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What Are You Chasing?

This month we’re highlighting young ministers  who are sharing their passions for the next  generation. What are you passionate about?  In the comment section below, tell us what you’re pursuing. We may feature your answers in an upcoming issue of the magazine.




A Cry for Intimacy With God

I'm part of a generation that hungers to know God. We want a real relationship with Him—the kind that's filled with the laughter, tears and honesty even when it hurts. We want a relationship with God that isn't tampered with by artificial additives that promise to make it sweeter, sourer or tastier than it really is. We want an organic relationship with God.Why organic? read more

The Generational Elephant in the Room

For far too long young people have experienced God from one side of the church while the "older folks" resigned to do ministry from a separate corner. Why is there such a wide generation gap in today's church? Below you can hear Charisma's roundtable conversation with leaders from within the body of Christ. We talk about the generation gap and discuss a remedy.  In the comment section below tell us if you agree or disagree. It's high time we start talking about this elephant in the room.

 

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Need Prayer for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?




But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8, NKJV). The baptism in the Holy Spirit is for every single believer who names the name of Christ. It not only enables you to live holy; it also empowers you to be a spokeswoman for God in your community, city and the nation. Let Sharyn Culp of His Majesty Ministries pray with you that the Father would endow you with "power from on high." Listen to podcast below. read more

Creative Churches

To get inspired by how God is moving through His church in creative ways, check out the video below to see innovative ministries push the envelope.

Rescuing the Homeless in Atlanta

{youtube}1eJxC5NsUuE{/youtube} Like most other U.S. churches, Rescue Atlanta Church led by pastors Mel and Teresa Rolls has services twice a week, on Sundays and at midweek. But that’s where the similarities end. read more

More About Grace

Joyce Meyer, a New York Times best-selling author and one of the world’s leading practical Bible teachers, gives insight into the topic of grace.

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Free from Sin

 
??"For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14, NKJV).

 

Why shouldn't sin have dominion over us? Because we no longer possess a sin nature, but we have entered God’s empowerment, possessing the nature of Jesus Himself. We are free from the power of sin!

The Message says, "Sin can't tell you how to live." God's Word, the truth, declares here that gossip, slander and lying no longer have dominion over you. Adultery, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, pornography or any other impurity no longer dominates you. Hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness, prejudice and envy no longer control you. Uncontrolled anger, rage and outbursts of wrath have lost their authority in your life. Stealing, substance abuse and alcohol addiction are no longer a master over you. Disobedience to authority, stubbornness and insubordination have lost their dominion over you. And the list continues. read more

Moishe Rosen Video

Watch a video fof Charisma's publisher Steve Strang interviewing Jews for Jesus founder Moishe Rosen.

 

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Talking Faith

Below are some examples of how some well-known Christians use their testimony to talk about Christ.

"I give God all the credit for my existence, for everything that I've ever become. This thing called grace and mercy, that my mother used to talk about all the time, is all I got." -Steve Harvey, comedian, author
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"I think that because inside of every one of us we have something tugging at us, telling us to believe in something, to have faith in something bigger than ourselves. [Jesus Christ through His Word] is actually the answer that people are looking for. They just don't know it." - Denzel Washington, actor
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"The Gospels are for everybody from the smallest child to the wisest sage and I fall somewhere in the middle." --Mel Gibson, actor
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"I came to faith as a young boy at 12 years old. It was a Sunday school teacher that lead me to the Lord. As a senior in high school, I recommitted my life. I was actually going to grow up and be a pastor, but then I got a job making movies and videos. And that's where the Lord's led me."--Ralph Winter, producer
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Why NOT to Evangelize

Here are 10 reasons not to tell unbelievers about Christ.

  1. You are more concerned with your own situation than others' situations.
  2. You don't care about the "one thing"-The Great Commission-Jesus told us to do.
  3. You don't believe sharing the gospel is a mandate from God.
  4. You don't believe that some people plant seeds, others water and God gives the increase.
  5. You don't believe that the power for being a witness was given to you when you were baptized in the Holy Spirit.
  6. You don't believe Jesus saves.
  7. You don't believe Jesus can save anybody-even the most unlikely person.
  8. You don't believe Jesus can save anyone using you.
  9. You don't want to incorporate sharing your faith into your normal lifestyle.
  10. FEAR read more

Prayer: The New Boiler Room

A nonstop prayer movement is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month. Britain-based 24-7 Prayer has seen its international prayer rooms spawn a creative arts movement, social justice initiatives and modern-day monasteries known as "boiler rooms." Watch the video below to learn about a boiler room in Ibiza, Spain.

 

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Faithful Athletes

Kelly Clark (Snow Boarding)

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Chad Hedrick (Speed Skating)

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Jarome Iginla (Ice Hockey)

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Brock Kreitzburg (Bobsled):

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Being Uncomfortably Content

Meditating on the Bible is one way to find God's peace and contentment. Here are helpful verses taken from the New King James Version.

"When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands." -Deuteronomy 24:19

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." -Joshua 1:9

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. -Psalm 56:3 read more

Helping the Homeless

To contact the organizations included in Charisma’s report on ministries assisting America’s homeless, click on the links below.

Convoy of Hope

Convoy of Hope exists to feed millions of people in need in the United States and around the world through children’s nutrition initiatives, citywide outreaches and disaster response.
http://www.convoyofhope.org/

New York City Relief

New York City Relief exists to connect the poor, oppressed, and addicted with a pathway toward help and hope. Through outreach partnerships, we seek to be a bridge between the needs on the street and resources in the community to meet those needs. These things we do…that others may live.
http://www.nycr.org/

Word of Life Assembly of God

Through its Hands Extended ministry, Word of Life Assembly of God reaches out to the homeless in the District of Columbia with food and the gospel.
http://www.wolag.org/

Rescue Atlanta

Rescue Atlanta is a church that is made up of more than 70 percent homeless. It provides food, as well as showers, laundry facilities, and a medical clinic for those in need.
http://www.rescueatlanta.com/Home.html read more

Video: Pam Cope Interview

Pam Cope didn't close her heart when she learned about vulnerable African orphans. Today she is reaching children around the world. Watch her story.

 

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Steps to Totally Forgiving Others

Since forgiveness is a choice, what is the next step? If we are persuaded that it is right and have decided to do it (and not look back), what next?

1. Make the deliberate and irrevocable choice not to tell anyone what they did.
You may need to do this for therapeutic reasons, but only to one person who in turn will never reveal your heart. Jesus also said that the one who is faithful in the least thing is faithful also in much, and this is the first thing. Do not mention it; refuse to tell anybody.

This isn't necessarily easy sometimes, but when our motive is to hurt another person by telling on them, there is sin on our part. So do not tell it at all or in part; keep it quiet.

2. Be pleasant to them should you be around them.
Do not say or do anything that would make them anxious. Put them at ease. This can be hard to do, certainly harder than the first step. It is we who are afraid when we can't forgive. When we pass our fear to them, it is utterly the opposite of what Jesus would do. He would say, "Fear not." Josif Tson says that there are 366 statements of "Do not fear" (or the equivalent) in the Bible-"One for every day of the year and one for leap year!" he says. God does not want us to fear; we must not do or say anything to cause others to fear. Be nice. Put them at ease. This is what Jesus did when He turned up after His resurrection to 10 disciples behind closed doors. (See John 20:19).

3. If conversation ensues, say that which would set them free from guilt.
Guilt is most painful, and we can easily punish people by sending them on a "guilt trip." Never do that. Remember that Jesus doesn't want us to feel guilty. When we are going to be Jesus to another, then we will not want them to be angry with themselves.

This is a hard one. We get some satisfaction when we think they feel really, really bad. That defuses us and eases our anger somewhat. But if we want to be valiant and utterly magnanimous—thus showing true godliness—we will say whatever is the equivalent of Joseph's words: "Do not be angry with yourselves" (Gen. 45:5). Joseph would not allow his brothers to feel guilty, and this is a choice we too must make. It's hard, but it is what we would want if things were reversed and we needed forgiveness. "Do to others as you would have them do to you" (Luke 6:31).

4. Let them feel good about themselves.
Not only does this mean never reminding them of their wrong and your hurt, but it also means helping them through any guilt they may have. This can be done without any reference to what they did. If it is not in the open, as with Joseph's situation, that is of course different; he let his brothers save face by showing God's sovereign strategy in their sin. But in many cases you will not be able to talk about anything specifically. You can still let them save face, because you know that they know what they did.

You therefore must behave as though you don't even think they did anything wrong! That is hard for all of us, but it must be done. Say whatever you can (as long as it is true) that will give that person a sense of dignity. That is the point of Galatians 6:1: "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted." As long as there is a trace of self-righteousness and pointing the finger, your attempt at total forgiveness will backfire.

5. Protect them from their greatest fear.
If you are aware of some deep, dark secret and fear they have, they will probably know that you know. If they can tell by your graciousness that their secret will never be revealed—ever—to anyone, they will be relieved. You only tell them when you know they know what you know, and you are convinced this would make them feel better. If by reminding them it would obviously not make them feel better, don't even come close!

Remember that Joseph knew his brothers' greatest fear was that their father, Jacob, would learn the truth of their evil deed. Joseph never mentioned this directly but suggested they speak to Jacob in such a way that they wouldn't have to tell him after all. (See Genesis 45:9-13.) It must have given the brothers incalculable relief to know that they were not obliged to tell Jacob. But that is what total forgiveness is all about: setting people free.

6. Keep it up today, tomorrow, this year and next.
Total forgiveness is a lifelong commitment. Some days will be easier than others. There will come a time when you think you are completely over it and have won a total victory—only to find the very next day Satan reminds you of what they did and the utter injustice that they will be unpunished and never exposed. The temptation to bitterness will emerge. After all, we're not perfect! If we say we have no sin—that we are incapable of the same old bitterness—we are deceived (1 John 1:8).

This is exactly why I read Luke 6:37 every day: "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." All commitments to forgive need renewal. In my case, daily. I am not telling you that this is what you must do, but be warned: the devil is cunning. He will come through the back door unexpectedly and try to upset you for forgiving. When you forgave your enemy, you then and there removed that open invitation to the devil to get inside. Satan's favorite rationale is bitterness—he therefore will keep trying to get back into your thought life.

Whether it be Luke 6:37 or another way forward in your case—even if you aren't required to keep it up each day—I can tell you right now that it is only a matter of time before your commitment to forgive will need to be renewed.

7. Pray for them.
"But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matt. 5:44). When you do this from the heart—praying for them to be blessed and off the hook—you're there. It is not a perfunctory prayer, not a "We commit them to You" prayer, and certainly not an "Oh God, please deal with them" prayer. It is praying that God will forgive them—that is, overlook what they have done and bless and prosper them as though they'd never sinned at all.

But as John Calvin said, doing this is "exceedingly difficult." As Chrysostom said, it is the very highest summit of self-control. "Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city" (Prov. 16:32).

Praying for the one who has hurt you or let you down is the greatest challenge of all, for all three reasons:

1. You take a route utterly against the flesh.
2. Nobody will every know you are doing it.
3. Your heart could break when God answers that prayer and truly blesses them  as if they'd never sinned.

And yet Jesus's word to pray for such people is not a polite suggestion; it is a command—and one that may seem so outrageous that you want to dismiss it out of hand. Some see it as a lofty but unrealistic goal.

I remember a church leader turning to me to pray about his son-in-law who had been unfaithful to the leader's daughter. He said to me that his own prayer was only this: that God would "deal" with this man. "This is where I have to come to," he said to me, "that God will deal with him."

I understood what he meant, and I felt for him. I find what people do to our own offspring the hardest things to forgive. I therefore understood what he was feeling. A few days later it was reported that this leader's son-in-law had been in a serious accident. This same church leader was on the phone, glad that the accident had happened. Now in this particular case there was nothing sinister in this euphoria. He simply hoped that the accident would wake up his son-in-law to put his marriage back together. It was so understandable.

But this is not what Jesus means. He is commanding us to pray that our enemy will be blessed. If, however, you should pray that they will be cursed or punished instead of being blessed, just remember that is how your enemy possibly feels about you. After all, have you ever been someone's enemy? Have you ever done something that brought a fellow Christian to tears and brokenness? If so, how would you like that person to pray for you? That God will deal with you? That God will cause you to have an accident? Yet how would it make you feel if they prayed that you would be blessed and let off the hook? That you would prosper as if you'd never sinned? Would you not like that? "Do to others as you would have them do to you" (Luke 6:31).

Jesus wants a sincere prayer from us. It is like signing your name to a document, having it witnessed, and never looking back. You are not allowed to tell the world, "Guess what I did? I have actually prayed for my unfaithful spouse to be blessed." No. It is quiet. Only the angels witness it, but it makes God very happy.

After all, every parent wants their children to get along with one another. No parent likes it when one child comes and squeals on the other and demands that they be punished. The poor parent is put on the spot. What gladdens the heart of every parent is when there is love and forgiveness, and the parent is not put on the spot to have to take sides and punish anyone. That is what we do for God when we ask that He bless and not curse. He told us to pray for our enemies, "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteousness" (Matt. 5:45).

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