Life

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Learn to Recognize the Enemies of Love

Love is the source of power for our successful Christian life. Galatians 5:6 even tells us that our faith works through love.

Satan is continuously sending situations our way to tempt us to yield to the opposite of love, which is selfishness.

As we study God's Word, we learn what authentic love is and what it is not. First Corinthians 13 reveals its attributes: "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails" (vv. 4-8, NKJV). read more

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Robert Ricciardelli: Women’s Liberation in Christ

In God’s Kingdom, women are free to move in His authority to bring about His will upon the earth.

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series.

I love the gift the Lord has given to the world in His creation called woman. I am so excited about what the Lord is doing in releasing women to fulfill all He has called them to be.

I am passionate to do my part in encouraging both men and women to reexamine all that we have been taught about women, and to align ourselves with what the Father says about His precious daughters.

It was a privilege for me to be able to serve the women of South Africa. It started in East London as I was the Keynote Speaker for the Women’s Aglow National Convention before going on to Johannesburg. It was so wonderful to hear of all the various ministries that the women of Aglow have brought into their communities. They serve in senior centers and orphanages, as well as serving those who are on their deathbeds of aids and other diseases. They support feeding programs and shelters for those in need. Wherever they go, they bring the love of Jesus in a relevant way to the glory of God. read more

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Jentezen Franklin: 10 Tips to Fight Fear

1. Preach to Yourself
When God has asked me to do something that seems impossible for me, I have to preach to myself to defeat the fear and uncertainty that try to control me.

2. Don't Quit
In a relationship? In business? In reaching your personal goals? Will you give in to fear of failure and quit trying? The important thing to remember when you fail is not to quit. History shows that failure can actually become a catalyst to propel you to success.

3. Take Courage
You have to have courage against all odds. You have to be willing to face down frightening voices and take a risk to move forward into your destiny. You cannot give into the spirit of timidity and draw back when times get tough. read more

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Are You In God’s Holy Remnant?

God is rising a remnant of valiant prayer warriors on the earth.

I had an open vision in which I saw a gambling casino covering the earth. In the casino were global players who were gambling for the world's resources (gold, silver, oil, water and so on). They had no problem committing genocide against entire nations to obtain these valuable commodities.

They were playing with cards and gambling for high stakes. Their faces became like dogs. They had on thick collars, some with spikes, and they were smoking expensive cigars and laughing crudely. Some were drunk and bragging about their evil exploits.

But then I saw the kingdom players of the Lord, who also came and sat at the various tables to play for world resources. They were undetected. They were the Lord's secret agents. read more

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Rick Warren: Live a Joy-filled, Generous Life

“These instructions are not empty words — they are your life! By obeying them you will enjoy a long life …” (Deuteronomy 32:47 NLT)

Many people think the Bible is only filled with commands labeled “Thou shalt not …” They assume the Bible is all about restrictions and making you lead a boring life.

But God wants you to live a joy-filled, healthy life. The last two factors for good health that I want to share with you should put a smile on your face.

Giving generously is good for your health. Every time you are generous, every time you are giving, it improves your health. You know, there are more promises in the Bible about giving than anything else, because God wants you to be like him. God is a giver. read more

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Small Groups Deliver Fellowship, Love

Editor’s Note: Daily during January and February, MinistryTodaymag.com will feature an article from pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren and his staff in conjunction with his new book, What on Earth Am I Here For? Warren is the guest editor for Charisma’s Ministry Today magazine for its January/February issue.

Why we believe the group setting creates the best environment for producing healthy followers of Jesus Christ

In early 2000, our leadership team began asking the question: What does a healthy follower of Christ look like? If we are to be successful in fulfilling Christ’s commission to make disciples, we need to define the term disciple. Through a series of meetings, we determined that such a follower of Christ is someone who is balancing the five biblical purposes in his or her heart and life. A healthy follower of Christ, therefore, is: 

  • Surrendering his or her heart and life to Christ on an ongoing basis.
  • Experiencing fellowship with other Christians.
  • Growing in Christ through “being” and “action.”
  • Discovering and using his or her God-given gifts and abilities.
  • Reaching out and sharing the love of Christ with nonbelievers.

We understood that unless you know what the target is you cannot hit it, so we ade our target health through balance. As believers, when we reflect Christ and become more like Him, the focus of our lives shifts away from self-centeredness toward serving Him through every area of life. That is health and balance. read more

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John Piper Retires After 30 Years in Pulpit

Best-selling author and pastor John Piper will focus on his writing after preaching his last sermon as senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, where he has served for more than 30 years.

"This is the last message in the series of 30-year theological trademarks, and I am calling it 'sorrowful, yet always rejoicing,' " Piper said from the pulpit Dec. 30. "I believe for these decades this theme and tone has marked us deeply. We are a happy people. But we are not what you might call 'chipper.' There is a plaintive strain in the symphony of our lives. I think Jesus was the happiest man whoever lived. And oh how sorrowful! A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."

Piper, 66, has stepped down from running the church with close to 5,000 weekly attendees, but he still has the passion to write books, preach and tour the country with his Desiring God ministry, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. read more

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Leaders Need to Create Worship Culture in Churches

Editor’s Note: Daily during January and February, MinistryTodaymag.com will feature an article from pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren and his staff in conjunction with his new book, What on Earth Am I Here For? Warren is the guest editor for Charisma’s Ministry Today magazine for its January/February issue.

A worshiping church won’t just happen. It starts with a leader who places a high value on personal worship.

I remember only two things about my college biology class: the broken clock that hung on the wall behind my professor’s desk and this definition of culture: “A colony of microorganisms or cells grown in a specially prepared nourishing environment.” Sounds like the church, doesn’t it? Each congregation is a colony—an outpost of the kingdom (to mix metaphors)—that is grown in a specially prepared, nourishing environment. 

Here’s another definition of culture; this one from my sociology class (which, by the way, also had a broken clock hanging behind the professor’s desk): “The values, beliefs, ideas, customs, skills, arts and traditions of a people that are passed along to succeeding generations.” 

That sounds like the church, too. read more

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End Times Worship Movement Exploding Around the World

The end-time role of the praying and worshipping church

Right now, all across the earth, the Holy Spirit is raising up a worship-based prayer movement that will culminate in the second coming of our King, Jesus. This isn’t a new idea, but one rooted in history and, more importantly, in the Bible. This prayer and worship movement that we see exploding across the planet was prophesied many years ago, as recorded in the Scriptures. I believe that what we’re witnessing today, with the rapidly growing worldwide prayer and worship movement, is the beginning of the fulfillment of biblical prophecies about the end times.

This conviction that God is raising up a worldwide prayer movement that will precede Jesus’ return has strengthened my resolve to build a 24/7 worship community. We started on May 7, 1999, and for the last 12 years the International House of Prayer Missions Base of Kansas City (IHOP-KC), consisting of full-time missionaries who serve as worship leaders, singers, musicians and intercessors, has continued nonstop in worship and prayer. Our hearts are set on gathering corporately to worship Jesus 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. Partnering with Him in intercession, we contend for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and for the release of justice, both in our own city and in the cities of the earth. What started with 20 full-time missionaries has grown to more than 1,000 full-time staff and 1,000 students and interns in our Bible school. read more

How to Wake Up Your Sleeping Giant

A strategy for turning men into a driving force behind your church’s mission

Most pastors dream of having a strong and vibrant men’s community that drives the mission and vision of their local churches. But this dream rarely becomes a reality because most churches have no compelling vision for men that is articulated, visible and connected to a meaningful process in the church context.

So it’s no surprise that men remain affiliated versus activated in the local church. This sad reality is on the church, not on the men. Men like clear targets they can hit—but the church hasn’t painted the target!

On the flip side, it is possible to have strong vision, a defined process that helps men see the vision, and solid outcomes that make men stakeholders in the ongoing success of the church’s mission. Men long for that kind of significance! read more

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What is Your Sunday Service Like?

As a pastor, you set the tone for true corporate worship.

Every pastor wants to raise up a group of people who God considers true worshipers. Jesus defined these people in John 4:23 as those who "worship the Father in spirit and truth." He even added that these are the ones after whom the Father seeks.

We have the chance to cultivate these kinds of worshipers every Sunday in our services by how we lead. Whether you are a senior pastor or a worship leader, you serve as a model for true worship. You play a key role in creating an environment that is conducive to the moving of God's Spirit. To excel at both of these requires some understanding of what I believe are fundamental principles of congregational worship.

"Worship time" is not a setup for the sermon. If we're not careful we can develop a dangerous mind-set that believes the praise and worship part of a service functions merely to prepare the congregation for the preaching. Though preparing people for the message can certainly be one benefit of a good "worship time" (and I use that term begrudgingly), it must not be its primary purpose. read more

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Joel Hunter: 5 Prayers God Always Answers

How is a guy supposed to pray? These five prayers are simple, and they always get results!

Prayer is tough for men. We like to have the answers before we talk, even to God. We are not much for "processing out loud" like our female counterparts. And we don't like to get turned down, discovering that what we were asking for was not in the will of God. It's not that we get mad at God, but we think, How could we not have known that?

On the other (folded) hand, we don't want a wimpy prayer life that is so general we can't tell whether it was God who answered, or it was just a good bet on our parts. Safe prayers are like bikes with training wheels: We think we are being grown-up in our faith, when we are really immature.

Immature faith doesn't want to risk a fall so it only prays prayers that (in the flesh) have a good chance of success without God's intervention. Success may even rest on some human device. read more

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Break Free of Satan's False Accusations

There has been much that has occurred in this season that could cause our hearts to faint, and fear seems to be on the horizon each day of our lives. However, we must continue to persevere in faith, knowing that God is in complete control at all times. Though lawlessness appears to prevail at times, we are given grace to persist and develop our faith in God. Our Lord is the God of Light and He will light our pathway which continually leads to life. Let us recall a few Scriptures that give us hope in this season.

James 1:16-18 reminds us that the Father of heavenly lights gives only good and perfect gifts and that He is the God of truth:

"Don't be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created" (NIV, with emphasis). read more

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What is the Real Meaning of Blessing and Prosperity?

The subject of blessing and prosperity has become very controversial among those in the church. We want to be blessed and live the abundant life Christ died to give us, yet we don’t want to approach God as if He is a lottery or a slot machine—if you put in the right amount of prayer, praise, worship, faith and good works, out comes your blessing. But for some, that is all they see God as, and they get beside themselves when He doesn’t come through the way they wanted Him to.

Blessing and prosperity are more than money. According to Strong’s Complete Concordance of the Bible, one Hebrew word for prosperity is shalom. We often associate the word shalom with peace, but the peace that Christ went to war for on the cross is a complete, whole kind of peace. Also according to Strong’s, shalom is “completeness, soundness, welfare and peace.” It represents completeness in number and safety and soundness in your physical body. Shalom also covers relationships with God and with people. read more

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Our Banana Tree Christmas

"Christmas is the time when nothing ought to change.”

Our newly married daughter, Liz, put into words what all of us were feeling. We had come from our home in New York state to spend the holidays with her and her husband, Alan, in their new apartment in Tucson, Ariz. Outside, on Christmas Eve, cactus-wrens hopped about the mesquite bushes beneath a glorious desert sky, while indoors the four of us gulped iced tea and thought of pine woods and falling snowflakes.

“Home in Leicester,” Alan recalled of his Massachusetts upbringing, “we’d generally go skating about now.”

“And tonight there’d be the midnight service at St. Mark’s!” Liz said. “Remember, Mom and Dad, how you can see your breath, walking in from the parking lot?”

We did remember. We wanted every time-hallowed tradition just as it always had been. No changes. Not at Christmas. read more

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Frank Pastore Dies From Motorcycle Crash Injuries

Frank Pastore, a Christian radio host and author of the 2010 memoir Shattered: Struck Down, But Not Destroyed, died Dec. 17—nearly a month after suffering serious head injuries from a motorcycle crash in Duarte, Calif. Pastore, 55, had been in a coma since the Nov. 19 accident.

"I just lost my beautiful husband," Pastore's wife, Gina Pastore, told the Inland Daily Bulletin. "But it's comforting to know he's home with the Lord now. People are calling in [to his radio show] and crying and mourning with us.

"I want to thank so many people for their outpouring of love and support," she added. "That's really helped to sustain our family during this difficult time." read more

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Your Pastor Is Under ATTACK! What Will You Do?

Hell has unleashed a coordinated assault against spiritual leaders. Are you willing to provide extra prayer covering to protect them?

I wasn't feeling especially spiritual--I was just trying to decide which carpet color I liked best. But God had other plans for me that afternoon.

Jerry, a stout 60-year-old flooring salesman, had come into my office to show me some carpet for our church. We had never met, so we chatted briefly about his business.

After a quick orientation on material and pricing options, I dove into the bulky sample books he had plunked down on my desk. I think I was considering the virtues of a soft geometric pattern when I looked up and was caught completely by surprise: read more

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Did You Miss This in the News?

Check out some links below to recent stories from Charisma News that you'll find interesting and informative. You can also sign up to receive stories on your smart phone by signing up for the free Charisma News app by clicking here.

Educators Hopeful Over Future of Christian Colleges
Would US Fiscal Cliff Lower Charitable Contributions?
'God Day' Calls on Remnant to Spark Orlando, Fla., Revival
Why Revival Is Exploding Among Muslims
Los Angeles Revival Spreads to Azusa Street read more

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Worship Leaders: Keep the Gospel at the Forefront

As worship leaders, writing and arranging songs for congregational singing is something most of us hold, or would like to hold, as a value. (By writing I mean creating an original song. By arranging I mean taking an already existing song, typically a hymn, and altering it instrumentally and on the very rare occasion, adjusting the melody).

Even if we don’t have the most talented musicians or the most expressive group of people to lead, music matters because it’s part of our calling, to proclaim the gospel through music. So we do the best we can with the people and resources God has given us.

At the same time, music can’t be the primary focus.

What always takes precedent over the music is the gospel. We aren’t going to make the gospel sound any better than it already is, so our goal in writing music or arranging songs must be approached with humility and with a desire to call attention to the creator—not the created. Arranging and writing music can be fun, but it’s not essential. read more

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Men’s Ministry Receives Wake-up Call

Every Man Ministries and Kenny Luck have created a pair of Sleeping Giant programs to activate vibrant men’s ministry. Centered around supporting the vision of the local church, the Sleeping Giant Total Solution uses state-of-the-art technology via the definitive EveryManMinistries.com website to offer continuous strategy, video sessions, networking and engagement for churches of all sizes and denominations.

Every Man Ministries, founded by best-selling author and Men’s expert Kenny Luck, developed the Sleeping Giant model after over a decade of research and work with ministries across the globe.  Now, this proven method of moving men from the Crowd to the Core is available to all churches, ministries and small groups with the launch of two separate web-based programs: Sleeping Giant Core and Sleeping Giant Flex.

Sleeping Giant Core is a one-year program filled with strategy, content and coaching designed to help pastors move men from simply being a part of the crowd into the core leadership that revolutionizes the health of their church and community for years to come. Developed and tested inside churches of all denominations and sizes, the Sleeping Giant Core offers churches a plan to launch, cultivate, sustain and renew their men’s community to engage with the vision of the pastor, without increasing the salary budget. read more

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