Life

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Joel Hunter: 5 Prayers God Always Answers

How is a guy supposed to pray? These five prayers are simple, and they always get results!

Prayer is tough for men. We like to have the answers before we talk, even to God. We are not much for "processing out loud" like our female counterparts. And we don't like to get turned down, discovering that what we were asking for was not in the will of God. It's not that we get mad at God, but we think, How could we not have known that?

On the other (folded) hand, we don't want a wimpy prayer life that is so general we can't tell whether it was God who answered, or it was just a good bet on our parts. Safe prayers are like bikes with training wheels: We think we are being grown-up in our faith, when we are really immature.

Immature faith doesn't want to risk a fall so it only prays prayers that (in the flesh) have a good chance of success without God's intervention. Success may even rest on some human device. read more

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Break Free of Satan's False Accusations

There has been much that has occurred in this season that could cause our hearts to faint, and fear seems to be on the horizon each day of our lives. However, we must continue to persevere in faith, knowing that God is in complete control at all times. Though lawlessness appears to prevail at times, we are given grace to persist and develop our faith in God. Our Lord is the God of Light and He will light our pathway which continually leads to life. Let us recall a few Scriptures that give us hope in this season.

James 1:16-18 reminds us that the Father of heavenly lights gives only good and perfect gifts and that He is the God of truth:

"Don't be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created" (NIV, with emphasis). read more

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What is the Real Meaning of Blessing and Prosperity?

The subject of blessing and prosperity has become very controversial among those in the church. We want to be blessed and live the abundant life Christ died to give us, yet we don’t want to approach God as if He is a lottery or a slot machine—if you put in the right amount of prayer, praise, worship, faith and good works, out comes your blessing. But for some, that is all they see God as, and they get beside themselves when He doesn’t come through the way they wanted Him to.

Blessing and prosperity are more than money. According to Strong’s Complete Concordance of the Bible, one Hebrew word for prosperity is shalom. We often associate the word shalom with peace, but the peace that Christ went to war for on the cross is a complete, whole kind of peace. Also according to Strong’s, shalom is “completeness, soundness, welfare and peace.” It represents completeness in number and safety and soundness in your physical body. Shalom also covers relationships with God and with people. read more

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Our Banana Tree Christmas

"Christmas is the time when nothing ought to change.”

Our newly married daughter, Liz, put into words what all of us were feeling. We had come from our home in New York state to spend the holidays with her and her husband, Alan, in their new apartment in Tucson, Ariz. Outside, on Christmas Eve, cactus-wrens hopped about the mesquite bushes beneath a glorious desert sky, while indoors the four of us gulped iced tea and thought of pine woods and falling snowflakes.

“Home in Leicester,” Alan recalled of his Massachusetts upbringing, “we’d generally go skating about now.”

“And tonight there’d be the midnight service at St. Mark’s!” Liz said. “Remember, Mom and Dad, how you can see your breath, walking in from the parking lot?”

We did remember. We wanted every time-hallowed tradition just as it always had been. No changes. Not at Christmas. read more

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Frank Pastore Dies From Motorcycle Crash Injuries

Frank Pastore, a Christian radio host and author of the 2010 memoir Shattered: Struck Down, But Not Destroyed, died Dec. 17—nearly a month after suffering serious head injuries from a motorcycle crash in Duarte, Calif. Pastore, 55, had been in a coma since the Nov. 19 accident.

"I just lost my beautiful husband," Pastore's wife, Gina Pastore, told the Inland Daily Bulletin. "But it's comforting to know he's home with the Lord now. People are calling in [to his radio show] and crying and mourning with us.

"I want to thank so many people for their outpouring of love and support," she added. "That's really helped to sustain our family during this difficult time." read more

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Your Pastor Is Under ATTACK! What Will You Do?

Hell has unleashed a coordinated assault against spiritual leaders. Are you willing to provide extra prayer covering to protect them?

I wasn't feeling especially spiritual--I was just trying to decide which carpet color I liked best. But God had other plans for me that afternoon.

Jerry, a stout 60-year-old flooring salesman, had come into my office to show me some carpet for our church. We had never met, so we chatted briefly about his business.

After a quick orientation on material and pricing options, I dove into the bulky sample books he had plunked down on my desk. I think I was considering the virtues of a soft geometric pattern when I looked up and was caught completely by surprise: read more

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Did You Miss This in the News?

Check out some links below to recent stories from Charisma News that you'll find interesting and informative. You can also sign up to receive stories on your smart phone by signing up for the free Charisma News app by clicking here.

Educators Hopeful Over Future of Christian Colleges
Would US Fiscal Cliff Lower Charitable Contributions?
'God Day' Calls on Remnant to Spark Orlando, Fla., Revival
Why Revival Is Exploding Among Muslims
Los Angeles Revival Spreads to Azusa Street read more

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Worship Leaders: Keep the Gospel at the Forefront

As worship leaders, writing and arranging songs for congregational singing is something most of us hold, or would like to hold, as a value. (By writing I mean creating an original song. By arranging I mean taking an already existing song, typically a hymn, and altering it instrumentally and on the very rare occasion, adjusting the melody).

Even if we don’t have the most talented musicians or the most expressive group of people to lead, music matters because it’s part of our calling, to proclaim the gospel through music. So we do the best we can with the people and resources God has given us.

At the same time, music can’t be the primary focus.

What always takes precedent over the music is the gospel. We aren’t going to make the gospel sound any better than it already is, so our goal in writing music or arranging songs must be approached with humility and with a desire to call attention to the creator—not the created. Arranging and writing music can be fun, but it’s not essential. read more

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Men’s Ministry Receives Wake-up Call

Every Man Ministries and Kenny Luck have created a pair of Sleeping Giant programs to activate vibrant men’s ministry. Centered around supporting the vision of the local church, the Sleeping Giant Total Solution uses state-of-the-art technology via the definitive EveryManMinistries.com website to offer continuous strategy, video sessions, networking and engagement for churches of all sizes and denominations.

Every Man Ministries, founded by best-selling author and Men’s expert Kenny Luck, developed the Sleeping Giant model after over a decade of research and work with ministries across the globe.  Now, this proven method of moving men from the Crowd to the Core is available to all churches, ministries and small groups with the launch of two separate web-based programs: Sleeping Giant Core and Sleeping Giant Flex.

Sleeping Giant Core is a one-year program filled with strategy, content and coaching designed to help pastors move men from simply being a part of the crowd into the core leadership that revolutionizes the health of their church and community for years to come. Developed and tested inside churches of all denominations and sizes, the Sleeping Giant Core offers churches a plan to launch, cultivate, sustain and renew their men’s community to engage with the vision of the pastor, without increasing the salary budget. read more

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Evangelist, Pioneer Mary Ellen Strong Passes at 91

Evangelist, prophet and teacher Mary Ellen Strong, a pioneer in black media and marketing, died last week of heart failure at her California home. She was 91.

“She was the first in so many things,” said Jerrel Jones, her son. “She did have the pioneering spirit.”

Articulate and humorous, on numerous radio stations and television programs including The 700 Club, Strong's messages were delivered with the authority of knowing her secure position in Jesus Christ. She was a trailblazer for change and improvement across the globe; known to stand up with great boldness to rulers and laymen.

Born Mary Ellen Brady on June 4, 1921 in Milwaukee, Wis., she married James Strong, an attorney and U.S. diplomat to Gambia who worked with a number of major corporations, in 1970. He was a former marketing executive with the Kellogg Corp. After his death, she married Andrew Gaines, the father and manager of the late singer Donna Summer. read more

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The Biggest ‘Ministry Impact’ the Secular Media Never Heard Of

There are a few marquee ministries the mainstream media covers—if only critically. Yet there are some major ministries doing significant things around the world.

Of course it is well known to my Charisma readers, but outside Christian circles few have heard of the International School of Ministry (ISOM) headed by Berin Gilfillan, shown here with me at NRB in Nashville last winter. Dr. Berin Gilfillan is the CEO & founder of ISOM. Formerly the television producer for Reinhard Bonnke, Gilifillan was trained at Regent University and Fuller Theological Seminary. His ministry is based in Redlands, CA.

It is well known to our readers because about three times every year, ISOM places an ad on the back page of Charisma or Ministry Today. When I learned of their exponential worldwide growth, from a few hundred training schools in 2000 to more than 15,000 training sites today in 142 nations, I wanted to find out more. Berin told me each year he adds about 1,000 new ISOM schools “and we have found no better place to expose our vision than these two Charisma Media publications.” read more

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Don’t Navigate the Valley of Grief Alone

There is something about the holiday season that amplifies our feelings. When we are having a good year, we see God’s joy and blessing around every corner.

But then there are the years of loss. This season, there will be people in your church who are grieving deeply. In fact, that person might be you.

Grief has many causes; from the loss of a loved one to the loss of a job. The holiday season seems to also bring out the loss of dreams, and desperation of what might never be.

In this article, I won’t be able to help you make people feel better. Grief is a deep valley that must be traversed at different times of life. However, you should find some new tools here that will help you love the people you walk with in tangible ways and give you the insight to share God’s perspective. read more

God Desire for Us: Live Right, Live Well

God created and gave us times of respite for a specific purpose that’s worth taking seriously

Scripture tells us that work is one of the things God created man to do. Effort and productivity are expected in every area of our lives. Parents strain to bring children into the world, and then for the next 20-plus years must midwife their proper acclimation into society. Businesspeople must produce materials and services that serve the public while making a profit. Pastors ... well, they seem to have no end to their job description! Whatever the responsibility, work seems to incessantly demand our attention. Yet, if regular moments of respite are not prioritized, both quality and quantity of life can diminish.

Craig Sawchuk, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, debunks the idea that more work necessarily means a more productive life. After thousands of hours of research, He concluded that, “If you establish a more balanced lifestyle, enjoying your leisure can in fact improve the quality and quantity of your work.” read more

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Who is Playing the Race Card?

My article “Open Letter to My Black Evangelical Friends” elicited some very helpful comments along with words of affirmation and, unfortunately, a number of very ugly comments. The thoughts of many hearts were certainly revealed!

Is it possible that some of the readers were not aware of the great love and respect I have for my black brothers and sisters and that it was out of love and respect that I asked some pointed questions? Is it possible that some readers wrongly viewed me as some kind of white supremacist, completely misreading my words and my intent? Perhaps I assumed too much about our unity in Jesus?

Thankfully, I did receive a number of very insightful comments, and that is the best place to start. (The only comments I will be citing were those that were made, to the best of my knowledge, by my black brothers and sisters.) read more

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Kenny Luck Ignites Sleeping Giant Movement to Wake Up Christian Men

For years, Kenny Luck has witnessed Men’s Ministry in local churches leaving men unengaged and unfulfilled. The best-selling author’s heart is to see that trend cease.

Luck, an ECPA platinum award-winning author of the God’s Man and Every Man Series and pastor of Men at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, has launched the definitive website for Christian men in conjunction with the Sleeping Giant Total Solution, a proven Men’s Ministry model.

EverymanMinistries.com has ignited a grassroots movement from within that equips the local church to use modern technology to create a spiritual phenomenon: Strong men of God who will look to impact their families and the culture around them. read more

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AG Hispanic Churches Struggle With 'Culture Shock'

For many decades, Spanish-speaking Assemblies of God churches could typically be described as predominately Mexican and Mexican-American churches where all services were held in Spanish. Today, some see Hispanic churches as resembling close-knit families who share a similar heritage and culture. For many generations, those descriptions and assumptions would have been mostly correct.

Yet now, to the surprise of even some Hispanic churches, the “melting pot” that is the United States is making itself known and providing a “culture shock” for some Hispanic churches that goes beyond the nearly inevitable clash of generations.

“Just like most churches, Hispanic churches typically minister to several generations within their congregations,” says Efraim Espinoza, director of AG Office of Hispanic Relations. “So, they have the expected generational differences to work through.” read more

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Christians Can Govern from the Prayer Closet

Election Day ... it did it again! The results produced myriad emotions ranging from convulsive joy in some to severe depression in others.

I’m fascinated every time I see our democratic process unfold. The fact that we, the people, actually get to elect the leaders of our nation intrigues me. But we have learned to put so much hope in government that people are often crushed beyond measure if their candidate loses or relieved beyond reason when their candidate wins. Both emotional extremes are unnecessary since Scripture suggests that no matter who wins an election for office, we can still win.

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people­—for kings and all those in authority—that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4, NIV). read more

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Attention Americans: Prayer Urgently Needed

As the chairman of the board of governors for 40 Days to Save America, I am humbled to lead in a season of prayer.

In what could be the most momentous election of our lifetime, everyone wants to know, “Who will lead America for the next four years?” The answer should be obvious: He who has led us for the past 236 years of our national existence—the Lord God Almighty!

The vast majority of people in America realize and acknowledge that no one but God can save her. That’s why many have concluded that nothing short of a national awakening will do—hence, a call for prayer, fasting and action.

Choosing a president, members of Congress and governors is a sobering responsibility, especially given the multiple crises with which our nation is confronted. These men and women wield enormous power over the citizenry. The can confront the forces of evil that stalk us domestically and internationally, or ignore them. Our moral free-fall can continue, or they can call America back to its founding principles. read more

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Wars of the Spirit

One night, exhausted from a hard week of work, I got in the bathtub to relax my tired body while my wife, Kathy, lay sick in her eighth month of pregnancy. An hour later, I started to get out of the tub. But as I stood up, an intense thought hit me: I am going to die!

The thought caused panic to rush through my whole being like stampeding cattle. My entire body trembled as my heart pounded out of my chest. Strength drained from my limbs as I fell back into the water, shouting desperately for Kathy to help me. She rushed into the bathroom where I lay helpless. I managed to mumble something about having a heart attack. She strained to help me out of the bathtub, and then she ran into the kitchen to call our family doctor.

He relayed a few questions to me and concluded that I was having a panic attack, not a heart attack. Little did I know that this was the beginning of a journey through a living hell.

That first panic attack initiated a constant state of fear in me. All throughout the day, high levels of anxiety overwhelmed my soul like waves crashing on the seashore in a violent storm.  read more

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Pentecostal Founder of Earth Day Passes at 97

John McConnell, Jr., the Pentecostal founder of Earth Day, passed away on Oct. 20, in Denver. He was 97 years old. 

McConnell’s grandfather was at the Azusa Street Revival and his parents were founding members of the Assemblies of God.

Following the Kennedy assassination, McConnell’s Minute for Peace gained worldwide attention. This led to his Earth Day and other initiatives aimed at promoting people and planet. In this book, Peace, Justice, Care for Earth, he shares the views that garnered support during the environmental movement from 1969 onward, and that have inspired followers for 40 years at annual Earth Day ceremonies at the United Nations (UN) and cities across the globe. read more

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