Category Archives: Headlines

Fiona?

From the “What were they thinking?” department. The National Hurricane Center retired the name Frances in 2004. They replaced it with Fiona. Those of us with spiritual insight immediately asked the key question, “If you name a tropical storm Fiona, can a Shrek be far behind?”

Fortunately, Fiona hasn’t been the ogre her name portends. Her ears, however, remain interesting.

Update on Earl: Hurricane Earl’s hurricane force winds remained off shore as it approached North Carolina. It is now only an 80 mph category 1 storm, and appears poised to miss the United States mainland completely.

Someone contacted me about the post on Earl and asked if I meant to write “Wind Shear” instead of “Wind Sheer.” Wind shear occurs when contrary winds shear the top off a storm and prevent the storm from developing. I asked people to pray for wind sheer, a clear misspelling of the word shear. However, sheer is a word that means “to swerve or change course.” I submit that although I may have missed the mark on shear, God answered the prayers for sheer.

The change of course is obvious in Earl’s path as it sheered away from shore:

Earl

The graphic on the left is not a prophetic prediction of Earl’s path. I took the graphic from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) website, and added a yellow line in order to highlight Earl’s direction for the last three days. The NHC has predicted that Earl will curve to the north some time tomorrow because of the atmospheric conditions.

This is what the hurricane center stated in its latest report:

SATELLITE AND RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT FIXES INDICATE THAT EARL
HAS BEEN MOVING RELENTLESSLY TOWARD THE NORTHWEST OR 310 DEGREES
AT 15 KNOTS. THE HURRICANE IS ABOUT TO REACH THE WESTERN EDGE OF
THE SUBTROPICAL RIDGE AND SHOULD BEGIN TO TURN MORE TO THE
NORTH-NORTHWEST AND NORTH LATER TONIGHT AND THURSDAY.

The relentless movement to the northwest is what concerns me. I trust they are right about the turn to the north, but I also remember many times when the NHC has missed the track because of last minute changes in the pressure ridges, or because of Satan’s nasty little plans.

I also know of a prophetic word from a well-known prophetic voice who saw that the Carolinas needed prayer this year because of a threat from a hurricane. Earl certainly qualifies as such a threat.

It would be a great time to pray for the Carolinas.

Please pray specifically that Earl curve northward this evening and tomorrow in order to miss the coast of the Carolinas (and beyond). If you live in the threatened areas, use the authority you have over your geographic area to establish a wall of protection against any hurricane force winds. We will join our prayers to yours. Pray also for dry air to encroach on this thing and that wind sheer would increase.

The Body of Christ has authority over the natural. I expect that we will have many more times to exercise that authority yet this year. Let’s exercise it now so that Earl turns harmlessly north.

Operation New Dawn

Operation New Dawn starts tomorrow (September 1, 2010) in Iraq. Operation New Dawn began on November 8, 2004 in Iraq. Operation New Dawn began on July 1, 2004 in Iraq.

All those statements are true. And that, to say the least, is very odd.

Normally the military does not reuse operational names in the same theater of operation for the same reason we avoid naming our kids with the same names. It can only cause confusion. Even though the military understands this need, it has used Operation New Dawn three different times for different aspects of the Iraq war.

The first time they used this title was on July 1, 2004. I remember the Sun-Sentinel headline because the headline spoke to our congregation—New Dawn Community Church—in an amazing way. We had decided to follow MorningStar Ministries’ leading and not hold any meetings for the month of July. We were understandably a bit nervous about it. We had never skipped a Sunday service, and the idea of skipping a whole month was difficult to imagine. So the headline caught our attention and greatly encouraged us:

The second time the name Operation New Dawn was used was later in 2004 during the battle for Fallujah. I didn’t catch this use of the New Dawn moniker, probably because the military had originally christened the offensive Operation Phantom Fury. Apparently Iraq’s Defense Minister wanted to call it Operation al-Fajr, which is translated Operation New Dawn. Since the first New Dawn of 2004 had transferred limited sovereignty to Iraqi authorities, we can understand why his wishes prevailed. The second Operation New Dawn commenced on November 8, 2004. As the battle victoriously concluded, one of Iraq’s ministers announced, “It is with all pleasure that I announce to you that Operation New Dawn has been concluded.”

Starting September 1, the name will be used a third time in Iraq. The combat phase of the Iraq war—Operation Iraqi Freedom—will give way to the stabilizing phase, Operation New Dawn.

All of this may seem to be an irrelevant, and—because of our name—self-focused trip down memory lane, except for one thing: The Lord gave our congregation its name as a sign. Our congregation is named New Dawn because I believe the Lord wanted it to have that name. I certainly didn’t want to give it that name.

Let me explain. Back in May of 1995 I was happily the pastor of Shepherd of the Springs Church in Coral Springs—Notice the nice conventional name. We were newly freed from our denomination and were pursuing the things of the Lord with intense excitement. Things were popping spiritually. Dawn and I had decided to take our family to a MorningStar Ministries Prophetic Conference because we wanted to know more about that ministry stream and explore connecting to it. We were in attendance at the Friday night meeting of the conference when Paul Cain was the featured prophet and speaker. Paul had a reputation for having a profound prophetic gift, often calling people out of large crowds by name, telling them where they lived, and other details and encouragements from the Lord. So we were excited to be there, even though we didn’t really expect a personal word.

During the ministry time that evening, Paul received a word of knowledge about Dawn and I. Thousands of people were in attendance as Paul began to share the things the Lord had shown to him. He explained that the Lord had given him the names of some people and things they needed to know. Then he asked anyone whose name he called to come to the front for further ministry. I do not remember how many names he called, because as he was going down his list he said, “Randal and Dawn, there is a new dawn.” Since we did not know anyone there, and since no one knew us, we were pretty stunned. When we went forward, we received further ministry, but did not find out anymore about this new dawn that Paul had mentioned. I was actually pretty happy with the original Dawn, so I wondered about what this meant.

It didn’t take us long to find out. One month later, in June of 1995, I began to discover that not everyone at Shepherd of the Springs was as excited as I was about pursuing the Holy Spirit. As a result, we lost about half of our membership over the course of that month. This was not very much fun. But God is really amazing. At the same time that we were going through this difficulty, we were approached by the leaders of another congregation in Coral Springs, Praise Harvest Church. Praise Harvest had been without a pastor for about six months, and they were considering closing it down. Together we decided to explore whether God was setting up a merger instead. We began to meet and pray about joining together, and we set the last Sunday of July as a date for both congregations to worship together.

When that Sunday came, both congregations came together. There was a lot of excitement in the air. What we didn’t know, is that God had arranged for a prophet from Colorado to be in our city for a business meeting. He came to our Sunday morning meeting because he had met one of our leaders, but he knew nothing about what was going on in our congregations. As he sat down next to the leader, he began to write furiously on a legal pad. Before the worship was over or anyone had begun to speak, he gave a hand-written sheet of things that the Lord had shown him to the leader. At the end of the meeting, after I had explained to everyone that we were exploring whether this potential merger was a new dawn, he introduced himself to me and asked if he could read what God had shown him. I allowed him to do so. When he had retrieved his paper, one of the first things he read was, “This is a new dawn.” At that point we knew that God had called our congregations together. God not only used this man to help us understand and apply Paul Cain’s word, he also used him to give us a part of our calling. He told us that we would be an Isaiah 60 congregation. God wanted to use it as a prophetic signpost to proclaim the words of the first three verses of this chapter:

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.

See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.

Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
(Isaiah 60:1-3 NIV)

With such obvious prophetic confirmation, we merged the two congregations into a new dawn. However, I certainly wasn’t that interested in naming the congregation New Dawn. I was firmly in the grip of the fear of man on this issue. I understood that everyone who knew me would think I had named the congregation after my wife. I also knew that if we named it New Dawn, that virtually everyone who ever attended the congregation would be drawn to the conclusion that we had named the congregation after my wife. I just wasn’t ready for this, so I punted. I asked the congregation to come up with suggestions for the name. Of course, New Dawn was nominated, but if I recall correctly, so was Holy Gator of the Sawgrass. After some initial votes—in which Holy Gator fell to the wayside, the final vote centered on New Dawn and one other name. I, in my best pastoral imitation of the cowardly lion, chose not to vote. I certainly wasn’t going to let this thing be my doing. Imagine my surprise and chagrin when we counted the votes and discovered that they were evenly split between the two names. I had tried to punt, but the punt had been deflected by God’s hand right back into my lap. I had no doubt that this was a message from the Lord. So I quickly repented of my cowardly lion ways, declared the vote a tie, and personally took responsibility for naming the congregation New Dawn.

While this has NOT been great fun exposing my reluctance to follow what the Lord had been showing me, I am doing so for a reason. This congregation’s name was not my idea. The Lord, in spite of me and the Holy Gator crowd, made certain that this congregation would bear this name. So when the name New Dawn shows up in the headlines in such odd and obvious ways, I pay attention. I recognize that God is attempting to say something through all of this. But the question is, “What is he communicating?”

I might be able to help with a small part of the answer to this question because of something I heard Bob Jones say last week. I attended a meeting where Bob Jones was speaking. Bob is a father of the prophetic movement in the United States, and when he speaks, I listen. He explained some things about what God had shown him for 2011. He also explained that on God’s calender, 2011 begins on September 8, Rosh Hashana. Bob told us that this year God is ushering in the year of the Lion. What this means is that God’s authority is being released into his people in a new way. As a result, God’s people will begin to walk in new authority as this new year progresses. We are going to see the Lion of the Tribe of Judah reflected in his people through the authority he gives them.

Of course, that is what Isaiah 60 is all about. As the world gets darker and more difficult, God’s people will shine with the light of his glorious authority. As his people demonstrate that authority, it will eventually draw the attention of  world’s leaders. As God’s people further demonstrate that they have God’s answers for our world, the world’s leaders will come seeking. They will come to the brightness of our dawn.

That is probably only a small part of what God is saying through all this.  But at this point, it is enough. There is a new dawn starting in September. It isn’t Operation New Dawn, though the Lord has used the timing of that operation to communicate his timetable. The new dawn that we will see is found in Isaiah 60. It is time to arise and shine.

2004 Hurricane Season Redux

Last Friday night we held a prayer meeting to intercede about the hurricane season. This was our third preemptive prayer meeting this season. We only hold three such scheduled prayer meetings during the hurricane season. Of course, we also hold specially-scheduled prayer meetings if South Florida is painted into the “cone of uncertainty,” or if we hear that the Weather Channel’s storm reporter, Jim Cantore, has booked a flight in our general direction.

At last Friday’s prayer meeting I rehearsed what I knew so far about this season. Earlier in the year, I had a strong feeling that this season was going to be like the 2004 season. The Lord does speak to me through these strong feelings, so I have begun looking more closely at the 2004 season. While 2004 was not like the busy and devastating 2005 season, it still did a bunch of damage to Florida and other areas of the United States.

On Friday night as we were praying, the Lord gave me one of those “Ah Ha!” moments. As I looked over the storm names for this season, I realized that this year’s storm names are the same ones used in 2004. While I know that the annual list of storm names is used in a rotation, I didn’t realize that we were on 2004’s list. When I realized this, I realized the Lord has really been trying to communicate to us about this hurricane season.

So what can we expect if I am correct that this season is going to be like the 2004 season? Well, first we can expect a fairly busy season. We had fifteen named systems during 2004—seven more than last year. We also saw major damage in Florida from five of these storms. So the 2004 season wasn’t a good season for residents of Florida (or for the insurance industry). I would hope that after six more years of intercessory development since 2004, that the praying Church will be more successful at releasing protection over our areas of influence this year. So while the season may be busy, my focus will be on praying away the damaging storms. We really do not want a repeat of the destruction unleashed in the 2004 season.

The other thing about the 2004 season was that the Lord had spoken to us about two specific named storms before the 2004 season began. As it happened, neither of these storms came near South Florida, so we didn’t know if the dreams were for the 2004 season.

I’ve already written about Bonnie, which was one of the storms. Bonnie did hit northern Florida in 2004, however, the dream was about Bonnie hitting South Florida. Bonnie did hit South Florida this year (see my post on Bonnie HERE). I’m not absolutely sure how all this works, since I learn more about how the Lord speaks to us about storms every season, but I find it incredible that the Lord spoke to us about Bonnie eight years before Bonnie actually hit us. So, of course, now I’m wondering about this other storm. It also did not get that close to South Florida in 2004. Are we looking at another Bonnie moment? Time will tell.

That is the nice thing about working with the hurricane season. We learn a lot about how the Lord speaks to us because we can test our understanding against what really happens. We can then correct our understanding and hopefully get better every year at discerning what the Lord is saying to us. I’ll keep you informed as the season progresses if the Lord gives us anything more on a specific storm, or the season in general.

We are entering into the busiest part of the hurricane season. Danielle was named this morning. Although she doesn’t appear to pose a threat to any interests in the United States, she is a reminder that the busy season is here. Please pay attention, and pray appropriately.

The Third Horseman Continues to Ride

On Sunday I had an opportunity to preach a message entitled, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It was based on the Lamb of God opening the seals in Revelation 6. It was a fun study, and I believe applicable to our day.

You would have to get the message (available for download HERE) in order to get all the details of why I believe what I believe about the time in which we now live. I am fast becoming convinced that we are living in the time of the the third horseman’s ride throughout the world. Down through history many nations have suffered the catastrophes outlined in Revelation as they have come to the end of their grace. However, we now live in a time that these catastrophes are happening on the predicted global scale. They are also increasing in intensity, as we would expect the birth pains that foreshadow the eventual return of Christ would (see Matthew 24:8).

The first horseman—the white horse— is clearly Christ. He has taken his war bow from the heavenly throne room, and is riding out to begin the judgment on Satan and his kingdom. The Lord hung the bow up when he spoke to Noah after the flood (see Genesis 9:13-17). He put it on display in his throne room, as both Ezekiel and John testify (see Ezekiel 1:26-28 and Revelation 4:3). He now takes it down to begin the closing work of seeing all of his enemies made a footstool for his feet.

The second horseman—the fiery red horse—is given the ability to take peace from the earth. I believe that this rider rode forth in the twentieth century. Only God’s gracious restraint prevents unregenerate humanity from annihilating itself. When this rider begins to remove this restraint, war and violence are the result. I believe we can see this rider’s handiwork in the fact that the twentieth century is rightly called the bloodiest century. It was during this century that war went global and superpowers became capable of destroying all mankind. The wars alone claimed 150 million lives. Democide, a term coined to describe a nation’s government killing its own people, claimed another 180 million. Abortions numbered almost 1 billion worldwide. These are staggering and unprecedented numbers, especially when you consider that in 1950 the world’s population was only 2.5 billion. Fully half of the world’s 1950 population died by violence in the twentieth century. I think these numbers make a strong case that the second horseman has ridden out on a global scale.

The third horseman—the black horse—is given the ability to wreak havoc on the world economy. The scales that he holds are economic scales. He has the ability remove grace from the financial dealings of men so that the staples of life become horrendously expensive. I think you will agree with me when I state that this horse is probably on the world scene even now. Reports on the financial instability being experienced worldwide come to us every day. The United States economy almost collapsed at the end of 2008. Today, financial reporters are making open mention of the house of financial cards that is waiting to come tumbling down in Europe, causing untold problems as government systems throughout the earth struggle to cope with Europe’s financial issues. We don’t know whether the current problems will continue to escalate, or whether we will have a reprieve until another birth pain occurs, but this horseman will certainly continue his ride.

The fourth horseman—the pale/green horse—is given the ability to release death on an even greater level than the red horse through war, famine, plague, and wild beasts. We may just be seeing the beginning effects of this rider. We have seen devastating famines in Africa in the last decade that still continue. There are mildews and fungi that are causing major concern among horticulturists around the globe. Those same botanical workers are watching potentially devastating blights that could greatly reduce wheat production around the world (see THIS article in the Economist about it). Plagues, once thought all but eradicated, have risen again to haunt the dreams of men. Medical science has been sounding the alarm on an ever-increasing variety of ways that pandemic and plague could winnow the earth. And what about death by the wild beasts of the earth? I believe as the birth pains continue, we will see animals begin to lose their fear of man, and begin to see humans as a food source. We occasionally hear of such events (for example, see the recent grizzly attack at Yellowstone Park). When this happens on a wider scale, we won’t have quite so many animal rights groups questioning whether violent animals should be put down. They will need to be put down.

At the same time that the red, black, and pale/green horsemen are riding forth, the white rider is still building his overcoming Kingdom among his people. I believe that is why he rode out first. It is a clear message to his people that he will be releasing grace in his Church so that the rest of the horsemen (and the rest of the judgments) are effectively counter-acted in the Church. This becomes more apparent when we remember that it is the Lamb who was slain who releases these horsemen and the rest of the judgments found in the book of Revelation (see Revelation 6). We must also remember that John, the Apostle of Love, wept inconsolably at the thought that no one would be able to release these judgments (see Revelation 5:4-5). When, in the midst of the judgments, we see Christians in heaven calling out impatiently for the judgments to happen even more quickly (see Revelation 6:9-10), we recognize that these events must be welcomed by God’s people. The horsemen and the subsequent judgments recorded in the book of Revelation are not fearful things for the people of God. They, literally, are the time that we can lift up our heads victoriously at the prospect that our redemption draws near (see Luke 21:28).

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If you want to understand more about the outline and purpose of the book of Revelation, you can download the first message in my series on the book HERE. This message gives some guidelines that will help establish the time and purpose of the book, and will help greatly in an understanding of its interpretation.