In order to maintain our commitment to provide readers a safe, healthy environment to discuss ideas, Strang Communications has decided to shut down the Charisma forums. We value your part in our online community and invite you to become a fan on our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and share your comments to specific articles on our Web site. Thank you for being part of Charisma's forums; we sincerely hope you will continue your involvement through our other mediums.
HER MINISTRY BEGAN MORE THAN 50 YEARS AGO. TODAY, AT 80, GWEN SHAW SERVES AS THE VISIONARY LEADER OF END-TIME HANDMAIDENS AND SERVANTS, A WORLDWIDE ARMY OF WOMEN.
She's well past retirement age, walks with a cane, and needs a wheelchair to get through airports, but that hasn't stopped Gwen Shaw from ministering in cities and towns around the world--just as she has for the last 57 years. When interviewed for this article, the 80-year-"young" missionary--affectionately known as "Sister Gwen"--had just returned from a six-week trip to Spain and South Africa.
Sister Gwen's itinerary included Israel in September and lists the Congo in November and Hong Kong in December. In June she hosted the 29th annual world convention for her ministry, End-Time Handmaidens and Servants, a group of prayer intercessors and missionaries she founded in 1970 that is based in Jasper, Arkansas. read more
NOREN VANN KIM SAYS SHE HAS A "VOICE LIKE A FROG," YET THE LORD IS USING HER TO BRING THE ARTS BACK TO THE CHURCH IN CAMBODIA.
The next time you're in a mall or grocery store, look around you. Imagine that every woman over the age of 25 has lost a husband, brother, father or child.
That's the situation in Cambodia today, where death has touched every family because of the brutal regime of the communist Khmer Rouge during the 1970s. One of the millions of women affected by the holocaust is Noren Vann Kim. By the grace of God she has not only overcome immense tragedy, but also is helping others to find--and express--the joy of the Lord. read more
My mother was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease (HD), an incurable, genetic brain disease, in 1995. My siblings and I were told that each of us had a 50 percent chance of also carrying the HD gene and in turn passing it on to our children.
I was terrified. Seeing the changes in my mother was heartbreaking. But I knew God had a plan.
We were told that a test was available that could accurately determine whether we carried this fatal gene. But without a cure, it seemed ludicrous to consider. read more
TODAY'S FAITH-INSPIRED NOVELISTS HAVE CREATED A NEW LITERARY GENRE THAT IS FINDING BROADER ACCEPTANCE THAN EVER BEFORE
Christian fiction was difficult to find a few years ago. The category was limited to straight-laced prairie romances and wholesome historical titles by Janette Oke, Brock and Bodie Thoene, and Grace Livingston Hill.
But welcome to 2004, a time when Christian fiction continues to break sales records in today's tough economy. The American public--and not just churchgoers--are enjoying novels that offer a good story without all the sex and profanity that characterize modern fiction. read more
Although many people have no sympathy for those on San Quentin's death row, Josie Smith prays that these condemned men will know the love of God.
When Josie was a college student back in 1949, she felt a specific call to become a missionary. Little did she know how God would choose to use her.
Her interest in prison ministry began years ago when she and her husband, Dan, operated a home for delinquent boys called Outreach for Youth. It wasn't long before parents and friends of incarcerated men began calling and writing, asking the Smiths to contact a friend or relative. read more
When Barbara Brewton Cameron decided to put her personal pain to work, it brought healing to an entire community.
“God told me to rescue the children,” Barbara Brewton Cameron says. It's a matter-of-fact answer characteristic of the visionary 63-year-old pastor and community leader. “I could have been a statistic,” she continues, “but God told me what to do, and I sat up and did it.”
Barbara's bittersweet but, ultimately, triumphant story is intertwined with a once crime-ridden Charlotte, North Carolina, neighborhood called Double Oaks. This inner-city community was described in the news as “an open-air drug market of heroin and cocaine.” In the 1970s and early '80s, hearing gunfire became commonplace in and around the small, graffiti-marked houses. read more
One of my favorite Scriptures is Isaiah 40:31: "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (KJV). Years ago those words were put to music, and I sang them and taught them to my children.
The song added the phrase, "Teach me, Lord / Teach me, Lord, to wait." I loved that passage, and I loved that song. I sang it all the time.
But I didn't think too much about what I was asking. Did I really want Him to teach me to wait? read more
Many women today are returnign to school for ministry training. Should you? Here's how to find the educational path that's right for you.
At the age of 56, Joyce Shankland went back to school. As a recently divorced grandmother, she didn't seem like a typical candidate. Two years earlier, her husband had left her for a 20-year old, and the following year had been a nightmare of pain as she worked through the grief of being abandoned by her husband of 36 years. During that time of grief, she endured a car accident, back surgery and internal bleeding.
But Joyce was undeterred. Ever since she had come to know the Lord at age 30, she had dreamed of being in full-time ministry. "I thought, Now is my chance, so in July of 1999 I came to Crossroads, a YWAM missionary training school on the island of Hawaii."
For years I prayed for a healing miracle for my eyes. From the time I was in junior high school I had worn corrective lenses for myopia (near-sightedness), but the condition had continued to worsen until my vision was no longer fully correctable. I could see, but not clearly.
In 2000 I heard about a new procedure that could reverse the effects of myopia and learned that I was a good candidate. In an amazing operation that took only about 10 minutes, my vision was restored to such a degree that I no longer needed lenses. I had received new eyes to see, and many things changed as I looked at the world differently.
A person who is totally blind in the natural can still have vision. Helen Keller (1880-1968), the well-known American lecturer, was both blind and deaf but was able to see past her darkness. Her life impacted the world as she accomplished things that were unbelievable for one with such a handicap.
Evangelists Charles and Frances Hunter recently visited our office. After ministering at our noon prayer meeting, they offered to pray for anyone who needed healing.
Frequently when the person requesting prayer listed his ills--no matter how serious they were--Frances delightedly exclaimed, "Oh, that's easy!" and then prayed a simple prayer in faith. She knew that no ailment, from fibromyalgia to heart disease, was too hard for God.
Later I found myself repeating that phrase in my mind as I dealt with issues at the office. We have a conference facilities problem? Oh, that's easy! A staffing issue in a critical department? That's easy for God.
About 15 years ago I was in a department store in northern Virginia with my oldest daughter, Margaret. She was a precocious, talkative 6-year-old with a flair for the dramatic. You just never knew what this child might say to perfect strangers.
We walked past the women's lingerie section and Margaret impulsively grabbed a pair of lacy, pink panties off a rack and twirled them in the air with her finger. Then she declared to every shopper within range: "I am going to wear these panties when I am 18!"
Horrified, I ducked my head and pulled Margaret toward the escalator, trying to avoid eye contact with the amused customers who overheard her awkward proclamation. They were probably thinking to themselves, That little girl is going to be quite a handful when she grows up.
My husband, Steve, and I own property that has an eagle's nest on it. One day after a spring storm we went out to check on the property and found that a third of the nest had been blown down.
As I looked at the fallen pieces, it occurred to me that often when we think of eagles we picture the majestic bird that is our national symbol--a bird that is able to soar high above any tempest that might come along. We rarely think of eagles as having to go through storms.
Yet if a storm comes while young are in the nest, the mother eagle has to leave her soaring and return to the nest to protect them. When it is over, she has to rebuild what has been lost and go on.
By nature, I am a doer--and I like projects, whether they are related to decorating my home; running Strang Communications, the business my husband and I started in 1981; or helping a person get his marriage or his finances on track. But a number of years ago I learned that the activity of a Martha is meaningless without the heart of a Mary. We aren't to be one or the other, but both--at the same time.
In other words, our goal is not to break down our daily lives into segments, making sure that we "pray" as much as we "do." Our goal is to learn how to pray and do simultaneously. Paul says we are to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). How is this possible when we have so many responsibilities to attend to?
The key, as Quaker Thomas Kelly describes in his book, A Testament of Devotion, is to live on two planes at once. It is possible, he says, to remain in continual communion with God while also carrying out the duties of our individual stations in life. Our spirits maintain the inner connection, and our minds and bodies do the work.
Seminaries are beginning to support the calling of women to full-time ministry. Which institutions are on te forefront of this trend?
Jennifer Kemp was fairly certain God was calling her into the ministry, so to test the waters, she decided to take a weekend course at a seminary near her job in Boston. The class, "Proclamation and Communication," had two women and 22 men.
"The first night," Jennifer recalled, "one gentleman asked me why I was in seminary. I said, 'I am not in seminary right now. I am taking this class to see if seminary is something I'd like to pursue in the future.'
I once heard a message in church on "the balanced life." The speaker made the point that we need to give equal time to each of the most significant areas of our lives so we don't get out of balance.
I felt prompted to do a search on the word "balance" in my small computer Bible to find scriptural backing for the message. The only reference given that contained the word was a verse in Proverbs, and that had to do with a scale--in other words, with weights and measures, not with the way we use our time.
What I found did not convince me that the preacher was right. I asked the Holy Spirit to show me the truth, and He replied, "The truth is that being wholehearted for God is the key to balance."