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Fire in My Bones, by J. Lee Grady

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Page 13 of 37

The #1 Reason Why Christian Marriages Fail

The Bible tells men to treat their wives as equals. But in a machismo culture, this is easier said than done.

Whenever I travel to Latin America I usually carry a pair of handcuffs in my suitcase. I use them as a visual aid when I’m preaching about the machismo attitude that is so prevalent in that region. I remind everyone in the audience that esposa, the word for wife in Spanish, is the same word used for handcuffs.

Esposas. Why would the word for wife be the same word for a form of bondage? Because women in many Latin countries suffer unthinkable abuse in the home. Puerto Rico, where I spoke last week, has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in Latin America, and many women die there every year at the hands of their partners. read more

Why Relational Discipleship Has Become My Priority

I’d rather invest in a few emerging leaders than preach to crowds of thousands. Here’s why.

Once when I was traveling in India a pastor made a tempting proposal. “If you come to our city, we will stage a big evangelistic campaign and invite thousands,” he said. “You can preach to all of them.” This man assumed I would be intrigued. After all, I could take photos of the big crowds and use them to brag later about how many people made decisions for Christ.

I didn’t accept the offer. Instead I gave the man a second option. “Let me spend three days with a small group of pastors,” I said. “Let me encourage them, and then they can go out and preach at the big meetings. They will do a much better job than I could.” read more

Spiritual Gifts, Spiritual Fruit and the Evidence of True Pentecost

Pentecost’s power is more than wind, fire and supernatural hoopla. Without love it is just noise.

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “Pentecostal”?

A. · · A woman with a beehive hairdo, support hose, Granny shoes and no makeup?
B. · · Someone rolling on the floor while speaking in tongues uncontrollably?
C. · · A slick-haired televangelist in a white suit who begs for donations?
D. · · A sour-faced Christian who looks like he just sucked all the juice out of a lemon?
E.···· A sincere Christian who passionately loves God and people and believes in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit?

I wish we all could answer E., but we Pentecostals have an image problem. I’m not ashamed of the word itself, but I don’t use it as a label because the bad stereotypes (A., B., C. and D.) have just about ruined it for the rest of us. Many people associate Pentecostals with dry legalism, fanaticism, charlatanism and downright hatefulness. read more

Lord, Send the Wind of a Fresh Pentecost!

In the days leading up to the Global Day of Prayer, let’s bombard heaven on behalf of the United States.

Twelve years ago a South African businessman, Graham Power, felt God nudge him to organize a prayer gathering in the city of Cape Town. About 45,000 Christians responded to the call by jamming into a rugby stadium in March 2001 to intercede for their nation.

That was the beginning of the Global Day of Prayer, an event that will likely involve millions of Christians in 220 nations on Pentecost Sunday, May 27. This year organizers are encouraging people to extend their prayers for 10 days prior to the event, beginning on May 17. They are also urging pastors to fuel the prayer with sermons about the necessity of the Holy Spirit’s power. read more

Discipleship Is Not a Dirty Word

Reclaiming the process of discipleship will require a total overhaul of how we do church.

I get funny looks from some charismatic Christians when I tell them I believe God is calling us back to radical discipleship. Those in the over-50 crowd—people who lived through the charismatic movement of the 1970s—are likely to have a bad taste in their mouths when it comes to the dreaded “D word.”

That’s because the so-called Discipleship Movement (also known as the Shepherding Movement) turned a vital biblical principle into a weapon and abused people with it. Churches that embraced the warped doctrines of shepherding required believers to get permission from their pastors before they bought cars, got pregnant or moved to a new city. Immature leaders became dictators, church members became their loyal minions, and the Holy Spirit’s fire was snuffed out because of a pervasive spirit of control. read more

New Wine, Old Wineskins and the Fear of Change

The Lord wants to unleash a gushing river of new wine into the church today, but we must leave some things behind.

A woman from Orlando, Fla., was in the news last month because she decided to retire from driving her 1964 Mercury Comet. Rachel Veitch, who is 93, bought the car new for $3,300 when gasoline cost 29 cents a gallon. Today the light yellow car, which Veitch calls “Chariot,” has 567,000 miles on it.

That’s great news for Veitch—who will probably get $44,000 for the antique car because she took such good care of it. But whoever buys it will either store it in a fancy garage or display it at an auto show. There are not too many miles left on this relic of the past. read more

God’s Answer to Racial Profiling

Trayvon Martin was not a criminal because he was black and wearing a hoodie. And I’m not a racist because I’m white.

We will have to wait months to find out how jurors in Florida will rule in the Trayvon Martin case. Did his accused assailant, George Zimmerman, act in self-defense when he shot the unarmed boy? Or did Zimmerman kill Martin because he just assumed any young black man walking through a gated neighborhood wearing a hoodie is a dangerous criminal?

Trayvon’s case should cause all of us to check our hearts. We’ve all been guilty of making unfair judgments. Many of us stereotype people unconsciously. read more

Reclaiming True Friendship in the Facebook Age

Technology has connected us superficially. But the Holy Spirit can knit us together supernaturally.

Two weeks ago I attended a men’s retreat in Georgia with some of my closest friends. Chris, Eddie, Rick, Michael, Ray, Robert, Medad, Quentin and James were in the audience with 120 other guys. We spent 2 1/2 days together—worshipping, attending teaching sessions, praying in small groups and eating our meals together. Nobody wanted to go home. It felt like heaven because we enjoyed being together so much. read more

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