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Don’t Quench the Spirit’s Fire!

If you want to avoid becoming an old wineskin, make sure to keep these five hindrances out of your life.

I got some funny looks 11 years ago when I told people that I planned to be ordained in a mainline Pentecostal denomination. Most of my friends were supportive when I explained that I made this decision because I was looking for accountability and spiritual mentors. But critics told me I was aligning myself with “an old wineskin.” In their opinion, any church group that is more than 30 years old has outlived its usefulness and become a religious fossil.

I chose to reject the fossil argument—mainly because (1) I know God has the power to renew His people no matter how old their group is, and (2) even young organizations can become religious and ineffective, regardless of how trendy and culturally relevant they pretend to be. read more

Why we are rebranding Strang Communications as Charisma Media

February 1 is a significant day for our company. It's the day we drop the name "Strang Communications" which we have been using for nearly 30 years and go by our new name: Charisma Media. We've sent out "news releases" so you may have heard about this. But I decided to send this to you because I felt you would be interested.

I shared "my heart" in a column in the February issue of Charisma and told why, as the founder of this company, I feel led to make this change. The easiest way for me is to let you read my actual column below. And then below that is the press release we sent out which has the "who, what, when, where and why" journalistic angle to the story for those of you who are interested. read more

What the Scroll Can’t Contain

Almost 1,000 years ago, a rabbi in Germany wrote a poem amid what was probably the threat of mass execution for his entire Jewish community. Fast-forward hundreds of years and a portion of that poem wound up scribbled on the walls of an insane asylum. read more

Acorns from Heaven?

Normally my yard does not crunch when I walk in it. So I got curious in November when I started hearing a distinctive crunching sound everywhere I went. I discovered that the oaks in Florida were producing an abundant crop of acorns—up to four times the normal amount, in fact. Acorns were everywhere—covering sidewalks, driveways and parking lots, filling gutters, and rolling around inside the chassis of my car.

I promptly christened 2010 the Year of the Acorn and began investigating why the trees were dropping so many of the hard, brown seeds. Were squirrels sending a distress signal? Could we use the acorns for food? (I imagined acorn-encrusted tilapia and acorn frappuccinos.) Or was this a sign of global warming?  read more

Fouled and Forgiven

Basketball is my favorite sport to play. There is something about the perfect jump shot or a quick move driving in for a layup that will give you a rush like nothing else. It’s fast and intense—the way a sport should be. read more

2011 Prophetic Perspectives

Note from the author: As you read through these prophetic perspectives, know that they are exactly that—my perspective. While most of them are based on prophecies I have spoken, these perspectives in themselves are not prophecies. Again, they are simply my perspective on prophetic events.

It is not generally my nature to attempt to find prophetic meanings from every event or to pull meanings from names, numbers or other symbols. We could probably find a spiritual meaning in anything if we tried hard enough. My intention is only to point out perspectives from a few key events of the past year that coincide with things God is already voicing worldwide. read more

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Campus Union

 University of Florida students who meet Doug Crescimanno will be entertained—and they might meet Jesus, too.

 

My friend Doug Crescimanno is my favorite amateur comedian. If you hang out with him for half an hour you feel as if you’ve been on the set of Saturday Night Live. (He’s at least as funny as Bill Hader or Fred Armisen.) But this 25-year-old University of Florida (UF) graduate, who lives in an apartment near the huge campus in Gainesville, Fla., is also passionately in love with Jesus—and he has given his life to sharing the gospel with students.

People need God. They are hurt, broken, deceived, depressed and dying. We have the only solution. We can be used to give people life … and life abundantly!” --Doug Crescimanno

Doug earned a degree in advertising from UF, but he’s not pursuing a career in his field because he’s too busy evangelizing the campus. He sets up a table on the Reitz Union plaza four days a week and posts a sign that says “BIBLE TRIVIA!” He loads the table with Blow Pops and Jolly Ranchers and then invites students to play his game. The script goes like this: read more

The Evidence of Things not Seen

I was in my car at an intersection, waiting for the light to change. Through the window of the car to my right, I saw a woman standing on the curb. It was the view of her upper body that caught my eye. She was grinning from ear to ear and highly animated, with hands pointing to the traffic light, while she talked and talked—to herself! Poor thing! read more

How to Enjoy Life

Selfishness is not learned behavior—we are born with it. The Bible calls it “sin nature.” Adam and Eve sinned against God by doing what they wanted to do and what He told them not to do.

The sin principle they established was forever passed to every person who would ever be born. God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins and to deliver us from them. He came to undo what Adam did.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He comes to live in our spirit, and if we allow that renewed part of us to rule our decisions, then we can overcome the sin nature. It doesn’t go away, but the greater one who lives in us helps us overcome it daily (see Gal. 5:16). That does not mean that we never sin, but we can improve and make progress throughout our lives. read more

What Will You Do With Jesus’ Tattoo?

Jesus wears a name that says, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Don’t mislabel His true identity.

I don’t have a tattoo, and I’m not planning to get any at this point in my life. However I’ve met many young Christians who have bought into the tattoo craze. I’ve seen hearts, crosses and Scriptures (English, Greek and Hebrew) on wrists, ankles, arms and necks. When I meet a young guy who has “JESUS DIED FOR ME” inscribed on his back, I don’t criticize his fashion sense.

Regardless of what you think about tattoos, you can’t ignore Revelation 19. I preached from this passage earlier this month when I spoke at a college in Georgia. I reminded the students that one of Jesus’ many names is written on His body. John said:

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True … He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. … And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.’” (v. 11,13,16). read more

It's Time to Dust Off Your Bible!

 Picture, if you will, the image of an unused dust-covered Bible. Now picture in your mind that this same dust-covered Bible is your Bible! This is not a good image to be sure, especially for a Bible-believing Christian in 2011. Sadly, many Christians now read more books about the Bible then they do the Bible itself.

Consequently, many in the church have gradually, and somewhat unknowingly become biblically ignorant, unaware or stunted. And doctrinally speaking, anything goes. There is now widespread acceptance of “marginal to heretical” doctrines. Just 25 years ago individuals would have been thrown out of the church if caught teaching these heresies. read more

A Fresh Start

What happens in our hearts and minds as we stand at the threshold of a new year is amazing. It’s as if we’ve been given a fresh new canvas on which to paint—a blank page—that provides us with a new, unblemished beginning in life. Suddenly we are inspired; our priorities and values become crystal clear. read more

A Prophetic Look at the Tucson Tragedy

The Jan. 8 assassination attempt of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, along with the killing of six others, including a federal judge, his staffer and a 9-year-old girl, has left Arizonans saddened and shocked. Many ministers and intercessors throughout Arizona have expressed their grief and frustration regarding this unanticipated tragedy, in that it seemingly occurred without divine warning. Nevertheless, the setting and circumstances of this tragedy are covered with Satan’s fingerprints—revealing his diabolical intentions toward not only the victims, but also the state of Arizona. read more

The War Is on for the Millennial Generation

I know the battle I faced as a teenager. Today’s younger generation faces something more challenging.

It wasn’t easy for a guy to find pornography when I was a teenager. I remember giving into the temptation to buy a Hustler magazine when I was in high school. Inside the drug store I paced back and forth near the magazine rack for at least half an hour. My palms were sweaty. My heart was racing. I finally walked to the front of the store, put the magazine face down on the counter and avoided eye contact with the clerk as I forked over the cash.

I grew bolder in my sin when I graduated from high school. When I turned 18, I went to downtown Atlanta to visit an “adult bookstore” (a strange label, really, since the men who frequented these seedy establishments did not act like mature adults). In 1976, anyone who wanted to see hard-core porn had to visit these awful places with garish signs and painted-over windows. read more

Are You Too Emotional?

Have you ever been told that you're too emotional? Have you ever heard people say, "Emotions are unspiritual. You need to ignore your feelings and live by faith"? If they are right and we are supposed to ignore our emotions, then why did God give them to us in the first place? read more

Get Your Attitudes Adjusted for the New Year

Jesus clearly described the heart attitudes that please Him. Make the Beatitudes your goal in 2011.

I’m not a big fan of religious greeting cards, especially the schmaltzy, pastel-colored variety that feature flowers and rainbows along with an obligatory Bible verse. The verse often comes from Jesus’ opening words in the Sermon on the Mount. We call this passage in Matthew 5 the Beatitudes.

These are weighty, gutsy, penetrating words—but they are neutered when we treat them like sappy poetry. The Beatitudes are not platitudes. Jesus was not tiptoeing through the tulips and mouthing pleasant phrases so they could decorate crocheted pillows or stained-glass windows. read more

Building Houses of Belief

These days I’m questioning my faith. It’s something I should’ve done a long time ago. But before you assume I’m another crazy charismatic jumping ship on solid biblical theology, hear me out.


I once wrote a book for a Christian apologist wanting to help believers refute the typical arguments lobbied against our faith. I wasn’t the best candidate to explain why we believe what we believe; I had no theological schooling, was far from being a Bible scholar and could barely argue my way out of a paper bag.  But I was exactly the kind of person he was trying to help. read more

My New Year’s Resolution

Back in November when autumn leaves were their brightest orange, I met with a group of young men on the campus of a small liberal arts college in New Hampshire. While these students were eating bagels and drinking coffee I began our Bible study by asking each guy to share his name, his major and how long he’d been a Christian.

When it was time for a young man named Cody to share, he said innocently: “I haven’t given my life to Christ yet, but I’d like to.” So before our meeting was finished we led Cody in a sinner’s prayer, gave him a Bible and got him started on the road to discipleship by asking him to read the Gospel of Mark. read more

The Year in Review: Top Spiritual Trends of 2010

God is working all around us today. Don’t let negative headlines distract you from the real story.

2010 was a year of shaking. It began with a magnitude 7 earthquake in Haiti, followed by an 8.8 quake in Chile, followed by the eruption of the Iceland volcano that sent tons of ash into the skies over Europe and shut down air travel faster than you could say Eyjafjallajokull. While the ground shook, economies in Europe teetered. As floods displaced 13 million people in Pakistan, Americans worried that we might drown in federal debt.

 There were plenty of negative headlines—which explains why one of the biggest movies of the year (Inception) was about a guy who escaped reality by dreaming. We had the BP oil spill, the WikiLeaks scandal, double-digit unemployment, and angry debates about Obamacare, illegal immigrants and full-body scanners. There were a few bright spots, especially in October when 33 Chilean miners climbed out of a dark shaft and donned T-shirts that read, “GRACIAS, SENOR!” read more

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