Christianity is exploding in Iran at the same time the government and religious authorities are engaged in unprecedented repression of believers.
“The older I get and the more I learn about God’s way, the more I become convinced—I’m not in control of much of anything,” Huffines says. “I can’t help but recognize how blessed I am.”
When my family struggled financially, I noticed something seeping up from my heart: a sickening, dog-eat-dog kind of mentality that secretly resented others I knew who were doing better and sought to compete for little scraps of material provision. I thought I was above these kinds of attitudes—I really did.
In a bizarre turn of the story that only God could script, Adebayo, the Nigerian former Muslim, is shepherding a congregation that consists mostly of homeless people, former homeless people, and a few dedicated helpers who caught on to his vision.
A fellow faculty member asked Celestin Musekura what he was doing to prepare for his upcoming mission trip, and the Dallas Theological Seminary adjunct professor told her that he was working out to strengthen his back—in case he got beat up.
You discover layers of prejudice beneath prejudice, with sordid little pockets of stuff that comes awfully close to hatred. You see yourself tested and tried and found wanting.
Thirty surgeries later, Christian had a reconstructed face--“They made me look like Denzel,” he jokes--but his life was irrevocably changed. He was permanently blind. He couldn’t see his grandchildren or his daughter in her gorgeous wedding dress.
If you don’t know about Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, you should. His ministry is hugely popular in English-speaking Africa and is making inroads all over the world. In his native Nigeria and in South Africa, he’s known for ministering in the miraculous. His Healing School in Johannesburg offers intensive teaching and one-on-one prayer for the sick, sometimes for hours, all at no charge.
This is the growth plan for The Village Church and its young pastor, Matt Chandler. The Village has increased from 160 people in 2002 to an average weekly attendance of 8,200 today at the flagship church in Flower Mound and its campuses in Dallas and Denton, which beam in Chandler’s sermons.
Should hot dog, hotel, and hoodie sales be more important than the NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State University? For 15 years top officials at Penn State—including the university’s famed former head football coach, Joe Paterno, or “Joe Pa,” as he was called—squashed allegations that Paterno’s assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, raped and sexually assaulted 10 boys.
The photos have a monotonous consistency—homely but functional platform, enormous speakers, towering lights—all facing a sea of brown-skinned humanity as far as the eye and camera can see. I’d seen these photos of Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke’s African crusades before, but they didn’t register as the unbelievable, historic phenomenon they really are until I heard Bonnke speak in a rare stateside appearance in May.
Tawana Williams, born without arms, gave her testimony on MannaEXPRESS’ television show in 2009. We caught up with her shortly after Christmas, when she was facing a new and wholly unexpected challenge.
Tawana Williams speaks slowly, then pauses to retrieve the right words. This, she says, is the biggest challenge she’s ever faced—recovering from a “mini-stroke” that seized her ability to speak, which she calls her passion, her reason for living.
J. Lee Grady is the finest commentator on the charismatic-Pentecostal church movement today and one of the best religion columnists in the country.
Gary Bryant has nice breath.
Which is a good thing, because he is a greeter at FellowshipChurch in Grapevine, where everyone is relentlessly nice and continually in your face. The moment I pulled up in my dirty Toyota Prius, I was accosted by a Fellowship handler, who ushered me into the bookstore and introduced me to Gary, an older gentleman with a sharply tailored blazer and shaved head. He shook my hand with studied firmness.
There is a spirit of division roaming about this country, seeking whom it may devour. You can see it in the political sphere, in the disproportionate animosity directed toward President Barack Obama and in the increasing level of distrust among races. But I have seen its corrosive effect even more in the personal and church spheres, where we have an enemy seeking to destroy every close, godly relationship.
Looking back, it sounds insane. In the late 1980s, I traveled to Jamaica with a friend of mine, rented a couple of 50 cc Honda motorbikes, and traveled all over the country, intentionally avoiding the resort areas. I saw a Jamaica that bore no resemblance to the white-sand beaches of tourist renown. We rolled through desperately poor villages in the interior, like the place called Rat Trap, where half-naked young men in rags blocked our way, hollering and gesturing at us to stop.
Dr. Manita Fadele loved medicine and she loved children. But God had another call on her life: pastor’s wife. Manita Fadele never planned on being a pastor’s wife. Her husband James worked as an engineer for Ford, and she had a successful private pediatric practice in suburban Detroit.
Arch Bonnema’s mission couldn’t be plainer. It encircles the towering ceiling of his McKinney home, inscribed in gold letters: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” Though Bonnema, 56, has launched several successful businesses and played an important role in the early success of the filmThe Passion of the Christ—he purchased all of the seats in Plano’s Cinemark Tinseltown 20 for opening day, and gave away the 6,000 tickets—orphan homes are the focus of his time and money today. Since 1991, he and his wife, Sherry, have tithed a minimum of 50 percent of their finances and work hours to missions, including their own ministry, My House.
We named it, we claimed it.
We bound devils and loosed riches, stomped our feet and waved our fists until we were sweaty and hoarse and a little ridiculous.
We stood by our mailboxes and ripped open our bank statements, looking for “supernatural blessings.”