Books, Bethel and the Brooklyn Saint

Remember the kid in elementary school who was teased for reading too much? You know, the girl with thick glasses who didn’t care if she was picked last for kickball because she was too engrossed in a new book. She’d sit alone at recess, lost in a vivid world that came alive in her imagination with every page turned.

Fast-forward 30 years, and it’s funny how the tables can turn on “bookworms” like her. They’re typically the ones now leading corporate boardrooms, arguing federal court cases and pioneering new technologies. Finance expert Dave Ramsey says a common thread among the world’s most financially successful people is their discipline of reading a book almost every week.

I’m not into measuring success by your salary or your profession. Nor am I saying all kids with insatiable appetites for reading end up geniuses. But it’s undeniable that books are powerful, positive life-shapers. In a day when dozens of other media offer more instant gratification, and in an era in which the digital tsunami has drastically altered our cultural landscape and intelligence—for better or worse—books still matter. 

Why must I state what’s been a given for hundreds of years? Because when you can carry entire libraries in your pocket (God bless smartphones), you begin to take for granted the power of a single book. That’s exactly what’s happening today, and sadly, we are forgetting that, amid the onslaught of “access anything, anywhere, anytime” information, books can still change things as nothing else can.

There are countless examples of this, but I can’t think of one better suited to highlight in the context of this magazine than David Wilkerson’s The Cross and the Switchblade. In late April, the Christian world mourned the sudden loss of this spiritual giant (whom we pay tribute to in this issue), yet his legacy will remain through his written words. Wilkerson’s powerful 1963 account of how he risked everything to show God’s love to gang members in New York City (particularly in Brooklyn and the Bronx) has affected millions around the world—and is still as riveting today as it was back then. Sure, reading habits may have changed since Wilkerson penned his first book, but the spiritual value contained on those printed pages has not. 

I was reminded of this when I visited Bethel Church in Redding, Calif., to write this month’s cover story and saw firsthand what a “revival culture” looks like after 15 years of passionately pursuing God’s presence as a community of believers. Bethel isn’t just a revival culture, it’s a reading culture too. Everywhere I went, people were talking about books by Bethel leaders. Why? Because those books carry the DNA of the church, which in turn, is the very DNA of the Holy Spirit moving there.

We’ve highlighted those and other books throughout this issue not as a generic reminder for you to read more. Instead, I hope they whet your appetite to open their pages and—as only books can do—have your life changed.

  • Hillary Clinton

    What if Hillary Clinton Wins the White House?

    Polls have Mrs. Clinton leading by 11 points. The church must be prepared.

  • Holy Spirit prophetic

    7 Ways to Cultivate Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit

    Too many of God's people are led by fear, doubt, man-pleasing, presumption, assumption, idols ...

  • Jezebel puppets

    10 Ways to Spot Jezebel's Spiritually Slick Undercover Con Artists

    It's time to stop tolerating Jezebel in all its many manifestations.

  • Highway exit signs

    Prophetic Word: Watch for the Exit Signs to Light Up This Season

    Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty in the harvest fields. The "barnyard anointing" ...

  • Lance Wallnau

    Lance Wallnau Is on Fire and on Target With His Insights on the Culture and This Election

    I'm sickened by the self-righteous, weak-kneed "evangelicals" who want to be liked by ...

  • In October, many things will be realigned in your life, including your vision.

    5 Prophetic Revelations About God's October Surprise

    "The winds of apostolic change are blowing across the land and realigning you."

  • Step into the rhythm of the Holy Spirit to find abundant life.

    Why Many Christians Never Taste the Abundant Life Jesus Promised

    Joyce lost 90 lbs. without dieting after the Holy Spirit revealed this strategy for wholeness.

  • London landing

    Urgent Prophecy: London Is the Landing Page

    The Lord continued to give me downloads about the deeper meaning and even strategy for the ...

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit