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Is the Pioneering Age of Religious Media Over?

Of the classic and pioneering media ministries of the last 50 years, very few are recognizable anymore. As a result, I believe that era is definitely over.

The Crystal Cathedral has officially closed escrow and the iconic glass sanctuary designed by architect Philip Johnson is now a Catholic church. But the sale represents much more than how one media ministry lost it’s way.

Oral Roberts built the most successful media ministry of his time, and the massive financial response built a university. But it became apparent that a second generation of leadership couldn’t sustain it.

Today, his son Richard has left the university and the ministry media outreach is a fraction of the size it was at one time. Now, thanks to new leadership like Mart Green and Dr. Mark Rutland, Oral Roberts University is experiencing a rebirth and explosion in growth, but only because it’s in fresh, new hands. read more

Until Death Parts Us

Decide today that you're in your marriage for the long haul.

When we see marriage as a covenant, not a contract, it’s confirmation that we are meant to stay together until death parts us. In A Model for Marriage, Jack and Judy Balswick point out that “the core characteristic of a covenant marriage is commitment, a factor that is profoundly important to marital stability, according to research findings.”

The very nature of wedding vows implies a covenant, but for most brides and grooms, the common attitude is to see marriage as a contract that can be broken. Typically, a couple—despite vowing to endure better or worse until death—live by the principle that they’ll stay together only as long as their spouse fulfills their end of the bargain. That’s an attitude that feeds into the “short haul” approach. read more

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Aren't You Married Yet?

I'm not about to start singing the blues over being single. Neither should you.

"Why aren't you married?" has to be the single most asked question I get at this point in my life. What does a person mean when he poses this question?

Is he really asking me, "What is wrong with you?" It sure feels like it! read more

God's Faithfulness

Christine Caine shares the story of Sarah, who gave birth past the age of childbearing because of God's faithfulness. Watch to find out why Caine says God is looking for women to be faithful and trust Him to make impossible situations possible.

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The Test of Wondering Why

Recently, a friend’s letter arrived that reminded me of the importance of resting our hearts on what we know to be true about God, especially when faced with circumstances that lead us to question His will.

He wrote: “As a family, God has been speaking to us recently through the death of my youngest sister, Freda, on August 31. We have no details yet. She sailed on September 18 of last year... after 10 years’ patient waiting for the way to open. read more

The Key to Contentment

Psst ... need a clue? Check your heart.

Are you a content, satisfied, joyful Christian? If you are, can you say that you are consistently content, satisfied and joyful? I know few Christians who are consistently content. I used to be one of the discontent.

I grew up in an abusive situation and experienced a lot of disappointment, discouragement and discontentment because of it. For many years I believed good things wouldn’t happen to me and that it was better to expect nothing so I wouldn’t be disappointed. Well, it didn’t work, and I was still miserable anyway. See, I was expecting nothing, and nothing is what I got.

It was a breakthrough for me when I realized that God truly loves me unconditionally and has good plans for my life. He wants to bless me and be good to me. But He also wants me to trust Him and put my expectation in Him so He can do great things in my life. read more

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Life After Death

Three years ago Riva Tims lived through a high-profile scandal that ended her marriage, stripped her of a thriving ministry and left her with virtually no income. Last fall her ex-husband, Zachery Tims, was found dead in a New York hotel room. Now Riva opens up about the details of her journey—and how God has brought her new life.

 

The roar of the engine at 30,000 feet couldn’t silence the noise inside Riva Tims’ head as she flew to New York City last fall. It had been less than 24 hours since she’d learned that Zachery Tims, her ex-husband and the pastor of an 8,000-member church in the Orlando, Fla.-area had been found dead in his hotel room.

How is this happening? Maybe there’s been a mistake. Maybe it isn’t true. I’m not ready to lose him yet.

It just didn’t settle with her, even while she held her children’s trembling bodies as they cried upon hearing the news. Inside, she held on to a faint hope that maybe this was all a sick joke. But as she stood in the cold morgue and stared at a picture of the lifeless body of the 42-year-old father of her four children, it finally hit her, as if part of her had also just died. read more

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How Much Have You Invested in Your Marriage?

To avoid spiritual bankruptcy in your marriage, it’s key to start investing now. Here’s how seemingly ‘small’ things can save you big in the long run.

 

Ask any couple who has survived financial bankruptcy, and you’re likely to hear how the process can wreak havoc on all areas of their life. Few things put a strain on a marriage as much as when a bank account is depleted.

Yet countless couples fail to realize the same principle applies in the spiritual realm. A marriage will not survive spiritual bankruptcy unless the couple starts depositing quality investments into the relationship.

When you attempt to strengthen your marriage, however, realize you will likely face opposition. Satan delights in tormenting Christian marriage by stealing faith and joy. Marriages without the practice of spiritual warfare are at great risk. To bolster against the attacks, make these 10 investments in your covenant to spark the fires of faithfulness for a happy marriage! read more

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Jeff Farmer’s $6 Mission to Save the World

The Pentecostal leader crossed lines to rally denominational heads for a mammoth goal: End global malaria by 2015. Now he’s targeting believers with a simple $6 plea that could unite the church and change the world.

 

Jeff Farmer was recovering from cancer surgery when he read the statistics in a World Vision newsletter: 1) Every 45 seconds a child age 5 and under dies from malaria, according to the World Health Organization; 2) Although the United States successfully eradicated malaria 60 years ago, this deadly disease spread by infected mosquitoes kills nearly 2,000 children every day. The World Health Organization’s commitment to wipe out malaria across the globe by 2015 has been joined by secular organizations such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the NBA and many others.

Among Christians, however, charismatic and Pentecostal churches have been missing in action for the fight to eliminate malaria. But that changed when the Holy Spirit gave Farmer, president of charismatic Open Bible Churches, a wake-up call to help bring an end to the disease. Farmer had been meditating on Psalm 91 during his ordeal of discovering he had cancer and the ensuing surgery when God began to speak to him about malaria—a stealthy, silent killer.

“The deadliest predator in Africa is the mosquito that strikes the most vulnerable [people] at night,” Farmer says. “God began to show me through Psalm 91 that ‘terror by night’ [v. 5] is malaria because the female mosquito, which carries the parasite, strikes primarily at night.” read more

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Fighting for Israel

Why an American family, despite paying the ultimate price, continues to engage in a conflict that isn’t their own.

The terrorist attack punctuated a spring day in Haifa, Israel, when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up on a city bus full of children heading home after school. As usually happens in Israel after a terror attack, phones began buzzing with friends and family calling to check on the well-being of their loved ones.

Israel was in the throes of the second Palestinian uprising from 2001 to 2004. Residents lived daily with the threat of bombings and shootings in any metropolitan area. Tensions were palpable, security guards were hired at all public establishments—from post offices to supermarkets, and tourism was down drastically.

Philip and Heidi Litle were home sifting through photos of their children dressed for Purim, the biblical commemoration of the miraculous deliverance of the Jewish people recorded in the book of Esther, when the calls started coming in to their home. The Litles did a mental review of the whereabouts of their five children. They all should have been accounted for, not on the bus in question, according to initial news reports—which were rushed and inaccurate with a bevy of misinformation stemming from confusion at the scene. read more

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Reviving the Classics

Traditional Pentecostals were among the first in our nation to embrace the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But have they kept in step with the Holy Spirit since? Charisma takes a comprehensive look at the classical Pentecostal community—both past and present.

 

Over the years, the Pentecostals have been called by various names. Although many of the first Pentecostal churches in the United States were known as “Holiness” churches, the first strictly Pentecostal groups used variations of the name “Apostolic Faith.” This was the name chosen by Charles Parham for his small group in Topeka, Kan., when Pentecost fell in 1901. When Parham’s African-American follower and friend, William J. Seymour, opened the famous Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles in 1906 he also used the name Apostolic Faith.

In the years that followed, other names such as “Full Gospel,” “Pentecostal” and “Latter Rain” were used. At times, the public scornfully called these Spirit-filled believers “holy rollers,” a name universally rejected by adherents of the movement. Many of the new denominations used the word “Pentecostal” in their names, while others adopted more doctrinally neutral names such as Assemblies of God, Church of God, Church of the Foursquare Gospel, and Church of God in Christ.

For many decades, the Pentecostals were the outcasts of religious society. One reason for this rejection was that most of the first Pentecostal churches were planted among the poor and disinherited classes. read more

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Five Minutes With ... Randall E. Howard

The Church of God of Prophecy’s general overseer addresses the denomination’s leadership transition, future growth—and how to distinguish between COGOP and COG

CHARISMA: Last year the Church of God of Prophecy (COGOP) celebrated its 125th anniversary. That’s quite a milestone. What have been some key turning points along the way?

Howard: COGOP was family-led for many years through the Tomlinson family—we appreciate A.J. and his son, M.A. Tomlinson. The translation of leadership away from the family was a clear transition of this church’s ministry, vision and focus. It went to the core of our identity and really began to refocus our ministry’s identity toward gospel spreading, kingdom building, church planting and outreach. It was probably the healthiest thing that has happened to this organization in the last 50 years. 

CHARISMA: What do you see for the denomination going forward? 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

A Word for the Weary

Here’s a trivia question: Which took the longest to complete? (a) Construction of the Pentagon; (b) Carving of Mount Rushmore; (c) Digging of the Panama Canal; (d) Building of the Empire State Building; or (e) Carving and assembling of the Statue of Liberty.*

The answer is C. It took 31 years to dig the Panama Canal, mainly because that superhuman task was started and stopped several times due to floods, mudslides, unexpected costs (the total bill for the United States was $375 million in 1914) and a horrific death toll (20,000 French workers and 6,000 Americans died on the job site). Moral of that story: Expect delays when you cut a 50-mile-long canal to connect two oceans.

I’m not attempting to move millions of tons of earth to make room for cargo ships. My ministry assignment is different. But I still feel overwhelmed at times by the task. God calls each of us to join Him in His work, but accomplishing anything spiritual (such as building a church, winning the lost or influencing culture for Christ) is impossible in human terms. We can’t accomplish anything for God without supernatural faith.  read more

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The 12 Communities of Charisma

Why we’re connecting people more than ever in 2012—and why that matters to you

A year after God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, He instructed Moses to take a census of the entire Jewish community. Though the newly liberated people were certainly growing in number, the point of this head count was as much about identity as it was about statistics. 

By identifying the 12 tribes (along with a “13th tribe,” the Levites), numbering them and placing them in order, God established each family’s unique role and function as part of a larger community. And because these tribes were connected by blood to one another—through their leaders, the sons of Jacob (Israel)—God was also instilling in every Israelite a sense of both individual and corporate identity. They would have to wait another 39 years for a physical land, but the Israelites were already in the process of becoming a nation, and this began with each person understanding his or her place in a community that was destined to fulfill a bigger purpose.

We in the Spirit-filled community would do well to embark on the same process. Indeed, many of us need an identity reminder—not necessarily individually, but in knowing the bigger part we play within the body of Christ. Despite holistically making up the largest and fasting-growing segment of evangelical Christendom, charismatics often tend to become isolated “tribes.” Yet it’s key that we have a clear vision of how our individual communities fit into God’s bigger picture of the charismatic community at large—and beyond that, the global church. We gain this broader scope in part by being informed about what else is going on in the larger community, and by connecting with other tribes. read more

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Great Judgment, Great Awakening ... or Both?

Whether we’re headed for downfall or mass revival, it’s hard to dismiss The Harbinger’s warning for America

You might call Jonathan Cahn a harbinger—one who foreshadows what is to come.

The Messianic rabbi’s prophetic message is not only winning the attention of the body of Christ, it’s beginning to demand the attention of the secular world as well. That’s just the way he wants it. 

Cahn’s book The Harbinger reveals an ancient mystery that claims to hold the secret to America’s future. Cahn is blowing the trumpet in Zion, so to speak. He’s living out the Ezekiel 33 mandate as a watchman to warn America because he doesn’t want the blood on his head. And his voice is being heard. read more

Feedback

“Your December issue made our Christmas so special in celebrating our Savior’s birth.”

—Joe and Jeanie Perez

REDISCOVERING CHRISTMAS

I’ve been completely inspired by Peter Bertolero’s “Rediscovering the Beauty of Christmas” (December), as I really wish to celebrate the true essence of Christmas. I will not be buying Christmas presents this year. The focus will be on giving to the needs of the poorer community. I also found “Decoding a Christmas Carol” fascinating, as I had always wondered how this song originated.  

Lynsey Griffin, via email

 

I hope Christian worship and celebrations are more than just traditions. Over the years there has been too much change; history has been lost. Unfortunately, “tradition” in many ways has caused changes far removed from the origins of Scripture. The beauty of Christmas isn’t in symbols and elements of celebrations, but in the result and understanding of prophecy.  

Betty Sharon Thompson, San Antonio

 

Your December issue made our Christmas so special in celebrating our Savior’s birth. One of the best—if not the best—issues we’ve received in nearly 30 years of subscribing. Thank you!

Joe and Jeanie Perez, Fenton, Mich.

 

THE BREAD AND THE WINE

Referencing Stephen Mansfield and David Holland’s “So Help Us, God” (November), I was astounded that they would consider as strange the Catholic Church’s belief that in holy communion the bread and wine become the “body and blood” of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. They apparently do not consider literally the words of Jesus: “This is my body; this is my blood.” As to the authors’ claim of “bias” against Pentecostals, there also seems to be a great deal of it against Catholics. They are our Christian siblings; like us, some are sheep and some are goats, but God loves us all.

Frances Hesterman, Sand Springs, Okla.

 

DON’T BE SLACK ON SIN

“Out, But Not Disqualified” by Richie Hughes (November), is very troubling, as it appears to claim that God condones homosexuality. God says homosexuality is a sin, and sin destroys us. Even though God accepts us as we are, He loves us too much to leave us in a destructive lifestyle. Thank God that, when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, His Holy Spirit begins to transform our lives into His likeness.

Lucille Brown, Los Alamos, N.M. read more

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Charisma Online

win a copy!

If your life is crumbling

... then you really need to read Riva Tims’ new book, When It All Falls Apart. Win a copy at fallsapart.charismamag.com.

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Know your charismatic roots 
Why do most churches today incorporate a Pentecostal style of worship? What’s the fastest-growing part of the global church today? Why are there so many different types of charismatics? Watch charismatic historian Vinson Synan answer these and other questions at 
synan.charismamag.com

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cost of being messianic

As Messianic Jews living in Israel, the Ortiz family were victims of a terrorist attack yet blamed for the same bombing that almost claimed their son’s life (see p. 56). Find out how you can pray for Israel’s Messianic community at messianic.charismamag.com.

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how to squash a global disease

 
Malaria doesn’t affect many people in the U.S., but the mosquito-borne disease still kills 2,000 children every day globally. Visit malaria.charismamag.com to discover how you can join the movement to wipe out malaria across the world.

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Never Give Up

Christians often become weary in the face of adversity and persecution. Some give up their faith in Christ altogether. Go to relentless.charismamag.com to find out how God can give you power to stand through whatever attacks the enemy sends your way.

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Rekindle the fire
Get practical advice from Christian relationship counselor Doug Weiss as he shares how a couple can rekindle the love in their relationship at rekindle.charismamag.com. 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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