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A few years ago I had a somewhat perplexing dream. In this dream I was about five months pregnant. Now, for starters, I’m not married and had no reason to be pregnant. I was trying to deny it, but my mid-section was clearly swelling—and it wasn’t from eating too many tasty empanadas from the corner Cuban café. In my dream I asked a trusted friend what she thought. To my dismay, she said, “You’re definitely pregnant!”
To say I was none too happy would be a monumental understatement. A flood of thoughts rushed at me in my dream state. “How will I get all my work done with a newborn baby to care for? I’m too busy for this! My life is challenging enough as it is. This is certainly no time to complicate things with a baby!” Even still, I knew there was no way of escape on this one. I had a sense that I really didn’t have a choice in the matter. This baby was coming into the world in about four months whether I liked it or not.
Then I woke up…perplexed. read more
Before you whine, complain or throw a pity party, remember that God can bring something good out of something bad.
I’m usually adventurous when it comes to foreign food. But I was leery when I learned about a tropical fruit called durian during a trip to Indonesia. Three things made me highly suspicious of this strange delicacy, which is sold in large quantities on the streets of Jakarta.
First of all, durian looks absolutely deadly. Each of the large, round fruits is covered with massive thorns that stick out four inches or more. I’m sure if you threw one of these things at somebody from a second-story window the victim would die instantly. read more
Are you just hanging on, trying to make it through the day? Then it’s time to live within the boundaries of God’s Word.
Are you living an unsustainable life? Have you ever said things like, “I can’t keep this up much longer. If I have to live like this one more year, it’s probably going to finish me off. It’s all just too much!”
Do you feel like you’re on a treadmill, and if you try to get off everything will fall apart, so you just keep going?
This is what it means to “live on the edge.” read more
You know the drill. It was the end of a long workday. I was racing from one errand to another before it was time to pick up my daughter for our dinner date. I didn’t have a moment to spare…
So when Richard, a disheveled character with enough sand on his face to nearly disguise the scar on his cheek, approached me asking for money to buy food, it took me a minute to catch on to what the Lord was doing. I honestly didn’t have as much as a penny in my pocket and apologetically told him so. After Richard walked on by, it suddenly dawned on me that I was standing in front of an ATM machine!
“Hey mister!” I cried out after him.
Richard turned around slowly as I raced up to him with my debit card in hand. We were standing in front of a Subway, so I invited him inside for a meal. Richard had a grateful heart, but also an aching one. He hugged and kissed me and thanked me profusely for the double meatball and tuna fish footlong sub—then he dropped the “S” bomb. Richard told me he wanted to kill himself.
“Brother, do you know where you’ll go when you die?” read more
God is looking for spiritual lions who will exhibit boldness, compassion and true holiness.
While millions of men were watching last weekend’s NCAA basketball contest (congratulations to Virginia Commonwealth), I was in a three-day conference in Concord, N.C., with 180 men from eight nations. We called it Bold Venture, and it was an opportunity for American guys to be exposed to the courageous faith of men from the developing world.
We ate together (North Carolina barbeque!), worshiped God passionately (thanks to three worship teams, including a group of guys from a Christian college in Georgia) and had our rear ends kicked by some humble, battle-scarred ministers from Uganda, Nigeria, Ethiopia and India. read more
The spectacle of Golgotha stands center stage for men and angels, demons, and principalities and powers in all ages. What happened outside the gate of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago is still unfolding. The cross is a spiritual mission in natural history creating a human spectacle of supernatural achievement. The absolute completeness of Jesus’ atoning work was done according to non-negotiable conditions of righteousness that issues a personal invitation to each of us and has a totally practical application! read more
I was in Korea the day the earthquake occurred in Japan followed by the devastating tsunami. Last time I was in Korea I stopped in Japan on the way home and met with missionary Ken Joseph Jr. This time I'm glad I didn't stop! But I've developed a friendship with Ken who emailed me the day after the earthquake to tell me how horrible it is. As I flew home I knew I had to do what I could to help. That's when I decided to reach out to you. One of the things I have through Charisma Media is influence. I want to encourage you to help in some way—even if it's small. There are many ministries helping. We are publicizing the good works of many of them as we find out what they are doing. Help us or help them, but please do something. read more
Matt Roberts, a young preacher I met last week, has built a congregation of 950 in the middle of Mormon country.
U.S. News & World Report recently released its list of “Top Careers,” an outline of professions that are expected to be popular in 2011. I was not surprised to find all kinds of medical jobs on the list—from registered nurse to athletic trainer to massage therapist—but I didn’t expect to see “clergy.” U.S. News revealed that the Labor Department expects the number of religious leaders to climb by 13 percent over the next decade.
One reason that number will grow is that brave men (and some women) are stepping out in faith to plant churches in an increasingly unchurched America. I met one of these courageous souls last week. His name is Matt Roberts; he’s only 32; and he moved to Ogden, Utah, six years ago to start an evangelical church in the heart of Mormon territory. read more
When I recently heard Christians suggesting that a prayer initiative for America was useless I was struck to the core with the realization that the Body of Christ is far from unified. I mean, if we can’t unify around prayer, what can we unify around?
For all the impactful prayer movements in the Body, I still run into some believers who seem embittered by the efforts. They throw up their arms and ask, “Why even bother praying anymore?” because they don’t see the fruit of their supplications. Yet faith is the evidence of things not seen (see Heb. 11:1). I shudder to think what would happen if we stopped praying for America.
What’s the solution to this disunity? More intercession, more equipping, and more love. read more
The morning seemed strange. The dream was unique, unnerving. There were several parts to it that left me seeking, vigilant. I shook my head when I awakened. Was I in some sort of weird frame of mind? Was this dream significant or one to be filed in the circular file? Was it the devil just disturbing me, or was it God speaking to me? For a while I thought I was just being harassed until I began to recall the totality of the dream and review all its parts. I finally woke up to the fact that God was speaking to me—I was not just having a pizza dream. A couple of parts from the dream are to be shared publicly. read more
This past week the Maryland Legislature has wrestled back and forth with the issue of same-sex marriage. For months gay marriage activists have boasted that there had been no real organized resistance to their redefinition campaign. The most surprising aspect of the battle was that last week an army of traditional marriage proponents appeared in Annapolis, MD. Even though this group had testified and lobbied for over 3 weeks with focus and passion, they obviously saved the best for last. During this past week over 30 different groups lobbied in shifts. None of them had received the memo that they were supposed to be the desperate underdogs. In fact they seemed just the opposite. They were as spirited and coordinated as Florida A&M’s (my father’s alma mater) marching band during halftime.
Both religious and secular groups prayed, lobbied or protested according to their own strategies and belief systems. The religiously based opposition was unique - Mormon, Pentecostal, Southern Baptist, Missionary Baptist, Roman Catholic, Presbyterians, and AME leaders busily moved from office to office. These spiritual leaders also represented a diversity in the size of their flocks and parachurch organizations. Churches ranged from 300 members to ministries shepherding over 20,000. The nationally known, mega-church pastors moved with an equalitarian unity among their smaller church colleagues. In addition, the Collective Banking Group (consisting of over 300 member churches), the Southern Baptist Convention of Maryland (with 500 churches), the Maryland Catholic Conference with over 300 churches), the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference’s Maryland chapter (with over 200 churches), and regional pastoral alliances from Frederick to the Eastern Shore were all represented. read more
By keeping our bodies in tip-top shape we can truly do God's work the way He intended.
If you suffer from self-doubt or self-hatred, abuse your body with bad food or bad habits, or regularly find yourself at the bottom of the list of people you do things for, then you do not understand your own value.
I believe that many people today are experiencing a self-respect crisis. This condition has to change in order for us to lead effective Christian lives. read more
We've all heard our fair share of faith messages. We walk by faith. We speak by faith. We live by faith. We prophesy according to our faith. We inherit the promises of God through faith (and patience). You've probably memorized all those Scriptures, too.
We've all marveled at the heroes in the Hebrews 11 "Hall of Faith." There we are edified by accounts of God's faithfulness to His people throughout the Old Testament. There we learn the practical elements of how faith works in the New Testament. Your Bible is probably colored and underlined on those pages just like mine.
Indeed, we've all learned that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. We are convinced that acting on the Word brings results (see Rom. 10:17). We know (that we know that we know) that if we don't doubt in our heart but believe those things that we say will come to pass we will surely have whatsoever we say (see Mark 11:23). We've learned well.
Ultimately, whatever we receive from God, it comes by faith. I'm oversimplifying, but that's the anatomy of faith in a nutshell. Now what about the other side of the coin? read more
Terrorist bombings. Middle East turmoil. $3.95 gas. Killer floods. Moral breakdown. Fragile economies.
No wonder Charlie Sheen is going crazy!
Seriously, there’s a lot of bad news out there. Negative headlines make people fearful, agitated, addicted or even sick. But from what I’ve read in my Bible, Christians should not freak out every time a gloomy cloud settles over us. We, of all people on earth, should be full of hope.
A few days ago a friend asked me what I thought about a prophecy from a well-known Christian leader. This man has predicted a financial collapse in the United States by sometime next year. Other Christians have foreseen terrorist attacks, assassinations, bread lines and even the total breakdown of society. My friend asked me: “What are you hearing from the Lord about the future?” read more
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