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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

I Have a Dream

by Robert Ricciardelli

The last few days I have been waking up thinking about Martin Luther King Jr. I kept hearing his "I Have a Dream" speech as I awoke each of the last few mornings. He is one of my heroes of the faith; a difference-maker, and a catalyst for good and for the generations. I asked the Lord if there was some further meaning to my thoughts about him. He said, "I gave him a dream, and I have given you a dream."

I decided to write out my dream in honor of one of my hero's dreams. Thank you, Lord, for Dr. King, who stood for You, stood for freedom and gave his life for the cause of that freedom. I write this in honor of him and the legacy he left for us all:

"I have a dream that one day the kingdom nation of God will rise up and live out the true meaning of Christ's all-consuming creed that fulfills all laws and prophecies with these words: 'The Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength, and also love your neighbor as yourself. read more

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Guys Can Take 'Courageous' Step With Movie's Video Release

Guys who have been touched and challenged by the message of the faith-based police drama, Courageous, to become the godly influence in their home that God intended, have an opportunity to share it with others in a low-key way, starting tomorrow.

The hit movie from the makers of Fireproof releases on DVD, providing a great opportunity for men to host a small group viewing or invite non-Christians friends who may have felt uncomfortable going to see it in the theaters to watch together at home.

The makers at Sherwood Pictures—based at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga.—have reported hundreds of testimonies of husbands and fathers who have been inspired to turn their lives over to God in a new way through the movie.

Among those who have written to the producers is Aimee, who told them: "I want to thank you for what you have done to my marriage. My husband is a police officer, so the movie particularly struck close to home. Not only has he stepped up to be what God intended him to be, he has given up addictions and vices that were crippling and shattering our marriage and the relationship he had with our kids." 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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Restoring the Feminine Soul

Many women go through life wounded and broken. But no matter the source of the hurt, Christ can repair the damage.

I grew up around a lot of negative lifestyles. For years as a child, I experienced grief, abandonment, abuse and homelessness. Some people think that if you ignore past hurts, they will just go away. But the anger and the core feelings that are born in an abusive environment can strangle an individual's emotional and developmental growth.

Many women have had to deal with the kind of mistreatment that was intended to control and subjugate them. Abuse of any kind breeds fear and damages the soul, made up of the mind, will and emotions. Ill-treatment devalues a woman and wears down her self-respect. read more

We Need to Be Loved

We all have not just a desire—but a need—to be loved. Watch as Beth Moore explains what happens when we don't go to God to get our cup filled, and how we can come to Him to be filled.

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No Longer Silent

Your heavenly Father has a beautiful plan for your life—one that no one else on Earth can fulfill because you are unique. You are the only one of you that God has.

However, religious tradition and Jewish custom have been relentless in their suppression of women. Even those extraordinary women who have overcome female subjugation and have launched out and done exploits in Christ’s name have had little recorded about their triumphs of faith. read more

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In Search of the Perfect Body

Having the shape of your dreams isn't your ticket to happiness. It's learning to love the skin you're in.

Imagine a world where everyone looks like Barbie and Ken. Try to imagine yourself as a Barbie, talking to the other Barbies and Kens.

Would you like yourself? Would you think you were as pretty as the other Barbies? Would you be envious of them?

Would everyone in the group be happy with how they look? Or would some be depressed, struggling with a negative body image? Would others feel better than everyone else based on how they look? read more

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