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Rick-Santorum-Facebook

Christians Can Make a Difference on Super Tuesday

Many of you know I've endorsed Rick Santorum. To me he's the only real conservative and the one who is right on the moral issues. A press release came to me earlier today and I've cut and pasted it below. I urge the tens of thousands who will get this to forward it to friends who live in states who will vote on Super Tuesday. This race is so close that Bible-believing Christians CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE and help Santorum get the momentum to win the nomination and then the general election.

Why have I endorsed Santorum? It's easy: Not only is he right on the issues, but he's someone I consider "squeaky clean." I was interviewed on the PBS program Religion & Ethics and they wanted to know why I didn't endorse the other candidates. For Mitt Romney I'm concerned about how he's flip-flopped. And I'm wary of the fact that he's Mormon (although that doesn't prevent me from voting for him—it only makes it more difficult). And with Newt Gingrich I'm concerned his many moral failures (which he says he has repented of and I don't doubt that's true) shows a deep character flaw. But Rick Santorum has a good record, projects the image of a leader and has strong Christian values.

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The Battle for Valley Forge

Read all about Valley Forge Christian College's landmark lawsuit in 1978 vs. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

 

We Don't Need Politics As Usual, But Social Transformation

It's the political season in what many are saying is the most important presidential election of our lifetime, so I turned to my good friend, Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., to be the guest editor for the January/February issue of Ministry Today. You can read the digital issues of the magazine by clicking on the cover images below.

Bishop Jackson has appeared on the CBS Evening News, Fox News' Special Report, The O'Reilly Factor and The Tavis Smiley Show. Bishop Jackson's articles have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

And why not? He's Harvard educated and very articulate—something the mainstream media respects. But at the same time Bishop Jackson is a great spokesman from a Christian perspective—he understands the believer's mandate to bring God's kingdom to earth. Bishop Jackson has a successful track record of growing churches and discipling believers. He hasn't strayed into liberal theology, and his integrity is above reproach.

Bishop Jackson also defies stereotypes. An African-American "bishop," he embodies the best—not the worst—of what that usually implies. He has solid conservative values when many African-American preachers just flow with liberal Democrats. But while conservative Republicans trust him and work closely with him, he doesn't join their ranks. He's a conservative Democrat who speaks boldly in the corridors of power about right and wrong, good and evil, and trust and betrayal.

On a personal basis, I have gotten to know and trust him over the years—first at networking meetings of leaders where I became impressed with his verbal contributions. I noticed that like the old E.F. Hutton commercials, when Bishop Jackson spoke, others listened.

“I AM AMERICA” SINGER KRISTA BRANCH TO PERFORM AT LIBERTY FORUM FEB. 25

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Mark West, President

423-240-8288

mark-west@comcast.net

www.chattanoogateaparty.com

“I AM AMERICA” SINGER KRISTA BRANCH TO PERFORM AT LIBERTY FORUM FEB. 25

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Feb. 21) – Singer Krista Branch, who gained notoriety when her underground Tea Party hit, “I Am America,” went viral on YouTube, will perform at the Chattanooga Tea Party’s Liberty Forum event Saturday, February 25, at Abba’s House in Hixson. The event will run from 1 to 4 p.m. with Krista performing a “mini-concert” prior to the start as well as singing during the event.

Krista has sung at tea party rallies and concerts around the nation and appeared on “Fox & Friends,” “The O'Reilly Factor” and other programs. Her song, "I Am America," was the official song of the Herman Cain campaign.

Krista developed her love for music at a young age, singing at a small church in east Texas. Krista now lives in Nashville, Tennessee where she is working on an upcoming album. She takes pride in being a devoted wife, mother, patriot and woman of deep faith.

In addition to Krista, the event will feature GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum and local, state and federal candidates and officials, who will address their vision for each of the different levels of government. The CTP will also offer refreshments to celebrate the tea party movement’s 3rd Anniversary.

Although there will be no cost to attend the event, donations will be welcomed to help defray costs.

The CTP also asks attendees to bring food donations, which will be collected for the Chattanooga Area Food Bank.

The Chattanooga Tea Party is a non-partisan grassroots organization seeking to educate and inform its members and the public at large of the fundamental issues and struggles our country is facing. We are committed to energizing voters to become engaged in the process of solving the nation’s problems.

 


SANTORUM HEADLINES TEA PARTY’S THIRD ANNIVERSARY LIBERTY FORUM FEB. 25

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Mark West, President

mark@chattanoogateaparty.com

www.chattanoogateaparty.com

SANTORUM HEADLINES TEA PARTY’S THIRD ANNIVERSARY LIBERTY FORUM FEB. 25

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Feb. 16) – Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum will headline the Chattanooga Tea Party’s Liberty Forum on Saturday, February 25. The forum, which celebrates the tea party movement’s third anniversary, will offer citizens a chance to listen to and question candidates and leaders in national, state and local government offices.

Santorum was one of several invited presidential candidates and first to accept.

The event will run from 1p.m. to 4p.m. and will be hosted at Abba’s House, at 5208 Hixson Pike in Hixson, TN.

“We already have more than 20 confirmed officials and candidates at every level of government. Senator Santorum’s decision is just icing on our anniversary cake,” said Chattanooga Tea Party President Mark West.

Santorum currently leads in several national polls of GOP candidates. The former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania is well known for his commitment to traditional conservative and family values, and he helped author and pass key reforms, such as the landmark Welfare Reform Act.

In addition to Santorum, confirmed attendees include US Congressman Chuck Fleischmann and 3rd District challengers, Weston Wamp and Jean Howard Hill; State Senator Bo Watson, State Representatives Vince Dean and Richard Floyd, State Rep. candidate Mike Carter; County Mayor Jim Coppinger and County Commissioners Larry Henry, Tim Boyd, Joe Graham and Mitch McClure, challenger Marty Haynes; Sheriff Jim Hammond, County Trustee Bill Hullander; City Council members Carol Berz, Pam Ladd, Andrae McGary, Peter Murphy and Manny Rico; School Board members Mike Evatt, David Testerman and Rhonda Thurman; and U.S. Senatorial candidate Zack Poscevich.

Select speakers will address their vision for each of the different levels of government and there will be an opportunity for voters to interact with candidates and elected officials. The CTP will also offer refreshments to celebrate the tea party movement’s 3rd Anniversary.

“We launched our local group with a tax-day tea party event April 15, 2009,” West said. “Our event was one of 900 tea parties that day, a dramatic increase from the 50 tea parties on the first nationwide tea party event held six weeks earlier on February 27, 2009. Most of us who first met in early 2009 to prepare for that rally are still involved and contributing to our citizen activism. We’ve become close friends. And our focus has never wavered from demanding that federal, state and local governments adhere to their constitutional foundations, follow fiscal conservatism, and support free markets. We are pleased to be joining with ElectionDayTeaParty.com and dozens of other Tea Party groups around the nation in celebrating our movement’s anniversary.”

Although there will be no cost to attend the event, donations will be welcomed to help defray costs.

The Chattanooga Tea Party is a non-partisan grassroots organization seeking to educate and inform its members and the public at large of the fundamental issues and struggles our country is facing. We are committed to energizing voters to become engaged in the process of solving the nation’s problems.


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Want to Make a Difference? Support Rick Santorum

The National Religious Broadcasters convention ended this week in Nashville, Tenn. For me it was a productive and busy time connecting with authors, talking business and making new contacts. The buzz on the floor this year was The Harbinger, which has been on the New York Times best-seller list for seven straight weeks. Author Jonathan Cahn was there to do media interviews and sign books.

But the other buzz was about the presidential election. Everywhere I turned people were talking about it. Since NRB tends to be conservative, it’s not a surprise that most of the attendees feel President Obama is taking the nation in the wrong direction. A lot of people asked me whom I was backing.

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I’m Endorsing Rick Santorum for President in the Florida Primary

Four years ago I was one of the first to endorse Mike Huckabee for president. He was a former governor of Arkansas who I felt had great leadership—and he not only shares but embodies our Christian values. But this year I took a wait and see attitude until just a few days before the Florida primary to be held Jan. 31.

I was interviewed on PBS this week for a show that airs this weekend. Kim Lawton, the respected correspondent who has interviewed me before and always reported fairly on the evangelical community, wanted to know whom I’m endorsing. I told her I’m endorsing Sen. Rick Santorum.

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TheCall Detroit Draws 30,000 Intercessors on 11-11-11

As I arrived at Detroit’s Ford Field to participate in TheCall—a summons to prayer, fasting, repentance and sacrificial worship that began at 6 p.m. Friday and ran for 24 hours—I passed a nearby park where protesters set up an “Occupy Detroit” camp.

As we parked the car, we could see about 35 men, most of them black, singing “God Loves Everyone” to the tune of “We Shall Overcome” and marching with a police escort toward Ford Field.

I didn't wait to hear what they may have said or talk with any of them. I was too eager to join the prayer service inside. In fact, despite the national headlines over the Wall Street protests, no one inside seemed to notice the occupiers were there. The crowd of about 30,000 that gathered at Ford Field had a different purpose: praying for America.

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After the Republican Debate: Why This Isn’t Politics as Usual

It was interesting to attend the Republican presidential debate in Orlando, Fla., last night as a member of the media. Charisma doesn’t usually cover debates like this, and I wouldn’t have attended had it not been in my hometown. It was broadcast live on Fox News and, truth be told, I could’ve seen it better on TV at home.

Even though I took notes on what the candidates said, I knew my readers either watched the debate or could read more extensive articles elsewhere. The question I had to ask was: “Where is God in all this? How does this affect the Spirit-filled community? And how do I cover it in Charisma?”

The most interesting experience for me was after the debate when Doug Wead, who is a “senior adviser” with candidate Ron Paul, approached me in the “spin room” as hundreds of media people milled around interviewing whoever they could find. I’ve known Doug since I was a teenager. He’s been a political gadfly for years, serving in various campaigns and once working in the White House for George H.W. Bush as a liaison to the evangelical community. In that role Doug arranged a couple of appointments for me with President Bush. He also worked closely with the president’s son and had some sort of falling out that resulted in his being persona non grata later when George W. Bush became president.

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Amazing Digital Opportunities on Charisma's 36th Anniversary

When I felt led to start a small church magazine, I barely knew what God had in store. That magazine released 36 years ago today, so I thought it was appropriate to reflect on what's happened, and more importantly what is on the verge of happening as we move boldly into the digital world.

Many of you know Charisma started at a megachurch in central Florida. I was working full time as a newspaper reporter then. My, how the media world has changed! The staff found this in the archives: a black-and-white photo of me holding a copy of The Rock, a youth newspaper that I published before Charisma. They had me hold an iPad to show the contrast. Back then I could have never imagined today's iPad! Yet I dreamed that maybe somehow we'd reach a million people. Do you know how many trees you'd have to cut down to print that many magazines?

So from 1975—before the personal computer was invented and a time when the electric typewriter I used was considered high-tech—fast-forward more than three decades and now Charisma (and our other magazines) are available in digital format that's almost beyond belief.

The Power of Connection

I wish you could have experienced the powerful connections that took place recently at our headquarters near Orlando, Fla., with high level ministry and business leaders. It illustrated the “power of connection,” which to me is important since I am a “networker” by nature.

Graham Power, a successful Christian businessman from South Africa who founded the Global Day of Prayer, shared from his rich experience in the marketplace and in ministry. He taught on principles of leadership and living out one's calling as a believer in the business world in a program he calls "Unashamably Ethical." Click here to listen to an interview with Power.

We also had time to talk in a confidential round-table setting about some of the opportunities and challenges we were facing in our different situations, share ideas, offer counsel and of course pray together. We all left encouraged and equipped. The emails I've been getting have told how much they got as members of the new Ministry21 Network.

M21 Network (as we sometimes call it) is a relational network bringing together like-minded pastors and leaders to develop their own leadership skills, connect them with others, provide needed coaching, continuing education and wonderful resources.

Rose_Ferrell

My Tribute to Rose Ferrell, a Great Mother-in-Law


Rose Cameron Ferrell, 1915-2011

For many, mother-in-law jokes have a ring of reality. But for me they don’t. I had the perfect mother-in-law—Rose Ferrell who left us this week. In the 38 years I've been her son-in-law, we never had a cross word. It was well known in the family that she always sided with the in-laws if there was ever an argument.

She lived with Joy and me for the past 3-1/2 years. She was always independent and a pleasure to have in the home. She was a godly woman, and I would hear her praying for her six children, nine grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

Now she’s gone. On Monday, at age 96, she breathed her last surrounded by family and friends. I had spent the night with her in the hospital on Friday, helping the nurses care for her. I fed her breakfast and she was doing so well I took off the next morning for the annual booksellers convention in Atlanta. But she had been hospitalized for congestive heart failure and Monday morning it was obvious it was a matter of hours until she died. As soon as I found out, I immediately flew home from Atlanta and arrived at the hospital in Altamonte Springs, Fla., an hour before her heart quit beating.

An Invitation to Meet with High Level Leadership Networking Meeting

For nearly 10 years, I've been meeting three times a year with 10 business and ministry leaders in a small closed group we call “CEO.” We gave it that name because you must be a CEO to be invited. It's for accountability and for what the Bible calls “iron sharpening iron.” I can't tell you how valuable it is to discuss important issues I'm dealing with both in business and my personal life with men I know care about me, who have come to understand me and will keep everything in total confidence.

It was my small group experience that gave birth to the idea to start the Ministry21 Network—a relational network to bring together like-minded pastors and leaders to develop their own leadership skills, connect them with others, provide needed coaching, continuing education and wonderful resources. So far, we've had several hundred join; most are raving fans and tell me how some aspect of what they've learned has changed their lives.

Next week, I'm combining the two for a special networking meeting at our headquarters at 600 Rinehart Road in Lake Mary, Fla. I decided to reach out to the 35,000 who have signed up for my blog to see if you'd like to attend on June 16-17.

Randy White, Eddie Long and Matthew 18

Last week, news stories about Randy White and Eddie Long had special meaning to me because there is a Matthew 18 story, which I have not revealed until now, where it says to go to your brother privately.

Bishop Eddie Long announced last week that he settled with four young men who accused him of having homosexual relations. Long had said he was innocent and would fight the allegations, but he settled for an undisclosed amount so "his ministry could go on." You can read more here.

The other news item was former Pastor Randy White who was picked up on driving under the influence in Tampa, Fla. You can read a secular report with the sad details.  Suffice it to say, at one time, Randy was one of the brightest young pastors whose vision to reach Tampa with innovative ministries brought him a lot of accolades from civic and religious leaders. We once featured him and his ex-wife, Paula, on the cover of Ministry Today. It's so sad because, for reasons we'll never know, White let all that influence and potential go down the drain.

What wasn’t known until now is that in the late 1990s, I called Randy and asked to meet with him privately to share a concern. We both drove to the small Disney town of Celebration, Fla., about halfway between where we each lived. Over lunch I told him I was concerned that his success seemed to be promoting pride and he should be careful lest he fall. He thanked me for caring enough to come to him. He responded humbly and said he'd take the warning. I felt I had done what God wanted me to do and forgot about it.

The Fascinating World of Christian Spanish Publishing

I enjoyed attending the 19th annual Expolit trade show in Miami, Fla., last weekend. Miami is a world of its own—or, as the joke goes, one of the few places in the United States where a passport is required. Miami is certainly one of the most international cities in the country and is perfect for distributors from around Latin America. It makes sense, then, that the premier trade show for the Spanish Christian book and music industry is held there.

Luis Fernández, an industry veteran of more than 20 years, described Expolit to Dr. Don Colbert, our bestselling health author who spoke at Expolit, as “partly like NRB [National Religious Broadcasters], partly like the International Christian Retail Show and part bazaar.” I know that to be true because I’ve been attending Expolit for 18 years. I’ve seen the growth of the Spanish publishing market, and I have come to appreciate Expolits’s cultural aspects: the trade show closing for afternoon siesta, then staying open until midnight; the crowded aisles in the exhibit hall; or the music blasting from nearly every booth, each one louder than the one next door. I especially enjoy drinking sweet Cuban coffee!

A Passion for Souls

Think Reinhard Bonnke and his ministry are all about the numbers? You better believe it—and here’s why that’s a good thing.

 I was a young journalist attending an international conference in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1984 when I saw fliers all over town for a German evangelist named Reinhard Bonnke, who was holding huge crusades throughout Kenya. Knowing Germany wasn’t exactly a hotbed of evangelism, I was curious. African friends told me about this man’s passion to see all of Africa saved. Soon we were covering his ministry in Charisma. One of our first stories was about his massive revival tent that held up to 34,000 people. In 1985, a storm destroyed the tent in South Africa—but in the end, it didn’t seem to matter since it couldn’t have contained the hundreds of thousands who showed up.

I first met Bonnke in Brazil in 1989 when he was there for his daughter’s wedding. My wife and I had flown down to attend a Charles and Frances Hunter crusade in Rio de Janeiro, and we stayed at the same hotel as Bonnke. A friendship developed that continues today. Little did I know he would one day move his international headquarters to Orlando, Fla., which allows us to interact several times a year—most recently when he wanted to introduce me last fall to his successor, Daniel Kolenda. I actually knew Daniel’s family and visited his dad’s church in Port Charlotte, Fla., when Daniel was a little boy. In Charisma’s March issue we covered the incredible story about how after some unsuccessful attempts to find a successor, God supernaturally told Bonnke that the anointed must be appointed.

When I recently began inviting leaders to serve as guest editors for Ministry Today, I never dreamed someone of Bonnke’s worldwide stature would agree. But when we mentioned to him our vision to devote an entire issue to the topic of evangelism—and just how important it is for the church—he jumped at the chance.  Bonnke served as guest editor for the May/June 2011 issue of Ministry Today.  His successor, Daniel Kolenda, was the co-editor. Bonnke can explain better than I how Kolenda is transitioning to fill his huge shoes.

This isn’t just an opportunity to take over a large ministry, but also to win millions to Christ. When discussing people and souls, that word—millions—boggles most of our minds. Yet I believe it. I’ve observed how conservative Bonnke’s ministry is on reporting numbers. Sadly, many evangelists have exaggerated so much that evangelistically speaking has entered our everyday language to mean “exaggeration.”

L to R: Reinhard Bonnke, Anni Bonnke,
Joy Strang, Steve Strang, Frances
Hunter and Charles Hunter

But I’ve seen the multitudes with my own eyes. In 2000, I traveled to Lagos, Nigeria, to attend one of Bonnke’s massive rallies. One of the greatest spiritual experiences of my life was being there the night he ministered the baptism of the Holy Spirit to a crowd estimated at 1.6 million. For at least 20 minutes, waves of power rolled over that crowd as seemingly everyone spoke in tongues at the top of their voices.

On another night, I walked the crowd with one of his staff. I saw how they marked off areas on the ground, actually counted people in the squares and multiplied by the number of squares. I determined their numbers were believable. And during the day I saw firsthand the Fire Conference for 20,000 pastors and how they distributed the decision cards that had been filled out. African leaders told me how Bonnke’s crusades built the local church and how churches cooperated as a result.

It's estimated Bonnke has been instrumental in bringing 60 million souls to Christ and we believe that number is at least close. (Only God knows the exact number.) But the point is not entirely the number. Bonnke uses the number—as do we—not to brag but to give a frame of reference of the absolute enormity of this ministry and to give glory to God. 

 

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Man in the Mirror Celebrates 25 Years

Pat Morley and Man in the Mirror ministry are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. They are to be congratulated for outstanding contributions to the lives of many people—including me—and for advancing the kingdom of God.

I’ve known and admired Pat since the late 1970s when he was an up-and-coming real estate mogul in Central Florida. He was well on his way to making his Morley Properties as big as Trammel Crowe in Dallas, which was his goal.

Pat was always known as a strong Christian. He even started a prayer breakfast in Winter Park, Fla., where Charisma began. It has changed and flourished and influenced many. Pat was among those who persuaded Campus Crusade and other major evangelical ministries to relocate their headquarters to Central Florida.

Leading the World From Korea (Video)

Note from Steve Strang: Attending this meeting of leaders was a great honor. Please read my commentary on what I learned.  I took the opportunity to bring home "flip camera" interviews with about half of the participants representing churches and ministries around the world.  Each one is only 2-3 minutes but gives you more information about that ministry.  If you view several or all of them, you'll begin to get a feel for what is happening around the world—and that is my goal.

Charisma — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit