’t fix my husband or my kids, but the one person I can change is myself. And with God’s help, I can see that He’s trying to change me, but I need to put that other person in God’s hands and pray for that person.” “G” is to grasp God’s love for you. “Satan wants to keep on perpetuating the lie that you aren’t worthy,” White says. “But no, we must grasp God’s true love for us, how He died on the cross, He gave His life, He shed His blood because He knew we could not do it on our own. We must really get in touch with God’s love.” And finally, “E” is to embrace a

life of grace. “We’ve got to have grace for others, so we receive God’s grace for ourselves,” White says. “This can be quite difficult and very challenging if you’ve been wounded. But if you begin to look at the other person as

“Breaking addic

physical or menta it’s often a superna led by the Ho a flawed human, a sinner in need of a Savior, ... it helps us to forgive other people when we understand what their background is.” White’s faith-driven formula may be a difficult prescription to follow, but the results allow for addicts of any kind to find the freedom they

JESSILYN LANCASTER is the managing editor of Movieguide.


crave delivered by the cross. But no matter what method is employed for freedom, the only solution to a problem this big must come from heaven. “This is an epidemic of unprecedented proportions,” Blackard says.

ction is not just a al issue. Instead, atural occurrence oly Spirit .” “There are 20 million substance abuse users in the United States, 12 million with opioids. Every seven minutes, someone dies from a drug overdose. ... We’ve got a serious problem that if we don’t address the whole person, including their spiritual life and their soul, we’re missing

a huge opportunity.” Ultimately, Blackard believes Spirit-filled Christians are uniquely positioned to help those caught up in addiction. That’s because they can introduce addicts to true freedom through a relationship with the greatest chain-breaker of all. “Christ is the transformer of all our lives, and He alone transforms addiction,” Blackard says. “...The Holy Spirit is very core to what we do, because we believe that, day in and day out, the Holy Spirit is the one that brings conviction, that brings refreshing and wisdom to our lives. The Holy Spirit engages and interacts with us on a dayto-day basis. So if you’re an addict needing that support and structure, the Holy Spirit is the first person to work with.” READ MORE: For more articles about Spirit-filled responses to drug addiction, visit addiction.charismamag.com.


| POWER

Whe th Wea Wi

Why God u insignifican might


en he ak in

uses the nt to do ty works

BY RYAN LeSTRANGE

W

hy would God limit Himself by choosing to operate through simple and often weak human beings? After all, He is God Almighty. He can use anybody or anything—and yet He chooses to work in the earth through people. The same people He created to bring praise and glory to His name have often abandoned and betrayed Him—and yet His love always remains. This is one of the most perplexing mysteries concerning His mind and ways. The gifted preacher Charles Spurgeon summed it up this way, “Though you have changed a thousand times, He has not changed once.” The Message paraphrase of Romans 8:31-39 paints such a profound picture of God’s unending love for us: “So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing Himself to the worst by sending His own Son, is there anything else He wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK-MEL-NICK


not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” We must understand that love was His motivation, love is His motivation, and love will always be His motivation. God’s love neither wavers nor expires. His love empowers our relationship with Him. He took the first step by sending Jesus even when we were in rebellion against Him. Properly understanding the deep and abiding love the Father has for us is critical in embracing our destiny.

Moses’ Calling

Deliverance is a demonstration of love. Love sets captives free, tears down demonic walls and

empowers purpose. God’s love in action brought the Hebrews out by the cloud and fire. In Egypt, God chose Jochebed to birth Moses, who would set captives free. Later, God anointed Moses, then camped out in the midst of His people with glory. No matter what wall Moses came up against, God was there. In fact, the toughest struggle in fulfilling our God-ordained destiny is dealing with our own human weaknesses and flaws. It becomes difficult to believe God can use us when we examine our strengths and weaknesses and our shortcomings overwhelm us. Moses experienced the same thing. In Exodus 4:10-17, God called Moses to speak on His behalf. He was to be God’s ambassador, representing His agenda on earth. But Moses had a problem: He had a speech impediment. Most theologians believe this problem was some type of stutter. When he argued with God about his condition, the Lord appointed Aaron to go with him. God already has answers and solutions for your mandate. This is


“Many powerful leaders end up shipwrecked when they

yield to a spirit of deception and begin to believe the

power belongs to them.” part of His mystery. God already knows who and what it will take to accomplish what He has assigned to you. He is just waiting on your yes so He can send everything you need. He is trying to stretch your faith beyond your perceived ability. He is trying to take you into deeper levels of surrender. He already has the right people and resources for your assignment. Why would God call a man to do the very thing he felt the least qualified to do, rather than call him to do something with his hands or his mind? This question arises when God breathes His majestic breath upon our lives. He inspires and commissions us to do seemingly impossible things. He declares purpose in the most vulnerable areas of our lives.

The Lord reminded Moses that it was He who made his mouth. He was pointing Moses away from his human weakness and putting the emphasis back on His power. He knew He was going to surround Moses with His glory and work supernatural miracles through him. He wasn’t looking for Moses’ human strength; He was looking for his surrender and his absolute trust. To anoint men and women for extraordinary works, God needs their total reliance. He needs them to look fully unto Him, not to their own abilities or gifts. Many powerful leaders end up shipwrecked when they yield to a spirit of deception and begin to believe the power belongs to them. The power is sovereignly held in the hands of God, released to men and women to steward, but their role is always to point the receivers back to the source.

The Power of Obedient Surrender

A self-reliant, self-promoting man or woman forgets to point people back to the origin. God


originated the power, the love and the grace. The deepest levels of surrender only empower reflection. This is a biblical principle. So let’s look at this through a few Scriptures. »»“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do. For whatever He does, likewise the Son does’” (John 5:19, MEV). »»“If you love Me, keep My commandments. I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, that He may be with you forever” (John 14:15-16). »»“Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10b). In each of these verses, there is a level of surrender and obedience. Jesus boldly declared that He was planted in the Father, and He only did that which He saw the Father do. Many people do not understand this principle, and instead, they bow to the spirit of the age, yielding to the belief that they must strive to get ahead. This is the spirit of the world in

operation. Unfortunately, it is common in the church too. Believers step on one another and trample over others to promote their gift, their ministry or their agenda. Jesus lived a surrendered life, and He had an unending flow of power. Many people want the power of God, but they fail to understand the price. The price is their will. The spirit of prophecy unveils the majesty of Jesus to men and women. Prophetic words and operations should always be pointing people back to the Lord, not to the vessel. Love empowers surrender and trust. We have become a generation that speaks loudly and shouts our love from the rooftops, but true love is proven through covenant actions. True love is sacrificial. This means giving up a personal desire for the ambition of the one you love. I could not think of a better way to describe the pathway of Christianity. It is a series of surrenders and exchanges. In Luke 9:23, Jesus describes Christianity as a daily surrender: “Then He said to them all, ‘If


anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’� Part of following Jesus was an exchange of ideas. We let go of our preconceptions to take on His way of thinking. We quit looking to do our own thing our own way, and instead, we yield to Him. For this reason and others, prayer is the lifeblood of Christian living; we need to be washed in His presence

to deal with our hearts and lay down the parts that try to rise against His will. It also allows Him to speak into us and relate fresh vision, hope and insight for the mandate He has given. Prayer is the fuel of obedience. In Philippians 4, Paul describes his journey of highs and lows, victories and attacks, as he served Christ as His apostle. He learned a master key: the ability released in


Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:13). Paul understood the power of covenant. I often describe covenant as a great exchange. We exchange our sin for His righteousness, our brokenness for His wholeness, our infirmity for His healing. Salvation is a great exchange. It empowers us to receive the full benefits of all Christ accomplished at the cross. We must view destiny through

“In the places you feel you have nothing to offer, God wants to take ‘the foolish things’ and use them ‘to confound the wise.’”

this lens. There is power available by and through Jesus Christ. When God calls us to do anything for Him, He has already provided the power. It is in Him, through Him and by Him. God chooses people who are seemingly weak in an area and wraps His strength around them.

He sends them to do something they feel unqualified to do. He wants to receive all the glory. If we go on an assignment we feel capable of doing without Jesus, we will not rely upon Him nor give Him glory. God chooses to use us in areas where we have no natural confidence. He aims to testify of His goodness through our lives. Acts 4:13-14 says, “When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were illiterate and uneducated men, they marveled. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing with them, they had nothing to say against it.” Peter and John were so surrendered to Jesus that uncommon power emanated from them. People knew they had been with Jesus because they were moving above and beyond their own natural abilities. This is the evidence of the glory! When the glory moves into your life, you move outside of your typical capacity. God wants to raise people up in His glory. He wants to commission businesses, birth churches


and release revelation in the glory. He wants to shake nations with the glory. The glory will send you, heal you and strengthen you. When you know God is calling you to move beyond your own ability into the arena of His miracle power, you will become dependent upon the glory. Peter and John reflected the weight of His majesty. Diseases were instantly healed as these two men manifested the presence of Jesus. Surrender carries presence. Surrendered people are uncommon, obedient, presence people.

Strength Through Weakness I often see preachers who are wise because of their studies and discipline. They can articulate profound concepts with ease because they have diligently prepared. They are master communicators, and yet many times there is a void of the residue of heaven. There is little or no demonstration of the power of the kingdom. They are functioning in their own strength. What would happen if God

challenged them to press outside of their comfort zone, to move into an unknown place? They would have to increase their level of dependence upon God, and the measure of the supernatural would exponentially increase. I believe God is looking for people and places where He can show His strength. I remember when I was new to the ministry, I visited a world-renowned ministry that hosted a daily healing school. I was amazed because people came from the nations to be taught and healed. They came both to hear and see. Such was the biblical ministry of Jesus: People did not just hear; they heard and saw! Everywhere Jesus went, there were miracles (Acts 10:38). Very few modern preachers have been able to live in such a realm. I know of some because I have studied them in my quest to understand the supernatural. One common thread I have found is that they paid a deep price to walk in such power. They had to sacrifice their own ambitions and plans. They had to face intense scrutiny from the


church, particularly the portion that does not believe in Spirit-filled ministry. They had to spend countless hours seeking God and pursuing His glory. They had to stand against many who mocked them. They had to give up their reputations and be willing to look foolish in the eyes of the world. This is the price of glory. It is surrender and laying your weaknesses bare. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul faced something he described as a thorn in the flesh. A demonic spirit was assigned to harass him everywhere he went to preach because he touched realms of revelation and demonstration that threatened the enemy’s kingdom. The enemy was opposing his mind and body in a futile attempt to get him to abandon course, to yield to the pressure. As Paul sought God, he was pointed back to grace. God was revealing a paradoxical mystery

here. His strength is made perfect in weakness. God’s majesty and power are drawn to our weakness. When we are honest, broken and transparent in the face of Jesus, His glory comes in full force. Moses had no confidence in his ability to speak, yet God chose him. Paul understood the Hebrews and could easily have spent his entire preaching career ministering to them because Judaism was his culture, yet God chose to send him to a people he did not understand. In weakness, these men found God’s might. This is one of the mysteries of destiny. God chooses to use unlikely, unqualified people, and He sends them into arenas where they have no ability. Why? Because He wants to receive the glory. He wants us to realize that it is by His power alone, and that when we live surrendered, there is absolutely nothing we cannot do. Our weaknesses make room for His strength! The areas where

RYAN LeSTRANGE i s an apostolic and prophetic revolutionary laboring to s work of ministries known as TRIBE Apostolic Network and the senior leader o


you lack self-confidence may be the very things heaven breathes upon. He wants to pour out His power and glory in the weak places. In the places you feel you have nothing to offer, God wants to take “the foolish things” and use them “to confound the wise” (1 Cor. 1:27b, KJV). Psalm 33:16-22 (MEV) says, “No king is saved by a great army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; it will not deliver by its great strength. The eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His lovingkindness, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart will rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be on us, just as we hope in You.” We are saved by His power. He

IF YOU LIKED THE ARTICLE, YOU’LL LOVE THE BOOK Ryan LeStrange’s new book unearths 15 mysteries that reveal how God is raising us up to do great things.

is turning our attention and our affection toward Him. He is calling us to move deeper into His majesty. He is speaking destiny and potential over the seemingly insignificant parts of our life. He is releasing us to world-changing destiny. God loves us unceasingly and is not bothered by our own limitations or weaknesses. We may not always know why He uses the weak, but we know with certainty that He does. Just as He came to Moses and breathed on the weak areas of his life, so He is doing in each of us.

see global awakening. He is the founder and apostolic leader of a global netof the iHub movement.


| COLLEGE


The Critical Years Why college should challenge the spirit along with the mind BY LEW WEIDER

COURTESY OF LIBERTY UNIVERSITY


C

ritical thinking is essential to a well-rounded college education. Students must be challenged to know not only what they believe but also why they believe it and why it is important. They must be challenged to question stereotypes and to evaluate everything they hear, read and observe without becoming a cynic. Reason and investigation are not enemies of faith. In Acts 17, the apostle Paul was preaching and teaching, and the people of Berea were open-minded about what he had to say. But they didn’t just accept everything they heard as fact. They were “daily examining the Scriptures, to find out if these things were so” (Acts 17:11b). Critical thinkers understand that having a right to an opinion does not mean that every opinion is right, including their

own. It’s good to have passionate beliefs while humbly considering the validity of those beliefs and engaging with the views of others. One must have a willingness not just to blindly adhere to traditions or accepted norms but also to seek truth. At Liberty University, students are encouraged to develop a clear defense for their faith, but to do so “with gentleness and fear” (1 Pet. 3:15b). While students are pursuing a degree, they also learn to take ownership of the beliefs they will carry with them inside and outside the classroom. Many students enter college with beliefs that have been instilled by their family and friends. They must examine the truth claims they were taught, whether religious or nonreligious. The challenge in modern culture is for students to avoid looking internally for truth but to

LEW WEIDER is the executive director of LU Serve and a professor at Liberty


look to God as the source of all truth. When students takes ownership of their beliefs, they won’t be as vulnerable to leave their faith and rely upon the truth claims of others. As an evangelical institution, Liberty provides an environment where students not only experience but also think through their faith. Going away to college can be both exhilarating and challenging, and navigating through these new life experiences should not be done in isolation. Finding a community of like-minded people to encourage and support one another is essential in the college years, and Liberty University offers multiple opportunities for the student body to meet together, worship together and grow in faith together. At some point, most students will ask themselves: How do I find

my purpose in life? College can be a great place to discover one’s purpose. Through classes and educational pursuits, students can learn what they are passionate about and how they can make a positive difference in the world. At Liberty, engaged faculty members understand that their students are going through one of the most pivotal times in their lives, so they are there for them not only academically but also to teach life lessons and provide spiritual encouragement along the way. Where a student attends college can alter the trajectory of their lives. They will thrive in an environment where critical thinking, ownership of one’s beliefs, a sense of community and a focus on finding their purpose can occur. At Liberty, we call this “training champions for Christ.” That phrase isn’t just our slogan—it’s our mission.

University’s John W. Rawlings School of Divinity.


S P I R I T- L E D Resources

Compiled by Taylor Berglund

The Prophetic Responsibility Matthew L. Stevenson III Charisma House

Plenty of people in the body of Christ are born with prophetic giftings, yet too often those giftings are not being trained. In The Prophetic Responsibility, Matthew L. Stevenson III exhorts and trains prophetic people to operate in their gift and help the larger church. Stevenson writes, “If God required prophets in the biblical past to speak forth His agenda, it surely will take prophets now and in the future to do it too. ... If men and women who are committed to the call of the prophetic do not rise up, we are going to lose a whole generation to the perverse agenda that is coming aggressively at America. We need prophets, and we need prophets to behave as such!�

Matthew L. Stevenson III


For more reviews, teachings and resources, click here.

Chonda Pierce: Unashamed Fuseic Entertainment

On May 7 and 9, 2019, Chonda Pierce’s documentary/ stand-up comedy special Unashamed played in theaters nationwide. Now you can take Pierce’s comedic stylings home with you on DVD. In addition to her usual comedy, Pierce interviews Christians who took a stand for their faith. She talks to Danny Gokey, Chonda the Benham Pierce Brothers, Mike Huckabee and even the Newsboys’ Michael Tait about how to follow God even when it isn’t popular.

CHARISMA HOUSE | COURTESY CHONDA PIERCE


S P I R I T- L E D Resources

Compiled by Taylor Berglund

Jesus in Me

How Happiness H

Anne Graham Lotz Multnomah

Max Lucado Thomas Nelson

The Holy Spirit is not simply a feeling, a spiritual “power up” or a wish-fulfiller. The Holy Spirit is a companion, a guide, a comforter and much more. In Jesus in Me, Anne Graham Lotz—daughter of Billy Graham—studies the person of the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture. Develop a greater understanding of the third person of the Trinity, and in doing so, develop a stronger relationship with the Spirit of God.

A 2017 Harris Poll fo third of Americans say Even worse: those 201 an improvement over Americans struggle to piness in everyday life looking for it in all the best-selling author Ma happiness should not After all, Jesus offers u Learn how to have las


Happens

ound that only oney they are happy. 17 numbers were 2016. Clearly, many o experience true hape—because they’re wrong places. But ax Lucado believes elude the believer. us life to the full. sting joy today.

For more reviews, teachings and resources, click here.

Your Battles Belong to the Lord Joyce Meyer FaithWords

Every day, you enter a spiritual battle. Are you prepared? Do you know your enemy? Do you know which fights are crucial turning points and which are unimportant? Do you have a steady supply of reinforcements and allies fighting alongside you? If you’re not sure, Joyce Meyer wants to help. Get equipped with the information, takeaways and encouragement you need to not just fight but win your wars.


S P I R I T- L E D Resources

Compiled by Taylor Berglund

The Story’s Not Over

The Cry

Jeremy Camp Capitol CMG

William McDowell Integrity Music

Jeremy Camp has had 40 No. 1 radio hits across all formats. Now, with his 12th album, The Story’s Not Over, Camp may be ready to get a few more. There’s his first single, “Dead Man Walking,” which catalogs his journey from being dead in sin to alive in Christ. There’s also “Should’ve Been Me,” which somberly reflects, “You bore the weight of my shame/ I know You didn’t deserve it/ And I know it should’ve been me.” Finally, there’s “Father,” a simple song of resting and finding identity in God.

William McDowell a ida-based church have supernatural healings, ence of God for three ments that experience worship album which most special and deep he’s been a part of. Re tion to the Nations Ch Tennessee, The Cry fea formances by Travis G Nicole Binion, and Tas


and his Orlando, Flore been experiencing , revival and the presyears now. He docue on The Cry, a live McDowell calls “the ply personal” recording ecorded at Redemphurch in Chattanooga, atures guest perGreene, David and sha Cobbs Leonard.

For more reviews, teachings and resources, click here.

When the Light Comes Big Daddy Weave Curb/Word

Mike Weaver, lead singer for Big Daddy Weave, said in a press release, “When we were working on songs for this new record, they were all written from a place of processing grief and sorrow. We were in a season of serious hurting.” From deaths in the family to cancer diagnoses, each member went through deep pain while recording this album. But the result is that the band’s eighth studio album might be its best yet. Don’t miss “Alive,” which channels Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:4-5.


S P I R I T- L E D Resources

Compiled by Taylor Berglund

Zach Williams

Rescue Story Zach Williams Provident

Zach Williams bu radio scene in 2016 back No. 1 hits “Cha Church Choir.” Two Is a Liar” and “Surv 3 on Billboard’s Chr Expectations are hi liams can do on his So is Rescue Story the next great chap liams rises to the ch his sound and show and lyrical artistry i

Where Chain Bre soft-rock Christian latest effort creativ soul, blues and gos simpler terms, if Ch Third Day, Rescue S tobreathe. Opener begins with Willia giving into the tem over a bed of folk declares “In this ru world, I’m gonna w dering drums cras evolves into some Praise”—a natural


urst onto the Christian 6 with the back-toain Breaker” and “Old o more singles, “Fear vivor,” made the Top hristian Airplay charts. igh to see what Wils second studio album. a sophomore slump or pter? Thankfully, Wilhallenge, iterating on wing greater musical in the process.

eaker mostly stuck to a radio sound, Williams’ vely blends folk, country, spel influences. Or in hain Breaker resembled Story channels Needr “Walk With You” ams contemplating mptations of the world ksy guitars—before he unning with the devil walk with You,” thunsh in and the song ething else. “Give Him progression from “Old

For more reviews, teachings and resources, click here.

Church Choir”—sees Williams presiding over a rowdy church revival, asking the audience to cry out “Glory, hallelujah,” “Yes, Lord” and “He’s so good!” Williams shows off incredible range on the brassy ballad “Slave to Nothing,” and the soulful piano-led finale “Face to Face” finds Williams imagining the glory of heaven: “No more sickness, no more madness, no more pain/ When we all see Jesus face to face.” All in all, it’s a strong artistic statement from an artist who already showed off his savvy songwriting skills on his debut. Not every song hits, but fans of Williams will not be disappointed, and he’s apt to win plenty of new devotees with Rescue Story. It’s hard to imagine improving on a debut that launched four hit singles, but if this album’s any indication, Williams is only getting started. —Taylor Berglund WILLIAMS/COURTESY OF ERIC BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY


PERSPECTIVE BY STEPHEN STRANG

Putting Things Into Spiritual Perspective

Why we need to view the upcoming presidential election through spiri

I

f you’re Pentecostal or charismatic, you are probably familiar with the phrase “spiritual warfare.” It’s a phrase we use to describe the unseen battle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. Everything we do has an effect on this spiritual battle, and spiritual forces have an effect on us as well. At times when we are under spiritual attack, we can feel an increased intensity or struggle to accomplish what we feel God has called us to do. I have found that the topic of spiritual warfare is so relevant to our culture and the upcoming election that I included a chapter about it in my latest book, God, Trump and the 2020 Election, from which this article is adapted. I wrote that book to help explain

what is happening spir Many Christians see the in our country as a sign fare. There are spiritual oversee various realms explains why charisma evangelical Christians s in our country and in Tr a spiritual battle. Even estants who usually avo such things as demonic vitriol has gotten so ex maybe there is spiritua In biblical terms, C they “wrestle not again but against principaliti against spiritual wicked


itual eyes

ritually in our nation. e current division n of spiritual warl beings assigned to s and territories. This atics and even many see what is going on Trump’s presidency as some mainline Protvoid acknowledging c spirits admit that the xtreme in America that al warfare behind it. Christians are told nst flesh and blood, ies, against powers ... dness in high places”

(Eph. 6:12, KJV). It’s like in Frank Peretti’s novel This Present Darkness, which allowed the reader to see the unseen evil forces influencing the fictional characters in the book. I like the way Daniel Kolenda, international missionary and successor to world-renowned evangelist Reinhard Bonnke as president and CEO of Christ for All Nations, explains where we got the phrase “spiritual warfare.” He wrote in his book Slaying Dragons: “Like many useful terms, the phrase ‘spiritual warfare’ does not appear in Scripture as such. The wording is instead rooted in the use of scriptural military analogies to describe the manner in which Christ followers are to prepare for and repel evil.” He then refers to Paul’s instruction to put on T I M K E L LY


spiritual armor in Ephesians 6 as probably the most famous example of this type of military word picture. He says this illustrates to Christians that we are to treat the battle between good and evil as a matter of life and death. I’m not a theologian. I’m a Christian journalist. And this is not a treatise on the supernatural. But as a Christian who is aware of this unseen world and someone who believes we have authority over these powers through the name and blood of Jesus, I could not write a book about all that is at stake for our country without shedding light on the very real struggle in the spiritual realm. It’s critical to look with spiritual eyes at America and our unlikely president, who stands strong for what I believe is right while experiencing unparalleled attacks that often defy reason. In fact, to me, the vengeance with which some people hate Trump can only be understood if seen in spiritual terms. Of course there are many examples of unspeakable evil that at least make sense when seen in

spiritual terms. Recogn makes it easier to unde a Hitler or why there ha places like Rwanda. You can understan things better when you God and Satan operate people. Kolenda explai

“The only w discern what in our nation spiritua

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STEPHEN STRANG i s founder of Charisma and author of the new bo

was excerpted. The book will be released Jan. 14, 2020, but you can


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nd these horrible u realize that both e in the earth through ins it this way:

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most when we fulfill the made us. That is why mself in such a way the earth without us. ot work without us. ppens in this world ople. Everything godly orld comes through

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

godly people. This is why Satan tempts people to sin. He has no real power in this world except what we, the gatekeepers, give to him.” So if we can accept that there is a devil and he influences humans to do his bidding, then we can conclude that people are subject to these spiritual authorities, even if they don’t understand what they are doing or why. Other books about Trump’s presidency or our country’s current affairs will likely explain everything in political or cultural terms. I believe, however, that the only way to truly discern what’s happening in our nation is through spiritual eyes. This is not a war between left and right or between Democrats and Republicans or even between President Trump and his political opponents. It’s spiritual warfare.

ook God, Trump and the 2020 Election, from which this column order it now on amazon.com.

Profile for Charisma Media

Charisma Digital November 2019  

Life in the Spirit - November 2019

Charisma Digital November 2019  

Life in the Spirit - November 2019