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“THE GATHERING STORM”: A SPECIAL SIMULCAST EVENT FOR CHURCHES ON OCTOBER 22 FOCUSING ON THE THREATS FACING AMERICA, ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2011 at 10:15 pm

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while, I will once more shake the heavens and the earth. I will shake all the nations….I will shake the heavens and the earth. I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms.” (Haggai 2:6-7, 21-22)

Dear American Pastors:

In the last few weeks, the U.S. stock markets have tanked. Americans have lost more than $2.3 trillion in personal wealth. Our economy has nearly stalled. Some 14 million American are out of work. We may be facing a double-dip recession. Our debt is exploding. And Washington is nearly paralyzed with partisan gridlock, even as Iran is building nuclear weapons, Syria and Libya are slaughtering thousands, Egypt has imploded, and Israel is increasingly threatened. Put it simply: Storm clouds are gathering. The winds are picking up. The tectonic plates beneath us are shifting. America is being shaken. Israel and the Middle East are being shaken. The Church is being shaken. Why? Where are we headed? What is God doing? And what is He asking followers of Jesus Christ to do?

At this critical moment in our history, I would ask  you to please prayerfully consider hosting a special 3-hour simulcast at your church on Saturday, October 22, 2011. It is called, “The Gathering Storm: An Urgent Call To Prayer, Fasting and Repentance for America, Israel and the Church in the Light of Bible Prophecy.”  In the first hour of this event, I will teach from the Holy Scriptures, analyze current events in light of Bible prophecy, and offer practical suggestions on how Christians should respond Biblically. Then, for the next nearly two hours, I will answer questions from believers all over the country.

Among the pressing questions I look forward to addressing:

  • What are the current and growing economic, social, moral, and spiritual threats to America, Israel and the Church in 2011?
  • How high are the stakes if God’s people don’t humble themselves and pray, fast and repent in the last days?
  • How serious is the threat of Radical Islam to America, Israel and the Church?
  • How serious is the threat of Rampant Secularism to America, Israel and the Church?
  • Why are economic troubles and natural disasters intensifying here at home and around the world?
  • What will happen to America if we turn our back on the nation of Israel?
  • What does Bible prophecy say about the future of America, Israel and the Church?
  • What are specific, practical, Biblical steps followers of Jesus Christ can take to seek God’s mercy for America, Israel and the Church at this critical hour?

Clearly, Washington doesn’t have the answers to the fundamental moral, spiritual and financial crises we are facing. Neither does the media or academia. The Bible does. But much of the Church seems to be asleep. What’s more, there are many false teachers out there, seeking to lead Americans — including believers — down dangerous paths. That’s why I believe it is so important to call followers of Jesus Christ together and provide them sound, truthful, theologically solid, Biblical answers to the most pressing questions of our times. I hope you will find this event helpful to you in your ministry, and will choose to host the simulcast in your church and encourage your congregation to attend.

To learn more about “The Gathering Storm” event — and to sign up your church to host the 3-hour simulcast on Saturday, October 22nd — please click here.

Thank you so much for your partnership in the gospel. May the Lord bless you as you continue to preach the Word of God in season and out, make disciples, and feed Christ’s sheep in these critical times.

Sincerely,

Joel C. Rosenberg

P.S. — If you’re not a pastor, please let your pastor know about “The Gathering Storm” event and encourage him to participate.

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>> To support The Joshua Fund to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus — especially at this critical moment — please click here

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

“A GLIMPSE INTO THE ABYSS”: LAWLESSNESS RISING IN LONDON AND BEYOND

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2011 at 11:38 am

London burning. (photo credit: AFP)

The madness in London has gone from bad to worse. “Police in riot gear and on horseback were clashing with hundreds of rioters, fires were raging out of control, and looters combed the area,” reported the AP. “One video posted to the Guardian newspaper’s website showed looting even carried on into the following day, with people even lining up to steal from one store just after dawn. The devastated area smoldered Sunday — in Tottenham, streets were littered with bricks and lined with overturned scorched trash cans. Two police helicopters hovered over the burnt-out buildings as residents inspected the damage and firefighters doused the last of the flames. Glaziers were busy replacing the smashed windows of looted shops.”

“This is just a glimpse into the abyss,” former [London] Metropolitan Police Commander John O’Connor told Sky News. “Someone’s pulled the clock back and you can look and see what’s beneath the surface. And what with the Olympic Games coming up, this doesn’t bode very well for London.”

The latest reports indicate protests and at times riots are spreading throughout Europe and around the world, picking adding to the chaos and lawlessness we’ve seen in Greece, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Libya, Mexico, Somalia, and elsewhere in recent months.

One of the signs of the “last days,” according to Matthew 24:12, will be that “lawlessness is increased.” It would certainly appear that we’re seeing a rise of lawlessness at the moment. Consider the latest headlines:

>> To support The Joshua Fund, please click here

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

“WE NEED ANOTHER DUNKIRK”: 30,000+ TURN OUT TO PRAY & FAST FOR AMERICA AND ISRAEL

In Uncategorized on August 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm

(Houston, Texas) — The year was 1940. The moment was one of the darkest in the history of the English people. More than 300,000 British troops suddenly found themselves pinned down in northern France. Nazi forces were bearing down on them. The Brits didn’t have enough ammunition or supplies. At any moment, Hitler’s forces would launch a ferocious attack. The Brits faced imminent annihilation. Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his advisors thought at best the navy could rescue 20,000 to 30,000 before it was too late. Others feared even that might not be possible. And the stakes couldn’t have been higher. If so many forces were wiped out, Hitler and the Nazis would invade the British Isles — and win.

So the King of England called for a national day of prayer. That Sunday, an estimated 70 percent of the British people showed up at churches all over the country. They begged for the Lord’s mercy on their fathers and sons, and for their national survival. And the Lord heard those heartfelt prayers and responded with what became known as “the miracle at Dunkirk.” Hitler inexplicably delayed giving his generals the order to finish off the Brits. A great storm over Germany prevented Nazi planes from being able to take off. The British people quickly assembled some 900 fishing boats, yachts, trawlers, and other private and government vessels, and began ferrying the troops of the French beaches and back to England a few at a time. By the grace of God, nearly a third of a million souls were saved as a result, as was the British nation.

“We need another Dunkirk,” said Dr. James Dobson at Saturday’s national day of prayer in Houston as he recounted the famous story and called American Christians to devote themselves to prayer and fasting. “God answers prayer.” He is absolutely right.

What an encouraging day during such a discouraging week. Against the backdrop of a severe financial crisis and near-crippling political gridlock in Washington, the S&P’s first-ever downgrade of American debt, the increasing prospect of a double-dip recession, and the terrible tragedy of the murder of 30 American special forces heroes in Afghanistan– including operators from the Navy’s SEAL Team Six — more than 30,000 Americans gathered peaceably here yesterday to pray for the Lord to have mercy on our country. They joined together with evangelical Christians gathered at some 1,300 satellite viewing locations in all 50 states. They implored the Lord to spare us from the judgment our many sins deserve. They pleaded with the Lord to pour out His Holy Spirit and give us a Third Spiritual Awakening. They chose, too, to pray for the Lord to bless the State of Israel and the Jewish people, and prayed faithfully and passionately for the peace of Jerusalem.

“The Response” was no ordinary prayer meeting. Personally, I’ve never been to anything like it, and I was blessed by every minute of it. There were no political speeches. No entrance fees. No offering. No fund-raising appeal. No merchandise sold. No light show. No entertainment of any kind. This was simply seven straight hours of prayer and fasting, heartfelt contrition and repentance, Bible reading from the Book of Joel and many other Scriptures, and wonderful worship — both modern praise songs and beloved hymns — with every generation represented along with so many races and ethnic backgrounds. Let’s do more of this.

Some evangelicals were critical of “The Response.” They urged people not to attend because they have serious and fundamental theological differences with some of those involved in the event. A few emailed me and urged me not to participate. I heard those concerns and I have strong disagreements with some of the participants, too. But the truth is the vast majority of organizers and participants of this prayer meeting were theologically, morally and ethically solid evangelical, Bible believing followers of Jesus Christ. They included some trusted friends and allies that I have worked with over the years like Dr. James Dobson and Shirley Dobson, Vonette Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Pastor Greg Matte of Houston’s First Baptist, Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America, Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, among others. Such men and women see the grave crises facing our country. They believe and faithfully teach that the Bible offers the only answers. Together with the governor of an important state, they called the country to pray based on the Scriptures. And many — including the media — paid attention. How often does that happen? How often do government leaders stand with believers and call meetings for prayer and fasting for the rescue of America and the blessing of Israel based on the Lord’s commands in the Book of Joel? How often do 30,000 American believers gather not for entertainment but simply to fast, pray and worship all day long? Yes, some feared the event was going to be political. But it wasn’t. Yes, some feared what would be said or done would be theologically off base. But it wasn’t. I know because I was there. I wish even more had been there, too. We need more pastors and ministry leaders to teach and follow the Book of Joel, not fewer. We need more officials to call for prayer and fasting and to be encouraged for doing so, not fewer.

I’m grateful to Texas Governor Rick Perry for helping call for this event to take place, for encourging people from all over the country to participate, for standing his ground against intense liberal and atheist opposition and even a federal lawsuit (which was dismissed), and for speaking and praying at the event despite many calls for him not to do so. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback deserves credit for coming and speaking, as does Florida Governor Rick Scott for participating by video, and Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) for attending in person, as well.

“Father, our heart breaks for America,” Gov. Perry said in his brief message. “We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government and, as a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us.”

I was particularly encouraged by the Scriptures that Gov. Perry read to the audience. Let me close with those:

  • Joel 2:12-17 — “‘Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments.’ Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil. Who knows whether He will not turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him, even a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God? Blow a trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and the nursing infants. Let the bridegroom come out of his room and the bride out of her bridal chamber. Let the priests, the Lord’s ministers, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, ‘Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not make Your inheritance a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they among the peoples say, ‘Where is their God?’”
  • Isaiah 40:27-31 — “Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God?’ Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”
  • Ephesians 3:14-21 — “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to knowthe love of Christ whichsurpasses knowledge, that you may befilled up to all thefullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

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HEADLINES TO TRACK:

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A CALL TO PRAYER & FASTING FOR OUR COUNTRY: The politicians don’t have any answers, but where is the Church?

In Uncategorized on August 5, 2011 at 1:33 pm

(Denver, Colorado) –Here’s one sobering headline that caught my eye this morning: “Global stocks tumble amid recession fears: Market panic spreads across globe as investors fear double-dip recession.”  Here’s another: “Dow’s losing streak now in ninth day; Dow’s losing streak unmatched since 1978.”

U.S. and global markets have been severely rattled in recent weeks by the inability or unwillingness of politicians in Washington to make the truly serious and dramatic reforms necessary to move our country back from the brink of bankruptcy. Our national debt now equals 100% of our GDP. That is, we will produce about $14.5 trillion in goods and services as a nation in 2011. Yet we have just hit $14.5 trillion in federal debt. We now owe to our creditors every single penny that we will make this year., yet we have no real plan to ever pay this deb down. It just keeps going up and up. America hasn’t faced a debt crisis this serious since we were fighting for our lives against the Nazis in World War II. Meanwhile, millions of Americans remain out of work. Millions are losing their homes. Nearly 46 million Americans are now on government food stamps.  No wonder a stunning 73% of Americans say our country is on the “wrong track.” We certainly are.

America is in trouble, morally, spiritually and financially. Yet no one seems to have any answers. The politicians seem clueless. The media certainly doesn’t have any answers. Academia seems more out of touch than ever. Sadly, far too many Church leaders are asleep, as well — or too timid, or drifting off course spiritually and theologically — just at the time they could and should be powerfully proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ as the only real hope of mankind. God hasn’t failed us. We have failed God. Christ is ready to come help us, care for us, get us back on the right track, if we would only turn to Him en masse. The Church’s job is to be a light to the nations, ours and the world. But too much of the Church is sleeping. We need a wake up call.

America needs a revival — a dramatic spiritual renewal like the “Great Awakening” of the early 1700s, and the “Second Great Awakening” of the mid-1800s. But such a revival has to begin first and foremost with the Church waking up and asking the Lord to purify us, heal us, and re-inspire us with the life-changing truths of His Word. Only then can we truly love our neighbors with Christ’s love and be a blessing to our country in a time of severe crisis. The Hebrew Prophet Joel told us to, “Wake up, drunkards!” (Joel 1:5). He called us to “lament, O priests” and “wail, O ministers.” (Joel 1:13)  He urged us to “consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly; gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God” because “the day of the Lord is near.” (Joel 1:14-15). He told us to “blow a trumpet in Zion and sound an alarm on My holy mountain” because “the day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near.” (Joel 2:1). This was the message I shared last night at an event in Denver last night. The Day of the Lord is coming, and as that day approaches, the Lord is shaking America, Israel and the nations to get our attention and persuade us to let go of anything and everything we are holding onto for peace and security other than faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, this was the theme of our Epicenter Conference in Jerusalem in May. But it needs to be shared not just in Jerusalem but to the ends of the Earth.

Today, I’m flying to Houston to participate in tomorrow’s day of prayer & fasting for our country. The event was called by Texas Governor Rick Perry. It’s based on the Book of Joel. And despite enormous opposition from liberal groups and atheist organizations, I believe this is exactly what we need right now. We need to take a day out from our normal lives and stop everything we’re doing — stop working, stop playing, stop entertaining ourselves, stop texting, stop emailing, stop Facebooking, stop eating — and just spend it with the Lord. In His Word. With His people. In praise and worship. In prayer and fasting. Asking Him to show mercy to us….before it’s too late.

If you’re anywhere near Reliant Stadium in Houston tomorrow, I hope you’ll join us. If not, may I encourage you to take time out of your busy schedules to pray and fast tomorrow for a true, deep and powerful revival in America, beginning in the Church?

“‘Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping, and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments.’ Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil. Who knows whether He will not turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him?” (Joel 2:12-14)

AN ECONOMIC REBELLION GROWING IN ISRAEL: Observations from a month in the holy land

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2011 at 12:26 pm

>> Please join me in Denver on August 4th where I will be speaking on this critical topic: why the nations are being shaken and how we should respond. I will be focusing on why the Lord is shaking the U.S., Israel and the Arab world. Please click here for information and to reserve a ticket.

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I just got back to Washington after living in Israel for the past month. By God’s grace, Lynn and our boys were able to join me for the past two weeks. Together, we worked on projects for The Joshua Fund, delivering packages of food and other essential household goods to poor and needy Israeli Jews, visiting with needy Israelis in their apartments, packing pallets of food and supplies in TJF’s warehouse, helping fix up and paint a bomb shelter, and more. It was a wonderful and moving time — especially for our kids — as we got to see up-close-and-personal just how hard it is for so many Israelis to make ends meet. It was very different side of Israel than most tourists get to see, and I wanted to share some observations with you.

In many ways, modern Israel is a conundrum:

  • On the one hand, Israel’s macro economy is booming, especially compared to the U.S. Despite wars and rumors of wars and all kinds of regional instability, Israel’s increasingly sophisticated, high-tech and export-driven economy is growing faster than most other countries in the industrialized Western world. What’s more, unemployment in Israel is actually at an all-time low right now. (see stats below) That’s the good news.
  • On the other hand, prices in Israel for gasoline, apartments, even cottage cheese and other food staples are high and soaring higher, and many lower- and middle-income Israelis are becoming so exasperated that they are literally taking to the streets in protest government policies that are compounding the problem. This is the bad news. For the weeks we were there, we saw protests growing in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and elsewhere. Young people are setting up “tent cities” to to show their frustration with an economic system that is leaving them behind and actually causing many to slip into poverty. Doctors are on strike to protest low wages in Israel’s nationalized health care system. And last Saturday — the day we flew back to the U.S. — an estimated 50,000 Israelis held a demonstration in Tel Aviv, while tens of thousands more Israelis held demonstrations in other parts of the country.

Why? One of serious problems is soaring apartment prices. Here’s short version: there’s not enough housing supply to meet Israel’s growing demand. The Israeli government owns about 93% of the land. For a variety of reasons (most originating in decades of socialist policies from the founding of the Jewish state), the government makes it extremely cumbersome and expensive for developers to purchase/lease land and then plan and build new single family homes and/or apartment complexes. Thus, as Israel’s population steadily grows — naturally, and from “aliya’ (Jewish immigration into the country) — the number of new homes and apartments coming onto the market simply isn’t keeping pace. As a result, apartment rental prices in some areas of Israel have skyrocketed by some 35% to 40% in just the past few years. Purchase prices have shot up, too. We visited families living in tiny apartments with two or three bedrooms that would cost between $600,000 to $1 million to buy. Few Israelis could possibly afford that, meaning that many young people and young couples are simply priced out of the market.

At the same time, as I wrote about on The Joshua Fund website in March, food prices in Israel are also skyrocketing:

  • Canola oil prices are up 23%
  • Sugar prices are up 40%
  • Flour/Semolina is up 19%
  • Buckwheat is up 106%
  • Jam is up 15%
  • Tuna is up 3.3%

In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, Israel’s leading economic reform expert Daniel Doron writes about what is becoming known as the “cottage-cheese rebellion.” Excerpts from his must-read article

  • “The cottage-cheese rebellion started after a major business publication ran a series of features comparing food prices in Israel and abroad. People realized that while salaries in Israel are about half those in America, prices of consumer goods and services are about double….Izhak Alrov, a member of the ultra-orthodox community of Bnei Brak and a cantor by avocation, was outraged by what he experienced trying to survive on a modest salary. In June, the 25-year-old opened a Facebook page and called for a consumer boycott of one staple—cottage cheese. The response was electrifying. Over 100,000 long-suffering consumers soon joined the boycott. Stores reported a steep decline in cottage-cheese sales.”
  • “The cottage-cheese rebellion is transcending its immediate cause, the high cost of food. It is spreading to other goods and services, especially housing, and it has given voice to a feeling of economic helplessness.”
  • “Exorbitant profits, fees and taxes make even the cheapest imported automobiles cost between $35,000-$40,000.”
  • “A gallon of gas costs almost $10.”
  • “A small apartment can cost the average Israeli worker 12 years in annual salary.”
  • “Water and electricity costs are inordinately high”
  • “Poor government-run education leads many families to spend a mint on private tuition.”

The Netanyahu government is responding slowly. They recently announced plans to bring some 50,000 new apartments onto the market by next year, but they must do more to implement free market reforms and allow the private sector to dramatically expand the housing supply. They also need to reduce taxes and reduce regulations to liberalize the economy and curb inflation. In the meantime, one-in-four Israeli citizens live below the poverty level, as do one-in-three Israeli children. The Joshua Fund is doing what we can to care for the poor and needy, because the Bible tells us to do so. We’d love  your prayers, and your help. May the Lord bless you as you bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus.

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AT-A-GLA NCE: THE U.S. ECONOMY VERSUS ISRAEL’S ECONOMY

  • U.S. unemployment rate in May 2011: 9.1%
  • Israel’s unemployment rate in May 2011: 5.7% — an all-time low for Israel
  • U.S. economic growth in 2nd quarter of 2011: a paltry 1.3% (note: in the first quarter, the U.S. economy grew a mere 0.4%)
  • Israel’s economic growth in the 2nd quarter of 2011: a robust 5.4%
  • U.S. economic growth in 2010: only 2.8%
  • Israeli economic growth in 2010: 4.5%
  • Context: the average growth rate for OECD countries in 2010 was only 2.7%
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