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2009 Conversations

2008 Conversations

2007 Conversations

2006 Conversations

2005 Conversations

2004 Conversations

Alicia Chole: The truth about joy (12/28/03)

Cookies and Christmas: A roundtable discussion (12/21/03)

John Tesh: In pursuit of passion (12/14/03)

AGWM's L. John Bueno: Bread of life (11/23/03)

Teen Challenge's John Castellani: Christ breaks addictions (11/16/03)

Christian humorist Justin Fennell: Justifiably funny (10/19/03)

Representative Marilyn Musgrave: The role of Christians in government (10/12/03)

Dennis Gaylor: Fifty more campuses (9/28/03)

Kathy Troccoli: A message of hope (9/21/03)

Kristy Starling: Dreams come true (9/14/03)

CeCe Winans Love: Of Gospel and Grammies (8/31/03)

Gary Heavin: Faith and fitness (8/24/03)

Gracia Burnham: Grace in the jungle (8/17/03)

Seattle Mariner John Olerud: Hope when your health fails (8/10/03)

Chris Maxwell: Pastor recovering from memory loss (7/27/03)

Wayne Warner: Today’s Pentecostal Evangel: a historical view (7/20/03)

Paul Drost: Every church a parent or a partner (7/13/03)

Dr. J. Calvin Holsinger: What can be learned from history? (6/29/03)

Ron Drye: Ministering to the whole person (6/22/03)

Matt McPherson: Doing business by the Golden Rule (6/15/03)

The difference (6/8/03)

Fory VandenEinde: Fulfilling the Great Commission (5/25/03)

Tom Greene: The church's new generation (5/18/03)

Lisa Whelchel: Former sitcom star now an advocate for moms (5/11/03)

Tony Lamarque: Warden speaks about unconditional love (4/27/03)

Ann Graham Lotz: Just give her more of Jesus (4/20/03)

Lee Strobel: The case for Christ (4/13/03)

Randall K. Barton: Extravagant stewardship (3/30/03)

Bishop Gilbert Patterson: Bringing people together under Christ (3/23/03)

Pat Boone: A unique celebrity speaks out (3/16/03)

St. Clair Mitchell: God in Washington, D.C. (3/9/03)

Kay Gross: Ministry by women, ministry to women (2/23/03)

Thomas E. Trask: A historic General Council (2/16/03)

Denise Jones: Girls of Grace (2/9/03)

Doug Greengard: Beyond the NFL (1/26/03)

Three pro-life advocates call the church to action (1/19/03)

Chaplain Charles Marvin: The gospel in uniform (1/12/03)

2002 Conversations

2001 Conversations


Pastor recovering from memory loss

Seven years ago, Chris Maxwell, senior pastor of Evangel Assembly of God in Orlando, Fla., completed his usual full Sunday of church activities without a hitch. By Wednesday night, Maxwell, who has a master’s degree in divinity, had difficulty speaking. After passing out, he spent 10 days hospitalized and undergoing tests. Doctors discovered that he had a life-threatening disease — viral encephalitis. With speech and language therapy, Maxwell returned to his regular pace three months later. His recovery has been miraculous, as described in his new book, Beggars Can Be Chosen. Maxwell, 43, recently talked with news editor John W. Kennedy.

PE: You lost virtually all memory, including Bible verses and how to spell.

MAXWELL: The left temporal lobe of my brain is permanently damaged. Things that had been easy for me were suddenly gone. Overnight I was a totally different person. I could only remember my sons’ names — Taylor, Aaron and Graham — by using the acronym TAG. Even today, my secretary, youth pastor, board members and anyone who is tight with me, know when I give them a look that they need to call out the person’s name I’m talking to.

PE: You had to make a choice — whether to keep pastoring or give up.

MAXWELL: My neurologist told me I was so determined to minister to people that my stubbornness kept me alive. The church decided to accept their “new pastor.” Same name, new man. More people can relate to me now. They feel like they can come and talk to me because I’m not some perfect preacher who always has the answer.

PE: Why did your church board and staff support you so strongly?

MAXWELL: The doctors honestly didn’t think I’d be able to communicate again. With the approval of my wife, Debbie, several board members met with my neurologist one month after this happened. He indicated it would be better if I kept busy doing the things I loved to do rather than being pushed aside. People with disabilities need some motivation to live.

PE: Words had been a huge part of your life — not just preaching from God’s Word, but writing articles and speaking at conferences.

MAXWELL: I began preaching while a junior in high school. I had never used notes in preaching because I could memorize everything. Now I just do not have a memory. I have to use Power Point. I’m fortunate it’s culturally correct. But reading out loud is difficult for me.

PE: How has the ordeal brought unity to your congregation?

MAXWELL: If members of the congregation have fears, they don’t mind telling me. Those who have known me through all this say that new people in the church cannot tell there’s something wrong with me. Sometimes I joke with people that they can be honest with me because I’ll just forget what they tell me.

PE: What symptoms continue to bother you?

MAXWELL: I have epilepsy, a long-term side effect of encephalitis. I take anti-seizure medicine. I’m supposed to take a nap every day. I have to wear sunglasses when I’m in the light.

PE: What else has God taught you through this?

MAXWELL: When bad things happen to God’s people, we can choose to feel defeated or to view it as a blessing even if the long-term effects are not good. Some people in my situation, especially Christians, have had difficulty recovering because they refuse to ask others for help. Our attitudes make a big difference. Doctors say people with my brain damage — if they live — shouldn’t be able to say anything. It’s a miracle that I’m doing anything.

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