I am disturbed by Fire in My Bones ("Barna's Dangerous Proposal" by J. Lee Grady, June.) Grady rejects the move of the Spirit of God in home churches. His next to last paragraph is a terrible generalization because he stereotypes those who follow God's leading to begin a church in their home. I can tell you we are not all "revolutionaries ... angry ... cynical ... disrespectful of godly authority ... who flit from one place to another and then leave as soon as someone confronts ... [our] pride."
God told us to just make a place for His presence where He can minister to His people. We are not calling people unto ourselves or to our leadership style. We put no confidence in our abilities, only His. We are challenging people to have a closer relationship with Jesus—a place of intimacy with Him. He is the only one who can meet them in their pain and deliver them.
I am disappointed that a magazine whose name reflects the gifts of the Holy Spirit is now afraid of what He is doing in the earth. If you ask Him for a fish, He won't give you a snake! You should be encouraging people to pursue His presence wherever God is calling them, not thwarting it due to your limited experience.
I invite you to the House of Hope in order to broaden your understanding of what God is doing.
Bethel Park, Pennsylvania
God and Uganda
I praise the Lord for the exciting revival in Uganda ("Uganda's Miracle" by Kyalo Nguku, July). However, your article paints too rosy a picture of President Yoweri Museveni. He changed the constitution to allow himself to run for a third term, and then he ran an unfair campaign that included the unjust imprisonment of the main opposition leader.
The revival in Uganda is real, but government corruption is too. Christians need to pray for authorities, but we should not make others believe that a leader is a saint when his actions often speak otherwise.
The majority of Christians were against changing the constitution to allow a power-hungry president to continue to rule. The story implies that Museveni was part of the revival. Actually, the Lord is doing it in spite of him.
Praying for Jerusalem
Thanks for publishing Robert Stearns' article about Israel ("Why Israel Matters," May). We in Kenya totally stand with Israel.
As we remember the terrorist bombings in the Kenyan cities of Nairobi and Mombasa, we will wholeheartedly support Israel with our prayers, especially when we set aside October 1 for the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem. We humbly ask the United States, Great Britain, Canada and other African countries to join Robert Stearns and Eagles' Wings for this important event.
James Onyango Owuor
The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem is an extremely powerful and anointed initiative that gives the body of Christ the unbelievable opportunity to join together globally in prayer. I hope you will run more articles throughout the year to help continue drawing believers together toward this end.
I am tired of hearing the mantra "pray for the peace of Jerusalem." How many years has this been going on and yet the situation gets worse?
The nation of Israel needs to be shaken until they admit they're still stiff-necked like Jesus said of them. May God raise up an army of Stephens, not compromisers, who are not afraid of the word "controversy" and who will speak truth to the Jewish nation.
In Larry Selig's article about tourism ("Finding Jesus in the Holy Land," May), he said people who tour Israel will have unique encounters with the Lord. My wife and I went there in November and found it to be anything but a unique encounter.
The ministry we toured with shuttled us around like cattle from one site to another in a group of 340 people. We were rushed through the experience. We became very grieved and frustrated.
Please tell your readers to carefully select their tour and go with smaller groups if possible. Some of these tour groups go so often that they forget how special it is for first-time visitors.
Warner Robins, Georgia
What Happened at Brownsville?
Thank you for J. Lee Grady's editorial about the aftermath of the Brownsville revival (Fire in My Bones, July). We have been members at Brownsville since 1988. Your article was balanced and fair.
The revival was great, but no one here had a handbook on running a revival. It appears many mistakes were made.
My conclusion: If Brownsville Assembly does not survive, though I think it will, what happened here was worth the cost of one church.
Comparing the Pensacola revival with the ark of God was right on. Everyone seems to remember Uzziah's mistake in touching the ark, but even more serious was the sudden death of the 50,070 men of Beth Shemesh for looking into it. Is it possible that God would not have us "look into" His modern-day moves among men?
No revival has ever continued indefinitely, though every revival has left its own distinct mark on human history—and so it is with Brownsville. It was therefore painful to read Grady's question, "Did the leaders of this movement mishandle the anointing of God's presence?" The revival team poured out their lives night after night. We would do better to honor that great sacrifice.
Charles and Dotty Schmitt
Silver Spring, Maryland
I commend Grady for taking a risk by asking the "hard" questions! He spoke in love without judgment, and with brokenness and honesty. Truth can endure hard questions, some of which needed to be asked.
Do not fear. Keep bringing these important matters to the body of Christ. We need to know.
Rancho Cordova, California
I was never privileged to attend the revival meetings at Brownsville, but I was greatly blessed by the music and the news coming from there. I just wanted you to know that not everyone found your article to be critical.
Editor's note: In J. Lee Grady's column about the Brownsville revival, he stated that attendance at the church had dropped to 500. Leaders of the church say attendance is currently 1,000. Charisma regrets the error.
We encourage all readers who benefited from the Brownsville revival to help retire the church's $9.5 million debt. You can send donations to Brownsville Assembly of God, 3100 W. DeSoto St., Pensacola, FL 32505.
God—In or Out of the Box?
Your article about Christians who don't go to church was great ("God Is Out of the Box" by Ken Walker, July). It was well balanced and positive. I was out of church for 2-1/2 years, and in all honesty it was an awesome experience. I'm a former youth pastor who attends church now, but I am struggling to fit back into regular church.
I don't agree with Charisma's criticism of house churches. The many house-church folks I know are among the most deeply spiritual people I have ever met. They have left the traditional church in favor of a more New Testament position.
I agree that some who have left their local churches have done so as a result of being wounded by controlling pastors. We have had to minister to many of them, helping them to forgive and to be healed.
I have ministered on every continent for more than 45 years and have been a part of many major new things, including the charismatic renewal of the 1970s and Youth With A Mission. I must say that the current, developing, worldwide house-church movement is the most biblical, spiritual, workable, simple, easily reproducible Christian movement in the world.
Please take another look—for your sake and for the sake of your many readers.
I part company with Charisma's hypercriticism of George Barna's book about the house-church movement and his vision of a new movement of God already in progress. People are tired of the "stage" version of Christianity that involves folks gathering to watch an entertaining performance of "anointed" players. With 40 million AIDS orphans in the world, there is no time to lose in the fight for the "least" of these.
For the month of August we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Charisma. As a special offer, you can get 40 issues of Charisma magazine for only $40!