No one has ever called me a daredevil. I’ve never bungee-jumped off a cliff, parachuted from an airplane or spent time in a shark cage. But when my friend Michael Cole from Christ for the Nations Institute (CFNI) asked me to speak at a leadership retreat in Ohio—and he informed me that we would be participating in a high ropes course—I said to myself, Bring on the challenge!I thought it would be fun!
I was wrong! Before I describe the terror I faced when I stood on a thin metal cable 25 feet above the ground, let me give some backstory. The night before this aeronautical challenge, I spoke to a group of leaders from Tabernacle of Praise, a church Michael pastored for several years before moving to CFNI in Dallas. We had gathered at a camp for a time of worship, teaching and fellowship.
On Friday night I shared a message from the life of Gideon. I pointed out how Gideon received supernatural courage from God so he could tear down the pagan altar in his father’s house and lead a small army into battle (see Judg. 6:11-7:25). After the session, people gathered in groups, confessed their fears and prayed for one another.
I have a dirty little secret when it comes to Facebook. It’s not something I should share in public; in fact, doing so could get me in trouble. But I’ve held it within for too long, and it’s time I finally let the cat out of the bag.
I’m over it.
There, I said it: I am officially over Facebook. In fact, I’m over Twitter and LinkedIn and a host of other social networks as well. It happened unexpectedly to me a few months ago. I’d been an active user for the past three years, sharing everything from my son’s birth to the play-by-play when my alma mater won a national championship (War Eagle!). But one day I woke up and, without reason, had no desire to post an update.
The next day the same feeling was there—and the next week, and the week after that. Before the month was up, I realized my account had been stagnant with the exception of others writing, tagging or messaging me. It wasn’t that I had nothing to say, nor had Facebook done anything wrong to me. I was simply over it.
Could tablets and the digital revolution be a godsend for Christian television?
Dropped like a rock.
That’s how the Inspiration Network (INSP) felt after cable television provider Dish Network suddenly decided, amid ongoing rate negotiations between the two, to no longer carry the faith-based network’s programming. The decision came in early August, and within minutes of discovering the news, thousands of faithful INSP viewers flocked to social media sites to voice their outrage.
Using Facebook, Twitter, email and other online vehicles, the army of supporters lobbed a massive yet organic onslaught of complaints toward Dish and furthered the attack with a digital petition demanding that INSP’s family-friendly programming be returned. Dish even removed posts from its Facebook wall because of the swell of people complaining. And by the end of the month, the two sides reached an agreement and INSP returned to its familiar channel 259 spot.
“Social media has democratized the flow of information in this country,” INSP Chief Strategy Officer Bill Airy said during the ordeal. “It’s not a one-way process anymore. People who never had a voice now have one. It’s phenomenal to see how many people have seized on social media as a way to express themselves.”
Using new technologies, Bible organizations now can reach more people than ever with digital—and often free—versions of scripture. But is this the good news traditional bible publishers were hoping for?
Among the Bhojpuri-speaking people of India, an accident left a man named Anil paralyzed and unable to walk. He was discouraged and even thought about suicide. One day Anil’s family brought him an audio version of the New Testament, explaining that if he listened to it he would hear from God.
After hearing the story in John 5 in which Jesus cures a man who had been an invalid for 38 years, Anil called out to Jesus until he fell asleep. When he awoke he asked for his brother and said: “While I was sleeping, Jesus spoke to me! He said, ‘I will make you well.’ He said that I would talk about it, and others would listen and know my words were true.” Anil then stood up and showed his brother he could walk.
Anil went to see his doctor, who could hardly believe Anil was walking. Since then, Anil’s entire family has been baptized, and many have accepted Christ through his incredible testimony.
What every believer needs to know before traveling to Israel
Are you planning to visit Israel or thinking about it? As the owner of Sar-El Tours & Conferences, I have been providing travel services to Christian visitors to Israel for almost 30 years. Here are a few suggestions that will help you prepare for your visit, which for every Bible believer is a truly life-changing experience.
An organized tour with a licensed guide is the most effective way to see as many of the interesting and significant biblical sites as your time in the Holy Land allows. It ensures that all your travel needs are met: hotels, meals, itinerary, air-conditioned bus and expert guide. Moreover, you travel with people who have similar views and beliefs. Look for an agency that provides what we call “regular tours” for individuals who want to join a group.
When to Go
Determine which season is best for you to travel. Summers can be quite hot, and the coastal and Galilee hotels are very expensive and filled with Israeli and European vacationers enjoying the beaches and outdoor activities.
Even If you don’t trek to the usual Holy Land hotspots, you’ll find God’s footprints in these biblically rich sites
Few places compare with Israel. Though the country is relatively small (about the size of New Jersey), it’s filled from end to end with biblical history. If there is one place on earth that every Christian needs to visit, it’s Israel. Why? Because being there is the only way to physically experience God’s eternal story that runs through the ancient sites and historical wonders. It is the land where the Bible comes alive.
Many Christians who go to Israel are challenged to new levels of discipleship. Some are healed, renewed, empowered and blessed. The experience of one pilgrim sums it up best: “It was like visiting with the Lord in His home,” she said. When you go, visit the well-known sites but also set aside time to take in some of the land’s best-kept secrets. Here are 10 we suggest you see. You won’t be disappointed.
Seconds into Israel’s Tel Dan Nature Reserve and all else is forgotten. You’ll want to get lost under shady trees as you’re serenaded by the sounds of the rushing Dan River—the Jordan’s largest source—and its flowing streams and gentle springs. But if you keep going, you’ll come across three sites: the ruins of the Canaanite city once captured by the tribe of Dan; one of the “high places” from the time of King Jeroboam; and the ancient Canaanite “Gate of the Three Arches.”
Thanks to technology, Charisma’s latest opportunity might be the biggest yet—and you can be a part of it
When I felt led to start a small church magazine 36 years ago, I barely knew what God had in store. Yet I dreamed back then that maybe somehow we’d reach a million people.
That was 1975, before the personal computer was invented and when the electric typewriter I worked on was considered high tech. Fast-forward more than three decades and there are now ways to communicate via digital that are almost beyond belief.
We’ve been covering the digital revolution since churches began using computers back in the 1980s and when the Internet appeared in the early 1990s. Technology didn’t seem to affect us much; we still communicated by printing words on paper (even about technology) and mailed it to readers.
How the church is spreading the gospel and leading the way in an online revolution
Every April at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the world’s most creative minds converge with a legion of tech-heads to talk shop and plan world domination. The NAB Show, as the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual convention is called, is a utopia for those who work with content production—one of those rare can’t-miss events for Hollywood movers and Internet shapers alike. It’s where 100,000 people gather to find out how to cross the great digital divide in the ever-shifting world of communication and technology, and how to bridge the gap between old-school media and an online revolution that operates at light speed.
It’s also where the church became a leader—again.
Jono Hall, director of media at the International House of Prayer (IHOP-KC) in Kansas City, Mo., has sensed this shift in recent years while walking the floor with industry leaders. And this year’s show placed the body of Christ on full display, especially when it came to one of the conference’s main themes: live streaming.
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I was very surprised to see the negative response by the Canadian government to Sid Roth and his ministry (Inform, August). Wow, he’s really doing it right to get that kind of reaction! Thank God for his boldness to preach the truth and demonstrate it in power to our Jewish brothers and sisters; and thank God people on his program are speaking out about Islam! We so appreciate Charisma.
Sharon Thompson, Great Falls, Mont.
Grading our PROPHETIC upgrade
Regarding “It’s Time to Upgrade the Prophetic” (by Francis Frangipane, August), the prophetic movement should throw away the tendency to “perform.” God calls individuals, not a movement, and nothing can take the place of solid Bible-study foundation. The Word comes first, then the gifts. Not the other way!
Andrew Igene, Dallas
Wait Just a new york minute!
“In a New York Minute …” (Inform, August) contains a quote from former Judge Roy Moore of Alabama about the passage of a bill by the New York Legislature allowing same-sex marriage. Presenting this quote with no counterpoint displays a startling bias. Heterosexuals bear the brunt of the guilt for destroying marriage in America. How can we preach about the sanctity of marriage when our own house isn’t in order? If we want to be a witness to our culture, we must live exemplary lives in our homes and marriages.
Benjamin Ferrarini, Raleigh, N.C.
The church’s ‘GAY DILEMMA’
I applaud the Charisma team for your July issue addressing the homosexual crisis we’re in (“The Church’s Gay Dilemma”). I was very pleased to find the articles not skirting the issue but telling it like it is! Thank you for your discernment concerning how important this issue really is.
Candace Long, Roswell, Ga.
We must begin to intercede for those in the homosexual lifestyle, as Abraham did for his family. I thank the Lord for someone who interceded for me while I was living the gay life. I have been delivered for 26 years by God’s grace. I pray that if you’re a practicing homosexual, please repent and invite the Lord in. I am a witness that He can deliver you.