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Another Chance

If we humbly confess our sins and failures, the Lord faithfully forgives us and immediately restores our fellowship with Him: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). But He doesn’t stop there. He immediately schedules another chance for us to obey, providentially arranging another situation spiritually similar to the one in which we failed.

Why? To punish us further by cruelly reminding us of our failures? No, His kind purpose is just the opposite. He wants us to be able to forget our failures completely. So He provides us with another chance that we might avenge our spiritual defeats and live thereafter in the joy of overcoming rather than the frustration of failure. He wants us to be more than forgiven; He wants us victorious! Joyful! Soaring!

Not surprisingly, our Creator understands our deepest thoughts. He knows that even when we believe that we’re forgiven, the memories of our past failures tend to linger and vex us. Like David, we sometimes feel as if our sins are always before us (see Ps. 51:3). read more

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The Million Heirs Club

As a 15-year-old Daniel King was inspired to set a goal larger than most could even dream. He’d read a success book that told him to aim for earning $1 million by age 30. But King, who grew up on the mission field, set a different goal: to see 1 million souls saved by the time he was 30. 

“Instead of trying to become a millionaire I wanted to lead 1 million ‘heirs’ into the kingdom of God. And God started opening up doors,” he said.

At 28, just two years shy of his 30th birthday, King led his 1 millionth heir to Christ during a crusade in Haiti. Though most Christians never witness such a feat, it was only the beginning for King. Now 33, the evangelist has set a new goal of leading 1 million people to Christ every year.

King is feverishly working to reach this new objective in places such as Pakistan, Indonesia, Sudan, Ethiopia and other nations in the 10/40 window, where the message of Christ has never been heard. His crusades consistently draw tens of thousands, and his efforts to train local pastors have resulted in planting 14 house churches with 70 people or more attending each.

“For me it’s an awesome privilege to go to these places and tell people about Jesus,” King says. “They’re so hungry for the gospel, and when you go to a nation and you see thousands and thousands of people who want to hear about Jesus, you see how powerful the message of God’s love really is.”


 

On the Rise

“God is·supernaturally·raising up a movement of young people like I have never seen in 27 years of student ministry—ever. It is as if the Spirit of God is just beckoning this to happen.”···—Jay Mooney, after the Converge21 USA conference­, where young people and church leaders fervently prayed for and discussed the future of the Holy Spirit-empowered movement. read more

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Miracle Turns Strip Club Into Church

In a move to redeem some prime real estate in South Florida, a Haitian church purchased a closed strip club with the intent of turning into God’s house.

Eglise Assemblee Evangelique de Christ in Boynton Beach, Fla., bought Platinum Showgirls strip club last spring for $600,000. Though the property was theirs, they couldn’t hold services in the building until it was renovated and up to code.

The problem: finances. Eglise Assemblee spent all its money to buy the building and had been paying high rent at an interim facility. That left them without money to wrap up the redemptive project. read more

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Water ignites spiritual flames


Water is often used to extinguish fires, but Water Mission International has been using H2O to ignite Holy Ghost blazes around the globe. Founders George and Molly Greene closed their lucrative engineering firm in 2001 to engineer safe water filtration systems in areas where children die daily of water-borne illnesses. What they discovered was astonishing: The more water they purified, the more communities were open to hearing the gospel.

“People are always questioning about how this [water] system works and asking how they can acquire it,” Uganda’s Glory Center pastor Charles Neddje says. “We always tell them about our great God. Can you imagine that even nonbelievers come willing to offer us land to plant churches because of this water system? It is an iron tool for the gospel.”

But with 884 million people without clean water around the world, there is much work still to be done. So the Greenes are enlisting Western churches to help during Water Sunday, March 22. Congregations are dedicating a portion or an entire service to raising funds and awareness to help end the clean water shortage. Through video and photos, attendees are shown how quickly the gospel is spread by giving an impoverished area a purified water source.

“The goal of our projects is not just to provide physical water, but to share the Living Water message as well,” says Kevin Herr, a Water Mission representative. “When a project is completed we have a special celebration ceremony and when appropriate, show the Jesus film.”

Water Mission has provided clean water in 49 countries and hopes to be a world leader in water filtration by 2017. ­­—Felicia Abraham read more

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Model Fights Against Cosmo Magazine

 

Model and actress Nicole Weider is leading a change.org campaign demanding that the magazine Cosmopolitan be sold in a non-transparent wrapper to adults only, to prevent children from buying and reading material inappropriate for their development. The model initially created a YouTube video displaying her discontent with the magazine and posted it to her fast-growing website geared toward Christian teenage girls, ProjectInspired.com.

But Weider (pictured) received so many responses from girls who had been negatively affected by Cosmopolitan that she decided to create the change.org petition. At press time, the petition included almost 24,000 signatures. “We are not asking Cosmopolitan to change their content,” explains Weider. “We simply want them to take responsibility for it.” —Gina Meeks read more

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Simply Pray

God wants our communication with Him to be unencumbered by rules and legalism.

Do you realize that even directing a thought toward God qualifies as silent prayer? It's true! Whether you have been praying for years, are just learning to pray, have hit a "slump" in your spiritual life or simply want your prayer life to improve, know this: God wants you to learn to pray more effectively, and He wants your prayer life to become more fulfilling.

Short, simple prayers can be mighty beyond description, but this does not take away from the fact that prayer is also a grand mystery. Watchman Nee, a Chinese Christian who wrote many profound books while imprisoned for his faith, wrote: "Prayer is the most wonderful act in the spiritual realm, as well as a most mysterious affair." read more

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How to Be Charismatic Without Being Crazy

A third-generation Pentecostal’s take on staying Spirit-filled without the hype.

My roots in the charismatic-Pentecostal movement go very deep. My grandpa and grandma both became ordained ministers in the Assemblies of God (AG) following radical encounters with God. They dedicated themselves to preaching the gospel and planting churches across rural Oklahoma and Southern California.

My father, Hubert, became a traveling evangelist with the AG while still in high school. He and my mother pastored churches together in Colorado, Missouri and Texas. Dad served as a missionary in India after my mom’s death in 1991. read more

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Receiving the Power of the Spirit

Initimacy with the Holy Spirit will ignite your ministry and change your life forever.

At the start of the 20th century, Wales was known for its music and entertainment, its independent spirit and its rich sports heritage, but something was terribly wrong. The bars flourished while the powerless and passionless churches dried up.

Gambling and greed were beginning to dominate virtually every activity and captivate the nation's middle class. Violent crimes increased so quickly that there were not enough police officers in the entire country to restore order.

According to noted revival historians, as the hunger for personal pleasure began to dominate the culture, Evan Roberts, then a coal miner, would carry his beloved Bible into the mines with him. For 13 months Roberts cried out to heaven in intense prayer and intercession as God birthed a desperate need for revival in his heart. read more

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How You Can Help Fight the War on Malaria

Want to be part of saving the world from a preventable disease? Here are some practical ways to support this effort:

1) Pray. Too many have suffered, died or lost loved ones because of malaria, and it doesn’t have to be this way. Intercede for those suffering from the disease and the families mourning the loss of loved ones. Pray that God would stir people’s hearts to help put an end to this disease. With your help, malaria can be eradicated by 2015. Is God leading you to be a part of this war? If so, prayer is the first line of defense.· read more

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The Keys to Prosperity

So what requirements has God established that lead to a pathway of prosperity? The Bible reveals several overarching keys.

1) Seek Him. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33). All what things? All the things He mentioned in the verses preceding verse 33—such as treasures upon earth or what you will eat or drink or wear. We are not to seek those things first. We are to seek the kingdom first.

What does it mean to seek the kingdom? It is seeking to do His will. His will is what He did on the earth, such as healing all (Acts 10:38), casting out devils (Mark 16:15-18) and preaching repentance (Matt. 4:17). read more

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The Real Meaning of Blessing and Prosperity

God is not a slot machine, nor are His blessings just about money.

The subject of blessing and prosperity has become very controversial among those in the church. We want to be blessed and live the abundant life Christ died to give us, yet we don’t want to approach God as if He is a lottery or a slot machine—if you put in the right amount of prayer, praise, worship, faith and good works, out comes your blessing. But for some, that is all they see God as, and they get beside themselves when He doesn’t come through the way they wanted Him to.

Blessing and prosperity are more than money. According to Strong’s Complete Concordance of the Bible, one Hebrew word for prosperity is shalom. We often associate the word shalom with peace, but the peace that Christ went to war for on the cross is a complete, whole kind of peace. Also according to Strong’s, shalom is “completeness, soundness, welfare and peace.” It represents completeness in number and safety and soundness in your physical body. Shalom also covers relationships with God and with people. read more

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Faith Catapults NBA Coach’s Bounce Back

A cardiologist once gave Monty Williams a crushing diagnosis: an enlarged muscle was making it difficult for Williams’ heart to pump blood. The doctor said the condition meant an end to Williams’ college basketball career, the end of his NBA dream—and possibly the end of his life.

Two years later, the condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy vanished. Doctors called it inexplicable; Williams called it a healing from God. A 6-foot-8-inch forward, Williams played nine seasons in the NBA. Chronic knee injuries tested his faith and led to his retirement.

Today, Williams continues to proclaim his faith as the second-year head coach of the New Orleans Hornets, despite relentless hardship. Over the past year and a half, the NBA’s youngest coach has seen his general manager fired, his top scorer blow out a knee (then opt out of his contract), another player arrested, a third player lose two relatives in a fatal car accident and the franchise sold to the NBA. 

“Adversity,” he says, “has a way of getting us to listen to God.”

His second season began with more trouble. The Hornets dealt their best player, Chris Paul, to the Los Angeles Clippers in a controversial trade. Yet through numerous trials early in his coaching career, Williams has shared the source of his strength with media. “No question, it’s my faith in Jesus Christ,” he says. “I read my Bible in the morning and I study in the evening. When tough times do come, it’s not easy. But I realize a guy like me is blessed to be in this position.”

Previous challenges make NBA conflicts seem minor. Williams says he suffered abuse and molestation as a child. He became suicidal when he learned of his fatal heart condition. With God’s help, Williams has emerged with a strong faith and a powerful testimony. 

The Lord is present in our most trying times, Williams says, working all things for our good.

“I’m blessed to be in this business,” he adds. “I pray I can keep this attitude as long as I’m able to coach.”       —Ken Rodriguez  read more

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Integrity for the Race

God wants to develop His character in us so we can persevere for the long haul. Yet how he does it is often anything but easy.

We are not born with integrity. Integrity is something that is developed in our lives through the choices we make every day.

Integrity is an internal standard and conviction. It is having a sensitive conscience before God. The more sensitive your conscience is, the more in tune with the Holy Spirit you will be. As you follow your conscience, you will develop integrity in your life. True character and integrity are revealed in the choices you make when no one else is around. read more

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Bikers Deliver Christmas Gifts, Santa-Style

On a crisp and sunny Saturday recently, hundreds of bikers from around the Carolinas descended upon the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., with gifts strapped to their motorcycles for the Fourth Annual Bikers with Boxes event. The group is an annual supporter of Operation Christmas Child, an outreach by Samaritan’s Purse that last year alone gave 8.2 million underprivileged children Christmas shoe boxes. 

“We’ve just really been thrilled that this has been an annual event and that the bikers have embraced it,” said Diane Wise of the Billy Graham Library. “Bikers are the most generous group of people.” read more

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Raising Her Voice to Change Poverty and Child Abuse

Recording artist and singer Beckah Shae says one of the most underutilized weapons Christians have is their voice. The Dove-award nominee isn’t referring to her soulful crooning; she’s talking about speaking out against injustice. Every day, she notes, children go hungry and young girls and boys are trafficked for sex—not because there aren’t enough people to change that, but because those who are aware of the problems aren’t vocal enough about them. 

“This is the most powerful thing for me—to be a voice. I have a powerful platform right now,” Shae says. She uses her voice in numerous ways, including to create contemporary Christian albums such as Destiny, her most recent. She is also a spokesperson for Kids Alive, which fights poverty, and for A21, which rescues girls from sex trafficking.

The songstress says she was both heartbroken and elated when she visited Kenya to see the work Kids Alive was doing during the drought that has created a hunger crisis in east Africa. She witnessed the ministry helping to rescue orphans who had been physically abused, then meeting the spiritual, physical, educational and emotional needs of the children who had nowhere else to turn.

“It’s more of a family-type setting. They make it like a family so it’s not like an orphanage,” she says. 

Shae and her husband, a music producer, sponsor a child with Kids Alive. She is committed to helping—and using her voice to tell about the injustice and the work being done in Kenya to change it.

“It’s not about everything we do,” Shae says, “it’s about [our lack of] doing anything.”

Beckah Shae’s favorite quote:

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
         —Martin Luther King Jr.  read more

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Seeing the Invisible

When USA Today advertising executive Laura Schroff first met 11-year-old panhandler Maurice Mazyck on the streets of New York City, he was hungry and in need of a friend. Compelled to help, Schroff, who was 35, took him to a nearby McDonald’s for lunch. That day began years of Monday-night dinners and a 25-year friendship. 

As their unique friendship continued, Schroff quickly learned that Mazyck’s life was in turmoil. Not only was he not getting enough to eat, his mother was addicted to drugs and he was constantly getting into fights—when he’d occasionally attend school. 

His living situation wasn’t any better. He bounced in and out of homeless shelters, foster homes and one-bedroom apartments inhabited by 20 other people. read more

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Growing Faith on a Farm

 You’ve probably heard of Sunday school classes being the catalyst for mission trips, cell groups and friendships, but have you heard of a Sunday school class spawning a farm? 

Neither had Joe and June Richey—at least not before they started Questfarms, a farm that houses and employs special-needs adults. They were inspired to start the farm after teaching the Christian education class at their church and realizing their students needed support beyond the childhood years.

“When we came here we came with an idea. There weren’t any books that said: ‘This is how you start a farm for mentally-challenged people,’ so we had to just pick along,” says Joe Richey. read more

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Smart Ideas to Grow Your Business

Twenty-nine years ago, I was looking for a creative outlet as a stay-at-home mom. Since then God has turned my hobby into a thriving enterprise.

When I was in high school, I thought I was going to be a rock star, but in 1968 God revealed to me that He had other plans. After graduating from the University of Mississippi, I taught school for a while and then stayed home after my second child was born.

I was happy and fulfilled with my family, but there was something missing—something I longed to do—something creative. I began to look for an outlet.

My search led me to begin "fooling around" with ceramics at my kitchen table. Soon my experimenting became an adventure, and I now have a company that manufactures hand-painted dinnerware and accessories in Ridgeland, Miss.—with hundreds of employees! read more

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Is Your Teen Getting the Message?

Simple misunderstandings can foster conflict in your relationship with your child. How do you tear down the walls that hinder effective communication?

John stood at our door arrayed in all his black leather splendor. Safety pins ringed his ear lobes; jewelry pierced his nose and lips. Tattoos covered his arms. Both sides of his head were shaved, the hair on top spiked down the middle.

Our daughter had told me her date was coming, but I wasn’t prepared for what greeted me when I opened the door.

My thoughts raced: Should I let this road warrior in? Is my daughter in danger? What will my congregation think if she brings this guy to church? read more

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How Much is Technology Affecting Your Family?



Though some believers blame technology for helping to destroy the family unit, a recent Barna study shows that most families feel otherwise when it comes to the impact computers, cell phones, video game systems and other devices have on their relationships. Here’s how the pies divvy up: read more

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