Fire in My Bones, by J. Lee Grady

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Sanford Pastors Unite in Trayvon Martin Tragedy

Sanford, Fla., pastors stood united on Friday morning in front of Holy Cross Episcopal Church to declare unity among local clergy.

More than 20 pastors crossed ethnic and denominational lines in a pledge to work side-by-side to bring healing and reconciliation to the community in the wake of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin.

“We call not on our city but on our state and our nation to work toward reconciliation,” said Rory Harris, pastor of Holy Cross Episcopal Church. “There are certain things we need to deal with. There is work to be done. We have to get past this and move forward.” read more

Charisma Digital Now Available on iPad

Digital magazines are gaining momentum in the iPad age. Now, Charisma Media is delivering news, information and inspiration to Spirit-filled believers through the Charisma Media iPad app.

The Charisma Media iPad app is the fruit of nearly two years of research, development and approval processes with Apple. With the launch of the new app, Charisma Media’s vision for reaching the nations for Christ through advanced technology charges ahead on yet another platform. Readers can download the iPad app free and subscribe to Charisma Digital to read Charisma anywhere they go.

"When I launched Charisma magazine 30 years ago, I never dreamed I'd one day read it on a large-screen mobile device like the iPad," says Steve Strang, founder and CEO of Charisma Media. "We've always been at the forefront of Christian movements with our editorial perspective. With Charisma Digital, we're on the cutting-edge of Christian media delivery as more consumers read their news on portable devices."

For readers, this new digital platform offers an opportunity to experience Charisma magazine on a whole new level. Readers can navigate through interactive pages loaded with rich media and experience the convenience of Charisma on the world’s most popular tablet device. A new report from the The Magazine Publisher’s Association (MPA) reveals that tablet owners are reading more thanks to the rise of digital magazines. In fact, 66 percent of people who read magazines on tablet devices and e-readers expect to spend more time with digital issues in 2012—and 90 percent say they are reading as much, if not more, magazine content since buying a tablet.

“Interactive digital magazines like Charisma Digital are ideal for tablets and e-reader devices—devices on which the next generation of charismatic Christians are consuming media,” says Marcus Yoars, editor of Charisma magazine. "With Charisma Digital, you can tap into Spirit-filled news, inspiring features and teaching articles that help equip you to make a difference in your world."

For advertisers, Charisma Digital presents a new opportunity to reach a growing market of savvy consumers. The MPA survey reveals that 59 percent of consumers want to buy directly from advertisements and 79 percent say they want the ability to purchase products and services directly from editorial features. Nearly 75 percent of those surveyed say they typically engage with digital magazine ads.

“Digital magazines are taking the medium to the next level,” says Christopher Kevorkian, executive vice president of Digital at the MPA. “While various research has long proved that print magazines drive purchase behavior, digital magazines hold the promise of creating a direct link between purchase intent and actual transaction. The study proves that consumers look to magazine media to create that opportunity.”

How to get Charisma on your iPad:

1. Subscribe to Charisma Digital online at www.charismadigital.com and create your username and password for full access to Charisma Digital.*
2. Open the iPad Newsstand store.
3. Search for "Charisma" or "Charisma Media."
4. Download the free Charisma Media app (Internet connection and iTunes account required).
5. Sign in with your Charisma Digital username/password and download individual issues, with more added every two weeks.

Click here to get started.

*By subscribing through iTunes, users currently can’t access all issues of Charisma Digital. (This will be fixed shortly.) read more


In 40 days, Church Raises $1 Million

Living Hope needed ‘faith and a fight’ to  hold on to its former Kmart campus

Despite high-profile ministry bankruptcies in the past year, Living Hope Church is proving God is still faithful by raising more than $1 million in just 40 days to maintain possession of its Vancouver, Wash., campus, a former Kmart retail store.

Of course, no one said the miracle came without faith and a fight. 

Not only did the 6,000-member church have its challenges, senior pastor John Bishop personally felt the impact of principalities and powers that opposed his gospel mission. Bishop suffered health problems even as his son battled with drugs.  read more


Francis Chan’s ‘Crazy’ Vision

Crazy Love author wants to plant 586 churches—all in apartment buildings

San Francisco’s Tenderloin district houses 37,000 people in 586 apartment buildings—all in just one square mile. The multi-denominational ministry San Francisco City Impact (SFCI) dreams of planting churches in those apartment buildings—in every single one of them.

Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love and former pastor of Cornerstone Community Church, is working with the SFCI team on an initiative called Adopt a Building. Their mission: to “holistically heal and transform” the San Francisco community through urgent-relief works and preventive works.  read more


New Life Grows on Nomad’s Land

Counterculture farm’s organic community a rich soil for God’s love

Three couples. One vision. And a 40-acre farm. That’s the genesis of Nomad’s Land, a cooperative community that aims to give road-weary travelers a place to rest and find fellowship with like-minded believers—and offer a new beginning to hippies, gutter punks, train hoppers and societal outcasts.

Joshua Hanson and his wife, Shallyn, along with Beau and Ashley Armistead, founders of Lone Sheep Ministries, and evangelists Al and Tina Nord, purchased the Alabama farm to fulfill a common vision: bringing together nomadic ministers and counterculture youth for an organic experience sprinkled with the love of God. read more


Steve Hill Battles Back From Cancer

Evangelist endures “toughest year of my life” but says Jesus has healed him

The evangelist perhaps best known for the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, Fla., Steve Hill battled melanoma for more than three years—and refused to give up despite what sounded like death knocking at his door. Now he’s preparing to run back to the battle line with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Steve Hill Ministries’ staff in June called for 48 hours of focused prayer and fasting on behalf of the evangelist who founded Heartland Church in Las Colinas, Texas, after the battle for his life intensified. What the staff didn’t tell the world at that time was that doctors had given him three days to live. read more


Empowered21 Asia Sparks Charismatic Revival

Holy Spirit sweeps over 14,000 conference attendees from 49 nations who gathered in Indonesia

Fourteen thousand people from 49 nations recently convened in the world’s most populous Muslim nation for a single purpose: to unite the Spirit-filled movement across Asia to focus resources on the harvest. 

After the dust settled on the four-day Empowered21 Asia Congress, Spirit-filled Christian leaders spoke out about what they experienced in Jakarta, Indonesia, and what it means for the global church.

“I believe those who were present received the fire of revival and will bring that fire to the nations,” says Empowered21 Asia host Niko Njotorahardjo, senior pastor of Gereja Bethel Indonesia. “This fire of revival was initiated by prayer, praise and worship, and unity over the past four days.” read more


Church Suit May Go to High Court

It’s not unusual for churches to rent school auditoriums for worship services. The Bronx Household of Faith just wants the same rights other community groups have to assemble in public schools during off hours. But school officials who preside over the New York borough are allegedly discriminating against the group because it would use the facility for religious services, the church claims.

The New York City Department of Education consistently rejected Bronx Household’s request to meet at a school building for weekend services until a federal district court in 2002 issued an injunction prohibiting the department from keeping churches out. Now the U.S. Supreme Court may decide the matter. It’s a case that could have far-reaching ramifications for churches across the nation that wish to hold meetings in public schools. read more


The Politics of Sunday Sermons

Should government regulate Sunday morning sermons about political candidates? Most Protestant pastors don’t think so. A survey shows they want the freedom to preach what the Bible says about candidates’ positions.

 According to LifeWay Research, nearly nine out of 10 Protestant senior pastors believe government should not regulate sermons. 

“The survey confirmed what pastors of nearly every persuasion have told us for years: They don’t want the IRS or any other governmental agency to censor what they say from their pulpits,” said Alliance Defense Fund Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley.  read more


Europe’s Illegal Faith

Religion is on the move in Europe, but it’s heading in the wrong direction for Christians.

On the one hand, the pilgrim industry is booming. The European Union, local governments and liberal churches are investing millions to modernize and market medieval pilgrim routes. Millions—including a growing number of nonbelievers and charismatic Christians—have set out on holy trails.

On the other hand, campaigns are mounting against Bible-believing Christians who hold on to Jesus as the only way. Europeans, even within the churches, perceive biblical persuasions and morals as fundamentalist and anti-democratic. In some cases biblical Christianity is already illegal.

For centuries European emperors and kings imposed their religion of choice upon subjects—and European governments still claim the right to control religion. Authorities increasingly intervene, judging which religious convictions are compatible with the ruling definition of European democracy—which is secular pluralism. read more


Christian Support Divided Over Anti-Gay Pride Parade

A city councilman in Brazil is paving the way for heterosexuals to stand against excessive gay rights with the nation’s first Heterosexual Pride Day. But some Christian ministries that work with gays think this so-called Straight Pride Day sends a divisive message.

Carlos Apolinário’s legislation proposes to celebrate heterosexual pride on the third Sunday of December. Although the mayor could rain on the parade by not signing the bill, Heterosexual Pride Day is set to take place in Brazil’s largest city—São Paulo—where gay pride marches frequently take over the city streets.

“I respect gays and I am against any kind of aggression made against them,” Apolinário said. “The creation of Heterosexual Day does not symbolize a struggle against gays but against what I believe are excesses and privileges.” read more


In Philly, a ‘Soul Patrol’ Church is Out to Win the City

Thumping music filling the air. Smoke rising from barbecue grills. And the ice-cold beer flowing freely. That’s the typical scene at block parties in north Philadelphia when the Deliverance Evangelistic Church van turns the corner—right before these street missionaries change the spiritual climate.

Indeed, the secular street party doesn’t daunt outreach leader David Young or his team of devil-busting soul-winners. As the group arrives, prayer, preaching and a call for souls goes forth in the City of Brotherly Love. Within 30 minutes, the block party bows to the gospel message.

It’s called “Operation Take the City,” a soul-winning program Deliverance Evangelistic Church runs in the hard streets of Philadelphia. Through its various outreach strategies the church sees about 3,000 people saved every year—in a city chilled by the realities of HIV infections that are dramatically outpacing the national average and one of the highest crime rates in the nation. read more

Inmates in Mexico Enjoy a Biblical-Style Meal

Jesus multiplied food twice in the Bible—and He’s still doing it today. It all happened during an Operation Mobilization (OM) prison outreach in Oaxaca, Mexico. Organizers had enough food for 70 people. But after the service started at the men’s prison in Pochulta, the inmates came in droves.

The meeting began with praise and worship, and a former drug addict offered his moving testimony, OM reported. Next came a drama, then a sermon from the Word of God that challenged the prisoners. OM reported that several men were so touched by the messages that tears ran down their cheeks. read more


Miami Church Eyes the Future With 2020 Vision

Rich Wilkerson has 2020 Vision—the name of his goal to reach 100,000 souls for Christ before 2020 by planting satellite campuses of Trinity Church across South Florida.

With its Miami Gardens facility jammed to capacity with four weekend services that minister to more than 4,000 members—and with a fast-growth online campus reaching about 500 people a week—Trinity returned to its roots by reopening its original church building in September.

“We’ve been crying for space,” Wilkerson says. “My cousin, David Wilkerson, used to tell me to put all my eggs in one basket and then guard that basket with my life. He said you can never be dynamic until you become specific. So we’re reopening our original campus and we plan to launch on South Beach or midtown Miami next, God willing.” read more


‘Charisma’ Article Inspires ‘Safe House’ for Girls

Carl Keyes has been working tirelessly to change the lives of individuals and communities around the world for decades. Now the founder of Aid for the World, an international humanitarian-aid organization, is spearheading a project of a different kind in his own backyard: a safe house for young girls rescued from the sex-slave industry.

“I get hundreds of emails every week from people that need help,” Keyes says. “Of course, I can’t help everybody, but when I read an email about a woman who was trying to rescue girls from forced prostitution and needed help renovating a historic home to house them, it felt right,” he adds, noting that the woman, Debbie Colton, had read about his organization in Charisma and decided to pursue his help.

“What has happened to these girls is not even human. Family members or boyfriends get young girls hooked on drugs, they are chained to a bed, and 25 to 30 times a day a man comes into their room for sex,” Keyes says. “When Debbie told me about this, I hit the ground crying and praying. I had to do something.” read more


Prayers for IsraeI

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas presented a bid for full membership in the United Nations in September, blaming the failure of the peace process on Israel. Abbas called for a return to the 1967 lines. Meanwhile, Jews were at the Western Wall—praying. “Israel wants peace and a Palestinian state,” says The Israel Project’s Founder and President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi. 

“Sadly, sometimes they seem to want it more than the Palestinians. I deeply hope that President Abbas will recognize that the issues of security, borders, water and refugees need to be resolved with mutual respect and agreements ... and cannot be imposed by the United Nations. He should drop his preconditions and hate and come to peace talks right away. Israel is ready for this conflict to end so both sides can have a better future.” read more

Mixed Offerings

There’s good news and bad news for local congregations supported by tithes and offerings. Although some churches are reporting a growth in offerings, others are still feeling the recessionary pinch in 2011.

  • 71% of pastors are meeting or exceeding budgets
  • 50% say more members are volunteering
  • 48% report more members have lost jobs
  • 22% of pastors report lower offerings 
  • 15% are delaying construction projects
  • 10% are delaying hiring

                                       Source: LifeWay Research read more

United We Stand (With Israel)

Christian ministries supporting God’s chosen nation in hour of need 

When God told Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3), He meant it. History is rich with examples of God’s blessing on nations that support Israel and judgment on nations that do not. 

Although all Christians are called to support Israel—after all, salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22)—some ministries have answered a special call to stand with Israel. Though they may take different approaches—some have launched prayer networks, others have set up headquarters in Jerusalem to help Jews there and still others lobby Congress—they have risen up to obey Scripture.

Ministry to Israel encourages Christians to get involved in what God is doing in Israel today. The 23-year-old U.S. ministry has established a prayer network, as well as a Jerusalem Support Center that works with new immigrants there to provide food, clothing and medical assistance. read more


Has ‘Prosperity’ Hit Hard Times?

The solution for U.S. money woes isn’t ‘prosperity gospel,’ charismatics say

When Standard & Poor’s downgraded the United States’ credit rating, it sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average into a tailspin. That, combined with America’s more than $14.5 trillion national debt and Europe’s growing financial woes, have caused charismatic Christian leaders to stand up and speak out—and they aren’t preaching a “prosperity gospel” message.

Indeed, international evangelist Perry Stone says Americans better get used to major changes in the country and prepare accordingly. That, he says, is because the America we have known is changing. “We were promised in the 2008 election that America would fundamentally change,” Stone says. “America is changing, although I am not convinced this is the fundamental change most people had in mind.” read more

Praying for Our Enemies

Nov. 13 to be a day of prayer for the persecuted church and its oppressors

Intercessors around the world will head to their prayer closets on Nov. 13 to observe the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. They’ll pray for both persecuted Christians and their oppressors. In more than 60 countries, some 100 million Christians face persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. Of the world’s 6.8 billion people, 70 percent live in countries with high restrictions on religion, according to the Pew Research Forum on Religion & Public Life. 

“Millions are living every day under severe persecution because they choose to be followers of Christ,” says Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA. “Imagine the impact of millions of people all praying on one day for the same thing.” read more

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