Showing posts with label charisma Magazine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label charisma Magazine. Show all posts

Friday, July 5, 2019

Fire in My Bones: God Is Calling You to a Deeper Place - J. Lee Grady, Charisma Magazine


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(Getty Images/E+/borchee)

Fire in my Bones, with J. Lee Grady
Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Of all the places I visited in Israel last year, my favorite was Jacob's well—the spot where Jesus ministered to the Samaritan woman. The authenticity of many sites in the Holy Land are disputed, but nobody has any question about this famous well, which is located in the modern city of Nablus in the West Bank.
Now housed inside a Greek Orthodox church, the well is carved into solid rock. Visitors are allowed to lower a container down into the well, bring up water and drink it. I was fascinated by how long it took to retrieve the water. And when I poured some of it back into the well, I waited several seconds to hear a faint splash. This well is 131 feet deep—the equivalent of a nine-story building.
I was in awe. Jesus actually sat in that same spot where I was standing! And that was where he told the woman of Samaria in John 4:13-14: "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water that I shall give him will become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life."
Jesus sat next to a deep well—a well that represented the faith of the Jewish patriarchs. Yet He told this woman that there was something more. Something better. Something deeper than she had ever imagined. Jacob's well was deep, but Jesus calls us so much deeper. His words to the Samaritan woman made her thirstier and thirstier. And her decision to believe in the Messiah resulted in an entire village embracing faith in Him.
You may never visit Jacob's well in Nablus, but He calls you to explore the depths of who He is. He is calling His church in this hour to leave the shallowness of superficial Christianity. Regardless of what you have experienced before, He offers more. He beckons you to go deeper.
The apostle Paul experienced miracles, received help from angels, heard the audible voice of Jesus and saw visions of the third heaven. Yet he wrote of "the unfathomable riches of Christ" in Ephesians 3:8b (NASB). The Greek word for "unfathomable" can also mean "untraceable" or "beyond comprehension."
Paul used this same imagery when he prayed for the Ephesians that they would be able to comprehend "what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:18-19). Do you desire to experience this fullness? Do you want to increase your capacity to know Christ? Or are you satisfied to stay where you are?
God is stirring my soul these days. I relate to the psalmist who wrote, "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God" (Ps. 42:2a). And as his passion intensified, he said in verse 7: "Deep calls to deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and Your billows passed over me." When we choose to go deeper, the journey will become more intense. Spiritual growth is not easy. We must press through all resistance.
How much labor was required to bore a well 131 feet deep into solid rock? I don't know how many years or how much sweat was required, but I know the water didn't spring up overnight. Salvation is free, but a deep relationship with Christ takes time—and many Christians give up and settle for a mediocre experience.
God is waiting for a response from you. I noticed recently that Jesus did not call Peter to walk on water until Peter first asked for the miracle. Peter said: "Lord, if it is You, bid me to come to You on the water" (Matt. 14:28b). Only then did Jesus say: "Come!"
Jesus wants you to walk on the waves with Him. He invites us all to experience a miraculous adventure of faith. But He waits for us to want it. Some of us are frightened by the waves, so we live in the perpetual comfort zone and never ask for more. We are scared of more. And too often, everyone around us looks perfectly comfortable.
Many decades ago, revivalist A.W. Tozer challenged American Christians to stoke the fires of spiritual passion. He wrote: "Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted. Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain."
I wonder what Tozer would think if he saw our level of spiritual hunger. Few believers today are willing to bore deep to discover the depths of God's "more." We are smug and satisfied. I dare you to get out of your boat today and say to Jesus: "Bid me to come to You on the water." Leave your fear, complacency and selfishness behind and begin drinking from the depths.

Friday, April 12, 2019

8 Ways to Encourage the Flow of the Holy Spirit - J. LEE GRADY CHARISMA MAGAZINE


(Vitaly Vitorsky)
I'm grateful for my friend Quentin Beard, who pastors one of the fastest growing churches in South Dakota—Sioux Falls First Assembly. Because Quentin wants his congregation to experience the Holy Spirit, he scheduled a special weekend of meetings so that people could be baptized in the Holy Spirit, get healing prayer and receive personal prophetic ministry.
The day before the event, I asked Quentin if we could have a larger-than-normal bottle of oil on the altar near the stage. Most churches just have a small cruet or vial of oil; I wanted more, so one of the church's pastors filled a half-gallon bottle. The quantity of oil was prophetic in itself, because the Lord visited us in power. Many people were filled with the Spirit during those three days.
Are you hungry for more of the Holy Spirit in your church? It's time to stop limiting His power.
Everywhere I go, I hear pastors asking how they can we encourage the freedom of the Holy Spirit in a church culture that has become increasingly scripted, scheduled and controlled right down to the nanosecond. The essence of Pentecost, which came "suddenly," was its unpredictability. But there seems to be no room for God's sudden surprises when we already have our sermons planned out for the next six months.
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Here are eight practical things we can do to encourage the freedom of Pentecost in our churches:
  1. Teach about the Holy Spirit often.The Holy Spirit was rarely mentioned in the church I grew up in, so we never expected Him to do anything. Yet He is described in the second verse of the Bible as "moving" upon the surface of the newly created world (Gen. 1:2), and He has one of the last messages in the Bible (see Rev. 22:17). He moves and He speaks throughout the Scriptures! But we must invite Him to move and speak by giving Him the place He deserves.
  1. Leave room for personal prayer ministry. A church without altar ministry is like a hospital without a maternity ward. New life begins at the altar—whether it is salvation, healing, prophetic ministry or the impartation of a fresh anointing. Today many churches that offer multiple services often skimp on ministry time because they are focused on herding the 10 a.m. group out of the sanctuary to get ready for the 11:30 a.m. crowd. Multiple services are fine, but we are crowding the Spirit out of the church if we don't schedule time for people to respond to the message.
  1. Have small groups where people can use the Holy Spirit's gifts. It's not practical for everyone to prophesy or exercise other spiritual gifts in a large congregation. But if people are plugged into small groups, there will be opportunities for believers to encourage one another in supernatural ways. And people are more comfortable stepping out in faith in front of 10 people than they are in front of 3,000.
  1. Train people in prophecy, healing and Spirit-led ministry. Many pastors clamp down on the operation of spiritual gifts because a few fanatics with inflated egos like to pull the church into weirdness. But in our effort to protect the sheep from deception, let's not pull the pendulum to the other extreme by forbidding the gifts of the Spirit. The genuine power of God will flow if we teach people the difference between authentic anointing and strange fire.
  1. Offer "teaching moments" to explain the gifts of the Spirit. I've been in churches where Brother Herschel or Sister Agnes prophesied in such a harsh, condemning tone that everyone in the church let out a collective groan. Their "words from God" had the same effect on the congregation as fingernails on a chalkboard. We cannot just ignore these moments and move on. When the Corinthians mishandled speaking in tongues and prophecy in the first century, the apostle Paul used their mistakes as an opportunity to teach about how to use gifts properly.
  1. Expose your church to healthy ministries that flow in the anointing. God has raised up thousands of prophets who have not bowed their knees to the Baals of exploitation, greed and gimmicks. We need life-giving traveling ministries because God sends them to win new converts, heal the sick, unleash prophetic power, train leaders and impart new vision in congregations. We should not be afraid to expose our churches to men and women of character who are called to minister in the supernatural.
  1. Give time for testimonies of God's supernatural power. Nothing raises the faith level of a congregation like someone's raw experience with God. If a man was healed this week in your church, let him shout it from the housetops. If an infertile couple got pregnant, let them tell about the goodness of God. Stories of supernatural intervention trigger a holy expectation in everyone—and God gets the glory for His miracles.
  1. Preach about holiness. Let's never forget that the Holy Spirit is holy. Many churches today have stopped warning God's people about the dangers of sin, so we don't confront anymore. We've figured out that people will pack the house if we give them sugary-sweet motivational pep talks that never step on toes. By avoiding the tough topics, we've essentially told the Holy Ghost to take a hike.
We will be celebrating Pentecost in a few weeks. Let's fling open the doors and allow the Spirit to have His way. Instead of being afraid of what He might disrupt or whom He might offend, let's rather fear what our churches would be like without Him.
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.
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Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Are Christians Ready to Combat the Spiritual Warfare Mueller's Report Exposed? - Steve Strang Charisma Magazine

Strang Report, with Steve Strang
Thursday, March 28, 2019
   
 
 
Are Christians Ready to Combat the Spiritual Warfare Mueller's Report Exposed?

President Donald Trump (Reuters)
Democrats are still upset that Robert Mueller's report revealed no evidence that Donald Trump's presidential campaign colluded with Russia. But this should come as no surprise. I recently had the privilege to appear on "Focus Today," where host Steve Johnson interviewed me about the Mueller report and its aftermath.

As I told Johnson, the Mueller report reveals a spiritual battle the enemy is waging against Trump—and Christians across the nation must be equipped to combat it. Click here to listen to the entire interview or go to the end of this article.

Of course, those of us who are not biased against Trump were in no way surprised at Mueller's conclusions. In fact, if there was any collusion at all, it would have been with the Democrats and Hillary Clinton with their Steele dossier defaming Trump. I'm grateful that Sen. Lindsey Graham wants to hold several hearings to investigate the FBI and that dossier.

Yet the left's incessant attack against our president reveals his role as a disrupter—as well as how deep corruption runs in our nation's politics. But Ephesians 6:12 says, "For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." Spiritual warfare surrounds us all the time. It's a daily battle the enemy wages in our personal lives, in our homes, in our cities and even in Washington.

Only those with spiritual discernment will understand this. And it explains why the left went berserk when Trump was elected. You could see it in all the protests, some of which involved violence and many of which were funded by socialist billionaire George Soros.

You also see it in the way the left attacks Christianity in general. For example, some on the left are actually introducing legislation that says the Bible should be considered a hate book because it condemns sins that people love and ... read more 

Are You Ready to Combat the Spiritual Warfare Muller's Report Exposed?
Are You Ready to Combat the Spiritual Warfare Muller's Report Exposed?
26 Minutes - March 28th 2019
Christians across the nation must be equipped to combat a spiritual battle the enemy is waging against Trump that was revealed through the Mueller Report. Listen as host Stephen Strang discusses on "Focus Today" with host Steve Johnson about the report and its aftermath. Hear why President Trump plays the role as disrupter.
 
 
   
 
 
Strang Report podcast
Strang Report podcastHot topics affecting your Christian faith. Challenge your beliefs each week with topics on U.S. and International politics, missions, Christian movements, persecution and global outreach. Join host Steve Strang, founding editor and publisher of Charisma magazine, as he discusses these topics and challenges you to know what Christians are experiencing nationally and globally. Listen now
 
 
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How to Stay Renewed in the Spirit—Even in Old Age - J. LEE GRADY CHARISMA MAGAZINE


Don Finto (Facebook/Don Finto)
This past weekend I preached at the historic Belmont Church in Nashville, Tennessee, a congregation that God used powerfully to spread charismatic renewal across the world in the 1970s. This was the church that gave us actor Pat Boone, Christian singers Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, and many anointed songwriters and outreach ministries.
For years, Belmont was led by Don Finto, a brave spiritual pioneer who was willing to challenge old denominational mindsets after he had a profound experience with the Holy Spirit as a leader in the Church of Christ. Don "retired" from his pulpit at Belmont in 1996, but he didn't even begin to slow down. He launched Caleb Company, an aptly-named ministry that focuses on mentoring and outreach to Middle Eastern countries.
I interviewed Finto on the phone for Charisma a few times over the years, but I met him for the first time last Sunday. He was seated on the second row, beaming with all the energy of a 30-year-old. I learned before the service that he is 89.
If you ask Finto his age, he emphatically says: "I'm 89 years young."
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My good friend Paul Gonzalez, who serves as Belmont's teaching pastor, told me that Finto traveled to the Middle East last month with a team from the church. After the team finished their mission and flew back to the United States, Finto flew on to a few other countries. He is a true road warrior.
"Papa Don keeps the pace of a man half his age," said Gonzalez. "He carries boundless joy. His laugh is deep and genuine, and nearly everything he says he does so with a hearty laugh."
What's the secret to this kind of youthful energy in old age? Finto embodies principles that many of us need to grab now. Do you want to live long and finish strong? Here are a few tips:
  1. Keep yourself physically fit. Unless you are intentional about exercising regularly and eating healthy now, your body won't be strong in your 90s. If you carry around a lot of extra weight in your 40s, your heart or joints may fail—even in your 50s. Make a decision today to treat your body like a temple of the Holy Spirit so you can live longer.
  1. Let God's passions become yours. People who are consumed with God's purposes have an inner drive that renews them. Isaiah 40:31 says it best: "But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint." An intentional focus on Jesus will give you extra energy—and the same boundless joy that makes Finto laugh so much.
British Christian leader George Mueller demonstrated this youthful energy in old age. When he was 70, he embarked on a 17-year period of missionary travel that took him to 33 countries. (This was before air travel, so he sailed on slow-moving ships.) It was his passion to share Christ with the world that kept Mueller moving at a frenetic pace until age 87. He died at 92.
  1. Hang around young people and invest in them. Finto is known in Nashville as a mentor to younger leaders. Even though he turned Belmont Church over to his successors more than 20 years ago, he continues to provide coaching and fatherly counsel to the next generation. You are more likely to find him mentoring and worshiping with a group of 20-somethings than playing shuffleboard with retirees.
  1. Stay in step with the Holy Spirit. Finto made a decision long ago to move with the cloud of the Holy Spirit. When the charismatic renewal hit this country in the 1970s, he didn't dig in his heels and cling to old religious wineskins. He broke away from Church of Christ traditions and moved the church into a season of fruitful growth.
Finto is a modern Caleb—and he reminds me of that biblical patriarch. Caleb said at age 85: "I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in." Caleb never looked for a comfort zone. He never parked on yesterday's victories. He was always looking for the next challenge, and eager to embrace the new thing God is doing.
No matter how old you are, I hope you will decide to live a life of spiritual passion. Don't let life grow dull. Let the Holy Spirit renew your strength until your last breath.
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Don't Be So Quick to End Relationships - J. LEE GRADY CHARISMA MAGAZINE



(iStock/Getty Images Plus/SIphotography)
Anger has reached the boiling point in our country. Passengers are being removed from planes because they started fistfights. Entitled store customers are going berserk in checkout lines. Restaurant patrons are spewing racist rants—and they don't even care if someone records their vile words on camera for the world to hear.
We are not just irritated. We are outraged. It has become fashionable to lace our conversations and social media posts with profanity. Whether it's talk radio, political television shows, Twitter, Instagram, online comment sections or street protests, we've developed the skill of dropping verbal bombs on each other.
We don't care how our words hurt people anymore. We have become a vicious culture. Our love has turned to ice.
And we are naïve if we don't recognize this dangerous level of cold-hearted hatefulness is affecting Christians. I've noticed that people today get offended more easily and are much quicker to storm out of a church when something goes wrong. No wonder we have a huge percentage of Christians who are church dropouts.
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The world tells us that ending a relationship is as easy as hitting the unfriend button. But when I read the Bible I don't see any room for outrage, resentment, intolerance or "unfriending." Jesus calls us to love—and He gives us the supernatural power to do it.
Have you been experiencing some hateful drama in your life? Have you considered ending a relationship? Did you already walk out of a church, or break a close friendship, because of hurt? If so, examine your heart and ask these probing questions first:
  1. Am I giving up too soon? The apostle Paul told the Ephesians that they should "always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who try your patience" (Eph. 4:2, Passion Translation). Your love will never grow unless it is stretched—and the best way to stretch your love is to show kindness when you feel like slamming a door in a person's face.
The truth is that we often give up on relationships because we just don't want to exert the energy to improve them. Relationships require a lot of work. When you unfriend someone just because they hurt you, you are missing an opportunity to become more like Christ. Show some patience. Choose to love even when you don't get anything in return.
Ephesians 4:3 says we must "make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace" (New Living Translation). The Greek word for "make every effort" means "to be diligent; to use speed; to be prompt or earnest; to labor." That means you shouldn't let wounds fester. Act quickly to repair the relationship before it gets worse!
  1. Would Jesus end this relationship? When you end a friendship because of an offence, you are doing the exact opposite of what Jesus did for you. Ephesians 4:32 says: "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you" (NASB). You will never understand God's merciful love if you don't show it to others.
Jesus doesn't flippantly write people off. He loved us even when we were sinners, and He patiently drew us to Himself using "ropes of kindness and love" (Hosea 11:4, NLT). Before you end a friendship, judge a pastor, storm out of a church or give someone a cold shoulder, remember how aggressively Jesus pursued a relationship with you. Let His ropes of kindness pull you out of your bad attitude.
When Peter asked Jesus how many times we are required to forgive a person, Jesus answered "seventy times seven" (see Matthew 18:22). Taken literally, that means 490 times—but Jesus wasn't putting a limit on forgiveness. He was using the number seven to imply infinity. Stop counting how many times you have been offended and instead thank God for all the times He has overlooked your mistakes.
  1. Am I nursing a grudge? Today's culture of outrage tells us that it's fashionable to be angry. Our divisive political climate encourages people to get up mad in the morning, fuel their anger with hot political rhetoric throughout the day and then to go to bed after listening to more arguments on news broadcasts. We are literally poisoning ourselves.
Many Christians have allowed similar poison in their lives because of church drama. They are mad that a pastor slighted them. They are jealous of someone who took a position they wanted. They are angry because a Christian did something hypocritical (yet they refuse to admit that their bitterness is the ultimate hypocrisy!)
Resentment is deadly. It actually makes people sick. It also makes us ugly and unpleasant. Unforgiveness puts a frown on your face, wrinkles around your eyes and a sour tone in your voice. On the flip side, showing affection is healthy for you. Doctors have proven that a 20-second hug strengthens your immune system!
Don't let today's culture of outrage infect you. Go against the flow of toxic hate. Make a decision today to work harder at relationships. Show some love. Forgive those who hurt you. Be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit.
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.

Friday, February 22, 2019

One Year After His Death, Christian Leaders Remember Billy Graham's Legacy -TAYLOR BERGLUND CHARISMA MAGAZINE

(BGEA/Courtesy)

One Year After His Death, Christian Leaders Remember Billy Graham's Legacy

TAYLOR BERGLUND CHARISMA MAGAZINE
One year ago, on Feb. 21, 2018, Billy Graham died after decades of faithful ministry. On the anniversary of his death at age 99, several prominent Christians remembered and reflected on Graham's life and legacy.

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Join us on our podcast each weekday for an interesting story, well told, from Charisma News. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.