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A Way Out

Former lesbian Janet Boynes is living proof that despite a past filled with physical and sexual abuse, depression, and failed homosexual relationships, God still offers a way out—in love

There is a dark and destructive lie that the enemy is perpetrating in the world today, a lie that keeps many in bondage and despair, preventing them from becoming all that God has called them to be. While the devil seems to have no shortage of ways to deceive people and drive them ever further into hopelessness, one of his chief tricks is to convince them their sinful lifestyle is, in reality, an integral part of who they are—part of their very DNA.

“You can’t change,” he whispers. “You were born this way, and whether you like it or not this is the way you’ll be until the day you die. You might as well just accept the way you are and make everybody else accept it too.”

Does that line sound familiar? It should, because it dominates our culture today. read more

Feedback

Better Than the Rapture

I agreed 100 percent with the article “Don’t Freak Out” (J. Lee Grady, May) about the rapture prediction. I heard Harold Camping over my shortwave radio ... over a year ago. Grady said it well, “I don’t need to know what day Jesus is coming back—my prayer is that I can take as many people as possible to heaven with me when He splits the sky!” Amen! God bless you for telling it how it really is.

Mary A. Morrow, Mineola, Texas

 

Covered in Prayer

I love the cover and the story of your May prayer issue. I have been a part of three churches that exploded by simply dedicating time for the entire congregation to meet regularly in prayer.

Brian Boisselle, Via Facebook

 

Charisma ‘Saved My Life’

Many years ago I went through a personal tragedy that cost me tremendously. One day I picked up Charisma. Its lead article, “Why Do Christians Shoot Their Own Wounded?” (by David Kyle Foster, March 1998), saved my life. It brought a fresh perspective on many things, which eventually paved the way to my healing. I want to thank you for your ministry and all that you do to bless the body of Christ. People whom you never thought you would reach have been reached because your ministry brought me healing. Because I know what it’s like to be lost and broken, I can now reach out to others with a better understanding than ever before and be more effective in my ministry to them. Thank you. 

Daniel Rodriguez, El Paso, Texas

 

Marvin Sapp Sets an Example

As a long-time reader of Charisma, I was so moved by the “Praise Through The Pain” article (DeWayne Hamby, April) that carried us through pastor Marvin Sapp’s grief journey. His willingness to be transparent and openly share his tears will serve as a positive role model for healthy bereavement. Thank you for sharing this powerful story!

Ellen M. Walston, Greenville, N.C.

 

Binding ... and Loosing

I love your magazine. It seems, however, that it falls apart easily at the middle. I like to save and preserve my copies. I hope you get better binding in the future. 

Teresa Omlor, Elizabethtown, Ky. read more

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Charisma Online

You’re Already in the Debate, Why Not Learn the Argument?

As homosexuality has become more accepted in society, many believers have been forced to defend the biblical view of homosexuality. But do you know exactly what Scripture has to say about this hot-button issue? Visit gaydebate.charismamag.com to find out what  you need to know in the debate. 

 

 

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The Great Deception

I used to cringe whenever the topic of homosexuality came up in church. It wasn’t because I had anything to hide, but because of how poorly we Christians have dealt with this hot-button issue in the public arena. As with many things, we’ve become known more for what we stand against rather than the God we represent. 

The “God Hates Fags” and “God Abhors You” signs obviously don’t help reflect the heart of Jesus, nor do they accurately reflect the beliefs of most Christians in America. But it hit me recently that maybe the more embarrassing, cringe-worthy believers aren’t the extremists wielding such signs but those who, like me, have stood on the sidelines and done virtually nothing to change the public opinion of God or His people.

Homosexuality is anything but a simple topic—certainly not one that can be reduced to a protest sign. As we’ve tried to represent in this month’s Charisma, it involves multiple angles that, if expressed without the Holy Spirit’s filter of truth, grace and love, can be easily misunderstood amid all the lies and politicalspeak surrounding the issue. read more

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

How churches must respond to increasing attacks from radical opposition

When a national organization representing the gay community targeted pastor John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church in San Antonio two years ago, Hagee responded with Christian love, and whatever negative publicity the group intended to stir up failed. But as the cultural battle over homosexuality escalates, the incident exemplifies how the church can and should respond to any radical opposition. In the end, love always wins over hate, and light always extinguishes darkness.

In this case, a soft answer turned away wrath. It started when Soulforce launched a 2009 campaign targeting churches that oppose the gay lifestyle. The group wrote Hagee and informed him they’d be coming to his church on a certain Sunday. Hagee replied to the Soulforce’s leader and not only welcomed them to attend any of Cornerstone’s worship services, he also said he’d like to meet with them in a reception immediately following the morning service. What Hagee did after this was nothing short of brilliant—or maybe I should say Spirit-led.

The group of 40 from Soulforce sat quietly through what was otherwise a routine service. Afterward they met over lunch with about 40 of Cornerstone’s church leaders and elders. Hagee began by welcoming them and saying they might never agree about their differences, but that he sincerely wanted to listen to their concerns. He invited the group’s leader—a Baptist minister’s son who’d come with his live-in partner and the children they’d adopted—to meet with him in a side room. The rest of the group visited with the other leaders and Hagee’s vivacious wife, Diana. Hagee asked his leaders to greet each person in the delegation individually and let each speak his or her mind freely. Meanwhile Hagee told the Soulforce leader that he appreciated the respectful way they attended the worship service. He listened to his concerns and at the end prayed for the group. read more

A Squishy Gospel

I’ve withheld comment until now about author Rob Bell’s controversial book Love Wins because I don’t think Christians should judge books before reading them. But I can’t bite my lip any longer. Something needs to be said.

Bell’s core theme is that Christians have been too narrow in their view of God and His mercy. He argues that God loves people too much to banish them to hell. In the end, he says, after this life is over, everybody will find ultimate reconciliation in Christ. Bell claims this is what the Bible teaches, and he suggests that Christian theologians have promoted the idea for centuries.

He writes: “At the center of the Christian tradition ... have been a number who insist that history is not tragic, hell is not forever and love, in the end, wins and all will be reconciled to God.” read more

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Black Tide Rising

What does $4 gas have to do with chemical warfare, America’s future and the Antichrist? A prophecy in Daniel may explain.

 

There is no shortage of oil. There are oil tankers sitting in our waters off the coast, and they are not allowed to unload.” A CIA employee told my father this during the famous 1972 oil embargo. The OPEC nations, led by Saudi Arabia, felt the United States had intervened in the Yom Kippur War, thus saving the nation of Israel from calamity. As punishment, the Arab oil barons united in an embargo to teach America a lesson.

At the time, a person’s license tag number determined the days that car owner could purchase gas—odd numbers only on one day, and even numbers the next. Americans demanded that our government become independent from Arabian oil. Eventually the crisis ended, the prices dropped, and the issue faded like a morning fog in the rising sun. The only good legislation passed was the decision to open an area called the strategic reserves, where oil would be stored in the event of a national catastrophe or an emergency.

Yet in 2008, pump prices again rose to record levels. The OPEC nations cut production to drive up prices during America’s highest driving season. During the summer months in America, a specific blend of gas was mandated, which could only be mixed by specific refineries. It was also pointed out that Americans were driving larger vehicles that demanded more fuel but got fewer miles per gallon. A combination of these factors, along with two major hurricanes, shot the price of fuel to more than $4 a gallon in many states. read more

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It’s The End Of The World As He Knows It

What is god saying and doing today? Perry Stone interprets the signs of our time.

When Charisma Publisher Steve Strang sat down with Bible teacher Perry Stone, he expected to talk about dreams and visions. What he got instead was a download of Stone’s interpretation of how today’s events relate to the end times—and what believers can do. 

CHARISMA: How do you get the revelation that you teach?

STONE: The significance of understanding the mysteries of God is to pray in the Spirit and get the mind of the Spirit. The Spirit of God will quicken your spirit and your intellect to truths that have always been there, but maybe are not commonly taught, and helps you compare Scripture with Scripture, because the Bible even says that “the anointing that abides teaches you all things.” read more

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The Shaping Of Stone

Bible teacher Perry Stone’s Ministry continues to expand around the world while hitting a public nerve with insight into biblical prophecy. 

Perry Stone is a study in contrasts. He has limited formal education for someone sought after as a Bible expert, yet he’s written more than 40 books. A Southerner, he’s popular in the Northeast. He bases his ministry in a small Tennessee town, yet he impacts the world through television. He is a fourth-generation Pentecostal preacher whose largest group of followers are Baptists—and Roman Catholics are in the top four.

Best known as a teacher of end-times Bible prophecy, his biggest pleasure is poring over the Scriptures—he claims to have put in 60,000 hours of study. Before he retires, he wants to finish a copious study Bible (he was working on it before our interview began). But he also has a vision to build a youth camp that would look like a city in Old Testament Israel. read more

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Five Degrees Of A Downturn

Amid economic and cultural uncertainty, Christian higher education is taking on a new meaning at these growing schools

 

What do you get when you combine two unemployed parents, a family with no college graduates and one student with a high school diploma who’s determined to get a university degree? You get Taylor Acthley, whose dream of becoming the first member of her family to finish college is coming true. The 20-year-old junior at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., is three-quarters of the way to getting her bachelor’s degree in anthropology.

 

Despite her family’s current economic challenges, Acthley made it her No. 1 priority to find a school that integrated her education with her faith. She knew a Christian college or university would cost more—faith-based institutions on average are more expensive than state-funded programs—but she also knew Lee had an intangible element that would make it the best place for her to accomplish her dream.

“I needed something to be a part of,” Acthley says. “I needed people who were going to keep me accountable, to keep me moving so I could finish. I went in knowing I could meet my goal.” read more

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