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Can Christians save the mess that is today’s American political scene? Better yet, should we? Charisma asked two pastors to offer their unique viewpoints on the role politics plays in believers’ lives.
The Church as a Prophetic Voice
by Harry R. Jackson Jr.
I am often asked why I spend so much time engaging in the moral battles of our day. My critics see my work outside the pulpit as crass political pandering or fleshly power grabs.
They often are joined by a host of folks in our culture who want to renounce the religious right. These peace-loving believers have not been able to identify with angry, self-appointed spokespersons who have historically dominated the media.
Despite the excesses of some of our forerunners, the church dare not withdraw in monklike fashion from the public square. read more
Paul Anderson, a 66-year-old charismatic Lutheran, has started a discipleship revolution in Minneapolis.
Paul Anderson doesn’t act his age. I hope he never does.
A father of the charismatic renewal movement among Lutherans, the 66-year-old minister could be settling down to retire. Instead, he’s pioneering a new outreach to young adults in Minneapolis—and reaching hundreds of 20-somethings who are bored with traditional church.
“I am proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks,” Anderson told me last weekend when I interviewed him in his home in north Minneapolis. read more
God said to Abram, "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you" (Gen. 12:1). God was calling Abram out of his natural identity into the dream He had to bless the nations. It was in that journey of faith that Abram became Abraham, the father of our faith.
God's dream revealed to Abraham marched down through the members of his family line, shaping their lives and destinies. Jacob, exiled and alone with nothing but a rock for a pillow, dreamed a dream in which God made him a promise: "This is the land that I will give you and your children's children." read more
Removing jealousy from our own lives is hard enough. It's even more complicated when we encounter jealousy from others. How should we handle another's jealousy? What is the proper response? Again, Jesus is our perfect example: We should overlook it.
Jesus did not say to those who were jealous of Him, "The trouble with you is that you're jealous." That would never do. read more
The New Testament church was characterized by exciting miracles and supernatural anointing, but it was not immune to division. The earliest churches suffered splits—not only because of doctrine but also because of bitter personal disputes.
Even the apostle Paul, who modeled Christian affection and implored his followers to preserve the bond of love, had an unfortunate disagreement with his close colleague, Barnabas, early in their ministry partnership.
The exact nature of their argument is a mystery. We only know that Paul did not want to take John Mark, Barnabas' cousin, on his second missionary journey because the young disciple had deserted the team in Pamphylia. Acts 15:39 says: "And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed to Cyprus. (NASB)" read more
Time is running out for America. Our country has been on the path of self-destruction for decades and is now on the verge of complete moral and economic collapse, with threats of attacks and war as well. Our nation hangs in the balance, and as God's people we must take action now before it's too late. read more
Several years ago a couple I had not met before came to our Lake Mary office. The gentleman and his wife were old friends of several people in our company and had stopped by for a quick visit and to update the staff on what they are currently doing for a living.
They traveled with two very well dressed young men, who stood near them in the background and maintained full attention. Except for their youth these men looked very much like the Secret Service men who guard the president of the United States. read more
The apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians is one of the Bible's most unique books. Some scholars call it "the epistle of joy" because the word "joy" or "rejoice" appear in it 16 times. Yet what is amazing is that this letter about Christian joy was written from a prison cell!
While Paul was under the watchful eye of Roman guards, bound in chains, he wrote some of the most uplifting spiritual words ever penned. In the letter's four short chapters the author continually exhorts us to praise God no matter how dark our circumstances are. He writes: "I will rejoice" (1:18, NASB), "I rejoice and share my joy with you all" (2:17), "I urge you, rejoice in the same way" (2:18), "Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord" (3:1) and "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!" (4:4). read more
Why all the hubbub? These people have displayed a negative symbol of a black cross around the nation, including our national capitol. In some ways they remind me of the cross burnings of the South. Cross burners sought to uphold their own twisted brand of justice, while abusing the rights of thousands of blacks. The same group of people who were victimized by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) are the victims in the energy debates of our day -- poor blacks. The Black Cross Alliance shackles people's hopes and living standards. They make it harder for people to heat and cool their homes, pay their rent and mortgage, afford a car or medical treatment. read more
Don’t be. God is with you.
There are many types of fear we could name or count, but they all have the same source and the same purpose. They all are from Satan and they all are intended to steal the life Jesus died to give us.
We often think fear is simply an emotion or feeling, but it also affects us physically. In Who Switched Off My Brain? author Caroline Leaf notes, “[Fear] triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses, and activates more than 30 different hormones and neurotransmitters.” Fear, she says, is at the root of all stress. When fear causes a stress reaction, it actually “marinates” the body in toxic chemicals. This, of course, is terribly unhealthy and threatening to our physical well-being. read more
Years ago when a prominent television evangelist's moral failure was exposed, another television evangelist was publicly harsh and judgmental in his assessment. The Lord laid on my heart to write that television evangelist a letter. "Brother, be careful. ‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Matt. 7:1-2).'" A few weeks later the sexual failure of the man who had done the judging was paraded before the American public. Most of us would affirm the gifting that was in both these men, but their character did not match their gifting. read more
Perhaps my favorite mornings of all are those on which God awakens me with a song. So often, the song He puts on my heart is a prophetic word that not only lifts my spirit but also gives strength and direction throughout my day. On mornings such as these, it's easy to live above the circumstances. After all, His mercy, like daily bread, has been fresh again today! read more
Last week I went to the nation of Colombia to preach in a conference sponsored by two churches in the city of Barranquilla. I could have gone alone, but I asked Jason, a young pastor from South Carolina, to accompany me on the seven-day trip.
When we boarded our first flight to Panama I said to Jason: "You are going to grow two feet during this adventure." He told me yesterday when we were preparing to come home: "I think I grew two-and-a-half feet." read more
Prayer is the simplest of practices, and at the same time, the most mysterious of spiritual disciplines. In it lies the master key to everything God wants for you, and yet no other aspect of following God seems more difficult to fathom. While folding your hands, bowing your head, and turning your thoughts or words toward God is as easy as sitting down to coffee with a friend, what transpires in the aftermath is the most multifaceted and mystifying journey in the universe.
At its essence, prayer is a quest surpassing anything that you could or will ever read about in any thriller novel or adventure story. It is in prayer that we probe spiritual realities, communicate with God, access the arsenal of heaven and expand God's kingdom on the earth. It is as simple as pulling aside to a quiet place and opening your heart to God, and as dynamic as tapping into the power and imagination that created the cosmos. read more
Who is Eddie Long? Simply, he is one of the most exceptional orators of this generation. His international television broadcast has taken him into the homes of people around the globe. Further, as the recipient of the Trumpet Award for leadership in 2005, he has been acknowledged time and time again for his leadership in the black community. He also serves on the board of numerous universities and colleges, including Morehouse, Emory and North Carolina Central. read more
The current economic recession is much more severe than we first thought, and the discouraging thing about it is that it's hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Along with this financial downturn, we, as a church, seem to be approaching a spiritual "deep winter."
The church of Jesus Christ has gone through more ups and downs than any other institution in history. Saying, "We have seen it all before," is never an overstatement with us. We'll get through this coming season as we have (100 percent) in the past. We outlast every other endeavor on earth, over time—always have, always will. read more
Two years ago this month the American church was fracturing. Fueled by unprecedented media frenzy, the presidential race between Barack Obama and John McCain had exposed a splintering Body full of bickering Christian leaders, many of whom spoke as if delivering a word straight from heaven.
Standing in the crossfire were countless conflicted believers who found it difficult to cut through the pulpit politics and loaded prophecies and actually hear God’s opinion. Most of us could agree that yes, God is concerned with more than just the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage; but how were we to reconcile that with a single vote? read more
I'm sure you felt as heartsick as I did when you heard about the nightmarish charges leveled against Atlanta preacher Eddie Long of New Birth Full Gospel Baptist Church. While I passed through two airports last Thursday, CNN was airing the sordid details of the lawsuits filed by two young men who are accusing Long of coercing them into sex. Two more men have since come forward with similar lawsuits.
Whether the charges are true or not (please pray for Long and his church during this ordeal), it was awkward to hear newscasters suggesting that a married Pentecostal bishop had abused his power and carried on secret gay affairs. What's really sad is that in our sexually desensitized culture people don't even blush when they hear such talk about a minister. read more
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