Monday, March 30, 2009
One Million People At Risk In Darfur, U.N. Says
By Richard Roth and Evan Buxbaum
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- More than one million people in Darfur are at risk of losing food, water and shelter in coming months, following the expulsion of international aid groups by Sudan's government, the United Nations' chief humanitarian coordinator said Tuesday.
The statement by coordinator John Holmes comes after a joint U.N.-Sudanese assessment of the situation.
The information was gathered from March 11-18 in hopes of stemming further troubles in Darfur after Sudan's government expelled 13 international relief organizations from the wartorn region.
The announcement came on the same day that President Omar al-Bashir, now an indicted war criminal, ignored the threat of arrest by traveling abroad to Eritrea. Also Tuesday, a Sudanese staffer working for a Canadian relief group was shot dead in Darfur.
A full report of the assessment will be released soon, according to the U.N., but an executive summary and recommendations were made available on Tuesday.
"While a significant effort is being made by the government, by the U.N., by the NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] which are left, to plug some of the immediate gaps in these areas, these are at the same time, 'Band-Aid' solutions, not long term solutions," Holmes said.
The U.N. estimates that 1.5 million people in Darfur are dependent on healthcare support, 1.1 million need regular food aid, and another 1 million are in need of clean drinking water.
The summary released Tuesday said the World Food Programme, which is still allowed to operate in Sudan, is carrying out a one-time-only distribution program in March and April, but that new partners will be needed to continue delivering food after April.
After the International Criminal Court charged Bashir with war crimes and crimes against humanity on March 4, Khartoum expelled 13 international aid agencies and revoked the permits of three organizations in the country.
Bashir -- the first sitting head of state to be charged with war crimes by the court -- has continued to say that humanitarian efforts in the country should be "Sudanized."
"Within a year, we don't want to see any foreign aid group dealing with a Sudanese citizen," he said at a rally a week after his arrest warrant was issued.
Holmes said that 13,000 to 14,000 aid workers in the region already were Sudanese nationals.
Holmes said the cooperation and technical help from the Sudanese government on the assessment was a good step forward. But he called it "only the first of many steps if the people in Darfur are not going to suffer major consequences from these expulsions."
Sudan's U.N. Ambassador, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, has repeatedly said he has information implicating the ousted organizations in activities contrary to their humanitarian missions. He has yet to make any of that information public.
One claim is that some organizations acted as spies for the International Criminal Court.
Holmes denied those allegations, saying they remain unfounded.
"Despite claims that there are dossiers of evidence, we have not been given any of that evidence," he said. "In the absence of that, no meaningful investigation can be done."
The British aid organization, Oxfam, one of the agencies expelled from Sudan, released a statement in response to Tuesday's findings.
"Current stop-gap measures will only be effective for a short time," the statement said. "As the rainy season arrives within the next two months, people living in weak temporary shelters, in flood-prone locations where latrines can fill and overflow, will become at extreme risk of disease and death.
"With the humanitarian capacity reduced by nearly 50 percent, responding to such emergency scenarios will be an enormous challenge for others to tackle," Oxfam said.
*Rape as genocide in Darfur
Monday, March 23, 2009
Charismatic Character Clash
by Collin Hansen
Journalist and pastor debate restoration for disgraced revivalist Todd Bentley
After ducking scrutiny that followed the Lakeland Revival's abrupt end in August 2008, Todd Bentley resurfaced this month. The Canadian Pentecostal disappeared from the public eye in August after filing for separation from his wife. Issuing a statement through the pastor overseeing his restoration process, Bentley said he was "sorry for the hurt and confusion that my decisions have caused the body of Christ." He indicated that he was pursuing a return to ministry in order to "fulfill God's call on my life."
Bentley fell even faster than he had climbed to prominence in 2008. He became a viral sensation during a healing revival that ran 100 consecutive nights and attracted 30,000 visitors per week. His renown spread with reports of his unusual healing tactics and claims that he had raised 25 people from the dead, all over the phone. But the Florida-based event could not survive Bentley's divorce and mounting criticism. One critic, Charisma editor J. Lee Grady, faulted Bentley for sending the charismatic movement into a "tailspin." He quoted an anonymous Pentecostal evangelist who said, "I'm now convinced that a large segment of the charismatic church will follow the Antichrist when he shows up because they have no discernment."
Grady said he groaned when he learned from the March 9 statement what Bentley had done since August. After divorcing his wife, Shonnah, he married Jessa Hasbrook, a former intern. The statement provided no update on Bentley's ex-wife. Grady also found fault with how Bentley's ministry was characterized by Rick Joyner, who once counseled Jim Bakker and has taken Bentley under his wing.
From Grady's perspective, gifts trumped his character in Joyner's decision to aid Bentley's return to ministry. The ends seemed to justify the means. "From the time I first met him nearly ten years ago," Joyner said of Bentley, "I knew that he had an extraordinary purpose and a gift of faith for the miraculous that would be desperately needed in these times." He closed the statement with an appeal for funds to launch Fresh Fire USA, Bentley's new ministry, now headquartered at Joyner's church in South Carolina.
"As we have been constantly reminded, the Lord had great patience with sinners, but He had none for the self-righteous," Joyner said, anticipating the inevitable criticism for his work with Bentley. "We're all here because He had mercy on us, and we know we still need it. However, we also know that true repentance and restoration can only come if we refuse to compromise the clear biblical standards for morality and integrity."
Joyner's argument hardly placated Grady. "What is most deplorable about this latest installment in the Bentley scandal is the lack of true remorse," Grady responded. He wondered how Bentley could accept responsibility for his share of the divorce and not repent of his decision to pursue the relationship with Hasbrook and marry her soon thereafter. And he asked why Bentley had not sought reconciliation with his first wife. Then Grady's argument escalated.
"Many Christians today have rejected biblical discipline and adopted a sweet, spineless love that cannot correct," Grady said. "Our grace is greasy. No matter what an offending brother does, we stroke him and pet him and nurse his wounds while we ignore the people he wounded. No matter how heinous his sin, we offer comforting platitudes because, after all, who are we to judge?"
Joyner and Grady's exchange raises a host of questions about the nature of forgiveness and qualifications for ministry. Their public debate was intensely personal. Admitting he had no time for tact, Joyner took issue with Grady's qualifications for judging. In so doing, he seemed to confirm Grady's cause for concern about ends justifying means. "If you are such [a] judge of this what gives you the credentials?" Joyner asked Grady on March 12. "What moves of God have you led? What have you built?" He went so far as to allege that Grady's judgment matched Bentley's infidelity in the economy of sin.Joyner's indignation reflects a common misconception about judgment. Elsewhere he faults Grady for violating Matthew 18 and airing his concern publicly before going to Bentley personally. But this pattern for church discipline, taught by Jesus himself, presupposes that local church leaders will need to hold one another accountable to God's standards. Similarly, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 5:12, "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?" Christians must judge one another in this way to preserve the church's moral witness and warn one another against sin.
But if church leaders will judge the body of Christ in order to protect it, they must be marked by godly character. And that's exactly the standard for leadership that Paul lays out in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. As they represent God in positions of authority, overseers must demonstrate God's communicable attributes, including love, patience, and fidelity. In a Christian of godly character, gifting such as knowledge, prophecy, or teaching brings glory to God alone. It does not exalt the gifted but the Gift Giver.
As Joyner suggests, King David's example shows us that God can still do mighty things with great sinners. But does God want us to learn from David's story that infidelity should be no impediment to ministry? God deposed other leaders, including Saul, when they had sinned against him. He spared David this fate because of the covenant he initiated to preserve the David kingdom forever (2 Sam. 7:14-16), culminating in Jesus. The outcome of David's life warns us against learning the wrong lessons. David's sin undermined his leadership permanently. His son Absalom rebelled and chased the king from the city of David (2 Sam. 15).
To be sure, God's Word commands Christians to forgive, because God has forgiven them (Col. 3:13). But this forgiveness does not trump judgment as properly exercised in church discipline. And it cannot erase the temporal consequences of sin. Character, not gifting, is a leader's most important asset. This is the means God has ordained to accomplish his ends.
Friday, March 20, 2009
21) I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
22) But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
When I read Rick Joyner's response to Lee Grady's article "The Tragic Scandal of Greasy Grace", I perceived pride, arrogance, and implicit intimidation. Contrary to Joyner’s taunts in his statement, Lee Grady has the credentials to point out error concerning the Lakeland Revival and the sin residing in Bentley--if He has God's spirit indwelling in him; just as I, and likely the person reading this blog. Indeed, even the world pointed out inconsistencies present in the revival (i.e. Nightline). The leaders in the new apostolic prophetic movement; that is the new apostles and prophets think they are endowed with special power and privileges where they can rule over members in the church. That’s right, “RULE”! Watch out folks, I am telling you many of these people appoint themselves to these positions and are always claiming to hear from God; but are unknowingly agents of the devil. Deceived, they go about deceiving others (II Timothy 2:13), and some make big bucks for this in the process.
2 Peter 2:1-3
1) But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
2) And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.
3) By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
Most of them boast of their so-called anointing—they constantly elevate themselves above other believers and have an expectation for the Church to follow putting them on a pedestal. Not only does this group idolize their peers, they idolize themselves. Joyner basically claimed ‘who is Grady to tear down the works of others?’ Essentially, Joyner is taking out the handy rotten apostolic muzzle--a coercive, more subtle way of enforcing silence then pulling out a whip to beat their subjects into place. They constantly twist other people motives, yet why would people just want to tear down something? They love to label defenders of God’s Word as possessing “critical” and “religious” spirits—it’s become an easy excuse to not deal with their sin and gross error. The fact is, Grady would not had spoken out against these ill-gotten practices in the Church in the first place, if these false apostles and prophets where living and abiding in the Word. When you speak the truth, they immediately claim you are tearing them down. They immediately call you the accuser of the brethren. In other words, be silent and be subject to them. Do not resist their false authority or correct them. I tell you this, even if someone has real authority from God, and they instruct you to go against the Word in some way---for whatever reason--- RESIST their instruction. Because that person has move out from God’s Word and is instructing you to do the same!
Another thing, those directly involved are close to promoting the Todd controversy themselves with frequent updates to Bentley’s restoration process. Maybe they will sell t-shirts, with Bentley featured on the front as “before”—then Bentley on the back as “after”. Better pull out your magnifying glass. Case in point—a simplistic analogy of sorts (well, maybe it’s a little crude). The other day I bought Quaker Oats –“Peaches and Cream”. I ate it and it seemed “off”—yet fairly ok in taste. Then I read the back of the package (and later took a good look at the front), and the peaches where in reality apple chunks with artificial peach flavor. I simply assumed it had genuine peaches in it when I purchased it—but assumptions can land you in trouble. You have to examine things to get the full picture. Bentley is being "restored" by false apostles and prophets—cookie cutter NAR! Of course people change, I don’t dispute this, but just looking at the facts and the progression of this thing…what can you hope for when the false restores the false? The real? No, I don’t think so. Who wants to see a false prophet restored and back teaching blatant error and downright apostasy? No thanks.
Joyner is very condescending to Lee Grady in this letter, as if to agitate him. Joyner says to Grady:
“Lee, I love some of the things you write, but I also feel that some are straight from the mouth of the accuser. I do think you have done at least as much damage to the church as Todd's fall has by your unrighteous and unfair judgments. I don't think you have earned the credentials for it, and you're putting yourself in far more jeopardy by trying to be such a self-appointed judge.”
There is an implicit threatening tone it; the whip has come out of the shadows. Grady owes no apologies for speaking what should had been spoken. I sure hope Grady stands his ground and begin to question the rubbish of the New Apostolic Reformation. He needs to get clear from that influence, then maybe the shackles will fall off his mind. It is evident he sees some of the error, and I hope and pray as time passes, he will come out away from the NAR. Joyner is being manipulative and twisting things in his response to Grady’s article. He asked of Grady “I would like to know what philosophy you have bought into that trumps Scripture?” Joyner should ask this of himself, however, he will not. How can he possibly be wrong—being a super apostle---therefore he is exempt from questioning himself according to NAR standards. Nor is anyone suppose to question him. At the end Joyner apologizes for being harsh, sounding like Benard Madoff helping a widow with her savings. Joyner stated in the letter:
“I am deeply offended that you would call our work "a travesty." The Lord had far more grace for sinners than for the self-righteous, who He had no grace for at all. I am personally far more concerned for you than for Todd.”
Not. Vested interest is where his concern lies.
25) The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion tearing the prey; they have devoured people; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in her midst.
26) Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.
27) Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain.
28) Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, 'Thus says the Lord God,' when the Lord had not spoken.
29) The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger.
*The letter from Joyner is contained in the blog entry before this. Click here to go the article.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
ANDREW STROM's NOTE: Last year I commented that we have now entered the long-prophesied hour of great 'Shaking' and massive Reformation in the church. Judgment is beginning at the house of God - and we are seeing it at the leadership level. Sadly, I do not believe that Rick Joyner truly comprehends how upset and angry many Christians are at what has been going on with the leadership regarding Todd Bentley and Lakeland. As you will see from the comments (after the article below), many people are outraged at what is happening. I truly believe that if Rick Joyner inisists on sticking to his present course, he may bring his entire ministry down to ruin. Below is his "Response" to Lee Grady - followed by some comments from readers-
RICK JOYNER’s RESPONSE to LEE GRADY’s COLUMN, “THE TRAGIC SCANDAL of GREASY GRACE”
(Rick Joyner of Morningstar Ministries sent this response on March 12, 2009)
Lee, I think what you call "the Lakeland disaster" would be disputed by multitudes of people who got healed or touched there. If you are such judge of this what gives you the credentials? What moves of God have you led? What have you built? Paul the apostle claimed to have authority for building and for tearing down, but what gives you authority to tear down the work of others is having built something yourself.
I, Todd, Bill and Jack all know this is a very serious matter, and are treating it as such. I am deeply offended that you would call our work "a travesty." The Lord had far more grace for sinners than for the self-righteous, who He had no grace for at all. I am personally far more concerned for you than for Todd.
Lee, I love some of the things you write, but I also feel that some are straight from the mouth of the accuser. I do think you have done at least as much damage to the church as Todd's fall has by your unrighteous and unfair judgments. I don't think you have earned the credentials for it, and you're putting yourself in far more jeopardy by trying to be such a self-appointed judge.
I'm quite sure you will misunderstand what I'm saying, and I'm definitely not implying that we want to cover anything up, or promote cheap grace. We have just started the process and its being judged negatively. Give us some time, and some grace. Grace is, by the way, something we are supposed to be giving to each other.
If you care to follow this, Todd and I will be doing Video Special Bulleting each week that will be posted on our website, U-Tube, and carried by many others. These will be short, like the first, only about 10 minutes, but we want to cover the mistakes Todd has made, and as much as we can in the time we have, how he fell into some of the traps he did, strictly for helping others to not have to go through what Todd has. He will no doubt be doing a lot of public apologizing during this time because the public deserves these apologies.
I think you owe Todd, myself, Bill, and Jack apologies for your presumptuous judgments. I think they should be as public as this letter was. If not, I feel that I will have to address this publicly, and I don't think that is in your best interest.
I also think you need to come down and spend some time with Todd and me. If you have problems with someone we have Matt.18 as a guide to how we should deal with them. Read the first part of that chapter. This was given to help protect people from becoming stumbling blocks, which the Lord made quite clear was something we do not want to be. If you think being a journalist exempts you from complying with Scripture, I would like to know what philosophy you have bought into that trumps Scripture.
Sorry if this comes across as harsh. I don't mean for it too but I am quite busy and just don't have the time that I would like to maybe be a bit more tactful. [--Rick Joyner].
COMMENTS FROM READERS (-many were quite angry about Rick Joyner's letter - but I have tried to choose some of the more thoughtful replies)-
"Lee, my hope and prayer is you do not back down from the biblical stand you have taken concerning this sorry situation. I read Mr. Joyner's public letter to you this evening and can see this is exactly what he desires you to do. To be frank, i saw it as a threatening letter. I know you may be tempted to retract some of your statements above to keep the peace, but i ask you as a sister in the Lord, please don't. There are not enough voices out there today willing to speak the truth, and stand firmly up on it afterward. The body of Christ needs one at Charisma magazine."
"Rick, I've put a lot of stock in your ministry over the years. Yours is one I have felt had character and in some ways, perhaps wrongly, I depended on you and other big names of the prophetic movement. When my own spirit was troubled watching the Lakeland revival, I did my best to ignore it because there were so many men with so much more discernment than myself right there, who actually knew Todd. This fiasco has caused me to take another look at the whole charismatic movement and especially the prophetic one. Like the commenter above, if there was so much prophetic gifting around Todd why did he get by with this? Are we at a point that we think gifts are more important than character? Does God need Todd's ministry regardless of his character? I think he loves Todd more than that."
"Years ago I read and ascribed to much of what Rick Joyner wrote and said. I no longer do, I am older and more mature, and love the truth more than myself. To be transformed into the image of Christ is a full time job, not an option. I do not ascribe to RJ's "vision" of blue and gray, whether he had one or not. Many of us noted after many hours of reading and researching online during the Lakeland debacle that 98% of the profanity, threats, and misquotes from scripture came from the group that was defending TB. There certainly was a "spirit" operating in Lakeland and it was by no stretch of the imagination a Godly one. God makes an absolute guarantee that if we seek truth we will find it..."
"Lack of credibility...
You sir, are the one who lacks credibility. You stood on stage with Bentley on June 23rd, 2008 along with other false apostles and prophets and not one of you had the discernment to see that Bentley was living in flagrant sin. Drinking excessively in public, ministering in public with his mistress beside him, telling the world he was happily married - showing off his wife and kids then dumping them weeks later. Not ONE of you so-called "apostles" has one whit of discernment."
NOTE: As I said, a lot of the comments are quite angry. I think we have seen enough for now! But this is a very serious issue that clearly has the potential to cause major rifts in the Charismatic movement. For that reason alone, we cannot afford to simply ignore it. Here are the links if you want to read Lee Grady's original article, Joyner's response - or any of the comments that follow them:
Sunday, March 15, 2009
The Tragic Scandal of Greasy Grace
by J. Lee Grady
This week's announcement about evangelist Todd Bentley's hasty remarriage and restoration is sending a confusing message to the church.
I groaned when I learned early this week that Canadian preacher Todd Bentley, leader of the controversial Lakeland Revival, had decided to divorce his wife, Shonnah, and marry his former ministry intern, Jessa Hasbrook. The news surfaced after almost nine months of silence and speculation, during which time the board of Bentley's Fresh Fire Ministries in British Columbia publicly scolded him for committing adultery.
In a statement released March 10 by Rick Joyner, the popular author and minister who is overseeing Bentley's restoration process, we were told that (1) Bentley married his new wife several weeks ago and moved to Joyner's base in Fort Mill, S.C.; (2) Todd and Jessa agree that their relationship was "wrong and premature" and that it "should not have happened the way it did"; (3) Bentley will remain out of public ministry while he seeks healing; and (4) Joyner will oversee the healing process with input from Dallas pastor Jack Deere and California pastor Bill Johnson."Many of us have rejected biblical discipline and adopted a sweet, spineless love that cannot correct."
It was also announced that Bentley plans to relaunch his ministry, called Fresh Fire USA, in Fort Mill, and that Joyner is now collecting donations from supporters to help rebuild it. (The Canadian ministry Bentley started has now been renamed Transform International, and it has severed ties with the evangelist.)
In a few places in his statement Joyner expressed tough love, especially when he said: "We know that trust has to be earned and that Todd will have to earn the trust of the body of Christ for future ministry, which will not be easy, nor should it be." He also made it clear that true repentance and restoration "can only come if we refuse to compromise the clear biblical standards for morality and integrity."
But there were some glaring omissions in the statements released this week that indicate a fundamental weakness in our freestyle approach to "restoring" fallen leaders.
First of all, it is outrageous that Shonnah Bentley, Todd's first wife, does not seem to be an issue in the current discussion. Her name is never mentioned in Joyner's statement—while Todd is mentioned 18 times. We are never told how Shonnah is handling the divorce. How will she manage to care for the three children she and Todd share? She and the kids seem invisible in this process. Yet if anyone needs healing and restoration, is it not the other half of this broken family?
Second, we charismatics still seem to have a habit of elevating gifting above character. It's almost as if the end justifies the means. (So what if a preacher ruins one marriage and makes a hasty decision to marry a younger woman—the important thing is that we get him back in the pulpit to heal the sick!) That is a perversion of biblical integrity. God can anoint any man or woman with the Holy Spirit's power; what He is looking for are vessels of honor that can carry that anointing with dignity, humility and purity.
What is most deplorable about this latest installment in the Bentley scandal is the lack of true remorse. In his own statement, Bentley apologizes for his actions and says he "takes full responsibility for my part for the ending of the marriage." But how can he be taking "full responsibility" if he willingly chose to have a girlfriend on the side—and then married her immediately after his divorce was final? Why did he hide for several months when he should have been listening to counsel and seeking reconciliation with his first wife?
Many Christians today have rejected biblical discipline and adopted a sweet, spineless love that cannot correct. Our grace is greasy. No matter what an offending brother does, we stroke him and pet him and nurse his wounds while we ignore the people he wounded. No matter how heinous his sin, we offer comforting platitudes because, after all, who are we to judge?
When the apostle Paul learned that a member of the Corinthian church was in an immoral relationship with his father's wife, he did not rush to comfort the man. He told the Corinthians: "You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst" (I Cor. 5:2). Sometimes we must draw a ruthless sword in order to bring genuine healing. The "wounds of a friend" are faithful to bring conviction and true repentance (see Prov. 27:6).
Paul actually delivered the unrepentant Corinthian man to Satan "for the destruction of his flesh" (5:5) so that he could be saved. That does not sound very nice. Many today would call Paul's tactic harsh and legalistic. But that is because we have lost any true sense of the fear of the Lord—and we don't realize that our laxness about God's standards is a perversion of His mercy. When the sin is severe, the public rebuke must be severe.
In all the discussion of Bentley and the demise of the Lakeland Revival, I am waiting to hear the sound of sackcloth ripping into shreds. We should be weeping. We should be rending our hearts—as God commanded Israel when they fell into sin (see Joel 2: 13-14). To give guidance to a confused church, our leaders should have publicly decried the Lakeland disaster while at the same time helping both Todd and Shonnah to heal.
We have not mourned this travesty. We have not been shocked and appalled that such sin has been named among us. We act as if flippant divorce and remarriage are minor infractions—when in actuality they are such serious moral failures that they can bring disqualification.
If we truly love Todd Bentley, we will not clamor for his quick return to the pulpit. While we certainly want him to be fully restored to fellowship with God, we cannot rush the process of restoring a man to ministry. Leaders must live up to a higher standard. We must demand that those involved in Bentley's restoration not only love him but also love the church by protecting us from the kind of scandal we endured last year.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
When I was teaching this past week on Purim, I thought of three distinct areas linked with timing in the Book of Esther. Those three areas are: Carnality, Crisis, and Change! We all seem to be in the midst of a crisis time. During this time there are choices on how each of us must make necessary changes!
Global Harvest Ministries, like most ministries, is in a great process of transitional change. With every transitional season, we go through a time of death, then confusion, and finally break into our order for the future. Many times we try to set order first, instead of trusting the creative power of the Lord to make us think in new ways and then reestablish order.
Through the years, so many of us have been led by Peter and Doris Wagner into creative paradigms. I do not know any couple in ministry who has remained as steadfast in encouraging the Body of Christ to change at God's appointed times. They have led us through major shifts in healing, spiritual warfare, prophetic and apostolic reformation, deliverance, the understanding of the great wealth transfer, and realignments for Kingdom advancement. They are now staying focused in societal transformation. Peter is writing his memoirs, so all of this should be recapitulated for us so we never forget how we came into the way we think now.
Physically, Doris went through her most difficult season last year with foot surgeries that caused her to be homebound for almost six months. Peter had shoulder surgery this past week and will be mending until we leave for China at the end of April.
They have given so faithfully to help all of us advance. Now is our turn to give back. As I visited with them and reviewed their financial needs this week, I found that they actually needed $210,000 to take them through April 15.
This will help them get through until we shift many things for their future. I am working on Global Spheres, Inc. This ministry is a Kingdom aligned ministry of key apostles, prophets, and intercessors. We will glean all we can from Peter and Doris to develop harvest strategies for the Body in days ahead.
However, we must help them NOW, through this transition until they realign their resources for the future. I know what the Lord impressed me to do this month. Please ask how you can bless them for the blessings they have given to help you move forward. You can give by following the instructions at the end of this letter.
Below, you will find their top five ministry priorities and comments listed.
- Equip the body of Christ for the warfare ahead through conferences across the Nation. This year, we feel we should concentrate on the basics.
- Expand the borders of Wagner Leadership Institute. We are training hundreds and hundreds of leaders both from the Church and from the workplace both in the US and 16 other nations of the world.
- Provide leadership and biblical alignment for today's apostles through the International Coalition of Apostles and Eagles Vision Apostolic Team.
- Increase membership and raise the water level of responsible deliverance ministry through the International Society of Deliverance Ministers.
- Mobilize the army of God to receive the great transfer of wealth from the unrighteous to the godly for the purpose of advancing God's kingdom, reforming society and regaining rightful dominion of God's creation.
We love and appreciate you.
Chuck D. Pierce
Monday, March 9, 2009
*Click here to go to Part One.
Catastrophic Fall in 2009 Global Food Production
by Eric deCarbonnel
Horn of Africa
Africa faces food shortages and famine. Food production across the Horn of Africa has suffered because of the lack of rainfall. Also, half the agricultural soil has lost nutrients necessary to grow plant, and the declining soil fertility across Africa is exacerbating drought related crop losses.
Kenya is the worst hit nation in the region, having been without rainfall for 18 months. Kenya needs to import food to bridge a shortfall and keep 10 million of its people from starvation. Kenya’s drought suffering neighbors will be of little help.
A poor harvest due to drought has prompted Tanzania to stop issuing food export permits. Tanzania has also intensified security at the border posts to monitor and prevent the export of food. There are 240,000 people in need of immediate relief food in Tanzania.
Crops in the north of Burundi have withered, leaving the tiny East African country facing a severe food shortage
Severe drought in northeastern Uganda's Karamoja region has the left the country on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. The dry conditions and acute food shortages, which have left Karamoja near starvation, are unlikely to improve before October when the next harvest is due.
South Africa faces a potential crop shortage after wheat farmers in the eastern part of the Free State grain belt said they were likely to produce their lowest crop in 30 years this year. South Africans are "extremely angry" that food prices continue to rise.
Other African nations suffering from drought in 2009 are: Malawi, Zambia, Swaziland, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tunisia, Angola, and Ethiopia.
Middle East and Central Asia
The Middle East and Central Asia are suffering from the worst droughts in recent history, and food grain production has dropped to some of the lowest levels in decades. Total wheat production in the wider drought-affected region is currently estimated to have declined by at least 22 percent in 2009. Owing to the drought's severity and region-wide scope, irrigation supplies from reservoirs, rivers, and groundwater have been critically reduced. Major reservoirs in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria are all at low levels requiring restrictions on usage. Given the severity of crop losses in the region, a major shortage of planting seed for the 2010 crop is expected.
In Iraq during the winter grain growing period, there was essentially no measurable rainfall in many regions, and large swaths of rain-fed fields across northern Iraq simply went unplanted. These primarily rain-fed regions in northern Iraq are described as an agricultural disaster area this year, with wheat production falling 80-98 percent from normal levels. The USDA estimates total wheat production in Iraq in 2009 at 1.3 million tons, down 45 percent from last year.
Syria is experienced its worst drought in the past 18 years, and the USDA estimates total wheat production in Syria in 2009 at 2.0 million tons, down 50 percent from last year. Last summer, the taps ran dry in many neighborhoods of Damascus and residents of the capital city were forced to buy water on the black market. The severe lack of rain this winter has exacerbated the problem.
Lack of rainfall has led Afghanistan to the worst drought conditions in the past 10 years. The USDA estimates 2008/09 wheat production in Afghanistan at 1.5 million tons, down 2.3 million or 60 percent from last year. Afghanistan normally produces 3.5-4.0 million tons of wheat annually.
Jordan's persistent drought has grown worse, with almost no rain falling on the kingdom this year. The Jordanian government has stopped pumping water to farms to preserve the water for drinking purposes.
Other Middle Eastern and Central Asian nations suffering from drought in 2009 are: The Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Israel, Bangladesh, Myanmar, India, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Cyprus, and Iran.
Lack of credit will worsen food shortage
A lack of credit for farmers curbed their ability to buy seeds and fertilizers in 2008/2009 and will limit production around the world. The effects of droughts worldwide will also be amplified by the smaller amount of seeds and fertilizers used to grow crops.
Low commodity prices will worsen food shortage
The low prices at the end of 2008 discouraged the planting of new crops in 2009. In Kansas for example, farmers seeded nine million acres, the smallest planting for half a century. Wheat plantings this year are down about 4 million acres across the US and about 1.1 million acres in Canada. So even discounting drought related losses, the US, Canada, and other food producing nations are facing lower agricultural output in 2009.
Europe will not make up for the food shortfall
Europe, the only big agricultural region relatively unaffected by drought, is set for a big drop in food production. Due to the combination of a late plantings, poorer soil conditions, reduced inputs, and light rainfall, Europe’s agricultural output is likely to fall by 10 to 15 percent.
Stocks of foodstuff are dangerously low
Low stocks of foodstuff make the world’s falling agriculture output particularly worrisome. The combined averaged of the ending stock levels of the major trading countries of Australia, Canada, United States, and the European Union have been declining steadily in the last few years:
2002-2005: 47.4 million tons
2007: 37.6 million tons
2008: 27.4 million tons
These inventory numbers are dangerously low, especially considering the horrifying possibility that China’s 60 million tons of grain reserves doesn't actually exists.
Global food Catastrophe
The world is heading for a drop in agricultural production of 20 to 40 percent, depending on the severity and length of the current global droughts. Food producing nations are imposing food export restrictions. Food prices will soar, and, in poor countries with food deficits, millions will starve.
The deflation debate should end now
The droughts plaguing the world’s biggest agricultural regions should end the debate about deflation in 2009. The demand for agricultural commodities is relatively immune to developments in the business cycles (at least compared to that of energy or base metals), and, with a 20 to 40 percent decline in world production, already rising food prices are headed significantly higher.
In fact, agricultural commodities NEED to head higher and soon, to prevent even greater food shortages and famine. The price of wheat, corn, soybeans, etc must rise to a level which encourages the planting of every available acre with the best possible fertilizers. Otherwise, if food prices stay at their current levels, production will continue to fall, sentencing millions more to starvation.
Competitive currency appreciation
Some observers are anticipating “competitive currency devaluations” in addition to deflation for 2009 (nations devalue their currencies to help their export sector). The coming global food shortage makes this highly unlikely. Depreciating their currency in the current environment will produce the unwanted consequence of boosting exports—of food. Even with export restrictions like those in China, currency depreciation would cause the outflow of significant quantities of grain via the black market.
Instead of “competitive currency devaluations”, spiking food prices will likely cause competitive currency appreciation in 2009. Foreign exchange reserves exist for just this type of emergency. Central banks around the world will lower domestic food prices by either directly selling off their reserves to appreciate their currencies or by using them to purchase grain on the world market.
Appreciating a currency is the fastest way to control food inflation. A more valuable currency allows a nation to monopolize more global resources (ie: the overvalued dollar allows the US to consume 25% of the world's oil despite having only 4% of the world's population). If China were to selloff its US reserves, its enormous population would start sucking up the world's food supply like the US has been doing with oil.
On the flip side, when a nation appreciates its currency and starts consuming more of the world’s resources, it leaves less for everyone else. So when china appreciates the yuan, food shortages worldwide will increase and prices everywhere else will jump upwards. As there is nothing that breeds social unrest like soaring food prices, nations around the world, from Russia, to the EU, to Saudi Arabia, to India, will sell off their foreign reserves to appreciate their currencies and reduce the cost of food imports. In response to this, China will sell even more of its reserves and so on. That is competitive currency appreciation.
When faced with competitive currency appreciation, you do NOT want to be the world’s reserve currency. The dollar is likely to do very poorly as central banks liquidate trillions in US holdings to buy food and appreciate their currencies.
Catastrophic Fall in 2009 Global Food Production
by Eric deCarbonnel
After reading about the droughts in two major agricultural countries, China and Argentina, I decided to research the extent other food producing nations were also experiencing droughts. This project ended up taking a lot longer than I thought. 2009 looks to be a humanitarian disaster around much of the world
To understand the depth of the food Catastrophe that faces the world this year, consider the graphic below depicting countries by USD value of their agricultural output, as of 2006.
Now, consider the same graphic with the countries experiencing droughts highlighted.
The countries that make up two thirds of the world’s agricultural output are experiencing drought conditions. Whether you watch a video of the drought in China, Australia, Africa, South America, or the US, the scene will be the same: misery, ruined crop, and dying cattle.
The drought in Northern China, the worst in 50 years, is worsening, and summer harvest is now threatened. The area of affected crops has expanded to 161 million mu (was 141 million last week), and 4.37 million people and 2.1 million livestock are facing drinking water shortage. The scarcity of rain in some parts of the north and central provinces is the worst in recorded history.
The drought which started in November threatens over half the wheat crop in eight provinces - Hebei, Shanxi, Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan, Shandong, Shaanxi and Gansu.
China's largest crop producing province, Henan, has issued the highest-level drought warning. Henan has received an average rainfall of 10.5 millimeters since November 2008, almost 80 percent less than in the same period in the previous years. The Henan drought, which began in November, is the most severe since 1951.
Anhui Province issued a red drought alert, with more than 60 percent of the crops north of the Huaihe River plagued by a major drought.
Shanxi Province was put on orange drought alert on Jan. 21, with one million people and 160,000 heads of livestock are facing water shortage.
Jiangsu province has already lost over one fifth of the wheat crops affected by drought. Local agricultural departments are diverting water from nearby rivers in an emergency effort to save the rest.
Over 100 million cubic meters of water has been channeled in from outside the province to fight Hebei’s drought.
1.34 million acres of crops across the bone-dry Shanxi province are affected by the worsening drought.
Since last November, Shandong province has experienced 73 percent less rain than the same period in previous years, with little rainfall forecast for the future.
Relief efforts are under way. The Chinese government has allocated 86.7 billion yuan (about $12.69 billion) to drought-hit areas. Authorities have also resorted to cloud-seeding, and some areas received a sprinkling of rain after clouds were hit with 2,392 rockets and 409 cannon shells loaded with chemicals. However, there is a limit to what can be done in the face of such widespread water shortage.
As I have previously written, China is facing hyperinflation, and this record drought will make things worse. China produces 18% of the world's grain each year.
Australia has been experiencing an unrelenting drought since 2004, and 41 percent of Australia's agriculture continues to suffer from the worst drought in 117 years of record-keeping. The drought has been so severe that rivers stopped flowing, lakes turned toxic, and farmers abandoned their land in frustration:
A) The Murray River stopped flowing at its terminal point, and its mouth has closed up.
B) Australia’s lower lakes are evaporating, and they are now a meter (3.2 feet) below sea level. If these lakes evaporate any further, the soil and the mud system below the water is going to be exposed to the air. The mud will then acidify, releasing sulfuric acid and a whole range of heavy metals. After this occurs, those lower lake systems will essentially become a toxic swamp which will never be able to be recovered. The Australian government's only options to prevent this are to allow salt water in, creating a dead sea, or to pray for rain.
For some reason, the debate over climate change is essentially over in Australia.
The United States
California is facing its worst drought in recorded history. The drought is predicted to be the most severe in modern times, worse than those in 1977 and 1991. Thousands of acres of row crops already have been fallowed, with more to follow. The snowpack in the Northern Sierra, home to some of the state's most important reservoirs, proved to be just 49 percent of average. Water agencies throughout the state are scrambling to adopt conservation mandates.
The Texan drought is reaching historic proportion. Dry conditions near Austin and San Antonio have been exceeded only once before—the drought of 1917-18. 88 percent of Texas is experiencing abnormally dry conditions, and 18 percent of the state is in either extreme or exceptional drought conditions. The drought areas have been expanding almost every month. Conditions in Texas are so bad cattle are keeling over in parched pastures and dying. Lack of rainfall has left pastures barren, and cattle producers have resorted to feeding animals hay. Irreversible damage has been done to winter wheat crops in Texas. Both short and long-term forecasts don't call for much rain at all, which means the Texas drought is set to get worse.
Augusta Region (Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina)
The Augusta region has been suffering from a worsening two year drought. Augusta’s rainfall deficit is already approaching 2 inches so far in 2009, with January being the driest since 1989.
Florida has been hard hit by winter drought, damaging crops, and half of state is in some level of a drought.
La Niña likely to make matters worse
Enough water a couple of degrees cooler than normal has accumulated in the eastern part of the Pacific to create a La Niña, a weather pattern expected to linger until at least the spring. La Niña generally means dry weather for Southern states, which is exactly what the US doesn’t need right now.
The worst drought in half a century has turned Argentina's once-fertile soil to dust and pushed the country into a state of emergency. Cow carcasses litter the prairie fields, and sun-scorched soy plants wither under the South American summer sun. Argentina's food production is set to go down a minimum of 50 percent, maybe more. The country's wheat yield for 2009 will be 8.7 million metric tons, down from 16.3 million in 2008. Concern with domestic shortages (domestic wheat consumption being approximately 6.7 million metric ton), Argentina has granted no new export applications since mid January.
Brazil has cut its outlook for the crops and will do so again after assessing damage to plants from desiccation in drought-stricken regions. Brazil is the world's second-biggest exporter of soybeans and third-largest for corn.
Brazil's numbers for corn harvesting:
Harvested in 2008: 58.7 million tons
January 8 forecast: 52.3 million tons
February 6 forecast: 50.3 metric tons (optimistic)
Harvested in 2009: ???
Severe drought affecting Paraguay's economy has pushed the government to declare agricultural emergency. Crops that have direct impact on cattle food are ruined, and the soy plantations have been almost totally lost in some areas.
Uruguay declared an "agriculture emergency" last month, due to the worst drought in decades which is threatening crops, livestock and the provision of fresh produce.
The a worsening drought is pushing up food and beverage costs causing Uruguay's consumer prices to rise at the fastest annual pace in more than four years in January.
There hasn’t been a drop of rain in Bolivia in nearly a year. Cattle dying, crops ruined, etc…
The severe drought affecting Chile has caused an agricultural emergency in 50 rural districts, and large sectors of the economy are concerned about possible electricity rationing in March. The countries woes stem from the "La Niña" climate phenomenon which has over half of Chile dangling by a thread: persistently cold water in the Pacific ocean along with high atmospheric pressure are preventing rain-bearing fronts from entering central and southern areas of the country. As a result, the water levels at hydroelectric dams and other reservoirs are at all-time lows.
Friday, March 6, 2009
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (ESV)
God desires all people to come to repentance and unto the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
How many people desire more from their lives, and reject the notion they are simply animals evolving through random cosmic events?
The hosting package for my website administers daily statistics of visitors to the site. It displays limited information like what web browser someone is using, operating system, etc., and most importantly, what keywords were used to land on the site. It is the keywords which provide relevant information; not only for optimizing a site for search engines, but it offers a glimpse of what people are looking for when they come upon the site. The most popular search phrase I have noted is “how to have everlasting life”. Folks, people are out there searching for something more. You may be one of those searching.
For many years, I went to church every Sunday, studied special classes in Catholicism ,and was on a fast track to everlasting destruction. I did not know Him. I simply went through rituals which meant nothing to me. My heart cries often when I learn from the news of someone dying and I ask the Lord “Did he or she know you?” Too often people “know of Him” but “do not know Him”. I also for the great portion of my life knew of Him, but I did not know Him. There is a big eternal difference between the two.
While attending a college, and in search of the ever obscure something before I became an agnostic on the road to atheism; I engaged in Buddhism for a brief period of months. Citing mantras, I had no idea of their meaning along with my new friend who introduced me to it. For all purposes, I might as well been citing “Green beans and I have an exam next week”. Yet while in the meeting room with twenty or so other Buddhists; we would engage in citing mantras, and I always felt “high” when I left; thinking it must be something to it for I felt “euphoric”. Can one see this dangerous parallel today-- even in our churches? The walk of the Christian faith is not about feelings, or going through some series of motions. But I must try my reins here, for I feel like taking off in a different direction.
2 Corinthians 5:7
For we walk by faith, not by sight (NKJV)
It is not about what you can feel, see or touch. It is about Him, whom you cannot see. But because He has not appeared before you and told you to take off your shoes for being on Holy ground; it doesn’t mean He do not exist. The proof lies in everything around us.
In Romans chapter one Paul writes concerning those who do not believe God:
20) Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse;
21) for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened.
22) Claiming to be wise, they became fools;
23) and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.
24) Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves,
25) because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (NRSV)
From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (NKJV)
Many people think they have to change themselves to accept Jesus as their Savior. But they have it backwards. It is His goodness you rely on, not yours. We cannot rely on our acts, morals, or values to be saved--only on Him. Good acts will not save you. Only He can. You simply come to Him as you are, then you will be transformed through Him.
I spent many years searching for something, then stopped. But there were occasions I wondered how this world, this universe could exist with the degree of order we see? And I never scientifically accepted the theory of evolution; even as an unbeliever, and even as an atheist. If you are searching, call out to the Lord. Even if you feel foolish call out to Him, and even ask Him to help you believe. There is a purpose to your life and a reason for your existence. Our time on this planet is just a vapor, and less than a millisecond compared to eternity. I can say this: once I found Him, and accepted Jesus as my Savior, I realized the reality of Him and began to see Him operate in my life in ways I never could see before. When you find the Truth, you know it and the void you could never define before in your life--becomes filled.
1 John 3:1
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. (NKJV)
9) because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10) For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (ESV)