Place Your Trust in God’s Unshakeable Kingdom

In our current economic, cultural, and political environment, it is easy to become anxious and full of fear.

Today, many Western political leaders are systematically destroying their entire economies through poor financial policies.

Western culture has become obsessed with overconsumption, death, violence, and a myriad of other issues…

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Why The Message Of ‘Sacrifice’ Is Coming To The American Church

(This was an excerpt from Jerry Robinson’s best-selling book, Bankruptcy of our Nation, released in March 2009. Preview the book here.)

by Jerry Robinson

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“There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit (debt) expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit (debt) expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.” (Ludwig von Mises)

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” (Isaiah 9:2 NKJV)

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OVERVIEW: As the American economic empire enters its final stages of decline, the message that arise will one of sacrifice. This coming era of ‘sacrifice’ will do more than simply reveal the absurdity of America’s immoral financial excesses. It will expose the American church’s reliance upon man-made kingdoms. Instead of focusing their adherents upon the necessity of the coming Kingdom of God, the American church has often misplaced its hope in the earthly kingdoms. When the government is finally forced to demand sacrifice from the living, an American church, inebriated by a false prosperity, may finally awaken to the need for the coming Kingdom of God. Then, various versions of the message of sacrifice will ring loudly across the United States of America. Some will be genuine, but many will not be.

Awakening from the American Dream

What is strangely missing from the majority of today’s churches is solid teaching regarding the most pressing issues of our day. This list would include: the global food crisis, movement towards global political integration, and the threat of worldwide economic collapse. These, and other important issues, are bearing down on our nation. Ignoring these matters does little to reduce their size and their scope. In the midst of the chaos and confusion confronting our world, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is mysteriously quiet. I am convinced that this silence exists for a number of unfortunate reasons. I will not go into all of those reasons here with the exception of one, which I feel is the most important and relevant to our discussion: The idea of American exceptionalism.

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Is God to Blame for the Japan Disaster?

by Jerry Robinson

An inexplicably devastating natural disaster has struck our world. At 2:46pm on Friday, March 11, 2011, a massive 9.0 earthquake struck under the Pacific Ocean near Northeastern Japan. Scientists are now reporting that this quake packed so much power that it was enough to shorten Earth’s day by 1.8 microseconds. It also added an extra 6.7 inches (17 centimeters) into the planet’s wobble. GPS data has also revealed that parts of Japan were moved by as much as 13 feet as the quake shifted the underlying fault plates.

Those who have been following the media coverage of the aftermath have witnessed the heart-wrenching images and stories from the victims. Incomprehensible videos have emerged showing us the fury of nature. And, as the events are replayed on our television and computer screens, it seemed everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. The largest earthquake in Japan’s history was followed by one of the nation’s worst tsunamis. And then, the sudden loss of electrical power to strategic areas of the country led one of the largest nuclear meltdowns in recent memory.

The lessons that this, and other natural disasters, seem to teach us is often the same: Human life is utterly fragile and tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

Needless to say, the broken people of Japan have been through much over the last several days. The death toll continues to climb and some experts are now predicting that in the final analysis, those who have perished will reach into the “tens of thousands.” Families have been ripped apart by unbelievable loss. Entire cities are gone forever. Fears of radiation exposure haunt the nation. Hundreds of thousands are wandering the streets in their homelessness. Fear of the future and an uncertainty of the present hold the Japanese people tightly within their grip. For millions, life will never be the same.

At times like these, it is natural to look up to the heavens and wonder: Where is God in this tragedy? And how could a loving God allow the deaths of so many innocent men, women, and children?

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Witnessing To Jehovah’s Witnesses: Tips and Techniques That Work at the Door

by Jerry Robinson

My Story

As a young teenager, I was baptized into Jehovah’s Witnesses. While growing up in the faith, I remember a lot of rules:

  • I could not recieve or give birthdays gifts
  • I could not recieve or give Christmas gifts
  • I was not allowed to stand and salute the American flag or sing the national anthem
  • I could not participate in school plays
  • No Martial Arts, Boxing, or wrestling
  • No boy scouts
  • I was discouraged from attending college
  • I could not be a police officer
  • I could not serve my country in the military
  • Our family could not buy cookies from Girl Scouts
  • I was not allowed to read Christian literature
  • I was not allowed to listen to Christian music
  • I was not allowed to enter a church building
  • I could not own or wear a cross
  • I was discouraged from playing chess
  • I could not join school clubs or sports teams
  • I could not give Mother’s or Father’s Day gifts
  • I was even forbidden to say “God Bless You” when someone sneezed!
  • As a young boy, I was fervent in spreading the good news of Jehovah’s Kingdom. I went “door-to-door” proclaiming this good news every weekend and aspired to spend my life in door-to-door service. At the age of 18, I was confronted with the man Jesus Christ and was radically transformed by the power of God.
    What led to my conversion?

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    START HERE: First, here is a free online teaching that we created entitled: Witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses: What Every Christian Should Know. It is about two hours long and will help you understand the Jehovah’s Witness mindset. It will also show you the most effective ways of reaching out to a Jehovah’s Witness. Feel free to share this video with every Christian you know. (This webinar is presented by Jerry Robinson, the founder and President of JRMI, and a former Jehovah’s Witness.)

    Six Key Strategies For Waging Effective Spiritual Warfare

    by Jerry Robinson

    Do you ever feel as if your mind is too noisy?

    Recently, the Lord has been dealing with me greatly regarding the topic of spiritual warfare. We live in times of great darkness. And Satan is ever mindful of how he can deceive us or distort our views about ourselves, and our God. In addition to Satan’s consistent efforts to gain entrance to our hearts and minds, we have to deal with our own human frailties including a predisposal towards negative thinking and a general lack of faith. Once we realize the true magnitude of the fight in which we are engaged, it should come as no surprise that the apostle Paul urges us to “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph. 6:11)

    With today’s ultra-fast paced lifestyles, even believers in Christ can sometimes forget to guard their minds from the world and from their adversary, the Devil. Recently, I began noticing that in my own life, the volume in my mind was getting way too loud. Like many people, I have a very busy life. I am responsible for running several organizations including a non-profit Christian ministry and a financial education and media company. All of this, of course, is in addition to my own important family and personal responsibilities. When I finally realized how clouded my own mind was getting, I had to take a step back to re-assess my situation. What I discovered was not pleasant. I had allowed my mind to become infiltrated with “worldly” wisdom. And many times, by the time that you actually recognize that Satan is attempting to gain a foothold in your life, it can be too late.

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    You Might Be Richer Than You Think

    By Laura Rowley
    Posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2009, 12:00AM

    As this column appears on Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., I thought it would be a good opportunity to look at wealth in a holistic way — and from a global perspective.

    The media typically frames wealth in terms of the list of richest moguls, or features on the world’s most expensive homes — a kind of status fixation that’s guaranteed to inspire envy and skew one’s perspective.

    Researchers have long suggested that the green stuff alone doesn’t buy happiness, and most Americans enjoy prosperity in ways we take for granted. Here’s a quiz for the holiday to remind yourself of the abundance you enjoy. If you answer “yes” to more than half of these questions, you’re among the global well-to-do, and you have plenty to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

    1. Are you planning a sumptuous dinner today? More than 1 billion people — nearly a sixth of the world’s population — are faced with chronic hunger.

    2. Did you spend more than $2.50 on the ingredients for your Thanksgiving menu?  More than three billion people — almost half the world’s population — live on less than $2.50 a day, according to the World Bank.

    3. Can you turn on the faucet to fill the water glasses for dinner, and be confident that clean water comes out of the tap? According to the World Bank, 1.2 billion people lack access to a reliable water source that is reasonably protected from contamination.

    4. Are the kids relishing a little time off from school? More than 70 million children of primary school age in the developing world were not enrolled in school in 2005, according to a United Nations Report.

    5. Will someone in the family read a holiday poem or blessing before you dive into the feast? Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names, according to a UNICEF report.

    6. Do you fully expect to be celebrating this holiday until you’re 65 years old, or are you older than that right now? Life expectancy is about 65 years on average worldwide — but just 46 years in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Bank.

    7. If your kids get injured playing in the annual family football game this holiday, would they have access to basic medical care? More than 10 million children die each year in the developing world, the vast majority from causes that could be prevented by good care, nutrition, and medical treatment, according to the World Health Organization.

    8. Are you able to enjoy the holiday in your home country, free from persecution? In 2009, roughly 400,000 people will apply for asylum in 44 developed countries to escape war or persecution related to race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group, according to the United Nations. There are more than 10.5 million refugees who have been displaced or sought haven in another country, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

    9. If you’re feeling a little full after your Thanksgiving meal, can you safely take a casual stroll around your neighborhood? The most recent government survey found 29 percent of Americans say there is an area near their home where they would be afraid to walk at night.

    10. If you own the home where you’ll honor the holiday, are you able to pay the mortgage next month? One in eight households with a mortgage was either in foreclosure or default during the second quarter of 2009, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

    11. Can you pay off your credit cards in full at the end of the month (or you don’t use them at all)? According to a Federal Reserve survey, 58 percent of Americans carry a balance from month to month, leading to financial anxiety.

    12. Is your household income at least $50,000? This was the median income in the United States in 2008, according to the Census Bureau. A 2004 survey by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found Americans with incomes of more than $50,000 reported fewer days of feeling “sad, blue or depressed” than those who earned less. Nearly 40 million people — about 13.2 percent of the U.S. population — lived in poverty in 2008, which is defined as annual income of $22,025 for a family of four, $17,163 for a family of three, $14,051 for a family of two and $10,991 for individuals.
     
    13. Do you have a bachelor’s degree? Just one in four Americans ages 25 and older has attained a bachelor’s degree, according to the Census Bureau. Average annual earnings for someone with a four-year degree were $46,805. Over an adult’s working life, people with bachelor’s degrees earn an average of $2.1 million, compared with $1.2 million for high school graduates.
     
    14. Will you do some exercise this weekend as part of your regular routine? Just 40 percent of Americans do the regular physical activity recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General (30 minutes of brisk walking a day). One-quarter of all U.S. adults are not active at all.

    15. Were you able to donate money to a charity last year? Charitable contributions fell by the largest percentage in five decades in 2008, according to The Giving USA Foundation. But look at the big picture: Pledges of more than $307 billion were made — and 75 percent came from ordinary individuals, people like you, doing their part to make the world a better place. Now that’s something to be grateful for — and a sure-fire way to boost happiness.

    Original Link: http://finance.yahoo.com/print/expert/article/moneyhappy/204898

    2 Thought-Provoking Scriptures

    “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true (eternal) riches? “(Luke 16:11 NIV)

    In this verse, Christ illustrates that financial stewardship is truly a test of our hearts.

    “For the love of money is the root of all evil…” (1 Timothy 6:10a)

    I have to admit that I have read this verse multiple times but never noticed the word “all.” Is it not odd that God would consider the root of “ALL” evil to be the love of something as temporal as money. This verse indicates that God wants us to understand that money is the chief competitor for mankind’s heart.

    Religious life won’t be the same after downturn (AP)

    Religious life won’t be the same after downturn

    Congregations, religious schools fall victim to recession; leaders say more losses ahead

    By Rachel Zoll, AP Religion Writer

    On Monday September 28, 2009, 7:11 pm EDT

    NEW YORK (AP) — Organized religion was already in trouble before the fall of 2008. Denominations were stagnating or shrinking, and congregations across faith groups were fretting about their finances.

    The Great Recession made things worse.

    It’s further drained the financial resources of many congregations, seminaries and religious day schools. Some congregations have disappeared and schools have been closed. In areas hit hardest by the recession, worshippers have moved away to find jobs, leaving those who remain to minister to communities struggling with rising home foreclosures, unemployment and uncertainty.

    Religion has a long history of drawing hope out of suffering, but there’s little good news emerging from the recession. Long after the economy improves, the changes made today will have a profound effect on how people practice their faith, where they turn for help in times of stress and how they pass their beliefs to their children.

    “In 2010, I think we’re going to see 10 or 15 percent of congregations saying they’re in serious financial trouble,” says David Roozen, a lead researcher for the Faith Communities Today multi-faith survey, which measures congregational health annually. “With around 320,000 or 350,000 congregations, that’s a hell of a lot of them.”

    The sense of community that holds together religious groups is broken when large numbers of people move to find work or if a ministry is forced to close.

    “I’m really still in the mourning process,” says Eve Fein, former head of the now-shuttered Morasha Jewish Day School in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.

    The school, a center of religious life for students and their parents, had been relying on a sale of some of its property to stay afloat but land values dropped, forcing Morasha to shut down in June.

    “I don’t think any of us who were in it have really recovered,” Fein says. “The school was 23 years old. I raised my kids there.”

    The news isn’t uniformly bad. Communities in some areas are still moving ahead with plans for new congregations, schools and ministries, religious leaders say.

    And many congregations say they found a renewed sense of purpose helping their suffering neighbors. Houses of worship became centers of support for the unemployed. Some congregants increased donations. At RockHarbor church in Costa Mesa, Calif., members responded so generously to word of a budget deficit that the church ended the fiscal year with a surplus.

    “We’re all a little dumbfounded,” says Bryan Wilkins, the church business director. “We were hearing lots of stories about people being laid off, struggling financially and losing homes. It’s truly amazing.”

    In the Great Depression, one of the bigger impacts was the loss of Jewish religious schools, which are key to continuing the faith from one generation to the next. Jonathan Sarna, a Brandeis University historian and author of “American Judaism,” says enrollment in Jewish schools plummeted in some cities and many young Jews of that period didn’t have a chance to study their religion.

    Today, some parents, regardless of faith, can no longer afford the thousands of dollars in tuition it costs to send a child to a religious day school. Church officials fear these parents won’t re-endroll their kids if family finances improve because it might be disruptive once they’ve settled into a new school.

    Enrollment in one group of 120 Jewish community day schools is down by about 7 percent this academic year, according to Marc Kramer, executive director of RAVSAK, a network of the schools. A few schools lost as many as 30 percent of their students. Many of the hundreds of other Jewish day schools, which are affiliated with Reform, Conservative and Orthodox movements, are also in a financial crunch.

    Kramer says 2009-10 will be a “make or break” year for Jewish education, partly because of the additional damage to endowments and donors from Bernard Madoff’s colossal fraud.

    Overall, U.S. Jewish groups are estimated to have lost about one-quarter of their wealth.

    “It’s going to be painful,” Kramer says. “There will be some losses.”

    The Association for Christian Schools International, which represents about 3,800 private schools, says enrollment is down nationally by nearly 5 percent. About 200 Christian schools closed or merged in the last academic year, 50 more than the year before.

    At least 80 members of the Association of Theological Schools, which represents graduate schools in North America, have seen their endowments drop by 20 percent or more.

    The National Catholic Education Association is still measuring the toll on its schools, but expects grim news from the hardest hit states, after years of declining enrollment.

    “Some schools that were on the brink — this whole recession has just intensified that,” says Karen Ristau, president of the association.

    Clergy in different communities say worship attendance has increased with people seeking comfort through difficult times, although no one is predicting a nationwide religious revival.

    Americans for years have been moving away from belonging to a denomination and toward a general spirituality that may or may not involve regular churchgoing.

    The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey found more people who call themselves “nondenominational Christians” and rising numbers who say they have no religion at all.

    Before the stock market tanked last fall, only 19 percent of U.S. congregations described their finances as excellent, down from 31 percent in 2000, according to the 2008 Faith Communities Today poll.

    Because of these trends, mainline Protestants were among the most vulnerable to the downturn. Their denominations had been losing members for decades and had been dividing over how they should interpret what the Bible says on gay relationships and other issues. National churches had been relying on endowments to help with operating costs, along with the generosity of an aging membership that had been giving in amounts large enough to mostly make up for departed brethren.

    The meltdown destroyed that financial buffer.

    The Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church and other mainline denominations were forced to cut jobs and their national budgets.

    The damage was felt across Methodist life. As of the summer, more than half of the church’s 62 U.S. regional districts, or annual conferences, reported they had budget deficits. Some sold property and buildings to continue their ministries. Two national Methodist boards cut more than 90 jobs. Fifty bishops took a voluntary pay cut. Annual conferences in hard-hit regions, such as Florida and Ohio, lost thousands of members as people moved to find work elsewhere.

    “Many of these groups have such large endowments that they’re not going away,” Roozen says. “But I think there’s no question that they’re going to be smaller both as organizations and in membership.”

    Roman Catholic dioceses for years had been struggling with maintaining their aging churches, paying salaries and health insurance and funding settlements over clergy sex abuse. With the hit to investment income and a drop in donations, they are now freezing salaries, cutting ministries and staff. The Archdiocese of Detroit, at the heart of the meltdown, had a $14 million shortfall in a $42 million budget in the fiscal year that ended in June 2008.

    Conservative Protestant groups, known for their entrepreneurial spirit and evangelizing, were not immune. The 16.2 million-member Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant group in the country, has had budget cuts in its North American Mission Board, at least three of its six seminaries and in its publishing and research arm.

    Religious leaders say the next year or so will be key in determining which organizations survive the downturn intact. Even if the recession ends soon, religious fundraisers say the angst donors feel will not lift immediately, prolonging the difficulties for congregations, schools and ministries.

    Link: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Religious-life-wont-be-the-apf-1997683154.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=1&asset=&ccode=