Archives for category: topics

Discussion: Divorce Mammon

Economic Slavery – Part 2

That same night the Lord said to Gideon, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.

Judges 6:25-26

Emancipation from economic slavery :

1. Come out of Babylon / Exodus from Egypt
(what is spiritual Babylon? Egypt?)

2. Divorce Baal / Divorce Mammon
(what does this mean?)


Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matt 6:25-34

Here is a vow before God…

…to trust him at his word – That he is provider Matt 6:33 and as part of “be the lender, not the borrower”, Deut 28:12. This vow can help you come out of being a slave in “Egypt”, to come out of “Babylon” – i.e., the ways of this world when it comes to money and economic provision:

a. Commit to “no more debt”

(commitment to no new bank debt and avoid refinancing to ‘solve’ financial problems (i.e., cash-out refi) on homes, cars, credit cards, etc. There is no such thing as “good” financial institution debt – recognize it is highly likely no one will or can help you if you have trouble repaying and therefore be prepared to be sued, repo’ed and/or foreclosed. Make a sincere commitment to exit financial institution debt before God.

b. Don’t ask man for help/money

I’ve never seen the righteous’ children beg bread”

Psalm 37:25

c. Ask God
(through prayer for Him to provide, including miracles)

d. Don’t try to solve the problem in your own strength
(I’ll be a slave until I earn my way out)

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Matthew 6:24

Discussion: Economic Slavery

What is economic slavery?

How does economic slavery relate to almost all forms of slavery?

Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin

John 8:34

Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin

Romans 6:6

Recently, I heard the phrase “NE Center for the Abolition of Poverty” when praying about the “Storehouse” concept for the New England region.

I find it interesting that it ties the word “Abolition” and “Poverty” (Poverty is a consequence of economic slavery).

God actually tells us that the curse of poverty come on us if we serve idols:

A stingy man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him

Proverbs 28:22

Am I a Slave (click link)?

Mammon is a modern day idol. When we obey its voice, either in fear of money for lack of future provision, or in greed for money to take care of ourselves and our family, it is sin towards God. Yet, many Americans, and even many Christians have become slaves to Mammon – as it is a strong part of our culture – whether realizing it or not.

This is why Jesus taught so strongly against Mammon (desire of money):

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money

Matthew 6:24

I’m not sure I can imagine stronger words than despising the voice of money? Do we truly despise the influence of money in our lives?

This is serious stuff. Jesus is seemingly saying here no dabbling around with maybe that the influences of money are ok? Maybe a little bit of caring for money is alright. No. This is a black and white issue with Jesus. Why? Because money can be a very corrupting influence if we are not vigilantly despising its influences.

If you have time, listen to this outstanding teaching by Raymond Mooi from Malaysia (word about money idolatry for USA):

Mammon and the Midianites Part 1

Mammon and the Midianites Part 2

How does the Fair Isaac Corporation or FICO score system work in practice, and how does it keep us enslaved to debt?

So if my behavior contradicts my desires to do good, I must conclude that it’s not my true identity doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin hindering me from being who I really am.”

Romans 7:20

Round Table Discussion

The National Debt and Inflation – Part of America’s Judgment and Return?

  • Every 1% increase in interest on federal debt = $280Bn increased interest cost
  • 10% interest would be $2.8Tn/year in debt service alone
  • the entire tax base is $3.5Tn/year
  • 10 year treasuries were over 10% from 1979-1985

What is Jesus’ answer ?

Perhaps it lies in Hosea 2…

(v5-7) For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers,
Who give me my bread and my water,
My wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’
Therefore, behold, I will obstruct her way with thorns,
And I will build a stone wall against her so that she cannot find her paths.
And she will pursue her lovers, but she will not reach them;
And she will seek them, but will not find them.
Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my first husband,
Because it was better for me then than now!


The Return

Did anyone watch or attend “The Return” this year? Jonathan Cahn peculiarly took a clay pot, spoke a word out of Jeremiah about it and proceeded to smash it. The crowd cheered.

Here is the clip:

But anyone who’s read Jeremiah 19 or chapter 29 of Harbinger II (“The Plague”) knows that this is a sign of national judgment.

Inflation

10 year treasury yields are on the rise. This could speak to future inflation.  

China, Iran, Inflation?

Premise: China’s unsanctioned purchases of oil and energy from rogue nations (Iran, Venezuela, etc.) could potentially further catalyze the world away from settling energy purchases in dollars (petrodollars), especially post-pandemic. This then could help further establish the Yuan as a viable settlement currency, and with it, further challenging the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. If the US loses its the position as the world’s reserve currency, the dollar will weaken, interest rates will rise in order to attract bond buyers and inflation could take off as the purchase prices of imported goods and services climbs (US runs trade deficits).

The Coming Perfect Storm

John Paul Jackson prophesied inflation as part of the Coming Perfect Storm:

Will there be Deflation – Stagflation – Inflation – or Hyperinflation? – all these. They are waves on the quickly changing economic sea. What has worked in the past will work for only a brief time in this era.”

John Paul Jackson

WWJD?

Then they asked him:

“What must we do to do the works God requires?”

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.

John 6:28

WWJ-the-BD?

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”…

“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”

Matthew 3:1-3,8

Interview: “Dean” of Entertainment, OMC 5-Fold

Having worked as an actor in Hollywood for over 10 years and currently as a communication/media consultant for college/sports teams, military personnel and entertainment executives…

Our guest shares his perspective on how the media mountain has been absorbed by the entertainment mountain and the implications of this for believers and culture. We’ll also explore how we (as believers) re-establish leadership, truth and entrepreneurialism in media, arts and entertainment and what business reforms we can catalyze in these areas.

Originally from California, our guest has lived in Bradenton, Florida for the past 18 years. He and his wife have been married since 2010 and they have two daughters (9) and (6).

I mentioned briefly last week that our guest spent a day with Charles and Esther Mully recently and found them to be quite extraordinary people. A friend of our guest co-produced the movie.

Discussion Topic

Harriet and Guerney Hunt co-lead our discussion today of “Mully” the movie about Charles and Esther Mully.

Watch the full documentary film here: Amazon Prime (free if subscriber) or Vudu (free with ads) or YouTube (Trust me – worth the 78 minute un time)

Harriet some months back after joining the New Breed Zoom calls, suggested: “Have you seen Mully the movie?” I said no. Harriet said that much of what I was talking about and my own testimony – in terms of doing business in a new way – trusting God – even for supernatural provision, rather than just in money – was echoed in Mully’s life journey and story.

Another cool tidbit is that Steve and Jacky Shenbaum (Gary Crawford’s son-in law and daughter – “Dean” of media Bradenton/Sarasota FL – who will be speaking next week) spent a day with Charles and Esther Mully and found them quite extraordinary human beings. A friend of Steve’s co-produced the movie.

Charles Mully is an amazing Christian man with an amazing calling. Growing up, he was abandoned by his alcoholic parents and became a “street boy”, effectively an orphan. He was told once by a gospel preacher “work hard and there is nothing impossible with God”. Later, he became a prominent entrepreneur and businessman in Kenya, starting with “Mully Ways” a taxi service, but then also a car shop, car parts, welding company, insurance brokerage, exclusive distributor of Total oil and gas in western Kenya, etc. He became one of the wealthiest men in Kenya. “The more you get, the more you want to have”, he said. And that “Money is more valuable than anything else you can think of. It is having the power in my hand”. He used to visit the World Trade Towers and up on the top floors, he thought to himself “this is my time” and that he was on top of the world “looking down at everyone else”.

BUT GOD – got a hold of Mully’s heart and convicted him to help the orphans, starting in the slums he grew up in. Charles said “Yes God. Use me.” and later “I will never ever do business again. I will never ever work for money”. Not just giving money from his income or wealth gained, but literally closing and selling his businesses and starting “Mully’s Christian Family” an orphanage. Effectively, he was re-deploying his business, management and administration skills for God’s Kingdom, but it was a type of “business” that helped house, train and feed the orphans. The orphans helped run the whole enterprise together as a “family” with their biological children. They trusted God in amazing ways! They didn’t always have money, but they had the favor of God! This included literally a transformation of a barren land into a productive lush land, where literally even the CLIMATE CHANGED. No joke.

So we use Mully as an amazing example of what is possible with God, the God of miracles, instead of the god of money. We can envisage what is possible in God though the life of this man and his family.

Guerney and Harriet Hunt

Also, let’s welcome Harriet and Guerney Hunt, who have led an extraordinary life of their own and how they embody the ONE NEW MAN in their marriage and in life. I have worked together with Guerney, Harriet and Grant Berry in Reconnecting Ministries/Messiah’s House as well as 10 Days of Prayer.

Guerney and Harriet will have been married 40 years on their anniversary in August 2021. Guerney works for IBM Research as a Research Staff Member in computer security. Harriet is a retired home school mom and a retired Semitic language TA from ATS. All five of their children have completed college and graduate degrees. Their two oldest children are married and between them, Guerney and Harriet have five grandchildren.

Guerney’s parents were divorced when he was five. He moved around a lot, spending about half his growing years in Tennessee and the other half in Michigan. He grew up with his mother and attributes his salvation to the prayers of his maternal grandparents. He is of African, native-American, and European descent. He met the Lord while an undergraduate at Michigan Technological University, where he majored in mathematics.

Guerney and Harriet met at Cornell University where Guerney was a graduate student in computer science and Harriet was an undergraduate in chemistry. Harriet grew up in a Conservative Jewish family in New York city. After graduating from the Bronx High School of Science she went to Cornell, where she met the Lord.

Guerney and Harriet heard about the Mully movie through Focus on the Family. Harriet related to the movie on several levels. She had been to Kenya on a two-week mission’s trip in 2001 and seen several of the locations central to the Mully story. In addition, the story tied directly to what she was learning about ‘mishpat’ from her Hebrew professor. God’s design for creation is a society (mishpat) which has “his dynamic power embedded in it” and makes the world a “life giving and life sustaining place.” “In order for life to exist, it must be shared.” Mully’s story exemplifies this principle. As Mully followed the Lord in rescuing orphaned children, not only were their lives transformed, but so also was the environment.

Working Poor Dream

GameStop Part II

Gamestop:
52 week low:   $  2.57
52 week high:  $ 483 (2/27/21)
last Tuesday close: $ 90 (2/2/21)
this Tuesday close: $ 60 (2/9/21)

In the lead up to last week’s discussion on GameStop, I had this dream the morning of 2/2.

I was on a train looking out over city neighborhoods – could have been the outskirts of Chicago, or maybe NYC. As the train went by, I could clearly see families in multi-family homes, sitting out on their porches, gathered in their homes. The height of the buildings were 3 stories. It was row houses – not much land. It was a simple scene – nothing fancy. People were outside BBQing and hanging out with extended family. Densely populated neighborhoods. These folk didn’t have much, but they had a simple life and they had family together, friends and each other. Sense was that many ethnicities were represented, as well as many recent immigrants.

When I woke up from the dream, I felt the Holy Spirit was saying – the point about GameStop is that I care about the working poor and the working class (bottom 20%). These are the ones who matter. The Redditors vs. Wall Street Establishment is not the fight that matters. Itch for another fight. The fight for survival of the weak and the downtrodden – help train and equip the poor. Young ones, old ones, look to Your Maker. Instead of rallying to beat the man, rally to help the helpless, the downtrodden, the weak and infirmed, the heavy laden, those who need the most help. Invest in them. That’s the game. That’s the democratization of the economy.

“The righteous consider the cause of the poor” – Psalm 29:7

“The wealth of the sinner [finds its way eventually] into the hands of the righteous, for whom it was laid up” – Proverbs 13:22

“One who increases his wealth by interest of any kind, collects it for one who is gracious to the poor.” – Proverbs 28:8

“Cast your bread upon the waters, For you will find it after many days. Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.” Ecclesiastes 11:1‭-‬2

Exploration:

  • Let us explore together with creativity what this might look like
  • Imagineering

Questions that follow:

  • How could banking profit or remain solvent if they are helping the poor?
  • Would it work? Wouldn’t people just squat in houses and attempt to get free cars and other stuff?
  • How can the Church help? Not just in charitable donations, but in discipling people in a New Breed of thinking, in a new way of being – in Christ? To be entrepreneurial. To show people how to plant, cultivate and grow apple trees, not just hand out the apples.

Try me in these things, says God in His word.

You are the New Breed!

Roundtable Discussion: GameStop

52 week low:   $     2.57
52 week high:  $ 483.00 (last Wednesday)
Monday close: $ 225.00
Tuesday close:$   90.00 (down 60%)

What is going on with GameStop’s stock? And how have Robinhood, Reddit and WallStreetBets become such a big deal in the midst? Is this truly “Main Street” (the 99%) finally getting revenge on “Wall Street” (the 1%)?

We discuss what happened and the implications.

Part I: What exactly happened?

Let’s break down the market and regulatory mechanics, separating fact from fiction…

  • Who are the players: “Robinhood”, “Reddit”, “wallstreetbets”, and the “Shorts”
  • Secondary roles of Michael Burry/Scion, Steve Cohen/Point72, Citadel, Melvin Capital, Ryan Cohen/Chewy
  • Regulation surrounding retail trading, margin requirements, options
  • Role of clearinghouses such as the DTC and depository reserve requirements
  • Math of exponential customer and trading volume growth
  • How has “democratization” of trading changed the game? How has it not?  
  • What is the “gamification” of investing?
  • Is “shorting” stock good or bad for the market?
  • Definition of market manipulation – is it illegal?
  • Is a short-squeeze illegal?
  • What is “pump and dump”?
  • Role of Fed Reserve easing, easy money chasing returns, Fed buying bonds of all stripes

Part II: Sensationalism of the Story

  • Is this truly a modern day David vs. Goliath? Robinhood? With righteous intent?
  • A “Storming of the Bastille” moment? Proletariat take down of the Bourgeoisie? A revolution?
  • Are the “Wall Street” fat cats reaping what they have sown?
  • Or is this just another form of greed with different actors?
  • Bernie Sanders keeps saying Wall Street is rigged. Is it?
  • Are Wall Street insiders innocent of these charges?
  • “Occupy Wall Street” redux?
  • Is it all a sign of a “market top”? Are we in a bubble, that’s about to burst? Again?
watch min 3:55 sec re “fear and greed cannot be legislated away”

Part III: Implications for Believers

What Would Jesus Do?

“Come out of her, My people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues” – Rev 18:4

“So he called ten of his servants… and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.'” – Luke 19:13

“As long as it is day, we must do the works of Him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” – John 9:4

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Romans 12:2

“Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.” – Proverbs 13:11 NLT

“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” – James 4:13-17

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. – 2 Tim 3:1-5

“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” – Matt 25:37… eating, drinking, giving in marriage – i.e., business as usual, ignorant of the times

“However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” – Luke 18:8… persistent prayer, proclaiming the gospel in the end-times, trusting in God not lifting our soul to another

Even so, come, Lord Jesus! – John the Revelator

Discussion Topic: Socialism

Dave Warn suggested we dedicate this next discussion to specifically review socialism (since most of our discussion last time focused on capitalism).

Discussion Questions:

  1. How has socialism become so popular in the USA again? With the Democratic Party turning hard to the left (and the emergence of Bernie Sanders as a young person’s populist). Especially with the next generation, under the kindler friendlier guise of “Democratic Socialism”?
  2. So, what is Democratic Socialism, how does it differ from historical socialism, communism, and marxism?
  3. Is there “socialism” in the bible? We examine “they held all things in common” in the early church and the book of Acts (Acts 2:44 & 4:32).
  4. Why is secular humanism (even atheism) so closely tied with socialism? And why has the Democratic party moving away from God (yet trying to retain some mentioning of God in the general elections). Witness the democratic conventions past several cycles.

Since we used Milton Friedman as somewhat of a foil as a “villain” in our discussion of capitalism, let’s now turn to him as a foil discussing socialism as a “sage”. As I mentioned last time, while I disagree with Friedman’s puritan Adam Smith philosophy, I I actually think Friedman was a brilliant mind (and debater) who had some great points especially about freedom. Here is one of them:

A society that puts equality—in the sense of equality of outcome—ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.

Milton Friedman

Finally, how do we deal with socialism’s valid criticisms of the current capitalistic system? The wealthiest 1% vs. the 99%? The greed and corruption? The crony capitalism? The abuse of the poor?

If these are valid issues (sin in God’s sight), do we need to repent and course correct in the USA / Western Church?

And how does all this relate to God’s people being commanded to “come out of Babylon” in Revelation 18:4?

Roundtable Discussion:
Comparing Types of Economy

We discuss the differences between Capitalism and Socialism, and then examine Biblical Economy as it differs from both according to scripture. We also get into the prejudices of each and how each has become woven into a type of “sacred cow” system politically in the US in the form of Conservative Republican Crony Capitalism vs. Progressive Democratic Socialism (which is like Socialism riding the back of Crony Capitalism’s profits), which each has its partial truths, but then gets it twisted together with sin/falsehoods, especially the greed, fear and idolatry of money.

Abbreviated and Paraphrased History of 3 economic models:

Capitalism

  • Adam Smith generally considered the “Father of Capitalism”, though the term came later. He wrote about the “Invisible Hand” in and free market theory in Theory of Moral Sentiments 1759 and the Wealth of Nations in 1776 which focused on free markets (laissez-faire vs. planned economy) and unqualified benefits of “the self-interest”.
  • He identified with the Age of Enlightenment 1700-1800s through mentor David Hume and others, where reason supplanted concepts of being under “superstition of the gods”, adopting the philosophy of Descartes “I think therefore I am”.
  • Karl Marx birthed the term Capitalism in 1867 (see below)
  • John Maynard Keynes comments on the volatility and irrationality of free markets using the term “Animal Spirits” in his 1936 work The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, which describes the business cycle in a free market economy.
  • Milton Friedman NYT article 1970 publishes the “Friedman Doctrine” further refining what modern capitalism is in its purest form
  • Effectively separates corporate action “a corporation is not a person” from individual moral responsibility. There is no moral responsibility beyond “profit” as long as it is made “within the rules” (presumably of current law).

Socialism

  • Marxism does not have a basis for law, only a critic of law at the time, which was common law
  • Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles published the Communist Manifesto 1848, The Condition of the Working Class in England 1848, and Das Kapital 1867, highlighting injustices in the industrial revolution and exploitation of workers to justify an alternative economy
  • Lenin implements Marxist ideas into Communism of the Soviet Union. China, Vietnam and other nations followed. Soviet Union collapses in 1989.
  • Progressive movement forms in USA under Woodrow Wilson 1900s, FDR 1930s growing the role of government and the taxes to support it, moving towards socialism

Biblical Economy

“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Jeremiah 6:16

  • Edenic Covenant (or Adamic Law) – Sabbath, permission (Tree of Life) and prohibition (Tree of Knowledge), etc.
  • Noahic Covenant / Noahide laws (seven laws) – including no idolatry, courts of justice
  • Abrahamic Covenant
  • Mosaic laws – range of law including economic, moral and ethical; the power to produce wealth is to confirm covenant that God made with his people (Exodus 8)
  • New Covenant in Jesus’ blood – sermon on the mount focusing on the heart, even before the act

Discussion Subject:

Debt vs. Equity part II

The matter of charging interest in scripture. And recourse. We look at the Pilgrims and 400 years later in America. We also look at the creation of the Federal Reserve and what was good or bad about it.

  • What does the Bible have to say about charging interest to the poor? Profiting from the poor? And what does the scripture say about charging interest to “fellow Israelites”? Why? How is this in conflict with the very essence of our depersonalized financial system today? With fractional reserve “recourse lending” at “interest”? The “yield curve” of the debt market? And the lack of moral accountability behind “shareholder’s interests” and the relentless pursuit of “earnings per share” today?
  • How does modern day bankruptcy differ from the biblical Shmita idea of forgiveness of debt? The Jubilee?
  • We examine the “debt” and “equity” the Pilgrims took on 400 years ago with John Pierce and the London investors group known as the “Merchant Adventurers”. They, in turn, had made a land deal with the Virginia Company, having renegotiated it via the “Pierce Patent” circa 1621. 10 years later, the Pilgrims were able to settle their obligations through the “Bradford Patent”. We look at the potential Biblical parallel of Israel being enslaved for 400 years in Egypt. Toward the end it got so bad, Pharaoh required God’s people to “build bricks without straw”. Are we in a similar situation today with our utter dependency on the Fed and our financial markets?
  • We look at the creation of the Federal Reserve via the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. It is often said, the Fed is neither owned by the Federal government, nor is actually required to carry any “reserves” by statute (as one traditionally thinks of reserves; gold for instance).

Good book on this is: The Creature from Jekyll Island; A Second Look at the Federal Reserve