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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Vantage Point: Thank You for the Privilege

By Ken Horn
Aug. 24, 2014

Recently, as my eyes trailed the anointed words of a great servant of God across my computer screen, I realized what a rare privilege it has been to edit seventeen and a half years of Pentecostal Evangels. My wife, Peggy, and I pulled into Springfield, Mo., on the last Sunday of January 1997. Leaving our treasured Oregon pastorate behind, we began our journey with the official publication of the Assemblies of God.

That journey ends with this issue.

What a ride it has been. During my tenure we have printed nearly 190 million magazines. Even more significantly, the Evangel staff has received and followed up on 30,000 salvation responses mailed in from readers. We have published our own line of books (PE Books) and created websites, blogs, social networking, podcasts, and AGTV interviews that have extended the publication’s outreach.

But the crown jewel of this ministry has always been the printed Pentecostal Evangel. For me, the privilege has included editing some 30,000 pages, reading nearly all several times each.

If you’re thinking that “30,000” was listed twice by mistake, I can assure you the two figures were reached independently of each other. Every page of the magazine has been involved in bringing one soul to Christ. (That’s only those readers who wrote in. Only eternity will reveal how many others there have been.) That’s an average of nearly seven every workday for more than 17 years. All have received follow-up, and many have been plugged into local churches. This has always been the most fulfilling aspect of the Pentecostal Evangel’s ministry.

The printed Evangel has had the benefit of being a patient witness, sometimes waiting for years at the bottom of a stack of publications only to emerge at a crucial time in a reader’s life, sometimes encouraging them in the midst of a trial and sometimes winning them to Christ.

We have received a number of salvation responses from magazines more than five years old, one of them from mainland China. The oldest traceable salvation coupon received was from a 12-year-old magazine! It had been a patient witness for more than a decade. We even tracked a magazine across a barren North African desert into the hands of a desperate traveler to whom it ministered.

The Pentecostal Evangel has been burned, tossed in the garbage, and crumpled up and thrown into the corner of a prison cell … and still became the light that led someone to salvation.

A soldier in Bosnia burning trash saw the Evangel in the fire, fished it out, read it, and gave his heart back to Christ. An unbeliever, dumping his remaining food after a meal, saw an Evangel someone had tossed in the top of a garbage can, plucked it out, read the ABCs of Salvation, gave his heart to Christ, and wrote me about his conversion. A violent inmate, in solitary at a maximum-security prison, cursed the chaplain who gave him the Evangel, then crumpled it up and threw it in a corner of his cell. The magazine lay there for days before the inmate picked it up. The next time the chaplain came through solitary, the prisoner prayed with him to receive Jesus as Savior.

Hundreds of such incidents are known. When we get to heaven, I expect to find out there are a multitude of others.

This patient witness has also been the means God used to call several AG missionaries to the field. I have been blessed to travel to every inhabited continent to report on AG missions in our regular World Missions Edition. I have repeatedly seen the value and quality of the AG men and women who serve throughout the world.

The magazine has also reached people of other denominations. A young father who had despaired of hope while his small son was fighting for his life in surgery picked up a Pentecostal Evangel in a hospital waiting room. He wrote to say one of the articles was just what he needed to bolster his faith to get through the trial. (His son survived the very successful surgery.)

I have worked with some of the finest people in this Movement on the Evangel staff. None of them has considered this merely a job. They have all considered it a privileged ministry and have poured their lives into it. Every Monday the staff has gathered and prayed for an average of 35 salvation responses each week, and laid hands on the next Sunday’s magazine, praying that the Holy Spirit would anoint it to accomplish its God-given tasks.

Since 1996, nearly 11.3 million Pentecostal Evangel magazines — more than 12,000 currently distributed each week — have reached behind bars and changed the lives of hardened criminals. There are pastors in AG pulpits today who came to the Lord through a Pentecostal Evangel while imprisoned. I have often said there is no better use of the Evangel than placing it before the incarcerated. Thousands of people have helped do this through supporting the Key Bearers ministry. A special thank you to each one of you who has participated in this harvest by being a Key Bearer.

My goal in life and ministry has always been to seek God’s will and do it. With that in mind I find it is time for me to retire — not from ministry, but from this ministry. I will continue to preach, teach and write.

And I will continue to believe in the Pentecostal Evangel. For more than a century it has been one of the Church’s most effective tools.

To the readers of the Pentecostal Evangel I sincerely say, thank you for the privilege.

Ken Horn

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