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
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
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
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
Whether you’re thinking about heading to seminary, earning a new degree or simply taking a few Bible classes for fun, here are the fundamental questions to ask before making your decision
The apostle Paul prayed that our love “may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment” (Phil. 1:9, NASB). If you are thinking about going back to school, the Holy Spirit (who is your real Teacher), may be stirring you to expand your spiritual and mental horizons. God is always challenging us to increase our knowledge of Him and His Word and to pursue excellence in all we do for Him. Because I oversee a distance learning program at a Christian university, I am frequently asked by prospective students what educational route they should embark upon. Similarly, you should ask yourself some questions before you decide which direction your pursuit will take. Here are the most important questions I advise that you consider:
1.What is my ultimate, long-term goal?
Do you want to obtain a degree, ministerial credentials, counseling credentials, increase your Bible knowledge, grow spiritually, become equipped for ministry in a local church or something else? After you determine your long-range goal, you can begin to plan suitable short-term steps to work toward it. For example, if you want to become a state-certified counselor, you would normally need to seek a residential master’s degree in counseling from a state-approved graduate school. If you want to learn how to counsel effectively as a layperson in a church setting, that level of training may not be necessary.
2.If I want to be licensed or ordained as a minister, what kind of schooling should I obtain?
That depends on the school or organization through which you want to be credentialed. If you are under a particular denomination or ministerial organization, find out what their educational requirements are and what type of schools or training they will accept. read more
Millions suffer each year from complications related to the nation’s latest epidemic: diabetes. But you can prevent or reverse the long-term effects of this not-so-silent killer.
When New York filmmaker Morgan Spurlock set out to draw a line between the rise of obesity in America and fast-food giant McDonald’s, he never dreamed that his 2004 documentary, Supersize Me, would be nominated for an Academy Award, earn more than $20 million and turn the film’s title into a watchword for health activists everywhere. It also made him a PR nightmare for the McDonald’s corporation. For his film, Spurlock made himself a guinea pig, tracked his progress and documented the results. For one month he ate nothing but McDonald’s food for all three daily meals, sampling every item on the Golden Arches’ menu. Whenever cashiers asked if he wanted his meal supersized, he accepted.
His experiment represented untold millions of people who get the majority of their daily sustenance from fast food. Spurlock turned himself into a physical representation of these silent masses, consuming an average of 5,000 calories a day. He gained almost 25 pounds, increased his body mass index by 13 percent, raised his cholesterol to 230 and accumulated a dangerous fat level in his liver.
I sometimes wonder if many Americans were paying attention. read more
“There are many signs that the hearts of Americans are turning back to God.”
REFRESHED AND IMPRESSED
The January issue was one of the most well-written I’ve seen in months, with refreshing articles of preparation for 2012. We’re grateful for the information!
Kleon Cronk, Sarona, Wisc.
Regarding “2012: America’s Final Warning?” (by Jonathan Cahn, January), God is waking up His sleeping body everywhere, and I pray we awaken to His call quickly and decisively. He tests us to strengthen us, but our response to His testing is critical. The Word is clear: He’s counting on us to do the greater works.
Rabbi Cahn is showing us how and why America is falling and how it relates to Israel’s fall in the past, through Scripture and our own history as a nation. People better wake up and repent or we’re next to have our country taken over.
Linda Alvarez, Tacoma, Wash.
I respectfully disagree with Rabbi Cahn, primarily that America has been “defiant” toward God and unrepentant. Thousands of intercessors have been faithfully repenting on our nation’s behalf. Many groups have established prayer, praise and repentance on a broad level, such as TheCall, IHOP-KC and Jesus Culture. Yes, God calls us to repentance. But there are many signs that the hearts of Americans are turning back to God.
Diane Hamilton, Redding, Calif.
Lee Grady, thank you for your boldness in “A Word for the Grand Poobah” (January). That word was long overdue and much needed. I pray that we will seriously embrace the concerns of Jesus about not taking titles for ourselves. Watchman Nee said it so well: ”I want nothing for myself; I want everything for the Lord.”
Charles Schmitt, via email
Lee Grady’s commentary on people’s obsession with titles was right on. But it goes beyond “apostle” and “bishop”—most notably those who insist on being called “doctor” because they’ve received an honorary doctorate. Isn’t it enough to minister under God’s anointing?
How the charismatic leader’s impact remains 20 years after his death
For a quarter century Jamie Buckingham was the conscience of the charismatic movement. Through his many books, speaking engagements and his monthly “Last Word” in Charisma for 13 years, he called things as he saw them. Now, two decades after his death, we reflect on the spiritual giant he was and his genius as a writer.
Jamie received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in 1967 at a Full Gospel Businessmen’s convention while researching for his first book, Run, Baby, Run, co-authored with Nicky Cruz. Jamie had been a Southern Baptist, but two devastating moral failures left him wounded, humbled and aware he needed the power of the Holy Spirit in his life. He was always open about his own failures in his sermons, columns and books such as Risky Living, and that transparency drew people to him.
Only Jamie could write about a “sock-eating demon” in his washing machine and make a spiritual point. Or tell how God had to essentially give the Israelites a laxative in the Sinai Desert to “get Egypt out of them.” He loved the Sinai and made several pilgrimages there. In 1979 I climbed Mount Sinai with him (he scaled it six times). It wasn’t only a wonderful experience; Jamie transferred to me his love for Israel, which I have to this day. read more
Why you should stop trying to change yourself ... and instead accept the gift of conviction
I used to be a very frustrated Christian, trying to be “good,” trying to have some sense of worthiness and righteousness in my relationship with Christ.
But then I found out the good news: I was put in right standing with God by His grace, because He loves me. I am made the righteousness of God through Christ and not by anything I do myself. However, for me to become all that God created me to be in Christ and really experience His righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, obedience to His will is important. But we can’t be obedient in our own strength. Let me explain ... read more
When my friend Ferrell Hardison moved to Princeton, N.C., in 1990, he began pastoring a Pentecostal church with 70 people. Founded in 1918, it was an aging congregation with a tiny budget. Ferrell was the 25thpastor to lead the church, and some of his predecessors had stayed only a year or two. Not exactly a young pastor’s dream job!
Today, the church has a new name—The Bridge—and it has grown to 1,250 in attendance. Last fall the congregation broke ground on a new worship center, and they’ve planted a satellite congregation in Goldsboro, N.C., that already has 300 members. A large percentage of the church’s $2.6 million annual budget is marked for outreach, and Ferrell estimates that at least 3,000 people have come to Christ through their ministry in recent years.
Ferrell is a simple guy who believes in prayer. He’s not a celebrity CEO pastor who runs his church like a business, nor is he a self-appointed “apostolic” tyrant who barks orders to his staff. He believes in core biblical values like servanthood, team ministry and compassion. And people are flocking to The Bridge because they find Jesus-focused worship, Bible-centered preaching and, most of all, New Testament-style love. read more