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Something is coming. I don’t know what. But we must be ready. Here’s the key question: Is America heading towards a terrible implosion or a great awakening?

In Uncategorized on June 20, 2015 at 6:33 pm

implosion-simulcastphotoUPDATED:(Washington, D.C.) — I feel a tremendous sense of urgency about this column.

The United States is hurtling towards severe trouble, and the events of the past few months — and what may be coming over the next few months — grieves me a great deal.

Something is coming. I don’t know what. But we all must be ready in every possible way.

Consider where we are in the summer of 2015:

  • Violence is exploding in our cities, schools and churches. The horrific mass murder inside the church in Charleston would be bad enough if it wasn’t just one of innumerable mass killings that have become epidemic in America.
  • Racism is tearing us apart, and it appears things are getting worse, not better.
  • The Supreme Court is poised to rule any day now on the definition and future of marriage — and if the Court rules against Biblical marriage I believe this could cause the Lord’s hand to turn against our country in a severe and profound way according to the moral laws found in Romans chapter one.
  • Abortions are occurring at more than one million in year and have put America on the fast track to judgment. Since 1973, Americans have murdered 57 million children through abortions. The blood of 57 million babies is crying out for justice, and they will get it in God’s sovereign timing. Could that be soon?
  • If all this wasn’t bad enough, marriages and families are imploding all around us. Poverty is growing. Drug and alcohol use is epidemic. And that’s just here at home.
  • Abroad, Iran is closing in on The Bomb.
  • ISIS is exploding across the Middle East, and gaining ground in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
  • The Kremlin is growing more aggressive.
  • Yet our politicians continue to bicker, stall, or golf, even as many abdicate their Constitutional responsibilities.
  • And many Americans have little or no hope for the future, have little confidence in government, little confidence in the media or academia, and far too little confidence in the Church. Indeed, many see little or no reason to go to church, and are drifting from whatever faith they might have once had in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Not all is lost. There are many Americans who love Christ dearly and love His Word and are seeking every day to walk with the Lord and love their neighbors and care for the poor and make the good news of God’s redeeming love known to their lost and drifting nation.

But warnings signs are flashing everywhere. Alarm bells are ringing everywhere. Far too many self-professed Christians are groggy or asleep, and we need a wake up call.

So, is America heading for implosion, or revival?

Right now, I see a case for either. But here’s an interesting update. Thousands of Southern Baptist pastors and lay leaders gathered in Columbus, Ohio, this past week for their annual convention. But this was not business as usual. They gathered to do some serious soul searching.

The good news: the SBC is planting new churches all over America and the number of SBC churches is growing, rising from 46,000 to more than 51,000.

The bad news: these churches are doing less evangelism, seeing fewer people receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and seeing fewer people baptized than at any time in the past 67 years.

Now, I have to admit, normally I don’t follow what’s happening at the annual Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) meetings. I’m not a Southern Baptist. I was raised in New York State by a wayward Orthodox Jewish father and a wayward Methodist mother — wayward, that is, until both my parents became born again as deeply devoted followers of Jesus Christ in 1973 during the height of the “Jesus Movement.”

But since the election of Pastor Ronnie Floyd as SBC president last June, I have started paying close attention. Indeed, I have been deeply moved to see where Pastor Floyd and the SBC are heading. He has spent the last year tirelessly crisscrossing America and the globe urging Baptist pastors and lay people to become more serious and passionate about preaching, teaching and obeying the Word of God, preaching the Gospel to all nations (including Israel and the Muslim world), fulfilling the Great Commission, and pleading with the Lord to revive His Church and give us a Third Great Awakening.

Pastor Floyd has reached out to many pastors and ministry leaders outside of the SBC, as well. He invited me to preach at his congregation in northwest Arkansas last November. We have met and spoken by phone and email numerous times since, including in Israel earlier this year. I couldn’t be more grateful that the Lord has raised Pastor Floyd up at this hour. What’s more, I pray that the Holy Spirit moves powerfully through him — and pastors like him — to wake up the sluggish Protestant church in America and around the world and call us humbly to serve our Lord Jesus Christ without reservation.

This week, Pastor Floyd delivered a critically important and deeply moving message to the SBC convention. This morning, I read the full text, and then watched the video. It was so good, so clear, so strong, that I strongly recommend you read and/or watch the message. Please also share it with others — with everyone you know. Later this week, I will post some key excerpts that were important to me. But for now I just want to make you aware of the message and give you the appropriate links.

After you watch and read this message, if you are looking for additional resources, here are some messages Anne Graham Lotz and I have delivered on these themes of trying to wake up the Church before it’s too late.

I genuinely don’t know whether we are heading for implosion or revival? But like Ronnie Floyd and Anne Graham Lotz and many other Christian leaders, I have a deep and profound sense of urgency for personal and corporate prayer, for deep personal and family and congregational repentance, for sharing the Gospel with anyone and everyone else who will listen.

Something is coming. I don’t know what. But we all must be ready in every possible way.

Are you ready?

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Is ISIS winning? They’re certainly a growing threat to Jordan & Israel as they steadily gain ground in Iraq and Syria.

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2015 at 9:36 pm
The cover of the June 2nd issue of Newsweek.

The cover of the June 2nd issue of Newsweek.

UPDATED: (Washington, D.C.) — Is ISIS winning?

A growing number of analysts say the forces of the Islamic State are succeeding in their bid to establish a caliphate or kingdom in the heart of the modern Middle East.

  • ISIS is steadily gaining vital territory in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
  • They are steadily recruiting more jihadists.
  • They are continuing to rape, pillage, persecute and behead Muslims, Christians and “infidels” of all stripes.
  • And they are doing so despite nine months of empty rhetoric from President Obama and half-hearted allied airstrikes against them.

In May, ISIS forces captured the city of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar Province, despite being outnumbered by Iraqi military troops, many of whom ended up fleeing rather than fighting. This puts ISIS just 70 miles or so from Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. But it also helps consolidate ISIS control of a vast Sunni province on the border with the Jordan.

Will ISIS soon try to attack Jordan? Will the forces of the Islamic State try to bring down King Abdullah II and his Hashemite Kingdom? Will they try to set up a new jihadist base from which to attack Israel, the United States and our allies in the Middle East and Europe? Do they have access to chemical weapons they could use to launch genocidal attacks?

These are questions I raised in my recent novel, The Third Target, which was released in January. But as the months tick by, such matters seem less the stuff of fiction and more the subject of real life intelligence and policy deliberations at the highest levels of government. Consider these recent headlines:

“It has been nine months since President Barack Obama set forth a policy—“degrade and destroy”—for dealing with the Islamic State (ISIS), the radical group that emerged as the successor to Al-Qaeda in Iraq,” begins a Newsweek cover story. “In that time, despite daily airstrikes, an increased tempo of training Iraqi troops and a wobbly coalition of 60 nations trying to combat ISIS, the group has made steady gains in both Iraq and Syria: It not only still controls the city of Mosul, on May 17, it routed Iraqi troops in the Sunni stronghold of Ramadi, about 70 miles from Baghdad. In Syria it took the strategic city of Palmyra. It has extended its reach into Libya and conducted its first terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia, blowing up a Shiite mosque in the eastern city of Qatif. Far from being degraded, the group Obama once infamously derided as ‘the jayvee’ appears in the eyes of many, to be on the march. If the question is, ‘Is ISIS winning?’ the answer, for now, appears undeniable: Yes.”

At present, I am editing the manuscript for my next novel, the sequel to The Third Target. But even as I play out this fictional scenario, I am praying that the American government and her allies get truly serious about developing and executing a comprehensive and effective strategy to stop the ISIS advance defeat ISIS all together. Watching so many Muslims and Christians in the region be persecuted, tortured, enslaved and killed while the world’s leaders dither, vacillate and demonstrate ineptitude is far too painful to bear.

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Will final nuclear deal be reached with Iran by June 30th deadline? Administration engaged in “wishful thinking” that good deal is possible, says former senior intelligence advisor to President Obama.

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2015 at 8:06 pm

iran-nuclear-graphic(Washington, D.C.) — The countdown is underway. Negotiators have only until the end of June to complete a final nuclear deal with Iran. But with just days to go, it’s still unclear whether such a deal will happen, and — if it does — whether the deal could possibly be a good one.

A former senior military intelligence advisor to President Obama recently testified to a House Foreign Affairs Committee that the administration’s belief that a good deal with Iran is possible amounts to “wishful thinking.”

“Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who served as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency until last August, devoted 20 paragraphs of his opening statement to a blow-by-blow attack on the framework deal with Tehran,” reported the UK Daily Mail.

The deal “suffers from severe deficiencies,” Flynn testified. “Iran has every intention to build a nuclear weapon” and “it is clear that the nuclear deal is not a permanent fix but merely a placeholder.’

Meanwhile, “Iran and six powers are still apart on all main elements of a nuclear deal with less than two weeks to go to their June 30 target date and will likely have to extend their negotiations,” reports the Associated Press, based on interviews with two diplomats. “Their comments enforce concerns that obstacles to a pact remain beyond the public debate on how far Iran must open its nuclear program to outside purview under any deal.”

Excerpts from the AP article:

  • Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has for weeks rebuffed U.S. demands that U.N. nuclear monitors have access to military sites and nuclear scientists as they monitor Tehran’s commitments under a deal and probe allegations of past work on atomic arms.
  • Negotiators are concerned about a lack of headway on all issues. Russian chief delegate Sergey Ryabkov said Friday the “the rate of progress … is progressively slowing down.”
  • Negotiators have been meeting five days a week in Vienna over the past few weeks. The two diplomats are familiar with the progress of the talks and spoke shortly before a planned five-day round reconvened Wednesday. They demanded anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the confidential negotiations.
  • Ways of implementing specific parts of the deal are supposed to be contained in four or five annexes to the main text of an agreement.
  • The diplomats described the draft of a main document as a patchwork of text and dozens of blank spaces because of stubborn disagreement on up to 10 elements crucial to any deal. Those details are to be included in four or five annexes, which remain incomplete.
  • Both sides remain publicly committed to June 30. Still, the diplomats said all nations at the table recognize that a delay up to July 9 is not a deal-breaker.

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