School of the Spirit

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Whether you’re thinking about heading to seminary, earning a new degree or simply taking a few Bible classes for fun, here are the fundamental questions to ask before making your decision

 

The apostle Paul prayed that our love “may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment” (Phil. 1:9, NASB). If you are thinking about going back to school, the Holy Spirit (who is your real Teacher), may be stirring you to expand your spiritual and mental horizons. God is always challenging us to increase our knowledge of Him and His Word and to pursue excellence in all we do for Him. Because I oversee a distance learning program at a Christian university, I am frequently asked by prospective students what educational route they should embark upon. Similarly, you should ask yourself some questions before you decide which direction your pursuit will take. Here are the most important questions I advise that you consider:

1. What is my ultimate, long-term goal?

Do you want to obtain a degree, ministerial credentials, counseling credentials, increase your Bible knowledge, grow spiritually, become equipped for ministry in a local church or something else? After you determine your long-range goal, you can begin to plan suitable short-term steps to work toward it. For example, if you want to become a state-certified counselor, you would normally need to seek a residential master’s degree in counseling from a state-approved graduate school. If you want to learn how to counsel effectively as a layperson in a church setting, that level of training may not be necessary.

2. If I want to be licensed or ordained as a minister, what kind of schooling should I obtain?

That depends on the school or organization through which you want to be credentialed. If you are under a particular denomination or ministerial organization, find out what their educational requirements are and what type of schools or training they will accept. read more

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How to Live Diabetes-Free

Millions suffer each year from complications related to the nation’s latest epidemic: diabetes. But you can prevent or reverse the long-term effects of this not-so-silent killer.

When New York filmmaker Morgan Spurlock set out to draw a line between the rise of obesity in America and fast-food giant McDonald’s, he never dreamed that his 2004 documentary, Supersize Me, would be nominated for an Academy Award, earn more than $20 million and turn the film’s title into a watchword for health activists everywhere. It also made him a PR nightmare for the McDonald’s corporation. For his film, Spurlock made himself a guinea pig, tracked his progress and documented the results. For one month he ate nothing but McDonald’s food for all three daily meals, sampling every item on the Golden Arches’ menu. Whenever cashiers asked if he wanted his meal supersized, he accepted.

His experiment represented untold millions of people who get the majority of their daily sustenance from fast food. Spurlock turned himself into a physical representation of these silent masses, consuming an average of 5,000 calories a day. He gained almost 25 pounds, increased his body mass index by 13 percent, raised his cholesterol to 230 and accumulated a dangerous fat level in his liver. 

I sometimes wonder if many Americans were paying attention. read more

Feedback

“There are many signs that the hearts of Americans are turning back to God.”

—Diane Hamilton

REFRESHED AND IMPRESSED

The January issue was one of the most well-written I’ve seen in months, with refreshing articles of preparation for 2012. We’re grateful for the information!

Kleon Cronk, Sarona, Wisc.

 

AMERICA’S REPENTANCE

Regarding “2012: America’s Final Warning?” (by Jonathan Cahn, January), God is waking up His sleeping body everywhere, and I pray we awaken to His call quickly and decisively. He tests us to strengthen us, but our response to His testing is critical. The Word is clear: He’s counting on us to do the greater works. 

name withheld

 

Rabbi Cahn is showing us how and why America is falling and how it relates to Israel’s fall in the past, through Scripture and our own history as a nation. People better wake up and repent or we’re next to have our country taken over.

Linda Alvarez, Tacoma, Wash.

 

I respectfully disagree with Rabbi Cahn, primarily that America has been “defiant” toward God and unrepentant. Thousands of intercessors have been faithfully repenting on our nation’s behalf. Many groups have established prayer, praise and repentance on a broad level, such as TheCall, IHOP-KC and Jesus Culture. Yes, God calls us to repentance. But there are many signs that the hearts of Americans are turning back to God.

Diane Hamilton, Redding, Calif.

 

Title Obsession

Lee Grady, thank you for your boldness in “A Word for the Grand Poobah” (January). That word was long overdue and much needed. I pray that we will seriously embrace the concerns of Jesus about not taking titles for ourselves. Watchman Nee said it so well: ”I want nothing for myself; I want everything for the Lord.”

Charles Schmitt, via email

 

Lee Grady’s commentary on people’s obsession with titles  was right on. But it goes beyond “apostle” and “bishop”—most notably those who insist on being called “doctor” because they’ve received an honorary doctorate. Isn’t it enough to minister under God’s anointing?

Dick Daniels, Escondido, Calif. read more

Remembering Jamie Buckingham

How the charismatic leader’s impact remains 20 years after his death

For a quarter century Jamie Buckingham was the conscience of the charismatic movement. Through his many books, speaking engagements and his monthly “Last Word” in Charisma for 13 years, he called things as he saw them. Now, two decades after his death, we reflect on the spiritual giant he was and his genius as a writer.

Jamie received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in 1967 at a Full Gospel Businessmen’s convention while researching for his first book, Run, Baby, Run, co-authored with Nicky Cruz. Jamie had been a Southern Baptist, but two devastating moral failures left him wounded, humbled and aware he needed the power of the Holy Spirit in his life. He was always open about his own failures in his sermons, columns and books such as Risky Living, and that transparency drew people to him. 

Only Jamie could write about a “sock-eating demon” in his washing machine and make a spiritual point. Or tell how God had to essentially give the Israelites a laxative in the Sinai Desert to “get Egypt out of them.” He loved the Sinai and made several pilgrimages there. In 1979 I climbed Mount Sinai with him (he scaled it six times). It wasn’t only a wonderful experience; Jamie transferred to me his love for Israel, which I have to this day. read more

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Quit Trying to Be Good

Why you should stop trying to change yourself ... and instead accept the gift of conviction

I used to be a very frustrated Christian, trying to be “good,” trying to have some sense of worthiness and righteousness in my relationship with Christ.

But then I found out the good news: I was put in right standing with God by His grace, because He loves me. I am made the righteousness of God through Christ and not by anything I do myself. However, for me to become all that God created me to be in Christ and really experience His righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, obedience to His will is important. But we can’t be obedient in our own strength. Let me explain ... read more

Don’t Give Up on Church

When my friend Ferrell Hardison moved to Princeton, N.C., in 1990, he began pastoring a Pentecostal church with 70 people. Founded in 1918, it was an aging congregation with a tiny budget. Ferrell was the 25th pastor to lead the church, and some of his predecessors had stayed only a year or two. Not exactly a young pastor’s dream job!

Today, the church has a new name—The Bridge—and it has grown to 1,250 in attendance. Last fall the congregation broke ground on a new worship center, and they’ve planted a satellite congregation in Goldsboro, N.C., that already has 300 members. A large percentage of the church’s $2.6 million annual budget is marked for outreach, and Ferrell estimates that at least 3,000 people have come to Christ through their ministry in recent years.

Ferrell is a simple guy who believes in prayer. He’s not a celebrity CEO pastor who runs his church like a business, nor is he a self-appointed “apostolic” tyrant who barks orders to his staff. He believes in core biblical values like servanthood, team ministry and compassion. And people are flocking to The Bridge because they find Jesus-focused worship, Bible-centered preaching and, most of all, New Testament-style love. read more

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A First in Florida

Could a 450-year milestone establish new order in the “First Coast” state?

Florida has been a key state in recent national election seasons, yet it’s also been the focal point of many prophetic words regarding the apostolic spirit resting upon it. The word apostolic relates to being “first in order or that which sets order,” and indeed, prophetic statements have defined Florida as a pioneering state that sets the standard for the nation and for revival.

Because Jacksonville, Fla., is my hometown, I take note whenever people offer such words concerning Florida. Lately, though, I’ve noticed the prophetic words spoken over my state are manifesting in a three-fold nature in 2012: in the natural, spiritual and historical.

In the natural, you don’t have to be a prophet to know that during the year of the presidential election all eyes will be on Florida. But it’s the spiritual and historical elements that have brought new revelation to why this is called the “First Coast” state. read more

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