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johneckhardt

Don't Miss the Kingdom!

Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom of God. Everywhere He went He preached the same message, “Repent for the kingdom of God,” or “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (see Matt. 4:17, Mark 1:15). All throughout the gospels, we find that Jesus’ emphasis was on the kingdom.

The primary reason Jesus came was to inaugurate the kingdom of God. Often, we hear that the reason Jesus came was to die on the cross. Jesus did come to die on the cross, but that death on the cross was for the purpose of establishing the kingdom of God.

There were multitudes of people when Jesus preached the message of the kingdom. Some missed it—others did not. read more

Removing the Religious Robes of Judgment

There’s plenty of talk about how technology aids evangelism, but 21st century technology also opens the door to a myriad of creative ways to judge, criticize and condemn people.

You can jot judgmental remarks on a blog. You can e-mail critical comments. You can compose condemning words on Twitter (so long as you don’t use more than 140 characters). You can relay your rebuke via text message. Or you can put them on blast by way of Facebook.

Of course, most of us are too sophisticated to launch outright public attacks against our brothers and sisters in Christ, even behind the cloak of technological tools that guarantee anonymity. More likely, we keep our disapproval of a friend’s choice, the disparaging analysis of our pastor’s message, or the dislike of our daughter’s wardrobe in our thought life—or maybe we share it in confidence with our prayer partner so they can “touch and agree” on the thing with us.

Whether we judge, criticize and condemn publicly or keep the matter in our own hearts, God sees and hears it all. And every drop of scorn we pour on another is collecting in a bucket of belittlement that will one day tip over and drench us with detraction. In other words, as the Message Bible says, that critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. read more

Getting the Weirdness Out of the Prophetic Movement

Let’s reclaim the simple, profound purpose of prophecy—and reject all sensational substitutes.

When I was a college student, a visiting minister regularly came to preach at our campus meetings. At the end of his messages he would often point at someone in the room, smile and say something like, “You in the blue shirt, I believe the Lord has a word of encouragement for you.” Then he would prophesy.

This freaked me out! How could this man know what God was saying to someone else? What if he was wrong? I loved the gift of prophecy because I had benefitted from it myself. But I remember telling the Lord back in those days that I would never, ever stand in front of a group and prophesy to an individual like that. Way too scary! read more

francisfrangipane_forweb

Those Who Covenant With God

Throughout the history of God's dealings with man, He has revealed Himself as a covenant-making God. The Almighty made major covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses and David; He renewed His Abrahamic covenant in His call to Isaac and Jacob. Each covenant initiated a new wave of redemptive power into the world and forever impacted the human condition. The word covenant means, "to fetter" or chain together. It was the highest form of commitment that two individuals could share. Any of several rituals were employed to express the covenant partners' unity. read more

Birthing Your Prophetic Dreams and Visions

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

A Sweet Surprise Is Hidden Inside Your Worst Trial

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

A Touch From the Father's Hand

One evening when my parents, my husband and I were having dinner at a small family restaurant, I witnessed a scene that became a powerful object lesson. Initially, the atmosphere in the restaurant was warm and friendly, alive with the laughter and conversations of parents and their children. read more
Living on the Edge

Living on the Edge

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

Are You a Sheep or a Goat in the Imperfect Church?

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

Where Is the Roar of the Real Men of God?

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

chavdas2011

The Cross Changes Everything

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

Trust God With the Outcome

For most of us, envisioning how God wants to use us is easy. The real work comes in faithfully taking steps each day in the direction of His will. read more

Support Japan Earthquake Relief Through Christian Life Missions

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

It Takes a Brave Guy to Plant a Church in Utah

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

Cry Out!

My grandson Elijah and his mommy and daddy recently came to visit. Baby Elijah is 9 months old and is such a bundle of sweet joy. He lights up when Pappy (that would be me) walks into the room. There is always quite a debate about who is his favorite. I am incredibly sure that I am. read more

Why Even Bother Praying Anymore?

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

What Is This Revival We're Looking For?

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

Marriage Madness in Maryland

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

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