Category Archives: Headlines

A Slow Hurricane Season?

CapeVerdeSeveral sources are reporting that this has been the slowest start to a hurricane season on record. Those reports are incorrect. The erroneous reports state that this is the first season on record that we have not had an Atlantic hurricane by this time. However, the Weather Channel found five hurricane seasons where the first Atlantic hurricane did not form until September (67, 84, 88, 01, 02). While this certainly is a season with a slow start, we will have to get through September 11 with no hurricanes in order to set a record.

Even though this isn’t yet a record breaking season, it certainly has had a slow start. One of the reasons for such a slow start is that there is a large area of dry air over the Atlantic. None of the storms coming off Africa—the so called Cape Verde-type storms—have been able to survive passage through that dry air. Those of us who live in hurricane-prone areas truly appreciate that. This South Floridian extends his thanks to everyone who has prayed against hurricane force winds this season. I’m certain the dry air is an answer to our prayers and intercession.

However, the Lord has shown us that we are not out from under threat, no matter how slow the season may seem. The National Hurricane Center would heartily agree. We have much of the season in front of us. Even if we successfully fend off all the Cape Verde-type storms so that none become hurricanes, we still have those late season Caribbean disturbances to deal with. As if that isn’t enough to keep us on the prayer wall at this time, the Lord has also given us some indication that a storm may develop in an unusual way in order to get around our normal prayer patterns. I don’t know exactly what that means, but it will keep me on the alert.

The last time a hurricane did something that got through our defenses was in 2005. At that time, we simply did not expect significant hurricane threats to come at us from the west. Though we watched hurricane Wilma closely, and even prayed about her in our regular meetings, we didn’t call a special prayer meeting. Forecasters told us that Wilma would be a spent storm as it hit Florida’s west coast. Since it had to travel a hundred miles over land to get to us on the east coast, we didn’t think it was much of a problem. So when Wilma strengthened as it passed over Florida, and released destruction in our area, we learned a lesson and closed that gap in our understanding.

While we certainly still have gaps in our understanding, we can learn. We can ask the Lord to teach us how to pray even more effectively in this arena. We can ask the Lord to teach us more about the intricacies of hurricane development so that we can counter any plans from Satan’s Kingdom to get one through.

Do I believe that we can stop every hurricane? I think the biblical answer to that question is obvious. The one who quieted a raging storm with a word has given us his authority (See Matthew 16:18-19). He has also called us to stand in the gap for our geographic areas (See Ezekiel 22:30). Until he warns me that the gap is too large to cover, I will pray believing that our prayers will stop hurricanes from hitting our area of influence.

Can our prayers stop any hurricanes from developing this year? Or at least delay them to the point that we do set a record for the slowest start to a hurricane season? Let’s continue to pray, and find out.
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Image credit: PD-USGOV-NOAA

(http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/)

The Miracle of Peace

DebateSome might prefer juggling with sharp objects over doing what we did Tuesday evening. A group of pastors, just slightly under a dozen to be more precise, decided to discuss the verdict of the George Zimmerman trial. This topic has polarized our culture as people from different ethnic backgrounds have interpreted the trial, and the events preceding the trial, in wildly different ways. Our decision to discuss this trial presented risk because, while the the group consisted of Bible-believing Christian clergy members, we were from a broad range of ethnic backgrounds. As a result, the discussion was sometimes loud—even a little heated, but even as we respectfully disagreed on points of view, we forged ahead for about two hours attempting to see things from each other’s perspective. At the end, I, for one, realized that it’s a miracle that people from different backgrounds get along at all.

The problem is that we all have different life experiences. Those life experiences color how we interpret everything around us. We cannot assume we know how other people are interpreting the events we are witnessing. We haven’t lived in their shoes. We haven’t seen life from their perspective. We are seeing events through the grid of our experiences, and others are seeing those same events through the grid of their experiences. When our life experience differs greatly, our interpretive grids also vary greatly.

This came out in our meeting on Tuesday. As we hashed through things we knew about the two young men whose lives intersected in tragedy, we came to understand that both young men were angry, and both had just reasons for their anger. One young man was angry that the homes in his neighborhood were being burglarized on a regular basis. He felt justifiable anger over this violation. He saw another young man walking through the neighborhood whom he did not recognize. He did not know that the young man was visiting someone in the neighborhood. He saw that other young man as part of the problem, and directed his anger at him.

For his part, the other young man was also angry. One of the pastors at our meeting, a man of African-American heritage, helped us understand why he was angry, even justifiably so. He told us that black young men get tired of being treated like bad guys in their own neighborhoods. They get tired of being asked what they are doing and why they are there, especially when they are doing nothing wrong and have every right to be where they are. They get angry because many people do profile them. From witness testimony at the Sanford trial, it is obvious that the younger man felt violated by the man who was following him. No doubt he resented being viewed as a threat when he was simply walking back from the store to the house of a family friend. His anger, understandably, was directed at his pursuer.

Both young men had justifiable reasons for their anger. Unfortunately, there were no peacemakers to step between them that evening. There were no peacemakers to help them explain their anger to each other, and to resolve it in a peaceful manner. There was no one there who was able to pour oil on turbulent waters. As a result, as often happens, anger lead to confrontation. The confrontation escalated beyond words, and an awful tragedy occurred.

We couldn’t be in Sanford to help that evening. But we can help now. We can be peacemakers. If we will attempt to see events through the interpretive grid of both young men, rather than just the one we most identify with, we can become peacemakers. We can pour the oil of peace on the troubled waters of our time. That is our opportunity, that is our job description. If we take up that challenge, we will see a miracle. That miracle is the unbelievable grace of people from different backgrounds getting along.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9 ESV).

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Chantal’s Short Run

ChantalTropical storm Chantal, the first Cape Verde-type tropical cyclone of the season, sputtered to an ignominious end yesterday afternoon, days earlier than expected. While forecasters are blaming several key atmospheric conditions, I believe that the real cause of its demise rests on the prayers of Kingdom people.

When I last spoke to Bob Jones, a prophetic voice who has an incredible record of predicting storms, he urged me to get the word out to churches in Florida and other coastal areas about the importance of praying for their geographic area this year. He is very concerned that there are areas where the Church is not praying against storms. This could be a costly mistake this year, especially for Florida. If we do not take the time to use our authority, we should not be surprised if bad things happen to our area of influence. It is that simple.

Bob also told me that the season would begin early this year. Chantal has fulfilled Bob’s word about the early start to the hurricane season. Chantal became a named storm late Sunday evening, July 7, and ended on Wednesday. Even so, it fulfilled Bob’s prediction, and may be a harbinger of a busy storm season. Dr. Jeff Master’s, from wunderground.com, wrote this about Chantal’s early formation:

Formation of a tropical storm east of the Lesser Antilles Islands in early July from an African tropical wave is an uncommon occurrence. Since Atlantic hurricane records began in 1851, there have been only thirteen tropical depressions or tropical storms that have formed July 15 or earlier that have passed through the Lesser Antilles, an average of one early-season tropical cyclone every thirteen years. Note that two of these storms, Dennis and Emily, occurred during the notorious Hurricane Season of 2005. There were five other pre-July 16 storms that formed east of the Lesser Antilles Islands, but did not pass through the islands (Bertha of 2009, Barry of 1989, and tropical depressions in 1967, 1978, and 2001 that did not become named storms.)

He then adds why he believes this portends a busy season:

Chantal’s formation on July 8 is an usually early date for formation of the season’s third storm, which usually occurs on August 13. A large number of early-season named storms is not necessarily a harbinger of an active season, unless one or more of these storms form in the deep tropics, south of 23.5°N. According to Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray, leaders of Colorado State’s seasonal hurricane forecasting team,

“Most years do not have named storm formations in June and July in the tropical Atlantic (south of 23.5°N); however, if tropical formations do occur, it indicates that a very active hurricane season is likely. For example, the seven years with the most named storm days in the deep tropics in June and July (since 1949) are 1966, 1969, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2005, and 2008. All seven of these seasons were very active. When storms form in the deep tropics in the early part of the hurricane season, it indicates that conditions are already very favorable for TC development. In general, the start of the hurricane season is restricted by thermodynamics (warm SSTs, unstable lapse rates), and therefore deep tropical activity early in the hurricane season implies that the thermodynamics are already quite favorable for tropical cyclone (TC) development.”

Two of this season’s three storms have formed in the deep tropics–Tropical Storm Barry, which formed in the Gulf of Mexico’s Bay of Campeche at a latitude of 19.6°N, and now Tropical Storm Chantal, which formed at a latitude of 9.8°N. With recent runs of the GFS model predicting formation of yet another tropical storm southwest of the Cape Verde Islands early next week, it appears that the Atlantic is primed for an active hurricane season in 2013.

In response to Chantal, and out of an abundance of caution, we scheduled a prayer meeting last evening to stand in authority against any negative consequences of this system. However, before we could gather, the storm had degenerated to a tropical wave. We had prayed against the system on Sunday, before it became a named storm, however, we thought we would take another shot at it last night. When it dissipated, we canceled our meeting. If Bob Jones and Doctor Masters are correct, we will have other opportunities to gather.

Get the word out. It is time to stand in our authority (see Matthew 16:19).
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Image credit: NWS National Hurricane Center

(http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/)

Tornadoes and Rain

lighthouseMoore, Oklahoma was hit by a tornado again this past Friday. If you read my last post (available HERE), you know that the Lord showed us that we could expect more tornadoes to hit towns and cities. However, I really didn’t believe that meant that Moore, a city that is grieving the loss of dozens of its people, would be among those hit. My heart goes out to them.

The Lord told us that the names of the cities that tornadoes hit this year would be signposts along the way for what was coming. When Granbury, Texas had the first tornado outbreak, I was concerned that it meant that the next storm (or storms) would have a high death toll (grand bury). When the large tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma, I realized that the town’s name pointed to more tornado outbreaks, and released an alert along those lines. The fact that Moore has been hit again probably indicates that even more tornadoes are coming.

There was a second signpost with Friday’s storms. When I read media reports, I saw that they said that Moore and El Reno were hit by tornadoes. If these names are our signposts, then we know more storms are coming (Moore/more), and that it probably will bring even more flooding rain.

El Reno means the reindeer. Since both Granbury and Moore were signposts based upon their pronunciation rather than there name meanings, I suspect that reindeer refers to rain-dear, where the meaning of dear is costly. I don’t think this is too much of a stretch, since the storms that hit last Friday brought a lot of flooding (costly rain) to the areas that were hit.

God’s people have authority to pray the death out of these disasters. We live in dark times, but according to Isaiah 60, when times are dark God’s people can shine brightly. We can release the light of intercession over our geographic areas. It is imperative that we do so now.
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Update in 6/3 at 2:30 PM: Carol O. sent me an alternate interpretation of El Reno that I rather like. She wrote, “Reindeer may have several meanings…  More means more, but reindeer could express how precious rain is, and deeply needed in the correct way, to relieve drought in the Midwest and plains states, not in downpours that run off into flash flooding.” Amen. Whether we interpret El Reno negatively or positively, the prayer application is the same: We can stand in authority and pray that the only rain that falls is beneficial and helpful toward breaking the drought, but not more than the land can safely absorb. We do want that drought broken.
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Perspectives Down Time

16629611_sFor those of you who tried to connect to the blog site between Thursday evening and Friday evening, my apologies. I was in the midst of getting a dedicated IP address from our service provider. I had already upgraded to faster processors and more bandwidth (feel the speed), but took the final step of getting a dedicated IP address. That last step takes the site out for about 24 hours.

Those of you who tried to visit our Church site (www.newdawn.org) also found out that we host the church site and this blog on the same server (and same IP address). It was down, also. It is nice to be back up and running.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend.
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