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Round Table Discussion:

Supply Chain Woes

Not enough computer chips. Not enough cars. Not enough TP. Not enough artificial Christmas Trees. What do all of these things have in common? Well, for one, they are driving inflation higher. But with the uncertainty of the future increasing (CV19, political instability, market volatility), the best laid logistical plans have been disrupted.

We take a look at what’s happening around the world and why?

What is God up to in this CV19 disrupted world?

And how should the Church, we the people of God respond?

There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD” 

Proverbs 21:30

The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.”

Psalm 33:10

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”

Proverbs 19:21

62 giant cargo ships waiting to unload outside Long Beach, CA

Good Background Reading and Listening

Trade Wars – We look at the future of global trade. Chuck Pierce on China, CV19, and the ports.

Inflation – Post-CV19 recovery inflation expectations of the Fed and Janet Yellen. True or false?

Inflation Prophecies – Inflation prophecies prior to CV19, including John Paul Jackson, John Mulinde, and Bob Jones

Round Table Discussion:
Student Loans

The debt trap of Student Loans the next generation find themselves in (fully recourse; high interest).

Educational inflation has outpaced the Consumer Price Index inflation by 4x!

The potential of various “Storehouse” solutions, including current implementation examples.

For example, Christopher Lucey will be with us to share about thegofund.com which he co-founded with Luke Womack.

The world of student loan debt has been with us and GROWING since the 1990’s. 

Today, we are going to highlight an organization that has done something truly inspiring that not only tackles the issue – but is solving the challenge “the storehouse way” – TheGoFund.com. I’m honored to have been a mentor and encourager to Luke Womack – founder. The year before the launch we meet in my office on Saturday’s for 4-6 hours talking, brainstorming, praying, researching how we could tackle this issue and how we could design a way to release the next generation from debt to go to the UUPG’s – when the name Jesus had never been heard.

It is also an inspiration for what I believe other groups could be challenged to do for their own families and communities throughout the nation in the years ahead to free young people from debt and to unleash them to go to the nations and complete the task of the remaining mission.

 

The GO FUND

GO FUND Story…..from World Magazine 

JOEL SUTTON BEGAN WORKING with the International Mission Board’s assessment and deployment team in 1999. Students had debt then too, but the average topped out at $17,000. Now, Sutton regularly talks to prospective missionaries who have between $60,000 and $100,000 in debt. “Those kinds of folks have really disqualified themselves for service,” Sutton said. “They’re living in the moment. They think they need the loan to get their education, but they don’t think about the ramifications down the road.”

Sutton and his Southern Baptist Convention colleagues urge college students to think about what they want to do with their lives before taking out loans. If students can’t avoid loans altogether, missionary recruiters urge them to take on as little debt as possible, get jobs to help pay some of their expenses, and even take a little longer to get their degree, if necessary.

That’s a hard sell, especially for students at Christian colleges, which rely on tuition payments to survive and have little incentive to encourage students to take on less debt. “We’ve found schools are not really talking to students about this,” Sutton said. “It’s a real conflict because schools are a business. Loans mean more payment out of students, so they don’t discourage them from doing the loans.”

(source: https://wng.org/articles/repayment-ministry-1617302578)

Higher Education News – 

Expenses such as healthcare and housing continue to rise, so “simply owing on student loan debt — and, in particular, doing so for an extended period — makes it all the more difficult for borrowers to grapple with these growing costs,” the report says.

While after 20 to 25 years, the balances of these income-driven loans can be forgiven, they typically are not. The report points to a recent analysis by National Consumer Law Center that found only 32 borrowers’ loans have been erased in the time that these plans have existed. Two million federal student loan borrowers have been in repayment for 20 years, though this count includes those outside of income-driven plans. 

(source: https://www.highereddive.com/news/report-federal-income-driven-repayment-built-to-be-a-debt-trap/606858/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Issue:%202021-09-21%20Higher%20Ed%20Dive%20%5Bissue:36832%5D&utm_term=Higher%20Ed%20Dive

THE HOPE CENTER – Research Institute on Colleges in America

(source: https://hope4college.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/RCReport2021.pdf)

Round Table Discussion:

Has the “leaven of the Pharisees and Herod” inhibited deeper repentance and reform from taking place within the Church, especially financial/economic ?

Jesus warned the disciples: “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” – Mark 8:15. What does Jesus’ warning mean for us today?

“Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him”. – Luke 16:14

“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Matt 7:3-5

  • Herod = Government
  • Pharisees = Religion
  • Leaven = sin

Questions

  1. What deceptions (falsehoods, conspiracy theories) have crept into the US Church today, which prevent or limit the church from transforming a nation and seeing the revival we all hope and pray for?
  2. Who/What have we aligned with as the leaven of ‘Herod’?
  3. What divides the US Church today?

Here is an interesting insight from the CEO of the Sentinel Group’s (George Otis Jr. Transformation Videos), Larry Page. He wrote in Jan 2019:

If Jesus gave a State of the Church in America address, what might He have to say?

Don’t worry, I have no intention of speaking for God in assessing the Church. But if you will indulge me, I will share some questions I would hope He would address in such a speech.

By the way, if you think this line of thought is foolish — i.e., Jesus’ giving a State of the Church address — re-read Revelation 2-3. Like that portion of God’s Word, I assume He would have some things to commend and some things to condemn.

I would ask Jesus these questions:

• Some have stated the condition of society is the report card of the Church. Is that true?

• So much prayer is arising from the Church in this hour, calling for revival. It has been going on for a number of years now. Why have we not witnessed the answer to those prayers?

• As I scan Your “State of the Churches” address recorded in Revelation 2-3, the church that most resembles the American Church is Laodicea. Are we as blind to our own faults as they were to theirs? And are You outside the Church, knocking to get in?

• What do You recommend to remedy our condition?

I missed last night’s State of the Union address. I am at a prayer summit with other pastors and Christian leaders. It is good, but I must say, I am curious about the circus that may have been displayed around that address. I doubt anything shared there will heal the great rift in our nation.

Our needs are far beyond the reach of politicians. The hope for our nation lies in the hands of the Church, the people of God.

https://sentinel-blog.ghost.io/

Round Table Discussion:
Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s

(Come Out of Babylon Part 2)

Emperor Tiberius Silver Denarius (or Tribute Penny)

Last week we started to discuss the difference between being in the world and being partnered with the world… (for context, its good to watch/read the notes from Part 1: Come Out of Babylon)

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” – Mark 12:17

… the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.” – John 17:14-15

In the context of God’s command for believers to come out of Babylon (Rev 18:4), how does paying taxes, using the world’s secular currencies, or even having a regular bank account (checking; savings; demand deposit) reconcile to this command?

“Come out of her, my people, so that you will not be a partner in her sins and receive her plagues“? Revelation 18:4

Jesus would never have told his disciples and the Pharisees it is permissible to use Caesar’s coinage if it represented a sin (or prohibited partnerships). In fact, it is indeed related to the scriptures about how God has instituted secular authorities to keep law and order, and we are to obey them (Peter 2:13-14; Romans 13:1).

So, critically, how are these matters then any different from economic and business partnerships with unbelievers? (co-ownership of companies, signing debt covenants, etc.). Scripturally, we must understand that the partnership prohibition with unbelievers (and Belial, aka Satan) is directly tied to the command to come out of Babylon, for the one quotes the other (Isaiah 52):

“Do not be partnered together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God…Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-17

In other words, “be in the world not of the world”, which is a paraphrase of John 17.

Also, as part of Coming out of Babylon we also take a fresh look at the practical utility of:

1. Divorcing Baal/Mammon

Here is a link to a divorce and remarry legal agreement your consideration: https://newbreedco.files.wordpress.com/2021/08/divorce-baal-and-mammon.pdf

2. Private (and even Public) Repentance from Mammon / Babylon

Related Posts and Pages:

Round Table Discussion:
Come Out of Babylon

What does God mean by the statement: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not be a partner in her sins and receive her plagues“? (Revelation 18:4 Amplified)

for more background reading (and video) about coming out of Babylon click here for article Come out of Babylon

Key Questions and Scriptures that address

What is “Babylon” in the context of Revelation 18?

The woman [Mystery Babylon] whom you saw is the GREAT CITY, which reigns over and dominates and controls the kings and the political leaders of the earth.” Revelation 17:18

What other city in Revelation is described as a great city?

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” – Revelation 21:2

Ancient Babylon (the geographic center of which is in modern day Iraq) went away in 539 B.C. when it was defeated by Cyrus and the Medio-Persion empire. So is the “Babylon” John the revelator is speaking of represented by another nation today?

Is the United States still a Christian nation?

Is the United States the Babylon of Revelation?

For ALL THE NATIONS have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries.” – Revelation 18:3

Or, has the United States’ helped develop and export the financial markets and capitalistic systems of commerce by which the whole world is getting drunk on the spirit of Babylon described in Revelation 18?

…for [Babylon’s] merchants were the great and prominent men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived and misled by [Babylon’s] sorcery” – Rev 18:23

The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.” – Rev 18:3

And the kings and political leaders of the earth, who committed immorality and lived luxuriously with her, will weep and beat their chests [in mourning] over her when they see the smoke of her burning” – Rev 18:9

And merchants of the earth will weep and grieve over her, because no one buys their cargo (goods, merchandise) anymore” – Rev 18:11

Discussion Notes

Do not be unequally bound together with unbelievers [do not make mismatched alliances with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership can righteousness have with lawlessness? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial (Satan)? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?

2 Corinthians 6:14-16

There are two kinds of capital we need to consider in light of the above scriptures:

  • Debt (bank loan or bond issuance)

All institutional debts have “debt covenants” associated with them.

They are the legal agreement between the borrower and lender. These terms require the debtor to: make certain payments, pay interest (and fees), and repay the principal within certain timeframes set forth in the legal agreement. In the event payments cannot be made, the lender has certain rights that are triggered. This can include a demand to repay the enter balance, or the right to foreclose on any asset referred to a surety in the covenants. This is why Proverbs 27 teaches us that the borrower is a slave to the lender.

Does God want us in such covenants? Where we bind ourselves with an unbeliever? Or in today’s realm, unbeleiving and depersonalized banks and systems? These entities may even start off personally during the sales cycle (when one agrees to a take a loan). But on the back end, it is almost always a nameless, faceless, person-less interaction (for example the “bank” is often legally a trust (created to buy/sell or securitize a loan)

  • Equity capital (ownership)

Equity is a partnership.

If you and I own a company together 50/50, we are “partners.”

As such it is a type of “marriage”, as either partner has rights to make decisions, and are responsible for all of the company’s actions. Including a share of the profits, and responsibility for losses.

Owning shares of stock is likewise a partnership (all be it a minority ownership). Shareholders have voting rights. They share in the profits. They are also collectively responsible for the action of the company through its board of directors and governance. Because it is a partnership, are we not responsible to God for whatever that company is doing?

What’s the difference between using money (USD) in the banking system and having a bank loan, and/or ownership of stocks and bonds?

Big difference

When you hold money, you are actually lending to the Federal Reserve. They are called Fed Reserve “notes”. Its like you are holding the bond if you will, and the proceeds have gone to the central bank, and they ultimately “owe” you. Now, its a crummy deal, because instead of collecting interest, you pay a type of interest called inflation. In fact, you can’t even redeem the note for anything anymore. When the Fed pays you back (through someone giving you a good or service), that dollar may buy a lot less that when you took the “note”.

Example: You burn 10 One Hundred Dollar bills. What happens? You are left with nothing, as you destroyed the “notes” that would have given you any redemption rights. So, you are not in debt to the Fed, the Fed is in debit to you. It’s your “bank note” (think of it as you are the lender – or the bond holder) to do with what you like.

Contrasting example: You burn your mortgage lending agreement (loan covenants) documents and say “I own this house”. You stop making payments. But because you signed agreement the loan covenant, the bank has rights to repossess your house. Depending on the state, they may not even have to go to court to “foreclose.” Understand, that a mortgage is a legal document recorded on the town/city land records that literally says the bank owns “your” property until you pay the loan in full. Until then you actually don’t own anything. Most people don’t understand this. But if you can’t pay, the lender takes over your homestead and land and kicks you out.

So realize the difference between the two. Ask the questions: Will this lead me into any form of slavery? Are there any strings attached to this financial transaction I am legally entering into?

Is it permissible to pay the poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, asked, “Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the poll-tax.” And they brought Him a denarius [a day’s wage]. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “[The Emperor Tiberius] Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then pay to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”

Matthew 22:17-21

4 Drachma Silver Shekel (Peter’s coin)

Jesus forbid partnering with unbelievers, but he did not prohibit using Caesar’s money (an unbelieving Government). Jesus commands us to preach the good news to unbelievers and help them, bringing the Kingdom of Heaven near. This is very different to entering into a business partnership with an unbeliever who is doing business the “world’s way” (i.e., deceived by the Harlot according to Rev 18:3, or serving Mammon according to Matthew 6:24)

Peter’s miracle fish coin required to pay the Jewish temple tax was a four-drachma coin Greek coin with secular rulers and/or Greek gods.

The disciples money box held similar and other secular coins.

Meditate on the difference through these and other scriptures to understand the difference.

One last point – What does God think of me owning bonds?

Good question!

Basically it comes back to: what are in the bond covenants? Since through the ownership of bonds, we are partnered with the other bond holders and we are “lending” to an entity, we are responsible to God according to 2 Corinthians 6 (see above) and all the moral ethical scriptures of the old testament. In most circumstances (99%), bond issuers and institutional holders are by definition secular unbelievers / companies / person-less entities. If that partnership with the “world’s” bond covenants violates God’s principals (say, profits from the poor, or charges interest to those God prohibits, doesn’t return the pledge, doesn’t allow ‘gleaning’ the fields, violates the sabbath), we are responsible for all that too.

This all goes back to Rev 18:4 – come out of her my people, lest you be responsible for her sins and suffer from her plagues. We can no longer afford to rationalize away these issues before God. We will be judged along with Bablyon and receive of her “plagues”.

Challenge question: Is CV19 a plague of Babylon according to the prophecies of Revelation and the rest of the bible?

Discussion: Cooperatives

Equity Ownership Structures Part I

We discuss Co-ops (short for Cooperatives). What are they and how are they significantly different from publicly traded companies, non-profit corporations, and privately held for profit companies? We discuss their strengths and weaknesses. We look at biblical models such as Acts 2 and 4 and compare and contrast them.

Some History of Co-ops in USA:

Founded 1752 in Philadelphia, PA

Earliest known US co-op in the form of a mutual insurance company – owned by policyholders

https://1752.com/blog/about-us/history/

Founded 1930 in Hanson, Massachusetts among 3 cranberry farming families

Example of a vertically integrated farming co-op whereby the farmers own the company.

https://www.oceanspray.com/en/Our-Story/Ownership

Founded in 1938, Seattle, WA

Formed as a consumer co-op where by the customers own the company

https://www.rei.com/about-rei

Founded 1908, Manchester, New Hampshire

First credit union in the US, as a cooperative bank owned by depositors and loan holders

https://www.stmarysbank.com/nav/about-us/history

Key Attributes of a “Co-op”

  • Alignment of interest around an affinity group
  • Pool resources together to better achieve business objective / common goal
  • Mutual and broad ownership with “one man, one vote” governance structure
  • “Profits” are distributed back to owners based on various fairness metrics, such as policy value, agricultural output, deposit/loan amount, or sales volume
  • they are “Non-profit” in the sense that the income statement balances to zero after dividends and/or member benefits are paid out
  • Opt-in and opt-out provisions for agricultural / supplier co-ops
  • Lifetime membership for some consumer co-ops including credit unions and insurance cos
  • Avoids hostile takeovers, capital stripping, over use of leverage, etc. found in publicly traded cos.

Other types of “Co-ops”

  • Housing / Coop Apartment buildings / Condos
  • Student unions
  • Preschools / Child care
  • Utilities
  • Workers
  • Food / Farmers Market
  • Retail / Buyers Clubs
  • Business
  • Arts / Crafts / Performance / Theater

We compare the strengths and weaknesses of the cooperative structure to other equity ownership structures.

Discussion: Lending Club

What is a lending club? We discuss the OMC and NECAP examples. What is it? How does it work? It’s the “Storehouse” in action…

Rules

1. The first rule of Lending Club is: You do talk about Lending Club

2. The second rule of Lending Club is: You do talk about Lending Club

… wait a second – no but seriously ….

Scriptural Rules for Lending Club

1. Do not charge your brother interest (Deut 23:19); 2. Do not charge interest to the poor (Deut 22:25)

2. Forgive debts every seven years (Deut 15:1)

3. Return the pledge (do not hold collateral) (Ezek 33:15)

4. Don’t expect to be repaid (Luke 6:34)

5. Lend to your enemy (Luke 6:35)

6. Freely you have received; freely give (Matt 10:8)

7. Open your hand wide to the poor for their need (Deut 15:8)

8. Borrower repays principal under God (Psalm 37:21)

But wait, that’s impossible, right?

Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Mark 9:23

Discussion: Storehouse Retreat Debrief

We cast vision for the Storehouse alternative banking strategy of God and discussed new possibilities and potential partnerships with others in Lindale Texas (see attached presentation).

The Storehouse includes: savings, payments, community investment, local currency, advancing the Kingdom, and more. It’s God’s biblical way of lending (non-hard recourse; non-forced interest), with a focus on discipling people to create Kingdom business/ministry opportunities, receive seed investment, get out of debt and into capital surplus in order to become an investor/lender, paying it forward for the benefit of others in the community.

Roundtable Discussion: The Storehouse

What is the Storehouse alternative banking strategy of God?

We discuss further.

The Storehouse includes: savings, payments, community investment, local currency, advancing the Kingdom, and more.

It’s God’s biblical way of lending (non-hard recourse; non-forced interest), with a focus on discipling people to create Kingdom business/ministry opportunities, receive seed investment, get out of debt and into capital surplus in order to become an investor/lender, paying it forward for the benefit of others in the community.

Discussion: Alt Currency

Inflation Part 2

How to deploy God’s “Storehouse” strategy of banking which can utilize an alternative community currency to the US dollar as a hedge against Inflation. The alternative currency would still be convertible to and from USD using payment bridges.

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.

Matthew 7:24-27

Within a community, there lies an opportunity to encourage and stimulate the local economy, whereby the people of a given area agree to accept their own currency in lieu of US dollars. This does not remove the use of USD, but it runs in parallel to it.

BerkShares local currency
W.E.B. DuBois born in Great Barrington

An example of this is BerkShares which was a local currency created in 2006 and is accepted by 400+ merchants in the Berkshire Region of Western Massachusetts. Here is a good article in the Boston Globe.

Saugatuck Bank, Westport CT local currency 1860

Here is a different example of a Westport CT local bank issued currency (these are the printing plates) from 1860. Because banks today are regulated by the Fed, they deal only in Federal Reserve Notes (USD). But that wasn’t always the case! And what if the Fed fails?

We continue to discuss why inflation is coming. Another good perspective on this is from Ray Dalio, who manages the largest hedge fund in the world Bridgewater Capital, also based in Westport CT. While I don’t agree with Ray’s approach to economy and investing, he is an astute observer. And here.

Hockey Stick Increase M1 Money Supply

Finally, we have received another wake up call from the Fed itself when it announced at the beginning of the year that it would stop tracking ANY of the money supply. Yes, you heard that right, for years everyone tracked M1 and M2, which are our US measures of money. But the problem is when the Fed started printing money during the pandemic and the Fed government sent out stimulus checks and PPP loans, the money supply exploded. M1 took off like a rocket. This is also a sign of inflation. The fact that the Fed is not really explaining why it took this action, is also problematic.

Weimar Wheelbarrow of Money

This just in: 3 Americans – Buffet, Bezos and Musk are wealthier than the bottom 50% of all Americans. Mmmm.

There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold…

Acts 4:34

Cryptocurrencies as of April 29 were worth more than $2 trillion, according to CoinDesk, an information service, roughly equivalent to all U.S. dollars in circulation.

WSJ excerpt from “It’s Raining Money! What Happens When It Stops?