The Strang Report Thu, 26 Nov 2015 06:56:11 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb How Lincoln Made Thanksgiving a National Holiday

Thanksgiving is the great American holiday that people of all religions embrace as their own. It is a tradition that hearkens back, of course, to the early Puritan fathers who thanked God for helping them survive in this new world. It was not, as some politically correct people would have us believe, to thank the Indians for their help. The Puritans were thanking Almighty God—as we should be doing ourselves.

Thanksgiving only became a national holiday in 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln issued the proclamation reprinted below. Until then, various states had Thanksgiving on different days.

In 1861, Lincoln ordered government departments closed for a local day of Thanksgiving. On Sept. 28, 1863, Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote to Lincoln urging him to have the "day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival." She explained, "You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving ... become permanently an American custom and institution."

George Washington was the first president to proclaim a day of Thanksgiving, issuing his request on Oct. 3, 1789, exactly 74 years before Lincoln's.

The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise." As we celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, let's reflect on these words from one of America's greatest presidents at the height of the Civil War.

Washington, D.C.

October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.

Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,

Secretary of State

]]> (Steve Strang) The Strang Report Wed, 25 Nov 2015 21:30:00 -0500
The Most Important Factor in Choosing Our Next President

Our nation is in a spiritual crisis and I believe we need a leader who can hear from God to turn things around. The secular world ignores this spiritual dimension, so you won't read this in the mainstream press. 

In 2016, we will elect a new president in what many are calling the most important election in our nation's history.

In the Republican presidential race there are several candidates who are strong believers and whose Christian values guide their worldview with how they would govern. One well-connected Christian leader told me there are so many good ones that it's hard to know which one to support. He said, in a way, he wished they had been spread out over the past few presidential races, when most Christians considered the Republican nominees to be the lesser of two evils. 

I believe the nation's problems cannot be solved only by politicians. We need a major revival. But I do believe we need a godly leader—a person who can hear from God—who will set the nation on a new course. With several good ones to choose from, which one should we support? Many citizens, like me, are taking a wait-and-see attitude.

We can't wait long, however. While the so-called values voters may shift a close election, there are not enough of us to elect a president who will not receive support from other segments of voters. Where we can make a real difference, however, is in the early primaries. Often it's the candidate who wins the early primaries who goes on to win the nomination. It's something called momentum.

The early candidates who have gained momentum based on the polls are outsiders—Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson—neither of whom have held political office. (Carly Fiorina, who is lower in the polls, has also never held political office). 

The next two, Sen. Marco Rubio from my state of Florida and Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas, are not favored by the party establishment. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush seemed to be the party favorite but is lagging in the polls, and I don't see how his candidacy will ever gain traction.

So far, three candidates have dropped out—all of them governors—Rick Perry of Texas, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, who made his announcement earlier this week.

Last January I attended a prayer rally in Baton Rouge hosted by Jindal. It was not a political rally, but a solemn assembly: a prayer meeting asking for God's mercy on America. Gov. Jindal did not appear timid about praying publicly with boldness, even though there were those strongly critical of his participation. Later, I attended a private meeting with him and came away impressed by him as a person and a man of deep Christian conviction. 

Even though Jindal gained traction in Iowa, nationally his poll numbers were low and his fundraising less fruitful than he had hoped. When he dropped out, he declared this is not his time. At 44, I believe we will see more of him in the future.

Rubio, Cruz and Carson are each well-known for their Christian faith. This endears them to many and makes them despised by others. All three would be godly leaders, I believe.  

As for the rest of the Republican group, others articulating strong Christian faith include former Gov. Mike Huckabee, whom I strongly supported in 2008. Others such as Fiorina, Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. John Kasich are on the right side of the social issues and seem concerned that Christians are losing their religious liberties. They all articulate Christian faith, so who am I to judge the extent of it? Frankly, I would support any of them over Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

And then there is Donald Trump. Well-known for his casinos and reality television show, he is loud, combative and articulates frustrations felt by many Americans, especially over the threat of Islamic terrorism and unsecured borders allowing massive illegal immigration.

There are good things to say about Trump. I enjoy listening to his speeches, and I'm glad to see him refusing to be politically correct—and seeming to get away with it! Each time he's politically incorrect, his poll numbers go up. He has helped shake up the Republican establishment in a way no one else has in recent memory.

One evangelical leader who has been bloodied by his dealings with the Republican Party told me Trump has done more to disrupt business as usual with the party elite than anyone else. He said that even though he doesn't like the fact Trump owns casinos, has been married three times and lives a lifestyle that in many ways doesn't line up with the Bible.

Nevertheless, Trump articulates Christian values and said the Bible was his favorite book, even though he didn't seem to know much about what was in the Bible. Similar to other Republican candidates, he has reached out to evangelicals.

We ran a commentary by Don Nori Sr. of Destiny Image telling about a meeting where some charismatic leaders including Kenneth Copeland prayed over Trump. Another writer speculated on our Charisma News site that God may have lifted up Trump like a type of Nebuchadnezzar, a view that drew a lot of fire from our readers.

So far, not many Christian leaders have spoken up to support specific candidates. As I travel around, I get the sense people are watching the race, but I don't hear Christians being passionate for any candidate. When there is discussion, some of it is about who can win or who can beat Hillary Clinton.

The fact is that we need a godly leader. While we believe God raises up leaders, if we are discerning, shouldn't we know who that person is? And we need to understand that we can make a difference, especially in the early primary states. So my advice is to pay attention to the races and resolve to get involved closer to the primaries.

And meanwhile, don't go along with trends you hear in the media from the political pundits. Let's believe that God is raising up a leader for America at this very important time.
]]> (Steve Strang ) The Strang Report Fri, 20 Nov 2015 18:00:00 -0500
Listen and See If You Agree Jim Bakker Is a Changed Man

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of being on the Jim Bakker Show. I wrote in the Strang Report how much I felt that Jim Bakker had changed, and it received a strong reaction from my readers.  

During my visit, Jim showed me around his impressive Morningside complex, and I recorded our conversation as we walked and drove around. At the time, I couldn't take notes and I wasn't sure what we would discuss. Interestingly, Jim filmed our little tour because he thought it might be interesting. He later broadcast some of it on his television show.  

I remember at one point in our conversation while we were standing in the hallway of Lori's (Jim's wife) House—a home on the Morningside grounds that provides a place of ministry, love, rest, learning, fellowship and caring with its main goal of saving babies and caring for their mothers—Jim became very contemplative, and I realized I was recording something very special. He was pitching me on writing a story about the "behind-the-scenes" people who have made Christian television what it is.  

He then began talking about his staff at PTL, and one conversation morphed into the next in an interesting stream of consciousness. He also talked about Lori's House, his feelings on abortion, what he believes about the end times, and how he studied the Book of Revelation and Daniel while he was in prison. He also spoke about the purpose of his life.  

Of course, Jim knew I was recording the message, but it wasn't an official interview. I don't think he was trying to impress me—this was genuine. I felt it gave a little insight into his heart and ministry.  

I decided to include it on my podcast for today's Strang Report (Friday, Nov. 13). I've included it here, feeling that those who read the newsletter would enjoy listening to this podcast.

The podcast is also called The Strang Report. I issue two each week. Only rarely are they on the same topic as the print e-newsletter. The listenership of my podcast is growing weekly. If you haven't signed up or downloaded them from iTunes, today is a good day to do it.

When you listen to this informal interview I think you'll agree with me that Jim is a changed man. He is just sharing his heart. See if you don't agree.  

Please leave your comments below and share this with your friends—especially if you are supporter of Jim Bakker and his ministry.

]]> (Steve Strang ) The Strang Report Fri, 13 Nov 2015 21:00:00 -0500
We Need Your Feedback on the Juice Lady's DVD and Books

Throughout the years, I've published many great books on health, partly as a result of my own quest to be healthy and stay healthy. Even when I recently mentored a group of businessmen, I included a session on health. I told them the two most important things you can do is to drink enough water and get enough sleep.

Often it's the simple things that, if learned, can have the greatest long-term effect on our health. One of these simple tricks is understanding about toxins in the environment and how to rid yourself of toxins in your body. One of these is learning the value of juicing. Cherie Calbom's books on juicing have been hugely successful for us. And now we are offering them on television. I'm making an offer to you and seeking your help. 

Before we roll out with an infomercial, we are offering a special hour-long DVD called "Quick Detox Secrets," plus three of Cherie's best books:

  • The Big Book of Juice and Green Smoothies
  • The Juice Lady's Turbo Diet
  • The Juice Lady's Remedies for Stress and Adrenal Fatigue

I want to know what you think of this latest marketing effort. I'm hoping that from the tens of thousands of readers, I can get at least 100 of you to watch the 30-minute video and order the books, and then let me know what you think.

It's like having a focus group via the Internet!

You can click on the video to watch Cherie tell about juicing and its wonderful effects on your health as well as how she discovered a healthy lifestyle through this information. Then you can answer these questions:

  • What do you remember from the video?
  • Would you refer it to a friend?
  • Do you have a juicer or blender (she talks about them both) and how often do you use it?
  • What do you think of the offer? For only $49.99, you can get all three books and the DVD. How could we improve it?

What other thoughts do you have that would help us?

We publish books to help people. I believe based on sales at Wal-Mart and other places as well as the responses she has received from Christian TV shows on which she's appeared, Cherie's books really help people become healthier.

The special video Quick Detox Secrets is full of useful information you can receive nowhere else. Let me know what you learned and if you'd recommend it. You can click here to purchase The Juice Lady's Total Health package.

If you've read any of Cherie's books, please give us your testimonials. You can do it by posting your comments below or on social media, or you can email us at, and we will compile your emails.

This is a great way to share this infomercial, and hopefully, it will help you. Thanks in advance for your response.

]]> (Steve Strang ) The Strang Report Tue, 10 Nov 2015 22:00:00 -0500
For Three Decades, Cindy Jacobs Has Been Raising a Prophetic Army Through Generals International

If you've seen the November issue of Charisma, you know it features Cindy Jacobs on the cover. It's an article about the prophetic, not so much a personality profile about Cindy.

We chose her to represent a bigger movement. That's because over the last 30 years, Cindy has come to exemplify the prophetic movement as it has grown in acceptance. We believe so much in Cindy's ministry that we included her as one of the 40 people who radically changed the world for our 40th anniversary issue of Charisma in August.

Now Cindy is celebrating her own anniversary—30 years—at a big banquet in Dallas tonight.

Cindy-JacobsMy wife, Joy, and I have known Cindy and her husband, Mike, for a long time. We've enjoyed many shared experiences, and we have become friends. We were invited to the banquet but were unable to attend, so this is my way to publicly say how much we love and appreciate Cindy and admire what God has done in her life.

I have also featured a telephone interview with her on my podcast today. In it Cindy talks about her recent trip to China and what she taught the house church leaders about the prophetic. She is also starting an initiative for a prayer walk across the United States in preparation for the elections in 2016.

In case you missed the short article on Cindy, I am reprinting it below because Diana Scimone, the author, captured only in a few words the essence of this godly woman's life and ministry.  

Cindy Jacobs: Prophetic Intercessor

By Diana Scimone

Generals of earthly armies rarely think about raising up other generals. For Cindy Jacobs, however, the call is clear: Mobilize a supernatural army and raise up and train generals to lead it.

In 1985, she and her husband, Mike, founded an organization now known as Generals International, which works to transform nations through intercessory prayer and the prophetic. That means if it's in the news, Cindy Jacobs usually has something to say about it—not an opinion or commentary, but a prophetic word or a call to militant prayer. Thousands of believers all over the world see her "Shields up!" emails in their inbox and hit their knees in intercession.

"[Generals International] is one of the key ministries in these times, helping to set the stage and get people in their place prepared for the times," says Rick Joyner, executive director of MorningStar Ministries.

This unique call on Jacobs' life dates back to a Bible camp when she was nine years old. God told her He had something special He wanted her to do for Him—which she assumed would be a missionary or pastor's wife. Years later, when she realized He was calling her to be a prophetic intercessor and voice to the nation mobilizing a global army of prayer warriors, her response was clear. "I asked God to use my husband instead of me!" she says. "You know the prayer: 'Here I am, Lord. Send someone else.'" Not surprisingly, the one who relented was not God but Jacobs. No one will ever know how many national disasters have been averted because Jacobs said "yes" to God then and continues raising up generals and calling them to militant intercession well into the 21st century.

If you are interested in more about Cindy, here is a link to a long article about her ministry on her website.

If Cindy has blessed your life or you know of others who are interested in the prophetic, forward this and add your comments. And, join me in congratulating her and Mike on their 30th anniversary of ministry.

]]> (Steve Strang) The Strang Report Fri, 06 Nov 2015 19:00:00 -0500
For Me, Passing on Godly Life Principles is a Cherished Gift

One of the things I enjoy is pouring into the lives of others. Call it mentoring, coaching or serving, it gives me a lot of pleasure. Plus, it gives me a feeling of giving back when so many helped me along the way.

Six months ago, I started a class for 14 men who live in my area. I titled it, "Moving to the Next Level." We met once a month for 6 months, and Tuesday was the final gathering. I shared with them materials that have helped me and spoke from my own experience. Some told me they learned a lot from the classes. So I decided to share a few concepts here, hoping it will add value to your life.

My actual goal wasn't for them to learn "a lot." My goal was to share how incremental changes can become huge if done the right way at the right time. I know from personal experience and observing life for more than six decades that most people find themselves in ruts and make very few positive life changes until it's almost too late. It's like the old joke where the old man says, "If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of my body."

My newsletter often deals with weighty issues. Other times I share what's going on in my life. Reading this will hopefully help you and give you a glimpse into my perspective on life.

Here is the "Cliff Notes" version of our six sessions:  

  • Setting goals. I told the men the single biggest thing they can do to move forward is to learn to set goals. I encouraged them to set three goals for the next six months that they would not have set themselves had I not encouraged them to do so. Most of the men achieved the goals and, for the ones who didn't, it was a good wake-up call to realize they need to work harder to make it happen. One man said he set a goal only to have it lead into something more substantial. I told them their goals should be specific and measurable.
  • Managing time. Interestingly, I got more positive feedback on my advice to "Focus on Five" things they must do every day. I picked this concept up from a mentor of mine! I follow this advice myself. Try it. Do I do it perfectly? Of course not. When I don't accomplish one of the five, it shows me that I'm procrastinating. I also told them to plan out their entire week on Sunday, including what they do before work, after work and on weekends. Some of the men found this very helpful. One professional in the class told me he planned his workday but never thought about planning how to spend his personal time. By following a plan, he discovered he had more time at home to do the things that meant a lot to him.
  • Improving finances. I told the group that most of us have a "governor" on our ability to earn, much like a governor on a school bus that will let it go only so fast. Our governor is that it's difficult to make more than 10 percent more than your father did, factoring in inflation. That realization alone is an eye-opener. I also said don't just budget for expenses; budget for income. For example, if you aspire to live at a certain level, budget what you NEED to be making over the next five years so you can work to earn that much! This may not work for everyone, but most can change jobs, come up with creative ideas to earn, or just learn to be more valuable where they work, which results in increased income. I also discussed principles of giving to the Lord and how I've learned as a businessman to build an organization, even though I wasn't educated in business.
  • A better marriage. When I mentioned to my wife of 43 years I was teaching on marriage, she joked, "I hope you don't tell them we have a perfect marriage!" I said I wouldn't, but I will tell them I have a perfect wife! I've learned the adage, "happy wife, happy life." Besides sharing a few common-sense suggestions, we focused on principles in Ephesians 5:22-33 and 1 Peter 3 that demonstrate biblical qualities in marriage. I encouraged the men to talk it over with their wives and to see how they can develop the character taught in the Scriptures.
  • Better health. In most classes, I trimmed the lesson to one concept that could help to improve their lives. For health and fitness, that concept is to drink enough water and get enough sleep. Without enough water or sleep, no amount of exercise or vitamins will compensate. I also encouraged them to begin taking care of themselves physically before their first heart attack or developing diabetes. To show them an old guy can stay in shape, I challenged them to beat me in pullups and pushups! (Because I'd been practicing, I won.)
  • More faith. I shared concepts about faith that I had written about where you do everything by faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. The truly handicapped man is not someone who cannot use his limbs, but someone who doesn't know how to use faith to move mountains. I also talked about how I've developed the discipline of a daily quiet time to study the Bible and journal. As we wrapped up our final class, I reminded the men that it profits them nothing to gain the whole world and lose their own soul (see Matthew 16:26). I played the video of TobyMac that reminds us of this more than any song I know. Interestingly, some of the men said they were familiar with the song and enjoyed the music, but had never let the lyrics sink in. Here is the link for you to enjoy.

These points remind me of a plaque on the wall of my childhood home that read, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last!"

Others have taught better mentoring sessions than me. But this was my attempt to encourage this group of men to focus on making incremental improvements in the important things in life. Did you learn anything? Do you agree with my list? If so, leave comments below and share this with others.

]]> (Steve Strang ) The Strang Report Wed, 04 Nov 2015 15:30:00 -0500
Get the MEV for the Same Price Jim Bakker Offered on His Show

Appearing on The Jim Bakker Show was a great experience. The episodes where I am interviewed began airing this week and the response to our offer of the Modern English Version of the Bible was so great I want to offer it to my readers now.

Since the release of the MEV last year, I have made many trips to introduce it. But, never was I so warmly received as with Jim Bakker. I think a good connection came through on the program. If you missed the show, click here to see it online.

I've known Jim Bakker since the late 1970s. I was a guest a few times on the old PTL show. In 1984, I traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to interview Bakker. The result was a 7,000 word article that I found interesting to reread after all these years. This was four years before the big collapse of PTL. Bakker already had become controversial. I asked him the tough questions. But it was no hatchet job. Instead, I came away impressed with his heart and his vision.

In my last Strang Report, I wrote about how I admire the way Jim Bakker has come back. Never has one man lost so much and rebounded as he has. He could have given up. He didn't. At 75, he is working as hard as he did when I interviewed him in 1984.

On the show, he surprised me by telling his audience one of the Scriptures that made him warm up to the MEV was 3 John 2. In the King James Version it reads: "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." This is the verse that has given rise to what some call the "Prosperity Gospel."

In the MEV, however, the same verse reads this way: "Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, even as your soul is well." What a difference! It's what the original languages say.  

Bakker acknowledges that the Prosperity Gospel is what got him off track at PTL all those years ago. Now that he's back on track, he wants others to believe that God loves them and wants them to live a good life. But, that's a long way from the belief that God wants you to prosper financially.

Jim knew me as founder of Charisma magazine which continues to be our flagship. But, I believe the most important thing I will ever do is publish God's Word in modern English in this important new translation. Thankfully, many like Bakker are saying how much they like the MEV and are using it—and the sales are showing this. In only one year, the MEV placed in the top 10 Bible translations (and this is with many well-established versions such as the KJV, the NIV and the New Living Translation ahead of it).  

We have many different styles and sizes of the MEV and some of them are on the Bible "best-seller" list—including the large print version in Cherry Brown, which is a very pretty version. This was also popular with the Bakker audience and, in only a few days, they've had to reorder stock.

What does this mean to you? Ordinarily, we work with retailers and distributors rather than making special discounts to those who would buy from us directly. But when I saw the program, I saw the "special deals" that Bakker and his team put together. All were discounted. With their permission, you can buy these Bibles—and other items—for the same price by visiting their website or by calling 417-779-9000.

A description of each product and their prices, along with a link to find them, is listed below.


thinline-reference-biblesMEV Thinline Reference Bibles

Description: Bound in a beautiful soft-touch cover, this product features: gilded edges, presentation page, concordance, words of Jesus in red, maps and cross references system along with a satin ribbon marker to make daily reading easier.

Price: $30

Available colors: Blue and Black


Personal-Size-Large-Print-Bibles-3D-mockupsMEV Large Print Bibles

Description: With twelve-point font this product is visually comfortable and allows the user to further appreciate the clarity, accuracy and reverence of the MEV text. This product features: concordance, presentation page, ribbon marker, words of Jesus in red, gilded edges and is smyth-sewn.

Price: $35

Available colors: Cherry Brown and Tan

MEV-SpiritLed-Woman-BibleSpiritLed Woman Bible (MEV)

Description: The SpiritLed Woman Bible was developed for the woman in passionate pursuit of God. This product features: 40 teaching articles from well-respected voices, 65 profiles of biblical women and other heroines of the faith who have inspired others and made an impact for the kingdom of God, 400 daily inspirational thoughts and prayers that affirm you as a woman of God and connect you to the power of the Holy Spirit, cross-references system along with concordance, and eight full-color maps.

Retail Price: $64.99 (discounted 38 percent)

You Pay: $40

Available color: Lavender


MEV-Parallel-BibleMEV/KJV Parallel Bible

Description: These two translations have been set side by side to compare and contrast, making it easy to see the richness, beauty and theological clarity maintained by each.

Retail Price: $39.99 (discounted 38 percent)

You Pay: $25

Format: Hardcover



Fire-Bible-MEVMEV Fire Bible

Description: The Fire Bible is the premiere study Bible for the Spirit-led believer, and it is now being made available in the Modern English Version (MEV). A reference library in one volume, this study Bible will assist those who want to deepen their understanding of the Spirit and His work throughout the Scriptures and who also desire to actively live out their faith. This product features: 70 plus articles, in-depth study notes for key verses, helpful book introductions, maps, charts, words of Jesus in red, cross references, topical index and a reading plan.

Retail Price: $49.99 (discounted 23 percent)

You Pay: $35

Format: Hardcover


Not often do I offer something for sale. But I wanted you to have an opportunity to buy at these special prices. Bakker urged his viewers to buy Bibles for Christmas. I urge you to not only buy for yourself but for others as gifts and also for Christmas.

And talk this up with your friends. Leave your comments below and share this on social media to help us get out the word on this important new translation. {eoa}

]]> (Steve Strang ) The Strang Report Fri, 23 Oct 2015 20:00:00 -0400
Jim Bakker's Powerful Story Embodies God's Redemptive and Merciful Love

I have known Jim Bakker since the heydays of PTL in the late 1970s. I wrote a Charisma cover story about him in May 1983 after traveling to the relatively new Heritage USA to get a behind-the-scenes look at what was then an increasingly controversial ministry.

Readers might remember that things spun out of control only four years later for PTL and Jim Bakker. This downward spiral came after allegations of financial wrongdoing—mostly "overselling" so-called timeshares—and after his denomination defrocked him when a short-lived extra-marital affair hit the newspapers.

If that wasn't bad enough, PTL eventually went bankrupt and Jim's wife, Tammy Faye, divorced him and married his best friend. Jim went to prison for five years.

In short, Jim Bakker lost everything.

But unlike many high-profile people who become caught up in a public scandal or spend time incarcerated, Jim found humility. His famous book about his ordeal sums up his journey in its three-word title: I Was Wrong. While in prison, the job of the man who had met with U.S. presidents and had run one of the largest non-profit ministries in the nation was to clean toilets. But, he used whatever spare time he had to diligently study the Word. That's what really changed him.

The miracle is that, after all this, Jim Bakker has rebounded. I saw this firsthand when I visited him at his new facilities near Branson, Missouri this week.   

As a Christian journalist, I have covered Jim Bakker for many years. I knew many people from his PTL ministry. I knew Tammy Faye—who has since passed away—and her new husband.  Even so, I could never be counted among his inner circle of friends. However, I did consider him a friend.  

After his release from prison, Jim and I went to dinner once when he visited Orlando. It was my way of reaching out to a broken man. His fortunes were so low that the dinner invitation took him by surprise.

He slowly began to put his life back together. He lived in a one-room apartment at the Pastor Tommy Barnett-founded L.A. Dream Center. I visited the Dream Center in the early days and wrote about it. I remember meeting Bakker there and meeting his lovely new wife, Lori Graham Bakker. We did a story on her life where she admitted to having five abortions and about how God had healed her and used her testimony for good.

Jim has now built a new ministry near Branson called Morningside. It has a hotel and condominiums, campgrounds, a media school, television studios and many other amenities. Everything is done with excellence and Bakker has assembled a top-notch team.

I couldn't help but draw parallels to what Bakker did at PTL. Only this time, everything is paid for. And while everything is nice, no one can call what he's done opulent (a word often used to describe things at PTL).

For me, however, the amazing thing is that Jim Bakker has rebounded. He is now 75 and he works 16-hour days. He seems to have more energy than men half his age. Most people who experience the enormous loss Jim Bakker has experienced would have given up and rotted away somewhere out of sight. Not Jim Bakker. He learned whatever lesson he needed to learn, and believed God that he could dream again.

Historians will spend decades dissecting the life of Jim Bakker. He is a very complex man, yet he's also a great man. Maybe he went too far at PTL. Maybe he wasn't accountable. Obviously, he made some big mistakes. Yet in my opinion he did no more wrong (and a whole lot less) than hundreds of other leaders who either didn't get caught or had only a minor setback. However, Jim Bakker lost everything.

To some, his name still exemplifies the worst in flamboyant Pentecostal preachers. He has been criticized for his focus on end-time prophecy and encouraging people to prepare for hard times by storing food or having backup generators. He's not a perfect man and he's the first to admit it (but then who among us is perfect?).

But he's not a quitter. He has come back after he lost everything except his life. And that should be an encouragement to everyone who reads this or who watches him on TV. That's because all of us will face loss of some sort—even loved ones. Some might face an unhappy marriage or deal with wayward children. Some might lose a job, struggle through a bankruptcy or face serious illness like cancer. 

While your loss might not be as bad as Jim Bakker's, it probably will hurt as much as his loss did him! At your lowest point, take comfort that God can give back your dream and help you rebuild your life as he did with Jim Bakker.

We recorded a couple of television programs while I visited Morningside. The first is scheduled to air Monday, October 19. I hope you will watch.  

At the end of the program, Jim Bakker stood and looked at the camera and said something that's not cliche—it's something he knows from the depth of his soul: "God loves you—He really does!"

]]> (Steve Strang ) The Strang Report Fri, 09 Oct 2015 20:00:00 -0400
Give Away the Word and Change Someone's Life

Editors Note: Listen to the special bulletin Strang Report titled "Give Away the Word" on the charismapodcastnetwork.

When the Iron Curtain fell, the readers of Charisma helped raise tens of thousands of dollars in the early 1990s to deliver inexpensive Bibles in Russian through Terry Law Ministries. I visited Russia with Terry and stopped in Sweden to see the Russian Bibles literally coming off the press our readers helped pay for. How exciting!

A few years later, I went into communist China with missionary Dennis Balcomb. At the time, the official Chinese church rationed Bibles that were in much demand, so missionaries asked tourists to take Bibles across the border in their luggage.

It was the only time before or since that I actually smuggled something across an international border. I never expected to be caught, arrested and held for several hours before the Chinese authorities decided to release me after they confiscated the Bibles. (I was told the guards would sell those Bibles on the black market so the Word of God got through in spite of my arrest.)

That incident lit a fire under me to get Bibles into China. When I shared the story with the readers of Charisma, we raised $100,000 to buy 50,000 copies at only $2 each.

Give-now-buttonTwo decades later, I have the privilege of publishing a brand-new translation called the Modern English Version. If you've read my e-newsletter, the Strang Report, or read articles and seen ads in Charisma, you know this translation is not only the biggest project we have ever undertaken but also the most important since it is God's Word. Long after I'm gone and Charisma is no longer published, the Word of God will live on!

Charisma Media has embarked on a bold project to put God's Word in the hands of hundreds of thousands—and perhaps millions—of people, free of charge through an initiative we call "Give Away the Word." But we need your help and the help of other Charisma readers.

A Bible with approximately 1,000 pages is pricey. Quality Bible paper, gilding and leather covers are not cheap. Yet a quality Bible will last a lifetime. We have many attractive versions of the MEV. I'm thankful that, in only one year, the MEV is in the top 10 translations. I'm told that is a major achievement.

There are many who cannot afford a high-quality Bible. Or maybe Bible reading is not a priority, so they won't invest the money. Maybe they are curious about Christianity or are new converts. Maybe they are prisoners with lots of time to read, but they don't own a Bible.

To meet this need, we have published an inexpensive $3 version of the MEV. The idea is to make it available to anyone. We need your help to make it available for free.

We are partnering with Christian Life Missions (CLM), the 60-year-old nonprofit partner through whom we've raised millions of dollars for worthy causes over the course of several decades. Recently, Charisma readers raised $175,000 for J. Lee Grady's The Mordecai Project to build an orphanage for girls in India.

A $10 donation will cover the cost of four copies of God's Word. A donation of $100 will buy 40 Bibles and $1,000 buys 400 Bibles. As usual, every dollar you give will go to this project.

While we are starting small, we believe, based on our past experience with distributing Bibles, we can eventually raise at least $1 million. It's an ambitious goal, but it's doable over time—with your help.

Ministries that have heard of this project have assured us there is a huge need, especially for a translation in modern English that people can easily understand. Recently, Convoy of Hope—a faith-based nonprofit that distributes food, water and emergency supplies—agreed to be our primary partner in this venture. Convoy of Hope will give away the Bibles during inner-city outreaches in the United States. OneHope, an international ministry that shares the Scriptures with young people around the world, is partnering with CLM on international efforts to make sure the Bibles are distributed in regions of the world in need of the Scriptures.

We believe this is something the Lord has laid on our hearts to do. Our prayer is that through this small effort, we're going to have countless stories of people's lives being changed.

Through the years, we've learned that the readers of Charisma feel a call to missions, and this mission is to give away the Word to as many people as possible. Too many people are not literate in the Scriptures because they don't understand the Bible, so they can't apply the Scriptures to their lives. The transforming power of the gospel cannot really germinate within their spirit until they read the Word of God.

Through this massive Bible giveaway, we provide the opportunity to do that. For the cost of a fancy cup of coffee, you can supply a Bible to someone. Won't you respond generously with a tax-deductible gift? Mail your check to Give Away the Word, 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746. To donate online at {eoa}

]]> (Steve Strang) The Strang Report Fri, 02 Oct 2015 14:00:00 -0400
What You Can Learn From 2 Businessmen Who Impacted a Nation

A lot is said these days about Christian businessmen and ministry in the marketplace. Entire ministries have grown up focused on this. We featured this topic as the cover story in the most recent issue of Ministry Today magazine.  

This is a story about a different type of marketplace ministry—more than simply witnessing to your friends, which is the extent of which many business people in the marketplace will practice their faith.

This is about Graham Power, a South African businessman with whom I have become friends and who has made a huge impact on nations for the kingdom of God.

A couple of months ago, I attended a networking conference with him and learned about his "Unashamedly Ethical" program—now in 107 countries, including Jamaica—through another Christian businessman named Robert Levy, whom I describe below.

Graham is one of the most interesting men I have ever met. He came to faith in Christ in middle age, yet he has accomplished more than most Christians who grew up in the church have. He launched the Global Day of Prayer, involving millions of Christians over the past decade praying in many countries on Pentecost Sunday.

In 2010, he launched "Unashamedly Ethical" from Africa, a continent known for its vast corruption. He told me the program is based on 2 Chronicles 7:14—that God will heal the land if people will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways—which means living clean, ethically and with godly values.

Graham has preached this message around the world for the past five years, including at a recent Lausanne Conference. That led to an invitation to Jamaica, a nation of 2.7 million people.

It was there he met Robert Levy, who became a successful businessman raising chickens. He exports chickens worldwide. Because of United States laws about importing poultry from other countries, his business in this country is to provide eggs for chickens to hatch. It is a lucrative business—worth well over $100 million a year.

To give you an idea of the kind of business he runs, here is Levy's mission statement on his website: "Our beliefs are the core of who we are. They drive our vision and sustain our business. With God's guidance, we give our best effort to meet the needs of our customers, employees, contractors and the community every day. We are committed to service, fairness and the building of goodwill."

Robert arranged for Graham to speak to Jamaican church leaders about the importance of having the "courage to commit" to the unashamedly ethical standards. His speech received an overwhelming response. He also met with business leaders who responded similarly. Finally, he met with Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller and her cabinet, both of whom decided to support the unashamedly ethical program.

"God worked in the most marvelous way," Robert told me. "There was such an anointing on Graham."

He added that Powers won Jamaican governmental leaders over when he apologized as a white South African for apartheid and what his people had done to blacks in his country.

Graham told me he considers corruption to be "the greatest weapon of mass destruction facing mankind," adding that it "grows like a cancer."

Yet God has raised up an African businessman to speak to a world prevalent with corruption and to bring biblical ethical standards to the marketplace and government.

The results in Jamaica were so astounding they were trumpeted in a four-page section in the national newspaper. Talk about having an impact in the marketplace!

The report said in part:

"In the early 2000s, one man decided enough was enough and took a stand against corruption and the rapid moral decay taking place across the globe. He spearheaded a movement for clean living and life led by ethics and the values of the Christian faith. He is Dr. Graham Power, who launched the Unashamedly Ethical campaign in 2010.

Newspaper-photo"During the period Feb. 11-16, Dr. Power met with Jamaica's church, State and business leaders and urged them to join the movement against the cancer of corruption that is plaguing the island by pledging to uphold ethical values.

"Over 5,000 companies and more than 100 nations have accepted the Unashamedly Ethical challenge—Jamaica being among the most recent signatories, with over 500 responses in less than a week.

Here's how to make the commitment to live Unashamedly Ethical:

"I commit:

1. To be entirely truthful in all I say.

2. To be faithful to my family relationships.

3. To do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but to look out for the interests of others.

4. To refuse to elicit, accept or pay any bribes and to encourage others to do the same.

5. To be diligent without being harsh, and striving to be just and fair.

6. To be a peacemaker.

7. To do my work wholeheartedly.

8. To submit myself to just and ethical governing authorities.

9. To remember the poor by investing generously and sacrificially in the broader community.

10. To collaborate with my peers to impact our community and nation.

Has this inspired you? What awesome God-inspired goals can you achieve for God? If you're a business person, you can use Graham Power as a role model to make a difference in your world.

If you'd like to learn more about Unashamedly Ethical you can register online at

Please share this with friends and leave your comments below.

]]> (Steve Strang ) The Strang Report Wed, 30 Sep 2015 15:00:00 -0400