Man on Fire
Day of Fire's Josh Brown (front) says he's been witnessing miracles after concerts
Day of Fire vocalist Josh Brown knows the truth. If it weren't for Christ, he would still be lost in a world of sex, drugs and hopelessness. “I was definitely chosen,” he said. “I was on such a terrible path. God uses people like me to show the world that He exists.”
In 1998, all of Brown's dreams had come true. He had money and fame. He was on MTV with his band Full Devil Jacket (FDJ), playing Woodstock '99, and touring with bands such as Creed. He was also addicted to every drug he could find. In 2001, after a heroin overdose, Brown accepted Christ and quit FDJ to wash dishes at a retirement home. “I had to hit rock bottom before I would listen to [the Holy Spirit's] voice,” he recalled.
In the last year, Brown entered Christian music and has seen his band Day of Fire score several chart hits and play in front of thousands of fans. Still, it's the one-on-one contact that he savors most. “I've had the opportunity to pray with people stricken with drugs, alcohol, schizophrenia, whatever,” he said. “There was a woman I met who heard voices for years. At that moment, faith rose up inside of me and I began to pray. She said that for the first time in three years the voices stopped. I've seen God move on people. His desire is to set His people free from the chains and weight of sin.”
Steven Douglas Losey
Stirring the Pot
Exodus International created a stir in Orlando, Fla., when it began posting billboards asserting that homosexuals can change. The ads are to be featured for six months in Orlando, where Exodus is based, and a similar sign is posted in Houston. Exodus, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, has more than 125 member ministries in North America that have helped some 400,000 people who contact the organization each year.
FAITH & CULTURE
Brandon T. Jackson has less than three months of experience in Hollywood, but already he's landed a major role in the upcoming film Roll Bounce. The 19-year-old preacher's kid from Detroit says it is an answer to many prayers.
Jackson appears on the big screen this month alongside teen sensation Bow Wow, who stars as X in the 1970s era roller-skating movie. Jackson depicts X's best friend, Junior. “This [breakthrough] is something I always prayed for,” Jackson told Charisma. “I [would pray], 'God, if You are going to use me, use me in entertainment, for Your glory.'”
Jackson's father, Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of Detroit's Great Faith Ministries International, has the church interceding for his son, and he sent one of the ministry's young leaders to Los Angeles to be his son's prayer partner and Bible study leader. Although the PG-13 film will stir up more hoots than hallelujahs, Jackson's performance could position him for bigger roles and greater influence. All part of the plan, says the young actor, who once wanted to follow his father's footsteps into the pulpit. Now he wants to preach “in a different way” and be a transforming force in Hollywood.
Steven Lawson in Hollywood
Couple says God has given them a unique ministry tool
A Florida man is on a campaign to “glorify God” as a President Bush impersonator. Orlando native John Morgan, 49, is 10 years younger than George W. Bush, but he is a dead ringer for the 43rd U.S. president.
A Christian for 30 years and a longtime member of a nondenominational charismatic church in Orlando, Morgan said it was during Bush's first presidential campaign that people told him how much he looked like the then-Texas governor. But it wasn't until his wife of 22 years, Kathy, saw a Bush impersonator on TV in fall 2003 that Morgan entertained the thought of being a look-alike.
“She told me, 'I've found you a new career,'” he recalled. “Immediately a spark of interest ignited in my heart. I spent two weeks praying. After two weeks, I was convinced the Holy Spirit spoke to me that it was His will for me to be a President Bush impersonator for five years.”
Morgan has made nearly 60 appearances as the president for corporate and birthday parties, trade shows and sales meetings in the U.S. and as far away as Mexico, Japan and the Bahamas. Morgan's family is also in the impersonating business. His wife is a Laura Bush look-alike and Morgan's daughter-in-law, Emily, and her cousin, Jennifer, resemble the Bush twin daughters.
Morgan said he got to meet the president in May when Bush discussed Social Security in Orlando. “I shook his hand and told him, 'Mr. President, it's an honor to be your look-alike,'” he recounted. “And in his self-depreciating humor, [Bush] said: 'Well, I feel sorry for you.'”
Frank Hammond has passed away, but his message lives on
Though it sparked a wave of controversy for its assertion that Christians could be demonized, Pigs in the Parlor by former Baptist pastor Frank Hammond and his wife, Ida Mae, has never been out of print since it debuted in 1973.
And though Hammond passed away March 17 at the age of 83, contemporary deliverance ministers say his work will continue to underpin modern teaching on deliverance. “The book truly had an anointing on it,” said Gene Moody, a Baton Rouge, La.-based minister known for his comprehensive Deliverance Manual. “I have given many of them away, and I still recommend it today. It was a very good beginning book.”
Though the debate over whether a Christian can have a demon still rages, with the Assemblies of God officially rejecting the idea, C. Peter Wagner of the Wagner Leadership Institute in Colorado Springs, Colo., says deliverance ministry is becoming more respectable. Hoping to see the field rise to new levels, Wagner said, Hammond encouraged him to launch the International Council of Deliverance Ministers, which offers members training and accountability.
That fatherly leadership is what Kimberly Daniels, head of Spoken Word Ministries in Jacksonville, Fla., and author of Clean House, Strong House, remembers most about Hammond. She believes his legacy will continue to impact ministers such as herself for generations.
Eddie Smith, who leads the U.S. Prayer Center with his wife, Alice, agrees. “The book wasn't the point; he was the point,” Smith said. “His life and his presence and his selflessness will long outlive his book.”
Adrienne S. Gaines
Sherron Williams' friends say her laughter is contagious. But the 40-something mother of three hasn't always felt like smiling. At the age of 5 she was molested by a trusted baby sitter; the same year she was burned so badly doctors weren't sure she'd live. “I was miraculously healed physically, but the scars covering two-thirds of my body left me living in a cloud of self-loathing and destruction,” she said.
As a result, she began abusing drugs and became promiscuous, giving birth to her first child at age 15. Then at age 19, she was led into a life of prostitution.
“I wanted to stop; I just couldn't,” she said. “I would sit in jail and wonder why I couldn't be like my sisters who were getting married, working and raising children. I thought something happened to my brain when I almost died from the burns. I gave up, resolving to live that life and die that way. But today I know somebody was praying and God heard their prayers.”
In 1993 she was incarcerated again, but this time she says she was tired. She read the Gideon's Bible she was given, prayed the sinner's prayer written in the back and began attending church services. Though she received a 16-year sentence, Williams was released in 1998. Today she's a Sunday school teacher and intercessor, and has kept the same job for seven years. “I am proud to be a Christian. No more looking over my shoulder; now I look up. God has lifted me out of the muck and the mire.”
In Lancaster, Texas
Food for Africa
Food for Africa
Back in 2002, Africa was hardly on Rick Tunis' radar. But when the Pennsylvania pastor came across a Charisma magazine article about a drought in Malawi that was expected to leave hundreds starving due to failed crops, he couldn't stop reading. “It felt like God tapped me on the shoulder and said, 'I want you to do something about this,'” he said.
That something began as a fundraising campai gn in his 30-member church, Living Word Fellowship in Allentown. It has since grown into a nonprofit organization called Bread of Life International (www.breadoflifeintl.com), which he founded with his wife, Nancy, in 2003. He has teamed with Arn and Elsie Bowler of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAC) and has taken two trips to the nation, which is loacted in southern Africa.
During the first trip, in May 2003, Tunis teamed with Steve Chetepa, the general superintendent for the Pentecostal Assemblies of Malawi, to buy 20 tons of food and distribute it in the worst-hit areas. “It's emotionally overwhelming to see people fight over food,” Tunis said, but he noted that the whole trip “was a bombardment of affirmation that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.” Hundreds made decisions for Christ.
Tunis expected to return to Malawi in August, and his 16-year-old daughter, Patricia, planned to tag along. Each year, he said, his vision grows. He hopes to someday see Bread of Life assist Sudanese refugees, help feed people in nearby Zambia and partner with PAC to establish a home for AIDS orphans. “I would like to see this get much bigger,” Tunis told Charisma. “But for now, Malawi is a strong base for us.”
Adrienne S. Gaines
The Pentecostal World Fellowship (PWF) elected Bishop James D. Leggett as its new chairman on May 4. Leggett, who is general superintendent of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, is the fourth person to lead the international network of charismatic and Pentecostal ministries since its founding in 1947. The PWF convenes every three years, with its next meeting scheduled for Indonesia in July 2007.
California pastor Frederick K.C. Price of Crenshaw Christian Center was to be honored July 23-29 for more than 50 years in ministry. The weeklong celebration was also to mark the 15th anniversary of the Fellowship of Inner City Word of Faith Ministries, which Price founded. The festivities were to begin with a ceremony during which 79th Street and Vermont Avenue in Crenshaw were to be renamed Dr. Frederick K.C. Price Square.
Evangelist morris cerullo was indicted July 12 on three counts of filing false individual income tax returns, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The president of Morris Cerullo World Evangelism allegedly underreported his income by $550,000 between 1998 and 2000. If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison and a $100,000 fine for each count, the Associated Press said. Cerullo planned to contest the charges.
Singer Pat Boone, 71, is ending his recording career with the release of five albums in one year, the Associated Press (AP) reported. Each project will reflect a different genre, ranging from patriotic songs to country hits to romantic ballads to R&B tunes. The gospel CD, Glory Train, is to release in September and will feature a tribute to Billy Graham that Boone recorded with U2 lead singer Bono, the AP said.