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The Charismatic Movement: Dead or Alive?

We can quibble over when the previous wave of the Holy Spirit ended. But what's important is that we follow God's presence into a new season.

Some readers were offended when I declared in an online column a few weeks ago that the charismatic movement is dead. One woman even accused me of heresy, since—in her words—I believe "the age of the Holy Spirit has ended." (I didn't say that.) Others on the opposite side of the spectrum asked why I waited so long to state the obvious. All this discussion prompted me to address the issue further.

I am not a coroner. But I do believe the historic period we call the American charismatic movement ended a while ago. By making that pronouncement I was NOT saying that (1) the Holy Spirit isn't moving today; (2) the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit aren't available to us any more; or (3) people who are associated with this movement are all washed up.

You Can Start Again

There is hope in the middle of darkness. Usually in the midst of our dark times in life, we find ourselves filled with trauma and loss. These elements hide in our very cells. Trauma is like a snapshot from a camera. The picture of the trauma is stored deep in our brains, but the Holy Spirit wants to move in such a way that we are sovereignly delivered. He wants to give us a new perspective on life and the world around us.

When we do not deal with trauma effectively, we allow roots to grow that entangle our feet and keep us from moving forward on our new path of success. Trauma imprinted on our memory systems is also absorbed deep into the tissues of our brain (the processor) and affects our thoughts and our hearts. Trauma becomes the flashbulb that determines what we see and how we define the world around us.

Congress Votes for Bad Weather

Last Friday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the charge in passing a landmark climate bill. For many people concerned about the environment this legislation seems like a major step forward. Unfortunately in life and politics, a supposedly good thing done a wrong way can leave us worse off than if we had done nothing at all. Our first step toward cleaner energy could have begun with increasing our nuclear energy sources or several other strategic beginnings.

The Revelation of the Kingdom of God

The longer I spoke, the stronger the vision came. I was in Jakarta, Indonesia, in July 2007, and I was preaching at three services back-to-back, beginning on a Saturday evening. While I was focused on speaking to the people who were present and sitting there in the congregation, something strange was happening.

It was as if I was someplace far away. I seemed to have tuned into something far beyond this gathering. The audience was attentive, hanging on to every word. Even as I spoke, I found myself wondering, questioning.

I kept seeing this supernatural picture, which the Bible calls a vision, superimposed on what I was viewing with my physical eyes—the people sitting there. Where was I? What was I seeing? What did it mean? How should I respond? How did it affect the people? Did it affect them at all?

Here I was, preaching on the fact that God was doing a "new thing." I felt almost embarrassed because I had expounded on this topic so many times before. A few years earlier, there had been a season when I had not been able to preach anything else. I had preached on it so often and for so long in the past that now I felt as if I were beating a dead horse—except I couldn't not preach it again this time. I couldn't get away from this driving message in my heart: God is doing something new.

Reality Check: The Case for Relational Christianity

Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul modeled accessibility and had close bonds with their disciples. That's the way we should do ministry.

A friend in Alabama recently told me about a preacher who came to his city in unusual style. The man arrived at a church in a limousine and was whisked into a private waiting room behind the stage area. The evangelist gave specific instructions to leave his limousine's engine running (I guess he wasn't concerned about rising gas prices) so that the temperature inside his car would remain constant.

This evangelist then preached to a waiting crowd, took up his own offering and retired to the waiting room for some refreshments. Then he left the church with his entourage without even speaking to the host pastor.

vision girl

What is Your Vision?

Ever since I was 12, in 1957, I have had a vision for ministry and the harvest field. In 1981 that vision began to include Israel, particularly Jerusalem. God was so wonderful to give my husband and me the opportunity to share the love of Yeshua with those living in Israel not once but twice. We served there for three years and returned home. In 2007 we were able to go back and serve there for three months before having to come home.

Both times we left I felt a sense of loss, frustration and failure in having to return home from the city that had consumed our hearts and lives for so long. After leaving Jerusalem I asked the Lord: "Now what? Am I supposed to just sit back and retire?" I could not shake the restlessness. I felt unfulfilled and useless and went through a deep mourning thinking my "vision" had died.

The New Slavery Must Be Stopped

For several years I (and others) have called the way in which immigrants both, documented and undocumented, are treated - "the new slavery." If you believe that politics as usual can die, the president's statements about immigration at the Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference last week were very encouraging.

President Obama declared that he is committed to a "comprehensive immigration overhaul." The dilemma with this statement is that the word comprehensive often includes an amnesty provision for undocumented persons. The problem with blanket amnesty is that there is a wide variety of people within the huge immigrant community, ranging from criminals who scoff at our laws to dedicated family people. To date, a great number of pandering politicians want to avoid dealing with the complexity of the current situation by simply waving the magic wand of amnesty.

It's Time to Turn Back!

Editor's Note:The message below was first published on June 17, 2009, as Today's Prophetic Perspective, an e-newsletter of Shekinah Today Ministries (shekinahtoday.org). The word from the Lord that follows the author's introduction was given to Cindy deVille on May 25, 2009.

I can hear God say, "This is the time!"

It's time to get back in the fight! When we survey biblical history, we see that it was always the victors who took the spoils of war. And those who were defeated either lost their lives or became slaves to their enemies, losing everything.

As God's people, we must never surrender to the forces of darkness and never give in! We must never give up the fight—in our nation, our cities, our churches or our personal lives. To give up or to surrender is to declare our enemy the victor and the conqueror. As God's people, we must surrender only to our God and King.

Father Knows

Father Knows Best

Not to sound cliché, but when I was 28 I finally had come to realize that fathers really do know best. Now before you start thinking 1950s TV show here, let me explain.

Years ago when I decided to move out of my parents' home into an apartment, I was overwhelmed with the choices out there. I researched for weeks and drove to at least 10 different apartment complexes to check them out.

But I grew discouraged. All the apartments I looked at were unacceptable for some reason. They were too expensive or in the wrong location or didn't have the amenities I needed. I had begun to think there wasn't an apartment out there for me.

But one day I discovered a place that fit my price range and most of what I was looking for, so I figured it must be the Lord's answer for me. The upkeep wasn't great, and the apartments were kind of jammed in on a small piece of property, but I thought it would do.

However, I decided that before I signed a lease, I would take my dad to see it. It had to pass the "dad" test. As we drove around the complex and then went into the model apartment, I could tell he was not impressed.

I was thrilled to have finally found something, and I thought Dad would be happy for me. What was wrong? Did he not trust my judgment?

Finally he told me he felt it wasn't the best choice for me. I grew really disheartened because I have learned from experience that when Dad had a check in his spirit about something, he was usually right.

Dad suggested that we go visit a quaint complex that I drive by every day on the way to work. I didn't even bother to call there when I first began my search because I thought the complex had only townhouses and would be out of my price range. But when we spoke to someone in the front office, we found out that it was an apartment complex.

Further research revealed that the apartments not only had all the amenities I was looking for in my price range but were aesthetically pleasing as well. In fact, the complex was a place I would LOVE to live—trees everywhere, a balcony overlooking a pond, a front patio, and a lake on the property. It was like a miniature home.

Clearly Dad had been right.

I learned some valuable lessons from this experience. First of all, I realized that I had been ready to settle for less than God's best. Yes, the other apartment wasn't bad, but it wasn't truly what I was looking for. It came close but was nevertheless a counterfeit for what God had purposed for me.

I also began to see why we need other people in our lives, whether it be family, friends or mentors, to give us a different perspective and keep us accountable.

Finally, I recognized that my response to my dad's hesitation was very much like my response to the Lord at times. I don't always like what He has to say or what He is telling me to do, but I know He has only the best intentions and plans for me, just like my precious earthly father. When He says no, He is not trying to rain on my parade or withhold things from me but instead is insuring that I receive His best.

It's not always easy to embrace this truth, especially when there is nothing in sight that appears to be better. But time and again I have seen in my own life that when the Lord convinces me to give up something or release my plans to Him, He gives me peace and brings about a result far better than I ever could have imagined.

So, the next time your dad suggests that you not buy that car you've been eyeing or not date that guy he feels uncomfortable about or not make that investment you and your spouse are considering, STOP! He's probably hearing from our heavenly Father, whose heart is "for you," not "against you" (see Rom. 8:31), and who wants to ensure that you receive His best. If your earthly father is no longer involved in your everyday affairs, rest assured that God Himself is a "father of the fatherless" (Ps. 68:5) and will direct you by His Spirit to all He has for you.

From the Deep South: A Cry for Racial Healing

While in south Alabama—one of the last strongholds of slavery—I was reminded that only the true gospel can bridge the racial divide.

If I had been a black slave in Alabama in 1860 I would have been worth about $3,000 on the auction block because of my gender and height. Taller men cost more.



That’s one thing I learned this week while visiting a museum in Mobile, Ala., where some of the last slaves were sold in the United States. The museum also offered a sobering recreation of the interior of a slave ship, showing how Africans were stacked like cord wood and chained to each other in the frighteningly narrow hold.

Harry Jackson

Defending DOMA

Late Thursday, U.S. Department of Justice lawyers filed a motion to dismiss a case that challenged the 1996 Federal Defense of Marriage Act often referred to as DOMA. DOMA currently prevents couples in states that recognize same-sex unions from securing Social Security spousal benefits, filing joint taxes and other federal rights of marriage.

The Justice Department lawyers concluded that giving federal marriage benefits to gays would infringe on the rights of taxpayers in the 30 states that specifically prohibit same-sex marriages.

Kim Clement

The Manifestation of the Sons of God

Editor's Note: The following prophetic word is part of a longer message given by Kim Clement at The Master's Touch International Church (tmtic.com) in Longwood, Florida, on June 6, 2009. It was transcribed from a recording of that Saturday evening service.

Some have said, "Summer is going to be filled with judgment." God says, "Though there be earthquakes, though there be hurricanes, I will turn them into signs. I will turn them into signs of wonderment, signs of experience, where people say, ‘Why did the people not die? Why were there so few lives not taken?'

"They will say, ‘Is this truly judgment, or is the earth beginning to sound, is the earth beginning to rebel, is the earth beginning to say, "We want the manifestation of the glory of God; we want the manifestation of God's sons on the earth"'?

Why I Can't Perform a Same-Sex Wedding

Go ahead: Call me intolerant. I still believe the church must protect the marriage altar.

This past Saturday I stood on a church stage in Gainesville, Fla., and performed a wedding in front of 100 guests. The bride, Christina, was stunning in her billowing white gown. The groom, A.J., was beaming with delight. Tears flowed freely during the ceremony—especially during communion when a talented singing duo performed "The Prayer," the wedding anthem made popular by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli.

Thankfully there were no awkward moments—no fainting groomsmen, lost rings, squawking loud speakers or candles lighting dresses on fire. It was a picture-perfect moment in June, the month we've come to know as ideal for weddings even though summers in Florida are sweltering. I was grateful that I made it through my sermon without crying—since weddings involving friends or family can choke me up.

Facing Tomorrow With Joy

Breathe deeply. Do it again, please. Now, touch the most solid object near you and answer this question: Which of these two is most important in sustaining your life—breath or material things?

Simple to answer, isn't it? Breath, of course. Without breathing we cannot live. Our bodies need a constant supply of oxygen, and it's important for our lungs and respiratory system to work efficiently.

It's the same with God's Spirit, infused with His Word, which together are the source and sustaining power of our spiritual lives.

The one thing in this world that you and I can touch with our fingers that has "eternity" written into its fabric is the Word of God. Every time I take a Bible in hand, I hold eternity, because the life force inherent in the Word exceeds all time and space. Jesus said, "'Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away'" (Mark 13:31, NKJV).

Those words hold the seeds of life. Your life becomes durable, fulfilling and successful in direct proportion to the degree that the Word of God becomes as vital to you.

The Gospel of John says of Jesus that "the Word became flesh" (John 1:14). The Word of God is the source of all substance and life. "In the beginning God created ... " (Gen. 1:1). He did that with His Word. Christ was there at Creation: "In the beginning was the Word" (John 1:1).

All that is, as well as all that ever shall be, flows to man by Jesus Christ through the Word of God!

I want to do my utmost to ensure you that you know how to keep on receiving the Word of God. I don't mean how to read it, how to memorize it, or how to study it, though all those practices are very important. My primary concern is that your input and application of the Word—as the life-giving breath of God, the very Spirit of the Word—will fill and fulfill your soul continually. It's the only way to keep the "rebuilt you" built up and expanding.

The Word of God is not simply information or facts. It is a living Word, and it is life giving, healing, protecting and invincible. You need to know how to let it work in you. If the Word's reality is at work in you, there is no way you will ever be less than filled with abundant life and fruitful living (see 2 Pet. 1:4,8).

"No word from God shall be without power"(Luke 1:37, The Amplified Bible). This verse, translated elsewhere, "For with God nothing shall be impossible," is a mighty statement. It tells us that every word God speaks contains the power needed to actuate it. Every word of His that directs our behavior also makes the new behavior possible.

This is why Paul assures the Philippians, "It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13, NKJV) And again, "He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it" (1 Thess. 5:24)—a promise that when God gives an assignment to us, His words include enablement.

This is truly a reason for joy. It builds our repentance upon the foundation of deep, trusting faith rather than upon guilt and emotionalism.

A few years ago in my pastorate at The Church On The Way, a new understanding began to dawn on my soul. I was seeking the Lord for guidance concerning my own teaching ministry and inquiring of Him specifically concerning the mood and manner of our congregation's worship services.

The result of my quest was a slow but definite transformation in my approach to leading our services. The continued call throughout the psalms is to praise and rejoice before the Lord: "In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Ps. 16:11). In the same spirit, Paul insists of the Philippians, "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice" (Phil. 4:4, KJV).

The Word that created all the worlds is the Word that is completing you. Rest in that assurance, and rejoice in His Word as He "rebuilds the real you," the "you" He intended when He created you. Rebirth, redemption, restoration and recovery are only a part of His mission. He wants to bring you to the full realization of God's purposes, patterns and promises for your life. You can face tomorrow with joy.

Book Cover

Adapted from Rebuilding the Real You by Jack Hayford, copyright 2009, published by Charisma House. This book is a handbook on personal growth and restoration; it unfolds a clear picture of how the Holy Spirit works to help build you up and make you all God intended you to be. To order a copy click on this link:

Restoring America's Marriages

Last week marked a nadir in the battle for biblical marriage. Two huge events occurred. First former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney voiced his support for same-sex marriage. Second New Hampshire became the sixth state in the Union to legalize gay marriage. Despite these two events, nationalizing same-sex marriage is absolutely not inevitable. Gay marriage proponents are only too aware that the recent California Supreme Court ruling that upheld the 2008 Proposition 8 victory which, guarantees that a fresh round of marriage amendments, initiatives and referendums will undoubtedly be levied in the states that have scored temporary victories for same-sex marriage.

The Year of the Woman

Editor's Note: The following video is a portion of an exclusive interview that revivalist Matt Sorger conducted with James Goll at a recent Glory, Signs and Wonders Conference in Long Island, New York. To view the entire interview, click here. It first aired on Sorger's Power for Life television program June 1, 2009, and is titled "Things to Come." Used by permission of Matt Sorger Ministries.

Harry Jackson

Can a Black Man Stand for Truth?

"There are a lot of people who say that you [Harry Jackson] are a front man for national conservative groups," reporters have stated before they've asked me who was really paying for the same-sex marriage campaign being waged against the D.C. City Council.

Several of the reporters called my public relations firm an "expensive, GOP political campaign firm that has masterminded several conservative victories." Although my firm is very expensive, I was shocked that they did not know that my current firm helped me promote the book I co-authored with Tony Perkins Personal Faith, Public Policy and that they did a fabulous job in helping us on various projects for the past four years.

I'm on a Sabbatical

After publishing Charisma for 34 years, Steve Strang is taking a much-needed sabbatical. He will not be writing The Strang Report, so each week you will receive one of our other e-newsletters. We hope you will enjoy them and decide to subscribe. Of course, they are free, and all you have to do is click here.

A Special Word for Women: Ruth's Journey from Shame to Significance

If you think your past has disqualified you, take courage from the life of this Gentile widow.

It is truly profound that Ruth's name appears in the royal genealogy of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Matthew tells us: "Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king" (Matt.1:5-6, NASB).

In Old Testament times women's names rarely appeared in genealogical records. Women were invisible. They were not valued for their gifts or talents; they simply faded into the background—even though they worked hard, served their husbands and raised children. Women had no voice.

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