Measuring the effect 9/11 has had on the American—and global—church
Where were you ... ?”
You probably remember where you were when the horrific events on that epochal day unfolded. Life got more fragile. Worldviews were altered. Innocence was lost. The terrorists who carried out these atrocities were driven—not by money or fame—but by a destructive belief system. Don’t ever think personal theology doesn’t have public consequences. While the terrorists’ misguided beliefs forced a brave new world of greater peril, their hideous acts also released greater possibilities.
Three measurable realities for the church worldwide are rooted in the fallout from 9/11: read more
This year finds our country in increasingly chaotic circumstances—devastating unemployment, progressively angry political divisions, huge moral leadership gaps and destructive warring factions around the globe. Each night the dreary headlines blaze across television screens and the front pages of the newspaper. Yet we also are a nation most blessed, with freedoms and material prosperity unimagined in most countries of the world. For the most part, even our politicians are honest and out for the country’s good—how astonishing is that compared to so many other nations? The question is this: How are we to sort through, think about and address the problems—personal and national—that, along with our blessings, dog our days?
Maybe novels are being written right now or are already out there that can provide new direction, new ways of thinking, and answers to the questions and trials that seem to consume us. The majority of fiction is written and bought for entertainment value, and a well-crafted story certainly will have “refreshing diversion” as foundational to the reading experience. But the most memorable and long-lasting fiction also has the potential to fire the imagination, inspire and challenge readers toward new approaches to the complications, difficulties and yes, evils of life.
This has been the case down through history. In America, the best-known fiction game-changer is Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Her strong faith, along with the influences of her theologian father and abolitionist husband, is woven throughout this novel of slavery’s terrible wound on a nation’s soul. An unprecedented 300,000 copies were sold during its first year in print as a complete book (it was originally featured in newspaper serials of the time). The book’s sales soon surpassed a million copies—at a time when the entire population of the country was barely over 30 million—and stirred citizens’ hearts and minds to action. It has been reported that during the author’s visit to the White House, President Lincoln mused, “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” read more
It was Sept. 10, 2001, the night before the calamity. I was leading a gathering of ministers in our building in northern New Jersey, across the Hudson River from New York City. As the leader of a Messianic worship center, I was very conscious of where we were in the biblical Hebrew calendar—these were the days of the trumpet, the biblical alarm, the warning sound of approaching danger.
That evening one of our ministers came to us heavily burdened over the fact that he had not shared the gospel with the unsaved in his life. He stayed there, praying late into the night. A few hours later, on Sept. 11, he went to work in his office inside the World Trade Center in Manhattan.
At that time there was also a woman in my life who seemed as if she could be the one for me. Only months earlier we had exchanged our first gifts at the ground floor of the Twin Towers. On the morning of Sept. 11, she was scheduled for an appointment at the towers just when the attack would take place. read more
“The Church’s Gay Dilemma”—really? The “church” doesn’t have a “gay dilemma.” Church attendees do. The church Christ gave His precious life for was, is and forever will be dilemma-free.
Lee Steele, Winter Haven, Fla.
“A Way Out” by Janet Boynes was a great article (July). I’m happy she has peace with the Lord and is helping the church understand how to reach out in love to those who struggle with same-sex attractions. She is right about the answer being for godly women to love those caught up in the sin of lesbianism. It’s truly a beautiful thing to see believers loving on each other, in spite of our faults.
Kristen Clark, via Internet
As a baptized Christian for 54 years, I cannot understand Charisma writing anything about homosexuality. We all know it’s a sin, so why do we have Christians getting involved?
Julia Randle, Jacksonville, Ark.
Ronald J. Sider’s “Marriage Under Siege” (July) was spot on. Christians say that gay marriage will destroy the family unit. Considering the growing numbers of out-of-wedlock births among heterosexual women and the high divorce rate and various forms of family dysfunction among heterosexuals, straight Americans don’t need help from the tiny minority of gays when it comes to destroying the family. If the church is worried about America’s cultural decay, they have no one to blame but themselves.
‘squishy’ gospel isn’t the answer
I agree with the foundational Christian tenets J. Lee Grady used to address the creeping New Age-style beliefs infiltrating the church (“A Squishy Gospel,” July). The aggressive “turn or burn” types are quickly set aside by seekers in favor of the ooey-gooey God of love. The solution is clear: We must center our evangelistic efforts on love and stay true to the methods in our holy instruction manual.
Mike Weber, Gurnee, Ill.
Correction: Our story “The Plan for a Gay (Domi)Nation” (July) incorrectly called an advocacy group that includes Wheaton College alumni a “campus” organization. It is not officially affiliated with the school . read more
Last year our digital magazine was one of the nation’s leading e-publications. But even good things can get better. So after listening to what you liked about CHARISMA DIGITAL (the bonus media) and what you didn’t like (videos that started automatically), we’ve emerged with a stellar product we’re sure you’ll love. The new CHARISMA DIGITAL is packed with online-exclusive video, audio and more to take Spirit-filled Christians beyond the normal reading experience.
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Can You Defend Your faith?
How many of the following questions can you confidently answer?
Where in the Bible does Jesus say: “I am God, worship me?”
Why did someone else have to die on a cross for your sins? (Why can’t God just forgive you?)
If Jesus was God, why did He pray to Himself?
How could Moses die in the Pentateuch if he wrote it?
These are just a few of the questions Muslims ask when dialoguing with Christians about their faith. But unfortunately, most believers are woefully unprepared to defend their beliefs. To discover key points when addressing your faith with a devout Muslim, subscribe at charismadigital .com and read our web-exclusive article, “When Muslims Attack ... the Faith.”
New kid on the block
If you haven’t visited the new charismanews.com you’re missing out. Literally, you’re missing out on news important to Spirit-filled Christians that may not be covered anywhere else. The new Charisma News website includes around-the-clock coverage of breaking stories including videos, interactive reports and engaging social media. So go tocharismanews.com to get trusted news from a Spirit-filled perspective.
Check Out What’s New This Month onCharismamag.com Charismamag.com is loaded with articles, teachings, videos, photo galleries and other resources to help you radically change your world. You won’t find another place to get “all things” Christ and charismatic. Don’t miss out. Visit charismamag.com now. read more
Grief will set in a little longer. Hope will rise a little higher. And the world will seem a little smaller. Time does that, blending a billion emotions into one tick of the clock ... and then moving on to the next tick, whether we’re ready or not.
For this reason, we pause, even as time shifts. We remember. We reflect. We honor. And we see from a different perspective.
The world has drastically changed since Sept. 11, 2001. Nations, governments, economies and leaders have all risen and fallen in dramatic fashion. Perhaps nothing has been more sweeping in the past 10 years than the Islamic surge that’s changed the global spiritual climate and literally transformed nations. While radical Muslims grabbed headlines with terrorist plots, the Islamic world continued to expand via sheer wealth and numbers. Europe’s Muslim makeover—in both population and influence—showcases not only how fast things can change, but also how prime the U.S. is for similar transformation. read more
Gideon is one of my favorite Bible characters because I relate to his struggle with inferiority. God pulled this runt of a guy out of a hole in the ground and called him to deliver Israel. Gideon’s classic “Who, me?” response reminds me of conversations I’ve had with the Lord. None of us feels qualified to do God’s work, but we know from Gideon’s example that wimps can be transformed into warriors.
I’ve heard people criticize Gideon because he laid a fleece of wool on the ground and asked the Lord—not once, but twice—to confirm His promise (see Judg. 6:36-40). But the Bible doesn’t say God was mad at Gideon for seeking assurance. In fact, God answered Gideon both times with moisture from heaven. The dew was a sign of God’s favor and blessing.
You know how the story ended. Gideon’s impressive army of 22,000 was downsized to a ragtag band of 300. Through their supernatural victory over Midian, God made it clear that His anointing has nothing to do with human ability. read more
How the church is spreading the gospel and leading the way in an online revolution
Every April at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the world’s most creative minds converge with a legion of tech-heads to talk shop and plan world domination. The NAB Show, as the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual convention is called, is a utopia for those who work with content production—one of those rare can’t-miss events for Hollywood movers and Internet shapers alike. It’s where 100,000 people gather to find out how to cross the great digital divide in the ever-shifting world of communication and technology, and how to bridge the gap between old-school media and an online revolution that operates at light speed.
It’s also where the church became a leader—again.
Jono Hall, director of media at the International House of Prayer (IHOP-KC) in Kansas City, Mo., has sensed this shift in recent years while walking the floor with industry leaders. And this year’s show placed the body of Christ on full display, especially when it came to one of the conference’s main themes: live streaming. read more
Thanks to technology, Charisma’s latest opportunity might be the biggest yet—and you can be a part of it
When I felt led to start a small church magazine 36 years ago, I barely knew what God had in store. Yet I dreamed back then that maybe somehow we’d reach a million people.
That was 1975, before the personal computer was invented and when the electric typewriter I worked on was considered high tech. Fast-forward more than three decades and there are now ways to communicate via digital that are almost beyond belief.
We’ve been covering the digital revolution since churches began using computers back in the 1980s and when the Internet appeared in the early 1990s. Technology didn’t seem to affect us much; we still communicated by printing words on paper (even about technology) and mailed it to readers. read more
Even If you don’t trek to the usual Holy Land hotspots, you’ll find God’s footprints in these biblically rich sites
Few places compare with Israel. Though the country is relatively small (about the size of New Jersey), it’s filled from end to end with biblical history. If there is one place on earth that every Christian needs to visit, it’s Israel. Why? Because being there is the only way to physically experience God’s eternal story that runs through the ancient sites and historical wonders. It is the land where the Bible comes alive.
Many Christians who go to Israel are challenged to new levels of discipleship. Some are healed, renewed, empowered and blessed. The experience of one pilgrim sums it up best: “It was like visiting with the Lord in His home,” she said. When you go, visit the well-known sites but also set aside time to take in some of the land’s best-kept secrets. Here are 10 we suggest you see. You won’t be disappointed.
Seconds into Israel’s Tel Dan Nature Reserve and all else is forgotten. You’ll want to get lost under shady trees as you’re serenaded by the sounds of the rushing Dan River—the Jordan’s largest source—and its flowing streams and gentle springs. But if you keep going, you’ll come across three sites: the ruins of the Canaanite city once captured by the tribe of Dan; one of the “high places” from the time of King Jeroboam; and the ancient Canaanite “Gate of the Three Arches.” read more