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SPOTLIGHT

Morning Glory

Chris Tomlin's latest release is See the Morning.

Like the songs of musical pioneers Bill Gaither and Andraé Crouch, those of singer Chris Tomlin are as popular in churches as they are on radio. The writer of 17 top-charting songs recently released a new worship anthem, "Made to Worship," from his latest project, See the Morning. Tomlin says the album's title reflects God's promises that are fulfilled with the dawning of each new day. "There's something about the morning that awakens the God that never sleeps," he says. "You see, God does so much during the morning—'weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.' The Red Sea was parted in the morning. I love that idea that people could see God's faithfulness through these songs."

Prayer Point

This month marks the fourth anniversary of the war in Iraq. Although the effort has led to the capture of Saddam Hussein and democratic-style elections, it has cost the lives of more than 3,000 U.S. troops. We encourage you to join us in praying:

  • For God's wisdom and protection over every security patrol
  • That the troops would have the resources they need and their families' needs would be met
  • That the insurgency would end and a stable government would be established in Iraq.

    Artist of the Year

    When MSN Music asked the public to vote for its favorite artist of 2006, the winner was a surprising pick—the David Crowder Band. The alternative worship band known for songs such as "Here Is Our King" and"Our Love Is Loud" received more votes than Prince, INXS, Christina Aguilera and Kenny Chesney. "They've single-handedly redefined what contemporary Christian music should sound like," the Web site said. Now working on their 11th album, the band says its goal is "to be a relevant force in our culture, to give hope to those who have left the church and those who have come back."

    Unsung Heroes

    Armed for Battle

    Ray Hall has spent the last 13 years collecting donated Bibles and wholesome books to send to prison libraries. But the founder of Prison Book Project in Titusville, Fla., recently felt burdened to serve a different group—U.S. Armed Forces locked up in battle overseas. "We set aside these five cases of Bibles for the troops because we concluded it was the right thing to do," he says.

    In December, Hall received a request for materials from a chaplain's assistant attached to the Army Chaplain Corps in Kuwait, a stop-off point for some troops en route to Afghanistan and Iraq. Hall initially sent 11 cases with hundreds of books and Bibles packed inside. Then in mid-January he shipped five more cases filled exclusively with premium Bibles donated by Tyndale House. "We hope God will use this material in a way that will be pleasing to Him," he says. "These Bibles will impact more people than we can imagine."
    Paul Steven Ghiringhelli

    PEOPLE

    On Mission

    Jenny Berringer has her eye on an eternal goal

    Jenny Barringer runs fast—really fast. In November, the 20-year-old University of Colorado sophomore finished second in the NCAA women's 6-kilometer finals, was a women's cross-country athlete of the year finalist and received All American honors. She also was named a track and field All American last spring after a surprise win in the NCAA 3,000-meter women's steeplechase national championship race.

    Barringer runs fast, but it is a miracle that she runs at all. As a child, she battled and overcame various lung-related diseases, including potentially fatal histoplasmosis. As a teen, tests indicated that she didn't inhale enough air to run. Persistence, healthy living, and the support of her natural family and her church family (formerly at Calvary Assembly of God in Winter Park, Fla., and now at an independent fellowship in Boulder, Colo.) have kept her going and growing.

    "God uses each of us in different ways and we all have gifts," Barringer told Charisma. "I have been gifted in running. I am fulfilling His purpose and pleasing Him when I run well."

    Defining herself as a woman of faith who wants to live a life above reproach, Barringer embraces the responsibility that comes with her platform. "I tell young women I meet that they are incredibly loved and talented regardless of [their situation]," she says. "We have a Savior who loves unfailingly and unconditionally." Barringer volunteers, tutors high school students and signs for the deaf during worship services. Then there is the possibility that she will compete in the Olympics next year.

    Barringer runs fast, but she remains anchored. "At times my character fails me. At times my health fails me. At times my mind fails me," she says. "But my faith and my God, they never fail me."
    Steven Lawson

    Evangelism

    Winning Souls

    Businessman issues unusual call for evangelism strategies

    One day while watching television, businessman Donald Mitchell was challenged by an evangelist's call for Christians to become more effective witnesses. He had accepted Christ as a child and was teaching at a Bible school part time, but the minister's words haunted him. Then one night the Boston-based management consultant got an idea that has raised a few eyebrows.

    "In the secular world it's proven to be very, very effective to post [a contest] on the Internet," Mitchell says. "So I said: Why can't we do that for God? Why not come up with ways of helping sinners be saved? … It may be a bad way to do it, but it's the only way I knew how to do it."

    He developed a Web site, www.livespirituallybet terthanabillionaire.blogspot.com, through which he is calling for entries describing innovative evangelism strategies. The contest will continue through Easter. At that time submissions will be chosen for inclusion in a book on evangelism. But he says the "prize" will be mostly intangible.

    "It mostly has to be from God in the sense of recognition from Him for having done His work. … We're going to ask people to donate their royalties and whatever profits we earn from the book to help implement these purposes."

    Since he announced the contest, Mitchell has received a variety of ideas—from a man who says he's come up with a way to reduce the cost of Christian broadcasting in developing nations to a church that compiled members' testimonies into a book it distributes as tracts. "If I can facilitate great people coming up with wonderful ideas that are inspired by God," he says, "I'll feel very happy to have been part of this."
    Adrienne S. Gaines

    Generation 'R'

    Young adults from around the world gathered in Missouri and Georgia for conferences that challenged them to become world-changers for God's glory.

    In December, megachurch pastor Rick Warren challenged a record 22,500 Urbana 2006 delegates gathered in St. Louis to become a "reformation" generation. "What would happen if just those of us here tonight would say, 'Jesus, we are Yours'?" Warren asked. "A new spirit of St. Louis would bring about a global transformation! You, ladies and gentleman, are the reformation generation. You must bring it in."

    The Urbana 2006 event, held Dec. 27-31, coincided with the 200th anniversary of the Haystack Prayer Meeting, historically identified as the beginning of the modern missionary movement. The conference focused on communicating the truth of Jesus and embracing social justice issues. U2's Bono sent a videotaped message challenging students to help fight AIDS. And to help identify with AIDS patients abroad, delegates one night for dinner ate only a cornmeal-enriched porridge commonly eaten in developing nations. "It does not taste good, but I wanted to experience what [AIDS patients in Africa] do," says Rebecca Carpenter, 25, a recent graduate of Azusa Pacific University.

    The next week, 23,000 college-age adults convened in Atlanta for Passion 07, held Jan. 1-4. With "Do Something Now" as its theme, the conference challenged attendees to get involved in global efforts that focused on evangelism and social justice. Participants helped raise $700,000, which was to be used to dig wells in Africa, build a freedom center in northern Iraq and translate the New Testament into the language of the Dela and Rikou people of Indonesia, among other projects.
    Steven Lawson

    Charisma Online

    Getting Connected

    As more and more people go online to shop, bank, date and even participate in Bible studies, Charisma magazine is helping Christians connect to God, each other and the world through its Web site, www.charismamag.com. With its online forums, original columns and breaking news stories, the site helps readers stay abreast of how the Holy Spirit is moving around the world.

    "Thanks for the fellowship over the Net into my kitchen here in the United Kingdom," one reader wrote. "God be praised."

    Charisma editor J. Lee Grady continues to challenge the status quo in his column, Fire in My Bones. And online he is joined by associate editor Valerie G. Lowe, who in her Soul Food column addresses racial healing and unity in the body of Christ, and assistant editor Leigh DeVore, who discusses films Christians and families would enjoy.

    In addition, Web editor Felicia Mann offers insight into youth culture through her Cultural Edge column, and assistant news editor Paul Steven Ghiringhelli keeps visitors abreast of developments in Israel and other nations through his column, Middle East Minute.

    And of course, publisher Stephen Strang continues to inform and inspire Christians to affect change in the world around them. Online readers will be able to join in the discussion by reading his blog and giving their feedback.

    Visitors can also read daily devotionals, hear exclusive podcast interviews from ministry leaders and sample some of the latest Christian music. There is also a Christian conference directory that includes needed conference information, driving directions, and hotel and restaurant locators. Ministries can post their conferences free of charge by logging on to www.charismamag.com/conferences.

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