It seems some of our American mega-churches are built near some of our worst crime spots. Yet when I ask some of these big ministries if they can give canned goods for our underprivileged youth, they can't help.
The leaders of some of these big ministries go into great detail about their mansions and $100,000 cars. But when it's time to help a 13-year-old boy who's been living on the street and eating out of the garbage, they ask that famous question: "Would you like to support this ministry?" They spend millions of dollars on church buildings and schools, but when it is time to bless someone who has no idea who Christ is, they send you a magazine with a tithe envelope.
Why is it that gay and lesbian activists seem eager to adopt and care for abandoned youth, yet the church is nowhere to be found? When I have asked these big ministries to help our youth, they send a letter of regret but also include an envelope for a donation.
Will churches ever begin to reach the lost instead of trying to be more appealing to the masses by putting on a weekly show? Why do you think people are leaving churches today at such an alarming rate? I challenge ministers to answer these questions.
In light of the article on prayer leaders Dutch Sheets and Chuck Pierce ("God's Generals" by Gail Wood, May), I'm sure your readers would be encouraged to know that the National Day of Prayer has state and city leaders who have coordinated prayer for our nation for decades. They have mobilized thousands to intercede.
Also, the Global Day of Prayer, which involved more than 200 million intercessors in 2006, will far surpass that number of participants this year. This event is producing transformation.
The two organizations are the largest and most influential prayer movements to date. James Dobson, Southern Baptists and even Florida Presbyterian pastor D. James Kennedy led thousands of people in prayer during the 2000 election. These prayer movements include many praying grandmothers along with humble pastors. I believe they are the ones who carry the "fragrance of Christ"—and they are the true bearers of the title "God's generals of intercession."
It's been more than 100 years since the Azusa Street Revival and more than 200 years since the Cane Ridge revival. Where is the modern-day U.S. equivalent of the outpouring of Azusa Street or Cane Ridge? Who in America operates with an anointing like William Branham, Oral Roberts or Gordon Lindsay? When will we see another U.S. evangelist like Billy Graham, Charles Finney or Jonathan Edwards?
If the church is so significant to the American way of life, why is it having so little impact on the country's moral decline? If the church's message is right and relevant, why is it that the majority of people under 18 have no interest in church? Is it not time to acknowledge that something is profoundly wrong and that we need God to fix it? We need to pray!
Lord, have mercy. We need spiritual revival in our nation. After having prayed about this subject for so long, it was wonderful to see it in Charisma. My heart aches for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. By the time I got to the last sentence, all I could do was cry.
The Same-Sex Struggle
I was in tears after reading the article about same-sex attraction ("My Secret Struggle" by Julie Lyons, May). I'm a 27-year-old female, and I've had romantic feelings for girls since I was 8. I've been struggling for many years trying my best not to become a lesbian.
I'm not gay because I fear going to hell, but those thoughts remain in my mind. I've had many boyfriends, and I thank God for that. And I applaud Julie Lyons for sharing her story. It comforts me to know someone else has gone through the same thing.
Los Angeles, California
Thank you for sharing Julie Lyons' story. Her testimony will no doubt help a lot of hurting people. I've never had a problem with homosexuality, but I know people who have and who want out of the bondage. Please continue to publish articles relevant to life.
I want to say thanks to Charisma for holding up a standard of holiness for the church. I'm a music minister at the church I've been attending for the last 13 years. For years I've struggled with homosexual behavior, masturbation and fornication.
I have one daughter, but I'm not with her mother. She was conceived out of wedlock and I've spent many nights asking God's forgiveness, but sometimes I give in to my flesh. I'm asking for your prayers because I want to be a man of God! Please pray for me.
Jamaica, New York
I read the article by Julie Lyons and I have great respect for her. Not many people who struggle with same-sex attraction remain abstinent. However, I was deeply troubled by the sidebar, "Are People Born Gay?" I do not believe most evangelicals "fixate" on whether homosexuality is genetic. We know it is not in God's plan—period!
Mentioning the 1991 study of identical and fraternal twins was pointless. It didn't prove anything. The writer said: "I won't be surprised if researchers find a predisposition for homosexuality in certain families." The statement is ludicrous. Also, offering the addresses to Web sites of some Christian ex-gay organizations would have been a blessing.
Pamela W. Clare
Editor's note: Charisma has written about many ex-gay ministries and we often mention the work of Exodus International. For more information about an Exodus affiliate in your area, log on at exodus.to.
Those are Expensive Dinosaur Bones!
Thanks for the well-written article about the Creation Museum in Kentucky (Buzz, May). I know there are many people who are proud of this new museum. But $27 million seems like a lot of money just to feed the egos of those who feel they know what God did in creation.
To me it's essential that we believe God made the world, but exactly how He did it is not important. The rest seems selfish and self-centered.
Corpus Christi, Texas
The In Vitro Debate
I respect Charisma greatly and enjoy the knowledge I receive from reading it. However, I was upset by your sidebar about stem cell research ("The Truth About In Vitro Fertilization" by Dr. Mary Pearson, December). The author said: "In vitro fertilization, in fact, always produces many more viable embryos than is practical for implanting in a single womb."
I am living proof that extra, viable embryos are not always produced as a result of this procedure. My experience blessed me with two viable embryos, both of which were implanted. Only one survived.
I could have only hoped that I would have produced more embryos. I could have had them implanted at a later time or donated to a woman who has never experienced the blessing of having a child.
Pray for Virginia Tech
I was devastated by the news that a lone gunman opened fire on Virginia Tech, killing more than 30 people (Fire in My Bones online, April 20). Now that the national media have moved on, we Christians must not forget about the people who died. Let's continue to pray for the community, teachers and the entire student body.
I have been in prayer for the family, friends and people on campus at Virginia Tech and in the community. I know that community is hurting right now. I'm hurting, too. But we really need to begin rallying as a cohesive group with some plan of action.
Politics and the '08 Race
As a fellow Christian I am embarrassed that Stephen Strang stooped to dirty campaign tactics in his recent column (Final Word, March). His blatant attacks on Sen. Barack Obama regarding his Muslim family connections were despicable. To say that Obama's running for president is an example of spiritual warfare is a misuse of biblical ideas.
I applaud Stephen Strang for putting action to his beliefs and prayers. Thank you for joining the battle for the heart and soul of this nation. The church must be relevant to our communities. Thank you, also, for endorsing Katherine Harris, a godly woman, for office in Florida.
North Richland Hills, Texas