Ministry News

Page 8 of 75

Why Are Liberals So Afraid of Prayer?

by Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr.

The need for the nation to pray about her problems would be high on my grandmother's to-do list. In fact, she often said, "Prayer changes things!" As a black woman who was also part Native American, she was very proud to achieve the status of licensed practical nurse.

She was a natural caregiver whose profession was simply an extension of the way her mother before her had lived out her faith—visiting the sick and shut-ins her church. Her generation saw America change because of a non-violent civil rights movement that was fueled by civil disobedience and the power of prayer. Her personal life also changed because of prayer and faithfulness. In fact, she lived long enough to see her four daughters and her 15 grandchildren all graduate from college. Two of us even attended a prestigious Ivy League graduate school, with one of her grandsons becoming the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Perhaps political liberals believe that the religious right will be emboldened or strengthened, if they are allowed to pray in public places or on special national holidays. Or maybe they believe that some form of psychological harm will befall those who are not attached to one of the many Christian denominations. Contrary to the public myths, everyone is encouraged to pray to the God of their own religious tradition. More importantly, acts of hatred, name-calling, or intolerant public jeering have never occurred at one of these prayer events.

It seems to me that the great faith of our leaders has not drawn the nation to prayer. Instead the huge needs of the nation have always driven men of faith and goodwill to pursue divine intervention. As I mused on this, I came upon a prayer offered up to God on behalf of the U.S. people in June of 1944. I have included just a snippet of this prayer:

"Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith. Read more...

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy

Martin Luther King Jr. Day was celebrated nationwide yesterday, when my good friend, Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., wrote an outstanding article on the legacy of the civil rights leader and preacher. Click here to read and comment on Bishop Jackson's column.

Bishop Jackson is the guest editor of the January-February issue of Ministry Today, now available.

With the theme of social transformation, the issue coincides with the political season, which many are saying is the most important presidential election of our lifetime.

Because the primary season leading up to the presidential election is upon us, I wanted an issue on political activism. But Bishop Jackson exceeded expectations. He invited other outstanding authors such as Chuck Colson, David Barton and Tony Perkins to write, and the end result is something much more powerful—an issue on social transformation, which involves being involved politically. Read it and be transformed, so you can in turn transform society.

You can read my "A Call to the Church For Social Transformation" introductory article about Bishop Jackson in the magazine's latest issue by clicking here.

Now is the ideal time to subscribe to Ministry Today. We're currently offering a special promotion that includes a free ESV (English Standard Version) Thinline Bible with a paid subscription. Click here  to subscribe to Ministry Today. Read more...

A Tribute to Jamie Buckingham

In February, we will focus our Ministry Today website and e-newsletter on the life and work of Jamie Buckingham. He was not only one of the most influential leaders in the charismatic renewal for many years, but was the editor of Ministry Today at his untimely death in February 1992—nearly 20 years ago.

Jamie, who died at age 59, was senior pastor of the 2,000-member Tabernacle Church in Melbourne, Fla., a nondenominational church he founded in 1967. He wrote dozens of books, among them the biographies of charismatic leaders Kathryn Kuhlman (Daughter of Destiny), Nicky Cruz (Run Baby Run) and Pat Robertson (Shout It From the Housetops).

Join us as we celebrate the life and legacy of this great man who was also my friend and mentor. As we pay tribute to Jamie next month, please feel free to send us anything about Jamie or his influence on your life. You can send them to our staff editor Eric Tiansay (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). Read more...

Check Out Charisma Media's New App

If you received an iPad for Christmas, we've got an extra gift for you: Subscribe to Charisma Digital then download our free Charisma Media app. With your subscription, you'll receive a log in to view back issues as well as our most current issue of Charisma Digital.

After nearly two years of research, development and approval processes with Apple, Charisma magazine finally arrived on the iPad last month. Our vision for reaching the nations for Christ through advanced technology now continues on yet another platform.

For 24 issues, it's now only $19.95. Along with your paid Charisma digital magazine subscription, you will receive a free digital subscription for a limited time to Ministry Today magazine.

Charisma's digital magazine experience ranks among the top secular and Christian magazines. Each issue is loaded with exclusive digital-only features, videos, podcasts and photo galleries in addition to our print magazine articles.

How to get Charisma on your iPad:

1. Subscribe to Charisma Digital online by clicking here, and create your username and password for full access to Charisma Digital.

2. Open the iPad Newsstand store.

3. Search for "Charisma" or "Charisma Media."

4. Download the free Charisma Media app. (Internet connection and iTunes account required.)

5. Sign in with your Charisma Digital username/password and download individual issues, with more added every two weeks.

Charisma Digital will also be available soon on other tablets, including Barnes & Noble's Nook and Amazon's Kindle. Read more...

Defying Political Labels: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy

by Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr.

Guest Editor of the January-February 2012 issue of Ministry Today, with the theme of Social Transformation

On Oct. 16, the new memorial for Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) was finally completed. There was only one problem with the work: The wrong words were carved on the statue. The tone of the phrase misrepresented "the spirit" of the fallen leader. After a huge controversy, the memorial leadership decided to change the writing on the statue.

This change was legitimate. Unfortunately, an illegitimate expression occurred this past week. Politico reported that Tavis Smiley had been disinvited from the 20th annual MLK luncheon, hosted by the Peoria Civic Center. Why? Mr. Smiley has said publicly that President Obama had not done enough for black Americans, which, according to the center, upset some people. He was replaced by reliable liberal Michael Eric Dyson.

In later interviews, Mr. Smiley noted that only a small handful of the 1,500 ticket holders for the event complained about his comments, resulting in his ouster from the luncheon. He also made it clear that he supports President Obama, but as a journalist feels obligated to hold him accountable for his actions in office. While I may disagree with Mr. Smiley on some issues, I certainly agree that his honest appraisal of President Obama's performance should not disqualify him from speaking at a luncheon honoring Dr. King.

In fact, Smiley's dismissal from the event dishonors Dr. King's legacy of holding all political leaders accountable for their actions and judging people based on their character, rather than their skin color. As I have written before, this is yet another example of the totalitarian attempts at thought control by leaders in the black community who purport to speak for Dr. King and African-Americans in general. We blacks who refuse to kowtow to the extreme left are not only disinvited from events, but often publicly excommunicated from our own race. Read more...

Charming The Cobra: Education and Race

by Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr.

Much political noise has been made about providing grants and/or loans for higher education. For minorities, these programs are seen as invitations for full participation in the American system. Many Americans believe changing the higher education equation for minorities is the only way to "level the playing field" economically for America's minorities.

More specifically, liberals often believe solving the education conundrum is mandatory for our future. Conservatives, however, almost universally declare that the education gap can be addressed by neither federal programs nor funding. They both are probably correct in this situation.

Solving America's education gap is tantamount to our nation fighting a cobra. In cobra fighting, you have two choices. First, you can charm the cobra (typically by playing music), and prevent him from striking you today. Secondly, you can choose to attack him like Rikki Tikki Tavey, the mongoose of Rudyard Kipling fame, and solve your problem permanently. Dealing with our educational woes at the university level, while the majority of minority children are vastly unprepared for life, simply charms the cobra.

To kill the cobra of educational inequities in America, we must begin in pre-elementary school. Although we can do important work at every stage of the educational process, our problem is that no one wants to wait the 20-30 years it will take to reform a system. I want to sound an alarm concerning our urgent national need to improve the education of minority students. Further, I want to advocate that resources and focus be directed primarily at charter schools.

Let me explain. While the nation's high school dropout rate for black and Latino students is 43 percent, in urban centers like Detroit it is as high as 80 percent. This does not mean these young people will never graduate. It simply means they do not graduate on time. Unfortunately, academic failure is only the indicator of much greater problems. Read more...

The Church as a Prophetic Voice

by Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr.

I am often asked why I spend so much time engaging in the moral battles of our day. My critics see my work outside the pulpit as crass political pandering or fleshly power grabs.

They often are joined by a host of folks in our culture who want to renounce the religious right. These peace-loving believers have not been able to identify with angry, self-appointed spokespersons who have historically dominated the media.

Despite the excesses of some of our forerunners, the church dare not withdraw in monklike fashion from the public square.

Christians are called to perform a "prophetic" role in modern-day culture. What does that mean? In both the Old Testament and New Testament, prophets were charged by God to deliver important messages to their contemporaries. They served as God's conscience to those they were sent to.

In addition to speaking their messages, these prophets often demonstrated them to the culture in which they lived. They were like walking, talking billboards placed at key intersections in their nation to relay God's messages.

It wasn't always a comfortable lifestyle. Isaiah went around naked. John the Baptist wore the most unusual clothes.

I'm not calling for bizarre or spooky behavior, but I am asking Christians to recognize that we all have prophetic assignments. We have been called to speak and live out the truths of God—right where we live and work.

We cannot sit by idly and watch the nation roll over a cliff. We must cry out a warning and model the Lord's priorities.

The best scriptural example of the folly of noninvolvement is seen in the book of Ezekiel. The majority of the prophets of Ezekiel's day did not get involved in the major social problems of the nation. The Lord figuratively referred to Israel's cultural problems in Ezekiel's day as "breaches in the wall."

Ezekiel 13:4-5 reveals the problem: "O Israel, your prophets are like foxes in the deserts. You have not gone up into the gaps to build a wall for the house of Israel to stand in battle on the day of the Lord" (NKJV). Read more...

A New Communion of Churches Committed to Evangelistic and Prophetic Action

by Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr.

On June 10, 2011, the International Communion of Evangelical Churches (ICEC)—a new communion of churches—was formed. This confederation has been organized by a multi-racial and multi-cultural group of churches to address the problems that blight the urban landscape, both in the U.S. and around the world.

Our vision is to raise up churches with a mission to transform the cultures in which they operate. Our historic model is the work of John Wesley and others who created a movement that eventually came to be known as the Great Awakening. While remaining true to the biblical mandate to win souls and to care for the poor, our confederation of like-minded, independent churches will collaborate and deploy resources to transform their cities, states and nations.

In addition to prioritizing relevant, evangelical preaching designed stir a back-to-the-Bible movement in the U.S., the communion will also speak out on cultural trends and public policy issues of the day. In the spirit of John Wesley and the first Great Awakening, it is imperative that the church transcends race and politics to address the pivotal issues we face as a society.

Too often the church in America has been guilty of taking a very myopic view when addressing the issues of righteousness and justice. On one hand, the "Christian Right" has focused on personal, moral or righteousness issues, while dismissing issues regarding biblical justice. On the other hand, a great number of African-American and minority-led churches have been mostly vocal on issues pertaining to biblical justice, poverty and civil rights, while being absent on those relating to righteousness.

The church in America is too divided and is in desperate need of racial reconciliation. Therefore, a strong visual demonstration of unity is required to speak to the world—"The church of Jesus Christ has been called forth under God from every nation tribe and tongue to be one with Him." Jesus clearly stated this visual demonstration of oneness in the church would indelibly mark the psyche of an irreligious world and prove to humanity that God indeed sent Jesus into the earth.

The ICEC will merge with several networks of Christian organizations and ministries from around to world to become, in a pragmatic sense, a network of networks. This new wineskin will provide a clear vision, practical strategic plan and straightforward message for dealing with the issues of righteousness and justice around the world. Read more...

Respecting God's Gift of Life

by Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr.

In early 2010, Catherine Davis and her Atlanta-based Georgia Right to Life (GRTL) organization launched a groundbreaking effort to stop the egregious number of black abortions in their state. The organization decided to use billboards to present its case for life—that's right—billboards.

The 80-billboard campaign permeated the skyscape of Atlanta. Because of its scale, the campaign was nothing less than cutting-edge innovation. The billboards read, "Black children are an endangered species." The words encircled the face of an adorable black child. In addition to the message, the only Web address listed was  "toomanyaborted.com."

At the website, the message was very clear. Their research and statistics were complete. The editorials were also compelling. The Georgia Right to Life group had designed a sophisticated communications vehicle. Yet, it all started with a winsome message from the billboards. The graphics experts say that billboards can only effectively use seven words—just seven words and a visual impression. Therefore, the designers tastefully showed the innocence of a beautiful black baby.

This campaign was controversial, not because of its effect on Atlanta drivers or the average Joe. Changing lives by saying, "Respect yourself!" should hardly be controversial. The controversy aroused from their effectiveness as record numbers of black girls are going to their Website. Angry pro-abortion groups and Planned Parenthood have attempted to label GRTL as "deceptive." GRTL was also accused of working against the best interests of young black women. Some even have demeaned Catherine Davis as, you guessed it, a "sell out."  Once again in opponents' minds, the "naive black crusader" was being used by white extremists. In response to pro-abortion advocates, Davis had also been pitted against them on CNN, NPR and in a recent New York Times article.

Despite opponents' vitriol, GRTL's work was both tasteful and historic. How was it historic? First, its anti-abortion message was direct and hard-hitting. Second, targeting blacks so directly, without condemnation, was revolutionary. This was a major course correction in anti-abortion marketing. As a result, it was finally piercing the cultural veil over the issue of abortion in the black community. Read more...

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders

Newsletters from Charisma

Stay in touch with the news, bloggers and articles that you enjoy.