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Christians and the Digital Revolution

Is your ministry struggling to keep up with the current media trends? Do you feel as though you are competing with the media? Then check out what Christian media consultant Phil Cooke has to say about the church embracing the new media revolution. read more

Bethel Church: God, The Bad, and The Ugly

Kris Vallotton, a senior leader at Bethel Church in Redding, Calif., discusses the church’s successes, failures and addresses its criticisms

There has been much written about Bethel Church in Redding, Calif., and the movement that we have had the privilege of being a part for more than three decades. Most of what has been said about us is positive. But a small yet influential coalition of people have shared negative reports about us.


These reports often include words such as controversial, unbalanced or even the word cult to describe us. To be frank, I can understand why certain religious leaders or unbelievers might view us through these perspectives. We certainly have made our share of mistakes, both as a leadership team and those who follow us. And we have such a high value for freedom and risk that it has created a kind of “research and development” culture where people are encouraged to take risks. I think this stems from the fact that we view ourselves much more as pioneers than settlers. Therefore, we celebrate creativity, revelation, invention and innovation above comfort, safety and security.

This R&D culture has attracted some of the most wonderful and extraordinary individuals on the planet. Of course, we’ve also managed to draw some very broken and strange people. It’s important to remember, however, that there are some really weird and broken people mentioned in the Bible who God used powerfully. Unique guys such as John the Baptist, Ezekiel and Hosea come to mind, as well as messed-up people such as Rahab and Samson. read more

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The 10 Biggest Myths About Hollywood

There are many misconceptions about the Hollywood; these are the biggest myths I've encountered.

1. Hollywood hates Christians. The fact is, Hollywood—and most of the mainstream media—is ignorant of all things “Christian.” Most of the media leaders in this country are simply not people of any faith background, so while it may appear they dislike issues of faith, the truth is they just don’t get it. In fact, the majority of people I’ve encountered at high levels of influence in the industry are very interested when we discuss spiritual issues and have no problem at all with my faith.

2. All I need is a great script. The process of making movies or television programming is complex and multi-layered. Many years ago, a major industry magazine did a feature story on “The Best Scripts No One Will Ever Produce.” Today, at industry gatherings, we still discuss brilliant scripts floating around town and why they’re not getting produced. It’s often a matter of finding the right cast and crew, political or cultural timing, budget issues, legal problems and more. A great script is a critical starting point, but that doesn’t necessarily mean clear sailing for your project. read more

Green Lantern: All Flash, No Substance


by Eric Tiansay

Green Lantern was part of a crowded superhero line-up at the cineplex last summer along the likes of Captain America, Thor and X-Men: First Class.

After recently catching the movie on DVD, I would have to say it's all flash, but no substance. The 3-D special effects are visually stunning and mesmerizing, but the storyline and premise is convuluted and weak. With a $200 million budget, Green Lantern fizzled at the domestic box office, ending up with only $114 million.

The plot centers on pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), who is handed a mysterious ring by an alien whose spacecraft crashed on Earth. Hal soon learns that he has been selected for membership in the group of intergalactic peace officers called Green Lantern Corps, who promote peace, order and justice.

After, Hal recites the Corps' oath: "In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil's might, beware my power, Green Lantern's light."

Great setup for a good versus evil tale, right? Not quite. The movie's protagonit is Parallax, the ancient enemy of the Green Lanterns who has garnered the corruptive yellow power of fear, threatens all of Earth. So Hal must build up the moral courage to stand up to evil.

While trying to master the Green Lantern ring, Hal has to deal with his feelings of insecurity from his pilot father's fiery death years earlier, affections for fellow pilot, Carol (Blake Lively), and the jealousy of Dr. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), a creepy old friend who has basically been possessed by another alien.

Although the story is fairly true to the characters from DC comics, the characters don't seem believable as they might. Extras on the Blu-ray version include the theatrical version as well as an extended cut, several featurettes and a digital comic book.

Content Watch: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, Green Lantern features more than two dozen profanities, several scenes that show people drinking alcohol and an implied night of casual sex. The movie's creepy villains could be very scary for small children. I watched the film on Clearplay, which filters out most of the intense violence and all of the light obscenities. I didn't watch Green Lantern with my three oldest boys, ages 10, 9 and 5. read more

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Simply Pray

God wants our communication with Him to be unencumbered by rules and legalism.

Do you realize that even directing a thought toward God qualifies as silent prayer? It's true! Whether you have been praying for years, are just learning to pray, have hit a "slump" in your spiritual life or simply want your prayer life to improve, know this: God wants you to learn to pray more effectively, and He wants your prayer life to become more fulfilling.

Short, simple prayers can be mighty beyond description, but this does not take away from the fact that prayer is also a grand mystery. Watchman Nee, a Chinese Christian who wrote many profound books while imprisoned for his faith, wrote: "Prayer is the most wonderful act in the spiritual realm, as well as a most mysterious affair." read more

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Time at the Master's Feet

If you want to be a powerful force for God, make fellowship with Jesus your top priority.

If you were to ask me to name the most important principle of Christian living I've ever learned, I would answer you without hesitation. It is the secret of daily communion with God. That is, without question, the No. 1 priority of the Christian life. It is the key that opens every door.

Yet it is the one thing many Christians can't seem to find time for. read more

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Overcoming the Shame of Abortion

Millions of women around the world suffer from the pain of post-abortion syndrome. But God has the key to setting them free.

From the time I was a little girl, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up—a wife and a mommy. But my life took a turn that would prevent part of this desire from ever being fulfilled.

As a teenager, I rebelled against God and my family. I ran with a rough crowd, did all sorts of drugs, and married a man who beat and abused me.

I got pregnant for the first time several months before our planned wedding. My "Prince Charming" convinced me I should "get it taken care of" so that the ceremony wouldn't be ruined. Afraid of the embarrassment—but more afraid of losing him—I had an abortion. read more

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Healing the Pain of Childlessness

What do you say to a sister in Christ who can’t get pregnant?

I said something stupid today. Trying to offer a word of wisdom without casting false hope to a woman with a high-risk pregnancy, I made a comment that went over like a lead balloon. Although Maria has two children, she has also lost two babies to the same physical complication currently endangering her unborn child, and she is afraid to bond with the seven-month-old baby in her womb because she knows the baby could die during childbirth.

“I have another friend who lost three babies,” I told her, “and when they learned during one of the pregnancies that their baby wouldn’t make it, they just decided to love that child for whatever time they would have her in the womb.” That couple’s love for their unborn child provided some meaning during their time of grief, but it wasn’t exactly a word of encouragement to Maria, whose legitimate fears have robbed her of any joyful feelings about her pregnancy. read more

Souls, Priceless Souls!

God forever fixed the value of a human soul when He “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, KJV). Souls are priceless. They are of more value than all the treasure of earth and sky.

The church where the gospel is preached without an evangelistic appeal, that is, a call for men and women to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and declare themselves on the Lord’s side, is a failure. I realize that the public decision for Christ is a rare teaching in the world today, but in our meetings, everything is subservient to the decision to follow in the footsteps of Christ.

Frequently, we are asked why we do not embrace the more prevalent custom of having people go to a rear room, sign cards and shake hands with the minister, instead of having a public altar call. We are asked to explain why we insist on asking people to stand, come down those long aisles and kneel before the world at the altar rail. read more

Simply Pray

God wants our communication with Him to be unencumbered by rules and legalism.

Do you realize that even directing a thought toward God qualifies as silent prayer? It's true! Whether you have been praying for years, are just learning to pray, have hit a "slump" in your spiritual life or simply want your prayer life to improve, know this: God wants you to learn to pray more effectively, and He wants your prayer life to become more fulfilling.

Short, simple prayers can be mighty beyond description, but this does not take away from the fact that prayer is also a grand mystery. Watchman Nee, a Chinese Christian who wrote many profound books while imprisoned for his faith, wrote: "Prayer is the most wonderful act in the spiritual realm, as well as a most mysterious affair." read more

Do You Need A Marriage Makeover?

by Dr. Doug Weiss

Genuine intimacy is the cry of our nation. Many individuals search through multiple marriages trying to find the vital connection their souls long for. Still louder shouts the silence of the man or woman who has been married for decades and feels alone in that partnership.

Many feel they have done everything right at home and with their spouses, yet there is little or no intimacy. Far too many partners feel like roommates—as if they are just getting by emotionally. If fulfillment is promised, then why is it that few couples enjoy that impassioned connection?

I don't think this is God's plan for your marriage. He wants you to live the abundant life and to have a marriage full of joy and love—and this is what we're going to accomplish these next thirty days. We are going to make your marriage over into what God has designed for you and your spouse.

I have lived in the laboratory of other people's marriages for many years. In addition, I myself have journeyed from the inability to be intimate to a place of deep intimacy and great fulfillment with my wife, Lisa.

Early in my married life I had the feeling that I was surrounded by walls. I desperately wanted to step out from behind those walls but could not find a way to connect to my wife. God in His graciousness drew me into the field of marriage and family counseling, where I gained much understanding. Still, no one explained, These are the steps to intimacy: The mystery of intimacy and the skills required to build and maintain it continued to elude me—as it does for so many others in my field. read more

'The Secret World of Arrietty' Offers Big Lessons on Life

by Alan Mowbray

As a father of two, I'm always looking for a teachable moment. If you're smooth about it, your kids won't even know that you're instructing them on life.

Based on a children's book called The Borrowers, a popular title originally published in 1952 by British author Mary Norton, The Secret World of Arrietty is one of those covert teachable moments—actually, it features several of them.

The movie was the year's top grossing film when it was released in Japan in 2010, winning the Animation of the Year award. Translated, dubbed by an American cast and distributed stateside by Walt Disney Pictures, The Secret World of Arrietty was made by legendary Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away and Ponyo).

Arrietty (voiced by Disney TV star Bridgit Mendler) is 4 inches tall. She and her family are Borrowers. They live in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper Haru (voiced by Carol Burnett). Like all little people, Arrietty (AIR-ee-ett-ee) remains hidden from view, except during occasional covert ventures beyond the floorboards to "borrow" scrap supplies that their human hosts won't miss.

Arrietty is 14, and the limitation of her 4-inch stature means nothing to the girl. In Arrietty's eyes, the whole world is hers to explore, even if her easily agitated mother, Homily (voiced by Amy Poehler), and her father, Pod (voiced by Will Arnett), say otherwise. "Better be careful," they would warn, relating an oft-repeated story about a long-lost relative eaten by a frog.

One day, a boy arrives at the house. Shawn (voiced by David Henrie) is a sickly 12-year-old with a bad heart who has come to rest at his grandmother's house. He is supposed to have absolutely no excitement in preparation for a heart operation scheduled the following week or so. The first day, he spots Arrietty during one of her unauthorized forays into the real world and attempts to befriend her. Over the next few days, a secret friendship blossoms between the two—putting the lives of Arrietty and her family in danger. read more

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How to Be Charismatic Without Being Crazy

A third-generation Pentecostal’s take on staying Spirit-filled without the hype.

My roots in the charismatic-Pentecostal movement go very deep. My grandpa and grandma both became ordained ministers in the Assemblies of God (AG) following radical encounters with God. They dedicated themselves to preaching the gospel and planting churches across rural Oklahoma and Southern California.

My father, Hubert, became a traveling evangelist with the AG while still in high school. He and my mother pastored churches together in Colorado, Missouri and Texas. Dad served as a missionary in India after my mom’s death in 1991. read more

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Receiving the Power of the Spirit

Initimacy with the Holy Spirit will ignite your ministry and change your life forever.

At the start of the 20th century, Wales was known for its music and entertainment, its independent spirit and its rich sports heritage, but something was terribly wrong. The bars flourished while the powerless and passionless churches dried up.

Gambling and greed were beginning to dominate virtually every activity and captivate the nation's middle class. Violent crimes increased so quickly that there were not enough police officers in the entire country to restore order.

According to noted revival historians, as the hunger for personal pleasure began to dominate the culture, Evan Roberts, then a coal miner, would carry his beloved Bible into the mines with him. For 13 months Roberts cried out to heaven in intense prayer and intercession as God birthed a desperate need for revival in his heart. read more

How Not to Annoy Your Friends

Have you ever been afraid of coming across as annoying to your non-Christian friends? Watch Lysa TerKeurst talk about a nonbeliever friend she had and how God used her in an encouraging way.

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Women and Prophetic Ministry

In 1955 a little 4-year-old girl crept up into her mother's lap. "Mama," she said, "I want a baby sister."

The young mother smiled, amused by the child's request. "Sweetheart," she chuckled, "we're not having any more children. You're the last one."

But the 4-year-old was insistent. She just knew Mama was going to have a baby girl. And as it turned out, she was right!

I was that 4-year-old child, and the next year my baby sister, Lucy, was born. That was 57 years ago, and at that time I had no idea that the "knowing" I sensed about Lucy's birth was a "prophetic word." Nor did I realize that my prophesying the birth of my sister was part of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. read more

woman-praising-God

Receiving the Power of the Spirit

Initimacy with the Holy Spirit will ignite your ministry and change your life forever.

At the start of the 20th century, Wales was known for its music and entertainment, its independent spirit and its rich sports heritage, but something was terribly wrong. The bars flourished while the powerless and passionless churches dried up.

Gambling and greed were beginning to dominate virtually every activity and captivate the nation's middle class. Violent crimes increased so quickly that there were not enough police officers in the entire country to restore order.

According to noted revival historians, as the hunger for personal pleasure began to dominate the culture, Evan Roberts, then a coal miner, would carry his beloved Bible into the mines with him. For 13 months Roberts cried out to heaven in intense prayer and intercession as God birthed a desperate need for revival in his heart. read more

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