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Posts tagged ‘Xulon Press’

Michael Brown’s ‘Authentic Fire’ Book Answers John MacArthur’s Accusations.


Michael Brown
Michael Brown

John MacArthur set off a firestorm of debate in November when he launched his Strange Fire book and conference flatly charging the charismaticchurch with irreverence to the Holy Spirit, heresy through prosperity teaching and other offenses.

Now charismatic Bible scholar and theologian Michael L. Brown is offering an in-depth response in an e-book entitled Authentic Fire: A Response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire. Indeed, the book confronts one of the most explosive current debates among Christians.

“We feel there’s a real urgency to get this message out,” says Tom Freiling, director of Excel Publishers and founder of Xulon Press. “That’s why we’re releasing Authentic Fire as an e-book. MacArthur unfairly criticizes charismatics in his book, and the body of Christ deserves a response. There’s no better scholar and author than Michael L. Brown to make the biblical case for charismatic theology.”

In direct contrast to the “collective war” launched by MacArthur, Brown makes a biblical case for the continuation of the New Testament gifts of the Spirit and demonstrates the unique contribution to missions, theology and worship made by the charismatic church worldwide.

Brown also calls for an appreciation of the unique strengths and weaknesses of both cessationists andcharismatics, inviting readers to experience God. And he demonstrates how charismatic leaders have been addressing abuses within their own movement for decades.

“This project is innovative on many levels,” Freiling continues. “First, the author wrote the book miraculously in less than one month—all 420 pages with hundreds of endnotes. Second, we designed, typeset and produced the e-book in a mere two weeks.”

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

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How to Get Godly (if You’ve Got the Guts).


Editor’s Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Roger Barrier‘s book, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, (Xulon Press, 2011).

God listens carefully to all of your prayers, but you usually can’t predict how He will choose to answer them. There is one prayer that God always answers “yes” to, though: praying for spiritual growth.

Since spiritual growth always reflects God’s will for you, you can count on God helping you when you let Him know that you’re willing to pursue spiritual growth at any price. Your willingness to do whatever it takes to become more spiritually mature invites God to work in your life in powerful ways.

Here’s how you can pray for spiritual growth and work with God to mature in your faith:

Recognize the three different levels of spiritual maturity. Christians start as spiritual children, getting acquainted with Jesus as their Savior but not yet developing much of His character. Then Christians progress to spiritual young men and women who are growing in their knowledge of Jesus and the Bible. Finally, Christians mature into spiritual mothers and fathers, who have developed intimate friendships with Jesus and have learned how to live in ways that help them fulfill His purposes for their lives.

Pray for the passion you need to devote yourself wholeheartedly to Jesus. Ask God to spark passion within you to set you on fire for pursuing spiritual growth. Make your relationship with Jesus your top priority in life, basing all of your decisions on it. As you do, you’ll gradually get to know Jesus more, which will cause you fall in love with Him more and motivate you to keep growing closer to Him. Keep in mind that God’s ultimate goal for your spiritual growth is for you to become more like Jesus.

Pray for the wisdom you need to follow the right path. Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind regularly so you can think about everything from God’s perspective, which will empower you to avoid wrong religious paths and focus on the right path that leads you closer to Jesus. Learn how to test spirits to discern which are from God and which aren’t, to guard against falling prey to evil deception that counters biblical truth.

Pray for friends to accompany you on the journey. Ask God to connect you with some good friends who are also pursuing spiritual growth so you all can encourage and support each other.

Learn how to apply biblical truth to your life. Read, study, and meditate on the Bible’s words often to get to know it well and absorb its truths into your soul. Practice applying what it says in the various situations you encounter – focusing especially on trusting in God’s grace rather than your own efforts to be righteous, valuing God over what the world offers (such as money), choosing faith over fear, and learning to love in deeper ways.

Practice spiritual disciplinesPracticing spiritual disciplines will help you consistently reduce the amount of selfishness in your attitudes and actions while increasing the amount of holiness in your life. Spiritual disciplines to pursue include: celebration, community, confession, fasting, fellowship, guidance, meditation, prayer, simplicity, service, solitude, study, submission, and worship.

Discover how the brokenness in your life can put Jesus on display. You’ll inevitably encounter suffering in this fallen world, but God will use it to accomplish good purposes in your life. View suffering through the lens of a biblical worldview so you can see that it’s not God’s fault and you’ll be able to trust that God has people’s best interests in mind at all times and in all situations. As suffering causes brokenness in your life, invite God to use it as a sculptor would, to chip away at your selfishness and reveal more of Jesus in your soul.

Offer every part of your life to God. Don’t withhold any part of your life from God; invite Him to transform every part of it – from your relationships to your work. Then expect God to do something great through your life.

Grow in purity so you can hear from God more clearly. The more spiritually pure you become, the better you’ll be able to recognize God speaking to you and receive His messages to you. So make a habit of confessing and repenting of your sins, accepting God’s forgiveness and grace to do better, making faithful lifestyle choices (such as intentionally avoiding situations that tempt you to sin), choosing never to violate your conscience, and always responding to the Holy Spirit when He prompts you to say or do something.

Listen for God’s voice carefully. Whenever you sense that you may be getting a message from God, carefully consider whether it’s truly from God, or whether it’s from your own mind or even from Satan trying to deceive you. Remember that: God speaks in your spirit, but other voices speak in your mind; God often speaks gently to you, while other voices tend to forcefully demand something from you; God’s messages produce freedom, but other messages can produce bondage in your life; God usually speaks when you’re seeking Him, while other voices often speak by intruding with sudden thoughts in your mind; You sense that all is under control when God speaks, but you often feel out of control when other voices speak; God’s guidance is clear, while other guidance leads to confusion; God convicts you about specific sins, but other voices make you feel guilty in vague, general ways; God speaks truth that can be tested and verified in the Bible, while Satan twists biblical truth to try to deceive; God’s messages lead to peace, but messages that aren’t actually from Him won’t lead to peace.

Help other people grow spiritually. After you’ve grown to spiritual maturity, you’ll naturally want what God wants – to reach out to others who need to connect with Him through Jesus. God’s love will flow through you to other people, empowering you to evangelize and disciple them as God leads. Regularly ask God to give you fresh compassion for lost people, and to help you discern who to reach out to and how to do so.

Adapted from Got Guts? Get Godly!: Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, copyright 2011 by Dr. Roger Barrier with Brianna Barrier Engeler. Published by Xulon Press, Longwood, Fl., www.xulonpress.com.

Dr. Roger Barrier serves as senior teaching pastor at Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona, a megachurch known for its multi-generational ministry, where he has worked throughout his 35-year career. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. He partners with Intimate Life Ministries and also regularly teaches national leaders for Campus Crusade for Christ and various other mission organizations. Dr. Barrier began preaching at the age of 13, and he shares his more than 3,000 sermons with you on the popular website, www.PreachitTeachit.org. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles (http://angels.about.com/). Contact Whitney at: angels.guide@about.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.

Publication date: September 6, 2011

By Whitney Hopler.

How Connected Churches Can Help Struggling Americans.


Several facts recently caught our attention.

  • In 1940, seven percent of Americans lived in one-person households. By 2000, that number more than tripled to 25 percent so that today there are more people living alone than at any time in U.S. history.
  • Between 1985 and 2004, the number of people with whom the average American discussed “important matters” dropped from three to two. During that same time period, the percentage of people who had no one with whom they discussed important matters tripled to nearly to nearly a quarter of those surveyed.
  • A Stanford University study found that as people spend more time on the internet, they spent less face-to-face time with other human beings.

These facts all point to the conclusion that loneliness is on the rise in America.

Combined with the present difficult economic conditions, this represents a one-two punch to many Americans who are struggling to find their way.

As we pointed out in our book Fired Up or Burned Out, people need human connection to thrive. We are human beings, not machines. When we don’t experience sufficient human connection, we dysfunction.

This may include experiencing feelings of emptiness, boredom and depression.

It may lead some to engage in substance abuse to numb the pain (according to the National Center on Addition and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, America has four percent of the world’s population yet consumes two-thirds of the world’s illegal drugs and half of the world’s supply of legal mood-altering pharmacological drugs).

Others may pursue illegitimate thrills to feel alive again and in doing so develop addictions to pornography, sexual encounters with prostitutes and one-night stands, or taking excessive business risks.

Current conditions present an enormous opportunity to glorify God.  Consider the church in Acts 2 and how connected the people felt to the Lord and to one another.

The 3,000 new believers were united together as one body with the Lord, just as Jesus prayed for in John 17.

They were devoted to the Apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to sharing the Lord’s Supper together and to prayer.

They were generous in helping one another.

They confessed their sins to one another and reconciled their differences before partaking in the Lord’s Supper.

As a result, they were a church family who felt embraced and valued.

The culture in the early church was in stark contrast to the cruel, harsh Roman culture that viewed compassion and mercy as irrational.

It’s no wonder then, as Acts 2 states, the Lord added daily to their number. By 300 A.D. half the Roman Empire were Christians.

Our challenge to you is to play your part in making your church a place where everyone feels embraced and valued.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with God’s overflowing love.

Pray that you will love the people in your church family.

Pray that you will love those you come in contact with daily outside your church, regardless of how loveable they might be, so that they might want to know the source of your joy and contentment during this difficult time.

To consider what you and your church might do to develop a church culture where everyone feels embraced and valued, download and read this free article entitled Alpha Church: The Church Flourishes When People Connect. Resources are also available at the Connected Church Conference website.

Pankau and Stallard are co-authors of the bestselling book Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity and Productivity (Thomas Nelson). Jason Pankau is president of Life Spring Network, a ministry that helps pastors and church leaders develop holistic, transformational, disciple-making communities (www.lifespringnetwork.org), and he is the author of Beyond Self Help: The True Path to Harnessing God’s Wisdom, Realizing Life’s Potential and Living the Abundant Life (Xulon Press). Michael Lee Stallard is president of E Pluribus Partners, a leadership training, consulting and coaching firm that helps leaders develop “Connection Cultures” that boost productivity, innovation and performance (www.fireduporburnedout.com).

By Jason Pankau and Michael Lee Stallard.

To Achieve Excellence, Develop a “True Heart”


“[David] cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.” Psalm 78:72 (NLT).

Research by psychologist K. Anders Erikson has shown that it requires approximately 10,000 hours of intentional practice, with coaching, to achieve a high degree of excellence in any endeavor. 

 Ten thousand hours is roughly equivalent to ten years of putting in 20 hours of practice a week.  The importance of perseverance and practice is obvious.

Every bit as essential to achieve excellence, yet less obvious, is the importance of the character strengths of humility and love.  Humility encourages us to seek and truly accept coaching and mentoring, and love is what allows us to give and receive the relational support of others needed to persevere through the inevitable ups and downs of life.

Years ago I (Michael) met and spoke with Andre Agassi when he was playing a tennis tournament in Burbank, California.  This was during a period when Agassi had fallen from being one of the top players in the world to being so lowly ranked that it was difficult for him to get into major tournaments. 

Andre had the skills but just wasn’t playing anywhere near the top of his game.  The Burbank tournament was the turning point.  Agassi won the tournament and went on to return to the ranks of the top tennis players in the world.  What happened?

Agassi attributed his turnaround to the guidance, support, encouragement and love he received from his wife (tennis great Steffi Graf), his coach, and other family members and friends.  Before that time, Agassi had isolated himself. 

 He was trying to self-help his way back to excellence.  It is likely that he had grown lonely. When Andre humbled himself to accept coaching and connect relationally with a group of individuals whom he loved and who loved him, that’s when he began improving his performance. 

I remember seeing Agassi walk around at the tournament and talk to people.  There were several policemen there and I recall observing him chatting with each of them.  When fans wanted an autograph, he patiently waited and signed each program or tennis ball.  Andre was humble and more grounded than I had expected.  

One key to Agassi’s comeback is that he had developed greater heart.   The French word for heart is coeur, which is the root of the word courage.   By admitting he could not come back on his own and reaching out for the help of others, Andre showed courage. 

Encourage means to share one’s heart with another.  Along with the advice of his coach, Andre’s loving family and friends shared their hearts and encouraged him.

A formulaic phrase we use when speaking and teaching at organizations we want to help thrive is this: 

task excellence + relationship excellence = sustainable superior performance.

Time and again we’ve witnessed that it can’t only be about the tasks of an organization; people, and specifically connection among the people, is equally critical. 

We see it here too.  Years of time on the tennis court plus the connection Agassi developed with his relational support system was one key to his rising to once again be among the top-ranked tennis players in the world.

This message — the need for love and encouragement, and for humility to accept advice from a coach or mentor — is especially relevant now when research has shown that many individuals feel left out and have isolated themselves relationally. 

 Research shows that people are more narcissistic and more people live alone today than at any time in U.S. history.   A quarter of Americans report they have not had a conversation with a close friend over the last six months. 

They are struggling, like Andre did, and they desperately need our help to develop the courage, the heart, to take the risk of reaching out to connect with family and friends.  

 We need to encourage them, to share our hearts with them, so that they can find the heart to reconnect.  If a friend or family member has come to mind, we hope you will pray for them and reach out to encourage him or her by sharing your heart.

In summary, if you want to achieve excellence in any endeavor, it will require years of persistent practice, humility to learn from a coach who will help you see what you can’t such as your blind spots and advice on how to improve, and the courage to love family and friends.

 Your love will nourish them with emotional support and encouragement just as their love and encouragement will nourish you.   Encouraged and loved, you’ll find you can persevere through the peaks and valleys you’ll encounter along the way.

It’s surprising, isn’t it, that developing one’s heart is an essential but rarely mentioned element to achieve excellence.  It’s no wonder then that Jesus had so much to say about the heart.  Like Andre Agassi, you may achieve excellence for a season, but it is utterly unsustainable unless you develop, as Psalm 78:72 points out, a “true heart.”

Pankau and Stallard are co-authors of the bestselling book Fired Up or Burned Out: How to Reignite Your Team’s Passion, Creativity and Productivity (Thomas Nelson).

Jason Pankau is president of Life Spring Network, a ministry that helps pastors and church leaders develop holistic, transformational, disciple-making communities (www.lifespringnetwork.org), and he is the author of Beyond Self Help: The True Path to Harnessing God’s Wisdom, Realizing Life’s Potential and Living the Abundant Life (Xulon Press).  Michael Lee Stallard (www.michaelleestallard.com) is president of E Pluribus Partners (www.epluribuspartners.com) a leadership training, consulting and coaching firm that helps leaders develop “Connection Cultures” that boost productivity, innovation and performance (http://www. fireduporburnedout.com ).

By Jason Pankau and Michael Lee Stallard.

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