Strang Report, by Steve Strang, Founder of Charisma magazine

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Feb. 16) – Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum will headline the Chattanooga Tea Party’s Liberty Forum on Saturday, February 25. The forum, which celebrates the tea party movement’s third anniversary, will offer citizens a chance to listen to and question candidates and leaders in national, state and local government offices.

Santorum was one of several invited presidential candidates and first to accept.

The event will run from 1p.m. to 4p.m. and will be hosted at Abba’s House, at 5208 Hixson Pike in Hixson, TN.

“We already have more than 20 confirmed officials and candidates at every level of government. Senator Santorum’s decision is just icing on our anniversary cake,” said Chattanooga Tea Party President Mark West.

Santorum currently leads in several national polls of GOP candidates. The former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania is well known for his commitment to traditional conservative and family values, and he helped author and pass key reforms, such as the landmark Welfare Reform Act.

In addition to Santorum, confirmed attendees include US Congressman Chuck Fleischmann and 3rd District challengers, Weston Wamp and Jean Howard Hill; State Senator Bo Watson, State Representatives Vince Dean and Richard Floyd, State Rep. candidate Mike Carter; County Mayor Jim Coppinger and County Commissioners Larry Henry, Tim Boyd, Joe Graham and Mitch McClure, challenger Marty Haynes; Sheriff Jim Hammond, County Trustee Bill Hullander; City Council members Carol Berz, Pam Ladd, Andrae McGary, Peter Murphy and Manny Rico; School Board members Mike Evatt, David Testerman and Rhonda Thurman; and U.S. Senatorial candidate Zack Poscevich.

Select speakers will address their vision for each of the different levels of government and there will be an opportunity for voters to interact with candidates and elected officials. The CTP will also offer refreshments to celebrate the tea party movement’s 3rd Anniversary.

“We launched our local group with a tax-day tea party event April 15, 2009,” West said. “Our event was one of 900 tea parties that day, a dramatic increase from the 50 tea parties on the first nationwide tea party event held six weeks earlier on February 27, 2009. Most of us who first met in early 2009 to prepare for that rally are still involved and contributing to our citizen activism. We’ve become close friends. And our focus has never wavered from demanding that federal, state and local governments adhere to their constitutional foundations, follow fiscal conservatism, and support free markets. We are pleased to be joining with ElectionDayTeaParty.com and dozens of other Tea Party groups around the nation in celebrating our movement’s anniversary.”

Although there will be no cost to attend the event, donations will be welcomed to help defray costs.

The Chattanooga Tea Party is a non-partisan grassroots organization seeking to educate and inform its members and the public at large of the fundamental issues and struggles our country is facing. We are committed to energizing voters to become engaged in the process of solving the nation’s problems.

---------------------------------- read more

Want to Make a Difference? Support Rick Santorum

The National Religious Broadcasters convention ended this week in Nashville, Tenn. For me it was a productive and busy time connecting with authors, talking business and making new contacts. The buzz on the floor this year was The Harbinger, which has been on the New York Times best-seller list for seven straight weeks. Author Jonathan Cahn was there to do media interviews and sign books.

But the other buzz was about the presidential election. Everywhere I turned people were talking about it. Since NRB tends to be conservative, it’s not a surprise that most of the attendees feel President Obama is taking the nation in the wrong direction. A lot of people asked me whom I was backing. read more


I’m Endorsing Rick Santorum for President in the Florida Primary

Four years ago I was one of the first to endorse Mike Huckabee for president. He was a former governor of Arkansas who I felt had great leadership—and he not only shares but embodies our Christian values. But this year I took a wait and see attitude until just a few days before the Florida primary to be held Jan. 31.

I was interviewed on PBS this week for a show that airs this weekend. Kim Lawton, the respected correspondent who has interviewed me before and always reported fairly on the evangelical community, wanted to know whom I’m endorsing. I told her I’m endorsing Sen. Rick Santorum. read more


TheCall Detroit Draws 30,000 Intercessors on 11-11-11

As I arrived at Detroit’s Ford Field to participate in TheCall—a summons to prayer, fasting, repentance and sacrificial worship that began at 6 p.m. Friday and ran for 24 hours—I passed a nearby park where protesters set up an “Occupy Detroit” camp.

As we parked the car, we could see about 35 men, most of them black, singing “God Loves Everyone” to the tune of “We Shall Overcome” and marching with a police escort toward Ford Field.

I didn't wait to hear what they may have said or talk with any of them. I was too eager to join the prayer service inside. In fact, despite the national headlines over the Wall Street protests, no one inside seemed to notice the occupiers were there. The crowd of about 30,000 that gathered at Ford Field had a different purpose: praying for America. read more


After the Republican Debate: Why This Isn’t Politics as Usual

It was interesting to attend the Republican presidential debate in Orlando, Fla., last night as a member of the media. Charisma doesn’t usually cover debates like this, and I wouldn’t have attended had it not been in my hometown. It was broadcast live on Fox News and, truth be told, I could’ve seen it better on TV at home.

Even though I took notes on what the candidates said, I knew my readers either watched the debate or could read more extensive articles elsewhere. The question I had to ask was: “Where is God in all this? How does this affect the Spirit-filled community? And how do I cover it in Charisma?”

The most interesting experience for me was after the debate when Doug Wead, who is a “senior adviser” with candidate Ron Paul, approached me in the “spin room” as hundreds of media people milled around interviewing whoever they could find. I’ve known Doug since I was a teenager. He’s been a political gadfly for years, serving in various campaigns and once working in the White House for George H.W. Bush as a liaison to the evangelical community. In that role Doug arranged a couple of appointments for me with President Bush. He also worked closely with the president’s son and had some sort of falling out that resulted in his being persona non grata later when George W. Bush became president. read more


Amazing Digital Opportunities on Charisma's 36th Anniversary

When I felt led to start a small church magazine, I barely knew what God had in store. That magazine released 36 years ago today, so I thought it was appropriate to reflect on what's happened, and more importantly what is on the verge of happening as we move boldly into the digital world.

Many of you know Charisma started at a megachurch in central Florida. I was working full time as a newspaper reporter then. My, how the media world has changed! The staff found this in the archives: a black-and-white photo of me holding a copy of The Rock, a youth newspaper that I published before Charisma. They had me hold an iPad to show the contrast. Back then I could have never imagined today's iPad! Yet I dreamed that maybe somehow we'd reach a million people. Do you know how many trees you'd have to cut down to print that many magazines?

So from 1975—before the personal computer was invented and a time when the electric typewriter I used was considered high-tech—fast-forward more than three decades and now Charisma (and our other magazines) are available in digital format that's almost beyond belief. read more

The Power of Connection

I wish you could have experienced the powerful connections that took place recently at our headquarters near Orlando, Fla., with high level ministry and business leaders. It illustrated the “power of connection,” which to me is important since I am a “networker” by nature.

Graham Power, a successful Christian businessman from South Africa who founded the Global Day of Prayer, shared from his rich experience in the marketplace and in ministry. He taught on principles of leadership and living out one's calling as a believer in the business world in a program he calls "Unashamably Ethical." Click here to listen to an interview with Power.

We also had time to talk in a confidential round-table setting about some of the opportunities and challenges we were facing in our different situations, share ideas, offer counsel and of course pray together. We all left encouraged and equipped. The emails I've been getting have told how much they got as members of the new Ministry21 Network.

M21 Network (as we sometimes call it) is a relational network bringing together like-minded pastors and leaders to develop their own leadership skills, connect them with others, provide needed coaching, continuing education and wonderful resources. read more


My Tribute to Rose Ferrell, a Great Mother-in-Law

Rose Cameron Ferrell, 1915-2011

For many, mother-in-law jokes have a ring of reality. But for me they don’t. I had the perfect mother-in-law—Rose Ferrell who left us this week. In the 38 years I've been her son-in-law, we never had a cross word. It was well known in the family that she always sided with the in-laws if there was ever an argument.

She lived with Joy and me for the past 3-1/2 years. She was always independent and a pleasure to have in the home. She was a godly woman, and I would hear her praying for her six children, nine grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

Now she’s gone. On Monday, at age 96, she breathed her last surrounded by family and friends. I had spent the night with her in the hospital on Friday, helping the nurses care for her. I fed her breakfast and she was doing so well I took off the next morning for the annual booksellers convention in Atlanta. But she had been hospitalized for congestive heart failure and Monday morning it was obvious it was a matter of hours until she died. As soon as I found out, I immediately flew home from Atlanta and arrived at the hospital in Altamonte Springs, Fla., an hour before her heart quit beating. read more

An Invitation to Meet with High Level Leadership Networking Meeting

For nearly 10 years, I've been meeting three times a year with 10 business and ministry leaders in a small closed group we call “CEO.” We gave it that name because you must be a CEO to be invited. It's for accountability and for what the Bible calls “iron sharpening iron.” I can't tell you how valuable it is to discuss important issues I'm dealing with both in business and my personal life with men I know care about me, who have come to understand me and will keep everything in total confidence.

It was my small group experience that gave birth to the idea to start the Ministry21 Network—a relational network to bring together like-minded pastors and leaders to develop their own leadership skills, connect them with others, provide needed coaching, continuing education and wonderful resources. So far, we've had several hundred join; most are raving fans and tell me how some aspect of what they've learned has changed their lives.

Next week, I'm combining the two for a special networking meeting at our headquarters at 600 Rinehart Road in Lake Mary, Fla. I decided to reach out to the 35,000 who have signed up for my blog to see if you'd like to attend on June 16-17. read more

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