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Fact or Fiction?

Can divine truth and prophetic insight come through a Christian novel? Frank Peretti thinks so. In this exclusive interview, the genre-changing author explains why believers should pay more attention to today’s “stories.”

interview with Marcus yoars

CHARISMA: Many of our readers may not know that you actually have an Assemblies of God ministry background. Tell us about your Pentecostal roots.

PERETTI: I grew up in the Assemblies of God church. I was a licensed minister with the Northwest district of the AG until my mid-30s but stepped down because God had called me to be a writer and speaker. I tried pastoring for five years, and that showed me I wasn’t really cut out to be a pastor. My family is all still AG; I’m just off on my own now. I’ve been to a lot of different churches since then, but I still have a Pentecostal basis in my doctrine.

CHARISMAHow did your upbringing shape your early writing, particularly as you wrote This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness?

PERETTI: It provided a broad base for my perspective of things. I draw upon every aspect of life, each spiritual experience in God’s Word as I grow in the Lord—it’s a pretty broad spectrum. So now I have a much wider view of things than just strictly an Assemblies of God view.

CHARISMAThose books helped re-establish for much of the American church the reality of spiritual warfare, demonic strongholds and everyday angelic involvement—which had mostly been emphasized in charismatic circles. What prompted you to write about such things? read more

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America’s Sign (and Book) of the Times

Why the post-9/11 message behind The Harbinger hits home for me—and should be read by every American

 

My first months in prison were filled with overwhelming emotion and brutally honest questions. “God, why do You hate me?,” I remember asking. Another time I cried out, “Are you there, God?” And at one point, I even questioned: Is there really a God to hear my prayer—and if so, is He trying to get even with me for my sins?

I repented of every sin I could remember ever committing, and for any I may have missed and couldn’t remember! I felt God had left me, or worse yet, wasn’t there at all. At the lowest and loneliest time of my life, I cried out and said, “God, even if You are not there, I choose to believe in You and serve You. Even if I die and just go back to dust, I’m going to serve You the rest of my life.”

After those months of repenting, it was as if God spoke directly to me. He let me know He wasn’t trying to get even with me for my sins. “I got even for your sins on the cross,” He said. From that time on, God let me know that He had allowed me to come to prison so I could get to know Him; my loneliness became a time of solitude and study of His Word. read more

He Changed His World Through Journalism

Honoring the legacy of Robert Walker, a true pioneer of Christian publishing

For more than three decades I’ve been trying to motivate people to “radically change their world.” (A year ago the company I lead adopted that wording as our corporate motto.)

One of my mentors is an example of someone who radically changed his world—and he was doing it long before I was born. He used journalism in his generation as I am today. His name was Robert Walker and he was born 100 years ago this April 30.

If you’ve read this magazine for long, you know we’ve written about him numerous times—most recently when he passed away in 2008. He was best known for founding Christian Life magazine, which merged with Charisma in 1986. read more

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Foolishness and a Change of Strategy

Christians must adopt a new “kingdom” plan to see our nation through its current leadership crisis

It doesn’t take a prophet to point out that our nation is in trouble and that the trouble we’re facing won’t go away anytime soon. The body of Christ must prepare to stand in the midst of it to exert influence for the kingdom of God, and the clock is ticking.

At virtually every crisis point in the United States’ history God has provided great men to lead the nation so that we’ve come out the other side victorious and ready to build on what has been won. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt ... the list goes on of men who helped set the stage for the unprecedented level of prosperity and influence the U.S. has enjoyed since 1945. Clearly, God has favored us. 

We haven’t always lived out the full implications of the godly values our founding fathers articulated and that we claimed to believe in. Neither have we always been a moral people by such a basic standard as the Ten Commandments. We did, however, always acknowledge God and His place in our nation at both cultural and governmental levels. read more

Holy Ghost Smackdown!

When a pushy preacher shoved me to the floor, I got a sore neck—and an education

We see obvious evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work whenever sinners are converted, backsliders repent, bodies are healed or self-centered believers are broken by God. I love it when the Lord shows up in church gatherings. But I don’t appreciate it when people fabricate spiritual manifestations to prove God is using them. 

A few years ago a popular charismatic preacher spoke at a meeting I attended at a church in Orlando, Fla. After his message he asked all ordained ministers to run to the platform so he could lay hands on them. Immediately this man’s beefy bodyguards began grabbing people, dragging them onto the stage and holding them in place until the evangelist could pray for everyone. 

I felt queasy about this spectacle. It resembled a charismatic version of World Wrestling Entertainment: Lots of smacking noises, falling bodies and cheers from the excited crowd. (We Christians seem to love a good show, even if it is staged!) read more

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From Death to Life

Easter took on an entirely new meaning after the sudden death of my 25-year-old son

Six of us piled into our Suburban early on Easter morning. We were silent. I felt empty.

After what seemed like a long road trip, we finally arrived at the local cemetery where the body of my 25-year-old son, Nathan, was buried. He had unexpectedly died in a rock-climbing fall, just one day after we buried my husband’s father.

We slowly made the dreaded walk to Nathan’s grave. A year earlier, no one would have ever thought that this would be our first activity on our next Easter. read more

The Language of a Rock

What I learned about Easter by the Sea of Galilee ... from a stone

Every rock is a spiritual lesson waiting to be learned when you’re in Israel. Or so it seemed that way when I went there for the first time a couple of years ago.

Any believer who’s traveled around the Holy Land and traced the footsteps of Jesus knows the deep, almost inexplicable awakening that explodes inside you when, while touching the same land Jesus touched, the thought crosses your mind: This is where my Savior was. I’m actually standing where the God of the universe stood!

It happened countless times during my visit. Everywhere I went the surroundings seemed to whisper their Christ-brushed history like a flag flapping in the wind. read more

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Media Charismatics: Moving Mountains and the Masses

{jcomments on}Charismatics have always been pioneers in media, particularly on TV and radio. But are they keeping up in today’s mobile era of constant change?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Throughout 2012, we’re celebrating what we call “The 12 Communities of Charisma” and highlighting the various groups that have made up this magazine’s varied readership for the past 36-plus years. As a central hub for the larger Spirit-filled community, we believe one of our roles is to help connect these “tribes” by reporting on what God is doing among them. 

Having already highlighted the classical Pentecostal, Messianic/Zionist and revivalist movements in recent issues, this month we examine how the Holy Spirit is working today through charismatics in both traditional media (e.g., TV, radio, print) and the ever-changing realm of new digital media.

Long before television and radio programming had segregated “Christian” categories, a message of Holy Spirit power dominated America’s airwaves. Tent-revival preachers such as Aimee Semple McPherson ruled the radio landscape in the 1920s and 1930s, addressing families huddled around a receiver during an era when talk of a spiritual Comforter was as much relief as finding another day of work on the docks.  read more

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Teaching Beyond Words

{jcomments on}Joyce Meyer has built a global teaching ministry that now reaches two-thirds of the world every day. Yet her greatest legacy may be the massive outreach ministry she leads—and that few know about.


If you know Joyce Meyer, you know her voice—her strong, guttural delivery commands attention. If you’ve followed her teaching, you probably know her testimony of being sexually abused as a child and how God turned her mess into His message. And you may have seen her “What about me?” robot impression, heard her stories of returning grocery carts and been challenged by her candid transparency. Yet even among those who faithfully tune in to her daily Enjoying Everyday Life broadcast, many are unaware of just how far this fiery Fenton, Mo., Bible teacher’s reach extends when the recording lights turn off. 

On the surface, it’s hard to imagine how Joyce’s ministry could expand more. Just a few months shy of 69 years old, she’s already authored more than 90 books, including many New York Times best-sellers. Her TV and radio broadcasts span the globe, reaching a staggering potential audience of 4.5 billion with the gospel—that’s two-thirds of the world—every day. What began more than 36 years ago as a simple Bible study has grown into a ministry that today employs almost 900 people around the world.

But since the beginning, Joyce has always considered her ministry vision to be twofold. “The call on my life is to teach,” she says confidently, adding that her central focus in teaching has always been “to help people mature and grow up so they can have what Jesus died to give them.” read more

Garden Tomb

Making a Case for the Garden Tomb

While Catholics flock to Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, many Protestants embrace the Garden Tomb as the equally legitimate site of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. Here’s why they’re right to do so. read more

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