Saturday, May 16, 2009
Sometimes when people ask me why we moved to Illinois from North Dakota I often say it was the because of the weather. Here are two charts side by side to tell if my move was a good one. The one to the right is Fargo North Dakota...Note that the average temp in May is Fifty Degrees
The one at the left is the weather in St Charles IL. The average temp in May is 62 degrees. The average temp for the months of June and July is 70 degrees.
There's not a great deal of difference except the duration. It's worth the move.
Friday, May 15, 2009
When everyone is bankrupt is anyone bankrupt? What is the opposite of Bankruptcy? Solvency?
Who is going to be solvent when all money is destroyed? No one.
Perhaps, the reality is bankruptcy is irrelevant.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Watching Prophecy unfold in slow motion..... Examiner Editorial: Get ready for Obama’s coming hyperinflation
Assets will still be OK.
This is going to be tough.
CNBC ran a brief segment on the number of people who have decided to rent homes and apartments rather than buy them. The point of the reporting was simple. People who need to move out of their houses sometimes cannot sell them. Instead, they rent wherever they have moved and hope to sell their homes later when the market improves.The only disagreement I have with Mr McIntyre is the yet decline. He says 15%. It's more like 30%.
In addition, people who cannot sell their homes often rent them out to others to help cover mortgage and maintenance costs.
What has been lost in the review of home buying and renting habits is that some people who own a home will decide never to buy one again. The reaction to losing so much money on what is the largest investment many people will ever have will be, in many cases that they will not come back to the real estate market again. People who have suffered through anxious months not knowing if they will be able to pay their mortgages may decide that it is not an experience they want to repeat.
There are currently 3.4 million homes for sale in America. The average prices of these homes drops each month. Neither lower interest rates nor better prices are bringing buyers back into the market. Too many people believe that the market has not made a bottom. No one wants to own real estate that could lose another 15% of its value.
The renter does not have to lose sleep over the issue of whether his home will fall further in value. He does not have to worry about an ARM with an interest rate that might be set higher. Renters do not even have to worry about major repairs, the great enemy of the homeowner.
Renting was considered a fool’s way of living just a decade ago. A renter could not get equity in a property like the one that his homeowner friends had. A new house could double in value in ten years, offering the owner ready access to capital, a way to educate children and pay for vacations. With very few people willing to believe that those benefits are still a part of owning a home, the incentives to buy one have dwindled.
Realtors believe that the economy is at the root of the reason that people will not buy homes. That is true to some extent. People who are worried about their jobs or have seen their stock market holdings lose half of their values are not likely to be in the market. But, the shift may be more profound than that. Renting could become the norm for many people, especially those who cannot foresee a future when real estate is an asset which can rapidly increase in value again.
Douglas A. McIntyre
Things are going to be long, deep and difficult.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Not even Dick Cheney can incite the blood-curdling rage of liberals at the sight of a sexy evangelical Christian. Paula Jones, Katherine Harris, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and, most recently, Miss California, Carrie Prejean, have all come under a frenzy of attacks from liberals.
Christians are supposed to be fat, balding sweaty little men with bad complexions. It's liberals who are supposed to be the sexy ones. (I know that from watching "The West Wing" and all movies starring Julia Roberts.)
But sadly for liberals, in real life, the fat, balding sweaty little guy with the bad complexion is Perez Hilton and the smoking-hot babe is Carrie Prejean.
This apparent contradiction incites violent anger in liberals, triggering their famous "flight or flight" response. So liberals are, once again, launching furious attacks on a beautiful Christian in a fit of pique similar to the one directed at Joan of Arc.
First, the Miss USA contest held a press conference to announce that Prejean had breast implants. Take a Christian position in public and Satan's handmaidens will turn all your secrets into front-page news.
Plumb the depths of our in-the-tank news industry with "A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (and Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media"
Next, a photographer released a single cheesecake photo of Prejean. This prompted liberal reporters who have never met a Christian to proclaim that Christians were outraged by the photo. Liberals believe abortion is a sacrament, but smoking, wearing short skirts and modeling lingerie are mortal sins. (And if wearing women's underwear is a basis for being disqualified from the pageant, that's the end of Perez Hilton's judging career.)
Then on Monday some genuine "semi-nude" photos were released. These were not what we'd call appropriate for a Christian. In a curiously similar attack, the left's final attempt to destroy Paula Jones was to lure her into appearing naked in Penthouse magazine
. Oh well.
Christians aren't people who believe they are without sin; they're people who know they're sinners and are awestruck by God's grace in sending his only Son to take the punishment they deserve.
This is in contradistinction to liberals, all of whom believe they're on a fast track to heaven on the basis of being "basically good" people – and also believe that anyone who disagrees with that theological view is evil.
Finally (so far, anyway), reporters gleefully released the divorce records of Prejean's parents. Because when you want the truth, what is more reliable than angry accusations traded in the middle of an acrimonious divorce?
Liberals used the divorce papers to argue that Prejean had some deep-seated psychological disturbance causing her to oppose gay marriage. Symptoms of this debilitating illness include a belief in some sort of "god" and a reverence for the Bible.
It's not as if Prejean's special talent in the Miss USA contest was to perform an opposite-sex marriage. (Or, as the president and I call it, "marriage.") She didn't even volunteer her "controversial" views on marriage. Rather, she was asked for her opinion on gay marriage and gave it – in an answer wrapped in so many layers of sugar it took 10 minutes to get to the point.
"Well, I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one way or the other. We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. You know what, in my country, in my family, I do believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, no offense to anybody out there. But that's how I was raised, and I believe that it should be between a man and a woman."
What a vicious hate-monger! Any second there I was expecting her to bust out a "by golly!" or an "oh my gosh!" Angry gay-marriage supporters should be happy they didn't get my version of that answer. It contains some terms you won't find in your Bible.
Liberals wouldn't attack James Dobson with the amount of bile they've directed at a 21-year-old beauty contestant. It's not just Christianity – it's women liberals hate.
From Jean-Paul Sartre, Pablo Picasso and Bertrand Russell, who treated women – mostly their mistresses – like dogs, to Teddy Kennedy and Bill Clinton in our own day, liberals are ferocious misogynists. They share Muslims' opinion of women, differing only to the extent that liberals also support a women's right to have an abortion and to perform lap dances.
You'd be better off in a real burqa than under the authority of a liberal American male.
I'm not sure we needed a psychological profile of Prejean to figure out why she holds the same position on gay marriage as: the president, the vice president, the secretary of state, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards and his mistress, and the vast majority of the American people.
But what is crying out for an explanation is why every bubblehead TV news anchorette from a nice, churchgoing red state ends up adopting the political views of Karl Marx.
From Katie Couric on CBS to Norah O'Donnell on MSNBC, the whole stable of TV anchorettes weirdly have the exact same politics as their liberal masters. It's the ideological burqa women are required to wear to work in the mainstream media. As with a conventional burqa, it enforces conformity and severely restricts the vision.
The only way to protect yourself is to do the liberal male's bidding, as the bubblehead anchorettes do, or stand on the rock of Christianity.
Now, another beautiful Christian has thrown off the liberal burqa, thereby inciting mass hysteria throughout the liberal establishment. Prejean doesn't care. She is blazing across the sky, as impotent nose-pickers jockey for a piece of her reflected light by hurling insults at her.
From Ann Coulter
This financial and political system is the operating system on which the world runs; the Dutch introduced version 1.0 in about 1620; the British introduced 2.0 in about 1700; the Americans upgraded to version 3.0 in 1945, and as an operating system, it works pretty well—most of the time. The 300 years of liberal, global capitalism have seen an extraordinary explosion in knowledge and human affluence. Not everybody shares in these benefits, and there are environmental and social costs to the rapid progress. Still, not many of us would like to turn the clock back to 1610.
But the system has bugs—among them, a tendency to crash. Ever since the great Dutch tulip bubble of 1637, the economic system has been prey to roller-coaster-style booms and busts. From the South Sea bubble of 1720 to the subprime loan bubble of our own time, the financial system leads people into irrational behavior and fever dreams of wealth and of eternally rising prices for stocks, houses—and tulips. These episodes never end well, and as time passes and the financial system grows more complex, more global and more interdependent, the cost of these periodic crashes gets worse.
What is most interesting to me is the IPHC which operates the College he addresses is a denomination (Full Disclosure I am credentialed under this denomination) that has MOST experienced this change. It's a wonderful thing, yet wrenching. So, if you care about what the future holds for the Pentecostal Movement in American, this article is worth reading.
At my second daughter's college graduation this weekend I saw the future of our movement.
Some people twitch or roll their eyes when you say the word Pentecostal. The term conjures up outdated images of either (1) slick-haired, Bible-thumping preachers who spew saliva on the unfortunate souls seated in the first three pews, or (2) scowling women with their hair in buns who know how to scare you with glossolalia.
Say goodbye to the worn-out stereotypes. Last weekend I saw the future of the Pentecostal movement when my wife and I attended a graduation ceremony at Emmanuel College, the liberal arts school in northeast Georgia that was founded 90 years ago by the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. What we witnessed on Saturday was a refreshing reminder that God has raised up a new generation of young people who are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
|"Today's Christian college students are nauseated by any kind of religious hype, whether it's blow-dried evangelists, insincere appeals for offerings, faked healings, goofy buzzwords or schmaltzy Christian pop music."|
There wasn't a slick-haired preacher on the stage that day, and you would be hard-pressed to find a lady with her hair in a bun anywhere in the auditorium. The most unique hairstyle in the audience was probably the one sported by my future son-in-law, Sven, who graduated on Saturday with my second daughter, Meredith. Sven wears dreadlocks—a style he adopted three years ago as a prophetic act of consecration to God.
Sven is not a Rastafarian—he is a radical Christian who earned his Bachelor of Science degree in worship and music ministry. Along with his unique hair, other things about Emmanuel's graduation ceremony made it obvious that Pentecostalism is experiencing an extreme makeover:
* It is racially diverse. Although Pentecostalism in this country began in the racially mixed Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles, the walls of religious segregation have been pretty thick until recently. I was so glad to see African-American, Asian and Hispanic students getting their diplomas at Emmanuel on Saturday. Students graduating from college today have the greatest opportunity ever to dismantle racist structures.
* It offers authenticity and relevance. I've had several opportunities to address the students at Emmanuel during the five years that my two oldest daughters attended there. I've eaten meals with them, played Frisbee with them and just hung out in their dorms. And what I've seen is that young Christians today aren't interested in the three-step formulas or the money-focused messages they got from their parent's Pentecostalism.
Today's Christian college students are nauseated by any kind of religious hype: blow-dried evangelists, insincere appeals for offerings, faked healings, goofy buzzwords or schmaltzy Christian pop music. What they crave is reality—honest relationships, healthy mentoring, passionate worship and daring faith that is reflected through brave actions, not just words.
* It aims to impact the culture. The speaker at Emmanuel's graduation ceremony was way outside the traditional Pentecostal box. Bonnie Wurzbacher, a senior vice president at The Coca-Cola Company, used examples from her own life as a female executive in corporate America to challenge the students to blaze a new trail. She reminded them that whatever their chosen careers—in education, business, government, law, the arts or full-time ministry—all are sanctified ways to serve and glorify God when He is at the center of their lives.
* It inspires selfless sacrifice. Just a few days before Emmanuel's graduation, a 22-year-old senior named Brittani Panozzo died in a car crash. She was supposed to have graduated with Meredith and Sven, but Brittani's life ended abruptly when she accidently swerved into the path of a pickup truck on Highway 29 near the school. Her death shook the campus—but her brief life also inspired her peers.
At a memorial service for Brittani held four days before graduation, students were reminded that she spent her last semester as an intern on the mission field in South Africa. She had planned to move to Bangladesh after graduation so she could work with orphans and serve churches there. Her dream, according to campus pastor Chris Maxwell, was that Emmanuel would one day sponsor a 24-hour prayer house that would also meet the needs of the poor in the local community.
I see Brittani's fervor in so many young people today. They have a reckless passion to rid the world of injustice. They know that Christian ministry is not just limited to preaching sermons or having prayer meetings; they also want to rescue exploited girls, dig wells to provide clean water and help kids learn English. And they're willing to forfeit the suburban house with the three-car garage for a chance to change the world.
I smiled as I watched Meredith, Sven and their classmates march out of that auditorium on Saturday. They reminded me that while the gospel is timeless, our movements and institutions need regular updating so we can stay relevant and genuine. Amid the huge challenges we face in this crucial hour, God has prepared and anointed a new generation to carry His message to a love-starved world.
J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter: @LeeGrady. Below is a photo of his daughter, Meredith, and her fiance, Sven, at their graduation last Saturday in Franklin Springs, Ga. For more information about Emmanuel College, click here.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I have another friend who is getting out of Jail and is about to find the world has changed out from under him in the last year. He is not going to find quick work for an ex con with limited skill.
Life is changed. It is not ever going to be as it once was. The sooner we all face the fact that we are facing a new reality we will begin to prosper in it. If we don't we will die.
Ron McGatlin of Open Heaven wrote this and it's true:
It's more true for our lives than it is for our churches. Time to face the new realities. They are better than the old realities. But they are very very different.
"The people of God who are not at all moving through this transition cannot possibly understand what is going on and will turn to their previous teaching and understanding and reject much of what God is doing in changing His people. They can quickly become affected by a critical spirit and fight against what God is doing while thinking they are protecting the pure doctrines of the church". Ron McGatlin
Life is cruel. Yet elegant. I wish our politicians had understood this simple economic principle.
"What happened that day at the intersection of the Perimeter Highway and Saskatchewan Avenue was an authentic miracle… The laws of thermodynamics were momentarily superseded by a higher law. It had much more to do with the faith and prayers of a few ordinary people inviting God's intervening hand, in Jesus' name, to protect him on the road in a way that no one else can do…"
(Winnipeg, Manitoba)—If you think miracles documented in the New Testament don't really happen anymore, you'll want to read the following story. Phillip may not have been the only one to be "transported" by the Holy Spirit, as Minnesotan trucker Roger Henry can testify. Read this remarkable account—written by his brother David—of what happened as Roger approached an icy intersection in Winnipeg one wintery day, just months ago.
[January, 2009] Roger Henry, a seasoned trucker based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota has many years of driving experience on the icy roads of Minnesota and Canada. He works for a large international trucking firm. This particular day he was driving a B-Train. It's a seven-axle, twenty-six wheel, two-trailer monster weighing in at over 56,000 kg. (80,000 pounds) when fully loaded. (Photo: Roger Henry)
Roger had just driven his rig north from the Twin Cities and was now headed back home with a large return load. The pavement was dry that day, so he set his speed at the 100 km per hour limit and prepared to make the familiar trip down to the North Dakota border and on south to home.
Roger and his wife Joyce are Christians. As a matter of habit and conviction, they pray in the name of Jesus and simply ask God to protect him as he travels a route that in a split second can turn deadly. In fact, Sandy Atkinson, a Jewish Christian friend of the Henry's, prays every day specifically for Roger to be kept safe as he plies his potentially dangerous trade. This day he would cash in those prayers; he would need all the help he could get.
Manitoba 101, The Perimeter Highway, is well-engineered for safety. On some of its crossings it has yellow blinking lights that forewarn drivers of their safe passage through the next traffic light. It's either, a yellow blinking, 'no'—you must prepare to stop at the next light, or the switched off light indicating 'yes'—you are safe to proceed.
Roger had his rig humming in high gear and relaxed as much as is reasonable into the familiar routine. He was headed south on the west side of Winnipeg, when he approached the next intersection at Perimeter Highway and Saskatchewan Avenue. He observed the yellow light was 'off', giving him the right-of-way through the intersection. He stayed in the right lane. Ominously, off to his right, his eyes locked on to a black four-door sedan traveling from the west at a high rate of speed that indicated someone wasn't paying attention. Roger quickly calculated that the driver could not possibly stop in time for the red light controlling the east-west traffic flow.
The sedan driver finally skidded to a stop, dead center in the middle of the right hand, southbound lane. Roger's loaded B-Train was hurtling through the intersection into the broadside of the black sedan at 100 km miles per hour. Roger had no time to maneuver his big rig into the left lane. He couldn't steer it into that lane without flipping it over or jack-knifing. (Photo: Intersection from satellite view)
There was no time to stop. Air brakes on a big rig are slower to respond than car brakes. It takes a moment of time to develop sufficient air pressure to even begin to slow the giant down. Roger did not have the luxury of those few seconds. Do the math. Study the physics. That sedan driver had to die.
Roger describes what happened as entering briefly into a state of suspended consciousness. He did not faint or pass out. In Roger's words, "My screen went blank." His hands were on the steering wheel but someone had control of his truck for about two seconds. He did not steer into the left lane. He couldn't. He could not veer to the right. It would have been like playing 'crack-the-whip' with a huge load of steel and freight. He could neither change directions nor vary his speed. It was impossible. The distance between his truck's front bumper and the side of the car was roughly twenty five yards. While the front tires were aligned straight ahead, the whole 82.5 feet of the truck were instantly moved sideways into the left lane. To get into the left lane by means of the steering wheel would have meant a flipped truck.
An engineer was asked to calculate the foot pounds of energy contained in the mass and velocity of that truck. He wrote:
"The linear or translational momentum of a particle (mass = truck here) is defined as the product of its mass x velocity (100 km/hr). That is 5,650 tons momentum, in metric tons. Since one metric ton is 1,000 kilogram, and 1 kg is 2.205 lbs, the same momentum is 12,458,000 lbs." -Joe Horvath, PhD.
So much energy going straight forward would not allow the truck to swerve into the left land if Roger had attempted it. He would have taken out the black sedan plus several other vehicles with the flipped tractor and two trailers. While Roger's screen went blank, the only explanation left us is that God moved the whole truck in its north/south alignment 7 meters over into the left lane. When Roger's 'screen came back on' he found himself 100 meters through the intersection in the left land and gradually heading for the right shoulder. But, he did not so much as touch the black sedan. No screeching sound of steel exploding on steel and glass. No fire. No smoke. Nothing. He came back to his normal senses on the south side of Saskatchewan Avenue. Most unusual of all, Roger had no sense of fear, no panic, no adrenaline rush, no rapid beating of his heart. He was aware of a profound sense of peace all about him; and in him.
Roger quickly down shifted and pulled off to the right shoulder of the highway and got out of his truck. He stood there and looked back north at the crossing from 150 meters away. The black sedan was still there. It was parked right where Roger should have blown through it. All traffic had stopped. It takes something unusual to change the routine of drivers hurrying to work in bone-chilling weather. What they saw motivated them. About twenty witnesses were stopped. Three or four drivers got out of their cars and began to gather around the car to inspect it. The witnesses to this event were trying to make sense of what they had just seen.
As Roger watched, the light changed and the driver in the black car drove slowly away to the east toward the city. After assessing what he had just lived through without any damage to either vehicle, Roger made his way back into the truck and sat there for a while collecting his thoughts. He is a down-to-earth, laid back, professional trucker with a good sense of humor. But that day, he saw the curtain pulled back for just a few seconds; he saw into another dimension.
Roger has searched for a word to explain what happened to him. He said that the best he can explain it is he was, "transported" in the sense of Phillip the Evangelist in the eighth chapter verses 39 and 40, of the Book of Acts in the Bible. Phillip was ministering to the Ethiopian Eunuch who had just been baptized in Gaza. At the completion of that ministry, he found himself the next moment transported to a location eighteen miles to the north along the Mediterranean shore and a new ministry assignment. Phillip was 'seized' or 'caught away' from Gaza and 'found himself' in Azotus. Roger was seized from the right lane where death was, and found himself in the left lane and a good distance ahead where safety was. The Greek New Testament verb is "Harpadzo", the same verb that is employed in the English concept of rapture or a 'catching away'. Roger experienced what we might call a mini-rapture. He and the other driver were in imminent danger. Roger was covered in prayer. He was caught away from or seized out of danger. To redirect, or reposition that much rolling energy in a such surgically precise fashion required a greater amount of power than the force in the vehicle's mass and velocity.
Webster's Dictionary defines a miracle as, "1. ...an event or effect that contradicts known scientific laws and is hence thought to be due to supernatural causes, especially to an act of God." What happened that day at the intersection of the Perimeter Highway and Saskatchewan Avenue was an authentic miracle. Roger is a good truck driver; a very good one. He has amassed over three million miles of truck driving without an accident. That is testimony to consistently good judgment in all kinds of situations. But what happened on that patch of pavement had nothing to do with his skill or ability. The laws of thermodynamics were momentarily superseded by a higher law. It had much more to do with the faith and prayers of a few ordinary people inviting God's intervening hand, in Jesus' name, to protect him on the road in a way that no one else can do. Some old-timers call it, 'being prayed up'. Their months and years of prayers had gone ahead of him.
A lot of things pass for news that are no real news. And some things that are so astounding as to defy explanation go by and no one records it; no one tells the story. This true story is being told. There was a miracle in Winnipeg that day, on the Perimeter Highway. God did intervene; something holy, powerful and good happened on a cold Canadian winter's day. There is a person or persons who are alive right now who should not be. But they are. They might consider humbly giving thanks to Someone who, when asked in faith, does the impossible.
Monday, May 11, 2009
That means that even though Jesus knew his heart, that he was not the man Jesus hoped he would be, that he was the son of Perdition, that he would betray him, he still anointed him to do mighty works. JUDAS never was transformed, and yet he did real miracles, he was casting out devils and this was all real stuff - Jesus knew all along that Judas was false in heart.
We must be careful to watch and pray. Not everyone who does great and mighty works of God is transformed.
If you read the Private Benjamin post below and look at this cartoon, you start to see why the boot camp of pain in America must happen.
Maybe in only a few short years we will learn to survive.
I think we are in for 14 years of this.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Mr. Obama and his advisers know the public won't accept gigantic governmental expansions without at least some effort to pare the waste in Washington. So they scrubbed "line by line" through this historically huge budget and identified $16.7 billion of budget savings. This is less than a penny, about 0.47 cents, of savings out of every dollar Uncle Sam will spend this year. And these aren't real savings that will reduce debt, because Congress has already fixed the budget totals. Thus, each dollar saved from the African Development Foundation gets reallocated to some other foreign aid program.
"If you haven't got a penny, a haepenny will do...."
In this case, the spending, monetization, taxing and governmental collapse will destroy the once late great nation of the USA. We are well on the way.
Alas I knew her well.... And loved her, but she went after another lover who destroyed her.
Happens every day in the papers. I just ended up in the line of fire.
Hawn plays Judy Benjamin, a spoiled, wealthy Jewish woman, who joins the army after her new husband dies on their wedding night. Naively believing it to be a more glamorous career than it is, life in the army is a rude awakening for Judy who has so far lived a pampered existence. However, she is forced to re-evaluate her life and decides to stick it out, eventually leading to promotion (much to the dismay of her superior, Captain Doreen Lewis).
During her stint in the army, Judy meets Henri Tremont, a dashing French doctor. However, their romance is short-lived when he returns to Paris and she to her army career. Later, Judy manages to be assigned to NATO headquarters in Paris where she meets up with Henri again. He later proposes marriage, to which she accepts but she is forced to give up her career in the army in order to do so.
However, later into the relationship, Judy discovers Henri's controlling side and is also forced into signing a complicated prenuptial agreement in his favour. Then when she finds out Henri has already been unfaithful to her, she realises that she is in danger of losing the new-found independence that it took her a lifetime to achieve and walks out of her wedding just before they take their vows.
Unless you are Rip Van Winkle and have been asleep for years, I'm sure you feel the daily convulsions that are rocking our world. Change is hitting America right between the eyes. Everything that can be shaken is being shaken—from banks and insurance companies to car manufacturers and media empires.
Trusted brands, including Chrysler and United Airlines, may go out of business within months. Newspapers are laying off employees in droves as readers go digital; bookstores like Borders can't compete with Amazon.com. Pontiac is officially dead, and the city of Detroit—once the proud global headquarters of the auto industry—is rusting and jobless.
|"Please don't fight the changes God wants to bring in your life. As you hold on to His unchangeable love, allow Him to push the reset button."|
What we are experiencing today is more than an economic recession. The upheaval is affecting us politically, socially, technologically and spiritually. It feels as if God has pushed a giant red reset button in heaven. Change is being forced on us.
Meanwhile there is a big problem in the church: We Christians don't have a great track record when it comes to embracing change. We are slow adapters. Often we insist on doing church exactly like Grandpa did, and then when we realize we are outdated it's too late.
For a few months I've been pondering the changes happening in charismatic churches and praying about our future as a movement. I've been asking hard questions and wrestling with my own fears of change. And I've reached some uncomfortable conclusions:
1. The charismatic movement as we know it has ended. I celebrate what God did in recent years to bring the Holy Spirit's renewal to the church. My life was totally changed by it. But the cloud is moving, and we cannot pitch our tents around the revivals of the past. While we embrace the eternal things He gave us in those days, we must discard the styles and methods that are no longer fruitful so we can advance.
That doesn't mean we throw the baby out with the bathwater. We cling to what is good. But we must leave behind the excesses, extremes and flaky doctrines that give us a bad name. The one-man show is over. The prosperity circus was a failure. We must abandon the deceptive hype of the past. People today are craving authenticity—not shallow words and empty promises.
2. A "new generation" church is emerging. I visit two or three churches every month in this country. Those that are healthy and growing have developed new paradigms. Though they embrace the power of the Holy Spirit, they also place high value on evangelism, small-group discipleship, social justice and world missions. They are extravagant in giving to outreach. They are relational, not event-driven. And they demand character from leaders rather than simply celebrating a man or woman's spiritual anointing.
No one has coined a term for this movement yet, but it is growing—and it represents the future of Christianity in our country. These new generation churches embrace healthy leadership and don't tolerate the kind of ministry monkey business that has embarrassed us in recent years. These churches love sinners and preach grace, but they draw the lines necessary to enforce biblical standards.
New generation churches are also connected in a healthy, relational way to other churches, yet they are not denominational in a restrictive sense. They refuse labels. Rather than wearing the cumbersome armor of a religious structure, they are free to pray, dream and be creative about how they should reach the children, high school students, business leaders, drug addicts, immigrants, homeless people, twenty-somethings and church dropouts in their communities.
3. God is tearing down the walls that divide us. For too long we've been content to congregate in our comfortable tribal groups. But the essence of Pentecost involves the Holy Spirit's outpouring "on all mankind" (Acts 2:17, NASB). This means true Pentecostals cannot harbor racism.
God's agenda in this next season of revival will involve tearing down racist structures—and this will occur not only in white churches but in black and Hispanic ones as well. It also means that church leaders from China, India, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America will have a greater platform to speak into our lives here in the United States. Western Christians must accept the fact that we don't have all the answers!
4. We face an unprecedented global opportunity for evangelism. I've never been the first to try new gadgets. I still like to hold my newspaper and read it on the back porch—and I don't watch TV shows on an iPhone. But regardless of my creature habits, I can't stand in the way of today's technological revolution.
Jesus commanded us to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth—and that requires us to use every means possible. God is in a hurry to reach places like Uzbekistan, Niger and Yemen—and He will likely use podcasts, Blackberries and Facebook to do it. We should claim all new media so that every person on this planet can hear that Jesus died to save us.
Please don't fight the changes God wants to bring in your life. As you hold on to His unchangeable love, allow Him to push the reset button. Then buckle your seat belt and hold on. We are in for the ride of our lives!