Ginger Lindsay on Waiting and Trust

By Belinda Elliott

Christ For The Nations Chief Operating Officer Ginger Lindsay has some experience waiting on the Lord. After serving overseas in various countries through Youth With A Mission, Lindsay and her husband Dennis, who serves as president and CEO of CFN, felt God leading them to return stateside — a move that left Lindsay feeling discouraged.

“This was an interesting time for me because I had just been pulled out of a life of witnessing, evangelism and serving people and was brought here to start a family. I felt like I had lost my ministry to the world,” Lindsay says.

She was gripped by feelings of despondency until God spoke to her in the middle of her new circumstances. “He said, ‘Yes, you do have a ministry. You don’t have a ministry to the world like you did before, but I have changed your seasons and now your ministry is to your family. Focus on that because that is what I have called you to now,’” she recalls.

The Lord showed her that, even as people pulled her in different directions, God’s primary calling on her life for that season was to minister to her family. God promised He’d be just as faithful to her as she focused on this new mission as He was to her in her previous ministry. “When He told me that, I felt so much better,” Lindsay says. “I threw myself into the new season of ministry. When your family is growing up, make them your season. That season goes by too fast.”

As Lindsay and her husband started their new family, she began to experience a frustrating health issue. “I was expecting the birth of my first baby at the time when, for no apparent reason, my healthy body suddenly developed this rash around my mouth,” Lindsay recalls.

The eczema-like skin condition persisted through each of her pregnancies, eventually covering her entire face when she had her third child. Though she tried treatments provided by her doctor, they only helped temporarily. Lindsay recalls feeling invisible for years while enduring this painful hardship.

For a moment, she says, it crossed her mind to feel sorry for herself. After all, she had been in ministry for God, having gone over to Europe, living in tents and out of backpacks, ministering day and night wherever God provided an opportunity. After sacrificing for Jesus on the other side of the world, surely God could have spared her this painful indignity. Instead, she decided to turn the issue over to God — something she wishes she had done when the problem first started.

Lindsay fasted one meal a day and sought God’s will for her health. She was desperate to hear from Him. She repented for not coming to God with this issue sooner and longed for Him to receive the glory for healing her face, rather than giving credit to a dermatologist. She says she believes God was waiting for her to become dependent on Him.

“I fasted and sought the Lord each night until I fell asleep for two weeks,” she recalls. After that, several faculty members met to pray with her. During the prayer, it was revealed that the issue was being caused by a hormone imbalance. With that word of knowledge and prayer for healing, Lindsay knew that her healing was on the way!

She didn’t see a change for several weeks, but she continued to stand in faith for the healing and rejoiced, knowing that God had healed her already. One key component she encourages is a continual standing firm on the Word of God. During her trial, Lindsay would quote verses as the Lord brought them to her rememberance, such as 1 John 5:14, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

After three months, the rash began to recede the same way it had come until it finally disappeared. After being miserable for nine years, God had heard her cry and healed her.

Lindsay relates this story from her life to the story of Lazarus found in John 11. Lazarus had died even though his sisters, Mary and Martha, had reached out to Jesus in an attempt to save their brother. Jesus didn’t rescue Lazarus from experiencing sickness and death, and He didn’t prevent Mary and Martha from experiencing great sorrow. When Martha confronted Christ about this, He responded, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

“What is the glory of God?” Lindsay asks. “It’s all His goodness, His excellency, the manifestation of God’s most excellent things. It’s all His goodness in your life. You may have had a lot of terrible things that have happened to you in your life, but God still has other things, other ingredients that He wants to put in your life.”

Christians often wonder why God doesn’t spare them from the difficulties of life. “Maybe God has something more in mind than our immediate relief or happiness,” she says.

God wants us to trust Him even when we don’t understand His plans for us. “According to Lazarus’ story, He does love us when we have to wait for an answer,” Lindsay adds. “I wonder how often He weeps over us because of our unbelief when He just wants us to trust Him?”

She sees the story of Lazarus as a poignant image of how God wants to provide healing in our lives. When God commanded Lazarus to come out of the grave, he did. However, he was still wrapped tightly in strips of linen that were used as grave clothes at the time.

“Many of you have come out of the grave,” Lindsay says. “You were born again — but you still have your grave clothes on. Your grave clothes of doom and gloom, of a critical attitude and unforgiveness, bad habits, fear, doubt, unbelief. You’re all wrapped up in your grave clothes and God says, ‘Come out, come out of your grave clothes. Take them off and start living life.’”

Ginger Lindsay is the Chief Operation Officer of Christ For The Nations. She and her husband, Dennis Lindsay, President of CFN, provide the vision and direction for this global ministry.

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Developing a Global Mindset at Home

By Kay Landis and Jesse Landis 

Not every family can go on a missions trip together. However, every family can have a global mindset.

Here are some tips for giving your children a heart for missions and a global worldview:

Adopt a missionary as a family. 

Give to them and pray for them and their work. Send them handmade cards, emails and care packages as a family. Make sure to find out the specific needs of the missionary so that the gifts meet those needs.

Sponsor a child through a child sponsorship agency like Compassion International. 

Children have a heart for children. Emails, care packages or handmade cards work well in this case as well.

Get the book Operation World and pray through it as a family during family devotions or dinnertime. 

Or get the (slightly older) children’s version, You Can Change the World. It has stories, information and prayer ideas specifically for children.

Invite a missionary visiting the USA to dinner. 

The personal connection fostered as he (or she) tells stories will do a great deal to foster a love for missions and the reality of a needy world.

Learn as a family about unreached people groups. 

Go to joshuaproject.net (or download their Unreached of the Day app) and find details about the many unreached peoples throughout the world.

Read through missionary biographies as a family. 

YWAM publishing has a great series for children, Christian Heroes Then and Now.

Remember that there are many unreached peoples here in America. 

Think about ways to engage people from other countries who currently live here such as contacting your local college’s international student department and connecting with international college students (who usually are desperate for a home-cooked meal). Or check your neighborhood for families who are isolated and alone. Reaching out here makes it easier to reach out overseas.

Are you interested in impacting the world through missions? Visit cfni.org to learn about our Global Missions Major.

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God’s Heart for the Nations

By Nathalie Jeter 

A love for the nations is not usually something you’re born with. But when you’re born into my family, there’s a 99% chance you’ll end up in some type of missions work.

At 22, my grandfather headed to the country of Peru and spent time ministering to the people in the Andes Mountains who had not heard of Jesus Christ. He and his missionary partner scaled steep mountains with their donkeys, carrying primitive film projectors that they used to show a film about Jesus in every village. Later, he and my grandmother ministered in Cuba, Spain and Morocco before returning to the States to train others for the mission field.

My own parents felt a call to France as newlyweds and ministered there for 30 years. That’s where I was born. Growing up, I’d often hear my dad preach; every time he talked about his burden for the French people, his voice would break and tears would trickle down his cheeks. It never failed to move me.

My grandparents’ example lit a flame for international ministry in the hearts of their children and grandchildren. Now we have family members all over the world! But did you know that America is also a mission field? Consider these statistics. According to the Assemblies of God US Missions report, in America today there are:

  • 7.8 million Jews
  • 6 million Russian immigrants,
  • largely unreached
  • 2 million people from India, the majority of which are Hindu
  • 7 million Muslims
  • 2.4 million Chinese and Taiwanese, either nonreligious or who follow their ethnic religions

This is just a sampling of people of various ethnic and religious backgrounds who may live in your neighborhood, work in your building and shop at your local grocery store. You don’t have to leave town to start changing the world: just starting a friendly conversation with someone from a different country can be the first step towards friendship evangelism.

Missions begins with you. You have to take the initial step in obeying Christ’s Great Commission to “go into all the world” or be the one to open a conversation with your neighbor. Why would God choose you? The beauty of it is that God doesn’t choose missionaries because of their looks, their intelligence or even their outstanding personality. He looks for one thing: obedience.

The apostle Paul reminds us that we each have a role in evangelizing the world. He says, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6). Though missions may begin with you, ultimately it ends with God. God moving in a miraculous way. God changing lives. God opening doors for the message of His hope and love to be spread throughout the nations.

We hope this issue inspires you to get involved in international ministries, whether locally or across the world and gives you a glimpse into God’s heart for the nations and how His people are responding to the call.

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Discipling Culture Changers

By Bob Long

The foundation of the Great Commission is the authority of Jesus. The “Christ Event” did not end at the resurrection. It was fully completed only when He ascended back to heaven, was seated on the throne of David at the right hand of the Father and was crowned King, where He was instructed to remain until all His enemies were defeated. In the meantime, the Father declared that King Jesus would now rule “in the midst of His enemies” (Psalm 2; Psalm 110; Ephesians 1:18-23).

All authority in heaven and earth, that is to say, all the authority in the entire spiritual realm and all the authority in the natural realm now belong to King Jesus. Everything in every realm is subject to Him, and the Great Commission is the mandate and the delegation to the Church to disciple the nations of the earth. If we are going to fulfill that, we must be much more intentional about how we develop leaders! Our goals as well as our methods could use a fresh, more strategic approach.

We must recognize the calling, intentionally develop it, then wholeheartedly commission, ordain and send specific leaders into business, government, journalism, media, arts, education, science and every other arena of culture that shapes the thinking of the peoples of the earth.

We must take Acts 13:1-3 as our model. The Church is commanded to intentionally train five-fold leaders (apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists) whom God can supernaturally call into any sector, arena or aspect of any society, any culture in any nation!

1. Spiritual Identity (Ephesians 4:11) 

We must recognize that biblically defined apostles, prophets, shepherds, teachers and evangelists are to be intentionally and systematically developed, prepared and trained to go outside of Church culture. They need to be sent and supported into every part of secular culture. We cannot transform an arena we are not involved in.

2. Spiritual Discipline (2 Timothy 2:15) 

There are two overarching areas of spiritual discipline to develop: individual, disciplined, planned study of the Word and prayer times (Acts 6) and corporate fasting, prayer and prophetic strategy (Acts 13).

In addition to our craft skills, we must pay the price in the study of the Word and for a passionate prayer life. The nations are not in need of any more highly intelligent but selfishly ambitious leaders. Cultural transformation requires both supernatural signs and servants!

3. Spiritual Authority (Acts 13:6) 

We must impart deeply to our emerging leaders a revelation of the authority of Christ and His ecclesia in the earth. The Church in this hour needs a fuller revelation of the King and His Kingdom that is increasing in the earth and of the unstoppable Church He has brought forth (Isaiah 2; Matthew 16).

A powerful example of this is found in Acts 13:6. “They found Bar-Jesus, a Jewish false prophet who was with Sergius Paulus, the proconsul, an intelligent man.”

Paul confronted the false prophetic and the false supernatural that was deceiving the regional official of the Roman civil government. He confronted it with a much stronger display of raw, supernatural, spiritual power rooted in the Truth of who Jesus is. In verse 11, Paul demonstrated Great Commission authority to release physical blindness upon the one who was supernaturally operating in the dark arts to bring spiritual blindness upon the leadership of one of the “7 Mountains” of culture! The assignment of the false prophetic to block civil government from seeing the Truth was broken. Spiritual blindness and deception upon governmental leaders never leads to moral policies and laws in the land!

This is a model of the leaders we must be and that we must train. We must accept all that Christ Jesus has delegated to us if we are going to liberate nations and fulfill the Great Commission.

Do you want to become a culture changer? Visit cfni.org. 

Pray: 

1. Pray for a fuller understanding of the Great Commission in your own life. Embark on a fresh study in your Bible.

2. Pray for a generation of leaders to emerge that has a vision to lead cultures, not just influence them.

3. Pray for prophetic strategy to be released that will reveal new paradigms for mentoring and training key leaders to be sent into every arena of culture.

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God’s Pursuit of a Former Lesbian

By Tami Hassler

My journey into the lesbian lifestyle was not an intentional one, but it did start at an early age. At 4 years old, my baby brother’s birth had sparked jealousy and I remember wishing I could wear his boy clothes. In addition to my tomboy tendencies, I was gifted athletically . . . and then in sixth grade, my neighbor began molesting me. The molestation destroyed my self-esteem and coupled with having an emotionally-absent father made me unable to trust boys/men. By high school, the perfect storm of being a ‘tomboy’, having an emotionally distant father, being unable to trust men because of the molestation and two of my teammates coming out as gay led me to question – was I a lesbian?

By the time I started my first lesbian relationship, at around 16, it felt scary but also comforting. It was so much easier because of my inability to trust men. As I became immersed in the lesbian lifestyle, I began to share their hatred of the church. I had grown up in church, but never experienced God for myself. I started to experience discrimination for my lifestyle – some Christians would wait outside of gay bars and yell at us, “You’re going to hell!” On one occasion, I responded, “If you are what heaven is like, I don’t want to go anyway!”

I had found acceptance in the gay lifestyle. But it wasn’t fulfilling. I partied, drank and sometimes did drugs, but the inner peace and contentment I needed never materialized. Even then, although I didn’t realize it at the time, God was actively pursuing me. I had a group of cousins who were interceding for me. God told them to go to Portland, Oregon and they would find me in a specific bar at a specific time. They found me there with my girlfriend and they said, “What are you doing here? This isn’t who you are; come with us.” I replied, “No, I can’t.” But God wasn’t finished reaching out to me.

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My Christian mom had a hard time with my living as a lesbian. Unintentionally, she pushed me even farther from God by her hurtful responses to my lifestyle. But she was also the instrument that brought me into relationship with Him. A simple request, “Tami, all I want for my birthday is for you to go to church. Will you do that for me?” At first, I adamantly refused. Being around Christians was the last thing I wanted. But I finally decided it was a small thing to do and I would do it, for her.

I found a church in Portland, and I sat in the back. I can’t remember what was preached or what songs were sung, but I do remember the peace inside that church. Even though there were about 800 people in attendance that day, the pastor and his wife, Scott and Mary, found me and introduced themselves. They said they would love to talk with me, but all I could think was, “If you knew who and what I was, you wouldn’t be so ready to talk to me.” As I drove home, I started screaming to God, “God, if You are real and these people reject me I will never set foot in a church again, so You are better off just leaving me alone.” But then, I thought, are you afraid of these people? Have a couple of drinks, go tell them exactly who you are and let them freak out so you can see just how ridiculous Christians are.

I did exactly that. I had a couple of drinks, went to their office, and I said, “Look, before you even get started, I drink, I do drugs once in a while and I have a girlfriend like most people have a boyfriend.” And I started to walk out. They started crying and said, “Don’t leave! We’ve been praying for the past two weeks that my wife could share her story and God sent you.”

You see, the pastor’s wife had come out of the lesbian lifestyle too. As she shared her story, I began to realize the enormity of what had happened. Of all the churches I could choose to go to on that day, I chose the one that had a pastor’s wife that once been a lesbian. Even I had to recognize that that was God.

And so, God’s intoxicating love pursued me, overtook me and brought me into relationship with these pastors. I felt such love from them. It didn’t matter if I showed up smelling like beer, had a girlfriend or if it had been a month since I had made it to church. They always had open arms, a hug and a welcoming smile. The church loved me right through my stuff and the love, patience and gentleness I experienced drew me in until I eventually gave my life to the Lord. I became enamored with Jesus, experiencing His presence, peace, acceptance and love.

One day as I prayed, I heard Him say that my girlfriend was not a part of the future He had for me. He said it with such love and gentleness, so even though agonizingly painful, I ended my relationship with her. I wanted Jesus more than any human relationship.

But even after I gave up my lesbian relationship, I wasn’t perfect. I still fell, I still had to pick myself up and run to the foot of the cross. I needed deliverance, yes, but I also needed counseling. I needed someone to walk with me through my healing from those scars and inner wounds that had led me to embrace the lesbian lifestyle.

One of the ways that God healed me was through the Bible school Christ For The Nations Institute (CFNI). My pastors, CFNI alumni themselves, encouraged me to attend CFNI and while I was apprehensive about being around so many Christians so fresh from my past (it had only been eight months!), I applied and was accepted. Throughout my time there such healing flooded my life from chapel services, time with teachers and fellow students in the classroom, and counseling sessions with staff and faculty. I needed the in-depth, personal and spiritual encounters God provided. They helped me believe I was worthy and that God truly loved me.

In addition, I found my husband, Steve, while at CFNI. I graduated in 1994 from CFNI and got married in June 1994. It wasn’t easy at first because I was still extremely insecure and not finished walking out my healing. But, we have been married almost 21 years, are best friends and are more in love with each passing year. We have two children. Caleb is 19 and in a Christian school of leadership and Courtney is 15 and in high school — both are on fire for God.

Since graduating from CFNI I have ministered in many different settings, traveling and speaking at churches and conferences, pastoring and teaching in the local church. But what I think is the best job this side of heaven is just walking alongside those who others have given up on. I am living proof that God never gives up His pursuit of us and I try to bring that message of hope to others in need of His never-ending love.

For more information about CFNI go to cfni.org

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Walk in True Freedom

By Belinda Elliott

Author and speaker Bob Hamp spent nine years on the staff of Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, where he was tasked with developing the Freedom Ministry. During his time there, he trained teachers and leaders to help the people under their care find freedom. He hopes the principles he teaches will empower all Christians to walk in freedom and lead others to do the same. Only then, he says, can Christians truly fulfill their destiny.

As a professional counselor, Hamp spent 16 years in private practice helping individuals with problems ranging from anxiety and eating disorders to thought disorders. During this time, he says, he often struggled to find ways to present the Gospel to people in a way that would truly transform them and offer practical help with the problems they were facing. He spent years praying and researching this issue and compiled his findings in the book Think Differently, Live Differently.

He found the key to living the life Christians were created for, and helping others achieve this, is to restore their identity. Christians were created to receive, contain and broadcast the breath of God, he says. When God exhaled into Adam and Eve, His breath of life became a constant source for them. As a result, they expressed life to all around them. Since the couple’s act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden, Christians have lost the truth of this source being their identity.

“On the day that they stopped eating from the Tree of Life they died,” Hamp explains. “That’s what happens when you stop consuming life; but worse than that, they turned to another source and that new source was this new thing called knowledge. Adam and Eve disconnect from this thing called life, and suddenly they’re empty on the inside.”

When Christians are empty on the inside, they seek anything that will make them feel alive. This can take the form of bad things, perhaps drugs or materialism, or it can take the form of things that appear good — even ministry. People mistakenly believe if they could just learn Greek or memorize enough Scripture, they will become “good” Christians and be able to live up to what God calls them to. But this performance-based approach isn’t what God’s Word teaches.

“We can give people knowledge and motivation and believe we’re giving them Christianity, but that is humanism,” Hamp says. “When what we do is teach them information and try to motivate them to fulfill that information, we are saying, ‘You are capable of it in and of yourself. You don’t need another source.’ That’s how the knowledge of good and evil makes us think.”

As pastors and leaders in the church seek to care for the people around them, this is where they must start — the restoration of identity. They need to help people move back to the true source of life.

“The good news is that it’s not up to you and your ability,” Hamp explains. “It’s simply up to you to turn from self as source and to turn to the source called the Tree of Life, and when you turn to this thing called the Tree of Life, now it becomes God doing it in you, not you doing it for Him. In this tree (of knowledge) you can give a lot of great stuff, but there is not a drop of life that you can give out from here. You get over to Tree of Life and you can kind of stumble around and people will start to come alive around you.”

Another key to helping others find freedom is to teach them to take their focus off their problem. Often, people who seek professional counseling have spent years analyzing their problem and trying to find ways to fix it. Hamp points to Matthew 6:33 as a key teaching on this matter: Seek first the kingdom of God.

“Whatever you seek first organizes your life,” Hamp explains. “If what people seek first is help with their problem, their problem has been given priority and lordship over every other thing in their life. Things are not going to get better. They’re going to get worse.”

When Christians help people seek God’s kingdom first, they connect them to the One who can transform their lives and take dominion over their problems.

“People think that freedom is actually getting all that stuff out of their lives,” Hamp says. “They think, ‘If I can get rid of pain, and get rid of demons, and get rid of all this stuff, then I will be restored and I’ll be free, and I can live free of all the junk.’ The dilemma is, Jesus didn’t just come to get rid of stuff, He came to give us Himself. Freedom is not the absence of something, it’s the presence of Someone.”

When Christians live from this source each day, their lives are filled with God’s power. The Christian life becomes less about overcoming sin or struggles and more about growing into the fullness of all that we were created for.

“We need to have the mindset that my soul was made to contain and broadcast the very breath of God who created everything that is,” Hamp says. “I can wake up every day and take dominion over the things that God has given me dominion over, and I can broadcast those things that were present in that place that Jesus lived before He invented the earth. If we stop short of getting people back what they’ve lost and we don’t give them what they don’t know they could have yet, we’re not fully caring for the human soul.”

For more about Bob Hamp visit BobHamp.com. This article was taken from the message Bob Hamp shared at CFN’s Voice of Healing Conference. 

If you have a heart to learn more about healing, go to cfn.org

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How to Respond to the Threat of ISIS

By Dr. Eddie Hyatt

“We have never seen anything like it, and we must be ready for anything,” were the words of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in discussing the threat of the jihadist ISIS movement with an obvious note of concern in his voice. Military and intelligence officials are taking very seriously the threat of ISIS to bring its horrific brand of terror to America and fly its flag over the White House. Could it happen?

We must remember that this battle will not be won ultimately with jet fighters and tanks because, at its core, this is an ideological war for truth. This is why a strong and vibrant Christianity that can wage spiritual warfare is absolutely necessary. This is why we must pray for another Great Awakening in our land. This is why we also must learn from history, from those who have preceded us.

There is an example from the early history of the church that has amazing parallels to our nation and its current situation with radical Islam. Like America, this area saw great moves of God and became the bastion of Christianity from the second through the sixth centuries. The light of the Gospel shone brightly and there emerged some of the greatest leaders and thinkers the church has known.

Yet, because of certain trends that weakened and watered down the faith of the Christians of this area, it fell to Islam in the seventh century and is still under Islamic control. In this article, I share three important lessons from this period; three things we must avoid in order to not repeat the mistakes of the North African Church and suffer a similar fate.

THE POWER AND PROMINENCE OF THE NORTH AFRICAN CHURCH

Beginning in the first century, perhaps with the Ethiopian official whom Philip led to Christ (Acts 8:26-40), Christianity spread rapidly across North Africa. Paganism and false religions fell like dominoes as the message of Christ swept across the continent. Tertullian (160-220), the famous North African church father and apologist, wrote to a pagan official: “We are but of yesterday, and yet we have filled all the places that belong to you.”

Along with Tertullian, unusually gifted Christian leaders, such as Cyprian and Augustine, emerged in North Africa. They formulated theologies that are still the basis for much of the thinking in both Catholicism and Protestantism.

In its heyday, no one would have guessed that Christian North Africa would fall to Islam. Nonetheless, that is exactly what happened in the seventh century. Here are three trends (or sins) in the North African church that we must avoid in order to help guarantee that we will not suffer a similar fate.

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Hamas publicly executing men. Note three bodies already on the ground. The man in the striped shirt is waiting his turn while many men and children watch the executions.
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Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIS or the Islamic State

1. AVOID BEING DIVISIVE

It is one thing to disagree; it is another thing to be divisive. Christians can disagree in nonessential issues and still be one in Christ. A divisive spirit, however, divides and weakens the church, making it vulnerable to outside forces that want to destroy it. Divisiveness was a major factor that weakened the North African church and made it vulnerable to the attacks of Islam in the seventh century.

This divisive spirit showed itself especially in the Donatist controversy that erupted early in the fourth century. It was centered on whether those who had denied the faith in recent persecutions could, now that persecution was past, become leaders in the church.

One group led by Donatus insisted on high standards for those in leadership. The people on the other side insisted on mercy toward those who had recanted their faith in the past and allowed them to serve as bishops and leaders. They were unable to come to agreement.

This controversy eventually caused a split in the North African church. The rivalry was intense and this issue left a deep wound in the North African church from which it never recovered. Avoid being divisive. Satan’s tactic is “divide and conquer.” We must be uncompromising about truth, but at the same time, be careful that we are not so intent on digging up the tares that we also uproot the wheat in the process (Matthew 13:29).

2. AVOID A “WATERING DOWN” OF THE FAITH

The Donatist controversy was indicative of a “watering down” of the call of the Gospel to discipleship and absolute commitment to Christ. Yes, we must offer mercy, forgiveness and redemption in the Name of Christ to a broken and fragmented world; but we must, at the same time, make clear the call to absolute surrender to Christ and His Lordship, which is just as clear in the Gospels.

The evidence indicates that North African Christianity became soft and self-centered. As individual commitment to Christ waned and moral laxity increased, the church was further weakened, making it vulnerable to the committed armies of Islam when they arrived on the scene.

We must not allow this to happen to our generation. This is why we must pray for another Great Awakening in our land. God is calling his people to make a shift from a watered-down, me-centered approach to the Gospel to a selfless, Christ-centered approach. In this new attitude and mindset, we are no longer preoccupied with what God will do for us, but our consuming passion is to know His heart and do His will.

3. AVOID PURSUITS OF POWER

Power struggles go right along with a divisive spirit. Nothing weakens the church as much as internal power struggles for prominence and control. Many power struggles emerged in the church in North Africa, especially as it aligned itself more and more with the Roman political order.

This was another criticism of the Donatists toward the mainstream church — its alignment with the Roman state. When Augustine became the bishop of Hippo in 395, he sought reconciliation with the Donatists, for the separation had occurred before his time. Augustine, however, did not see unity as occurring through a mutual acceptance of one another in Christ. As far as he was concerned, the Donatists were sheep that had gone astray and the only path for reconciliation and unity was for them to return to the Catholic fold, which they had left.

When the Donatists rebuffed Augustine’s overture, he appealed to the Roman emperor to intervene. He condemned them and declared being a Donatist illegal. Those who refused to rejoin the Catholic Church were imprisoned or executed. Some fled to the desert, and others committed suicide rather than submit to the imperial decree. The power struggles in the North African church greatly weakened it and made it vulnerable to the Islamic invaders when they arrived. Only as Christian leaders have the confidence to be servants to the people of God will we see the body of Christ equipped to rise up in great strength and power, able to conquer every foe with the truth of the Gospel.

WHY I EXPECT ANOTHER GREAT AWAKENING

When Muslim armies began invading North Africa around the middle of the seventh century, the once powerful North African church did not have the internal strength of a vital faith and moral character to put up a defense, and they succumbed to the invaders. The noted church historian, Philip Schaff, says, “A large number of nominal Christians who had so fiercely quarreled with each other about unfruitful subtleties of their creeds, surrendered their faith to the conqueror.” Muslim armies eventually swept across the entire continent bringing an end to Christianity’s prominence and replacing the cross with the crescent. That is still the state of North Africa today.

I do not believe this will happen to America. I do not deny that it could, nor do I take the threat lightly. But, I believe churches, ministries, groups and fellowships, rising to the occasion, are calling one another to a new consecration and commitment to Jesus Christ. I believe more and more people are praying in sincere faith for another Great Awakening in our land. Because of this, I believe we’ll see a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit sweep across this nation and around the world. I believe God is hearing our prayers and, as He promised in 2 Chronicles 7:14, He will heal our land.

 

PRAYER POINTS

  • Pray that the church will avoid divisiveness, a watering down of our faith and power struggles.
  • Pray for a strong and vibrant Body of Christ that can wage spiritual warfare.
  • Pray for another Great Awakeng, a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will sweep across this nation and around the world.
  • Pray that America will not follow the pattern of history but will instead draw closer to God and to His plans and purposes for her.

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is an author, ordained minister and founder/director of Revive America. Through Revive America, his goal is to help lay the biblical and historical foundation for another Great Awakening in our land. If you would like to host a Revive America event with your group or congregation, contact Dr. Hyatt at dreddiehyatt@gmail.com. His books are available on Amazon and at eddiehyatt.com.

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HAMAS IS ISIS, ISIS IS HAMAS

Warning: Contains images not suitable for children

By Shira Sorko-Ram, Co-Founder of Maoz Israel 

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood beside the U.N.’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and declared, “Hamas is like ISIS, Hamas is like al-Qaeda, Hamas is like Hezbollah, Hamas is like Boko Haram.”

The most significant element of this statement is that Netanyahu is the only world leader who has dared to point out this obvious fact. Strategically, ISIS has a united ideology, a clear belief system and a common goal. It is the same ideology and belief system as that of Hamas.

Mideast Israel Palestinians Collaborators
Hamas: Killing by dragging a man behind a motorcycle.

ISIS

Not long ago ISIS was much smaller in numbers than Hamas and its range of operations matched its strength. Now that it has grown exponentially, so have its aspirations. The original name, AQI (al-Qaeda Iraq) became ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), then became ISIL (change the word “Syria” to “Levant” which includes all of the Eastern Mediterranean) and finally has become IS, the Islamic State – meaning the entire world.

But how did it all begin? The founder of what has become ISIS or the Islamic State, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was simply a street thug, a free agent looking to create his own terrorist organization. When the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq began in 2003, Zarqawi commanded a campaign of suicide bombings against Shiites across Iraq – with the same tactics Yasser Arafat used in the Second Intifada against Israel. Zarqawi then joined up with al-Qaeda and formed the AQI, (al-Qaeda Iraq).

Zarqawi was killed in June 2006 when the U.S. Air Force hit his hideout, 20 miles north of Baghdad. His foreign militants, demoralized

by Zarqawi’s death, melted away with President George Bush’s surge in Iraq.

It was only in 2011, when American troops left a vacuum in Iraq, that the AQI’s new leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took advantage of the Sunni’s feeling of resentment against the Iraqi Shiite – dominated government.

Baghdadi’s vision was and is to take over all Arab nations — as a start. Hamas’ vision is to take over all of “Palestine” — the Holy Land from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River for now. The biblical Holy Land does also include parts of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Sinai. However, Hamas is concentrating first on conquering “the occupied territories,” i.e. the area of the Holy Land where the Jewish people now live.

Though both terrorist groups are Sunnis, ISIS and Hamas dislike each other. Hamas likes to portray itself as a victim of Israeli aggression and usually hides its terrorist acts from the cameras while ISIS glorifies its terrorism with gory video clips and pictures. However, both have the same goal to conquer and control the Holy Land.

8-christians-murdered-by-isis-tweet-1
ISIS: Killing by crucifixion.
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Hamas: Islamic terrorist groups murder in public and private.

HAMAS 

Hamas is an offspring of the Jihadist Muslim Brotherhood. And no one can say that the Brotherhood doesn’t have global aspirations for a Sharia – governed Caliphate. It has over 2,000 branches throughout the world, including in Western countries!

The only reason Hamas is not also spreading like a cancer across the Middle East — as is ISIS — is because of Israel’s powerful army and the Jewish people’s will to survive. Israel knows it cannot leave a vacuum or grow lethargic or Hamas would metastasize in every nook and corner of Israel.

For this reason, there are no free and open border crossings from Gaza into Israel. Even though the nations howl, Israel has not allowed an airport or seaport in Gaza, for the simple reason they would be used to ship in weapons to destroy the Jewish state. Israel believes what Hamas publically declares: that Hamas’ goal is to kill every single Jew in the world. (Google Hamas Constitution.)

ISIS’ immediate goal is to wipe out the Christians of Syria and Iraq plus minorities like the Yazidi people, either by converting them to Islam or killing them. This is a call for genocide. ISIS and Hamas agree on one major point: Both groups want to eliminate an entire people group.

Pray that every hidden thing will be brought to light (Job 28:11) and that good would prevail against evil.

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Developing A Supernatural Family

It’s important not only to have faith for special days, but to have faith for turning a normal day into a special day, interrupted by the supernatural power of God. 

By Chris Estrada 

Estrada Family I AM A FATHER OF THREE WONDERFUL CHILDREN. My wife, Erica, and I made a conscious decision as parents that there is no junior Holy Spirit. We decided to believe that our beautiful, oh-so-human children could be just as led by the Holy Spirit as the most spiritual adult could be. You see, I believe that God is raising up young revivalists — 9-year-olds who can prophetically “read your mail” and 12-year-olds who can speak a word of knowledge at a What- A-Burger that will shut the whole place down.

Many families become intimidated by the thought of developing a supernatural family. But I believe it is both more important than many realize and also easier than they imagine. The greatest gifts I could give to my children are how to hear the voice of the Spirit and then how to obey that voice to change the world around them. You see, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is alive in your 2-year-old, is alive in your 7-year-old and is alive in your teenager. There’s no limitation in the Spirit. As my wife Erica describes, “We teach our children that they can hear the Lord. We teach them to have a connected relationship to God. Then, they can hear Him.”

We really feel the Word drives us to live this kind of lifestyle and the scripture that most speaks to our approach is Deuteronomy 6:4-7: “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”

What is God saying? You are to carry this example in every area of your life. “When you sit down” could be dinner time and “when you walk along the way” refers to your coming and going throughout the day. I find that the best moves of God come in the normalcy of my day. It’s important not only to have faith for special days, but to have faith for turning a normal day into a special day, interrupted by the supernatural power of God.

Developing a supernatural family starts with our walk, because more things are caught than are taught, especially in a family. I am not the thermometer; I am the thermostat. I decide how deep my family is going to go into the things of the Lord. I set the precedent; I set the example. In my family, we put a high value on having the Presence in our home. I want Him to feel like He is welcome. I want Him to remain. We want to host the presence of God in our home and everywhere that we go.

One of the ways we do this is to ask our children, “What is God saying? What is He doing? What is God’s heart this morning?” Erica says, “I teach my kids that the first thing when they wake up they should get tuned into the Holy Spirit. On the way to school, I will ask, what is God saying to your teacher today? And sometimes they say, ‘I don’t know,’ and that’s OK; you don’t force them at all.”

But one of the best ways we cultivate the presence of God is something called a Treasure Hunt. This is based on Acts 9, when Ananias received a word of knowledge regarding Saul of Tarsus, specifics such as name, location and a personal detail (he was blind). He also received more revelation as he went; by the time Ananias got to Saul, he had been told that God wanted to heal Saul. A word of knowledge is basically information you couldn’t have ascertained yourself that you received through your spirit man.

EstradaFamily-5751So, as we follow this model, a treasure hunt is where we get together and pray as a family. After about 5 or 10 minutes, we will ask, “What is Jesus saying?” For the treasure hunt, we ask God for five things:

•A place to go: Where do we need to be? 

• A name: Who are we praying for? 

• What does the person look like: What are they wearing? 

• The word to share: What do they need prayer for? 

• Abstract things that come from a creative God: What is unique about the environment or person that sets it apart (such as Saul was blind)? 

One of the key factors to a successful treasure hunt is that you have to learn to hear the voice of God, which is what we’ve already been training our kids. They are foundational when it comes to moving in the supernatural and treasure hunts create a lifestyle where you are constantly hearing the voice of God. We have many testimonies of how this has impacted our family, but one was at Red Robin. Our 5-year-old, Jasmine, was coloring as our waitress came up to take our order. She looked up at her and there was strength in Jasmine’s face I had never seen before. She stood up on her chair, looked at this lady and said, “You will never end up in hell. Jesus loves you too much,” and then she went right back to coloring. The waitress, you could tell she wanted to cry but she kept her composure, and she said, “Thank you, I needed that.”

Another story is of my son Elisha. While he was at school, a boy hurt his arm on the playground. He was crying and Elisha walked over to him and said, “Jesus, put your healing power in my hand,” and then he laid hands on the hurt boy, in the middle of all these other kids, and said, “Be healed.” This boy stops crying, says, “I feel better,” and Elisha replies, “Yep,” and just walks off.

Now, I want to be very clear, our kids are normal kids. We have the same issues and concerns as other families — Elisha loves to tackle Jasmine, and Jasmine loves to play tricks on Elisha. We are still a normal family; we’ve just made it a very, very important part of our life to make sure that our family is operating in the anointing. We’re facing things that most people are facing right now, except we’re tapping in and asking the Lord to give us a word, give us counsel and give us wisdom on how to handle it. And we just try to keep modeling how to follow the voice of the Holy Spirit to our children, and let God handle the rest.

To impact the next generation of youth for Christ, go to cfni.org for more information about the CFNI Youth major. 

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Encountering Jesus with Kim Walker-Smith

By Belinda Elliott 

IMG_2578Kim Walker-Smith, of Jesus Culture, has led worship around the world, but she wasn’t always as confident as she is today. She recalls her young adult years as filled with insecurity and ruled by fear. Often, she was afraid to leave her house, whether that meant traveling overseas or just heading across town to meet friends. 

From a young age, she says, she also questioned her self-worth. Believing her parents wanted a son, she hid deep within her heart the idea that she was a mistake and never should have been born. It wasn’t until she had an amazing encounter with Christ that she began a journey of healing.

Through two incredible visions, God revealed to her how much He loved her. In one, He demonstrated the amount of His love with arms that stretched beyond what she could see. In another, He revealed that much like a father admiring the antics of a toddler, He delights in her, and she brings Him great joy.

She longs for everyone to have similar encounters with Jesus, to understand that God wants to partner with us as we fulfill the plans He has for our lives and that He wants us to be successful. “God doesn’t take the dreams in your heart and the plans He has for you and dangle them in front of you saying, ‘Look what you could have. I hope you get there. Good luck. Maybe you’ll make it,'” she says. “God wants you to get there and flourish. He wants you to do it well.”

For that to happen, we must cultivate our relationship with Him. “It doesn’t matter that you know that Jesus loves you because you learned it in Bible school,” Walker-Smith explains. “To actually have a real relationship with Jesus, to know Him, to know His voice, to partner with Him, to fall in love with Him . . . that’s what He desires.”

To thrive in this partnership with God, she says, there are four principles we must embrace. Each one hinges on falling more in love with Christ.

WHAT YOU BELIEVE MATTERS 

Do you believe God is a loving Father who wants nothing but the best for you? Do you believe that He is good all the time? “This kind of belief requires total trust and total surrender,” Walker-Smith says.

Storms will come that test these beliefs. The only way we can hold to our faith is to remember what we know to be true about God. His love and our deep relationship with Him are the things we can cling to.

She points to the biblical account of Peter walking on water until he looks at the storm raging around him and starts to sink. “The moment you take your eyes off Jesus and put all your attention on those circumstances that’s the moment you begin to sink,” she says. “There can be no louder voice than His voice in your life. This is how we can walk through the storms.”

DO NOT FEAR 

“The more in love with Jesus you are, the more fear dissipates in your life, because perfect love casts out all fear,” Walker-Smith explains. “Falling in love with Jesus should come with a warning label that says, ‘You might do crazy things.'”

A freedom from fear is needed to accomplish God’s plans for us, because He often calls us to do things that seem far beyond our capabilities. “When fear becomes broken off in your life, that dream you have is not too big,” she says.

IMG_8908“Right now, you might be thinking about that dream asking, ‘How could I ever do that? How could I ever raise that money? How could I ever make it to that country?’ But when you are a crazy person in love with Jesus, you look at that and you laugh because you know that there is nothing too big for Jesus.”

DO NOT DISQUALIFY YOURSELF 

Just as she felt unworthy of God’s love, Walker-Smith says she sees Christians distance themselves from God because they don’t think they are good enough for Him to use them. Some may struggle with addiction, anger or other sins, or some may feel their past prevents them from being used by God. She points to 1 John 3:20, which promises, “If our hearts condemn us, we know God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.”

“He is bigger than that voice that says you’ve already ruined it. He’s bigger than all of that and His love is greater than that,” she says. Jesus created us and knows everything about us, yet He still pursues us and longs to partner with us. It all goes back to encountering Christ and His love for us, she says. “One encounter with Jesus is all that it takes for your whole world to change.”

DO NOT BE IMPATIENT 

“Embrace the season you are in,” Walker-Smith advises. Often, we think God has abandoned us when we walk through difficult times. Instead, we need to understand God leads us to those desert places to prepare us for what lies ahead.

“The desert season is about intimacy,” she explains. “He calls us into the desert so we can learn to hear Him in a new way, so we can grow in our intimacy with Him.”

For us to be successful where He wants to take us next there are things He needs us to learn before we get there. She recalls a time in her life when she experienced this. Through a local singing competition, she won an opportunity to audition for the producers of American Idol. Before she auditioned, the Lord told her if she wanted to be on the show, He would give it to her. She decided not to pursue it. Initially, she felt like she had disappointed her friends and family, but she looks back on it as a wise decision.

“If I had gone down that road and I had gone into that realm, I don’t think I would even be a Christian anymore. I was not in a good place. I’d only begun my journey of healing with the Lord,” she says. “It was not time for me to be on a stage. I look back at all those years, and everything that God did in my life prepared me for this moment right now, to be right here.”

Kim Walker-Smith is a passionate worship leader with an anointing to bring an entire generation into an encounter with God. She is one of the worship leaders for the Jesus Culture band. Their current album, Unstoppable Love, is available at jesusculture.com. She is married to Skyler Smith and has two sons, Wyatt and Bear. 

Youth For The Nations is a summer youth camp/conference in Dallas, TX for teens and youth pastors from all around the world to come together and passionately pursue the presence of God. 

IMG_9411Visit youthforthenations.com

The newest release from the Jesus Culture band was recorded live with Kim Walker- Smith during Jesus Culture’s annual Encounter Conference in Sacramento at California’s Historic Memorial Auditorium in January 2014. This album seeks to bring awareness of the unstoppable love of God.unstoppablelove

“Our prayer for this album is that you would encounter the unstoppable, over-the-top, zealous, extravagant love that God has for you,” says Banning Liebscher, Director of Jesus Culture. This significant recording for the Jesus Culture family includes 12 original tracks, coupled with a BluRay Disc that features 13 songs and the concluding message of the conference by Liebscher, “Answering the Call to Prayer.”

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